Monthly Archives: April 2021

Birthday buddies, spare ribs, and an end-of-year ceremony

We’re having some lovely spring weather with everything in bloom, and I’ve been taking advantage of them with some daily walks throughout the day. It’s given me the chance to see such interesting sights as sidewalks lined with petals like the world’s longest wedding procession, as well as two funeral processions within minutes of each other on Center Street.

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On Saturday, we celebrated birthdays for August and Jonah down at H.W. Banner Park (without the water features, unfortunately) with a bunch of their little friends. Grammy baked a delicious Mario birthday cake, and the kids had fun picking with parts they got to eat. Mostly, it was a couple hours of the kids getting fresh air on a windy day playing and picking dandelions together before opening presents.

Then on Sunday, our kids learned they’d brought their bibles enough times to earn a couple candy bars in Sunday School. That led to a long and sugared-up afternoon for them.

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On Monday night, Hannah had her fourth annual “end of year” ceremony with her Classical Conversations homeschool here in Bellevue. Grammy came along to watch Hannah get her certificate along with the rest of her class, and each group recited what they’d learned in the form of songs that they’d memorized. Jake in particular earned a “Memory Master” award for memorizing an obscene number of lines from their “timeline song,” along with writing a paper that he recited to those of us in attendance.

The kids had fun playing together afterward, having a few sugary snacks before playing outside and then having an impromptu “glow stick party” down in the church basement when no one was looking.

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Tuesday night was the last Men of God dinner for the season at Wildewood. I went along and brought a few $2 bills for the collection basket just to be funny (and I was out of “normal” cash). Woody brought along his portable grill again and made ribs for us, and then Pastor Ron had us make a list of our “social” contacts and rank them according to which “chair” they sat in, according to the book “4 Chair Discipling” by Dann Spader.

Then on Wednesday, Hannah had a monthly meeting with the local American Heritage Girls troop, where she got to learn how to lead a horse and brush its hair with a few other girls. We’d been looking for a new social group for Hannah to be a part of, since she’s outgrown Prims at BCC, and this seems to be a very good group — more like the Boy Scouts than that other group with all the cookies. We also got her activity book with all the badges she can earn. I’m particularly looking forward to helping her with the ones on the Constitution and Graphic Design.

Medical Emergencies

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It’s been a busy few weeks since Easter for us, partly because of a few medical situations with my mom and dad. First, my mom had Covid, which eventually infected my dad, who had to be hospitalized in the ICU briefly with some breathing problems. It was a scary couple of days, but he’s since been doing better (after many prayers all around), and I was able to take him home last week.

Meanwhile, after having Covid, my mom had an emergency with her right eye, which had to have an emergency surgical procedure to relieve pressure on the retina. Her retina had fortunately not become detached, but without surgery, the eye could become permanently blind. I took her to the hospital bright and early on 5:30 AM on Tuesday, where the operation apparently went well. In the meantime, I had a lovely breakfast of Chick-Fil-A while reading Jordan Peterson’s new book, “Beyond Order” (and discovering their Chick-Fil-A sauce now comes in convenient 8 oz. squeeze bottles).

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In other news, spring has sprung once again, with tulips and daffodils popping into bloom in our front yard. Our kids have been making good use of the nicer days, getting outside and finding such things as an actual four-leaf clover in our yard. We’ve also gotten Harold, who’s been enjoying his new hammock, out to explore the kids. Vivian and I are always trying to make sure he’s not just stuck in his cage all day.

Then on Saturday last week, we took the kids down to Memorial Park to have some McDonald’s for lunch and get some fresh air. Hannah found her way to a “secret” playground across the creek by St. Margaret Mary’s School.

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We’ve given the kids some fun culinary experiences as well, including German food from Aldi, French toast, cheesesteak sandwiches, “snowball cheese,” and a take-and-bake pizza, which I thought Aaron would have fun decorating with us.

Hannah’s been rather crafty in the meantime, putting together a dollhouse with bits of scrap cardboard one day, and then creating a paper doll with its own set of clothes the next (along with a teddy bear with its own set of clothes).

Eggciting Easter Weekend

Happy Easter, everyone! It’s been a busy weekend getting ready for Resurrection Sunday, which included some fun outside during an unusually warm Easter weekend.

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We kicked things off on Thursday, when I got to have Chick-Fil-A for lunch with Vivian and mommy, and followed by some Easter shopping down at Aldi, where we grabbed a giant ham shank for our Easter Dinner. Then that evening, I decided to make some unleaved bread to go with a little Manischewitz I had in the fridge, making for a meal fit for a King of Kings — which I thought appropriate for a Maundy Thursday.

In the meantime, Hannah’s been busy in the meantime assembling custom rag dolls with old socks and yarn, creating a brother and sister she’s named Bluey and Rainbow, respectively, along with some friends named Glasses and Bug.

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I took a half-day on Good Friday and headed down to Halleck Park with Vivian and the kids, where they got to run around a bit in the wind and sunshine. We’d briefly visited the park a week earlier for an Easter Egg walk, but this time was solely to play on the giant playground and have a little lunch.

When we returned home, the kids got to spent a little more time dyeing and decorating a dozen hard-boiled eggs together. It’s a tradition most of us grew up with, so it felt nice to pass it along to our own kids — though I’m not sure when or whether we’ll actually eat any of their pretty little eggs.

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Saturday was mostly a day for cooking and cleaning house, but we did find time to take the kids to an Easter event down at Avery Presbyterian. They had a few live lambs on hand for the kids to pet and various story groups, separated by age, for kids to learn the Easter story. They also had several car trunks with eggs in the style of a “trunk or treat,” as well as a few actual Easter egg hunt for the kids, where Hannah and Aaron got to grab a few plastic eggs with candy or toys inside.

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On Easter Sunday, Hannah was up bright and early — at 3 AM — to find her Easter basket. Vivian put her back to bed until more reasonable hour when she and Aaron could both search the house for their baskets together. Hannah found some chalk in hers, which she used to decorate our sidewalk a bit, as well a few new toys, which she named Guinea Bunny and Grump-Bee.

Once we’d had our fill of fun and candy, we got into our Sunday Best to head off to church. Afterward, we stopped by Grammy’s house, where the Easter Bunny had been to hide some eggs earlier. Grammy had some Easter snacks set out for us to nibble, and the kids roamed through the front yard and back collecting plastic eggs together.

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We headed home, where the Easter Bunny had hidden even more eggs around our house, so after resting up a bit with some video games and hors d’oeurves, Hannah and Aaron collected a few more eggs in our front and back yards together.

We finished off the evening with our traditional Easter Dinner of ham, Watergate salad, cheesy potatoes, and asparagus. Vivian roasted the ham herself this time, with only a little coaching from Jack in his chair. She also made some Easter buns, a few of which I saved for breakfast. Jack and Donna brought some European Truffle Pie from Village Inn for dessert, and Betty from across the street had a batch of chocolate cupcakes for the kids she passed along to Hannah.

It was wonderful to have Easter with Grammy and Pop-Pop once again, and as usual we spent our time eating a little too much together. My parents and Uncle Jonny couldn’t join us, unfortunately, and they’re dealing with a round of Covid and are in quarantine. Hopefully soon they’ll be well again and celebrating a late Easter (or a Memorial Day) with us soon.


Easter highlights

Park Time and Easter Prelude

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Spring has sprung, and that naturally means more quality time outside. Gov. Ricketts declared last Saturday (March 20) as “Meat on the Menu” day, so we naturally grilled burgers on our back deck. Then on Sunday, we took the kids down for some quality time running around Dreamland Park, spinning around their carousel and even having a picnic lunch before it got too cloudy.

One person was selling Girl Scout Cookies, so we got some Lemonade ones for the ride home. We’ve been having some experimental treats with cookies, even concocting a mint/chocolate sandwich just for fun (when we’re not trying Aldi’s Macrons).

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The following week, we took the kids down to Halleck Park for an Easter Walk. They had volunteers handing out eggs and also an Easter Bunny and Chick on hand for photos with the kids. It was a bit chilly, but still a good day for some quality time outdoors, and Hannah was even able to break out her scooter for a bit.

The next day was Palm Sunday, and Hannah got to practice walking through a gauntlet of plastic fronds with her Sunday school mates at church. Then that afternoon, we got Harold outside for a little time grazing in the yard and even a walk around the block.

In other news, Hannah and Aaron got to try Egg in a Hole.

Peaceful Protests

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With spring officially here, and one election season blending seamlessly into another, a few groups in Omaha are coming out and waving some signs once again. One group I’ve recently become aware of is Nebraskans Against Government Overreach (NAGO), who seem to have a regular presence about town. Back on March 20, they were at 168th and Dodge protesting mask mandates and lockdowns along with a “worldwide demonstration” using the hashtag #wewillALLbethere. This was coincidentally in front of Ben Sasse’s Omaha office, and they were back protesting him more directly a few weeks later when he (allegedly) spoke at a Federalist Society event at the Regency Marriott.

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My friend Tim Davis had his own “Back the blue” rally on Saturday, which was also peaceful but decidedly noisier. Speaking at the event was State Senator Suzanne Geist and City Council candidates Don Rowe, Kathleen Kauth, and Tyeisha Kosmicki. There were also around five “counter protestors” who showed up to bang a drum, ring a cowbell, and generally scream at and try to disrupt everyone else. One of them was an actual skinhead wearing rubber “jack boots” as he tried shouting down the Tyeisha, a black woman running for city council. We learned later that they’d come by the park in advance to vandalize the war memorial, which the city had hosed down before we’d even arrived, and had also stashed boxes of rocks and eggs around the park, which the police had confiscated (and believes were meant to be thrown at us — and not part of some Easter egg hunt).

It was an interesting exercise in self-control, as most of us laughed at and jeered at the rag-tag group of hoodlums as they tried to get us riled up. They had probably dropped by the Back the Blue event held in the same place last year, but a few (uninvited) members of the “Proud Boys” were able to keep them in line.