penelope: part tizzle

player's stats:

height: 29 inches (50th percentile)

weight: 17 lb 7 oz (6th percentile - GROWING!!!!)

sis as a newbie:

one month:
(can you tell we got our new camera this month?)

at one month we saw a lot of this...

...and this.

two months:

sibling rivalry.

three months:

four months:

five months:

six months:

seven months:

atticus looks maniacal - like he'll go all jack bauer on her if she takes his presents.

eight months:

nine months:

after getting blood drawn like a big girl.

tackling brother.

this makes me laugh - she looks like she's swimming.

ten months:

eleven months:

happy birthday to my little girl...who is not so little anymore.  (she's SO BIG!)


guess who just turned one? my teeny-tiny, too-little-to-be-one peanut.

she has a doctor's appointment yet this morning, so i don't know her one-year stats just yet, but i'll post later.

in the meantime, here's some info on our little girl:

she still takes four ten-ounce bottles a day, and eats lunch and dinner like a big kid (whatever we eat is fair game for her.)  she is also taking two naps a day, 9:30-11 and 1-3:30.  she goes to bed around 7:30 pm and sleeps until 7:30 am.  she sleeps like a LOG - probably from having to share a room with atticus and all his nocturnal noises.  she has 7 teeth - four on top and three on bottom.  her hair is starting to grow in and lighten up.  she is cruising around furniture and crawling like a whirlwind, but isn't walking on her own yet.  she is a skinny-minny; she's still in 6-month tshirts and pants if they're long enough for her, and nine-month onesies.

..doing whatever atticus is doing, and taking whatever he has at the time in order to do it.

..saying 'mama,' 'dada' and 'no, no, no.'

..eating and eating and eating and eating. 

..carrots, crackers, meats.

..throwing stuff in the toilet.

..looking at books.

..creating chaos in the bathtub.

..pulling the curtain off the window at bedtime (instead of sleeping).


..her carseat.

..having her diaper changed.

..when atticus takes her toys or yells at her (which is becoming more and more frequent lately).

..not being fed rightnow whenever she thinks there's food around.


...that's about it.  she's really easy going and flexible; there's not much she doesn't like.

and today will be a two-fer: stay tuned later for her stats and photos!

easter happy fun time huzzah.

we went down to ole m.p. for easter to visit with my parents and steal stuff from my grandma.  i mean, aid her in downsizing.  my rewards for two 3-hour car trips with the kids, nap-less days (for the kids - and naptime-less days for me), and packing and unpacking and all the little details that go into traveling?

..a quilt top from my grandma
..homemade feather pillows made out of ticking
..a bookshelf made by my dad
..a very homely but utilitarian dresser for our growing storage needs
..delicious meals cooked up by my mom and stepdoug opportunity to prove that the vcr in the vidi-van works
..getting to sit with my daughter in church rather than having to put her in nursery
..a chance to talk to my sister about her AWESOME life
..atticus now knowing how to climb out of his crib, thanks to his time in the pack 'n play
..some seriously tasty mexican coke and rice crackers, all corn- and gluten-free!

also, i must say that my kids looked, um, well, AMAZING on easter.  thursday while packing, i realized i had not bought easter outfits for either kid, and i was especially sad about missing out on all the frills for penelope.  so i went to the closet to find some makeshift something-or-other when i stumbled upon an antique baptism dress i bought for her when i was pregnant.  it was like five bucks at the antique mall, and it was beautiful white cotten with cute little peasant sleeves and hand embroidery and a ruffly, stand-up collar....PERFECT!!!! i put it on her and it fit perfectly; it was seriously like the easter miracle (other than, you know, jesus raising from the dead and conquering sin and stuff).

i would post pictures but 1) i HATE posting pictures (getting them off my camera seems like punishment for something), and 2) she will be wearing the exact same outfit to her baby dedication soon, so i don't want to spoil the surprise.  but no worries - she'll be dedicated on the 8th at the 11:00 (for those of you cornerstoners), and after that i promise to post pictures.  or at least, i promise to consider posting pictures.

also? TOMORROW IS MY BABY'S BIRTHDAY!!!!  also? i haven't bought her a present or planned her party yet.  whoops.  she kind of got a stinker of a mom when it comes to birthdays.

video vednesday: owowowowowwwwwwww agggggggggggghhhhh owowowowww

looks like she took a hard fall.

prepping for the new house

if you haven't been reading long, you may not know that i LOVE A DEAL.  as in, chick-flick kind of love...i get all swooney and moon-eyed and i write paige + awesome deal = love all over my notebooks.

so get this.

our house comes with all our kitchen appliances, but does not have a washer and a dryer.  so i figured i'd find something on craigslist for like $200 or $300 for a set, pocket the $500 in savings, and walk away feeling awesome about my life.

then one morning at bible study, the group leader was all, does anyone need a washer and dryer set? some lady is giving hers away for free.

so i was all over that like t-mike on a gator.  (which is REALLY all over it, in case you don't watch swamp people.)  and i figured, even if they're energy-sucking avocado monsters, whatevs.  they're FREE, and beggars can't be choosers.

then we get to the lady's house to pick them up...???! they're like-new white maytags.  she just wants front-loaders; there's nothing wrong with the set she gave us, and the dryer even has a new thermostat in it.  um...whut. 

and not only that, but she also threw in three free lamps.  not sure why.  maybe because shiny new brass isn't her thing, and i can't blame her, but with the cost of a little spray paint i will have some pretty awesome lamps.  oh, and also, some pretty sweet APPLIANCES.

did you get that they were FREE?!?!  they were FREE. 

and basically brand-new.

also, they were free.

i LOVE my life. 

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time that my mom told me a red spot showed up on my head whenever i lied?  and 'member how one day i decided to try my luck and lifted up my bangs anyway even though i was lying about putting all the hair bows under the couch?  and 'member how, after that worked and i didn't get in trouble, i became an unstoppable liar?

i bet my mom thought that was really funny.

do your thing.

video vednesday: make 'em go oh oh oh.

...i never thought katy perry could possibly be any better.  until.

meet keenan cahill, your new favorite person alive.

in atypical video vednesday form, i wasn't able to embed this but i thought it was worth putting on here anyway.  to get a full-flavor taste of this goodness (rather than this tasty teaser), go here.  you won't regret it.  still doubt? wait until the :55 mark or so. 

you're welcome.

the real slim shady.

so, god showed me over the weekend that i've become an 'internal processor' to a fault.  i think i've always absorbed and processed things internally, although i'm not really sure about that, but i know for sure that as i've gotten older i've also become more inwardly oriented.

not really sure what i mean? me neither, i guess, other than that i notice that most things i feel on a deep level, things that strike my feelings more than my thoughts, things that are deeply personal...these things take a really long time to sort through in my mind, and i never really feel like i ever fully resolve anything.  and i have a VERY VERY difficult time discussing stuff like this with other people.  including todd.  i feel weird and awkward, and even if i try, it never fully feels like i am able to accurately verbalize what i mean.  ugh, i hate talking about my feelings.

it's a lot easier for me to think about objectives and even opinions - thoughts tend to come quick and easy for me.  feelings on the other hand - blech.  not that i'm basically a black hole of emotion - i do feel stuff, i just have a hard time processing and talking about feelings.

what's the point of all this? i don't know, other than it's awkward for me to write about, which i think might be the point.  i realize that i need to be more intentional about conveying personal stuff - it's hard work, something i have to practice to be any good at.  and i need to get better at it, because i want to be known on a deeper level than i generally am.  and as a girl in my connection group recently told me, people can't love what they don't know.

so, want to know the real me?  i'm really insecure.  i feel unnecessary, i feel lonely, i never feel like anyone's first choice.  not that i feel disliked, but really only tolerated.  you know, like that acquaintance that always joins the conversation in the middle of it.  i feel boring or out of touch or offensive or quirky.  i replay conversations in my head millions of times thinking, i shouldn't have said that.  i hope she didn't take it that way.  i wonder if she thinks i meant something else.  that joke wasn't funny.  i bet he thinks i'm racist or something.  i feel small and ugly.  i feel C-list.

i truly wonder how anyone makes deep, close friendships as an adult.  i just really don't know how that works.  when do you have the time? what do you do together, other than eat dinner then leave by 7 pm so the kids can get to bed?

and i'm honestly not looking for any affirmation or reassurance - that would probably just make me feel weirder, so please don't feel like that's what i'm asking for.  (please don't leave anything uplifting in the comments.)  really, i think i'm just trying to say that, in real life, i am much more this girl than 'blog girl' (as i call myself regularly) - i'm honestly not funny in real life, or even entirely coherent.  actually, i'm frequently kind of socially awkward.  so i like the feeling of blogging sometimes because i'm able to look more pulled together than i really am, and all 20 of you that read this (holla) might be fooled.

that's the end of that.  not really sure how to transition gracefully, so i'll make a joke.  humor is an effective re-director... this is just the beginning of using our blog as my personal psychologist.  next therapy session: what the heck am i doing with my life?  bring some kleenex and some of your own daddy issues; this is going to be good.

(just kidding.  this blog will still mainly consist of snarky comments directed at other people's sense of fashion, jokes at my children's expense, and new and inventive ways of making nontoxic cleaners out of sawdust.  you're still free to bring tissues, though; you never know if my next verbal bomb will be directed at you.)  (it probably won't be, though.)

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time i went swimming at the old quarry with some friends, but i was a little freaked out to be swimming in a 'natural' body of water?  and 'member i all of a sudden started screaming about how something bit me, but how they were all like, stop being a wiener?  then 'member how i stood up out of the water and my belly button was bleeding from the bite of some kind of fish or giant underwater slug or something?

yeah well, who's the wiener now?

for those of you who do spring clean.

as i mentioned last week, spring cleaning hasn't happened yet at our house, and probably won't.  until it turns into summer-for-the-sake-of-getting-back-our-deposit cleaning. 

that doesn't mean, though, that i don't do any cleaning.  i obviously am forced to clean stuff around here in an everyday kind of way.  and this week i found the PERFECT cleaning mixture - oh my word, does this stuff clean a toilet.  and a countertop.  and a floor. 

all purpose cleaner

1/2 spray bottle of distilled white vinegar
1/2 spray bottle of water
1 TBSP dish soap
10-20 drops tea tree oil

the nice thing about this stuff is that it actually smells clean.  i usually just clean with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water, and my bathroom always smells like a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.  adding the soap gave it a little cleaning 'oomph', and adding the tea tree oil gave it an actual 'clean' smell.  i suppose you could also use a different essential oil - grapefruit would probably smell really clean, too.  i just used tea tree oil because a) i had it on hand and b) it's antibacterial.

i DARE you to try this stuff.  but be aware: you WILL fall in love with it.  this is what they would clean heaven with if heaven ever got dirty.

prepping for the new house

while stuff hasn't changed a whole lot around here, there are certain small indicators that we will, in less than three weeks, be closing on our house.  i am going to start documenting some of these little things.

exhibit A: seed starts.

we close on may 2, and although we still aren't sure when exactly we will be physically moving in, the yard will be a free-for-all from day one.  since i will get to plant my very own, very first garden this year, i'm getting all jittery and hovering over my seed starts.  this light setup is a permanent fixture in our kitchen right now, since i'm starting all my veggies from seed.  while some seeds i'll just stick directly in the garden and pray for divine intervention, these little puppies needed some extra tlc before the growing season.  enter: mama van voorst.

also, enter kiddos van voorst. 

whenever i need help ripping innocent baby plants out by the roots or eating dirt, i call on these fellas and get the job done quickly and efficiently.

actually, it hasn't been too bad even though this setup is kind of in the middle of our daily stuff.  penelope just likes standing against the metal chairs and banging loudly.  atticus has his own little sunflowers growing, which keeps him distracted from my plants.  he loves watching them grow, moving them to the window in the afternoon, and watering them.

as for me, i'm growing two varieties of jalapenos (six plants), some bell peppers (six plants), three varieties of tomatoes (nine plants), and a bunch of onions...the whole seed like 300 or so.  yeah, i didn't really think about that when i poured them all out at once.  good thing we like onions around here.

i made the seed pots from newspaper and masking tape, molded around a black pepper can.  makeshift, but free and biodegradable, so when i go to transplant them i won't even have to take them out of the pot.  just stick the whole thing in the ground.  awesome.

the best part about the whole process has been atticus' interest in the 'baby plants' and his gentleness with them. i'm excited to let him help pick stuff when it all starts producing!

video vednesday: i don't know if i want to marry him or put him in a stroller and push him around the mall.

...why can't i do both?

i sooo like justin bieber now.  in my dreams, where i'm the tina fey in this equation, he promises to buy me a panini.  what's not to love?!?!  other than his acting skills, i guess, but i think that would be made up for if he actually wore something from baby gap.

thwr: what lies beneath.

paige: even though we're not going to church today, i guess i should put on some clean underwear.

and that's how we roll.

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time i was all excited about how my friend jacob got his driver's license and i wouldn't have to walk home from school anymore?  then 'member how he drove over my foot with his car, and all of a sudden the prospect of walking home from school (and walking at all) didn't look too bad?

spring cleaning

last year, i revealed that i like to play it fast and loose with the term 'spring,' and do my spring cleaning in january.  january just has this 'fresh start' feel to it that spring doesn't.  not that spring doesn't feel fresh, i guess...  i don't know what i'm saying, other than that, when the weather gets warm, i'd rather just open a window and read a book than scrub the crud from behind my fridge.

but then, i'd always rather read a book than scrub crud.  (mostly.  i guess it depends on what book and what crud.)

in january, what the heck else do you have to do?  besides, it's a good diversion from the guilt of already ditching your resolutions.  at least you're doing something productive, even if it's not dropping 20 pounds in three days or fish-hooking a man.  makes you feel better about yourself.

plus, when you open up the windows in january, you get a taste of what it's like to be a polar bear.  and while exhilarating, you are able to admit to yourself that opening a window is good enough for you; you don't have to prove anything to anybody.  you're your own woman.

so excuse me when i say that i find all these women's magazines gearing up their readers for deep-cleaning their homes, i have to give a condescending scoff.  done and done, woman's day.

...except that i skipped it this year.  whoops.  condescending scoff rescinded.

but at least i'm honest enough to say that i don't even intend on doing my spring cleaning this spring.  ha.

today as i was playing on the floor with the kids, i happened to catch a glimpse of the deep, crumb-y doom that is the floor under the fridge.  and instead of responding in a typical 'type-A, paige van voorst' manner, i said screw it.  (under my breath, of course; i was in the company of children.)  we're moving out soon anyway; i'll take care of it then.

so while i didn't spring clean this past january, i am still throwing my inflexible personality to the wind and embracing the ages-old sludge under my appliances.  i am woman. hear me roar.

although, maybe i should put a little effort in, considering penelope has learned that there's a veritable buffet to be found in the deep recesses of the kitchen...

video vednesday: do she sound like her voicebox is covered in egg?

food for thought

i haven't written about it much, but maybe you remember a while back i tried a grain-free diet?  i went off all grains on december 21, and survived the rest of the holiday season, mostly without event.  i planned to stick with it until may, just to see if it helped alleviate some minor issues (one of which being my skin, and that being not-so-minor).

come february, i was a major grouch about the whole thing, partly because i was sick of eating potatoes and potatoes and potatoes, and partly because i was so stinking hungry that i couldn't be held accountable for my attitude.  so i was all, screw this, i'm eating popcorn.

not. a. good. idea.

while cutting corn out of my diet hadn't immediately caused my health stuff to reverse and my skin to clear up and radiate from within, adding it back in caused some immediate, and can i say kind of scary and disgusting, repercussions.  after attempting a few times to integrate corn back in, i realized it was NOT AT ALL worth it to feel like that - immediate migraines, painfully swollen and constricted sinuses, muscle spasms in my shoulders and neck, and, ahem, digestive issues that are best not even left to the imagination.

so, corn is a no-go for me.  which is challenging and cause for a bad attitude, considering it is in EVERYTHING.  check the back of most foods - i will bet you $10 it contains one or more of the following: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, citric acid, xanthan gum...shall i continue?  all these foods are (or are most likely) corn-derived and therefore out for me.  also, the obvious, like corn on the cob and corn chips...but i bet you figured that out.  the sweet corn festival will be a more sober affair from here on out, considering it will now be the 'eat some chicken and stop coveting that guy's free corn' festival.

then i tried adding wheat products back in, and actually tolerated them for about a week.  but i started noticing that the more i ate stuff with wheat in it, the stronger my reaction started getting - my chest would get tight and it was hard to breath, my mouth and throat would BURN, and i'd get bad headaches.  not as violent a reaction as i had to corn, but still there.

so i sadly also gave up wheat.

and to be honest, not only is it difficult to actually eat this way (we rarely eat out anymore, and i make A LOT of soup), but it's also depressing.  stuff i could eat just months ago make me super sick now.  and i feel like a fraud - how do you explain to someone that you've all of a sudden developed a violent reaction to a food you used to eat everyday?  sounds attention-seeking.  not to mention, it still really hasn't sunk in yet that i may never again eat corn chips.  or popcorn.  or real bread.  and i may never again eat 'toast' that is not actually just a nasty ol' rice cake with butter on it.

(yes, i've integrated oats and rice back in without any problems.)

the jury is still out on whether i'm glad i did the whole grain-free thing.  i feel like i have more energy, and some of my health stuff has gone away, but not all of it.  plus, i am more emotional, i think because i'm hungry a lot of the time.  and i won't tell you too much about the impact of a lower-fiber diet, but i think you can glean.

but i suppose i am glad, deep down, that if this is what my body needed that i'm doing it.  but still.  it would be nice if what my body really needed was some french bread and some spaghetti. 

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time when i was a compulsive liar and attention-seeker, so i took a harness off a barbie horse and put it on my hand and told my art teacher that it was a brace for my broken thumb?  and 'member how he was like uh, sure...even if that's true you still have to do your art

can you say 'gullible'?  that guy totally had no idea that he had been scammed.  i'm 90% sure.

got a story?  lay it on me.

just a quick hello.

old-school george w. was getting kind of lonely, so he asked if he could drop by and say a quick hi.

i said sure.