1393376675-shovelsandrope-f52c9bf3b151fa29ef7a950cfdf45daea2a66b21-s6-c30 photo via Nashville Scene

Big thanks to Mandy and Laurie for reminding me of the awesome that is Shovels & Rope. This song is SO so good. So good...

Hope everyone is having a beautiful day.

216. Lay Low by Shovels & Rope 


The Happiness of Pursuit

The following post was sponsored by Random House. 
When the book, The Happiness of Pursuit arrived on my door step, a few weeks back, I immediately thought of Joseph Campbell. (And, yes. I write about him often. But I look to him as the guru of story and find much of his work inspiring, thought provoking and extremely empowering.) If you aren't familiar with Campbell's work, he was a renowned mythologist who believed that the story was everything—the retelling, the studying, the writing, the seeking, the pursuit of the retelling and the studying and the seeking—that every man, woman and child is born a quest-seeker, that myths are what sustain us, stories acting as our societal and ethical guides.

And, in The Happiness of Pursuit, Chris Guillebeau pulls from Campbell's "hero's journey" and takes us on a quest to seek out fellow questers and highlight their stories, their goals, journeys and processes. (He does this on his blog as well and recently featured the amazing Robyn Devine of 10,000 Hats who IS AWESOME and lovely and YES.)

Guillebeau believes that, for some, it is the pursuit itself, not the end goal, that sustains us. And so, we all owe it to ourselves to seek, to pursue, to build our own little boats and sail across rivers and lakes, oceans and seas, not to get somewhere but to EXIST in the process of the getting.
This speaks to me as someone who desires to do much but feels uncomfortable about list-making and drawing out goals. I prefer not to mark the thing off the list but to experience the thing that isnt listed. And then, perhaps, to experience it again and again and again if that is the thing that I love, enjoy, feel challenged by  I am someone who enjoys "the during" but struggles much with the afterward. After completing one novel and then another, I was as depressed as Id ever been. After completing one pilot and then another I felt just as sad. (Nothing happened with any of these projects, by the way, and I have spent the last ten years working on a new one that may take years more to see complete.)

I am happy not when I finish a task but when I'm existing within the strand of moments... when I'm pursuing a project or a post or an adventure with my family.

And when it's over? I feel down, man. Depressed. Sometimes even angry. I am at my worst after a trip or a finished project, a last day  After every major project I have felt the same way. After every minor project, too—even after something as simple as a blog post. As soon as I click the publish button I feel like I've just stepped off the page and have nowhere to stand... and so I must jump back into another one. QUICK! FIND A NEW QUEST! FIND A NEW IDEA! A NEW STORY! This is something I am working on, of course. I am terrible with endings and goodbyes and knowing when to stop. I ramble and turn circles and go back into drafts and kill off characters… I fiddle, I dismantle, I abandon…

In one of the last chapters of  The Happiness of Pursuit, Guillebeau writes of the story of Miranda Gibson, who lived in a tree for more than a year. And on her blog, after coming down and rejoining the world, she wrote:
And it is overwhelming, regardless of whether you've spent a year in a tree or as a parent, a wife, a student, a teenager... There's so much to say and think, so many stories to tell and all of the words are swishing around in our shoes and how do we get started? How do we start telling the stories we want to tell? 

Where to even begin, right? 

Campbell said, The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” 

And I think of that often, within the context of this space. So many voices. So many points of view. All valid. All important. All worth sharing. All needing to start somewhere... 

Today I have told you the story of my feet touching the ground…”

Be who you are. 

Write your story. 

Live your story. 

Pursue, pursue, pursue... 
After all, there is no greater story than the one its author feels compelled to tell Everything that is deeply felt is significant. All journeys matter. Because it isnt about pursuing happiness but, as Guillebeaus title so brilliantly articulates, finding happiness within the pursuit.

That is what I love so much about blogging and creating in this space. There are no real endings. No right answers. No rules. Every day you get a new pass at a new subject, a new draft that is imperfect and, perhaps, (sometimes) unacceptable to its audience. And that's all good, man. Because perfection was never the point. 

We do not read to get the last page, or the last line or the last word... we read to experience the meat, to agree, to disagree, to highlight and strikethrough and keep turning... And blogs, at their core, are just diaries with endless pages, exposed and vulnerable for the sake of hinting at the okayness of imperfection.

That's why, fourteen years later, I still do this. I believe that the struggle is far more interesting than the resolution - that the flaws are what make stories compelling and adventures worth their weight, moment after moment, pursuit after pursuit, to be continued, amen. What happens in the end, when the moment has passed, is not the happy place. This? RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW is. 
For more on The Happiness of Pursuit, check out Chris Guillebeau's website, here. You can also follow him on facebook, twitter and instagram. And big thanks to Random House for sponsoring this post.  
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9pm. On a Good Night.

This week on Mom.me, I wrote about bedtime. Ahem.

As stated in the post, we never really struggled with Archer and Fable at bedtime so this may be a twin thing. It may also be a "four children" thing because, mornings (getting the kids out the door) and nights (getting the kids into bed at a decent time) are the two most challenging aspects of having multiple children... and multiples.

As for our bedtime routine, it looks something like this.

6:30ish Dinner.

7ish: Bath/Shower Time. The kids bathe. (ED: We bathe the kids every other night unless it's a particularly sweaty/dirty day. Big kids shower. Little ones bathe. We do one hair wash a week (sometimes two, depending on sweat and sand), usually on Tuesdays because that's when they have swimming.)

7:30ish pajamas, brush teeth, story time. (I stay with Bo and Revi and Hal reads to Fable, usually, while Archer reads to himself in bed.) Sometimes Fable joins us in the twins' room or Hal will read to the twins while I read to Fable in her room. Hal and I trade off in shifts, going back and forth between both bedrooms.

8:00ish Story time has turned into a concert, somehow. Or a dance party. Or a dance party concert.

8:30 The Dance party is over now because, seriously, you guys. IT'S BED. TIME. and then we do this thing where Revi turns off the light, gets into bed and then I have to turn the light BACK ON so that Bo can turn it off and get into bed and then Revi gets out of bed to turn on the sound machine and then she gets back into bed as Bo gets out of her bed to turn the sound machine off and then on again and then everyone has to be RE-TUCKED in and then as soon as everyone is tucked in, everyone needs water and then I get them water and by the time I come back, they're playing their tiny guitars and/or jumping in their beds and/or trying to sneak into Archer and Fable's room after turning the light on in their bedroom (again) and turning OFF the sound machine.

9:00 They're asleep. (I wish.) Last night they didn't go down until 10:30 (I'm blaming jet lag) and Revi was still awake at 11:30 when I went to check on them. But at least she was in bed?

Anyway, yeah. That's where we're at with sleep. We're a fucking mess pretty much NBD. (You can read more of the column, here/comment with your kids' go-to-bedtime stories. I'm always so curious to hear from others re: bedtime because I know some families who put their kids down as early as 6 and as late as 11. So, you know... there's quite the spectrum happening here.)


"It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals." #heforshe

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My sister sent this to me while we were away with the subject YOU WILL LOVE THIS and I did, I do. And I know I'm totally late but also, there's no such thing as late when it comes to mobilizing communities to support and applaud gender equality. I watched this with Archer and then we talked about what it means to be a brother of sisters, a boy among girls, a man among women AND men and, well... if that conversation can happen in homes across the world, can you even imagine?
Please, if you haven't already seen this, watch...  and if you have older children, please share with them as well and then check out #heforshe, a UN WOMEN initiative that brings men and women together for gender equality. Let's keep this conversation going, people. It's so incredibly worthy.
And, yes, I've read many of the dissenters in the house, and while I appreciate a healthy debate, young celebrities, like it or not, are who our sons and daughters look and listen to and I believe the #heforshe movement speaks to THEM. And we need more of that. We need more of Beyonce and we need more of Emma Watson and we need more of EVERYONE, especially YOUNG PUBLIC FIGURES, to speak up and use their words and have this conversation so we can have MORE conversations. With our children and our peer groups and ourselves. 
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In the meantime... 

"Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong." - Emma Watson, an actress and advocate who my kids know and recognize and are willing to watch speak for thirteen minutes about feminism and gender equality. Awesome. Keep talking, Emma.

Bunny Slope DIY - Eau de Candle Wax

The other day, Hal and I woke up to a SMELL. It was somewhere around 5:30 in the morning and it was strong enough to wake us both up...

"What is that smell?"

"Right? It smells like..."

"A brothel?"

"Exactly. Like someone spilled vanilla lotion in a smoking section of a... Sex Farm?"

"Our house smells like old cigarettes and stale perfume."

"But, like, in a good way?"

"I guess?"

This conversation went on for a minute or two until I finally pulled myself out of bed against my exhausted will and followed my nose down the hall and into Bo and Revi's room where Revi was finger painting Vanilla Tabac candle wax all over the walls, furniture, herself....


"She's painting," Bo deadpanned from across the room.

"Yeah. I painting."


It was then that I realized "Parisian movie theatre" was exactly what I wanted to smell like.

I cleaned the walls/dresser/Revi and took what was left of the candle into the bathroom to wear as perfume for the remainder of the summer.

That was three months ago and I'm still applying Vanilla Tabac candle wax to my wrists on occasion and delighting in my eau de waxcandleogne. It's really no different than wearing essential oils, which I usually do. (Perfume makes me feel sick but oils are subtle and I've been wearing Auric Blends' "love" oil for a hundred and two years.)

I still dab "love" on my wrists in the morning because it's my signature but it's been nice to break up the love with something smoky and dirty, you know? Sometimes you just have to be the change you wish to see in the world.

Plus, it's always fun when someone's like, "What are you wearing? Is that essential oils? " and you're like, "Actually, it's candle wax. I like to rub myself down with the stuff every morning. My three-year old gave me the idea."
revi and revi


I posted a video of Esme Patterson a couple weeks back but this duet she did with Shakey Graves is so on point, I had to post it, too. Happy Tuesday, party people. And Happy Birthday to absolutely everyone I know. September is serious about birthdays. Probably because December is the sexiest?

214. Dearly Departed by: Shakey Graves ft. Esme Patterson


And while we're at it, here's this which is just SOsoso good. 

Bully's Lament by: Shakey Graves 


Divisive Devices

This Last week on Mom.me, I wrote about tech and sausage factories:

(Airplanes don't count, btw. We survived our flight thanks to movies and headphones on laptops and Hal's iPad and will be utilizing these modern day gadgets, once again, two days from now, when we fly home.)
But other than that... sorry kids. You're going to have to sit at the dinner table and learn how to behave without a device in your hands. Because if not now, when? 

Oh, HI!

So, we're in Hawaii right now which is insane. I didn't actually think this was happening in real life, which is why I didn't mention it until now because while I have been invited on exciting adventure-trips before, I have never been invited to bring my family. And this whole time I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and it didn't.

And then suddenly it was Wednesday night and I realized I still had to pack for six people and then I freaked out a little bit and then yesterday, the six of us got on a plane c/o Toyota and flew to the big island of Hawaii, where I am currently surrounded by four children who want to go to the beach right now but it's 5:30am Hawaii time so maybe we should wait a little. (Although, maybe we shouldn't. Dawn patrol sounds pretty sweet.)
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Before I post some photos of what went down our first day, I just want to thank Toyota for an opportunity our children will remember for life. We went to Hawaii as a family when I was 16 and I always hoped to come back with my family someday and here we are and we're all reeling and pinching each other. (The flight from LA to Kona was a first in our family history that went off drama free. The kids were amazing and Hal and I kept nudging each other, like, can you even?)
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I'll be checking out/test driving the new Toyota Sienna while I'm here and my family and I will be partaking in various activities around the island, and then, when the Toyota event ends, the six of us will be spending an extra couple of days exploring the island on our own. (I couldn't NOT extend the trip, right? I mean WE'RE HERE!)
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Here are some photos from yesterday/last night and I'll continue to update on Instagram as well as GGC when I have the time and bandwidth to do so.
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In the meantime, thanks again to Toyota, and thank YOU all for making this trip possible. I recognize that your readership is the reason that opportunities like this exist for our family and I'm so grateful. We all are.
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Mahalo to all... oh. 


Eat Well: Basic Tips for Healthy Family Eating

The following post was written by my sister-in-law, Alyssa. Alyssa is a registered dietitian who specializes in food reform and public health initiatives for families. She also happens to be an incredible person and brilliant resource for all things food + family. I asked her to write this post after several of you requested more posts with accessible tips for healthy family eating. Take it away, Alyssa!
Hello! I’m Alyssa. Rebecca’s (new) sister-in-law and she asked me to write a post on nutrition. I work in public health nutrition and am a registered dietitian. So let me start by saying that if you have specific questions about your child’s health or diet, I recommend asking your pediatrician for a referral to a registered dietitian that can do a thorough assessment and help create a tailored plan. However, there are some simple healthy changes that I find can be very helpful for kids AND their parents to establish healthy eating habits.
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1. Eat Fruits and Vegetables! Make fruits and vegetables the go-to snack. Apple or pear slices, clementines, bananas, berries, sliced bell peppers and cucumbers... the list goes on. Anyone who’s been inside a grocery store knows that the aisle labeled “Snacks” is not filled with fresh produce. We are a snacking culture and American children get about a quarter of their total calories from snacks. Of course, including fruits and vegetables during meals is important too, but snack time is an often overlooked opportunity when kids may be at their hungriest (and more likely to eat foods they might refuse otherwise). Snacking on fruits and vegetables will make sure they get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber they need to stay healthy.
photo 2 (89) frozen berries= perfect snack on a hot day
photo 1 (86) fresh ones, too!

 • Tips: If you shop at a farmer’s market or store that stocks local produce, go for things that are in-season as they will taste better and likely be cheaper. Kids are more likely to eat cut up fruits and vegetables, so that extra effort could make a big difference. If they’re still hungry, consider adding something with protein – like hummus, string cheese, low-sugar yogurt or nuts.

2. Drink Water! Make water the #1 drink. Sugary beverages like sodas, “fruit” drinks (think CapriSun), sports drinks, and iced teas have zero nutritional value. If you can eliminate them from your children’s vocabularies save the rare occasion, you’ll have eliminated the leading source of added sugar in American’s diets. Awesome, that’s huge.

 • Tips: Add sliced citrus (oranges, lemons, limes) or cucumber to a pitcher of water and keep it in the fridge. Call it “spa water” and make it feel like a special treat. Unsweetened seltzer water is also something to try if your kids aren’t stoked with plain water from the tap. I’d steer clear of artificially sweetened or diet beverages.
photo 3  sliced cucumbers + lemon = spa water

3.  Kids in the kitchen! Involving your children in the cooking process is SO important and ChopChop Magazine is my favorite resource to help families do just that. The magazine is written in a “for kids, by kids” fashion, with healthy and delicious recipes like their “Zucchini Pancakes” recipe below. You can check out a sample issue here that includes a “Cooking Methods” tutorial for kids to prepare broccoli four ways. Children may need to try a new food 10 – 20 times before they decide they like it (or not), and offering vegetables prepared in different ways can increase the chances they will.
4.  Establish manageable rules! If getting your child to eat is a constant battle, check out the Ellyn Satter Institute’s website on division of responsibility in child feeding. It provides guidelines to give children the control they need to learn their own hunger cues and parents the freedom to not turn into short-order cooks. Cliff notes version: Parents are responsible for what, when and where food is served, and the child is responsible for how much and whether they choose to eat. Working toward these defined roles with your children means everyone knows the rules of the game.
What works for your family? Do you find it helpful to bring your kids grocery shopping to get them excited about cooking or have you had too many meltdowns in the cereal aisle? How do you get your children to try new foods? Please share! 

 Zucchini Pancakes 
(from ChopChop Magazine) 


3 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium-sized zucchini)
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2⁄3 cups whole-wheat flour
3⁄4 cups crumbled feta cheese
4 scallions, greens and whites, chopped
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil


1. Put the shredded zucchini in the colander and sprinkle with the salt. Set the colander in the bowl.

2. Using your hand, press down on the zucchini so that as much liquid as possible drains out into the bowl. Stir the zucchini and repeat. Throw away the liquid.

3. Put the zucchini in the bowl and add the eggs, flour, cheese, and scallions. Mix well.

4. Put the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When the skillet is hot (flick some water on—it should dance and evaporate immediately), add the oil.

5. Using the tablespoon, scoop blobs of the zucchini mixture from the bowl and spread it into a round, flat nest on the skillet: it should make a circle that's about 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Repeat to fill the skillet.

6. Cook until the bottoms are deeply golden, about 5 minutes, then turn the pancakes over and cook 5 more minutes. Repeat with the remaining mixture. - See more, here.



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First of all, thank you for the lovely birthday wishes. Here are a few photos I snapped of our weekend which ended up being a two day affair of family and balloons and bouncies and dancing over and over to "It Takes Two" because it really does take two to:

A. Make the thing go right and

B. Make it out of sight.
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Balloons are my kids' favorite things in the world (ED: for those of you in Los Angeles, the bouncer we rented this past weekend was SIXTY EIGHT DOLLARS including insurance! Tip is not included, however, and these guys deserve a fat tip, especially when it's 102 degrees outside. Yikes. Also, whoa, cheapest bounce house ever o'clock and this one even came with a full-on obstacle course and basketball hoop inside. Sweet!)
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Anyway, the weekend ruled. My parents were here and my grandparents and Nana and my grandma's triplet sister and her husband, my great uncle, and it was extremely hot and sweaty so we had a wet t-shirt contest and my grandma won.
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My mom won!


Nana won.

(JK, Hal won.)

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And here's a short montage of some of what went down later. #TwinLyf

(rocking out in the background credit: Hal)

214. It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ Eazy Rock

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