The best is ready to begin

IMG_5619We had another busy weekend here in Omaha, much of which involved celebrating Vivian’s birthday.

We kicked things off on Saturday by visiting the Centurylink Center to see some livestock and some cakes. The Aksarben Livestock Show was happening on the main level, and we took a good look at the animals being cleaned, dried, and brushed for competition. It was so strange to see cattle all puffed up and cuddly preparing to be judge. Hannah and Aaron also got to see some cows up close and personal for the very first time. One cowhand even let Aaron pet one and showed how its udder worked. Hannah was quite amazed to see where milk actually comes from.

IMG_5634On the second floor, the Omaha Sugar Arts Competition was underway. Vivian’s mom entered an amazing hanging chandelier cake, which took first place in the People’s Choice Award. She also got a blue ribbon for a painting made with fondant and cocoa powder.

The real treat for us, however, was our own Hannah, who took home First Prize in the “wee ones” division for her autumn-colored cake. She did all the work in making it herself, including cutting out the maple leaf and sticking it on top. Mom and I couldn’t have been prouder!

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On Saturday Night, Vivian and I attended a marriage seminar at Bellevue Christian Center titled Love Worth Fighting For. It featured Kirk Cameron, best known for his role as Mike Seaver on the sitcom Growing Pains, which he poked fun of right off the bat during his opening talk once the seminar got underway. The event was a kind of birthday gift for Vivian, and I even splurged on the “VIP” treatment, which meant we got to attend a Q&A and autograph session with Kirk before the show. Vivian asked if there were any plans for a Growing Pains sequel series on Netflix (a la Fuller House).

The seminar also featured the musical talents of Warren Barfield, who played a song or two, talked a bit, and plugged his children’s missionary work toward the end of session two. Much of Kirk’s talk revolved around 1 Peter 3:7 and a five-point sermon he’d borrowed from another preacher. In the end, I felt like I got more out of the Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar a year ago, but this was still an enjoyable event. (Particularly going to Village Inn with our friens the Mills afterward — without any kids.)

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Vivian’s birthday itself proved to be a fairly busy day, between church in the morning and a birthday party packed with princesses in the afternoon. I made her a heart-shaped pancake sandwich for breakfast and got some sushi from Baker’s for lunch (along with a smiley face birthday cake from Donna).

Then for dinner, we met around 16 or 17 of our mutual friends for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Vivian got some kind of shrimp gumbo and a giant piece of raspberry lemon cheesecake, which was presented to her with a loud, embarrassing rendition of “Happy Birthday” from all her guests and the waitstaff. (And thanks to a recent court ruling, it was actually Happy Birthday rather than some knock-off not being held hostage via Copyright.)

We went outside to enjoy an hour or two of watching the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse, enjoying clear skies and perfect weather for such a viewing. It was something of a nice little celestial birthday present to cap off the weekend.

Happy birthday, Vivian, and show me that smile again. The best is ready to begin!

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