Little Blessings (Pt. 45)

:) Olympics!!! Love me some gymnastics. (And swimming and diving and water polo and volleyball and…)

:) Almond Joy coffee creamer. Mmmmm…

:) Complete-sentence conversations with my girl.

:) Coffee drinking and playtime in the backyard in the morning.

:) Time (and motivation) to work on my book. Thinkin’ there was some progress yesterday!

:) A stinkin’ scary moment that turned into something we could laugh about a few minutes later.

:) Truth spoken in love.

:) Guitar-strumming and tune-belting.

:) Bedtime giggles, songs, and prayers with my favorite little girl. Hearing her say, Amen, is the best part.

:) Ten years on Friday.


Monday Musings

Which could be conveniently renamed Monday Confessions of a Stay-at-Home-Momma…

So, though I’m trying to lessen the frequency that she eats these, when I give Mae fruit snacks, I sometimes steal the orange ones out first. Really, I’m a sucker for anything citrus…the lime and lemon are equally yummy. I know, I know…

My poor child is going to grow up never knowing that there are actually citrus flavored fruit snacks in those packets. Parenting fail?

I also almost always sneak a drink of her chocolate milk before I give it to her in the morning.

Yeah, yeah…maybe I just need to adopt the diet of a toddler. :)

While we’re talkin’ about food, I might as well confess that if I open a bag of these, they’ll be gone. It’s the honey mustard…totally addicting. I can seriously eat an entire bag in one sitting. Not so good. And, yet, SOOOOO good.

Yeah…and on Amazon? You can order them by the box. Holy cow, I should NEVER do that!

I’m a blog stalker. Sorta. I have a few I regularly read and love, but I need to be better about leaving comments. One of the blog writers I read alerted me to this site. Goodness, I’m not so sure this was a good discovery. (I already sent Tobin an idea for Christmas. Hey, it IS July. ;))

So today I was actually feeling somewhat better…enough to play outside with Mae for about an hour this morning and keep up with her for the rest of the day. I even did half of a workout tonight, though I didn’t put the effort into it that I usually do…I’m just pretty wiped out.

And while I could keep confessing, I’ll just end it with this one.

I have total Olympic Fever. I can’t get enough.

Swimming is on…and totally calling my name. :)



That Post Where I Talk About My Gall Bladder


This time, I’m not kidding.

Which is kind of a bummer.

So it’s been a strange couple of days.

I think I’m usually pretty good at rolling with the punches…I’ve learned that in the multiple, multiple times that life has thrown me curve balls. You just kinda go with it.

And yesterday was no exception.

For the past few weeks, I’ve felt a little off. I had some issues I wasn’t particularly worried about but were still present. (And annoying.) Nausea (mostly), some abdominal/back pain. A couple times it was bad, but you know…it went away.

Thursday was especially rough. It was really hard to smile and be myself when I just felt like crap. Which was pretty much an accurate description. That night I came home from Praise Team practice around 9:15, and I was hungry. That’s not abnormal…I kinda like to eat. Hence the reason I run. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had a cookie, a glass of milk, took a few minutes to blog, and went to bed.

I had kind of an ache in my chest and was hoping I’d sleep it off. I fell asleep for a few but woke up around 11:30 with the most pain I’d ever felt in my life…back/chest pain that brought me to tears. I tossed and turned for awhile before waking up Tobin. I got up, walked around, and at one point decided to lie down on the floor (THAT actually helped) before going downstairs and lying on the couch. Around 2:30 the pain subsided somewhat, and I was able to fall asleep.

I woke up around 6:30 feeling…ok. Definitely not great and still in pain, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I had some things I needed to get done, and being a very I-don’t-go-to-the-doctor-unless-it’s-absolutely-necessary person, I had a hard time choosing that over what I felt was more important. But after several minutes of going back and forth with Tobin in an, I-don’t-know-what-we-should-do-do-you conversation, we decided I needed to get checked out. I made a phone call, got Maelie up, and we took her to a sitter before heading to the hospital, (in)conveniently located way too far from our house.

Thankfully the ER was empty…I do not handle places like that well. I also learned that when you walk into one and say the words, chest pain, almost immediately you are hooked up to an EKG machine. That was a first for me. Thankfully, that came back clear.

But I still spent several hours in a room in the ER in one of those horrible, flash-the-world hospital gowns, hooked up to a heart monitor and I.V. while the doctor asked me questions, ordered a chest X-ray, asked more questions, and finally ordered an ultrasound to check out my gall bladder and a few other organs, but the gall bladder was the suspect.

And the doctor was right.

A nasty gallstone.


It does explain the nausea and pain I’d been experiencing for awhile, though. In all honesty, I was thankful to finally have an answer even if I’m not excited about what that means.

I’ll have a follow-up with my regular doctor this week and then will probably meet with a surgeon.

Really, I’m frustrated, but I’m kind of at the whatever point…let’s just get this taken care of so I can get on with life. (And feel better.)

It makes days like today hard when I carry Maelie up the stairs and am so exhausted I just want to crawl into bed. When the sun is shining and it’s a gorgeous day and I’d rather lie on the couch. Granted, the Olympics ARE on. Thankful for that. :)

Funny story from when I was in the ER yesterday. I seriously couldn’t stop thinking about the opening ceremonies and how much I wanted to watch them NOT in a hospital room. I guess I should have been more worried about my health, but admittedly, that thought raced back and forth through my brain the entire time. :)

I am thankful, though.


The real reason we went in is because I was worried it was my heart. I kept telling myself, There’s no way it can be your heart, Mel. You’re healthy, in shape…you’re fine. But the pain I was feeling suggested otherwise, and I was scared.

If I had heart issues, it would have meant a huge life-change. (There’s definitely a spiritual parallel there…maybe I’ll touch that again another time.) :)

Gall bladder? Definitely inconvenient, but it can be dealt with. I’ll get my energy back. I’ll still be able to run. Chase my daughter. Laugh with her. Share ice cream sundaes with her. Be my old self. :)

I’d appreciate your prayers over the next couple of weeks…hopefully it’ll only take that long. :)

God is Good.


Just a Song

Nothing deep. Though there IS some truth buried in this song.


Nothing I’ll be singing at church anytime soon, for sure. :)

Still good.

Just a favorite from my current morning-run playlist.

Don’t laugh. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just have a listen…it’s one of her best, I think. (And if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s worth your time.)


Little Blessings (Pt. 44)

:) Singing and dancing with my girl.

:) Flip flop shopping. (FYI…should you be a sucker for a good deal, Target has some uber cute ones on clearance right now…)

:) Starbucks gift cards. (Thanks, mom!)

:) A swimming pool in the backyard for those days that teeter around 100. TOO. HOT.

:) Chats with a good friend.

:) Making new friends.

:) This. Hop over and watch my two best friends sing their hearts out. They’re amazing, and I’m not just saying that. Should you want to vote for them, if they win they’ll be singing the National Anthem to open the Iowa State Fair. Awesome. :) (And, you can vote five times a day!)

:) Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. AND having friends/neighbors willing to take most of them off my hands so I’m not forced to eat them all. :)

:) A good pace during my run this morning.

:) Coffee and some time with my Father this morning. He’s Good.


The ABC’s of Mel’s Brain

It’s definitely time for me to sit down and have some quality time with the blog.

It isn’t like I haven’t been here the last few weeks, but I haven’t been here.

I guess life is just like that sometimes.

So…in 26, if-I-make-it-that-long, bullet points…here’s life.


And by the way, I wrote part of this on a Sunday…I think I reference that once or twice. :)

  • Andre is my dog…my nine year-old boy. I love him. He puts a smile on my face even when I don’t feel like smiling.
  • Hearts that break are opportunities for God to do some major healing. That’s what I’ve been learning lately.
  • I love to create. My brain is awesome at dreaming up ideas…the following through is hard. Ish. Really enjoying painting lately and almost ready to pull out the sewing machine and learn how to use it.
  • I still want to learn to play the djembe. Really play it. Thinking about blowing the rest of my birthday money on one since it’s cheaper than a plane ticket to Africa so I can buy one in a market there. :)
  • Epic moments have made up life lately. Nothing huge, just important. I feel like I’m finally comfortable with being who I am…and not caring (as much) what other people think. Took me awhile to even get to that point.
  • F is for big failure. Feeling like that in a lot of ways. A friend said something today about Satan attacking ferociously on Sundays. I have to agree…feeling really down today.
  • Good memories. Really trying to focus on the blessings that God has placed in my life. There are so many…and I’m thankful for each of them.
  • Happiness is this picture I bought for myself a few weeks ago with some of my birthday money. I love it. I can’t think of a better thing to hang in our kitchen on our green wall. :)

  • Ice cream cake. It’s worth turning a year older for…to be sure. A week and some later, we’re still working on it. Which could speak volumes about our self control…or the fact that I sorta forgot it was in the freezer! :)
  • Goofy, but I love toast with jelly. So does Mae.
  • Mae is still talking about chasing kitties on the farm. Golly, I love her…and that she had such a good time there.
  • I am so thankful that I am loved. By friends, by my family, by my Father. So good.
  • Mae lights up my life. Every single day. What a blessing she is.
  • Thankful for a Father who never gives up on me, even on those days when I’m sure everyone else has.
  • I’ve been overtired lately…too many late nights and too much early-morning running. Headed to bed soon, thankfully.
  • Poofy pigtails on my princess of a girl. Her cutest look so far, I think.
  • Been a week full of questions. I’m more convinced than ever that some things, there will be no answers for, until I can ask my Father face to face.
  • Reunions with sweet friends…always fun. Always hard to say goodbye, too. Still worth the hello.
  • I love my Sammy, too…I never thought we’d bring home an Indo souvenir like the one we’ve got living in our house. He’s one-of-a-kind.
  • Sometimes you just gotta cry big, fat tears. Letting them fall helps. And letting my two year-old daughter hug them away teaches the beauty of compassion.
  • Sometimes we just need people who love us unconditionally. Thankful for that this week.
  • I was thinking of learning to play the violin. Just kidding. :)
  • I found this bottle of wine a week or so ago. Seriously. I thought we had topped it with Barefoot wine, but this? Fantastic.

  • X…seriously? Who can come up with anything related to it in daily life? I don’t play the xylophone and I haven’t broken any bones lately, so this one may just have to stay blank.
  • Ever feel like life is a ride on a yoyo?
  • We haven’t been to the zoo yet this summer. We talked about hitting the one in Omaha with some of my family later in August. We’ll see.

If you stuck around long enough to read all of this…thanks.

You’re a blessing, friends. :)


Pickle Juice, Anyone?

Ok, so pardon me while I get to the point of the title…the long way.


There’s coffee involved tonight, so I guess we can just consider this a coffee date-ish chat. That means I can be as random as I want to be…it’s always fun to see what comes out in these posts.

It is Monday, and considering I was forced to go without blogging for TWO. WHOLE. DAYS…well, I have a mighty mongo amount of words that need to be used up tonight…


Well, maybe.

I just finished my Monday night workout. (Well, I did take time to shower. Gosh that would be gross if I just sat down all sweaty and stinky and started typing.) It was a sparse turnout…it’s July and people are on vacation. It’s summer and people are busy. It’s hot and people don’t feel like it. (I didn’t…I just did it anyway.) Take your pick. :)

But there were a few friends who joined, and it was a decent workout. The first part is just run or walk or whatever, and we were kind of all at different paces tonight. I did three miles of sprints because that’s what I do when I’ve already run once in a day.

So I’m trotting along…kinda bored, but not too bad. (Running is never fun alone without an iPod. Just sayin’. :)) Thinkin’ about how hungry I am…because as of two weeks ago, I DON’T eat dinner before I work out. Really wanting that burger I know is waiting for me at home.

That kind of bored.

And out of nowhere…seriously. I. Want. Pickle. Juice.

You know, the juice that comes in a jar of dill pickle chips? Yeah, that stuff!

I couldn’t believe how utterly AMAZING it sounded. And how strange I’m sounding right now…

I just wanted to drink a glass of it.

Ok, so here’s the thing. I really DO like pickle juice, so it’s not like this craving came out of nowhere. It was just odd to want it so badly during a workout. Yeah.

At least the thought made me smile. :)

And when I came home, I ate my burger (with pickles) and even drank a little of the juice. True. (And it was good, just in case you were wondering. :))

And I might be a little strange for just telling you that story.

So yesterday we stopped in the Dells on the way home from the family reunion. We had lunch with some of the extended family…all fun people. :) It was only the second time I’ve ever been there…kinda sad considering I lived in Wisconsin Rapids for a year and spent two summers working at Camp Fairwood…neither of which are that far away.

However, just driving through the main stretch on a Sunday afternoon made me decide that I don’t so much care if I go back anytime soon. (Other than to go to Noah’s Ark…I’ve always wanted to go there. Kinda hard now with a small child so it may be a while until it happens.)

As Lauren said yesterday, The Dells has two things going for it…Noah’s Ark and saltwater taffy.

I may not have partied it up on the water slides, but we did manage to snag a bag of saltwater taffy before we headed home. So, for the time being, life is complete.

At least until the taffy is gone.


One fabulous discovery we made this weekend was this. (Actually there was another, but that’s another post for another day.)

Truly this thing is the best invention ever. At least for the mom of a two year-old. The. Bucket. Doesn’t. Spill. Genius! Three. Kids. Can. Blow. Bubbles. At. The. Same. Time. More genius! Three. Kids. Can. Blow. Bubbles. Together. WithOUT. Spilling! I think I’ve died and gone to Toddler Toy Heaven. Between this and the other discovery, which we will eventually order from Amazon…I’m a happy momma. Mae’s a happy kiddo.

We’re just all happy. ๐Ÿ˜€

AND…Target clearanced a lot of the summer toys already. We snagged this and a 100 oz. bottle of bubble solution for under $10. That’s a deal and a good use of some of Mae’s birthday money! :)

Well, it’s late, the coffee mug is empty, and I’ve shared enough random with you all for one night.

Thanks for reading. :)


Without a Connection

Tobin, Maelie and I spent the last few days up in small-town, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, Wisconsin.

The pros: fun people, games, good talks, (way too much) good food, coffee, beautiful house and location, laughs, new friends and old, too, 15-2 Brew…the list could really go on. Lotsa good. :)

The cons: not enough bathrooms, flies, an over-abundance of indoor taxidermy, and almost. zero. internet.ย 

For about a day, I thought a few of us, Miss Blogger Extraordinaire included, might die. Or at least suffer mentally. (I really hate to miss blogging, especially when I haven’t mentally prepared to actually NOT do it. I know I’m strange…get over it.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Eventually I had to wrap my mind around the idea that we WEREN’T going to have internet, that if I HAD to get in touch with someone, I’d have to call or text (cell reception was also extremely iffy…did I mention that?), and that if I NEEDED to blog, I’d just have to wait.

You know, that thing I do So. Extremely. Well.

Eventually I (and a lot of other people) had to get over the fact that, for the most part, life outside would have to wait.

I found myself thinking about it less and less by Friday (even though I did have time to blog during the window we actually HAD a connection), and time was spent doing a lot of other things that were more fun. Cribbage playing, catch-up talks, cookie-devouring, horseshoe games (though I just watched), bocce ball, a late-night in-law chat (but there were out-laws there, too. ;))

It was SO good…kinda to the point where I thought, hmmm…what if I try to use the internet less?

Like, a LOT less?

I honestly don’t know what that looks like. As it stands, I’m currently organizing a 5k with someone who’s in another time zone, so I can’t stay disconnected completely. But all that facebooking that I think is so necessary?

I’m thinkin’ not.

In fact, I’m gonna try something…like staying off the internet in the mornings. That’s the chunk of my day that is concentrated most on Mae. I wonder what life will look like if I focus fully on her instead of dividing my attention between her and whatever thoughts are begging to be blogged or the magnetic pull online life seems to have on me.

I don’t know how it’s gonna go.


And I’m not making promises…just talking aloud. :)

But I do know that I’ve got a daughter to love on, and if I let her, she can easily fill up my mornings. Not to mention, our summer days are ticking down quickly, and I’ve still got coffee to drink and friends to chat it up with while Maelie entertains us.

I’m not sure the blog will see less of me in the weeks to come.

But my daughter will definitely see MORE of me.

Because there are other connections I’d like to make besidesย the internet.


New Blogs, Bear Shopping, Princess Jammies, and Bad Internet Connections

So did ya notice something?

Yeah, I took my birthday off.

SHOCKER. (Really.)

Actually, I had no plans to do that. During our drive yesterday to our four-day family reunion in Wisconsin, I thought through several fairly deep topics, sure that I’d have something wise to share with you all.

I amย 34, after all.ย 


However, beside the fact that we are completely in the middle of No. Where.ย with extremely iffy cell reception, the wi-fi at our rented house was completely out of commission. Therefore, ZERO thirty-four year-old wisdom to share…at least that particular night.

So, tonight, you get thirty-four and a day, which isn’t really all that bad, huh?

Like I said, we’re spending a long weekend up in Wisconsin with Tobin’s extended family. I think the total count is 40 people, and we rented a ginormo house. Yeah, it’s out in the boondocks, but it sure is cool. Tons of space, sand volleyball that has doubled as a huge sandbox for the kiddos, a seven-person hot tub, pool table, mini shuffleboard, the list goes on.

It’s like a vacation. :)ย 

I also discovered that one of my cousins-in-law (does that term even exist? It does now…) is a blogger! I know! Despite the fact that I’m being slightly over-dramatic, she really is a very good writer, and I’ve loved the bit I’ve read so far. I’ll have to link her up here sometime. That was a fun discovery. :)

Tonight, as we were waiting for dinner to be ready, I was chatting with Annie (also, the blogger) about the insane amount of stuffed animals (aka: taxidermy) inhabiting the house we’ve rented.


I cannot even begin to describe to you how CrAzY is is to be stared down by a mountain lion or to be greeted by a bear when you walk through the front door.

It’s sorta creepy.

I was sharing this with her (and she agreed), and Maelie heard me say that I thought the bear was “shocking”.

A few seconds later, she looked at Tobin. “Bear shopping! Bear shopping!”ย 

Haha…I suppose it DOES make sense. It gave me a good laugh, anyway.


After a busy (and napless) day of playing in the sand and running everywhere and swimming and even decorating a cardboard playhouse, Maelie had HAD it tonight…and we experienced the worst temper tantrum from her we’d had EVER.

Gosh, it was bad.

Lesson to be learned: Mae will always want her princess jammies. Always. Therefore, even if she is NOT dressed IN her princess jammies, she does not need to know this piece of information.

Either that, or we need multiple pairs of princess jammies.


Despite temper tantrums and cell reception that hates me, it’s good. Nice to be away for a few days and spending time with people we haven’t seen in a long time. (A few we hadn’t even met yet!)

Good memories.

I should go be social…g’nite, friends!


See Ya, 33…

Big day tomorrow, I guess.

You know, July 19th.

National Mel Day, as my hairstylist dubbed it tonight.

Or, maybe, not. quite.

I like my birthday…who doesn’t? Really. If we’re being honest, we ALL like a day that gives us a little extra love. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m planning to spend the morning at the splash park with my girl and some friends. I even baked myself some birthday cupcakes ’cause that’s just what I do.


Then in the afternoon we’re headed to Wisconsin for a few days for the big family reunion. (So blogging may be slightly sporadic. We’ll see…)

I got to do my celebrating a few nights ago. My hubby totally got me.

I am so stinkin’ hard to surprise, and he managed to pull it off. I thought? We were boppin’ across the street to take some birthday ice cream bars to Jonny.


Surprise, Mel! (Kris got a good picture of the actual moment. I look very confused…it’s slightly comical.) :)

Anyway…it was a great birthday surprise. Exactly the way I would have chosen to spend my birthday…with people I love. :)

We had dinner, DQ cake, and then played a couple rounds of fishbowl, my favorite go-to-when-I-want-to-laugh-a-lot game.

Sweet memories with my hubby, daughter, and some amazing friends.

A few pics…we didn’t get a ton, but that’s ok.

You know how I loooooooooooove cake? I love DQ cake even more!

Yeah, he’s a good guy. :)

Ok…so, yeah, this is what we’re really like. I have no idea what led to this photo…possibly a conversation about a bottle of ketchup? FYI, I did have permission to post it. Mostly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yeah, this one is good enough to post twice. Love these two.

Hello, 34!

It’s gonna be a great year. ๐Ÿ˜€