Disposable diapers aren’t evil. Neither are you if you use them.

Disposable diapers aren't evil. Neither are you if you use them.What seems like eons ago, I wrote this adorable list of all of things we were always/never going to do as parents. And I promised I would come back and update it as all of these precious ideals got well and thoroughly trampled by this thing called real life, but I never did. Until my sister-in-law reminded me about it yesterday and I thought to myself, you know what? I have been feeling really great about my parenting abilities lately – let’s take a stick and beat that smug self-satisfaction right out!

So here is that list, copy and pasted from the original. Items which have been crossed off are lofty ideals that have now bitten the dust:

Things We Will Never/Always Do:
(With Additional Ridiculous Smug Justifications Provided Where Necessary)

  1. We will never give Olive a pacifier. Babies don’t need pieces of plastic shoved in their mouths! They need their mamas! 

  2. We will never put her in a swing. Why would I let a machine rock her, when she could be in our loving arms?

  3. We will never let her sleep in the bed with us. It’s unsafe- what if I smother her?! Plus I could never get a good night’s sleep with her beside me.

  4. We will always buy her clothing secondhand. There’s so much gently used children’s clothing to be had for 1/10th of the price, why would you ever buy new? (to be fair, probably 90% of her wardrobe is secondhand, but I have definitely succumbed to a few irresistible new items here and there.)
  5. We will always cloth diaper. Unless we are going to visit nana at her floating house where there’s no washer and dryer.And except for the week-long stint during a dark time for sleeping when I experimented to see if disposables at night would keep her sleeping longer (they did. And then they didn’t, so back to cloth.)And except for the 3 days before we moved because the diapers had to be packed and loaded into the moving van.Aaaand also except for when we resorted to using one what seemed like every other day for like a month after we moved because I all of a sudden couldn’t keep up with diaper laundry and couldn’t understand why and kept beating myself up over it (get it together, Madeleine!).

    Until, that is, I found three diapers forgotten at the bottom of our swimming bag and, yeah- oops!But before I found those three life-saving, routine-rescuing diapers however, disposables saved my (Olive’s) butt many a time. Even though we chose cloth because I thought it the more environmentally-friendly choice, I was very grateful for the existence of disposables because it meant I didn’t have to MacGyver one out of a tea towel and some hair elastics.

    Disposable diapers are not evil, and you (and I) are not evil if we use them every single day, every so often, or once in a blue moon when we’re desperate. They’re just diapers. The fact that they create more trash and pollution is simply that: a fact. But using them doesn’t mean you’re evil, or a bad mom, it probably just means you’re busy. Or don’t own a washer and dryer. Or don’t want to wash poop. You know, whichever.

    Judging people’s character based on what their baby poops into is the real evil here, folks.

  6. We will never let her cry herself to sleep. (We still haven’t done this one, Olive is tenacious, man. It would take HOURS. Ain’t nobody got time for that.) 
  7. We will always make our own baby food from scratch. We bought several of those little food pouches for plane rides, and even a few times grocery shopping when she was little and getting ragey from seeing all of the food she wasn’t allowed eating (now she gets an apple if we find ourselves in the same situation. Thanks, teeth!)
  8. We will always serve her free-range, organic meat. Adam has been feeding her bites of his turkey sticks, which are definitely not from “happy” animals, but other than that I think this one still stands
  9. We will never give her juice. Still standing. I think the fact that I don’t really drink it helps, because she doesn’t see it or ask for it.


  10. We will never let her watch TV. Olive used to watch cartoons with Grampa while I was at work, my mom has watched The Little Mermaid with her, and I think she has snuggled up to Adam several times while he was watching on of his (probably immensely violent) shows.She uh…also may have developed a bit of a narcissistic streak and asks to watch videos of “Ow-iff” on my phone. A lot. And sometimes I let her. So the “never” has definitely been slowly worn down into an “Okay fiiiiine fine whatever.”And she’s alive! Imagine that!
  11. She will never own or wear branded stuff. My mom found her some adorable secondhand Hunter wellies and she quickly became so obsessed with them that tantrums because I wouldn’t let her wear them inside/in the bath/to bed were almost a daily occurrence for a while there. I think that may be it, though.Brand integrity, intact! (Mostly!)
  12. We will always encourage kids to do age-appropriate chores. This one was an interesting one to catch myself failing at, and it was a perfect example of ideal life vs. real life. I have long said that you should get kids involved in chores during the toddler years when they actually want to help (are desperate to help!) and then it won’t be such a struggle when you want them to help a few years later.I feel like typically we don’t let them help with things because seriously have you ever seen a toddler? They are horrible little creatures! Poor hand eye coordination, unpredictable fits of rage and/or hysteria, plus truly zero understanding of concepts like “dirt” and “spilling” and “sharp knives”.Having a toddler help you basically ensures that you will get a task done four times more slowly, and 80% worse than if you simply did it yourself.

    So for the last month or so, I’ve been doing it myself. My mom always used to do dishes with Olive standing on a chair next to her “helping” (read: flooding the place and breaking shit.) Thus, every time Olive saw me filling up the sink she’d cry “Bubbles! Bubbles!” and I would distract her or put her off, I’d ask Adam to go give her a bath.

    Then I realized that I am a horrible person, and just the type of horrible person I used to have ideas about. So she helps me with the dishes now. And it does indeed take four times as long and gets done 80% worse and the floor gets a good mopping every night.But she’s helping. It makes her so happy to help, and fostering that spirit- being truly happy to help someone, and offering help without being asked – is far more important than orderly dish-doing or not having to swab the decks after the post-dinner bubble flood. And hopefully by including her now, she will be just as eager to help when she’s five, ten, and fifteen (ha!)


So. There’s only two ideals still standing! Ohhhh how far we fall.

The point of this post, is I’m not perfect. I’m an 80% kind of person. If I can do anything 80% of the time, I’m happy, and I try not to be too hard on myself for the rest.

80% of the time I try to eat well, be patient, live an eco-friendly life, and generally get as close as I can to this arbitrary ideal that I’ve sketched out for myself.

The other 20%? Well that’s made up of the occasional disposable diaper, overdoses of caffeine and licorice allsorts, days where I spend way too much time on my phone trying to escape my child, and just generally doing everything that I stand against, really.

Yin and yang, y’all. Yin and yang.

I think we need to do this more. I think it’s really good for the soul to admit that our always and nevers are really more like usuallys and sometimes. No one is perfect, but especially in this era of Instagram and Facebook, where you can choose one perfect millisecond of your day to filter and present to the world as always, it’s even more important to admit it.

I showed you mine. Care to share yours? What did you always think you would never do, pre-kids? I know there are some doozies out there!

7 things you might not know about Canada

A long, long time ago someone asked me to do a post about Canada. I remember thinking, “About…what, exactly? Just…Canada? In general?”

Then I probably got distracted by something and I forgot all about it. UNTIL, that is, I was reading a certain smutty gossip site this evening after putting Olive to bed (we all have our vices, OK?) and there was an article about Canadian Tire money.

It then occurred to me that non-Canadians probably have no idea what Canadian Tire money is, or what the hell a “Canadian Tire” is either, for that matter.

WELL. Here is a quick post with seven things you may not have known about Canada, and it begins right where it should.

1. Canadian Tire Money

Now that I am thinking about it, Canadian Tire money is sort of an odd concept.

It’s a fake currency produced and distributed by a Canadian automotive/hardware store called, well, Canadian Tire. They sell everything from tires (obviously) and seasonal decorations to home products like brooms and dishes. When you buy something, a certain percentage of your purchase price gets given back to you like this:

You collect these ridiculously minuscule bills (I think the largest denomination is $1 and who the hell has ever gotten a whole dollar?!) and in my experience they usually spend their entire lives crumpled up under your car seat or at the bottom of your junk drawer. I don’t think I can ever remember actually using it towards the purchase of any Canadian Tire item, ever.

I have heard rumours of a bar that accepts payment in Canadian Tire money, and I know that some charities have collected it, too. These days most Canadian Tire stores have a donation bin by the front door to deposit your hefty 10c bill, and that’s where mine always end up.

2. Our healthcare isn’t really free

I mean it is in the sense that we don’t get charged based on individual usage, (e.g. It didn’t cost me anything to have Olive (or the millions of tests before I had Olive) ) but that doesn’t mean that Canadians don’t have any healthcare costs, period.

In Canada it varies by province, here in BC I pay $149 every month to cover Adam, Olive and I. That gets us access to doctors, emergency care, surgeries, walk-in clinics etc. but not prescriptions, dental or optometry. Now Alberta, where we are moving to, is a richer province so you don’t pay a thing for provincial health care. Each province has their own provincial healthcare system and you have to register and receive a new card if you move provinces.

If I was low-income, or unable to afford the $149/month it currently costs for our family of three, there are programs that offer reduced rates and/or subsidies. I’m not terribly well-versed in “The System” but I don’t think a hospital would ever deny someone treatment based on whether or not they had healthcare. Maybe someone can correct me on that?

Also, contrary to popular belief, Canadians can most definitely choose their doctors – there’s no list, or approval process. You just pick one.

Most likely based on how cold their hands are.

3. Poutine

I’m really surprised America didn’t come up with this one – it originates from our French-speaking province of Quebec and consists of french fries, cheese curds, and hot gravy.

The hot gravy melts the cheese curds atop a base of crisp golden fries and the whole thing turns into a delicious gooey cheesy gravy-y heart-clogging mess.

It’s fantastic.

4. Poutine reminded me about French

Canada is officially bilingual –  all government signs, package labels, and documents have to be available in French and English, but under 18% of Canada can speak both languages. I grew up in Toronto and had French as part of my mandatory curriculum until Grade 6, and I think it was an elective after that.

Also, I’m not sure if this is still the case but for some reason when I was applying for universities, I was allowed to submit my French mark in place of my Math mark.

Doesn’t that seem weird? Looking back that seems weird. Those two subjects have almost zero overlap yet this little loophole enabled me to arrive in a second year statistics class staring blankly at a wall of numbers thinking, “Oh, shit. Didn’t think I’d see you again.”

Of course despite taking French all the way until Grade 11, I have retained virtually none of it. I can understand far more than I speak. but my accent is so atrocious that I never even try anymore. So.

5. Moose and Beavers.

I have never seen either one in person.

6. Caesars

We have a drink called a Caesar that apparently the rest of the world does not. It’s made with clam juice – which is a lot less gross than it sounds, promise.

Also, do not be fooled, a Bloody Mary is NOT a Caesar. Caesars are delicious and spicy and as soon as you have one you want to drink approximately eleven of them and, depending where you’re drinking it, you can sometimes make a whole meal out of the garnishes (olives, pickled beans, asparagus, celery and pepperoni have been known to garnish a Caesar)

(Now every Canadian reading this is craving a Caesar. Sorry.)

7.  You can’t buy alcohol in grocery stores

And until I visited the states as a legally aged adult, I didn’t know this was even a possibility! Holy shit! How convenient is that? To be able to pick up a bottle of wine at the same time as your dinner ingredients? What IS this magical place?

Here, liquor stores are entirely separate entities. You can not buy alcohol anywhere other than licensed bars/pubs/restaurants, or specifically designated liquor stores.

I don’t know why. Lately there has been some word of this changing, but I’ll believe it when I see it. (And drink it.)

That’s all I got. (Sorry). Cheers – eh?

(If you have Canada questions, ask them in the comments and I will answer! There are no dumb questions. Except the ones I will publicly mock you for. So. )

10 Easy Steps to Getting Your Book Published*


*If your name is Madeleine Somerville, and you have spent five seven a million years in relative obscurity writing inane blog posts about things like hyena bets and the perfect fuchsia lipstick, that is.

1. Write. Everyone says this but it’s totally true. If you want to be a writer, write. For me this meant sharing intimate details about my life and the lives of my loved ones for the amusement of strangers on the internet. So, I mean, it’s not Hemingway but I think it’s a pretty sweet gig.The bonus of writing, and the extra bonus of writing in a forum where you open yourself up to feedback – constructive and otherwise, anonymous and not – is that you get a chance to hone your voice and see which parts of your writing resonate with people.

I can not give enough thanks to the dozens of people over the years who have taken the time to comment, “like”, email me, or convey in any way shape or form that my writing has affected them (whether it’s made them laugh or fill with rage, both are exciting!). I don’t care what any writer says about the craft or the artistry or the process: writers write to be read. The fact that you were reading is what kept me writing – even when there were like five of you


2. Be passionate. In the beginning I wrote just for the sake of it. I wrote because it felt good, and I because I often couldn’t (and still can’t) make sense of my thoughts until they were written down. But when I realized people were reading, I began to write about things I felt passionately about and wanted to share with others. My husband, my dog, my reactions to pop culture events – all of the little parts of my life I loved and hated.

As I became more and more interested in eco-friendly living my blog reflected that  – lately it has mirrored my fascination with the experience of motherhood.

Writing gave me a platform to share my passions, and for a while there I was that person who was like, “Hey! Hey! Did you know? That you can shampoo your hair with baking soda? And condition it with apple cider vinegar? And there’s no toxic chemicals? And not only is it good for the environment but it’s good for your hair, too?” and this was so exciting to me, and I was so passionate about it that I wanted to share it with everyone, all the time. So I did.


3. Share. Initially I shared my ideas for a simple eco-friendly life in a little pamphlet I sold alongside my crocheted creations at farmer’s markets. Then I began searching for a bigger audience to bore share my awesome exciting discoveries with (Guys? Did you know? That you can make your own laundry detergent? And there’s no sulfates? Or plastic containers? Or skin irritants? And it’s super inexpensive and easy to make?).

I posted a few recipes and ideas to my blog and a staff member from the then-fledgling website SkinnyScoop.com somehow saw one and invited me to create a list on their website as a better way to organize this content.

I did, and unbeknownst to me the list was featured on Yahoo! Shine.

This is where the magic happened. Which brings me to step 4


4. Get lucky. There are thousands of writers out there. Millions maybe. Most want to be published. As long as I’ve written, I have wanted to see my name on the spine of a book, but the fact that it is actually happening is honestly pure, unadulterated luck. I felt guilty about it for a long time, because I felt as though I hadn’t really done anything to get published. It felt like cheating a little (I needn’t have worried. The real work was still to come! Ooooh, foreshadowing!).

What happened was that my editor saw the list I posted, and emailed SkinnyScoop to get my contact information.

On April 27, 2012 I got an email asking me if I wanted to turn that list into a book.

At this point, you understand, it is customary to burst into the bathroom where your perennially-disheveled husband is having a shath (shower-bath. What, you don’t do that? Weird.) and screech at him excitedly in a pitch only Gus can hear, until he successfully calms you down enough to explain yourself. Then you should pee your pants with excitement, panic, pass out, regain consciousnes, compose a reply and wait.

And change your pants, obviously.


5. Write a proposal. Because I was contacted by my publisher, and not the other way around, I think my book proposal was less extensive than it may have been were I just pitching it blind. Basically I assembled a table of contents, a few sample chapters, and an outline of what the book would be about and who it would appeal to.

This felt like a very funny, strange thing to do. I kept procrastinating and putting it off and eventually Adam asked me what the hell was going on and I said, probably tearfully, “How the hell am I supposed to write a book? I don’t know how to write a book! And what if they say yes?” 

It felt pretend.

Whenever I sat down to work on it, a small voice in my head would scream excitedly, “Oh my godddd, we’re writing a booook! It’s happening! It’s really happening!” and then it would immediately get squashed by dozens of other voices who said terrible things like “Who the hell do you think you are?” , “What are you going to say that hasn’t been said a million times before?” and “Why are you still in your pajamas? It’s three pm!”

But I shut those damn voices up through a brilliant combination of denial, blind faith and too much coffee. Thus, step 6.


6. Silence self-doubt. Self-doubt is a bitch, guys. Impostor syndrome is even worse, because even when you DO succeed you are still convinced that the only thing you’re actually succeeding at is faking it, and everyone is going to find you out soon enough.

You just have to ignore that noise. Silence the self-doubt. Ignore the negativity – especially the most insidious form, which for some sad reason always seems to come from inside your own head.

For this step it really helps to have a lovely man who truly believes in you to say something surprisingly astute like, “You will find new things to say because you have really interesting ideas. But even if you didn’t, it’s not the content that’s important as much as it’s your voice. That’s what attracted your editor to you in the first place, and there’s no point having a book filled with great information if it’s so boring that no one wants to read it.”

Adam, sometimes you really are sublime. (Other times you are enraging, like when I am re-packing our stuff and I discover that you have packed, moved 1000 kilometres, stored for a year and now expect me to re-pack an entire box full of old washing machine hoses. But other OTHER times, like that first time I was talking about a moment ago, you are sublime. So let’s focus on that [instead of, say, the fact that I may have thrown out your box of washing machine hoses])


7. Have your proposal accepted. OH. MY. GOD! Seriously?Wet your pants again. Screech again. Hug Adam. Hug Gus. Wipe off Gus slobber. Call your mom. Wish you could get loser-drunk to celebrate, but unfortunately you are 4 months pregnant so be a lady and pop open a bottle of sparkling apple juice instead.


8. Write the book. The fact that this is only one step is ridiculous. This is the hardest part! For most writers this part probably comes at the beginning, they will write the book and then shop it around, but for me it happened in reverse so I signed my contract, and then stared at a blinking cursor for eight months while sporadically mashing my face into the keyboard and hoping something eloquent and funny came out. (It did!)This part involved lots of coffee, and lots of people watching Olive and lots more self doubt. But mostly just writing. Lots of writing.


9. Edit the book. This was the part I feared the most. I feared them shipping me a manuscript covered in red pen, and I feared being told I wasn’t good enough and having to go back and start from square one. Instead I received several suggestions for reorganizing the content, a request for additional chapters, and in the later stages, corrections to my grammar/consistency/Canadian spellings (See you later, vestigial u’s!)


10. Promote the book. This brings us up to date, and this is where I am now. I have to confess that I find this part particularly awkward because as you may have noticed above, I am squarely in the “Doubt my own abilities while quietly slinking further and further into my seat” camp, rather than the “Look at me! Look at me! Look at how awesome I am tooting my own horn!” camp.

But promoting a book is kind of like writing a resume, you need to suck it up and sell yourself a little bit because you know that the end result will be worth it.

For me the motivation isn’t financial -I don’t think many people make money off writing books these days- it’s simply being read.

That’s the payoff of this whole thing, and it goes all the way back to #2. I am so passionate about this book, and the content contained inside. I am excited to empower people to give a giant eff-you to huge greenwashing corporations and make their own cleaning products instead of buying them. I am excited to hear about other people discovering things that have become commonplace to me, like bringing my own containers to pick up takeout food, or trying to cut plastic out of my life entirely.

Most of all, I am really happy that I was able to successfully present this information in a way that is enjoyable to read.

This book isn’t a reference manual, it’s a story. A humorous tale of a slightly neurotic Canadian lady with a husband and a baby, a dog and a job.

Being green isn’t a full time job, nor should it be, and I don’t want to devote all of my time to this cause, I just want to take simple steps to turn our consumer-culture on its head, while simultaneously making stock in baking soda shares skyrocket (seriously, invest now).

That’s what I discovered in this whole process, through the passion and the luck, the writing and the self-doubt: my voice is worth something.

I really felt like we needed someone to say that being green means more than buying a bunch of stuff labelled “natural”. We needed someone to ask why we’ve forgotten that the first rule of environmentalism is to reduce. And most of all, we needed someone to call bullshit on the whole one-upping, guilt-fest, shame-show that green living has become.

And guys, I think I have actually managed to do all of this while simultaneously amusing you with stories about my beautiful, deranged husband Adam, sharing recipes I’ve been using for years for everything from body scrubs to a magic cold-busting tea, and also ensuring you won’t become an obnoxious, preachy enviro-nag in the process.

I think that’s worth promoting.

I am so, so proud of this book and  I am trying to force myself to get over the awkwardness of saying that. I am trying to speak up about how pleased I am to have authored it, and how truly good I think it is.


So there’s a quick and dirty quide to getting published if your name is Madeleine Somerville!
I am so aware of how incredibly fortunate I am to have had this opportunity, and I’m truly grateful.  All You Need Is Less is the result of two years, seventy-thousand some odd words, dozens of phone calls and emails, and many tears shed from joy and frustration both. 

Sweet Madeleine started with a tagline that read “…givin’ it away for free” and although I’m not giving this book away for free (except for the next four weeks when I will be!) I still wrote it for the exquisite pleasure of being read.

I hope you will!

Things I Don’t Do Anymore

A sampling of things I don’t do nearly as much as I should (or at all, in some cases), and that I sometimes feel vaguely guilty about/aware of/motivated to change, with varying degrees of success:

  • Read. as much as I’d like to, anyway. I used to read at least a book a week. Now? Maybe one a month if I’m lucky. The issue isn’t even time, it’s attention span. I can’t seem to get my mind to focus in diving into, and fully committing to the kind of books I like to read best, the books where it takes fifteen minutes to settle into the author’s writing style, cadence of speech and narrative. Shifting and arranging yourself until it becomes familiar and engrossing. These days I barely make it ten minutes before jumping up to make tea, switch laundry over, check some entirely useless and unremarkable thing on my phone, etc. UGH.
  • Do yoga. In the year before Olive was born I really got into yoga, I found an amazing studio and was going 2-3 times a week. My body felt loose and capable, strong and flexed. I continued practicing in a mom and baby class after she was born, but since moving I have been to only one or two classes and neither style resonated with me and so I am here, crunched and hunched and feeling as brittle as an eighty year old woman. I have promised to get back into it a million times, but funds are few and yoga studios are tough because you really have to mesh with the teacher – or I do anyway – otherwise I am just spending $15 a class to internally berate someone for repeating “breathe innnnn, breathe outtttt” in an incredibly obnoxious way.
  • Deal with my hair. Oh my god seriously. I did not notice that I had amazing hair when I was pregnant, but in retrospect I suspect that  my hair did get a little bit amazing, comparatively speaking.Take a look at this grainy photograph from when I was about eight or nine months pregnant.


  • I mean, the hair isn’t anything incredible, but compared to the straw heap I am now dealing with this demure little side-parted ponytail looks absolutely breathtaking.The thing is, after you have a baby all of your delightful pregnancy hormones go away. And this means that you suddenly lose all of the hair that you weren’t losing for the past nine months, and what this means is that when your baby is fifteen months old you will be looking in the mirror trying to understand why every strand of your hair – not hyperbole here, literally  every strand- is a different length ranging from 1″ onwards. Hair sticks out of my head in all directions making me look like an angry hedgehog and no matter how much I brush or condition or otherwise attempt to manage it, I look disheveled. So, I mean, what’s the point right? Any other angry hedgehogs out there who have stumbled upon a solution to this issue, please feel free to rescue whats left of my dignity and share it with me in the comments.
  • Connecting with friends. I am the worst at calling people, returning calls, answering calls, and not ignoring calls and/or sending them straight to voicemail. If you have ever tried to call me on the phone I would like to take this opportunity to say two things: 1) I am so, so sorry, and 2) I am probably never phoning you back.It’s not because I don’t love you, or miss you, or wonder what is going on with your life and your house and your husband and your job, it’s just because I feel completely ill-equipped to carry on my end of a conversation and give your words the attention they deserve while simultaneously trying to prevent Olive from eating kibble again. She loves kibble. She is sneaky about getting to the kibble. She becomes enraged when you forcibly extract kibble from her mouth and she tries to bite you and then Gus lurks nearby because he keeps hearing me say “Kibble” and I usually slip in one of his drool puddles and concuss myself.

    So. Email me, maybe?


  •  Sleep. I mean, obviously, right? There’s the baby, but it also bears mentioning that I am completely incapable of going to bed at a reasonable hour so really, I have no business blaming Olive for why every SINGLE morning I haul myself out of bed, stare my bedraggled hedgehog-self in the mirror and say, with utmost sincerity, “Okay I am going to go to bed early tonight. For REAL this time.”And guys, I mean it! I really mean it. Then I go to work and come home, eat dinner, give Olive her bath, read her a million books, put her to bed and then find reason after reason to put off bedtime for like eight more hours. Repeat.

So, is this list basically a summary of several things that I used to truly value and indeed, consider essential to my personhood, that have almost entirely disappeared from my life since having Olive?

Um. Yes. And it’s only going to get worse (or so they tell me!) Each successful child will find a few more things to wrench from my life,  like greedy little succubi (succubuses? I’ve never had the pleasure of using the plural before) until I am little more than a husk that they call Mama.

But in exchange I get this:


So – even?

I hear that doing yoga and having good hair are overrated, anyway.

To the left, to the left

That title right there is Beyonce singing to 2013 on my behalf, and she’s telling it to just get the hell right out.

GET GONE, 2013!

In case I am not being clear – I was not sad to see 2013 go. This year was an experiment in many ways, and I come out of it having learned enough to not call it a failure, but I also learned that 13 is not my number. Not at all. For me 13 is black cats and walking under ladders, stepping on cracks and bad juju all ’round.

BUT. For once in my life, rather than bemoan popular traditions and do all in my power to buck them, I am going to wholeheartedly embrace them. Thus, this post. A 2013 retrospective on the first day of 2014. Our life in blog posts.


  • Olive was the most adorable bear ever
  • She tried her first food, loved it, and has been eating everything she could get her hands on ever since
  • We began what I am now beginning to think of as our year in limbo

My little hoodlum.

  • I vowed to dial back my iPhone use. This was…somewhat successful. A bit successful. Sort of successful! I’m better than I was I can quit when I want to I swear.
  • I discovered that Adam and I are 70% compatible according to the Chinese zodiac. Who knew?


  • I flexed my domestic muscles and baked gluten-free bread and it turned out hollow. Several times. Apparently it takes me several tries, and approximately $800 of various gluten-free flours for me to learn a lesson.

  • I ruminated (as one does on ones Internet blog) about growing older, and Olive growing older, and the passage of time and what does it all mean?

  • I blogged about Terracycle, my favourite organization that recycles everything from Tassimo pods to flip flips to cigarette butts.
  • I hid behind a chair and ate poutine. Yep. Sounds about right.
  • We were swarmed by bees. BEES! Did you know Adam was deathly afraid of bees? Me neither.
  • You guys helped me pick an author photo from the 800+ glamour photos I had done a few years ago.

Oh LA!

Just a lady walking her Llama. What. 

  • We acted like real live adult parents and opened Olive an RESP. And she started signing! (Aside: Does anyone else always read that as SINGING? Whenever I write about signing I always wonder if there are a contingent of people out there baffled that I am so excited about my daughter’s ability to sing different words. No? Just me?)

  • Olive took her first flight and we went to Ontario. Adam and Granddaddy futzed around with power tools and sharp objects, both emerging miraculously unscathed.

  • My favourite baby turned one. we had a party for her and I cried and ate chocolate cake.
  • I shared doubts about motherhood

  • Family Halloween costume time! (I don’t even know who I am anymore.)
  • I left Olive overnight for the first time and, ironically, got less sleep than usual.
  • I went viral. Adam called it a virus. As in “Madeleine has been a virus for three days!” That’s almost worse than when he pronounces the nonexistent “x” in “espresso”. No. No, I wake that back. “Expresso” is worse.
  • I went back to work

  • We celebrated Olive’s second Christmas and I haven’t even really written about it yet, but here are a few pictures.