Month: August 2010

I’m Unbalanced

When my kids say something mean to each other they are to turn right back around and say 3 things that they like about that person.  When *I* put someone down or am skeptic about something, I try to do the same thing.  Colleen would call this the antidote to being allergic to” Negative Nancy’s”.  Well, today my head was full of fears.  Too many fears.  Maybe if I get them out, then try to think of things that I am *not* afraid of, then those pesky little thoughts will  go ~poof~ and be gone.  Leaving my head to be filled up with more happy and productive things.  So, rather than hold them inside and possibly have my head explode, I decided to share them with you.  Aren’t you the lucky ones?

Here we go:  I am scared of:

  • outliving my kids
  • missing my chance
  • heights, hey, I tried to be original but this is what’s real
  • failure
  • not becoming who He knows I can be  (I guess this can go with failure)
  • being the Girl Scout mom who looks like she had to sample multiple boxes of cookies to make sure they are alright before she will let her daughter sell them
  • not being accepted for who I really am, and that I will forever have to wear this mask
  • Kate Gosselin
  • burning or drowning
  • not being needed or having a purpose
  • coconut bras
  • feeling alone

There are more, but I’m going to spare you.  Now, if I were to hold myself accountable to the 1:3 ratio I would have to tell you 36 positive things, or things that I am not scared of.  I tried, but I just couldn’t get there.  Here is what I *did* come up with though.  Let’s celebrate the baby steps, shall we?  I am *NOT* scared of:

  • standing up for my kids
  • knowing what will happen to me and my family after we die
  • trying new foods
  • cockroaches (this makes up for my thing for heights)
  • flying
  • giving hugs
  • going BIG or going home
  • pickled okra
  • showing my passion
  • my husband’s driving
  • getting involved when I need to
  • storms  (like the TX kind)
  • karaoke

So what are some things that YOU aren’t scared of?  Come, on, maybe I won’t be scared of it either and I can add more to my list.  I always like to have the scale unbalanced.  Leaning more on the side of good.  Sometimes, I – okay, a lot of us – need to have others to help tilt that scale.

More About the M&M’s

In my last post I mentioned that Colleen and I sat and started to wonder which M&M’s would make good couples, or relationships.  I just found what we had come up with.  Here it is:

Orange + Brown, Red + Brown, Brown + Blue,  Blue+ Green, Yellow + Orange, Green + Yellow, Red + Green, Blue + Yellow

So did you take any thought into which M&M you are?  What do you think I am?

Things To Do In The Dark

I just found something that makes me laugh everytime I see it.  And it’s been a while since it’s been packed away in a box for a, well, let’s say a few months and leave it at that.  So today when I read it I laughed doubly hard.  Sometime last Fall/Winter the electricity went out, ans stayed out for about 3 days.  Okay, probably not that long but it felt like it.  Leave me alone.  Anyway, I think I was getting grumpy, and my daughter, Colleen, was getting bored.  Colleen is my 16 year old daughter who was born to raise me.  She decided that it was time to kill two birds with one stone.  Somewhere she found a bag of M&M’s.  (which she every now and again calls NmN’s just like when she as little.  So cute don’t ya think?)  and she ate them.  Rude.  Then she did this: 

I know, you can’t read it so I’ll tell you what it says:  M&M Personalities

Blue – friends with everybody, hippie like, peace maker, music & dance lover

Green – stuck up, party animal, sometimes jealous,  loves attention but gets it in wrong ways, knows how to throw a party

Brown – shy, nerdy like, eager to please, puts things aside “I’ll do it later”, smart, doesn’t like attention

Yellow – sassy!, will always be a good friend, very creative, nice and sensitive to others, pragmatic, a leader

Orange – good listener, gives good advice but needs a second opinion when they make their own choices, helpful but doesn’t need the praise or attention when doing things for others

Red – has a bad temper, controling, in style, has a low self esteem but is popular by using their charms

Good huh?  As the night wore on and we had the fire lit for #1 light and #2 warmth, she shared this thought out process with me.  The rest of the night we spent contemplating which colors would make good relationships, great relationships, and toxic relationships.  And then comparing the traits she dubbed on the M&M’s to how the personalities work in our family.  It was a very fun night. (yes, that is a valid phone number at the bottom, but Greg may get pretty irritable if you use it.)

And if you thought that this post, “Things To Do In The Dark” had anything to do with other than what I have shared with you, shame.

Such A Sweet Anniversary!

As many of you know, yesterday was Greg and my 18th anniversary.    I love being married to this man.   I just can’t even go into everything that I cherish or adore about him and what he brings out in me.  Sometimes I feel like when we’re on our own we’re fish out of water.  But when we are together, everything seems to make sense.  Not that things are easy, just *easier* when we do it together.

Yesterday Greg surprised me with breakfast in bed.  Well, I was in the shower so when I was dressed and finally ate, it was delicious.  Then he surprised me by taking me to north Seattle to a little hole-in-the-wall cake decorating store.  I’ve been looking for some flavors and other items that I haven’t been able to find and don’t really want to pay as much shipping as some websites are asking for.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  Well, a tiny candy store.  It didn’t have as much as I would have liked, but I can’t wait to use what I got!!!!

And, as I was looking at my booty (comments kept to yourselves please) I couldn’t help but remember that I had 3 cupcake boxes at home ready to be filled with 4 different flavors and then shipped off to some of my favorite people.  Hmm, I wonder who they will be? 

Thanks for the trip to the cupcake store Greg!  And the fabulous walk around the waterfront, the antique store, the most decadent dessert, the ski ball games, and the relaxing time in the sun at Alki.  So many memories over the last 18+ years.  I don’t think I would change anything.  Nope, I’d do it all over again.

Hello world!

My baby is growing up!  [sniff, sniff]  Welcome to my new dotcom.  I hope that this will make things easier as far as following and especially commenting!   No reason for me to not give it a whirl, huh?

Miss Me?

Have you missed me? 😉

Recently I have had blog ideas in my head like you wouldn’t believe! However, I have been very sick for a while now and am experiencing some difficulties in getting all of those ideas on here. [insert BIG sad face here]. I am hoping that I have reached the worst part of what I’m dealing with and will be back to myself in a couple of days. Then watch out! It’s going to be a Blogapalooza!!!

It’s A Blog Eat Blog World

I have enriched my sitting on the couch time lately with browsing through various blogs. (notice how I made my laziness seem productive?) Have you done this? Well, do it when you don’t care what time it is or when you have other engagements to tend to. Like going to the bathroom or feeding your children. Pop some popcorn, cube some cheese, and slice up an apple – a well balanced meal you don’t have to feel guilty of while you ‘research’ all there is out there.

What I have found is that perhaps I’m not a very good blogger. I mean, there are some people out there that offer up templates on how to make your own swinging bed (yes, I’ll be making one cause they’re so cool) there are people who teach you how to turn rummage sale finds into things that look like you paid high prices for them. There are sewers that want me to make a monkey felt hat for my kids this winter. And perhaps even send them out as gifts. If I sewed I’d be tempted. But I can’t even thread my machine let alone run the thing! I’ve downloaded recipes for a lime chicken marinade, laundry detergent that fits in a 5 gallon bucket and makes over 600 loads worth. I have been shown how to do behavior boards, ribbon clips, and the perfect tie for the little man in my life. Brain Freeze!!!

Is this what blog seekers want in a blog? I’m not good at anything enough to teach it to you. Besides, you probably already know how to do everything I know how to do and I’d be thoroughly embarrassed to she you my way. The only thing that I feel I have done a superb job on is my kids. And I sure as heck ain’t gonna teach you how to do that! I love blogs that let me into peoples’ lives so that I can feel a comraderie. I want to know about people’s everyday struggles and how they overcome them. I like to read my friend Ali’s blog because she leads an ordinary life but the way she writes about it has me laughing so hard I cry! (Her button is on the left, The View From the Johnson’s) I also love to read that another one of my friends writes. I’ve never met him, but he has taken me in somewhat like a sister. He does something new every Monday then reports about it. I live vicariously through him.

I may throw in a “How-To” every now and again, or a recipe that my family really enjoys. But don’t decide to stick around because of those. I hope that this “Mandi Unplugged” blog puts a smile on your face just because I am a normal person living a normal life and you connect with that. Then pass me along to your friends because, to be honest, my self esteem rises a little bit everytime I get another ‘follower’. 🙂 I want to have a big-kid blog. So when I see comments and new people here that I’ve never met before, it makes my heart say, “They like me! They really *like* me!”

There Are No Words, And For Me, That Is Odd

I want to tell you a short story. I went to Lubbock High School back in the 80’s. Diversity was the norm. The school was full of character and spirit. I loved it there. I had many friends and felt like I could mingle with just about any social group there. Back then, as a teenager, I had a couple of very close friends and a lot of acquaintences. This story is about one of those acquaintances whom I have grown to love as a sister these 20 years later. I miss her, admire her, cry with her, and thrive on the ‘boosts’ she gives me. I feel important in the small things that I have to offer. So let me tell you about this amazing woman.

This is Michelle. I knew her as Michelle Burns in high school. A quiet girl that I didn’t take the chance to get to know very well. We hung out with the same people, but it was a large group of people. We talked and giggled, but we didn’t get to be heart to heart. Isn’t her family gorgeous? Isn’t *she* gorgeous? Michelle, and her husband Joel, have three children. This picture has only two of them in it. Yes, the Duyck (pronounced Duck) family is beautiful. And their hearts are as bright as their countenances. (picture has Presley, Michelle, Joel, and little Camden)

This is Joel and Michelle’s third child. Chloe. This picture is of Presley kissing her baby sister in the hospital. This was the only time Presley got to touch, or see, her sister.

This is where Chloe lived. She had a short life – just 4 days, but because of her parents, her memory and her purpose for coming to this earth remain in many people’s hearts. Chloe was born with a serious congenital heart defect (CHD). Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. I’m not going to pretend I know what this is, but when Michelle and Joel found out about Chloe’s condition before she was born, they became experts on it. I’m also not going to pretend to understand the grief this family felt when their daughter passed away without truly being able to hold or cuddle her. I can’t imagine. If I were Michelle I would have sat down in a dark room in a fetal position and cried. I would have blamed others for not doing enough. I would be hurt and angry. Ultimately I would just fall apart and give up on having anymore kids for fear the nightmare would happen again. Thank goodness, for so many strangers out there, that Michelle didn’t act the way I would have. Or so many other mothers out there. Nope. Michelle grieved, went through the motions and then dusted off her boots and started *acting* on what she knew and her experience. She started the Chloe Duyck Memorial Fund. Michelle started spreading information but that wasn’t enough. Somehow she got the strength to start having events to raise awareness, and money, for research. Big events. Like at South Fork Ranch where the TV show “Dallas” was filmed. And with big names. Bands in TX that supported her. Recently Michelle has gone bigger. She has sealed a car in NASCAR. Yep, now that my friends, is big time from where I stand.

Here is the Chloe car. Hope4TinyHearts raced by Ken Wallace. It has pink and red butterflies and pink and red hearts all over it. It is girlie, and it is gorgeous as it races around the track at 100mph! Wallace has helped Michelle get the word out about CHD. I couldn’t be prouder of my friend. Oh, did I mention that through this process I have had the honor of getting very close to Michelle? I love her. I love who she is and what she represents. I love how she sees herself as a person who is doing what she can to help others deal with or prepare for what she went through with Chloe. She is a rock to me, through all of what she is doing she takes time to make me feel good about what I am struggling with in my own little world. Which is *nothing* compared to her experiences! We are going to live by each other someday and create a party planning business called “M&M Parites” or something cute like that. Anyway, I digress. As if this NASCAR having Chloe’s name on it and the fund and everything that it has on it isn’t enough. NO! Michelle has gone a step further. The car has been updated to this:

Here is #28 all gussied up in her finest. All those words on there? You may not be able to read it, but they are the names of other CHD kids. Chloe and all her CHD buddies will be flying around the race track in Bristol proud that there is someone who has not let their stories die. Proud that their parents, with the help of Michelle, didn’t crumple in a corner and fall apart, but are informing and trying to nudge science along so that other babies don’t have to go through what they went through.

If you would like to know more details about the Chloe Duyck Memorial Fund, or about CHDs and just how much more common they are than you would like, visit

I didn’t want this blog to be about the Fund or the defects per se, because I’m not as educated about it as Michelle is. The point of this blog was to introduce you to her. To try to inspire you with her story, in whatever way you need to be inspired. Michelle and I have a favorite saying: (well it’s a favorite now, among others we’ve loved) “So many people walk around like they are Clark Kent and they don’t realize that they’re really Superman” (thank you Justin Newton!)

I applaud you Michelle. You are my hero.