Marshmallow Musings…and Some Other Stuff, Too

Ok, so tonight is a first.

I’m blogging outside by the firepit.

Just cause I can. :)

I’m not drinking coffee or Diet Pepsi tonight, even though it’s Thursday. If I had something in my hand, it would probably just be water anyway because I haven’t had enough today.

I’m not going to be able to stay out very long, though, because I forgot to plug in my computer and I have exactly 17 minutes of battery left. Bummer.

Oh, well. I can get a good start, at least.

So the title of this post is a little odd, but there is some truth to it.

The other night, Tobin and I were roasting marshmallows on these cute little roasting sticks he bought for me in the dollar section at Target. :) Really, they’re pretty cool.

Anyway, each time, we would put two marshmallows on, roast them (he is more patient and likes them brown; I stick them straight into the flame and burn ’em good…mmmm), and then stuff the gooey, melty, sugary, yumminess into our mouths in one huge bite.

That’s when I kinda had an Aha! moment.

What if we just roasted ONE marshmallow each time? We’d still get the gooey, melty, sugary, yummy bite…it just wouldn’t be quite as big.

Deep, I know.

But it would

? Save half the calories.

I’ll take it.

And then tonight I roasted a few more and found myself thinking about how cool marshmallows are. I mean, after I’ve eaten that amazing, gooey concoction…there is still marshmallow cream left on the stick!

I amaze myself. (And probably annoy you…haha!)

So eventually I’ll move on to another topic.

I mean, really, we can only converse about marshmallows so long.

But FYI…I don’t like S’mores. I’m weird, I know.

I got my hair colored tonight.

That’s a really good thing because I couldn’t believe how much gray was popping through. Seriously, I am not quite 33…how on earth did I go gray already

? I was going back and forth on whether to cut it or not…I’ve kinda been in growing-out mode since January with a couple chops in between.

I almost had her cut it off again.

Then I decided to be brave and NOT do that.

She did thin it out, though, which my hair needs, oh, every five minutes. Yeah, I’m blessed with gray AND with super thick hair. I like what she did to it…she diffused it and we loaded on the product…and it’s actually pretty cute. Kind of one of those hair days you want to freeze and have every day because you know you won’t have it again anytime soon. :)

Why is it that no matter what kind of hair we (as in women) have, we’re never satisfied? At least I’m not.

Since I will be perfect in Heaven, I REALLY can’t wait to see what my hair looks like there! πŸ˜‰

It’s been a pretty rough week with Maelie. Nothing that’s her fault…I think she’s still getting over the roseola or at least the effects of the fever/rash. Poor little girl. Yesterday was especially rough; today was not too bad, but she didn’t nap much. I think one of the hardest things as a mom is to know that my girl isn’t feeling well…and I can’t do anything about it.

I’ve had so many frustrating moments with her this week, but a lot of those come from the fact that I just can’t do anything.

And I need to make sure I don’t direct that frustration at her because that’s not right.

Oh, the things I keep learning. Remind me to give myself some grace. Ok?

And a friend gently reminded me today to focus on the good moments in between the bad…and Mae and I definitely had a few sweet moments today. Like when she sat and cuddled on my lap for several minutes at the park or when she woke up from her nap in a wonderful mood and we spent over half an hour outside together swinging and going for a walk….and there were lots of smiles and laughs then.

I love my girl so much. And I’m thankful for her unconditional love

for me on the days I totally blow it as a mom.

I am so thankful for God’s grace and His mercies that are new every morning. (Cause I need ’em!)

So eventually in this conversation, the house will come up because it always does.

And this time?

I’ll tell you about the fantastic birthday gift my husband got on Tuesday…a phone call saying that we got the house.

We got the house!!!!!

(Should it be in bold?)

We got the house!!!!!

We’re still figuring out a couple small details but as of now, we’ll be closing on it by August 1st.

To say I feel blessed is a huge understatement.

Right now, I’m just so thankful for my Father Who hears what my heart desires…and cares.

Pretty sure I can’t top that one, so I’ll end this for tonight.

Thank you to each of you who prayed for us while we waited.

And tried to trust.

He is SO Good.


Lessons From Indo (Part 1)

Ok…so I know I promised to tell you all about Tobin’s fabulous birthday gift. And I will…tomorrow. :)

Today? We get to go deep.

It’s about time.

Th is

is something that’s been burning in my heart for awhile now, and a conversation with a friend last

night kind of sparked it again.

I don’t pretend to have this all figured out…it’s just w here

I am for now. And I would love your thoughts if you feel like leaving me a comment or sending me a private e-mail.

We have often said that the things we took away from Indonesia are almost impossible to put into words.

Tobin and I know how much we changed in so many ways, and we probably aren’t even aware of some of the changes still. Yes, it has been a year, but a year to “re-enter” after five years of being gone is not so much time.

But here are a few things…

We’re aware of the “stuff” mentality. That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle, but we do know that we need to be aware. After three years of marriage, we sold our house, cars, and most of what we had. Other than storing maybe 1/4 of what we owned, we got rid of everything else.

And the amount we got rid of? Ridiculous. In Indo, we accumulated, but not nearly as much. We ended up bringing home about the same amount that we took plus a couple extra suitcases…not bad for five years. But last August, when we went through all the things we had in the States, we were overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we still had. That’s kind of our new goal… to watch how much we accumulate.

And to not let things pile up. I still don’t have it figured out perfectly…just ask me and my purse closet. πŸ˜‰ But after being around people who had so little, we are continually reminded that we don’t need a lot to be happy.

We value relationships more.

Or at least try to.Β Again, not pretending here. I’m still workin’ on this one. We spent years around people who had so few material possessions…and yet they were some of the happiest people I knew. They were part of a “community” of families and friends who would do anything for each other.

There’s a richness in that selflessness that I don’t see as often here, though it does exist…and I know people who completely value their family and friends and will do anything for them.

I have struggled through this lesson because of the dynamic of the family in which I was raised, but I am learning to value the relationships that I have with friends…and to be as selfless

as possible when it comes to them. Them first, me last. Like I said, workin’ on it. Not there yet.


Home is temporary. You’ve heard me talk about this before on the blog…about how much I’ve struggled to feel like I have any sort of home at all. Living in transition will do that to a person. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I know that my true home is Heaven and that anything else is just temporary. But while on earth, our human nature is to want that place that is ours. And it’s ok to feel that way…as long as we don’t get so attached to a place that we’re unwilling to leave if God says, “Go.”

Along with that, I’m learning to keep my hands open with the future.

We are in the middle of I-Love-It-Here-Let’s-Stay-Forever mode.

Truly, Illinois was a gift to us, one that we did not understand the magnitude of at the time it was given. Here we have found healing, growth, a chance to start over, amazing friendships, a great church…the list could continue. But this is life for the here and now.

God could send us again…and we need to be willing to go if that happens. To be completely human and transparent, that thought breaks my heart in half right now. But we also know, from seeing it over an over again, that if God sends us, He will give the strength to do what we need

to do.

Possibly the biggest thing we took away from Indonesia was that GOD IS BIG. He is not some being who fits into a tiny box…He’s at work all over the place, and having the chance to actually see what He’s doing in remote places changed our lives forever. It gave us a different picture, a different understanding of the world and of our Father…the same One we learned about as little children. Society, in general, today seems so focused on whatever-works-for-you-is-good.


That’s not how it’s supposed to be.

There is only ONE God.

And He’s BIG enough for everyone.

And I could keep going, but I think this is a good start. I’d love your thoughts if you’ve got something to say or something to share.

Thanks for reading. :)


It’s My Hubby’s Birthday!

Tobin doesn’t typically make a big deal out of himself…EVER.

It’s just who he is…and it counters the drama I tend to create everywhere

I go. :)

We are opposites in so many ways, but I love him and am learning to

love the ways we are different.

I’m so thankful for days like today when I can celebrate him.

He turned 34 today.

There are so many things I love about Tobin: the sacrificial love he has for his family, the sarcastic and witty take he has on life, the value he places on relationships, his willingness to follow God’s leading in faith and model that faith to those around him.

I am beyond blessed to share this journey with him.

Happy Birthday, Tobin. We love you so much!

P.S. And he got the most INCREDIBLE birthday gift, which I’ll tell you all about tomorrow! :)


He is Good

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that remind us how much God cares…

Like sunshine on a day that was supposed to be rainy and cloudy.

A good morning workout that left me feeling energized instead of completely exhausted.

Listening to a kids’ CD in the car with my daughter “singing” along…and realizing the truths spoken in those songs are His promises.

Lunch with a friend and a chance to catch up a little.

The ability to get through a daughter’s shots and only tear up instead of turning into a full-blown mess.

Hearing that a friend struggling to get pregnant is now over 20 weeks! (Ok, that one’s not small at all!)

Dropping another two pounds this week thanks to my pal, Jillian, and her kick-butt workouts.

And another good workout with friends tonight.

(I am really not as obsessed as I sound right now…)

A late night date with my hubby. We roasted marshmallows and spent some time together. Just us. It was nice.




And today…

Going into World Market and finding sambal and Kopiko…two of the things I have missed most from Indonesia.

Kopiko, one of my favorite Indonesian candies.

Yeah, the corner is ripped.

I didn’t even make it out of the parking lot before I tore into the bag…

Sambal: Chili sauce. Or in this case, crushed chilis.

I haven’t tried it with rice yet, I just dipped my finger in the jar. But it passed the test.


A small piece of one

of my homes.

He is Good.


Toenails, Shopping Cart, and Laundry Basket

I decided to play a l itt

le game tonight with the blog.

I know, I know…I’ve been lacking depth. It isn’t that I’m not writing anything deep…I’m just not publishing it.

Later this week there will be one. Or maybe even TWO. I just worry far too much about how I say things…and I so badly don’t want to offend anyone that I go over words a thousand times before I let people read them.

To be honest, sometimes I wonder why I have a blog in the first place.

Oh, yeah…I like to write.

So tonight I chose the first three items I noticed in the room and made them my title.

And now you get to hear about them. Aren’ t you lucky.


So in no particular order, I bring you…Toenails. Shopping Cart. Laundry Basket.

My toenails still look pretty good almost four weeks after my pedicure. Of course, the clumsiness that I demonstrate every day has caused me to stub my toes a few times here and there, but amazingly, I think they still look good.

And they’re pretty dang cute, too.

I put together Maelie’s shopping cart on Friday with the help of a friend…cause, yeah, those Little Tikes toys can be a challenge. (Seriously. The directions were so not helpful.) Her shopping cart was a birthday gift, and I wondered if I should wait awhile before giving it to her just because I didn’t want her to try to stand up and faceplant. Thankfully, she is more fascinated with sitting, pushing it across the living room, crawling after it…repeat twenty times. It’s cute. And I love it that she loves her shopping cart.

Oh, green laundry basket, with one lonely sock, you and I have spent far too much time together this weekend.

Somewhere between Friday morning and this afternoon, I managed to wash, dry, and fold eight loads of laundry, which is a LOT for a family of three with two dogs. I hope to not spend as much time with you this next week.

There you have it…possibly the most randomness that has ever spilled from

the brain of Mel.

I’m sorry. And yes, I’m strange. But you already knew that.

And yet, you still read my blog.

So you must love me. :)



Pieces of a Saturday

So today we’re gonna

go back to the randomness that used to make up my Saturday posts.

Today has definitely had some random moments, so it’s good.

First up…welcome back, sunshine! After several gloomy, cloudy, rainy days, it was so wonderful to wake up to the sun shining!

We tried to enjoy the gorgeous weather, too.

We had coffee on the back porch, tossed around the frisbee a bit, I attempted to blog outside but kept getting distracted by talking to people who walked by ;), and had (another) coffee with a friend in her backyard. Definitely some good sun, and the tan that was fading is revived a bit. Always good.

Mae is back to her two naps right now thanks to the lovely little fever/rash that she’s got. She is NOT happy about it, either, although the extra sleep is good for her. In between naps, though, we packed her up and headed to the farmer’s market in East Dundee.

We browsed a bit and then walked to DQ, which wasn’t very far.

(Yeah, now you know the REAL reason we went there! ;))

And somewhere during our excursion I got wind of some Cupcake Days goin’ on not too far from DQ and ditched the ice cream in favor of cake. (That’s a lingering effect of pregnancy…I LOVE CAKE!) I ate the most expensive cupcake of my life. (To date.) It was YUMMY! And I devoured it so quickly that there is no pic…sorry about that. But for those of you who are interested, it was Raspberry Key Lime and worth every calorie.


Tonight we wanted to check out a freebie concert not too far from our house so we packed up Mae again and headed over there.

But we knew, just a few minutes from our house, that it was a bad idea. Our poor girl just wasn’t up for it…she was cranky, moody, still not feeling well…and we knew better than to try the concert.

We did, however, think that it was worth it…even in the midst of her crankiness…to make a quick run to Old Navy for $2 Tank Top Day.

Oh, how Mel learned her lesson. The lesson that goes something like this:Β  If-you-want-a-deal-go-in-the-morning-not-at-night.

No more tank tops.


And we ended the night with the girl peacefully drifting into dreamland, Tobin and a friend moving our (new to us) freezer to the basement, and me and a friend making a run to Menards to pick up Mae’s new swimming pool while it was still on sale. πŸ˜‰ Now we just have to make sure we can set it up without a fence…yeah, it’s on the big side for a first pool. She’ ll love it, though.

And I think?

That’s it for tonight.

Hope you are all having a wonderfully random weekend, just like me.



Friend Thoughts

This is gonna be short and sweet.

Busy day = not much time for the blog. But that’s ok. πŸ˜‰

This afternoon/evening some Indonesia friends came to see us.

I’m not sure what to call them…we were friends with them IN Indo, but they are

FROM Wisconsin. You decide.

Anyway, it was fun. We had some great laughs, and I was so thankful they

had the chance to meet Mae, even if she had a pretty rough day.

(Yeah, the fever she had a couple days ago turned into roseola, which the doctor had suspected, and

she woke up with a crazy rash today. Poor girl. At least it’s almost over.


Anyway, back to the fun. We just had a great time catching up, telling stories, laughing, roasting marshmallows, eating too much, and just…picking up our friendship where it left off a year ago.

We have so missed them, and it did a lot for our hearts to reconnect and make some more memories.

As wonderful as this year has been, and as much as I have enjoyed the new friends I’ve made…I’m so thankful for people in my life

who understand where I’ve been and what the Indo part of my life looks like. No matter how many stories I tell, no matter how many Indonesian foods I (attempt to) cook and share with people here, they will never fully understand that part of my life.

I know that, I’ve accepted it…and I truly enjoy those friendships for what they are.

And sometimes it’s nice that not everyone knows what life was in Indo…because we share the good stuff.

I can’ t say I was always a

t my best there. True…Oh. So. True.

Today made me incredibly thankful for the people God has placed into my life for each step of the journey. Some are part of it for just a step, others remain part of it even when our steps part ways.

So if you’re reading this (unless you’re a random stranger stopping by) you’ve probably, at some point, been one of those friends…or still are.

And I’ m thankful for you!

Just my thoughts tonight.


Chattin’ While Drinkin’ Water Out Of My New Orange Water Bottle

Ok, so I’m kind of lacking creativity in the titling of this post. Therefore, you get exactly what’s happening. πŸ˜‰

Today if you hopped over, you’d find a semi-clean house (yay, Mel!) and someone dying to chat with a human being who can speak words back.

It’s been kind of a rainy, blah week, and Mae and I haven’t been out of the house much other than for random walks and a bit of birthday shopping for my hubby, who turns (whisper) 34 on Tuesday! Anyway, so when today (aka: Park Day) rolled around, I was sure we’d get rained out. Thankfully we didn’t and Mae and I had some time this morning with friends. Ah, what social interaction will do for the heart and soul.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to a visit from some more of our Indonesia friends.

The Hegle’s are a family we’ve known since the summer before we went to Indo, and they’re back for the summer.

We love them, our fellow Packer friends, American Idol party hosts, and just cool people. So looking forward to seeing them tomorrow and introducing them to our girl!

This week I vowed that I would work out every day.

On Monday nights I get together with a group for a walk (a make-me-drip-with-sweat-up-and-down-hills walk, just to clarify ;)) and then some station training with a friend who I think could steal Jillian Michaels’ job. Speaking of Jillian, I bought her DVD, 30 Day Shred, and I have to admit that after three days, I can already tell a difference.

The workouts are TOUGH, but at least they’re short. (20ish minutes.)

I WILL make it through the 30 days!

I WILL MAKE IT through the 30 days!


Just sayin’. :) And then I will reward myself with some chocolate and shopping.

Tonight I had a culinary success that I HAVE to brag about. I made homemade pizza on the grill. I read about this on a friend’s blog, tweaked it, and gave it a try.

It was amazing…so amazing that I want to go attack the leftovers, but I’m practicing self control. I’m thinkin’ we might need to make it a few more times this summer, though. :) (Why is it that I seem to follow talking about working out with talking about food?)

We’re still tossing around vacation ideas but have pretty much settled on either St.

Louis or Southaven, since both would involve seeing some good friends we haven’ t seen for

two years.

Good stuff. Now that we have a semi-plan, I’m ready to get excited about actu ally

taking a vacation!

The three of us went on a family “date” tonight. First we headed to Menards to pick up my extremely late Mother’s Day gift…a fire pit. I am very excited about it.

πŸ˜€ I can’t wait to roast marshmallows and strum my guitar and sing. YAY!!! Then we went to the grocery store to pick up a few things so we can actually feed our friends tomorrow.

We are tossing around the idea of getting a small(er) pool for Maelie since she already loves the water.

We’ve been looking at the 3′ Intex one and wondering if it’s worth it. I know a few people who have them. The way this girl splashes around, she’ll use it all the time. Just wondering if we want to wait another summer. I guess we’ll see what kind of deal we can get.

Ok, I’m just blabbing on and on when the truth is, I’ve got thank you’s to write and some doggies to love and an orange water bottle to refill.

G’nite! Love you all.


Summer Vacation, Anyone?

So…Tobin and I realized tonight that we haven’t taken a vacation in the U.S. for a looooong time.

No boo-hooing, though…we had plenty of Bali fun while overseas. Man I miss it there.

So it was almost an overwhelming task to come up with a place when he asked me, “Where do you want to go?”

The criteria include: someplace we can drive to without going crazy (remember, this is being driven with a one year old who hates her carseat), can be driven to in one day OR two if there’s a fun place to stop halfway, and preferably someplace with hotels we can afford. So far we’ve thrown out the following as options.

Southaven, MS: There are a lot of perks that come with this one, mostly in the form of close friends and the fact that we most likely wouldn’t pay for a hotel. The downfall is that when time is spent running all over the place seeing people, that’s not really a vacation.

Wisconsin Dells: It’s close, fun, and though we’ve both lived in Wisconsin, it’s been ages since we’ ve been there.

But it’s close…and doesn’t re ally feel like too much of

a vacation.

Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, TN): This was just kind of mentioned as a place we’d like to go. It could be a possibility, but I doubt it will happen this summer.

St. Louis: Could be a possibility and could include having some friends from Southaven meet us there.

The downfall is that I’ve been there a dozen times, so it doesn’t feel like something new and exciting to me. But I would go back there just for this. πŸ˜‰

Myrtle Beach, SC: We’ve got friends there, and it would be so fun to see them.

This one is almost completely out of the running, though, because of driving time. Maybe when Mae is older.

Washington, D.C.: Yeah, this one got thrown into the mix when Tobin said, How much does it cost to fly to D.C.? I’m not sure we’re serious, although neither of us have spent much time on the East Coast.

(Does Newark Airport count? I ate a hot dog there…)

London: Is it fair for me to throw this out there? Haha… there are some crazy wicked deals on Europe this summer at certain times.

T’would Β be fun. But let’s stop dreaming… back to reality.

Minneapolis: This one was thrown out, too…but really we fall into the same trap as Southaven. It’s not a vacation…it’s a go-see-people trip, which is fun but different fun.

A Beach in Michigan: That’s as far

as we got. Apparently there are beaches in Michigan

? Hmmm…

Help! Where should we go? Feel free to leave me a suggestion.

I’m kinda tempted to just stay home…


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