Browsed by
Category: Just for Fun

Scenes from an Egalitarian Marriage: Halloween

Scenes from an Egalitarian Marriage: Halloween

We may read a lot about complementarian versus egaliatarian marriages in theory, but what does an egalitarian marriage look like in practice? That’s the purpose of this series: a glimpse of how roles based on giftedness and not gender, how mutual submission and genuine partnership can look in the midst of a real-life relationship-ours. 

 

While we’re not really into the spooky/scary stuff of Halloween, the Gemmer family has always been into dressing up. Early each fall we sit down as a family and decide what the girls want their costumes to be, then we divide up labor and make a plan. Nothing against those families who chose to let their kids explore the costume aisle at Target to pick their Halloween duds, but we just think homemade costumes are much more fun.

But we are also a family with two parents who are busy and have multiple commitments to keep. Just because Darin’s job supports our family with a paycheck, doesn’t mean my volunteer job is any less important. And while I may be the one “at home” with the munchkins, our two heads put together are much more creative than my one.

The first year we really dove into the homemade costumes was the year Daisy decided she wanted to be a butterfly and Dani jumped right aboard that bandwagon. Darin had a vision that involved flexible pvc and tulle, and I was happy to be in charge of antennae and black clothing. This costume was a big winner and the girls loved all the compliments they received, even if they had to walk sideways to get through any doorway they encountered.

Giant butterflies! They had to turn sideways to get through doorways.
Giant butterflies!

 

The following year we were way into Pippi Longstocking, and Dani had fallen in love with a horse costume her Gran had sent her. With Dani’s costume already taken care of, Darin took on the making of the Pippi wig and once again I was in charge of clothing. I found the dress and some way-big boots (Daisy fits into them now, 4 years later she’s wearing them as actual shoes) and sewed some patches on a play apron they owned. But the star of the show? Darin’s amazing handiwork at her wig.

That evening as we were trick-or-treating in the neighborhood, Darin overheard a couple of parents talking about Daisy’s costume. They had done a costume parade at school earlier in the afternoon and the parents were agreeing that Daisy’s costume was the best in the school. You better believe my husband took great pride in overhearing that comment.

Pippi Longstocking and her horse Alfonso.
Pippi Longstocking and her horse Alfonso.

img_9966-e

 

By now Darin was starting to get a reputation he needed to uphold. The next Halloween Dani wanted to wear her new Rapunzel dress so we convinced Daisy to become the chameleon pal – Pascal – from Tangled. Darin took full ownership of both Dani’s wig and Daisy’s costume. You can’t see it here but Daisy’s chameleon not only lit-up, it changed colors. It was a perfect for trick-or-treating in the dark, it was just too bad that Daisy got sick that year and wasn’t feeling up for a trek around the neighborhood. And Dani’s wig? Masterpiece!

img_4217-e

 

The summer of 2014 Daisy spent developing her own superhero alter-ego and really wanted to dress the part of “Rainbow Zap” for Halloween. Since my sewing skills are much better than Darin’s, I took ownership of this year’s costume and sewed a cape, wristlets and mask. Dani found a Peacock costume in a consignment shop that she fell in love with and since we had store credit to spend I couldn’t say no. Somehow Darin got out of costume work this year!

Rainbow Zap and Peacock - only one of these costumes is homemade.
Rainbow Zap and Peacock – only one of these costumes is homemade.

 

One more Halloween, one more costume conversation. Dani was excited that it was her turn to wear the Chameleon costume (easy, check!) and Daisy was really interested in dressing as her favorite My Little Pony. Darin agreed to tackle her costume if I would search out some ideas for him. While searching I stumbled upon an Etsy listing for a homemade costume, in Daisy’s size! What a gift. Knowing we couldn’t do a homemade costume for any cheaper than this one was listed, I hit order and Darin counted his blessings.

img_0666-e
The chameleon returns and in joined by Pinkie Pie.

 

Sometime over the past year since I’ve been in Seminary, Darin has taken up crochet as a hobby. He was tired of sitting alone bored most evenings while I studied, but knitting wasn’t his favorite. But when he moved over to crochet he was all in – making hats and scarves and other fun things for us and for gift giving. This isn’t a typical “manly” hobby, but one that is affordable and practical and one that Darin really enjoys.

This year he created a Gru (from Despicable Me) character for camp and the girls loved it so much they wanted to do family costumes when Halloween rolled around. And Darin, once again, had a vision for their costumes that was unmatched. He crocheted them each a hat, adding yarn-covered jar lids for goggles, and chenille stems for the crazy purple minion. The costumes fit our family personalities quite perfectly.

Gru and Lucy take their Minions to the church trunk-or-treat party.
Gru and Lucy take their Minions to the church trunk-or-treat party.

 

At the school carnival Dani happily told everyone who complimented her hat (once again Daisy was sick) that her dad made it. While they received several questioning looks (Dani told me one guy tried to convince her that she was wrong, that it was her mom who made the costume) it is so fun for me to see our girls gleefully extolling their Dad’s creative talents.

We work together to create costumes each year, because we are both creative. We both have something to bring, not based on our gender, but on our God-given gifts. And our whole family benefits when everyone gets to use their gifts to the fullest.

Can’t wait to see what Halloween 2017 brings our way!

Want to know more about egalitarian marriage and how this model is fully Biblically supported? Click here.
Summer 2016 in 16 pictures

Summer 2016 in 16 pictures

I’ve been a bit busy the past few months – busy playing and relaxing and definitely not studying. Just for fun, here are 16 pictures from our awesome summer of 2016.

IMG_20160618_173002
Daisy’s 9th birthday adventure at the American Doll Store. All these lovely family members joined her for dessert and following her around while she chose how to spend her birthday money. She had the biggest smile on her face the whole time.
IMG_20160627_172110
Darin and I celebrated 13 years of marriage with an awesome afternoon on the top of Mt. Walker.

 

IMG_20160628_143103
Dani was thrilled for her chance to start piano lessons! We did a month of lessons in July and will start back up in the fall.

 

2016-07-04 12.12.47
The camp cousins (what I call my two kiddos plus the other two that live at camp, who are pretty much cousins) celebrate the 4th of July with our annual trip to our small town parade.

 

2016-07-02 14.52.53
My high school BFF brought her two daughters out to visit us for a day. It was a lovely time catching up and watching our girls play together.

 

My partner in crime (aka Aunt Mandi, aka the mom of the other two camp cousins) and I took the crew to a kids art festival at the Bainbridge Museum of Art. It was fun for all!
My partner in crime (aka Aunt Mandi, aka the mom of the other two camp cousins) and I took the crew to a kids art festival at the Bainbridge Museum of Art. It was fun for all!

 

Crab boil on the back patio with some of my very favorite people.
Crab boil on the back patio with some of my very favorite people.

 

This is the sign of a really good day at our house: lots of shoes drying off in the driveway means a day at the beach with friends.
This is the sign of a really good day at our house: lots of shoes drying off in the driveway means we’ve spent the day at the beach with friends.

 

Dani turns 9 and celebrates with oreo ice cream cake in the dining hall and all the staff and campers singing to her!
Dani turned 7 and celebrated with oreo ice cream cake in the dining hall and all the staff and campers singing to her!

 

IMG_20160731_151450

The camp cousins picked, washed, and sorted blackberries selling them in town for $1.50 a cup. Once they were sold out they promptly spent most of their shared earnings on treats. Life as a kid in the summer for sure!
The camp cousins picked, washed, and sorted blackberries selling them in town for $1.50 a cup. Once they were sold out they promptly spent most of their shared earnings on treats. Life as a kid in the summer for sure!

 

Somehow the stars aligned and I was able to get away for three nights of hanging and camping and hiking with my sisters. It was wonderful and I hope we can make it a tradition.
Somehow the stars aligned and I was able to get away for three nights of hanging and camping and hiking with my sisters. It was wonderful and I hope we can make it a tradition.
Daisy does messy games during her week at Camp Indianola, and emerges victoriously.
Daisy does messy games during her week at Camp Indianola, and emerges victoriously. (Dani had a great week at camp too, but I don’t have such a cool picture of her.)

 

Us girls took an impromptu visit to Westport to visit some family. We even had a few hours of sun at the beach - pretty rare on the Washington coast.
Us girls took an impromptu visit to Westport to visit some family. We even had a few hours of sun at the beach – pretty rare on the Washington coast.

 

We had a great family day at the Cultus Lake Waterslides. I love me some water slides and I love me this crew!
We had a great family day at the Cultus Lake Waterslides. I love me some water slides and I love me this crew!

 

Our last hurrah of summer was a week of camping with Gram & Grampa and Aunt Debbie. Here we all are on the family hike.
Our last hurrah of summer was a week of camping with Gram & Grampa and Aunt Debbie. Here we all are on the family hike.

 

I’m sad that summer 2016 is in the books, but beyond grateful for the memories we made together.

doing hard things

doing hard things

Some time ago my dear husband declared our family motto to be “Do Hard Things.” It wasn’t like he stood up and proclaimed it one day over us, it was a slow and steady build as we followed God into hard things. And as we realized this is the right attitude to have as a family: saying yes to hard things, perseverance, persistence, and clinging tightly to the knowledge that God is walking before us and with us into hard things.

So yeah, last week I followed our family motto a whole bunch of times. Wanna celebrate with me all the hard things I did?

do hard things

1. First off, I’m posting this picture I took with no makeup, messy hair, and wearing workout clothes to make it look like I was maybe going to work our (or already had) even though I was going to spend the whole day studying. But I wanted to show you our cool sign that hangs in our laundry room to remind us every day — we can do hard things. Even posting unfiltered pictures of ourselves in order to bring even more authenticity to this blog.

IMG_20160526_111432
2. Last week I went to the dentist for my first cleaning in over six years. I have a genuine anxiety about the dentist and have a mild freak-out if I hear a noise even similar to that of that polisher tool they use. (Ugh, I’m getting a little worked up just writing about it). This wasn’t a problem when we didn’t have dental insurance. I just took my teeth care very seriously and through a process of rewarding myself for daily flossing, became an avid flosser.

But we’ve had dental insurance for a while now and Darin has been bugging me for months to make an appointment. Finally he gave up and at his last cleaning just talked to the dentist about my anxiety (see, I’m so anxious I can’t even talk to them about my anxiousness) and they made me an appointment and assured him I wasn’t the only one.

So yeah, I did this hard thing last week. But our motto doesn’t say “Do Hard Things all by yourself,” so I had me some help. I sat in that chair, breathed a little gas and listned to some Ellie Holcomb in my earbuds, while I let that sweet hygienist clean my teeth. And guess what? Apparently my anxiety-induced cleaning regimen has paid off! Everyone who looked at my teeth had something along the lines of “you’ve got great teeth” to say. So take that dental anxiety! I don’t have to face you again for another 12 months.

3. We have the sweetest consignment store in our town and each season I’m there attempting to sell a few things. Now I’m for-sure a discount shopper and my kids are regularly dressed in clearance and second-hand items. But if they are in good condition and somehow have life left, I’ll clean them up, lay them nicely in my laundry basket, and schlep them to the store, hoping to exchange them for store credit that will keep my children adorably clothed.

But then I have to wait for them to sort my things one by one and decide if they are worthy of resale. You guys, this kind of rejection is hard. I know they aren’t rejecting me, but still. I have sorted, cleaned, pressed, checked for stains, and brought my very best things with the very best labels. And as the reject pile grows, a little part of me dies inside. (Is that dramatic? Anyone else feel this way?)

tumblr_mhpt4tvGF41r19m3so1_500

I am just a mom, standing in front of a consignment store employee, asking her to sell my things.

While I’m getting better at knowing what they want, this week I took a basket and braved the consignment store rejection. It was hard.

IMG_20160524_211413

4. Yeah, I know I’m in graduate school (George Fox Evangelical Seminary) but holy cow – my reading this week was HARD. Like 5 minutes a paragraph hard. Good stuff. Great discussions with my classmates as we tried to get at what she was saying. But yeah, hard. So I’m putting it on my list and patting myself on the back.

5. Speaking of seminary, this week I had a paper due at midnight on Friday. I also told Darin he could go to a friend’s BBQ and leave me in charge of the care and feeding and putting-to-bedding of the children. What was I thinking? Luckily, I have a couple of awesome kids, I was able to get a bunch done during the day, and a handy motto to keep me going. Here’s to hoping next time I put big assignments on the calendar and then actually look at said calendar before I agree to such madness as husbands being gone on paper-due dates.

giphy

6. I took my girls to reading night at their school all by myself, which in general is not a hard thing since I have great girls who really love reading and listening to stories. But then there was this: I watched from across the room as an unnamed daughter* spilled her juice on a bench (yikes, but it could be worse), get napkins to clean it up (yes! my kid is responsible), and then squeeze out the napkin into the cup (uh-oh, this isn’t going to end well) and proceed to drink it up. (WHA?!!?!!) And you guys, I did not lose my brains. I took a deep breath and refrained from screaming across the library “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Go me, that was hard!

Instead of yelling, I caught her eye and gave her the mom glare and the head shake. (This is a powerful tool in any mom toolkit and should be taught with all seriousness during childbirth classes.)

“Why not?” she asked me in her library voice.

“People sit on that bench” I explained, trying to keep my cool and praying a hedge of protection against whatever germs she had just ingested.

“But not naked, mom!”

Oh dear.

 

*Trying to protect her from future embarrassment when she discovers her mom told these stories to the world wide webs. Instead I’ll keep stories like this anonymous and in the future they can argue about which child did which embarrassing thing.

 

So that’s a list of hard things I did last week. That was kind of a lot. I think I’ll take this week off.

 

What about you? What hard things have you done lately? Share some with me, will ya?

 

Roundup #1

Roundup #1

This is a collection of things that have caught my eye out there in the vast internets recently. Perhaps something here will catch your eye as well…

cropped-DGPLogoLG-01.png

to read:

Can We Ever Fix Christian Movies?  by Jesse Carey (via Relevant Magazine)
Am I the only one that feels Christian movies can just be so, well, blech, sometimes? Carey speculates that it could be because these films often end neatly, and really feel preachy. Not so with the parables of Jesus. Instead, these ingenious stories have us grappling with layers of ambiguity and with questions that often don’t have a tidy answer. If Christian movies became more like the parables of the New Testament, would that make them better?

to put on a wishlist:

1734982-p-MULTIVIEW

 

source unknown

 

 

 

 

Red Saltwater Sandals 
Dreaming of how adorable my feet will look in these this summer. Added them to my Mother’s Day wishlist.

to listen to:


I first heard “Better With You” by Orianthi at the gym and I loved the upbeat tempo and positive message. Crank it up and dance around your house a little today.

to cook:

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoi by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen

DSCN7184

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been struggling with my slow cooker lately and feeling like it always dries out my dinners. But this dish, OMG. Soooo good. Moist and delicious with incredible flavors. Like the author, I pretty much at the leftovers for lunch three days in a row. Easy, healthy, and delicious = my kind of dinner (and lunch apparently).

 

Your turn: What caught your eye this week on the web? Share a link in the comments.