Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Our Week - The One with Summer, Week 6 (Fourth of July Parties, a Museum Visit, and Tons of House Projects)

Last week was equal parts fun and productive, and it was a really great one!  This post is going to be long so let’s get straight to the recap! 

Monday, July 1

Monday morning, I was up at 7:30, and I headed downstairs in my PJs to get breakfast, unload the dishwasher, water the plants, and do all of my morning chores.  After that, I headed to my office to catch up on some blog reading and work on a blog post.

Once the kids were up, I started some laundry, and I knocked out three loads.  Jacob finished his summer homework Monday morning so that was a huge accomplishment!  He’d finished his math packet the previous week, and he’d made it through the majority of his book, too, and then Monday morning he finished his book, so he’s officially done. 

If you’re looking for something engaging for your middle schooler, Jacob LOVED The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  He has literally never read a book so fast.  Neither of my kids love to read (which is just crazy to me), but if they find the right book, they won’t put it down.  The challenge is finding said right book.  And Jacob literally read this one nonstop for a few days because he loved it so much.  I didn’t even have to remind him to read.  He just picked it up randomly throughout the day, which is awesome. 

Olivia worked on some IXL math summer homework later in the morning, and while she did that, Jacob finished cleaning out his email inbox for school.  I had helped him get it started the previous week – giving him direction on how to create folders and explaining to him what’s important to file and save and what’s not necessary to keep – and then I told him he was on his own from there. 

We all had lunch together after that, and then the kids had some screen time early on because we had music lesson makeups at 3. 

When we were ready to leave, I tried to crank my car (I have a Kia Telluride which I adore) and all of the electronics would come on, but the engine wouldn’t start, and instead there was just a clicking noise.  The weirdest part was that when I pushed the button to turn the car off, it wouldn’t turn off.

Thankfully, Brian was working from home, so we were able to take his car to music.  While we were gone, he tried to figure out what was going on with mine, and he was able to get it to turn off by putting the car in reverse and then back in park and then pushing the button again. 

After that, he pushed the button again to start it and he said it cranked right up.  But then when he did it a third time, it just did the clicking thing again and wouldn’t shut off.  Sigh.

Meanwhile, at music, I chatted with Steve for a bit.  He told us that he’d told Jacob’s old piano teacher that we’d be there Monday for makeup lessons in case he wanted to swing by and grab his care package while we were there, but he didn’t make it.  The kids had hoped to see him, but it didn’t work out.

After music, we headed home, and I tried to start my car again and it did the same thing – all of the electronics turned on, but the engine wouldn’t start, although it did sound like it was trying to crank.  I had to put it in reverse and then park again before it would let me turn it off.  My guess is that it’s the starter.  I don’t think it’s a battery problem since all of the electronics turn on, and the clicking sound makes me think – starter.

At that point, I knew something was definitely wrong, so I called Kia.  Unfortunately, they told me that their next available appointment wasn’t until MID-AUGUST OMG so we would have to wait.  We have to have all of our maintenance done at the dealership in order to get our free tires for life, so we weren’t sure what to do.  The girl at Kia did tell me that if we had it towed in, then they would make it a priority and they’d work it in around the already scheduled appointments, so that’s what we decided to do.  She did warn me that it could still take 1-2 weeks to work us in, but that’s way better than six weeks.  Gosh.

They had a tow company that they recommended so I called right away and talked to the nicest guy.  It turned out that it was his private business, and he was fantastic.  He came right away to pick it up and he even hopped in the car to try to start the car so he could see what it was doing.  He advised that he thought it was the starter, too, and thankfully, he was able to get the engine started so he could get it out of the garage which made it much easier to get on the tow truck.  It would have been a challenge for him to get it out of the garage, I’m sure.

After that, he and I chatted for a few minutes before he left, and he reminded me to send the invoice to insurance so we could possibly be reimbursed.  His price was extremely fair (we were shocked at how inexpensive it was) and since he does all of the towing for our local Kia dealership, he knew exactly what to do when he got there.  He also texted me to let me know that it was there safe and sound once he’d dropped it off.  So local friends, if you ever need a good tow company let me know and I’ll send you his contact information.  He was so great – so kind, so quick, so helpful, and so inexpensive!

Once my vehicle arrived at Kia, they called me from the dealership and told me that they had it, and they went over all of the detailed notes I’d given them when I’d called the first time.  They confirmed again that they’d get me worked in as soon as possible, but that it could still be 1-2 weeks before they can even look at it.  SIGH.

After all of that fun, I got my Bible study done, and then we had ranch chicken pasta that had been simmering in the slow cooker all day, along with steamed broccoli, and garlic cheese bread.

After dinner, I went for a run in the 94 degree weather (that felt like 100 due to the humidity) and I was struggling by the time I got home.  My body is pretty conditioned to running in the hot temps, but that evening, I felt yucky when I got home, and I was worried I had heat exhaustion.  Thankfully, all was well, but it took me forever to cool down, and then I even took a cool shower which I NEVER do.

After that, we all hung out until the kids went to bed, and then Brian watched a soccer game while I got some work done on my phone.  Later that night, I went to check on the kids as I always do, and I had to snap pictures of Olivia's fort.  Her room is a nightmare right now, but it looks so sweet and festive at night.  Haha.


Tuesday, July 2

Tuesday, we had nowhere to be, so Brian took his car to work, and the kids and I were without a vehicle all day.  I got up at 7:30, did all of my morning things, and then Olivia and I sent some happy mail.  She sent a letter and a bracelet she’d made to her beach friend, Evelyn, and I sent a card to a friend. 

After that, I got some more laundry started, and then I started whittling away at the pile in my office closet.  I’d purchased a few items over the last few months that I hadn’t had time to open/put together/set up, and I’ve been trying to get everything in its place.  One thing I hadn’t opened was my special edition Taylor Swift TTPD CD.  I obviously do all of my listening on my phone, so there was no hurry to open the CD, and part of me had considered leaving it sealed forever in case it’s worth something one day.  Where’s the fun in that, though?!

So, I called Olivia in, and we opened it together.  I couldn’t believe how much stuff was in there and how nice it all was!  My girl, Tay, definitely doesn’t do anything halfway!

After that, Jacob and Olivia spent an hour outside because it was finally not 100 degrees.  It was 80 and gloomy, so it was nice.  We are getting sick of 100 degrees and sunny over here since that’s pretty much all we’ve had all summer break.

We all had lunch together, and then Olivia got started on some more IXL summer homework.  While she did that, I got started on more projects that I’ve been needing to do forever – I photographed a bunch of clothes and listed them on our local Facebook page, I filed a bunch of stuff that needed to be put away, I got all of Olivia’s old recital DVDs together and put them in Brian’s office so he can clip her performances and save them as smaller video files, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon rounding up photos that I need to develop and getting them edited.  All with a little help from my sleepy sidekick.  ;o)

When Brian got home, I worked on tidying a few things downstairs, and then we had turkey and cheese biscuit sliders and fruit for dinner.  I got in my Bible study after dinner, and then I did a stair stepper workout. 

Olivia was supposed to have had a friend spend the night Tuesday night, but they ended up canceling, so she was pretty disappointed.  Instead, we watched America’s Got Talent, and then Brian and I watched the last episode of season four of Trying.


Wednesday, July 3

Wednesday morning, I was up at 7:30 again, and I did all of my morning things and then went to catch up on some blog reading and blog work afterward.  I also took some time to do some housekeeping things for the blog that have been on my list for MONTHS, so that felt great.  And I called my doctor to renew one of my prescriptions.  The kids got up shortly after I did, and they got their breakfast and watched cartoons for an hour or so. 

After that, Jacob worked on some magic tricks while Olivia made bracelets and did some other random crafting, and I got showered and ready for the day.  Here's a little box Olivia made from paper.


Brian got off at noon for The Fourth, and we all ate lunch together.  After lunch, he worked on extracting and clipping Olivia’s recital DVDs and then he headed outside to mow the lawn and get the porch cleaned off for our party Thursday.  I headed to my office to get more stuff done, and boy did I get so much stuff done!

I finally had the chance to sit down and go through my yearly goals to see how much I’ve done and how much I still need to work on and I got all of the rest of the pictures edited and placed my order for photo prints.  We haven’t updated all of the frames in the house nor have I updated the kids’ keepsake boxes in years so that was a huge win!

I also noticed that our Amazon Photos Drive had been reformatted to the old (GOOD) version, so I was finally able to get our photos and videos organized in there properly… man, that felt so good!  It was driving me absolutely NUTS having an extra weird folder for all of the new uploads after they changed how the Drive worked.  Not to mention, I wasn’t able to go back and add anything to the old folders I’d added before the change, so I was thrilled they’d given us that functionality again.  I also uploaded all of my pictures and videos from March 2024 to my external hard drives and Amazon Drive.  I still have to do April, May, and June, but that’s not bad considering I was almost two years behind earlier this year.

Needless to say, it was a SUPER productive day.

I still didn’t hear from Kia about my Telluride on Wednesday, but that was to be expected, I guess.  Sigh.

Wednesday was the first day that I didn’t cough constantly throughout the day, but then, later in the evening, my congestion ramped way up again, and it was bad all night.  I swear, this is the never-ending sickness.

Wednesday afternoon, I made a grocery list for all the things we needed for our party, and then Brian and I made breakfast for dinner. 

After dinner, we were going to go outside, but we had a random band of rain come through, so instead, I headed to my closet to finally get my leggings organizer hung up and organized.  I realized I had no place to hang it, so I tried moving some stuff around in my closet with no luck, and I ended up buying a few vertical hanging racks for all of my shorts and skirts as they were wasting a lot of precious vertical space.  If you give a mouse a cookie… haha.

I shared the outcome on Instagram stories yesterday, but I’ll be sure to share the final outcome on the blog, too, when I do a house projects recap.  This was another project that was long overdue.

After that, Brian went to Walmart to grab everything we needed for The Fourth (bless him because I sure hate going, especially in the afternoon/evening when it’s busy), and the kids and I took Maui for a walk around the neighborhood because the rain had stopped.  It had cooled a few degrees, but it was still 89 and SO humid.  When we got back, the kids started to shower, and I ran for another mile or so by myself so I could get in a decent workout.  It is slow going with Maui these days.

When I got home, I showered and got ready for bed, and then we finished America’s Got Talent with the kids.  Then B and I watched another episode of The Morning Show.  They were recapping 2020 in one of the episodes in the new season to give us a little back story about what happened to everyone during that time and why they are where they are now, and y’all, reliving 2020 through that episode was rough.  It was such a difficult year.


Thursday, July 4

Thursday morning, Brian was off of work for The Fourth, so we all slept in.  I slept in until almost 9 which was wild, because I never sleep that late.  I woke up with tons of throat congestion again which was so frustrating.  It truly will not exit my body, y’all.  And July 4 was day 18 of my sickness.  Ugh.

After breakfast, I headed to my office to knock out a couple of things that were pressing, and then I headed downstairs to prep a few things for our party later in the day.  By the time that was done, it was time to get showered and ready for party number one.

Some of our friends threw a big party at their house at 1:00, which was perfect since we were having family over at our house at 6:30.  We were able to go hang with them at their house with all of our school and church fam all day, and still have time to get home to prep for our party.

We arrived at 1:00 and made the rounds saying hello to everyone.  It was all people from our school and church fam, so there were tons of kids there from the kids’ school including some of Olivia’s besties, and a bunch of our friends, too, a few who are also teachers at the kids’ school.

It was time to eat shortly after we arrived, and they had a massive spread of food – burgers, hot dogs, Philly cheesesteak sliders, grilled corn, baked beans, pasta salad, all kinds of chips and dips, and watermelon.  We all grabbed plates and dug in, and then everyone got straight in the pool because it was HOT. 

The rest of the day was spent lounging in the pool, watching the adults play floating beer pong, watching the kids slip n slide and play in the pool, and chatting.  Our friend, Josh, who is famous for his tripod group photos, was able to snag a picture of the entire group… well, all of us but two of the kids who were playing in the house at the time.  And we were missing my friend, Becky’s husband, who was out of town that day. 

Several of us graduated together, some of us currently work at the school, all of us have kids who currently attend school together, and most of us go to church together.  That is an intricately woven group!  Haha.

Not too shabby for such a huge group of people!

It ended up drizzling for a few minutes later in the afternoon, but it was brief, and nobody even had to get out of the pool since there was no thunder and lightning, but a few of the other ladies and I got out and sat under the pergola to chat.

Around 4:30, our family dried off and wrapped things up.  Olivia was crushed to leave since she was having such a good time with her friends, so we ended up leaving her there while we went to prep for our party.  Thankfully, our friends are only about five minutes from us, so Brian was able to get us home, make the guac for our party, prep the grill, and then go back to get Olivia before our guests arrived.

Meanwhile, I got changed into dry clothes, and then I used my hair waver to wave the left side of my hair since my right side had gotten wet in the pool and was already wavy.  I had to even it out.  Haha.

After that, I headed downstairs to get everything ready for our party and then our guests arrived at 6:30.  We had a very small group Thursday because my dad was sick, my uncle was out of town, and my other aunt, uncle, and cousin who sometimes attend decided to stay home.  So, it was just my mom, Mama Cass, my brother and his roommate, my father-in-law, and us.

We grilled out hamburgers and hot dogs, Brian made his famous guac, and my Momma brought over her delicious mac n cheese and baked beans.  It was all so yummy!

Later after dinner, we headed outside to do some sparklers and roman candles and parachute guys while we waited for it to get dark, and then at dark (which isn’t until nearly 9:30 these day) we did the big fireworks.  People in our neighborhood go above and beyond with the fireworks on Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve and it was just insane for the next 2-3 hours. 

All of our guests left around 10, and then we got the kids in the bed.  They were both exhausted from a long day of sun and swimming and eating and playing and all the things.  Olivia was supposed to have gone back over to her friend’s house that we had been at earlier in the day to spend the night, but when I texted her dad to tell her we were ready to bring Olivia back, he said the girls had already fallen asleep.  Haha.  Those poor girls, their sleepover just keeps on getting postponed.

Brian and I stayed up and finished an episode of The Morning Show, and then we headed to bed, too.

I had a raging headache that Ibuprofen wouldn’t touch, and between that and the fireworks that were still going off at 12:30 AM, and the fact that one of our neighbors was having a really loud party until after 1 AM, I didn’t fall asleep until laaaate.


Friday, July 5

Friday morning, I slept in until a little after 8, and I headed downstairs to grab breakfast, unload the dishwasher, and tidy some things from the party.  I still had a raging headache, so that wasn’t fun.

Around 9, I headed to my office, and I spent the next couple of hours kind-of working, kind-of scrolling social media to see all of the fun that everyone else had had the night before.  Haha.  It was not a productive time, but that’s okay.  Sometimes you just need to have a struggle bus day.

The kids came straggling out of their rooms around 9:30 and they watched TV all morning.  I didn’t even set a limit for them like I do on a normal day because I knew they needed to have a lazy struggle bus day, too.  ;o)  We did check on Olivia's sunflowers, though.  ;o)

I finally got out of my PJs and showered around 11:30, and then we had Fourth of July leftovers for lunch.  Brian works from home on Fridays, so thankfully, he didn’t have to be up too early or leave the house.

After lunch, the kids got dressed and ready and we headed to the library.  We had some books to return, I had a book to pick up, and Olivia needed to find a new book for her summer reading because the one we’d gotten before didn’t work out for her.  My BFF, Jeannine, was working, so we got to see her and talk to her for a bit, too.

When we got home, the kids played video games for a bit, and I got some blog work done, along with my Bible study.  I also had a couple of Brian's famous chocolate chip cookies that we had leftover from The Fourth.


Brian had been working on that project all week for me – ripping all of Olivia’s old dance recitals that had been professionally recorded.  For the first few years, they only provided DVDs, so he had to use his old computer with old software to do that since our new laptops don’t even have disc drives.  They now put the performances on a thumb drive for us, but they’re four hours long, so I have no way of backing up the whole thing on our hard drives and Amazon drive (because the files are massive), so that’s why I had him rip each of her individual performances.

He finished ripping them Friday, so I got them organized into folders by year, and then I backed them up on both of our external hard drives (one stays at my desk and the other stays in our fireproof safe just in case) and our Amazon Drive (you know, in case both of our external hard drives both magically crash at the same time – LOL).  My philosophy is that you can never be too careful when it comes to backing up photos and videos.

After that, Brian headed out to pick up pizza, and then we all ate together.  After dinner, the kids got showered and I took Maui for a short walk around the neighborhood.  I could tell there was a storm brewing because it got darker and darker as we got home, which was nice, because it gave us a reprieve from the awful heat.

Sure enough, just as Brian and the kids and I sat down to watch a movie, the bottom fell out and it poured.  It got super windy, and we had lots of thunder and lightning, too, which we haven’t had in ages.

We watched School of Rock with the kids, and they loved it.  Brian and I had watched back when it came out, but I loved it even more the second time around.  Who doesn’t adore Jack Black?

After the movie, the kids got into bed and B and I watched an episode of The Morning Show before calling it a night.


Saturday, July 6

Saturday morning, we slept in, and then I made homemade waffles per usual.  It was dreary all morning, so the kids watched some TV, and I did some work in my office.  I’ve had on my list of things to do to organize a couple of folders on my computer that I use for the blog, so I finally got one of those organized.  It feels SO GOOD to be delving way into the depths of the to-do list and doing things I never thought I’d have the time to do.  Last week was truly a week for the books when it comes to tackling items on the to do list!

After that, it was time to get off my butt and do something productive besides computer stuff.  I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine and then I got in a cardio/strength workout.

After my workout, it was lunchtime, so Brian and the kids and I had more leftovers from our Fourth of July party.  Then, I decided to lay out in the sun for a bit and read my book.  I know tanning isn’t healthy in the least, but I always love getting the Vitamin D and I also love sweating a ton… feels good to sweat out those toxins!

After my reading time, I headed back inside intending to work, but my book (Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering) was so dang good I ended up reading for 30 more minutes.  I had to force myself to put it down (seriously SO good) to do my Bible study, and then it was time to get ready for church.

After church, we went with our usual group to the pub down the street from church.  My cousin, Shelby, was in town, so it was great to see her.  We always love when she visits!

After dinner, Brian and the kids wanted Blizzards since we hadn’t had them in a while, so we swung through the drive-through on the way home. 

At home, it was still light outside even though it was approaching 9 o’clock, so I got Maui in her little harness and took her for a walk since it wasn’t so blazing hot anymore.

When I got home, Jacob and Olivia were tinkering on the piano.  Jacob is wanting to learn Clair de Lune (my all-time favorite piano piece), so he was practicing that from the sheet music he printed.  The fact that he can print something that complicated and just pick it right up is just incredible to me.  After just two years of piano playing, he’s reading music and playing like he’s been playing his entire life.  It’s astonishing. 

After the kids went to bed, Brian and I watched another episode of The Morning Show, and then I picked my book back up before bed.


Sunday, July 7

Sunday morning, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and then I watered all the plants.  After all that was done, I headed to my office to get my planner ready for the week ahead, watch my Sunday morning sermon, and do yoga.  And I also went to assess my closet situation since I was about to reorganize.

Brian asked if we wanted to check out our newly renovated museum Sunday afternoon, so we had a light lunch at home and did just that.  Sunday was the perfect day to go.  We got there right when it opened, and we practically had the whole place to ourselves.


As we were walking along the historical portion of the museum, Brian spotted my Big Daddy (my grandfather) in one of the exhibits about movies.  I couldn’t believe that his picture was in the museum, y’all!  None of our family knew it was in there either. 

When he was very young, he played a very small role in the movie The Phenix City Story, and he just happened to be on one of the movie posters.  They had the movie poster hanging in our museum and it was just the coolest thing!!  My Big Daddy was actually a local celebrity in our city, but not for this movie… he was a radio personality for decades here in town, so everyone knows his name and his voice.  So, it was kind of funny that he was in the museum for the small role he played in the movie when he was way more famous for his radio career.

We have that same movie poster hanging in our house!

We spent the rest of the early afternoon exploring the rest of the museum.  

This was my favorite painting of the day…

And this was my second favorite.

Aren’t they both just gorgeous?!  I could walk around a museum or an art gallery all day.  #daughterofanartist

There was also an Andy Warhol exhibit, and they had fans with big, lightweight silver balloons flying around.  It was cool and all, but once you’ve been to One Vanderbilt in New York City, everything else pales in comparison.  Haha.

On the way out, we had to go in the gift shop, and I browsed the jewelry (those bow earrings OMG!) and I grabbed a few greeting cards by local artists. 

When we got home, I got some work done and started contacting Jacob’s friends’ moms about his upcoming birthday party, and then we headed to my parents’ house for Sunday dinner.  It seemed like forever since we’d been over there.

Momma made her chicken alfredo that is incredible, and we had that with Caesar salad and bread followed by homemade brownies.  I. was. stuffed.  It was all so delicious.  AND, we saw the most vivid rainbow any of us had ever seen!

On another note, Olivia has been thinking about wanting to learn to play guitar, and she’s getting pretty serious about it, so my dad brought out his guitar collection Sunday night to let her strum them.  I’m pretty sure that sealed the deal for her, and Daddy sent us home with his mandolin so she can practice a bit and get a feel for holding it and get her fingers acclimated to the strings.  She was so excited.

When we got home, the kids got in bed, but stayed up reading for a bit, and Brian watched House of the Dragon while I nearly finished my book.  I read Bye, Baby in just over 48 hours, and I never read books that fast, y’all.  It was THAT GOOD.

And that was our week!

Happy Tuesday, y’all!


  1. Sorry about your car, hope it's fixed soon! Seems like you were productive anyway which is good! I love that rainbow and I loved Bye, Baby too!

    1. It's all fixed! Crazy, because it was just the battery which is something we could have taken care of on our own. It was behaving so strangely, though, that Brian nor I thought it was the battery!

  2. That sounds like a wonderful summer week! I hope you get your car back soon-- it's a good month or so up here to get cars worked on and fixed too between a shortage of part and (I'm guessing also) a shortage of help things are quite back logged. None of the dealerships seem to have loaner cars either- it's crazy!

    1. Yes, it is crazy! Our dealership doesn't do loaners either and our insurance doesn't cover a rental car, so when they have one of our vehicles we just have to go without!


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