you said it, kid.

Dear Eddie,

I just put you down for your last nap of our spring break together, and I am sad about it.

No really, I am.

You might think I am a horrible mother for saying this, but I dreaded spring break.

Oh, I needed the break from work badly, but the idea of staying home alone with you every day and not having a break gave me so much anxiety.

When you were born, the two of us were home alone together for almost three months.

It did not go well.

Daddy got laid off when you were four months old and stayed home with you for 17 months.

The days or hours that you and I had alone together were few.  This semester we have had Monday and Wednesday evenings.  They are usually hit and miss in the “going well” department.

So like I said, with spring break approaching?  I was terrified of you.

And as I suspected, we started out sort of rocky, but as the break progressed?  Something happened.

We found a flow.

Mornings became our favorite time together (yes, mom, you read that correctly).

Between 7:00 and 8:00 am every day, I would slowly wake to your chatter in the other room.

Even though I wanted to stay sleeping, knowing that you would have a big smile was a bigger pull than my pillow.

As I could hear you counting, I would wake the house up by starting coffee, opening blinds, and finding Handy Manny on Disney.

By the time I was spitting my toothpaste into the sink you would be calling, “Daaaeeee”.  I would smirk knowing you forgot that it was not Daddy getting you up.

You would smile and point at all the items you had tossed from the crib.

You would chatter on about things only you knew as I turned off your nightlight and humidifier.

As the coffee percolated, you and I would mesh into each other on the couch for some Disney channel until you were ready to explore the world.

Sometime midweek, I taught you to finally say, “maaa maa!” although I had my doubts that you associated it with me and were not just mimicking what I was saying.

We had construction crews in and out this week.  We had playdates.  We had fun.

Our mornings were filled with books and trucks and Little People villages and trains.

And then this morning, after reading Where is the Green Sheep for the third time, I asked you “where is Eddie?”

You pointed at your chest and nodded while carefully pronouncing, “Eh-ee”.

I beamed with pride all the way from the tips of my toes, “That’s right!!!  And I love Eddie!  More than all the green sheep in the world!”

Then I cautiously asked, “And were is momma?”

You scrunched up that nose into your mischievous smile and pointed at me.

I was about to praise you for getting it right when you nodded with each syllable saying, “maa maa”.

Oh Eddie.

I couldn’t contain myself.

I grabbed you and hugged you so hard you said, “noooooo”.

So I tickled you instead.

We both shouted “MAA MAA, EH-EE!”” together over and over.

And fell over in a fit of ridiculous giggles.

I think Daddy is right.  You and I?  Are a lot alike.

That makes me happy.

Now I have a Goofball in Crime.

I love you to the moon and back.

With a drum on my head.

Love,

Maa Maa

repeated forgiveness

In the almost six years that Cort and I have been married, the following dialogue has happened so many times, it doesn’t matter who is saying what anymore.

We have both been wronged.

We have both begged forgiveness.

And, unfortunately, because of who we are?  I am sure that this will happen many, many more times.

It is always bed time.

It is always way too late…past when we should be sleeping.

Maybe this is why it happens.

Just as we say goodnight…

“Babe.  I am really sorry about this…”

And then it happens.

Sometimes it thunders through the room shaking the windows and the bed frame.

Other times it silently warms us under the blanket and seeps into the room.

Either way it is everywhere.

And we are gagging.

“OH. MY. GOD!  Babe!  What did you eat?  For the love….”

This is when the giggling begins.

“I’m SORRY.  I can’t help it.  My tummy hurts.”

And now both of us are laughing because it is still hanging in the room.  It’s like someone smeared it right under our noses.

“I can’t get away from it!”

“Me either!  I am SORRY!”

At this point the laughing has taken over. Every time we think we are done, we lift our faces from our pillows, breathe in the funk, and dissolve into tears and giggles all over again.

“Oh no.”

“‘oh no,” what?”

There is a silent pause.

And then the air is filled with a new batch of stench.

“BABE!”

“I’m SORRY!  I can’t help it!”

“YES YOU CAN!”

“No, I can’t!”

gagging mixed with laughing combined with coughing ensues.

“Seriously, babe.  Next time, you need to take that to the bathroom.”

“Why?  You never do!”

“Well this is BAD.”

“Yours are bad too.”

“Ok, I think I can breathe again.  Wait…don’t point that thing at me.”

“Now you’re just being mean.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Me too.”

And then it happens again.

Luckily, by morning the air has cleared and the gruesome events of the night before have been forgiven.

We are a happy couple again.

Until the next time late night flatulence hits.

This week’s prompt asked us to write about a time of forgiveness.

this is not about the Olive Garden

This weekend Cortney and I went out for a much needed date.

In fact I am pretty sure the last date we went on was for his birthday.  At the beginning of December. So to say this was much needed?  Is really kind of an understatement.

ANYWAY…

For Christmas two alumi of mine gave Cort and I gift cards to the Olive Garden–one of our favorite chain restaurants–and we figured it’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day, we should go out.

Now considering we were going to the Olive Garden, I didn’t feel the need to put on a dress and strappy sandals and make an appointment to get my hair and nails done, but I did put in extra effort.

I took a shower AND dried my hair with a hairdryer AND curled it.

And for effect?  I stuck a cute flower in my hair.

See?

oh hey!

We both wore our nice, dark wash jeans.  Cort wore a button down that I gave him for Christmas, and I wore a cute sweater from the Gap.

Nothing super fancy, but not my yoga pants.

I figured this is what people do when they go out for dinner to any place that has a hostess and serves wine.

I would be wrong.

People?  I am not saying that you need to wear your Sunday Best to a chain restaurant, but I did think that clean clothing was sort of a given.

Again, I would be wrong.

When we arrived at The Olive Garden, there was a 40-50 minute wait.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  And we were out for the night, so regardless of if we were sitting at a table or sitting in the lobby, we were still playing on our phones enjoying being alone together.

A 40-50 minute wait will give you a lot of people watching opportunities.

For instance, did you know that apparently wearing an old valour sweat suit with worn out patches at the knees and elbows is totally proper attire for dining at The Olive Garden?

Or that it is completely acceptable to wear tights (not leggings, people.  TIGHTS) as pants with a “dress” (um, SHIRT), is so short your cheeks are not covered…to the Olive Garden?

Perhaps you were aware that wearing hats (ball hats, stocking hats, cowboy hats…) are ok to wear INSIDE the Olive Garden…while you eat.

I was clearly ignorant of the fact that I could have come to the Olive Garden in my pajamas…slippers and all…for this dining experience because a couple times Cort had to give the shush and and tell me to get my jaw off the ground and quit staring.

When our little disc light up happily announcing it was our turn to be seated, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Maybe we would be put into a nice little romantic corner.  Away from…the fashion police rejects.

Or we would be eating at that table right there that is within reach of the lobby.

No problem.  I will sit with my back to them.  Cort is more tolerant.  He can stare at that herd.

We decide to sample a Riesling.

I settle into my chair.

Only to observe the table over Cort’s shoulder.

A mom wearing the largest pair of mom-jeans I have ever seen on such a skinny body tucked into the biggest moon boots ever topped with a massively huge Bon Jovi T-shirt.  Across from her was a dad with those dude jeans that are all tight around the ankles, but all “loose fit” everywhere else and a GIANT Red Wings jersey.  And a hat.

Their two kids?  Were totally cute.

I understand just wanting to get out of the house with clothes on.  Especially when you have two itty bitty kids.

But shouldn’t your look reflect where you are?

Or am I a snob?  Is it wrong that I was visually offended at the “going out” clothing people deem acceptable these days?

I mean I GET the “come as you are” at McDonalds or Wal-Mart or even Target.  I’ve been that girl getting groceries in my yoga pants and a hoodie.

But I feel like I’ve seen enough episodes of What Not To Wear to know that you need to dress for the occasion.

Yoga pants for home?  Ok.

But at the Olive Garden?

Really?

Or is that joint not as classy as I thought?

belly laughs

I was prepared for the pain.

Four years earlier, Cortney had abdominal surgery to remove his appendix.  I remembered him holding his tummy as he shuffled around the house.

I wasn’t surprised that having a C-section made me look similar to his old man pose.

What did surprise me was how painful it was just to twist my torso to see Eddie in his little baby “aquarium” thing.  Or how much effort it would be to get out of bed, shuffle across the room, and lower myself onto the toilet to pee. And then getting back UP from the toilet?

I was tired a lot.

One of the first times I got up from my hospital bed and shuffled to the bathroom all by myself, the only people in the room to witness my triumph were Cort and Eddie, and to be honest?  Eddie did not cheer and hoot like I felt he should. Cort was only slightly more encouraging.

Anyway.  I had made it to the bathroom.  I had finished peeing. And I was just sitting there mustering up the energy to lift myself up to standing when I heard it.

A long, loud drawn out bit o flatulence.

And then?  laughter.

As I sat there in my gown with the mesh undies around my ankles, I put my hands up to my face and groaned.

Really, Cortney?

And he was STILL laughing.  And there may have been heavy breathing and then more laughing.

Ok, really?  Was his fart REALLY that funny?

I took a deep breath, grabbed the mesh undies with one hand and the grab bar in the other and slowly stood up.  I cradled my soft belly in one hand and adjusted my undergarments with the other.

He was still laughing.  It sounded almost painful.  Really?

I hunched over the sink washing my hands and looking at my greasy hair and pale skin.

He continued to laugh.

Finally, I opened the door and saw him.

He was sitting on the couch, our wee one in his arms, head thrown back, tears streaming down his face…laughing.

“Cort.  It was a fart.  It’s not THAT funny.  It’s sort of gross.”

He shook his head as his body erupted with deep laughter and tears all over again.

I shuffled to the bed.

“Seriously, babe.  Not that funny.”

He wiped the tears from his eyes while shifting our little burrito to his other arm.

“No, Kate…it wasn’t me.”

And the laughter started again as he threw his head back onto the window ledge.

“Wait…what?”

And then I got it.  He was pointing at Eddie.

“OH MY…” and the laughter started somewhere deep within me.  I tried to stop it, knowing how a belly laugh would tear at my wound, but I couldn’t stop it.

Tears streamed down my face–both from pain and from joy.

“That was such a…such a…,” I gasped, “MAN FART!”

And we both lost it all over again.

“No…stop…,” I begged, “I can’t….it hurts…ohhh!!!”

Finally our laughter gave way to heavy sighs and the wiping of tears.

Every now and then a chuckle would escape our lips and we would stifle it…trying not to hurt me again with a full on attack.

This little man….

Turned into this little man…

And his toots?  Are just as loud and ridiculous.

And they have not stopped being funny either.

Top Ten Tuesday: Vacation Memories

Since I am in the midst of the longest stretch of work with no break (from Sept 7 until Thanksgiving), I thought an appropriate Top Ten list this week would be vacation memories.

Lately I have been finding myself dreaming of going far, far away with my little family so that we can get some much needed rest and relaxation together.  These dreams have taken me back to some memories I have of traveling with my family, with my husband, with my friends, and with my little family of three.

So here we go….

10. My mom walking off the dock in Pentwater, MI. I was in high school when my family rented a cottage up north in Pentwater, MI, and my parents let me take my best friend, Tonya, along with us.  This particular cottage didn’t have any private beach, but it did have a private dock that had a lovely wide end to it for sunning and swimming and just having fun in the water.  The first day we were there, my brothers, parents, Tonya, and I were headed out to the dock to hang out.  Everyone was preoccupied with what they were doing.

Apparently my mom was so preoccupied, that she didn’t  notice that the dock ended and she walked right off of it.  She tried to play it off like she jumped in, saying things like, “whew!  it’s hot out!  this water feels SO good!”  But Tonya had watched her do it and was laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe.  My mom being totally busted…and soaking wet…was pretty hilarious.

9. Buffalo with my fiance. The year before Cort and I were married we took a trip to New York state to visit friends (oh hey, Phil and Liz!!) who lived in Rochester at the time.  Before we got there, though, we wanted to stop for a couple nights in Buffalo.  I wanted to go to the zoo–which was talked up on their website as being the third oldest zoo in the nation, having elephant washing, giraffe feeding, and camel riding–and Cort wanted to see Niagara Falls (even though I

Monkeys at the Buffalo Zoo

told him it’s just a lot of water).

This story could be a whole post, but I will boil it down to this:  Buffalo Zoo?  Lame.  We did not get to feed any giraffes, wash any elephants, or ride any camels.  We set aside a whole day for a zoo we walked int 20 minutes.  And Niagara Falls?  Cort agreed it was just a lot of water.

But we had fun laughing at our misfortune, AND we had a super time once we got to Rochester!

8. Spring Break in college. The one and only time I ever went on a spring break trip was my sophomore year in college.  A group of friends (Go Broncos!!) and I took a plane (my first jet ride ever) to St Petersburg, FL for a week-long stay.  Every day we sat by the pool and tanned.  Most of us were under 21, so we didn’t do a lot of night life, but it didn’t matter.  We had so much fun just hanging out!  And since there were five of us and only two queen-sized beds?  We rotated the person who slept on the floor. It was just plain fun and crazy.

7. Florida with my family. About four years before the spring break trip to Florida, my family took us all to Orlando, FL.  It was one of the first “big” trips my family ever took together (we usually just rented cottages for a week).  We drove the 24 hours there as a family in a van.  I have lots of hilarious memories from this trip, but one that has to do with me was when we were in the Magic Kingdom and I (an almost-sophomore in high school) was SO crabby, my mom actually made me take a time out!  While my dad and my brothers enjoyed Thunder Mountain?  I was stuck on a bench sipping a diet coke until I could “improve my mood.”

6. Tigers baseball game with my family. We have been to MANY Tiger Ball games together as a family, but one in particular sticks out to me because I. DID. NOT. WANT. TO. BE. THERE.

My family had just gotten down with a trip that included Cedar Point and a drive-thru safari (a WHOLE different memory), we were making our way back through Michigan via Detroit because my parents had gotten us tickets to see a game.  People?  As a 16 year old teenager?  I was done.  I did NOT want to be on this trip anymore.

To show my displeasure, I ridiculed (loudly) everything about the game, I insisted on showing off my new Spanish skills (thank you, high school Spanish II) by ordering my refreshments only en espanol, and I targeted the poor kid who was sitting in front of us.

That was probably the most obnoxious thing that I did.  This kid was a total Ken Griffey, Jr fan and every time Griffey did something great, he would say, “ROOOOUTINE hit for Griffey!”

It was that annoying.

So I started quietly heckling.  Finally, Griffey struck out and I leaned forward and yelled, “ROOOOOOOUTINE HIT FOR GRIFFEY!”

Dining at the Experience Music Project

The kid did not say another word the entire game.

5. Seattle with my hubby. One year after being married, Cortney and I decided to fly (my second time on a jet) to Seattle–the home of his favorite band, Pearl Jam–for a week-long vacation.  He didn’t want to be around for the “anniversary” of his dad’s passing away, and Seattle was some place we both really wanted to visit.  So we went.

We went to a zoo (duh), and aquarium (duh), the Experience Music Project, the Space Needle, the Pacific Ocean, Pike Place Market, and lots of downtown wanderings.

4. Montana for one of my best friends. Because I will do anything for my friends, Cort and I decided our vacation in 2007 would be the trip we were making to Montana for a wedding that I was in.  I blogged about it here.

Looking good at the Montana wedding

We found out a few things on that trip:  North Dakota is boring.  Montana is beautiful (and boring), Wyoming is beautiful (and boring), South Dakota has some good place to stop, but the Mitchel Corn Palace is not one of them.

3. Camping/Canoeing with the in-laws. Ok, I hate camping.  It is NOT my idea of a vacation.  But we have gone twice.  TWICE!  I blogged about both trips here, here, and here.  Despite my hate of all things camping, we have a pretty damn good time!

Canoe Trip 2010

2. Indianapolis with my family of three. This past summer’s trip to Indy will always be a favorite of mine because it was our very first vacation as a family of three.  Granted, it was only three days, but in that three days, we spent two (successful) nights in a hotel with a toddler, did some sight-seeing, visited with great friends, met some new great friends, and spent a total of eight hours in the car with

My bloggy friends in Indy

a screaming toddler.

1. My honeymoon. You knew this had to be #1, right?  Most people at this point would talk all about their magical getaway to some all inclusive resort, or perhaps a romantic trip to Europe?  Maybe a cruise?

Not us.  We were on a budget, people.

We went to Myrtle Beach.  Actually, we DROVE to Myrtle Beach. Yes, I know there are some kick ass places to stay and be pampered in Myrtle Beach.  No, we did not stay at one of them.  We stayed at the Mystic Sea Resort–which, upon arriving?  Cort deemed neither Mystical nor Resortish.  In fact, he may have used a swear word and then commented how it looked nothing like what it did on the internet (you would think we would have learned from the Buffalo Zoo debacle, wouldn’t you?).

Two newlywed beach bums

There are so many stories I can tell you about Myrtle Beach, but the main thing is that we started our marriage off with something we could afford and made it fun.  We laughed until we cried.  We enjoyed being together.  And it was perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, some day I would LOVE to go on a “real” vacation.  Something all-inclusive.  Somewhere that creates little swans and monkeys out of my towels.  But until then, we will have fun with our budget vacations.  It’s what I am used to growing up, and it is what you make it!

Now how about you?  Do you have a Top Ten list of your vacation memories?  Link it up!  And tune in this weekend when I announce next week’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic!

Getting Pooped On

I am going to let you in on something Sluiter Nation has been doing for three years now.  It’s a little game Cortney and I made up that relieves stress and brings on a serious case of the giggles just when we need it.

It has to do with poop.

That, my friends, is a fake turd I picked up when I was helping a friend shop at a novelty shop.  She needed dorky award thingys for her seniors.  I didn’t need anything.  But I found the fake yucky stuff section and this little poo needed to come home with me.

Of course I didn’t tell Cortney I bought it.  I just put it on his pillow (like the dramatization shot above), and then quietly went about my evening routine.  As I was brushing my teeth, he walked into our room to get his pj’s on.  That is when I heard, “Aw man, LOUIS!!!  GROSS!”  He totally thought the cat did it!

That’s when he saw me falling over myself (and my toothbrush) in the doorway to our room.  I managed to gasp out that it was fake.

He vowed to get me back.

And that is how the poop game began.

Once in his possession, he had free reign of hiding it anywhere that I would find it.

When it is found?  The rule is you have to say, “Aw, who pooped on my ______”.

The poop has been in my bathing suit, in the bread, in coffee cups, in lunch boxes, on Eddie’s changing table, in the coffee maker, in my water bottle, in Cort’s laptop bag…it is really quite endless.

And of course, once found, the poop changes hands and the poop placer now waits to become the poop victim.

Cort and I have had a lot of figurative poop happen in our lives over the five and a half years that we have been married.  We honestly try to keep a positive attitude and realize that it can’t be forever.

But in the meantime?  We laugh.  And if we need fake poop to laugh?  So be it.

Ok so maybe that last picture was too far.  But you get what I’m saying.  Laugh or cry.  We choose laugh.

By the way, if you are loving the Top Ten Tuesdays, this week will be Top Ten vacation memories!  Write it up and come back and link up on Tuesday!

Missing the Silly

This is it.

Summer is officially over.

I know, I know.  Good old “Kyle” on Storm Team8 claims we are entering into a big old heat wave and temperatures are going to soar into the 90’s.  I realize this SOUNDS like summer is still here.  But it is not.

Tonight (Monday), I start teaching.  Monday and Wednesday nights I will be teaching a composition class at Grand Rapids Community College.

Also this week?  Meeting start at my high school teaching job.  And students will be back in the desks the day after labor day.

I will be logging more than 60 hours a week with driving and working combined.

Every day I will leave before my little buddy is awake.

Two nights a week I won’t return until after he is sleeping.

I will see even less of Cortney because he too is starting classes.  He will be in class Monday and Thursday evenings.  And he will be gone bowling Tuesday evenings.

We will go from being a family of three who sees each other from sun up to sun down every single day, to being a family of 3 who is only together on weekends.

I really, REALLY wanted to blog about something else.  Something more cheerful.  Especially since I was able to find my bond with my little boy (as posted about yesterday…in the post below this one).

How overjoyed was I?  And now?  I feel like I am being ripped away.

Our family has had such fun, silly moments that we totally would have missed out on if we didn’t have all this time together.

Today for instance, my child decided to…

wear a box on his head and walk into things.
place his sippy IN a bucket and drink it this way (he is going to be AWESOME in college, by the way).
And pull his diaper almost completely off while standing and watching Little Einsteins.
And then?  When he noticed that WE noticed what he was doing?  He thought he could distract us by “dancing it out.”  For your viewing pleasure:

How in the world can I go back to work?  I am going to miss so much fun and so much silly!

Eddie is on the verge of saying some REAL words….

He is getting so funny and so crazy…

We have developed a bond…

Cortney and I have just figured out to co-exist at home all day with each other AND still like each other…

I know all the positives about starting school and getting into a routine and making some extra money for my family.

I know this. 

But I am also acutely aware of what I will be missing.

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