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!


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!

This has been a topsy-turvy week.

We started it off on Friday evening by attending a Mass and Party to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Mass Consumption!

That’s right, Mass Consumption is ten years old! It has been 10 years since Diana and Celyn started meeting with any and all interested young adults on Monday evenings to read the Mass Readings of the day, and talk about them. Back then Ryan was getting ready to go to the Q course, and Kathleen was paying off her student loans. We didn’t start attending until January 2012, when Ryan first got stationed in JBLM. I think the way it worked out was that Ryan met Ronnie at MC, and Ronnie invited Ryan to the St. Frances Cabrini Young Adult Group, which is where Ryan met Kathleen, whom he subsequently invited to Mass Consumption.

The rest, as they say, is history.

It has been a great, and I might add, highly unusual group, especially in our area. They were told by their parish priest when they first started that in the Seattle Archdiocese a group that put on only one event per year was considered a success, so difficult is it for our generation to overcome our distractions and the atomization of our culture to commit to a community. And yet MC has been meeting every week, with no real breaks since 2009. Diana and Celyn still meet every Monday night at Panera Bread and welcome any who want to join to read and talk about the Mass Readings, or talk about their day, or ask for prayers, or just hang out and be silent.

Of course the group has changed in those ten years. A good number of us have gotten married (Ben and Christine, Ryan and Kathleen, Adam and Maryanne, Margie and Dane, and then Danica to Dane’s brother Brennan, Ronnie and Amanda). Others are engaged, soon to be married. Now that we have families with small children, it is harder to make the Monday evening meetings. Others have gotten jobs farther away. The picture above represents only a part, probably less than half of the people whose lives have been shaped to some degree, greater or lesser, by this remarkable fellowship.

God willing there will be many more years of MC, and more importantly the relationships and faith built and strengthened in its 10 year history will continue to grow, continue to overcome our distractions and the atomization that seeks to pull apart our community at every level.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

Saturday was a busy day, and Mommy had to work in the afternoon. We did manage to get in a family hike at Bradley lake in the morning, but the evening was just Daddy and the girls playing and reading books upstairs while Mommy scanned arteries and veins. At least we had all Sunday together, and on Sunday afternoon we got a very special surprise!

It snowed!

At least it was a surprise to Evie and Ellie who were absolutely enchanted by the miracle of white flakes falling from the sky. It was less a surprise to the grownups who had heard such rumors on the weather forecast.

Since there was apparently some big football game, and the roads were empty, it was a perfect day to go out for Frozen Yogurt.

Ellie wanted to boop the bear’s nose.

Monday morning was when it got weird. Ryan was supposed to have a campus week in Seattle, and when he got up at 4 AM to brush off the truck and get to the train he saw only about 2 inches of snow on the ground, nice, light fluffy stuff, dry and powdery, no slush or ice in it. Being from upstate New York, he did not give it a second thought, but drove down to the train station and hopped on the train to Seattle.

Well about 20 minutes later someone at the U of W woke up and freaked out at the snow-a-geddon that had descended in the night, and sent out an alert email cancelling all campus operations for the day.

Oh well, no big deal. Ryan would just ride to King’s Street and take the 6:05 south. Inconvenient, but it’s a free day off.

Then the girls’ Nanny got stuck and couldn’t make it out to the house. At that point Kathleen had no choice but to stay home with the girls until Ryan got home. Since she was suppose to start at 7:00, and Ryan likely wouldn’t get home until 7:00, this would make her about 30-45 minutes late, depending on traffic, but not terrible.

Then the doors on the train refused to work in the snow. They had to be opened and closed manually, and the conductor refused to run the whole length of the train opening every door at every stop, so we had to wait for the next train. Another 20 minute delay. Then the next train pulled out of King’s Street Station and promptly stopped on a siding to let two northbound trains pass… 20 minutes apart. Then it turned out that there was only one open track for a good portion of the run (apparently Washingtonian trains cannot run on tracks that have snow on them) so we had to stop again on another siding to wait for the northbound commuter train to leave a few stations ahead of us and get past us.

It was after 9:00 when Ryan got home.

Meanwhile, Kathleen was not moping around waiting. She got the girls up and they were too excited by the snow to wait, so they went outside to play before breakfast.

I’m ready to go!

Then back inside for an enormous breakfast of eggs and hashbrowns (Evie ate like a horse!) and some hot cocoa.

So Daddy got a free day home with the girls, and we spent the morning making bread. It was a new recipe he had not tried before, but Ellie helped and it turned out quite well, actually.

And we worked out.

After nap we went outside again.

“Look, Mommy! I made a butt!”

She insisted we send a picture of her butt-print to Mommy at work.

Apparently they didn’t get as much snow in the south at Mommy’s work.

The whole fiasco was repeated on Tuesday, minus Grace not being able to make it. Ryan came outside and saw that the snow had mostly melted and nothing was left but a few spotty patches of ice and compacted snow, with perfectly clear tire tracks. No email from the UW, so he drove down and hopped on the train.

Grace arrived and Kathleen went to work. Then we got the alert that Sumner school district was still closed, so no school for Evie. Then UW sent out another alert, cancelling all campus activity, again. This time Ryan stayed on campus, since he was already there, and got some work down on the internet until lunch before taking the bus home.

We made a snowman!

Wednesday the college returned to normal, but Sumner school district did not. And apparently we are expecting more snow this coming weekend!

That’s okay, we have plenty of food and drink, and nowhere to go other than Church.

And always plenty of entertainment indoors.

God Bless, y’all. Have a great weekend!

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!

This Family Friday starts with a walk in the park.

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See Daddy? I can climb like big Sis!

Evie, not to be outdone…

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Daddy! I can climb up here!

It was Ellie’s first time going down a slide all by herself.

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She remains unimpressed with the down part, but she loves to try to climb back up.

Meanwhile Mommy and Grandma were going saling at a yard sale, and marketing farmers at a farmer’s market. But when they were finished they joined Daddy and the girls at the park and we started picking blackberries into one of the new antique bowls Mommy bought.

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Reach, Daddy, Reach!

It is blackberry season in Western Washington and they are growing literally everywhere, in parks, on the sides of roads, along hiking trails, everywhere.

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Berries galore.

Then we turned most of them into jelly, some of them into a pie, and the rest of them into bruiseberry oatmeal bars.

(What is a bruiseberry oatmeal bar, you ask? Simple!!! You make an oatmeal bar with both blackberries and blueberries. Because then its a…

black-and-blue-berry bar!


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Straining the seeds out to make jelly.

Evie got an alarm clock.

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As advertised, she was quite alarmed when it went off at the end of her nap. 

Evie was hired to perform QC on our blackberry jelly as Mommy made it.

She even tried her hand at making her own jelly upstairs.

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It turned out delicious!

But then we suffered… AN INJURY!

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Behold. An X-ray.

Poor Grandma was walking down the stairs and she slipped and fell and broke her toe. It was just as Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne were on their way to drop Edmund off. Grandma was going to watch the kids, while the younger adults went to a welcome home party for a friend who just got back from deployment. However, no one except Grandma thought it was a good idea for her to be chasing after two toddlers and a 9-month-old with a broken toe. So Ryan stayed home with the kids, Kathleen took Grandma to the hospital, and Uncle Adam and Auntie Maryanne went to the party.

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Ellie wants to be in the box with the big cousins!

But we all had a lot of fun, and it looks like Grandma is going to be just fine.

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Enjoying some bruiseberry oatmeal bars.

On Sunday we went to the Annual 4US fundraiser at Auntie Celyn’s family’s house. As always the food was amazing and the hospitality was top notch. It was great to see so many old friends.


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Then we did some regular week stuff. Daddy was on leave so he had plenty of time to do things with the girls. Like:

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Teach Evie important life skills, AKA, how to wrap an ankle with an ACE wrap.

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Daddy got a sticker for being good.

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Taking Ellie to the park.

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Blueberry picking at Dude’s house

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Ellie hunted blueberries on the ground, but since the ground ones were all rotten, we gave her an apple.

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Taking a break to feed the Ellie and rest the foot.

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Dude gave us a new laundry basket.

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Having fun with lunch.

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Swimming in the pool.

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That is a ton of blueberries that have to be picked through by hand.

Then on Thursday we drove up to Fort Flagler to see the old historic site.


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Evie: “Daddy, please let me out of here!”

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Did you get your tickets… to the GUN SHOW?!

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Evie got to see some mule deer pretty close. They were very used to being gawked at by small humans.


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That look! 😮

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Daddy and Ellie setting up the picnic. 

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Evie is too busy for picnics. Also too busy to untuck her dress in back.

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“This stuff is amazing!”

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“I’ll just help myself to this big stack of it. Do you mind?”

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Nothing like a wee drop of something after dinner. 

On the way home we stopped at Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne’s to chat and pick some of their amazing blackberries.

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They have such a nice, secluded little area. It’s great for just relaxing and chilling.

Needless to say, when we got home, the berry situation was a little overwhelming. Rather than make dinner we ordered Papa John’s and got right to work. We made two pies, froze another pie’s worth of blackberries, and Mommy canned four pints of blueberry pie filling that night before bed.

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Mommy up early to make blueberry jelly.

It has been a week of canning, in odd spare hours between work and adventuring. Here are some of the good things that resulted.

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Blueberry jelly, blueberry pie filling, blackberry jelly, and BBQ sauce.

Daddy has to go on a trip soon, so mostly we have just been enjoying time as a family as much as possible.

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Ellie is learning how to help Evie win at Memory.

Ryan and Kathleen went out last night to the graduation party for his PA class. We even decided to get all dressed up for it.

Ryan and Kathleen, all dressed up MEDEX grad party
Ain’t she cute?! Ryan, on the other hand, has a terrible photo smile.

Unfortunately, thanks to getting activated by the National Guard, and then injured, he was not able to graduate with them, but he’ll be back starting next year.

Daddy jokingly told Ellie when she was born that she had to say “Daddy” and learn to walk before he got deployed. He thought he was getting deployed in June, when she was only 6 months old, so he was just joking. But with the deployment postponed and now coming up fast, she is working hard to do as he asked. Her first word was Daddy, and now she is doing this:

And just barely nine months old!

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Sitting in the big girl booster chair and eating pizza with Mommy.

We shall see.

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



Image Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/18/ash-wednesday-around-the-world_n_6705128.html


Today I wrote a discharge note for a man who is going home to die. He is not even that old, only in his early sixties, but he has floridly metastatic cancer that has failed to respond to every therapy they have tried. He can no longer eat because of the tumors compressing his duodenum and eating into his GI tract. He just spent over a week in the hospital after bleeding out both ends of his GI tract. We even tried feeding him through a tube running from his nose, through his stomach and into his intestines, but he couldn’t tolerate it. Even 5 or 6 mL’s of the solution caused him pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting. But even as late as a few days ago he was asking about retrying some of his chemo regimens, just in case. As he was discharging he kept asking how aggressive he needed to be with his physical therapy. He was so tired and weak he could barely talk above a whisper, and he was still clinging to hope that he might pull out of this again. We tried to explain to him that he really shouldn’t do any more than he is comfortable with since without food intake he is not going to rebuild his muscles.


At length he said, “So I guess I just need to accept that I am never going to be any stronger. This is the strongest I will ever be.”

My preceptor said, “I think that is a true statement.”

In the silence that followed I couldn’t help but think something I have thought about many times before, but which was brought firmly into focus in that hospital room. I am a 33-year-old man, with far above average strength and stamina, partially the result of my genetics, partially the result of years of hard training. At 33 I still make regular, predictable strength gains, although these are slower and more painful than they used to be. I am closing in on a lot of my athletic goals, including the iron cross and the planche. I am not as strong as I will ever be, but someday I will be. There will come a time when I will stop making gains. My recovery time after hard workouts will be too long, I will have too many accumulated injuries, I will not be able to go on getting stronger.

That will likely happen sometime in my 40’s or maybe as late as my 50’s, but that will not be the end. Barring injury or illness I will continue to enjoy great strength, far beyond peers in my age group without my long history of training. I will have to modify my training, but I will most likely be able to continue training with enjoyment and profit well into my 70’s or even 80’s.

Eventually, however, there will come a time when I will be too tired or in too much pain to train. Those times will become more frequent and they will last longer. Eventually I will end up where that patient is today, lying on a bed with barely the strength to roll over for someone to sponge me down with wet wipes.

That timeline assumes the longest possible maintenance of good health and activity level, but of course disease, accident or violence could accelerate that timeline at any time in the future.

Far from finding this a morbid or depressing line of thought, I find it bracing and challenging, and very fitting for today. I have not yet had the chance to go to Mass, and if this commuter train doesn’t pick up the pace soon I may not even get that chance. But I remember ever since I was a child receiving the ashes on my forehead with the reminder, “Remember man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Even when my physical strength is gone beyond recall, my mission on earth will not be over. Indeed, in many ways it will only have begun. Suffering, weakness and death, what I sometimes think of under the blanket term “futility” (cf. Romans 8:20) are part of the common lot of mankind. Dealing with them is part of our responsibility, and also part of our glory. The courage with which we face our inevitable failure and death is the only success that matters, and it begins now, with our little challenges at work and at home. Sickness and death turn some patients into petty tyrants, and others become passive-aggressive martyrs. However, some rise to the challenge and become heroes of stoicism, bravely facing their sufferings defiantly, or cheerfully, or with self-effacing humor. Some become saints, uniting their suffering to the Suffering of Jesus on the Cross and make up what is lacking in His sufferings (cf. Colossians 1:24), becoming partners in the redemption of the world from that futility to which it is subject.

Most of us will face suffering and death. We have already begun forming ourselves into one or the other of those different kinds of patients. Let us be careful which kind of patient we are becoming.

Memento Mori.


Hello folks! Welcome back to Family Friday. Here it is, Friday evening, and we are sitting in the Family room, watching Winnie-the-Pooh and Family-Fridaying. and Ellie is beginning to suggest that it might be time for a little something. It doesn’t get much Family-er than that.

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Hi guys! 

Daddy is between rotations, and has been on campus in Seattle for the last week so we have actually had a little more time in the evenings this week. We also had a weekend off. We have been making great use of the time.

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Eive has started teaching Ellie how to put puzzles together. 

Ellie thinks they are very interesting, but they are also hard work.

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After all that work, it’s time for a nap.

So Evie had to find some new puzzle buddies.

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Baby Margaret and Baby ‘Resa are great puzzle buddies.

Mommy brought Evie and Ellie up to Seattle on the train on Wednesday.

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Evie always loves riding the train.

Daddy got out of class early (e.k.a. played hooky) and we all went to the Gold Rush museum.

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This isn’t the first time Evie has struck gold. Maybe we need to go prospecting for real!

Ellie is turning out to be a great little traveler as well, as long as her tummy is full.

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She is so smiley!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Uncle Adam and Auntie Maryanne bought a house! We moved them in last weekend. Unfortunately, they are about 30 minutes further away now. And also unfortunately, this is the only picture Ryan took the whole day, so you’ll have to be satisfied with this view of the new house.

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It’s a nice, secluded little place.

What else? Evie has been very helpful:

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She is very good at laundry.

And she is doing some schoolwork and arts-and-crafts with Grace.

And there has been lots and lots of storytime this week, which both Evie and Ellie enjoy very much.


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Wait until after dinner? Not if you ask Evie. She will read at the table or in bed. It’s all good to her. 

And that’s all for this week. You all have a wonderful weekend. God Bless!


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Best Sisters.





Story Time with Mommy
She can read a story with one hand, keeping a daughter, a nephew and three neighbor kids still, while breastfeeding the other daughter with the other hand. She’s kind of a Super Mommy.

And that’s not the only way we’ve stepped up our hospitality game!

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Check out our new bird feeder and one of our first guests.

I (Ryan) was looking through my phone for pictures from this week and found that the only pictures I had were ones that Kathleen sent me during the week. That’s how busy we have been. So I shared one that I took back at New Years, because it illustrates just how awesome Kathleen is. And this is going to be a short Family Friday.


Both the girls have been sick this week, with coughs, sneezing, runny nose, tiredness, poor appetite, the works.

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Evie napped four hours that day. Four Hours!

Mommy is starting to get stuffy now, and Daddy has not been around long enough to catch anything, apparently, since he has come down with nothing except tiredness refractory to caffeine.



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He has even had to work from home this week. That’s never good.

Deedee and Papa came down to visit on Monday before the plague got too advanced.

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We just hope Deedee and Papa don’t catch it.

The thing is, even when they are sick, they are still pretty cheerful most of the time. Evie can be pitiful, if you let her, but if you keep her distracted with other things she forgets she feels crummy and has a good time.


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Evie the Red Nosed Child

And she has begun trying her hand at photography, when Mommy wasn’t looking.



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I think she needs to work on her framing. 

Then of course there was the time she pooped and peed her underpants, while standing above her baby sister, who then promptly blew out her own diaper. All while Daddy was at work, so Mommy had to deal with that all by herself.


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It’s okay, Mommy. Bath time is lots of fun!

But Evie is on the mend now, Ellie should be about a day behind her, and Daddy is home for the weekend. So things should be looking up now. Check back next week to see how that pans out. LOL!

Oh, and Ellie is now two months old! She is getting so big and chunky and she likes to kick her hands and feet and smile and coo with Mommy and Daddy.Family Friday 140 (8)








So far jumping into 2018 has resembled trying to jump on a moving freight train with two small children in tow. Not the easiest thing in the world, but so far I think we have managed it with a maximum of class and a minimum of getting flattened. We are a bit tired, but still trucking.

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Evie says, “That’s my Mommy! That’s my Mommy and the boppie and my Ellie!”

Honestly, we are sitting here enjoying our first weekend of the year (last weekend was drill weekend so it doesn’t count), kind of like survivors in the aftermath of an explosion. It has been a crazy busy 13 days in 2018 so far, which is why this is a double FF and a day late at that. Almost two days late.

New Year’s was fun, though. For New Years Eve Daddy decided to try out his new pizza oven that he got for Christmas.

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Evie kept trying to roll hers up like a burrito.

So we made a bunch of pizza doughs and invited the neighbor kids to put pizzas together.

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The pizzas came out all right, once Ryan got the hang of using the pizza oven. The crusts were spectacular, but the cooking technique is very work intensive.

Since we are Catholic we get to leave our Christmas decorations up until the Feast of the Epiphany. It’s much more “Celebrated” that way (as Evie likes to say).

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“Hi, Baby Jesus! Happy Birthday!”

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“Rocking around the Christmas Tree.”

Evie has gotten so much use out of her GoRuck backpack in the past few weeks. It goes everywhere with her, and she carries it all by herself, which makes it one less thing that Mommy and Daddy have to tote, most of the time.


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“Rucking around the Christmas Tree.”

Another time during vacation Evie said to Daddy, “Daddy, can we write a script today?” And Daddy said, “Okay, Evie, we can do that.”

So Daddy got out his antique typewriter, and he and Evie wrote a script. Family Friday 138 - 139 (10) Script

This is the result of our first collaborative effort.

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Several publishers have been contacted, so far with no responses.

We all went out to the Tacoma Children’s museum with Uncle Adam and Auntie Maryanne and Edmund. Evie thought the Museum was the Best Place Ever!

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She did not want to wear a waterproof apron like the other kids.

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She also got to fly a peddle-powered airplane.

The rest of the last two weeks has been mostly Daddy working and trying to spend as much time as possible with his girls. Ryan has been doing rotations with an orthopedic service in Tacoma and Gig Harbor. It has been good experience, but I think we can safely put ortho PA in the list of things that Ryan does not want to do after he graduates. After a little while an entire day of nothing but knee scopes and ACL repairs can get a bit old.

Thanks to a clerical error, his badge says PA-C (Certified) instead of PA-S (Student). Maybe next they can start paying me as well?



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Ellie modeling her new Christmas Present from Auntie Mary-Kate.


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Evie likes to hold Ellie, but only for a few minutes at a time. Holding Ellie requires too much sitting still.


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Evie seized the entire Family Sunday breakfast plate for herself. As if she has ever eaten that much food in her entire life.


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“Ellie! Wakey wakey! Eggs and Bakey!”


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One of Daddy’s cooking experiments, bacon wrapped steak. Yes, Please!

This week has also been a bit of a sad week for us, since Kathleen’s Great Aunt, “Grandma” Dolly died early Tuesday morning. It was not unexpected, as she had gone into the hospital over the weekend. It was a quiet, peaceful passing. She was 96 years old and she had lived a long full life, and got to see her grand-children and great-grand-children, nephews and nieces and greats and grand-greats.


Grandma Dolly Funeral
Requiescat in pace.

On the opposite end of life we have Ellie.


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That’s all folks! God Bless!

God Bless, and keep our little family in your prayers.













It has been a long two weeks, friends. Daddy has been working at a clinic in Whidbey Island Monday – Thursday and then he had National Guard all weekend, and went straight back to work. So we didn’t have a lot of family time since last Family Friday.

Since then, Mommy and Evie have had a lot of Mommy-Evie time. They did Halloween at Deedee and Papa’s house.

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She looks like she’s ready for First Holy Communion

Evie was a bride. At first she wanted to be a “bride-doctor,” but as soon as she saw the beautiful fluffy white dress, she forgot all about the doctor coat. It just couldn’t compete.

We did some gardening too. Mommy and Evie cleaned out the flower beds and hedges on the front lawn.

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Evie likes to help dig.


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For being nine months pregnant, Mommy can sure get around.

Daddy really liked Mommy’s working-outside-shirt.

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Ryan said, “You look like one of those green Christmas candy canes. You know the ones that are mint and chocolate. The ones that taste pretty disgusting… But you’re not disgusting!”

Kathleen: “Nice recovery.”

The weather has been getting wetter and more wintery. It has even snowed more than once.


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“Mommy! It is snowing at the neighbor’s house!”

This means a lot more staying inside for Evie.


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I think this is a picture of hail. But you can’t see the hail, because pictures are never as good.

But you can have fun inside too.


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Learning to play Candyland.


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Evie has glasses like Mommy does!


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Evierella is going to the ball and her Fairy God-Mommy waves her off with her magic wand!


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And sometimes it is nice just to sit by the fire and watch it snow outside.

But Daddy came home yesterday night. Mommy had to work today, but Evie and Daddy had a lovely day of adventures together.

We started out going to Jesus’ house together.


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“Here you go Jesus, here’s a Band-Aid.”

Then we went and chased the geese and ducks at Point Defiance Park.


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This never gets old. She never gets tired of trying to catch them.

Then, when the zoo opened, we went in and saw the fishes and animals.


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“This fish is as big as Evie!”

There was a lot of area we couldn’t go into because they are building a new aquarium and an environmental learning center.

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But we still got to see some of the animals.


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It’s a Tiger!

And of course we rode the Carousel. That is Evie’s favorite part.


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She had to borrow Daddy’s hat.

We even rode it twice.


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She rides like a cowgirl.

Then we went home for a very much needed nap, and even had some time to clean up the lawn a little bit, and Daddy taught Evie how to plant grass seed. She got the hang of it pretty quickly.

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Sort of.


She is better at dumping it than sowing it, but that’s okay. It’s just grass.

That’s all for this week folks. Keep is in your prayers.

God Bless!