Tag Archives: Biking with Hannah

Bike Rides & Burgers

We kicked off the summer with a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, which we spent riding bikes and grilling burgers, among other things.

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Grammy is planning to head off to California for a month, so she dropped by Saturday morning to give Hannah a haircut, leaving her with an extremely short “pixie” cut to start off the summer. I also brought my basil and Thai basil plants from the office and gave them a new home in our garden, where I’m hoping they’ll soon grow and produce many more tasty leaves for us.

Then that afternoon, Aaron and mommy went to the park to play with his friend Vlad for a few hours. Hannah and I went for a long-awaited bike ride in the meantime, heading back up to the portion of the West Papio trail by Bridlewood Park where she rode her bike for the very first time. We headed south for a bit, stopping by Huntington Park to see some statues and then finding a fan hanging on a tree further south. We took a detour off Pacific Street to cut through the posh Cambridge Oaks neighborhood to get to the Orange Leaf by Village Point to have some frozen yogurt together. Hannah filled a giant bowl and nearly ate it all by herself before we headed back.

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Then on Sunday, we took the kids to see the Super Mario Bros. movie after church. It was the first time all four of us had watched a movie in a theater together, so it was a fun experience. Even Uncle Jonny joined us for the show.

The movie itself was also very enjoyable. It was very thin on plot, but very fun to watch, particularly for all the “Easter Eggs” and Nintendo-specific references I could pick out all throughout the film.

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Then on Memorial Day, I decided to keep up Jenny’s tradition of a bike ride and returned to the West Papio trail. I used some points to get a free breakfast sandwich at McDonald’s before heading off, and then I rode all the way from the trail’s starting point in Millard to its end just north of Bridlewood Park.

I stopped by a few of the same spots Hannah visited on our ride on Saturday, as well as plenty of new spots, such as the Bluestem Prairie Preserve.

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Then that afternoon, I dropped by mom and dad’s house to help with a cookout. My dad bought a bunch of brats and burgers for us, so I helped get the smoker set up for some grilling late in the afternoon. My two brothers came by, as well as Nathan’s friend Cheryl, and we ate together outside in the shade. Then we had some dessert and headed inside to watch a few home movies before calling it a night.

Bikes & Blossoms

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Spring has sprung in the past week or two since Easter, with blossoms appearing on trees all over town. We also got to see our tulips and daffodils in our yard again, a colorful display that will last probably a week or two. I’ve been enjoying biking all over down as well, of course, going by Hanscom Park, the Big Papio Trail, the Keystone Trail, and catching a whiff of blossoms every which way. Several woodchucks seem to be out and about along the trails as well (making things interesting as I try to avoid them).

I even got out to go biking with Hannah a bit on Saturday, pedaling on down to the Sandy Park and back, pushing against 25 mph winds along the way.

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In food-related news, I got to have some barbecue with Nate down at Oklahoma Joe’s, and Vivian and I got to have some of Graley’s last hand pies of the season. We also took our kids out to Roma’s for some Italian food on Thursday. We were going to take them to Malara’s, but they decided to shut down forever even earlier than they’d planned, likely because they could barely keep up when Vivian and I dropped by a week earlier. Roma’s had remodeled since I last visited back in 2019 (with my parents), so it was an unexpectedly fancy affair. Hannah was quite delighted at the endless garlic bread we got with our meal, and Aaron’s naturally a big fan of noodles and sauce and parmesan (please).

Then on Saturday, I went to see the Steve Deace movie “Nefarious” with my parents. It was an R-rated “Christian horror” film and very good. It reminded me both of The Screwtape Letters and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter speaking with Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. It was good enough I may wind up seeing it again. Then Vivian made some split-pea soup, which was perfect for a cold and rainy Saturday.

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We wrapped up our last Men of God dinner of the year with some smoked ribs from Woody on the following Tuesday. We also got to hear from Colt Doherty, who pastors a church in Atlantic, Iowa and talked about his experience getting a wreck while drag-racing and coming to accept Christ afterward.

Aaron’s got a few more weeks with his friends at Royal Rangers before the year. Some of his troop-mates made pizza on Wednesday, and we got to sample some before heading home.

Biking About & Father’s Day Weekend

We’re in the middle of some stinking hot summer days in the Midwest, hot enough to kill a couple thousand cows down in Kansas (allegedly), though we’re keeping cool in Omaha with some root beer floats and an air conditioner that seems to be humming along just fine.

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We’re still having plenty of fun outdoors, of course. Hannah and I went for a ride with the American Heritage Girls on Wednesday last week. We met up at Walnut Creek and had a lovely little ride around the lake, stopping to pick some mulberries and play on a few chin up bars along the way.

I also got to help in a lesson on bike riding, demonstrating how to use an air pump and change a tire. Kristi also had a tandem bike on hand for a few of the girls to try out, so Sammy and Hannah both got to try riding together. Then we had some popsicles to cool off before heading on home.


Vivian spent most of Saturday at the College World Series working the concession stand for Cherish Riding Associations (in exchange for free riding lessons for Hannah) and then spending time with her dad. I took Hannah and Aaron by my parents’ house in the meantime for some quality time with grandma and grandpa and Uncle Nathan and Uncle Jonathan (and Sheryl). My dad got to show the kids a handful of his old toys in the basement, including a teddy bear, a Cub Scout cap, a Mickey Mouse puppet and a tiny gun (which Aaron immediately used to wage war against Hannah and Cheryl). Uncle Nathan also got to give Aaron a few belated birthday presents.

We watched a few home movies afterward before heading home, particularly videos from our trip to Woodland to move my own grandma out of house way back in 1996. I may have to edit some of these down to share online someday.

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Then came Father’s Day, which was loads of fun. Vivian had a tasty omelet for me for breakfast, and the kids had some homemade cards and candy for me afterward. I went to church where the kids made little gifts of key chains and candy in Sunday School, and I got a Pay Day bar heading out the door. I had that and a Big Mac for lunch when I got home as Vivian took the kids to say Happy Father’s Day to Pop-Pop.

I got a little more quality time with my dad afterward, bringing him a gift of Michael Knowles’ new book (and me taking a photo that got a shout out from Knowles himself on Twitter). We looked at some of his old, outdated atlases and a globe, which still had countries like Rhodesia and Siam printed on them. Dad showed me some of his photographic equipment in the basement, including a polarizing filter I could use it to remove reflections from a car window . Hannah and I looked through a photo album afterward (while sipping “grape drink“) before heading on home.

Vivian made me a lovely rib-eye steak with shrimp and a loaded, twice-baked baked potato for dinner. We ate with the kids, and then I got a few more presents before bed, including a nice new coffee grinder (which I used the next morning with some whole bean Tap Dancers coffee I’d been wanting to use since Christmas) and a new lemon squeezer (with lemons), which I may have to use to make lemonade.

In other news, the tomatoes we planted less than a month ago are bearing fruit. Nothing quite as lovely in the summertime as homegrown tomatoes.

Fish Fry, Zoo, and Jordan B. Peterson

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Spring has sprung! We had some gorgeous weather for the first day of spring on Sunday, so right after church, we got some burgers and headed down for some quality time at Halleck Park. Hannah made a few new friends on a see-saw, and I got to do some swinging with Aaron over on the swings. We also got to check out the stump where a giant tree had gotten torn down during the wind storm last July (with Vivian counting its rings). Then I walked down to Dairy Queen with Hannah to get some ice cream before we headed home.

The weather was so nice that I decided to go for a bike ride with Hannah a little later in the afternoon. The rode the South Papio Trail for a couple miles West until we got to Eagle Ridge Park, so Hannah got a little more park time before we started heading back. Then I took her for a second round of ice cream at Culver’s, just because. (Don’t tell Aaron.) In the meantime, Aaron helped Vivian made dinner by glazing up some chicken legs with barbecue sauce, which he and Vivian baked for us.

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I had an exciting evening on Tuesday as I made a two-hour trip to see Jordan B. Person at the Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. I’ve been an avid fan of Peterson’s for a couple years, having read both his books and listened to his podcast (and even gotten a t-shirt). I missed the chance to see him live in Des Moines a couple years ago, so this time around I snatched a ticket back in December as soon as they went on sale. (The show was now sold-out.)

Peterson appeared with his wife “Tammy,” who introduced him at the beginning and then gave him a list of pre-screened questions at the end for Q&A. Peterson also talked for a little over an hour about a few of his 12 Rules for Life (getting to only 2 or 3 of them). I was quite familiar with his material already, but seeing him live certainly made things interesting. The audience would laugh and applaud at various parts, and I could see Peterson was using some kind of presentation slides via trio of screens on the stage (and a clicker in his pocket). We weren’t allowed to take photos in the theater (which was painful for me, as you can guess), but I did sneak a couple blurry shots with my cell phone to commemorate the experience.

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Friday was a fairly busy day, which I kicked off with some waffles, since it was apparently Waffle Day. Then once Aaron was off at school, Vivian and I took Hannah down to spent a good portion of the day at the Omaha Zoo. Vivian got to see the sea lion exhibit at long last and watched the playful, barking things both above and below water. We got to see some gorillas, rhinos, tigers, elephants, and a cheetah, as well as some odd creatures we’d never heard of, including okapi, bongos, takin, reeves muntjac, and Père David’s deer.

Hannah and I got to pet (and feed) some stingrays at the Stingray Beach exhibit, and we got a selfie with a giraffe. The Lied Jungle unfortunately closed just as I got there at three, but then we got to watch them feeding the penguins in the aquarium before calling it a day.


Then that evening, we celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation by gorging on fried fish at St. Charles Borromeo after a long day of walking. Our friends the Simpsons and the Dougans joined us for pizza, fried cod, tilapia, mac and cheese, and tater tots together. The line was relatively short as well, so most of us went back for seconds. It felt good to be back at a “normal” fish fry after things had been shut down for a year or two, particularly since the last time we’d been to this place was right before all that started back in 2020.

Shakespeare — by any greens necessary


When Shakespeare on the Green was cancelled for a second year in a row, I thought for sure we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a live performance of the Bard’s this year. Wrong! I stumbled upon the Flatwater Shakespeare Company in Lincoln, who were performing Twelfth Night at James Arthur Vineyard of all place — in a setting very much like the one we were used to in Elmwood Park. Joining us were Phil and Jen, Randy and Jolene (and their kids), Jon Paper, and Lisa Barrett. The play was performed “in the round” in the picnic area of JAV, and we were even able to claim a table for our guests and vittles (including homemade hummus and jam).

The show itself was quite good — played “straight” unlike the modern, musical version we saw together some eight years earlier. They didn’t have the same budget for sets and sound equipment as Nebraska Shakespeare, but we were all able to enjoy the play from every angle together. Maybe we’ll do it again next year!


On Monday evening, I decided to go on a biking adventure with Hannah. We started at Culver’s and rode about a mile up the Keystone Trail to Banner Park and back — enjoying cornfields and 72° weather for an hour or two. Then we had ice cream sundaes at the end to celebrate our trip.

Then on Wednesday, Hannah and I took a much longer ride together — starting at the same spot but going nine miles west to Papillion and back on the West Papio trail. We went all the way through downtown, going under Washington Street (and by a small waterfall) and then over it via the pedestrian bridge. Hannah showed me some milkweed along the way, which she learned from her American Heritage Girls’ group has a milky substance on the inside (hence its name). We also passed through the Papillion Farmer’s Market, where we got some nice animal balloons from one of the vendors as she was closing up shop for the day! We managed to carry them all the way home as the sun set behind us, though we had to take a quick trip past Halleck Park to see the fountains before we headed home.


Then on Thursday, we had our “Shakespeare on the Other Green” down at Memorial Park — which was really more of a picnic — in recognition of the evening Shakespeare on the Green should have had its opening night. The Mathis family joined us on our blanket out on the giant west lawn, and we had some wine and cheese together, along with some mulberry jam brought by Jolene.

I read a few pieces of Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream before letting the kids run around and play on the playground for a bit. It was a beautiful evening for a picnic, with or without Shakespeare, and Memorial Park was certainly a nice place for the kids to run and explore, at least before we come back with a crowd to see Elvis Costello and Wyclef Jean, who will perform here in August. (Stay tuned for that later.)

Hannah’s new bike


It was an exciting week as Hannah got her very first bike — one she learned to ride almost immediately without training wheels. We bought it used in northwest Omaha and then dropped by Bridlewood Park so she could try it out for a bit. Then that evening, she she quickly got the hang of riding it in our own driveway! The next day, we went to Elmwood Park for the Omaha Homeschool picnic, and Hannah and I got to ride together on a few of the paths there and go exploring all the way up to Dodge Street (in-between hot dogs). I was amazed at how quickly she picked it up. She’s a natural!


I’ve been busy riding my own bike almost every day, of course, taking it all the way back to Bellevue to have burgers with my dad at Culver’s over a lunch break.

I also rode it all the way from work to home and back — doorstep to doorstep — without a car in-between, just to see if I could. If my car ever needs work done on it again, I won’t have to hitch a ride to get to the office. Mostly, it’s been a great way to get out of the office during the day and enjoy some fresh air — even if I have to time my rides between passing thunderstorms.


Then on Saturday, I took a trip down to Lincoln for a Freedom Rally on the steps of the state capitol. My friend Tim had been holding them since the election, so I dropped by to join a few patriotic folks waving flags for an hour or two. It was an interesting group of conservative outsiders from groups with speakers such as Patrick Peterson of the Nebraska Freedom Coalition, Jennifer Hicks from Nebraskans Against Government Overreach, and former Omaha City Council candidate Tyeisha Kosmicki. Tim seemed to expect counter-protestors, but the only one who showed up was a guy who circled the capitol there times to yell obscenities. Mostly there were just happy honks from passing cars and even a few passersby who stopped to listen. We did get photo-bombed by a wedding, one of at least three that seemed to be happening around the capitol that day. Then a guy from KLKN-8 came by to have a few words with us before we wrapped up.

I grabbed some pho on the way home to have for dinner, and then that evening Harold’s mommy came to pay us a visit as the Mills went on a trip for a week. I also broke out the dragon fruit I got at Trader Joe’s for the kids to try. We even gave Harold some, which left him with some strange purple lipstick.

Next stop, Shakespeare — by any greens necessary!