Like many of you, I’m sure, we’ve spent much of this spring celebrating graduations, birthdays, grand openings, engagements, and weddings. Our schedules have been fast paced and we’ve felt so blessed to have so many things to celebrate with friends and family. Thought we’d share a few pictures to show you what we’ve been up to.

Ann’s niece Jordyn got married

Our wedding season actually began just before May when Ann’s niece, Jordyn, married the love of her life, Maury. The wedding and reception were at The Nebraska Club on the 20th floor of a building in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. I was honored when Jordyn asked me to pray with the wedding party just before the ceremony. In a celebration of bringing two families and cultures together, Steve translated my prayer to Spanish. It was a fabulous evening filled with love, dancing, and a little tequila.

Ann's niece Jordyn and her husband Maury at their wedding.

The Oilman’s Daughter opens in Pawhuska

We were so happy to be in Pawhuska for the ribbon cutting and open house at The Oilman’s Daughter vacation home rental. We’ve been watching the renovation of this home for months and were so happy to celebrate with new friends, Suzanne and Cathy. The luxurious Oilman’s Daughter is listed on Airbnb. It offers four bedrooms, each with king-size beds, and more space both indoors and out than you’ll know what to do with.

Oilman's Daughter bedroom

Reba Bueno marries Justin Connor

If it wasn’t for Reba Bueno, we may have never ended up in Pawhuska. Reba works at the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce and was the person who thought to invite us to judge the National Indian Taco Championships there back in 2017. The couple had planned to have their wedding outside, but because of excessive rain, it had to be moved indoors. However, the change in location didn’t dampen the festivities at all.

Steve, Reba and Ann

Reba was a gorgeous bride and it was such a blessing to be able to be there on her special day. She put so much into all the details, including spray painting pinto beans for the centerpieces and having custom cookies representing each of the couples’ favorite sports teams. We couldn’t be happier for Reba and Justin!

A fiesta for Meg and Stephen

Our friend Cyndi Kane (aka Ree Drummond’s BFF Hyancinth) is soon to be mother of the bride. Her daughter, Meg Kane, is getting married soon, so Ree and her daughter Alex (who is Meg’s maid of honor) threw an over-the-top fiesta to celebrate the couple. The seemingly endless Mexican buffet, created by Chef Kurtess Mortensen, was simply incredible. We savored ceviche three ways, chicken enchiladas, mole, and freshly made street tacos with four filling options. In addition, there was a mariachi band, dancers, margaritas, fresh flowers, and a Food Network film crew. Stay tuned … It was also an opportunity to finally meet The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, herself. Yes, she’s just as nice in person as she is on TV.

ree drummond fiesta

Meghan’s graduation at the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa

Our parents joined us in Tulsa to see Meghan walk at the graduation ceremony for OU-Tulsa. She still has a few months to go before completing the accelerated BSN program there, but they let nursing students participate in the graduation anyway. We were proud to see her walk across the stage and are excited for her to finish this intense program and become a nurse. Meg decided the night before the ceremony that she wanted to decorate her graduation cap. After an early morning run to Hobby Lobby, we crafted a cute design that captured her time in nursing school.

Meghan's graduation!

Ann turns 50!

I feel like we spent the month of May celebrating my 50th! I was so spoiled by all of the calls, cards, texts, and messages I received for my birthday this year. Y’all made turning the big 5-0 so much fun! I was able to spend time with family on my special day. Steve and I stayed the night at the Boarding House in Pawhuska and Meg joined us for dinner at The Mercantile and a painting class. The next night, we celebrated even more with friends at P-Town Pizza. We also took a siblings trip to Arizona with my brother and sister which I’ll write more about later. I have to say that so far, the 50s are treating me well and I’ve never felt more blessed.

ann's 50th birthday

 

Steve’s nephew graduates from high school

Our nephew, Connor, graduated from high school in Hays, Kansas, this year. Meghan met us in Pawhuska and the three of us drove to western Kansas to help Connor and his family celebrate. It was fun to look back at all of Connor’s school pictures and read about his many academic and athletic accomplishments. It’s hard to believe he is 18 and will be starting college at Coe College (and playing soccer there) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this fall.

Steve with nephew Connor

Family together to celebrate Connor's graduation

Celebrating our mothers

With all of the other celebrations going on, it was nice to be able to spend time with both our moms the week of Mother’s Day. After Meghan’s graduation in Tulsa, they joined us in Pawhuska for a few days. We ate lots of good food and indulged in delicious Tillamook ice cream together at Charlie’s Sweet Shop. We love our moms, Gayle and Carol, and are so thankful that we had time with both of them this year around Mother’s Day.

Our moms in front of The Mercantile

 

Now that I’ve actually written this all out, I’m coming realize why we haven’t gotten a blog post done in several weeks! It’s a busy time of year, but one that I always cherish and celebrate. Time with family and friends is a blessing, and I’m thankful we’ve had an abundance of it lately.

  • Steve writes: When I first set my eyes on the outside of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, I was unimpressed. In fact, I thought it was plain ugly. Construction continued, and I returned several times over the years, each time finding more to like about it. Finally, on a visit with Ann, the inside of the Cathedral was open for a visit. So we went inside.⁣
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Architect Antonin Gaudi's creation is brilliant. The way he uses stained glass to bring color to the stone inside, combined with the shadows created by the shape of the stone is breathtaking. Truly, this cathedral might be the most impressive one I've seen anywhere. This place should be on your bucket list. It's worth a trip to Barcelona to see it.
  • We've been going to the @PWMercantile for a couple of years now, especially since we bought a house in Pawhuska. Over that time, we've seen a number of changes both to the restaurant and to the merchandise they have in the store. But one item has remained constant: these turquoise beads.
  • One of our favorite stops on our hosted food tour of @visitkansascityks was the @403club. Sure, they offer a great selection of locally crafted and larger production domestic beers. But they also have pinball machines. In fact, they even have a pinball league.⁣
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We spent about an hour in this fun spot, sipping, playing, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. It will definitely be on our list of places to go again, someday. Beer and pinball are a pretty good mix.
  • On our visit to Italy, we visited the Prosecco region. While we toured a number of wineries, we actually stayed at an inn run by the Roccat winery. ⁣
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Prosecco is a sparkling wine, and people often see it as intergangeable with champagne. This isn't the case at all. Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape, while Prosecco comes from Glara. Because of this, the two wines are completely different.⁣
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We enjoyed a tasting at Roccat, where they served us glasses of crisp, clear, delicious wine alongside some crunchy breadsticks that were just the right thing to enjoy with the wine.⁣
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If you ever have the opportunity to go to Italy, make sure you include time to head to Valdobbiandene and try some Prosecco.
  • Located in @clearlakeiowa, the historic Surf Ballroom has hosted some of the biggest names in music. It was on this stage that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson performed their final show on February 3, 1959. After the concert, they boarded a plane for their next town on their tour. That plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and the date has been remembered ever since as "the day the music died."⁣
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@traveliowa
  • Set in Millennium Park in Chicago is one of the city's most iconic art installations. It's a giant, shiny bean which reflects everything in sight. It's fun to walk around (and under) the bean and see how the shape distorts what it reflects.⁣
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Folks come from all over to see this art installation and take it in. Children love running around it and gazing into it, not realizing they are learning about convex and concave shapes. ⁣
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Standing here you'll hear a multitude of languages and see people from all walks of life there to enjoy the art. And that's why we love public art so much--it brings people together.
  • On our cruise from Italy to Greece, we made a stop in Mykonos. There, we had the chance to take part in a Greek cooking class in a woman's home learning from her.⁣
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We spent an afternoon with lessons about Greek cuisine, and how they waste nothing, not even excess juice from a cucumber. We also saw how to make incredible dishes like this spanakopita, or spinach pie. Sitting in her dining room, enjoying the light, flaky crust and delicious filling is an experience we won't soon forget. ⁣
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While traveling, we try to find opportunities to experience local culture. It's amazing how similar people in the world really are if you just take some time to see what life is like.
  • Do you remember that song from "The Music Man" about trouble? You know the one about the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool hall window after school. ⁣
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Well, we got to peek in a replica of that pool hall on a recent visit to The Music Man Square on our hosted to Mason City, Iowa. It's the town where "The Music Man" creator Meredith Willson was born and raised and his legacy lives on. ⁣
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Before you go see @thehughjackman and @suttonlenore in this Broadway favorite, consider a visit to the real River City.⁣
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Click on the link in our bio to see our latest blog post about why fans of "The Music Man" need to visit Mason City, Iowa. ⁣
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@themusicmanbway

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