celebreality monday.

to be honest, i go through spurts when i'm terrified of having another baby.  the other day, i was right in the middle of the thought, 'i think two is all i can handle right now, let's maybe play the whole family-planning thing by ear for now...' when i remembered that we're already halfway through cooking kid #3.  and then, of course, i panicked.

(and to quell the obvious-yet-difficult-to-ask question, yes, we did plan this pregnancy.)  (and yes, it has been somewhat common for me to forget i'm pregnant.)

i was not this scared to bring penelope home, i don't think.  i remember having the typical 'having-the-second-kid' fears of how i would love her as much as i loved atticus (i do), and how i would have time to give them equal attention (it takes conscious effort), and when i would ever find time to sleep (i still have no answer for that).  i remember trying to anticipate difficulties like what it would be like to have two in diapers, and how i would iron out a cohesive schedule when they had different nap needs, and how i would address jealousy and rivalry if it should come up once we brought the new baby home.

but i had no idea how to anticipate how it all really played out, and looking back, i really believe i was struggling with postpartum depression for the first six months or so of penelope's life.  i didn't know it at the time, although i do remember thinking that i should get some counseling or something.  i just chalked it up to lack of sleep.

i had such a hard time bonding with penelope - i didn't want to look at her, i didn't want to touch her, i didn't want to hear her cry.  i fed her because i had to, i put her to sleep because it was the easiest way to pretend she wasn't there.  even when she was awake, she was such a good baby that she was perfectly content to lay on the floor or play in the swing, and i was perfectly happy to leave her alone to do her thing.  i could hardly get myself out of bed in the morning because i dreaded having to face whatever the day ended up looking like, and i stayed up way too late at night because i dreaded having to wake up in two hours for those middle-of-the-night feedings.  she had a hard time getting her nights and days ironed out at first, and i can't describe the pure anger i felt having to walk laps with her around the kitchen table, just desperate to go back to bed.

i recognized the thoughts at the time, but i knew how bad it would sound if i told anyone (including todd) that i didn't like being around, or touching, or talking to my own kid.  i had no desire to hurt her or myself (the signs they say you should look for in major postpartum), but i just couldn't handle her.  i couldn't handle reality.  and at that point, i kept thinking, 'i will never have another baby.  if todd wants a big family, we can adopt older kids, but i am never doing this again.'

looking back now, i needed help.  and there were warning signs: i developed anxiety attacks and insomnia, along with depression, around 20 weeks of pregnancy, which apparently never let up.  and my labor with penelope, while not medically eventful, was the exact opposite of what i had expected, and that really scared me.  i had such difficulty nursing, which i didn't expect.  and both a bad labor experience and difficulty nursing can contribute to postpartum.

i feel terrible looking back.  i can hardly remember anything about penelope for those months; everything is a blur.  i hate knowing that i thought those things about her - she's so perfect, and she was a wonderful kills me to know i thought those things about my own daughter.

and i can't do that again.  i can't think those things about another kid.  i can't let six months slip by where i am completely out of control.  and it scares me to think that it could happen again...and i'm halfway done with this pregnancy, and all i can think is that it can't go so fast.  i'm not ready to do this again.  and i keep thinking of the 'what-if's.

so that's where i'm at a lot of the time with the pregnancy.  happy and excited to be pregnant, but not thinking too much about the reality that pregnancy ends in birth...which results in a newborn...which scares me.  i'm just happy to be pregnant for now and to have it last a while longer.  in the meantime, todd and i are discussing the plan of attack for if this happens again - what are our options? are they safe?  are there side effects that are even less desirable than depression? how much do they cost? when and how will we decide when it gets bad enough (if it does) to warrant some kind of intervention? who will make the decisions?

and that's all preparing for the worst-case scenario; who knows? it might not even end up being an issue at all this time around.  and that's what we're praying for.  and i was hoping, if you're praying kind of folk, you could pray for me too.

my way of making friends in the neighborhood.

a couple of months ago, todd took me shopping for some new clothes.  i needed new clothing - it was not a matter of vanity or frivolity.  my wardrobe was slowly dwindling as clothes got donated to goodwill, sold, or worn out (which tends to happen when you refuse to get rid of shirts you bought in high school).  and i needed everything - from jeans to shorts to shirts to sandals to undies.

so, yes.  i bought new undies a couple months ago.  and i am not one to scrimp on underwear.  i don't know why, either...i'm perfectly happy to pay the least amount necessary when it comes to most other things:  food, shirts, furniture from the as-is section in ikea.  but not undies.  which ends up meaning a couple of things:  i don't buy new ones very often, and when i do, i have a hard time letting go of the ones that may be a little past their prime, because i know how much i paid for them.

this time around, though, i had recently purchased some drawer organizers (no, not drawers organizers, mom) at ikea. and since i couldn't just stuff old underwear into the back corner of an uncontrollably messy drawer anymore, it was becoming obvious that it was time to bite the bullet and out-with-the-old the ones that really shouldn't still be hanging around.

so lots of undies got cut from the team.  i will not lie, i finally got rid of these two pairs that i bought myself for christmas when i was a sophomore in high school.  which was ten whole years ago.  i told you i have a problem letting go.

but i ran into a dilemma:  you can't sell used underwear.  and you can't donate it - that's like giving a quarter to a waitress as a tip; it's more offensive than if you didn't give anything at all.  like i think someone deserves the level of pity that it takes to reasonably expect that they would be thrilled to take years-old underwear belonging to a stranger.

so what to do with all the sad, pathetic, loser, elderly underwear?

they ended up getting tossed in the trash.  which was sad, but strangely cathartic in a 'this old underwear can't hold me back from my true potential any longer' kind of way.

and i have to say that i have ended up being nothing but happy about this decision for a number of reasons, including but not limited to the following:

1. my friend amy helped me fold my laundry the other day, and i was able to be only grateful rather than mostly grateful but a little humiliated by what she could possibly find.  that was liberating.

2.  our trash guy used to avoid eye contact and would flick his cigarette butts at our house when he saw my kids watching him dump our garbage.  now he waves and smiles.  could be unrelated, but if not, he seems to be genuinely happy for me that i'm no longer hindered by my hoard of ancient undies.  or maybe he's just laughing at me because he has now had the opportunity to glimpse twenty pairs of the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of my underwear drawer.  (actually, just the bad and the ugly.  so who's laughing now, trash guy?)

thwr: money matters

paige: the baby is freaking.out. right now.

todd: why do you think that is?

paige: i don't know; probably heard about the current economic crisis.

and that's how we roll.

video vednesday, pay-up edition. (or, I KNEW IT!)

our new baby is a bro.  minus the wangster clothes but including all male parts that should be mandatory for calling oneself a bro.

i gotta say, i was not shocked.  i have been having a hard time not referring to the baby as 'him' or 'he,'  and i have never in my life, or at least recent memory, imagined us being parents to more girls than boys.  (except when i was little and i wanted triplet girls named selena, sarina, and sabrina.  horrible, no?)  so when the lady was all like, it's a boy, i was all like, yeah, that's about right.

so without further ado, meet: ATTICUS, JR.!

though we haven't decided definitively on the name, we're pretty partial to the name 'atticus' for a boy, so we might just do a 'round 2.'  like that old nickelodeon show, 'pete and pete.'  anyone else remember that?  (todd has also put in his vote to name the kid Cage Fighter Van Voorst.)

anyway, i promised you all an authentic gambling experience, and i'm delivering.  the following are people who in blog comments, facebook posts, and emails totally called the correct sex:

emily v.
allison p.
karlee h.
jenni b.
melissa g.
andrea h.

(nine others voted 'girl.')

and the lucky winner of the tbd prize pack is....brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (that's a drumroll, people.)...

disclaimer: what the crap is up with the still-shot youtube chose?! and please note that i did this at 10:30 at night.  i was tired.  my camera guy (not naming any names) was also tired.  also, my shirt seems to be trying to give me a second boob-shelf.  not sure what's up with that.  also, melissa, this is probably the first you're hearing that i'll see you next week, so i guess now is a great time to announce that the prize pack includes a surprise visit from yours truly.  anyway, end of disclaimer.

so congratulations.  to melissa for winning the pool.  to us for having a boy.  to the rest of you all for being the lovely human beings that you are. 

fashion tips from paige van voorst.

if i get the privilege of choosing whether or not to see your cooter, your skirt is too short. 

stop buying your skirts in the belt section.

if your shirt cannot be worn with a bra without looking tacky, your shirt is tacky.

hot pants are not made more winter-appropriate with the addition of uggs.

your necklace should not weigh more than your shirt.  or take up more surface area.

a push-up bra and nine squares of single-ply do not a halloween costume make.

if you wonder aloud why you're always cold and simultaneously adjust your tube top, smart money is on the possibility that it's not due to poor circulation.

and my go-to rule of thumb, my golden nugget of sage advice: when in doubt, you need more layers.

celebreality monday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TODD VAN VOORST, the apple of my eye, the love of my life, the provider of my food, my baby daddy. 

it is a shame that we are not more birthday-centric.  i see families making a big deal out of birthdays, and i consistently wish we were (or more specifically, i was) more like that.  i mean, in all honesty, how can i not be so profoundly grateful that the people i love were born however many years ago (ahem, thirty-three in todd's case) that i go all-out hog-wild on their birthdays?  and don't get me wrong - i am deeply grateful for their births and their presence in my life.  but i am not a party kind of gal.  or a presents kind of gal.  and not because i don't wish desperately that i was, but because i am a 'just get through today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow' kind of gal.  which means i suck at forward planning, which is a necessary component of party planning and the getting of perfect presents.

just look up 'carnival party' on pinterest, for example.  what planning!  i would love to give my husband a ticket booth and games and a hot dog vendor and a moon bounce for his birthday.  but then i'm all like, who do i even call to arrange for a ferris wheel?  and then i give up and make a cake from a box and buy him another book or another translation of the bible.

and i feel guilty about that.  because first of all, he deserves better than that - though delicious, funfetti cake doesn't really capture how grateful i truly am that he is in my life.  second of all, i should know him well enough to be able to think of just one more-than-slightly-personal gift... 

and third of all, the one that makes this my celebreality/i-suck-at-this-mom-thing post, there are tons of wives and moms who are great at this.  and they're out on the internet in droves.  they're all, sure i have seven kids and i homeschool and i blog full-time and i have an immaculate and beautifully decorated house and also i plan extravagant, memorable parties and i handcraft all my children's gifts.  and i don't think all of these moms are faking it to boost their blog readership: i think a lot of them are actually skilled at this and truly enjoy it.  and i think that's the thing that makes me feel the most guilty: i don't enjoy throwing parties and buying perfect presents, i just wish i was a person who enjoyed those things.

but then birthdays come around and i pretend for about 20 seconds that this year i will be that mom who's able to balance real life and also a budget and also fill thirty-five favor boxes with things found in the dollar section at target that are miraculously not tacky and perfectly appropriate for the theme of the party.  but then the sugar high wears off and i realize that i'm so far from being that mom my kids are lucky if i write in their birthday card (penelope's one-year birthday card is still sitting in my organizing drawer, waiting to be acknowledged).

and am i screwing my family out of memories or the reassurance that they're truly loved and appreciated?  in all honesty, maybe i am.  but a lot of the time (not all, but a lot) i think the guilt i feel has less to do with how i'm communicating love to my family and more to do with how i measure up to other moms who are doing it way better than i am.  and a little of the guilt is really only jealousy that they get to post their beautiful pictures for all the world to ogle at, and also they get to jump on their own moon bounce.

but unless one of my kids turns out to possess the love language of high-falutin' parties and they need their 'love tank' filled in that way (gary chapman's words, not mine) i can be okay with showing my family love and appreciation in the ways i'm specially wired to be able to do... whatever those are.  and i can let go of how ironic i find it that god in all his humor did NOT make me 'paige, planner of parties and purchaser of perfect presents.'  the alliteration and truthfulness of it all would knock the wind out of 50% of people, i'm sure.

so i do my best for birthdays around here: i bake something special.  i invite family over for our kids' parties.  we have our own special little traditions, like carving pumpkins for todd's birthday.  and i try to let go of my feeling of failure for not being Carnival Party Mom.

because, i'll just say it, i suck at being a birthday mom.  and as long as my family is okay with it, i have to be okay with it.

**just a note: tomorrow is the last day to cast your prediction of New Kid on the Block's gender.  we'll announce the ultrasound results and the winner of the mystery prize on wednesday.

not that anyone cares.

our new kitchen has TONS of cabinet space - so much so that i have lots of empty cupboards even still, and i have a drawer specifically for 'party supplies,' which contains a single candle, a bag of plastic spoons and a set of cookie cutters.  (we're not really party-people around here, contrary to popular misconception.) but i'm desperate to fill the space, so it works.

lucky for me, i have a whole corner that i like to think of as 'my brain.'  it contains all of the stuff i use regularly to organize and run our house, and all the reading materials i'm constantly in the middle of.  here, take a look:

er, actually, like my brain, this is what it looks like most of the time if i'm being entirely truthful:

yikes.  but...maybe it shows that my brain is active and full and productive?  or too lazy to put crap away properly when i'm done with it.  probably the latter.  but you can see in this picture that i have a full cupboard up top and then that drawer below.

the top shelf is for kid-related stuff: coloring books and crayons, puzzles, bubbles, chalk for our chalkboard wall, playdough, paint, etc.

the bottom shelf is for all the stuff that keep me entertained and/or functioning on a basic human level.  here's a closer look:

on the lefthand door is my monthly menu plan (see top picture).

then on the shelf, we'll find the cup full of necessary pens, pencils, rubber bands, and giant lollipops. 

next, the plastic cup that i have to bring my pee in for my next pregnancy appointment.  don't worry, i haven't filled it yet.

then my various books and notebooks: azure standard and frontier co-op catalogs, pottery barn catalog, legal pads for whatever, folder of insurance info and medical records/statements, nourishing traditions cookbook, the excellent wife (partially finished), be last (partially finished), radical (partially finished), one thousand gifts (partially finished), the toddler's busy book, my bible (partially finished), death by love (partially finished), ina may's guide to childbirth (not started), the business of being born (technically a movie, not book-like), your best birth (not started), my planner and my garden journal.  (i think you can see the habit i have of starting lots of books then taking forever to finish them).  then on top is my marker board that has my grocery list.

then my box of coupons on top of my box of index cards.  i use index cards for EVERYTHING: flashcards for atticus, memory scripture verses, lists, etc.

then my basket full of labels, my label maker, pads of paper, stickers, pencil sharpener, calculator, etc.

then our breakfast stuff: children's bible, color/shape/letter flashcards, atticus' scripture verses, and a children's catechism.

then on the right hand door i have prayer cards for the pastors, missionaries, and compassion kid we support.  (again, seen in the top picture).

and here's the drawer below.  i don't have a before-i-cleaned-it picture, but your retinas are actually thankful for that.  believe me.

it contains my phone and computer chargers, board books i have to fix (penelope is a ripper-of-things), more pottery barn catalogs, remnants of the sunday paper that i have yet to read, the co-op newsletter, coupon inserts, a stapler and our laptop.

so there's that.  forever immortalized on the internet for the sake of posterity.  or, to provide hard evidence that i did, at one point, once, clean out that stupid cupboard.

california pics, they'll melt your popsicle.

i mentioned last week that we recently took a trip to california.  and while i only posted pictures of our airplane adventures, there was a lot more to it than that.

we left thursday night and got to my aunt's house late.  so friday we just went to the park and hung around the house watching football, sleeping, eating, and playing in the pool.  that evening, we did a big family meal with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and tons of mexican food.

his first experience playing in california sand.  at the park, not the beach.

i think this picture is very 'glamor shots by deb.'

saturday afternoon, my great-grandma had a 90th birthday party, which is the whole reason we went out in the first place.  it was insane to see all her progeny - how one lady with three kids can generate an entire populus.  makes me hope that TLC airs michelle duggar's 90th birthday party.  after the party, we ate at bob's big boy - monumental for my mom because the beatles ate there once, monumental for me for austin powers reasons and also because they served waffles for dinner.

very happy we have long-life genes, and also that i let him eat cake.

entertaining herself and daddy in the hallway while the party went down in the other room.

this place was across the street from the masonic center (party central).  it is where you can do your laundry for a buck and also buy drugs.

this little place was next to the drugs store, and it someday hopes to inherit the throne and official title of donut KING.  i've heard its donuts are only second-rate and also it will raise taxes for peasants.  wahp wahp.

sunday, we spent the morning at laguna beach, but it was overcast and cold, so todd wasn't sold on it.  the kids weren't sure about it either.  atticus kept saying, 'it's pitty yowd' (it's pretty loud) and penelope was fine as long as the tide didn't come in over her feet.  there were some cool tide pools, and lots of shells and rocks, but because of the local laws we weren't really allowed to touch much or take anything home, which was kind of a bummer.

covering his ears because of the loud waves.  sis on the move, as always.

obviously loving the cold water on her feet.

warming up to the idea of the beach.  hands no longer covering ears.

the elusive family photo!!

monday, we drove to san clemente to hang out at the beach house with my grandparents and my great-grandma.  this beach had a train track (an automatic hit with atticus), cliffs, and a pier.  the tide hadn't gotten too gross the night before, so there wasn't as much kelp everywhere as the day before.  not to mention, it was sunnier and warmer, so i think this beach won todd over (he wasn't too sure about laguna).  my grandpa grilled burgers, my great-grandma shared family stories, and i finally got some questions answered about the masons (my mom's whole family is involved in the masons).  not to mention, the tide glows this indescribable neon-green after dark, from some chemical reaction from the kelp - it's amazing to watch.  todd got a severe sunburn, but other than that, it was a great day!

super excited to be at the beach.

here you can see my baby bump and the fact that the laid-back so-cal atmosphere made me feel comfortable enough to walk around in public with my pants undone.

this is FIVE GENERATIONS of humans: great-grandma, grandma, mom, me and lauren, and the kids.  insayyyne.  also, can you tell my kids are totally done for the day?

tuesday morning we left early for the airport - we left the house at 4:15 (that's a.m.)  for our 6:15 flight.  after a weird weekend and an early morning, the kids were understandable exhausted and the first leg of our trip (CA-denver) was a little difficult for penelope specifically.  but because we left so early, it meant we also got home early, and our flight arrived in des moines around 1:00 pm.  we stopped in ankeny at chili's for lunch, and got the kids home for a light dinner and early bedtime.  i have to say, we're still not fully rested from the crazy hours (this trip took place at the end of september), but it was totally worth it to see family and to stay with my wonderful aunt and uncle, who were basically the definition of hospitality - they gave us their king bed and slept in twin beds while we were there, and michelle cooked us a hot breakfast every morning!  crazy.  i would have been all, 'here's the air mattress and over there is the toaster.  knock yourself out.'

watching yo gabba gabba on the ipad-from-the-angels

tuckered. out.

exhausted, but not too tired to fly the plane.

i would so do this again, and my mom mentioned taking the kids to disneyland when they're a little older...i'm counting down the days!!  for the sake of the kids, of course.

video vednesday: waaaaawaaaa (silence) WAAAAAAAAAA

this is SO what my house is like right now.


place your bets.

our ultrasound is next monday (which is also todd's birthday) and i'm getting excited to find out what Van Voorst Parasite 3 has in store for us.

i have to say, i am a bit anxious to find out everything is coming along normally... i want to know for sure that my kid has no more and no less than the standard number of fingers, toes and heads, and that my temporary ability to keep nothing but frappaccino down during the first trimester does not mean that my baby is already sporting plastic-rimmed glasses, a case of the jitters, and a love for all things apple products.  or bearing any kind of resemblance to a gilmore girl.  (okay, if it looked a little like rory i wouldn't hate it.)

after i find out that my baby is developing normally and not already suffering caffeine-stunted growth, then after that, i'm excited to find out the gender.  it's hard to guess based on previous pregnancies, too, since it hasn't been significantly more like one than the other.

first trimester:
more like with atticus, although much less puking.  nausea cleared up at 14 weeks and i've felt great ever since.

standard; like with both of my previous pregnancies, i've craved fountain coke, all things dairy, and movie theater popcorn.  like with penelope, i've craved jalapenos, olives and shellfish (not all together, thank goodness).

the smell and feel of meat.  unique to this pregnancy.  (strong aversion to soap and detergent smells with both previous kids.)

unique to this pregnancy.  clearest my skin has ever been while pregnant - COMPLETELY OPPOSITE to my experience with atticus when my face swelled up and got itchy and painful and rock hard, and scarred all over from all the cysts.

like with atticus: like. a. log.  with penelope, i developed insomnia during the second half of pregnancy, with atticus, i slept like a rock until the day he came home.

other issues:
HORRIBLE restless legs like with both previous pregnancies, although not as bad this time around; i'm way more sore and achey than i ever have been before, i'm more tired, and i don't have heartburn like i did with penelope.

even though it hasn't been markedly more similar to one previous pregnancy or the other, i have a strong feeling about the gender - stronger than i've ever had before.  but we'll see.

and i'm curious to hear what you think - and i'm willing to make this interesting.  i'm going to put together a prize bag for somebody.  i have no idea what's going to be in it at this point, but that's half the fun (so i say).  guess what you think it will be, and if you end up being right, i'll put your name in a hat with all the other correct-guessers and draw one. 

you say that's lame? i say YOU'RE lame and you wouldn't know fun if it bit you on the-  so join the fun, cast your vote and be in the running to win a (potentially though not promisedly) awesome prize.

today's a two-fer

i don't like posting more than once a day.  but i felt this needed sharing - and immediately, so i didn't forget to tell you.

while making a lasagna this afternoon, i went to lick a bit of tomato sauce off my finger only to find out it was not, in fact, tomato sauce, but raw italian sausage.

celebreality monday.

here it is.  the official beginning of my blog nakedness.  i will say that i'm not going to get completely nude (metaphorically speaking) - while i may tell you that i haven't brushed my hair in days or that i sat so long on the toilet hiding from my kids that my legs went numb and i have a suction ring on my butt, i will not post photos of these things.  or go into great detail about how badly the cellulite must've been wedged into that toilet hole (or how long i actually left my very small children unsupervised) to get such a ring.  i'll leave that up to your imagination. 

so this is your heads-up that mondays are about to go PG-13 for partial nudity, but for the sake of your innocence and my shame, i won't be pushing any boundaries.

here we go.

general overview of how i wish my life looked:

- peachy, porcelain skin.  number one.
- that's all.

general overview of how my life actually looks:

- an almost-three-year-old with a sinus infection that i refuse to have diagnosed because it costs a hundred bucks per office visit (yeah, no copay) and i'm sure desperately hoping i can avoid antibiotics by shooting some homebrew up there. 

- a seventeen-month-old who has been teething for the last ten weeks and who dropped a morning nap but can't handle all the awake time.

- at least one of the kids crying, screaming, or sounding some kind of general alarm signal about 80% of the time.

- me crying, screaming, hiding, or in some other way trying to escape reality about 25% of the time.

i really wish i was one of those moms with the ability to keep my cool when everything around me is falling apart.  because it feels like everything around me has been falling apart.  and i gotta say, at times i feel like i'm losing it.  why doesn't michelle duggar ever lose it?

somebody commented the other day on how well-behaved our kids are, and while i would say that they tend to be well-behaved as far as toddlers go, they're still toddlers.  they're still at each others' throats all day long.  they're still bossy to each other and tattle-y (is that a word?) when bossed.  they still steal toys, demand attention, and make TONS OF NOISE and even more mess.  ALL DAY.  EVERY DAY.  NO WEEKENDS OR HOLIDAYS OR PAID VACATION.

and i hate to think that being 'real' means just complaining about my life - my kids really are sweet and ask for hugs and want to cuddle and say 'i sowwy' after they've done something they don't want to get in trouble for.  but i think i was not mentally prepared for how much energy they suck just by being toddlers - even 'good' ones.  and i feel like i'm in survival mode most of the time...unable (and unwilling) to slow down and just pay attention.

i want to be better - more patient, more playful, more affectionate.  less busy, less preoccupied, less snappy.  i want to know how to discipline somehow other than "STOP SMOTHERING YOUR SISTER'S FACE IN THE CHAIR OR GET A SPANK!"  i want to know how to not be so desperate for quiet and rest and...quiet.  but this is where i'm at. 

but it's been wonderful to hear god say 'my mercies are new every morning'.  although, i wish he said 'my mercies are new every five minutes and then also there are bonus mercy coupons on top of that if you need them.'  which i know is true (maybe not the coupon part), but it would just be nice if there was a quick little verse that said that.

what i'm finding encouraging:

- god moves on.  his mercies are new.
- god plans ahead - i won't always suck so bad if he has anything to do with it.
- god promises stillness and rest and quiet if i'm willing to find it in him.
- my house has a lot of hiding places for times of pure desperation.
- maybe my resurrection body will have peachy, porcelain skin.  or maybe adult cystic acne will be the 'in' thing in heaven.

how is it the middle of october already?

is anyone else going completely insane?  or is it just me?

i feel like i can't catch my breath - things are so busy lately, and i really am having a hard time keeping up.  there's yard work to do, brush to haul, a garden to till, storm windows to paint and hang, leaves to rake, a massive house to clean, a garage to organize, canning to do, general hygiene to maintain and children to keep in the land of the living. 

i put together a fall cleaning list that is SEVENTEEN PAGES LONG.  it does not include all projects i would like to get done.

my house is cluttered, which makes me feel cluttered.  my schedule is packed, which makes me feel claustrophobic.  my cupboards are perpetually bare, which makes me feel hungry.  and the tiny parasite i'm growing is making me feel sore and grumpy and yet desperate to make this place more like home before march.

this week i have tackled fall cleaning of the bedrooms and canning.  i had a bunch of apples and pears come yesterday, not to mention that my garden recently dropped its amateur status to go pro, so canning is far from letting up.  i have 3/4 of the house left to deep-clean, not to mention the garage and yard, which are time sensitive because of approaching cold weather.  (although, i'm starting to think winter just decided to go on sabbatical this year, so maybe these things aren't time sensitive.)

not to mention, our finances are much tighter this year than in years past because we're homeowners rather than renters, so this christmas will be a crafty little christmas.  which equals a busy little christmas.  pretty soon it will be NOVEMBER and i'm going to have to start on christmas presents.

i am tired, y'all.  dog tired.  so if anyone has any advice or the power to add an extra day or four to each week, lay it on me.

cal-i-forrr-nia...knows how to party.

a couple of weeks ago, the whole family took a trip to california.  the whole family as in, my parents, my sister, and our little menagerie of van voorsts.  it was atticus' second trip on a plane, technically, although he was only two months old the first time we flew with him (a trip to arizona for him to meet todd's parents) - so, that first trip really kind of doesn't count.  for him at least.  it counts for me, since it was the first time i ever traveled with kids (i nearly dropped him out of the sling on multiple occasions), the first time i ever dealt with a newborn while also in a foreign state, and also the first time i ever had a kid with RSV, which he caught on the plane ride home.  oh yes, that trip counted.

anyway, what i'm meaning to say is that this was the first time that atticus got to fly while being fully conscious and autonomous.  and he LOVED it.

looking diligently for a purple plane.  to his sadness, it never came.

 sis loved flying too.  i think mainly because our flight didn't even leave des moines until 6:15 p.m., so after she got past 'i'm tired and cranky - it's bedtime' and moved on to 'i'm sleep drunk and there is plenty of space to run and lots of strangers to befriend' stuff got really fun.

landing in denver for our layover. 

we didn't leave denver until like 10:00ish, adjusted time, and didn't get to california until after midnight, adjusted time.  once we picked up the luggage we checked (car seats check for FREE, people!), got our rental car, drove to my aunt's house, and got the kids in bed, it was after 2 a.m.  (midnight california-time, if y'all are trying to do the math.)  it was insane.

apparently suspecting someone in the aisle of terrorism.

sis and poppy watch the luggage guys send our stroller on to california, rather than giving it back at the airport like they were going to.  sweet.

the theme of our flight was 'badger.'

you know what? traveling at weird hours for long hours with toddlers...really wasn't so bad.  god bless the ipad, the extra adult hands that came attached to my parents and sister, the new books and toys yaya and poppy brought along for the kids, and fatigue-induced delirium. 

and as for the antagonists who said we couldn't do it and not pay to check a single bag? SUCK IT, MONKEYS.  van voorsts win.  always.  period.

video vednesday: zaccheus, YOU COME DOWN!


and i'm not kidding you, my garden is going stronger now than it did all summer.  i've had to cover it two nights to protect it from frost (which was a JOB, let me tell you), but i'm still getting more tomatoes and peppers than i did all summer.

and people act like climate change sucks.  all in favor of 80-degree weather in october? AYE.

but the cooler weather will mean i get at least some of my kitchen counter back, so maybe once november hits i'll be ready for some fall temperatures.

1. cherry tomatoes from the garden
2. peaches, plums and nectarines from the store (atticus would live on these alone if i let him.)
3. tomatoes from the garden
4. sweet potatoes from the garden
5. sourdough starter
6. soaking tomato seeds to save for next year
7. i don't remember - probably peppers? from the garden

also, that fish in the corner is a spawn from that one time satan wanted to see what it was like to be a fish.  its name is joey tribiani (joe-trib) and i hate that thing and regularly pray for its imminent death.  and although i only feed it like once a week, it has been alive since my sophomore year of college.  unfortunate.  maybe i'll feed it a tomato and see what happens.


so.  last week i said that this week i'd be starting a new whatsit about how bad i sometimes suck it up as a mom.  well, turns out, i kind of suck at forward planning so...this blog will not be about that (other than the fact that it highlights my tendency toward procrastination).  i WILL start on that next week.  i promise.  and i don't (usually) suck at keeping promises.

in the meantime, here's where we're at with the pregnancy.  this photo was taken last week. 

i don't tend to get noticable-to-other-people-big until the mid-twenties, so i'm still pretty small.  which is TOTALLY fine with me - i do choose to wear some maternity shirts sometimes just because they're more comfortable, but i can still fit into all my normal clothes with a little bit of shimmying and sucking in and prayer.

i'm growing more like i did with atticus (like a basketball, all just right in front) than i did with penelope (like a spare tire, extra weight all around my middle).  and this pregnancy has more closely resembled my pregnancy with atticus - disgusting for the first 14 weeks, then this 'i can do anything because i'm made of magic' feeling.  with penelope, i felt mild-to-moderately nauseous for 20 weeks, then i got depressed for the last 20 and stayed depressed until she was like six months old.  so i have to say, i can't complain that this pregnancy has been more like atticus', only with a LOT less puking - so, positives all around.

we have our ultrasound in two weeks, and i will be organizing a pool, so get your cash out.  we're about to be raising three kids on a single income, so i plan on milking this pregnancy for all the pesos i can.

my big fat dutch baby's lip.

(the lip is big and fat, not the baby.)

(if you get sick at blood stories, go read a magazine or something happy.  today is not your day.)

a few weeks ago (it may actually have been a few months ago at this point, with the way the months just fly past) penelope had some kind of fall.  i was in the other room and didn't see what happened, but she started screaming (you moms know the scream - the 'i'm actually in pain' scream rather than the typical 'i got pushed/i'm annoyed/i want attention' scream).

so i came running in the room and there was blood ev.ery.where.  it was coming from her mouth, but i couldn't get a good angle to see exactly where it was coming from.  i tried laying her on her back to see into her mouth, but she started gagging on all the blood.  in the meantime, i found a little piece of her lip had been bitten off.  fantastic.

so i called todd in a panic, wondering if i should take her to the emergency room.  he had no idea and i couldn't talk long because penelope was hysterical.  so i ran her across the street to the neighbor lady's to see what she thought.  old people tend to not overreact because a) they've seen it all before, b) they've raised kids and know what's worth freaking out about and what's not, and c) they just don't have the oomph left to freak out.  so i sought out 88-year-old betty's opinion.

she busted out the magnifying glass and we tried to peer into penelope's mouth.  still no luck in finding out where all the blood was coming from, and on top of it, her top lip had gotten jammed in the gap between her two front teeth and was so swollen that we couldn't get it out - which meant less visibility for us and more pain (and screaming) for penelope.

betty was all, i'd wait a while to see what happens when the blood stops, and then if you need to take her somewhere i'd take her to the dentist, not the emergency room.

luckily, betty was a goldmine of wisdom, because i took her advice and waited a bit.  the bleeding stopped, the swelling went down enough to get her lip unstuck from her teeth, and nothing major ended up being wrong - just a little bite on the inside of her lip.  (the piece of lip she bit clean off never actually bled.)  she was good as new in an hour (although her poor lip stayed pretty swollen for a few days.)

so while that story was entertaining/nauseating in and of itself, it is not the only reason i wrote this down.  i also wanted to include that betty knows a thing or two about dental non-emergencies.  in fact, as all this was going down with penelope, she told me this little gem of a story:  one day she was eating lunch with her niece and her front tooth just fell out.  what did she do? she superglued it back in.  i'm not lying.  and the bond lasted six weeks before coming loose.  so she tried to superglue it in again, but it didn't stay as long this time- only a few days- so she finally had a fake one made.

now that is some old-fashioned resourcefulness and apathy toward putting weird chemicals in your mouth.

in the name of transparency...

on monday i mentioned that i would like to be more 'real' on here and not just blog about my spotlight moments.  today i was going through photos of our recent trip to california, and i was challenged to start doing that rightnow.  these are the photos that would've gotten the chop if it weren't for this blog. 

if you get weird dreams relatively easily, maybe don't read any farther.  if you don't get weird dreams easily, lucky you - you get to see the photos that were never supposed to see the light of day and yet have somehow ended up on the internet for the whole world to see.

the official color of my legs is 'mom white.'  i'm pretty sure sherwin williams will back me up on that.  also, that bruise on my leg is from where i hit myself in the shin with a hammer.  don't ask.

i got to be the one to bring my grandpa his birthday cake.  and as you can see, i was way excited about it.

at my great-grandma's 90th birthday party, talking to someone who probably wishes they weren't talking to me.  also, sis is manhandling some cake because i'm an awesome mom and was too lazy to feed her with a fork.

well, i don't think this requires much explanation other than this is what my butt looks like in a scenic beach setting.  tropical.

chugging coffee on the airplane after getting up at 3:45.  in the morning. 

and then, because misery loves company, i'm dragging penelope under the bus with me.

stuffing her face with teddy bear waffles at bob's big boy.

aaaaaand that's our vacation in a nutshell.

video vednesday: puh-puh-puh-pppp-PITCH. HIS TENTS.

i have a feeling this was the first and last time this guy was allowed to talk near high school kids.  and near microphones.  and out loud.

go text yourself.

OH. MY. WORD.  get ready for a rant.  and lots of caps usage.

i hate it when people have full-on text conversations when you're hanging out with them.  as the texter in this situation, you can't come off not looking like a major A-hole.  either every two minutes you're all, hang on while i totally ignore you for 20 seconds, or you're all, i'm pretending to listen to what you say by looking at your face but really i'm texting under the table.  tell me one or both of those isn't douchey. i dare you.



don't get me wrong - i'm not incensed at the tiniest little text.  someone texts and is like, did i leave my suzanne summers autobio at ur house, go ahead and spend the .75 second it takes to be all, 'no.'  while i would encourage you to hold your friend spiritually accountable for their horrible literary choices, now is not the time for that.  call it a day and quit texting.  this does not have to turn into a conversation.

DO NOT text while you drive, either.  i prefer to die quietly in my sleep at the same time as todd, like in the notebook - not in some firey car crash because you and your bestie are text-fighting over whether or not to eat at buffalo wild wings.

you may say i'm biased because i don't text.  at all, really.  i don't even pay to have texting included in my cell phone plan (gasp) so it costs like a quarter per text for me to even attempt it.  not to mention that my thumbs are apparently made of cement and a quick 'yep!' response text takes me the better part of 15 minutes to type.

but, you know what? i have the audacity to say that i wish more thumbs were made of cement.  i wish more texts cost a quarter a piece.  and i wish more people got pissed at rude phone usage.  the world would be a better, less annoying place.  also, fewer people would die in car crashes because i would stop trying to T-bone them while they're texting.


and in a related rant: WHY CAN'T A PHONE JUST BE A PHONE? why must it also be a text messager, a TV, a web browser, a day planner, a camera, a tracking device, a gateway device into zero-budget porn, a lousy excuse for a book...ugh.  it makes me sick to see everybody so connected to their stupid phones and ignoring the actual flesh-and-blood humans sitting next to them.

GET OFF YOUR PHONE AND MAKE AN ACTUAL FRIEND.  NOT A FACEBOOK FRIEND.  NOT A SEXTING BUDDY.  A FRIEND.  (if you don't know what i'm talking about, ask a person over the age of 60.  anyone younger than that is 60% as likely as you to not have any idea what i'm talking about.)  then - get this - invite them to do stuff.  in real life.  and while you're hanging out with them, DON'T TEXT.  see what kind of magic happens.

whut the whut? it's monday...

...and there is no 'member that time.'  in fact, i think i've exhausted my memory stores...turns out, my life is not a sitcom and after 45 posts, i'm back to being a big dull dud.  oh well, i'm cool with it.

which brings me to my 'member that time' replacement segment, called 'i basically suck as a mom.'  i'm serious.  every week, i'm going to tell you about something i'm currently sucking at, and here's why:  katie saldanha recently blogged about how we generally tend to compare our 'behind the scenes' moments with other people's 'spotlight' moments.  i tend to compare my various breakdowns and failures and curb checks with other people's facebook status updates about how they made some awesome craft with their kid out of clothesline, or whittled something, or got out of bed before 8:30 a.m. 

and i vividly recall this time i was pulling into church for bible study (late, mind you), and i was chucking graham crackers over the back of the seat at the kids because that's all the breakfast i had time to cook up for them.  and i pulled in next to this mom who's doing an awesome job feeding her family whole foods and not vaccinating them and treating their various illnesses (which are few and far between because they don't get vaccinated, of course) with something she foraged from the hills.  and i looked down at this box of graham crackers and felt so ashamed that she might see me pelting them at my children - because 1) someone could lose an eye, 2) graham crackers are a far cry from anything resembling nature, and 3) they're from aldi, which says that my concern for my kids' health is only worth about 50% of what it would be if i shopped at hy-vee -

...and i hid the crackers under my purse and waited until she took her kids inside before getting out of my van.

and i think that's the thing with motherhood.  you assume everyone has it all together, and that they're judging you when you don't.  and who knows? this girl may have fed her kids socks for breakfast. and it didn't cross my mind at the time that she was pulling in just as late as i was.  all i knew at the time is that i looked about as effective a mother as an artichoke...and that she knew it.

but you know what?  i think most moms feel like failures.  and i think most moms are failures in a certain way.  which sounds maybe like a downer that i think you're a failure right along with me... but it's kind of liberating in another way - we shouldn't feel this pressure to be something that we're not because we assume the girl in the van next to us doesn't suck as bad as we do.  she does.  but we're also doing a lot of things right (or so it would seem since kids tend to live to adulthood and humankind keeps multiplying at what hippies and democrats would call alarming rates).  and we shouldn't judge ourselves by what we know or just assume other people are doing or not doing.

so - every week, i'm going to post something that gets me a "C"  or lower on my mothering report card.  because i shouldn't have to be ashamed of it, and you should know the truth about me - that i'm more often a flop than a success in life, and that the only thing that gets me past 9:00 a.m. is the grace of god that causes him to keep my children alive in spite of my efforts, and to generally not strike me dead.