Monthly Archives: January 2022

Sushi Date & a Walk for Life

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Vivian and I celebrated our “sushi” anniversary on Thursday last week, marking fifteen years of being “official” since 2007. We brought Hannah along with us up to the Yamato Sushi Train on 72nd and Pacific, where we had our fill of around two dozen tiny plates of sushi picked off a never-ending conveyor belt (plus a tempura plate). The three of us had more than our fill, and I was quite heartened to see Hannah having a few pieces of sushi and sashimi herself. She first had it when she was one year old, so I’m happy she still has a taste for it!

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Then on Saturday, I went down to Lincoln for the Walk for Life at the Capitol Steps. A couple thousand other people showed up, including several noteworthy GOP VIPs — Mike Foley, Senators Fischer and Sasse, Congressmen Bacon and Fortenberry, gubernatorial candidates Thibodeau, Pillen, and Lindstrom, as well as several state senators, including Mike Hilgers, who was the keynote speaker. Ron Brown, veteran coach and current senior offensive analyst for the Huskers, was among the crowd, and he got up to speak as well. He said, “I haven’t brought a sign,” but then held up his bible, “This is my sign.” He told the crowd his story of being given up for adoption rather than being aborted and then coming to follow Jesus Christ.

Ashley Bratcher, who played the role of Abby Johnson in the movie Unplanned, gave a few closing remarks before the pink and blue balloons were launched into the sky, flying above the capitol dome. The crowd then proceeded to walk from the Capitol steps to Nebraska UN-L Student Union, with many of the politicians walking among the crowd down 14th Street. I walked along and then stuck around long enough afterward to get a few selfies by the capitol, and then I grabbed some Pho from Pho Nguyenn on 27th street before heading home.

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In other news, Hannah earned a few badges with the American Heritage Girls, which she was presented with at their mid-year “Court of Awards” ceremony last Wednesday. Aaron and I have also been busy playing chess together (including versions with his own made-up rules). I also got to visit with a few old friends from the Great Adventures group at Scott’s house on Saturday while celebrating his birthday.

Two Belated Parties

Winter came rip-roaring back again last week, with a couple inches of snow and some frigid temperatures right just in time for a late Christmas party at work.

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I was able to wear my new Christmas socks as Vivian and I went out to St. Robert’s to have some prime rib and salmon with a few of my co-workers as we belatedly celebrated Christmas together. All things considered, it was probably the nicest venue we’d had in a while, with better food than the Garden Café and much more room than the packed party room at Wheatfields. It sounds like most of my co-workers would very much approve of doing it again (even after Christmas).

Hannah got to celebrate Other Hannah’s birthday with her in the meantime as Aaron got some quality time with August and Gabriel playing Foosball at the Mills’. We also had a bit of an adventurous time driving in the snow-covered roads, but I drove slow and we avoided any serious problems along the way. The world was covered in a winter wonderland in the meantime, and Vivian spent Saturday roasting a turkey that she tuned both into dinner and later to soup.

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The following Friday, we hosted the long-awaited return of our Hors D’oeuvre & Cheese Party — our annual excuse to clean up the house and have fun and food with our friends during the post-Christmas doldrums in January. Vivian made some jalapeño popper dip and a bacon-wrapped baguette stuffed with three cheeses for our friends. Tamra and Ryan won our pig-in-a-blanket for their wedge salad bar, and Lexi won our cheese prize (a trio of erasers) for an asiago cheese with rosemary and olive oil. We were also joined by Jolene, who brought some bell peppers, Venche, who brought pigs in blankets, and Phil and Jen, who brought some a savory cheese croquembouche, an almond milk cheese with pepper jack, and an entire Spanish Serrano Ham from Costco, which came with its own mounting contraption, and they carved it with a knife that phil literally forged himself (with his own homemade forge).

Hannah and Aaron visited with Grammy, Pop-Pop, and Bella in the meantime, having some Papa Murphy’s for dinner and watching the Packers lose to the 49ers. They came home in time to bring Harold out to say hello and nibble on some leftover salad (and refuse to touch Jolene’s bell peppers) before we called it a night. It was a lovely evening, and it felt especially good to be having our friends over once again for a long-expected party.

Bacon, a Bowl Game, and a Birthday

It’s been a fairly quiet week or two as we tip-toe into 2022. I managed to haul away our Christmas tree and took down our decorations as we finally said goodbye to the Christmas season. Hannah and Aaron have been having fun making levels in Pixicade and playing with their other Christmas presents.

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On Saturday, I got to attend the kickoff for Don Bacon’s 2022 campaign, along with a handful of noteworthy VIPs such as Mayor Stothert, Former Gov. Heineman, and Senator Fischer. Bacon’s gotten some heat lately for voting with Democrats on the infrastructure bill and even got a shout-out from Trump calling for a primary challenger. Bacon didn’t mention any of this in his stump speech, instead focusing both on Biden’s failures as President, particularly in the hasty and deadly surrender in Afghanistan, and also an emphasis on bipartisanship. I was able to chat with Bacon briefly afterward and said I appreciated seeing as much of him as we do in our district, and I said the same to Sen. Fischer. Agree or disagree, I appreciate being able to talk directly to those who vote in Washington whenever possible.

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In other news, we celebrated four years with our lovable little fuzz-butt Zoey the Cat. It seems like just yesterday we picked her up from the Pet Smart down on 72nd Street and invited her into our home. We had a couple toys and treats for her, including a whole bowl full of salmon to eat for dinner.

Monday was also the night of the College Football championship game, so I went by my parents’ house with some Cowboy Caviar and got to watch Alabama to watch the game. Uncle Nathan and Cheryl also brought by some red and white strawberries (which Cheryl cultivated) and some green tea cookies, which we enjoyed while watching Alabama lose spectacularly to the Georgia Bulldogs. It was a disappointing outcome, but I still enjoyed an excuse to hang our with my folks for a few hours.

Bouncing into the New Year

Happy new year, everyone! It’s been a lovely week between Christmas and New Year’s, with winter finally making its way in with some snow and wind, but not enough to keep me from one last bike ride of the year. Vivian’s also used her new air fryer a couple times, and Hannah’s enjoyed making a batch of bracelets with her bracelet-making kit.

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I had New Year’s Eve off, so I went with Vivian and the kids down to Altitude for another Homeschool Jump. Aaron played a couple rounds of dodgeball in the dodgeball court, and they both got their fill of swinging on the trapeze and falling into the pit of foam cubes.

We saw a few of our mutual homeschooling friends while we were there, and it was good to catch up with a few of the Grown-Ups as well. I even got to run around with the kids for a bit, and then we got a family photo jumping together before we had to go (thanks, Jolene).

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We had some freezing fog that morning that made our trip to Fort Street a little slippery (especially on a big hill), so we postponed our New Year’s Eve fondue and rang in the New Year with just us and the kids. I did wind up driving Hannah on by to say “Happy New Year” in person to Grammy and Pop-Pop, and she also got to show Bella her new T-shirt.

Back home, Vivian and I stayed up until midnight with the kids watching Ice Age and having some popcorn shrimp and bubbly drinks. Hannah and Aaron both made it until midnight and gave each other cheers as our neighbors set off fireworks outside. We also gave Pop-Pop a call to wish him a Happy New Year (Grammy and my parents were already asleep).

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New Year’s Day brought in some proper snow to our area, with an inch or two blowing in throughout the day. I managed to get in a good first run of the year before the roads got too slippery, and the precipitation managed to turn my goatee a frosty white before I returned home.

We stayed home nice and cozy most of the day, as Vivian made black eyed pea soup for dinner and the kids got some extra time playing Mega Man Maker in the basement. We also added an ornament or two to the tree (just a few days before we’ll have to take it all down, of course).

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Then on Sunday, we had our proper New Year’s Eve party with all four grandparents and a pot of cheese fondue. Grammy and Pop-Pop came by with an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, including some frosted cranberries. Vivian warmed up a pot of cheese fondue for us, and we all took turns dipping bread, shrimp, parsnips, and cauliflower into its warm deliciousness — washed down with some ginger ale I’d been saving in the basement. Donna also brought by a cheesecake, just in case we hadn’t packed enough calories already, which we had before calling it a night.

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Happy New Year, everyone!
Welcome to 2022.