did someone say “birthday extravaganza”?

Birthdays are sort of a big deal in Sluiter Nation.  I have always thought that your birthday is your own special day and it needs to be GOOD.  It has nothing to do with age…all about it being YOUR day.

Since Cort’s birthday is in December, I try extra hard to make it all about his birthday since I know that in the past it has gotten lost in the shuffle of Christmas.

Thus started the tradition of the BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA in Sluiter Nation.

Friday I had the day off work (for various reasons, Cort’s birthday was a bonus), so we did some errands, had birthday lunch out, and saw Santa (totally a different post, since you know…that has to do with Christmas).

So anyway, Friday on his birthday we had to have birthday brownies.  because that is what Cort loves best.

We also had dinner at his mom and step-dad’s house.  Orange chicken and rice and egg rolls…um?  YUM!  And cupcakes for dessert!  Of course there were presents as well, and now Cort has his own wheelbarrow to push Eddie lawn stuff around in this spring.

Saturday was date night, so this is my version of Steppin’ Out Saturday:

Eddie went to Grandpa and Grandma Riemersma’s house so we could have our birthday date.

On Eddie:

Onsie and jeans = Osh Kosh

vest = Baby Gap

socks = target

Cortney and I went to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see the Bodies Revealed exhibit (VERY AWESOME) and then to Six One Six for a swanky meal and cocktails.

On Cort:

Button Down Shirt = Old Navy

Jeans = Gap

Socks = Hanes

Belt = from Younkers

On Me:

cami = Gap

Sweater = Old Navy

Jeans = Gap

Boots = Shoe Carnival

Necklace = Cap Creations

Earrings = Vintage Pearl

And today to round out all the fun, we gathered at my parents’ house again to celebrate December birthdays:  Cort and our nephew Jack.  There was lasagna dinner, presents galore, and cakes for every birthday boy!

It’s been a jam-packed weekend here in Sluiter Nation, but it’s been super fun!  We do love birthdays!

Stop by for Top Ten Tuesdays this week:  Top Ten Holiday Foods!

This Guy

Today is this guy’s birthday.

This guy is…

my best friend

a dad-do


a brother

a son


a survivor

my rock



a ball of laughs

a house husband

my lover

a student



a great secret-keeper

intelligent in ways I could never be

a music lover



a fighter

a nephew


a Pearl Jam fan(atic)

my crush


my support


a grandson

an uncle


an in-law

a bowler

a golfer

an ex-soccer player

a teacher

full of shit (sometimes)

a reader

a writer



a problem-solver


a giver


a husband



short one appendix



a friend


a hard-worker


a great smiler

an Afro-grower



a hugger


and today?  This guy is 32.

Give him some love in the comments, you guys.  He deserves it.

Our family wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t taken that first step to tell me he liked me. So let’s tel him how much we like him!

(and if you are on twitter, you can send him love there too.  He is @csluiter)

Milk and Cookies

nothing better on a cold, snowy Saturday.

Top Ten Tuesdays: Favorite Children’s Books

It is not a secret that books are a big deal in our house.  A REALLY BIG DEAL! First of all, I am an English teacher, so…duh.

But it goes beyond that.  When I was a kid, I was surrounded by books.  My mom read like it nourished her.  Like books kept her as alive as eating and breathing.  I soaked this in and became the same way.

Most of the kid’s books in our house growing up lived in the bottom drawer of my dresser, but they quickly expanded to a HUGE pile next to my brothers’ bunk beds as well.

I don’t think I went a day without being read to or reading myself.

That is why this week’s Top Ten is so important!

I started reading to Eddie while he was in my tummy. Every book I had I would sit in the nursery and read aloud to him.

So together, Cortney, Eddie and I have compiled the Sluiter Nation Top Ten Favorite Children’s Books (in no particular order):

#10. The Belly Button Book.

This one was voted into the line up by Cortney.  He says, “I am starting to really enjoy reading The Belly Button Book lately.  I like the Naval Academy Hippo.”

This book is pointless and ridiculous.  Just the way we like our kids books around here.

And I don’t thin it is an accident that the first body part that Eddie could point to?  Was his belly button!  Boo-ya for this book.

#9 Where is the Green Sheep?

This is a book I picked up for Eddie when I was visiting my best friend in Chicago.  We went to her favorite little bookstore, The Book Cellar, and I found this little souvenir for my buddy.

I know it comes in just English, but I was stoked to find the bilingual version in a small board book.  I also teach Spanish and I would love for Eddie to at least know some vocabulary and phrases going into elementary school.

Plus this book?  Is cute and funny.  And Eddie kisses the “near sheep” every time.

#8. The Lorax

I have always liked this book, but it is the book Eddie’s cousin, Jack, gave him and he loves to listen to the rhymes and the rhythms this book has.

He is also a fan of pointing out the Lorax on every page.

The book is lengthy and rarely does Eddie sit through it all, but he is still little.  I think it’s great that he chooses this one and sits and listens and participates as long as he does.

#7. Go Dog Go

This was a Cort pick for sure.  He has always loved this book, or, as he says,

“I have always had a fondness for Go Dog Go”  This was the very first one he mentioned when I asked him which books he would want on the list.

The funny part?

We don’t own this book!

I am thinking this will have to be a stocking stuffer for Eddie for sure this year!

#6 Moo Ba La La La

This is one of Eddie’s current favorites.  He is getting really good at saying MOO and OINK and QUACK and MEOW.

The Baa?  Not so much yet.

But he does bring me this book a thousand times a day and point at the correct animals and make their sounds.  And if he can’t?  He points and looks at me until I make it.

#5 Mc Elligot’s Pool

This is one from my childhood.  It is the least known Dr. Seuss book that I am aware of.  Whenever I mention it to anyone, they have no idea what I am talking about.

But it’s one my grandma had in her cupboard.  And my brothers and I begged her to read it to use every time we were over at her house.

For Eddie’s first Christmas?  My brother, Chris, bought him this book.  I love it.

#4 The Monster at the End of this Book

This was another Cort pick.  Lately Eddie has been choosing this book for Daddy to read to him.

It is a hilarious book without a ton of text, but lots of emotion.  It definitely teaches Eddie about reading with emotion and having fun with a book.

Plus?  Grover is cute.

#3 Katy and the Big Snow

This book is one from my childhood. In fact, I took it right along when I moved out of my parents’s house.

I loved this book because it has my name in it…although it is spelled “wrong”.

My mom says this is one of the only books she can remember getting sick of reading to me…to the point that she had to hide it under a bunch of books so I would pick something else.

Hopefully we can get an Ed or Eddie or Edward book to read to our little guy!

#2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This one we have in board book form and in paperback.  Eddie has been obsessed lately with the board book…and it shows.  It has gnaw marks on it and the binding is slowly dying from all the folding and carrying he does with it.

He likes to make chomping noises with me as we count what the caterpillar eats each day.

We have even caught him sitting alone pointing at the holes making chomping noises to himself.  It is awesome!

#1 Goodnight, Moon

We read this one a LOT together as well.  Eddie is big into pointing out everything on the page and wanting us to say what it is.

These are the kinds of books that I love.  The ones that I know he likes because he is actively trying to learn new vocabulary.

Plus when we read the “goodnight” parts?  He waves at the book.  Because that is what you do when you say goodnight.  happy sigh…

Want to read more of Eddie’s book picks?  Sure you do!  They are listed here.

So that is it!  Sluiter Nation’s Top Ten Favorite Childrens Books!  Did you see any here that you love?  any new ones you need to check out?

Do you have your own Top Ten List this week?  Don’t be shy!  Grab a button and link up!

Also?  I have no idea why the text box looks like this.  it will be fixed before next week.  For now?  I sleep.

A Happy Day

Today, somewhere in Heaven, two guys are having birthdays…

Eddie’s Great Great Grandpa Edward Koops…
and Eddie’s Papa Steve Sluiter
These two are Eddie’s namesakes.  They shared a LOT, so it was only fitting that they shared Eddie.
And last year on their birthday…
Eddie was baptized in Papa Steve’s baptismal outfit.
Just because they aren’t around anymore,
doesn’t mean they aren’t around anymore.
We celebrate their birthdays by remembering the good times…
The love of a father and a son…
has been passed on and is celebrated again.
Today, somewhere in Heaven, someone is cracking a Busch Light and eating peach pie…
and smiling down on us and on Edward Steven Sluiter.
You can read Cortney’s birthday post to his dad at his blog, Tasty Buttered Toast

Father’s Day, A Giveaway Winner, and a Tigers Game…Oh My!

Holy COW What a busy couple days we have had here in Sluiter Nation!  This post is all about this weekend:  Father’s Day, A baseball game, and at the end?  You know it!  The mLphotography gift certificate winner!!!

As you all know, today was Cortney’s first Father’s Day!  He was ALMOST a dad last year on Father’sDay.  If you’ve been reading, I’ve

been putting Eddie’s birthday story in installments here on the blog.  First we had to weather a HUGE storm; then we were in a wedding where I was just sluggish all day.  The day after that was Father’s Day…like today we had a million places to be.  First we went and watched Cort’s sis and her new hubs open wedding gifts.  Then we had to bust a move to my side of the family for some Father’s Day fun.  It just seemed like I was moving SOOO SLOWLY.  I had a pretty great pregnancy, but the two days previous definitely took their toll on me and by father’s day I was just ready to be DONE.

This year was even BUSIER.  Yesterday, Cort took me to a Tigers game in Detroit for our anniversary (pics in a minute). We spent the night since it was a night game.  Eddie had a slumber party with his best buds, Jake and Joe (sweet pic of that in a minute too).

So this morning Cort and I busted out of the D by 8:00am so we could pick Eddie up, get home and feed him, get back to my parents’ house and hopefully stop to see Cort’s stepdad.  Turns out Cort’s stepdad had to work, so he wasn’t going to be home, and Eddie MASSIVELY needed a nap (as did his parents), so we ended up back at home.

I feel like the day was such a whirlwind we didn’t get to properly love on the dads.

So here we go (WARNING…this post is going to get lengthy).

That is my dad over there ————–>

And yes, that was taken last year when I was preggo.  My dad is pretty cool.  I told you about him on his birthday.  My dad and I have the same stupid sense of humor according to my mom.  He’s the classic DAD.

He’s the guy that I still swear has ALL the answers to anything.  When I was a kid I remember asking him why we had to set our clocks back and ahead for day lights saving time.  He explained to me why.  I am not sure it was the real reason since I don’t remember him mentioning the government, but he sure acted like he knew.  He was always good like that.  He always does the same thing when he’s going to explain something.  He puts one hand out, closes his eyes for a second like he’s thinking of the best way to explain it and says, “well…” and then starts in.  Best dad ever.

We even have our own song, “Hey, Hey We’re The Monkees.” by The Monkees.  He used to sing it to me at bedtime when I was very little.  It made my night!  And when it was time to walk me down the aisle, instead of getting all sappy (thank you, by the way dad), I started singing, “here we come…walking down the street…” very softly and he laughed.  It was super great.

Father’s Day is hard for me to write about.  For one, I’m not a father.  It’s not like Mother’s Day when I could talk about how great it was to be a mother now and all that I am learning from my mom’s.  Secondly, it’s tough because we are missing a dad.  Cort’s dad died almost five years ago from lung cancer.  He was AWESOME.

Cort was very close with his dad.  They even looked a LOT alike.  This picture was taken a LONG time ago on one of their family boat trips.  He and his dad were two peas in a pod.  It was very difficult to lose such an awesomely funny, loving guy.  He was only my dad-in-law for two months, but he will forever be in my heart.  I got to share some great moments with him in the short time that I could call him Pops.  I know Cort misses his dad all the time, but days like today are even tougher. I know Cort would love to talk “dad” stuff with his old man, and I know he wishes Eddie could have known his Papa Steve.

Cort does have a stepdad though. His parents divorced years ago, and Ray is married to Cortney’s mom. He is just a GREAT guy!  Ray is Eddie’s Grampy and we just love him!  He is the nicest, kindest guy who will do just about anything for the people he loves.

We feel so blessed that we have him in our life!

Today is also about Eddie’s dad-do.  Almost a year ago, Cortney welcomed his little boy into the world and took on the role of father.  He has done even more than I could ever hope in this role.  He helped me with feedings and household stuff after we came home from the hospital.  He went on coffee runs every morning for two weeks to help us be more comfortable with our new little family.

Since being laid off in October, he has stepped up as a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD), and he is AWESOME at it.  His patience far surpasses mine and he is very good about playing with Eddie and knowing all his cues for hunger, sleep, and just grumpiness.  He brings him out on “field trips” each day too!  He is just so loving and wonderful.  Many times I catch myself smiling or tearing up just watching him love our little boy!

Speaking of taking good care of things…Cort takes good care of me too!  For our anniversary, not only did we go out to eat, but we decided to go see at Detroit Tigers baseball game (our FAVORITE team).  It was super great!  We stayed right near the field.  It was only a few short blocks to walk there.

Once there we found our seats and then decided to be on the quest for the Joel Zumaya jersey that I have been desperately wanting…and we found it!

This is us before the game started.  Man were we excited!  And we got there early enough that we could walk around and get some hotdogs and gear before the game started!  FUN!

I got me one of these tasty beverages–pina colada and strawberry daiquiri…YUM!.  Don’t worry, mom.  I remembered NOT to chug it this time.  No sick here!  It was almost 90 degrees though, so I COULD have chugged it.  But instead I sipped it and then had a hot dog and a pretzel.  And a beer.  I was at the ball park after all!

The Tigers played the Arizona Diamond Backs.  It was a pretty exciting game!

Love us some Comerica Park!
Look Mom!  I got a picture of Mags for you!  Your Tiger!  ROAR!
Also had to get a picture of the Fox Sports Detroit booth.  Big ups to Rod standing there!  Whoot!
Oh, and while we were enjoying the game, this is what my son was doing.  We didn’t know when we dropped him off that pool fun would be part of his slumber party, so we didn’t pack his swimsuit.  But not to worry!  The Visels had a spare speedo for him.  And a spare hat!
He is TOTALLY rocking that look, is he not?  Meow.
Back at the game, the Tigers were not winning.  They needed up to RALLY!  So I turned my visor upside down and got my rally on!
It didn’t work.  They lost 5-6.  But we were still happy because it was such a fun time…oh…and the show was SO not over.
Um, yes.  That would be a WEDDING on  home plate after the game! WHAT!? Yes, it’s true.  They won a radio contest!  It was crazy.
After the game and the wedding, we watched the fireworks before walking back to our hotel.  It was such a fun little get away, but we did keep on talking about what Eddie would love about this and that.  We sure missed him!  I guess that is the thing about being parents, you want to get away from the mundane schedule so bad, but when you do, you miss the little guy!  Sigh….
Oh!  Before I forget and wrap up this super long crazy random post, we have a WINNER for the mLphotography $25 gift certificate!  So many people commented who weren’t actually entering the giveaway, that random.org was not going to work out for me.  So I put everyone’s names who WERE entering in my Stetson the number of times they entered (does that make sense???) and Eddie picked a winner:
Oh yeah, and you are NOT allowed to laugh at how broke down I look in this video.  It has been a long day already.  Ahem…anyway…the WINNER…

So congrats!!!

We will be having ONE more giveaway to be announced on Eddie’s birthday (Wednesday).  He wanted to give you all something for being such great readers and peeps.  So one more giveaway to come!  And Eddie’s birthday story to be concluded!

Whew!  hope you all had as much fun as we did!

At the Carwash

Yesterday was a grumpy day for Eddie.  For whatever reason napping was not happening.  Cort had homework to do, so I whisked Mr. McWhineyPants off to my parents for a little while and then to my brother’s for a bit.  Upon returning, Eddie ate dinner, but was still full of screams, so Cort decided to wash the vehicles and to take Eddie outside with him.

Eddie LOVES playing outside.  I don’t know what it is, but my usually extremely mobile toddler can sit in the grass for 10 minutes before he feels the need to move.  I think he just likes BEING in the outdoors.

He happily played with toys and pointed at our tree and at the birds and at daddy for almost the entire first vehicle-washing.

But when Cort started washing his truck, Eddie was on the MOVE!  That was interesting stuff…a TRUCK!

He so badly wanted to walk over and “help” his Dad-do.  By the way, Cort JUST mowed, but noticed Eddie’s little piggies are totally buried in the grass?  sigh…so cute.

In fact, while I was busy snapping pictures, Eddie made his way to the driveway and the hose.  Oh BOY was that fun!  Cort actually said, “I sort of want him to discover the nozzle and accidentally spray himself in the face!”  Um? not nice, Dad-do.  Although I agree it would be funny…until the crying starts.

Ed never figured out the nozzle, but by this time he was getting pretty grassy and kind of wet.  Not my favorite combo right before Jammy Time.

But once he got a little taste of “helping” daddy?  There was no more just sitting in the lawn and being cute like this.

So we went inside to get ready for bed.

But man do we love summer days!

Happy Father’s Day!

Cort and I would like to say Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there! We are very thankful to our dad’s for teaching us all the things that our mom’s didn’t…like how to walk through the kitchen without taking our shoes off at the door (use the rugs to shuffle along), or if you get a large enough mug for you beer, you won’t have to refill it nearly as often as everyone else (like at marina happy hours). Dads are always good for the small little lessons in life.
Dads–at least ours–also have impeccable taste in music. Both Cort and I can remember family trips in the car where we used to listen to oldies on a continuous loop. We both grew up on The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, and any pretty much anything on 107.3. I will always think of my dad when I hear “Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees” by The Monkees and Cort will always associate “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond to his pops.
I think we both get our senses of humor from our dad’s as well. People are always saying how much Cort is like his dad, and I noticed my mom rolls her eyes the same way about my jokes as she does about my dad’s…although she really doesn’t refer to them as “jokes.” hmmm.
Anyway, Father’s Day gives us an extra reason to thank ALL our dads (Tom, Steve, and Ray)…and those who have stepped in and given us “fatherly” advice and help in the past years. Whenever we have a project there is no shortage of “dads” to let us know what they would do or what they heard works best!
Thanks to all of you and we hope you enjoy your day!!!