2013: A Look Back

We started 2013 with a three-year old and a nine-month old.

2012-12-24 07.27.42

In January, Charlie was newly crawling and Eddie gave up his Pipey during the first week of the new year. It’s hard to believe Eddie has been pacifier-free for a whole year.

February brought snowy weather and Charlie’s first steps.

March was a big month. Charlie turned one and I turned thirty-five. Birthdays are big deals, yo. Oh, and I got glasses and a new hair stylist. Those are big deals too.

April was a celebration month too. Cortney was honored for being in the top 5% of his graduating class and my parents celebrated forty years of marriage. We also celebrated spring break, Easter, and the start of the Tiger baseball season.

May was the end of the school year, the release of The Great Gatsby in theaters and Tulip Time.  It was also Memorial Day and when Eddie and I decided to plant a garden for the first time. Eddie took swim lessons and Cort graduated from college. I did the Stomp Out Stigma for Mental Health Awareness Walk with my sister-in-law and my writing was published in Baby Talk Magazine. Mother’s Day happened and so did my first taste of Listen to Your Mother.

June is Eddie’s birthday month and this was the year he turned FOUR. Cortney and I also celebrated eight years of marriage while summer break started. Father’s Day happened and so did Eddie taking gymnastics.  We went to the zoo, played with friends, and welcomed a new little friend into the world when my best friend gave birth to her first.

July was so very busy! Cortney and Eddie went camping. Cortney and I went to Pearl Jam at Wrigley in Chicago. BLOGHER happened! We hosted a neighborhood ice cream social with two other families. We hit the beach a few times and took boat rides on the Big Lake. We said goodbye to Granny’s pool as she moved with Grandpa to a condo, and we cleaned up my classroom after a vandal destroyed much of my personal stuff.

August was difficult. We lived through another year of wishing Cortney’s dad was here. Friends lost babies and loved ones. I took on too much too close to the start of the school year. But we had good times too. Lots of friends and fun. We took a family “vacation” to the cottage with the rest of my family and spent fun in the sun. And then I went back to school.

September brought a new school year. I was at the high school full-time instead of split between the high school and junior high. I was teaching English instead of Spanish. And I was teaching a college composition class.  Eddie started preschool and we started going back to church more regularly. We also got the devastating news that our unborn niece was going to die.

October brought more and more words out of Charlie as he ran through life. He also started expressing frustration with tantrums.  We talk a lot about heaven because our niece Arabella went from womb to heaven.  We choose pumpkins and costumes.

November was parent/teacher conferences and an ear infection for me (that I don’t take care of until December. Oops). Both of our nieces turn one. Our nephew Ezra is born. Cort starts a new job (no, I haven’t talked about this. Yes, there is a post coming on it because it’s sort of huge for our family). Thanksgiving rounded out our month.

December saw Cortney turn thirty-five and also has a colonoscopy. We celebrated Advent and watched Eddie sing in the church’s children’s Christmas program. Christmas brought us joy and Charlie’s vocabulary has quadrupled.

And here we are. The last day of 2013.

It was a good year.  A year of plenty and joy and saying YES to opportunities.

2014 is tomorrow and I have lots on my mind about that…but…tomorrow.

Oh, and for reference, we are ending the year with a four-and-a-half-year old and a twenty-month old.

Sluiter Nation


Project 365 {week 23}

This was my first week off school for the summer.

For some stupid reason I looked at the calendar and actually said to myself,

“Holy crap…the summer’s almost over!”

Because I saw how much was on the calendar.

The summer is NOT almost over.

It’s just beginning…

June 2: The little man helps me water the flowers.

June 2: The little man helps me water the flowers.

June 3: My first day off, but the boys are still in daycare.  Why is it sweater weather...in JUNE?

June 3: My first day off, but the boys are still in daycare. Why is it sweater weather…in JUNE?

June 4: Our first day together and they trot off and have their own pow pow.

June 4: Our first day together and they trot off and have their own pow pow.


June 5: This together thing is killing me, smalls.

June 5: This together thing is killing me, smalls.


June 6: Gram Sluiter's 80'th birthday. There was celebrating.

June 6: Gram Sluiter’s 80’th birthday. There was celebrating.

June 7: I might love summer.

*June 7: I might love summer. And so do the little guys.


June 8: The fence!  After 8.5 years in this house we are FINALLY putting up the fence. Good fences = good neighbors right?

June 8: The fence! After 8.5 years in this house we are FINALLY putting up the fence. Good fences = good neighbors right?

*I actually busted out my DSLR camera for this one. I plan to have it out more often.

Yay summer!

cautiously optimistic

I have always said resolutions are stupid.

They always sound so…stock. Hackneyed.  Trite.  Unoriginal.  And then? They are forgotten before January is over.

There is a reason gyms give you the first month free.  They know you’ll be lured in with “free”, then pay for more because “free” rocked, but then never come back.  Easy money.

So for the 35th year in a row I wasn’t going to make a single resolution.  It’s not that I am perfect or that there aren’t aspects that can’t be worked on, but well, I don’t enjoy setting myself up for failure.

I don’t like to be called a pessimist, by the way.  I don’t just assume everything bad will happen.  I prefer the label “cautiously optimistic.” I mean, my glass is half-empty because I drank the first half, not because life sucks.  I like to believe the waitress will probably come back and refill it.  But she might not.  And I will be prepared for that disappointment and be happy for that delicious first half while looking forward to the half I have left.

2013 is the year I will turn 35.  For some reason that is already bringing some serious introspection to my brain.  But with this new year and this big birthday, I am feeling cautiously optimistic.

I have, in fact, let myself resolve on some specific plans of action.  That’s right…I made some resolutions this year.

First, I have been thinking a lot about this blog.

Next week Sluiter Nation will get a shiny new look.  I’m working on making my pages match without looking too similar.  I am reworking my About Section so that besides giving our story in a nutshell, it also effectively spells out my intent for this space: To be a legacy.  To be the stories of our life when we are no longer here.

My resolutions for this space are to tell our stories honestly.  To put more of our beliefs and practices here for our children to know about.  To talk more openly about topics I wish my parents had talked about with us…or at least written down for us to pour over as adults.  To remember that when I write about us, I am writing about US. It has nothing to do with what others think of me/us or what they choose to do.  To be honest anyway.

I’ve also been thinking about my job and my education.

Today I applied for another Master’s Program.  I already have a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education with a major in English and minor in Spanish.  I also have a Master’s Degree in English with an Emphasis on Teaching.  This program would give me a Master’s in Educational Technology/Media Center Specialty.  Not only is technology something I am interested in, it will also open a few more options for me in my field be it training other teachers or moving from the classroom into the Media Center someday.

Most importantly it will help me get the 30 credits needed to get to the top of my pay scale at work, which my family desperately  needs.

I applied to begin in the fall of 2013, so that gives me time to figure out financial stuff and put away some bucks so we can afford to pay for it.  Also, the classes are almost all online, so I won’t have to spend more physical time away from my family than I already do.

Of course, my relationships have been on  my mind too.

I want to spend more quality time with my friends.  It’s not that I need to go out more or pack more into my busy schedule, but I do want to spend time with those who are important to me.  I have a handful of close girl friends who I just want to get coffee with once in a while.  Or lunch on a Saturday.  It doesn’t have to be hours and hours. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate play date.  I just want time to chat and catch up.

I want to date my husband.  I miss being alone with him.  Alone in a restaurant or a movie or out shopping.  Getting in an out of the car without unbuckling car seats or lifting babies.  Having a conversation that isn’t interrupted.  Saying the inappropriate thing we are both thinking, but can’t say in front of the littles.  And then giggle madly about it.

Lastly, I have been thinking about me.

I need to find time to spoil myself.  And not with coffee treats or cookies.  That just ends up making me feel bad about myself.  No, instead of eating my feelings, I need to use some of the bits of money I make here and there with freelance writing and ad revenue and treat myself to a pedicure.  Or go to the library to actually just read.  Or let myself buy that pair of skinny jeans I am afraid of, but really REALLY want.

Not because I met some goal or resolution, but because I need to like myself. I need to remember how it feels to just be Katie.  To just smile about things that are a wee bit selfish because they make me happy for me.

I need to feel better about me.  Maybe that means cleaning up my diet even more or taking the time to hit the gym or maybe it just means going to bed a bit earlier.

Maybe it’s all of these things and more.  But this year I will try those things and find what makes me feel good.  I will pay attention to my mind and body and learn to take on or turn down opportunities depending on what my gut (and tear ducts) say.

And I will moisturize.  Because dang it, I am sick of dry hands, feet, and elbows.

2013 is going to be great.

I am cautiously optimistic about it.

2013 looks pretty good from here.

2013 looks pretty good from here.