This is NOT a Bucket List

anti-bucket-300x258I don’t do bucket lists.  This is probably because I am a pessimist and I assume that if it needs to go on a “someday” list, it means it’s a “never will” list. If it’s not on a list and I get to do it?  Surprise and Yay!  But a whole list of things I wish to do seems like a set up for disappointment. Instead of looking at all the things I’ve checked off, I feel like I will always see those things that never got done.

This is really not a depressing post, I promise.

I really do love lists.

Just not “bucket” lists.

My To Do lists are everywhere: I have Wunderlist lists–both for myself and that I share with Cortney. I have lists to remember details about appointments or outings in our Cozi Calendar. I have post-it’s, a notebook, and a blog planner (mostly for all of my online tasks…not just blog stuff. I don’t have that busy of a blog life).  I have an “All Out Of” list which births a grocery list every week.  I have a literal “laundry” list on my dryer of what loads I do on what days. I have a lesson plan book and various class lists to keep track of various things.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that it’s not like I’m afraid of lists.

I just don’t like Bucket Lists.

I see them all over Pinterest and other people’s blogs…the creative, over-the-top AWESOME that people are going to do with their kids.  Or the childhood memories they want to create with their kids.

I’m not a crabby mom, I promise, I just can’t commit to things like “lay out under the stars” or “catch fireflies” or “take a road trip to another state” or “pack up the family for a picnic in a grassy area we’ve never been before”.

Call me a pessimist or a terrible mom or just a realist, but I cannot romantically put these things on a list To Do.  For one, if these things are on a list? They lose their charm…their excitement.  I’m pretty sure my parents never had “go for a Sunday drive” on any sort of Bucket List (and if I am being honest with my memory from my childhood, I wish NOT going on any Sunday Drives was actually on their list. I get carsick.  They never learned).

And secondly, I know my children. If some night I decide we are checking “lay out under the stars” off our bucket list, all hell will break lose and I will end up crying because NO ONE WILL JUST LIE DOWN AND GAZE IN AWE AT THE UNIVERSE.  There will be over-tired children because it doesn’t even get dark until over 2 hours after their bedtime.  There will be a stressed out OCD mother who is freaking her freak because everything isn’t like a children’s book in the backyard. And I am sure their will be mosquitoes and husbandly eye-rolls.

So instead of a Bucket List for the summer, I give you my Anti-Bucket List or Probably To Do’s:

  1. Leave the house property twice once a week. Not counting the day the boys are in daycare, I just want to get them away from our house once a week. It doesn’t have to be an ALL CAPS SUPER AWESOME OUTING (but it could be). I’ll take Target or the Farmer’s Market.
  2. Maybe try a craft with Eddie.  I won’t get all pinteresty up in here, since I count coloring in his Sponge Bob Coloring book and then letting him cut it up with his safety scissors as a craft, so take this one however you want.
  3. Treat ourselves to treats. We will make ice cream and eat it, and maybe that one time out of the house during the week will be to Starbucks.  Cake pops for everyone!
  4. Teach Eddie responsibility.  He’s going to clean up his own messes because he is almost four and REALLY.
  5. See some animals. Eddie and Charlie get to go to the Critter Barn with daycare in a couple weeks, but I hope to see some animals with them this summer too.  Last summer we did the Critter Barn and three different zoos.  One zoo I prefer not to remember.
  6. Read. By myself. With Eddie.  With Charlie.  Teaching Eddie some sight words.  Maybe even Cort will read something that is not in his Maximum PC Magazine.  Ha ha ha…yeah right.
  7. Sit. Self explanatory.
  8. Play. Oh there will be fun had.  What that fun will look like, I have no idea, but it will be had.
  9. Write stuff. I’ll keep writing here if nothing else…but probably something else.

I know you can’t tell from this post, but I don’t begrudge anyone else for having Bucket Lists.  Some people make ’em and check stuff off ’em like a boss.  Then they share the pictures of the fireflies and the crafts and I see the smiling faces of their kids and I am glad.  The world needs people like that.

I am not like that.  But I think the world needs me too.

Are you a Bucket List person?  You can tell me.  You can even tell me what’s on it.  I won’t think less of you.  In fact, I’ll probably be all kinds of impressed.

It’s a Fish Pouch!

It’s been awhile since I shared a recipe, but I found one this week that every member of my family loved…and it wasn’t a carb-fest or full of cheese!

I know. I am just as shocked as you are.

And here is the most shocking thing…it’s fish.

Yup. ALL four of us LOVED this meal.

It’s SUPER easy, it’s a great summer grill meal, and it’s pretty healthy!

And it’s a POUCH. Of FISH!

grilledfishveggies

I actually have no idea why I find fish so funny, so let’s just get to the recipe before I embarrass myself, m’kay?

Grilled Fish & Veggie Packets

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Basil leaves (divided)
  • 1 Zucchini (thinly sliced)
  • 1lb Halibut Fish (cut crosswise into four pieces (I used Tilapia))
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing

Directions

Step 1
heat the grill to medium heat
Step 2
reserve 1/4 of the basil leaves and cut the remaining basil leaves into thin slices.
Step 3
place zucchini on the centers of four large sheets of tin foil and top with fish, tomatoes, and sliced basil.
Step 4
drizzle each with Italian dressing.
Step 5
fold to make four packets.
Step 6
grill for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Step 7
carefully open packets and top fish with reserved basil leaves.

I was going to serve it with brown rice, but then I forgot to make it, so we had unhealthy dinner rolls.

This dinner was a HUGE hit.  Charlie and Eddie both ate everything but the tomatoes with Eddie even declaring, “Mmmm! Zucchini is pretty good!”

A three-year old announcing the “pretty goodness” of zucchini and not fighting at all about eating the fish?

Win.

What do you like to grill?  We need more ideas than just hot dogs and fish pouches.

 

*I found this recipe in my Kraft Food & Family magazine.

Summer Style {Giveaway!}

As I type this, my students are working on their final exams.  When the bell rings at 11:15am today, it will be SUMMER VACATION!  WOOT!

Summer means I don’t have a dress code to follow.  I know that sounds like I am going to go all shorty shorts and tube tops, but no.  It means I don’t have to sweat in slacks and a short-sleeved sweater because we can’t wear anything sleeveless and we don’t have air-conditioning (ok, I do in my classroom at the high school, but in my classroom at the Jr. High, not so much. Or the rest of either building).

What I’m getting at here is that when school’s out? Skirts and dresses become my uniform.  No really. They do.  I can’t stand to wear yoga pants in the summer because when I leave the house for any reason I die of a heatstroke. So skirts and tanks it is!

On the days when I know I will leave the actual property and venture into public, I like to kick the look up a notch to something more than just a fold-over cotton skirt or a maxi dress and wear something pretty.

The Picnic Park Skirt

The Picnic Park Skirt from Shabby Apple

Do you guys know Shabby Apple?

Shabby Apple is an online dress boutique that specializes in vintage and retro dresses.  Click Here: vintage dresses

to see our selection!  I LOVE the style/look of all their clothing.  It’s flirty, retro, romantic, and  just adorable!

I think what I love most about the style of Dresses from Shabby Apple is that even though I have always felt that I have an inner rock n roll chick living inside me, I don’t feel like I am betraying her by loving these clothes.

Gondola Dress from Shabby Apple

Gondola Dress from Shabby Apple

They remind me of Gwen Stefani or Fergi or that chick who used to play bass for Coal Chamber and looked like a china doll.  Ok, maybe that is a stretch since she also wore torn fishnets.  But you get my point.  I wouldn’t feel weird wearing a dress from Shabby Apple and still blaring Danzig.  Or Madonna.  Whatever.

Toe the Line Dress from Shabby Apple

Toe the Line Dress from Shabby Apple

It’s funny because I am not an overly dressy person, but when I look at my summer wardrobe, or I go shopping for summer clothes, I rarely even glance at shorts or capris.  It’s not that they aren’t cute on some people…and maybe would be on me too…but I like the comfort I get with skirts and dresses that bottoms with zipper and snaps and fastens can’t give me.

Lemon Drop Skirt from Shabby Apple

Lemon Drop Skirt from Shabby Apple

And let’s be honest, a skirt gives you a better breeze on hot days than shorts do.  AmIRight?

Do you like what you see?  Well then you will be excited to learn that one lucky reader will win a $50 gift card to Shabby Apple!

To be eligible to win, you must complete the necessary entries in the Rafflecopter widget below, and must provide a USA shipping address when you win.

As a special bonus to Sluiter Nation readers, you can ALL receive 10% off all polka dot dresses from Shabby Apple for the month of June!  Just enter the code polkadot10off at checkout to apply the 10% discount!

Update: Want to double your chances of winning? My friend, Jessica is ALSO having a $50 Shabby Apple giveaway!  Go enter on her blog too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure and terms: I was not compensated in any way for this giveaway. I love Shabby Apple and was happy to give one of you the joy of shopping there too! Some links may be affiliate links.  Shabby Apple is providing the spoils of this giveaway.  Giveaway runs from today 5/31/13 until Saturday, June 8 at midnight est (so, Friday night for some of you). Winner will be contacted via email.  If winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

The Sluiter Nation Booze Cruise

I couldn’t pass up this week’s VlogTalk topic.

While the idea of a blooper real was appealing, I realized the only bloopers I would have to share were so NOT vlogtalk-related and people in my life might get made.

So, I went with my favorite summer drink.

However, I realized that it really doesn’t take much time to make my fave drink, so I am going to show you around the boozey nation first.

Enjoy.

For the record?  We also have a total of one beer in the fridge.

Coors Lite.

In case you were worried.

And while we are on the record?  Many of these bottles of liquor had a thick layer of dust.  Does Kahlua go bad?

Anyway, I really mostly drink diet coke in the summer, but that just wasn’t as fun as a booze cruise.

What is your favorite summer drink?  Tell me I am not the only one half-crocked on sipping wine on hot days.

 

PhotobucketI am linking up with Vlog Talk this week!

 

on the first day of summer break my true love gave to me…

Starting summer break is always weird.

I look forward to it for weeks while I finish up the million things that I have to do at school.  This year was especially taxing.  Not only did I have six classes instead of five to wrap up, I had graduation to run.

I had tests and quizzes and essays to grade.

I had make-ups and credit recovery to chase.

I had seniors to hound about credits, parents to call about failing grades, graduation rehearsals to plan and run, a senior picnic to organize, and the list really keeps going.

It was a whirlwind.

This past Tuesday I was at school from 7:15am until 8:30pm because of graduation.  I didn’t go home between school and the ceremony because I had so much to work on and it seemed silly to drive 40 minutes home just to turn around and come back.

Wednesday and Thursday were half days for the students, but I still had meetings and grading to get done in the afternoon.

When Friday finally showed up, I was in sort of a daze.

For two hours the staff had their final meeting of the year and then we were free.

We had our annual staff get-together at a teacher’s house to unwind and gab about the latest dirt and rumors in the district about what could possibly happen to our jobs, and then it was time to go.

I got home and just sat.

After all the constant going and doing over the past few weeks I was suddenly done.

So what did I do?  I fell asleep on the couch while Cort watched Tivo-ed episodes of Whale Wars.

Today I woke up somewhat refreshed.

Cort bought me a Groupon to get a shellac mani/pedi so I cashed that in, treated myself to a venti frappacino at Starbucks, and did a little shopping at Target.

I still don’t think it’s sunk in yet that I am done with work for a few months.

And it’s hard to enjoy because my district faces a pantload of cuts again due to decisions made in Lansing, but we won’t know until the end of June who is getting pink slipped.

And it could be August before I see a teaching assignment or schedule.

Of course the snide comments about how easy my job is because I get 2.5 months off each summer have already started.

It’s hard to come off one of the most difficult teaching years of my career and get slapped with a “pfft.  I wish I got more than two months off every year.  must be nice!”

It is nice, yes.

And if I had to teach year ’round?  I would consider another job.

And if you want your summers off too?  They DO still have teaching certificates available.  You could go to school for the rest of your life and pay $175 each time it expires to keep it too.

Go ahead.

I’ll be your biggest cheerleader.

Anyway…what was I talking about?

I don’t even know.

This post is not going anywhere.

But I am off for the summer.  There are haters, but guess what.  I still have the summer off.

Well, until I start that class in two weeks that I have to pay for in order to keep my teaching certificate which expires next year that I have to pay $175 to keep so I can have a job…if there is a job for me.

Yay!  Summer!

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!

Potter Picnic 2010

This past weekend was the annual Potter Picnic–Cort’s mom’s side of the family.  There are five siblings in my mom-in-law’s family and each of the five sibling families wore a different color T-shirt.  Ours?  Yellow!

The Potter Picnic is fun, but it is SERIOUS fun! It is NOT your mediocre, run-of the mill family reunion.  OH NO…

It all starts out with games…tournament style…where you get to compete for prizes.  There is something for EVERYONE.

Badminton
Ladder Ball (or as we Sluiters call it, Hilly Billy Golf)
Cornhole (yes, that is the real name of this game.  what can I say?  we are classy)
more corn hole…just because we all needed one more giggle at the name.
Volleyball
Horse shoes
Yes, there were even written quizzes.  The Potter family?  They take competition seriously.
and you can’t leave until you guess how many m&ms or what the three objects in the coffee can are.
And you KNEW there was a score board, right?
And Grandpa and Grandma Potter?  They supervised and enjoyed watching us run amok.
And the littlest Potter also did some supervising.  Oh hey, Miles!
The trophies:  which totally went to the Red Shirts (Keith Potter family) AGAIN this year.  I think they have everyone by sheer numbers in their family!
Debate over the scoreboard.
Did I mention it’s serious business?  Because it SO is.
Even Eddie found it fun to run around the playing fields (yes, there are even regulation lines chalked in.  SERIOUS, people.)
The yellow team?  We did not do so well.
But Cody totally represented by qualifying to climb the rope!  And he did it with speed AND agility!  We were so proud!
We all watched the climbers.  They were pretty amazing.  And?  I am glad I didn’t have to try because I am fairly sure I would have hurt myself in more than one way.
The yellow team in their glory…with G&G Potter
The entire Potter Picnic.  We are so dang lucky to have this much love in just ONE of side of the family!
Such a fun day…even if we had to leave before dinner because Eddie was LOSING it from lack of nap.
And I think?  Grandpa and Grandma had a pretty happy day too!

header 150x150

Sluiter Nation Takes Indy

I promised to share our trip to Indianapolis, so I need to make good on that.  So here is our story…

Last week Monday, our little family packed up and headed south.

 Before having Eddie, four hours in the car for a road trip would have been no big deal for Cort and me.  We love road trips together! But with a 13-month old?  By hour three?  Eddie was done.  D.O.N.E. done. I had to start singing to him to get him to applaud and smile and not scream his face off.

Also on that four-hour tour, Eddie also had his first McDonald’s visit.  I didn’t even think to take my camera in, but there he sat…in a highchair, with a chicken nugget and apple slice happy meal, smiling.  And in that McDonalds somewhere in northern Indiana?  My baby learned to drink out of a straw.  Sigh…

Anyway, we arrived in Indianapolis around 5:00 or so.  Eddie LOVED the hotel room!

The chair and the air conditioner and the window overlooking a bazillion school buses were his favorite parts.

That evening Emily invited us over for pizza and relaxing on the back deck while the kids played.  It was a lovely way to start our visit!  Before we left, we agreed to head out to the Indianapolis Zoo with Emily and her crew in the morning.

Emily has a membership pass so we got in for nothing at all!  You can’t beat that deal with a stick!

Emily’s oldest, PK, was our tour guide for the day.  Now you must know, PK and I bonded over that fact that we both love princesses, and I knew each one of her Polly Pockets princess’s names.  Yup, we are now BFF’s.  Anyway, I believe it was because of this bond that we got such a thorough tour from her.

One of the first places she took us was to see the sharks.  Very cool.  However, did you know you can PET these sharks?  Um…I am a little skeptical of this.

But clearly it is safe because I don’t think Emily would let her sweet little girls touch a man eater.  I don’t THINK.

So of course Cort had his brave pants on that day and cozied up to a shark.  This is the same guy who picked up a horseshoe crab and pet a sting ray in Myrtle Beach.  Show off.

So I leaned in and pet one too.  It was icky, but at least I did it.  Notice my two-finger technique.  That is me all following directions.

We stopped to see the penguins.  Birdie liked the penguins.  I liked Birdie’s pigtails.  It’s a fair trade.

Eddie enjoyed the dolphin dome.  It WAS pretty neat to feel like you are underwater.  And it’s very echo-y in there.  Also a favorite of Eddie’s.

Meerkats, anyone?
Polar Bear butt dwarfing Emily’s girls.
The crew: Emily, Gage, Birdie, PK, Cort, and Eddie
elephant family
Cort’s new BFF, Gage the Rage
It may have been over a hundred degrees.  And some of us may have been crabby about that.
Lucky for us there is a splash pad at the zoo.  Eddie and I put our piggies in to cool off!
Ah!  that’s better!
Right before we left, we met these gibbons.  They were loud.  They were a fan favorite.  Coincidence?
Oh, and in case you are wondering, Eddie got a penguin to add to his collection from this zoo!
We may have had McDonalds again.  This time I had my camera ready.  See?  He’s like an adult with that thing.  Sigh…
Tuesday night was the super fun Blogger BBQ at Emily’s.  It was fun.  It was needed.  I wish I could do it ALL THE TIME!
Wednesday morning we decided we needed some indoor, air-conditioned fun, so on the recommendation of all the Indy natives, Sluiter Nation went to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
It was four floors of exploring, investigating, learning, and playing.  Eddie really liked it.  I may have loved it.
Eddie learned about watersheds (just for you Erin. Maybe he can explain them to me).
He played in a log.
He built things with blocks.
He rode a carousel with dad-do.
We saw dinosaurs. (Eddie applauded this guy).
Eddie explored sand.
and learned about magnets.
he picked flowers.
and played in the Baby Scapes.
I posed on the Barbie runway. 
And stopped for a photo op with my childhood friend.  Girlfriend needs to eat a cheeseburger, though.  She’s making me look bad!
Before lunch (where Eddie drank from yes, ANOTHER juice box), we found his favorite exhibit!
There were rock star cars like this one from Van Halen.
And this trailer o stereo from KISS
we even saw Cheap Trick’s custom John Deere!
We even let Eddie try out a “hog”.  He liked it.  Sort of a lot.  Don’t tell Grandma.
After lunch, it was time to get back in the truck and head north for home.  Eddie and I both slept for part of the trip. We were exhausted from all the fun we had.  It was the perfect minivacation for our first family vacation.  Eddie slept pretty well in the hotel (even if he didn’t nap on Tuesday because the room was just too interesting), and we had a TON of fun with old and new friends!
We look forward to visiting Indy again and maybe hitting the State Fair next time!

Celebrating Those Who Serve By Eating a Corndog

So I know I have a whole trip to Indy to tell you about.  And normally on Fridays you get to come and see my flip-offs.  I don’t have flip-offs this week.  Well, maybe to the 102 degree weather in Indy that had sweat rolling down my back and into my…well…anyway.  But other than that?  Nope.  I had a great week.

But of course if you are longing for the satisfaction of reading some flip-offs, definitely do head over to Kludgy Mom and read hers…and link up, if you’re a blogger.

ANYWAY…this post?  This post is about something that was a LONG time coming for me.

I’m talking about the Coast Guard Festival.

I live less than 30 minutes from Grand Haven, MI where the annual Coast Guard Festival is held.  It’s kind of a big deal.  There is much festival-ness about it, and for good reason!  The Coast Guard is a very important part of our Armed Forces!  And here in Michigan, living on the lake, we rely on them for search and rescue, but nationally the protect our waters!  They are a REALLY big deal, so it’s pretty awesome that we have this festival right here on our own turf to honor them.

And I?  Had never been to the festival.

My friend Missy–you know, my super fantastic talented beautiful friend, Missy?  This one right here? Yup, her family lives in Grand Haven and goes annually.  She decided Sluiter Nation must…MUST…attend the festival this year.

So we did.

On Friday morning we headed out into the pleasant weather to first visit the Craft Show.  I had never been to a craft show either (I know, I know…I am gradually coming out from under the rock), and I was pretty impressed!

There were tons of really cool local crafts.  If it wasn’t so dang busy (meaning if we could actually PUSH OUR STROLLERS through the paths, we would have stayed). But it was too crowded for the whole family to move comfortably.

So…we moved on to the FOOD!

The best food booths were right along the water.  So we strolled through Grand Haven and down to the shore.  This?  Is where I found a delightful corn dog and the best invention ever…butterfly fries.  Freshly cut potatoes in swirly formation and deep fried.  They were like chips, but yummier.  WAY yummier.

And I ate them too fast to take a picture.  Sorry.

Eddie and his BFF, Ethan, had a great time enjoying fruit and fried food from the comfort of the strollers.

And what would going to Coast Guard Festival be without touring an actual vessel?  So we walked to the boats.

And the boats?  They are big.

But the guys and kids toured them.  Because that is what boys and kids like to do.

The mommas and the babies sat and chatted.  and maybe got a sun burned part.  It’s NOT dandruff, people!  It’s pealing!

Ahem.

By the time the guys and kids were done touring the big boat, the rides were open.  Missy was determined to get me on a ride.  I generally do NOT love carnival rides, but Missy wanted me to and I love her, so I went on the ride.

Please notice that we sat near the middle because that is supposed to be the least scary spot.  Also notice the small girl sitting next to me?  Yeah, stay tuned about her.

So now you can see that I was holding on for my life.  This?  was terrifying.  It was high.  I don’t like heights.  I screamed.  A lot.  And that sweet looking girl next to me?  She MOCKED me.

Me:  ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Tiny Girl:  Wait.  Are you SCARED?

Me:  It’s SO HIGH!!!!

Tiny Girl:  Really?  This ride is really not scary.  You should go on the ZIPPER!  That is scary!

Me:  ARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (because I can clearly NOT have this conversation right now while the pirate ship is trying to kill me).

Oh that Zipper ride that Tiny Girl was talking about?  This was it.  This was what Jeff (Missy’s bearded hubby) wanted to ride.  With Cort.

As they were standing there in line, I almost vomited just watching the thing squeal and turn.  And Missy told me that Jeff was all excited because NO ONE that they ever take to Coast Guard will go on this thing with him.  Oh boy.

So they get put in this cage thing, see?  And that cage…can totally spin around WHILE the ride is ALSO spinning.

How is vomit NOT going to occur?  I just don’t know. Especially after those corn dogs.  Oh those corn dogs.

That?  Is Cort and Jeff.  Those are their hands holding on for dear life.  I had to stop taking pictures because my stomach was turning.

And yet?  All happy with no puke!  In fact…Cort said he would GLADLY go on again with Jeff.

Yes, we are officially their Coast Guard Festival buddies from now on.  Just based on the Zipper.

Of course, Eddie needed to ride a ride too.  The only thing he could really go on was the carousel.  But he loved it.  I know he’s got his straight face on, but that is what he does when he is taking it all in.  Those little piggies were clamped tight to the horsey and he was holding tight to the pole.

When it was over?  He fussed.  He wanted more.

Although he was also very, very tired. So tired he couldn’t get it together for one last shot with his BFF and his momma’s bestie.

And so, we traveled home.

But we will be back.  Because the Coast Guard?  Is important.  And when they have a Festival?  They serve great corn dogs.

Oh Hey…Another Guest Post:  
So I am over at Tie a Little Ribbon today.  Krystal is all kinds of cool and funny and hilarious and when she asked me to guest post, I just couldn’t say no.  It’s fitting that she runs this post today, after I have been a guest this week.  So head over, leave me a comment over there, and show Krystal some Sluiter Nation love. 

Put Us In the Zoo!

One very fun thing that Cortney and I have in common is our love of zoos and aquariums.  It seems that every summer we somehow find our way to one (well, not last summer.  Last summer we had a zoo in our home with our newborn and everyone coming to look at US).  This week, thanks to my mom, we were able to take Eddie to his first zoo.  But before I get to that, a little retrospective of past zoo/aquarium visits.

The summer of 2004 (the summer when we got engaged) we took a trip to NY to visit friends who were living in Rochester at the time.  We stopped at the Buffalo Zoo for an afternoon.  Of course they had buffalo.

And they also had a rhino.  This zoo was WAY smaller than we expected, but had some good animals.  However, the giraffe feeding, elephant washing, and camel rides their website advertised?  So were not happening.  I was crabby about this.

On a rainy day on our honeymoon in Myrtle Beach in June of 2005, we went to the Ripley’s aquarium.  Cort was braver than I was with all the touching and the holding of sea creatures.

In 2006 we took a trip to Seattle.  We visited the Tacoma Zoo and saw whales and…

reindeer!  It was fun, but sort of hot.  That was one of the nicer zoos we’ve been to, although it was sort of a long drive from where we were staying.

We also visited the aquarium on the Puget sound.  I went into the kid section for some pictures.  What did I think I was doing with that polo and hair do?  Ugg.

In 2007 we went out to Montana.  No zoos, but in South Dakota we saw some REAL buffalo (Cort made me get back in the car because there were signs all over the place about how they will KILL you)…

and in North Dakota we saw this big cow.  But it wasn’t real, so I guess it doesn’t count as part of our animal experiences.

In 2008 we went out to NY again for a wine tour with our friends near Rochester, and on the way home we stopped in the Toledo Zoo.  This has been my favorite zoo so far.  Look at those big polar bears!

They are big…see?

They had camels at this zoo.  I think Cort was trying to impress the camels with his super suave ways.

Did I mention we visit the gift shop at each zoo and buy a new animal?  It’s true.  we were collecting animals for Eddie’s nursery before Eddie was even conceived!  I knew I wanted an animal themed nursery.  Leave it to Cort to find the hooters in Toledo.

On Tuesday my mom brought our little family to the John Ball zoo about 30 minutes from where we live.  Even though we love zoos, Cort and I hadn’t been to the one near home in YEARS!

We saw this Kamodo Dragon.  It was creepy, but pretty neat.  My mom thought it was icky and after he opened his mouth like this she kept talking to it trying to get it to do it again.

We saw lots of monkey butts.  Here is Eddie watching a chimp moon him.  He didn’t seem too traumatized though.  He actually enjoyed watching all the different monkeys.

He even got to play an African drum on his way out of the African exhibits.  Anything that makes noise is cool with him.

 Grandma really wanted Eddie to pet the pygmy goats.  He preferred to point, not pet.

One thing grandma REALLY wanted us to do was ride the camel.  She brought extra money just so we could do it.  I believe her words were, “C’mon, Cort.  I’ve got five dollars burning a hole in my pocket just waiting for you to ride that camel.”  So he did.  We didn’t want to disappoint Grandma!

Even I got on Angel the Camel.  In a skirt, no less.  The ride was much less glamorous than Sarah Jessica Parker made it look in Sex in the City 2, let me tell you!

We saw bears.  A grizzly and a brown bear.  My mom thought those claws were pretty big.  See?

Then we hit the petting zoo where again Grandma tried to get Eddie to pet a goat.  He had more fun running around the area away from the animals.

Eddie and daddy thought the penguins were pretty cool…even after we sneaked the stroller in…shhhhh…

And wouldn’t you know it?  We bought Eddie his own camel to take home!  And he has been sleeping with it every nap and every night.  He loves that darn thing.  I don’t blame him, it is SOFT!

And when we got home?  Louis was in a box.  I guess he felt left out.  He wanted to be looked at in a “habitat” too.

Our family sure does love zoos!  We can’t wait to visit the Indianapolis Zoo (hopefully!) in just a few weeks!

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