Our little girl Hannah got to take her first trip to the circus this week! Vivian has become a stay-at-home mom, taking care of Hannah during the day for now and taking the job back from Grammy and Grumpy Daycare. It’s going to be a financial pinch to be sure, but her move to be a full-time mom will allow her to do things like take Hannah to see live elephants march around the Omaha Civic Auditorium. That’s what she did on Thursday with Donna. Hannah even had a cute little clown outfit to wear as she watched elephants and horrifying costumed characters drop by to hold her.
On Saturday, the whole Johnson family dropped by to help Jenny move out of her house in northwest Omaha and into an apartment down on Q Street. It was kind of sad to say goodbye to the house with the giant backyard that had been host to any number of parties — Christmas, Independence Day, Luau, and of course Taco. I forgot what a workout it was to try to squeeze a couple couches out a tiny front door and up a flight of stairs, but the whole ordeal was over fairly quickly. We had pizza and chicken afterward before dropping into a coma for the rest of the afternoon.
That evening, the Johnson Family dropped by the West House by Lake Cunningham to say Happy Birthday to Sarah. Hannah got to wear her “little black dress,” we had shrimp and fruit with a handful of our friends as Dean and Sarah made music on a variety of instruments before we headed home.
On Friday night, the Omaha Jitterbugs held their annual Pink Party, so Vivian and I decided to take Hannah to her very first night of swing dancing. The usual cast of characters was there in full force, of course, and we enjoyed being able to show our new baby girl to everyone who hadn’t seen her yet. Hannah slept through the entire dance, including the part where I decided to take her out on stage for her very first father-daughter dance. Hopefully, this will be the first of many long, happy years of dancing for my baby girl.
On Saturday night, Twin Valley Church held a kind of Valentine’s dinner / surprise 25th anniversary party for Rick and Tammi Hall. We all brought an array of Italian food, and I took my hand at a bulk version of fettuccine alfredo. There was also a heart-shaped cake and a bunch of cannolis for dessert. The Hall’s wedding video played on a nearby television, and the happy couple gathered for cake-cutting and cake-feeding afterward (Jack commented, “Do what you wanted to do 25 years ago!”) Savannah West was on hand to take romantic pictures of people underneath a makeshift archway in the other room, including a couple of the entire Hall family.
After dinner, Vivian and I participated in a “Newlywed Game,” along with the Halls and the Sterups (who had recently celebrated 53 years of marriage). Vivian and I didn’t score any points in the first round but wound up taking first place by the time the second round was over. Fortunately, I’d asked Vivian questions well in advance such as, “What item would you save first if your house were on fire.” We wrapped up the night with a few kind words from the Halls’ friends and family.
Naturally, I still had a few tricks up my sleeve for V-Day itself. I woke Vivian up with a surprise breakfast of heart-shaped “egg in a hole” and bacon before she left for work. Over the lunch hour, I dropped by with chili and cornbread for lunch, along with a special gift basket I’d filled up with for of Vivian’s favorite things (note the tiny bottle of Bailey’s). That evening, we had a big catfish dinner down at the Catfish Lake Restaurant and then got some ice cream at Ted & Wally’s afterward to round out our lovely, romantic day.
It’s the five-year anniversary of our first Valentine’s Day, and I’m amazed at how far we’ve come since that night of meatloaf and wine. I love you, Vivian!
Well, Punxatawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, but we seem to have squeezed them all into just one short weekend. Vivian and I celebrated Groundhog Day last week by watching Groundhog Day, of course. I also took her out for pizza at the Pizza Shoppe as a surprise lunch date. This was all in anticipation of “snowmageddon” over the weekend, which was really the only snowfall to speak of that we’ve had all winter long.
On Friday night, while the roads were still drivable, I decided to make use of our grill one last time and make burgers for Vivian and her folks before the snow hit. The next day, Vivian and Hannah stayed warm inside for the most part, and I spent a couple hours getting a good workout shoveling our driveway (yes, I am still a member of the Order of the Shovel).
The snow had been cleared away just perfectly by the time Sunday rolled around, so church services and Superbowl parties were all still happening on schedule. Our mutual friend Hugh invited a bunch of us over to his house (for the first time since he and Sarah were married) to watch the Big Game on Sunday night. Nobody in our group was rooting for either the Giants or the Patriots, so we mostly visited and acted goofy in the kitchen and paid attention to the TV only when the commercials came on (the crowd you see in the photo above gathered when The Voice came on right after the Superbowl ended).