The White Pages

Who wants a fun date idea? January 30, 2013

Filed under: From My Home — perfectlywhite @ 2:17 am
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Caleb’s cousin sent us a Facebook message Saturday saying she was coming over to babysit our kids. Well, if you really have to, I guess we could find something to do ;). Thanks, Anna!

Now that we live in a city, we date at Target a lot. Fast fact, we also started dating at Target. Romance at its finest. We were 15 and had done the whole, “Hey! Lets go play with the bouncy balls at Target!” thing. That may have been one of the more rebellious things we did in high school. Anyways, we were walking from the store to somebody’s car (whose? we couldn’t even drive…) and I think Caleb said something like, “So I don’t know how to say this but, [long awkward adolescent dating pause] will you go out with me?”. And I said, “Yes, for the rest of our lives. Let’s get married in 5 years and start having kids right away!” Not really. I think I just gave him a big hug and said, “Sure, ok!” I love the look on his face when he recalls that hug. End fast fact.

Saturday night we went to Target and bought $5 pants. Then we went to a coffee shop and spent $10 on lattes. Caleb likes to play games, and I like feeling smart, so we picked up the coffee shop’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire (junior edition). We made up our own rules because that’s more fun, and 60 minutes, 5 phone-a-friends (we have some friends with impressive deductive reasoning skills), an ask the audience (two unsuspecting fellow coffee drinkers), and too much latte later, and I am a junior millionaire. Caleb lost at $300 because of the question who are Hoot, Righty, and Garcia? ┬áThe answer is Beanie Babies, not a jazz trio. I won with the question what is a calliope, which I probably could have answered on my own if Caleb had pronounced it right. I got ahold of Pastor Dave as my phone-a-friend, and he knew the answer with no options and a mispronunciation. He can have 5%. Thank you’s also go out to Susan, Jamie, Kristi, and Jared for their insight on zoology, recess games, Greek mythology, and comic books. I was up until 2 am.

If you’d like a fun date idea, we suggest playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire at a coffee shop. It was one of the most fun dates we’ve had in a long time. We laughed a ton, got out of our comfort zones a bit, and learned some useless trivia. Also, I learned that I should not play the adult edition. I realize not everyone has access to Who Wants to be a Millionaire Junior Edition, but you could add a creative element and make your own. We will probably do this.

 

It’s Messy Stuff January 27, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 5:14 am
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I have a love hate relationship with Play-Doh. I’m sure there are many who share my sentiment. I came downstairs yesterday to a proud look on Corban’s face and conspicuous pieces of the stuff on Brielle’s shirt. At first I thought he’d tried to feed her the Play-Doh. He quickly reassured me that no, “I just put it in her sweater, Mommy!” It’s in the baby’s sweater, it’s under my table, it’s mashed in my rug, dried on his sleeve, and floating at the bottom of my water glass. It’s also one of the only things that captures Corban’s attention for longer than ten minutes, so it has that going for it.

Corban got his first set of Play-Doh for Christmas last year (from us, no less). I remember opening it to immediate anxiety. It was so uniform, so one color, so neat, so compartmentalized. And I desperately wanted it to stay that way. I may have even googled ideas for Play-Doh preservation. I tried to convince the 20 month old that, “No, Bubs, the blue and the orange shouldn’t be smushed together.” We all know that I tried failed. 10 minutes in and my Play-Doh fears were realized.

Fast forward a year, and I’ve come to grips with multi-colored Play-Doh smashed into containers and topped with lids that don’t match. I’ve even come to realize how beautiful the ribbons of teal, purple, green, and yellow are when artfully sent together through the extruding press (actual name for the spaghetti maker, I looked it up). Had I spent ridiculous time and energy preserving the facade of neat and tidy, I would have missed out on the beauty of embracing the messy. And that, my friends, is gospel truth. Grace gets into our messy, bleeds out of our neat and tidy boxes, takes up camp in places we may not want it to be, and turns our hidden ashes into beautiful ribbons of color.

 

Sometimes he does things differently than I do. January 22, 2013

Filed under: From My Home — perfectlywhite @ 4:03 pm
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I love the way Caleb reads books. It used to annoy me. A lot. Actually, a lot of things that Caleb does differently than I do used to annoy me a lot. Some of them still do. He has to have his game pieces set up just so, and they’re so ordered I just have to mess them up a little. When he’s not looking. I usually enjoy the challenge of “how long until Caleb notices his houses are upside down” more than the actual game. Caleb tends to do things slowly(!) and deliberately. He takes time for the details, for order, for being thorough.

I think that the way people read books says a lot about their personality. I can only read one book at a time or I give up altogether (this will help you understand the pile of unfinished craft projects in our basement). Sometimes there’s chocolate on the edges, which may not tell you much about my personality, but does reflect the extent of my chocolate problem affinity. I read quickly, look for the most important ideas, and leave the rest. It takes Caleb probably 5x longer than me to read a book. When he’s done, it looks like its been read. The binding is cracked in several places, the corners of the book are bent gently. He underlines important points. Not everything, like I would, just the few things that really mean something to him. And then, my favorite part, he lets this book that he has spent weeks with affect him. He didn’t give up on it a month back when it was slow going, like I would have. Instead, he has savored the words, thought about them, let them challenge and change him. Imagine what the man does with a Bible in his hands.

I know that he will still read this way when we no longer have little babies asleep upstairs. I know that he will slowly turn pages with the same strong hands. There’s something so wise and confident in the way he reads. It reflects the way he loves.

 

Thoughts on Courage January 19, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 2:36 pm
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My Word of the Year

Whenever I hear the word courage, I think of the lion from The Wizard of Oz, trembling and kind of annoying, and really, I never felt bad for him. I always found him the least likable of the characters, and I think its because his fearful spirit is in such contrast to the potential of a lion’s spirit. And perhaps I see a bit of myself in him. Or a lot.

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Emily Freeman talks about him in her book Graceful (which I just finished going through with a group of freshman girls from youth group-we all loved it). Courage was a part of the lion the entire time, he just didn’t know that he had it. The cowardly lion finally realized his courage when he had to save Dorothy. He was so caught up in the life of his friend that he stepped outside of himself for a moment. Perhaps this illustrates Jesus’ words in Luke 9:24, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Perhaps this is courage. Not hanging on tightly to a thread of self preservation, but letting go of our comfort, control, and fear long enough to realize what was there all along. A strength and a love that becomes our courage. A Savior that knows our own efforts to be valiant are tired and need his breath of victory.

If you read through Scripture with the intent to understand courage, one thing becomes apparent. It’s a command. Be strong and courageous, be strong and of good courage, do not fear, do not be afraid. It feels a little overwhelming, the thought that God expects us to muster up some sort of bravery. But by now, I know better than that. I know that when God says, “Be courageous!” there is always a promise, “For I will be with you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:3-9, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Isaiah 41:10). I’m coming to learn that I don’t bring my courage to God, I get it from God. I bring my weary life and He gives abundant life. But, oh, the courage it takes to give up a weary life.

 

Lemon Blueberry Corn Muffins January 16, 2013

Filed under: From My Hands — perfectlywhite @ 2:34 am
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I had a craving for corndogs the other night. In general, we eat quite healthy. I prefer eating real food for lots of reasons, and no gluten and no dairy means we need to homemake just about everything if we don’t want to go broke. I, however, have a soft spot for buttery, sugary, creamy, meaty, not-great-for-you food that I indulge occasionally. And sometimes more. As a nursing momma with food restrictions, I get frustrated because I’m hungry all the flippin time, but quick and easy food that won’t make one of us sick is pretty rare. So i was craving corn dogs, the ultimate in convenient snack food. The problem is, we never buy hot dogs. All beef, no nitrates/nitrites hot dogs do exist, so I bought some of those and we made corn dog muffins. There’s something about watching the Golden Globes while eating corn dogs.

We had some leftover corn muffin batter and I thought, hey, lemon blueberry corn muffins. Please do not get these confused with the aforementioned corn dog muffins. That would taste something like Rachel’s English Trifle with beef from Friends (Friends reference anybody?).

Corban and I experimented this morning and Corban, my ever honest taste tester, deemed them, “Good, Mommy. You can have one of my blueberries, that would be ok.” Such a sharer, that one. Unless you try to take one of his trains.

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We often bake by weight. Gluten free baking can involve a host of different flours, and sometimes we don’t have the exact flour we need. Since different flours have different weights, baking by weight makes it easier to sub one flour for another and not have to cross your fingers and pray it still turns out. Plus it’s easy and saves dishes. In this recipe, you could sub 4 oz of all purpose flour for the sweet rice and potato starch if you can eat that kinda thing. Butter and dairy-full milk could also be subbed for the dairy free alternatives. The following recipe is based on the quick bread ratio from the aptly named book, Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. Highly recommend it.

Lemon Blueberry Corn Muffins

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tin with liners if you’re fancy or by spraying if you’re me.
Dry ingredients:
4 oz (3/4 cup) cornmeal
2.5 oz (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
1.5 oz (1/4 cup) potato starch
4 oz (1/2 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

I let Corban whisk the dry ingredients while I ran upstairs to calm the crying baby. To my surprise, it was all still in the bowl when I came back down.

Wet ingredients:
4 oz (1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon) coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 eggs
8 oz (1 cup) almond milk

Add-ins:
Zest of one lemon + 1-2 T juice
Frozen blueberries

Corban always gets the first crack of the egg and I do the second :). Whisk wet ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Add zest of one lemon and a tablespoon or two of the juice (depending on how lemony you prefer your muffins). Then fold in frozen blueberries. I let Corban put the blueberries in by the handful, and if you’re like him, you love you some blueberries. No clue exact amount – pretend you’re a blueberry crazed two year old :). Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Top with a bit of lemon zest. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they bounce back when you push on the top.

I think they’re great. Caleb liked them a lot, too, but he said they weren’t his favorite. I gave him the evil eye until he assured me another one my muffin recipes was his fav. As long is its one of mine ;).

 

Things I Learned About Myself While Living In Very Northern Minnesota January 13, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 1:10 am
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The following is a stream of consciousness attempt to begin unpacking the things I learned during the three years we spent in northern Minnesota on the shore of Lake Superior. There’s so much more.

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Photo courtesy of Susan Stanley

I like living simply. Too much scheduling, expectation, and technology makes me anxious.

I’m way more practical than I ever thought myself to be. I like streamlined and purposeful.

Being practical and paying attention to details is not the same thing. I am not a details gal, I’m a big picture gal. I can plan a great party with awesome food and cute decor but forget the silverware and cups.

People give me energy and inspiration. And then I need a nap. In other words, I’m an introverted extrovert.

I love the sound of water. There’s peace in the sound of water. There’s also mystery and power and strength. I can’t hear it without being reminded of my Creator.

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Photo courtesy of Susan Stanley

My fear of disappointing others has kept me from communicating disappointing or hard things. Failure to communicate damages relationships and ruins trust. I’m getting better at communicating.

One can live without things like Band-Aids, Kleenex (sorry, we don’t buy that, just use toilet paper), plastic baggies, paper towels, and conditioner when on a budget (funded by other people) and unwilling to pay the exorbitant middle-of-nowhere price for such things. Being cheap helps the environment, too.

I have a tendency to idealize and desire to love something (i.e. the woods), but that doesn’t mean I can will myself to like it. That being said, I learned that even though something makes me uncomfortable, the enjoyment and appreciation I get out of it when I choose to do it anyway replaces the like I thought I wanted and didn’t have. You can dislike something but learn to enjoy it. This is a good lesson to learn when you are married or have friends. Learn to enjoy what your spouse likes, even if you don’t like it (Caleb has learned to dance, cook, sew, paint my toe nails, and enjoy chick flicks based on this principle. He read that and asked me what I’ve learned to enjoy. Football, basketball, board games. I’m still working on that last one. He’s a pretty simple guy.).

I like to think I will be way more comfortable with adventure than I actually am.

I don’t like wild things. I like control. This taught me something about my theology.

Being a mom is beautiful. It’s also hard. That’s what makes it beautiful and rewarding.

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The boy that made me a mama.

God doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. That’s a good thing. That’s what makes Him God.

 

Baby Things We Actually Use January 10, 2013

Filed under: From My Home — perfectlywhite @ 6:22 pm
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There is a lot of baby crap stuff out there. My New Years resolution is to stop saying crap because Corban said it the other day. And it’s just not lady like. I’ve had two babies, so I’m not an expert, but there’s something about baby number two that screams “Let’s be realistic here!” I also dont like excess fussy crap stuff laying around. Here are some things we actually use in the non- mobile, solely breastfeeding stage.

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Corban wasn’t a paci baby, but Brielle will only take these. She loves them. Plus you get a free one.

  • Cotton Gauze Blankets

I made one for Brielle from this tutorial and loved it, especially in the summer. Great for swaddling, carseats, tummy time, soaking up spit up…that sort of thing. They’re great shower gifts.

  • Swaddler Wraps

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We have used these with both of our babies once they started wrestling out of cotton gauze blankets. They velcro. I’m a firm believer in swaddling, even if they fight it a bit, because it kept my babies from startling themselves awake and lets them know, hey, it’s time to sleep now.

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Just handy to put baby in when you need to get stuff (ha! I did it!) done, especially because it’s portable and you don’t feel like you’re abandoning your child in another room while you make dinner. A portable swing would also be in this category.

I learned a lot about helpful herbs from lovely friends in Grand Marais. This site has some great jumping points. I make the green salve for everything from diaper rash to bug bites to eczema to burns to cuts. It really works great on baby bums. The immune booster (tea or tincture) is awesome to ward off colds and ear infections when given every couple hours from the first signs, and the snooze tincture (made with glycerin for babies) helps with gassy tummies.

  • Nursing Cover (also known by a variety of tongue-in-cheek names such as The Titty Tent and The Hooter Hider)

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I’m no good with the whole blanket thing, it just falls off and then people get flashed. I need a cover attached to my neck. They are also super easy to make and give as baby shower gifts.

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My kids are spitters. Both of them have had mild reflux. One time I was out to eat with friends and noticed dried spit up on my shoe. People will say, “Uh oh she spit up!” all worried like and I look and she’s just dribbled a little. That’s not spit up, people, I just wipe that off with her shirt. But for the overflowing stuff, I love Ikea burp cloths. They’re huge and absorbent and don’t need to be washed every time they spit up.

The only baby soap I use. This just smells like baby without all the yucky stuff in it (no
parabens, phthalates, etc.). Their lotions are great, too. Sometimes I use it for bubble baths.

  • Fans

We have a portable one that’s loud…and two more in our bedrooms :). Youth ministry = often noisy house. Fans drown out the noise of visitors and older brothers. Our upstairs sounds like its taking off if you go up there at night.

  • Breast Pump (and all of the things that come along with pumping, like freezer bags for milk, bottles, etc.)

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I have been very blessed to be given a fabulous Medela Freestyle pump this time around that’s portable, doesn’t need to be plugged in, and works great. Seriously, this thing is my best friend (I could have made a pun there, but I spared you). Thankfully, both babies have taken a bottle really well (3 weeks was the magic age for both of them). Brielle probably gets a bottle three times a week when I’m at Bible study, leading small group, or dating my husband sans baby. Bottle-wise, we like Dr. Browns.

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Right now we only use it for overnight trips, but when Brielle moves into Corban’s room (only two bedrooms in our new place) we will have it set up in our room for naps and quiet time. Corban hated playing screaming in this thing, but at least he’d sleep in it. Here’s to hoping number two is easier to tame…

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It might seem like a duh, but we didn’t have an infant car seat (an infant seat has a base that is latched in the car and a mobile seat that you strap baby into that clicks into the base) right away with Corban, and they’re so nice to have, especially for taking sleeping littles on the go. They can just stay all warm and cuddly without all the in and out of a convertible car seat. I love the Bundle Me cover for winter babes. It eliminates the hassle of wrestling a Christmas Story-esque baby into a car seat.

  • Links and Tag Blankies

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Great tummy time toys for this stage. Links are awesome because they can be used as toys themselves (they are perfect for chubby little hands to hold) or for keeping rattles and things attached to a car seat, bouncy chair, etc. A good friend made us tag blankies for both kids and they love chewing on them and exploring the different textures.

That’s probably our list of essentials, as in “we use multiple times a day, we would really notice if we didn’t have it” sorts of things. We had an infant tub with Corban and have a giant inflatable duck for Brielle to bathe in, and those are convenient. I like my Moby Wrap a lot and would love an Ergo. We use our Boppy a lot for various things, and both of our babies have loved play gyms. We did cloth diapers with Corban and may with Brielle at some point. Kawaii and BumGenius pocket diapers (snaps all the way) were our favs. As we transition into having a mover that eats solid food (she’s rolling and watching every bite we eat, so she’s almost there. This momma is not ready for that yet!), I’ll do another post!