Monthly Archives: February 2018

Free speech and the big thaw

We had hoped to have a chili cook-off with Aunt Jessica on Saturday, but a brief bit of freezing rain seemed to keep a lot of people at home.

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One event that was not cancelled, fortunately, was a Free Speech Forum hosted by Dr. Rick Galusha at Bellevue University. There were a handful of topics for various panels to discuss (“fake news,” immigration, the war on drugs, gerrymandering, and the Convention of the States), followed by a larger panel discussion with local politicians on those issues. I sat in with the Fake News group, have a lively exchange back and forth with Tom Becka and several other people. Former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub joined the panel afterward in the larger group, and I found it kind of refreshing that many people with very different opinions could argue and remain civil in a setting like this.

The freezing rain outside made things a bit slippery on the way home, but my rental Challenger made it a fairly easy trip home, where we stayed inside most of the day (catching up on Mario 3, among other things).

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The weather seemed to turn a corner the following week, warming up enough to warrant our first trip to the park of the year. Mommy brought some lunch, and the kids got some quality time on the swings, slide, and jumping in puddles before heading home.

Pump it up

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Kate’s girls Chloe and (other) Hannah had a birthday party with a bunch of little ones on Saturday at Pump it up, a kind of bounce-house party center in mid-town Omaha. Hannah and Aaron got to try jumping through an obstacle course and then had some quality time shooting down a giant, inflatable slide. Even Aunt Jessica, Mommy and Kate got into the action, which was quite hilarious to see. There were gifts, pizza, and cake afterward, though I drove around the corner for some more pho for mommy and me when we returned home.

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We’re definitely getting our fill of winter, with freezing rain and “weather advisories” nearly every day this week. Over the weekend, though, the weather was lovely enough to warrant a walk to Grandma and Grandpa’s House for an afternoon visit and some extra swing time on Sunday. Grammy and Pop-Pop also celebrated their 40th Anniversary, so they took us out to China Buffet to get stuffed with Chinese food and seafood from the Mongolian grill.

Then on Wednesday, I finally got our Civic — which had been rear-ended back in December — in to the body shop to see ift hey can fix it. In the meantime, I get to drive in a giant Dodge Challenger, which actually takes up more room in our garage than our Honda CR-V. It’s also handled the bit of winter we’ve had fairly well so far.

Steak, sledding, and Valentine’s Day

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We’ve had multiple days of snow over the past week or two, but we’re not letting the white stuff keep us down by any means. On Saturday night, Nate and Lexi invited us over to celebrate their son Gabriel’s second birthday. Nate grilled up some hot dogs and some steak butchered from a family member’s cow, which was quite delicious. We had some Orange Cat Cake (designed by Donna, naturally), and Gabe opened up a handful of presents.

Our combined herd of kids had fun playing throughout the evening as I caught up on some classic Mega Man 3 with Nate, reminiscing about how awesome (and difficult) some old school games could be. I’d let my kids experience some of that on Sunday when dad and Uncle Jonny dropped by to watch them play Donkey Kong Jr. for the first time ever.

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It was a balmy 41 degrees on Tuesday, so we decided to take the kids down to Memorial Park for some sledding. Much of the snow had already melted, but the park had several hills facing different directions, so there was still plenty left for a few good hours of fun. We usually only come to Memorial Park for the Fourth of July concerts, so it was different to see the place covered in snow (instead of people) and the trees bare enough to give us a view of some lovely Happy Hollow homes. We had a few good hours of sled time before heading home for some shrimp po’ boys and red beans and rice for mardi gras.

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The next day was both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. I got up early enough to make a heart-shaped breakfast for everyone before heading off to work. Then during lunch, I met up with Vivian and the kids at Five Guys with a vase of roses in hand for a little Valentine’s Day lunch. That dinner that night, I brought home some beef pho and banh mi from the local Vietnamese Asian Restaurant for dinner along with a few special treats for the kids. Hannah also made some adorable little “cards” for mommy and me, completely unprompted, which was wonderfully sweet. We finished off the day with a giant “cookie” Vivian baked for me, which we ate while watching When We First Met, a romantic comedy on Netflix that was much better than the reviews would lead you to believe.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and welcome to the season of Lent! Now let’s get our fish fry on before April First rolls around.

Eclipsed

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There was some kind of lunar eclipse on Wednesday last week, so I thought it might be nice to get up early and have breakfast with my folks, where they have a backyard with enough of a view that we could watch it. Unfortunately, the clouds didn’t quite cooperate, but we did get a glimpse of the nearly-eclipsed moon before it disappeared behind an overcast sky. We brought the kids along as well, and my parents shared some pastries with us before we left.

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Then on Friday night, we took the kids to the Children’s Museum for their Candyland Night. The “Candyland” theme didn’t stretch much farther than an inflated rainbow archway with a tattered colored path along the floor, but there were lots of other things that kept the kids busy. Hannah went “sledding” in the winter wonderland exhibit, and the kids both took trips on the carousel and train. Mostly, it was nice to let the kids get out and run around as winter made things a bit too cold for the great outdoors.

Vivian had a baby shower to attend on Saturday, so I took the kids down to the Kroc Center to get them worn out in the afternoon before putting them down with some Super Mario Bros 3.

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Then on Sunday, we had some potluck with our friends at Twin Valley Church before spending the afternoon preparing for the Super Bowl. Vivian made an assortment of tasty wings and nachos, and Jack and Donna came over with guacamole, clam dip, empañadas, and some tiny mini pizzas. I got both of the kids to make their predictions for the Super Bowl again this year, and the both picked the Eagles. For those of you keeping score at home, that makes Hannah four-for-four in her Super Bowl picks. She and Aaron both seemed enthusiastic about the game, though the snacks probably helped. Hannah also brought out a variety of toys, including her bizarre balloon doll and Zoe cats dressed in their “jammies.”

We’ve got another cold week of snow and slippery roads in the forecast for this week. Hopefully we’ll make it until spring.