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.



Oh 2012, I’ve never been so sad to see a year go. You were a fabulous year, my best yet. 

2012 saw me transformed mind, body and soul. I started as a single entity, lived three quarters of the year as two beings melded into one, will end it as a mother watching the best parts of me living independently in that squirmy, smiley little girl we call Olive.

Here are the highlights of the past 12 months.

                                    The Best of Sweet Madeleine: 2012

  • I made New Year’s resolutions, and kept most of them…for a while anyway. I wrote this list a full six weeks before I knew I was pregnant, yet wrote this about October 2012 (Olive’s birth month),

    “October: Whatever. Who Cares. I don’t care about October. October is a such a MEH month to me. In the context of my resolutions October will be a gimme month, a time to adjust to my wonderful new clean-eating yoga-doing gardening dancing social amazeballs creation I have become.

    And maybe to put time into creating a fabulous Halloween costume. Okay yeah, Halloween Costume. That’s it.

    November & December: TBA.  I’m leaving these two open because I can’t think of anything else (as evidenced by October) and I don’t want to just fill the months for the sake of filling them. These will be updated as needed.”

  • Needless to say, October was not a “meh” month, will never again be a “meh” month. I was unusually prescient in leaving these three months resolution-free. Had I known what was coming, my resolutions would have been “Shower once or twice a week. Try to not look like a homeless zombie person some of the time. Attempt to limit photos of Olive to less than 120 a day.”
  • I tried to tease apart and make sense of the KONY2012 movement and resulting backlash (oh god, remember that?)
  • I called my husband “Couch Satan” and lost two followers. Totally worth it.
  • I discovered this picture, drawn by a 17 year old Adam. Then I died from the laughing.


  • I felt the first kick from the baby who would become Olive
  • I found out that instead of my hippy-dippy home waterbirth, I’d be having a cesarean section (and freaked. the fuck. out. Obviously.)
  • My grandmother died. I miss her every day. I still cry when I remember that she won’t ever get to meet her first great-grandchild. She would have loved her. She would have pronounced her “divine”.
  • Adam and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary, and our our ten-year “being together without strangling each other to death” anniversary.
  • I got ginormous

  • I struggled with feeling trapped, stilted, with a new baby
  • I started researching baby toupees

Olive turns 6 weeks old this Friday and I feel like we are just DAYS away from seeing her first smile. 

She keeps giving little hints at it, like this smirk, delivered this morning (and immediately disqualified being as it was followed by a diaper explosion)

  • We began to see the first inklings of a Olive’s smile
  • Olive slapped Adam with her poop hands. I got to write “poop hands”.
  • We took Olive to meet Santa

And that brings us to today, as we sit spending the last dying hours of an incredible year.

I can’t thank you enough for coming along for the ride. I have no idea why I do this, why I sit here and hammer out these words day after day, except to say that it stretches and deepens me in a way that I can’t properly put words to.

Thank you for reading.

In Reverse

A while ago I stumbled upon Mighty Girl, and more specifically her Life List. It’s essentially a bucket list, things you’d like to do before you go. I thought it was amazing.

Until I read through it, and realized that it’s for sale. I mean, the items on the list are for sale. Companies can sponsor an item off of the list, Mighty Girl Maggie herself gets to cross the item off the list and a company gets a few sponsored posts.


These aren’t things like” Learn Italian” they’re things like “Go to Italy”, and I was immediately incensed and turned off. I can’t articulate why, when I break the idea down into its component parts it’s brilliant, so why do I find it so annoying?

  •  I have no problem with people monetizing blogs
  •  I have no problem with sponsored posts, as long as the sponsor is clearly stated at the beginning of the post (I hate reading an entire post and wondering the whole time why the writer is spending 2000 words on IKEA for no discernible reason, until I get to the end and BOOM! sponsored. It colours my perception of the writing and I’d like to have that context in place before I begin reading.)
  •  I think life lists are a pretty sweet idea
  •  Maggie is adorable y’all

So why the rage? Why was I so put off that I haven’t read her blog since? No idea.

Maybe because it seems like her life has a price tag? Maybe this falls into the same category as my reaction to learning that the year-long “find yourself” trip in Eat, Pray, Love was paid for by a publishing house. Doesn’t having a corporation sponsor an experience irrevocably change that experience? And even if it does, is that a bad thing?


Can I really say I’d turn down a trip to Greece if Proctor and Gamble wanted to pay for it?

Anyway, it got me thinking about my own Life List and as I’ve written before, I always get completely stumped when I think about this. Beyond the basics of having children, I can’t think of anything I completely need to do before I die. If I died tomorrow I would go with a smile.

This is one area I can’t plan, I don’t want to plan.

Then while I was searching through photo albums looking for pictures for the Story of Us post, I started realizing what a fucking amazing life I’ve had. The day to day can be pretty mundane, but the experiences I’ve had are incredible.

Guys, it brought tears to my eyes and I’m not even pms-ing!

Here’s my reverse life list, the amazing, incredible, awe-inspiring things I’ve done so far, in roughly chronological order:

  1. I was interviewed by CBC. In grade six. Something about standardized testing. I’m famous y’all!
  2. IB English and Social studies in High School (IB is a level higher than honours, reserved for only the geekiest of the geeks. My IB English class was taught by a deranged but wildly intelligent man who would automatically deduct 51% from a paper if we used the wrong your or you’re, there their or they’re.)
  3. Spent three weeks in Thailand and one week in Japan when I was 16.
  4. Was flashed by a chubby Japanese man.
  5. Kissed a python.
  6. Rode elephants.
  7. Graduated High School.
  8. Reported for a University paper.
  9. Wrote an (embarrassingly earnest) column for another University paper.
  10. Graduated University with a BA Sociology.
  11. Traveled around Australia for 4 months. Saw Koalas and Kangaroos.
  12. Swam with wild dolphins and a sea turtle. In the OCEAN, y’all, no aquarium. No trainers. 
  13. Learned to surf.
  14. Learned to scuba dive.
  15. Rang in Christmas eve on a beach.
  16. Wrote for our town’s newspaper.
  17. Got uncomfortably close with a 200 lb albino python named Apollo.
  18. Shot clean in a biathlon. (Okay, a mini-biathlon that I was reporting on. But I SHOT CLEAN nonetheless)
  19. Went Ziptreking.
  20. Hiked up a mountain
  21. Learned to crochet. Six months later did my first market.
  22. Got married. Couldn’t stop smiling.
  23. Got a tattoo.
  24. Helped one of my teens kick meth and graduate high school.
  25. Threw a surprise party.
  26. Skied Whistler mountain.
  27. Did glamour photos.
  28. Met Ryan Gosling. Sort of.
  29. Discovered a sex attic.


I think it’s pretty amazing to look back at your life like this, not to keep score or see how you compare to everyone else, but to remind yourself what an amazing life you’ve had. We do so much navel gazing, our worlds can be so small, we’re so consumed with new things, new experiences, to-do’s.

I don’t want to turn my life into a to-do list, I don’t want to focus on what’s left, I want to zero in on what I’ve accomplished.

Sometimes it’s good to turn around and see what you’ve left in your wake.

That being said, if someone wants to sponsor my grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, drop me a line.