Monday, July 28, 2014

if an oak-clad dishwasher falls in the forest, how will i assuage my grief?!

well, i believe it's official.  old oaky has fallen.

you know, old oaky.  don't tell me you don't remember old oaky?!



how has this image not burned itself in your brain over the past year?  how do you not fall asleep with it swimming before your eyes?  OLD OAKY, YOU GUYS!

let's just move on, assuming you remember, but only vaguely, so i'll freshen your memory.  old oaky is the 1994 dishwasher, paneled in genuine, solid oak, that came with our house.  he got a makeover when i painted the cabinets, but he was still as sturdy and solid and honey-colored as ever under all that greasepaint.

considering he was twenty years old and still running as smoothly as a college track athlete the same age, i figured he was immortal.  i mean, i really kind of did.  but i was wrong.  very wrong.  

the day before we left on vacation (oh yeah, we've been on vacation.  i'll tell you about that later, but first things first.  we're talking about a death in the family, and the story of how i fell six inches off a tiny rock and re-sprained my ankle and just would not stop screaming about it will just have to wait.)...whoops, where did my original sentence go? oh yeah.  the day before we left on vacation, i ran a load of dishes.  and then i emptied it and tried to start another load.  and old oaky would not rumble.  he would not rouse.  he would not harumph his way awake.  he had passed over to the beyond in silence and aloneness with nary a complaint or final word.

i must say, we're all still in shock.  i mean, after all, he was as ancient and sturdy as, well, the oak tree that died to give him life.  one just never sees things like this coming.

in the meantime, we're doing our best to soldier on.  we're washing dishes by hand, and ordering takeout to avoid cooking, and reminiscing about all the ways his rusty old racks and downright wasteful water consumption got the dishes cleaner than any of my previous dishwashers combined.  Quiet Partner he was not, on decibel level alone, but he sure knew how to beat the younger models at their own game.  (you know, washing dishes.  i realize this is a tangent, but is it really too much to expect a dishwasher to wash dishes?  this good-for-nothing younger generation of appliances is just so lazy.)

anyway, we'll miss you, old oaky.  i like to imagine you're somewhere in the beyond right now, turning your heavily-grained face to the sun, and wasting all the water your ancient jets desire.  you lived a good life, buddy, and you will be missed.

Friday, July 18, 2014

weekly 'what's up.'

as was the case last week, very little of specific note happened this week.  how does it happen that the weeks fly by, but then it's hard to remember what you even did?

so, i'll just share some of my favorite pictures of the kids from this week:


what little girl's life is complete without an 'ed grimly in the bathtub' shot?



i LOVE this photo of the brothers.



finn has been wearing a hat all week and pretending to be a lion.  i'm not sure what one has to do with the other, but they are definitely somehow related in finneas' mind.



laurelai was having a blast getting raspberried.



he desperately wanted to help me feed laurelai.  he's such a good big brother.



this is my right-hand man.  she's ALWAYS asking and looking for ways to help me out.  here she is, voluntarily dusting.



finneas loved his cupcake, but it was a bit unwieldy for him, so instead of lifting it to his face, he brought his face down to meet it.  life is all about compromise.



laurelai is learning 'so big.'  i love how intense she looks about it in the lower right photo.


in the most important news of the week, todd got to preach at church on sunday, which was really fun for him.  if you want to check it out, he posted the video on his blog.


and as a quick organizational note, i thought i'd let you know that i've decided to take next week off the blog to spend a little time hanging out with the fam.  don't worry, i'll miss you, but absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?  love you to bits!  see you in a week, playazzzz.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

a feast in the House of Laur!

laurelai has staked her claim on a 5' x 8' piece of ground.  she has been busy preparing her palace for year-round habitation, but as her kingdom lies within a land that is figuratively and literally flowing with milk and honey, very little modification to the location has been required and she's settling in quite nicely.  



ladies and gentlemen, i would like to announce that laurelai is now the reigning queen of the Rug Under the Dining Room Table, and has named it Laureland.  all who inhabit the Table Above the Rug Under the Dining Room Table must pay their taxes (read: spill crumbly bits from dinner) to appease her.  but as the folks from the highlands are a very generous and untidy bunch, this has not been a problem in the slightest.



standing sentry at the entrance to her kingdom.



waiting for the hunt to begin.



and we're off!



queen laurelai has now secured what is rightfully hers and will make it her sole mission to prevent being mouth-swiped.  in such uncertain times as these, there is always a mother around the corner, waiting to stage a coup.  it's as if the boundaries and laws of Laureland are not respected among the heathen.



but for now, all is well and tasty in the Land of Laur.


long live queen laurelai!  wishing you a long life and a neverending supply of two-day-old shredded pork.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

video vednesday: guess what i really want but i'm not going to beg for it?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

waxing 'family size' philosophic.

with four kids, we are bordering on 'big family' classification.  not 'huge family,' but we're almost to 'big family.'  maybe we're there already.  i don't know.  i'll have to consult the handbook.  but in thinking through a lot of our culture's concerns about big families, and thinking through my (limited, i realize) experience having more kids than average, one thing that has been popping up in my head lately is how W-R-O-N-G our culture is about (at least) one thing.

one of the well-meaning concerns i hear a lot is that kids in big families will get lost in the shuffle of the birth order and sheer family girth.  therefore, families should be smaller, right?  for the good of the children?  in the past, i've rolled my eyes at this and wondered if people ever assume that, for example, kids shouldn't even bother going to school because they might get lost in the girth of the classroom.  is it possible, and maybe even likely in some scenarios?  yeah.  is the conclusion accurate?  no.  the proper conclusion is that, if education for all children really is worth the cost, you just get creative and find ways around the inconveniences and difficulties.  you don't just throw up your hands and say the kids are better off if they're not even thrown in the mix in the first place.

but lately, i've been realizing that even this is an incomplete understanding of how god has designed the family.  i've been watching laurelai, and i have felt so vicariously lucky for her.  my word, when atticus was a baby, he only had todd and me giving him love and attention and smooches and cuddles.  he only got two hearts to fall in love with him every day.  but laurelai?  she gets five.

and herein lies the untruth of the not-enough-attention argument:  that there is only the capacity for 'X amount' of attention to be given in a home, and the more kids there are to share it, the less each gets individually.  but the truth of the matter is that god not only expands a parent's capacity for love and attention and affection with the birth of each child, making that fictional 'X amount' grow exponentially within them, but he also provides more physical sources through which it comes.

how blessed is my fourth-born!  and how blessed are all my kids, that not only do they have lots of people loving them every day, but lots of people to love.  their hearts are getting bigger and bigger to hold the fullness of everything god has given them.  and i think of how much we all would have missed out on if we stopped at two kids, or three.  what might we miss out on if we stop at four?

i'm not saying every family fits a single mold.  families are unique, just like the individuals in each family are unique.  but what i am saying is that we lose out when we're deceived into thinking the way the world does, and making decisions based on cultural wisdom.

just something to noodle on this fine tuesday morning.

Friday, July 11, 2014

'what's up' weekly

i have zero to tell you that i haven't already told you, other than the fact that finneas seems to have recovered from what we suspect was viral meningitis.  so, two hoots and a holler for that.

in closing, this:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

fourth of july.

we went down to my mom's for the fourth of july.  we busted out the kiddie pool, and let laurelai have her first swim.  it was hard to tell exactly what she thought of it, she was acting a little ambiguous about the whole thing, but i like to think she got a kick out of it.


in addition to busting out the kiddie pool, i busted out my massive biceps.





it was also finn's first swim, and he really seemed to like it, after we told him he wasn't allowed to get out of the pool regardless of how much he cried about it.  once he was out of options, he chose to make lemonade and whatnot and really seemed to enjoy himself.  it was also obvious that he had been watching the big kids at swimming lessons, since he kept putting his face under the water.  oh, the things that you have to threaten/bribe/manipulate/pray for one kid to do that another kid will do for zero hassle.


look at the tan line on his face from his glasses.  i die from the cuteness.


penelope, as always, loved the pool, and even practiced some synchronized swimming... by herself.




finneas pulled his wagon around for a bit, and laurelai just made her doll faces, both events of which deserve photos on here due to cuteness and not inherently due to fourth of july relatedness.




well, now, that's a cute baby.


once it started to get darker out, we busted out the sparklers.  the kids were more on board with the whole thing this year than they were last year, when atticus just kept saying, 'i don't want to do this anymore.  i'm done.  i don't want to do this anymore.'


he looks like he's doing 'magic missile.'





we let the big kids stay up to watch fireworks for the first time, and they loved them!  life is good.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

video vednesday: [this is going to blow your mind, just believe me.]

after you hear his christina aguilera impression, you're going to want to be besties with him.  on the condition that he never actually sings christina aguilera songs in that voice, because that would be a little much, obviously.



edit: SUCH A BUMMER.  they came out and said it's fake.  watch for the link at the end to see how they actually made it.  let. down.

Monday, July 7, 2014

going for a walk. and then another one, when the first one didn't pan out.

there are lots of nice trails and things around here, so we've spent some time this summer exploring some of them.

there's a nature reserve close by, and we trekked out there on memorial day.  it was fun for a while...



...and then we got to this part, and with a double stroller in tow, it was time to call it quits.



not to mention the bugs were so thick i think they replaced part of the oxygen in the air, and i had not thought to bring bug spray.  parenting fail.  so we decided to try out some of the walking/bike paths through town instead.  our favorite part was this spot that goes over the river.





the kids had tons of fun watching a couple of duck families with their ducklings.

and then penelope inexplicably started having less fun.



when we got home, i had each of the big kids draw a picture of something they saw on our walk.  penelope drew a family of swimming ducks.  atticus drew a bunch of bugs.




i'm looking forward to going on more walks around here, especially as the seasons change, and getting the kids sketch books to keep all their 'walk' drawings in one place.

Friday, July 4, 2014

weekly 'what's up,' super red-white-and-blue patriot 'mrrrrca USA stars and bars FREEDOM! edition.

only three noteworthy things happened this week.

runner-up news: i wore a blue-and-white striped skirt and painted my nails bright red yesterday, and only later realized that i had unwittingly worn my only red-white-and-blue outfit... a day early.  so sweatpants and a necklace made of chicken tenders is on the wardrobe agenda for today, since that's the next most american thing i could wear.

1. on saturday, we drove to a wedding in chicago, and thanks to unanticipated road conditions, arrived 25 minutes late.  in his words, todd was 'illinois'd.'  i guess that's our thing now: missing wedding ceremonies we had fully intended on making it to.  we at least took the opportunity that we had while in chicago to go to ikea, where we bought some long-needed bookshelves and also a weird little wooden man whose arms and legs are positionable.  because, you know, ikea.

2.  the crazy storms blew this bird nest out of our tree.  bummer, but we've been getting to gaze at it all week, so i guess it's not so bad.





3.  my poor buddy is sick.  he even barfed into my cupped-but-still-inadequate hands in the walmart, which was excellent.  so i'll post a few photos of him, partly to commemorate him in his healthful glory, but mostly because i can't pass up an opportunity to look at his smoochable self, and he is currently in bed, so photos will have to do.


if 'one sword' is manly, what is 'two swords sheathed in tighty whiteys whilst wearing a patriotic tshirt?'  your head just exploded, didn't it?



oh how i love this tiny mister.  i can't even express.


happy fourth of july, all y'all!  and happy b-day to this grand ol' place we like to call the U.S.ofA.  it was hard won and i love it.  even with all its pimples and weird moles, i wouldn't pick anywhere else.  SMOOCHES TO YOU TODAY, AMERICA!