Out With The Old

Well, well, well 2014. So you’re finally over, eh?

Can’t say I am too sad about that.

Don’t get me wrong; you had your high points. Actually, you started out super great!

You sent us a LOT of snow...which I hate, BUT it made for lots of fun snow days...which I love. And my district didn't have to make any up!

You sent us a LOT of snow…which I hate, BUT it made for lots of fun snow days…which I love. And my district didn’t have to make any up!

You brought the baptism of my little nephew, Ezra.

You brought the baptism of my little nephew, Ezra.

you encouraged me with some of the most lovely friends I could ever ask for.

you encouraged me with some of the most lovely friends I could ever ask for.

Charlie had his first haircut.

Charlie had his first haircut.

Charlie turned 2.

Charlie turned 2.

I turned 36 with this crazy crew.

I turned 36 with this crazy crew.

We took Eddie to Chicago for Spring Break.

We took Eddie to Chicago for Spring Break.

I went along on the Spanish Trip to Chicago and got to hang with these weirdos.

I went along on the Spanish Trip to Chicago and got to hang with these weirdos.

The world came out to help me build my classroom library.

The world came out to help me build my classroom library.

I said goodbye to my best year (and students) in my teaching career.

I said goodbye to my best year (and students) in my teaching career.

I was published and did a book reading with my biggest fans in the audience.

I was published and did a book reading with my biggest fans in the audience.

Eddie turned 5!

Eddie turned 5!

Cortney took a day off so we could take a family trip to the zoo.

Cortney took a day off so we could take a family trip to the zoo.

we grew a garden again.

we grew a garden again.

we took boat rides

we took boat rides

I got pregnant!

I got pregnant!

my nephew, Harrison, was born

my nephew, Harrison, was born

I went to BlogHer in California and was honored as a Voice of the Year.

I went to BlogHer in California and was honored as a Voice of the Year.

We visited Papa Steve.

We visited Papa Steve.

I ate these ribs.

I ate these ribs.

Eddie started Kindergarten.

Eddie started Kindergarten.

I started a new teaching position.

I started a new teaching position.

Eddie played soccer

Eddie played soccer

I was published again!

I was published again!

We found out we were having a GIRL!

We found out we were having a GIRL!

I presented about using Reader's Workshop at the MCTE conference.

I presented about using Reader’s Workshop at the MCTE conference.

I was published...AGAIN!

I was published…AGAIN!

Eddie learned to read and write.

Eddie learned to read and write.

This guy turned 36

This guy turned 36

My dad retired after 46 years with the same company.

My dad retired after 46 years with the same company.

We celebrated Christmas

We celebrated Christmas

Behind these pictures though, somewhere in June, a deep sadness set in. There were a lot of unknowns going on, disappointments, and changes that I didn’t want to accept.

It’s hard because as I started inserting the pictures from June on, I felt the sadness all over. Graduation was my last truly happy photo.  I can see the forced smile on my face. I have so many blessings, but this year has been tough. Pregnancy is hard on me both physically and mentally. Change is hard for me…even when it’s good.

I am truly happy with the changes in our lives, but it’s still a ball of emotions for me.

So yes, I am excited for a new year. 2015, I’m looking at you. Please be kind to the Sluiter Family.

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BTW: if you usually find your way here via the Sluiter Nation Facebook page, you might want to go over there to my sidebar where it says “enter your email” and go ahead and do that. Facebook isn’t going to let me share links on my page anymore starting in January. ::cue sad trombone”

Disentangling

In 2013 I said “YES!” to a lot of things.

I decided to “go back” to school via some online classes so I could get my “Plus 30”: thirty credits beyond my Master’s Degree that will get me up to the next level in our pay scale in my district. I have four more classes to go (two this semester and two this summer) until I am done.

I said “yes” to going back to my adjunct position at the local community college. I taught two nights a week during fall semester and I loved it.

I said “yes” to freelance writing.

I say “yes” to my job of teaching every day.

I tried to say “yes” to doing more with my family and my kids–especially during the summer.

As a result of all those times I said YES gave my year some very rich joy and a sense of accomplishment.  But as with anything I do, it also resulted in some tremendous stress and anxiety.

Work and home and grading and writing and family and my time ended up all rolled into one big tangled ball of ugly from time to time. There were times when I fell asleep putting Eddie to bed only to wake up two hours later, trudge upstairs and stand looking from my computer to my pile of work to my bedroom door.

This year, instead of doing a resolution, I am choosing one word to guide me for 2014.

My word is:

disentangle

Yes, in 2014 I want to “disentangle” myself from the pitfalls of saying yes.  It doesn’t mean I am not still open to possibility, it means that I want to free myself from the extraneous details and the snarls of things that don’t matter.

I want to wander the internet aimlessly less often.

I want to be able to say “no” when I really, truly just want to have a free weekend with my family.

I want to be able to leave work at work.

I want to remember that putting my own children before my students is not a bad thing; in fact it is the right thing.

I want to strip away the things that I do for no other reason than I think I should do them.

I want to rid myself of the piles of nonsense at the end of each day and find my husband–my friend–waiting for me to engage.

I want to shed the shackles that keep me saying “yes” to things out of pride that I can add more to the list of what I can do and what I have done in the hopes of impressing…who?

I want to let go of the things that I have been clinging to that are of no use to me, and may actually be harming me.

I want to unleash the grip of finding comfort in food and other unhealthful things that have woven their way around me.

I want to let myself have room to think and breathe before making commitments.

I want to do things that make me happy, even if other people know nothing about them.

I want to continue to untangle the thoughts on my mind and in my heart here and on real paper.

2014 is the year I hope to Disentangle myself from myself in order to really BE myself.

What is your word for 2014?

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