Category Archives: Garden

Gardens and Braids


It’s been a relatively quietly week at the Johnson House. Hannah had her last day of preschool, Vivian and I had our last sessions of BSF, and Aaron got to have his last monthly photo shoot with Hannah in their little red wagon. Meanwhile, the weather’s become increasingly gorgeous, which means more time outside tending to the yard. Over the weekend, Vivian planted some new berry bushes in the yard, as well as a new batch of tomato plants for the garden. Hannah came along to help, of course.

We also got to spend some quality time with my folks over the weekend. On Saturday night, Vivian attended Tamra’s bachelorette party, which somehow involved running an obstacle course while wearing a white dress, so I took Hannah and Aaron by to visit. Grandpa microwaved some peeps for them as they looked around the garden and got to see some robin eggs. Then on Sunday, I returned with the whole family to give the lawn a mow. Vivian braided my mom’s hair in the meantime, and then we had some pizza and Jell-O for dinner. I also taught our kids some basic exercises like push-ups and jumping jacks, which they seemed quite tickled to follow along with.

Shaking the Gifted Hands


In case you couldn’t tell, it’s summer. The hot, steamy days have been good to our tomato crop, and Hannah got to pick her first vine-ripened tomato from our garden (which we used to make bruschetta). We spent some quality time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house last Saturday as well, giving Vivian some “me” time while sampling some mystery greens, having burgers and watermelon, and playing some video games. Speaking of which, Hannah got to play our Wii for the first time the other day, taking a spin at Mario Kart but mostly just enjoying being the “princess” on the screen. Aaron also got to try pizza for the first time. (News flash: he loved it.)


Then we had a big, fun afternoon on Sunday, all thanks to Dr. Ben Carson. The world-renowned neurosurgeon and current presidential candidate paid a visit to Council Bluffs. My parents came along for the hot, muggy afternoon as the man with “gifted hands” spoke to a crowd of a thousand people or so (which included the usual cast of troublemakers). He spent some time talking with the media afterward as everyone crowded around, and then he spent a good hour shaking hands at the meet-and-greet tent. A live band played some classic rock for the crowd and then Mary Rice Hopkins and Puppets with a Heart (who has a TV show on TBN) put on a puppet show for the kids with her counterpart Darcie Maze. There was also face-painting for the kids and free sweet corn, so Hannah got made-up for the first time and Aaron got to eat his first-ever ear of corn.

Dr. Carson took the stage again for some Q&A before calling it a day. I was amazed at the man’s stamina, as he was in constant motion from three to six o’clock without so much as a bathroom break (that I could tell) in-between. I also give him props for being the only President candidate I’ve seen so far to arrive on time. It was the most fun I’d ever had at a political event before, and I was glad to see another presidential candidate putting himself out there to meet the voters — no ropes necessary to keep anyone away.

Fun with Dirt


We’ve had some intermittent showers over the past couple of weeks, which has made our time outdoors a bit sporadic. We went out for a picnic in Olde Town Bellevue last Wednesday shortly before we were inundated with rain for a couple days. Hannah and Aaron both got to swing, ride a teeter-totter together, and get a selfie with mom and dad on the bench swing before some drizzle swept through town.

By the weekend, things had cleared up enough for Vivian and me to wear ourselves out tearing up the garden and overturning all the soil to make it ready for some tomatoes, kale, and basil for our garden this summer. I was able to keep the kids happily occupied while Vivian got that part of the planting done.


On the following Tuesday, the Fontenelle Forest had actual mud at its Mudpies program, but it was unfortunately too cold and drizzly to make mud footprints outdoors (like they did last year). Hannah did get some quality time making a makeshift mud pie along with her usual run of painting and play-doughing. Hannah went to Grammy’s house later to make her own edible mud pie, which she proudly shared with me when I got home that day. Aaron enjoyed just sitting around and looking adorable.

Things were clear enough on Thursday for us to have dinner outdoors on Grammy and Pop-Pop’s new backyard deck. The grand kids had spent a good portion of their day there while Grammy got the van fixed, and Hannah made an adorable bit of art on the chalkboard that Vivian shared with me via cell phone.