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best of: 2009



 


 


 

nothing to write about, so...

just a couple of thoughts.

..it really irks me when people steal carts from walmart or target to carry their stuff to the bus stop, then just leave them there. seriously, it's stealing, people. it probably makes your life easier, but as todd says, you wouldn't steal a boombox from walmart so that you can listen to music while you wait for the bus, then just leave it there when the bus comes. just because you leave it at the bus stop doesn't mean you didn't steal it.

okay, enough ranting.

..we have friends who are MAJOR subaru enthusiasts, and i thought it was really funny when they told us they were members of a subaru social networking group (in real life - they go bowling and stuff). then our friend andy told us it's actually not uncommon for groups to form based on what kind of car they drive. i wonder if there are any ford windstar groups, because i would TOTALLY join.

..i have been craving different foods a lot more with this pregnancy. sea food/fish, jarred jalapenos and olives have been my strongest, most recent cravings. i don't even like olives; i think they're gross even as i'm eating them, but i just can't stop. two nights ago, i ate like half a jar of green olives and chased them with straight lime juice. less surprisingly, i've been craving donuts, chocolate anything, cheesy anything, and microwave popcorn with crazy salt. also...salad.

..i got a couple of craft/sewing books for christmas, and i am having the HARDEST time deciding what to make first!!!

..atticus is THISCLOSE to saying "mama!" i'm so excited!!!!!!!!

..my husband is the best. and i'm not exaggerating. he is the best husband there is.

having myself a crafty little christmas

this year, i've really tried to take advantage of some of the creative opportunities that christmas holds. here are some of the things i've been working on:


i replaced the blue glass in this vase with some festive red berries and some sticks from our "backyard" (the trail behind the garages).



the wreath i made out of pages from one of todd's old textbooks. (go here for a tutorial.) next time i think i'll make a little one from a bible! (or at least not a textbook on argumentation...or at least pay attention to which pages i'm using and not put the page entitled "GAY MARRIAGE!" right in the middle...)



ahh, there it is right above the couch!



our tiny tree...we didn't have enough room for a full-size tree, so my mom picked a 3-footer for us from the dollar store and i just picked out some of our older, smaller ornaments in a red, cream, and green theme. no star? no prob, i just tied a ribbon on top. i didn't have a tiny skirt either, so i just bunched up some burlap around the bottom.
...AND MY FAVORITE PART: OUR STOCKINGS!
i made all of our stockings this year, which was really fun!


this is atticus'. i made it out of burlap and sewed on the cross-stitched cuff my mom made for him last year.



todd's i made from an old gap sweater i found at the salvation army, then i sewed on some antique mother-of-pearl buttons in a snowflake pattern.



this is mine. i made it from some discarded...ahem...men's undergarments and some ruffles i bought at hobby lobby.



this is penelope's. i made the stocking from some quilted material, then i sewed on an antique hand-crocheted doily for the cuff, then cut apart another antique doily for the flowers.

here they are all hung up!! i found that board in a pile of trash wood at a campsite, then just screwed on some cup hooks. (there's an extra hook for a growing family...who knows what next christmas will look like?!)


you can see the fresh wreath i hung in the window (for that perfect christmas-y smell). i've been stringing the christmas cards and letters we receive with clothespins.

here's a sampling of some of the gifts i've wrapped. i used brown contractor paper and cloth ribbon to give them kind of a home-grown look. (the one in the top left is embellished with burlap, since i ran out of ribbon.)


my sister found this pair of little dutch shoes at goodwill and gave them to atticus. they were in pretty rough shape, so i gave them a fresh coat of paint, then sanded them to age them. in dutch tradition, kiddos put out their shoes and santa (ahem, i mean sinterklaas and his sidekick black peter) fills them with gifts. basically like stockings, but i couldn't decide which i liked better, so atticus will get both this year.

it has been so fun working on this stuff! once christmas is over, i'll turn my crafty energies toward penelope's nursery and girly-girl outfits. (i'm thinking...tu-tus.)

introducing...

we've decided on a name for baby girl vv. we'd like to introduce you to...


penelope page!



we really liked the name penelope, which means "faithful." in the odyssy, odysseus' wife is named penelope. odysseus gets called to fight in the trojan war, goes MIA, and is gone for 20 years. in the meantime, everyone assumes he's dead so a bunch of guys start to try to court penelope, but she believes he's still alive, so she says that once she's done weaving a burial shroud, she'll consider remarriage. but every night, she undoes the weaving she did during the day to buy some time for odysseus to come back. 20 years later, odysseus does come back, disguised as a beggar to see if she's been faithful (and obviously finds that she has). cool story, cool name.



we chose the middle name page because it's a family name, which will probably seem obvious to anyone who knows that my name is paige. however, what you might not know is that my mom's maiden name was page and i was named after her side of the family. i love the idea of naming our kids after our family, and i thought it was neat that there will be four living generations of "pages"! also, it doesn't hurt that we'll share a name...that's cool to me! plus, it means "servant," so her whole name will mean "faithful servant," which is definitely something we pray she'll fulfill.



so there you have it! penelope page vv. (just don't call her p.p.)

you should have to show your I.D. to eat chinese food.

on friday, we went out to eat at the local chinese buffet. it's usually hard to go to a sit-down place with atticus in tow, but i figured since you get your food right away and atticus could try a bunch of different things (since i didn't know what he'd prefer) for free, it was worth a shot.

he was not a fan of the rice or the seasoned green beans. he could not get enough of the mushrooms and mandarin oranges. he fell somewhere in the middle on the chicken. i also forgot to bring his sippy cup, but he figured out right away how to drink from a straw, so that catastrophe was averted!

after a while, he started to act kind of, for lack of a better descriptive word, drunk. he would babble nonstop for a while, followed by a crazy dance (getting rice and soy sauce all through his hair), followed by a short head slump down into his chest, followed by a new burst of energy and a laugh, then a shriek, then it would start all over again. it was SO FUNNY, but it really made me wonder what the heck is in the food there....i'm not sure i want to know.

i, on the other hand, could not get enough of the CLAMS they had! they've never had them before, but i have been craving seafood - specifically, clams and oysters - NONSTOP, so it was like a little christmas miracle straight from heaven to see them under the sneeze guard...right next to the crab legs....mmmm.

and on a little sidenote while we're talking about food, atticus still isn't saying actual words, but all of his official "communication" has to do with food. he has been signing "more" for a while now, and about 10 minutes ago he signed "all done" for the first time! also, whenever you say any of the trigger "food" words ("eat," "snack," etc.) or start to prepare food, he'll go, "MMMMMMMM!!"

stole the idea from allison.

ten things you may not know about me:

..my first "official" boyfriend was jesse barnes in the 7th grade. he dumped me because i offered him a grape jolly rancher, totally forgetting that he was diabetic.

..my second "offical" boyfriend was jesse burns in the 8th grade. (no, i'm not lying. jesse barnes and jesse burns are two seperate but very real people.) he dumped me during PE roller skating because i told him i wouldn't make out with him behind the dumpsters during the school dance. he later dropped out of school (assumingly unrelated to the eighth grade incident).

..i've only cooked red meat twice since we've been married (2.5 years). i LOVE anything with beef, but i don't cook it myself.

..when we get our own yard, i will do anything within my legal power to have chickens.

..i used to make my own yogurt. it was not good.

..i watched gone with the wind once, but i accidentally watched the second disc before the first. it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure it out. i've never seen it in order.

..my favorite book is east of eden by john steinbeck. you should totally read it.

..i used to be a vegetarian.

..i have no idea how many times i've been to disneyland.

..i peed my pants in public when i was 16. it involved the sweet corn festival, a joke about a chalupa, and a debilitating (albeit temporary) illness. i couldn't find my mom so i sat on the curb by our locked car for like an hour, crying and waiting for my mom to find me.

post two! introducing....

we had our ultrasound! meet the tiniest van voorst...

...doesn't she swallow amniotic fluid like a true lady?

post one of two for the day...

today we have two scheduled family appointments (well, three actually, if you count todd's dentist appt). we have already attended atticus' one-year appointment and will have our ultrasound at 1:30! i just thought i'd update with atticus' news before we go for our next appointment.

so, it's official: the hole in atticus' heart was considered "resolved" and won't pop up as an issue in later appointments! however, he apparently has had a sinus infection for the last month, so we're starting him on a round of antibiotics.

he also received his last round of HIB and Pc shots today. they also wanted to do Hep A, chicken pox, flu and MMR, but we decided against it. he'll get his MMR shot in 3 months and we won't be getting the flu, Hep A or chicken pox vaccines at all (along with the Hep B shots we've already passed up).

our doctor couldn't care less that we weren't getting the hepatitis shot today, but really was adamant about chicken pox...weird. i'm adamant that, considering it contains aluminum and human DNA (yes, true and yes, gross) and it's just to prevent chicken pox, we'll take our chances.

his stats:
height: 75th percentile
head circ: 75th percentile
weight: 3rd-4th percentile...um, yeah. he's a little guy. (apparently with a huge head and a stick body considering his weight...he's like a little lollipop.)

we'll have to go in at 15 months to check his weight gain since he's really not tracking where he should be. the doctor said in the meantime i'm supposed to limit his milk intake (i would have thought the opposite). so we'll see.

other than that, he was a champ when they drew his blood - he didn't even cry! what a tough guy!

alright, i'll update later with the other tiny van voorst's medical news.

fluffy puff nibblin's first birthday.

'i'm one years old!'


atticus had his first birthday on saturday, and it was a major hit. he ate his cake and ice cream (much like a gentleman, i might add), opened his presents (or rather, played with them after i opened them), played with yaya karen and papi doug and had an all-around good time. i'll post more pictures later, but here's a teaser vid. whatev, nbd.

my baby's butt is all green.

atticus has been wearing "big boy" (cloth) diapers for a week now. they're taking some getting used to, and there are definitely pros and cons.

pros:

..the price. a one-time-price of 25 bucks for the current size he's in, and i'm guessing i have 3 or 4 times the number that i actually need.

..he actually went up a pants size since they make his butt kind of bubbly. i've been struggling with pants for him lately, since his waist fits 6-month pants and his long legs fit 9-month pants. now he's officially in all 9-mo clothing.**

..i don't know why, but i feel like he stays cleaner or something...i just feel better about not having those weird chemicals up against his skin.

..they don't smell as gross as disposables, and they're less maintenance (yes, it's true!). the pee-pants don't smell as strongly, plus no more back-and-forth treks to the dumpster every time atticus poops since the poop just gets flushed down the toilet.

..it's super trendy and green, and you know me: super trendy and green.

cons:

..atticus' bubble butt. it looks ridiculous, and whatever pants he wears look like mom jeans in the front.

..i didn't think through the fact that wet clothing is wet on the outside as well, and i have to touch his pee-soaked diapers to get the pins out. so. gross. (today we're experimenting with the no-pins method to see if we can't eliminate this con.)

..rinsing out diapers in the toilet after more free-spirited poops take place.

..extra laundry. although it'll probably only amount to 1-2 extra loads a week, which isn't a big deal at all, i hang-dry them, which is a pain.

..atticus has a fascination with the diaper pail and can easily get the lid off if left unsupervised for a half a second.

in all, i'm actually really excited to get into the groove of using them! they're really not as bad as i thought they'd be.


***on a side note, he has only gained six ounces in the last 6 months, and i'm so ready for him to start growing...i'm getting really tired of dressing him in a lot of the same clothes he's been in since he was 5 months old! he seems like he's been gaining weight since we moved him to whole milk and all table foods, so we'll see if he starts moving up in clothing sizes!

snow day

today we had a family snow day! todd got the day off of work because his office was closed, and jenni stayed home from dsm with kaiden, so it was just the three of us and the snow drifts!



i decided it would be fun to take atticus out and see what he thought of the snow. so after having todd haul in the snowpants from the garage, getting atticus all dressed, and finally getting outside, it may or may not have been worth it.

i broke down and it was AWESOME.

I ORDERED MY FIRST MATERNITY PANTS ON MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i never *had* to get maternity pants last time (though i probably should have), i just made my belly band work with my normal pants, but now looking toward getting bigger again...i broke down. i was DREADING that stupid belly band, so i decided on cyber monday that since old navy was having 20% off and free shipping, i could splurge on a pair of maternity pants!

(plus, since we're hoping to be blessed with 5-6 kids, i'm sure they'll be worth the 26 bucks in the long run.)

i also got a couple cami's for layering - you know, basics. I AM SO EXCITED TO GET MY STUFF IN THE MAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (not that i can wear it yet, but eventually.)

it makes sense - when you gain 20 pounds in a single spot, your normal clothes shouldn't fit - you should get clothing that is made to fit you. i was just too proud. but i have come to my senses and am embracing the opportunity to get some new clothes!

flop.

i had this grand idea to start a tradition of making "first day of snow" fudge. i love snow (at the beginning of winter) and i love fudge. so it would make sense. my mom passed on my great-grandma's fudge recipe to me, which is seriously the BEST, and i was waiting anxiously to whip some up on the first day of snow.

enter thursday!

so i got all my ingredients together, followed the recipe to the letter, and once the fudge was made i put it in the fridge to set up.

12 hours later, it was still not set. so i put it in the freezer.

6 hours later, it was still not set. it was still pure liquid.

when i pulled it out of the freezer THIS MORNING, it was still liquid.

so, my grandiose plans for a great family tradition flopped. i was feeling defeated until todd came home and added a new idea for the first day of snow: ordering in pizza. um, fine with me! fudge can wait until next year. (or at least the second day of snow...i'm now officially in the mood for some fudge.)

re: thanksgiving.

thanksgiving was a smashing success this year. i made most of the food beforehand, and it all turned out swell, and i even took the time to set the table and try to make the buffet look nice. my parents and sister came up for the day and we all hung out, ate too much and watched football. and my stepdoug fell asleep. all in all, a good day.


atticus cuddling with yaya karen


on sunday, our little family went down to my mom's for the day and did it up in style with stepdoug's daughters.


atticus developing an affinity for the baby jesus from his little people nativity set.


...and rediscovering his fascination with my mom's cats. lauren looks cartoonishly sad in the background.





our first all-three-of-us picture since atticus was two months old.

still preggers. were you wondering?

i realized i haven't talked much about the pregnancy lately. it's strange, with two little ones here during the day, i don't get a chance to think about it much. but when i do, it's like finding out i'm pregnant all over again, so that's nice. :)


i'm around 19 weeks (or, starting week 20; that's how i counted with atticus). i'm still not showing much and haven't gained any weight yet. which seems to be somewhat typical for me now that i have something to compare it to. i've been feeling the baby move on most days, which happened a lot earlier this time around than it did with atticus, and the movements have been much more pronounced than atticus' were at first. i think we have a mover and a shaker in there.

our ultrasound is scheduled for december 14. i'm really excited! i kind of feel like it might be another boy, since this pregnancy really hasn't been significantly different from my first, but i also wonder if i just assume it's a boy because that's all i have to compare it to. who knows? i'm just excited to find out that it's healthy and has all its pieces- no more, no less - and to find out the gender so we can start the long process of choosing a name.

oh, and also, i'm making a to-fetus-scale stocking, and i want to know whether to embellish it with woodland materials or some kind of vintage jewelry, like a broach or a huge costume jewelry glittery pin. (um, sticks for a boy, glitter for a girl, just to clarify, since our male offspring seem to have an affinity for sparkles - atticus loves his glittery pink tiara. no joke.)

we're getting close to finding out the gender...any last minute bets to place?

thanksgiving.


unrelated to the rest of this post, but my favorite thing lately: atticus has gotten super cuddly in his old age. and also, that is a creepy picture above.

atticus is officially off formula and completely on table foods and whole milk! i have to admit, it's quite a bit more work on the front end, since now i have to menu plan for (and prepare) breakfasts and lunches in addition to dinners. but i'm really excited about it!

in other food news, i'm trying something new this year: making thanksgiving ahead of time. i made the pumpkin pie on monday. i got this idea for cooking the turkey, so the turkey and gravy were made yesterday, and today i'll be making the mashed potatoes, the cheesecake, the homemade cinnamon rolls (for thanksgiving breakfast...yum!), and prepping the stuffing. then tomorrow all i'll have to do is heat this stuff up, put together the green bean casserole and bake the rolls, and voila! easiest. thanksgiving. ever.

(oh, and ew. i cut up the bread and set it out on the counter to dry out YESTERDAY MORNING. this morning, it was still as soft as it was yesterday. which means it doesn't have the natural qualities of real bread, and it's kind of grossing me out. so even though i can get a loaf of sara lee bread for 99 cents at the outlet [yes, you read that right, it's amazing] i'm just not sure i'm all that excited about it anymore and might go back to making my own. yuck.)

although, my fridge is pretty much bursting at the seams. as is my freezer....so the good intentions i had of making turkey broth might not happen since i have nowhere to put it once it's made. we'll see.

well, i think the potatoes are done cooking so i'm off to mash.
**EDIT: um, unforeseen consequence of making things in advance: ENTIRELY too much taste-testing. as in, i want to make a turkey sandwich. with a side of mashed potatoes. right now.

oh, what a night. (or, running on fumes)

yesterday i woke up SUPER excited for the day. it was friday, first of all, which is always nice, plus i had a chiropractor appointment which i have been desperately needing for weeks now. not only that, but todd was planning a surprise date for me (and my sister was going to watch atticus, so it would be just the two of us), so all day i was trying to figure out exactly what he had up his sleeve and was just really excited to get to spend some one-on-one time with him.

my chiropractor appointment went so well, i almost cried on the way home about how good i felt. then todd took me to this awesome place in gilbert where you get to season and cook your own steaks (mmm...i'm eating leftovers now) and we got to just chat with each other and enjoy each other's company. we even made a couple stops at cub foods (i hate that place but they had butter for 98 cents a pound) and target, then stopped for coffee on the way home.

a GREAT night.



until.



atticus woke up and started crying really hard (which he had done for the last 3 nights or so), and around 11 i went in to check on him. he was BURNING UP. i took his temperature and the thermometer jumped so fast to 105.5! i was totally freaked out. i called gave him some tylenol and called first nurse (who was actually helpful this time...it was a november miracle) who told me to strip him down, wait an hour and see if his temp dropped below 105 - if it did, he wouldn't need to go to the emergency room.



at 12:15, we took his temp again, and it had dropped to 104.5, which was good, but still high in my book (i heard in elementary school that your brain starts to cook at 105. probably not scientifically true, but scary to a mom.) we finally got him to sleep around 1:15 by putting him in the swing...he wouldn't sleep lying down, but he'd sleep in a more upright position (yes, mom, i think it was his ears.)



he slept restlessly in the swing, and todd and i on each of the couches, until 4:15 when he woke up screaming (i had given him more tylenol around 3:30, so there wasn't anything more i could do at that point.) so we were up for the day. i got up to chop and juice an onion to put in his ears in case it was an ear infection, then i plopped him in the bathtub. around 5:00, his body heat felt more normal and he was acting like his regular old self...i swear by that onion thing, i don't know why i didn't do it earlier.

so at 6:00...in the morning...on a saturday... atticus and i found ourselves grocery shopping at walmart in our pajamas. he fell asleep in the car on the way home, slept until his 9:00 dr. appointment, and is passed out again now at 11:00. he's still not eating much, but at the doctor's office his temp was 98.7, his ears were clear and his rapid strep test came back negative, although his throat's a little red.



who knows? i have a hunch it was his ears and that the onion thing did the trick, but then again i don't know if they'd look clear so soon. all i know is i seem to have my normal kiddo back, at least for the time being!
atticus at around 3 months. if you look carefully, you can see the MAJOR snottage coming out of his nose.

our daily schedule

with kaiden here everyday now, our schedule looks a little different than it used to...at least my personal schedule does. there's a lot of clock-watching at my house!

7:30-8:00 get up, get atticus up and change him pick up house, make atticus' breakfast and let cool

8:15 kaiden arrives

8:30 kaiden goes down for his nap, atticus eats

10:00 kaiden gets up and eats, atticus goes down for his nap

11:30 atticus wakes up, kaiden goes down

12:30 atticus eats

1:00 kaiden gets up and eats

1:00-2:00 both awake!!!

2:00 atticus goes down

2:30 kaiden goes down

2:30-3:30 both asleep!!!

3:30 atticus gets up

4:00 kaiden gets up and eats

4:30 atticus eats

4:00-5:30 both awake, get house picked up, get dinner started

5:30 jenni picks up kaiden, todd gets home from work...


whew. it's tiring, but honestly, i've found myself to be more productive since kaiden got here simply because the "stretches" of the day aren't as long. there's always something going on, but it switches often enough that i don't find myself burnt out on any one thing. soon i'll post a peek into the fun projects i've been working on!

revised: cold, cold, cold

i was wrong. no teeth, just a major case of the common cold. hence the drippy nose, the drooling (attributable to mouth-breathing and forgetting to swallow), not sleeping (since he can't breathe through his nose and can't suck on his nuk WITHOUT breathing through his nose), and all around grumpiness. the only thing that doesn't make sense is the jaw-rubbing...maybe he has/had an ear infection, or sinus pressure back there. who knows?

the only good that has come of it: he's super cuddly and i get a chance to use the nose sucker. (it might be sadistic, but there's something really gratifying about sucking a bunch of gunk out of his nose.)

molar molar molar

i should have taken it as an omen last night when i drove to bible study, got there and the entire church was deserted, then got back in my car and 'christmas shoes' was on the radio...

i think atticus is working on cutting a molar. hopefully more than one (since all his teeth have come in pairs so far) so that we don't have to go through this four separate times. he keeps rubbing his jaw, his nose is pretty much a faucet, he's drooling everywhere, he's a total pill, and he's not sleeping. (last night he was up EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR until 3, when he finally slept through until 7.) the thing is, i can't feel anything in there. is that normal?

he's never had ANY trouble teething before. (with his first two teeth, which showed up at 3 months, we put him in the car for a trip to todd's parents' and when we got him out of the car, he had teeth. that was it.) so this has been hard on me, since i'm only guessing that's what we're dealing with... thank goodness for infant tylenol and the nose sucker....

baby it's cold outside.

i can't get enough christmas music. for the last week and a half, i've had my pandora station set to christmas songs, and i love a couple things about it:

1. it's pretty much all worship music, but with little-kid sentimentality attached.

2. so far, they haven't played that STUPID song, 'christmas shoes' (seriously, kill me now), or that 'christmas in iowa' song. if you've never heard either of these, consider it a christmas miracle and move on with your life. they will steal your soul.

3. you get to personalize the station, so songs you don't like get banned, and songs you do like get rotated in more.

i have noticed one thing, however. that 'baby it's cold outside' song is a lot creepier than i remember it being. the basic premise is this girl is trying to leave this guy's place to go home, but he's trying to persuade (manipulate) her to stay longer. she still lives with her family, who are understandably probably worried about her, so she's probably pretty young. instead of calling it a night, the guy keeps pouring alcohol into her, and at one point she even asks what's in the drink he fixed her...probably GHB. merry christmas, kiddies.

warning: lots of caps-usage.

so...after my long stint of posting pretty much every day (then setting the date stamps for later so that people wouldn't catch on to just HOW frequently i was blogging), i kind of dropped off the face of the earth. here's the 411 on all things van voorst:

..atticus and i had the flu at the beginning of this week. NOT. FUN.
..i felt the baby move for the first time this morning.

..todd and i carved pumpkins last night. i carved "tom brady" ish. todd carved a dashing tom sellack.

..atticus can clap, wave, high-five, and stick out his tongue, and has been experimenting with new dance moves (including one we like to call the 'magic man'). no words yet...:(

..atticus had to be woken up at 8:15 yesterday morning, and still took awesome naps. it was amazing.

..we're going to the cornerstone openhouse this afternoon, and atticus will be the stinkin' cutest tiger.

..in a week and a half, i'm going to start watching kaiden beukelman during the day.

..on thursday i got to hang out with my good friend megan for the first time in MONTHS!!

..everyone at todd's office dressed up for halloween yesterday, and todd went as his dad. hilarious.
..we attended a rock band party at andy's a couple weeks ago, and atticus really got into the spirit of things as well.

..last weekend, we got to see both todd's parents and my parents for the birthday hoopla weekend (our moms' birthdays are on the 23rd and todd's birthday is on the 24th - crazy). it was awesome!

..not to toot my own sewing machine or anything, but i made the CUTEST christmas stockings out of salvation army sweaters the other day.


i can't believe that tomorrow is NOVEMBER already! i'm SO SO SO excited for the holidays this year. i usually get excited, but this year it's different...i think it's because last year we didn't do much advanced planning for thanksgiving because atticus was due the 30th (so i didn't want to cook, and i didn't want to drive anywhere). and since he was born 3 weeks before christmas, we didn't do much there either - it was the first year ever i didn't have a christmas tree...:(.

so this year i'm prepared to go ALL OUT. the thanksgiving menu is already being fine-tuned, and i'm planning planning planning for christmas decorating. (we still can't have a tree this year, due to space issues and the fact that we realized that our lease doesn't allow us to have a real christmas tree and we don't own a fake one. plus, atticus would be all up in the tree's grill.) oh man, this year is going to ROCK!!!!!

however, as a welcome addition to the typical holidays, atticus also has a first birthday party in between to plan for! so i've also started thinking about that...oh man, so much to think about and i'm SO STINKING EXCITED. any bash ideas, pass them my way!

big kid foods


when atticus was four months, we got really excited about the prospect of introducing baby foods and started having him eat one or two meals a day in addition to nursing. but to be honest, the excitement kind of waned for both me and atticus, and it became more of a hassle than anything. between making the baby food and freezing it (which really was the easiest part of it all) then actually struggling through feeding him, it really didn't seem worth it considering atticus' lack of interest. so we kind of scrapped that and went back to nursing exclusively. not that we didn't give him crackers or bananas or something to keep him occupied at the table while we ate dinner, we just didn't do deliberate "meals" for him.

when my milk supply started to dwindle, i started feeding him a solid-foods breakfast so i could pump in the morning to supplement throughout the rest of the day. so he was eating cream of wheat and a banana, then nursing (or, recently, taking formula) the rest of the day.

so now that he's almost 11 months, he's able to eat some of what we eat for dinner, so i think it's time to transition him to table foods. this week he's eaten spaghetti, fried rice, and chicken with couscous and sauteed carrots. i think i'll probably start doing lunches for him as well, and maybe a snack or two.

i think with the next one i'll try to just skip the whole 'pureed veggie' stage. i feel like, in our personal situation, it was overrated and unnecessary. and a huge hassle for everyone involved. but i'm excited to move him to table foods! he's becoming a real little person! pretty soon he'll be asking for an after-dinner decaf while he watches the news.

my current babe faves.

as a baby, i have definite preferences.

..i do not like yogurt. at all.
..i do like trying to play in the toilet.
..i do not like getting out of the bathtub.
..i do like sticking out my tongue.
..i do not like being left out of dinnertime.
..i do like dancing like a maniac.
..i do not like having my diaper changed.
..i do like any and all strangers.
..i do not like it when people take away my cell phone. it's mine.
..i do like clapping my hands.
..i do not like my sippy cup. because i can't figure it out.

other things i like:
..fish hooking people in the lip.
..chicken pot pie.
..any and all things nuk.
..being naked. and peeing on the floor.
..fake chuckling.
..going grocery shopping, or on any kind of special trip.
..walking around like a pro.
..reading books about babies.
..other babies. preferably little ones that can't run away when i fish hook them.

maybe i'll learn to like being a big brother. i don't really know what "big brother" means, except that i have to play by myself all day while mommy lays on the couch like a bump on a log. so...not panning out for me so far, but we'll see.

stinky head.

in the name of safer cosmetics, i found myself buying bulk organic shampoo and conditioner at wheatsfield. (it's actually comparable in price to the normal shampoo i buy, which is great.) it's ingredients are all recognizable, and most even edible, which is a good sign.

so i got it home, used it once...and found myself stepping out of the shower smelling like a really clean hippie. seriously, people. i love patchouli as much as the next sensitive-to-smells preggo, but just because it's organic doesn't mean it has to smell like the inside of an opium den.

10 weeks

when we were pregnant with atticus, i called him reptar until his human parts were confirmed by ultrasound. with this one, i'm not sure what i will be calling him/her...
(in case you were wondering, no that is not an actual photo of my personal uterus.)

so i googled alien names...i'm deciding between gog, phim, and zhom. any thoughts?

according to babycenter.com, the landmarkers of this week are a grapefruit-sized uterus, noticeable-to-me weight gain, and the a-ok from doctors to continue swimming. according to van voorst family life, the landmarkers of this week include:

*an insatiable love for the couch, sweet pickles, cream cheese, hot chocolate, and CSI:NY.
*a repulsion to most smells, including shampoos and detergents (especially "baby"-scented ones), dirty diapers (go figure), onions, canteloupe, cooked meat, and...ahem, the after affects of todd eating tacos.
*no motivation (and an exuse not) to clean the bathrooms - plus, poor me, the smell of cleaner grosses me out...too bad.
*a lovely gut of what i fondly refer to as pldgne (yep, you read it right) around my middle, and (on the rare occasion that i'm not still in my pajamas) the high-style fashion statement of unzipped pants.
*nearly constant nausea (but very little puking, praise the lord!)
*and of course, the too-long-missed restless legs of pregnancy.

oh, how i miss the days when i thought pregnancy was cute.

really, though, it's all still sinking in. i can't believe i have two kids. we're currently living the american dream...although i'll have to get permission from the landlords to put up a picket fence...maybe i'll just buy some picket fence window decals. no, the new baby will probably eat them... i don't know what i'm talking about.

i'm really excited, and really overwhelmed, thinking about the fact that we will have two babies soon...they'll only be 17 months apart! which is good on the one hand - we want a big family, and i don't want to have infants (and later, teenagers) in my house for 20 years straight because we decided to put 3 or 4 years between each one. but the thought of two tiny kiddos...oh my. (then jacqui suggested the possibility of twins...um, scary?)

anyway, this post was pointless. so: votes for fetus nicknames, and predictions of gender? help a girl out.

the name of the game: survival.

who knew that being pregnant with a 10-month-old would be hard work? (not that i'm pregnant with a 10-month-old; how gross and engorged would i look?! i'm just pregnant while also taking care of a 10-month-old, for clarification.)

now that i'm 10 weeks pregnant, most of what i do is lie on the couch all day in my pajamas, while atticus crawls around in his pajamas. it's been a "pajama" kind of month. yes, until yesterday there were 6 loads' worth of unfolded laundry on my couch. yes, there are tons of dirty dishes in the sink because the dishwasher hasn't been unloaded yet. yes, there is (a disgusting amount of) toothpaste splatter on my bathroom mirrors. yes, there are baby handprints all over my coffee table glass (and my glasses lenses). and no, i don't do much about it.

atticus' favorite game lately is to walk up to me (since i'm usually laying on the couch, we're at eye-level) and smack me in the face over and over before he steals my glasses. then he fish-hooks me and goes about his merry way. hmm...perhaps latently angry at me for not playing with him? or...just likes to hit stuff? probably the second, but my pregnancy hormones make me worry for the first.

luckily, he doesn't seem to notice that we're working our way away from nursing. i had really wanted to continue nursing so i really did try to keep going (shh, don't tell the doctors), but atticus was crying as soon as i'd set him down after feeding him. he was super clingy and whiny, and i noticed that the more i pumped, the less i made (as in, down from 13 ounces in the morning to 5).

so i crossed my fingers and tried formula, knowing that he had always refused it before. i think he was so hungry that he would've taken pickle juice if i put it in his bottle - i felt so bad. apparently, i'm not even making 1.5 ounces at a normal feeding, so he sucked down a ton of formula even right after i had nursed him.

so now, i'm giving him formula twice a day and nursing him once if i've made enough. pretty soon i'm sure i won't be making anything, but for the time being it's making the transition easier for everyone. i don't have to quit cold-turkey (which has both emotional and, ahem, physical implications) and we both have time to adjust to the idea of formula (taste being the issue for one of us, cost being the issue for the other - i'll leave you to figure out whose problem is whose).

on top of all this, atticus has a cold and we're teaching him to cry it out at night instead of needing to have us find his nuk for him 2-3 times a night. (yes, if you're wondering, we did this once before, then somehow found ourselves back in the habit of getting up with him.) so it's been rough on him, poor kid. not to mention that in 30 weeks he will no longer be the tiniest van voorst... but we don't have to worry him with that now :)

so i've prioritized. is it essential that he not have his nuk during the day? nope - most of the time when he wants it, i let him have it. is it essential that he have four baths a week? nope - unless he's gelled his hair with bananas, i do it once or twice a week. is it crucial that the house be pristine? nope - we have connection group here on sunday, so the public areas will be clean, but my own bathroom mirror will continue being gunky. and i'm so okay with this.

whew. blogging wore me out. i think it's time to go lay back down.

what we've been up to

lots going on lately!

-at atticus' 9 month appointment, he had gained 3 inches but only 1 ounce since his six month appointment! he's tall and skinny - who'd have thought? :)

-dr. paschen said he couldn't hear the hole in atticus' heart!! i'm still waiting for the next visit to really believe that it's been healed, but i think it's definitely a possibility!

-i bought 10 pounds of local honey and i seriously can't get enough of it. honey is like a miracle food: it's great for your hair and skin, it can help alleviate outdoor allergies (as long as it's local), it's the only food that never goes bad (they found some in the egyptian tombs that was still good), and it's naturally antibiotic- you can use it in place of neosporin! however, i think its main purpose here will be in recipes and in tea!

-we all spent this week out of town: todd went to a work training in columbus, OH, and atticus and i drove down to my parents'. atticus was super enthralled with the cats!

-todd's really enjoying his new job, and even gets to lead a bible study over lunch once a week.

-atticus learned to dance, hold his own bottle, and wave. he also discovered that he loves apple juice.

-atticus has 8 teeth now.

-i think i'm about 9 weeks pregnant! only five more weeks to go until the "smooth sailing" part of pregnancy!
-i am POOPED. i'm not as sick as i was with atticus (thank the lord), but i'm still queasy most of the time. being pregnant and continuing to nurse has been really difficult - i'm not hungry, so i feel like i'm not taking in enough calories for me, atticus and the new baby, and i know atticus isn't getting as much as he used to. we're having to do a lot more with solids to avoid having to switch over to formula.


-atticus still isn't WALKING-walking, but he's getting a lot braver and taking more steps without holding on to things. oh my - i'm not sure if i'll be able to keep up once he gets going!

-atticus' new favorite thing is to crawl inside the end table and hang out until he gets stuck and starts to cry. once i get him out, his favorite thing to do is repeat the whole process.

thoughts on the toy collection

"the most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." - plato

since simplifying atticus' toy collection, i've been thinking a lot about toys. what purpose do i want them to serve? what kind of boundaries, if any, are appropriate? i had been thinking a lot about my desire to see atticus play with a few, higher-quality, natural-material toys, which in part motivated the toy purge of last week (or whenever it was).

then, when reading a book that i thought was totally unrelated to the topic, i came across some great guidelines that seemed to articulate what i had already been thinking about.

1. is it beautiful? does it encourage kids to value good design and craftsmanship, and to prioritize human work and experience over consumption?

2. is it simple? can it be used in a variety of ways across a variety of ages? does it evoke creativity and imagination?

3. what is it made of? does the toy collection show an adequate representation of materials that occur in nature? not only are these toys appealing to the senses and long-lasting, they can be talked about in terms similar to those regarding whole foods: the closer to the original source, the better.

4. what senses does it use? is it beautiful to more than one sense? children are particularly sensitive to sensory stimulation, so the more it engages their senses, the better!

5. how is it organized? i loved this guideline - adults feel more comfortable and productive with organized materials in an organized environment. it only makes sense that children would feel the same way about their things! are toys easy to find and accessible?

6. is there too much? the author stressed that this might be the most important guideline. are we teaching our children to overconsume, or to appreciate what they have? do they KNOW what all they have? if not, there's probably too much - or it's probably not organized well.

(guidelines are from 'the creative family' by amanda blake soule)

a few more that came to mind as i was reading:
*do you know where it comes from? who made it and why?
*is it repurposed/could it later be repurposed?

just some things that have been on my mind lately - definitely not saying that it should be a hard and fast rule for every family, i just think it's the direction i'd like to go.

fortunately i don't have swine flu.

so, while feeling nauseous and tired could be attributed to H1N1 or any number of other bugs, the only bug i have is a fetus.

that's right. you heard it from the fetus-grower's mouth: i'm super fertile. we think this little bugger is going to pop its way out around april 30.

i'm going to go lay down and pray that god drops some KFC on my doorstep.

homegrown hygiene.


um, yucky title. kind of yucky results.

okay, so it all started with a piece of garlic. if you rub a crushed clove of garlic on the bottom of your foot, in a few seconds you can taste it in your mouth. not only is this gross because you now have foot food in your mouth, but it's also gross because it shows that what goes on your skin ends up in your bloodstream and then elsewhere in your body.

well, it makes sense then that if you're concerned with what you put in your body, hygiene products should make the list as well.

so i went to http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ to research the products we were using on our skin, and i found that most of the products we use rate between a 5 and a 6 on a hazard scale of 0-10. not horrible, but really not great.

on a hazard scale of 0-10 of things you should eat, i would say filtered water is a 0, pure iocaine powder is a 10 (princess bride, anyone?) and a toaster is probably a 5-6. so while it's not eating iocaine powder, it's still like eating a toaster. or something.

whatever. moving on.

so i've been trying to find recipes for homemade health and beauty products. our first experimenting has been with bath products: shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

day 1: dr. bronner's peppermint castile soap (0) - um, so gross. apparently this soap is vegetable oil based, which left my hair SO greasy. i tried rinsing it with apple cider vinegar (ACV) (0) and conditioning with coconut oil (0). WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD TO MY LOVELY-LOCKED ENEMY.

day 2: baking soda (0) and ACV (0) to rinse. still sticky and gross.

day 3: ivory soap (3) and ACV to rinse....same results.

i was starting to get really discouraged and decided to just look up on the website what shampoos had a rating of 2 or lower (0-2 is low hazard). but i'm going to guess that since most of them were organic brands, they'd be WAY more expensive than my huge 78-cent box of baking soda. i did read that after transitioning away from commercial detergent (shampoo) products, your hair kind of does a purge before it normalizes. after that it's actually less greasy than it would be if using shampoo regularly, since shampoos contain waxes and mineral oil (a petroleum byproduct) that builds up on your hair.

so i decided to stick with the baking soda a little longer.

day 5: baking soda and lemon juice (0) to rinse - WAY BETTER RESULTS!!! i think i may stick with this.

baking soda has done great on atticus' hair all along (baby shampoo has a rating of 5). we've been continuing to use our regular dove soap, since it's only a 3 and the castile soap was making me break out. (and the honey/salt/cinnamon mixture, while it made me smell like a fresh-baked cookie, kept getting stuck all over the inside of the tub and i'd find rogue bits of cinnamon in my pants at the end of the day. not super thrilling.)

for baby lotion, i just add a tiny bit of coconut oil to his bath water after i've washed him and kind of rinse him with it. he doesn't feel greasy (although, a LITTLE DAB'LL DO YA with the coconut oil) and he feels soooooo soft!! i like it even better than baby lotion.

i'm liking experimenting with new things, but i'm giving my shampoo situation a month to iron itself out. if it's still "purging" then, i'll be buying something commercial and calling it a day.




***UPDATE: screw the baking soda. today i used what little is left of my herbal essences shampoo and garnier fructis conditioner and my hair smelled like a high-hazard heaven. WILL be switching to a lower-hazard albeit still REAL shampoo product. (you know it's bad when you keep trying to blow-dry the water out of your hair and then realize it's HEAD GREASE, not water, that is already on your head immediately after stepping out of the shower. and, shudder.)

i like to call the look 'homeless chic' and it's just not cutting it in the van voorst house. while we are on the crazy side, our standards are not that low. 78 cents a box for baking soda or not.

it's a garage sale miracle!!!

todd and i had been planning on asking for cloth diapering supplies for atticus' birthday. it's not like we're not used to making investments in a lot of diapers all at once, but cloth diapering has expensive start-up costs and we were hoping we could get some help with it.

then i found myself at a garage sale on friday with TONS of diapering stuff for sale - in really good condition - for really cheap! but since i needed to talk it over with todd, and he didn't get home until after the garage sale was over for the day, i wasn't sure if they'd still be there the next day. so we discussed it, decided it was a good idea, and i prayed HARD that they'd still be there on saturday.

so i left bright and early saturday morning, but forgot about the iowa/iowa state game traffic (um, 8 am was a madhouse) and then i forgot where exactly the garage sale had been. i was totally freaking out until by god's grace i found it - and all the diapers were still there!

so, for 50 bucks, i got:

7 dozen diapers in both infant and toddler sizes
12 bummis wraps sm-lg
2 pairs of waterproof pants
1.5 boxes of disposable liners
2 diaper pails
2 waterproof pail liners

um, how awesome is that?! and the lady reassured me that none of the items had ever been through the dryer...considering they don't have a dryer. (they were those people - lots of wooden toys and cast iron cookware and, well, cloth diapers available. my kind of folks.) the guy said they'd hold up through all our kids unless we were planning on having like six kids or something...so it looks like we may end up trying to garage sale for more diapers at some point.

the only downside to buying cloth diapers at a garage sale is that another kid has crapped in them. but we're the van voorsts, and that's how we roll.

pride and parenting: 2

some final thoughts.

do i think we're doing okay? yes i do. do i think there's room for improvement? absolutely i do. i've only been at this for nine months now; i do NOT have this whole mama-thing anywhere near figured out. i'm challenging myself to REMEMBER this and to give a little more grace to others when they don't do things my way, and i'm asking others to do the same.

obviously, we shouldn't be parenting all by ourselves (we were created to live and learn in community), or be too proud to accept advice, encouragement and even rebuke from trusted veteran parents or, more importantly, god.

we also shouldn't believe that there is no "right" way to do certain things - some things are black and white issues (whether you feed your child organically is not, whether you feed your child real food is. obviously). but there are things that are "open hand" issues, in the words of mark driscoll. and frequently, i find myself too proud to admit that my opinions and passions fall into this category. i also find my pride getting offended at well-intentioned friends, family and strangers who just seek to help me make my job a little easier.

so long story short, i should swallow my pride and accept advice and opinions from others, but also take certain things with a grain of salt because i, not anyone else, have been given the responsibility of stewarding my family as a wife and mother, and not every piece of advice i receive would be best for my particular family.

so, thanks to the judgmental folks at hickory park the other day, i'm feeling much more confident in my parenting! hopefully any parents reading this feel encouraged as well! if you are doing the best you can with what you have - god's word and your time, education, family, and finances - , then consider yourself successful!

some thoughts on pride and parenting: 1

atticus has been doing this thing lately where he likes to shriek at the top of his lungs. he's stopped doing it at home, but still loves doing it in public. we're handling it, so it has started to fade out, but it's definitely still a work in progress.

today i was eating lunch at hickory park with a friend, and atticus shrieked. the two older couples at the table next to us (who i THOUGHT had been staring because atticus is so stinkin' cute...nbd) started whispering and rolling their eyes, and one of the ladies was like, "he's done it at least five or six times now." later, when we got up to leave, i heard one of the men make some judgmental comment about how atticus wasn't wearing any shoes.

my first reaction was to get really angry on the inside. he is nine months old, people. he's not going to always sit still and quietly in public, regardless of how many times you say no. and seriously, why does it matter if he wears shoes?

then, i realized that i should be thankful that they were merely talking about my child and my parenting skills behind my back rather than to my face. seriously. because as a parent, it often seems like everyone thinks they would parent your kid better than you ever could, including people who don't even have children of their own. and i wish people would have to pay me in order to give me unsolicited advice about my family, because then maybe i could afford to put atticus in some very expensive shoes.

i also realized that i am also guilty of giving unsolicited advice. i think it's everyone's tendency to have opinions and even passions that work well in their own family, that they would like to share with others. there's nothing inherently wrong with that. it's just when we think that our way of doing things should be THE way of doing things, or that our opinions should be accepted as gospel truth, that we cross the line. (a quick disclaimer, though, there are things that are gospel truths. as in, stuff found in the gospel.)

so, here's an apology to anyone out there who has felt that i have pushed my opinions about child-rearing (or frugal living or green cleaning...) as a "you ought to" rather than a "if it works for you" pieces of advice.

new jammies

guess what atticus thinks about his new, high-fashion sleepwear?






also, i made a candle out of bacon grease. nbd.

as close as i come to suburban homesteading.

so much of my day is spent thinking about food: menu planning, meal prep in the morning (thawing meat, etc), meal prep at mealtime, baking, making baby food, batch cooking, washing dishes, cleaning the stove and oven, thinking about which friend i can con into lending me some freezer space, seen as how mine is at max. capac. (for all you lisagrace fans out there), etc.

the other morning i realized that my grossest food job is chicken. yes, chicken in general. (if you have a strong gag reflex, perhaps stop reading now.)

i buy whole chickens from aldi, thaw them, then roast them whole. easy enough considering i don't have to kill and pluck them myself, except the whole "rinsing out the body cavity" thing. never thought i'd find myself regularly putting my hand up a chicken's butt.

after it's cooked, i take off the skin, take as much of the chicken off the...chicken...as possible, then freeze it in meal-sized portions for use later in things like enchiladas and soup. i can get about 4 meals from a small chicken. nice.

so then i have this gangly, pathetically meatless chicken in front of me, which i promptly boil in a big pot of water with some veggies and seasonings for stock. i then strain it and measure this into one-cup quantities in plastic cups and freeze. then i put all the little frozen blocks of stock into a single freezer bag to use in recipes that call for broth or stock. i call it garbage soup. mmmm, garbage soup.

this weekend, i even tried frying the skin into cracklins (how very ma ingalls of me) to use in place of bacon bits in quiche and other things like that.

at the end of saturday morning, my skin smelled like chicken from the inside out. or really, just on the outside - i wasn't able to smell the inside, but i'm pretty sure it would have smelled like chicken, too. however, i felt very native american in that no part of the chicken went to waste. (well, that's not entirely true - i forgot to take out the giblets before roasting and that...was gross...and definitely a waste.)

so, in summary, although 'little house in the big woods' (which i read this morning) makes playing with pig bladders and making head cheese look glamorous, i'm not so sure. i think chicken is enough to keep me entertained for a good long time.

god doesn't exist, he subsists. - rc sproul

totally unrelated to the title, i've been a little discontent lately. i would really like to switch our family to more of a whole-foods, organic diet. but considering our (voluntarily) VERY limited grocery budget, i just can't justify spending $5 a pound for organic chicken when i can get the hormone-choked kind at aldi for 79 cents a pound. (that's right, 79 cents a pound! i hope atticus marries aldi someday so we can be related.)

...so, i found myself complaining to todd one night about how i really wished we had an unlimited budget (or an organic aldi - be still my heart) so that i could jump on the organic bandwagon with the rest of society. but, as usual, todd had a better outlook on the whole situation than i did, and said something really profound:

"we have a limited budget so that we're able to give more away. we don't eat organic so that other people can eat."

choke, choke. um, good point christian husband.

then i ran across this tidbit:

"Conventional good stuff is still good stuff. The most important thing is to eat something REAL. The country isn’t in a health crisis because our we eat too much produce with pesticides. If only! It’s in a crisis because we don’t eat enough produce of any kind. So first things first, people, get up to your gizzard in some plant foods. A conventional pesticide-laden peach is, like, a bazillion times better for you than organic goldfish crackers."

so with that in mind, bring on the aldi produce.

ahh, politics.

if you know me at all, you know i am highly involved in politics. or not.

in fact, if i ran into rush limbaugh in hyvee (or, more realistically for me, aldi. or more realistically for rush, some d.c. area republicans-only store, so probably fareway) i would have no idea it who i was talking to and would probably ask for a price check on store-brand tortilla chips.

however, the following quote was posted by laura on her blog, and i had a good laugh.

The healthcare bill will be written by a man who doesn’t understand it (John Conyers), passed by a Congress who hasn’t read it, signed by a President who smokes, funded by a man who cheated on his taxes, and overseen by an obese Surgeon General. What could go wrong?—Rush Limbaugh

hahaha, oh rush. you do have a sense of humor. i should call you rush limLAUGH. only in print though, because it wouldn't make as much sense to hear it as it would to read it.

simplifying

i've gotten the urge to simplify our lives. first undertaking: atticus' toys. seriously, he has so many toys, and yet his favorite things to play with are a plastic cup, a blush applicator, my hairbrush, HIS hairbrush, a highlighter (with the lid jammed on TIGHTLY- don't worry), a piece of cardboard, an old magazine, an old CD, a wooden spoon and a canning ring.

so why all the fancy toys?
i tried to go through his toy basket and keep only high quality things that he would likely play with...the only problem is that I'M attached to a lot of them. i would find myself thinking things like, "he's never liked this toy, but i got it as a shower gift" or "even though he's never shown any interest in this one, maybe the next kid would like it." um, i'm apparently more attached to his toys than he is.
so i'm working on an experiment. i cleared out half of his toys and put them in a bag (out of sight, out of mind). in a couple days, i'm going to go through and clear out half of what's left. if there are specific things in the bag that i find myself missing or truly regretting getting rid of, i will retrieve only those things. in a couple weeks, i will sell or donate the remaining toys. i think it's better to keep our house uncluttered and allow someone else to potentially get use out of these things than to keep them around out of sentimentality.
obviously, i'm not getting rid of everything, or even all purely sentimental items. just trying to foster an attitude of thankfulness for the things we DO have rather than an attitude of stress because of all the things we've accumulated but don't want to manage, take care of, or keep organized.

atticus' toy basket AFTER clearing out half of what was in it!

next project: my clothing...yikes. if i find myself far too attached to atticus' toys, this one will be hard.

what i've been given and why

the whole point of life is to glorify the lord. it doesn't matter what you put your mind, your energy, your resources, your time, your passion or your relationships into, they will only have eternal value when used for the purpose of god's glory.

toward this purpose, the lord has lovingly given each person a unique set of skills, circumstances, passions, and people with which to work. call these 'talents' from the parable (talents shouldn't just refer to those things you're good at, but all the resources god has given you to use for his glory).

so i've been thinking about the talents god has given me. i know that, as a wife and mom, my main outlet for ministry is my family. the lord has entrusted me with my husband and my child (and any other children we might be blessed with), and my main responsibilities in this are to help and encourage my husband and to raise children to know and love the lord. all my energies should be directed with these goals at the heart.

i feel that perhaps my largest resource in this is my interest in learning...well, everything. i like to call it 'varied interests,' although todd can testify that i can be pretty ADD in my 'kicks' of the moment. there's always something new and interesting that i'm reading about or trying my hand at...some stuff sticks, and some efforts last around 30 seconds.

so i think i need to identify what my interests are, which ones are worth pursuing, and how i can use them specifically to benefit (first) my family and (second) others.

maybe more to come when i can narrow down my list of "pursuable" interests.

my newest 'thing'

CHECK IT OUT!!! isn't it awesome?!!




you mean you don't know what it is?! well, other than being a testament to the fact that i truly am a renaissance wife, i don't know what it is either. i taught myself to crochet yesterday, using a book that i would never recommend for pattern purposes, unless you want to know how to crochet a tassled ipod-holder rope belt. yes, it was in there. and it was one of the classier items.

anyway, considering that i'm not skilled enough yet to crochet the aforementioned belt, i fashioned this little trinket yesterday. still trying to figure out what it is....

perhaps the love child of elton john and martha stewart?

or maybe a scarf for the top half of my wrist for when it gets cold? (but only the top half, the bottom half can suck it up, it's not that cold out.)


any other suggestions? let's put it to a vote.

so random.

right now, as i write this, atticus is sticking his hands down my pants. motherhood is glamorous. it would be even more glamorous if i had this little treasure.

lauren chorpening, blog more.

confessions of not-the-greatest mom in the whole world.

last night atticus was playing while i was baking bread. the dough was rising, and i forgot that the oven was preheating. he has lately figured out how to open drawers and cupboards, so he crawled over to the oven to open the drawer under the oven door. apparently there's a piece of metal across the inside of the drawer that gets really hot, and he got his hand stuck in between the drawer and the metal. i felt so horrible...his hand got all blistered and he screamed for probably 20 minutes straight...i don't blame him.

i'm so sorry, little buddy.

go figure.

as soon as i posted the last blog, atticus started waking up at 6:30, napping inconsistently and started being REALLY grouchy throughout the day. oh, babies.

the new normal

oh my word, i am loving our days! about 2 months ago, atticus really settled in to a pretty predictable daily schedule, (as well as started sleeping through the night consistently) and my life has been a bed of roses since.

well, pretty much.

this is what an ideal average day looks like:

7:30: wake up, feed atticus, misc. morning routine.
8:30: go on walk, memorize scripture.
9:30-11:00: atticus naps, i read my bible, shower, pick up the house, etc.
11:00: atticus eats a snack, random play time.
12:00: atticus eats lunch, random play time, run errands.
2:00-3:30: atticus naps; i read, research, or relax.
4:00: atticus eats, i start getting the kitchen ready to make dinner
5:30: todd and i eat, hang out as a family
8:00: atticus eats and goes to bed
8:00-10:00: todd and i hang out together

awesome. i love having a predictable schedule, especially staying home. your days can get all jumbled together and you don't know which end is up sometimes.

on top of a daily routine, we also have a predictable week:

monday: grocery shopping (every other week), cleaning, hospitality
tuesday: SABBATH!!
wednesday: bible study (every other week) OR library; special projects
thursday: yoga, shane and rita (jehovah's witnesses) come over, family night
friday: laundry, plan menu/shopping trips (if nec.), organize coupons, lisagrace comes over, garage sales
saturday: garage sales, church, out to eat OR super simple meal
sunday: misc. ministry, connection group

not that all of that gets done every week, but it's nice to have a goal. i'm working hardest on streamlining our days, especially cleaning/grocery shopping days. cleaning is going well (i have gotten to the point where i can clean both bathrooms in 12 minutes total) but since i only make one major shopping trip per month, and one supplementary (milk/produce) trip, the first trip takes a LOT of time...working on that.

anyway, not that anyone cares, i just am feeling really good about FINALLY getting to settle into a sense of normality!!!

i'll give you three guesses...

...and the first two don't count.


guess whether i was folding laundry any time recently, and whether i turned my back for a second.


guess where my dumpster-diving husband and i found the following:


guess whether i had fun getting crafty for a baby shower:

guess what my awesome kid is working on:

guess whether atticus enjoys feeling his top and bottom teeth touch, and whether he enjoys his biter biscuits:


guess whether we've limited biter biscuits to bath days:
guess whether my tiny guy brings me tons of joy every day:


guess whether atticus is a true van voorst:


guess whether atticus is his mama's child:


guess whether atticus is too cool for school:

guess whether atticus wants to be anything like his daddy:


guess whether i have tons of fun with my husband:
guess how proud i am of my amazing, claims-specializing, stylin' husband: