Friday, April 18, 2014

what's up? (weekly.)

previously this week, on 'the minivan voorsts':

1.  finneas fell and busted his lip open, and was bleeding everywhere.  and if you remember anything about penelope at all, you might remember she passes out at the sight of blood.  so finn was crying and bleeding, and then penelope started screaming and grabbing at her head before going fully unconscious.  it was pure chaos for about five minutes in the van voorst house.  (this is the fourth time she's done this, so it seems to be a pretty established pattern.)

2. a good friend came and visited from the ames area on tuesday and we talked about gardening, and episodes of 'friends,' and books, and those awkward/horrible moments when your kid fibs to strangers that you're the cause of their various injuries.  also, she gets major bonus points for also having a son named atticus.  (we refer to them as 'my atticus' and 'your atticus,'  as well as 'our atticus' and 'the other atticus.'  i have to say, i never anticipated this being an issue when we named him.)  it was indescribably refreshing.

3. i came downstairs yesterday morning to find that penelope had gotten finneas dressed for the day:

luckily, that partially-healed black eye and the fat lip really toughen up the look.

happy weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

just a PSA from your friendly van voorsts.

stop dead in your tracks, y'all.  i found the fountain of youth.  for carpets.  the fountain of youth for carpets.  and they said it couldn't be done. 

you know that constant back-of-the-mind fear that someone will come into your home-full-of-little-kids with a blacklight and be all, WHAT THE WHAT HAPPENED IN HERE?!?  and then you'll naturally be held for questioning because, good gracious, something criminal must have happened.  it's insane the number and amount and variety and coverage of what-have-yous that end up everywhere.  which is why this folex stuff makes me want to knit it a sweater and fry it some chicken and speak soothingly to it.  (out of love, get it?  those are the kinds of things you do for the ones you love and i'm not a weirdo.)

in the last month alone, it has gotten milk, blood, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, jolly rancher-dyed saliva, and week-old coffee stains out of my rugs, including the white-colored part of my living room rug.  i'm not kidding.  this stuff appears to be made of the tears of joyful angels and the bottled voice of josh groban.  (seems like a simple enough recipe, considering all the drama that's gone down over the years in trying to find the fountain of youth.  people of yore should have taken a chill pill and just waited for josh groban to be born.)

and it's not like, in order to obtain it, you have to order it online or pray for it to rain down from the heavens.  it's at lowe's.  in the cleaning aisle, next to all the normal, run-of-the-mill, B-average cleaners.  it's hidden in there super well, wearing a super boring bottle, and you don't even realize what a gem you're staring at.  it's like if you were at the park and you saw that guy from walmart across the way, and then you were like, what's up guy?  and then you were all, wait! that's not that guy from walmart, that's mila kunis wearing normal-people jeans!  and then you'd be all like, i really respect her for showing up at the mt. pleasant park in normal-people jeans, and then you'd try to be her best friend.

what i'm trying to say is that it may look like a deadbeat, but folex is the best thing that happened to me after proving itself during the Bleeding-From-the-Mouth Fiasco of April 2014.  and that alone makes me want to be besties with it and read it bedtime stories.

(i will also tell you it's entirely nontoxic, it doesn't require rinsing, and it works immediately.  see?  must be the stain-repellant properties of angel tears.  i will also say with sadness, though, that it doesn't clean the Dry-Clean-Only Couch of Sorrows.  because that level of sorrow is impenetrable to even the best-intentioned among us.)

**whoa.  in reading through this, i realize it sounds like i'm getting paid to endorse this or something.  i most certainly am not.  in fact, i'm sure the people at Folex, after reading this blog post, would pay me handsomely to DISassociate my freaky self from their company in any and all ways.  so, consider that some kind of disclaimer if you need to.  if being an ordinary girl who wants to adopt this stuff as one of my own children is wrong, i don't want to be right, but at least consider this post disclaimed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

video vednesday: planked out? we planked out?

my friend anastasia sent me a video of a baby doing a 'workout' with her daddy, saying it reminded her of our kids.  and i can't possibly think of why:

more planks.

working it on the exercise ball.

okay, so maybe i can.

here's some more baby aerobics, if you're interested in getting ripped like the van voorsts.

Monday, April 14, 2014

fast times at van voorst high.

Friday, April 11, 2014

'what's up' weekly.

on saturday, i was headed to the wedding of a friend, and decided five minutes before i left that penelope would make an awesome date.  so i got her up from nap, quickly dug out last year's easter dress, and made her do a superhero-speed costume change.  she looked downright dashing in the vintage wool coat and hat my mom passed down from her own childhood.

on sunday, todd got another opportunity to preach at that church in shellsburg; and at candeo that night, he got affirmed as one of our five elders.  you can start calling him Elder Van Voorst.  he has requested the gift of the elder wand.  so, if anyone wants to obtain that for him somehow, that would be awesome.  kaythankssss.

monday wasn't no big thang.  just cleaning day, as usual.

tuesday morning, penelope came down with the flu.  poor lady was out for the count.  for a while, i had thought finneas may have come down with it as well, since i got out of the shower to discover he smelled like barf and his nose was bleeding.  i figured out the nosebleed was from a fall off the piano bench, but i'm still not sure where the smell came from.  but as 90% of my time as a mother has been spent trying to identify the origin of various offensive odors, i'm not going to spend too much time trying to figure it out.  he's fine, which is what counts, right?

wednesday, the kids and i trucked ourselves down to lowe's, since the weather was nice and penelope was feeling better and the planets aligned and i had exactly three bananas on hand to use as bribes in the store if things got dire. man, i love spring, where there's all this promise of an awesome garden, before the japanese beetles and the squash borers and the defunct soil make me realize that i am not cut out to be a gardener.  but i sure do love april and may, when i can still pretend.  (i would really, really, really love to one day be a gardener.  like, one that grows stuff successfully.  #aimforthemoonevenifyoumissyoulllandamongthestars #pithygardener)

thursday involved hand-turning the poop into the garden.  (i just realized that i deleted a previous paragraph talking about the manure i bought at lowe's.  probably would have been helpful for context's sake.)  also, finneas woke up with a black eye.  i really have no idea where that came from.

in laurelai news, she's coming around to baby food, as long as she's being cuddled while she eats.  what a funny lady.  and she's getting closer to mobility: she's figuring out how to lift her arm while up on all fours.  (to get anywhere at this point, she basically inchworms it - up on all fours, scooch the legs really far forward, drop down on the belly, repeat.  the problem with this method is that i've started putting her in 3-6 month clothes occasionally, which are still way giant on her, so she pulls her legs up inside her jammies and gets all legbound and cries like a baby.)

you can kind of see here how her knees are in the tummy part of her jammies and the pantlegs are just kind of trailing along behind, all sad and empty, like the wicked witch of the east's tights after her legs shrivel up.

anyway.  there's our week for you, involving tons of bodily fluids and bad smells and also animal poop.  you're welcome.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'M ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE. and stuff's about to get weird.

okay, wowzers.  it's thursday.  and i swear i'm not dead.

what can i say?  it's been like 70 degrees outside, and penelope had the flu, and once she was over it, i hauled all the kids to lowes.  so i haven't had much time to blog because, you know, life.

but as i've been going about my days, i've been noodling.  mulling.  i get lost in my own head sometimes, because i'm the only adult that i have to talk to most of the time.  i suppose it's good that i still have a grown-up friend even when my only company is the kids, but i also suppose that it's bad that i'm my only grown-up friend sometimes.  that just sounds about the pathetic-est.

anyway, i (we) thought i'd (we'd) let you in on my (our) thoughts:

* yall, i'm still so not okay with how i look.  why is it so hard to just buck up and believe that my worth isn't found in that?  why am i constantly comparing and belittling and accusing myself?  i have no answers for you. 

* garden and springtime and a shiny new spade!  bags of manure on my driveway! finneas eating whole packets of nasturtium seeds!  let's do a 'die-winter-die' dance!  with some tap shoes on!

* i have the best friends.  i am blown away by the care you people show me.  i am so loved and cared for and undeserving since i never call anyone on the phone since i'm a hermit. 

* i really am getting dangerously hermit-like.  as in like, hoodie-hood-up, chewing-my-own-hair, moss-growing-on-my-teeth hermity.  i leave the house for church on sunday...and then i leave the house for church the next sunday.  and even when i get the opportunity in the middle of the week, i don't feel like leaving.  what's wrong with me?

* john adams was the rockin'est, except for when he got all depressed and stopped writing to abigail for a while even though he was in europe and getting malaria, and she was home all by herself and running the farm and having a stillbirth and everything.  gotta say, that was kind of a d-bag thing to do.  but other than that, he really was the rockin' colossus of rockin' independence. 

* i think i need to update my slang.  i'm starting to remind myself of Mr. Batty, Balding History Teacher to the Stars.

so.  that's what we think about that.

Monday, April 7, 2014

'the year of the womanly arts' in review.

so, remember how i dedicated 'year twenty-seven' to becoming more feminine and doing girlier things on a regular basis?  well, now i'm twenty-eight and feel that i can speak on the subject with the wisdom that comes with age and experience and increased maturity.

it was kind of a big fat flop.

there were definitely certain 'wins': i'm learning to accessorize.  i shave my legs almost every time i shower (though, i only shower like three times a week, and i do it every time simply because i can't remember when the last time was otherwise).  i went clothes-shopping once, which is actually a spike in frequency.  i patronized sally beauty supply.  i developed a kardashian-sized badonk, which is at least matronly on me, if not girly.  and in terms of being utterly and inherently feminine, i did gestate and deliver an entire baby.  so i'd call that a 'win.'

but really, i was still the same-old-me.  my yoga pants got worn so often they became entirely and non-hyperbolically see-through.  that one time that i did purchase clothes, my main purchases were four t-shirts: two white ones, a grey one, and a (zingy! out-of-the-ordinary!) one with a grey-and-white pattern.  try as i may have to kick the habit of biting my nails, they are still as ragged and junky as those of my twenty-six-year-old self.

so i'm having to face reality that this whole life is probably a slow process of learning what it means to be feminine, both outwardly (which is what my vain and sinful self cares most about) and inwardly.  there are seasons, there are stages of growth, there are beloved yoga pants that thwart your efforts.  and that's cool.  all that 'journey' time will just give me more opportunity to watch youtube tutorials on how to blowdry curly hair and grow out my eyebrows.  as though i need the help.

Friday, April 4, 2014

what's up?

let's do a quick rundown of our week, which (i warn you) involved a lot of food and food-related incidents.

1. todd and i ordered a new mattress! finally!  and R.I.P. to our current stupid one.  or actually, DON'T R.I.P. (D.R.I.P.?), you stupid old mattress.  you never let us rest in peace, so i'm happy to wish the same fate on you.  in fact, i feel like i could sing the 'mr. grinch' song to you and the lyrics would more or less line up.  only, there would be a line in there about how there are more craters on your surface than on the surface of the moon.  and how todd has to even his side out by putting a pillow in the cavernous depths.  and how the integrity of the side is about as corrupt as...(oh, yes; i DID just about throw big pharma under the bus at the same time as our mattress.  i'm on a rampage!)

todd asked the mattress sales guy if they haul away the old mattress, and after he answered in the affirmative, he actually asked him if they could do something nasty and mean to it first.  just to spurn it as it rightfully deserves before it gets thrown onto the trash heap where it belongs.

2.  after ordering our mattress, we went to red lobster to eat, where todd polished off two lobster tails in a single sitting and then proceeded to worry the rest of the night about how gross it was going to be if he threw them up.  (answer: pretty gross.)

3.  while we were out on our mattress-and-seafood adventure, atticus was at a friend's, learning to do this:

weird angle on his arm in this one.  it looks like he has a stump, but i swear there's a full-fledged arm around there somewhere.)

4.  said kid-watching-friends obtained this bike trailer for exactly $free dollars and gave it to us!! there are so many bike trails in our city, and i'm excited to take the kids out and about this summer!  (although, these things are two-seaters, so i'm thinking we should get another one of these trailers and hook it behind the first trailer and basically just start up a kiddie train like you see at the fair.  seems safe enough.  plus i could start a kiddie-train-for-hire side gig and make some sweet cash.)  it also has a handlebar thing so it functions as a jogging stroller as well.  

5.  todd got new shoes, which means finneas got new shoes.

6.  we tried feeding laurelai some store-bought baby food, and while she didn't gag on it like she did with the homemade stuff, her feelings toward it can be accurately described as 'indifferent-bordering-on-resistant.'  oh well.

7.  as a backstory, we tend to make our kids eat one-bite-per-year-of-age of their dinner before being allowed to leave the table.  as another backstory, i refuse to cater our dinners to be at all 'child friendly.'  sometimes we have food they like, sometimes we don't.  we eat what todd and i want to eat, for the most part, with no alternative options.  i get that might seem harsh.  but that's life, and they'll live.  i refuse to raise children who can't go on missions to other countries or joyfully receive hospitality/generosity from friends because they're too used to having their limited tastes catered to.  (another rampage!)

so all that to preface Finneas Versus the Dastardly Beef Stew:

pouting after being told to take a bite.

drastic times (and tons of procrastinating) call for drastic measures.

i think he liked it okay in the end.

8.  lastly, i am becoming unhealthily obsessed with atticus' hair.  i think i'm giving him a complex, since i laugh 'at' (really, with, though he doesn't get it because he's not actually laughing) him every time i get to style it.

what is not to love about that?!?!?

happy weekend, guys!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

winter sowing. (or, the lazy gardener's guide to crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.)

if you've read my blog for a while, you know that i have tried starting vegetable seeds indoors with the hope of transplanting them once the weather warms up enough to garden.  i get antsy in the spring to get something, anything growing (not just because i'm a Crazy Plant Lady - which i am, but also because winter makes me feel dead inside and little tiny seedlings give me hope that i'm not just a black hole of emotion).

(the above photos were from 2011.  sorry for the grainy-ness and tiny-ness.)

but i have never had an indoor-sown seedling make it through the shock of transplanting.  i do everything i can: i coddle those things with grow lights and hardening off and all that jazz, but they always die as soon as they sense that they're all alone in the great, big world garden.  (and i'm not going to even go into the curses i've called down from heaven on the neighbor's garden, which was tilled with hog manure, and directly into the soil of which she planted tomato seeds.  and they grew and produced and were lovely and awesome.  and i was bitterly bitter.)

(my ambitious and utterly failed attempt at indoor seedlings in 2012.)

this year i was just planning on buying seedlings at the nursery and calling it good.  but then march rolled around and the nursery didn't have anything in that could be planted and i came across this crazy-pants idea on pinterest that i could stick some seeds in a milk jug (which basically serves as a mini-greenhouse) and set it outside and expect plants to grow.  like, onion seeds and stuff can be set out as early as january.  the jugs can get covered with snow and freeze solid and everything and you still get plants out of the deal.  what?!

not only that, but apparently they're hardier since they've gone through weather fluctuations and varying amounts of sunlight and whatever.  so they don't come with the 'teenage miss piggy' level of drama and babying that other seedlings do.

so i figured i have nothing to lose in trying, right?  i still have leftover seed packets in my freezer from all those sad, lost years, and i have some potting soil.  (another bonus with this method: you don't have to use the crazy-expensive seed-starting mix; you just use normal potting soil.)  i didn't have milk jugs, since the milk we buy comes in the opaque jugs and you need something more transparent so the sunlight can get through.  so i jimmy-rigged some two-liters from the recycling bin and am hoping those work.

i had atticus help me plant the seeds again this year.  penelope helped me to label the bottles.  i tied a ribbon around the bottles to (hopefully) keep them from blowing over or away in the wind.

so far, i've planted four types of tomato (beefsteak, bonny best, chadwick cherry, and amish paste) and two types of pepper (red bell and jalapeno).  i'm hoping to find enough jugs or bottles to allow me to experiment with a few more types of peppers, as well as some other kinds of vegetables and even some herbs.  no harm in trying, right?

anyone else getting ready for gardening?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

video vednesday: [that tiny girl's voice is what's up.]