Sundown at Moonlight

AA photo 4 photo 4 (96) photo 1 AAA  I don't remember the last time I spent every day of the week at the beach. I must have been in high school because that's what we'd do then. We'd wake up and ask for a ride to the beach. Or we'd walk, if we were at my friend, Meredith's house. Her backyard had a treehouse with a view of the beach, the kind of thing kids dream about unless it's a part of their reality. It was part of mine and only now do I truly appreciate what that means. Mere's dad built the house himself and we spent our summers in sleeping bags beneath the stained glass and its collage of stars. Sometimes we'd sleep, but that was only after we'd exhausted all conversation. And in the morning we'd wrap our towels (still damp from the day before) around our waists and climb down the winding wooden stairs toward the new day.

There is no place like home when you grow up in a treehouse, overlooking the beach where every ghost begs to be buried alive.

We're the same girls when we get together except now our bellies are swollen and our suits offer more coverage.

I've had a hard time these last few weeks since we've been back. I thought I would feel relieved with the kids back to school but I feel lost. The twins are off for a month and my mom came up to help last week because I was panicked and desperate for some help. (Three periods in five weeks is my body's way of telling me I've taken on too much which I have a tendency to do until I'm literally bleeding out. I finally called the doctor so there's that. I should have called weeks ago so there's that, too.)

The "I got this, no problem" laid back beach Bec has peeled away from the shoreline and can now be found under a table, head in her hands, because "got this, no problem" isn't the truth--not right now, anyway.

It's no wonder that the treehouse sounds pretty nice right about now. 
photo 1 copy
photo 2 copy 2moonlight
Moonlight Beach was ground zero for all of the things that used to break my heart. Now it's just this place that happened once. That beckons and whispers and feels like home in a way it probably shouldn't. And all of these thoughts race through my head as I watch my children... the clash of where I am now in this moment and where I was then in this place. Something I'm sure I've written about 7897918 times before, but there you have it. I feel like I'm still a kid when I come home. I feel like I'm wandering into the place I used to belong hoping that it will reclaim me. Not just Moonlight but all of the beaches here.
photo 5
The kids don't know any of those stories. They don't know what I used to do here. They don't know that I used to be someone else here. And I was. I was all of the things I want to keep them away from. I was all the things I want to revisit every day of my life.

I don't want to leave.

Even though it's dark.

Even though I'm holding a dirty diaper in my hand.
photo 4 copy 2 photo 3 copy 2
If I squint I can make out my feet as they looked then... tan with toe rings, anklets and the like... 

I used to go where the crowd was sure to gather. Now I find myself turning away as soon as I spot the umbrellas. Too many people... too many places to get lost.

It's a beautiful life, this, and I have never been happier to be where I am at the age that I am with the people I am with. But the familiarity of old friends in an old town, sandwiched between the same sand and sky, takes me back to the days when fake IDs were all we needed to feel like adults.

And coming home is all we need to feel like kids again. (Even when we know the feeling isn't mutual.)

"When I was your age," they used to tell us with cautionary tales and we all rolled our eyes because everything was the worst. And it was, somehow. We had to find fault in our sandcastles in order to prepare for their inevitable disappearance.

We knew, even then, that in time, those summers would be washed away clean.
photo 1 copy
And suddenly I am meeting my former self in the middle, trying desperately to catch up.

As they call for me. 

And chase the waves. 

And watch the sun disappear. Without knowing what secrets I have kept. What secrets I am keeping. 
photo 4 copy
"What are you thinking about?" my mom asks. 

"Nothing much," I say. 

"Watch this, Mom," Fable says. 

I'm watching.
A
It's a pain not unlike an itch... A part of me marvels at the collage of then and now... of my children's shadows bumping against my own. But there's also the part that isn't ready for all of this. Like, in my head, I'm sixteen again, except I have to round up four children and pack them into a minivan now because it's dark outside. It's dark and it's cold and I need to put this dirty diaper in a trash can but I don't know where the trash cans are. They used to be right here but now they've moved.

Three weeks later and I'm still trying to find one.
photo 3 copy
GGC

Alli Collection Scarves/Capes (and Giveaway!)

photo 4
My friend, Alli, illustrator extraordinaire, has just come out with her first collection of silk scarves and they're beautiful and lively and interesting and today I get to share them with you and give one away. (Hooray!) Here are some of my favorites from her debut collection, inspired by "Little Edie Beale and the spirit of iconoclastic women."

Each Little Edie scarf is an expression of romance, boldness, fortitude and longing. And like Little Edie herself, these images are imbued with a childlike whimsy and innate chicness. There's also a delicious ironic pleasure in wearing a scarf inspired by one of the world's most legendary scarf wearers: In a moment of meta-design, the scarf depicts Edie wearing a scarf in her signature head wrap. Alli Arnold’s debut collection also features her most popular illustration: "The Skirt". This elegant line drawing conveys a timeless femininity and unwavering confidence with her simple, sexy stride. “My illustration of 'The Skirt' inspires me to put my best foot forward," says Arnold, "and I hope everyone who wears this scarf feels that same boost of confidence."
 Alli Arnold Skirt 2013
Cat_small_grande
ANCHOR_small_grande
As a gift, Alli sent us the anchor scarf and when it arrived in the mail, Fable promptly put it on and wore it as a cape. For the last several weeks she has been wearing it this way to museums and friends' houses and the park, around the house, over her pajamas... 
queen
I almost forgot it was a scarf at all until I tried it on, myself as a headband... 
one and around the neck, of course...
photo 3 and my personal favorite, as a second face on top of my face...
photo 5< Okay, so that's my SECOND favorite way. Nothing can beat Fable wearing it as a cape...
fablerevi Superheroine o'clock.
fablerevi2
And so, today I am proud to give away away one scarf/cape to a lucky reader. To win? Tell me about an iconoclastic woman who inspires you. I'll choose one winner next Thursday, September, 4th. In the meantime, Alli is offering 20% off her scarves with code GGC at checkout. All the love,

GGC

On Sisterhood and Skateboards and Gripping the Lunchbox with Both Hands

photo 2
When the twins were born I wrote a post recognizing myself as a feminist. I had resisted the title for many years because I didn't understand the title. It wasn't until I gave birth to daughters that I recognized the importance of pushing back and standing up and saying something. 



I wrote about my purple skateboard, then--about how, when I was little growing up on a street surrounded by boys, I wanted to be one of them. Except they didn't want me to be a part of their group so they broke my skateboard and told me that girls couldn't skate.

I listened to them. I must have been about seven or eight at the time but those words changed me. I spent my entire high school years dating skateboarders, sitting on their boards, attending their contests, wearing the logos of their sponsors to school on my backpacks and hoodies, hell even shoes. I even worked at a skate shop for two summers, gripping boards and selling trucks and picking up lunch for everyone.

I am bringing this story back from the archives only because, all these years later,  it has been weighing heavy on my heart that I was unable to SEE myself as someone other than the spectator.

Not that I would have ever become a great skateboarder but now I recognize that instead of standing up for myself I sat down. I worshipped the very boys who told me I couldn't. And, embarrassingly enough, a part of me still does.

***

The day before school started, I took the big kids to Target to pick out their notebooks and lunch boxes. Archer went with a blue sack with ample room for his water bottle and Bento box, Fable chose a Sophia the First lunch box covered in flashing lights.

"Are you sure you don't want this one?" I asked, pulling down a quieter version of the same lunchbox "Or this one with a Hello Kitty?"

"No, Mom. THIS one is MY FAVORITE LUNCH BOX EVER! This is the one. Let's go."

The kids picked out their notebooks and after purchasing a navy dress for Fable to wear on her first day and new navy shirts for Archer, we went home.

That evening, the kids packed their backpacks, laid out their clothes, and the next day were off to their first day of kindergarten and fourth grade.

Their first couple of days went by without a hitch. Fable made an instant friend with whom she sat with at lunch, someone she had never met before. There was one snag, however, and I didn't hear about it until day three when Fable admitted to me that her lunch box had become a target for punching and kicking, flicking and throwing.

It wasn't a complete surprise. A lunch box that lights up when it's touched is a tempting thing for a child to hit, or in this case, a group of boys to karate chop out of Fable's hands.

I felt my fists clench when she described the scene. How she told the boys to stop but they didn't stop. How it wasn't until the girls told them to stop TOGETHER that they finally stopped.

"Good for you," I said. "But maybe we should get you a new lunch box. One that doesn't cause you any grief?"

"No way, Mom! It's MY lunchbox! I love my lunch box!"

I told her to please keep me posted if it happened again and good for her for sticking up for herself.

"I'm glad you found a soul sister who is brave like you," I told her.

It didn't occur to me until much later that night, what had just happened...
one

Fable, without even realizing she had done so, had accepted that there would be times when what she wore and did and represented would cause some to want to touch, take and dismantle... but instead of wearing a higher-cut top or a quieter color  trading in the light-up lunch box for something that would perhaps garner less attention, keep the boys from hitting, help her stay anonymous in the crowd, she stood up. She stood up to them and she stood up to me and she said the word that I struggled so hard to say as a child, a teenager, a young woman, and even now.

She said no.

"This is my lunch box. I love this lunch box. I chose this lunch box. They're the ones who need to STOP. Not me."
photo 3
I wanted to wake her up and tell her how right she was.

I wanted to thank her for showing ME what it means to be a sister, and a feminist and an individual who knows how to say NO to those who are challenging her RIGHT to say YES.

So the next morning I did.

"THIS is why feminism matters..."

Because saying NO to others is not enough sometimes. We need comrades and partners, sisters and brothers, friends and family to help us raise the volume, build our muscles, dance our dance...
photo 2
And while we're at it, let us please hold onto our light-up lunch boxes with all of our might, regardless of how tempting they are to others to touch, tamper, take away.

Turning them off should not have to be an option.

My five year old daughter taught me that.
photo 3
GGC

Party People in the House Tonight (Ugh?)

Untitled
This week on Mom.me I wrote about birthday parties and how it's impossible to invite kids without also inviting their whole extended families.

I mean, do you guys remember what it was like when we were kids? My parents dropped me off at every birthday party and then picked me up when it was over. And when we had birthday parties? It was ALWAYS kids only. A parent wouldn’t dare stick around. (Even in Kindergarten, parents who didn’t even KNOW my parents were like, “Peace out, kid! See ya in two!”)

I read this piece yesterday by Lenore Skenazy and it speaks to similar points:

"I doubt there has ever been a human culture, anywhere, anytime, that underestimates children's abilities more than we North Americans do today," says Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn, a book that advocates for more unsupervised play, not less.

I wouldn't call myself a "Free Range Parent" per se because I don't think labels bring us together as a parent hood, but I do believe in a fearless approach to child rearing, otherwise what is the damn point of raising kids? Life is dangerous. But living under constant surveillance and supervision is far more threatening in my opinion.

So is that the problem? Are parents afraid to drop their kids off at birthday parties? Do we not trust each other to look after our kids if we're not there? Or is it our kids we cannot trust, to make their own decisions and monitor their cake intake? And what message are we sending them by hovering over their every move? (I mean, I get it when they're two or three but five, six, seven... ten?)

Or is it something else entirely? Are we as parents so desperate for socialization that we look to our kids' birthday parties as a place to party ourselves?


...I actually was talking to my mom about this and I don't think she has ever been so passionate about something ever. This topic makes her furious because when we were kids, birthday parties were these casual "play-date" type affairs with cake, games and a piƱata, and parents happily dropped and then picked up their kids. And you didn't have to make it into a full-on red carpet event because everyone was on the same page about having laid-back gatherings FOR THE CHILDREN instead of for the children AND their parents.

And I was like, "Whoa, Mom. You should write this post, not me." 

Not that I don't agree with her because I totally do. I mean, I have been to more "kids" parties for parents than I've been to "kids" parties for kids and I'm at a loss, you guys...
Birthday Bo.
Would love to hear your thoughts/you can read the whole column, here. 


GGC

"You're all my boys."

Yes to this. Thanks, Coach



And thanks to Mo'ne Davis who has become a huge inspiration to all four of my kids. After watching the game last night, they all went outside and played baseball. Together. Awesome.
baseball
This is a game Bo and Revi made up called Throwball. The bat apparently can only be used upside down. 
GGC

Healthy Lunches, Party of Four

The following post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. Thanks. Blue Diamond!
jg
As mentioned in Monday's post, packing lunches is my absolute least favorite thing to do in the world. Maybe because it's my last "mom duty" of the day and I ALWAYS put it off until it's like 11:59 and I'm half asleep in the fetal position under a chair I have just swept under (also last minute) and I'm like, "ohhhhhhh. I have to make lunches now."

And then I make lunches.

Which, once I get going, I kind of enjoy. A TINY bit. It's like a puzzle of nutrition. Tetris with whole foods. Last year I posted THIS about packing lunches for Archer and Fable and although we still eat similarly, I wanted to map out a typical night in the life of packing for four people----which I am about to do as soon as I finish this post.

Which I am about to do as soon as I finish this post. And then tomorrow night I will do it again. And the next night. And the next. And the next. (I also have the twins sleep in their clothes and make sure that Archer and Fable lay their clothes out the night before. Mornings are CHAOS but I have managed to get everyone to school on time all by myself, these last ten days and I am very proud of that action. Because it is not an easy task, I'll tell you what.)

Anyway, lunches...
photo 2
Let's start with the littles.

Bo and Revi must have THE SAME EXACT things in their lunch boxes or else chaos ensues. I have to literally count the berries or else "BO GOT MORE THAN ME" and "REVI HAD AN EXTRA RASPBERRY!"

I try to give them something different every day as a main course. For example, this was the menu last week:
"Baby guys"
hjkhkjhl
This is a meal that Revi named and it's now what we call anything involving lentils. I buy them pre-made at Trader Joes (see above) and mix them up with quinoa, olive oil and a little seasoning.
photo
For those who would rather buy pre-made quinoa, you can find these at Whole Foods. One bowl = three "baby guys" salads for my girls. 
photo 4 (97) Revi's Bento box from yesterday's lunch. Bo's looked exactly the same. 

Healthy Crackers and Hummus
photo 5 (78)
A few scoops of hummus and some crackers totally works as a main course.

Spinach Bolani
photo-2
I wrote about Bolani in last year's lunch post and it is still a weekly staple in my kids' diet. (Mine, too). 

Raviolis/Bowtie Pasta


I make a giant pot once a week and pack them in all four kids' lunch as a main course every now and again. 

Hard boiled eggs.

Revi won't eat yolks so I just give her the whites. With a side of almonds, of course. Archer and Bo will eat the whole eggs. (Fable will not eat eggs of any kind ever.)

Which brings me to sides...

Sides always include almonds (and I'm not just saying that because this post is sponsored by almonds. My kids have always lived on them and so have I). I carry them around in my bag in case anyone is hungry, kids, friends, strangers. I find almond packs under my pillow sometimes (Revi) and in my shoes... I keep them in my car... it's hysterical. I am so down with almonds.

Every lunch also includes fresh fruit (berries, typically, or apples or the occasional peach) and fresh veggies--cucumbers and carrots are go-tos because they're easy to pack and easy to eat, but I also pack edamame, sugar snap peas and cooked broccoli.
fhjfg
And then there's the "snack" which is (99% of time) organic string cheese and a handful of crackers. The pecan almond crackers are literally the best crackers that exist, and again, I'm not just saying that because this is sponsored by Blue Diamond. I love them. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. The kids do, too. 
photo 3
For the big kids, I pack similarly to the twins, except Archer and Fable's main course is typically a sandwich. Archer is currently on a Turkey Sandwich + Garlic Mint Cheese Spread + mixed greens kick which I will post photos of now:
photo 4 (98)  photo 1
(On the weekends, Archer eats sardines for lunch like it's his job but we learned the hard way that they were not appropriate to bring to school.)
photo 5
Bo + Archer's fave.

Archer only eats strawberries, blackberries and raspberries for fruit so that is what he has every. single day. Fable will eat any fruit under the sun so I mix hers up with apples, peaches, blueberries and the occasional plum. Fable is pretty into boring sandwiches at the moment ie. yogurt cheese and bread with no hummus or anything that

Other extras include:

- artichoke hearts (the only other veggie Archer will eat besides cucumbers)
- goat yogurt from the farmer's market.
- Seaweed snack
- More almonds
- Almonds
- And almonds.
- Almonds.
gjkgkjh
What a typical lunch looks like for Archer & Fable. Includes snack. 
photo 4
And now I will close my computer and make all of these lunches I just wrote about. What about you guys? What do you pack in your kids' lunches? High five.

EDITED TO ADD: I use Goodbyn Bento Boxes and Rubbermaid Lunch Blox. (Both pictured above!)


GGC
Tracking Pixel