In which we go on an airplane trip! (Ellie’s first. Evie, of course, is a veteran traveler).

It was only a about a 75 minute flight to Kalispell, MT, but SEATAC is a busy airport in the morning, and we had to fight Seattle-bound morning traffic on the way to the airport. This meant early rising and being at the airport early and lots of excitement and missed naps.

Ellie approves of the trunk space.

The upshot being that we had two very tired baby girls who were passed out before we left the airport parking lot in Kalispell.

Arriving on Friday afternoon we didn’t really do a whole lot except buy groceries and get checked into our air BNB. Actually, I suppose we didn’t really get checked in because there was no one to check us in. We just, I don’t know, walked in.

Mommy and Ellie doing some coloring in our room.

After getting our clothes and food put away, we headed out to walk around the town. After being stuck in a carseat/airplane all day, our girls had some serious sillies they needed to shake out.

The town of Whitefish is very small, but has a fairly large grassy park that the girls could run around in with trees that they could climb. Or rather, a tree that Daddy could climb, and the girls could wish they could climb. Our rule is if you can’t climb it yourself, you can’t climb it at all.

And they had trains to watch!

It’s a touristy, artsy little town, well worth walking around in, but overall geared towards taking your money.

Although this bike is brilliant!

On Saturday we headed out for Glacier National Park. On the way we saw our first real wildlife of the trip…

Yes, that is a silver fox with a squirrel or ground hog in its mouth.

It rapidly became apparent that there were going to be some constraints on our trip. For one thing…

The park is HUGE! It covers millions of acres and crosses the border into Canada, and is home to five distinct climate and wildlife zones (Pacific Northwest, Alpine, Boreal forest, Grassland prairie and Rocky Mountain).

“Whoa, Mommy, that’s a big map!”

The park crosses the border, but the Canadian side of the park was on fire, (hence the hazy, smoky look to some of the pictures). We thought about going to Canada anyway, but there is only one road that crosses the park, known as “Going-to-the-sun Road,” and it was still blocked with snow from the winter. To get to the east side of the park, and from there to the Canadian side, we would have had to drive two hours around the south edge of the park. With two little people in car seats, that did not seem appealing. So we settled for exploring just the tiny little southwestern corner around Apgar visitor center and MacDonald lake.

But first we had to convince the girls that they could not have everything in the visitor center.

So we set out hiking from the visitor center. Evie was leading the way with Mommy…

Using the map in her national parks book to help us find the trail.

Yes, that is a picture map of the entire USA. She was quite sure she could find the trail on it.

It’s okay, Evie, we love you whether you know how to read a map at four years old or not.

We stopped at a bike rental station, but all the child trailers were out, so we reserved bikes for the following Monday and moved on. Evie and Ellie did not want to move on. They were quite content to play in the kayaks at the rental place.

MacDonald Lake was gorgeous, albeit somewhat obscured by smoke.

And it came supplied with rocks to throw and trees to climb!

After a picnic lunch we decided to rent a rowboat, as they are relatively stable and safe for rambunctious four-year-olds, and the price was very reasonable, less than $20 for an hour.

It was lots of fun. Evie is very excited about going out in Papa’s boat later this summer.

Huckleberry ice cream on the way back to the car.

It was a fun day, and we went to Confession and Mass for First Saturday in Whitefish. Afterwards we went out for supper, but this was a bit of a fiasco. Both girls were tired, and Ellie was so tired she couldn’t even eat properly.

Although she did try to eat the wooden bear’s wooden fish.

Evie and Ellie discovered the mesmerizing wonder of front-load washing machine, a.k.a. cat TV.

But after a good night’s sleep, we were up and at it again, heading south this time to a museum called “Miracle of America Museum.” This is a private collection of vintage historic artifacts running from pre-colonial to mid-20th century American history and culture.

Essentially the folks who run it are glorified hoarders who spent a lot of time organizing their hoard. But they had a ton of interesting stuff. I find it interesting that the see-saw, metal merry-go-round, and metal slide are now museum pieces. Are you kidding me? I grew up with those!

Some beautiful country out here.

That was a lot of time in the sun and heat for baby girl. She was plum tuckered out by the time we got to our picnic spot at Flathead Lake State Park (East).

So we had some lunch and then Evie went in the lake (as far as her ankles). Before long Ellie woke up and was so excited by the water that she didn’t even want to eat lunch. We couldn’t even get her to sit still for some sausage!

On the way back we drove through more absolutely beautiful countryside. We saw a couple of spreads that we would love to buy, and fell even more in love when we realized that they were within a mile of a Catholic Church!

Sure it only has Sunday services now, as far as we could see, but once we buy all the land, relocate the locals and move in the entire Kraeger clan the Catholic population will probably double and at that point we’ll rate a full time priest.

And check out the backdrop!

All in all, great Sunday. We went back to our room, nice and tired.

Monday we had to be up nice and early to be out there for our bike ride. Let’s just say, expensive, but BEST TIME EVER!

We are considering getting one of those trailers for home, although Puyallup is not very bike friendly. Most of the roads outside of downtown don’t even have a shoulder, let alone a bike lane.

Then back to Lake MacDonald for snacks and tree climbing.

Much clearer today than on Saturday.

After lunch we headed up Going-to-the-sun Road as far as the south end of MacDonald Lake. It was only a few miles but it was a long drive because they were busy resurfacing the road after winter damage. It wasn’t too terrible, though, because Ellie fell asleep and Evie enjoyed playing with her magnadoodle.

The Lake McDonald lodge was amazing! We were especially impressed by the fireplace.

I am pretty sure we are going to put one like it in our living room when we build our new house.

Lunch time outside the lodge, at the junction of the river and the lake.

That was another full day, and we topped it off with supper at Craggy Range Bar and Grill, which was phenomenal. We were very impressed with the burgers, which come with the top buns branded with the restaurant logo.

The Smokey Classis cocktail, quite interesting with real woodsmoke in the bottle! How crazy is that?!

And then it was Tuesday morning. Time to go home.

Evie loving her some coloring with her new travel activity bag.

Ellie, true to form, slept the whole flight.

Best traveling buddies!

Ellie, for one, is very glad to be back home where she can water her plants again.

The rest of us… Well, let’s just say there was something to be said about not having to drive in rush hour traffic. Kathleen got stuck behind these folks for about an hour on her way home from work last night.

And the worst part was they just drove like that for an hour and then sped up and drove away for no apparent reason. Silly WADOT!

That’s all for this week, folks. Have a great rest of your weekend, and remember to pray for us.

God Bless!

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!

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!

This is going to be a short and hurried Family Friday, because it is after our bedtime.

Poor Ellie was a sick baby last week, with all kinds of snot and such. That’s been the story of this whole winter, just one runny nose after another. Ryan is seeing the same thing come through the clinic ever day, toddlers and little kids with runny noses.

But then the weather got nice and colds vanished like magic in our house. It’s the same at the clinic. Now instead of every other patient complaining of a cold, every other patient is complaining of allergies.

Talking with Uncle Matthew

Mommy made some lovely mini-blueberry pies to take to her work for a co-worker’s birthday.

They were eaten, every one, as you might expect.

Ellie is old enough to start caring about what she is wearing. She has a few outfits that she gets really excited for, but her favorite clothes are her sweaters and her boots. This picture was of Evie explaining to Ellie from her vast store of fashion knowledge, why it was she couldn’t wear two sweaters at once.

Isn’t it wonderful having such a worldly-wise older sister?

Evie informed us that she picked this bouquet of dandelions, “For when I die.” Then she practiced striking dying poses with her bouquet.

We thought it was very considerate of her to take care of that detail of her funeral arrangements for us. We sometimes wonder if Anne Shirley wasn’t rather like Evie when she was a four-year-old?

Nice weather also means grilling!

Although we are by no means done with the indoor cooking. Kathleen canned a few jars of a delicious, though not very rib-sticking, carrot soup.

😀 Hee hee hee!

Thursdays are Daddy’s day off so he and Ellie usually spend the day grocery-shopping and trying to catch up on progress. Ellie really enjoys her Daddy time.

And then on Friday night Evie and Ellie went up to Deedee and Papa’s house, and Ryan and Kathleen got a date breakfast by the simple stratagem of getting up at 4:30 on a Saturday morning. But it was a good thing we did, because the weather was gorgeous, and we spent the rest of the day outside. Kathleen weeded the flower beds around the edge of the front line, while Ryan built a greenhouse box so that we can extend out our growing season by a few months for smaller vegetables.

You can see the almost-finished product in the background of Evie…

I asked her why she was sitting like that. Her answer, “Because that’s what princesses do, Dad!”

Ellie has been helping out a ton in the garden.

And this is how you do it to keep good, healthy food on our plates.

That’s all for this week folks., keep us in your prayers. God bless!

This has been one heck of a week at the Kraeger house, folks, (at least at this Kraeger house. As you may, or may not, be aware, there are actually quite a few Kraeger houses, and the heckiness of any given week may vary slightly depending upon which Kraeger house is polled.

Whenever Grandma is around, the week tends to get more interesting.

This week started off with Evie and Ellie getting sick, the car bursting a water pump, Grandma arriving from New York, and Mommy leaving for Hawaii.

So we were down a vehicle. Fortunately Kathleen’s co-worker’s husband was able to come and take a look at it, and he took it away to fix it, so we just got a rental car for the week.


Kathleen had a medical conference to attend with her friend Jen, so they arrived on Saturday in time for a whole week of learning, sightseeing and relaxing. Back in Washington the weather was unbelievably gorgeous, so we all went out to enjoy it. Evie protested at first, because she wanted to watch a movie, but once we got out there she loved it.

HRH Princess Sophia (She came up with a new alter ego).
Ellie wants to climb too!
Both of the girls’ dresses were made by Grandma Ann.
A bit o’ somethin’ ‘ere, an’ a bit o’ somethin’ there.

Daddy and Grandma and the girls went to Annarose’s first birthday party!

Yay! Annarose is a whole year old now.

She is a big, happy, chunky baby girl.

Trying out her Daddy’s new GR2 he got for their upcoming trip to Lourdes. #Pilgrimage #GoRuckBaby

It was a wonderful celebration full of good friends and noise and laughter and kids hyped up on sugar and chocolate. So noisy was it, in fact, that Ellie was quite overwhelmed, and refused to step away from Daddy for the first couple of hours.

Too much partying for this baby girl.

Everyone else had a great time, though. Especially Evie, who was essentially a multicolored blur for the duration of the festivities.

Ellie didn’t warm up until about ten minutes before we left, but when she did get warmed up, she found herself a rocking chair and really kicked the party up a notch.

Whoa, there Ellie, slow down!

Silly baby girl! She’s a little old lady at heart, just like her Mommy. ❤

On Sunday Adam and gang came over for beef stew. We made a delicious beef bourguignon, and hung out outside for most of the day.

Ellie helped sweep off the deck before company arrived.

Grandma and the West Coast Grandkids

Ellie decided Annarose could try out her new hat.

Here you go!
See Daddy? I share!

Surprisingly, Annarose did not appreciate having a bucket on her head. However, when Daddy explained this to Ellie she was a good sport about it, and even helped her cousin remove the offending headgear.

They really are very good friends, though.

Grandma was the one taking Evie to and from school all week.

Evelyn is ready for breakfast… At Tiffany’s.

Meanwhile, Mommy got out to do some sightseeing.

Daddy and Evie went to Ash Wednesday Mass on Wednesday night.

At first she didn’t want ashes on her forehead, but then she got used to the idea and even got quite excited about it. But she couldn’t keep from touching the ash spot on her forehead, so it was gone by the end of Mass, having returned to the dust from whence it sprang. Sic Semper Transit Gloria Mundi.

This is a drill weekend, but it was just re-deployment classes, so Daddy decided to bring Ellie to drill with him and give Grandma a break.

“Hi Mommy!”

She was far more entertaining than any of the speakers.

And then Mommy came home! Yay!!!!

Kathleen saw a little sun while in HI. The girls wasted no time scratching, scrambling, poking and climbing all over Mommy’s sunburned arms and shoulders, you may be sure.

Also, if you are wondering what is encrusted on Daddy’s hoodie, it is just snot. Ellie still has a runny nose, so that happens. In fact, Ryan composed a slimerick about it. (A slimerick is like a limerick, only slimier).

My hoodie is covered with snot.
You might think that is gross, but it’s not.
When the babies are sick
They bring it on thick,
And this is their favorite spot!

And now it is time to close out this Family Friday with one last picture of Grandma and all her West Coast Grandkids. She flies out tonight for back East and all her East Coast Grandkids.

We can never get them all to look at the camera at the same time.

God Bless! Have a great weekend.

Holy Manly Weekend, Batman!

Last Saturday Ryan got to do some good old-fashioned Man Work for a change. Uncle Adam had a stand of douglas firs on the front of his property that he wanted to take down. He has done a lot of research and thinks that oaks will grow quite well in their spot, providing more shade, and, eventually, acorns for food for humans and animals, so he decided to take down that line of firs to mill them into lumber.

Okay! Everyone, look manly!

Adam wisely enlisted the aid of the Betts brothers who have taken down a good many trees in their time. Specifically, they are far more familiar than Ryan and Adam are with the tall, straight pines of the Pacific Northwest. Ryan and Adam have only ever taken down the short, squat, deciduous trees of the Northeast, and we quickly learned that there is a world of difference between taking down a 40 foot maple and taking down an 80 foot pine.

Dane and Brennan showed us how to cable the tree to guide its fall. Their expertise was invaluable and enabled us to fell and log all six trees in just a few hours without any injuries or property damage.

The big logs we laid to one side, Adam plans to mill them with an Alaskan saw mill he can borrow from an in-law.

The small logs will be cut, split and stacked for firewood at a later date, and the brush will either be mulched or burned for a bonfire this summer.

Meanwhile, all the womenfolk (except Kathleen and Margie, who couldn’t be there) made scrumptious lunch and kept an eye on the kiddos. The kiddos kept an eye on their dads.

According to Aunt Maryanne, it was just as noisy inside as outside, with all the kids tapping on the window and yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!” at the top of their lungs.

The next day, Sunday, Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne came over to our house to visit.

We had supper of lasagna and then the grownups played Settlers of Catan, while the kids watched Disney’s “Robin Hood!”

The rest of the week has been pretty much ordinary. Mommy and Daddy have both been super busy with school and work, with Mommy working all day and Daddy working from mid-morning until late into the night. Daddy’s time with the girls is at breakfast…

Ellie is a huge fan of toast and jelly.

While Mommy’s main time with them is from just before supper until bedtime.

But we still make time for silliness:

And try to enjoy our weekends as much as possible.

And that’s all for this week folks. Have a great weekend and 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!

This week we started out by being awesome! Ryan and Kathleen went to their first race together! We signed up for the first of the Fort Steilacoom resolution run series. We even took a pre-race selfie!

Ryan is not good at smiling for pictures, but he really was having a great time.

Then the race started and we split up for a bit. Kathleen ran the 5k version, and Ryan rucked the 5 mile version. This was Kathleen’s very first 5k ever (yay!!!!) and she ran it in 44:45. Ryan has done lots of rucks, and he ran it in 57:30.

It was a really nice course with lots of friendly people running. Of course, we were both really tired afterwards, but we had to take the girls to a birthday party in the afternoon. They were not tired at all.

Fortunately, that birthday party had a bouncy house, which is great for making not-tired kids into tired kids.

The next day we had Uncle Adam and Maryanne over for supper. We kicked the kids outside to pray for about 30 minutes until it started raining too hard.

You have to be tough to be a kid out here!

We made a delicious pot roast with carrots and potatoes and Kathleen made a mincemeat pie out of the mincemeat she canned a few months ago. It was amazing, except that we learned that canning cooked meat dries out the meat. Next time we are probably going to skip the meat or just freeze the mince meat.

And we gave some last Christmas presents.

Cold mincemeat pie makes a great breakfast, by the way.

Monday was the big day that Ryan finally went back to PA school. He started his Emergency medicine rotation in Everett. Note the patented thrilled-and-excited selfie face:

Daddy’s first week back at school was interrupted, however, by fevers and throwing up. This was Tuesday morning…

But this was Tuesday night…

And this was later Tuesday night…

Poor Ellie had a fever of 104.5.

This was Wednesday…

Two sad and tired baby girls were so happy to see Mommy back home from work.

Things started looking up on Monday, so Daddy went back to the ER (as a student rather than as the parent of a patient. Evie and Ellie started eating again. Ellie especially was a hungry baby girl.

But Friday morning came, and Evie and Ellie were back to normal! Evie was excited for sharing day at school. She helped to make a snack to share with her friends.

Then Daddy and Ellie got to go to Friday morning Mass and do some gardening outside.

We spread pine mulch under the blueberry bushes to increase the acidity in their soil. Then we played with sidewalk chalk.

And that’s all for this week. May you all have a healthier week than we did.

God Bless!

Hurray!!! It’s Friday Again!

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Ellie wants to write a letter to Daddy!

You know what that means? One week closer to Daddy coming home!

All right, let’s see, what have we been up to this week? Mommy and the girls went to visit Aunt Dude and Aunt Susie. Daddy called them while they were there.

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Ellie is telling Big Sister that Daddy is on the phone, but Evie is glued to the TV.

They played outside and helped Dude and Susie in the garden.

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Ellie is such a climber!

Then Mommy and Evie and Ellie went to visit our friend Kim. She was one of Daddy’s classmates in PA school, but now she is graduated and working as a PA. Next month she is going to start a fellowship in pediatric critical care (YAY! Go Kim!). She keeps her pet miniature donkey at a farm near Enumclaw, so she invited the girls to come and meet Neville the Donkey.

Miss Kim showed Evie how to curry comb Neville’s coat.

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Just like this, Evie. You have to be gentle.

Neville is a gentle soul, and he does not mind having his hair brushed (unlike some other people we could mention).

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Evie is a very good Neville-brusher.

She decided she needs a farm now.

Little does she know, Daddy grew up on a farm. Daddy is a farmer from way back! However, she has brushed more donkeys than Daddy has, so there is that.

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Ellie also enjoyed her time on the farm, but she was a little disappointed that Mommy wouldn’t let her eat the pretty flower.

Then on Monday while Evie was at school learning things, Mommy and Evie made mincemeat for some mincemeat pies when Daddy gets home. Evie likes helping Mommy in the kitchen.

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She is very good at mixing.

The mincemeat came out looking and smelling delicious.

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And now it is all put away until Daddy gets home. (He can’t wait!)

Meanwhile, Evie was working very hard at school. She is learning her letters very well. She recognizes quite a few of them, and when letters come in the mail she can tell which ones are for Mommy and which ones are for Evie. Evie Practicing FHowever, she was a bit confused when she saw Daddy writing a letter over the phone, and she thought it was for her, but it was actually for Ellie. “But that’s my letter E” she said!

We are sorry child. Your first letter is just one of the many, many things you will have to share with your baby sister for the rest of your lives.

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This is Evie practicing her counting.

She is fascinated by the fact that you can take one piece of paper and fold it three times to make eight rectangles. Which it is pretty mind-blowing if you think about it.

Evie really likes when Daddy calls with the skype video call because it has little emojis that Daddy can select, and they flash on the screen on her end. Her favorite one is the heart. She calls it, “The loving.”

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“Daddy, can you turn on the loving?” “Absolutely!”

Daddy is always willing to turn on the loving (especially for Mommy).

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Ellie is so proud of herself! She has a hairbrush and a toothbrush, and teeth to brush, and she can brush them just like Big Sister!

Meanwhile, Daddy is more or less getting by. We had a pretty wild night last Friday evening. These two young soldiers built a cat trap with a cardboard box, a sandbag, a stick and a string.

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Any moment now!

And we sat outside for about two hours waiting for a cat to take the bait (strictly catch and release). But it was too cold even for the cats, so no luck.

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Ellie says, “Daddy should come home. It’s warmer and more fun.”

And we have more delicious food.

And that’s all for this week, Folks. Have a good weekend, and remember to pray for us. God Bless!

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All she needs now is a patient with an ear to look into.


It is fall time in Washington. The weather is turning colder, but it hasn’t yet turned to drizzle.

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It is great snuggle weather

Actually, it has been remarkably fine. Fine enough that Evie was able to meet this fine fellow.

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He was just stopping by to say hello!

Meanwhile, only about an hour apart, but on the other side of the world, Daddy found his brother.

Preying Mantis
Daddy was on his way to church. Maybe this guy was too! Why else would he be…     praying?

Evie and Ellie have been enjoying lots of time at DeeDee and Papa’s house.

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Git around!

They wanted to start learning how to drive the quads. Evie insists she already knows how to do it. Ellie is content to ride.

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“This is fun! Faster Deedee!”

She knows all about her sister’s driving.

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“I’m driving!” “She’s driving?”

Ellie is harder to keep up with now for Mommy, since she finally decided to start walking this week. She has been standing for months, and she could walk with her push-elephant before Daddy even left, but the last few weeks she has been really hesitant to step out unassisted. We were wondering if she was planning on waiting for Daddy to get home. Then, all of a sudden, she walked!


And now she is walking all the time.

I love her happy little toddle!

She is so pleased with herself too!

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“What? What do you mean I can’t crawl up here? I just did!”

Mommy, meanwhile, happened upon an estate sale and made some important discoveries. One was a picnic table…

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Minus a bench, but is was less than $10. Daddy can build a new bench when he gets home.

And a pressure canner!

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Her new pride and joy.

Yay! Now she can can meat and pork and chicken and mincemeat and other kinds of meat!

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Crash course on pressure canning with Deedee.

And that’s all for this week folks. Have a great weekend. Keep us in your prayers.

God Bless!