Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! A year ago, the Johnson Family was celebrating the arrival of Hannah and having chicken and stuffing in the Bergan Mercy cafeteria. This time around, we had both a happy Turkey Day and Happy Birthday for Hannah at our home in Bellevue. Jack and Donna dropped by with a smoked turkey and pie, and Uncle Jonathan joined us with a vibrating elephant ball for Hannah. We all had Thanksgiving dinner together, and Hannah got to enjoy some of our turkey and even some tiny pumpkin pies for herself.
On Friday, after a busy day of Not Shopping Anywhere, Vivian and I took Hannah to the Durham Museum for the first time for their tree-lighting festivities. Of course that meant taking her to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus and waiting like Ralphie in a line stretching from one end of Union Station to the other. The River City confectioners had their cookie decorating station as usual, with Jack handling the milk. Michael Walker channeled Sinatra out in the main hall as we waited for the gang to turn on the lights around 6:30. It was a fun time kicking off the Christmas season once again, and we stuck around to make a few attempts at a Family Christmas Picture before heading home.
Christmas, here we come!
Can you believe our little Hannah is almost one year old already? Her official birthday is on Thanksgiving Day this year, so we decided to celebrate a little early with a bunch of our friends and Hannah’s at our house. The theme we picked out was based on the classic children’s book by Eric Carle, The Hungry Caterpillar. Vivian made up a big buffet of food consisting of everything the caterpillar ate in the book, and Donna made a giant caterpillar cake for dessert (which included a tiny one just for Hannah). Frank read through the book to make sure everyone was up to speed before the party began. Hannah got some help from mom opening up her batch of birthday presents, and then she got to have some cake for the very first time (after having some help blowing out her first birthday candle).
It was a great party with many friends, both young and old. Even Uncle Nathan managed to drive up from Lincoln to join us. We showed a video highlight reel downstairs featuring several special moments from Hannah’s first year with us, and then she got to be cute by clapping for everyone before they went home.
On Sunday, we celebrated Phil’s birthday down the street at his and Jen’s house. They bought (and personall slaughtered) a whole lamb to cook up on a makeshift rotating spit in their backyard, and they had a whole bunch of Greek food inside to go along with it. A bunch of our mutual friends came by to join in the food and fun, and at the end of the evening we played “Hedbanz“, a goofy version of 20 questions that involves putting labels on our heads. Good times.
Halloween night was a big night for a few people in Bellevue, and it had nothing to do with dressing up in costumes. November 1 was the grand opening of the Chick-Fil-A down on Cornhusker Drive, and the first 100 people there — who camped out in the parking lot all night — got to have free Chick-Fil-A for a year. That translates into 52 free meal coupons. I wasn’t among them, since I wanted to be around for Hannah’s very first Halloween, but Pastor Drew was. His family stopped by to wish him luck the night before, and then he was first among the throngs to get his free goodies the next morning.
I’ve dropped in at Chick-Fil-A a couple times since for breakfast and dinner, and it’s always been crowded. There are a handful of places that carry a following this devoted — Trader Joe’s and Inn-n-Out Burger being a few noteworthy examples — and this little chicken restaurant is certainly a worthy contender.
On Sunday, Hannah got to take her very first trip to the zoo. The Henry Doorly Zoo had free admission, and since the weather was still reasonably nice (for November), we couldn’t pass up the chance to stop by. Hannah’s still a bit young to appreciate all the animals at the zoo’s many different exhibits, but she really seemed to enjoy the monkeys, a few colorful macaws, and all the sea creatures in the aquarium. Of course, this trip was really more about mom and dad getting snapshots of adorableness with their our little girl, but we’ll definitely be taking her back again and again once she’s older.