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whole30, riding dirty.

if you follow me on pinterest, you may have seen that lately i've been pinning a bunch of mediocre-looking food in the name of whole30 intentions.  well, friends, today is the day we start the actual follow through on those pins.  so if i'm a complete jerkwad for the next couple of weeks, you'll know it's because i'm going through cheese withdrawal.

(for the zero of you out there who haven't already been informed and completely annoyed by all of the whole30 info/testimonies/photos/churches out there on facebook, it's thirty days of no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol, no sugar, no fun.  it's going to be a blast.  todd is reluctantly coming on board the whole30 boat with me, but it's only because he loves me so and also because i cried when he tried to say no.)

i went grocery shopping last night.  i bought fennel.  i bought beets.  i held it together at aldi and passed up the three-pack of imported cheddars.  i felt so primal and strong.  and then i grabbed mcdonald's on the way home because, hello, one last hurrah and also, grocery shopping is exhausting and takes forever, so i didn't have time or ambition to cook dinner.  then i topped off my night with a margarita.  because what's a hurrah without a margarita?  it's just a hur-, that's what, and that seems a bit anticlimactic.  so i drank a margarita for the sake of the -rah, and i'd do it again without shame.

anyway.  i'm telling you all of this for two reasons:  one, because we're best friends, and friends tell each other stuff.  we share what's going on in our lives.  we emote.  we connect.  that's what i'm doing here.  and two, because i need to reassure you that this is not all you'll be hearing about for the next thirty days.  what is it about people who go on a specialty diet that makes them think you want to hear about, take notes on, and admire every bite of food that goes in their mouths from here on out?  i won't be that girl.  i promise you this.  because again, like i already stated, we're friends.  and friends don't bore friends with whole30 details all the livelong day.

well, there you have it.  i'm about to become a real peach.  sarcastically and figuratively speaking, of course, from the lack of most of the things that sustain me.  and maybe also literally speaking, once i eat enough produce that i start violet beauregarding it.  let's see what comes of this, shall we?

two unequally important items of note.

first, i finally decided to fire up my instagram account.  it now hosts one photo.

second, that photo is of finneas in the emergency room last week because, oh yeah, he punctured his tongue and lip.  also?  i don't know really how or when he did it, other than deducing that he probably bit it, sometime overnight.  maybe he was jumping on the bed and bonked his chin on his crib, causing himself to bite down.  or something.  i can't say for sure.



i got him up one morning last week, and he had dried blood all over his face.  he hadn't really cried or anything before that point, and seemed to be acting fine.  so i looked him over to see if i could figure out what was wrong, and checked in his mouth.  it appeared that somehow his lip had been bitten all the way through, and his tongue had been halfway bitten through.  and then i just kept shrilly whispering 'oh my word, oh my word, oh my word,' because, contrary to popular belief, a punctured tongue is not a pretty sight.  it is, in fact, horrifying.  to downplay it a lot.

but the thing is, we recently got new insurance - insurance that has a bunch of hoops one must jump through in order to receive medical care, which seems oppositional to the point of having insurance, but okay.  so in my panic and insurance-induced confusion, i called the dentist to see if gushing mouth wounds are a dentist's job, but they're obviously not, so i called the pediatrician.  the pediatrician couldn't get finneas in that day, but also couldn't refer us to urgent care without first seeing him, and a referral was required by our insurance, so they told us to go to the emergency room.  

there was really nothing they could do for him once we got to the hospital, and i'm not kidding when i tell you finneas could have cared less about his horrific, swollen, gnashed up tongue.  they could have stitched his lip, but it had stopped bleeding at that point, and since it would probably scar either way, they opted to just leave it alone.  so they gave me some bacitracin, and gave him a stuffed bear and an elmo book, and sent us home.  as uneventful as finneas' last trip to the E.R.  

anyway, in case you're wondering, i'm guessing everything's healing up well.  i've not looked at his tongue in the last couple of days, since every time i ask to see it, he just says, 'it's feeling better now,' and walks away.  his lip is scabbed up, but that's true of most brawling toddlers at any given moment.  so i think he's on the upward swing. 

trimming the doubletree.

the kids and i decorated the christmas tree, which is always one of the year's most stressful tasks.  it involves electricity; small, painful metal hooks; breakables; and unreasonably excited children.  every year i think that this will be the year it's different; every year it's about the same as the last year.


putting on the lights.



getting out the ornaments.  at least this year i remembered to separate each child's ornaments into their own boxes so as to avoid sorting the day-of.  and, as indicated by our costume changes, we spread out tree trimming over the course of a couple of days: one for lights, one for ornaments.  trying to take baby steps to a less stressful christmas season.


how big is this kid getting?!




this will be the last post this week.  i have five days ahead of me in which i plan to wear pajamas and shirk responsibilities like blogging and hygiene.  i'm clearly going to go revel.  have a merry christmas!

cutting the tree to the quick.

ahh, the 'fake tree v. real tree' discussion we have every year.  every year, todd's like, 'let's get an artificial tree this year.  it's only a one-time expense, you don't have to wrestle it home every year, you can leave it decorated, it doesn't shed, it probably never smells like animal urine like that one time.  all of these things are wins.'  and every year i'm like, 'noooooo.  nostalgia!  (yummy) smells!  memories!  i promise i'll vacuum so the pine needles don't get into atticus' eyes like that one year!  puhleeeeeeeease!'  and todd is adequately convinced for at least one more year, although he's covered in sap at the time and not happy about it.  like, at all.

so here we were, with a tree strapped to the roof of the vidivan, and i was as happy as a clam in butter sauce whose clam husband is moderately annoyed with her, but everything will be okay because butter sauce.  and that, friends, is a happy clam.





we got the last tree of its kind at menard's.  sure, there were smaller ones, but we've all seen how that goes over.  and sure, there were the vanderbilt-caliber trees, that were like twice as expensive because their needles are all fancy and they circulate unicorn blood instead of sap.  but this guy was tall and cheap and perfect.

as it turns out, though, we bought a siamese.  it's not just one tree, but two, which grew next to each other and ended up shaped as though they were only one.  remove either tree, and the other is curved and grotesque and obviously missing its mate.  like me when todd is at work or in the bathroom, and not around to round me out in the classic man-and-his-rib kind of way.  you just got 'christmas-tree-as-a-metaphor-for-marriage-which-is-a-metaphor-for-christ-and-the-church'ed.  yeah, i'm that good.

anyway, todd had to saw off the metaphorical feet of the metaphorically married tree.  i'm not really sure what that was supposed to symbolize, but it creeps me out a little.  so i took a bunch of photos of it to assuage my unease.





anyway, as is the inconsistent tradition, i'll be picking a name for this tree.  last year's tree was Little Billy Junior, our first christmas tree was named Christy Brinkley.  somewhere in there we had a Daddy Warbucks.  this year, i'm thinking something along the lines of The Deuces... or something.

so here's where stuff could get fun if you people bring your A-game: leave your idea(s) for a name for this tree in the comments.  i'll pick a winner based on my own fickle feelings and name the tree thusly.  okay...GO!

weekly 'what's up,' teaser edition.

we got a christmas tree.  i'll tell you more about that next week, although i'll tell you now that it was less eventful than it was last year, when i cried and cried and cried over our tree.



again, more on this next week, but we lit and decorated said tree.  it took about a million years longer than it would have had i just done it myself, but that's the joy of christmas: everything is more difficult than it should be, but you're jacked up on sugar so you don't really mind that much.



i was in a christmas play.  my character was "Mable Pierce: Hot Mess."  i don't have to tell you twice that i was tailor-made for this part.  i was born for this.  i did... okay.

atticus lost his second tooth.  i would show you, but it occurred after dark, and lone teeth and bloody gums under poor lighting do not an appetizing photo make.

i got to snuggle with this girlfriend after her bathtime.  it was only the awesomest.



and here ends the last full week before christmas!  do you have your shopping done?  your presents wrapped?  your mailman stank-eyed for losing that one package?  drink some wine, it's christmastime.



y'ain't dutch, y'ain't much.

or so i've learned from marrying into The Dutch.

i really am quite clueless about my own heritage.  my maiden name is some kind of german, or dutch german, or pennsylvania dutch, which is essentially amish.  or something.  and that's as far as my geneological knowledge extends.

but todd, on the other hand, knows where he comes from.  he's dutch.  and before you go calling shenanigans, citing his lack of blonde hair and blue eyes and weird strappy short pants, he has ample evidence.  his grandparents were immigrants, making his dad, tony, a first generation american, and tony spoke dutch exclusively until he started public school.  and todd grew up in a town where most people are mostly dutch, and basically the whole phone book is comprised of Vans and Vanders.  (prior to knowing todd, i didn't even know that 'van-anything' last names were even a thing.)

so it's been fun getting to worm my way into a heritage-in-law.  i mean, i'm crazy for pretty much anything blue and white, and the dutch are responsible for delft, which is an excellent starting point.  plus, the only foods they are famous for (that i, in my ignorance, am aware of) are all dessert-related.  um, okay.  sign me up yesterday.  (also, the modern dutch are famous for legalized euthanasia and prostitution.  but we don't talk about that.)

anyway, i've tried to incorporate dutch-related traditions at christmastime.  sort of.  i mean, i have some wooden shoes that i found at a garage sale that i set under the christmas tree.  and when we were in ames, and had a dutch bakery nearby, i'd always special order V-shaped dutch letters for christmas breakfast.  (DUTCH LETTERS, you guys, are why i married todd in the first place.  they're like a croissant filled with heaven, if i'm being forced to attempt to describe them to you.)  i tried getting into the sinterklaas side of things, and delivering presents in wooden shoes on december 6, but three things thwarted the idea of that effort:  1. we don't even do american santa claus at our house, 2. december 6 is the day after atticus' birthday, and i just don't have the energy for back-to-back presents days, and 3. black peter, sinterklaas' freaky sidekick and possible slave.

kay, what?  i found this.  who is this middle guy, krampus? because he is the worst, which is saying something considering sinterklaas himself appears to be a slave-holder.  i'm pretty sure krampus is not even dutch, so this picture is not entirely culturally accurate, which gives me some relief, until i realize that even if he's not dutch, krampus is from somewhere.  who on EARTH would come up with this guy at christmastime?!



gah, so scary. 

so i draw the line at sinterklaas but am still fully on board with dutch letters.  feliz navidad, The Netherlands.

video vednesday: 'werk' with an 'E?'

of course.

monday, monday, meme-ing down on monday.

oh dear, guys.  all i wanted to do today was post this crazy meme of crazy dawson's crazy cry-face:



because, seriously?! this still shot is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  but is it really so much to ask to just post an internet photo and move on with my life?  you'd think i was being perfectly reasonable to want to post just one meme, but apparently noooooooooo.  the internet had to go and be all hilarious again.  LIKE USUAL.  

so i present to you today's 'Best and Most Loved Memes That I Found After Only A Very Brief Search On the Internet' Runners-Up:

third runner-up:



second runner-up:



FIRST RUNNER-UP!



and there you have it, dawson.  a guaranteed way to turn that frown upside down.  (actually, it may take a bit more than these to turn that particular frown upside down, as it seems to be twisted into his face somehow.  but as for the REST of you, you now have no reason to be dawson-faced this fine monday morning.  you're welcome!)

what's up? (weekly.)

it's the end of the week, all, and you know what that means:  PHOTOS!

i have no idea what finneas is doing here, but he seems pretty confident about it, whatever it is.



my parents went to mexico on a missions trip in october, and brought the kids gifts this week.  penelope was looking rather dashing in her dress.



all of the kids have been happily occupied with atticus' birthday gifts, and there are plenty to go around.  the backhoe has stolen the place in atticus' heart that was once occupied by his Bobcat, which i didn't think was even possible.



penelope cut the cheese.  ha! fart jokes.



yesterday, todd took penelope on a daddy-daughter date to our local gourmet cupcake place.  (yes, we live in a world where that's a thing.)  she was beyond excited.








"here, daddy, it's bald now.  you can eat the rest."


penelope's verdict concerning the afternoon?



i bet your week wasn't as good as penelope's.

i'm hoping the fountain of youth is really just found in a pair of bedazzled jeans.

erg, you guys, i'm getting old.  i've felt it for a while now, just with the achier joints and the more brittle hair and the seemingly thyroid-related 'resistant weight loss.'  (thyroid disease is not a young-person problem, i've gathered.)  the other day i noticed that the skin under my chin is starting to sag.  i've started noticing that most 'young' people in the media are younger than i am, which is a shift.  but the clincher came a few nights ago, when a well-meaning teenager invited me to sing along to the new taylor swift song (which, hello, is irresistible) and i did... and then she was all, 'oh, you like the kids' music?'

and i was like, HOW OLD DO YOU THINK I AM?! I AM TWENTY-EIGHT!  I AM ONLY A COUPLE OF YEARS OLDER THAN TAYLOR HERSELF, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.  I AM NOT OLD AND I RESENT ANY IMPLICATIONS OTHERWISE.  I. AM. NOT. OLD.

and even as i shouted it, i knew it was only partway true, and also understood that there was no way on earth that a fourteen-year-old could understand that twenty-eight is not ancient.  i'm two lifetimes old to her.  i remember being twenty-one and becoming friends with a twenty-three-year-old and not even being able to imagine a day when i would be as old as she was.  (although, she's now thirty, obviously, so joke's on her.)

all that to say, at the ripe old age of twenty-eight, i'm not only feeling old, but i'm reaching the age where other people don't assume i'm young.  and that's sad to me.  so to try and combat that perception, i'm going to start trying my darnedest to seem younger:  i'm planning on buying myself some really low-rise Miss Me jeans in my high school size (because if it says it on the tag, it becomes true, and everyone else agrees that it must be your size) and some cap-sleeve tshirts that say stuff like "spoiled" and "whatever" on them.  i'm going to bleach my hair a really shocking shade of brass (except for the roots, obviously, which will remain dark, because dark roots give the illusion of volume, and volume gives the illusion of youth.)  i will always chew gum.  and i'll probably start tanning and smoking, because those things undoubtedly make you look younger for the first year or two.  and i'll definitely put my nose ring back in to round out the look.

this is the beginning of a new era for paige van voorst, so get ready, world.  i'm about to turn back the hands of time, and if i can't seem young, at least i can seem like an old person who's trying to seem young.  which is clearly the next best thing.  if anyone wants a ride in my new soft-top jeep, just page me.


video vednesday: at the end of the day, it's your health and attitude that makes us love you.

birthday party like it's 1999.

yeah, we did.



there was a cake, the theme of which was a repeat from a previous year, but which has proven to be a perennial favorite, so there's no complaining.





he looked thrilled to have to wait to open his presents.



it all worked out in the end, though, when he got his very own tool set.  another perennial gift, but this time it had real tools, and nails and screws, and real life wood from a tree on which to practice hammering and screwing.  among other gifts from people who know him well:  a dump truck, a lego set that can be built into three different construction vehicles, and a hot wheels track.





yepper, it was a right excellent party.

calls from the tub.


boop, boop, boop, just calling my bff.  


hang on, it's ringing.


haaayyyyyyy gurrrrrrl!



what's to the up to the wizzle.

hey, remember when everyone ended everything in 'izzle?'  that was a really confusing time, because if you tried to talk about, say, swizzle sticks, people always thought you were talking about sweet sticks, or swarmy sticks, or sweater sticks.  which would all only be, at best, related to what you're saying...  man, i'm glad those days are over.  now i can talk about swizzle sticks EVERYDAY, SON and never feel misunderstood and lonely.  i'm content in life now that 'izzle' is out.

but you know what's not out?  all the super fun crap we did over the last two weeks.

like... going with a friend and her kids to the victorian house museum one morning last week.  between the two of us, we were corralling seven kids, ages almost-six, five, four, three, two, one, and four months.  through a victorian house museum, which is exactly what it sounds like: a victorian house that has been turned into a museum of victorian living and things.  for instance, there was a china tea cup with a mustache-guard, sitting right at child-eye-level.  i was anticipating the worst.  but you know what? it was freaking awesome, and the kids were totally great.  would i go back again?  yes, yes i would.  but it would probably be in the summer, when coats and boots and christmas trees full of museum-y things wouldn't be involved.

like... stocking up on all the seasonal cheeses and wine-infused salamis at aldi, since it's christmas season and my favorite way to celebrate is to sit around in my bathrobe eating gourmet meats and cheeses.  (currently, i'm eating garlic and herb boursin, and chianti salami.  THANKS, ALDI!)

like... having our dear friend caleb come clean our carpets and couch because... four kids.



like... hosting thanksgiving.



like... having this girl 'help' me unload the groceries with such a cheerful countenance.  and a grapefruit.




and most importantly, like... this little man turning SIX YEARS OLD today!



those tinkerbell high heels are actually spiderman web-slingers.  obviously.

i can't even believe it.  my first child is out of the babyhood tunnel, age-wise.  as firstborn, and as atticus, he's been out of that tunnel for a while, helping me manage the work around the house, and watching out for the littler kids, and assisting me in eating all the bacon.  just like a grown man.  and he 'fwip fwips' with dead accuracy, just like a full-grown spidey.

oh, darlin'.  i can't believe you're so old.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LITTLE MAN!

video vednesday: hey man, can i borrow your jeep?

i feel as though, in fifteen years when i finally read these books and watch the movies (because, as we've all seen with harry potter, it takes me way too long to jump on the bandwagon), having seen this will make the actual movie a bit of a disappointment.

alert! alert!

the toddler is on the move!  i repeat, the toddler is on the move!

laurelai is a (walking) maniac, maniac on the floor.  and she's walking like she's never walked before.  seriously, she's getting really proficient and waddles and toddles around here all the livelong day.  (well, all the non-naptime moments of the livelong day.)


don't mind the bruise on her face.  casualty of her freshly chosen line of work.




now she can run with the wolves.  i mean, big kids.  i mean, wolves.


can you believe this child is fifteen months old?  she still looks like the tiniest of walking infants. 

just dying for the day when she's asked to join the cool kids' table... it's only a matter of time.