Monday, February 8, 2016

A Fresh Start

Hey yall!
(or to my one reader that's left...)
So it's been over 9 months since I lost my hubby. There have been ups and downs, but I feel as though I am generally in a good space. I still have my moments, and sometimes these moments last for hours, but for the most part, I am happy and content with my new life.
Except there was this one thing that I had closed off and refused to acknowledge.
His room.
Now, it wasn't really his room, rather our guest room.
But since our house is on the small side, including closet space, he kept his things in our guest room and I kept my things in the master bedroom.
We affectionately called it "his room."
I didn't pester him about keeping it clean, and he was able to decorate however he liked.
The door to "his room" has been closed for the last 9 months, and I only ventured in when I truly needed something from there. It was just too hard to see all his things and it became a huge source of sadness for me. So I just avoided the room altogether.
But the time finally came where I was ready for a change.
A fresh start, if you will.
So I decided to redecorate "his room" and turn it in to what it is truly meant to be-a guest room.
I have spent the last few weeks gathering items for this room, and I finally tackled it this weekend.
Here's what the room looked like before:

Pretty generic.
But here is how it looks now!
Daybed: WalMart
Comforter: Target
Pillows: Target


A fresh coat of paint and new knobs made this Goodwill desk and chair look brand new!

I had some of the amazing pictures I took in Paris printed in black and white.
Frames: WalMart

A little spray paint on those stars gave them a whole new look!

Another picture I took in Holland and had printed.
Frame: Ikea
Candle: Target

Lamp: Home Depot

Nightstand: Ikea
Clock and Flower: Kirklands

This is one of my favorite pictures of Amsterdam!
Corkboard and hooks: TJ Maxx

Another pretty picture I took in Amsterdam!

Canvas: Home Goods
Bucket: Ikea
Bird: Kirklands
Dresser: WalMart (I didn't like the knobs that came with it, so I snagged these from Lowes)
 I am so in love with my new guest room!
It is very girly and most definitely me!
Now this room is no longer a place of sadness, but a pretty place for my guests to lay their heads.
So.......who's coming for a visit???

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Top 10 Insta Pics of 2015

Hey yall!
Happy New Year!
I's been awhile.
One of my resolutions is to get back to blogging.
It's been one of the things I had to let go for awhile, but I feel ready to jump back in with both feet!
I wanted to bring back a fun linky from last year, because what better way is there to get back to blogging than with a linky party, right?
So here we go...the Top 10 Insta Pics of 2015!
{with original captions and hashtags}

My hubby's grandma gave these to me today. She said they were right next to each other in the cooler <3
Posted 5/24/2015
This was such a special moment for me. It was not even a month after my sweet hubby passed away, and was just the sign I needed. He sent me a lot of signs <3<3<3 I still have these sitting in my kitchen window.
No filter needed #newyorkcity #nyc #gagirlinny #nataliehitstheroad2015 #summershenanigans #teachersonbreak #tptsummersnapshot
Posted 7/24/2015
One of my most favorite pictures I took this year! My sister, niece, and I all spent a weekend in NYC. We took a boat cruise and I snapped this was beyond gorgeous!!!
Unpacking my desk box and I came across this frame. This frame has traveled with me to 3 different schools over the last 6 years. It will always have a spot on my desk. #hubbylove #misshim #youngandinlove
Posted 7/31/2015
I've always loved this picture of my hubs and I. It was taken on Easter Sunday in 2009.
Can you say upgrade? What am I going to do with this big ol' suite all by myself?!?! #vegasbaby #tpttakesvegas #teacherstakevegas #tptvegas2015 #nataliehitstheroad2015
Posted 7/7/2015
When I went to Vegas over the summer, I was upgraded to this amazing suite! It was just me, so it was a lot of space...but I certainly enjoyed myself! Thanks, Palazzo!

My handsome man, I'll love you forever
Posted 5/3/2015
These were the bookmarks that were passed out at my hubby's viewing. Recognize that picture of him??? I told you it was one of my favorites <3
True story! Anyone else wait until the last minute? #teacherprobs #teacherlife #byebyeweekend #procrastinatemuch
Posted 9/7/2015
I should post this picture again, because I STILL haven't written lesson plans for this week...and its almost Thursday!!! Good thing I'm good at winging it...
Run to Walmart...these sturdy little crates are perfect for books and they are only 50 cents! #teacherlife #b2s2015
Posted 7/29/2015
This picture proves how much teachers love a good deal!!!
My new favorite wine glass! #cdoawareness #vino #comeonsummer
Posted on 5/26/2015
This was a gift from one of my students...well, really from her mom! Unfortunately, it got put in the dishwasher and all the wording came off...sadsville!!!
Posted 4/30/2015
Right after my husband passed away, the amazing community of teachers and bloggers started posting this picture on their IG and FB pages. This is a screenshot I took of my newsfeed. I cannot tell you how much this meant to me, yall. You all are the most caring, thoughtful, and amazing folks ever <3<3<3

As some of you have heard, my sweet husband passed on Monday. This is the last picture I have of us together and I will cherish it forever. I wanted to thank you all for the amazing outpouring of love and support I've received the last few days. I took some time to scroll through IG today, and I saw so much red, so much love. This has truly touched my heart. I am so very grateful for this amazing community of friends, teachers, and bloggers.

 It doesn't surprise me that this picture is the most liked. It was taken at a concert just two days before my hubby passed. We had such a good time with some great friends, and those memories will always stay with me.

 Want to play along? Link up below with your Top 10 Insta pics of 2015.
Feel free to snag the graphics from above.
I used Iconosquare to compare my Likes, but there may be better apps out there for this!
And if you're not already following me on IG {shame on you!}, be sure to find and follow me

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Small Moments

This "new life" is hard.
Really hard.
It's the small moments that make it so hard.
Not the empty bed, not the quiet house, not even visiting your grave.
Those things are hard...don't get me wrong.
But it's the small moments that are the toughest.
The moment I leave work and go to call you.
It was always the first thing I did, as soon as I got in the car
(sometimes before I even made it out of the building).
Tell you I'm on the way home, discuss dinner plans, talk about our days.
I miss those conversations.
The moment our show is on.
We had many shows, but you know which one I mean.
Singing the theme song together.
Rolling our eyes at the over-dramatic acting.
Wondering if we are ever going to find out who A is.
I can't even watch it anymore...its just not the same without you.
The moment I have to throw out the milk.
We used to have to buy 2 gallons of milk, every week.
Now I can't even get thru a half gallon before it expires.
I miss your love for milk, babe.
The moment I see your truck around town.
Well, not your truck. Your truck is gone.
But any truck that looks like yours.
It gives me heart palpitations, and I always look for that WSP sticker.
Even though I know its not there.
Because your truck is gone, and so are you.
The moment he does something crazy.
Yes, you who know.
He's still crazy.
But you know what else?
He's nice, too.
He brought me warm, chocolate chip cookies the other day.
And I laughed, because I know you would have said not to eat them.
So I didn't.
The moment our song comes on.
Actually, the many moments our song comes on.
I hear it all the time.
A lot more than I ever did before.
I know that's you, babe.

The moment I change into my "cozies."
We couldn't wait to put on our cozies for the night.
Just relax, maybe get a "sweet treat."
Cuddle up on the couch, watch a movie.
And laugh....always laugh.
The moment I didn't bite my nails.
You always hated how I bit my nails.
It drove you crazy.
But guess what, babe?
I don't bite them anymore.
They are long now.
Aren't you proud?
The moment I saw Oops, All Berries in the store.
You would have been so excited.
I would have bought it for you, surprised you with it.
You would have said "Whaaaaaaat???"
Maybe do your little dance.
But I didn't buy it...because you're not here to eat it.
The moment I found that flower.
Remember when we drove to Athens on Valentine's Day?
And we stopped at that gas station, and I asked you to buy me a cheesy gift?
You came out with this huge, 3 foot tall fake flower.
It cost you $10. And you said I was worth it.
I found it the other its sitting in the living room.
And I look at it every day.

The moment I saw that poster.
We went out to eat the other day.
We were sitting at a table and I looked up to see a WSP poster.
Right beside our table.
It was a Blue Indian poster, babe.
Did you choose that table for us?
The moment I needed hangers.
So I went into "your room."
I haven't been in there much.
But I needed hangers, so I opened your closet.
And then I lost it.
The moment I bought tickets for Germany.
I was giddy when I bought the tickets, but also sad at the same time.
We were so excited to spend NYE in Paris together.
I'm still going babe...will you still come, too?

The moment I read our old text messages.
I miss talking to you.
But you can still make me laugh.

The moment I heard you laugh.
Were you here? I know you were.
I heard you.
You laughed.
Clear as day.
I was in the bedroom and I heard you laugh.
And then I cried.
Every moment you're not here.
It doesn't get easier. It never hurts less.
I think people just say that to make me feel better.
But it's not true. Because I don't feel better.
I just miss you.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Three Months Too Long

So it's officially been three months since I lost the love of my life.
I wish I could say that time is helping, but I'm not quite sure that it is.
I stay busy....very busy.
I've been doing quite a bit of traveling this summer.
I've been to Charleston for a beach day with a girlfriend,
Tennessee for much needed time with another girlfriend,
 Hilton Head for a girls' weekend trip,
Missouri for a family camping trip,
Las Vegas for an education conference and meet up with blogging buddies from all over,
Virginia for a visit with my sister,
 and New York for a weekend with my sister and niece.
But it doesn't matter where I go, because the truth never changes.
He's not there.
And he never will be.
Sure, I can feel happiness. I have felt extreme joy this summer.
I've felt it in the smiles of my family.
I've felt it in the hugs of my blogging buddies.
I've felt it in the words of my friends.
But that joy, which feels so big in the moment, is only a fraction of the joy I would experience with him.
And that breaks my heart.
I just miss him.
Too much to bear.
I don't understand why anyone would have to go through pain like this.
It's just not fair.
I've read a lot about grief and how to deal with the loss of a partner, with the feelings that can change with the flutter of an eyelash.
One post really hit home with this simple statement:
"Guilt, anger, frustration, and sadness all come in a beautifully wrapped package with our names on it, signed 'With Love, Widowhood.'"
Although I would also add happiness to that list, because there is sometimes happiness.
It's the unexpected moments of pure grief that hurt the most, and they come at the most random times.
I can be watching TV, or eating dinner, or driving down the road.
And then the tears come, fast and furious, until my cheeks are flushed and my mascara is a mess.
Sometimes it lasts for only a minute...other times, hours.
And then there are those days where I may not shed even one single tear, only smile with the memories of what we had.
Grief is a funny thing.
So it's been three months, and I'm not sure that I'm any better than I was on day one.
One of my very best girlfriends made these collages for Wes' funeral.
They show 11 years of memories, 11 years of happiness.
Sometimes, I want to throw them out the window because it hurts so bad to look at them.
Other times, I hug them fiercely to my chest.
I told you....grief is a funny thing.
A new school year is upon us. Tomorrow...well, today my last official day of summer break. I go back to work on Thursday.
This will be the hardest. Trying to find a "new normal" without him.
I've been pretending all summer that I can run all over this globe, but that things at home are still the same.
But they're not, because he's not there.
And he never will be.
To those that pray for me, thank you.
Please continue to do so.
To those that think of me, thank you.
Please continue to do so.
And to those that encourage me, thank you.
Please continue to do so.
Because it's been three months.
Three months too long.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What You've Taught Me

Today is May 27th.
It's been exactly one month since I lost you.
I guess because school is out and I've not written the date on the board this week, I didn't realize it was the 27th until about an hour ago.
And then I fell apart.
But I also started thinking about everything that has happened in the past month and I realized that I have learned a lot.
-You were the messy one. Somehow I've managed to keep the dishes loaded, the clothes picked up, and the bathroom clean (although I do desperately miss seeing your little beard whiskers in the sink).
-Except for my shoes. I'm sorry for all those times you tripped over my shoes. Thank you for always putting them away for me. I had to pick up 3 pairs just tonight from the living room floor.
-I CAN mow the grass. And pull the weeds, blow the driveway, and trim the bushes.
-I CAN'T bring myself to throw away your old, nasty cigarettes. They are still sitting right where you left them.
-You had 12 watches, 6 pairs of Ray-Bans, 17 pairs of shorts, and 23 ties. Not to mention all the shoes....I stopped counting after 50. Really, Wes???
-I finally settled the argument-it was you who always left the bathroom door open.
-Your t-shirts are way cozier than mine.
-I find myself still buying the things you liked. Somehow Oreos and Cliff Bars managed to end up in my grocery buggy.
-You can still make me laugh.

-I cannot finish a gallon of milk before it goes bad. No more buying 2 gallons a week...a half gallon will suffice.
-Car rides are the hardest. I should probably just keep a tube of waterproof mascara in my glove box.
-I will probably end up burning down the house without you coming behind me to turn off the stove. Seriously...this is an issue.
-You hid Hostess cupcakes in the guest room. I found your stash of empty wrappers under the pillows. Oh, and I also found the empty box under the kitchen sink.
-I feel you everywhere. From the geese at your gravesite to the coke bottles in the cooler, I feel your presence everywhere I go and I know that you are with me.
-Love is stronger than grief. Every time grief threatens to swallow me whole, I think of an inside joke we had or a funny moment we shared and it pulls me back out.
-I am so thankful to have gotten to spend 11 years by your side. We somehow managed to create a lifetime of memories in those 11 short years.
-You were, and are, loved by so many. And we miss you so very, very much.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to Grieve the Loss of Your Husband

If you've been following me on Instagram, you know that I've had the worst week of my life.
Last Monday, April 27th, my husband passed away.
He had a heart attack.
He was only 32.
Nothing can ever prepare you for something like this.
 I don't know how to grieve the loss of the person I loved the most in this world.
I don't know how to navigate through life without him.
We'd been together for over 11 years-that's over a third of my life.
How do you go on living without someone who has been there every single day for over a third of your life?
My husband was my most favorite person ever. He made me laugh, on a daily basis.
In fact, he made everyone laugh. It was a gift he had, and the reason that I fell in love with him all those years ago. I've spent a lot of the last 10 days remembering all the good times that we had and sharing stories with those who loved him.
And what I've found is that it's almost impossible to think about Wes and not laugh.
He would want us to laugh.
Which is why I'm writing this post.
I went back and forth over how to write this post without seeming like I'm not "grieving properly" or like I'm not "sad enough" (because the truth is, I'm very sad....I've never been so sad).
But I know that Wes would have done anything to make people laugh, and what I'm about to share is guaranteed to make you laugh.
Last Tuesday, after I had been out of school only 1 day, a coworker of mine brought over some letters that my students had written for me. After reading these letters multiple times (and spending hours laughing about them), I knew I had to share them with the world.
He would want me to.
So here goes....
How to Grieve the Loss of Your Husband
by 3rd Graders
"R.I.P. husband"

"Keys for losing someone you love:
-Do not cry forever!"

"Dogs will keep you company."
"We hope you get over the fact that he is gone."

"We hope you will get happy someday."

"Don't worry you're not alone-you have your dogs.
You can also find someone else and you're way pretty enough.
Mr. Lemacks doesn't want you to mope around."

"You can't run away from your sadness."
"I hope you are okay. I am sad, too.
Can you please come back and teach?"

"You should do what he would want you to do, which is being you."

"Here are some happy symbols to cheer you up."
(a flower, a smiley face, a heart, "I love you")

"Your husband was a good man, but cheer up! He is very happy in heaven."

"Think about the good things in your life right now."

"You just need to sit down and eat chocolate.
Also, if you can pray for him and come back to teach us, we miss you."
"Don't worry-your husband is in heaven."
(along with a picture of my husband as an angel, captioned "Your Dear Husband")
"Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven..."
And my absolute FAVORITE one...
"Life does not go the way you want.
Please come back."

I also found this piece of paper. It was folded up and taped to the inside of one of the cards.
Apparently, they started a petition for me to come back...
So, I'm going to take the advice of my third graders:
I'm going to eat chocolate.
I'm going to keep my dogs as company.
I won't run away from my sadness.
I won't cry forever.
I love you, Wesley Lemacks.