Let me just tell you about our weekend. 

After a busy Halloween week filled with college ministry, cooking, trick-or-treaters, doctor’s appointments, and blogging, we finished a loooooooong post about 70+ things to do in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, on Thursday, posted it, and headed to Lincoln for a night out with friends and family.

We had a fantastic Italian dinner at Vincenzo’s in Lincoln before walking a few blocks to the Lied Center for Performing Arts to see singer Kristin Chenoweth.

An intimate evening with Kristin Chenoweth

An intimate evening with Kristin Chenoweth

To be honest, I didn’t know much about this Broadway singer and Oklahoma native before that night. But let me tell you, having heard her sing softly with tears in her eyes and then crack a joke and belt out another show tune, I’m a big fan, now.

An Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer, Kristin Chenoweth dazzled the audience with songs like Moon River, Upon This Rock, and For Good, while telling stories and sharing her experiences between each one.

It was a magical night. We got home late but decided to answer a few emails and Facebook messages before going to bed. As we worked, we noticed that our website was not loading correctly and we weren’t able to access the WordPress dashboard that allows us to edit our website.

So, just before midnight, we sat in our home office in our robes, on the phone with our website host company trying to troubleshoot the issue. After several minutes of the most annoying on-hold elevator music EVER, someone came on and asked if we’d had an excessive amount of traffic on our site today.

Still up at 1 a.m. working in our home office.

Still up at 1 a.m. working in our home office.

Just as I was telling the customer service representative that we may have had a bit more traffic than usual, Steve noticed that our post about Pawhuska had been shared on The Pioneer Woman Mercantile Facebook page. Apparently a whole bunch of The Mercantile’s 331,510 followers tried to read our blog post. ALL. AT. THE. SAME. TIME.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile Facebook page

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile shared our post on its Facebook page and the response was overwhelming.

And they “liked” it. And they “shared” it. And they “commented” on it. So, apparently, our website host company has something called a query limit (who knew) that was exceeded and to put it in laymen’s terms, crashed our site. 

I didn’t know whether to cheer or cry. In one moment, we were high-fiving each other that The Pioneer Woman Mercantile shared our post, and we were elated that so many people wanted to read, like, and share it. Then, in the next moment, we were on the verge of tears, realizing that few of the people who wanted to could actually see it.

Let’s just say all of this made for a very short night’s sleep. We were back on the phone with tech support early the next morning with calls, emails, and chats continuing throughout the day.

Bottom line: Our little travel blog was having growing pains and we realized we needed to make some changes to keep up.

I won’t bore you with lengthy explanations of words and acronyms like propagation, bare domain, DNS and CNAME or the conversations we had learning about them. Just know that we have a new Nebraska-based website host (thanks, Flywheel), our own virtual private server, and we can accommodate lots more site visitors now. Yay!

If you got an error message over the weekend or noticed latency in our site, we’re sorry for that. Thank you all for your patience and understanding and for sticking with us as we try to figure out the blogging world one tech call at a time. 

  • What a privilege to be in @visitbentonville this weekend to celebrate the opening of @themomentary and our friend, @addie_roanhorse. Addie’s Osage ribbon work- inspired design is featured on this tower at the Momentary and it is just fabulous! 
This new space opens to the public Feb. 22 and general admission is free, thanks to the generosity of the @waltonfamilyfdn.
  • In @visitmasoncityiowa, you'll find the boyhood home of famous composer Meredith Willson. Perhaps best known for his musical, "The Music Man," Willson based the show in large part on his experiences growing up in his hometown.⁣
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Mason City has kept Willson's memory alive through an extensive museum and convention space, which we got to see on our hosted tour of the town, called The Music Man Square. A part of the experience at Music Man Square is a tour through Willson's childhood home.⁣
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Now is the perfect time to head to Mason City for a visit. Hugh Jackman is set to play Professor Harold Hill in a Broadway revival of, "The Music Man." With that show opening in 2020, all eyes will be back on Mason City.⁣
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@thehughjackman @musicmanbway
  • When the @museumofamericanspeed invited us to come for a complimentary visit, we weren't sure what to expect. ⁣
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Yes, the museum is chock-full of race cars, engines, history, and car-related memorabilia. But it also houses other collections like one of old lunch boxes.⁣
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We had so much fun standing and taking in the lunch boxes, looking and trying to find the ones we had when we were kids. Ann had "Charlie's Angels" and Steve had "Super Friends." ⁣
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If you're ever near Lincoln, Nebraska, check out the Museum of American Speed. It's a true hidden treasure in the midwest. ⁣
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What kind of lunch box did you carry to school? Any kids of the 70s and 80s who had the ones we had?
  • Sometimes you find things in your own backyard.⁣
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Just up the road from our home in Crete, Nebraska, we found the National Museum of Roller Skating. Our curiosity piqued, we stopped in and took a look around. There we found the world's largest collection of historical roller skates, costumes, and memorabilia. ⁣
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It took us back to our childhood and spending time at the roller skating rink (do kids even skate anymore?). We remembered crossing over on the turns for the first time and bending at the knees for "Downtown" by Petula Clark. So many great memories. ⁣
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Sometimes, we focus so much on getting away that we forget that we have some really interesting places close to home, as well. The next time you feel a hankering to go somewhere, maybe try going down the street. You never know what treasure you might find and what memories it evoke.
  • This was our Valentine’s Day dessert last year. Chef Kurtess Mortensen at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile created this memorable dish he called “Fat Elvis.” It was a chocolate bread pudding, served alongside banana brûlée and caramelized peanuts then topped with marshmallow cream, homemade peanut butter ice cream, and a candied bacon garnish. We are giddy with anticipation to see what he comes up with tonight! We are budgeting our calories accordingly. 😉
  • “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”
– Lewis Carroll
  • It's been a long winter. I need to see flowers again! Are you with me?Let's talk about these flowers. ⁣
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We are often asked about our favorite place we've ever visited. While that question is hard to answer, we almost always mention Tallinn, Estonia, as a contender.⁣
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Estonia has an interesting history. Conquered in 1227 by Denmark, it never again enjoyed independence until  1920. That freedom was short lived, however, as the Soviet Union occupied the country in 1940. Finally, in 1991, Estonia regained its independence and has remained free ever since. The country joined NATO in 2004. ⁣
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Visiting Estonia, we could see the remnants of Soviet control. Large block buildings dominate the landscape. They are of Soviet Communist design: utilitarian in nature with no thought given to design. They look just like the buildings you've seen in movies about the Soviet Union. ⁣
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Now free, Estonians have done what they can to erase the gray days of Soviet control. The Soviet-style buildings are painted bright colors, and flowers abound in the streets. The people are warm, cheerful, friendly, and welcoming. ⁣
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Yes, Estonia is a wonderful country, and we can't wait to return.
  • Each year from late February to early April, hundreds of thousands of Sandhills Cranes migrate through Nebraska on their way north to their breeding grounds. It's considered one of the greatest spectacles in nature, so thousands of people come to experience this incredible time.⁣
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We traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, one of the best cities for crane viewing, last year. Because the best times to view the cranes is sunrise and sunset, we found ourselves with some free time during the day. It turns out that Kearney has a lot to offer in terms of things to do.⁣
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Scroll across our highlights on Instagram, and you'll find the stories highlights we made during our time there. On our blog (link in bio) you'll also find a post we wrote with ideas for 20 things to do in Kearney while you wait on the cranes. ⁣
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Put crane viewing on your bucket list. It really is one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had in nature. And don't worry about being bored between sunrise and sunset--Kearney has too much to offer.

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