Category Archives: review

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)

Monthly review: October 2016

It’s delightful watching A- figure out movement. She’s gotten more intentional with her hands: playing peek-a-boo by holding something up near her head, plucking the strings of my ukulele, exploring leaves (and trying to eat them!), grabbing the finger food that she likes.She’s a pretty active crawler now, and she can get quite fast when she’s going for the cats. She’s also been working on creeping, getting her knees under her and lifting her tummy off the ground. She mostly still inchworms – lifts herself up, drops down to crawl one span, and then lifts herself up again – but she has almost figured out creeping all the way.

There’s plenty of room for her to crawl around now that W- has finished J-‘s closet. We moved J-‘s stuff back in her room, and now A- has floor and closet space again! I organized A-‘s clothes and toys by type, and the system has been holding up well so far.

We’ve been spending time outdoors to take advantage of the last few warm and sunny days of the year. The backyard has been a great place to explore the tastes and textures of the herbs in our garden. We’ve also walked to quite a few parks and libraries close by. The socks don’t quite cover her legs when her pants ride up, so I made her a pair of leg warmers and a hat from a sweater. We lost one of the leg warmers already, but that’s okay, I’ll just have to make more. Gotta figure out cool weather walking gear!

A-‘s weight gain has slowed down a bit, but it’s still within normal range, so maybe last month’s rapid gains were part of a catch-up growth spurt. The pediatrician isn’t worried, so neither are we.

Probably due to all that growth, A-‘s prosthetic eye has been popping out more often. We’ll see the ocularist after our trip. In the meantime, we’ll just have to deal. She gets upset when we restrain her to put it back in, but recovers okay after W- manages to reinsert the shell. I still worry from time to time that we might traumatize her or cause her to distrust us, but oh well, this is our life.

Lots of sleep disruption too, but that’s also pretty normal for this age. We go to bed late and wake up late, but there’s still plenty of time in the afternoon for social stuff. I helped out Jen and Ewan, met Justin and Joy, spent Thanksgiving with W-‘s family, checked out meetups for Junction parents and Toronto parent educators, finished the Make the Connection program, picked up lots of vegetables because of the Peer Nutrition program (including five bunches of kale!), and checked out various baby activities. I made a pirate hat and vest for A- and I cobbled together a quick pirate costume for myself based on stuff in my closet and a DIY felt eyepatch, and we handed out Halloween candy.

Big step: I finally made it out to the dentist after two years of being away! I took the opportunity to find a new dentist, too, one who had good reviews for child dental care as well. W- took care of A- while I went for cleaning and a new patient exam. I needed two fillings, which is not a bad result for all that time. Level up!

Level up in my consulting project, too. Got past a couple of technical roadblocks with some help, and now the add-on should be ready for other people to tinker with it.

Busy month. W-‘s been in constant motion, too: working on the porch, upgrading the workshop, investing in tools and skills… Whee!

2016-11-04a-october-2016-monthly-journal-review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Occasionally remembered to track stuff as more specific categories instead of childcare (ex: breakfasts, cooking), even if I had A- with me. Also managed to fit in a little time for consulting, yay!

Category Last month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Personal 11.3 13.1 1.7 22.7 2.9
Discretionary – Social 2.2 3.4 1.3 6.0 2.2
Business – Earn 1.6 2.8 1.2 4.8 1.9
Discretionary – Family 1.1 1.9 0.8 3.3 1.3
Discretionary – Play 0.9 0.8 -0.1 1.4 -0.2
Business – Connect 0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.1 -0.2
Business – Build 0.4 0.1 -0.2 0.2 -0.4
Unpaid work 43.3 42.8 -0.5 74.3 -0.8
Discretionary – Productive 4.5 3.1 -1.3 5.4 -2.2
Sleep 34.6 31.9 -2.7 55.4 -4.5
Unpaid work – Childcare 38.1 35.1 -2.9 61.0 -4.9

Weekly review: Week ending November 4, 2016

It was A-‘s first Halloween. I made her a pirate hat with embroidered skull and crossbones, and a vest too. I cobbled together my own quick pirate costume from stuff in my closet, and I made a quick eye patch. Yay! We handed out candy and then took a quick walk around the neighbourhood.

I took A- to the More than Child’s Play centre that’s in the same community centre as the Peer Nutrition support site. It’s a large, clean, well-lit space. She had fun playing with the xylophone. She’s also been somewhat interested in bead mazes, although she hasn’t quite gotten the hang of them yet.

A- has been working on her motor control. She’s managed to gently pet the cat a few times, and has gotten quite adept at dropping and tossing small objects. She can climb up from the carpet to the crib mattress, and from there, to the twin mattress. She’s making good progress toward the 9-month milestones, yay!

de Quervain’s tenosynovitis now affects both of my hands enough for me to have to be careful during everyday activities. I might need to come up with a different plan for drawing and writing, focusing more on gross motor movements.

Other small updates: It was great going for a walk through High Park with Quinn and Richard. Baking season definitely in full swing. Potato rosemary bread, etc. Pediatrician thinks A- is doing okay, whew. Ready for travel.

Consulting project: figured out how to build that add-on they were asking for, hooray! Also, scraped data from another site for a friend.

Taking it easy.

2016-11-09a-week-ending-2016-11-04-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.3h – 3%)
    • Earn (3.7h – 58% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (1.1h – 16% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Write shareholder’s resolutions
    • Connect (1.6h – 25% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.6h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.0h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (0.0h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.6h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (20.5h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (76.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (64.4h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (56.3h – 33% – average of 8.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending October 28, 2016

More sleep disruptions for A-, but W- helped make the time more manageable. I’ve been working on getting her used to being set down to sleep, but I don’t think we’ll get the hang of it before the trip. Ah well! We can deal with fussiness and tough times as long as we keep things safe.

It’s amusing presenting A- with a variety of finger food and noting her preferences. At one meal, she ate all the cucumber sticks before moving on to beets and then cheese, even though the cucumber sticks required her to reach past the other items.

So far so good with the weight gain. Her most recent weight was 7.002 kg, gaining roughly +81g/week. That’s within the normal range, and she continues to be just under the 15th percentile curve. She’s been crawling around a lot, so there’s definitely been an increase in calorie expenditure. I guess she’s been keeping up with intake too. Sometimes I get into a rut in terms of her meals, defaulting to cereal and mushrooms or cheese or whatever’s available. It would probably be good to sit down and plan more baby-friendly meals this week, since she can’t have the curry I just made. (The boxed Japanese curry we like has honey in it.)

Went on plenty of walks despite the cool weather. To help keep A- cozy, I sewed a pair of baby leg warmers and a hat from a sweater. We’ve already lost one of the leg warmers, but that’s okay, I can make more. :) They work pretty well, when they can stay on. I also embroidered skull and crossbones on the felt pirate hat I made for A-‘s Halloween costume. I’m glad I did. The white thread was much more visible than the chalk outline I started with.

We finished the Make the Connection course delivered by Toronto Public Health. I didn’t get any photos sorted out for the album. Hard to get interaction shots. Might make more of an effort to get decent lighting and framing so that GoPro videos are useful. If not, no worries.

I’ve been practising Brahms’ Lullaby and I’m a Little Teapot on the ukulele, and I can mostly finger-pick them at a decent tempo. I can only get so far before A- wants a turn at plucking the strings, which is totally cool because it’s for her anyway. :)

Figured out database persistence for my consulting project, and did a quick analysis of top searches as well. Got my business taxes ready, too. Just have to review and submit the numbers. I might do that during our trip.

Need to figure out a sustainable rhythm for discretionary time…

2016-10-31a-week-ending-2016-10-28-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (10.2h – 6%)
    • Earn (9.3h – 90% of Business)
      • ☑ Analyze phrases
      • ☑ Add error handling
      • ☑ Sort out persistence
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.8h – 8% of Business)
      • ☐ Write shareholder’s resolutions
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.1h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.1h – 1%)
    • ☑ Review insurance information
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.2h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.1h)
    • Emacs (0.2h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
      • ☑ Check out Samba share
    • Sewing (0.8h)
      • ☑ Make pirate hat
    • Writing (0.0h)
    • ☑ Sketch garden
    • ☑ Update Kiva
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (26.1h – 15%)
  • Unpaid work (72.5h – 43%)
    • Childcare (68.5h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (51.8h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending October 21, 2016

We took advantage of an unexpectedly warm, sunny day this week and had some outside time in the backyard, nibbling on the last of the strawberries in the garden. We also went on a few walks to neighbourhood parks. Each park has its own character and mix of resources. I wonder where I can find notes on all the parks in the city. May be time to make our own little travel journal.

Anyway, with the weather getting cooler, I’ve been thinking about how to keep A- warm and comfy so that we can continue having lots of outside time. The crew socks are too short to cover the exposed part of her legs when she’s in the carrier. I’m trying out these leg warmers that I made from sweater sleeves, but they won’t stay on. Maybe I’ll sew a tighter band? I’m leaning towards making an elasticized carrier cozy out of fleece or flannel, and another one with PUL if the pattern works out. I made a felt pirate hat for her Halloween costume, too. Let’s see what the weather is like.

A- has been working very hard on getting her knees under her hips in preparation for creeping. Occasionally she tries straightening her legs, too. We’ll see if she takes on creeping or bear-walking first. Anyway, she’s been so focused on mobility that nursing and sleeping have been disrupted, but I’m sure things will settle down eventually.

A- has also been developing more expressive sounds. She figured out how to click her tongue this week. She’s been experimenting with her range, too. We’re getting pretty good at ignoring the screeching. She also makes this adorable slow “haaa?” sound with an upturn at the end, which tends to presage some grabbing and pinching.

We’ve been playing the ukulele every day. She often plucks or strums the strings instead of grabbing them like she used to. Getting there! For my part, I’m slowly getting the hang of finger-picking Paruparong Bukid. Gotta build that muscle memory.

Lots of social things this week. I dropped by La Leche League to ask about night nursing tips, picked up vegetables at the peer nutrition follow-up, made it to Make the Connection despite sleeping in, and picked Jen and Chris’ brains regarding alternative ways of raising kids. It’s nice to have mentors who have explored interesting paths.

I finally made it out to the dentist, woohoo! W- entertained A- in the waiting room so that he could take her to me if she started to melt down, but we didn’t need to hit the emergency button. My teeth are in decent shape despite the two-year gap in dental attention, although I’ll need two fillings done soon. It’s nice to be able to book personal care appointments again.

We donated a whole bunch of things, and now the living room feels more spacious. I’m glad we can let go of things knowing that it’s usually easy to replace stuff by buying second-hand or online.

W- inspired me to look into resurrecting gadgets, though. There’s that TF700T I didn’t get to use as much as I’d hoped, since the tablet was underpowered for its resolution. I wonder if I can turn it into a video chat station and information console.

Less sleep this week, including an afternoon of zombie-ing around because I stayed up late helping my clients with their reporting needs. W- took care of A- while I slept. Yay!

This week: the last session for Make the Connection (so I should finish that photo book!), a home visit, and maybe some more work on my consulting project. Depending on how sleep goes, we might try to make it out to other drop-ins to see what might be worth taking transit to once winter sets in.

2016-10-23a-week-ending-2016-10-21-weekly-journal-review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.2h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.2h – 99% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.4h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.7h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.4h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Coding (0.9h)
      • ☑ Disable anonymous feedback for QA
    • Sewing (0.8h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.7h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (22.8h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (74.6h – 44%)
    • Childcare (56.6h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (51.6h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending October 14, 2016

While playing with the stack of flannel wipes, A- accidentally discovered how to play peek-a-boo by holding up a piece of cloth. It turns out that baby arms are adorably stubby and just right for holding up cloth to baby faces. Huh. How about that? Naturally, we encouraged this cuteness with lots of enthusiasm. A- has also taken to offering us some of her food by holding it up in the general direction of our mouths, and looking at us. At least I think that’s what she’s doing, since she seems to wait for us to mouth whatever it is she’s holding. Sometimes she does the same gesture without any food in her hand. I’m not quite sure what to make of that, but I smile at her anyway. She was very amused by gravity demonstrations. Dropping objects in front of her often elicited laughs, and she looked at both the starting positions and ending positions.

I’ve been doing pretty well with the reintegration of the ukulele into our daily routines. I had put it aside for a while because I was concerned about aggravating de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, but the movements for chords and finger-picking don’t seem to mess with that part of my wrist. Ukulele time is turning out to be quite multipurpose. It exposes her to music, motivates gross motor control as she crawls toward me, lets her experiment with fine motor control as she tries to strum the strings, and familiarizes her with nursery rhymes. For my part, it’s a good exercise for concentration, memory, and dexterity. I’ve made a list of songs to study, which should help structure the time a bit better.

Her weight gain has slowed down a lot, although it’s still within the normal range. 6.844 kg at 7 months (almost 8), so she’s still under the 15th percentile curve. We haven’t really changed anything about our feeding (aside from possibly having more social occasions away from our own kitchen table) and she’s active and looks well-nourished, so this might just be her catch-up weight gain tapering off. I’ll let the pediatrician know, and I’ll take her for another weight check in two weeks.

Lots of social things this week. We checked out the High Park Nature Centre, which might be an interesting resource for nature education and group activities. I’m not sure A- will get much out of the programs at this stage, but maybe when she’s toddling about curiously. We celebrated Thanksgiving and M-‘s birthday with W-‘s family. A- actually let a few people hold her, although she was still intimidated by W-‘s parents. W- packed a pretty bento of tamagoyaki, broccoli, carrots, raspberries, and yogurt, which A- enjoyed in addition to whatever she could steal off my plate. Morgan and Cathy gave us books and tips. Yay! A couple of my friends were dealing with a family emergency, so I spent some time with them to help with their baby and sort out food. We got them pizza, and then we made chicken noodle soup. Home-cooked food is my sanity-restoring go-to.

A few of the parents at Friday’s baby time session at the library told me about a Junction parents’ meetup at a nearby bar, so I joined them for lunch. I also checked out the Toronto Association of Parent Educators’ get-together on Tuesday at Wallace Emerson. It got me thinking about what I’m looking for in terms of socialization, and how I can go about cultivating those friendships. I like being able to see familiar faces at these parent-and-baby events. It makes conversations easier, and I pick up ideas and tips I might not have thought of looking for. I also like how Jen and Ewan and I can share resources and experiences. The landscape will probably change once we get to A-‘s second year, since most parents will be back at work and A- will be ready for more activities. We’ll see how things work out.

I made good progress on my consulting project, but I’m now stymied by something I can’t fiddle with myself. I’ve asked the other technical folks for help, since I don’t have the access or experience to do that part efficiently. In the meantime, I can work on front-end error handling, and then I can look around for other interesting things to work on.

Cold nights mean wrapping up our garden for the year, and baking season has definitely started. We’ve been trying out different socks and jackets for A-, and I plan to make her leg warmers too. We’ve been making steady progress through the box of vegetables I received as part of the nutrition workshop follow-up program. I made a plum tart and brought it to Thanksgiving dinner, baked one of the squashes, peeled and cut all the potatoes, boiled half of the beets, and munched my way through most of the apples. W- turned all the kale into a warm salad. There’s still a little lettuce left, half of the beets, two tomatoes, and two cucumbers. We’re doing much better at this random-box-of-vegetables thing than I did when I was in grad school or when we signed up for a community-supported agriculture program a few years ago. Yay experience!

2016-10-15a-week-ending-2016-10-14-weekly-journal output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.6h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 99% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (17.6h – 10%)
    • ☑ Set up savings account for A-
    • ☑ Message Jen and Chris about blocks
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.6h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.2h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.2h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.3h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.1h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (65.2h – 38%)
    • Childcare (55.2h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (55.6h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)