putting the 'weeeee!' in 'weeee!kly (what's up).'

not too much of note happened this week.  i feel like that's the report most weeks at this point, which makes me feel old and washed up, like someone who would go to a brett michaels concert.  but then, at least if i went to a brett michaels concert, i would have something noteworthy to report.  so, in actuality, i'm worse off for not having gone to a brett michaels concert.  WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO WE LIVE IN WHERE THAT SENTENCE WAS JUST UTTERED???  i think i need to reevaluate my life, and also start doing more interesting things with my time than walking around in my bathrobe drinking a flaxseed-kefir mixture out of a glass measuring cup... because that's literally the most exciting thing i did all week.

anyway, this little lady...

...turned four and a half.  which is not as noteworthy as a 'whole' birthday, but it's something.

atticus took her on a half-birthday jog around the yard.

(i feel like the caption for this photo should read, 'we're all just walking each other home,' but then i would have to throw up in my mouth, and it's just not worth it.  so consider this photo captionless.)

BOOM.  you just got brett michael'd and birthday jog'd.

video vednesday: hollywood superstar shia labeouf

oh my word, i have not laughed this hard in a really, really long time.  it's halfway creepy, but it's more than halfway funny and also it's almost halloween, so i'll let it slide.

what you sign on for when you cut that tiny check.

let me just start by saying that i love the fitness place i've been going to: for starters, it's $20 a year.  A YEAR.  for finishers, it's $20 a year.  and for middlers, it offers classes early enough in the morning that i can go and get back in time before todd goes to work, so i don't have to figure out a childcare situation.

however, bargains aren't freebies.  which means there's usually some kind of compromise involved.

such as med balls that smell like hot dogs at best.

such as a playlist that includes a techno version of 'it's raining men.'

such as having to listen to al green and a joel osteen devotional during cool down.

such as not having an actual clock in the cycling 'classroom,' because the cycling 'classroom' is actually a small foyer off of a side entrance of a lutheran private school with some exercise bikes in it, so i have to keep track of the time by counting songs.  approximately 12 techno songs = 45 minutes of my life i can't buy back.  (cycling is the worst.)

all jokes aside, this place is actually kind of a godsend for me, since it only offers classes and i exercise best in a class setting (people to hold you accountable/subtly compete with) and at set times (no wussing out 20 minutes in), and also because twenty bucks a year is right in line with my set monthly budget for 'torture.'  i don't pay more than twenty bucks a year to get up at five a.m.  ask me for twenty-one dollars and i'm sleeping in, fools.

closing up shop.

i finally got a chance the other day to head out and see what was happening with the garden.  i tend to get really gung-ho about gardening at planting time, but by the middle of summer, i'm all, 'you know what, vegetation?  you just do you.'  i'm basically the joel osteen of gardeners:  'hey there, tomatoes, whatever makes you feel good, just do that thing! want to vine out all willy nilly in my garden aisles?  as long as you do it with a smile on your face, that's all that matters!  hey there, cucumbers, if you want to choke out all my green beans, i'll just grin at you and assume you're just giving them hugs and chest bumps.  I'M PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!'

which means that, upon examination the other day, my garden was (and still is) a mess of ragtag shambles.  (although, my zinnias seemed to thrive on neglect: they're nearly six feet tall!  see them back there?)  there were tons and tons of tomatoes everywhere - who knew tomatoes were prolific and that i should have been picking them this whole time?!  i salvaged the green ones, so as they ripen, we'll be eating them into oblivion.  we'll violet beauregarde it, and we'll just be a family of big old tomato-people and you'll have to roll us around the neighborhood until we ripen and burst.  yum-o!

you think i'm joking.  i haven't even started tallying the beefsteaks and romas and bonnie bests, but as for the cherry tomatoes, i've got about five gallons of green ones waiting to ripen and kill us via lycopene poisoning.  you just wait.

also?  NEVER LET ME PLANT CUCUMBERS EVER AGAIN.  truth be told, i hate cucumbers.  like, hate cucumbers.  so every year, i plant some, thinking i'll pickle them, since i love pickles.  but then, if other years are like this year, i'll put up four quarts of fridge pickles and figure that's enough for the year, and then have a trillion pounds of cucumbers left to ignore. most of the ones i finally threw on the compost pile were basically whitish-yellow clubs containing seeds the size of quarters.  and then i just resent them for being so gross-tasting and also ugly, because y'all know how i feel about trivial ugly things.

also?  this ridiculousness.  

what am i even supposed to do with this?  cucumbers are THE WORST AT EVERYTHING.
also? i harvested some onions (well, barely-onions.  i planted from sets this year, and i might as well have eaten the sets straight from the garden center without planting them first.  seeds are the only way to go with onions.)  i harvested a bunch of carrots, which seemed to do well in my garden this year (as opposed to the story city house which, though i planted three whole packets over the course of two seasons, i only ever got two.  two carrots).  i harvested a single egg-sized eggplant.  and then i accidentally left the bucket of harvested veggies out overnight in the rain... still good, three days later?  you weigh in.

well, goodnight little garden.  i will soon pull all your weeds, and cover you with a soft blanket of compost and leaves, and wait impatiently for next spring, when i will go all billy eichner and be all "IT'S SPRING! I CAN'T EVEN!" and then i will neglect you all over again.

in case you can't hear me from where you are in your remote village, i am currently singing 'the circle of life.'

a tale of a thirty-six-year-old bard and his beard.

happy 36th birthday to todd, todder, toddest, who beardlessly used to look like this:

if you try to tell me that doesn't look exactly like atticus will in like five years, i will slap you in the mouth for being a dirty liar.

a while after he looked like that, he looked like this:

yes, ma'am, them's some piercin's.  and a braided, beaded beard.  (SAY THAT ONE MILLION TIMES FAST. go ahead.  i'll wait.  a braided, beaded beard... a braided, beaded beard...)

his beard got baptized, along with the rest of him:

(before you even ask, he was never in a bike gang, but he DID smoke cigarettes for like ten years, which is kind of the same thing.  are you shocked?!?!)

then, when he was in turkey, he got simulated-baptism'ed in an ancient baptismal, but this time his braided beard wasn't invited.

then his beard tried to annex his whole face:

then the beard receded into the background for a bit as a goatee, and sometimes made way for his...temporary panamanian face tattoos.

then there was that year that he gave his beard free rein during lent and this monstrosity happened:

more recently, his beard has been well-groomed and business casual.

...though, i will mention that it took this brief turn last month:

but its sweet spot is right at that point that i call 'second-week beard.'  and its sweetest spot is wherever it's close enough in proximity to our kids that they get beard burn.

well, you know what i always say since the moment i made it up just now: a man is only as old and full of life as his beard.  which means that todd is downright vivacious, and also only like twenty-ish years old.  which makes me a cradle robber with some exceptionally well-bearded arm candy.

happy birthday, husband and husbeard!  we all love you both!

video vednesday: barackoli, right?!

some haikus for haik-you.

i'm probably alone in this, but i really hate haikus.  i don't really know why; i just don't get them.  it seems more like doing math than writing poetry, and not the fun kind of math like calculating gratuity and also quilt-piecing.  but all that being said, with as much as i dislike haikus, i decided to write some last night.  not sure why; probably just so that i didn't have to think up another blog post title.  and since my specialty is telling rando stories about my life, i figured i'd write some rando haikus...also about my life.

once upon a time,
a car ran over my foot.
no, really.  it's true.

also?  this is cray,
but i got struck by lightning.
ask me about it.

i tried to litter.
only once, in like first grade.
i make al gore sad.

i've killed tons of toads.
i go all lenny on them.
i just love too much.

i have to confess:
i wrote on the school bus seat.
big, and in sharpie.

i barfed on some girls.
it's not as fun as it sounds.
they were pretty mad.

and there you have it: haikus for all of haik-yous.  IT'S HAIKUSDAY TUESDAY, MAN!

 for those of you who've been reading for a while, you've already heard about all of these debacles.  if you have no idea what i'm talking about, longer versions of these stories (and more) can be found here.


lately the kids have been super into parkour which, if you've never heard of it, is basically ninja-people doing gymnastics-karate off the sides of buildings-whatever else.  it's insanity.  here's the kids' favorite parkour video we've found so far:

now one of their favorite games is called, unsurprisingly, 'Parkour.'  it's where they jump off/out of furniture/structures/trees.  before you judge me for being cool with them watching and imitating a high-risk sport, just let me write a quick, assumptive, parkour-v.-texting-while-driving comparison list for you (THANGS JUST GOT SERIOUS, Y'ALL):

1.  i'm guessing fewer people die from parkour-related accidents than from accidents related to texting while driving every year.  let me repeat, JUMPING OFF OF BUILDINGS is apparently statistically less fatal than driving whilst textstracted.

2.  dying by parkour is an infinitely cooler way to go than trying to squeeze in one more emoji before colliding with a light pole.

3.  parkour is not inherently illegal, so there's that.

4.  sure, texting while driving gives you ripped thumbs, and also ripped those-muscles-that-allow-your-eyes-to-dart-maniacally-from-your-phone-to-the-road.  but i'd rather have my kids learning to burn more than just thumb calories.

i only say all this so that i can drop this public service bomb:  don't let your kids see you being an idiot, keep your phone in your pants while you drive.  (or anywhere other than in your hand, i guess.)

anyway, now that i've turned the criticism away from my own personal parenting choices, PARKOUR!

also?  there's a thing called 'bike parkour,' which i like to call bikour.  watch out for the van voorsts, world.


well, the big news of the week is that I FINALLY SQUEEZED INTO MY PRE-LAURELAI JEANS ON SUNDAY.  only thirteen months later, but whatever.  everybody wang chung tonight!  i kind of felt like my legs were in sausage casings, and i was having a hard time bending my knees, but whatever.  i conquered the villainous skinny jeans and i'm feeling like i should probably try out for the olympics.  if 'trying out' is even how you get into the olympics.  i'll probably have to double check that minor detail before my audition.

the other news of the week also centers on 'what the van voorsts wore.'  case in point, penelope's new velvet blazer and real-leather cowboy boots, given to us by a friend.  she is now a full-blown fancy cowgirl.

she also wore my (one-dollar-at-a-garage-sale!) shoes around the house, and every dream i've ever had of raising a preschooler daughter was realized. 

laurelai LOVES wearing hats, and gets super excited and goofy when wearing one.  i swear if she could talk, she'd be all, 'check me out. i'm proud of who i am in this hat.'

i love this next photo.  she looks like she just landed a b-girl spin move and she's all like, 'step off.'

the kids got to spend the morning with their friend naomi on wednesday.  i offered to convert the bunk beds into a covered wagon for the kids to play in, which immediately elicited a request from penelope for a head kerchief so she could be Ma Ingalls.  my daughter requested to play ma ingalls?!?!?!?!?!  i've never been so proud in my life... since the day that she wore my shoes.  so, essentially, i'd never been so proud in the previous four days.  but anyway, i got her a bandana, and knowing everyone else would want one, pulled out three more as well.  the boys immediately assumed pirate personas, penelope was absorbed in Little House Fantasy Time Land, and i'm pretty sure naomi was just trying to remain calm and not panic in the midst of the tornado of van voorsts.

they look like they're in a gang.  a really cute, only mostly intimidating, trike gang.  also, penelope looks like she's been stockholmed into participating.

well, anywhoooo.  that was our week.  LLAP, fools.

video vednesday: what are you even playing? is that jazz?

genuine praise as i climb out of the mud hole.

so, todd started a new job yesterday.  he is no longer a pastor at candeo.

it's not really a long story, and it's definitely not a reality-tv-style dramatic one.  the specific position simply wasn't a good fit for him, and him in the position wasn't a good fit for the church.  so he decided (with the support and agreement of the rest of the elder team) to step out of the position so that candeo could be freed up to quickly find a person who will be good at the things we need most right now.  which was the right decision.  but it meant that he moved out of the position before he had another job lined up to move into.

i say all this to preface this statement:  i've been a dirty old stressball for the last month over all of this.  the highs have been low, and the lows have been lower.  i got all in a panic about stuff like, you know, feeding our kids to keep them alive.  which, though not impossible, is infinitely harder to do without a steady cash flow.  and while i knew god would provide a job for todd eventually, i had no idea how long it would be, and i was prepared for the worst.  (i was all like, 'what can i sell?! MY BLOOD!')

and to top it all off, you know what i did AFTER he got offered this new job?  i laid in my bed and cried about how little the starting salary is.  i mean, i knew god would take care of us, but i was whining and complaining about the potential that it might not reach the standards i would choose for my life if given reigning rule over the laws and trajectory of the universe.  (because, you know, i have higher standards than god's and also am smarter than he is about how to go about reaching those standards.  ahem.)

i eventually roused myself from my snot-soaked pillow and came downstairs to find an envelope laying on the counter, sent from minnesota by a girl i (understatedly) hardly know.  and you know what was inside?  a note of encouragement and a staggering target gift card. and i clearly heard god say, in such a kind and compassionate and exasperated way, 'how could you think i wouldn't take care of you?  what on earth makes you think i've changed?'

and i was all, you're so right.  when has he EVER left me languishing in some hole and forgotten about me?  when have the trials of this life been used for anything but my ultimate good?  yeah, there are hard things that we've faced.  unemployment is major, sure, but so is deciding to move to a new town and sell your house by owner and find a new job for your husband and live apart for months just to move into someone's basement for the purpose of trying to help start a church from scratch, all while unexpectedly pregnant and house hunting and living out of suitcases until two weeks before your due date.  and this is to say nothing of the difficulty of actually helping to plant the church.  our whole life here has been insanely difficult and chaotic and jam packed, if i'm being brutally honest.

and our whole life here has been insanely, over-the-top, lovingly blessed by a sovereign god who knows our needs.  and sometimes we need hard stuff.

i have needed these hard things like i need breath.  it is GOD who sustains.  it is GOD who provides.  it is GOD who offers stability in the midst of crushing chaos.  and it is GOD who makes every. single. bit. of this the best thing that has ever happened to me.  i would not trade a single second of it away for an easier life.  

this morning i found myself laying on my face on the basement floor, pleading with god to 'let it be to me according to your word.'  whatever you pick for me, god, that's what i want.  i don't want him to give me my sorry idea of a cherry-picked life.  i want the hard, crushing, meaningful life of following him into unknown, scary territory and watching him work in amazing ways.  like he always has, like he always will.  because that's who he is.

so  THANK GOD for our (thankfully short-lived) time of unemployment!  and THANK GOD for the new job he brought to todd so soon!  and THANK GOD for whatever comes next for us, whatever it looks like.  i am so privileged to have such a wonderful father.

south carolina: the kids' first fishing adventure.

my mom and the kids went fishing off the dock.  both kids actually caught fish and had a great time.

weekly whut update.

YOU GUYS, IT IS FRIDAY.  already!  there is hope for the rest of this life if it can be friday already.

things that happened this week:

1.  my sister got us hooked up with netflix for the first time ever, and oh my word, y'all, we have watched so. much. 30 rock. it's almost embarrassing.  three words: awwwwwwesommmmme daaaayyyyyyte noooyyyyyt.

2.  since todd's been home all week (more on that later), i've spent the week trying to get the house deep cleaned.  i got a chance to make it happen for the first time since we moved in last summer, so i snatched up the opportunity. needless to say, my house is all torn up right now, since i've been cleaning out cupboards and closets and pulling up rugs, but have not gotten everything put back... todd is rethinking his decision to enable me in this.

3.  in art, the kids are learning about fra angelico, who painted all kinds of religious frescos for the vatican and such.  there are like zero lesson plans out there on this guy, so i just winged it and taped some paper to the wall, and let them pretend to paint a fresco.  

fra angelico's 'thing' was illustrating stories from the life of christ, so i asked the kids to choose a story from jesus' life to paint.  atticus chose the birth of jesus, penelope chose the baptism of jesus.  this is what the painting turned out looking like:

yes, that is definitely a black hole and also a fire truck.  just like in the bible.

4.  finneas had a pretty normal week:

and the big kids joined in.

5.  we found a ladybug!  like, a real, live lady bug, not a japanese beetle.  it's been a while since we've seen one of these.

6.  and best of all, laurelai is beginning to walk!  she's regularly taking steps here and there.  exciting times.

video vednesday: some motivational speaking, courtesy of apollos hester.

so.  much.  jibberish.  i.  can't.  even.

south carolina: now, there's a first.

i bought gum for the (biggest) kids to try for the first time.  it was a perfect time to give it to them, as we were waiting for our food at a restaurant and y'all know how nuclear that can turn in no time flat.  their responses were positive, though not easily and accurately captured on film memory card.  (that doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?)

and just because i like being gratuitous (i'm a giver at heart), here are more restaurant photos of some of the same-old, same-old: the little kids being adorable and hungry.

you know what they say:  at some point in their lives, all the greats have chewed gum OR eaten a sandwich in south carolina.  now, i'm not implying anything here, but the van voorsts have done both.  so there's that...

so, we went to the zoo like a million years ago.

i'm pretty sure this trip happened in like august.  but they're perfect it's-cold-and-it's-monday-let's-pretend-life-is-different photos.

we went with my sister and had a blast, blasts, and half a blast.  (thanks for taking all these photos, lauren!)

i think finneas may have instigated a sword fight with his burger.  as per usual.

oh good gracious, how i love this photo.

(todd inadvertently appearing to be grabbing his tortoise-boobs.  whoops.  when at the zoo, do as the zoo do.  assuming the zoo do that.)

one of the many joys of going places with others is that we actually get photos with all of us in them.  of course, not everyone is looking at the camera, but what else is new?


so, not to brag on my bicep or anything, but...

so that was the trip we took to the zoo back before the dinosaurs were invented.  i'm just going to pretend like the sunshine is still around and that tank top is still an active part of my life.  and that, friends, is how you successfully utilize some serious denial on a cold, october monday morning.  blech.