Tasty Buttered Toast

Quips and Quandaries from a re-employed house husband

Archive for the category “Family”

A Day For Dads

Today is Father’s Day.

Since 2005 this has been a difficult day for me. I try to do all the right things to keep it from getting me down, or being in a light depression for a few days; and for the most part, I would say that I’ve succeeded.  The arrival of my boys solidified that.

Becoming a dad has been one of the coolest things I’ve done with my life to this point.  Not that it hasn’t come without some stress or difficult times, but on the whole, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Simple Reminder

Kate got me this mug for my “first” father’s day, before our first miscarriage.  I thought it was a little corny then since we were only expecting and didn’t have a baby yet; but she assured me that I was a father to the little ball of whatever was growing in her so it still counted.  Now when I read this mug, which is most Sunday mornings, I take pause and usually look at the boys to try to remind myself that this is what is all about.  Trying to teach them right from wrong, be that strong person to guide them with wisdom, and to be a person they strive to be when they “grow up.”  It’s a heavy burden, but one I’m proud to carry.

Happy Father’s Day Pops.  You are greatly missed, but I want to thank you for being that person for me and everyday I strive to be better than I am.  And to G. Sluiter and G. Potter who are in heaven sharing this Father’s Day with you, give them a hug for me too.  The three of you had a huge impact on making me the man I am today.  Miss you all.

This wasn’t supposed to be a post about anything… I was going to post this picture and leave it at that; so if when reading you feel it doesn’t flow all that well or transitions are less than delightful, you have my permission to let me have it in the comments.  I encourage it.. it means that you’re out there reading what I have to share… even if it is less than once a month. 🙂  Hopefully as school winds down I can get back here to post a little more often, but until then, thanks for stopping by!

Bicycle Race

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle

We all remember that feeling.

The smell of the asphalt.

The wind in your hair.

The sudden realization that you finally had transportation and you were free; free to jump on your bicycle and go for a ride, even if you didn’t have any particular place to go.

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

Ever since the weather has changed, Eddie has been hounding me, almost on the daily to go for a bike ride.  He has a small bike that is just his size, but he hasn’t had a lot of time to ride it.  At daycare, they have a couple tricycles and a big wheel or two that he has been able to practice this pedal technique; which I can say has come a long way compared to what he was attempting last fall when the idea of a pedal was confusing at best.

Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah
Fat bottomed girls they’ll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race

Today I told him if the weather permitted, I would ride bikes with him for a while this afternoon.  His face lit up and he was all about it.  He couldn’t get to nap soon enough… and would you know you, as soon as he was out of bed he was asking about going outside and riding bikes.  Who am I to deny this young lad a small taste of freedom… well, as much freedom as you can have when you aren’t allowed to ride past the mailbox.

*Lyrics to Bicycle Race by Queen

My first attempt at authoring a video, I had no idea all that cast & location stuff was needed at the end and yes I know my camera work is terrible, but this kid loves to ride! It might not be much to watch, but the soundtrack is fantastic.

Opening Day

Spring Training is a time to work out the kinks, get back in to game shape, and get back into the groove of being a team.

In less than two days, if all goes according to plan which it rarely does, the newest addition to our little tribe will be in our midst.  I would like to think that we’re all set and prepped for Opening Day; unfortunately, since we know when he’s planned to arrive, certain items haven’t been completed or are still in a state of limbo. We could maybe use another week of Spring Training.

When Ed was on the verge of joining us on the outside all we had to go by was the due date.  We knew that there was the potential of him coming early which put us on our toes a couple weeks in advance “just in case.”  And as luck would have it, he arrived on his due date, and even with all the preparation, I had left the laptop, Kate’s overnight bag, the camera… EVERYTHING at home in the excitement of it all.

For some reason, having a planned C-Section makes it feel like he won’t come early because we have an appointment.  He’ll arrive on Tuesday, and that will be that… ultimately, I hope that is the case, not that one day will throw too big of a wrench into things, but certain items are already in place to accommodate his arrival on Tuesday; so why mess with plans, right?

But as the big day draws near, Kate gets antsy.  She sees things around the house that she feels need to be addressed before Charlie’s arrival.  I’m not too surprised as this is her nature, sometimes it is a good thing, but other times, not so much.  This would be one of those times… since we are so close to the birth day; she needs to take it easy to prevent things from being accelerated.  And keeping her low key is proving more and more difficult the closer the big day gets.  Thankfully, she has been listening to my pleas for her to take it easy and relax.  I’m more than able to do as much of the heavy lifting as necessary until she is healed up and ready to retake her position as my teammate in this game of parenting and housekeeping.

This time I feel we are more ready, Kate has her bag packed, and laundry is finishing up as I type this.  Mothers and Mother-In-Laws have their Ed assignments for the week and so long as Charlie cooperates, we should be good to go.

Bring on the baby lotion, tiny clothes, and car seat.  When the “first pitch” is thrown on Tuesday, this team will be ready to play ball.

Listen To Your Uncle

It started Saturday morning… Ed and I were headed to my mother’s house to deliver a car seat and instructions as to the goings on upon the arrival of little bro.  The morning Charlie arrives, she is going to come and stay with Ed at our house and bring him to the hospital to meet his brother before the slew of visitors arrive that evening. We wanted Ed to be one of the first to meet the new addition.

On the way to her house, Ed says from his seat, “Dad, can you play that Pearl Jam song for me?”

“Which Pearl Jam song is that, buddy?”

“Pearl Jam.”

So I turned on the radio, thankfully I have Sirius in the truck and channel 22 is Pearl Jam Radio… 24×7 Pearl Jam… well, normally.  When it fired up a track by Green River was on.  Ed knew immediately that this wasn’t Pearl Jam; which impressed me to no end.  So I began to explain how a couple of the founding members of Pearl Jam were in Green River first.  He seemed to understand and thankfully a Pearl Jam track came on next and we jammed out the rest of the way to Grandma’s house.

Cut to later that afternoon and the family is loaded up and we’re headed to hang with some friends to the evening with a classic rock station on.  Ed asked for it to be turned up… the song in question: Rockin’ in the Free World by Neil Young.

Immediately he makes fish lips and starts nodding his head.  I notice in the mirror his enjoyment of the music and motion to Kate to take a look.  She turns around to see what he’s up to and is quickly met with a “turn around Mommy, no look at me.”  She turns around and we exchange half smiles.

Then, to top it all off, during the third chorus, Ed starts to sing along with Uncle Neil… the low sounds of his trying to sing along with “…rock in… free world” was enough to tell me that I’m doing what is needed to expose and appreciate music in some of its best forms.

I look forward to the day that Ed and his brother want to sit down with Dad and take in some tunes from my formative years.  I hope that I’m still open minded enough to give their stuff a listen as well without being too judgmental as to the sound or style of music they like.

As Uncle Neil says… Keep on Rockin’ In the Free World.  I’m confident we will be.

Smile

Don’t it make you smile?
Don’t it make you smile?

I didn’t post last week…

I know, big surprise right?  I had started the day wanting to… in fact, the night before I had a post in my head that I was looking forward to flushing it out through the course of the day.  But that didn’t happen.

When the sun don’t shine? (Shine at all)
Don’t it make you smile?

I regret not writing down my idea for my post last week because this week I got nothing.  I’m so emotional drained from the happenings of the week, and I guess the last 3 weeks… It all happened so fast, barely enough time to react or reflect. So my apologies if this comes off as a babble of nonsense… here goes.

It’s no secret that I come from a rather large family… in fact, my extended family on either side I have 50+ cousins if you count spouses.  So to say that my grandparents wanted to spread the family tree would be an understatement.

Don’t it make me smile?
When the sun don’t shine, it don’t shine at all
Don’t it make me smile?

Sunday morning I was informed that my Grandpa had passed away.  Tuesday was visitation, Wednesday was more visitation, the funeral, burial, and sometime to reflect.  During this reflection I was reminded that Ed is currently the only male great-grandchild… he is the only one that will carry on the Sluiter name.

Even now as I type that, it still floors me that given the fact that I have over 25 cousins (not all male), Ed is the only one that will carry on the Sluiter name to this point.  I have a couple cousins that could still get married and have kids.  I’m pretty sure my brother and his wife are looking to start a family at some point, so all hope is not lost.  But just the fact that without Ed and eventually Charlie the Sluiter name could potentially die out at the end of my generation.

I miss you already… I miss you always
I miss you already… I miss you all day
This is how I feel…

I’m 33 years old. I’ve lost a father; and now both grandfathers.  While he didn’t get to meet my father, it is my hope that even at 2 1/2, Ed will be able to retain some memories of the latter two great men.  I will tell him about who they were and what they meant to me and hopefully how they helped shape me into the man that I have become.

Whew!  Was that as wild a ride for you as it was for me?  Ok, maybe not wild, but an adventure to read… nah, probably more work than an adventure.  Thanks for struggling through, I know I’m glad I did.

I miss you already… I miss you always
Three crooked hearts and swirls all around… I miss you all day

– words from the Pearl Jam song Smile.

Stuck In The Middle With You

It has been said on more than one occasion that there is no I in TEAM… but there is a ME.  In MARRIAGE there is a ME and an I… and I suppose there could be RAGE, but we try to avoid that one as best we can; and for the most part, I’d say we have.

This week is the start of a new semester for me.  I have two classes I’m looking to take as part of my quest to complete my Network Admin degree by the end of the year.  Tuition was paid, books were purchased, file folders created, pens at the ready.  Everything is on track to dominate another semester and get 2 more classes closer to graduation.

And then Charlie had his latest check up with the doctor.  We now know his birthday as he’ll be arriving via a planned c-section. As Kate and I were discussing his impending arrival, it became obvious that with classes two nights, a recovering Kate, and a fresh baby in the house; the whole schedule wasn’t going to work.

If you’ve ventured over to Sluiter Nation at all, its no secret that Kate has been slowly been winning her battle with PPD and anxiety.  Well, given the arrival of our 2nd child, it started to fester up again.  And being that the lines of communication are open in The Nation, she voiced her concerns, and we went to sleep on it.

This morning after reviewing the schedule and work load associated with her recovery and a new baby; sacrifices for the good of the Nation needed to be made.  We discussed it briefly this morning and shortly there after, Kate’s anxiety has lowered substantially and I’ll be home an “extra” evening this semester.  Win-win.

I really didn’t like my school schedule this semester anyway, so dropping the class wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’d miss time with my boys too, so it really was an easy decision to make.  The only downside is that now I my goal of completing my degree by December might be pushed back a little bit… not a total loss, but a minor set back.

There might not be an I in TEAM, but by dropping that class, we took a big step in avoiding the RAGE that can be in MARRIAGE.

Goals

What is it about the end of one year and the beginning of another that can either suck the smiles out of you, or hit you with a right hook to the gut when you least expect it?  For me, I feel like I had a pretty solid dose of both this weekend.

The New Year gives us a moment to reflect back on those things or events that help shape our year and our lives, while the idea of opening a fresh calendar to the first month of the year is like the birth of the person you want to be or the spectacles you hope to witness in the coming year.

Rather than make a list of “resolutions” or the idea that I can make a list of the things that I like least about myself or my habits, and decide that this year I’m going to change; I thought I’d make a list of goals that I hope to achieve this year.  Maybe it’s the same as a resolution, but in some cases, I think it’s different…

Vehicle Upgrade for Kate – it’s no secret that Kate in in need of a different vehicle.  A small, two door coupe isn’t exactly conducive to a hot mama taking the kids home from day care.  Something with four doors at a minimum and decent gas mileage wouldn’t hurt either.

Graduate from College – Some of you will remember that I was fortunate enough to graduate with an Associates of Liberal Arts, and if the schedule at the school works out, I should be able to graduate with an Associates in Network Administration.  This would be great as I’m ready to be done with school for a little while.

Welcome Charlie to the family – My 2nd son will be joining the family in March.  Given the inspiring journey I’ve made with Eddie thus far, I am super excited to see how the addition of another person to our family dynamic will affect our routine / mindsets / emotional growth.  I can’t wait to become a family of 4.

Ride my bike more – Ok, this really sounds like a resolution… but the truth is, I was fortunate enough to receive a bike last Christmas, but failed to ride it as often as I had hoped to.  This year, I hope to log some miles of pleasure riding as well as for purpose… that is, as an added element to an exercise plan.

The exercise plan – so yeah, resolution #2… but isn’t this one that is on everyone’s list?  And if it’s on our list every year is it still a resolution?   I might even think about running another 5k.  For some reason when there is something to train for, it makes it easier to get out and actually exercise.  So that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Be a better friend – Over the last year or so, I haven’t done a whole lot to maintain those relationships with the friends that I hold near and dear. Most of them are now spread out across the country, that seeing them in person happens so infrequently, I feel guilty when I can’t give them my full attention when they visit.  My goal is to make a more concentrated effort to communicate with them on a more regular basis… be it a text, email, skype session or a hand written note… just something to make sure they know that I’m thinking about them and that they are important to me.

And finally… Blog more – I stated a couple months ago that I was going to try to blog every Sunday… and for the most part I managed to stay true to that goal.  Unfortunately, once finals rolled around and term papers were due, I found it tougher than I had tough to get a post up every week.  In fact, after writing a couple pages for class, I really didn’t want to think about writing anything else, even if it was for fun.  With the New Year, I’m going to try to stick to that Sunday post goal, but not beat myself up if I miss one due to a school requirement.

What about you?  Any goals that you’ve set for yourself in the coming year?  I’d love to hear them, maybe even append my list…

They Say Its Your Birthday

A lot can happen in a year.  This past Saturday was my birthday… and after having to get up early to drive 40 minutes to school so I could take my first final of the semester,  I was able to return home just in time to gather up the family and roll over to my in-laws house to help decorate Christmas cookies.  And while I’m pretty sure if I had wanted to, I could have played the birthday card and went back to bed or something, but I would have felt guilty for leaving my post.  My MIL and I are the two lone frosters… everyone else (we had 6 this year… ) and I it is up to us to get the cookies frosted so they can be adorn with sprinkles, candies, and various items of deliciousness.

So I assumed my post on the east side of the island in the kitchen with seven bowls of homemade frosting between us and a pile of cookies, my MIL and I got after it.  The family time is something that I really enjoy… with Kate’s brothers living farther away than we typically travel, I really enjoy the time I can spend with them and their significant others… and hanging with the nephew is always good times too.

After cookies, we headed home for a nap for Eddie and what I thought would be a little unwind time for me… but then I remembered some of the items on my honey-do list… so I was off.  Reflector stakes to line the driveway, return cans because the box was full, try not to lose my cool while waiting for the can return machines to be fixed; making friends with a little girl in the cart in front of me was a highlight of that trip as well.

Closing out the evening was a visit with Santa and dinner with Kate and Ed, with a special viewing of The Big Lebowski made my birthday celebration complete.  Given all my little family has been though this past year, both good and bad, I think made this year’s celebration that much more sweet.  Seeing Ed so excited to give me a birthday card brought emotions to the surface I hadn’t ever felt before.  This birthday is one I shall not soon forget.

Thank you family for a wonderful celebration, you make me feel special each and every day!

Flew The Coup

Gobble! Gobble!

Having a sick kid is never fun… not for anyone involved.  Those of us who are parents or know how frustrating it can be to try to comfort your child or to get them to chill out so they can find a way to recoup.

This past week Ed has had a pretty fierce cough, so we took him to the doc to get checked out and the result was allergies.

Allergies?  Really?  Ok, I’ll bite, but then why doesn’t the allergy medication do the job and turn the faucet that is his nose off and maybe do something about that cough?

And then to top everything off, Saturday evening while spending a ruckus time with some friends, he gets a fever.  Cue the drugs to take care of the fever and then the eventual dosage of the allergy medication.

Now this is the part where I’m going to take a little side step and make a suggestion to those pharmacists out there.  You know how medications that cause dizziness and drowsiness and they put those brightly color stickers on the bottle to make you aware of those side effects?  My question is; why don’t they have one that says “It might make your child act like a serious wack-a-doo”?  Needless to say, Ed was and has been a serious wack-a-doo about 30-45 minutes after his dosage.

Anyway, some have mention that this symptoms could be the result of additional teething… while this seems odd in my mind, everything but the cough is quite similar to his teething exploits of months past.

The doc said to give a call on Monday if the cough hasn’t left / if he hasn’t improved.  I’ll be on the horn tomorrow morning and see what she’d like us to do.

What I do know is that Ed as a wack-a-doo before bed is not a fun way to end an evening.

May your turkey be moist and delicious, the gravy be smooth and delightful, and the cranberries be not from a can.

Safe travels on your Turkey Day… don’t be afraid to take a nap while the Lions get their backsides whooped by the Packers… as is tradition.

Roots… not just a band.

Sometimes it’s good to get back to your roots.

Getting back to that place that helped shape who you are and what made you the person you are today.  For me, it was attending church again for the first time in a long time when it wasn’t a holiday or special occasion… and it felt GREAT!

In my heart I know I never wavered far from my beliefs or my upbringing, but with so many of life’s events going against what I thought was supposed to happen to a faithful Christian had me questioning a little bit… maybe even a lot at some points.  Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people, right?  So why the continuous strikes against me? Why the continuous strikes against my family?

And then today, sitting in that hard, wooden pew, the message began… and it hit me in the face.  What have I done for other people lately rather than be concerned with my family and our well-being?   Truth is, I haven’t done a damn thing.  With all the hustle and bustle of school, work, family, fatherhood, trying to be a loving husband to a pregnant wife, I haven’t done a whole lot outside of that to really deserve any of God’s graces.

Today’s message was a story of using your talents and gifts and sharing them with others, so, I’m going to try to improve my efforts to think of others first, and let everything else handle itself.  God doesn’t give you  more than you can handle, so worrying about how to pay for something or plan for something else will work out if it’s meant to be… not to mention, way less stress since time won’t be wasted worrying about it.

After the service Kate asked if she should get a card from the Angel tree so we can buy some gifts for a child that might not get anything otherwise and I told her to go ahead and do it.  Sure it might not completely be in the “budget,” but it felt like the right thing to do.  I’m confident it will work out in the end, and that child might just have a better holiday because of it.

Sorry to have gotten all spiritual on you there… but I felt it was important, especially this time of year.  If you find it in your heart, mind, or spirit, please consider “sponsoring” or being an Angel to a child in need.  There is little that you will find more rewarding.

… and I think we’ll be attending services more regularly now.

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