A Year’s Worth of Material: Part II


After Christmas, we did our best to enjoy the winter weather here at home.

Winter 4 Winter 3And when it arrived, we were grateful for the spring.

Summer 1In early June, the city repaired a pipe under our street. Jack posted up on the front step to eat his meals for three days.

Summer 2We spent afternoons with legos and coloring books.

Summer 3 Summer 4And, we enjoyed the scenery and the park at Bread and Pickle.

Summer 5 Summer 6 Summer 7 _DSC3074 Summer 8 Summer 9 Summer 10 Summer 11The kids went to school one day a week this summer. On her first day, Hazey held her little lunch box on the lawn for a picture and made my heart melt.

_DSC3144 Summer 12 Summer 13And, when he wasn’t in school, Jack was really tied down with paperwork.

Summer 14We spent a good chunk of our weekends at the cabin. That place is my favorite thing about summer.

Summer 15 Summer 16 Summer 17 _DSC3283 Summer 18 Summer 19 _DSC3369

In late June, Grandpa worked in the garden and Jack volunteered to help. His services lasted one plant’s worth before pulling up a stool to audit. I once saw a CBS Sunday Morning story about a dog and an elephant who became best friends. The love affair between these two reminds me of that story.

Summer 20 _DSC3422 _DSC3388 _DSC3443All of our swimming one weekend, brought with it the scourge of Minnesota summers– Swimmers’ Itch. Jack was a pretty good sport about it. Poor kid looked like a leper for a good week.

Summer 21 Summer 22 Summer 23From then on, we did our swimming in the middle of the lake. Jack loved jumping off the pontoon into the water.

Summer 24 Summer 25The Fourth of July came and I got really obnoxious with the outfits and the setting up of photos. Bear with me. I love this holiday, and Hazey’s dress just killed me.

Fourth1 Fourth2 Fourth3 Fourth4 Fourth5 _DSC3965 _DSC4047 _DSC4052That weekend, there was also an Instagram video project that necessitated beer-cracking whilst in free-fall.

Fourth6 Fourth7 Fourth8 Fourth9

For most of the remainder of the summer, we followed Becky’s lead and adopted the Sunday morning ritual of visiting the Farmer’s Market to buy fruit and flowers for the week.

Market Market2 _DSC4156 Market3 Market4 Market5 Market6 Market7 Market8

_DSC4206 _DSC4225

And, Jack started t-ball in July.

It was cute for a few minutes.

Tball1 Tball2 Tball3

But, Jack’s level of interest was,  well…

Tball4 _DSC4317 _DSC4320

Though, Hazey found ways to keep herself occupied.

Tball5 Tball6 Tball7 Tball8

All in all, the kids really were kind to each other this summer. They don’t get on each other’s nerves too terribly yet, and there are moments of such sweetness between them it melts my heart.

_DSC4232 _DSC4231 Lounging1 Lounging2 _DSC4482 _DSC4497

And, in August we took the little squirrels to the Science Museum while the Space exhibit was going on.

SciM1 SciM2 SciM3 _DSC4537 _DSC4544That gets me to August. I’ll be back with Part III– which is essentially a more socially acceptable form of Toddlers and Tiaras because I discovered British-inspired fall clothing for toddler girls. Stay tuned.

A Year’s Worth of Material: Part I


It’s been almost a year since I’ve written. That makes me so sad. I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that tells me this year will have never really happened if I don’t have it recorded in history. So rather than starting fresh, I’m attempting a massive catch-up post in two parts. Here we go.

Last summer, we spent weekends at the lake dining out at the Long Bridge.

Late Summer 1

_DSC6502The bravest of us, pausing between bites of her burger to make the jump.

Late Summer 4We cruised the still, morning water on the pontoon every chance we got.

Late Summer 7

_DSC6461Maddie liked to dress up for the occasion. (The youngest and most laid back of the family doesn’t pack a suitcase. Relies instead on whatever may turn up in the back of Dad’s closet).

Late Summer 2We swam when the evenings were warm,

Late Summer 6


and tested the waters in grandpa’s latest project– the sparkly green boat.

Late Summer 9


Late Summer 13

Late Summer 10A few of us watched the inaugural ride from dry land.


We lounged and hunted clams during the day and sat around the bonfire at night.



Late Summer 12

Late Summer 11

Late Summer 5

Late Summer 14And the Fourth of July came and went too.

Late Summer 3

Back in St. Louis Park, we enjoyed our last few weeks in the little house on Colorado Avenue.

Late Summer 8


_DSC7606And then we said a tearful goodbye.


_DSC7847Goodbye to the little shed that my dad helped us build, with the pretty windows that came from the lake cabin.


Late Summer 17Billy couldn’t take his sunglasses off on the day of the move. He didn’t want the movers to see his “allergies flaring up.”

Late Summer 18And, with that, we turned the page and started a new chapter.

_DSC7724After the move, we took one last trip to the lake, for the season, to baptize little Hazey Buckets, with God Parents, Eric and Marita, and their sweet little ones.




Late Summer 20

Late Summer 19

_DSC7997And then we went back to school.

Late Summer 15


Late Summer 16We spent a lot of our time last fall breaking in the new front yard.

Late Summer 21_DSC8105_DSC8111

Early Fall 1


Early Fall 3

Early Fall 2

And, enjoying the view from the inside too.






When Halloween rolled around, we celebrated with cousins.


Halloween 1



Halloween 2

Halloween 3

Halloween 4

When it comes to the dance floor, there is one Schuett cousin who feels the music a little deeper than the rest.

Halloween 5

And of course, there was trick or treating to be done.


MVP went to little CC, who clomped along in plastic high heels and a synthetic Elsa wig all eight blocks. Didn’t complain once. Someday, she’s going to be the best college roommate of all time.

Halloween 6As the weather turned chilly we curled up in the new house and enjoyed time with the littlest among us. She is the happiest, most fun baby to pal around with.

Fall 1

Fall 2



Fall 3

And that sweet little Peanut turned 1 on November 26th. My parents were in town for Thanksgiving. It was such a happy time.

Birthday 1

Birthday 2


Thanksgiving 2

Thanksgiving 1



Thanksgiving 3

Of course, the second Thanksgiving was over I started decorating for Christmas. I can’t help it. I wish the season would last from October to April.



In December, we had a cousins’ sleepover. Made pizzas, hot chocolate and watched a movie. Jack was in heaven.


Christmas 1


Christmas 2

Taylor read The Grinch to the boys, and Jack tried to work off the sugar buzz from the hot chocolate. _DSC9847

And we went to Jack’s school for the annual Christmas concert and had fun at a holiday party.


Christmas 3

We spent Christmas Eve with Billy’s family where I took video instead of pictures. …Video that I have yet to upload. Christmas day, we drove to the cabin to celebrate with my family.

Christmas 4

Christmas 5






Christmas 6



Christmas 7

Jack tried ice fishing with grandpa.

Christmas 8

Christmas 9

Christmas 10

Christmas 11And, after a weekend of fun, we drove home.

Winter 1

Winter 2

That makes half of our year. I’ll be back with the rest of our winter, spring, and summer soon. It’s good to be back.

Sweet Summertime


Can it really be August? How does that always happen so quickly?

We had a few backyard picnics over the last couple months.

Backyard LunchEnjoyed a concert of sorts,

Spring ConcertAnd tried for a photo shoot afterwards. Between total derailments and cookie bribes, this is the best it got.

Spring Concert 2We’ve done a lot of loving on the Littlest One. I can’t keep my lips off of her. Eight months old and she is still the happiest child in the universe.

Hazey Love 1

Hazey Love 2And lately, Billy does this thing when I am getting ready in the bathroom or hanging out with Jack in his room, where he has Hazey poke her little body around the corner of the hallway and say adult things like, “Hey mom, can I borrow the car keys? I need to run an errand,” in a voice that sounds just like Marge Simpson. It makes me pee my pants every time.


Of course, Jack also likes to be included in the game. Though, his appearance in the door frame is a bit more gangly these days.


We did breakfast with Grandma Nanny and Cousin Taylor.



And breakfast on the front step (watching the big truck work next door).

Big Truck

There was a visit to the Detroit Lakes street fair.



Fair 3


And busy days that led to very sleepy evenings. (I don’t think there is anything I love quite like watching my babies sleep at night).


Mostly, around home we’ve lounged and played. (Sometimes at the same time).

Snuggling with Stella


Z and B

Jack and Hazey A

Me and Z

Me and Z 3

Me and Z 2


Hazey Bucks 2

_DSC5776Hazey Buckets has been trying her hand at real food. She’s hasn’t been much of a fan of the first few bites of any one thing.

Hazey Bucks

But she is cuter than a bug’s ear.


We’ve had a few weekends at the cabin too. One in particular which was spent watching, in awe, as my dad, his brother, and a few friends built a new sauna to replace the old one on our property. When it’s finished, it will have a sod roof. One day, I hope to top it with a resident goat.

Sauna 1

Sauna 2

Sauna 3

Sauna 4

Sauna 5

Sauna 6

Sauna 7


The rest of us worked… less hard.





Hazey Buckets












But, the biggest news for us this summer is that we sold our little house on Colorado Avenue. On Friday we will close on the new place and accept our standing as sell-outs true suburbanites.

And, true to form, I could not be more excited, and I could not be more sad.

A new chapter! A bigger yard! More square-footage! A kitchen wherein I can fully extend my arms!

The old chapter. The place where my first-born took his first steps. Walking distance to our best friends. An excuse never to have to use my kitchen.

I worry– am I saying goodbye to the simplest and happiest time in my life? This sweet little house where the walls are closing in, but where we are forced (for better or for worse) to really live with one another.

After a text discussion comprising a menagerie of emoticons, my dear friend Liz used actual letters to spell words. In doing so, she said to me, “Jump up and down! Those are my tears that we won’t be so near. When we move, I will be skipping out the door! Enjoy it!”

I think Liz is right.

And, I also think it is probably a good thing that I am dragging my feet a bit out the paint-chipped door of this old house.

There is a story I love about the time when my grandparents sold their family home in Jamestown, ND. They had built the home themselves, and in it, raised their three children, (my dad, their youngest). The day the moving trucks came, my grandmother clutched a permanent marker in her well-manicured hand and stepped with purpose downstairs into the basement. Once there, she set up a ladder and climbed to the top. Then, with her familiar, lovely penmanship, committed to the rafters, “This was a happy home.”

There is a lot of her in me.

So, I will take Liz’s advice. Hello new chapter!  And, I will always hold a piece of our sweet little house on Colorado Avenue in my heart.

Here goes nothing.


Ordinary Moments


Over Easter break at home, I sat on the couch holding hands with my grandpa while we watched my two kids playing. Jack was running around with a toy car and Hazey was lying on her back, kicking away and smiling. After a few minutes, he looked over at me and said, “Wow! Do you just get down on your knees every day and thank God for your life?”

I looked back at that scene through his eyes– a doctor, a husband, a father of three, friend to many, a man who served in the Korean war, built two homes, saw his children grow up and start beautiful families of their own, saw his grandchildren bring children of their own into the world. A man who has lived a life that a person could only hope for. And, here he was looking at my young family and exclaiming at its beauty. It gave me such pause; because, most of the time I am so caught up in the living of my life, that I don’t often stop to marvel at it with the gratitude I owe.

We found out this week that my grandpa has prostate cancer that has metastasized to his bones. He will leave the hospital tomorrow and Hospice will begin caring for him at his home with my grandma.

PoppyEd has said so many times over the past few years that he doesn’t want anyone to cry for him when he dies– that he has led a full and happy life, and that he is ready to go. It is a testament to a life well-lived that he feels that way. I am just not sure that I am ready for him to go. He means more to me than I can ever put into words.

This next batch of photos is a smattering of moments from everyday life over the last few months around here. They are photos that I often think of as so very ordinary– but with PoppyEd in mind, I am reminded that they are the very moments that make up a lifetime’s worth of beautiful memories.

PoppyEd– these are for you. Thank you for teaching me how to keep my nose clean, remember my name, and “Watch out for the deer.” …And, thank you for reminding me to pay attention the beauty in ordinary moments.

I love you past the moon.


























The Nerdiest Ninja


I’ve been back at work now for three weeks, and mostly, it’s been wonderful. Co-workers seemed genuinely happy to have me back, and that made me feel valuable– which was a nice change from feeling greasy. I love my job, and that is no small blessing.

I was going to title this post, “We’re Living in a Meth House.” So there’s that, also. The clutter is worse than usual, not only because I’ve added work to my already overflowing plate (and I’m a poor multi-tasker), but also because our dreams of moving to a bigger home are becoming more acute, and that makes me feel like I have one foot out the door. (One dirty-socked and shoeless foot). As it is, the walls feel like they are closing in on our jumpy seats, and jingle pads, and Boppy chairs, and christmas ornaments. I have waved the white flag to the encroaching junk, and now as I bounce Hazey from room to room, I have actual moments of laughter as I hurtle over the Dumping Ground that is our current state of being. My dreams of late have drifted to mud room lockers and charging stations. It’s all very grown up.

Hazey P


And, with being back at work, comes the familiar-to-many challenge of the morning routine. Anyone who has attempted (morning after morning) to coax a three-year-old out the door by a specific and very relevant hour, knows the pain with which I speak, when I say, “Oh dear Jesus Lord, help me.”

The realtime deadline is what kills us. We have a certain number of minutes for a certain number of tasks to be performed, and then, when too many of those tasks fall outside the allocated timeline, I am late to work. The deadline is real and the stress level is high.

Three-year-olds have a built-in microchip for sensing these tenuous scenarios. Jack smells my “late-to-work pheromones” and then exploits the shit out of me by melting down at the ask of every menial errand. In these instances, he is only capable of speaking in Whine, which pierces my sweaty eardrums and leads me to spaz– which leads to more of his tears, which eventually leads to mine. (I have actually cried– once– standing in the driveway, outside my car, after buckling in both kids (crying), and shutting their doors. I would love to know what the neighbors thought of that episode.)

After one week of this, I decided there had to be a better way. So, I made a sticker chart. …And, an angel came down from heaven, and she said, “There shall be a miracle bestowed unto this house of baby toys and squaller.”

This sticker chart is my pride and joy. I could not love it more had I birthed it from my own loins rather than nerded-out with my desktop laminator for two straight days.

It is genuinely embarrassing how proud I am of this dumb thing.



I explained the chart to Jack, and then took him to the store to pick out some very masculine stickers. Each morning, as he completes a task, he puts one of his very masculine stickers in the designated box, and if he gets all of his stickers that morning, he gets to choose a jelly bean before we leave the house.

What a sucker.

Mornings now, he runs around the house, taking care of himself, without even a word of my direction. It is no less than a Miracle straight from Baby Jesus. And it is my most ninja parenting move thus far.


Those little chore pictures are attached with Velcro so we can remove the winter gear and add new summer tasks when the weather is warmer. I told you I nerded out.


He gets so pumped about the stickers. He keeps them in his bedside table drawer and picks them out before bed.



_DSC3278Hazey gets more fun by the day. She is the sweetest baby with the happiest demeanor which makes her all the easier to adore. Every time Billy picks her up, she reaches her tiny little hand up to feel his beard. And she is content to do so for hours.



Jack and Hazey

And, happily, the weather has been nicer and we’ve been getting out of the house a bit.



Also, we welcomed a new member to the family a few weeks ago. My brother and his wife brought home the sweetest little Golden Doodle puppy. Macy and Jack made fast friends. 



Though, I think Jack would rather spend his time with Uncle Charlie’s remote controlled helicopter.


Lately, I’ve noticed birds singing in the mornings where there were none, and that might be my favorite day of the year– the day the song birds come back. Happy spring.


Back to the World


On February 2nd, Jack turned three. We kept things low-key and invited just family to the Mall of America for a few rides and lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe. If I can have it my way, this is what we’ll do every year until he’s requesting an extended curfew and a bedroom in the basement for birthday gifts.

He was so excited to see his cousins, ride the rides, and to turn three. I love this sweet boy so much it hurts.



_DSC2338The Cousin Entourage was pretty entertaining.

















Birthday12A few weeks later we took a trip home to Fargo to visit my darling grandparents, so that they could meet little Hazey. Hazel’s middle name is Patricia– after the 94-year-old woman who cradled her so sweetly. It is a memory I will carry with me for as long as I live to watch those two gaze at one another.

N and P 1

N and P 2




N and P 4

_DSC2773My grandfather ditched his cane and got on all fours to examine her sweet face. He spent his career as a general practitioner and his hands still moved with the confident ease of a doctor’s when he touched her little ears.


N and P 3



Other excitement included mornings in the hot tub at below 0 temperatures,



skating at the ice rink across the street,

N and P 5

and Jack’s sleeping arrangement, comprising a tent, sleeping bag, and flashlight. (My dad still has the brain of an 11 year-old-boy which makes him incredibly gifted at concocting ideas that will make a three-year-old boy’s head explode)



Making Valentines for Jack’s classmates was another big February event. Pinterest led me to over-ambition– as it does. Never again.

Valentine 1

Valentine 2

As I was editing these photos, Jack walked over to my computer to take a look. I asked him, “What’s going on in these photos, Buddy?” To which he replied, “I’m makin’ some dewicious tweats fo my fwiends.”

It made me laugh.

Valentine 3

Valentine 4

There was another year of Lobster Fest wherein we toasted to Jack’s birth and to good friends…


Lobster Fest 1

Bonus Video

And braving the snow and the cold of this never-ending winter.


Hazel turned three months just a few days ago, and I will go back to work on Monday. In just this short time that she’s been here, I have been struggling to find the words to describe how this sweet, little girl has changed me.

Before Jack was born, I couldn’t apprehend just what his presence would feel like, but I knew my life would change in some monumental way, and I braced myself for that.

I didn’t expect to be so effected by my second-born. I expected that she would be another beautiful life to love and nurture, certainly. But, I figured that the metamorphosis that happens to you when you bring a child into the world is essentially done after that first experience. I have been absolutely shocked (and filled with such a sense of wonder) to discover that I was entirely wrong.

I am a different parent now than I was three months ago. I am milder, and seem to spend so much more of my time in absolute awe of these two beautiful little people. Hazel’s gift to me, is that she has helped me to slow my thoughts, and to see the joy in (almost) every moment I have with my babies. And, it feels almost inexplicable to me.

You know that feeling when things just get so hard, or so embarrassing, or so uncomfortable, that instead of crying, or feeling frustrated, or reacting in any way that suits the situation, you laugh instead? Like laugh really hard? Uncomfortably hard, until your sides and your cheeks hurt? That’s a little bit like what it feels like with Hazel. Except it’s not unbearably hard, or uncomfortable, or any of those things. It’s almost as if my life now with her in it, feels so full of so many emotions– good ones, hard ones, tender ones, intense and sometimes frustrating ones– that instead of trying to chase down each emotion and understand and feel them all, my mind just decides to smile and find the grace in each moment instead. It is tough to understand and even more difficult to explain. But, suffice it to say that I have found myself mellowed in some way. And, what’s more– approaching my parenting with Jack, and my relationships with Billy and family and friends with so much more patience and ease.

And, for anyone, this would be a gift. But, for a somewhat uptight person with nearly crippling anxiety about many everyday life events, this feels like the greatest blessing  I could ever hope to receive.

I am so incredibly grateful for this little girl entering my life. She has the sweetest demeanor and the most calm energy; and, she has absolutely grounded and centered me in a way I didn’t think possible.

Hazel 1

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Like any mom would, I was feeling sad about heading back to work on Monday. And, in my world, there is a Dad Email for that.

Well, it will tug at your heart strings that first day; but, she will be in good hands, and it’s good to realize that as difficult as they are, life consists of a lot of goodbyes. Hard as it is to say goodbye to Hazey’s round-the-clock care, your ability to positively influence children is your calling. Goodbye to home and comfort, hello to helping others less fortunate. Hello to fulfillment and the realization that you can multitask raising children and have a rewarding career. Having to get up and accomplish something, that is not always easy, that is bigger than yourself, is one of the great untold blessings in life. The time you spend with your children will be well-spent and cherished.

Don’t look back, look straight ahead with pride and confidence that you are doing a great job in both counseling and parenting.

Love you,


P.S. Listening to the top 100 best hits of the 90’s. Boy, your music really sucked.

Aside from the 90’s music rip– amen to that.

…”I’m Done!”


I was going through videos on my phone today and came upon this one from the cabin over Christmas. Jack had asked if he could hold Hazey. And, when she started crying, he reacted exactly like every guy you’ve ever seen hold a crying baby.

It made me laugh so hard.


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