Throwback ….

Repost from June 2016

I wrote this last spring but the list of still holds true. These books are some of may favourites. Each one captures the joy, trauma and complexity of motherhood in very different ways. Just in case you’re looking for a new ¬†novel to lose yourself in this weekend … Happy reading! J xo

Originally posted on June 16, 2016 for Mabel’s Labels on



It’s me time, dammit!

After being ripped from sleep at 5 am to deal with Austin’s explosive diarrhea and Harmony’s explosive diarrhea covered foot, I spent the first hour of¬†the school day¬†on my hands and knees wiping, flushing, blotting, spraying and steaming in the girls room. Then I lit a scented candle and contemplated a wee nip of Pinot Grigio. Cleaning poop with the consistency of almond butter is not fun, but it’s REALLY not fun when it cuts¬†into me time.

Me time …¬†¬†those glorious hours between 8:30 and 3:00 when my children are¬†in school (also known as the fastest 6 hours of life).¬†As a temporary stay at home mom, I’m on duty in the mornings and most days after school (also known as the longest 6 hours of life). So the only time I really get to myself, when I’ve had enough caffeine to enjoy it, is during the school day.

I will save the “I am not a maid / slave / handmaiden and just because I’m not working doesn’t mean I should have to do everything” debate for another blog but suffice it to say, my Women’s Studies¬†professors would not be happy about the gender roles my husband and I have recently taken up (or the amount of naked Barbies littering my backyard like a Patricia Cornwell novel). Nope, those are topics¬†for another day (like when the house is in my name).

So I try to protect me time as much as I can, which means¬†as few boring errands and chores during the day as possible. I prefer to spend my me time watching Netflix, writing, catching up on a novel (while snacking, because I’m not an invalid) or meeting a friend for lunch. Occasionally I will throw in a load of laundry or pick up a broom, but then I have to reward myself with another episode. Perhaps I’m okay with being the 2014 version of Peg Bundy because I know¬†it’s a limited time offer.

One of the few exceptions to this “rule” is grocery shopping, because grocery shopping with two kids sucks even harder than 5 am dog diarrhea. Ditto hair appointments. But vet appointments, trips to the LCBO (of which there are many), library book returns, prescription renewals … these are all done with kids in tow because I have better things to do with my time, like find out what Mary Crawley is going to do about all those blasted suitors!!

Having said all this, there are a few things around the house I can’t ignore for much longer.

Like this, the outdoor painting session gone awry (two weeks ago).

Let's hope those are water-based paints.

Let’s hope those are water-based paints.

Or tossing the flowers that Daren gave me for our anniversary (on September 10).



Or Daren’s bedside table which makes our room look like it’s been burgled.


This is bad.

So much to do, so little time.


Dear Daren…

It’s been¬†7 days since you escaped left for the cottage. I¬†hope¬†you and your buddies are having an AWESOME time golfing¬†and that the weather has been spectacular. I hope you’re getting lots of sleep and enjoying many delicious meals and adult conversation. Don’t forget to try that new seafood place we talked about!!

Not much is new here. The girls have now memorized the entire soundtrack from Frozen and sing it to each other every night, substituting key words with “poop” or “vagina”. Last night they fought for 25 straight minutes about whether dolphins or mermaids were better. I’m not sure who won¬†because I was smashing my head into the concrete and could not hear, but it seemed¬†pretty heated.

Yesterday¬†Harmony asked “why?” when I told her she should not open the door of a moving car, so I’m pretty sure we made the right decision to send her to summer school. Speaking of which, a bunch of artwork came home on the last day and I saved it for you in the recycling bin.

Good news about the plumbing! It was NOT a diseased muskrat after all. Turns out they had not been flushing the toilet in their bathroom¬†for a few¬†days (thank you environmental science unit!) so we had a talk about conserving water in more practical ways. And speaking of water …¬†here’s what went down in the pool this afternoon:

This is Harmony crying because Leila accidentally hit her in the head with a golf ball. Where did those come from I wonder???


This is Leila crying because Harmony yelled at her for hitting her in the head with a golf ball:


And this is the toad who had the misfortune of hopping into our yard but mercifully kept them busy for the next 5 hours. Expect a call from PETA.


And this is me, taking my first selfie just for you.

You wish

You wish

Can’t wait to see you on Monday. Don’t be afraid to bring wine to the airport.

Your loving wife.




Lessons From Little Me

Last time my mom came over (Easter), she brought a box of old photos and keepsakes that I promptly deposited in the middle of the dining room table and forgot about. This tells you a few things about me:

1. I’m not big on nostalgia

2. I’m not big on my dining room table.

But last time I checked, Easter was IN APRIL so yesterday I finally I decided it was time to find this box a new home. Perhaps on some other barely-used surface, like the stove.

But before beginning the relocation (an arduous process of picking up the box, turning around and walking eight feet), I¬†couldn’t resist taking a peek inside. Predictably, it was full of old photos, school projects, letters from camp, and ribbons and medals (mostly ribbons) from my days as a competitive swimmer. Strolling down memory lane, I was happy to see that my girls are already taking after me in several ways. As an adoptive mom, you’re always thinking about nature vs. nurture and I was pleased to see that, for now, nurture seems to be winning out. Here’s some proof that they’re coming by it honestly.

mingming photo shoot 420

Lesson: When in doubt, go naked. Or at least remove your underwear.

mingming photo shoot 421

Lesson: Cats are awesome and they love to be held. Also, faux brick and brass fireplaces are savvy decorating decisions.

mingming photo shoot 430

Lesson: Thick hair, decent fashion sense and teeth are not required to be successful in Sr. Kindergarten.

mingming photo shoot 419

Lesson: A¬†pot belly and thunder thighs should never prevent you from wearing a bikini if that’s what makes you feel good. Side note: your Grandma is beautiful.


Armpit fat is the new black

Something terrible happened yesterday.

While “watching” the girls play in the pool (thank God for mirrored sunglasses and Next Issue on the iPad) I made a huge error.

Did I go inside without making them get out? Did I forget the ice for my sangria? Did I think it was okay to wear a bikini? Nope.¬†I made the mistake of reading a women’s fitness¬†magazine. Not only did I learn that I was obese (rats!),¬†I learned that there is a new scourge on our society. A new beauty¬†concern so great it was bolded, capitalized AND fitted with multiple exclamation marks.

I learned that all the shaving, clipping, toning, plucking and scrubbing is simply not enough. The pool exercises, the yoga, the “running”… also not cutting it.

You know why? Because it’s no match for armpit fat.

That’s right ladies, ARMPIT FAT.


I’m sorry you had to see that.

Just when you thought maybe you had this fitness thing under control, here’s¬†another reason to put down the peanut butter cup and race to the gym.


In case you weren’t sufficiently disgusted the first time…

Now let me be clear. I am used to magazines telling me I’m fat, and pretty soon my reading list is going to be reduced to Cat Fancy and Bass Fishing Quarterly. And I know healthy living is a pretty universal topic right now, kind of like shoulder pads and cocaine in the 80s. And I’m not dissing fitness or healthy living. I work at these things every day.¬†But armpit fat? Really?

Arm fat I am well acquainted with. We’ve been hanging together (literally) since the 90s. Rumour has it that some push ups, upper body weight training and maybe the occasional lifting of something heavy can fight this but I can’t confirm. But the pits too? Don’t they have enough to deal with? I sure hope by the time my girls reach the age of body image concerns (what is that now, 8?)¬†someone will have figured out a way to deal with these “unsightly bulges that can make you feel uncomfortable as well as self-conscious.”

In fairness, armpit fat is probably a legitimate concern if you’re wearing a lot of sleeveless tops and/or throwing your arms over your head in ecstasy in a well lit room (and if you are, don’t forget to gather your hair and pile it on top of your head with just a few strands hanging down. And look natural). But I’ve decided to focus my self loathing on the areas of my body that 1. people can see and 2. don’t have the word “pit” in them.

Call me crazy.




Solo Mission Day 3

Day 3…. ¬†Spent part of today working on¬†setting up this %^&$ blog and the rest of it missing Miss L who is back in foster care for 3 sleeps. Also managed to whip up a little something the recipe book called key lime cheesecake but should be more accurately described as “off white, undercooked cakey thing.” I’m a rebel and a champion of the underdog (also a lazy cheapskate) so I used regular limes and instead of key limes. Then I felt guilty for licking the bowl (and the beaters, and the spoon and some of the cake pan) so I went for a bike ride and got a flat 30 minutes in. I am taking this as further proof that exercise and I were just not meant to be together. Yup, pretty good day despite baking and exercise fails. No stress until H came home and demanded her bikini and lip gloss in order to play with the boys across the street. So I gave her a pair of heels and sent her on her way. Can’t wait till tomorrow when noise from the basement reno really ramps up.


Did I mention half my house is a construction zone?

Did I mention half my house is a construction zone?

Solo Mission Day 2: June 3, 2014

Day 2 of my captivity … Much better day than yesterday. I did not have a single homicidal thought and subsequently the in house threat level has been downgraded to orange. H managed to not have any mysterious stomach ailments requiring immediate pick up from school and I can almost – almost – see the bottom of the pool. L met her cousin Hayden today and got a brand new quilt custom made for her by Grandma. (She has agreed to cover me with it anytime she finds me sobbing in the fetal under the dining room table and I will do the same for her). Some vegetables and fruit were consumed and I’m 85% sure all teeth were brushed. So all in all a pretty successful effort by everyone. Tomorrow’s goal: toilet flushing.

H & H bonding over not being bullied by their big sisters

H & H bonding over not being bullied by their big sisters

My mom made this quilt. I did not get this gene.

My mom made this quilt. I did not get this gene.