Saturday, September 30, 2023

As a family, we've been all over the area today at various soccer games and tournaments. I went to Inga's, catching a ride with a mom on the team. Zari had a game this morning at the high school, scoring 3 out of the 4 goals and winning 4-0! The matches are broadcast online, so I was able to see her goals afterwards.

I left as Zari was in the middle of her game. Inga's tournament turned into just one game, since they lost 4-1 (Inga scored the one goal with a beautiful header right into the goal). I was sad that they lost but very happy not to be out in the sun any longer. It was so hot and intense that I was feeling dizzy.

Meanwhile Ivy had a game, which Eric and Dio went to. They lost, unfortunately.

After Inga and I got home, she ran upstairs to pack a bag so she could go with her friend/teammate for a sleepover. So we're down one for the night and the house feels eerily quiet. We ate waffles for dinner, plus brussels sprouts because Zari was begging for vegetables. And we watched 3 episodes of Shadow and Bone.

I got a few hours of weeding in, some in the morning and some before dinner. Zari helped for a while as we were clearing out an area with bricks and re-laying the bricks that had come loose.
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Friday, September 29, 2023

Rude awakening

We were woken up at 5:45 am by a phone call. "Helllo, this is your school district. There will be a 2-hour delay."

I peeked out the window to a heavy fog. Hm, okay. A bit of a strange reason to delay school. Zari had just woken up for her early morning practice, so we sent her back to bed and readjusted our alarm clocks. Eric still had to get up to go to work, but I stayed in bed and snoozed on and off until 9 am. It felt glorious.

After my morning exercise, I had meetings and more meetings. That was most of my work day up until it was time to pick Ivy up. It was so gorgeous this afternoon.

I did more weeding and had a chat with our next door neighbor, a man probably in his 70s or above. He is remodeling his kitchen so I got a rundown on his disappearing contractor who just poofed one day a few months ago and has never returned any phone calls since (hmmm, that sounds familiar!).

Zari and I watched Inga's club soccer game this evening, which was at our high school. They usually play 30-60 minutes away, so it was a luxury to only have to drive a few miles. They won 5-0. Inga scored a beautiful goal, which was unfortunately called as off-sides.

When we got back, Eric left to play indoor soccer. The rest of us watched the first two episodes of Shadow and Bone. Re-watched, to be more precise. We had started watching the series a while back and never finished it.

We have a busy soccer day tomorrow, with 4 games in 3 different locations. I'm going to Inga's afternoon tournament. Eric is doing some sort of here-and-there magic to make it to Zari's morning game and Ivy's afternoon game. Poor Dio. What is he going to do all day?
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Thursday, September 28, 2023

With the recent rain, I wanted to do some weeding. However, I needed some sort of waterproof shoe or clog since I don't have any old shoes. Something like a croc sandal--waterproof, holes for drainage, easy to clean. Sounds pretty simple, right? Guess how many stores I had to visit before I found them? Hint: more than 4. Home Depot and Walmart did not have any good matches. I finally found some at a local home & garden store.

One of my stops was at a big thrift store, where I bought two sweaters and three tank tops and a pair of normal shoes. It rang up to around $22 and I had the thought, "oh no, I'm spending too much money!" Being thrifty is in my genes :)

I did some weeding once Ivy was home. Mostly thistles, which are everywhere in one patch of garden. They are so hard to get rid of because the smallest bit of root will regrow. I may need to spot-spray with weed killer as the new sprouts emerge.

Dio had excellent soccer game, playing varsity and JV. He started in the varsity game and played most of the match. Eric was able to watch that one (about an hour away).

Since Eric was gone, I had to make dinner again last-minute so I did homemade macaroni & cheese and corn on the cob. I made a double batch so the kids could pack leftovers for lunch. Not the world's most exciting meal but that's life.

I had a late meeting, ending at 10:40 pm (one of the participants was in Singapore). It's been a long day! I went down after it was done to check on some sourdough that is rising and to help Zari with her math (solving irrational equations).
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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

It's been an interesting mix of activites today. I woke up at 4:30 am, my mind turning in circles. I read and rested but never got back to sleep.

I biked Ivy to school with the BFR bands and got a really nice burn from what's usually an easy ride, except for a bit of a hill at the end. I did some upper and lower body exercises and then called it good.

Some of the breech projects I had going on today were:
  • Finishing our 2nd volume of clinical scenarios (including this photo the kids helped me take today)
  • A peer review of a difficult breech birth, joined by a friendly neonatologist who had offered to consult with us. It was so helpful to have his perspective on what turned out to be an unusual set of circumstances
  • Revising course handouts
  • Finishing a few more videos for our Portuguese version of Breech Pro and adding in various bits of translated course text (titles, headings, explanations, etc)
  • a BWB team meeting where we got a lot of big issues decided on and some interesting/exciting future developments

I rarely do the same thing twice in my line of work!

It's been raining a lot this evening, which I am so grateful for. I will try to get out and do some weeding tomorrow while the soil is soft. I need to find some gardening clogs, though. My flip-flips broke and I don't have any old shoes.

Inga's and Ivy's soccer practicies were cancelled due to rain & lightning. Zari's away game still happened after a 30 minute delay. She didn't play much and she said the field was muddy and slippery. They won 1-0. I picked her up from the high school at 9:30 pm in the middle of a downpour.

I watched "Father of the Bride" with Ivy, Inga, and Dio this evening. It's interesting how slow-paced the movie is, compared to many of today's movies. Also super full of white-nuclear-family-upper-class-ness.
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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


8000 steps (running), 12,000 steps (walking at my desk), upper body BFR workout, 15 minutes of biking, 20 hrs of fasting (you better believe I was watching the clock closely today--I was hungry!)

We had a late-afternoon thunderstorm roll in, which I really appreciated. We've hardly had any rain in the past month+. I haven't been able to pull weeds because the ground is too hard.

I worked on clinical scenario booklets, debriefed an EMS pilot program that we're working on, and ran errands (city building, post office).

Inga had a home game, which Eric was able to go to. Dio's team got a break from practice in order to watch the university soccer team play. Zari had both soccer & play practice.
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Monday, September 25, 2023

Lots of work with no results

Ran 1.8 miles today (half of the time with BFR bands)
Walked another 7+ miles on my treadmill desk
Did leg exercises with my BFR bands (squats, calf raises, high knees, lunges)
Fasted for 20.5 hours

This is a pretty typical day for me, although sometimes I only walk a few miles on my treadmill desk. I probably run 3-4 times on average per week because I am sometimes too tired to run every school morning.

And yet I feel like my body is going haywire (for example, a sudden weight gain over the last 2 months). I have an appointment with my nurse practitioner for an annual physical and I'll see if there's anything we can rule out. Plus it's been a long time since I've checked on things like cholesterol levels and the like.

I had a long, quiet day at home because Ivy had a fitness club after school. Zari barely got back from a soccer game--well, two games. She played in both varsity and JV. It's 9:30 pm and Dio is still not home from his game.

We got our tires aligned today. I hope that solves the strange steering/handling problem we've been having. I don't want to have to replace our tires every 6-8 weeks!
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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Zombie Cup Winner!

Inga has been in a weekend-long soccer tournament, titled the Zombie Cup. No joke! Her team won all four games. I got to go to the final this afternoon, which they won 2-1 (with Inga scoring one goal).

It's been a busy day for me with mostly household tasks. I cooked pancakes for the family before they headed off to church. Then I spent a few quiet hours getting the house in order. I folded a mountain of laundry. I went through our fridge and did a produce inventory. I still had lots of things left from my parents, most of which were still salvageable.

I had to throw out a small bag of broccolini, but with the rest I made a batch of tomatillo salsa (roasted onions, tomatillos, and jalepenos, blended with lime juice and salt). I cut up a bag of leeks and put them in the freezer for later.

I picked through a bowl of cherry tomatoes that I picked at a friend's house yesterday. Some had already gone bad, so I put them in the freezer to save for late-fall planting. I'm going to throw a ton of seeds in one area of my garden and hope I get a bunch of volunteer plants.

Zari and Dio taste-tested the salsa and they loved it. It's so different than canned tomatillo salsa.

Before everyone got home, I started on dinner: butternut squash sage soup. I made a very simple recipe, which was amazing. We have a big sage bush in our landscaping, so at least something was home-grown! I also used homemade chicken broth, which added to the flavor. Here's the recipe:

I had to leave after lunch for Inga's game. It was an hour+ away. I wish we didn't have to drive so much for her soccer, but it's a fantastic team. I chatted with some of the other parents, who I now know by the jersey numbers of their girls!

Dinner got a thumbs-up from everyone. We also had a small salad of cucumbers and croutons, because that's what we had on hand!

I did some late night baking and made a batch of dark chocolate mint cookies to restock for school lunches.

Oh, and I also got a little nap in! After dinner, Eric took the kids to the high school soccer fields for a little practice. I stayed home and accidentally fell asleep while we were reading.

Dio is working on a creative essay for school. Zari and Eric both game him pointers for improving the language and plot. I'm excited to read it!
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Saturday, September 23, 2023

I can't think of a pithy way to summarize my day except to write it out in order, more or less.

Eric and Inga left early in the morning for a soccer tournament. They came back at lunchtime for a few hour's break. Then they left, along with Ivy, for more soccer matches. Inga got a ride back to her next tournament game (about an hour away).

I had the kids do Saturday chores, with various degrees of success. Some of the children still have vacuuming to finish. We hadn't done any big cleaning for a few weeks and it was starting to show. My own tasks were vacuuming the bedroom, upstairs hallway, back staircase, attic staircase, and dining room. Plus cleaning my own toilet and sink. The kids can't accuse me of not doing my share!

I rode my bike over mid-afternoon to watch Ivy's game. They lost 0-3, unfortunately. But it was an idyllic fall day--quite warm, sunny, dry, and crisp. Just perfect.

I had a breech peer review right after dinner that lasted 2 hours, then an hour break (I joined the familiy in the middle of a movie), then a breech live session for well over an hour. It's been quite the day! But I did get a nap in the afternoon.

Eric and Zari are watching a replay of her recent soccer game and talking strategy and technique. I am going to put my pajamas on and get in bed!
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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

It's been hard to get out of bed in the mornings! My body is sore from my new exercises--a good store, but still...And it's totally dark when the alarm goes off.

I had a full work day (encoding German translations and putting them onto the course platform, mostly).

We got a dramatic flat tire while Eric was out at Ivy's soccer practice. Our car has been having issues the the alignment and/or steering and it wore both of our front tires bald in just over a month. I've got to get it fixed! First step, tire store. Then to the mechanic to see what's going on.

Dio had a soccer game and Zari had soccer practice, then play practice. Long day for the kids!
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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The whole family met at the high school to watch Zari's game. I think it's the first time we've all been together, same time, same place, for a game. Zari's team won 3-2 in the 2nd overtime.

Besides that, I was super tired this morning, physically tired, so I biked Ivy to school instead of running with her. I still did my 20 minutes with the BFR bands (running up the stairs for 8 minutes, then upper body, then plank). And of course I walked several miles on my treadmill desk. So not bad even though I skipped out of my morning run.

Ivy had two essays to write this evening so it's 10 pm and she's just getting to bed. Inga is in the shower--very long shower. We need the kids to go to bed soon so we can sleep!
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Monday, September 18, 2023

I ran 2 miles (Ivy school drop-off), did 15-20 minutes of intense exercise with the BFR bands, and then walked a long time on my treadmill desk. I'm ready to rest and sleep!

Ivy enjoyed her after-school fitness club. It's not that regular, maybe 2x/month, but I'm glad she has something fun and social. (Not as if she's lacking in social opportunities!)

Dio and Inga had games today. Eric watched Inga's (2-0), both goals via assists from Inga.

Lunches are packed, the kitchen is mostly clean, the dishwasher is running, and I'm just about to start a load of laundry. Zari is finishing her online Algebra 2 course, due tomorrow. I hope she won't be up terribly late.

Next up...SAT and ACT prep! I need to dredge up what I learned when I was in high school prepping for those exams.
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Sunday, September 17, 2023

So much soccer

3 matches yesterday, 1 match today. Too much even if it's a good thing!

Inga was with a friend much of yesterday to watch a soccer match, then to watch her friend sing in a middle school choir at a "celebration of unity" downtown.

The rest of us went to the unity festival thing yesterday as well. Eric was scheduled to man the "Ask An Immigrant" booth. There were free games, activities, food, etc. And since it's a small town, we ran into a lot of people we knew.

Inga and her friend's family went out to eat afterwards at a nearby Mexican restaurant. Then she had a sleepover and a delicious breakfast this morning. Inga kept raving about how her friend's mom makes these amazing breakfasts. "She is the best mom!"

Well then. I guess I am a "not quite best mom" in that regard. 😂

It's true, we almost never have a cooked breakfast. A) I don't ever eat in the mornings so I really don't like cooking when I can't eat what I'm making and B) there's not enough time on normal mornings.

But to redeem myself slightly, I did cook a big pancake breakfast yeasterday for the friend who was sleeping over.

Zari is finishing an intensive online Algebra 2 course, due on Tuesday. She is a bit behind so this weekend has been filled with math...and me helping her, as much as I can given I haven't studied these things for almost 30 years! I call it "math moral support." Some things came back easily but others I'm scratching my head because it needs some time to sink in again. I mean, there's no way I could write the proof for cos2x = 2cos2x - 1 just off the top of my head, decades later!

A random picture that I found on my phone today...

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Friday, September 15, 2023

BFR bands, sleepovers

I just ordered BFR (blood flow restriction) bands and gave them a quick try this afternoon. Very impressed so far. My legs felt like they would at the end of a long hike, after just a few minutes of squats and running up the stairs. My arms definitely felt worked out after just 3 minutes of bicep curls at relatively low weights. My goal is to do at least 10 minutes of BFR exercise daily--some cardio, some resistance training--on top of my normal routine. The science is really compelling.

Ivy and Inga have a friend over for an impromptu sleepover. I'm so excited to have a morning to sleep in, although with my luck I'll wake up before 7 am anyway 🙂 I told the girls we'd make pancakes tomorrow.

What else was going on today? Eric played soccer at the university. Zari didn't have her 6:30 am practice because her team played so well yesterday. No complaints from her! I've been working on the German translation of Breech Pro, encoding the translated captions into the videos. It brings me back to my high school German classes, where I was "Gitta" (after my German grandmother Brigitta). I'd often sit with one of my friends, whose German classroom name escapes me now. (Sorry! I know your real name just fine 🙂 )

In a turn of fate, his mother is French and little did I know in high school that France would become a big part of my life! I remember hearing him speak French at home and thinking it was really cool and also really incomprehensible.

Well, here's to hoping the girls get some sleep 🙂
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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Soccer mom again

Inga had another game tonight--this time with her club team (very good) rather than her middle school team (not very good). They won 6-2 and Inga scored 2 goals. Ivy came with me again. It was in another town about 30 minutes away.

I've been working on the Portuguese translation of Breech Pro and we are getting much closer to releasing it! We have a team of translators and then I've been taking all their work and putting it all together (encoding the video captions, updating the course site, etc). Next up is German!

Dio also had a game (3-2) as did Zari (2-1). Busy day for all of us!
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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Soccer mom

Eric is normally the one to go to most of the soccer games. But today we had 2 kids, 2 matches, 2 different towns. I went to one (Inga's) and Eric went to the other (Zari's). Inga's was 35 minutes away, and I arrived a few minutes after the game had started. I had just missed a goal that Inga scored!

It turns out that was the only goal; they lost 4-1. She made several other attempts but the goalie caught the ball each time.

Ivy was there playing with a friend. We stopped by Aldi on the way home and spent too much money. I had sticker shock because Aldi used to be significantly less expensive than the local supermarkets for staple items. Now it's not--I'd say prices are no different at Aldi vs. store brands.

I keep mental lists of how much things cost (or did, pre-Covid) and it's way up! Something that was consistently $1 pre-Covid at Aldi is now almost $2.50. It's crazy and I don't think it's all inflation; it's greed and opportunism mixed in with a little inflation. To be fair, it's also not just Aldi--it's everyone.

I wore long pants and a light sweater to Inga's game and appreciated them as the sun started to set. What a change from last week.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

I'm home but I have been busy and tired in the evenings the last two nights. How do the days and weeks go by so fast?

Almost every day at least one child, and often two, has a soccer game. I was hoping to go to Inga's today, but I was in a meeting when Eric had to leave earlier than expected. She scored 4 of the 6 goals!!

Honestly all I want to do is lie in bed and read and sleep. Good night!
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Saturday, September 09, 2023

Last day of teaching

I finished around 1 pm today, probably left the hospital closer to 2 pm by time I cleaned up my Sophie, got everything packed, etc. I visited the Reading Public Museum, which is right next door to the hospital. It had a little bit of everything: natural history, animal specimens, wildlife exhibits, drawings, engravings, modern art, European art, Native American history, South American archaeology, ancient Greek and Egyptian artifacts...

I made a quick grocery store trip for a few more items, then came home for a late lunch around 3:30 pm. I was so hungry by then!

I spoke with Ivy for a while, and then headed back out aruond 5 pm. There was a state park a few miles away, Nolde Forest, so I had a nice hike through the woods. There's an old stone mansion that's now a park building. It was closed today but it would have been fun to tour inside!

Inga had a big tournament today, and they won both games. She scored a few goals! She has two more games tomorrow, and then Ivy has a match. Another busy soccer weekend!
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Friday, September 08, 2023

I am so tired from a full day of teaching: residents at 7 am, then other simulation groups until noon, then a meeting with NICU staff at 1 pm.

I am falling asleep sitting in front of my computer. It's only 8:20 pm so I'm really trying to stay awake a bit longer.

I spoke with almost eveyrone back home. Ivy had a fantastic time at her 5th grade camping trip and didn't want to come back home. They did archery, canoeing, hiking, workshops, movies, camp fires, pillow fights...

My lunch/dinner was leftover Thai green curry, crackers/cheese/salami, mixed berries, chocoate, nuts, and sugar snap peas. A little bit of lots of things! I may need to buy a few more things to eat tomorrow.

Photos & video courtesy of the Reading OBGYN Residents.

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Thursday, September 07, 2023

This US-based couple bought a cheap apartment in France to give their kids a different upbringing

By Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN
Published 5:32 AM EDT, Thu September 7, 2023

Eric and Rixa Freeze bought and renovated two apartments in Nice, France and now split their time between the south of France and the US.

(CNN) — Splashing out an apartment in the south of France and renovating it yourself may sound like a difficult – and hugely expensive – task.

But this couple have managed to do it twice, all while on a relatively tight budget.

Eric Freeze, originally from Canada, and his wife Rixa, from the US, spent several summers in the region as part of a study abroad program when they were in their 20s, and always felt a strong attachment to Nice.

But the pair, who married in 1998, began seriously looking into purchasing a property in the city after having their four children, Zari, 16, Dio, 14, Inga, 12, and Ivy, 10.

In 2014, they asked a realtor to look for a suitable property for the whole family in Old Nice, a historic neighborhood filled with tenements, churches, and squares.

Read the rest of the article here:
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Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Danville PA!

After traveling from 8:30 am - 4:45 pm, I made it to Danville. I'm doing Grand Rounds at Geisinger Medical Center tomorrow, then driving to Reading for a few days of breech training.

Danville is a small, charming river town. I love the older architecture and townhomes common in this area of the country.

Soon after I arrived and dropped by bags off in the hotel room, I drove into town to stretch my legs. I parked on one of the main downtown streets and enjoyed a half price sale at Salvation Army, finding shorts for almost all of the kids for 99 cents each! I wandered around down to the river and through some of the adjoining streets before deciding I was hungry.

I stocked up on yummy snacks--berries, carrots, snap peas, nuts, cheese, crackers, salami. This will get me through the late afternoon until dinnertime. I've started being more consistent with my fasting rhythm. For a while I had a 6-7 hour eating window but I have decided to aim for 4 hours, which means 3-7 pm is my usual eating window. It's not easy those last few hours! I can easily go until noon or 1 pm...not so easily past that. But I'm trying to find something that can be sustainable and also help me acheive my health goals.

Eric went to Inga's soccer game and was a bit frustrated that her team didn't do better. Ivy was SO excited this morning as she gathered her camping supplies and got dropped off.

I have an early start tomorrow. Good night!
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Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Marathon work day

I have this massive to-do list on the back of an envelope, and I have now checked everything but one item off! I even did lots of things that weren't on my to-do list.

Ivy is all packed for her 5th grade camping trip. I'm packing for my next trip--another short one on Danville and Reading, PA.

We made one of our favorite meals tonight: avocado-mango salad with blue cheese, bacon, and toasted pumpkin seeds, with chicken added for extra protein. It's so good! Recipe here:

Most of the family came home late tonight from soccer games (Zari, Dio, and Eric) and soccer practices (Inga). They were all super sweaty and stinky, so that means showering and laundry before they can go to bed.
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Monday, September 04, 2023

Labor Day

Our holiday started with Dio riding his bike to an early morning soccer practice and Eric riding his bike to work. Not much sleeping in for them!

I let the girls sleep until 9 am. Well, Ivy was already up but I had to rouse Inga and Zari.

We didn't do anything holiday-ish, sadly. In the afternoon, Ivy worked on her tree identification project by labeling all of the leaves we had collected. Inga got inspired to learn how to crochet, so we headed to the store to buy her a skein of yarn. She made a little potholder--not bad for her first try!

Inga also is interested in writing a song, so I tuned Eric's guitar and printed off pictures of common guitar chords. She has an idea of a melody in her head and a verse or two written down.

It was too hot to do much outside. Once the sun was setting, Eric and I went on a walk.

Ivy has to pack for a big 5th grade camping trip this week. No worries about being too cold at night!
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Sunday, September 03, 2023

I had a few hours of breech meetings mid-day. A bit exceptional for a Sunday but sometimes we have to schedule things on odd days.

We all went to the indoor track and played 3 on 3 soccer. I was defintiely the weakest link, with my soccer training being when I was in kindergarten or 1st grade rec league. Ah well.

We watched a fantastic movie after dinner called Polite Society. It's Bollywood crossed with comedic action and was so delightful.

We have zero holiday plans for tomorrow. Maybe I'll text some friends to see if they want to send their kids over to play...most of the kids still have soccer practices so that cuts into our free time, plus Eric still has to work. No Labor Day holiday at this university!
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Saturday, September 02, 2023

Yard work, soccer...just another Saturday

I did a few hours of weeding and transplanting. The soil is dry and hard, so I had to soak the areas before I could do anything. I'm eager for a good rainstorm!

It got really hot really fast today--when I opened the windows in the morning, it was very cool. But by early afternoon, I was running around the house shutting them all!

Eric was gone all afternoon at Dio's soccer game. He played both varsity and JV and scored twice during the JV game--one on purpose and once an accidental header into his own goal.

We made a big fire today to burn yard waste and, bonus, make Smores. I used a sevearal my parent's vegetables to make a meatloaf Wellington (grated vegetables of all sorts mixed with ground beef, herbs, and a few eggs, then wrapped in pastry). We've also been eating loads of fresh tomatoes. It's a race against time before they go bad.

I just came out of Ivy's room--it's almost 10:30 and she's not feeling well (sore throat, stuffy nose) and is having trouble falling sleep. She's been feeling mildly unwell all week and is worried about not sleeping well tonight. I reassured her that she can stay home from church tomorrow if she's still feeling unwell and that we can snuggle in my bed and nap as much as she wants.
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