Love Bird


I was mistaken when I thought Eddie was a cuddly child.

He doesn’t really like to cuddle.  He likes closeness.  He doesn’t like to be alone.

As a baby he liked be rocked (every night), but what he wanted was someone there with him, even just sitting in the rocker while he fell asleep in his bed.  At almost four-years-old he is still this way.  After we read books, he just wants one of us to lay by him.  It’s how he feels safe.

I only realized the difference between needing closeness and being a cuddler because of Charlie.

Charlie has never been needy like Eddie.  I don’t mean needy in a bad way, but Eddie does need us–to lay by him, to sit by him, to go downstairs with him, to color with him–more than Charlie does.  Eddie will play by himself…as long as someone is in the room with him.

Charlie does his own thing.  He will play by himself, sit in a totally different room by himself, and when it’s bedtime all I have to say is “nigh nigh?” and he grabs his glow worm under his arm and trucks down to his nursery.  No fuss.  Hugs and kisses and down he goes.


I missed out on a lot of the first year of Eddie’s life.  I was emotionally distant and, after I went back to work when he was 3 months old, physically distant.  I was sick and don’t remember much of his first year.  Charlie’s first year made that even more painfully obvious to me because I just couldn’t remember what Eddie was like at that age.

One thing I know is that while I rocked Eddie to sleep almost every single night, he didn’t really spend all that much time in my arms.  He and I cried together often and fell asleep in a pile in the chair out of sheer exhaustion, but not because we just couldn’t stop cuddling.

Charlie and I were inseparable during his first 6 months. I had 3 months of maternity leave followed by 3 months of summer break.  He slept easily and I wasn’t fiending to put him down. I let myself heal and relax.  And because my anxiety was under control, I was Ok to take him out in public with me.

I wore Charlie wherever we went.  If we weren’t at home with him sleeping next to me or on me, we were out and about with him sleeping in the Moby.

And now?  Eddie needs us to be there and Charlie does not.


Charlie is our Love Bird.


He gives kisses.  Seriously, they are so sweet I die a little bit.  He leans in and says “mmmmmmmuah!” and lays an open-mouth wet one on your mouth, nose, chin, eye…wherever that sloppy mouth lands.

Eddie never did that.  He is just starting to give us kisses now. I think it’s because Charlie does it.  I’m not kidding.

Charlie gives random hugs.  He will barrel over and just fling his arms around us and then truck off like it ain’t no thang.

Charlie wants to sit on a lap. All the time.  If you are on the floor, your lap is his seat.  He just sort of comes over, turns around, and backs up until his behind is on you.  If you don’t make room for him, he will wiggle around on you until you do.

He will crawl up on the couch or chair and mountain goat his way all over me until he can get himself nuzzled in and then lean back like I’m his recliner.

He will find the one little cranny in Cort’s arms and wiggle his way in and just chill.

He will hold my hand just to hold it.


And he will press his face to my face or his head to my nose…like he knows I love to take in the sweet smell of lavender in his hair.

He will softly repeat “ma ma ma ma” while he lays his face on my shoulder.

Both of my boys are love bugs, but Charlie is our cuddle monster.

It never ceases to amaze me how they can be so similar and so different at the same time both in big and small ways.

Most people would say that both of my boys are cuddlers, but Cort and I know there is a difference ever so slight. While Eddie drifts to sleep to the slow breathing of a parent next to him, Charlie thrives on morning hugs and kisses.  While Eddie feels safe with a parent in the room, Charlie recharges on lap-sitting and Eskimo kisses.

It’s even hard to describe here.

Both of my boys have their hearts on their sleeves: they both love to give and get love from us and from each other.  Their love languages are just a bit different.

Each perfectly theirs.

stupid halloween

So I hate Halloween.

Yup. There it is.

Oh, I have tried to love it.  I have.

As  kid, it was fun to dress up for the Halloween party that we had in school.  In my memory we took half the day just getting our costumes on and asking our teachers to zip, snap, and attach necessary parts to our costumes that our moms had sent along in a plastic bag. Those poor teachers also had the duty of smearing on the make up our moms sent and spraying the color in our hair that we brought in an aerosol can.

We had fun games, dunked our made up faces in a bucket of water in hopes of getting an apple that other people’s face had been on, and then marched around the school for everyone to see our costumes.

After about 3rd grade, the fun wasn’t as fun anymore.

We didn’t have the money for fancy store-bought costumes and because we started discussing costume ideas about three days before Halloween, our costumes usually involved jeans and my dad’s hunting camo make-up stuff (I was a witch for many, many years in a row).

Even in college I never really cared about dressing up for Halloween parties.  It was too much work to be too uncomfortable.  And if a normal Sunday morning was somewhat “rough”, the day after a Halloween party was horrible because it usually involved doing laundry to get fake blood, hair color,  sweat, and beer out of your pillow case.

Just not worth it.

As a full-fledged adult living on my own, I thought Halloween was cute for exactly one year.  The first year I lived in our current house and was able to hand out trick or treat candy.  Growing up, we lived out where there were just no trick or treaters (we went to my cousin’s neighborhood to trick or treat).  The next year I realized that giving out candy is not all that awesome since I am not really a fan of grabby children.

I thought maybe my attitude would change once we had kids.

Eddie’s first Halloween was sort of nice. We dressed him up, took him to see his Grandmas, and then came home.  We successfully missed the trick or treaters and we didn’t have to actually go out trick or treating.

Eddie’s second Halloween was Ok too since there was no real trick or treating.  He did two houses and then was done.  And again, I sort of ignored trick or treaters.

Eddie’s third Halloween had all the signs of Halloween going bad. He was excited up until the actual day. Then he hated his costume, didn’t want to say trick or treat, was scared of everything…it ended in tears.

This year was the culmination of all the yuck about this “holiday”.

First, we picked our pumpkins out at the last minute, I didn’t bring my big camera to the “patch”, and Eddie was the pits during the carving so everything went so fast there was no time for action shots…or finished product shots.

even Charlie was angry about it all.

he wanted to actually carve so badly, but, well…he’s 3. knives were not happening. but tantrums were.

And then there was the actual day.  Halloween was on a work night so Cort had to rush to daycare to pick up the boys early, and I had to rush home from helping students after school (did I mention this week is the end of the first quarter? SO BUSY WITH ALL THE THINGS). Then we flew through dinner so quickly I am not even sure any of us tasted it.

In a blur of Cort cleaning up dinner and my getting the boys in their costumes we were out the door by 5:45pm to hit up the grandma’s houses to show off the boys and for them to collect their treat bags.

At least they are cute!

When we got back just before 7pm, I had barely turned the porch light on and the trick or treaters descended upon our house like moths to a flame. Cort took Eddie out into the neighborhood.  I should mention that Eddie whined the entire car ride from my mom’s house to my mother-in-law’s house about eating candy. And then whined from my mother-in-law’s house all the way to our house.  And then whined when we made him go potty before trick-or-treating. It was awesome.

Oh wait. no. It was not.

tiny tiger with a big growl…er…cry. every time he was forced into a car seat.

Eddie caught on to the trick or treating thing like a boss according to Cort.  Not surprising since he would do just about anything for a bite of chocolate. Including giving away his baby brother (which is why Charlie stayed home with me).

he wasn’t a fan of the stick on mustache, so I drew him one…apparently he was “creeper” mario.

When Eddie got back from trick or treating, he handed out candy to a few kids that came by before we turned off the porch light so we could do bedtime.  His costume was a huge hit with all the older kids.

After the Mario costume came off? All that whining he had been doing suddenly seemed like angelic singing compared to the all out devil tantrums he started throwing at bedtime.

That child didn’t finally stay in his bed without tears or fits until close to 10pm.

And mommy had to take an extra anxiety pill so she wouldn’t explode all over the house with ugliness.

Stupid Halloween.

Oh, and then to make it all just right?  Eddie puked at daycare this morning.  After having him home for the rest of the day, it has been determined that the puke was due to over-tired, over-excited, over-sugared.

Stupid Halloween.

The cuteness almost makes it all worth it. almost.

I’m chalking this year’s ugliness up to Eddie’s age and trying to cram too much in.

Next year, we may have to skip the grandmas and just do some trick or treating.  Because I just can’t handle it all.

I am not the mom who is awesome at Halloween.

I can accept that.  Hopefully my kids can too and they make friends with the kid whose mom is.

sweaters and smiles

Of course after admitting to the world that I have nothing to blog about, I have jotted down a thousand things.

But they all feel a bit weighty or mooshy for a Monday.

So instead, you get a glimpse at our Easter.

The day was beautiful.  Sunny skies and mid-50’s when we left the house for church at 9:30am.

I even got all of my boys to wear sweaters and smiles.  Plus we were able to take Eddie’s crazy curls with a load of tangle spray and some heavy brushing.

After an absolutely lovely service, we packed up and headed to my parents’ house for Easter baskets for the boys.

Eddie dived right into his asking, “mommy, you open this for me?” about everything…mostly about all the candy (thanks, mom)…chocolate in particular.  Seeing as we hadn’t had lunch yet, I only let him open his brother’s m&m’s (let’s face it, Charlie won’t miss them).  But that little stinker found a loophole in my system.  Grandma had chocolate eggs in a bowl.  No need to open his candy when he can shove Grandma’s chocolate in his mouth.

Oh well, it’s Easter.

And he wore a tie and sweater for me.

And stood nice for this family picture:

Eat up, bud.  In fact, here’s some more m&ms.

After my parents’ we went over to Cort’s mom and stepdad’s house for dinner, and egg hunt, and more Easter baskets.

My mother-in-law’s Easter dinner might be one of my favorite holiday meals all year.  I am not even a ham fan, but hers always has this yummy crust on it.  Plus she has all the things I deny myself otherwise:  green bean casserole, rolls, and cheesy potatoes with potato chips on top.  Don’t worry, I ate a strawberry too.  You know, to be healthy.  Or something.

Anyway, I was too busy stuffing my face and making Eddie eat try at least a bite of everything on his plate to take pics of the food.

Cort and I learned that our older son is quite cut-throat when it comes to Easter Egg hunting.  He knew his 11 month old cousins could not get around to find the eggs, so he ran and grabbed almost all of them, despite our yelling for him to “share with the babies, Eddie!”

Why yes, Eddie did outrun his aunt Kenzie because he knew she was weighted down with his cousin.  And yes, he DID ask her to hand over the eggs she had collected for Kingston.  The boy meant business.  I think he is going to be disappointed next year when those tanks cousins of his can team up and push him off the eggs.

Thirteen eggs collected probably equaled about $2 in change, but it was the fun of getting them in his basket.  And of course “feeding his pig” (piggy bank) when he got home.

Granny sort of out does the whole world when it comes to Easter baskets.  So many fun goodies, but the annual ones are swimsuits for the boys.  Charlie got a shark suit with  matching water shoes this year.  Yes, I may have swooned.

And how did she know sticker books are Eddie’s favorite?  He even showed Great Granny how they work.  I think she was impressed.

After all that fun, it was finally time to go home for naps. For everyone.

Because remembering our loved ones who have passed on and praising God for giving them (and us) eternal life through Jesus is exhausting.

Or we were in food comas from Granny’s cooking.

One of those.

a difficult season

When I was born, I only had two living great grandparents: my dad’s maternal grandpa and my mom’s maternal grandma.

I hardly remember either of them.

When Eddie was born he had seven living great grandparents: all except my maternal grandmother.

Cort's Grandma and Grandpa Sluiter meeting Eddie

Four Generations: My dad and me and Eddie with my paternal grandparents

Four Generations: Cort, Eddie, Cort's mom, and Cort's maternal grandpa

four generations: my mom, me, and Eddie with my maternal grandpa

I feel like that is lucky.

Our grandparents are all in their 80’s now.

A new season of life is upon us.

Last Christmas we lost Cort’s Grandpa Sluiter.

This weekend we lost Cort’s Grandpa Potter.

Cort with both grandpas in 2005 (at our wedding)

Cort found strength and wisdom in these men.

Especially over the past seven years of our marriage after his own dad died.

Now all three father figures in his shared bloodline are gone.

Our sons will not remember these men.

I think that is what hurts my heart the most.

Cortney is a strong, brave, wise, witty man.

He has a way with people that puts them at ease.

He is quick with a witty retort.

He is sensitive to his wife’s needs in a way a lot of men are not.

He got those qualities from his dad and grandpas.

This new season we find ourselves in is uncomfortable.

It is the season of adulthood where we both welcome new life and say goodbye to weary lives.

Where we take from heaven and give back to heaven.

It’s a confusing and painful season.

But it reminds us to cherish and love the ones who are here…

Our family (Cort's side) with his maternal grandparents

…because we don’t know how long they have on this earth.

We feel lucky for having them.

And comforted knowing those who have moved on are now in paradise.

You will walk with her again soon, Grandpa.

Until then, we will take good care of her for you.

And when you meet again there will be no cane, no pain, no obstacles.

May Cort and I always hold hands and giggle like we are courting…

just like you and Grandma.

We love you and miss you.

Christmas Without Words

Christmas Eve with Cort’s side of the family…

Christmas Morning in Sluiter Nation

Christmas Night at my parents’ house

We had an extremely blessed Christmas.

How was yours?

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