our bum trip to ikea which eventually ended with us receiving $150 gift card from our bank.

how could a trip to ikea be a big old sour (but eventually profitable-ish) dud?  well, let me tell you.

it really did have all the makings of being a fantastical, magical, furniture-filled trip.  first off, my mom and stepdoug had the kids for the whole weekend, which meant i was free to go to ikea as a hands-free adult.  you see, i've only ever been to ikea twice previous to this - the first time of which atticus was eight weeks old, the second time of which penelope was seven weeks.  so i have never known ikea sans nursing breaks and a shoulder sling full of (what ended up being) a boulder of a baby.  and that store is large and in charge, so it was no easy undertaking to haul child through that whole thing with a good attitude.  i mean, i'm ripped and all but even arnold schwarzenegger has never attempted the whole ikea-with-nursing-babe feat.  (unless he actually did attempt it in his whole stint in 'second life,' but apparently there's a lot about him that hasn't come to light yet and i'm just saying we don't know factually about him that he's ever tried this.)


todd and i drove up friday night in the van (we had removed all unnecessary seatage in the back to make room for loot) and stayed in a very clean, albeit as-always-sweaty-smelling hotel super close to the store. we woke up bright and early saturday morning to prep ourselves for the day, which included a lot of sitting around eating oatmeal and watching the weather channel, since ikea doesn't open until 10. (they must be on swedish time - in america we like things rearing to go no later than 9, but closer to 8 if you can swing it.  in case you never realized that.)  so we headed over to ikea around opening time and spent quite a long time pinkering (yes, i made it up) around the 'chairs' section, eating at the in-house-but-still-very-reasonably-priced deli, and picking out a kitchen island.

which brings me to a tangent: I WILL BE GETTING A KITCHEN ISLAND!!! god really does hear the prayers of little girls from the block.  just ask me and j.lo. forward seven tiring hours hours and two full carts later.  we had not even made it into 'wall art,' 'as is' or 'the warehouse' yet, but we decided to check out and pay for what we had and then come back in and grab the furniture we had picked out.

we spent 10 minutes unloading our carts and getting rung up...when todd's debit card decided to stop working.  we rang it through as both debit and credit...and nothing.  (and it wasn't for lack of funds, you cynical cracker.)  so we decided to take a rug off the ticket to see if bringing down the total would help things.  well, the thing with ikea is that they can't just take an item off your ticket - they have to ring up each individual item again.

and also, the other thing with ikea is that they don't take checks.  and also, the other thing with van voorsts is that we don't have credit cards, so all we had was our debit card.

SO after the long day of walking and choosing and eating, we got back in the van and drove home.  mdf-less.  which is saying something when driving home from ikea.

when we got home, todd emailed the bank asking what the crap had happened with our card - considering it had worked at our hotel, the gas station, and the various food places we stopped at, we knew a block hadn't been put on our account because of suspect spending (he had just been in pennsylvania a few days before for a business trip, so we could have seen where it would look weird to have expenditures in iowa, pennsylvania and minnesota in the same week).

it turns out there was some kind of safety limit on how much we could spend per day, which we didn't know about and ended up exceeding.  which makes sense.  it was just frustrating that we weren't able to spend money that we clearly have, and to know that in order to get all the things for the new house that we were planning on getting our only options would be to make multiple trips up to minneapolis (not practical) or to take a big ol' wad of cash instead (not practical, either. or safe, for that matter.)

HOWEVER, our bank apologized that we had gone all the way up there and gotten a hotel, just to come home empty handed, and sent us a $150 gift card to cover our expenses.  how awesome is our bank?!

so we've gotten some things ironed out with our account and will be heading up there again this saturday (my sister's staying with the kids) to get the things we picked out last weekend.  then we will spend an inordinate amount of time putting it all together before we can enjoy it.  but after that, i'm hoping this whole trip will end up with us feeling a little more settled in our currently spartan house.

we should all wear matching 'members only' jackets the zoo, i mean.  because we have a membership.  that, and i think 'members only' should make a comeback.

for christmas this year, my mom got us a family pass to the zoo, and a couple weeks ago we broke that baby in.  our zoo is open until 8:00 pm on fridays, so we drove down to dsm to meet todd when he got off work, then we all headed over to the zoo for a little adventure.

penelope contented herself in the wagon most of the time since she's too little to walk.

atticus needs to be a more attentive driver.

taking a break to eat an apple.

being a great big brother and chauffering sis around to see the sights.

not sure what to think of the robotic T-rex.

ah, this picture makes me long for simpler times when fathers and sons could sit for hours just watching the weak dinosaurs get shredded to death by raptors.

finally deciding he might be interested in dinosaurs.

going for a jaunt across a rope bridge.  nbd.

again, contenting herself in the wagon.

sweet! free at last.

getting a better look at the fish.

both of us getting a better look at the fish.

checking out the (super stinky) otters.

heading home after a busy afternoon!

atticus is on a mission to get sis to the car.

we will definitely be going back again soon.  in fact, just yesterday atticus was asking to go again.  so plans are in the works.  and here's the thing - our membership is good for 'van voorst + guest' and kids 2 and under get in free - it could make for a very inexpensive day of fun and company if you'd like to come along!

video vednesday: i feel...i feel...i feel happy of myself.

our new house guest

i mentioned a while back that for a while atticus loved crawling around our house pretending to be a cat named murph.  murph was a regular at our house/at our dinner table/in our bed for a good four months or so.  i got to really liking him.  his fur was so soft.

then murph disappeared and a new friend, 'baby,' showed up.  i have to say, i didn't like baby as much as i liked murph.  he was noisier, more demanding, and meaner to penelope.  not to mention babies don't really like to be petted and would rather be fed constantly and carried constantly and corrected constantly and paid attention to constantly.  (i'm starting to realize about myself that i might make a better cat lady than mother; don't tell my kids.)

so i decided one day to encourage murph to come home.  i asked atticus baby where murph went.

baby: murph go his house.

cat lady: when is he coming back to play?

baby: no, murph his house, pay wif toys.

so apparently murph is too wrapped up in his stupid balls of yarn to rescue me from baby.  well, forget you, murph.  i can get along just fine without you.  i don't need you; i don't need anybody.

last week, however, we had a new guest come to stay with us.  out with the old, in with the new! or really, out with the young, in with the old... our new guest is named 'grandpa' and he loves to wear hats, mow the yard, and eat vegetables from the garden.  he thinks dinner is delicious and is always very agreeable.  i really like grandpa and i hope he gives baby a permanent boot.  i could get used to having grandpa around more.

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time my mom took me to disneyland and we watched the parade and how awesome it was? but then, 'member how when the parade was over there was this huge exodus of people and i was all of a sudden all alone and had no idea where my mom was? and 'member how i was terrified but the only thing that kept going through my head was how i was probably going to have to be adopted by cinderella?

then my mom found me and i never got to experience living with cinderella and inevitably having my hair braided by a fully-clothed mouse.  but i guess life turned out okay for me anyway.

thwr: entirely appropriate, i think.

paige: it just wouldn't be christmas without visiting an adult superstore.

stuff that annoys me.

even though i'm mostly a positively radiating, my-spit-tastes-like-candy-and-i-poop-daisies kind of optimist, i have decided that in order to be more approachable, i should start complaining more.  so here are some things that really annoy me:

1. when parents call each other 'mommy' and 'daddy' when they're not talking on behalf of their kids.  you know, like saying things like, 'what do you want for dinner, daddy?' that is beyond creepy.

2.  matthew mcconaughey. (yes, i had to look up how to spell that.)  he's the biggest slacker in the entire world, not to mention extremely bizarre (regularly dancing naked to ethnic drumbeats in the bonfire-light and burying his girlfriend's placenta in his yard after she gave birth are just two of his more notable behaviors).  and yet, whenever he's cast in a movie, he's always super suave, successful, and frequently rich.  and also, about 89% of the time he's a very intense attorney.  what's up with that?

3.  the radio.  with a built-in commute now anytime we want to go anywhere worth going, we've been listening to a lah-ha-haht (dr. cox anyone?) of radio...and i'm a station-bouncer.  as in, i'm not going to wait around for the weird commercials so we'll see what's on the country station/the rap station/the light station.  and here is where i start my sub-category of annoying radio-isms:

3a.  i swear 68% of all songs they play on the light station are like straight-to-video movies.  i'm quite confident weird obscure artists put out straight-to-light-radio songs because, really, where else would you ever find stuff like this?!

3b.  is it just me, or are rap and country basically the same thing?  i realize that it may not be a popular position to hold in many social and/or cultural circles, but really, change the dialect and switch out certain cultural references for certain other ones, and you have basically the same songs.  don't believe me? check out my highly scientific list of how they're actually singing about the exact same things, just with different words:

                          cristal = bud light
                          the ghetto = the bayou
                          applebottoms = levi's
                          the club = the honky tonk
                          cadillac escalade = ford pickup
                          concealed handgun = hunting rifle
                          your mama = your mama
                          sex and money and getting drunk = sex and money and getting drunk
see, at the end there, there really is no distinguishing one from the other.  i would say that the one main difference between these two types of music (other than that one is rap and one is country) is that rap music is a bit more believable.  what do i mean?  i mean, when a rapper asserts he's a gangster (or something he'd actually say; i don't know all the lingo) i actually think, i trust that guy and will be staying out of his way and also i won't mess with his mom or his girlfriend or steal any money from him or be caught at the wrong club at the wrong time or laugh when he loses at darts.  but when a country singer asserts that he's some kind of hotstuff-but-still-down-to-earth ladies' man from the bayou (as they all seem to do), i really just get suspicious, like, either you're a country music star who has a ton of money and lives in a mansion and doesn't actually wear levi's and only calls his mama on holidays, OR i'm all like, you're probably just a lonely hillbilly who still lives with his mama in a not-cute way. and both ways, i'm like, ladies' man? really?

3c. i bet people who do radio commercials are really ugly, because they're definitely significantly less talented than tv-commercial people, so it stands to reason they're also uggos.   poor radio commercial people.

3d. i think radio stations are in cahoots with each other and try to punish you for switching away from their station by making sure that EVERY. SINGLE. OTHER. station you try to switch to is playing something far worse than what you were trying to get away from in the first place.

3e.  christian radio djs.  the men all talk like they, and everyone listening, are twelve year old girls during the emotionally intense parts of a slumber party.  like on the surface they're saying, 'up next, we have jeremy camp' but they're really saying, 'i would love to braid your hair to make you feel beautiful.'  and the women all speak like they will receive some kind of dog-collar shock if they speak louder than a few decibals above silent.  not the best approach when your whole career hinges on your voice. and the ability of people to hear it.

if you can't tell, radio in particular has been the major source of my annoyance lately, and i'm glad to have aired all that dirty laundry.  what's been super annoying to you lately? share it.  i promise you'll feel better.

video vednesday: whachu try'na say 'bout awa?

if we get carried away, we might get gay married today.

what's with all the crazies?

the other day i was at the local healthfood store, and they had a basket of pamphlets from local health practitioners.  hoping to find some leads on practitioners that are a little more 'whole-health' focused than our current doctors, i grabbed a few, thinking i'd look through them more closely once i got home and the kids weren't running wild all over the store.

so i get home and open up a brochure for 'the holistic wellness center,' thinking it's going to be like a naturopathy clinic or like some kind of doctor who shares a practice with a chiropractor or something.

here is a little sampling of their services:

~intuitive card/palm/tea leaf readings

~usui shiki ryoho reiki attunements (um, huh? it sounds like some kind of car maintenance for tikki tikki tembo.)

~DNA activation (didn't even know i needed this.  i just figured once you're born, your DNA is good and activated.  but then again, i don't have a medical practice license from the depths of the rainforest, so what do i know?)

~energetic healing (i guess i'd prefer this to apathetic or lackadaisical healing.)

~chakra balancing

~guided meditation

~chi ride and chi belt (the chi ride sounds like it might be fun, like the batman or something.)

~animal healing (is this healing with animals, healing by animals, or healing for animals?)

this place also hosts parties, and gives you the option of throwing a psychic party or a paranormal investigations team party.  i'm surprised harry potter costume parties weren't in the brochure.  maybe the staff uniforms involve lightning bolts and griffendor sweaters, making every day a party at the holistic wellness center.

i am not making this up (although i am only assuming about the harry potter parts).  this is a real place and people actually pay money to have their DNA activated.  and i'm all, okay, so i've had my ears candled and i'm not morally opposed to the smell of patchouli.  so i'm not just saying this because i'm biased...but this is all some crazy demon stuff going on.

and all i wanted was to find a doctor who knew what probiotics were and wouldn't look at me like i was crazy when i said i cured my kid's eczema with molasses.  is that really so much to ask?

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time in college when a brazen squirrel actually took a whole bagel from my hand and ran up a tree with it?  and also, 'member how it had human-sized nipples?

maybe it was nursing little squirrel babies and needed the bagel for sustenance.

directions on how to be an idiot.

i just read the back of my hand soap dispenser and there are actually directions back there.  not only that, but they read, "use to wash hands as you would any hand soap."  if i knew how to use hand soap, i probably wouldn't need directions.


video vednesday: ladies and gentlemen, TAYLOR HICKS!

where to even start? (other than at :40, obviously.)

the biggest deal going on in my life right now.

you may or may not have noticed that i don't post many pictures on here.  (you probably have - most people tend to prefer something to look at to break up the monotony that is a bunch of words.)  believe me, it's not because i wouldn't love to post some.  but the thing is, i HATE HATE HATE going through pictures once they're uploaded.

todd and i both tend to use the 'spray and pray' method of photographing, where you take about thirtytwelvebajillion shots and hope you love (okay, like - we're no professionals) two of them.  so going through and deleting the other thirtytwelvebajillionminustwo is a daunting task.  not to mention if you want to give them a little lightroom spruce-up because, as i mentioned, we are no professionals and photo editing for us is like putting makeup on an uggo - if you do it right, maybe no one will notice all the fact that they would never win a miss universe pageant.

SO. this brings me to the point of this whole blog:  today i have reason to celebrate! every. single. photo. taken in 2010 has been sheep-or-goated, and the sheep photos have gotten little tune-ups.  2010 is officially behind me and i can dive into 2011...which is now more than halfway gone.  am i the only one who can't believe this?

in honor of this momentous occasion, i have decided to post some favorite pictures from the summer of 2010.  yes, some of these (ahem, most of these) are over a year old.  but they're done and that's what counts, and what's wrong with a little reminiscence anyway?

**so, dumb.  as i was going through picking photos for this, i realized there's a whole chunk of photos from november i haven't dealt with yet.  life sucks.

because i am so ecstatically, rapturously euphoric that i got all these pictures edited, i will be posting more throughout the week.  if you're disinterested, tune out until next week; i'm okay with it.

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time i liked to think of myself as a bleeding-heart naturalist and how i found one of those japanese beetle-things in my bedroom?  and 'member how i couldn't bring myself to kill it, even though i could admit those things are super disgusting so i also couldn't bring myself to co-habitate with it?  so 'member how i got this great idea to set it free into the wild and i opened my window and set it out on the roof...only for it to take exactly 1.5 steps and then freeze solid because i had not thought through the fact that bugs don't like to be outside in the middle of january?

that is why i am no longer a bleeding-heart naturalist, and also i'm not one because spiders are gross and meat is good.

everbody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend.

you know you're a real mom if you go across the street to visit the neighbor lady and notice her continually looking at your shirt collar, then get home to realize that your shirt is on inside out.  and has been for the last 36 hours (straight) that you've been wearing it.

i have decided to join karlee this week in celebrating the real joys of motherhood and posting a 'real mom wednesday'.  no, it's not wednesday; i realize this.  but i guess you know you're a real mom when you post a wednesday blog on a friday, so cut me some slack, jack.  (and now i have a dispatch song stuck in my head.  if you can guess which one i'll give you a dollar in pennies.  local pick-up only.)

pool party of three.

in honor of my religious upbringing, i would just like to say happy birthday to ringo starr.  one more year down, buddy.  good for you.

in other news, there is a free kiddie pool in our town.  yes, you read that right - it's FREE.  (granted, it's basically just a 16-inch deep hole in the ground full of water, but bigger and cheaper than a plastic pool from dollar general, so we're happy with it.)  we have made many a trip over the last couple of weeks to cool off and kill time.

this is the face atticus wears the entire time.  a little skeptical of all of the hullabaloo.

penelope motors around in her little inflatable 'boat.'  she is absolutely unfazed by the water - and will purposely dunk herself if given any opportunity, so she must be watched with the eye of an eagle.

taking a little rest from all our pool-time fun...not sure what's up with his belly in this photo.

drying off.


if you want to kill time and cool off with us for FREE anytime (did i mention it's free?), let me know.  i'd love some company!