a room of her own

I hunch over my laptop at our high top kitchen table.

My feet fall asleep being there is not good place to put them.

This table is not meant for long term sitting.  The chairs are tall with very straight backs.  If I lean back, my butt falls asleep.  If I hunch forward my feet fall asleep and my back and neck ache.

Our kitchen/dining room is all open with our small living area.

The house is not large.

I have hammered out 715 blog posts–most at this table.

I get easily distracted by the TV, Cort, Eddie, life.

I have no set time that is just mine to work comfortably.  If I take my laptop to my chair, it doesn’t seem like work and I get lost in reading blogs and surfing the web getting ready to “pin” things.

Before I know it, the battery is shouting at me to plug in and I’ve gotten nothing accomplished.

I dream of a room of my own.

An upstairs room that is just mine.

With a desk under a window overlooking a yard and some trees.  Not starting at the road and silly neighborhood kids making fools of themselves in the cul-de-sac.

With pretty curtains and bright walls.

With a comfy desk chair.

With a place for all of my books and my blogging calendars and to do lists.

With soft carpet.

With an over-stuffed chair and a minky blanket in the corner next to a reading lamp.

With a sirius radio dock and speakers.

With a lock on the door.

With a set time that I am in there.

I don’t want to see laptops on the kitchen table anymore.

I don’t want us me to be distracted by emails, twitter, blogs, facebook just because it’s there.

I don’t want technology in the family area anymore.

But I don’t want to be pushed to a corner in the cement laundry room in the basement.  It’s not creative there.  It’s prison.

It’s the kitchen table or the basement.

No room of my own.

But it’s what I want.  More than almost anything.

No room of my own.

Not in this house.

No room of my own.

Yet.

The prompt this week was to write about what you want most.

This is not what I want most.  But I chickened out and wrote what I want almost the most.

the family that yard works together…

The boys are in charge of the lawn

and Mama is in charge of the flowers

What yard work are YOU in charge of?

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Coming soon to Sluiter Nation….A Handmade Summer

Contact me if you are interested in your shop/products being featured

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Mommy Pants, Vis a Vis Markers, and a Basement Project

Getting my Mommy Pants was a nightmare.

People have been telling me since I got married that I would look GREAT in a pair of Mommy Pants, but I was reluctant to get myself a pair.

Yes, I had watched other people wear them—my own mother had a pair that was so perfect for her, I could have sworn she was born in them.  Many of my friends also had the latest, greatest Mommy Pants style, and sometimes I found myself envious of them.  They looked so comfortable, so much fun.  They seemed so “in”.

And then one day in February of 2007, I got a shipping notice that my Mommy Pants would be arriving around Thanksgiving of that year.

Wait.  What?  I hadn’t ordered any Mommy Pants. Or I didn’t think I did.

I was stunned.

Suddenly, I did not want anything to do with Mommy Pants. I wasn’t in the market for them and I certainly didn’t think they fit my style at that time.  They looked great on some people, but not on me.

to read the rest of this post, head over to Mommy Pants, where Cheryl (one of my partner’s in crime at The Red Dress Club) has invited me to share about my Mommy Pants moment.

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I am also mocking reviewing Vis a Vis overhead markers over at This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff.  If you have ever used an overhead, or been witness to one being used?  You really need to weigh in on how I feel about these markers.

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Back here in Sluiter Nation?  We are working on our basement.

I don’t have much to say about it except that it sucks and it’s awesome at the same time.

Pictures?  Ok…

 

first they found mold. black mold. no good, I tell you.

but they put the tub in anyway! Score!

then they ran electrical and plumbing and fixed the mold. win.

then dry wall was hung and a layer of dust fell over the Nation

primer was applied by the fabulous Mr. Sluiter

we bought paint

we painted. that shirt, by the way, has been worn to paint every room in our house.

this will be Eddie's room hopefully within the next year!

that's right...I painted the bathroom orange. BOOM!

This has been the past two weeks here in Sluiter Nation:  a constant state of construction.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super excited that this is finally happening.  We have been saving and saving and planning for six years.  It was time.

But I don’t do well living in a state of limbo.

So I may be hard to live with lately.

Maybe.

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I have a new book review and a GIVEAWAY going on at Katie’s Bookcase!  Just in case you weren’t sick of me sending you all over the internets today.

Secret Mommyhood Confession

Ok…it’s not Saturday, but I am giving you my confession anyway…

This is not how I expected life as a family to be.

I know, lame confession, right?  I mean…who DOES expect what they get (ok, some of you probably have exactly what you thought was coming. I am not that prophetic).

Anyway…what is going on around me?  Not what I pictured.

Not in a whiney way…but not in a totally super way either.

It’s just…different.

Growing up, I had a mom who was supermom.  She won’t admit that, but now that I am a mom?  I know she was.

As a kid, I figured that was what being a mom would be.

She stayed home for the first part of our childhood.  She was (um…IS) an excellent cook–a homemade meal was on the table 5 days a week.

Our house was ALWAYS clean.  I don’t ever remember toy messes lasting long.  When we were done with one thing, I got picked up and put away.  At the time we were done.  Not minutes before bed.  And certainly NEVER EVER left out over night.

She did a full house clean every Saturday.  FULL HOUSE CLEAN.  dusting, vacuuming, floor scrubbing (on hands and knees), bathroom cleaning, sheet changes on every bed every other Saturday, and windows in nice weather.

She did laundry EVERY DAY.

Then she went back to school and back to work.

And nothing changed at home.  At least to me?  As a kid?  Nothing changed.

As I got older, I knew I wanted to be a mom, but I knew I would be a working mom.

I assumed my husband would also be working.

But somehow?  I figured the house would get cleaned and picked up and a good family meal would be served each night.

I did not expect…

My kid to see that I had no idea what I was doing…and distrust me for it.

To be so tired after work that I would rather eat McDonald’s that put for the effort to put a meal on the table.

My husband to be laid off from work…and then be out of work for over a year (thanks, stupid economy).

My husband to be back in school.

To be the main bread winner for the family.

To be battling depression and anxiety.

To have such a cute, lovable little boy that sometimes it makes me cry.

To be so damn unsure of myself in every. single. area of my life.

This:

the destruction that is our living room

the danger zone that is my kitchen floor

The mess that is my island

Every. Single. Surface has been hit by hurricane Ed

...Or Hurricane Life

I didn’t expect this either:

the working mom Suzy Homemaker

after a long day of work, I throw on my apron (thanks, Tonya!!) and mix up some corn muffins to go with the meal that has been plupping away in the crock pot.

I didn’t expect to rely on my husband so much to get household chores done and to get the groceries and to be the primary caretaker.

This was not what I imagined.

But in most ways?  I wouldn’t change it either.

This is how we are.  It’s how we are getting through life.

And if that means Cort is changing poopy pantses and I am making corn muffins in a skirt and boots?

Well, then that is how it is for Sluiter Nation right now.

Tune in Tuesday for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday:  The Top Ten favorite blog posts…of my own!  I encourage you to participate and link up…it is like giving a little tour of your blog to people..and I am excited to read what your favorite posts are of your own.

Also?  There is a SWEET GIVEAWAY going on at my book blog, Katie’s Bookcase!  It’s a book to help keep the little ones busy…which is a MUST HAVE this time of year!  Please join in!

Top Ten Tuesdays: Sluiter Nation Fix-ups

This week’s Top Ten is all about the things Cort and I would like to do to our house aka the physical Sluiter Nation.

We bought the Sluiter Nation casa exactly six years ago.  I moved in and six months later, after a lovely wedding, Cort moved in with me.

We have made some improvements on our house, which we bought new, but not very many.  Most deadlines we gave ourselves came and went because of lack of money or time.

Whatever the reasons, we still have a list of things we would like to do…aside from pack up and move to a larger place.

#10: I want to NOT see our weird neighbors.  Or more specifically, I want them to not see us.

See that larger “shed” back there?  Yeah, that belongs to our weird neighbor, Scary Terry.  We watched him ignore the instructions when he built that thing.  He had left over parts.  Also?  The roof caves in every winter.  To “get ready for winter”?  He goes inside and bangs the dents out.  This is the least of his weird.  I want a fence.  A tall one.  That you can’t see through…although you have to admit my drawing is fantastic.

#9 While we are outside…I would like to landscape the backyard a bit.It’s hard to see right now due to the snow, but we have a great backyard.  Cort has mad lawning rearing skills, yo.  I would really love to have a berm or something that, um, hides that large pole which is technically on our property.  Also a nice little flower bed next to the patio would be quaint.

#8 A Second Bathroom.

We have been excited about this bathroom since we moved in.  We even got the matching stuff for it as a wedding gift.  Five and a half years ago.  I have paint colors picked out.  I am pretty sure they don’t make the color I picked anymore.  Nevertheless I want this done.  WE want this done.  Before we have to have 12 adults and 1487979874232602 kids at our house this coming summer.  Yeah.  One bathroom won’t hold all that.

#7. A Big Boy bedroom for Eddie

Again, technically this room has been a “room in progress” for the past six years.  You can see how far we have gotten. Stuff we don’t want to look at or think about live here.  But instead?  We would love for our little man to live here.  Some changes may need to happen.  Like why do we have all those boxes?  yeah, I don’t know either.  And please ignore the fashionable tacky dust ruffle that is serving as a curtain so neighbor kids (aka Scary Terry’s offspring) don’t come and take a gander at our treasures crap.

#6 Organization

I didn’t even bother to spruce this picture up.  I mean, you can see my unmentionables hanging there to dry.  I think that spruces it up all on it’s own.  Anyway, this is our laundry room/storage room/my office.  It is sad.  Granted, it is MUCH more organized than it used to be (see my tubs with the labels for Eddie’s clothes.  Yeah, I am awesome).  We would like to finish this room–not just for looks but for functionality.  We need a shelving system.  We need this room to WORK for many different things.  Right now?  it is sort of a cold, scary place to be.

#5. Speaking of Organization…

I know one of Cort’s big wishes is to finish dry walling the garage and seal the cement.  I know he would like to get some sort of organizational system in here as well since we have a gallon of crap to fit in a pint-sized pail.   Oh…and two new vehicles would be nice too.  Just sayin’.  ya know, if we’re wishing here.

#4. Tile

I just really hate linoleum.  This was put in before we had a chance to choose otherwise.  It’s in our bathroom and entryway too.  I hate it.  I discolors.  It gets funky spots.  It’s just ugly.  Tile, please. (oh and I would also like new carpet.  We put the carpet that is in the basement in after we moved in and it is AWESOME.  I would like that throughout the house.  This “factory” shiz?  Sucks the big one).

#3. A face lift for our side lot

Ok perhaps we don’t need huge crazy flowers and a random happy little family trollop-ping through the yard, but it would be nice to get this cleared of the brush, leveled and then seeded so I can add pretty landscaping later.  Having the yard would just be nice.

#2. A bigger deck…and a way off from it.

Ok this was my craptacular attempt at creating stairs going DOWN from our deck.  As it is right now?  You can only get on and off the deck by way of the slider in our dining room.  Annoying seeing as we created a lovely patio just below with some lovely patio furniture.  However, if your hotdog is being made on the “upper deck” since it’s close to the kitchen, you would have to go inside the downstairs slider, go upstairs, through the kitchen and out to said “upper deck” to get your tasty wiener.  Then you would have to turn around and make this odyssey again to sit comfortably on the patio with your treat.  Now imagine if you forgot to get chips and dip.  Seriously.  it sucks.

Love the deck.  Hate the inconvenience.

#1. A family room we can use as a family

Our family room was the first thing we “finished” when we moved in.  It has soft, squishy carpet, warm colored walls, and awesome art (Pearl Jam and REM concert posters that are custom framed).  But there is just too much crap lying around too.  Take Cort’s Corner, for example.  While I like our desk and printer “stand” much better than what we used to have, there is still just too much lying around to let a toddler loose in here.

And what you can’t see in the top picture is the huge rack of video games and dvds that are just waiting to be pulled off shelves and tossed about.  Something needs to change.  We are super close to this being a great family room.  We just need a little more work put in…this is actually on the To Do list for Christmas break.  And when Cort gets a job (because he SOOO will), we would LOVE to get rid of the ugg-o furniture and get a nice, comfy sectional that we can all pile on for family movie night.  And maybe get a TV from this decade.  Ahem.

We love our little house…we really do…but there are somethings that we would like to make better.

How about you?  Is there anything YOU would change about your house?

Sluiter Home Tour: Where we Chow Down

This is the circle of friends.  A co-worker friend got this for me as a gift a couple years ago and I love it.  It’s place is in the center of our dining room table–because I always pictured the dining/kitchen area as a place to gather.

I posted about the kitchen half of our kitchen/dining area a couple weeks ago.  This week we are jumping the island to take a peek at where we eat the food that is prepared.

It’s not very big.  It is not very big AT ALL.  In fact? This area is tiny.  We all get a little squeezed in when we have friends over.

And you can see that this area also doubles as the home office area for now.  We are working on that though.  Hopefully by the end of the year our laptops will live downstairs on the desk.  But for now?  Kitchen table.

Which causes clutter.  Which stresses me out.

ANYWAY….

Besides the circle of friends and our cool high top table, this is really my most FAVORITE thing in the dining area…maybe in the whole house.  This painting was done by our very best friend, Mat, (of m9 design).  He was just starting to do large, custom paintings out of his apartment back in Chicago.  We sent him this picture from our visit to Seattle:

He took the top and  made it into an awesome painting for us.  and he changed the time on the clock to read 6:18 since that is our anniversary:  June 18. And he made the sky blue, since that is just happier and looks better in painting form.

It is one of the first things you see when you come into my home, and I LOVE that!

One of the LAST things I want you to see is this:

Admittedly this looks REALLY good right now.  Cortney cleaned it up.  It was so bad that it gave me anxiety that soon we would have nasty bugs living in our house feasting off what Eddie left behind.

And splat mat or not, the carpet in this area is GROSS.

And so are the blinds next to his chair.  He enjoys rubbing his nasty hand on them.  I realize vertical blinds are not the worlds most beautiful window treatment to begin with, but this?  Makes them barfable.

I have a love-hate relationship with our dining area.  While I love the things we have put in it to make it ours and to make it cozy, I also hate that this is where many frustrations occur.

The battles with Eddie over not flinging food.

Budget discussions.

The battles with Eddie over eating certain foods.

Eddie getting stuck under chairs.

The constant clutter of having our computers and “work” on the dining room table.

But even with all those frustrations?  This is the place that we spend the most time together.  We eat all of our meals here together.  We chat and laugh here together. We discuss our days and our troubles and our joys here.

together.

If you are new to this tour and would like to see previously “shown” rooms, here are the links:
Master bedroom
nursery
Kitchen

Sluiter Nation Home Tour: The Hub of the House

I know it’s been a few weeks, but the tour of Sluiter Nation is BACK!  Today with the room that is really the center of the whole house.  Not just physically, but socially and emotionally too.  We are drawn to it because it exudes warmth, nourishment, and conversation.

It’s our kitchen.

Our kitchen is the first thing you see when you climb the stairs from our bi-level’s front door.  It’s much smaller than I would like, but it’s cozy and it has everything we need.

It’s a gallery of people we love.

It’s a yellow pages for take out and an energy center–especially first thing in the morning.

it is rarely completely clean.  And it constantly reminds me why I will NEVER own white appliances again!

It is where I can relieve stress or anxiety or anger or sorrow by baking someone something.

Have a bad day?  I’ll make you cookies.

Grandma die?  I’ll bake your family a pie to comfort you.

Cort lost his job?  I baked him brownies.

Have a birthday?  I’ll make you a three-layer cake.

Need a dessert for a cookout?  I’ll bring a fresh blueberry SOMETHING.

This is where people gather to laugh and drink and chat and discuss and eat.

It looks out over the yard Cort so lovingly takes care of and the clubhouse Eddie so joyously frolics on.

Somehow the island is NEVER completely cleared off.  Keys, wallet, pipey, monitor, newspaper, whatever gets thrown here.

But it is where we gather as a family.  It is where we nourish ourselves physically and emotionally.  We grow together here.

I’m a Bloggy Mom!

Today Eddie is at daycare.  Yes, two of us are home this summer and in order to get the house cleaned and get any REAL stuff done around here, we still send Eddie to Miss Amy.  He loves it because he loves Miss Amy and he loves his friends.  They are more fun than we are, apparently.

Anyway, Cort and I will be cleaning and organizing and finding stuff for our BIG garage sale that we are having on August 14 to help bring Eddie’s cousin(s) home from Ethiopia.

I will also be making a lemon cake for a get together tonight.  I am being all kinds of domestic today.

Anyway, while I am all busy, you can go read a post I wrote for a Back to School series on Tiffany’s blog, A Bloggy Mom.  Lots of my twitter friends helped me decide what to write about…and I think they will like the results.  At least I hope so.

So, you go read.  Let me know what you think.  I am going to go get elbow-deep in lemon curd.

Also, please don’t forget that tomorrow night at 6pm EST, the online auction to support my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s adoption goes live here.  There are LOTS of great items to bid on!  You’ll want to check it out!

Sluiter Nation Home Tour: The Room That Almost Wasn’t

UPDATE:
I just found out that I have guest posts running over at Back to the Basics for my friend, Julie AND at Not Super…Just Mom for my friend, Miranda.  So after you read this post, head over and show some love on their blogs!!

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Last week Tuesday, I unveiled my intent to show you all around Sluiter Nation, MTV cribs-style (mom, that means giving a tour).  I started with the Master Bedroom. This week, I am taking you to my favorite room in all of Sluiter Nation:  The Nursery.

 Come in, come in.  The baby is not sleeping.  This is his view though when he pushes that door open to his very own room.  The room that almost didn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong, the room itself has always been there.  It was finished and ready for something when we bought the house almost six years ago.  First it was an office/guest bedroom.  I painted it this green color knowing I wanted it to be a nursery someday and I wouldn’t want to repaint.  And it was a GREAT guest bedroom.

When we found out we were pregnant the first time, we started getting rid of the bed and other things that made it a guest bedroom.  Then we weren’t pregnant.  It was still an office, but more of a “cloffice” as DesignHerMomma would call it.  It was a place for everything and nothing.  It got worse after our second miscarriage.  It was just piles, a computer, and occasionally? Me.

But then Eddie stuck.  He decided he was going to be our son.  And we turned this room of broken dreams into a warm, room of his own.  I have never put so much effort into decorating and placing things in a room.

It needed to be apparent whose room this was–in case anyone forgot.  And there needed to be a theme.  All the pretty nurseries had themes (by the way, no other room in my house has a theme.  Those rooms?  Are a mishmash of things collected over time).  This room was planned and thought out in my heart.

It needed books.  My son would love books.  He would be a lifelong reader like his mom.  I collected books.  Books and animals.  As I mentioned here, Cort and I had been collecting animals for this room since before we were married.  Every zoo we went to was another animal added to my “nursery pile.”  So we (and by “we” I mean “I”.  Cort totally indulged me however he could in this.  I am eternally grateful for his compassion and understanding that I needed this room to be perfect) filled his room with books and animals.

Animals and books and comfort and safety.  This is his space.  This is his place to be.  This is his.

And after all that planning and “putting” and rearranging?  After all those hours that I sat in the room by myself with my big pregnant belly and read the books aloud to my growing baby?  He was there.  And we put him in his room.

Toys in a toy box.  Crumpled up jammies waiting for the evening routine.
snugly blankies and soft friends waiting for naptime or bedtime.

His first friend on the wall by his changing table.  Even in the midst of crabby colic, this elephant got smiles and coos. I’ve often given this elephant the stink eye wondering what he had that I didn’t back then.  He just smiles knowingly back at me.  Jerk.

Little shoes waiting for outside play.  Resting from all the adventures of the morning.
And our spot.  OUR spot.  Where Eddie and I (and Eddie and daddy) spend countless hours rocking and rocking and singing and reading and rocking.
Eddie’s room.  I still find myself sitting in the rocking chair looking at the room from that view (above) and trying to remember how the room used to be.  But the memory escapes me.  Memories never escape me.  But that one is fading.  And I am ok with that.  I love this room.  I love what this room means. This room?  Means we are a family.  We are Three.

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BIG NEWS!  Tonight we found out that all the paperwork went through for Cortney’s sister, MacKenzie and her husband, David for their adoption!  They are officially on waiting lists!  You can read about their journey at their blog Stepping Stones

They will be holding an Adoption Auction Fundraiser over at their blog from Thursday, July 29-Sunday August 1st.  There are TONS of great things going up for auction to help them raise the gazillion dollars it costs to bring their child(ren) home from Ethiopia.  The auction is open to the whole wide world as far as I know and I think they are still accepting any donations for items/services to bid on.

ALSO, for those who are local?  Sluiter Nation will be having a HUGE yard/garage sale on Saturday August 14 that we have named Kids in the Yard (Sale).  All proceeds will go to Kenz and Dave to help bring our little family members home.  If you would like to donate stuff to be sold, let me know and we will arrange to get it.  Otherwise, we hope to see you there!!!

Ready for Eddie…well, almost!

As I posted yesterday, Eddie’s furniture arrived via UPS. Last night Cortney decided to haul in the crib parts and assemble them. Fully aware that this could be a mammoth of a project–many people we had talked to gave us horror stories about crib assembly–he decided to brave it anyway. It was actually a simple job, and was together in no time flat!

Look at that! Cort described it as looking like “mint chocolate chip ice cream” in the baby’s room. Mmmmm! We were so pleased with how it looked we were just very excited to get the dresser/changing table in.
So today, Cody came over and helped Cort lift the dresser/changing table into the room. It was so dang fun to come home and find it in place! And it matches pretty well with my old rocker (that my parents spent countless hours rocking ME in).

I let Louis in to see the new set up of the “green” room. I am not sure he was so amused. He just behind the only piece of furniture he was familiar with and pouted. Eh…he’ll get used to it!

Now I can’t wait to be able to make the bed and start adding decorative touches! I’ve already started a few picture projects for the walls and thinking about other wall decoration options. You know me…there is ALWAYS a project brewing!

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