Posts Tagged With: Nebraska

Friday Photography: Happy Birthday, America, from Nebraska!

July 4th Eagle & Balloon

Even our national symbol is blown up …

July 4th Rider Collage

I love a parade!

July 4th Two Flags Collage

Flags from yesterday and today …

July 4th In God We Trust Edited

Our national motto …

July 4th Capital

Reminders of our government …

July 4th Kids on Capital Steps

A beautiful day to enjoy the Nebraska Capital!


July 4th Fireworks Collage

Have a safe and happy 4th of  July!  A BIG THANK YOU to those who serve our country and who have made freedom possible!  God bless America!





Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Capitol: A Nebraska Masterpiece

Capitol Exterior

Truly the Nebraska Capitol is one of my very favorite places across the whole state.  Why it has taken me a year to feature Nebraska’s most recognizable building on this blog I am not sure.  Maybe this is because writing this post is STILL daunting to me!    How can you narrow down a building that contains so much architectural beauty, cultural significance and Nebraska symbolism.  I think this is why this post has never been written.  Today, in my own feeble way, I will attempt to give you a”quick” tour of this Nebraska Masterpiece.

Nebraska’s Capitol building is filled with murals, mosaics, tapestries and distinguishing architectural details.  Because I am pretty certain that no one will take the time to read 32 pages of one blog post, I am setting those details aside.  Additionally I plan on writing a separate post on my kids’ favorite part of the building: the tippy top.  To ride to the “14th” floor, one must climb into a rather small, older elevator.  By the way, in case you were wondering, despite its appearance to the contrary, you CAN in fact fit a double stroller inside to ride up.  We have done it successfully several times!

Back to the purpose of today’s blog … Just like our national government, our Nebraska state government has three branches.

Capitol Judicial Branch

The Judicial branch.

Capitol Legislative Chambers

The Legislative Branch.

As long as the judges and senators are not work, both of these sections are part of the daily tours that run hourly (except at noon.)  Now we also happen to have an executive area where the governor and his staff are busily at work.  Since they are a bit more involved in the daily aspects of government, this section is usually closed to the public.  As we once had a special family event take place inside the Capitol, I do have a picture of the executive press room.

Capitol Executive Press Room with family

Cropped and from my scrapbook, really you only get a good idea of the official press conference desk.

These are the main sections that exist inside of the capitol.  Of course, the basement is filled with legislative offices and the cafeteria and a gift shop.  Statues of famous Nebraskans line the rotunda, but I think that is another post as well.  Guess you will be hearing about the Nebraska Capitol for a long time to come!

Capitol Walkway

Another favorite area – the outdoor mezzanine.  By walking around the outdoor platform, one can learn the names of all of the Nebraska counties.  One could also learns the basics of the history of government.  The relief carvings above the walkway are not necessarily in chronological order, so I do recommend getting the explanatory pamphlet from inside the capitol.  By the way, I wrote a more detailed article on walking around the Capitol with children for the May/June/July issue of the Lincoln Kids Newspaper.  You can pick up a copy from many area Lincoln places, or you can look online.

The Capitol Website has a wealth of information on all of the history and interesting facts of the building.  NET Public Television has also produced an excellent documentary on the Nebraska Capitol.  Our family was rivoted – okay, I definitely was, but my husband and kids also enjoyed the show!

Nebraska’s Capitol Masterpiece

Would you look at that?  I used the same word to describe the capitol that they did!  If you have never been to the Nebraska Capitol, I HIGHLY recommend you visit.  The Capitol Website also has downloadable building, Abraham Lincoln and civics scavenger hunts.  Completing these will help your older kids be engaged in the experience.  As for your younger kids, have them go on a shape and color hunt as you walk through.  The Capitol is filled with all sorts of possibilities!  In fact, below is a picture of one of the courtyard areas I have yet to explore.  Maybe someday I will figure out how to do that!

Capitol Courtyard

One more important item to note: The Nebraska Capitol Building can be found on both the “Lincoln: Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” passport and the Nebraska Passport.  When you go visit, make sure to get a stamp.  The programs run through the end of August and September respectively.




Categories: Lincoln, Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Metro, Nebraska History, Nebraska Passport, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday: Where Were We (in Nebraska)?

7-2-14 Where Were We 3 7-2-14 Where Were We 4 7-2-14 Where Were We 5

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Friday Flashback: Nebraska’s Ashfall and the Missed Photo Op

In 1996, I was privileged to go on road trip with two VIP’s.  At least they definitely were to me.  Weeks away from starting my first “grown-up” job teaching fifth graders, I went up and stayed with my grandparents for several days late that summer.

They were the ones who initiated the outing.  At age 84 and 88, they still got around quite well.  Although they did have me drive, they picked the destination.  Ashfall.

Ashfall text

I loved the time we spent there!  The above picture of a picture almost captures the fun adventures that await for anyone that chooses to visit.

Ashfall Scrapbook 2

In fact, I captured the experience in one of my very first scrapbook layouts.  Documenting the landscape and the fossils complete with stickers of the animals that once were found here in Nebraska in ages long ago (probably right before Noah’s great flood), I still enjoy remembering that trip.  I would have enjoyed seeing all of those animals.  Hopefully sometime we will get to take our kids there!

Ashfall Scrapbook 1

My biggest regret: while I managed to document the place, for whatever reason I did not document the people.  No pictures exist of the couple that day that wanted to make a memory with their oldest granddaughter. I can still picture them then – Grandma guiding Grandpa along as he was no longer quite as steady.  Arm-in-arm, they walked the paths, just as they traveled through life.

They are both gone now – on to meet their Savior.  I still miss them.  In fact, tears are streaming down my face as I type this.  I am hopeful that maybe a picture of them together that day still exists in one of my many boxes of snapshots waiting to be documented.  But I am afraid that I will just be forever relying on the pictures in my head, rather than on the page, for the memories that day.

I still take many, many pictures of places.  But today, as we were on yet another adventure, I was intentional about capturing my kids in the moment.  For that is what will really matter someday.


Categories: Family Outings, Lewis and Clark, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday: Where Were My Friends (in Nebraska)?








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The Nebraska Path to Understanding the Underground Railroad

Discovering that the small Mayhew Cabin is not actually in its original location (due to a highway being built) was surprising.  Learning that the current “cave” tunnel was not even in existence during the time of the Underground Railroad was almost disheartening.  I almost wondered why one would even visit this site that is shrouded in mystery as many of the details of its part in the Underground Railroad cannot be confirmed.  Until I heard footsteps …

Mayhew Cabin Cave

Underneath the original Mayhew Cabin through the cellar door you can climb into a cave.  One that has been reinforced for safety and connected with a long winding tunnel to allow you to exit.  I was sitting there waiting for my children to come back.  My oldest had come down and offered to find the others.  He started by looking through the cabin.  Once I heard him walking around above me, the need for this place made me sense.  While I knew who was above me, I was instantly filled with an unexplainable fear.

Mayhew Cabin looking up from the cave

The vent may have not been there originally, but it did add to the realism of the experience.

My imagination took me to a place in time over 150 years previously.  Being down in the cave, I suddenly realized what being a fugitive must have felt like.  To hear the heavy thud of footfalls above that might mean discovery.  Was the person friend or foe?  One providing safety or capture that would lead to death or an even worse fate?  Having to hide to preserve your very life and the life of your children must have been incredibly frightening.

My children seemed to “get” slavery for the first time.  They pretended to hide from me the slave owner.  As we were the only visitors at the time, this worked, and thankfully they let me in on this game eventually.  This cabin, cave and tunnel helped history come to life for my family!

Mayhew Cabin children in tunnel

As you walk along through the damp and drafty tunnel, rooms have been chiseled out giving you an additional feel for what a fugitive would have experienced.

Mayhew Cabin tunnel room

Beside the tunnel, the interior of the museum also gave us glimpses of slavery life.  Including a black curtain closet with a plank ceiling where you could pretend to hide from the slave owners.   While I was talking to the museum docent, my boys managed to silently hide there before I finally found them!  They also have a wagon showing a “slave” escaping in a wagon.

Mayhew Cabin slave wagon

Can you see the “person” hiding?

They also have shackles that you can try on to experience the misery of not being free.  Do you like my son’s attempt at a mournful expression?

Mayhew Cabin Slave

While perhaps this is not the largest or most polished of the recreated Underground Railroad Stations, at the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown’s Cave they do an excellent job at helping to bring history to life, especially for children.  In addition, you can watch a short video, filmed by a Mayhew descendant, about the history of the cabin.

Mayhew Cabin movie

To learn more or to schedule a tour, please visit the Mayhew Cabin website.  Note: this is one of the many fine places to visit in Nebraska City.  To learn more about other Underground Railroad significant locations across the United States, please visit the Network to Freedom website.

Categories: Family Outings, Nebraska History, People Behind the Place, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday: Where Were We (in Nebraska)?

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Wordless Wednesday: Where Were We (in Nebraska)?

6-11-14 Where Were We

6-11-14 Where Were We 2

6-11-14 Where Were We 3

Categories: Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Where All Were We (in Nebraska)?

1)   cropped-christmashouses_0212013.jpg

2)   DSCN3657_703August Nikon 13

3) Color High Plains Windmill


4)  Where Were We 6-4-14

5)   Where Were We

6)   3-19-14 Where Were We 2

7)  Where Were We 2 6-14-14

8)  Where Were We 3 6-14-14

9)   Where Were We

10)   Where Were We 4 6-14-14

11)    Where Were We 5 6-14-14


12) 10-2-13 where were we 7

Categories: Frontier Trails, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills, Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday: Traveling On Across Nebraska

If you are noticing your inbox is cluttered with a few more “Odyssey Through Nebraska” posts, you just might be right.  For one thing, school is out.  Our homeschool does take a bit of a break for the summer.  (Although plenty of learning is still taking place, but please don’t tell my kids that!)  The other main reason: there is SO much going on around this state for the next several months.  (Look for a “Tuesday Travel Tips” post next week addressing how our family decides which activities we should complete and where we should go).

I want to do my best to keep you informed and aware of all of the many options across the fair state of Nebraska.  And here is my plan, although I will need your help to be successful.  More on that shortly!

THE ODYSSEY THROUGH NEBRASKA BLOG: Yep, what you are reading right now.  I plan on continuing to have Wordless Wednesdays features, along with  explanations on Thursdays.  I am sure that I will be sharing some more “Tuesday Travel Tips” and “Friday Photography” posts again.  Having put aside my blog “history lessons” for a few months due to teaching history at home, I also hope to do several “Flashback Fridays.”  While occasionally I feature upcoming events (such as the The Lincoln Children’s Museum “Shining Stars” event or upcoming children’s theater events), for the most part I share where we have been.  Our previous locations that I hope will become your upcoming destinations.

5-21-14 Where Were We

ODYSSEY THROUGH NEBRASKA FACEBOOK PAGE This is the best way that I can inform you as to what is happening across the state.  Being able to post upcoming events of fun things happening across the state is the one way that I can keep in touch with many events.  I could not possibly blog about them all.  Nor could I attend them all.  But hopefully if you are close enough, you will be able to enjoy a Nebraska family outing.  THIS IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP: have an event that is happening near you?  Please post it on the Facebook page.  I will miss many fun opportunities that I am hoping you will help me catch.  Please share the fun with your fellow Nebraskans.



NEBRASKA ODYSSEY ON TWITTER  After being a bit skeptical at first, I did come around to being a “Tweeter.”  And I almost like it.  Brevity is a good challenge.  So, here is where I share bits when we are out and about.  Or I retweet really cool Nebraska pictures.  Or even better, thoughts from really cool Nebraskans.

June storms

Tweeted picture – the view of the storms near our house.  (That is White Hall in the background, not our house 🙂 )

Follow me.  Peek in on me.  Hopefully I will eventually create buttons to make it easier for you to do that, but for now you can simply click on any of these links to become an official follower of the blog, Facebook or Twitter  .  We will often be out and about this summer.  Although sometimes I hope to be enjoying the moment and not glued to my phone.  After all, I am traveling to experience and to make memories with my family.  Hope to see you along the way!

P.S. Speaking of memories … we are just a few weeks away from my one year “blogiversary.”  (I am just beginning to work on organizing some fun give-aways!)  In honor of this, tomorrow’s “Wordless Wednesday” will be a fun collaboration.  A scavenger hunt full of pictures from many places that we have been.  Your challenge is to find the connection between the places!  On Thursday, I will tell you how the pictures work together.    This is partially inspired by a recent creative post over at Family Fun in Omaha.  If you have ever been to Omaha, I highly suggest that you “visit” the 20 places in her Omaha Scavenger Hunt and see how many you can identify!

Categories: Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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