Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Our Week - The One with the First Day of School, a Birthday, the Barbie Movie, and Still More Vertigo

We officially have one week of school under our belts, and the kids had the best first week back!  Normally, I’m (mostly) excited about sending them back (even though it is always bittersweet), but this year, I just wasn’t quite ready.  This vertigo that I’ve been dealing with for five weeks really put a damper on the second half of our summer break, and I feel like we need a redo. 

Obviously, life doesn’t work like that, so I’m working to muster the motivation to get back in the swing of things.  I usually have a crazy long to-do list that I’m excited and motivated to tackle once they go back, but this year, I still have the crazy long to-do list, minus the excitement and motivation.  I did start whittling away at it this week, though, so that’s something, but goodness, I’m ready to have my motivation back. 

And my steady, capable body. 

And my sharp, non-foggy brain.


Anyway, let’s get to the recap!

Monday, August 7

Monday morning was the kids’ first day of school, so we were up bright and early at 6 AM.  Ugggghhhh. 

I still couldn’t drive due to my vertigo/dizziness, so Brian drove us all to the school and we got the kids dropped off.  Both of them weren’t ready for summer to be over, but they were both semi-excited to get back to school, and there was no apprehension whatsoever when it was time to get out of the car.  No first day jitters over here, thank goodness!! 

After we dropped them off, B drove me over to the hospital so I could have my breast ultrasound follow-up.  If you’ve been following long, then you may remember that the doctor found a tumor in my right breast during my routine mammogram and ultrasound back in January.  They did a biopsy and found the tumor to be benign, thank goodness, and the customary practice is that they don’t remove it, so unfortunately, it’ll just stay in there.  They tagged it with a piece of titanium and I now have to have it monitored every six months, which means I’m going twice a year now for breast exams rather than just once a year. 

Thankfully, the checkup went well, and the doctor said everything looks “beautiful” AKA the tumor hasn’t grown or changed any.  Whew.

Once that was done, we headed home, and Brian got to work while I also got to work catching up on all the things.  It did feel good to get back to the to-do lists and being somewhat productive, but it sucks not feeling totally like myself.  This vertigo hasn’t been fun, and it’s definitely been hindering my productivity, so I kept the to-do list fairly short and manageable for Monday.

If you read my recap from last week, then you may remember that I’d had a horrible day on Sunday – tons of dizziness, brain fog, exhaustion, depression, etc. – and I’m pretty sure it was the withdrawals from that muscle relaxer, because Monday morning, I felt worlds better on every front, thank goodness.  The dizziness was still there, but it was much more manageable than it had been on Sunday.

I was thinking I was close to being ready to drive, but I wasn’t 100% comfortable, so my Momma came and picked me up, and then she and I drove to get in the car line to pick up the kids.  They both got in the car raving about their days… they’d both had excellent first days, and they both loved the new cafeteria food.  Our school just implemented a new lunch program that’s included in our tuition, so the kids will eat at school every single day now and we’ll never have to send lunches with them again.  They’re both very picky so I had worried a bit about it, but thankfully, there’s a huge variety of foods each day, and they have been loving it.

The kids both asked for Dairy Queen after school as it’s our first day of school tradition, so my Momma drove us there next, and then we headed home. 

When we got home, I helped Olivia unload all of her new books that needed to be covered, I went over Jacob’s class syllabuses with him and got those signed, and then it was time to start dinner.  I did barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, and honey glazed carrots + blueberry muffins, and we all sat down to an early dinner around 5:45. 

After dinner, I tried to cover one of Olivia’s books, but it made me super dizzy (looking down at anything – working in my planner, doing my Bible study, doodling, etc. – is horrible for my vertigo for some reason, so I can’t do anything like that right now), so Brian took over and covered a couple more of them.

We had a storm roll in Monday evening that provided ample cloud cover and cooled things off tremendously (it was 97 Monday – UGGGGHHHH), so I took advantage, and I went for my second solo walk since all of this vertigo started.  I felt quite dizzy Monday evening, though, even though I took it pretty slow, so that was discouraging, but I made it two miles, so we’ll call it a success.  Aside from not being able to drive, I have missed my evening walks and runs the most throughout this whole ordeal.  It has been awful not being able to get out.

By the time I came in for my walk, the kids were getting showered and ready for bed, so I did the same, and then we watched the rest of America’s Got Talent from last week that we’d never finished.

The kiddos got into bed early, and then B and I started watching The Bachelorette before calling it a night.

Tuesday, August 8

Tuesday morning, Brian got the kids off to school, and I stayed home.  I wasn’t able to ride with him since he had to head straight to work afterward.  I settled in to get some work done after they left and then I had an eye appointment at 9.  The eye doctor isn’t too far from my house, and the roads that I have to take to get there are fairly small and aren’t typically very busy once rush hour is over, so I decided to drive myself.

The drive went well, and I didn’t have any major spinning or anything.  This lingering dizziness makes it kind of hard to focus visually, so that’s not fun, but other than that, it’s not bad driving unless my anxiety gets to me (which has been frequently lately). 

Since things went well on the way to the eye doc, afterward, I decided to swing by Publix on the way home since it’s on my route, and I was able to grab all of the groceries that Brian wasn’t able to get at Walmart on Sunday.  Look at me at the grocery store all by myself for the first time in over a month!  ;o)

The rest of the day was spent working on blog stuff and catching up on house chores.  Since I’d felt good enough in the morning to run errands, I decided I’d try to pick the kids up from school, and that ended up not being the best idea.  The wait from the time I pull in the line to the time the kids get in the car is about 30 minutes, so naturally, in that 30 minutes of waiting, my anxiety kicked in and I got really close to having a panic attack.  By the time the kids got in the car, I was so tense and exhausted that all I wanted to do was lay down.  Because of my dizziness, I’ve been trying to avoid highways, so I’ve been going the backroads, which meant that getting home took 25 minutes instead of the usual 15, and I was just wiped by the time we got home. 

When we got home, the kids got snacks and started playing with the Lego land they’ve been building in the playroom.  Neither of them had homework, so they were just able to relax.  While they did that, I sat down to relax, too, but my phone rang, and it was my ENT doctor updating me about the whole cardiologist thing that had been up in the air after my VNG test the previous week.

When I did my VNG test, the doctor mentioned that she thought I should probably see a cardiologist (but it wasn’t clear why) and she told me that she’d let my ENT doctor decide whether or not I needed to go.  Well, when she sent her notes over to him, she forgot to include that little tidbit in there, and based on the results he saw, he didn’t know why she had told me that. 

So, he was able to get in touch with her and talk to her about it a little bit.  She said that typically, people show a brisk response of dizziness when they turn their whole body to the side, but I was showing more of a response of dizziness when I just turned my head alone and not my whole body.  That can indicate a vascular issue, specifically, a narrowing of the arteries in the back of my neck, so my ENT doctor did agree that I should see a cardiologist to rule that out. 

He said based on my medical history, my age, and my current health, he doesn’t think that’s going to be the case, but he said that it would be wise to check on it.  He said he’s fairly confident that my issue is just a musculoskeletal issue, but I’ll have to have an ultrasound of the arteries in my neck to make sure.  Sigh.

After that update, I called Brian and then my parents to give them the update, and then it was time to start cooking dinner.  Tuesday, I made sausage, peppers, and onions tacos and we had them with tortilla chips. 

We had a big storm roll through just as we got home from school, and the storm cooled things off by, like, 20 degrees, so after dinner, we all went outside.  The kids played with Jacob’s bow and arrow for a bit, and then I got out for another walk alone. 

Walking right now is a huge struggle because I’m so off balance that I have to concentrate really hard.  I also have to walk with my legs a little further apart than I usually do since it helps me keep my balance better, so I’ve started getting weird cramps in my toes and in parts of my legs that I’ve never had issues withs since they’re compensating to keep me upright.

I made it two miles and then I got in a 10-minute arms workout when I got home.  After that, I got showered and ready for bed, and then we all sat down to start America’s Got Talent.  We got the kids in bed on time, and then B and I finished this week’s episode of The Bachelorette.

Wednesday, August 9

Wednesday morning, Brian dropped the kids at school and then I spent the whole morning and afternoon working on blog stuff and getting some things done around the house. 

Since I’d had such a bad experience driving to pick up the kids on Tuesday, I asked my mom to ride with me to pick them up on Wednesday.  That way, I was able to get the practice driving again with this residual dizziness, but I had her as a crutch in case I felt like I couldn’t drive the rest of the way myself.

That worked beautifully, and my anxiety didn’t flare up too much this time since she was there to distract me.  Driving is still odd because it’s visually taxing at this point.  I feel like I’m straining, and I have to concentrate so hard that it’s really exhausting. 

The kids had another great day at school, and for the third day in a row, they were raving about the new cafeteria food.  I have been so pleased at the variety they’ve been choosing every day and I’m hoping that this will help them branch out and maybe learn to like new things in the long run. 

On the way home, we swung by my Mama Cass’s house, and then we dropped my Momma back off at home, and then the kids and I headed home. 

The kids didn’t have homework again, so they played in the playroom and worked on their Lego village they’ve been building, and I got started on dinner – beef and parmesan pasta with zucchini and garlic cheese bread.

After dinner, we all went outside, but it was really too hot to do much, so we ended up sitting on the back porch for a bit.  Thankfully, we ended up getting a nice cloud covering around 7 due to an impending storm, and I was able to get out and walk for the third night in a row without the sun beating down on me.  It was still hot – 92 degrees – but the humidity was low, and it didn’t feel that bad since the sun was covered.

I decided to test things out a little during my walk, and I thought I’d try to jog for a few seconds just to see how it felt.  Shockingly, jogging ended up being easier than walking, and I felt more normal doing that than anything else.  So weird.  When I walk, I still feel like I’m on a boat, so I’m unsteady, and occasionally lose my footing. 

The dizziness is also making me pull to the right when I walk, which is also weird.  It’s hard for me to walk in a straight line… my body always wants to veer off to the right.  That makes it really easy for me to turn a corner to the right, but it’s much harder for me to turn to the left.  So so weird, y’all.

While jogging, I didn’t have the boat unsteady feeling, and therefore, I was able to jog with my legs spaced their normal distance apart.  I did still veer to the right when jogging, though.  But I ended up jogging for maybe a mile, but I spread it all out throughout my walk, and I ended up walking the longest distance I’ve walked yet since all of this started.  Baby steps!

After my walk/jog, we all watched some more of America’s Got Talent, got the kids in the bed, and then I showered and meditated before settling in to watch another episode of The Summer I Turned Pretty with B.

Thursday, August 10

Thursday, Brian dropped the kids at school again, and I got right to work on blog stuff and house chores.  After a quick lunch, I headed out to run some errands.  I decided to attempt to do everything alone Thursday since I was feeling decent enough.  The ever-present dizziness/unsteadiness was still there, but at this point, I can’t let it rule my life.  It had been there for a whole month at that point.  Sheesh. 

First up, I stopped at UPS to drop off some Amazon returns and then I stopped by Target to do a bunch of returns as well.  Next up, was an appointment with my therapist, and then I jumped in the school pickup line to grab the kids before heading to their music lessons.

Music lessons were at 4 last year, so we had a good bit of cushion to get there on time, but this year, we moved them to 3:30, so we’re going to be cutting it close for the first few weeks until the car line process smooths out.

Fortunately, we made it right on time Thursday, and Jacob had his piano lesson while Olivia had her voice lesson.  Unfortunately, we’d forgotten to put Jacob’s piano book back in the car, so they had to improvise with another book that his teacher had, but it all worked out.  Getting back in the groove after relaxing all summer is tough!

After music lessons, we headed home, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that I’d made it through all of that driving and all of those errands.  That’s the most I’ve done alone in over a month, so it felt good to be independent again… also exhausting, though, with this lingering dizziness. 

When we got home, the kids got their school stuff unpacked and they tidied up a bit, and then I let them have a few minutes of computer time since they didn’t have homework.  It was way too hot to even think about going outside.  The heat these last few weeks has been brutal.  Instead, the kids kept themselves busy making things out of string.  Jacob taught Olivia how to do Jacob's Ladder.  Anybody else do those when they were kids?!  I know I did!

Once B texted and said he was on his way home from work, I got breakfast for dinner started – eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, and toast – and B did the eggs when he got home.  His eggs are always better than mine!

After dinner, I finished vacuuming the house.  I’d wanted to get the whole house done while the kids were at school, but the vacuum got clogged, so I had to wait until B could fix it. 

After that was done, I headed out for another walk/jog, and I was able to jog even more Thursday than I did on Wednesday, so I had a slightly faster pace, too. 

When I got home, we watched some more of America’s Got Talent before getting the kids in bed, and then I meditated, showered, got in my PJs, and then joined Brian downstairs to watch a little bit of Manifest before calling it a night.  That show has just gone way off the deep end, by the way, and we’re only finishing it to get closure since we’ve come this far. 

Friday, August 11

Friday morning, Brian took the kids to school and then he came back home to work for the day.  I had a to-do list a mile-long on Friday (some tasks weren’t even on the list below), so I got started right when they left the house at 7:15. 

Since I’ve had this vertigo/dizziness for over a month now, I’ve been neglecting anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, so I’m in desperate need of a haircut and highlights, Maui is in desperate need of a grooming appointment, and my Telluride has been needing to be serviced for a while, too.  We’ve barely been driving it, though, so I haven’t made that a priority.  So I made all of those appointments and tackled a bunch of other tasks that have been needing attention.

I felt well enough to pick up the kids on my own again on Friday other than some lingering anxiety, and on the way, I stopped to pick up a pair of trial contacts from my eye doctor, and I stopped at the library to drop off some books and pick up one.

The car line was long by the time I got there, and there was a storm brewing, but thankfully, we made it home before the rain got too hard.  When we got home, the kids unloaded their backpacks, tidied up a couple of things, grabbed some snacks, and then I let them play video games for a bit since it was Friday.

We met my FIL, SIL, BIL and nephews for pizza Friday evening to celebrate my FIL’s birthday, and then we went back over to his house for Dairy Queen ice cream cake.

When we got home, we watched a little bit of America’s Got Talent, and then we got the kids in the bed.  B and I watched the newest episode of The Summer I Turned Pretty and then I fell asleep on the couch while he watched something else.

Saturday, August 12

Saturday morning, we did all of our usual things – homemade waffles for breakfast, cartoons and then laundry for the kids, a mixed cardio workout and some house cleaning for me, and mowing the lawn for B.  I was also able to do a Bible study for the first time in a couple of weeks.  Reading and writing and drawing has been one of my main triggers for my vertigo, so I’ve been having to take it reeeeally easy with that.

After lunch, I sat and read for a while because I wanted to get my book done so I could start the library hold I’d picked up.  Then I did some work in my office for a bit.  It was 84,000 degrees outside, so we all stayed inside.

We went to 5:30 Mass per usual, and then we went to our favorite local pub down the street from church with our usual group.  I’ve had people ask me why we go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday, and the answer is – because I’ve been doing that my whole life and I’ve always enjoyed it.

We are Catholic, and many Catholic churches offer a Saturday evening Mass in addition to the traditional Sunday Masses.  I grew up attending 5:30 Mass on Saturday, and then my whole extended family would go out to dinner afterward, and then go back to my Mama Cass and Big Daddy’s house after that to hang out. 

Since we’re able to go to church on Saturday evening, that means that on Sunday morning, we’re able to sleep in, take things slow, and relax.  I typically watch another sermon online on Sunday morning, and I also use Sunday mornings to do yoga, Bible study, and get my planner ready for the week ahead so I can get the week started on the right foot.  So anyway, we do have that option at our church, and we enjoy going on Saturdays because that’s when my whole extended family attends, so that’s why we do it.  ;o)

After church and dinner, we came home and finished America’s Got Talent with the kids, and then B and I watched an episode of the new season of Only Murders in the Building before calling it a night.


Sunday, August 13

Sunday morning, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and then we did our usual Sunday things – hot tea, planner prep for the week ahead, yoga, and an online sermon.  My mother-in-law and step-father-in-law didn’t cook Sunday lunch, so instead, the four of us tried the new Culver’s in town.  We don’t have those in this area, so we’d never eaten there before, and we’d been wanting to try it. 

After that, we headed to the movie theater in our pink to see Barbie.  Y’all.  I loved that movie soooo much.  Obviously, it appears to be very shallow and silly, but there was such a great message woven in the middle of it.  It was laugh-out-loud funny on multiple occasions, and I also teared up a few times.  That monologue that America Ferrera does towards the end about being a woman (I’m sure by now most of you have seen it, read snippets of it, or heard about it) made me feel SO SEEN. 

I loved every single second of it, and I want to go see it again!  And for those of you wondering, Brian and I thought that the movie was totally appropriate for Jacob and Olivia (ages 12 and 9).  There were a couple of parts that were mildly cringe-y, but one of them went right over their heads and the other wasn’t that big of a deal.  I would say that it is a very mild PG-13 that could almost pass for PG. 

It also opened the door for some good conversations about the patriarchy, women’s rights, and men’s and women’s roles in today’s society.  All four of us loved it, and Olivia declared it her favorite movie of all-time.

When we got home, it was time to get things prepped and ready for Monday, and I did some work in my office while the kids played video games.  We wrapped up the evening at my parents’ house.  Momma cooked stir fry with rice and chicken and loads of veggies, and then we had butterscotch bars for dessert. 

The kids spent some time in my dad’s studio with him, and it made me so happy.  I spent many hours with him when I was little, and I have the fondest memories sitting at his drawing board or easel painting or watching him paint.  I’ve mentioned this many times here on the blog, but for those of you who are new, my dad is an artist.  He did that for his entire professional career and he’s incredibly talented.  He’s retired now, but he still paints for fun, and he also does commissions for people.

When we got home, Brian and I watched an episode of Only Murders in the Building, and then we called it a night.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!


  1. Your descriptions are bringing back so many memories of my vertigo. I still have times when I move my neck a certain way and then get really off balance. Rain and storms also cause it to flair with the barometric pressure changing - so weird. I also felt like I was veering to one side when walking or running and still do sometimes when I am walking. There is such a tightness in my shoulders, neck and upper back at certain times. I think you need massage and stretches and then need to be conscious of your posture and not carrying too much weight on one shoulder.

    1. Oh man, I hate that you still have some lingering issues from yours. I'm worried that may happen to me, too. That's so crazy that you felt like you were veering off to the side, too! That actually makes me feel even more confident that mine is a neck issue since yours was a neck issue, too. It sounds like our experiences have been very similar!

  2. I forget - did they make you get an MRI? Reading the above comment seems like you're not alone at least!

  3. So sorry to hear you're still not 100% but yay for being able to get back to some driving and running errands and a bit or normalcy. I love that the kids are loving their new lunch program. It sounds like they are both at such good ages to really enjoy school and not having any first day anxiety is HUGE!

    1. Yes, we were so grateful for no first day anxiety! There was nothing but excitement!

  4. I'm glad the vertigo is better and you can do more, but I am still praying it will go away after you go to PT and have the needling done, etc. Yay for the first day of school! Mine will BOTH be back tomorrow and I think I am just going to enjoy a nice day of relaxation. Then next week I'll be making all the lists like you! Ha ha!!!



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