Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sushi date, part six

Winter seems to come and go with fits and starts this season, with a blizzard here and there and temperatures ranging from single digits to almost 50. I’m not complaining one bit, of course, but Vivian and I have learned that if we want to take our little girl outside to play, we have to make sure to time it just right.

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On January 26, Vivian and I were able to leave Hannah with the grandparents and go on our sixth annual Sushi Date together. For those of you who haven’t been reading for the past couple years, Vivian and I went to Sakura Bana on the night we “made it official” and started dating, so we’ve gone out for sushi together every year since then (including going all the way to the seafood buffet at the Rio in Las Vegas). This time around, we dropped by Okinawa Sushi at 120th and L and getting a giant sushi boat to share. I swear, there’s something about sashimi that tastes both decadent and healthful all at the same time.

After dinner, we took a stroll downtown to the Old Market to get some ice cream at Ted & Wally’s. Tonight, they were serving garlic butter popcorn, which brought out a grimace from Vivian (we got baklava and apple pie instead).

It’s hard to believe that it’s been six whole years since we first started dating. Of course, I like to remind the two of us that we are still dating — we just have some special circumstances nowadays.

The Cheese Party

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Last Saturday, the Johnson Family hosted the third Cheese Party at our home in Bellevue. We’ve been hosting it every other year since 2009, and January always seemed like the perfect, dreary month to do something fun after the holidays. (Naturally, about a hundred other people this year decided the same thing.) In any case, we had a fun time with our typical cluster of cheesy friends, sipping wine and trying out a number of hard, soft, and stinky cheeses together. Mark won the crown for a tasty Dubliner cheese and Phil and Jen won for a soft, stinky cheese. Ryan took the prize in for cheesiest joke after several rounds, which eventually turned into dirty limericks (after Hannah went to bed). We spent a little too much time cheesing around to watch one of the fine cheesy movies that Phil and Jen brought, but hopefully we’ll have the chance to do that next year. The Return of Captain Invincible looked suitably cheesy.

In other news, Walmart had some frozen turkeys on sale for 50 cents a pound, so Vivian and I bought a large one and decided to roast it. Add in some stuffing and cranberry sauce from Aldi and we had ourselves a little Thanksgiving in January, which was delicious. Hannah also turned 14 months old, becoming more a little lady every day. We also paid a visit to Lisa and her ailing mom, quite happy to share what adorableness our little girl can bring to those in need.

Keeping busy in Lincoln

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On Wednesday, I had some business that took me to Lincoln, and I decided to take the family with me to make a day of it. We took a trip up to James Arthur Vineyard since we had Living Social coupon that was about to expire. We used it to sample a couple wines and have some bread, cheese, and sausage together. It was a nice, quiet place in the middle of the day, and I made a note to look into coming back sometime in the summer, when the combination of live music and wine makes for a fun evening.

Before leaving town, we dropped by to visit our old friend Bekah at the Duewling dwelling. Mike was out of town, but we did get to introduce Hannah to Bekah and her four kids (soon to be five). It’s always a thrill to see Hannah interact with other kids close to her own age, and especially nice to let her run around another childproof house with the grown ups catch up over chai tea.

Ringing it in

The holidays have quickly drawn to a close, and I felt reluctant to let the Yuletide Joy pass away into the boring cold winter of just plain January. Of course, we still have one last hurrah in the form of New Year’s Eve, which means fun with friends, as usual.


The first stop on the party train was Katie’s birthday, which actually falls on New Year’s Eve, but we celebrated the Saturday before. Vivian and I made the trek from Bellevue to one of Omaha’s nine or ten Olive Gardens, all of which were packed to the brim with people requiring us to park our car somewhere in the middle of Elkhorn and climb over a few snowy mountains to make our way back. We brought Hannah along, and she seemed to enjoy chowing down on lasagna and chicken Parmesan with the rest of us.

After dinner, we scooted on down to Katie’s house afterward to have cake and participate in everyone’s newest favorite game: Progressive Word-Guessing. This where we all submit words based on a theme (Halloween, Christmas, winter, or whatever we happen to be doing at the moment). We have two teams and for the first round (using Jon’s Droid as a timer) each team member takes a turn trying to get the others to say the word by describing it without saying the word itself. For the next round, we do the same thing only using two words. For the third round, we use only charades, and for the fourth (and rarely reached) round, we have sound effects. It’s been a fairly easy stand-by game requiring only slips of paper, a bowl, and a timer, and is still the only way you can scream “Buddy the Elf” in public.


On New Year’s Eve, our family dropped by Pastor Drew’s house for an evening with their herd of kids and a few other friends from church. We brought an assortment of nibblins’ for dinner, which included addictive quinoa cupcakes made with Parmesan cheese courtesy of Kelly. Hannah enjoyed getting some girl time with the Rietjens kids, who played quietly when they weren’t treating her like a giant doll that they could tackle, dress up, and put to bed at will. The “adults” got to play a series of crazy games based on “minute to win it,” which included stacking chocolate donuts, golf balls, swinging fruit, and shaking our butts. It was a fun and crazy way to finish off the end of the year, and we watched a series of funny YouTube videos as the year concluded, toasting it with Martinelli’s before going home.

In other news, Hannah loves bubbles.