This has been a week of changing plans. It turns out that Daddy is not going to deploy right away. The surgeon wants him to do some physical therapy on his arm and make sure the repair is really set in there before he goes out the door. So We have a little while longer with Daddy. He, meanwhile, has been taking it easy… ish.

Last weekend the weather was great, and we had time to get caught up on some work that needed doing. You know, the usual, pressure washing the deck, weeding the garden, weeding the flower beds, sweeping, mopping, laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. Sometimes it seems like life requires so much maintenance, we never have time actually to live it.

But that is not quite true. We have time for coloring.

Family Friday 158 (2)
Ellie recommends the blue marker.

And we have time for snuggles.

Family Friday 158 (15)
She likes to sleep in the exact spot the injured arm is suppose to rest. So of course Daddy moves the arm.

And we have time for legos.

Family Friday 158 (13)
Evie was very proud of the house she and daddy built together.

On Sunday we fulfilled a Memorial Day tradition and went to put flowers on the headstones of deceased family members. We made something of a party of it this year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Especially once Evie decided that Everyone needed flowers in their hair:Family Friday 158 (5)

Family Friday 158 (6)

 

Family Friday 158 (7)
Now we look fancy!

I think next year we should bring food and beverages and have a picnic.

Speaking of food and beverages:

Kathleen made some delicious blueberry-oatmeal bars on Thursday. However, they mysteriously vanished prior to our company arriving on Sunday, so she made another batch, this time with apple in them as well.

 

Family Friday 158 (1)
These also were not long for this world.

It is a bit ironic that we spend more time preparing our food than we do eating it. This can sometimes be frustrating, especially when it sometimes seems like Mommy and Daddy are always in the kitchen, either cooking food, or serving food, or putting leftover food in the refrigerator, or cleaning up dishes after food.

I suppose it’s just another way that it seems like life takes so much maintenance you sometimes don’t even have time to live it.

We could probably do things the easier way: hire someone to mow the lawn, weed the garden, keep the flower beds nice; buy food ready made, or eat TV dinners or just subsist entirely on raw fruits and veggies, precooked meat, and protein bars, like Daddy does when he is in schools or training.

Or, we could change our way of thinking. What if the “maintenance” of life actually was life? The chores and responsibilities and nuisances and whatnot are not interruptions of life, but the very stuff of which life is supposed to consist? What if we were put on this earth to do good work, and work is actually meant to be an enriching, ennobling, human activity which we are supposed to love?

Just saying.

 

Family Friday 158 (21)
Evie is an enthusiastic, but not particularly focused neophyte.

We had two of Ryan’s classmates, Jess and Kim, over for pizza on Sunday night. Jess brought her kids and we made individual pizzas in the pizza oven, as well as two regular 18″ pizzas in the regular oven.

 

Family Friday 158 (23)
Making pizza with only one arm is difficult. Fortunately, the kids took to it quite naturally and did most of the work.

 

Family Friday 158 (22)
Ellie kept up her commentary while the work was going on.

 

Family Friday 158 (9)
Pizza on the deck! Love it!

 

Family Friday 158 (10)
Ellie likes being the center of attention. 

the kids ran around and played in the playhouse like crazy. Jess and Kim were able to sneak up on them and give them a good scare.

 

Family Friday 158 (25)
That’s what is going on this picture, BTW.

And Ellie tried blueberries for the first time!

 

Family Friday 158 (24)
She doesn’t like them straight. She likes them better mixed with banana or apple and cereal.

She is a different baby than Evie. Evie would have lived on blueberries for the first two years of her life if we had let her.

Ellie is getting so big these days. She can walk in her walker.

 

Family Friday 158 (26)
She doesn’t like getting stuck in the stairwell. She is not very good at shifting gears just yet.

 

Family Friday 158 (27)
She is working on picking up puffs and put them in her mouth. She favors her left hand for this task about 70% of the time.

 

Family Friday 158 (11)
“Camping” with Sissy.

She was a little bit cranky yesterday, not wanting to be put down in her chair or walker. We didn’t know why she until the mystery was solved today.

 

 

Family Friday 158 (14)
She has a tooth! 

Let the bacon begin!

Daddy was able to take the girls to MC on Monday night, which was a very nice time. Evie was ecstatic that Aunty Celyn and Aunty Diana let her use their purse straps as “horsey reins!”

Family Friday 158 (12)
“Go! Go! Go! Horsey, Giddy-up!”

All in all, it has not been a bad week. We hope your week has gone just as well, and you are headed into a nice, relaxing, human weekend.

God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry Folks, last Friday was just too busy for blogging. That’s how it is when you have a real life that keeps interfering with your blog life. We ask you to stay flexible, just like we try to do:

Family Friday 148 (1)
Kathleen demonstrating her Yoga skillz at the Y.

It has been a busy couple of weeks. We had a long weekend last weekend, which was great for family time. Mommy had to bow out for parts of it because she was working her annual Baby Sale in Puyallup, but she managed to outfit both girls for the next six months for under $100. Baby Girls are expensive, yo!

Family Friday 148 (29)
Who, lil ol’ us?

Daddy was home all the week before last and had good times with the girls while Mommy was busy. Ellie and Daddy sat out on the lawn.

Family Friday 148 (3)
Ellie is practicing her sitting skills.
Family Friday 148 (4)
She is getting pretty good at it!

And watched Evie playing with the neighbor kids. Evie is a little confused about what this sport is called: soccer, football, basketball? Whatever.

Family Friday 148 (2)
And also about what exactly she is supposed to do with this particular piece of sporting equipment.

And Evie and Daddy went to go gawk at hot chicks at the local farm supply store.

 

Family Friday 148 (5)
Yes, she is wearing pink knit gloves.

We have a new member of the Catholic Church in the family! That’s right! Annarose was baptized about two weeks ago. Kathleen is her Godmother, and Ryan stood in for Uncle Ian who is the Godfather.

Family Friday 148 (7)
YAY, Annarose!

Father Wagner kept trying to rename her “Ann Marie” during the ceremony, which is funny, because that is Grandma Kraeger’s name, but Adam and Marianne named her Annarose so she would be named after both of the Grandmas. But we rectified the mistake before it became official.

 

Family Friday 148 (8)
Ellie is like, “Who is that little kid?”

 

 

The weather was great the weekend before last. Absolutely gorgeous. Of course we took advantage of it by exercising our right to bare our arms.

Family Friday 148 (17)
And our legs!

We got our clothesline up, and hung some laundry.

Family Friday 148 (9)

Ellie likes watching it spin around and wave in the breeze.

 

Family Friday 148 (16)

She can literally be entertained watching laundry dry. It’s amazing!

 

Family Friday 148 (14)
She likes the great outdoors.

We also got to work on our garden. Daddy rototilled in all the lovely mulch we put down last year, and then he messed his back up hoeing the whole thing up into rows and hills.

 

Family Friday 148 (10)
Mommy and Ellie deciding what gets planted where.

Evie and Daddy put raspberries and loganberries in the pots on the patio.

Family Friday 148 (6)
Evie is a good worker when she isn’t distracted by anything. She’s is pretty much always distracted by something or other.

And Mommy and Evie planted beans and peas in the pots on the deck.

Family Friday 148 (12)
She likes to garden in style.

 

Family Friday 148 (13)
They make gardening look good.

 

Family Friday 148 (15)
Getting those onions in the ground!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Daddy made outside pizza in his new Pizza oven.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Family Friday 148 (39)
Building the new composter.

 

Family Friday 148 (37)
Planting posts for our grape arbor.

 

Family Friday 148 (38)
Planting grapes.

 

Family Friday 148 (33)
Relaxing in the deck chair. Or next to it.

 

Family Friday 148 (34)
Alfresco lunch. (Too much whiteness! Ah! It’s blinding!)

Daddy’s girls!

Family Friday 148 (11)

Of course, we must bare in mind that the right to bare arms is one of the most sacred and controversial rights that we as Americans possess, and like all liberties should not be taken to excess.

 

Family Friday 148 (18)
#PNWsunburn

 

Our very dear friend Jenn Pimento came over to visit for a little bit, to give some going away gifts. She is entering a Carmelite convent in a few weeks.

Family Friday 148 (36)
Getting in some baby snuggles while she can.

Evie says she wants to marry Jesus too! “Because He is a good person.”

Master of the understatement.

Family Friday 148 (35)
Sorry, kiddo, you might need to adjust your sense of fashion before you are ready for the convent.

Her official MC going away bash was on the following Monday at Red Robin. A lot of old friends showed up, including some faces we haven’t seen in a good while.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We will miss her, but she is going to be praying for us, and she will do more good there than she ever could anywhere else. In a way, she is being moved to the front lines of the spiritual warfare, so it’s kind of like a deployment. Keep her in your prayers, please.

When the girls get older we will take them to visit her, since she can have visitors once a month.

We had a pretty good shindig for St. Patrick’s day, which, since it is a class 1 feast, relaxes the discipline of Lent, as does St. Joseph’s day, and Sundays. Since St. Patrick’s was Saturday and St. Joseph’s was on Monday this year, we essentially had a three-day weekend from Lent! Praised be!

 

So Adam and Maryanne and the Kids, and Ronny and Amanda and RJ all came over, and we at meat and potatoes and drank beer (Guinness) and whiskey (Jameson) and watched The Quiet Man, which is the best romantic comedy ever made.

Unfortunately, since Ryan is going to be working with the National Guard for a while, he had to shave on Saturday. I don’t understand why, but apparently the Army thinks that in order to be effective as a soldier I need to be transformed from a magnificently bearded paragon of titanic manliness:

Family Friday 149 (8)
Exhibit A: magnificently bearded paragon of titanic manliness.

 

Family Friday 149 (9)
Exhibit B: still a magnificently bearded paragon of titanic manliness. Because who needs head-hair?

To this wussy baby-faced weakling.

Family Friday 149 (10)
Exhibit C: Wussy baby-faced weakling.

Oh well, I shall just have to retain a bearded soul underneath the shamefully naked jawline. And remind myself that it could actually be worse…

Family Friday 149 (1)

 

Sunday we went to Mass, of course, and Evie was very happy to see her buddy Josh, who was sick last week, but he got better this week.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Apparently they coordinated their outfits sometime that morning. We parents certainly didn’t. They must be in cahoots!

Then we went out to dinner an to the Washington State History Museum with Uncle Adam and Marianne. Surprisingly, we spent most of our time there in the toy exhibit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And then the rest of the week has been a blur, with Mommy working 12 hour shifts at the hospital, Daddy working similar hours at the armory, and the girls staying at Deedee and Papa’s house.

But we are home now, although Daddy still has to work today and tomorrow at least.

But we are still trying to make time for what is most important. Like celebrating Ellie being four months old!

Family Friday 149 (37)

For her month-day celebration she requested “something a little more substantial than breastmilk, but with the same basic flavor palate.”

 

Family Friday 149 (23)
Okay then, rice cereal it is!

 

Family Friday 149 (24)
Oh my! What is this stuff?

 

Family Friday 149 (25)
I like it! Give me more!

Such a goober. That’s why she has more than doubled her birthweight and is now a solid 14 Lbs 9 oz.

Family Friday 149 (39)
We love you Baby Girl!

That’s all for this week. You folks stay classy and keep us in your prayers. God Bless!

 

Bye!

 

 

Family Friday 149 (38)
Wait, what?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Saturday our friends Ben and Christine had a birthday party for there son Nolan, who is also Ryan’s godson.

Family Friday 97 (3)
Happy Birthday Big Guy!

This little rascal showed up too!

Family Friday 97 (8)
It’s no wonder he’s so big! He is always eating.

The zoo-keeper brought a turtle for the kids to play with.

Family Friday 97 (1)

Evie wanted to touch the turtle. Really bad.

 

Family Friday 97 (2)
I need a turtle!

After the party we went to go visit the fishies, and then ride the merry-go-round.

Family Friday 97 (9)
Evie wants to go riding off to win the Darby like Mary Poppins.
Family Friday 97 (4)
Faster, Daddy, Faster!

On Sunday we had a big Pizza Party!

Family Friday 97 (11)
Kathleen taught herself how to make gnocchi dough for her “Bangers and Mash” pizza.
Family Friday 97 (10)
The day turned out beautiful!
Family Friday 97 (5)
Teaching Evie the basics of pressing out the dough: “Don’t use the fingernails.”
Family Friday 97 (6)
The “Chicken/Veggie stir-fry” is always a favorite.

 

Family Friday 97 (12)
Evie was super excited to have a whole bunch of other kids over to play.

Family Friday 97 (13)

 

 

Family Friday 97 (14)

Our first outdoor pizza party of the year was a great success!

Since Daddy had the week off from school, he was able to get a few odd jobs done around the house.

Family Friday 97 (7)
And of course, Evie is always ready to help.

That’s all folks! hope you have a good weekend. God Bless!

 

 

This has been quite a week! While Daddy has been off Army-ing, Mommy and Evie have been very busy. A while back we decided to try to get together some groups who could help out preparing a meal and serving it at a local overnight shelter. We kind of got the idea because one of the administrators at the shelter is in Ryan’s men’s group at church, but we thought we could get two groups going.

One would be through MC, our Bible study group. It’s a strong, regular group of committed Catholic young people, so should be pretty much a no-brainer. The other group is supposed to be based in our parish.

Family Friday 45 9We’ve gotten the MC group at least informally established, while the parish group remains in the conceptual stage. That is fancy Army leadership talk (see, Ryan is learning something at this school) for: “We haven’t done a thing about it yet, and don’t know when we will because we just got too busy.”

But the MC group did prep and serve its first meal on Saturday! Kathleen was a little annoyed that after we decided to do this together, Ryan up and gets orders to go train and left her to coordinate and run it all by herself. But she did pretty amazingly, so it’s all good.

Of course it didn’t help that the coordinator at the shelter went on vacation the week prior and the coordinating instructions got dropped somewhere. We ended up getting an email from our friend Josh at 6:00 friday night to say that the ground chicken we were planning on using was still locked in the deep, deep freeze, (minus 30 degrees Farenheit); the keys were with the cooks for the day who had already gone home; and no one would be able to get it out until 9:00 the next morning. Kathleen was planning on starting at 11:00 A.M. the next morning.

I (Ryan) think that God was throwing Kathleen a curveball as a training exercise, because Family Friday 45 12she likes detailed plans laid out well in advance that follow through without a hitch. But she reacted pretty smoothly. She was on her way out to a movie with our friend Jenn when the three way text message storm began, and they simply changed plans and began cruising around the area looking for meat.

Specifically ground chicken.

It was a fun time. Between that and the next morning we ended up with all the chicken we needed, although the curveballs weren’t done. Some of the chicken was bad, but Kathleen kept the receipt (she’s good like that) so no harm done. The casserole was just a little less meaty than she planned.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So Kathleen, Brock, Celyn and Aunt Susie had a great time making food and they got rave reviews and requests for seconds. Orginally they were planning on making 6 pans, but they had extra ingredients so they made 8 instead. Which was good, because all of them got eaten!Family Friday 45 11

Meanwhile, Evie went to a birthday party for her friend, Adalmoro, who is 1 year old!

Then on Sunday, Mommy and Evie, as well as Grandma and Grandpa, went to the Swiss park for an Easter egg hunt.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everything was going well until…

What the Heck is That?!

Family Friday 45 15

It’s a giant white rabbit thing! Kind of creepy, but I guess if Mommy is around it must be okay. Family Friday 45 22

Evie touch the bunny’s nose!

Some of the kids didn’t react quite so well to the bunny. You can’t really blame then, though, the costume is kind of freaky!

Family Friday 45 21

And when Mommy and Evie went home, Uncle Adam and Baby Edmund came over for a visit! Evie was excited because she loves her baby cousin. He is less than half her age right now, but think about it, in two years, they will be so close in age they will be practically the same age. In twenty years the age difference won’t even be a thing anymore!

Evie has been spending a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa this week, because Mommy has been working nights. Sometimes Evie doesn’t sleep so well when her schedule gets disrupted.

Family Friday 45 14

But there has been some nice weather and she is always down to go play outside!

Family Friday 45 13

But the absolute best part of the week came on Thursday night…Family Friday 45 24

Mommy and Evie got on a plane after Mommy finished work on Thursday Morning, Family Friday 45 27and they flew out to visit Daddy!

Family Friday 45 26

Daddy missed his girls! Now we will be all together for the Triduum. God is good!

Family Friday 45 25

Family Friday 35 15
It’s been so Busy around here, Evie has been doing the cooking!

Holy Busy Week, Batman!

The reason for no blogging this week has been the same as every other week, only more. Kathleen has been working 40 hour weeks and pulling 20 – 30 hours of call. Ryan has been doing National Guard stuff, and building a powerpoint talk for a confirmation retreat run by our friend Andy.

Evie, however, has been mostly chilling. She has started to learn how to cook, to add to her other skills, such as laundry and operating the dishwasher.

As a matter of fact, that is one of the binding factors in our logistical planning, is to ensure that even when we are busy (and it only gets busier from here on out until we reach the beginning of the school year) that Evie’s life maintains a certain level of continuity. Some predictability, regular time with both parents, relaxation and adventure. All of these are important goals in the life of a growing baby girl, and well worth the constraints they place on our other projects and activities.

On Saturday we took Ryan’s brand new bike to REI to be fixed. Being brand new it was under warranty. The REI bike shop people reacted with astonishment. They had never seen a carbon fiber belt snapped in two before, and indeed, that is one of the selling features of the bike is that you never have to replace the chain. The only thing they could assume is that there must have been an inherent defect in the belt or an error in installation. Family Friday 35 1
Anyway, it’s under warranty, and therefore free. Evie was glad to go to REI. She took the opportunity to check out some bikes for herself. The crazy thing is, it won’t be too long before she will be riding one of those. (Sniff, sniff).

On Sunday Daddy had to go do Army stuff, while Mommy had to go on call at the hospital. So Evie went to visit Aunt Susie, where she learned to play the Piano!Family Friday 35 13

On Monday at MC Evie found some friends to hold “Ten Little Ladybugs” for her while she flipped the pages. Family Friday 35 3

She even did her own Bible study with the “Bible for Little Ones” that she got for her Baptism.Family Friday 35 4

Mommy is singing in a friend’s wedding on Saturday, so she has been rehearsing with the rest of the gang. Family Friday 35 10

Evie wants Uncle Gus to teach her to play like that!Family Friday 35 16

Ryan’s pizza box is coming along, very, very slowly, since he only gets to work on it for a few minutes at a time, a couple of times a week when he happens to be up in Enumclaw. On Monday he placed, shimmed, glued and clamped all of the slats that will support the shelves on the back wall. Family Friday 35 2

A few days later he got back up there again and took the shims and clamps off. Everything looked good, except for some beads of dried glue in the grooves where the shelves would sit.Family Friday 35 5

He dremelled out the dried glue.

Family Friday 35 6

And drilled and placed the shelves that will hold the actual pizza pans. They slide in and out tolerably well, but they will be even better once they have been sanded. Next he needs to sand and treat the inside of the box and the shelves, then glue the top on and attach the door. After that, sand and stain the outside of the box, add handles and a latch and it will be ready to go!

Should only take another couple of months at this rate!

Evie got to try out her lovely insulated rain jacket that she got from Uncle Ben and Auntie Christine and Noah, and the pink rain boots that Mommy found for her.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The boots are a little too big, but Evie promises to grow into them.

Well, that’s all folks. Remember, no matter how busy you are, it takes less than a minute to stop and thank God for His sunrises!

Family Friday 35 12

God Bless!

 

Well, last week was definitely eventful. It was full of events, starting with…

The Return of the Kraeger Pizza Party!

That’s right folks. After months and months of having almost all of our time taken up by work, school and childrearing the intrepid Kraeger parents have finally decided to bite the bullet and clean the house enough to have company over, and to make pizzas.

(If I were computer savvy enough I would have done that as a Star Wars opening crawl, but I am not, and I don’t have time to learn this morning.  I give you permission to imagine it as a Star Wars opening crawl).

Family Friday 30 18Making pizza for a party is a very involved process. Traditionally Ryan makes the dough in the morning a little before lunch and then lets it sit for a few hours. Around one or two in the afternoon we start making ingredients, and the pizzas go together around four, so the first two can be in the oven and done by five.

However, those pizza parties typically run until midnight, which doesn’t work well with Evie in the house. She needs her sleep, whether she likes it or not. We planned this one to kick off at two, so it necessitated getting started a little bit earlier.

First step is some tunes and some pizza pans, and ingredients spread willy-nilly everywhere.

Family Friday 30 1

I never used to make the dough in a mixer, but I have since found that for double doughs with white flour it actually works better. These were some of the most stretchy and elastic doughs I have ever made.Family Friday 30 2

Evie wants to help by chewing on Daddy’s new coffee mug, courtesy of DeEspressoLiber. It is shiny and makes cool noises when dropped on the tile floor. Evie very much approves.

Family Friday 30 3

Uncle Andy came over to help make the pizzas, and we put him to work.

Family Friday 30 14Let’s Play Hide and Go Seek!

As you can see, our doorway remodel is mostly finished, although a strip of tape remains covering the unvarnished threshold board, and the trim needs some finishing. We need to get to that someday…

But back to the pizza.

Family Friday 30 15

Topping pizzas is fairly involved work. Each dough is made with a specific set of ingredients in mind, and since we made ten doughs (A double Italian herb, a single Italian herb, a double white garlic, a double cornmeal, a double whole wheat, and a single rye) that means preparing ten sets of ingredients, and keeping them separate and organized. Family Friday 30 4

But they look great when they are done.

Family Friday 30 5
Havarti, apple, salami and crushed walnut with a sweet Spanish tomato sauce on garlic white dough. This one goes like hot cakes.

Unfortunately we forgot to take any pictures of the finished product. We were too busy cooking and serving and eating them. We cooked and served ten pizzas in under an hour and a half, which is way faster than we have ever done it before. The new wider kitchen door makes all the difference.

Of course the best part is the party afterwards, featuring a white elephant gift exchange.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Evie was chasing her buddy Noah, trying to steal his pizza.

Family Friday 30 10

We are working on sharing and taking turns, but so far Evie’s favorite turn is Evie’s turn. Oh well.

This week was also Kathleen’s Birthday! She turned 26, Again!Family Friday 30 11

(That’s kind of a joke, since Ryan can’t remember how old she is so he just says she’s 26. He doesn’t remember how old he is either, so he just says he is 30. Saves remembering a whole new number every year, just stick with the old one).

Anyway, for her birthday, Ryan and Kathleen dropped Evie off with Grandma and Grandpa and went skiing at Crystal Mountain. It has been over two years since either of them have put on skis. It took Ryan all morning to get warmed up, and by that time Kathleen was pretty well worn out. Sigh.

Family Friday 30 12Not to mention the weather conditions turned against us. When we first started it was so warm out that Ryan took the opportunity to wash his beard in the snow. By noon the top of the mountain was completely invisible due to fog and snow, and by 1:00, even the lowermost runs had reduced visibility, down to about 50 feet. It even resulted in Kathleen taking a mighty spill because she couldn’t see a giant hole in the snow and ran straight into it.

So we decided to call it a day and go back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a birthday dinner.Family Friday 30 13

And so, Kathleen is now a year older and a year wiser, and we have a new niece as well! Ryan’s oldest brother, Ian, and his wife Melissa, had their little baby girl this week!

So the family keeps on growing. Hope you are all having a great advent and preparing to celebrate Christmas with love and thanksgiving. God Bless!

Family Friday 30 19

Evie wearing the Knight hat like a bonnet. So she's not a knight, she doesn't know any better. Evie wearing the Knight hat like a bonnet. So she’s not a knight, she doesn’t know any better. Daddy demonstrates the correct wear and fitting of the M1A1 Helmet, Knight, 1 Each w/Visor. Daddy demonstrates the correct wear and fitting of the M1A1 Helmet, Knight, 1 Each w/Visor.

Grandma made a big and a small knight helmet for Ryan and Evie, back when Evie was still just “smurf” and we didn’t know whether she was going to be Evelyn or Joseph. At 6 months, her head is almost too big for the little helmet.

Evie reading a book to Grandma Betty. Evie reading a book to Grandma Betty.

On Saturday, Evie and Mommy went up to visit Grandma Betty while Ryan did homework for Korean class. Daddy is a real Mr. Excitement these days! Since it was a busy weekend, we went to Mass on Saturday evening. We got to see Grandma Becky there, which Evie was happy about. She thinks you can’t have too many Grandmas or Grandpas, and she collects them wherever she goes, kind of like her Mom.

As Ryan’s Mom would say, “One mother is more than enough for any child,” but Kathleen says you can never have too many Grandmas, and Evie seems to agree.

Most of the cool stuff this week happened on Sunday evening. We went to a fundraising Filipino dinner hosted by the family of one of our MC (Mass Consumption) friends, Auntie Celyn. 4US is a charity which Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne, as well as Auntie Celyn, are members of. It raises money to buy ultrasound machines for crisis pregnancy centers, in an effort to prevent unborn babies from being aborted by introducing them to their moms in person, so to speak.

Good friends and good food. This is shaping up to be a fun time! Good friends and good food. This is shaping up to be a fun time! Clean those hands, Uncle Adam! Clean those hands, Uncle Adam!

The dinner was all Filipino food, with rice, noodles, yam greens, beans, shrimp, chicken and breem. And it was all eaten by hand, which is half the fun.

Auntie Lynn showing everyone who to eat rice noodles using the banana leaf as plate, spoon and fork all rolled into one. Auntie Lynn showing everyone who to eat rice noodles using the banana leaf as plate, spoon and fork all rolled into one.

I mean, come on, when was the last time you got to eat an entire meal of delicious Filipino food entirely with your fingers and didn’t enjoy it?

Kathleen wins the multi-tasking award, as usual. Kathleen wins the multi-tasking award, as usual.

Of course eating by hand may seem a little weird to white people, but Evie had no problem with it. In fact, she was all for jumping right in hands and face first.

Ryan prefers to use strategy rather than dexterity: distract the baby with some flowers, then eat up while she's looking the other way. Ryan prefers to use strategy rather than dexterity: distract the baby with some flowers, then eat up while she’s looking the other way.

The jack fruit is bigger than Evie! So is the hat! The jack fruit is bigger than Evie! So is the hat!

Part of the Filipino experience is fruit from the Philipines. Our hosts provided a jackfruit and a tray of lychees. At first we were afraid that the jackfruit was actually a durian, but it was not. Auntie Lynn doesn’t like the smell of durian any more than we do.

Ryan ate some durian in the Philippines in 2014. It wasn’t terrible tasting, but it was slimy in texture and it tends to repeat itself pretty frequently for the rest of the day. Durian burps smell as bad as the real thing, in case you were wondering.

Sure you can borrow my kettlebell, Noah! Have fun working out! Sure you can borrow my kettlebell, Noah! Have fun working out!

Evie’s buddy Noah was there with his parents. It is funny to observe the two of them interact. Noah isn’t super interested in Evie, after his initial curiosity, but Evie is very interested in watching him. She seems especially fascinated by the fact that he can walk, because whenever she sees him she tries to walk and actually seems to get closer to it.

Evie and most of the rest of the ladies. Evie and most of the rest of the ladies. He may look like a young Bacchus, but he is actually a seminarian... and those aren't actually grapes. He may look like a young Bacchus, but he is actually a seminarian… and those aren’t actually grapes.

It wouldn’t be a party without a talent show or karaoke or some opportunity for everyone to make a fool of themselves in a supportive environment. Our friend Kelsey read a book out loud and had volunteers in the audience making the noises of each character with an assortment of African musical instruments. One of our seminarians, Daniel, got the goat toenails.

Yes. Those are actually the real toenails of real goats.

Wait, you really want me to chop this thing? With a real machete? Wait, you really want me to chop this thing? With a real machete?

Daniel also got to chop the jack fruit in half with the machete, which also came from the Philippines and is made from the leaf spring of a jeep. Ryan brought one back with him when he returned from the Philippines, and it has chopped many acres of ivy since then.

Sheet music? Who needs sheet music when you have a tablet and assorted smartphones.

The red blur is a fan, which Evie was using to stay cool, and to chew on. It's versatile like that. The red blur is a fan, which Evie was using to stay cool, and to chew on. It’s versatile like that.

And for desert, mango and ube’ ice-cream sandwiches (the mango ice cream is yellow, the purple is ube’).

This is why you should have Filipino friends. If you don’t I suggest you go find some.

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.