Posts By: Julie Cole

Two Key Messages for a Good Start to 2015

I usually write about parenting because I spend a lot of time doing it. With six crazy kids, parenting is a full-time job. But, like most busy moms there are other things going on in my life and I try to keep positive in those areas as well. My perspective is the only thing I can control and it has been my best survival tool.

I thought I’d share a couple of quick “non-parenting” messages that are important to me. If you embrace these simple ideas for 2015, I think you’ll be happy you did.

1)      Be a good friend. On top of sharing great times together and being supportive, I believe the number one thing to practice in your friendships is one of my favourite friendship quotes:

2)      Try not to care what people think. I know it’s hard, but I try to be a lion every day. I put myself out there, and sometimes I cop criticism or get visits from “trolls” about my ideas or opinions. I remind myself that I’m the best qualified to live my life the way I want and raise my family according to what I think is best. People who judge from afar are the sheep. Roar loudly and ignore all the “baa-ing” in the background.

Are you facing the New Year with any key messages you hope to carry with you throughout 2015?

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Putting Creativity back into Christmas

Our family is going overseas for the holidays this year.  I hate the thought of Santa having to turn up at our holiday destination because it means I have to lug oversized bags full of gifts both there and back. A family of eight has enough gear to drag around.

To avoid this situation, I had the children write to Santa and ask him to come to our house early in hopes of having their presents delivered before the trip. This system actually works well, except for the fact that I’m Santa and if you think it’s tough meeting a December 25th shopping deadline, try pushing it forward a month. Yeah, that’s the not awesome part.

Having said that – I think I nailed some great presents this year. Each kiddo in our family ends up with one big ticket item. I tried to think outside the “gadget” box and have come up with some awesome presents that my kiddos will love. Here are my faves:

1)      A mermaid tail. (Yes, you can actually buy mermaid tails online.) I have one kid who spends most of her time swimming in the pool pretending to be a mermaid. When she’s not doing that, she is watching mermaid shows and movies. I can only imagine how delighted she will be when she unwraps her very own mermaid tail (www.finfunmermaid.com) with a built in fin.

2)      An instant camera. Yep, what’s old is new again. Remember the old Polaroid cameras? If you have a kid who is an “in the moment” type, this camera might be a winner!

3)      Extra special Pokemon cards. It just so happens that a kid in our neighbourhood recently won the World Pokemon Championship. Believe me – it’s a thing, a BIG thing. And now the “Andrew Estrada Winning Deck” is available for purchase. My Pokemon crazed kids will go off the rails when this turns up under the tree.

4)      A Harry Potter Chess Set. One daughter has two loves: Harry Potter and chess. So why not marry them in a themed chess board? It’s a bit of an investment, but I’d rather put my money into a chess set than a lot of other things she could be begging for.

5)      A GoPro Camera. Do you have an adventurous kid? I sure do, and she’d like to catch all of her daring stunts on film. Some of these gadgets can run pretty pricey, but if you shop around, you can find one for a pretty reasonable price.

6)      Hey, let’s not forget mom!  I spotted this little beauty and immediately sourced a talented knitting mama and commissioned her to make one for me. I always get myself the best presents. I know me so well!

Have you found anything special Christmas gift ideas to get your kiddos this year? Are you anticipating anything surprising and fabulous this holiday season?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

The Many Faces of Abuse

November is Women Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario, and I have a story to tell.

How long will our society allow abuse to happen?

Growing up, I had a teacher and a mentor I was extremely close with. With only ten years between us, as an adult, our friendship strengthened and we have remained connected throughout my life. Although I spent much of my twenties traveling and living abroad, our friendship never waned. She was that friend who always got the call from the labour and delivery room when I had a new baby, whose daughter was my flower girl, and who is the Godmother of my youngest daughter.

Almost two years ago, she seemed to disappear. I never thought much of it – everyone gets busy and consumed in daily life. I never questioned it because our friendship has stood the test of time and circumstance. I got a little curious when she cancelled a trip we had planned. Next, she skipped my daughter’s (her God-daughter’s) birthday and finally, she didn’t turn up for our little girl’s First Communion. I certainly thought it was odd and she didn’t offer any real excuses, but I’m not a grudge-holder and never questioned her love for me or my family.

Shortly after the missed events, she turned up at my house one night after the kids were tucked into bed. She looked emaciated, having lost a ridiculous amount of weight since I last saw her. Her face was pale and her eyes looked lifeless.  At that moment I truly thought that she was coming to tell me she was sick and dying.

I was wrong. Even though she looked completely vacant and she had lost a part of herself, she was not dying. Over the next several months, we spent nearly every night together talking through the end of her 31 year marriage. I discovered why she had become the shell of the vibrant and spirited woman she once was as she admitted to enduring years of financial, psychological, and emotional spousal abuse. These soul destroying acts had taken a terrible toll on her.

Twenty months later, and after countless hours of abuse counseling and group therapy, my determined friend has faced her situation with bravery. Not only is she committed to her own successful recovery, she is passionate about advocating women empowerment for others who are living the same nightmare. This is her message of strength and hope that she will share with the world.

With the timing of the Jian Ghomeshi fiasco and November’s designation, it is a good reminder that women like my friend are everywhere. They are living among us. They are us. And they’ll only share their stories when we are prepared to listen.

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

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