Today is our daughter Meghan’s birthday. She is 24 which makes me feel so old. I know it’s cliché, but it really does seem like yesterday that I was in my twenties, living in South Carolina and working as sports writer covering the first high school football game of the season on my due date. There was no labor that night, or the next day, or three days later on Labor Day for that matter. No, in true Meghan fashion, she took her sweet time coming into the world and arrived five days past her due date at 7:11 a.m. Sept. 7, 1994.

The day Meghan was born, Sept. 7, 1994.

The day Meghan was born, Sept. 7, 1994.

I was in love the moment I set eyes on my first and only child. She was perfect and my life would never be the same.

Ann and Meghan have attended a Nebraska Cornhusker football game together every year since Meghan was born.

Ann and Meghan have attended a Nebraska Cornhusker football game together every year since Meghan was born.

As a single mother, we shared so many special mother/daughter memories over the years, many of them involving travel. We’ve been to a Nebraska football game every year since she was born (well, that is if you count last Saturday’s single play before the game was canceled due to thunderstorms).

This picture was taken on our very first Nebraska road trip somewhere in the Sandhills. It was the first time either one of us had been there.

This picture was taken on our very first Nebraska road trip somewhere in the Sandhills. It was the first time either one of us had been there.

We road tripped across our home state most summers beginning the year she was in fourth grade and explored Europe for the first time together on a school trip with other foreign language students and teachers.

Meghan with her classmates in Salzburg, Austria in 2012.

Meghan with her classmates in Salzburg, Austria in 2012.

We even traveled around the world (literally) in 2005 when we flew from the U.S. to London to Sri Lanka. We volunteered as Christian missionaries after the tsunami there and then returned to the states via Tokyo, Japan to complete our trip around the globe.

We spent a lot of time in Sri Lanka with kids and families who were hungry and homeless after the devastating tsunami.

We spent a lot of time in Sri Lanka with kids and families who were hungry and homeless after the devastating tsunami.

Steve and I got married when Meghan was 16 and the three of us have shared memorable travel experiences, as well. A cruise to Alaska, a Thanksgiving Day trip to Dallas to see the Cowboys play, and several memorable evenings sharing a bottle of wine and eating paella on the square in Salamanca, Spain.

Ann Steve and Meghan at the Cowboys Stadium.

Meghan was so happy that then Cowboys QB Tony Romo had just been cleared to play in the game that day after missing several games with an injury. Sadly, he was re-injured during the game.

We’re both a little sad that we won’t see Meghan today. We are in Nebraska this week, and she’s in Oklahoma where she is in an accelerated nursing school program. We’re so proud of where her journey has taken her and are confident she’ll be a great nurse. Fittingly, her hospital rotation this week is in labor and delivery and she’s been able to witness new parents bringing their own children into the world. It’s my hope that when she sees the joy and love in their faces when they see their babies for the first time, she’ll know exactly how I felt the day she was born – 24 years ago, today.

Happy Birthday, Meg.

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  • This is our Airbnb, Postcard Place. It's located right in Pawhuska, just a two and a half minute drive from the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile. It even has its own Instagram account, @postcardplce. ⁣
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Postcard Place can accommodate up to six people. With comfy bedding (including clean duvets for each new guest), USB ports by every bed, make-up remover wipes, comfy blankets for tv viewing, complimentary coffee/tea, creamer, full kitchen, soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and even a luggage scale, we've tried to think of everything you might want when spending a night away from home. Of course, we also provide stamped Pawhuska postcards so you can send greetings to those who couldn't come along on the trip.⁣
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Find Postcard Place on Airbnb and book it for your next trip to Pawhuska and come @visittheosage.
  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.

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