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!  

Monday, August 25, 2014

i'm not sure what is going on here, but it feels like relational drama.

i know that the last time i posted some vintage writings by yours truly, i mentioned i would occasionally post them on thursdays, and i even started a #throwbackthursday label to categorize future blogs.  strangely enough, i posted that original on a tuesday, and also, today is monday i'm sharing some more.  oh well, though; wouldn't you prefer to think it's thursday than monday anyway?  i would.  therefore, the hashtag still stands.


Dear Dandelion by paige chorpening, age 8

Dear Dandelion,

thank-you for coming to my tea and taffey party.  i am sorry for closing the door on you.  please for-give me.  thank-you for not giving-up.  i'm glad you didn't.  did you get stuck in that cloudburst?

but next time do what the letter says.  you need to read a little closer.  the letter said to stay as you were.  i don't care that you were going to get a haircut.  it's just that you wanted to be a dapper dandy.  then after you were a dapper dandy, i couldn't reconize you.  i'm not mad, just next time read a little closer.

you friend,
jennifer girraff.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

first day of (grad) school in the van voorst house. (and some other news, too.)

todd started classes for his Masters in Theological Studies yesterday.  you mean you're surprised?  you did not see this coming?  considering he only found out on tuesday that he would be enrolling, we're still a bit surprised ourselves, so we feel you.


i can't wait to compare this to his last-day-of-grad-school photo to see how much he'll have grown!



know what else?  he's taking these classes because on tuesday, in a very strange and unexpected and crazy-god kind of way, he got offered a pastoring position at candeo, and it's required of church staff in our network to go through the two-year program.  it's a weird story how this all came about.  considering weird stories are my specialty, i'll just go ahead and tell it.

todd has talked about the desire to pastor full-time, pretty much the entire time i've known him.  he loves jesus, loves communicating the gospel, and loves discipling people.  this has been growing even more so now that we're part of such an incredible church plant and he's had even more opportunities to minister to people.  he's felt for a while that his current job only takes time away from doing what he really loves and is good at.  additionally, he has been really unhappy at work over the last year, and it has gotten to a pretty desperate point lately.  we've been praying for months and months that god would bring him a different job, even if it was just another random job.  (chances are, it would be better than what he was doing.)

so, we had decided to really get aggressive about pursuing other options.  on monday, we had decided that by the end of the week, we would have ordered LSAT prep materials and todd would start studying to try to get into law school.  we figured a law degree could offer him opportunities to use his strengths and gifts, and also open doors for unique chances to minister to people (either through offering pro bono services to our local church, defending the defenseless, etc.)  the downside of the law school route, though, was the fact that, even if he started studying right away, the soonest he could actually start would be august of 2016.  which doesn't offer a ton of comfort when you're wanting to change things up, like, rightnow.  (it also had other issues to navigate, like how most law schools a) cost a ton of money, and b) don't allow you to hold any kind of job while enrolled so that you can dedicate yourself to studying.  for three years.  and our kids have grown accustomed to things like food and shelter, so that could pose a problem.  but we would figure it out once it got to that point.)

luckily, he had a job interview scheduled for tuesday afternoon with a debt collection company here in town, for a job that could hopefully tide him over until law school started.  so we spent time praying together on monday night that he would have a job offer on the table by tuesday evening.

so here's where god gets all funny and mind-blowing.

todd had planned to get together with paul and stan, two really godly guys in his life and the pastors at candeo, to just talk through future plans and ask for their wisdom and advice.  as it turns out, they came prepared with answers to todd's questions about the future!  there has been some restructuring of the church staff lately, in addition to the continuing needs of a growing church, and they asked todd to come on board as the administrative pastor.  

so he DID have a job offer on the table by tuesday night.  it was just not one he even knew he had applied for, so it was very out-of-the-blue, and we are still wrapping our minds around our giant, unpredictable god who provides for us in ways we couldn't even imagine he would.

i'm so excited for todd and for our family as we start this new chapter in our lives.  his first day at candeo is september 8, exactly one year to the day since the launch of candeo last fall.  god is ridiculous, y'all.  that's all i can say.  also, i think he will be teaching us dependence, because september 8 is also the day i had planned to start homeschooling for the first time ever and also start potty-training finneas.  also, todd will commute to ames once a week for classes.  so stuff is about to get crazy.  pray for us.  god obviously hears and answers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

video vednesday: oh... i was just pretending to be, like, a tiger.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

pinterest, you are snazzy dazzy.

so, this showed up in my pinterest feed the other day:



the longer i think about this pin, the funnier it gets.

pinterest, you are drunk, and you don't speak english well, and you frequently abuse what is generally recognized as standard punctuation, but you have nice hair, so you know i love you.

btw, 'snazzy dazzy' is my new thing.  get ready to hear it all the g-dazzy time from here on out.

Monday, August 18, 2014

happy van-niversary!

yesterday todd and i celebrated our seven year anniversary!  we partied hard by going to church, having some friends over for pizza-for-lunch, and taking naps in the afternoon.  then i made popcorn for dinner.  WHOOP WHOOP!




i asked todd if he was feeling the seven-year itch, and he was like, 'no, are you?' and i was like, 'no.'  which is cause for celebration of the crazier sort than some naps and a two-star dinner.  so tomorrow night, a friend of ours is going to watch the kids so we can go out for a little while.



it's been a great seven years.  we've been through a lot together: three moves, four kids, a church plant (which is essentially like two or three additional kids).  seven years isn't a huge long time, but we've packed a lot of fullness into that time.  and i'd do it all over again, a million times over, and pick todd every single time.



he's genuinely my best friend, as trite as it may sound.  whenever something good happens, i want to tell him first.  whenever something bad happens, i want to tell him first.  he makes me laugh more than anyone else, and he's smart, and he is spiritually way beyond me and challenges me every day.  he loves me and leads me well, he loves our kids and is an awesome dad.  if i'm going to be real about it, i'm a jerk to him sometimes, and he's a jerk to me sometimes, and we deal with it and move forward as a team.  he's easy to love, even when he's not.  if that makes sense.

also?  he tolerates me defacing our wedding photos with my sorry microsoft paint skills.


arrrrrgh, happy anniversary, soulmatey!  looking forward to HUNDREDS more!