Guess who is a whole year older this week!

This Girl!

That’s right, Big Sis is now five!

Oh and also, Daddy is a year older two. We were within a couple days of sharing birthdays, which Daddy would have liked because it would have utterly eclipsed the Daddy birthday, almost like being born on Christmas. Daddy is old and crotchety now, and doesn’t take much truck in birthdays (not that he had much use for them in years past, being, as he was, young and crotchety) so his birthday is soon told. It was quite lovely.

He got to sit on the deck for a good half hour drinking tea, and reading about how to prune the apple trees, which he subsequently did.

Cold as heck, it was, and raining, but bless me, let us not fail to carpe the diem and all that.

And we also went out as a family to buy some hellebore, which Daddy and Little Sis then planted.

Daddy also does not have much of a sweet tooth (except at 3:30 AM, or any other time he is massively sleep deprived) so his birthday cake was a spiced applesauce cake with nuts and raisins.

Learning how to grind walnuts.
Little Sis loves to help.

So it was a very quiet day, which is exactly how Daddy likes it.

Drawing pictures together in the afternoon while Mommy was at a funeral.

We celebrated Big Sissie’s birthday on Sunday, and that, let me tell, you was a much bigger production.

It started the day prior with the making of the cupcakes by Mommy and Big Sissie herself.

And then continued Sunday morning with special happy birthday pancakes.

Aafter Mass Daddy made the pizza doughs and prepping the ingredients, while Mommy topped the muffins and turned them into cupcakes.

Little Sis helped by QCing the snacks,

while Big Sissie climbed and played with the neighbor kids in their tree house until everything was set up.

Happy as a clam!

For dinner everyone made and topped their own personal pizzas

Which Daddy then baked in his pellet fired pizza oven.

With one or two exceptions they all came out quite pretty. This little thing

And a good time was had by all.

On Monday Mommy had the day off, but Daddy had to work. So she snuggled with the girls first thing in the morning and they had a nice, leisurely pajama breakfast together.

And then they went to the zoo with Papa.

We have been having a little early spring weather this year. The crocuses are out in full force! They don’t even seem to mind getting frosted pretty much every night.

We are also really pleased with the English Daisies we planted last year. We planted them in the spring, and they didn’t seem to take, until about fall time the first plants started to pop up, and then one single solitary blossom before winter. We thought they were just going to kind of wilt because they seemed so puny, but they have really thriven. Over the winter they got bigger and bigger and put out more flowers and buds, and then as soon as the sun broke through the clouds for the first day in a month, they just exploded.

I wonder if the climate reminds them of their own dear England.

Also, Mommy was super excited because she won a monopoly in Safeway monopoply.

That’s the price of a bubble tea!

And that’s all for this week, folks. God Bless and have a great weekend!

This is going to be a short Family Friday, because we have very few pics. When this happens it is usually down to one or both of two causes. We were either:

  1. Too busy with the business of modern society (a.k.a. work) to enjoy the wonders of family life. Or…
  2. We were too busy enjoying the wonders of family life to attend to the business of modern life (i.e. remembering to take pictures of every single moment so we can hashtag our social medias).

We will leave it up to you to decide which. (Fair warning, we both just finished listening to Anthony Esolen’s “Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture” on Audible. We are struggling to cast off the spell of his eloquent flow of nostalgia and naysaying and remember that the world was not all sunshine and rainbows pre-1960, nor is it all bad now. So if I am a little down on the world right now, it’s [mostly] not me. It’s the Esolen.)

Saturday began with a #RosaryRuck. This time we planned our route a little more creatively…

And grabbed a group selfie in the dark at the end.

Then our traditional eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon for the after ruck breakfast.

She is getting really good at cracking and mixing eggs.

The rest of the day was taken up by a shopping trip to Costco, and a failed attempt at quiet time. Daddy showed an equally failed attempt at crockpot chicken, rice and veggie stew. The internet said you could cook brown rice in a crockpot. 6 hours later, it was still as hard and chewy as if it had just come out of the bag. So that didn’t work.

We also played some games, watched some movies, and finished up with an impromptu picnic supper in the living room. So the soup was hardly missed, although we do lament the wasted ingredients.

On Sunday we had two of Mommy’s childhood friends (who subsequently married each other) over for pizza and “Ticket to Ride.” This meant a couple hours of gentle family time while we made the doughs and turned them into pies.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of making pizza with my family, or writing about it, or sharing it with other families.

We are literally watching yeast activate.

Daddy joked that he put a pizza together faster than all three of the women put theirs together. Mommy just gave him a look!

When two of those women are pint-sized, they counteract the womanly speediness and efficiency of the full-sized woman by eating half of her ingredients before they make it to the surface of the pizza.

Daddy is now working Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday, 10 hours a day, so officially a 40 hour week (though not all at one place, so still not full time). On Monday there was a schedule glitch so he had 15 minute appointments scheduled instead of 30 minute appointments… and every one of them was filled, with not one no show! (Y’all healthcare workers know what I mean). But for his first day on 15’s, he did not get slaughtered too badly. He was actually only a few minutes behind when the last two patients showed up… both anxiety patients.


Daddy left the office over an hour late.

But as Mommy says, “That’s the life you signed up for.”

Wednesday is a fun day for Daddy and Little Sis. Of course we have a week’s worth of shopping to do, but there is almost always time for Mass at 9:00 and then a more or less leisurely lunch together. Little Sis planned out her day like this:

Little Sis: “We drop Sissy at school, then go Deedee and Papa house?”

Daddy: “No. Then we will go to Jesus’ house.”

Little Sis: “Okay. Then go Deedee/Papa house.”

Daddy: “No, then we go shopping.”

Little Sis: “Okay. Then we go Deedee/Papa house?”

Daddy: “No, then we come home and eat lunch and go for a nap.”

Little Sis: “No. Me want fire…” (by which she means she wants to snuggle by the gas fireplace and toast her toes). “We want fire and snuggle blankie and two books and evening prayer, and then nap.”

Daddy: “How about Mid-day prayer instead of Evening prayer.” (She has not yet learned all the hours of the Divine Office.

Little Sis: “Okay, then me go nap. Then Deede/Papa house.”

She just likes to have things planned out. Kind of like her Mommy.

We also made pizza again on Wednesday, this time for our friends Ronny and Amanda who just had their second little baby boy! Nothing celebrates new babies like homemade pizza!

Oktoberfest Pizza, anyone?

And here we are at the end of the week, and it is time for bed. Have a good weekend, Y’all. God Bless!

Happy New Year!!!!! It has been a great little year so far. Two days into it and Mommy is sick with fever, chills and cough.

But let’s rewind back to the days of yore, back in the newly remote history known as Anno Domini 2019…

In the days before the plague struck, Saturday was a day to get things done. Sometimes things that we had to do, sometimes things we wanted to do. In the picture above, Mommy demonstrates the latter, i.e. the making of guava-vanilla bean jam. Here, she painstakingly removes the guts from the vanilla bean before throwing both into the pot.

But this is also something of a necessity as we have bought some reusable canning lids to try, which, if they work, should save us hundreds of dollars in disposable lids over the next few years. But before entrusting something unforgiving like a soup or a veggie, Mommy decided to try them out with something that could always be reprocessed if they didn’t seal the first time.

Early morning sun streams in the window on the finished product and the beautiful chef.

Just as well we did, since two of them leaked water into the jars, and one didn’t seal. There is an art to tightening them just tight enough, but not too tight.

Meanwhile, a friend of ours came over to help us install a ceiling light in our living room.

This was great entertainment for the girls, although Big Sissie was desperately trying to convince him to play her new board game that she got for Christmas with her (Pretty-Pretty Princess).

Alas, we were too busy, so the girls had to Princess all by themselves in their very own castle.

For a short while before running outside to try out Big Sissy’s new princess bike! (Are you detecting a theme here? We certainly are.)

Then it was off to Uncle Adam’s house to celebrate second Christmas. This mostly involved running around and playing board games and eating Uncle Adam’s delicious pizza (made, almost exactly, according to G’Pa P’s Original Recipe).

But there was still some presenting of gifts, mostly just one each for the little folks.

For Sunday after Mass we met Uncle Adam and the kids at the zoo, while Auntie Maryanne stayed home and rested her leg and did not chase after the kids for two solid hours!

The best part is that Uncle Adam shared a loaf of G’Pa P’s world famous Hungarian nut roll (or maybe it’s Romanian, you never could tell with G’Pa). At last, Christmas was complete.

It was udderly delightful.

It is time for Daddy to pack his gear for a National Guard trip again (one weekend a month my butt!) The girls helped, of course…

“We come too, Daddy!”

It turns out Daddy may be a bit thicker in the middle than he was in his active duty days, 10 years ago. Time to get this plate carrier tailored.

Fortunately, I know a guy.

Well, that’s all for this week. God Bless and Happy New Year!

From Our Family to Yours!

In Which…

Deedee is not in the picture because she is taking the picture.

Christmas 2019 Happens!

Yes, we are really that thrilled about it. But first, let’s take it back to the Saturday before Christmas, where our last Family Friday left off. (I like putting it that way. It makes it sound like our lives are an adventure story series with a storyline and arc and character development and all that. Which, of course, they are, but we the actors are not usually privy to the script.)

It was a stay-at-home kind of Saturday, so we made pumpkin spice muffins. Mostly because Daddy wanted to bake something sweet(ish) and Mommy wanted to make space in the cupboard.

The cousins came over so Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne could go on a date. Things got a little crazy…

After that we decided to make pizza.

G’Pa P’s original secret sauce recipe!? (Only slightly modified!)

Oh yeah! This is happening.

I must say, this was one of the best pizza doughs we have ever made.

Pizza dough is something of an art, at least as much as it is a science.

You can control all the factors, but it will still surprise you. In fact, it is best not to try to control too much, but to leave it room to surprise you, often quite pleasantly, as happened this time.

You can add exactly the same amount of everything every time, mix it at exactly the same speed, for exactly the same length of time, in the same temperature and humidity conditions and it will still come out slightly different every time.

This is because Pizza is not just a food. It is a mystical experience that transcends the laws of the physical universe.

I started writing a book about it once, and then I lost it in a terrible computer crash. Maybe someday I will return to that project and hold forth for a few hundred pages upon the Theology of Fine Pizza.

I know y’all are holding your breaths for that one.

Our Christmas cookie game was pretty weak this year. In fact, it was almost non-existent. I say almost because we did throw one weak play right at the very end. We opened the book of “Lost Recipes of America” to a random cookie page, and made the cookies on that page. A type of molasses cookie called “Joe Froggers,” with an interesting back story that I will not share due to copyrights and such, and also the fact that it is getting past our bedtime.

5 1/2 dozen molasses cookies. They turned out quite delicious, for those of us who like molasses.

It used up most of the last of our rum, but no one is drinking it these days so no great loss there.

The girls helped by playing outside and eating the last of the pumpkin muffins (they went quick!) and drinking hot cocoa.

Then Christmas Eve came around. We knew it was a-coming, but it still kind of hit us out of nowhere. We kind of winged it (wung it?) the whole two days, to be honest. Deedee and Papa and Gigi joined us for the Christmas Eve Children’s Mass and carol service. Afterwards we cam home to eat a light supper and watch the girls’ shenanigans.

The girls didn’t wait to get out of their Church dresses before moving Mary and Joseph to the stable. Then we wrapped Baby Jesus in a flowery muslin bookmark and placed him in the manger.

Then we got into jammies, before summoning the shepherds. We thought that was only fair, to give Mama Mary at least a few minutes of rest before a bunch of shepherds and their sheep stopped by to visit.

Especially the way Big Sissy arranges them.

It was a quiet evening for the grownups, and an energetic one for the girls.

They were very spinny in Daddy’s computer chair.

They were bouncing off the walls until 9:30, almost. Which, considering that we try to have them in bed by 7:30 most nights, is pretty late. We did get them to take one sitting-still picture with Gigi.

So then it was Christmas Morning, and the usual chaos ensued.

Then it was up to Deedee and Papa’s house for Christmas 2.0. Of course they received too many presents for us to take pictures of them all, and it would be boring reading anyway. Plus, it’s not the point of Christmas anyway. Suffice to say, many and marvelous were the gifts.

At the breakfast table Big Sissy was bouncing up and down and demanding “When are we going to open presents? When am I going to get my presents? Can open presents now?”

So we told her: “Getting presents is not the most important part of Christmas, kiddo. Do you know what is the most important part of Christmas?”

Her answer: “Getting presents?”

I see we are going to have to rethink our Christmasing strategy for next year. Of course it is perfectly natural for a four-year-old to think about getting presents more than anything else. However, it is a bit unreasonable of us to say that Jesus’ Birthday is the most important part of Christmas, and then spend 50% of the day on presents, and not expect her to get that wrong.

So next year we will probably focus more on them giving than on receiving, though right now we have no idea what that will look like.

But that’s all for now, and time for us to go to bed. Pray for us! God Bless.

Merry Christmas (because it goes until Epiphany), Happy Feast of the Holy Family (because that is tomorrow!) and Happy New Year! (Because it’s probably going to be pretty intense).

God Bless!

Welcome back, Folks! It’s been a great, quiet week, although pretty busy. Like most week it has had more than its share of busyness, and less than its share of quiet and relaxing. Daddy got Baby Girl’s head cold, and passed it on to Mommy, somehow. We love the mid-week “high-five head cold pass off!” It’s a sign we’re in this together. LOL.

But seriously, not many things happened this week, and they may be small in the telling, but they were big in the living. Big Sister got to have a sleep over at Aunt Dude’s house. She spent the whole day Saturday and part of Sunday there, making nuts and bolts (the family version of Chex Party Mix) and watching Dude’s favorite shows (a.k.a., Disney VHS tapes and the Hallmark channel).

She even got to go out and inspect the garden and help prep it for winter in between rain showers.

Meanwhile, Baby Girl was enjoying her Mommy and Daddy time. She has never been an only child. She seemed to enjoy it…

AS I say, she enjoyed it, but she doesn’t recommend it. By bedtime she was mournfully asking “Sissie come home?” She missed her Big Sissie.

So did we! For such a small person she certainly takes up a lot of space, and when she is absent from that space it is a lot quieter and emptier. Dude’s house, on the other hand, was a lot louder and fuller for a day or so. Poor Aunt Dude was exhausted by Sunday Morning.

Life got really busy when our Nanny texted to let us know that she would not be able to come in this week. She had been planning to go on maternity leave soon, but suddenly her OB made the decision to induce her early! We are not sure why, but after a few days and some hard work on her part, (and some prayers on everyone else’s part) everything turned out just fine, and she has a beautiful new baby girl!

The girls are super excited to meet her, but they are going to have to wait until Mom and Baby are feeling up to it. In the meantime, Deo Gratias!

One of Daddy’s projects right now is renewing the front lawn. It has become over-run with weeds and crane flies and the ground is hard and depleted of all essential nutrients, so we have decided to sheet mulch it. We have been saving up cardboard all summer but this takes a lot of biomass, so we are trying to collect the leaves that are falling all over town.

Big Sissie’s school let us pick up their piles of leaves.

You would be surprised how many leaves you can fit in a regular sized pickup truck.

But when you pile them a foot deep, they don’t cover a lot of ground. So we are going to have to find some more.

A LOT more.

We are technically doing it wrong since you are supposed to do it all at once, rather than a little bit at a time, but we have no way to collect or store that much material all at once. It’s also a bit ambitious a size for a first sheet mulch attempt, but that’s what we have to work with. We’ll wing it and see what happens in the spring when we topsoil it and plant it. The goal is to have fewer weeds and a good layer of mulch so that it absorbs our limited summer rain instead of it just running off.

Time passes, things change. New babies come, and our babies are growing up. Look who is sitting up and facing front now!

But they are not as mature yet as Big Sissie fondly imagines she is. Just yesterday Mommy came home to find the writing on the wall, so to speak.

So she made them clean the writing off the wall before they could eat supper.

Just as well for them it was not sharpie. That would have taken a while, and supper was quite delicious.

Garlic sauce and black olives on one half, and stir-fried shallots, black olives, bell peppers, garlic and chanterelle mushrooms on the other side.

And that’s all for this week, folks. We hope y’all have a great weekend. Enjoy the fall time.

God Bless!

Yesterday Papa Murphy had a deal for a free pepperoni or cheese pizza with purchase of a qualifying large or family sized pizza. Basically two larges for $26-ish. Kathleen forwarded me the email containing the deal early in the morning while I was doing Korean class. By afternoon we still had not figured out what we were going to do for supper, but we both decided we were not hungry enough to warrant two large pizzas. So I looked around the refrigerator, and scanned the kitchen and pulled out some ingredients, and my new cast-iron pizza pan I got for Father’s day, but haven’t used yet.

We were going to make “Watcha Got Pizza.”

These days we can’t pull out a pan in the kitchen without Ellie coming running from wherever she is in the house yelling, “Cooking? Cooking? Help! Help!” Perhaps because of that, Evie has started to ask to help to and actually get excited about cooking.

We started with the dough, as always. This time I wanted to try something new, and a little sweeter than a typical pizza dough.

  • 1 1/4 cups white all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 TBS yeast

Evie mixed the molasses in the boiling water until it was all dissolved, and then I added the milk. I added the yeast while Evie stirred it very gently to soften it, and then we set it aside to activate. Ellie dumped the cups of flour into the mixing bowl as I measured them, and then we added the activated yeast and mixed with a spatula until it was read to knead. At this point Evie took over the dough, carefully kneading and folding it, while Ellie greased the pizza pan…

with butter.

And we set the dough aside to rise on the pan, and prepped the toppings.

  • Olive oil
  • One large apple, diced.
  • Two aidel’s sausages, (bacon, mushroom, swiss flavor) diced
  • 1/2 leftover onion, diced
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • sliced havarti
  • shredded mozzarella

Evie and Ellie provided quality control on the ingredients as I diced them (Evie convinced her little sister to try a large bite of onion, as a true older sibling should). Then they helped me put the onions in the Oklahoma skillet which I had preheated and oiled with the olive oil.

Evie is so pleased that she can use the little dough roller.

I sautéed the onions for about five minutes, maybe more. I was going for a slightly sweeter pallet so I wanted them well caramelized. I then threw in the brown sugar and apple, and continued to sauté until the apple started to get just a little soft around the edges (don’t want it too soft or it will turn to applesauce when the pizza bakes).

It was at this point that I saw that Ellie had traded her roller for her fists…

But I was busy adding ingredients so I just said, “Gentle touch, Ellie,” and kept sautéing.

A quick turn to brown the sausage and the topping was ready.

And Ellie had torn four large gaps in our dough. Evie was devastated, but we were able to patch it back together tolerably well.

Then we preheated the oven to 425 while waiting for Mommy to get home. We baked the pizza without the cheese for 7:30, and then topped with Havarti…

And filled in the gaps with mozzarella.

And another 7:30 minutes, and we were done.

Buon Appetite!

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 has been a fun week at the Kraeger house. Without any major adventures we managed to have a fun, quiet week. Plus Grandma is here to visit, and Grandma’s are the best.

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Nothing like a tea party with Grandma.

And Grandma’s are great at games.

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And puzzles!

Kathleen took Grandma and the girls to visit Dude on Friday and pick blueberries.

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Dude’s blueberry bushes are 100 years old, and huge!

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Visiting on the back porch.

And they swung by and visited Deedee as well on their way home.

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Evie and the butler.

Ryan went for a run on Saturday morning and found a big patch of blackberries. He picked a big bowl of them and Kathleen made a blackberry custard and a blackberry/blueberry pie.

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It’s as delicious as it looks!

Barbecue at Uncle Adam’s house on Saturday. Unfortunately Mommy couldn’t be there because she was on 24 hour call. Silly work!

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Uncle Adam on the Grill!

Ellie was a tired Baby Girl, but Grandma is a great snuggler.

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Happy baby girl.

Then Mommy’s pager broke. She’s been using it for ten years, and it finally broke.

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Unfortunately, she still had the work cell-phone so she wasn’t done with work.

We had some friends over on Sunday for a pizza party. Our Parish Priest Father Paul and our choir director Christina and her husband Richie and their two kids. We were having a great time, and then the neighbor kids stuck their head in the door and asked if they were invited to the party. Of course they were. And then a pair of Mormon missionaries knocked on the door and of course they were invited too.

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Intense board game action happening right here!

We were able to get together for lunch twice this week on base near where Daddy was working. The PX has food trucks outside that make great quality ethnic food. We enjoyed some Turkish Kabobs on Monday and Island barbecue and adobo on Thursday.

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“Grandma, I think that’s my kabob, don’t you.”

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Not atypically, Ellie is busily gnawing on a BBQ rib, while Evie is completely distracted and too busy to eat. 

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“Mommy is busy with big Sis, so I’ll just help myself to some of this…”

Then shopping at the commissary….

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“I Know these are for me!”

It is hilarious how different they are.


The rest of the week was mostly just playing with Grandma while Mommy and Daddy worked.

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Going to the park with Grandma.

But we did get to hang out at the splash park for a little while on Thursday.

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Evie hates sunscreen, but Mommy hates sunburn. And Mommy wins.

Our garden is doing well, as small as it is, we still managed to get a meals of butter-fried beats and steamed carrots with garlic butter.

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She is so proud when she gets to pull them herself.

That’s all for this week folks! Have a great weekend, and God Bless!Family Friday 168 (9)



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!

Welcome back! How have you all been? We had a nice, relaxing weekend after last Family Friday, starting with our weekly shopping trip!!! Woohoo!!!

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This awesome Costco checkout lady let Evie scan all the groceries. Totally made Evie’s day!

BTW, it is amazing how much our food bill changes from when Daddy is home vs. when he is on army trips. We had a chance to compare with the recent Germany trip. When the army is buying him all his food, Kathleen and the girls spend about $40/week on food. When Ryan is home we spend about five times that much. Does that mean that Ryan eats four times as much as the rest of the family put together?

Sunday was a day to relax in bed until 7:30.

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Even after Mommy and Daddy got up to get ready, Evie and Ellie stayed and snuggled by themselves for a bit before getting into their pretty Church dresses.

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Ellie looks up to her big sister.

Ellie has been trying to stand up for a few weeks now. She can commando crawl around the floor, but her real goal is walking.

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I don’t see any of you lot crawling around on all fours.

Sunday Mass, when we all get to go and worship God together, with no pager, cellphone, email and nothing pressing us to rush away, is one of the most amazing things in the world. Plus, it’s good to catch up with our Church friends.

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Dillon, Evie and Joshua, 4,3 and 2 years old, all the same height.


We made Pizza for Adam and Maryanne and the gang on Saturday. They came over during Evie’s nap, so Edmund kindly volunteered to wake his cousin up.

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She was “camping” in her “sleeping bag.”

It was nice to have a quiet, relaxing pizza meal.

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Apart from having to coax, cajole and coerce Evie to sit still long enough to eat her slice of pizza.

Major pizza parties are a lot of fun, but they are also a lot of work, and we are less inclined to branch out and experiment. However, as it was we got to try out a new, fluffier dough, a new sauce mixture, a new take on the picnic pizza topping, and a whole new topping (pest, steak, balsamic vinegar, fresh mozz, goat cheese, light sharp cheddar, and arugula).


Ronny and Amanda were invited but couldn’t come due to work and having to attend a late Mass. They did swing by on the way home to chat for a few minutes and pick up some leftovers.

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Hopefully we can get together again sometime soon.

Daddy took Evie out for her first movie date on Monday. We went to see “Incredibles II.” Evie did not like it as much as we had hoped. Neither did Daddy. But it was still kind of fun, and we went and got bubble tea afterwards, so it was a great date anyways.

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She likes playing with the Giant Jenga while waiting for her bubble tea.

The rest of the week was a bit higgledy-piggledy. Kathleen was on night shift, and Ellie does not like not having Mommy snuggles before she goes to sleep. She still sleeps, just not as well as she usually does. Fortunately, Daddy was able to be home fairly early in the evenings, so we got plenty of Daddy daughter time.

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Pizza and peas. Delicious, nutritious, not too ambitious.

Ellie now has three teeth, two on the bottom and one on the top.

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“Read it, Daddy?”

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Practicing her ninja skills.

And now the week is over, Mommy will be done working in a few hours, Daddy is almost done working. We may make some pasta carbonara, or some pizza, or both.

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Or we may just make rock piles on the deck.

God Bless! Have a great weekend.