we’ve got the fever, so we’re busting outta the cabin

Oh hey…I think I see spring….

crocus and tulips peeking through the bark...

That means we can bust out of the house and play OUTSIDE.

The Sluiters have been feeling pretty blah lately, so we thought that we should get some fresh air.

Who stole my baby?

getting the ride out of winter storage

look mom, DIRT!

it's much better out here without the snow

getting the golf clubs out for the first time this season

can't wait to ditch the hat and coat...warmer weather, come soon!

We were only out for about 45 minutes, but it was what we all needed!

Are you ready for spring too?

————————————

Also?  Today is the last day to “like” Eddie’s picture in the Modern Bird Facebook Photo Contest.

You just “like” Modern Bird, and then “like” Eddie’s picture (it’s number 94 in the line up).

Do us a solid and click that cute button and “like” our guy, will ya?

“no” is an answer

Oh I believe in miracles…

I believe in a better world…for me and you.

Oh..Oh I believe in miracles…

I believe in a better world…for me and you.*

Dear Lord, please heal Cort’s dad.  Take the cancer away and make him whole.

No.

Dear Lord, please let this bleeding be normal and NOT a miscarriage.

No.

Dear Lord, I want to be a mom so badly.  Please help my body know what to do.

Not yet.

Dear Lord, please don’t make me go through another miscarriage.  I am too weak.  I can’t do it.

Yes, you can.  And you will.

Dear Lord, please save me from being on the “cut” list for work.

No.

Dear Lord, please help Cort keep his job in these hard times.

No.

Dear Lord, please make these demons leave my head.  Please make me the mom others think I am.  Please help me fix this crazy.

No.  You can’t fix yourself alone.

Why, Lord?  Why us?  We are good people and hard workers.  We try to be like Jesus and love people and give of ourselves.  WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?

—silence—

Lord, I want to turn my back!  I want to do this alone.  I think you must have lost your “plan” for us somewhere.  You have left us!

Go ahead and try.

Lord, this is our plan…please oh PLEASE let it work.

No.

Lord, I can’t be in charge.  I can’t make anything work right.  Just please handle it for me.  Please let me find someone who will love me for everything I am RIGHT NOW.

Here is Cortney.

Lord, I can’t make things better with Cort’s dad.  He is going to die.  Please let me know what to do to help Cort.

I will strengthen your shoulders and pad your hugs.

Lord, he lost his dad and his appendix and now he is alone in the hospital.  What do I do?

Stay with him.  I’ll be there too.

Lord, I only have one try left.  I can only try once more.  Please bless us with a child this time.

Here is Edward Steven.

Lord, please help me keep my job.  My family needs me to provide.

You will teach Spanish.  You can also teach at the college.

Lord, I can’t change myself.  I need help.

Here is Cortney.  Here is your family.  Here is an internet full of support.  Here are your friends.  Here is your doctor.  Here is Celexa.  Here is a therapist.

Lord, what will we do?  Unemployment runs out in August.

Here is a job for Cortney.

Sometimes the answer is no.

But sometimes?  The answer is yes.

No matter how many times you falter.  He will save some “yes’s” for you.

This week?  He finally said YES to Cort’s job prayers after many, MANY no’s.

We are blessed.

*lyrics from “I believe in miracles” by Pearl Jam

If you also believe in miracles, please pray for our nephew(s)/niece(s) in Ethiopia.  Our siblings were dealt a GIANT “no” this week in their adoption process.  Please read about it here.

Click to vote every 24 hours for Sluiter Nation to win the Mom Central grant!

And don’t forget to shop my Thirty-One party!  Ends this week! (go to “my events” and shop my party–Katie Sluiter).


teaching isn’t just my job, it’s my job.

Thanks to the makers of Pine-Sol® for sponsoring my writing. A study shows a clean smelling home can help children succeed, so Pine-Sol® is supporting Reading is Fundamental (RIF) this year. Click “Like” on Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page here and they will donate books to RIF!
————————————————————————————————-
I don’t remember books not being in my life.

Growing up, the bottom drawer of my dresser was so full of children’s books that the bottom eventually fell out from the weight.

My  mom always had a pile of books on top of the refrigerator from the library, and a few more on the front seat of her car waiting to be swapped out for new ones.

My dad was always reading the newspaper.

We had a set of encyclopedia and a set of childcraft encyclopedia.

Words were my life from early on.  In grade school I lived for scholastic book orders.  In middle school my mom brought me piles of books home from the library.  By high school?  I had decided that I wanted to read–and talk about those books–for the rest of my life.

And so I became an English teacher.

I have worked for over a decade encouraging kids to read…to entice them into becoming life-long readers.

The school I work in is filled with students who didn’t have their own books as kids.  They come to us behind…because they don’t know what it’s like to have books in their life for fun.

Not a couple years ago, after about 90% of one of my classes failed to do a short assigned reading assignment, I polled the class with this question: “How many of you had your own books as kids and were read to all the time.”

One girl raised her hand (she did the assignment, by the way).  I died a little inside.

That same year our school started doing RIF (reading is fundamental), a program that gives students free books.

I was suddenly aware of the gift my parents had given me.

Also that year I found out I was pregnant with my son.

Immediately, I gathered my favorite childhood books and piled them in the room that would be his.

I would sit in the middle of the room and read the books out loud to my dancing fetus.

A year later, I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to a squirmy infant.

Not long after that, we traded the “paper pages” for board books because he wanted to handle them and gnaw on the book clumsily turn the pages himself.

Now, as a 20-month old, he brings me book after book to read.  He points out the letters to me and says some of them.  He points out the kitties and the dogs and the moons and the balloons.

I burst with pride when his little finger points at the pictures as I read the words…as he examines each page before we turn it.

I know this is what my parents did.  And I know it is a large part of why I became a successful student…and teacher….and writer.

It is never ever too early to start reading with your children.  Each time you choose to put down your phone, or step away from your laptop (in my case) to read with your child, you are sending a message about what is important.

Each time your child sees you pick up a book or newspaper instead of watch a reality show?  You are showing your child where your priorities are and what you see as valuable.

Your child…and education are important.  Show this to your child.  Read with him/her.

Don’t forget to click over to Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page to support our children’s success. I was selected for this Pine-Sol® sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Today my post for The Red Dress Club is over at my other blog. Please click below to go there.


Syndicate? No, SEND-A-KATE!

Let me start this by saying I am not asking for your money.  Cool?  No money is being asked for here. Ok?  Ahem.  Anyway….

my BlogHer jar

 

 

It’s official.

Cortney bought me a ticket to BlogHer in San Diego at the beginning of August.

And that is as far as the Sluiters can go with funding this huge endeavor.  That is why every post I have syndicated on BlogHer (three so far!  Dang!) and every sponsored post you see on this blog?  Is money going toward my trip.

Even though I believe in my writing ability?  I know it’s probably not possible for me to save up the close to $1000 I will need to make this trip happen in that small of increments.

So I have applied for some help.

One that is for a sponsorship through a company is announcing this weekend.  With over 200 applicants, it’s sort of a long shot, so we will see.

The other is for a grant through Mom Central–a $2000 grant to be exact.  My application was accepted and right now, on faceboook contest apps, they are holding public voting.  Voting is open until April 15 and people can vote once every 24 hours.

To vote for me, click here and then click the big, green VOTE button.  It’s that easy.  Every 24 hours.

Clearly if I win this grant, I will get more money than I need to go to BlogHer.  With whatever is left, I plan to take a writing course and put the rest into The Red Dress Club. I believe that ever since I began linking up with their prompts, I have been producing better writing, and since becoming one of the hostesses?  A whole new world has opened to me.  I credit those ladies with pushing me to be the best writer I can.

I really need to get to BlogHer.  I want to be a better blogger.

Oh, and Nichole, Natalie, and Tonya will be mad if I drop out of our roomie pact.

So please?  Vote for me every 24 hours!

And if you love Thirty-One and all their SUPER cute stuff?  You can go shop now!  I am having an online party!  Click here and go over to “my events” on the right and choose to “shop” at Katie Sluiter’s party!  I would really, REALLY love if you did.

just right

Sometimes…

it’s the little things…

like gifts from friends…

O Canada...how i love your treats...

freshly painted toenails and sipping wine with your husband…

do these feet say "let me entertain you?" like the color's name says?

trips to the bookstore…

i may have a wide variety of interests right now

tiny reminders…

yeah, I know. I just have to open my laptop!

lunch with no flying food or tantrums…

mmmm...best. bread. ever.

my favorite flowers…

and yes, I kissed him on his two-lips when he gave these to me.

little hands wanting to make letters…

E...D...D...I...E...

a reminder that someone is getting a cousin (or two) very soon!

hooray for cousins...

wait...does this mean I have to share Granny?

And my two very best guys…

handsome and cutie

…to make me feel like everything in this world is just the way it’s supposed to be.

that everything is just right.

——-

interested in the journey and adventure of Eddie’s cousin(s) coming home?  Check out Cort’s sister’s blog for more details.

Secret Mommyhood Confessions

This week has been a roller coaster for me as evidenced by my up and down posts this week.  In the middle of said coaster, I was directed by The Empress to go read a post by Melanie on Bronx to Boulder. And when the Empress tells all the world to do something?  You do it.

I totally related to Melanie’s post about blogging being a bit like high school–not knowing who your “circle” of friends is.

And then, the lovely Gigi posted about questioning your blogging.  Amazing.  Again it was EXACTLY what I had been going through lately.

Because friends?

My name is Katie, and I have low blog esteem.

It’s true.  I have been fighting it like crazy and telling myself I don’t care about numbers or comments…I am here to WRITE!

Yeah, right.

I’ll just admit right now that I love it when people read my words.  Love it.  Getting comments is like a little high..once you’ve had that high, you want it over and over.

I have been blogging for almost four years.  Just my family and friends read for the first three years.  If I got a comment, I about had a heart attack.  Oh there were some faithful friends (Missy, Trisha) who would leave me a little love here and there, but I mostly wrote just because I wanted to.

And then you all found me (I won’t lie, twitter helped with this. So if you are all new to blogging?  GET ON TWITTER!).

Since that day I have been struggling with my confidence as a blogger.

You see, I have read the “big blogs,” I have swapped stories and comments and twitter love with some bloggers who–in my eyes–are wildly successful.

I have found myself thinking that I am “friends” with a group of people only to notice that they have jokes I know nothing about.  Or they are all DM-ing each other on twitter, while my direct message column sits empty.

I have had posts I write explode with comments only to have a week go by where you would think my blog fell off the interwebs.

I have (foolishly) stared at my analytics to see if I am getting more readers.

And I have compared my writing to some of the best (again, foolishly).

Up until recently, I thought everyone in the blog world was lovely and friendly and just great.  People?  This is not the case.

I have learned of backstabbing and using and lying and stealing and gossiping and hurt.

I liked it better when I was naive and didn’t know there were “mean girls” in the blog world.

I never went into blogging thinking I could make a name for myself or get a book deal.  I just like to write.

More often than not, I have to remind myself of that.

Because I have become addicted.  Addicted to the comments.  To the community.  To the hope of finding real friendships.

And this addiction has left me uncertain.

Am I good enough to hang with the great writers?

Do I deserve the recognitions that people do give me?

Will those readers be back tomorrow?

Should I be doing more?

But in the end?  It really doesn’t matter.  I do love to push myself to be better for you, but really I am here for me.

And the only person I am really competing with here is myself.

promises kept

I could never have imagined the power behind the vows I was uttering.

I could never have fathomed that each line would come to fruition in fewer than six years.

For better…

we were three people who were once two, alone in a hospital room.  a family.

me drowsing–belly sore, limbs bloated, womb empty.

Cort resting–eyes closed, feet up on the little couch, head back, a small bundle on his chest.

Eddie sleeping–warm and dry, breathing in the world.

…or for worse…

All eyes on us–the poor children–as we lead the procession into the sanctuary.

We sat alone in the second row–behind only the widow, the preacher, and the eulogists.

Cort, me, Cody, Liz, Kenzie…and mom squeezed in from back in her row up to be next to her daughter to hold her hand and catch her tears. to be there for her kids.

The rest?  Is a blur.

…for richer…

we have each other.

we have a sweet boy.

we have a house.

we have two vehicles.

we have love.

…or for poorer…

We thought it would be me losing my job.

Every year the cuts got closer.

So close I actually saw MY name on a cut list while Eddie kicked happily and obliviously inside.

But it never happened.

I continued to work.

But he did not.

…in sickness…

Cort has a three scars–none even an inch long.

He doesn’t have an appendix.  It left him the same day his dad left this world.

I have one visible scar–probably around close to seven inches long.

It was the best way to become a mother and still stay in this world.

Cort has scars you can’t see.

Battle wounds from a verbally abusive, mentally sick wife.

I have invisible scars too.

Etched on my heart from mastering the art of losing.

…and in health.

Cort lounges sleepily on the couch only slightly aware that a curly-haired toddler is barreling toward him.

Eddie throws himself at the couch and climbs clumsily and awkwardly grabbing at Cort.

Once on the couch he steamrolls his daddy and monsters his way into position next to him.

Not to be left out, I pounce across the room and join the snuggly, giggly pile.

I do.

When Cort leaned in to kiss me for the first time as his wife?  We didn’t feel what happened…but we would soon find out.

Our whole world shifted.

I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

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.

How Sluiter Nation Has a Snow Day

Much of the country was hit with a “weather event” the past couple days, and for once this winter, Michigan was not left out.

Our weather guys and gals were able to jump around and flail their arms in front of weather maps covered in blue and green and pink blobs of snow and blizzard warnings.

One meteorologist even admitted to bringing his sleeping bag to the studio last night.

There was excitement.

My students talked ALL DAMN DAY about how we were going to have a snow day today:

“Mrs. Sluiter?  Do you think we’re going to have a snow day?”

“Oh we are for sure going to have a snow day, don’t you think, Mrs. Sluiter?”

“What are you going to do with your snow day, Mrs. Sluiter?  Grade my test?”

To be honest, until I got home and turned on the news?  I wasn’t sold on this whole snow day business.  I mean, our weather people REALLY enjoy getting worked up and they may tend to exaggerate what actually happens.  a lot.

But once the wind picked up and it started to snow, I started begging Cort not to drive to bowling.  And that is when I realized:  we were going to have a snow day!

Yes, today my school is canceled and Cort’s evening class is canceled.  Sluiter Nation officially has a snow day.

So how do we DO a family snow day?  Well, there are a few things that are necessary (no, I did not go out and buy “storm meat” like @thenextmartha did).  Here is how WE do a snow day:

First we open the front door to see that yes, we are snowed in.  There is no walkway to the house anymore.

oh, and no driveway either.  Well then.  Yes.  Snowed in.

Our deck. More proof that this "Blizzard of 2011" happened.

the drift in front of our downstairs front window. again, it snowed like "whoa" last night.

Now that we have it established that I am not making the snow up, this is how we readied ourselves…

First?  make sure the internet connection is working.  Because otherwise?  I may as well be at work.

I kid, I kid.

Or do I?  ahem,

Stock up on provisions.

Cort went to Target yesterday for a few things and since a storm was coming he stocked up on the necessities junk food to keep his wifey and boy happy while they are trapped together for a whole day.

Like I said…provisions.

Momma and Dad-do need their caffiene.

Jammies.

Yes, I am writing this around noon and all three of us are still in our jammies.  And I am pretty sure there are no plans to change that.

slippers.  because my tootsies need to stay warm when it’s so brrrrr outside!

A good book.

You know, in case I pull myself away from the interwebs today.

Someone to cuddle with.

(please disregard lack of make up…it’s a snow day.  remember?)

Now if you will excuse me, I have everything I need to have a successful snow day.  I must now proceed to enjoy the doing of nothing.

While I do that?  You can check out how I actually DID go to Blissdom…sort of.  Go here and here.  Then report back.

And happy weather event day to you.

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