Uncle Gene


It was a year ago today that we got the text from Kyle that “Jesus, himself had come to take Gene Home.”.  My feelings were a mix of  relief and regret. Pancreatic Cancer is one of those horrific diseases that eats away at a person until there is nothing left but keeps them alive anyway.  So, yes, we were grateful when the suffering was over.  But Gene was one of those guys that you had to be intentional about getting together with and, like most people you take for granted, we didn’t get together as much as we should have. Thus regret peeks in.


The time that we did get in was incredibly sweet; lunch, when he was feeling up to it, a trip to the Outdoor Campus, a soccer game, or movies at my house. One of Gene’s greatest gifts was his ability to connect with people and creating conversations. While running errands before Christmas he was chatting with the down hearted clerk at Toys R Us and the Native American man who was in town mourning his late wife at the Howard Johnson. He was best at connecting with those he loved, like with his great nieces while having lunch at Culvers.  My girls are blessed by having known him and Mia still mentions Gene and the different things they did together.  Because Mia didn’t have school, they got a lot of time in together toward the end and became good buddies.



I find myself thinking of him frequently.  During the Olympics, memories of skiing at Terry Peak came in.  Gene was always good for conversation and stories on the chairlift and cheese fries in the lodge. Every time Mia has on cowboy boots at the worst times, like riding a scooter or in an icy parking lot.  It was a rare day, one you took note of, if you saw Gene in a pair of tennis shoes.  Nate’s exclamations during a football game that would have made Gene chuckle.  I can still hear his laugh.  Anytime anyone mentions camping, or fishing, or rock climbing or driving a car in a blizzard on the Michelson Trail.  That last one was probably only him.


Uncle Gene was a great uncle and he still missed.  I am grateful for the time we had with him and look forward to skiing down a mountain with him again.


Link to Obituary   http://www.osheimschmidt.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=1929368

Beauty School Drop Out


One thing you learn as a parent is to never utter the words ” My child would never….” It is especially true for those of you who don’t have kids yet.  For example, I distinctly remember Nate laughing at a story of someones child cutting her own hair. “Why would they do that! Our kids will never cut their hair.”


We never thought about it again and Nate’s statement seemed to be true, until the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2017.  We were relaxing after church waiting to go to a birthday party when Mia came up and whispered in my ear, “I’m sorry mama. I cut my hair a little bit. I’m really sorry.”


Our reaction was laughter and attempts at trying to convey the seriousness of these actions. Apparently as Bailey was zoning out with a show, Mia had picked up the scissors I had been wrapping gifts with and decided to give herself a trim.  A trip to Cost Cutter after the Birthday party was in order to clean things up.  I warned Mia her hair was going to be much shorter now and that is is the consequence of cutting ones own hair.  Mia was delighted.


Honestly so am I.  I never would have had the guts to cut her hair this short and we both LOVE it. We have had multiple conversations about how to use scissors and I keep a better eye on them. We also discussed going to the salon when we want our hair cut.  I was reminded of the time Holly cut my hair when we were little, my entire braid. Beauty school drop out is in the genes.  Nate and I have again learned the hard way to “never say never”.

An Attempt to Wrap up 2017

We always have a lot going on in that time in between Thanksgiving and New Years and I am going to try and cover the highlights.



Because it was  not Holly and John’s year to be in South Dakota for Christmas this year, we decided to meet for a Thanksgiving/ Christmas Celebration in Casper, WY. We found an excellent spot for Thanksgiving Dinner at a place called The Hanger that included an indoor jump castle. Our weekend was spent swimming, visiting Santa at breakfast, opening gifts, playing with gifts, swimming, Jump Craze and either waiting for or finding food.

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Annual Selecting of the Ornament 

I find it funny how picking out an ornament every year has become such a favorite. The girls know it’s coming right after we put up the tree and start planning the trip to Hobby Lobby.  And even though I catch myself rolling my eyes and asking, “Are you sure?” The choices they make really do reflect their personality

Yes, Mia choose a sparkly, glass piece of bacon.


Bailey’s whale continues to reflect her love of God’s Creatures.

Daddy Daughter Snowball

Unfortunately, I caught the horrific Strep Throat about two weeks before Christmas. It had been six years since I was hit this hard by my nemesis. I was bedridden for 4 whole days which is 4 weeks in mom years during the month of December. It was as much fun as it sounds. So Nate, being the fun dad that he is, decided to take the girls to the Daddy Daughter Snowball at the Ramkota. They got all gussied up for dinner and dessert. Enjoying the night getting faces painted, taking pictures in the photo booth, and dancing the night away.



The Christmas Train

We had made plans early to get on the Christmas Train in Hill City. My train loving, Mia, had never been and it was on our advent bucket list. We also used it as an opportunity to celebrate mom and dad’s 45th anniversary with dinner afterwards. It was a great time with coco, cookies, santa, bells and magic.  You know who’s train ride wasn’t magical, the parents with the triplets sitting right behind us. Two is not the best age to ride the Christmas Train unless, as a parent, you want to shed a few pounds in sweat and frustration.


A Montana Christmas

We spent four nights in Montana and had a wonderful, restful time celebrating and catching up with family. Christmas was everything it should be, indulging on delightful food and drink, sharing gifts and playing nonstop with cousins.

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Happy New Year, Broncos

The night before we left Montana, Nate’s brother called to see if we would be interested in going to the Broncos game on New Year’s Eve. They had a friend who had extra tickets that we could use. We of course were interested and made arrangements for the girls and work. Unfortunately the Montana folks got snowed in with 14 inches of snow, so it turned into a getaway for Nate and I. We also got spoiled. The tickets from Brian’s friend were front row end zone tickets, and Brian over-nighted his Mile High Club tickets so we had a warm place to hang out and eat when things got too cold. High temp during the game was 18 degrees. We don’t know how we will be able to go to another game without such luxuries.


The girls were also spoiled by my parents with  swimming and movies and New Years Eve fun.

2017 was full of huge blessings for us and we are excited for what 2018 has in store for us.


Halloween 2017


These characters were tons of fun!


Mia knew in September that she wanted to be either Moana or Uma from Descendants 2. Although she really wanted Nate to be Maui, her heart settled on Uma. I was glad too because Moana and South Dakota Octobers don’t mix. For those who may be unfamiliar with Uma, she is a villain from Disney’s made for TV musical, Descendants (also novels). As the title suggests the story is made up of the “descendants” of all our favorite fairy tale characters. Uma is Ursula’s daughter from the Little Mermaid. She is the captain of an unsavory pirate crew.  Unlike the villains from the first movie, Uma does NOT choose to be good, but is happily content to be evil.  Hmmm…. This little sassafras has the spirited personality to pull it off.


I always love how thoughtful Bailey is when choosing a Halloween costume.  Ever since we came home from San Diego she had been saying she wanted to be a sea lion. She thought it would be highly entertaining to “bark” and wave doing little tricks as people threw “treats” at her from their doorsteps.  This is when the internet failed me. You cannot buy a sea lion costume. Seal, yes, albeit lame, Sea Lion, no.  My girl knows her animal biology all too well to settle for a seal. You also cannot find a sea lion sewing pattern or tutorial anywhere. Go figure.  So I was thrilled that we were going to be seeing Empire Strikes Back at the Elks for a good friend’s 40th birthday celebration. I crossed my fingers that she would be inspired to be something/anything else.  My wish was granted.  Why C3PO? ” We are both funny.” As you might imagine the store-bought C3PO costumes were duds. But the Star Wars fans have oodles of tutorials out there and Bailey’s costume was easy and fun to make.

Mia still wears her costume to sing and dance to the soundtrack and they both still love to trick or treat.  At  one point I made a comment about Bailey’s trick or treating focus and hustle by saying, “Bails you are getting after it, you are such a trooper.”  To which she replied, “I’m not a trooper, I’m an android.”  Insert laughing eye roll here. She also said, “I love my costume, Thanks mom.”  Insert super full heart here.

Bailey and the BEAST

Soccer was so much fun this fall. There were a lot of changes this year as Bailey moved up to U-10. can-bailey-get-around-goalie

They played with 7 players instead of 4.


A goalie was added.


Positions were learned.


Bailey was particularly fond of playing Forward.  She ended the season with two goals in her last game.  Nate took over the head coaching position and did a really, great job.  He was positive with the girls and had a good balance of fun and focus. By the end of the season, we were so proud of how the girls improved in knowing there spots and their passing game.


Mia, well, Mia was something else. It was like a switch flipped and that first game she came out playing ferociously.


She was aggressive.


I mean really aggressive and at 4 years old aggressive equals goals. She was scoring up to 6 a game. I give her kudos for giving her team mates room when they had the ball  and getting open for a pass ( even though passing isn’t really on the 4 year old itinerary).


As Mia would wait for the kick off she would get a snarl on her face and when we asked her about it afterwards she said, “that was my “get tough” face”.  I wonder where she has heard that before?  sigh…She has her daddy’s competitive heart:) and his Norse man genes.  (I tried to get her to be a viking queen for Halloween this year, but she wouldn’t hear of it.)

Most importantly, the girls had fun.  They were eager to practice and disappointed when games were rescheduled due to weather.  Nate had fun coaching and I always have fun watching and cheering from the sidelines. I can’t wait until spring.

A big THANKS to my dad, One of the girl’s biggest fans and fantastic photographer who took all the pics.




Time sure flies when your having fun! It seems just like yesterday that Bailey was hitting this milestone and here we are again…5 years. It’s hard to believe, but here we are celebrating Mia’s 5th Birthday.

Today, her actual birthday, was a Monday, which we made official by taking donuts to Preschool, a trip to the pool when sister got home, and dinner out with Dad at The Imperial.

We, of course, partied hard over the weekend with friends, family and neighbors that popped over.

Mia, your personality continues to blossom and surprise us as you grow.  You are more aggressive than most on the soccer field and love riding your bike more than anything, yet you squealed with delight when you opened the high heel shoes your sister gave you. Your mom and dad tried to even out your gifts with your interests getting you a two-wheeled scooter and a bunch of jewelry and new fashion boots.  You epitomize a Fierce Femininity. That means that you are strong and brave and athletic, but also gentle and compassionate and kind. We so love this about you.  You give compliments freely to everyone and anyone.  When we saw the girl working at Blaze Pizza, we both were struck by her beauty. But as I started to focus on her giant ear plugs ruining her ears, you were drawn to her eyes. Her beautiful eyes adorned with the perfect makeup. You whispered into my ear, ” She has pretty eyes. Tell her.”  When I smiled and tried to move forward with the ordering process, you clenched your teeth and grabbed my shirt and said, “TELL her.”  So I did.  “We both think you have very pretty eyes.” You are drawn to the beauty in others so easily, I am envious. Your dad and I love your beautiful heart and are so grateful to call you ours.

On another fun note, I peeked back at Bailey’s 5th birthday and compared the two.  You can see how different and unique they really are.







School Started 2017

So the 2017 School year is well on its way and it is only right that I post our “back to school pics”. Better late than never. I mean how can I quit before my youngest is even in Kindergarten.  I can hear it now, in ten years Mia would look back through the blog and say, “How come you never posted any “back to school” pictures of me?”  So here they are:


Mia is in Mrs. Panik’s four year old Preschool Class and she is actually loving it. Unlike last year, this years start has been very smooth.  There were a couple of days of trepidation when Mia chose to wear pins for comfort and she cried “a teeny” bit at school because she missed me. But those days passed quickly and now Mia is happy to go to school.  Also, unlike last year, she loves Gym and her teacher, Mr Waylen, says that she is a leader there.


Bailey had thought all of the 3rd Grade teachers would be good, but she got whom she thought would be her favorite, Mrs. Leite. Not only that, but one of her best buddies, Ariana is in her class. The first day of school, she hopped off of the bus and declared that she is going to LOVE third grade. Why?  “Mrs. Leite is going to do her best to keep us off of the carpet.” Huh?? Bailey would have thrived in our old classrooms where we had desks as soon as we got to first grade and converted Velveta Cheese cartons into pencil boxes.  No carpet sitting back then, no siree.  Other highlights for Bailey include a “pet” tadpole to observe the life cycle, a new wacky, albeit fun, music teacher, invisible Bob (created by said teacher), and multiplication.  Thankfully the “carpet sitting” is at a minimum.

Here’s to another year, may it go slower than the last.