video vednesday: i'm racist against that racist coffee.

all drinks are created equal.

thwr: musically transmitted disease.

paige:  john mayer sounds like syphilis.


todd: i heard there's a new strain called hepatitis K.  the K stands for ke$ha.

and that's how we roll.


i posted this last year, and i find that the subject matter is both poignant and timely, so i figured i'd repost as a reminder to all of us to keep halloween on the up-and-up.

if you're way into halloween decorating or dressing up in trampy costumes, i suggest you stop reading before you get pissed at me. also, i suggest continuing to read for some helpful rules of thumb.

WHAT. THE. CRAP. IS. THE. DEAL. WITH. HALLOWEEN?! can someone please answer me that?!

since when do we think that it is tasteful or chic to decorate our homes and yards with skulls? have we forgotten that SKULLS ARE PEOPLE-HEAD BONES?! it is never classy to decorate with decapitated cadavers. period. even if martha stewart tells you it's okay because we all know she smokes drugs and can't be trusted when it comes to holiday decorating.

and then there are the hypocritical arachniphobics going all out with the fake spider web stuff. and the other day i saw someone's yard done up as a full-on graveyard with tombstones and arms reaching out of the ground and stuff. please clue me in on this as i purely do not understand the whole 'sweet, it's halloween, let's get gross and/or scary' thing.

and don't even get me started on the 'sweet, it's halloween, let's get slutty' thing. LADIES, IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK TO NOT SEE YOUR NIPPLES?! (or six inches of cleavage, or the bottom half of your butt, or all of the above?) why, oh why, can't we have costumes like 'super intelligent pirate' who has a monacle for his one good eye and carries around a dictionary on his hook-hand? why is it always 'slutty pirate wench' or 'trampy deck hand' or 'porno parrot sidekick with feathered heels and eyepatch that doubles as a condom'? heck, i'd even like it better if someone dressed up as a somalian pirate and took me hostage for kit kat bar ransom. too soon? maybe, but that would at least make sense, pirately speaking.

what i'm saying here is that there is very little inherent sexiness to pirates (and whatever else people turn into 'slutty whatever else' for halloween). and also, i could care less about your belly button ring. and also, i think blackbeard would shudder to think that all his murdering and pillaging fame was now being used to sell lingerie costumes. really kind of soils the name of blackbeard, if you ask me, and i for one would like to pass on the kind of karma that can only accompany wearing an 'i'm trampy and also i'll murder your whole family' blackbeard costume.

anway, to sum up my general halloween rules-of-thumb:

..unless your house is actually built on an ancient indian burial ground and you can't help it, keep the creepy crap in the backyard.

..unless your body is made of a magnetic field that forcefully rejects clothing and you can't help it, cover your orafices.

that should do it. happy haunting.

the weekly 'what's up.'

last weekend, we headed up to visit todd's parents.  we left thursday after todd got off work and arrived around 11:30 pm.  we ventured home after dinner on saturday and got back around 11:30.  guess which two of the five of us had no desire to sleep in the car?  if you guessed the big kids, you get a superstar sticker.

while we were up there, we got our family photos taken, which means two things:  one, i had to finally deal with the highlights that started somewhere down by my ears, so i dyed my hair; and two, we got to see some wonderful old friends (well, wonderful late-twenties friends) and their brand new munchkin.  they did our family photos last year and were gracious enough to take them this year as well.

finneas got a new hat, which makes him look teeny tiny and super adorable, so a gratuitous number of photos was taken.

atticus moved into 4T clothing, and also sent this audition photo to seal team six:

for todd's birthday, we made grilled cheese and spaghetti-o's, per his request, and painted/carved pumpkins like we have done every year for his birthday since we met.  this was year eight!  i'll have more on it next week, but i'll just say the kids were fans:

and finally, the kids had eye doctor appointments and what we had suspected was confirmed:  atticus needs glasses as well.  his left eye had started to go a little lazy (like penelope's did last october), and they took a look and said he is very far-sighted and has an astigmatism.  so we'll be getting his glasses in sometime next week or the following.  i'm pretty sad about it, but obviously the most important thing is that he's able to see, so i'm trying not to think too hard about it that: a) his pretty eyes will be covered up and b) we apparently are failures when it comes to procreating working eyeballs.

that's what's up over here.

i'm proud to be on the internet, where at least i know stuff is funny...

i love the thing on the blogger dashboard that lets you see what searches have led people to your blog.   mine gets a lot of searches that make sense, such as 'team van voorst' and 'paige van voorst blog,' etc.  but like i showed you here, the ways some people make it here is not always so straightforward.  my favorite searches so far:

.."i'm tired of being pregnant" has actually gotten me lots of hits.  it's a little freaky that google search knows me so well.

.."christmas decorating" gets some regular traffic to my blog.  which is ridiculous since my christmas decorating last year involved porch lights, a tree, and a single entryway table with a nativity set on it.  although i did ramble on about it (and get on a high horse about inflatables) long enough that it probably makes sense. 

.."stubbly legs."  i don't really know what to say about the fact that someone googled this.

.."where is tony van voorst?"  apparently they now know who could tell them if they asked.

.."google, you're being a jerk wad" and "how do you spell jerk wad."  i love this.  i'm honored to be the one they trust to comfort them when they're dealing with jerk wads.

.."gotta go party oh oh oh oh."  well now you know where to come to do it oh oh oh oh.

and then there's a less-than-thrilling search that has gotten some pervert here a couple of times, to which i say, 'hey pervert, you know that there aren't any nudies on here.  why do you keep coming back?"  i'm sorry i can't tell you exactly what they search for (it's ridiculous, by the way) because i don't want the actual phrase pulling more sickos from google search.  but i will say i probably brought it on myself when i titled this blog post.

and while we're on the subject of weird stuff, and now that i need to end this post with a laugh rather than the heebie-jeebies, remember when i told you that craigslist garage sale listings are frequently super funny?  a couple months back i ran across this one that was called something like, 'mary jane's indoor and outdoor sale,' and in her listing she organized all her possessions into 'indoor items' and 'outdoor items.'  the funnier part was that there were some items she itemized under 'both indoor and outdoor' so you could use them at your own discretion, such as books and shoes.  also, this photo was attached to the listing:

in case you can't see, she's a woman after my own heart and used microsoft paint to sketch a word bubble above her dog that says, 'what do you mean i have to have all this stuff priced by saturday morning???'

the internet is the best place ever.  although we should probably vote off the creeps, they ruin it for everyone, don't they?

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY my dear, sweet husband who is thirty four today!

we have big plans to celebrate by taking the kids to get their eyes checked and then eating out at someplace kid-friendly.  and that is a birthday celebration for a dad of young kids.  i feel a little bad... so tomorrow i'll be making his dinner of choice (grilled cheese and spaghettio's - difficult, i know, but i am more than willing to slave away in a hot kitchen to serve my husband.  i'm no hero, just an ordinary girl doing my job).

to read everything i love dearly about him, go here - he's pretty much the best!


possumbly the grossest thing ever. (PUNS!)

yesterday morning, todd was up while it was still dark and was reading his bible when the house was still all quiet...and then he heard something.  in the house.  he got a little freaked, listened some more, and heard it again.  it was like a rattling in the kitchen.  is your adrenaline pumping yet?

so instead of doing what i would do (namely, running away and/or calling the cops) he decided to see what was making the noise.  so he walked into the kitchen, looked over by the sliding door...and...

right outside our door on the deck was a nasty giant oppossum, eating out of my compost bowl.  DIS.GUST.ING.

i had been half-wondering if i wasn't feeding stray cats by leaving it out on the porch (i don't like having it in the house because it stinks and gets fruit flies, but i'm too lazy to run stuff to the compost pile multiple times a day.)  but i never thought i would be feeding the neighborhood tree badgers.  sick.

so todd took care of the problem by kicking at the glass, not even fazing it, and then leaving it there to scrounge.  the end.

i'd call it 'ice road cajun couch wars: yawn on and get your pawn on.'

so, like i've mentioned, i have tendonitis in both my ankles, and i can't tell you how embarrassing it is to have to explain to people why i now can't stay upright in boots, or why i've been having to descend the stairs backwards.  it usually goes something like this: 'oh, well, i decided i would try to get in shape, so i started running on the treadmill for twenty minutes a day, three times a week, and about a week and a half into it, i busted up my ankles so bad i could hardly walk.  and here we are.  and i haven't exercised since.  the end.'

todd tried comforting me by saying, 'some people are runners, and some people are sitters, and i think you're just a sitter.'  as pithy as that one-liner was, it's more depressing than uplifting that i'm created to be couch sludge.  but i suspect he may be right.  whaamp whaamp.

maybe i'll make myself feel better by writing up a pitch for the history channel for a reality-career show about life as a stay-at-home mom who sometimes can't, usually won't, leave the couch for any reason whatsoever.  they could play adrenaline-heightening music as i noodle on how to get the mail, and relieved-sounding music once i (whew) figure out the perfect flip of the wrist that allows me to chuck pretzels directly from the bag into the kids' mouths from half a room away.

are you kidding?! i'd watch that show.  because i'm already sitting here, after all.

on this cheery note...

ugh.  i have no motivation.  none.

it's become one of those seasons where i'm stir crazy and cabin feverish and unproductive and short-fused.  mothering is hard work.  sometimes i wish i could plop my kids in daycare, and stay home and watch soaps in my fat pants like stay-at-home-moms are notorious for doing.  except in reality, the only way stay-at-home-momming is relaxing is if you're not actually momming while you're staying at home.  or so i assume;  i'm never relaxed and i'm always momming, so it seems like a logical conclusion.

i have mountains of laundry and dishes and dust and bathroom crud and yard mess to conquer, but it is fall, the time of year when i switch out tank tops for sweaters and productivity for sluggishness.  i could go in the freezing cold basement to sort the kids' clothes into storage...but i'd rather sit on my couch listening to gilmore girls, browsing pinterest, and feeling bad about the way i dress.  (well, i wouldn't rather feel bad about the way i dress, but that goes with the territory if i'm spending my time on pinterest.)

so i was trying to see how many things i can get done from the comfort of the butt-shaped indent in my couch.  turns out, not a lot.  but i can blog, so blog i shall.  except for that fact that in addition to no motivation, i have no inspiration - nothing funny, nothing clever, nothing profound to write about.  so here's my little nugget of the day: life sucks when the weather sucks.  (someone should pay me to write christian radio commercials.  i'd be good at it, don't you think?)

thwr: ole.

lauren: oh shoot! there's a burrito in my purse!

paige: ...what?!

lauren:  i can't even tell you how many bags i've ruined by leaving mexican food in it.  i think the official number is four.  it's usually tacos, though.

and that's how we roll.

finneas at seven months.

finneas turned seven months on the sixth (i'm getting worse and worse at posting these on time). 

weight: 15.2 pounds (2nd percentile)
length: 28 inches (73rd percentile)

he finally started gaining some weight and length, which was a relief to see, although he's still only in the second percentile for weight, which is somewhat discouraging.  i have to keep telling myself that it's just how our babies grow: long and lean.  but after all the growth issues that penelope had at his age, and eventually having to give up nursing because of it, i'm kind of helicopter-momming his growth in hopes that we won't have to resort to that.  (not that it helped with either of the other kids: both were on formula by the time they turned a year, and they were both still only in the fourth percentile at that point anyway.  so i try to comfort myself with that.)

lots happened this month:  he cut two more teeth on top, which brings his grand total to six; he's fully mobile and capable of sitting up.  he's eating more and more table foods and he loves meat.  (but he loves all of it, really, so that's not really saying much.)

he has started waking up a few times a night to eat, which has been tiring, but if it helps my milk supply stay strong, i'm up for it.

he's still in 3-6 month clothing, but he's starting to get a little long for his onesies, so maybe within the next month we'll move him up a size.

so that's where we're at!  i'm loving this stage - i had totally forgotten, but with the other two i felt like this was the point where it really got fun, and the same is true with finn.  he's starting to develop his own little personality, and to interact with the bigger kids and with todd and me.  as soon as he sees todd bust out the camera, he puts on his cheesiest grin or chomps his teeth together all crazy-like.  he's more interested in toys and wanting to be where the action is.  this is such a sweet time, where he's starting to become his own little independent person, but before he is capable of defiance or naughtiness.  seriously one of my favorite stages.

'what's the haps.' weekly.

the week actually started off on a pretty good foot.  my tiniest kid turned seven months on saturday, and i can't believe it!  he's getting so big.

then, the answer to many prayers came my way:  the curtains i had been eyeballing went on sale, AND i got a coupon in my email for an additional 25% off... so i could finally afford to pick up seven panels of these lovely ladies for my living room and entryway:

so we took the fam down to world market saturday morning to grab them up.  now i just have to save up for curtain rods, so they're not hung yet.  but they're here and they're fantabulous.  the trip to world market was fun, but it's exhausting trying to keep small hands and feet from breaking and/or pilfering every.last.thing. in the store. 

also, speaking of curtains, i finally finagled a $.99 solution for our bathroom shade, so it's no longer taped to the window like a hillbilly curtain.  it involves a wooden dowel from hobby lobby, an upholstery tack, some safety pins, and a stray cup hook i found in my tool purse (yes, it's a tool purse: it's purple and it's 'do it herself' brand).  so my new curtain rod dowel is actually pretty decent-looking, even though in reality it's pretty backwoods and wonky.  what can i say?  i like my curtains like i like my britney.

todd caught this little gem of reality on film:

this crazy bird kept trying to attack a moth that was stuck between our window and our storm window.  it was the most intense thing i've ever seen in my life.

and penelope's hair managed...this:

some lady down the street has started purging a bunch of antiques and leaving them on her lawn, free for the taking.  so far i've grabbed up a solid wood antique bedframe, a huge mirror, a bunch of vintage books, including one named "all aboard for HEALTH," some old drawers that i think i'll mount on the walls as shelves, and more.  have i said before how much i love living here?!

then things kind of went downhill.  finneas' new favorite feeding schedule (getting up two to three times a night to eat) has started wearing on me, and the pain in my ankles eventually got so bad that they were all swollen and my left leg was going numb and my whole body was shaking.  long story short, i had a bunch of xrays taken while my kids were supervised by a stranger and my left foot is now splinted for the next two to four weeks.  awesome.

to be honest, i've been struggling a lot with self-pity this week because of my stupid ankle.  how am i supposed to do my job if i can't walk or stand?  this whole all-day-every-day, no-sick-days-and-no-schlepping-around aspect of stay-at-home momming has seemed like a major bummer this week. 

so let's raise our glass to next week, with the hopes of a healed ankle, more sleep, and that lady down the street leaving some oil-rubbed bronze curtain rods on her front lawn for me to take home with me.

i'm not going to blog today, and you can't make me.

video vednesday: eeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh.

it's only seven seconds.  so watch it about a hundred times and you're still only out like twelve minutes.  you won't regret it.


most days i plan out what i'm going to post about before i even sit down to write.  i usually write in advance and then schedule the blog to post on the right day.  in other words, i'm usually somewhat organized about this whole blogging thing.  well, it's currently 6:30 a.m. and this is the first i'm even thinking about today's blog post.  so this could get interesting.  or, more realistically, really really NOT interesting.

finneas has been waking up a couple times a night to eat's frustrating and confusing and exhausting.  it makes me worry that our nursing days are coming to an end.  i just don't think he's getting enough to eat.  and i've prayed with each kid that i'd be able to nurse for a full year, but the seven month mark with atticus was when i got pregnant with penelope and my supply really dropped off, and the seven month mark with penelope was when i had to give up nursing entirely because she wasn't growing.  so here we are at the seven month mark with finneas, and i'm dealing with the prospect of having to quit nursing again, which is really emotional.

um, what else?  oh yeah.  i diagnosed myself (with help from the internet, not a medical professional) with tendonitis in both ankles.  i can barely walk or sit or sleep because of the pain, i have at least one sobbing episode a day, my ankles have swelled up and disappeared into my calves, and i'm cranky and complaining and somewhat homicidal all the time. 

and...let's end on something cheery, shall we?  let me think... oh yeah, after a week and a half of worrying and wondering, i'm now fairly confident that the neighbor lady isn't dead.

this is the real me.

it's time for the promised tour of our disastrous laundry room!

(remember when i took you on a video tour of our last laundry room?  this one is far from being the in-depth journalism that that post was, but maybe that's best for both of us.)

first stop?  the top of my dryer:

clean-but-still-wet cloth diapers waiting to be line-dried, the hated bleach necessary for stripping them, the diaper pail waiting to go back upstairs, and a book.  not just any book, though; it's called setting their hope in god: biblical intercession for your children, and i can't recommend it highly enough. (you can download a free copy here.)  it's a book of short prayers, all based on, and even pulled directly from, scripture passages, for you to pray for and over your children.

i read somewhere once about a lady that used her time folding laundry to pray over the little (and big) wearers of all the clothes. i don't do that; one, because i fold laundry fast to get it over with, and two, because i have a hard time praying while simultaneously cussing under my breath about having to fold the laundry in the first place. but since i spend a ton of time in my laundry room, i keep the book down there, and take a few seconds each day to pray for my kids.

and here is my other laundry room book:

my utmost for his highest. again with the few-seconds-a-day thing, i just read a short devotional from this a few days a week.  i'm not super regular about it, but when i do read it, it has a HUGE impact on my perspective.  i really need to make this a daily thing.

here's the shelf above my utility sink:


on the far left is a little enamelware container that i put my dryer lint in.  (i compost our lint, but i always forget to carry it upstairs after every load, so i just wait until this thing fills up and take it up all at once.)  next to that is a mason jar full of oxi-clean, and a little wooden bowl that holds my current set of soapnuts, my dryer balls, and any loose change, etc., i find in the wash.

that 'simple' sign behind everything might have to go.  i made it from a piece of wood i found in a campsite burn pile, and a vinyl decal i got for free at a garage sale.  i thought the thriftiness of it would bring me joy, but instead the stupid swirly font mocks my far-from-simple laundry tasks.  so i kind of hate it.

on the right side of the shelf is a mason jar full of liquid laundry detergent and my bottomless supply of unused soapnuts. 

i keep my detergent in a jar because a) it's prettier, and b) i buy my detergent in 5-gallon buckets:

crazy, right?!  especially considering that you only use one tablespoon of the stuff per load.  also on the topic of crazy bulk purchases (though unrelated to this post in every other way), here's a 50-pound box of dishwasher powder. 

no, i don't own stock in biokleen, although i could see where you would think that.

and last but not least, my sad little corner that will, perhaps someday, become a laundry-themed vignette:

(please imagine that empty frame is hanging on the wall with maybe some wall-mounted hooks inside with some cute little vintage items of laundry hanging on them.  also maybe imagine some plants or other stuff on the ironing board and maybe a clothespin chandelier hanging from the ceiling?  imagine really hard.)

and there you have it.  my perpetually messy and overwhelming laundry room, plus a couple of book recommendations, and a photo of a very large box of dishwasher powder.

the weekly 'what's up.' blaaaaaaargh.

this week has just draaaagggged on.  probably because i've been totally unmotivated all week, so i haven't been doing much of anything other than eating sunflower seeds.  and i don't have a picture of that.  so this week's post is sparse.

i have completed two weeks of my six-week fitness challenge.  it's super uncomplicated, just three days of cardio (20 minutes) and two days of strength training a week.  i've also had to give up refined sugar and start eating breakfast.  so i've been diligent and dedicated and (mostly) self-controlled.  and what do i have to show for it?  i've gained two pounds and sprained my ankle.  life sucks.

i baked a perfect loaf of bread, which todd promptly named The Perfect Loaf and gave the catchphrase, 'need some perfect bread? i've got you loafin' covered.'  i'm not exaggerating when i tell you that this really was, in fact, THE perfect loaf of bread.  they could probably have used it as a movie prop in a film about jesus if i hadn't gorged myself on the entire loaf already. 

penelope is pretty much completely potty trained at this point, which is awesome, and prefers to pee in the 'big girlboy potty' rather than the training potty.  she still waits until she's in a diaper during naptime to poop, but still.  i can handle changing one diaper a day.  (not counting finneas'.  or the diapers that penelope and atticus wear overnight.  sigh.  so many diapers.)

and finneas is consistently mobile now, even when confined in his sleep sack.  his favorite new activity is slithering his way into the entryway and puking on the rug.  also, he's been sitting like a champ.  i guess he's basically an adult now; i should probably teach him how to make a really good pot roast and consider my parenting responsibilities fully met.

don't even ask what he's wearing in these photos.  my kids are always mismatched or half-dressed if they're dressed at all.  most of the time they just stay in their jammies until they need new jammies for whatever reason. 

anyone have a more boring/unproductive week than i did?

loads (and loads) of laundry.

when todd and i were first married, i did two loads of laundry every week:  a load of hot water items, and one of cold water items.  in addition, every other week i washed sheets.  that was it.

fast forward to last week: a friend came over on Laundry Folding Day (yes, i know i should spread it out throughout the week, but i'd rather hate one day a week than hate every day of my life) after i had folded thirteen loads of laundry.  said friend is pregnant with her first baby, and i think i scared the jibblies out of her.

she was all, how much laundry do you people go through?!   and i was all, thirteen loads a week, apparently (although i do think i had pushed off Laundry Folding Day for a couple of days, so it may have been about a week and a half's worth of laundry.)  because, see, it's not just your daily clothes anymore.  it's your daily clothes, plus the ones you have to change into after they've been puked/peed/pooped/bled on by a second party, or after you spilled something kitchen-related on them.  it's not just your husband's clothes, it's his work clothes and weekend clothes and workout clothes.  it's not just your kids' sheets, it's the three sets of sheets that have been peed on this week.  and then there are towels and washcloths (both kitchen and bathroom), cleaning rags, cloth diapers, burp rags, blankets, questionable-smelling clothes you recently purchased at a garage sale, the too-small kids' clothing you're getting ready to store, the towels you used to clean pee up off the floor, the twenty pairs of soiled training panties, the daily jammies and regular outfits your kids wear, the white curtains with the mysterious toddler-height brown stains, etc. etc.

which is why, though i was totally caught up on laundry a few days ago, my laundry room currently looks like this:

yikes, right?! but you know me; i'm nothing if not transparent and also a walking disaster.  you may not be able to tell in this picture, but that pile on the right (my hot water loads) is nearly knee-deep at its highest point.  yeah, really.

 so, in summary, what would i say the point of this post was?  that when you sign on for family, you sign on for laundry. lots and lots of laundry. and there's no other point to it than that.

**while i was taking this photo, i thought i'd just do a quick tour of our laundry cave (which isn't really all that cavernous, since it's sky blue and huge, but it is in the basement and it does look like some kind of animal makes its den down there, so we'll stick with calling it the laundry cave).  clearly i did not clean up for you, but i'll give you a grand tour on monday anyway.

video vednesday: waaAAAAaaaaAAAAAaaaaaaa

please don't think i'm a butt wipe for thinking this is funny.

okay, the rest of old threshers.

penelope checking out some baby cows.

atticus in a one-room schoolhouse.

this is how finn spent most of his time.

lisagrace came with us and we decimated a huge turkey leg together.  jealous?

atticus checking out the bees.

finneas, enjoying his first gun fight.

finneas and my mom.

the kids are still talking about this gun fight.


our ride on a steam train, during which the conductor (dressed in period 1900's clothing) told us all about seeing the sears tower being built.  in the 1970's.  something about that felt unauthentic.

the kids rode on the carousel.  penelope was not a fan.

but she WAS a fan of this sorghum cookie.

it was SUPER muddy.  we all got filthy.

see? told you.

see anything funny in this picture? no?  well, let me zoom in for you...

she loved the steam train about as much as the carousel.

the toe socks themselves are surprisingly not the grossest element of this photo.

the other night, todd was searching on amazon for toe socks.  (why was he internet shopping for toe socks?  he's a van voorst, that's why, and that's the kind of crap we do late at night.)  and the heavens parted and the angels started sousa-ing it up on their trumpets and his toes actually started salivating at the discovery of the. perfect. pair.  in all of their ankle-cut, spandex-shot, sweat-wicking glory.  yes, the sample photo socks were pink, but ooh, the black...  his feet were already having a dance party at the mere thought of slipping on a pair of these bad boys.

but then, he looked a little closer at the sample picture...

...and was all, wait one cotton pickin' minute... let me zoom in on that...


yepper.   that right there is one stubbly toe-sock-model leg.   what strikes me about this is that some girl got paid to do this photo.  man, i wish someone would pay me to not shave my legs.  i could stop dancing in the street for nickels, that's for sure.

good luck relaxing your gag reflex enough to finish that cup of coffee and donut that were the only bright things in your life this monday morning.  i'm mostly not sorry for starting your week (and month!) off this way.