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the weekly 'what's up.'

in this week's news, finneas ate an apple by himself.  let's take a look.

 
 
 
 

 
he's all, 'my preciousssssssss.'
 
 
 




big news week.

how to have a crafty christmas and also not murder anyone.

we're having a crafty little christmas this year, mostly because in october todd took his car in for maintenance and it cost us over nine hundred dollars.  (yes, you read that right, and yes, i felt nauseous when i heard the news, too.)  so the budget for the kids' gifts is $10.  total.  combined.

so...ramshackle crafts it is.

one thing i have yet to consistently remember about myself is that, deep down, i usually really hate crafting.  i always forget and i look at pinterest and am like, oh i could do that/sew that/glue gun that!  how hard can it be? and i drop down and get my crafty on grrrl and it starts out actually really great.  i ride this wave of 'i am woman, watch me handstitch' for a while and feel pretty invincible.

but then something goes wrong.  my bobbin runs out of thread.  the tension gets all wonky.  i glue gun my fingers together.  and then i start cussing under my breath, but try to fix the problem and power through.

but then the problem is unfixable and something else goes wrong.  the freaking ruffle isn't ruffling.  the mesh is getting stuck in the sewing machine gears.  the machine stops working altogether shortly after the (last) needle (i have on hand) breaks.  and then, oh honey.  i go ape crap.

no more under-the-breath cussing for me.  i'm calling down curses from heaven on my sewing machine.  i'm threatening to rip the handmade doll (or, the unfinished parts of the handmade doll) limb from limb.  and then i storm out of the room and start to blog instead.

which is why i'm considering printing out a transcript of my blog for each of the kids, putting it in their stockings, and considering them christmas'd.  i think they'll like it.  at the very least, they'll appreciate that their gifts didn't come at the cost of me murdering someone in my craft-rage and spending christmas in prison.

merry handmade christmas, kiddies.

video vednesday: you better like my photos, that's #friendship.




i laughed so hard at this, even though i've never used instagram in my life.  i've probably watched this twenty bajillion times and todd's sick of hearing me sing it.  thanks so much to jeska for changing my life with this video.

my jestie.

one thing i didn't mention yesterday was that i got to see my bestie jeska over thanksgiving.  (and since we've been best friends since high school, i'm going to talk like a high schooler for the heck of it: it was the sexx seeing her.)

she is getting married this summer.  she knows more lines to more movies than anyone ever in the history of time.  she once bought me a kenny rogers eight-track tape.  she respects my deep, unending love for abraham lincoln.  she used to love batman.  i can never hear five iron frenzy without thinking of her.

we started hanging out senior year, when we terrorized our art teacher, crafted a magnum PI-lookalike sculpture for some anatomy project (which i half suspect didn't meet the guidelines for whatever the project was supposed to look like), subsequently dropped out of anatomy together, and helped each other through 'catastrophic' breakups with jokers.  we ate a lot of fries, stayed up way too late, and quoted homestar runner nonstop.


 
hey, anyone remember film cameras?!  this photo had to be scanned in, that's how old we are.

she was in my wedding...

 
(um, is it weird for me to point out that i was totally ripped?)
 
 
she eventually got tired of wearing her false eyelashes on her eyes, so...

then we lived in the same apartment building after i got married, so when todd worked overnights we watched tv in our jammies and basically had grown-up slumber parties. 

we once both wore the same pair of pants, which you totally can't see in this picture, but i swear i was in one pantleg and she was in the other:



this happened, which is hard to explain and/or justify:

 
notice we both have lip rings.  her mom bawled when we came home after jes got her lip pierced.  i bawled after i got mine stuck in my lip.  bad idea all around.

we had a ton of fun this weekend getting to hang out.  i only get to see her once or twice a year, so it's always so refreshing.  and then we start to act retarded.

 
recreating our graduation picture.
 
 
and...honestly...who knows what's happening here.

so there you have it.  an introduction to my jeska.

thanksgiving twunny twulv.

there are lots of things you should know about me, like how cats freak me out a little because they stand in their own litter, and how if i could be any kind of professional it would probably be a professional organizer.  or, if i had to be an athlete, i'd want to be a pro wrestler because we all know they don't actually do anything but look all ripped.  another thing you should know about me is that i love hosting holiday get-togethers.  mostly because it gives me an excuse to have a bunch of people that i love around and to use my pretty garage-sale dishes and vintage linens.  also, one other thing you should know about me is that i never iron anything.

 
25-cent real silverware?! don't mind if i do.



 
 


i love decorating for holiday meals.  probably the highlight of my life.

also, we had some mormon missionaries come over for dinner.  just like the pilgrims did at the first thanksgiving. 

once you go bacon you'll never go backon.

if you know me at all, you know that i'm basically obsessed with two things: the duggars and little house on the prairie.  this post is inspired by little house on the prairie because the duggars only eat turkey bacon, which offends my third obsession, which is bacon.  (turkey bacon is not bacon.  don't even try to proselytize me.  you will fail.)

okay.  so, like i said, this post is about bacon and little house on the prairie and not the duggars.

in one of the LHOTP books, ma ingalls wraps a turkey or a rabbit or something in salt pork (read: bacon) and gets all kinds of compliments and receives them graciously because she's ma ingalls.  and i have since been super intrigued by what goes into wrapping some kind of roasted animal in bacon.

fast forward to a few years ago (four, maybe?) when i found this recipe for spice rubbed turkey wrapped in prosciutto.  only, this is america people, so i clearly ditched the hoity-toity italian salt pork for the obvious:  the duggars.  whoops, i mean, bacon.  (see? i think about the duggars 24/7.)

AND, OH LAWDY.  turkey wrapped in bacon....turkey. wrapped. in. bacon.  noodle on that for a second.  just say it out loud and really slowly.  i'll wait.



so needless to say, thanskgiving has never been the same since.

i realize i should have posted this before thanksgiving to give you a chance to try it for yourself this year, but i just didn't want to put myself on the hook for judging you if, for whatever god-forsaken reason, you chose not to try it.  so i'll give you the benefit of the doubt, give you a year to fantasize over next year's turkey, and look forward to hearing my praises sung next november for being the angel that delivered this recipe to your doorstep.  and every year after that when you refuse to deviate from this recipe.

so...seriously.  try it.  love it.  pay me royalties every time you make it.

and so help me, if this is the part of the post where you get ready to comment about how you don't like bacon, just know that to do so will warrant an uppercut directly to your jugular.  just try me.


video vednesday: pilgrims, turkeys, indians agree: the best dish is SPC.

so, i know i've posted this at least once already, probably twice.  but given that tomorrow is thanksgiving, and given that i love this video with all of myself, i thought it only fitting.



boy meets thanksgiving.

cory matthews is ready for thanksgiving.  he has his menu planned out, his house cleaned, and is kicking his feet up in anticipation of the big day.  i am not quite so pulled together, but i (once again) aspire to be more like him.

 
if i didn't know him better and trust him more, i'd suspect he was smirking at me for being underprepared.

so, bring on thanksgiving.  if cory matthews is ready, then so shall be paige van voorst.

penelope.

oh, penelope.  she is so crazy and funny and full of personality.  she has her own signature dance moves.  she sings 'building a clubhouse with my friends' nonstop.  she wrinkles her nose and uses funny voices and makes funny faces.  she is shrill and really loud.  no, i mean like, really. loud.

i sit her on the potty before naptime and tell her to put her poop in the potty and she always answers with, 'and pee and toots?'

i tell her not to poop in her panties, and she responds by saying, 'okay, i will just put my toots in my panties.'

her favorite meal to order at restaurants is crackeroni and cheese.

if you tell her she's a big girl, she responds, 'i'm big and little.'

her best friend is named chloe and is imaginary.  they like to read the bible together and share.

when overhearing todd call atticus a 'handsome dan,' she asserted that she is a 'pretty dan.'

when she's eating breakfast, she also asks what's for lunch and dinner.  she likes to have her day's meals planned out ahead of time.

when asked if she is mommy's (or grandma's or daddy's) friend, she says, 'no, i'm just atticus' friend.'  she's very loyal to her brother.  the other day they walked laps around the house, holding hands.  when asked what they were doing, they responded they were being friends and talking about the bible.  when offered any kind of treat, she always makes sure atticus is also getting some before she accepts any herself.

she takes tiny, tiny bites of foods she loves, presumably to make them last longer.  she'll take ten minutes to eat a chocolate chip.

she loves finneas and will say in a really shrill voice, 'finn is a good baby?????'

she asserts that not only are they her favorite colors, but she is 'pink and purple.'

she refuses to stay clothed.  she refuses to leave her baby dolls clothed.  if she can get out of her diaper overnight, she does.

when carrying toys upstairs, she often tells todd, 'you carry it.  it's too big and i'm too little.'

she loves to pretend to skateboard, and wants to be a mommy and drive a skidsteer when she grows up.

she checks in on atticus' imaginary friends, fick and fack, by asking how (and where) they are.


she is a mystery to me.  she is so full of life and personality already.  she is just so...penelope.

weekly wazzaaaaaap.

this week was totally and completely dead.  not a single photo of anything we were up to.  mostly because we weren't up to anything.  just recovering from the flu (the kids were still sick on monday - that's a five-day flu right there) and trying to get on top of the mounds of resulting laundry and bathroom scum. 

i guess i could tell you that i tried kombucha.  it's not bad in a 'it's kind of bad' kind of way.  i think i'll start making my own.

so here's something instead of an update. 

if you could only use one eating utensil for the rest of your life, what would it be?  would it influence your answer to say that it is also the only utensil you have for cooking and brushing your teeth?  go.

finneas at eight months.

player's stats:

weight: 15.6 pounds (first percentile)
height: 27 inches (18th percentile)
signature move: the 'buffalo' bill cody.


 
wait, how old am i?!  e-i-8-h-t?  that's not even a word.


finneas turned eight months on the sixth, and is totally rocking it..  i've heard other babies have done eight months up right, but he's seriously rocking eight months.  he has seven teeth, first of all.  yes, yes, i realize most teeth come in pairs, but he has somehow either willed one to crop up before its partner, or he has willed one to stay underground after his partner.  either way, that's a pretty major accomplishment for a tiny infant.



he's still slithering around, although he has all-out crawled a couple times.  since we have hardwood floors, i think his knees hurt and he slips around a lot more when he crawls, so he hasn't been super motivated.  however, he is insanely speedy at the dead-leg crawl (where one leg refuses to pull its own weight - you know the move), and loves getting into the toy room or over to the computer cord before anyone can catch him.  (why those two places?  the toy room so he can tick off his big sibs by knocking over their lego towers and chewing on their trucks, and the computer cord so he can tempt fate by chewing on the cord and defying what seems to be inevitable electrocution.)

he's a lot more interested in toys at this point, and gets the short end of the stick a lot of the time when the big kids won't share, or take things from him, or grab him by the leg and drag him out of the room to keep him away from their stuff.  poor, poor finn.

he loves babbling, giving kisses and waving.  he loves growling while standing against the furniture.  he likes playing with grass.  he does not like yogurt.

he is still waking up one to three times through the night to eat, which is tiring.  but i keep telling myself that since he's so small (he's still in 3-6 month clothing), he can use the extra feedings, and maybe he's little because he has a really high metabolism.  who knows?  in any case, it may help me reach my goal of finally being able to nurse for a full year with one of my kids, so i'm letting it slide for now.  plus, i just can't bring myself to let him cry it out like i did with the other two.  i'm turning into a big softie in my old age.

he eats every four hours or so during the day, and frequently eats dinner with us.  we're doing baby-led weaning, so it just depends on what we're eating.  soups have been a great way to get some simple, soft whole foods into him.

also, he loves reading.  or, as todd calls it, r-eating, since he basically just chews on the books at this point.  maybe he'll learn true phonetics by nine months.


video vednesday: i'm readin' a book, pig, i'm readin' a book.

today's video is sponsored by this photo of finneas:




 

 
 

how lindsey lohan ends up being a dead-on illustration of motherhood. who knew?

the other day i was driving home and thinking about celebrities.  (as though i have to tell you that - you should pretty much assume that regardless of what i'm doing, i'm thinking about celebrities.)  and i started thinking about how it must be weird to walk out of walmart all bloated and just-woke-up-looking with a grocery sack full of ben and jerry's and tampons and have about twelve hundred camera guys jump out from behind the bushes and then sell your unfortunate photos to any tabloid who will take them and then the tabloids print that you're pregnant or aren't bikini-ready or going through a divorce and then everyone is all, I HATE THAT GIRL, and you're all, all i wanted was some freaking cinnabon ice cream like a normal human being. 

(also, you should pretty much assume that whenever i'm thinking about celebrities, i only think in run-on sentences.)

and yeah, that would be super annoying.  and totally invasive.  but then i was all, but that's part of the package when you become a celebrity.  no one forced you to be famous (except, i guess, for people who are famous for being kidnapped or something).  you chose this. 

it got me thinking about how people might react when i complain about mothering stuff.  how i'm all, i hate being covered in someone else's barf and also is it too much to ask to sleep all the way through the night and i hope my house is never a crime scene because my carpet is definitely not blacklight-ready and stuff like that.  i bet some people are like, yeah, i could see where that sucks, but you chose it.

and back again to the whole celebrity thing.  i bet many celebrities must see paparazzi simply as a necessary evil to doing what they really love.  take lindsey lohan for instance.  (or, so i don't get sued for libel, we'll call her finsey schmohan.)  lindsey lohan (whoops) has to deal with all her personal crap getting plastered all over the front page of the checkout line smut magazines.  and that must really suck.  but she deals with the hard aspects of fame so that she can pursue her first love, which seems to be flashing her cooter at any given chance.

and back again to the whole mothering thing.  this is just one of the myriad ways that mothering parallels being wildly wealthy and internationally acclaimed.  i chose this life.  if you're a mom, you chose this life.  and yeah.  it really, really, really sucks sometimes.  but all those ways that your life has become infinitely better as a result of being a mom couldn't come without all the literal crap being thrown your way every day. 

so the next time your kid snuggles you or colors you a picture or doesn't crap his pants, just think of all the hard things you went through to get to have this opportunity, and be grateful.  think of your kid's smile as the cooter-flashing moment amidst all the paparazzi.  or don't.

so, here's a question: what are some of your favorite cooter-flashing moments that make the rest of your paparazzi life worth it?

'member that time monday.

hey, 'member 'member that time monday?  bringing it back old school today.

hey, 'member that time in college that i decided to get a lip stud, but how the gemstone on it got lodged under my skin when i bit it weird while eating mac and cheese?  and remember how my new roommates' friends, who were total strangers to me, had to drive me to the piercing place and hold my hands while i had it extracted and i bawled like a girl baby?  and remember how the guy had to replace the stud with a giant surgical steel ring because my lip was so swollen?

i looked goood and made an awesome first impression on my roommates' friends.



feel free to post your own 'member that time!  just please link back to http://teamvanvoorst.blogspot.com if you do!

weekly blahblahblah.

i'm just going to make this short and sweet.  what were we up to this week?  some random stuff and then getting the flu.  five van voorsts down within twelve hours of each other.  it made for a very messy, stinky, grouchy, miserable day yesterday.

although, i'm extremely grateful for my amazing sister, who came over to help me even though she was feeling under the weather herself.  she even watched my daughter projectile-spray puke all over the cabinets and didn't even blink an eye.  (see? right there i bet you cringed, but she actually watched it, put penelope in the tub, and then tried to insist that i not clean it up but rather leave it for her to do.  that is servanthood - dealing with someone else's pukey kid and also their puke.)  (also, i did not let her clean it up.  before you go thinking i was that cruel to my baby sister i would like to state that i cleaned it up myself.)

bleh.  hoping today goes better, although i'm a natural-born pessimist and i'm pretty sure we have typhoid fever and are on the brink of death.  i apologize if i die of this and you end up being the one who has to clean out my basement.

brace yourself.

i keep a running list of ideas to blog about.  my current list looks like this:

1. finneas.
2. neck beards.
3. penelope.
4. lindsey lohan's cooter.
5. how to keep organics from ruining your life.


prepare yourselves.  this is happening.

video vednesday: if i met ryan gosling, he would want to build me a house.

(please ignore the swear word in the title; the video is clean.)


we voted.

i took the kids voting this morning.  (please note that they are dressed.  A+ this tuesday morning for paige van voorst.)



it was awesome.  four whole minutes of wrangling the kids, trying to explain that we were getting to pick who gets to help make our rules and protect us and decide how to spend our money.  totally over the kids' heads, so i just filled in my bubbles and stuck the ballot in the automated ballot-sucker machine...at which point atticus freaked out because the scary machine stole our paper.  then it was back out in the rain to hop in the van, at which point atticus asked me to drive around town so we could scope out orange road cones.

 
 
 
 
if you're able to take your kids with you to vote, i'd encourage you to do so!  even if they're little, they'll get to see their parents exercising their right to vote, which is something so many people in the world do not have the privilege of doing.  i know pretty much everyone and their mom is on facebook, on the phone, and on your porch trying to get you to vote, and if you're anything like me you're probably all, 'i get it, bozos, and if you call me one more time i'm not going to vote just to spite your stupid face.'  (in fact, one of the guys i voted for was based solely on anti-that-guy propaganda that actually got me really excited for his stance on stuff.) so i'm not going to try to convince you to vote - i'm sure you've already decided whether you will or won't. 

but if you do, i encourage you take your kids.  if voting is important to you, let them see you do it.  plus the old ladies that check your voter registration love it.  they'll cover your kid in 'i voted' stickers and double check your address on your registration so they know where to come to kidnap them.  but that's the risk you'll have to take if you have adorable progeny.  oh, the burdens of parenting in america.


schlumpkins.

so, like i mentioned last week, we carve/paint pumpkins every year for todd's birthday.  last year was the first year we let the kids paint pumpkins, and they talked about it all year.   they were super excited when the time rolled around to do it again.  (please ignore the terrible lighting.)
 
 




 
 
even finneas got in on the action this year.

 

 

 

 

 
all the kids' finished pumpkins.


after the kids painted their pumpkins, we had a very special birthday dinner prepared for todd:  grilled cheese and spaghetti-o's (-slash-tomato soup for me), and mocha cheesecake for dessert.


 
photos of grilled cheese are always gross.  photos of grilled cheese after dark under overhead lights are really gross.  however, the creepy jimmy carter face staring out from under all that bread and cheese makes it a little better... maybe.  this is our "you're special" plate that i use for special occasions.  yes, i know it's decorative and not food safe, but it was free at a garage sale and it's funny, which trumps all.

 
noodling on what to wish for.

 
 
a couple of days later, todd and i carved our pumpkins during naptime.
 
 
 
my not-so-secret main reason for wanting to carve pumpkins in the first place.  roasting these bad boys and eating them until i'm nauseous and can't look at another pumpkin seed until next october is my idea of a fantastic time.


 
 

 
 


 
todd always gets super creative with his.  i'll have to show you some of his past pumpkins sometime.  the first year we did this, he carved this insanely intricate old man with a tear running down his face.  i don't remember what i carved, but i'm pretty sure it looked like it was done by a handless child.

 
i'm not super creative with mine.  last year i was pregnant and craving mcdonald's, so i just carved a big M into one side of it and a burger and fries into the other side.  this year, i'm even less original.  i'll have to show you the photos of the one time i tried to carve catherine zeta-jones. 

 
and the unveiling of todd's:  it's plex from yo gabba gabba, for the kids to enjoy.  he was supposed to have pupils in his eyes, but todd pulled a samson and busted them out accidentally.  so it looks more like wall-e than he was hoping, but i still say A+, todd van voorst!
 
 
and there you have it:  a very lengthy post on todd's b-day celebr-antics.  go here to see the one time todd depicted a whole scene from ezekiel on his pumpkin.  i told you - he's crazy good at pumpkin carving.

weekly 'wut up or shut up.'

let's jump right in - what were we up to this week?
 
well, we finished carving/painting our pumpkins, which i realize i still haven't blogged about. maybe next week.
 


penelope got a pedicure.  and, as always, her hair is a mess.  she's going to be super mad at me when she gets older that i never really bother to brush her hair (or put pants on her) but always really bother to take her photo.

 
 
the kids dressed up for halloween to go trick-or-treating downtown.  my mom made their costumes - she's a maestro at stuff like that.  if it were up to me, they'd probably go as gym rats every year so all i'd have to do is dress them in sweatpants.  but no.  i have a loving mother who makes me look like i actually put some kind of effort into halloween.
 


atticus was the hamburglar (todd's idea):


penelope was a candy-crazed little red riding hood (todd's idea - not the candy-crazed part):


and finneas went as waldo (my sister's idea):


 atticus got his new glasses and a sucker from the eye doctor:


 
 
i also got my eyes checked since i busted my glasses and needed an exam before i could order new ones. they dilated my eyes, which was fortunate for me so that i could throw up the guns and rock the frameless shades:
 



and penelope turned two and a half.  she wasn't thrilled about it at first...


...but then i told her she was just that much closer to being able to buy her own scratch tickets and she perked right up.



and i was reminded that inflatables season is upon us.  and more than a little flabbergasted that someone spent hundreds of dollars to make their yard look like this (and also, flabbergasted that they'd pick that paint color for their house...shudder):