metawidget: My full geek code.  Too long for DW alt tag, please see profile if interested. (geek)

This week, I'm looking forward to:

  • Having lunch with one of my closest work friends tomorrow. I've seen her a couple of times lately with at least some of each of our kids in tow, and this time we'll have a little less stimulation and be able to talk in full sentences.
  • Modelling in tomorrow's evening drawing workshop. This is also a little scary.
  • This week's Parent and Child in Vanier — making little felt gnomes and hanging out with the parents, children and animators there. Oscar is getting playing with others a little better, and definitely knows how everything works. Even over the semester and a bit I've been doing it, he's grown a lot. The fact that he's only in P&C mode once a week, and that everyone else only sees him for those 2.5 hours a week, makes it easier to spot stuff like "gets the idea of fetching specific toys for specific activities" and "snacktime is soon" and "manages frustrations with peers with somewhat more patience and willingness to hand them something to make peace". It's also fun to be part of the little community of parents and keep my French up for sustained sessions.
  • Hanging out and probable board game with [personal profile] fairestcat.
  • Union-management meeting on Friday. Not always the most uplifting content, but it'll be nice to poke my head in at work and see people, and some people there may be the bearers of bad news but they're all decent people.
  • A friend's housewarming on Saturday, and possible other supper plans.
  • Family skating on the canal on Sunday — Vivien's first time out (probably in a stroller) and we may see how Oscar does on skates.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I have a sleepy baby in my lap, and it's nap time (I hope) upstairs for E & O.

Last night, we rang in the mid-Atlantic new year with our neighbour, her kids, her sister and mum, stuffing ourselves with tasty food and letting Oscar feed us innumerable clementines. It was a fun evening, and more or less our speed.

Today has been pretty low-key — in the afternoon, Oscar and I trampled/tobogganed an oval track in the backyard snow.

I'm looking forward (in no particular order) to more drawing in the new year, getting back into the patterns of activities outside the house with Oscar (definitely more parent and child in Vanier, and maybe story time at the library if the sign-up is enough for Mondays to run), to more daylight, to catching up with people missed during holiday social madness, to whatever sort of date Elizabeth and I can manage next, to reaping the benefits of Oscar being done teething and to lots of tasty hot beverages.


Dec. 30th, 2012 05:50 pm
metawidget: My full geek code.  Too long for DW alt tag, please see profile if interested. (geek)
Here's the semi-standardized questionnaire applied to 2012 — it was a pretty intense year in some ways.

What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Filed a police report, juggled two kids out solo.

lots more )

Did I miss any useful questions? I dropped a couple of irrelevant ones, and will be watching the memesphere for stuff to add.
metawidget: Oscar and Vivien on a couch (Oscar 2.25 years, Vivien 4 mos) (oscar and vivien)
Last week, I attended a two-and-a-half-day course on mediation and interest-based negotiation in my steward capacity. It was a good course — lots to think about, a nice mix of people, good anecdotes and interesting role-plays (including some really hard ones).

The most stressful part was knowing that I'd be leaving Elizabeth in charge of two kids for the duration, with only a couple of stretches of drop-in company. The kids are great, but they're still a pretty normal four-month-old who is breastfeeding, and a spirited, clever, athletic toddler who's still kind of adjusting to being a big sibling. She was a bit worried about how that would go, and I felt a bit guilty about leaving her in that situation — I know I'll have to for longer and more regularly when I go back to work (and that many families have to send someone back to full-time work a lot earlier than eight months postpartum), but by then it'll be nice out and the kids will be that little bit more independent.

After the first day, I returned to a very quiet house — she'd managed to get both of them to nap at the same time. I think our place has been that quiet with two awake adults in it about twice since Oscar was born. After the second day, there was not as much napping going on, and there were definitely things that needed doing, but again, everyone was in basically good spirits. The half-day at the end worked out well, too. I know this may not seem like huge news, but two kids simultaneously for a couple of hours has been tricky up 'til now, and we were both a bit anxious about how things were going to turn out.

Yay for my awesome wife and for things going better than feared! I imagine that's the most consecutive workdays I'll be out all leave, and it'll be a whole other kettle of fish when the whole routine has to change (first with evening teaching for Elizabeth, and then the complementary work schedules in late April), but as test experiences go, I'm happy, relieved and proud.
metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar ducking into frame)

A week ago, we went up to my parents' place for my brother's birthday and to visit. Here are a few pictures featuring Oscar, my dad, and some dogs from that weekend:

Oscar and a big shaggy dog in the garden
three more )

After long months of teethiness with no teeth, Elizabeth has at last felt and spotted molars coming in for Oscar. He's also extra-teethy, but now there is a light (and an almost-full set of teeth) at the end of the tunnel. Vivien has little incisor tips poking through, so we won't lack for teething kids for some time, of course. I guess we have early-teeth genes.

I had a revelation in Oscar psychology a few days back — when Vivien starts flailing her arms and legs, Oscar sometimes runs in, says "no!" and holds down her limbs. We had no idea why he didn't feel she had a right to move her arms and legs for some time, but then I realized that when Oscar is kicking me while I'm trying to get him to bed, I will respond by saying "no kicking!" and holding his legs to stop him from kicking for a few seconds. Unintended consequences and kids having reasonable logic to their actions strike again.

Vivien looks like she'll have rolling figured out soon. No more always finding here where we put her down; we'll have to be choosier about her resting spots! Also, she's smilier almost every day, it feels like.

We're getting close to hiring someone to put in a nice, solid, hard-to-climb privacy fence to replace the rickety chain-link one we have. Maybe it'll even be done by the end of the year!

metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar)

Oscar has a few words that are obviously from my dad (and always uttered in an Oscar version of my dad's delivery):

  • “Heyyyy!!!”: This one came first, and is mostly when he's suffering from grandparent withdrawal.
  • “Upp-à-là!”: when climbing or jumping.
  • “Bingo!” (sometimes sounds like “mango!”)

He also definitely knows the word “grandpa!”. That all these words have exclamation points after them is not accidental.

metawidget: Oscar in a bucket, smiling (oscar in bucket)

I've been having a pretty good October up to now, seeing people, doing union stuff, taking care of the kids and joining my family for Thanksgiving weekend. Here are a bunch of pictures that mostly show off our photogenic kids.

a close-up of baby Vivien

Vivien from earlier this month: filling out!

a bunch more pictures )
metawidget: Co-sleeping kid taking up as much space as possible between co-awake parents. (co-sleep)

I've been thinking a little bit about chores that usually leave me in a better mood than when I started. Maybe this sort of counts as a gratitude journal, of the sort I've seen floating around lately. Here are some fun tasks that come to mind:

  • Driving: I should be careful not to enjoy this gratuitously, but I do like driving, for the most part. For now, it's one of my unique powers in the household, and because we rent whenever we need a car, it's often with a new-to-me vehicle (although I do have my favourites in the local Communauto fleet). I like driving reasonably well, and focusing on the task, or having that slow-paced driving conversation when Elizabeth can make it to the front seat.
  • Hanging laundry: Especially outside — it's going to be breezy, sunny or both and dry if it's hanging-outside weather; it can be quiet or I can eavesdrop on or converse with the neighbours or just be alone with my thoughts or a sleeping baby in the carrier. There are just enough finicky details I like to get right that it's not drudgery.
  • Cooking supper: I've sort of adopted this task most nights. I love improvising with what's in the fridge, riffing off something tasty I've had or read about. I like cooking with the radio on.
  • Carrying sleeping toddler: I seem to have the touch for this one, and getting Oscar to sleep on purpose is still often a bit of a battle, so when he's passed out en route somewhere, this is satisfying and useful. I'm losing the touch for carrying sleeping toddler during the day, though.
metawidget: Our very fresh baby, backlit in blue with funky goggles, looking spiffy but a little like an alien invader (Vivien raygun)

On Oscar's actual birthday, my parents, my sister and her partner came up to help celebrate and see the bigger, more interacitve Vivien. Here are a couple of pictures of her:

potty-related stuff might need a cut )

When it's not raining, we've been getting in a bunch of walking lately — we being the kids and me when Elizabeth needed time to practice for her Can-Con show, or all four of us when we're going somewhere or just need to get out of the house. I really enjoy family walking — when I'm the lone adult, we interact a lot with the neighbours and random shoppers, and when it's Elizabeth and I and optionally the (often sleepy or distracted) kids, we often have nice, relaxed conversations or don't say much but it feels like more pleasant transit time than just about any other means of getting around. Working a walk into something otherwise stressful can make the difference in keeping my chin up, and the fall weather is the best walking weather of the year as far as I'm concerned.

metawidget: Co-sleeping kid taking up as much space as possible between co-awake parents. (co-sleep)
We sprung Vivien from the hospital this afternoon. We're all home together, for the first time since Wednesday evening.
metawidget: A plastic wind-up teeth thing with a googly eye. (chatter)
On August 2 at 8:52 PM, Vivien Kaye Hortop came into the world at the Gatineau hospital. She is small but fierce: 2120 grams and was 47 cm long at birth, she arrived with a yell and set to feeding quickly thereafter. Vivien and Elizabeth are still at the hospital for observation of Vivien, but mother and daughter are in fine shape and we hope to have everyone back home in the days to come.

We are grateful to the midwives at the Maison de naissance de l'Outaouais and the nurses and doctors on the third floor at the Gatineau hospital, whose expertise and kindness have been invaluable in the past days and months. We are also grateful to Marna Nightingale for taking Oscar on short notice during the birth and taking care of him for considerably longer than she may have had in mind at the outset while the situation evolved.
metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar ducking into frame)

We've been running around madly lately — two of my cousins have July weddings; we went up to the Kitchener-Waterloo area for one last week, and we'll be heading back to Montréal for another next weekend. Oscar is a hit with just about everyone; we met his slightly-older second cousin Owen up at the wedding. My dad observed that they're in very different places in terms of sharing: the world is still Oscar's oyster (and anything he can get his hands on is sort of his), but Owen is both working on sharing and developing a sense of justice. The clash of worldviews took some parental finesse here and there to restore good cheer and make sure everyone had something they liked to play with.

Here are a couple of photos:

from the wedding and train )

Earlier in the month, we went up for a day and a night to [personal profile] dagibbs' family's cottage. Oscar liked running around the grounds, and he got to ride with [personal profile] commodorified on the paddle board and share a hammock with her (photo: [personal profile] fairestcat).

Back at home, we hired one of my friends from back in high school to install and wire up a bathroom fan and update our somewhat vintage outlets and switches. It's going to take a little while to get used to the fact that all the switches are right-side-up and take less effort to throw than before, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. He also moved the 220V outlet down a bit so that our stove isn't perched on bricks anymore. It's only been four years that we've been living with the quirks and bugs in this house; it feels good to get a bunch of them fixed. Next things on our house list: some scraping/patching/paint, a new electrical panel, and a fence upgrade. Not all of these things are likely to get done before #2 is born, but we might get a couple of them done!

Speaking of #2, next month is August! Due date! Crazy homebirth adventure (if all goes well and on time)! That went very fast.

metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar)

Oscar is a little sick lately — he's been sleeping a lot more, sniffling a bit, a little subdued and a bit feverish. He was pukey for a day or so, but now that seems to be over. We're pretty sure the heat of lately isn't helping. Good thing the rain is coming to clear the air. The fact that he's napping more is sort of nice, if we weren't a little thrown off by his fragility when he's awake and the fact that he's pretty obviously not liking being sick.

Elizabeth is making Father's Day cake, with Oscar supervising :) We've been seeing lots of family lately — one of my cousins is moving into the area with his wife and infant, they crashed here along with another cousin while house-hunting, and then we went over to see their new place yesterday and saw my aunt and uncle, and introduced Oscar to another cousin and her friend. Our newly-local cousins seem to have a similar parenting style and bicycle orientation: they're looking into not owning a car in the capital, too. I think they can pull it off. This summer is going to involve at least two cousin-weddings, both on my paternal side, so we'll be seeing the whole clan quite a bit.

I got the rapidly-becoming-traditional early-morning call from Dad, wishing me a happy Father's Day. He was planning on making hay while the sun shone (literally — that might be a metaphor for golfing for some people, but he actually has hay cut and looking promising in the field that needs to come in), so he called in the morning. If Oscar were his normal self, 9:30ish would have seen us up and fed, so he couldn't have known!

This week, we're saying goodbye to our voluntarily-departing colleague in my section. I don't know if she's part of workforce adjustment or not, but I hope her next stop is a good fit — it sounds like a cool job, almost cloak-and-dagger (so I won't specify what it is). I'm starting to feel like my knowledge-transfer and torch-passing work is rising to the top of the to-do list, as well — I read a pile of semi-annual reports in an attempt to catch up on what everyone is doing and decide which chiefs to try and arrange a chat with about opportunities after I return from parental leave. It does feel like a bit of a risk having told my chief that I'm moving on after leave, but I think it's time before I ossify too much. I want to keep doing linkage and disclosure control, though, maybe just on a sample survey (i.e. the ones where we call or mail stuff to respondents) rather than pure administrative data (like reportable diseases and health usage data).

I accidentally got Beck's regular the other day; it's actually not as nice as Beck's non-alcoholic: more malty and sweet, not as crisp, more like Grolsch and not terribly German-tasting, really. I'll manage to drink the pack, though: it's decent hot-weather beer.

metawidget: My full geek code.  Too long for DW alt tag, please see profile if interested. (geek)

I've wanted to write a little about how I handle financial matters, and how our household money situation works — I like reading about other people's ways of doing stuff on LJ, and thought I'd throw my thoughts into the mix.

money and the pipes it flows through )
metawidget: Co-sleeping kid taking up as much space as possible between co-awake parents. (co-sleep)

So, I guess it's time to mention it in here — Oscar will probably have a sibling in late August sometime! A sibling was always in the plan, and we won't be too used to getting sleep with Oscar just coming up on two years old. We've got midwives lined up at the Maison de Naissance (the same birthing centre where Oscar was born).

Oscar is having a rough teething week, but he should be out of teeth soon: his canines are all quite poked through, and his molars seem to be on the way. In general we're getting him to bed earlier, so Elizabeth and I can have a bit of time to ourselves a bit more easily. I'm having more success putting him to sleep, too, which is nice when Elizabeth is teaching late into the evening.

My parents' friends and neighbours gave Oscar a glorious hooded sweater for Christmas, and he's a bit more grown into it now (with the sleeves rolled up). Here he is in it; what you can't see is a positively medieval long pointy hood in the back:

Oscar in a glorious sweater
click on the picture for a bigger version
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)

Oscar in a snowsuit outside, smiling.

Photo: [ profile] rottenfruit
metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar)

This post is in reverse-to-random chronological order.

First, some promised Oscar pictures:

Oscar crawling out of the frame in our backyard

This one is gracing my desktop at work.

Oscar holding himself up on a bead toy

Here's a recent indoor one. He needs only a little hand contact with something sort of stable to stay upright.

Date night!

Last night, [personal profile] fairestcat came by, loaded us and Oscar up in her car, drove us all to Zen Kitchen, let us out, and kept going. She, [personal profile] random and the other people at fannish night took care of him for the night while Elizabeth and I got to have a fantastic meal and some time to ourselves without checking baby position constantly or worrying he'd wake up. Toward midnight, we were starting to miss Oscar (or at least wanting to put him to bed and call it a night), but it was definitely refreshing. We should definitely do that sooner than the eight months it took us to get around to that.

Raven’s Knoll work

Raven's Knoll, the campground that hosts Kaleidoscope Gathering among other pagan and pagan-ish happenings, is kept running in part on volunteer labour. The three of us went up with [personal profile] random on the weekend. Moving and stacking wood and brush was the main activity for [personal profile] random and me, and Elizabeth took care of Oscar and helped out in the kitchen. Working out there was fun both for the satisfaction of working (and stacking wood with proper ends on the stack — thanks, Dad, for teaching me that!) and for the universally pleasant company of the other workers. I was quite happy to get a better sense of Brendan, who led things and is there full-time keeping the place running.

Mum Update

Thursday and Friday, we headed up to my parents' place to see my mum and give my parents an Oscar fix. Mum's looking great and despite being a little out of breath occasionally, had lots of energy. Oscar also got to meet Jeannie the cleaning lady, who I think has been looking forward to meeting Oscar for about eight months now :)

Back to work

I went back to work on Monday. It was a little surprising how quickly work felt sort of normal to me; I guess it hasn't been that long. Most of Monday was spent getting things re-activated and catching up on what I was supposed to start work on, and yesterday and today were pretty meeting-heavy, but there looks to be imminent actual work, and a variety of it, with clients that I either know I like or get a good vibe from. I feel like it'll take a couple of weeks to say hi to all the people that make up the complete work experience, and thus be completely back, but I'm feeling good about the transition so far.

Pixel Update

Pixel had her stitches out yesterday, and looks much less scary and a bit happier today. I think she lost some weight when she was stressed and not eating in the cone, but not a scary amount as the vet weighed her and didn't worry. She's got a vaccine booster appointment in a month, if she's still skinny then we'll see what else needs doing. She was a little grimy looking after the cone for a while, but she's groomed herself back to her usual elegant coat.

Mum update

May. 20th, 2011 12:08 pm
metawidget: a basket of vegetables: summer and winter squash, zucchini, tomatoes. (food)
Talked to Mum this morning on the phone; she's been out surveying the garden for the first time since the surgery, and has her support network of CLSC nurse, friends and family swinging through to help out and take care of her and of home. She sounds a lot less tired than last time we talked, and pretty happy. Owen's planning on making it out on Monday, and I'm hoping to get out there before I go back to work at the end of the month.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I called Chantal around lunch, and she was just trying to find parking so she could give Mum a lift home. Seeing she was trying to find parking when I called, that's all I know for now, but I'm guessing it's part of good health news.


metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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