Six Ways To Say Thanks

Recently my friend Alison wrote a post about getting back to writing because when she wasn’t writing, something was just…off.

I left a comment about how I have to write too. How it’s like breathing to me.

My friend Trisha calls it “writing it out.”  Whenever my brain is getting clogged with too many FEELINGS she tells me, “write it out, Kate. You know you need to.”

And she is right.

Six years ago (yesterday, July 7, 2007), I started Sluiter Nation.

My intent wasn’t for it to be a place for me to “write it out,” but after being diagnosed with postpartum depression, that is what it became. I didn’t limit my writing to depression and my mental health–although I have made a point to be transparent about those issues.

Having children reshaped my view of this space. This was now my place to tell stories. I tell the stories about raising Eddie and Charlie. I have been telling Cortney and my love story. I have some stories on here (and in draft) of things I remember about growing up.  This space is not just for me…it’s for the future of my family.

This space is my legacy.

I have been here for six years.

My first post was an experiment in how Blogger worked. It was a completely too brief post about our recent trip to Montana. I had placed pictures all wonky in an attempt to learn the program.

I like to think maybe I’ve learned a thing or two in six years’ time.

In six years I have contributed to many, many other blogs. I have started a few other ones of my own…all that I eventually closed down.  But not this space.

Sluiter Nation lives on.

To celebrate, I have six giveaways. One for every year that I have been blogging.

The entries are easy because I’m not being reimbursed for doing these.  People who are awesome just put up awesome prizes just for the funsies of it.  Just to say “hey, we believe in this writing thing you do.  Yay for six years of it.”

Normally on birthdays, the person with the birthday or anniversary gets the gifts. But that is not how I work it here in Sluiter Nation.  No way.

Maybe I would still be here if it wasn’t for all your lovely people reading, but I sure as heck wouldn’t have developed my writing muscles like I have.

So…to say thank you…here are some things you can win if you want to enter:

1. My Joy Design: I met Megan through a mutual friend…um…I have no idea when.  She is local to me and makes unbelievably wonderful products. She makes bags (which I am in the process of ordering/buying from her for my “little” trip to BlogHer), headbands, and so much more. She makes these incredibly cute monsters that are so cuddly.  Both of my boys have one.

You can win one of her essential zip pouch bags and a reversible headband!

myjoycollage

a Rafflecopter giveaway
2. Musashi Design: Matt is one of my college friends. He has been a HUGE supporter of my writing from the time he started reading it. He is also local to me (see a trend here)? Musashi is a Michigan-based sports/skating brand. You can visit the shop here. You can win an XL Rhino T-Shirt (valued at $27.50) 1057285_10201423433887189_1963710612_n a Rafflecopter giveaway 3. Little Love Media: Alison is the dear friend I linked to in the beginning of this post. Little Love Media is a social media consultancy specializing in helping bloggers and small businesses take their blogs ad brands further, by applying sensible branding and social media solutions. Little Love Media is founded by Alison Lee, who has 10 years experience in marketing, spanning public relations, advertising, both traditional and digital, event planning and execution. She has worked for small and large public relations agencies, and the world’s biggest sports brand, Nike. As a personal blogger and freelance writer, Alison has a unique insight into what works for blogs who want to grow. How I got so blessed to have a friend on the complete opposite side of the world (Alison is in Malaysia), I do not know. But the fact that she and I are so “close” is a testament to the power of the past six years of blogging.

You can win a Blog Evaluation Report (valued at $35). This comprehensive report will include an evaluation of your blog design, navigation, layout, pages, and your social media profiles. We will let you know what is working for you, what is not, by looking at your current blog and social media accounts and activity, along with suggestions on changes you will need to take your blog to the next level. These strategies can be applied immediately, as well as over the long-term. The report will be sent to you via email, and you will have a complimentary two-week follow up period, where you are free to ask any questions you have about the report. LLMNew250x250   a Rafflecopter giveaway

4. Lilla Rose: I think Liz has been reading my blog forever.  Seriously. I was so honored when she said she would love to be a part of this celebration today.  That is exactly what today is about…celebrating my readers. Those who have been faithful throughout the years and months…and those who are new. Maybe even new today!

Liz is an Independent Consultant for Lilla Rose. I was excited when she told me this because I was actually gifted a Flexi Clip a year or two ago from another bloggy friend. I LOVE it. It’s so cute and it’s so easy…even for someone like me who has two styles: pony tail or down.

You can win a Flexi Clip of your choice (up to $16 value). Visit her site and look around.  And check out the sizing tips while you’re there too!

flexiclipcollage
a Rafflecopter giveaway
5. R&L Design: Rebekah is another local biz owner. I met her through one of my best friends (Missy, the photographer whose work you see all over this blog). We hit it off because I am a jewelry fiend and she makes some of the most lovely jewelry EVER.  Some of my favorite pieces are ones I bought from her etsy shop. (by the way, she has free shipping right now in the USA. If you go shopping enter SUMMERTIME to get the free shipping. Seriously. Go do that. Her prices are already way reasonable, and then with free shipping? You can’t lose!) You can win her turquoise verdigris infinity necklace (a $15.50 value).

RandL

a Rafflecopter giveaway 6. Starbucks: Ok, I don’t really know anyone who has the power to give you stuff from Starbucks. However, I do have a relationship with their coffee. I would say that Starbucks is definitely a share-holder in the power behind this blog. I have taken many a trip to Starbucks for two reasons: A) I needed to step away from the writing for a bit and B) I needed fuel in the form of a big fat, sugary, caffeinated beverage. You can win a $10 Gift Card to Starbucks from me.

have a cup or two on me. but hands off the oreos, yo.

have a cup or two on me. but hands off the oreos, yo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
There you go.

Six ways that I can say THANK YOU for the past six years.

How long have you been around these parts? From the beginning? Is today your first day?

I do hope you’ll stick around to find out what the future holds for Sluiter Nation.

I was not compensated for any of these giveaways, in case Big Brother is watching my blog and needs to know that.

a bloggy birth story

Let’s go back five years ago…

(This is where you imagine Wayne and Garth doing that dooodleee doo dooodleee doo thing they do at the end of Wayne’s World for the alternate endings.  But this isn’t alternate. and it’s not the ending…we are going back to the beginning…)

It was 2007.

I didn’t have a laptop; instead I had a desk top shoved in our spare room.

I read emails and dorked around on ancestory.com and played endless games of SimCity.

I didn’t have any kids.  I didn’t have a grad class at the time. And I didn’t want to think about school starting in the fall because it was June.

And then I read a blog.

Only, I didn’t know that is what it was called.  I thought it was my friend, Trisha’s, family “website”.

She told me it was called a blog and that it was free on blogger.com.

And so, on July 7, 2007 just after noon on a Saturday afternoon, Sluiter Nation was born.

It was an uneventful first post.  Not worth linking to.  If you’re interested in my shoddy newborn blog writing, you can use that little pull down menu at the bottom of the right sidebar.  Looking back, some of it shows glimpses into what my writing will become.

I stumbled through my first three or so years with my five loyal readers (hi mom, Trisha, Cort, Missy, and Tammi!) and my sporadic posting.

The only blogs I read back then were Trisha’s (which she quit) and MckMama (which I don’t read regularly anymore).

I never read the comments on MckMama’s posts; I just knew there were tons. As in hundreds.  I didn’t realized that the people who commented were largely bloggers too.  I just read and moved on with my day.

Then I found a few blogs of people I knew and read them too.

One happened to know what she was doing.

Then I gave in and deleted my never-used MySpace account and got a Facebook account.

This is also around the time I joined twitter.

Again, I followed about 5 “real” people and 12 celebrities.

(It’s hard to believe that at present when I contact a large site about writing opportunities, the first reaction is:Oh!  I recognize you from twitter!I have no idea whether I should be flattered or horrified.  Probably a little of both.)

Once I found a friend who knew a bit about this social media thing, she started taking me around like the new kid.

She showed me where the support was for my postpartum depression and anxiety.

She showed me the funny, amazing, and lovely voices that are out there.

She opened a door for me that I had no idea was there!

So Sluiter Nation turns five tomorrow.

::looks around::

I don’t FEEL five.

I still feel like such a newb.  There is so much I am naive about.  So much I still have to learn.

I’ve tried lots of stuff over the past few years to see what fit here in this space.

I’ve moved the furniture around, had guests, taken Sluiter Nation on the road to other places, met people in REAL life.

I’ve tried stuff on here that totally didn’t fit, made and lost friends along the way.

Mentored and was mentored.

Won and lost.

But most of all, I wrote.

I wrote through it all.

The heartache, the joy, the tragedy, and the celebration.

I hope whatever is here when I can no longer write in this space will tell my story.  Will preserve for my loved ones my  perspective of this life I am living with them…for them.

I hope I write in this space forever.

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

The giveaways end tonight at the stroke of midnight.  Don’t forget to enter.

a missed milestone and a huge honor

Before I go into this long whine explanation of how I missed a milestone, I need to share something exciting.

Today I am the Featured Blogger on Theta Mom!

I have been in love with TMC for over a year now.  Heather’s was one of the first communities I found that I not only felt fit who I am, but who was personal enough…where I wasn’t just a blogger on a huge list that no one looked at.  And because of that I have found SOO many of the bloggers whom I consider my friends today.

So go check out my feature?  Thanks.

Ok…back to this thing I missed…

I have had a lot of things going on around here lately, in case you haven’t noticed.

I have some pretty sweet giveaways going on…like this giveaway that is super cute and is only good until 4pm today.  Or this one that is exactly the the thing you want to enter if you are looking to switch to wordpress (psst…FOUR winners will be chosen).

We decided we really want to try to help this guy and his wife get a baby.

I have been plotting with this lady and this lady about this little blog we are doing some MAJOR stuff to.

And just this week I have been added to the management team at Studio30 Plus.  I am in charge of some of the facebook and twitter stuff.  Not that I know anything about that.  ahem.

We’ve been busy off line too.

We did Fourth of July things.

I have started to freak out about my trip across the country to BlogHer that is happening in three weeks (THREE WEEKS!!!).

And my kid jumped into a pool for the very first time…see?


So you can see how some things might have slipped my mind, right?

Ok, so a BIG thing slipped my mind.

July 7 was my four-year blogoversary.

Yup, I started Sluiter Nation on 07/07/07.  It was supposed to be lucky.  I would say it has been.

Cue the confetti and balloons, right?  No?  Oh well.

I’ve been here for four years.

And I’m not going anywhere.

Well, except camping this weekend.

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