Welcome back to another episode of “Family Friday” in which we try our hand at musical theater.

Or, at least, Big Sissie does. She did really well at her school concert. She knew all the words to every song, and we could clearly hear her voice over the whole crowd. She has never had a problem making herself heard.

That was Friday night, a late night for the little folks, and for Mommy and Daddy too. Daddy almost didn’t make it because patients kept getting pneumonia and such, but he got there just on time. Then Big Sissie was so excited and then so tearful afterwards.

Just so much feels!

Then on Saturday we had the Big Sis Birthday Party, Take Two. That is, the friend birthday party. The other one was the family birthday party. Uncle Adam and Co got to go to both parties because Edmund and Annarose fall into both categories.

For the friend birthday party we went to our favorite pottery painting studio and rented their downstairs room, with some pizza and cupcakes, and everyone got to paint some pottery.

It was a great time, and the kids all enjoyed it. Well worth the price. And then we all got to sing “Happy Birthday” and Big Sis blew out the candle on the cupcake.

They are both growing up fast, learning to take responsibility and contribute to the upkeep of the family.

Scraping their plates after lunch.

Sunday was a quiet, stay at home kind of day. Mommy went on a quick Walmart run after Mass and picked up some thread, and a few other things. With this pregnancy, for some reason, she has started nesting early, and the unfinished projects in her sewing bag have been burning a hole in her imagination for weeks. One, in particular, was a green sweater with big, tacky, multicolored, spherical buttons. Mommy wanted to take those buttons off and replace them with some gray-green buttons her Grandma bought on clearance for $0.11 back in 1970-something, and then never used.

She was so pleased with herself for matching the color exactly from memory.

Daddy and Ellie made bread, but Daddy got impatient and did not wait for it to rise all the way the second time before putting it in the oven. This was the result:

As soon as they warmed up in the oven the crust baked hard, and then the yeast inside continued to expand and cracked the crust. Part of the problem was we had all the doors and windows open to air the viruses out of the house and replace them with new, exotic ones from the neighborhood. So the yeast did not rise very quickly. I think next time I should try the warm oven trick. Bread is a lot harder than pizza.

This birthday present from Uncle Ian and Auntie Melissa was a hit.

Any good place to read is always appreciated. However, the best place is still Mommy’s or Daddy’s laps.

We read a lot of books at our house. We have since before the children were born, and we believe it is a good part of the reason why they both have super advanced language skills for their ages. Plus it is fun, and provides a great alternative to screen time. Best of all, it gives Mommy and Daddy an excuse to re-enjoy our favorite classic children’s books.

Our new raised bed is put in, and filled. Underneath the dirt is about a bale worth of partially decomposed straw that we used to winter-proof the dahlia roots.

We’ll be sorry we moved that when the temperature drops below freezing again, but they haven’t sprouted yet, so they should be fine for just an overnight frost.

Our straw bale garden!

The straw bale garden is set up, and now we just have to finish treating it. We are going the organic route, which means the nitrogen rich fertilizer is not quite as nitrogen rich as an artificial fertilizer, and is much smellier. But it is all an experiment, and Little Sis loves helping spray the bales with the hose.

The apple trees are another experiment.

Daddy bought and read a bunch of books about apples in particular, and orcharding in general over the winter. Turns out we did just about everything wrong with our two little apple trees. So this Daddy got out and pruned them, and now he is training some of the branches that sagged from the weight of their fruit last year. We will probably thin the crop this year, and definitely summer prune the tips of the leaders to keep these things from getting any taller. All in all, however, they haven’t done too badly, for as many things as we did wrong.

And a row of crocuses that Mommy planted two years ago decided that this is the spring they should put in their appearance. The girls love them, and Little Sis keeps us well supplied with crocus blossoms in the house.

So there you have it. Dress for the weather you want, not the weather you have. Be like a crocus.

That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend, and pray for us. Keep our special intentions in your prayers, please.

God Bless!

Guess who is a whole year older this week!

This Girl!

That’s right, Big Sis is now five!

Oh and also, Daddy is a year older two. We were within a couple days of sharing birthdays, which Daddy would have liked because it would have utterly eclipsed the Daddy birthday, almost like being born on Christmas. Daddy is old and crotchety now, and doesn’t take much truck in birthdays (not that he had much use for them in years past, being, as he was, young and crotchety) so his birthday is soon told. It was quite lovely.

He got to sit on the deck for a good half hour drinking tea, and reading about how to prune the apple trees, which he subsequently did.

Cold as heck, it was, and raining, but bless me, let us not fail to carpe the diem and all that.

And we also went out as a family to buy some hellebore, which Daddy and Little Sis then planted.

Daddy also does not have much of a sweet tooth (except at 3:30 AM, or any other time he is massively sleep deprived) so his birthday cake was a spiced applesauce cake with nuts and raisins.

Learning how to grind walnuts.
Little Sis loves to help.

So it was a very quiet day, which is exactly how Daddy likes it.

Drawing pictures together in the afternoon while Mommy was at a funeral.

We celebrated Big Sissie’s birthday on Sunday, and that, let me tell, you was a much bigger production.

It started the day prior with the making of the cupcakes by Mommy and Big Sissie herself.

And then continued Sunday morning with special happy birthday pancakes.

Aafter Mass Daddy made the pizza doughs and prepping the ingredients, while Mommy topped the muffins and turned them into cupcakes.

Little Sis helped by QCing the snacks,

while Big Sissie climbed and played with the neighbor kids in their tree house until everything was set up.

Happy as a clam!

For dinner everyone made and topped their own personal pizzas

Which Daddy then baked in his pellet fired pizza oven.

With one or two exceptions they all came out quite pretty. This little thing

And a good time was had by all.

On Monday Mommy had the day off, but Daddy had to work. So she snuggled with the girls first thing in the morning and they had a nice, leisurely pajama breakfast together.

And then they went to the zoo with Papa.

We have been having a little early spring weather this year. The crocuses are out in full force! They don’t even seem to mind getting frosted pretty much every night.

We are also really pleased with the English Daisies we planted last year. We planted them in the spring, and they didn’t seem to take, until about fall time the first plants started to pop up, and then one single solitary blossom before winter. We thought they were just going to kind of wilt because they seemed so puny, but they have really thriven. Over the winter they got bigger and bigger and put out more flowers and buds, and then as soon as the sun broke through the clouds for the first day in a month, they just exploded.

I wonder if the climate reminds them of their own dear England.

Also, Mommy was super excited because she won a monopoly in Safeway monopoply.

That’s the price of a bubble tea!

And that’s all for this week, folks. God Bless and have a great weekend!

Another busy week done. It seems like every week is like that, completely absorbed in getting through the day with enough left in the tank to read some books, say some prayers, and put the girls to bed. Then pack the next day’s clothes, breakfast, and lunch, go to bed, and get ready to do it all over again. It reminds me of the story of the old hermit who had to walk two miles to draw water every day.

On Saturday we said “Happy Birthday” to Annarose!

She is two years old! Time for a parade!

On Sunday we went to the Northwest Trek wildlife park with some friends form church.

Flowers continue to bloom here. They seem to think it is spring, or something.

The anemone is especially pretty. However, I promise you it is not particularly warm out there. It is also very rainy. So Rainy, in fact, that we finally bit the bullet and bought a rain/sun shelter for the back deck.

Which they installed in, you guessed it, the rain.

But it will be nice this summer after New Baby is born. Mommy will have a shady place to sit and feed the baby while the girls run around in the yard.

It was time for Big Sis to make her St. Valentine’s Day cards for her classmates. Little Sis wanted to do school too.

Air soup. Very low carb.

Sorry, I am just not making profound sentences in my head right now. Probably because I am falling asleep. So y’all have a good night.

God Bless!

There was a certain old man dwelling in the desert whose cell was above two miles distant from any water. Often when he went to draw water, and the sun shone hot on him, he grew weary. Once, as he went, he said to himself, ‘There is no need for me to endure all this labour. I shall go and dwell nearer to the water.’ As he so spake he turned and saw one following him who seemed to mark his footsteps. The old man asked him, ‘Who are you?’ The stranger answered, ‘I am an angel, and the Lord sent me to count your footsteps and give you your reward.’ When the old man heard this he remembered that he had not come out into the desert for the sake of ease, but to travel on the narrow way that leadeth unto life. Then he became yet bolder in heart and more violent, and set his cell even further from the water.


May I just say, despite the fact that in all of our Family Friday posts we refer to Mommy and Daddy as Mommy and Daddy, we actually do have identities outside of being parents of two adorable girls and a soon-to-be-adorable whatever. We actually have dates sometimes (how do you think the laundry gets folded?) We call each other by our first names. We send each other little digital love notes…

Inside Joke. Also, not a HIPAA violation, because no patient identifiers.

Mommy is pretty much the best. She teaches the girls all about important things like discipline. Little Sis, at least, takes it to heart…

All her babies are in time out. On separate steps so they don’t interact.

What other Mom provides a fresh canvas for her children…

On her birthday?

That’s right! Mommy is one year older! Happy Birthday!

For her birthday, she wanted a quiet day to stay home and just relax. Daddy obliged by cooking some pork shoulder, and inviting some family and friends to come over and relax with us.

It was a fast weekend, and then Monday happened. And the rest of the week has followed its predictable helter skelter petty pace from day to day to Friday, and hence to this quick recap of our family. We hate to give the impression that we live for the weekends, because we really don’t.

But the truth is we have so little spare time during the week that most of our weekday together time is stuff that doesn’t make good blogging, things like coloring pictures in the hour between supper and bedtime, saying good night prayers, discussing the benefits of sleep and its effects on the growing-big-and-strong-ness of little girls with two little girls who don’t believe a word of it. The Bedtime Routine alone (I capitalized it so you would know it is a BIG DEAL!) never takes less than 45 minutes, and usually more than an hour. And then lunches have to be packed, workout clothes and scrubs set out for the next day, we have to sync our brains and heartbeats as quickly as possible, and then get to sleep on time so that we don’t end up blowing our sleep budget.

All this is the path to Sainthood.

Have a great rest of the weekend, keep us in your prayers. God Bless!

Last week may not have been a great week to skip Family Friday. A lot happened that week, and a lot happened this week, so this is going to be a long FF.

Grandma Ann Strikes Again! This time with matching “Madeline” dresses.

Holy Double Trouble, Batman!

The week was busy. In fact, it was a blur. We managed to catch a few photos, however.

AS the girls grow older, surprising personality traits start to emerge. Big Sister still can’t sit still to save her life, unless she is painting or drawing. That will reliably keep her stationary and (relatively) quiet for 15 – 30 minutes. Perhaps that’s why Little Sis likes to paint together. She gets to make all the noise for once.

Also, Big Sis has no idea where anything is at any given time, anywhere in the house. Things she uses all the time, like her back pack, her water bottle, etc. just get left wherever she happens to drop them, and she can never remember where that was. So far not unusual for a four-year-old. But suddenly she has decided that this particular drawer must be neat and organized.

This is where the tooth cleaning and hair doing supplies live.

One night she just started organizing it, putting everything in rows and lines, and she became quite upset when Mommy and Daddy put things back in the drawer somewhere other than where she had them.

As they grow older, they also, occasionally, have birthdays. One such birthday occurred last week. That’s right, Little Sis is now officially two-ified.

Probably her favorite birthday present was her very own brand new rucksack! She refuses to go anywhere outside the house without it, and even carries it around inside the house for fun.

Now she’s just like Sissie!

She doesn’t take the “terrible two’s” as seriously as Big Sis did, having a much more laid back personality (thanks be to God!)

Daddy had one day off in the middle of the week which was not taken up with shopping and catching up on errands and online training. So he and Little Sis took the next step in the great sheet mulch experiment. That is, they seeded the lawn with night crawlers.

Unfortunately, in the days since then, or rather in the nights since then, the temp has been dropping pretty drastically down to the low thirties. We’ve had some solid frosts, and are expecting even colder temps this weekend. Hopefully those worms were able to burrow deep enough, fast enough to survive. Otherwise, that was some expensive soil amendment. But it was still fun.

We had the cousins over on Saturday so Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne could go on a date. Despite the chill in the air we made them play outside most of the afternoon,

While Mommy made and canned carrot soup…

and cranberry sauce (not pictured). Both turned out quite well, and we have to say, the carrot soup is probably one of the most colorful things we put away on our shelves.

Then, after it got cold and dark we let the kids come inside for supper, and to watch a movie. They weren’t very interested in the movie, however, and spent most of the time playing “ring-around-a-rosie” and all falling down on the living room carpet.

Sunday was a quiet day, and we purposely kept it that way instead of trying to schedule any get-togethers or anything like that. Instead we hung out inside and outside all day, read books, played games, talked, and ate food and drank tea.

Big Sis did amazingly well at learning how to play “Ticket to Ride!”

The week leading up to Thanksgiving was busy as well, even though it was a short week. We always end up trying to shove as much of the errands and extra work into it as possible, and then there is the added planning for the big Thanksgiving meal. Fortunately, we decided to keep it simple, this year, and that turned out to be a great call. It meant that we had time to do things like go to the park in the middle of the week.

And climb trees to sing princess songs.

Yes, she is climbing trees in crocs.

We had a bit of a scare early in the week when Great-Grandma Betty had some trouble with her heart failure and had to go into the hospital. However, they got it under control very quickly, so quickly that she was able to have visitors the next day.

And she was getting up and moving around easily, and even was able to pick up Little Sis.

So we keep praying for her, but we think she is going to do all right for now.

Every once in a while, Daddy likes to try something new for breakfast on his days off.

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars.

Banana Oatmeal bars were quite popular, and quite easy to prep. The only downside is the 45 minute back time, which means getting up early. Oh well. Sleep when you’re dead, right?

The most beautiful late fall weather, these days.

We are having a special guest over for the weekend. Uncle Matthew flew in the night before Thanksgiving. (Let me tell you, picking him up from SeaTac was a disaster!) Here is rare photographic evidence of him helping out in the kitchen. It is also a rare photograph of Mommy with some spare thyme on her hands.

It was a simple, quiet Thanksgiving meal, featuring crockpot turkey breast and oven roasted duck, home canned green beans, and some corn, with squash bake, pie and garlic bread from Deedee, and cookies from Dude.

Papa had to be late because he was driving Great Grandma Betty home from the hospital.

Oh, and shrimp dip.

Lots and lots of shrimp dip. This was Little Sis’ first time trying it.

And that’s about it. Thanks for tuning in. Thank God for all His marvelous blessings, spiritual and physical, big and small, noticed and unnoticed.

Have a great weekend! God Bless.

This has been one heck of a week at the Kraeger house, folks, (at least at this Kraeger house. As you may, or may not, be aware, there are actually quite a few Kraeger houses, and the heckiness of any given week may vary slightly depending upon which Kraeger house is polled.

Whenever Grandma is around, the week tends to get more interesting.

This week started off with Evie and Ellie getting sick, the car bursting a water pump, Grandma arriving from New York, and Mommy leaving for Hawaii.

So we were down a vehicle. Fortunately Kathleen’s co-worker’s husband was able to come and take a look at it, and he took it away to fix it, so we just got a rental car for the week.


Kathleen had a medical conference to attend with her friend Jen, so they arrived on Saturday in time for a whole week of learning, sightseeing and relaxing. Back in Washington the weather was unbelievably gorgeous, so we all went out to enjoy it. Evie protested at first, because she wanted to watch a movie, but once we got out there she loved it.

HRH Princess Sophia (She came up with a new alter ego).
Ellie wants to climb too!
Both of the girls’ dresses were made by Grandma Ann.
A bit o’ somethin’ ‘ere, an’ a bit o’ somethin’ there.

Daddy and Grandma and the girls went to Annarose’s first birthday party!

Yay! Annarose is a whole year old now.

She is a big, happy, chunky baby girl.

Trying out her Daddy’s new GR2 he got for their upcoming trip to Lourdes. #Pilgrimage #GoRuckBaby

It was a wonderful celebration full of good friends and noise and laughter and kids hyped up on sugar and chocolate. So noisy was it, in fact, that Ellie was quite overwhelmed, and refused to step away from Daddy for the first couple of hours.

Too much partying for this baby girl.

Everyone else had a great time, though. Especially Evie, who was essentially a multicolored blur for the duration of the festivities.

Ellie didn’t warm up until about ten minutes before we left, but when she did get warmed up, she found herself a rocking chair and really kicked the party up a notch.

Whoa, there Ellie, slow down!

Silly baby girl! She’s a little old lady at heart, just like her Mommy. ❤

On Sunday Adam and gang came over for beef stew. We made a delicious beef bourguignon, and hung out outside for most of the day.

Ellie helped sweep off the deck before company arrived.

Grandma and the West Coast Grandkids

Ellie decided Annarose could try out her new hat.

Here you go!
See Daddy? I share!

Surprisingly, Annarose did not appreciate having a bucket on her head. However, when Daddy explained this to Ellie she was a good sport about it, and even helped her cousin remove the offending headgear.

They really are very good friends, though.

Grandma was the one taking Evie to and from school all week.

Evelyn is ready for breakfast… At Tiffany’s.

Meanwhile, Mommy got out to do some sightseeing.

Daddy and Evie went to Ash Wednesday Mass on Wednesday night.

At first she didn’t want ashes on her forehead, but then she got used to the idea and even got quite excited about it. But she couldn’t keep from touching the ash spot on her forehead, so it was gone by the end of Mass, having returned to the dust from whence it sprang. Sic Semper Transit Gloria Mundi.

This is a drill weekend, but it was just re-deployment classes, so Daddy decided to bring Ellie to drill with him and give Grandma a break.

“Hi Mommy!”

She was far more entertaining than any of the speakers.

And then Mommy came home! Yay!!!!

Kathleen saw a little sun while in HI. The girls wasted no time scratching, scrambling, poking and climbing all over Mommy’s sunburned arms and shoulders, you may be sure.

Also, if you are wondering what is encrusted on Daddy’s hoodie, it is just snot. Ellie still has a runny nose, so that happens. In fact, Ryan composed a slimerick about it. (A slimerick is like a limerick, only slimier).

My hoodie is covered with snot.
You might think that is gross, but it’s not.
When the babies are sick
They bring it on thick,
And this is their favorite spot!

And now it is time to close out this Family Friday with one last picture of Grandma and all her West Coast Grandkids. She flies out tonight for back East and all her East Coast Grandkids.

We can never get them all to look at the camera at the same time.

God Bless! Have a great weekend.

Long time no Family Friday! It is for the usual reason, AKA, we have been busy. The Saturday before last, we woke up to this.

That bright light in the midst of the snow is one of our 12″ tall pathway lights completely buried.

Of course Evie was over the moon with excitement. As soon as she woke up and looked out the window she wanted to go outside in her jammies. We disagreed that this would be a good idea, since flannel jammies, although very insulating, are not very waterproof; also since Evie gets super cranky without breakfast. So we made some pancakes and told her she could not go outside until she ate at least two of them. Daddy tried to make them as interesting as possible.

Ellie, however, was not so excited about the snow that she let it interfere with eating all her maple breakfast sausage links. Turns out the grease from maple sausages also makes an excellent hair product.

Who knew, right?

Ironically, with all Evie’s excitement and hurrying, she really did not get outside any faster than the rest of us. We all made it out the door at about the same time.

Actually Ryan ran outside in his sandals to take this picture before it got marred by all the footprints.

But finally, there we were, out in the great white winter of the 2019 Snowmageddon. Evie promptly went wild…

While Ellie was a little out of her depth.

She couldn’t even squish her feet all the way to the ground, there was so much snow, and sometimes she would fall down and then it would get in her face and neck, and sometimes her glove would come off and then her hands would get cold. Once her boot came off.

When she wasn’t following behind Daddy or Mommy shoveling a path, she was much happier when she found her way to the rocking chair on the front porch.

Other than that she had a lot of fun!

Mommy tried to show Evie how to make snow angels. She made quite a lovely snow angel herself, but she couldn’t talk Evie into flopping down on her back in the snow.

Silly child.

There is nothing like snow for wearing out your toddler. Also for wearing out a Daddy. Just shovel out an entire cul-de-sac by hand (they don’t believe in snowplows in Western Washington) and boom! a great workout was had by all.

This is what happens when Evie gets distracted and doesn’t finish her breakfast.

Ellie takes care of it after she gets down from her high chair.

On Sunday after Mass we had Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne and the kids, as well as Ben and Christine and their kids, over for a pre-valentine’s day Rom-Com viewing. We were going to watch the greatest romantic comedy ever made, (i.e. “The Quiet Man.”) However, while we were waiting for the food to come out of the oven we sent the kids outside to shake their sillies out and wiggle their waggles away. Ben went outside to haul them around in a sled…

Then Adam and Ryan went out to throw snowballs at him. Then they started making a pile of snow, and Ellie and Daddy started rolling snow-boulders…

So Christine had to take over pulling the kids.

Aunt Maryanne was called upon to shape the snow-lady’s more feminine characteristics…

Group photo!

You can even see the little snow-baby that Noah made right next to Edmund!

Then Ben and Christine had to leave so Christine could nap before going on night shift, so they didn’t get to watch the movie with us. It started snowing again later so Adam and Maryanne had to leave before it was over. But it was still a great time for everyone.

After a long day there is nothing like standing over a warm-air register in your flannel nightgown (That Grandma Ann made for her).

The fuzzy thing in the foreground is Ellie’s hair photobombing the picture.

For the next week we played in the snow more (it was one snow-day after another for Evie) while Ryan began his final clinical rotation in a nearby family medicine clinic. He is already learning important wisdom which will serve him in good stead in his future practice.

On Thursday we ran errands as usual.

Evie and Ellie were happy to wake up and find fresh baked cookies that Mommy made before she went to work. (Grandma Ann also made the farm animal dress. Ellie’s favorite is the duck.)

On Friday Evie’s class celebrated her birthday at school. We took a picture of her official birthday questionnaire for posterity:

Daddy was especially pleased that her one wish would be “Having a sword.” As it should be. The only thing better than a sword is a book.

Evie’s family birthday was on Sunday, with Deedee and Papa, Dude and Susie, Gigi, Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne and kids, and Ronnie and Amanda and RJ.

Evie would have like to have everyone else over. In fact, she did invite every living person she has met for the last two weeks over for her birthday party, but Mommy and Daddy are a little more selective, and a lot more logistically minded. As it was we about maxed out our capacity for a formal “sit-down” type meal. There is just only so much space at the table.

More of Grandma Ann’s handiwork (we got a birthday package in the mail, hence the new dresses).

Evie loves being the focus of any gathering. She informed us that she is “A special gift to the world,” and that her birthday is her favorite birthday.

Grandma Betty (Gigi) and the girls.

Ellie too was enjoying all the people over as she had an all-but-unlimited supply of people to read books to her (have we mentioned that her favorite word is “boop” [book] and her favorite activity is bringing books to any adult who stops moving and demanding that they read it to her?)

Ellie also stole the spotlight a little bit by confidently walking up to the bathroom door and requesting to sit on the potty (non-verbally) and actually peeing in the potty… twice! We had not even started training her yet, but she figured it out on her own has been doing it a couple times a day ever since. You better believe we are positively reinforcing the crap out of that. (hee hee hee. See what I did there?)


So Evie is now a four year old. She is now very grown up, and very wise, and knows a lot of things, and is very good at so many things. If you don’t believe me, just ask her. She’ll tell you herself straight up.

We tried to calm things down a bit the rest of the week. Daddy likes to relax in the evenings, since he seems to work late every night at this new clinic.

We visited Deedee and Papa last weekend.

Ellie says, “Guck! Guck!” (Truck! Truck!)

Alas, with being four comes the unpleasant task of the four-year-old well child check. Evie is done with doctors. She has decided she wants nothing more to do with them, and was, in fact, quite anxious and distraught over breakfast.

She can be a bit of a worrier sometimes. She said she was going to like doctors when she got big and becomes a doctor, but she is not going to like them while she is little.

Ellie, on the other hand, is not a worrier at all. She threw up twice in the night and still woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to make scones for breakfast.

If she were selling scones, I would buy all of them. (College fund bakesale, anyone?)

And also, just like that, the snow is gone the crisis is past, winter is back to its usual rainy self, except for today which was gorgeous.

Those are the earthly remains of the snow-family in the background. The rest of them, we hope, has gone on to a better place… that is, into our lawn.

That’s all for this week, folks. God Bless, and have a wonderful weekend.

Short Family Friday this week, not because nothing much happened, but more because so much happened that we didn’t take many pictures. Most of it was boring anyway, stuff like work and deployment. For the amount of work we do, we grownups, we certainly don’t seem to get a whole lot done. Kathleen has been struggling to get her new ultrasound lab set up all by herself. Ryan has been struggling to get memos filled out and signed, health and welfare issues sorted out, fingers stitched back together…

Ellie says, “Too much struggle, not enough snuggle!”


She’s probably right. All the work we do is important, don’t get me wrong, not the least since it enables us to keep making an Evie and an Ellie (they, like the rest of us, are not finished being made yet). Still, it’s easy to get lost in the grind and forget the important for the sake of the urgent.

She finally has enough hair to brush! (Lucky her!)

At any rate, big events this week…

Definitely the biggest event by far was Ellie’s birthday! 

“What? Who, me?”

That’s right, Miss Ellie is now one whole year old! She can walk, she can say Mama and Dada and Papa, Hi, Yes, and All done.

Everyone came and had frozen yogurt to celebrate Ellie’s big day!
“What is this on my head? I can’t see it. Deedee, let go of my arms so I can grab this thing on my head and taste it.”

She loves her some frozen yogurt. The presents did not impress her much…

(Bet you can’t guess who gave her this one!)

But she just loves to tear wrapping paper!

She is still our happy, snuggly baby girl, and nowhere near as “contra mundi” as Evie has always been, but she is still starting to develop a mind of her own. 

Mommy’s eyes and Daddy’s half-smile. I think it’s a great combination.

She likes to try things that Mommy says “no” to, just to make sure that Mommy really does mean “no.” The funny thing is she does it with a less… pushy? sassy? attitude than Evie used to. Ellie does it a couple of times to see whether it is always “no” or only sometimes “no.” But then she does what you tell her to. She also doesn’t say “no” yet, whereas that was one of Evie’s first words, right after Dada.

Where has Evie been in all of this? 

Well, Miss Evie has been ever so busy, rehearsing for her school concert. She got to sing and dance with her friends in front of everyone! (Well, sing with her friends, dance by herself.) 

Of course, our child is the one who can’t keep still. It reminds Ryan of a home video of Kathleen from about that age, in which little Katie stood up on a stool in the middle of Christmas present opening and called out, “Now quiet, everyone, I am going to sing!” 

(I am sure it also reminds Grandma Ann of a few moments from Ryan’s childhood as well. He was never accused of being shy until he became all teenagery and angsty and introverted).

Of course, all that glamour takes its toll. Poor Mommy had to wrangle an over-excited, high-as-a-kite Evie into bed that night, which was not easy. Getting her out of bed the next day was not easier. 

Ellie is early to bed, early to rise. Evie… not so much.

Alas, Evie got Daddy’s hatred of going to sleep, and Mommy’s hatred of getting up. The worst of both worlds. We’re sorry, child. We hope you will overcome someday!

And then of course, Thanksgiving. Daddy was able to go to Mass, but still had to do some work. But at least he was able to skype in for the big Thanksgiving Meal at Aunt Dude’s house. 

I thought I got Evie in one of these pics, but I guess not. She was just moving too fast.

Everyone loves playing with Aunt Susie!

Ellie decided to help Papa out with his Thanksgiving snacks. She carefully walked from the coffee table to his chair carrying one piece of party mix at a time and gently placing each one in his hand. 

“Here you go, Papa. It’s yummy!”

She even tasted them before she gave them to him, to make sure that they were only the yummiest! What a great baby girl!

That’s all for this week, folks. Happy Thanksgiving, and God Bless!

You close your eyes for a second….

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Where are my girls?

And they start growing up on you.

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There they are!

They are getting so big now. I am glad I get to see them, even if it is only on the video chat.

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You can tell where they get the cuteness from. ❤

We had a big event last week.

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Grandma Betty turned 92!!!

Happy Birthday to a great old lady. Mommy and the girls went to visit her in her apartment.

And had fun hanging out with Deedee and Papa and Aunt Pam.

They also got to go play at the park.

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This is a new trick for Evie, jumping from turtle to turtle.

The park at Bradley lake has a swing designed for one big person and one little person, so that you can sit and swing with your baby in a little basket swing facing you.
Family Friday 175 (4)Evie and Ellie thought it was great for some sister time too.

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Weeeeee!!!! We’re swinging, Mommy!

Poor Ellie has not been sleeping well this week. She keeps waking up in the middle of the night crying like she is not comfortable. Maybe it’s just teething, or maybe she gets hungry. It’s strange, since she used to be such a great sleeper. She still falls asleep just fine, but she likes to wake up in the wee small hours of the morning now.

Unfortunately that means that Mommy has to wake up too, even on work nights. Ellie does not acknowledge work nights.

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Even Daddy gets to join in the tired baby fun via video chat.

The first thing Mommy wants to do as soon as Daddy gets back is sleep for at least 12 hours straight.

Some pictures from this week:


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This Montessori school has been such a good experience for Evie. She has taken to it like a duck to water, and, now that some of the initial excitement has worn off, even takes time to eat some of her lunch while she is there. She has friends and she is excited to see them every day. But school has seemed to increase her curiosity, not just at school, but at home. She is more interested in books, letters, drawing, and writing “notes” for Daddy.

Ellie too is growing fast. She can now say “Papa!” Let me tell you, that makes Papa super happy. Oddly, Mommy’s name is still “milk” (in sign language) even though she has been weaned for over a month now.


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Let me tell you, one of the best parts of my day is when that video chat opens up and I hear Ellie calling from the other end of the house, “Hi! Dada!” then I hear her little hands and feet slapping the floor as fast as she can crawl to come and play peekaboo and shake Daddy around and make faces. Family Friday 175 (2)

It is going to be a great day when I can hug my girls again.

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Evie is the captain, of course.

thank God for technology. Think about our great grandparents during WWII, or even during Korea, Vietnam. There was no video chat, there were no phones, there were only letters. (Those don’t go out of style, by the way. Kathleen and I have approximately doubled the volume of the military postal system in the last month, I think.) Remember the Gulf war.  Heck, I remember the early days of Iraq and Afghanistan when guys couldn’t call back for weeks or months at a time, and then it was only ten minutes on a staticky sat-phone connection and then “Time’s up, next man.” I remember the sickening feeling of getting an answering machine (who has those anymore?) at three different numbers in my one chance to call home for a week.

Technology is great. But it is going to be wonderful to be able to hug my girls. Family Friday 175 (7)

That’s all for this week, folks. Keep us in your prayers. God Bless!



It has been a short, quiet week this week. Lots of family time, and some ordinary fun times.

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Grandma and her West Coast babies.

Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne came over on Sunday for some barbecue pork and blackberry custard pie. They also brought a desert of their own… blackberry lemon pastry. It’s blackberry season around here. They’re in everything.

It’s so hard to get a picture of these two together these days. Ellie won’t lie still long enough.

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Ellie says, “Later, guys! I’m out!”

Grandma is super happy to have half her grandbabies together.

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But Ellie is still out of here!

Mommy was on night shift, so she was away all night and sleeping during the day. But we all tried to get together in the afternoons.

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Evie and Oswald putting a puzzle together.

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Grandma and Daddy sword fighting.

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Got to get the snuggles in while you can. 

It was Papa’s birthday this week too, and Deedee and Papa dropped by for some key lime pie (from Costco).

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He only has one candle.

It has been super smoky around here due to the wild fires in Canada. Papa doesn’t do well with the smoke. Last year it gave him pneumonia, so he has been wearing a face mask.

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Ellie thought it was hilarious.

It has been really hot out here as well, by Washington standards, anyway. But Daddy is used to the heat, so he and Evie got outside to get some work done. We put in a walkway from the deck to the corner of the patio where the clothesline is.

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Daddy dug all the holes, and Evie put the stones into them. 

Evie worked very hard and did a great job.

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I think it looks great!

Ellie went out for her very first Pho. Man, that child can eat some noodles.

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Then it’s time to sit with Grandma and gnaw on the spoon.

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Ellie likes dancing to Cajun music!

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Daddy can’t even get up the stairs without getting mobbed.

Mommy finally finished working on Thursday morning, but she was very tired from a week of working nights.

Time for afternoon snuggles. 

That’s really all for this week. Told you it was short and quiet. We hope you have a week just like it!

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