happy first birthday, little tiny one!

you guys, MY BABY IS ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!  oh my word.  i cannot believe this.  she has been such a joy - a blessing that god gave us just because he knew we needed lavish wonderfulness in the midst of a lot of transition.  she is our perfect, pocket-sized, excellent peanut.

happy birthday, tiny laur!  you are adored and treasured and smothered with love.  i could not ever express how much you've brought to our family just by being your wonderful little self.  so looking forward to watching you grow (probably) and learn (definitely).  

simply delicioso!

i made soup.

well, i didn't technically make soup, as it is still august and i have common decency, but i was definitely left with soup after i made this carne asada.  we ended up eating all the carne and were left with what i assume is the asada, the spicy broth stuff with floating bits of tomato and too-tiny-to-fork meat.

i have a recipe for taco soup - add some black beans and corn and probs some salsa to this leftover juiciness - but i wasn't about to turn the leftovers into soup because i still have hope in the human spirit and all that and IT IS NOT FALL YET YOU GUYS AND I REFUSE TO ACT LIKE IT IS.  but i couldn't bring myself to just throw the broth away because...well, i don't really know.  but without "soup" getting involved, that leftover broth is useless and essentially dead to me.  the realistic trajectory of that pitiful tupperware container was to spend its last remaining days stuffed at the back of my fridge until or beyond the point of rigor mortis and then tossed to the cedar falls garbage system, which i've clearly established could not give two rips.

sad, sad, pitiful, sad broth.

but then i decided to eat it like soup, though it is clearly not soup, because that is what one eats when they sup at ten p.m. on the night their husband is gone at class.  and that kind of pathetic existence deserves a pathetic meal like Lonely-'Not-Soup'-For-One.  but you know what?  it turned out being good.  like, really really good.

in fact, it was so good, i kept thinking to myself, 'this is simply delicioso!'  which maybe indicates that it was too good, because that is a ridiculous thing to think to oneself and i blame the asada for it.  i am not typically one of those fiends who spanglishes around like a heathen, but apparently it's only because i don't typically consume enough cumin.  obviously, once my blood cumin levels are up, i say things like 'simply delicioso!'

which also got me thinking, there is a SHOW.  ON TV.  called 'simply delicioso.'  and SOMEONE PAID.  SOMEONE ELSE.  to come up with that title.  and then YET ANOTHER GUY. thought it was THE BEST IDEA OF ALL THE IDEAS. and was like, 'yeah, that's the one!  that's it.'

sometimes this world boggles my mind.  come, lord jesus.

well, i think i've officially logged enough time waxing philosophic on foods that aren't even classified in any sort of civilized genre.  so here is where i leave you.  i'm not going to lie to you, i'm off to polish off the remaining leftovers.  because this is mi vida now.

video vednesday: apparently, i went down the superslide...

...and apparently, when i went down, i was scared half to death.

pool-related puns for a title!

(i really wanted to come up with some pool-themed puns to start the day off on a good foot, and i kept trying to think of a clever way to tie this post in to rap music, because then i could come up with pool-rap-hybrid names for the kids, like LL Pool J and Poolio.  i think i'm just going to call atticus 'poolio' for the rest of this post, just so that excellent idea doesn't go to waste.)

this last weekend, we headed to illinois to visit some old friends, and todd got a chance to teach at their church.  (just to clarify, our friends are a pastor and his wife.  todd didn't just go to the church of some rando person we know and get all, 'hey, let me on stage! i think i've got this!')

also?  they had a pool.  penelope quickly learned how to eke out every ounce of relaxation to be had.

here's one of Poolio getting blasted in the chestal region by an unfairly armed adult who is clearly having too much fun to care.

finneas and jarrod are now besties.  here they can be seen having deep conversations about the current global political climate.  or something along those lines.

the kids destroyed the place.

laurelai fell and hit her lip and bled ERRRWERRR.  how penelope managed to not see any of it go down while she was in the same room, i'll never know, but she did, so there was no fainting.  which is always a positive when you're already trying to deal with another child's massive blood loss.

here, she is crying, but she looks like she's laughing, so i'm including it.  her mouth is all stained with blood, too.  so there's that.

just look at those formal mantel-posing pastors.  so casual-yet-professional about their friendship, and about life in general.  as a matter of fact, jarrod always carries that fireplace surround with him, on the off-chance that there will be a photo op.  this photo was actually taken in the parking lot of a Denny's.

JUST KIDDING! THEY REALLY LIKE TO PLAY IT FAST AND LOOSE WITH THEIR PHOTOS BUT THEY START OFF PRETENDING LIKE THEY DON'T!  that's how david and jonathan always instagrammed, and if it's good enough for heroic bible buddies, it's good enough for todd and jarrod.

thanks for letting us crash your place (and one of your bowls), jarrod and julie!  

i'm not sure what is going on here, but it feels like relational drama.

i know that the last time i posted some vintage writings by yours truly, i mentioned i would occasionally post them on thursdays, and i even started a #throwbackthursday label to categorize future blogs.  strangely enough, i posted that original on a tuesday, and also, today is monday i'm sharing some more.  oh well, though; wouldn't you prefer to think it's thursday than monday anyway?  i would.  therefore, the hashtag still stands.

Dear Dandelion by paige chorpening, age 8

Dear Dandelion,

thank-you for coming to my tea and taffey party.  i am sorry for closing the door on you.  please for-give me.  thank-you for not giving-up.  i'm glad you didn't.  did you get stuck in that cloudburst?

but next time do what the letter says.  you need to read a little closer.  the letter said to stay as you were.  i don't care that you were going to get a haircut.  it's just that you wanted to be a dapper dandy.  then after you were a dapper dandy, i couldn't reconize you.  i'm not mad, just next time read a little closer.

you friend,
jennifer girraff.

first day of (grad) school in the van voorst house. (and some other news, too.)

todd started classes for his Masters in Theological Studies yesterday.  you mean you're surprised?  you did not see this coming?  considering he only found out on tuesday that he would be enrolling, we're still a bit surprised ourselves, so we feel you.

i can't wait to compare this to his last-day-of-grad-school photo to see how much he'll have grown!

know what else?  he's taking these classes because on tuesday, in a very strange and unexpected and crazy-god kind of way, he got offered a pastoring position at candeo, and it's required of church staff in our network to go through the two-year program.  it's a weird story how this all came about.  considering weird stories are my specialty, i'll just go ahead and tell it.

todd has talked about the desire to pastor full-time, pretty much the entire time i've known him.  he loves jesus, loves communicating the gospel, and loves discipling people.  this has been growing even more so now that we're part of such an incredible church plant and he's had even more opportunities to minister to people.  he's felt for a while that his current job only takes time away from doing what he really loves and is good at.  additionally, he has been really unhappy at work over the last year, and it has gotten to a pretty desperate point lately.  we've been praying for months and months that god would bring him a different job, even if it was just another random job.  (chances are, it would be better than what he was doing.)

so, we had decided to really get aggressive about pursuing other options.  on monday, we had decided that by the end of the week, we would have ordered LSAT prep materials and todd would start studying to try to get into law school.  we figured a law degree could offer him opportunities to use his strengths and gifts, and also open doors for unique chances to minister to people (either through offering pro bono services to our local church, defending the defenseless, etc.)  the downside of the law school route, though, was the fact that, even if he started studying right away, the soonest he could actually start would be august of 2016.  which doesn't offer a ton of comfort when you're wanting to change things up, like, rightnow.  (it also had other issues to navigate, like how most law schools a) cost a ton of money, and b) don't allow you to hold any kind of job while enrolled so that you can dedicate yourself to studying.  for three years.  and our kids have grown accustomed to things like food and shelter, so that could pose a problem.  but we would figure it out once it got to that point.)

luckily, he had a job interview scheduled for tuesday afternoon with a debt collection company here in town, for a job that could hopefully tide him over until law school started.  so we spent time praying together on monday night that he would have a job offer on the table by tuesday evening.

so here's where god gets all funny and mind-blowing.

todd had planned to get together with paul and stan, two really godly guys in his life and the pastors at candeo, to just talk through future plans and ask for their wisdom and advice.  as it turns out, they came prepared with answers to todd's questions about the future!  there has been some restructuring of the church staff lately, in addition to the continuing needs of a growing church, and they asked todd to come on board as the administrative pastor.  

so he DID have a job offer on the table by tuesday night.  it was just not one he even knew he had applied for, so it was very out-of-the-blue, and we are still wrapping our minds around our giant, unpredictable god who provides for us in ways we couldn't even imagine he would.

i'm so excited for todd and for our family as we start this new chapter in our lives.  his first day at candeo is september 8, exactly one year to the day since the launch of candeo last fall.  god is ridiculous, y'all.  that's all i can say.  also, i think he will be teaching us dependence, because september 8 is also the day i had planned to start homeschooling for the first time ever and also start potty-training finneas.  also, todd will commute to ames once a week for classes.  so stuff is about to get crazy.  pray for us.  god obviously hears and answers!

video vednesday: oh... i was just pretending to be, like, a tiger.

pinterest, you are snazzy dazzy.

so, this showed up in my pinterest feed the other day:

the longer i think about this pin, the funnier it gets.

pinterest, you are drunk, and you don't speak english well, and you frequently abuse what is generally recognized as standard punctuation, but you have nice hair, so you know i love you.

btw, 'snazzy dazzy' is my new thing.  get ready to hear it all the g-dazzy time from here on out.

happy van-niversary!

yesterday todd and i celebrated our seven year anniversary!  we partied hard by going to church, having some friends over for pizza-for-lunch, and taking naps in the afternoon.  then i made popcorn for dinner.  WHOOP WHOOP!

i asked todd if he was feeling the seven-year itch, and he was like, 'no, are you?' and i was like, 'no.'  which is cause for celebration of the crazier sort than some naps and a two-star dinner.  so tomorrow night, a friend of ours is going to watch the kids so we can go out for a little while.

it's been a great seven years.  we've been through a lot together: three moves, four kids, a church plant (which is essentially like two or three additional kids).  seven years isn't a huge long time, but we've packed a lot of fullness into that time.  and i'd do it all over again, a million times over, and pick todd every single time.

he's genuinely my best friend, as trite as it may sound.  whenever something good happens, i want to tell him first.  whenever something bad happens, i want to tell him first.  he makes me laugh more than anyone else, and he's smart, and he is spiritually way beyond me and challenges me every day.  he loves me and leads me well, he loves our kids and is an awesome dad.  if i'm going to be real about it, i'm a jerk to him sometimes, and he's a jerk to me sometimes, and we deal with it and move forward as a team.  he's easy to love, even when he's not.  if that makes sense.

also?  he tolerates me defacing our wedding photos with my sorry microsoft paint skills.

arrrrrgh, happy anniversary, soulmatey!  looking forward to HUNDREDS more!

whut to the up to the WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKLY.

it is now 10:30 a.m. on a friday, and i'm just now getting this post up.  it's really not my fault; i'm not sure what's been up, but google chrome wasn't working, and internet explorer always freezes our computer if we try to upload photos, and so i was rendered helpless.  i mean, i can't blog without photos - it's friday!  and what's friday without photos?

don't believe me?

exhibit A:

here, we see finneas after he had chosen his own wardrobe for the day.  this is his 'man about town' look.  (he promptly asked to go in the van after getting into his gear.)

still don't believe me?

exhibits B and C:

the neighbor lent the kids some toys that her kids had played with growing up:  a dollhouse with all the fixin's and a truck carrying a bunch of smaller trucks.  UM, HELLO?!  it's like god picked out this house for us based solely on the compatibility of the neighbors' old stuff with our kids' personalities.  i'm not kidding, these two toys have bought me HOURS UPON HOURS of leisure-mani-bonbon time.

the unexpected bonus of the toys?  they also attract random neighbor kids like moths to a flame.  (or, really, a single neighbor kid like a single moth to a - obviously single - flame.)  i went outside the other day to check on the kids and there was a non-van voorst in the mix, and i was all, 'who are you?' and he was all, 'jimmy,' and i was all, 'does anyone know you're here?' and he was all, 'my grandma,' and i was all, 'well, you're welcome any time, as long as your grandma knows where you are and it's okay with her that you come.'

which means that jimmy just walks into our house at sporadic times of day.  a little unnerving, to be sure.  like, when all your kids are napping and you're the only adult in the house and you suddenly hear someone coming in the back door.  not the funnest.  so jimmy has been issued some visiting guidelines, but we're glad we have the chance to get to know him!

also, awkward-to-no-transition: i got to see an old ames friend this week and it was bliss!  we talked gardens and novels and charleston and martin luther king jr.-related scandals.  it was all veryjustright.  it's one of those friendships where we can just pick up where we left off, and also where i can mail her clippings from martha stewart magazines just for an opportunity to mock something to a sympathetic and equally sarcastic reader.  that kind of friendship.  you know what i'm talking about.

well, y'all.  i'm outtie.  the entire time i've been posting this, i've had a tantruming toddler by my side, and i think it's time to wipe the snot off his face.  two-handed job, you know.  love y'all!  weekend it up like it's 1999.

random blog about fruit.

so, i had no idea what to blog about today, as i am still mourning the return from Happy Fun Vacation Land Luxury Time!!!! to blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanormallifemehhhhhhhh.  i realize that i've let the grieving process go on entirely too long, but i'm not sorry about it.

so anyway.  in attempting to post every day this week, because life isn't so hopeless and pointless and worthless as to not blog, i decided to pass along a very solid, useful piece of information.  are you ready for it?


If You Only Buy Groceries Once Every Three Weeks, Here Is the Order In Which You Should Serve Fruit To Your Children So It Doesn't Go Bad But You Still Have Fruit To Serve Every Day:

1. berries
2. bananas (bought slightly green, so they're ripe once the berries have been eaten)
3. peaches, plums
4. pineapple
5. grapes
6. melon, if you're into eating that stuff.  we don't, so we skip #6.
7. apples, oranges, clementines
8. dried fruit

The Same Three-Week Premise, But With Raw Vegetables This Time:

1. snap peas
2. peppers
3. celery
4. carrots

and there you have it!  a bottom-of-the-barrel blog, just for you.  this post was like the dried fruit of blogs, if you will: a last ditch effort to divert attention from the utterly desperate emptiness of the fridge which is my brain.  tasty!  and, you're welcome!

video vednesday: i've got this bassoon, which is ideal...

...because i have no idea how it works.

paige van voorst, blogging since before she was paige van voorst.

a while ago, my mom brought me these boxes full of old school work and papers and whatnot, and the other night i decided to start going through them.  apparently, i was a burgeoning writer from day one.  (verily i say unto thee, i had an affinity for parenthetical remarks as early as first grade!)  i just can't keep these literary gems to myself, so i've decided to occasionally share some of my prehistoric blogs-before-there-were-blogs with you, starting today!

today's stories are brought to you by paige chorpening, age 8.  (all spelling and grammar, etc, left intact, minus bothering with capitalization in the transcription process because i'm a really lazy typist.)

one day i was out playing and i saw a shamrock.  i bent over, picked it up and made a wish that i was a princess.  it changed my look so much, my family didn't reconize me.  they said, "WHO THE HECK ARE YOU?"
the end.

Leprochan DEATH
one day i met a ity, bity, tiny, weenie, leprochoan named jenny elizabeth.  so i steped on her and her guts were never seen again.
the end.

The Pueblo
i would like to live in a pueblo becuse it's doors are in the roof, with a latter through it to go down so it would be fun to do that.  so if i lived in one i would be proud.  you know what my sister said, "what's a puebwo?" i said, "it's a house long ago, and that that there was only one room."
by paige chorpening

Frog and Toad Go Fishing
"let's go fishing!" said toad. that's a great idea! said frog.  let's go!  so they went fishing and they cault 22 fish!  then they set them free - well it IS a free country!  FREE!

Moon Is Striking
once the moon went on strike.  it got so mad it struck fire.  it struck a little girl's brain.  she had a bad dream.  a lady came in and asked her what was wrong.  i had a bad dream that attacked me in the hills.
the end.

one time i was going down to lunch at school and i hurd something in the wall.  at first i thought it was a mouse in the wall.  so i knocked on the wall and said, "who's in there you littel banana," i said.  then mrs. boshart came in becuase she always rembers me because i am funny.
the end.

there are plenty more stories still in the veritable goldmine that is my basement, and from here on out, i'll start posting them on occasional thursdays.  so stay tuned for #tbt, minivan voorst-style.  

our last few days in the black hills.

okay, guys.  i know that endlessly rehashing vacation is really only fun for the people who went, and eventually a never ending string of photo-filled blog posts is essentially the same as a really boring night with a slide projector and someone's trillion-and-one photos of the eiffel tower.  so i'll wrap this up.  unless y'all start screaming ENCORE at me and i have to come back out and post some more and take a bow and post some more.  but until that happens, this is the last post, mkay?  mkay.

we took the kids on the 1880 steam engine, which was fun for most involved.  finneas and laurelai were antsy, which meant todd and i were antsy, but the big kids LOVED it.  i mean, like, seriously loved it.  then we asked a stranger to take a picture of the six of us, since we don't get many pictures with all of us in them, and this happened:

it was the best we could get.  oh well.  we got a few of each of us individually with the kids.

the next day, we laid low at home, letting the kids run around, and drive the gator, and swim in the pool.

here, they're playing 'the princess bride.'  this melts my heart.

well, laur clearly loved it.  (after she was out of the pool, and dried off, and playing with grandma, she was a much happier camper.)

it was super hot, so finneas found himself shirtless and 'helping' papa tony polish off his smoothie.

the next day, we headed for home.  at our first rest stop in south dakota we parked next to a family from huxley (small world!) and got overrun by grasshoppers.  my mind kept pulling images from the bible and from the little house on the prairie book (whichever one it was) where there were just swarms of locusts.  it was pretty sick, and i could see why god would use them to plague people.  (if you look closely, you may be able to see the clouds of grasshoppers flying up as the boys run through them, though even then the photos don't do the crunchy, buzzy grossness of it much justice.)

and these photos sum up our trip home:

sitting on the cooler, bottle-feeding laurelai as we drive so we don't have to pull over.  yes, todd is taking a photo when he should be driving.  so sue him.  but don't really.

eating dinner at a mosquito-infested rest stop.  we were soooo ready to be home at this point.  but the kids held up well!

and that was our trip to the black hills!  

whut. up.

two bits of pertinent news this week:

1.  finneas fell and cut his head.  i was sitting three feet from him, and i heard a bonk and a scream, and simply by the time i looked up, his face was covered in blood.  i yelled to penelope to go to her room, since the sight of blood causes her to pass out.  by the time i got finneas to the kitchen from the living room, his glasses lenses were full. up. with blood.  with atticus' help, i got everything cleaned up and a band-aid on finn's head and he was right as rain.  

so i went in to get penelope and to tell her 'good job' for obeying me immediately and not asking 'why.'  at the mere sight of finn's band-aid, she passed out.  luckily, she was already laying on her bed.  after she came to, she was crying uncontrollably and said she just wanted to go to sleep, so she went to bed without eating lunch and slept for four hours.

however, when it came time to eat dinner, she was so distressed by the sight of finneas' band-aid, she couldn't stand to even sit at the table with him.  so she laid on her bed until he was done eating, and then came to the table to eat.  even still, she had to eat with her security blanket wrapped around her.

i have no idea where this blood thing came from.  anyone else's kids do this?

finally feeling better at dinner, and giving a 'pinkies-up' when todd told her to give a thumbs-up.  still her same old penelope  self!

2.  old oaky's not dead, he's surely alive!  we had called our friend stan, who had just flipped a house, to see if he could help us install a new dishwasher.  it turns out he had a working one on hand from the flip, so he brought it over for us so that we didn't have to buy a new one.  luckily we hadn't bought a new one, since once he got here he and todd discovered that there was simply some switch under the sink that had gotten flipped, turning off the power to old oaky.  once they flipped it back, old oaky was back to his ancient old dish-scrubbing self!

kind of a stupid mistake, but easily fixed, and i have a working dishwasher again without having to shell out any money for it, so i'm happy as a clam.

what happened at your house this week?

day five of our trip to the black hills.

on our fifth day of vacation, we headed to old mcdonald's farm (a petting zoo/farm thing) and the kids LOVED it.  they got to ride ponies, feed the animals, and pretend to sword fight a chicken.

laur and finneas were the most fearless of all the kids when it came to touching (or, as you'll see below, dueling) the animals.

he looks like he's trying to 'avada kadavra' that chicken.  maybe for lunch purposes?

they got to watch a pig race, ride a train, bottle-feed some baby goats, and pet baby chicks.

they got to play in the sand and get mauled by a goat.

atticus' favorite part of the petting zoo was an excavator.  absolutely no surprise there.

laur's first time in a park swing.

that goat seems to think laur's paci looks mighty tasty.

and this is how we ended the morning:

the fun starts - and apparently stops - here.

after leaving old mcdonald's farm, we headed to regular mcdonald's restaurant.  by the time we got there, laurelai was passed clean out.

oh, also?  it hailed.  because that's just what the weather do in the black hills.