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aaaaand we're back.

aaaaaand it's only feb 28, so i'm back a day earlier than i told you i'd be.  but a) i've spent entirely too much time pinterest-ing over the last week, so i need to find more responsible things to do with my time now, like blog, and b) we have some exciting news.

our house is under contract!  hooray hooray and a big sigh of relief. 

we put our house up on zillow (a 'for sale by owner' site) last wednesday.  by the following monday we had given seven showings (and eaten a lot of mcdonald's) and received two offers.  so. insane.  so we got to be on the puppet-master end of a bidding war, which isn't as fun or maniacal as it sounds.  it's actually really stressful and you come off looking like a douchebag to the buyers.  so i'm glad it's over.

our house is still technically on the market, since the people who are buying it have to sell their own house yet.  we'll continue showing it and entertaining any offers that come our way until their house is under contract, so we're not totally free-and-clear of this whole home-selling debacle yet.  but we're just that much closer!

totally a god-thing.  we sold our house in under a week for higher than asking price...and haven't had a single person call for a showing since then.  which is amazeballs, since i have three preschoolers and a personal code of ethics that requires me to not put anything away when i'm finished with it, so home showing is a BEAST.

on today's agenda:  praying for a job to fall into place for todd.  also, praying for a pan of brownies to show up on my doorstep.

welcome back to the internetz, paige van voorst!

sorry, but i think it has to be done.

i'm going to shoot you straight:  this has probably been the most trying, overwhelming, defeating season of my life.  i mean, it's hard to say that definitively, since i vividly recall hating marching band season in high school.  also, i detassled corn one summer, which is a job straight from the bowels of hell.  and i had bad forehead acne when i had those huge hairsprayed bangs in the ninth grade.

but i'm guessing this trial at least ties with those.  (although, marching bad was really bad, so maybe this season ties for silver.)

anyway.  what i'm getting at is this:  it's too much.  it's all just too much.  and while i love writing and acting like a turd, both of which have direct outlets on this blog, i'm thinking i need to take a break from writing for the next week or two.  to tell you the truth, i'm feeling completely uninspired, which results in stupid, obligatory blog posts, which no one likes anyway.  so i'm actually doing you a favor.  you're welcome.

so i've decided to lay low until march 1st!  see you back here then!

IT'S OFFICIAL!!!!

We're on the market!

http://www.336penn.com/

in which i make excuse for being boring.

hey.  so i realize i've been a total slacker on here lately.  but i do have an excuse:  our home is officially going up for sale TODAY!  there's been a lot to wrap up lately, which is why i've been kind of sporadic in my posting, but after wednesday when everything is as done as it will be and we start showing the house, i promise i'll be back to normal. 

in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled:  the website will be going up (hopefully) sometime today, so i'll post a link when i get it.

it's a legitimate question.

is it okay to love ke$ha if i pray for her soul while i listen to her songs?  because if loving ke$ha is wrong, i'm not sure i want to be right.  although, i do love being right.  probably more than i love ke$ha.  i'm so confused.

pretty sure i'm as old and crazy as dirt. probably crazier than dirt.

sorry i've been a little spotty in my posting this week.  you know the weeks where, when you're not cleaning poop off the furniture, you're lying in your bed at 11:30 a.m.and crying about the state of your life?  it's just been one of those weeks. 

i hope i can blame it on the pregnancy hormones (the bawling like a baby, not the poop that was everywhere - i can assure you that wasn't mine), though the fact that i seem to be having a midlife crisis (who am i?! what am i doing with my life?! where am i going?! i want to listen to barbra streisand all. the. time!) started me wondering whether i'm not actually pregnant at all and instead starting menopause.  sudden spare tire? check.  being all, 'i'm hot. i'm cold. i'm hot. i'm cold'?  check.  wanting to eat massive amounts of baked goods?  double check.

so i guess we'll wait and find out.  if i end up having a baby in six months, we'll know i was pregnant all along.  fingers crossed.

in all seriousness, though (well, in part seriousness, part loveable snarky humor, as usual) i'm kind of a basket case.  stuff with the house is going slowly, and the kids seem to be on a wild streak, not to mention they've been sick for the last two weeks.  it's been rough.  but i'm hoping (hoping.  hoping.) that the house will be on the market by monday, and i've already had a realtor contact me about a client who might be interested.  i'm praying for a miracle.  that the house would sell quickly.  for full asking price.  you know, nothing big.  will you pray for that with me?

today is a listy day.

so i will tell you why hashtags usually bug me.

1.  they often mean nothing.  half the time people use hashtags that are clearly just made up and no one would ever in a million years want to look for the myriad things listed under that tag.  #example: #myarmreallyhurts #ishouldprobablycallthehomenurse #ibetifsomeonemademebreakfastinbedmyarmwouldnthurtsobad.  who in the world would ever search for those things hoping tons of people posted under that tag?

2.  they are frequently longer than the actual thing you are trying to say#example: 'i'm eating an arby's sandwich. #ifoundthisinmybackseatandhavenoideahowolditis #probablynotthegreatestideaiveeverhad

3.  people feel the need to use fifty bajillion hashtags for one status update/tweet#example: watching college football with the bros.  #gohawks #collegefootball #iowahawkeyes #iowahawks #letsgoteam #ilovequarterbacks #wingsareawesome #letsdothisthing #cyclonessuck #blackandgold

4.  even if, on the off-chance, your nonsensical tags actually get you some sweet, sweet attention from hashtag browsers, the posts themselves aren't all that interesting without the hashtag#example: swiss cheese is my fave #goodeats.  i'm constantly shocked at the things people think other people should find interesting.

5.  people who use hashtags sometimes usually use hashtags all. the. time.  self-explanatory.



we all have a choice to make.  we can use our hashtags responsibly, or we can throw them around like dollar bills at a strip club.  please, people; we are not rappers.  we have no business making it rain.  keep your head down, your nose out of the coke, and your hashtag usage frugal.

update: sneak peek.

i got our room done today! as in, done done.  which i think warrants a two-post day.  i took a few photos, and couldn't wait to show a couple to you.  i'm waiting to borrow a wide-angle lens, so i'll get more 'global' photos up at that point.  but until then...

 
see? not a scrap of wallpaper in sight!
 

 
here's a glimpse at the top of our dresser.  if you look hard enough, you can see fancy gold drawer pulls winking at you from the bottom of the photo, like a creepy but fancy neighbor staring at you over your privacy fence.
 
 

 
the light has been re-boobed.


 
while i was working on stuff, i cleaned out my closet so it didn't look so small and cramped.  i only kept stuff i would realistically wear in the next couple of months. 



 
i realized nearly all my clothing is in shades of grey, beige, white, black and navy.  which would be fine if i wore colorful accent pieces or nice bags, but i don't.  so i'm pretty sure i just look depressed all the time.  which might be true.


okay, wide-angle shots to come.

getting there...

this last weekend was a whirlwind of productivity as we continued to plug away at getting the house ready to sell.  some amazing friends came over on saturday morning to help me deep-clean.  i made and hung about a bajillion sets of roman shades.  and, most notably, we got the bedroom walls done.

*cue angelic choir*

yes.  after an estimated forty hours of stripping wallpaper, scraping glue, patching plaster, sanding plaster, taping, priming, painting and touch-up, the bedroom walls now look...well, like normal walls.  it makes me crabby that all the work that went into that room is pretty unapparent since they just look like walls to the untrained eye.  i mean, forty hours of work!  that's more than the labors of all my kids combined, and at least with childbirth you have something to show for it.  whatever.

anyway, here's a reminder of what it looked like back in 2011, when it won the gold medal for being the trashiest part of our house.  until about a month ago, it still looked this way. 




if you think i'm exaggerating about how bad it looked, i'll tell you that atticus typically naps in our bed, and recently he's started freaking out about being in there because of the walls.  if you can't see in the photos above, the walls were bare, chipping, hole-y plaster once we removed the wallpaper.  i will also like to point out that our boob light is missing its actual boob, and our curtains are painter's dropcloth and old curtain panels nailed to the window frame.  seriously, this room could be featured in some expose about a family who locked their kids in a dark room for years and just fed them dog food under the door. 

anyway, it's looking better in there now.  the walls are painted, curtains are hung, and the dresser is...well, still the same chipped old dresser with ornate gold pulls.  something will have to be done about that.

now, i realize this is the part of the post where i present 'after' photos, but alas, i worked until after dark last night, so i haven't taken any yet.  maybe i'll post some tomorrow.  not sure, though, since i still don't have anything hanging on the walls.  sorry to do that to you, but that's how i roll.

boring and anticlimactic post, OUT.

i have a bone to pick with february.

last night i was running errands and that green day song that's all like, 'wake me up when september ends' came on, and in my head i changed the month to february, and then i was all, 'green day gets me.' 

i have no idea what that song is about.  but i do know one thing: green day doesn't get me.  i think the mental fog that comes with february left me temporarily dysfunctional to think they might.  to further prove that i'm running on half a cylinder, i listened to almost that whole song without changing the station.  who am i and what is wrong with me?

if i could shoot february in the face, i would.  the only commercials on the radio are about how everyone knows the best valentine's day is spent getting diamonds and going to bon jovi concerts.  there is so much candy at the store - so. much. candy. - and whoever made valentine's day a candy holiday did so because they know no one has self-control in february.  we all look and feel like we're knocking on death's door; what's another four pounds of m&ms down the old gullet?  and the weather... oh my word.  i'd rather get smashed in the face with a red-hot iron like that burglar in 'home alone' than go outside.  or stay inside.  they're both the worst.

and lastly, february is all like, 'spring is just around the corner!  be happy and excited and maybe change out of those sweatpants you've been wearing since november!  spring is springing!... oh yeah, in two months.  gotcha, loser.'  that's why i hate february the most.  because it is a dirty rotten liar and, frankly, i'm pretty sure it's a son of the devil.

anyway.  all that to say, i hate february.  in case you didn't gather that.  may your friday be merry and bright.





finneas at eleven months.

finneas turned eleven months old yesterday, which is crazy because it means that in less than four weeks, this tiny guy will be a year old.  it shocks me to my very core.  where does the time go?  and how in the world will this tiny man be a big brother in six short months?  i don't even want to think about that.


yes, this photo is blurry, but it's the best one i got this month, and i'll show you why in a sec.

player's stats:

weight: 17.8 pounds (second percentile - he finally gained a percentile point this month!)
height: 29.5 inches (50th percentile)
signature move: el tigre. 

he started dancing, which melts. my. heart. 

he's still in 9 month clothing.

he rarely ever says the words he knows, but he's been sick the last few days, and when he gets really miserable or wants to be held he just liquifies and gets all, 'mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.'

he still takes two naps a day, one from about 10 - 12:30, and again from about 2 - 4:30.  he conks out for the night around 6:30, we wake him up and feed him before we go to be, and then he wakes up between 8 and 9 the next morning.  he sleeps a lot.  no complaints.

he's been spending more time in the playpen lately, partly for my own convenience so i don't lose track of him and have to go looking for him.  with an easily-accessible back stairway and an unfinished kitchen floor, he has a 75% chance of involuntarily winding up in the basement at some point, and if i go down there looking for him, i'll probably have to justify doing some laundry while i'm there.  so i avoid that by putting him in the playpen.  but really, he spends most of his time in there for his own protection:  he's always either eating questionable bits from under the dining table, or he's being squashed to oblivion by his siblings.  i swear that pack and play has saved his life.  he hates it, but that's a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things, right?

he's been working on cutting molars for the last month and a half, and i'm thinking he should just throw in the towel.  who really needs molars, anyway?  they're too much work, and cause too much crabbiness, that i say they're overrated.

his favorite toy right now is a tiny travel-sized tube of lotion.  not sure why, but he loves that thing to the death.

and that's about it!


 
he was NOT into staying put.  that pretty much sums up eleven months.

overnight baked oatmeal.

it's another recipe blog post without photos.  wamp wamp.

actually, i do have one photo, but i took it after the kids devoured the actual food part.  not really helpful in enticing you to try this recipe, other than that it presents a case for a healthy breakfast that preschoolers are willing to eat.  i will also throw in there that i normally HATE oatmeal with an indescribable passion, but i actually like and willingly eat this.  it's not too...oatmealy, if that makes sense.  it's more like the love child of a breakfast casserole and a granola bar.  prepare yourself to eat a really tasty love child.  what?  yeah.



i will say, first of all, that this isn't my recipe and i have no idea where i found it.  whoops.  i will also say, second of all, that i have tweaked it a little to allow the oats to soak longer* a la 'nourishing traditions,' aka the food bible.  if you're not into leaving yogurt on your counter for 24 hours at room temperature (what can i say? i play it fast and loose with dairy), just throw all ingredients together in a pan the night before and refrigerate.  bake in the morning.  start your day by patting yourself on the back.

okay.  on to the recipe.

overnight baked oatmeal.

2-1/2 c. rolled oats. (not quick-cooking)
1-3/4 c. buttermilk, kefir or yogurt.  (can use regular milk if you're refrigerating or cooking this right away.)
1/2 c. coconut oil or butter, melted.
4 eggs.
1/2 c. sugar/sucanat/honey/maple syrup.
1 tsp. baking powder.
1/2 tsp salt.
throw some cinnamon in there.
also throw some vanilla in there.
add some fruit. (chopped apples, frozen peaches, frozen berries.  whatever.)
if you're feeling crazy, throw in some unsweetened coconut, or raisins, or walnuts, or whathaveyou.  go nuts.

morning before:  mix together oats and buttermilk/yogurt.  let it sit on the counter covered with a towel.  (if not soaking your oats, throw everything together at once the night before and refrigerate.)
morning of: mix everything else in there and pour into a greased baking dish.  if you used yogurt, maybe splash some water in there so it's not so thick. bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until oats are firm and stuff looks bubbly.  serve with milk on top if you're throwing money around.


and there you have it.  yummy, filling, healthy, well-loved.  this gets five gold stars from the van voorsts, which is saying something because we're stingy with our stars.  do you think arbitrary gold stars just grow on trees?  psssh.


nerd-and unsolicited information-alert.
*okay, why do i do this? basically, our bodies have a really hard time digesting oats and other whole grains, even when they've been cooked.  the lactic acid in cultured dairy starts breaking down the hard-to-digest parts (phytates) ahead of time so your body doesn't have to try- and fail- to do that for you.  if you're freaked out, i can assure you that the lactic acid and probiotics in cultured dairy keep the bad-for-you bacteria in check, which is why you can let it sit at room temp for a while without worrying about getting sick.  but don't do this with regular milk - it will go bad and you will be sorry. 

enjoying some cheap happiness.

it's february.  cold, dreary, snowy, brown, grey february.  blah.  but you know what's helping me get through it?  this handy book:



i found it at an estate sale a couple years ago for fifty cents, and that's some pretty cheap happiness right there.  it's from 1951 and has THE. BEST. flower gardening tips of all time.  not to mention the fact that some of the black and white photos were touched up with color.  friendly!  quaint!



i mean, doesn't this cool and relaxed, 'laying-on-a-picnic-blanket-admiring-my-perfect-roses-and-picket-fence' lady make you just want to jump on that blanket with her?  and maybe, while you're there, do her a little favor and slather her arms with tanning oil?



don't you absolutely wish you had sun-smocked twins picking apples in your yard?!  (and those twins would only be about 70 years old today.)



as for vegetable gardening, i'm personally loving this example diagram of a garden for a family of four.  please notice that the garden's dimensions are 49.5 x 24.  that's about 1200 square feet for those of you following along at home.



and here are a couple of can't-live-without garden tools: the rotary mower and the hand-pumped pressure sprayer.



this book is helping me grapple with the fact that i probably won't garden much, if at all, this year.  i have no idea when we're moving, and i have no idea in what state the yard will be when we get there. 

in the meantime, i'm dreaming about the day when the state of my life is reversed and i have a green thumb and soil that does not poison all living things.  which basically means i've been poring over this book, writing down vintage flower names and looking them up on pinterest. which is why, if you follow me on there, your main page has been flooded with useless photos of flowers.  sorry about that.

weekly wuzzup.

this week, we were a little more active, but the biggest story around here was that finneas had a huge - and i mean huge - whitehead on his chin.  i was going to take a photo to share the monstrosity of it with you fine folks, but when i went to wipe some milk off his chin yesterday morning, the thing blasted open and is no more.  your loss.

what else? we ventured across the street to visit the 90-year-old neighbor, who lost a tooth three days ago and still doesn't know where it went.

i'm feeling pretty good, pregnancy-wise, although i'm growing much more quickly than i have with any of my previous kids.  i'm thinking it probably has to do with that whole phenomenon where, when you first buy an empty balloon it's all pristine and shiny and smooth, and then you blow it up (which takes some effort), and then you let the air back out and it's all shriveled and saggy and sad-looking, and then you blow it up again and it's really not much work at all. and how each subsequent inflation becomes just that much easier, and each subsequent deflation becomes just that much wrinklier.  you know what i mean.  i feel like i'm in an easy-to-blow-up inflation stage.  to be followed by a sad, soggy, never-be-the-same deflation stage.  whatever. the point of all that is to say, i'm growing.

last night i went out for mexican food with some friends and we talked about whose kids poop in the yard, the official rules regarding who you should and shouldn't moon, and how, at a certain point, no one really measures margaritas in ounces but rather the size of your cupped hands when you describe to them what size you're hoping they'll bring you.  turns out, a kidless night out with grownups kind of feels like a night out with kids.  in a good way.

and that was our week.  oh yeah, we didn't die in the ice storm, so that's a boon.

how was your week?