Monthly Archives: March 2017

Rain, rain, go away


We’ve had more than a solid week of gloomy gray skies with rain off and on that’s kept us indoors for the most part. We did take the kids for a semi-random romp downtown on the Gene Leahy Mall downtown on Friday. We got to see some ducks and a robin in-between going down slides and getting our first family photo on the First Date Bridge. Mostly, however, we were looking for Jesse Watters from Fox News, who was in town for the Spin Stops Here Tour. I was hoping he would be doing some man-on-the-street interviews downtown but had no luck spotting him or his crew.


Then that evening, we squeezed into St. John Vianney’s with our kids for our second fish fry of the year. We saw a few familiar faces there, and we talked a handful of our friends into coming with us, including a few little ones who danced up “on stage” (as Hannah called it) with the Wynn Lander the Guitar Guy for a few songs. I mostly stuffed myself with fish in-between getting photo bombed, but it did feel good to come back to this place… for the eighth year in a row now!

In other news: Hannah made a gingerbread house.

Fairies and Fish Fries

We’re still having bouts of bi-polar weather, with 70-degree temperatures one day and freezing the next. The weather service predicted up to six inches of snow on the weekend, and we got exactly got ZERO. The only thing I can accurately predict is that we’ll have fun no matter what’s going on outside.


Since it’s Lenten Season, however, that means we’re having fun inside standing in line, drinking beer, and eating fish with our friends. First stop on our Fishy Friday tour was St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, located out of Omaha’s Exurban wasteland, Gretna (with miles of cookie-cutter neighborhoods in every direction but not even one grocery store). The fish was top-notch, though I did find the lack of guitar player and meat wheel a tad disappointing. We still had plenty of fishy fun with our friends up to (and past) closing time.

The next day, Hannah made gingerbread cookies with daddy. She did nearly everything herself, aside from picking the ingredients and putting everything in the oven. Nothing beats baking cookies for quality time with the kids, other than perhaps reading a good book.


St. Patrick’s Day wandered by and punched us in the face on Friday. We gave the kids some Lucky Charms for breakfast and got them dressed up in green for the day. Then that evening, we had our traditional Irish American dinner together — corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes, and soda bread, all washed down with a bit of Irish Stout and Mint Irish Cream.

Then on Saturday, we dropped by the Fontenelle Forest for their Fairy Faire. Hannah and Aaron both put on their wings, hear a fairy story, and play with some bubbles. Even daddy got in on the fun. They also got tokens to spend on a snack and some woodland components to assemble a fairy house at various points in the forest.


We also had a few birthdays over the weekend. After the Fairy Faire on Saturday, we took the kids to the Y for Little Matthew Lenart’s birthday party. The kids got sugared up with a Batman Cookie Cake, and then we swam it off in the pool together for a bit.

Then on Sunday, I took the kids via wagon to my my parents’ house to celebrate Uncle Jonny’s birthday. Hannah made him a birthday card, and Nathan and I (somewhat jointly) gave him the giant hardcover book, Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library — a book created via Kickstarter that reviews pretty much every NES game ever made. The weather was delightfully warm, so the kids got some quality time outdoors playing with balloons (some filled with water) while grandpa brought some Chinese food and pizza home for dinner.

Trolls, Cupcakes, and Dr. Seuss

We got to have a fun weekend with the kids, fueled partly by continuing warm weather that’s lasting just long enough for it to snow again. No time like the present to enjoy the great outdoors, whatever weather comes our way.


Thursday was apparently Dr. Seuss’ birthday, so Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders came to read to the kids at the library once again (per tradition). Then on Friday night, the Children’s Museum was open late with some Seussical activties. A lady dressed as a Snuv with Gloves did some science experiments for us (which included liquid nitrogen, of course). There were some Seussical crafts happening as well, but Hannah and Aaron both seemed to get a lot more mileage playing with Lego race cars and goofing around in the kitchen together.

The temperature climbed into the 70s on Saturday, so we broke out the tricycles and took the kids down to the “Sandy” park for the afternoon. This was the same park we’d gone sledding the week before, but there was not even a trace of winter left when we returned.


Then on Sunday, we had another movie night down at First Presbyterian Church. We had a few hot dogs for dinner with the kids and then watched the Trolls movie together on blankets on the floor. For a film based on the ubiquitous (and cheap) plastic troll dolls everyone seems to remember from their childhood, it was a surprisingly decent film. Kate and her girls joined us for the movie and some cupcakes afterward, and Hannah’s preschool classmates Sammy and Nicholette were also on hand to get sugared up after the show.

In other news, cheesesteak and jalapeño poppers.

Chili, Sledding, and Mardi Gras

So there we were, innocently enjoying spring-like weather for about a week, when BAM — snow again. And what better way to enjoy the change in weather than with a chili party?


On Friday, our fellow Order of the Shovel member Jessica decided — after a four-year hiatus — the Chili Cookoff needed to happen again. A few fellow Shovelers (and some strangers from Jessica’s Bible Study) showed up to sample around seven different kinds of chili to vote on the best, the spiciest, and the most unique of the bunch. Kate brought her girls along, who kept Hannah busy as the rest of us loaded up on chili (and cinnamon rolls) as we shoveled throughout the night. My Asian chili didn’t win any awards, but I liked it enough to make it again. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it.


The next day, we took advantage of the momentary snow by taking Hannah and Aaron kids down to Sand Park for some sledding. Aaron was old enough now to participate fully with Hannah as the two rode down the hill, flung snowballs, and made snow angels. Even mommy got in on the fun. We dropped by grandma and grandpa’s house afterward for hot cocoa, which was a particularly nice way to warm up before calling it a day.


Then came Fat Tuesday. We hadn’t had a proper Mardi Gras celebration in over six years, so Vivian and I invited Phil and Jen and Jenny and Kody over for jambalaya and King Cake together, complete with a plastic baby. There were also beads thrown about, but nothing more than couldn’t be shown on television. Now begins the season of Lent, which means fish fries and giving up random vices, like fast food and using Facebook around the house. Good times, and I’m not even Catholic.

Sledding at Sand Park