you said it, kid.

Dear Eddie,

I just put you down for your last nap of our spring break together, and I am sad about it.

No really, I am.

You might think I am a horrible mother for saying this, but I dreaded spring break.

Oh, I needed the break from work badly, but the idea of staying home alone with you every day and not having a break gave me so much anxiety.

When you were born, the two of us were home alone together for almost three months.

It did not go well.

Daddy got laid off when you were four months old and stayed home with you for 17 months.

The days or hours that you and I had alone together were few.  This semester we have had Monday and Wednesday evenings.  They are usually hit and miss in the “going well” department.

So like I said, with spring break approaching?  I was terrified of you.

And as I suspected, we started out sort of rocky, but as the break progressed?  Something happened.

We found a flow.

Mornings became our favorite time together (yes, mom, you read that correctly).

Between 7:00 and 8:00 am every day, I would slowly wake to your chatter in the other room.

Even though I wanted to stay sleeping, knowing that you would have a big smile was a bigger pull than my pillow.

As I could hear you counting, I would wake the house up by starting coffee, opening blinds, and finding Handy Manny on Disney.

By the time I was spitting my toothpaste into the sink you would be calling, “Daaaeeee”.  I would smirk knowing you forgot that it was not Daddy getting you up.

You would smile and point at all the items you had tossed from the crib.

You would chatter on about things only you knew as I turned off your nightlight and humidifier.

As the coffee percolated, you and I would mesh into each other on the couch for some Disney channel until you were ready to explore the world.

Sometime midweek, I taught you to finally say, “maaa maa!” although I had my doubts that you associated it with me and were not just mimicking what I was saying.

We had construction crews in and out this week.  We had playdates.  We had fun.

Our mornings were filled with books and trucks and Little People villages and trains.

And then this morning, after reading Where is the Green Sheep for the third time, I asked you “where is Eddie?”

You pointed at your chest and nodded while carefully pronouncing, “Eh-ee”.

I beamed with pride all the way from the tips of my toes, “That’s right!!!  And I love Eddie!  More than all the green sheep in the world!”

Then I cautiously asked, “And were is momma?”

You scrunched up that nose into your mischievous smile and pointed at me.

I was about to praise you for getting it right when you nodded with each syllable saying, “maa maa”.

Oh Eddie.

I couldn’t contain myself.

I grabbed you and hugged you so hard you said, “noooooo”.

So I tickled you instead.

We both shouted “MAA MAA, EH-EE!”” together over and over.

And fell over in a fit of ridiculous giggles.

I think Daddy is right.  You and I?  Are a lot alike.

That makes me happy.

Now I have a Goofball in Crime.

I love you to the moon and back.

With a drum on my head.

Love,

Maa Maa

taking it to the fence

The first time I stood up to a bully I was in the fifth grade.

I don’t remember what I was doing, but I do remember someone I didn’t know approaching me.

“Are you Chris R’s sister?”

“Yeah, why?”

“He needs you.  Someone is bullying him.”

That was all I needed to hear.  I turned to head straight for The Little Kid Playground.  I went over the invisible line between playgrounds risking…well…I have no idea what I was risking.  It was just understood that you didn’t cross into the other playground.

The bully had my brother backed up against a chain link fence and was taunting him with fat jokes.

My brother was a hefty little guy.

With adorable freckles.

With perfectly straight hair.

With the best smile in the world.

And this jerk was making him scared and attempting to make him feel bad about himself.

With his words.

I didn’t even stop to think.

I grabbed the bully, flung him against the fence, and with me face in his hissed, “NO BODY CALLS MY BROTHER FAT BUT ME!”

I gave him a couple good shoves and told him to never come near my brother again.

I don’t like violence, but I do feel compelled to stick up for the little guy.

Bullying is abhorrent to me.

Roughly 20 years later I was again standing up to bullies for the little guy, but this time the little guy was my nephew.  Chris’ son.

He was innocently playing in the McDonald’s play thing when a couple kids (who were way too big to be in the tunnels) blocked his way and started calling him a baby.

Again I stepped in and told those kids to grow up.  Then I marched over to their oblivious mothers and clued them in to what they were too busy to see.

Bullying is NOT ok.

And now I find myself in this world called Mommy Bloggers where we are all supposed to be adults.  We know the difference between right and wrong.

Or we should.

But there are still people out there…ADULTS…who feel the need to bully other adults.  Or try to.

And why?  To try to reinforce their own shaky beliefs?  To make themselves feel right because they lack the self-esteem to just believe in themselves?

It doesn’t matter.

I don’t tolerate it.  Not here.  Not in my space.

Yes, I am a Mommy Blogger.

Yes, I make choices that are not popular with everyone.

Yes, I make choices that are totally mainstream.

Because it’s my right to do so.

And it’s your right to disagree with me.  But not in a condensing, bullying manner.

Sluiter Nation is not a place for jerk-holes.

Bullying is NOT ok with me, and in real life, I will stand up to bullies against me or anyone else all day long.

Here?  I will not give platform to someone who is nothing but a troll.

Differing opinion is welcome.  Douche-baggery is not.

The blog world–specifically the MOMMY Blog world–is a community.  And a community needs each other for support…not to tear each other down.

Sluiter Nation will never be part of tearing anyone down…only lifting people up.

And being a support and voice when needed.  Just run over the line and come get me and I’ll be there for you.

Just ask my brother and my nephew.
BWS tips button

“no” is an answer

Oh I believe in miracles…

I believe in a better world…for me and you.

Oh..Oh I believe in miracles…

I believe in a better world…for me and you.*

Dear Lord, please heal Cort’s dad.  Take the cancer away and make him whole.

No.

Dear Lord, please let this bleeding be normal and NOT a miscarriage.

No.

Dear Lord, I want to be a mom so badly.  Please help my body know what to do.

Not yet.

Dear Lord, please don’t make me go through another miscarriage.  I am too weak.  I can’t do it.

Yes, you can.  And you will.

Dear Lord, please save me from being on the “cut” list for work.

No.

Dear Lord, please help Cort keep his job in these hard times.

No.

Dear Lord, please make these demons leave my head.  Please make me the mom others think I am.  Please help me fix this crazy.

No.  You can’t fix yourself alone.

Why, Lord?  Why us?  We are good people and hard workers.  We try to be like Jesus and love people and give of ourselves.  WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?

—silence—

Lord, I want to turn my back!  I want to do this alone.  I think you must have lost your “plan” for us somewhere.  You have left us!

Go ahead and try.

Lord, this is our plan…please oh PLEASE let it work.

No.

Lord, I can’t be in charge.  I can’t make anything work right.  Just please handle it for me.  Please let me find someone who will love me for everything I am RIGHT NOW.

Here is Cortney.

Lord, I can’t make things better with Cort’s dad.  He is going to die.  Please let me know what to do to help Cort.

I will strengthen your shoulders and pad your hugs.

Lord, he lost his dad and his appendix and now he is alone in the hospital.  What do I do?

Stay with him.  I’ll be there too.

Lord, I only have one try left.  I can only try once more.  Please bless us with a child this time.

Here is Edward Steven.

Lord, please help me keep my job.  My family needs me to provide.

You will teach Spanish.  You can also teach at the college.

Lord, I can’t change myself.  I need help.

Here is Cortney.  Here is your family.  Here is an internet full of support.  Here are your friends.  Here is your doctor.  Here is Celexa.  Here is a therapist.

Lord, what will we do?  Unemployment runs out in August.

Here is a job for Cortney.

Sometimes the answer is no.

But sometimes?  The answer is yes.

No matter how many times you falter.  He will save some “yes’s” for you.

This week?  He finally said YES to Cort’s job prayers after many, MANY no’s.

We are blessed.

*lyrics from “I believe in miracles” by Pearl Jam

If you also believe in miracles, please pray for our nephew(s)/niece(s) in Ethiopia.  Our siblings were dealt a GIANT “no” this week in their adoption process.  Please read about it here.

Click to vote every 24 hours for Sluiter Nation to win the Mom Central grant!

And don’t forget to shop my Thirty-One party!  Ends this week! (go to “my events” and shop my party–Katie Sluiter).


Top Ten Tuesday: Causes

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is way important to me.  Way.  This week I am choosing to tell you about the causes that are most important to Sluiter Nation.  The ones we spend our money, our time, and our prayers on.

10. Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure: Cort and I have had friends and family who have been touched by breast cancer.  This past fall we chose to raise money for and participate in the Grand Rapids Area 5K.  It was one of the biggest blessings to me to be so close to so many survivors and family/friends of survivors.  Reading the names of who people were racing for made my heart swell.  If you would like more information or to donate, please go here.

9. Hospice: Hospice of Holland has been specifically close to our hearts. They came in the final moments of Cort’s dad’s life.  Cort’s grandpa was also blessed by one of their nurses to guide him and grandma through his final days.  Hospice does everything from make patients comfortable in the last moments, to helping the family understand each step, to helping pay for meds.  They are truly a blessing.  To learn more or make a donation, please go here.

8. JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation): My very best friend since middle school, Tonya, got the news eleven years ago–just before getting married–that she had JD.  I read up on it and was devastated for her.  I pledged to her that I would do anything I could to help her stay healthy and alive.  I need her and love her.  Each year that she has participated in the walk, I have pledged.  I hope to walk with her some day.  If you would like to pledge to a walker or donate, please go here.

7. The American Cancer Society: As I said before, many of the women in our lives have battled breast cancer.  We have also had members of our family battle other types of cancer, particularly lung cancer. Six years ago, Cort’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Five and a half years ago that lung cancer claimed his life.  I hate cancer.  HATE it.  It was by far the most devastating thing I have ever had to witness.  Not just what it did to my father-in-law (which was ugly and evil), but what it did the family and friends who had to witness it.  If you hate cancer?  Please consider donating.

6. Alzheimer’s Association: A decade ago Alzheimer’s stole my grandmother.  Alzheimer’s may as well be a cancer of the brain.  I forced my beautiful, lively grandma jo to forget the year, what she was doing, how to live on her own, how to care for herself, who her family was, and finally?  how to live.  I can’t bear to think of anyone else having their mind taken this way.  Please consider donating.

5. American Heart Association: Heart disease runs in Cort’s side of the family.  Both his dad and his grandpa were going to cardio-rehab before they died of other things.  OTHER THINGS!  Heart attacks did NOT claim their lives–even though they both lived through them!  This is because of the amazing strides in heart care!  But there is more work to be done!  Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in women?  It so is!  Please help!

4. Postpartum Depression (and other postpartum mental illness): This one is extremely important to me.  It’s not a donation thing this time…it’s more of an advocacy thing.  Someone recently said to me that she thinks PPD is over-diagnosed.  After repressing the need to smack her, I calmly told her it’s not OVER-diagnosed, it’s just more common because women are finally speaking up when something isn’t right rather than thinking they can just get through it.  Amen to that.  Want more resources?  Here is my favorite list.

3. Project: Purse and Boots (the American Stroke Association): My lovely friend, Lori, has launched a crusade against strokes.  Yet another evil thing that has affected people we love.  I raised my hand HIGH when she asked for volunteers to host “pursey” and try to raise some money to fight strokes.  If you want to read more about Pursey’s travels all over the country?  Go here.  If you want to donate?  Click this button:

2. Blankets For Hope: My lovely sponsor, Erika, from Bird E Studios has started the most beautiful charity.  After her wee cousin, Cullen, was diagnosed with cancer, she knew she had to use her talents to make him something that would help him feel safe and loved.   So she made him a fleece blanket.  After finding out what a comfort it was to him, she decided to dedicate 15% of all her shops sales to materials to make more blankets for more children with cancer.  Cancer is evil enough attacking adults, but children?  It breaks my heart to think of the little ones having to battle such pain.  Purchasing goods from Bird E Studios is one way to donate to Erika’s cause, but if you would like to donate directly, you can do so here:



1. Heroes for Holden: Anyone who is on twitter knows Jen (@thenextmartha) and her blog The Martha Project. Most of the time her blog is so funny I have to make sure I am not drinking any liquids for fear or spitting them on my computer screen.   But this weekend, Jen posted about Holden, a little boy who had his genitalia mutilated at only 5 weeks old by his drug addicted mother. (you can read the entire story on Jen’s blog). She could not NOT do something, so she started a crusade.  Heroes for Holden was an established cause to donate to, but Jen decided she could advocate and raise money for this sweet little boy who is now two years old and facing years of surgeries, hormone treatments, and psychological sessions.  Please…PLEASE help this little boy.

There you have it.  The Top Ten causes that are important to Sluiter Nation.  We have more (we have been known to help Habitat for Humanity and donate to GoodWill, local food pantries, and missions), but these are the top that hit closest to home for us.

Please consider doing Top Ten Tuesdays this week and link up your causes, and maybe if each of us donated to ONE of someone else’s we could be making a real difference. (plus I have a nifty new button you can grab over on the right side of the blog!  Yay!)
Oh and?  Don’t forget to go out and donate blood.  It will save three lives and it’s easy.

little reminders

I used to consume myself by worrying about big things–things that are really beyond my control.

I worry about what we will do if one of our cars dies, or how we will find money to put in Eddie’s college fund, or what we would do if we accidentally got pregnant.  How would we pay for another baby?

I have concerns with the state of education in the state of Michigan…actually in the United States.

I worry about cancer and strokes and Alzheimers and diabetes and chronic pain and depression and anxiety.

Big stuff.

I have deadlines.

We have a crazy schedule that doesn’t allow for much family time.

Both of us have To Do lists and agendas on our computers, on our calendar, in our planners, in our minds.

This week my therapist asked me where in my day do I find my joy?

I told her it’s in the little things.

Specifically? the little person who lives in my house.

there is evidence everywhere of this little man.

there is miniature versions of big stuff throughout the house….small reminders of something big.

tiny reminders that we make things work. even the big stuff.

Cort and I were talking about how we seem to live in a perpetual state of “if we can just make it through “x”, hopefully we will finally be able to “y”.

We seem to always be “getting through” something.

But daily we are reminded of the tiny big thing that we have in our lives right now.

a small little someone who makes all the big worries melt away.

a little someone who wants to do big things…like his mom and dad.

who watches what we do and how we handle our worries.

Cort and I have always found joy and peace with each other.  We have clung to each other in times of doubt and pain.

But since this little fellow came into our life?  Those worries don’t invade as many of our thoughts…they don’t steal as much of our time.

We find joy and peace in each other and in loving our little man.

In a big way.

We’re Being Carried

This has been a rough week.

Many of you have left me lovely, wonderful comments here and via email.

Thank you.

This week we found out Cort’s grandpa is not doing so well.

A good friend of mine pointed out that my anxiety seems to sky-rocket when I am faced with sickness and mortality.  With the overload of work and the possibility of losing someone else that I love very much, I lost control.  I feel deep.

But then I read your comments.

And I remembered Cort’s dad’s favorite poem.

And I realized that right now?  My family and I are being carried.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

In other news, the discounts from this post expire this coming week.  So get in on them while you can!

Also, I am having an online scentsy party with Joanna of Raising Madison. Every purchase gets entered to win a FREE plug-in warmer!  That is a $15 value for FREE!  Hurry, the party is open through Tuesday, so get in on some fun holiday scents!

Lastly, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday’s will be Top Ten Things on Your Child’s Christmas List.  These can be things YOU want for you baby/toddler/child/teenager or things they have actually TOLD you they want.  Make your list, link up, and get ideas from everyone else!

McFatty and Meal Planning Monday

Meal Planning Monday

I again this week gained a pound.  So 192.

I am pretty sure it was due to yesterday (Saturday).

Yesterday was one of those days where I never left the house…or my sweat pants.  It was too easy to say “yes” when Cort suggested McDonald’s for lunch and then Taco Bell for dinner.

I should be glad that only added one pound, yes?  So today?  I am munching a salad while I type this.

Side note:  The Halloween candy is gone.  No more temptations there.

Also, for anyone keeping track, I only have to teach 10 more night classes before I get my evenings back…and hopefully my booty gets on the treadmill and/or to the gym.  I am WAY looking forward to this!

I really, REALLY love teaching at the community college (actually wish that could be my “real” job), but it’s just taking too much time away from my family and my health.  So I am taking next semester off.

This week will be interesting for McFatty.  I teach two night this week and I have Parent/Teacher Conferences the other two nights.  I will either lose massive amounts of weight or gain it.  It is also my “lady week”.  So we would be looking at a trainwreck of a post next week.

Because my week is going to be so crazy, we won’t get any nights to sit down as a family for any meals. However, I still planned a meal that we can all eat all week long that is healthier, say, than this:

apparently Tony's pizzas were 4 for $10 today. Ugg.

Tonight I will be making my mom’s BBQ recipe so that we can have that on buns all week for lunches and dinner.

My mom’s BBQ:

In a big electric frying pan:

I use two pounds of burger, browned with salt, pepper, and a bit of chopped yellow onion.

Then add 2 cans of chicken gumbo soup and two cans of tomato soup

Add about a cup of ketchup and a couple teaspoons of mustard

Simmer for a few minutes.

I serve on wheat buns.

making this tonight for the whole week!

We also stocked the fridge with fresh fruit and the pantry with canned veggies that we rinse and serve to Eddie.  Cortney bought the monster can of yams because that is the only veggie we know Eddie will eat every time it’s served to him.  Weird?  Probably.

Anyway, we will see how this week goes.

*Tomorrow is Top Ten Tuesdays!  I will be making a list of the Top Ten Things that are necessities to me each day. Won’t you join in?

**Also coming to Sluiter Nation are sponsor highlights…just in time for your holiday shopping!  If you are interested in ad space, I have a few spots available…just in time for the holidays! Email me at sluiternation (@) gmail (dot) com for more information!

Just Breathe

Yes I understand that every life must end, aw-huh…
 As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw-huh…
Oh I’m a lucky [woman] to count on both hands
the ones I love…
I work too much.
I worry too much.
I get caught up in the piles and the To Do’s.
And because of all this craziness that is suddenly in my life now?  I have learned to slow it WAY down when I am with my family.
Some folks just have one,
yeah, others they’ve got none, uh-huh.
I am awfully lucky for what I’ve got.
I not only have an army of people near and far who love me and are concerned for me and my family, but I have the most wonderful, joyful little family right here under my own roof.
Stay with me…
let’s just breathe….
This week I moved my laptop downstairs to a little “office” that Cort made for me in the laundry room.  
I cut out my computer time before work.
I don’t look at my computer until after Eddie is in bed.
It’s been lovely.
Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win, aw-huh…
Under everything, just another human being, aw-huh…
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
to make me believe.
We also got served another punch this week when Cort was passed over for a job he was practically guaranteed.  
And so we leaned on each other.
We are finding more quiet moments now that I am so busy.
We are talking more.
We have better discussions.
Stay with me…
you’re all I see.
Cortney and Eddie are my rocks.
Cort brings Eddie to school every Wednesday so I will never have a day that I don’t see my wee little guy.  
Eddie never cares what our job situations are.  He just loves to love life.
Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh if I didn’t I’m a fool, you see…
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean…
I have been struggling with mom guilt and with wife guilt and with friend guilt and with blogger guilt and with weight guilt.
But my boys?  They just are there.  They are there when I need them.  They listen as I cry.  They laugh when life gets crazy.
We make do.
We celebrate the small moments…even if it’s just for 30 minutes after school in my classroom.  We are together.
And I need that.
And I love that.
I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw-huh…
Everything you gave
And nothing would you take, aw-huh…
Nothing would you take
Everything you gave…

This crazy life has made me realize how lucky I am.

I don’t think my boys will ever EVER know how thankful I am for them.
The funny thing is, most of this busyness is FOR THEM.  
And they never complain about me being gone.  Ever.
The house gets cleaned.  The errands get run.  The bills get paid.
With me never saying anything.
I am so very lucky.
Did I say that I need you?
Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool, you see…
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean, ah-ah…

I can’t do anything without Cort and Eddie’s support.
My buddy turned 15 months in this whirl of madness.  He is babbling, and walking backwards, and doing Ring Around the Rosie’s, and climbing on things, and loving books.
His brillance makes me want to be better.
Cortney keeps our house running.  He pays the bills.  He keeps us comfy.  He makes it so Eddie never knows that we are struggling.
He supports my weight loss (I am holding fast at 193, by the way.  But it is good.  Lots of good choices this week).
He does things that aren’t his favorite (like family pictures) to make me happy.
He somehow keeps persevering after each rejection because he is strong.
He keeps this family going.
Nothing you would take…
Everything you gave.
Love you til I die…
meet you on the other side.
Together we hold on.  We just breathe.
*lyrics from the song “Breathe” by Pearl Jam
This is also my McFatty Monday post.  Hop on over here for more.
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