Happy Family Friday, Y’all!

Nothing like a quiet Saturday morning at home for some Family Breakfast time.

Lots of jelly making going on last week. We picked a gallon or so of raspberries at Dude’s house on Sunday.

Ellie is really good at picking raspberries. She even puts some of them in the bucket!

Evie and Ellie love hanging out with Dude and Susie.

Then we went to Deedee and Papa’s house, where we picked more berries

And ate some delicious berry pie.

Of course then we had to turn the berries into something, jelly, or jam, or pie filling or something. You would think you could just freeze them and put them in the freezer until you needed them, but that is actually more work than canning them. They have to be carefully laid out in pans and then frozen (which means clearing out a space in the freezer, the real bottleneck of the process) and frozen, then have the frost knocked off before they are bagged. Otherwise they freezer burn.

Fortunately, the squeezo is so easy to use that a couple of two little girls can reduce a gallon of raspberries to juice in about ten minutes. Raspberry lemonade concentrate anyone?

Daddy found two ripe blackberries on one of his ruckmarches….

So it begins!

They will be coming in hard in a couple weeks.

Our garden is coming along somewhat fitfully these days. It is an unusually cold and wet July around here. One of our San Marzano tomatoes has blossom rot, but the other one is doing nicely.

The rest of the tomatoes are only blossoming so far.

Something has been eating our pepper plants alive, something we haven’t been able to find yet, but we suspect it is aphids. Fortunately, some ladybugs have moved in and have set up housekeeping on the beans…

And on the chamomile.

We will see if they are able to get the aphids in check once they all hatch.

Then comes the weekend and packing for our camping trip!

Think two pounds of butter will be enough for three days, two nights?

Especially when we are bringing all kinds of other food? You bet! Butter makes Mommy’s world go round!

Meanwhile, Daddy does not understand Evie and Ellie’s fascination with Mommy’s fancy shoes.

So there we were, Friday afternoon after Mommy got home from work, we all piled into the old rattlebang and drove out to Scenic Beach State Park. We arrived a little after 7:00 PM, well past the girls’ supper time (actually past their bedtime too) so they we were super rambunctious and over-excited.

While Daddy set up the tent with the girls’ help, Mommy got the Dutch oven going and heated up some of her home-made coconut shrimp. Ronny and Amanda and RJ joined us while we were getting this set up, and we had a lovely meal together.

Of course it was a late night, almost 10:30 when we went to bed, and the girls were super tired. Ellie was almost beside herself. She did not want to lay down anywhere out of arms reach of Mommy and Daddy.

But sleep conquers even the tiredest of babies eventually, and all the kids passed out before midnight.

Which was perfect, since they all woke up again at 5:30 on Saturday morning. Yay! Camping!

Mommy got the breakfast started in style with a raspberry cream cheese breakfast bake.

Evie tided herself over by licking the remaining filling out of the empty bowl.

The cast iron certainly got a workout over the weekend.

Saturday after breakfast we hiked along the trail down to the beach. Turns out Ellie is a great hiker. She handled half a mile hike along a very rough trail full of roots and rocks,

not to mention running around on the rocky beach and climbing up the barnacle encrusted logs.

Yes, the beaches in Washington are rocky. Yes the water is cold and dirty. Still a great time for a family with young kids. Daddy even made a sling and threw some zingers 100+ meters out into the Hood Canal.

As might be expected, the small people were all over-tired cranky butts by lunchtime, so we put them down for a nap. They were out in about half a decade of the Rosary or less. While they were sleeping Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne came with Edmund and Annarose, so after naps all the kids went down to the playground to shake their sillies out, and wiggle their waggles away. Except RJ, who was still resisting a rest and consequently could not be happy.

But he rocks a great chin beard, just like his dad.

Cousins!

Uncle Adam brought his backpack weighted with 60+ Lbs of peat gravel to carry around for exercise, since he hadn’t gotten a run in that morning. Not content with that, we decided to up the ante with a little Dad-ruck action.

Saturday was an even later night. The kids had all gotten enough of a nap (even RJ) that excitement was stronger than sleepiness, so we were up past 11. Oh well.

Ryan was up at 5:30 tending the fire all by himself until first Ronny and then Ellie joined him.

She rocks a great bedhead.

Eventually, everyone meandered out for breakfast and packing up the campsite, before heading in to Gig Harbor for 11:00 Mass.

Good weekend. Ryan and Ronny cracked this open Friday night, and with Adam’s help managed to finish it before bed on Saturday.

Consequently we didn’t touch any of the beer we had brought but this was so smooth and fiery that no one missed it.

Now here we are, on the home again, doing our regular home thing. Ryan is job searching, so far unsuccessfully. Everyone keeps saying, “We’d love to hire you for this job… after you have a couple years of experience doing the job.” No, experience in the military as a medic doesn’t seem to carry any weight on a resume. Oh well, we’ll keep searching and praying.

We had a minor setback in the garden, with the unusually blustery summer weather. It blew the lid on the planter box shut and shattered one of the windows.

We will probably end up replacing it with plexi glass, lighter, cheaper and more durable.

But mostly it’s just the usual work, school and family stuff, aka:

Reading books,

Drinking bubble tea

Daddy got the matcha milk tea expecting the girls to leave it alone. Evie wasn’t impressed by it, but Ellie refused to let go of it.

And growing up way too fast (and also reading more books).

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

We went camping this weekend with some of our friends.

I am an early riser at the best of times, but when I am camping I am usually awake as soon as it starts to get light. I enjoy being awake early, and I like sitting at a fire while it is still cool and say my rosary.

On Saturday, of course, the children were also up with the sun so there was very little solitude first thing. By Sunday a full day of play and a late night had taken some of the bounce out of them so I had about an hour and a half sitting there, tending the fires. My goal was to burn what wood we had left, but to make it last a couple hours so that I could boil some water when everyone woke up, and at the same time to burn it as cleanly as possible without leaving any unburned chunks behind.

The trick is to have a shape that allows you to get enough oxygen in to allow the wood to burn, but not so much that it just blazes away. So I built my fire very carefully with the larger pieces and the half burned logs, split some kindling from a dry plank with my knife, and got it going with some crumpled newspaper. After the initial blaze died off I kept a pretty good frame with two of the bigger pieces, and built my coal bed in the middle. I laid one piece at a time across the frame and let each one burn away to coals which fell into the gap between the frame before adding the next. This worked until my frame was burned. Then I scraped the coals against the metal firepit and used that as my frame.

It worked quite well. I had a lovely bed of coals and only one more piece of plank at 7:30 when everyone else was starting to get up. We made some coffee and hot cocoa, and then burnt the last piece.

As I worked I said my Rosary and meditated.

The mistake most people make with their camp fires (and the reason you usually find the fire pit full of half-burned bits and ends of logs) is that they just let the fire burn out as it lies. Each individual coal, left to itself, loses its heat to the atmosphere too quickly to sustain the combustion necessary to consume it entirely. In order for the dying fire to be kept going, it has to be scraped together. You must huddle all the coals together in one place as closely as you can where the ones at the inside can provide the inner, glowing heart of heat, and the ones at the outside can take advantage of the oxygen and keep burning. This preserves the coals that you will need when you do put a fresh piece on.

It seems to me that this is sort of what is going on the Church in America right now. We are bleeding off members, and even those that do remain tend to be isolated. We show up for Mass on Sunday, we say the responses, half-heartedly mumble the songs, and leave without talking to our fellow parishioners when the Mass is over. There are no processions, no confessions, few prayer groups, low attendance at parish events, and for most Catholics our primary social circle and our parish circle are two separate groups. That is, we spend the majority of our time with people that we are not going to Mass with.

Without banding together and reinforcing our faith, our fervor grows cold, and goes out.

It also occurred to me that the first part of the fire, when the paper and wood takes off, was always my favorite part as a kid. The bigger the flames, the better the fire, in my opinion. That still holds true. I love big flames, just for their own sake. But that is the immature form of a campfire. That is not the useful fire. The fire that is useful for boiling water, cooking food, heating a house or a camp consistently, is the fire that is mostly coals. The dirty flames from all the brush, bark, cardboard, and other impurities have burned away and what is left is the solid heart of the wood, slowly being consumed. The harder and tougher the wood, the better the coals, the more useful the fire.

And of course, whenever the coals start to get lazy, all it takes is a little pneuma to get them going again.

 

We sure picked a heck of a week to skip a Family Friday last week. We skipped it because we were out at the beach (spoiler!) and our family was too busy Familying on Friday to Family Friday last Friday.

So last week… Busy week.

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I just can’t get up. I’m so tired ūüė¶

 

We already told you about Uncle Adam’s Birthday, and then we had a wonderful little pizza party on Saturday (the 21st).

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Mommy frying up the brats, sauerkraut, peppers and onions in a Belgian heffeweisen reduction.

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Doesn’t that look amazing?!

 

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Daddy making the mustard sauce

We took the opportunity to try some new things with some old recipes.

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Among the offerings are an Oktoberfest pizza and a chicken taco pizza.

Ronny and Amanda came over with RJ, and Uncle Adam and Maryanne brought Edmund and Annarose, so it was a fun little family party. (Speaking of RJ, he just turned one year old! Happy Birthday RJ!)

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No babies were intoxicated in the making of this Family Friday.

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The next day our next door neighbors’ 7-year-old daughter had a pizza party. Her mom and dad made individual pizzas for everyone on the grill, and we played Pictionary.

 

It was awesome.

Then Deedee and Papa came over for a visit.

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Evie had to show Papa our new hammock. 

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Ellie just thinks Papa’s Tummy is comfy.

The following Monday Daddy had a short day at work so he and the girls went for a hike. We chose a short but intense hiking route at a nearby park. In fact, it was almost a little too intense.

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Let’s go this way, Daddy!

30 seconds later…

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I can’t do it, Daddy. I’m so sad! I want to go home!

Two minutes later…

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I want to go this way!

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Come on, Daddy. It’s okay. You can’t be tired!¬†

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Easy way to get down, but SO MUCH dirt in the undies!

On Tuesday we got to go to evening Mass together. Deacon George and Evie had a conversation about the throne that the Gospel sits upon, and the role of the Deacon in placing the Word of God on the Lectern.

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“See, Evie, even the Pope can’t take that job of placing the Word of God on its throne.”

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“Yes, Deacon George, but I can put it back now.”

We got our first two beets out of our garden, and Ryan fried them up with butter.

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They were gorgeous and absolutely delicious.

Then the weekend came and we began our biggest adventure of the summer, so far.

Family Friday 166 - 167 (54)We went Camping!

We drove out on Thursday during nap time and set up our tent and campsite. Daddy and Mommy and Evie set up the tent.

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Evie likes to supervise.

While Ellie crawled around and tasted the local dirt to make sure it was up to her standards of quality.

 

Then, while we waited for Deedee and Papa to show up, we went down to the ocean. It was a long hike through the sandy trails.

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This picture looks very “Avonlea” somehow.

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It was a long, hard trail, but Evie forged ahead! She raced to the beach. She saw….
Family Friday 166 - 167 (17)The Ocean!

 

She recovered remarkably quickly. Two minutes after that video ended she was getting buried in the sand. Family Friday 166 - 167 (57)After that we could not get so much as one of her toes in the water the whole weekend. But that is okay because there are so many other things to do at the beach:

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Taking rides in Papa’s fold-up wagon

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Building sandcastles

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Yes, we are all wearing sunscreen. You don’t stay this kind of white by accident.

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Evie got Papa’s kite in the air all by herself

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Evie’s kite was harder to fly, but we got it up eventually.

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Papa did, anyway. He’s the kite-master

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Evie fighting pirates.

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Mommy is the best at sandcastles

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Who cares if it’s cloudy? You can’t let that bother you. It’s Washington.

Of course all that beaching is hard work. Ellie is not afraid of the water at all!

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She wanted to sit down and play in it.

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Play hard!

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Lounge hard!

 

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Crash hard!

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Even being pulled around in a wagon by Big Sister can’t wake her up.

Of course we spent some time in Deedee and Papa’s camper.

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Nap Time!

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Deedee makes great breakfast!

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They liked playing on the ATV, but we didn’t let them ride, because we didn’t have helmets.

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Where we going today?

We did some sight-seeing as well at the lighthouse.

It was a great weekend!

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Westport, 2018

That’s all for this week, Folks. Have a Great weekend!Family Friday 166 - 167 (50)

God Bless!

Last day of school!!!!

Woohoo! Daddy is done with Didactic year today, after two weeks of summer class. Of course he still has school the rest of the summer, but it is all online. And of course he has National Guard stuff to do, but hopefully most of that will be low-intensity.

But enough about that. We now have time for family stuff. We all went camping last weekend with Deedee and Papa for Father’s Day. Evie had so much fun she didn’t want to sleep the whole time.

 

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Evie climb a tree!

We found all kinds of wild life.

 

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A centipede

 

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And “Saul the Salamander.” Evie really liked Saul but we let him go back in the woods.

Saul was especially cool because when we found him outside he was all cold and slow-moving so it was not hard at all to catch him. But after a few minutes inside Deedee and Papa’s camper he warmed up and started to dart around so we had to put him back outside. Deedee didn’t want a salamander loose in her camper.

 

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She spent about 15 minutes just standing on the beach and throwing rocks into the sound.

 

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Daddy and Evie played hide and seek. Daddy is really good at hiding, but Evie is even better at seeking.

 

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Fan the flames!

Evie is too little to help with the fire or roast marshmallows by herself, but we let her help mommy fan the fire with a fan that Daddy made.

 

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Evie go on a ‘venture!

Life at home goes on as usual. Our garden is growing like crazy.

 

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It’s the Princess in the Peas!

Mommy and the New Baby are both doing fine, albeit a little bit warm as the weather heats up.

We hope you all have a great weekend. God Bless!

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I am sure y’all think we completely forgot about Family Friday these last few weeks. I assure we didn’t forget. We just didn’t get to it. We remembered the family part. It’s just the Friday part we haven’t been keeping track of.

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Evie painted Mommy a rock and some Mother’s Day cards.

Daddy had to work for the National Guard the first weekend of May, but it turned out to be a very cool training event. All he had to do was sit out in the woods and be ready in case anyone got hurt doing land navigation. No one got hurt. And Daddy brought Evie out to play in the woods too!

 

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One of the guys brought his bird dog to practice with, and he let Evie play with her.

 

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“but Daddy, the buddies are that way!” (Other people are “buddies” in Evie’s world.)

 

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She was playing sleeping in the grass. She wasn’t actually sleeping. She completely skipped her whole nap.

 

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Climbing on the fence around somebody’s monument.

Then the next weekend was Mommy and Daddy’s anniversary. Evie went to stay at Deedee and Papa’s house, and Ryan and Kathleen went camping.

 

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We haven’t had a weekend all to ourselves since Matt’s funeral more than a year ago.

 

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Kathleen cooked “gob ’ems” on the fire. The lady can cook some serious campfire food.

 

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Ryan helped with the burgers to go with the beans.

 

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We sat around talking for hours like a couple of old people.

But we did get our party on. The beverages flowed freely and a good time was had by all.

 

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Yes, she is downing the last of a bottle of Sparkling Grape juice. Like a boss.

Is the choice of beverage not adult enough for you? Well, that’s because we weren’t technically alone.

There was one non-adult present.

 

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“Nugget” prefers non-alcoholic beverages, thank-you very much.

Meanwhile, Evie is getting ready to be a big sister this November.

 

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Evie is helping in the garden. She is snuggling with the potatoes.

That’s all for this week. Next week is finals and such, so we will likely be busy. Ryan’s last chance to fail out of PA school.

 

Have a good Memorial Day weekend. God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last weekend the Kraegers went camping.Family Friday 55 1

Daddy went out early on Friday to build the campsite setup.

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We all arrived late Friday evening. Some friends from MC also joined us.

Family Friday 55 6Auntie Lenora joined us.

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Uncle Brock and Uncle Ryan joined us as well.

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Evie likes to go on walks, but sometimes she falls down and then she can be sad. But she gets over it quickly.

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Mommy and Daddy charbroiled some burgers and dogs over the fire.

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Daddy and Evie went into town to go to confession and while we were there, Evie visited with  Saint Joseph and Baby Jesus.

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Evie met some puppies that she got to play with. She kept calling the little one, “Baby.”

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We spent the weekend having fun but we did take a lot of pictures.

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Puddle jumping!

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Uncle Ben and Auntie Christine came up and joined us for Sunday Mass. They brought Noah and their new baby Nolan. Evie wanted to visit with baby Nolan but Noah told her “No! The baby is sleeping!”

Evie looked anyway.

We visited Mommy’s relatives where her family puts flowers on the graves on Memorial Day Weekend.

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Evie loves babies. Baby Nolan is a chunky little guy. He’s built like a little linebacker!

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Evie and Noah played together digging holes in the ground and stomping in puddles.

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Grandma and Grandpa came out to visit us on Monday, they haven’t gotten to see Evie in a long time.

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We got a four-legged visitor as well.

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Kathleen named it “Sir Hector.”

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It rained a good deal over the weekend, but Monday was nice and sunny so we spread all the camping gear out on the lawn and it dried in a jiffy. The tent canopy looks a bit like an elephant when it is draped over the bush.

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It has been a busy week since then, but there is still time to hang out at the park.

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That’s all for now. Have a good weekend! God Bless.

 

 

 

After yesterday’s heavy and somber posts, we return to bring you yet another Family Friday; not because bad things have stopped happening, but because they continue to happen with astonishing regularity, and therefore the need for good things to happen and be shared is more, rather than less, urgent than ever.

The Kraeger family went camping last weekend with Kathleen’s parents. Somehow I think the camping thing is rigged. I don’t know how, but it has rained every weekend we have gone camping this summer. In the driest year on record in Western Washington, nevertheless, the three weekends we went camping were the three weekends it rained.

I guess it just makes the whole experience more fun.

We got a picture of Evie with a Real Fire! Unfortunately, Grandpa was shining his flashlight on us so Mommy could take the picture, and Evie was distracted from the fire by the flashlight. We got a picture of Evie with a Real Fire! Unfortunately, Grandpa was shining his flashlight on us so Mommy could take the picture, and Evie was distracted from the fire by the flashlight.

Since Ohanepacosh is in a National Park instead of State Park, they do not fall under the statewide burn ban. They allow campfires, and I guess they just expect people to be responsible and not burn the forest down. Novel concept, that.

Nom, nom, nom! Nom, nom, nom!

Evie thought her picnic seat was tastier than her picnic. Go figure.

The hardest part about camping in the rain is keeping the lens of the camera dry long enough to take pictures that aren't blurry. The hardest part about camping in the rain is keeping the lens of the camera dry long enough to take pictures that aren’t blurry.

In reality, camping in the rain isn’t a hardship. Not in America, anyway. We have a big, beautiful (mostly) waterproof tent, waterproof clothes, Grandma and Grandpa’s camper, shelters and cars and if all else fails, a short drive into the nearest town for hot chow and shopping. And as I like to say, at least we’re not sleeping under a mattress.

Okay, I've been napping for 20 minutes so.... Yeah, I'm done now. Okay, I’ve been napping for 20 minutes so…. Yeah, I’m done now.

Evie doesn’t sleep much during the day when we camp. She loves being outdoors and resents naptime. She makes up for it by sleeping 12-14 hours straight at night (and waking up like a famished lion!)

Two moms and their daughters. Two moms and their daughters.

Evie took the opportunity to push the limits of her mobility over the weekend. Because the ground was soaked the whole time she didn’t get to sit on the ground very much and roll around and eat dirt like she likes to do. So she tried to do that on the picnic tables, in the tent, in the camper, wherever she could. Unfortunately these surfaces are not all as forgiving as dirt and pine needles, so she picked up a couple of bruises over the weekend. She doesn’t seem to mind too much. She is too busy learning to be awesome.

The big old douglas firs in the National Park are amazing. Ohanepacosh is not too far from the Grove of the Patriarchs. In fact, Ryan ran to the grove on saturday (in the pouring rain, because why not). Sometime we will have to go there and do a post about that.

“Excuse me young man, have you seen my spectacles?”

Kathleen gives us a preview of coming attractions!

Look, Evie, this tree was once a baby, just like you, and look how big it got! Look, Evie, this tree was once a baby, just like you, and look how big it got!

The Douglas fir timeline is truly a wonderful thing to think about. When that tree (cut down in the 1960’s) first sprouted, the Crusades were the talk of Europe. No one in Europe knew that such a majestic living thing was just beginning its life as a little green sprout.

Oh, it comes with a bird accessory too?! Oh, it comes with a bird accessory too?!

Evie wants a pet black bear. It’s kind of like the collie puppy she got to pet earlier that morning, right? Four legs, fur, eats meat? Pretty much the same thing?

That's a bear paw, but I think it must have been a very small bear. Probably a baby bear. That’s a bear paw, but I think it must have been a very small bear. Probably a baby bear. A skull you say? Is it good to eat? A skull you say? Is it good to eat? Oh, so that's a payphone? Payphones are tasty, right? Come on, Dad, let me check it out. Oh, so that’s a payphone? Payphones are tasty, right? Come on, Dad, let me check it out.

Evie is a very hands on explorer of the world. In Evie’s mind, as is typical of 6 month old infants, things are not real until you have tasted them. Unfortunately Mommy and Daddy are mean and don’t let her taste all of the things. Only some of the things. Glasses, phones and skulls are some examples of things that Evie wants to taste, but cannot due to the interference of parents. Such a drag!

Pictures from Ryan’s run. The only two pictures that were not completely blurred by sweat and rain on the camera lens.

Evie's favorite toys are sticks and pinecones. Evie’s favorite toys are sticks and pinecones. We managed to find a dry spot under a tree! Evie spent a happy 45 minutes eating sticks and pinecones. Mommy grew a mustache. We managed to find a dry spot under a tree! Evie spent a happy 45 minutes eating sticks and pinecones. Mommy grew a mustache.

Upon arriving home, all of the tents and sleeping bags had to be hung up in the garage to dry. The tent had held up pretty well, but being set up in the low-ground during a torrential downpour will test the waterproof-ness of even the best tents.

Our blue stick up rain shelter was a little the worse for wear as well. One of the corner struts bowed under the wind and rain, it collected water, and then the canvas popped off during the night, dumping the water with a deafening crash that even woke up Kathleen at 4:00 A.M. or thereabouts.

Camping stuff, here, there and everywhere. But it was an incentive for Ryan to get the garage cleaned up, finally. Camping stuff, here, there and everywhere. But it was an incentive for Ryan to get the garage cleaned up, finally.

Apparently the storm happened on the west side of the mountain too.

Elsinore wood has come to Dunsinane! Elsinore wood has come to Dunsinane!

Our back yard tried to disguise itself as a pine forest while we were gone. Fortunately, the house did not try nearly as hard.

Dad, I can't move my arms. This is no fun. Dad, I can’t move my arms. This is no fun.

So we tried to go outside to clean up a little bit, but Evie’s Ewok suit appears to have shrunk in the wash or something. It used to fit just fine, but now Daddy could barely get it zipped. When she tried to reach for something, she went boom! right on her little face in the moss.

So Evie had to help clean up the yard in her normal PJ’s.

Ryan keeps his fishing pipe in the tackle box just for this. Ryan keeps his fishing pipe in the tackle box just for this.

Daddy and Uncle Adam went fishing on Tuesday. They tossed a bunch of lures in the water, Daddy smoked a pipe, and they chatted.

Uncle Adam borrowed Ryan's waders. Uncle Adam borrowed Ryan’s waders.

They fished, and fished, and fished.

There was no keeping the lens dry while taking this picture. There was no keeping the lens dry while taking this picture.

And fished through a rain storm.

Ryan hooked it and Adam netted it. Ryan hooked it and Adam netted it.

And finally caught one fish! But that’s how it goes sometimes.

Mommy and Evie modeling the latest in Lady's hat fashion. Mommy and Evie modeling the latest in Lady’s hat fashion.

That’s all, folks, Have a good weekend and God bless!

Evie really likes being outside. She likes camping, she likes trees and flowers, and she likes hiking. Earlier this week she was having a bad evening (we think she is starting to cut teeth) and nothing would console her over-tired self except walking around the yard and touching all the pretty flowers.

So she’s kind of a hippie.

Or a Franciscan.

Same difference.

Partly to give Evie her outdoors fix for the week, and partly to promote community, fun times and not having to wash so many dishes, we went camping last weekend. We drove out to Belfair State Park on Hood Canal on Friday. It was not that long of a drive, just about an hour from Puyallup, which was good. HRH still is not a fan of the car seat, especially for long periods of time. She slept most of the way.

Our good friends the Echols. And Evie. Our good friends the Echols. And Evie.

We had some folks from our Bible study group, including Evie’s Godmother Danica who made her the kettlebell, and our friend Jenn, as well as the Echol’s family.

Ben and Christine Echols brought their 1.5-year-old, Noah. He and Evie hit it off really well. It was actually kind of amazing the amount of interest Evie showed in watching Noah. She laughed and kicked her arms and legs and babbled as soon as she saw him.

She seems especially interested in Noah’s ability to walk around on his own two feet. She would watch him like a hawk as he ran around the campsite, and when he ran away she would get frustrated and kick her feet and want to follow. She spent a lot of the weekend practicing walking back and forth on the picnic table bench, courtesy of Auntie Danica.

Yeah, she wants to be mobile. She’s going to be a holy terror once she gets her feet under her for good. Bring it. Daddy can still outrun you, kid.

The menfolk get their kettlebell on. The menfolk get their kettlebell on.

Ryan brought some kettlebells and he and Ben got in a short practice session. Noah wanted to be like his Daddy so he borrowed Evie’s kettlebell and swung it around and tossed it in the dirt. He’s got the idea.

It's... so... beautiful... must... have... the... Fire! It’s… so… beautiful… must… have… the… Fire!

It turns out that Evie likes fire too. So does Noah.

We knew there was a burn ban in effect for all State Parks land, due to ridiculously dry conditions, but we did not know that it extended to all open flames, including citronella candles. The Park Ranger had to come by and sternly ask, “Is that a candle?” in his best Wyatt Earp voice.

Evie wants fire! Evie wants fire!

So we improvised. Hey, it isn’t camping without a fire!

We took a walk down to the water and hung out there for a while, but it turned out to be too cold and windy for the babies. It actually started to rain a little bit, which was nice. Fortunately our camp was well sheltered, tented and tarped, and we didn’t mind the rain at all.

Surprise, surprise, Evie liked the swing set. Surprise, surprise, Evie liked the swing set.

On Sunday we walked to the park playground and fooled around down there for a while. Evie really enjoyed the swing set.

Monkeying around. Monkeying around.

And the monkey bars.

Okay, that was easy. Now how do we get back down? Okay, that was easy. Now how do we get back down?

And the rock climbing wall.

Group picture! Group picture!

A good time was had by all.

Oh dear! Camping is such hard work! Oh dear! Camping is such hard work!

Evie was very dramatically tired during the campsite deconstruction process. She is practicing her cheesy silent film star gestures.

But not to worry! She was back to full steam when we got home and even helped out with the laundry! It sure is tasty right when it comes out of the dryer.

Other than that this week has been business as usual. The lack of posting this week is a result of Ryan’s school schedule and a couple of minor changes to plans that took up more time than expected. Next week should be about the same, only worse since Ryan starts Spanish II in the mornings and Korean in the evenings. Because foreign languages are more fun when you mix them together!

So if you don’t hear from us, it’s because we are busy being awesome.* It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Typical grownups! They get chicken, I get a spoon. An empty spoon. With no chicken on it. Typical grownups! They get chicken, I get a spoon. An empty spoon. With no chicken on it.

*Awesome. Definition: to run around in circles in a manner reminiscent of a decapitated fowl.

Four months old this week! Four months old this week!

Well, Evie is four months old now. She is still awesome, and just as opinionated as ever.

We went camping with Kathleen’s parents last weekend at Taidnapam Park. Taidnapam is famous locally for its trout and kokane fishing. Unfortunately, the fishing was off for some reason. We (Ryan and Kathleen’s Dad) fished from the bridge all afternoon on Saturday and all morning on Sunday. Kathleen fished part of Saturday afternoon as well. The bridge was packed from one end to the other with fisherfolks. In all that time we saw maybe a dozen fish caught.

The highlight of the fishing was when we watched a mom showing her two children, a boy and a girl, how to fish. She had taken them fishing with their little dollar general fishing rods. The girl’s had “Frozen” princesses on it, and the boy’s had “Spiderman” on it. They were just casting and reeling from the bank, and, much to their surprise, the boy’s bobber was taken straight to the bottom. In the five minute battle that ensued his mom operated that little plastic spiderman pole like a pro and hauled in a 20 inch trout! Then she stood there on the bank holding the fish with a “now what” look on her face.

Someone called down, “Hey, do you have a stringer or anything to put it on?”

She yelled back, “No, we don’t have a stringer or bucket or anything. Do you want it? I didn’t plan on catching anything.”

They gladly took the fish off her hands.

I kept telling Jerry (my Father-in-law) we shouldn’t have shown up quite so prepared. The fish know when you aren’t ready for them. That’s when they bite.

Most of Evie’s time was spent exploring nature and hanging out with Grandma and Great-Grandma at the camper. (We lived in a tent ourselves, but the in-laws like a camper).

Evie loves being outside. Seriously. Most days she gets cranky and out of sorts unless we take her out on the deck or the back yard, or put her in the carrier and walk around the neighborhood. I am not even joking. She can be bawling her eyes out, but step out the back door and she stops crying almost instantly and just stares at the trees and bushes and sky and in a few minutes she is all smiles. It is like magic.

We have no idea what we are going to do with her in the winter when it is raining all the time. Probably invest in a rain canopy or something and stick it in the lawn and put her under it in a play pen. Who knows?

Well, if she is going to be a Washington girl, she had better learn to like Washington weather. It ain’t always sunshine and roses, but when it is, it is gorgeous.

During the summer we are planning on taking her on lots more camping/hiking trips, so she should have plenty of time to enjoy the nice weather before the drizzle starts again after the State Fair in September. But there is something nice about the cold and damp. You can wear flannel and drink tea (at the same time) without overheating, if you leave the windows open.

Kathleen is shaking her head. She gets cold in the summer time, except when she was pregnant with Evie. Evie is a little heater. I swear her feet are sweatier than Ryan’s!

Evie says, “What is it? Only one way to find out! Nom, nom, nom!” Enjoying the campfire with Grandpa and Great-Grandma. Grandpa had trouble keeping the hat on her head because she likes to pull it off, but we got this picture before she did. Enjoying the campfire with Grandpa and Great-Grandma. Grandpa had trouble keeping the hat on her head because she likes to pull it off, but we got this picture before she did. She was super fascinated with the V8 bottle. It was so beautiful and brightly colored... she just had to eat it! She was super fascinated with the V8 bottle. It was so beautiful and brightly colored… she just had to eat it! Camping is hard work! Camping is hard work!

The above picture was taken the day after we left. Jerry made sure to message it to both of us and tell us that they had figured out the bait combination to make the fish bite: one small lump of pink powerbait, a chunk of worm, and a piece of shrimp dyed pink.

Holy Fussy Fish, Batman! What do they think this is, a five star restaurant where the chef kills you and fries you if you like his cooking?

Actually, if you look at it from that point of view, I would be picky too. I wouldn’t take a nibble unless the food was to die for.