Mathis Style Makeover

Posted On July 2, 2015| Leave a reply

Ok blog friends……it’s time to make a few changes to my blog. Thanks for your encouragement the last 10 months. I have enjoyed writing my blog and love your feedback…..keep it coming.¬†Let the makeover begin!


My Team: No, I am not trading my team in for a new one. Just going to start using nicknames for them ūüėČ Noah will be Boy Wonder. He often leaves me wondering what I did to deserve him and he is beyond curious about everything! Natalie will be Sunshine. I greet her each morning with “Hello Sunshine” and well, let’s just say she makes the world a shiny place! Jeremy will be Doc. He’s my Mr and he’s a good mix of Doc Hollywood and Doc Holliday,¬†but he is a REAL doctor too. Crazy that I married someone with special initials after their name! Yay me!

Under My Team you will now find a few new sections:

1) Nat’s Notes:¬†I have been dying to blog about the notes Natalie Sunshine leaves around the house, in the car, on the driveway….everywhere. I promise these blog posts will make you smile.

2) Boy Wonder’s Adventures: Noah’s attack on life!

3) Little Miss Sunshine: The escapades of my baby girl.

4) Life With Doc: A glimpse into the life of Mrs. Dr. Jeremy R. Mathis, D.O.


And, announcing…..Mandy’s Morsels:¬†A new menu bar item! It sounds like it should be a frozen treat, dipped in chocolate and served on a stick! Instead it will be a place for me to transcribe my random thoughts on random things. I know you are peeing yourself with excitement over this description. Stay tuned, trust me. Under this section you can find these new and exciting bloggable topics:

—-Lady Gaga Gossip:¬†My team calls me Lady Gaga. I am certain it is because I am such a trendy dresser, always ladylike and can sing like the angels. It can’t be because they view me as odd, can it? Instead of fighting my nickname, I have embraced it. Here is where¬†I will graciously share my most marvelous moments of motherhood. Some will be written through giggles, others through tears. It will be a peek at how I try not to take life too seriously but take my mama role totally seriously.

—-Game Changers:¬†At my sweet age of 42 I am constantly in search of things to simplify/perfect/change my daily life. And why not? If someone has figured¬†out a faster/easier/prettier way to do something then I feel it is my duty to copy that idea and of course share it with all of you.

—-Can’t Make It Up:¬†No way! For real? Are you kidding me? Shut the front door! Here is where I will write about all of the things, people, places, situations that I encounter that are too good not to share!

—-Public Service Announcements: Keeping y’all informed! Topics will be random, of course!

And I thank you for your continued patience as I get my blogs about Flea Market Flips, Party Time and Get Organized out of my head and onto my site! If I had only taken typing in high school; that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

Whew, I need a nap. I hope you enjoy the changes. As always, don’t get too attached to any of them as I will most likely change them again in 10 months. Hell, who am I kidding?….more like 10 days or 10 hours! Change it good! Oh, and if you aren’t subscribed to my blog via email, please do it; today would be great! It helps me manage my traffic (don’t I sound all techy) and will help grow my blog. Enter your email in that little white box to the right, under where it says “Subscribe to my posts”. THANKS!

Live Creatively,




Her name is Allison & she WON!

Posted On June 30, 2015| 6 Replies

I believe in God. I talk to Him several times a day. He is my pal. I also question Him. ¬†I shake my head at some of His choices. I have a list of questions to ask Him when he calls me home. I’ve been shaking my head a lot this week. He called my friend Allison home. No doubt she ran into His arms. Her love for Him was extreme. I returned from her funeral a few hours ago. My first Catholic funeral. It was lovely. Very peaceful. The priest was calming and the whole service was soothing. I didn’t know the responses to the prayers and I thought I was going to sneeze from the smoke they wafted around her casket, but I felt really close to God…..from one control freak to another, nicely done Allison. We all know you planned the entire thing. The mass ended with a letter from Allison. I’m pretty sure no one was surprised by this……Allison having the last word.


At Relay for Life, May 2015

Her letter began with her asking all of us to not say that she lost her battle with cancer, but instead reminding us that she WON. She won at life. She won at love. She won at friendship. She won at work. She won as a sister & daughter. And most importantly she won as a mom.

We met about 16 years ago because of my hubby.¬†¬†Allison was a friend of his from high school. We all chaperoned a youth skiing trip and I ended up in a seat beside Allison on the bus.¬†Jeremy had great ‘girl’ friends who welcomed me with open arms. About¬†six years ago¬†we were sitting beside one another again. This time it was at Buckeye Gymnastics. My son Noah and her daughter Paiden were in the same class. Every week I got to sit with Allison and talk. We started with catching up on our lives. I had followed her battle with breast cancer through other friends, so we chatted about that as well. Our conversations were often interrupted with, “Mom, watch this!” or, “Mom, did you see that?”.

Out of the blue my dad was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, moved in with me and began treatment at The James. It really did happen that fast. Allison was ready. She was ready with hugs. She was ready with friendship. My dad came to gymnastics one night. Allison met Chic. Chic met Allison. A fierce friendship began. They talked cancer. They talked treatment. They talked life. They talked God. They talked. Always honestly. They became Facebook friends and exchanged emails. That was six years ago. She was too sick to see my dad when he was in town last month, but they talked via text. I told her several times how much she and her friendship meant to my dad. They had a connection from the start.

I miss her already. I will miss her texts and her thank you cards. I will miss knowing she is gracing this earth. I did not want this day to come and I surely do not want to attend another funeral because of cancer. A cure is out there. It has to be………. let’s find it. For Allison. Donate to Families for a Cure in her memory. Now!

God Bless.

Live Creatively,


Tags: ,

My Daddy & Me in NYC

Posted On June 22, 2015| 3 Replies

Trust me, I know how lucky I am that 1) my Daddy is still alive & healthy and 2) that we have an unbreakable bond. So in the spirit of Father’s Day, here is a recap of our recent trip to NYC. It was perfect, just like him…….


As I mentioned in an earlier post, My Daddy Is Seventy, I planned a father/daughter trip to celebrate his birthday. We were both pretty giddy about the whole thing. This trip marked my 4th time visiting the Big Apple with my Pops. The first trip was in November of 1987. I was 13 years old, had just started high school and was still very sad over the death of my Grandpa Dortmund that summer. My Dad used money left to him from my Grandpa for the trip. It was just what I needed and we formed some incredible memories. Take a look at a few of the pics from that trip almost 28 years ago……


Central Park


Me, probably sitting in someone’s day-old piss!

Funny thing….now my kids point out cool doorways to me, because they know I am going to snap a picture of it! NYC was a lot dirtier in the late 80’s!


Posing for my Daddy.

I love so many things about this picture. First, my hair. I would like to apologize to my Dad, because I am sure he waited at least an hour for me to get it ‘just right’ on this day. Also, look at the posters bills posted all over the walls. I loved these! Now instead of the cool bills all the walls just say, “Post No Bills”…..I had to explain ‘who’ Bill was to my kids in April.



Remember when the trains were painted? Not anymore. I loved the graffiti and recall taking many pictures of it on this trip. NYC has cleaned up the trains. And please notice the yellow safety line…..could it be any thinner?! It is at least 4x as wide now!


I remember posing for this picture like it was yesterday. My Dad was being creative with the speeding train behind me. He was cool before cool was cool!

I have one HUGE regret from this trip. Not a single picture of the two of us together. My Dad did all of the memory-capturing. I was his model, the city his muse. I have loads of very fun, artsy pictures from this trip. I remember holding his hand on the street, buying subway tokens (yes, real tokens), eating warm pretzels from the street vendors and walking through the cardboard house ‘neighborhoods’ in Central Park. But what I don’t have is a photo of the two of us. We changed that on our most recent trip!

We waited about 5 years before we stormed the city again. This time I took the camera and snapped a few pictures of my Dad enjoying the city.


I laugh looking at this picture now. The MAP! The HUGE map. Too funny. And look at the pile of extra maps and guide books on the bed. And I know for sure we used that big yellow book on the radiator a time or two! Time capsule! This was January, 1992. I was in college. We stayed at The Milford Plaza, just like our first trip. I thought it was the grandest hotel ever. It had a doorman and someone in the elevator to push your floor button. Swanky! We looked it up when we were just there….it is now a new hotel, all shiny and steel. Not cool.

IMG_20150601_0003My Dad had taken me to the Hard Rock Cafe on our first trip. We returned because it was still one of the only locations at the time and beyond hip. I took this pic because it was the first time I had ever seen my Dad drink a beer. Momentous.


Battery Park

Enjoying Battery Park. We saw the Statue (again) and rested on this bench as we had 5 years earlier. I love Battery Park because it reminds me of time spent with my Daddy. Sadly we skipped it last month because it is under construction and¬†full of orange fencing…..improvements. I would pay top dollar for one of the benches I am sure they pitched in a dumpster. Humpff!

NYCHehe! This is an OLD picture…..the bull’s balls (yes, I said balls) are still black. These days there is a line, a LINE, to get your picture with the bull’s backside and his balls are now shiny brass. Seriously, how many dirty hands have violated this bull?! And check out Chic’s camera bag….he lugged that thing all through the city. Had to have somewhere to keep his zoom lens and rolls of film!

Flash forward almost 2 years to our third trip to the city… I am being lady-like and getting my picture with the bull’s head! My mom and brothers joined us on this trip. It was an adventure for sure. It was right before Christmas and we had a blast. Not a single picture of all 5 of us though….who would trust a stranger in NYC to hold your camera? Not Chic Dortmund.

IMG_20150601_0006We must have used the same salon….our hair color matches!

MAY 2015….Here we go!

I came prepared this time. Selfie. Stick. We tested it in the airport. It took us a few tries, but here is our first official selfie:


We arrived early to Affinia 50 NYC. Our room was not ready. While I was busy being grumpy, my Dad was chatting with the check-in lady. After about 5 minutes, guess what? Our room was ready. Hmmmm. My Dad can charm anyone. We dropped our bags, grabbed our map and began our adventure. We walked to Grand Central Terminal, up through Times Square, all through Central Park and pigged out on pasta at Carmine’s in the Upper West Side. Our shoes were smoking! My clever Dad thought we should highlight our route on the map. Again he charmed the front desk lady and we were given a highlighter, “No need to return it, we have plenty.”!


Day One

A few pics from our first day:


Selfie in Times Square


My Dad became an Art Lover on this trip!


Being silly in Central Park.

NYCThe park sillies continued. Land’s End was doing a photo shoot on these same steps. Check your Fall catalogues for a glimpse of my Dad in the background!


A little pasta for dinner, finally!

Day number two we started at the 9/11 Memorial. I remember visiting the Twin Towers every time I came to the city. I had my first Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone under the towers in the entire city that existed there. My Dad recalls seeing the second tower being built. It was a somber segment of our trip, but so important. We had lunch¬†on Wall Street and then strolled over to the Seaport Historic District. I have great memories of visiting the Fulton Fish Market with my Dad. I loved all the fish and fisherman who were scurrying around the docks. I am sad it is closed down. From there we headed up town to Chinatown & Little Italy. I wandered over a few blocks so we could end up in SoHo and I could do a little shopping! Back to the hotel to drop off my bags, a quick refresh then off again to the Lower East Side. We toured the Tenement Museum and loved it. Check it out when you visit the city. We did the evening photographers tour so we could take pictures (naturally!). Cold beverages were consumed at Bonnie Vee and then we walked Bowery Street north until our legs were cramping!


Day Two

Photos from day two:


A Grandpa Style Selfie….with a mirror! Notice who carried the camera bag this time!


Moved to Brooklyn…..


The Fulton Fish Market, all gated up. The fish stalls, scales and counters are still in there…..


All clean and pretty now.



No standing anytime? OK, we will sit!


This next picture has a story:

NYCMy family is always on the hunt for LUCKY pennies. We have a big jar full of them. My Dad spotted all of these lucky ones on the street. I grabbed them and was so excited to show the kids. We ended up circling back around this same corner about an hour later and who did we see? The ‘owner’ of these coins. Oops! My Dad called my kids and told them I robbed a homeless man!



Under the Brooklyn Bridge


Catching the speeding subway. No graffiti and check out the wide yellow safety line!


Selfie with cold drinks!


Love the city at night!

Our third day started with a subway ride to the Meatpacking District for brunch. A quick stop in the Sugar Factory for some over-priced candy and then a stroll along The High Line to work off our breakfast. Funny how we ended up in Hell’s Kitchen in the middle of a FLEA MARKET. I love to ‘flea’ with my Pops. He started me young. We spent a good hour browsing all of the goodies and swapping stories with the locals. Past the Port Authority Bus Terminal, through the Theater District and Times Square (I think my Dad was looking for the ladies who love America….). We paused for a bit to people watch in Rockefeller Center before cruising 5th Avenue while avoiding eye contact with all the pedi-cab and carriage ride businessmen! They are exhausting. We bought some giant pretzels and popped a squat on a bench in Central Park. We watched newlyweds get photographed, listened to families chat in various languages, cleaned up spilled Pepsi (I was not the spiller!), gave the stink eye to some asshole teenagers who were taking pics of a homeless man enjoying a snooze and giggled at our own inside jokes. And of course documented the moment with a selfie or two. We found our way to FAO and waited our turn for the Big Piano. Such fun! I am still in shock that the store is closing! Nooooo! Damn rent increases! Dinner was at an Irish bar near our hotel and it was amazing. Dad danced the jig for our waitress and left her with a smile. We again waddled back to the hotel with full bellies and sore feet. Our last few hours were spent snuggled together watching TV and talking to my Mom. We highlighted our last day in the city and fell fast asleep.


Day Three

A glance at our final day:


Flea market!


Central Park


Lego Lady Liberty in FAO

For some A+ entertainment, click on these: ¬†IMG_7653¬†¬†IMG_7654¬†, you’re welcome!


Our map

That map will soon be framed and find a home on my wall. What the highlighted routes don’t show is the miles of hand-holding, countless smiles and many memories that have attached to my heart forever.

Happy Birthday Daddy.

Live Creatively,








Summer Bucket List

Posted On June 4, 2015| Leave a reply

“Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind….”

Now that I have transported you¬†back to the¬†summer of 1991 with DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, let’s talk summertime 2015!


Me and the Mr. sneaking out for ice cream while the kids are still in school….we will miss our Wednesdays!

My summer started two¬†weeks ago. According to the school district I call home, summertime should begin May 21st.¬†Before you all gasp in disgust, let me be clear that this same district believes our sweet days of summer should come to an end on August 12th! I will be packing lunches and checking teeth while you and your’s are still splashing in the pool!

Here are my loves excited for their last day of 4th and 1st grade:


They were a hideous mix of colors so I made them look timeless in black & white!

To be honest, even if summer break began on July 4th, I would still be caught off guard. Every year around mid-March I get grand ideas to get my act together EARLY and actually be ready for my offspring to be around 24/7. Never happens. This year was no different. The only thing we had completed before all hell broke loose was our ‘Summer Bucket List’. Thanks to a 45 minute car ride in early May and a husband who likes to use these extended times to TALK, the list was created. As in year’s past we had to help a little. A Maroon Five concert was requested by Noah. Since they are touring in Europe over the next few months that was scratched. Natalie is a bit more realistic….she shouted out; “pet store” and “kinsale”. Kinsale is the club we belong to. Easy. Peasy. A few suggestions from old ma and pa and our SBL was complete. It helps that at the beginning of a new year we sit and make a list of things we’d like to do and places we’d like to visit. Our list hangs in the Mud Room all year. Several items from this list transferred to our SBL!


I use a bucket (duh) and clothespins for our SBL. When we complete an activity, the pin gets dropped into the bucket. Again, easy. I use the bucket every year and actually several pins get used over and over too. Here it is:

Summer Bucket List

We are 14 days in and have 3 pins in the bucket already! Score! We never drop all the pins in the bucket and that’s ok. Some bucket list items carry over into the first few months of school and some never get completed. A little disappointment builds character, right?

Summer Bucket List

I spend a few hours with our list, our calendar and a glass of wine.

Summer Bucket List

I try to lump a few things together. For instance, at the camp out (in our backyard) we can have the paint fight, followed by the water balloon fight and serve breakfast at midnight! Outings that involve tickets need to be booked or at least penciled in or else I forget about them until the final week of summer and then we are screwed! Which leads to more mama guilt. Not fun for anyone!

I found these fun ways to create Summer Bucket Lists…too cute! If you make a SBL, post a picture of it in the comments please!

images-2 Unknown images images-1

Fingers crossed for a ‘Bucket Worthy’ summer!

“Sitting with your friends cause y’all reminisce
About the days growing up and the first person you kiss
And as I think back makes me wonder how
The smell from a grill could spark up nostalgia…

There’s an air of love and of happiness
And this is the Fresh Prince’s new defintion’ of summer madness”

Live Creatively,



School Is OUT!

Posted On June 1, 2015| 1 Reply


Yep, another school year is in the books. I am still waiting¬†for my medal for¬†surviving umpteen spelling tests, 98¬†packed lunches, a dozen or so morning ‘disagreements’, at least 7 missed buses, forgotten homework…someone please send me my medal!

School ends on such a high note. It takes a talented parent to ease the kids off their high and lower their expectations for the next couple months. Not every day will be spent partying, singing, winning trophies and bellying up to buffets of sugary foods.

Here is a glimpse of how Team Mathis spent the final week of education:

1st Grade Musical: DSC_1599 DSC_1628

Baby Girl had a speaking part. She practiced for weeks and said she would forever be famous after her gig! Love. Her.


Choir Concert:DSC_1848 DSC_1843

We continue to work on Big Bro’s self esteem and ability to express himself musically!



Crazy Hair Soccer Game: IMG_7881

You can feel the love she has for her coach, right?


Winning The Tournament:IMG_7895

Swept the tourney….5 wins, 2 shut-outs and 3 goals¬†for my favorite player!


Bridging to Brownies:DSC_1923

Saying a silent prayer she is done with this…. ironing those patches is not on my list of things I do well. Grrr.


The second to last day is Field Day. It a bliss-filled day for my elementary kiddos. Bounce houses, water guns, face painting, tug-of-war…you name it and the school will provide it. The kids can barely get off the bus they are so exhausted.

DSC_1904 DSC_1863

The last day must be celebrated with a classroom party….because Field Day the day before wasn’t enough of a party. I will say that these parties are kept short and sweet. This year we did a Cereal Bar for Noah’s class and a Sundae Bar for Nat’s. Big hit!

DSC_1962     DSC_1966

And since I live among over-achievers (myself included!) we lovingly attack our kids as they step off the bus. They are met with sprays of water to the face, silly string to the hair and lots of screams.


Noah has learned to ditch his backpack early!

Of course the kids grab the water blasters and silly string and turn on the adults and each other….happens every year.

11270243_10205595819027278_9055968309852043504_o 11141723_10205595824467414_8236114186455491483_o

Did I mention we were over-achievers? This year, my neighbor M had the brilliant idea to surprise the kids with a DUNK TANK! Every child should have a dunk tank on their last day of school, right? Of course! The kids were stoked! It was surprisingly cheap too….only $14 per family. Sold.


Yep, that’s one of Nat’s best buds helping her get wet!


Such a good sport!

DSC_2047 DSC_2054

He was heckling his friends, so he kind of deserved this:


Ohio weather was not kind to us on this last day of school. It was C.O.L.D. Several of the boys disappeared for a bit. I found them out front. They had taken the hose and filled a baby pool with warm water…..hello instant hot tub!


These boys are gonna be trouble in college!

Here’s hoping your summer break is joyous for you and your kids!

Live Creatively,







My Daddy Is Seventy

Posted On May 30, 2015| 4 Replies

Charles Henry Dortmund

On May 17th my Daddy turned 70. SEVENTY! He was 27 years old when I was born. ¬†The moment he met me he named me ‘Princess’ as every new daddy to a daughter should! He’s been my Prince every day since. My dad is the oldest of 4, born to Paul & Bertie Dortmund. They were exceptional folks and I am sad for those who never knew them. My dad perfected the role of big brother to his younger sisters. I will never tire of the stories they tell. His younger brother was born when he was 18. You would assume that they had nothing in common but that could not be farther from the truth. This post is long and picture heavy….you have been warned!


How cute is this?


My son now owns this gun. I have looked at this picture a hundred times and have it in a pile to frame for Noah’s room. Today was the first time I noticed the shadow of a man in the background….do you see it? Today is May 17th, my Dad’s birthday. It is also my Grandpa Dortmund’s birthday. How cool is it that father and son shared a birthday?! I don’t know for certain, but the silhouette certainly looks like my Grandpa. I think he’s saying ‘Hi’ to me. He does that often, usually when I need it most. Happy Heavenly Bday Grandpa D!


See that cold sore? My sweet father passed that gene onto me…..!


Handsome High School Grad

My Dad¬†doesn’t¬†have a college degree to brag about, hasn’t written a best seller (although he’s working on it), doesn’t own a tux or drive a fancy car. He rarely wears his wedding band, can’t speak a second language, hates to dress up and¬†has no desire to travel abroad. What he does have is the total adoration of myself and my kids, countless years of happy memories with people who love him, a rock-solid marriage and a heart of gold.¬†My dad can do lots of things. He’s a Prince, remember? He can beat cancer, survive heart disease & quadruple bypass, play the piano, hit¬†the bullseye, diagnose and fix computer problems over the phone, build me my dream house, make my kids giggle, stretch a dollar and he can speak dog. If your dog has ever met my Dad, you know what I am talking about.

#chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70


My Dad is a silly man. He is quick with his one-liners and always keeps us guessing.


My Dad taught me to be quick with the camera……so glad I didn’t miss this silly moment in Atlantic City!

Christmas gifts are usually home-made and fulfill a need. One year I received an electric screwdriver….a screwdriver with an electrical cord glued into the end. Another year he wrapped up my little league trophies which I had secretly thrown away months earlier and many moons after I retired from playing the clarinet it ended up under the tree as well. I fear that my husband has spent too much time with my Dad because this past Christmas Jeremy¬†gave our kids a ‘fart in a jar’ as a surprise gift. Perhaps I married my father!


Two peas in a pod many years ago creating something in the shop. Notice Jeremy tickling my Dad’s ear!

This next picture is one of my faves. My Dad is sitting on a golf course watching my brothers in a college match. I took the camera from his neck and captured his sweetness:


My Dad never played golf. Didn’t see a reason to. He will tell you that he isn’t into sports, but it is he who taught me how to play softball and spent countless hours catching my pitches. It was he who attended every softball and volleyball game, track meet and cheerleading event. When my brothers took up the sport of golf, he learned the game. He caddied for both of them and relished in their wins. This picture shows a proud Daddy.

Growing up with my Dad was fun. Here are a few favorite memories:

-keeping him company while he changed the oil in a car

-riding with him on our huge IH tractor


All 3 of us spent many hours on that tractor.

-watching him carefully pack stumps full of dynamite and blow them sky high

-flea markets at the old Drive In

-talks, lots of long talks about life….he always answers my questions

-making a pet cemetery in the back field

-pizza buffet at Pizza Villa

-The Box Seat (video rental store we owned for a bit)

-him being the first “Room Dad” at Olentangy Elementary

-swimming at Alum Creek ‘beach’

-building snow creatures and saucer-sled runs


My freshman year of HS. Mom let me skip school to play in the snow with my Daddy. We built a teddy bear. It was around Valentine’s Day, 1988.


One of many saucer-sled runs!

…years later he is still making saucer-runs, now they are for Noah and Natalie:¬†#chicis70

-crying on his shoulder from a broken heart

-shopping at Express for a 6th grade dance outfit

-watching him love my Mom unconditionally

-driving lessons

-lunch dates at school, even in high school

-fixing me ‘specials’ for breakfast

-holding hands and singing ‘skip to my lou’

-snuggles, lots of snuggles


Snuggles with our puppies.

-making s’mores in the living room

-teaching me to shoot a gun before I could read

-summer showers in the rain

-rides in the wheelbarrow

-walks in the garden

-Saturdays at Acker’s Hardware

-pet goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and geese

-lots of hours in the shop

-rolled $100 bills hidden in the Christmas tree

-splitting logs in the ravine, I will forever associate the smell of chainsaws with my Dad

Seriously, the list could go on and on. I had a fabulous childhood with this man and he has made my adult life pretty amazing too. We always take pictures together. He was my first boyfriend.

#chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70 #chicis70


2009, last day of radiation treatment for stage 3 colon cancer.


68th birthday….drinking a beer at a flea market!

I am constantly taking the camera from my Dad and snapping his pic. He puts up a small fight, but I always win.


His little cone from Dubbs!


Yes, beard is good!


This next photo is one of my favorites; my Daddy in his workshop.


Making fireworks and bottle rockets for the kids. His workshop is his little slice of heaven. The kids leave him notes, in permanent marker and he wouldn’t have it any other way!

And being the hip Grandpa that he is….he even sends selfies to the kids:


They crack up knowing Grandpa’s selfies must involve a mirror!

My hubby asked my Dad for his blessing before he proposed to me. That was a special day for my Dad. Of course he teased Jeremy a bit first, but I had mad respect for Jeremy when I found out. My Dad was the one who had the final say in what gown I wore. My mom and I had narrowed it down to two. First one he saw he liked. Second one, he cried. Done!


Dress #1


Dress #2

My Dad was involved in my wedding from day one. He schlepped things around for my Mom, listened to all of the glamorous details and pitched right in when it was time to decorate the church. Here we are taking a break from decorating:


He also gladly graciously attended dance lessons and helped me through our waltz.


“You Light Up My Life”

My Daddy was with me for the birth of Noah and Natalie. He took pictures in the delivery room. Some will gag at the thought of it, but for me and Jeremy it was no big deal. My Dad brings a sense of calmness to things. We knew he would give us our space at the same time be a supportive presence. The pictures he took are amazing. And to know that both of my kids met him moments after arriving in this crazy world makes me smile.


Last minute words of reassurance before becoming a mama.


Noah and Grandpa

He claims he missed a few crucial pics when Nat was born. Once he realized she was a girl, the tears started flowing. He told me later that Jeremy was beyond lucky, because he had just met his ‘forever friend’. Here’s Natalie napping on Grandpa’s belly, something she still does to this day!


I’m not lying….this was taken last summer:


It’s no wonder she adores her Grandpa. He is her make-up model and nap buddy who lets her shoot guns, feed his dogs apples, drive his 4-wheeler and sip his Pepsi. I know how she feels. I adored my Grandpa Dortmund too! He would let her do ANYTHING to him!


And these two….they are inseparable.

#chicis70 #chicis70

Noah is a Mini-Chic. They text and call each other every few days. I swear they have their own language. They can disappear for hours and never be bored. Noah truly misses Grandpa when they are separated for a long time. These two are kindred spirits.

Being the planner that I am, I started thinking of ways to celebrate his 70th about¬†a year ago. With over 1500 miles between us, I knew it would be tricky. It would be impossible for me to be in Idaho for his big day. He hates parties. But so many people love him. So, I secretly created and invitation to a “Card Party” for him. Here’s the invite that I mailed to friends all over the US….


It worked! The cards, pictures and memories started arriving in early May and flooded his mailbox. He was honored! I wanted more though. I wanted some alone time with my Daddy.¬†I decided I wanted to recreate our first Father/Daughter trip…… it was November, 1987 and my dad surprised me with a weekend in NYC. I remember practically everything about that trip. I loved it. It was perfect (except for the food poisoning from the very expensive steak I ate at the rooftop restaurant). That trip 28 years ago began my love affair with The Big Apple. I pitched the idea to my Dad and he was in. Check back for my blog about our recent trip to NYC….. we took the city by storm and loved every minute of it!

HAPPY 70th Daddy, I love you!

Live Creatively,





What My Kids Learned in NYC!

Posted On April 21, 2015| Leave a reply

NYC with kids

My extremely intelligent kids chose NYC as our Spring Break destination this year. Perhaps they were tired of me traveling there without them….

They planned our week by researching what they wanted to do and see. I took their requests and organized our days. We left the hotel before breakfast and returned after dinner each day and we still didn’t complete our list! A perfect excuse to return! Noah and Nat loved the city and embraced it from the moment they spotted Miss Liberty from the airplane. I am beyond thrilled that they love my favorite city! Here’s a snapshot of what they learned on their first trip to THE BIG APPLE!

Spotting the Statue of Liberty from the plane is priceless.

NYC with kids

LaGuardia is quite welcoming.

NYC with kids

That a douche bag is not a new type of backpack.

Selfies with Mama are non-negotiable.

NYC with kids

Avoid making eye contact with very angry Italian men dropping the f-bomb while screaming at  cabbies in the middle of the street.

Subways are awesome and Columbus should get some.

NYC with kids

Lady Liberty has a huge nose!

NYC with kids

The lobby at the Waldorf Astoria is a prime cartwheel location.

Mama’s fear of heights is real and she should never go to the Top of the Rock again.

NYC with kids

Always ask ‘how much’ before taking a rickshaw ride back to your hotel.

NYC with kids

The fish on the streets of Chinatown are real and they stink.

Too many New Yorkers died on September 11th.

NYC with kids

Pedestrians don’t have the right away.

The Wicked Witch wasn’t really wicked.

NYC with kids

Times Square is cray!

NYC with kids

Manhattan is breathtaking.

NYC with kids

FAO Schwarz is a slice of heaven.

NYC with kids

Say ‘no thank you’ to the aggressive Elmo in Times Square when asked for a photo.

Brooklyn has the best pizza in the world.

NYC with kids

The bull on Wall Street has large balls (you said balls!).

Mama will make you jump at the “Friends Fountain” in Central Park.

NYC with kids

Pretzels from a street vendor are scrumptious.

Watching ice skaters wipe out is always good entertainment.

NYC with kids

Milk with breakfast costs $4, you better drink it.

The Museum of Natural History has two doors for a reason….just act like you know where you are going, keep your head down and don’t stop. Crazy long line avoided.

NYC with kids

The Ghostbusters firehouse is real!

NYC with kids

Teenagers like to kiss with their tongues.

The rocks in Central Park are better than any playground in Ohio.

NYC with kids

Homeless people make Natalie sad.

NYC with kids

Men can wear dresses, high heels and carry a purse.

Ron from Harry Potter likes to eat at The Sugar Factory too.

NYC with kids

If you lean over the yellow line to look at the subway tracks you will get your butt swatted.

NYC with kids

Grand Central Station is totes amazing.

NYC with kids

Never exit your cab into traffic, always use the curbside door.

Graffiti is cool.

NYC with kids

When Daddy says “Go” at a crosswalk, MOVE IT!

The piano from the movie Big is not overrated.

NYC with kids

Broadway performers are mesmerizing.

NYC with kids

Houston is pronounced Howston.

Having breakfast at the counter in a diner is very entertaining.

No entry, means no entry.

NYC with kids

Serendipity 3 has the best frozen hot chocolate and is a great place to play I Spy.

NYC with kids

Larry, Rexy, Dexter and Sacagawea do not currently live at the Museum of Natural History, but Dum-Dum does!.

NYC with kids

The shakes at The Shake Shack really are worth the wait.

Swatch watches make telling time way more fun.

NYC with kids

The macaroni and cheese at Juniors is not that great but the ginormous hotdog is.

NYC with kids

Magnolia Bakery makes the YUMMIEST cupcakes.

NYC with kids

Everyone in NYC has a selfie stick (except us).

NYC with kids

Hand sanitizer is your friend.

The “Ga” in Glinda is silent.

NYC with kids

Getting on the #loveison cam in Times Square is worth the crowd.

NYC with kids

Taxis honk. A. Lot.

If you watch the dancers in the Subway have some cash for their tip jar.

We look good dangling from a steel beam.

NYC with kids

Not all trains make every stop on Saturdays.

The black spots all over the sidewalk are gum.

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory only takes cash.

NYC with kids

Pack comfortable shoes.

Spray paint art is totally worth $20.

NYC with kids

NYC at night is beautiful.

NYC with kids

Walking blocks north and south is way faster than west to east.

NYC with kids

If a taxi light is on, it is available, so start waving and whistling.

The Naked Cowboy isn’t totally¬†naked, thank goodness.

NYC with kids

It’s actually Radio City Music Hall, ¬†not Radio City Musical.

NYC with kids

A cute box of candy can most definitely cost $24.

NYC with kids

Little Italy is not so little.

NYC with kids

The Empire State building is our new fave.

NYC with kids

We are counting the moments until we can return……

NYC with kids

Live Creatively,








Someone Called Me Chubby…

Posted On April 13, 2015| 9 Replies

A few days ago someone in my family called me chubby. It was not my husband. He would never do such a thing….he does not want to take the chance of getting punched in the throat while he sleeps! ūüėČ

It was someone I love dearly and it was said in complete honesty with no intention of hurting my feelings.

this-isnt-a-bakery-we-dont-sugarcoat-shit-a568b copy

Therefore I continue to love this truth-teller. Because let’s be honest, I am chubby. Please don’t be a hater, and think I am some crazy woman who thinks I am fat. I am not saying that. I don’t suffer from poor self esteem, but I am only 5’3″ and when you add extra pounds to that sized frame…’s hard to hide it! I’ve been chubby for a couple of years now. I don’t really like it, but it hasn’t bothered me enough to stop avoiding the T-25 DVD’s we own (Shaun T is evil) or quit¬†eating Thin Mints. I buy workout clothes to wear, well, to wear for everything but working out. Someone who shall remain nameless loves to ask, “did you fake work-out today?”, Grrrrr! I live with a man who is super in shape, makes time to work out EVERY. DAY., eats well and looks hot in a pair of jeans. This same person quietly encourages me, never shames me and would do back flips if I entered our work out room to, well, actually work out!

Growing up I was skinny. I didn’t care.¬†I don’t remember ever thinking about weight, mine or anyone else’s for that matter. I had friends of all shapes and sizes. And why wouldn’t I? We ate Reese Cups by the bag load and chugged Coke for fun. My daily lunch in Middle School and High School consisted of a bagel with butter. REAL butter. A bag of cheese puffs and a Little Debbie peanut butter bar. I am sure I drank milk, whole milk because bottled water wasn’t invented yet! Michelle Obama would be shaking her head for sure!

For your viewing pleasure…….a peek at my curve-less, skinny high school body. And please take a moment to appreciate the ‘natural’ Sun-In highlights.

Atlantic City, NJ

Apparently I wanted to look taller, hence the tippy toes!

My mom served us a balanced meal for dinner. Sliced bread was our staple side dish.¬†I was ‘encouraged’ to clean my plate and was often left at the table alone staring at a pile of green veggies. Breakfast was a different story! Our cereal cupboard, yes, we had an entire cupboard dedicated to cereal, consisted of Honeycombs, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms and Mini Wheats. Most mornings I had two bowls because choosing just one was too difficult. If my dad was home there was a large pile of bacon readily available,¬†most likely fried in Crisco! We didn’t have a pantry, who did? Instead, our snacks lived in the lazy susan under the counter. We always had Fritos. The pretzel rods were stored on the counter in a cool old Mason jar and the Lays potato chips were kept in a Charles Chips tin. You simply grabbed a basket off the wall, yes, off the wall…….there were various sizes available, each hanging on their own nail, lined it with a paper napkin, filled it with your snacks and carried on. And when you needed something a little sweet you just opened the cookie jar (on the counter) and helped yourself! My mom still uses the same cookie jar and my kids think it is the coolest thing ever! It is never empty. Never! We always had Pepsi, lots of Pepsi. And when Kroger came out with Big K, well the Dortmund family expanded their flavor options!¬†In college I survived on Raman Noodles, Taco Bell, Bud Light and Hot Pockets. Obviously I had a rocking metabolism, because my weight never changed.

I really had no idea how much I weighed until I got pregnant with Noah at age 31 and had the constant weigh-ins at the OB-GYN. I gained 20 pounds with Noah and actually weighed less after he was born, I thank breastfeeding for that little gift! Two years later I gained 24 pounds while preggo with Natalie. Once again, thanks to breastfeeding and chasing a 2 year old, I lost that weight quickly. Yay me! Enjoy these belly shots. So fun! Thank goodness I switched colors, because my belly looks identical in the two pictures. I guess that’s why EVERYONE told me I was definitely going to have another boy…..NOT! And don’t let Noah’s sweetness fool you, he was not a fan of my belly. It made it too difficult for him to snuggle me!

Belly Picture     Belly Picture

Flash forward seven and a half years….I wouldn’t be caught dead in a bikini, I strategically place a child in front of me for family pictures and worship the creator of Spanx!¬†Have I loved my body lately? No. Have I obsessed over it? No. Have I done anything to change it? No. I am loved, surrounded by dear friends and healthy. Who cares if my jeans are a bit snug! Unfortunately, they are more than a ‘bit’ snug these days. I have back pain, which according to my doctor/husband would go away if my core was stronger….damn core and even though I rarely sit down and play as much tennis as I can I am out of shape. There, I said it. I. Am. Out. Of. Shape. And it took¬†the honesty of a loved one for it to finally sink in. I’m ready. I don’t need the con-caved stomach of my teens or the bony little arms. I am not aspiring to fit into an XS. I want to stand beside my kids in family pictures, to ditch the ass-covering blardigans and MAYBE wear a tankini to the pool!

Christmas, 2014

Christmas, 2014….child in front of me, check. Blardigan, check. (The Spanx stayed home, it was Christmas!)

I am choosing healthy, not skinny. My goals are reachable. I can do this. Ready. Set. Go! #worthy

Stay tuned for how this all works out!

Live Creatively,



Families For A Cure’s Experience Grant

Posted On April 6, 2015| Leave a reply

By now you know that my favorite charity is Families For A Cure.

Families For A Cure

You can check out my previous post; The “C” Word…¬†to learn more about it.

A week before my son was to begin 4th grade we found out that his teacher was battling cancer. ¬†The news was devastating. When Noah found out he had been assigned to Miss Deck’s class he actually shouted for joy and fist pumped the air. He was thrilled. He was certain that all of the rumors were true and that Miss Deck was going to be the greatest! His enthusiasm was contagious. A couple of days later I had to break the news to him that she was fighting for her life. My little boy’s heart sank. He knew all about cancer.

We prayed. A lot. I reached out to Miss Deck a few days before Open House. I just wanted her to know that we were excited to meet her and that she could count on us to pray for her and support her throughout her journey. We met her a few days later. When she realized who I was, she hugged me. The rumors were indeed true, she was the greatest!

That was in August. Within the first month of being back to school a group of parents rallied together and put on a fundraiser for Miss Deck. It was beyond amazing. The fundraiser, “All On Deck for Deck” raised over $5,000.00 in one evening. The money was given to Miss Deck to use for expenses as she traveled to Texas with the hope of being accepted into a trial to fight her very rare form of thyroid cancer. You can check out the Facebook page here.


Noah & Miss Deck

Miss Deck traveled to Texas in early September and returned home without great news. She was not a candidate for the trial and three new cancerous nodes were found in her neck. I remember reading the news and literally freezing. I handed to phone to my husband and left the room to cry. How was I going to tell Noah? We all truly believed that God would answer our prayers by admitting Miss Deck to this study. Now what?


Noah all “Decked Out” for Miss Deck’s first day back.

We had only known Miss Deck for about a month, but we were totally smitten. In less than 30 days she had restored Noah’s love of learning and solidified a place in his heart. We needed to do something for her. Jeremy and I chatted, it was all we could think about. We kept coming back to travel. Travel is a huge part of our lives so we began thinking of how we could “gift” Miss Deck a trip. We couldn’t. She is our son’s teacher and there is a $25 cap on gifts from students. Unless the trip we would gift her was a trip to the Dollar Store, well, we were out of luck!

Thank goodness for Families For A Cure. It only took a few conversations with our friends and a plan was in place. We (the Mathis family) would nominate Miss Deck for the Experience Grant. The Board of FFAC would vote, and fingers crossed she would be chosen.

The Experience Grant through Families For A Cure….. in a nutshell is awarded to a Cancer Warrior who is currently battling the disease. The recipient works with a representative of FFAC to plan their experience.

We nominated Miss Deck and she was chosen as the recipient of the very first Experience Grant! I was lucky enough to be one of the reps from FFAC to work with her to plan her experience. She chose a weekend in NYC….right up my alley! Her experience was planned in a few short weeks thanks to the help of many folks who hate cancer and wanted to give Miss Deck a weekend to remember forever.


FFAC and Miss Deck

Click here to donate to Families For A Cure¬†Experience Grant and make a difference in a cancer warrior’s life.

Miss Deck’s Experience will be detailed in a upcoming post. Stay tuned!

Live Creatively,




The “C” Word…..

Posted On March 23, 2015| 1 Reply

UnknownCancer sucks and I hate it.

Growing up I didn’t know anyone who had cancer. I doubt I even really understood what is was until I was much older. My mom had a cousin who died from leukemia, but I didn’t know that was cancer. I realize how lucky I was to go 30+ years without having cancer truly invade my life. Now I feel like it surrounds me. I want it to go away. Forever.

My friends Sean and Shannon lost their dad to cancer in the spring of 2007. I knew Joe well and his death saddened me. I was sad for his kids because I knew how much they adored their dad. I was sad for his grand babies, because their memories would be few. I remember attending his memorial service with my little babies and feeling overwhelmed. I couldn’t imagine losing a parent. I was only 34 years old. Scary. Two short years later I was faced with the possibility of losing my dad to cancer. Cancer.

My dad was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2009. I will remember that day always. He was living in Idaho, but had been staying with me in Ohio for a few weeks to run all of the electric in our under-construction home. He wasn’t feeling too great. He had hemorrhoids and they were beginning to wear on him. He had been with us for several weeks. On his last night I was with him as he was packing. He told me he was pretty sure he had cancer. I probably laughed. Cancer? My dad? No way. Why would he? It was just a bad case of hemorrhoids.

As time does, my memories of that February six years ago have faded a bit. Luckily, the writer in me started a Caring Bridge page. It was a great release for me and a wonderful way to keep loved ones up to date on my dad’s journey. Below is my first ‘entry’ from May, 2009:

If you haven’t met my Dad, you are missing out!¬† He is beyond amazing…
His story begins a few months ago.¬† He was having bowel issues, but believed it was just hemorrhoids.¬† Being a male and not wanting to make a fuss, he ignored the problem until it became unbearable.¬† He was staying with me in Ohio in February and I could tell he was miserable.¬† He promised he would get a colonoscopy as soon as he returned home to Idaho.¬† The day before he left he confided in me that he thought he might have cancer…..
He had the colonoscopy and it was not good.¬† The doctor knew right away that there was a problem.¬† He ran further tests and sent my folks home to wait.¬† Two days later he was told he had colon cancer.¬† For two days I prayed like never before.¬† I was specific….no cancer.¬† I spoke to him moments after he received the news.¬† He told me that this was just another bump in the road of life and that everything would be OK.¬† Always being the Daddy, not wanting to cause any heartache.¬† My head was swimming.¬† I wanted to hold him, to touch him and to some how take it all away.¬† I began to pray that God heal his body completely.¬† Within a few days my folks had packed up their truck and begun the three day journey to Ohio.¬† My husband, Jeremy, had set up appointments at The James and there was no time to waste.¬† After several appointments, many exams and numerous questions, we were ready to fight the cancer fight.¬† My Dad’s cancer is stage three, the tumor the size of my fist.¬† The plan of attack is 5 weeks of chemo and radiation, a few weeks off and then surgery.¬† The hope is that the chemo and radiation will shrink the tumor making the surgery less invasive.¬† The ultimate goal… be cancer free and feeling good for his 40th wedding anniversary on July 19th!¬† Today is May 29th.¬† He has completed three of the five weeks of treatment.¬† He is friends with all the nurses, makes his doctors laugh out loud and continues to amaze us all with his positive attitude.¬† He is feeling great.¬† His body it tolerating the chemo and radiation very well.¬† He is actually feeling better than before the diagnosis, which makes us all think that the tumor really is shrinking.¬† YAY!¬† He proudly shows his ‘radiation markings’ to my kids and loves to talk about the people he has met along this walk.¬† Today he told me that he thanked God for giving him this type of cancer and not something worse.¬† He has seen children with no hair, men with tumors in their mouths along with many others worse off than him.¬† He claims that he is ‘still ahead of the game’…..this coming from a man who has already suffered through quadruple bypass surgery really does make you stop and take stock of your own complaints.¬†¬†
The outpouring of support has meant so much to my family.¬† The prayers, meals, cards, the constant ‘checking in’, we are surrounded in this battle and we are determined to come out on top.¬† There are no words to express our thanks.
I will keep you updated on my Dad’s journey through this website.¬† Please continue to keep him in your prayers.¬† God Bless.

Surgery Day_2

My Daddy & Me on surgery day.

Reading that entry instantly takes me back to that horribly scary time in my life. My babies were, well, babies. Noah was 3 and Natalie was 1.5. She was just getting to know her grandpa and Noah was already his biggest fan. My dad’s cancer journey has a happy ending. He is cancer free. Five years now! Praise God. Each year it gets easier to breath and to relax, but as his scans approach I find myself holding my breath and waiting for the world to crumble down around me once again. Cancer sucks. You can read all of my journals here.

Too many of my friends have lost loved ones to cancer. Some are fighting the fight as I type this post. Cancer has robbed those I care for of their moms, dads, sisters, brothers, children and friends. It always seems to be lurking in the shadows. I hate that it is such a common disease now. That people aren’t shocked when they hear of a new diagnosis.

Noah’s teacher is fighting the cancer monster for the second time in her short life. She is brave and determined to win the fight. She is inspiring and has made such a difference in Noah’s life. We pray for her daily and were recently overjoyed when she shared news of being accepted into a new study to help fight her very rare cancer. I have no doubt that this incredible young lady will kick cancer’s ass.

Last fall I had a cancer scare of my own. Everything came back benign, thank God. The waiting was unbearable. The news of no cancer was delightful. For a week my head was spinning. Just a week. It was a tiny taste of what cancer warriors face every day for years. It isn’t fair. Life is meant to be lived. Not spent unable to breathe out of fear.

Because I hate cancer, I help fight it. I run the Race for the Cure.¬†I donate to the American Cancer Society.¬†I participate in The Relay for Life¬†and¬†in the Crawl For Cancer.¬†I donate to The James Cancer Hospital. And most dear to my heart, I donate my money and time to Families For A Cure….a local non profit established by my friend Shannon’s husband and other cancer haters, dedicated to making the lives of cancer patients and their supporters better. Their goal is to raise $1 million dollars to help fund cancer research and patient care programs. And I am happy to report that they are well on their way to reaching that goal. Check out Families For A Cure. It will make you feel good!

I wish my world was cancer free. It isn’t. So I choose to do what I can to make that wish come true. The sooner, the better.

Live Creatively,