Family and the Fourth

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Vivian and I just got finished a fun, week-long visit with my parents, who came for their summer visit over the Fourth of July week. Our first activity on the agenda (other than eating pizza together and playing with Hannah) was to brave the triple-digit heat and dance in the Ralston Independence Day parade. A dozen or so of the Omaha Jitterbugs were present to Lindy Hop down the hot asphalt along with a nearly endless number of floats. We were almost at the very end of the parade, so it took even longer than usual before our group got moving. Hannah got to participate in the parade mostly by sleeping in the stroller and getting sprayed with water to keep from overheating. As usual, we crashed at Dairy Queen to recover with ice cream, courtesy of Nate Woodhams.

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That evening, Vivian and I lit up some sparklers with the folks and then skipped over to Anne’s to set off some fireworks afterward. We shot off a couple Roman candles, and I had a good time experimenting with the setting on my camera so I could capture the fiery trails created by a sparkler or two. We also set loose one of those lantern things, once Jon Paper figured out that you had to let go of it in order for it to work.

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On Friday, we met up with dad’s associates form the National Association of Scholars for lunch at Malara’s in Omaha. Vivian and Hannah came along for the first time, so everyone could see the newest addition to the Johnson Family. One noteworthy absence was Ed Rauchut of Bellevue University, who sadly passed away earlier this year. We all had a toast in his memory.

On the way home, we dropped by the Sarpy County Museum, the self-described “best kept secret in Bellevue,” which Vivian and I found recently when taking her car in for a check-up around the corner. They had a wide variety of Nebraska-related memorabilia, including a buffalo head, a scale model of Offut Air Force Base, and a list of nine rules for teachers circa 1872.

That evening, all the grandparents came over for a giant taco dinner at our place. Vivian made some pico de gallo and we sliced up a giant watermelon. Dad got to chat about familiar places in northern California, and Vivian and I made a couple notes of things to visit when we fly up there later in September.

P1130353On Saturday, Vivian and I took the folks down to Joslyn Art Museum, which is conveniently open for free on Saturday mornings. We toured a few of the traveling exhibits, which included a bunch of mid-nineteenth century photographs of the old west courtesy of Union Pacific and our favorite groovy still life of a boob, an orange, and a phone. It was a welcome escape from the oppressive heat and humidity outside (and gave us the chance for some random rule-breaking as well). We dropped by Absolutely Fresh for Calamari Steak to eat on Monday and then dropped by Jacobo’s for some tamales that we served up that evening once Jonathan arrived.

IMG_6909We had church together on Sunday morning, and then once Nathan and Ranae arrived in the afternoon, we spent the rest of the day with the Johnson Family under one roof. We played a couple games, including Telestrations and a makeshift round or two of Family Feud. Vivian served up some barbecue chicken and corn on the cob for dinner and later we had some chocolate cake courtesy of me.

On Monday, we spent the last day with the folks wasting time at an overpriced thrift shop (masquerading as an antique mall), and then had some Five Guys for lunch before dropping by John Galt Boulevard for some random picture-taking. That evening, Vivian cooked up her calamari steaks along with some asparagus and a couple artichokes (courtesy of my dad). We wrapped up our week together playing a couple rounds of Apples to Apples, and Hannah joined in as before.

It was a great, relaxing visit full of loafing, visiting, and eating, and I felt quite lucky to be able to have time off for the whole week for it.

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