Monthly Archives: February 2017

Circus, Hibachi, and Biking in February


On Friday afternoon, the Shrine Circus was back in town, so I joined Vivian, Grammy, and the kids for an hour or two of fun under the big top (AKA the Mid-America Center). The usual batch of local Shriner clowns were on hand putting out fires and arresting criminals. There were tigers, bears, and even elephants (oh, my). We got to see some tricks with foot-juggling, a swing, and hula hoops, and the Chicago Boyz were back to jump around as well. I think the most impressive act were a pair of quick-change artists who were able to change into and out of a variety of outfits in just a few seconds.


Jack and Donna celebrated 39 years of marriage together on Saturday, so Vivian and I took them out to Sakura Sushi & Hibachi, where we’d had sushi together just a few weeks ago. This time, however, we came for the Hibachi, which was something of a dinner and a show. Our chef, Herman, lit a fire for us and then spun (and juggled) some eggs around on the grill. He cooked up a big mess of chicken, steak, and seafood (and veggies) and lit an onion volcano for our amusement. The food itself was all right, but the experience was what we came for, and we all had a good laugh trying to catch bits of eggs on our mouth. (Bonus! Bonus!)


And in case you haven’t noticed the weather lately, it’s been unseasonably gorgeous, with highs into the 70s this past week, which is unheard of for February. We took the opportunity to take the kids out in the new car for a drive down to Thompson Park, It was warm enough for short sleeves, and we were also able to haul the kids’ tricycles in the back of the CR-V so Hannah could take a ride around the park a couple times.

Our tulips are already breaking out of the ground, so I hope they won’t be surprised by a sudden snowfall, which is already forecast for Friday. In the meantime, however, it’s warm enough for me to break out my bike and ride on to work for the first time this year. I even got to ride with the kids a bit once Vivian brought them (and their trikes) to the park for lunch. That was especially lovely.

Ten Years of Valentines



It’s hard to believe, but Vivian and I have been celebrating Valentine’s Day together now for an entire decade! This year, we celebrated a bit early with a Murder Mystery Dinner at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln hosted by the Dinner Detectives. The evening consisted of a multi-course dinner with “performances” by a few actors playing detectives, murder victims, and also guests at a few of the tables in the ballroom. As expected, our job was to try to figure out “who dunnit” throughout the course of the evening (which we didn’t), but it was more fun just to watch the funny antics of the actors throughout the night.

We were asked to invent fictitious roles to play throughout the night, so I pretended to be an IT consultant named Roy Trennaman (complete with an Irish accent throughout the evening). I actually got to be a part of the show as I was called upon to take pictures of the murder victim and some of the more suspicious patrons of the dinner event. Somehow, I also wound up being the prime suspect when it came time to guess the culprit.


On Sunday night, Hannah and her little friends at Rainbows had their mid-year presentation for the parents, so Vivian and I went down with Aaron to watch her and her class sing a song for the grown-ups and show off their badges before getting sugared up in the auditorium afterward. My little girl’s growing up so fast.


Tuesday, of course, was Valentine’s Day. I kicked off the morning making Vivian some Valentine’s Quiche (with Hannah helping to crack eggs). Then when I was in the shower, Vivian made me a bagel with salmon that she smoked herself, so we had a lovely, protein-packed breakfast together.

Later that day, I dropped back at the house for lunch with flowers for Vivian and Hannah (and Aaron). Grandma Johnson then watched the kids as Vivian and I went out for Dim Sum at the Sina Way Chinese restaurant down on Capehart. I was actually scared at first when our server gave us a menu that had only generic Chinese food one could find at any Hy-Vee, but then she gave us their actual Dim Sum menu when it became apparent we were confused. We got to have tasty steamed BBQ pork buns, dumplings, pan-fried turnip cakes, congee, and many of the other things we’d had at the Golden Mountain with our friends Phil and Jen not long ago. We learned later that our server actually knows Phil and Jen, as her husband is the general contractor on the house they’re building, and she seemed somewhat impressed that Vivian and I actually wanted the “traditional” Chinese dim sum instead of the more generic fare on the first menu. That’s one thing I love about Vivian is how we both like trying new things.

We finished off the day with dinner at Chick-Fil-A, which gave the kids a chance to burn off some energy in the play area in-between eating Mor Chikin. It was another happy, successful Valentine’s Day, and it made me want to look back at the past decade and all the other wonderful Valentines Days we’ve shared together. Speaking of which, here are a few.

Vivian and me!IMG_7532.JPGIMG_9714.JPG
Valentine MeatloafP1030537.JPGP1110044IMG_20130214_182650

Snowballs and the Super Bowl


It’s old news by now, but on Sunday there was a thing called the Super Bowl on TV. Once again, we had all four grandparents over to our place, and Vivian went all out with some tasty wings and an assortment of snacks to munch as we watched an unexpectedly exciting game together. Uncles Nathan and Jonathan showed up as well, and even Hannah and Aaron wound up watching most of the game with us. They went to bed right after a quick dance during the halftime show.

I’m not even a football fan, but seeing such a remarkable comeback by the Patriots in a first-ever overtime Super Bowl was a sight to behold. Even better, Hannah correctly predicted the outcome of the game for the third year in a row. Next year, I’ll have to take her guess to Vegas and put the winnings in her college fund.

The next day, Vivian and I woke up to find Hannah had all her toys in the living room watching their own pretend Super Bowl complete with a cardboard cutout television. Simply adorable.


A few days later, we had a couple extra inches of snow. It made things sloppy and hazardous for a few hours on Wednesday, and the snow stuck around long enough for us to take the kids to the park for their first legit snowball fight on Friday. It actually warmed up to fifty degrees, making for a lovely day in the park on the swings, slides, and a little lunch. Of course, having plenty of slushy, sloppy snow to play with makes it fun, too.

In other news, Puddy.

Hannah’s Super Bowl Prediction