My Dream Wedding (Literally)

So I had a very vivid and clear dream last night. It was about my wedding. And it was not something I would hope will happen on the real day…

I got in the car and the policewoman said, “I’m going back to the station, do you want a ride?”

I don’t know whose cat I was holding in my lap, but it was trying its hardest to get out of my grasp. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard of the cop car.

1:35. My wedding was at 2. “I better not, seeing as I am supposed to get married in 25 minutes.” I was surprisingly calm despite the fact that I had less than half an hour before my wedding was scheduled to start.

I exited the car, let the cat go, and was on my way. Luckily I was already at my venue, so there wasn’t any travel time to worry about. No one ever gets married on time, so it won’t be terrible if we start a bit late.

When I got to the bridal suite, which was more like a wooden canopy that would double as the altar, two of my bridesmaids were waiting for me. They were going to style my hair, except I remembered I hadn’t had a chance to shower yet and I’m pretty sure I had worked out earlier, so my hair was in need of more than just a curling iron and hairspray.

“I was hoping to at least use some dry shampoo,” I said. But there was none available, so I just had to deal with what they were able to do.

The next thing I knew, there was a golf caddy letting us know that it was tee-time. Tom and his groomsmen had planned a golf outing before the wedding. Shouldn’t they have done that much earlier? Maybe it was busy and it had to be pushed back? Hmm, I hope they play quickly and are back in time for the ceremony.

The masseuse/makeup artist then came by to my “suite”; he seemed very fabulous, although his face was kind of scary. He went over the pricing of the treatments he suggested for me, put some foundation on my face, and was quickly on his way elsewhere.

Well I guess today is all about simplicity, I thought to myself. Today is about our marriage. I guess my hair and makeup don’t have to be too much. But at least I know my dress will be gorgeous.

Speaking of, where was my dress? I glanced to my right and saw it crumpled on a shelf. It still looked clean, so hopefully no one would notice if there were a few wrinkles.

All of a sudden, I saw my whole family walking into the canopy. My whole dad’s side of the family was able to come, which was something I had been unsure of since the wedding was a 7-hour drive for most of them. I was so happy and started greeting them with hugs and “I’m so glad you could make it.”

I then came to the sinking conclusion that my mom hadn’t been able to make it. I don’t remember telling her where the wedding was going to be, and therefore I don’t remember her saying she would be there. I felt terrible.

At this point I was all set to go; I had my wedding dress on and all of a sudden I heard the processional music begin. Oh my gosh, I’m not even in place! Tom can’t see me until I’m walking down the aisle!

So I grabbed my dad’s arm and we walked around the back of the wooden canopy so that the guys could get in place at the altar. As we made our way around, there was a whole marching band that had set up on the porch of the main building and started playing and singing a happy song to get me pumped about my wedding. They were holding a banner too, although I can’t recall what it said.

Wow, this is so nice! After all the chaos of the past 25 minutes, things are going pretty smoothly. And I’m excited to finally be getting married!

I glanced down at my dress as we walked. I think it looks nice! And I’m glad I worked out earlier because it fits great!

I couldn’t wait to see Tom’s face when he saw me. And see how handsome he looked in his tux. We made it to the aisle and started the processional. But then, about halfway down, my dad started speed walking. I tried holding his arm tighter and saying, “Whoa, where are you going? Slow down.”

He broke free from my grasp and ran the rest of the way, leaving me stumbling the rest of the way. When my dad moved out of the way, I had a clear view of Tom. He was lounging in the chair I had been sitting in earlier. And he had his everyday clothes on. Jeans. Sneakers. Striped blue and white polo.

“Are you serious? Why aren’t you dressed up?” I asked.

“I was just golfing,” he replied. I was really upset at the fact that he wasn’t taking this seriously. I then realized that my dad had been wearing a flannel shirt, cut-off shorts, and sneakers this entire time.

This isn’t a freaking hoe down! This is my wedding and I can’t believe no one is treating it like one!

Without saying a word, I just walked away. I walked around the back of the canopy, the way we had gone earlier to make it around to the aisle. The band and singers were all still set up on the porch, probably waiting to play some celebratory tunes when the ceremony was over. But they realized that this was not a good sign, that I was walking away without my groom in tow. They started chattering inaudibly, probably making up scenarios as to what had happened.

I walked down the busy road in front of the venue in my wedding dress and heels. God only knows what those in the cars passing by were thinking of me. I probably looked like a tragic mess. Greasy hair. No makeup. A wrinkly wedding dress.

I continued walking until I came to a beach. I went and stood in the sand and the water. Something was going on there; a bunch of large machines were floating on the water. They weren’t boats but more like large metal boxes as large as buildings. A crowd began to gather, so I decided I should probably leave.

I walked back down the road toward the venue thinking that hopefully the day could be salvaged. A few speed bumps shouldn’t completely bring this special day to a screeching halt. As the wooden canopy came into view, the dream ended.

Thank goodness.

My Invisalign Journey (1): Yes to Invisalign and Finding a Provider

I started using my first set of Invisalign liners yesterday! I figured I would document my journey with them so maybe I can help someone decide they want to give them a whirl. And also because I’m so pumped to see my teeth and bite transform and improve and become beautiful!!

So let’s start from the beginning: my choice to get Invisalign and the process of finding a provider.

I’ve been wanting braces since I was in middle school. Back then, everyone was getting them. But they were expensive and I never had dental insurance, so it was not an option. I guess I would say my teeth aren’t horribly crooked, but they aren’t straight. And my two front top teeth are noticeably larger than my other teeth because of the crooked way they are positioned.

Aside from their purpose in straightening teeth and correcting bites, the other great thing about those braces were the fun rubberbands. Do you remember how cool the rubberbands seemed as a kid? I was always jealous when one of my friends came to school with a new set of colored rubberbands! They usually coincided an upcoming holiday (green and red for Christmas) or they were the person’s favorite color. And don’t even get me started on the glow-in-the-dark ones!

And then, in high school, people started getting their metal braces taken off, revealing straight teeth and beautiful smiles. As if the rubberbands weren’t enough, the end product of years with braces made me even more jealous.

Since middle and high school are deemed “normal” times to have metal braces, after graduating from high school, the idea of metal braces was out of the question for me. I know there were those “tooth-colored” ceramic braces and they have come a long way over the years, but they still weren’t ideal.

I remember a teacher in elementary school with these “clear” braces, but they actually made her teeth look really yellow. And they still had the metal wire, so there really was no concealing the fact that she had braces. Nowadays the ceramic braces come with white wires to make them less noticeable (see comparison below) but they’re still kind of obvious.

Luckily within the past 10 years, the creation and improvement of clear aligners makes straight teeth without metal or an off-white appearance an option.

Except it’s still expensive. I have encountered a few people throughout the years who have been able to afford the multi-thousand dollar service and have said that it was totally worth every penny. But realistically I just could not afford it. Other than improving my self-confidence, they didn’t seem necessary.

But through the years, I knew that I wanted to have straight teeth for my future wedding, whenever that actually happened. So when I got engaged this summer, it was time to seriously contemplate whether I was going to take the plunge and get Invisalign. Tom and I talked about it and agreed that I should do it, so I began doing my research of local Invisalign providers.

“Coincidentally,” Groupon actually sent me a deal for a certain amount off an Invisalign treatment. As tempting as that was, I figured it would be a good idea to look further into this “deal”. I found a bunch of negative reviews and “buyer bewares” from people:

  • the provider offering the discount was not a recognized Invisalign provider (Invisalign “trained” instead of “certified”)
  • the provider offering the discount was new to the field and was pretty much trying to get more patients
  • treatment might not even use Invisalign liners
  • provider might try to push other services before actual Invisalign treatment is allowed

Check out this article I found about avoiding Groupons for Invisalign treatment. Among other things, the author explains that “it’s illegal for orthodontists and dentists to engage in fee-splitting activities…”

So I decided against the Groupon thing; these are my teeth and I don’t want to mess with them just to save money. So I went to the Invisalign website and looked at New York City providers. Providers are rated based on how many Invisalign patients they have treated (Elite, Premier, Preferred, and General Provider) as well as whether they are included in the top 1% of North America Invisalign providers.

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I chose one of the best: Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling. She is an Elite Preferred Provider as well as in the top 1% of providers, so I figured if anyone could give me a great smile, she could. Plus she had multiple offices throughout the NYC and Long Island area, so I figured that multiple locations meant that this lady knew her stuff and was doing really well in the world of orthodontia.

Further research of her proved my assumptions: everyone had nothing but great things to say about her, her team, and their successful treatments.

I contacted her office and scheduled my consultation with her midtown office. So (as long as I felt good about Dr. Jacquie and her team, the price wasn’t too extreme, and it seemed do-able) I had a provider!

My next post will be about my consultation and first official appointment, so keep your eyes posted!

Wedding Update: 10 Months to go!

A little less than 10 months to go! There honestly haven’t been many changes since my last post. But with good reason…

Long Island knows how to do weddings. I mean, it’s like a wedding factory down here. And not in a bad “get in, get out, bring on the next one,” wedding-a-minute type thing. But down here, it’s so competitive that they are all ready to offer you as much as they can, all in one place, to make your wedding and life easier. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

Some of my friends that have gotten or are getting married upstate were/are so stressed dealing with so many different vendors because each aspect of their ceremonies and receptions were/are being taken care of by a separate entity. Our venue is our ceremony site is our reception site is our caterer. So it was so exciting getting to check multiple things off the to-do list just by booking our venue.

Plus, most venues down here are partnered with photographers, cake bakeries, florists, etc. whom they have worked with and trust enough to recommend. We have an appointment in a couple weeks with the photographer they recommended, so hopefully they fit our vision. Since they have worked at our venue many times, they know all the good spots for pictures.

Bottom line: nothing corny. Like these awkward wedding/engagement photos.

Pricing down here makes much more sense, too; at some of the upstate venues I looked at, it was as if you were casually eating out at a restaurant and had to pay for everything separately. And I mean everything. You want chicken? That’ll be $5 per person. Steak? $9. Choose your sides: you want potatoes? That’s going to be another $4 per potato-eating person. And so on, and so forth.

I realize that’s not how all places are up there, but there is nothing that complicated down here. You get a menu that lays out every single thing offered: you get to choose 8 hors d’oeuvres from a list of 20, then you get to choose 3 entrees which all come with sides, you choose whether you want an open bar or just the beer/wine/signature drink choice, and so much more. And you get all this for one flat rate per person depending on what month you are getting married.

Note: June-October are the most expensive. Obviously. If you’re looking for a bargain, get hitched in December or January – it’s about $30 less per person! But personally I would not want to be trudging around in the cold with the possibility of snow.

So needless to say I’m extremely happy to be saved from all the stress that I’ve heard and seen others go through when planning their weddings. The biggest thing on my mind lately has been getting a dress, but I guess I wouldn’t say it has been really stressing me out. Of course I want to look amazing on my wedding day, but I knew I would find one that I liked. Plus, we have 10 months; I was told to find one no later than 9 months before the wedding in order to allow time for fittings, alterations, etc.

I have been scouring websites and building up my ‘Love and Marriage’ board on Pinterest with dresses for a couple weeks now. Plus, my friend and maid of honor Courtney had been planning to come down this week so that we could go dress shopping with my future mother-in-law, so I wasn’t too worried.

And I’m happy to say that I found my dress!!!!!!!!

There’s an awesome story behind it, but I think I’ll wait awhile to tell you. It’s actually one of the dresses on my Pinterest board, so that’s fun! I thought it was pretty when I saw it online, but it’s so hard to know how a dress flows and what it feels and looks on you until it’s actually on you.Pinterest board

All I know is that as soon as I saw it on me, I was so overwhelmed with happiness. And there were tears. I didn’t get this way with any of the dresses the first time I tried some on, and I was kind of unsure as to whether I would have a teary reaction at all. But I know myself and if there wasn’t a tiny bit of water works, it wasn’t the dress.

And it happened. I cried. Mrs. Harrigan cried. Although she had tears for pretty much all of the dresses I had tried on previously 🙂 But that’s to be expected.

I originally wasn’t much into the idea of a veil, but when the lady at the bridal salon put one on me, it all just fit together. After awhile of ogling at myself, she asked if I wanted to try other dresses on. I was kind of unsure. I figured since we were already out, why not? But when she asked what style I wanted, I just looked at myself, still wearing the dress, and said, “This.” She smiled and said, “So is this your dress?” And I said, “Yes, I love this.” And that was it!

The biggest thing for this next month is to get the wedding website all set and looking pretty so that people can actually start using it. I’ve been putting content on there and trying to make it look nice, and Tom has to do more functionality stuff to make things work better and so that people can RSVP on it. Other than that, this month has been smooth sailing.

It’s been nice without added stress of having to take care of so many things this past month. Especially since I wasn’t with Tom (other than short Skype chats here and there) for 3 of the last 4 weeks. With work, school, my friend visiting from out of town, and Tom going to Amsterdam for a weeklong work trip, it was very hectic for both of us. But then we got to spend last weekend (and it was a long weekend for me with Columbus Day!) together, and it was wonderful. ♥994024_10151628897921526_1623688149_n

My Year With Crohn’s Disease

I realized yesterday that I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease exactly one year ago. Happy Autoimmune Disease Birthday to me! It took me awhile to write and edit this post, so it’s not exactly to the day, but it’ll do. I figured I would write about my journey with this disease – from flare-ups, finally being diagnosed, medications, and now, one year later, how I’m dealing.

Holliday and Becky
November 2010 – My roommate Becky and I

Okay, so I have had two flare-ups in my life, but it wasn’t until the second one that I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I have no doubt that my flare-ups have been stress-induced. To start off my first flare-up, let’s take a trip to my senior year at Geneseo. Fall 2010 began pretty rough: my 6+ year relationship had become very rocky, I was going to college full-time, working at Walmart part-time, and on top of this my mom’s Multiple Sclerosis was a constant worry.

My health decline started with stomachaches that would not go away no matter what I did. If I was in my dorm room, I would lay down for the 5 or 10 minutes it took for the pain to go away on its own. There was no pattern to them – I thought maybe it was something I ate, but then they began happening before I ate as well as after. I then began noticing little bumps on my legs one day when I was shaving; they looked like whiteheads or ingrown hairs, but they seemed a little more on the green side than on the white side. Weird.

By the end of October my relationship ended, my schoolwork was getting more difficult, and it seemed I never had time to relax, let alone sleep. I was constantly feeling alone and left out because none of my friends had to worry about working and school, so they were able to enjoy their nights watching TV, going to dinner together, just hanging out. But I didn’t have a second to stop and chill.

Sabres game
December 2010 – I was completely exhausted here, but I couldn’t miss out on a Sabres game with friends

Throughout this time, those small “pimples” on my legs grew and became large open sores. At one point, I would try using a cotton ball with either hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean them, put some Neosporin on them, and cover them in band-aids every single day. No matter what I did, though, they never got better. I mean they were getting so deep and wide that I had craters in my legs. Yeah, gross.

I also was getting swollen joints – I wore a knee brace under my pants because I couldn’t bear all of my weight on my knee without it feeling like it would buckle. Up until this point, I had really only had my nauseous episodes while in my room, so it was easy enough to just lay down for a bit to let the feeling go away. But then it started happening at work; I almost passed out a couple times during my shifts at Walmart because of the pain, nausea, and lack of nutrients.

Wow, what a mess I was!

Okay, so by this point you’re probably asking, “Why the hell did you not see a doctor?!” Well, you see, I did not have insurance. I had just turned 21 in August and my dad took me off his plan. I didn’t have money to pay for my own plan, let alone a bunch of medical bills. I was in the process of enrolling in a state-funded insurance but that takes forever, so unfortunately I never saw anyone for this until it was well-developed.

I ended up going to the ER, though, over winter break because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Something had to be wrong and things were still not getting better, even after being home on break from school and work. Because I did not have insurance, they were not willing to do much for me. I mean, the doctor tried to give me a pelvic exam – I think she thought I was either pregnant (I assured her I was not) or had cysts. After a long and frustrating night, I went home with no more answers than I had entered with.

I eventually got approved for insurance and started making appointments with a doctor in my hometown as well as the doctor on campus. Cultures of my sores were taken but showed no signs of what they were assuming would be strep or staph infections. Antibiotics and corticosteroid creams were tried but nothing was helping. Strangely though, everything just sort of went away on its own by about mid-March 2011; I wasn’t taking meds or applying any creams at that point, so my mysterious condition was still very mysterious.

powderpuff
May 2011 – Regained my strength in time for the IV powderpuff game

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to 2012. I had been accepted into Columbia University for graduate school in July and decided to defer admission until spring 2013 because there was no way I could go with such little time. And since my mom had been in the nursing home for over a year now, I had been spending my time alone in my house except when I was substitute teaching or working at Walmart. So I was pretty stressed. Add on the fact that I had just gotten a long-term substitute job for a maternity leave for the first 10 weeks of the 2012-2013 school year. I was so excited to get more experience teaching middle and high school kids, but man oh man did the stress get to me.

By the first week of September, my symptoms started coming back. The pain. The nausea. The extreme weight loss. The sores. Everything was back. And with a vengeance. I mean, I was literally waking up in so much pain all over my body, I had to hobble like a 90-year old woman. At one point, I was hardly able to put my shoes on because my one ankle was so swollen. The sores started as painful lumps under my skin before they actually opened. Again, gross, but that was my reality.

Miss Chatt
Looking really gaunt with my teacher ID

She finally referred me to a GI specialist and wanted me to get a colonoscopy. Because of my age, the GI specialist decided to “simply” perform a sigmoidoscopy first. Tom came up to stay with me for a few days and take me to my appointment since I was going under anesthesia and would be in no shape to drive myself home. Apparently I was very persistent in trying to share my cookies with him once I woke up after the procedure. Unfortunately I missed a day of school for this test and it showed nothing.

Two weeks later, I ended up in the ER again. This time, because I had proper insurance, the doctors ran a whole slew of tests. Blood tests and cultures, a CT Scan, and a chest X-ray. Around 2:30 a.m., after about 5 hours of being there, the doctor came in and said that all tests pointed to either Crohn’s disease or colitis, but to get a definitive answer I would need to get a full colonoscopy. Until then, she gave me steroids, antibiotics, and mesalamine (anti-inflammatory meds for those with ulcerative colitis flare-ups). Good. Great. Grand. Wonderful.

Megan and Holliday
September 29, 2012 – In Baltimore with Megan

The GI specialist received my ER tests and made an appointment within the next week; obviously something was wrong or they wouldn’t be so quick in doing this. So on October 8, 2012, I went in for a colonoscopy and came out with a definitive answer: I have Crohn’s disease.

passport
November 2, 2012 – Moonface Holliday

Since that day, things have been great. It sucks that I have to take 12 pills every day (I take Delzicol, if anyone’s wondering: 6 with breakfast, 6 with dinner) but I would much rather deal with that than with the excruciating pain I was in. I’m back to a healthy weight and I haven’t had any problems thusfar with my medications. I try to be a little better with my diet, but the doctor has not restricted me in any way. Many people ask if I’m not allowed to have nuts or seeds, but my GI doctor said, “If you like it, it tastes good, and it doesn’t bother you, eat it.” And I have. And I do.

I even emailed the doctor at Geneseo with my story (a bit more condensed) so that maybe if he ever comes across these symptoms again, that person won’t have to go through this huge mess like I did. I feel like I should be on that show Mystery Diagnosis. That could be interesting…

Wedding Update: 11 months to go!

Wowee what a crazy couple of weeks. It’s insane that I’ve been engaged for almost a month now! We just went to a wedding 2 weeks ago, so it was nice to get ideas for our own. And it was fun getting to dance together for the first time since we met almost 3 years ago!

Annnd of course I don’t have a single picture of the two of us from that night. I know the photographer got at least one, but I don’t know about getting my hands on one. If I can find one somewhere (anywhere!) I will insert it here.

In these quick 4 weeks, we’ve made progress on our own wedding! We were able to check off the most important thing: the ceremony/reception venue.

Figuring out where we wanted the ceremony/reception was a big decision. I’m from Batavia (between Buffalo and Rochester; “practically Canada” I tell most downstaters) and Tom is from Stony Brook (Long Island. And, no, that is not considered part of New York City), so it was a tough decision to make since most of our respective families live close to where we each grew up.

One of the biggest factors was my mom; if we held it in Long Island, there’s no way she would be able to make the 6+ hour trip by any mode of transportation (I realize a plane would be shorter, but then you have to think of getting there early and going through security, and then trying to get her on the plane in her motorized chair…). Plus, the stress of all that would do her in. We would honestly need to hire a nurse or something to do all that.

Okay, so we’d have it upstate. Again, she would have to travel a distance to get to the venue since there’s nowhere in my hometown that I want to get married in. Again, stress would ensue and make matters worse.

We went so far as to make a pros/cons chart:pros and cons

Long story short (too late?), after Tom and I discussed it with my mom and got her input, we’ve decided to have a ceremony and reception down here in Long Island on August 16, 2014. Then, for my mom and others that can’t make it, we plan to hold a separate reception/party upstate in my hometown. This separate shindig might be soon after, depending on how hectic our schedules are; it could end up being a month or two or four after. Who knows?

Although I’m really bummed about my mom not being able to see me get married (and I know she is too), we still have time to maybe figure something out so that she could come. If not, we plan on hiring a videographer so that she can see the whole thing; maybe we can look into hooking up some live-streaming? Has anyone had any success with that?

I did try on a few dresses the other day; I liked a couple, but not enough to commit to one after my first visit.

I think that’s it for updates at this point. Until next time! Cheers.

wine tour

My First Journal

So this past week I packed up (most of) my belongings from my childhood home. If you didn’t catch my last post, a “by-the-numbers run-down” of those 2 days, check it out here. Otherwise, let’s talk about one of the many things that I found among the boxes of stuff: my very first journal. Or diary, if you will.journal cover

I’ve been journaling since I was 6 and, although I’ve gotten better at the actual writing part (using correct grammar, spelling, etc.), I find my first journal entries to be pretty entertaining. Albeit embarrassing.

So here are a few entries from my very first journal. The lack of punctuation of the entries featured in this post is intentional as that is how they were originally written 18 years ago. Spelling and capitalization were also not important to me when I was 6. You’ve been warned. I’ve included thoughts after each entry, kind of as afterthoughts. 18 years after.

Dec 25, 1995

today i got a lot of presents and i got a diary just like i wanted and just like Kim and Meg got at the dance at ther house with her sister and me and Kim and Deven and somebody but i did not get something on the first round cuase i did not win the lottorey ticket i got from uncle wade but when we danced to much we would get tired and sit down and rest like Kim and Deven and Megan and me and Jessica.dec 1995

(This entry was kind of difficult to decipher as most of the words seemed to be one long string of letters. See above.)

Feb 11, 1996

at valentine day we are going to have a patey my daddy can be a pane sometimes but I still love him thank you.

(I was very polite, thanking my readers at the end of this entry. Also, patey = party.)

March 10, 1996

today my friend Jessie she get to sleep over last night she had to go the smorning.

(The smorning = this morning. Not to be confused with the delectable treats made from chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows.)

March 23, 1996

I will never forget my bum bum hurt.

(I don’t remember this incident. I’m pretty sure it was just from over-wiping.)

March 23, 1996 

today I am going to hide my key [in] the teddy bear bank thing.

(In case I forgot where I hid the key to this journal, I wrote it down. In the journal. So that the hiding place was hidden. When the journal was locked.)

April 18, 1996

this is who i love the most my mommy dad my cat Jack my kitten Jezebel my stufed anemles i love my house but i don’t love the fires that come to the houses and don’t bring houses to there life that means that there dead not alive.journal upright

(Happy thoughts turned morbid. Real quick.)

Summary by Statistics: Moving Out of My Childhood Home

I went upstate (western New York) Tuesday to pack up my belongings since we have to sell my childhood home. You can read a little bit about that here. In that post is a link to another post featuring a bunch of pictures of me when I was younger…go take a gander!

Along with me were my fiancé (gah, still getting used to that!) Tom, his mom, and his aunt, so we had plenty of man and woman power. Instead of recapping every detail (seeing as so much happened within the span of two days), I figured I could just give you some of the highlights through numbers. Ahh, math.

So here we go with the stats from this trip:

42 total trip hours from the time we left Long Island until we returned

12.5 total hours spent in the truck (Tom’s aunt drove, and I think it’s an F-150 with an extended cab)

13 total hours spent packing, throwing stuff away, and taking things to donate

4 coffees consumed (I’m usually a once a day type gal)

0 meltdowns on my part (Although I did get impatient and/or frustrated at times, there weren’t tears or outbursts)

7 full truck-loads taken to Salvation Army and My Sister’s Closet for donation. These included:

  • 1 little red wagon
  • 4 boxes + 3 garbage bags full of clothes
  • 43ish Barbies
  • 4 garbage bags full of bedding and towels
  • 1 purple body suit and pair of purple tights (these were my mom’s back in the day. Check out the picture of me in them 2 years ago…when I first stumbled upon them)247732_10150192670801526_3595493_n

2 full boxes of food donated to a church pantry

3 overflowing boxes of paper/cardboard to recycle

25 total garbage bags full of garbage/unwanted/old stuff. These included:

  • 2 garbage bags full of old pillows
  • 20ish year old “artwork” from school – we’re talking moldy candies in the shape of an H
  • 10 bowling trophies
  • 2 boxes of Flutie Flakes
  • 1 box of Kelly Krunch

4 friends stopped by to say hi while I was in town (here is a picture of Tom, Courtney, and me at dinner on Tuesday).three amigos

1000+ stairs taken (up and down)

7 boxes + 1 large wooden trunk full of stuff I brought back to Long Island

My mom came to the house on her scooter to go through her own stuff; she made a dent but still has plenty of work to do. But for what she got through, we ended up bringing two boxes full of her “keep” stuff to the nursing home.

It was great that she got to get out of the nursing home and see the house after 2+ years. Plus, she finally got to meet my future mother- and aunt-in-law! And eat pizza and donut holes! And see my ring in person!

Overall, this process has been much smoother than I ever expected or anticipated. I still have a few odds and ends that had to be left at my house because the truck was seriously packed to the brim. So another trip upstate is in the cards sometime within the next couple months. I am so thankful for all the well wishes from friends and family, as well as all of the help from Tom and his family.

Above all, I have been thanking God each and every day for all the blessings from the past 8 days (birthday, engagement, new job, and now the move); honestly, it’s all Him. I mean, I got to end the trip with a beautiful and coveted Geneseo sunset. What more could I have asked for?geneseo

Well, maybe an escalator or elevator in my house. But I digress.