Happy Friday, Y’all! Hope you are having a good one. Right now our family is a bit spread out as Daddy is away doing training. :-/

But he should be back soon. Mommy and Evie and Ellie are making do as best they can right now.

Last Friday night (after Family Friday) was pretty busy as we raced to get all the garden and yard tasks done before Daddy left. We mowed the lawn, took out the garbage and the compost, turned the compost, and then got a couple of wheelbarrow loads of black gold to plant some flowers in.

Everybody does work around here!

We spread it at the base of the rock wall in the back yard. We got some Sweet William seeds from Aunt Dude and Aunt Susie, and since they are a weed that grows pretty much anywhere, we are hoping they will thrive in the dry, bare strip along the rocks.

Then on Saturday morning we let Mommy sleep in for an hour (she’s going to need it) while Daddy and the girls went and picked blackberries for breakfast, and made blackberry pancakes.

Then on Saturday after evening Mass we drove up to SeaTac and dropped Daddy off at the airport, which was sad for everyone.

On days like that, it’s nice to have Mommy home all day, and to spend the day in Jammies.

Evie taught Ellie how to mix pancakes, so Ellie could teach piggy.

And they watched movies and snuggled with Mommy and played legos. And Mommy tried a new hair style for Evie and it turned out beautifully.

Meanwhile, Daddy arrived at his destination and found a very lovely surprise in his backpack!

Letters from Mommy and Evie!

Those are always the best!

So a week of training, working, and learning has crawled by as the summer winds to a close. Evie’s new school year is just around the corner, Ryan is still job hunting (not very successfully. It seems no one wants to hire a PA who hasn’t been a PA for at least a couple of years.)

Keep us in your prayers. Have a great weekend, and God Bless!

Happy Friday, Y’all.

Last weekend was fun. We are starting to get into the hot, late summer period. August is when things start getting really hot and dry around here. Hot, that is, for western Washington, which means that the strawberries are starting to come in again.

Ellie likes strawberries, because she can reach them.

The girls stayed overnight with Deedee and Papa on Saturday night so Mommy and Daddy good go to a game night with some friends.

While we were getting ready to go to Mass the next morning a hot air balloon floated by! The girls thought that was the coolest thing ever. When it was time to go the girls went out to get into the car. Evie jumped in her car seat and buckled up. Ellie climbed into the driver’s seat and started “driving.”

After Mass and brunch we went home and got ready to have Adam and the gang over. Since Grandma was in town visiting with them for the weekend, she tagged along too.

Evie helped Daddy pick blackberries for a a cobbler.
Evie was the invalid so the other kids could play doctor.

Our menu was leg of lamb in coffee and port wine sauce, cooked in the dutch oven, with sweet potatoes and green beans.

Mommy making the sauce.

The more we get into dutch oven cooking, the more we like it. It takes some finesse, but we are slowly getting the hang of it.

And of course a picture of Grandma with her West coast grandkids.

The garden continues to come in, such as it is. The Japanese plums are about picked bare. The girls completely picked all the lower branches, and Mommy picked all the higher ones this week. They have been delicious!

That is what’s left of a plum in her mouth.

We cleaned out the beans too, although they still have some flowers and small beans left to come in.

The wheelbarrow we bought the girls last week has been coming in handy as well.

Only Daddy seems to be the only one doing any work with it.

Ryan has been in uniform all week, getting his army medic on, training on JBLM.

Kathleen got to hang out with her old coworker that she used to work with all those years ago when she was just starting out in ultrasound. They got to catch up on all the changes in the last ten years or so.

Now Ryan has to get back to work so that’s all for now. Have a great weekend, God Bless.

Happy Friday, Y’all! This is a great Family Friday because Mommy has the day off today!

She asked for the day off months ago when we had plans to go camping this weekend. However, most of the people who were going to go camping with us had other things come up, so we ended up cancelling our camping plans.

Just as well because we have a good deal of work to do this weekend. Just like last weekend.

It was great last week. The girls stayed over at Deedee and Papa’s house on Thursday night so Ryan and Kathleen could have a date. Then when Ryan went up to pick them up on Friday he got the chance to do some man work for a change. He turned this…

Into this…

It was also the weekend of Kids Camp at the Swiss park.

So we went and met Mommy there after supper. Our kids are too young for Kids Camp yet, but Kathleen has been going there for 22 years with only one miss, and old habits die hard. (We missed last year because we were at the beach, watching Evie meet the ocean for the first time).

But the girls like playing on the old school play ground (all metal and wood, because Swiss people don’t replace anything until it has fallen apart three times).

It’s a great place to get them all… “tired” out!

They also like seeing the decorations for the play that the kids do on Sunday,

and Evie is fascinated by the Schwingen Pit.

“Daddy! Come wrestle with me!”

Kathleen comes from a long line of Fondue serving ladies.

Get it? A long line? Cause there’s a long line of ladies in the picture?

We have begun harvesting beets this week. They have not been doing so well, but we got enough for one good meal of butter beets and carrots.

It is one of Ryan’s favorite summer dishes. Super easy, you just cut up some fresh raw beets and carrots, and either steam them and then fry it in butter, or just fry it in butter without steaming until it is tender and delicious.

The weather has been fairly hot and dry, which is perfect for homemade popsicles and playing in the pool.

We have transitioned from “time outs” to planking for Evie as a disciplinary measure, since she listens better while planking than while sitting. The better she listens, the faster she gets to recover. This will probably not work for Ellie, however. She thinks planking is a great game, and she is actually really good at it (comes of being shorter and more compact than her sister).

Look at that form!

We have been having a great time outside, but sometimes it’s too hot to play out there for little girls born and bred in the Pacific Northwest. Then legos inside is a great option.

Then on to the main event for the week. Daddy and the girls went up to Deedee and Papa’s house to strip their bean plants of the last of the beans (Deedee already canned all she wants for this year). Ellie loves working in the garden and is actually pretty good at picking, for not being two years old.

Evie does not like working in the garden, but she thought the Velcro effect of the leaves was fun.

We picked a lot of beans.

A LOT!

And Mommy bought another 25 Lbs from the Greek produce store near her work.

Fortunately she got off work a little bit early on Wednesday so she had about 10 Lbs of it snipped by the time the rest of the family got home, and was able to get started canning while Daddy and Evie snipped more beans.

Evie does not like being made to work, as we have said, but she agreed that if she lives in this house and eats food with everyone else, it is only fair that she do her share of the beans.

And boy is she proud of herself when she finishes her pan of beans!

And that’s what we are still up to today, canning beans. Kathleen had one batch going before the girls got up, then Ellie helped wash more beans…

Ellie always wants to help.

While Evie and Daddy made muffins for breakfast.

Looks like we will have 31 quarts when they are all canned.

That’s all for this week, folks. Have a great weekend, and pray for us.

God Bless!

Happy Friday, Y’all. Summer is finally in full swing around here after all the rain and cold. It’s still fairly cool, and even when it gets into the 80’s and everyone complains about the heat, Ryan still laughs at them.

I survived Fort Bragg in the summer, for years! Washington holds no terrors for me.

Saturdays are the day that Mommy and Daddy are both off, but that doesn’t mean it’s all partying and frolicking and whimsical nonesuch. It is a serious work day, with all manner of noble tasks to be undertaken.

Serious!

For instance, we harvested some of our compost.

And placed it around our kiwis to slow down the desiccation of the soil around it.

Mommy was also working very hard to make a pink champagne cake for the Moergeli picnic which was on Sunday. It took all day, and she only finished it right before bedtime prayers, but isn’t it pretty?!

But she still had time to have a toenail party (that’s what it’s called, right) with the girls.

Our Japanese plum is starting to come into season!

It is loaded with fruit, compared to last year when we only got about three tiny little plums off it. It’s hard to tell when they are ripe, because they don’t turn purple, they just go from yellow to a slightly more translucent shade of yellow. And we have been having trouble keeping the small ones away, since they ate three of the unripe plums off the lower branches a few nights ago. Silly childs! Yeah, they’ll pucker up your mouth, but it’s probably good for the intestinal health so whatever.

Also, a note about that picture, Kathleen is carrying an empty champagne bottle not because that’s how we party after the girls go to sleep, but because neither of us like champagne, so we dumped what was left from the cake in the compost. Judging by the whooping and hollering and carrying on, the worms seem to have enjoyed it.

Sunday was the Moergeli picnic. We drove up to Enumclaw to get our Moergel on for a few hours. Kathleen has been discovering handwritten recipes tucked in the pages of her 1908 cookbook, and brought it up in the hopes that some of the older folks might be able to identify the handwriting and maybe decipher the ingredients, since some of the abbreviations are unfamiliar.

The consensus was that most of it belonged to Great-Grandma Gerald, and at least one of the abbreviations probably stands for “sweet” milk, by which the Aunts believe she meant condensed milk.

Dude knows how to throw a party for the Ellie! Just bring fresh picked berries. Which reminds me. Dude’s blueberries are coming on, which means we’ll need to find a day to get up and pick them in the next couple weeks.

Kathleen found Evie some new workbooks with a dry erase pen so that she can use them over and over again. She has a math workbook, a penmanship (cursive) workbook, and a phonics workbook.

She loves the Math one, kind of enjoys the cursive one, and has no interest in the phonics at all.

In that respect she is her mother’s daughter.

Let’s see, what else…

Oh, Evie and Ellie are both convinced that the food on Mommy’s plate is definitely more delicious than the food on their own plates, even when it is patently clear that it is the same kind of food.

Little Vultures.

Ellie likes to try on Daddy’s sandals:

And Ryan finally got the fence fixed, with a gate and everything!

If you are wondering why the diagonal bracing is not a perfect “X” it’s because the 2×4 was two inches too short, and Ryan was not willing to run to the store and buy another one. It works and doesn’t looke terrible. The only problem is that the new post that Ryan set is plumb, or pretty darn close thereto, but the old post that the hinges are set on is NOT! Not even close. You can see how this makes the whole fence sag into the neighbor’s yard, and makes the bottom of the gate not flush with the pole.

It hurts Ryan’s soul, but not enough to dig out the old post, chip away the cement and reset it. It’s going to stay as it is.

And that’s all for this week, folks. We hope you have a great weekend, don’t forget to pray everyday for us and for your own families.

God Bless!

Happy Family Friday, Y’all!

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

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

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

Evie and Ellie love hanging out with Dude and Susie.

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

And ate some delicious berry pie.

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

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

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

So it begins!

They will be coming in hard in a couple weeks.

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

The rest of the tomatoes are only blossoming so far.

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

And on the chamomile.

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

Then comes the weekend and packing for our camping trip!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cast iron certainly got a workout over the weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

Cousins!

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

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

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

She rocks a great bedhead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reading books,

Drinking bubble tea

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

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

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

Another week of Daddy being gone has passed. Everyone has been very busy.

But it’s still important to take the time to stop and smell the Daisies.

Last Sunday Mommy took Evie and Ellie up to Deedee and Papa’s house to visit.

Ellie is still not sure why she should smile at the phones that people are constantly pointing at her.

This was also the week of Emma’s birthday party next door. Since the fence is still broken, it was relatively easy for an invitation to make its way over to our side, and for our kids to make their way over to their side.

Meanwhile, Mommy kept herself busy by pulling out Daddy’s old Texas Skillet, the one he has owned for more than a decade, the one that has sizzled a metric ton of bacon in its time and has never been washed, and which also has been living on top of the cupboard in the kitchen for a couple years because it started burning on and Ryan never made the time to strip and cure it, where it has been collecting dust and grease from the old broken oven vent before Ryan fixed it…

You know the one.

A few weeks ago Kathleen read in her 1930’s homemaker manual that the way to strip cast iron is to boil potato skins in it. It worked on her smaller Texas skillet (it’s more of an Oklahoma skillet, really) so now she tried it on the far nastier big skillet. It worked quite well actually, and she was able to heat treat it and cure it with vegetable oil. We’ll see if Ryan can remember to maintain the seasoning when he gets back.

Ryan has been busy also, long days of training,

It may seem like a lot of effort, but the National Guard is called upon to perform the same missions that Active Duty is called on to perform, but we have only about 40 training days per year to prepare for them, compared to at least 250 training days on Active Duty. When you think about that it makes sense for us to go out in the middle of nowhere and really knuckle down to getting after it for the few weeks of AT we get.

Evie is doing her own training, these days. Without being prompted she accurately pointed out the spot on the lake that we visited when we were in Glacier three weeks ago.

We assume that she remembered it from the big wall map Kathleen showed her when she was there, since she can’t read yet.

She is one smart cookie!

Our peas have started producing too!

Between our peas and the neighbor’s peas (they are on vacation and asked us to pick their peas while they were gone) we are pulling in about half a colander at a time. Not bad for two tiny little plots.

And that’s about all the happenings this week.

Daddy drew a picture of a bunny in the letter he wrote to Ellie, so she decided to play bunny.

We hope you have had a good week and continue to have a wonderful weekend. God Bless. Pray for us.

This has not been a very Family Friendly week, starting with the weekend. We make the most of it as usual, but it has been a bit rough.

Saturday was a busy day. We spent the morning transferring ownership of Grandma Betty’s car to us so that Mommy will have a commuter to take to work, and our larger car can stay home and fit all the carseats more conveniently for when Grace has to take Evie to school.

Then Daddy had to go up to the Armory in the afternoon to finish packing gear for Annual Training. We went to Saturday evening Mass together, and then Mommy got called in to work. So it was one of those days that we just didn’t get a whole lot of together time.

But at least we had lunchtime together, and Mommy made Daddy a glorious large pan of patio beans for his trip.

Then on Sunday Daddy got up before the sun to drive out of state with a few other guys for Annual Training.

Ironic, really, leaving for AT on Father’s Day. Of the guys out here, only one doesn’t have kids yet. Welcome to Special Forces, even in the Guard.

Once we arrived there was the obligatory shaving of the face.

Before we can successfully guard the nation we must first divest ourselves of our panache.

Then let the training begin.

Good to get behind the gun again. And also it is really pretty country out here.

Evie informed Daddy that he needed to write her letters while he was gone. That is what she learned from the Korea trip last year.

There you go!

Mommy’s letters take longer to write. We have had a little time for sightseeing between events. Ryan got to visit a very beautiful local Church.

My home away from home.

Meanwhile back on the homefront, Mommy continues to hold the course with the girls. They spent Sunday at Deedee and Papa’s house celebrating Father’s day.

This week was also Evie’s last day of school for the year!

We are so proud of this big girl! She has learned her letters and her numbers and has done a wonderful job of learning to listen to her teachers and get along with her classmates. She works hard and has so much energy!

Mommy is run quite ragged, but she still manages to get things done, and still have time to hang out with the girls.

Deedee and Papa were able to come over earlier this week as well.

With the nice weather there is a lot of playing in the Hammock.

It is the best place to relax.

Daddy can’t wait to get home and relax there with his girls.

Evie erasing the days, one at a time, until Daddy comes home.

That’s all for this week, folks.

Oh, and also Ryan got official word that he passed his national certification exam last week. He is now officially a PA-C.

And that really is all for this week. We hope you guys had a great week, and have a wonderful weekend. See you later! God Bless.

Hello, Folks! It’s time for another Family Friday! We hope you have been having a great week. Ours has been… productive.

Any time you enter the week riding on a great black concrete bear, you know it’s going to be a good one.

It has been a busy week, but more of an odds-and-ends kind of busy, not so much a major event kind of busy. Laundry,

gardening,

harvesting,

That’s just the first pick, since then we’ve been getting about 1.5 quarts per day.

cooking,

canning,

Kathleen found a recipe for Peony Jelly and decided to try it. It turned out tasty and a gorgeous color but didn’t jell to a full jelly consistency, more like a warm jello consistency.

cleaning…

Okay, let’s be honest, cleaning impacts our schedule pretty minimally because we don’t do very much of it. Sweep the major floors (as opposed to the minor floors, right?) every couple days, and mop maybe once a fortnight-ish. We begin to see the wisdom in our ancestors’ division of labor, with one of the spouses primarily in charge of the outside, and the other primarily in charge of the inside.

But, welcome to America in the 21st century, where we both work outside the home at least 40 hours a week. And when we talk about the 40 hour work week, which became the American standard in the days when you lived within walking distance of your workplace, we don’t necessarily consider commute times which varies in Ryan’s case, but for Kathleen adds another 1-2 hours to her day, depending on traffic.

And of course, the small people continue to insist that we feed, clothe and shelter them. Or at least they would insist upon it if we ever fell far enough behind in these tasks for them to feel the pinch. Well, maybe not the clothing part. Ellie, for one, would be perfectly content to roam around in her diaper all day in this nice weather. And she has some rather colorful diapers, so it could potentially be borderline socially acceptable, and might save us about 1.5 minutes in the morning…

Ideas!

But who are we kidding? The one who takes up all the time in the morning is Evie. Sometimes all you can do is just keep them contained while you knock out a few quick tasks…

But I digress…

Deedee’s birthday was on Monday so we went out to all you can eat buffet on Sunday evening. We didn’t take any pictures of that, because, let’s face it, one AYCE buffet looks pretty much like any other. But we did take a picture of the girls playing in the mall play area afterwards.

You can see Deedee’s hands hold a phone on the right. Does this count as a picture of the birthday girl?

Happy Birthday, Deedee!

With the nice weather we have been having a little more success with our gardening. The cone flowers we planted back in march have come up.

Only two have come up, which means we probably put them in too early when the ground temperature was too cold and most of the seeds rotted. These two represent the survivors.

Ellie is getting bigger and more accomplished as a climber. She can now climb up in the net at the play ground, she can climb into the first crux of the Japanese maple by the deck, and she can climb out of her crib without assistance. She still can’t open the door of her room, but that’s a-comin’.

She had to join Daddy on some frantic errand running yesterday while he desperately (and unsuccessfully) tried to pull together all the stuff he needs to go out for annual training next tomorrow. The major piece of equipment he was looking for wasn’t ready, so improvisation will have to occur.

As usual.

But it was the Army’s birthday, and they had cake at Military Clothing and Sales, so that was a win!

She was done after 3 bites. Not much of a sweet tooth, that one.

And that’s all for this week, folks. We hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend. God Bless!

Keep on trucking!

Yes, I know we are a day late. At least we aren’t a week late as usual. We had more important things to think about last Friday than blogging because it happened to be Ryan and Kathleen’s Anniversary!

WHAT!!!??? That’s right! That’s us, folks, years ago when we were not Daddy and Mommy, just plain old boring Ryan and Kathleen. When this picture was taken we had at least three days to go before Evie started her little microscopic existence.

Fast forward 5 years…

Here we are, sampling the meloncello. Which wasn’t that great, as it turned out. It needs more melon or less cello.

So yeah, last Friday we were busy. It was a fun week though. Saturday was a great day with gorgeous weather.

Nothing like reading a cook book in your jammies with your favorite Mommy.

We took a drive down to Yelm because Ryan had to see a guy about a bag. That is, he has some custom tactical sewing to do and there is a guy down in Yelm who does that sort of thing.

Yelm is also home to a short, easy hiking trail called “Deschutes Falls Park.” We had a lovely hike and picnic lunch.

Daddy got a little behind because he was putting his ruck on. That’s right, he doesn’t go on hikes without his rucksack, because training.

Besides, Ellie likes to ride on it when the big people go too fast for her little short legs. That said, for being only about two feet tall, she is quite a good hiker.

The falls were quite pretty but it was hard to get a good picture of them because they were in a box canyon.

As you move up the river from the falls the water gets a lot quieter.

You can take the trail…

Or you can take the scenic route…

Throwing Rocks is the best thing ever!

And then we came back to the parking area for a lovely picnic lunch.

And a nice older German couple let the girls pet their dog.

We got back home a little later than we intended, because of traffic, but the girls took a much needed nap in the car, while Mommy and Daddy got some hand-holding conversation time, so it was not a bad thing at all.

The house needed a little cleaning when we got home, so Evie helped “mop” the floor. When I look at the mop she is using and compare it to the mop I had to use (and by “mop” I mean “scrub brush”) it makes me wonder what these kids will do if technology ever takes a nationwide dump for any extended period of time.

Hopefully some older folks are still around. Or at least some old books. That’s why Kathleen keeps old housekeeping books from the 1930’s around. It worked then, it can work again.

Our friend Alberto came over for some kebabs, and got roped into helping Evie with her princess puzzle.

It’s a hazard of being invited over. That or reading “Dragons love Tacos,” fifty times in a row.

Sunday was mother’s day. We made some blueberry biscuits to take to church for the coffee hour after Mass. Kathleen dug up some old baking paper bags from her Grandma’s kitchen.

We thought that was a fitting way to celebrate Mother’s day.

After Mass we went up to Enumclaw to visit Deedee and Papa. We also put some flowers around the graves of some old grandmas and great-grandmas.

The weather at Deedee and Papa’s was beautiful, so Papa tried to fly his kite (alas, without much success, since for once there was hardly any wind) while Evie and Ellie ruckused around in the playhouse.

Evie finally learned how to pedal her little toy truck. She has never had to do that before, so why should she learn how? But this time Papa said, “No, you’re big enough, use your own feet.” So she did, and in no time she was giving Ellie rides around the deck.

We gave Mommy the Mother’s day presents we made.

Now she has a pair of Holsteins to go with her pair of Brown Swiss.

It was a very rainy week, which was quite lovely, since it kept the garden watered for free.

Kathleen finished processing and bottling the meloncello but was not satisfied with it, so it got tossed. We’ll try using more melon next time, or maybe blending it or juicing it first before adding it to the clear.

The Lemoncello is looking much more promising.

Kathleen also started a second or third career (depending on how you count) as a busy bag lady, selling 31 bags and gear.

Why? Because she doesn’t have enough to do already, and it sounds like fun.

After all that rain it was nice to have a warm, sunny day off. Evie did sterling labor in the garden, cutting flowers, pulling clover…

Off course she did also decide to snip a chunk out of her hair. For some reason that was irresistible to her, despite being told not to.

That child! Sigh.

But she helped flip the compost, and taught Ellie all about earthworms (Evie learned about them in school).

And after she pulled up all the weeds, and dumped them in the composter, she watered the compost all by herself so that the greens will rot down into nice, black dirt.

Ellie visited with the little girl who lives next door. unfortunately, there is no gate in their fence, so they can speak, but may never play. Alas.

Unlike the wooden fence on the other side of the property, one section of which has rotted and broken. When Ryan tore it down to set a new post the other neighbor kids took advantage of the suddenly porous border to swarm over and play on the hammock.

How many kids can you fit in one hammock?

One more!

That’s all for this week, folks.

It’s summer-time, y’all!

Now technically, I get it, it isn’t summertime. YET! Technically! blah, blah, blah. But as my momma always said, “Summer is as summer does.”

Saturday before last was cloudy, chilly, windy, but we went out to the master gardener sale in Puyallup.

So did everyone else, apparently.

Unfortunately, they were fresh out of master gardeners for sale, so we settled for two tomatoes and two gerania (plural of geranium. Because Latin).

We also had to go to Costco to buy some big pots to put our new tomatoes in. The girls helped, of course.

We now have four pots of three different varieties of tomatoes! It is going to be awesome sauce!

Sunday morning was a good morning to look out the window and enjoy our bird-feeder.

Sunday before last was Divine Mercy Sunday. Evie was not feeling well in the morning, but she felt much better after sleeping most of the morning. We celebrated by having Adam and Maryanne and the kids over for a pig-wrapped-pig roast.

That’s right. That’s pork loin wrapped in bacon. Grilled low and slow to (almost) perfection, it was quite delectable.

So much fun, letting the little folks run around outside, even though Mommy had to take Evie to Mass in the evening to make up for her being sick in the morning.

That’s really the whole point of having a back yard, so that the kids can play in it.

Since then the weather has mostly been really nice. It is chilly in the mornings, and our lupins collect dew.

But it gets warm enough by evening for us to hang out in the hammock and read books or play bubbles after supper, until bedtime.

Sometimes we just like to stroll along the edge of the garden and watch it growing. That is how we discovered this sign of hope on the ancient grapevine we transplanted from Deedee and Papa’s house back in February.

See? Life goes on (Oh-bla-dee, Oh-bla-dah). That grapevine is over fifty years old, but it will come back yet, probably next year. Right now it is probably building its roots under the dirt where we can’t see, but it ain’t finished yet.

Life goes on, Blessed Be the Lord!

It has been a busy couple of weeks, and last weekend was the busiest part of it because it was drill weekend. Silly National Guard.

Ryan looks super thrilled about this whole Airborne thing. Diego, on the other hand, is stoked!

Airborne is not really his thing. Heights, you know.

Meanwhile, Mommy kept him abreast of everything going on at home. Such as…

New shoes for the Ellie!

Fashion shows…

New hair styles…

And breakfast drama…

Kathleen took the girls up to visit Deedee and Papa. Deedee had a hip replacement on Monday and they wanted to wish her a happy recovery. She is recovering quite well, actually, and is done with the walker and graduated to a cane.

Papa and Uncle Pat had gotten the play house re-roofed and open for business!

Then Kathleen took the girls to Dude’s house and dropped them off there and then had a wonderful evening going to a baby sale with Amanda. (That’s what those two do for fun, they bargain hunt). Daddy got done with drill early enough to take the girls to the Saturday evening vigil Mass, which was good because he was working all day Sunday.

They love the grotto at Saint Andrew’s.

This is the sort of logistical nightmare we have every drill weekend. But by Sunday afternoon it was over, and Daddy could start growing his beard again and come home to see what his girls had been up to.

Evie built a bridge. She says it is “over troubled waters.”

Evie and Mommy made bread together.

Then we sat on the hammock while Evie fed us soup that she had made herself.

The week chugs on as usual, busy days, and a valiant effort to keep the one or two hours we have in the evening between getting home and going to bed as casual as possible. I think it was Greg Popcak who said that the strongest marriages in his practice spend at least 14 hours together per week. When we’re both working full time, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for extra-curricular activities.

God is good. Most of our stress is self-inflicted. Even half an hour a day to sit and be together is a priceless gift.

Have a great weekend, enjoy Family Friday on a Friday for a change. God Bless!