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please welcome the newest member of our family.

No, I don't mean Rocco, although I could see where you would think that, since I'm just so over-the-moon for him that I can't shut up about it.  But no, we have an even newer member of the family:  this unnamed-as-of-yet, brand-new-to-us minivan.



Yes, I know.  It was pretty sad to part ways with Ol' Windy the Vidivan, the Ford Windstar that has seen us through many a life event, has been with us on almost all our family vacations, and has heroically continued trucking along without complaint even when her leather-clad backseat was covered in some motion-sick kiddo's vomit.  (Atticus'.  Atticus' vomit.)

But, like I told you previously, she was starting to show her age.  Her state-of-the-art VCR no longer worked.  The brakes needed to be...fixed? maintained? re-braked?  (I'm clearly no mechanic, as you'd know if you'd ever listened to our brakes.)  You couldn't run the air conditioner while idling at a red light unless you wanted the entire vidivan to go into some kind of deafening seizure.  And, most recently and most notably, the sliding doors had fallen off and were no longer functional.  Like, at all.

So we were "excited" to "get to" figure out what to do about the van problem.  We weren't ready to buy a new van, but we really didn't know how much the doors would cost to fix, and we didn't love the idea of putting tons of money into a van that would likely need to get replaced in a couple years after we outgrow it.  (That's my way of telling you, No, we're likely not done having kids.  I realize inquiring minds want to know.)

But then we got a call from Todd's parents one morning, telling us they would like to gift us with a new van, and that they'd already found a great one - newer than ours (as indicated by many things, like the year it was made, but also by the fact that it sports a DVD player instead of a VCR), with fewer miles on it.  And with completely functioning doors.  And we were like, WHAAAAAAA?!  And then we were like, WE ACCEPT.

So there you have it.  We have a new van, and I clearly have the best in-laws a gal could ask for.  And I also have to say that I feel like a rich person when I drive it.  (To clarify, I feel like the kind of rich person who drives a minivan.)  It has leather seats, smells like 'New Car,' has removable waterproof floor mats (even in the very back!) and makes that expensive clicky-sound when the turn signal is on (a sound I only know about from being in a nice rental car once or twice).  It even has this crazy pop-up shelf system thing in the back to increase the capacity for corralling groceries.  I know these are all 'cup holder'-type considerations when examining a car, so I will also say that it has low mileage, no rust, and has had only one previous owner, but GROCERY STORAGE, Y'ALL.  It's my jam.

 Needless to say, we love the newest minivan voorst and are so grateful to Todd's parents for their generosity.  



We will also miss the Vidivan, and thank her for her services to us.  Just to humor me, gaze at the photo above while singing "Time of Your Life," or something equally and universally sentimental.  Now imagine the van closing those doors and driving into that gorgeous sunset.  (Or into the lot at Mouw Motors, where she was traded in.  Whatever floats your boat.)  Now give the Brown Bird salute and prepare yourself to love again.  Because, guys?




Oh, yeah.


what's up weekly: newborn life edition.

This week was my first with all five kids by myself during the days.  Last week, when Todd first went back to work, my mom took the big four down to her house and Rocco and I had a (relatively) quiet week at home together.  It was so great to get the time to bond, and rest, and just be with Rocco for a while.  But I did miss the big kids like crazy, and I was so glad to have them come home.  That being said, this week has been much busier than last week was.  Rocco has had to adjust to the louder, crazier pace of life.  And it's a rough life he does live, being loved on 60% of the time, and sleeping the rest of the time.






We survived it, and got school done and everything!  Rocco is an awesome baby, and we're halfway through those infamous first six weeks, so I consider that a win.

video vednesday: hi, welcome to chili's.

rocco's first bath at home.

We started off with a checklist of things to accomplish, written by Penelope.


Pour water on him.
Let him play now.
Put shampoo now.
Then wash his body.
Put soap on him.
Put conditioner on him.
Put a towel on him.
Get him dressed now.

Then we got our supplies ready: sink (check), enamelware basin in which to bathe him-slash-make him look like a roasting chicken (check), towel (check), observation deck for penelope (check), a lone dirty spatula (check).



As predicted, Rocco didn't love the series of unfortunate events.

His response to first being immersed:



His response to being scrubbed down:



His response to being rinsed off:




His response to being removed from the bath:



Thankfully, the paci covers a multitude of perceived wrongs.



Penelope stayed faithful to our checklist, making sure we hadn't forgotten any important steps. ("Let him play now" probably did not get checked off, but that was by Rocco's choice.  If there is one thing newborns don't take kindly to, it's allowing anyone to fully complete their to-do lists.  Also, baths.  But I feel that point has been sufficiently made already.)



Being warm and dry and dressed in his best monocle and mustache cheered him up.



And then he was clean for approximately four seconds, which is pretty good for a newborn.

what's up?

It has been a really long time since I've posted a Friday summary of our week, so this one is going to cover the last few weeks.

I got to spend some snuggle time with this little girl while she was still the littlest Van Voorst.



My last official preggo photo:



Finneas literally marched to the beat of a different drum.  Stylin'.



Laurelai spent some time just being happy to be alive.




She picked out this 'pirate' outfit all by herself.



Todd and I have been relying heavily on the espresso pot I got him for his birthday.



And suddenly (plus some stuff in between), there were Five.




Atticus came downstairs one morning and immediately began unloading the dishwasher for me, without being prompted by anything other than his desire to help me out.  Golly, that kid melts my heart.



The sisters spent approximately 98% of their free time swooning over their new brother.  We've had to instate an explicit new rule that no one is allowed to touch him without permission while he's sleeping, because otherwise he's quickly woken up by finger-pokes to the face and tons and tons of smooches.  There are definitely worse problems to have in life than being loved too much, but still.





We stuck with our school schedule, surprisingly enough.  We were coincidentally on break the week I went into labor and was at the hospital, so we didn't miss lessons then, and Todd took the following week off to be home with me, and having two adults on hand to wrangle everything made it relatively easy to truck along.  Plus, the kids do best with a rhythm to their day, so it actually made life easier to just stick with our routine.

Also?  Penelope is a wiggly learner.  This is how I often find her doing her math, if she's not sitting directly on the table.



And Atticus got a haircut and is looking about as cool as Fonzie, but with different finger gestures.



And other than all the stuff that generally comes with newborns (doctor appointments, nurse assessments, midwife appointments, nursing and pumping for hours and hours and hours per day, sleeping when you can, cuddling - and sitting - as much as possible; you know the drill), that has been how we've spent our time the last few weeks!

the rest of our hospital stay.



Lauren meeting Rocco for the first time.



Austin meeting Rocco for the first time.



Even though Rocco was born at 10:30 at night, we were up until around 3:30 when all was said and done.  I was literally falling asleep sitting up.



We all found the Michael Jackson-esque rubber glove that was water-proofing my IV port, and my old lady walker, stylish and not at all ridiculous.


Baby's First De-clawing: because the last thing you need when breastfeeding a newborn is to involve ten tiny daggers commandeered with motor skills equal to those of an inebriated kitten.  Adorable, but irresponsible.


Rocky looks ready to fight.  Puddum up, puddum up.





So much squishy baby to smooch!



My whole tribe!  This photo is very surreal to see.  I mean, I regularly know I have five kids, but it's so weird in those specific moments to think about the fact that all these little people were created IN MY BODY.  So bizarre.



My mom meeting Rocco for the first time.



Todd's mom meeting Rocco for the first time.



Todd's dad meeting Rocco for the first time.



One of the best parts of the hospital stay: Food On Demand.  Also, uninterrupted cuddle time with the baby.  But also, Food On Demand.



Proud daddy!




Ready to head home.



Also ready to head home.  (Me, not the nurse.  I mean, maybe she was, but I can't guarantee it.)




Annnnnd, home!  (After a stop at Caribou for some coffee, because this ain't our first rodeo.)

Happy homecoming to us!