Monthly Archives: July 2014

Birthdays and Baseball


On Saturday, the whole Johnson Family dropped by Ditmars Orchard in Council Bluffs to help a half-centurion celebrate his birthday. That’s right, Eric celebrated the big five-oh with several clusters of our mutual friends in typical “Onion Boy” style — that means launching rockets, attempts at “skip it,” playing on the playground, and getting roasted by one or more Bens. Of course, there was also some ultimate Frisbee of some kind and a hose to soak people in the sweltering 90-degree oven outdoors. Hannah seemed quite content to swing, and climb, and play house in the little playground, and I even showed her how to use a squirt gun. Aaron got passed around in the meantime and did a good deal of sleeping. Hannah also found a new friend to play with before the end of the night (borrowed from a conspicuously unlocked car, of course).


The weather seemed to loosen up immediately afterward, which made for a lovely Monday in the park with the whole family. It was still warm enough for Hannah and daddy to take a quick run through the fountains and make footprints before going back to work.

Of course, no summer would be complete without a trip to the ballpark. I got some tickets from the Ad Club and got to sit behind first base with Vivian on Wiener Wednesday. That meant loading up on one-penny hot dogs and watching the Omaha Stormchasers rake the field with the Memphis Redbirds 5-0. The highlight for the evening was the splintered half of a broken bat flying into the audience, caught a lucky person a few rows back was able to grab without getting an eye gouged out.

In other news, Jayme, Vivian’s old youth group friend from Petaluma, dropped by to visit the family on Thursday. Vivian hadn’t seen her in about 13 years, so they had some time to catch up at Lo Sole Mio for dinner. Then they returned home to eat cheesecake with us and get plenty of selfies before saying goodnight.

Anniversary in Lincoln


It’s been a relatively quiet couple of weeks for the Johnson Family. Our little boy Aaron turned one month old and seemed to be growing up so fast. Uncle Jonny came down for a brief visit, and Vivian got a snapshot of three generations of Johnson men to mark the occasion. We also had a lovely visit from the Polar Vortex, which sent the temperatures in Omaha down to a lovely 70 degrees for an entire week, giving us the chance to visit the park with Hannah multiple times before it left.


This last weekend was also our sixth wedding Anniversary, so Vivian and I decided to celebrate with a trip to Lincoln (with the kids — thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) I’d lived in Lincoln for six years but never really got out and saw much of the attractions around town while I was there. Our first trip was to the state capitol, where we rode to the top for some picturesque views and a few obligatory selfies underneath the dome. The Senate wasn’t in session, but we were able to pick out pictures of our State Senator from the gallery down below. (I also tried making off with some marble tile from the courtyard as a souvenir but decided against it.)


We had a brief lunch at my favorite pizza joint, Big Sal’s on 27th Street, and then headed on to the UNL State Museum at Morrill Hall. One of my Comic Genesis friends told me months ago that the Titanoboa was paying the museum a visit, so I made sure to get plenty of photos of myself with that horrifying model snake. There were also plenty of old bones and glowing rocks to check out, and we even dropped into the Planetarium to see a show on the Google Lunar XPRIZE (narrated by Tim “to Infinity and Beyond” Allen).


After our visit, we dropped by the Sunken Gardens to check out the many flowers in bloom before heading back to Omaha, where we had dinner reservations waiting for us at the 801 Chophouse. We’d had steak there plenty of times before, but this time around we split a lobster in honor of our honeymoon in Maine (which is an anniversary tradition now). Throw in some souffle for dessert, and we were stuffed for the night (not counting Vivian’s special truffles when we got home).

We also exchanged our anniversary gifts. Year Six is the iron anniversary, so I gave Vivian a heart-shaped cake pan, and she gave me a lovely graffiti cocktail shaker .I had also done up a new anniversary comic to celebrate our sixth year — a tradition since our paper anniversary. Every year, I get to remind myself of all the fun things we’ve gotten to do throughout the year and all the milestones that have come and gone. I love you, Vivian! I can’t wait to see what Year Seven has in store for us.

Bonus: Hannah plays “baseball” with a flyswatter as the Blue Angels fly over our backyard.

Independence Weekend


Happy birthday, America! Vivian and I kicked off a nice little three-day weekend with a bang on Thusday by inviting a bunch of our friends over to our place to grill some burgers and set off some fireworks in the front yard. It was a last-minute fling, but with a newborn baby in the house, it was much easier to gather together with a bunch of friends at our place than tote our little ones somewhere else after dark. Hannah had fun playing with Dean and Sarah’s little girl, and Phil volunteered to grill up some burgers for us with his special culinary touches (“this and that” was all he’d tell us). Aaron got passed around from person to person to person, and then we kept the neighborhood awake with a series of artillery shells and flaming projectiles that whizzed in random directions, all of which we watched with baited breath from our front steps. It was a fun away to start a long weekend, and fortunately nothing burned donw.


The next day, the Johnson Family went down to Ralston to check out the Independence Day parade, this time as spectators rather than dancing with our cluster of Jitterbug friends. The weather was just perfect to sit and watch the series of floats some puttering by. There was the standard assortment of clowns, shiners, Star Wars cos-players, unspecified characters, dancers, and tractors rolling along. This also happens to be an election year with a handful of vacant seats, so I snapped pictures of people running for governor, senator, county commissioner, and dog catcher as they wandered by asking for votes. There was even a mobile petting zoo that stopped long enough for us to get a good whiff before the parade wound down.


That evening, my folks invited us and Vivian’s parents over for a dinner of smoked ribs to celebrate The Fourth together as one big family. (Both grandpas fussed over the meat, of course.) Then we migrated outside on lawn chairs to check out a 360 degree display of fireworks that neighbors in all directions were busy setting off for most of the evening. We had a bunch of our own to set off as well, of course, but nothing at the foot of our driveway was quite as spectacular as the panoramic dipslay of fireworks all along the horizon of my parents’ backyard. Both grandmas took turns with the kids until we were ready to pack it in at the end of the night.


Saturday was a day of recover filled with errands to Costco and doing laundry at home. Then on Sunday, the whole Johnson Family was in attendance for the first time, including Baby Aaron. Our church family threw us a “diaper potluck” after the service, complete with baby cakes and enough Huggies to last Aaron until Pre-School.

Sunday was also our friend Libby’s birthday, which she chose to celebrate down at the lake in Louisville. It was a sweltering 96 degrees with air thick with humidity, so the relatively cold waters of the lake were more than welcoming. Once Hannah eased her way into the waters, she didn’t want to get out, and the rest of our friends tossed a beach ball and played with a thousand different pool noodles they brought with them. Little Aaron just chilled the whole time, content to sleep and look adorable to everyone passing by. It was a lovely afternoon perfect for any number of photos from the shoreline. I’m only sorry Vivian couldn’t join us this time, but the summer’s still young.

Happy Birthday, ‘Murica!