Long Beach

Bette Lou

Bette Lou


My dear little baby Bette was born in April and since then life has been nuts. Having two kids is hard work. My friend Christine says it makes you a gangster at life. I don’t really feel like a gangster yet, or at least not a successful one. Maybe one who continues to fail at all of her drug deal and keeps shooting the wrong people. Needless to say I have been losing my mind. So in May I took a very impromptu trip to Long Beach, CA with my husband and newborn. My husband was going there for work and the prospect of being home alone with two kids, outnumbered, scared the crap out of me. So two days before he left, we bought a ticket for me. Our oldest stayed back with the grandparents. I guess you could call it a babymoon, post-baby.
Just a month old. Her first hotel stay/vacation/plane ride.

Just a month old. Her first hotel stay/vacation/plane ride.


I think back on this trip and it’s a dreamy time. We were able to lie in bed with our baby, take naps, and stroll around a very strange but beautiful city. Long Beach is not a very glamorous destination, but the architecture is beautiful, there are palm trees, and there is one very large boat parked there called the Queen Mary.
Handsome guy with a stroller

Handsome guy with a stroller


Art-Deco!

Art-Deco!


Another beaut!

Another beaut!


lb2
It was a blessing in disguise that there was not a lot to do in Long Beach (without the help of car), so we did not do much other than go to the Queen Mary. We spent one full day there walking around an enormous art-deco boat. I took Bette to the pool for the first time. One of my best friends also came down from LA to see us. It was a great time.
The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary


Queen Mary Bar

Queen Mary Bar


Another  shot of the bar

Another shot of the bar

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Seward, The Fourth of July Capitol of Nebraska

This Fourth of July we took the patriotic trek to Seward, Nebraska where there is no shortage of enthusiasm for this grand holiday. My darling cousin grew up there and has been trying to entice us to visit for years now. We had previously used excuses like “I am pregnant” or “I don’t want to travel with a toddler”. Excuses, excuses, let’s travel with a toddler and a newborn! Yes! To get the full scope of what the Fourth of July in Seward is all about, check out thie website: http://www.julyfourthseward.com/images/JULY4schedule.pdf

Getting to Seward from Omaha took about an hour and 15 minutes. We pulled into town to see everyone walking or biking to the center square. There was also a “trolley” which in all actuality was a tractor pulling a trailer full of people. Although Seward is a relatively small town of 6,000, nearly 40,000 people come in for the day. We parked our car and headed to the hoopla.

Just a glimpse of Seward

Just a glimpse of Seward


Walking up we saw the fire men spraying water at a big bucket hanging in the air. I am sure there is a name for this but I don’t know what it is. We got wet and we took some pictures.

See what I mean!

See what I mean!

The morning was filled with competition. After watching some young and not so young folk pole vault in the city center, we moved on to watch the pie eating and bubble blowing contests. The pie eating contest was really a “one piece of pie” eating contest. This disappointed Brent. Speaking of eating…the streets were filled with county fair style food vendors, but by lunchtime the lines were unbearable. I guess it is a good thing we had ice cream and a blooming onion at 10 AM.

And this man on repeat: WHAT COULD BE MORE FITTING OR APPROPRIATE LADIES AND GENTLEMAN THAN APPLE PIE AND THE 4TH OF JULY?

And this man on repeat: WHAT COULD BE MORE FITTING OR APPROPRIATE LADIES AND GENTLEMAN THAN APPLE PIE AND THE 4TH OF JULY?

Bubble beard.

Bubble beard.

We spent the rest of the morning watching cloggers of all ages, mostly younger kids but there was a group of dancers in their late to middle ages. I think Brent enjoyed those most.

And yes, there were cupcakes to celebrate the birth of America and dad's with toddler's on their shoulders.

And yes, there were cupcakes to celebrate the birth of America and dad’s with toddler’s on their shoulders.

After clogging we went and explored a bit more of the festival. We checked out the antique sale which was very small but they did have a ceramic lawn donkey which Brent has been searching for. Surprisingly, he did not buy said donkey. We also tried to explore the craft fair (know as the Crap fair by my dear cousin, Suz). We got overwhelmed by the crafts and found a grassy patch to rest our heads.

Sitting by a tree. Looking cool.

Sitting by a tree. Looking cool.

The parade was the highlight of the day for Edith. She got lots of candy and even a freeze pop (which were being pelted at our heads). I scored a rain gauge from a local politician. It was a big win for the family.

Lastly we had a great dinner at my cousins home where her parents and extended family welcomed us. A big thank you to those people who fed us and put up with our children. And thanks to Suz and her Big Dumb Hat.

DSC_3708

Someday soon I will post about other fun things that have been going on the last few months…like having a baby, going to Long Beach, California on a whim, and visiting the Wildlife Safari Park.

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.

Nebraska Themed Christmas Presents

I know I have been a total slacker on this blog lately. I have many excuses, most of them surrounding the fact that I am pregnant and unmotivated. However, since it is Christmas time and I am being bombarded by retail, I have decided to list some Nebraska themed Christmas ideas (none of which is Husker themed). This Christmas we are doing a lot of handmade things and not spending much money. This allows me to think about all of the gifts I would buy (for myself and others) if I had the money.

Here you go:

1. State Tea Towels by Vestiges listed on Grommet.com, $15
These little state themed tea towels are super cute and big! I am sure they would be great for drying dishes or just to decorate your abode.

Readers, feel free to send one of these my way ;)

Readers, feel free to send one of these my way šŸ˜‰

2. One of the many great Nebraska shaped Necklaces listed on Etsy, Prices Vary
I own one like this and I wear it all of the time. It’s cute and of course Nebraska love goes with any outfit.

Represent!

Represent!

3. A Nebraska Cookie Cutter , $2.50
The gift that keeps on giving. You get this cookie cutter for someone and maybe they will make you cookies just like I did last year!

Last year's Christmas cookie!

Last year’s Christmas cookie!

4. The Nebraska Home T-shirt, $28
These T-shirts would be great for men or women and they support a good cause. Part of their proceeds go to MS research.

Comes in blue or gray

Comes in blue or gray

5. Any of Drastic Plastic’s Nebraska Tees, $14.98
Omaha folks can just go downtown and buy these babies but if you can’t get to Omaha you can still get one of these shirts online there are men’s and women’s sizes and versions. These are the best Nebraska t-shirts around if you ask me and they are made locally which is even better. Couldn’t grab a photo from this website so you will just have to click on the link!

6. Bakers Candy, $3-10
Every Nebraskan has eaten Bakers candy, it also makes a great gift for non-Nebraskans. This chocolate is delicious!

Yum.

Yum.

7. Sandhill Crane Vase painted by my best friend’s grandma, $190
This is a little pricier item but I couldn’t resist. It was created by a fantastic lady and it’s also quite beautiful. Maybe you remember when I went “Craning”

Sold by Grow Nebraska

Sold by a Grow Nebraska

8. A Patriotic Nebraska Mug, $10
This was just kitschy enough to make this list. I’ll admit it’s a bit hideous, but in a good way.

Nebraska and America as one!

Nebraska and America as one!

9. Custom Made Ice Cream from ECreamery, $50-60
You can choose your own flavor combo of ice cream (made in Omaha), and sent to your loved ones around the country. Who doesn’t love ice cream? In December? I would eat this every day of my life if I could.

So many choices

So many choices

I hope you enjoyed my list of Nebraska gifts. Merry Christmas to all!

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.

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.

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.

Toadstool Revisited

Remember how I took that awesome trip across Nebraska last year? Well I revisited our trip to Toadstood for the Journey Western Nebraska website. Please check it out http://www.westnebraska.com/West-Blog/August-2013/Toadstool-Travels/