The Story Behind My Tattoo

Well, this Father of Five just joined the “inked” club.  Yes, you heard that right.  I got my first tattoo last week, and here is the story how it came to fruition. 

Approximately seven years ago, #2 of 5 began “informing” us of his intention to get a tattoo when he turned 18 years old.  He was quite insistent that now that he was “of age” he would be doing this with our without our blessing.  He was so insistent that this takes place that neither The Mother of Five nor I were going to even try to stop it.  So much so that we asked ourselves why not get on board – and maybe have a little (dare I hope) influence on his decision of content and placement.  His plans were to actually get the tattoo on his birthday, so The Mother of Five and I eventually decided that this tattoo would be our birthday gift to him.

Shortly before his birthday we made a few phone calls.  (Who knew you needed to make appointments for tattoos?!?!)  Luckily, we found a local tattoo parlor that had walk-in availability.  The day arrived and we brought #2 of 5 to the shop where he explained what he wanted.  About an hour later he was proudly displaying his first tattoo.

For the record, this was his FIRST tattoo, and has since expressed that he like to make some changes – in the form of a cover up tattoo he has planned. 
I am told he is planning a much bigger “back piece”.  

That’s when it all started.

The kids all started asking me when he was going to get my first tattoo.  To appease the masses I told them that I would get a tattoo for my 50th birthday.  Heck, fifty was far enough off, and since I had no real intention of getting a tattoo I fully expected (much like when I tell them to clean up their room, unload the dishwasher, or complete any one of the myriad of chores I ask them to complete from time to time) the kiddos would soon forget. 

But, they didn’t.

Over the next several years, the kids would periodically inquire (in an attempt to remind me?) if I figured out what my tattoo was going to be yet.  I’d think about it.  I would have fun with the kiddos talking about what I “could” do, and hear what they thought I should do.  As time went on the whole idea started appealing to me a little bit more and more.  But to be honest, I’d have to say I was having serious doubts that I would ever really go through with it.

A couple of more years go by, and #3 of 5 turned 18.  I am still getting the occasional questions about MY tattoo idea(s), but no mention of him wanting a tattoo.

Over the next four years I slowly march towards the big “50” and I continue to get “reminded” by the kids about my pledge to get a tattoo for my 50th birthday.  When that magical day finally arrived, I was bombarded with reminders of my pledge.  I attempted to postpone the whole thing by saying I “just turned” fifty and that I "technically" had a whole year of being 50 years old. 

They bought it, sort of…

Then, the time came that #4 of 5 turned 18.  She, like her brother, came to us and told us that she had also planned to get a tattoo.  The Mother of Five and I discussed the matter, and decided we would take the same course of action we took with #2 of 5.  But with #4 of 5, the timing was really bad.  She was heavily involved in sports, was already accepted to college, her senior year was winding down, and she was busy planing, organizing, and actually startting college three hours from home.  This interfered with her plans, and we never got her a tattoo for her birthday.

Three months after school started, we had a TRAGIC LOSS in our family.  #4 of 5’s beloved cat Mimi passed away.  That’s when she decided to commit to her tattoo idea.  She was planning on a "kitty tattoo", but now with the passing of her cat, she modified her idea just a bit and went with a  “memorial tattoo” idea instead.  The Mother of Five and I told her we would give her tattoo as a Christmas gift. 

This time around, I knew better than to think I would be able to “walk in” some place for a tattoo.  Given her school breaks, and her availability when she was home – I knew I would have to pre-schedule a session for her.

I started doing some research which as it turned out, my research turned out to be pretty easy.  Since his first tattoo, #2 of 5 had gone out and gotten himself another tattoo.  His second design was a full upper arm piece - and much more elaborate than his original "birthday" tattoo.  In fact - this tattoo was a "two session" tattoo.   The first photo in the series was the first session.  The 2nd and 3rd photo shows the extended version of the tattoo after his second session (with added trees).  He mentioned how happy he was with the shop, and the work done.  Honestly - I really liked this tattoo, and how it looked.  The shop was local - and they had very positive reviews.           

But before committing to any shop, I wanted to actually see it in-person.  I found a niche of time on my way to work one day, so I left for work a little early and stopped into INKHEART TATTOO.  I walked in (admittedly feeling a little intimidated) and told the staff I was there to check out the shop, explaining what #4 of 5 was looking for in a tattoo.  We discussed some options. 

Satisfied with how #2 of 5's second tattoo turned out, the on-line reviews, and how friendly and helpful the staff was in-person -- I decided to schedule my #4 of 5's tattoo.

That's when it happened…  

Almost instinctually I asked…  “So, I have a question for you.  What would the possibility be of scheduling a back to back father / daughter tattoo session?”  The reception asked what I meant, and I briefly explained the story you just finished reading.  I explained my tattoo idea to her, and told her that if I didn’t do this now, I probability never would.  She said she thought it was a great idea, and had the perfect artist in mind.  She called Adam Petersen up to meet with me.  We talked for a few minutes about a couple ideas of what we were looking to do, I checked out some of his artwork, and we scheduled a date.  

When the day finally arrived we were both pretty excited (well, I know I was).  The Mother of Five, #4 of 5, #5 of 5, and myself all stopped for a quick bite to eat just down the road from the shop before heading in.  When we finally arrived at the shop, we met with Adam.  He showed us his designs.  #4 of 5 made one minor change to her initial drawing, but I absolutely LOVED what Adam had come up with for my tattoo!  Now, I was really getting excited! 

Within a few minutes Adam had #4 of 5 in his chair, and was explaining the process and what to expect from the process to her.  A few minutes later needle met skin.

#4 of 5 was a trooper.  She did not complain at all.  She sat very still, and allowed Adam to do his thing.  In no time at all he completed the tattoo.  She was delighted, and The Mother of Five and I were both very happy with the results.  Her tattoo surpassed what we expected.  It is the perfect “memorial” tattoo for Mimi and Adam did a fantastic job delivering it!  (Happy Birthday Sweetie!)

The time had come.  

After years of being asked, reminded, and even teased a little bit (I lost track of how many times I heard one of the kids say “Meh, I don’t believe he will actually do it”) it was time.  Talk was cheap, it was time to put up, or shut up.  Speak now or forever hold your peace.  Go big or go home. 

So, I hopped up in the chair, and let Adam do what he does best.

About half way through my two hour tattoo, the girls all left to do some shopping.  Throughout the tattooing I did my best to NOT look down at the work being done.  I really wanted to see it complete.  While Adam was working, a couple of other artists from the shop came over to watch him work.  We even had another client come over to watch after her tattoo was finished.  Everyone kept saying what a great looking tattoo it was.

About ten minutes before the work was complete, my head started feeling a little heavy and woozy.  (I was warned this may happen.)  Adam stopped to give me a little break, and while he did I may have “drifted off” a bit.  The staff at the shop brought me a little water and some hard candy – and before I knew it – I was ready to start up again. Approximately fifteen minutes later, I was asked to check out the tattoo in the mirror.

I was delighted!  I gave Adam a general idea of what I was looking for, that I wanted it black & white instead of color, and that I wanted it on my left arm.  From there, I gave him much of the artistic license.  I let him draw his own version of my idea.  I let him select what size he thought looked best on my arm (he still asked me for input and if I was ok with what he thought was best).  In general, I let him do what he does best.  The resulting tattoo exceeded my expectations – and I couldn’t be more delighted with the results!      

So, there it is folks. 
My tattoo, and the story of how I ended up with this (my first) tattoo at the ripe old age of fifty. 

(If you stumbled upon this blogpost due to a search for information about InkHeart Tattoo in Chaska or about Adam Petersen the tattoo artist and you have any questions about either – be sure to click on the email link on the right sidebar.  I’d be happy to answer what I can.  For the record, this is an unsolicited endorsement.  I did not receive any compensation for my work here on The Life of a Father of Five.  This is just a reflection on my experiences.  My endorsement is totally voluntary and based on the positive experience I had with both.)    

A Heavenly Birthday

I have been using some "down time" lately, and working on, updating, and filling in some of the blanks and gaps I have in my ancestry research. It was while working on some research last night, I was reminded that today would have been my Pépère's 112th birthday.

For those who have not been lingering on The Life of a Father of Five very long, you may not know the story of the nick-names we used for our grandparents.

 We called our maternal grandparents Mémère and Pépère.

These are French / French-Canadian affectionate names for Grandmother and Grandfather. Their first grandchildren were my cousins Janice and Cindy. They live in northern Maine right on the Canadian Border where many people (including my Uncle's wife, and their mother) spoke a version of French Canadian as well as English.  Their children (my cousins) "J" and "C" started calling our grandparents Mémère and Pépère before I was born, and (at least for my sister and I) those affectionate terms seem to have stuck.  We used them throughout my grandparents lives.  I still refer to them by these terms more than 37 years after their passing.

Having lost my paternal grandfather at the age of five, my "Pep" (a shortened version of  Pépère) and I became very close.

In the photo to the right, is my Uncle "G" in the Navy Uniform, Pep in his University of Minnesota Police Officer's Class A Uniform, and my Uncle "D" in the Air Force uniform.

It was Uncle D who eventually moved to Maine, and who's kids started the somewhat unique nick-naming of my grandparents. (Well, unique to the Midwest were we don't see a lot of French Canadian culture.)

Now that I am thinking about Pep, and seeing as it is his birthday - I want to give you a shout-out!  HAPPY 112th BIRTHDAY PEP!!  Thank you for all the years we had together here, and thank you for all the years you have looked out for me since.  I have never gone more than a few days without feeling your presence one way or another.

You have been, and will forever remain in my heart!!

(One of the Many) Tastes of my Childhood

It is commonly said that smells trigger memories of people, places, and things past.  I certainly can confirm this phenomenon, but I’d like to add (at least for me) that certain TASTES also trigger some of my oldest (and often fondest) memories.

Case in point…   Butter Rum Life Savers.

This year, on my annual road trip to duck hunting camp, I stopped to gas up and grab a bag of Wintergreen Lifesavers.  They are my “go-to” hard candy (especially when you know you are going to do some drinking and cigar smoking).  The convenience store I stopped at had a sale price if you bought two bags.  Not really needing TWO bags, I was going to pass - but out of the corner of my eye I noticed a different flavor (that I normally do not see) – Butter Rum.  On a whim (and a nostalgic impulse), I grabbed a bag of each and headed out.

I don’t eat them often (in fact, it’s been YEARS since I last had one) – but I find that when I pop one of those Butter Rum Lifesavers, I am immediately taken back to my youth.  As a very young child (around five or so years old) my dad would often take me with him while he was out running weekend errands.  

Not always, but just often enough to make it special, he would buy a roll of Butter Rum Life Savers. 

At that very young age Butter Rum Life Savers always made me feel so “grown up”.  Kids (as well as myself as a child) typically tend to steer towards the sweet and simple traditional “five flavors” (lemon, lime, orange, cherry, and pineapple).  On the other hand, Butter Rum seemed so…  I don’t know, sophisticated (?), adult (?), mature (?) - Or maybe a blend of all those things??  

I suspect another part of this is also about the name itself.   Butter RUM.   I knew rum was considered a “grown up drink”, so a candy flavored after a grown up drink must be… grown up.  

Finally, I can and will also confirm that the fond memories may also be taking me back to spending time with my dad.  I really liked hanging out with him while running weekend errands.  The surprise Butter Rums tapered off as I approached my early teens, but dad and I ran our weekend errands up until I started workin' for a livin' (which was frequently on the weekends since I worked in a local neighborhood hardware store).    

Butter rum is and will always be (to me) the flavor of innocence of youth, of hanging out and spending time with my dad, of getting to sit in the front seat of the car next to him (we used to be able to do that back in the day), of being only five years old yet feeling oh so “grown up”.  

It is a taste of so many fond memories of a much simpler time of life.

For the record…  My dad still does this to this day – but not with Butter Rum, and not with me but with my kiddos (and they will confirm).  I suspect that the taste of Butter SCOTCH will forever associated to their grandpa in the same way Butter RUM does for me.

Crib… 2019

I have not done a “crib” shot (at least hear on The Life of a Father of Five) since 2008.

Last time I did a “crib” shot – it was a photo of my house just before winter.  After all the “fall clean up” is done and I am just waiting for the long Minnesota hibernation to begin.

Today, while cleaning up for the winter, I reminisced about the good old days when I used to blog, and how I did the “crib” post.   Well, I decided to do it again.  11 years later.  But, hereto fro I will not be referring to our home as a "crib" anymore.  Seems like that pop culture reference did not pass the test of time as well as some may have hoped.     

Not much has changed really (from the outside) – but man, the inside is so much different than it was in 2008.  #1 of 5 and #3 of 5 are not living at home. #2 of 5 is in his final year of college.  #4 of 5 is away at college.  #5 of 5 is really the last kiddo still lingering around here on a regular basis – and she is a sophomore in high school already!   

Well, here is the OUTSIDE of the FOF compound – 2019.



First day at our house - Aug 20, 2006 (photos).
Last day at our house - Oct 24, 2019
Rest peacefully Meemers... And thanks for the good years.
July 7, 2006 - Oct 23, 2019

Is it AUGUST already?

To say that my motivation for blogging has been "compromised" (?) over the past few years is truly an understatement.   I look back on the stats, and going from a high of 183 in one single year, to having posted – um, let's see here…   Well, ZERO posts from January through August in 2019 means I was well on my way to a zero posting year.

Some of the "gimmies" that I obviously missed include the very simple and very easy "Blogiversary" back in April.  (This would have been is my thirteenth year of keeping "The Life of a Father of Five" alive – even if it is on life support and seemingly taking its last few breaths) through the very important and potentially photo intensive post documenting #4 of 5's high school graduation of (especially since I have previously documented #1 of 5's, #2 of 5's, and #3 of 5's).  Actually, one of the things that is prompting me to write THIS post is our preparation for dropping #4 of 5 off at her new college campus as she begins the next chapter in her life.  I even missed the opportunity to post about my 26th wedding anniversary with The Mother of Five.  We took a short trip along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

So clearly there were some pretty memorable opportunities to further document my "life of chaos" as a father of five that got neglected.  What can I say?

Family life –
Work – (Yes, that one gets a double check.  Some of you know why.)
Facebook and other social media outlets –
Stress (see work and family life above) –
Long neglected home improvement projects that take time –
Much of what I would blog about has already been covered (ad nauseam) –
A different blogging outlet (which is also admittedly neglected) –

The list above is far from being what I consider a comprehensive list of my "excuses".  I also acknowledge that (yet again) I am making a blog post about not making blog posts.  I promise, I am really not trying to make any excuses...   Oh, who I am kidding (not myself, and CERTAINLY not you – my few but loyal readers) – this really is one lengthy excuse.  I need to stop making them, and get back to this "hobby" that I do (or, at least once) enjoyed.  Hey, I got enough material to start playing "catch up" a little bit – so I DON'T have "Lack of material" to put one of those "check marks" () behind. 

I do also know (or have been told) that I have a bit of a "fan base" among #4 of 5's friends.  It's kind of funny actually – From time to time I hear "Hey there Father of Five!" shouted out at me as I am out and about  – the park, the county fairgrounds, the grocery store, and even from cars driving down my street. 

Well, friends of #4 of 5 (and FOF fans) – stay tuned!  I have a couple of posts in the queue just for you guys!    


Observation #34

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little "one line" observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.


Today's observation comes to you after being awoke in the wee hours of the morning by the indisputable sounds of one of the (now, but only recently) adult children of our brood bounding up the staircase from their basement bedroom in the middle of the night - followed by the familiar yet unmistakable sounds of  "sickness".

This can mean only one thing...

The flu season has officially landed in the "Life of a Father of Five's" home..
Time to batten down the hatches and begin the quarantine process.  

(Yes, that IS a photo of the FOF commode, and yes, that IS a photo of #4 of 5 sprawled out on the couch after a long night of time spent with the aforementioned FOF commode.)  


Tonight, a chapter of The Life of a Father of Five has closed.  

I have not been regularly posting for a number of years now.  One of the reasons I have not been blogging is because of how “busy” our lives have been.  Ironically, the “closing chapter” I am blogging about tonight is one of the things that has kept me busy enough to keep me from blogging about it.


Tonight, #4 of 5’s eight year run as a volleyball player concluded.  What started eight years ago as a little girl playing volleyball for St John the Baptist School, then Jordan Middle School, and finally Jordan high School came to a conclusion tonight.  There were a few tears, but a lot of smiles and a number of congratulations at the conclusion of tonight’s Sub-Section Semi-Finals.


(Above) We were not sure at the time of the photo, but tonight turned out to be #4 of 5’s final Volleyball Game
(Left) #4 of 5 on her second year of playing volleyball as a St. John the Baptist Saint
(Right) #4 of 5 on her final year as a varsity Jordan Jaguar

1                       2a   

I can’t explain how much I have enjoyed watching her play.  I am not a “sports” kind of guy – but for some reason, Volleyball had me hook, line, and sinker.  It was the only sport any of my kids participated in that had me whooping and hollering from the stands.  I am not going to lie.  I will miss seeing my St. John’s Saint / Jordan Jaguar playing volleyball.

(Left) #4 of 5 and The Mother of Five at the conclusion of her final game.
(Right) #4 of 5 and The Father of Five at the conclusion of her final game.

Screenshot_2018-10-30-21-47-03-1                       Screenshot_2018-10-30-21-44-04-1

This is the first of several “lasts” for us with this one this year. 
Yet, we couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments both on and off the court.

CONGRATULATIONS on an SPECTACULAR run #4 of 5, it’s been nothing but AMAZING to watch you grow!  

Thank you to St. John the Baptist, Jordan Middle School, Jordan Hight School, a number of coaches, and assistant coaches, and truly great group of girls that we have been lucky enough to have got to spend time with over the past eight years.

Open Letter - Political Advertising

This is an “open letter” to all the politicians across the nation. This open letter applies to all Republicans, Democrats, (capitol I) Independents, (lowercase i) independents, or candidates from any party not previously mentioned who are running for a national, state, regional, county, or local political office and are buying advertising on television, radio, print, internet or any other method of delivering you campaign messages.

When I see a political add that actually speaks about YOU as a candidate and about the merits of YOUR platform, I'd likely pay a lot more attention to your add. I say “likely” because for the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I saw one.

If on the other hand, you use your time (and to be quite honest, it’s really MY time we are talking about here - as your add is an unwanted intrusion into my word) steering around facts, putting up smoke and mirror screens, belittling your opponent, and trying to convince me why I SHOULDN’T vote for the “other candidate” instead of voting FOR YOU – I simply tune out.

Well, that’s not completely true. I pay just enough attention to remember who you so when I am alone in that booth, exercising the right that many people gave their lives to obtain and defend, I will know which box(es) to leave BLANK.

For the record this applies to the “I’m [candidate’s name] and I approve this message.” as much as the “This add paid for by the [political action committee’s name].”


In seven of the past thirteen years that The Life of a Father of Five has existed, I have made an acknowledgement of my anniversary to the woman who makes my life, our family, (and by default, this blog) all possible.  The Mother of Five!  

Previous Anniversary Posts:

, Nothing for fourteenth (it was spent up at Tomahawk Scout Camp with my boys), fifteenth (and a bonus “how we met” post for fifteenth), nothing for sixteenth, seventeenth, nothing for eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, nothing for twenty-first, twenty-second, nothing for twenty-third, and nothing for twenty-fourth.  

Having missed the past two years consecutively (previously unprecedented) I am feeling a little embarrassed.  My embarrassment, my parent’s 50th Anniversary, and this being a major landmark anniversary for us has motivated me to make sure it is acknowledged, and to write something for our TWENTY-FIFTH wedding anniversary here on the blog!! 

So, here goes.

Twenty five years.

I can not even wrap my head around that number.

Twenty-five years ago today we stood before God, family, and friends – and we promised to love, honor, and cherish each other all the days of our lives. Twenty-five years ago today we started a journey that we are still traveling along today – and doing it together.

Just like they say, there has been (and will be) better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health – but I could not have found a better partner to travel with! While twenty-five years sure sounds like a long time (and, honestly it is), these first twenty-five years feel like they have almost flown by.

Together we have raised (well, still raising) five AMAZING children that I have previously said truly amaze me and fill me with wonder and hope EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE - they give me strength beyond comprehension.

I cannot begin to thank you for being the amazing wife, partner, and mother you are. Your strength, fortitude, patience, and understanding inspire me to strive to be a better husband and father - and to help me keep me focused on what the TRULY the important things are.

Happy Anniversary MoF. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I do truly thank God in my prayers that he allowed our paths to cross, and that our individual journeys turned and allowed us to take this path together. I am confident that the next twenty-five will be as amazing as the first twenty-five – and I am looking OH SO forward to the rest of our lives together! —

Twenty-fifth wedding anniversary

The Old School – St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN

The St. John the Baptist School has stood as an iconic structure in the historic downtown area and a landmark in the city of Jordan Minnesota.  It is difficult to fathom just how many students have come and gone, and how many memories have been made behind it's doors (some of mine included). 

It started in 1860’s when the Pioneers who settled this area opened a Catholic School.  When the church build the stone structure church in 1868 (that still stands today and can be seen in some of the photos below) the old church structure was converted to a school.  Then, in 1877 a new school was built.  It was a two-story, 30’ x 50’ one-room-classroom brick building with living space fin the lower level for the teacher and family.    

That school must have thrived.  The single classroom was split into two, and at some point the two classrooms were no longer sufficient because the church began construction on a new (and much larger) school.  The cornerstone of the new school (seen in the photos below) was laid in place June 24 and the school was blessed and opened for students November 26, 1908.  The school remained in operation until February 14, 2004 when St. John the Baptist opened their new Education Center.  So, in 2004, everything was moved over to the new Education Center and the old school was closed up. 

Since 2004, the old school has been used for some storage for the church and the school.  Originally, the church and school maintained the building with minimum heating (to keep piles from bursting) and insurance.  The costs exceeded 23 thousand dollars a year. 

Between 2004 and 2007 many options were sought to repurpose the building.  Considerations of a charter school (1.7 million dollars), condominiums (3 million dollars), and tearing it down (150 thousand dollars) were among some of the possibilities.  Ultimately no one decided to invest in the old school.

In 2007 a cost cutting committee formed to look at the church’s options with the old school building.  By this time, the cost to rehab the building to make it habitable had risen to a minimum of 4 million dollars.  With the costs rising and the possibility that anyone would want to purchase the property to rehab the structure, the decision was made to remove all plumbing from the building, stop heating the structure, and drop the insurance to the bare minimum.  This was still costing over one thousand dollars a year.

One last attempt to save the structure happened in 2017.  Church trustees along with staff from the City of Jordan met with several property developers at the feasibly of converting the structure to senior citizen apartments.  All agreed that that cost for rehabbing the building would make the rent that would have be charged too high.  Affordable rent could not support the cost to remodel the building.

Then, when a fire broke out inside the building in the early hours of November 14, 2017, the necessity of church's need to finally do something with the building became evident.       

I learned a few days ago that it was scheduled to be brought down.  The asbestos in the building is being abated, and demotion is scheduled to begin on Monday, August 6th 2018.  I took an opportunity to take some last photos of the historic old building that has been such a big part of my (and so many other’s) families.

Good friend and fellow Blogger “Just Getting Warmed Up” wrote up an AMAZING reflection on the experience of actually having attended the school.  It’s very nostalgic.  Please, be sure to check out his work HERE

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St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MNSt. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN

St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN

St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MNSt. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN

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