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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been a pretty cool week, because for once we feel like we actually finished some projects and made some real time for family.

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Yeah! Family Time!

 

Last Friday Evie went to stay with Grandma and Papa, while Mommy drove up to Seattle to meet Daddy after work/school, and they had a date!

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Kathleen is talking about something that isn’t Evie or what-we-have-to-do-next. We are probably talking about medicine. #NERDS!

Since we were on a date, we aren’t “Mommy” and “Daddy,” we are “Ryan” and “Kathleen.” Weird, right?

family-friday-77-12After dinner we saw “Man of La Mancha” at the 5th Ave Theater. It was a “modern retelling” of the play, not too badly done. The leading man had a bit of a lisp, and, unfortunately was not Peter O’Toole, and the dialog was a bit rushed, possibly due to production constraints (it was a two hour show with no intermission). Other than that, however, it was very good. The lady who played Dulcinea did a spectacular job.

And on Saturday morning we picked Evie up and we were all together again.

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Apparently Evie discovered the song “Mr. Bojangles” and made Grandma play it (and dance to it) 18 times in one morning.

family-friday-77-1Uncle Adam came over on Sunday to help Daddy put the roof on the patio shelter. Finally, six weeks into a 12 hour project, it is finished and ready for parties!

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Kraeger ladies, party of two!

And while Ryan and Adam were working hard and doing manly things, Kathleen wrangled the children.

And made the world’s most delicious nachos supreme, with bacon, beef and refried beans. And did I mention Bacon?!

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Bacon nachos!

Monday after work/school, Daddy and Mommy took Evie trick-or-treating. We visited Grandma and Papa, Grandma Dolly, Aunt Dude, and Great-Grandma.

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Evie is Little Red Riding Hood, Mommy is Granny, and Daddy is the woodsman.

Evie didn’t like the cape at first, but eventually she realized it made the Grandmas happy, so she tolerated it.

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She’s cute and she knows it, heaven help us.

And she’s strong. She can carry two full water bottles. At once!

 

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But they are SO heavy!!!

And that’s all for this week. Ryan has to get back to school, nowish.

Have a good weekend! God Bless.

 

 

Last weekend, Evie wanted to help Mommy and Daddy cook. Grandma Kraeger sent her a beautiful new apron that she just had to try out. Family Friday 63 3So we let her help make pies. Because it’s as easy as!

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Actually, pie is not really easy. For my part I would have been inclined to regard rice-crispy treats as the easiest piece of baking mongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in that phrase and my unhallowed hands… etc.

Perhaps our ancestors were being ironical when they first referred to something as being “easy as pie.” Family Friday 63 5

But I digress. Evie says, “It’s all about having the right tool for the right job.”

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Apparently when Daddy mixes the pie filling it is absolutely hilarious.

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Evie checks the lemon peels to see if they are zesty enough. They are.

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And voila! Easy as pie!

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And this is pretty much the definition of proactive. Ryan found this while putting groceries in the freezer. We made this spaghetti and put it in the freezer before Evie was born, so that we would have a pre-made meal after she was born. They we never got around to eating it.

It was all freezer burnt and nasty by now, a year and a half later, but it was a good thought.

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On Sunday, Mommy had a headache in the morning, so Daddy and Evie went to the park, and then Evie went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the night.

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When you have a headache, date night looks like this, and a movie. But it is still worth it!

We tried to get Evie a bubble wand from the store, but we got the cheap stuff, and it wouldn’t bubble. So we made our own.Family Friday 63 16

It worked a lot better.

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Evie loved it!

Family Friday 63 12More please!

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

 

 

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Vacation, huh? That’s real funny, Daddy! Now hold still so I can pound on your tummy with my fists.

Once again, a week goes by and no blogging is forthcoming. This despite Ryan being off for winter break. What happened to all that time he was going to have for reading and writing, now that he has no more studies to keep him occupied? What happened to all those projects planned for the first week of blessed vacation?

In a word, Evie happened.

Not really. Evie has been a very good baby, as always, and if she takes up the majority of our spare time that is solely because we choose to have it so. We decided as parents that time spent with our children (assuming we have more than one, eventually) was a priority. Besides, next year Ryan is going to start working 40-60 hour weeks again, and Evie is really going to miss Daddy then. So if we try to minimize time without parents during vacation at the cost of other hobbies and projects, well, that’s life.

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Raining? What do you mean, raining? That’s not fair!

I suppose the answer is to sleep less, and do all those hobbies and projects after Evie goes to bed or before she wakes up.

Kathleen says, “Ha!”

All that is not to say that nothing has gotten done around here this week. A scandalously long list of non-functional lights are now functioning; the house is covered with Christmas lights (that was a cold, miserable job. It was 35 degrees and pouring rain the entire time); and the back yard is finally leaf and windfall free. The leaves are not coming back until next fall, so that’s great! Windfall? Well, that happens all year round.

The inside of the house has also been Christmassed up a bit. Kathleen is more into that than Ryan is (because Ryan is a curmudgeon), so she handled most of the inside decorations.Family Friday 29 16

And of course we try to make time for other things as well, besides projects and playing with Evie. We had our friend Ryan (A.K.A. “The Other Ryan,” or “Eastern Ryan” [because he is Eastern Catholic, as opposed to our Ryan who is Roman or Western Catholic]). He is quite a renaissance man, being a theologian and philosopher, as well as an anglophile and something of a connoisseur of tea, sandwiches and “crisps”.

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This is an Evie’s-Eye-View of a conversation between big people.

He came over on Saturday to join us for tea and a few hours of conversation about topics ranging from countries we have traveled in to the Eastern vs. Western interpretations of the role of the diaconate, to a huge chunk of time spent on theological interpretations of the Genesis 1-3 narrative. Definitely one of the best conversations we have enjoyed in a very long time.

Which could inspire a rant on how few of our conversations in modern, western civilization are really substantive, but let’s not.

We visited Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne on Sunday, and Evie got to hang out with her favorite baby cousin.

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Daddy’s phone always takes blurry pictures.
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That cardboard box is one of Evie’s favorite toys. Thank you Grandma Kraeger!

Uncle Adam is almost done with his semester.

No, actually I lie. He is done with his quarter, because this week was finals week, and University of Washington is on a quarter system, not a semester system. You would think that having been a full time student for over a year now on the quarter system I would be used to it, but I am not.

The really big project this week has been a bit of kitchen remodeling. One of Kathleen’s co-workers has a brother who is a contractor, and we hired him to widen the doorway that runs from the kitchen into the dining room. It is a pretty straightforward job, and doesn’t look like it will be too expensive, but it should vastly improve the usable space in the kitchen. It should also make pizza parties more convenient, since those entail a whole lot of people coming and going through that doorway all day, laden with food. Family Friday 29 7 Family Friday 29 8  Family Friday 29 10  Family Friday 29 14

Speaking of which, we are planning a pizza party on Saturday (tomorrow), which means that kitchen needs to be finished and cleaned by this evening! Will our heroes make it in time? Or will they be unable to keep the plaster dust out of the dough? Be sure to tune in next time for the exciting conclusion….

Last night was a big night for Evie! She got to stay over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the very first time!

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This staying over night was to allow Mommy and Daddy to have a date night in Seattle. It was pretty cool! We got to pretend to be adults and act like we were, you know, romantically involved, in addition to being partners in diaper changing, baby wrangling and house-cleaning. We went to the Taphouse Bar and Grill in downtown Seattle, (160 beers on tap, great food, and not too expensive by Seattle standards. We highly recommend it!)

We then went to see “The Sound of Music” at the 5th Avenue Theater. It was a pretty good production, but in my Ryan’s opinion, not as good as their amazing “Pirates of Penzance” that they did last year. Ryan had never seen the play before, only the classic movie version with Julie Andrews and Christopher plummer (no pressure, right?). He agreed with the movie maker’s decision to leave out some of the songs, cut down on the endless number of reprises, and rearrange the order in which the songs appear. Kathleen, however, has seen the play before and performed in it, and she was disappointed that they left out one of her favorite songs “Two Millionaires.”

So it was an enjoyable evening, but due to privacy and copyright and stuff like that we were unable to take pictures of the performance. Allow us to share with you instead this picture of the stage, sporting a purple curtain.Family Friday 29 25Schnazzy, right? You want to see more, go on your own date.

In other news…Family Friday 29 20

 

Congratulations to Kathleen’s Co-worker Julia for getting published in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography!

We hope you guys are having a good Advent Season.

Make sure you don’t get too hectic and stressed out with all of the trimmings and forget the essence. Try to follow Evie’s example and make some time for a few good books!

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Until next time, God Bless, and prayers from the Kraegers

Well, another week is past. This one has been a little less hectic than last one. However there are always the usual ankle-biters Family Friday 25 1that come up and distract you (or in our case “ankle-slimers.” Evie still has no teeth but her gums are hard, let me tell you! And drool-y). What with all the school and work and National Guard-ing going on, things got so crazy that Evie had to seek comfort in the bottle.

No, really. She sought the heck out of that comfort. All of the comfort from that bottle must go into the Evie. Right down to the dregs.

Ryan has not been blogging much as you may have noticed, mostly because he has been working on his NaNoWriMo novel in almost all of his spare time. The supply of spare time is limited, so you really have to pick and choose how you are going to spend it. That, my friends, is time in a nutshell.

Progress is slow but… no, it isn’t even really steady. It goes in fits and spurts. After knocking out 12,000 words the first week, we barely added 5,000 more this week. With the goal for the month of 50,000 words (again, why did I sign up for this?) and the month darn near halfway over, promising is not what this looks like.

On the bright side, there is no cost for not finishing 50,000 words in a month. It is still writing, and a bad day writing is still a pretty good day. The solution is tea or beer and more writing.

Family Friday 25 2We went to go visit Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne last weekend. We brought along some beef gravy and rice noodles and brownies, and helped Uncle Adam get rid of all his beer (my I highly recommend “The Sixth Glass” quadrupel ale from Boulevard Brewing Company [no, we are not paid to endorse Boulevard Brewing Company, we just like their booze]).

And of course we enjoyed hanging out with this little guy, who is quite the snugglebug.Family Friday 25 3Evie, meanwhile decided that Aunt Maryanne’s donut pillow was the best toy ever!

Look Mommy! I'm a shipwreck survivor!
Look Mommy! I’m a shipwreck survivor!

We tried eggs for the first time this week (yolks, not whites). Eating eggs is hard work and despite the fact that they are tasty, Miss Evie was worn out. The result?Family Friday 25 5This is why supper time usually comes right before bath time.

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Evie and Daddy like to go for walks in the woods while waiting for Mommy to get home from work. Evie especially likes it when we run into people or dogs that she can wave at and talk to.

However, not all the things we do are with Evie. Last night Grandma and Grandpa came down and watched Evie so Ryan and Kathleen could go on a date. We went bowling!

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Ryan, definitely not taking after his dad.

Ironically we decided to bring her along in a sense. We opened up a spot for Evie on the scorecard and bowled for her, taking turns throwing her frames. Family Friday 25 12She beat both of us. Is that sad or what?

Although it actually can be seen as a good thing, since it indicates that we do better together than either of us can do alone, so that’s a plus.

If you think our bowling scores are pathetic you should have seen us afterwards, chasing the 8-ball around a pool table together for 30 minutes. Ryan finally won… when Kathleen scratched. Skillz, yo….

In other news, Ryan has taken up Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) at Grit City HEMA in Tacoma. Expect to see some news about that as he gets more into it.

Also, if you would say a prayer or two on thursday (the 19th) Ryan is going to Seattle for interviews for the University of Washington MEDEX Physician Assistant program.

And that’s all for this week! Cheers. God Bless you, from the Kraegers.

An idea came to me this morning, during Holy Hour, as I was meditating upon the second Luminous Mystery, The Wedding Feast at Cana. The second luminous mystery is the one I always offer for marriages and families, particularly my own. As I was doing so, this idea pushed up from the mental ground, as it were, like a beanstalk.

I call it “The Great Date-Night Co-Op ™” (just kidding about the trademarked. Anyone can use it if they like.

The idea is simple. A bunch of families get together and form a co-op, in which they all drop the kids off at someone’s house once a week for a few hours. Each couple takes it in turns to watch all the kids, while the others get to take an evening off. Say you have 5 or 6 families involved, every 5 or 6 weeks you watch everyone’s kids, and the rest of the time you get one free evening a week.

You can see why I was just kidding about the trademark thing. This is so basic and simple I am sure someone else has thought of it and done it.

Of course there would be logistical issues to think about.

  • What do you do if some of the families don’t have the room to host a dozen kids, e.g. they live in a studio apartment?
    • Perhaps parish halls might be available? YMCA gyms? Outdoors if the weather is nice. You would want to avoid a place you would have to rent, as this ought to be a low-budget idea.
  • How do you establish some baseline agreement about discipline issues? e.g. what movies are allowed, not allowed, how to deal with disrespect, etc.
  • This might not work so well for infants and babies. No couple wants to watch half a dozen infants at the same time.

All in all, though, I think it has a lot to recommend it and the logistics might be worth working through.

What do y’all think?

There are few things more beautiful than a Catholic Wedding. This is the Bride and the Father of the Bride. We are terrible journalists and worse parents because we have precisely two pictures from that whole day. Both are in this post. There are few things more beautiful than a Catholic Wedding. This is the Bride and the Father of the Bride. We are terrible journalists and worse parents because we have precisely two pictures from that whole day. Both are in this post.

This week has been a crazy busy week. It is the second to last week of Spring quarter for me, (finals next week!) and we attended a wedding on Saturday. A very good friend of ours married a young soldier in a beautiful Catholic wedding. Since the bride is a classically trained harpist who has traveled the world, harping here and there, she had contacts in the Catholic music scene. Let’s just say, the music for the wedding was gorgeous. Latin hymns all the way, thank you very much!

Evie was highly entertained by her first out-of-utero wedding. Kathleen very carefully selected a lovely navy blue dress to match my navy blue sport coat. We managed to get a picture of it, even, before the Nuptial Mass started.

Literally just minutes pre-blowout! Literally just minutes pre-blowout!

Needless to say, the dress did not survive the Mass. It did not even make it to the procession. Ryan had to push the bridal party out of the way in the back of the church, to get Evie to a changing table before the consequences became irreversible. There was poop everywhere, but none of it ended up on the sport coat! God is good. Ryan hates buying clothes, or paying to get them cleaned. And Kathleen had very cleverly packed a backup summer dress for Evie, which did not match either parent’s outfit, but was cute, nonetheless.

We went for a walk in the park last Friday and played around on the pullup bars. Kathleen insists that no pictures of her hardcore gymnastics/parkour routine will be published, so you just have to use your imagination. To aid in that process, I include this video of some similar moves.

In the meantime, Ryan was busy pulling a muscle trying to do a horizontal lever from the bar. Must be getting old. Evie didn’t seem to have an issue with it.

Can't even straighten his arms and legs! What a weakling! Can’t even straighten his arms and legs! What a weakling!

For date night last night we went to a nearby indoor shooting range and Kathleen fired a pistol for the first time ever. Since she had never been there before she had to go through the range safety briefing. The nice lady in the dreadlocks who gave the briefing asked, “Have you ever shot a pistol before?”

Kathleen said, “No, my first time.”

The lady looked at me, “Do you have any experience with them?”

“A little.”

“Okay.” She turned back to the briefing. Paused. Turned back, “Wait, are you being facetious?”

Great Word! And yes, I was being facetious.

Turns out Kathleen already knew the big four safety rules from my last post… Actually, she just told me that she remembers them from last spring, before we were even married when I was cleaning out the apartment and I promised to teach her to shoot someday. Her memory is much better than mine.

She is kind of an oddity because she is right handed but left-eye dominant. Since I teach tactical shooting (it’s the only kind I know) I teach shooting with both eyes open, and dominant eye is critical, so Kathleen had to learn to shoot off hand. It is much easier to teach a hand than an eye. She isn’t the first person I’ve seen with an eye-hand mismatch, but after 12 years in the Army I could probably count them on one hand. I sometimes think they are people who were originally wired to be left handed but were socialized into right handedness, and their hands conformed but their eyes did not. It’s a theory anyway.

We rented a .22 since that’s the easiest and cheapest round to learn on, and went over dry-fire and weapon handling, and then went right into 5 round groups at the 5 meter line. She was a little nervous at first, but I explained that a .22 was kind of like a popcorn popping. She didn’t believe me.

She still doesn’t.

Wait until she gets to the 9mm! I don’t think she will ever graduate to .45 with my current arsenal because a full frame XD .45 is just too big for her hands, but other than that, I think she will turn out to be a very competent shooter.