2015 was another very good year!
Here are some of the fun things we did to pass the time.
- In January, we attended a belated New Year’s Party and watched some football with my dad. Hugh turned 50, and I saw Tom Becka live at the Pizza Shoppe. The weather was also unseasonably warm, which meant lots of quality time at the park. Also sushi. And cookies.
- In February, we got a big snowfall and watched the Super Bowl with the family. Hannah made a snowman, and we hosted our fourth Cheese (and wine) Party. For Valentine’s Day, we had dinner at Malara’s with Twin Valley Church and had a five-course dinner with wine-pairings at James Arthur Vineyard. I also saw Jessica Hische at the Waiting Room and had watched MST3K with the folks over breakfast.
- In March, we celebrated my parents’ 40th anniversary at Big Mama’s Kitchen (and then at our house for a slideshow). The Mayor of Bellevue read to our kids at the library and we attended fish fries at St. John Vianney and Holy Name (with and without lines). We had a picnic in the park and Vivian got to be on TV. We also took the kids to Lincoln for a day-trip for Lost in Fun and Big Sal’s Pizza, and we also celebrated Uncle Jonny’s birthday with homemade pizza and Intellivision.
- In April, Hannah hunted for eggs for Easter, and she got to see some baby robins at grandma and grandpa’s house. Hannah and Aaron got to enjoy tulips, lilacs, and other blossoms. Vivian and I saw Brian Regan and had pizza on a date day, and then we made dumplings for Jen’s birthday. We also had the Mills over and flew a kite with grandma and grandpa.
- In May, we saw the Cinco de Mayo parade, went to Lindy in the Park, and toured the Lauritzen Gardens with our friends. Sherry and Bob came to visit, Hannah made mud at Mudpies, and we celebrated Mother’s Day with our three moms (and handprints). I also got to see Chicago (and Fake Journey) at Loessfest. And finally, Jenny and Kody got married up in Iowa Falls. Also: fun in a box.
- In June, Aaron turned one year old, and got to celebrate with a water table and a birthday picnic in the park with his friends. We saw As You Like It and Othello with our goofy friends at Shakespeare on the Green and then saw Eddie Money and Joan Jett at Memorial Park. I visited Spielbound, we saw Big Hero 6 at the Sumtur, and we took the kids to a splash park and the Children’s Museum over lunch. Hannah also saw Mary Poppins at the Rose and both kids got to ride in their new wagon.
- In July, we celebrated the Fourth with a cookout at our house, a parade, and Patriotic Cheesecake and ribs at my parents’ house. Jack took us on a riverboat ride for Donna’s birthday, Anne and Brandon got married, and Vivian and I celebrated our anniversary with Amato’s, a water park, and Joe’s Crab Shack. We went on a camping trip without the kids, I lost my shirt, and Hannah picked her first tomato. I also got to meet Scott Walker and Marco Rubio.
- In August, we got to meet Dr. Ben Carson at a big Family Festival in Council Bluffs (also Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal). We visited Werner Park with a few of our friends, had one last Lindy in the Park, and saw Cinderella at the Sumtur. I also celebrated my birthday with the Jitterbugs, friends at Spin pizza, and a Beatles tribute band.
- In September, Hannah started preschool, and we had ribs with my folks for Labor Day. We went camping with our kids and the Mills family, and then we got pancakes and did dinosaur things at the Applejack Festival. We visited Gifford Farm, saw some cows at the CenturyLink Center, and Hannah and Grammy both entered a cake show (and Hannah won first prize). Vivian also had a birthday involving Kirk Cameron, the Cheesecake Factory, a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse, and Outback Steakhouse (and eventually JNO).
- In October, Hannah got her Big Girl Bed, and we visited two Pumpkin Patches: Vala’s and Bloom Where You’re Planted. We had a Hayrack Ride at the Hall’s and went to Jitterbugs both for a Reunion Dance and a Halloween Dance (in costume). Jenny had a Back to the Future Party to celebrate Marty McFly’s arrival. We also had trick-or-treating as a family at the Mall, at Gifford Farm, and on our own street, of course. Also Chris Christie.
- In November, we said goodbye to the Rietjens with burgers, Chick-Fil-A, and a baptism. Phil and Hannah both had birthdays, and Presidential candidates Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio all came to town. We also had Thanksgiving and kicked off the Christmas Season at Union Station (with Mayor Jean Stothert).
- In December, dad made ribs for a joint birthday party with mom. Vivian and I went to the Institute Christmas Party and then we took the kids out for sushi. I saw presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Bernie Sanders, and even Donald Trump. We also had a full-on white Christmas with a snowman and two Christmas dinners, and we rang in the New Year with Fondue, per tradition.