Category Archives: Easter

Dave Rubin and Easter Weekend

The trees are blossoming, the daffodils and tulips are coming up, and the Johnson Family is as busy as ever, mostly having fun with warmer weather and celebrating Easter with our family — and according to my calendar, it’s not slowing down anytime soon.


On Tuesday, I went to the lats Men of God event at Wildewood of the year, which included boneless pork ribs, which I ate entirely too much of (i.e. two). Then on Wednesday, Dave Rubin — a “classical liberal” and host of the Rubin Report — came to UN-O courtesy of Turning Point USA. He was the first major speaker for the newly-created campus group, and at least 100 packed one lecture hall about a mile from where I work to hear his talk.

I’d been listening to Rubin’s “long-format conversation” talk show for a couple years now, so it was exciting to see him in person. He talked for about an hour and then had an hour of Q&A from the audience. I had the opportunity to recommend one of my favorite films to him, Brazil, as an example of the best “libertarian” film out there. I saw many familiar faces in the crowd, which was largely friendly, and most attendees stayed to meet and greet Rubin afterward (including me, of course). Special kudos to Matt Anderson for pulling off his first major event for the TPUSA Omaha chapter.


The next evening, I went to RiffTrax live to see the awful rubber-suited Octaman. Most of the usual crew couldn’t make it, save for Ben Peet, so it was a fairly quiet event, though I did get to use Richard Burney’s seat for extra space, which was nice. Then at home, I brought out some matzo crackers I’d gotten for Passover, which Vivian and I had with some kosher wine.

Then we kicked off a long Easter Weekend with some friends from the Bellevue Area Christian Homeschoolers (BACH) in a newer “suburb” of north downtown. They had a live sheep on hand (for petting) and a table full of bible-era food for us to eat together (and a campfire for s’mores). Our hostess also gave a long talk about Passover, Good Friday, and scriptures relating to it, but our kids seemed more interested in the play area until the food was ready.


The Easter fun continued Saturday morning as we drove down to Lincoln for an Easter Egg Hunt and party — at the Governor’s Mansion of all places! We parked right next to the Capitol and joined a couple dozen other families for fun in the Governor’s backyard (literally) — face painting, cookie decorating, live ducks, an Easter Bunny and a little egg hunting, of course. Gov. Ricketts was also on-hand to meet and greet guests, getting pictures with nearly everyone in the process.

It was a fun event, and the weather couldn’t have been better. It was also free, with only a request for canned goods for the local food pantry. I’m not sure how we managed to get an invite, but I’m glad we were able to come, since our usual Easter egg hunting venue (Bellevue Christian Church) was cancelled in lieu of flood relief work.


Of course, we also had to walk across the street for a quick look at the Capitol afterward. I showed the kids the statue of Abraham Lincoln and showed Hannah where our State Senator works. We spent most of our time up in the rotunda, though, taking in the view from the highest point in the city. We grabbed a little lunch on our way out of town, which included spring rolls and beef pho from Pho Nguyen.

That evening, after cleaning house a bit for Easter, the kids got to color and decorate some eggs together at our kitchen table before calling it a night.


Then came Easter Sunday! We all dressed up for church (including Hannah’s dolls) and stopped on the way by grandma and grandpa’s house to hide some licorice jelly beans from the “Easter Bunny” (which they found afterward). Then back home, we let the kids hunt for eggs in the front and back yards as Grammy and Pop-Pop came over to watch. We had a few Easter cards appear in our mailbox in the process, as well as some special additions to our yard.

We had some hors d’oeuvres inside afterward, and then Vivian made a glazed ham with her dad for Easter Dinner, among several other things. My mom and dad dropped by later with Uncles Nathan and Jonathan, and the kids set the table for us to eat shortly after four. There was plenty of food, and I managed to stuff myself without even going back to seconds of anything. Of course, there was also dessert — fudge and shortbread cookies (which the kids helped make) as well as frozen pies from Village Inn and Marie Callender.

It was a long, fun weekend, but now that spring is underway and summer is almost here, we’ll have lots more going on before we can take a breath!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Easter Winter

The weekend, we celebrated a Savior who is risen with temperatures that definitely have not. There were parts of Nebraska that got upwards of a foot of snow over the Holy holiday weekend, but we somehow escape with just some freezing temperatures.


I kicked off Good Friday by paying a brief visit with Chip and Ian from 1420 AM as they hosted Omaha’s Morning Answer down at the Greater Omaha Prayer Breakfast. I’m a regular listener in the morning and thought I’d stop by and say hello once I heard they were hosting their show live from the lobby of the La Vista Embassy Suites. Reaching out to local media has become a part of my day job, and I got to see a few familiar faces before I left, including Dr. Mark Christian of the Global Faith Institute, who sat in for a brief interview before the end of the program.

Then that evening, we celebrated Good Friday with the kids by coloring a couple dozen Easter Eggs in the kitchen. Grammy gave us some whisk-like egg holders meant to dip them in their dye with a little less mess, but we still had more than a couple cracked eggs as we colored them all. They should still taste fine on Sunday when I devil them up.


We spent a chilly Saturday having a couple of egg hunts at Bellevue Christian Center. It was around thirty degrees outside, so much of our time was spent inside letting the kids get some exercise on inflatable bounce houses and an obstacle course. They still had big crowds for the Easter Egg hunts outside, but there were plenty of eggs for Hannah and Aaron to scoop up once their age groups were let loose. There were also some hot dogs for lunch and a giant dance party in front of the church, but the chill eventually overcame us and we had to head back inside to warm up before heading home.

Hannah also made a new friend “Chloe,” who spent Easter weekend with us.


Vivian and I were up bright and early on Easter Morning as Hannah and Aaron discovered baskets of candy that the “Easter Bunny” had somehow left overnight. They also looked out the window to see not only had a bunch of eggs been left behind, but here was still an actual Easter Bunny hopping around in our yard.

We headed off to church for a special Easter Breakfast before the kids got the chance to fill up on candy. We had Easter outfits for the kids (which I coordinated with Aaron) and then had some muffins, pancakes, and eggs together with our friends from Twin Valley Church before Pastor Ryan gave his Easter message.


We headed home afterward to let the kids gather up the eggs that had been left on the front lawn. Vivian’s parents also came over to help get ready for Easter Dinner. Vivian made scalloped potatoes, I put together some deviled eggs with the kids (who helped peel). We had the standard assortment of hors d’oeuvres to fill up on before dinnertime, including some special smoked wings and pork ribs from my dad. The plush bunny and pig from Hannah and Aaron’s Easter baskets played centerpiece until it was dinnertime, and then we stuffed ourselves further with glazed ham and fruit salad. I also tried out my new coffee pot as we visited afterward, and Uncle Jonny even read a story to Aaron (in-between rounds of video games).

It was another lovely Easter holiday, but after checking my calorie count for the day, I’m rather glad it only comes but once a year.

Eggsciting Easter Weekend


We just had a jam-packed Easter Weekend with the whole family, and we’re still working off the leftovers several days later, so you know it was good. The festivities kicked off with a Good Friday service at Bellevue Christian Center and then a long night of getting food ready while watching The Ten Commandments. We returned to BCC the next day to attend their Easter Egg Hunt. We were rained out of the festivities last year, but this time around the weather couldn’t have been nicer. Aaron got to collect eggs with a bunch of other tykes for the first time, and then Hannah got her turn — a bit early as the emcee told everyone to cheer with a “ready, set” that everyone thought was meant to start the egg hunt.

Afterward, we made ample use of the bounce houses inside, Hannah got her face painted, and then we had some hot dogs for lunch. There was a friendly Easter Bunny on hand for some high-fives, and then Hannah and Aaron made a new friend back on the playground, who just happened to be the niece of Vivian’s long-lost BCC friend Matt. They got some quality time making butt jokes before we headed home.


Back at the house, Hannah and mommy decorated some egg-shaped cookies for Easter Dinner. Then once Aaron’s nap was done, the whole family got to decorate some eggs together. Vivian got some “pretend” eggs with messy bags of dye, and I boiled up some regular-style eggs to go with the PAAS brand dye.

The next day, Hannah and Aaron got to wear their Easter Outfits as we all went to Twin Valley Church for a special Resurrection Sunday Breakfast put on by the Elders. They went all out with bacon, eggs, pancakes, fruit, and everything else you would want for breakfast. Since everyone was in their Sunday Best, I decided to hang around and snapped a photo of Pastor Ryan and his family after the service before doing the same with our own family back at the house.


The afternoon Easter Festivities commented with our own egg hunt in the front yard. There were plenty of eggs that the “Easter Bunny” had hidden the night before (along with the remains of a few carrots), and somehow Hannah decided only to pick the sparkly, pretty eggs that were hidden while Aaron gathered up pretty much everything else.

The kids got some special Easter baskets inside to keep them distracted while the rest of us got Easter Dinner underway. Vivian had made some delicious smoked salmon spread the night before, while I got out my traditional deviled eggs (which Hannah served everyone). Jack glazed a ham while Hannah and Grammy picked some of our blooming lilac and dandelions to make a lovely centerpiece on the table. My parents (and Uncle Jonny) came by later once Easter Dinner was ready, and Hannah got to pass out the cookies she’d decorated to everyone before we ate. Even Uncle Nathan stopped by later once we brought out the Truffle Pie.


It was a lovely Easter weekend, and then we got to have some perfect weather on Monday for some quality time in the park with the kids. They got some extra time on the swings, and we had a nice little picnic lunch under some trees in full blossom.

Aaron learns the Way of the Dad on Easter Sunday

Easter 2016


It’s Easter Season in Nebraska once again, which means our tulips start poking out of the ground just in time for another blizzard or hard freeze. In any case, we had Palm Sunday at church, and Aaron got to take his first trip around the sanctuary carrying a plastic palm branch with Hannah.

Then that evening we had dinner at our new Pastor’s house (with the “other” Johnson family in our church) to have hot dogs and talk about starting a new Young Families group together. It would certainly be nice to have a bible study with built-in babysitting, and Hannah already seems to be getting along with the new kids at church.


There was actual snow in the forecast for Wednesday, so Vivian and I decided to take the kids for a romp at the park with Lexi and her kids. Park time is always more fun when Hannah has Sammy and Jake to keep her company on the slides and swings, and Aaron and August seemed to have fun running the perimeter of the park, grabbing balls from the big kids and riding a grasshopper together. There was even a leftover pile of leaves from last fall for some jumping in before we headed home.


Vivian and I were actually scheduled to set up at JNO on Good Friday, which was fine by us, as we had a live band playing that night. That means after setting up the front desk and handling the crowd through the opening lesson, the rest of the night is ours to dance. We saw a handful of the Jitterbug regulars and quickly wore out our feet on the dance floor swinging out to the Billy Bacon hand his rockabilly band.


On Saturday, the Easter Egg Hunt we’d planned to attend at the Bellevue Christian Center was cancelled due to rain, but we wound up having an egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa Johnson’s house instead. We’d planned on stopping by anyway to celebrate Uncle Jonny’s birthday a week late (with pizza for lunch), but it was especially nice to let our kids run around hunting for plastic eggs before we had lunch together.


Then came Easter Sunday! Vivian got brand-new Easter outfits for both Hannah and Aaron, which meant plenty of family pictures together as we were all dressed up. Grammy and Pop-Pop brought Easter Eggs for the kids to find in our yard before going inside to open their Easter baskets full of candy and toys. I made some waffles for an Easter Lunch together as Aaron went down for a nap, and then we spent some quality time playing a memory card game with Hannah on the coffee table.

My folks and Uncle Jonny came over when dinnertime rolled around. We had the usual mess of deviled eggs for hors d’oeuvres before having our dinner of glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, Watergate salad, and some bizarre Bunny Bread that Donna had made up. I think we all got more than our fill of food, which meant I’d have o work to schedule time to ride my bike to work this week and pedal some of the extra calories off.

Happy Resurrection Day, everybody!

Reunions, Economics, and Easter Eggs


Aaron turned 21 months old this weekend, which meant taking him to a park to see if we could crack a smile for his monthly picture. We didn’t have success, even when using the swing that got such a nice smile from Hannah at that age, but the next morning I made Aaron crack up by abusing some of Hannah’s toys. I love my kids.

Then on Monday, we got to have a bit of a reunion this week when Teresa Rietjens and her kids came to town and met up with a bunch of friends from Twin Valley Church at the local Chick-Fil-A. Hannah got to catch up with Rachel and get some quality playtime in as the rest of us ate chicken sandwiches and talked with Teresa about thier new life in Clear Lake, Iowa. Hopefully, we’ll be able to pop over for a visit sometime this summer.


On Tuesday, I went to see economist Stephen Moore give a presentation on supply-side economics at a forum hosted by Americans for Prosperity. Moore’s a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a contributor on the Fox News Channel, so I suppose my withdrawal from hanging out with politicians every week had started to wear off. He gave a very informative presentation showing correlations between lower taxes and higher revenue, a cornerstone idea of his friend Art Laffer’s career. Moore stuck around for plenty of Q&A with the relatively small crowd, and I enjoyed chatting with some of my political friends before going home to cry about Marco Rubio dropping out of the Presidential race. (Sniff, sniff.)


And in case you haven’t checked the calendar recently, Easter is almost here. It’s an early Easter this year, which means our office wound up having a special egg-decorating day on St. Patrick’s Day. Pam and the events committee had eggs and dye and lots of green goodies upstairs. Our family all dressed in green for the day, and a few of my co-workers’ kids showed up for some of the fun. They made friends quickly with Aaron and Hannah. Hannah especially liked finding eggs hidden throughout the third-floor conference room, and she dyed and painted a handful of eggs herself to take home.

We concluded the day with corned-beef and cabbage, per tradition, with the kids.

May the Eggs be ever in your favor

Easter is upon us once again as the the long weeks of winter make way for a season of new life and rebirth. Hannah got to wave a few palm branches at church last week on Palm Sunday, and then everyone in Omaha became sick simultaneously. There were outbreaks of flu, bronchitis, and even pneumonia hitting practically everyone we know at work, church, and elsewhere. Reid at Twin Valley even had to have an emergency appendectomy. It was a week for an Easter Bouquet of Get-Well Flowers in any case.


On Saturday, our family (plus my folks) went down to Aksarben Village to participate in an Easter Egg hunt sponsored by Jones Bros. Cupcakes. It turned out to be a frightening occasion, and not just because of the Easter Bunny. The “hunt” was a rather savage competition not unlike the Hunger Games as an overwhelming crowd of kids and parents descended upon a field with not nearly enough eggs to go around. With barely a word of warning from an emcee nobody could hear, toddlers were trampled and overeager grownups scooped up all the eggs within seconds. Hannah and practically half the toddlers there were unable to grab even a single egg during the melee. A few nice people gave our teary-eyed girl an egg or two from their own baskets in a gesture of goodwill, but we still counted the experience as a thoroughly disappointing bust. May the Eggs be ever in your favor.

That evening, we boiled up the eggs and gave Hannah the chance to dye a couple for the first time in our kitchen. She got to make some pretty colors happen and even experimenting dipping eggs into more than one cup of dye just to see how that worked. I boiled a couple extra eggs to make deviled eggs while watching the Ten Commandments, per tradition.


We had some gorgeous weather on Resurrection Sunday that made for a much happier Easter Egg Hunt for Hannah (and Aaron, who seemed content to sit in the grass and dig through Hannah’s bucket). Hannah found dozens of both plastic and hard-boiled eggs scattered throughout our yard as both sets of grandparents cheered her on.

We retreated inside afterward so Hannah could open up a few of the eggs and got and then dig through the goodies in her Easter Basket. She got an Easter activity book from Grandma Johnson and a new puzzle among other things in her Easter Basket from Grammy. Aaron got an Easter Basket too but seemed more content to chew on whatever he could find lying around on the floor.


We finished off the evening with our traditional Easter Dinner of ham (carved by Jack, naturally), Martinelli’s, and whatever else everyone brought with them. Grammy brought some sweet potato casserole that Aaron just couldn’t get enough of. Uncle Jonny was even able to escape from work long enough to join us for the evening. It’s definitely nice to be able to have so much family in one spot.

Happy Easter, everybody! Christ is risen, indeed.

Easter Weekend with the Grandfolks


We had a lovely little Easter Weekend here in Omaha, now with both sides of the family on hand for the egg hunting and basketing fun. Vivian and I were at JNO to set up on Friday night, then got up (relatively) early on Saturday to take Hannah for her first big Easter Egg Hunt at the Bellevue Christian Center. She and a mob of other kids got to pick a playground lawn clean of plastic eggs, much to the approval of my folks (and the local Easter Bunny). They had games inside afterward, and Hannah got to “think outside the box” by walking around the tape in such games as bean bag toss (nobody said she had to stay behind it). We had some hot dogs for lunch afterward and Vivian said hello to a couple familiar faces before calling it a day.

That evening, an emergency call went out to volunteers at Gifford Farm. A brush fire was raging near the railroad tracks and the animals had to be evacuated. I helped Donna load up a van full of snakes, hedgehogs, lizards, and other critters we’d rather not have running loose and toted them to a shelter across town. Fortunately, the fire department kept the blaze under control, but things were smoky for quite a while.


On Easter Sunday, we dressed up and went to church to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection properly with the gang from Twin Valley Church (and dedicate Baby Jonah). We returned home afterward for lunch and then took Hannah on an Easter Egg Hunt in our front yard. For the first time in over a decade, my parents were on hand to celebrate Easter, and they got to see Hannah picking up all sorts of plastic eggs around the yard (including plenty of animal-shaped eggs she didn’t want to let go of).

We wet inside afterward to nibble on a few hors d’eourves, and then we got to find some Easter Baskets filled with goodies hidden around the house. We topped off the day, naturally with our traditional un-kosher meal of ham and other things. It was the first time ever that both sets of grandparents got to have Easter Dinner with the Johnson Family, the first of many traditions of togetherness to come, I’m sure.

Hannah Marie: Egg Hunter

IMG_4951 IMG_5013

Spring seems to be here at long last, though winter doesn’t seem to want to go down without a fight. After two or three freak snowfalls, it seems to be staying consistently above freezing. That means more trips to the park for Hannah, who’s becoming accustomed to the swings and doing her Supergirl thing on them. Hannah turned Sweet 16 Months old last week and gets to wear more cute girly dresses. She’s also discovering the simple pleasure of going for a walk with mommy and grammy and swinging a bucket around in circles.

On Saturday, I dropped by Dennis and Kara’s place to celebrate their little boy’s one-year birthday. I got meet Kara’s parents while I was there as the kids stuffed their faces with cupcakes and the grownups had chili and wine together.

IMG_5096 IMG_5357

On Easter Sunday, Hannah got to wear more cute things for church, and then she went on her very first Easter Egg hunt back at home. She picked up on the concept right away, toddling around the yard picking up colored eggs and bringing them back to her little bucket. If you watch the video below, you might hear some examples of Hannah-ese. Her perspicacity is increasing by leaps and bounds, but it sometimes takes a little creative interpretation. (She calls dogs “Bwah,” which is the sound she makes to imitate a dog’s bark.) Inside, we had Easter baskets full of chocolate and bubbles, and then assembled our standard fare for Easter dinner together with the grandparents.

Hannah’s first Easter Egg hunt


I got to enjoy a three-day weekend over Easter, since I work for a Lutheran-affiliated organization and we have Good Fridays off. It gave me the chance to catch up on all the “nothing” I wanted to do and rub it in the noses of the government employees who like to be all smug every year around President’s Day. (You know who you are.)

P1120055 IMG_4013

On Thursday, I decided to kick off the weekend by taking Vivian out for a date night! We went to the Zin Room in downtown Omaha to try out some Lori Scott’s basil chicken and bayou shrimp pasta sipping on some sweet white zinfandel. I’d heard good things about he place from a co-worker who highly recommended the wine-and-butter-infused broccoli. Afterward, we dropped by the AMC theater across the scree to watch The Hunger Games. I’d read the book in advance and found the film followed it pretty closely. I wasn’t sure how to react to this, as the story unfolded just as I’d expected and left very few surprises for me. It was still fun to watch, though.

On Friday night, Vivian and I were scheduled to set up at JNO. This was much easier than expected, since someone showed up early and did nearly everything for us, so all we had to do was take people’s money and snap picture of Hannah in her “I love swing dancing” onesie (lovingly crafted by our friend Lisa). We stayed until the shim sham just to prove to all the other parents out there that you don’t have to wall yourself off at home every Friday night watching Netflix just because you have a kid. Hooray for being sociable!

IMG_4051 IMG_4111

Hannah’s first Easter was full of food, candy, and awesomeness. She got a couple adorable outfits to wear for her first Easter — a cute blue dress and a peach-colored dress with its own Easter Bonnet. Vivian’s parents dropped by with Easter baskets that they’d hidden around our yard when we weren’t looking. Hannah got her own little Easter basket, and after collecting all the goodies outside we went inside to start devouring candy.

Easter dinner came soon enough, which consisted of glazed ham, beans, green fluff, deviled eggs, and all of our usual Easter foods. I collapsed in a food coma afterward and called my own folks to wish them a happy Easter holiday.

Hoppy Easter Weekend

P1040121 P1040125

Last Friday, I went with Vivian and a bunch of her co-workers to have some Indian food down at Tanduri Fusion. I got some weird cultural vertigo when people started ordered “cheese and chicken naan,” which looked suspiciously like a quesadilla (but tasted just as good). I got some chicken goa, which is about as awesome as creamy coconut, curry, and chicken can possibly get over rice, and Vivian had some lamb steaks that I stole from her occasionally. It’s always fun hanging out with Vivian and her co-workers, and I think we all got a kick out of Pablo’s cute son trying to eat with a knife.

We headed out afterward to check the world premier of Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, a fairly mediocre movie based on a very awesome book. I’m still hoping they did well enough to make parts two and three.

The next day, after sufficiently puttering around the house, we attended Mark’s birthday dinner down at the Nebraska Brewing Company to chow down on burgers and fries along with Lisa, Keith, and Micah. Mark’s B-Day. There seem to be about a thousand “beer and burgers” type restaurants between Gretna and Council Bluffs, but I found this one had the fluffiest, tastiest buns of them all. ’nuff said. We crashed at Mark’s place afterward to play a few hilarious rounds of YooStar 2, a sort of “movie karaoke” game for the XBox.

P1040155 P1040160

I had Good Friday off the next week, so I was able to enjoy a three-day weekend. I spent my time catching up on some housework and mowing the lawn for the first time this season (in-between some obligatory loafing).

That evening, we enjoyed some Latin dancing and Mexican food at Andrea’s house with some people from GAMe in anticipation of their Cinco de Mayo party in a couple weeks. I’d wanted to learn more basic Salsa and Meringue for some time now, but it’s always been hard to find a venue where you weren’t expect to know what you were doing already.

P1040200 P1040209

On the Saturday before Easter, Vivian and I had some fun with Marshall “Mascot Rabbit,” who Vivian managed to steal from work. He took him down to such fun places as the public library in Bellevue, where he was able to read some his favorite books before hitting up the Playboy Club.

That evening, we dropped by Dennis and Kara’s place in Blair to help celebrate his 35th birthday. A bunch of our mutual friends dropped in to binge on barbecue sandwiches and wine before calling it a night.

P1040211 P1040230

On Easter Sunday, Vivian and I attended Twin Valley Church, where we finally have an overhead projector up and running again. Before we left, we found the Easter Bunny had left us a basket of chocolates, potted flowers, and other fun things for the garden. That afternoon, we had Jack and Donna over for Easter dinner, which consisted of our usual assembly of glazed, pistachio marshmallow fluff, poppy seed biscuits, party potatoes, and some giant, fruity, custardy dessert called “trifle.” It looks like Spent season couldn’t have come too soon, as I think Vivian and I will have to spend the rest of the year working all this off.