In case you didn’t catch my last post, my blog has moved!
I won’t be posting on this site anymore, but will regularly post on my new one. And wouldn’t you know, I just created a new post on my new blog site, www.seasonalchats.com, so you should go check it out. Wow, what a coincidence (
I hope you all had a lovely holiday and are pumped for more holidays and a new year coming up!
Thanks for reading and God bless!
Howdy all! I’m excited to announce (in case the title hadn’t broken the news already) that I am relocating my blog!
If you’re just so excited and can’t wait until the end of the post, go check it out here! Make sure you subscribe to that blog and unsubscribe (if you were a subscriber) from this one, as I will no longer post on this site.
Since starting this blog in March, I figured going with wordpress.com as a host would be fine until I knew I was going to stick with it and consistently roll out posts. Now that it’s November and this is my 50th published post, I decided to take the plunge and get a “real” blog.
Thanks to my WordPress-know-it-all fiance Tom and last weekend’s Wordcamp, I’ve learned a lot about customizing my blog as well as good writing tips and techniques. So now that I’ve eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of WordPress, my desire for more freedom than I was getting with this blog has only increased. In my post about Wordcamp Raleigh, I made it a goal to get my own domain and implement plug-ins and customization that I was unable to use with this blog.
So, with Tom’s help and expertise, I got my own domain, installed WordPress, chose a Woothemes theme (I chose the Peddlar theme if you’re curious), transferred all of my posts and pictures, and tweaked everything before writing this post! I wanted to make sure that the foundation had been laid well enough before directing anyone to the site.
I am in no way finished with my website; it will likely change and morph as I learn new tricks of the trade. But for now, the skeleton is there – the organs, skin, and other features will continuously change. Is that too gross of an analogy? Oh well, you get the idea.
If you made it this far (thank you for reading my rambling) and don’t feel like scrolling back up for the link to my new website, click here!
This past weekend I went to North Carolina for WordCamp Raleigh. This was my first time in North Carolina and my first time ever attending a WordPress conference. I’ve never attended a conference that wasn’t for church youth groups or K-12 teachers, so this was a totally new experience for me.
My fiance, Tom, was set to speak at the conference, so I wanted to go and support him as well as learn some stuff along the way. Tom works for WooThemes, a WordPress platform provider that offers a wide selection of themes and plugins for website developers, bloggers, and businesses (among others). So he has a lot of insight on all things WordPress, as well as a whole ton of general software engineer (AKA computer programmer) knowledge.
I was actually pretty nervous about going. I mean, I am going to school to be a middle/high school math teacher. Sure, I’ve had this blog for 8 months, and I’ve been learning a lot since we’ve been working on our wedding website, but I was worried that everyone at the conference would be of Tom’s caliber. So I wouldn’t be able to connect with anyone because they would all be too knowledgeable and I would be uninteresting and unrelatable.
I told Tom my concerns before going but he reassured me that there were people from all levels, all backgrounds, and all ages that I would not be left out. I figured I was going to see Tom speak, so that was the main focus. Anything I learned and any connections I made would be a bonus.
I can honestly say that I am so glad I went – it was a great learning experience and I met a lot of cool people! Plus I got to see Tom in his natural habitat with a bunch of computer-enthusiasts. And I got to brag that I was with him. Win-win.
I’ll admit that I was a bit lost during some of the outside conversations when Tom was with other programmers. So I mostly sat back and listened or kept to myself because there was no way I would have any sort of input on the subject. This was sometimes discouraging because of my previous reservations about attending the conference. But there was always another conversation going on close by that I could slide into if I felt I could contribute.
Overall, the workshops/sessions that I went to were great. They used #wcraleigh so that everyone could connect and get insight on other talks, pull quotes from the different speakers, and give updates about their conference experience. Needless to say I used Twitter more in those 6 hours than I have in months. And it reminds me of how great social media can be. And also how annoying. But I won’t get into that so I don’t end up offending anyone.
In one of the sessions I attended, I learned that there actually exist plugins that allow you to drag and drop elements, making layout construction/manipulation so much easier! I can’t tell you how many times, while working on our wedding website, I’ve looked at it and said, “I want this here, and that to move there…” The problem is that I don’t know how to code all that, so I usually just accept the way it is and try to get over it. But this weekend the heavens opened and now I’m going to give the plugin a spin.
And I realized that I am not the only one who was blown away by this; the majority of those in attendance were making noises of exasperation, relief, excitement…so many noises that just made it known that this was not something we all were aware of. So I know that I speak for most of the people at this session when I say thank you Brett Bumeter for the insight! He tweeted out his slides, so check them out to get an idea of what he talked about. If you’re interested, the one I found to be most helpful was Page Layout Builder.
I also went to a talk by Hal Goodtree that focused on creating content as a blogger while thinking and writing like a publisher. This session was really informative, covering the best approaches, techniques, and plugins, so I plan to employ plenty of those suggestions to be a better blogger.
And, of course, I went to Tom’s talk which focused on sliders. I had been keeping up with the #wcraleigh hashtag throughout the day and was getting ready to post a picture of Tom giving his talk. I noticed that a couple of people had tweeted kind of negative views on sliders towards the beginning of his presentation. There was nothing negative about Tom, but I was surprised to find that for some reason some people just do not like sliders and see no point or place for them on websites.
Funny enough, by the end of his talk, a few people tweeted about having changed their view and that Tom might have convinced them to use a slider for their blog! I’m really proud of him for getting so involved in his trade (this was the third WordCamp he spoke at this year) and putting himself out there to inform others of what he’s learning.
One decision I made over the weekend was that I want to move this blog from wordpress.com to .org. Now that I know what I’m doing a little more and have been using WordPress pretty consistently, I’ve realized how limited I am with a .com blog. I’ve gotten more familiar with plugins and CSS since working on our wedding website, so I’m realizing how little I can do to customize my own blog, unless I pay to upgrade in WordPress. And that’s been driving me nuts. So that will definitely be changing soon.
If you’re interested in checking out future WordCamps, look at the schedule here. They are held all over the world – USA, South America, India…everywhere! And the registration doesn’t cost much, honestly. Everyone working and speaking at the event are volunteers – none of them are getting paid to put this together. That shows their dedication and enthusiasm for the realm of WordPress, right?
So if there’s one close to you and you would like to learn more about WordPress and connect with cool people that want to do the same, I would highly recommend that you do it! Now excuse me while I go become an awesome blogger…
Down to the nine month mark! This past month has been more thinking and visualizing rather than actually making concrete decisions and plans. I mean, we have our venue and I got my dress, the rest is a cake-walk, right?
One thing I can happily say is that I haven’t been a bridezilla.
Right, Tom? RIGHT?!?!
But seriously, if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t done any crazy complaining or stressing. I mean, I’ve watched some of those shows with crazy brides, and they totally stress me out. I can’t make it more than 2 minutes before I need to either change the channel or walk out of the room.
Like, these women are nuts. And it makes me question the sanity of the chump that asked them to spend the rest of their lives together. You really want to spend each and every day with her? And then there are her friends/bridesmaids whom she treats like total garbage. How have they not ended the friendship? Why did they agree to be in her wedding? And how on Earth do they restrain themselves from punching her in the face?!
Breathe, Holliday. Breathe.
But since I haven’t been stressing too much, I was so surprised when I had this crazy wedding dream/nightmare a couple weeks ago. I wrote about it here, so check out how strange it was.
I guess the one thing that hit home the most with that dream was the part about my mom not coming. I’ve been stressing about this the most and trying to figure out possible ways to get her down here. And then the guilt sets in.
Am I selfish for having my wedding down in Long Island instead of upstate? It has been less stressful planning it down here, and yet I feel like a horrible daughter in making it more difficult for my mom to come.
So I’ve been looking into finding resources in order to get mom down here:
- Her friend offered to pay for transportation down here – plane, train, whatever – so that’s one less thing to worry about. Realistically, a plane would be the best way because she can’t sit in her chair for more than a few hours.
- From there, we’d need to find transportation from the airport to Long Island (and vice versa when she goes home).
- We would need to have an aide with her for whenever she needed meds, to use the bathroom, and transporting between her motorized chair to bed.
- Along with the aide, the nursing home uses a Hoyer lift for these transports, so we’d probably need one of those.
Is there such a thing as renting a nursing home room or assisted living space for a night? That would be great!
On top of all this, the most important thing is keeping her stress level as low as possible. Stress exacerbates her condition, so we would need to make everything as easy on her as we could. This was actually one of the reasons we didn’t hold it upstate.
No matter what we plan, in the end, her MS will rule the day and decide how she feels. So even if we did hold it upstate, there’s always a chance that she may wake up that morning and feel like total garbage and be unable to attend anyways. See my dilemma?
Whew, okay, let’s move on. I’m becoming a stress-ball again.
On a lighter note, I’ve been designing our Save the Dates. In the wedding world, they call these STDs for short; I know, weird. Tom suggested skipping the STDs…wait…ahem, let’s just use Save the Dates. Come on Holliday, be mature.
You know you were thinking it too.
So Tom suggested just skipping Save the Dates and going straight to the invitations. Because we are having a wedding that has the potential for a lot of out-of-town guests, it would be a great idea to get a head count earlier than typical timelines suggest. This way we will have an idea of how many hotel rooms we might need to block, how many guests in general for ceremony and meal preparations, and how many would attend a separate reception if we held one upstate.
On top of that, we need to figure out a picture we both like to put on the Save the Dates and/or Invitations; we might need a few depending on what design we go with. Tom and I both like the Save the Date postcard idea, so if we do send STDs, we’ll probably go with something like this:
Except Tom isn’t a fan of the front picture. Which brings me to finding a photographer…
So an appointment had been made to meet with the photography company that works closely with our venue. Except someone (I won’t name names) slept through said appointment. Normally I think this would stress me (or anyone) out, but to be honest I’m not too impressed with that company’s portfolio.
Since they are based in Long Island, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the original appointment anyways, since I have grad school and work during the week. I’ve had my eye on two other photographers whose work I find so much better, but obviously they’re a bit pricier. I want the photos to be amazing, so I really don’t want to skimp and end up with crummy pictures just to save a few bucks. But I also don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, either.
So I made an appointment with one of the other photography companies I liked better, and I’m hoping that things will go well and we can decide to go with them. I’d also like to set up an engagement session with them. This way we can become comfortable with our photographer and we can all get an idea of what we want for the big day.
A couple weeks ago, we asked Tom’s dad to take a few pictures at the beach where we got engaged since he has a pretty nice camera. We have this running joke about not wanting super awkward pictures, so I mentioned poses like the ‘peering around a tree at each other’ pose. So we made a point to take a picture like that for fun, knowing that it is something we want to avoid with actual engagement pictures.
Even with our desire not to get awkward pictures, we got plenty of them that day. Not because we were super pose-y or cheesey, but because it was super windy and sunny at the beach. We wanted candid, we got candid. All I have to say is watch what you wish for. Outtakes might be posted on our wedding website, so wear a diaper for that experience.
Speaking of, Tom and I got to sit down and work on the website together last weekend. Tom did most of the work while I sat next to him and made my suggestions for overall look and functions. I’m always so amazed when I watch him do stuff with computers!
How did you know what to do to fix that? How did you know to type that? Where did you learn all this stuff?!
I’ve learned a lot along the way because he knows how to break things down and explain them to someone who is not completely technology illiterate but is nowhere near his level of knowledge. It was a nice bonding time for us and hopefully the site will be up soon.
On top of all that, I realized that this year will be the first time we get to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together! Tomorrow, November 17, is the three year mark since we met, but we haven’t actually spent a major holiday together because of the whole 400-miles-between-us thing. We’ve talked over Skype on such days, but to actually be able to be with each other and share the joy that those days bring makes me really excited.
And (okay, let’s get cheesy for a second) kind of emotional. I mean, you have no idea how long I’ve waited to be able to spend special days – holidays, birthdays, even just going out on dates – with Tom. It’s crazy thinking about all the time we spent so far away, all the things we couldn’t do, all the experiences and memories we couldn’t share because of the distance between us.
Through the difficult times, the frustrations, the doubts, the short visits, the extreme loneliness following the short visits, and the inability to share all the good times without a screen between us. After 2 years of that, you can imagine how ecstatic I am knowing that Tom and I no longer have to endure these!
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. –Romans 5: 1-5
Yes, we will still have frustrating times; I understand that marriage does not magically take away problems. If anything, problems will be brought to light or created as a married couple spending a lot of time together. But we’ll be able to work through them face to face. God seriously tested our relationship, and now we’re going to be joined in marriage! And I’m pumped!
So I told Tom the other day that we might just need to get one of those cheesy “Our First Christmas” ornaments for the tree this year! And we can put one of our awkward beach photos on it. Like this one:
Or maybe something more like this:
All I know is there are plenty of awkward pictures to choose from. And all I can say is that we’re a couple of awkward people. And we must embrace it.
So, to put a twist on Romans 5: 3-5,
We rejoice in our shared awkwardness because it produces our endurance to deal with each other’s awkward characters. Let us hope that we can get pictures a little less awkward. If not, we have no shame because God loves us no matter what.
Have you done that? If not, reread the first sentence. Good? Okay, let’s keep the story rolling!
So we left off with Dee (my technician, remember?) telling me that the office would let me know when my aligners were ready. I would have to wait anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks. Well, during the sixth week, I actually called the office just to inquire about my aligners. I wasn’t sure if maybe they had tried calling me and for some odd reason it didn’t connect. Or maybe the voicemail didn’t work. Or maybe they called the wrong Holliday…you never know!
Dee, friendly as usual, told me that Dr. Jacquie had taken a look at my 3D images, made some tweaks to them, and that this was why it was taking a bit longer for my aligners to come in. Okay, as long as everything was running smoothly, I could wait an extra few days.
Lo and behold, the next day, Dee called me back to tell me my aligners were ready!!!!! I made an appointment the next day and went straight to the office after work. I didn’t care that I would probably be late to my grad school class. This held much higher priority.
I was so excited to get to the office and finally get to start my treatment. It was Halloween, so all of the technicians were dressed up in different Angry Bird costumes which was pretty comical. I updated Dee on my wedding plans and showed her some pictures of my dress; she had shown me a picture of hers during my consultation. She said it was gorgeous and we kept talking about weddings, but it was hard to make serious conversation with her in that costume.
After that, another Angry Bird-esque technician led me to a room to show me my 3D images, how my teeth and bite would change, and to explain everything about the aligners (proper wear/care/etc). She told me that Dr. Jacquie actually ordered for me to have a couple more aligners than originally thought. But she also said that I would be able to keep them in for a shorter period of time; so instead of wearing each aligner for 2 weeks, I would be able to wear them for about 10 days each. So it wasn’t a terrible adjustment or extreme addition of time, but man, are my teeth screwed up or what?
She pulled up my images that had been taken the last time I was there, and then showed how, with the aligners, my teeth would shift and re-align into a beautiful configuration. She showed me views from the front of both top and bottom teeth, so this is how my smile would look eventually. She then showed aerial views of the top and then the bottom teeth; it was amazing to see how crooked my teeth and jaw started and then how perfectly straight and rounded they were by the end!
My online account with Dr. Jacquie’s office actually has these images and shows the progression, like a little movie! I even have the option to share on Facebook or send a link to someone who would actually care to see it. But instead, I took 4 screenshots of each view (front view and aerial views of both bottom and top) to give you an idea of the progression. The pictures show what my teeth look like at the beginning (aligner 1), how they will look in the middle of treatment (aligners 17 and 30), and what the final product will look like (aligner 46).
How freaking cool is that?! I watched the video about 5 times in a row for each view…and got so excited every time it got to the end!
The images at the office actually showed the attachments that will be put in place on my teeth for the rubberbands to fix my bite. I kind of freaked out a bit because the computer showed huge red pieces on my teeth. Umm you know I’m getting married in August, right? Oh, and, I also interact with people on a daily basis. So huge red things on my teeth will not exactly work for me.
“Don’t worry, I know the screen shows them as red, but they’re actually going to be tooth colored, so they won’t be noticeable.” Phew.
After she showed me these images, she took out my aligners from their little plastic bag and kind of explained the basics of how they are each labeled in case I mix them up. My top and bottom teeth are extremely different, so I have no trouble deciphering which is which, but I guess it was good to know. They also have the aligner number on them, so if all of my aligners at some point were to end up in a big pile, I would be able to group them with their corresponding aligner number.
She helped me pop in the bottom, had me pop in the top, and then had me pop them out to make sure I knew how to do it. It was kind of awkward and difficult because they were kind of tight, but other than that it was fine. I popped both back in and felt like a linebacker with a huge mouthguard in my mouth.
I know they’re clear and they aren’t as thick and huge as a sports mouthguard, but it was so foreign that I felt like my cheeks were all puffed out. She told me that it was going to feel weird at first but no one would really notice except me. “When you smile, they only make your teeth look shiny. Other than that, no one will notice.”
She went through the cleaning procedure, rules about not eating or drinking anything (except water) while they were in my mouth, and what to do when I progressed to the next aligner. She told me not to throw any of my aligners away.
“When you finish with a set of aligners and are ready to move on to the next set, clean the old ones really well and throw them back in the plastic ziplock back that they come in. This way, if for some reason your teeth do shift back a bit at any point, you can match up your teeth to one of the sets of aligners and wear them again to get them back to where they should be.” That makes sense!
During this entire spiel, my tongue was having a field day running along the smooth plastic of my aligners. I know that’s weird, but they were just so smooth! Plus, my mouth became really dry because A) I had rushed there after work, B) I was excited, C) I kept breathing out of my mouth because I felt like I couldn’t keep my mouth closed. Now, it’s not that they are thick or bulky or anything, but it was just a huge difference from what I was used to, so it felt like I couldn’t keep my mouth closed, if that makes sense. If not, oh well.
I was nervous about talking too; I remember one of my friends talking about how her aligners made her lisp a bit at first. “You may talk a little funny in the beginning, but your tongue will get used to them so it won’t be a problem.”
She sent me on my way with my first three sets of aligners, a couple tooth brushes, a travel toothpaste, and two cases for my aligners. I was very self-conscious because my mouth felt so awkward, so smiling was weird because I had no idea what I looked like.
Dee greeted me at the front desk again, asked how they felt, and set me up for my next appointment. I was told that I would be fitted for the attachments for the rubberbands at the next appointment, as well as receiving the next three sets of aligners.
So look forward to my next post about my first week with the aligners; I’ll give my first impressions, any complaints, as well as tips and pointers about Invisalign.
If you haven’t already done so, read my first post about my Invisalign journey here!
So now that I had my consultation scheduled, I was really pumped. Normally the consultation would be free, which is great. However, mine was $75 since I did not have a panoramic X-ray of my mouth taken within the past year (or ever).
So when I walked in for my consultation, I met the technician (let’s call her Dee seeing as I don’t know how cool it would be to actually use names other than Dr. Jacquie. And Holliday.) that I had corresponded with over email and phone, and she was just as pleasant in person. I learned that she was planning her wedding for next September, so we bonded over that; we talked about planning and dresses and all that good stuff. She took my panoramic X-ray and then brought Dr. Jacquie to see me.
Now I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about Dr. Jacquie. Although all of the press about her was great, I was unsure as to whether she would be some fake and impersonal woman. I mean, who knows? Maybe she let the fame (she was featured on The Tyra Banks Show) and recognition (she’s an Elite Preferred Provider and in the top 1% of North American providers) get to her head.
But I was pleasantly proved wrong! The moment she walked into the room, she said she was glad to finally meet me, congratulated me on my engagement, and she was completely genuine! And she had a great smile herself.
Plus, she used creamsicle flavored gloves when she felt around my teeth and gums. Bonus!
She said that I had great teeth, my X-ray looked perfect, and they were going to not only straighten my teeth, but I had a pretty bad overbite. “You hide it well because your front top teeth are pushed back, so there isn’t the obvious gap between the top and bottom teeth.” She said it almost as a compliment…I was tempted to say ‘thank you.’ I mentioned that I had jaw pain and clicking a lot and she said that my bad bite is most likely the reason. Well, cool.
But I guess it could be worse. I could look like this dog with a crazy overbite.
So overall, my treatment would be 18 months; the first 6 months were mostly just to straighten and align my teeth. She said that they would be beautifully straight for my wedding in August! Then the last 12 months were going to focus on fixing my bite. She even explained to me how my bite had formed so unevenly using one of the fake sets of top and bottom teeth in her office. She was very clear and thorough about it and how the treatment would fix this.
Now, ironically, to fix my bite, she told me I would have to wear rubberbands connecting my top and bottom jaws. I have to say, I’m not as excited about the rubberbands as I might have been say back in middle school. I wonder if they make glow-in-the-dark ones…
They went over the price once my treatment plan was explained, including overall price and monthly payments. Now obviously everyone’s treatment cost is different based upon the length of time and necessary work. My whole treatment was going to be $7500 because of the extensive amount of time with my jaw needing fixing. They could just straighten my teeth, but without the bite alignment, the teeth wouldn’t sit correctly and this would compromise how straight my teeth would be in the end and could ultimately make my jaw pain worse.
She also said that since I was getting married, they would include a whitening treatment so that my teeth looked extra gorgeous for my wedding. And, they were going to give me an extra set of my last aligners so that I didn’t have to buy a whole separate set of retainers at the end of my treatment. Great!
I didn’t make the decision to go ahead right then and there; I wanted to talk it over with Tom before I just said, “Yeah, I’ll spend $7500 on myself.” They told me it was fine, that I could just call them after I had made the decision. So Tom and I talked and agreed that it would be worth the investment. I called the office right away and scheduled an appointment to create my aligners.
Fast forward one week to my first official appointment. Dee brought me into another room this time with a large computer-like contraption. This machine was going to take pictures of my teeth from all angles and create a 3D image of them. From these 3D images, Dr. Jacquie would determine how each tooth needed to be shifted, and how my bite would be fixed. The aligners would then be made using these images. (This picture is not mine, but that is the machine and how the images look during the procedure.)
How cool is that?! The procedure was a bit uncomfortable for a few reasons. First, it blows out cool air the entire time to prevent the camera from fogging up, so it dries your mouth out like crazy. Plus, I have some sensitive parts of my teeth and gums, so there were times when I wanted to cry out in pain because the cool air was killing me. Finally, your mouth has to be open uncomfortably wide for an extended period of time while they get every angle of every tooth. The molars were a killer to get good pictures of.
But it was cool seeing my two sets of teeth as 3D images on the screen when she was finished. It was annoying because they looked even more crooked and uneven without my skin to cover them up. But then again, they will be straight and pretty soon enough; that’s why I was there!
She then took a bunch of pictures of my teeth and bite with an old-fashioned (old-fashioned in comparison to the large contraption I just had prodding my mouth) digital camera. I assume those will be the “before” shots for the before-and-after pictures. I can’t wait to see how much my teeth change!
Dee said that it would take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to get the first three sets of aligners, but as soon as they arrived they would call me and get me an appointment so I could start my treatment ASAP.
Next post will talk about getting my aligners; I’ll include the actual 3D images of my teeth, too! Get excited! I know I am!