BFFs and Netflix

My best friend since the 7th grade lives in Chicago which takes almost three hours one-way to get to.  We don’t see each other as much as either of us would like.

But back in the day…in high school…we were inseparable. We almost never had classes together–I’m not sure why–but we always found a way to see each other between classes. I can still remember my senior year schedule after 18 years:

I didn’t see anyone before school because I was always late, but after first hour Spanish 3, we passed in the hallway on my way to government (this is also where she would tell me if her first hour government class got donuts so I could tell our class and get some for us too).

Third hour we had advanced psychology together. This is where we watched a birthing video, a kid fainted, and she yelled out, “OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THAT BABY DOING TO THAT WOMAN?!?”  We both vowed to never have babies until we were in our 30’s. (Eddie was born when I was 31 and she gave birth at 34).

Fourth hour I had band and she went to lunch.

After band I had lunch and we met by my locker to walk to 5th hour together. Every day we passed an English teacher named Mr. Larsen and I said, “Hi to my favorite teacher I never had!” and he said hello to us always calling my BFF his favorite red-headed student.

We sat near the front in our Brit Lit class together. Daily we made our teacher chuckle with our “verbal fluencies” discussing whatever topic he told us to.

Neither of us had a last hour in the building. I was a teacher’s aid for the band director and she did some community learning thing where she assisted an elementary teacher. Some days, when neither of us had to report, we did a 7-11 run.

Come to think of it, we did a LOT of 7-11 runs back then.

We were most definitely a dynamic duo.

I miss that randomness now.

There are MANY days when I think, “what I wouldn’t give to jump in the old Nissan, pick up T, and hit 7-11 for a Big Gulp and a King Size Butterfinger.”

After those 7-11 runs we usually went back to her house and watched movies. So many movies. Reality Bites, Pretty in Pink, Footloose and the Wayne’s World movies.

Wayne's World

Oh the Wayne’s World movies…such great memories. Party on!

Anyway, I miss T. I miss our togetherness and how we didn’t have to talk about deep issues or gossip about other people, we just could hang out and discuss why in the world the 7-11 Big Gulp cup said that Mt Dew was available when our store didn’t have it. False advertising, yo.

Sometimes, like Wayne and Garth, the best friends are those who are just fun and get you without having to have deep conversations.

Although I like to think that if we still lived close, we would have those big discussions about religion, politics, child-raising, etc.But maybe not.

What I know is this: If you have a person in your life who you can be half of a duo with, someone who makes you laugh and is easy to be around, say an extra “thank you” for that person. Because I miss mine.

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are mine. Netflix provided my family with a free year subscription of Netflix and an ipad mini to watch it on.

we have friends…

we have friends…

whom we have known for about 20 years…

that we went to middle school, high school, and college with…

who were with us at our first concerts…

who searched high and low for the rare concert “bootleg” cd in all the record stores…

who now live all over the country from west to east to north to south…

who have seen us cry…

who have been in our wedding…

whom we can be silly with…

who have held and loved our child…

who have held and loved us…

whom we have visited…

who come to visit us…

thanks for covering up my new mom boobs.

whom we only see once or twice a year instead of every single day like in the good old days…

who we miss before we even leave them…

damn, i love these girls.

i am so lucky we were able to be together this Thanksgiving.

Celebrating Those Who Serve By Eating a Corndog

So I know I have a whole trip to Indy to tell you about.  And normally on Fridays you get to come and see my flip-offs.  I don’t have flip-offs this week.  Well, maybe to the 102 degree weather in Indy that had sweat rolling down my back and into my…well…anyway.  But other than that?  Nope.  I had a great week.

But of course if you are longing for the satisfaction of reading some flip-offs, definitely do head over to Kludgy Mom and read hers…and link up, if you’re a blogger.

ANYWAY…this post?  This post is about something that was a LONG time coming for me.

I’m talking about the Coast Guard Festival.

I live less than 30 minutes from Grand Haven, MI where the annual Coast Guard Festival is held.  It’s kind of a big deal.  There is much festival-ness about it, and for good reason!  The Coast Guard is a very important part of our Armed Forces!  And here in Michigan, living on the lake, we rely on them for search and rescue, but nationally the protect our waters!  They are a REALLY big deal, so it’s pretty awesome that we have this festival right here on our own turf to honor them.

And I?  Had never been to the festival.

My friend Missy–you know, my super fantastic talented beautiful friend, Missy?  This one right here? Yup, her family lives in Grand Haven and goes annually.  She decided Sluiter Nation must…MUST…attend the festival this year.

So we did.

On Friday morning we headed out into the pleasant weather to first visit the Craft Show.  I had never been to a craft show either (I know, I know…I am gradually coming out from under the rock), and I was pretty impressed!

There were tons of really cool local crafts.  If it wasn’t so dang busy (meaning if we could actually PUSH OUR STROLLERS through the paths, we would have stayed). But it was too crowded for the whole family to move comfortably.

So…we moved on to the FOOD!

The best food booths were right along the water.  So we strolled through Grand Haven and down to the shore.  This?  Is where I found a delightful corn dog and the best invention ever…butterfly fries.  Freshly cut potatoes in swirly formation and deep fried.  They were like chips, but yummier.  WAY yummier.

And I ate them too fast to take a picture.  Sorry.

Eddie and his BFF, Ethan, had a great time enjoying fruit and fried food from the comfort of the strollers.

And what would going to Coast Guard Festival be without touring an actual vessel?  So we walked to the boats.

And the boats?  They are big.

But the guys and kids toured them.  Because that is what boys and kids like to do.

The mommas and the babies sat and chatted.  and maybe got a sun burned part.  It’s NOT dandruff, people!  It’s pealing!

Ahem.

By the time the guys and kids were done touring the big boat, the rides were open.  Missy was determined to get me on a ride.  I generally do NOT love carnival rides, but Missy wanted me to and I love her, so I went on the ride.

Please notice that we sat near the middle because that is supposed to be the least scary spot.  Also notice the small girl sitting next to me?  Yeah, stay tuned about her.

So now you can see that I was holding on for my life.  This?  was terrifying.  It was high.  I don’t like heights.  I screamed.  A lot.  And that sweet looking girl next to me?  She MOCKED me.

Me:  ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Tiny Girl:  Wait.  Are you SCARED?

Me:  It’s SO HIGH!!!!

Tiny Girl:  Really?  This ride is really not scary.  You should go on the ZIPPER!  That is scary!

Me:  ARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (because I can clearly NOT have this conversation right now while the pirate ship is trying to kill me).

Oh that Zipper ride that Tiny Girl was talking about?  This was it.  This was what Jeff (Missy’s bearded hubby) wanted to ride.  With Cort.

As they were standing there in line, I almost vomited just watching the thing squeal and turn.  And Missy told me that Jeff was all excited because NO ONE that they ever take to Coast Guard will go on this thing with him.  Oh boy.

So they get put in this cage thing, see?  And that cage…can totally spin around WHILE the ride is ALSO spinning.

How is vomit NOT going to occur?  I just don’t know. Especially after those corn dogs.  Oh those corn dogs.

That?  Is Cort and Jeff.  Those are their hands holding on for dear life.  I had to stop taking pictures because my stomach was turning.

And yet?  All happy with no puke!  In fact…Cort said he would GLADLY go on again with Jeff.

Yes, we are officially their Coast Guard Festival buddies from now on.  Just based on the Zipper.

Of course, Eddie needed to ride a ride too.  The only thing he could really go on was the carousel.  But he loved it.  I know he’s got his straight face on, but that is what he does when he is taking it all in.  Those little piggies were clamped tight to the horsey and he was holding tight to the pole.

When it was over?  He fussed.  He wanted more.

Although he was also very, very tired. So tired he couldn’t get it together for one last shot with his BFF and his momma’s bestie.

And so, we traveled home.

But we will be back.  Because the Coast Guard?  Is important.  And when they have a Festival?  They serve great corn dogs.

Oh Hey…Another Guest Post:  
So I am over at Tie a Little Ribbon today.  Krystal is all kinds of cool and funny and hilarious and when she asked me to guest post, I just couldn’t say no.  It’s fitting that she runs this post today, after I have been a guest this week.  So head over, leave me a comment over there, and show Krystal some Sluiter Nation love. 

A Bloggy Birthday Gift

This post is in response to the Bloggy Mom’s May Challenge: Blogging about our most cherished friendship.  I must say that I have MANY cherished friendships, but there is one in particular…AND today happens to be her birthday.  Sooo…Happy Birthday my sweet friend.  This one is for you…
Warning:  This post is a wee bit lengthy since my friendship with this amazing woman has been a wee bit lengthy as well.
I met my BFF, Tonya, way back in elementary school.  We went to different elementary schools, but we went to the same church and Sunday school.  She claims to anyone who will listen that my “outgoing” personality “scared her”.  Oh, yeah, I should mention she was VERY quiet and shy back then.
A few years later we found ourselves in the same sixth grade class at the middle school.  I would have to say this is where the friendship began to blossom, if you will.
Throughout middle school, we went to camp, took art (this class may have been where we learned we could egg each other on into fits of laughter), took applied technology together (where our submarine wouldn’t hover, our bridge wouldn’t even hold the bucket, and our sailboat took a nose dive and wouldn’t travel, but where we DID dare each other to file our nails on the electric sander), and had our first sleepovers together.
By high school everyone knew that we were BFF’s.  Even though I was a band geek and she was a cheerleader, we still did everything else together.
We took Spanish class together and made paper flowers for Cinco de Mayo.  She and our other BFF, Erin, were MUCH better students than I was.  Maybe I should have paid more attention…since, well, I TEACH Spanish now!
We were in Dutch Dance together.  Oh yes, living in the West Michigan town were we do, this was an actual High School extracurricular.  I even lettered in it.  Boo ya.
We went to the themed high school dances together.  I believe this was a 70’s dance. I’m pretty sure we were mixing decades here though. And what I wouldn’t give to be able to confidently lift my shirt and reveal my tummy for a photo again.  You will NOT catch me doing THIS any time soon.
And of COURSE we were both at our senior prom.  And since it IS prom season, isn’t this photo fitting? I mean, scary?
After high school we went our separate ways to different colleges, but always kept in touch.
She got married in 2000, right before either of us graduated.  I was there.  In her wedding.  With a bun in my hair.  She is still bitter about this, by the way.  The bun, not me being in her wedding.
She was also diagnosed with juvenile diabetes around this time.  I was devastated for her.  I tried my best to be supportive and always gave when she did the JD  fundraisers and walk-a-thons.  I wrote her a long letter about how she could NOT let this take her away from me.  She cried.  I cried.
Tonya and I are two peas in a pod.  We are so very much the same, but different enough to be perfect for each other.  She has become part of my family and I a part of hers.
I am high-strung, full of anxiety, and very stabby when I get mad.  Tonya is laid back, easy-going, and never freaks out (well, not in front of me anyway).
She always loves me for who I am.  Seven years ago, I went through a very hard break-up.  Tonya and her hubs showed up at my doorstep and took care of me for the next six months.  After telling Tonya that I guessed that love wasn’t really forever, she wrote me a note saying,
“I loved you before he did, and I am still loving you after he is gone.  Real love IS forever.  I will love you forever.”
I still have that note.  I still cry over it.
In June of 2005, I got married to one of my other BFF’s from high school.  Tonya was my matron of honor.  She started crying and couldn’t finish her toast at the reception.  It was one of the only times I have seen her breakdown.
A few years ago she and her hubs moved to Chicago so she could teach.  They always wanted to live in a big city.  I almost fell apart at the thought of Tonya leaving me, but we have had some GREAT fun in Chicago since then.
We saw the Sex in the City movie there together.  Seeing a movie about a big city IN a big city–much cooler than seeing it in a little town.
And she lets me do some sight-seeing when i am there and doesn’t even act embarrassed about it.  This is us in the reflection of “the bean”.  See how touristy I can be?
She has given so much to me–so much more than I feel I have given in this relationship.  But this girl?  She doesn’t keep track.  Not at all.  In fact, she just keeps giving.
In fact, she arranged for my birthday to be celebrated BIG this year in Chicago.  She told me I deserved it since I was pregnant on my 29th bday (and then miscarried), pregnant on my 30th bday (and then miscarried), pregnant on my 31st bday (and then had Eddie!), and so my 32nd bday needed to be BIG.
She made my birthday weekend SO special! And she means the entire world to me.  Every day I wish we were together to get pedicures, go out for coffee, browse book stores, shop for cute teacher clothes and handbags, and just dish about celebrity gossip and teacher pet peeves.
I think she wishes this too.  But we are both very happy where we live. She LOVES the big city and what it has to offer, and I am just a small town, suburbia girl with my little family.
And that is Ok.  She is never far when I need her, and I know she knows that I would be there in two shakes if she ever needed me.
We are meant for each other for ever.
She and my husband are my Best Friends…and they know how to make me laugh when I don’t want to.
Happy Birthday, girlfriend!  I love you more than you can ever know!

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend is always a time for us Sluiters to catch up with friends. Erin and Brad were in town this weekend from North Dakota and Mat, Tonya, and Jeremy were in town from Chicago. Wednesday night we all gathered at the Busscher house to see our great friends who are spread around the country. This year, we missed Phil and Liz, who just moved to South Carolina and couldn’t get the time off to come visit. There was definitely something missnig without them, but we had fun with those who were here! Lucky for us, we had Thanksgiving with Phil and Liz in August when we visited them in NY before they moved!

For Thanksgiving Day this year, Cortney and I decided to try something new. Our good friends, the Visels, invited us over to their house to share Thanksgiving with them. I made chex mix and spinach dip to snack on before dinner, Ben prepared the feast, and I brought over the dessert. It was great teamwork for a delicious and lazy day!

Check out that bird! Ben did such a great job! It was so moist and yummy!
He also made green bean casserole and stuffing in the crockpots! Oh boy…bring it on!
There were also homemade rolls and a yummy orange jello dish! No one went hungry at the Visels!
After playing the wii for a few HOURS, we decided it was pie time. I made apple, pecan, and pumpking pies, and just for Ben, I made a homemade cheese cake! Yum! We had such a great day hanging out with Trisha, Ben, Jason, Jake, and Joe! It’s great to have such good friends who you can relax and be fat with!
The day after Thanksgiving, my mom and I braved the crowds for some deals on our Christmas shopping. I didn’t get all my shopping done, but most of our familiy members now have gifts waiting for them from the Sluiters! We also made one more stop at the Busschers to see ma and pa Busscher one last time before they packed up and headed for Florida in their fifth-wheel, and to see Erin and Brad one last time before they headed to WI to see the Packers play tomorrow.

Today I decided it was time to bust out the Christmas decorations! Louis was not so sure about the new addition to the couch. Hopefully he doesn’t remember what he did to that blanket last year!
Hmmmm…he’s smelling it an awful lot…hopefully I got the smell of his, uh, “marking”, off from it from last year!
He looks pretty comfy on it! I guess he is ready for the Christmas season too! Tonight I will be wrapping some gifts and tomorrow I will be working on my Christmas cards! The fun has begun!

Latest Article…on my BFF!

This time around I got to write about something I suggested…good times! Read on!
http://www.hollandsentinel.com/lifestyle/x541366239/Zeeland-native-runs-Chicago-Marathon

Who Wants to Get Crazy?

This weekend we spent time with friends and family doing fun fall things.

Saturday, we were going to go with Chris and Jack and the Visels to Cranes Orchard, but the weather really didn’t cooperate. Instead, we had a quick lunch at Culver’s and headed over to Crazy Bounce in Holland. Chris and Jack had been there before, but for the rest of us, this was a whole new experience. I had no idea what to expect, but I know I DIDN’T expect to have as much fun as I did!

Everything in Crazy Bounce is inflatable. Jake and Jack grabbed their respective dads and went straight for the HUGE slides! Here is Jake and Ben sliding down the Alligator slide!

Joe even found a place he could have crazy fun!
I don’t think Cort expected to have this much fun either. Here he is laughing after watching Chris and Jack go through the obstacle course.
Jack is telling us what he wants to do next. MAN did that kid have a TON of energy! I had no idea how he could crawl up those huge things so fast, zip down the slide, and then RUN to the next thing! I just wanted to rest!
yeah, I was NOT so awesome at the obstacle course. Chris is behind me pushing me on the butt telling me, “Kate, you are too much for me! You have CLIMB!” How do these kids DO this?
Jack just flies over it like it’s no big deal. DANG!
Cortney gave the course a try himself. Not so easy, is it?
Trisha decided to try to the velcro wall. That suit is really quite attractive. Too bad it was too old and didn’t stick to the wall so well!
Jake and Jack found the ball pit and had TONS of fun in there too!
Last ride down the slide for Chris before it’s time to go!
But before we get back in the car, Jack had to try out the submarine ride.
and so did Jake!
Everyone came back to our house to hang out and watch the MSU/U of M game (Go State, by the way! Whoot, whoot!), and Jake just had to take a little nap…so much fun was had!
Today, we had lunch, birthday, and pumpkin fun at Mother Kim’s house. We had a GREAT dinner of lasagna followed by apple crisp. We also took a minute to celebrate Kim and Cody’s birthdays (which are this Thursday and Friday respectively). After dinner it was time for our traditional sibling pumpkin carving!

We all grabbed our pumpkins that Kim bought for us and headed down stairs!
Who gave me a sharp knife? Not a good idea!
Check out my jack-o-lantern. He is a little crooked and slow looking, but he’s loveable!
Cortney blew everyone away with his carving talents as usual!

Dave had a whole plan this year…he even brought a stencil! He was NOT messing around! He ended up creating the Obama symbol. It was pretty sweet!
Mom steps back to check out her own handiwork.
While Kenz carefully carves her pumpkin.

After the carving, we all posed for our annual picture! Check out all those fun jack-o-lanterns!
We had so much fun with our family and friends this weekend! We can’t wait until Friday when we get to see costumes and give out candy! Happy Halloween!

More Labor Day Weekend Fun

Today Cort and I went over to my mom and dad’s house to have birthday dinner for my brother, Chris’s 28th birthday (which is actually on Tuesday). Mom bought yummy Coldstone icecream cakes…look at all those candles! Blow ’em out, old man!
Then it was time for gifts. Chris got a bunch of new duds for work. I think he enjoyed them.
Nice new pants!
After birthday lunch, Cort and I headed back out to the marina, this time for a ride on the big boat out to the Big Lake.
I think Jake wanted to captain the boat.

We motored out about 2 1/2 miles from shore and went for a dip. It was such a hot day that the chilly water felt really good! The ride back was definitely coolere after our swim!
I think Cortney was a bit bummed that all the boating fun was almost over for the weekend…and the season.
Jake was pretty much done with all my camera clicking!
Joe and I hung out for a few last minutes on the boat after we pulled back into the slip. After we got back Ben made a great dinner of tequila lime chicken. What a great weekend with great friends! Thanks to the Swanbergs and the Visels for all the fun!

Labor Day Weekend…Part I

Labor Day weekend started with us not having any cable. While reading a book was just fine for me, Cortney felt differently. Luckily, Trisha and Ben helped save us from boredom on Saturday.

We hopped on the Swanberg’s boat (Trisha’s mom and dad) around 1:30 on Saturday and headed south on the Big Lake to the dune area. We anchored with what seemed like the rest of the marina, and sat on the beach for the day. It was a pretty hot day, so we made sure to pack a lot of frosty beverages. Shortly after getting settled on the beach, we saw these horses taking a dip in the lake! Here’s Joe enjoying his lazy beach day in his fancy swimsuit. And Cortney enjoys the beach day with a frosty beer.
At some point, Trisha thought it would be a good idea to climb the dune. It took some persuading, but she got me give it a try. We look tired and hot because we WERE!
After running down…we cooled off with some more beverages.
Jake chose to cool off by sticking his face in a bucket of water.

Dang! That feels good!
Joe just keeps smiling! I knew it wouldn’t take long before Cort was playing in the sand…cheers to your sand shovel, little guy!
Cortney and I had a great time on the beach!
Partly because there was so much great food! mmmmmm!!!!

Jake thought he would work off his hotdog with a climb of the dune himself!
The beach RULES!!!
Hey…who decided to take this picture?
After a LOOONNGGG day, it was time to jump back on the boat and jet on home. As you can see, I wasn’t as diligent about my sunblock regime as Cortney was. At least it didn’t end up being painful later.

Seeing Big Red means the marina is getting close!

Cort and I enjoyed our putz back up the channel to the marina.
And Ben tried on some new duds….hey Ben…I don’t think that fits!
Back at the marina we got changed and decided to get some dinner at the club. Well, after another beverage that is.
What a great day out on the lake!

Whitecaps Game with the Visels

I haven’t been to a Whitecaps game since high school, but that all changed last night! A few weeks ago Trisha and I were talking about how we should go, so Cort got online and bought us tickets right behind third base and the visitor dugout! The seats were so great, but the company was even better! It was Altogas Thrifty Thursday, so as soon as we got there we loaded up on $2 hotdogs and beer! mmm!!!If you’ve ever been to a Whitecaps game, you know they do ridiculous things between innings to keep the fans involved. Last night was no exception. First of all, it was Beatles night, so when they put pictures of the players on the screen, they all had the Beatle bowl cuts and big ole mustaches. The event people also dressed up as Seargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club. It was a little silly, but the funniest thing they did was fling hotdogs into the stands. Yup, the pig in the picture is pulling back a slingshot loaded with a wrapped hotdog. A good idea in theory, but once flung, the dog came out of the wrapper and bun and dog seperated and fell into the crowd. Definietly hilarious! Cortney and I had tons of fun! We didn’t make it to a Tiger game this summer, so we were pretty excited to get a little live baseball in!

Ben and Trisha disappeared for a beer refill and came back with the BEST gift ever for me…a FOAM FINGER! Oh man, I do NOT think they understood how much I was going to love that thing! Who loves her foam finger? THIS girl!
I loved my finger so much, that when Crash the Chipmunk walked over on the dugout, I had a bit of a “finger fight” with him. I can’t lie…I think he won.
After the game (which the Whitecaps won), I tried to stand on the dugout fo rmy picture, but apparently that is a no-no, because a tubby security guard came jogging over yelling at me. So, we settled for sitting on it instead. We had SOOO much fun with the Visels! We can’t wait to plan our next adventure with them!

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