Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hannah’s Second

IMG_8671 IMG_8710

It’s official, everyone: Vivian and I are now the parents of a two-year old. Friday was Hannah’s birthday, so we celebrated with a bunch of her little friends at the Sarpy YMCA by turning them all loose in an inflatable bounce-house in the workout room. They got to have free reign for nearly an hour after kicking off their shoes to bounce, climb, and slide all over the place. A few of the kids also discovered the giant yoga balls, which seemed like the perfect toy to roll around (at least until the Y staff told us to stop).

IMG_8726 IMG_8771

After the kids had been sufficiently bounced, we rounded them all back into the party room for some pizza and cake (always best to have the bouncing before dinnertime). Donna brought a lovely monkey birthday cake, and then she got to open a bunch of presents from her little friends. I think Hannah’s almost got the hang of opening presents, though she tends to become so fascinated with the first one or two she opens (such as a pair of pretend sippy cups) that she completely forgets that she has several others waiting to be opened. More practice for next year.

IMG_8791 IMG_8807

The rest of the family is still hanging out with us for the week leading up to Thanksgiving, of course. Most of our hanging-out tends to revolve around eating out, of course. On Saturday, we headed down to the Haymarket in Lincoln to have lunch with Dwayne Ball and my brother Nathan at Lazlo’s (which used to be called Fireworks and caused no end of confusion for us). Dad was absolutely fascinated with the parking meters out front for some reason and had to take a picture (and of course, I had to take a picture of him taking a picture).

Jonathan came down for a few days of watching Das Boot and playing some Apples to Apples with us, and then Nathan came up to Omaha on Sunday with Fat Pat’s pizza in tow, which was delicious as always. We got to introduce him to the IT Crowd before saying goodnight.

In other news, our friend Phil had a birthday that involved spicy Asian fondue, lots of random friends, and bean sprouts.

Stop! Family time.


Thanksgiving is nearly here, and that means spending time with family. On Saturday night, the Johnson Family had dinner with the Lenart Family up in La Vista. Dennis and Kara’s little ones seemed to enjoy taking over my lap as their own personal play space, which actually managed to make Hannah a s little jealous as the three of them fought for space on my two two knees. It’s always nice to get able to get out of the house as a family and spend time with others, especially others with kids.

My parents are also visiting from North Carolina for the next week or two. Mom and dad rolled into town late Saturday night and got to see their granddaughter for the first time in a year and a half. They’re planning to move back to Nebraska to spend their golden years with family nearby, so they’ll be house-hunting with our former Realtor Shawn Maloy while they’re in  town. We’ve had a good time catching up with them so far. They came with us to church and had lunch with our Twin Valley friends at Taco John’s afterward. Then on Wednesday we took them out to dinner at Gorat’s, making good use of an about-to-expire Living Social coupon, which managed to feed all four of us.

Next stop: somebody’s about to become two years old!

Parking it up

Vivian and I have been able to enjoy a couple lovely, quiet weeks as we kick off November and begin the downward slide into winter temperatures. On Saturday last week, our friend Roxanne was kind enough to volunteer babysitting Hannah so we could have a “day date” downtown. First we went to see Ender’s Game at the Twin Creek cinema. I first read the book back in high school at the insistence of my librarian, which was terrific. (I was an avid reader back then, plowing through a novel or two every week.) Then Vivian and I listened to the audio version of Ender’s Game on our long, 1400-mile anniversary road trip back in 2009. I’d been excited to see the cinematic version of the story for years, and I think it lived up to my (usually high) expectations.

After the movie, we had dinner at the Zin Room and then had some ice cream while enjoying the last few hours of daylight saving time by the river in Bellevue before calling it a night.


We had some more nice weather over this past weekend, so I made sure that Hannah had the chance to “park it up” with me before a cold spell drops on us next week. We went by our friendly neighborhood park for some sliding and some tree-hugging before an afternoon of cleaning house with mom.

On Sunday, the Rietjens family sang in front of the church in a moment of unbearable adorableness. Teresa’s family was visiting from Uruguay, so that was especially special. Hannah got to play on the slides and throw some leaves around with her friends after church. Then Vivian and I took a trip up to Waubonsie State Park in Iowa to walk about, check out the view from the bluffs, and see some of the leaves changing color before the trees get undressed for winter.

Next week’s going to be especially eventful, because my parents are going to be coming up to visit from North Carolina! They haven’t been here to visit (or see their only granddaughter) since the summer of 2012, so we’ll have a lot of catching up to do over the next couple of weeks.


IMG_8179 IMG_8200

Happy Hannah-ween, everyone! Hannah’s nearly two years old, and that means that she can participate in the beloved tradition of holding up a bucket and asking strangers for candy. On Sunday, Vivian and I went by Shadowlake Mall so Hannah could toddle around the stores with several hundred other kids and get some candy from the participating shops.

Then on Thursday evening, Vivian and I took turns walking Hannah around the neighborhood to say hello to our neighbors and get even more candy. It was a nice lesson in patience as Hannah wanted to drop her bucket and suck on lollipops instead of walking from house-to-house to get more. We’ve gone from gorgeous, sunny fall days to rainy and gloomy spring-like weather during this week, so I’m fairly glad our trick-or-treat nights were timed just perfectly this time around.

Happy Halloween! On to Thanksgiving.