Author Archives: cutelikeme

Calgary Springfree is THREE!!!! {And you could win one!}

It’s like Springfree wants you to have one or something!

springfree trampoline winner tgoma yyc calgary these are your days birthday

 

Another amazing opportunity to win a Springfree Trampoline for your family, just for helping them celebrate 3 amazing years in Calgary! Hmm…come enjoy a fun and FREE party AND enter to win for a FREE trampoline.

Where do I sign up, right?!

springfree trampoline winner tgoma yyc calgary these are your days birthday

Our fabulous Birthday Bash, a free family event is this Friday May 26, and we’re getting excited! There will be snacks, face painters, balloons and lots of jumping. Everyone who attends is entered to win a Springfree Trampoline!

4pm-7pm at Springfree Trampoline, Calgary

Free Registration is HERE

Check out the Facebook Event for more details!

 

I am a Springfree Ambassador and received a Springfree Trampoline with tgoma to facilitate my partnership. This is a sponsored post but, as always, all opinions are my own – We have been to a Springfree event (pictured above) and could not have had more fun!

 

Ryan’s Anchor Day ~ R.A.D.

They say the triangle is the strongest shape because high amounts of forces can be sustained without deformation.

I have recently seen in my life, the strength that comes from three. I know if we were talking metaphorically, I would be one of the three points of the triangle but the truth is, I think I’m actually surrounded by it instead. There are three people who have each played a major role in my journey so far. I am indebted to Hailey, Nicole and Jessie. It was no accident that I felt prompted to reach out to Hailey and Nicole. I didn’t know it at the time, but the triangle was starting to take shape.

Hailey – I’ve known Hailey since we were teenagers, so about 21 years. We hit it off right away, dated for a short time but otherwise have just been great friends since. Though because of our distance (she lives in Canada) and the multiple times going off social media, we never really spent too much time confiding in each other. Until December of last year, when I felt like I should reach out to her for support with my divorce. Hailey listened to me and supported me without judgement, but she also didn’t let me get away with my unfair projection of feelings. She kept me accountable, never just saying what I wanted to hear, and without shame. She made a huge impact on my initial ability to acknowledge my shortcomings and then FORGIVE myself for them.

Nicole – I have known Nicole for many years and I was best friends with her oldest brother ever since Elementary School. She has played a major part in my journey because she helped me realize it doesn’t matter what other people think, and I should just be myself and do what makes me happy. She always recommends helpful things to read, watch and listen to. She is always telling me things will get better and that I need to keep working hard. Most importantly, she recommended I see the best Therapist I have ever worked with, Jessie owner of Blue Clover Therapy.

Jessie – I have seen a handful of different therapists over the years but I never found one that I trusted and felt good about. I wish I could say it was me who was just ready to make the changes to finally stick with one therapist, but the truth is, Jessie is really just that good. Each week she gave me assignments that stretched me little by little. It wasn’t overwhelming and didn’t overload me. I felt that Jessie genuinely cared about my progress and about me as a person. She has been an amazing source of strength and guidance in my journey. The first thing I remember her telling me is to look at this as My Journey from now on. My Journey of success, finding myself again, being a better father, a better employee, a better friend, a better person, etc..

April 5th – Something happened that night … I had carried this secret of my suicide plan for a while, and had planned May 17th as the day. However, the burden of everything I was dealing with became so heavy, I didn’t want to wait until May 17th. I was ready to end it all that night, but for the first time since I made my plan, suicide started to scare me. I laid in bed crying and praying that I would be able to die in my sleep, or that I would have the courage to kill myself that night. I felt someone speak to me and they said, “Fine, but you have to say goodbye to Hailey, Nicole and Jessie first”.

I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye…not yet. But what I did do was text Hailey, saying I was scared and wanted help. Because it was around 230am, she was already asleep so didn’t respond, and all I could do was cry myself to sleep.

April 6th – The day everything changed. Hailey noticed first thing in the morning that she had missed a text from me, a worrisome text no less, and apologized profusely for missing it. We messaged back and forth throughout the day but still, I was unable to shake the darkness. My mind continued to be fixated on my May 17th plan and as usual, I was on the internet looking at guns and checking to see how much money I had saved. During that time, a video text came in. It was Hailey, staring me in the face with true and genuine love and concern. She said, “You’re okay, you are going to be okay. If anything ever happens again like last night, you text and you call me and you facetime me and you facebook call me until I answer because that’s not okay that you were feeling that way all by yourself. So that’s the rule, and you are obligated! I’m here for you and you’re okay.”

All of a sudden, it all came together. The darkness couldn’t break the strength of that triangle and I knew I had to make a choice. Actually, I knew I wanted to make a choice … a different choice than I had previously made. I CHOSE LIFE! I wanted to live! That was the turning point for me. The following weeks felt different. I was feeling happier, I felt loved, I felt like there was hope and that I was actually going to be okay! I then chose to tell Hailey, Nicole and Jessie about my suicide plan. As expected, they each met me with pure compassion and love, and the threat to take me out themselves if I ever planned it again 😉

It wasn’t an overnight easy path, to be honest. Like I mentioned in my last post, it was easier when I knew it would be over soon. But now I had to actually DEAL with my thoughts and feelings. I decided If I was here to stay (and I am), I had to figure it out. I was not living defeated any longer. So I needed to make a new plan to replace my original suicide plan!

One night I was talking to my friend Krista, and she brought up a good point. She said I needed to look at May 17th differently now. With my divorce, I didn’t want to think of May 17th as my wedding anniversary anymore. Also, I decided it was no longer going to be my last day on this earth. I credit music from The Anchor to really saving me the second time, and I loved the idea of committing to being anchored here, for good.

I decided from now on that May 17th is going to be RAD (Ryan’s Anchor Day)! It’s the day that I drop my anchor on this earth and promise myself, my kids, parents, siblings, friends and God that suicide is no longer an option for me. It’s the day I dedicate myself to My Journey.

I decided to take it one step further and found a way to give myself a daily reminder of this commitment. I commemorated the first Ryan’s Anchor Day by using the money I saved for a gun to get a tattoo! Something I can see every single day to remind myself to push forward and to enjoy My Journey.

This tattoo  (on my left forearm) consists of personal meaningful symbols that I want to see every single day.

  • Compass = My Journey
  • Blue Clover = Jessie and her guidance in my journey (Blue Clover Therapy)
  • North / Mountains = “N” for Nicole & her love of the mountains (also the peace I feel in the mountains)
  • South / Palm Trees = “S” for Hailey (aka “SkitalZ”, a nickname I gave her when we first met) & her love for palm trees (also the happiness I feel in Hawaii, my favorite vacations growing up)
  • Symbol at the bottom = The Anchor’s band logo. Since the tattoo commemorates Ryan’s Anchor Day, I felt it necessary to have an anchor in my tattoo, so I used The Anchor’s band logo. Their music continues to give me strength and inspiration to push forward.
  • 4 Letters on top = Initials of my four kids
  • 4 Letters on the bottom = Initials of my dad, mom, brother and sister.

With this tattoo and my new plan, I feel like I am starting a new chapter in my life! A new exciting chapter filled with hope, happiness, love and commitment. It was a painful hour and a half but I am very glad I did it. I am super stoked to have something I can see every day to remind myself that this is my journey and I am capable of taking care of myself and my kids.

Wryun (Ryan) Henricksen is an ex-husband and father of four amazing and rambunctious boys. After years of struggle, he recently found the strength to choose life and declare May 17th as RAD – Ryan’s Anchor Day! This is his story.

Questions or (kind) comments can be left below or sent directly to Wryun at wryunbeard@gmail.com

Yesterday, I was supposed to die

Yesterday, I was supposed to die.

Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not sick … actually, maybe I am, or was … I don’t know. But yesterday, May 17th, was going to be the day I ended my life.

Following the final breakdown of my marriage, I moved out Dec 26th and on Jan 1st I decided to make a suicide plan. May 17th would be our 14 year wedding anniversary, and also the day our divorce would be finalized. It just seemed fitting that it would be the day I ended too.

Before I get too carried away, I should probably back up and tell you the whole story. The entire, I’m an awful human being, not worthy of living, story.

I was a terrible husband. I admit it … it’s true. Yes, we had a lot of great times. We even had some amazing, life is the best it will ever be, times. But I also put my ex-wife through A LOT! I never meant to and I didn’t want to, but I did. I was also a terrible father. I put our 4 boys through a lot, and looking back at the way I treated them, in all honesty, I’m both horrified and ashamed. They deserve so much more than what I gave them. She (my ex-wife) deserved so much more than what I gave her too. I knew that, and I repeatedly recommitted myself to doing better.

But I always failed.

It wasn’t because they weren’t worth it to me. Countless counselling appointments, meetings with religious leaders, conversations and prayers with (and for) each other, but nothing seemed to WORK.

I don’t know that I ever really realized why until recently, having been on my own now for several months. Like I said, it was never because THEY weren’t worth it. I see it so clearly now – it was because I wasn’t worth it. I was so unhappy, miserable actually. I wanted to be a great husband and a great father, a great and contributing member to my church, a reliable employee, a valuable son, etc. and I really did try, but I was drowning and super overwhelmed. It was so much pressure, and somehow I lost myself. I know many of us do, so my story isn’t likely that different from yours. I just had a really difficult time actually managing it all.

I was angry. I was hurting. I was so lost and confused … and everywhere I turned, I was a disappointment. To my wife, my boys, my church, my work, and my parents. I loved all of these things but I was so unhappy with me that I couldn’t get my footing. I disappointed myself over and over again. I struggled with anger management, depression, addictions, anxiety, and of course, suicidal thoughts.

In fact, in the past 6 years, I should have died two other times. The first time about 6 years ago when, in a moment of incredible intuition, my wife made a choice that saved my life. I had taken half a bottle of her pills with plans for the second half a little bit later, but when I went to go for round two, they were GONE. I didn’t know it at the time but she felt prompted to flush her meds, so she did. I also didn’t know it at the time, but I was meant to be here.

Instead of knowing that, I cried myself to sleep.

The second time was last summer. My wife and I just had yet another argument so I decided to pack some clothes and my meds and sleep at my office. That night I was de-stressing by playing games and listening to one of my favorite bands, The Anchor. As the night went on, my mind kept reflecting on the argument and how I was failing at life … yet again. I decided I had enough. I grabbed my bottle of meds so I could take the entire bottle, hoping for a fatal heart attack. As I took the lid off, lyrics from The Anchor’s song “Greenbow County” flooded my mind. I have to do the best with what I’m made of, what’s normal anyway. Put the past behind, let go and move forward. I’ve got to give it my all. I can’t lose my hope. Push forward.”

With tears streaming down my face, I closed the bottle of pills, put them in my pocket, and drove to the E.R. to admit myself for treatment and help.

I understand that life is worth living and there are people who love us and we can always find a way out. But I promise you that in the depths of that dark and selfish kind of despair, none of that seems reasonable or important. And nobody wants to live in that kind of despair. I know I didn’t.

And yet somehow, I found my way through. Until shortly before Christmas when divorce became my reality.

I wanted to be angry at her, and I was, for giving up on me. The truth is, I think I had given up on myself, and she couldn’t be responsible for that and for me, anymore. She had managed all she could and gave me many chances. It got to the point where she had nothing left for me, and she was ready to move forward for herself and our boys. I couldn’t blame her, though I often tried because my grief and shame were overwhelming … and so, I made a plan.

May 17th.

I had it all planned out and was already saving for a gun. My problems became less difficult to manage because I knew it was only for a short period more. I was almost excited thinking about this plan … I was finally in control and going to relieve everyone, including myself, of the damage I had done. The world, my family, my boys, they were all better off without me, and I wouldn’t have to deal with anything anymore.

And why May 17th? First of all because I figured five months would give me plenty of time to save up for and execute my plan, and I also needed time to mend relationships with my kids and family so they would have happy memories of me. But honestly, May 17th had become a day marking my repeated failures and quite frankly, I didn’t want to live through another one.

However, for the third time, my life was saved again. The amazing thing is, this time around, somehow I found the strength to save myself. If I had to guess, that will make ALL the difference!

Wryun (Ryan) Henricksen is an ex-husband and father of four amazing and rambunctious boys. After years of struggle, he recently found the strength to choose life and declared May 17th to be RAD – Ryan’s Anchor Day! This is his story.

Questions or (kind) comments can be left below or sent directly to Ryan at wryunbeard@gmail.com

Celebrate Canada’s 150 and win a Springfree Trampoline!!!!

I am not even kidding!

Springfree Trampoline has teamed up with champion trampolinist, Rosie MacLennan to celebrate Canada’s 150 and they want YOU to join in the fun!

Blog Rosie MacLennan Springfree Trampoline contest these are your days cute like me win canada 150

If you follow my Instagram, you know we recently received a Springfree Trampoline and it has seriously changed. my. life. Seeing the kids take the time to get unplugged and go out to play together is everything.

Springfree trampoline blogger these are your days canada 150 childhood unplugged collage

Except for the one of Jonah, I seriously had to sneak these photos from the deck for fear of ruining the moment. But my goodness, it was fun to watch, even though it looks like Brooklyn is letting out some older sister angst. haha

Don’t have kids who like being *unplugged*? Don’t fret – with the addition of tgoma, Springfree has developed the first Smart Trampoline™ so they can have the experience of being plugged in all while getting fresh air AND exercise. Pretty genius, if you ask me!

Shall we get you entered to win your very own Springfree Trampoline? Head on over to the Springfree Facebook page for details – hint: it’s really just a two step process….take photo, post on social media with hashtag. Done and done. And so so worth it!

So gooooooo do it!

I am a Springfree Ambassador and received a Springfree Trampoline with tgoma to facilitate my partnership. This is a sponsored post but, as always, all opinions are my own – We are true and lifelong fans!

 

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

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I’ve made this so many times and every time I do someone *demands* the recipe. They really are that good…and in my opinion waaaay better than bacon wrapped *anything else*. I love them so much and could sit and eat a whole dish myself (I don’t, but definitely could).

This recipe is from Allrecipes.com – one of my favourite recipe sites when I need something delicious

1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into thirds
1 (20oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained (I have used tidbits and chunks and surprisingly prefer the tidbits)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce {or ketchup also works}

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Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, mayonnaise, and chili sauce, and pour into a shallow baking dish. Wrap each chunk of pineapple with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick, and lay in sauce. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until bacon is crispy on the edges and the sauce is bubbly.

Tip: I cut the bacon into thirds and bake it for about 10-15 minutes first. And just a bit to drip off some grease, I like to lay it on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet in the oven. 🙂

Enjoy!!!

Pass the Guacamole

My favourite thing to eat while in Mexico and one of my favourite snacks of all time, Guacamole always hits the spot.

There are so many different guacamole recipes, but this one is easily my favourite.

Enjoy!!!!

 

4 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed

1/4 fresh lemon juice

1/2 mixed dressing/mayonnaise/miracle whip

1/4 chopped onion {optional}

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced {optional}

**This recipe freezes well (without tomatoes) so if you want to make a large batch and save some for another time you can!!!**

The Only Spinach Dip Recipe You Need

spinach dip recipe these are your days eternal reflections photography making memories

I have tasted so many different versions of Spinach Dip – and this one is still my favorite.

1 cup Sour Cream

1 cup Mayo/Miracle Whip

dash garlic powder

1 medium minced onion

1 Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix

1 Package thawed, chopped, and drained spinach (squeeze in your hand to let out all the water). I usually use about 1/2 of the package instead of the entire thing.

spinach dip recipe these are your days cute like me eternal reflections photography making memories

Mix together and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Take out insides of Round Sourdough Loaf and cut/tear into bite sized pieces (I buy a second loaf and cut it into pieces because there never seems to be enough bread). Spoon Spinach Dip into hollowed out loaf and serve. This is an excellent dish to take to a party – I’m usually the one permanently parked beside it. lol

The Ultimate Taco Dip

A couple of months ago I couldn’t decide whether to make my usual taco dip or have a taco (I had leftover taco meat in the fridge)…so I decided to mix the two. And oh my heavens….the result was absolutely scrumptious and became a repeat *offender* in this house!!! I took it for a girly night and got rave reviews – it is seriously soooo good!

My usual taco dip recipe –

Layer:

Refried Beans

Guacamole

Mixture of 2 parts sour cream/1 part mayonnaise or miracle whip and some taco seasoning to taste

Sprinkle with cheese

Here’s how I changed it up!!!

Layer:

Refried Beans

Guacamole

Sour Cream/Mayo and taco seasoning mixture

Taco meat (I like to make it a little spicy…Epicure’s Fajita mix is awesome!!!)

Sprinkle with diced white onion, jalapenos (I use the jarred ones), and red or orange peppers.

Cover with grated cheese – I use old cheddar

**You could put black olives on if you wanted like in the photo or anything else you’d like**

Bake at 350 until cheese is melted.

This is by far my favorite indulgent snack right now….but it’s certainly not low on the calorie list so I try not to make it too much. lol But it is seriously  SO good!!!

I eat it with regular tostitos, though the sea salt and lime Old Dutch tortilla chips would be amazing (they are just twice the calories so I’ve been avoiding them).

 

Why Do We Say That Blood Is Thicker Than Water?

I know we’ve all heard it a hundred times in our lives and it’s usually meant to imply that our blood bonds are stronger than anything. That our loyalty to them is deeper and forever and those relationships are worth saving at all costs.

Image result for blood is thicker than water

While I believe relationships take effort, I don’t believe they should take work, at least not on a long term, ongoing basis. I do believe certain relationships warrant more effort or possibly work based on their origin, but I understand more than ever, the value of surrounding yourself and filing your life with *your people*.

And I don’t believe *your people* has to only or always mean those who share your blood. And here’s why:

I was adopted and so was my brother. As a result, I am blood related to exactly 2 people.

TWO PEOPLE.

Only two that, based on this statement, I should feel a sense of loyalty and lifelong obligation to. And I do, believe me I do, but it’s only because I chose and was able to have biological children (and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we are biologically related, just to be clear). 

 

kids-blood-is-thicker-than-water-loyalty-these-are-your-days-family

{Photo Credit: Eternal Reflections Photography}

You might understand why such a statement would rub me the wrong way. My cousin has 2 biological children and 2 adopted children (who are also biological siblings), but at the end of the day she has 4 children. Period. And they love and protect each other with the same fierceness, regardless of their *blood status* within the family. Her and I have spoken often of this, particularly when certain issues have come up in our own lives and extended families. Or in the lives of our friends. We have to stop this….

Blood is NOT thicker than water.

Love your families and do what you can to keep those relationships strong and positive – because in many ways, those SHOULD be your people. Or a good foundation of people, at the very least. But let’s not do it because they share blood and instead because we value their existence and role in our lives.

How about love is love. Loyalty is loyalty. The people who matter to you are the people who matter to you. Period.

Because I’ve got friends who are like sisters and cousins who are like strangers, children of friends who are no different than my nieces and nephews (who I love like my own) and adults who are like extensions of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles – to me and my children. There is no definitive blood line I need to follow and maybe it’s because I just simply don’t have one I could follow.

But please just think next time you consider using such a phrase. I know you likely mean well and I understand the point you might be trying to illustrate. But how about next time when you want a relationship to work out, you simply say:

You matter to me.