Monthly Archives: January 2019

It’s only a cheddar moon

Winter seems to have returned with a vengeance, with multiple snow days that have cancelled school and activities. Fortunately, the Saturday we chose to have our biennial cheese party, it was sunny and dry, so our cheesy plans kicked off without a hitch. I took the kids to Burger King for some running-around time before they had a sleepover with Grammy so Vivian and I could enjoy some adults-only time with our friends.

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This year’s cheese party was different, as we now had a category for cheesy dishes. Our friends brought such treats as Taco Cheese Balls, a Red Velvet Cheese Ball, and a pepperjack hash brown casserole (which won). Vivian made a cheese fondue bake with stacks of Camembert wrapped inside a pizza crust, which was quite tasty.

We had all the regular cheese samples of course, and the night’s winner was a Marco Polo cheese, narrowly beating out a North Sea cheese and a raspberry bella vitano. We had a delicious sampling of everything before telling some cheesy jokes and then passing out the awards. Jenny won for the cheesiest dish, Kody won for cheesiest joke, and Jen won for the best cheese of the night.

The party wound down afterward with a few rounds of Telestrations, which is always good for a laugh, especially with our friends (one of whom surprised us and wound up staying the night).

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Vivian and I got to enjoy a rare kid-free breakfast down at Village Inn before picking up Hannah and Aaron from Grammy (and bringing some pie to say thanks). We had more fresh snow that morning, so we day a quiet day inside afterward, nibbling on cheesy leftovers and letting the kids play with some of our cheesy props. I got to play with my Raspberry Pi a bit more, installing a few fun screensavers that the kids found fascinating.

Then that evening, Vivian baked some leftover bread with Camembert and garlic to make some tasty dinner for us. Then around 9:30, we got to watch a total lunar eclipse outside from our driveway. It was a nippy 12 degrees or so, but I went outside multiple times to get a few good shots, including totality, when the Super Wolf Blood Moon was complete. It was a beautiful sight, once I thought I’d miss when this morning it was snowing and overcast for most of the day.

Snow fun and Zoey’s Birthday

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We had a brief widow of lovely weather before winter returned, so we took the down to Stinson Park for their first lunch time play date since August. Hannah’s doll Suki came along to ride in the swings as daddy took turns pushing (and doing double “underdogs”), and the kids got some exercise dancing together. sliding, and running away from a stray skeleton that was hanging around.

Then on Thursday, we celebrated the one year anniversary of us adopting our little cat Zoey. We gave her a birthday “cake” made of cat food along with some presents, like a new dish and some cat toys.

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On Saturday, winter returned with a couple inches of wet, heavy snow that I spent the day shoveling up (at our house and at Grammy’s). Vivian made some French toast for breakfast, which we ate with the kids, but we mostly stayed indoors letting the snow accumulate and tidying up (though Hannah did get to build a snowman).

Then on Sunday after church, we took the kids sledding up on the hill behind Bellevue East High School. It was a lovely, sunny day for sledding down the steep hill (and making snow angels). Hannah loved speeding down even while sitting on Daddy’s lap, though Aaron had had enough after getting covered in snow and hitting an unexpected ramp on the way down.

After that, we returned home so Hannah could help make a snowman family in our yard while Aaron chased mommy with snowballs and colored in the snow. It was a lovely day for January, but I think the cold settled in by the end of the day, and not just because some of us were eating snow, so we warmed up with hot chocolate and chicken soup to finish off our weekend.

Unseasonable

The year 2019 is well underway, and we’re enjoying some major unseasonably warm weather. Among other unseasonable events, the 2020 Presidential Campaign seems to have kicked off way, way early, bleeding into the mid-terms in what feels like a never-ending political season.

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As such, Elizabeth Warren decided to drop by the Thunderbowl banquet hall in Council Bluffs to start her campaign. The venue held only 150 people and was clearly incapable of hosting the 300+ people who showed up. The Massachusetts Senator certainly had name recognition among the crowd, though most people who dropped by seemed more curious than committed to a candidate. Some left early after seeing that they wouldn’t be able to get inside, while those of us who stayed got a surprise when Warren herself dropped by half an hour early to greet the overflow crowd. She said a few words and then was immediately mobbed by spectators wanting selfies on her way inside (I almost got one myself). She gave a brief stump speech and held a brief Q&A, with questions selected via names from a hat. She then stuck around for more selfies afterward.

It seems like yesterday I was hobnobbing with candidates like this, mingling with the merch vendors hawking buttons and standing in lines of people waiting to see candidates. I enjoyed hearing what Warren had to say, though she’s farther to the left than most any candidate I’ve heard before and stands opposite of me on nearly every issue. It’ll be interesting to see which candidate throws his (or her) hat into the rig next.

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The gorgeous weather continued into Saturday, and to celebrate the twelfth day of Christmas, the city of Omaha set off the fireworks it had intended to set off on New Year’s Eve (but postponed due to high winds). We walked through the Gene Leahy Mall with the kids, which was lovely still with its Christmas lights lit. We met up with Kate and her girls and let the kids play a bit on the slides. Then we took a brief walk on the (still) frozen ice as we waited for the fireworks to start.

The show was supposed to happen at 14th and Farnam, but the fireworks were actually set off from behind the buildings in Heartland of America Park, obscuring our view from the east end of the mall (as if the organizers pulled the world’s biggest “psyche!”) Once the show started, we had to rush with a thousand other people just to see them. Fortunately, we got a fairly good view from tenth street. We let the traffic clear itself out as the kids played together, and then Vivian and I headed home to enjoy some jalapeño poppers (courtesy of Vivian) after putting the kids to bed.

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On Sunday night, we took the kids to play at the playground of First Presbyterian Church in advance of their Family Movie Night. They got a good dose of playing outdoors despite the weather turning a bit more seasonable, but it made our dinner of chili hot dogs even more welcoming once we were done outside. Then Hannah and Aaron got to join several of their little friends on the floor and watch Ferdinand before calling it a night.

Then on Monday, Alabama got to lose spectacularly to Clemson in the college football national championship. I watched the game with my dad and Jonathan, taking advantage of a free trial with Sling to watch on ESPN via my dad’s laptop (connected to the TV via HDMI, which worked great). It’s one of the two football games I usually watch each year, though Hannah doesn’t pick a winner for this one. We’ll see if Alabama and Clemson meet again next year for yet another re-match.

New Year Fondue

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I decided to take off from work the few days between Christmas and New Year’s, which let me recover a bit after Christmas and get some extra time with the kids. We did mundane things like get both of our cars an oil change, and we got the kids some exercise running around at the Kroc Center and at Burger King over lunch. I also got Hannah to decorate a belated Christmas card for Uncle Nathan so I could send him a belated Christmas gift (namely CASH).

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We got some more quality time with family and food on New Year’s Eve. My folks came over with Uncle Jonny to join us for a round of Apples to Apples, and then Jack and Donna stayed with us until midnight having some cheese fondue as the last moments of 2018 faded away. Hannah was bound and determined to stay up until midnight with us, and she spent some time drawing pictures with Grammy. She crashed eventually sometime around eleven, but we roused her before midnight came to the Central Time Zone.

I popped open a bottle of sparkling white as we rang in the New Year together before calling it a night. We spent New Year’s Day recovering from the night before, letting Aaron practice the alphabet on my Raspberry Pi and having some of Jack’s spicy black-eyed peas for dinner.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work (and reality) after a lovely, long Christmas break. Bring it on, 2019!