in my heart

Being a mother was supposed to be natural and easy.

but it wasn’t for me

Being a mother was supposed to be pure joy.

But it hasn’t been for me.

Being a mother was supposed to be what I was made for.

But it’s been difficult for me.

Being a mother was supposed to “make me understand” what my mom said all those times when she was worried or happy or proud or scared or just overwhelmed.

And it has.

Being a mother has made me believe in things I thought only happened to other people…

love at first sight
getting lost in someone’s eyes
napping with someone in my space
being comfortable with someone in my personal bubble
wanting sick cuddles
seeing my exact personality in someone else
my heart leeping when I see these two smile together
filling with pride for something I “did” yet….didn’t do.
feeling a perfect and uncomplicated love
and being ok with sippys in the bed

I  now understand that simple line in the Christmas story that reads,

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)

Being a mother has taught me what I already know:  time is so very temporary.

And I need to treasure each moment.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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

Thank you to Cort and Eddie for making my Mother’s Day so special.
Tomorrow I will continue my blogging tips series, but I needed to share my heart today.

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

With every “promise” (“like”) made at  their facebook page, Johnson’s will donate $1 to the March of Dimes.
Johnson’s will host a series of photo contests on its Facebook page beginning in May. Selected monthly winners will receive one of a variety of prizes and be eligible for the $25,000 Grand Prize, to be announced in January 2012.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Johnson’s and received Johnson’s Baby products and a  promotional item and to facilitate my review.

Mommy Pants, Vis a Vis Markers, and a Basement Project

Getting my Mommy Pants was a nightmare.

People have been telling me since I got married that I would look GREAT in a pair of Mommy Pants, but I was reluctant to get myself a pair.

Yes, I had watched other people wear them—my own mother had a pair that was so perfect for her, I could have sworn she was born in them.  Many of my friends also had the latest, greatest Mommy Pants style, and sometimes I found myself envious of them.  They looked so comfortable, so much fun.  They seemed so “in”.

And then one day in February of 2007, I got a shipping notice that my Mommy Pants would be arriving around Thanksgiving of that year.

Wait.  What?  I hadn’t ordered any Mommy Pants. Or I didn’t think I did.

I was stunned.

Suddenly, I did not want anything to do with Mommy Pants. I wasn’t in the market for them and I certainly didn’t think they fit my style at that time.  They looked great on some people, but not on me.

to read the rest of this post, head over to Mommy Pants, where Cheryl (one of my partner’s in crime at The Red Dress Club) has invited me to share about my Mommy Pants moment.

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

I am also mocking reviewing Vis a Vis overhead markers over at This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff.  If you have ever used an overhead, or been witness to one being used?  You really need to weigh in on how I feel about these markers.

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

Back here in Sluiter Nation?  We are working on our basement.

I don’t have much to say about it except that it sucks and it’s awesome at the same time.

Pictures?  Ok…

 

first they found mold. black mold. no good, I tell you.

but they put the tub in anyway! Score!

then they ran electrical and plumbing and fixed the mold. win.

then dry wall was hung and a layer of dust fell over the Nation

primer was applied by the fabulous Mr. Sluiter

we bought paint

we painted. that shirt, by the way, has been worn to paint every room in our house.

this will be Eddie's room hopefully within the next year!

that's right...I painted the bathroom orange. BOOM!

This has been the past two weeks here in Sluiter Nation:  a constant state of construction.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super excited that this is finally happening.  We have been saving and saving and planning for six years.  It was time.

But I don’t do well living in a state of limbo.

So I may be hard to live with lately.

Maybe.

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

I have a new book review and a GIVEAWAY going on at Katie’s Bookcase!  Just in case you weren’t sick of me sending you all over the internets today.

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.

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

dear me…

Dear Self…

It’s been a year, my friend.

A year since you felt that you were caving in to what you thought was a weakness…an embarrassing flaw.

A year since you read Emily‘s blog post about not feeling right after having a baby and tried to brush away the fact that all the commenters suggesting she seek help?  Were talking to you too.

A year since Cort read the post and thought it rung true for you too.

A year since you sat and had yet another horrible ugly cry meltdown in your brown chair, and since Cortney sat across from you and suggested you call the doctor.

A year since the call.

A year since the visit.

A year since the first little pill.

It would be two more months yet before I could admit this to the world, but at least I had admitted it to myself.  And to Cort.

It would be even longer before you would decide you also needed AND wanted to talk to a therapist, but by then you had discovered that you were not, in fact, blogging in isolation…there was an entire world…blogasphere, if you will…out there.

You made very close friends because of your postpartum depression.  Not only did people in your life come forward in emails and private asides about their struggles, but you met Casey (through Emily) who let you know you aren’t alone.

And from there you met Katherine and Lauren and Miranda and Grace and Kimberly and Amy–women who have become so very important to your daily life.  They are you…us.  They have shown you that they are us and are successful, and have downfalls and bad days, but they bounce back.  And so can we.

In this past year you…

…have learned to communicate better with Cort.

…found patience you didn’t know you had.

…been able to work through Eddie’s meltdowns instead of having one of your own.

…stopped bottling your feelings because you were afraid of them.

…accepted that you have something chemically different in your brain now than you did before.

…realized you can’t “do it all”…at least not alone.

…have tried to become a voice for all those who feel the way you do…who have traveled your path…but are silent.

…have started to accept yourself.

You have come so far.  I am proud of you in so many ways.  And so are others.  Cortney, you families, your friends…they love to see YOU.

It’s not over, though.

You didn’t hit the year mark and get a nice release form to turn in stamped “DONE”.

This is not over.

Your anxiety is back and you may be dealing with depression for the rest of your life.  Right now you are struggling with this.  You need to accept that this is what it is.  Life is different now, but those things don’t define you.

You have the tools to get through the rough parts now.

Cortney has a new job.  The transition is much harder for you than you would like to admit to people.

He has always been home to make your world less chaotic.  Of the 21 months that you have had a child together?  He has been home for 17 of them.

You feel completely thrown into whirlwind of utter confusion.  You feel lonely and abandoned.

This is the anxiety talking.

You can do this.  You just need to adjust.  And it’s TOTALLY OK to need an adjustment period.  DO NOT feel bad about that.

You also need to forgive yourself.

Yes, your undiagnosed PPD made you all crazy and mean and awful to be around.

But you got help.

Everyone has forgiven you.

Even those you were the worst to.  Yes, even Cort and your mom have forgiven you.

You need to let go of how terrible you were.  You need to let it go so you can go forward.

They have let it go.  They never EVER hold it against you.  You need to stop holding it against yourself.

Friend, you are not “fixed”.  Some things can’t be “fixed”.

But you are better.  You have survived.

You are a survivor.

And you will, in the immortal words of Beyonce, keep on survivin’.

Love,  Me

“no” is an answer

Oh I believe in miracles…

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

Oh..Oh I believe in miracles…

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

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

No.

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

No.

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

Not yet.

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

Yes, you can.  And you will.

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

No.

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

No.

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

No.  You can’t fix yourself alone.

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

—silence—

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

Go ahead and try.

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

No.

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

Here is Cortney.

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

I will strengthen your shoulders and pad your hugs.

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

Stay with him.  I’ll be there too.

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

Here is Edward Steven.

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a job for Cortney.

Sometimes the answer is no.

But sometimes?  The answer is yes.

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

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

We are blessed.

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

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

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

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


just right

Sometimes…

it’s the little things…

like gifts from friends…

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

freshly painted toenails and sipping wine with your husband…

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

trips to the bookstore…

i may have a wide variety of interests right now

tiny reminders…

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

lunch with no flying food or tantrums…

mmmm...best. bread. ever.

my favorite flowers…

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

little hands wanting to make letters…

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

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

hooray for cousins...

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

And my two very best guys…

handsome and cutie

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

that everything is just right.

——-

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

that was my mind being blown

In the words of our good friend, Quincy (of Little Einsteins fame):

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!

Let me back up.

I have been having a no good, very bad week.

My depression was taking over at the beginning of the week.  I combated it by writing about it, getting lots of love from you all, and then getting over myself by doing something for someone else.

Then I got the bad news that my cat was not doing well.  He has been diagnosed with kidney failure.  I can’t blog about that right now, but he is almost 17 and I have had him for more than half my life.

I just had a cloud over my head.

When that happens…clouds and falling into depression holes?  I start to doubt myself.  BIG TIME.

I start wondering if what I am doing here in this little corner of the blogasphere is just a bunch of whining.

And then…it was like the heaven’s opened and angels sang.

There, sitting in my inbox was an email from BlogHer telling me they would like to syndicate one of my posts.

I know you all tell me I’m good.

Cort tells me I am a lovely writer.

My MOM tells me she loves my writing.

But according to Cort, I do NOT give myself enough credit.

So yes, I was still shocked.

They are syndicating “She Taught Him to Dance” today.

It would mean so much to me if you would jog over there and sparkle my world…and drop me a line.

I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

WAIT!  if this wasn’t enough to leave me with a dumb, goofy smile on my face for a week?  BlogHer randomly emailed me yesterday after my post for The Red Dress Club was put up and asked if they could use it tomorrow for Valentine’s Day.

People?  I almost fell out of my chair.

Don’t worry.  I will remind you again tomorrow.  But people?  From what I have heard?  BlogHer doesn’t just FIND you and ask for your posts.

I may have peed a little bit. (do you hear that Rita and Melissa?  You made me pee!)

Ahem.

Today I also wanted to let you in on a little change in operations here at Sluiter Nation.

Starting tomorrow I will no longer be participating in McFatty Mondays.

I just don’t feel like it’s my thing.  If you love it, please, PLEASE go read Blair and Miranda.  They are awesome and honest and so good at writing about it.

That doesn’t mean I am quitting my goal to lose the weight.  I am still participating in Healthy Train, and I am still striving to make better choices.  I am just not going to commit a whole day of blogging to it.

Instead Mondays are going to be my day to put up my post for The Red Dress Club Memoir prompt.  The link up is on Tuesdays, but I want to continue Top Ten Tuesdays because it’s just fun…at least for me it is.

Speaking of Top Ten Tuesdays…this week is my Top Ten Wears.  Yes, I have pictures of my most worn things in my closet.  Look out.

So to recap:

I’m at BlogHer today.

I’m at BlogHer tomorrow.

I have fallen off my chair.

No more McFatty.

Doing Memoirs.

Top Ten Tuesday = stuff I wear.

Whew.

we have friends…

we have friends…

whom we have known for about 20 years…

that we went to middle school, high school, and college with…

who were with us at our first concerts…

who searched high and low for the rare concert “bootleg” cd in all the record stores…

who now live all over the country from west to east to north to south…

who have seen us cry…

who have been in our wedding…

whom we can be silly with…

who have held and loved our child…

who have held and loved us…

whom we have visited…

who come to visit us…

thanks for covering up my new mom boobs.

whom we only see once or twice a year instead of every single day like in the good old days…

who we miss before we even leave them…

damn, i love these girls.

i am so lucky we were able to be together this Thanksgiving.

the year I didn’t make pie

Before 2007, every Thanksgiving was exactly the same for me: Thanksgiving with Cort’s side for lunch, hang out, my grandma’s house for dinner, end up hanging with our high school/college buddies.

We were always running around.  We were always too full.  We were maybe a wee bit grumpy.

In 2007, we decided that maybe keeping things exactly how they always have been wasn’t working.  In 2008, while I was pregnant with Eddie, we had Thanksgiving with friends who didn’t have any family around to celebrate with.  I made lots of pie.

Once Eddie was born, we decided that instead of running all over and getting overly full, we would visit one side and have our big dinner with the other, and switch each year.

Last year we had Eddie’s first Thanksgiving at Cort’s mom and stepdad’s house. (go ahead and click that link…vintage Eddie is always fun to see).  I made lots of pie.

This year, we stopped in at Granny and Grampy’s house for cocktails, but we did our mega-meal with my side this year.

my sweet Grandma

My Grandma and Grandpa Riemersma have hosted Thanksgiving dinner ever since I can remember, but in recent years, it’s become too much for them to have it at their house, so my aunt has found places for our family to gather the past couple years.  This year we were in the basement of a church.

what can I do to help, grandma?

when we got there, Grandma was in the kitchen getting the coffee ready.  something about her bustling around in a church kitchen reminded me of all the years that she did Lady’s Aid in our church.

Everyone brought something–of course.  My mom, slick lady that she is, signed me up for green bean casserole.

the greenbean casserole was my doing...the squash? never.

The spread was ALMOST as good as if we were all sitting around Grandpa and Grandma’s dining room table.

the spread. and it was good.

There were three tables set up for all of us…which was a little sad because it was just like having dinner at my parents’ house since Cort and Eddie and I ate with my parents.  I didn’t get to talk to everyone all that much during dinner.

Everything was quite scrumptious though no matter where you were sitting.  And Eddie? He was a fan of his grandma’s squash.

yes, I took his sweater off. it was a cute sweater, but it wouldn't have been post squash.

And after all that food?  There was of course coffee and dessert.  And what kind of dessert do you have on Thanksgiving?

PIE!!!

I made no pies this year.  It was weird.  I muddled around the house all day on Wednesday questioning what I should be doing with my day.  I mean, why else would schools have Wednesday off if it wasn’t for pie-making?  I felt all lost.

But I thought for SURE after I had some yummy pumpkin pie, my holiday would feel complete and I wouldn’t be sad about not making pie.

and then?  wait for it…THERE WAS NO PUMPKIN PIE!

Cort and I just looked at each other.  No pumpkin pie?  Were we dreaming?  Was this not really Thanksgiving?  We had JUST had the conversation the night before with our friends (who had all decided to NOT have pumpkin pie since it’s not the biggest hit at their family party) that it was just plain weird to not have pumpkin pie.

And now here we stood…pumpkin pie-less.

sadness washed over the Sluiters.

But then?  Grandma brought out the traditional Thanksgiving Bingo.  Grandma knows how to distract sad Sluiters.

yes, that is WD-40. travel size.

There are “prizes” involved in our family game.  It’s not dirty bingo, so you get what you get or you get nothing if that is how the card rolls.  These prizes involve anything from candy, to Christmas decor, to duct tape.  This is real competitive stuff, people.

Michael Riemersma: Caller II

Traditionally, at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, my brother, Chris calls bingo.  He has been the Caller for years.  I actually can’t remember Thanksgiving before bingo and since bingo started?  Chris called.

But last year he wasn’t there, so our youngest brother, who has been in training for this office for years.  He has faithfully sat next to Chris and learned the technique of Caller.

The key, apparently, is to hold the letter/number token close to your mouth–like a microphone–and use your most booming voice possible to announce: B-10!!

not even close to a stinking bingo

And since as Caller you can’t win bingo?  Grandma always rewards the Caller for a job well-done with a king size butterfinger (this year was Reece’s PB cups since she couldn’t find a king sized butterfinger).

no bingo for those under 5

Since Eddie couldn’t play bingo, he monstered around the room until he ended up on Grandma’s lap.

By the time we left, it was past Eddie’s bedtime and everyone had such full tummy’s they had to waddle out to their cars with their bingo spoils.

All in all, a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Next year?  We are back to Granny and Grampy’s house.

And hopefully I will get to make pie again.  And you better BET I will be making a pumpkin pie.

This post is linked with Not Super…Just Mom’s Super Sunday Link up of our best day of the week.  While I had many great days this week, this is the one I chose to link up!  Now hop over to her place and read about some more super days!

Not Super...Just Mom

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