Category Archives: Jitterbugs

Fresh Air and Take-Out Tuesday

Spring is beginning to bud all over town (and in our yard), so over the past week, the Johnson Family has stopped “sheltering in place” long enough to have some fun outside, getting fresh air while waiting out the coronavirus (whether the kids like it or not).


On Thursday, we had a picnic underneath the stage of Stinson Park and then had a lovely walk up and down the Keystone Trail. We got to see such things as fussy buds on a few trees, a stay birds’ nest, and some “shooting heart” graffiti underneath a bridge.

There are only a few restaurants open in Aksarben Village (and no movie theater) during the coronavirus lockdown, so the most activity I’ve seen are the window washers “flying” outside the Pacific Life building.

IMG_20200328_093347111Screenshot 2020-03-28 at 4.33.42 PM

In the meantime, we’ve been trying a few new things at home, such as homemade pizza, pretzels, sauce and salsa from Volcanic Peppers, and some “whipped coffee” that seems to be a craze online.

My parents also celebrated their 45th anniversary, but since we couldn’t join them, I installed Skype on my computer and let the kids say hello virtually. It’s getting a little frustrating not being able to say hello to grandma and grandpa these days, but hopefully this lock down will be over soon.


On Sunday, we got some more fresh air walking the trails of the Fontenelle Forest. The doors seemed to be open for both members and non-members alike, so we got some exercise with the kids exploring the hilly trails, ponds, and overlooks around the forest, as well as the playground of course. We also got to see a red-headed woodpecker and the Constitution Tree before getting too tuckered out. Then Jack was kind enough to lend us some expiring fuel points to use on the way home, where we filled up at around $1.16/gallon.

When we’re not outside, I’ve been helping with some of our homeschooling as well, teaching Aaron math with Khan Academy, which he played out with chalk on the driveway one day driving home from work.


We had a particularly special night on Take-Out Tuesday (as designated by our Governor). First, we swung by Dinker’s Bar and Grill to get some of Omaha’s Best Burgers for dinner, which we ate with fries picnic-style at Hanscom Park down the street. I’d visited this 150-year old park once or twice before, but this was the first time with the kids. Hannah was particularly interested in the “twisty tree” that swirled like a soft-serve cone.

Then after dinner, we drove down the street for a drive-by birthday parade for our Jitterbug friend Billy, who was turning forty. Some of our friends wanted to throw him an socially distant parade, so we and several Jitterbug friends lined up in our cars, some decorated appropriately, and drove past his house honking and waving around a 6:45. I think it made his day.

Halloween Countdown

Halloween’s almost here, and that means we’re close to the time of perpetual darkness — AKA the end of daylight saving time — with winter not far behind. In the meantime, there’s more non-stop autumnal fun to be had, at least until the snow starts falling (which could be this afternoon).


I had a busy Friday night, starting with a party to kick off Don Bacon’s 2020 re-election campaign. The event was held at the Regency Marriott, and it seems like just yesterday I was in the same ballroom for a victory party back in 2018 (or his previous kickoff party earlier that year). Don arrived moments after I did and spoke a few minutes to members of the media. Local musician Kaylyn Sahs played to music to start things off, followed by the National Anthem. Then Don had a long list of endorsements from Mike Foley, La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig, Gretna Mayor Jim Timmerman, Bob Evnen, Aimee Melton and Brinker Harding from the Omaha City Council, and a few others. Then Don took the stage to give a stump speech touching on taxes, the deficit, abortion, and the current impeachment situation, among other things. His wife Angie and two sons were there as well, as he invited them on stage for a moment before meeting and greeting the couple hundred people in attendance.

In addition to the usual folks, there was a handful of little ones running about, including Phil with his son Gabe, so it really was an event for the whole family. I got to speak to Don for a few minutes about the Democrats’ “impeachment inquiry” being held behind closed doors in the capitol basement. Don said he actually walked in on Matt Gaetz’ attempt to walk in on the proceedings, but he only saw it from the back and had no idea what was going on. He said he’s only been able to get about 25% of the transcripts from the proceedings himself, so his view of what’s going on isn’t much better than anyone else’s.


I returned home long enough to help tuck the kids into bed and then changed clothes for the Jitterbugs’ Halloween Party. I decided to go as “Pierre Delecto,” AKA Mitt Romney’s Twitter alter ego, which was outed only a few days earlier. Vivian donned a mask and cape and came as Super Mom. There was a fairly good crowd, though I’m no longer a regular at JNO, so I only saw a few familiar faces throughout the night — Eric, Mike and Merinda, Lacey, the Hamiltons, and Takashi (who led us in Thriller, of course), among a few others. We had a costume parade and a contest, and the winners being Napoleon Dynamite, Rey and Kylo Ren, and Star Lord and Gamora (though they were ALL winners in my book).

In addition to all the dancing, Billy managed to score a bunch of leftover food from another party that somehow didn’t need it, so Vivian and I both got some Lindy Fuel that kept us going past midnight, once the dance was done. Special thanks to Donna for letting us stay out that late!


We started off Saturday with nothing on our agenda, but the weather was too darn nice to stay inside, so we headed off to Gifford Farm to enjoy some fresh air, see some fall colors, explore a few hideouts, and do some trick-or-treating. The staff had stations all around the farm set up for kids to collect candy, play games of ring toss (or ball toss), and many remaining animals to see, from chickens we could pet (or chase), to a horse, a donkey, sheep, pigs, and a bunny. We got a ride around on the hay rack and let the kids zip down the slides inside the straw barn for a little while.

A reporter from KETV stopped by to get some footage of Hannah that may or may not have been in their evening broadcast, which we never saw due to a football game delay. We finished off our visit by decorating some cookies with the River City Confectioners Association, which has always been a tradition, thanks to Vivian’s mom.


And as if all that weren’t enough, we had a quick lunch at McDonald’s and then went all the way down to Union Orchard to get some pumpkins from their pumpkin patch. Vivian had lamented us not finding any “on the vine” this year or in years’ past, but they fortunately had plenty of pumpkins — large and small, orange, green, and white — all waiting for us to pick. They were quite a deal, too — just $1 each for the big ones, and three for a dollar for the little ones (which Hannah got for her dolls). We also got some acorn and butternut squashes for a dollar each as well as some apple donuts for the ride home.

It was a fun, busy weekend, with more fun this coming week in-between Halloween and potential snow. Hopefully it’ll stay warm enough for the kids to get an obscene amount of candy once again.

Pizza, Dancing, and an Old New Car


The whole state of Nebraska is dealing with the aftermath of the record-breaking floods we’ve had this week. Everywhere we go we’ve seen signs of neighbors helping out, including disaster relief trucks all over the place in Omaha. Every church we know has been collecting supplies to help those affected by the floods, turning every available multi-purpose room into a storehouse of food, clothing, and cleaning supplies. It makes me proud to live in a state where everyone seems to be ready and willing to help complete strangers when something like this happens.


In the meantime, we had a bunch of birthday events happening over the weekend. First off was on Friday, when Catherine (or Dr. Keefe, as I call her at work), celebrated a birthday with the Omaha Jitterbugs down at the Eagle’s Lodge. Vivian and I had the rare opportunity to attend the dance together, setting up ahead of time and then dancing with a handful of our friends when they arrived. Some kids from Arts in Motion came to demonstrate a handful of dances before the evening got underway, and Catherine brought a batch of cupcakes to share before we had her birthday jam.

It was nice to see the crowd for Jitterbugs Night Out was still as large as ever, and it’s remained very much the same since I first attended around 13 years ago. While many of the same people still attend regularly (looking at you Dan Wondra), there are now so many more “regulars” I’ve never met that I now feel a new generation has taken it over. And that’s OK.


The next day, it was birthday time at the Simpson House. Little Gabriel turned one year old, while Phil celebrated a birthday of his own several months late. We got to make our own pizzas (or garlic bread) using dough from a gigantic bucket and an assortment of ingredients laid out on the counter. We even got to try tossing the dough in a stereotypical fashion that was more fun to watch than practical. There were plenty of kids on hand as well, providing good company for Hannah and Aaron as we got a little grow-up time (and stuffed our faces).


Then on Tuesday, I managed to crash a fancy dinner Vivian had planned with her parents when I turned out not to be driving to Lincoln as she expected (to get a car, more on that below). I’m not sure how secret the dinner plans were supposed to be, but they fortunately had enough calamari steak for me to have some, along with some shrimp and tasty cheddar jalapeño bread (which Vivian finally got to make right now that she used non-expired yeast).


In other news, I’m nearing the end of my pledge to drive our Honda Civic “until the wheels fall off.” It’s had a number of minor issues that culminated a week or two ago when it had an irreparably flat tire combined with a spare I discovered has a leaky valve. I’ve been carpooling with my dad and Uncle Jonny since then as I’m getting ready to take ownership of Uncle Nathan’s Corolla — which has its own unique set of problem but far fewer miles on the odometer.

On Thursday, I went down to Lincoln to officially buy the car from Nathan. Dad came along and the three of us went out to Big Sal’s to celebrate with pizza. Now we’re busy trying to get the car fixed up so it’ll be properly driveable before I actually start driving it. Say a quick prayer as we try to get all that sorted out before saying goodbye to our dearly departed Civic!

Also: happy Spring Equinox.

My wonderful week off from work

I’ve just returned from a week-long vacation that I spent entirely in the Omaha area, catching up on things around house and spending some quality time with the family. It’s the first time I’ve had a full week off work since our trip to California in 2012, and the first time I can remember with that much free time on my hands. It was lovely.


On Sunday, we kicked things off doing some costume shopping down at Mangelsen’s, where we tried out various masks and accessories before eventually getting Aaron and Hannah to decide on being Batman and Poppy (from Trolls) respectively for Halloween.

Then that evening, I managed to literally burn through all the wood we’d accumulated from fallen branches over the past year or so in a fire pit. I invited my parents over and we roasted hot dogs over the open flame, which worked out amazingly well. The weather was downright gorgeous most of the week with highs in the 60s or so, which was just about perfect every single day.


I spent nearly all day cleaning house and doing laundry as Vivian was out doing school stuff with the kids. Then on Tuesday, we had our annual trip to Vala’s. Tuesday was just about the perfect day to go — we got the home school discount, which included free pumpkins and a train ride, and the weather was beautiful all day long. We got Hannah and Aaron measured up before hitting the pig races and getting our family photos taken behind cut-out characters (and on the big chair). Hannah’s favorite attractions were the haunted houses and the pumpkin mine, so we wound up wandering through those multiple times. We grabbed some apple donuts for a snack and spent extra time in the school house pretending to teach the kids. We also spent some extra time at the Pirate Cove dancing to music by the Skeleton Band.

The fall colors were glowing everywhere, and I tried multiple times to get a decent autumnal photo of Vivian and the kids, but they were too excited to sit still for long. We got a wagon ride and a ride on the train and stopped to see an animatronic show or two on the way between exhibits. We also paid a visit to Bunnyville and saw Xander the Dragon as the suns tarted going down. Storybook Village had a few new items, such as the Hungry Catterpillor (sic) and a sword-in-a-stone. We ended the day taking Aaron on the big slide (where his reaction was “I’m scared of that … I wanna go again) and then the pie barn for “dinner.” We grabbed a few pumpkins on the way out before heading for home, where we all pretty much crashed afterward.


Hannah and Aaron got to try out their costumes for the first time at First Presbyterian for some trick-or-treating on Wednesday Night. They got their fill of candy and played a handful of games along with a few of their little friends.

The next day, I went out to lunch with my parents to a place in downtown Papillion called “Brownie’s.” They had $8.99 rib-eyes (thinly cut) and I got to catch up with them a bit without having to wrangle two kids wreaking havoc at the same time, which was nice.


On Friday night, Vivian and I went to the Omaha Jitterbugs’ Halloween Dance together, the first time we’d been to the Eagle’s Lodge since the last Halloween dance. I went as a Steven Crowder “Change my Mind” meme, complete with mug, which got me into the finalists’ row during the costume contest. Vivian went as a “one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater,” a last minute thing thrown together once she and I realized we had all the components at home.

It felt strange to be back dancing with the Jitterbugs after being away so long, partly because there were so many new people, and also because I’m darn OLD and dancing all night long isn’t as easy as it was a decade ago. We still had a fun time, and we even grabbed some donuts from the Donut Stop, which will be sadly closing its doors forever on Halloween.


We had a lovely lazy Saturday for most of the day. Then that evening we went to Jenny’s annual birthday/costume/Halloween party up in northwest Omaha at Dean and Sarah’s house. Our kids got to bounce around for a couple hours (in costume) with a handful of our friends’ kids as we had some cake and played a bit with our grown-up friends. Takashi led us all in Thriller, of course, and we also got our group picture before people started to leave.

I came in my second costume of the night, an “NPC,” which has become something of a political meme online. Nobody seemed to get it, which was mostly fine with me. I may reuse the mask to be Michael Myers from “Halloween” instead, which is what most people thought I was anyway.


It was a great week overall, helped in my doubt by the lovely weather and fall colors we got to enjoy. We took a walk or two around the neighborhood with the kids just to enjoy them (and see the Pumpkin Man).

We also raked a bit of leaves in our yard on Sunday so Hannah and Aaron could play in them (along with Hannah’s family of toys) before it got too cold. Then we watched the sun set on my last day of vacation before Vivian fried up a whiskey-marinated sirloin for dinner, which was quite tasty.

It was a good week, and I may wind up doing something like it again before long, as I have a couple hundred hours of vacation time left to use up (eventually.)

Crab Rangoon and Water Balloons


Summer is marching on, as Hannah attends VBS and both kids are doing weekly swimming lessons. We even squeezed in a trip to the park for the kids to swing and smell the day-lilies in bloom.

Aaron’s also doing weekly tee-ball, and this time around grandma and grandpa stopped by to watch (until we were rained out). Hannah colored some Mega Man characters before going to a friend’s house on Saturday, and then I made some crab rangoon for dinner just for the heck of it.


On Sunday, we stopped by Aksarben Village to catch the tail-end of the Farmer’s Market and get some balloons for the kids before Lindy in the Park. It wasn’t too ridiculous hot, so we enjoyed some dancing with the kids and our cluster of Jitterbug friends. We also celebrated the birthday of Edith Ann (“Honey”), which included some facepainting for the kids and a massive water-balloon fight afterward. The kids also got to take a whack at a piñata before we called it a day and headed home (with ice cream).

Up next, we’ve got the Memorial Park Concert and some Shakespeare on the Green happening right before the Fourth of July. We’ve definitely hit Peak Summer!

King Lear, Food Trucks, and Prager University

We just got finished with a massively fun (and full) weekend, fueled partly by some gorgeous 70-degree weather that made outdoor activities all the more enjoyable.

Me and Dennis PragerIMG_0748

On Thursday morning, I got up bright and early to see radio talk show host and namesake of “Prager University” Dennis Prager at the Hotel RL (right around the corner from where I work). The guys at AM 1420 The Answer were hosting him for his 100 Days of Trump speaking tour, so I and a handful of conservative friends got to have breakfast with hosts Chip Maxwell, Ian Swanson, and Clint Bellows before Prager took the stage.

Prager gave a brief talk touching on the political climate, his rationale for supporting Donald Trump, and also a bit of religion and ethics. Then he took some questions from the audience. I asked for his take on the situation at Evergreen College (where a mob of students held the president hostage and demanded all white faculty leave campus), particularly in light of his upcoming movie with Adam Carolla, “No Safe Spaces.” His take was that college presidents were as much (if not more) to blame for the situation than the students — and that it would end “in a nanosecond” is the students were expelled rather than coddled.

It was a fun event, and I got to see a few familiar faces in the crowd, including “Mason the button boy,” was apparently already well-known to the team at AM 1420.


Then on Friday, I nabbed a front-row seat to see King Lear with a bunch of our friends at Shakespeare on the Green. I grabbed an iced coffee from my friend Maxine, and then Frank gave Vivian a ride down to our spot once she arrived. Then we broke out our cheese, salmon, and other vittles as the crowd started to gather. Joining us on our blanket were Phil and Jen, Jon, Lisa, Tamra, and Nate and Lexi. Director Vincent Carlson-Brown had a Q&A with some of the crew, so I asked questions about dealing with changing outdoor light during a show and switching sets between a comedy and tragedy.

The wandering minstrels (a few of whom were dressed as Disney princesses for some reason) wandered through the crowd as usual. Then the evening’s emcee, Douglas Vincent Wesselmann (aka Otis Twelve) from KVNO, spoke a few words before the show started. It was an absolutely gorgeous night, particularly for June, and so cool in fact that we needed to put on blankets and hoodies by the second act. The show was terrific, of course, and even though I hadn’t read up at all on King Lear before the show started, I was able to follow the plot reasonably well all the way to the end.


After a late night in Elmwood Park, I got a few hours of sleep before dragging myself out of bed for an early-morning Senate campaign kick-off with Deb Fischer. There were only a handful of people at Eppley Airfield for the event at seven o’clock, but there were more than a dozen Republican VIPs on hand to endorse Sen. Fischer’s re-election campaign, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, former Governors Kay Orr and Dave Heineman, Mayors Jean Stothert and Rita Sanders (and Hal Daub), Congressmen Don Bacon and Adrian Smith, and several others whose names I couldn’t recall (but should have).

Our friend Jessica Ritchie was there to record the event for KETV, but there were only a handful of “regular” citizens in attendance (and no protesters). I was able to shake hands and chat with just about everybody. Many of the VIPs had to leave for other events (including Fischer, who had a state-wide tour the same day), but I spent a few minutes chatting with Major Stothert about our current political climate (see “Phil Montag” for more information).


The weather continued to be gorgeous throughout the day, so toward evening, I decided to take the kids and Grammy down to Plattsmouth for a “Food Truck War.” A couple thousand people seemed to have the same idea (including our old friend Luke), so all of main street was clogged with people standing in line for food from a dozen food trucks that could barely keep up with the demand. I’d hoped to get a lobster roll from one truck that ran out just as we got our chance to order, so I got a couple tacos for us instead (as the kids nibbled some donut holes of some kind).

There were plenty of other trucks we could have sampled from, but nearly every one had lined 40-people deep, and there was only so much standing in line any of us could manage. Hannah and Aaron did great, however, and had loads of fun just running around before we called it a night.


The beautiful weather continued on through Sunday, so Vivian and I took the kids down to Stinson Park for some farmers’ market fun and some Lindy in the Park. We got a couple breakfast egg rolls for lunch (and balloons for the kids), and then got some quality time dancing with our Jitterbug friends once Billy and Lindsey came by with their kids. Edith Ann (AKA “Honey”) was celebrating a birthday today as well, which included a a birthday jam and a water balloon fight afterward (which Eric seemed to enjoy more than anyone). We danced a little with our kids, but they seemed to enjoy playing with Vivian and some bubbles afterward the most. We wore ourselves out over a couple hours before heading home and getting some ice cream along the way.

Summer is good so far. Next stop: Memorial Park and the Fourth of July!

Berned out

The Presidential Election has been over for about six months. So what on earth are Scott Walker and Bernie Sanders doing in Omaha? Why, they’re both campaigning for Jean Stothert and Heath Mello as they both run for Mayor. It’s an election that has apparently garnered national attention for no better reason than the Democrats are hoping for a win somewhere. Anywhere. Even in Omaha.


First up was Bernie Sanders, who came to the Baxter Arena with Keith Ellison (D-MN) on Thursday to hold a pep-rally for Democrats hoping to get one election win they can call a “bell weather” ahead of the 2018 midterms. The usual merch and button vendors were on hand to work the line before the doors opened, but there’s been a noticeable change in tone since the election. Nearly half the buttons were anti-Trump, and two actually just said, “F–k Trump” (without the dashes). Even worse, these same buttons being worn by actual Democrat volunteers signing people up to vote by mail. So much for “Love Trumps Hate” and “When they go low, we go high.” A few anti-socialist protesters (and a Ben Shapiro fan) showed up across the street, and a pro-lifer or two and along the sidewalk, but no major sparks flew.

The show itself was allegedly sold out, and while it had a fairly good crowd, there was clearly room for more. The media were on hand to interview people outside and capture events inside, and my buddy Tom Becka was there as well, of course. The event itself turned out to be remarkably disappointing, however. It started at 5:30 and was supposed to be over by eight, but at 7:45 — after three different musical performances, a handful of local politicians and special interest groups — not one of the three keynote speakers had taken the stage.

I might have hung around to see the show play out, but my friend Jeff Koterba and the Prairie Cats were doing a free show at the O-Zone until 9:30, so I decided to split and have a couple dances with a few Jitterbugs rather than stick around. (Tom Becka did the same — the splitting part, not the dancing part.)

Prairie Cats at the O-Zone. Much better!

Don, Rudy, and Johnny


I genuinely thought my participation in the 2016 Presidential Election would have ended way back at the end of the Iowa Primaries. Not so. On Wednesday last week, Donald Trump made a last-minute campaign stop in Council Bluffs, so I dropped by the Mid-America Center with a couple thousand people to get a glimpse of the Donald one last time before November. The crowd consisted of the usual suspects — namely PowerLine blogger Dave Begley and Fake Security Guy jockeying for autographs. To my surprise, only about half the crowd was over forty, and the other half were college-age kids and young families (with their kids in tow). Unlike some of the earlier, rowdier campaign events, this one was safe for the whole family, particularly when security spotted a BlackLivesMatter thug and ushered him out the door an hour or two before the event started.

A handful of people warmed up the crowd before Trump took the stage, including Tana Goertz, Tamara Scott, and Jamie Johnson, who gave an opening prayer. The biggest surprise guest, however, was Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who introduced Donald Trump before he took the stage. Giuliani stayed near the barricade where I was standing long enough to shake hands and sign autographs before he left. As for Trump, he gave a fairly typical stump speech to the friendly crowd. One new addition this time around was a Teleprompter, but from my vantage point, I could read along and see Trump was only using it about a third of the time or less — he would read a few words and then go off on a tangent before getting back on-script. Unfortunately, he didn’t stick around for more than a minute when he was done, leaving some of us who were hoping for an autograph a bit disappointed.


The next day, I had lunch with Don Bacon, retired Brigadier General now running for congress in the second district. I’ve seen him shaking hands at every parade for a year or two now, and he seems to be popping up everywhere to meet constituents and ask for their vote. He gave a brief talk and seemed like the perfect candidate for this election season — a genuine outsider to compete against a career politician like Brad Ashford.

Then that evening, I and a handful of my Jitterbug friends crashed at the Reverb Lounge to see Johnny Boyd and his band. Indigo Swing was one of the very first swing bands I knew by name, and I got to see these guys perform at Cowtown three years ago, which was fantastic. This time, the venue was much smaller and much more intimate. We had only a few feet of space to dance inside the tiny lounge, but that also meant Johnny and his guys were performing just a few feet away from us, which was almost intimidating. I had a dance with nearly everyone there before calling it a night. Next year, I hope to see them again while on tour, and preferably come with Vivian.

Family night, game night, and Louisville Lake


On Friday night, the Omaha Jitterbugs had another “family night” before Jitterbugs Night Out. Vivian and I were scheduled to set up anyway, so it only made sense to bring along Hannah and Aaron for another night of itty bitty dance instruction, courtesy of Lindsey and company. Both Hannah and Aaron had fun running around with a handful of other kids, following along with some basic dance steps, and also making good use of a stray cart.

Aaron was even bold enough to step up to the beginning lessons with the grown-ups when it was time for the “real” dance to start, but he also got to help Mommy at the front desk (when Edith Ann couldn’t be there herself).


On Saturday morning, I broke out some tools and installed an early birthday present for myself: a Rachio Smart WiFi Sprinkler Controller! It seems like it rains every time I schedule our lawn sprinklers to run, so now I have a controller that can access weather reports via wifi and issue a rain delay automatically so this won’t happen again. Smart!

Then that evening, we took the kids down to Kate’s for another Epic Game Night of Awesomeness. Eric brought his smart phone to add goofy features to a few of our faces, and then we had snacks and played a round of Apples to Apples as the kids wreaked havoc in the next room. (I also had some Potato Dreams, which I still can’t quite explain.)


Then on Sunday, we took the kids down to the Louisville Lake for the afternoon. Yes, summer is quickly switching over to fall, but it was still a toasty 88 degrees or so, and the cold water was more than welcoming. The kids spent some quality time splashing and soaking in the water, as well as burying themselves in the sand and playing with someone else’s sand toys. We topped the day off with some ice cream before heading home.

Next stop: my birthday! (Spoiler alert: I get older and have pizza.)

Aaron turns two!


Summer’s here again, as temperature breaks into the upper-nineties and everyone starts looking for ways to beat the heat. For the Johnson Kids, that often means more time running through the fountains of Stinson Park or maybe a Splash Pad. More on that in a second.

My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Andy are taking a trip across the United States visiting family, so last week they dropped by to stay with my folks for a few days. They checked out Boys Town, Runza, and even a firing range. Vivian and I brought the kids by after dinner on Wednesday to say hello and then play a couple rounds of Apples to Apples together.


On Friday night, Vivian and I took the kids to the Eagles’ Lodge for the Omaha Jitterbugs’ “Mom Prom,” a fun event designed for little ones with an interest in dancing. Lindsey picked out a few giant dance cards with basic dance steps printed on them, and by putting four of them randomly down on the floor, she created a fairly simple dance pattern for everyone to follow. The kids were all around Hannah and Aaron’s age, and they followed along as best as you could expect of a handful of four year olds. Once the cake came out, however, all bets were off as the kids began to run about on a sugar high with percussion instruments only adding to the chaos, but both of our kids had a great time.

Oh, did I mention that there was NO ELECTRICITY? Yes, there was apparently some kind of “underground vault fire” west of 24th and Harney Streets that blacked out the whole area for the entire evening. We still had a great event, however. Billy got a battery backup for the speakers so we could have music, the sunlight through the windows was more than enough for us to see, and the building even stayed relatively cool for an hour or two without air conditioning. Good job, guys!


On Friday, our little boy Aaron turned two years old! I made him waffles for breakfast, and he got to open a few presents at home in the morning. Then in the afternoon, we took him to Morton Park for some quality time in the splash pad. It was pushing 97 degrees outside, so getting cold and wet for most of the afternoon was more than welcome. We invited a handful of Aaron’s little friends along for the day, as well as all four grandparents, of course. After getting soaked on the splash pad for an hour or two, we had some hot dogs together followed by an adorable train cake courtesy of Grammy — complete with fondant renderings of HannahAaron, and the cast of Sesame Street.

it’s hard to believe my little boy is two years old now. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

2016-06-12 15.11.29IMG_9679

On Sunday, I took Hannah to Grandma and Grandpa Johnson’s house for quality time painting and playing with some of my dad’s old puppets. I also helped Grandpa with a project collecting old family photos and stories and assembling them in a page layout program.

Then that evening, Brazilian missionaries Al and Nadine Pierschbacher came to visit Twin Valley Church. They showed us some slides of their mission work at the New Hope Bible Baptist Church in Fortaleza. Then afterward we had some tasty tri-tip steak for dinner, which I assumed was cooked in the churrasco style. Bom apetite!