Category Archives: weekly

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)

Weekly review: Week ending September 9, 2016

A-‘s steadily catching up in terms of weight, hooray! We aren’t doing anything special, just letting her feed herself. We’ve added kamut puffs and Toodle-Os to her snacking options, and we’ve been introducing her to more of our regular meals. She’s catching up with the 10th percentile curve, yay. We took her for another checkup at the cardiologist, who says she should be okay for travel. Yay!

We started with the Make the Connection program offered by Toronto Public Health. It looks promising: TTC tokens, a little bit of a program like the Ontario Early Years Centre drop-ins, and some discussion on parenting and building secure attachments. I really appreciate how Canada has programs like these.

A- is getting much better at sitting independently, inching her way forward when crawling, and exploring toys. I even managed to squeeze in some time to help W- make lots of pork and chive dumplings.

We moved all the upstairs furniture around so that someone could come in and stretch the carpet. That took care of the ripples and of the edge leading up to J-‘s new closet. One of the seams has opened up, though, so the person who did the carpet may have to come in and do that bit again.

It took a bit of bleary-eyed typing and clicking, but I got my business books reconciled up to the current month. That should make it easier to file corporate taxes. Whee!

I finally got around to taking advantage of the free Linode memory upgrade. Still have to think of better ways to use my server, though. It might be better to downgrade plans, considering I haven’t implemented that many additional uses since the last time I thought about this question (2014, I think, when Linode went SSD and double RAM?). On the other hand, it would be interesting to expand my capabilities, and maybe also get a proper Emacs setup on it and other useful things. Hmm, let’s start with owncloud, maybe…

2016-09-13c-week-ending-2016-09-09-journal-weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.0h – 1%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.0h – 33% of Business)
    • Build (1.9h – 63% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.4h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.9h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.7h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (1.2h)
      • ☑ Fix website
      • ☑ Fix weight display labels
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.4h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.1h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (75.9h – 45%)
    • Childcare (70.3h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (52.4h – 31% – average of 7.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 2, 2016

It’s been a week of seeing people. A- was somewhat fussy during dinner with W-‘s family. She might have been tired, overstimulated by the noisy Chinese restaurant, and a little intimidated by relatives wanting to pick her up. She preferred to stay with W- or me. Totally normal. Anyway, since this might be the usual stranger anxiety starting to develop (yay! W- is not a stranger!), I’ve been making an effort to take her to more activities at the Ontario Early Years Centre and the neighbourhood family resource centre. We finished the Peer Nutrition program, and we’ll check out the drop-ins that follow up on that program.

A- has been working on expanding her vocabulary. Recent addition: “Ba”. She’s also getting pretty good at sitting on her own, although I still stay close enough to catch her during those random topples.

The pediatrician is no longer that concerned about A-‘s weight gain, since she’s been growing faster. Enough to inch back over the 5th percentile curve, yay! In addition to nursing, she also self-feeds a wide variety of solids. She’s particularly fond of egg (breakfast), yogurt (evening snack), and raspberries (any time, especially with yogurt).

I finally got around to printing a photo of A- so that the family home visitor can include it in the laminated foot print memento.

A- has a passport now, whee! Got travel insurance that will probably cover things related to her heart, too. Next trip-related steps: sort out pet vaccines and boarding.

In preparation for possibly leaving my laptop behind on our trip, I’ve been experimenting with drawing my daily journal and thoughts on index cards instead of on my laptop. Drawing is relatively unfussy except for dealing with wet spots, and I feel more comfortable drawing on paper around A- than having my laptop out. Deskewing and tweaking the image is a bit fussy, although I can do some of that on my phone. I might need to use different-coloured pens instead of adding colour in post-processing. Still need to tweak my workflow. It would be neat to figure out something that I can pull off with mobile devices and SSH, but it’s also okay if I decide to stick with my digital index card workflow instead. Good to experiment, though.

Also moved my library video tracking script online, so I can check the availability of new releases from my phone while we’re out on a walk.

I’d like to see if I can help my consulting client with something new. Might need to shuffle around my discretionary time activities in order to make space for it, or adjust expectations if this is what we have to work with.

A- has been settling into a pretty regular routine. She wakes up around 9ish. Aside from nursing, we usually have breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, and an evening snack. We go out for a walk almost every day, and there’s usually some kind of activity too. She settles in bed at around 10pm, although she tends to nurse on and off until about 4 AM before settling into a longer sleep. She usually has 2-3 naps during the day, although sometimes it’s just low-power nursing mode.

I’ve been prioritizing daytime activities that are stimulating for A-, so we’ve been going to neighbourhood resource centres. I feel less comfortable working on my laptop while she’s awake, since it’s important to interact with her and help her learn. I’m somewhat more okay with setting her down on the floor while I tidy or do other chores, since I can narrate those without verbal interference and it contributes to the household. If W-‘s around, I’d rather spend time with both of them than go off to do my own thing. Drawing on paper might let me move daily journals to our after-dinner or before-bed play/reading session, because I can review the day out loud with A-. So my main computer time for writing, coding, or consulting tends to be between 1 AM to 3 AM. If I nap when she nurses/nap, that helps a little with energy and focus. I’ve been averaging 2 hours a week of consulting, which was enough to fill up the pipeline of stuff they wanted from me. The new thing I want to help with might be a bigger chunk of focus and energy, though, since it’s something I’m less familiar with. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.

Next week: cardiology, carpet-stretching, and lots of Toronto Public Health stuff: Make the Connection, the family home visitor, and a follow-up with the dietitian.

2016-09-07a Week ending 2016-09-02 -- index card #journal #weekly


Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.3h – 0%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.2h – 94% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 5% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.3h – 3%)
    • ☑ Decide on travel insurance
    • ☑ Get eye report from eye doctor
    • ☑ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
    • ☑ Check if hydro debit went through
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Print family photos
    • ☐ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.7h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Coding (0.4h)
      • ☑ Add movie script to web
      • ☑ Fix website
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.5h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (17.5h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (75.5h – 44%)
    • Childcare (69.1h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)