Vivian’s Painting, Dancing, Camping Birthday Weekend

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The end of September was a lovely, four-day weekend of Birthday Fun for Vivian and our cluster of mutual friends. The celebration started Thursday night, when Vivian and I paid a visit to Canvas and Cabernet, one of many “drink wine and paint” studios popping up all over town. We both decided to “wing it” by painting wine and cheese together for the express purpose of decorating our kitchen wall. The instructors there were very helpful, and the appetizers kept us satiated until we were done and ready to celebrate with dinner at Vivace afterward.

On Friday night, we dropped by the Eagle’s Lodge for an obligatory night of swing dancing. Vivian’s gotten to have a birthday jam for nine years in a row with the Omaha Jitterbugs, and we weren’t about to break the streak just shy of the ten-year mark. It was fun to catch up with a bunch of our old swing-dancing buddies, and we even grabbed some pastries from the Donut Stop on the way home.

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On Saturday, after a quick trip to Ted & Wally’s for some birthday ice cream, we headed on up to the Fremont Lakes to spend the night camping out! We brought the kids along, of course, and Hannah got to explore the inside of a tent for the very first time. The weather was fairly warm (in the mid-80s), which seemed ideal for one last swim before Old Man Winter comes to visit.

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Back at the campsite, Vivian’s parents joined us along with Phil and Jen, Jenny, Libby, Katie, and Jon Paper for a grilling out. We had plenty of burgers and hot dogs to go around, and there was just enough room for a lovely chunky cake of sorts that Donna had brought (and Hannah had decorated). The sun went down and we lit the campfire for s’mores as Vivian opened presents, one of which happened to be Guitar Hero for the Wii. Yeah, we’re gonna party like it’s 2007!

We had some Spam for breakfast the next morning and spent the rest of Sunday recovering from a night of sleeping on the hard ground.

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Of course, Jack’s birthday was just two days later, so after we’d sufficiently recovered, we went off to Outback Steakhouse for a couple rib-eyes and an onion blossom. Donna and I discovered the joys of unlimited shrimp, especially when our wonderful waiter Austin kept them coming and coming (even in a to-go box). And yes, Chocolate Cookie Sundaes most definitely did happen afterward. We opened presents back at our place afterward, which included a grabber for Jack and a personally dictated birthday card from Hannah. (“Happy Birthday to Pop-Pop’s Birthday Happy Day” or something like that.) Other gifts were indescribable in the presence of little ears.

Happy birthday, Vivian! I hope you enjoyed every mosquito bite we earned on our trip.

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