Death of the Chelsey Nebraska Act

My dad recently mentioned that I haven’t posted on here since December. The truth is, I don’t feel any passion towards this project anymore. The Chelsey Nebraska Act was started at the end of a job and shortly after having my first baby. It was my intention to use this blog to settle in and start liking the state that I was destined to be in for a long time. Little did I know, it was actually an attempt to appreciate the here and now. What I have realized in the nearly five years since starting this, is that I don’t need Nebraska to appreciate my here and now.  I think it was a fun project that served a purpose for me and I am grateful for that, but my passions have changed. I see things differently.

As much as I would like to be able to write about the beauty of this state, I can’t anymore. I cannot continue to write in a voice that is no longer (or maybe never was) mine.  I have changed, and when I feel like writing I feel like being brutally honest. I feel like telling everyone about the deep pain and the deep joy I feel. I feel like talking about how god damned hard being a mom is some day, and also how some days I feel like the luckiest human on the planet. I want to tell everyone about how my soul is being transformed. About how I refuse to tolerate hate, fear, bigotry, and close-mindedness. I can no longer sit by and pretend to be someone I am not.

Who am I? I am a mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend, a feminist, a liberal, a believer in love and mysticism.  I am open-hearted and open-minded. I believe everyone should have equal rights and a right to love and feel safe. I get angry and feel rage about the current state of our world, our families, and our lives. I ebb and flow…which is probably why I decided to publish this after a full moon. Some days I feel grounded and like I can spread love to the world, and some days I want to burn it all down. I am human and I am evolving. I have never felt “seen” in this world, but I am seeing myself for the first time. I am new and I am old.

So, I just can’t write any more puff pieces on here. It’s not me. I cannot sit by and tell you how great this Republican state is. It has it’s perks like any state does, but everyone (every state) can make progress. Everyone is capable of change. Everyone can love more and fear/hate less. Everyone can choose presence over worry and regret. But we cannot do it alone.  We must do it together and we must speak up about love and change. Passivity is only making things worse and it’s my belief that, as a human race, we are being called to make radical change. So here’s to the the death of the Chelsey Nebraska Act and the birth of something new!

 

A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life. 

-Virginia Woolf 

 

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Important!

If any of you read my blog, are friends with me, are related to me by blood, you are required to go vote for my ice-cream flavor here: https://www.ecreamery.com/index.php/sweetest-giveaway/view/detail/id/37

It’s called Roller Rink Pink. It’s bubblegum. With sprinkles. And cherry swirl. It’s a dream come true. Please. Thank you. I love you.

Here is a picture of Bette eating cherries. Think of how cute she'd be if she were eating bubblegum ice cream with cherry swirl!!!!

Here is a picture of Bette eating cherries. Think of how cute she’d be if she were eating bubblegum ice cream with cherry swirl!!!!

30. Part 1.

I am just rounding the orbit to year 31 of my life. Since I made an unofficial bucket list for my 30’s I thought I should review my progress based on my last year of life.

Here it goes:

1. Do fun things.

I have done a few fun things this year. One favorite memories of the year is going to Jenny Lewis with friends and singing along at the top of our lungs. Another favorite memory is sitting around a fire with my husband, best friend, and brother-in-law talking and laughing.

2. Appreciate my time as a mom of little kids.

Edith amazes me daily. She says some of the strangest things and her imagination is always on the run. I am awed by her. Bette is just the best baby. She smiles constantly and loves to laugh. I could not have asked for a better second child.

3. Discover a balance in my roles as worker, mom, wife, friend.

This year I transitioned to another job. While it is not a super professional/fancy/high-up position, it was a good change. I have found that working 30 hours a week, and being home with my kids 2 days a week is pretty good balance. I also make time to see my friends at least twice a month.

4. Date my husband again.

We have gone on a handful of dates in the past year…not nearly as many as I’d like. I guess we will have to keep working at this one.

5. Appreciate my inner and outer beauty.

This is still a struggle for me. My body has changed after having two kids. I also chopped all of my hair off and most days I don’t see myself as very feminine. I guess it’s about appreciating my new looks.

6. Celebrate my friendships.

The first half of the year I was digging through motherhood and was not able to connect with people. The second half of the year I am still struggling to find time for everyone, but certain friendships have grown stronger than ever. I am grateful for this.

7. Make do and mend.

I did not have a successful garden this year. I blame the weather, but I am sure my grumpy neighbors would say it was because I didn’t pull my weeds. On the plus side, I have barely bought any new clothes. So I think I get points for that.

8. Give myself a break.

I am trying. Not only am I trying to give myself a break from being a good mom/wife/worker etc. I am also trying to let go of guilt and unrealistic expectations. I do have to focus on myself and my family right now. Later in life, I may be more available to others, but right now I am not.

9. Take care of my body.

For part of the year I was pretty good about going on regular walks and runs. This has not been very consistent.

10. Travel.

Well I did go to Long Beach, CA with Brent and Bette this year. As a family, we went to Seward, NE and Brownville, NE for day trips. Besides that, the thought of overnight travel with two kids is horrifying to me. We will not be traveling for a while.

Thirty-wonderful.

Thirty-wonderful.

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is an Omaha fall must-do activity. It is fun whether or not you have kids, seriously. There is a hay rack ride, an apple shooter thing, singing animatronic animals, caramel apples, and of course a pumpkin patch. There is also a little story book village, pony rides, huge bouncy air pillows that kids can jump on, a train ride, and a corn maze which we got lost in last year (yes, I did have a meltdown when this happened). All of these glorious attractions do come with a price, it is very expensive and on the weekend the traffic is atrocious. However, there is just something I can’t resist about it…and usually we go on a weekday.

Here are some pictures!

Baby by a corn stalk teepee

Baby by a corn stalk teepee


Her first goat feeding. Pretty sure she got bit a time or two.

Her first goat feeding. Pretty sure she got bit a time or two.


A tree.

A tree.


There are a million of these cut outs for photo ops!

There are a million of these cut outs for photo ops!


I don't think this is SUPPOSED to be creepy.

I don’t think this is SUPPOSED to be creepy.


And of course this is not scary at all.

And of course this is not scary at all.


However, I really like this clock.

However, I really like this clock.


And the trip would not be complete without Darth Vader.

And the trip would not be complete without Darth Vader.

Bellevue Berry Farm

Warm welcome to the Bellevue Berry Farm

Warm welcome to the Bellevue Berry Farm

Edith and I went to the Bellevue Berry Farm a couple of weeks ago. This had been on my list of things to do all summer. We missed strawberry season by a long shot but made it for raspberries. We were able to go on an unseasonably cool day. It was even raining a bit in the morning so Edith could wear her Thomas the Train raincoat. I got this coat for her at a garage sale and she is obsessed with it. She knows she only gets to wear it when it rains so I think she has developed a fondness for rain.
This is the level of enthusiasm we like to see at the berry farm!

This is the level of enthusiasm we like to see at the berry farm!


It was a really quick drive from Midtown Omaha out to the farm. We arrived and there was no one there. I drove around for a while, saw some cows and corn, then decided to call them. Once we figured out where we were going, we got right to it. I chose the big box for picking because I assumed we would kick ass at berry picking. It was a slow process. After about 15 minutes the bottom of our box was barely covered. It was at about this point that Edith realized the berries were edible. She then started stealing all of the berries out of the berry box. I tried to show her that she could eat as many berries as she wanted, she would just need to pick them! She was not as interested in doing the work for her berries.
Berry stealer. Heart stealer. In general no good thief.

Berry stealer. Heart stealer. In general no good thief.


We were out in the berry field for about an hour. I picked berries and Edith ran around for the most part. There was another little boy about Edith’s age there with his mom. They chased each other around and at one point they were climbing the fence together. This was the cutest moment of the day. I did not take a picture because I didn’t want to be that weirdo photographing a stranger’s child. I am also 100% sure that Edith instigated the fence climbing. Before she showed up the little boy was just running around like a sweetheart, then she corrupted him.
Just checking on the fields.

Just checking on the fields.


We finished up and I took the berries to the scale. Our box was about half-way full and I was wishing we could have picked more but it was time to get home for lunch. I ended up getting 6 1/2 pounds of delicious raspberries. After taking my berries home I was surprised by how much 6 1/2 pounds of berries actually is. I made about 6 jars of jam, took out about a pound for snacking on, and put a huge bag full in the freezer. It was a good raspberry filled day.
We did have a berry nice day.

We did have a berry nice day.

Cute raspberry baby and aging mother.

Cute raspberry baby and aging mother.

Out of Nebraska

I just survived a road trip to Georgia…with a one year old in tow.  I have always claimed to  hate road trips, and this one had it’s moments, but overall I really did enjoy the experience.  There were a few meltdowns (both me and Edith), but we all survived without any threat of divorce or adoption.  On our 16 hour drive we traveled through Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and finally Georgia where we got to see a beautiful couple get married (Congrats Dave and Barbara!)

Somewhere in Tennessee, I think!

My eyes were really opened to how amazing it is that we live in this huge country that has so many climates, landscapes, and cultures.  I have been to Branson, Missouri on a number of horrible family vacations and never realized that the entire state (not only the Ozarks) is covered in beautiful bluffs and trees. You get to drive through and see the layers of red earth and every color of tree.  The people of Missouri were all gems too.  Well I guess I should say the old people we encountered at a McDonald’s were.  Every single one of them said good morning to us and gave Edith a cute wave or smile. This was a welcome change  a day after I was at a mall in Omaha and surrounded by old ladies who ignored me, and refused to hold door for me despite needing help maneuvering with a stroller… humph!

I couldn’t resist posting this photo of Edith in a sailor outfit, I didn’t take enough pictures on this trip!

It was such a great time of year for this trip. The trees were turning, and really changed from the beginning of the trip to the end.  Nearing Nashville we drove through these large hills. It was morning and with the fog, I felt like we were in a rain-forest.  And close to Chattanooga we saw a natural spring/waterfall coming out of the rocks next to the interstate. The Smoky Mountains are completely deserving of their name.  The low and intense fog makes you feel  like you are driving into a giant fire. Northern Georgia was just as gorgeous as the rest of the trip.  We drove over Lake Lanier several times. It’s a sight you just don’t see in Nebraska, the red clay banks and forests lining the lake.  In Georgia, we also saw signs almost every mile that there were boiled peanuts for sale.  We didn’t stop to partake of them, honestly they sound gross, but it was cool to see so many people selling things near the road.

Photos taken from the car…not ideal!

Even though I enjoyed traveling through this part of the country I am still happy to be living in Nebraska. There may not be mountains, big lakes, or tree-lined roads, but it’s clean, safe, and there are never pedestrians on the interstate (I’m talking about you Missouri).  I think about how much I have yet to discover about Nebraska and then I think about the rest of the country and I get overwhelmed.  I really hope the whole “buy local” trend expands to traveling. We all have so much to appreciate right where we are.

Driving into Nebraska.

It turned fall while we were away!

Ft. Robinson and Niobrara State Park

Apparently a week of travel through Nebraska takes a month to blog about.   Our last couple days of travel included a night at Ft. Robinson State Park, a trip to the Fur Trade Museum, and a very relaxing evening in a sweet cabin at Niobrara State Park.  So many of our friends spent childhood summer vacations at Ft. Robinson but none of us had ever been there.  We went to the Trailside Museum and saw some mammoths and other fossils, then we just walked around and checked out some of the buildings.  We stayed the night in the lodge, which is the main building of the fort, and sat on the big porch and played cards after dark.  Ft. Robinson is where Crazy Horse surrendered and was killed.  There was a certain creepiness about the fort since it seemed like the site of a lot of violence and death.  However, our night was spent ghost free…as far as we know.  In the morning we took a drive around the fort and saw an antelope and some long-horned steer, then made our way along the top of the state to Niobrara State Park.

One of the Nebraska Passport stops was the Museum of the Fur Trade.  I am not going to lie, this stop did not excite me at all so it surprised me that I enjoyed it as much as I did.  I think they did a nice job of  including girly things in the museum.  There were lots of beautiful clothes on display and tactile displays.  Their gift shop was filled with beautiful blankets, jewelry, and of course furs.  I bought some turquoise earrings and then lost one of them that night… sadness overtakes me.

We arrived at Niobrara State Park just in time to fire up the grill and hang out a bit in our cabin before putting the baby to bed.  Our stay at Niobrara was incredibly relaxing and the cabin was perfect.  This is not the area of Niobrara that you can canoe or tube down, but it was really pretty and just what we needed at the end of a long road trip. We sat out on our covered porch and watched set while we reminisced about our giant trip across the most beautiful state in the country, Nebraska.