GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Monday, September 29, 2014
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 himoften. 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.
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 isn’t 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 I’d 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…
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 isn’t about pursuing happiness but, as Guillebeau’s title so brilliantly articulates, finding happiness within the
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.
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.
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.)
GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Thursday, September 25, 2014
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.
"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.
GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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..."
"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?"
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....
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!??"
"She's painting," Bo deadpanned from across the room.
"Yeah. I painting."
"YOU CANNOT PAINT WITH CANDLE WAX. THIS IS CANDLE WAX. THE HOUSE SMELLS LIKE A... PARISIAN MOVIE THEATRE!"
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."
GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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?
(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?
GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Friday, September 19, 2014
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.)
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?)
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!)
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.
painting coconuts by tiki
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.
GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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
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.
frozen berries= perfect snack on a hot day 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.
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!
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.
GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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.
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!)
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.
My mom won!
(JK, Hal won.)
And here's a short montage of some of what went down later. #TwinLyf