A Dinner Dance

“What are we having for dinner tonight, Mom? I can smell something good!”

I do the same dance most nights of the week:

Chopping, boiling, sauteing, baking.

Pouring milk, plating entrees, adding a treat.

Dodging a toddler, breaking up bickering brothers, commiserating with my husband.

The kitchen is crowded even when I am the only person in it, and it become impossible when a small child wanders in looking for a drink or a Leggo they thought they left on the counter.

Tempers flare when fanned with hunger and exhaustion. Arguments and less-than-loving tones are routine.

The oven beeps. The microwave dings. Plates and cups and silverware and vitamins get placed on the table.

“Tell your brother dinner is ready, please.”



Tripping over each other to get to the table.

“What are we having? What’s there?”

“I don’t like this!”

“MMMM! I love this!”

“Can I have more?”

“I haven’t even sat down yet. You can wait.”

Something always spills. Someone always cries.

“Alice, take your shoes off. Why is your coat still on?”

Plates are refilled. Days are discussed.

The table is full of noise every night–sometimes happy, sometimes grumpy, almost always a crazy combination.

“I’m done!”

“Me too!”

“Take care of your plate! WITH TWO HANDS!”

Suddenly Cortney and I are the only two left at the table. My plate is clean, his still half full.

We both sigh because neither wants to get up and start the clean-up/homework/bath dances.

The dinner dance, however, is over for another evening.

Pictured…and #NotPictured

2016-06-24 11.12.18

Pictured: A cutie pie and her mom at the park.

#NotPictured: The whining this child did every time her mom tried to set her down. The foot stomps, the head-shaking “no”, the arm reached up in protest of not being held EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE.

2016-06-24 11.14.28

Pictured: An older brother with his baby sister, holding hands as they walk around the park.

#NotPictured: The middle child having a meltdown at my side as I take this picture because I didn’t bring snacks or drink to the park and we have been there a whole 10 minutes and “this park is stupid. everything is stupid. I want lunch.”

2016-06-11 11.30.56

Pictured: A smiley girl who loves her shoes and sunglasses.

#NotPictured: The one zillion times she took off the sunglasses and shoes, threw them at a parent, then demanded they put back on.

2016-06-14 19.24.42

Pictured: Eddie crossing from Tiger Scout to Wolf Scout.

#NotPictured: His younger brother who lost all patience with boring ceremonies and went to the playground with his younger sister and dad missing this. Also not pictured is the search that everyone did for the missing Tiger slide because Eddie lost it ramming around in the grass.

2016-06-16 19.05.54

Pictured: Charlie hamming it up for the camera after having his first bloody nose.

#NotPictured: The epic scream-fest and blood-bath that took over my bathroom moments before because Charlie was terrified of what was happening and did not want Cortney to TOUCH him, let alone squeeze his nose shut for ten minutes.

2016-06-18 18.51.23-1

Pictured: Cortney and me on our 11th anniversary.

#NotPictured: The three children who were at their grandparents’ house, the delicious meal and drinks, the awesome waitress, the 11 years that were a giant ball of pain, heartache, joy, and laughter.


Pictured, #NotPictured is a little bloggy hop thingy thing from the mastermind of Ann Imig. You should check out her original post, natch.

With my Big Black Boots and an Old Suitcase…

Ten years ago I had no job.

It was summer and I had finished up a great long-term subbing position at the beginning of June, but there were no substitute teaching positions during the summer months. I had yet to find a “real’ teaching job.

Ten years ago I had no relationship.

I had been dumped after a five-year relationship in the spring and I had been barely getting by on a wing and a prayer (also know as Doritos and booze) for months.

I was depressed, but I didn’t know it.

Then in July of 2003, after four months of sulking and one month of being unemployed, a friend from college emailed me that he was moving from Michigan to Santa Monica, California in August.  He had a place lined up, but would love a roommate if I wanted to come too.

I laughed at first. Yeah, right.

And then I looked around at my tiny house.  The one next-door to my grandparents that I was renting from them. The one where I ate cereal and Doritos as my only meals and some days didn’t get out of bed until 4pm.

The one I shared with my cat.

That spring all of my plans for the future gone right down the toilet.

I no longer had dreams of marrying my long-time boyfriend. I had sent out and stopped by a combination of over 100 schools looking for a teaching position and hadn’t heard from even one. I couldn’t live on $65 a day subbing (sporadically) for another school year.

Why should I stay in this tiny town? I asked myself.

I had been back from college for almost a year now; what was keeping me from packing up and moving away and trying something else?

It was so unlike me, but I went online and applied for about ten different teaching positions in and around the Santa Monica area. I also emailed my friend and told him if I could find a job offer, we might be in business.

And then I got three emails and a phone call from four of the districts I applied to in California. Three of those four wanted to hire me right there sight unseen.  No interview.  No practice lesson. In fact, they would fly me out there and help me move in.

With my big black boots and an old suitcase…
I do believe I’ll find myself a new place.*

I started to get excited.  As in call my parents and try to decide whether or not to take my cat with me across the country kind of excited.

I emailed all my friends and family and told them I was moving to California at some point.

I started thinking about how one moves across the country. Via moving trucks? On a plane? Yeah, I was not bringing the cat. He would die of the trauma.

We can live beside the ocean,
leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
watch the world die.

My friend, Cortney, emailed me to tell me good luck and that he thought it was a cool idea, but that truthfully he would miss me an awful lot. He was the only person (other than my mom) to convey such a feeling. That I would be missed if I left.

I remember thinking he was sweet and that I would surely miss him too. I mean, he was such a great friend.

Less than a month later, this happened.

And a week after that, my current school district called me for an interview…and I got the job.

A couple weeks after that Cortney was not my friend anymore, he was my boyfriend.

I didn’t move, obviously. I decided to take the job in my current school district (where I had done my student teaching and several long-term substitute positions).  I decided to take the plunge on Cortney.

It’s been ten years since I made that decision.  The decision to stay in the tiny small town I always said I would leave.

When I went to college, I had determined that I would meet a guy from somewhere and go to that somewhere.  I was not going to follow the pattern of marrying a guy from my high school and having his babies and living my whole life in this hick town.

Until I did.

Not because I didn’t try to NOT end up this way.  But because this is the way I was supposed to end up.

It’s been ten years and I rarely think about the chance I had to “get away” from this life.  Probably because I never wish this life away. Even when it sucks, I never wish I was somewhere else with a different guy with different (or no) kids.

I never don’t want this life.

Sometimes I don’t think I am doing a good job at this life I was gifted, but I never ever wish it away.

Not for all the white sands on a Santa Monica beach.

*Lyrics from “Santa Monica” by Everclear

monday odds and ends

ok, so I left you all hanging yesterday by telling you we went to a gender reveal party that we guessed BOY for.  We were wrong.  Cort’s brother and his wife are having a baby GIRL!  Lilliana Marie.  She is due in November at Thanksgiving.  The first girl on the Sluiter side after four boys.

Yeah, Cort’s mom is pretty excited.

Speaking of baby girls, my brother and his wife are having their second child, a girl named Maria Mae, at the beginning of November.  This will be the first girl on my side of the family after three boys, so MY mom is excited too.

I might be bursting about throwing TWO girly baby showers.



Because I am still feeling random, and because this weekend was so busy, I was of COURSE playing on pinterest and looking at pictures.

Because how else do you avoid being productive?

Here…look what I found in the “vintage eddie” files:

Daddy and Eddie: fall 2009

Eddie was in the saucer by 4 months. WHAT?

Eddie was eating rice cereal at 4 months. we may skip this altogether with Charlie.


These pictures made me all “OH!  A boy and his daddy!”  So I took these pictures:

we call this: Pig Pile Daddy

oh my heart.


Ok before I sign off, I have ANOTHER giveaway going on!  This one is to Papersalt. Enter NOW!

Project 365 {week 18}

Welcome to our first week of May…

April 29: Charlie gets baptized alongside his cousins, Kingston and Kyrie

April 30: My dad's birthday...he made Eddie's big boy bed

May 1: Photography Class at Tulip Farm

May 2: Chillin' with mommy

May 3: Happys in the mail for Charlie! Thank you, Kacia!

May 4: Brothers!

May 5: first date night since Charlie's arrival.

This week I hugged my boys tighter and loved them harder.

Because I was reminded of how fragile life is.

And I remembered how difficult it was to get to this place.