Tag Archive | butterfly

What I Learned About Myself in 3 Weeks…

So it is common knowledge that I got a tattoo the week after our 17 year anniversary. What surprised me is what I learned about myself in the three weeks healing time afterwards.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

  1. Well I definitely don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, it is on proud and vibrant display on my left calf. And I hope people ask me about it. As the wife of a man who has been diagnosed not only with severe depression, but also CAPD, I found my symbol in his fight to control and manage his illnesses. The depression is represented by the semi colon or body of my butterfly. A more and more common symbol of depression and mental illness, it is a constant reminder for me of how I will never truly grasp how close I came to losing my husband and love of my life for ever on 2 separate occasions. Had he chosen to end his story instead of continuing on, my life, and the lives of my children would be very different right now. I have often spoken about how I feel the need to be an advocate for mental health awareness. Two helpful links – Project ; and in case you need help in knowing what to say  Make It Ok.org. Maybe one day someone will see my butterfly while I work out, or on a walk… or even peeking out in a fancy dress and ask me and I will have the chance to listen or share. If I can share my story, Ken’s story and help someone find help or become a source of support… icing on the cake. The other half of the butterfly is a wee bit obvious – maple leaf, Canada: you can take the girl out of Canada, but my origins are a massive part of my personality.Project-Semicolon-760x410
  2. Altering my body permanently was neither as earth shattering or life changing as I expected. Granted when I first got it done and posted it up on Facebook my little corner of the world shared its opinion and got excited. Some were impressed, some quick to admit they would never do the same, others wanted explanation of the image and many were surprised. But, the greater world, life in general… a blip on the radar. And you know what? That was more than OK! I love the reminder that some ink on my body was nothing more than a personal choice that I would now live with forever (proudly I might add). What was way more important is that my own children are super proud of their mom! It was an opportunity to remind them of the struggle dad has with his own mental health, and that it is OK to be sad, to need help. But they also need to be aware that mom really wants them to tell her… any time, any place, and if not her any responsible adult. Needles and healing and a choice that is permanent was simply that… a choice I made. Not the end of my life, though Ken was quick to tease me about his tatted up wife and how much of a rebel I was!IMG_20180704_125226_971
  3. Keeping my legs covered for 3 weeks seem to have given me the permission to embrace colour. My sari skirts were a bit of an impulse buy (Ken edit: If you call agonizing over a purchase for 3 weeks an ‘impulse buy’) if a bit difficult to pair up with shirts on hand, but for 3 weeks I have been colorful. Since some of the skirts only matched some crop tops I purchased recently belly baring became commonplace. It is a movement from worrying about fitting in, matching my clothes to my “life” and into comfort and colour and embracing the fact that I love brighter feathers. Plus, they make a lovely swish when I walk and I have always loved swishing and twirling since I was a little girl – why should that change now?20180628_152211
  4. Baths make me calmer and 3 weeks without that has been a bit of a struggle. I am not a girl who loves a hot shower, give me a long soak to relax away the tension and frustration of a long day anytime. The kids also enjoy the respite from mom after lunch when I took my lunch break. Maybe I really am more mermaid at heart than I like to admit? 
  5. That little square of skin is now the softest skin on my entire body, I swear! Lotion lotion lotion. Washing and lotion, no sun and then the itching. No one mentioned how high maintenance this small patch of skin would be, but worth it! Self care is so important, and this was a reminder to me that maybe I need to pay more attention. When you have to alter your life to look after a single body part… like my time spent on what we thought was my hip, but is now believed to be a slightly slipped disk from when I almost fell in the winter. The reality is I am growing older, and in order to do so gracefully and healthily I need to be more aware. Yoga, workouts, long walks, R.I.P.P.E.D. classes at the YMCA… they take on an even greater meaning when looked at from the perspective not of losing weight or strengthening up but of self care. Taking time for a nap without guilt (seriously I have to convince myself, idleness in my mind, becomes laziness or neglect… I have a very hard time just taking a moment and stopping), spending a few extra minutes working on your appearance and standing tall with confidence that you look awesome. I am learning more and more about these moments. I love myself, my insides and outsides, the family I have created, the life style I live. It is flawed and confusing and at times difficult but it is all amazing. The life I live, the appearance I put out there in the world is all proof that I love myself. That I take the time to care for myself and the ones I love. 

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

  6. I like feeling a little the rebel. Granted, many see me and my family as a bit more than a “little” rebellious with our large family size and homeschooling, or my lack of ability to drive and my insistence that we celebrate both Canadian and American holidays PLUS Chinese New Year. Ok… so I was already a bit of a rebel, but having a tattoo… that feels like a “cool” rebel. All that other stuff is more necessity or not a choice but a calling. I CHOSE to get a tattoo, I CHOSE the design and then had one of my oldest and dearest friends not only hold my hand through it all, but take pictures AND help with the design. Who else could be so lucky but to have someone who is basically a sister also be an amazing artist who can take my crazy ramblings and make something amazing on paper?? Thanks again Shandai! You ROCK! They say it takes a village to raise a family, well it sometimes takes friends to help create the perfect family unit too. I have been doubly blessed with an amazing community AND friends who are family to round out the flesh and blood relatives we were born with. (Plus Shandai is pretty cool, rebellious and all round awesome herself)

So there you have it, 6 things I learned about myself all from 30 min of tiny needles, ink and the hand of an amazing artist at Rose in No Man’s Land. I can’t say I won’t go back… My butterfly may need something sweet to land on yet. But for now… My heart is out there, open book. Ask me, share your story with me, read my story here (just search the word “depression” in my search box), my heart is open and I have found that sharing is so much more than simply caring. 

All healed up!

All healed up!

A Long Awaited Recounting…

Ok so NOT as long awaited as DECEMBER… which I WILL cover BEFORE this December comes about… I hope! But I figured before I shared my Mom and Step-dad’s visit I REALLY should cover Karyn and Lauralee’s. The intrepid duo drove from Red Deer, Alberta all the way down to the Grand Canyon and back again. With a stop off of a week at our house in sunny Minnesota – in the summer – when Karyn is NEVER here (for some reason MOST of her visits occur in the middle of winter… who goes from ALBERTA to MINNESOTA in the winter? Well one of the most amazing aunties ever of course!).IMG_20160626_184755

20160624_123857We made sure to show them a little bit of the state – our favourite beach of course.20160626_113159

IMG_20160626_133829IMG_20160626_113417IMG_20160626_131226IMG_20160626_131133Karyn and I ducked out for our usual extensive Mall of America shopping – sadly one of my favourite stores is gone now BUT we did manage to find some hidden gems, spend a little cash and walk ourselves into the ground. SO – good day!

Did NOT purchase

Did NOT purchase

BUBBLE TEA

BUBBLE TEA

We 3 adults joined Ken for an adult lunch. And some MORE shopping (poor Lauralee).

On my birthday (June 24th) the ladies watched our kids so we could go out for a lovely dinner.

First flowers that are REAL since our wedding!

First flowers that are REAL since our wedding!

IMG_20160624_221625Karyn drove us to the YMCA a few times and spoiled us horribly. So workouts and playing did not falter. Seriously, this has to be the healthiest summer EVER for this family – 2 miles either way, lots to do while there. ALL GOOD!20160627_190504

Karyn brought us a marvelous car full of gear. Canadian stuff, stuff from her childhood. Which put Trinity right over the moon. (the shirts she brought for us are in our Canada Day pictures on the post for Canada Day of course.)

We checked out the Como Zoo – because really when we did a comparison the animals at the pay zoo were not enough to make the donation only zoo less impressive. PLUS they had BUTTERFLIES!!!!IMG_8884

IMG_8888IMG_889920160628_121836IMG_893520160628_122136Trinity snuck off with her god mommy and Lauralee for ice cream and Mommy snuck off with Karyn and Lauralee for frozen yogurt. So there was even some sneaking around! 

It was a wonderful visit, and as usual, not long enough. But then again, I doubt there could be a visit that we would feel was “long enough.” I am just so grateful they added us to their pilgrimage south. Now enjoy the rest of our pictures! I couldn’t resist adding more!IMG_8892

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PICKLING PICKLES!

August 8-10

After so much fun and amazing company with the parade the night before I was rather proud of the kids for getting the book work and learning done that we did.101_9053 101_9054 101_9055 101_9056

Everyone was excited to head out to the garden to see if the sun had helped our vegetables along. It is amazing how many green cherry tomatoes we have just awaiting that little bit more sun and heat to be ready for eating.101_9058 101_9059 101_9061

This has been the year for toads in the yard as well. When one is found we MUST stop everything and photograph it. I think we shall have to spend some of our time this winter and do a unit on frogs and toads!101_9063

And of course we had to do some mugging for the camera… selfies being a “real” word and all now!101_9067

On the weekend we figured we should take advantage of the sales and pick up some school supplies for our new school year. I try to keep a surplus around but at the beginning of the year each kid gets their own pencil case and supplies in those. Something new to start a new year with. I am amazed how hard it is to find duotangs here (the folders with the 3 sets of prongs for the paper holes).101_9085 101_9087 101_9088 101_9142 101_9143

Miss Echo sets her own style lately… quite well I might add!101_9080

The boys wanted to share their current display of Mixels. Gammie has sent them TWO series! There is a third yet to come. They are SO thankful that she felt she should send them these. A collection AND Legos… a match made in heaven!101_9089

Saturday evening we had a last minute plan change. With a garden full of cucumbers and lacking the knowledge about canning we called up Renee and Christopher. Their church was having a fair and is just down the road so after their mass they came over to our house for dinner and canning!101_9093 101_9094 101_9091 101_9095

So the kids ran wild in the basement while Ken and I were educated in how to make pickles!! Thank you so much Chris and Renee… we cannot wait to taste the pickles! And now we can move this knowledge to face the coming tomatoes and maybe even touch on our peppers.101_9096 101_9097

After we saw everyone off Ken ran out to take pictures of the (almost) full moon. This happened to be a lucky choice as at the high point (Sunday) we ended up with rain and clouds. I love it when we get a chance to play with the camera beyond the simple kids and pets.101_9105 101_9119

On Sunday we got our butts out the door to finish the bulk of our school shopping… (pictures above) and Ken yielded to temptation and got these… mixed results!101_9086

Oh and buy a dress for Miss Echo for her birthday – that was her gift from Mommy and Daddy this year. We lucked out at H&M and got a teachers discount!101_9123

What to do what to do to round off the weekend? Why… head to the beach once more!!!!101_9126 101_9130 101_9132 101_9136 101_9140 101_9141