Behind the Scenes: We’re Not Just Picking Flowers Here…


When I first look at this picture, I think,

Mel, couldn’t you have at least gotten this from another angle? Really? It’s your precious girlie picking a flower!

And then I answer myself with a loud, resounding,Β NO!

Because this is not really a story about picking flowers at all…but I hope you enjoy my drama storytelling, anyway. πŸ˜‰

On Sunday afternoon we left town around 12:45 p.m. and headed to Madison, Wisconsin, for Tobin’s uncle’s birthday party.

It’s a two hour drive.

ETA with a potty break thrown in there: 3:00 p.m.

Right. On. Time.

But, no. Oh, no.

Our first mistake was getting on I-90 which was kinda like downtown Chicago after a Bulls game.

Times about a hundred gazillion.

Traffic was creeping…and I do mean creeeeeeeeeeeping.

We sat in it for a good fifteen minutes before we were able to inch our way toward the first exit we saw.

We’re poring over the GPS, trying to find an alternate route, already running super late, and have just turned onto Route 72 when we hear that little voice from the backseat.

I need to go potty!

It’s our first road trip with her being potty trained. {OF COURSE she needs to go potty…it’s Murphy’s Law at its finest and most inconvenient. ;)}

We stop at the first gas station we see and We. Make. It.


But we’re Tobin and Mel and Maelie…the fun never stops with just a potty break! πŸ˜‰

She spots a field of flowers as we’re walking back to the van. Down the hill from where we’re parked.

I’m wearing heels. (Of course…when am I not? But still.)


Knowing that the easiest thing to do in this situation is to Just. Let. Her. Pick. The. Flower…I kick off my heels and we run down the hill to find the very best one.

Realizing at this very moment that this is potentially a perfect picture for my Tuesday post, I whip out my iPhone and snap a picture as fast as I can before we run back up the hill to the van.

And, yes, I remembered to go back for my shoes. πŸ˜‰

Soon we’re off again, down or up or whichever way we were going on Route 72. (I’m thinking I need to write a song here…)

The drive is going smoothly for about six minutes, which is a record for us on this trip, friends.

Things. Are. Most. Definitely. Looking. Up.

And then we see? The brake lights.

There’s a train. It’s. Not. Moving. At. All.

People are turning around, and I just think, Can’t you wait a few measly minutes for a train?

And then Tobin points out that people on the other side have gotten OUT of their cars and are walking around. Clearly, this train is not moving anytime soon.

We sit for a few minutes, thinking that maybe our presence will bring some good luck and things will get moving again. Not a chance. Like the multitudes, we backtrack and find another route. (At this point, the GPS tells us we’re going to be about 30 minutes late.)

Finally on our way (again) we head toward Rockford. We are Just. About. There. when we pass over I-90, which I think may have a new name in my mind now. (It does not belong here.)

Traffic is moving.

We’re encouraged that perhaps we can hop back on the freeway and make up a few minutes.

Our next mistake: We get back on the freeway.

Because we’re optimistic like that.Β πŸ˜‰

No sooner had we actually entered the highway when we saw brake lights and it backed up.

We crawled.


Actually, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten out of the car and, literally, crawled faster.


At this point, I think the phrase, And WHY are we doing this?, may or may not have escaped my lips.

But by now, I just need to focus on something else, so I pull out my phone and tap out a text message to a friend. It’s all, Hope you’re having a good day, we’re stuck in traffic, haha, but she knows me well enough to know that I’m just not telling her exactly how frustrated I am.

It takes up a minute of our forever-into-eternity, long trip, and then I look up.

Still traffic.

Twenty more minutes before we hit Rockford, which is normally a 40 minute drive for us. Sunday? It took us

An. Hour. And. 40. Minutes.

Good grief, have we done something wrong?! Don’t answer that.

Thankfully the rest of the trip was uneventful except for one more little stop right before we arrived at our destination just a few minutes before 4 p.m.

Happy party, fun to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in a long time, there was cake, all is good.

Except there’s a drive home, ya know?

We planned it and got off the freeway Completely. Before. We. Even. Arrived. In. Illinois.

Take THAT, I-90.


Home in two hours and a few extra minutes. Praise Jesus.

Except I have to go through Rockford next week, and I have no idea how I’m going to survive it.

Lots of prayer?

More detours?

Please. Send. Chocolate.


Happy Tuesday, sweet friends! On Tuesdays I link up with my sweet friend, Crystal, at her space for Behind the Scenes.

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. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.

I hope you’ll take some time to hop over and read about the real and messy of life that happens behind the photos we take.



  1. I can relate. So can relate!! Good luck next time. Something that might help with the potty breaks, especially when you’re stuck in traffic, is to take a portable training potty with you. I just keep mine in the car on long trips, actually, and then if she’s gotta go and there’s no relief in sight, I just pull over, put the potty on the ground, and then she’s all set.

    Stopping by from Crystal today :)

    • That’s a good idea. We do have a portable one that she’s never been a fan of, but if she gets to use it in the car… :) Thanks for stopping by, Jen…blessings!

  2. Hahaha… you have no idea how many times we’ve had these situations. We drive down to Denver once/twice a month for this, that, or the other, and it’s normally just a 2 hour drive, but without fail our son always has to use the potty. Thank goodness he’s a boy, because this usually happens when there are no bathrooms in sight, and he is capable of going outside. Heck, when we were stuck in traffic in a snow storm due to an accident up ahead and we heard the “I need to go potty!” from the backseat, I was so thankful that I could open my door and let him stand on the running board and go with no problems (though he was scared the wind would blow him out into the highway…). Ah the adventures of traveling with potty-trained kids…….. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like had we had kids back when we got stuck on I-70 for 9 hours on our way home from snowboarding one year. πŸ˜‰ Love you, Mel! You can always text me and vent when you’re stuck in traffic… I’ll listen :)

    • Haha! This made me smile. :) I’ll remember that and shoot you a text next time I’m stuck…as long as I’m not the one driving. πŸ˜‰ Have a great week, friend.

  3. We are heading up to Mad-town this week (can you say 4th of July traffic?) so I am glad for the traffic report you are giving here. We will def use alternate routes! Cute post, though I know your blood pressure was thru the roof!

    • I-90 between Elgin and Rockford is a disaster. Going up 31 and/or 14 to Janesville is definitely the way to go.

    • Yep, what he said. πŸ˜‰ One of us was more worked up than the other, though, and it wasn’t me! (But I also wasn’t driving, either.) Have a great trip! Happy 4th! :)

  4. Such the reminder of this journey of mine sweet friend….stops and starts, wondering if this was the right path and what in the world was I ever thinking?!?!?! Unexpected finds a long the way and I am believeing a celebration (with cake πŸ˜‰ at the end of this journey too. Your sweet words are such the reminder, it rarely goes like we think or plan….but it’s a beautiful one all the same!

    • So true…thank you for those thoughts. As fun as the trip there wasn’t, the actual party really was good, and so worth the drive. I guess I’ve got to remember that when I’m chasing a dream, the journey isn’t going to be perfect. Always beautiful, though, especially if I’ve got a toddler with me to pick flowers along the way. Have a great week, sweet friend! Blessings! :)

  5. I love the picture and would have never guessed there was hectic hurried story behind it. It is what is making this link-up so much fun.
    My sister used to live in Rockford and the one time I did get to visit her I remember traffic being horrible.

    • Yeah, the traffic there is never great, but I-90 is a nightmare right now with all the construction…we never even thought about it before we took off. Oh well, lesson learned, I guess! I agree…I love reading the stories behind the photos. So much fun and one of my favorite parts of the week! Blessings, sweet friend. :)

  6. Ouch! I know Madison and I also know the I-90 traffic situation. My husband is from Wisconsin and we travel there at least once a year from SC. That’s 15 hours, if you’re interested. You never know what you’ll get on that route! Glad you made it eventually, and love that you saw a BTS post happening right before your eyes.

    • That’s a long drive… It’s funny because I almost didn’t take the picture, thinking it didn’t really fit the whole “Behind the Scenes” thing, but that’s actually what made it so great. Because everything behind looked NOTHING like the photo. :) Blessings to you, friend!

  7.! I-90 is THE WORST! Good for you for still having hair on your head! I can’t handle traffic jams, especially when it makes me late (and we all know I’m already always running late as it is!) I also have a lack of patience :) so I might’ve pulled out all my hair after that trip! Ha!

    • :) It probably does help that my hair is so short, pulling it out would be a challenge. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by, friend…hope you have a great week!

  8. What peaceful picture to go with a chaotic trip!! We’ve had those kind of trips – detours, construction, bad weather – yikes! Glad you made it both ways safely! And hope you got some chocolate once it was all over :)

    • Thanks! I had an iced mocha on the way back, caffeine and all…that definitely made it better. :) Blessings to you, Taryn…have a great week! :)

  9. Oh my goodness what a trip!!! I lived for many years on a small island where a traffic jam is when the guy in front of you stops to chat to the driver (who has also stopped in the middle of the road) coming from the opposite direction. I loved it that you kicked your heels off and allowed your girl to pick a flower. :)

    • I can appreciate that perspective…we lived in a crowded, bustling city in Indonesia for several years, and traffic was the pits All. The. Time. It’s just been a few years since we’ve had to be that patient, I guess! I do remember one time getting stuck on the toll road from Jakarta to Bandung for about six hours, and it was so jammed, people were getting out of their cars and walking around and buying things from sellers. What a memory. :) Blessings to you, friend…happy Tuesday!

  10. Wow!! What an adventure you had!! But awesome that you had a chance to smell the ummmm… Daisies! Love this friend.

    • Thanks, Tonya! And looking back, it WAS an adventure and could have been a whole lot worse…gotta keep things in perspective. :) And praise God there was a cute little girl with us who knew we needed to stop and smell a flower or two. πŸ˜‰ Blessings, sweet friend…have a beautiful week! :)

  11. LOL. You are so funny! I love your post this morning because I have had that trip like that – where nothing goes right. I have also had a trip where I had to pull over on the side of the road for my little guy to go potty (middle of no where Arkansas). I also wrote about a road trip today! Happy travels!

    • The funny part is that we just felt like we couldn’t get OUT of town, and then we couldn’t get where we wanted to go and UGH…definitely not my favorite day! It’s fun to be able to look back and laugh now…really, it was just another adventure. I’ll take that. πŸ˜‰ Hope you are doing well, friend…heading over to your space now! Happy 4th! :)

  12. That’s quite funny. Thank you for sharing. Chocolate would most certainly be my medicine of choice too.

  13. Ha! After spending a few days in Chicago area, we are so thankful we don’t have to drive in that regularly!! Feel for you!! But we did like using Google Maps App on our iphone — it gives (almost) live traffic info on the app in big cities, so we could see what Interstates were backed up and which were flowing still. Have you tried using that? It just uses Red/Yellow/Green for traffic flows. Click on the three small dots at the bottom right of the map, and it gives option for “traffic’! :) psst. One of the highlights of our trip was meeting you in(RL)! :)

    • We do have the app (or something similar)…we just didn’t even think about checking traffic because it was a Sunday afternoon. But I’ll definitely be planning my detour for next week! Friend, it was so awesome to finally give you that (in)RL hug last week! Thank you for taking the time for us…can’t wait til our next reunion!!! Happy 4th to you and your family! {hugs}

  14. lol oh you sweet thing. I have suffered my fair share of this traveling drama when I lived outside of Philly – I hate being stuck in traffic and hate even more being late, so it’s a lot of anxiety on multiple levels! My favorite part? You kicked off your heels and ran down the hill to pick flowers with your girl. Love that spontaneous & adventurous spirit!

    • Haha…that was kinda my favorite part, too. (The kicking off the heels was necessary…I’m kind of a klutz. ;)) Have a great weekend, friend!

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