Well! This week was a barrel of monkeys.

Or a bucket of Ellie. Same thing.

We already wrote earlier this week about our visit to the cemetery for Memorial Day. Or rather, the Sunday before Memorial Day. After visiting at the cemetery we went to Deedee and Papa’s house to visit and then visited Dude and Susie.

Always a hoot

On memorial day Daddy and Evie did their best to cook the most patriotic and American breakfast we could think of.

Start out with a little bit of red, white and blue…

A.k.a. strawberries, blueberries, and Bisquick.

When will they ever be done?!

Add some bacon and a little bit of sausage, and voilà!

#Murica!

Then we went down to Dupont for a hike with our good friends Margie and Dane, and their daughter Zellie.

Setting out on our grand adventure.

For our hike we chose sequelachew park which is a 1.5 mile trail from behind the Dupont police station down to the water on the sound.

Ellie gets to ride, because her legs are short.

It is quite a lovely trail, broad and well-maintained, that slopes gently downhill to the water.

Evie and Zellie stopped to collect some nature.

It runs down an old railway grade, so the slope is not very dramatic and there is plenty of nature for the little people to hunt.

At the bottom, the trail goes through an old rail tunnel from when they used to have a dock down there.

This is the only place where there’s any track left, but it runs underneath a working railroad track that runs along the edge of the sound from north to south.

Once you go through the tunnel you arrive on the beach which, like most Washington beaches, is entirely composed of rocks of various size. Far from being a disadvantage, this is a most excellent thing when you are small and want to throw rocks in the water. It also works when you are big and want to throw rocks in the water. This beach comes handily supplied with rocks rated for all your rock throwing needs, at least from 18 month girl to 34-year-old BCFF.

There are also some pretty decent rocks that you can climb on.

All in all, for being a 3 mile round-trip, the steady uphill grade for the entire way back makes it a bit of a smoker especially if you are carrying a rucksack with an Ellie on top of it. After our hike, we enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch before heading home to relax for the rest of the day.

Daddy is trying to step up his grill game, so the girls are helping him study.

The neighbor kids came over in the afternoon to test out the sturdiness of the hammock pole after Ryan added three bags of quick-crete. At 50 pounds apiece, that’s 150 pounds of support at the very base of the pole, so it should do the trick.

It may still have a little bit of shake to it, but at least it’s not leaning precariously like it’s going to pop out of the ground it any second.

After nap, Eli wanted to come outside but no one was available to put her shoes on right away, so she helped herself to her sister’s shoes, put them on her self, and walked on outside.

On the wrong feet and everything just like a proper toddler shoe should be. And then she proceeded to get them soaking wet. This is also very right and just for a toddler shoe.

Mommy has been working hard with her new business, selling bags two ladies who need to carry things around in their life. This, in my experience, includes pretty much every lady ever.

Ellie likes to help by explaining the various virtues and benefits of each bag and accessory item.

She’s been getting pretty good responses too, complete with live Facebook videos and other fancy stuff like that.

We spent all day Thursday packing and getting ready for our trip this weekend.

Ellie says, “This works for me. I’m ready to go.”

When Evelyn got home from school, she thought that was a good idea so she joined her sister.

Evelyn reading “The Knight and the Dragon” to Eleanor.

In case you were not familiar with this during tale, you may listen to Evelyn’s rendition of it here.

Or not, since the mobile app won’t allow me to paste the link in apparently. You’ll just have to imagine it.While some liberties may have been taken with some aspects of the story, it was, nevertheless, heartwarming and profound as ever.

Last night, we got together for pizza to celebrate Ryan finishing PA school.

Ellie is impressed

It was a surprise get together, Ryan thought we were just getting together with Deedee and Papa before we headed out for the weekend.

Instead, all of these folks showed up…

And piled on top of Deedee.

And we got our party on like we were graduating college.

Then, we went home and finished packing. We staged all of our rucks by the door as they should be.

Not to mention our suitcase and car seat carrying bags.

And then everyone was up bright and early this morning

Ready for our next big adventure.

So have a great weekend everyone, we will see y’all next week.

God bless!

We had an ADVENTURE last weekend! It was intense!

Or should I say…

IN TENTS! 😉Family Friday 164 (1)

(No pun in-tented!) 😀

Actually, yes it was. I’ve been waiting to post those all week!

Family Friday 164 (2)
Evie checking out her new digs.

Daddy set a tent up in our back yard on Friday afternoon so he and Evie could sleep out. (Mommy will sleep out in a tent if she has to, but considers the presence of a nice comfy bed a few yards away in the house to be indication that she doesn’t have to).

Family Friday 164 (3)
The neighbor kids were fascinated by the presence of a tent in our yard.

Then we had a cookout on the back deck, preparatory to s’moring it up on our backyard.

Family Friday 164 (4)
Evie was not optimistic about liking the trout (which we had in our freezer, courtesy of papa).

The weather was turning gray, but we grilled the trout as well, along with some stuffed portabella mushrooms.

Family Friday 164 (5)
Yummy!

Not surprisingly, Evie did not like the fish. Also not surprisingly, Ellie loved it. Daddy could not de-bone it and get it between her gums fast enough.

Then the rain came, and it rained cats and dogs all night. No one got any sleep what with the caterwauling and the barking and our yard was a mess of fur and blood the next morning…

Just kidding. Actually, it was a welcome treat for our garden, which is doing beautifully, BTW.

Family Friday 164 (18)
We got carrots!

On Saturday we went on a hike on Mount Rainier. We drove up to the Carbon River and hiked up a trail from there. It used to be a vehicle trail, but it is closed to vehicular traffic now, so we didn’t have to watch out for cars, which is an important consideration when hiking with a three-year-old.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After about 1.2 miles we came upon a little side trail that led up to a mine. It said it was only 0.3 miles to the old mine entrance, so we decided to check it out.

Family Friday 164 (25)
Someone was nice enough to put steps in.

Turned out that about 90% of that 0.3 miles was uphill, up the side of a narrow gorge that ran up the hill.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When we got to the cave we found that there was a gate across the mouth, just inside the entrance. We couldn’t go in, so we decided to go on. There was a goat trail leading up the side of the mountain so we took it.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It led us to a wonderful little picnic spot where we had an early lunch.

Family Friday 164 (12)
Terrible family selfie.

After lunch we headed back down the hill. Ellie was a little tired.

She was hiking very hard!

When we got down to the car we went a little bit further so that Evie could throw stones in the river.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Family Friday 164 (15)
Good family selfie!

The final result of all this adventuring was…

Family Friday 164 (32)
Parenting win!

I can’t remember the last time she fell asleep in the car.

We went to bowling with Deedee and Papa on Sunday, but we didn’t take any pictures so you’ll just have to take our word for it. However, here is a picture of our Sunday morning coffee hour/baby swap.

Family Friday 164 (17)
Pip was not pleased that his mom was holding some strange baby.

 

And that’s all for this week. It has been mostly a work week.

Family Friday 164 (33)
Ellie waiting for Daddy to be done working.

We still made time for some healthy dream building, including conversations about possible alternate career paths.In Vestments

Keeping the romance alive, people.

Anyway, y’all have a great weekend. Stay classy!

Family Friday 164 (16)
As classy as a baby with a mohawk.

God Bless.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3658
Evie has decided that she is a big girl now, and she can feed herself, thank you very much.

It is that time of the week again. Family Friday strikes once again. Usually I would have gotten this out a lot earlier in the day, but last night my phone decided that it needed to update its software. I let it get it’s update on while we all went to bed, but once it does that you have to go through and set it up, type in your passcode and adjust your settings before it will get back to doing its job. So this morning it did not do its job, i.e. it did not sound the alarm and wake me up. Consequently, everything this morning has been backed up including class, National Guard stuff, two tests in Abnormal Psych, oil change for the car and the truck and this post.

Welcome to Life.

Family Friday 22 15Last weekend we decided to go for a drive and a walk. Kathleen had heard of a waterfall up in Bonney Lake which we had never seen before, (you don’t think of Bonney Lake as the sort of place that has a waterfall). It actually turned out to be quite beautiful, and Evie enjoyed getting out to walk around in the great outdoors.

Family Friday 22 6
It’s actually quite a cool little waterfall.

The little park that the waterfall is in is not much to speak of. It consists of a gravel parking lot off a back road, with two dirt and gravel trails leading off the parking lot into a little wooded area. There are some picnic tables under a group of apple trees (which Evie had to climb), and that’s about it.Family Friday 22 14The trail leads back to a sharp drop into a gorge, maybe 50 to 60 feet deep with very steep walls. The stream comes out from a culvert under the road and drops into a little pool, before plummeting over the edge of the cliff.Family Friday 22 5I realize that all the pictures are blurry. I blame it on the lighting. It was gray and gloomy.

Family Friday 22 4

There is a broad stone and dirt ledge on one side of the fall where you can stand as close to the edge as you please to get a look right over to the jagged rocks below. Daddy is not a huge fan of heights, so he didn’t feel the need to stand any closer than that.

Family Friday 22 13
Kathleen makes this waterfall look good.

Evie wanted to get down and play, but we decided it was not a good crawling spot. Parents! Such spoilsports.

Family Friday 22 7

We tried to take a selfie with the waterfall in the background….

Family Friday 22 8Let’s just say, we are not allowed to take group selfies anymore. Kathleen has her mom’s I-am-getting-my-picture-taken smile on. Ryan looks constipated. And Evie is looking at squirrels.

Family Friday 22 9
Evie was more interested in moving and watching the waterfall than in taking pictures. She is wiser than any of us.

Let’s see, what else did we do this week?

Family Friday 22 2Kathleen finished the baby blanket she has been working on for Adam and Maryanne’s new baby, which is due soon. The baby, that is, not the blanket. The blanket has already been delivered. We chit-chatted with Adam on the phone on saturday on our way back from the waterfall, and found that they had been busy all day and were tired, so we asked if they would like us to make supper. Adam said that would be great, so after a quick shopping trip, and a rapid search of the pinterest, we made a beef stew (not pictured).

It was absolutely amazing, if we do say so ourselves. We should do a blog about that next week and share the recipe. I think Kathleen will probably make it again on Tuesday to take it to work on Wednesday. As we get into fall and winter it is that kind of weather. Soups, stews and crockpot recipes are going to be all the rage, which is exciting. I like a good thick stew.

Kathleen holding up the finished baby blanket. She has been working on this since before we were married. Actually, before Ryan even went to the Philippines.

Family Friday 22 12Daddy and Evie had to test it out to make sure it worked.

Family Friday 22 3It did. It kept Ryan very warm, and Evie says it is baby taste test approved. You’re welcome, cousin Peanut! Can’t wait to meet you kiddo.

After Mass on Sunday we came home and ate this delicious repast. We thought it would be funny to put a picture of it on Facebook and see how long it took people to ask if Kathleen was pregnant. Family Friday 22 16

It took 4 minutes for the first question to come in.

No, Kathleen is not pregnant. We just like to do weird, lazy snack picnics in the living room on Sundays.

Family Friday 22 18On Monday before Bible Study we went out for dinner to our favorite Phớ restaurant, Phớ Tai. Evie has been there before, and was very fascinated by the color-changing neon lights above the tables. However, up until now she has always brought her own food in bottle form. This time we decided to let her branch out a bit, and she got to eat some of Mommy’s rice noodles. She absolutely loved the noodles, but that was nothing compared to her reaction when she tasted Daddy’s avocado bubble tea!

I thought she was going to bounce out of her high chair. Good girl, she likes multi-cultural fare. I can’t wait until she is old enough to go to Korean BBQ. However, right now I don’t think she is ready for a meal that involves open flame in the middle of the table.

Family Friday 22 10Daddy and Evie chasing the geese at the park. Evie wanted to get down and crawl after them, but Daddy said “No” because he didn’t want her to try tasting the goose poop.

Family Friday 22 19
Evie says, “You can never have too many Grandmas!”

Evie is a crazy child. Last night she was being cranky, weepy and a total butt. She ate and then she was full, and she didn’t want to eat, she didn’t want to snuggle, she didn’t went to be picked up or put down, she didn’t want to play with her toys. We had been avoiding taking her outside because it was cold (in the low 50’s) and very damp and rainy, and Ryan had just mowed the lawn. However, Evie insisted, and in the end we decided it had to be. We took her outside.

Family Friday 22 21

Here she is playing in the wet grass, as happy as a clam. She probably crawled around for a good 45 minutes, during which time her greatest source of frustration was not the cold or the wet, but the fact that Daddy wouldn’t let her play in the gravel. He gave her a bunch of large rocks to play with, big enough so that she couldn’t swallow them and choke, but no! Evie wanted to hunt her own rocks in their natural habitat.

Sorry baby girl. Mommy and Daddy have this thing about you choking on pebbles.

Family Friday 22 22
Hi Daddy! Watcha doin’? Learning Korean? Why? Do you need help? Can Evie learn Korean too? Mind if I eat your chair while I’m at it?

And that’s about it folks. Now I have to get back to this crazy day, so I don’t end up too far behind.

God Bless! Have a great weekend.

Family Friday 22 1

You may have noticed (and then again, maybe you haven’t) that the blogging has been a little sparse lately, here at The Man Who Would Be Knight. Only Family Friday posts seem to be making it to the press, as it were. This is for two reasons. First, Ryan has started school again and is pretty busy. Secondly, something is up with squarespace, and it no longer works on Ryan’s laptop, but only on the desktop. Since the desktop isn’t very portable, that cuts down on blogging. We are working to address the issue, but in the meantime, here is another Family Friday.

Last Friday, Ryan finally got home from North Carolina.

Daddy!!!  Daddy!!!

On Sunday, Kathleen hosted a baby shower for Maryanne, who is due in about five weeks or so.

It took a bit of setting up because one of the things you don’t realize when you have only on child, and she is very small, is just how much mess that small person can cause. We try to keep on top of it, but it creeps up on you. Then you decide to have people over, and suddenly you are looking around wondering where the heck all this stuff comes from, and where you are going to put it!

But it actually turned out to be nowhere near as bad as it looked, just a little surface clutter, easily organized. Actually, that is a good argument for having people over from time to time: it inspires us to tackle the creeping clutter. The more frequently we tackle it, the more we can keep it from getting really out of hand.

Evie missed the first part of the party because she went for a hike with Daddy and Uncle Adam. We drove out to Mount Peak in Enumclaw, and hiked the trail there.

She likes travelling in the carrier, but she is a bit more mobile now, so periodically she wants to stop and get down and move around a bit. You know, stretch the legs, (and the arms, and the gums,) taste the local flora, etc.

Uncle Adam let Evie borrow his hat, but she is not really a hat person. Thanks, but no thanks Uncle Adam. Uncle Adam let Evie borrow his hat, but she is not really a hat person. Thanks, but no thanks Uncle Adam.

People are always surprised and pleased to see a little baby hiker out there. Pleased I can understand, but for the life of my I can’t think why they should be surprised. Our ancestors carried their babies about on their backs or in slings, and babies were thus exposed to sunshine, wind, hot and cold, dirt and animals, the activities of their parents, language, social interaction, non-verbal communication, and just life in general.

Evie says “Babies are people too!”

Oh, and by the way. If you see a dad out and about running errands with his kids, do not say, “Oh, looks like you’re babysitting today!”

Um… No.

Babysitting is what you do when you look after someone else’s kids. Taking the kids to go run some errands is what you are doing when you are running errands with your own kids. Is Kathleen “babysitting” when she takes Evie with her to the store? No?

Then neither is Ryan.

Okay, enough soap-box.

An odd thing about Mount Peak is that, although it towers over Enumclaw, you cannot actually see Enumclaw from the top, because of all the trees around the top. This was the best view we saw on the way up.

Evie missed the first part of the party, but jumped right into the swing of things after we got back from the hike.

Evie was glad to have her friend Noah over too! Evie was glad to have her friend Noah over too!

She seemed especially fascinated with the balloons.

You can't see me. I'm hiding. You can’t see me. I’m hiding.

But she comes by it honestly. Daddy and Uncle Adam like balloons too.

Later, she tried to use them to escape the family room.

Up? Up?

It was not quite as successful as she had hoped, but she will keep trying.

Mommy! They're playing Music! Mommy! They’re playing Music!

This is a picture of Evie listening to “The Piano Guys.” We set their youtube channel to play on the computer upstairs, as background music, but Evie loved it. She sat and watched this entire video, swaying and tapping her hand to the music (her rhythm is a little off, but she is only seven months old).

That’s how grandma used to get Daddy to calm down when he was little. She played opera on PBS.

We had a surprise this week when Uncle Jason had a tractor trailer delivery to drop off in Tacoma, and Aunt Kim was with him. We all went over to Uncle Adam’s house for supper on Monday.

Evie thinks Uncle Jason is funny. Evie thinks Uncle Jason is funny.

Then they came over to our house to hang out on Tuesday night, before they picked up another load and headed out Wednesday morning. Make sure you say some prayers for safe travels for Jason, and all other truckers. And don’t cut off semi’s on the highway. It makes them cranky.

Plus it’s stupid and dangerous.

Uncle Adam! Teaching Evie to drink beer and eat rocks!  Uncle Adam! Teaching Evie to drink beer and eat rocks!

Poor Evie got a cold this week, and she has been stuffy and uncomfortable. She didn’t sleep very well wednesday night because she was so stuffy, and we had to get her up to give her a steam treatment, and Mommy pulled out the humidifier and got that going. It seems to be working pretty well. She still isn’t quite herself, but much better than she was. Hopefully she will feel better over this weekend.

Evie is so tired she is laying still and snuggling with her cow, voluntarily, in the middle of the day. That's how you know something is up! Evie is so tired she is laying still and snuggling with her cow, voluntarily, in the middle of the day. That’s how you know something is up!

We hope you have a great weekend too. God Bless!

Last Saturday the Kraeger family conducted split-team ops, which is Special Forces talk for “some of us did one thing in one place, and some of us did another thing somewhere else.” Evie and Mommy went to visit Grandpa for his birthday.

And went shopping at Kohls, where Evie bought shoes. She was very excited about the carts with the baby seat mounted on the front where she could see everything. She also enjoys shoe shopping and purse shopping. Go figure, right?

The wearing of the shoes? Not so much. She still prefers to be barefoot.

In the meantime, Ryan went backpacking up Mount Ranier with three guys from MC, Joe, Daniel and Andy.

The original plan was for six guys to hike up to Camp Schurman, a base camp on the Eastern side of the Mountain, stay over night, and hike back down the next day. Let’s just say, things didn’t go as planned.

First view of the Mountain from the trail. First view of the Mountain from the trail.

First off, we were unable to fill all the slots on the team. The sixth spot was filled and unfilled fully half a dozen times as people decided to go and then cancelled due to other plans. Then our fifth guy, Gus, bailed at the last minute because he couldn’t find someone to cover for him playing the piano for 10:30 Mass the next day.

View from Glacier Basin, the end of the maintained trail. View from Glacier Basin, the end of the maintained trail.

So we started off from the White River trail head, four men instead of six, and hiked up the trail along the river. We made it to Glacier Basin in good time, about 3.1 miles and not too much elevation gain. It would be a decent picnic hike.

Water resupply using Andy's sock as a filter. Andy's bottle was the first to be filled using the sock. Water resupply using Andy’s sock as a filter. Andy’s bottle was the first to be filled using the sock.

After water resupply in the White River, a ghost of its former self, the hard part of the hike began.

Kathleen's Dad's cousin used to have a hotel up here. This was the generator. Kathleen’s Dad’s cousin used to have a hotel up here. This was the generator. That-a-way, guys! Looks easy. That-a-way, guys! Looks easy.

Getting onto the ridge West of Mt. Ruth, a landmark on the way to Schurman, was the first major gut check. We gained nearly 2,000ft Elevation in about a mile.

About a third of the way up the ascent of the ridge. Daniel is fresh as a daisy. About a third of the way up the ascent of the ridge. Daniel is fresh as a daisy.

That was a slow, hard slog up the ridge. Daniel, our seminarian, is in great shape and didn’t seem bothered by it. I told him when he becomes a priest he is going to be recruited for this sort of thing all the time. Mountain top Mass? I think yes!

Possibly my favorite picture from the whole hike. Possibly my favorite picture from the whole hike.

Some of us were not quite so light and in-shape.

There is something sort of apocalyptic about this picture. There is something sort of apocalyptic about this picture.

It took us nearly two hours to make the top of the ridgeline overlooking the Emmons Glacier.

The weirdly gorgeous Emmons Glacier. The weirdly gorgeous Emmons Glacier.

It should have taken about half of that. We boogied up the ridgeline as fast as we could, but Andy was beat from the ascent of the ridge and it took too long.

Andy is miserable, but still trucking along. He did not quit the whole time, which is what Badassitude is made out of. Andy is miserable, but still trucking along. He did not quit the whole time, which is what Badassitude is made out of.

After taking over an hour to go the next kilometer, we held a meeting and realized that we didn’t have enough good daylight to make it around Mt. Ruth, up to Steamboat Prow and then down into Schurman safely, especially since we were about to enter the huge scree field on the Eastern slope of Mt. Ruth, and we could expect it to slow us down even more dramatically.

Ranier summit seen from the South Eastern side of Mt. Ruth. Ranier summit seen from the South Eastern side of Mt. Ruth.

So we turned around and headed back down. After a quick snack in Glacier Basin, we hiked back down the White River trail and made it to the truck before dark.

Last view of the White River valley with the Mountain barely visible through the haze from the wildfires. Last view of the White River valley with the Mountain barely visible through the haze from the wildfires.

So it was a valiant effort. Next year, hopefully, everyone will be in training for it and it will be an even more valiant effort. Of course, next year Ryan will be in school, so…

The rest of the week was pretty much par for the course.

Evie is talking much more now. She says, “Mama” when she wants something, or when she is upset with Daddy. She is also conducting experiments in the Great Outdoors.

Hypothesis: This is food. Hypothesis: This is food. Design an Experiment: If it is food, it will be delicious. Design an Experiment: If it is food, it will be delicious. Conduct Experiment: Hmmmmm...... Conduct Experiment: Hmmmmm……

Turns out it is not yummy, after all. However, like the true scientist she is, Evie repeated the experiment under various conditions just to be sure and plans to conduct a series of ongoing investigations to determine conclusively whether her results can be generalized of all rocks, or only apply to this particular rock.

Daddy just plays with food.

This took about 6 minutes to make. This took about 6 minutes to make.

And on Thursday, Evie and Daddy went to go visit Uncle Adam down at the river where he was trying to catch some salmon fishes.

Evie all hatted up in Camo and ready to get this fishing thing ON! Evie all hatted up in Camo and ready to get this fishing thing ON!

She thought the river and the woods were very exciting.

No, Uncle Adam, you're doing it wrong. Let me show you. No, Uncle Adam, you’re doing it wrong. Let me show you.

No, she didn’t catch anything. Next time!

Evie really likes being outside. She likes camping, she likes trees and flowers, and she likes hiking. Earlier this week she was having a bad evening (we think she is starting to cut teeth) and nothing would console her over-tired self except walking around the yard and touching all the pretty flowers.

So she’s kind of a hippie.

Or a Franciscan.

Same difference.

Partly to give Evie her outdoors fix for the week, and partly to promote community, fun times and not having to wash so many dishes, we went camping last weekend. We drove out to Belfair State Park on Hood Canal on Friday. It was not that long of a drive, just about an hour from Puyallup, which was good. HRH still is not a fan of the car seat, especially for long periods of time. She slept most of the way.

Our good friends the Echols. And Evie. Our good friends the Echols. And Evie.

We had some folks from our Bible study group, including Evie’s Godmother Danica who made her the kettlebell, and our friend Jenn, as well as the Echol’s family.

Ben and Christine Echols brought their 1.5-year-old, Noah. He and Evie hit it off really well. It was actually kind of amazing the amount of interest Evie showed in watching Noah. She laughed and kicked her arms and legs and babbled as soon as she saw him.

She seems especially interested in Noah’s ability to walk around on his own two feet. She would watch him like a hawk as he ran around the campsite, and when he ran away she would get frustrated and kick her feet and want to follow. She spent a lot of the weekend practicing walking back and forth on the picnic table bench, courtesy of Auntie Danica.

Yeah, she wants to be mobile. She’s going to be a holy terror once she gets her feet under her for good. Bring it. Daddy can still outrun you, kid.

The menfolk get their kettlebell on. The menfolk get their kettlebell on.

Ryan brought some kettlebells and he and Ben got in a short practice session. Noah wanted to be like his Daddy so he borrowed Evie’s kettlebell and swung it around and tossed it in the dirt. He’s got the idea.

It's... so... beautiful... must... have... the... Fire! It’s… so… beautiful… must… have… the… Fire!

It turns out that Evie likes fire too. So does Noah.

We knew there was a burn ban in effect for all State Parks land, due to ridiculously dry conditions, but we did not know that it extended to all open flames, including citronella candles. The Park Ranger had to come by and sternly ask, “Is that a candle?” in his best Wyatt Earp voice.

Evie wants fire! Evie wants fire!

So we improvised. Hey, it isn’t camping without a fire!

We took a walk down to the water and hung out there for a while, but it turned out to be too cold and windy for the babies. It actually started to rain a little bit, which was nice. Fortunately our camp was well sheltered, tented and tarped, and we didn’t mind the rain at all.

Surprise, surprise, Evie liked the swing set. Surprise, surprise, Evie liked the swing set.

On Sunday we walked to the park playground and fooled around down there for a while. Evie really enjoyed the swing set.

Monkeying around. Monkeying around.

And the monkey bars.

Okay, that was easy. Now how do we get back down? Okay, that was easy. Now how do we get back down?

And the rock climbing wall.

Group picture! Group picture!

A good time was had by all.

Oh dear! Camping is such hard work! Oh dear! Camping is such hard work!

Evie was very dramatically tired during the campsite deconstruction process. She is practicing her cheesy silent film star gestures.

But not to worry! She was back to full steam when we got home and even helped out with the laundry! It sure is tasty right when it comes out of the dryer.

Other than that this week has been business as usual. The lack of posting this week is a result of Ryan’s school schedule and a couple of minor changes to plans that took up more time than expected. Next week should be about the same, only worse since Ryan starts Spanish II in the mornings and Korean in the evenings. Because foreign languages are more fun when you mix them together!

So if you don’t hear from us, it’s because we are busy being awesome.* It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Typical grownups! They get chicken, I get a spoon. An empty spoon. With no chicken on it. Typical grownups! They get chicken, I get a spoon. An empty spoon. With no chicken on it.

*Awesome. Definition: to run around in circles in a manner reminiscent of a decapitated fowl.

They look like they should be alive with the Sound of Music! They look like they should be alive with the Sound of Music!

This has been a busy week for these Kraegers, a fact reflected by the lack of posting over the last five days. We started out on Friday with a lovely walk on Mt. Rainier.

Evie is about to make a grab for some people food. Evie is about to make a grab for some people food.

We drove up to Sunrise, a picnic spot/rest stop on the East side of the mountain. At 6,400 ft it is the highest point on the mountain that can be reached by car. It sports a visitor’s center and an information area, as well as a log blockhouse that the rangers get to live in during the season. No one lives there in off season. The three story visitor center is usually buried under the snow.

We met up with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Dude and had a picnic lunch. Evie had her own lunch in the shade, but it quickly became apparent that we were not going to spend our whole visit in the shade. Talk about Sunny! Not only was it a brilliantly beautiful day (about 95 degrees on the bottom of the mountain, but only in the 70’s at 6,400+ ft.) but at the elevation the light is even more intense. Not to mention you have this enormous white thing (the mountain) reflecting sunlight at you from the side.

Fortunately Kathleen brought sunscreen and we smeared it all over the baby, and then reapplied twice in the course of the hike. That child is whiter than her mom, and the last thing we need is a fried baby.

The view of the mountain from the Alpine meadow just above Sunrise. The view of the mountain from the Alpine meadow just above Sunrise. Evie says, “What are we standing around for? Let’s GO!!!”

Starting at 6,400 ft, the hike wasn’t too terribly arduous, but the elevation does make a difference. We had to take the steeper parts slowly. The trail is extremely well maintained, with steps built in to the slope on the initial approach from the picnic spot, and retaining walls built out of the scree on the steep bowl portion that skirts the bottom of a scree field. Kathleen was able to hike it in sandals. Ryan, of course, wore his minimalist Merrels, but he is weird like that.

Evie says, “I hiked it barefoot! Top that!”

Evie charmed literally ever person who saw her on the trail, including some Korean tourists, a slew of Indian and Pakistani tourists, all the white tourists and a very nice pair of Park Rangers. The Koreans were very happy to take some pictures of us, especially when Ryan asked them in Korean. One of the men even said that Ryan’s Korean was better than his wife’s English. Since his wife didn’t seem to comprehend that (English) statement, it might actually have been true.

Taking a breather before tackling the next major slope. Taking a breather before tackling the next major slope.

Of course, all of these full size pictures we are putting in is going to make this a slow post to load, but that can’t be helped. Somehow it just feels wrong to shrink pictures of the mountain. Even full sized they don’t do it justice.

Someday I need to hike the Wonderland Trail (visible in this photo). It is a 93 mile trail that encircles the mountain, so it would probably take four or five days. Someday I need to hike the Wonderland Trail (visible in this photo). It is a 93 mile trail that encircles the mountain, so it would probably take four or five days. It has been such a hot and dry spring/summer, the glaciers are so small. But the mountain is still glorious. It has been such a hot and dry spring/summer, the glaciers are so small. But the mountain is still glorious. Taking a break before turning around at frozen lake. Evie eats a snack in the shade. The only shade available is Daddy. Taking a break before turning around at frozen lake. Evie eats a snack in the shade. The only shade available is Daddy.

Then on Saturday it was down to Francis, Washington, for Schwingfest.

For those who don’t know, which in the general population is most people, schwingen is the Swiss national form of wrestling. (Kathleen is mostly Swiss, that’s how we know). The contestants, called schwingers, wear burlap shorts with a leather belt over their regular clothes. The shorts are called schwingenhosen, and the wrestling takes place in a ring filled with twelve inches or so of sawdust.

The goal is to toss your opponent so that both his shoulder blades hit the sawdust. You have to keep grips on the schwingenhosen in order to get a scoring throw. Matches are scored based on the cleanness of the throw and the pin, and there are no weight classes or brackets. The festival consists of six rounds in which each wrestler wrestles once, so win or lose, every wrestler is guaranteed six matches. At the end, the two highest scoring wrestlers compete for the crown.

Crack the whip! Crack the whip!

In the meantime everyone sits around and cheers and talks and drinks high class beers like Miller light. Other events include the whip cracking and the steinstossen (stone throwing) competition. At the end of the day the crowns are given out, and the crown winning wrestlers pick their crown girls to lead the dance.

All in all it is a good time. Most of the people there have been going either for the 52 years that the Francis schwingfest has been going on, or in the case of those younger than 52 years, their whole lives. Most of the wrestlers have been competing every year since they were kids, and some will go on to compete in similar events up and down the West Coast, in the U. S. and Canada.

Unfortunately there aren’t as many young people there as there used to be, and many of the older spectators are retiring. The lady who has been making the bittawegge (Swiss pear bread) said that this was her last year. Time goes on. Hopefully some younger ladies will take over making the 100 odd loaves that she sells every year.

All this partying. So exhausting! All this partying. So exhausting! Evie models her first dirndl lovingly made for her by Grandma Kraeger. Evie models her first dirndl lovingly made for her by Grandma Kraeger.

In other news, Evie picked schwingfest to sit unsupported for the first time, which she has been doing regularly ever since, and also to roll from tummy to back for the first time, which she still regards as a dreadful imposition. Now that she can sit by herself she is convinced that laying on one’s back is only fit for babies, and she is a big girl. She can’t get into a sitting position by herself, so she insists that her minions put her in one, or better yet hold out their hands so she can hold onto them and balance upright on her feet.

On Sunday we had Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne and Father Peter over for dinner, which was a welcome stay-at-home evening, full of nerdy conversations. Ryan and Adam don’t do small talk very well especially once the tea and beer start flowing.

Aunt Maryanne is pregnant now, so Evie should have a West Coast Cousin sometime in the end of October or beginning of November. She is surprisingly unexcited about that.

Evie likes flowers. Evie likes flowers. We should just call this the “Blog of Evie.” That’s really what it comes down to every Friday.

Evie and Mama at the Cemetary Evie and Mama at the Cemetary

Kathleen and I have decided to try doing a weekly post in which we do not discuss deep, messagy things, but rather just give you a glimpse into our lives, with some pictures and a recap. So, here goes, #FamilyFriday 1.0.

Kathleen: Memorial day tradition in my family has always been to visit the various local cemeteries where prior generations got laid.

Ryan: Ummm…. where they what?

Kathleen: Were laid to rest, you know? Not brown-chicken-brown-cow.

Ryan: Okay, just making sure. Continue…

Kathleen: We clean the head stones and put out lots of flowers and the living get together and remember the dead. This was Evie’s first year, obviously, as she is only three months old. But she helped put flowers on her great-great-grandparents.

Ryan: It’s like when I was learning the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and I got the two lists mixed up, so I said, “Bury the living and the dead.”

Kathleen: There is a monolith in a grove of rhododendrons with the Sacred Heart of Jesus carved on it. Some years we give that a bath too.

Ryan: We ran into some old friends…

Kathleen: Cousins. They are cousins.

Ryan: Of course. So is everyone at the Swiss Park. Y’all’s family tree is a spider-web.

Kathleen: Yep, but that’s better than a telephone pole.

Ryan: The whole visiting the cemetery thing was never very important to me. I like picnics in cemeteries because they are quiet and clean and the locals don’t bother you much, but putting flowers on headstones was never my thing. My mom likes doing it a lot.

Kathleen: So that’s why you took me on a date to a cemetery? Because the locals are quiet?

Ryan: Yeah, I knew we wouldn’t be disturbed, and you wouldn’t be weirded out by it. It is good for Evie, too, to learn that connection to her ancestors. All we need now is a great stone dragon.

Kathleen shaking her head: I am not sending her to war to find a husband. Let’s move on to the next adventure.


For Memorial Day itself we did a little experiment. We decided to find out what happens when you take a 13 week old baby on a 3-hour hike with friends. Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne picked the route and invited our Bible study group, Mass Consumption. The trail was Paul’s Peak Trail in Mt. Ranier National Forest. In retrospect it might have been a bit ambitious as a choice for a first time hike. I feel like a number of comfort zones were exceeded. Evie’s however, was not.

It's diaper change time! It’s diaper change time!

This little girl is crazy. She sat in the baby carrier all day and bobbed up and down the trail. She looked at trees, and bushes, and flowers, and rocks, and slugs, and water, and all sorts of cool things like that.

She slept a little bit, but mostly she was awake, playing around. If Daddy stopped moving too long she would start bouncing her arms and legs and grunting urgently around the pacifier, as if she was saying, “Get a move on there! Life’s too short to spend it lollygagging around!”

After the hike she did not sleep for any appreciable length of time until 10:30 at night. She was still pumped, and she wanted to talk about everything she had seen and done. Typical girl, bless her lil ol’ heart!

Adventures is serious business! Adventures is serious business! Kathleen is enjoying herself some nature. Kathleen is enjoying herself some nature. Family picture at almost the end of the hike. Just another half mile to go. Uphill the whole way. Without switchbacks. Family picture at almost the end of the hike. Just another half mile to go. Uphill the whole way. Without switchbacks. Great time with friends and family and nature. Great time with friends and family and nature.