on turning two

one week old

You are the same.
But different.

You arrived with wisps of brown hair
and eyes that were almost always
closed.

Loud squawks and cries filled
our once
quiet house.

Arms and lets moved
involuntarily and separate
from the rest of you.

Stretching, twitching, rooting
looking for a warm hand or
your next meal.

Painfully vulnerable to cool air
in the house or
the hot blast of the outdoors.

Too much air in your bottle and
you bellowed with pain in your belly.

Too many blankets and
your skin developed a heat rash.

Every moment was a delicate balance.

Each second with you I held my breath.

You are the same.
But different.

You call out to me each morning:
Ma Ma!  Ma  Ma!

Despite the water and comb
your blond curls
do as they please.

Your wide, blue eyes marvel at
passing trucks and bikes.  They glisten
with desperation
when you believe I am leaving.  They twinkle
with mischief
when you reach for the clock on the shelf.

Our never-quiet house is filled with
your language.

We strain to understand the syllables you string together:
Pop-top, How-uu? cucks wooom. ap jews eees!

Small legs carry you
deliberately at top speed
around the island
down the hall
out the door into the sunshine.

Straining toward independence as you
pull from my hand
in parking lots and stores.

Seemingly indestructible
as you don’t quite
stick the landing at the bottom
of the slide.

Boo boos are kissed away.

Hugs are quick.

Every moments is filled with new.

Each second with you I hold my breath.

You are the same.
But different.

24 monthsHappy birthday, my sweet Eddie Bear.

I love you.

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

psst.  There’s a GIVEAWAY starting today on the Sponsor Page!

casey and mozzi lovin’.

The internet gives me many things on the daily.

At work it gives me my gradebook, my attendance site, and resources for fun projects to do for my Spanish classes.

It provides me with email to connect with teachers, parents, and friends.

It gives me facebook to connect with friends and family.

It gives me my blog to pound out my thoughts and feelings and network with others moms like me.

It gives me The Twitter.

In the past year, the internet has gifted me with something I would have never imagined.  If you had told me 18 months ago that some of my closest friends would be people I mostly only talk to using my laptop?  I would have laughed at you.

In my mind, people who are “friends” with personalities in their computer?  Are lonely nerds.  They sit alone in their dark basements and type away creating a fake persona for themselves and making “friends” with other people’s created personae.

And then I met Casey.

First I read her blog because my friend, Emily (who I already knew in real life), directed me there.  I fell in love hard with Casey’s writing.  I laughed, I sobbed, I related–for the good and the bad.  I even learned new things.

And then I got to meet her in real life!

Sarah (Ordinary Sarah), Emily (DesignHerMomma), Casey and me.

Somewhere in those few hours between meeting and her spraying make-up on my face, we became friends.

Like real friends.

Even though Casey has been through more than I could possibly bear myself, she has always extended her virtual arms to me when I am hurting.

Even through her emails and blog comments,  I feel as though she is leaning in close and whispering her offerings of support to me.

Or throwing her head back and laughing loudly at the joke.

Even when she is sad, her love for her friends and family is so genuine and apparent.

She is quite possibly one of the kindest, most loving people I have ever met in this world.

And it’s all thanks to the internet.

When she whispered an email to me that she was expecting, tears streamed down my face for a friend I had only hugged once, but who I had lifted up in prayers countless times.

When Emily asked me to be a part of showering Casey, I almost jumped from my computer with excitement.

Did you know SUNDAY is her due date??  It’s true!  Mozzi (the name she is calling her little girl until she meets her) is due in only TWO DAYS!

To celebrate her, Sluiter Nation has sent her these from The Sunshine Stitch:

 

And this (well, not THIS guy, but a cute girly sister of his) from Sew Whimsy Creations:

But wait!  It doesn’t stop there!  Casey actually celebrated her birthday yesterday, and Sluiter Nation was NOT about to let that go unrecognized!

Rumor has it that she really loves Kilwins, so I made a little trip to lovely downtown and bought her a treat.  It’s on its way as I type (because I am not at all quick at getting things to the post office…good thing I don’t have my own shop)!

I cannot WAIT to meet Mozzi in person (I may have ONE more thing for her, but that is a secret), and hope to make the trip to Indy again this summer.  If all else fails, I will hunt her down at BlogHer and steal her baby.

Wait.  What?  No.

Ahem.

Hopefully this time next year Casey will take Mozzi AND Moosh up to Holland for some tulip fun.  I’ll even treat Mozzie to her first pair of wooden shoes.

Happy baby and happy birthday, my lovely friend.

You are loved.

Reflections on 33

You may have noticed that my birthday is kind of special to me.

I love it.

And Cort always makes sure my birthday is special.

There were three birthdays in a row (29, 30, and 31) that I was pregnant.

When I turned 29, I was pregnant, but no one knew.  And it didn’t stay.

When I tured 30, I was pregnant again, and again no one knew.  We didn’t tell.  Cort made the day very special for me, even though I ended up losing the baby less than a month later.

When I turned 31, I was again pregnant.  This time, VERY pregnant with a little bun named Eddie.

Last year, when I turned 32, my wonderful husband and my best friend decided I deserved a huge celebration to make up for the past three birthdays of laying low. And last year Cort and my parents bought me the best gift ever.

This year there were no trips or expensive dinners.

There were no huge surprises or massively extravagant gifts.

This year was a year of friends, family, and my little boy bringing me a small gift.

I got to have dinner with my best friend, Erin and my wonderful husband.

I drank something called a “Flirtini”.  It had champagne in it.

I was able to have game night with friends who may as well be our family.  Who we consider our family.

this game? is so much awesome.

They jumped out and yelled surprise at us when we walked through their door.  Ben cooked one of the best dinners ever.  Trisha made the yummiest cuppie cakes.  Their boys played with my boy.

three candles because 33? is too many.

and we laughed…and we ate…but mostly we laughed.

Even if Ed wasn’t thrilled to go to bed there at first.

On my actual birthday…

I slept in.

I woke up to:

“Let’s go find Mommy.  No…wait…Ed…not yet!”  <insert paper ripping noise here>

<insert spazzing toddler here>

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY!!!

Two happy boys in PJs…

A venti starbucks latte…

An apple charm for my bracelet…

And a pile of snuggles and kisses and hugs.

I had dinner with my whole family around me:

Mom, Dad, Chris, Sarah, Jack, Henry, Mike, Ashley, Cort, and Eddie.

My favorite meal: Homemade chicken salad and blue berry muffins

The homemade ice cream cake I have ever year…

And a little bit of help from a little boy with my presents…

and with my candles…

I am pretty sure that 33 is going to be the best year ever.

Matching double digits.

Two Three’s.

33.

Lucky 33.

It’s going to be good.

Celebrate Kate birthday giveaway WINNERS

I have been having a LOVELY birthday weekend!

Which is why I am four hours late in announcing the winners of my giveaways.

But here they are!

The people who are getting gifts today on MY birthday!

First is the Hugs and Kisses $25 shop credit:

Gina (@gsc418) who said…

If you didn’t win, don’t forget that you can get 25% off through tomorrow (March 28) with the code HAPPYKATIE !

——–

Next up is the Herbal Philosophy organic tea (3 tins):

Miranda (@mylifeinsideout) who said…

If you didn’t win this one, you can get 15% off until March 31 with the code SLUITERNATION.

——-

Next week have the TWO winners of the snack bags with embroidery from Sew Curly:

Suz B (@suzstreats) who said…

AND Tracy Mossburger who said…

If you didn’t win this one, you can still get 10% off through Tuesday (March 29) with the code SLUITER

———–

And lastly, we have the $33 shop credit from Eleri Evans Designs:

Stephanie T. who said…

And if you didn’t win this one, you can still get a whopping 33% off by using SLUITER33 at checkout!

———

Yay!  Congrats to all the winners!  I will be contacting you soon and you will have 48 hours to respond or I will redraw a winner.

And now I will leave you a sneak peek at how awesome my day has been:

Full Birthday in Review coming tomorrow…stay tuned.

And thank you all so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes.

I am truly so very lucky.

short and sweet

I don’t remember my first one.

There are pictures, but they are yellowed as photographs from the 1970’s tend to be.

In one shot I am sitting in a high chair at my grandma’s house, confused.  In the very next I am covered in yellowed cake.

I vaguely remember Cookie Monster.

My aunt made it for me when I was six.  Or thereabouts.

In this photograph, I am standing on a chair leaning forward onto the table–hovering over the perfect cake.

I am missing teeth, which is incredibly apparent by the giant smile on my face.

At some point I decided marble cake was my favorite, and my mom started making me a round double-layer each year.

Always with homemade chocolate frosting.

Always with the sugar candy attached to a piece of paper that needed to be wet before the candy would release.

Always with pink letters spelling out: H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y  K A T I E !

On Sunday my mom will again make me a cake.

An ice cream cake.

I will do my best to eat the vanilla ice cream, fudge, and cool whip first, saving the Oreo cookie crust for last.

But first I will blow out my 33 candles.

And pick off the pink letters one by one.
This week’s prompt was to be inspired by this photo:

what? it's a CAKE donut!

birthday ghosts

Guess what.

It’s only three days until my birthday.

Three days until I turn 33.

Because I am trying to be all celebratory over here in Sluiter Nation, I asked my friend, Kris, who writes the lovely blog,  Pretty All True, if she would like to help me celebrate by doing a Q&A.

Her lovely writing and her ambition to do it every. single. day. inspires the pants off me.

But since Sluiter Nation is all family friendly, I tend to put those pants back on before coming back over here.

Ahem.

What was I talking about?

Oh…right…the Q&A.

So Kris agreed to “interview” me, and I was all excited because she is so witty and great with ideas.

She wrote up this beautiful birthday interview of me for you.  I hope you enjoy my answers.

Pretend that your family and friends have surprised you with a small birthday party at your home…

1) Are you happy with this surprise?

I am thrilled with this!   I have never had a surprise party before…and I LOVE surprises!  I never even search for presents because I just treasure that moment when you open something someone chose for you.  I love that feeling of being on the verge of finding something out.

2) As you look around the room, three people are missing.  Who are they?

My father-in-law is not there.  He is my only family member not present because he died almost 6 years ago from lung cancer.  I miss him more now than I ever did.

Two other people who are probably missing (but that I am using as ONE) are my friends, Phil and Liz.  They live in North Carolina and would probably not be able to afford to take off from their new positions to make the trip to Michigan for just one night.  I sometimes hate that my very best friends live so far away.

If I am honest, my lovely friend Mat is probably not here either.  Mat is Cort’s best friend, but his is Jerry to my Elaine.  Our friendship has always been so special. But he lives in Denver and doesn’t get tons of time off.

3) As you move about the room and greet your guests, two people other than your husband and son reach to hug you and whisper in your ear.  Who are they and what do they say?

My best friend, Tonya would definitely grab me.  If she had been drinking she would tell me how great my chest looks in whatever shirt I am wearing.  If she hadn’t been drinking yet…oh wait….no, she would have definitely had a cosmo or two.

The other person to make sure to get a piece of me would be my best friend, Erin.  She has been living in Montana for the past 4 or so years and has just recently moved to Illinois.  She has gone through a LOT.  She would tell me she loved me.  And comment on my cute butt because she too would have been drinking.

4) Your husband has made the cake and he thinks he has made your favorite.  What sort of cake has he made?  Has he guessed correctly?

Cort would have not made, but bought me a chocolate cake from Meijer.  He would have gotten it spot on.  He knows how I crave their cupcakes because he is awesome.

5) There are two wrapped presents on the table.  One is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and the other might hold a toaster (although it does not).  If everyone in this room has come together to get you the perfect two gifts . . . what is in these boxes?

If everyone chipped in together for these two gifts, it means Cort is the mastermind behind them.

In the tiny box would be a charm for my charm bracelet that Cort and Eddie gave me last year for my first Mother’s Day.  The charm would be something writing-related like a pen.

In the larger box would be plane tickets.  Cort and I have never had a vacation that wasn’t EXTREMELY budgeted.  We have always dreamed of flying away together to some place all-inclusive and warm and lazy.  Cort knows this would be the ultimate surprise, so he would definitely get my friends and our family in on that.

6) Your son approaches you and hands you a scribbled picture he has drawn of you.  Imagine that you can see in this portrait all that you are to your son.  What does your son see in you that you are unable to appreciate about yourself?

If I suspend reality here and imagine that Eddie could draw something about me that I don’t see in myself, it would be his affirmation that I am doing a good job as his mom.

People can tell me this all day long, but I love to hear “I love you, Mom” from him.  I love to have him tell me I am a great mommy.

Because most days, I am not so sure I am…or that he thinks so.

7) The group sings Happy Birthday and you are momentarily transported to another birthday party from your past . . . how old are you in this vision and why has this memory tugged at you?

I am transported back to an unidentifiable age…just “youth”.

We are at my parents’ house on a Sunday afternoon and my mom’s entire side of the family is there:  my aunts and uncles, all my cousins, my brothers, and my Grandma Jo.

We have overindulged in a huge meal with three choices for dessert.  I have opened my presents.  The woman have done the dishes, the men have lounged around watching sports and discussing the upcoming baseball season.

Now we are gathered around the dining room table.  I have my cake with all my candles and my brothers and cousins are squished around me to get in all the pictures and to sing loudly in my ears.

Everyone is there.

I am happy.  I am loved.

This small party reminds me of the simple, but happy birthdays my family has always made sure I had.

8 ) Before you lean to blow out your candles, you speak to thank everyone in the room.  You thank them for this party and for all that they bring to your life.  You then take a moment to express special gratitude to someone you believe does not know how important he or she is to you.  Who is that person?  What would you like to say?

I really wouldn’t be able to choose just one person.  I think everyone knows they are important to me.  Especially if they are there.  At a small party for me.  They know they are the special ones.  But if I was saying thank you to people, I would make sure to thank my mother-in-law.  I am not sure she knows how much it means to me that she reads my words.

9) As you blow out the candles, you make a wish for the coming year that you have the ability to make come true.  What is that wish?

I have many wishes that are completely attainable if I were to take some risks.

One is that I become a published writer.

There I said it.

I wish to be published.

10) You also make a wish for something over which you have little or no control.  What is that wish?

A better person would take this wish and give it to World Peace or Feeding the Hungry.

But I am selfish on my birthday.

And I wish for our family’s entire economical situation to improve.  I wish for my job to be more stable and for Cort to make more.  I wish for us to not be afraid of a car dying or about whether or not we should buy ourselves something fun every now and then.

I know money doesn’t bring happiness, but it does bring security.  And I wish we could finally find that.

11) Finally . . . after the guests have gone home . . . your husband guides you into the bedroom.  On the nightstand, he has left a poem he feels captures the journey you have made as a couple this past year.  He has gotten it exactly right.  What is the poem?

Instead of a poem, Cort would leave me song lyrics.  And I am fairly certain they would be Pearl Jam lyrics.

I wished for so long…
I cannot stay
All the precious moments…
Cannot stay
Its not like wings have fallen…
I cannot say
Still something is missing…
I cannot say

Holding hands of daughters and sons
In their phase theyre falling down
Down, down, down

I have wished for so long…
How I wish for you again

Will I walk the long road?
I cannot stay
Theres no need to say goodbye

Oh, the friends and family…
All the memories going round
Round, round round…

I have wished for so long…
How I wished for you today

And the wind keeps rollin
And the sky keeps turning grey
And the sun is set
The sun will rise another day

I have wished for so long…
How I wish for you today

I have wished for so long…
How I wish for you today
Will I walk the long road?
We all walk the long road

This song has history for us.  And we have walked the long road.  Together.
And if this was my only birthday gift?
I would be more than ok with that.

Happy Birthday, Katie.

Thanks, Kris.

Celebrate Kate Giveaway: Eleri Evans Designs

 

It’s my birthday week, so I am celebrating stuff I love…and I love YOU guys!

So for my birthday?  I am giving YOU presents with GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS!

We have made it to the final giveaway…

Eleri Evans Designs

Eleri Evans Designs is the result of the lovely Stacey!  And here she is to tell you about her shop:

My shop is named after my paternal grandmother, Eleri Evans. She was a mother, a wife, an amazing Nana and an extraordinary artist. She is my creative inspiration and she is dearly missed!  I paint, make jewellery, but my when my pregnancy nesting instincts kicked in I started making things for my babies.  Friends and family started making requests and encouraged me to open my etsy shop.  At this point I make burp cloths, bibs, stroller blankets, adult minky blankets, scarves, lanyards,  wash cloths, tutus and coffee cozies. My creative juices are flowing, so more items are to come! I do custom orders too.  All items are made by me in my pet-free, smoke-free studio.  Happily married to my husband for over 12 years, we have an 8 year old son and 18mth old twin girls.

I am already in love with Stacey’s creations!  Check them out:

People?  I ordered a custom adult size blanket and let me tell you, it is the softest, coziest thing EVER!  Next?  I want a cute coffee cozie!

You want some of her goods too?  Yeah, you do.

You COULD go shopping right now!  Stacey is generously offering ALL of us 33% off (hey!  that’s my age!)  That is amazing!  All you have to do is enter the code SLUITER33 at checkout to get your discount!

Wait!  There’s more!

Stacey is giving one of you $33shop credit to Eleri Evans Designs toward anything in her shop!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me what your FAVORITE birthday memory is.

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

Say happy birthday to @ksluiter and enter to win Eleri Evans Designs shop credit from @sshainline  Enter now: http://wp.me/p1qChn-vL

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

and of COURSE you should follow her blog! (she has an 8yo and twin toddlers, so she wants you to know she hasn’t updated in a while)

This giveaway ends on my BIRTHDAY: Sunday, March 27 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

 

The fine print:Eleri Evans Designs is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something on my birthday.

 

Celebrate Kate Giveaway: Sew Curly

It’s my birthday week, so I am celebrating stuff I love…and I love YOU guys!

So for my birthday?  I am giving YOU presents with GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS!

Next up is a very good twitter friend of mine, Kristina of Sew Curly!

Here is Kristina to tell you about her shop:

Sew Curly is a shop that sells items for babies & children and specializes in eco-friendly personalized bags for snacks and small toys.  We also make embroidered burpl cloths and bibs.

People?  This stuff is WAY cute! See…

Those snack bags need to live with me.  Only in boy colors.  I may have to make this happen.

You want some of her goods?  Yeah, you do.

You COULD go shopping right now!  Kristina is generously offering ALL of us 10% off until Tuesday night!  That is amazing!  All you have to do is enter the code SLUITER at checkout to get your discount!

Wait!  There’s more!

Kristina is giving TWO of you 2 snack-size bags WITH embroidery!  That is TWO winners!  Yay!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me about your favorite snack.

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

Say happy birthday to @ksluiter and enter to win snack bags from @sewcurlyk Enter now: http://wp.me/p1qChn-vB

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

and of COURSE you should follow her blog!

This giveaway ends on my BIRTHDAY: Sunday, March 27 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

 

The fine print:Sew Curly is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something on my birthday.

 

Celebrate Kate Giveaway: Herbal Philosophy

It’s my birthday week, so I am celebrating stuff I love…and I love YOU guys!

So for my birthday?  I am giving YOU presents with GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS!

Next up I would like to introduce you to Lucy of Herbal Philosophy:

Here is Lucy to tell you about her shop:

Mother Nature is mankind’s greatest chemist. Herbal Philosophy encourages natural healing in modern society by sharing ancient and contemporary herbal remedies in the form of handmade artisan tea. Drink Herbal Philosophy to feel better, look better, live better.

Seriously?  I feel relaxed just reading that.

Serenity?  Yes, please.  There is also one called “Feel Beautiful”.  I need that too.  Big time.

You want some of her goods?  Yeah, you do.

You COULD go shopping right now!  Lucy is generously offering ALL of us 15% off until March 31!  That is amazing!  All you have to do is enter the code SLUITERNATION at checkout to get your discount!

Wait!  There’s more!

Lucy is giving one of you THREE tins of organic tea of your choosing!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me what relaxes you the most.

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

Say happy birthday to @ksluiter and enter to win organic tea from @herbphilosophy Enter now: http://wp.me/p1qChn-vt

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

This giveaway ends on my BIRTHDAY: Sunday, March 27 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

 

The fine print:Herbal Philosophy is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something on my birthday.

Celebrate Kate Giveaway:Hugs & Kisses

It’s my birthday week, so I am celebrating stuff I love…and I love YOU guys!

So for my birthday?  I am giving YOU presents with GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS!

So let’s get started, shall we?  There are FOUR and they will be posting EVERY hour starting NOW!

We are starting with some Hugs and Kisses because that is the BEST way to start a birthday!

Hugs and Kisses is the result of the lovely Becca!  And here she is to tell you about her shop:

True story: Sewing machines used to scare me.

Once my son was born, I realized that I should pull out the sewing machine that had been buried in a closet for several years. I started with making a bib. And then a burp cloth. And a blanket. And a paci clip. And all of a sudden, hugs & kisses was born!

I became fascinated with sewing and fabric and all things baby. I mean, there’s some really gorgeous fabric out there and inspiration to be found anywhere. Sewing soon became a therapeutic hobby for me. I’m a creative person by nature, so having that outlet to focus my creative energy on has been wonderful!

Since the shop’s opening, it’s matured and progressed into what it is today. I customize in diaper clutches, bibs and burp cloths. Most recently I’ve added some fun totes and clutches. Also you’ll  find some really great custom art pieces listed in the shop. Please take a look around hugs & kisses. I think you might like what you see.

You will totally LOVE what you see!  Check out a peek…

I am in LOVE with the silhouettes.  I REALLY want to get Eddie’s chubby profile immortalized by her one of these days.

You want some of her goods?  Yeah, you do.

You COULD go shopping right now!  Becca is generously offering ALL of us 25% off until Monday!  That is amazing!  All you have to do is enter the code HAPPYKATIE at checkout to get your discount!

Wait!  There’s more!

Becca is giving one of you $25 shop credit to Hugs and Kisses toward anything your heart desires!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me when your birthday is and what you love about it!

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

Say happy birthday to @ksluiter and enter to win Hugs and Kisses shop credit from @becca7903 Enter now: http://wp.me/p1qChn-vl

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

and of COURSE you should follow her blog!

This giveaway ends on my BIRTHDAY: Sunday, March 27 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

 

The fine print: Hugs and Kisses is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something on my birthday.
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