Monday, November 30, 2015

20 Signs You Live in South-Central Pennsylvania

First off, no one says Pennsylvania. It's the initials, PA (pee ay).

You have to explain the alcohol laws to everyone who visits from out of state. Prohibition Sally was hard at work here. But really, the alcohol laws ARE from the Prohibition Era and are extremely outdated. Big Brother is watching. You can buy beer at a distribution store by the case (24 pack) only. You can buy wine and liquor, but not beer, at the state-run liquor store. You can buy six-packs at only a few grocery stores, in a completely separate section with a separate cash register, but you can't by more than 2 six-packs at once. You can also buy six-packs at select bars, but the prices are seriously jacked up. Half the time they check your ID, they scan it and make you sign your life awayYour mind is BLOWN when you find out people in other states can buy wine at Target, that's madness!

You live in the land of traffic cones. Seriously, they're referred to as the state flower. The amount of roadwork here (and the POTHOLES) are insane.

Speaking of roads, the biggest highway leading from the south to the capital of the state, Harrisburg, is only 2 lanes. And you have to get off the highway to stay on the highway, all.the.time. It's infuriating.

Oh, and the roads change names as your driving on them all.the.time. I regularly travel on Camp Betty Washington Road (not making this up), which changes into Haines Road after a mile, which then changes into Memory Lane a mile later, then Pleasant Valley Road. It's ridiculous when you think about it, but honestly, no one bats an eye because it's so common. *shrugs*

Not everyone roots for the same football team. Given the location, I'd say about 40% root for the Baltimore Ravens (about 1 hour away), 40% Pittsburgh Steelers (about 4 hours away), and kind of strangely, because it's much closer than Pittsburgh, only 20% Philadelphia Eagles (1.5 hours away).

In contradiction, you don't know a single person who roots for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's all about the Orioles (woop!) and ugh, the Phillies.

Everyone you meet either went to York College of Pennsylvania (YCP '10!), Millersville, or one of the bajillion Penn State campuses.

People are OBSESSED with Penn State football by the way, and are fiercely loyal towards Joe Paterno.

Everyone asks if you're Amish. People from out of state get so excited to see the Amish, but it's commonplace to you. Yes, you see Amish people on a near daily basis and buy your potato salad, wood furniture, play gyms, produce, bread, jam, and much, much more from Amish markets and it's awesome. Just don't get stuck behind a horse and buggy on a one lane road, it's the worst (horses poop and they're slow).

Speaking of Lancaster, you don't flinch or even giggle when you hear of same of the names of towns in Lancaster County. Intercourse, Paradise, and Bird-In-Hand, anyone?

It's like the windiest place on Earth, and at least 5-10 degrees colder. You live in large valley, so the wind just stays between mountains, and whips around. People who don't live in PA are very surprised at how windy it is when they visit, but you're not phased. 30mph with gusts up to 60mph? Another typical day. It's rare NOT to find your lawn furniture blown over and your garden flag halfway down the street.

Speaking of weather, you need your winter coat at least 6-7 months of the year, but the weather varies wildly in months like October and April. Our wedding was Saturday, October 17th and it was 45 degrees and super windy of course (and yep, I had an outdoor wedding), and it snowed the next day, but by Thursday the temperature was in the 60s.

Half the cars on the roads are pickups.

Maple Donuts! Yum, enough said.

Some people think they're from the South and fly the Confederate Flag. It's weird, we're north of the Mason-Dixon guys, get it together.

People fight over whether Sheetz versus Wawa gas stations are better, and it can come to blows. For the record, I grew up in Maryland with Wawa, moved to PA at 18, and I prefer Sheetz.

Mostly everyone you know votes Republican, but almost always a Democrat wins the state because of Philly (and to some extent, the city of Pittsburgh). Philly's interests are so totally different than the rest of the state which is largely rural, so a lot of people get really frustrated about that.

So much farmland. High school classes that teach farm skills are very normal. College classes devoted solely to Amish culture are also common. Buying fresh produce is the best. But getting stuck behind farm equipment on the road and suffering through these commercials is not.

Getting the Monday after Thanksgiving off school is a given, because of hunting season, duh! I was shocked to hear that when we first moved to PA, but apparently if the schools didn't give that day off, 3/4 of the students wouldn't show up.

Anyone else from PA? Think of anything I missed? How can you tell you live in your town?
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wedding Wednesday- Getting Ready

The wedding pictures are in!! I am so happy to have them; we keep going through them over and over and reliving the day. It was seriously the best day ever, I don't care how cliche that sounds! Anyways, I'm not going to bombard you with all of the pictures at once, plus I want to drag it out a bit, so I'm going to break the day down into 4 parts and post some of my favorite pictures from each part every Wednesday for the next few weeks. Today's post is much shorter than the next three, so brace yourselves ;-)

The girls got ready at our venue where our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all took place. There was a beautiful bridal suite for us to get ready in. We got there at 9:30am and started immediately decorating some areas (we did some decorating and the staff did others- I had specific ideas in my head for certain areas that I wanted us to do). Our hair and makeup stylists arrived at 10, and we spent the day lounging around the bridal suite, getting our hair and makeup done, eating/drinking, and listening to music.

We were finally all pretty much ready a little after 3pm, and the ceremony started at 4pm. Unfortunately we weren't ready in time to get more bridesmaid pictures before the ceremony (and it was way too cold to stay outside long for many after it was over), but it all worked out just fine.

Wyndridge also had a nice pub area blocked off from the bridal suite downstairs as well, and that's where the guys came to hang out around 2pm before the ceremony. They had already gotten ready individually and rode the limo over (wait til I tell you the story about our transportation debacle- if you're planning a wedding it'll give you nightmares!).

Speaking of nightmares, the groomsmen were supposed to be wearing suspenders and you'll notice how none of them are (except my youngest brother Mitchell, he got his elsewhere). Well, blame Mens' Wearhouse. I won't even get into it, but I'll just say we had SO many problems with them, and I highly recommend you use another place to get your guys' stuff for your wedding if you're planning one. I still think the guys looked good though. It's crazy how my happiness about getting married just overshadowed anything negative and I wasn't phased at all- it was a perfect day!

Next week, ceremony pictures! Happy Thanksgiving guys! Safe travels!
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Curious Jaxson

My adorable and sweet nephew Jaxson just turned ONE yesterday (how did the last year fly by so fast?!) and his big birthday party was Saturday. His party was awesome and so cute, so I thought you'd enjoy some pictures from his big day!

Isn't he just the cutest thing you ever did see?! Keep an eye out this week for some wedding pics! Dayna is getting our pics to use veryyyyy soon! Can't wait to post all about our awesome day (over 5 weeks ago already!) and show you our Christmas card!
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Sweet Little Oatmeal

So we took Oatmeal to the vet at the end of September with some concerns that we thought were, at worst, a doggy UTI. Our vet wanted to do some bloodwork and a urinalysis. We were surprised to get the call that Oatmeal had higher than normal creatinine and phosphorus levels, and that her urine was not concentrating properly. Our vet had us start her on a prescription kidney diet food and a renal supplement, with plans to retest in a month. 

Right after the wedding and before our honeymoon, we took her back to have more bloodwork and another urinalysis. The levels had fortunately come down some, probably as a result of the new food, but were still higher than the vet thought was normal for a 1 year old puppy, plus her urine was still dilute. The vet recommended we see a radiologist for an abdominal ultrasound of Oatmeal's kidneys, so on Tuesday I took her to that appointment.

We found out that Oatmeal has renal dysplasia, meaning that she was born with too small kidneys that have a lot of scar tissue (like at least 75% of her kidneys are non-functioning scar tissue). We took her to an internal medicine specialist in Maryland on Friday, and did some more tests and talked with us a lot about what we are going to do moving forward. For now, the treatment will focus on trying to make sure Oatmeal doesn't lose more kidney function, so the prescription kidney diet food she's been eating helps with that. They want to recheck her urine, blood, and blood pressure (it was high on Friday, she may need blood pressure meds) every month, then every three months, and if the levels stay stable, then every six months. She has an appointment in December at our regular vet to have all that tested again, then they will forward the results to the specialist who will call us with the results (that way we don't have to go all the way back down there). 

The internal medicine specialist said she can't really give us a prognosis, since every dog is different, but that hopefully Oatmeal can live many more years. Fingers crossed for our adorable puppy, we love her so much and want her to live a long and happy life! We certainly appreciate any and all prayers and/or happy thoughts sent our way! 
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