Welcome back to Family Friday. It has been a fairly laid-back week at the Kraeger House. Evie and Ellie have been enjoying having Mommy at home all the time. Family Friday 181 (2)However, we told them not to get too used to it, because Mommy starts her new job on Monday!

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Kathleen’s Co-workers hosted her going away party at Enigma Escapes, and they successfully busted out of the puzzle room.

Evie and Ellie have had colds this week. Evie likes to tell people that she “has just a little cold” and which of her classmates she got her sickness from (it’s a different classmate every time she tells it).

Poor Ellie has a cold, but French Toast can make it all better.

She doesn’t want to eat with her fingers anymore. She wants to use her silverware, so she can be big like Mommy and big sissy.

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She’s a big girl now!
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See? Ellie can do medicine too!

Ellie gets a lot more Mommy time than Evie right now, because Evie is at school all day. They did a school project about what the kids were thankful for.

 

Her answers are always surprising.

She is also learning some classic musical repertoire, to which she adds her own characteristic Evie twist… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPcVFrIltaA

This has been the week of Getting Into Things, apparently.

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“Oh, Hi Mom!”

No, she is not allowed to climb in the refrigerator. She is not even allowed to open the refrigerator without permission.

Not to be outdone, Ellie is now tall enough to reach Daddy’s night stand from her pack-n-play. Mommy came in to get her up from nap and found her eating Daddy’s dog tags. (He never wears them, so he didn’t bother to bring them on deployment with him).

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She was very disappointed when Mommy took them away. And they were so tasty! Especially paired with Daddy’s Father’s Day Card.

And last but not least…

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Don’t even ask me how she got stuck in the ottoman.
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Who me? I’m too cute to get into trouble.

Life is always an adventure with these two around.

Daddy, meanwhile, has been extremely busy, but is now enduring a four-day weekend. He thinks the Army should save up all the days off and stick them on the end of the deployment so we could go home a month earlier.

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That’s a great idea, Daddy!

But the time has allowed him to pursue a slow, careful, gradual rehabilitation program since the injury. He is coming along pretty well, and even recorded his first muscle-up attempt, successfully, less than six months post op! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkqftb2N7fw

Evie wanted to help write Family Friday this week.

She says, “Mommy, I love you too. And Mama, when I love you, something can come true. And please write a picture to me, Evie, who is your best friend. And when you write a picture to me, then I can help with Family Friday.” That is Evie’s contribution.

She also told Mommy last night: “Mommy, I don’t think I am going to like this.”

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Literally all her favorite foods.

Daddy’s comment, “Oh, I am sorry. We must have mistaken you for the toddler who lived on this for her second year of life.”

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Two minutes later…

 

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

76 trombones led the big parade…

Kathleen is trying to put a song in your head this morning. Ryan feels sorry for you, but not sorry enough not to type the lyrics.

It seems like just the other day we were typing Family Friday 75, and here it is a whole week later. I think we must have blinked, or something, because I don’t remember it.

Saturday was a very busy day for us. Work on the pergola continued out behind the house and Evie was in the thick of it.

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A little more to your left, Daddy.

It’s a slow job. Really slow. Mostly because we only work on it an hour or two at a time, every other week. And then of course, the beautiful Pacific Northwest October weather.

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Which doesn’t usually look like this. These pictures are from Saturday, and it has been raining ever since.

We even got the deck swept off!

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Evie discovered the gymnastic rings that Daddy has hanging up in the garage. They have rapidly become her new favorite toy. She is ninja training with Daddy!

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She makes this L-sit hang look easy.

family-friday-76-13It probably is, when you weigh less than 30 pounds soaking wet.

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Mommy is teaching Evie how to make tapioca pudding, which is a valuable life skill if you plan on being a human being. Who doesn’t need a little tapioca pudding now and then?

And the only other major family adventure this week occurred just a couple of hours ago, when we carved Evie’s first pumpkin.

 

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She calls them “pink-pum.”

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Not too sure about the sliminess at first, but she never stays squeamish for long.

She is practicing to be a surgeon.

family-friday-76-8See? nothing to it! It’s only brain surgery.

She was pretty thrilled when Mommy stuck a candle in it and it lit up.

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Hope you all have a great weekend. Keep us in your prayers.

God Bless, from the Kraegers.

 

Kind of busy right now so just a few pictures from this week. We have mostly been preparing for our next big adventure, which is a grand East Coast road trip to visit all of Ryan’s relatives…

But that will have to wait until next week’s episode.

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Ryan got back from training just in time to attend the going away party for our longtime parish priest, Father Peter. He is being transferred to a new assignment, so we don’t know when we will see him again. He has been a great friend, pastor and spiritual guide and we will miss him and pray for him in his new job.

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We introduced Evie to Veggie Tales. She doesn’t sit through the whole episode, but she loves dancing to the theme song!

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Ryan and Kathleen worked out a few times this week. Ryan worked out so hard that when he later tried to make eggs for breakfast his hands were shaking and he dumped the seasoning salt all over the egg. Then when he tried to get out a new egg, his hands shook and he dropped it on the floor.

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Evie works out too! She helps Mommy work out!

She and Mommy got a bunch of gardening done on Saturday. They weeded the flower beds and planted six new flowers. Daddy made pizzas for Father Peter’s party, and managed to get the front lawn trimmed at least.Family Friday 48 12

Later on Evie found the bucket of stones and roots that Mommy pulled out of the garden for her to play with! The dirt is yummy!

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Yes, she did end up tumbling down that embankment trying to climb it. It didn’t phase her a bit, though. She picked herself up and went about her business as if that was what she had been planning on the whole time.

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And that was about it. Ryan and Kathleen are boring, because all they did last week was school and work. Hopefully we have more cool stories next week.

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Evie says, “Let’s Play!”

God Bless, y’all, and have a good week!

Please note the quadruple alliteration in our title this week. You’re welcome!

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Edmund is like, “What’s she doing? I want to watch!”

Daddy hurt his back last Friday doing deadlifts :-(. But this thursday it was healed enough to do a four mile run :-).

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Sometimes it’s hard being family-ish when Daddy is gone for work. Family Fridays are harder to write. We still try to do Family stuff but it isn’t the same over FaceTime. But (Thank God) it isn’t a long separation, and you can always find a way to stay close if you put in the effort.

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Saturday was a very busy day for Evie and Mommy. First, Evie had to sweep all the floors by herself while Mommy was getting the diaper bag ready to go.

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Mommy turns her back for a second, and this little monkey climbs up to check if there are any snacks available on the counter top. Seriously, she climbed up that stool like it’s her job! Only 13 months old. Saints Preserve Us!

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The drive up to Enumclaw was very stressful because Evie’s nap was late and she was stuck in the back in the car seat all by herself. Even talking to Daddy on the phone couldn’t make her happy. But when she got to Aunt Dude’s house she was so worn out, she crashed. Literally.

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Aunt Dude always serves yummy food!

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Then Mommy and Evie visited Grandma Dolly. She always likes to see Evie, but Evie doesn’t sit still very well. She moves very fast, all over Grandma Dolly’s apartment.

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Evie got to run all over the place and make new friends at the Swiss Ladies Society meeting. She doesn’t like to sit still, even for pictures.

She spent Sunday night and Monday with Grandma and Grandpa because Mommy needed to work and Auntie Grace needed to take the day off.

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Meanwhile Daddy hasn’t been doing much interesting. Most nights he just studies either Army school stuff or PA school stuff, although he did get to go out and shoot pistol with Uncle Matthew.

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That’s always fun, although both Daddy and Uncle Matthew were off their game a little bit. Comes of not shooting pistol for a couple of months. It is a super perishable skill.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Hope you guys are having a good lent. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Feast of St. Joseph, and Happy Palm Sunday and a good Holy Week, and a Holy Triduum! (Man, there’s a lot of stuff going on next week!)

The old warrior shuffles along,
Ruck-running south on the right shoulder
Of the Oregon Coast Highway,
And approaches a green, reflective
Road sign saying, “Welcome to Newport,
Population 10,000,” all asleep.
He sees the cast of their headlights
Swinging past as a string of a dozen cars
Flies down the road from behind him.
As they reach him, two-dozen beams of light
From two-dozen headlights,
Throw up two-dozen shadows on the green
“Welcome to Newport” sign.
Two-dozen warriors jog across the sign,
Round heads bobbing in lockstep
Above the bulky green silhouette
Of a 70 Lb rucksack.
The warriors square aching shoulders,
Straighten up against the weight
Of OD green straps digging into
Their shoulder, pick their feet up a little,
Leap a tiny bit forward with each stride
As the road whispers lost echoes
Of boots, sandals, mocassins and bare
Ancient feet, under the whoosh,
Whoosh
Whoosh
Whoosh
Of cars racing by
All asleep.
Snowflakes whirl like dust motes
From a desert far away and long ago,
As the warrior
And the shadows of warriors
Keep the march.

In which we once again demonstrate that it is a good thing we do not rely upon blogging as our source of income.

I remember thinking last week, as I finished and posted Family Friday 26, “Next week is going to be a really long Family Friday, because we are going to have so many pictures! Uncle Matthew is coming to visit and we have thanksgiving, and breakfast with Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne and Sir Edmund. We won’t have space for all the pictures.

Yeah, This was the first picture we took from our Thanksgiving celebration.Family Friday 27 14

We are getting ready to leave. Uncle Matthew is almost comatose, Evie is hyper and Daddy is… well… Daddy. He doesn’t really fluctuate much. (Mommy is taking the picture).

Terrible bloggers and worse photographers.

I did take a random picture of Kathleen, because she’s cute. And because she sits still better than Evie does, so it is easier to take pictures of her.Family Friday 27 15

The blur in the lower right corner of the picture is Evie.

So let’s back up to the beginning of the week. Last Friday evening we went to do a Holy Hour at church, to pray for Kathleen’s friend and for the world in general.

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Evie likes going to church at odd hours, because the place is empty. She can roam around to her heart’s content (almost. We don’t let her knock over the candlesticks or eat the plants).

By the way, I am experimenting with the gallery feature for posting pictures to blogs. Let me know if you don’t like it.

Over the weekend we really didn’t do a whole lot. Saturday was a stay-at-home and catch up on laundry day. Evie likes helping with laundry.

On sunday Kathleen had to go to work, so Evie and Daddy went for a walk and the weather was even nice enough for Evie to get down and play in the grass.Family Friday 27 7

We like to stop by the dog park as well, because Evie likes to watch the dogs. She sits on the fence and yells at the puppies as they run around and play, and sometimes they come over and check her out. She loves that, and she always wants to get down and chase them, but she is a little too small for that. The dog park is not a good place for baby girls who still like to put everything in their mouths to crawl around.

Family Friday 27 8Of course after outside time it is bath time. “Daddy, when is the bath going to be full?!”

She would jump in fully clothed if we let her, and she would stay in all day.

Monday was Bible Study, but Mommy was tired and recovering from a small headache, so only Daddy and Evie could go.

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Shhhh… Don’t give away my position. They don’t suspect anything yet.

Now that Daddy is not doing Korean in the evenings three nights a week, we can go to Mass on Tuesday nights, which is awesome! Evie spent some time before Mass practicing her standing and walking skills with one of the ladies who attends our parish.

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B

Then Father Peter asked if we would be willing to ring the bells for the consecration.

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But Mommy, I need to practice!

Evie was definitely willing to ring the bells for consecration! If she had had her way, we would have rung the bells for the entire Mass. In fact, we might have to decline ringing the bells for a while until Evie is older. We have a custom that we have followed since she was born, of holding her up at the elevation of the Host and the Chalice so that she can see, and pointing to the Host and Chalice and whispering, “Evie, that’s Jesus, coming to visit!” And we explain the Transubstantiation as best we can. We don’t expect her to understand, and we don’t expect her to hold still through the entire Mass (we aren’t crazy), but we do try to make sure that when the bell rings for the consecration she knows where the action is happening. The consecration on the altar needs to be the center and focus of her going-to-church experience, because it is, quite simply, the center of the Universe. She’ll figure out the details and doctrines later.

Thus the issue with having the bells in the pew. When Daddy is ringing the bells, or Evie is helping Daddy ringing the bells, she cannot notice anything else, and we want her looking up at the altar. So we may not be able to ring bells until she (and any future siblings) are old enough to think about more than one thing at a time.

Uncle Matthew has come to visit because he is Sir Edmund’s godfather, and the new baby Kraeger is getting baptized this weekend. He and Ryan did a Thanksgiving morning workout together. Ten minutes into the workout…

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But he didn’t quit, though, which Ryan greatly appreciates. He didn’t vomit on the carpet either, which Kathleen greatly appreciates. He picked himself up and continued on to the bitter end, (and trust me, it was very bitter, but Oh! So sweet!)

Then we went to Mass and met Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne. Evie wanted to say “Hi” to her new little baby cousin.Family Friday 27 13

She likes Sir Edmund, despite the fact that he doesn’t really do a whole lot of anything. He can’t crawl or stand up or roll over or anything, but Evie loves him just the same. It’s going to be fun to see them grow up together.

Because, Oh, yeah, by the way, Ryan got accepted to the University of Washington’s MEDEX PA program, so we won’t have to move to North Carolina. We will be staying right here in the gray, gloomy, PNW for the foreseeable future.

And another picture of Evie trying to crawl over Daddy to wake up Uncle Matthew.Family Friday 27 16

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all. Have a good advent.

God Bless.

Second heat of the 2008 combatives tournament, winning my Pankrates fight by TKO.
Second heat of the 2009 Fort Riley combatives tournament, winning my Pankrates fight by TKO.

I sometimes think that fighting is really one of those things that either you get it, or you don’t. Most people don’t. Some people just love fighting. They are mostly people with a high inborn level of badassitude, for whom a physical struggle is actually fun. It is more than fun, it is deeply fulfilling. They feel alive and energized and on fire.

Most people aren’t like that. Most people hate fighting.

I will let you in an a secret. So do I.

Fighting is hard. Physically it is exhausting to an unbelievable extent. In fact, the only thing I have done more physically draining is rock climbing, for the simple reason that I am more afraid of heights than I am of fighting, and therefore I clench harder.

But yeah, I am afraid of fighting. I always have been. The last scene from the Korean movie “Fighter in the Wind” has always resonated with me. I am afraid of losing. I am afraid of not knowing what to do. I am afraid of freezing under the stress and looking like an idiot. I am even a little afraid of getting my head pounded in, (although that actually doesn’t really hurt while it’s happening).

Looking back at all the martial arts training I have done I realize that it is kind of a microcosm of my entire adult life. It is a bit… neurotic, almost?… How much of my life I have spent doing things that I hated doing and was terrified of. I humped out of airplanes, literally forcing myself one step at a time towards the door, visualizing a swimming pool outside the aircraft door (which doesn’t actually work, by the way, I still see the ground). I force myself out knowing that even after that sickening drop, and the catch of the opening shock, and that initial, “Whoosh” moment, I still have the even worse fear of landing.

I climb rocks, even though I could almost puke from fear the entire way up. That fear actually goes away after a while, leaving behind a pleasant exhilaration. I was terrified of the sleep deprivation and starvation and physical hardship of the Q course, and yet I forced myself through that. I was afraid of the competition, the endless peer and cadre evaluations, the constant judgment from everyone asking “Do you measure up? We assume that you don’t. Prove us wrong.”

You have no idea how stressful that can be.
You have no idea how stressful that can be.

The urban assault course was miserable. An entire month of high stress shooting from flat range to room clearing, firing live rounds inside closed rooms with my buddies. Constantly being watched, being judged every second of every day. Worrying that I won’t pick up the skills fast enough, that I will make a mistake and be out of position and get the air horn called (no one wants to be that guy), or worse that I will turn the wrong way or make the wrong split-second decision and shoot a non-threat target. Or another guy on the team. That was a miserable month.

Heck, I am afraid every time I go to the gym and I know that I have a gut-wrenching workout ahead of me (Wednesdays are the worst). When I set myself a goal for that workout, simultaneously I feel that sinking feeling of, “Oh hell, this is going to suck.” That never changes. I feel it every. single. time.

And yet I go to the gym. I went through the Q course. I passed the mountain course. I passed Airborne school, I passed the company’s Urban Assault course. I trained at Martial Arts and I fought in tournaments.

I am the guy throwing the kick. I lost this fight to split decision after three rounds.
I am the guy throwing the kick. I lost this fight to split decision after three rounds.

Why did I do that?

I don’t know. Just to see if I could? Maybe because I was more afraid of being afraid than of any of the particular things I am afraid of? I have always had this feeling that to be afraid of something is to be weak. That fear is a weakness which must be faced and beaten. Because otherwise the commies win, if that makes sense?

To live in fear is to live a diminished life, and that seems to me worse than dying, or falling from a cliff, or getting beaten up, or even making a mistake and shooting the wrong person. I cannot agree with those who think that it is better to be safe than sorry, the more because that is my natural inclination. I naturally want to stay at home, eat pizza, play video games and never take the risk of failing. But, thanks be to God, I was taught early on to recognize that that is actually a fate worse than death, because it is a sort of living death. So I said, “Screw it, I guess we’re doing it live,” and I went.

Not only that, but I actually miss it. Life is too easy when I am not forcing myself through the suck on a regular basis. Life without fear is boring. Preferring entertainment and rest to action and growth is boring. Kathleen will tell you, if life gets too easy for more than a day, I become a very cranky person.

I think my next challenge is going to be fulfilling a childhood dream of mine, and learning to fight with the German Longsword.

Hopefully that and the ongoing spiritual warfare will tide me over until I have my PA license and can start looking for an interesting job.

Epic Deadlift Pic
I am pretty sure this is what I looked like…

Last year, at the end of Fall Quarter, I stopped lifting weights. That is, I shifted to a primarily calisthenics oriented strength program. I still do weights workouts from time to time, primarily squats, cleans, and overhead press/jerks, but the bulk of my weekly training program is all high-resistance calisthenics training.

Yesterday I decided to do a 1RM (One Rep Max) deadlift workout, working my way up to 400Lbs in triplets, and then seeing how high I could go in singles without hurting myself.

When I stopped lifting last year I was maxing out at 425 Lbs. Earlier this year I did a similar 1RM workout and hit 465, a gain of 40 Lbs after several months of doing no deadlifting and very little barbell work at all.

Yesterday I hit 485 Lbs for one very solid rep. I think I might have gone for 500Lbs if the gym allowed the use of chalk, but they don’t and it isn’t safe to deadlift with a weak grip. Still, that is a gain of 60 Lbs in less than a year, without deadlifting. I was shocked and amazed. Not only am I stronger, but after that lift I have no knee or low back pain, and very little muscular soreness.

How do I account for this phenomenon? Well, I consider it a ringing endorsement of a high-resistance Calisthenics (HRC) training methodology. It has allowed me to make more strength gains in the last six months (including a gain of 20Lbs on clean and jerk, without training clean and jerk) than I have in the last two years. It has also allowed me to remain injury free. Apart from residual knee ache when the weather changes, (I attribute that to my SUT days on active duty) I am almost pain free. My lower back no longer hurts every day, my hips are more mobile and core is stronger.

That, I think is the heart of HRC’s effectiveness. The core of the program is the ” The Big Six” movements:

  • One armed pushup progression
  • One armed pullup progression
  • Pistol Squat progression
  • One Armed Handstand pushup progression
  • Hanging Leg Raise/Dragon Flag progression
  • Back Bridge progression

Every single one of these movements is geared towards generating the maximum tension that the body is capable of through not only the prime movers, but also in all the stabilizing muscles. In the case of the deadlift, working the pistol squat progression has built some freakish power in my legs, but also forces me to maintain total core tension in extremely vulnerable positions, e.g. at the bottom of a squat with my hips in full flexion. The back bridge progression works the posterior chain through its full ROM, from neutral to full extension, while L-sits and Hanging leg raises force it to maintain tension from neutral through full flexion.

Seriously? This is the epitome of shoulder strength.
Seriously? This is the epitome of shoulder strength.

Where do I go from here? I continue to work the progressions. I have yet to master the one-armed pushup and the one-armed pullup, although I am getting closer. I am light years away from the one-armed handstand pushup (I mean, seriously?!) And I have to ween myself away from assistance on the stand-to-stand back bend.

I am also adding in flags and holds from gymnastics style training, but that’s another story. As always, training is a way of life, not a destination.

Warning: This Post Talks About Poop.

The City of Puyallup public restrooms kind of look like this, except that they have stalls and are generally pretty clean.
The City of Puyallup public restrooms kind of look like this, except that they have stalls and are generally pretty clean.

Last Saturday morning I went for a run after morning prayers. I typically run down the hill from the house to a park in town where there is a public restroom and a workout area with pullup bars, dip bars, pushup stations, horizontal row bars, decline benches, etc. It is a perfect place if you are tying to run first thing in the morning, since you can run down (which always gets things moving in the intestinal department), take care of your personal needs, and then head over to get in an epic bodyweight workout.

This time, however, for some reason I felt the urge to change it up, and instead of running straight to my usual route, I headed down the hill and came up into town by a different way. Along the way, predictably, I received an urgent call from nature, demanding that I answer forthwith or suffer dire consequences. Unfortunately I was now too far away from my regular park to make it, but I noticed that there was a children’s playground nearby, and they also had a public restroom. So I detoured to that.

hqdefaultNow, the public restrooms in the City of Puyallup parks are generally pretty clean. They are built like army or prison toilets, all concrete walls and stainless steel sinks, toilets and urinals for easy cleaning with a pressure washer. However, the first thing I noticed when I opened the door was the smell. It smelled like poop.

I was in too much of a hurry to bother about that, but I soon discovered why it had that smell. In my rush to the toilet I felt a “squish” under my running shoe.

Someone had dropped a large turd on the concrete floor, right in a straight line between the door of the stall and the toilet.

I am not easily grossed out, and I have definitely stepped in worse (Yes, there is worse). As I sat doing my thing I contemplated the situation. The first thing that was clear to me was that this was an act of violence. I spent a good deal of last week blogging about violence, and how it is not always the physical act of shooting someone. Far more often it is petty, cowardly words or actions designed to hurt someone else mentally or emotionally, or even physically, while hiding behind either a veneer of civility or the aegis of anonymity.

That is precisely what this action was. The size of the offering made it clear that it was not left by a child. It was left by a teenager or adult, on the floor of a restroom precisely where someone would step on it in the dim light, in a playground frequented by children.

“Nice Weather” in Washington State tends to have a liberal interpretation. As long as it is not pouring, kids will be out.

But as I contemplated this, I experienced a slow paradigm shift. Perhaps it was not a malicious act? What if it was a person with a mental illness, and even getting it that close was actually a triumph? Not at all outside the realm of possibility. So why was I judging someone that I did not know and had never met?

Then I realized that at this point it didn’t matter. Just like any physical act, the intention rarely matters as much as the consequences. It was there, and in a few hours the park was likely to be full of kids, it being a Saturday and the weather shaping up to be pretty nice. Malicious or not, it posed a health and safety risk.

So I resolved as soon as I got home to call the City Parks and Recreation department and report it so they could come and clean it up. But then, again, I realized that wouldn’t do either. It was a Saturday. Nobody works at the City Offices on Saturday. They wouldn’t even get the message until Monday.

Then I asked myself, (or the Holy Spirit asked me, exasperated at my slowness) “Why don’t you clean it up? There is plenty of toilet paper.”

So I did.

The humbling thing was, when I got home and told my wife about finding the turd, the first thing she asked was, “Did you clean it up?” Whereas I had to go through a long, involved rumination about violence and the proper response and taking responsibility, etc. her mind instantly jumps there: “Problem? What can I do about it?”

My mind is more like, “Hmm… that’s unusual. Actually, I think it might be a problem. Here’s why (Point A, B, C, etc.). There are several possible explanations (Scenario A, B, C,) and it has these social, physical and spiritual ramifications. A situation like this would probably demand a response. What would be the optimal response? (Options A, B, C, etc.) Of those options, which would be: feasible? Effective? Efficient? Socially acceptable? etc.” And so on until finally it occurs to me that maybe I should just go ahead and take care of this.

Just another little teaching moment that God set up for me. He does that sort of thing.

Yes, we know. Family Friday 17 should have been last week. However, squarespace has been having issues lately, which has rendered it inoperable on the laptop. We are not sure why. I don’t know if squarespace knows why. It just goes to show, I should have bitten the proverbial bullet and built this website on wordpress.

But here we are, better late than never, right?

Week before last (12 – 18 Sep, for those keeping score at home) was an eventful one for the Kraeger family. It began with a trip to the Washington State Fair. Kathleen says that is not to be confused with the Evergreen State Fair. Ryan wasn’t confused before because he didn’t know such a thing existed. Now he is confused. He gets that way easily.

Transporting four pizzas in the back of the car. We really need to get around to building the pizza carrier we have been scheming up. Transporting four pizzas in the back of the car. We really need to get around to building the pizza carrier we have been scheming up. Homemade pizza and microbrew is a winning combination. Homemade pizza and microbrew is a winning combination.

Wait. Back up one. Friday night, Evie hung out with Grandma and Grandpa, so Mommy and Daddy could pretend to be grownups for a change. Ryan made pizza, and we went to the Odd Otter Brewing Company in Tacoma for microbrews. It is the sort of bar that doesn’t serve food, so you can bring in whatever outside food you want. We brought homemade pizza. This created a bit of a dilemma for the bartenders when a number of other customers tried to order some of that “amazing looking pizza.”

Sorry folks. This pizza is not commercially available… yet. When Aunt Renee gets her restaurant up and running, we’ll send you her way.

Anyway, back to the Fair.

Evie has not napped yet today. You can see it in her eyes Evie has not napped yet today. You can see it in her eyes

Of course we had to take Evie back to her roots by visiting the livestock. for being such a tired baby girl (she was doing a sleep strike that morning to protest the unfairness of napping) she was still pretty happy and engaged.

Wow, those little horses are almost Evie sized! Wow, those little horses are almost Evie sized!

We also visited the milking parlor where Evie got to see cows being milked for the first time.

Ryan visited the Marine Corps Recruiters’ pullup bar, twice. The first time he did 22 pullups and got a t-shirt. The second time he did 20 and got a little toiletries bag. Maybe he should join the Marines?

Become a Marine? Please! And give up this awesome facial hair? No thank-you. Become a Marine? Please! And give up this awesome facial hair? No thank-you.

One of Ryan’s favorite stops in the fair is the Fred Oldfield Art Exhibit, a showing of cowboy, western, animal and wildlife themed paintings by various artists. One of the artists, Don Crook was there painting when we went by. Last year we bought the “Moby Dick” painting that hangs in our family room from his exhibit. This year we actually got to meet him and listen to him talk about his artwork and painting methods, and the story of the painting we bought.

Mommy, Evie, Don Crook, and four cows. Mommy, Evie, Don Crook, and four cows.

Mommy and Evie got a picture with him and some of his artwork. He is a cool old man.

And... face plant. And… face plant.

And Evie finally lost the battle against sleep, but instead of laying back on her nice comfortable stroller bed to sleep, she held herself upright to look around until she finally passed out with her head on the tray.

Hello small black ursine friend! Hello small black ursine friend!

Ryan had to go to the airport Saturday night to fly to Fayetteville North Carolina for medic refresher training. On the way we stopped and had frozen yogurt for supper, and Evie got to hang out with her Black Bear Buddies.

Hmmm... let me see, what am I in the mood for? Hmmm… let me see, what am I in the mood for?

She has become increasingly mobile in the last week, and that mobility has brought with it an increased passion for exploring her world, and seeing what lies under, inside, on top of, and behind. It is pretty exciting to watch, especially when she is outside. Unfortunately, it is getting to be fall time in the Pacific Northwest, and that means wet and cold and not the best going outside weather.

Ryan made it to Fayetteville by hook and crook. It was seriously a fiasco, which you can read about here if you are so inclined. The training was supposed to last almost two weeks, and that is a long time for Evie to be without her Daddy, (or for Daddy to be without his Evie) so Mommy and Evie flew out on Thursday night to join Ryan in North Carolina.

It was a red-eye flight, which gave us some pause when we were planning it out. Who knows how a 7 month old baby would do on an airplane and in airports all night?

What's over there? More people? I love people! What’s over there? More people? I love people!

Turns out she did just fine. She hung out and flirted with the people, and then slept for several hours on the plane.

Turns out she is a born traveler, just like her Mommy (and unlike Daddy, who would rather be at the places doing the things, and doesn’t much care for the process of getting there) .

In the meantime, Ryan was hanging out in Fort Bragg and its environs, learning more stuff about medicine, practicing skills long since gone a bit rusty (that’s what happens when you are just a long haired hippie college student all the time). It was a bit surreal, being back in the old stomping grounds, where so many of the most intense years of my life were spent. That’s topic for a whole other can of worms right there.

The best part of being in Fort Bragg. however, was hanging out with Uncle Matthew, who is stationed there now. (Evie’s Uncle Matthew, that is, Ryan’s little brother Matthew).

Attempting 5 consecutive slow reps of the dragon flag. It's good for what ails you. Especially when what ails you is a weak core. Attempting 5 consecutive slow reps of the dragon flag. It’s good for what ails you. Especially when what ails you is a weak core.

It is so great working out with someone like Matthew, especially with bodyweight exercises (which is really all we did). He brings such an intensity to everything he does, and he is close to my level of strength, pound for pound (and well past it in a few exercises), that his intensity and energy level rub off on me, and my own workout is so much more effective.

Lean and tough, that's Matthew. But with some coaching, he has potential to become leaner and tougher and mighty! Lean and tough, that’s Matthew. But with some coaching, he has potential to become leaner and tougher and mighty!

And that brings us up to last Thursday night, which is really when Family Friday’s usually cover to. Many more adventures ensued the following day and week, but those will have to wait until next time.

No Pictures, Please. No Pictures, Please.

God Bless!