Friday, April 27, 2012

High Five for Friday

It's Friday!! This week was a good week, although I didn't do anything special. It just felt like a good week. Know what I mean? I feel happier than I have in quite awhile. It's about time I felt full of rainbows and butterflies rather than stormy clouds! (Is that a weird sentence? Oh well, I already wrote it so it's staying.) 

So ... since it's Friday, it's time to link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for High Five for Friday. Let's get into the best things of this week, shall we?


1. I joined a gym. Whoo-hoo!! It's time to get this body into shape and not feel ugly and fat anymore. I joined with my neighbors Amber and Joe (thanks for making me a part of your "family"!) and I've gone every day since we joined. My goal is 5 to 6 days a week, with one of those taking a yoga class. 

2. Along with going to the gym, I'm also changing my diet. NOT going on a diet, but changing up what I've been eating. Getting all those healthy fruits and veggies in, and cutting out the fat and processed foods. That does not mean giving up chocolate in my world; chocolate feeds my soul.

3. I found these posters to use as motivation tools ...

This explains how I want to feel.

4. I found my new favorite Scentsy scent. At least for this week! The scent is Simply Strawberry and it smells amazing. Perfect for summer.

5. Last weekend I kept myself busy by creating a fun, unique piece of artwork for above my couch. I love it so much; it makes me smile every time I walk by it!

I hope that you all had a wonderful week, and remember to be thankful for the big and little things in life!

Until next time~

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Artwork!

I have been staring at this big, empty spot above my couch for months now. I had previously bought a mirror to go above it shortly after I painted the living room gray, but the mirror was too heavy and couldn't hang on the wall. I had originally thought I would just watch for some artwork or piece to hang in the spot, but I just couldn't find something that I loved. I didn't want my living room to look like someone else's with the same artwork; I wanted it to be different, and to reflect me. So, I decided to make my own.

I found the inspiration on Pinterest (of course!), and went directly to the blog to see how she did it. I loved her original piece, and thought it would be fun to recreate with my own color scheme, and on a much grander scale.

So off to Jo-Ann's I went with a bunch of coupons. I picked up a big canvas, lots of scrapbook paper in shades of gray and silver with texture and, of course, some sparkle. (I had to have sparkle!) I also picked up a circle punch out cutter and spray adhesive. 

Once I got home I started to punch out the circles. I then starting laying them out on the canvas to make sure I was making enough circles, and the final step was gluing them on. Here is where it got messy. I'm sure there is an easier way to do it than I did, but because I had previously laid out my circles, I had to spray each circle individually and then place it where I wanted it. I got glue everywhere - I glued together my fingers, got some in my hair and all over the plastic and newspaper I laid down (which I highly recommend; you don't want to wreck your floor or table!). I eventually put on gloves so my fingers wouldn't get so sticky! But the end result is exactly what I had hoped for ...

I chose variations of gray and silver with lots of texture.
Here's how it looks in the room.

It's perfect for me - unique, modern and sparkly. Isn't it fun?

Until next time~

Friday, April 20, 2012

High Five for Friday


It's Friday!! Which means it's time to link up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk for the weekly High Five for Friday link party. After getting a rocky start, this week ended up being a pretty good week overall for me.

1. I sold my husband's car!! I really do like this car, it's a Volkswagen Passat, but there is no way I can afford two cars. Also, two cars is completely unnecessary. I knew selling it would lift a huge weight off my shoulders, and it certainly did! Plus, Amber picked me up at the dealership and we went out for dinner again with some much needed girl talk!

Dogs are NOT included in the sale of this car!
2. I found a wonderful new beauty product at Ulta this week. I've been wanting to try a body scrub for a really long time, and I picked up this one from Tree Hut for only $7.49. I used it for the first time this morning and I love it! The smell is amazing!! I now want to find the lotion and body wash with this same scent.

Scent: Hawaiian Kukui

3. Spring and summer fashion is out in all the stores, and I've been falling in love with dresses. I need to find reasons to wear them more often so I can indulge in some of these beauties!

From Anthropologie
From Anthropologie
From The Loft

4. This week I've been finding joy in cooking again. I'm actually eating real meals, not just cereal and popcorn! I made a delicious chicken sandwich meal with fresh mozzarella one night, and my go-to favorite last night of tacos. I love being able to add tons of fresh veggies to my meals and lots of spices - things my husband wouldn't touch.

5. I'm working on forgiving myself and releasing some of the pressure I've been putting on myself since I lost my husband. It's hard, but I need to start living.

Until next time~

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forgiving Myself

Throughout these last six and a half weeks I have put a lot of pressure on myself to do things right. To not offend anyone else. To grieve the proper way. Today I want to let go of that pressure. I need to do things for me right now, and forgive myself of the things that I've been holding on to these last few weeks.

Forgive myself for not saying "I love you" to Rod before we went to bed. He fell asleep on the couch; I can't change the fact that I couldn't talk to him before bedtime.

Forgive myself for not checking on Rod sooner. It wouldn't have changed anything.

Forgive myself for not being a big, crying mess. I don't know why, but when I hear "grieving widow" I think that I should be curled up in a ball, not being able to get out of bed. I constantly put pressure on myself to grieve "properly," but is there really a "proper" way?

Forgive myself for taking my rings off already even though some might say it's too soon.

Forgive myself for having fun.

Forgive myself for not feeling obligated to talk to the neighbor every day who drives me crazy. I need to be okay with putting distance between this person who says inappropriate things and myself, even if it hurts her feelings right now, because she will never understand the hurt I'm feeling.

Forgive myself for being angry. 

Forgive myself for leaving some things to be taken care of later, and not feel obligated to take care of everything right now.

Forgive myself for spending money on me. I spent less than $20 at Ulta today on beauty products and berated myself over it when I got home.

Forgive myself for the guilt that I'm feeling. This one is a tough one. I feel so much guilt over so many things that I constantly feel weighed down by it. This is definitely a work in progress.

I constantly put myself and my actions down, afraid I'm going to hurt someone. I put so much pressure on myself to do this (grieving) perfectly; to be the perfect widow. I feel as if I can't make a mistake and that I can't do something wrong. 

However, in life there are mistakes. And right now, I'm trying to go on living ... to figure out how to live my life without Rod, and I'm going to make mistakes. I'm going to make people mad or disappoint them. Putting so much pressure on myself is only making me even more unhappy and I need to let go of that. Forgive and move on to what's next in my life.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Feelings of Anger

Back in March when Rod first passed away, I had a few people who had gone through this type of situation previously give me advice on what to expect. They told me to expect extreme sadness and depression, feeling like I was in a fog and working on auto-pilot, guilt, and eventually being angry. At that point in my foggy state I couldn't imagine feeling angry with Rod. I thought that I would skip that step, go from fogginess, to sadness, to guilt, but then be okay. However, this past weekend all I felt was anger.

Friday night I laid awake worrying about my financial state. I worried about surviving on one paycheck, where I could find a second job so I don't have to move, and most of all, how I was going to sell Rod's car that no one seems to want. I woke up that next morning with a major headache and feeling exhausted. I then went to file my taxes, and TurboTax wouldn't let me e-file no matter what I did. I was already stressed out about the amount I have to pay in and not being able to e-file stressed me out even more.

Then, I got angry. I took my dogs for a walk and all they did was bark at everyone outside. I came back in and yelled. I eventually yelled at Rod for leaving me with all this financial stress. How am I expected to pay everything on just my paycheck? How am I supposed to sell his car? How am I supposed to survive without him by my side through all this? How could he just leave me???

The anger never subsided over the weekend. Yesterday all I wanted to do was yell - yell at the neighbors for constantly slamming their door every time they walk in or out of it, yell at the person who left their dog tied up outside who barked at my dogs like crazy when I tried to get the mail and no one came to get it, yell at TurboTax for not helping with why I couldn't e-file.

But I didn't yell. I didn't stick my head out the window and yell at the neighbor (however tempting that is!). I didn't yell at TurboTax. I didn't throw things. Instead I curled up in a ball and cried. Cried for the loss of my partner who helped me through all this, who helped me pay the bills, who helped me through the stress. 

At the end of the day yesterday I still felt angry. I didn't know how to deal with it. I wanted to throw things, to break things, to scream. But, if you know me, that's not what I do. I felt so wound up, stressed out and to the breaking point. Then, I read someone's blog post about dealing with a divorce and saw this quote that somehow made me feel a little bit better:

Right now, I feel down to nothing. I don't know how things can get any worse. So I am choosing to believe that at this moment, God is up to something that will change my life for the better. Although I am still angry, I woke up this cold, blustery Monday morning feeling a little bit better, a little bit more rested. I know that I need to trust God to help me through this; I can't do it on my own.

Friday, April 13, 2012

High Five for Friday


It's Friday, and another week to link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for High Five for Friday. Here are the good things in my life this week ...

1. Hanging out with good friends. Both Tuesday and Wednesday were spent with these girls, Amber and Beth, first for dinner at Acapulco, then again for the Twins game. 
Me, Amber and Beth
Me & Beth
Amber & Me - LOVE this pic!

2. Attending my first Twins game at the amazingly awesome Target Field and cheering them on to their first win of the season!
Go Twins!
The view from our seats

3. Splurging on new sunglasses at the Coach Outlet Store. (Cheaper than buying a purse, but still more expensive than my usual Target sunglasses!)

4. Finally picked up my Scentsy order! I'm so excited to try this stuff out.

5. Spending Easter with my family last weekend. (No pictures, sorry!) It was great hiding eggs for my nephew and watching him try to find them all. Having Easter dinners (yes, two this year!) with my parents, brother, nephew and extended family.

I hope everyone had a good week and remember to be thankful for the little things in life!

Also, the Scentsy warmer I chose is the Heartfelt warmer. I chose this because 100% of the proceeds is donated to the American Heart Association. This nationwide non-profit organization raises money to fund lifesaving research and to educate people about cardiovascular disease - the leading killer of Americans. This is in memory of my husband who passed away from a heart attack on March 4th, 2012.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The "Right" Time

Today I've been struggling with doing things at the "right" time or handling everything the "right" way. I'm not saying that there is a right way, but I feel as if I'm not doing the things the right way. I feel as if people think I'm doing things too soon, or just not behaving the way I'm "supposed" to be. 

Yesterday I started to go through Rod's clothes in the closet. I kept tripping over the basket of laundry on the bottom of the closet and cursing him for not putting his clothes away after I did laundry. I know that probably sounds stupid, but just try to put yourself in my shoes for a moment - I trip over the laundry basket of perfectly folded clothes, get mad at Rod, then remember that he didn't have time to put them away. My thought process isn't logical all the time. 

So ... rather than worry about tripping over the laundry basket, or wait for the pile that kept growing bigger to topple over, I decided to go through his clothes. I took everything off the hangers and out of the basket and made piles around my office - things I want to keep, things his parents might want and donations. Somehow going through it all made me feel better; I was doing something. But then, someone made a comment, "you're doing that already?". Well, yes. Is that wrong? How long am I supposed to wait? How long am I supposed to stare at these clothes that he'll never wear again? Is there a right time for me to start going through his things? 

Then, comes the big debate of how long to wear my engagement and wedding rings. This is something I wrestle with on a daily basis. I know some people wear them for years and years, and others take them off right away. Two days ago I took mine off and placed them, with Rod's wedding ring, on top of his urn. It just seemed like the right place for them at that moment. But, I worry that people will see my hand and think I did it too soon. That I'm moving on, when all I'm doing is trying to not be reminded every second of the promise for a lifetime together that isn't coming true. Maybe I did remove them too soon; I don't know.

I don't know the "right" way to handle any of this. I don't know the "right" time to be doing anything. I do know that this sucks. Plain and simple.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The First Holiday

Easter marked the first holiday on my own without Rod. I won't tell you that it was a fun and happy occasion, but I made it through, missing him the entire weekend. 

Rod loved Easter. Mostly because it meant getting to eat all of his favorite foods - ham, mashed potatoes and deviled eggs. Those foods just made him happy. This year I had to sit through two meals with basically the same foods with the same thought running through my head - Rod would have loved this meal; why isn't he here?? I thought of asking my mom to serve something different, but I didn't want everyone else to suffer just because ham made me miss Rod too much.

I bowed out of my yearly duty. Usually my job is to make dessert. I spend hours researching cute and festive dessert recipes narrowing it down to the perfect one. This year, however, I didn't feel like baking. Rod had always been the one to encourage my baking; he loved being the taste tester! Without him here, I just couldn't bring myself to bake anything this year. 

One of the most difficult things for me is seeing everyone else being happy and celebrating. I just don't know how to get to that happy place yet. On Easter (and actually every day), I see all the families together, all of the couples holding hands, people celebrating the holiday, and it makes me remember that I don't have my family now or someone to hold my hand. It's just me.

I am so grateful that I was able to spend the weekend with my parents, and my brother, nephew, Grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins. I wouldn't have been able to make it through the holiday without them being around. My family is so wonderful during this time. And to the couple of friends that texted me or wrote me, thank you. You guys are amazing, true friends that make each day a little easier.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

High Five for Friday


It's Friday, which means another link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for High Five for Friday. It's been a rough week - this week was the one month mark since I lost my husband  - so I think it's a good time to reflect on the positives of the week.

1. I finally went to see "The Lorax" last Sunday. It was so cute and I loved it! My good friend Amber and I went, and I am so glad we did. I wish trees looked like that in real life! And did they make anyone else think of cotton candy??

2. I put in a new Scentsy order this week. I seriously love this stuff. My husband relentlessly teased me about my addiction to it. I have warmers in both bedrooms, and one in our downstairs area. I love buying new scents to try. This time I ordered the Heartfelt warmer that donates it's proceeds to the American Heart Association (seemed fitting with everything that has happened) and six new scents. I'll share next week with what they look like!

3. We've had beautiful early spring weather here in Minnesota and I've been taking advantage of the warmer, sunny days by taking long walks with the dogs every day. It's nice getting out of the house, clearing my head and getting some much needed exercise.

4. This past Wednesday marked exactly one month since I lost my husband. In his memory, I decided that I wanted to go out to eat at his favorite restaurant. I thought it would be nice to get out and do something that day rather than stay at home and be sad. Amber and I went out to Buffalo Wild Wings (Rod's favorite!) and had a nice time remembering my love.

5. My dogs have been instrumental in me getting out of the house and having happy moments during this very sad time. Here are a few of my favorite photos of them lately ...
Mercedes being shy.
Lucky watching me work.
I hope everyone had a (relatively) good week, and can find time to be thankful for the small things in life.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

One Month

Today marks one month that I lost my husband, Rod. He passed away so suddenly and so quietly that it took me a long time to believe that he really did go. For the first couple of weeks I thought he was on an extended vacation and would come home any moment. I blocked out what happened that early Sunday morning on March 4th ... finding him, calling 911 hysterically, all the cop cars and ambulance that blocked the street and woke up the neighbors, the people coming in and out of my house that I didn't know, people asking me questions that I couldn't think of the answer to, waking my parents up at 4 a.m., praying to God that everything would be okay and not being able to say goodbye. I felt like I was watching myself in a movie; it didn't seem real. 

Now, a month later, it still doesn't seem real. Although I have reached the understanding that it was. I still don't think of that Sunday morning; I can't dwell on the images that will otherwise haunt me. I have many, many sad moments every day, but after allowing myself to be sad, I think of the memories that made our life together great. 

I remember our first dance at our wedding, and the look of love in his eyes.
I remember the day we went to pick up Mercedes, and how he fell in love with her in an instant.
I remember how he would pick up Cold Stone ice cream for me when I was having a bad day.
I remember how happy he was when I surprised him with a new diecast car for his birthday this year when he didn't think I had bought him anything.
I remember all the movies we went and saw together.
I remember how he would text me throughout the day just to check in and say hello.
I remember that he told me he loved me every day.

I can't change what happened. I have to hold on to the faith that God has a plan and that I'll be okay. I have to remember that Rod knows that I love him with all my heart and that he loves me. I have to remember that even though I feel alone, Rod is with me every day; he's in my heart, trying to heal the broken pieces. I know that I will have many challenging days ahead of me and many more tears, but through it all, Rod will still be with me to guide me through it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Finding Our Home

Rod and I have lived in a few houses in our short life together, but I never felt like we had a home until we moved into our current house in Ramsey. This might seem odd to some people since we rent and the house doesn't belong to us, but to us it makes sense that it feels like home.

I remember when we first came to see this house. We were on a desperate search to find a house to rent somewhere around the metro suburbs. We had looked at many different places, and just didn't feel a connection to any of them, and many felt dirty. We had looked at another townhome in Ramsey, and I remember telling Rod that I really liked the area, but that townhome was cramped and had no yard space at all. So, we narrowed our search to the area and found this house listed online. The rent was affordable so we made an appointment to come look at it. We looked up the directions on the map prior to going, and got completely lost! We ended up in some housing development with not a townhome in sight. Eventually we got to where we belonged and met with the rental agent.

We walked in to the house, and I remember Rod looking at me with this look on his face like he thought I hated it. I found out when we were leaving that he really thought I did hate it because when you walk into our home, there is just this small entrance way off the main door and garage and you have to walk up a flight of stairs immediately. But, I remember walking up the stairs, and seeing the space and seeing the potential. The kitchen might have had red walls, the living room was peach, but I saw past the colors and saw the open space; I could even see our furniture in the rooms. I remember liking it right away and started to get super excited. We filled out the application right away and fought hard to get it. I really wanted them to choose us to rent the house, and they finally agreed to letting us rent!

After a few weeks in our new house, it already felt like it was becoming our home. I loved the neighborhood, the convenience of being close to shopping, and I felt safe here. The owners of the house have become friends and they've allowed us to personalize the space. I love what we've done and how we were able to make this our home. I love the yellow master bedroom, the gray kitchen and living room, and our wall of stripes. I love that I could be cooking dinner, but talking with Rod while we was in the living room about our days. I love that Rod and I were able to finally pick out our own furniture that fit perfectly in the space. I love that we took a house and made it into our home.

Many people have asked me if I'm going to stay here now that Rod is gone. My hope is that I can afford to stay here for at least another year. This home is filled with so many memories, and I can feel Rod all around me. Even though I am haunted by what happened the night he passed away, the good memories are crowding out that one bad one. We worked hard on this house, and I believe that it's the perfect place for me to be right now. I think Rod would want me to stay here as well.