my own personal cheerleader

When she was my age, my mom was done having kids.

Her oldest was was in third grade.

Her middle child was in kindergarten.

Her youngest was a year old.

When she was my age, my mom was about to lose the only job she ever knew…at a small corner grocery store.

She would be forced to learn a new skill.

I wouldn’t know how she felt about doing new things…finding something else…finding a fit.

I was eight.

My world was myself.

In a couple short years my mom would take a huge leap of faith.  With a child in middle school, one in elementary school, and one still at home, she would enter college.

I hardly remember it.  It was a blip on my radar.

My mom sat at the kitchen table every single night pouring over her studies after her day of working and mothering.  After making dinner, clearing the table, and doing the dishes.  After carting us here and there.  After 101 errands.

Every night.

In my mind that was our normal then.

But I am sure she felt anything but normal.  She was a thirty-something sitting in freshman classes with 18 and 19 year olds.   She was stomping across campus instead of sitting behind a desk in an office.

For now.

She still had time to quiz us on vocabulary words or help us with math or watch us create a class project.

She still made our lunches and our beds.

She still brought home more than part-time work from her job.

She still made snacks for our class parties and got groceries every week and made a full dinner every night by 5:00pm

Dishes didn’t stack up.

Dusting didn’t get ignored.

Vacuuming didn’t get skipped.

And my mom?  Earned a 3.98 GPA when she finally graduated at 43 with her accounting degree.

I could blame her for my idea of what motherhood is, but I don’t.

I thank her for it.

Because even though I can’t possibly live up to that ideal that I have in my head?  She has taught me so many things.

Every single time I’ve felt like quitting?

I didn’t.

Every time I thought a class or a task or a new adventure or motherhood was too hard?

I studied/pushed/tried/loved harder.

Every time I thought I couldn’t possibly do it all?

I did.

And my mom still cheers me on the entire way…usually with homemade cookies.

yes, I had blond hair. and yes, my mom is still this pretty.

 

I am thankful for…

the way Cort’s face is all squishy and malleable looking in the early morning when he gets up just to have five extra minutes with me during the day.

the careful way Eddie’s little hands stack blocks.

the way the house gets cleaned while I am gone for 14 hours.

Cort’s “concentration” face when he is playing on facebook.

Eddie’s little sighs and giggles when he is playing with lamby in his bed.

that cat fur that i find everywhere (no seriously, it means my old cat is still around).

a mom who is fun.

a mother-in-law who is silly (oooo whoooooo!!!!!)

family that spoils my little boy when we are not able to.

unemployment benefits and extensions.

a job.

the other job.

the extra duty pay.

the overload pay.

friends who travel across the country for holidays.

friends–whom I have never met–who are all over the country (and the world).

the support that pours everywhere when things are rough.

the way Eddie “breaks it down” like a football player at random.

Sesame Street still being on the air.

Tivo

a dad who loves his grandsons.

Chris, Sarah, MacKenzie, Dave, Mike, Ashley, Cody, Liz.

so many invitations to gatherings that we have to turn some down.

a budget that we can still meet.

grandparents.

the way Eddie runs his lamby’s ear through his finger and under his nose.

blond curls.

the adoption process.

our home.

toys scattered everywhere showing lots of fun has happened.

Cort’s mad budgeting skills that have afforded us fun even when things are tight.

twitter.

the way Eddie says, “ma ma ma” and “hi da!”

Starbucks.

the giving nature of strangers.

PPDCHAT and all the support I have found there.

the way Cort still holds my hand every night as we fall asleep.

the kisses Eddie has learned to blow.

the parents who are involved in helping their students succeed.

Thanksgiving dinner.

my car that has faithfully been bringing me everywhere for seven years.

satellite radio.

poop and fart jokes.

friends who want to see us smile.

Eddie’s love of music.

Cort’s love of music.

Jack.

Missy, Mat, Erika, and Torie.

Cort’s random wit.

the way Eddie’s face scrumples up when he giggles.

the warmth of a loving family.

you.

Thankful Thursday: The Teacher Edition

Today I am joining the beautiful and talented Nish of The Outdoor Wife in being Thankful on a Thursday!

As many of you know, this week Cortney and I went back to school.  Our vacation from classes is officially over.

I was reluctant to go back.  I protested the summer being done.  I whined about getting up early.  I lamented leaving my boys. I found everything possible with what was WRONG with going back to school.

And then I went back.  And throughout the speakers and the professional development lessons and training, I kept a list of notes.  Today I want to share those notes with you:

  • We were reminded on Tuesday that you don’t choose to be a teacher.  Being a teacher chooses you.  I am thankful for the fact that teaching profession chose ME! 

  • As a teacher group we were also told repeatedly that “nobody rises to low expectations.”  I am thankful for this reminder.  I may make a poster out of it and hang it in my classroom to remind ME to expect great things of ALL my students.

  • I am over and over again thankful for my job.  I am thankful not just that I get to do what I love but that in this craphole economy and in a whirlwind of teacher cuts and layoffs, I am going back to school.  I am earning a paycheck for my family.

  • I am thankful for every single student that comes through my door.  Each one of them is just as valuable as the next.  Each one can achieve unimaginable goals and challenges.  And I am thankful that I get to be a part of that.

  • Even though I work two jobs, take on extra responsibilities, and am gone a LOT for those jobs, I am thankful that I am modeling a positive, hardworking woman for my son.  I am allowing him to grow up and see that this is what family is about.  This is what being a good citizen is about.  This is what following your heart is about.

  • So many of my students do not have a strong male figure in their life.  Some have lost their fathers.  I am thankful that Eddie is growing up with not just his dad in his life, but an uncountable number of strong, positive male role models.  He may not have his Papa around, but he has men who will rally around him and show him how to be a hardworking, sensitive, strong man.

  • I am thankful that I still get choked up by student success.

  • I am thankful that my students tell me that I have the “mom look” and “mom ears”.  Just that they associate me with “mom” fills me with joy.

  • I am thankful for the school district I work in and the sense of community we have.  They rally around students and other staff during times of hardship and joy and hold those people up.  I am incredibly blessed to be part of such a caring school.

  • And of course, I am thankful for my little brother who turns THIRTY today!  My life would not be the same without him.  He makes me smile when I don’t want to and never ceases to keep my life interesting.  And he was my very first student! Oh and also?  Probably won’t even read this.  But I am going to say this anyway:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRIS!  I love you!!! Thank you for playing school with me all those years ago!

Whew!  I know that was a long list.  If you got through it all, thank you.  I am also thankful for you, dear reader.  You have lifted me and my family up in thoughts, prayers, emails, comments, and more to let us know that we will make it through the tough stuff that we always seem to have going on.

You help us keep the joy in our hearts.

Sluiter Nation is thankful for all our blessings.

Can’t get enough warm fuzzies with all the Thankfulness?  Have some of your own and want to link up?  Head over to The Outdoor Wife!

Warm Fuzzies Everywhere!

 It’s THANKFUL THURSDAY, and boy do I have lots to be thankful for!  Today is the online version of Thankful Thursday…

I have been just getting all sorts of warm fuzzies from every which way lately!  This makes me smile…see?  So I need to say THANK YOU to bunches of people…

ahem.

  • To ALL of my twitter peeps...a BIG thank you for all the Bloggy Birthday tweets yesterday!  Having SO much fun here in bloggy world!

  • To all the rest of my fans of the non-twitter persuasion:  THANK YOU for the bloggy birthday wishes as well!  Don’t forget about my Blog Birthday Giveaway!  Enter now, yo!

  • To all the FUN bloggers who have asked me to guest post for them lately!  I’m so honored that so many of you think my writing is great enough to post on your own blog!  TOMORROW I will be over at Tammy’s Blog, Nurse’s Notes. I “met” Tammy on twitter, and she is super cool.  You should go read my post about how my summer routines have completely changed since having a baby, but you should stay for Tammy’s great writing too!  I will be all over the blogesphere in the next month writing about everything from PPD to how much I love my birthday!  So stay tuned!
  • And lastly, to all the thoughtful bloggers who thought of me for awards.  Here is what I have been given lately:

The Sugar Doll award was given to me by TWO people.  One was Cole at My First Blog.He is not even one (although he will be soon!) and he’s already blogging and giving out awards!  How is that for advanced?  He is awesome.

The other person who game me this?  Um…I can’t remember.  Yes, I suck.  I totally didn’t write it down because I thought I would do the post right after I got the award and then I didn’t.  So if you gave me this?  YOU are a sugar doll and I love you.

The Blog with Substance Award was given to me by Miranda at Not Super…Just Mom.  I cannot even begin to tell you about my love for Miranda.  We “met” over twitter when she needed guest posters for her PPD Awareness Week.  I had JUST shared my story, but volunteered.  We have been as close as two people who have never met can be.  We share so many similarities that we’ve started calling each other etwin.  I am honored that she believes my blog has substance.  If you follow us on twitter (@ksluiter and @notsuperjustmom), you may be treated to some fun banter.  Or at least you will know what wine we are each drinking every night.

Yes, I got this one twice too!   TODAY, I got this from Mama Lungo of The Lungos.  She is super cool, has the cutest little pair of kids, and I just love her.  And she loves me…which puts her up a few more notches in my book because, well you know, it’s about ME here.  Ha!

AND some other WONDERFUL person gave me this lovely award too.  And of course, I have forgotten who that lovely someone is.  BUT I will say this, I am sure I love you and your blog AND I am totally honored that people find my blog to be Versatile! I try to be able to talk about lots of different things, and apparently that is working!  Yay!

With accepting these awards always comes a bunch of rules like telling you stuff about myself and then rehanding them out.  I am not sure how many of each I am supposed to do, so I will just do three of each:  three things about me and one blog per award.

1. I hate calling people on the phone.  Hate it.  Even though I covet a better phone than what I have, I do NOT want to use it for calling. Email, text, fb inbox, tweet, blog comment, hang out in person, whatever…I just don’t “do” the phone.

2. Because of my hate of calling, I have a irrational aversion to calling for food.  I am in love with online ordering and need everywhere to have it.

3. Speaking of online ordering, I pretty much eat Zoup!, Qdoba, Pizza Hut, or Papa Johns because they all grace me with online ordering.  Otherwise an argument ensues around here about who will call.

Ok…I will give each award to someone now….

The Sugar Doll Award I give to Dawana at A Bittersweet Existence, because girlfriend is a Sugar Doll and HAS the cutest little curly-haired Sugar Doll!  And she is really damn funny!

The Blog With Substance Award I give to Lauren at My Postpartum Voice.  Lauren is a HUGE advocate for those of us with PPD, PPA, and all the rest of the postpartum icky.  She has quickly also become a friend because she is funny and quick-witted.

The Versatile Award I give to Alicia at A Beautiful Mess because she tackles every subject imaginable and she does it not just with her wonderful writing, but in beautiful images she captures.  She has one of the most lovely souls of any blogger I know.

I really hope you’ll take the time to check out all the blogs I linked to!  They are all wonderful ladies who I am really committed to as a blog reader.  I might not always get the chance to comment, but I am always there lurking!

Thankful Thursday…

I usually don’t participate in too many memes.  I think they are a super idea and are definitely great for blog writing prompts.  I just don’t usually do them, but I LOVE reading other people’s.  Especially Thankful Thursdays, which I decided to participate in today.

So here is what I am thankful for today, Thursday, June 17…

1. My marriage.  Tomorrow Cort and I celebrate five years of marriage.  I could not have been blessed with a more perfect life partner.  He is the sane to my crazy, the rational to my irrational, and the cracker for my cheese.  He is the best.

2. My wee one.  Eddie makes me laugh on a daily basis.  Last night I was rocking him before bed and I buried my face in his little wispy hair and told God that this was enough.  I didn’t care about my job.  I cared about my family.  Whatever was in the plan was fine, just let me always have THIS.

3. My job.  Ok, so turns out I DO care about my job.  I LOVE my job (but my family really comes first)!  And today I got the best phone call I could have possibly gotten…I am OFF the pink slip list!  OFF!  That means my position is SAFE for next year.  I will be teaching Spanish full-time, but I am TOTALLY ok with that…I have some big, awesome plans for it.  I am so very thankful for that call today!

4.  All of you.  ALL OF YOU.  Each one of you whether you comment here, you email me, you hit me up on facebook, or you just silently say a little prayer and never tell me you do…we love you and are so thankful to you.  This blog is my therapy…my way of writing out what is going on with us whether it’s happy or sad.  but you, who come back over and over, are the reason I KEEP doing it.  Thank you so much for all your words of encouragement and for just BEING THERE for us.  You rock.

5. And finally, I am thankful for all my new e-friends out there–all you mommas who are doing what you do and rocking it out even though stuff hits the fan occasionally (or more than occasionally).  Today I was given an award by Kimberly of All Work and No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something.  She is one of the toughest bee-otches out there and I have nothing but love and respect for her.  I was pretty honored that she thought of me…so here it is….

Kimberly had stated that “Life will be good again, I just have to make it over this hump.” She totally will make it because she is just that awesome.  And I will make it too.  The phone call this morning about the job was a HUGE  leap to getting over that hump for me.
So…the rules…accept the award (done!), answer the following questions, and pass it on to however many blogs you want.
My answers to the burning questions:
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be many things. I distinctly remember in the third grade wanting to be a telephone operator because I thought I would get to push buttons all day (um, what?  clearly computers were not big yet because now we ALL push buttons all day).
But I always had teaching inclinations.  At a young, young age I taught both brothers to read (by the time they were each four). I used the “Learn it, Or Die” method.  
I would set up our “classroom” in the basement.  We had an easel (is that how you spell that?) with a chalkboard on one side that I would write letters and  short words on.  I taught my brother, Chris, to, too, and two when he was four.  This probably should have clued us all that English teacher was in my future.
What is your most prized material possession?
My new camera.  My parents and my husband chipped in and bought me a Canon Rebel XS for my birthday this year and I love it to the moon and back again.  Whenever I have to use my old point and shoot (like at the beach) I am reminded how much I love the new one.
Do you have an iGadgetOfSomeDescription?
I have an ipod nano and and ipod shuffle.  we also use itunes.
What is your poison–hot shower or warm bath?
I LOVE a good hot shower–especially right after Eddie was born.  It was literally my favorite part of the day.
What is the best decision you ever made?
This one is so hard for me.  I have made some really great choices in life, but probably the best was to go with my heart when my husband told me he “liked” me seven years ago.  Giving in led to this life we have now–even with all the crap that gets thrown at us–I wouldn’t want to be in it with anyone else.
Ok, now I get to pass this award along to some super awesome bloggers…so here it goes…
Lynette at Life…and my journey through it– she is the most feisty cancer fighter I know.  She will throw breast cancer out the window and kick it while it’s down!
Alissa at Mommy and Molly – she is going through so much and she is too awesome for any of it.  So she will come out on top of all that crap!
Tiffany at MomNom – She is a momma warrior who has a beautiful heart and voice.
Maureen at Tatter Scoops – by far one of the sweetest momma warriors out there!
That is all I can think of for now…really every single ONE of you bloggy mom’s deserves this because you are awesome and my MY life oh, so good!
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