Christmas 2015. A review.

Let me start this blog by sharing my true feelings about Christmas. I have not liked Christmas since I was maybe 18 years old. Since then I have dreaded every moment of it. Now that I have 2 small children, I put on a brave face, I try to enjoy it and make peace with it.  This year in particular, I feel like I kept the holiday spirit in my heart until about December 19th. Then it left me with my normal cold dead heart.

So. Here is how Christmas was this year for the Kosterpelding clan.

We woke up (at 7:30! woo woo) Christmas Eve to tons of unexpected snow. The flakes were giant. It was beautiful. We took the girls out to play in the snow. Bette hated every minute that she wasn’t being fed snow. Edith loved it. Our neighbors came over and we took turns running them down our driveway in a sled. Luckily traffic was pretty slow that day and there were no fatalities. A bit later we came inside and had a pretty warm snuggly day. We drank hot cocoa. Took naps. Then opened up our family presents. Brent bought me a beautiful onyx ring that I am hoping shields me from the remaining negativity that 2015 might try to sneak in (so far not working). As we were preparing to go to my in-laws house, Edith fell on her face and busted her chin. This resulted in her 3rd set of stitches for 2015.  I was mad as hell at her. She was brave and quickly recovered after the hospital.

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Christmas morning! Yay! Santa brought a bunk bed to the girl with the busted chin. Not a wise move. Bette is teething, or has a cold, or a combination and is completely miserable. The day is nuts. 2 crazy kids who just can’t seem to control their emotions=2 crazy parents who can’t control their emotions. But we survive and go to the in-laws for more family time and Edith gets to bond with her teenage cousins.

The next morning we go back to the in-laws for MORE PRESENTS! These 2 children are flush with gifts.  It is very exciting. Then we go home for Christmas celebration round 234 (or that’s what it feels like). My family comes up and they bring the children bikes (per my dumb ass suggestion). Clearly if my kid can’t handle standing on a couch she can’t handle a bike. But whatever. They must learn! There is a great deal of bike riding around the house that happens and is super cute and fun.

The 27th is celebrated by spending time with my parents. I get to try out my new juicer and feel a glimmer of hope about how great 2016 is going to be when I am juicing my face off. I am completely wiped out by the time my parents leave and fall asleep in a ball on the couch. The rest of the day is spent in survival mode until we can put the kids to bed.

I tell you my truth not because I am a selfish hateful human, but because I am human. The holidays are stressful for me. However, I am grateful. My kids are healthy, and somewhat safe when they are not putting themselves in harms way. Our family came from near and far to visit us in this cold place. We all received many beautiful gifts. We are warm and cozy.  We love each other…for the most part. And I am also glad it’s over.

Happy New Year! May 2016 be safe, glorious, peaceful, and may this year’s calendar end at December 23rd!

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A picture of me in all of my holiday to cheer to show you I am not a monster. Weirdly cut out due to randos in the background.

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Chelsey’s Nebraska Lovin’ Gravy Recipe

Ever since Tommy Colina’s closed in Omaha (RIP) I have been searching for the most perfect wonderful biscuits and gravy recipe. I have tried several things and I have come pretty damn close to recreating it, or at least making … Continue reading

Winter phenomenon.

No flash. Just light.

No flash. Just light.


I often dream of a winterless a winter. A place that never sees snow or experiences the bitter chill of a 10 degree day. Then every year, winter comes and brings with it a sense of peace and ending. A time to retreat and rest up for the spring. If you live in Nebraska you don’t stop in the summer: you are busy every weekend, you eat outdoors as much as you can, you go swimming as much as you can, you try to absorb every parcel of vitamin D that the sun has to offer. This requires a great deal of energy, and I find that by the end of summer, I am ready for a break. Winter allows us to slow down, to cozy up on the couch, to read, to watch movies, to sleep, to watch the beauty of outside from within.
Reindeer.

Reindeer.

The first big snow storm is always magical. It always brings a blanket of comfort and quiet. It also brings light. Winter is dark. The days end at 5 PM and start at 8 AM. But when you get a good snow, sometimes you get this weird winter light that feels like broad daylight into the night. Because of the reflection of the snow and the cloud coverage, you can see blocks away just like it was daytime. And all of the sudden you feel safe. Like nothing bad could ever happen. This is a phenomenon I have often recognized and appreciated, but never really discussed with anyone else. After our first big snowfall this winter, my husband and I talked about how lucky we are to experience this.

Just doing a little outdoor maintenance after the first snow.

Just doing a little outdoor maintenance after the first snow.

A ways into winter, after your body has properly rested and the vitamin D has been fully depleted from your system you are ready for spring again. You crave it and need it. Sometimes you have to wait, and sometimes the winter gives you breaks of sunshine and warmth to help you make it to the end. So until then, I am going to go hibernate.

Wine to keep you warm.

Wine to keep you warm.

Staycation Dreams

The past several months of my existence have been focused on a new house and new baby and this focus will not subside until later this year, I believe. So while I am busy preparing my new home for my new baby, I think about the wonderful little staycations I’d like to take. Since I don’t want to forget my ideas when the time comes, I have decided to post them here.

1. Stay in a hotel in Omaha and go to all of the new bars and restaurants that I constantly miss out on. This staycation may not be as relaxing but by the time I take this staycation I will probably need reminding that I am not an old woman or milk machine.

2. My boo and I will be celebrating 10 years of dating this year, so we could switch up #1 and instead of going to new places, we could go to all our old favorites when we first started dating. When we started dating we worked in the Old Market. So we’d probably have to stay down there- eat at M’s Pub, and drink at Mr. Toads and La Buvette or maybe just in the back room at City Limits.

3. Stay in a cabin for a weekend at Mahoney State Park or Platte River State Park
Cabin must have a fireplace and comfy cozy space to lounge around for 48 hours. I would just plan on drinking strong cocktails in front of said fireplace and sleeping a lot.

4. Slightly further away, but still probably qualifies at staycation, I would like to go GLAMPING. Slattery Vintage Estates is about an hour out of town and it’s a winery that also has glamour camping. Wine + a tent that has a bed in it = my kind of camping.

So even though I only have 4 ideas listed, my brain is not working well enough to remember these in a few months when I can take this staycation. I am currently 38 weeks pregnant and just trying to look forward to a time when I won’t be huge and exhausted, and will be able to enjoy some much needed time with my husband away from our two kids. This is totally going to happen…SOMEDAY!!!

If a picture could epitomize the feelings I hope a staycation will give me, this is it.

If a picture could epitomize the feelings I hope a staycation will give me, this is it.

Moving and Movies

We recently moved to a bigger house. I mentioned before that I lived in a tiny 720 square foot house and now that we are adding a second child to our brood we figured we should move up to a larger space. I loved my tiny home but it was becoming more and more difficult to navigate every day. We are now in a much larger house but one that needs a lot of work. When we decided to move we really wanted a house that we could stay in for a long time. I know that with much work and probably a great deal of heart ache, we will make this house our home.

As we began our search for a new house I started fantasizing again about moving away. I felt like this was one of those windows of opportunity for us to make a big leap and go somewhere else. I mentioned this a few times to my husband in passing. I don’t think he took me too seriously, I don’t know that I took myself too seriously. At times I did feel like Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road. The idea of just selling everything and moving to Paris (or in my case somewhere in the U.S. outside of the Nebraska) was appealing to me. Of course her story did not end well, and maybe the lesson is to just be content where you are instead of forcing adventure and romance.

I have also been thinking a lot about my childhood and how I hope Edith can have a similar one. I think our new neighborhood seems friendly in the same way mine did growing up. I grew up in the middle of the state in a quiet neighborhood with lots of kids. I walked and road my bike everywhere, without wearing a helmet and without the supervision of my parents. My friends and I would stay outside until dark every night, even in winter. We were living the dream. Even though it was the 1990’s our lives were like those in The Sandlot or Now and Then. We had an idyllic childhood. Even if things weren’t great at home, we had each other and we had our neighborhood. I feel so lucky that I had this and I wish every kid could have this kind of childhood.

Things with this move have been beyond stressful. We keep finding new and depressing things that need repaired at our home (despite the home inspection). I am pregnant and we are trying to raise a 2 year old. We have been rushing to get into this house and to get our old house ready to rent. It has been rough. I have cried. I have wanted many times to run away and leave this mess behind. Last night we finally got a little break. My mother-in-law babysat, and my husband and I went to dinner and saw a movie, Don Jon. You may not think this movie has a message when you first start watching it, but then you realize it’s about slowing down, loving someone, and not being selfish. I know my desires to run away are selfish. The movie reminded me that even though I get distracted sometimes, I have a great love and I know that in the end we will be content…wherever we are.

Ominous cloud in Omaha last night. I think it looks like an angry elephant.

Ominous cloud in Omaha last night. I think it looks like an angry elephant.

Bozeman, Montana

I recently embarked on my first vacation without my child! Huge accomplishment, right? Anyways, I visited my childhood best friend, Hayden (going on 19 years of friendship) in Bozeman, Montana. I was only there for three days but we packed our days full and had a blast! My first day we walked around the Bozeman downtown and ate, drank, and shopped. Of course you get to do this while being surrounded by mountains on all sides! For a small town, it had amazing food and drinks and really cute boutiques. Hayden lived near the downtown in a converted large house/small mansion. The yards in her neighborhood were filled with really cool vegetable gardens and many of the houses looked like they were super energy efficient.

Montana-ritas! Huckleberry!

Montana-ritas! Huckleberry!


I am so insanely jealous of this garden!

I am so insanely jealous of this garden!

After bopping around Bozeman, we headed out on the open road to a hot springs called Chico Hot Springs. This may have been my favorite part of the trip. Basically this was an outdoor pool that was fed by hot springs. The large pool side was lukewarm and then there was a smaller hot side. It felt to me like I was taking a bath outdoors while looking up at mountains. It was incredible. The drive out was pretty great too, saw lots of animals including alpacas (which I was made fun of for because I knew that they were not llamas). After Chico we headed into Livingston, Montana for a dinner filled with wine, beef, veggies, and the most delicious cheeses at a place called Second Street Bistro. The town was as cute as could be too!

Post-Chico bathing

Post-Chico bathing


No alpacas here, but it is still amazing!

No alpacas here, but it is still amazing!


Livingston, MT

Livingston, MT


Cuteness never stops!

Cuteness never stops!

The second day was laid back, and rather chilly. While Omaha was boiling at about 90 with 90% humidity, Saturday in Bozeman was a cool 50-60 with occasional rain. Hayden and I were pretty lazy for the most part but we did go on a hike up some hills near her house while the sun was shining. We climbed the path, admiring the views of the mountains and the storms in said mountains. Not long after we reached the high point of the trail, it dropped about 20 degrees, clouded up, and the rain started. We made our way down the hill much quicker than our way up.

Clouds and Mountains

Clouds and Mountains


It's important to have a giant bloody mary while hiking.

It’s important to have a giant bloody mary while hiking.


More clouds

More clouds


Storm!

Storm!

Sunday, I woke up and walked around downtown Bozeman before Hayden woke up. I grabbed a crappy cup of coffee and wandered around. There wasn’t much open but the sky was clear and the air was the warmest it had been my whole trip. A short time later, we headed out for white water rafting on the Gallatin River. I complained the entire time before we started because I was scared, and let’s face it, I didn’t enjoy being in a cold wetsuit in 70 degree weather. We went, I survived, and moments were fun. Our guide was hilarious, and everyone sensed my fear and kept talking about how I was going to fall off the raft. Luckily, I did not fall into the icy waters. It was not on my bucket list, but if it was I could check it off and not have to worry about doing it again.

Hotel Baxter

Hotel Baxter


And then Hayden turned into a moose.

And then Hayden turned into a moose.

My trip was fast and fun. I enjoyed getting a break from my darling toddler and had a blast with my best friend. I know I could have done so much more, but I only had so much time. Maybe next time we will go to Yellowstone and see the Old Faithful and make our way up to Big Sky. I was glad to get home to the balmy weather and to feel like I was wrapped in a cozy blanket, thank you Nebraska summertime.

Pretty Montana Flower. First person to identify wins a cookie.

Pretty Montana Flower. First person to identify wins a cookie.

ANGRY RANT: My flights were delayed in Denver for my flight to Bozeman and back home to Omaha. I spent a total of 13 hours in the stupid Denver airport. It made me somewhat homicidal. I complained to Frontier and they didn’t care. I hate them. I think they stink and I never want to fly with them again. So since they didn’t care, I am going to complain on my blog. Justice will never be served.

Permanence

As my year-o-Nebraska ended, I decided to have my love for the state displayed in a permanent way (I apologize in advance to my in-laws who will not be happy about this). My dear friend Alea and I got ourselves Nebraska Tattoos. We got them just days before she left for Sweden. I love it so much and I am so happy that Alea took the plunge with me.

Nebraska, I love you, and now you are forever a part of me…you better continue to impress!

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Thanks to Xander at Broken Halo!

2012 Reflections

The year is coming to an end, which means new resolutions and assessing this year’s resolutions.  Last year I made a resolution to appreciate the state that I live in. I think I did a great job of that.  I honestly discovered more of Nebraska in a year than I had in my life.  I read My Antonia (by Willa Cather- Nebraska native), I drove across the state with my family in tow for a week-long Nebraska extravaganza, I drank a lot of Nebraska wine, I blogged my ass off about Nebraska, I bought a cute Nebraska necklace, I visited the Omaha zoo many times, I planted a big garden…that wasn’t super successful  I spent many nights outside by the fire pit with my husband, I spent my days playing with my darling child and surviving motherhood, and most of all I just really tried to be thankful for my life–all parts, not just the Nebraska parts.

Now that the year is over, I am feeling sort of sad.  I made the resolution last year because I knew that Nebraska would like be my forever home. Nebraska is practical, sensible, safe, etc.  Omaha is a great place to live and raise a family. The public schools are decent, cost of living is low, there are a million things to do all the time, and you get to be in a city with the perks of small town living.  For some reason though, I have been thinking of my past dreams.  I wanted to move so badly, I wanted to live in New Orleans or Portland, even some place in Texas where the weather is warmer.  It is sort of heartbreaking to know that those things didn’t happen and probably never will.  My husband has lived all over…I guess that’s what he gets for marrying later in life and what I get for marrying early.   Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. It’s simple, safe, and full of love, but I also find myself craving adventure.  Maybe it’s because one of my dearest friends in Omaha is going to Sweden for 6 months. My heart is breaking that she is leaving. I would give my right arm to go visit her, but I know that the chances of that are super slim.  I am beyond happy for her…just going to miss her like crazy.  Luckily we will be going to Mardi Gras this year and we will get to see lots of friends and new babies.  I hope that fulfills some of my travel dreams.  I literally dream of traveling at least once a week.  So far I have been to Berlin, Paris, Disney World, and Hawaii; it has been great!

So I guess as this new year is approaching, I hope that I can continue to love and appreciate Nebraska. I hope I continue to be thankful.  I am very thankful to those of you who have read my blog and joined me on my adventures. I hope that you have seen something here that’s makes you want to love Nebraska too, or at least visit!

Lots of love to you in 2013.  XOXO

Chelsey

Two of the highlights from 2012 (three if you count Chimney Rock)

Two of the highlights from 2012 (three if you count Chimney Rock)