Category Archives: monthly

Want to subscribe to just monthly updates instead of the whole blog? You can get it by e-mail or add to your feed reader. (I use Feedly.) Each post will include categorized links to the previous month’s blog posts, so you won’t miss anything!

Monthly review: April 2017

A- has been working on standing independently, beaming with pride whenever she balanced for a few seconds. She’ll keep getting up and trying if you sign “more.” She loves walking with help, too, even up and down stairs. W- helped her learn how to nudge a ball around. We spent a lot of time in the backyard, where she enjoyed digging in the soil, pulling up weeds, and exploring the new raised bed that W- made. She enjoyed crawling up and down the ramps and steps in the demo class at Oaks n Acorns. Now that the weather has warmed up a little, we’ve been going to the playground, swinging on the swings and sliding down the slides.

She figured out pointing with her finger, and she has gotten pretty good at letting us know what she wants. Pointing has also helped us teach her lots of words. She understands words like “coat” and “shoes”, gestures or points to the appropriate items, and matches illustrations and objects. She says “ba” for bubbles and “na” for no. I took her to Riverdale Farm to look at the animals, since we’ve been focusing on animal sounds for language development. We finished the early literacy workshop (which was more of a one-on-one consultation, whee!) and the parent advocacy workshop (which will come in handy when A- goes to school).

It’s a lot of fun watching A- imitate our actions. She drinks quite capably from a cup or water bottle, unscrews bottle caps, and tries to floss her teeth. She’s getting the hang of our routines, although sometimes she’ll resist them and assert her own will. When A- doesn’t want me to brush her teeth, I just try to wipe her teeth and gums with a washcloth. I asked the dentist if we should restrain A- when brushing or bring her in for a fluoride varnish. The dentist didn’t seem very concerned. She might be trying to avoid making A- anxious about dental hygiene, which makes sense too, so I just need to calibrate my own level of worry. We’re giving xylitol wipes a try, anyway, and I made xylitol mints for myself as well.

I’m a little less worried about A-‘s conformer. A- removed her conformer a couple of times when we were out walking, but she seems to be developing the habit of holding on to it or handing it to me after taking it out, which is awesome.

Hard to remember that W- has only been back to work for two months. Over the course of several weekends, W- cleared out the old garden beds, started a new one, and started the porch rebuild. A- and I have been going to various drop-in programs and other city resources. I’m so happy we’ve been able to arrange our lives this way. I’ve even been able to get back to doing more reading and writing in the early hours of the morning, and some video gaming with W- during the weekends. (Borderlands 2 co-op with two sirens, whee!) This is nice.

Blog posts



Category Previous month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Personal 8.7 11.9 3.1 19.3 5.3
Discretionary – Productive 3.2 5.1 1.8 8.2 3.1
Discretionary – Play 0.8 2.3 1.5 3.8 2.5
Sleep 34.3 35.1 0.8 57.1 1.3
Business – Build 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.5 0.3
Discretionary – Social 0.6 0.8 0.2 1.4 0.3
Business – Earn 0.8 1.0 0.1 1.6 0.2
Business – Connect 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1
Discretionary – Family 0.5 0.1 -0.4 0.1 -0.7
Unpaid work – Other 50.6 43.4 -7.2 70.7 -12.0
Unpaid work – Childcare 44.3 36.2 -8.0 59.0 -13.5

Monthly review: March 2017

W- has been back at work for a little over a month, and we’ve settled into comfortable routines. I focus on A- during the day, and we reconnect with W- when he gets home. After a bit of playtime, we settle down for her afternoon nap. He makes dinner or pulls it out of the fridge, we eat together, and I clean up while he plays with A-. Then we have some more play time before we give A- her evening snack and do our bedtime routines. W- sleeps early so that he can get to work before the morning rush, and I stay up late so that I can have some discretionary time for my own things.

We found out that A- has enamel hypoplasia, so brushing her teeth is a regular part of our routines. I took her to get a new conformer for her eye, and we scheduled the follow-up exams for her liver and heart in August. I didn’t hear back about her blood test results, so I guess her iron levels are fine. I ordered a textbook on ocular prosthetics, too, and I’m excited to read all the medical details. We saw someone from Surrey Place who reassured me that A- will probably be totally all right with monocular vision. Our Healthy Babies Healthy Children nurse went through the 12-month developmental checklists, and our home visitor gave us tips for language development.

In addition to A-‘s health-related appointments, we’ve been filling our days with various parenting workshops and early years drop-ins. I picked up a few tips on school accommodations and visual routines from the Let’s Get Started series, and I’ve also been enjoying the parent advocacy workshop. We’ve been regularly going to the Junction Family Resource Centre and the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre, and we made it out to the JFRC’s sensory play day too. I took A- to the High Park zoo, and we’ve started a new habit of going to the Royal Ontario Museum. (Sometimes with other people!) I find spending time with her to be surprisingly enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to helping her learn.

A- has been learning a lot about language. She added more variety to her babbling: nai, ha, pa, da, and ga. She now recognizes words for a few body parts (head, knees, toes, belly button), mittens, socks, and “all done.”

She’s also been working on her motor skills. She can crawl up and down stairs with supervision, although she usually needs a reminder to go down legs first instead of taking the direct approach. She likes practising taking off and putting on jackets, socks, and mittens with help. She’s interested in chopsticks, spoons, forks, whisks, and measuring cups. She eats crackers and bits of bagels. She pushes toys along while crawling. She can usually connect 2×2 pieces of Duplo if they’re facing the right way. She enjoys sprinkling rock salt and herbs on things we’re cooking.

It’s a lot of fun spending time with A-, and I’ve been thinking about how to share that experience with my parents. After lots of planning, we decided it’s best to hold off on flying to the Philippines until W- can come along. In the meantime, we’ve been doing video chats. She’s still getting used to their faces and voices, but it’s a good first step.

Speaking of family, I took some time to make a GEDCOM export of A-‘s family tree, taking advantage of the data entered by my mom and by W-. Might be interesting for her later, so it’s good to have a personal copy instead of relying on a web service to continue. I also set up Owncloud and borgbackup to improve my backup routines, and I finally set up a VM that makes it easy to confirm if my blog backups work. (They do. Whew!)

Lots of baking this month: a few iterations of roast potatoes, blondies, muffins, and cabbage rolls. We got the roast potatoes down pat, but there seems to be some variability in the quality of russet potatoes we get, so we’re looking into that too.

The new routines have been working out pretty well for discretionary time. I’ve been focusing on small improvements and personal tasks instead of increasing my consulting workload. The backups I mentioned above had been on my list a long time! I also did preliminary tax prep, although we’re still waiting for J- to do her numbers so that she can transfer tuition tax credits to W-. I sorted out my Ledger, learned the new features in ledger-mode, and added net worth and stock allocation reports. In the process, I discovered an unpaid invoice and got payment, yay! In terms of consulting, I deployed some code to add priorities and categorization, and I helped with an add-on that I’ve turned over to the other team. I even had time to watch a couple of movies.

If the rest of the year is much like this month, I think it’ll be pretty good! :)

Blog posts



Category Feb March Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work – Childcare 41.0 44.3 3.3 82.2 5.5
Unpaid work 48.3 50.6 2.3 94.0 3.9
Discretionary – Productive 2.2 3.2 1.1 6.0 1.8
Discretionary – Social 0.3 0.6 0.4 1.2 0.6
Business – Build 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.1
Business – Connect 0.0 0.0 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Business – Earn 0.9 0.8 -0.0 1.6 -0.1
Discretionary – Play 1.0 0.8 -0.2 1.6 -0.3
Discretionary – Family 1.5 0.5 -1.0 1.0 -1.6
Personal 9.9 8.7 -1.2 16.2 -2.0
Sleep 35.9 34.3 -1.6 63.7 -2.7

Monthly review: February 2017

We celebrated A-‘s birthday with W-‘s family. W- made lots of yummy food, and I got a few photos printed. A- keeps growing at an amazing rate. She now lets us put the conformer into her eye socket without any fussing, signs somewhat reliably for “nursing” and “more” (which she also uses to ask for water), says “Mama”, recognizes words like “cat” and “wave”, varies her intonation a lot while babbling, crawls up stairs, lets us put glasses on her for a few seconds at a time, cruises along furniture (including the coffee table W- built), takes turns drinking from a cup or water bottle cap, uses her teeth in the defence of chicken drumsticks, and clings to W- when she doesn’t want me to put her to bed. She was even perfectly fine staying home with W- while I went to the dentist for a cleaning. (2 units, yeah!)

We got through her first bad cold, 12-month vaccines and blood tests, and a bit of a kerfuffle about her teeth. (Spoiler: enamel hypoplasia.) The cardiologists are still monitoring her heart condition – the hole is getting smaller, but there’s a muscle bundle developing, so we’ll have to wait and see. She seems fine at the moment, though, and they’re okay with seeing us in August.

We’ve been establishing new routines now that W- is back at work. I’ve been taking her to lots of programs and centres: Let’s Get Started, Peer Nutrition, the TDSB Family Literacy Centre, and the usual neighbourhood places. There are plenty of toys at home, too, including a couple of additions to our Diplo connection.

My mom and my sister are helping my dad recover from his operation. I’m figuring out the logistics of going over there with A- and seeing if I can help out. Solo long-haul travel with a toddler sounds pretty daunting, but if I work through all the risks, I can probably manage it.

Consulting’s been going fine: a few small features and a prototype client for consuming information. I’ve also been getting a head start on our taxes and improving my ledger. Gradually sorting things out!

Blog posts


Category Jan Feb Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.4 0.1 -0.3 0.1 -0.6
Discretionary – Play 1.5 1.0 -0.4 1.6 -0.8
Unpaid work 46.7 48.3 1.5 73.2 2.6
Unpaid work – Childcare 42.4 41.0 -1.4 62.2 -2.4
Discretionary – Social 0.5 0.3 -0.3 0.4 -0.4
Discretionary – Family 0.1 1.5 1.4 2.2 2.3
Sleep 38.2 35.9 -2.3 54.5 -3.8
Business – Connect 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0 -0.2
Business – Earn 0.7 0.9 0.2 1.4 0.3
Discretionary – Productive 2.5 2.2 -0.3 3.3 -0.5
Personal 9.2 9.9 0.7 15.1 1.2

Monthly review: January 2017

We took A- for her eye checkup at Sick Kids Hospital. She has 20/80 vision in her right eye, which is within normal range, and they prescribed safety glasses to protect her right eye as she becomes more mobile. We also took A- to the ocularist, who’s trying a new conformer shape in the hope that it will stay in. After a few weeks of A-‘s conformer getting rubbed out daily, things seem to have settled down a bit. We’ve also figured out how to put the conformer in solo, instead of it being a two-person operation – hooray! All the care and attention that W- had put into trying to make it a pleasant experience for A- paid off. He noticed she liked it when he swung her upside down, so we started swinging her after putting in the conformer, and now she sits still for the placement and doesn’t cry at all. Whee!

A- has figured out a few gestures to let us know what she wants. She squeezes her fist or curls her fingers if she wants to nurse, nods and bounces up and down to say yes, and closes her eyes and shakes her head to say no. She’s pretty comfy with the toothbrush we got her, although the fork and the hairbrush are still mysteries.

W- bought lots of used Duplo off Kijiji, filling in the gaps with a few pieces from Bricklink. We’ve all been having fun with the blocks. A- has also gotten pretty good at stacking wooden blocks. Our family home visitor introduced her to crayons, and she occasionally manages to touch the crayons to paper. The rest of the time, she’d rather crumple up the paper – our little agent of chaos!

She’s quite a good crawler now, and can even make her way up the stairs with supervision.

Jen and E- visited, and we visited them too. The weather has been a little more cooperative lately, so we’ve been going to the Junction Family Resource Centre and the Ontario Early Years Centre.

Other little things: W- spent some time making a coffee table for the living room, including a jig for floating mortises and tenons. Also, Neko got stuck in a shallow bath, so W- rescued her. We’ve been doing a great job at eating more vegetables – roasting turned out to be pretty easy.

I reviewed all my sketches and blog posts and I sketched a few yearly summaries, but I haven’t gotten around to writing it up yet. I wrote lots of other stuff, though! Hmm, I wonder what the difference was… I started using Google Tasks to capture ideas and drafts. That helped a lot. Lately I’ve been more distracted by social media, but that’s okay too.

I managed to do a bit of consulting: extracting comments, building a little prototype for displaying data on another server, supporting simple A/B switching, and tweaking the Iframe snippet. On the personal side, I updated my evil plans code to work with the latest version of Org, issued a T4 and a T5 slip from my business, converted my QuickBooks file to Ledger, and helped my parents with their visa paperwork. I also went for my first eye exam in years – my prescription is actually a little less than it was before. I should probably order new glasses to replace the ones that A- accidentally messed up.

Getting ready for W-‘s return to work next month!

Blog posts



Category Dec Jan Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work – Childcare 36.3 42.4 6.1 71.3 10.3
Unpaid work 43.7 46.7 3.1 78.5 5.1
Sleep 35.3 38.2 2.9 64.1 4.8
Personal 8.1 9.2 1.2 15.5 1.9
Discretionary – Social 0.2 0.5 0.3 0.9 0.6
Business – Earn 0.3 0.7 0.4 1.2 0.6
Business – Connect 0.2 0.1 -0.0 0.2 -0.0
Business – Build 0.7 0.4 -0.2 0.7 -0.4
Discretionary – Productive 3.1 2.5 -0.6 4.1 -1.0
Discretionary – Play 2.6 1.5 -1.1 2.5 -1.8
Discretionary – Family 2.1 0.1 -2.0 0.2 -3.4

More childcare now that we’re back in our usual routines. Haven’t been particularly good at tracking the switch between childcare and other activities, so 71h/wk overstates it a little bit, but it’s okay. I still get a little time for other things, and I managed to do a fair bit of writing done anyway.

Monthly review: December 2016

After enjoying lots of time with old friends and family, we flew back to Toronto and settled into our household routines. The flights back were a bit more comfortable, thanks to the timing and the rest areas at the Manila and Incheon airports. It took A- and I a few weeks to get over jet lag, since I mostly went by her cues. Short days and cold weather made it harder to reset her circadian rhythm, but we eventually synced up with W-. We even got back into the habit of walking again, once we were mostly lined up with daylight.

One of the unexpected benefits of going on this trip was the realization that congee and bibimbap can be part of our everyday routines, thanks to inexpensive and easily-cooked ingredients. I just need to marinate ground beef or pork in soy sauce, brown it, and keep it in the fridge, and gradually build up a supply of banchan when there’s time. Yum yum yum. W- picked up a container of gochujang, and we’ve been making good progress through it too.

Since we lost A-‘s painted shell, I took A- to be fitted for a clear conformer. This one kept popping out, though – sometimes twice a day, sometimes even when she wasn’t touching it. Eventually we lost it somewhere in the house, which was very mystifying. I’ll be taking her for another one in January. I hope this one fits better, or else I might have to tweak the budget a bit.

On the plus side, A- has gotten the hang of clapping. It’s awesome. She claps for herself, she claps for us, she claps when she wakes up and it’s another nice day… :) She’s also gotten a lot of practice in putting things on top of other things/cats/parents. She likes putting things into and taking things out of baskets, which makes laundry time more interesting. She’s getting more confident about crawling even around the corner and out of sight, and she’s often keen to walk with our help.

W- created a play area in the living room, and we’ve been spending a lot of time in it. New lights and more floor space really changed the feel of the room. We also put up elephant stickers in A-‘s room, which feels a lot more like a nursery now. (W- oiled the hinges, too, so it’s easier to go in and out without worrying about waking her up.)

A- continues to follow the 15th percentile curve in terms of weight. She got the second half of the flu shot, so she’ll probably be okay this season.

We went to Brantford for W-‘s family’s Christmas thing. A- was okay with the long car ride, although we needed to make one stop on the way there so that she could nurse. That was the day we lost her clear conformer, too, so we were a little frazzled. She mostly stayed close to us, although she warmed up enough to explore the gifts and hang out with family.

I did a little bit of consulting, mostly just maintenance. I also did some coding and troubleshooting for my blog. It was a little embarrassing to not have noticed the broken paragraphs for so long, but oh well!

Lots of writing on my phone – the new workflow with Google Tasks seems to be working out well. We’ll see how next month goes!

Blog posts


Category Nov Dec Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.2 0.7 0.5 1.2 0.8
Discretionary – Play 1.7 2.6 0.9 4.4 1.5
Unpaid work 47.6 43.7 -3.9 75.7 -6.5
Unpaid work – Childcare 37.0 36.3 -0.6 63.0 -1.1
Discretionary – Social 0.3 0.2 -0.1 0.3 -0.2
Discretionary – Family 6.3 2.1 -4.1 3.7 -7.0
Sleep 32.0 35.3 3.4 61.2 5.6
Business – Connect 0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.3 -0.3
Business – Earn 0.6 0.3 -0.3 0.6 -0.5
Discretionary – Productive 2.8 3.1 0.3 5.3 0.5
Personal 8.3 8.1 -0.3 14.0 -0.4

Monthly review: November 2016

A- has gotten so much better at controlling her hands: gently patting the cat, grasping food with her thumb and index finger, taking things out of containers and putting them back in… She laid claim to one of the sets of Duplo that we were going to give to her cousins, and had lots of fun exploring the different shapes. She’s been gradually shifting to using her fingers instead of her mouth, although the occasional thing still gets tasted, of course.

A- has also been working on her gross motor skills, getting the hang of creeping around everywhere on her hands and knees (so much more efficient than crawling on her tummy!), and even pulling herself up to stand with our help. She’s more expressively vocal now, babbling with different intonations based on her mood. She likes staying close to me or to W-, but she’s happy to spend time with other people once she has warmed up to them. She met the rest of my family on our trip to the Philippines – yay! She tried out many new foods, and seems to be a fan of sour tastes and chunkier textures. She’s an awesome 9-month-old!

A-‘s cardiologist said that the hole in her heart continues to get better, but they still need to monitor the muscle bundle developing in her right ventricle to see if they need to operate on it. We’ll follow up with another exam in February.

A-‘s head was getting too big for her old prosthetic eye, which kept popping out. Eventually it popped out in a crowded place where we couldn’t find it even after searching multiple times. Oh well, we knew something like that would happen eventually – that’s why we’d set aside an oops fund! We’ll try replacing it with a less-expensive clear conformer first, and we’ll wait until she’s eligible for funding for another painted prosthetic eye.

As for us, the first half of the month was about preparing for the trip, and the second half was about enjoying it. The trip worked out beautifully – like a staycation, but with family and friends I hadn’t seen in years. We cooked, ate, hung out, and took care of things – some bank-related stuff, and my parents’ Canadian visa application too. There’s more paperwork to be done, of course, but at least we got started.

I managed to squeeze in a bit of coding: turning over the add-on I’d been working on, and doing some data scraping for a friend. Didn’t get much writing or coding done while we were away, of course, but that’s all cool.

Life is good.

Blog posts



Time tracking slightly messed up by trip. Personal time way down, travel/family time way up, as expected. Sleep surprisingly the same – actually, slight increase, because I didn’t track sleep well during the flight. Hmm…

Category Last month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work 42.8 47.6 4.8 77.4 8.0
Discretionary – Family 1.9 6.3 4.4 10.2 7.4
Unpaid work – Childcare 35.1 37.0 1.8 60.2 3.1
Discretionary – Play 0.8 1.7 0.9 2.7 1.5
Business – Connect 0.0 0.4 0.3 0.6 0.5
Business – Build 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.1
Sleep 31.9 32.0 0.0 52.0 0.0
Discretionary – Productive 3.1 2.8 -0.4 4.5 -0.6
Business – Earn 2.8 0.6 -2.2 1.0 -3.6
Discretionary – Social 3.4 0.3 -3.2 0.5 -5.3
Personal 13.1 8.3 -4.7 13.6 -7.9