Monthly Archives: August 2014

Wine, pizza, and babies

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On Wednesday, we had a baby shower for a trio of new little ones at the Institute, which included Baby Aaron. A bunch of my co-workers got to take turns holding him as we all had cake. Our resident ethicist Sister Renee also got to meet both Hannah and Aaron for the first time ever downstairs. (She had a chewy piece of Werther’s candy for Hannah, which she immediately put to use as a mustache.)

Then on Friday, the Johnson Family headed down to the Sumtur for the final family outdoor movie of the season, The Sound of Music. The presentation came between a couple passing storms, but the rain held off long enough for us to watch (and sing along) without any “raindrops on roses.” The only people who got wet were the Sumtur Staff doing the ALS Ice Bucket Meme challenge down in front of the stage, though Hannah also got a damp arm from a temporary tattoo.

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On Saturday, I got to celebrate my birthday a little early, since I happen to share it with my Uncle Ben and Aunt Carol’s anniversary, and this year they’re celebrating their 50th in Cedar Rapids. Jack and Donna got to take the kids for the evening as Vivian and I drove down to Lincoln to have pizza at my favorite pizza “joint,” Big Sal’s. Phil and Jen and Jon Paper drove down to join us, and after getting our fill of pizza, we drove on up to James Arthur Vineyard for a little wine-tasting. I got a sampling of a red wines ranging from Sweet to a Port, and then we explored the grounds a bit as a live band called Tunafish Jones covered a few classic tunes that the middle-aged crowd could dance stagger around to.

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Sunday was roasty and toasty, so we took Hannah down to the splash park on 72nd and Harrison. Mom and dad got a little wet walking her through the sprinkler and splashing gizmos of the water zone, but she spent just as much time wandering about the “all access” playground area swinging and climbing on overhead bars (with a little help from Daddy, of course).

Then Sunday night, we decided to do a quick photo shoot with both our little ones. Aaron seemed to be in an agreeable mood, while Hannah barely sat still long enough for me to trip the shutter once or twice. It made for some fun, quick snapshots of our little kids, and Aaron even got to receive his first noogie from his big sister (and probably not his last).

Next stop: Cedar Rapids!

Getting out, about, and a little damp

Having two little ones in the house has certainly been keeping Vivian and me busy these past two months (mostly Vivian, being the stay-at-home mom). We’ve learned to trade-off on certain duties, allowing each of us to get some time outside of the house, and we have some wonderful babysitters right around the corner as well, of course.

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On Wednesday last week, I hung out with a cluster of other graphic designers at Krug Park in the ultra-hip Benson district. I’ve been dropping by gatherings like these sporadically for many years now, ever since they were called Third Thursdays and hosted by the AIGA. I met the very impressive Donovan Beery back then and his chain of creative cohorts via AIGA, the Be A Design Group blog, and now his 36 Point podcast (events like these are usually dubbed “36 Pints”). It was a much-needed chance to hang out with other designers in the area, something that comes in handy when I’m the lone “go-to” guy for all things designy at the office.
(Photo on left by Ben Lueders of Fruitful Design.)

Thursday, we had “movie sign” at the Twin Creek Theater, which is MST3K short-hand for RiffTrax live. I’ve attended every one of these since they riffed Plan 9 from Outer Space back in 2009, and this year they’ve been doing Kickstarter Campaigns to riff big-budget movies like Godzilla and Anaconda. A bunch of us formed a peanut gallery in the back row (including my dad), and Vivian and I shared a pizza with the last of the coupons we grabbed at the Ralston Independence Day Parade.

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As for the kids, Aaron’s been growing up fast, turning two months old and looking remarkably like Winston Churchill. He also slept through the night for the first time, which called for a French Toast breakfast to celebrate. Then on Friday, we braved the drizzle to watch The Lego Movie at the Soggy Sumtur Amphi(bious)theater. The crowd was notably smaller than usual, but unfortunately not small enough for me to win a year’s membership at Sam’s Club for a #sumturselfie. Lexi and her kids joined us on the blanket, though, as well a few other friends of hers, so Everything is Awesome™.

On Saturday, Vivian had a day to herself and her WAG friends at Platte River State Park. Apparently, they made T-shirts, but for more details, Vivian will have to tell it all in her own blog (which has been collecting dust for a couple years). Hannah got some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa Johnson in the meantime as I mowed the lawn. Then on Sunday, we dropped by Lindy in the Park after church to do a little bit of dancing outdoors (thank you Billy and Lindsey). We also let Hannah run through the fountains a couple times, since the weather was feeling like August once again, and getting a faceful of water was more than appropriate.

Giant Jenga

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Vivian and I are still getting used to having a fresh, new baby in our home once again. Aaron has been sleeping very well nearly from the get-go, getting up just once each night nearly from the start. Now with two little ones in our family, it seems more and more of our free time is spent with kid-friendly activities, ranging from regular lunchtime trips to the park (particularly for the fountains), to little princess birthday parties and Vacation Bible School.

That’s how things played out on Friday, anyway. Reina had a party for a bunch of her little friends at church right before they all parted for the final day of VBS. That left Vivian and me with quiet time with Aaron (who thankfully slept) as we ran about getting errands done without a two-year old tagging along.

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Saturday night was the highlight of my week, as Tamra had another birthday party on the top of her parents’ place in Fort Calhoun. The weather was just about perfect for being outside, and her folks had plenty of space for Hannah to run around and wear herself out. Aaron even got to be passed around to a few people, leaving Vivian and me relatively free for some grown-up style fun, which included Giant Jenga and (of course) a round or two of Hammerschlagen. Li Ya and the Kam Family brought their little boys along as well, so Hannah (and Jon) had a few little ones to play with.

There was also a campfire, naturally, for us to roast s’mores or some hot dogs on top of some pendulum-style grill. My clothes still smell like campfire even after a run through the wash, but I’m strangely all right with that.