Category Archives: review

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)

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