Category Archives: weekly

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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


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


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)

Weekly review: Week ending October 7, 2016

It was a good week for getting things organized. I bought an organizer from IKEA, and I picked up lots of baby clothes hangers set out on the curb. Now A-‘s clothes are laid out KonMari-ishly in various compartments: whites, short sleeves, long sleeves, pants (divided into solids and prints), sweaters, dresses, and sleepers. The frequent-access stuff is in the organizer, and the less-frequent stuff is on hangers. The arrangement has survived a few days so far, which is a good sign. Might move the sweaters to drawers, though.

A- has a lot of hand-me-down clothes. I might not get through all of them before they’re outgrown. No worries! That just means I’ll be able to pass them along. We have neighbours down the street with a baby girl half a year younger than A-, and we gave them a large batch of clothes when we visited them this week.

I also sorted the craft materials and puzzles that I bought from the woman who closed her home daycare. I donated paint, markers, sand, ribbons, and felt Christmas trees to the family resource centre. I now have lots of stickers (both flat and foam), colored paper, ribbon pieces, foam beads, glass pebbles, paper bags, felt, and other handy materials for future rainy day fun and room decor. (Choking hazards will stay in the closet for a few years.) I may have to buy my own pipe cleaners and googly eyes, though. :)

W- finished J-‘s closet. Hooray! We moved her bed and desk back into her room, which means lots of floor space in A-‘s room. Time to start thinking of and setting up activity centres…

We remembered to spend some time outside while there’s still grass to be felt and herbs to be tasted. Despite a lack of planning and maintenance, we have a decent garden for exploration. A- nibbled on basil, tomatoes, strawberries, chives, sorrel, perilla, bok choy, peas, oregano, and mint. Next year, we’d like to reorganize the garden so that there’s open space in the middle, and maybe 2’ wide raised beds with toddler-friendly plants. In addition to the current assortment, maybe we can try radishes again – quick to grow and harvest.

A-‘s scleral shell popped out again. She fussed a lot when W- was trying to put it back in. It was hard to restrain her. Eventually W- got it in, and we soothed her. I reflected a bit on the differences between our parenting styles, and I think I’m getting better at appreciating the differences instead of worrying about being on the same page. I’m certainly glad W- is there to help with the tough parts.

I tried setting up a video chat with my mom so that she can play peek-a-boo with A- or explore other forms of interaction, but it didn’t work out. A- was boggled by the screen, and my mom’s Parkinson’s disease meant the image of her was shaking too much to focus on. I had to hold the tablet and fuss around with framing on my end, so I couldn’t do anything else. I’m not sure if we can work out something much better, considering the timezone differences and our schedules/preferences/values, so maybe we’ll just have to adapt to the way things are. Something to tinker with.

I attended the nutrition workshop’s first proper follow-up session. The talk was about organic versus conventional, and Toronto Public Health’s stance is that it’s really a personal choice – no strong health reasons for one or the other in Canada. We did a blind taste test between organic and conventional apples, grape tomatoes, and milk. I couldn’t identify any differences worth paying for, taste-wise. We may still get things like raspberries and brakes from the specialty food store despite the premium, because we like the quality and taste. (We’ve done those comparisons quite a few times!)

Much progress on my consulting project. I got the go-ahead to develop in the external sandbox, since I’d been running into technical issues internally. Once I set things up on my laptop with a forwarded port through my server, I was able to develop things quickly. Still having problems internally, but that’s probably a different kettle of fish.

Finally got to watch Captain America: Civil War, courtesy of the library and my script for checking our favourite branches to see if they have certain videos available. Yay!

2016-10-09a-week-ending-2016-10-08-weekly-journal-review output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (5.9h – 3%)
    • Earn (5.7h – 95% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.1h – 1% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.2h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (10.2h – 6%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.2h – 3%)
    • Drawing (4.5h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
      • ☑ Investigate Org Mode + Google Tasks
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.7h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (74.3h – 44%)
    • Childcare (55.2h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (51.6h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 30, 2016

The week was off to a rough start. A- was hard to settle to sleep on Saturday. W- spent some time bouncing her up and down in case she was antsy from being confined in the carrier most of the day, and that entertained her for a bit before she went to bed. But A- kept waking up crying throughout the night, which made her congested. I snuggled her and rocked her each time, sometimes sleeping on an incline to help with her breathing. We both got very little sleep. I tried looking up tips on the Internet, but I was too sleepy to read the information or feel confident about giving her painkillers. Once W- woke up, he gave her some infant Motrin. Then she finally settled down for a 3-hour nap, which meant I could sleep too. Sunday was mostly a low-power day. Fortunately, there was plenty of food in the fridge and freezer. Our sleep/eat routines were all thrown off, though. Oh well!

I picked up a cold somewhere along the way too. That combined with the chilly rain meant this was a mostly indoors low-energy sort of week. Such is life. Fortunately, there are lots of easy-to-make comfort-food meals involving chicken, which happened to be on sale this week. I managed to make quite a few fresh dinners: chicken noodle soup, arroz caldo, and so on.

I hit a roadblock on my consulting project, but I think I can figure out a way around it. Might be something about the way the server is set up… It’s hard to debug or explore when there’s not a lot of documentation, but I can think of a few things to try.

A- shared a bagel with W- by putting it in his mouth – yay, sharing! Lots of peekaboo on my end – she’s getting quite good at tugging the cloth away. And I think she’s started giving slobbery open-mouthed baby kisses, or at least that’s what I’m going to call this “grab your face and mash it into my tongue” thing.

I’ve been thinking about the kinds of toys I’d like to expose A- that I can’t find in the neighborhood resource centres or that I’d like to have at home so that she can develop long-term familiarity. I checked out the Children’s Pillage in the Village sale for musical instruments (especially non-electronic ones), a few simple wooden toys, and a couple of cloth books that she can flip through or mouth as much as she’d like. I also bought a laundry basket of crafting supplies and a bin of wooden puzzles from someone who was closing her home daycare.

The carpet in A-‘s room has been fixed. W- is almost done with J-‘s closet reno, which means we’ll be able to move some of J-‘s stuff out of A-‘s room soon. I organized A-‘s cold-weather clothes, and she’s got plenty of things to wear. Everything’s shaping up nicely.



Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.3h – 1%)
    • Earn (3.2h – 98% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☐ [#A] Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.0h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.4h – 2%)
    • ☑ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.4h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (15.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (77.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (71.0h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (62.4h – 37% – average of 8.9 per day)

Oookay, 71 hours of childcare, although that’s probably overstating it a little. Hmm. Actually, the numbers say it’s a little less of almost everything else (except for family time, which actually increased), and a lot more childcare. Comparison:

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.4 0.0 -0.4 0.0 -0.7
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Unpaid work 39.6 46.0 6.3 77.2 10.6
Unpaid work – Childcare 33.8 42.3 8.5 71.0 14.3
Discretionary – Social 3.4 1.8 -1.6 3.0 -2.7
Discretionary – Family 0.6 0.8 0.2 1.4 0.4
Sleep 38.0 37.2 -0.8 62.4 -1.4
Business – Connect 0.6 0.0 -0.6 0.0 -1.0
Business – Earn 2.8 1.9 -0.9 3.2 -1.5
Discretionary – Productive 3.6 3.2 -0.4 5.4 -0.7
Personal 10.9 9.1 -1.8 15.3 -3.0
  • We had colds, so we stayed home instead of going to OEYC or other activities. Less walking time and social time. Lots of nursing and night-time soothing, too.
  • W-‘s been focusing on the wardrobe and bookshelves, so his A- time is mostly when he takes breaks or wraps up for the night. Not as much consulting time as last week.
  • Hmm, might be personal routines/childcare blending. I’ve been tracking many of our meals as childcare (since I’m feeding her too) instead of personal care. Might start tracking some of that personal care time again, since I can usually focus on my meal (and even catch up with W-) for a good fifteen minutes or so.

I still feel okay about my time for drawing and consulting, even if I end up pushing them into the wee hours of the morning. I’ve gotten better at writing on my phone, although I still need computer time for reviews. I managed to squeeze in some reading this week, too. So it doesn’t feel particularly crunch-time-ish, but I should keep an eye on that balance to make sure things stay okay. It’s all good.

Weekly review: Week ending September 23, 2016

We started the weekend with lots of cooking. A- played by herself while W- and I prepped, cooked, and washed up. It was almost like having both of us at normal productivity, wow! I’d like to get back into the swing of cooking for the week ahead. It makes weekdays a lot easier, and I feel good about getting all of that prep work done.

The CNIB caseworker conducted a detailed assessment of A-‘s vision, using blinking toys and other tools to check her field of vision and her ability to notice, track, and reach for things. The vision in A-‘s right eye appears to be perfectly fine, and she’s learned to compensate for her limited field of vision by turning her head. The case worker will send us her discharge notes since she probably doesn’t need CNIB’s help at the moment. We can ask for her to be reassessed if it looks like she needs help with things like crawling, walking, or navigating. The school board will conduct its own assessment when she’s ready for school. In the meantime, the case worker suggested keeping an eye out for signs like A- cutting corners or bumping into things. If we need to help A- tell the difference between door frames, floors, and walls, we can use reflective tape to highlight the edges and increase contrast.

One of the things the CNIB caseworker checked was if A- could roll over both ways. A- hadn’t quite gotten the hang of rolling to her left before, but the glowing toy was irresistible, so she figured it out and looked very pleased with herself. Now she rolls and rolls on the bed, which is on the floor and against the wall for precisely this situation. Roll, roll, roll. She spent some time figuring out why the wall stopped her from rolling further, and testing if it would keep doing that even if she rolled away. I think she’s starting to make her peace with it.

This week’s Make the Connection program session focused on how to help babies feel safe and loved, even when they’re fussy or afraid. Mirroring and validating their emotions, soothing or distracting them, and taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of them… So far, so good.

I traded the glass bottles that A- hardly used for two bags of baby clothes. We’ll see if those work out! This bartering thing looks promising, especially for things that people value differently.

After crunching the numbers, I submitted this year’s health expenses to my private health spending plan provider. They’ve added an online submission process. Yay not having to print and mail receipts! This year has been pretty good, although I’d still like to make it out to the dentist if I get a chance. It would be really neat if I can squeeze in a massage or two as well. A- might be okay with it, if W- is around. I should just go and book things. Maybe after J-‘s closet is finished…

Lots of consulting as I pick up the ball I dropped. Squeezing it into the early morning hours, and sometimes during the day with W-‘s help.

W- has made great progress on assembling J-‘s new wardrobe from Ikea. He’s also been working on custom shelves to fill in the rest of that wall. Everything looks neat. Whee!

2016-09-23b-week-ending-2016-09-23-weekly-journal output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.5h – 3%)
    • Earn (4.7h – 73% of Business)
    • Build (0.7h – 11% of Business)
      • ☑ Round up the receipts for PHSP
    • Connect (1.0h – 15% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.7h – 3%)
    • ☑ Check out follow-up session
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.1h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.9h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Fix my config
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.3h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (66.6h – 39%)
    • Childcare (56.8h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (63.9h – 38% – average of 9.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 16, 2016

Our family home visitor has been helping us with activities leading towards A-‘s 9-month developmental milestones. This week, we focused on looking for hidden objects. We showed A- a toy, then covered it with a piece of cloth. After a few tries of showing and hiding the cloth, she got the hang of pulling the cloth off to reveal the object. I think she’s even starting to pull covers towards objects so that we can play this game of hiding and showing. :) We also watched a video on infant massage – plenty of things for us to try. Next: imitating facial expressions.

I’m learning that a great way to make the most of my time is to stay with A- when she naps, since that helps her sleep longer. Depending on whether she’s nursing or not, I might nap as well, do things on my phone, draw index cards, or work on my computer. I’ve blitzed through quite a few e-books on my phone, and I’ve figured out passable ways to review my sketches, capture quick thoughts, and even do a little system administration. I still haven’t sorted out my writing or video editing workflows, but that will come in time.

Slowly getting back to normal life. A- patiently entertained herself as I helped W- make a ton of dumplings. By golly! An actual, sit-down, get-your-fingers-dirty, triple batch of pork and chives dumpling making session. On Friday, W- splurged on a nice 2″ New York strip to celebrate progress on J-‘s closet renovation. A- enjoyed some of it too, using the beginnings of a pincer grasp to take the pieces I dangled in front of her.

Social stuff: I made it to the potluck picnic hosted by our midwives, yay! It was fun catching up with a couple of other folks from the prenatal classes we attended. The lemon curd squares I brought were a little overcooked (life with a baby), but still okay – W- helped me fix it. More practice needed. I also made it to the follow-ups for the peer nutrition workshop. Due to the unexpected closure of the venue, I hung out in the park with a couple of other new moms. On the way home, I discovered that chugging almost a litre of milk (didn’t want to waste it and no one else seemed to have any cups for sharing) was not a good idea. W- to the rescue again!

Slowly improving my process for drawing index cards. A head lamp helps me avoid eye fatigue when I’m drawing in the dark next to a sleeping A-. Taking the pictures on my phone before passing them through ClearScanner seems to reduce the number of crashes. Still not as pretty as the index cards I draw on my computer, but the important thing is they get drawn. It’s a good thing I’m sorting out this workflow now, actually. A-‘s becoming more mobile, so it’s time to start babyproofing her room. Can’t leave the power adapter and the laptop by the bed any more. =)

Also, I checked out the Toronto Public Library’s book sale for child development books for me and board books for A-. No such luck, but oh well. Now going through the early childhood education books available at the library. Whee!

Blog posts


2016-09-17g-week-ending-2016-09-16-weekly-journal output

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.5h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.5h)
  • Relationships (4.1h – 2%)
    • ☑ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.5h – 6%)
    • Drawing (8.9h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (0.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.9h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (72.6h – 43%)
    • Childcare (57.1h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (55.6h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)