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!

Happy Easter Week, everyone!

Tri-tips roasting on an open fire.

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

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

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

Don’t believe me? I shall explain:

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

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

Apples in bloom on either side of our greenhouse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Especially Ellie.

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

So is Ellie.

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

We need to addend the last Family Friday. That is, we need to clear up a misunderstanding. In Last week’s Family Friday we made the rather audacious claim that Family life gives you the opportunity to practice all the works of mercy on a daily basis. As a refresher, those are:

Kathleen pointed out that, while 13 of the 14 are correct, we do not actually bury the dead on a daily basis around here. So we retract that statement…

We do actually berry the living on a regular basis, though!

😀

Hee hee hee

Anyway, if you are silly enough to be interrupting your Easter to read this blog, you probably have no clue why it is so delayed. Suffice to say there is a big thing going on in the Catholic World right now. Pretty much the biggest thing of the year. It’s called Easter, or more precisely, the Easter Triduum. You should check it out.

In any event, we’ll hurry this up, and get you back to it.

Last Saturday the weather was gray, but tolerable most of the day. We spent the morning shopping together as a family. Evie was bouncing up and down in her carseat singing, “Yay! It’s a Mommy and Daddy day! It’s a Mommy and Daddy day!” That says something about our lives when she is excited about Saturday morning shopping because it means she can spend time with Mommy and Daddy both at the same time.

We dropped a bunch of money on food, and then even more on plants for our growing garden. It rained cats and dogs in the afternoon, but we still managed to get the plants in the ground. And the planting box is finally finished!

We took the picture from the house because it was raining.

Of course Daddy had to make a second trip to the store to pick up more equipment for more projects as they came up. Fortunately Evie came along to help.

We had to lock Evie and Ellie in the “redneck playpen” for a few minutes while we were finishing up on the front lawn, so they wouldn’t scatter and flow down the driveway into the cul-de-sac.

It’s okay, though. They loved it long enough that they were still happy when we finished our work. That’s all we could possibly hope for from a playpen. But we did work right through the afternoon when we would have been prepping supper. So Pho it was.

Ellie eats all the meat, Evie eats all the noodles. Between them they can about kill a kid’s bowl of Pho.

All that outdoorsing can make a baby girl tired!

Then on Sunday we went up to Enumclaw and visited Dude before her surgery (which she came through with flying colors later this week.) Then we went to the Swiss park to take part in their Easter Egg hunt.

Ellie likes the swings better than finding eggs.

And we went to visit Grandma Betty.

And they entertained us with song all the way home.

Ellie is getting so big now, instead of using her high chair with a tray, she sits in her high chair at the big table like a big girl!

This is good because it makes it easier for her to feed Mommy!

Mommy and Evie painted Eggs on Wednesday.

The weather was finally nice enough to get the hammock up! (Briefly, then it rained).

It’s not everyone that has a baby bear in their garden.

We like to walk around the house in the evenings and look at our plants. This one in particular is a favorite. It’s a “hardy kiwi” that Ellie and Daddy planted a few weeks ago. Ellie decided to test its hardiness by stepping on it, sitting on it, and burying it. Initially all the leaves fell off and it looked like a dry twig, but now, as you can see…

Leaf buds!

Hardy. As Advertised. That’s what we like to see around here, plants with a will to live! It will do well. (The ones without a will to live tend not to last very long).

Guess who can write her own name!

That’s all for this week, folks. Happy Easter!

May God grant that the Blessings of the Risen Christ descend upon you, and rise up within you, and remain for ever and ever!

Hee hee hee!

It’s good to Family. It is also good to Friday.

Sometimes I look at the blog roll-up, and wonder what happened to my blogging. There is no variety in our blog titles. They all have the same name!

I used to be writing something thoughtful, topical, and (I hoped, at least) thought provoking, every day or so. I talked about topics, philosophy, martial arts, etc. Now all I talk about is Family Friday, and that only once a week if I’m lucky.

(Could be worse).

But the truth is, it’s good. It’s important, far more important than anything I used to write about.

There is a wonderful interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, Archbishop of Bologna, head of the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family under Saint John Paul, in which he relates a letter he received from Sister Lucia, the Fatima visionary. In it she says:
the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issuehowever, Our Lady has already crushed its head.”

And that is really the point of Family Friday. It is not just to keep Grandma Ann apprised of the West Coast shenanigans (although that is an important part of it).

Family Friday is first and foremost a fundamentally faith-filled phenomenon.

😀 (I don’t care for alliterated “f”s, but I couldn’t resist.

It is a witness. We try to be honest about the rough parts: deployments, work, tiredness…

We spare you most of the details of Evie’s stubbornness and Ellie’s ventures into two-year-old-ness.

She can be stubborn, and she doesn’t pay attention. Ellie also can be stubborn, but she always pays attention.

This is the neat table…

But we hope that by writing Family Friday as close to every Friday as we can, we can witness that in spite of everything, (and even in some ways because of everything) Family is possible and worthwhile.

“You know you love it!”

It is worth all of the loss of independence, time, energy and young-ness that we have given up, and all that we continue to give up. But it’s a mistake to think that we spend much time “giving things up.” There is sacrifice, but it’s hard even to call it sacrifice, because it’s just so much fun!

They keep us busy, and everything has meaning and value, because of them. People who live for themselves, and are self-determined don’t know what they are missing. You don’t live until you live for someone else.

I would never even try to make a pie like this for myself.

You have the chance to hit virtually every corporal and spiritual work of mercy multiple times, every single day.

Feed the hungry, anybody?

and then when you get up early to make a breakfast of delicious breakfast biscuits, you can enjoy hearing them complain that they don’t like biscuits, “because I don’t like the ham.”

More of Kathleen’s amazing barbecue sauce, now with a pint and a half of hot and spicy BBQ sauce (Ryan is the only one who eats spicy).

We have been busy with the usual busyness this week. Ryan has been working at his Family Medicine Preceptorship. He usually runs late and gets home tired, but it’s a great learning experience.

Kathleen is rocking the commute and running the vascular lab at her job in Olympia. Except that the power steering went out on the truck during her commute, but was fine the next morning when Ryan drove it. So now we are driving it around waiting for it to break again, so that’s fun.


We like to live on the edge. Which is why we let four-year-olds paint…

And 18-months-old bake.

Ellie also helped Daddy try his hand at great-grandpa Ted’s world famous pumpernickel recipe. She watched it bake and made sure it got hot correctly.

And we have become host to a pair of brush-tailed rats that have begun stealing our bird seed.

Sometime next month if Ryan has time he will commence a proper feud. If not he may just shoot them and eat them. Squirrel is pretty tasty, and by then they should have some good eating on them.

That’s all for this week, folks. Pray for families. If you don’t have anything urgent going on right now, consider becoming families. It’s a trip! And it makes God smile.

And now for some well-earned slumber. Good night, and God Bless!

Whoah! Isn’t that something? This is our 200th Family Friday. Assuming 52 Fridays in the average year, that means we have been doing this close to 4 years…

I just checked the Archives. Family Friday 1 was published on May 29, 2015. May 29 is a Wednesday this year, but I think we’ll have a cake or something. Or at least a beer. I don’t know. Stay tuned, we’ll figure it out

This has been a week of gorgeous weather which, thankfully, seems to be coming to an end.

I say thankfully because all this dry, blue skies, sunny-yet-cool nonsense is very bad for our new little baby plants,

and by extension for our pocket book. Irrigating gets expensive.

The girls really enjoy it, though. Especially Ellie.

On Saturday we went up and visited Deedee and Papa. Ryan and Kathleen went and got taxes done, and then we came back and played outside. Evie and Ellie played with the riding horse.

Ryan played with some blocks of wood that Papa needs split into firewood.

Kathleen made a batch of mixed berry jelly with her new “squeezo.” It took a four hour process and turned it into a two hour process, including cleanup.

Kathleen had to work on Saturday night, so Ryan was left to make Sunday’s huckleberry pie by himself. (His first ever pie attempt). It was not terrible, but he didn’t realize that the frozen huckleberries would be very juicy. First he tried to cook it on a pizza pan so that it wouldn’t overflow in the oven. It didn’t over flow… It also didn’t cook.

So we had to rebake it the next morning. It overflowed, but what can you do. Apparently tapioca or cornstarch is the answer.

Then on Sunday we went and visited the hot chicks.

Then we went up and visited Adam and Maryanne and the gang.

Ryan and Kathleen have been super busy this week, and there has been a couple short rounds of sickness (stomach bug, pink eye, stomach bug again). It’s a total mystery how we always manage to share our germs so effectively…

Let’s see, what else?

Not really much.

That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for stopping by. One of these days we will get back to writing thoughtful and topical blogs about learned and relevant subjects. In the meantime, we hope you continue to enjoy our Family every Friday. Or most Fridays anyway.

God Bless!

Happy Friday, Y’all!

Let me just say, last weekend was delightful. Neither Mommy nor Daddy had to work, and we had nowhere we had to go except shopping (can’t have everything, right?) and the weather was beautiful.

We made latkas out of leftover mashed potatoes and topped them with fried bacon, apple and onion. Yes. It was as delicious as it sounds.

Ellie’s favorite drawer to play in. She likes to sort through it while Mommy and Daddy are cooking.

Then we went out to buy food, and came home for lunch and naps. Well, one nap, at least. Ellie took a nap. Mommy made some lentil soup to can for Lent. Daddy doesn’t believe in naps and Evie is too big for naps, so we went out to color with chalk.

The shadow of the truck suggested an Idea to Daddy…

“Daddy! I’m riding an Elephant!”

We also collaborated on a dragon. Evie drew the fire around the head and the butt…

Apparently this dragon has been hitting the extra spicy salsa.

When Ellie woke up from her nap we had popsicles and bubbles on the deck.

It was Ellie’s first time chasing bubbles, as she was too little last summer. She was entranced by them. It always amazes me how much magic there is in a little water with soap and sugar in it.

Then Daddy and the Girls went for a ruckmarch. Mommy couldn’t go because she was busy tending the pressure canner. We did not want it to blow up in our absence, so we thought it best someone stay behind to regulate its temp and pressure.

Since Evie took the trouble to carry that rock almost the whole ruckmarch, she had more than earned the right to paint it when we got back.

And we closed out the day with a nice, relaxing supper, a bath (which became relaxing when the Washing of the Hair was over), and some books before bed.

Pressure canning soup is a long process, but worth it.

By bed time Kathleen had added an additional three quarts to the stash.

On Sunday we had our old friend and pastor, Fr. Peter over for dinner, along with our friends Ronny and Amanda and their son RJ. Fr. Peter was our former pastor at St. Frances Cabrini, founder of the young adult group where Ryan and Kathleen met, and the priest who officiated our wedding. Ronny was a member of that young adult group. Now Fr. Peter is a pastor up in the great white north, up near Alaska or Marysville or some such benighted wilderness. Ronny is married and has a son.

Time flies, doesn’t it?

Being good hosts and bad bloggers, we have no pictures from the evening except this one of Evie helping to make the pizzas.

And these ones of Kathleen making the mincemeat pie.

Even Ellie is big enough to help make pizzas now.

Let’s see, what else did we do? Ryan is having fun in the ER. Lots of interesting patients, and great stories I can’t tell because of HIPAA. Some happy, some funny, some sad, but that’s the ER.

The beard helps to reassure the patients.

Daddy had the day off on Tuesday due to the way the ER schedule played out, so he and Ellie had a busy day running errands after we dropped Evie off at school. Our travels finally took us to the Camp McChord Commissary and Px where we had lunch. Ellie thoroughly enjoyed the popeye’s gourmet Cajun fries.

Ellie saw the coin-operated merry-go-round and asked very politely if she could “up! up!” So Daddy set her on the merry-go-round horse. He happened to have some quarters so he dropped them in, thinking she would think that was awesome.

Turns out she was not expecting it to move. She didn’t quite fall off, but she lost her grip with one hand and Daddy had to stabilize her, and then she had a patiently puzzled rather than an excitedly joyous face the whole time.

Plus the darn thing didn’t even play any music, which I thought was a bit cheap. $0.50 and you don’t even get a synthesized calliope?

A brand new box of sidewalk chalk arrived on Tuesday, and we couldn’t wait to try out the new colors.

We went out for dinner with Deedee and Papa on the spur of the moment, which, when you think about it, is pretty amazing. A lot of people cannot afford the time or the money to do that, but we can. It is an amazing gift, one that demands to be shared.

One other little adventure, we ordered a box of worms for our compost pile. Evie and Daddy had fun dumping them into the compost before we went to school.

Evie’s comment: “Oh! They’re so cute!”

At this point we are not sure how they are going to do, whether the moisture balance is right, whether we have enough paper and such in there to keep them satisfied. It’s an experiment. One of these days we’ll move far enough out of the city to have a proper composter, i.e. a pen full of pigs or chickens.

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