Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Life

When we were selling the rest of our livestock, Mary-Kate shed some tears about selling off the few calves that were left, especially the ones that had been born since the fire. So her father (the man with the marshmallow center) decided to keep those six calves and a nurse cow. Yesterday the nurse cow had a calf. Mary-Kate has been in her element since then. She has been taking good care of the calf. Teaching it how to drink and checking to make sure it is warm enough. She has even milked the cow by hand to make sure that she was all milked out. I don't know what she is going to do on Monday when she has to go to school. Never has a calf had such good care. Is this what kind of mother she is going to be?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mary-Kate's Hair

Mary-Kate recently decided that she wanted to get her hair highlighted. So we took a trip to the salon and told Jen what she wanted and left Mary-Kate in her capable hands. One hour later there she was with hair that was lighter (slightly) and beautifully coiffed.

Now, if you are a Kraeger male you ask why get your hair highlighted and why mess with the color that Godgave you in the first place anyway? How about because she wants to? Because she wants to see what it would look like.
Will she do it again? I don't know but if she wants to it's all right with me. I think that soon she will out grow the bother and the smell soon enough. In the mean time I think that she looks lovely and she chose her color wisely.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Save A Turkey Eat Mashed Potatoes

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mary-Kate's First Report Card

Tonight was open house at Holy Cross Academy. Doug went to talk with Mary-Kate's teachers and to pick-up her first report card. Across the board we hear that she is a pleasure to have in class. Are we surprised?
Her grades are as follows: Religion 98
Engligh 90
Government & Economics 95
Math 88
Art 97
Choir 95
Average 93

Hows that for our girl? We are very proud of her.

A Saint Story Worth Reading

This came from the blogsite of a friend. I have read it over and over and still get emotional. This is truly a beautiful story and a saint worth knowing about. God bless this little family.

My wife Jennifer and I have two healthy, active boys: Jacob, six, and John Paul, three.In July 2006, when we learned that we had another child, we were excited and thoughtwe knew exactly what to expect. However, at 13 weeks our obstetrician had difficultydetecting the baby’s heartbeat, so we had a sonogram. When Jennifer saw our gorgeous,tiny baby kicking away, all seemed fine.As the day for our routine sonogram approached at 20 weeks, we considered ourappointment as a fun family outing for our sons. Just in case something went wrongbeforehand, we hadn’t told our boys about the baby yet. Then, on the morning of thisparticular sonogram, we happily told them that we’d have a new baby in the family andwe were going to see the baby’s image.Jennifer had been told that the odds of something being wrong were less than onein 1,400—so we were confident that everything would be fine. Yet after just a fewmoments of the perinatologist’s observations, our excitement faded because she lookedfrantic. Consequently, we felt numb.Our baby was missing kidneys— they had never developed and, subsequently, the baby wasn’tgenerating amniotic fluid. A lack of amniotic fluid also prevents a baby’s lungs from developing properly. Allthis meant that our baby wouldn’t be able to survive after birth.While nothing could save our baby, we wanted to know about the baby’s condition and what to expectduring pregnancy, so we decided to have a chorionic villus sampling. It’s similar to an amniocentesis, butdone when there is an absence of amniotic fluid. It took three weeks for us to receive the results and theycame back as “normal,” which meant that a chromosomal abnormality could not be detected. Ourbaby’s missing kidneys were best explained as a developmental fluke.It’s called bilateral renal agenesis, also known as Potter’s Syndrome. We also found out that this babywas our very first little girl.Saintly namesConsidering our very special daughter, whom we needed to guard and care for during hershort life, we readily agreed to name her “Gianna Marie.” The first part of her name waschosen in honor of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla; a wife, mother and doctor from Italy who served Godby treating children, the elderly and the poor. While Dr. Molla was expecting her fourth child, she wasdiagnosed with an ovarian cyst and urged by her own doctor to have an abortion. However, she rejectedboth the abortion and cancer treatment in order to save her unborn child. On April 28, 1962—just oneweek after the birth of her daughter—Dr. Molla died, but her baby grew up to be a pro-life physician.So her life story strengthened and inspired our faith. We chose the name Marie tohonor the Blessed Mother, who is the best model for accepting the heartbreak of a child’s suffering and death.The dignity of lifeBabies with our Gianna’s condition usually develop to term because they have everything they need inutero. But because she had no chance of surviving more than two hours after birth, doctors immediatelyoffered to “terminate the pregnancy.” We were told that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of parents inour situation choose abortion.We are Catholics. Therefore, we uphold the principle that all human lives—from conceptionuntil natural death—deserve to be treated with dignity and we rejected abortion. Inducing labor earlyalso would’ve been a form of euthanizing our baby. If we were told that one of our sons wasn’t expectedto live beyond the next five months, we certainly wouldn’t wish to end his life early.Emotionally, however, we desperately wanted everything about this experience—including thepregnancy—to be over, but we also knew that we couldn’t become moral relativists simply to ease ouremotional pain. Sometimes the right thing is the hardest to do, although with time and healing, welearn that it brings many blessings. We knew we would carry our baby girl to term and do our best to celebrateevery moment of her precious life, even though the vast majority of it would be in the womb.Part of the familyThis was the most trying challenge we ever faced and so our prayer was for God’s will to be carried outthrough Gianna’s precious life. We prayed that we would joyfully and gratefully carry the cross of ourbaby’s death. After all, Jennifer and I believe our children are gifts to us on loan from God and that itis our job to nurture and inspire them, to protect their eternal souls.I wanted to make sure Gianna would be exposed to some of the experiences that make our familyspecial. When some friends wanted to hold a prayer vigil for Gianna, I requested Saint Joseph’s Chapel inSaint Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, Kansas. It is one of my favorite places because Saint Joseph is thepatron of fathers. On the night of the vigil, our friends packed the chapel and the support was overwhelming.Before we knew Gianna’s diagnosis, we had visited my parents who still live in my childhood home and we visited the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. Thus, I am glad that she was near the places and people who I love.When I explained to Jacob that Gianna would not come home with us after she was born, he asked, “Can I hug and kiss Mommy’s tummy like I did when John Paul was in there?”We talked to Gianna often. Because it’s important for little girls to know that their fathers are strong, every day I told Gianna that I loved her. Then I added, “Your father is a very handsome man.”Sacrifice and sanctityJennifer sent an e-mail prayer request to friends, family and members of our parish mothers’ group.We asked primarily for prayers, but also for guidance from anyone who had experienced infant loss. Thanksto the internet, our prayer request literally went all over the world.As a result, we received many cards and packages. During the pregnancy, we received the relicsof five saints from people we didn’t know. We also heard from many loving couples who had experiencedinfant loss and they offered consolation and hope.Among the blessings we that received, the members of over 20 religious communities prayed for us and three archbishops offered Mass for Gianna.Many of our friends made personal sacrifices.The most profound sacrifice we knew about came from our friend Megan, who, after hearing ofour situation, learned that her preborn baby of 20 weeks no longer had a heartbeat. Megan offered upher four-day labor and the difficult delivery of her stillborn son, Collin, for Gianna and our family. Today,the bodies of Collin and Gianna rest next to one another at the Infant of Prague section of ResurrectionCemetery in Lenexa, Kansas.Christians of many denominations joined us in prayer. We asked people to join us in praying a novena.To our surprise, two Buddhists and several inmates at Leavenworth State Prison prayed it. At aparish event, Jennifer introduced herself to another pregnant woman who smiled and said, “Oh, I knowyou! We’re praying the novena for you!” Knowing that so many people were praying for us—from cloisteredCarmelite nuns to prisoners to strangers in my parish community—gave us amazing peace and strength.Return to the FatherOn Jacob’s sixth birthday, March 5, 2007, Jennifer delivered Baby Gianna. As we saw our beautifuldaughter for the first time, she opened her eyes and looked toward us.Our dear friend, Father Brendan Rolling was outside the delivery room, so he rushed in and baptized her. While reading the Rite of Baptism, his voice cracked. We then brought in our boys to meet their baby sister. I spent the majority of Gianna’s life holding her as I knelt on the floor so Jacob and John Paul could shower her with kisses and even tickle her toes. I have never been more proud of my sons. How appropriate, I thought, forme to be on my knees as I held a pure and innocent eternal soul, soon to be a saint. She and our sons arethe culmination of the love between me and my wife. After 30 minutes, she peacefully drifted from the lovingarms of her earthly father to her heavenly Father. Jennifer and I received Christ in the Holy Eucharist at nearly the same time Christ was receiving Gianna’s soul. Later we learned that the name “Gianna” means “God’s graciousgift.” And indeed she was a very special blessing because, despite our suffering, we feel blessed andhonored to be her parents. My heart still aches because I long to hold her. At Mass, I become especially emotional because Iknow that the angels and saints are present at the consecration of the Eucharist and, for now, this is asnear to her as I can be.I always believed that it’s my job to direct my children to heaven. Now our family is blessed witha heavenly advocate. Daily I ask for her guidance to prepare her brothers for their vocations—andwe are so grateful to still have our little saint in our midst.John Schmidt writes from Olathe, Kansas.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


If you happen to be into the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola check out this website. It looks pretty good.

This and That

This past weekend was a very busy one. Some of us managed to get some things done though.
Mary-Kate spent a lot of time at the sewing machine and finished her skirt. She wore it to church on Sunday morning and she looked very pretty.
Friday she and I went to a scrapbooking workshop. It was a welcome time for us to be together just the two of us (relatively speaking). We got a lot of pages done for our scrapbooks, spent time with some good friends and ate a lot of chocolate. What more can a girl ask for.
Matthew managed to do some sewing too. We haven't figured out exactly what he is making. Poor Doug had to be the model. I guess it's all part and parcel of the father gig. Matthew also got most of a new coat done for himself.
More pictures of the ladies at the scrapbooking workshop. Two great days of time just to be creative.Mrs. Ellen and Grace working on their pages. Many thanks to Mrs. Ellen for arranging the whole get together. We gave her a bottle of wine as a thank you gift.

Sunday afternoon we enjoyed a covered dish supper at church. Attendance was great and the meal was exceptional.
Matthew and Nick vanLieshout got a chance to catch up on their news.

Anthony vanLieshout did some posing for me. What a ham that little guy is.
It was good to see both of the good doctors sitting and enjoying themselves for a change.
Mr. Collins in a rare moment when he is not picking on one of the kids. Poor little Luke looks like he is in need of a nap.
Becky and Kimberly enjoying themselves together. Becky gets prettier by the day.
The time together is too rare. Thanks to all who cooked and provided such a good time at the dinner. We should do that once a month.

Thanks a lot Mrs. Collins

Thanks to you Mrs. Collins I am donating grains of rice in my sleep. That link that you posted is truly addictive. I posted it on my Xanga site. Can't wait to see what Ryan thinks of it.

Dear family, test your vocabulary try it's a really cool web site.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Visiting With Friends

Today Matthew and I went to visit with our friends Joann, Mark, Grace, Luke, and Kim.

We chatted about many things and the children showed us how well they behaved when company comes. They shared their toys with us. We had a very good time playing with the little people and the rubberband gun and the play kitchen. I think that we were so well behaved that they will let us come to play again. We even picked up our toys when we were done.
What do you say guys?
Thank you to the Collins for sharing your toys with us and showing us such a good time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Selling a Load of Hay

Yesterday morning a dealer came and we loaded a tractor trailer load of hay. Doug and Matthew were on the wagon sending the bales up the elevator to the truck.
Ian and the men who were buying the hay were on the truck stacking the hay as it came off the elevator.
All together we sold 16 tons of hay. Not bad for a few hours of work in the morning. Lupus just stayed in the hay by the elevator and watched everyone work.
After they were done Doug went to Ferris Industries for a re-interview. They hired him for a job starting on Monday. This is a three month contract. If her works out he will have a permanent job. Thank you all for your prayers on his behalf. Thanks be to God that he finally has a job.

Happy Halloween

Halloween night we had a visit from this little princess. She came to the door and sang us a little song. How could I resist giving her a big treat. She gave Matthew such a big hug I had to give her and even bigger treat.
Looks like our Elizabeth is getting big.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


For those of you who don't know of Ryan's blog sight, I recently downloaded the following book review. I thought it might be of interest to many in the family.

His Dark Materials
I just heard that New Line Cinema is making a children's movie entitled, "The Golden Compass," based upon the first book (of the same name) in Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy, "His Dark Materials."
I read the books several years ago, with mixed feelings. Mostly, I suppose, I regret the fact that so great an author, undeniably one of the most talented writers of fantasy I know of, should ruin everything by his lousy philosphy.
First, to do justice to him, I will say I enjoyed the stories. They were incredibly well written with believable characters and a gripping plot. The story follows an orphan girl named Lyra, who mistakenly comes into posession of a golden device resembling a compass that tracks collections of "dust" which Pullman identifies as the "ether" of ancient alchemy and the "dark matter" of modern quantum physics. She embarks on a quest to the north, with the aid of her "compass" and her daemon (a familiar spirit which, in Pullman's world, is an external manifestation of personality traits, not to be confused with demons except by an accidental similarity of sound.) Through this journey she is resisted by a corrupted version of the Roman Catholic Magisterium, she meets armored polar bears, which I thought were among one of the better touches in the books, and eventually finds out that her uncle is using a horrible technology to open a gateway to another universe. The second book, "The Subtle Knife", I think one of the best titles ever come up with, continues the story, and it is finished in "The Amber Spyglass."
The book has its merits from an artistic point of view. I don't even have a problem with his multiple realities theory. A fairy tale is about where that theory belongs anyway. The problem that I have is his explicit, constant, underlying hatred of God, and all religion, particularly Catholicism. The angels just happened to come into being by some sort of cosmic evolution. God is simply the first angel who pretended to all the other angels that he created them and forced some of them to worship him. Satan is the good guy who saw through the hoax and insisted on democracy and equality in heaven. Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular are corrupt, power hungry, murderous beaurocracies that inflict unspeakable tortures on those who will not embrace their philosophies. Lest you think it is all just a harmless fantasy, according to the wikipedia article concerning the movies "the Catholic League has called for a boycott of the film. They believe that while the religious elements of the film will be "watered down" from the source novels, it will still encourage children to read the series, which League president William A. Donohue says "denigrates Christianity" and promotes "atheism for kids", citing author Pullman as saying that he is "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."
I don't know if Pullman actually said that. It would not surprise me in the least if he had.
1) these are not children's books. The subject matter is too dark and bloody and there is no clear line between good and evil.
2) They are anti-God books. The grand scope only serves to hide the agenda. In another age they would have been scorned out of existence. In this age of ignorance they are easily clever enough to be seductive. His philosphy is bad, but well concealed behind the story. Even if it was out in the open, he is clever enough to make it sound good to anyone who doesn't have a strong grasp of philosophy themselves.
3) the multiple universe theory, one of the more popular and disreputable scientific theories out there, while definitely fairy tale material, is presented in just such a way as to give it a pseudo-scientific sort of authority that it does not deserve.
4) New Line Cinema, in an attempt to avoid a backlash from religious groups, is watering down the anti-Catholic aspects of the book. I do not think this changes the essential nature of the problem at all. The philosophy is still the same, and the movie will lead people to the books.
5) Unlike other books which are essentially wrong but which may be enjoyed by adults with strong faith and philosophies for the sake of their very real good qualites, I think "His Dark Materials" is not worth being read by anyone. It is a sublime waste of talent. The only appeal the book has is aesthetic. The rest is all bad.
6) I would recomend that all Christians pray for the conversion of Philip Pullman. He is writer of the highest caliber, one who deserves a better master than the one he currently serves.

I'm Glad It's Only Make-Believe

While visiting friends Mary-Kate and her friend Arie decided to play dress-up. Here is the result.
A little 'ole southern belle right here in central New York.
Isn't the fan a nice touch. Great to hide behind and it has the extra added benefit of being a weapon if her beau gets too frisky.
Her brothers warned her that evening that she could pretend but no guy was ever going to get that close to their sister.