Monthly Archives: April 2018

Spring sprung and General Tso

Can you believe we had a blizzard just last week? It seems now we’ve skipped right past spring and gone into summer, including our kids first sprinkler-run of the year and Grammy’s house.


On Saturday, our friend Jen celebrated a birthday with a General Tso’s chicken taste-testing at her house. A handful of us brought samples of the signature Chinese dish from various places from around Omaha. Vivian and I got ours from Sina Way in Bellevue, which turned out to be the winner. Phil made some fried pork while Jen and her mom made a bunch of scallion pancakes, among other things.

We also had cake, provided by a few of Jen’s nieces. Vivian gave Jen a jar of homemade bacon jam and a batch of bacon gingersnap cookies, which we made with the leftover grease. Hannah and Aaron seemed to have fun with Miriam’s boy Ezra, and several people got to pass around Baby Gabriel before the night was over.


On Sunday, I took the kids to my parents’ house to get them outside for a bit. They played with Uncle Jonny in the backyard and did some drawing at the kitchen table. They also made some disgusting “soup” with debris from the yard to gross out grandpa. Then on Monday Vivian took the kids to her parents’ house for a run through the sprinkler. Hannah and Aaron also made villages with fairies and gnomes under the large evergreen tree, and we stuck around to have some burgers Jack grilled up for dinner on the deck afterward.

Then on Tuesday we took the kids for a romp at Stinson Park for the first time in well over a month. It was a nice excuse for daddy to break out the remote control car he got for Christmas and give it a test-run. The kids had a fun time running around and chasing it before it was time to call it a day.

The Mads Return and Apruary

Winter just doesn’t want to give up, does it? Yes, we got snow in the middle of April, as did much of the country over the weekend. It didn’t keep us from any of the fun we had on our schedule, but the kids did have to get creative having fun indoors.


On Friday night, Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff — the “Mads” from MST3K — paid a visit to the Alamo Drafthouse in Omaha for some movie riffing. This was the third time I’d met the Mads, having seen them previously at O Comic Con and last year at the Alamo. This was the first time, however, that my brothers Nathan and Jonathan joined me (and Richard) for the riffing. I donned my Mads T-shirt and got in line early to get a new one from Trace before the show started. Their movie of the night was the Vincent Price classic, “The Tingler,” which was a film about a spinal parasite that originally featured gimmicks like buzzing theater seats to surprise movie-goers.

We stuck around afterward to get a few pictures with the Mads and see some of the other devoted MSTies in the meet-and-greet line before calling it a night.


The next morning, I dropped by Jerzes Sports Bar to rub elbows with Taylor Royal, Don Bacon, and a few of the MAGA faithful with Nebraska Patriots for Trump. It seemed like an odd meet-and-greet event as it wasn’t hosted by either of the candidates present, but it was nice to be able to chat with both candidates. I talked with Don about current events such as the Syrian conflict (which had escalated the night before), and I chatted with Taylor a bit about his travels across Nebraska in his bid to be State Treasurer.

I had to take off a bit early so I could run some errands with Vivian and the kids, which included a trip to Costco. In case you hadn’t heard, a blizzard was moving across the state, but we were able to get our chores done and even squeeze in a trip to the Kroc Center before the snow and ice really started coming down.

IMG_9699Snow in April

We woke up the next morning to a Winter Wonderland. The roads had been cleared just fine, but it was still plenty weird to have to shovel the driveway in the middle of April. We still made it to church and then had our planned cookout with our friends the Lenarts, albeit inside on a George Foreman grill rather than on the deck as we’d planned.

Happy Apruary, everybody!

Charlie Kirk at Creighton

I hope everyone’s having a lovely Apruary! Yes, it seems winter won’t let go, so we’ve had another week or two of freezing temperatures and even some snow, but spring and summer are right around the corner.


One month after they brought Ben Shapiro to Omaha, the Creighton Chapter of Turning Point USA brought founder Charlie Kirk to campus for a debate with theology professor Dr. Thomas Kelly. A couple hundred people came to fill up a lecture hall in the Rigge science building (most of them students). I saw many familiar faces, including Congressman Don Bacon and Kara Eastman, who’s vying for the Democrat nomination to take his seat. The two were cordial when they met each other, but I found Eastman’s presence interesting primarily because at the same time there was a big fundraiser for Bob Krist at Barrett Castle — and Eastman was apparently not invited.

PhotoThe debate itself was fairly lively, with Kirk making his case for a capitalist worldview that seemed rooted in an Ayn Rand’s objectivism (which he did not mention by name), while Dr. Kelly made a case for a system where government that was “as big as necessary and as small as possible” could control the markets and make everything fair for everyone.

I thought both speakers made their cases fairly well, but when Kirk said that racial inequality was better today than it was fifty years ago, the left-wing row of students in the room all laughed in unison. There were no major disturbances other than one person from this row yelling out in the Q&A, which got her and her compatriots quickly ejected. I actually got roped into asking a question with one other guy who wanted me to give him a “pro-life” question for the Creighton professor. There was a bit of informal meet-and-greet time afterward, so I naturally got a selfie with Charlie Kirk before heading out.


I got to dip my toe into more political waters on Saturday when I attended the Sarpy County Republican Convention. Don Bacon, Pete Ricketts, and Deb Fischer — all of whom are running for reelection — dropped by to shake hands and say a few words to the group of delegates and visitors. I could only attend as a visitor, but it was informative to sit in on a caucus and see how the party and various committees functioned in advance of the state convention (while nibbling some of Eileen’s adorable Bob Evnen Cookies).

Vivian took Hannah for a girls’ afternoon out to make cookies at Aunt Jessica’s house as I took Aaron to grandma and grandpa’s house for some quality Hannah-free time. Then that evening, I read both of them “Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President,” which I’d ordered a few weeks ago and arrived today. (I’m not sure how interesting they found the book, but I am proud my kids both know who the Vice president is.)

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The next day, Vivian went to Grammy’s Cake Club and learned how to make tie-dyed cookies while I went to Grandma and Grandpa’s Church with the kids. Hannah was unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight as her Kindergarten Sunday School was brought to the auditorium to sing a set of songs they’d obviously practiced in advance (without Hannah). She didn’t know any of the words or motions, of course, but she kept her composure like a champ, so I was proud of her nonetheless.

Afterward, we got some donuts as Hannah showed me what she’d made in Sunday School, and then she and Aaron invented a version of duck-duck-goose for two people. Then we went to Burger King to let the kids work off their sugar rush, and Uncle Jonny came by later with some video games to play together. Hannah joined Jonny and me as we played Kirby’s Return to Dream Land collaboratively to finish off the afternoon.

Easter Winter

The weekend, we celebrated a Savior who is risen with temperatures that definitely have not. There were parts of Nebraska that got upwards of a foot of snow over the Holy holiday weekend, but we somehow escape with just some freezing temperatures.


I kicked off Good Friday by paying a brief visit with Chip and Ian from 1420 AM as they hosted Omaha’s Morning Answer down at the Greater Omaha Prayer Breakfast. I’m a regular listener in the morning and thought I’d stop by and say hello once I heard they were hosting their show live from the lobby of the La Vista Embassy Suites. Reaching out to local media has become a part of my day job, and I got to see a few familiar faces before I left, including Dr. Mark Christian of the Global Faith Institute, who sat in for a brief interview before the end of the program.

Then that evening, we celebrated Good Friday with the kids by coloring a couple dozen Easter Eggs in the kitchen. Grammy gave us some whisk-like egg holders meant to dip them in their dye with a little less mess, but we still had more than a couple cracked eggs as we colored them all. They should still taste fine on Sunday when I devil them up.


We spent a chilly Saturday having a couple of egg hunts at Bellevue Christian Center. It was around thirty degrees outside, so much of our time was spent inside letting the kids get some exercise on inflatable bounce houses and an obstacle course. They still had big crowds for the Easter Egg hunts outside, but there were plenty of eggs for Hannah and Aaron to scoop up once their age groups were let loose. There were also some hot dogs for lunch and a giant dance party in front of the church, but the chill eventually overcame us and we had to head back inside to warm up before heading home.

Hannah also made a new friend “Chloe,” who spent Easter weekend with us.


Vivian and I were up bright and early on Easter Morning as Hannah and Aaron discovered baskets of candy that the “Easter Bunny” had somehow left overnight. They also looked out the window to see not only had a bunch of eggs been left behind, but here was still an actual Easter Bunny hopping around in our yard.

We headed off to church for a special Easter Breakfast before the kids got the chance to fill up on candy. We had Easter outfits for the kids (which I coordinated with Aaron) and then had some muffins, pancakes, and eggs together with our friends from Twin Valley Church before Pastor Ryan gave his Easter message.


We headed home afterward to let the kids gather up the eggs that had been left on the front lawn. Vivian’s parents also came over to help get ready for Easter Dinner. Vivian made scalloped potatoes, I put together some deviled eggs with the kids (who helped peel). We had the standard assortment of hors d’oeuvres to fill up on before dinnertime, including some special smoked wings and pork ribs from my dad. The plush bunny and pig from Hannah and Aaron’s Easter baskets played centerpiece until it was dinnertime, and then we stuffed ourselves further with glazed ham and fruit salad. I also tried out my new coffee pot as we visited afterward, and Uncle Jonny even read a story to Aaron (in-between rounds of video games).

It was another lovely Easter holiday, but after checking my calorie count for the day, I’m rather glad it only comes but once a year.