weekly whatupdate.

not much has happened this week that i haven't already told you about.  like i mentioned, todd and i took a weekend trip to omaha, and on monday we all went to cf to look at houses.  throughout the week the kids and i visited and were visited by lots of friends, and as a result, we have gotten dressed every day since last friday! 

this is big news, people.  yesterday atticus even asked me to clarify that 'jeans are daytime pants, and jammies are nighttime pants.'  this is huge, since it indicates some kind of rhyme and reason to why and when we get dressed, instead of my previous method of just leaving them in the same pajamas until everyone smelled too badly to bear. then i'd just dump everyone in the bathtub and afterward put them in fresh jammies and start the whole cycle again.  it really saved me on laundry, but it really is concerning how few times i'd get them (or myself) dressed during the week.

which brings me to my Womanly Arts update:  this week i have painted my nails more days than not, i have worked on quitting the bad habit of biting my nails, and last night i even used self-tanner in anticipation of having to wear an easter dress this weekend.  now, i'm still new at this Feminine Wiles thing, so i'm hoping this tanner stuff ends up with me looking more like a tropical princess than a circus peanut, but we'll see.

speaking of peanuts, i've been craving them like crazy lately.  because i'm pregnant.  OH! and speaking of being pregnant (see what i did there?), here's the latest photo. 

tacky, weird, kind of gross, but a little appealing. just like me.

i like really pretty things and also really tacky stuff.  there's often a fine line, and i probably cross it all the time.  makes sense, since i would describe my decorating style as "kind of old lady, lots of garage sale.  i like funny stuff.  and i like flowers.  and most pastels.  and bright colors. and also white.  and i prefer it all costs me less than five dollars."  you can see where i can easily get myself into dangerous territory.

when i shop, i'm frequently really cautious about what i buy.  i don't shop often, and i don't usually have a ton of spending money when i do go, so i want to know that i love something and that it will last me a long time before i spend any money on it. 

which is why i passed up this plate at anthropologie this weekend:

so tacky, right?  and yet and i have been kicking myself ever since we got home that i didn't buy it.  i was all, 'you only like this ugly praying mantis plate because that's what's in front of you right now, and what would you ever do with a praying mantis plate, and everyone will think you're a freak because you like it, so don't waste the money.'  but then i was at my friend jess' yesterday, and she has this darling plate display on her dining room wall, and i was all jealous and like, i wish i had a plate display and i wish that praying mantis plate would watch over us at mealtime.

this goldfish plate came in a close second in the race for my heart:

why am i such a tacky human being?

video vednesday: i don't have a catchphrase for my machine...

...but if i did, it would probably be something like, 'get that creme out of there' or, 'this creme is no good, get it off the cookies.'

apparently a fancy PhD in physics can't give you a reality check: the creme is the best part!  watching it all go to waste like that made my stomach hurt.  darn you, OSM!

a cardboard box would be cheaper and just as structurally sound.

(alternative title:  'happy birthday to me, there are no houses.')

yesterday, todd took the day off work and we went to cf to look at houses.  long story (and looooong day) short, there are no houses we want to live in.  we'll probably end up living in the UNI dorms.  OR IN THE MALL!  (they have a kohl's, so no need to worry about us, we'll be well-supplied.)

we had to take the kids with us, and we looked at eight houses over the course of about five hours.  it be cray.  it's a stressful process anyway, looking at houses, but having the kids with us and doing so many over the course of a single day were nearly the cause of my mortal downfall.  not to mention the feeling of total defeat when none of the houses left us optimistic about finding a decent place to live. 

this one place had a mouse run through it when i opened the garage door, i'm not even kidding you.  this other place had water pouring into the basement through the foundation as we watched.  atticus put his hand right in black mold at another place.  one place had asbestos flooring (i didn't even know that was a thing).  the house with the most promise needed a new roof and two of the bedrooms didn't even have doors or a place to eventually add doors.

i'm beginning to think it's too much to ask to find a house that isn't in the active process of crumbling to dust.

so, i guess at this point all we're able to do is sit around and see what else comes on the market over the course of the spring and early summer.  maybe we'll end up renting?  who knows.  i just want to get settled somewhere before the baby comes.  (which is a whole other thing in and of itself.  have i told you that i haven't even been to the doctor yet?  no?  story for another day.)

get this.

my wonderful husband (or, as they say here in the world of mom blogs, 'hubby,' which has always grossed me out but seems to strike some kind of cutesy cord with some people) surprised me this weekend with a totally unforeseen trip to omaha for my birthday.  now, i know what you're thinking: 'what's in omaha besides a bunch of buildings tagged with gang art?' well, i'll tell you, friends: ANTHROPOLOGIE!

my husband knows me well.

i got to take my first trip to an actual brick-and-mortar (is that still a term?) anthro instead of just drooling over their kitchenware online.  i think todd was just tired of getting my leftover saliva all over his hands when he tried to use the laptop to send emails.  which is why he decided to risk venturing into public with a virtually rabid wife. 

we walked in and i was foaming at the mouth and hardly speaking english.  i was all, 'butter dishmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! handpaintedhrrrrrrrm!  dishtowekkks!'  i think it was the highlight of my life up to this point, barring the days my kids were born no days.

okay, but i'll back up and tell you that first he was going to take me to this really yummy restaurant in downtown omaha on saturday night, but we got there at 5:00 and the wait was already almost four hours long.  (it was prom night there, apparently, which meant that every place was packed out with a bunch of girls balancing precariously on obviously uncomfortable shoes and trying to keep their boobs from popping out the tops of their scandalous dresses.  youth these days.)  so we went to this other place nearby, the mushroom soup at which was so delicious i would shank you if you tried to take it from me.  that's pretty delicious.

after that, we accidentally drove back into iowa.  and then back into nebraska.  and then somehow back into iowa again, and then back into nebraska.  all in an effort to find the mall.  we're nothing if not dedicated.  (upon entering iowa, there are these huge, rusty, freaky statues that are all, 'welcome to iowa.  something horrible is about to happen to you.')

found the mall, purchased nothing, but did mentally judge a lady for taking her elementary-aged children into victoria's secret with her.  just keeping it real.

left the mall, picked up some dessert at the cheesecake factory, and headed to the marriott, where they gave us a room on the top floor that the elevator wouldn't even access unless you used your room key IN THE ELEVATOR.  i felt like richard gere in pretty woman, all penthouse-y.  (not sure which is weirder to say: that i feel like the richard gere character, or the julia roberts character.  because, if you remember nothing about that movie, he's a lonely rich guy who buys a prostitute for a week, and she's, well, a prostitute that gets purchased for a week by a lonely rich guy.  when you break it down like that, maybe i don't want to be either of them.)  anyway.  we got to our room, ate cheesecake in bed, and then stayed up way too late watching house hunters until we passed out from exhaution.  steamy.

yesterday morning, we visited an Acts 29 church, which was AWESOME, spent most of the the rest of our time at anthropologie (which i already chronicled) and headed home.  the end.

i'm sure omaha is still all, 'what just happened?  i suddenly feel more important, but also like someone is secretly judging me for the number of vagrants hanging out around my mall.'  and that, omaha, is because the van voorsts just pwnd the place.  and you'll never be the same.

The Year of the Womanly Arts.

i turn twenty-seven next week.  twenty-seven.  i get that on shows like 'sex and the city' and 'friends' and 'coach' there's this feeling that twenty-six is still young.  twenty-six is all, 'you're young! you're hip! you live in the city! you wear jimmy choos because you're twenty-six and you do what you want!' 

well, reality check.  i'm pregnant for the fourth time and i shower twice a week.  i can't wear bikinis anymore because, underneath adequate coverage, i look like a tube sock full of dry beans.  i feel like i'm doing twenty-six all wrong.  but twenty-seven! the chance to make a change is coming!  so i've dubbed this coming year of life, The Year of the Womanly Arts.

now, i don't mean mastering the art of changing my mind, or going from happy to in-a-starving-rage in .02, as many people are led to believe The Womanly Arts are comprised of.  i've got those down pat.  i mean Feminine Things.  painting my nails.  making pot roast.  wearing clean clothes on a daily basis. 

first thing on the list for my twenty-seventh year (i'm getting a head start - a very Feminine thing to do, if i do say so) is growing out and reshaping my eyebrows.  i'm clearly no beauty expert, unless by 'beauty,' you mean 'sweatpants,' and by 'expert,' you mean 'wearer.'  but one thing i know: scraggly eyebrows are not Feminine.  so about once a year i don't pluck them for a month or so, let them get really crazy wonky, and then reshape them.  i recommend everyone do the same.  i've seen too many trashstache eyebrows to count and i, for one, am ready to rid the world of them.

only, i'm almost twenty-seven now and my eyebrows are thinner than they used to be.  i used to have AMPLE eyebrow to work with.  case in point:

no longer.  they've stopped being so luscious and refuse to grow.  so they've been in this constant state of half-wonky for the last six weeks.  le sigh.  apparently The Womanly Arts have eluded me once again.  i should probably put my sweatpants back on and call the whole effort off.

one more for good measure:

oh yeah.

that much closer.

i already mentioned this on facebook, but in case everyone's life does not center on my status updates (and instead centers on my blog posts) and you haven't heard, we've had a bunch of stuff fall into place this week for our move.

first, todd got a job offer in the area!  in a fortuitous turn of events, there's one random and huge insurance company about 20 minutes away from cf (not including insurance sales, which isn't what he does, most companies in iowa are based in des moines), so he'll kind of know some of what he's doing from the get-go.  it's a different type of insurance than he currently works in so he'll have some learning to do, but he won't be totally clueless.

second, we got a third offer on our house, which we would have been happy to take if we could, since our standing offer was contingent on some stuff, which just basically means that there was a possibility that they wouldn't actually end up buying our house in the end.  but when we told them about the new offer, they removed their contingencies, so we're moving forward with that.  this whole 'for sale by owner' thing has really opened my eyes to what all goes down in a house deal, and if you're a real estate agent reading this (which you're probably not, because real estate waits for no man. or blog.): WE MISSED YOU.

so.  all that to say, we have a job lined up that starts on april 8.  our house is set to close on june 26.  pieces are falling into place!  we still have to figure out where we're going to live, and how soon we'll be moving.  we can't close on a new house until our closing goes through, so that we have actual american money to pay the sellers instead of promises and leprechaun coins.  people tend not to accept that stuff anymore.  but it would also be nice to not have todd commuting three hours a day between april and the end of june.  so we'll see what happens: if we'll rent something out there in the meantime, or if we can get a house with early occupancy, or what. 

you know i'll keep you posted because i'm an over-sharer, this is the only thing going on in my life, and i have unfettered access to this little corner of the internetz.  expect nothing less.

video vednesday: IT WAS A BLACK WIDDA SPAHDER!

turns out, it was a half-flattened black licorice jellybean.

not to be a slacker or anything, but...

no blog today.  except this one i'm already posting, i guess.  i feel like my inspiration and ambition to write are buried under all that depressing snow.  i desperately need spring or some kind of medication.  probably just spring.

tons of fun, finn is (still) one.

wow.  it's monday already.  how does that happen? 

we had a small birthday party for finneas on saturday.  i couldn't find the balloons or streamers, and i couldn't come up with anything to get him for a present, so he got a decorless party and a gift bag filled with 'chitty chitty bang bang' and a toothbrush.  i am a terrible mom.

and by 'birthday party,' i really just mean that my mom and stepdoug came for the day, we ate lasagna and then some cake and ice cream, and called it a day.  lucky for me, finneas really could have cared less about any of it outside of the cake and ice cream.  and he didn't care that i had already packed my cake pans so i had to make his cake in bread pans, so it looked like a chocolate brick with a '1' on top.  (who am i kidding? it looked like a turd wearing a festive hat.)

The Turd, and pre-mess finneas.

the professor is now wearing his glasses and is ready for a long day of testing.  subject one: cake.  subject two: ice cream.  examining the physical and sensory attributes of subjects.  documenting physiological responses.

still examining.  still documenting.  testing the null hypothesis and all that.

wrapping up the loose ends of the study, calculating the results of the data...
results of the study: cake is finneas' new girlfriend and they will get married and live in a chocolate house.  can't argue with science.
 (i love this photo with my whole heart.  he's totally in love with that cake.)
this is around the time that the sugar kicked in and he lost all conscious control of his arms.


looking pretty proud of his accomplishment.

and also looking sugar-manic.

i don't always 'what's up.' but when i do, i do it weekly.

it's been a long time since i've done a weekly 'what's up.'  bringing it back old school.

we did nothing at the beginning of the week.  i voluntarily gave the kids ample baths this week, so that was good.  they smell only slightly wonky now, which is better than usual.

yesterday, i went to pick up our grocery order twenty minutes away, and when i attempted to start the van in the parking lot to come back home, the battery was dead.  as soon as atticus heard the 'clickclick' of the ignition, he said, 'i think somebody needs to come jump the van.'  apparently the battery dies enough that he knows what's up.  todd had to drive thirty minutes from work, jump the van, and drive thirty minutes back in the middle of the day.  excellent.

finneas got his glasses yesterday.  prepare yourself for lots of photos of my baldheaded little professor-baby

todd discovered a meme generator and had a heyday.

that was our week.  how was yours?

very pinteresting.

i'm plugging away at my personal challenge to make some of my pinned recipes this month.  and you know what? I. LOVE. PINTEREST.  goat cheesy mushroomy pasta?  owned.  veggie chowder? owned.  olive garden alfredo sauce? OWNED.  i feel like a master chef, or at least someone who's literate and has all the required ingredients on hand. 

i may or may not have also eaten three batches of 'box-free brownies' in the last week.  which is where pinterest has probably been my downfall.  what did pregnant women do before pinterest?  (i'm trying to remember that far back, because i've definitely been pregnant at least twice without a pinterest account, which shows you how old i am how recent a development pinterest is and also how often i'm pregnant.)  (it's really often.)

has anyone else made anything pinteresty recently?

video vednesday: yeaaaaaaaaaaah.

goats beyond description. but if i ever got one, i'd hope it was one who could yell 'heeeeeyyyy' at me from the yard.

so. awkward.

so, have you ever been in one of those super awkward conversations where you clearly have nothing in common with the other person and you can't think of a darn thing to say, so you're all like, 'i can't wait for the weather to get warmer... also, i like milk.  do you like milk?  did you drink a lot of milk growing up?  you look like you have strong bones, so i bet you did.  is bone health important to you?'  and on and on until you both want to die?

this is a blog post like that conversation.  i have no idea what to say to you, so i'm just going to say some stuff and hope that it comes out all smooth and suave and like i have it all together.  likely that won't happen, so i'll shoot for the next best thing, which is to write a blog post awkward enough that we'll both feel like we're winning just to be done with it.

when i was little, i wanted to grow up to look like kelly from 'married with children.'  yeah, the super slutty one.  i thought she was totally gorg, and who cares if she's dumb, i wanted to grow up to have big boobs and platinum blonde hair.  clearly i've fulfilled all my childhood dreams.

also, when i was like six, i wrote 'when i'm sixteen i want to be a cheerleader' on a piece of paper.  (actually, it probably said, 'wen im 16 i want to be a cherledr.'  because six year olds can be dumb.)  then i stuck that paper in my backpack, which i promptly put in the toy room closet and began calling my 'time capsule.'  then monday rolled around again, and it again became just an ordinary backpack with a slip of paper in it.  i never became a cheerleader, and i suspect it was because i never took the time to find a proper time capsule that didn't have to be opened again so soon.  like an oatmeal container.

okay, one more.  i once filled a ziplock baggie with water and stuck it under the dresser in the bathroom and called it my 'experiment.'  i'm not sure what i was expecting to have happen, but all that ended up coming of it was that my mom found it before it morphed into not-water (or whatever i had hypothesized would happen) and she dumped it down the sink.  anticlimactic.  i wonder what would have become of it had it been left long enough.

we both survived that blog post!!!!!!!!!!!  that was only slightly less painful than this conversation with the girl you wish you hadn't started a conversation with at a party.

hopefully home sweet home.

as we prepare to move, i kind of go in waves of being really excited and really sad.  probably normal.  right now i'm in a period of mourning the loss of my house, which i love with my whole heart, always and forever.  i try not to think about the fact that, a few years from now, this will simply be the place we lived for a couple of years.  we lived in our apartment for four years, and thinking about it now, it seems like just a little while that we were there.

so in order to stop being all pitiful and dopey and sad, i'm doing my best to look forward to the opportunity to make a new house our 'home.'  and i think we might do things a little differently this time.  as in, buy a fixer-upper.  as in, i think i'd prefer a ranch-style. 

if you know me at all, this may come as a bit of a shock.  for one thing, i want to strangle the guy who first thought skinny trimwork was a good idea.  he seems to have been instrumental in the development of the ranch house.  and what is the deal with hollow core doors?  people were idiots there for a while.

but, anyway, there are a couple cute ranches we've seen in the cf area, and i'm getting excited at the prospect of a blank-slate house, where i can do whatever i want and people aren't all, YOU'RE PAINTING THAT TRIM?! YOU'RE REPLACING THOSE WINDOWS?!  our current house has been a bit limiting in that regard.  so i've been busy and squirrelly on pinterest, hoarding photos of kitchens and dreaming of getting to buy a junky old house and making it 'ours.'  and that's actually pretty exciting!


where's waldo? finneas might soon be able to tell you. and will also look like waldo.

i was hoping that, by today, finn's glasses would have arrived and i could post pictures of his tiny, newly-bespectacled face.

yes, that's right.  finneas is getting glasses.  our optical genetics are the worst.  at some point we really should just start adopting so that we don't bestow our eye problems on any more poor, unsuspecting children.  (but van voorst babies are so cute, even with glasses, that i think there should be a million of them.  or really, four of them.  because that's how many there currently are.  and i can't think about having any more kids right now.  stop pressuring me.)


so, yes.  poor little blind-as-a-bat-and-also-cross-eyed finneas will be amazed to see the world come to light once he gets his glasses.  or maybe not amazed...maybe he'll be like, i thought it would be better.  where'd the grass go?  he's hard to please like that.


a year of finneas in review.

yesterday was finneas' birthday.  i really can't believe he's already a year old.  every person who has ever had kids will tell you it goes quickly, but it seems that with each progressive kid, the time goes faster and faster.  how is my tiniest baby one already?  how has it been a whole year?


finneas is my cuddle bug.  he is quiet and flexible and observant and, honestly, pretty stealth.  he has kind of had to be, considering he's always being pushed around or knocked over or stolen from.
he is ticklish, especially right on his chest.  he loves baths.  he is desperately in love with todd.  he tries to type on the computer whenever it's in reach.  he is almost always under the dining room table, scavanging old lunchy bits.  he has eight teeth and is working on numbers nine and ten.  to fall asleep, he sucks the two first fingers on his right hand and rub his quilt against his ear with his left.  he likes to sing and be sung to.  he is much more tolerant of his car seat than previous van voorst babies.  he is still in a 3-6 month coat and fits in his carrier car seat.  he says 'uh oh' and 'hi' and 'dada' and 'duck.'  he is most alive and vibrant when he's sitting in his high chair and getting food. 

he likes long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners under the stars.

he's my baby.  it's hard for me to think about the fact that he won't always be my littlest.  i love babying him.  it has been a good, very good year.

happy birthday finn!

i can't believe it was just one year ago, at exactly this time, that we were just meeting finneas for the first time... amazing how much has happened this year.

happy birthday, baby boy!

it's shaping up to be yet another crazy week.

we had another showing of our house on sunday. seriously, how does anyone do this for any extended period of time?!  our house has been on the market for like two weeks and i'm already like, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.  ever in my life.  i think i'm just grumpy because even though our house is 'sold,' it's only sort of sold, so we have to keep acting like it's still on the market, just in case.  dumb.  stressful.  unnecessary.

today we're being kicked out of our house for the afternoon while they do the inspection, so please be praying that the house wasn't built on quicksand or has some other weird and unsellable condition.

i'm sixteen weeks along in this pregnancy already.  what?!  how did that happen?!  not that sixteen weeks is really all that far along, but i'm pretty sure i was just like nine weeks a few days back.  maybe i was and i'm just bad at math and calendars.

later this week, todd has two second interviews for possible job opportunities in the cf area.  i'm praying that he gets one that pays well enough that we can put in that in-ground pool full of gold coins i've wanted ever since i first saw ducktales.  i'm a really graceful diver and it would be pure poetry to watch me swandive into that thing.  you're going to want to come watch, so for your own sake, keep your fingers crossed and and your under-the-breath prayers focused on pool fulla money...pool fulla money...  i mean, job for todd...job for todd.


pinterest, my cravings for shrimp, and how to make life worth living when you're gluten-free.

ahh, pinterest.  how we all love to hate you.  and also love to love you obsessively.

my most frequent activity on pinterest is looking up new recipes to try.  however, the other night, atticus was watching me pin a couple recipes and was all like, 'later i want to actually eat that food.'  he is apparently clued in to something that i've been in denial about for a while:  i hardly ever make anything i pin.  instead, about once a week i make this slop i concocted and dubbed 'rice casserole.'  the kids cry on rice casserole night.  (i personally find it quite tasty and think the kids are just trying to get attention.)

anyway.  i've decided to mend my errant pinterest ways and actually try a couple of recipes out this month.  i've even dedicated a special pinterest board to my lofty and likely unrealistic goal.  a couple of recipes i'm really excited to try are this pasta-y, goat-cheesy, mushroomy thing.  and some shrimp thing that the barefoot contessa dreamed up.  and some parmesan crusted tilapia.  oh yeah.  move over rice casserole, we're going to give the kids something new to cry about.

and now a tangential list of things this month's recipes made me think of: 

1.  seafood.  the seafood/fish cravings are starting (did i mention that i'm feel pretty confident this baby is a girl?), which is convenient since it's lent and everything fish-related is stocked up and marked down.  i love me some lenten pregnancy.

2.  you may have noticed that i like pasta.  and breaded stuff.  and more pasta.  it's kind of my 'thing.'  you can't spell 'paige van voorst' without 'carbohydrates.'  (hmm.  that saying worked better with my maiden name, paige carbohydrates.)  but you also might know that i'm gluten-free.  and here's how i manage to not kill myself:

a) rice pasta from trader joe's.  super cheap, and decently good once you get the hang of cooking it so it doesn't turn into The Sludge Formerly Known As Rice Pasta.

b) high-gluten wheat flour imported from italy.  (so i guess i'm not technically gluten-free, just gluten-snobby.)  yeah, i don't know what it is about this flour, something about the way the wheat has been grown or processed or has turned its mood around in the mediterranean sun, but i tolerate it well, as do many other GF friends (even one who has celiac).  it's about a buck a pound, which is insanely cheap considering the price of typical GF-friendly flours.  hit me up if you want to know more about it or where i get it.  (i can also eat wheat pasta imported from italy, like tortellini from trader joe's.)

between these two life-savers, i hardly notice the GF issue at all when i'm cooking at home, and hardly ever even bother looking up GF-specific recipes, even for baked goods.

anyway.  all that long, rambling post to say, i'm going to be eating like a pinterest queen for the next few weeks.  who wants to take on the challenge with me and commit to making a couple pinterest recipes this month?  doooooooo ittttttttt.

they knew just what i needed this week.

the other day, i got a couple boxes in the mail from todd's parents, who are down in arizona a for the winter.  it turns out, they were boxes full of sunshine.

the following day, i received a handwritten card from my best friend.  not only did it boost my spirits, but it gave me a handy tip on what to do with all those lemons.

apparently my family and friends know just what i need from time to time:  to receive a little love in the mail, and to stuff my bra.  problems solved and life is looking up.