Tricked in Holiday Decor

Ken and I thought his dog, Bart needed a holiday outfit. Doesn’t he look cute? Bart was so good; he didn’t struggle at all when Cortney put this adorable shirt and sweat combo on him. I think he even liked it once it was on. He is definetly ready for some holiday parties!

Last Chance?

Thursday Cortney decided that our lawn looked better than it had all year and that he better take one more ride ont he lawnmower. He really loves taking care of our lawn – and it shows! He does a really great job of keeping our yard green and lush…but I think he has a bit too much fun doing it. What do you think?

There he goes…for the last time…

Halloween – Sluiter Style

Happy Halloween, readers!

Besides the fact that I was home with a light case of the flu today, our halloween was pretty typical: five million trick-or-treaters from about 5:45-8:00 (when I turned the porch light off). We went through about 4 bags of candy – two of which were the MEGA size bags. Although, at the end I was giving out the candy by the handful to get rid of it. Even though there was a good turn out of kids, it was light compared to previous years. I blame that on the rain.

Luckily, I did not have to go to class tonight, so I was able to lay low for the day and evening and get better. Just in time to go back to work and give my students exams! And, sorry, no fun pictures for this blog installment – we did not so much dress up to pass out candy.

Hopefully everyone else had a great Halloween!


Ken came over tonight for our yearly pumpkin carving extravaganza. I made Lasagna for dinner (per Ken’s request – and since he DID just have a birthday, I really couldn’t say no), brownies for dessert, and pumpkin carving for some entertainment. We all worked hard on designing and carving our pumpkins. The guts in side of my were really gross!

Ken made his pumpkin WICKED. Cort’s had a funny little smile and mine looked like it would eat your feet!

And since Ken just had a birthday, I made him blow out a candle to celebrate his last year in his twenties. Yup, we’re gettin’ old! Happy Halloween!

Help With The Blog

Lots of you have let me know how much you love reading what we are up to here in Sluiter Nation. Blogging has really changed the way I look at everything we do. My camera is always in my purse now, ready to capture our fun so that you can all share it with us. Whenever we get back from something I think, “is this something the blog fans would like to read about?”

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with the zippy comments and quality writing you’ve all come to enjoy, so I have consult someone. As you can see, Louis enjoys putting his two cents in. Here is helping me with the Halloween cookie blog. He then went on to help me with my next article for the Sentinel (which will run on a Tuesday once I submit it).

It’s good to have someone bounce ideas off, but to be honest, he ends up complaining more than helping. Perhaps I should rethink this working relationship.

Things that Begin in the Fall…

Although January is the official start of a new year in our culture, and spring is usually representative of new beginnings – for many, the REAL start to a new year is fall. Many things begin in the fall. School, for one, starts over in the fall (as you can read in the blog below), but there are other things that start over with the change of the leaves that affect us here in Sluiter Nation. One of those is the new bowling season – that’s right –


This season marks Cortney’s seventh year in league bowling. He started off bowling at Zeeland Lanes with a bunch of friends just for fun. Over the years he has bowled in leagues at both Zeeland Lanes and Century Lanes. He’s participated in many tournaments including state and – a few times – nationals. What started out “just for fun” became quite competive for Cort. Every year he sets new goals for himself. In fact, in the past 3 years, he has gotten rings for rolling a 300, 299, and a 298 respectively!

He has also gotten awards for highest average AND having over a 700 series!

This year his goal is to get an 800 or better series! He’s met all of his goals that he has set for himself so far – and he’s off to a pretty good start this year already! This year, after our friend Jeremy moved to Chicago leaving a spot on the team open, Cort recruited my brother, Chris. This past week they had their first night of bowling. Chris rolled a 502 series – his self-proclaimed best series ever! Cortney started the season strong by rolling a 259, a 279, and 232 for a 770 series. 30 more pins and his has his goal for the year already!
Another thing that starts over in the fall is the NFL football season, and for the second year in a row, Cortney is managing a Sluiter Family League made up of Cortney and myself, my dad, both of my brothers (Chris and Mike), both of Cort’s siblings and their significant others (Cody and Liz and MacKenzie and Dave) and our friend Ken – who is just like family 🙂

Fantasy football is fun because it makes a lazy Sunday a bit more interesting. It can even distract me from doing my homework or grading papers!

Last week was the first week. I was matched up against Cortney – and I am not going to lie – he left a size 10 footprint on my behind. It was ugly. But this week I am paired against Kenzie – and so far, so good!

Lastly, fall is a time to start new projects. When the temperatures began to cool off, Cortney picked up a shovel and went to work behind our house. The goal? To put in a patio under our deck for our walk-out basement. Cort has put a lot of work into his hole – and I think it looks pretty darned good!

Fall is busy for us here in Sluiter Nation. Besides bowling, Fantasy Football, and Cortney’s hole out back, I have started my graduate class at Western Michigan University for the semester (Research and Scholarship in Teaching), and I have taken on the positions of senior class co-adviser AND the MEAP/MME/ACT testing coordinator for Wyoming Park High School. Cortney is entering his 3rd month as a non-smoker and doing GREAT – he has not cheated even once!

We appreciate these opportunities that we have been blessed with and look forward to excelling as we do our best! Thank you to all our family and friends for being so supportive as we overwork ourselves as usual!

Politics: Can’t We Just All Get Along?

I notice something funny as a teacher of teens: teenagers claim to be one political affiliation (republican or democrat), but their beliefs and what they stand up for sometimes lean another way. How many other people do this?

I found a little quiz on line that doesn’t ask you specific party-related questions, but more fundamental belief questions. It then tells you where you fall in the liberal/conservative span of things. It also tells you which famous people/politicians fall into your same category. I fall into the lower, right-hand corner of the map (near Ghandi), in case you were wondering 🙂 I knew I was more liberal than conservative, but when faced with the statements they gave me, I found out I was actually MUCH more liberal than I orignally thought!

Here is the quiz! Have fun – you might find out something new about yourself!

Tattoo Tuesday

I’ve been to quite a few tattoo parlors in my day. I’ve seen at least a dozen friends get things tattooed on their bodies – some meaningful, some not so much. Ever since I’d watched the first tat being inked on someone’s body, I’ve always wanted one. I really don’t know why. I think it has to do with having something very unique – it’s a distinguishing, identifiying characteristic. So why didn’t I get one in college when everyone else did? Well, for one thing, it was a major trend – it still is now, but because I am not 21 anymore, trends are less consuming in my everyday life. As an adult, I am not being bombarted with my friends doing the latest flip with their hair or rolling their pants a certain way. As an adult, you do what you want for yourself. It doesn’t seem like a “following the crowd” type of decision.

Another reason I never got one then was because I didn’t have anything really meaningful I wanted put on my body for the rest of my life. I don’t have anything against “cute” tattoos – some of my best friends have “cute” tats. It just isn’t ME to have a tattoo of a flower or something on my body. I need my reason to be more than, “I thought it was cute,” and at 19 I didn’t have many deep meanings in my life. I was smart enough then (thank goodness) to know I shouldn’t get one for a guy, and I hadn’t gone through anything that I felt needed to be symbolized for eternity on my body.

So why now? My life feels like it hit a turning point this year, that’s why. Most of my life I grew up wishing I didn’t talk so much, didn’t get so excited about things – all in all I wished I could change parts of me that people gave me a hard time about. I also wished I was a boy when I was little. I hated all the icky things that had to happen to me in order for me to become a WOMAN – which I wasn’t all that thrilled about becoming. Most of my friends in high school were guys and even in college (and now) I hang out with guys 9 times out of 10 more than I hang with girls. My own husband describes me as a “guy’s gal”.

The past couple years, however have made me appreciate who I am for my personality as well as my gender. For one, I realized that I connect with people very easily because of my enthusiatic, VERY typical Aries personality. They say Aries people always like to be first, like to be the center of attention, and people like people like that. I was always given a hard time for my loudness (yes, on those email surveys EVERYONE lists me as their loudest friend). But my personality is what makes me the great teacher that I am; it makes me the great leader that I am; it makes me the great friend that I am; and it makes me the great everything else that I am. And to take it a step further, I realized that I would not be nearly as good at my relationships I have with people if I wasn’t a woman.

I have looked to my Grandma Jo and my mom as pillars of what great women are and what I want to be without even noticing that they are having a direct effect on me already. My most important relationships are because I am a woman: I am a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a sister-in-law, a wife, and someday (which I came to terms with this fall), I will be a mother. Dang.

So the symbol you see on my neck means two things: it is the astrological sign for Aries and in Egyption hyrogliphics it means woman. Two things that are very important to me. So hopefully, after I get that long explanation out, my mom won’t totally kill me. 🙂

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