Cheers to 2019, and all of fun we’ve had all year!
Here’s a quick recap for you all — in pictures!
- In January, we kicked off the New Year with black-eyed peas, fireworks, and jalapeño poppers. Vivian and I had another cheesy party with a fondue bake and the kids enjoyed a park or two before winter returned, bringing on snowmen and sledding. I attended a pro-life dinner with Gianna Jessen and the Governor (among many others), and Elizabeth Warren kicked off the 2020 election way, way early. We also had a sushi anniversary and witnessed a blood moon (with brie and garlic).
- In February, we watched the Rams lose while eating delicious junk food. We celebrated birthdays with Kerri and Jonah, Jack and Donna had an anniversary with paella, and we had Valentine’s Day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We also had snow, snow, and more snow, which brought popsicles and icicles and sent us to the Kroc Center to escape. It even crashed the UNO dome. Tulsi Gabbard also stopped by — in-between blizzards.
- In March, we had one last snow with snowballs and sledding before it melted into a terrible flood. Mayor Hike read Dr. Seuss at the library. We watched Lady and the Tramp with the kids and had spaghetti, Bernie Sanders also came to town. We had fried fish with friends (and Don Bacon), and then we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with green food and a parade. We had a birthday for Uncle Jonny with pizza and rollerskating, one for Catherine with a birthday jam, and one for Phil and Gabriel with pizza. Then I bought Nathan’s car (also with pizza).
- In April, we had ribs with my folks, crossed a bridge for autism (with a couple mayors) and then saw Tim Scott and Ben Sasse (and many others) at the Elephant Remembers dinner. The kids went to the Children’s Museum and saw some Chinese dancers at the library, and then we had one last fish fry with the Mills (and a fire pit). Hannah finished another year of school, and we took the kids to a party at the Governor’s mansion right before Easter. I also saw the Mads again and got to meet Dave Rubin.
- In May, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a parade, some kites, and some ceviche. Aaron had a spring concert to finish his year at school, and we also had awards for the Prims and Rainbows. We took them both to the zoo. August and Kate’s girls had birthday parties, and we celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom, Grammy, and Vivian. We took the kids to Mahoney State Park and Pizza in Ashland, and we kicked off summer with the SumTur and beef ribs on Memorial Day. I also saw Beto O’Rourke in-between meet-ups with a Mayor and a Governor.
- In June, Hannah and Aaron started a month of summer school and riding the bus! We visited Lauritzen Gardens to plant Venus Fly Traps, we went to VBS as a family, and Aaron had a birthday. Vivian and I saw Jim Gaffigan at Unite and then went to Gerda’s and Amato’s for the last time. We had burgers and prime rib for Father’s Day, and we also said goodbye to our Honda Civic. We saw All’s Well that Ends Well and Hamlet with Shakespeare on the Green, and then we had a hot, steamy concert with Chris Isaak and Steven Van Zandt. Also Steve Bullock,
- In July, we celebrated the Fourth with breakfast with the Mills (and the Governor) and fireworks with the family. Donna and Emmett had birthdays, and Aaron got a new bed. We kept cool on the spray-ground, in some fountains, and at Louisville Lake. I rubbed elbows with Joe Biden and Cory Booker. We said goodbye to B&B hot dogs, the kids placed in the cake show, and Vivian and I celebrated 11 years of marriage at Fun Plex and Dave & Buster’s.
- In August, we had one last trip to the SumTur and our first to Dream Land Park (since remodeling). Phil and Jen had a hot pot and Timothy had a birthday. Yang and Bennet paid a visit, Ben Sasse kicked off a re-election campaign, Don Bacon held a town hall, and Pete Ricketts had a tailgate breakfast. We camped with the Mills (and Gooey the Frog) along the Platte River, took the kids to Fun Plex, and saw a parade in Millard. We also visited the Children’s Museum, went to Lost in Fun (and got pizza), and saw a T-Rex. Then I celebrated turning 41 with steak, pizza, and lots of smiles.
- In September, my dad smoked burgers for Labor Day, we grilled out at the park with the Lenarts, and we took the kids to the zoo again. There was a balloon glow at Ditmar’s Orchard and a comedian and bounce houses at Wildewood. Devin Nunes had a chat with Scott Voorhees, and Tom Becka and Jeff Koterba had a Facebook argument IRL in Benson. We had pancakes and apple-picking in Nebraska City, and I learned to smoke pork at the Wildewood men’s group, and Aaron started playing the viola, Vivian turned 40 with dim sum, sushi, carrot cake, and a party with friends and a fire pit at my parent’s house, and then Jack turned 75 at the Pink Poodle.
- In October, Vivian and I had steak and rode a haunted hayrack with friends at James Arthur Vineyard. Don Bacon had a feisty town-hall and kicked off his re-election campaign. We went to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and had a family dinner with Our Gathering Place. We visited Gifford Farm and Union Orchard and had Halloween parties with Jenny and JNO. We also had a trunk-or-treat at Wildewood and took the kids trick-or-treating with Uncle Jonny.
- In November, we had a walk though the forest and a fire pit with my folks. Hannah and I walked in a parade with Ben Sasse, and we had visits from Bernie and AOC, Marianne Williamson, Mayor Pete, and Joe Biden and Jill Biden and a box of Corn Pops. Hannah also turned eight with a party and rollerskating, followed by Thanksgiving and our trip to Union Station to see Santa and a tree-lighting.
- In December, we welcomed Harold the Guinea Pig into our family! We went through a trunk with Grandpa and made barley bread for his birthday, and Hannah got an award at Prims. We also celebrated Christmas with some decorating (and Santasaurus), a church program, work party, Nachos Navidad, Santa at the Children’s Museum, and trips to see lights at Washington Park, in our neighborhood, and on a bus tour (with sushi). Then we celebrated Christmas with both sets of grandparents (and two uncles) before ringing in the New Year with fondue (cheese and regular). Also Elizabeth Warren.
We can’t wait to see what fun we can expect in 2020!
As the year draws to a close, let’s look back
at a few (or a bunch) of highlights from 2018!
- In January, Zoey Happy Johnson became a member of our family. We joined the Kroc Center, had an hors d’eourve party, and celebrated another sushi anniversary. We also had some pizza in Lincoln, and Matt met Ann McElhinney and various politicians at the Walk for Life. There was also Star Wars at the Children’s Museum, and then we barely saw a lunar eclipse.
- In February, we saw Ben Shapiro speak at Creighton University. There was a Super Bowl and some sledding. We celebrated Valentine’s Day, a 40th anniversary with Grammy and Pop-Pop, and birthdays for Kate’s girls and also Gabriel. I also attended a Free Speech event and drove a Dodge Challenger for a week.
- In March, I rubbed elbows with Don Bacon, a few of his friends, and the Vice President of the United States. We attended a St. Patty’s Parade and had a Rock ’em Sock ’em birthday with Uncle Jonny. We had fish fries at St. John Vianney and at home, Jessica had a chili cook-off, and Phil and Jen had a baby. We also went to the Fairy Fair, and I started reading 12 Rules for Life.
- In April, we had Easter on the First (no fooling). Vivian had her first (obstacle course) 5K, and I got to meet the Mads again. I also rubbed elbows with Republicans at the county convention, and I also got to meet Charlie Kirk. Jen had a General Tso’s for her birthday, and Hannah finished her first year of Classical Conversations. Winter also refused to end.
- In May, August and Ben had birthdays. I got to meet Reb Brown, watch a debate, and attend a victory party for Deb Fischer. We visited Lauritzen Gardens, and I made burgers, crab dip, and cake for Mother’s Day. We few kites with the family, played in mud, and lit a fire in our driveway. Hannah and Aaron graduated from Daisies and Rainbows. We also went to the SumTur, saw Frankie Valli at Loessfest (followed by a concert and fireworks), and had a Memorial Day Feast. Hannah also lost some teeth.
- In June, we said goodbye to the Kuehmichels, Aaron played tee-ball, and we ate more sushi. Aaron turned four at the splash pad, and we celebrated Father’s Day with steak, Golden Corral, and some old photos. We had water balloons at Lindy in the Park, and then I got to meet Starship at Memorial Park!
- In July, we saw Much Ado About Nothing and King John at Shakespeare on the Green. There were fireworks at Jon’s house, a breakfast with some politicians, and a parade with friends for Fourth of July. Vivian did the Color Run, the kids did VBS and a cake show, and Grammy had a birthday with Paella. Vivian and I also celebrated ten years of marriage with Schlitterbahn, lobster, and barbecue in Kansas City (also a drone).
- In August, I went over-the-hill (literally) and celebrated my 40th birthday with steak, pancakes, a distillery tour, and a picnic party at Elmwood Park. We kept cool at Louisville Lake, the Stinson Park fountains, the all-play splash pad, and our backyard pool. We saw some planes at the Offutt Air Show, and I saw political tour buses for Brett Kavanaugh and Tax Cuts. We had a night of hot dogs, balloons, and face-painting at B&B, we took in one last movie at the SumTur, and we had some swing dancing with the Gooch (followed by Fazoli’s). The kids also headed back to school.
- In September, I went to Memorial Stadium to see my very first Husker Game with Vivian (followed by Pho and a flat tire). We picked apples in Nebraska City, got pumpkins at Gifford Farm, and saw some balloons at Ditmar’s. Vivian had a birthday with beautiful weather, lasagna, and calamari steak. I also had lunch with Deb Fischer (and Hal Daub and Mike Foley), a pool party with Don Bacon and Pete Ricketts, and a steak fry with Pete (and his dad) governors from Indiana, Iowa, and Texas.
- In October, we had a chilly camping trip to Fremont Lakes with the Mills and all our kids. Vivian went on a Bubble Run and attending a (rainy) Trump rally for the first time with me. We had beautiful fall weather (along with a freak snow) and roasted s’mores and hot dogs with a fire pit or two. The kids trick-or-treated at First Presbyterian and around the neighborhood, and I wore two costumes for Halloween parties with the Jitterbugs and Jenny. I also took the family to Vala’s for our annual visit and had dinner with Pete and Don ahead of the election (along with a New York Times reporter).
- In November, I hung out with Ben Sasse and a few other congressmen, and then I spent election night with Pete Ricketts and his gang. Hannah turned seven with a kitty party and continued celebrating through Thanksgiving. Then we kicked off the Christmas season with tree lighting ceremonies at the Gene Leahy Mall and Union Station, and Turning Point brought their first speakers to UN-O.
- In December, we celebrated Christmas with a murder mystery, a Christmas light driving tour, a Christmas program with Hannah, and parties with Jenny and my workplace. My parents celebrated their birthdays with seafood, I said goodbye to the Bush Train, and I watched a debate with Kara Eastman and Scott Voorhees (among others). Vivian and I had a first date anniversary, we celebrated Christmas with both sets of grandparents, and then we rang in the new year with cards and cheese fondue.
2017 is finally done!
Here’s a quick (OK, long and tedious) recap.
- In January, we celebrated our tenth sushi anniversary and hosted our fifth cheese party. I got to watch a dramatic BCS Championship Game with my pastor’s family and my dad. The kids got to see some trains and some characters from Star Wars. Vivian gave Jack a haircut, and I said goodbye to my old Taurus (and hello to a CR-V). Donald Trump also became President, and Hannah made an apple pie. Hannah and I also got a new toy.
- In February, we had enough snow for sledding and a snowball fight at the park, and enough warmth for a bike ride to work and around the park with the kids (in short sleeves). We watched the Superbowl go into overtime, and Hannah reenacted the event the morning after. We had quiche, smoked salmon, and dim sum for Valentine’s Day, along with a Murder Mystery Dinner. We also took the kids to the circus and celebrated Grammy and Pop-Pop’s anniversary. Jessica also hosted a chili cookoff, and then we had jambalaya with friends for Mardi Gras.
- In March, we had fish fries at St. John Vianney and St. Charles Borromeo. We did Dr. Seuss at the Children’s Museum and Fairies at the Fontenelle Forest. Hannah made Gingerbread men, Vivian made corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, and my dad made Kung Pao Chicken Pizza for Uncle Jonny’s birthday.
- In April, we rubbed elbows with Jean Stothert, Taylor Royal, Pete Ricketts, and Scott Walker, some democrats, and the Prairie Cats ahead of the Omaha Mayoral race. Our flowers bloomed, we had a picnic or two, and we had one last fish fry with my parents and the Mills. We had a full Easter Weekend with breakfast, egg hunting, dinner, and a reunion with The Mads from MST3K. There was also a Ren Fair, Telestrations, and a Roof Baby.
- In May, we took Grammy and the kids to Pella, Iowa for a Tulip festival. We flew some kites with Grandpa, and we celebrated Mother’s Day with Ceviche, Chicken Alfredo, and pie. I got to see Mayor Jean get reelected while hobnobbing with a Congressman and a Governor or two. Hannah graduated from Preschool and Rainbows and played in some mud. We also saw 88 Improv, visited Stinko at the Lauritzen Gardens. and then shook our booties to KC and the Sunshine Band at Loessfest.
- In June, the Rietjens came to visit, the Folkens got some meat, Aaron turned three, and Aunt Nancy and Uncle Andy came to visit. Jenny and Kody had a housewarming, Bellevue had a tornado, and the kids got swim lessons and a sandbox. Deb Fischer had a town hall and kicked off her Senate campaign, and I had breakfast with Dennis Prager. There was also King Lear, Father’s Day, a Food Truck War, Lindy in the Park, and Kool and the Gang.
- In July, we saw Merry Wives of Windsor and the Ralston Parade in the rain. I had pancakes with some Republicans and had fireworks with the family for the Fourth. I sang the Nations of the World song with Yakko at O Comic Con (and also saw Nellie Olson, Non, Courage the Cowardly Dog, the Blue Ranger, Big Bird, and Darth Maul). We had a garage sale for Hannah and a birthday for Grammy. Vivian and I had an anniversary with a water park, a secret bridge (and gate), and way too much Brazilian Barbecue. Hannah, Aaron, and Grammy all places in the cake show, we visited the lake, and Phil and Jen warmed their house. We also visited the SumTur, and I met my Congressman at a town hall.
- In August, we took the kids to Fun Plex and Lost in Fun. Vivian and I saw a solar eclipse at the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice with Nathan, Bill Nye, and a few thousand other people. I had a tomato-riffic birthday, and Libby and Ole tied the knot.
- In September, we went camping over Labor Day with the Mills. We watched some balloons glow at Ditmar’s Orchard and won free meals for a year from the Bellevue Arby’s. There was an invasion of butterflies, and Hannah got a haircut. We picked Apples in Nebraska City and then bounced around at Metro FCU’s MemberFest. We had Hibachi, Sushi, and a fire pit for Vivian’s birthday, and we also saw John Crist and Jonnie W in “El Corn.”
- In October, we had a long, fun day at Vala’s and took a Hayrack Ride with the Halls. We saw some beautiful autumn leaves, watched the Jungle Book, and had Daddy’s Night at Welcome School. We also celebrated Halloween at the Children’s Museum, at First Presbyterian Church, with the Omaha Jitterbugs, at Dean and Sarah’s house, in Olde Town Bellevue, and at Heritage Ridge!
- In November, we saw Johnny Boyd and his band. Hannah had a “fairy happy” Birthday, and we had a big smoked turkey for Thanksgiving. We kicked off the Christmas season with a tree-lighting at Union Station, a Winter Wonderland in Papillion, and some decorating at home and at church.
- In December, we celebrated some mommies-to-be. We kicked off the Christmas Season in Olde Town Bellevue, at the Library, at Thanksgiving Lutheran, and at BCC. We had Christmas Parties for Work and Friends, and had a big Christmas Weekend with lights, snow, and celebration at home, church, and my parent’s house. We also had a first date anniversary with Dim Sum and rang in the new year with a cheese fondue.
2016 has been a surprising, fun-filled year!
Here are some pictures of the things that happened.
- In January, we saw many different politicians in the run up to the Iowa Caucus, including Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Rick Santorum, and Hillary Clinton. Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie, and even Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Our kids had fun playing in the snow and playing with trains at my parents’ house. Hannah got some badges at Rainbows, and we hosted our third hors d’oeuvre party. There was also sushi.
- In February, we had a Snow Day and took the kids sledding. We watched the Superbowl with the family, had a fish fry with the Mills, and welcomed their newest family member, Gabriel. Twin Valley Church got a new pastor and helped him move in, Jack and Donna had an anniversary, and Vivian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at James Arthur Vineyards in Lincoln. The kids went to Lincoln to get Lost in Fun and have pizza, went to the circus, and visited park after park after park. I also learned how to lose at Rummy.
- In March, we said goodbye to our sweet cockatiel, Flappy. We had another fish fry with two tables of friends, had a reunion with the Rietjens, and I got to meet economist Stephen Moore. Vivian and I had dinner with the Folkens, visited a park with Lexi’s kids, danced to a live band at JNO, and ate pizza for Uncle Jonny’s birthday. We also celebrated Resurrection Sunday with egg-dyeing, Easter dinner, and new Easter clothes.
- In April, Vivian and I participated in a literary murder mystery and went to see Phantom of the Opera. Hannah and I had a daddy/daughter dance, and we brought Pig Pig home for the weekend. We also surprised Dennis for his 40th birthday.
- In May, we celebrated birthdays with Kody, Jen, and Jessica. We visited Lauritzen Gardens with my parents and the Mills, attended the Cinco de Mayo parade, and ate some quiche and ribs on Mother’s Day Weekend. Franklin Graham had a prayer rally on the steps of the Capitol Building in Lincoln. We also saw the return of the Prairie Cats at JNO (with a cameo by Tom Becka) and we celebrated Good Times with Kool & the Gang at Loessfest.
- In June, we went to the drive-in, Tamra and Ryan got married, and Aunt Nancy and Uncle Andy came to visit. We took the kids to a Jitterbugs Mom Prom, we visited the Bohemian Cafe one last time, and I celebrated Father’s Day. We saw Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare on the Green. Aaron also turned two and took his first dip in a pool.
- In July, we celebrated Independence Day with Kenny Loggins, Paper Lanterns, Pizza, Fireworks, and a Parade. We saw Macbeth (along with the Governor), and I rubbed elbows with Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank and some guys from Sesame Street at O Comic Con. Some of Vivian’s family came to celebrate Donna’s 70th birthday in Omaha, and Vivian and I had celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary at a B&B in the country. Hannah also won another cake award, and I caught a glimpse of Jimmy B’s last performance at the Sokol.
- In August, we spent some time with our friends Jessica and Kate (and Kate’s kids). Ben and Venche (finally) got married, Mrs. B retired, and Vivian shot some arrows. We also had a family night at JNO, took the kids to Lake Louisville, and I had a pizza-riffic birthday. Also Mike Pence.
- In September, Vivian and I both celebrated birthdays in our fun, respective ways. We had ribs and s’mores with my folks for Labor Day, took the kids to Lauritzen Gardens to see flowers in the fall, and I bought a new bike. Gifford Farm had a fall festival, Nebraska City had an Applejack Festival, and we got to watch some balloons fly at Ditmar’s Orchard. The Jitterbugs had Cowtown at the Sokol with a corn-eating contest and Prairie Cats back at the Eagles Lodge. Johnny Boyd and his band paid a visit at the end of the month, and I also brushed shoulders with Donald Trump, Jill Stein, Don Bacon, and Rudy Giuliani as the 2016 election refused to end.
- In October, we had game nights with Kate and Tamra and a campfire with Twin Valley Church. Welcome school had a Daddy’s Night and we took the kids to visit Vala’s. The kids went to Costco and the park and saw the beauty of autumn along the Keystone Trail and in the Fontenelle Forest. We had a picnic with Don Bacon and a rally with Mike Pence. My dad also made brats, and both the kids and the grown-ups got to celebrate Halloween (with fava beans).
- In November, Donald Trump was elected President, and we celebrated the end of the election with free food at Fazoli’s. It was (still) warm enough for a trip to a park or two (with pumpkin bread), and Hannah and Aaron had leafy fun with friends. We had another game night at Kate’s, birthdays for Phil and Deena, and Hannah turned five with a tea party, Rapunzel, and a Christmas Castle Cake. There was also a trip to the Children’s Museum, Thanksgiving and Christmas at Union Station, and a Winter Wonderland in Papillion (with chili).
- In December, we saw Santa and Elsa at the Children’s Museum. Vivian and I had dim sum with friends, saw Tom and Jeff at the Kaneko, and made a breakfast casserole for my parents’ birthdays. We had Christmas Parties with friends and co-workers, had carols and soup at church, and we drove around to look at Christmas lights. Vivian and I celebrated ten years since our First Date. Then, we had a lovely Christmas Eve and Day — followed shortly by New Year’s Eve celebrations at our local library and at Twin Valley Church.
What new adventures will 2017 bring? We’ll just have to wait and see!
2015 was another very good year!
Here are some of the fun things we did to pass the time.
- In January, we attended a belated New Year’s Party and watched some football with my dad. Hugh turned 50, and I saw Tom Becka live at the Pizza Shoppe. The weather was also unseasonably warm, which meant lots of quality time at the park. Also sushi. And cookies.
- In February, we got a big snowfall and watched the Super Bowl with the family. Hannah made a snowman, and we hosted our fourth Cheese (and wine) Party. For Valentine’s Day, we had dinner at Malara’s with Twin Valley Church and had a five-course dinner with wine-pairings at James Arthur Vineyard. I also saw Jessica Hische at the Waiting Room and had watched MST3K with the folks over breakfast.
- In March, we celebrated my parents’ 40th anniversary at Big Mama’s Kitchen (and then at our house for a slideshow). The Mayor of Bellevue read to our kids at the library and we attended fish fries at St. John Vianney and Holy Name (with and without lines). We had a picnic in the park and Vivian got to be on TV. We also took the kids to Lincoln for a day-trip for Lost in Fun and Big Sal’s Pizza, and we also celebrated Uncle Jonny’s birthday with homemade pizza and Intellivision.
- In April, Hannah hunted for eggs for Easter, and she got to see some baby robins at grandma and grandpa’s house. Hannah and Aaron got to enjoy tulips, lilacs, and other blossoms. Vivian and I saw Brian Regan and had pizza on a date day, and then we made dumplings for Jen’s birthday. We also had the Mills over and flew a kite with grandma and grandpa.
- In May, we saw the Cinco de Mayo parade, went to Lindy in the Park, and toured the Lauritzen Gardens with our friends. Sherry and Bob came to visit, Hannah made mud at Mudpies, and we celebrated Mother’s Day with our three moms (and handprints). I also got to see Chicago (and Fake Journey) at Loessfest. And finally, Jenny and Kody got married up in Iowa Falls. Also: fun in a box.
- In June, Aaron turned one year old, and got to celebrate with a water table and a birthday picnic in the park with his friends. We saw As You Like It and Othello with our goofy friends at Shakespeare on the Green and then saw Eddie Money and Joan Jett at Memorial Park. I visited Spielbound, we saw Big Hero 6 at the Sumtur, and we took the kids to a splash park and the Children’s Museum over lunch. Hannah also saw Mary Poppins at the Rose and both kids got to ride in their new wagon.
- In July, we celebrated the Fourth with a cookout at our house, a parade, and Patriotic Cheesecake and ribs at my parents’ house. Jack took us on a riverboat ride for Donna’s birthday, Anne and Brandon got married, and Vivian and I celebrated our anniversary with Amato’s, a water park, and Joe’s Crab Shack. We went on a camping trip without the kids, I lost my shirt, and Hannah picked her first tomato. I also got to meet Scott Walker and Marco Rubio.
- In August, we got to meet Dr. Ben Carson at a big Family Festival in Council Bluffs (also Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal). We visited Werner Park with a few of our friends, had one last Lindy in the Park, and saw Cinderella at the Sumtur. I also celebrated my birthday with the Jitterbugs, friends at Spin pizza, and a Beatles tribute band.
- In September, Hannah started preschool, and we had ribs with my folks for Labor Day. We went camping with our kids and the Mills family, and then we got pancakes and did dinosaur things at the Applejack Festival. We visited Gifford Farm, saw some cows at the CenturyLink Center, and Hannah and Grammy both entered a cake show (and Hannah won first prize). Vivian also had a birthday involving Kirk Cameron, the Cheesecake Factory, a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse, and Outback Steakhouse (and eventually JNO).
- In October, Hannah got her Big Girl Bed, and we visited two Pumpkin Patches: Vala’s and Bloom Where You’re Planted. We had a Hayrack Ride at the Hall’s and went to Jitterbugs both for a Reunion Dance and a Halloween Dance (in costume). Jenny had a Back to the Future Party to celebrate Marty McFly’s arrival. We also had trick-or-treating as a family at the Mall, at Gifford Farm, and on our own street, of course. Also Chris Christie.
- In November, we said goodbye to the Rietjens with burgers, Chick-Fil-A, and a baptism. Phil and Hannah both had birthdays, and Presidential candidates Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio all came to town. We also had Thanksgiving and kicked off the Christmas Season at Union Station (with Mayor Jean Stothert).
- In December, dad made ribs for a joint birthday party with mom. Vivian and I went to the Institute Christmas Party and then we took the kids out for sushi. I saw presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Bernie Sanders, and even Donald Trump. We also had a full-on white Christmas with a snowman and two Christmas dinners, and we rang in the New Year with Fondue, per tradition.
That does it for 2014! It was quite a year to say the least.
Here are some pictures of the things that happened!
- In January, we rang in the New Year with black-eyed peas and had dinner at the Kuemichels’ new house. He had an hors d’eourves party, went on a sushi date, and Hannah played with her friends outside.
- In February, we got a membership at the Children’s Museum, we had a Nifty-Fifties Party at church, and we had some meatloaf and ribs for Valentine’s Day. Hannah also made her first snowman and got to go to the circus. My parents also moved back to Nebraska after more than a decade in North Carolina.
- In March, we had a pink and blue party and learned we’ll be having a boy in June! We went to Jitterbugs’ Night Out (twice), dropped in on one of Kaleb’s Game Nights, attended a fish fry, a St. Patrick’s Party, and wished Little Matthew Happy Birthday. I went with Hannah to mud pies, took Vivian out to Big Mama’s Kitchen, and also brought Hannah to the Benson Library to meet Clifford (among other people). Mom and dad also provided free babysitting until they bought a house, and then we took them to Venice Inn to celebrate.
- In April, we ended lent with pasta at St. Pius X, we grilled out with Jack and Donna, had a freak snow, and took Hannah to her first Easter Egg Hunt. We had Easter dinner with all four grandparents for the first time and went to Venice Inn a couple times more to say goodbye. Gifford Farm got threatened by a fire while Keystone
Drugs Homecare actually burned down. I also met Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute while the Mills had another baby.
- In May, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo at the tail end of the parade and then flew a kite with grandpa, Hannah painted a cup for Mother’s Day and played in some mud. We visited the Lauritzen Gardens with grandpa and grandma Johnson, raided Wohlner’s before they closed, attended JNO and Lindy in the Park, saw Frozen at the Sumtur, saw a concert with our friends at Stinson Park and then saw Loverboy, The Guess Who, and Three Dog Night at Loessfest.
- In June, Hannah helped make a pizza and got to play in some sand. We also got to attend Shakespeare on the Green and see Uncle Kracker, Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, and Blues Traveler at Memorial Park. Best of all, of course, we welcomed our son Aaron Edward into the world.
- In July, we celebrated the Fourth with burgers and fireworks at our house, a parade, and barbecue ribs with the family. We went to Louisville Lake with Libby and friends and then went to Lincoln to celebrate our anniversary with flowers, a snake, and selfies. Eric also had a hot, hot birthday, and Vivian and I went to the ballpark for hot dogs.
- In August, Tamra had a giant Jenga birthday, we went to the Sumtur twice more, we had a baby shower at work, and we celebrated my birthday in Lincoln with pizza, wine-tasting, and hot dogs. We also went to Cedar Rapids for a big family reunion celebrating my Uncle Ben and Aunt Carol’s 50th wedding anniversary.
- In September, my folks took us to Johnny’s Cafe for a belated birthday. Vivian and I spent a day at Fun Plex, Laughed Our Way to a Better Marriage™, and took Grammy and Hannah to see a balloon glow. We also attended the Applejack Festival, had a birthday by the lake with Venche, visited Gifford Farm, and dropped by the Eagle’s Lodge once or twice. We even did some painting and camping for Vivian’s birthday.
- In October, we visited the Farmer’s Market, went on a hayrack ride, and visited Vala’s with our friends. We went to Cedar Rapids for a family wedding with some fall fun in the Amana Colonies afterward. We also participated in every aspect of Halloween, from Trunk-or-Treat at the Y, to Trick-or-Treating in our neighborhood (with horses), and dropping by Jitterbugs Night Out. We also had Aaron dedicated at our church with a bunch of family and friends in attendance.
- In November, we got a big, new dining room table to make it easier to celebrate Thanksgiving. We got to visit the Zoo for free with Hannah, played a bit in a light dusting of snow, and celebrated Hannah’s third birthday. We also went see Santa and the tree-lighting at the Durham, per tradition.
- In December, we celebrated Christmas with all four grandparents (and Uncle Jonny) for the very first time. We hosted a smashing party with with gifts and games at our house, checked out some Christmas Lights, Aaron looked cute in his new blue suit, and we had the traditional Christmas Eve service at Twin Valley Church. We also took my folks to the Children’s museum and rang in the new year at the library and at our house with a Cheese Fondue (and football).
Happy New Year, everyone! 2013 was an exciting year for the Johnson Family.
Let’s look back at some of the highlights.
- In January, Hannah met the Duweling family in Lincoln and said goodbye to Lisa’s mom. We also hosted our bi-annual cheese party and had our annual sushi date.
- In February, we celebrated Mike Duweling’s 50th birthday, watched the Superbowl, went on stage with 88 Improv, had a Murder Mystery party at church, made meatballs with Phil and Jen, and watched the Oscars with Bente and friends.
- In March, we went fish-frying, visited Harold Lloyd’s house with my brother Jonathan, had a St. Patrick’s Day ingredient party, and took Hannah on her first Easter Egg hunt.
- In April, I saw graphic design hot-shot Aaron Draplin. We also took Vivian’s co-workers swing dancing, helped Tamra move, and got Hannah her very own swing.
- In May, I attended a workshop with Christian and Jenny. We also cracked open a piñata, celebrated Mother’s Day, took Hannah to Gifford Farm, attended a Friendship Program prom, saw John Stamos and the Beach Boys, had a reunion with Vivian’s youth group, and saw a movie at the Sumtur.
- In June, Amber and Cliff got married, we had Father’s Day, Vivian and I went camping, we saw Pat Benatar and Loverboy at Memorial Park, and then saw Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare on the Green.
- In July, we shot off some fireworks, saw Twelfth Night at Shakespeare on the Green, watched the Stormchasers as Hannah rode a merry-go-round, and celebrated an anniversary with a drive-thru safari, swimming, and lobster. Mike and Merinda got married, and Hannah got to see clouds. Matt also appeared in a book by Clark Howard and started a new job at the Pope Paul VI Institute.
- In August, Vivian and her mom did some painting, Tamra and her dad celebrated a birthday and a retirement, and the Jitterbugs danced at Friendship Program. We rode on an air boat, we had Lindy in the Park with live music, and I celebrated my birthday with burgers and hot, hot dancing.
- In September, Jessica moved to North Carolina, and Hannah got her first haircut. We also took Hannah apple-picking in Nebraska City, entered a corn-eating contest (with Hannah), and got to see Johnny Boyd and his band at Cowtown. Vivian also had a sushi-licious birthday.
- In October, I took Vivian to see Les Mis and we took Hannah back to Gifford Farm. PK got married, we visited Vala’s with friends, got some pumpkins, and went hayrack-riding with our church. We also had Halloween with friends, more friends, the YMCA, and the mall. We also learned that we had a member of the family on the way!
- In November, we took Hannah to a park or two and hung out with the Lenart family. Mom and dad came to visit and stayed for Thanksgiving dinner. Hannah turned two years old and had a party with a bounce-house and a bunch of her friends. We also took Hannah to see Santa at the Durham Museum and watched the tree-lighting.
- In December, we decorated for Christmas, rang a few bells, and visited the zoo with friends. We attended a work Christmas Party, hosted one at our house with a roaring fire, and celebrated seven first dates. Hannah went on stage for Christmas Eve and we opened presents with family before celebrating the New Year with our friends at Twin Valley Church.
So what awaits us in 2014? Well, a new child for one thing, and we can’t wait to see what other surprises the new year has in store for us.
2012 was an eventful year for the Johnson family, and we got to experience all kinds of “firsts” with our new little girl, Hannah. Here are some highlights:
- In January, we hosted an hors d’eourve party, had some “offal” food with Phil and Jen, said farewell to the Prairie Cats, and laid Vivian’s cockateil Babo to rest.
- In February, we got a heaping helping of overnight snow. Vivian and I had Valentine’s Day at Catfish Lake and with friends at church. I had my first father-daughter dance, and Hannah also went to the circus. Vivian and I also helped Jenny move out of her house and then attended parties at Hugh’s and Dean’s.
- In March, we attended fish fry after fish fry. Jenny had a housewarming, Pastor Mark Ashton went swing dancing, and Vivian and I had our first family picnic. We also surprised our friend Don and attended a murder mystery costume party.
- In April, we had a lemon party to kick off springtime, and then we took Hannah to the park. We celebrated a birthday or two a little Easter in-between, and Vivian and I ate some rocky mountain oysters.
- In May, we had Lindy (and Windy) in the Park, celebrated Mother’s Day, saw Mitt Romney, and had a lakeside work party. We also did some karaoke at the Pizza Shoppe, sweat to the oldies at Jon’s house, and helped move a friend or two.
- In June, I celebrated my first Father’s Day. Hannah saw her first baseball game and her first Shakespeare on the Green. We also went camping and canoeing with some friends on the Niobrara River.
- In July, the family came to visit. We danced in a parade, went to Jazz on the Green, sampled beer at Upstream, and took Hannah swimming for the first time. Vivian and I also had an anniversary day at Fun Plex.
- In August, we took a practice vacation to Kansas City, had some fun outdoors, and witnessed somebody kidnap a few of Eric’s plush friends.
- In September, Vivian and I spent a week in northern California visiting several family members and old friends. Hannah also got to experience the Cowtown corn-eating contest.
- In October, the Johnson Family carved a few pumpkins and dressed up as s’mores for Halloween. We also kicked off autumn with a hayrack ride and a trip to Vala’s.
- In November, we got to “eat mor chikin” at Bellevue’s first Chick-Fil-A. Hannah visited the zoo, celebrated her first birthday, and had some Thanksgiving with us. We also introduced her to Santa at the Durham.
- In December, I made like Clark Griswold and lit up our house for the first time. Hannah experienced snow for the first time, we had some chili, and we celebrated the end of the world. We also celebrated Christmas, of course, with a couple of our friends, and we had a wacky New Year’s party with Pastor Ryan.
It’s been a fabulously eventful 2011! Let’s recap.
- In January, Vivian and I took a “sushi anniversary” trip to Las Vegas, where we saw a Cirque du Soleil show, met Penn & Teller, and lived it up on the strip!
- In February, I made Vivian a Valentine’s Pizza. We also attended a Mardis Gras party where she found the baby in the cake — a foretelling of things soon to come.
- In March, Vivian discovered we had a baby on the way! We celebrated with more pizza.
- In April, we celebrated “spent” by binging on spaghetti dinners, fish fries, and all sorts of things leading up to Easter.
- In May, we visited St. Louis to say goodbye to some old friends from the comic world.
- In June, we took a camping trip up to Niobrara State Park, visiting Gavins Point dam(n) along the way and doing some horseback riding. We also saw the musical Wicked.
- In July, Vivian and I took an anniversary trip to Des Moines, spending a fun day swimming and eating lobster. Mom and dad also came to visit, as did my brothers.
- In August, I celebrated my birthday like a billionaire. I also had a giant burger.
- In September, Vivian and I celebrated her birthday by having a sushi party and seeing Chicago (the musical, not the city).
- In October, we carved pumpkins, and dressed up for Halloween. I was the new Number Two, and Vivian was a kitty (but she’ll always be my Number One).
- In November, our daughter Hannah was born. ’nuff said.
- In December, we celebrated the holidays with both sets of grandparents dropping in to dedicate our daughter for the New Year.
2012 proves to be a challenging year, since Vivian and I have been thrust into the role of mom and dad for the first time. We’ll see how it shapes up — bring it on!
2010 was a fun, fabulous year for Vivian and me.
Here are some of the highlights!
- January: After celebrating the New Year with friends in Kansas City, Vivian and I celebrate with her parents and light the fireplace for a (literal) housewarming party. We also celebrate our third Sushi Anniversary.
- February: Matt made a heart-shaped meatloaf for Valentine’s Day. We also went to a Fish Fry at St. John Vianney’s for a second year in a row (thus making it a tradition).
- March: Now that we have a house, Vivian and I host a late-night Pancake Party, just because we can. We also had a couples night out at GAMe, taught some kids how to dance, and watched a hockey game.
- April: This was a month for parties: a taco party, a burger party, a tea party, Easter, birthday parties for friends and co-workers, as well as the last meeting for the Shovelers as the torch is passed to Lisa.
- May: I get my fifteen minutes of fame making sound effects for Brad Sherwood & Colin Mochrie on stage at the Holland Center.
- June: Vivian and I play host for the (final) annual Comic Genesis cookout.
- July: We and some friends get to see Styx, Foreigner, and Kansas live in concert with about 50k Omahans in Memorial park. Vivian and I also celebrated our second anniversary in Kansas City, shopping in the Plaza, visiting a museum, eating lobster, and cooling off at Oceans of Fun.
- August: Matt has a birthday full of awesome at Johnny’s steakhouse and Fun Plex. We also had a fun camping trip canoeing up the Niobrara.
- September: Vivian had a birthday made of sushi, Malara’s and martinis. We also ate lots of corn at Cowtown and attended the last baseball game at Rosenblatt stadium.
- October: Vivian and I participate in one of Kaleb’s famous murder mysteries, take a trip to Vala’s, and host a birthday party for Jenny at our house. We also learned the dance from Thriller and performed it every chance we got.
- November: Trader Joe’s opens, the Amarillo closes, and Hugh and Sarah have a wedding of extraordinary magnitude.
- December: Vivian and I ring in the New Year with friends in Kansas City. We spent a little extra time hanging out in the Plaza, eating some barbecue, and adopting Santasaurus. I also won a chili contest.