Memories of Her

I have to start with a bit o’ brag.  BlogHer has spot-lighted my post on Blogging Turn On’s and Turn Off’s.

Yay!  Take a minute to go see me there?  Thanks!

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Every year my mom or one of her three sisters has the entire family over for Father’s Day to celebrate my Grandpa and all the dads in the family.

This used to be the tradition for Mother’s Day as well.

But Mother’s Day was super special because we were also celebrating my Grandma’s birthday, and I loved my Grandma.

My Grandma Jo as I remember her

This is in the past tense because my Grandma Jo passed away 10 years ago.

Not a Mother’s Day passes that I don’t stop and think about her and all she’s given me that I was never able to thank her for.

Everything about this year reminds me of her.

The yellow tulips remind me of her favorite flower and her love of taking her grandchildren to the annual Holland Tulip Time Parade.

Easter Sunday reminds me of the egg hunts she created for all of us and how she made us empty our baskets when we were done and count out the same number of each candy for everyone.

Church reminds me of her singing hymns to herself in her quavering old lady voice, that I always found to be beautiful.

My Grandma taught me so much of what it is to be a strong woman…and she will never know her impact on me.

My Grandma Jo taught me…

  • It’s ok to be alone.  In fact, you can gain peace and strength by it.
  • It’s ok to NOT have a man.
  • It’s a wonderful thing to find the right man.
  • family is something to celebrate.
  • no matter what your life throws at you, your family will love you.
  • that small things are the best
  • children are the most precious gift–whether they are yours or not
  • childhood is something to be savored because it is gone too quickly.
  • you don’t ever really have to grow up.  Be an adult, yes, but grow up?  No.
  • that blind faith is ok, and sometimes necessary.  There are a LOT of things I don’t understand, but that is ok.
  • when in doubt?  Yodel.

The day I found out about my first miscarriage I was so afraid, the first thing I did was to take my Grandma’s Bible off my shelf and open to a random page.

It fell open to Psalm 146, which she had underlined “Happy He who Trusts in the Lord.”

There is almost nothing underlined in her entire Bible.

But that?  Gave me comfort as I went into one of the scariest, most emotional tumultuous times of my life.

I wondered how many times in her life Grandma had looked at that passage to find strength.

My Grandma was the strongest woman I knew.

And she helped me know that I could be strong too.

To honor a woman in your life for Mother’s Day, Clever Girls and Heart of Haiti is offering you a special discount code for 15% off when you purchase a gift of Heart of Haiti or Rwanda Path to Peace products between May 3-8.  Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Just shop Macy’s’ Shop for a Better World/Heart of Haiti Collection, and use the code CLEVERGIRLS at check out to receive your discount.

If my Grandma was around, I would get her this because she LOVED bright colors.  It is also fitting because my beautiful Grandmother died of Alzheimer’s and if I could give her back her memories, I would.

Heart of Haiti Vase of Memories

 

And if I was making a Mother’s Day list for myself? I would love the Vase of Memories too, but  I would probably also add this to my list:

Heart of Haiti Tree of Life Frame

What woman are you honoring this Mother’s Day and why? Share with me!

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.

a story, an announcement (or two), and a giveaway

Psst.

Hey, you.

With the face.  Yeah, you.

Guess what?

I have something to share.

I have a little story to tell you.

Four years ago, I accidentally got pregnant, but miscarried.

We had told everyone I was pregnant and it was crippling to me to have to one by one, announce the end of what we thought was going to be.

Three years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We miscarried again.  I was crushed by the pain–physically and emotionally–but so relieved not to have to “take back” the pregnancy news again.

Two and a half years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We found out I have low progesterone.

We fixed that.

At 10 weeks, we told everyone.

Almost 21 months ago we had Eddie.

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So why am i telling you this story that so many of you already know?

Because Cort and I have made a decision.

We have an announcement.

Qe have decided to let me blog about trying to get pregnant when we decide to get pregnant again.

Cort (and my therapist) understand that the best way for me to process things is to be able to put my words here for you.  for me to be able to reach out when i have joy and pain.  For me to have you.

It’s my way to tell all of you I know in my real life things the way I want and need to say them too.  I hate the phone.  I get befuddled and don’t get my words straight.

Here,  I can put down the exact words I want to use.  I can pace things.

I am so grateful to all of you for being that support and for reading my words.

And I feel so lucky to have a husband who understands my need and is willing to let me put something so close and personal out here.

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But wait…we have one more announcement.

We have decided to try to get pregnant again!

Get ready for some of this (God willing!):

 

oh yeah, rocking the flowers ALL OVER!

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Guess what else?

I get to give YOU something in celebration of our announcements!

Have you used Shutterfly to upload and print photos?  They are AWESOME!

Since I am feeling all annoucey lately, I was looking through baby announcements, but then because of the 800 weddings we have this year, I was also looking at save the date announcements and remembering how fun it was to be in those planning stages.

Pretty sweet, huh?

You want some, don’t you?

Yeah you do.

Shutterfly gave me a coupon code for 50 free announcements each, and I am giving it to one of YOU!

To enter to win, just leave me a comment!  That is all!  I want to hear from you about my announcements!

To get a bonus entry, tweet something like the following and then come back and tell me in a separate comment that you did:

i’m helping @ksluiter celebrate her awesome announcements by entering her #cleverspring #shutterfly giveaway! http://wp.me/p1qChn-zb

 

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 19 at 4:00 est.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced Wednesday, April 20.

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Are you a blogger, too? Click here to register for a chance at 50 free announcements!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

i hate to move it, move it.

 

 

 

Thank you to P&G’s Have You Tried This Yet? program and Kroger for sponsoring my writing about trying new things and breaking out of my everyday routine. Click here to find great savings on high-performing P&G products at a Kroger store near you. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

I have always, always hated exercise.

Confession:  I routinely “sat out” in gym class in elementary school because I hated running from one end of the gym to the other.

Confession:  My parents MADE me do recreation t-ball and one season of pitching machine until I proved that I clearly did not want to play by day-dreaming in the outfield or being benched.

Confession: I took a C+ in freshman gym in high school rather than “dress” every day when I didn’t want to do whatever it was we were doing.

Confession:  My dislike of physical fitness was so huge that in college, rather than take an actual gym class for my health requirement, I found the ONE classroom class (drug and alcohol and the body) and took that instead.

Confession:  When I turned 25 and became aware that my super awesome metabolism was no longer super nor awesome?  I tried to just not eat as much rather than have to exercise.  I may have spent and entire summer trying to live on chips and beer (which I realize is silly because they are both fattening).

Confession:  I love food.  Like whoa.

People?  Exercise feels like the devil to me.  I honestly do not understand these endorphins that it is supposed to create.  Maybe I am not doing it right.  Maybe I am not doing the right things.  I don’t know, but I have convinced myself that it is all awful.

And then I found group fitness.

Honestly, when my friend first invited me to her gym to take one of her classes, I looked her tight little body up and down and got extremely queasy at the idea of being the chubby, uncoordinated chick in the corner.

It took months of earnest requests, but with another friend, I finally went.

I was terrified when I walked in and saw mirrors on three of the four walls.

Good Lord, I won’t be able to escape myself…and neither will anyone else.

We found a spot in the back of the room and waited for the class to begin.

Once the music started pumping and we all started moving, I forgot that everyone could see me huffing and puffing and I just got into it…even with my fit little friend jumping around calling me out over her headset.  I just smiled, and sweated, and kept going.

And I felt like hell that night and the next day…and the next week.

I was still skeptical about going back, even though I enjoyed myself.  However when I walked in, I was greeted by the people I had only met a week before saying things like, “Hey!  You’re back!  Awesome!” and “Oh good!  You’re here!  We hoped you would be back!”

The next week, I was actually looking forward to going.  I couldn’t believe it.  Never in my entire life had I ever ever looked FORWARD to working out.

When I became pregnant with Eddie and my OB told me that I had to stop the classes because I was not allowed to burn upwards of 1000 calories in one hour?  I was bummed.  BUMMED!  Me, the anti-exerciser.  The Fail Fonda.  I was SAD I had to cut back on my aerobic activity.

I could have quit completely.

But I didn’t.  My new-found love of working out kept me hitting the treadmill and yoga until Eddie actually wouldn’t let me anymore.  Until he protested with Braxton Hicks and too much reflux.

I never thought I would say this, but because of my positive experience with the gym, I am looking forward to my schedule clearing up in the next month so we can join a local gym and I can get back to a regular workout routine and hopefully join a couple classes.

I had always shied away from group fitness for fear of being the chubby klutz, but when you find the right group?  It’s all encouragement and fun!

yup, the hubs and I did a 5K...ME! the anti-runner!

Now tell me…what have you tried that you thought you would hate?  Did you change your mind about it?

Don’t forget 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).

 

teaching isn’t just my job, it’s my job.

Thanks to the makers of Pine-Sol® for sponsoring my writing. A study shows a clean smelling home can help children succeed, so Pine-Sol® is supporting Reading is Fundamental (RIF) this year. Click “Like” on Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page here and they will donate books to RIF!
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I don’t remember books not being in my life.

Growing up, the bottom drawer of my dresser was so full of children’s books that the bottom eventually fell out from the weight.

My  mom always had a pile of books on top of the refrigerator from the library, and a few more on the front seat of her car waiting to be swapped out for new ones.

My dad was always reading the newspaper.

We had a set of encyclopedia and a set of childcraft encyclopedia.

Words were my life from early on.  In grade school I lived for scholastic book orders.  In middle school my mom brought me piles of books home from the library.  By high school?  I had decided that I wanted to read–and talk about those books–for the rest of my life.

And so I became an English teacher.

I have worked for over a decade encouraging kids to read…to entice them into becoming life-long readers.

The school I work in is filled with students who didn’t have their own books as kids.  They come to us behind…because they don’t know what it’s like to have books in their life for fun.

Not a couple years ago, after about 90% of one of my classes failed to do a short assigned reading assignment, I polled the class with this question: “How many of you had your own books as kids and were read to all the time.”

One girl raised her hand (she did the assignment, by the way).  I died a little inside.

That same year our school started doing RIF (reading is fundamental), a program that gives students free books.

I was suddenly aware of the gift my parents had given me.

Also that year I found out I was pregnant with my son.

Immediately, I gathered my favorite childhood books and piled them in the room that would be his.

I would sit in the middle of the room and read the books out loud to my dancing fetus.

A year later, I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to a squirmy infant.

Not long after that, we traded the “paper pages” for board books because he wanted to handle them and gnaw on the book clumsily turn the pages himself.

Now, as a 20-month old, he brings me book after book to read.  He points out the letters to me and says some of them.  He points out the kitties and the dogs and the moons and the balloons.

I burst with pride when his little finger points at the pictures as I read the words…as he examines each page before we turn it.

I know this is what my parents did.  And I know it is a large part of why I became a successful student…and teacher….and writer.

It is never ever too early to start reading with your children.  Each time you choose to put down your phone, or step away from your laptop (in my case) to read with your child, you are sending a message about what is important.

Each time your child sees you pick up a book or newspaper instead of watch a reality show?  You are showing your child where your priorities are and what you see as valuable.

Your child…and education are important.  Show this to your child.  Read with him/her.

Don’t forget to click over to Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page to support our children’s success. I was selected for this Pine-Sol® sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Today my post for The Red Dress Club is over at my other blog. Please click below to go there.


it’s all about me

Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight.

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I am busy.

I am up and out of the house by 6:45am each morning  (earlier if there is a meeting or bad weather threatening my commute).

I teach from 7:30-2:30 with no planning period and only 25 minutes for lunch.

There are usually students in my classroom from 2:30 until around 4:00 working on absent work, getting help, or retaking failed tests.

It’s difficult for me to get out of the door by 4:30pm so that I can be home in time for Cort to leave for his night class.

And once I am home, I am in charge of Eddie until bedtime at 8:00pm

Me time?  Is hard to come by these days. At least not without loads of mom guilt with it.

But if there is one thing I have learned from my ppd support groups, it’s that if I want to continue my healing, I have to cut out some me time every single day.

So every day, after I tuck Eddie into bed but before Cort gets home from class, I take my laptop and cuddle into my big brown chair.

My laptop is my me time when I am at home.  It’s where I read and connect and write.  I can get lost for an hour  in chatting with my friends and writing what’s on my heart.

I have found that my at home me time is not always enough though.  You see, other than when Cort has class?  I am never alone in our house.

Since Cort is unemployed and Eddie is a toddler, when I have days off from school?  They are here with me.

I have to carve out “away” me time too.  For my sanity.

That is why at least once a month I try to carve out a Friday night with friends.

To be honest?  I always dread the night out.

Not when I plan it…then I am excited about it.

But as it approaches I start to dread my time away.  The mom guilt and the wife guilt set in.  I worry about being too tired and not any fun.

I am always, ALWAYS wrong.

Getting out of the house with my girls is always good for me.  It reminds me that I am not just a mom.  I am not just a wife.  I am a friend too.  And I am Kate.

When I am reminded of who I am?  I am a better mom…and wife.

How do you find time for yourself?  Do you get the mom guilt thrown at you too?

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Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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