All set for summer! Psyche! Not! LOL!

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This week on Mom.me, I wrote about summer. Which is coming. In one week. And yet. I have made. No plans. Because. It stresses. Me out. Also? CAMP IS NOT CHEAP. It used to be cheap...er. When we didn't have so many kids. Ha! Who knew?

(We have booked one week of theatre camp, actually. Other than that? I got nothin' guys.)
The other thing—and this is the bigger issue—camp is not cheap, and frankly, we cannot afford to put kids in camp full (or even part) time this summer. Not with preschool tuition and life being life-ish. SO. Improvisation it is. Less money, mo improv... 
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You can read the post in its entirety, here. In the meantime, what are your plans? I am especially curious how all the work-from-homers deal with summer/camp/kids activities. I already feel like I've failed everyone and summer hasn't even begun.
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GGC




The Hand on the Mirror

The following post is sponsored by Grand Central publishing and the new book, The Hand on the Mirror, a true story of Life Beyond Death, now available in book stores. 
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When I became a parent, I knew I would be asked questions I didn't know the answer to, and when Archer finally asked me the ubiquitous question, what happens when we die, I felt relieved. Because I didn't know. And I wasn't supposed to know. Because nobody really knows... 

And that is what I told him.

And then I started asking questions. Because sometimes the only way to answer a question is to ask one in return.

"What do you think happens when we die? Where do you think we go?"
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Over the years I have found that children are far better at digesting, accepting and healing from the passing of loved ones. Maybe, as adults, we know too much. Or maybe we don't know enough...

Four years ago, I wrote this:

...We talk about how much we'll miss each other when we are no longer able to hold each other with our bodies but that we'll forever hold onto each other with our minds, our stories and words, our hearts. And in the meantime... how fantastic that we get to, right? And we do. Constantly. We pile on top of each other like puppies and tell each other all day long how much we love each other. Because we can. Because someday that won't be the case. Que sera. C'est la vie. Life is short. Etc... Of course these things are difficult to talk about. All the fascinating stuff is. Complex and challenging. Emotionally daunting. Easier to ignore than face. Overwhelming, clearly. But if we can't talk openly about the certainties of life then where does that leave us as parents? Isn't it better to prepare our babes for emotional hardship? For sexual awareness? For real life? Isn't it more beneficial to our kids to hear these things from us? As opposed to some kid on the playground? A Pixar film? Personally, I rather have these kinds of discussions at home. Where it's safe and so are they to fill in their own blanks.



Janis Heaphy Durham's memoir recounts her experiences after her husband's passing and his crossover from the afterlife back into hers.

In writing her memoir and interviewing scientists and spiritual practitioners, she discovered that the intersection between life and death is love... that LOVE, much like death, is defined by personal experience and reflection.

And signs.

SIGNS. 

Towards the end of the book, Durham writes this:

Suddenly I saw before me a walking bridge. Boldly embossed on a plaque were the words: THE MAX BRIDGE. I stopped in my tracks. What was this doing here? It wasn't here the last time I was in Cambridge. I found myself asking the old familiar question: is this a coincidence? I know Max is not an uncommon name, but still, what are the chances? Naturally, I couldn't help thinking that a bridge goes from here -- to there. What a metaphor. And then I remembered Traci Ireland telling me that Max needed to cross "the bridge."... 

***

What happens when someone leaves their body but stays with you... what does that look like? What does that feel like?

In this vast expanse of knowing and solving and having "all the answers" at our finger tips, it has always been a relief for me knowing that life's biggest questions have no answer. And in times of stress and overwhelming lostness, I turn to the unanswerable questions to reinstall my faith and restore my heart.

At its core, Durham's story is about love --  how it thrives and survives in the hearts and souls and stories of those of us who continue our journeys on this side of the bridge.
IMG_5758 Revi and her great great great grandmother

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For more about Janis Heaphy Durham and her book, The Hand on the Mirror, go here. And thanks again to Grand Central Publishing for sponsoring this post. Also! I have a copy of The Hand in the Mirror up for grabs to give away. To win? Comment below and I'll pick one winner at random next week.

GGC

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Eat Well: Apples to Apples

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, Mom!
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I totally get why kids balk at cut-up apples that have turned brown in their lunches because when I was little, I turned my nose up at the sight. When my kids were little, someone told me to sprinkle the apple slices with cinnamon so that they couldn’t tell that they went brown, which is kind of an ingenious idea and works if your kids like cinnamon. But they kind of look gross and the juice comes out of them a bit so it might be unappealing to most kids.

The other day, one of my friends shared this video on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you all because it is awesome and I wish I had known about it when my kids were young. All you need is a knife to cut up the apple and a rubber band after its cut…no plastic bag needed.

I tried it the other day when I brought an apple with me to work for a snack, and I thought, “Wow… this is totally a fun way to have an apple! I would have LOVED this when I was a kid!”

So…here it is. A totally awesome and easy way to cut up an apple and keep it so that it won’t turn brown.



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ED: Rebecca, here. I tried it, too and IT TOTALLY WORKS GO, TEAM!
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IMG_1839 just after opening (six hours later)

 Love, 
 WWW + GGC

"...Before the World was Big."


1. "I just miss how it felt standing next to you wearing matching dresses before the world was big." - Girlpool, Before the World Was Big (via Rookie)


Sunday Video: Girlpool – "Before the World Was Big" from Rookie on Vimeo.

2. "You know I never loved you more than when we were hiding from those sirens. sirens. Oh, we laughed so hard. Threw up in your mother's azaleas... That was before. We. Had made. Any terrible mistakes..."   - St. Vincent, Teenage Talk



3.  "If you've got a spare half-a-million. You could knock it down and start rebuilding..." - Courtney Barnett, Depreston


4. I'm looking for back-issues of SASSY magazine circa 1991-1994 for a project I'm working on about being a teenager in the 90s. (I've been working tediously on said project and will write something about it as soon as I can. In the meantime, please bear with me and the sporadic 90s/teenage references.) SO! If anyone has a stack of Sassys in their garage and is looking to sell them at a reasonable price... I will be eternally yours. Signed, Girl's Gone Vagueblogging.
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via Sassy Scans

...In the meantime, I did stumble upon this gem (see above) which boasts some pretty sweet scans from the 90s. I actually had this silver angel spread on my wall/one of the images on my school binder... and actually taught myself how to emulate the silver eye-makeup thanks in part to an obsession with MAC's iridescent eye shadows:
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(I later went on to perfect the look thanks to holy bible, Kevyn Aucoin's Making Faces.)

Anyway... Sassy Mag back issues, anyone? I literally saved EVERY SINGLE thing from yesteryear EXCEPT my old magazines (which I cut up and used as wrapping paper/book covers when I wasn't wallpapering my bedroom walls with the pages) and I'm kicking myself that I didn't save SOME of them, at the very least. This one, especially. Classic.
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I mean. 
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I mean!
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I mean. 
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(I mean.)

xoxoxo

GGC

Favorite Family Films (For now, anyway)

IMG_8973_2 Cozy o'clock

This week on Mom.me, I wrote about playing favorites.... in the movie department. As many of you know, trying to decide on a film FOR THE WHOLE family can be difficult, and while we usually take a vote (democracy 4 prez) we have established a few must-have movies that appeal to ALL four children's tastes and textures. These movies are currently on rotation in our house.

1. Hotel Transylvania -

This is the current favorite. TRULY. All four of my kids love this movie most. Which is a first. I mean, how often do four kids love the same movie? It's rated PG but you will find nothing scary, here. Or inappropriate. I don't think. I mean, my three year olds love it as much as my ten year old. (And yes, as of tomorrow, I have a ten year old. Which is insane. Moving on...) This movie is fantastic. It's hysterical. I actually cry-laughed in two different parts so PLEASE join your kids when you sit down to watch this one. Because LOLs are good. LOLs are necessary. LOLs are very much needed these days.


2. The Book of Life

This movie is a masterpiece and several weeks back I went on a twitter rant about how messed up it was that The Book of Life didn't win all the things. Because it is a WONDERFUL movie. The music is incredible. The animation is incomparable. The story is beautiful. The characters are nuanced and insightful. And it deals with death (a la Dia De Los Muertos) in a way that isn't scary, but beautiful and comforting. It's really good, you guys. We dig.


3. The Gnome Mobile -

This was one of my favorites when I was little and it was one of my mom's favorite when she was little so it was very exciting to show my kids this wonderful gem and to find that they adored it as well. Even if it is a little outdated. And sexist. And outdated and sexist. (Fable stood up several times to lecture dudes something fierce which was pretty amazing. When I was a kid I didn't even think twice that ladies weren't being treated fairly... Kind of exciting how in-the-know today's young ladies are. I was DENSE, man.)

Beyond that, what I love most about The Gnome Mobile (which stars the Mary Poppins kids) is that the grandpa believes in the same magic they do. Usually it's kids vs adults, but in the Gnome Mobile, grandfather is just another one of the kids and I love that. I love that he believes his grandchildren and helps them protect the gnomes! GO, GRAMPS! Go, gnomes! Go lady gnomes! Go, ending musical sequence! (THE BEST PART BY FAR OMG SO GOOD.)



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You can read the rest of our recommendations over on Mom.me, here. (I also wrote a post last summer that includes some of our other favorite family films. The Tinker bell movies are also a huge it in our house. I kind love them all. Especially the recent Neverbeast one. That made me cry, man. I love a good movie about GOING WITH GUT and TRUSTING goodness in others. Even when society tells us otherwise. Question everything, kids. And, yes, I know it's Disney but WHOA. Very E.T... but, like... a LITTLE less upsetting. 

P.S. I would love to hear what's on current rotation at your house. I am especially curious to hear from those with kids of all different ages because when tastes range from Star Wars to Secret of the Wings it can get a little tricky...

Thanks in advance and have a great weekend, all.

GGC