Behind the Scenes: Surfing in Iowa

I’m a surfer.

I call myself that as I currently sit in the place I call home…the freezing burbs of Chicago. (It snowed yesterday. I’m still not over it.)

But it’s true. I actually surf.

How it happened is kind of funny…it was almost a last-minute, last-day-in-Bali, gotta-do-this-now-or-I’m-never-gonna thing…and after a few major wipeouts, I completely fell in love with all things surfing. This pic is actually from ’07 and is one of my first rides. :)


I’m well aware of how awesome I look. πŸ˜‰

After this first ride, anytime we were anywhere near a beach, I would run down, rent a board, and take on the waves.

And it’s probably safe to say that I miss it now. A lot, some days. I haven’t had the chance to go since before I was pregnant with Maelie, though a nice surf instructor at Kuta Beach in Bali did offer me a discounted rate on board rental when I was six months pregnant, with a looks-like-nine-months, belly.


I have to admit that would have been quite the sight…IF I’d been able to actually stand up. :)Β 

This past weekend, Tobin, Mae and I took an insanely quick, 36-hour trip to Iowa to see his family. We had some good times, more than enough more-than-good food, and managed to pull off surprising his older brother for his 40th birthday. It was fun, it was crazy at times with 22 people all in one house, and Mae soaked up the time with her twelve cousins. (On the way home: I miss my cousins! With wailing.)

On Saturday afternoon, the weather was so beautiful that we headed to a nearby playground so the kids could run off some (or more than some) energy.

Friends, I’m not kidding…when I got out of the car and saw this playground, I couldn’t wait to play. It was that good.

One of the first pieces of equipment we saw (and immediately jumped on) was this…to describe it? Basically as close to surfing as you can get in the Midwest and on a playground. :)

Long, skinny, wobbly, and requiring some good balance to stay on it.


It went up and down and up and down and I almost fell off once but totally saved it and my former-surfer pride. It was fun and a little tricky, and a great chance to bond with my sisters-in-law, all three of them, as the four of us navigated this piece of playground equipment…I’m still not sure what it was called.

But it was fun…and a happy memory from the weekend.

And, it’s probably as close to surfing as I’ll get for awhile.

What do you think? Should we build one in the backyard for Mae? πŸ˜‰


Happy Tuesday, friends! Today is the day when I join some sweet friends at Crystal’s space for Behind the Scenes. We’re sharing the silly and sweet and sometimes-tear-jerking moments that happen behind the camera lens…I hope you’ll take some time and pop over to read some great stories.

Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.

“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them.Β The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.




  1. That is so great! I love when people share their hidden talents, things completely out of the norm. :) I have seen those balance things at our playground too. Now I think I might have to try and stand on it! Thanks for sharing, visiting from Behind the Scenes.

  2. This post really makes me want to hang out with you. :)

  3. Hah! That looks like fun. I would certainly want to build on ein my back yard.

  4. A new place to play is always fun. Believe me, when Mae is in high school she will not want to join you on the swings anymore! Enjoy!

    • We had so much fun…I’m making it my goal to take her to as many parks as possible next summer. We’ve gotta get as much swinging and sliding (and surfing!) in as we can! πŸ˜‰

  5. Love this story, Mel! You are SO cute!!

  6. Mel,
    I so enjoy reading whatever you write. and this was super sweet too. Glad you found your surfboard midwestern style…I love finding amazing playgrounds and great jungle gyms for mamas to climb on too!

    • It’s been so long since I’ve been to an actual playground…they’re so much better than they were 25 years ago! Ahem. πŸ˜‰ So much fun…and Mae had a great time, too! πŸ˜‰ Happy Tuesday, friend!

  7. Ah Mel, I love this! Way (way, way) back in the day, I rode the waves too on my board. Maybe I should add another “way” on there! Both pictures are fabulous and I love the recounting of your wet and dry surfing experiences!

  8. OK first things first… I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new profile picture !!!! I also love how fun and free spirited you are. I don’t imagine me even attempting to walk on that piece of equipment. Thanks for sharing a little fun and adventure.

  9. There are crazy people that surf Lake Michigan sometimes … πŸ˜‰

    • Funny you said that…I actually asked someone when we first moved here if people surf on Lake Michigan. They laughed at me and so I assumed that no one ever had. Hmmm… πŸ˜‰

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