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.

  • 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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