On this last day of 2015, it has been nice to reminisce about our year, where we’ve been and where we’d still love to go someday.

Our travels began when we welcomed in 2015 with a New Year’s celebration with our parents in the Florida Keys and took us to Estes Park where we photographed the sun rising over Rocky Mountain National Park on Easter Sunday.

Ann loved the chance to venture out at sunrise on Easter morning for a private photography lesson near Estes Park, Colorado.

We made three more trips back to Rochester, Minnesota, this year where Ann had another surgery and was treated at the Mayo Clinic [read about a touching experience at Mayo here] and we spent time with friends and family in Minneapolis.

This summer, our daughter studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and we were fortunate enough to be able to “pick her up from school” at the end of her term after a relaxing Celebrity Cruise that began in Rome, Italy, and ended in Barcelona, Spain.

The view from our ship as we docked in Ajaccio, Corsica, a place neither of us had ever seen and both want to return.

The view from our ship as we docked in Ajaccio, Corsica, a place neither of us had ever seen and both want to return.

When we returned to our home in Crete, Nebraska, we explored some local sites, including Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, Morrill Hall, the National Roller Skating Museum, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, and the Germans from Russia Museum and stayed close to home most of the fall so we could attend home Husker football games.

Jellyfish in the Aquarium at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

We did something new for Thanksgiving this year and drove to Dallas, Texas, where Meghan got to see her beloved Cowboys play in AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.

Sadly, we didn’t get to display this sign much, as Tony Romo went out early with yet another injury.

We spent Christmas at home this year and will welcome in 2016 with a quiet dinner at home, with family and new friends.

We are so grateful for the opportunities we’ve had travel, relax, explore, and learn and don’t take any of this for granted. We’ve really enjoyed blogging about our adventures and cannot thank all of you enough for your comments, shares, reposts, likes, and especially — your postcards. As we close out 2015, and reflect on all of life’s ups and downs, let us leave you with this anonymous quote … “We travel not to escape life, but life to not escape us.”

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and well-traveled 2016.

  • 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.⁣
⁣
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.⁣
⁣
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.⁣
⁣
@thehughjackman @musicmanbway
  • When the @museumofamericanspeed invited us to come for a complimentary visit, we weren't sure what to expect. ⁣
⁣
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.⁣
⁣
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." ⁣
⁣
If you're ever near Lincoln, Nebraska, check out the Museum of American Speed. It's a true hidden treasure in the midwest. ⁣
⁣
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.⁣
⁣
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. ⁣
⁣
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. ⁣
⁣
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. ⁣
⁣
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.⁣
⁣
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. ⁣
⁣
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. ⁣
⁣
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. ⁣
⁣
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.⁣
⁣
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.⁣
⁣
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. ⁣
⁣
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.

Second most popular blog in Pawhuska