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July 26, 2010

Checking to see if I finally figured out how to link my wordpress to my facebook page …that appears to be a big fat NO

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The next birthday of course was Joshua’s.  Of course we went out to eat for our traditional b-day celebration.   We let each of the girls pick out a bunch of carnations at Meijer (they were on sale) and then we headed out to the cemetery.  Each of the girls picked at least one flower from their bunch to place by/on Joshua’s marker.  of course Mama couldn’t leave well enough alone … had to reorganize them after the girls headed to the car.   I thought it was funny how the flowers almost look like they were altered on photoshop or something.  I don’t remember why Lauren was posing like this but thought it was funny. Clearly it was a nice day as you notice few of us were wearing coats and Erica apparently made it out of the house with shorts on.

It wasn’t long and the track season was upon us.  We had a large group out for throws this year and most of them were new.

At the end of the month we got our new vehicle thanks to Oma(&Opa) and “Uncle Sam”.  The girls named it Zeus (our mini van was/is “Winnie”).  It was kind of funny because Brandon has always wanted a Suburban. He has fond memories of a trip they took when he was younger in a Suburban they had borrowed from family friends.  Well when we began our search (after a disappointing visit with the minivan to our mechanic) we discovered we were somewhat limited in our options because of the fact that we need to be able to seat at least 7 people, preferably 8.  We had gotten around that in our minivan by acquiring a second “back” bench from M45 auto parts and replacing our 2 seater middle row bench.  So our options were pretty much a minivan (7-8 passenger), or a 7-8 passenger SUV type vehicle (I was opposed to a Suburban because I had an image in my head of something like this).  There were not many Minivans on the market so we took a look at a Tahoe or something like that.  The inside actually looked like it had less room than our minivan and when we opened up the back to check out the cargo area I realized I would need our rooftop carrier just to get groceries.  I asked Brandon if there was something that would have a bigger back and he said a Suburban – I said no.  So as we are going home I see a vehicle that looks just right  in a parking lot and said … now what is that kind of vehicle and he said ” a Suburban”.  Hmm… so then we happen to drive by one ( a beautiful tan one) on a lot …it is almost closing time …we check it out …it is perfect (except that it was only 2 wheel drive) I hear myself say ” I think I want a Suburban”.   Long story short Brandon started looking online and we ended up with our new vehicle just in time (less than a week before) to take it to Mississippi.  It wasn’t the color I wanted but the miles and price were too good to pass up and it can seat 9 people if necessary.   We also learned that it is important to be very specific with used car salesmen …for example what would it take to cover the few small scratches? … a quarter …a plate …a 2×4  (Brandon drove to Lansing to check one out with a “few small scratches” -one of the “small” scratches was the length of the vehicle!)

… and finally a random picture of Sam and Jojo 

February

March 14, 2010

February was a busy month.  On February 4 Brandon’s Grandma  (Oma to the girls) went to be with her Savior after having battled Multiple Myloma for over 12 years and more recently having broken her leg during a fall.  While we were sad to say goodbye to Oma, we were able to enjoy a short visit from Nana and Papa.  I am very thankful my girls have a very grounded attitude about death.  After I gave them the news that Oma had passed away they were all talking about how she was probably up there saying “oh, what nice” (one of her famous phrases -right up there with “slowly on”) and wondering if she and Joshua had already gotten a chance to meet each other.

We had already arranged to surrender  Anna’s extra kittens at the humane society that weekend so we went ahead with it so they could find their forever families. It was a hard day but the girls had known from the start that we would not be able to keep them, each of the girls “held” one on the ride over.  We were happy to find out that the kittens had a good chance of finding a home because they were litter trained and good with children.  Afterward we got DQ as a consolation prize.  As it turned out they were adopted within two weeks …never even got a chance to get their pictures up on the web site.

The next weekend began the birthday celebrations.  Erica’s b-day was the 13th and Anna’s followed on the 15th so momma got to enjoy a couple of breaks from cooking.  Later that week -they were closed for president’s day on her birthday – Anna was finally able to get her TIP (temporary instructional permit).  The end of the month brought Brandon’s 35th birthday and another night off for Momma.

Throw in a ski trip here and a financial aid meeting there, Valentines day and some Physical Therapy appointments and the month was gone in a flash.

January 2010

March 12, 2010

So hopefully I can keep up a little better this year.  January started out with Jojo’s 1st birthday. We had a small celebration on her birthday and then a family party on Sunday after Anna’s profession of faith.  I made my traditional 1st birthday cake.

Since us “widows” were a little busy putting together a wedding back in September when we usually have our pre-hunting scrapbook weekend we decided to schedule it in January instead.  Brenda was our gracious hostess this year and a good time was had by all even though we couldn’t all be there the whole time.  We decided perhaps hunting season was long enough to require both a pre and post-hunting scrapping weekend nest time.

Mid-January marked the end of the 1st semester of school for the girls which included saying farewell to their classmates as we began the new semester with the start of our home- school journey.  Poor Samantha had to come back the next week to give her final farewell due to contracting fifth disease (parvovirus) during the last days of the week.  We also had the opportunity to dog-sit for Uncle Darrell and Auntie Lindsey again however the dog’s didn’t get as much attention as usual due to the fact that it was bitter cold out.

Anna ended the month by taking hunter’s safety at Grandma and Grandpa’s church so look out come next hunting season,  she could be armed and dangerous!

Oh I almost forgot!  January also marked Samantha’s first “normal” test result for her thyroid.  After a year of steady increases (can’t do it too fast or it’s hard on the heart) she finally reached the normal level.  I can’t believe the change in her over the last year.  Both she and Jojo have changed a lot this past year.

What a busy year!

March 12, 2010

Wow, 2009 was a crazy busy year.  Since I don’t send out Christmas Cards (tried it once …made me crazy), I though maybe I’d do a virtual Christmas Letter/Summary of last year (since I didn’t post very much).

Lets see January seems like such a long time ago… On January 5 we welcomed our precious little Joanna Dawn Sloterbeek (aka Jojo) to the outside world.  I had high hopes that she would be born over the Christmas break so that her Papa from Mississippi would get to meet her but as he so aptly put it, she arrived right on time (God’s timing).  Thankfully Nana was able to stay longer and helped us with the transition home.  Jojo was and for the most part is a very easy baby.  Thanks to Nana’s suggestion we also discovered that Samantha had significantly low thyroid and was later diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis, thankfully it’s treatment is very simple …one pill each morning before breakfast.  The changes we have seen in her since then are amazing and they are still adjusting her meds to get the correct dose.

February brought Jojo’s Baptism and Erica’s 7th birthday which we combined so that we could get it all in before Nana had to head back to Mississippi.

March marked two years since our beloved Joshua made his brief but wonderful appearance in our lives.  Nana and Papa had sent us a bouquet of flowers so each of the girls picked a flower to bring along when we went to the cemetery of course the big girls picked one for Jojo to bring.  March also brings the arrival of track season.  Brandon and I both volunteered as throwing coaches again this year (as I said Jojo was a very easy baby) though I was not quite as involved in the early season training as I was in years past.  It also brought an unexpected addition to our family in the arrival of a 17 year old girl named Anna.  What started out as a temporary  situation geared at helping her through some family issues turned into a long term arrangement and we look forward to having her as a member of our family for the foreseeable future.  I call her my God-daughter because He brought her into our home/family and recently into his eternal family.

April began with another fun Spring Break trip to visit Nana & Papa in Mississippi, we took the trip in two days again and it worked out well except that toward the end Jojo was “done” with the car seat. Jojo and Papa met at last. and we had lots of fun day trips visiting beach, museums and just hanging out at Nana & Papa’s house. Filled to the gills but we made it there and back.

May meant more track meets including the state finals where we watched our top senior thrower once again break his own record in the shot put making him the MHSAA D3 shot and discus record holder and the overall state shot put record holder, and a visit from Nana & Papa.

June brought the end of school and the beginning of a lot of dog sitting =0 Uncle Darrell and Auntie Lindsey were kind enough to let us watch their dogs for them several times during the summer when they were on vacations and camping trips Sam’s b-day of course as well as My Grandpa Winkel’s  b-day and strawberry pies from our own garden.

July included more dog sitting, Daddy’s 1st (and last) 5K race, a trip to Michigan’s Adventure  , VBS and the Heuker Family Reunion.

In August we took our annual trip to “our” cottage (belongs to my great Aunt). We also had some unexpected surprises in August, Anna’s cat had kittens …7 of them and Tia Brenda asked if I would like to help her go dress shopping -she and Porfidio were planning a September Wedding.  Also Anna had her senior pictures taken 

and XC (cross country) began. And who could forget our annual back to school trip to the Hudsonville Fair.

September started with Tia & Tio’s wedding, then came back to school  and wouldn’t you know it Erica wanted so badly to stay home from school that she ended up in the hospital (okay probably had more to do with the stomach bug we all had and the fact she ended up dehydrated). Which caused Samantha’s profession of faith to be postponed a week.

October went by in a flash between trips up north to go hunting, XC meets, and a lovely experience with H1N1.

November started off with the division3 state XC meet, we were so glad that Anna was spared the H1N1 experience and was therefore healthy enough to compete at peak performance resulting in a personal record, moving up within her team and contributing to their 2nd place finish  as a team. (Anna and the other girls from the team did a spirit week the week leading up to the state meet, this was for 80’s day).  Of course there was more hunting, and a trip up north for Thanksgiving where Jojo showed off some of her first steps.  She also learned some other tricks that her mother was less than impressed with such as being able to step up onto things …no more leaving the mending box out.

December was filled with many enjoyable activities, and at Christmas time we were able to bring back our candlelite dinner for our Christmas celebration with the girls. Our year ended with a family New Years Eve Party complete with movies and party foods.

So that’s it in a nutshell, being that it only took me 3 months to complete this  post y’all can look forward to oh maybe 3 posts this year? lol

Precious moments

September 20, 2009

So Samantha made profession/confession/confirmation (what ever you call it) of faith this morning, declaring that she has asked Jesus in her heart and wants to live for Him.  As we were singing opening songs, she started to look a little green and asked me if she could sit down.  Brandon looked over at me after she sat down so I leaned over to explain that she was getting a little nervous about standing up in front of everyone (she passed out once at a school program).  So Brandon sat down with her and talked to her a little bit about it.  They started talking about how all of heaven rejoices when even one person comes to Christ.  So Brandon says you  know, you’re giving your brother a party in heaven, I’ll bet he even gets to eat cake.   Samantha (being the ham that she is) leans over and says “you suppose it’s angel food cake?”  We are so thankful for Samantha’s committment to Christ and His promises for her.  Truely a precious moment (too bad we forgot to video tape it for Nana and Papa) -and just for the record when we realized that fact she said “well I’m not doing it again”.  Apparently public speaking is not her favorite thing.

Outing my secrets

September 19, 2009

I am a perfectionist.  There, I’ve said it.  But not the good kind of  “wow that lady always has it together -I wish I could be like her” perfectionist, more of the “paralyzed by my inability to do it perfectly” variety.  The living in CHAOS (can’t have anyone over syndrome) type.

They say perfectionism is something you learn as you are growing up and while I do remember hearing the phrase “if you’re not going to do it right, you might as well not do it at all” I think I am just naturally inclined toward it.  I remember when I was applying for my first salon job, it asked for strengths and weaknesses and I listed perfectionism under both because already then I realized that it can fall into both catagories.  It can mean that I do an incredible job at something that someone else would not.  Or it can mean that I will get sidetracked by a small unimportant detail or take too long because I’m not focusing on the main objective.

For example (true confession time) I remember when I first started teaching cosmetology, I was getting ready for my very first Junior class (the newbies) I had everything ready but it was not yet “perfect”.  You see the student kits that they would start with until their permanent kits arrived had hair clips in them, the kind that would hold a large amount of hair when they sectioned it off.  I’m sure at one point they all started with matching sets but over time one would break here or there and would get replaced by one from the lost and found …this would not do.  I wanted everything to be “perfect” so I stayed late after everyone else had gone home and took out all the clips from all 16 kits and sorted them out into matching sets which was trickier than it sounds as once you got past the first few sets, the matching logic had to stretch a bit.  In the end some of the kits matched by color, some by shape, and I think I ended up with one that had to be considered matching because they didn’t match any of the others -this is the depth of my “illness”. =) 

Brandon and I sometimes joke that I am a little bit OCD.  Truth be told (which is kind of the point of this post) it actually literally feels good to me to organize things, to have ” a place for everything and everything in it’s place”  I get just a little bit of a high when I  make order out of something that is in disarray. That being said, anyone who has visited my house recently would look at me and say “really, you’re sure about that”?  The problem is that my perfectionism takes over, I don’t want just a place for everything I want the perfect place for everything.  We have been living in some degree of CHAOS pretty much since we started living together after our marriage over 14 years ago.  Oh there have been times that we’ve managed to get it together and we even had a streak going there for a little while where we had it together enough that our home group was able to meet at our house for about a whole year….as long as no one looked in the dryer (yes that was my secret stash and dash place).

I actually think that is part of why I have not been blogging lately, I couldn’t come up with the perfect post. That and I added a baby and a teenager to my household all within 3 months…. but I am making progress!  Thanks to one of my facebook friends (another reason I’ve been busy) I have discovered a website for people like me: www.flylady.net .  My older sister had actually told me about it years ago but at the time I didn’t have internet access and the “FLYlady” hadn’t yet written her book “Sink reflections” .  This site has been so helpful to me, helping me let go of my perfectionism and learning that there is such a thing as “good enough”.  My house is not yet perfect and it may never be but it is slowly getting better and I know that because of the baby steps I’m taking to get there, it will eventually be able to stay that way.  It has also helped me to start teaching these things to my kids, teaching them how to take care of their things and allowing me to take time to spend with them to do fun things even if everything is not perfect.  As a matter of fact we had what I considered to be a really good summer.  I think it was mid to late July before I heard anyone say “I’m bored” and it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks before school started that they started getting on eachother’s nerves.

When I was a little girl my mother was the song leader for Sunday school ( I may have mentioned that before).  At one point, she taught us a song that said “He’s still workin’ on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and earth and jupiter and mars, how loving and patient he must be, he’s still working on me.”  I’m proud to say God hasn’t given up on me and I will always be able to grow in him.  The FLYlady has helped me to get a better glimps of me through His eyes.  I am not a failure, I am a work in progress.

That said, the title of this post is Outing my secret(s).  My other secret is my other blog.  Yes that’s right, I have a secret blog.  It is also about people like me, the name is actually “mom’s like me“.  It is about my experience with our son Joshua.  I must warn you it is not perfect yet.  As a matter of fact I have a lot that I want to do to it yet but as with most other things, It may never be perfect and if I wait until it is I may never be able to share it and I have already been blessed by “meeting” other “moms like me” through it.  So I will continue to work on it as time and emotions allow and I will share our story piece by piece.  Just think of it as a continual cliffhanger.

I’m BaAack

April 23, 2009

Okay so this morning Erica had to go see a Pediatric Endocrinologist because the curve of her growth chart has dropped off significantly and they want to check if it’s because of all the steroids she’s on or some other reason.

So when we went we didn’t figure on her needing any pokes today as this was a first consult.  OOps!  They wanted to run a bunch of labs and get an xray of her arm to do a “bone age” test.  So we went from the Dr’s office across the street to Spectrum Health to get the stuff done since we were there already anyway.  After we had checked in at the registration desk and were heading down the hallway, Brandon mouths to me “does she know what we’re doing” I told him no. (you see she had just been in Yesterday AM to have an “AM cortisol” test done)  So as we approach the lab area I told Erica what we had to do and without missing a beat she says “Oh, you are so picking me up from school today” -she had wanted Brandon to pick her up after school yesterday but it didn’t work out.  Thankfully we were going to pick them up today anyway =)

Ultrasound Update

December 3, 2008

I don’t know how to put pictures on this computer yet so the blurry photo of the photo will have to wait =)

We had another ultrasound yesterday for …baby girl  -opps I almost gave away the name.  The doctor had wanted to get another look at her b/c when we were in a couple of weeks ago I was measuring a little big -okay 4-6 weeks big and she was slightly on a diagonal so they wanted to be sure she wasn’t pulling any shenanegans.  So at our ultrasound yesterday, we found out that she is currently about 7 lbs (we are 34 weeks which puts her in about the 84% -right in there with her big sisters), has lots of hair or more specifically long hair (both the doctor and the technician commented on how long it was), chubby cheeks, and we had them double check that she is a she -pink will indeed be the appropriate color to pack for the hospital.  The amniotic fluid levels are appropriate and she is in the correct position.  We are also tenetively set for another ultrasound just before christmas b/c they want to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn’t get too big.  So, I can now play name that bump with a fair amount of accuracy.

Ooh!  And I’m so proud of myself, I took off my boots to get weighed b/c I’m pretty sure that boots are heavy enough to be considered cheating.

Trick-or-treat truth

November 2, 2008

Since I forgot again this year to take pictures, I’ll have to describe the gilrs costumes.  Lauren wore a sleeping beauty costume complete with crown, Erica was a good witch (since we don’t allow ghosts, goblins or other spooky type things) her costume consisted of pink tights, pink slippers trimmed with fur, a lovely shear tutu type thing which we put a little blue skirt under so people couldn’t see her undies, a white top I pulled out of my box of dresses to make over and a little white fur shall we own -oh I can’t forget the fancy hair accessory (that is actually a candle decoration), Sam was not dressed up b/c she had stayed home from school with an ear ache and therefore was not allowed to go out.  both of the girls were allowed to wear make-up as part of their costumes and I also did thier hair up and curled it so they would look beautiful.  Now first let me tell you that a good witch looks an aweful lot like a fairy w/o the wings and I kept saying good fairy and was consistantlly being corrected.   We had gone into Jenison so the girls could go trick-or-treat at Oak Crest where Brandon’s Grandparents live (Sam came along for the ride).  After going there, we headed to Fazoli’s to get something to eat.  While Brandon was in line waiting to order, the girls and I went to go find a table.  We went around the corner and there were some people leaving and the lady stopped after seeing Lauren and says “oh my, are you a real princess” to which Lauren shyly nods her head yes.  The woman continued to make over her about how pretty she was and asked if she was supposed to curtsy, then she saw Erica and asked “oh are you a princess too”?  I was anticipating that Erica was going to correct this nice but clearly misguided person that she was a good witch not a princess but instead she leans foreward and says in a somewhat confidential tone, “we’re really just trick-or-treaters”.  Oh she makes me laugh!

Then bless his heart Brandon was feeling bad for Sam and went with her bucket to each house enduring the funny looks he got when he said “we have a sick one in the car”.  So she did not have to miss out on Haloween after all.

I had joked with Brandon that if I had some black felt at home I would have cut out shapes to make a carved pumpkin on my belly out of the orange tank top I was wearing but alas there was none.