the weekly 'what's up.'

my activity this week can be summed up in two words: Harry.  Potter.

call me a weirdo for being a twenty-seven-year-old mom-of-four who's all, ohmywordharryyyyyyypotterrrrrrr!  also, call me a weirdo for just now having read them, considering the first one was published - dare i say it - over fifteen years ago.  i'm more than a little late on the bandwagon.  but on the bandwagon i am, friends.  i started reading the first one last wednesday.  i am now a quarter of the way through the fourth book.  you do the math.  (i'd do it, but i'm too busy calculating the current quidditch score and there is no more room for numbers in my head.  harryyyyypotterrrrrr!)


other things that have happened whilst i've been too busy reading to notice:

todd went to the dentist and, surprisingly, doesn't need a root canal.  the dentist thinks he can resurrect the shards (just typed 'sharts.'  whoops.  that's not correct.) into a semblance of a tooth!  i feel about $600 richer than i did the morning before he left.  it's a good feeling. 

as an aside, here's a fun fact about the van voorsts:  todd doesn't have a single entirely-real tooth.  they're all filled, made of porcelain, or made of GOLD.  gold teeth!  in fact, his six front teeth are fakes.  i, on the other hand, have nary even a cavity.  however, i have a dead tooth in front from where atticus head-butted me as a toddler, and i have worn braces and a headgear and a gum bandage and a retainer and then more braces and the another gum bandage and then another retainer since i was around seven.  you win some, you lose some.  and in the game of genetics roulette, i think our kids will probably lose some and then lose some more.

in atticus news, this week he has been pursuing a career as a sword-wielding preacher, and todd and i couldn't be happier.  you bring that word of truth, son!

he made this pulpit by pulling apart a baby bed.  nothing if not resourceful.

all the boys got haircuts and are looking freshly-shorn and dapper.  handsome dans.  (handsome den?)

todd got his first picture with all four of the kids (it's surprisingly difficult!):

with the oil painting of my mom presiding over the photo.  just to be clear, that is not a current picture of my mom.

and as a throwback, i was sorting through last years pictures yesterday, and came across this one of penelope, wearing finn's coat, taken last january:

and to that, finneas says:


have a happy friday, nerds!

at least somebody has something worth saying. unfortunately, it's not me.

i was going to take some selfies this week, on the recommendation of seventeen magazine.  you know, to show you how to catch the right lighting, and forheavenssake avoid making your face look fat, and get a bajilliondy likes from people you don't know.  however, i didn't do it for a couple of reasons:

1. i never follow through on anything.

2. the last thing the world needs is one more duckface on their screens.

instead of going on some rant about the state of our culture, and how selfies for the sake of 'likes' are a thing, and how our young women look absolutely ridiculous, i will instead write about something else...

but what?  all that stuff seems pretty pertinent, but too mentally heavy to even attempt right now.  (hello? it's thursday.  my brain is usually checked out for the week by tuesday afternoon.)

i know!  i'll leave you a deep thought to noodle on through the day, courtesy of jack handey:

"If you're a cowboy and you're dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet it would really make you mad if you looked back and the guy was reading a magazine."

indeed.  if that's not the opposite of a selfie, well, i don't know what is.

always keep them guessing.

girlfriend got the giggles.

the other day after church, laurelai busted into her first laughing fit.  i mean, she's laughed before when i tickle her neck or something, but she's never had 'the giggles.'  and the weird part?  she was laughing in response to the kids falling down and/or charging her and growling.  babies pick the weirdest things to laugh at.  (i remember that atticus' first real fit of laughter happened when todd sang the A-Team theme song to him nonstop one night.)

(skip to 0:58 to get to the really juicy stuff.)

okay, to recap, when the kids did this...:

...this happened:

but, when todd tried 'rawr'ing at her, the Baby of A Thousand Expressions (as dubbed by a friend) went all:

some jobs are best left to the pros.

sugarbabies and selfies and science.

hey guys! look what i got in the mail unexpectedly!

i'm assuming one of two things had to have happened for this to show up in my mailbox: 1) someone in the subscriptions department made a mistake (and i couldn't really blame them, because they're probably like twelve), or 2) an anonymous fan sent this to me because they think i look superyoung.  i like to believe the second one, although when it comes time to buy wine, i'll probably hide this little youthcessory at home.  i think getting a subscription to seventeen cancels out possessing a valid ID when it comes to legally purchasing alcohol.  and maybe even tickets to a PG-13 movie.

anyway, i confess that i read it.  how could i not, with such contradicting articles right next to each other directly on the cover?  (how one girl overcame an eating disorder and tendencies toward self harm, right next to 'get an insane body: it's hard, but you'll look hot!')  yeah, i'll get to that in a second.

but really, what grabbed my attention was this little gem at the top:

yep.  wanna learn to take the perfect selfie?  need more likes?  YOU BET I DO.  so i dove right in.  i'll tell you more about that later this week.

but in addition to selfie-help, this excellent issue of seventeen enlightened me on the following topics:

*"keep calm and ____" posters are so over. (i'm actually with them on this one.)

*pleather overalls shorties are a thing, and they're a thing people are actually putting on their bodies and calling clothes.  also, what are pleather overalls shorties without a matching cap?

anyone else notice that 'cool' and 'shiny shorts' are on the same page?

* how to draw on my fingernails with a sharpie and call it 'flirty!' and 'art!'

* possible reasons why my boyfriend keeps texting me naked photos of himself.  (it's probably just because everyone else is doing it and he's wanting validation.)

*how to pay for college by getting paid hundreds of dollars per date to go out with much older men.  they even give out the websites to use and show you how to set up a profile and how much to charge (per date or per month, your choice!).  you even get to decide for yourself how far, physically, you want to go with these old guys!  talk about being an independent adult.  although, they do issue the 'warning' that, "not every guy out there just wants to help you pay your bills.  there are a lot of predators on these sites."  (um, you mean that nice old stranger on the internet isn't just looking for a hardworking, innocent college student to be charitable toward?  i just don't believe it.)  so there you have it, ladies: how to 'sugar' your way through school.  yeah, that's what it's called.

so, while that was by far the most sickening thing i read in there, i will back up and point out the following:  the same centerfold insert that encouraged calling a 'truce' with your body (the 'body peace project') and striving for health rather than just a certain 'look,' also included this spread:

all jokes aside, this crap makes me feel nauseous.  what the heck is wrong with us?!

whatever.  in the trash it goes.  i do really wonder, though, how i started getting it in the first place.  also, i really wonder how my very first selfies are going to turn out this week once i use their handy dandy tips?  (SPOILER ALERT - i'll be taking selfies this week.  in the name of science.  you can thank science for the results.)

weekly 'what's up.'

this week was a little more somber than normal weeks.

first, atticus' fish, gunnar, passed on, which was cause for surprise on two levels:

first, i was surprised he died in the first place.  i mean, i had money riding on laurelai's fish (who is doing fine, btw), and aren't goldfish supposed to be like the cacti of the animal kingdom - impossible to kill?  (now that i think on it, though i've inherited a relatively green thumb for houseplants from my mom, i have consistenly terrible luck keeping succulents alive.  as mitch hedberg would say, apparently i'm less nurturing than the desert.  maybe that should have been my clue that goldfish are not the pets for us.)

second, i was surprised at how hard atticus took it.  sure, it's his first pet and so not only was he the first time atticus got attached to something on that level, but it was also the first time that death was a bit tangible for him.  but for whatever reason, i didn't really think he'd take it very hard.  maybe because we'd had it for less than a month, and they're pretty hands-off pets.  but he cried through dinner, which was really sad (for me.  this is really all about how atticus' grief was really hard for me.  i'm so tyra.)  so, we're scraping together our pennies (literally; those things cost like a quarter) to eventually get him a new fish.  until then, finneas' fish, arthur, is dominating in the 'most dominant pet' category.  (i think it's pretty clear which fish lost in that category.)

on a much more serious note, we lost my grandma noel last weekend.  she battled long and hard with alzheimer's, and my grandpa fought for her and right alongside her the whole time.  she'll be very missed.  i remember this one morning when i was like ten, and we were all in washington, d.c. together, and she spent a crazy amount of time curling my hair into sausage curls just because i had read about sausage curls in some book and justhadtohavethem.  even when she was supposed to be on vacation, my grandma had a ton of patience for my whims.  i think she may have even gotten a kick out of doing it.

doesn't my grandma look pretty?  doesn't lauren look like she's trying to cast a spell on something?  isn't the front panel on my khakis unreasonably large?)

luckily, in the midst of a grey week, this little ray of sunshine has been around to brighten our spirits and sit in our bumbo.

a list of books.

hey! where have you been all my week? 

i've mentioned before that i'm a reader.  i always have been.  since having kids, seasons during which i have time to read have ebbed and flowed, which got discouraging sometimes.  i was noticing that i kept starting books and then not finishing them, so i'd spend a bunch of time reading when i could, but not really getting a whole lot out of it.

so i started keeping a list of the books i finished.  not only did it help motivate me to finish the books i started, it also helped me scrap books that i determined early in weren't worth finishing.  i'd rather spend my limited reading time on stuff that was actually worth it.

one unforeseen benefit of keeping a book list has been the ability to go back and remember what all i've read.  2014 is the fifth year i've been doing this, so i have four years' worth of books on record.  which is fun to know.  (119 books completed since january 1, 2010!)

so anyway.  i've said all that to preface the following list, Books I Read in 2013:

i've linked to books i really think ought to be read by all y'all at least once, either for your betterment or just because, selfishly, it's fun to share the things i've loved most.

2. How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Guide to Getting Gorgeous Without Breaking the Bank by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig (1/14)

3. Great American Short Stories: from Hawthorne to Hemingway ed by Corinne Demas (2/12)

4. Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (3/13)  (YOU HAVE TO READ THIS ONE.  BUY IT, READ IT, HUG IT.)

5. Widow of the South by Robert Hicks (3/30)

6. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv (4/15)

7. A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others by Karen Ehman (4/22)

8. What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer (5/26)

10. Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise by Pam Young and Peggy Jones (9/1)

11. The Sidetracked Sisters Catch Up on the Kitchen by Pam Young and Peggy Jones (9/1)

12.  Speed Cleaning by Jeff Campbell and the Clean Team (9/6)

13.  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Great Illustrated Classics edition) by Mark Twain, retold by someone who didn't do a great job.

14. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

15. Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt

16. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (10/09)  (My favorite book of all time in all the history of ever.)

17. My Point… And I Do Have One by Ellen DeGeneres (10/20)

18. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (10/24)

19. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (10/29)

20. Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts (10/30)

21. Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells (11/2)

22. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

23. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

as you can see, i kind of run the gamut with what kind of books i read. sometimes i'm into autobiography, or historical fiction, or christian living, or practical how-to books, or 1990's oprah's book club picks.  i like splitting my time between pure brain candy, and stuff that actually might have some practical application, and stuff that supposedly makes me a well-read person. 

and, yes, i know, one of these days i'm going to have to get on goodreads.  i'm just still so afraid.  to get you off my case, though, i will tell you that i just started reading the first harry potter book the other day, so i'm not a total heathen.

what we do in our 'alone time.'

unbunch, this isn't going to get gross.

todd and i spend much of our one-on-one time doing crosswords together, drinking coffee, watching shows on our podunk computer, or watching each other check email.  yes, i know; we're saucy.  oh yeah, and we do stupid stuff like this:

i would like to point out that we still count it as 'alone time' when we have only one kid with us.  it's very, very rare that we get actual just-the-two-of-us time at home.  i would also invite you to watch it again and notice all the insane ways i move my mouth and make my chin disappear, if you didn't the first time around.  lastly, i want to just say that i wanted to title the video file 'ballin and cat callin,' but who the crap knows what kind of related videos that would turn up.

so, there you have it.

hey there, monday.  how you doin'?  (insert sad whistle here.)

what's to the up to the weekly.

sup, ballers?

this week was pretty uneventful, which is pretty okie dokie by me. 

i got to be a bystander in an 'arts' meeting for our church and am pretty sure i'm entirely out of my league.  any tips on how to be artsy, other than actually, you know, developing any artistic skill?  i'm waffling between getting a bicep tat and only wearing blazers i bought at an estate sale.  maybe i should do both, but i feel like the blazer would cover up my tat.  should i go sleeveless with the blazer?  i just never know with these things.  oh, nevermind; i'm pretty sure everyone could tell i'd just be a poser that was trying to 'be artsy,'  and that's, like, way lame.  (how long has it been since you heard 'poser'?  how about 'wannabe?'  I'M AN ARTS WANNABE!  wow, that was cathartic.)


what else?

i cooked two full pounds of bacon yesterday.  jealous much?

todd and i started listening to rap.  we're legit.

i made some ham and bean soup last night, but used black beans, forgetting that they'd totally turn the broth black.  it was tasty, but it looked like sludge.  delish.

i've been trying to go without coffee and pop this month.  which turned into 'black coffee only and pop only when we go out to eat.'  but then i drank some pepsi we randomly had in the fridge.  also, i loaded up my coffee with creamer yesterday.  i think this shows two things: one, i rely heavily on the promise that god's mercies are new every morning, and two, i have no self control.  this is problematic.  (i think it also shows that i'm better off not keeping this stuff in the house.  it only enables me.)

penelope is getting over croup, and also got resourceful this week:

and laurelai proved that a bow on a cute baby will always distract your attention from the booger in said baby's nose.  for the better.

in other laur news, i'm trying to bulk her up by feeding her every hour or so.  ideal? no.  working? maybe.  we'll see at her weight check at the end of the month.  but she continues to be super alert, happy, easygoing, and an all around champ, which is what counts, right?

and lastly, tomorrow i will be celebrating 10 years - to the day - of being a christ follower.  so, ten years ago today, i was walking in darkness and sin and just doing whatever the crap i felt like and knowing that there had to be something more to all this than what my life was pointed toward.  and here i am, ten years later, totally changed by the staggering, shocking good news that god loved me enough to pay the price to bring me back to himself.  that my sin really was as bad as i suspected, and that i couldn't make up the spiritual deficit of by any amount of good effort on my own part.  but god himself came down, took my sin, gave me his righteousness, and secured for me a favored spot in the sight of god the father.  and not because i deserved it or was somehow at all awesome, but because god is just that stinking good.

and if that isn't the best news there ever could be, my whole life is a sham.

it says in scripture that there is rejoicing in heaven when one lost sinner repents, and i'm excited to celebrate with the angels tomorrow that god has been so, so good to me.

revolutionary lash xtreme!

it comes as a shock to absolutely no one that most beauty advertising is insanely hyperbolic. most ads are all like, 'lose 12 pounds in less than five minutes!'  'this shampoo will make your hair so shiny, it will blind the sun!' 'this face cream will make you look like you're eight years old!  in under a week!'

i really could stop there, but i'm having fun and starting to suspect i have a future in advertising, so i'm going to keep going.

'this ultraluxe shimmer powder is made with the sweat of Sea Biscuit and some angel feathers.'

'want your friends' eyes to shrivel up to dust? brush with this arcticblastyhighoctanehalogen toothpaste!'

'this supervamp lipstick will make the pope want to kiss you on the mouth!'  nope, i've gone too far.

anyway, the one beauty product that consistently takes the cake for hyperbolically hyperbolic marketing is mascara.  you know it is.

i just looked on amazon for a brief sampling of mascara lines.  here are just a few names/nonsense words i found, and i swear i didn't make up a single one:

naturaluxe mousse
lashblast clump crusher
colossal volum' express
lashblast bombshell volume
the falsies
fabulash grow luscious
double extend beauty tubes
lash fantasy total definition
voluminous million lashes

i suspect that at a certain point, the ad guys for mascara were all like, 'give me an aggressive or sexy word, and pair it with a word that's synonomous with XTREMEZ.  yeah.  on the money.'

so i figured i'd play along.  here are my own suggestions for new mascara lines.  you're so very welcome.

~luxeninja mascara for women.

~big old fat lashes.

~fantasy highrise suprem.

~daydream voluptulash.


~thicky's whiskers for women's eyes.  (i would sell this by the register at liquor stores and gas stations in the southern states.)

(and then there are todd's indescribably excellent suggestions, including WhipLash, faceSplosion, Eye Caramba!, and Ridiculash.)

that's all i've got for now, but in all humility, i think my ideas are pretty great.  why is no one paying me for this?  or better yet, paying the advertising team that is The Unstoppable Van Voorsts?  probs because our fees are understandably exorbitant.

okay, your turn to stretch those advertising hammies: what would you name a mascara line?

video vednesday: walk into the club like what up, i got a big face.

it's a christmas shame.

i've been big into confessing deep, dark stuff to you guys lately, and today is no different: i still have half-wonky christmas decorations up/around.

it would be one thing if my tree was still up and decorated all cute-like, or if our stockings were still hung with care.  instead, my stuff is still all over, but it's looking super sad.  case in point(settia):

how sad is that?! (and in case you're wondering, no, i clearly didn't pick up my house for any of these photos.  the name of the game is authenticity, right?)

okay, exhibit B:

first off, this is a super blurry photo, but it's the only one i took from this angle.  consider it artsy and go with me.  for christmas, i moved the couch along this wall and moved the console table into the dining room.  the couch has since returned to its proper home, but the wall art is still sideways (moved to fit over the couch) and the console table is still ten feet away in the dining room.

exhibit C:

lonely silver candlesticks that used to flank a nativity set on my kitchen windowsill.  the nativity has been packed up, but the candlesticks are still standing sentry.  why?  because i'm only half lazy.

exhibit D:

our sad, sad, corpse of a christmas tree, left to languish in the elements because i cannot seem to make my way a mile up the road to the hardware store to buy a tree tag so that it can be hauled away.  so here it fell, and here it shall rest indefinitely.  sorry, little billy junior.  (it's that little lump you see to the right of the middle of this photo, in case you're trying to get your bearings.)

and lastly, exhibit...whatever letter comes after the previous letter i mentioned (see? half lazy. i'd rather type all of this extra junkalunk than scroll a bit upward to find out where i'm at in the lineup.  lazy enough to not want to scroll, not lazy enough to not want to type.)

so, there was this time that i wanted to buy a red berry wreath for the door.  (how cute would red look next to that turquoise?!)  but then i got to hobby lobby too late in the season and they were all sold out, so i stuck this $5 fake-o evergreen one out instead and i never really liked it, but all i have in the basement to use instead are a bright yellow spring wreath, an orange fall wreath, and a wreath made out of book pages, none of which seem appropriate (or, in the last case, sturdy) so i just have kept that one out there because it's slightly better than nothing.  i'll have to come up with something soon, though, because a naked turquoise door seems like a bit of a floozy, don't you think?  all garish and obvious and HEY LOOK AT ME BUT ALSO I'M NAKED!  so i need a wreath.  just not this one.

and back to the point of this blog, other things i didn't get around to photographing are the christmas ornaments that are still waiting on the stairs to be taken up to our closet for storage, but i just never happen to see them as i'm headed upstairs, as well as the tree stand, which is literally five feet away from where it belongs long-term, but i just can't force myself to do the dirty work of putting it away.

please tell me i'm not alone in wonkadonkchristmastownforlazyfolks?

can you smeeeeelllll what the todd. is. cookin'?

most mornings upon getting up, the kids ask what day it is, mostly because they want to know if todd is home.  even finneas' only regular two-word phrase is 'daddy?  home?'

and this, friends, is just one of the many reasons why they love having him home: bedtime wrasslepalooza.  and it's a no-holds-barred, glovesglasses-come-off, no-crying-in-wrasslin', train wreck of a good time.

'what's up' weekly

just a warning, all of this week's photos were taken after dark because it is iowa in january and everything always is after dark.

for years, we lived without a working vacuum. (remember when that guy stole our vacuum out of our apartment and took it apart and then gave it back, but it never worked right again?) it was basically fine while we lived in story city, since i had a dustbuster and there was hardwood throughout the entire house and we didn't have a ton of area rugs.

but then we moved here, and although we pulled the carpet up on the main floor, there's still carpeting upstairs, and the rug i chose for the living room requires the same level of maintenance as a really, really, really hairy child.  so i'd been complaining mentioning in passing that i needed a new vacuum.  so, being the awesome, attentive husband that he is, todd got me a superduper nice one for christmas.

i'm not kidding, this thing is legit.  it's too legit to quit.  i have to keep finneas away because i'm pretty sure it would suck him up whole.  (maybe i should try it sometime; i'd bet he'd be easier to take care of in that canister.  i could just vacuum up some pretzels when he got hungry.  it's a thought, anyway.)

but anyway, bragging on my super awesome new vacuum was not the (only) point of mentioning that.  atticus was also stoked for our new addition, if only for this reason:

in other news, i've got a blogging buddy.

on monday nights, we host connection group at our house.  the kids get to stay up late and watch a movie. here's an inside peek into connection group prep, for those of you dying to see:

and this week, todd has instated Wrasslemania.  it's a scheduled event in the van voorst house.  

and in the name of 'the bigger picture,' i'll tell you a little story that i feel like i may have already told you, but i'm senile so humor me.  once, when i was in middle school, i found one of those japanese beetle things in my room in the winter.  i was super grossed out (naturally, since i was a middle school girl and tended toward the unnecessarily dramatic), but i also didn't want to kill it (again, i was a middle school girl).  so i did what i thought best: i opened my window to release it into the wild.  i was all, 'be free, tiny beetle!'  but it wouldn't fly from  my hand, so i gave it a little nudge onto the roof outside my window.  

it attempted to take one small step for beetles, and froze solid, mid-step.

and in that-story-relates-to-reality news, we stayed inside on monday instead of venturing out, and therefore did not find ourselves frozen solid in the name of good intentions.  and i would say that's the biggest 'win' of the week.

laurelai at four months

whoa, nelly.  she's four months old already.  are you as paralyzed with the shock of that as i am?  probs not.

here's what girlfriend is up to:

*smiling like a maniac.
*laughing occasionally.
*loving to stand and jump around; jump, jump, jump around.
*eating every two hours or so during the day, and waking up one or two times a night.
*rolling from tummy to back.
*kicking her legs during tummy time like she's channeling michael phelps (pre-drug scandal, of course.)
*sticking her tongue out.
*wiggling right out of her pants.

i took her to the doctor yesterday for her well check, which may or may not have been a mistake.  penelope's first year was super traumatizing with growth issues and constant weight checks and blood testing and nursing drama.  as a result, i didn't even take finneas to any of his well checks after his two-week check up.  i figured it would be different this time around, but no... laurelai is, like all of my kids, tracking around the first percentile for weight and now everyone's in a tizzy.  i've been instructed to bottlefeed, breastfeed, AND pump at each and every feeding, in addition to waking her up every three hours to eat in the middle of the night.  

and i'm all like, hey ladydoctor.  this is just how van voorst babies be.  they're tiny and skeletal and healthy and there's no way on god's good green earth that i'm going to start waking her up in the night.  plus, i have three other kids so a whole it-takes-an-hour feeding plan doesn't seem feasible.

but then i'm like, am i just being proud? what's really best for laurelai?  can i make this work?

so, i don't know.

she's tiny, but cute-tiny, and i love every non-pound of her with every pound of myself.  (maybe that's why i've been weighing more lately - more parts of me to love her with?  well, now i'm just grasping.)

i don't know what will happen, but in the meantime here are her stats:

10 lbs even (1st percentile)
24.5 inches long (50th percentile)
gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

video vednesday: i say something unintentionally racist...

...i'm an adult with braces.

(thanks again to thad and michelle for setting us up with rhett and link.  good matchmaking.)

what you won't see on my facebook status updates.

if everyone and their mom has said it before, then everyone and their mom will say it again: one of the frequent problems with blogs and social media is that we tend to get a very limited view of people's lives.  the picture that people love to paint of themselves is usually success-heavy.  "aren't i funny?  aren't i crafty?  isn't my house beautiful?  don't i give great advice?  aren't i an awesome mother/wife/photographer/cook?"  and the answer is frequently, "based on what i see on your blog or your facebook page, yes. yes, you are."

well, here's the uncensored truth of my life: yesterday, i told my kids to pick up their toys before lunch.  i pushed, i prodded, i urged, i reminded...i got angry...i got angrier...i lost control.  as much as it pains me and embarrasses me to lay it out in detail, i don't want to be vague.  i screamed in my children's faces.  i threw things.  i ripped a lovey out of penelope's hands and she was so scared of me, she ran crying across the room.  when atticus asked me for help finding the box to put his toy trucks away, i screamed something like, 'i don't care what you need! i just don't care! JUST OBEY!'  i punished them by sending them to nap without lunch.

friends, it was sickening the way i treated my children.  they were so hurt.  atticus wouldn't even look at me, penelope was crying, and still i was so proud.  i put them in bed and walked out and closed the door without even telling them 'i love you.'  my heart, laid bare, is a gross, sinful, nasty mess and i take it out on the ones i've been given the single job of protecting, nurturing and cherishing. 

this is how i sometimes behave when you can't see me.  are you shocked?

i share this with you for many reasons, none of which are for you to feel sorry for me or tell me that it's somehow okay that i behaved this way.  it's absolutely not.  the bible states so clearly that we're not to give in to 'fits of rage,' and that's exactly what i did.

one of the reasons i do share this with you is to lovingly, compassionately, empathetically tell you that, if you are finding yourself relating to this in any way, it is not okay for you to behave this way either. 

at the end of my hardcore temper tantrum yesterday, i just broke down.  i pleaded with god to change me.  not to 'grow' me or 'help me be better.'  i told him in desperation that i can't be this person anymore - i can't continue to call myself a christ-follower and presume to lead my kids in faith if i can't control myself, if i am enslaved to anger and outward control.  and i can't make the change myself - i have tried and failed so many times i can't count them.  i need him to do a radical work in me to make me a new person, not just a better version of the person i've always been.  i need him to work like he did when i first became a christian: one day i was a sinner, without hope and without god, and the next day i was forgiven, and seen as pure, and given hope and a worthwhile future.  that's the scale of change i need to see in my life.

and i am convinced god will do it.

after i cooled down, and i called todd and confessed all the nasty sin i had just committed, and sat in the bathtub and bawled for awhile, i opened to philippians 1, where it states, '[i am] confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of christ jesus.'

god hates our sin.  it was the reason for his son's murder, and the source of our separation from him who cares about us desperately with deep affection.  but he loves us.  his heart is one that wants us to grow to be more like him.  when we want that, too, and call out to him asking him to do that for us, he will give us that desire of our heart.  i am absolutely certain.

be broken by your sin, and be encouraged by god's spirit: you don't always have to be the way you are when no one sees you.  if god can forgive and change even someone as sinful as i am, he can forgive and change you, too.

bye bye beardy.

so, remember way back at the beginning of november when i mentioned that todd was growing out his beard?  well, it's been a-growin' and growin' and growin' since then.  (the 'w' on my keyboard is sticking, so that last sentence involved a lot of 'groin' there for a little while.  but problem resolved.  you're elcome.)

anyway, he can (apparently) grow a really intense beard.  as of new year's night, this is what we were working with:

yes, he is wearing a shirt that says 'unleash the beast.'  i know you're not exactly sure what's happening to you right now, but between the beard and the novelty tshirt, your eyes are being attacked by pure, unbridled manliness.  that's a lot for your poor little eyes to take without due warning.  i apologize.  scroll down a bit and take a breather.  it's all going to be okay.

so, back to the point of this post:  he shaved it off.  yes.  as much as he loved it (and he did love it - he had gotten into the habit of stroking it and combing it and pondering with it.  i think i even heard him singing it to sleep once, but i can't be sure), i did not so much love it.  i mean, he did a good job with it - he kept his mustache trimmed, so it wasn't all long and in his mouth, or (worse? i don't know) parted down the middle.  he kept it clean.  he used a baby hairbrush to keep it in order and give it a bit of a smooth, glistening look.  

but i just couldn't get past the reality of all that hair.  plus, i hate neckbeards.  and because todd hates (what he considers) 'metrosexual' beards where the boundaries of said beards are manicured, there was plenty o' neckbeard happening.

so out of his great love for me (which barely beats out his love for his crazy beard, which if i have not mentioned before, i have just now named Leif Erikson), he shaved it off.  but not before backcombing it.

yepper.  that really happened.

then old-timey-circus-caller-'stache showed up.

then he scooped it up and mourned his loss.

j/k! nbd!

and there's that precious husband i adore!