Short Family Friday this week. It has been rather a rough week. It started out with Daddy doing a 10 mile ruck race on Saturday.

10 miles in 2 hours 2 minutes, with 65Lbs. Not terrible.

Then Mommy had to go to a baby shower for a work friend who is having a little baby girl in March. Yay! More babies! 🙂 But we don’t have any pictures of that.

Instead we have a chalk picture of our family.

Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne and Edmund and Annarose came over for supper on Sunday, but we did not take any pictures of that either. Good family time, and we had more important things to do than socially mediate.

The rest of the week was plagued by illness. It was just a standard runny nose (so far) with some coughing and sore throat, but it really has the ability to disrupt things. Babies are obligate nose breathers, which, I would submit, is their most serious design flaw. One little virus gets in there, stuffs up their little sinuses, and all of a sudden they literally cannot figure out how to get a breath. Evie is big enough that she can breathe through her mouth pretty comfortably, but Ellie is not. She still doesn’t do well when her nose is blocked.

It isn’t so bad during the day, when they are up and running around, but when she lies down to sleep the snot just collects in her sinuses and she starts bubbling and snorting a little piglet. Of course this makes it difficult for her to sleep unless she is propped up so that the snot can drain down her throat into her tummy. We can try pillows, but they only work until she rolls over in her sleep. The best proper-upper?

You guessed it! Mommy and Daddy.

It works, too. Ellie gets sleep and wakes up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Mommy and Daddy, maybe not so much, but really, we can’t complain. It’s all in the fine print. And besides, we probably put our parents through as bad, and we can look forward to our grandkids putting our kids through it, quod si Deus vult.

Sissy! Wake up! It’s time to be awake!

Ellie is learning new words at an astonishing rate. A lot of her words are “B” words: Bubble, blueberry, poop (pronounced “boop”), boop (also pronounced “boop”), book (pronounced “boop” but with the soft oo as in look), belly button, and cup (pronounced “bup”). She also has other words without “B” in them, such as hat, truck, and hot!

And that was the story of this week.

Busy weekend ahead, and a lot of things to do, but we are checking them off our list one by one.

We hope you have a pleasant 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!

One of these days we seriously are going to make Family Friday a bi-weekly or even monthly thing. It seems like every Friday we are too busy Familying to Friday, which is only a problem if you insist upon Family Friday-ing. Take, for instance, last Friday.

We had a great time with our MC friends at a music ministry session with singer-songwriter Andrea McDonald. Of course Evie stole the show with a song that she made up on the spot.

We partied late into the night until Ellie was sleep drunk and could no longer even stand upright.

Sleepy time!

That is, we stayed out almost until eight-o-clock!

I know, crazy right!

It had been a fun week, albeit busy, with Mommy at work and Daddy trying to knock out four months honey-do before restarting school. We had made time for a lot of together time…

We made a shelf!

We had even made it up to Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne’s house for a little welcome-home-hey-how-you-been-long-time-no-see party.

We had a good time, and my how Edmund and Annarose have grown! Edmund is super tall and trimmed down, and quite the dapper dresser. Annarose has gone mobile with the world’s fastest commando crawl. Edmund objects to this development, because it means that she can now intrude upon his playing, but, c’est la vie!

We went out for a family favorite meal…

Pho at Pho Tai in Lakewood. Evie loves the noodles, and Ellie demolish two gyoza, a pile of noodles and a few ounces of Daddy’s grilled chicken and rice.

By Thursday we were all set up for a great family weekend going clamming at the Ocean. Deedee and Papa picked up Evie early from school so they could get to the beach before the tide went out and get clamming right away.

Meanwhile, Daddy and Ellie trekked down to Olympia and picked Mommy up from work before heading out to the ocean. Ellie liked Mommy’s work. It has lots of stairs.

We got to the beach in the cold and wet and scraped about in the sand for an hour or so until the tide came in above the clam beds. All in all we got 25 clams before we headed to our vacation house for the night.

There we got in jammies and made hot cocoa. Evie was so excited to find that her room had bunkbeds that she couldn’t sleep for ever and ever amen. First she wanted to sleep on the top bunk. Then she wanted Papa to sleep on the top bunk. When he declined she thought Mommy should do it. But Mommy also declined, so she tried to recruit Daddy. As a last resort she even tried to convince us to put Ellie up there. It just broke her little heart to think of that lovely top bunk not being slept in. It seemed like such a waste.

Of course, then the weekend took a turn for the… unexpected. Somewhere around midnight (Evie was still not asleep) Ellie started puking. She puked over and over again until she was dry-heaving, and then she dry heaved off and on until about 4 AM before going back to sleep.

(Parenting pro tip: whenever possible, schedule your stomach bugs for weekends when you are away at a vacation rental. Then you don’t have to wash your towels and sheets, you just turn them in and get new ones! You’re welcome.)

So instead of going out in the morning for sightseeing or what have you we were recovering, watching Christmas movies, playing brainteasers while waiting for the baby clothes to wash, and playing board games while the kids napped.

By and by it was time for the clamming to begin again, and it was here that the plot once again took an unexpected twist when we discovered that both Papa’s and Daddy’s boots had been stolen right off our front step. Since we declined to go clamming barefoot on a Washington beach in December, that effectively kiboshed that clamming expedition, and we had to be satisfied with our previous haul of twenty-five. Instead we went bowling and Daddy tried to teach Evie how to play pool.

The fun continued after we got home, when Evie jumped on the puke-your-guts-out-all-night bandwagon on Sunday night (Mommy had to work on Monday). So Christmas Eve was a messy affair, and Deedee and Papa were having similar issues, so we had to cancel our Christmas Eve get-together.

Then of course Daddy was queasy in the tummy all day Christmas Eve into Christmas morning, and Mommy was queasy all Christmas day and into the next morning.

We are not that great at taking family photos.

And the day after Christmas Mommy felt better and went back to work and… Ellie got sick. She had a bad case of the runny-nose which caused her to sleep poorly, which in turn caused everyone else to sleep poorly, except Evie.

Ellie is pretty cheerful about it, though. Here, for instance, is a picture perfectly encapsulating the difference between Evie and Ellie.

Evie pines for the snack that might have been (chocolate). Ellie enjoys the snack that is (grapes and oranges).

Yesterday we made pizza while Mommy was at work. Evie measured and counted all the scoops of flour and poured them in the mixer all by herself. Ellie helped make press out the dough for her first time ever. She actually did pretty well about not tearing holes in the dough, and it blew her mind when she could see her hand print.

And now we come to the climax of our post, our week, and (hopefully) our year… drum roll please!

Evie had to go to the ER. She was riding her tricycle down the driveway and turned too sharply and upset herself. We took her to the ER for some x-rays and turns out she has broken her first bone!

She picked a good bone for her first break. A clavicle. Not particularly dangerous, and they tend to heal really fast and really well, especially in little kids. And she has a sling with doggies on it!

And that’s all for this week, folks. We feel like the moral of this week has been, “keep your head up, things could always get worse.”

Or perhaps, “When life hands you something yucky, like snot, do something cool with it…

Blow snot bubbles.”

The other day I had an interesting conversation with a buddy of mine. He knew that Ellie had been sick for the first half of the week because I had been a bit tired and groggy at work. On Thursday he asked if she was better and sleeping through the night again. I said that she was better and was almost sleeping through the night, plus Kathleen was home off night shift and home again at night.

“Oh, so she only got sick and couldn’t sleep when you really needed her to be asleep?”

I laughed. “Yep. That’s usually how it goes.”

“Gosh, dude, that sounds rough.”

Not wanting to lie I replied, “Yeah, it can be a little rough sometimes, but it’s still pretty awesome having kids.”

“How’s that?”

So I shared a thought with him that I have been formulating for the last few months. “You know, I think that the absolute worst tragedy that can befall any man, is to have no one who depends on him.”

He looked at me sheepishly. “Are you just trying to make me feel bad now?” (He is single with no kids).

“No, I’m just speaking in general terms. When you have children they depend on you for everything, so when they are at their most needy and demanding, they are also at their most fulfilling.”

He was quiet for a few seconds. Then he said, “I’ve never heard it said like that before. Mostly people just b—h about it.”

It is true, though. Having a wife and children has absorbed my focus so completely in the last few years that I have not had as much mental horsepower to think about myself. I don’t live inside my own head like I used to. I think about myself a little bit less, and I live for others a little bit more. When I do have time to think about myself, I notice that I am happier, more peaceful and more purposeful. Life is just better, as a sort of side effect of being surrounded by people more important than myself.

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I love this happy little goober 🙂


I highly recommend it. If you don’t already have someone to live for, find someone. Or just start living for the people around you.

Of course the idea “I am going to live for others so that I will be happier” is completely self-defeating, but that is a topic for another blog.

Happy Easter Week Everybody!!!!Family Friday 151 (1)We hope you have had a wonderful week of celebrating the Resurrection. Mommy and Daddy kicked off our celebration sundown on Saturday with some Guinness floats.Family Friday 151 (5)

No Easter Vigil for us this year. Alas, we decided that a 3-hour mass starting at bedtime was not a smart move with a toddler who refuses to acknowledge her need for sleep.

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We started out Easter like this.

Mommy was on call on Easter Sunday so we had to go to the really early Mass, 7:30 at Saint Andrew’s in Sumner. It was packed to the rafters, and bursting at the seams. Father Jerry extended an invitation to everyone to return next week as well, which would be great since next week is the feast of the Divine Mercy.

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Evie loved the Easter Flowers. 

We went home for a late breakfast and an early nap.

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She decided to improve her Easter look.

After nap we went up to Deedee and Papa’s house for Easter Dinner. The first thing we found when we got there was a gift for Evie.

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“Wings! I have wings, Daddy!”

She now has her very own pair of sparkly fairy wings. They are quite sparkly, just like Tinkerbell’s wings.

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She immediately became inseparable from those wings for the next two days. Family Friday 151 (14)

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She also has her can of “pixie dust” (a.k.a. silly string). (Pixie dust is an outside toy only).

Since Evie is the only egg-hunting grandchild so far, she had about 2-dozen eggs to find, all by herself, inside, in two rooms.

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Talk about shooting fish in a barrel!

Ellie needs to hurry up and get big so she can provide some competition.

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Ellie is very curious about her big sister’s new look.

She has been paying a lot more attention to Evie in the last few weeks.

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She can move all by herself!

She isn’t really sure what Evie is for. After all, she doesn’t do anything important, like feed Ellie or change her diaper. She must have some purpose because Mommy and Daddy certainly spend a lot of time with her. Ellie is very impressed with her big sister’s ability to stand up and move all by herself.

Ellie herself is learning all kinds of new skills.

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She can express herself with facial expressions.

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She can grab her toes.

Her exercise program is coming on apace. Daddy is training her in the art of the pushup, which is a noble and necessary skill, foundational for many functional movements which she may want to employ later in life (i.e. crawling, getting out of bed, mowing the lawn, etc). Family Friday 151 (23)

And she can sit up in her bumbo chair and eat her hanging toys, which is good exercise and good practice of essential life skills.

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The Swiss flag is especially delicious.

In fact, she will try to eat pretty much anything she can get her little hands on.

Sitting up turns out to be useful for eating other things as well.

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Rice Cereal! Yummmmmmmm!!!!!

She even has her first household chore already! When the weather is nice, she gets to help take out the compost. She can hold the compost bucket all by herself!

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Never too early to start earning her keep.

Nice weather also means she can enjoy the great outdoors.


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“Is this what you mean by ‘getting close to nature?'”


Since Mommy was working nights and Daddy was working days this week, the girls were living with Deedee and Papa from Sunday to Tuesday, and then Deedee and Papa were living at our hour until Thursday morning. It was a rough schedule for everyone except Evie.

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She decided she was a “tinker fairy” and she needed to fix Ellie’s toy. 

She never seems to run out of energy.

Ellie, on the other hand, had a terrible head cold from Saturday night through to Thursday morning. It was not a fun time, involving several wakeups every night for Daddy, and several wakeups every day for Mommy. Her poor little nose was so stuffy the only way she could sleep at all was propped up at an angle on a pillow, her chest and neck all covered with vicks vapor rub, and a humidifier going full bore in the bedroom. (There was a 2:00 AM run to Walmart for a humidifier for Deedee and Papa’s house, while Mommy nursed her and kept her in a steamy bathroom.

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Even when she is sick she is a happy baby.

Even with those measures there were many midnight steam sessions, and waking up to feed at all hours of the day and night because her little tummy was full of snot and she couldn’t eat normally. And there was the sneezing herself awake at 2:30 in the morning.

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Even Daddy got tired, and he usually has tons of energy.

Needless to say when she started feeling all better on Thursday we were all ecstatic.

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I love her happy little face!

Daddy has been very busy National Guarding all week, but one bit of good news from that is that he (finally) got promoted to E-7. At least now when he is away from his girls he will be sending home a few hundred more dollars per month.

Since the unit was too busy to do a formal promotion, Evie did the honors herself.

E7 Promotion (1)
Take off the old sticker.

E7 Promotion (2)
Put on the new sticker! 

(And ignore the unauthorized headgear.)

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Daddy caught a fish!

We like our family. Daddy is going to have to be away next week, so we are enjoying what family time we can right now.

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Mommy was coming home from work, Daddy was leaving for work, and the girls were just getting up, so we paused to take a picture.

I highly recommend you do the same. God Bless!



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See ya later!



What a busy week this has been. It started off with a birthday…


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This goober is 3 years old! How did that happen?

For her birthday she wanted to be extra pink. So she got her Minnie Mouse dress out of the closet and put it on all by herself. It’s amazing how smart she is now that she’s three.


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“Umph! Daddy, this isn’t working very well.” (Direct quote).

Unfortunately, we were not able to do her birthday party last weekend due to sickness (first Mommy, then Evie) and we weren’t able to do it during the work because of life, so we will plan on doing it later this weekend.


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But we did get her a happy birthday cupcake.


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And she got a present form Uncle Jason and Auntie Kim, and Savannah and Kaycie and Nate.


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It’s a Moana Puzzle!

Now that she is three she is very mature and responsible, so we gave her a new job.

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She is now our official silverware put-away-er.


She is also getting ready to grow up like Mommy. Today she thought the breakfast pancakes looked like Mommy’s nursing breast pads and she had this to say about them:

Booby pad-cakes
“Mommy, when I grow my boobies, then the booby pads will be mine.”

No hurry, child. All this will happen in time.

The weather has been a bit bi-polar around here this week. On Friday and Saturday we were hanging out outside like this:



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Evie is channeling her inner Auntie Mary-Kate in her wardrobe choices.


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Tea and scones outside!


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This was shortly before we got rained on.

Then on Sunday Evie was sick. Too sick to eat her crackers and jam, Family Friday 145 (12)but not too sick to be excited when she looked outside and saw:

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It’s snowing, Daddy! I want to go and play in it. 

She wasn’t well enough to go outside, but we spent a quiet day indoors drawing and reading books.

Family Friday 145 (1)Mommy asked, “What is that missing spot in the middle of your sunset?”

Daddy: “Oh Evie drew that. I don’t know what it is.”

Evie: “It’s a boat!”

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We call it, “Western sunset with boat, and purple dragon.”

Mommy had to go to work Sunday night, so it was just Daddy and Evie and Ellie home.

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“Daddy, you are my best Daddy in the whole world.”


Evie went to bed early, but she felt much better the next day. By Wednesday she was able to go outside and play with Papa.


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She was disappointed that the snow wouldn’t stick together to make snowballs.


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But it was still a fun time.

Deedee and Papa were staying at our house from Monday night to Thursday afternoon because Mommy finished her all-too-brief maternity leave and had to go back to work nights. Mommy was gone all night and Daddy was gone all day, but Deedee and Papa were there to hold down the fort.Family Friday 145 (22)


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Evie and Deedee and Oswald the Otter (puppet) put a puzzle together. 


Evie wasn’t the only one to hit a milestone this week. Ellie is now three months old!


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She is so chunky!

She is also learning new skills. For instance, she has discovered that she can grab things with her hands, if she concentrates and tries very hard and is very patient.


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So far she really only does it with her left hand, but the right one will come along in time.

And she can facetime with Daddy when he calls on his way to the hospital in the morning.


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“I know that guy!”

And she likes to help wake her big Sissy up from nap.


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Hee hee hee!

It’s exciting just to watch her grow big and strong and smart. She is such a happy baby, always smiling and laughing and cooing. She has a big, giggly belly laugh now which has been documented to melt at least one heart of stone.


And that’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for stopping by, keep us in your prayers.

God Bless!
















Welcome to the weekly update from this branch of the Kraeger clan. Unfortunately, we are currently a plague house, as the two-bucket-disease is moving through like a square-wheeled steamroller driving over a field of whoopee-cushions. Evie started the party on Sunday morning by throwing up all over her pretty dress on the way out the door for Mass. Then she threw-up all over another pretty dress in her carseat in the church parking lot. She attended Mass in sweatpants, in the crying room about ten feet from the bathroom. Daddy was next to take the baton, with two days of bubbly guts, but Daddy’s GI tract is rather like an industrial strength pressure cooker: no matter how bubbly it gets on the inside, it doesn’t show on the outside. We are not sure when Ellie contracted it, because she is very stoic, and also doesn’t speak English yet, but she did produce an impressive string of three diapers in a one hour period, remarkable both for volume and explosiveness.

Mommy was the last holdout, but even she had to succumb eventually, and when it got her it did so with a vengeance. She was up two or three times an hour from midnight to 7:00 AM this morning. Daddy got to stay home from the hospital to take care of Evie and Ellie while Mommy tries to recuperate.

But we have still managed to have some fun this week. During a trip to Costco Evie found some flowers that were just so beautiful!!! Since the weather was nice, and it is almost her birthday, and she asked nicely, and they were a good price, Mommy said they could buy some… and also because they were a good distractor from the jewelry case, which also caught her attention.


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Ohhh! Shiny!

Then Mommy and Evie and Ellie went outside and planted flowers all afternoon.



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It’s sunny, but still chilly, so Ellie was wrapped up snug as a bug in rug in her bunting. 



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“We are pyanting fyowers, Mommy!”

Evie had so much fun she stayed outside until her lips were blue and she was shivering.



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Digging in the dirt is fun!


Teaching Ellie how to make a rock castle.




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Cold is what happens when you have 0% body fat and refuse to wear gloves. 

She insisted she wasn’t cold, but Mommy says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness to thy goosebumps.”



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This chunky little goober wakes up like this. Every single day.



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I wish I woke up this happy.

Mommy arranged a surprise get together for Daddy’s birthday (he turned older this week). She and Ellie made a delicious beef and bacon stew. Kathleen is kind of a Super Mom. 

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(Or would that be… a Souper Mom?!)


We had some friends over for a low-key dinner. Daddy likes things low-key. Especially birthdays.Family Friday 144 (4)

And Mommy and Evie and Ellie made Daddy a new tea mug at the pottery painting house.

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Gus took this picture of the mug. He likes to have Jordan in the background of pictures. 

They made it with Mommy’s and Evie’s and Ellie’s handprints, one inside the other, all inside the handle, so that when he holds the mug like that above (which is how Daddy holds his tea mug) he can hold all their hands at once.

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I have the best family ever!


More pictures from the party.

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Jordan enjoying her Ellie time.


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Evie conned Auntie Amanda into reading “Rattlebang Picnic” to her and RJ. 

Good times, with good people.



Ash Wednesday also happened this week. It was Ellie’s first Ash Wednesday, but she tried to look appropriately penitent.


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Repent of my whats? But I don’t have any yet!

Daddy is working on prepping some of his Army gear for upcoming National Guard events and Evie wanted to help.

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I think she looks better in it than Daddy does. 

Oh, and the biggest news of all this week?!

Auntie Maryanne had her baby!

Annarose Just borned
Welcome Annarose!!!


And that’s all for this week. Hope you all have a fun weekend, and enjoy much love and grace.

Bye!Family Friday 144 (13)





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)








Last week has been short, but Oh So Sweet! It began on Friday with Mommy’s birthday!

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Feliz Cumpleanos!!

Evie is a little confused about birthdays. She understands that people have them and they are a lot of fun, but she doesn’t understand why she can’t have her birthday right now. Or whenever she wants.


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“But why do I have to wait until after Jesus’ Birthday and Daddy’s Birthday? I want my birthday today.”

Poor Evie. Life is hard when you are only two.

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But at least she has a baby sister to decorate.

Then Evie woke up at 2 AM the next day with the croup. That was a fun morning for no one involved. We did our best to keep her comfortable until 0800 when the urgent care opened, and then Daddy took her in to see the doctor. It took a few hours, but eventually we got her a much needed shot of steroids, and then she felt much better.


She immediately went out and started pumping iron… No just kidding. Not that kind of steroid.

She felt better but she hasn’t been herself most of the week. There was lots of tired.

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This was most of the weekend.


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And a good part of the week.

Ellie turned one month old!


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She has also begun training kung fu under the tutelage of Master Elephant.

She met her cousin John Paul for the first time. He is one month old too!


Family Friday 136 (1)
Although the camera did not catch him at a very flattering angle. He really is quite a handsome little guy.

Papa came over to help Daddy install the new microwave. It went pretty smoothly except that the power cord for the new one is in a different place than the old one, so we had to drill a new hole for it. Neither of us had a saw bit for the drill, though. Then Ryan remembered that there was an old auger and a bunch of auger bits in Grandpa Joes old tool chest in the garage.


Family Friday 136 (9)
I haven’t used one of these things since I was a kid!

They may be old, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work! Love it!

That’s all for this week. Evie is feeling much better, Ellie is still growing, Mommy got to sleep in once (YAYY!!!!!) and we are just trucking along like it’s our job. Last Family Friday of Advent so if we don’t see you, Merry Christmas, and God Bless!


Family Friday 136 (2)
Silent night, Holy Night, etc. 










dca962c43d257d84b4f485ffd84df425One of Evie’s favorite movies is Disney’s “Cinderella.” (The classic animated film, that is, not the live action remake. Ryan and Kathleen like the remake, but it doesn’t have enough singing or dancing in it for Evie.)

She likes all the music in the movie. She sings, “Sing Sweet Agaga (nightingale)” in the bathtub, scrubbing the floor of the tub with her washcloth. She sings, “A Dream is a Wish” in the mornings (complete with clock bell noises).

But her favorite song from the movie, the one she sings most often, is “So This is Love.” She sings it over and over, “So this a-yuv, hmm hmm hmm hmm,” as she dances around the living room or the kitchen. It is one of the go to songs when she wants to be sung to sleep, and it seems to live constantly in the back of our brains waiting to pop up at odd moments.

One such moment was a few weeks ago when Evie was sick. She had already thrown up once in the evening, and I had given her a bath, (Kathleen was on night shift), put all the dirty clothes in the laundry, changed her into clean clothes, gotten some blueberries into her tummy, rocked her almost all the way to sleep and very gently put her into bed. Immediately she rolled over and threw up on the pillows, the sheets, her clean jammies, everything. It was only my cat-like reflexes that saved Snuggle Blankie (you don’t want Snuggle Blankie to need a bath right before bed time. When I picked her up she continued to vomit on me.

Two thoughts popped into my head. The first was, “I guess I am going to be cleaning vomit out of my chest hair tonight.”

The other was, “So this a-yuv, hmm hmm hmm hmm, so this a-yuv.”

Tonight she was in a specially rambunctious mood as Kathleen and I conducted phase 1 of bedtime operations. She was talking and singing all through goodnight prayers. When I picked her up to put her in her crib she said, “Sing this a-yuv!” So we sang it, and Evie wiggled around showing not the slightest sign of sleepiness. She said goodnight readily enough, but 5 minutes later was standing up in her crib and crying for Mama.

And that is where Kathleen is now, rocking Evie to sleep some more.

But you have to admit, in the context that song is fitting enough. In fact, I would say it is even more fittingly applied to a vomiting and/or sleep-averse toddler than to Cinderella and her Prince. Especially the line that says, “So this is what makes life divine.” quote-god-is-not-solitude-but-perfect-communion-for-this-reason-the-human-person-the-image-pope-benedict-xvi-38-54-64

And again, “…and now I know / The key to what Heaven is like.”

I suppose it is a bit shocking to think that in some way Heaven is like being drenched in purple toddler puke, but if we are to believe that Heaven consists in participating in the inner life of the Trinity, and that this life is an eternal outpouring of self-gift, then I am forced to conclude that Heaven does in fact bear some resemblance to vomit-covered chest hair.


In fact, I suspect that is one of the reasons why God sends us children, and why masculinity and femininity are most often completed and perfected in fatherhood and motherhood. Quite simply, children cramp our style. They draw out of us actions which we would before have considered distasteful, menial, impossible or monotonous. Now it’s just part of the daily routine. Children cause us to endure cheerfully and as a matter of course what we once thought of as heroic suffering. We cease to think of it as heroic. Often we cease to think of it even as suffering. It’s just part of the job, and when all is said and done we did no more than was required of us. God be thanked if we managed somehow to avoid doing very much less than was required of us. Being a parent virtually forces us to realize that we truly are unprofitable servants.d5825756a4f5334f7dce4251b64189f0

Children are dreadfully inconvenient, but we don’t notice that very much. We are too busy thinking of ways to teach them or love them, smooth out the path or strengthen them to walk it. The inconvenience is part of the advantage of having them. They do not care one bit about our comfort or convenience, our sanity or peace of mind. They are not supposed to. They are offered to us because they unerringly and unrelentingly hit us right where we are weakest and most vulnerable…

Right in the selfishness.

And that is right where we need to be hit.

Evie wearing the Cinderella costume Grandma made for her. “Wake up, Mama!”