Category Archives: Mother’s Day

Fireworks and Mother’s Day

It’s been another strangely busy week, mostly preparing for Mother’s Day along with another bike ride to work and making a giant batch of ceviche on the heels of Taco Tuesday.


We had some lovely weather on Saturday, which I spent mowing the lawn, tilling the garden, and letting the guinea pig roam in the freshly-cut grass.

Then that evening we packed up the kids with a batch of blankets and headed back to Werner Park to see some more fireworks. This show was specifically for the graduating class of 2020, many of whom showed up in their cars decorated for the event, some even wearing caps and gowns. We weren’t allowed to park on the picturesque grass this go-around either, so we crowded onto the west side of the park, which was muddy and apparently under construction. We got McDonald’s for dinner and kept the kids amused with a tablet before the show started. We had some low-hanging clouds and some massive wind, but neither disrupted the show, which lasted about ten minutes. Most of all, it was nice to have something to do as the great pandemic of 2020 starts winding down.


Sunday was Mother’s Day, so I got Vivian up with the kids for a breakfast of Coconut Toast and coffee (and a tiny pot of roses). We had church again in our living room, and today’s service featured various people thanking their moms in a video that preceded the worship service (ones of me and the kids included of course). Donna came by afterward with some treats for Vivian and a bouquet of flowers from her garden. Then Vivian followed Donna back to her house with some presents of her own. I got my mom a carton of her favorite ice cream, which I left on her doorstep before giving her a Happy Mother’s Day greeting (via Zoom) back at the house.

Vivian had some more presents of her own, which I’d tucked into a canvas bag that I’d let the kids decorate a few days earlier. Then I made up a fancy dinner of ahi tuna steaks, fettuccine alfredo, and roasted Brussels sprouts. I also baked up a chocolate liqueur cake for dessert, which was delicious and way too easy to make (so I’ll have to do it again).

Happy Mother’s Day, all you mothers out there!

Mother’s Day Weekend

So Spring is still here, which this year is including far more not-blistering-hot and not-still-snowing days than last year. It also seems to include far more birthdays, for reasons I can’t fully understand.


We kicked off the weekend last week with a trip down to Stinson Park with the kids after work. We mostly avoided the Heart Walk preparations, which were happening at the same time. Our friend Ryan was in charge of that, so Tamra brought Quinn (and grandpa) down while that happened.

Our kids got in some quality swing time and running around, and I tried unsuccessfully once again to introduce them to dim sum for dinner. Hannah seemed to like the Vietnamese spring rolls, but Aaron only wanted the fortune cookies.


The next day, our friend Kate celebrated all three of her girls’ birthdays simultaneously down at the Armbrust YMCA. We got to have cake and ice cream with a veritable herd of other little ones running around (and getting sugared up). Then we managed to fill an Olympic-sized pool for an hour splashing around together with mommies, daddies, and siblings.


This year, Vivian and I decided to split Mother’s Day between our two respective moms, which meant I took my folks out to dinner at Roma’s on Fort Crook. It was a decent family-style restaurant just down the street from us with giant portions of Italian-American standards, like the chicken parmigiana, which I had (and bread rolls). Vivian stayed home with the kids, negating the need for a babysitter and giving me some rare one-on-one time with the folks.


The next day, of course, was Mother’s Day. After church, Vivian and her mom spent the afternoon together shopping at both the World Market and the Old Market (no relation).

I stayed home with the kids, helping them prepare a homemade Mother’s Day card for mommy, which included one from Zoey. Jack was busy making some ribs and potatoes for dinner, and I contributed with some roasted broccoli and my first-ever loaf of homemade bread. I had to scramble to find a recipe that didn’t require five hours of “proving” to have it ready in time, but it turned out surprisingly well, with a nice, hard crust that I knew Vivian liked. We ate together with the kids and then let mommy open a few of her Mother’s Day presents before breaking out the chocolate cream pie Grammy brought with her.


The next day, we had a belated birthday party for our little friend August. A cluster of his little friends (and their moms) gathered at the reclusive Twin Ridge Park II between Ft. Crook and Highway 75. The kids had fun spinning on the merry-go-round before and after getting sugared up with a tasty camping cake, courtesy of Donna. I stayed long enough to get a few pictures and then went to tear up our garden at home in preparation for a season of home-grown tomatoes (and other produce, probably).

Mother’s Day Traditions


I just got done with a very busy weekend celebrating my three favorite moms in the whole wide world. I took Friday off so we could start the weekend with a new Mother’s Day tradition: touring the Lauritzen Gardens (for free). Grammy came along with us as we let the kids run around looking at the tulips, peonies, and lilac in bloom. We made the usual stops at the waterfall, the Victorian Garden, and the trains, of course. We spent some extra time at children’s area to check out some tee-pees (under construction) and sample some mint. We also walked to Mount Fuji together as a family.

We finished off the visit by looking at some colorful recycled plastic sculpture inside, which seemed to be a theme running throughout the gardens today. There weer also some bees, and Hannah made a bean sprout necklace before we left.


Sunday was Mother’s Day, of course, so the kids and I woke up mom bright and early with some cups and cards they’d decorated along with some breakfast in bed. We went to church together, and then I spent the afternoon doing a bit of cooking for the big evening meal. I made some crab dip as an appetizer, some chocolate liqueur cake for dessert, and some potato salad to go with the burger and hot dogs Jack was bringing in-between. We had all four grandparents over later in the afternoon, including Uncle Jonny (who’d also watched the kids for us on Saturday so we could tidy up). We opened a few presents in-between hors d’oeuvres and dinner, and then I grilled up our burgers and hot dogs. We were fairly stuffed before it was all done, as usual.

In other news, Hannah lost two teeth in the past few days. Our little girl is growing up too fast.

Mother’s Day 2017


Mother’s Day was this weekend, so the kids and I got to spend some extra time showing the three moms in our lives how much they mean to us (which involved making cards and lots and lots of food, of course).

We first had a bit of fun on Friday as Kate celebrated a three-way birthday with her three girls at the YMCA in Milliard. The kids hot all sugared up and then we spent some quality time in the pool before heading home.


Then on Sunday, the kids and I got mommy up for a French Toast breakfast that featured flowers, cards that Hannah, Aaron, (and daddy) decorated themselves, and a poster of a flower made of Hannah’s hand-prints, which she made in preschool (and somehow kept a secret).

We headed off to church together, where Vivian and all the moms got some flowers for the day, and then we returned home with Grammy and Pop-Pop, where I made some ceviche for lunch. I’d never before attempted to make this cold, Mexican dish made of raw fish and lime juice, but it’s one of Vivian’s favorites foods, so I thought it was worth a figuring out, and I think it turned out all right. Grammy brought along some Flan for dessert, and then both moms got to open a few baskets of presents together on the couch.


As soon as I got finished putting away lunch, I turned right around and started on dinner to take to my mom’s house. I assembled a fairly simple chicken alfredo pasta bake (garnished with parsley, per “Tasty’s” specs on their videos). I also put together a pie made with strawberries and rhubarb. It turned out quite a bit more soupy than I’d hoped, but it was my first pie of this magnitude, so it really was a learning experience. We ate together with the kids, and I played some video games with my brothers as the kids burned off some steam outside. My mom also got to open a few presents, which consisted mostly of nuts and candy.

It was a lovely weekend, though I was left kind of exhausted on Monday morning. That didn’t stop me from biking to work, however. The weather has gone from stormy to sweltering to gorgeous within the span of an eye-blink, so that means getting outside whenever it’s possible. Hannah got to enjoy some of that on Tuesday playing in the mud at Mud Pies before her last-ever day of Preschool. She’s growing up so fast!

Hannah’s Preschool Years: Sept. 1 2015 – May 17, 2017
She’s growing up too fast!

Three-Day Mother’s Day Weekend


The Johnson Family had a lovely (and busy) little three-day weekend together, starting things off on Friday with a trip to Lauritzen Gardens. Once again it was free for National Public Gardens Day, so we went to see what blooms were out with my mom and dad and the Mills family in tow. There weren’t quite as many blooms out this year, but we had a nice time looking at the model trains, tasting some mint, and keeping the kids from drowning in the surprisingly deep fountain in the children’s area. Hannah and Aaron also got some quality time with their little friends as mommy visited with Lexi and daddy took pictures of the happy blooms that poked out to endure the sunny, 85-degree weather.

Donald Trump was also in town, but we decided not to spend all afternoon crammed into a giant hangar waiting for him to make an appearance.


On Saturday morning, we made our annual trip to South Omaha for the Cinco de Mayo parade. It featured the usual batch of politicians, costumers, native dancers, and lassoing gauchos with the dancing horses right behind. Hannah’s attended the parade every year of her life, so it felt good to keep up the tradition. She seemed far more interested in playing with her new toy balloon than competing with all the other kids for candy, however. Aunt Jessica joined us at our spot in front of South High School to snap some pictures, and then we had some burritos from Abelardo’s for lunch afterward.

That evening, I did some yard work in preparation for Mother’s Day, and the kids were nice enough to help. I also ran some errands wearing my new Mexican flag style t-shirt, prompting at least one Hispanic to ask me, “¿Mexicano?” Just for today, mi amigo.


Sunday, of course, was Mother’s Day. At church, Pastor Ryan had a lovely little Mother’s Day tribute video prepared to honor all the moms in attendance (as well as some Dove chocolate). Then at home, I baked some quiche for a brunch as mommy opened presents from Hannah and Aaron, which were wrapped in their own scribbled decorations. Grammy got a flower pot with Hannah and Aaron’s footprints on it, and Vivian got her usual gift bag of smelly cheese (among other things).

Then at dinnertime, we took the kids to grandma and grandpa Johnson’s house, where Hannah learned she and my mom have an affinity for black licorice. My dad smoked up some pork ribs for dinner, and both my brothers were there to eat with us. Dad and Aaron played with puppets, and I got to read a story or two, and then after dinner we watched a slideshow with family pictures dating back to our time in Kentwood.

I also got to show everyone a special video I’d made for Vivian featuring our two kids. You can see that below.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Flower Gardens and Mother’s Day


On Friday, admission to the Lauritzen Gardens was free in honor of National Public Gardens Day, so I took the entire day off so I could have a day enjoying some flora with the family. There were a bunch of peonies and roses already in bloom, as well as plenty of tulips, some fragrant lilacs, and multiple family photo opportunities. We met up with Lexi and her kids in the Children’s Area, where our gaggle of youngsters were able to play on some stumps, taste some mint, climb on a dinosaur, roll a composter, and explore a tiny cabin together. It was the perfect spot for a handful of cute pictures before taking a quick peek at Mount Fuji before heading on.

Back at the entryway, we bumped into the Rietjens and got to check out the koi pond and the giant conservatory before calling it a day. The enormous greenhouse-like structure had been built sometime during the last year, and it was now home to loads of tropical plants that could never survive a Nebraska winter — palm trees, kumquats, pitcher plants, a shrimp plant, any number of palm trees, and even little sprigs that soak moisture out of the insanely hot and humid weather inside this place. We walked all the way through up to the Tiki thing at the top before collapsing and calling it a day.

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On Saturday, we had breakfast at my parents house with our kids and my two brothers. My dad had been wanting to recreate the “eat eggs and watch MST3K” we experienced while in college, but instead of Movie Sign we got to watch Hannah try to play the harmonica. We’d gotten to see Mike and the “Bots” tackle The Room via RiffTrax Live on Wednesday, so we got our fill of riffing already. I did, however, get to roll my Ford Taurus over the 200k mark, which was fantastic. I have some smug family who work for Toyota who said it’d never make it past 100. (By the way, how’s that unintended acceleration working out for you?)

Vivian went off to do girly things at Jenny’s bridal shower, such as pinning the goatee on the Kody. I had a busy afternoon with the kids putting together a nice little set of hand and footprints of our little ones as a Mother’s Day present for Vivian. It was a bit crazy, because I realized only too late that the ink pad was permanent, despite having a kid-friendly name like “Silly Winks.”


Sunday, of course, was Mother’s Day, so I treated Vivian to some breakfast pizza before going to church. Aaron got to learn how to climb stairs in-between being passed around, and Hannah got to have a tea party with Rachel — a quintessential “little girl” moment, if ever there was one.

Both moms (and dads and Uncle Jonny) came to our house afterward for a Mother’s Day lunch of grilled hamburgers. We all juggled a handful of tasks, with the dads managing the grill, Uncle Jonny setting the table, and me figuring out just about everything else before we ate. It was a lovely afternoon, particularly because the severe weather that had been predicted mostly passed us by. I had been anticipating an event like last year, with tornado sirens that sent us and our ice cream cake into the basement for an hour or so.

In other news, Aaron is 11 months old, and as adorable as ever.

Flower Gardens and Mother’s Day

It’s Springtime, and the living is busy! Vivian’s old friends Sherry and Rob are in town again trying to fix up and sell their house, so we had them (and Jack) over for dinner on Thursday night, which gave me an excuse to whip up a double batch of chicken alfredo, which we ate while catching up. Rob showed me a bunch of his nature photography and snapped a new family portrait for us before we put Hannah off to bed.


On Friday, Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens had free admission for National Public Gardens Day, so of course we had to drop by and take advantage. Grandma and Grandpa Johnson came along with us to sniff around in the Victorian Garden, and Hannah got to check out some peonies, lilacs, and many other fragrant blooms that were on hand (no roses yet, though). Hannah also stumbled upon a children’s area with a wood cabin and a cluster of mint that she and other children were able to taste (according to the sign). It was perfect weather for a nice long walk in the gardens and there were plenty of other people on hand taking advantage of it.

That evening, Jack dropped by to babysit Hannah as Vivian and I went off to set up at Jitterbugs Night Out again. We had another large crowd for the beginner’s lesson, though we wound up calling it a night before doing much dancing. I hate to admit it, but I’m either old, out of shape, or both. (Or maybe I just need new shoes.)


Saturday was a busy day full of mowing lawns (namely my parents’), buying furniture (a new dresser for Hannah), and buying groceries (for Mother’s Day). Sunday was a quiet day at church as more and more people seem to be out of town, but we still had lovely Mother’s Day flowers for all the moms in attendance. I spent a good portion of the afternoon trying out some recipes for fruit salad, honey-lime chicken, and coconut lime rice for a Mother’s Day dinner. My parents and Jack dropped by to eat with us, and as soon we were finished, the tornado sirens went off. There was apparently a serious storm rolling through, but we didn’t get much more than lightning and rain as it passed. We did stay in the basement for a while watching the weather report and having ice cream cake. We also had a few gift baskets with goodies for my mom and for Vivian. Hannah and I spent Wednesday evening painting a ceramic mug, which Hannah really seemed to enjoy.
Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day and Gifford Farm

Is it spring at last now, or is it already summer? It’s hard to believe there was snow on the ground two weeks ago as the temperatures are approaching triple-digits. We do now have plenty of blossoms filling the air with fragrance, including the brief appearance of lilacs in our yard.


Sunday was Mother’s Day, so that meant spending lots of time with family. At church, the men hosted a Mother’s Day breakfast for everyone in the church basement. Then that afternoon, Vivian and I brought Hannah to grandma and grandpa’s for the rest of the day. Grandma had set up the yard with a small fence and a whole bunch of toys for Hannah to play with and explore. Jack manned the grill, cooking a bunch of burgers and brats for everyone (I brought the potato salad). Both moms then opened their gifts after we had sufficiently stuffed themselves. (Being a helpless romantic and a traditionalist, I gave Vivian some flours.)


On Saturday, Gifford Farm here in Bellevue held a kind of open house / family fun day for visitors to come and see how they’ve recovered since the flood two years ago. Many of the buildings on the farm were a complete loss, and the animals had been moved to 132nd and Harrison for some time as everything was cleaned up and rebuilt. It was quite the experience for Hannah, who had only seen these farm animals in her books. She seemed quite shocked and terrified once she discovered that those little chickens were about as tall as she was, and a “hose” was the relative size of Godzilla. She did warm up quickly, though, petting a couple of the resident animals who let us get close enough to reach them. Hannah particularly enjoyed playing on a xylophone in an outdoor play area, and we naturally had to get a photo of her crossing Grandma’s Bridge. We wrapped up with a piece of Pig Bread for lunch, which Hannah especially seemed to enjoy, and we even bumped into the elusive Kam family on the way out.

Romney, Spanakopita, and Mother’s Day

IMG_4877Springtime is in full bloom here in Omaha, with roses and peonies all in full bloom and the weather still lovely and not all that warm (yet) — the perfect weather to walk around downtown and see a Presidential candidate.

On Thursday afternoon, Vivian and I (and Hannah) squeezed our way along with a couple hundred others onto the deck of Rick’s Cafe and boatyard to get a glimpse of Mitt Romney as he dropped by to say a few words. We stuck around for a little while afterward hoping to get a chance to shake his hand and perhaps hand him a baby to hold for a picture, but the Republican candidate seemed to vanish like a ninja shortly after giving his speech and after sticking around a while to see if he’d reappear, we eventually gave up. I was fairly pleased with my ability to snap several decent pictures with my new Canon and its zoom lens, despite the giant crowd of spectators, most of whom had their own cell phones and digital cameras waving in the air in front of me.

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On Saturday, Vivian and I enjoyed hanging out with some of our friends and eating all of their food. First stop was our friend Tamra’s apartment. Her landlord raised her rent, so I and a few others (her dad, boyfriend, boyfriend’s brother, and Jon Paper) hauled her stuff up and down two flights of stairs and one block away. We stuck around for Digiorno pizza afterward, but the promised “comedy show” with Royce never seemed to happen. Maybe it will next year when Tamra moves again.

That evening, we dropped by Phil and Jen’s to celebrate Phil’s certification to sell financial products. They had a giant pile of Greek food for us, which included spanakopita, flatbread, dill yoghurt dip, and a kind of Greek salad with feta cheese, olives, and grape tomatoes. Opa! We stuffed ourselves while watching UHF and a few episodes of Police Squad. Hannah seemed to stay content just playing with her feet.

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On Sunday, I got to celebrate Mother’s Day for the very first time with Vivian (as an official mom). Twin Valley Church was hosting another giant Mother’s Day breakfast for all the moms (and ladies in general) in our congregation, with pancakes, eggs, and sausage made up by Pastor Drew and the gang. Hannah wore her baby bonnet and spent her time looking adorable and playing with grampy’s beard. Darlene had brought a bunch of flowers for the mothers in the congregation to take on their way home as well.

Back home, the ladies of the family all dressed themselves in leis as Jack and I worked on a mother’s day dinner for everyone. Naturally, we stuffed ourselves with appetizers first before working our way up to glazed pork butt, yucca, and salad when dinnertime finally rolled around. Hannah’s been eating at the table with Vivian and me now, quite fascinated with us handling silverware to eat solid food. Afterward, we gave Donna a shirt that Hannah helped decorate with her own handprints.

Happy Mothers Day, all you lucky mothers out there!

Ren Fairs, Salsa, and Mother’s Day

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Vivian and I have been enjoying the Best Weather of the Year here in Bellevue and took advantage of the great outdoors by joining a bunch of our friends (and Vivian’s mom) at the Renaissance Fair. Vivian and I attended the fair last year, and enjoyed seeing what was new and improved this time around. We enjoyed a much more elaborate show down a the Jousting Arena this year — instead of knocking over cabbages, we had knights actually hitting each other with lances in engaging in sword-fighting down on the ground. It had all the flair of a pro-wrestling match, and the crowd even started stomping along in time with Queen’s “We rill rock you,” a la “Knight’s Tale.”

Of course, we also enjoyed stuffing ourselves with medieval food, including turkey legs, root beer “grog,” and some tasty but absolutely horrible-looking pickled eggs and beets. I got to try my hand at archery for the first time, which went about as well as I could expect (no fatalities). We also got to try on some helmets and chain mail and even kick around a chain-mail hackey sack. Strangely enough, we got the most entertainment out of a couple wooden stakes that we each took turns balancing on. I’ve got to install a couple of those in our backyard.

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Vivian made up some tasty enchiladas for our own private Cinco de Mayo dinner, and we celebrated with our friends at GAMe the next day at a Salsa party down at 13th and Jones. Enrique was back to walk us through the basics of salsa and meringue, and I found myself reverting to Charleston several times as I stepped back and forth in my tiny Latin box. There was also plenty of Mexican-style food to go around, including pico de gallo, quesadillas, stuffed jalapeños and sopapillas with honey — that kept us going long enough to smack open a couple of piñatas at the end of the night.

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On Sunday, the men of Twin Valley Church decided to put on a huge breakfast for the ladies in honor of Mother’s Day. Pastor Drew made up some blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes while Jeff scrambled eggs and Tim sliced up orange. The ladies — both moms and non-moms — got to enjoy everything on behalf of the men of the church, and it was a good way to get full and sleepy right before the church service started. (Needless to say, I went home for a long nap afterward, though that was mostly due to the Worst Cold in the World descending upon me.)