when it just feels right

I know it’s not Wednesday yet, but I couldn’t resist bringing my new friend, Jason (aka ihubby on twitter) into the Nation today.  Cort introduced me to Jason telling me I should follow his tweets because “if we knew him in real life, we would so hang out with this guy, Kate.”

He was right.  Jason is AWESOME (and his wife is quite hilarious too).  They would definitely be a friend couple we would hang with.

After following Jason’s tweets, I started reading his blog and found out that he is a cancer survivor.  He had testicular cancer, but had it removed and is here to tell about it today.

However, he and his wife want children, and this is why I asked him here today.  Because I enthusiastically agreed to put a little badge over there on the right for him.

Please give him some Sluiter Nation love as he explains….

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Anytime I blog about the subject of adoption I get very flustered. I can sit down in front of my computer and talk about something completely off the wall (movies, music etc..) and not have any problem. When I speak about the subject of adoption it brings up the past and what my wife and I have been through this far and it hits me hard.

I have been reaching out to fellow bloggers and twitter friends and seeing if they have room on their sites to post a badge. When I asked Katie to post the badge, she asked me to guest post on her site about it. What’s so great about the badge? Well, I like to think it’s for a good cause. Long story short, I had cancer and now I can’t have biological children. You can read about my journey cancer here and here. My wife also wrote an amazing post on it here.

Clicking the badge directs you to our ChipIn page. Our friend Amy created the page to help fundraise for our adoption. Amy told me that our story touched her so much that she wanted to do everything possible to help us get a child. When Amy sent me the link for the first time I cried. Not because I was sad but because I was so touched that someone would go out of their way for us. We have never met this person in real life (though we will be soon) and she cares for us enough to do this. I was just beside myself.

When my wife and I found out I was infertile, we knew fairly immediately that adoption would be our next step. We didn’t want to waste time and money on IVF, cause we weren’t sure if it would work and also we didn’t want to use donor sperm. We talked about it and came to the conclusion that we wanted to open our family and arms to a child that needed a family and a home. You know when something just feels right? Well, that’s how we feel about adoption. We had also considered the idea of adoption before we found out I was infertile. We had talked about it at great lengths and had always talked about how we wanted to adopt a child even after we had our own kids. I guess it is something that has been in our heads most of the time and now we are trying to make that dream come true.

So why am I posting about all of this on Sluiter Nation? The main reason is adoption is pretty darn expensive! My cancer and all the chemo, tests and scans involved with it just wiped out all of our savings we had. The adoption has us starting at square one, and while there are grants and other forms of help for the adoption process, we aren’t eligible for them because we don’t have an approved home study. To get the home study, we have to raise about $4,000 more.

That is where you come in. Please donate to our adoption fund if you can. Regardless of how much you give, we are grateful for what you are donating. You are helping us to get one step closer to bringing a child into our house. You are helping us come one step closer to having a child of our own.

I want to thank Katie for letting me guest blog and to tell my story. I also want to thank her for posting the badge to our ChipIn page.

If you want to post the badge on your site or if you have ANY questions concerning our process of adoption or the ChipIn page, please feel free to email me at theihubby@gmail.com or my wife at dashleysteele@gmail.com.

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Adoption is very close to our heart as well.  Some of you even follow Cort’s sister, MacKenzie and her husband Dave’s adoption journey.

And you know that cancer research and support is important to us as well.  Cancer is such a thief…even for those who survive.

So if you can give, please do.  Their children are waiting for them.

Late to the Party

Welcome to Wednesday!  It’s time to bring another blogger into the Nation as a Sluiter Nation Recruit.  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Check here.
This week I am bringing you someone I met while I was collecting votes for the Mom Central grant contest.  Cristi from Motherhood Unadorned and I were in the same category, and thus each other’s competition.  She won.  And it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person.  I also consider myself a winner because through it all she and I have gotten to know each other.

Cristi is a has a true heart of compassion.  She has lived through depression just like me, but she has had to witness so much more heartache.  Part of her mission on her blog is to raise awareness and help prevent suicide.

But I will let her tell you.

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Hi Sluiter Nation! I’m so honored to be here today. I love Katie’s blog, her openness is a gift. Really I’m just a newbie blogger finding my way (6 months and counting). I was pretty late to the party, but I’ve been so motivated. To write. To connect. To share. To help. And here’s why …

This year marks 20 years since high school graduation. Ah! I said that out loud!

About 24 years ago, I attended a slumber party. I was 13, a freshmen, meeting new friends at a new house in a new part of town. It was Dina’s house. She and I bonded over Head Bangers Ball on MTV, watching the World Premiere Video of Guns & Roses Welcome to the Jungle. We were both convinced “They’re gonna be huge!” Ha. We were right.

My group of girlfriends began to formulate that night. Four years of high school memories, and if you can believe it, 20 years since. About six years ago, we started our own annual girls reunions, a few days of friend time each summer. So fun! But also a chance to reconnect (we live all over the country now) and share in our journeys of motherhood, health and family.

I was also late to the motherhood party. Dina became a mom in her early 20s, the others in their mid to late 20s. I was a nice ripe 34 when my son Ronin came along. My girlfriends were my examples of marriage and motherhood. My cheerleaders through dating and finding my love. My support through cross country moves, mental health issues, infertility treatments, pregnancy and birth.

We are bonded for life. But one life was lost way too soon.

In December we lost Dina to suicide.

I think of her as my muse. I started blogging because of her. I just knew I needed to do something to honor her, to work through my own lingering mental health issues and parenting challenges, and to help others through theirs. To fight for suicide prevention for all I’m worth. And to actually try to have a little fun doing it.

I’ve become a part of something very special. A community of bloggers, of mothers, of readers who just don’t want to feel so alone anymore. An online group of girlfriends … supporters, cheerleaders.

Motherhood is hard. For all of us. In many different ways. But it’s ok. If we can share who we really are, what we’re really going through, without fear of judgement or prejudice, we can overcome anything.

I truly believe that whatever your struggle, it’s valid and important because it is yours. Some may have it worse, some better, but that never diminishes what you are going through. And I’m certain someone else is going through it too.

Trust me. You are not alone.

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Cristi is a true gift to the blogging world.  I really see great things coming from her true heart.

I encourage you to follow Cristi on twitter and facebook.  And then check out these lovely posts:

A post done for The Red Dress Club’s RemembeRED prompt:  First Time

A post about what and when to talk to our children about our scary times:  When Should We Share our “Scars” With Our Children?

A very honest confession that I can totally relate to:  Being a Mom does not 100% Fulfill Me.

Another post close to my heart (which was also syndicated on BlogHer): I’m Not a Bad Mom Because I Take Medication

And another post for The Red Dress Club (one of MY prompts that I gave about sand memories):  Visualize Happy

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 Check out the latest highlight over on my sponsor page…just for baby girls…so cute!

Also check out my latest book review: The Red Tent.

motherhood

Happy Wednesday, my lovely readers!  It’s time again for a new Sluiter Nation Recruit!  Not sure what in the world a Recruit is?  Check it out.

This week I am super excited to bring you one of my very first twitter friends, Julie of back to the basics.  We are so much alike!  We are both mommy’s to adorable little blond boys.  We both LOVE to read (in fact, Julie frequently adds reviews to my book blog, Katie’s Bookcase).  We both love our Canons.

Julie is an actual photographer though (I have the prints in my bedroom to prove it), and she is totally cute and pregnant with a little girl due in October.

I am so excited to have her here today.  She is so sweet you may need a glass of milk to read this post!

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I am so honored to be over here at Sluiter Nation today! I believe, if I remember correctly, I found Katie and her blog through Twitter, and then I started contributing to her book blog as well! Then, when she was added to The Red Dress Club blog, I started reading there, too! Miss Katie is so talented, but if you are here, you are already aware.

I am the proud momma of a way-too-curious, rambunctious, sweet, almost two year old boy, Brayden. If you were to look up the definition of a strong willed child, I am pretty sure his picture would be right next to it. You know, just as soon as I remember to send it in.

And for the most part, his will to be independent doesn’t bother me. But it’s the days where he is just absolutely trying to defy everything when I want to throw my hands up and quit. Those days are where I close my eyes, take a breath, and say “this is your calling. this is what you were put on this earth to do. it’s not the end of the world.” Of course, in the time is takes to do that little mantra, Brayden is on to the next thing- but you get the general idea.

Motherhood was always something I wanted. Before my husband and I were even married, we talked about having kids. We just knew we wanted a family. When the time came, we were thrilled when pregnancy came quickly for us, and couldn’t wait for our little blessing to arrive.

But no one told me how hard it would be, how the sleepless nights would change my relationship with my husband, how time consuming breast-feeding would be, or how I would have to eventually figure out how to discipline this child who thought he was smarter than me! No one told me how my view of the world would change once I had a child, how shows that used to interest me about child abuse would make my stomach hurt, how my own anxiety would affect me in those early months, and how many others I would meet either online or in real life that experienced the same thing. I never knew how much being a mother would make me feel like a part of something- a group of women whose love for their child is unconditional. It’s like being in a not-so-secret club of women who all know, for the most part, exactly what I am going through.

It’s been a huge blessing so far. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
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See?  Julie is the cutest little thing!  Now go read her blog and follow her on twitter!

 

WAIT!  Want to read some awesome posts right now?  Check these gems out….
Julie is in the same postpartum boat that I am and writes a lovely, candid post about having postpartum anxiety in her post Coming Clean.

 

I laughed RIGHT out loud when I saw how her son, Brayden roughhouses.  Think CPR only way cuter and then read A Little Roughhousing.

 

And check out how precious her wee one was when he was fresh in the post 2 1/2 week pictures.

 

Lastly, I love that Julie is a stay at home mom.  It’s a job I could never, EVER do.  And she busts down the stereotypes in her post Stereotypes and a Vent.

Belonging

And just like that, it’s Wednesday again!  Time to welcome another worthy blogger in the Nation as a Sluiter Nation Recruit.

What’s that?  You don’t know what a Recruit is?  Well, stop here first before continuing.

I know every week it seems like I am telling you how honored I am to have that week’s blogger, but it’s true! And this week is no different.  I was nervous when I approached her (since she is royalty and all), that perhaps her busy scheduling of ruling the interwebs would be way too packed to fit in a little trip to visit The Nation.

But because The Empress is the most gracious ruler that ever lived, she enthusiastically agreed!

Alexandra rules her empire of three boys and a husband (His Majesty) over at Good Day, Regular People.

She is probably one of the most genuine bloggers out there.    If her words can help someone?  She will put them out there.  Her genuine goal is to put more joy in the world and to reveal that which is already there.

Well…you’ll see.

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When K asked me to guest post as a SluiterNation Recruit, I emailed back a “YES!” before I even finished reading her invitation to guest on her blog.

The woman loves words and what they can do to you, as much as I do.

I wanted my post here to be one she would be happy to feature. When I asked K for ideas, she offered some suggestions: “belonging,” was one of them.

I liked that one.

Me, here, at SluiterNation, where readers come to find writing they can sink their souls into, and leave feeling a part of something, belonging. That’s the type of blog SluiterNation is.

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“When I had my child, I learned what the sound of one hand clapping is– it’s a woman holding an infant in one arm, and a pen in the other.”

–Kate Braverman

Do you stop and think about why you blog?

Some of us just began blogging, not really clear on what the siren’s call to the screen was.

But we heard it.

All of us online, heard it.

We are different from those that don’t feel themselves pulled to the keyboard, to send our thoughts, messages, feelings, information, tapped into keys and then sent out there.

Out there.

With each of us hoping that our words land somewhere. I know, many bloggers say they blog “only for themselves,” and this could possibly be true.

But, what is hard for me to imagine, is how can anyone not enjoy the interaction?

I think people want to share, they want to put their heart and soul into what their existence is here on earth. To have a connection with people not yet met, friends to be.

They want to belong to something: the greater collective. A part of the human race, where we are drawn to communicate, and help, share, feel kinship toward one another.

Blogging does that for me. It provides me with a place to spell out my truths, my writing that I share with sincerity, in my search to feel a part of something.

I now belong to a group of people known as bloggers. I blog with the wish of meeting others, lightening someone’s load, sharing what I’ve learned, helping someone feel less different.

The magic in blogging with no falseness, or in not always painting a picture of a perfect world, is that I am the one who is shown the light. I see others feeling the same as I do, or leaving me messages of encouragement and love, or the most amazing words for me to hear, “Thank you, I thought it was just me.”

There is a light you see in togetherness, it is a light of joy, shared valleys in life, bringing hope, finding hope, having the shelter of friendship, feeling the warm smile spread across your face in recognition of a friend’s avatar on your site.

This is the rich gift of belonging to the group known as bloggers.

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Thank you so much, K, for allowing me to be here, as a SluiterNation Recruit. I’ve been looking forward to it!

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Didn’t I tell you she was lovely?

And now?  You must go become a follower of The Empress.

She is all over twitter.

But really you need to go read her words.

Because I am a teacher and I love to be appreciated…Your Minds are Mine Forever

Because I have a blog and someone loves me…When Someone You Love Has a Blog (read the whole series.  seriously.)

Because I fear the day Eddie is a teenager…Lost in Translation (no seriously, Alexandra…you need to help me someday).

And Because her son has one of the best writing voices on the internet…Baby E (read all his posts.  He’s good).

Music to my Ears

It’s time again for a Sluiter Nation Recruit to be inducted into the Nation.  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Well, read here.

I don’t even know how to find the words to describe this week’s recruit, Sherri of Old Tweener.

She is one of those bloggers who I found through a blog and through a blog and connected on twitter and…well…she is probably one of my favorite treasures that the internet has given me.

Sherri and I seem to be counterparts in this thing called motherhood.  Both of our first borns are sons.  Hers just graduated from high school and mine is about to turn two.  Daily Sherri reminds me of what I should treasure and what I have to look forward to.  She gives me perspective on being a mom of a boy.  And she is a role-model to me.

And she tells me that I remind her of what the toddler age was like.  What she can still see in her son if she looks hard enough.

She is my future (I hope!) and I am her past.

And at the same time?  We have become wonderful friends.

I am so honored that she is here today.  Grab a box of tissues, though.  This one is that lovely.

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Sometimes I think what I miss the most is the voice.

That little-boy voice, following me wherever I went; talking to me constantly, asking questions with no apparent answers.

Or at least none that I can come up with quickly.

Even through the bathroom door.

I first heard his voice as a sort of purring sound, when he was placed on my chest right after birth.

I thought it was the best sound I’d ever heard.

As he grew, we encouraged language and reading in our house, and he soaked it up.

We talked constantly in the car while driving around. I would tell him where we were going, what we would get while we were out, and when we would head home.

I pointed out landmarks and familiar places, neighbor’s homes and favorite playgrounds.

We sang the crazy kid songs; told silly stories, and read books so many times I could probably repeat them to this day.

Goodnight stars, goodnight air…

We named animals, imitated their sounds, pretended to be pirates, recited Dr. Seuss and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. Over and over.

We encouraged him to talk and boy, did he.

He didn’t stop for 16 years.

And now, in all of his teenagerishness, the talking isn’t as frequent.

The voice is deep; traces of man are evident in the words that come out.

Responses sometimes seem harsh, even when they aren’t meant to be.

If I close my eyes, I can still hear the little boy in there, but just barely.

I haven’t been called Mommy in more years than I care to remember.

Just Mom.

I think back to how many times he would rattle on and on about something only he found interesting; like which time periods certain dinosaurs lived in or whether or not polystyrene was recyclable.

And I know I didn’t always listen. I nodded my head, tried to stay focused and enthusiastic.

But that didn’t always work.

Like the time we drove all the way to Grandma’s house one hour away and he spent the whole time telling a story.

One story. One hour.

Pretty sure I drifted a bit during that one.

The conversations we have now are different. What time will you be home? Who are you going with? Is there enough gas in the car?

The answers are never long enough for my mind to wander.

I find myself wishing for a long story, a difficult question, a little-known fact, or something else that takes more time than a simple answer.

Wanting to hear Mommy, maybe just once more.

In that small, little-boy voice from so long ago.

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See?  Sherri is the BEST!

If you are not following her on twitter, you must!  She is funny and lovely and a great conversationalist!

And you MUST read her blog, Old Tweener!  Here is just a sampling of some of her loveliness.  But head this caveat:  There will be swooning.

All that Remains of the Toothfairy (honestly? the tooth fairy part of my new job description scares me)

Exit Interview (oh how this one gets me)

Driven to Insanity (ZOMG!  Driver’s Training???)

Photo Finish (grab a tissue before reading this.  And then don’t say I didn’t warn you)

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If you have a second?  Both Sherri and I (and many others) have posts nominated for BlogHer Voice of the year.  Please take a minute to go through the list and vote for your favorites.  The winner gets to read his/her post at the Keynote Community speaker.  HUGE honor.

That’s My Family

First…I am over at Dutch Being Me today as her inaugural guest poster on her new Words of Wisdom guest series. I’m talking about my words of wisdom for being a new mom.  Go check me out!

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It’s my first Wednesday of summer vacation and I am excited to bring you yet another Sluiter Nation Recruit!  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Check it out here.

This week’s recruit is someone who I LOVE!  She is my sista from another mista here on the interwebs.  We found each other over a year ago and have bonded over our hardships and the unfairness of life and how funny it can all be anyway.

I love Dawana because she is not afraid to speak her mind.  Ever.  Sometimes I wish I could be that open and free here on Sluiter Nation, but this is a family-friendly place so I try to keep it clean for our Grandmas and for any students who might end up here.

Anyway, this post means so much to me because we have an interracial extended family.  I have a place in my heart for my girl, Dawana, and I know you will too once you meet her.

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I have to say, I have a potty mouth.

Like, really bad.

So when Katie told me that I could be a recruit (yay, me) and during the week of my wedding anniversary, I was super psyched to say the least. I thought it would be all sweet to write an Ode to my marriage. Then, we went on a family trip and got pulled over by a cop who thought it would be fun to stereotype my family, so I wrote a post about that.

Love me as she may, Katie had to gently let me know that said post had way too many curse words to be published on Sluiter Nation. Not only was I embarrassed, but it made me realize how horribly filthy my mouth can be. I don’t curse all day every day, I promise! Like Katie, I am a teacher, but I teach the little ones. This year I was blessed to have 22 6 & 7-year olds in my midst.

Truly, though, I try to reserve severe cursing for when I get mad. Which I was. Racism is never fun.

Katie suggested that I write about being in an interracial relationship in today’s society and I thought… what do I write? So, here goes nothin’.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by a 100% Jamaican family and my husband was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska by a 100% Nebraskan family. His paternal great-great grandfather came over to Nebraska from Switzerland (Sweden? … I often forget- don’t tell him I said that though).

We met at work- he taught P.E., me- fifth grade. It was a whirlwind. Friends, Love, Marriage, Baby and here we are 6 years later. I love my husband. I love my daughter. I love my life. I cannot say that it has been without its interesting moments, though.

My favorite part, I think, about being in an interracial relationship is when we go out together- whether it is to Costco or Chili’s and people think we aren’t together. Never mind that it’s him, me and our daughter. At Costco, we may walk in together and the greeter asks him for his card (we’re together sir) or at Chili’s we may get asked if we are on separate checks (nope, we are on one). That may or may not be weird, maybe other people get asked if they are on separate checks often, but it strikes me as weird every time. I also see the looks that people give my husband sometimes, the “that’s your wife?” look. To which he does not take lightly. I also see the looks they give me if he comes into a store where I’m trying on clothes or a restaurant where I’m already seated and when asked he says he’s looking for his wife.

When my daughter was young, people would often ask me “Is her father white?” or “Is that your daughter?” which, seriously? Aren’t you rude! (I ranted in an entire post here about that)

And really, not everyone is that ignorant. We’ve lived in Florida, California and Colorado and Florida is the place where we feel most at home. No one stares at us (at least not that we notice), no one questions if my daughter is my own.

I don’t think my family is any different from anyone else’s. But to always have to say “we’re together” or “I’m with him” or “I’m his wife”… it gets old. In 2011, the ignorance is still there. Maybe they live in a world where people stay with people of their own race? I don’t know. I don’t even know if it’s racism or just warped views.

It doesn’t get to me for the most part and I’m usually used to it, unless it comes in the form of abuse of power- like the police officer in Nebraska that pulled my family over and was disturbingly rude for no reason.

I guess I worry about my daughter (and any other subsequent children) growing up with ignorant people and being squeezed into a box because someone can’t figure out “what they are.” My husband and I, we are adults and know how to deal with stupid people and when appropriate, we may tell them where to shove it. My daughter, I will have to teach her how to guard herself against stupidity (’cause it’s contagious) and how to handle said stupid people with class.

And really? We don’t think of ourselves as an interracial couple. We are just like any other couple. We love each other deeply, we fight hard, we make up even harder and? we make beautiful babies. What do they say? “Love is blind?” Color blind

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I told you she was super awesome!  Now go follow her blog, A Bittersweet Existence and follow her on twitter.

Need to read more of Dawana’s words now?  Check out these:

She started a series where she “translates” rap lyrics into standard English.  LOVE!  But don’t read if you don’t like rap lyrics.  Because, um…they have “naughty” words. But if you do?  Go read  I Got The Magic Stick.

I love D because she is so honest.  She bares all.  And she does so beautifully in her post, Stripped.  Oh how I relate to the feelings of being “damaged goods” as she calls them.  Sigh.

I also know how she feels in her post Everybody’s Pregnant. I’m pretty sure that dude that got pregnant?  Happened after one of my miscarriages.  There is nothing like the pent up rage that lives in a woman’s soul when she wants to have a baby and can’t.  But it seems everyone else can.

And part of my reason for wanting to Write Away Cancer is so women do not have to go through what she describes in her post The Biopsy.

People?  Dawana is one hardcore awesome chick.  And I love her.

 

i am a fashion emergency

I know, I know.

Some of you totally do not believe that title.

In fact, I got a TON of compliments on this…(you are all SERIOUSLY too kind)…

taken by the lovely and talented Missy of mL photography for my biz cards/blog

But people?  I did not dress myself here.

The truth behind this is that I asked Cort what I should wear.  He suggested the blue to match my eyes.  He knows what I look good in better than I do.

Which is why I often blog stalk people like Torie from Twenty Five Design for cute fashion ideas.

When she asked me over to her blog today?  Well I just couldn’t say no!  Maybe being in her space would rub off on me!

So hop on over to her blog, Life with Rylie, and check out my blog-sitting skills.  And learn about my awkward fashion moments.

Also?  If you like pretty things?  You will LOVE Torie’s shop.

I may be obsessed.

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teacher’s kid

Ah, the first day of June…and it’s a Recruit day!  Don’t know what a Sluiter Nation Recruit is?  Check it out!

Today I give you Liz of A Belle, A Bean, and a Chicago Dog.

Liz has always been a blogger that I have looked up to.  Not only does she have an awesome blog about her cute little family (two girls, a small husband, and her dog), but she always has awesome side projects too.

Her current endeavor, Eli Rose Social Media, which she shares with her Blogging Partner in Crime, KLZ, is one of my favorite sites.  I have learned a TON about blogging and social media since they started it.

But Liz is also famous for creating the Chicago Hot Dog Award (which I strive to be awarded some day), and for spear-heading Bloggy Boycott Day (which I think I am still giving the side-eye to O_o)

Anyway…I am clearly honored that I could tempt her teeny self over to be Recruited for Sluiter Nation.

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When I was little, I thought teachers were just that – teachers. As in, they didn’t have first names or husbands or kids or normal lives they went home to.

Weird, right?

You know what’s even weirder? The fact that my mom was a teacher, so I really should have known better.

Now to be fair to me, she did stay home with us until I was about 10, so that definitely affected my viewpoint on the whole situation.

My mom has told me many times how her years teaching, leading up to my grand entrance into this world, greatly affected her baby name choices. And she’s not the only teacher I know who admits to that same fact.

It’s a little known secret that hellion students can traumatize a teacher so deeply that they could never, ever give their own kids that same name.

And I can see that. If a name conjured up unpleasant thoughts in my head, I certainly wouldn’t want to give that name to my baby.

But what about the effects of being a teacher well beyond the Having Baby years? What about when a teacher’s kids are in high school and dating? THEN what is it like to be a teacher and in the same building as your kids?

My mom was an elementary school teacher, so her job hazards were limited to the front end of the school years. Truthfully, I don’t know that I could have dated someone if my mom taught in my school.

But apparently I was tough enough to date a guy who’s dad taught in the same school.

And who turned out to be my Honors Advanced Algebra teacher.

You know how you would have some tests that you went into thinking, “I really didn’t study like I needed to. I so hope I don’t bomb it.”

Believe me when I tell you that the pressure to excel on quizzes and exams increases tenfold when you have your boyfriend’s dad as your teacher.

As did the awkwardness of visiting his home on nights and weekends.

At least the break-up was smooth sailing for me.

His son decided to make out with a so-not-cute, super pushy chick, which ended our high school romance.

Did you ever date one of your teachers’ kids? Are you a teacher who had a hard time with naming your kids due to problem students you previously had? Are you a high school teacher like Katie, and dreading when your son or daughter is old enough to date?

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Liz is the bee’s knees, people.

Since being recruited?  She may be Sluiter Nation’s secret weapon.  No one ever expects the tiny, cute one with glasses.

Ahem.

You want more Liz, yes?  You can follow her on twitter, and of course read her blogs here and here.

She writes a lovely, but heartbreaking account of her last months with her maternal grandmother in Through a Screen Door.

She quickly became someone I looked to for blogging advice and ideas after she penned Why It’s Ok To be a “Bad” Blogger.

And her post about deciding to have a second chile, Why Grandma Knows Best, brings tears to my eyes.

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New Review on the Sponsor Site:  Flipflop Wine:  Riesling.  Hop on over and see what I thought!

Another Reason

Yay!  It’s Wednesday!  Time for another blogger to be Recruited to Sluiter Nation!  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Read all about it here.

Today I bring you Tonya, the beautiful blogging voice behind Letters for Lucas.

I am honored to call Tonya not just my bloggy friend, but also one of my roomies for BlogHer coming up in August.

Tonya is the mother of the the almost-two-years-old Lucas.  She and I bond over being mommy’s to little boys.  She says what I feel…only so much more eloquently.

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I don’t like Babies-R-Us.

I try to avoid entering that store like it’s the plague.

There aren’t any locations very close to where I live, the customer service leaves a lot to be desired, it’s too big and entirely too bright for me.

It’s also extremely overwhelming.

I kind of lose my mind trying to figure out what’s what whenever I’m there, but it is the go-to baby supply store and it’s where EVERY expectant mother registers for baby-to-be gifts.

I registered there.

I pride myself on only having visited five times since Lucas was born.

One of those times was last week.

While on the hunt for a shower gift (what else?) and about to pull out my hair trying to find a specific baby gas relief medication and disposable bibs in a multi-sized pack, I suddenly found myself sobbing.

And this time, it wasn’t because of the confusing registry or not being able to find someone to help me.

bassinets

burp cloths

scratch free mittens

onesies

I began walking aimlessly down the aisles and I remembered registering for my own baby shower.

I was filled with so much joy and excited anticipation.

tummy time pillows and mats

rattles

teething rings

mobiles

I became nostalgic as I skimmed over all the products for newborns and infants, all the tiny, soft, delicate little things and it hit me—we have a lot of these items at home, but we don’t need them anymore.

power formula

crib sheets

sleep sacks

bouncy seats

Lucas is no longer a baby.

He’s growing up.

Fast!

He’ll be TWO in less than two weeks.

I still have a lot of joy and excited anticipation about what lies ahead, but I miss my baby.

And now?

I have another reason to hate Babies-R-Us.

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The lovely Tonya can be found on twitter, but you should also go get to know her blog, Letters for Lucas as well.

She writes about leaving the house she loves, but has outgrown in The House that Built Me.  This one hits home for me because I know eventually I will have to pack up and leave the house that built me as well.

She perfectly sums up a day in the life of a mom in On Any Given Day.

Again she strikes a familiar chord when she tells about how her son will grow up without her parents there to grandparent him him Mysterious Ways.

And she shows us a woman we have all been in Right on Ludington.

being THAT mom

It’s Recruit day in Sluiter Nation!  Don’t know what a SLuiter Nation Recruit is?  Start here.

Today I am SO excited to have Cheryl from Mommy Pants here!

Cheryl’s was always a blog I stalked in silence because I was in awe of her fabulous writing.  I love her no-nonsense personality that comes out in her writing, which is probably why her sweet, soft posts mush my  heart so.

I am totally honored that I am not just a silent stalker anymore, but one of her partner’s a The Red Dress Club…and a friend.

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I am so excited to be over here at Sluiter Nation today. Katie, as you all know, is also one of the uber-talented hosts of The Red Dress Club. And anyone who spends even a nanosecond reading her blog(s) knows how freaking talented she is.

So thanks, Katie!

“Mommy.”

“What? What? Did you say “Mommy”? David, did you hear that?”

“No. I didn’t hear anything.”

“He said it. He did!”

“Da-dee, Da-dee.”

“Did you hear THAT?”

There was no mistaking it.

At two years and two months, my baby boy, my sweet, adorable, feisty, severely speech-delayed baby boy finally said Daddy. And Mommy, too – I heard it!

You absolutely celebrate these small milestones when your child has speech delay.

He has said Dada for a long time. But he only started saying Mama within the past six months; he just screamed when he wanted me.

Getting the “ee” as a second syllable was not happening. Poopy is “poopoo.” Cookie, until the other day, was “coo-coo.” It seems like a pretty easy thing, doesn’t it, changing sounds. And yet, for those kids who struggle putting those sounds into words, it’s a big deal.

A really big deal.

Getting speech therapy in The OC (otherwise known as Orange County, and yes, I’m a real housewife there, minus the “enhancements”) involves a lot of frustrating red tape. It took us four months from his evaluation to get him into therapy.

He’s gone an hour a week for the past six weeks.

And I can see it all start to happen for him.

This week we’ve had “airplane” instead of “ahcog.” “Truck” instead of “Guck guck.” We’ve had three and even four-word sentences – “Mama no milk, Daddy” – when I told him he couldn’t have any.

Six weeks ago, we’d have had tears. Now we have a boy who wants to narrate everything that happens in that uniquely toddler way, where no thought or activity goes unsaid.

I’ve had mothers ask why I have him in therapy when he’s “so young.” It makes me angry. Because, honestly? I don’t want to hear about how so-and-so didn’t speak til s/he was three and then it was in complete sentences, so why was I bothering?

I’m THAT mom. The one who does everything possible to help a child who has become frustrated and is throwing more tantrums and, in the case of my formerly speech-delayed daughter, became socially withdrawn.

I’m THAT mom.

I’m also that Mommy.

I swear, I heard him say it. I so did.

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What lengths would you go to in order to ease your child’s frustration?

Want more Mommy Pants?  Yeah you do…

You can follow Cheryl on twitter, but you NEED to read her blog.  Here is just a sampling:

She will melt your heart the way she talks about her children: My son is my son

She can paint a picture that will tug at every emotion you have…and some you didn’t know you had: A million tiny sparkles of light

She has a FIERCE momma bear inside her:  of spider man, bullies, and a lesson learned

She is honest about turning 40 (but still rocks it, by the way): the truth about 40

And she writes fiction so real, you breath a sigh of relief at the end when you realize it was just a made-up story: what was broken

What are you waiting for?  Go get yourself some Mommy Pants!

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