Monthly Archives: May 2015

Saturday in the Park

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It’s the start of another summer, and there’s no better way to kick it off than with a free concert at Loess Fest! Vivian and I got to see the Beach Boys (with Uncle Jesse) and Three Dog Night (with Loverboy) for the past two years at Loess Fest, and this time around they were able to bring Chicago to River’s Edge Park. I invited a handful of friends to enjoy the show with me, dance, and take selfies.

And what a show it was — Robert, Lee, James, Walter, Jason, Tris, Keith, Lou. and Wally all played a great selection of songs from their forty-year catalog. It was a welcome reward for anyone who stayed through the brief rain and drizzle we got at the beginning, and even though the crowd was small to start (and several people streamed out when the rain began), plenty of people turned out to enjoy the show.

My only regret is that Vivian didn’t join me this time around, as she had a bachelorette party to attend instead (involving girly goofiness I’d rather not know about).

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Then on Memorial Day, we dropped by Frank’s place with the kids for a grill out. We spent most of our time watching the kids as they played bean bag toss, crawled through a tunnel, and plank-walked around the patio. There were a few other cute kiddos in attendance, one of whom brought a collection of Rubick’s Cubes that Aaron thought would be fun to eat. We stayed a couple hours chatting with old friends before a storm started moving through before heading home for the night.

So another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, but this one was marked with sadness due to the sudden shooting death of Omaha police Officer Kerrie Orozco, who was one day away from maternity leave and bringing home a baby girl from the hospital. It was a story that shocked people in our little town and around the country. It was amazing to see everyone come together on the following Tuesday lining the streets with banners and flags of support. I hope Officer Kerrie knows that there are thousands of people back on earth who will be looking out for her little girl. #KerrieOn

Fun with Dirt

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We’ve had some intermittent showers over the past couple of weeks, which has made our time outdoors a bit sporadic. We went out for a picnic in Olde Town Bellevue last Wednesday shortly before we were inundated with rain for a couple days. Hannah and Aaron both got to swing, ride a teeter-totter together, and get a selfie with mom and dad on the bench swing before some drizzle swept through town.

By the weekend, things had cleared up enough for Vivian and me to wear ourselves out tearing up the garden and overturning all the soil to make it ready for some tomatoes, kale, and basil for our garden this summer. I was able to keep the kids happily occupied while Vivian got that part of the planting done.

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On the following Tuesday, the Fontenelle Forest had actual mud at its Mudpies program, but it was unfortunately too cold and drizzly to make mud footprints outdoors (like they did last year). Hannah did get some quality time making a makeshift mud pie along with her usual run of painting and play-doughing. Hannah went to Grammy’s house later to make her own edible mud pie, which she proudly shared with me when I got home that day. Aaron enjoyed just sitting around and looking adorable.

Things were clear enough on Thursday for us to have dinner outdoors on Grammy and Pop-Pop’s new backyard deck. The grand kids had spent a good portion of their day there while Grammy got the van fixed, and Hannah made an adorable bit of art on the chalkboard that Vivian shared with me via cell phone.

Flower Gardens and Mother’s Day

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On Friday, admission to the Lauritzen Gardens was free in honor of National Public Gardens Day, so I took the entire day off so I could have a day enjoying some flora with the family. There were a bunch of peonies and roses already in bloom, as well as plenty of tulips, some fragrant lilacs, and multiple family photo opportunities. We met up with Lexi and her kids in the Children’s Area, where our gaggle of youngsters were able to play on some stumps, taste some mint, climb on a dinosaur, roll a composter, and explore a tiny cabin together. It was the perfect spot for a handful of cute pictures before taking a quick peek at Mount Fuji before heading on.

Back at the entryway, we bumped into the Rietjens and got to check out the koi pond and the giant conservatory before calling it a day. The enormous greenhouse-like structure had been built sometime during the last year, and it was now home to loads of tropical plants that could never survive a Nebraska winter — palm trees, kumquats, pitcher plants, a shrimp plant, any number of palm trees, and even little sprigs that soak moisture out of the insanely hot and humid weather inside this place. We walked all the way through up to the Tiki thing at the top before collapsing and calling it a day.

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On Saturday, we had breakfast at my parents house with our kids and my two brothers. My dad had been wanting to recreate the “eat eggs and watch MST3K” we experienced while in college, but instead of Movie Sign we got to watch Hannah try to play the harmonica. We’d gotten to see Mike and the “Bots” tackle The Room via RiffTrax Live on Wednesday, so we got our fill of riffing already. I did, however, get to roll my Ford Taurus over the 200k mark, which was fantastic. I have some smug family who work for Toyota who said it’d never make it past 100. (By the way, how’s that unintended acceleration working out for you?)

Vivian went off to do girly things at Jenny’s bridal shower, such as pinning the goatee on the Kody. I had a busy afternoon with the kids putting together a nice little set of hand and footprints of our little ones as a Mother’s Day present for Vivian. It was a bit crazy, because I realized only too late that the ink pad was permanent, despite having a kid-friendly name like “Silly Winks.”

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Sunday, of course, was Mother’s Day, so I treated Vivian to some breakfast pizza before going to church. Aaron got to learn how to climb stairs in-between being passed around, and Hannah got to have a tea party with Rachel — a quintessential “little girl” moment, if ever there was one.

Both moms (and dads and Uncle Jonny) came to our house afterward for a Mother’s Day lunch of grilled hamburgers. We all juggled a handful of tasks, with the dads managing the grill, Uncle Jonny setting the table, and me figuring out just about everything else before we ate. It was a lovely afternoon, particularly because the severe weather that had been predicted mostly passed us by. I had been anticipating an event like last year, with tornado sirens that sent us and our ice cream cake into the basement for an hour or so.

In other news, Aaron is 11 months old, and as adorable as ever.

Cinco de Mayo and Lindy in the Park

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Hello, May! It’s nice to see you again. On Saturday morning, we went down to 24th and L Streets to check out the Cinco de Mayo parade, an annual tradition Hannah’s been able to enjoy every year of her life (so far). There was a threat of rain, but it mostly passed by and we barely got a sprinkle. The parade itself was the usual ensemble of politicians from both parties, people dressed in festive costumes (both classy and frightening), native dancers, random businesses promoting themselves, drill teams, and the dancing horses bringing up the rear. This was Aaron’s first Cinco de Mayo, but he seemed mostly content to play with his maraca. We were at the tail end of the parade, which meant Hannah got showered with candy paraders were trying to get rid of as the wrapped up.

The crowd around our end seemed to get larger as larger as paraders came to join the lively throng after finishing their trip down 24th Street. We also saw a familiar face or two in the crowd, and we probably got some pictures of ourselves somewhere on social media with all the cameras pointed this way and that during the parade. We got Hannah a Dora balloon and grabbed a couple burritos from Abelardo’s for lunch before going home.

(We saved some room on Cinco de Mayo itself for some massive nacho fries.)

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That evening, Dennis had a birthday party, so we dropped by to let Hannah and Aaron run amuck with his kids for a few hours as we had burgers and hot dogs with the grown-ups. Brandy was bouncing around as usual, but Hannah wasn’t nearly as terrified as the first time she pounced on her.
We grabbed some food at Fareway on the way home so we would have something to bring to the potluck church the next day, a potluck made a bit more special as Aunt Jessica made her return to Nebraska a bit more permanent by joining us for lunch.

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After church, we had Lindy in the Park up at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village. The Sobczyk family was back again, with their kids looking as cute as ever. Hannah seemed more interested in chalk than dancing, but I get her up on the floor to hop around a couple times. Aaron’s still too little to Lindy Hop, but he didn’t enjoy crawling about and riding on daddy’s shoulders. Mostly, it was nice to hang around with our usual cluster of Jitterbug friends (and my doppelganger), albeit for a few minutes.

Conspicuously absent was Dan Wondra. I’d been wanting to see if we could borrow him and his boom box for a Lindy Bomb down at the Gene Leahy Mall, which has recently been put back together after for lengthy deconstruction, and was always a better place to dance, IMHO.

In other news, we took Hannah to swim at the Y, and Sherry and Rob stopped by to see our adorable kids (and to meet our son for the first time). Our kids also got some screen time.