a story, an announcement (or two), and a giveaway

Psst.

Hey, you.

With the face.  Yeah, you.

Guess what?

I have something to share.

I have a little story to tell you.

Four years ago, I accidentally got pregnant, but miscarried.

We had told everyone I was pregnant and it was crippling to me to have to one by one, announce the end of what we thought was going to be.

Three years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We miscarried again.  I was crushed by the pain–physically and emotionally–but so relieved not to have to “take back” the pregnancy news again.

Two and a half years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We found out I have low progesterone.

We fixed that.

At 10 weeks, we told everyone.

Almost 21 months ago we had Eddie.

*************

So why am i telling you this story that so many of you already know?

Because Cort and I have made a decision.

We have an announcement.

Qe have decided to let me blog about trying to get pregnant when we decide to get pregnant again.

Cort (and my therapist) understand that the best way for me to process things is to be able to put my words here for you.  for me to be able to reach out when i have joy and pain.  For me to have you.

It’s my way to tell all of you I know in my real life things the way I want and need to say them too.  I hate the phone.  I get befuddled and don’t get my words straight.

Here,  I can put down the exact words I want to use.  I can pace things.

I am so grateful to all of you for being that support and for reading my words.

And I feel so lucky to have a husband who understands my need and is willing to let me put something so close and personal out here.

*************

But wait…we have one more announcement.

We have decided to try to get pregnant again!

Get ready for some of this (God willing!):

 

oh yeah, rocking the flowers ALL OVER!

*************

Guess what else?

I get to give YOU something in celebration of our announcements!

Have you used Shutterfly to upload and print photos?  They are AWESOME!

Since I am feeling all annoucey lately, I was looking through baby announcements, but then because of the 800 weddings we have this year, I was also looking at save the date announcements and remembering how fun it was to be in those planning stages.

Pretty sweet, huh?

You want some, don’t you?

Yeah you do.

Shutterfly gave me a coupon code for 50 free announcements each, and I am giving it to one of YOU!

To enter to win, just leave me a comment!  That is all!  I want to hear from you about my announcements!

To get a bonus entry, tweet something like the following and then come back and tell me in a separate comment that you did:

i’m helping @ksluiter celebrate her awesome announcements by entering her #cleverspring #shutterfly giveaway! http://wp.me/p1qChn-zb

 

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 19 at 4:00 est.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced Wednesday, April 20.

*************

Are you a blogger, too? Click here to register for a chance at 50 free announcements!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

rebirth

Michigan can bring back a bit of cold…and even snow…but we know…it’s spring.

and we need it.

Sluiters are being reborn this spring.

Lots of joy going on here that I can’t wait to share as it unfolds.

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

Reflections on 33

You may have noticed that my birthday is kind of special to me.

I love it.

And Cort always makes sure my birthday is special.

There were three birthdays in a row (29, 30, and 31) that I was pregnant.

When I turned 29, I was pregnant, but no one knew.  And it didn’t stay.

When I tured 30, I was pregnant again, and again no one knew.  We didn’t tell.  Cort made the day very special for me, even though I ended up losing the baby less than a month later.

When I turned 31, I was again pregnant.  This time, VERY pregnant with a little bun named Eddie.

Last year, when I turned 32, my wonderful husband and my best friend decided I deserved a huge celebration to make up for the past three birthdays of laying low. And last year Cort and my parents bought me the best gift ever.

This year there were no trips or expensive dinners.

There were no huge surprises or massively extravagant gifts.

This year was a year of friends, family, and my little boy bringing me a small gift.

I got to have dinner with my best friend, Erin and my wonderful husband.

I drank something called a “Flirtini”.  It had champagne in it.

I was able to have game night with friends who may as well be our family.  Who we consider our family.

this game? is so much awesome.

They jumped out and yelled surprise at us when we walked through their door.  Ben cooked one of the best dinners ever.  Trisha made the yummiest cuppie cakes.  Their boys played with my boy.

three candles because 33? is too many.

and we laughed…and we ate…but mostly we laughed.

Even if Ed wasn’t thrilled to go to bed there at first.

On my actual birthday…

I slept in.

I woke up to:

“Let’s go find Mommy.  No…wait…Ed…not yet!”  <insert paper ripping noise here>

<insert spazzing toddler here>

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY!!!

Two happy boys in PJs…

A venti starbucks latte…

An apple charm for my bracelet…

And a pile of snuggles and kisses and hugs.

I had dinner with my whole family around me:

Mom, Dad, Chris, Sarah, Jack, Henry, Mike, Ashley, Cort, and Eddie.

My favorite meal: Homemade chicken salad and blue berry muffins

The homemade ice cream cake I have ever year…

And a little bit of help from a little boy with my presents…

and with my candles…

I am pretty sure that 33 is going to be the best year ever.

Matching double digits.

Two Three’s.

33.

Lucky 33.

It’s going to be good.

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?

Secret Mommyhood Confession

I love my birthday.

I know some women like their birthday, but they are not really all that excited about turning another year older.

I am seriously like a child about my birthday.

As soon as the calendar says March, I start thinking about that day at the end of the month that is MINE!

MINE!

Yes, I turn 33 on my birthday, and no I am not ashamed to say that.  Some people don’t like to admit their age, but I have no problem telling it to you, my students, or a random person on the street.

So what?  I am 33…or almost 33.

No, I don’t LIKE that I am getting older, but as my dad says, “it’s better than the alternative.”

So true, dad.  So true.

And that is why my birthday is so awesome.

Not only is it my very own special day when I entered this world, but it means I am still here.  I made it another year.

I have made it through another year of crap and celebration.  Of mountains and valleys.  Of anxiety and joys.

I know I spend a LOT of time hating on myself and seeing my downfalls…but for some reason?  Every year, my birthday is the day I have no problem celebrating me.  Of finding the happy in who I am.

I think it’s because for people to celebrate you on your birthday is natural.  It’s easy to take people for granted throughout the year, but birthdays are days we think about the special people in our lives.

And that works for me as well.  I mean, it works for me to think about ME that way too.

It’s funny because birthdays were really overemphasized in my family.  Yes, my mom and dad made a point of making us the “special kid” on that day because it was our day, but we never had extravagant parties or got out of chores or were allowed to stay home from school or any of that.

We were celebrated simply.

But somehow, out of that simple love, grew a HUGE love of my birthday.

In high school and college I used to remind everyone in my life of how many days there were until my birthday starting at LEAST a month ahead of time.

I don’t go to those extremes anymore, but I do love the people who take the time to really remember that I love my birthday.

Cort is really great at that.  He is not that overly attached to his birthday, but he knows it’s a big deal for me and always works extra special hard to make me feel special. As do my parents and some super awesome friends.

(by the way?  I LOVE that facebook advertises your birthday…getting a trillion birthday wishes from people who probably don’t even talk to you the rest of the year?  I’ll take it!)

So.  I love my birthday.  March 27, 1978…the day I arrived here from my momma’s tummy.

This whole week coming up is full of birthday wonder and excitement (yes, I even have some pretty awesome giveaways for YOU!!).

As if this whole blog thing isn’t about me enough already?  It’s about to get a whole LOT more all about me!

So get ready!

Thus begins…The Week of Kate!!!  ::insert me doing my tappity tappity birthday dance…or perhaps shaking what my momma gave me::

Get ready to party, people. And yes, this is me with blond hair again.

Do you love your birthday?  Are you a fellow March birthday?  Tell me some birthday stuff about YOU!

Treat Yourself!

I have been advertising on facebook and on twitter that right now I am having a Thirty One Gifts party.

I honestly thought this would be taking off more than it has, and to be honest, I have been REALLY bummed at the lack of turn out.

I may have been lamenting this fact on twitter the other night when someone replied that she really didn’t know what Thirty-One is and that she didn’t want to spend her money on something she wasn’t sure about.

Well THAT makes sense!

So I figured I would SHOW you guys how awesome this stuff is…and why I HAD to have a party!

I heard of thirty-one gifts through my lovely bloggy friend, Lindsey.  She has an online party and I bought just a couple little things:  a personalized clipboard and paper for work.  Because I spent enough, I also got a free pouch thrown in.

This pouch? Made me realize my love of Thirty-One

I love my clipboard and my paper, but this little pouch?  This pouch and it’s cuteness and function made me fall in LOVE with all things Thirty-One.

For one, it’s a MUCH better way to pack things like make-up or jewelry than a plastic baggy.

Also?  You can get everything to match each other!  Or you can sample all of their designs.

Anyway, I went about my life loving my clipboard and using up my paper with “Mrs. Sluiter” printed across the top and stuffing my pouch with things all the time.

Then my lovely sister-in-law, Liz, had a party.  I couldn’t go, but you bet your booty cheeks I put in an order! Look what I got!

new, personlized lunch bag!

Liz just dropped my order off yesterday and I am already dreaming of the lovely lunches I can pack in this adorable little bag!  It’s insulated to keep my homemade lean cuisine all nice and chilled, plus it’s tall enough for not just a typical bottle of water, but my actual water bottle!  Awesome!  And it has a cute little front pocket!

I also ordered this:

what is this sweet little tied up bundle of cute?

oh! it's an adorable little organizer!

I am IN LOVE with my new little organizer!  It’s perfect for the blogger…or the mom…or the person who makes lists.  Really.  It’s got this handy notepad inside with pockets for pens, a calculator (um…mom), coupons, whatever your heart desires.  Then it folds up, ties, and fits right in your purse or tote.

So much cute and awesome (this print, by the way, is the same as on my school clipboard and paper…matchy matchy?  of course)!

On my current wish list is the All-in-One Organizer to match my lunch bag, personalized beach towels for the family, a jewelry roll, the aprons, and for SURE the large utility tote for all of our beach gear this summer!

Can you tell I love this stuff?  I haven’t met anyone who has it who doesn’t just LOVE it!

Now you want to go shopping, right?  RIGHT???  I know you do!

All you have to do is click here.  On the right side it will say “my events”.  click that.  Then find me, Katie Sluiter and click “shop my party.”  Then you will have the option to shop…which you SOOO want to do!

I know it sounds like I am begging…and to be honest?  I guess I sort of am.  I’ve only had one person buy and that makes me all sorts of sad.  Not because I am looking to get free stuff (it would be nice, but I am buying what I want regardless), but because I did this because I though so many people would be interested.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: small business love

Lately I have noticed that I have a bit of an addiction to shopping online, specifically small businesses.  Even more specifically, handmade products.

I think it’s because with my crazy schedule, I don’t get out to do any shopping anymore.  I used to at least do the grocery shopping once a week and get to throw in a fun pen or notepad or cookies.  But now?  I don’t even do that anymore.

So I have turned to the internet.

I will admit that I may have a bit of a problem (although none of the shop owners have complained about it).

This week I am sharing with you my favorite shops to stalk shop.  There are in no particular order…I love them ALL!

10. Sarah Bee Creations:

mmm...smells so yummy!

Sarah of Sarah Bee Creations is one of Sluiter Nation’s sponsors (see her pretty soaps over there on the right?) because not only is she an awesome person?  But she makes some of the richest, creamiest soaps ever!  I have her French Vanilla soap in the shower right now, and her lemongrass is on deck making my bathroom drawer smell delicious.   I cannot get over how soft my skin is after using this.  Horribly dry elbows?  Totally gone!

9. Pink Bow Bath Boutique:

pampering in a jar

Along with Sarah’s soaps?  I have become completely addicted to Amy’s body butters from Pink Bow Bath Boutique. I won a tiny jar from a giveaway and I was HOOKED!  I have never smelled so yummy in all my life.  Really.  Right now I am loving the buttercream frosting and the strawberry cream, but the pear vanilla is way tasty smelling too.  The body butter is thick, but not too thick, and the body frosting is silky and a bit lighter–can’t wait to get that for the summer!

8. The Vintage Pearl:

personalized lovliness

I don’t think there are many people out there who DON’T know about Erin at The Vintage Pearl. I have the “you are my sunshine” necklace and I have given quite a few gifts from TVP–and they are ALWAYS loved.  I think it’s the personalization and uniqueness that makes these pieces so special.

7. Peggy Ann Design:

the cutest frame in my house

Another one of my lovely sponsors, Hannah of Peggy Ann Designs, makes a variety of some of the loveliest items on the internet.  I have one of her cute frames, but I have my eye on her unique cuffs.  I think one would look super cute with my work shirts that are 3/4 length.  (See…I have a problem).  Also how cute would those mini-poms look in little girl hair?  Adorable!  And Hannah is the sweetest friend ever.  I think that makes the addiction worse.  Not only do these shop-owners sell the best stuff, but they are so nice and wonderful…I make up reasons I need their product!

6. The Sunshine Stitch:

self portrait...you get the cuteness of the hat though

This is my newest find.  Alysha of The Sunshine Stitch made that SUPER cute hat for me (because of COURSE I needed a new hat.  Duh.), but mostly she makes the sweetest little baby hats and booties I have ever seen.  Is it bad that after seeing her stuff I told Cort I thought we needed a baby?  Cuz he gave me the side-eye.  Huh.  It’s a good thing I have friends who are pregnant, so I can justify some serious spending here…SOON!

5. Gussy:

all gussy-ed up!

Who doesn’t love Maggie aka Gussy?  Her stuff is legendary out there in online shopping fame.  Those ruffles?  Forget it.  I have a laptop bag, a small pouch for my Droid, and a medium pouch for all the little stuff in my purse.  I showed you two of those things in my vlog a few weeks ago. So you think I would be set, right?  Oh no.  Now that I am going to BlogHer?  I really want a tote or a market bag as my carry on for the plane ride.

4. Bird E Studios

diaper clutch for mom to look good; bib for Eddie to look good!

Erika of Bird E Studios is another lovely friend of mine and an awesome shop owner AND another sponsor here on the old blog.  Erika has been the craftiness behind many of Eddie’s cute goodies…and is working on a little project for me right now for a lovely friend who has twin girls in her belly.  She also makes the cutest dog collars!  All four of my puppy nieces got pretty new “necklaces” from Erika for Christmas this past year.  She is another reason my uterus twitches for a baby…bibs and burp clothes!

3. Funky Mama Bird:

pretty an unique

Betsy of Funky Mama Bird is one of my favorite jewelry shops. Her stuff is so unique; I constantly get compliments on my bracelet.  Right now I have my eye on her birds nest earrings and I LOVE her birds next necklaces too.  Seriously, so cute.

2. Twenty Five Design:

my obession

Anyone who sees me regularly knows about my obsession love of all things Twenty Five Design by the lovely Torie.  My friendship with Torie began when she saved my hair style for a wedding by custom-making my very first Twenty Five Design headband.  Since then? I can’t stop myself!  Currently on my wish list from Torie’s crafty hands is the Spring is Here headband, the Chloe hairclip, and Carol cuff bracelet.  And yes, I already have three headbands, three hair pins, a necklace, and a ring.  What?

1. Eleri Designs

{Ok, I don’t have a picture of this…yet!  It’s on it’s way!}

Stacey of Eleri Designs is another new love of mine.  I came across Stacey’s shop through Miranda (of not super…just mom).  I entered a giveaway, but did not win.  Her shop was on my mind ever since.  Recently I decided it was time I retired my old Pittsburgh Steelers throw to the basement family room and got myself something cozy and girly for my big brown chair upstairs.  Immediately I contacted Stacey to find out if she did custom “adult size” blankets.  She does!  I am so excited to put on my jammies and curl up under my new blanket!  And I might just have my eye on her super cute coffee cozies next…

Now don’t get me wrong…these are not the only shops where I spend all my allowance frequent, but they are the ones I have currently stalked stared at the most in the past couple weeks.

And of course I HAVE to know…what are your favorite shops?  Do you have online favorites too, or do you frequent local small businesses in your area?  Where do you spend your “fun” money?

Don’t forget 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).

Top Ten Tuesday: Guilty Pleasures

Again you can blame the crowd over on twitter for this week’s Top Ten Topic…although this one was on my idea list.  I just wasn’t sure I wanted to spill all my guilty pleasures for all the world to know.

But it is time.  Time for me to come clean about my addictions entertainment.

10. Diet Coke – this one is a huge one.  I had my first swig of the lovely nectar in 8th grade.  My math teacher LOVED the stuff and collected cans in her room.  In pyramids.  I wanted to know what was so great about it.  I was never really able to drink sugary sodas, so this was perfect.

I have been hooked ever since.  My only hiatus was during my pregnancy with Eddie.  I tried to do caffeine free, but it tasted weird and I had the worst reflux known to man.

I have been told to cut out soda to help weight loss.  and I have cut way back, but I just can’t give up the good stuff completely.

9. The Red Carpet – almost any red carpet will do.  Award season is my favorite sport season.  And don’t say it’s not a sport.  It’s totally brutal

8. Fashion Police – Not the show that is now on weekly (although I do not mind that either in fact “bitch stole my look” is my favorite segment on that show), but the actual fashion police after the awards.  For instance tonight?  It will be the Oscars Fashion Police.  You know I will not be missing this.

7. Popcorn – and not healthy, low fat, nothing added popcorn.  No, my favorite?  Movie theater popcorn with TONS of extra butter.  I read somewhere that in a large tub?  You get all the calories you need for one day.  I would so sacrifice the rest of my day’s calories just to sit and mow down on a huge tub of greasy goodness.

6. America’s Next Top Model – admittedly I hate almost all reality shows.  But this one?  I love.  I haven’t watched it that much (I missed the end of the last cycle and I have the first episode of this season on Tivo that I haven’t watched yet), but if there is a marathon on a Sunday?  My day is DONE.

5. Mc Donalds – who am I kidding…it’s really the filet-o-fish from Micky D’s.  And now that it’s the magical season of lent?  You KNOW I get my nom on with the double filet.  My head knows it’s disgusting, my my heart?  Oh my heart is so in love.

4. Facebook – this one IS really guilty because I HATE that I am so addicted to it.  I don’t post all over it like I used to–I use it mainly to keep in touch with people and for my fan pages, but I do enjoy creeping looking at everyone’s pictures and reading their profiles.  It is a bit silly how easy it is to know what people are up to…and also completely addictive.

3. online shopping – specifically etsy.  Oh Mah Lawd how I can get stuck on etsy…for HOURS!  Mostly just browsing, but not always.  Let’s just say my email inbox?  Always has one or two receipts hanging out waiting for shipping info.

2. Peanut Butter M&Ms – Oh how I love you.  And oh how I love that my husband does not buy them every week with groceries or I would be about 72345098 pounds.

1. Twitter – It’s like I can’t be away from it!  I have tweetdeck open on my laptop ALWAYS, I have it on my phone, and I check in at work on the web.  I completely get sucked into EVERY conversation.  It’s probably the same reason I was always up until all hours chatting in real life back in college.  Now I am all over it online.  Sometimes?  It’s a problem. (by the way?  I am @ksluiter if you want to feed my addiction tweet with me).

And now you all know my dirty little secrets…you know why I can’t let the weight go and why when it seems like I am ALWAYS around on twitter?  It’s because I am.

Now it’s your turn to spill.  What are YOUR guilty pleasures?

psst…if you are on facebook and you are feeling generous with your clicking finger?  Please click here and vote for Sluiter Nation.  This grant could help fund my trip to BlogHer!!  You can vote once a day!

Top Ten Tuesday: The Stuff I Carry With Me

For this week’s Top Ten, I decided to combine the countdown with something else that has been requested:  a new vlog.

So not only am I counting down what it is that carry around with me in my purse?  But I am doing it on video.  And yes, I made my bed just for this video so you guys wouldn’t see my inner slob.  You’re welcome.

What do you carry everywhere?

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