Independence Day Cookout, New Friends, Foods, and Family Stuff

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a great Independence Day and enjoyed the day off, if you had it off. One of my friends called this “Donut Week” because we have a hole in the middle (the day off on Wednesday), I thought that was a cute saying. It’s definitely hard getting back into the swing of work for two days and then the weekend- I slept in Thursday morning and even worked in my pajamas for a few hours (work from home problem, right?).

Anyway, a recap of the last few days… it’s been *busy* on my end.

On Saturday, Clay and I went to visit my hometown to see my mom and run some errands for her like buying groceries, cleaning the house, and watering plants. It wasn’t a fun reason to visit, but it had to be done. My mom hasn’t been eating much and has been depressed and lost weight, but she ate while I was there, and Clay and I left feeling much more positive.

Unfortunately, my hometown got a really crazy storm Sunday night and my parents were out of power. Well, the power eventually came back, but we have 100 degree temperatures here, and my mom got sicker. She ended up throwing up uncontrollably, and my dad took her to the ER Monday night.

As of Thursday night, my mom was being released from the hospital after seeing the thyroid specialist. I have been calling twice a day to check on her but didn’t go to see her, as she said my dad can handle it and wants me to wait until she goes home to visit so that I can help her around the house more. She’s doing a bit better, and the doctors took great care of her. She had bronchitis, an infection, and she has an overactive thyroid causing her heart to beat abnormally, so pretty tough stuff.

It stinks to be 100 miles away and not be able to see your mom when she’s sick. Especially when you’re an only child. This isn’t fun.


When Clay and I got back to Charleston, we went to Ali Baba, which is a Mediterannean restaurant on Daniel Island. It was so delicious! I had a grilled veggie pita with this amazing Fattosh salad that had tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh basil in it. He had a dish with hummus, chicken, and pita bread.

We both loved it and agreed that we wanted to go back, but we feel weird going back to a restaurant when we’re new in town and still haven’t tried so many places. Either way, I think we will be heading back to Ali Baba the next time we visit Daniel Island (hopefully I will look cuter next time- I was wiped out from watering plants in 106 degree weather!).


For Independence Day, I ran a local 5K that morning; it was my first race since moving down, so look for a review in the next few days when I have a chance to write about it.

That afternoon, Clay and I headed off to a cookout hosted by some friends he met at a board game night on Meetup.com.A lot of people our age who live in Charleston moved here from somewhere else, which is really cool compared to Florence, where everyone seemed to live all their lives and never leave.

Since so many people are “transplants”, it seems pretty easy to make friends here, which we obviously like. Clay introduced me to Liz, Doug, and Icharus (not his real name, but that’s his name on the website and much more memorable than his real name), and we met even more people at the cookout that their neighbors hosted for the 4th.

We had burgers, spicy pork sausage, barbeque chicken, veggie burgers (they were eggplant burgers- Liz is also a vegetarian), green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, chips, and an assortment of dips and hummus. Everything was delicious and everyone was super nice- we played cornhole and bocce ball and everyone’s dogs played with each other.

I can’t wait to hang out with them again. Clay even went back that night to play a game with some of the guys when I went to visit my aunt and uncle. My uncle, two cousins, and I went to Goose Creek to see fireworks, and it was one of the most beautiful fireworks displays I’ve seen, and we had a great view.

Not our fireworks display, but still a beautiful picture

Best of all, I called my mom that night, and she said she was feeling a little better, so I had a great end to the day. It was pretty fun spending the fourth running, with friends, with my husband, and with family- I guess I got the best of all the worlds in :).

I’ll be back in a few days with an update on Mommy and race recap.


Q1.) Did you watch fireworks for the fourth? Would you rather set off fireworks yourself or watch them? I would rather watch them personally, but I know Clay would much rather set them off (most guys are like that, I think!).

Q2.) How do you stay in touch with family members and friends who live far away? My mom and I talk every day pretty much, but we’ve been talking a bit more lately. It still stinks that I can’t be there. I sometimes wish my parents were more tech savvy and could go online and see pictures and read my blog, though maybe it’s a good thing they don’t know everything ;).

Q3.) Do you like to play bocce ball, cornhole, horseshoes, volleyball, etc in the yard at cookouts at gatherings? What’s your favorite one? I actually liked playing bocce ball yesterday- it was my first time playing and I sucked at it (it was hard to see the little ball in all the grass), but would love to play again.

Q4.) Are most people in your area lifelong locals, or do people move there from lots of places? There are definitely some locals here but a lot of young people from all over, the variety makes it really fun here.

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15 Responses to Independence Day Cookout, New Friends, Foods, and Family Stuff

  1. KrisLawrence says:

    I am sorry to hear your Mom is having trouble! I hope she is recovered and feeling better soon!! I love reading your posts. I miss Charleston!! Glad to hear you had a nice 4th of July!

  2. it is so good to hear your mom is all right, I was so worried hearing that in your twitter!

  3. ladycoop says:

    1) no, we didn’t this year. I LOVE professional shows, I HATE home fireworks shows. I usually end up hurt or something gets damaged (one year my car mirror b/c of the neighbor’s. :/)

    2) I am bad about staying in touch. Sometimes I good ol letter in the mail (family who isn’t online) or facebook. I don’t like talking on the phone.

    3) I am not a big game player. I think it’s my type A self. I don’t like to suck at something so I just don’t play. LOL I’m always prepping food or being a hostess (even if it’s not my house.lol)

    4) My friends here in town are about half and half. Some from out of state, some born and bred.

    Prayers for your mom. Can’t wait to hear the race update. :)

    • Amy Lauren says:

      What got me was that *during* our professional show, some house was setting off fireworks of their own. I guess it’s cool before the show or after, but not while it’s going on!

      I like talking on the phone sometimes. There’s just something about hearing someone’s voice occasionally that’s a little more comforting than a text or an email.

      Yeah, the race update will be interesting to say the least!

  4. Glad to hear your mom is feeling a bit better. I don’t even know what I would do if my mom was feeling sick. Have a great visit!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, it’s not a fun feeling at all knowing someone is sick and not being able to do much. I’ll be going to see her tomorrow to take her some groceries and other things, hopefully she will be on the mend!

  5. Cori H. says:

    I’m sorry that your mom’s been so sick. You know I can understand that! My mom has had thyroid issues also. I hope she starts feeling better really soon! Hopefully you’ll be able to visit soon. I’m glad y’all had a good 4th! It felt really strange with it being on Wednesday this year. I love the picture of the fireworks!

    1. We watched a great fireworks display from our hotel window. They were shooting them off at the park across the street. It was the best show I had seen in awhile. I would rather watch than shoot them off.

    2. Thankfully, I have my family here with me now, but I have very close friends who still live far away. We talk as much as we can, text, keep in touch via Facebook, etc.

    3. I always love playing volleyball in the backyard. So much fun!

    4. The majority of people who live here are lifelong locals. I do have one friend here who is originally from New York. I kinda feel like an outsider at times since most people have lived here forever.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’d also rather watch than set off fireworks. A lot of people in Florence were lifelong locals, there were some people who were from out of town or had moved from somewhere, but everyone knew it and labeled them as such (yeah, people got called “yankees” a lot). I think a lot of it here has to do with the military because we have Navy and Air Force people here and they tend to move a lot anyway.

  6. oh my gosh, wish ur poor mom my best!! i’m so glad that she’s okay!! i actually had/have hypo-thyroid, on the other end, so i know how crazy thyroid issues are…tell her to take care!!
    but i do have to say, u two are quite cute together. :) wow, so happy it looks like u had an AWESOME 4th and that noshing is looking quite yummy right about now! i don’t light fireworks myself, i’m sure i’d end up blowing my hand off…jk.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, I would hurt myself if I messed with fireworks because I’m a klutz like that anyway! A lot of people have thyroid issues, especially younger people. I don’t think hers had been tested in awhile, really I’ve never known anyone her age to be diagnosed, usually it’s people in their 20s/30s. Oh well, at least they caught it before it got any worse!

  7. I am SO glad your mom is feeling better! those first few paragraphs had me nervous! I hope she keeps getting better
    I absolutely love playing games at family events, and luckily my whole mom’s side of the family lives her in St louis

  8. i hope your mom is doing better since it’s been a few days now. i’d be scared and worried too in your shoes. hard to not be home for them!

    glad to hear you are making friends, having fun and finding cool things to do :) uhh you are better than me at making friends. because i have made like 2 since i’ve ‘moved’ to my town after college. (i think you know where i live but i don’t want to just throw it out here on the www) but i mean come on… i’m 30-ish minutes from my parents and 45-ish minutes from where i went to college. i should be better at making friends!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m pretty outgoing so I’m not too surprised that I’ve made friends. Everyone said I would, but I guess I didn’t realize so many people here would be open to newbies and just randomly being friends but they really are. This is a welcoming community!

      My mom is doing much better! I talked to her today and she’s able to drive the grocery store and around town a little today, for the first time in probably 2 weeks. She’s also getting her strength back and eating well. She lost 9 pounds being sick and was already fairly thin so this is actually a good thing that she’s gaining! Thank you for thinking of her.

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