Monthly Archives: July 2019

Biden my time

It’s the dog days of summer, with highs breaking the century mark, right on schedule for our anniversary (which we usually celebrate at a water park). Naturally, we’re finding ways to have fun while keeping cool, like running through the fountains at Stinson Park and installing new light fixtures in the basement.

IMG_20190714_163409447IMG_20190715_205539023

Over the weekend, Hannah and Aaron got to participate in the annual River City Confectioners’ Association cake show once again. Hannah made a cute little snowman while Aaron made a shark cake, and they each won a ribbon and a bag of prizes for participating. The cake show was held at the Douglas County fair, which itself was inexplicably held in a series of empty storefronts at Village Pointe Mall. I didn’t see any show animals or rides, but we did stop by an exhibit full of science-related toys and activities. They also got some balloons and paint-work done before we called it a day.

A few days later, my Uncle Andy and Aunt Nancy stopped by for a visit, so we took the kids over to visit with them a bit and play a few rounds of charades with the kids.

IMG_7315IMG_20190717_122345212

A few days later, former Veep and Democrat front-runner for President “Sleepy” Joe Biden stopped by Council Bluffs for a visit. The button brigade was outside as usual as a couple hundred people showed up to squeeze into the Grass Wagon events center. The crowd included the usual media types along with former Congressman Brad Ashford, local blogger Dave Begley, and the  pair of autograph hounds who followed every candidate back in 2016. Biden was introduced by a local cancer survivor named Connie Gronstal shortly before eleven, and then Biden gave a remarkably short stump speech — just under 19 minutes — focusing on standard Democrat topics like healthcare and free college.

Afterward, Biden stayed for nearly an hour afterward to greet everyone along the rope line and get photos with anyone who wanted one (including me, of course). I’ve never been a fan of Biden, but sticking around to meet and greet that many people when you’re already the party front runner put him up a notch in my book.

IMG_7414IMG_7446

That day also happened to be Grammy’s birthday, so we had her over for dinner and cake that evening. Jack grilled up some “tomahawk” rib-eye steaks, which he carved up for us (letting Aaron take a whole bone to devour). The kids had also decorated a chocolate bundt cake, which we lit with candles and let Grammy blow out afterward. Then Grammy opened a few presents with the kids as the evening wound down afterward.

The Fourth

I hope you all had a wonderfully explosive Independence Day! I took Friday off, as most people did, for an extended four-day holiday weekend, which turned out to be more low-key than most of our fourths of July in the past.

IMG_1346IMG_1365

We kicked things off Thursday morning with some pancakes in Elmwood Park at the DCRP pancake breakfast. We got to rub elbows with a congressman and a few other familiar faces as we got pancakes and sausage served up by the Mayor, the Governor, and a few other folks running for office. Our friends the Mills came (as did by dad, briefly) and shared a table with us, and we hung around with them a bit afterward to play in the adjacent playground. Lollipop the Clown was also on hand, making balloon animals for the kids, which we miraculously kept intact before we finally headed on home.

IMG_1488IMG_1540

We had a fairly quiet afternoon before having Jack and Donna and grilling up some burgers for dinner. A little later, my folks came by with Nathan and Jonathan and we set off some fireworks in the street as one big patriotic family. Donna even brought some ice cream for us to enjoy halfway through the evening. We were able to set off nearly every fountain, Roman candle, and artillery shell before our eleven o’clock “curfew” (set by the city), and we were able to whip out a handful of sparklers as well.

Aaron, however, somehow crashed in bed shortly before we started setting things off and couldn’t be roused (either by us or the noise).

IMG_1597IMG_1586

The next day, we marked a milestone for our kids by showing them the Lion King for the first time, which traumatized Hannah halfway through (of course). Then on Saturday, we had a birthday party for our old friend Timothy. The Mathis family has been living abroad in Thailand for a couple years, and we’d last celebrated a birthday with Timothy in 2013. The kids played on a sprinkler mat in the backyard and picked some mulberries together. A little later we had lunch, a cake, and also a piñata for the kids to break apart. A handful of our mutual friends showed up as well, so we got to catch up with them a bit before calling it a day.

We kept things fairly quiet afterward, settling the kids into some summer break activities. We also got Aaron his first legit Big Boy Bed, nabbing both a twin mattress and bed frame with drawers all for the low price of absolutely nothing. Aaron gave it a good test-run with Hannah and seems to approve.

In other news, Burger King has Tacos.

Hot, humid, and Hamlet

We’ve hit peak summer! The kids are done with summer school, and the temperature and humidity are cranked up to high, turning all of Omaha into the world’s biggest sauna.

IMG_0942IMG_1149

Of course, little things like heat stroke won’t keep us away from some of my favorite annual traditions, specifically the concert at Memorial Park, which almost didn’t happen at all this year. Tens of thousands of people took their usual spots on the green to welcome Chris Isaak and Steven Van Zandt (AKA Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul) to Omaha for a hot, steamy evening of music outdoors. We arrived just in time to see the conclusion of the opening local Band, The Firm, before having a couple hours to run around and sweat as the sun went down.

Our old friends the Mathis family returned from living several years abroad in Thailand and joined us on our blanket for the duration of the performance, as did Jon Paper and Kate and her girls. Jolene kept the kids busy with some fun patriotic head gear, games, and glow sticks, while I kept busy trying not to pass out while chasing Aaron around the park. The evening concluded with the traditional fireworks, which we got to see before trudging back to our cars.

I wasn’t even familiar with the bands that were playing, but I’m very glad the concert still happened — especially since Loessfest is now permanently cancelled for the year. Special thanks especially to a few “anonymous” donors including Susie Buffett, who was unexpectedly outed by Little Steven at the end of the concert.

IMG_1281IMG_1311

We spent a quiet Saturday celebrating the last day of Chick-Fil-A appreciation month. Then we welcomed Grammy back after her month away in California by having her babysit the kids as we went off to see Hamlet. It wasn’t much cooler the next day, but the “green” in Elmwood Park had shade and even a breeze that made for a far more comfortable performance.

An almost entirely different set of friends joined us on our blanket for our second “Shakesperience” of the year, including Randy and Jolene, Mark, Phil and Jen, and also Lisa (again). We shared food on the blanket briefly before the show began, and It was a very good performance, as usual. One actor played three roles as Hamlet’s father’s ghost, a grave digger, and an actor. Hamlet was also played inexplicably played by a woman, as were multiple other male parts of the play, but aside from brief confusion as to which character was which, I was able to follow the classic story without any trouble.

IMG_20190701_180632018IMG_20190701_181411788

On Sunday, we had a welcome back dinner with Grammy with some homemade ceviche, but for the most part we stayed inside and cool (though some of Hannah’s toys ventured out to the driveway for whatever reason). Then on Monday we spent the evening down at Seymour Smith park to swing and run around in their spray-ground. We invited Lexi and her kids along and made an evening of it before returning home for some pulled pork sandwiches for dinner.

Next stop: Independence Day!