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snow day!

so, like i mentioned last week, we had a decent snowfall.  it was finneas' first time playing in the snow, and after he got the hang of walking (and falling) in one-size-too-big snowboots, he loved it.
 



 
not quite comprehending the sticky properties of warm snow that allow it to cling to your gloves.  he was a little freaked.

 
 
 
penelope spent her time eating snow.



 
atticus spent his time wiping the snow off the van and staring in awe at the melted snow pouring out of the downspout.


video vednesday: you don't want to get...GINGIVITIS.

congratulations.  here's...a pottypop.
 

 
 
 

flush it. flush it good.

hey! i forgot to tell you the story of how all my clean laundry ended up soaked in toilet water!

a couple weeks ago, we were really busy with hospitality.  every day that week had at least one person or couple coming to our house, if not more than that.  (one day that week, we had SIX separately scheduled meet-ups with people throughout the day.  SIX!)  needless to say, i was behind on laundry.  i had gotten most of it through the washer and dryer, but it was still sitting in baskets in the basement, waiting to be folded.

then our toilet clogged.  not an unusual occurrence around here, what with trillions of people around and only one bathroom and a toilet that was installed in the early 90's.  so at first i was all, 'no biggie.  i've got this covered.'  but then i was all, 'scratch that! it is a biggie! and now i have a quarter-inch of water all over my bathroom floor and into the hallway.'  (luckily it really was only water.)

so i mopped it up with a bunch of towels, which i then stuffed down the laundry shoot.  goody, more laundry!  but when i went down to actually put them in the washer, i discovered that the water had leaked through the ceiling onto everything below.  including all the clean laundry that i was already behind on and would now have to wash again.

i realize this is not a big deal to anyone else.  but i was SO. TICKED.  i've also forgotten to tell you that this was the same week that i was switching out all the kids' clothes for different sizes/seasons, so i had a ton of extra laundry in addition to everything else.  i'm not sure exactly how many loads had to be re-washed, but it's reasonable to guess between five and seven, not including the extra load of toilet-water towels i ended up having to wash.

and that is why, on that particular day, i was all, 'can i just chuck my life out a window and start over?'  anyone else have days like that?  (who am i kidding? of course you do!)

apparently todd is 15 months. (or was, anyway.)

as you all know (or should know.  if you don't, it means you don't read my blog often enough, and i'm hurt.  HURT.), it was todd's birthday last week.  i thought it would be fun to post the kids' answers to some questions i asked them about him on father's day.  (just for clarification, i asked them these questions separately, which is why it's kind of surprising that the answers to some of them are similar even in their weirdness.)

here are atticus' answers:

My daddy’s name is: Todd.
My daddy’s age is: 15 months.
His hair is: brown.
His eyes are: blue.
He is: taller but not taller than me.
His birthday is: in four days.
At work, my daddy: works hard.
My daddy’s favorite food is: daddy cookies.
My daddy’s favorite thing to do is: play with us.
My daddy’s favorite movie is: Thomas.
My daddy is smart because he knows: Jesus.
My daddy always tells me: all about construction.
Daddy is happy when: good things.
My daddy’s favorite way to help around the house is: to clean up.
My daddy shows Mommy that he loves her by: he loves us.
My favorite thing to do with my daddy is: to play outside at the park.
I know my daddy loves me because: he gives hugs to me.
My daddy makes me laugh when: he is tickling me.  Daddy always tickles us!
If I could give my daddy anything, I would give him: presents! Green ones and red ones and blue ones!
I love my dad because: I dig for him in the sandbox.  I like to hug him and give him special treats and daddy cookies and ice cream.


here are penelope's answers:
 
My daddy’s name is: Todd.
My daddy age is: short.
His hair is: brown.
His eyes are: blue.  My eyes are blue like Daddy’s, but you can’t see the blue part when I’m in bed, but you can see the blue part when I’m out of my bed and I look in the mirror.
He is: short.
His birthday is: in four weeks!
At work, my daddy: makes coffee.
My daddy’s favorite food is: pizza.  Daddy LOVES pizza!
My daddy’s favorite thing to do is: make coffee.
My daddy’s favorite movie is: People movies.
My daddy is smart because he knows: Jesus.
My daddy always tells me: it’s time for nap.
Daddy is happy when: maybe let’s go to sleep.  I don’t think so.
My daddy’s favorite way to help around the house is: to make us go to sleep.
My daddy shows Mommy that he loves her by: hugging her.
My favorite thing to do with my daddy is: color cups with him.
I know my daddy loves me because: I hug him.
My daddy makes me laugh when: he is tickling me.
If I could give my daddy anything, I would give him: a cup.
I love my dad because: I love him.

widdle waddle.

whew! it's friday!  these last few weeks have been packed full of the most fun and most challenging part of ministry: people.  lots of people.  i really like the community we have here, and the people that we're getting to know and getting to serve, but wow.  i am an introvert.  and i am tired.

so we're taking the weekend to hunker down and maybe refuel with some junk food and movies.  we'll see how it goes.

anyway, some highlights of the week:

on saturday, my sister came up from des moines for the day, which was really really great.  we tried to go junk-shopping, but instead ended up at qdoba.  it's the same.

saturday evening, todd went to 'man time,' which i mentioned on wednesday.  he shot a rifle.  he shot a shotgun.  he tried a little archery.  he dueled a guy with airsoft guns, which he lost because his gun was (unbeknownst to him) out of pellets in the last duel.  it seems a bit unfair, but there are no do-overs in the wild, untamed west that is man time.  then he played some football and some golf.  then he got tazed (during which he obeyed my wishes and didn't have a heart attack, so that was considerate).  then he had some steak and corn and then came home.  i'm pretty sure he now has a few more chest hairs than when he left, and his beard is noticeably more voluptuous, so it seems the event was a success.

on tuesday, i got up early to read my bible and pray a bit before the kids got up.  soon enough, though, they were peeking around the corner and telling me that it was snowing.  i was all, 'hilarious, now get those booties back to bed.'  but they were all, 'no really! it's snowing!'  so i looked outside, and sure enough, it was snowing.  and not just snowing, but snowing.  big old fatties of flakes.  and it kept going all morning and into the early afternoon.  so what else could i do but let the kids play outside?  it was finn's first time playing in the snow, and he loved it!  i'll have to show you some more photos next week.



yesterday was todd's birthday.  we got cupcakes from the local specialty-cupcake place.  they were amazeballs.  amazecakes.





 later yesterday evening, he got the chance to teach at The Salt Company, our church's college ministry.  he did an incredible job, if i do say so myself.  i was so proud of him!

and in sadder news, i'm gearing up to sue hy-vee for using my rap name, 'freaky fresh,' in their local ads.  that name is trademarked.  they should know that by now.

happy 35th birthday to my wonderful husband.

all i can really say about todd right now is that, if we both knew how to play the banjo, he would play 'dueling banjoes' with me.  just because he knows i would love that.  todd is my dueling banjo.  and we all know how much i love the banjo.

happy birthday, todd; i got you a new nickname!  todd 'the banjo' van voorst.  (todd vanjo voorst?)

he laughs at my jokes; he tells a few funny ones himself.  (quite a few, actually.  we spend a ton of time laughing.)  he listens to my rants and the reading-aloud of many articles regarding the things i care about.  he eats at panera with me, even though they have tiny portions.  he stays up late with me, whisper-talking so we don't wake up the baby, just so we can chat a little longer, and even if it's not about anything important.  he encourages me to grow deeper, grow better, and he offers me grace and patience when i fail.

he's my best friend.  i miss him when he's at work.  and not (always) in a mushy-gushy-get-a-room kind of way, but in that way that everything is made better when you get to share it with a friend. 

so happy birthday to my bestie.

video vednesday: i modified my garden hose to dispense nacho cheese.

this weekend, our church held this thing called 'man time,' where guys went and shot guns and ate steak and voluntarily got tazed.  todd went.  he got tazed.  this one goes out to him.




(psst - i did end up posting really late yesterday, so today's like a twofer if you missed it.)

gunk on, gunk off.

okay, i had set aside this week as an opportunity to detail some of the organizational/task management systems i have going on at chez van vizzle.  today, let's talk about cleaning. 

in fact, this post is late going up because i was busy actually cleaning.  which leads me to my first point: sometimes do it instead of other stuff that's more fun.  you have to tell Yourself what Yourself is going to do sometimes. Yourself might not like you bossing it around, but Yourself also doesn't like sitting on an unhygienic toilet either, so it's going to need to buck up a bit and act like an adult and just clean all the things.  lay down the law!

okay.  i assume we all know the basic jist of how to clean a house.  however, i'll leave you with a couple of book recommendations and other bits and pieces that have helped me along the way.

first, a couple rules of thumb:

1. your house is only as clean as your corners/edges/caverns.  your house can be totally clean, but if you've got those little gooey-dusty bits in the corners, it doesn't look as clean.  true story.  under furniture, along the top of the baseboards, etc. are all places that get overlooked but make a big difference.

2. mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part original blue dawn dish soap and keep it in a dishwand in the shower.  after each shower, just wipe the walls down with this little number and you'll never have to all-out clean your shower again.  (as someone who would rather clean a toilet than a shower, believe me that this is a game changer.)

3.  use an ostrich feather duster.  you think i'm joking.  i'm as serious as a zombie apocalypse.  the coordinating french maid getup is entirely optional, but the feather duster is NOT.

4.  do it better.  we all hate cleaning (or, most of us do, anyway) but it has to be done.  why not put a little energy into figuring out how to do it really well, and really quickly, so it doesn't suck so bad?

and those are my rules of thumb. 

okay, so, because i FIRMLY believe that homemaking is a vocation, and i really think that 'continuing education' is important in any field in order to learn to do that job as best you can, here are a couple of book recommendations:



top right: Sidetracked Home Executives.  this book is terribly written, with horrible jokes and an entire chapter dedicated to detailing the divorce and subsequent 'self empowerment' of one of the writers.  the authors (sisters) call each other 'sissy.'  yeah, really.  it has comics, if that says anything.  but the index card system they lay out, in addition to the fact that neither of the authors are 'naturally' organized people but have learned and implemented a sustainable way of doing stuff, make this one of my favorite cleaning books.  (here's a post in which i detail my own card system a little further and also show you the authors' surreal haircuts.)

bottom: Speed Cleaning.  also not a pulitzer prize winner, but not horrible.  this has SERIOUSLY changed how i clean.  it now takes me significantly less time to get my house clean, and it's even cleaner than it used to be.  (seriously - it tells me to clean that window on my oven door (and other moronic stuff i'd like to forget about) every week, and even with doing so, i still get my whole house clean in about 45 minutes.  with kids making it their singular goal to thwart me at every turn to boot.

top left: Sidetracked Sisters Catch-Up on the Kitchen.  (yes, there's an unnecessary hyphen.  don't ask me.)  again, since it's written by the same authors as the first book, there's really only a couple of chapters of pertinent information and about 40 million too many comics in here, but the info that is good is GREAT.  kitchen organization and meal planning at their finest.  more on that later.


read these.  grovel at my feet for recommending them to you.  send me some 'thank-you bonbons' (it's a thing) so i have something to sit around and eat in all the free time i have now that i'm not cleaning every second of the live long day.  you're so very welcome!

The Plan.

a couple of weeks ago, i mentioned in passing my family/household binder and was asked about it.  between that little prompt, and the fact that i've been overhauling a few things in my household routine lately, i figured i could spend some time this week just talking about how i organize and run some of my household tasks, like meal planning, decorating, cleaning, etc.

i know it's probably presumptious of me to assume that anyone might be interested in the inner workings of the twisted organization of our house.  but i do know that a) i always love to see how other people are doing it, and b) if pinterest is any indication of how interested other people are in stuff like this, i'm guessing there are at least a few readers who won't be utterly bored by this.

okay, so first up: my organizational binder.  otherwise intimidatingly known as The Plan.

 
sorry for the terrible photo.  weighing in at 5.5 pounds, this puppy is difficult to shoot without a wide angle.  and also while eating an apple with one hand.


there are tons of binder how-to's out there, with lots of cute printables and recommendations on what to put in your binder.  if you're just starting with one, check some of those out for ideas.  i put mine together close to six years ago, so i've been using it for a while and finding what works for me and what doesn't.  the truth is, i just kind of wing it at this point.  which is why it looks so wonky and dissheveled and sooo 2007.

anyway, here's what's inside:

the front contains all my 'randoms' (or, at least, some of my randoms).  let's see what's in there right now... the rules for city trash pickup.  some comic strips i found funny.  some anthro wallpaper samples.  a card with the local mormons' contact info.  my 'my lowes' card. post-its with all our new medical contacts' information. a business card for the local fitness place with free child care (because i like to pretend it will come in useful someday).  lists of books and websites i want to check out.  a calendar of friends' birthdays and anniversaries. and...yikes...some really old thank you notes i forgot to send after finneas was born.  whoops.  i guess i need to clean this out more often.



the first section is for cleaning and home maintenance.  it contains checklists for seasonal cleaning (i like to do a really really thorough cleaning of my house twice a year, that way i feel less guilty letting it go to crap the rest of the time) and maintenance schedules for our mechanicals and the physical structure of our house.

the second section is for food and groceries. i'll talk more about our actual menu planning later this week.  i don't keep that stuff in here. mostly, i keep contact info for local farms/farmer's markets and price reference sheets for places like trader joe's, azure standard, and the like.  that way, if i'm at the amish store or something and see gluten free oats, i can remember how much i can get them for in bulk other places to know whether or not it's actually a good deal.  i just take the plastic pocket with my price lists with me when i go to new places, and i update it as prices change or i find a cheaper source.


 
 
the third section is for home decor and design, but it's basically a catch-all for random stuff around the house.  i keep instructions for not killing my houseplants, dimensions of my kitchen counters for the glorious day when i can replace them with butcher block, lists of house projects i'm hoping to get to someday, and paint chips, receipts, and other reference stuff for current decorating projects.

 
i keep those little reference tags for houseplants in a business card organizer so i can see names and care instructions at a glance.  i toss them when i inevitably kill the plant they belong to.



 
i used this book as color inspiration for the kids' room, and have been using the paint chips for reference when i'm making decisions on paint, fabric, etc.

the fourth section is for long-term planning.  two resources i absolutely love are alexandra stoddard's book living a beautiful life: 500 ways to add order, elegance, beauty and joy to every day of your life (yeah, the title really is that long and the cover really is that pastel) and mark driscoll's 'reverse-engineering your life and marriage' teaching.  (pdf of the questions here).  basically, both resources force you to think about what you want to accomplish/what you want your life to look like over the long term, and challenge you to put into motion actions that will get you there.  in this section of my binder, i keep the questions and the answers so i can refer back to them or change them as my long-term plans flex.  (just a personal word of advice: listen to the reverse-engineering sermon and answer the questions with your spouse.  really insightful and gets you on the same page.)



the last section of my binder is for spiritual disciplines, and includes things like bible verses to teach the kids, prayer cards for our sponsored children and sponsored pastors, and notes from sermons/teachings at church that i want to go back and reference.


 
you will notice that i was inspired to pray ephesians 1:17-20 around the same time that i was also reminded to buy a shop vac filter.  a fine example of the spiritual meeting the mundane, and also my bonkers attention span.


lastly, i have a secondary binder/file folder that i call 'The Plan: B' where i keep all of our warranties, instruction manuals and receipts for major purchases.


some things you may notice that i don't include when comparing it to some of the other ones floating around the internet:

*anything that needs to be referenced on a daily or even weekly basis.  this sucker is huge.  it's unwieldy.  i don't want to have to get it out everyday.

*calendars.  i use a planner that fits in my purse.  or, more recently, a bunch of random post-its stuck every which where.

*recipes. i print off successful pinterest recipes and put them in a binder of their own.  (you'll soon see i kind of have a binder problem.)  they're easier to access at dinner time.

*anything that i know off the top of my head.  why anyone puts instructions for cleaning a toilet in their binder, i'll never know.  why take up more space than necessary in here? relatedly, anything that's generic, universally relevant information, like cleaning how-to's and interesting tips. i have pinterest boards for that stuff.

*sensitive information.  if a burglar wants to know my social security info, he's going to have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands top-secret safe, not just open a binder and browse it like a pottery barn catalog.

*budgeting and bill-paying.  todd does the budgeting, i don't bother my darling little head with the finances.  i'm just here to look pretty.  as if that wasn't obvious.  (seriously, though, the only financial area i'm mostly in charge of is medical expenses, and i have that info in another folder.)


and that's it!  super long post, i know, but hopefully it was slightly interesting.  let me know if you have any questions about it, or if you decide to start one of your own if you haven't already!

wizzeekly wizzuzzup.

remember how i gave you a tour of the front of our house last week?  (well, i guess it wasn't really a tour, considering anyone driving by has the same information, but we'll call it a tour.)  and remember how i told you that the mums around my mailbox were all crazy and asymmetrical?  well, i'm a lucky girl to have a husband who reads my blog.  he showed up at home that same day with some more mums for me to plant.  so i got them in the dirt as a storm threatened.  that's how gung-ho i was.



atticus' favorite magazine is hy-vee seasons.  as a result, he recently got it in his head that he wanted to make caramel apples.  obviously, the caramel apples in the magazine looked way nicer than anything i'd ever attempt, but i told him we'd try to make some.  so i made some of that pinterest caramel where you just boil a can of sweetened condensed milk.  (i can't eat that really sticky kind of caramel usually used for coating the apples because of my crazy orthodontia.)  it tasted awesome.  it looked like discharge.  we did the best we could.


 
um, yikes, right?!

after all of that, finneas was the only one who liked the caramel.  atticus ate the apple once todd wiped the caramel off.




penelope fell out of bed at least twice, and has massive bruising all over her face.  her lip got all scraped up, her eyes are slightly blackened, she has a bruise on the side of her nose, and one very long bruise on her cheek where she landed on the side of a toy box.  it's been an intense week for her.



my friend jenni lent the kids a book about dog breeds.  in coming across the following picture, atticus was all, 'what kind of dog is that?! it only has three legs!'  i had to convince him that it was just a person picking up dog poop with her hand.  he (understandably) thought i was joking.



and lastly, atticus helped me make dinner last night.  all of his hy-vee seasons-inspired dreams came true.




happy friday, all y'all!

my crazy's like whoa. my mail guy's like whoa. my laundry's like whoa.

lately, i have had like zero attention span.  i'm still in those lazy, hazy, crazy days of newborn, plus i've had a ton of social interaction recently, which always makes me re-evaluate my schizophrenic social skills. (i'm learning i shouldn't be allowed around people too much; it makes my brain short out.)  but, on the plus side, i'm thinking i'd like to fully invest in this whole 'i'm on the crazy train' thing, so i've decided to start making up stories about random passers-by.

lots of people walk past my house on a given day.  we live close to the university, so there are lots of car-less students that walk to and fro.  also, we have a mail guy.  plenty of previously missed opportunities to silently pretend to be besties with a stranger, am i right?  so i think my singular goal for the day is to make up some complicated friendship history with the girlfriend of the guy who lives across the street.  she seems like she'll be within viewing distance of our house a lot, so it seems like we should have a colorful backstory.  i'll let you know how that goes.

also, i lied when i said my singular goal for the day is making up that story; it is actually one of two goals, the other one being to re-wash the multiple loads of laundry that got toilet water all over them.  and because i'm crazy and distracted and therefore low on blog post ideas, i'll save that little gem of a tale for next week.

video vednesday: VEDNESDAY DOUBLE FEATURE!

i will pay you a dollar to dress up like the fox and send me a video of you doing the dance. that's a promise.  (thanks for the video, amanda!)





i will pay the guys in this video to never, ever invite me over to their frat house under pizza pretenses. (thanks for the video and the permanent mental scarring, jeska!)



repost: who wears short shorts?

(repost from here.)

this one time in high school, i was at work, washing dishes, and this co-worker (who was generally predatory anyway) came into the kitchen. we were the only two in there, and he stood in the doorway and took off his shirt and just stood there all bare-nippled for what felt like about 20 million hours.

so i did what i assume any normal seventeen year old human would do - i looked away, pretended he didn't exist, and turned bright red as i finished washing the dishes. eventually he must have put his shirt back on and left. or maybe he's still standing there to this day. i'm not sure.

let me tell you another little story: i go grocery shopping every other thursday night. apparently, every other thursday night is also on some guy's schedule to go walking around downtown with no shirt, i'm assuming to show off his well-cut but very white pectorals. once i even saw him walking shirtless while carrying a small child. now that is dedication to trying to get the chicas to at least whistle at him.

let me tell you yet another little story: i know a girl who has a guy friend who habitually removes his shirt at the most random times: in public, at his apartment, in large movie-night gatherings at other people's houses. he just pretends to get hot or something and opens his top button...and just keeps going until he's just skins.

which leads me to my question: do guys think this is more sexy than awkward? it would appear so. however, i know of no girl who gets all hot and bothered seeing a guy with a mr. cotter haircut and no shirt walking down the street, regardless of how muscular he is.  in fact, if other girls are anything like me, they try to avoid eye contact so as not to risk communicating that they're way into it. because, in my book, guys who are asking to be ogled a) don't deserve it, b) make me extremely uncomfortable, and c) probably also have some weird skill where they can make their pecs dance, and if somebody looks at them long enough they might be emboldened to try it, and i really don't want that visual burned into my brains.

so. i guess what i'm saying is that i spend a lot of time on this blog deriding girls who don't keep their orifices and fattiest bits covered up. but now i think it's time to get on the case of the fellas who find it appropriate to walk around shirtless in public arenas other than the pool.

also, while we're at it, short shorts on guys do not communicate 'look at my sinewy hamstrings' so much as they scream, 'awkward shirtless guy in shorties at eleven-o-clock.' 

the weekly wonder that is 'what's up.'

it's fall, y'all!!!!!  (that clever little one-liner courtesy of pinterest, which makes that sentence the paige van voorst trifecta: it involves autumn, talking like i'm from the south even though i'm a total poser, and stealing all my ideas off pinterest.  boom.  trifecta'd.)

oh lawdy how i love fall.  and to prove my undying devotion to the season, i started off the week with some kind of autumn-induced crafting-and-decorating seizure, which ended with my porch looking like this:

 
simple, but it involves a straw bale, so i'm happy with it.  though, i'm not going to even get started on how crappy the fake straw bales at walmart are.  there is hay EVERYWHERE. my porch. my entryway. my yard. my shoes.  kind of kills the fall spirit, until the fall spirit is all I'M IMMORTAL AND NO IRRATIONAL NUMBER OF HAY BITS CAN CONQUER MEEEE.


 
i've got a bit of a dilemma. i need one more chunk of mums to make my mailbox planter look less wonkadonk, but that means another trip to walmart with all the kids.  so wonkadonk mums it is!



 
I MADE THAT!!!  what's up now, pinterest?!


also, i decorated my kid for the fall and he's looking pretty dapper:



also, Aforementioned Kid has recently become my housekeeper, making him my favorite kid right now.  i joke, i joke.  but really, is there anything so beautiful as a toddler pulling his own weight?  and in an adorbs hoodie to boot?!  (yes, he's only wearing one sock.  it's how we do.)




and in other-kid news, laurelai started smiling this week! i'm entirely smitten, which is my poser-fancypants word for 'i'm literally melted in a puddle on the floor.'  the writing of this blog post was made more difficult and messy as a result, but totally worth it.

also, here's a photo of my biggest projects right now:

 
menu plan, sleeping child, the Giant Binder of All Things Van Voorst, and a dr. seuss anthology.  whoops, the seuss is purely for fun.  but the rest are my biggest projects right now.
 

i made bread.  the kids were impressed with my domestic prowess.  or really, with my stand mixer, but i like to think it's the same.



and finally, these kids are a gang of two.  they're besties.  also, they can't stand each other.  but mostly they're besties.

 
ignore the crazy housemess.  pleaseandthanks.


best. week. EVAH.

3...2...1...

laurelai is six weeks old today!  hoping not to jinx myself as i say this, but i believe we've made it through the brand-newbie stage with relative grace.

she is now blasting off into old age.
 


that's one giant leap for one tiny girl.

video vednesday: no way! i had like four...five...teen dunkeroos for dinner!

oh, you mean, 'i only wanna be with you' by hootie and his blowfish?




*i know i just did a jimmy/justin clip last week but srrsly.

**also, if you've sent me ideas for future video vednesdays, could you resend the links to me?  i'm sorry.  i'm a scatterbrained dirtball.  you guys have had some great ideas, and i've been sporadic about saving them to a central location.

it's like book club and you get to be oprah.

i'm just going to be honest, here: i started this blog post like fourteen bajillion times (actually, four.  it's the same.) but i can't think of anything interesting to write about.  not a blessed thing.  i've hit a blogger's block.

so, you get to be the blogger for the day: tell me what i should read next.  or sometime.  right now i'm in the middle of east of eden, which is my favorite book of all time and if you haven't read it you're either blissfully ignorant of what you're missing out on, or you're probably some kind of criminal.  so that's what i vote you should read next. and then read to kill a mockingbird, because you're going to need an awesome chaser when you're done with east of eden.

your turn: any suggestions for me?  (i'm in the mood for fiction or autobiography/journals.)

also, what's your opinion of the harry potter books? i know i'm basically the aforementioned criminal for neither having read any of these nor watched any of the movies, but you know me: i'm wild and crazy and unconventional.  but seriously: have you read them? are they really as good as everybody says?

GO!

sing it if you know it: weekly whatup.

let's begin with this week's major accomplishment, shall we?  i have not cried about the state of my life since saturday!  (i think.)  that's pretty huge.  it means that i feel i have a tiny semblance of control and calm in the midst of chaos.  in fact, i really do think we're settling in around here.  barring any kind of major (or minor) upheaval, and until i'm finally forced to take them out in public by myself, things should be manageable and, dare i say it, somewhat normal-feeling.

okay, on to the week's other milestones:

sister poop-pants turned one month old!  and waved her arms and rapped, 'hip hop hooRAY, HO, HEY, HO' in celebration.

 
now you're singing it, i know you are.  hip hop hooRAY, HO, HEY, HO!
 

man alive, it's exhausting being this old.

 
 
 
finneas is learning to use a fork. i'm pleasantly surprised to find that it actually motivates him to eat small bits of dinner that he would normally snub, like this-here rice.  amazing.




also, he lifted a car and gave you his best 'step off' look while so doing.  don't mess with him; he's an ironman with the intensity to prove it.



penelope conquered her first without-help puzzle:



also, not pictured:  she ate six eggs for breakfast the other day.  i repeat: six eggs.  the next day she ate two and a half pb&j's on whole wheat.  i really should contact the food network about this: we could be making sweet grocery-moolah doing a show called 'preschooler v. breakfast.' 

and just because they're insanely cute:





there you have it: the van voorst weekly chronicles.

in which laurelai is rocky and i can't write a grocery list to save my life.

so, you may have noticed that i've been a little scarce around these parts lately.  lots of reposts and many days of silence.  maybe you didn't notice.  that would be fine, too.

if you've been wondering, we're actually doing really well.  laurelai is the living definition of 'champion.'  eating, growing, sleeping.  she's got it all down.  many nights she eats around 10:30 p.m. and doesn't eat again until 4:00 or 5:00 the next morning.  (i worry i just jinxed myself there, though, by saying that out loud.)  plus, she only takes about 10 minutes to eat before zonking back into oblivion.  all things considered, she's pretty much Rocky in the ring of overnight feedings. even though i feel like Rocky loses at the end - not sure, never actually saw it myself - which, if true, is where the metaphor stops fitting.  because laurelai always wins.

and because nights are going so well, i feel like i've finally conquered the challenge of being a mostly-gracious mom to a newborn.  (not to toot my own horn or anything, #toottoot.)  and it's only taken four kids to get to this point!

but here's the thing: i have always explained away my postpartum fuzziness, idiocy, confusion and ridiculousness as resulting from a lack of sleep.  as it turns out, it must not be entirely attributable to that, since i'm currently just as foggy as i always am for the first six months or two years of a given V.V. child's life.

i find myself in the middle of sentences, wondering what i just said and (for pete's sake) why on earth i would say such a thing.  but i must finish the sentence! so i continue on in some rambly, half-coherent way until whoever it is that i'm talking to looks just uncomfortable enough that i'm compelled to stop talking. 

the organization required for writing a grocery list makes my brain shut down.  i feel the fog come in from the corners of my mind and just smother any desire to push forward and accomplish anything. 

and the other day i found myself pronouncing the word 'lost' as 'loost.' why? 

all of this is my rambly, postpartum way of excusing my way out of the late nature of the blog.  and i usually wrap up my posts with some kind of snarky summary statement, but i can't really remember what it is i've been writing about, so i'll end with a joke:

what did the french skeleton say as he sat down to dinner (and probably tucked his napkin into his clavicle)?
BONE apetit!

that's a little halloween humor to hold you over for the next few weeks.  you're welcome.

video vednesday: #lifedecisions #sexyghost?

my friend jeska thought this video would be fitting for me.  probs because of this post.  (in fact, i'm pretty sure jimmy fallon reads my blog and stole the idea for this video from me.)


repost: a word of advice.

(repost from here.)



should you ever happen to be greeted by a beetle the rough size of a matchbox car, here are some pointers:

1. do NOT slam the window closed, trapping it between the window and the glass, and run away being all, ohmywordohmywordewewewewSICK. this will make the beetle think it has the upper hand.

2. do NOT spend a short moment praying that the beetle eats some of the scaly lead paint off your windowsill and die a long, painful, but hands-off death. beetles do not have any natural interest in lead paint consumption; your prayer will therefore likely receive a resounding answer of NO, and your faith might be a little shaken. and you'll need it full-strength at a moment like this.

3. do NOT rummage through the toy bins, find a matchbox car (no, not that one, it's not a very pretty color. pick the teal one.), and grab your camera for a fun-slash-terrifying 'proof of scale' photo sesh. this will make the beetle think he is liked and welcomed. false.

4. DO close the window quickly when you realize the beetle is about to hop aboard the matchbox car and get all Stuart Little and drive around your house. pretty soon he will be demanding an outfit, probably including some kind of kicky beret and a driving scarf, and you don't need to indenture yourself to a beetle. this is your house, after all. even though, in the beetle's defense, you are acting like a girl baby.

5. DO leave the beetle in there to problem solve how to get out, or fear the wrath that is your husband's shoe (when your husband gets home to squash it, of course. you should not trifle with doing the dirty work yourself). it's like a horror movie plotline for the beetle. that'll teach him to ever think he had the upper hand.


you're brave. you're at least twice the size of this beetle. you are armed with my handy tips. YOU CAN DO THIS.