'what's up' weekly.

here's what was up this week:

laur discovered funny faces.  it was glorious.

she got the rest of the fam in on it, and then reveled in her success.

penelope decided to try out some of her favorite pinterest makeup ideas.

we went to the state fair, which i will tell you more about next week, but i thought you should have this image burned into your brains over the weekend.

we all were in a photo together!  in front of a tractor!

finneas took five minutes to battle his current archnemesis, Booger Nose.

and i am now 31 weeks along.  the countdown has reached the single digits, people.  i'm not ready for this.  my basement is still a mess, for one thing, and for another thing, i'm not mentally prepared for any of it.  i'm still enjoying being in denial about the realities of labor and the newborn stage.  see that smile on my face?  that's the smile of someone who has been enjoying adequate amounts of sleep for the last year of her life and is pretending that will continue to be the case for a long, long time to come.  poor, ignorant soul.

and that was our week!


we had one computer, and the keyboard started crapping out.  so we got ahold of another old laptop to use for typing.  now the screen is broken on that one.  so i'm typing on the first one, which doesn't have a working 'm' button (i cut and paste every time i need one), and the 'a' button on which is completely detached, so i have to reposition it into exactly the right spot every time i want to type an 'a.'  this paragraph has seriously taken me close to ten minutes to type.  so i'm going to call it quits for today.  this week has been less than stellar, blogging-wise.  sorry about that.  it's always something with the van voorsts.

video vednesday: ayy donna.

all's fair in love and...fair.

we spent yesterday at the state fair.  we headed out the door as soon as breakfast was over, drove down to des moines to meet up with my sister and her boyfriend, and spent the rest of the day at the fairgrounds, eating truly ridiculous fair food (what the heck is up with those turkey legs?! i always feel like a flintstone when i eat one) and spending sickening amounts of money on strawberry smoothies.  (or maybe i just felt sick from the giant turkey leg.)

anyway, we got home late last night, and are spending the day recovering from our crazy feasting and weird sleep schedule (the little kids didn't get afternoon naps, and obviously fell asleep much later than normal), so there's not really much more i'm able to report in my exhausted state.  we'll be attempting to still have school, which i realize is an effort in futility, but i am not about to allow myself to fail at prioritizing school this early in the year.  i'm saving that for christmas time when i'm too busy to do school, so i'll be well-practiced in 'failure to prioritize well' come january when i'm too depressed to care about anything, and again in april when i feel like being outside instead of being responsible.  losing motivation to keep to our school schedule in late august is pathetic - everyone has motivation for school right now, even drug dealers.  i'm certain of it.  so i'm going to power through today.  my kids will be thrilled and will definitely not cry.  i'm certain of that, too.

so anyway, i'm here to write a full-length blog post about why i will not be blogging today.  mission accomplished.

'what's up' weekly.

this week had a lot going on, so let's jump in, shall we?  i'm just going to toss some random photos from the week next to likely-unrelated words, just because i can.

on saturday, i got up early to pick up my first bountiful baskets order.  i'd heard of it before from my ames friends, but i didn't realize we had one here, too.  basically, you're able to order every two weeks, and $15 will get you two laundry baskets full of produce delivered to a nearby drop site.  this is what i ended up with:

not too shabby, right?  that mango in the back weighed OVER THREE POUNDS and was bigger than the watermelon i got in the same basket.  that single mango has graced three batches of smoothies so far and there is still plenty left.  it's basically a mutant, but i don't hate it.

on monday, it was our anniversary and we partied the night away at the movies.

finneas and laurelai are hell-bent on breaking the couch someday.  they've been in intensive training for that glorious day for a while now.

on wednesday, atticus had an eye doctor appointment to see if the eye patching we've been working on with him over the last few months has had any effect.  it has, but we have at least six months more to go.  wamp wamp.  frustrating for all involved - atticus hates wearing the eye patch (in spite of the fact that i tried to sell it to him by telling him he looked like a pirate), and i hate having to remember to make him wear it.  it's been especially hard since we started school and i can't just have him put it on right after breakfast, since we do school right after breakfast and he can't see his work with his eye patched.  i need to find another time of day that consistently works for me to remember, and for him to be able to still function well with it on.

after his appointment, i took him to a local coffee place and we got hot drinks (it was weirdly freezing out) and snacks.  he felt so grown up sipping his hot chocolate out of a to-go coffee cup, it was adorable.  he's growing up so fast, and he's naturally so responsible that it's sometimes hard to remember he's still little.  i loved getting the chance to talk to him, just one-on-one.  kids are so different when they're isolated from the herd.

how cute are these two?!

on thursday, todd and i schlepped the kids to the dentist for their six-month check ups.  it seems atticus is staring down the barrel of early-intervention orthodontia.  he's going to need to have some teeth pulled at his next visit.  ugh.  breaks my heart.  it's not shocking - i started with my orthodontia in second grade and was not finished with it until eighth grade, and i still have two permanent bars and a removable retainer that i attempt to wear nightly (although, as you can see with my record with atticus' eye patch, i have a hard time remembering simple daily tasks, so it doesn't always happen).  so i'm not at all surprised, but i am bummed.  poor kid.  the dentist also said penelope and finneas appear to both be on similar trajectories.  great.

and how cute are these two?!

i also spent tons and tons of time this week cleaning out the basement.  why?  because for some reason i think that it will matter once the baby comes.  has anyone else had nesting start this early?  i can't figure out if it's nesting or just being practical, but i'm starting to get a little crazy about it (i spent over an hour just vacuuming the ceiling down there) so i'm thinking it's nesting?  who knows.

and that was our week!

video vednesday: [...]

hu hot? we hot.

yesterday was our eighth anniversary!  it was super fun - todd got off work early, we got a babysitter for the whole evening, and we went out for dinner and a movie.  i even did my hair!  big stuff.

the first event of the evening was going to pick up our movie tickets in advance.  the theater is doing a special thing this month where they're showing retro football movies, which i weirdly really like (i could care less about football itself, but i love sports movies for some reason).  this week, they were showing 'Rudy.'  they offer special team discounts, so we wanted to go early to make sure that we could actually get tickets.

then we headed to the jewelry store to get my wedding ring re-dipped and cleaned.  i haven't been able to wear it consistently for the last few months, since something about it has really irritated the skin on my hand.  not sure if it's exposed alloy, or the fact that there is a large channel on the inside that can get soap and dirt stuck in it, but it was at a point where i couldn't even wear it for a full day without getting a massive scaly, itchy rash (yum!) on the back of my hand that would take over a week to heal.  so hopefully having it re-coated in white gold and having that inner channel cleaned out will allow me to start wearing it again.

while we waited for the jewelry store to finish with it, we headed to hu hot.  man, i love that place, i'm not going to lie.  plus, they're incredibly accommodating of food sensitivities/allergies.  they had gf soy sauce on hand, their sauces and some of their noodles are gluten free, and they cleaned their cooking surface specially for me and kept a barrier between my food and others' while it was cooking.  it was really great.  it seems like a small deal, but going out to eat is often difficult for us because of my dietary restrictions, so it just meant a lot to me that everyone there was friendly and accommodating about it without making an overly huge deal and making me feel like a prima donna.  A+, hu hot.

once we finished our dinner, we picked up my ring and headed over to the movie theater.  it's a good thing we bought our tickets in advance, since we ended up being the only people in the theater.  turns out, showings of a 1993 movie on a monday night are not really the most heavily trafficked.  it was really fun - i took off my shoes, todd and i got to talk and joke through the movie, and once, when i got restless legs from sitting too long in skinny jeans, i got to stand up and stretch.  in the middle of the theater, in the middle of the movie.  that's some high-style living.

again, going to a rando movie for our anniversary might not seem like a huge deal to some people, but i can tell you that the last time i was in a movie theater was 2011, so it was a big deal to me.  i felt like a grown up, and sometimes that's all it takes for me to give an experience two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

when we got home, the kids had been fed dinner and put in bed already, so we were free to just relax after i drove the babysitter home.  in all, it was a great night.  so glad i've gotten to spend a third of my life with this guy!

the black hills: day eight.

on our last day in south dakota, we laid low at the house for the most part in an attempt to recharge for the long trip home, and to give me a chance to do laundry, pack, etc.

laur spent time enjoying the view.  you guys, that is todd's parents' back yard.  the fence is there to keep the horse contained.  yeah, for real.  i know.

then laur hitched a ride with her brother on the gator.

she was thrilled when it was finneas' turn to ride in the front and hers to ride in the back.

also?  finneas started crying about something, too.  because in a large family, someone is always crying about something.  it's the law.

he eventually calmed down and the brothers v.v. rode around together for a bit.  cruising the loop.  you know.

lolo eventually made her way to the front yard, where she was enamored with the 'beebee! right dare!  beebee! daddy, beebee!'

later, after laurelai and i went inside, the bigger kids took full advantage of their papa tony's willingness to drive them around on pretty much every vehicle he owns.  they tried out the four-wheeler, the bobcat, the spider and the motorcycle.  they were not disappointed.

the kids got a new bug catcher from grandma jacqi, which penelope loved.  she is my nature-y kid, the one that always manages to find the tiniest, most unusual insects, or the most intricate leaves.  the bug catcher was right up her alley; she even decorated the inside and left a note for the bugs, which read: 'i love you bugs.  get in.'  which then kind of made the whole activity feel a bit sinister - it was like she was a predator and the bug catcher was her metaphorical windowless van with an ice cream cone painted on the side.

also?  penelope took a photo of todd.  he was pretty okay with it.

once the kids ate lunch, and after the little two went down for naps, todd changed into a shirt with its original sleeves intact.  then he and i ducked out for a bit to try a local burger place that serves some of the nation's best burgers, according to whatever experts decide that kind of thing.  and i must say, we were not disappointed.   (plus, they had really, really tasty gluten-free buns!) oh my word, y'all, if the photo of my in-laws' back yard didn't make you want to visit the black hills like rightthisverysecond, this burger place ought to light a fire under your butt.  GO THERE.  EAT AT THIS PLACE.  NAME YOUR FIRSTBORN AFTER ME.  you're that welcome.

when we got home, todd spent some time playing in the hot tub with the kids.

finneas, especially, just loved it.

laurelai, especially, did not.

and after that long, fun day, the kids curled up next to the fireplace in front of the TV.  and that, in my opinion, is a pretty appropriate ending to a pretty epic day.

'what's up' weekly.

this was a super weird week.  first of all, the biggest two were down at my parents' house for the whole week, which made some things easier (namely, dishes and laundry) and other things much harder, which i wasn't expecting.  i realized i rely on the bigs a lot to help entertain, care for and occupy the little two, as well as depend on their genuine help around the house. (oh, the glory of having children over the age of five! it's a whole new ball game.)  finneas kept asking when they would be back - we all really missed them.

when asked what face they will make when the big kids come home tomorrow, the little kids responded thusly:

my face will probably be similar in my own excitement to see them, however, i will say that getting to focus double-attention on these adorable faces this week wasn't the worst thing in the world.

i also spent the week still battling, and ultimately grieving the loss of, our water heater.  we were without truly hot water (anything above room temperature) for eight days.  i boiled big pots of water to dump into the washing machine for hot water loads, and for the kids' baths and sinks of dishes.  for my own showers, i utilized a regimen of avoidance, military speed when necessary, and crying a lot.  when we finally got the new one installed yesterday, i took an unreasonably long, unreasonably hot (read: molten lava) bath and i don't regret a second of it.

on tuesday, the littles and i drove to cedar rapids to visit a friend.  i've been feeling really overwhelmed lately at the thought of going from having four kids to having five.  it just feels...different, somehow.  it's a different kind of family.  not to mention, we've 'sized out' of most local families we know - in our church of ~700, there is one family with five kids.  no families with more than five.  we're basically renegades.  and that gets lonely and scary pretty darn quick.  so a jaunt to karlee's to visit her and her five-going-on-six kids was super fun and refreshing.  although laurelai peed on her carpet, so i'm not sure karlee would say the same about our time there.

wednesday, we had a friend come to our house with her two boys, the elder of whom is nearly exactly finneas' age.  it was so fun to see how well they played, and it gave finneas a chance to make a friend without having to compete for attention with the bigger kids.  he had a blast.

yesterday, i had an OB appointment.  everything seems to be going well, other than the fact that i'm clearly developing the dreaded affliction, Pregnant Arm.

also on this week's agenda?  snuggles.  lots of snuggles.  best. week. ever.

video vednesday: we're all sensitive people.

this sweatshirted giraffe is so smooth.

the black hills: day seven.

yeah, yeah, yeah.  i'm still posting vacation pictures over a month out from the actual vacation.  we had a blast, our kids are cute, i don't see the problem here.

on our seventh day in the black hills, we visited mt. rushmore and  jewel cave (kind of).

first stop: mt. rushmore.  we've been there every time we've gone to visit todd's parents, so it was a bit 'old news' for us, and we didn't go through the museum-y part with the video and stuff.  but atticus had been talking since last summer about going back to the mt. rushmore gift shop so he could get some polished rocks he'd seen on our last visit, but had been foolish enough to pass up in favor of a toy semi.  plus, you know i love to take any opportunity i can to ogle abraham lincoln.  also, as i tried to make this trip a bit 'educational' to assuage my conscience regarding last year's homeschooling debacle, and mt. rushmore is one of the few south dakota claims-to-fame for which interesting children's books are available, we needed to go.  there was no down-side.  so we went.

everyone looks like they're aware they're in a win-win situation.

after mt. rushmore (or, as i like to call it, The Rush, because of both its name and the fact that it's such a thrill ride), we ate at the widely-acclaimed Purple Pie Place for lunch.  i ordered a caesar salad with chicken, because i was pretending that i wasn't about to take a brick of their famous fudge home with me and eat it in a single serving.  i think the waitress was duly fooled.  

is anyone else out there DYING to grafitti an "ED" on the end of 'old fashion,' or am i the only member of the 'uptight wordage-police vandalism brigade?'

laur and finn drove us home and promptly conked out for nap.  driving in crazy tourist traffic exhausted them.

during the little kids' naptime, todd and i thought it would be fun to take the big kids on a tour of nearby Jewel Cave, a huge cave system with all kinds of mineral deposits on the walls and ceilings that glitter and shine and theoretically make me want to hug a cave.  however, when we got there, all the cave tours were booked for the rest of the day, so we hiked a trail around the area.  it was no cave-of-glitter, but it was pretty in a glitterless-trees-and-some-other-unshiny-nature-stuff kind of way.  i guess.

and that was our black hills thursday!