Netflix and Milestones

We are sort of in the middle of the Milestone Age of Parenting here in Sluiter Nation. With a kindergartener and a 2-year old, it seems like we have a new milestone around here all the time.

Eddie has started to read and write.

Charlie is saying all new things and having first experiences.

Even being pregnant means lots of milestones. Today, for instance, I am 20 weeks…halfway!  That is a BIG milestone!

You can blame the pregnancy, but I seem to get all teary-eyed over each of the milestones and firsts my kids reach. When Eddie wrote, “I go to the bat cave” perfectly yesterday I giggled, but I also got weepy. My little man can write!  When Charlie first put his pants on himself I cheered. And then I wondered where my baby went. And when I started feeling Alice’s little flutter kicks in my tummy, I smiled. Then I cried because it was the last time I would first feel a baby kick me from the inside.

A cool thing about Netflix is that they are stocked with shows and movies that address milestones. Charlie enjoys Super Why which has episodes devoted to things like losing your first tooth. Both boys love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which just recently showed episodes where Daniel gained a baby sister.

This week Eddie and I stayed home from school because we were sick. We watched The Croods, which is about a family moving from their cave for the first time despite being very very afraid. We have been talking about maybe moving in the next year or so, and Eddie brought that up while we watched the movie.  He claims he’s not scared though because in a new house, he might not have to share a room with Charlie.

Right.

Speaking of the milestone of moving, you can watch House Hunters on Netflix too. Of course, those aren’t exactly in our price range. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m a big pile of mush when it comes to remembering and celebrating these “firsts”. Each of my kids has their own box that I put milestone-type stuff in.  For example, I kept the first golden blonde curl that was cut off each boy’s head. Sentimental or weirdo, you decide.

What do you do to celebrate or remember milestones? Do you keep memory boxes? Do you scrapbook?

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Netflix set us up with a year’s subscription and an ipad mini to enjoy streaming shows and movies, but what we choose to watch and what we think about what we view is all ours.

Wild Sluiters

Kratt-mania has taken over Sluiter Nation.

The Sluiter brothers are enamored with the Kratt brothers.

It started out innocently enough: Wild Kratts came on after Word Girl on PBS after school while I was making dinner. It was the last “kids’ programming” show of our day before the TV went off or we turned it to the news.

Then I started to notice that the show wasn’t just on, the boys–BOTH of them–were actually watching it. You moms know what I mean here. Lots of times the TV will be on and the boys are only half-watching while they drive each other crazy play with other toys. But the second the theme song comes on, the boys stop what they are doing to watch the animals.

The Kratt brothers keep things exciting and fast-paced so even Charlie gets hooked.

Then we got Netflix. Did you know Wild Kratts is on Netflix?  They are. And Eddie has watched all the episodes so many times he can tell you which ones are “old” and which ones are “new” just based on the way they are drawn.

The Sluiter brothers heart the Kratt Brothers.

I probably don’t have to even explain their reaction when the Kratt brothers sent them plush figures and action toys to play with.

I’ll just say there was jumping up and down and then fighting over who got Chris and who got Martin and who got to play with which creature power.

The boys are already asking for more of the figures and the createrra set. I didn’t show them, but there is also there is also a power suit assortment set. We might have to get that for them for Christmas this year (available at Toys R Us).

We also have the first ever Wild Kratts book, Wild Sea Creatures: Sharks, Whales, and Dolphins! Eddie and I have read it together more than half a dozen times. We are hoping they come out with more in the series, because he wants to get one about bears and lions.

Ok, so I have to know…do your kids watch Wild Kratts? What do they love about it?

Note: This post should have pictures, but my blog is not fully recovered from its case of death. I will add pictures when I can because they are cute.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I was not compensated for my time or writing. My boys were sent the plush Chris and Martin Kratt dolls, the action figure sets, and book to enjoy. All opinions are our own.

Boy…Boy…??

Yesterday was the big ultrasound.

All was healthy and well.

And then we found out the sex of the baby.

And I laughed so hard that the ultrasound tech had to wait until my tummy stopped jiggling to continue.

Because there were no boy parts.

We are having a girl.

Alice Katherine Sluiter.

A GIRL!

(I can’t upload pictures to the blog right now, so if you want to see how I revealed it on the facebook, head over to my Sluiter Nation page).

No Guarantees

::Looks around::

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything here. That’s because my blog got hacked and I couldn’t log in and then when I hired someone amazing to help, she found buggy wonky files all OVER the place. It’s like my blog got Ebola. It was a process, but we think it’s all clean now.

In the past week or so, my mind has been in over-drive which means I was sort of an anxiety ball without my blog to vent on. Sure, sure I could have hand-written my thoughts or opened a document and typed there, but this little “new post” window has been my therapy couch for the pat 7+ years, and I just don’t do as well writing elsewhere.

I know. I’m weird.

Anyway, one of the big things on my mind has been baby #3.

Today is the day of the Big Ultrasound.

Everyone asks, “are you going to find out the sex of the baby?”

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is, yes, but we are most concerned with the health of the baby.

I know everyone says that–shoot, we were those people with our last two pregnancies–but most people are first and foremost excited about seeing the baby and/or finding out the sex. Everyone knows that the real reason for the ultrasound is to check on the babies growth and well-being, but because it seems like the health of the baby by 19-20 weeks becomes presumed and just SEEING the baby becomes the bigger deal.

Like I said, even with the loss of pregnancies, we felt pretty safe by 20 weeks in our past two pregnancies with the boys. We were most excited to see our little baby and find out about his parts.  With Eddie I thought we were having a girl. With Charlie, I knew it had to be a boy from the minute I got the positive pregnancy test.

Once I made it past the first trimester, I wasn’t really that concerned that anything could go wrong.

A year ago, we lost my niece, Bella. She was born asleep because she had Turner Syndrome, something my brother-in-law and sister-in-law found out at their 20-week ultrasound.

No, I am not necessarily afraid that our baby has Turner Syndrome, but I have been reminded that getting to the 20-week ultrasound is not a guarantee of a healthy baby. Just because my check ups have been find–we hear the heart, I’m measuring correctly (ok, a week early…but that was how it was with both boys), and I feel ok.  That is still no guarantee our baby is healthy and Ok.

This entire pregnancy has felt different, and for me “different” means bad. At least that is where my brain goes. It’s strange because I was WAY sicker with Charlie and way more moody with Eddie, but somehow this pregnancy makes me nervous.  Maybe it’s because we keep saying it’s the last, and I am afraid that I am jinxing it (even though I don’t believe in jinxes). Maybe the baby isn’t a boy (like I predict), so the pregnancy is different.  Maybe it’s all in my over-analyzing head.

Whatever the reason for it, I am nervous for this ultrasound.

I quite honestly do not care if we are having another little dude or if we are getting a girl (although truth be told I will be SHOCKED if it’s a girl). I really just want to know everything is Ok. Everything looks normal.

I’ve been afraid to get any baby stuff out or look at what we need or what needs to be cleaned, because I am scared.  Even as I type this I can feel that little guy (or girl) moving around, so why can’t I shake the worries?

It will all be cleared up at 3:30pm today, though.

And I will share here…after we let family know.

So far I think boy, Cortney thinks boy, Eddie is hoping girl, and Charlie doesn’t want a baby to take his room.

Someone will be right. Let’s pray it’s not Charlie.

Get The Behavior You Want…{Review}

51WlU9RnZLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I totally never read parenting books.

Ok that is a lie. I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting cover to cover when I was pregnant with Eddie. It was like my Bible.  And then his birth and everything was absolutely nothing like what I was told to “expect” and I chucked that book. I also bought a book about sleep training when Eddie was a baby who wouldn’t sleep (because colic and crazy baby!) and I wanted to stab the author, so I chucked that book too.

And then I stopped reading parenting books.

I may have parenting book PTSD. Whatever.

I do, however, love my friends with medical/nursing degrees. I try not to abuse our relationship by constantly texting or messaging them about ailments I or my family members may have. I’d like to publicly thank them and apologize to them for the pictures I’ve sent of rashes and/or the gross descriptions I have typed out.

Anyway, one of these friends happens to be the internet-famous Dr G. I call her Debi, but she Dr. Deborah Gilboa, MD. to you, and she wrote a book called Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You HateAnd I read it…and LIKED it.

Even though I have little kids, I read the parts about tweens and teens too because, well, my boys WILL be that age someday. But really, more immediately, my students are that age. Since I have never taught 13-year olds before, I want to try to understand them a little better. No, I am not their parent, but man a LOT of my day revolves around behavior.

The book is set up to be extremely user-friendly. There are four major parts: one on respect, one on responsibility, one on resilience, and one on implementing the changes. In each of those sections there are numerous short, easy to read, chapters.  It is the complete opposite of daunting. In fact, when reading a book by an MD, the reader usually expects some jargon or medical terms to be thrown at them. Dr. G keeps it very simple and easy to understand. It’s much more like chatting with a friend than talking with a doctor. Yet at the same time, she keeps it very professional and because of her credentials, you know she can be trusted and relied on to give good advice.

One of my favorite sections was the one on resilience. We have had a lot of death in our lives and we have always been as honest as we can with Eddie (and now Charlie) about it. Some people have questioned why I would tell a 5-year old that his Papa died of cancer, but ever since he was small we talked about how Papa lived in heaven, then that he had died, and now that he died because of cancer. As he gets older and asks questions, we answer them as honestly and simply as we can.  This chapter reinforced how important it is for our kids to experience failure, grief, and loss.  It TOTALLY sucks, but it’s a part of life and if they can learn to be resilient from early on, they will probably be better at coping, and hopefully more empathetic to other people, as they get older.

There are a million tips and wise words I could share that I have underlined or marked, but really, you should read the book. If you are a parent, it’s a must-read, but I think even if you don’t have your own kids, but are a childcare provider, teacher, aunt, uncle, grandparent, etc. it’s a good book to have on hand.

The main message is right there in the title: you don’t have to be a giant jerk of a parent to have kind, well-adjusted kids. You don’t have to yell and lose your mind to have your kids behave.

on cloud b

When Eddie was smaller and before we had Netflix, he was very into every commercial that had an “order now” at the end of it.

“I want that!” was frequently heard around our house. When he started earning quarters for the extra chores he does around the house, he even stated that he was saving for one of those Stuff It things that you can supposedly clean up your whole room with and it will look like a fluffy animal when you’re done.

Right.

But the thing he was obsessed with the most was this blue turtle that lit up and played music. He wanted that thing so badly, but he already had a humidifier that had a little light “show” and we weren’t going to just buy him a new thing.

Aqua_TRT_0002

Then, just a month or so ago cloud b, the makers of the turtle that Eddie had wanted years ago, contacted me about trying out one of their products for our nursery.  Of COURSE I chose the Tranquil Turtle. I knew Eddie would probably be too old, but he might remember how he wanted it.

When the package arrived, Eddie did not let me down. He took it out of the box and exclaimed, “MOM! Remember how I always wanted one of these?? Is this for the new baby??”

I told him yes, but that we should probably try it out for the new baby and would he like to have it in his room to see how it works. I wanted to give him first dibs since he was so in love with it.

“Nah. I’m too big for it and I already have a night light. Maybe Charlie would like to try it out.”

Tranquil Turtle aqua_PKG

Eddie sure does know his brother.

When Charlie got home from daycare that day, the boys took the new turtle into the dark bathroom and played with the lights that make it look like the entire room is underwater. They were mesmerized.

That night we put the turtle in Charlie’s room (the current nursery), and turned it on. After books, he said what he always says, “I lay in my bed, you sit here (the rocking chair).” While he shuffled around getting comfy in his crib, I rocked and waited like I always do. After he settled in, I left the room.

The lovely thing about the Tranquil Turtle is that it turns itself off after 24 minutes.

The horrible thing about the Tranquil Turtle is that it turns itself off after 24 minutes.

I had just settled onto the couch with a pile of jelly bellies and a book, when Charlie started crying.  What the heck? He never cried out after putting him to bed.  When I walked in he was lying there pointing at the turtle, which had turned itself off.

“MINE TUTTLE IS BROKEN!”

So I turned it back on, and that was that. He went to sleep.

Every night, if it turns off before he falls asleep he will let us know.  If he wakes up early in the morning and can’t fall back to sleep, he will walk into our room holding his turtle.

To say he loves it is a bit of an understatement. In fact, when he moves out of the nursery and the baby moves in, I’m not sure he’ll be able to give up the turtle so easily…if at all.

The good thing is cloud b has lots of other great nursery options, so we may be doing some shopping before March.

*************

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. Cloud b sent me the Tranquil Turtle to try out, but the opinions here are all my own. Well, and Eddie and Charlie’s.

soccer season

Before we had kids, Cortney and I talked about how we would absolutely not push them into a sport or activity that they did not want to do. Yes, Cortney played soccer and I was a band nerd, but we weren’t going to make our kids do those things. We wanted them to follow their own passions and interests.

Of course, I know that both of us always hoped we would have at least one of our children interested in the things we were. I am holding out for at least one band geek–especially a brass player–so when Eddie tells me maybe he would like to play the tuba some day, I am encouraging, but not overly so. I don’t want him to think I will be horribly disappointed if he chooses a woodwind (shudder) or choir (bigger shudder).

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Eddie at 7 months.

It has never been a secret that Cortney hopes for a soccer player.

Cort played since he was very little and all the way through high school. He did some adult leagues before we were married and is hoping to get back into some this year or next.

And Eddie has been wearing little soccer warm-up suits since he was tiny.

He always picked the soccer ball out of the pile.

He always picked the soccer ball out of the pile.

Even though I think he would have hoped for a soccer player with a girl too, I know as soon as we found out Eddie was a boy, Cortney began to think about the day he would help his little guy lace up his first pair of cleats.

He knew this would be a way he could connect and build a relationship with his boy.  Not that he wouldn’t love and support any activity Eddie wanted to do, but this one was special to him.

2014-09-02 18.25.52

Cort even admitted a little jealousy because he never had cleats this awesome.

I was never athletic. I didn’t play any sports. While I was looking forward to Eddie playing soccer because he was excited about it, the Saturday morning games weren’t exactly what I would choose to do. But then I went to his first game.  And not only did I get to watch him be part of a team and love it, I got to hear Cortney cheer for his boy.

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I will admit that Eddie is entertaining to watch because not only does he do a good job (most of the time), but when he does super well–like the goal he scored this past week–he will dance and give the crowd some laughs. I have NO IDEA where he gets that part of his personality.

soccerkick

Right now he plays for the fun of it. He has some natural talent which we encourage, but if next fall comes around and he doesn’t want to play again, we are not going to make him.

He’s already talking about doing Tball in the spring, which we will sign him up for soon.

But for another two weeks it’s soccer season.

It’s hard to believe my tiny guy who liked to roll the plush soccer ball back and forth is finally a big kid who wears shin guards and cleats.  Gone are his chubby dimple hands and feet. They have been replaced by long, lanky arms and legs with kid feet (that stink like kid feet after a game…PU!).

Sports are just another reminder that my boys are growing up. But it’s good. It’s something we have been dreaming about for five years and now we get to see it happening in action.

At least we have a few more years before this one chooses a fall sport.

At least we have a few more years before this one chooses a fall sport.

Whether this is our first soccer season of many or just a one and done sport, it doesn’t matter.  We are helping the boys find what they love to do. And that is most important of all.

 

Netflix Equals Family Night

 

StreamTeamBadge (1)

We have been outrageously busy since school started. Most week days involve us all flying out the door well before 7am, with Eddie and I getting home around 4pm and Cortney and Charlie getting home around 5pm. By that time I’m making dinner, Cortney is wrangling boys to get them ready for dinner, and then we are eating dinner.  Next comes baths and jammies. Before we know it we are settling down to watch a couple episodes of Curious George and then it’s off to bed.

Boys out by 8pm and I’m not usually far behind.

Which means all of our “family time” is a rushed battle of “put this on” and “eat this” and “wash up” and “for the love of all things, keep your hands and feet off your brother!”

These two are usually trying to kill each other in the 30 minutes between Charlie getting home and dinner being served.

These two are usually trying to kill each other in the 30 minutes between Charlie getting home and dinner being served.

Weekends have not been any better.

Friday nights have had soccer practice for Eddie with a game Saturday morning. We are rushing here and there constantly.

The theme Netflix sent us Stream Team members this month was about a family pizza and movie night. I thought it sounded like a fabulous idea!  Just what we needed!

And now here we are with just a few days left in September and we haven’t done it yet. So this past Friday night, I said enough. Eddie was supposed to have soccer practice at 6pm. But he was tired and sick of the week. We needed a break.

So we ordered up a pizza and sat together as a family who didn’t have anything pressing to get to.  It was Friday night, and we could all take a collective breath. AND I didn’t have to cook. Bonus.

Saturday after his game, Eddie and I sat down to watch some new episodes of Turbo Fast on Netflix. It was the perfect way to relax while Charlie napped and Cortney mowed the lawn. I may have even dozed off when Eddie started watching the new Clone Wars episodes.

It was a fabulous weekend. One we very much needed.

Thank you Netflix, for the inspiration to slow down and enjoy each other (and some fun shows)!

Netflix_Logo_Print_FourColorCMYK

Project 365 {week 39}

I’m on time with this post!

I am also fueled by like a pound of sour jelly bellies.

what?

I also didn’t take a single picture for the first half of the week.

It was busy!

But I caught some stuff from the second half.

(Sunday the 21st-Tuesday the 23rd do not exist in photos)

September 24: chocolate from a bloggy friend while reading a bloggy friend's book after eating a meal made from a recipe by a bloggy friend.

September 24: chocolate from a bloggy friend while reading a bloggy friend’s book after eating a meal made from a recipe by a bloggy friend.

September 25: made a new visual objective board for my classroom. See? This picture is boring. It's why I don't take more pictures of working. It is dull to everyone but me.

September 25: made a new visual objective board for my classroom. See? This picture is boring. It’s why I don’t take more pictures of working. It is dull to everyone but me.

September 26: Came home to a big shipment of books for my classroom library thanks to a VERY generous donor!

September 26: Came home to a big shipment of books for my classroom library thanks to a VERY generous donor!

September 27: This foot kicked its first soccer goal...and came home and did some sweet sidewalk painting. Because it was 80 degrees. Boom.

September 27: This foot kicked its first soccer goal…and came home and did some sweet sidewalk painting. Because it was 80 degrees. Boom.

It was a pretty good week.

This week I have some actual blog posts for you too!

I get to share about stuff I love and that is working great for my family…

I have my 16 week OB appointment…

and if I am feeling up to it, I have some other things that I might finish and publish.

Good times.

Busy times, but good times.

Project 365 {week 38}

Arghhhh!!!

Why can’t I do these posts ON TIME?

And why do I forget to take a “picture a day”?

That is the dang point of DOING Project 365.

Sigh. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am documenting what we do each day.

It’s fun to look back on all the years I’ve been doing it (I think five now? maybe?) and watch us grow and change.

So…this is what I have of week 38…

Sept 14: I discover that my aversion to coffee is GONE!  The angels may have sang. Also pumpkin spice latte.

Sept 14: I discover that my aversion to coffee is GONE! The angels may have sang. Also pumpkin spice latte.

September 15: A rare moment of calm between these two. Since they don't see each other all day, there is major ruckus that goes on each evening.

September 15: A rare moment of calm between these two. Since they don’t see each other all day, there is major ruckus that goes on each evening.

Let’s see…Sept 16 and 17 were just busy days.

School and such.

Oh, Charlie had his 30-month well-child and took his shots like a champ.

And he’s still 75% for height and 85% for weight. That may seem big, but compared to Eddie being always off the charts? He’s still our little Bird.

September 18: The weather started to get cooler, so I made something new that I found on Pinterest: chili mac n cheese.  WIN!

September 18: The weather started to get cooler, so I made something new that I found on Pinterest: chili mac n cheese. WIN!

September 19: Ugg. This day did not go well. At least it was a Friday and I would get some sort of break for a few days.

September 19: Ugg. This day did not go well. At least it was a Friday and I would get some sort of break for a few days.

September 20: I spent all day in Lansing working on Common Core stuff, but this little guy gave me great cuddles after his bath that evening. New week coming up!

September 20: I spent all day in Lansing working on Common Core stuff, but this little guy gave me great cuddles after his bath that evening. New week coming up!

It’s been hard to keep up with life lately.

So much comes home with Eddie and he is a non-stop chatter box with all he is learning (yay)!

There are also lunches to pack, cuddles to get, and quizzes to grade.

There is soccer and church and keeping up with work.

It’s a lot.

Something had to be put on the back burner, and I’m afraid it’s my writing/blogging.

But that is the season right now, ya know?

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