Category Archives: review

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

Sketches

Time

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

Weekly review: Week ending December 9, 2016

We hosted a get-together at Kathy’s house for my friends. W- and I made a double batch of pork buns, Papa brought bibingka and other desserts, and we had green mangoes and bagoong too. It was nice chatting with everyone and seeing how they are now. It feels just as easy to chat with them as it did when back then, and it’s great to see people figuring out ways of life that fit them better.

We also went to Tim Ho Wan for more of G* and A*’s favourite shrimp dumplings. There was nearly too much food, but W- and I managed to finish all those scrumptiously soft pork buns ordered. In the name of research, of course. So much yum. I wonder how they make that dough…

It was a bit of a mad scramble to pack all our luggage. We ended up taking a balikbayan box because of all the gifts and hand-me-downs. W- was amazing at wrangling everything while I took care of A-.

The flights back went pretty smoothly. We managed to get lounge access in NAIA, so that covered snacks and a place to stretch out a bit. Switching to the child meal instead of the baby meal worked out okay. I gave A- the bits she wanted, such as rice and eggs, and I polished off the leftovers. This also meant that I could eat a little something while W- held A-, then we could swap while he ate, and then we swapped again so that I could eat my main meal.

We had a six-hour layover in Incheon airport. A- enjoyed crawling around the play area on the fourth floor. There were recliners in the rest area, and we all got some sleep – even A-! It was pretty good. That made the 13-hour flight back to Toronto a lot more manageable. We took a cab home because of the luggage and the cold weather. It turns out car seats aren’t required in public utility vehicles, including taxis, so I just held A- on the way home.

We spent the next few days restocking the fridge and settling back into our household routines. Our trip reminded us how nice it is to keep congee and banchan on hand, so we’ve been cooking that. Yum yum!

A- was almost completely flipped in terms of day and night, and with the short sunlight hours, I hardly got to see any sun for the first little while. I managed to get us to the appointment with the pediatrician for the second half of the flu vaccine, though. Kathy’s hand-me-down snowsuit certainly came in handy – it was -5C and A- had outgrown everything else!

I submitted my business taxes. Nice to get that out of the way. I noticed I made a mistake in the quick tax calculation for HST last year, so I amended both my HST return and my T2. I also managed to squeeze in a little consulting (one report and a small tweak to my code).

I’ve been prioritizing sleep and important tasks over writing or drawing in my journal, at least while jet lag makes our schedule awkward and unpredictable. We have a few daytime appointments next week, and then things should probably settle down a bit.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (5.0h – 2%)
    • Earn (0.8h – 16% of Business)
    • Build (4.2h – 83% of Business)
      • ☑ Filed taxes and amended previous tax returns
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (8.1h – 4%)
    • ☑ Do second part of flu vaccine
    • ☑ Made biscotti
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.8h – 1%)
    • Drawing (0.8h)
    • Emacs (1.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (11.9h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (60.7h – 36%)
    • Childcare (49.8h – 29% of total)
  • Sleep (49.0h – 29% – average of 7.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending December 2, 2016

The pool party with the Valdezcos was a busy one despite a morning that started out gray and drizzly. The kids were in the pool as soon as the sun came out. W- and I were in the kitchen making Momofuku-style pork buns, which turned out to be so yummy. He also made Vietnamese bun with calamansi at some point during the week, and that was delicious too.

A- spent a lot of time with us in the kitchen. She also got comfortable with being held by Papa and John G., both of whom quickly figured out how to bounce her for her maximum amusement. Yay! Mission accomplished: A- comfy with people who are not us. We also discovered that A- likes green mango. Whee! She’s also been learning how to put things back into containers, which is a totally awesome development.

I enjoyed playing with G* and A*. They were fascinated by A- and graciously shared their toys with her, needing just the occasional prompt to be gentle with A- or to keep small things away from her. They’re both quite verbal, and I was relieved to find out that I could keep up a running commentary with on-demand word definitions and explanations. I had been worried that our generally quiet nature might affect A-‘s exposure to words, but we’ll probably be okay.

The kids opened their gifts early so that Ching and John V. could be part of it before they flew back to California. It was nice being all together for a week, and we hope to coordinate vacations with them in the future.

We had lunch with a few of my godparents: a beautiful spread of cold cuts, cheese, bread, and a few nicely cooked steaks. They cooed over the kids, commiserated over various health issues, and discussed politics at length. W- and I swapped off every so often, since A- was sleepy. Then we headed back home with the kids while everyone else took care of other errands.

I started working on lots of paperwork: helping my parents with their Canadian visa applications, accessing my Philippine bank accounts, learning more about estate planning… There was a surprising amount of paper involved in updating our local bank accounts, but that’s just life.

I wrapped up the week by freezing lots of lumpia for Saturday’s party with the barkada. So much cooking, yay! Best vacation ever.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.1h – 0%)
    • Build (0.1h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (17.9h – 10%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (14.0h – 8%)
    • Drawing (2.4h)
    • Emacs (1.8h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
      • ☑ Renew domains
      • ☑ Fix Mysql issue
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (8.1h – 4%)
  • Unpaid work (66.5h – 39%)
    • Childcare (54.4h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (59.4h – 35% – average of 8.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 25, 2016

We had our family portrait in the same place we had a family portrait in 2013. This time, John V. was able to join us, so everyone was here. We also took advantage of everyone’s presence to have a family meeting, since there are quite a few decisions to make and things to do. I’ve volunteered to take on some of the paperwork and maintenance, since it’ll be easier for me than for my sisters. Time to learn about Philippine taxes!

The UP Singing Ambassadors graced us with Christmas carols, love songs, and a few songs for the kids at the party in Adphoto. Some of my godparents and my barkada made it to the party, too, so I caught up with them there. A- slept through most of the party, and W- took care of her.

Lots of cooking! My mom set me up with access to a local account, so we’ve been picking up groceries and making dinners. Best way to spend a vacation, I think. We’ve been doing a combination of our favourite meals and new recipes we want to explore. W- made couscous chicken and stuffed pork tenderloin, while I made a lasagna with bechamel sauce. Kathy normally cooks, so we’re glad to let her and the family have a bit more breathing room. Home-cooked meals are the best for times like these.

W- and I swapped our demonetized Philippine pesos for new currency, so that’s sorted out. My mom’s been helping me with the paperwork for getting government-issued IDs, too. Started working on Canada visa paperwork for my parents. There’s an online process now, so that’s more convenient than sending all the documents by mail. Yay!

A- has gotten quite comfortable with my family. When she’s in a good mood, she lets her Lolo or Tito John G. carry her, and she’s waved and smiled at my mom too. She often pulls herself up to standing, although she’s still quite wobbly, so we make sure to stay near. She also likes wiping the counter with a washcloth, which we enthusiastically encourage. She was a little jetlagged. In the beginning, she woke up at 4 AM or so. She seems to have adapted now, getting up at around 7:30 or 8. This is earlier than she used to wake up in Toronto, but she goes to bed earlier too, so it all works out.

Life is good.

2016-12-01a-week-ending-2016-11-25-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
  • Relationships (12.4h – 7%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (0.7h – 0%)
    • Drawing (0.0h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
      • ☑ Renew domains
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
    • ☑ Exchange demonetized cash
    • ☑ Sort through clothes
    • ☑ Sort out bank accounts
  • Discretionary – Play (0.5h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.9h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (81.9h – 48%)
    • Childcare (78.5h – 46% of total)
  • Sleep (58.6h – 34% – average of 8.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 18, 2016

The big thing this week was our flight to Manila. I had been worried about colds and pressure changes, but A- slept through her first take-off like a seasoned traveler. Baby food was a no go. Instead, she enjoyed tidbits from our bibimbap. Not much sleep in her bassinet either, except for maybe ten minutes after the bassinet was set up and before turbulence required us to take her out. Oh well. It was a good place for her to sit and play with cups, though.

A- spent most of the flight with me, sometimes hanging out with W- while I napped. We figured out how to change diapers in the tiny airplane bathroom. The stopover in Seoul was a good opportunity to have more bibimbap and check out their breastfeeding facilities. A- wasn’t able to sleep as well as she normally does, though. She was so tired that she was inconsolable during the second flight’s take-off, only calming down once we could walk around.

My parents picked us up from the airport and took us to Kathy’s house, where we’ve been staying. G* and A* have been very excited to see A- and play with her. Since they’re just 3 and 2 years old, they need a little supervision and guidance.

You can practically see the activity in A-‘s brain. There’s plenty of floor space and interesting things to play with. She’s a confident creeper now, quickly covering short distances on her hands and knees. She’s even getting better at taking small toys along with her. She freely goes from lying down to sitting up, which makes diaper changes more of a challenge. She’s starting to pull herself up to kneeling or standing with the help of furniture or nearby people’s legs. She’s been experimenting with different hand motions, too: patting Luke with the wooden turtle, waving at people, examining various things. I think she intentionally says “Baba” for W- now. She gradually adjusted her wake-up times to be more reasonable – no more 3:30 AM breakfasts. She has let Lolo and Lola hold her, and she has smiled and blown raspberries all around.

It’s so nice to spend time with family. All of us are here!

2016-11-20a-week-ending-2016-11-18-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h)
    • Build (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h)
  • Relationships (12.8h – 7%)
    • ☑ Confirm weight, height, meals
    • ☑ Check in
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.4h – 1%)
    • Drawing (0.8h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.5h)
    • Writing (0.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (12.8h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (96.6h – 57%)
    • Childcare (45.2h – 26% of total)
  • Sleep (38.7h – 23% – average of 5.5 per day) – thrown off by flight, no tracking

Weekly review: Week ending November 11, 2016

The switch back to Standard Time has so far been okay. It mostly means that we try to get our walks in earlier, and we have a bit more time in the late afternoon for night-type activities.

It’s been a tough week with lots of upset moments for A-. The chloral hydrate used for her ECG/EKG sedation took a while to kick in and she was already unhappy because of the pre-op exam, so that was about 45 minutes or so of full-scale crying. She bounced back all right, though.

It got unexpectedly brisk on our walk with Joy and J- through High Park, and A- probably got a bit too cold. She was very upset on the way home. Still, we’ve managed to make it out to the Junction Family Resource Centre and other neighbourhood stops a few times. We went further afield to buy gifts for the trip, and we also took her to Sick Kids for her cardio exam. But we’ve also cut short a few walks and errands due to fussing.

The week had its share of good moments, though. A- sequestered one of the gifts we were going to give her cousins, and is now the happy owner of her first Duplo set. She’s also played around with wiping her place at the table with a washcloth, which we enthusiastically encourage – and then she promptly stuffs the cloth in her mouth, because we’ve been getting her used to the routine of using a clean washcloth to wipe her gums after meals. Ah, well. Oh, and there was an hour or so of the most adorable little snores one night.

I tried sewing while A- was with me. A- was not particularly keen on the noise from the sewing machine, so all I could do was a quick little crinkle sheet from some scrap cloth and a potato chip bag. I have better luck cooking and baking in the morning, though, and have managed to try different recipes for pancakes and muffins over the past few days. Verdict: chocolate pancakes are too sweet, and banana walnut muffins are just right.

The cardiologist said A-‘s VSD is becoming increasingly restrictive, so less blood is flowing through the hole in her heart. Yay! They’re going to keep an eye on the muscle bundles in her right ventricle, following up in three months or so. Not out of the woods yet, but it’s good to have this kind of care.

de Quervain’s continues to be a bother, but A-‘s worth it. So far, I’ve been able to modify what I do in order to avoid pain, so it’s really more about paying extra attention. That’s not a bad thing, anyway.

Next week is going to be quite an adventure. Here goes!

2016-11-13a-week-ending-2016-11-11-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.8h – 1%)
    • Earn (0.8h – 44% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (1.0h – 55% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.9h – 2%)
    • ☑ Fix up RESP
    • ☑ Update passport info
    • ☑ Start packing
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.8h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.8h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • ☑ Confirm weight, height, meals
    • ☐ Check in
    • Sewing (0.0h)
      • ☑ Make crinkly sheet
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (7.8h – 4%)
  • Personal routines (18.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (76.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (53.7h – 31% – average of 7.7 per day)