Monthly Archives: May 2012

Flirting with summer

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The weather in Omaha seems to be flirting with summer, so we got to experience some hot and humid weather on Saturday as Vivian and I dropped by Nick and Lisa’s new place to help them move in. Nick and Lisa were the leaders of a small group bible study that seemed to end unofficially last year as everyone in the group started having babies. After squeezing inside a one-room apartment for a couple years, they finally got their own house far out in West Omaha (so far west that if they were any father they’d be in Gretna).

We also hadn’t seen them since they had their little boy Noah, so he and Hannah got to meet each other and shake hands while rolling around on the clean, new carpet. A bunch of other friends and relatives dropped in to move cribs, couches, and other things, and then we ate lunch together once we were all done.

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That evening, Vivian and I were in the mood to do something downtown, so we managed to grab Anne and crashed at Ted & Wally’s for some ice cream with Hannah. We took an extended walk around the Old Market afterward, and Hannah got to have her first trip down one of the big slides by the Gene Leahy Mall. We made a couple obligatory stops at some candy shops on the way back to the car. Hannah’s just recently learned how to reach and grab for things, and she put this skill to use grabbing at candy in the open jars at the Old Market Candy Shop (dare I say she had “sticky fingers?”) We dropped by the Hollywood Candy shop before going home, where we discovered a shelf full of vintage lunch boxes that brought back memories of elementary school and Saturday morning cartoons.

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On Sunday, Vivian and I went to church and then headed up to Aksarben Village for the afternoon. I had a meeting with the Omaha Area Objectivists at Godfather’s Pizza, so Vivian spent an hour or two dancing with the jitterbugs at Lindy in the Park.

On Sunday night, we dropped by Jon’s house (still under construction) to celebrate Ben Anderson’s birthday. We had a cookout in the backyard and got to catch up with a couple old friends, including Corey, who I don’t think I’ve seen in a couple years. He apparently had a two-year-old boy now, who joined several other happy kids in our little group. Once it got dark, we went back inside to have a high-tension game of Clue while devouring a couple of ice cream cakes (we had one for Anne since it was technically her birthday, too).

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Among Ben’s assortment of presents was a DVD of Sweatin’ to the Oldies, so we naturally, we had to pop it in for a workout to burn off our sugar together with some Richard Simmons zaniness (right after a brief silly string fight between Ben and Jon, of course). Hannah just watched us in bewilderment, likely trying to figure out whether these people were supposed to be the grown-ups.

Monday was a bit of a catch-up day for Vivian and me. I took Vivian out on a “day date” and we watched The Avengers together at the Twin Creek Theater. It was a decent superhero film, but not quite the “ZOMG best movie evar!” squee-fest I was expecting. We went to Culver’s afterward and spent the rest of the day doing laundry and resting up.

Movies and dancing outdoors

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The Johnson Family has been having fun outdoors around the Omaha metro area, soaking in as much of the cool, spring weather as we can before the stagnant heat and humidity of summer kicks in.

On Friday night, we dropped by the Sumtur Amphitheater in Papillion for free movie night. Lisa, Mark, Jenny, and Andy joined us and a throng of young families to see Rango (along with four Looney Tunes cartoons). It was a beautifully cool night, just about perfect for an outdoor movie other than the wind and pollen that kept trying to blind us.

Naturally, Hannah provided plenty of baby goodness before the show started.

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On Sunday, we joined Billy and the Omaha Jitterbugs for Lindy in the Park in their new “official” location under the corner pavilion in Stinson Park. We had a fairly good turnout of our usual troupe of swing-dancers, and just about as many ragamuffin jitterbug kids as well. Lindsey came by with Edith Ann (“Honey”) and her new twin sisters, who got to meet Hannah as they got passed around. We ducked into Jones Bros. afterward for a post-dance sugar binge. I continued to play with my camera and got to capture random little moments with Eric and Maggie before calling it a day.

Then on Tuesday, Hannah turned half a year old! She’s growing up so fast. We celebrated by taking her to the park and letting her play in the sand for the first time, an experience she seemed to find fascinating.

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!

An apple tree, Cinco de Mayo, and Windy in the Park

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Vivian and I recovering from another long, fun-filled weekend, and we managed to include Hannah in almost all of it. It started off with digging a giant hole in our backyard and planting an apple tree in the corner section next to our fence. It’s an “oliver” variety with blossoms already blooming, so we just might get an apple or two this season. That would be exciting.

We decided to drop by Jitterbugs Night Out with Hannah that evening and got to see our friend Kirsten’s new (three-month-old) baby Ariadne, so our night of dancing was full of baby goodness. Of course, Vivian and I had plenty of time to dance while Hannah was busy being held by Enrique and Marilou while slowly falling asleep.

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On Saturday — Cinco de Mayo — Vivian and I took Hannah on up to South Omaha see her first parade. The usual cast of characters participated in the parade — festive costumes, dancing horses, lassoers, pimped-out cars, churches, drill teams, and for some reason, Scotsmen. There was also the usual glob of politicians such as Congressman Lee Terry and Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle (who was greeted with stony silence and plenty of room behind him). Bob Kerrey was in the parade as well, happily reminding everyone who he was after an extended leave of absence teaching in New York City. He asked me to take a picture of him with a complete stranger and email it to her after the parade. (Her address was unfortunately eaten by my Android phone, so I hope she somehow finds this photo herself via Google or something).

It was a fun parade, as usual, though the hot, humid weather left the crowd sweating and moving inch-by-inch to stay in the shade. I grabbed some tasty seviche from a food truck, which managed to cool Vivian and me down a bit before the parade wrapped up. The food continued that evening with a giant plate of enchiladas, courtesy of Vivian.

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The weather couldn’t have been more different on Sunday afternoon, when a cold front pushed its way through with a smattering of thunder and lightning. It left us with a cool afternoon and gale-force winds coming out of nowhere — perfect weather for an outdoor dance! A bunch of our Jitterbug friends came to join us in Papillion City Park for our own “Windy in the Park” event. Dan and Cliff were kind enough to supply music through their two “Tailgater” sound systems, and we had over 20 people show up to dance, including Vivian’s mom and dad. (Naturally, I got to dance with both grandma and grandbaby.) Vittles were also passed around courtesy of Cliff and Lisa. We had plenty of dancing, a shim sham, random goofiness from the ladies (and the guys). It was also Hannah’s first “Lindy in the Park” experience, though she spent her time just being insufferably cute.

Babies, birthdays, and 88 Improv

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Saturday night was our friend Dennis‘ birthday, so Vivian, Hannah, and I all went up to Blair to say hello. We hadn’t seen any of the Lenart family since Hannah was born, and that meant we hadn’t met the newest addition to their family, baby Matthew. We had cake, makeshift sangria, and burgers while catching up with a handful of old friends and taking turns carrying a handful of babies throughout the night.

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On Tuesday, Jenny had the bright idea of inviting a bunch of our mutual friends up to the Pizza Shoppe Collective in Benson to have dinner and see 88 Improv — our favorite local improv group. They’re raising money to restore the Benson theater this month, so we got to participate in a good cause while we were there, a nice added bonus. Vivian and I arrived 90 minutes ahead of time to snag a front-row table for the dozen of us. Once we got settled, the radio overhead started to play “Love Shack,” so Jenny, Vivian, and I got to test our karaoke skills and sang along with the B-52s entirely from memory for the amusement of the rest of our friends.

Vivian and I stuffed ourselves with a king-sized Roundtable and cheese bread before the show, and then I spent half the performance snapping pictures with my camera. The story of the night started with “angry flamingo lovers” and turned into an hour-long sketch involving an angry HOA president and the unrequited love between a French/Italian Francois and his dragon-lady.