laurelai at seven months.

girlfriend turned seven months old and is rocking it like a boss.

 still in 0-3 month clothes but getting longer, and i've noticed her feeling heavier, though she doesn't have another weight check until next month so i don't know exactly what she weighs.  we've started trying some baby foods, but she has such a sensitive gag reflex that it's not going super well.  i've done baby-led weaning in the past with my kids, but i think we're going to try actual store-bought baby food at first, since it's so finely pureed.

she goes to bed around 8 p.m. and wakes up two or three times before 8 a.m. the next morning.  i'm getting seriously ready to sleep through the night for once, but since nursing is going so well, i don't want to mess with the schedule for now.

she's strong enough that she can crawl out of the bumbo on her own, which means she's had a bruise on her face at any given time over the last week or so.  she's strong, but maybe not the most graceful.  yet.

she's still not crawling, but she's close.  she gets up on all fours and rocks so hard she scooches the pack-n-play across the floor during naptime.  when she really wants to get going, she gets her feet up under her, but that clearly gets her nowhere.  she'll figure it out.

what a stinkin' cutie.  i could just eat her up, i love her so.

weekly 'what's up.'

okay, guys.  i started the week off by busting my butt to put together a family yearbook while there was a deal going on, and then the computer froze and i lost the whole thing.  i had to totally redo it.  and then i missed the order deadline. so...yeah.  this week kind of started off on a bad foot.

luckily my birthday was thrown in there to cheer things up, but other than that, it's been quite uneventful.  so i'll post baby pictures.

laur's getting even better at planks, but no better at getting anywhere.

and she has a tiny buddy whose head she loves to pet and face she loves to claw off.

have a great weekend, you guys!

it [was] [my] birthday.

oh my word, i haven't had such a good birthday in a long time.  i've never really been a 'birthday' person, and the last actual birthday party i had was fifteen years ago.  i frequently forget it's my birthday until, like, noon and then we end up eating at pizza ranch for dinner.

but this year was so great.  (minus the fact that, when i told the kids it was my birthday, atticus cried because i wasn't going to put the effort into making a cake for him to eat.  but i stand firmly by the rule that i shouldn't have to bake myself a birthday cake.  it's just sad.  and there are so many dishes to do after that.)

i had friends come over to celebrate with me.  i got phone calls.  one friend brought coffee, another brought brownies, another brought me a candle and some ball jars.  it's like my friends know me.  i got really thoughtful notes in the mail, and some zinnia seeds, which were seriously like sunshine in a tiny little envelope and i couldn't stop smiling.  i got sweet texts and emails.  a friend sent me a youtube video of a worship song that made her think of me.  another friend told me our city is getting an Ulta soon, the news of which was a gift in itself.

a college student watched our kids for free last night so todd could take me out for sushi and coffee.  (seperately, not at the same time.  that would be sicksville.)  he brought me home a gold. side table. from target. that was on clearance.  good gracious.

and i'm all, you guys.

very few did anything extravagant, which was so appreciated, since i turn into an awkward weirdo when people do nice things for me, so small bouts of spaz-outs are easier to handle than the paralyzing spasms that come with large gestures done.  but lots of people did something small and very thoughtful.  and i felt so, so loved.

and i'm so appreciative for and grateful to my friends and family and church community.  you people are my jam.  love you guys! thanks for making my birthday so, so awesome.

video vednesday: it is [my] birthday.

it's not like i discovered a cure for cancer. 

but if you choose to (professionally) mail me some chicken wings or aged cheddar or something to celebrate, i would (professionally) accept.

i b'dazzled my baby!

a week and a half ago, we took laurelai to get her ears pierced.  we had been wanting to do it for a while, and now that she's six and a half months old, we figured we needed to do it now or wait until she was elementary age, which we weren't too keen on.  penelope got hers done at four months old, and i LOVED having them done at that age - so easy to keep clean, and she was too little to ever mess with them.  other than the actual moment she was pierced, it was like she didn't even notice them.

i know that baby piercings are a touchy subject, and i even had a woman at church the other weekend cluck her tongue at me when she saw them.  (people still do that!  and not just in movies!  i had no idea.)  you guys are free to judge me if you want - i really don't mind, since i love ya, and we're 100% cool with our decision.

anyway, on to the juicy stuff.  and by that i mean the photographs.  (warning: super-sad crying baby photos coming up.  look away.)

before getting her earrings.  i almost feel bad for how naive and happy she looks at this point.

'hmm, those sparkly things are pretty.  i bet everything that is about to happen to me here is going to be the awesomest.'

i warned you this sad face was coming, but you didn't listen to me.  now look what you did.  you made her cry.

oh, little lady, just wait until you try waxing your legs someday.  beauty is pain, little one.  it's best you learn it early.

and just to prove that i'm not a terrible mother, laurelai would like to tell you what she currently thinks of her new earrings, now that she's had time to think it through:

(for anyone wondering, she's done really well with them.  she never messes with them, i clean them once a day and there is no sign of redness, swelling or infection, and she doesn't even flinch when i turn them.  she's healed up quickly and all is smooth sailing in b'dazzled-baby world.)

what's up! (weekly.)

hi all! happy friday!  time for a rundown of our week!

last saturday my mom and stepdad, my dad and his wife, and my sister all came up to celebrate finneas' birthday with us.  while the big kids were napping, and while we had free babysitting on hand, we took laurelai to claire's to get her ears pierced!  (i'll post more on that on monday.)

do i not look entirely heartless?

(happier, and blurrier, now.)

on sunday, todd got a (kind of random) opportunity to preach at a church in shellsburg.  it was really fun, and kind of surreal seeing him up there and listening to him preach.  like, the check they gave him indicated he was a 'guest pastor.'  totally weird, but totally cool.  he did an awesome job preaching the true gospel: that the only way to the father is through jesus, and that jesus was the only perfect, complete sacrifice that god requires.  he gives us the thing he requires of us!  (and all that from genesis four! god and his plan and compassion are consistent from the beginning to the end of the bible.)  

one excellent point he made was that there's this weird, kind of heretical junk floating around that we can or should somehow 'be jesus for people.'  um, jesus was jesus.  we can act in accordance with his spirit and will, but we aren't called to 'be jesus' anywhere in scripture.  what we are called to is to 'need jesus in front of people.' to confess our sin when we screw up, to not strive to be perfect in our own strength, but to show in our failures that, even as christians, we still need a savior each and every day.  that the gospel is still relevant every single day.  that jesus is not just the door to the christian life, but the life itself.  so anyway, all that to say, jesus is pretty rad, and my husband's pretty rad.

on monday i took atticus to the dermatologist to have a weird mole looked out.  turns out it's just a weird mole.  which is good news.  (though i maintain it's definitely a weird mole.  it's like...wrinkly.  and has a built-in hula hoop.  maybe it's a kundis.)

on tuesday, we had connection group.  just for a glimpse into our tiny house on connection group night, please note that the following photo is MISSING SEVEN PEOPLE:

connection group is always sardine-y, crammajammed, crackerbox snugglefest because our house is approximately the size of an altoids tin.  i like to think of it as cozy and intimate, instead of creepy and space-intrusive.  right? right?!  pretty soon we're going to have to start with varied-level auditorium seating.

on wednesday, we hauled the family to des moines so that todd and i could go to the jim gaffigan show at the civic center.  my sister got us tickets for christmas, and she watched the kids while we went.  we were planning on going to dinner first, but i miscalculated how long it would take to get there, so we ended up buying a can of pringles and a stick of beef jerky at a gas station on the way to the show.  i smuggled the jerky into the show because, well, hangry stops for no man.  not even jim gaffigan.  

yesterday, NOTHING.  nada. zilch-o.  we got home at 12:30 the night before, so the kids were all totally wiped out, and todd and i were/are getting sick, so we laid low, although we did have a couple of guys come over and talk to us about moving forward in the eldership process at church.  but other than that, it was a chicken-soup-and-early-bedtimes kind of night.

so that was our week.  and to shake things up and end on an overly ambitious note, since yesterday was the first day of spring and nothing makes me want to become an entirely better person than the first day of spring, here's my current reading list:

wish me luck with that formidable stack of tomes, and please comfort me when i fail to finish 75% of these. (though, i finished bossypants after i took this photo, so at least i have one down.)

what are you reading?

happy birthday party to finneas.

on saturday, we threw a small birthday party for finn. 

he turned two.

i mean, two.

i mean, two.

whatever, i'll just let the card do the talking.  he turned two.

he was feeling pretty good about his rockin' gifts.   like his ride-on lightning mcqueen.

and the cowboy get-up (getty-up? bad jokes.) my mom made for him.

or his sweet sword and shield and ... cap.  like every good and good-looking soldier equips himself with.  #soldier-ista

he waited anxiously for his cake...

...and then devoured it...

which came as no surprise, considering how much he loved it at his last birthday party, as eternally evidenced by this photo:

that really is an excellent photo of an excellent boy eating some excellent cake.

happy birthday to my (still) two-year-old boy!

video vednesday: A FISH SWORD.

happy twofer tuesday! (i know it's actually vednesday, but a. i didn't post yesterday, and b. 'twofer vednesday' is just lame, and simultaneously, too much happening all at once.)

laurelai update.

laurelai had her six-month check up on wednesday and has been given a clean bill of health.

length: i don't remember; who ever really cares about length, other than when trying to respond to comments about how 'she looks long' without just being like, 'yeah...she probably is.'

head circumference: i don't remember specifics.  it's round, though, which is good.

(i'm starting to realize that i maybe should have pulled out her sheet before typing this up.)

weight: 12 lbs 6 oz!  which means she has officially broken the first percentile mark!  1.04%, to be exact.  what a massive chunk of human.

the doctor was great.  she said laurelai looked healthy and happy and there's no need to 'artifically fatten' her with breastmilk supplements or anything.  she gave us the all-clear to start laur on foods, but as i do Lazy Mom's Intro to Big Kid Foods  baby-led weaning, and laurelai doesn't seem all that fascinated with food yet (although, she did look pretty into a brownie i was eating last week.  go big or go home in the van voorst house), we probably won't start, like, yesterday.  maybe once i can get to the store and grab up some bananas and avocados.  or dig around in the fridge for some leftovers.

anyway, that's all to say that she's doing really well, and my fears regarding her size and the climate of resulting doctor visits were alleviated.  no blood draws, no constant weight checks, no trips to specialists.  all is good in van voorst vorld.

now, on to what everyone (or maybe just me, but i trump all in this case) really cares about: cute pictures of our cute baby.  today's exhibit:  Sibling Time on the Kitchen Floor.

going for the glasses.  way to disarm your opponent, little one.


and then, as any mom of small children probably already saw coming from a million miles away:

what's to the up to the weekly.

good gracious.  how is it friday?  and how is it like forty degrees?!  i feel like some kind of cloud of nuclear doom has lifted and the sun is literally shining again.  i needed this, you guys.  we needed this.  now, i realize there is still snow in the forecast; twice in the next ten days, to be exact.  but if you know me at all, you know i find meteorology to be approximately as reliable as astrology, and if i've said it once i've said it at least three times: i wish i could get paid mucho dinero for rendering casual guesses about stuff the way the weather guys do.  (instead, i get paid zero dinero to air my unwarranted opinions on the internet.  maybe it's about the same, just with a massive salary differential.)

all that to say, i refuse to believe in more snow.  i need it to be spring.  i hung my springy yellow wreath on the door, just to entice the weather.  maybe all it needed was a warm welcome.  so when the weather starts staying nice, you can send your thank-you cards and buffalo wild wings gift certificates directly to paige van voorst, professional and statistically significant spring seducer.

anyway.  i missed posting a W.U.W. (pronounced 'whoa!' like joey on blossom) post last week, so i'll just recap the last two weeks for you.

one night a couple weeks ago, i got a call from a friend at church asking if i wanted to go to The Symphony with her.  i felt very grown up at this.  and i also panicked a little, because a) i always pick the most inopportune times to act like a spaz - could i trust myself to say 'yes' at the risk of having a sneezing fit or developing pit stains at The Symphony?!, and b) whatever i've been doing that makes someone think, 'paige seems like the caliber of person that would attend The Symphony - i'll invite her,' is now my responsibility to identify and maintain.  the pressure!  (oh, also, i did freak a little - what does one wear to a Symphony?  i don't own any of those tiny gold binoculars on a stick - is that going to be a problem?)

in all honesty, though, i said yes, and i'm so glad i did - it was so. stinking. fun.  they played brahms.  there was a whole slew of violas.  there were no adult men with ponytails anywhere that i could see, which is always a risk when attending anything artsy.  all in all, an A+ night, and it makes me look forward to the day when i can take the kids to stuff like that.  (charlotte mason would probably give me a sticker for writing that last sentence, which makes me feel good.)

what else?

laurelai has started getting up on all fours and rocking - i think she'll be a mobile mama in a short time.  i'm so not ready for that!!  in the meantime, the Most Muscular Van Voorst has also been practicing her planks, a very productive way to spend her stationary time, and maybe i should take a cue (or a fitness class) from her.

just to prove she doesn't always wear the blue polka dot jammies.

todd came into contact with a real, live person named, get this:  Johnny Rumble.  resulting from his jealousy and desperate longing to wear the shoes wield the switchblade that goes along with a name like that, this ensued:

but realizing he's not the Most Fitting Van Voorst for that title, he passed it along to someone who truly encapsulates the true essence of the name:

speaking of the Tiniest Rumble, he got his hand slammed in a door.  it wasn't the first time it has ever happened, so luckily i already had a $750 pamphlet on treating hand contusions and bruises, or we could have had a real problem.

i painted my entryway, which i had previously failed to mention had looked like this for quite a while:

also, we got a chance to watch my friend michelle's kids before church last sunday so that she could go early.  between our kids and the seydel kids (or, as mistakenly thought i heard todd call them, the Sey Cubs, or, as i've intentionally decided to call them since, the Sey Fries), we trucked to church with a seven-year-old, six-year-old, five-year-old, four-year-old, three-year-old, two-year-old, and infant.  and it was like some kind of candeo miracle or something, but it was in many ways less stressful than a normal sunday morning!

and in blogging news: in a typically-unheard-of feat of awesomeness, i posted every weekday this week.  in case you hadn't noticed, i should win some kind of Blogging and/or Reliability award.  it's the spring, you guys.  it makes me into the Best Me I Can Be.


happy, happy, happy friday, yall!

todd talks snow.

i don't know why this is so stinking funny, but it is.  i have, on multiple occasions, laughed so hard i cried.

things to watch for in order to maximize your viewing experience:

*todd trying to zoom in on the snow, and just filming the window screens instead.

*"whoo, blizzard, blizzard."

*todd's alter ego, Lispy Accent Guy.

*"hehehehethat's no good."


video vednesday: i'm not afraid to fight false gods! not i!

today's video is from the van voorst archives.  also, i'm pretty sure she says something about a 'baseball tree,' and i'm also pretty sure that the original song did not include those particular lyrics.  but i guess i'm not absolutely certain about that.


the tragic-and-then-merry tale of the Entryway of Van Voorst.

oh, my gentle yoke-fellows.  my entryway.

it was such a sad story in there, i feel like it should have had its own medieval bard singing the tale.  the song would begin with a couple verses about how the entryway started off Brown, Brown, Brown.  the trim, walls, door, closet curtain, floor, light switch, heat register and even ceiling were Brown.

and then the bard would lilt on about how it wasn't just any Brown, but the exact color of a kid's boogers after said kid hath playeth in the sand.

then the bard would do some kind of bridge where he'd tell, sadly, of the many, many, many darker Brown marks from where shoes had scuffed the walls, and how the (i-suspect-original-to-the-house) light switch was chock full of old other-people's-hand-grime.

this is where the bard would have you in tears and you'd buy him an ale just to keep him going, hoping that all was not lost.

but, lo! 'twas not all lost!

first, the floor got refinished, and the trim and ceiling got painted bright white, and the sun started shining a little in there.

and then! - and this is where the bard would start singing a little faster, perhaps a bit higher, maybe bust out his recorder or a little jangly bracelet for accompaniment - and then!  the local shopkeeper, the Outfitter of Urban, came to the entryway's immediate aid with a rug!  

o, most valiant and chivalrous shopkeeper!  o, true defender of entryways everywhere, and dire enemy of Brown!  how can we but thank you for your generous free shipping and colorful inventory?

and then the bard would get really quiet, and sing darkly that, though we loved the rug dearly, we were at an impasse: what color would we paint the walls? coral? mint? teal? purple?  should we wallpaper it? how doth one decide?!  and so we spent many months laboring, and waffling, and paint-mixing, and finding our wallpaper sold out, and hanging our heads in defeat.  it was, after all, the first thing one would see upon entering our manor, and Brown was now freckled with failed color swatches.  it was as though our very hearts echoed the dismay and disorder of the room itself.  what would become of the House of Van Voorst?  did an ugly, splotchy destiny lay immovably fixed before us?

then verily, the bard would brighten, and he would slam his pewter mug down on the table, and he'd start singing, all throaty and awkwardly victorious, like medieval cher slaying a dragon!, about how i (the lady of the manor) could no longer take the ugliness!  the shame!  the indecision!  so i traversed to the depths of the cellar to retrieve the leftover paint from the living and dining halls, and got to work painting all that Brown.

but then the bard would retreat into his song again (wow, this is a really turbulent story; i'm really sorry to have reeled you into such extreme emotional highs and lows with no forewarning) and sing of how i only had enough paint to paint but one wall!  so then the Master Van Voorst and i, along with our dear children, trekked all the way to waterloo to buy more of the color-i-settled-for paint.

but in the end, hope springs eternal, and the bard can end on a happy note, and maybe earn some good tips, because the entryway is no longer a drama.  it is painted, and swatchless, though i do still have to change out the light switch, and though i did step on and break the glass of the frame hanging in there, and though the previously-discontinued wallpaper is now available again...


but anyway.  all that to say, any more changes in there should not require a bard.  which is good.  those guys are really expensive.  i'm not going to even tell you how much the bid came in for this blog post, which is why it's just all typed out and not actually sung to you.  who am i, MoneyBags?

happy birthday, tiny warrior!

finn's birthday was yesterday, and i just cannot believe he's two already.  he's still such a baby in my mind, though he is starting to hang with the bigs, stacking legos and wielding swords.  and i know i have another, actual baby.  but still.  he's my baby. 

so, as it turns out, finneas currently looks exactly the same as he did a year ago, as evidenced by this picture taken last march 14, eight days after his first birthday, and the day on which he got his first pair of glasses.

srrsly.  is that not the exact same kid we currently have?  it's like he hasn't aged at all.  maybe he's a tuck.

anyway.  so i just picked a few photos from his last year of life in celebration of the crazy awesome never-dull life he's led already.

this was from when he fell down the porch steps and landed ON the hammer, the weekend we closed on our house.

his first watermelon, at the first-ever service of candeo.

no milestone.  i just wanted a photo of his crying face, since i love it (almost) as much as his happy face.

this kid is seriously so, so affectionate.  all the time.  always.  (except sometimes when he's acting like a two-year-old.)  he especially loves his baby sister, and has from Day One.

of all my kids, finneas especially is the one who loves to dress up.  this scarf was his go-to accessory this summer.
finneas is a Floor Kid.  to the core, kid.

18 months and happy in a tree.  funnily enough, when todd stood him on a chair for a photo, finn freaked because of the height and not being able to get down.  however, when todd plopped him in a tree, it was a different story.

sick baby.  sucking the fingers and rubbing his Blankie all over his face and ear for comfort.  and to be clear, when finneas talks about his Blankie, he is referring to one very specific corner of a special quilt.  Blankie is the name of the corner.

 i love this picture.  he looks like such a tiny lumberjack-slash-jc penney model. 

he suddenly started looking grown up.  and i appreciate 'sweats and a working vacuum' in a toddler.
first time playing in the snow!

first haircut!


i have no idea what was going on here, but it's pure finneas.

yep, that's a mcdonald's burger, for anyone hesitating to judge me before knowing for sure.  no benefit-of-the-doubt necessary; judge away.

finn's favorite activity ever: find a lap, grab Blankie, snuggle in.


snobbery.  that's all.

discovering his second-only-to-blankie love: the Bonk Stick, which was a toy that garnered much approval and use from finn, until it was bonked into oblivion.  poor bonk-stick-that-is-now-a-handleless-bonk-ball.

finneas is silly and cuddly and stubborn and affectionate and compassionate.  he is pure joy and also makes me want to rip my hair out whenever he's digging to china through my tupperware drawer.  he loves baths.  whenever anyone in the house is crying for any reason, he will find them to rub their back, give them a kiss and say 'sorry.'  he melts for his daddy.  he's a fashionista.  his favorite food is milk. 

he likes to poop in his diaper while standing next to the toilet and saying 'poop!'  he loves to hold out his hand, announce "HAND!" and walk through the house with me, hand-in-hand.  he will sit on the bottom step, ask me to "SEAT!" next to him, and we sit next to each other looking up at some crosses i have mounted on the wall and count the jesuses. 

i swear he would cuddle all day if allowed.  when he really gets into dancing, he finds something to balance against and lifts one leg up and wiggles around with his leg in the air.  he learned to say 'glasses' before he learned to say 'eyes.'  he is insanely ticklish around his collarbone and in his pits.  oh, his little baby belly laugh is the best thing about some days.

and i'll leave you with these two videos.  and even though they're kind of dichotomous, they're so equally Very, Very Finneas.

br />

dying for past episodes of Nothin' but Finn?

**scroll to the bottom of this past post to see another Very Finneas video!
**here's his birth story.  spoiler: he arrived nineteen minutes after i checked into the hospital.
**here's the story of how i wheeled myself into the hospital dilated to 9.5 cm.

we love you, finneas!  happy birthday!