Tag Archives: Jack and Donna

Mother’s Day & the Zoo

We just finished up a busy Mother’s Day weekend, which meant spending time with both sides of my family with a trip to the Zoo sandwiched in-between.


On Saturday, my dad and I had some quality time hauling a few things down to the dump for Bellevue’s clean-up day in the morning. Then we met up again around lunchtime for some Mother’s Day celebration with my mom. I brought along a gift bag with some candy and a card for her. Then we took her down to the Greek Islands restaurant down on Center Street for lunch. I learned that my mom not only liked Greek food, but that she also hadn’t had it since before I was born — the last time she’d had it was apparently when she and my dad were still in Brazil.

I had a gyro platter and some Greek salad along with some flamingSaganaki” as an appetizer with my parents and brothers.


Then right after lunch, I went with Vivian and the kids down to the Zoo for the afternoon. We used a pass that I’d picked up at the Bellevue Public Library back on April 1 (no fooling), and we wound up spending the entire afternoon down at the Children’s Adventure Trails. It was muggy and around 80 degrees, so it felt good to wade through the cold water and take a trip or two underneath the waterfall. Aaron also ran around the rope bridges a bit (along with the little monkeys) and rolled around on a few of the hills. The kids dropped by the petting zoo halfway through our visit and got to see some goats literally butting heads (competing for treats), and they also got to run through the tunnels to see the prairie dogs before getting more time in the water before the end of our visit.

It was nice to get to stay in just one spot during our visit to the Zoo this time around, particularly since we’re normally trudging around for miles trying to see as many animals as possible. The Children’s Adventure Trails are also only open on weekends now, so it was nice to pay them a visit when we normally wouldn’t be able to.

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Then came Mother’s Day. The kids had made some cards for Vivian a week ago when we were off having pho, so they brought them out and we presented them along with a breakfast burrito I’d made for some breakfast in bed.

They also had some nice gift bags at church that morning for all the women in the congregation, with tea and biscotti and other things for Mom.


Then that evening, Vivian’s dad and I helped put together a Mother’s Day dinner for Vivian and Donna. Jack had some nice surf and turf with porterhouse steaks and shrimp kabobs (actual shrimp on the barbie), while I brought potato salad and a couple pies from Village Inn. The weather went from muggy to cool within a few hours, making for some nice time to lounge around in the yard (after I gave it a mow). And fortunately the rain stayed away so we could eat out on the porch together. The kids got some extra time playing and giving Bella a walk a little later before we headed home.

It was a fun and busy weekend, but it’s time for me to get back for work for a week or two and “recover” before the kids are out of school.

The Week Before Easter


So it’s the week before Easter, and you know what that means — one last shot at pigging out, Lenten-Style. Eric and his Massively Chaotic crew dropped in at St. Pius X for their Pasta Feed, so we got the mix of spaghetti and mostaccioli with a helping of beer cheese and marinara sauce here and there. Mostly, though, we played with our phones, salt and pepper shakers, innuendo, and plastic forks for a couple hours. No, it doesn’t take much to amuse us, especially when cards and gooey bake sale nut rolls are involved.

We had some unseasonable warmth on Saturday, so I went to Donna’s house to help her put up a new fence in the yard, designed mostly to keep Hannah inside when she comes over to play with dirt. I got a nice, healthy blister on my hand at the end of it, but the results looked acceptable.


On Palm Sunday, Hannah joined a bunch of the little ones at Twin Valley Church to take a few laps around the sanctuary with plastic palm branches before the service (and then got some sugar afterward). In the meantime, my Uncle Ben and Aunt Carol came by to visit my parents, which was now the halfway point between their home in Scottsbluff and their other family in Cedar Rapids. Hannah hadn’t met either of them before, and we hadn’t seen them ourselves since they stopped by with the Garcia Herd back in 2010. It was indescribably sweet to watch them sing Jesus Loves Me together on a spur of the moment.

Naturally, Nebraska’s manic-depressive weather went from unseasonably warm 80s to freaking snow literally overnight. That made for a frosty Monday, which meant a lunchtime romp with Hannah and a sled down at Stinson Park. It was just above freezing, but I got to slide our little girl around the frozen lawn for a few minutes before retreating inside for Godfather’s Pizza and cupcakes for lunch. That’s quality time!

Next stop: Easter!

Birthday weekend


I love birthdays, especially when they’re mine! I had a very happy one this year. It all started on the day itself, which was a Thursday. Hannah and mom paid me a lunchtime visit with balloons and a couple presents picked out by my little girl. Then we headed down to Amato’s for lunch. I’d eaten there with my folks once before, and the call of homemade sausage and ricotta pancakes was just too strong to resist any longer.

That evening, Vivian took me to a birthday dinner at the 801 Chophouse, where we had some pork chops, lobster mashed potatoes, and my favorite fried mushrooms with boursin cheese. Of course, we had to walk down to Ted & Wally’s afterward for my free ice cream (coffee and baklava). Vivian decided to have some tamarind candy ice cream that was quite hot for being so cold.


The next day was Friday night. That called for some burgers with friends in the heart of South Omaha at my favorite burger joint — Louie M’s Burger Lust. I’d discovered the place with my dad ages ago and we’ve come back again and again ever since (it’s even made its way into my comic once or twice!)

After all that good eating, we went to burn as much off as we could down at the Eagle’s Lodge. It was easier than we thought, since the air conditioning had broken and turned the upper floor into a giant swing-dancing sauna. It certainly wasn’t too hot for a birthday jam or a Jack and Jill competition shortly thereafter, though. A little heat never kept us from dancing indoors or out.


We had a lovely three-day weekend to unwind after all the celebrating was done. A storm wandered through Sunday night and made things lovely and cool for Sunday and Monday. Our mutual friend Jessica Ritchie decided to move to North Carolina and came around to say her last goodbyes at the Upstream and then later at JNO and our church. I think we said goodbye to her about a dozen times before she finally left town.

On Monday evening, the in-laws had a cookout at their place with some friends in honor of Do Nothing Day. Jack brought a few flatiron steaks out of the freezer and onto the grill, I brought up some potato salad, and Vivian made a pot full of nacho cheese dip that kept us full for a while. (Hannah provided adorable entertainment, as usual.)

Nueve de Mayo and Mother’s Day


Vivian and I had a pretty busy weekend. On Friday night, we dropped by the house of Vivian’s co-worker Sally to attend her graduation party. Sally had just gotten her Master’s Degree, so we filled up on cake and hors d’oeurves before trying to burn it off a little later at Jitterbugs Night Out. Her house is in the Stony Brook section of Omaha, which Vivian and I instantly fell in love with. We actually spent close to an hour driving about looking at houses and might be changing our mind about fleeing down to Bellevue or Papillion when we settle down and buy a home.

We made an appearance at the Eagle’s Lodge a little later. Vivian and I have been trying to get back into the “swing of things,” but I keep feeling some kind of a funk at the old FOE building these days. Maybe it’s the gloomy “for sale” sign out front, or the Jitterbugs’ catalog of music, which I’m guessing would barely fill a 128 meg MP3 player, is starting to get old. In either case, I give props to whoever decided to play Indigo Swing after the shim sham — a healthy dose of neo-swing can always get me back on the floor.


On Saturday night, our mutual friend Bente hosted a Nueve de Mayo party at her house in West Omaha. It seems like the south-of-the-border holiday has extended to more than a week by now, but we enjoyed it. A bunch of us got to take a crack at a piñata in the basement, and then we got to put together some homemade maracas with paper cups and rice. The homemade guacamole was quite good as well, but I found myself getting droopy eyed before midnight. I’m guessing my age is starting to catch up to me.


On Sunday, we celebrated the return of Lindy in the Park down at the Gene Leahy Mall. This is the third year I’ve participated in the free, outdoor swing dance, and it was the first time some of our newer friends Kristin and Anna got to join in the fun. Ben Cass was kind enough to bring food for everyone, including sloppy joes, coleslaw, and some delicious strawberry cake.

Vivian and I headed down to Bellevue afterward to celebrate Mother’s Day with Donna. We got to eat ham and au gratin potatoes outdoors and play a little croquet when it wasn’t raining. Vivian also brought a delicious triple-berry pie that she baked (the first pie she’s ever baked from scratch, which turned out quite delicious).

It was a fun-filled weekend, and I got close to filling up the 2 gig card on Vivian’s camera with photos and video of all the fun. It definitely felt good to have a bunch of new shots to toss up on the old Flickr account.