Category Archives: review

Monthly review: June 2020


2020-07-02 June 2020 #monthly #review.png

  • I made a font based on my handwriting using FontForge, Python, Org Mode, and Medibang Paint.
  • I drew with crayons and with my tablet. I tweaked my Krita workflow by remapping buttons. I sketched an overview of the Ontario Kindergarten 2016 curriculum.
  • I made my journal more visual, and I updated my Emacs configuration.
  • A- learned how to ride a pedal bike! She also worked on learning how to type with all fingers. We built lots of LEGO sets together by using the bricks we already had, and A- started to build the habit of tidying up. She liked listening to me talk in Tagalog. We worked on play skills and making sure both of us have fun. She played with Khan Academy Kids and Scratch Jr on the tablet, and she encouraged me to consult while she did so. She pretended to be a baby yeti and a plant. We spent some time browsing through Childcraft and the children’s dictionary.

Next month, I want to get better at taking advantage of the space created by screentime and independent play, maybe by preparing for kindergarten.

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Productive 5.3 9.6 4.2 15.5 7.1
A- 48.8 51.7 2.9 84.1 4.8
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Family 0.4 0.4 0.0 0.7 0.0
Business 1.3 1.2 -0.1 1.9 -0.2
Personal 4.9 3.8 -1.1 6.2 -1.9
Discretionary – Play 1.3 0.0 -1.3 0.0 -2.2
Unpaid work 5.1 3.0 -2.1 4.9 -3.5
Sleep 32.8 30.3 -2.4 49.3 -4.1

Weekly review: Week ending June 26, 2020

On reflection, I’d like to get back to a weekly review. A month is too long. A week is just about the right size for me to think about things. I’ve been able to fit 2-3 hours of discretionary time after A-‘s bedtime, which is great for making progress on all these things I’ve been putting off. For A-‘s part, I’d like to practise pedagogical documentation by picking just a few moments and reflecting more deeply on them.

Journal: I added draft images (automatically copied from my phone camera via Syncthing) so that I can use them to prompt my diary entries without worrying about cluttering up my thumbnail directory with images I haven’t reviewed. I also tweaked the views so that it’s easier to look at images while adding entries or browsing around.

Education: I attended an EarlyON kindergarten Q&A session while W- played with A-. It was reassuring hearing about how to prepare A- for more independence and how schools might adapt. It looks like online learning for kindergarten right now is more of a list of activity ideas, but if I look for parent education or teacher education resources, I think that might be awesome.

I sketched an overview of thirty-one expectations in the Ontario Kindergarten 2016 curriculum (KP). I then traced it in Inkscape based on a brightness cut-off and reorganized it onto a letter-sized page. For fun, I resized it to an index card and retyped the text using my font. After printing with evince instead of Inkscape, I got it to print the index card. Whee!

I tend to keep anecdotal notes in my journal, focusing on what happened. To raise these to the level of pedagogical documentation, I can start reflecting on the thinking behind the actions and what she might want to explore next.

A-: A- is now pretty comfortable on a pedal bike on the sidewalk and in parking lots. Biking is becoming one of her favourite activities. She says “Too much sitting around!” and asks to go biking. (KP: 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3) She can start, stop, pedal, balance, and turn, all without training wheels. She’s good at looking ahead, slowing down, and pulling to the side in order to keep the right distance from other people on the sidewalk. She can even talk while biking figure-eights around us. We still stay close to her to help her bike safely, of course. She wants to know when it will be okay for me to ride my bike while she rides her bike. We won’t get there for a while, but someday! Pretty cool, considering she first got on a pedal bike on June 6. Three weeks!

A- made the connection between my work = earning money = sharing some of that money with her = being able to buy more LEGO sets with her allowance. She asked me to work while she played with LEGO and with the tablet. She spent some time checking out Khan Academy Kids. When I finished the task I wanted to do, I said that I was ready to play with her again. She said it was okay if I worked a little more. I think this might be a good way for her to practise being independent. When she feels ready to play on her own, she can suggest that I do some consulting. There’s always something to do, and she can see me having fun solving problems. Then we can wrap up when she wants to reconnect. (KP 2.1, 2.3, 8.4, 8.5, 20.4)

A- is keenly aware of her progress towards her savings goal, especially with the graph we made. (KP 19.2) She’s been patiently waiting for it for weeks. Sometimes she chooses to spend on other things (Pocky, other LEGO sets), and sometimes she chooses to delay gratification and save for the set.

In Khan Academy Kids, she found it easy to solve the puzzles for 4-year-olds: letters, sounds, colours, shapes, numbers, ordinals, …. Puzzles with moving parts were sometimes a little rattling for her, so that might be good for her to practice. I wonder if it has something to do with the form of the puzzle, too. She liked the bubble-popping one and did well with that, but the balloon-dragging one ended up with her just trying everything. (KP 11.8, 17, 20) I switched my account to a teacher account so that I can see her progress. Khan Academy Kids doesn’t have an API for exporting the data, so I’ll keep track of it in a table.

I’m curious about linking my journal entries to curriculum expectations. Maybe tags can help. I wonder how I can get better at thinking with the different frames described in that kindergarten curriculum document, too. Lots of fun things to learn about!

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work 1.5 4.4 3.0 7.5 5.0
Business 1.1 2.5 1.4 4.2 2.4
Discretionary – Productive 8.4 8.8 0.4 14.8 0.8
Personal 3.8 4.2 0.4 7.0 0.6
Discretionary – Family 0.3 0.6 0.3 1.0 0.5
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Sleep 32.4 30.1 -2.2 50.6 -3.8
A- 52.6 49.4 -3.3 82.9 -5.5

Monthly review: May 2020

I’ve missed reviewing my journal entries. My weekly and monthly reviews had gotten a little unwieldy because my daily journal entries captured so many of A-‘s adventures.

  • Household
    • I experimented with using Grocy to track our pantry inventory, and I tried to modify the source code to make it easier to get the views I wanted. We decided to just keep things untracked, since we get through stuff in a reasonable time.
    • I set up a Tasker profile to lock the screen after seven minutes of watching videos, since I didn’t like fighting A- about it.
    • W-‘s takoyaki pan arrived. He made shrimp balls, and we enjoyed eating them.
    • W- took apart the garden boxes near the shed. He built another one near the bottom of the dock stairs, and he moved the mint closer to the house. We added another container for the bitter melon, and we took off the chicken wire and added pea supports.
    • W- dug a trench around the shed and started stapling wire mesh around it.
    • We experimented with making ice cream cones and cups.
    • W- practised cooking outside with the butane stove. We tried baking bread outside too, since the toaster oven is portable.
    • I wore a mask and picked up my business mail. It was the first time I’d been out for a long walk in a couple of months.
  • Education
    • A- finished the online kindergarten readiness program.
    • I printed out the ELECT framework and updated my kindergarten readiness checklist. I think this will help me focus on specific areas and take notes. I also reflected on learning how to have fun with A-. I started reading through the kindergarten curriculum expectations. It has a lot of tips on how to respond, extend, and challenge kids while playing.
    • W- moved the printer upstairs to accommodate all our printing. I started printing worksheets for A-, since she sometimes asked for them. In addition to the worksheets I downloaded, I also created a bunch of worksheets about chess, taho, and other interests.
    • A- carefully completed a colour-by-number worksheet that had eight colours. She sometimes coloured outlines slowly so that she could scribble inside them faster. She tried to keep most of her crayon marks within the lines. It was pretty amazing.
    • A- breezed through almost 30 Christmas-related worksheets, asking for more. Towards the end, she developed the routine of doing two thumbs up after completing a sheet. She grinned and asked, “What’s my reward?” I said, “That feeling of being proud. And more challenges, if you want them.” She asked for another sheet. I think we had that exchange four or five times.
  • Tech:
    • I started making a font of my handwriting using FontForge. I wrote a Python script to generate a font template, figured out how to compile autotrace against GraphicsMagick instead of ImageMagick, and experimented with class-based kerning.
    • Well, that was really exciting. I upgraded to Focal (Ubuntu 20.04) from Bionic (18.04), broke my server config in half a dozen places, and stayed up late to fix most of the pieces (I think). And I even ended up dockerizing Quantified Awesome (although the app directory is still mounted), since Passenger was getting annoying.
    • I set up a Docker container for developing Quantified Awesome, and I managed to initialize my database and log in. Whee! Next step: remember how tests work…

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 45.1 48.8 3.8 84.8 6.4
Discretionary – Productive 4.1 5.3 1.2 9.3 2.1
Sleep 32.2 32.8 0.6 56.9 1.0
Unpaid work 5.2 5.1 -0.1 8.9 -0.1
Business 1.4 1.3 -0.1 2.3 -0.2
Discretionary – Social 0.3 0.0 -0.3 0.0 -0.5
Discretionary – Family 1.4 0.4 -1.0 0.7 -1.6
Personal 5.9 4.9 -1.0 8.5 -1.7
Discretionary – Play 4.5 1.3 -3.2 2.3 -5.4

Monthly review: April 2020

  • Lots of work on my web-based journal. I added IDs, edit in place, and a dark mode. I also reviewed my journal entries going back to 2018-10, creating monthly summaries and putting them back in my web-based journal. and I updated my code to hyperlink the icons to the entries for easier editing.
  • I fixed my email setup.
  • I sewed a mask for A-.
  • I took our sourdough starter out of the freezer and started baking with it again.

Blog posts

Sketches

Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Play 1.6 4.5 2.9 7.3 4.8
Unpaid work 2.8 5.2 2.4 8.4 4.0
Personal 4.5 5.9 1.4 9.6 2.4
Discretionary – Productive 2.9 4.1 1.2 6.7 2.0
Business 0.8 1.4 0.6 2.4 1.0
Discretionary – Family 1.0 1.4 0.3 2.2 0.6
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.5
A- 48.5 45.1 -3.4 73.3 -5.8
Sleep 37.9 32.2 -5.7 52.4 -9.6

Monthly review: March 2020

  • I rated photos and figured out where rating data is stored in darktable’s sqlite database (images table, mask field & 7).
  • I sewed more cloth masks just in case.
  • I helped my mom transfer emergency assistance funds.

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 34.7 37.9 3.1 67.9 5.3
Discretionary – Play 0.1 1.6 1.5 2.9 2.6
A- 47.5 48.5 1.0 87.0 1.7
Discretionary – Family 0.8 1.0 0.2 1.8 0.4
Discretionary – Social 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0 -0.1
Personal 4.6 4.5 -0.1 8.1 -0.1
Business 1.7 0.8 -0.9 1.5 -1.5
Discretionary – Productive 4.5 2.9 -1.7 5.2 -2.8
Unpaid work 6.0 2.8 -3.2 4.9 -5.4

Weekly review: Week ending January 24, 2020

  • Kaizen
    • We picked up lots of groceries before the snow piled up. We’re working on getting better at planning ahead and trying different recipes.
    • W- helped me notice that I was cautioning A- too much. I’d like to be more playful and supportive, and it’s great to have his help.
    • I got 8.5×14 premium paper so that I can see what it’s like to print our little books on that, especially when it comes to illustrations and colour photos. I think I’d rather get better at typesetting and printing little books than be limited to the formats that that print-on-demand publishers support.
    • We got a new sled and replacement gloves from Canadian Tire. A- really wanted a long blue sled, but we were firm about getting one that would be easy for both of us to handle. Anyway, her yellow sled is much easier to pull through the snow.
    • I ordered Wigwam Ultra Cool Lite socks from Mark’s, since my old cotton socks are worn out.
    • I started setting up the tablet for reading PDFs and reviewing photos.
    • I practised making balloon flowers. Also, after looking up tips, I decided to just keep inflating with a pump instead of trying to figure out how to inflate them by mouth. Eye protection might be a good idea for A- too…
  • Us
    • A- and I chatted with my mom, Kathy, A*, and G*. We decided to wait until everything is clear in terms of physical therapy, ashfall, and safety modifications before booking, even if it means paying more for tickets.
    • I used exiftool to fix the dates of the pictures that W- had taken, since A- had changed the date on his phone in order to advance time in a game.
    • I played around with indexing entries in LaTeX, and I added a summary for March.
    • I chatted with another parent about stainless steel lunchboxes after gymnastics class. It looks like we picked a good kind, as they’ve lasted her quite a while.
    • W- worked from home today. He offered me an opportunity to nap while he and A- had lunch. That nap helped a lot!
    • I summarized April.
    • I filed my corporation’s tax slips.
  • Gross motor
    • We played the “Never Let the Balloon Sink” game. It’s easier when there’s a string attached to the balloon.
    • A- balanced a little better on the balance beam, remembering to stretch her arms out. I also saw her push herself into a forward roll using her feet, taking advantage of the bounciness of the ramp.
  • Sensory
    • We had fun sledding before heading on our errands. A- really liked it, and W- and I had a few turns too. It was great to see so many families out enjoying the snow.
    • A- wanted to go sledding again. After we dropped off our purchases, we went to the park and she tried out her new sled.
    • We went sledding after music class. A- got better at climbing up the hill while pulling the sled, although she accidentally let it go a few times. She also figured out how to nudge herself forward, so now she can do it all by herself! She tried sledding on her tummy and she tried sledding backwards. She also had fun sliding down the slides and checking out the snow fort that someone else had hollowed out of a giant snowball.
    • A- wanted to go sledding before gymnastics class, so we did.
    • After the drop-in centre closed for the day, I checked with A- if she was okay with sharing her sled. She agreed, so I invited H- and M- (and parents, of course) to go sledding with us. The kids did a decent job taking turns with the sled, and often agreed to all pile in together. It turned out that we can fit three kids on that sled. The kids also had fun rolling down the hill and sliding down the hill. Winter is pretty great!
  • Language
    • W- and A- were joking about pirate names. A- picked “Baby White Tooth,” while W- was “Puffer.”
    • “Bathurst,” A- said, reading the subway sign. “Did you know I can read?”
    • Over dinner, A- occasionally declaimed random verses from Twas the Night Before Christmas.
  • Art
    • When I woke up from a nap and went downstairs, W- was in the middle of painting A-‘s face to make her look like one of our cats. A- insisted on painting my face with bright colours. I successfully focused on long-term benefits instead of, say, cautioning A- not to smoosh the sponge into the face paint. At the end of the day, this is all about encouraging art!
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- wanted to have a quick breakfast and then brush teeth, since dentist and caregiver time is an important part of her morning routine and W- was getting ready to go to work. I offered her some leftover popcorn. She said, “But that’s just carbohydrates! I need protein too.”
    • We were rushing A- through her morning routine because she wanted W- and me to brush her teeth before W- needed to leave for work. After a quick breakfast, we went upstairs to brush her teeth. When she got to the bathroom, she launched into a leisurely rendition of “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” W- and I looked at each other and agreed that kids are pretty much like tiny drunks.
    • A- was a little clingy today, checking in with me every so often for a hug or a book. The babysitter was able to get her interested in a few books and crafts. After lunch, A- got quite tetchy with the babysitter, so we all went out for a stroller walk to the library. Sure enough, a few minutes in, A- was fast asleep. I brought my work laptop, so I was able to clock in and do some more work at the library while the babysitter read a book. After I finished the tasks I wanted to do, I clocked out and focused on summarizing my journal entries. When A- woke up, the babysitter and I read her a few more books, and then it was time to go home and pay the babysitter.

      Despite the interruptions, I’m glad I had some grown-up thinking time. I was able to keep enough context in my head to keep solving the problem I was working on. It’s okay even if I don’t get a lot of focused time yet. It’s really more of a long-term thing. A- has had two babysitters she really liked, so maybe it’s just about trying out people to see who clicks.

      Another approach might be to do a quick transition, say goodbye, and go to the library myself, leaving the babysitter to deal with A-‘s separation anxiety. It could help A- realize that she’ll be fine and that I’m confident she’ll be fine.

  • Eating
    • Adobo and green beans: Adobo was easy to dump into a pot. Green beans can be prepped ahead. A- liked both.
    • Easy Hummus Recipe (Better Than Store-Bought): I liked it, although A- hesitated. I prepared carrot sticks and broccoli florets.
    • We stopped for a few snacks outside. A- liked the hot chocolate, the fruit salad, the chocolate wafers, and the doughy part of the steamed buns.
    • I tried a frozen Amy’s Bowls Harvest Casserole with quinoa, kale, and sweet potato, heated up in the microwave. I liked it, although it was too salty for A-.
    • We introduced salad as a meal, framing it as something only big kids and grown-ups can eat. She gamely tried lettuce, tomato wedges, and cucumber. She declined raw mushrooms. She liked the sesame dressing more than the raspberry vinaigrette. She mixed a small bowl but didn’t dig into it, so W- offered her a backup peanut butter sandwich. After the bedtime routine, she was hungry again. I was leaning towards being firm, but W- observed that it was only 8:30 and he understood not wanting to go to bed hungry. A- settled for having sausage, egg, and rice, and she let us brush her teeth without a hassle. I apologized for my grumpiness and read her a book to make up for it, and then she fell asleep. I think we’ll still try to nudge her towards eating during eating time, but I’ll work on keeping perspective in terms of time. I can generally trust her to listen to her body and she’s vocal about wanting to try new tastes. It might be okay for me to not worry too much about being strict, as long as I offer good choices for evening snacks and we brush her teeth thoroughly. We’ll see!
    • Jen made vegetable soup. A- mostly had bacon and scones.
    • A- ate two slices of frozen pizza, and lots of carrots and fruits.
  • Sleep
    • I timed snack and nap pretty well. After sledding, we went home for a quick snack at 3pm. We read a couple of books, brushed teeth, and got her into her snow gear just in time for her to fall asleep in her stroller. Now I’m at the grocery store waiting for her to wake up. I don’t think I’ll be able to cook this afternoon, but I can pick up a new meal from the prepared meals section so that we can give it a try.
    • I tried skipping the afternoon nap because of the playdate, but A- fell asleep anyway at 6:14pm in the middle of watching a video about making chocolate mousse. I set a timer to wake her up, since she goes to sleep super-late if I let her wake up on her own after a late nap. Maybe next time, we’ll wrap up at 4:30pm and bundle her up for a walk in the carrier.
    • A- woke up crying in the middle of the night. I was tired and her light bothered me, so after I snuggled her for a bit, I gave her a hug and left her to cry until she fell asleep. I think it took about ten minutes.
  • Emotion
    • A- had originally been upset about leaving her backpack at home. She calmed down when it was time for music class, although she still wanted me to stay in the classroom with her.
    • A- had originally been upset about leaving her backpack at home. She calmed down when it was time for music class, although she still wanted me to stay in the classroom with her.
  • Household
    • I made hummus instead of using the chickpeas for falafel. It was a little stressful because A- wanted to do an experiment with milk at the same time, and I was worried that she would pour milk into the hummus. I’m working on getting better at relaxing, though, since cooking should also be pleasant.
    • A- wanted to scramble the eggs, so she took over that part of the breakfast burrito.
  • Social
    • We visited Jen and Ewan for E-‘s party. I brought balloons and macaroons. The balloons were lots of fun. Kids asked me to make stuff, so I made three flowers, two dogs, and two tigers (which were really dog shapes with long tails and stripes). A- wanted to stay close to me, so I snuggled her and read books. I was amused by how A- closed her eyes whenever she took a bite of the chocolate cake.
    • A- was testing boundaries after dinner. She wiped her mouth on my shirt a few times. At first, I tried calmly setting the boundary and then putting her down when she tested it again. Then I tried playfully wiping my mouth on her dress every time she wiped on mine. She laughed and kept doing it, so that tells me that she was looking for more interaction from me. I wasn’t keen on continuing to play like that, though, so I calmed down by doing the dishes. I should think in advance about how I want to handle boundary-testing like that.
    • We invited Melissa and H- over for a playdate after sledding. I put together a quick spread of pepperoni sticks, eggs, cheese, strawberries, blueberries, pita triangles, crackers, carrots, hummus, and sunflower seed butter. Melissa said A- and H- had an adorable conversation about a wide variety of topics. After we ate, the kids roleplayed sister and baby, played with the cats, played with bubbles, and painted. They both got tired at around 5pm, so we wrapped up.
    • After lots of procrastination on A-‘s part, we went to the drop-in centre, where she proceeded to have lots of fun with M- and H- in the tent.
    • A- invited H- over for a playdate. We had snacks by the fireplace, and then the kids lavished attention on one of our cats. They also had fun running around and around. We wrapped up at around 5. They were still a little tetchy then, but not as short-tempered as before.
    • A- invited other kids to go tobogganing with her, but no one at the drop-in was in the right clothes.
    • A- really wanted to go sledding with E-. It was a great impromptu playdate! I brought over the balloon kit I wanted to give E-‘s family, and we went down the long tobogganing run at the park near them. A- wanted to stay for dinner, so we did. The kids enjoyed jumping on the trampoline and spinning in the chair. Jen gave us a lift back. Turns out the stroller is easy to collapse.
  • Pretend
    • A- has a competitive streak, so we’ve been hamming it up for things like taking medicine or going upstairs for bedtime routine. Today, she was so quick to take her medicine that we were still distracted by other tasks. She said dramatically, “You have to say, ‘Oh no, she won!'”
  • Cognition
    • A- had so much fun sledding, she didn’t want to let me have any turns with the sled. Over dinner, I discussed the possibility that we might need another sled. A- said, “We need three more sleds,” and then proceeded to make up math problems for herself.
    • After dinner, A- wanted to play RelationShapes on the tablet. She breezed through quite a few levels.
  • World
    • W- and A- built a large snowman in the backyard. They added eyes of different sizes, a carrot nose, prunes for the mouth, and blueberry buttons. I lent it my scarf. We had fun pushing large snowballs around, too.
    • A- was curious about the seeds we were growing, so we taped some sprouts to a piece of paper and wrote down the day number. It might be interesting to start a naturalist’s notebook, maybe using plain or 3-hole punch paper and a binder.
    • We checked out the snowman in the day. Looks just as impressive!
  • Other
    • I set up the camera to take time-lapse pictures of us playing in the snow in the backyard. A- headed straight for the camera and proceeded to smoosh snow into it, eventually burying it under lots of snow. Good thing the camera could take that abuse!
    • A- fell asleep in the cart at Home Depot. Her left eye was a little open because of her scleral shell, so it didn’t look like she was completely asleep.
    • A- wanted to take the sled to the subway station in order to go to music class. Most of the sidewalks were still icy enough to slide on, although some stretches were dry. It was easy to carry the sled with us.
    • I might need to fasten A-‘s pigtails tighter, as she lost another band today. Anyway, I ordered a pack of 1000, which should get here in a couple of months.
  • Oops
    • We accidentally left A-‘s gloves in the bus because W- was carrying A- and I was preoccupied with the sled.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Business 0.2 2.9 2.6 4.8 4.4
Unpaid work 6.0 8.4 2.4 14.1 4.1
Sleep 30.3 31.8 1.6 53.5 2.6
Personal 5.4 5.5 0.1 9.3 0.2
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Family 0.6 0.6 -0.0 1.0 -0.0
Discretionary – Play 0.6 0.0 -0.6 0.0 -1.0
Discretionary – Productive 7.0 4.7 -2.3 7.9 -3.9
A- 50.0 46.1 -3.8 77.5 -6.5