Just a Chat (with Coffee)

It’s one of those mornings…oh, don’t misunderstand me. I love a good Friday morning. (Especially when it comes with coffee, and it always does.) It’s just the kind of morning where throwing out confessions feels freeing.

Don’t judge...sometimes it’s just good for the soul. :)Β 

Confessions like, I haven’t vacuumed the kitchen floor in two, give-or-take, days. (Black kitchen, golden retrievers, you do the math.)


Or, that for about the thirteenth time this week, I jacked up the heat three degrees and am sitting on the heating vent in the kitchen, snuggled under the most amazing, sherpa-lined blanket ever, thanks to a fantastic Christmas party/gift exchange. I’m a sucker for an awesome blanket…I kind of never want to crawl out from under it. πŸ˜‰ (And, while we’re talking about blankets and heating vents, I am fully expecting a heating blanket for Christmas…that’s kind of a serious confession. And maybe a little hint.)



Or, I could somewhat-embarrassingly confess that I don’t want to wash my hair today because the faux hawk my stylist gave me a couple days ago is awesome. (Though I rock it nowhere near as well as the beautiful Crystal.) πŸ˜‰ And yes, I am posting a selfie. I promise I am not one of those people…I just am today. πŸ˜‰

faux hawk selfie

Or, that I completely feel like a Christmas shopping failure. Even though I’m finished. I have managed, TWICE now, to buy the wrong size in a certain gift for my hubby. The first time, I guessed the size wrong, and the second time, I bought the right size. (Or so it was marked.) Got it home…and, WRONG. Can I just tell you that I really don’t want to go back to the mall? Ugh. (No picture…we need some actual surprises in our house on Christmas morning.) πŸ˜‰

And though it might not fall into the confession category exactly, I’m gonna take a little bloggy break until after Christmas. I want the next days of this beautiful season to be spent with my little family, my church family, and my friends…focusing on the real Reason we celebrate.Β I have to admit that it brought tears to my eyes today as I watched my daughter acting out the Christmas story with her little people. Such sweet, precious moments, and I don’t want to miss any of them.Β Oh, she melts my heart, even on the super silly days.

Golly, I love her. :)

Β sillyMae

But be sure to stop back by around the 30th because I have something cool…or maybe more than cool…to share with all of you.

I kind of can’t wait…I’m so thankful to God for all He’s doing, and I can’t wait to tell you all about how one of my big dreams is coming true. Now I know you’ll come back…haha! πŸ˜‰

Until then…

Merry Christmas, sweet friends!



Heehee…Look What I Did!

BlueHairA few of you wanted a picture, so here ya go, friends. Now, don’t run anyone over as you sprint out the door on your quest for blue highlights. You know you want them. πŸ˜‰


Five-Minute Friday: Ordinary

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Ordinary

When I was younger, I wished for blond hair and blue eyes.

And other than those few months of scorching, Iowa summer each year, when the combination of sun and chlorine would turn my locks a sandy-gold color, this brunette always kept wishing.

Well, there was that time in college when I bleached my hair so white I ruined it and had to cut it all off… πŸ˜‰

But, back to the life of a brunette. One with brown eyes, too.

I spent so much of my childhood feeling like that plain, ordinary girl…the one who blended in with everyone else. The one who never stood out. (Well, for a good reason, at least.)

Much of life is the same, probably for most of us.

We stare at what we see reflected in the mirror and wish for something more…something to make us stand out, something to make us special, something to tell the world, I’m worth seeing.

Anything at all to release us from the stickiness that the label of ordinary brands those of us who let it define a piece of who we are.

And then He reminds me, as He always does…just when I’m getting to that point of discontentment and wishing.

You are Mine.

I love you, just as you are.

Enough that I bought you for a price.

None of those scream ordinary at all.

In fact, I‘m pretty sure they’re extraordinary.

I dye my hair every four weeks now. (Special thanks to my daddy-o for the awesome genes in making me gray in my mid-30’s. :))

My color of choice?

Deep, dark brown. :)

Five Minute Friday


Death by Dum-Dum?

Ok, so I’m in kind of a quirky mood…potentially to curb some of the nerves these election results are bringing tonight?


Definitely a nail biter.

Anyway, so I was driving home from my hair appointment tonight, eating a dum-dum. (Thank you to my favorite hair stylist for letting me be a kid and take one. Or two. ;))

Then I suddenly had a really freaky thought. Something like, Man, it would be a bad time to get in an accident and have my airbag deploy. I’d choke on my dum-dum, and that would be the end.

Ok, ok, I admit that my brain can get extremely imaginative at times. :)

But it was enough for me to crunch the rest of my sucker in about half a second and get that stick out of my mouth. No more driving with dum-dums for me!

Now that you know for certain that I’m really quirky…

Tonight is that one night every four years that is such a strange paradox. I detest the way the news stations report election results and yet I’m glued to the tv…and feeling insanely sick to my stomach but eating some form of chocolate anyway.

But I promised not to talk politics, didn’t I?

So Mae and I spent the day at home today, and it was a long one. Darn time change…seriously, her eyes pop open with the sun…hellooo early mornings. For now, anyway. Thankfully I had a moment of genius when I remembered the “gift” my mom gave her several months ago. “Gift”=100+ piece plastic food set for her kitchen.

Gift for Maelie. I-will-injure-myself-by-stepping-on-all-these-tiny-pieces, non-gift for Mel.

I hid it in the garage…until today.

I can’t believe how many hours that kept her occupied.

She loved having new toys so much that I didn’t mind having to pick up that 100+ piece set a dozen times in an afternoon.

It was fun watching her “cook” all kinds of different food for me. She had fun, and for a moment, I felt guilty about not giving it to her for…ahem…about six months. Well, I felt guilty until I stepped on one of the plastic pieces and reminded myself exactly why I’d hidden the thing.

Oh, well. She’s not likely to forget about it anytime soon, so I’ll have to be extra careful about where I walk. :)

Well, it’s getting late…and I’m seriously thinking about turning off election results and watching a chick flick.

Sounds way more fun. :)

G’nite, friends.



Mmmm…caffeine at 10 p.m.

Why, yes, I am.

Honestly, I don’t know how long it will be before I have another cup of coffee. But, let’s be honest, in Mel’s world, even a day or two seems like eons. I’m just guessing that doctors who remove gallbladders don’t really suggest that their patients drink coffee after the procedure.

Man, that stinks.

Somehow…SOMEhow…I’ll survive, I guess.


So, tomorrow’s the big day, and as much as I don’t want to think about it, it’s pretty much impossible to NOT. I’ll admit to you, though, that I’m fighting the strange paradox of being potentially mortified yet slightly entertained at the strong possibility of me talking in my sleep during surgery.

When I had foot surgery in ’00 I spent the entire time talking to the doctor about skiing. He told me he was quite entertained. But I? Was completely embarrassed. And sooooo very thankful I never had to see him again. Well, after the follow-up when I got two cortisone shots in my feet to pour a little more salt into the wound.


Does anyone else have a fear of that? I wonder if there’s a name fear of talking in your sleep during surgery?

There should be. :)

Ok, now that I’ve let that lovely thought re-enter my mind, we’ll move on.

Though I’m not sure to what…

I realize that this has zero to do with me, really, but I think it is utterly ridiculous that kids are going back to school so stinkin’ early. August 13th? (I have friends down South whose kiddos went back LAST Monday. The 6th.)


Summer is winding down…it’s always a tiny bit depressing. On the up side, I have another year with my girlie before she heads off to PK…she’s growing up so fast! I’m excited for our year together, though…there will be so much more we can do…trips to the library, parks, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll learn to sit through a coffee date as well!

One can always have a bit of hope. :)

She was such a cutie today. We had a pretty busy morning with a hair appointment, a Target run, late lunch, and then a nap. (Throw in there that I went to the hospital at 6 a.m. to get my pre-op bloodwork done.) When I woke her up from her nap this afternoon, she recounted the entire day for me, telling me all kinds of details. We had the following conversation:

Me: What did we do today, Mae?

Maelie: Mommy…haircut. I love haircut. Mae-Mae needs a haircut.

Me: Maybe…not yet. :) And then what did we do?

Maelie: Shopping! At Target!

Me: What did we buy?

Maelie: Um…goldfish. (No, just Cheez-Its, but she thinks all crackers are goldfish. :)) And baby doll!

Me: And then what did we do?

Maelie: I take a nap. Mommy sing. Cover up. (blanket) Larry Boy! (Veggie Tales music)

Seriously, I think she’s brilliant. She doesn’t forget a thing…which, ahem…is not always good. But a good reminder for me that she is always, always watching. Learning. Repeating.

I feel like I blinked and my baby girl grew up.

I know that in sixteen years, I’ll be saying that again. And probably a lot more times in between, too.

I love her…the goofy, jumping-up-and-down-in-her-crib, spirited, fun-loving, a bit crazy but oh-so sweet girl that she is.

I’m so blessed.

And on another random note, I heard this song on KLove today. I loved hearing it on the radio though I found the music video slightly cheesy. However, I have never in my life seen someone look so incredibly UH-dorable while singing and playing the guitar. In clunky shoes. Maybe that’ll be me one day. Hey, I can dream. :)

Have a listen!

Hopefully I’ll be on the blog for at least a little while tomorrow, but we’ll see how things go. Thanks for your prayers, friends!


Lessons From a Walk in the Valley

Before you start reading this, please know that it’s not directed at any one person. It’s just me talking, sharing life, thinking thoughts aloud…while drinking coffee ’cause I promised you all a coffee date, didn’t I?


I even brewed the coffee late at night because I have this idea in my head that words come out easier when there’s caffeine involved. I’m not sure that’s far from the truth at all. :)

Staring out the window on this last-day-of-May afternoon, it’s cloudy, gloomy, and rainy. And? COLD…40’s in May?! REALLY?!?! I’ve got socks on, a running jacket over my shirt, and the sweater that my sweet friend literally gave me off her back over of all of that.

I’m cozy. Really.

But a person is not supposed to be COZY on May 31. More like hot…or at least warm…and in shorts and a tank top. πŸ˜‰

Ok, not sure where that tangent came from. Down to business. Remember, this IS how I write. I joke for a bit before I get to the deep stuff. (Do you think that’s healthy? I’m not convinced. Just sayin’.)

So you may have noticed the lack of depth in the things I’ve been writing lately. I seem to go through those spurts, and after almost a year and a half of continuous blogging, it’s finally starting to NOT freak me out anymore. Because I know my words will be back eventually.

Life just feels like a long-stretching valley right now. There are little joys like pool-splashing and hugs from friends and bits of encouragement here and there, but lately, more down days than up.

For someone who is generally happy-go-lucky, fun, and full of spunk…that’s hard.

I wish the days were always sunny and that the smiles came easier and that I felt my purpose was being fulfilled and that am someone.

I don’t want to talk about the big D word, but sometimes I think we shove it under the rug, hoping that if we ignore depression that it will just go away and life will be rainbows and cupcakes again. (Hey…you know me and cake. I had to throw that in!)

I’m not talking about this to make you feel bad for me. Don’t. It’s life, and we all have those days even if we don’t want to admit it.

Honestly, it bothers me that Tobin and I are coming up on a decade of marriage…and our lives still don’t feel settled.

On the outside, it looks that they are. We bought a house we love. We have a car. Two, even. We are parents to the most amazing little girl the world has ever known. (Ok, I’m biased. ;)) But she is pretty wonderful. We have two golden retrievers who mean a lot to us. We’re surrounded by friends in this community who have loved on us without knowing how badly we needed that love. And we are blessed in those ways and many, many more…Beyond. Measure.

But it’s often that those things buried or hidden behind closed doors are what tear at a person’s heart and being the most.

It isn’t that I’m not happy with Tobin. We love each other and have chosen to stick things out while holding hands…despite many, many differences that could have driven us apart. And while we love big, we also disagree big…and that’s no secret to people who know us best. It’s personality type, partly. We really are the poster children(?) for the saying, Opposites Attract. And I guess I find it frustrating…and in some ways hurtful…that we are still battling through things after almost a decade together. I feel like we should have this figured out by now.

We’re aware of it, but it’s hard to know what to do about it. Just giving each moment to our Father, trusting that He is always Good.

I’m also struggling with parenting. I adore Maelie, and she is the sunshine of my day. Completely. But sometimes her almost-two-ness is just insanely in-my-face, and my normally decent amount of patience comes crashing down. It can be easy to let those moments discourage me for days, though she is the picture of forgiveness and love. Those times sure don’t bring out the best in me as a mommy, though, and I hate that because I love her and want the best for her.

And along with parenting comes the question that I don’t want to hear…that I don’t always have an answer for. Are you planning to have more?

Here’s the thing. Though I’m sometimes tempted to give the snippy reply, I wasn’t planning to have one, that’s not really how I want to respond.

The truth is that Maelie is a blessing we can’t put into words. After that adoption mess and struggling with pregnancy, I had started to think it might not happen for us. And when it did, I told God from the beginning that I knew He would help me be satisfied with whatever He gave.

I truly am. I just love the JOY that is my little girl SO. SO. MUCH. And if she is our only child here on earth, that’s ok. It’s more than ok…it’s amazing.

But it still hurts to think about more kids, which seems like a direct contradiction of what I just said. I can’t explain it, but some of you get it. There are what ifs and maybe somedays that creep in sometimes and cause my mind to go to places it shouldn’t.

I believe fully in God’s perfect plan, and clearly this bubbly, sweet, wonderful girl is the part of the plan He’s chosen to give us at this moment.

And part of walking through this time, this valley, is learning what He has for me. Growing in the Grace He has given. Honoring Him on days that are less than easy. Choosing JOY.

I’m really trying to grow through these days that are challenging and remind myself that God gives us times that are tough to remind us that He is our Help and our Comforter and our Hope and our Healer…and so much more.

It’s been a blessing to reflect on all He is…and who I am in Him.

Really, a sinner saved only by Grace.

And because I can’t leave this post on that kind of note, and because I’m a little wired on caffeine, here are a couple fun things.

Well, I think they’re fun. πŸ˜‰

First up…a photo. Yes, I am a dork and took a picture of myself. πŸ˜‰ Here’s the haircut. It’s actually more choppy than it looks. But since it’s after 10 pm and I just washed it, it’ll look better once I sleep on it…yay for a haircut where bedhead actually works to my advantage! :)

And, for some reason I thought you should know that I bought a shirt at the rummage sale at our church for $.50. It’s orange. It’s cute. And though I rarely wear orange, since it’s cute, I’m going to wear it tomorrow. Did I mention it’s cute?! I don’t have a picture of that, but maybe I’ll take one for you all. (Or have someone else take it ’cause I don’t want to be too dorky. ;))

Thanks for listening, for loving, for being here…even if I act like a dork sometimes.

Grin. :)


Rummage Sales, Memorial Day, Buying Coffee, and Hair-Chopping

So I’m sitting here this afternoon, twiddling my thumbs.

Almost literally.

Mae is down for her nap, and it’s hot outside. And while I could go soak up a few rays…which I still might do…I’ve got a pretty boring afternoon stretching out before me.

I spent the morning helping set up for the rummage sale at our church/school. If you are in the area Thursday-Saturday this week, you should pop over to the school gym, find a few treasures, and support this awesome school! We love it, and our Mae doesn’t even go there yet! :)

I’ll be hanging out there off and on during the week helping when I can, but it’s tough with the girl. She’s not in the sit-still-and-stay-out-of-everything phase…at ALL. (Really, when are they EVER?) So she won’t be joining me this year. :)

We had friends over last night for a Memorial Day BBQ. It was really fun…to just talk and laugh (and eat!) and hang out with some pretty awesome people. Unfortunately, Mae was up WAY too late. I am, therefore, anticipating a three hour nap from her this afternoon. We shall see. :) And since we had company, I can’t even clean the house ’cause it’s not messy!

Ugh…what to do with my afternoon.

Drink coffee. I can definitely do that. :)

Oh, and here’s something coffee related that’s too cool. I found it on a friend’s blog yesterday, and Tobin and I used it to buy a few cups of coffee for troops overseas. Being a girl who hearts coffee and a good chat, this is a really sweet way to say thank you to those who are serving our country. And it’s not too late for you to get in on some of the coffee action, too! You even get to add a personal note to your purchase. I love this. LOVE it.

Oh, I can also tell you what I’m gonna do tonight. (Like I didn’t have this conversation planned…SEE the title? ;))

I really love my hairstylist. Besides being my friend, she’s also my favorite person one day a month when she cuts/colors my hair. Maybe I’m biased, but I think she does a really good job. Since she started cutting my hair last October, in an I’m-gonna-hint-like-crazy-and-hope-you-let-me-do-this-somday kind of way, she’s been begging asking me to let her cut a pixie.

I finally told her a couple weeks ago that she could do it this time. Just once to see if I like it. :)

I’m kind of a hair girl. I spend enough time (and money) on it…plus, it’s just fun. I like to change it up every year or so. And if I’ve got the same style for too long, I start to get bored. So even though I love my current haircut, it’s definitely time for a change.

So that’s what I’m doing tonight. And I have to admit to you that I’m a teeny bit nervous. I haven’t gone this short since that dramatic episode in college where I basically fried my hair off.

Yeah, I’m a star. :)

I’ve pored through pictures and haven’t found anything exactly like what I want…just two that I’m hoping she can combine into something choppy, shaggy, fun. (I’m starting to get nervous…)

No, I’m actually excited. And I figure it will grow back by the end of summer if I really don’t like it.


And now that I’ve completely chatted away about everything…Happy Tuesday, friends. Hope your day is full of blessings!



T’was a slightly epic day in the Schroeder house.

Can we say, PO-NY-TAIL?!?!

I know I’m biased, but isn’t she SO adorable? Awwww…

Oh where, oh where has my baby gone?!? (And please ignore my messy closet…)

Hurray for ponytails!


A Bit of Everything

It’s just been a little-of-everything kind of day.

You know, the kind that starts with an early morning run requiring me to get up before six. By choice. What’s wrong with me? :)

Then it’s followed, literally, by one of the darkest mornings I’ve ever experienced. Storms, rain, thunder, lightning…and almost-blackness outside.

When I put Mae down for her morning nap, her nursery was completely dark…which I will admit helped speed up the falling asleep process.

So, no complaints.

Then it was just me for awhile…getting a few things done, catching up on a couple e-mails, writing a bit, watching half of Raising Helen, which is one of those movies that makes me laugh and cry repeatedly throughout. It was a good movie for today.

Mae took a good nap, and then it was time for lunch and a game of “Let’s-Get-Into-Everything”. It’s her favorite game. :) Today she discovered Uno cards, the stepladder, the fact that the kitchen drawers pull out, and that she can see her reflection in the oven door. She also tried to climb into (?) the dishwas her, but I

herded her out of there quickly.

We played and read books and played some more. And while I ate the last few pancakes for lunch, she came and stood by my knees, waiting for me to give her bites. I…ahem…think she may have learned this from the dogs.

I should probably not

indulge it. However, it was cute.

And funny. And passed some of the calories on to her instead of letting them go into me.

I decided we should try for two naps today since Mae was up very early this morning, and she agreed.

Nap 2 was a success and gave me a bit of time to do some more things.

Tobin came home early, and I left at five to go get a haircut.

A desperately needed one.

You know how I’ve been growing out my hair?

Ooops…well, so much for that! πŸ˜€ She took a good two inches off the back today…which, for a normal person, is not a lot, but when you’re me…it’ s a lot.

Yay for a haircut! I decided that summer is about the worst time to ever try growing out my hair. Maybe this winter… or maybe not.

I came home just as the refrigerator repair guy was finishing up…yep, things just keep breaking.

Mae played for awhile, had her bottle, and then went quietly to bed…that’s kinda rare.

I tried to call Delta to check on some tickets we’re gonna need soon :) but their phone lines were closed already so we played frisbee til it was too dark to see. I strummed my guitar and sang a few songs on the back porch, and now I’m hanging out here, soaking up every ounce of my life.

I’m so blessed.

Tomorrow is park day…AND closing day.

Can you believe it?!

So. Blessed.


Foolish Choices

Yesterday Maelie and I stopped in at the salon

where I get my hair cut. I needed to change my appointment, and since we were driving by, I figured we’d stop in and say hello.

We had to wait a few minutes before the girl who cuts my hair was free, and we weren’t in a hurry, so we kind of just hung out, chatted a bit…you know, what ENFP’s do best.


While we were there, there was a woman paying for her haircut who lo oke

d pretty close to tears. She had super short hair, but it didn’t look bad, and I would never have thought anything of it if she hadn’t look so devastated.

The lady who had cut her hair said something to the effect of, Don’t feel so bad. I know it’s not what you wanted, but it’s looks good.

Of course, whether I was trying to eavesdrop or not, this totally piques the curiosity. (Especially when this is where I get my hair cut!


I didn’t even have to ask, though.

It turned out, this woman, who’d had pretty long hair, had tried to give herself a haircut she saw and liked…and, um…no.

My first thought was, Duh, who does that

? Then I stopped myself, mostly because I’ve taken plenty of snips at my own head, though I’ve never tried to actually give myself a full haircut.

And? I was reminded of a time

when I did something similar…and the consequences were costly.

I was a junior in Bible college, and let’s just be blunt here…I’d bend rules wherever possible. And that included bleaching my hair to a very unnatural shade of blonde. Had I actually bleached it the right way, I would have probably been better off.

But, no.

I used Sun-In.

Every day.

For months.

You can only imagine the horrible shape my hair was in by the time I decided it was time to stop and return to the world of brunette glory.

I made an appointment to get it colored…and let’s give Mel a few points for brains here. At least I didn’t try to color it on my own…I knew better by then.

The day arrived, and I went into the salon. The guy colored it, but once he finished…

He knew.

I knew.

We. All. Knew.

This wasn’t good.

My hair took the color fine, but it was SO dry…SO breaking off.

Really…it was bad.

I had one option left…cut it all.

I ended up with the shortest haircut I’ve ever had…I think all of my hair was an inch long or shorter.

Thankfully, I’m cute and can pull it off. πŸ˜‰ Just kidding.

For someone to go from shoulder-length, super blonde hair…to boy-short, dark brown hair

? That’s a shock to the system.

I couldn’t look in the mirror for a week without thinking I was seeing someone else.

And for a few hours, I wore a hat, hoping that by covering

that costly mistake that it would somehow be erased.

It wasn’t. (Obviously.) And it’s not like I could hide for very long.

I had to sing at church the very next morning and had classes on Monday…no hats allowed.

So, in my mind, my foolish choice was displayed for the world to see.

It was completely humbling.

And I tell you all of that…of course, because I love a good story, but also because there was a lesson to be learned there. Or more than one lesson…

One of the consequences of choosing to do things my own way.

Yet another on what it’s like to face those consequences with others watching.

And still another about the Grace of my Father and how He salvaged the wreck I had created.

I made a poor decision, and there was a costly consequence…well, at the time. My hair grew back when I actually took the time to grow it out. I ended up loving that haircut and kept it for about a year and half.

Sometimes we mess up… choose to do things our own way and pay for those mistakes.

I am so thankful for a Father Who loves me and extends His mercy and grace to cover those mistakes…and can even make something beautiful out of them.

Yet, while I am thankful for those things, I pray even more that He will keep me from making those foolish choices in the first place.



P.S. I looked for a good pic of that haircut but couldn’t find one (that’s scanned, anyway). This one was taken after it grew out a bit, but it’s still ok. And you get to see one of my buddies from Peru. Good memories. :)