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.

Happy Easter Week, everyone!

Tri-tips roasting on an open fire.

For those who don’t know, Catholics are supposed to celebrate Easter for a whole week. If you haven’t gotten on that yet, you still have a whole day to get your celebrate on! Plus, tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday. I can’t think of many things more important to celebrate than Divine Mercy, since none of us are getting to Heaven without it.

So do yourself a favor, dust off an old cookbook (for you TLM folks out there, I am sure you can find a pre-1962 liturgical cookbook written in Latin) get your kids together, assign some tasks, and get cooking. Make something delicious together, eat it together.

This was a particularly delicious dish (asparagus wrapped in prosciutto). It has unique spiritual symbolism, in that it represents all of our highest spiritual longings.

Don’t believe me? I shall explain:

  • The vegetable represents our hope for higher things. That’s why it’s called “aspire-agus.”
  • We wrap it in the prosciutto of happiness
  • Season it with zest
  • And pour over it the olive oil of gladness.
  • Plus, prosciutto is pretty much like bacon, so it’s awesome.

Or, if the weather is nice in your neck of the woods, get out and hike. Or plant a garden. It’s easy! Get yourself a hoe and some seeds, chop up a few square feet of your front lawn (get rid of all that useless grass, best to take it out by the roots or it will come back) and put the seeds in the dirt.

Apples in bloom on either side of our greenhouse.

On Easter we had Deedee and Papa and Dude over, along with Uncle Pat and Aunt Patty, and Travis and his girlfriend Savannah. Between them the girls made out like bandits.

Deedee and Dude filled about three dozen eggs, which Travis and Savannah cleverly concealed all over the lawn.

Everyone loves watching little kids find eggs, even if there is entirely too much candy for two very small children to eat.

We grownups don’t have as much energy, so we mostly celebrate in a more sedentary fashion.

And then we finished up with a rousing game of “Ticket to Ride” which was the first time we have played it with all five players. Let me tell you, the board gets way more crowded with five players.

And the rest of the week we have tried to be at home enjoying ourselves as much as possible, thanking Jesus for the gift of His resurrection.

The girls playing dress-up together (they are superheros. They apparently have not been following Edna’s advice.)

Especially Ellie.

The Daddy is slowly learning how to do hair, since we seem to have so much of it around the house.

So is Ellie.

And that’s all for this week, folks. Remember, It’s still Easter until Sunday.

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!

 

 

 

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 😦

 

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!

Summer time is hiking time in the Pacific Northwest! We found a nice little trail hike in Dupont last weekend that took us from the town hall down to the sound.

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There was an ouchie on the trail down that resulted in tears from Evie. Mommy still opted not to carry her.

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The trail went under the railroad tracks to the beach.

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Evie was enchanted with the tunnel

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I don’t know how she bends her arm back that far.

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And chased the little crabs.

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Evie is not afraid of the little crabs. Neither is she very interested in them.

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She would rather throw rocks.

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We could not put Ellie down because there were too many things for her to put in her mouth.

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Even the Puget sound looks good in July Sunshine.

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Hiking is hard work

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Evie, however, had plenty of energy after hiking the 1.5 miles down and 1.5 miles back up.

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Picnic time!

Evie is really quite a good hiker. Hopefully she gets lots more practice this summer.

Mommy made some absolutely delicious coconut prawns on Friday. Family Friday 165 (1)They were amazing, as evidenced by the fact that Ryan and Kathleen ate about two pounds of them together. Even Evie ate two of them, and she is very averse to eating new things.

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Ellie says, “I notice you’re not offering me any shrimp!”

A friend of ours had a baby baptized on Saturday evening after Mass, so we went to Mass Saturday night.

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“Yay Maddie! You got baptized!”

Then Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne came over and we hung out at our house for a while. Ellie was very intrigued by her baby cousin.

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Daddy, why doesn’t she crawl? It’s more fun than just lying there!

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It’s okay, I help her.

Sunday was the day of the annual Moergli Picnic (The Moergli’s are Deedee’s Mom’s family). We are sort of related to them, twice removed, in Kathleen’s case, three times in Evie and Ellie’s, but that’s close enough for a picnic. Mommy spent the morning concocting deliciousness:

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Whole wheat dough rolled flat with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.

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Rolled into a roll

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Sliced into slices

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Magic!

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Mommy’s valentine!

The picnic was almost intolerably hot for everyone except Daddy (he has spent a lot of time in hotter places) but everyone still loved seeing the girls.

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“I call dibs when she wakes up!”

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Aunt Susie beating the heat!

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Even in the pool hats are required when you are as white as Evie and as resistant to sunscreen

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Everyone loves an Ellie!

We experimented with camping out in the back yard last weekend, but that didn’t work so well (Evie did very little sleeping. Consequently, so did Daddy). Daddy has been trying to get a hammock up behind the tent, but has been having issues due to not having the right materials.

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Evie helps set up one of the anchors. I taught her “ERNEST” (Equal, Redundant, Non-Extending, Solid, Timely, a.k.a. the qualities of a good anchor).

The only points to anchor the hammock are approximately 30 yards apart, consequently if you hang it with any dynamic material (i.e. material that has any stretch to it), you end up lying on the ground as soon as you put weight in it.

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The tent works well enough, for what it is.

We did eventually find the right combination of hammock, straps and price from Amazon, and with a few times tightening with a ratchet strap…

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Voila! A hammock!

Why does it appear to sag so low in that picture, you ask?

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How else could all the short people get into it?

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Evie: “I’ve always wanted to be on a boat!”

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It is now a wonderful place to read Beatrix Potter.

Daddy and the girls got to go to MC on Monday. Unfortunately, Mommy wasn’t feeling well.

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Nosey nellies.

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Auntie Celyn loves her some Ellie snuggles!

We also celebrated Uncle Adam’s birthday this week. Unfortunately, he has requested us not to post any pictures of him so no one will see how old he is looking now. It’s really quite shocking. What hair is left to him at his advanced age is as white as printer paper and twice as crinkly. Aging. It’s a son-of-a-gun.

Just kidding. He doesn’t look a day over 42.

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Meat. Lots of Meat.

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Evie and Edmund were too excited to eat very well. They spent most of their time pushing the table around and complaining about the other pushing the table around.

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Tunnel of Fudge cake.

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He needed help to blow out his candles.

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Evie and Edmund playing with Uncle Adam’s birthday present.

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This picture was taken right before the chain snapped.

And that’s all for this week.

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Evie modeling the Dr. Seuss shorts/overalls combo thingy that Grandma Ann made for her. 

Have a great weekend. We’ll see you all later!

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Since last week, Ellie has gained a great deal of mobility. So we have put her to work, giving her a job that will hone her latent predator skills. We even cave her a cave-baby outfit to wear while she chases her quarry.

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Don’t worry, the rat is made of rubber. 

Seriously, though, she is growing by leaps and bounds. Or at least by creeps and grounds.

 

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She doesn’t crawl any more than she can help. 

Mostly she bear-crawls, commando crawls, and butt-scoots to anything she can pull herself up into a standing position on.

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Git around!

Once there she pulls herself up, and falls, and pulls and falls and pulls and stands and wobbles for a few minutes, until eventually she falls again.

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Mission Accomplished! Now, let’s try stepping.

It’s all hard work and requires a lot of eating and sleeping to support.

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Frozen raspberries! They are delicions and feel good on the sore gummies.

A lot of food. Healthy food!

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Fresh from the garden! Yum!

 

Fortunately these are the things that Ellie is good at.

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Champion snuggler!

And she has a big sister who is more than willing to help her.

 

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Here you go, Ellie!

She cooks food for her baby sister. Today it was flower soup.

 

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Hmmmm… Needs some salt.

Holds her sister.

 

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Aunty Mary-Kate made Ellie a beautiful colorful new quilt.

Helps her stay cool in the heat, and celebrate Fourth of July all at the same time.

 

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Let’s just say it’s a good thing Ellie doesn’t mind water in her face.

And Evie also gives her great fashion advice.

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Try putting one of Mommy’s begonias in your hair. It will be beautiful!

The only thing Evie does not do, is go to sleep.

 

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Bedtime is just the worst!

It’s amazing how much these two get up to in any given day. Mommy and Daddy just seem to do the same old same old, most of the time. Although this week we did have some fun family cooking. Family Friday 163 (2)We made pasta carbonara, out of the Vatican Cookbook.

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The recipe is so easy and delicious.

If you look closely you can see that our copy of the Vatican Cookbook is signed by the owner of La Vittoria restaurant, which is featured in the book. We got it signed when we were in Rome about 1 1/2 years ago.

Then she found a recipe for honey oat bread on the internet somewhere and made that.

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The most beautiful loaf of honey goodness I have ever seen. And the bread’s not too bad looking either 😉

It was delicious. Very hearty and robust, but mildly sweet and nutty. We should share the recipe sometime. Speaking of recipes, Daddy made a new pizza this week that is scrumdiddlyumptious. You guys should come over and try some sometime.

That’s all for this week. God Bless, and have a great weekend. Bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is hard to believe it, but Ellie is almost one month old.

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How is it possible for such a tiny human to contain so much cute.

We are trucking along with Christmas vacation, which is almost exactly like a Christmas vacation. Kathleen is on maternity leave, and Ryan’s clinical rotations are paused until January, so we have been having a bunch of family time. We put it to good use with fun and enriching things like running errands, catching up on dental appointments, National Guard online course, going eye appointments, replacing appliances and furnaces, and for down time there is always good old fashioned potty-training.

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Mommy and Daddy are so busy, we left the cookie-making and babysitting to Evie. She is maturing so fast!

If that doesn’t just scream “Merry Christmas,” I don’t know what does.

Just kidding. We are doing all of those things, but since we are hardly sleeping, we still have plenty of time every day.

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There’s a reason they make them so cute, LOL.

Anyway, it isn’t so bad. Ellie and Evie have totally different personalities. When the pediatricians tell us that newborns should sleep 20 hours a day, Ellie heard that and took it to heart. She is very conscientious about reaching her sleep quota every day.

Unlike Evie, who I don’t think has ever slept more than 14 hours in any one day. She regards sleep as an unnecessary evil.

We have been up to other things as well. Ellie got baptized last week. Deacon George performed the ceremony during the Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. How special is that!

 

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Uncle Adam is the godfather, and Auntie Maryanne is standing in for our cousin Audrey who is the godmother. Audrey was busy with finals in South Carolina and couldn’t make it out.

 

Deacon George gave a fine pep talk before pouring the water on Ellie’s head, but it didn’t seem to do much good.

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She didn’t like it very much!

Welcome to the path of Eternal Life! Cold water is just part of the fun.

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It’s okay, Ellie, you can breastfeed some more as soon as we get back to the pew.

The Mass took place in the beginning of Ellie’s usual cluster-feed time, so she was busy nursing most of the Mass, when she wasn’t getting baptized. It’s okay. Pope Francis said so.

 

Ellie Baptism (1)

And Evie got her own special part, carrying up the gifts. Family Friday 135 (9)

Let’s see, what else. The weather has been unseasonably clear, but very chilly in the mornings. This is good for Evie since it means she can go outside and run around and shake, shake, shake her sillies out. She has a lot of sillies to shake out.

She has been dealing pretty well with not being the center of attention anymore. We had some problems with temper tantrums, not listening, and potty training has taken a couple huge steps back. Now that Daddy is home during the day for a couple of weeks, hopefully we can get that back on track.

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Family Snuggles always help.

And any time she can get some one-on-one time with Mommy or Daddy is great. The other day she helped Daddy set up some of his army gear. He had a pouch left over, and it turned into a wonder colored pencil/notebook case.

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She is playing “school.” I think she is the teacher.

 

She is a wonderful big sister too. Ellie thinks Evie is the best big sister she’s ever had.

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“Here you go, Ellie, have a balloon!

 

We had our first pizza party in quite a while last Saturday. Ryan and Adam’s mom was in town.

 

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Not bad looking, if I do say so myself. They tasted pretty good to, by all reports. I could share the recipes, but…. Better yet, come over and have some yourself. Bring Beer.

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Evie jumping rope with Deedee and Papa.

Yesterday was Noah’s Birthday! Yay!

So we all went to join in the celebration at Odyssey 1.

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Happy Brithday , Noah! Blow out your candles!

Family Friday 135 (6)It was Evie’s first experience of an arcade. Let’s just say, she played with more excitement than skill.

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Especially since she is too short to reach the gas pedal.

And that’s all for this week. Have a good weekend, Folks. God Bless, and happy Gaudete Sunday!

 

 

What a week. So much work to do. Work, work, work.

Which, work can actually be pretty fun, especially when you work with an Evie.

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Skirts and sweaters. G’Pa P would approve.

I didn’t even know we had that little rake.

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She looks so Autumnal 🙂

This time of year sees the continuation of the annual Christmas Cookie Bake. As always its the Swiss cookies that get made first. Mostly because they season the best over several months.

Kathleen made Lackerli earlier in the week as well. For most of the week our house smelled of delicious fall spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and anise. One of Ryan’s classmates and fellow traditional cookie lover came over to help make cookies.

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Kathleen very much enjoyed having the help, it shortened an all day task to several hours worth of work.

Evie enjoyed having Lena come over to visit the most. They became fast friends, even sharing tea and lunch.

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Lena brought Evie a gift, a play-doh (c) Rapunzel with a hair brush and other fancy things to put in her hair for hours of fun.

Family Friday 126 (19)Evie’s favorite part was watching the hair grow and then cutting it with her scissors. That was so much fun she even tried to give Lena a hair cut.

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This was Ryan and Lena’s last week of their first clinical rotations for PA school. Only 5 more rotations left.

Kathleen worked her last week of nights before Ellie comes. She spent her Monday ‘sleeping time’ prior to work cleaning and re-organizing the girls room. She had the goal of getting both girls clothes in the same dresser.

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There were moments of major clothing explosions, as Kathleen went through each girls clothing deciding what should stay out and what should be put away for later. In the end organization prevailed.

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Evie’s Drawer

It’s amazing how the size of the child is inversely correlated with the amount of clothes they own.

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Ellie’s Drawer… And Ellie

Kathleen also managed to get Ellie’s crib ready for her arrival and packed part of her bag to go to the hospital for her arrival. Nesting much? Only about 5 weeks to go!

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This is also the week of the big children’s consignment sale at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. Which is why Kathleen needed to organize the girls things.

We discovered the sale a few years ago, before Evie was born. Now Kathleen sells excess items twice a year and adds to Evie’s toys, clothes and shoes. This year she also volunteered to help give out free tickets.

Even with all the cleaning going on Evie and Mommy managed to find time to make some of Daddy’s favorite muffins, Pumpkin with walnuts and chocolate chips.

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Evie was in charge of putting toppings on the muffins. She did a wonderful job and only ate two chocolate chips in the process of doing so.

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That’s all for this week! God Bless!Family Friday 126 (22)

 

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their summer.

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“Yook, Dada! I find a syug!”

Have you ever wondered why people say that? No one ever says, “I hope you are enjoying your autumn,” or winter or spring. Why is that? is it because we are trained to think of summer as “vacation time?”

 

Who outside of the narrow world of school and academia (not the same things) actually gets a summer off?

But I digress. Even though Ryan technically has the summer off, the Kraeger Family remains busy. Kathleen, of course, does not have the summer off (those arteries and veins aren’t going to scan themselves, you know) and Ryan has been kept occupied with a combination of National Guard, his Capstone project, and garden/yard work. Yet somehow we still manage to enjoy our summer.

Last week was Kids Swiss Camp at the Swiss Park. The Camp is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. Kathleen was one of the original campers from class 001, and has been volunteering there ever since, first as a counsellor and then as a dishwasher.

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Mary Ulrich teaching knitting. She is 102 years old.

So of course we had to go up for this camp and watch the older Swiss generation passing on their traditions to the younger generation.

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Cheese-making is a very important part of Swiss culture.

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As is the eating of that cheese.

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Evie is too young for Kids Camp by a good many years, but she loves the Swiss park. They have a great playground that she likes to play in when she is visiting Deedee and Papa. This time they had all kinds of toys for her to play with (scenery for the play the kids were practicing.

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On Sunday night Ryan and Kathleen experimented with pizza on the grill for date night.

 

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Unfortunately it stuck to the peal, so getting the pizza off the peal and onto the stone was a problem. It mangled the dough pretty badly.

 

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And we were so into the pizza/grill fiasco that we burned the cheesy garlic bread. #RealLifeRomance

 

 

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Ugly, but edible.

Still, it was fun and relaxing, and it’s date night, so who cares if it isn’t perfect.

The garden is coming along nicely. Tomatoes and cantalopes are looking promising.

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That’s Kathleen’s hand, not Ryans.

Peas are all harvested and done for the year. Now it is the beets, carrots and beans taking their turn.

 

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Not bad for a couple hours’ work.

And we even have blossoms on our little pumpkin plants!

 

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We shall see if they amount to anything.

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

 

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Evie and her friend Joshua hanging out after Mass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, folks, we finally tapered Evie off of her seizure meds, and she is now completely med free. Thanks be to God!

Last weekend we said farewell for now to a very dear friend, Kyle Poje. He is going to Rome to study in the Seminary for the next four years. It was a special occasion so Evie and Daddy made banana-walnut-chocolate-chip scones for the party.

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She is her mother’s daughter. She is perfectly happy just to eat the dough raw, and doesn’t see why we need to go to all the bother of baking them.
The party was at Wright Park in Tacoma with all our MC friends. We didn’t take very many pictures, but it was great to catch up with all the folks we don’t see very often anymore, now that we are all growing up and living our lives, so to speak.

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The man of the hour, the future Father Kyle.
Uncle Gus set up his hammock and Evie and Edmund thought it was pretty much the best thing ever. Evie would have stayed there all night quite happily.

Last weekend was the first weekend we have been able to attend Mass at St. Frances Cabrini is several weeks. It was good to be back and see all our friends. Evie wanted to light candles. She likes lighting votive candles, and she likes dropping money in the St. Vincent DePaul poor box. Unfortunately she is too short to reach the slot.

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“I can’t reach. Daddy, help!”

 

 

Fr. Paul happened to come along and he was happy to help her up. She thanked him very politely, “Thank-you Mister Father Paul,” which made his day.

Then in the afternoon we went to the Moergeli family picnic. The Moergeli’s are Kathleen’s Mom’s family.

 

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Grandma Dolly (in the wheelchair) and this fine red dog turned out to be Evie’s two favorite Moerglis.
I don’t know when it was that we managed to get out and weed and harvest in the garden. I think it must have been Friday, because we were busy the rest of the time. But we did manage to do that.

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Evie likes pulling up carrots… whether they are ready or not, unfortunately.
We got the garden weeded, watered, and as much harvested as was ready. The broccoli and peppers have turned out to be a bust, but the peas are coming in like gangbusters and everything else is doing pretty darn well.

 

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We are even managing to keep the hanging fuschia alive, which is cool, as it has become a favorite watering hole for our local hummingbird pair.
 

Evie found this fine fellow hiding in the leaves in the back of the yard.

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Mommy, can I keep him?
She named him “Moana” and gave him a bath in the pool.

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“He need a bath, him dirty.”
Rest easy folks, it is not a real rat. It is made of rubber. Must have been someone’s Halloween prop at some point in the distant past.

And the day culminated with a swim in the pool. Mommy did not want to swim because she was on call and had to wear her scrubs.

 

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Mommy, I wash you mouth.
Evie made sure she got at least a little bit of a bath anyways.

And that’s all for this week. Stay classy, folks, and always ready for adventures. Keep your go-bags packed.

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God bless! Pray for all of us.