Four Generations

On Memorial Day it is tradition to stop at my grandparents’ house for coffee after the parade.  Due to crappy storms, there was no parade, but we still stopped in.  We also took this four-generation picture:  Eddie with his momma (me), Grandpa Riemersma (my dad), and Great Grandpa and Grandma Riemersma (my dad’s parents).  So lucky to be able to share days like this with them!

On My First Mother’s Day

Remember when I looked like this?  It was around this time last year.  Mother’s Day 2009 I was almost nine months pregnant, and many people said, “happy mother’s day, mama!” to me.  I thanked them then, but I had NO idea what was in store for me as far as becoming a mother.
Having Eddie FINALLY in my arms instead of in my tummy was great.  It was amazing.  I loved every second of being in the hospital with him.  I told myself that I sort of liked this mommy business.

Being at home was more difficult.  Turns out we had LOTS of visitors and a colicky baby.  Plus I was still healing from my C-section.  Cuddling my Eddie Bear when he was sleepy from crying reminded me of how just a year before we weren’t even sure if this was possible.  After two miscarriages, I didn’t know if I would EVER me a momma.  So I was grateful for even the crying.

Eddie and I bonded.  He needed me.  It was a totally different feeling than I have ever before experienced.

We spent a lot of time together in my chair.  When he was tired, I cuddled him.  When he didn’t feel good, I cuddled him.  When he was sad or scared or just plain colicky, we rocked and rocked and rocked.

I’m learning that as a mother…
when he laughs, I laugh.
when he is afraid, I am afraid (but I try not to show it).
when he cries, I cry too.

Eddie and I have a special bond.  I have gone through a lot to be able to say, “I am doing the best I can, and that is enough.” Even though many times it does not feel like enough.
Lucky for me, I don’t have to do it alone.  I have Cortney who is a wonderful father and husband. 
Together he and Eddie show me daily that they love and appreciate me.  
But today was special.  Today was my FIRST mother’s day.  Cortney and Eddie bought me a lovely hanging flower basket, brought me coffee this morning, and gave me this beautiful charm bracelet…with an “E” charm complete with a pearl–Eddie’s birthstone–on it.
I will never forget this first mother’s day!  I will cherish this time with my little family, much the way we cherish the mothers in our lives.
Besides celebrating me being a mother today, we also celebrated our mothers.
First we stopped to see Lynne, Cort’s stepmom.She has been a wonderful cheerleader for us and a super grandma to Eddie.
Then we had lunch with Kim–or Granny as Eddie calls her–Cort’s mom and Ray, Cort’s stepdad.  Kim is so giving and has raised two gentlemanly sons.  I strive to raise Eddie to be as polite, kind, and resourceful as Cortney and Cody are.  Cortney can cook, iron, make a bed, AND do all the mowing and repairing around the house.  He is also a gentleman in every sense of the word.  I can only attribute that to a strong mother!  I hope to be as great of a teacher as she was (and is) to her boys.
Lastly we stopped by my mom.  There are no words to say how much I admire and honor this woman.  She is kind, giving, generous, and loving.  She wants her kids to be strong and independent but always lets them know she will be there for them when they need her.  She is smart and strong.  I can only hope to show as much compassion and understanding to my children as she has to me and my two brothers.
I am still learning.  I am learning by watching and listening to ALL the wonderful mothers in my life.  There are so many of you–in the real world and the blog world–who have taught me so much, who have helped me know I am not the only one to go through the valleys of motherhood, and who have celebrated with me the mountain highs of this little job title of “momma”.
So many have tried to tell me what motherhood was all about.
But you don’t really know until it’s happening.
And it’s good.  It’s really good.
A BIG Thank you to my husband for making my FIRST mother’s day so wonderful.  None of this would be without you my dear.  I love you oh so much!

It’s Better Than the Alternative

When we were kids, my brothers and I loved to tease my dad about being “old”.  Every year it was “happy birthday, ya old man!” Followed by a bunch of giggles from my brothers and me.

Every year my dad would calmly retort, “That’s right. It’s better than the alternative.”

I always took this to mean that it was better than being dead.  Which we agreed with but called him “old” anyway.  And when we were indestructible teenagers we figured he was wrong…who would WANT to be old?

Back then I thought my dad was saying it was better than HIM being dead.  That HE could have it a lot worse.

Now I know better.  Being dead for HIM would mean everlasting life–I mean, that is what we believe.  However him being old is a FAR better alternative for US–his family–than being dead because it means that year after year we still have my funny old dad–Eddie’s funny old Grandpa.

We get to sing to a guy who would rather have a cream puff than a cake.

A guy whose favorite birthday gift (next to the new compound bow my mom got him) is the little fishing lure from his littlest grandson.

A guy who will patiently push his oldest grandson in the swing and have little “chats”.

A guy who STILL calls me his “number one daughter” even though we BOTH know I am his only daughter.

A guy who LOVES his grandsons almost more than anything else in the world.

A guy who is 60.  Sixty and still taking longer walks than any of us put together.

And that, my friends, is something to clap about!

Tigers Home Opener! ROAR!

Today was a beautiful day for a ball game…a Tigers Home Opener ball game, to be exact!
We were already to go…to my brother, Chris’s, apartment to watch the game with the Riemersma side of the family.
We were all decked out in our Tiger gear…some of us had newer gear than others.
Even Eddie had his Tiger stuff in support of his team!
Mom and Dad…the reason we all love this team!
Thumbs up for Tigers and $5 Hot n Ready Pies!
Uncle Michael entertained his nephews during the game.
Eddie loves baseball, but he also loves getting attention from everyone else.
Cortney and I love our Tigers!
Eddie found this rocking chair that used to be mine when I was little. I think he loves it. Hmmm…maybe he needs his own little chair.
Nine innings of watching the Tigers kick some Cleveland bootie was just too much for our Wee One. He cashed out by the seventh inning stretch.
He woke back up to play with his cousin, Jack, though! These two are going to be double trouble in NO time!
Tigers Win!!! What a great way to start the home season! Thanks, Chris, for having us all over for such a great day (and Auntie Ashley, we MISSED you)!

Easter Egg-stravaganza!

This Easter was very different than past Easters for us Sluiters. First of all, this is the first Easter in the history of my and Cort’s relationship that we didn’t go to church. We just felt that Eddie could not possibly sit quiet for a whole hour, so we opted not to risk it.

That was weird because it just hardly seems like Easter without a rousing chorus of “UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE!” (my favorite Easter song). However, we celebrated at home and with our families with a whole lotta Easter Bunny madness.
First, the Easter bunny stopped at our house in the night. Before Eddie could get to it though, Grandma Lynne stopped over with a great big Easter lamb for Eddie. He was excited about getting a new friend.
Then we let him dig into his Easter basket from us. He loved all the new toys to play with (read chew on).
Then we headed over to Granny Kim and Grampy Ray’s house for ham dinner (of course…it IS Easter), a mini-egg hunt for Eddie, and a basket of goodness.
Eddie loved the eggs his granny hid…they each had a couple quarters in them and he just shook, shook, shook them!
He also loved his dragon basket she picked out for him! It was full of yummy goodies…AND a bathing suit and bucket hat for this summer when he swims in her pool!
After Granny and Grampy’s house we stopped over at Grandma and Grandpa Riemersma’s house where Grandma had an Easter bucket for Ed with a sippy cut and a bunny!
Eddie sure had a fun first Easter, and we enjoyed spending it together as a family. While it’s fun to hide eggs and give baskets, we surely give thanks for all the blessings in our lives! Happy Easter from the Sluiters!

Riemersmas Always Get the Best Pictures

Over the past almost 31 years of being part of the Riemersma Family, I have noticed something…we are willing to get our picture taken by almost anything…and don’t really feel embarrassed very easily. This is probably why, of all the pictures I took this week, I think this one is my favorite:

Saturday my parents took Cort and me along with Chris and Jack to Byron Center for chicken. We have gone a number of times (my parents have probably been there hundreds of times), but since I am a picture taking fool lately, trying to capture every day of our lives with some sort of photograph, I asked my mom if she wanted to stand by the giant chicken with me. She didn’t even consider it weird, she just hopped in the picture.

We probably looked like tourists or something, but we didn’t care. This was how I wanted to represent our fun night out with my parents, brother, and nephew. Who cares what people think of us standing for a picture by a giant chicken in 20 degree weather.

The chicken, by the way, was as delicious as ever!

Jack Extravaganza

On Sunday the 21st, Jack turned four! I can’t believe it’s been four whole years of Jack already! This year, because of bad weather, Jack couldn’t come over for his birthday, so my mom did a party for both birthday and Christmas this past Sunday. Man was he excited about all the fun gifts he got from everyone! We gave him a blue sword that lights up and makes sounds. It is just like his coveted red sword that has become infamous for how much he loves it. I wasn’t sure if he would also like the red sword’s blue cousin, but when he opened the paper and gasped, “OH MY GOSH,” I knew we had done well.

We also gave him a robot that walks, talks, lights up, and spins around. Man…he was excited!
Not unlike the red sword he got from my mom earlier that week for his birthday, the blue sword didn’t get too far out of his sight while he opened other gifts.
He had a great time playing and giggling with my mom that day! She is such a good grandma! She even tried out his new guns!
When it was time for cake, Jack was excited to get a Sponge Bob ice cream cake. “I love Sponge Bob,” he told me. Well good!
He blew those four candles out like a champ and we all shared cake. I think birthday number 4 went pretty well! Next Christmas there will be one more grandkid to spoil!

Christmas Continues….

Christmas continued this afternoon with lunch at my Grandpa and Grandma Riemersma’s house. After a delicious spread of tasty treats (hmmm…this “spread of tasty treats” is becoming quite the theme of our Christmas fun isn’t it?), we all settled into the living room for…you guessed it…more presents!

Cortney got a collection of Loony Tunes cartoons. He was surprised because it wasn’t on his list. He had forgotten that he wanted it, so it was pretty fun for him.

I got a sewing machine from Grams and Gramps. Now I will have to learn to hem pants and do fun crafts. It’s a little intimidating because I don’t really know how to use a sewing machine. I used my mom’s ancient one a zillion years ago, but it didn’t work out for me. She had said that if I tried a new one, I would probably get the hang of it, but I had been too chicken. I finally sucked it up and put it on my Christmas list this year deciding that because I am now going to be a mom, I should learn to hem things. So, Grams and Gramps have helped me start this new adventure!
It’s always fun to go to the Grandparents’s house on Christmas because we don’t really see this side of the family that often. It’s fun to see how everyone is doing and how big the kids are getting.
After The Riemersma side party, it was time to wrap Christmas up at my parents’s house. My dad recently turned a back patio into a four season room. Mom thinks the Christmas tree looks so nice in there, so that is where it moved from it’s traditional location of the living room. As you can see, Santa gets a little wild at the Riemersma house. Apparently we are just so dang good all year he can’t resist! There were so many gifts we couldn’t sit in the room with the tree! Mom figured out a pretty good strategy of round-robin gift opening, so it worked out just fine.
And so it began for the last time…Chris was excited to open the framed Pearl Jam poster from his siblings. He is just beginning his framed collection. The people in the framing department at Michael’s are starting to know Cort and me as “the Pearl Jam people” because we have so many posters framed there. To be fair, besides all the Pearl Jam posters, we have gotten two REM posters framed there too.
Dad got a meat grinder from all of us kids. I’m not sure what sort of meat he intends to grind with said meat grinder, but hey, he’ll have fun doing it. I am not sure I am so excited to sample it though.
Chris, Mike, and Ashley bought Cort and me Guitar Hero for Cort’s new wii along with a guitar. we are pretty excited to hook that sucker up and play! We have gotten pretty dang good at the Guitar Hero we have for our PS2, if I do say so myself, so we are super excited to crank this mother out too!
Mom and dad enjoyed their framed picture of Sluiter Nation. I mean, who wouldn’t? Best gift ever, if you ask me.
Oh and mom just loved her shoes from us. She even modeled them. Ooo La la!
One of the most exciting gifts of the night was Cortney’s. He opened a box of magazines that also included a note that led him downstairs to my dad’s workroom. And there it was….a brand new Schwinn! He was like a kid on Christmas morning with that thing! Mom even added a big red bow for effect. He admitted he never had a new Schwinn before, so he was pretty dang excited. Now if all the snow would just melt so he can take it for a spin….maybe he’ll have to wait til spring.
Christmas was so fun this year! We had oodles of fun with all of our family and we hope everyone enjoyed their gifts from us. We for sure are thankful for such a great family that can all get together and enjoy each other’s company as well as be financial stable enough in this scary economy to give gifts of love to each other. Gifts aren’t the reason for the season, but knowing we can give makes us so happy. We look forward to next weekend when we can share love and fellowship with the final part of our family, the Sluiter side. We also have some get togethers with friends coming up that we are excited for.
God Bless everyone this holiday season…now, go hug your mom! 🙂

The Excitement Continues!

Christmas Eve is a busy, but super fun night for the Sluiters. Every year we get together with my mom’s side of the family (the Hulst side) and we also go to Cort’s mom and step-dad’s house for family fun. This year we started by going to my aunt Lois and uncle Larry’s house. There was quite a spread! After all of us crazy people went through the first time, it almost looked like no one touched a thing! mmmmm!!!! After our feeding frenzy, we all moved to the basement for some gifts. My aunt Sandy took charge of handing out gifts to the wee ones (the great grands) first. So far, there are three great grands, with one on the way!

Everyone enjoys gift time! Especially Alex!

Even Cort and I got to open a little gift for baby Sluiter!

Aw! Jammies! Or as I like to call it: a baby bag! How cute!
Chris opened a BUNCH of gifts for Jack since Jack wasn’t with us. Jack got lots of great toys and clothes…which is fun because Chris just got his own place, and Jack will need some stuff at daddy’s house!
Shayla and Brody both dug into their gifts too! Watching little kids ooo and ahhh at the wrapped packages is really the best part of Christmas.
Brody got a trumpet! He has been asking Santa for one, and he was SOOOO excited to get a shiny new horn!
Shayla got some books and some puzzles, but her favorite gift was a bouncy seat for her baby doll.
After gifts, we had to leave the Hulst party and join up with Cortney’s family for some more Christmas extravaganza! When we got there everyone was just so excited to dig into the tree! Cort’s mom played a great Santa!
Mom and Ray and Cody and Liz both gave me some great maternity shirts. I was very glad because I wasn’t looking forward to wearing sweats to work.
Cody got some much-needed bowling gear. Cort told me we had to get Cody a bowling bag because he carried his ball into bowling each week just in his hand…and he still rented his shoes every week! So we go him a snazzy pair for Christmas too!
Kenzie got some Christmas jammies! Looking good!
Cort got all decked out in a bunch of shirts too! We will both be quite stylin’ in our new duds!
The shirt fairy wasn’t done yet…Ray got a couple new ones too!
And Dave got a nice warm vest! Perfect for all this cold weather we’ve been having!

Mother got some great gifts too…there’s her new Christmas bowl!

After all that present excitement, the pugs got plum tucked out! Elenor and Penny decided to take a little siesta–in the form of a pug pile–while the rest of us play some Partini late into the night!

Christmas Eve was so much fun…we could hardly believe there was a whole other day of gifting ahead! Cortney and I stumbled home after 11:00pm and promptly went to bed so that Santa would visit our house!

Winter Fun at Riemersma Acres…

This past Saturday, while Chris had to work, my mom and dad and Mike and Ashley and I decided to entertain Jack with some good old fashioned winter fun. My dad started it when he decided to build Jack a snowman…a VERY LARGE snowman!

Dad rolled the first ball, which got Jack to thinking he could roll the second. hmmm…that first one is bigger than Jack!
Dad decided to help him out a bit with the rolling.

As dad completed the stacking, he noticed that Jack (that would be the small red jacket WAY in the distance of the pic) was nowhere to be found. Apparently Mike and Ashley on Ice was more entertaining that Grandpa with the Big Snowman.
Mom was determined to see the snowman complete, so she outfitted him with some swell winter duds. Check out that snazzy red scarf!
After the snowman fun, we went to find Jack. He was, indeed, by the fun on the ice…just munching away on some snow. Don’t worry…I warned him about yellow snow.
I am sure it was NOT me who taught Jack to chuck his snow at Grandma!
I mean, my mom and dad were having their own snowball fight! Get him, mom!
In the meantime, Mike decided to show Jack the ropes of ice skating.

Ashley even showed off her skills at shooting some puck!
Mike even showed Jack where NOT to skate. Yeah, he’s a responsible uncle.
Aren’t they cute…Mike in his hockey skates and Jack in his Spider Man boots!

Mom and I couldn’t go in the house without getting a quick pose by our friend the snowman. Mom looks cute, but why, oh why am I standing like I am already 9 months pregnant. Good grief!
The snowman artists…aren’t they so cute! I am trying to convince them to use this as their Christmas card next year…I think they need some encouragement, so feel free to tell them how much you want to see this come through the mail next Christmas so you can post it on your fridge!
Saturday reminded me of how cool it was to grow up in a house where I could ice skate, sled, cross country ski, make a snowman or a snow angel, or have a snowball fight all without having to leave home! And of course, mom still serves up hot chocolate complete with a candy cane!

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