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.

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!

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.

 

We sure picked a heck of a week to skip a Family Friday last week. We skipped it because we were out at the beach (spoiler!) and our family was too busy Familying on Friday to Family Friday last Friday.

So last week… Busy week.

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I just can’t get up. I’m so tired 😦

 

We already told you about Uncle Adam’s Birthday, and then we had a wonderful little pizza party on Saturday (the 21st).

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Mommy frying up the brats, sauerkraut, peppers and onions in a Belgian heffeweisen reduction.

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Doesn’t that look amazing?!

 

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Daddy making the mustard sauce

We took the opportunity to try some new things with some old recipes.

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Among the offerings are an Oktoberfest pizza and a chicken taco pizza.

Ronny and Amanda came over with RJ, and Uncle Adam and Maryanne brought Edmund and Annarose, so it was a fun little family party. (Speaking of RJ, he just turned one year old! Happy Birthday RJ!)

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No babies were intoxicated in the making of this Family Friday.

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The next day our next door neighbors’ 7-year-old daughter had a pizza party. Her mom and dad made individual pizzas for everyone on the grill, and we played Pictionary.

 

It was awesome.

Then Deedee and Papa came over for a visit.

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Evie had to show Papa our new hammock. 

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Ellie just thinks Papa’s Tummy is comfy.

The following Monday Daddy had a short day at work so he and the girls went for a hike. We chose a short but intense hiking route at a nearby park. In fact, it was almost a little too intense.

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Let’s go this way, Daddy!

30 seconds later…

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I can’t do it, Daddy. I’m so sad! I want to go home!

Two minutes later…

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I want to go this way!

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Come on, Daddy. It’s okay. You can’t be tired! 

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Easy way to get down, but SO MUCH dirt in the undies!

On Tuesday we got to go to evening Mass together. Deacon George and Evie had a conversation about the throne that the Gospel sits upon, and the role of the Deacon in placing the Word of God on the Lectern.

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“See, Evie, even the Pope can’t take that job of placing the Word of God on its throne.”

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“Yes, Deacon George, but I can put it back now.”

We got our first two beets out of our garden, and Ryan fried them up with butter.

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They were gorgeous and absolutely delicious.

Then the weekend came and we began our biggest adventure of the summer, so far.

Family Friday 166 - 167 (54)We went Camping!

We drove out on Thursday during nap time and set up our tent and campsite. Daddy and Mommy and Evie set up the tent.

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Evie likes to supervise.

While Ellie crawled around and tasted the local dirt to make sure it was up to her standards of quality.

 

Then, while we waited for Deedee and Papa to show up, we went down to the ocean. It was a long hike through the sandy trails.

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This picture looks very “Avonlea” somehow.

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It was a long, hard trail, but Evie forged ahead! She raced to the beach. She saw….
Family Friday 166 - 167 (17)The Ocean!

 

She recovered remarkably quickly. Two minutes after that video ended she was getting buried in the sand. Family Friday 166 - 167 (57)After that we could not get so much as one of her toes in the water the whole weekend. But that is okay because there are so many other things to do at the beach:

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Taking rides in Papa’s fold-up wagon

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Building sandcastles

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Yes, we are all wearing sunscreen. You don’t stay this kind of white by accident.

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Evie got Papa’s kite in the air all by herself

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Evie’s kite was harder to fly, but we got it up eventually.

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Papa did, anyway. He’s the kite-master

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Evie fighting pirates.

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Mommy is the best at sandcastles

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Who cares if it’s cloudy? You can’t let that bother you. It’s Washington.

Of course all that beaching is hard work. Ellie is not afraid of the water at all!

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She wanted to sit down and play in it.

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Play hard!

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Lounge hard!

 

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Crash hard!

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Even being pulled around in a wagon by Big Sister can’t wake her up.

Of course we spent some time in Deedee and Papa’s camper.

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Nap Time!

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Deedee makes great breakfast!

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They liked playing on the ATV, but we didn’t let them ride, because we didn’t have helmets.

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Where we going today?

We did some sight-seeing as well at the lighthouse.

It was a great weekend!

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Westport, 2018

That’s all for this week, Folks. Have a Great weekend!Family Friday 166 - 167 (50)

God Bless!

Summer time is hiking time in the Pacific Northwest! We found a nice little trail hike in Dupont last weekend that took us from the town hall down to the sound.

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There was an ouchie on the trail down that resulted in tears from Evie. Mommy still opted not to carry her.

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The trail went under the railroad tracks to the beach.

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Evie was enchanted with the tunnel

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I don’t know how she bends her arm back that far.

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And chased the little crabs.

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Evie is not afraid of the little crabs. Neither is she very interested in them.

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She would rather throw rocks.

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We could not put Ellie down because there were too many things for her to put in her mouth.

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Even the Puget sound looks good in July Sunshine.

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Hiking is hard work

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Evie, however, had plenty of energy after hiking the 1.5 miles down and 1.5 miles back up.

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Picnic time!

Evie is really quite a good hiker. Hopefully she gets lots more practice this summer.

Mommy made some absolutely delicious coconut prawns on Friday. Family Friday 165 (1)They were amazing, as evidenced by the fact that Ryan and Kathleen ate about two pounds of them together. Even Evie ate two of them, and she is very averse to eating new things.

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Ellie says, “I notice you’re not offering me any shrimp!”

A friend of ours had a baby baptized on Saturday evening after Mass, so we went to Mass Saturday night.

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“Yay Maddie! You got baptized!”

Then Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne came over and we hung out at our house for a while. Ellie was very intrigued by her baby cousin.

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Daddy, why doesn’t she crawl? It’s more fun than just lying there!

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It’s okay, I help her.

Sunday was the day of the annual Moergli Picnic (The Moergli’s are Deedee’s Mom’s family). We are sort of related to them, twice removed, in Kathleen’s case, three times in Evie and Ellie’s, but that’s close enough for a picnic. Mommy spent the morning concocting deliciousness:

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Whole wheat dough rolled flat with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.

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Rolled into a roll

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Sliced into slices

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Magic!

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Mommy’s valentine!

The picnic was almost intolerably hot for everyone except Daddy (he has spent a lot of time in hotter places) but everyone still loved seeing the girls.

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“I call dibs when she wakes up!”

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Aunt Susie beating the heat!

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Even in the pool hats are required when you are as white as Evie and as resistant to sunscreen

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Everyone loves an Ellie!

We experimented with camping out in the back yard last weekend, but that didn’t work so well (Evie did very little sleeping. Consequently, so did Daddy). Daddy has been trying to get a hammock up behind the tent, but has been having issues due to not having the right materials.

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Evie helps set up one of the anchors. I taught her “ERNEST” (Equal, Redundant, Non-Extending, Solid, Timely, a.k.a. the qualities of a good anchor).

The only points to anchor the hammock are approximately 30 yards apart, consequently if you hang it with any dynamic material (i.e. material that has any stretch to it), you end up lying on the ground as soon as you put weight in it.

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The tent works well enough, for what it is.

We did eventually find the right combination of hammock, straps and price from Amazon, and with a few times tightening with a ratchet strap…

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Voila! A hammock!

Why does it appear to sag so low in that picture, you ask?

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How else could all the short people get into it?

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Evie: “I’ve always wanted to be on a boat!”

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It is now a wonderful place to read Beatrix Potter.

Daddy and the girls got to go to MC on Monday. Unfortunately, Mommy wasn’t feeling well.

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Nosey nellies.

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Auntie Celyn loves her some Ellie snuggles!

We also celebrated Uncle Adam’s birthday this week. Unfortunately, he has requested us not to post any pictures of him so no one will see how old he is looking now. It’s really quite shocking. What hair is left to him at his advanced age is as white as printer paper and twice as crinkly. Aging. It’s a son-of-a-gun.

Just kidding. He doesn’t look a day over 42.

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Meat. Lots of Meat.

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Evie and Edmund were too excited to eat very well. They spent most of their time pushing the table around and complaining about the other pushing the table around.

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Tunnel of Fudge cake.

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He needed help to blow out his candles.

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Evie and Edmund playing with Uncle Adam’s birthday present.

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This picture was taken right before the chain snapped.

And that’s all for this week.

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Evie modeling the Dr. Seuss shorts/overalls combo thingy that Grandma Ann made for her. 

Have a great weekend. We’ll see you all later!

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

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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.

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Good family selfie!

The final result of all this adventuring was…

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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.

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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.

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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!

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As classy as a baby with a mohawk.

God Bless.

 

 

 

 

Family Friday 113 (3)Life is full of beauty.

I used to blog about current events and deep philosophical topics and all the darkness in the world. I still think about them and pray about them, and I work towards undoing them in some small way. But I don’t really blog about them anymore.

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She got herself ready to go to Costco.

This isn’t really by conscious choice. It’s more because I don’t have time. Kathleen runs 40 to 60 hours per week, depending on call schedule. My schedule is wildly unpredictable between school and National Guard (I have two 60+ hour weeks coming up). When we are home it takes a few hours a week to keep the house in some semblance of order and the garden not overtaken by weeds. When we have free time it is really hard to find the motivation to spend it worrying about things happening around the world that don’t really affect us and which we cannot ourselves affect. (Yet. The time is coming when even the Shire will not be safe anymore, and hobbits will upset the counsels of the wise)

 

 

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Evie doing her chores. She has to water the tomatoes every morning and every night, because it is never too early to learn how to contribute to the community.

 

But mostly it is just a change of focus. I’m a dad now. A change of focus is necessary and desirable.

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The neighbor kids jumped over the fence. So we grilled hotdogs for them.

 

There are more important things to focus on, like the immortal souls entrusted to our guidance and care.

 

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Ellie doing leg presses against Mommy’s tummy. Daddy told her to grow big and strong, so she’s not skipping leg day.

It isn’t as if the wider world doesn’t matter. It’s just that the inner world matters more. Teaching Evie is priority numero uno right now, and that does not mean academic pre-k prep classes. It means shaping her emotional and physical world so that it includes such intangible but vital realities as hope, love, responsibility, self-discipline, curiosity and joy as a matter of course.

 

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She likes to walk on Papa’s feet.

 

 

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Evie focused on the task of holding the bucket while Daddy picked peas for almost 15 minutes straight. She likes to eat them whole, so it’s a good way to learn to work for good things.

 

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Then Mommy and Ellie shelled them while Daddy did school.

Daddy even took a break from school for one day to take a hike with Papa and Uncle Adam. Evie and Edmund could not come because it was quite an arduous hike, 6 miles up and over 2500 feet elevation gain.

 

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Looking chipper at the trail head.

We were packing food and water, of course, Ryan and Jerry both brought guns in case of bears/cougars, and Ryan packed a relatively full field pack that weighed in at 52 Lbs dry.

 

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Jerry may not be as fast as he used to be, but he packed all the way up and down, 12 miles total. He’s 68 and he had open heart surgery last year. What’s your excuse?

 

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Looking down on Crystal Mountain Ski Resort. Jerry used to work there and it was Ryan and Kathleen’s first date.

 

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Uncle Adam looking manly.

 

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Adam and Jerry hitting the ridgeline. Really.

 

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Adam, Ryan and Jerry, Norse Peak, July 2017.

So that’s what we’re up to. Our Little Way of Muddling Along is in full swing.

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Enjoy some sweet sun tea if you get the chance.

God Bless, y’all have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did we do last week? I don’t remember. That was a long time ago. Kathleen remembers, though. She remembers everything.Family Friday 28 17

Matthew was here!Family Friday 28 8

That’s right, folks, the youngest Kraeger brother flew out from the East Coast to hang out with us for thanksgiving, and to be godfather for Baby Edmund’s christening. We went to visit them on Friday night and Uncle Matthew got to hold his nephew/godson for the first time.

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Evie heard the sounds of distress from Sir Edmund’s room, so she had to go and make sure her baby cousin was okay.

 

 

Last week you saw the after effects of the Thanksgiving meal. Since no one likes to be all heavy and sluggish we decided to go on an adventure. Evie and Mommy went for a walk:Family Friday 28 20

And visited the Fort Nisqually living history museum. Family Friday 28 1Unfortunately there was more history than livingness. There was only one human roleplayer there, and she was not especially convincing. The chickens, however, were spot on period accurate chickens. They played their role like they were born to it. (Hatched to it?) Family Friday 28 3 Evie enjoyed hanging out in the garden. She was very subdued over the weekend, and we thought for sure she would start sprouting some teeth, but after days of drooling, crankiness, acidic runny poops and general unhappiness, we still have no teeth. Oh well.

But I digress. In the meantime, while Evie and Mommy were walking, Daddy and Uncle Adam and Uncle Matthew went for a nice, easy five mile run. Family Friday 28 21

 

 

Of course it started out a nice easy run, probably would have taken us only about 40 minutes, but at some point someone decided to run down the trail to the beach. Now, Point Defiance is a fairly sharp sided plateau that sticks out into the sound. It has very steep sandy walls that drop abruptly onto the beach, and there are only a few ways up and down those sides. Unfortunately, Uncle Matthew prides himself on making trails where there aren’t any, and climbing up things that most sane people would never want to climb up because of the risk of sand in your shoes and eyes and other sensitive regions; not to mention the possibility of falling without any protection or belay capability to prevent death, disfigurement and other such inconveniences.

Ryan and Adam, being older, wiser and (more to the point) a whole lot heavier, attempted the climb only a few times before realizing that they were simply not going to make it up that slope. So they had to drop back down and jog along the beach until the dirt tightened up a bit and they were able to make the climb.

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And the upshot of all of this was that what should have been a 40 minute easy jog, turned into a nearly two hour endurance event, and resulted in sand in the shoes, eyes and other sensitive regions. Oh well. Cest la vie.Family Friday 28 10

The menfolks went shooting on Saturday morning. Uncle Adam is a little rusty, but he still looks cool.Family Friday 28 11

Matthew, on the other hand, looks goofy as heck, but turns out he can actually shoot pistol pretty well. Family Friday 28 12

You can’t really see it, but that is 25 rounds in the “A” zone of the head portion of the silhouette at 10 yards. Not terrible anyway.

Meanwhile the women folk and babies hung out at our house and shopped for Christmas presents and such. Aunt Maryanne managed to snap this beautiful picture…

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Sir Edmund looks like he’s about to hang loose, brah! Poor Evie is not feeling good.

And then we all had fondue for lunch. It was quite delicious, nutritious and filling, but not for the faint or heart, or the intolerant of lactose. The rule is that if you lose the food that you are dipping in the pot, you have to kiss the cook.Family Friday 28 13

Aunt Maryanne lost her food a couple of times, and blamed it on the fact that she was also holding the baby, but Kathleen still cut her no slack. These Swiss folks are such sticklers for fondue etiquette.

We regret that we did not take any pictures of Sir Edmund’s baptism, but Evie was not feeling well at all and we were busy with her during the Mass. We did not even go to the after-party, but came straight home.Family Friday 28 15

Evie needs snuggles with Daddy and Edgar. (Edgar is the Elephant).Family Friday 28 16

But frozen peaches in Evie’s fruit-holder thingy were a big hit. She likes the cold things on her gums, and peaches are just delicious at any time.

Ryan got his official welcome packet from the University of Washington:Family Friday 28 4Along with it, came a breakdown of tuition and other costs:Family Friday 28 5Fortunately, I have the GI bill. Thank you Uncle Sam.

We had a cold snap over the weekend that lasted for several days. We didn’t get any snow, but our cul-de-sac is so shaded that the frost never melted during the day. It just kept getting frostier and frostier.Family Friday 28 14

 

Which is kind of dangerous for driving, but quite pretty to look at.

Kathleen had to work nights this week. Evie doesn’t like it when Mommy works nights, because she misses her best night-time snuggle buddy. (Daddy is not nearly as good because he only pretends to fall asleep and then bugs out. Mommy actually falls asleep with Evie.)Family Friday 28 18

So needless to say, Evie was quite happy to get up from her nap this afternoon and find Mommy napping on the couch.Family Friday 28 19

And Mommy was happy to see Evie too!

And that’s all for this week folks. Take care of yourselves. It’s a dangerous, crazy world out there, but Jesus wins in the end, so happy second week of Advent!

Can we get an Amen!