metawidget: Oscar in a bucket, smiling (oscar in bucket)
2015-08-30 09:15 pm

August into school

The rest of August went by quickly, but left some evidence behind. With the help of Oscar and the neighbour kid, I built some garden boxes out front. We still need some dirt and then to transplant a few things in, but the boxes look good.

I've been taking the older two out to bang in campaign signs for our local MP, who we'd like to keep. We've ring doorbells and knocked on doors, learned about politeness, chatted with friendly Hullians, been fed and watered, tried a stair elevator and talked nicely with dubious landlords — along with learning how to watch and march in political marches, I feel we're starting their civics lessons early. Oscar and Vivien also like hammering stuff and tightening zip ties, so it's interdisciplinary learning. In other learning activities, Oscar isn't totally reliable on spotting house numbers yet, but he's keen to try.

Elizabeth and I (and Ada) got out on a date to Les Promenades de Gatineau, where we ate food court food and acquired nice underthings at the newly-opened Simons. Shameless fun in getting things is okay sometimes, I hope :)

We had some fun park time with [livejournal.com profile] lady_phi and her family, swapped tomatoes and had tea and scones. She also brought some baby stuff for us to rifle through — yay, less-ratty cloth diapers!

Oscar had his last library story time — Dominique looked a little weepy wishing him well in kindergarten. Oscar has been going since before Vivien was born, so she's seen him grow up quite a bit. The fall is going to see a lot of me getting Viv alone to activities. I think she's ready to graduate to star attraction at kid activities!

Tomorrow Oscar hits Kindergarten — just an hour and with Elizabeth hanging out in the background, but whoa, our firstborn just made it to school! We're grappling with the fact of it, and the list of stuff, all labelled, and the un-Waldorfy discipline and pedagogy, and will he learn French and will he decide to play the game by getting along or with all his rogue skills… well, we made it and he made it and school and Oscar will happen to each other starting tomorrow at nine.
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
2015-06-22 11:16 am

Pre-partum, post-partum: pictures!

Here are some pictures from March to recently… we made it through the chilly spring, had a baby, discovered Vivien’s career aspirations, and hit the Ormstown Fair.

Viv in a swing

Vivien at the park.

twenty-nine more… )
metawidget: a basket of vegetables: summer and winter squash, zucchini, tomatoes. (food)
2015-06-07 09:30 pm

Shiny and new

Ada is ten days old today. She's 10% heavier than at birth, doing all the infant things, looking around a bunch, and has completely skipped "newborn" as a clothing size. I think I have the transition to parental leave more or less down this time — a few days of leave before the birth were a nice ease-in, and now I'm definitely coffee-powered but I've more or less hit my stride. I've been getting out on errands and park adventures with the kids and look forward to hanging out with lovely people (and their kids where applicable) in local parks. The older kids are having some adjustment pains — Viv is angling for mama cuddles and frustrated when there's a baby in the way, and both of them require a long wind down to sleep at the end of the day.

We have a nice steel roof! We had our moments when we thought we'd get a baby first, but the contractors pulled through and got it done. We had a stressful week or so where work had disrupted electricity to most of the upstairs including our phone and Internet plug — we had a solution involving an extension cord to the kids' room, but we weren't going to leave it plugged in while they slept, so we had greatly reduced communications — in a situation where we might've wanted to round up midwives and child care on short notice, it wasn't the best time for forced simplification, but in the end the contractors' electrician got things working before we really needed them.

The garden delay due to workers was actually a boon to us as the tomato plants weren't in the ground on those chilly nights after Victoria Day. Now we have a nice variety in (thanks for the swaps, [livejournal.com profile] wisewomanjudith!) as well as some fancy peppers and eggplant and some humdrum-but-tasty squash (bought from Sarah's new outfit, Beat Greens Gardens).

One small downer is that my allergies are pretty wild lately, even with desloratadine and drops. Maybe it's time to switch meds. What're people finding good these days? Drowsiness hasn't been a side effect I get; Reactine kept me up.

In general, I'm in a groove — a tired one but a good one — and life is pretty good and full of possibilities.
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
2015-06-01 01:32 pm

Booyah, baby! Also, booyah anniversary!

Baby Ada's birth was the home birth we'd been planning for — kids safely at their grandparents, midwives we knew, intensity and joy and healthy everyone at the end. Elizabeth was very independent for most of labour, as she has been before — I fetched things, let midwives in, helped keep things clean and was just being present up into late pushing. We'd talked about my maybe catching Ada, but in the end I was busy holding Elizabeth and crying a bit as she pushed the last few times. I got to cut the cord, as I have for Oscar and Vivien. At home in our space was a nice place for a birth, and I felt quite involved.

Ada is pretty laid-back so far, and looking around a lot. She has a powerful suck, curious hands and neck and a variety of unconvinced facial expressions. She also sleeps really well in the baby carrier!

Elizabeth and I got a chance to give the baby carrier a whirl yesterday when our friend Seema generously offered to take the older two over to her place for a couple of hours. Thanks to her, we got to walk over to Brasseurs du Temps and have a little anniversary lunch date. Seven years of vaguely sacrilegious matrimony and crazy adventures! Our conversation was more sleep-deprived than deep, but it was really nice to make some time for our little dyad, and Ada helpfully snoozed almost the whole time. Also, BDT has really gotten comfortable in its skin and gotten into a refined and interesting beer groove. There was one unfortunate server comment about "ladies' beer" – La Grande Rivière is a tart, citrusy smacker of a beer that happens to be pink (and delicious to me and not Elizabeth's thing). Silly server. The presence of a tasty 2.4% session IPA (good for easing back into regular beer after 9 months on the pregnancy wagon) was exciting, though.
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
2015-03-07 12:59 pm

Things which are imminent which I am looking forward to

- Bicycling weather. Buses are good for reading, but I miss fast and flexible.

- An upcoming night with Elizabeth… with the kids off with my parents! It has been years since we'll be off-duty together for a whole night.

Yay! Spring! Good things, times and people!
metawidget: close-up of freewheel of a bicycle (bicycle)
2015-02-28 10:40 am

Letter B, Letter B, Letter B, Letter B... My mother always whispers Letter B...

Some things starting with the letter B, as suggested by [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit:

Something I hate: Broken promises: personal, political, whatever — with a particular disdain for broken promises of amends. Hey, Kelowna Accord!

Something I love: Bicycling! I am looking forward to the season being in again (for me, I know there are hardcore year-round bicycle users).

Somewhere I've been: The Biodome, although it's been a while. I hope to bring the kids sometime soon, maybe this year.

Somewhere I'd like to go: Aside from the Biodome, maybe Boston, to soak up some of the great intellectual history and wander about the U.S. equivalent of Montréal (in terms of student concentration).

Someone I know: Beatrice at work. We're not super-close but she's been helpful and kind in career and getting-to-know-people spheres.

A film I like: The Birdcage was fun, probably of its time but when I watched it I liked it and found it had some substance.

A book I like: The Burning House, by Jay Ingram, one of my favourite science-explainer writers. Hemispheres! Awareness! Braiiiins!
metawidget: [garblegarblescript] Political! Science! for Amusement! [pictures of John A. Macdonald with swirly eyes] (science)
2014-11-26 10:35 am
Entry tags:

Fun times last night

Random offer of games night (the call was at 9:11 PM) with a couple of friends, plus wine, Ticket to Ride, Girl Guide cookies, loose lips equals fun impromptu sleep deprivation (added to the routine stuff and other fun but annex sleep deprivation). Woo! Also, I won at Ticket.
metawidget: a basket of vegetables: summer and winter squash, zucchini, tomatoes. (food)
2013-03-24 02:57 pm
Entry tags:

Cooking and Eating Party recipes

We hosted a cooking and eating party in honour of the previous owner of our house, who left behind a box of handwritten and clipped recipes. For posterity (because I don't trust Facebook to keep the event around forever, and because not everyone here is on Facebook), here are the recipes that got made and eaten. They're all copied verbatim in English, French or something in-between.
here be recipes )
It was a fun evening, with eight kids at its peak, and lots of food, conversation and basically managed chaos. I think we may have to do it again; the recipe box has lots more for another round.
metawidget: Person sitting cross-legged from the rear, in black and white with noise and scratches (body)
2013-02-20 11:11 am

Adventures in gastro

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)
2013-02-02 11:49 am

Groundhog Day, Imbolc and closer to home

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)
2013-01-27 09:57 am

Kid developments

  • 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: My full geek code.  Too long for DW alt tag, please see profile if interested. (geek)
2013-01-21 02:13 pm

Prospective post

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: My full geek code.  Too long for DW alt tag, please see profile if interested. (geek)
2012-12-30 05:50 pm

2012

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)
2012-12-10 12:40 pm

Less afraid of May

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: A plastic wind-up teeth thing with a googly eye. (chatter)
2012-08-05 01:42 am

Vivien Kaye Hortop

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: Person sitting cross-legged from the rear, in black and white with noise and scratches (body)
2011-12-06 07:35 pm

Ugh shoulder, but good OC Transpo experience

So, this evening on the way home with Oscar strapped to me and laden down with bags, my shoulder popped out (this is a chronic thing that just happens to me sometimes). I was talking with some friendly woodgie-ing people on the #2 a little before 6, and reached to put up his sleeping hood and felt it go. It wasn't too bad, so I thought I'd see if it just slipped back in if I relaxed it as much as possible. No such luck, and so at the end of the route, I told the driver my shoulder had popped out and I might need a little time and maybe a hand with my stuff while I put myself back together.

The driver pulled over to the time-stop around the corner, called in, offered an ambulance (I wasn't quite ready for one), asked if I could stand (I managed), and was sort of reluctant to do any sort of manual intervention (there must be a "don't touch the rider" policy, which is probably a good thing most of the time). He phoned in again to tell someone he would be running a little late, and helped me get buckles and straps undone on a messenger bag, a backpack, a coat and a baby, stood around and talked to me while I popped my shoulder back in (it's a lot easier when I'm a little distracted and when I'm not wearing 50 pounds of gear and baby). Oscar slept through the whole thing — pop out around Preston, ride to the end of the line, chat, unload, sleep on the cooperative seating, let me pop in, put him and everything back on. The driver was patient, methodical and friendly through it all, and fended off a possibly grumpy dispatcher all the while. So, for all the unhappy or odd OC stories out there, I thought I'd add this to the Internet. Thanks, Mr. Driver, and happy holidays!
metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar)
2011-06-02 12:02 am

Things of late

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.

metawidget: close-up of freewheel of a bicycle (bicycle)
2011-05-21 06:37 pm

Pixel update

[personal profile] con_girl and [livejournal.com profile] foms dropped by after cyclist-spotting today, and in addition to being good company on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I think it was [personal profile] con_girl that suggested that if anything would get a cat to drink fluids voluntarily, tuna water was a pretty reliable choice. Pixel snarfed it down in about 30 seconds, and ate some tuna as well, and is keeping it all down so far. Noisette got some of the leftovers, too. I hope a feeding or two like that, plus the freedom from the cone, will kick-start kitty systems and get us a smoothly-recovering cat.
metawidget: Oscar around one month, with Pixel. (oscar and pixel)
2011-05-21 10:46 am

Pixel update

Pixel only seems to like treats at the moment, so she is getting mass quantities of them. Talked with the vet this morning: we're going to take off the cone collar and see if she's nice to her stitches; the collar may have been cramping her style enough that she went off food. We have a kitty buffet set out for her, and she's looking a little more interested in it. Also, I now have our vet's cell number if we need it.
metawidget: [garblegarblescript] Political! Science! for Amusement! [pictures of John A. Macdonald with swirly eyes] (science)
2011-03-15 05:09 pm

More technological happiness: Dreamwidth

I renewed my Dreamwidth subscription not too long ago. Here are some reasons why:


cut for those who don't want to be evangelized )