Finding Adventure

“Attitude: The Difference Between Ordeal and Adventure.”

My favorite quote.


We’ve been completely blessed to have some of the most awesome adventures…many, things I never even dreamed I’d get to do.

Like…surf the waters of the Indian Ocean. Hike through a remote jungle in Sumatra. Drive a motorbike in an over-crowded city with no driving rules…and not die. (The not-dying part is big.) Swim in the Amazon River. Snorkel in the Caribbean. Ride an elephant in Thailand. See the Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Yeah, I’m going somewhere with this.

Cause I’ve also had other adventures that don’t involve being halfway around the world.

Like…leaving home when I was barely eighteen years old to make a life for myself. Watching God take a shy, afraid-to-talk-in-public girl and turn her into someone who could give speeches and sing solos and do something for Him. Falling in love at the one time in life when I did NOT want it. Marrying him anyway.

(THAT has been an adventure. ;)) Dreaming…and seeing the goodness of God when He worked things out according to His plan and not mine.

Giving birth to the most amazing little girl.

Learning to love in a way I never dreamed possible. Leaving all we’d known (again) to start a new life in a new place. Seeing God bless…again. 😉 Learning to love a place I never thought

I could.

Those? Are adventures, too.

The quote above was shared with us by a couple we met while backpacking in Cape Town.

They had taken a year off from life, sold everything, and were seeing the world.

I was envious, I was fascinated, and I clung to each story they shared.

Because a theme emerged…no matter where they were or what the situation…there was an adventure to be had. One that would stretch them, amaze them, teach them. And make them better people.

We spent less than two days with Brad and Dennyse, but I have never forgotten them or the wisdom they passed on to us through this quote and the stories that came with it. It’s a mentality that we, as a couple and now family, have tried to practice.

Adventure is all around us…and it’s all about attitude.

Whether we’re living a crazy life in Southeast Asia or a more “normal” one in the Midwest.

Whether we’re taking a trip to Bali or a drive to the South to see some dear friends.

Whether we’re off on a romantic getaway or a family road trip.

There’s adventure.

Today I woke up. (A little late, but I needed the sleep…) I made coffee, worked out, had breakfast, and got the girl up. She’s finishing her breakfast now, and then we’ll probably play outside and go for a walk while the weather is still beautiful.

Then I’ll get some things done around the house, get a few thank-you’s written (hopefully!), and head to work for a few hours.

It’s normal…it’s life.

But there are adventures even in normal.

And I hope I never, ever forget to find them.


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 9

Well, all good things must come to an end, huh?

We finished the drive home today. Got up early, left the hotel by 8, and were home by 12:30 thanks to a FABULOUS nap taken by the sweet girl, who was exhausted.

We drove straight through, ignoring the fact that I chose a bad morning for a gas station 44 oz.

Anyway, that was probably too much information.

Today was a very anti-climatic end to the trip, but that’s ok. Maelie didn’t miss a beat, going straight from the car to her slide.

We did “celebrate” coming home by going grocery shopping as a family.I’m not sure that’s a celebration, but none of us had a meltdown, though one came close.

It’s good to be home…and I’m so completely looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight. :)

Thanks for following along.


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 8

We left Mississippi today around 1:30 p.m.

It was a great trip, and we’re thankful for the time we could spend catching up with friends.

Like I’ve said many times before, often on our trips half of the adventure is getting there…or going home, in our case today.

The adventures just kept coming.

First up? I have always wanted to try one of these out…they obviously entered Americ a when I was out of the country, and today there was one IN a clean bathroom, WITH working straps. So, after Maelie had her diaper changed, she got to try this out.

Yes, it’s cute. Even more so, it’s complete genius. This mommy thanks the inventor of…whatever it’s called. 😉

Then…at the same travel plaza, no less, THIS!

64 oz. of create-your-own caffeinated glory. Vanilla Coke Zero was our choice today.
Six hours later I’m still workin’ on it, though it is almost gone. Mmmmmm…

Then, the Cutie totally fell asleep. She has been quite anti-nap this entire trip.) But I couldn’t resist taking this picture, and I know you won’t be able to resist ooohing and aaahing over the adorableness oozing all over the place.

We stopped at Fazoli’s for dinner, and Maelie got a free kids’ meal, which we totally did not plan. I love happy surprises like that! In the first picture, she looks so stinkin’ cute in her I-am-SOOOO-ready-for-this-Italian-feast bib…which she ripped off two minutes later.

But you can see from this shot that the lasagna was a hit. :)

Then we drove more and found a hotel. Just as a side note, we splurged in St. Louis. This? Was a coupon-special, right-off-the-freeway, cheap find. It’s not half bad for being all that. And the best part is, Maelie doesn’t care. She loves, loves, LOVES hotel rooms. Already.

And having cuddle times with daddy.

I wonder what adventures tomorrow will bring. :)


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 7

So…I deprived you of precious Children’s Museum pictures yesterday. Sorry about that.

Here is Maelie in all of her cuteness as she explored everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING…and it was so much fun to watch. I’ll be honest that the first picture is not exactly what I would choose, but we got a good laugh out of it and that’s why we posted it :)





This morning we headed to watch Z play soccer. Maelie loved playing with a zillion kiddos and wandering around making new friends. Then we headed to Corky’s for lunch. Let me just add here that all BBQ is NOT created equal. Most definitely worth the drive. (And the calories, which I will spend all of next week running off…) For those of you interested, I had a BBQ chicken sandwich, slaw, and hush puppies. And we shared BBQ nachos, which there is no photo of because they didn’t last long enough for me to get the camera out. Oh, yum…

Then we spent the afternoon back at the house before going to some friends’ house for dinner, friends we stayed with two years ago when we were advisors at PFO. It was so good to see them again. (This is a picture of me with Natalie, who we stayed with during PFO, and Sarah, our good friend from Indonesia.)

The Great Schroeder Adventure starts to wind down tomorrow. We’ll be leaving Mississippi in the early afternoon, and we’re hoping to make it more than halfway before stopping for the night. I should be able to blog, but if I can’t, it’s because the hotel doesn’t have internet.
It’s been really great to see friends…to let our worlds collide a bit. It’s always different to see friends from Indonesia in the U.S. but cool to see how the friendships remain…and how they aren’t limited by location.

I’ve been so blessed by the people I’ve met through each chapter…each friend adds something different to my life.

So many reasons to be thankful.


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 6

Um…it’s late?

And I don’ t have any pictures on the computer yet?

We had a really fun day at the Children’s Museum… a first for Mae. There are plenty of adorable photos, which you will have to wait until tomorrow for. 😉

And tonight Maelie got to hang with daddy and the boys while Sarah and I went shopping.

Without kids.

It was almost too much excitement to take in.

I’ll make up for the lack of pictures tomorrow.

G’nite, y’all! :)


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 5

Today was really low key… and NO driving.

Which we were very happy about. :)

I went for a little run with Sarah and drank some coffee, which is pretty much a perfect start to any morning.

Then we hopped over to the NICS Home Office to say hi to a few people from our Indonesia life. It was good to see them and a little emotional. But not too much and I left feeling thankful…for an unforgettable chapter of life and for where we are now.

Then we headed back to the house where Mae loudly protested her nap for over an hour before finally giving in to sleep. But I couldn’t be too annoyed by her after I saw this picture of her and her new favorite activity. No doll required…pushing the stroller is enough happy for her. (Though I guess Tobin chose the picture WITH the doll. ;)) Really cute.

While she slept, Tobin built this with two pretty awesome kiddos. They thought he was the coolest person ever.

After dinner we went out for ice cream, and Maelie got her very own free cone. (Which she scarfed down and then begged from us. Cute. :))

Then we ended the day with some Settlers of Catan, which the four of us used to play for hours and hours in Indonesia.

Definitely a good day.

And there was no driving involved, which I really liked. 😉

Until tomorrow.


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 4

So…it was a random kind of adventure day.

Ever have those?

Well, we started off planning to go see this.

Which, apparently, is not a good idea if it’s raining. We may hit it on the way back… or maybe not. Still figuring out that one.

So, instead, we went to Union Station, walked around a bit, and took a few pictures. Here’s one of me with my girl. I look kind of tired because I haven’t had my coffee yet. But, don’t worry, I got it a few minutes later. Whew! 😉

On our drive down to Southaven, we stopped at a “travel plaza” (more on THAT later…) and I found this.

And, between the two of us, we actually ate it. It was pickled. And it was not very spicy.

But we ate it. ‘Cause we lived in Indonesia and will eat anything.

Gas prices are cheap…well, compared to the Chicago area. We like that very much.

And this is what Maelie loves to do to pass the time on road trips. (Kris & Jonny…make sure you check out the book title. ;))

And we topped of day #4 by finally getting to see some sweet friends. It’s been too long. (I don’t have any pics of that because I don’t think any of us wanted our picture taken at 11:17 p.m.)

Love reunions and good times.

More tomorrow. :) G’nite!


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 3

Today…more driving.

In hindsight, we probably wouldn’t have planned things the way we did…four days in a row of significant driving time does not really make a happy little girl. Or a happy mommy and daddy.

But today we drove to St. Louis, the city that could be considered an icon of my childhood. Of course, it was fun to see the Arch as we crossed the river; we’ll visit that tomorrow. Since we didn’t get into town until around 4 p.m. our highlights are pretty limited.

Though we did get a pretty sweet hotel room downtown. I’m not sure I’ve ever stayed downtown anywhere, so this is cool. And the view is sweet(ish).

When we went to have dinner, this was outside the restaurant. Carriage rides were a little too spendy, but the lady was very nice and let Maelie pet the horse. His name was Romeo, and Mae did not know what to think of this giant animal. T’was cute.

Then, we went here.

Ted Drewes, which is kinda the reason we came to St. Louis. I joke about that, but really, it’s half true.

And here is me before I scarfed down (a large part of) my most-amazing Hawaiian sundae.



Best. Frozen. Custard. Ever.

I did a quick calorie count and figured that I can eat it about once every five years and still be ok. :) Seriously…amazing stuff. And the lady who made our sundaes swore we looked really familiar.

Maybe we’re more famous than I thought. 😉

The adventures continue.

Happy Trails! I’ll be writin’ y’all from Mississippi tomorrow! :)


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 2

So, these titles could potentially get boring, huh? 😉

Day #2 of our vacation brought us back to Carpentersville. Good ‘ol home. (That was a short vacation, huh?) Haha…no, we just decided since we were passing back through that it made a lot more sense to stop at home, see the dogs, repack, and do all those things we didn’t have time to do before Green Bay. 😉

So, really, today…we drove.

And Maelie napped a little. A little.

And we had Culver’s for lunch, which was just ok.

And then we HAD to stop here before we drove the last stretch. This was MUCH better than Culver’s.

Seriously, if I ever own a coffee shop, the words funky and/or bean will be part of the name.

And, because I can, even though she refused to nap and screamed often…this?

Is way too adorable.

Sometimes I wonder if she has any idea how stinkin’ cute she is.

See y’all tomorrow! I mean…write ya? 😉


The Great Schroeder Adventure…Day 1

So, yeah…we’ re officially on vacation.

Day #1…Green Bay.

We ended up leaving home earlier today than we had planned so we went to Bay Beach. Maelie had fun with her second cousin, Graham, and she also went on her first carousel ride and train ride. So cute…and pics will be coming from that later. :)

Tobin and I also got to go on the Zippin’ Pippin, the new wooden roller coaster. A fifteen-minute date with my hubby…and I screamed like crazy…and gripped the bar so tight that I drew blood. Seriously, it had been almost a decade since I’d been on a roller coaster. I can’t say I loved it, but I didn’t die.

That’s good, right? 😉

Here’s a pic of us just before the infamous, blood-drawing, coaster ride.