Erin Asks Away!

This month I’m participating in a weekly link up that is hosted by Penny of The Real Housewife Of Caroline Country and Amber from Bold Fab Mom. Typically for Ask Away Friday, bloggers pair up, swap 10 questions,answer them on their blogs, and link up their posts with Penny and Amber. It’s such a great way to get to know someone better.


Today my friend Erin is here.  Well, she is sort of here. Ok, she is not here. BUT she did ask me some questions, and those are here. Along with my answers. She asked me some really REALLY good questions.

If you can be flattered by a question, she just flattered me ten times.

1.) You have blogged a lot about depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many other sensitive topics. How do you decide what to share/what not to share on your blog? Do you ever think about Eddie and Charlie (& future kids!) and what they will feel when they read your writing? 
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King talks about always writing for a specific reader, about having that person or persons in your head as you write. Every time I sit down to write anything in this space I think first about how Cortney will react to it, and then to how my children may react. When I choose what to write about, I think about what I wish I knew about my grandmothers and my mother…even the hard things. I draw the line at telling other people’s stories or divulging something I would NOT want to know about my own parent.
2.) You have suffered two miscarriages and written a bit about them. How did going through those tough times shape you? I know you’ve written about how you don’t (or didn’t?) envision them as babies/people. Is that still true?
Yup. This is still true. I definitely suffer PTSD from my miscarriages and from my traumatic delivery of Eddie, and some people have told me point blank that I am cruel and heartless for not thinking about those pregnancy losses as babies.  While I understand their intent, it doesn’t make those pregnancies feel like babies or people to me. I think of them as souls, though.  I always thought my first pregnancy was a girl. I am not sure why, but I feel like a lot of what I felt when I was pregnant, has come to fruition in Eddie. No, he is not a girl, but he is exactly like me, and I’m a girl!
The second pregnancy I never really connected with because I was afraid. I haven’t worked through that one enough, I know that.
I think if there is a heaven, my late father-in-law is there.  And if that is truth, then the souls of those babies are with him.  That makes me feel at peace about the losses. I have small glass hearts next to my bed to remind me of those two. I think of them often, but more as something other than babies or people.
I don’t really know how to explain it.
3.) Work, teaching, marriage, kids & perhaps TTC.. how do you manage to juggle it all? and do it so well? AND find the time to maintain a loyal following on your blog (not to mention the time to write regularly and captivate your audience w/ compelling posts and topics?)?
I really don’t juggle it all. Something is always suffering. I think it seems that way because I get to show only what I want to show online. Even though I do write about the hard stuff, I don’t show the daily struggle to fit in all of my over-commitments. I’m pretty sure if I blogged or tweeted every single negative thought I had, I would no longer have an audience!
That said, I stick to a fairly strict schedule. Cortney and I have assigned days of who picks up from daycare and who does the bedtime routine.
So I guess the secret is I have no time for friends or spontaneity.
4.) I love your photos in the teacher’s lounge restroom. How did this start and/or (again), how do you manage to always look so dang cute when you have a TWO YEAR OLD? (this coming from a fellow mom w/ a two year old whose clothes get food, markers, and drool/boogers all over them all the time.)
My secret is that I get up, get ready, and leave and let Cortney do the job of getting the kids ready and off to daycare.
I didn’t always try to hard to look cute. After having Eddie I bought big, shapeless sweaters and started crying on a “date” with Cortney because I thought that was how I had to look since I was “someone’s mother”. His response was, “but you’re still my hot wife. You’re still Kate.” He was right.
After Charlie I was determined to not let that happen again. When I feel cute and put together, I am a better teacher. The more professional my look, the more professional I feel. So I try hard to do that each day.
I started posting pictures because I was inspired by Alicia’s #officefashionshow on Instagram. I started tagging mine, but I added the #teacherstyle tag too.


5.) Does Cort appreciate that you have managed to cultivate a sense of style despite having young kids?
Cort does like to see me all dressed up with my glasses on looking all teacherly, for sure.  But on days when I don’t work (like weekends and summer and snow days), I am NOT so cute. Promise. He still thinks I’m cute then too, but he does appreciate if I can find time to shower.  Ha!
6.) Music. Tell me what you love. And can the right music help you when you’re dealing w/ depression or feeling low or anxious or fill in the blank…..?
We are fools for the tunes in Sluiter Nation. I would say if it wasn’t for a mutual love of music, Sluiter Nation as we all know it would not exist. I have a whole list of tunes that can pull me out of the dark.  My top five (in no particular order) are:
  1. “I believe in Miracles” by Pearl Jam
  2. “I Get Knocked Down” by Chumbawamba
  3. “Bad Day” by R.E.M.
  4. “Gold” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  5. “Future Days” by Pearl Jam

These songs are all sort of a grab bag of get me pumped up into my happy place or remind me what I love about my life.

7.) You & Cort will be coming up on 10 years of marriage soon enough. What’s your secret? Or secretS?
Ah yes. This summer is wedding anniversary #9, but we have been together romantically for almost 11 years by then. I have no idea how long we have been friends…twenty years? Maybe?
I don’t know if we have a secret. We always always talk about it. “It” being all the decisions, choices, ideas, dreams. We always hear the other out. We always admit when we are wrong…even if we don’t want to.
And we always always are the other person’s number one fan.
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8.) Favorite go-to or comfort food? If it’s more than a bag of chips or a pack of M & M’s, tell me/us about the recipe, where it came from, and if there’s special meaning behind it.

 I LOVE food. Love it. When things are great, I like to celebrate with food. When things are sucky, I like to comfort myself with food.  When someone is hurting, I like to cook and/or bake for them so I can try to comfort them with food.
One of my go-to recipes for a dish to warm our insides (or to make for others) is my mom’s veggie beef soup recipe.
My favorite muchy food is peanut butter m&ms.
9. ) As a teacher, what advice would you give parents of kids who are struggling both academically and socially in school? Do you think it depends on the kid’s (kids’) age(s), or should parents be super involved  with every single thing? 
I can’t speak much from an elementary teacher’s perspective since I’ve never taught that level, but at the high school level I know those kids need support from the adults in their lives.  I’ve also found it’s really, really dependent on the individual student and his/her needs. My advice to parents with struggling kids is to always exhaust every single avenue your district has to offer. Get your child tested for disabilities or conditions and then talk to your special education director about plans and services that may be available.
Before getting my teaching job, I worked for Sylvan Learning Centers and I worked with high school kids who just need an hour of structured homework time.  Most of them, once their parent was gone, didn’t really need my help so much on the actual homework, but needed me to help them devise a plan of attack so things weren’t so overwhelming.
All kids thrive on structure, but kids who struggle need it even more.
10.) If you won $100,000 in the lottery tomorrow, tell me what you’d do with the money. There are no right or wrong answers, obviously!!
Truthfully–and this is how you know I am a full on adult now–we would spend it on two things: paying off debt (because that puts us in a position to afford a new house and newer/bigger vehicles) and putting some into the boys’ college funds.  I’m sure we would take at least a thousand and go on a fun trip, but the bulk would be invested in our family.
I know. Boring.
Holy COW! I had way too much to say in response to all those questions!  I should probably use Erin’s questions as blog prompts!
Now head over to Erin’s to see what I asked her!
And of course, grab a partner and swap questions so you can join in next Friday.
About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. These are really good questions!
    I love your answer for #9. Too often, parents leave too much in the hands of schools/ teachers without thinking that it starts with them, always.
    And it sounds to me like you and Cort have found the ‘secret’ to a good marriage – be each other’s best friends and always have each other’s backs.

    • seriously…I could have used each of Erin’s question as a blog prompt. I still might. She asked some great ones!

      The other secret to our marriage? Silliness is a thing…just be silly.

  2. Great questions, Erin! And I related to so many of your answers, Katie! Especially when you said “Something is always suffering” about being over-committed. I had to hold myself back from yelling “Preach It!” in my office. 😉

    I wish I had a) the wardrobe to look cute (and different) every day and b) a full length mirror. Actually, scratch that last thing.

    • I don’t post a selfie every day because I rotate what I wear. Some people have almost brand new outfits daily. NOT ME. And on Fridays I almost always wear the same jeans and hoodie and crappy pony tail. Because I just don’t care by Friday.

      And yes. Right now? As I take the time to respond to comments? I should be lesson planning. Something is ALWAYS suffering.

  3. It is so great to see the two of you together!
    I would have the same ideas for spending lottery winnings. And I, too, adore food for comfort and celebration – and peanut butter M&Ms. 🙂

  4. Oh, you know why I love these #AskAwayFridays? Because I get to see people I love (like you and Erin) in a Bigger light (Like I adore your pictures in the faculty restroom and one of those pics is the reason i decided to buy skinny jeans!!!!)

    I wish I could come visit, sit on your couch and share a bag of M&Ms with you..I know that talking to you would make my whole day.
    Erin asked you some amazing and thoughtful questions…she’s awesome too!

    (and next Me? Questions! YAY!)

  5. Wow. Those are awesome questions (and answers). Now I feel kinda weak for the ones I asked Arnebya. Good job you two.

  6. Super questions, super answers. I felt like I was reading an interview for a magazine.

    You are such an interesting person, Katie. I love your thoughtfulness and thoroughness, and your marriage perspective is refreshing.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think you’re amazing.

    • I have been called interesting before, Andrea. But never as a compliment, so yay! 🙂

      I also think you are amazing…so ya wanna pair up and do this with me? I have got some great questions for you! ::wags eyebrows in your direction::

  7. Hi Katie! So glad to meet you…

    I love your Teacher’s Lounge photo sessions and you do a great job of keeping a cute look everyday! Go You!

    I love food too…happy, sad, bored…LOL I love savory or indulgent foods…Hubby made some Crock Pot Beef Stew and it was absolute perfection! Hmmm…may need to go have a plate…LOL

  8. I think that is awesome that you share how to survive a miscarriage for others to read. I can’t even imagine going through it. I wrote two articles on my blog about miscarriage and tried to be helpful but not actually going through one myself, I know that my advice was fairly standard. I think talking about it to a health professional or someone you love and trust is a must. If you keep those feelings inside, they will eventually explode in ways you may or may not be ready to handle.

  9. loved getting to know you better through these. I think I do better when I look cute and put together too. I should probably look cute and put together more. 🙂 xx.

  10. Such amazing, thoughtful questions and answers! Love these so much!

  11. I’ve read a few of these posts now and love it a little more with each one. Such a great way to get to know my fellow bloggers a little more. Loved your questions and answers. Thanks for sharing!

  12. This was a fun read. I especially loved the question about your style. Most days I look like I just dragged myself out of bed and threw on the first thing I found on the floor. I feel so much better about myself when I actually put a tiny bit of effort towards appearance. It’s hard to feel like doing that when you have kids though.

    If we won a ton of money we would put it towards debt as well. That way, we could have more fun with the money we make working instead of making large monthly car and loan payments.

  13. So wonderful to get to know you better! These are such wonderful questions and answers! It is so hard to keep all of the blogging and daily things straight sometimes, but it is wonderful that you have your hubby’s support through it all. Hope that you have a wonderful week!

  14. I love the collage you made of all your outfit pics! Thank you so much for doing this with me. Also? I think I’m going to make your soup this week–sounds easy and delish!

    I often wish mu husband’s job allowed him to assist more with the morning (or afternoon) routine around here. Occasionally on a random Tuesday he can drive the twins to school, which is a treat for them as well as for me.

    Your outfits are darling. YOU are darling. And you’re right— I feel so frumpy, but if I made more of an effort, I’d probably look and feel better about myself.

    Thank you, Katie! love you!!

  15. I adore your outfit pics and you taste in music. We LOVE music around here. Let’s have a dance party together!! 😀