Monday, September 15, 2014

on the road again. also, at old threshers again.

well, you know that we went on vacation, so you must also know what that means: POSTINGALLTHEPHOTOS!  get ready to read (and read and read) all about the second van voorst roadtrip, twenty-fourteen.

we started out the evening of the 28th by driving down to my mom's.  i figured laurelai might want to sit in an actual car seat at this point, since she was just a day shy of turning one, and i'd still been ferrying her around in the infant carrier.  (she is only fourteen pounds - have i mentioned that?  carrying her in that baby seat is like carrying a two liter bottle in a baby seat.  so i had not previously been all that motivated to have todd switch out the seats.)  i was, apparently, wrong.  this was her first (and continuing) reaction:



the next morning, we celebrated laurelai's birthday by going to OLD THRESHERS.  y'all know how i feel about old threshers.  i mean, seriously, where else are you going to witness a fourteen year old kid having a joy-seizure over the prospect of a sarsaparilla?  nowhere, that's where.  where else does the elk burger guy use weird sexual innuendos and also free stickers to try to guilt you into eating an elk burger?  NOWHERE, THAT'S WHERE. 



we witnessed a train robbery.  finneas somehow got his little mitts on some of the robbers' loot.  also?  he got on the ins with the robbers, but seemed like he just wanted to get into their circle so he could make them feel bad about their immoral decision using only his eyes.





then the shrrrrriff found finneas' prints all over the dirty cash, and somehow atticus got implicated in the whole thing, too, so they both wound up in jailz.



then, for whatever reason, we decided to return to the scene of the crime, and we all rode the train. 






then we all (blurrily) rode the trolley.


then we visited the log village.



then we rode a different trolley.  i hope you are starting to glean the point of old threshers.




that was pretty much our first day of our second vacation in a nutshell.  and it was how we celebrated an old-timey birthday with our young-timey lady.  stick around:  tomorrow i'll show you a kid with a goatee made of prunes.  YOU'RE GONNA PLOTZ.

(check out past trips to old threshers here and here.  you know you want to; all the cool kids are doing it.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

if there's one thing i trust a southerner with...

...it's knowing good mayonnaise.


(if there are two things i trust a southerner with, they are mayonnaise and knowing how to wear short shorts like a boss.)

i found a humongoid endcap of this stuff at the walmart in south carolina.  and as i am a diehard fan of mayonnaise, i figured i had to buy some.  it's some kind of southern thing, apparently, and it's mayonnaise, and that just seems like a partnership for WINNING.

the verdict?  excellent.  two very enthusiastic thumbs up.  fine holiday fun.

go duke, it's your birthday, we're gonna make tuna salad like it's your birthday...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

video vednesday: right now they're applying for a car loan as us. good for them!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

i'm pretty much an expert at all this by now.

well, i made it.  i survived the apocalyptic first day of homeschool and potty training.  there were moments that i didn't think i'd live to greet you this morning.  but here i am, alive and well and ready to face day two of Operation: The Van Voorsts Take Manhattan, which is what i've dubbed this whole undertaking.




yesterday started out pretty rough, despite the fact that i had purposefully left it simple.  the day's priorities were as follows:

1. clean the house.
2. potty train finneas.
3. daily school stuff with the kids (bible time, worship, prayer, dance party).
4. art time.
5. dust off the hands, dust off the shoulders, pat self on the back.



by the time we even attempted to get to priority #3, everything was covered in urine and finn was screaming his head off.  so i called it quits for a few hours and made the big kids go play outside.  we didn't even try school time again until 2 p.m., when the little kids were in bed.  

i had sworn to myself that i would not end up sacrificing naptime in order to homeschool, as naptime is my lifeline.  i've still made atticus and penelope lay down in the afternoon at the same time as the little kids, though atticus rarely sleeps and penelope is hit-or-miss.  i'm the one who needs a period of slowness and quiet.  eating without sharing.  peeing without company.  sitting without pants.  you know.

but here it was, day one of Homie School, and that plan was already out the window.  it did end up being okay, though - school went much more smoothly with just the big two to contend with, and since it only took about an hour and a half, i still sent them to their room to play for the rest of naptime and got a bit of a break.  win-win!  (or really, win-acceptablecompromise.)  we'll see how things settle in over the long haul.




on another positive note, finneas seems to be catching on to the potty training thing.  we had quite a few accidents, but also quite a few successes, and though i stuffed that kid with as much liquid volume as he could hold, he still stayed dry on a trip to fareway and peed in the potty once we got home.  and as i was laying him down for bed, he requested to use the potty and peed once i got him there!  major success.


the kids had a movie party while finn was chair-bound.  even laur got in on the fun.

and the biggest 'win' of all today was that my living room rug did not get peed on.  as that rug's well being is nearly as important to me as my own, having body fluids spraying every which way around it is one of my more major sources of anxiety.  but it remained high and dry (and white), and if that's not a success on a day like today, i don't know what is.


Monday, September 8, 2014

the devil went down to georgia, but the van voorsts only got as far as south carolina.

well, guys, we just got back from a trip to the south.  south cahlahnah, that is.  (south carolina, for all you yankees.)  we went to visit family and hang out on the lake and learn about the ways of southerners.  if there's one thing you should know about me, it's that i'm basically obsessed with the south for various reasons, so it was a fun trip.  i did much observation and study, and here are a few things i learned about southern ways:

1.  they really like biscuits down there.  pretty much every other billboard is dedicated to helping you locate the best biscuit-serving establishment in the immediate vicinity.  because, like i said, they really like biscuits.

2.  they go big or go home.  we saw a pickup with a spoiler on the back.  because what's the only thing that could possibly compete with the uncontested awesomeness of a pickup?  a car with a spoiler.  clearly.  so the inevitable conclusion was drawn, and i have to say, it was pretty cool.

3.  people in this nation still use tobacco products.  i was under the impression that only japanese college students smoked anymore.  at least, that was the case at my college, where only forty or so out of 1800 students smoked, thirty-nine of whom were international students.  (the lone remaining smoker was named kenneth and was clearly in it for the attention.)  anyway, not the case in the south.  people walk around with skoal in their pockets and cigs hanging out the window.  one guy even had a lip fulla dip while on the job.  keepin' it classy, carolina.

4.  diners are classified as 'meat and two's or 'meat and three's.  which weirded me out until it was explained to me that it's simply descriptive of what you'll get with your meal: obviously some kind of meat and either two or three side dishes, depending on the 'meat and ____' status of the establishment.  so then 'pete's meat and two' sounded a little less gross.  a little.

5.  they have EXCELLENT town names.  i'm talking 'burntshirt' and 'bat cave' and 'stinking creek.'  if i had a town in my possession that required a new name, i would definitely hire a southerner to name it.

6.  moonshine is a real thing, and it is advertised on every non-biscuit-related billboard in tennessee.

7.  it is SO. HUMID.  it's like walking around in a mouth.  your armpits don't just sweat, they pant.

8.  they are so nice down there.  i've never been called 'ma'am' so much in my entire life.  i left feeling pretty important.  and also a little old.

9.  they use road signs to tell you EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING.  there was a road sign along pretty much every two-lane highway telling you that, 'yellow line on your side means NO PASSING.'  the sign seems redundant after seeing the actual yellow line, of which everyone should know the meaning if they've passed a driver's license test.  also?  a huge yellow road sign that just said, 'CHURCH.'  not 'church ahead,' or 'church crossing' (is that even a thing?), just 'CHURCH.'   my favorite sign though?  'FALLEN ROCK.'  not 'BEWARE OF FALLING ROCK,' but 'FALLEN ROCK.'  like, rocks pose no threat at the moment, but one once fell and here it lies.  southerners are so nice, they promote a minute of silence at the site of a once-fallen rock.  or so i take those signs to mean.

10.  SPICY CHICKEN SANDWICHES.  HUSHPUPPIES.  BOILED PEANUTS.  SHRIMP AND GRITS.  FRIED GREEN TOMATOES ON A BLT.  COCA COLA ERRWHERRR.  oh, y'all.  i could move to the south this very cotton-pickin' second and never regret it for a moment.


but i live in the midwest, where it snows and there are no boiled peanuts or tent revivals and no one talks with molasses-words.  which could be depressing if i thought about it too long or deeply, but we mustn't dwell.  not today.  not on rex manning day!  er, i mean, first-day-of-homeschool-and-potty-training day!  (it's the same.)  say a prayer for me today.



Monday, September 1, 2014

school for homies, by homies, at homie.

welcome to Van Voorst HomieSchool Homeschool.  we are located at North End, Living/Dining Room, Van Voorst Home, CF.  want to join us for a virtual tour?  okay, let's go!



i know i don't show you this end of our living room/dining room often. or, probably, ever.  i don't know why, i just don't.  so sue me.  anyway, this is our only family living space.  it's obviously small, and now it's going to have to house bookshelves and other rando stuff necessary for educating my children.  (whatever happened to the good old days when you just handed a kid a stick and after a few years they were competent to sustain themselves and a giant family?  now we need watercolors and manipulatives and all kinds of other stuff that would have gotten scorned/burned for warmth by our ancestors.)  so i borrowed a janky old bookshelf from our entryway closet and got down to business trying to make it look cute enough that i could at least stand having all our homeschool stuff in here.


i lovelovelovelovelove that big picasso print and have carted it around to every room/dorm/apartment/home i've lived in since high school because it has part of my heart.  but it doesn't match the rest of my decor, and plus, i'm pretty sure everyone else hates it.  one friend even suggested it might be more at home upstairs.  you know, out of sight of the general populace.  but i'm all like, FORGET ALL Y'ALL.  ME AND THAT WONKADONK PICTURE ARE INSEPARABLE AND I CAN ALWAYS GET NEW FRIENDS.


the hilarious sign was a gift from my mother-in-law, and i originally planned to put it in the girls' room (once there becomes a designated 'girls' room'), but for now it lives here where i can laugh at it, and where todd can worry all the livelong day that it is offensive to fat people.




these are only a few of our books, as amazon has taken nearly a full month to ship all the stuff i ordered.  i still don't have about half of what i need, and i'm about ready to take a baseball bat to amazon's virtual kneecaps.  if i don't have it by next monday, someone in customer service is going to have to speak to a very disgruntled paige van voorst.  (which, contrary to what my frequent ranting and sarcasm on the blog would have you believe, sounds something like, 'um, hi, um, i was really hoping that maybe someone could tell me why my stuff hasn't shipped yet, but if not, i mean, no big deal.  i mean, i really do kind of need it, though, but seriously it's okay.  just forget about it.  i'm really sorry i called.  i hope you have a nice day.  kay, sorry again, bye.'  so this threat is not empty but also not at all scary, either.)


here are our math manipulatives.  they are very cute and colorful and also downright terrifying.



here are our nature journals.  mine turned out looking like it belongs to a ten-year-old boy with an only marginally crafty mother.  the one on the left actually does say atticus' name, but it's impossible to see.


and here, friends; here is where homeschooling will really test me.  those are tempura paints.  (on the bottom shelf, no less; easily accessible to children of the smaller and more destructive sort.  that is 100% certainly a bad idea.)  i also have markers, sharpies, glue, colored pencils and an obscene number of different types of papers.  we are going to try crafty stuff.  good gracious.

and i know that all kinds of internet moms are all, 'this is so exciting for me!' and 'here, here are some tips for you from little old me,' and 'homeschooling is like licking rainbows!'  and i'm going to try to keep my chin up and join their ranks...



but this is how i really feel about getting started...



so, as of september 8, we will be a homeschooling family.  beginning on that day, i will resort to only calling atticus by 'Homeboy' and penelope by 'Homegirl,' and i will only answer to the name of 'Teach.'  as it is also todd's first day of being a pastor, he will go by 'Preach.'  and as it will be finn's first day of learning how to use the toilet like a civilized human being, he will go as 'Street Ice.'  i don't know why, and i don't know if that means something bad or not, because it very well could.  maybe i should look that up before assigning him a homie name.

but anyway.  since we have so much that will be changing in our lives very soon, i'm going to take the rest of the week off the blog to enjoy these last few days with life as we currently know it.

see you next monday!

Friday, August 29, 2014

happy first birthday, little tiny one!

you guys, MY BABY IS ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!  oh my word.  i cannot believe this.  she has been such a joy - a blessing that god gave us just because he knew we needed lavish wonderfulness in the midst of a lot of transition.  she is our perfect, pocket-sized, excellent peanut.



happy birthday, tiny laur!  you are adored and treasured and smothered with love.  i could not ever express how much you've brought to our family just by being your wonderful little self.  so looking forward to watching you grow (probably) and learn (definitely).  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

simply delicioso!

i made soup.

well, i didn't technically make soup, as it is still august and i have common decency, but i was definitely left with soup after i made this carne asada.  we ended up eating all the carne and were left with what i assume is the asada, the spicy broth stuff with floating bits of tomato and too-tiny-to-fork meat.

i have a recipe for taco soup - add some black beans and corn and probs some salsa to this leftover juiciness - but i wasn't about to turn the leftovers into soup because i still have hope in the human spirit and all that and IT IS NOT FALL YET YOU GUYS AND I REFUSE TO ACT LIKE IT IS.  but i couldn't bring myself to just throw the broth away because...well, i don't really know.  but without "soup" getting involved, that leftover broth is useless and essentially dead to me.  the realistic trajectory of that pitiful tupperware container was to spend its last remaining days stuffed at the back of my fridge until or beyond the point of rigor mortis and then tossed to the cedar falls garbage system, which i've clearly established could not give two rips.

sad, sad, pitiful, sad broth.

but then i decided to eat it like soup, though it is clearly not soup, because that is what one eats when they sup at ten p.m. on the night their husband is gone at class.  and that kind of pathetic existence deserves a pathetic meal like Lonely-'Not-Soup'-For-One.  but you know what?  it turned out being good.  like, really really good.

in fact, it was so good, i kept thinking to myself, 'this is simply delicioso!'  which maybe indicates that it was too good, because that is a ridiculous thing to think to oneself and i blame the asada for it.  i am not typically one of those fiends who spanglishes around like a heathen, but apparently it's only because i don't typically consume enough cumin.  obviously, once my blood cumin levels are up, i say things like 'simply delicioso!'

which also got me thinking, there is a SHOW.  ON TV.  called 'simply delicioso.'  and SOMEONE PAID.  SOMEONE ELSE.  to come up with that title.  and then YET ANOTHER GUY. thought it was THE BEST IDEA OF ALL THE IDEAS. and was like, 'yeah, that's the one!  that's it.'

sometimes this world boggles my mind.  come, lord jesus.

well, i think i've officially logged enough time waxing philosophic on foods that aren't even classified in any sort of civilized genre.  so here is where i leave you.  i'm not going to lie to you, i'm off to polish off the remaining leftovers.  because this is mi vida now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

video vednesday: apparently, i went down the superslide...

...and apparently, when i went down, i was scared half to death.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

pool-related puns for a title!

(i really wanted to come up with some pool-themed puns to start the day off on a good foot, and i kept trying to think of a clever way to tie this post in to rap music, because then i could come up with pool-rap-hybrid names for the kids, like LL Pool J and Poolio.  i think i'm just going to call atticus 'poolio' for the rest of this post, just so that excellent idea doesn't go to waste.)

this last weekend, we headed to illinois to visit some old friends, and todd got a chance to teach at their church.  (just to clarify, our friends are a pastor and his wife.  todd didn't just go to the church of some rando person we know and get all, 'hey, let me on stage! i think i've got this!')

also?  they had a pool.  penelope quickly learned how to eke out every ounce of relaxation to be had.



here's one of Poolio getting blasted in the chestal region by an unfairly armed adult who is clearly having too much fun to care.



finneas and jarrod are now besties.  here they can be seen having deep conversations about the current global political climate.  or something along those lines.



the kids destroyed the place.



laurelai fell and hit her lip and bled ERRRWERRR.  how penelope managed to not see any of it go down while she was in the same room, i'll never know, but she did, so there was no fainting.  which is always a positive when you're already trying to deal with another child's massive blood loss.



here, she is crying, but she looks like she's laughing, so i'm including it.  her mouth is all stained with blood, too.  so there's that.


just look at those formal mantel-posing pastors.  so casual-yet-professional about their friendship, and about life in general.  as a matter of fact, jarrod always carries that fireplace surround with him, on the off-chance that there will be a photo op.  this photo was actually taken in the parking lot of a Denny's.



JUST KIDDING! THEY REALLY LIKE TO PLAY IT FAST AND LOOSE WITH THEIR PHOTOS BUT THEY START OFF PRETENDING LIKE THEY DON'T!  that's how david and jonathan always instagrammed, and if it's good enough for heroic bible buddies, it's good enough for todd and jarrod.

thanks for letting us crash your place (and one of your bowls), jarrod and julie!