Tag Archives: je me souviens

Lemonade

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Back in January, I wrote and shared the following post:

The Sourest of Lemons

If you didn’t see it originally, you can read through it.  The general gist of it is talking about the experience I had with my miscarriage in January.  My husband and I found out I had experienced an Anembryonic Pregnancy (blighted ovum).  We found out when I was thought to be around 13 weeks.  I had a D&C surgery a few days after, and really had no clue what the next months ahead would be like.  Was getting pregnant going to be easy, hard, or somewhere in between?  Would this just happen again?

Beginning of March, I take two positive pregnancy tests.  Call my OB/GYN because I was concerned that perhaps these were false positives; hormones still floating around in my body from the first pregnancy perhaps?  I had three blood tests to see if the HCG hormone levels were rising properly.  They were.  I had an ultrasound at what was guessed to be 5.5 weeks.  Couldn’t see much, but the tech did capture a video clip that showed a little blip of some kind.  Came back the following week and the tech could confirm that YES, an embryo and fetal pole had developed.  We saw a heart beat.  This was all new to us, since we never saw this the first pregnancy.


I was an anxious mess the following weeks, as we had to wait until after Easter holidays for the First Trimester Screen test.  This was the test where we found out the sad news in January.  Even though we saw the heartbeat at 6.5 weeks, and even though I was gaining some weight and having other pregnancy symptoms…I still didn’t believe this was real.  We drove to Calgary on April 24th for the appointment.  Once the ultrasound wand hit my belly BOOM-Baby.  Baby moving around.  Stretching out.  Fist pumping.  Yawning.  There was a baby!  


I measured at 13 weeks 5 days, and baby was about 6.4 cm long.  While some of our close family and friends knew what was happening (and various others who I couldn’t keep my mouth shut around) we had not made it public knowledge yet.  While I wanted to go home and announce it that very night, we waited until the following day.

April 25th

This is a day that since April 25th, 2004, I have dreaded.  It was the day my dad passed away.  While in the past few years I have been able to handle the exact day better, the days leading up to it and around it are always tough.  There’s usually a breakdown of some kind.  It has generally been a sad day since 2004. 

We wanted to make April 25th a happy day again.  We wanted to make that day into some sweet Lemonade.

I know my dad has been watching over me all these years.  There have been lots of moments where he’s been a proud, beaming father.  There have been other moments where I can guarantee he was swearing at me for being a f&$king idiot.  I know that on this day, April 25th, 2017, he was excited and sharing it with everyone—proud that his baby would be having a baby.


I think about you every day dad.  I am so lucky to have had a dad like you.

Je Me Souviens.

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Boston Marathon 2016-The Run

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I’ve participated in track & field since middle school (1998-1999), ran varsity track during high school (2000-2003), started running half marathons at college in 2004, full marathons since 2005.  When I moved to Canada in 2008, I ran my worst full marathon that spring 2009.  I stopped running full marathons for a few years and focused on half marathons.  I changed my training.  I registered for more races.  I went crazy and signed up for the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge to run in memory of my dad.  And, my times started getting faster.  However, I was unsuccessful at qualifying for Boston–I tried twice in 2014.  I trained during winter and spring of 2015, and qualified for Boston that May.  Now I made it to the 2016 Boston Marathon.  To say a lot had gone in to being here is an understatement.   A huge understatement. Making it to this race is definitely the biggest achievement in my ‘running career’ but it also will rank up there as one of the biggest moments of my life.

I could go in detail about every moment of this day….from waking up, to loading the busses down in Boston Common, driving to Hopkinton, athletes village, walking to the corrals, realizing I should have worn sunscreen, running a bit ambitious for the first 7 miles, then deciding to just slow down and enjoy it….to realizing there really are people AT EVER MILE on the course…not just every mile, but every moment!…to then deciding to start giving high-fives to every little kid I could, dumping water over my  head every water station due to the heat, and giving high-fives to drunk college kids at Boston College…to finding my husband, mom and her friend at mile 24 in Brookline and stopping for a kiss, hug and a hello….and then finishing the 120th Boston Marathon.

Was this my fastest marathon to date?  No, but my 3:35.01 happens to be my second fastest.  Was I mad about my time?  Hell no.  I just had ran my dream race, and had a damn good time during it.  Will I come back to Boston to run again?  Hopefully in the future I am able to qualify and do it again.  Was it everything I hoped it would be and more?  I can’t even begin to describe that…..

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Quest in Quebec City, Part II

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The post below is a continuation from two days ago. It is my recap/reflection on the experiences I had while in Quebec City!

On Thursday, April 24th, we arrived at Musee Bon Pasteur. I was looking forward to this visit—the second floor was advertised to have an exhibit featuring the orphanage my dad was born at! When my husband and I walked through the doors, the receptionist did not know any English. Dan spoke with her to let her know I did not speak French; she then asked if we wanted an English-speaking guide. I am very appreciative that they had an English speaking guide in the facility, because visiting the museum would not have been the same without Sister Claudette’s guidance!

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Sister Claudette met us and gave us an overview of who the Sisters of Good Shepard are, and how they were formed. The story is quite incredible, and I encourage you to go to Musee Bon Pasteur and read about how this group of women found each other. She knew we were most interested in the items on the second floor, so after her 15 minute overview on the history on the first floor, we headed upstairs.

This is where everything came out. She first asked to see what information I had with me. After pulling out the envelope with the ominous “680 Chemin Ste Foy” address on it, she quickly told us why we were confused when we went their yesterday—-because it’s actually at 1210! The addresses had shifted over the years! She gave us a postcard with an old photo of La Crèche St Vincent de Paul so we could use it when we went back to find 1210 Chemin Ste Foy.

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We then looked at the handwritten letter together, and Sister Claudette then had a surprise for us. The sister who had signed the letter was a very prominent Sister at La Crèche, and there was a photo of her on that floor of the museum! Sister James Philip had signed that letter in 1954! Below is a picture of the letter next to her photo—these items are displayed on the original baptismal font that was used at the original St. Patricks! This font was used on my dad’s baptism on June 10th, 1952, three days after he was born (we know this because of the statement on his baptismal abstract which was produced in 1957; we can only assume, and Sister Claudette agreed, that this abstract was needed by my grandparents for when he went through his American Citizenship)

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Lots of other artifacts were on site for viewing in the museum. There are pictures, which reminded me of yearbook photos, of the doctors and sisters who were at La Crèche during certain time frames. There are also pictures of the children being looked after. Sister Claudette said these photos were taken in the 1950s

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Sister Claudette then explained to us more about the timeline of my dad’s adoption. He was born on June 7, 1952, and we knew from original paperwork that he was adopted and brought across into the US on July 4, 1954…this approximate two-year window is important. She explained to us that when a woman gave birth at La Crèche, the choice was to sign the child over for adoption right away, or wait a maximum of two years. In those two years if she felt fit to take care of the child on her own, or in some cases if she had then wed the father and came back, the child would be reunited.

My grandparents worked with the help of Catholic Charities in Illinois to set up an adoption. The Catholic Charities sent a letter in May 1954 that a boy had been selected for them. They drove up to La Crèche to meet my dad. I would love to know if photos of this occasion had existed somewhere in my grandparents hands, but they moved so much all over the world they may have been lost. One thing I should have assumed but was never certain was my dad’s birth name. We knew it was Luke, as written on the old envelope. But that was the English spelling. Sister Claudette confirmed that the name on the “Alien Registration” form that was used when moving to the US was his given name—Luc Parent. This was not chosen by the birth mother, though. We learned that the doctors and Sisters had a list of generic first names and last names they went through and gave to the children. So my dad was given Luc Parent!

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It was an amazing visit. Absolutely memorable. I will never forget it! We learned so much in that short time at the museum. Plus, there is still a chance to learn more. Later that day, Dan phoned a number given to us by Sister Claudette. It was for Centre Jeunesse-Centre for Adopted Youth. There’s an outside chance they will let me provide my dad’s information for the archives, in case anyone from his birth family has tried looking for him. This is something traditionally the adopted child must do, but we may as well try. Problem was, we called twice, and the person on the other line had horrific English, and Dan’s French was just as bad. An English speaking worker was supposed to call us back by yesterday but hasn’t. I will tackle this feat over the next few weeks.

And 1210 Chemin Ste Foy? Well, we went the following day. On April 25, 2014, we walked the two miles to La Crèche St Vincent de Paul. My dad had passed away exactly 10 years before on April 25, 2004. How did I feel?—rejuvenated.

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How Do I Sum Up 2013?

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There is that. That picture is worth a thousand words.

While this is a mix of finisher medals, placing medals, and challenge medals….they all share in common that they are some pieces of special bling I earned during 2013. I registered and competed in 21 unique races so far in 2013.…I say “so far” as I will be doing race 22 tomorrow when I run the Brita Resolution Run 5km with my good friend Kelly! The mix of races I ran this year weighted heavily on half marathons, along with some 10kms and unique distance 10-miler and 35 km trail races. I also got snatched into the whirlwind that are Spartan Races, where I completed 3 Sprints (5km), 1 Super (14km) and 1 Beast (21km) which earned me a coveted Trifecta Tribe medal!

Those aren’t the only important numbers of 2013.…I went into the year with a two year old half marathon PR of 1:54:19, from Woody’s RV Half in Red Deer 2011. I wanted to break that sometime during this year! While back in Wisconsin for Easter……First race out, I hit 1:52:53….holy crap.….I was hoping that wasn’t the peak! I went on to break this NEW PR three more times during 2013! My best ended up occurring up in high elevation-ville of Lethbridge, where I ran a 1:41:07 at the Bare Bones Half! I never thought I would now be setting my sights at sub 1:40!

More numbers…..1155 & 1621. These are the dollar amounts I have fundraised so far for the Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada) and the American Heart Association, respectively. I began this fundraising journey at the start of 2013, with the roll-out of this very website. My year would be devoted to running more races than my previous years, and all races would be ran in memory of my father, Andrew Lammers. This April 25th marked the 9th year since his passing. He was only 51.

While the medals are the tangible item I can now hold in my hand to reflect and remember the races of this year, there is much more that I have gained by competing in this ridiculous number of events. The personal bests…the fundraising goals being met and surpassed…the new race experiences….doing it all for Dad…….and now it’s one week until I leave for the culminating event of the year….the Dopey Challenge….2013 has been an amazing year. I can’t wait for the start of 2014!

Ten Years of Ink—How it began, and what it has become.

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Everything below I wrote first, and now I am just writing this intro. The paragraphs below flow chronologically, as I am trying to talk about my tattoo story, but it does get kind of long-winded. There isn’t really a nicer or “neater way” to put this story into written form. So, I am just giving a heads up that this is a bit all over the place, but in the end, I hope you get what I am trying to convey.

My dad had a tattoo. On his left bicep. What was it? Well, it was supposed to be a snake and an eagle. But it ended up looking like an eel and a weird polygon. He got this tattoo while he was enlisted in the Marines. My mom thinks he had to be 19 or 20 when he got it, as he was born in 1952, graduated in 1971, and then was off to boot camp. He was stationed on a boat in the Philippines for some time, and it was at a sketchy island tattoo shop that he got this done. In theory, I think he was going to go back and have it finished. But, even though my dad looked like someone who could handle any level of pain, he really had a pain tolerance of zero!
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My dad obviously had this tattoo on his arm for all to see my whole life. He never hid it or said he regretted it. I grew up seeing it was acceptable to have a tattoo, albeit an unfinished one. I honestly don’t remember when I first started thinking about getting a tattoo, but I knew I wanted one. I got my first tattoo about a month after my 18th birthday. I was dead set on getting a Snoopy on my lower back—but, my mom had an opinion about that. Her worry was not that I would be old and wrinkly and not want a tattoo there, but that I would someday be old and wrinkly and regret having a Snoopy. Her wise suggestion?—a butterfly. OK MOM, HOW CLICHE DO YOU WANT THIS TO BE?!? Anyway, my dad was fine with me getting a Snoopy, because it was my body and that was something I have always loved, so I made an appointment and all was said and done.

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Yes, there’s the warning people with tattoos give out that you “won’t end up with just 1. They are addicting!” In my first year at college, I got two more pieces inked for life—-Another Snoopy, on my right lower hip, and a set of flowers on top of my foot. I will touch back on those flowers later, as that is the one tattoo I had gotten that really didn’t have a meaning:

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When my dad passed away in April 2004, shortly after the flower tattoo, I began to think about a way to ink his memory. This was done in the fall of 2004, during my sophomore year at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. I found a document at my mom’s house with his signature, so it could be replicated on the lower right side of my back. Angel wings were added, along with a Canadian maple leaf, since he was from Canada (Ironic how now I live in Canada, eh?)

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My final Peanuts tattoo (for now) was added a short time later. I had a tiny Woodstock flying around under my left ankle bone added.

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I started to step it up a notch in Spring 2007. This was my senior year at UWL, and I wanted to do something more with honoring my dad. Even though it had been three years since his passing, I was still not really dealing with his death that well. I was angry, confused, mad…it was unfair. I still didn’t deal with it properly and talk about it, but I booked an appointment and had three stars inked on my right rib cage—-1 for me, 1 for my mom, and 1 for my dad.

This held as my sixth tattoo for five years. I had said I was done. But a lot changes in five years. For instance, I had moved to Alberta. It is funny how things work that I meet a guy, my husband, on vacation while in the Bahamas, and he lives in Canada. So then I move to Canada, and the move was easier than it should have been, since I could get Canadian Citizenship, since my dad was born in Quebec. So thank you Dad for being born in Canada! Also, I finally started to confront the fact my dad was gone, and while it wasn’t fair, I had to deal with it appropriately. I started talking—not yelling or crying, but talking with people who are well-versed in this area.

In August 2012, I got the largest piece put onto my body—a fleur de lis with the inscription “je me souviens.” I have clung to this quote once finding out it is the motto for the province of Quebec. It translates to “I Remember.” The motto has helped inspire me to do this site, among other things. This piece was so large that we linked it with the stars already in place and the signature. In a way, it mad three individual pieces work together as one.

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In December 2012, I had the simple words “Blackbird Fly” placed on my left wrist, as a reminder to shed away all the negativity and unhappiness. I had had my friend Melissa sing the song “Blackbird” at our wedding as I walked down the aisle in December 2010. I was flying away from the wings of my mom and dad, to my new life as a “mrs.” The song can take on all sorts of personal meanings, depending on your interpretation, but I saw it as a symbol of living the next chapter of my life proudly, full of love, full of appreciation for the past, and full of happiness.

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Now lets go back to that flower tattoo on my foot. All my other tattoos have deep meaning—-sure, Snoopy images may not seem deep, but it is of personal value and importance. I had images on my body either related to Snoopy and the gang, or for the memory and love of my dad and my family. But I had nothing to do with running, a passion I took to the next level of road racing back in Spring 2004, shortly after my dad passed away and ironically shortly after this flower tattoo.

I decided I wanted this tattoo to be “enhanced.” It had faded over 9 years and need to be brought back to life. I also wanted more vines to be added and some shading to make it look more embedded onto my foot, rather than a stamp. But most importantly, I wanted a simple 13.1 and 26.2 hidden somehow within the vines, to signify the race distances in miles of a half and full marathon.

I planned this tattoo around a Septoplasty surgery I was going to have done. On June 17th, I went in for a day surgery to have a deviated septum taken care of, and I will now hopefully breathe easier out of my right nostril when I run and do day to day activities. (I have had a scab on that side for 7 damn years….it bleeds and forms again and makes breathing a pain. This was a possible solution that will hopefully work!). This surgery was set after my last half marathon of Spring, and since I can’t run for about 5 weeks from the surgery, I thought having my foot touched up during the time would be smart, as flip flops are a must as it heals. So, in celebration of my running (and the two month break I will be having from running!) I went to Peppermint Hippo Tattoo in Lethbridge, Alberta, on June 21st.

Carla was my tattoo artist, and she drew right on my foot her ideas. She decided to hide the numerals in the vines! She would re outline the whole old tattoo, along with the new additions, and then starting shading and coloring. The finished product is more than I could have hoped for! You can see from a onlookers view how my foot looks now—-the 13.1 is hidden near the bottom by my toes, while the 26.2 is a little trickier to see near my ankle (tilt your head sideways and turn it a bit and you’ll see it weaving.)

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So that is my tattoo story. Yes, it doesn’t really flow linearly, and it kind of goes all over the place. And I know there are people out there who do not understand why people get tattoos. But they are all important to me, and I am proud of every single one. And I realize I will become old and wrinkly at some point, yes, but at least I will have some beautiful art to look at on my body! If you are considering getting a tattoo for the first time, make sure it is something you have always loved or has a special meaning to you. and don’t worry about what others think—you aren’t forcing them to get it on their own body!