Last Friday, when Mommy got home from work, the girls were insistent that they needed to make supper. So Mommy let them, while she went and put her feet up with a good book and a nice glass of Martinelli’s sparkling white…

Right!

Right! Because those two can totally be trusted in the kitchen, cooking, by themselves. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan. As always, when kids decide to help it’s actually more work for the grown-up involved.

I suppose it’s rather the same when we decide to “help” God. He shakes His head and thinks, “more work for me,” but He never discourages us from trying.

It was an outdoors kind of weekend, last weekend. The weather was nice long enough for Mommy and Daddy to get our taxes done (I know, boring grown-up stuff, right?) and then get home and get some things done outside.

It was a Saturday, of course, so that means all hands on deck.

Moving straw bales for our straw bale garden.

It’s never too early to begin building muscles. Big Sissie hauled the straw bales across the rough lawn in her little read wagon all by herself! Not bad for a scrawny little five year old!

Big Sis’s other job was picking up the residue of the green manure after Daddy mowed it down.

(Don’t worry, it’s not actually manure. Green manure is the term for a cover crop that is grown only to be chopped down and composted or mulched in place. This did not make her like the job any better.

Little Sis is only minimal help in the pushing department, as of yet. She is much better at picking up twigs.

In fact, she spent almost an hour trotting back and forth with little fistfuls of twigs until she had cleaned almost all the sticks up off the lawn and built a pile in the fire pit.

Big Sissy helped, but she only likes moving the big sticks. She gets distracted with the little ones and leaves them scattered all over the yard.

See Daddy?! I’m using my muscles!

Mommy also got in on the outside working action, insisting upon climbing up and taking the covers off the rain gutters, since, now that we have the patio cover, the rain that rushes down over the gutter cover is a bit of a nuisance.

Yes, I did let my pregnant wife get up on a ladder. Get over it. She’s pregnant, not an invalid.

Afterwards she went in and made some delicious breads. While Daddy and Uncle Adam got to work on the two main projects of the afternoon. One was building a planting box around one of the pillars of the patio cover.

Edmund is a budding young “soil relocation engineer.”

They got the footer dug out quite nicely, while Daddy worked on cutting the boards.

Borrowed the guide-clamp and the saw table from Papa, who has all the best tools. They worked great, except we still couldn’t manage to cut the corner posts to precise 45 degree angles with just the clamps and a skil saw.

The other project of the day was the straw bale garden. Daddy already had the bales out and in position, and the posts driven. Then Uncle Adam put up the trellis.

This is an experiment for us, this year, as we have never done a straw bale garden before, so we are not sure how it will go. Stay tuned. Don’t bale on us now. We’ll keep you…

POSTED! 😀

The other exciting happening was the discovery that the neighbors across the back fence bought a pair of goats to mow their back yard for them. When Ellie first caught sight of them she came running across the lawn:
Ellie: Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!
Me: What is it, Ellie?
Ellie: I so scared of that! (pointing at the goat on the other side of the fence.)
Me: Ellie, do you know what that is?
Ellie, fearfully: No I don’t.
Me: Those are goats.
Ellie: Oh! I hate goats!
Me: No, you can’t hate goats. They’re delicious!
Ellie, cheerfully: Oh! I love goats!

I guess it’s true, we fear what we do not understand. An hour later all four of the cousins were ripping up our brand new tiger lily shoots and trying to feed them to the goats through the fence.

Sunday was a very quiet, stay-at-home kind of day. So quiet, in fact, that we even watched “The Quiet Man” (our favorite RomCom, as the kids call them these days).

Daddy also fried up a mess of butter-beets… and ate them all. Turned out Mommy wanted some too, but was busy playing Pretty Pretty Princess with the two exceptionally good looking Royal Girl-Children.

When Daddy makes a snack he doesn’t…

beet around the bush! 😀

Then we had more beets for supper, along with chicken, beans and bacon (not to be confused with bacon-n-beans), and risotto.

It wasn’t until Wednesday that Daddy and Little Sis were able to get up to Deedee and Papa’s house again to cut the corner pieces for the planting box. What Daddy and Uncle Adam couldn’t accomplish with hours of puttering with skil saw and a clamp, Papa was able to show Daddy how to do in twenty minutes on his table saw.

Right tool for the right job.

And then Wednesday night Daddy and Mommy got it put together after work, just in time to rush out to Ash Wednesday Mass.

And that’s all for this week, folks. Have a great weekend. Keep us in your prayers. Have a wonderful lent. God Bless!

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!

Another busy week done. It seems like every week is like that, completely absorbed in getting through the day with enough left in the tank to read some books, say some prayers, and put the girls to bed. Then pack the next day’s clothes, breakfast, and lunch, go to bed, and get ready to do it all over again. It reminds me of the story of the old hermit who had to walk two miles to draw water every day.

On Saturday we said “Happy Birthday” to Annarose!

She is two years old! Time for a parade!

On Sunday we went to the Northwest Trek wildlife park with some friends form church.

Flowers continue to bloom here. They seem to think it is spring, or something.

The anemone is especially pretty. However, I promise you it is not particularly warm out there. It is also very rainy. So Rainy, in fact, that we finally bit the bullet and bought a rain/sun shelter for the back deck.

Which they installed in, you guessed it, the rain.

But it will be nice this summer after New Baby is born. Mommy will have a shady place to sit and feed the baby while the girls run around in the yard.

It was time for Big Sis to make her St. Valentine’s Day cards for her classmates. Little Sis wanted to do school too.

Air soup. Very low carb.

Sorry, I am just not making profound sentences in my head right now. Probably because I am falling asleep. So y’all have a good night.

God Bless!

There was a certain old man dwelling in the desert whose cell was above two miles distant from any water. Often when he went to draw water, and the sun shone hot on him, he grew weary. Once, as he went, he said to himself, ‘There is no need for me to endure all this labour. I shall go and dwell nearer to the water.’ As he so spake he turned and saw one following him who seemed to mark his footsteps. The old man asked him, ‘Who are you?’ The stranger answered, ‘I am an angel, and the Lord sent me to count your footsteps and give you your reward.’ When the old man heard this he remembered that he had not come out into the desert for the sake of ease, but to travel on the narrow way that leadeth unto life. Then he became yet bolder in heart and more violent, and set his cell even further from the water.

https://www.ecatholic2000.com/cts/untitled-650.shtml

Forgot to put this picture in last week (it was late, we were tired, cut us some slack) but it really captures how proud we are of Big Sissy and how well she is doing at school. When Daddy showed up to do the parent teacher meeting she grabbed a work off the shelf and started giving Little Sis a lesson on how to do that work.

As it involved 4 digit long addition Little Sis lost interest pretty quickly, which Big Sis did not like, but that’s part of having multiple ages in one classroom.

She is also able to “read” Little Sissy’s favorite Bible story to her. Here she is reading: “The Storm One.”

A.k.a., “Jesus Calms the Storm.”

And she got it about 70% correct, too!

I am always amazed and amused by what catches their fancy. With Big Sis it was Zaccheus. We read that nightly for a month, I think. With Little Sis it is “The Storm One.” She loves it! She acts out the storm sounds and then says, “Peace! Be still!” with wide-eyed gusto. I think she really relishes the thought of Jesus being able to take a big, scary storm, and stop it and bring a calm just by speaking a word.

Meanwhile, Mommy’s extensive couponing resulted in a coup.

When was the last time you got gas for less than $2 per gallon.

Last weekend we did some canning. Mommy bought some pig feet from the butcher shop and put them in the electric roaster with some onions, carrots and celery. We roasted it and then simmered it for about three days into stock. Then Mommy canned stock and soup on Saturday.

First batch out during breakfast.

She used her new reusable lids to can these ones, and they worked perfectly.

Here is Mommy doing her best Lady-who-does-the-cooking-show pose.

And the socks are a touch of reality you don’t see on reality cooking TV.

Meanwhile, Daddy took the little girls to McClendons and let them pick out a couple flowers each, and then we brought them home and planted them under our Japanese maple. All for less than $8.00.

Not sure what is going on with the weather, but some of our bulbs seem to be under the impression that spring has sprung.

The crocuses in particular. We’ve explained to them that they are not getting overtime for this, and we still expect a satisfactory showing in April and May. They said they would consult with their union representative.

And that’s all for this week. Have a good weekend! God Bless!

Saturday was not a family day. Daddy had to work the walk-in clinic on Saturday, so Mommy and the girls had the morning to themselves. It was a twirly kind of morning.

Fortunately, Grandma Ann makes the best twirling dresses ever!

Big Sissy has been after Mommy to teach her how to sew, but we are reluctant to provide her with a small, sharp needle yet. So Mommy found her a nice sewing project to practice on while Little Sis was napping.

But in the afternoon, things slowed down at the walk-in clinic (everyone came in at once first thing in the morning, presumably to beat the rush) So the girls were able to come and visit while Daddy finished up the last half hour.

Then it was off to Winco for a week’s worth of shopping.

Sunday was much quieter. After Mass we came home to some relatively sunny weather and decided to air out the house. You know, recirculate all the viruses into the outside air, and let in some fresh outside air to replace them. Meanwhile, we spent a couple hours outside before the rain came back.

Little Sis is a much steadier, quieter soul than her big sister.

“Here some butt medicine for her ouchie butt!”

Wednesday is Daddy’s day off, so after we dropped Big Sis off at school, we went grocery shopping, and used part of the Starbucks gift cards that people keep giving us for Christmas (only way I’ll drink Starbucks is if I happen to be near one, and it’s free. Mostly I’m DEL all the way).

Mommy took some pictures of sites at work.

Of course a picture can never do it justice.
And this is for sale at an estate sale this weekend.

It has been a week of colds. We have been trading off the coughs and runny noses and sore throats for a few weeks. Tonight it was Little Sissy’s turn. She had an ouchie ear, so Daddy looked in it and saw it was infected, so it was off to urgent care for us.

But not until the girls had practiced looking in Daddy’s and Mommy’s ears.

Daddy doesn’t let little girls drive the otoscope.

And then we lounged around and watched Veggie Tales until bedtime.

Which it now is.

Good night, Y’all! Feel better in the morning. Or next week. Or at least sometime this Spring.

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.

Sigh.

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!

Last week was a busy one, and Daddy was away from home, mostly freezing his newly shaven face off, so Family Friday didn’t happen. Mommy was at home, running every which way like crazy and making it look good, so she didn’t take a huge amount of pictures. So here goes a double Family Friday. My goal is to write it in 20 minutes so I still have time to look over a large med order for the National Guard and be in bed by 9:00.

#AdultGoalz!

Saturday the 4th of January was the First First Saturday of the year! One of Daddy’s goals this year is to make the 5 first Saturday devotions requested by Our Lady of Fatima. That is more or less what the #RosaryRuck has been leading up to. Usually the Rosary Ruck starts at 5:30 AM so that the men involved can be home in time to have breakfast with their families and not cut into the precious weekend family time.

Since the 4th was special, however, we did it a little differently. We met up for Adoration, Confession, and Mass at Visitation Parish in Tacoma, and then all came over to our house where we did the Rosary Ruck. We followed this up with a giant scrambler, some bacon, english muffins and homemade jam (three different varieties) and a couple pots of tea.

So all in all a great start to the year, as far as our Marian devotion and Family life goes.

The following Sunday we tried to relax and not do very much of anything. We played a game of “trains” (a.k.a. “Ticket to Ride”) in the afternoon. Big Sis is getting quite good at figuring out where the cities are, and plotting her routes. Her only disadvantage is that she forgets she’s playing the game every two minutes or so, and gets up to dance around the room or do something else. However, since Mommy blocked 4 out of 6 of Daddy’s routes in two plays on the second to last two rounds, and Daddy started the scoring with -52, Big Sis still managed to come in second place. So that was nice.

Then we all went out for pho, and enjoyed watching Big Sis almost getting the hang of chopsticks!

Not bad for a white kid.

Then Daddy had to take off for a much colder area to do Army training. The Army also required him to shave off his glorious two-month beard and go all baby faced, right before climbing into an open dune buggy and driving at 50mph in sub-freezing temperatures.

After that, we took the humvees.

He also discovered that living, damp sage brush actually makes quite a comfy place to kneel. It is spongier than the surrounding rocks, and does not grind my kneecap quite the way gravel does. Less exfoliative, perhaps, but more like a massage.

Meanwhile, Mommy was taking care of the two little girls and the new little baby (of whichever persuasion). They all missed Daddy, especially little Sissy.

Lots of pajama time (Daddy is not a big fan of being in jammies all day. Or really ever.)

And Bid Sissy likes doing school on the kitchen table. Watch out, kiddo! That’s how you get yourself homeschooled. Just ask Daddy!

They even had a sleepover (in Big Sissy’s bed).

Little Sissy is still insistent that she does not need a nap anymore, because she is big. But Mommy still made them do quiet time. She put Big Sissy upstairs with some books, and Little Sissy in the bed room with some books. They were supposed to do an hour of quiet time, but Big Sissy only lasted a few minutes before she was asking to get out toys, play board games, do crafts, etc.

At the end of the hour, Little Sissy was doing this.

Man, that child can sit still!

Daddy got home on Sunday, and decided not to bother taking Big Sissy to school on Monday. It’s preschool. No one is putting out any critical information that she can’t catch up on later, since at this age kids don’t pay attention to the things you want them to pick up on, anyway. That’s why they have to hear them 50 million times before they stick.

But the things you don’t want them to pick up on, they only have to hear once. Why is that?

At any rate, a day off was not going to be the end of the world, so we did a snow day, while Mommy was at work.

Big Sissy made her very first snowman that she made all by herself!

Daddy also built a snowman. And since it is not good for the (snow) man to be alone, he took a bit of snow from the snow man’s ribs, as it were, and fashioned a snow woman.

It was love at first sight.

You’ll notice that the snow lady appears pregnant. That’s because when the snow man looked upon her he said “This at last is snow of my snow, and slush of my slush, and she shall be called snow woman, for she was taken out of snow man.”

And therefore they melted into each others arms, and the two became one slush. Which subsequently froze when it got dark and temperatures fell.

But not before the snow man managed to get a little fresh, but not as fresh as the garment of snowflakes they put on.

Little Sissy playing with poor Neville, who was later dropped on the garage floor and shattered. Poor Neville.

Daddy and Big Sissy even managed to play part of a game of Qwirkle will Little Sis was napping.

She plays well enough, until she loses interest.

This is how she likes to read her pieces. Silly Child!

And that’s all for this week, folks. Love you all, God Bless! Pray for us!

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!

May I just say, despite the fact that in all of our Family Friday posts we refer to Mommy and Daddy as Mommy and Daddy, we actually do have identities outside of being parents of two adorable girls and a soon-to-be-adorable whatever. We actually have dates sometimes (how do you think the laundry gets folded?) We call each other by our first names. We send each other little digital love notes…

Inside Joke. Also, not a HIPAA violation, because no patient identifiers.

Mommy is pretty much the best. She teaches the girls all about important things like discipline. Little Sis, at least, takes it to heart…

All her babies are in time out. On separate steps so they don’t interact.

What other Mom provides a fresh canvas for her children…

On her birthday?

That’s right! Mommy is one year older! Happy Birthday!

For her birthday, she wanted a quiet day to stay home and just relax. Daddy obliged by cooking some pork shoulder, and inviting some family and friends to come over and relax with us.

It was a fast weekend, and then Monday happened. And the rest of the week has followed its predictable helter skelter petty pace from day to day to Friday, and hence to this quick recap of our family. We hate to give the impression that we live for the weekends, because we really don’t.

But the truth is we have so little spare time during the week that most of our weekday together time is stuff that doesn’t make good blogging, things like coloring pictures in the hour between supper and bedtime, saying good night prayers, discussing the benefits of sleep and its effects on the growing-big-and-strong-ness of little girls with two little girls who don’t believe a word of it. The Bedtime Routine alone (I capitalized it so you would know it is a BIG DEAL!) never takes less than 45 minutes, and usually more than an hour. And then lunches have to be packed, workout clothes and scrubs set out for the next day, we have to sync our brains and heartbeats as quickly as possible, and then get to sleep on time so that we don’t end up blowing our sleep budget.

All this is the path to Sainthood.

Have a great rest of the weekend, keep us in your prayers. God Bless!