metawidget: close-up of freewheel of a bicycle (bicycle)
Today, I took the kids into the Glebe and back (14 km round trip) in the new bike trailer:

Vivien and Oscar asleep in the bike trailer

Neither of them really likes getting a helmet put on, Oscar's seatmate manners are still a work in progress (trailering, with faster-moving scenery, they're a little better than strollering) and Oscar was loudly and urgently wondering for a while where Mama was on the way home (she was riding behind us). Despite all that, they were both asleep when we pulled into home. It was Elizabeth's first bike ride out of the season — she went out ahead in the morning to record some additional vocals for her album, and I came later with the kids to add my screaming to one track, get Vivien a snack (soda crackers were only so satisfying during recording), say hi to Sarah at Nicastro's and have tasty sandwiches for lunch at the Wild Oat before heading home together. It was my and Oscar's first ride out post-tune-up (yay, chain grease) and Vivien's first bike trailer ride ever! I was quite happy with how the new trailer handled with two kids and gear in it.
metawidget: Our very fresh baby, backlit in blue with funky goggles, looking spiffy but a little like an alien invader (Vivien raygun)
Mostly because [personal profile] commodorified demands it, here is a picture of Vivien this afternoon, taken while Oscar was napping:

Vivien on a pillow, smiling

Life is pretty good of late: my leg and cold are mostly better, I still have just under two weeks of leave until I'm back at work (I'm enjoying the leave but looking forward to work, too), it finally feels like spring here (I got to wear short sleeves outside yesterday!) and I'm feeling pretty good about it all.
metawidget: Oscar and Vivien on a couch (Oscar 2.25 years, Vivien 4 mos) (oscar and vivien)

Yesterday, we got the kids outside in and on things with wheels:

Vivien in a wagon
Vivien has sitting more or less down.

two more )

Oscar continues to be kind of mama-centric, wanting Elizabeth specifically to do all sorts of things, from cutting banana bread to taking him to the bathroom. It's kind of a drag to be told "papa go away" a lot, but I hope it's just a phase as opposed to a parenting style thing — I do feel like I'm a little quicker to intervene when he's up to something iffy and a little more skeptical of his rapid-fire requests than Elizabeth is. Maybe my going back to daytime outside-the-house work will change the dynamics a bit. Oscar is also talking up a storm in more complete sentences when he feels like it — more people have names, and the flip-side of the specific requests is that he's using names as subjects more often in speech — things like "Mama carry Oscar" and "Vivien eat that" in addition to "Papa go away". He's also much more skilled at climbing playground equipment than in the fall, even though he had some time off (although we didn't wait for the snow to melt to set him upon the equipment this spring). He's skipping rungs successfully because he's in a hurry on things he couldn't quite hack in the fall.

Vivien is eating all kinds of things and working on a fourth tooth. She can also play while sitting and eat while sitting in the high chair (which has made the high chair cool again for Oscar). She's growing out of many of her hats and six-month clothes, and frequently babbling contentedly. Our days of being able to play a board game with a placid infant are going away again, though: all the bits are very fascinating. If we're lucky, she'll be a bit more amenable to a bedtime before ours sometime soon.

We've bought some seeds and are starting tomatoes inside. If we're lucky, we'll have zucchini, acorn squash, pumpkins, a few sorts of tomatoes, kale, mixed carrots, strawberries, pears, peas and chives. We'll probably manage a subset of that, but we can hope (and trust Gord and his CSA to give us lots of veggies, too). The crocuses are up again in the lawn, and I scattered some globe thistle seeds out front for colour and spikiness. I hope it's a good year for green-thumbiness!

metawidget: Person sitting cross-legged from the rear, in black and white with noise and scratches (body)
It has been forever since I did a good/blah entry. Life is pretty good, really. Way back when, I did these every 20 entries, so that there would always be one on the first page of my entries. Maybe I'll get back up to that pace again.


GoodBlah
  • We're within a payment of being done with the mortgage — we lucked out on interest rates and help and nice stable professional employment, and now we're looking at owning our place outright. It feels good.
  • Everyone here (human and cat) is currently pretty healthy (even my leg is feeling progressively better)!
  • Both kids are learning fun and exciting new skills.
  • I feel like I'm doing pretty well on my year list, including the long-term stuff.
  • Taxes are more or less done, and look to be in good shape: a refund but not a gigantic one.
  • I took my wedding band to the ring shop, and now it fits (my fingers have gotten more slender since 2008) and it got a complimentary shine as well.
  • I'm happily married to one awesome and beautiful person, and happily dating another.
  • Less than two months of parental leave left. Work will be kind of exciting, but the transition back could be rough.
  • World Vision keeps sending increasingly over-the-top fundraising pules. We got a great big envelope containing an bubble envelope containing a spoon and a measuring tape that they would like us to mail back to them (with a donation) for them to ship to Africa. I gave to World Vision in honour of my Christian relatives who are fans of them. Next in-honour donation will be to MSF or the Canadian Red Cross — close enough in the useful stuff they do, and at least their fundraising stuff is flat.
  • Feeling a bit sciatic-y, a little creaky in the knees and occasionally elsewhere, I think due to moving over winter footing with kids and groceries and stuff. I hope it clears up with better conditions.
  • There are always cool things I'd like to do, and don't make time for. Getting one or both kids to sleep and/or securing babysitting makes this one a little harder.

Kids update

Mar. 2nd, 2013 09:38 pm
metawidget: Oscar and Vivien on a couch (Oscar 2.25 years, Vivien 4 mos) (oscar and vivien)
Vivien is seven months old today. She still has just two teeth, but she's made great strides in eating things. From bare cutlery a month ago, she's eaten oatmeal, mashed avocado, pita, pappadam, mashed potato… banana and pear were not so hot, so for now she is savoury baby.

Papa amusement park (bounce, spin, sway, whee!) has gone from merely distracting to fun, with smiles and giggles. This is good for my fitness and both our morale! She's definitely still working on crawling, and also at manipulating objects — we have to eat with our plates and cutlery further and further toward the centre of the table when she's in one of our laps. Fortunately, she is sometimes content to play with stuff on a cushion beside the table.

Oscar is working on language — novel short sentences, using people's names, vocabulary explosion! He's also been going on short bus-and-walk trips without a stroller, and is playing a bit better with others.

Elizabeth, Oscar and Vivien on the couch
metawidget: Person sitting cross-legged from the rear, in black and white with noise and scratches (body)
The past week has been a gastro roller-coaster around here: lots of puke, lots of washing clothes on hot, lots of soda crackers. Last week, Elizabeth had a rough Tuesday and Wednesday, and Oscar had a couple of puking incidents. On Monday, Elizabeth was the only person standing and she stood in the gap, chasing toddler puke and changing sheets and being generally vertical. Our friend-and-neighbour Marc came by with a supply drop of soda crackers, juice and jello to tide us over Monday evening, and by Tuesday morning I was better, Oscar was a little fragile but basically okay, Vivien was better and Elizabeth was not 100% but close.

Today, we're basically back up and running: check-up doctor's appointment for Vivien and supper out with friends this evening. Yay, back in the swing of things!
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
Six months ago today, Vivien was born. Now she has two teeth, is starting to be mobile, and is sticking lots of things in her mouth (but not eating complementary foods just yet).

then )
now )

Six years ago today, I proposed, in a horse shelter at my parents' place, to Elizabeth. She said yes.

Also, happy birthday to my cousin Erica, [personal profile] beable and to [livejournal.com profile] thebabynancy!
metawidget: Oscar and Vivien on a couch (Oscar 2.25 years, Vivien 4 mos) (kids)
  • Vivien's first tooth has surfaced! Left central lower incisor, for people keeping score at home. She's still teething-cranky, maybe because it isn't completely in, maybe because there are more coming, or both.
  • I think we almost heard a giggle from her last night. Or a chortle. Or something. Close enough.
  • Oscar has a new, bigger mattress, courtesy of Shawn who organizes Atelier Denu. He needed the space for books, and was giving it away. Oscar finds it bouncy and acceptable, and it fits in his room without too much furniture rearrangement.
  • Oscar's old mattress has been installed in a toddler bed as a "sidecar" beside ours for Vivien. Now we have our bed to ourselves, sort of, and all Elizabeth or Vivien have to do is roll over for baby maintenance.
  • We'll all have our first Rideau Canal experience of the year (and lifetime, for Vivien, and maybe Oscar's first one on skates) today, with my parents, my sister, her boyfriend, her boyfriend's parents, my cousin, my cousin-in-law and their son (whew, need a diagram?).
metawidget: Oscar and Vivien on a couch (Oscar 2.25 years, Vivien 4 mos) (oscar and vivien)
We sent out a picture of the kids with our Christmas cards this year. We do things DIY around here, despite the recommendation of one of my friends who wrangles a family of five into a photo with the help of a trusted Superstore photographer every year with good results. It probably took us a little longer (and two sessions, one of which is lost to the vagaries of a borked camera card), but we got one that definitely captures where the kids were at in late November. Here it is:

Oscar smiling, Vivien looking perturbed

The first thing not visible there is Elizabeth under the blanket holding them relatively still.

The other things not visible are the blooper shots, of which here are two:
cut in case you prefer to leave your illusions intact )
Here are a couple more cute shots of Vivien from around Christmas:
you know you want to reveal these )
I have another picture post from a few drawing workshops in the works, but it does take a while to crank them out these days.

2012

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!

Kids update

Nov. 3rd, 2012 03:30 pm
metawidget: Oscar around one month, with Pixel. (oscar and pixel)
Oscar is now big enough, that if he has a drink of water, he's no longer rated for rear-facing car seat travel due to being too heavy. Consequently, I pulled the straps and bits out of their rear-facing position, puzzled through the manual, and put them into front-facing position this week. Oscar seems to like seeing what's coming and keeping an eye on the parents while travelling (since Vivien was born, Elizabeth usually sits up front with me, 'cause it's crowded back there otherwise).

Vivien's first concerted hand-eye coordination seems to be blocking my attempts to trim her nails. I did trim her fingernails in two sittings yesterday, but it was slow going.
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: 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)

Vivien is a little over four weeks old now. She's filling out, both visually and weight-wise (almost three kilograms now), and keen to look around and see the world. We've been out and about with her on foot in buses and in cars; she can be a bit fussy at the beginning and end of the trip but she travels pretty well in general. I've been out alone with the two of them successfully, walking and bussing: Elizabeth can practice better for her upcoming gig in an empty house, Vivien mostly naps and Oscar enjoys the moving scenery and interacting with the neighbours. A dad during the day with two under-twos gets a lot of positive attention, too, which is nice :)

Oscar seems a bit fragile and jealous sometimes; he's very keen to claim Vivien-associated things and people: Elizabeth (including breastfeeding), the diaper cream (!), our attention generally (when she fusses, he often fusses). He does also still seem excited and want to help and hold her (he also wants to hold the cat, we have to supervise and intervene in both cases). He's picked up jumping-on-the-bed skills, and his vocabulary is expanding — he picked up “rainbow” just in time for Pride (he had a blast at the parade: lights, music, candy, people smiling at him — he was dancing on my shoulders for the whole thing, more or less), too many food terms to count, “happy” and ”eat” for his internal state. His first (and so far, only) three-word sentence is “I like it!”. He's on track to be my height if the double-your-height-at-two rule is to believed; I looked up his height and weight on the WHO curves and he remains ninety-something on height and median on weight, just like when he was born. I hope he enjoys turning two!

Here are some pictures from the beginning of last month of the two of them, including a cute size comparison:

some pictures from the early days )
metawidget: Co-sleeping kid taking up as much space as possible between co-awake parents. (co-sleep)

Here are the official results and supporting numbers for the baby guessing game Elizabeth ran on Facebook (using the names supplied on Facebook). I standardized the three components to have a root mean squared error of one, and summed the standardized differences; lowest sum wins. Congratulations Ada!

Female? Weight (oz) Date diff Sq. error (sex) Sq. error (wt) Sq. error (date) Score (sex) Score (weight) Score (date) Score (sum)
Ada Marie 1 77 16 0 4 256 0.00 0.06 0.75 0.80
Marc Phillion 1 104 11 0 841 121 0.00 0.83 0.51 1.34
Lynne Stockwell 1 98 23 0 529 529 0.00 0.65 1.07 1.73
Caycee Price 1 104 20 0 841 400 0.00 0.83 0.93 1.76
Sara Boucher 1 113 15 0 1,444 225 0.00 1.08 0.70 1.78
Kelly Ryan 1 115 23 0 1,600 529 0.00 1.14 1.07 2.21
Judith Stockwell Taylor 1 114 25 0 1,521 625 0.00 1.11 1.17 2.28
Jessica Cohen 1 112 27 0 1,369 729 0.00 1.05 1.26 2.31
Cynthia Bruce-Marzenska 1 123 21 0 2,348 441 0.00 1.38 0.98 2.36
Karen Bennett 0 118 27 1 1,849 729 3.16 1.22 1.26 5.65
TRUE 1 75 0
RMSE 0.32 35.14 21.41
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.

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metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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