Thursday, June 29, 2017

How to have a wedding for $5,000 or less

When Joey and I got engaged, we knew one thing for sure: we didn't want to spend a ton of money. We wanted this to be special, but more like a party than a wedding. With some thriftiness, a lot of work from us and some family members, and not caring too much about being fancy, we were able to have a wedding for 150 people that cost us just around $5,000. Here's how:

The bride:
My dress came from David's Bridal. It was on the final sale clearance rack. Cost: $500
Veil: Bridal Exchange (a consignment shop) Cost: $80
Shoes: My shoes were a pair of black flats I had purchased from somewhere like Walmart about 2 years ago so they were old and broken in. I bought some Modge Podge and glitter from Amazon and then finished them off with a clear coat of Modge Podge Finishing Spray. Final cost: $20
Flowers: All of our flowers came from the Dollar store except for the Tiffany blue ones. We could only find those at Hobby Lobby. My grandmother did all our flowers with the help of a florist. I think all around they cost about $100 (this includes the flowers for centerpieces. I also purchased these at the Dollar Store).

Bridesmaids:
My bridesmaids all ordered their dresses from Amazon. We found some beautiful lace dresses for around $70. The exact item we ordered is no longer listed but I did find a similar gown here:
https://www.amazon.com/Miusol-Womens-Casual-Sleeveless-Vintage/dp/B00ZWSEGFK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498575405&sr=8-1&keywords=bridesmaid%2Bdress&th=1

Again, those are Dollar Store flowers. Not too shabby!

Flower Girls:
We hit the jackpot with custom made flower girl dresses on Etsy. Guess how much they cost?!?!?
Guess!

.... $40. And they were SO CUTE.
Joey's mom bought the girls' shoes so I honestly forget how much they were but they were some super cute sandals from Penny's that were on sale. The baskets and flower petals I purchased on Amazon. Cost: $15.



Groomsmen:
Joey got a great deal on his tux! I think he paid like, $10? This was at Louie's Tux Shop. My brother got also his Tux from Louie's. So did all the Groomsmen (that's why he got the deal) Everyone spent just under $150. Shoes were purchased through an awesome friend so we got brand new Converses at a discount. I bought my brother's pair so I could steal them after the wedding MWAHAHAHA.
Look at those shoes!


The Ceremony:
Our venue was the History Center in Downtown Fort Wayne. I cannot overstate how amazing this place is. The guy in charge of reservations (Steve) was SO accommodating and friendly. He basically told us we had the whole day even though we only had the place booked for about 4 hours. Cost: $400
They provided chairs which we chose not to rent covers for because ain't nobody got money fo' dat. The room was beautiful to begin with so we didn't feel the need to add much. I did decide to purchase an arch for us because I felt like we need something to focus the room. I looked online and found wedding rental websites where they had some tacky-ass arches for upwards of $200. Nope! I turned to Amazon again and purchased a white arch, three different slips of gauze in our colors, and a rope of LED lights. Joey went out and purchased some more flowers (which he literally duct taped hahaha). Final cost: around $35
We also had a small table with a picture of my grandfather on it. The table was borrowed from a friend.



The Reception
Our venue for the reception was amazing as well. We had it in the Tiger Room at CS3 aka Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits. It only cost us $350 and that included the price of the bartender! It was for at least 5 hours but they basically said we could stay until their bar shut down. This price included the bartender fee and table cloths. The catering cost us about $1000. This was food for 150 people including appetizers
Our centerpieces were liquor bottles that we have been saving over the last few years. Thanks to me being a crazy lady we started saving them before I even moved in! I straight up told him "We need to save these for our wedding." I guess it speaks to our relationship that neither of us questioned the fact that we were both getting married someday. 
Centerpiece and wedding favor

Our wedding favors came from Amazon. They were skeleton key bottle openers. Cost: $40 for keys and $10 for the tags.

Our wedding cake came from a local bakery called Sweets So Geek. It was a Game of Thrones themed cake with dragon eggs on top. Cost: $160
We also had cupcakes that were from another local bakery but I don't know the cost because they were a wedding gift from one of my besties <3

Everything else:
Our officiant was Joey's sister. She got certified for the ceremony online. Our close friend Ramon ran the sound at the ceremony. A longtime friend from home was our photographer. I cannot overstate how amazing she was (look at the pictures!). Cost: $1000
If you want to check out her website go to https://www.alexwrightphotography.com/
Our DJ was a good friend, Crystal. She. was. AWESOME. She helped us run the reception as far as timing everything because we had no idea what we were doing. The music was amazing and she was a great personality to have running the show! Cost: $600

All in all, we were very lucky. Joey's mom, my grandmother, and a dear friend helped alleviate some of our costs because they knew we were doing this thing on our own. With some thrift and not caring too much we pulled off (in my humble opinion) a pretty awesome wedding!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My mother, the Cult Leader

This is not my normal blogging fare. I haven't really even touched my blog since 2015 because I use blogging as a way to talk about the hardships in my life and to connect with others who share  my experience. I also always hope to reach people who might be struggling with the same issues and hope that maybe they don't feel quite so alone. 

I'm also going to label this with a trigger warning: Domestic violence and child abuse.

This is also deeply personal so if you don't want to know me that well, don't read on. 

After being told to keep my mouth shut for 26 years, I'm going to speak out. I can't shut up any more. If this blog pisses you off, good. I'm angry too. And I'm done being quiet.

Here we go.

One of my first memories of my mother starts with my sister and I in our bedroom. She's two years older than me. We have also had issues getting along. We were having the type of heated argument only two girls can have when she whipped out the worst word she knew and called me a bitch. I retaliated in the way I knew would hurt her the worst. I called her fat. As soon as the word left my mouth our bedroom door slammed open. My mother towered in the doorway. Literally towered. Anyone who has seen my mom knows she's pretty tall and can be intimidating when she's angry (to say the least). She growled at me "What did you just call her?" I started stuttering, trying to explain myself but before I could I was pulled off of my bed and onto the floor, where she proceeded to kick me in the ribs while holding me by my hair. My right set of ribs have never been the same. I was no more than seven years old.

The first time I tried to kill myself I was eight.

I grew up with three siblings. For some reason, I was the only one targeted this way. Probably because I never quite learned to shut my mouth. When we had no food and were hungry, I would question my mother's decision to buy a carton of cigarettes rather than food. When she brought a new, strange man home I would tell her that I didn't feel safe and that she had three daughters to think of. Usually this earned my a slap in the face or a shove but when it was really bad it could earn a black eye or worse. My older siblings would intervene when it seemed like my mother wasn't going to stop. I can't count how many times she had to be pulled away from me by my brother or sister while I was curled into a ball trying to protect  my head from punches and kicks. Regardless of how bad I was hurt, at the end of every episode I was told to "stop exaggerating, I just got a spanking (while my lips bled or I was taken to the hospital)." I was told to "be quiet or your little sister will be taken away and it will be all your fault". 

The older I got the harder it became for me to "keep my mouth shut". What astounded me is that when I tried to bring it up to my family I was told nothing ever happened. I started to question my sanity. I would be angrily reprimanded for trying to make my mother feel bad, or trying to get into trouble. If I had a limp or a welt or a cigarette burn I was accused of faking my injuries. I felt insane.

Once I hit middle school I started to bring friends over, hoping for a buffer. That didn't stop anything. I remember having two friends over. I made a sarcastic joke to my mother while we all hung out in the living room. She slammed me into the wall by my throat.

I got my heart broken for the first time because of my mom. I didn't blame him. She had punched me in the face before I walked out the door before school. What 15 year old could deal with that? I couldn't. 

I started disconnecting. I stopped going to class. I told a favorite teacher I wanted to die. I couldn't tell anyone because I didn't want my baby sister in foster care. But I knew I couldn't take anymore. 

One day I decided to get my mom to beat me. Really beat me. So I could go to the hospital with proof. I had to. I knew I wouldn't survive much longer. I told my teacher and some friends to call the cops if they didn't hear from me because I was going to fight back and there was a chance I wouldn't make it. When she got into a rage, it was hard to stop her. And I knew no one that could would be home. Of course my teacher called the police. She had to, it was her job. She had been my confidant as long as she couldn't but she couldn't risk my life that way. It was too late. My mother was holding me down on her bed, choking me. I was losing vision. Until my mother's friend came home. 

I had several texts and a missed call. The police were on their way. I jumped our back fence and ran right into a cop. He took me to school. They hid me in the counselor's office. I had welts on my throat. 

Sadly, my mother is nothing if not cunning. She went straight to the police herself. Her middle daughter had attacked her youngest. She had no choice but to intervene. Of course, no one questioned enough to realize my sister was in school. I was taken in handcuffs even though no one believed her. In the court room she was spitting mad, literally. Screaming of my drug use and failure to listen. How she had to protect everyone from me. I didn't say a word. She left and the judge looked at me. He said he knew it wasn't true but if I didn't testify against her he couldn't help me. I didn't. I was scared. So they sent me to a mental hospital for teens. My aunt picked me up a week later and I didn't set foot in my mother's home again for 3 years. To this day she tells people that she kicked me out due to drug use. Even though there are several witnesses against this. She says it so much I think she really believes it. She has put her arm around me, shaken her head,  and with a tear in her eye talked about how she wished she never had to "send me away". As if she didn't throw me under the bus to save herself. As if she hadn't almost killed me.

Now, as an adult, I don't leave my daughter alone with her. I visit once a year. She's never visited me. She didn't come with my daughter was born but screamed and raged until I drove, exhausted and sore, 5 hours there and back with a barely month old newborn just to see her. She did the same with my wedding. She didn't come but begged me to let her see it via facetime. Of course she started screaming and raging during the ceremony saying that no one told her it was a "real wedding" and that we had said it was a "promise ceremony". 

Everything is about her. She is never wrong. I am the bane of her existence. My whole life I have been told to keep quiet. Nothing happened to me. The people who watched it unfold have told me that I am lying, even as their arms held her down to slow the punches. Well, guess what? I'm done being quiet. I hope the whole world reads this. 

Because of her, I question every relationship in my life. If my mother can't love me, who could?
Because of her I flinch when I think someone is upset with me.
Because of her I wake up crying and shaking and sick at night.
Because of her I never felt like I had a home until I met my husband.
Because of her I probably won't have any contact with my siblings now that I have cut her out. 

I told her last week that if she wants to talk, I'm here. If not, I'm perfectly fine if I never see her again. I'm so tired of the lies. I'm tired of the silence. I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends. I have an amazing stepmother. I have an awesome mother-in-law. I don't need that type of poison in my life, and neither do my children.

If anyone that is reading this is dealing with violence from anyone, please tell someone. Please don't let yourself get to the point where you feel suicide or drugs are your only escape. Someone can help you, and someone cares. 

-Carolyn

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Endometriosis/PCOS

Infertility issues seem to be things that are always happening to someone else. That is, until they happen to you. I had never even considered what it would be like to not have a child whenever I wanted considering the fact that at 19 I got pregnant after missing my pill once.

While I don't have a tumor (yay), I do have several blood filled cysts on my ovaries that grow, disappear, and then grow back. I also have some serious scarring on my uterus. My OB told me that within the next year my chances of becoming pregnant are going to shrink. For now, I will be taking Low Low Estra, which will stop/lighten my periods and hopefully minimize the damage while I step back and consider my options. I'll also be taking my results for a second opinion with my regular doctor, but as of right now I have limited choices for any future child bearing.

Honestly, I feel like crap right now. I have been tired from working two jobs and on top of that I have serious pain and hormonal issues because of my endometriosis. I have been struggling with weight gain and skin problems since it all started, and I don't know what my next step is.

As of right now, I'm trying to take it one step at a time. Joey has been a huge help, and as usual I don't know what I would do without him. We are going to see what my doctor says and how everything looks in March when I return to my OB. I'm hoping that somewhere in the next few years I have a tiny bundle of joy to look forward to, but I at least for now have a solid support system and a good friend that has been in my shoes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So I have this bum ovary...

Warning: I'm gonna talk about my cycle a bunch so if you're a dude and don't want to read about my period, stop here.

I haven't had a period since late May/Early June. I honestly thought that I was pregnant or that my body was just tired of me being on the pill after 7 years but I started having a ton of pelvic pain and finally landed in the emergency room on August 5th. They informed me that I had ruptured a cyst and that there was a mass of them on my right ovary. They suggested I see my primary care physician ASAP.

Last week I went to my doctor. She informed me that I do in fact have some cysts. She also informed me that I have a fairly large tumor on my ovary. I'm assuming it's benign, because so far no one's dropping the C word. I've had a ton of lab work done, and they plan to send it off a biopsy after my surgery. Usually they do that first but either way it needs to go so I'll know more after the surgery.

Right now my biggest concern is how this tumor has been affecting me. Not only have I stopped ovulating, but I've gained 15 pounds out of nowhere. I was a size 7 last year. I'm a size 11/13 right now.

NOT. COOL.

I see my obstetrician on Friday and I'm hoping to schedule my surgery for as soon as possible after that.
My biggest hope is that I start ovulating again. I'm terrified I'm going to lose my ovary, but I do have another. I'm just hoping my cycle gets back to normal because I'm sure everyone reads this knows how baby crazy I am. The good news is that baby #2 isn't even being considered for a few more years so I have plenty of time to get everything back to normal.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Purple hair, don't care.

Most of you probably know that I took the plunge and went from my signature red hair to purple (and then purple and magenta). I have only been wearing this new 'do for a couple weeks and it's already starting a strain on me. 

I've always gotten a little negative attention as a woman and a mother, but most of those came from my tattoos. I was outright called a slut at the local YMCA pool in front of my then three year old daughter. To be honest, I'm not sure if it was because I was the only parent there in a two-piece or that combined with the 5 or 6 tattoos I had visible at the time. At Sophie's ballet class I was wearing a maxi dress and both my shoulder tattoos were visible. Not only did I get numerous dirty looks, I had a woman actually pull her daughter away from me and then proceed to glare at me for the duration of the class.

Now that my hair is purple I have been called an attention whore, I've been followed around Barnes and Noble and then subsequently searched as I tried to leave, and I had a man assault me at the library. The library incident was the worst as the man followed me all the way to the back of the reference section and then he proceeded to grab me and say "Mmmm" before I could away. When I found security and they escorted him away I was told that maybe I should consider my appearance next time. I was wearing a work tank top and shorts at the time, so I'm not sure what part of my appearance he thought was to blame. 

While I have gotten an overwhelming positive response from friends and strangers alike (Shout out to Katie Sturgill for working her magic), my hair is bringing me a shocking amount of negative... crap. I can't think of what else to call it. I shouldn't be surprised but I am always shocked at the attention and reproach that my appearance brings. The worst is that most of it from women, the overwhelming number of those are other mothers. They stare at me and my daughter as if they would snatch her away if they could. Clearly all this bright hair and ink means I am in no way capable of being a good mother. I mean I must have spent my morning doing something heinous rather than cooking my baby a pancake breakfast and making sure we cuddle in our pajamas as long as possible before starting her home pre-schooling lesson for the day. Right? 

I suppose all I can do is keep being a positive influence on my daughter and maybe those that we encounter that think I must be a terrible person will see how much I love her and how hard I try and maybe they will learn a lesson or two about shallow judgment and manners. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekend update

We had a super busy weekend this week. We had a rough week previously with Sophie because she hadn't seen her dad in five days and was being very mean towards Joey and I. She wanted nothing to do with us. She only spent two days with her dad before I picked her up on Friday and I was honestly dreading it. But when I got her she was super sweet, and remained that way most of the weekend.

Saturday we woke up early (even Joey!) and had pancakes and bacon. We had planned on seeing our friends at Buskerfest but it was cancelled due to the super storm that damaged most of the town. Instead we opted for a family movie date to see Inside Out. Sophie and I LOVED it and cried like babies. So good. And after my recent love affair with The Office I was delighted when Joey told me that Phyllis was the voice of Sadness.

Sunday consisted off and eggs and toast breakfast and then heading to Fox Island for some water fun. It was so beautiful. Sunny and 75. The water wasn't too cold for swimming and Sophie got to break out her sand toys. Besides the trek through standing water and being attacked by mosquitoes on our way back to the car it was a great trip. We stopped at Scotty's Brewhouse on the way home for lunch (Sophie LOVED IT) and then grabbed some coffee and headed home to watch a couple episodes of Scrubs before we hit up the park. Sadly it was flooded but Rose had a great time and we got to walk around the rose gardens and admire the flowers. Rose loves the rose gardens... HA! I'll shut up now..

Anyway, it was a pretty good weekend minus some minor grumpy moments from the krakken. I'm looking forward to even more fun this weekend at home in West Virginia. Can't wait for my mom to pick us up!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Weekend Update


Herro! I haven't done a weekend update in forever so I just thought that I would share!

Friday I picked up Sophie after work and we headed home for dinner. She pestered me about s'mores for a few minutes before giving up and watching some PBS until it was time to eat. Saturday morning we woke up and had some eggs and toast for breakfast. The only positive side to Joey sleeping in on the weekends is that Sophie and I get a little girl time. She's finally eating lately and that morning she had three pieces of toast, two eggs, two gogurts, and an apple. She was still asking for more when I drug her upstairs to get ready for the day.

Once we decided Joey had had enough sleep I told Sophie she could play in her room as loud as she wanted while I did my makeup. ;P Joey had to run to the mall to get fitted for a tux for a friends wedding. Sophie LOVES the mall. The mall means books, cake pops at starbucks, Chik-fil-A, and "escavators". She also loves the little rides throughout but I think she's getting a bit big for those.
She loves the simulated "coaster" ride at the mall. 

Robbie had Sophie Sunday, so we ended out the day with some laziness on the couch watching Paddinton Bear. I was hoping for a zoo trip or maybe a trip to Fox Island but the weather just wasn't cooperating. There also might have been some twerking at one point while Joey played guitar, but I'm not going to confirm or deny that. I'm trying to convince her that ballerina dancing is best.

Sophie and Joey cuddles might be my favorite ever.