Tag Archives: Soaring Wings

Soaring wings and life in the gutter

The rain seems to have been almost non-stop over the past week, but we’ve been able to find a few dry spells here and there to enjoy.

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On Friday evening, we headed out to Soaring Wings with the kids to enjoy some live music for the first time in a while. The “Swampboy Blues Band” was performing down at Soaring Wings, so we joined a handful of our friends (Jenny and Kody, Venche and Anya, Phil and Jen and Gabriel, and Jon Paper) on a blanket or two on the green. The kids seemed to have a great time — they happily danced to the music before finding some kids to play tag with (and lots of nearby dogs to pet).

It was also nice to catch up with our friends a bit, and we never even got around to sampling any beer or wine on site as the sun went out. It was the perfect evening for such an outing — and probably the only rain-free day of the past week or two.

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While it was raining, Hannah and Aaron had some fun drawing in their sketchbooks. Hannah has been making her own comic book about her and her friends, stapling the pages of copy paper together to make it, while Aaron has been designing video games in his sketchbook.

It’s been warm enough to warrant a little pool time as well, so Aaron got to get nice and soaked when we dropped by the Lenarts’ house for dinner on Saturday.

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Then on Sunday, I managed to get up and clean out our gutters a bit as the kids played in our wading pool down below. They’d become completely filled in debris, despite our gutter guards, so I scooped them out just in time for a downpour an hour or two later.

Hannah’s been having fun with a teddy bear she’d named “Bowie,” taking her swimming, to Aldi, and to church, and also creating her a house in our linen closet. In the meantime, Aaron played a game with his Sunday school teacher that was very much like creating one of his “levels,” getting her to walk through a pylon cones while blindfolded.

Pink Poodle, Tailgate Breakfast, and Turning 41

I turned a year older on Thursday last week, and boy am I starting to feel middle age catching up to me — mainly because we seem to have a non-stop schedule full of fun this time of year.

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Vivian kicked things off early in the morning with some breakfast pizza and banana bread when I got up, as well as some fun maple bacon coffee I picked up at Aldi the day before. Hannah made her own card for me, and I played some video games with the kids before heading off to work.

At the office, I found a Happy Birthday banner waiting for me, as well as Pinkie Pie with a birthday card at my desk, courtesy of Dr. Keefe (as usual). I had my own little celebration over lunch taking a brisk walk to Walmart to splurge on a few childhood treats for myself, namely Ruffles, Cracklin Oat Bran, and Pimento spread (not eaten together, of course).

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Then that evening, my parents took me out to the Pink Poodle in Crescent, Iowa, a family-owned steakhouse in a tiny town along the Old Lincoln Highway just a few miles north of Council Bluffs. I had a rib-eye steak and baked potato, which came with soup, salad, and bread served family style. I even got some chicken livers as an appetizer, which Vivian always liked to point out whenever they’re on the menu (and I decided at last that they’re not my thing). The little restaurant had a lot of home-spun charm, including cabinets filled with antique dolls and a framed newspaper article about one of their servers, who had been working there since 1956. It’s the sort of place I’d definitely go to again, if only to get the prime rib, which apparently comes in Fred Flintstone sized slabs.

Of course, we also had a smiley-face themed party waiting for me when I returned home, including a smiley-face cake and gifts from Vivian and the kids.

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Then on Friday night, I had a “pizza picnic” at Soaring Wings with a handful of our mutual friends. I’ve been to this venue for birthdays twice before, and it seemed the perfect venue, with a live band playing music on Friday nights, and with the weather clear, dry, and in the 70s, it was a perfect evening for food and drink on their lawn. Of course, I snapped a few photos of the picturesque scenery before having a few samples of time inside, eventually settling on a rosé called Hummingbird (that’s the word). We’d dropped by Papa Reno’s for a Supreme Pizza beforehand, coupling it with an alfredo pizza courtesy of Jenny and Kody and a cheese steak pizza from Jon Paper. Venche and Ben joined us as well, bringing along baby Anya and a selfie stick for our amusement.

The band played a handful of cover songs and even announced my birthday to the crowd, which was delightfully embarrassing. We even had the chance to dance a couple times down in front, which seemed an appropriate way to wrap up the night.

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I was up early the next day with my dad for a trip down to Lincoln to attend a “tailgate party” down at the Governor’s Mansion. The day started off gray and rainy, but we were quickly led inside to meet and greet Gov. Ricketts and his wife Susanne in the parlor. Then they had breakfast for us out back underneath a couple pavilions in the backyard, so we didn’t get too wet. We sat with a few other guests and talked about politics and such as we ate. One was Bob, the guy whose photo I snapped at the Millard Days parade as he walked up and down the route carrying a batch of GOP yard signs.

A couple hundred other guests came and went throughout the morning before kickoff, and I didn’t recognize anyone else other than the Foleys, who sat next to us. Dad and I headed home afterward, taking scenic Highway 6 back to Omaha as a line of cars came crowding into Lincoln, apparently quite eager to see the Huskers struggle to beat the South Alabama Jaguars.

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We had church and some more house-painting on Sunday with some truffle mac and cheese and pot roast to hold us over until Labor Day. Then my parents had a lovely cookout for the whole family on their lawn, with my dad smoking two tiers of burgers in his backyard smoker and Jack and Donna bringing up baked beans and cobbler to have with it. Uncle Nathan even took some time to draw with Hannah as Grandma introduced Hannah to a thing called a “newspaper” before we headed home.

Then that evening, because we’re gluttons for punishment, we took the kids down to Pump it Up to let them bounced around, slide, and bat some balloons to burn off whatever energy remained before bringing our long, long weekend to a close.

A Daddy/Daughter Dance

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It’s been another fun, busy weekend for us. Hannah and I kicked it off on Friday night by attending a daddy/daughter dance hosted by Calvary Church and the Sarpy YMCA. They put on a very nice event in the theme of a 50s “sock hop,” with a soda fountain, photo booth, and plenty of dancing to classic oldies music (though they The Temptations’ “My Girl” at least four times for some reason — hit the shuffle button, guys). Hannah didn’t seem quite as keen dancing with me as she did dancing either on her own or with another girl named Alyssa, but that was fine — it still burned off the sugar high she got from the chocolate fondue. Lindsey from the Y even got up to lead everyone in Zumba for a bit, which was still a little too organized for Hannah. We both still had a good time, and we finished the evening with a purple and orange flower on her nose.

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On Saturday, the kids spent some quality time with grandma and grandpa having Chinese food for the first time and watching MST3K (Pumaman). Then that evening, Vivian and I went out to Milliard to surprise Dennis for his 40th birthday at Kara’s parents’ house. The event had the theme of a toga party, which meant lots of Greek-style food with the help of Phil and Jen. Kara’s dad also grilled some burgers after Dennis and the family dropped in for their surprise, and Jen also made a massively dense rainbow carrot cheesecake. Hannah played with Dean’s little girl and bopped little Matthew with a few balloons as the rest of us played some Pictionary before calling it a night.

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On Sunday, we had a potluck lunch at church and then sent the kids home with Grammy and Pop Pop so we could attend another birthday party for Kody down at Soaring Wings Vineyard in Springfield. Around a dozen of our friends came by to have wine samples and cupcakes as Dan Christian covered some country songs as other people danced. Kody also presented Jenny with a ring, fooling the next table into thinking he’d just proposed. It was unfortunately too gray, cold, and rainy to go outside, which was beautiful, so maybe we’ll come back in the summer when they have a live band (like they did some seven years ago when we were here last for Venche’s birthday party).

Happy birthday, everybody!

Venche’s wine tasting, last Lindy in the Park

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Following a steady stream of birthdays, last weekend we celebrated yet another one with our friend Venche. She and her friends had the fairly clever idea of going out to the Soaring Wings vineyard in Louisville to enjoy some wine sampling and smooth jazz. I tried six different wines ranging from dry to sweet, and found that I liked a sweet, chilled “Vignoles” the best out of the bunch. The music was quite good as well, and several of us were able to dance down on the concrete patio despite our liberal samplings of the evening. Wrap up it all up with dinner at Kona Grill and an extended game of Apples to Apples at the end and you have a smashing way to celebrating turning another year.

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On Sunday was the final Lindy in the Park of the season, and marked the return of such venerable Jitterbugs as Jillian, who left Nebraska to live in New York City of all places. She went to a culinary school there and brought some yummy pies to share with us. We’ve been blessed with exceptionally good weather this season, and Sunday was no exception. We finished the afternoon off per tradition with Fluxx over ice cream at Ted & Wally’s before calling it a night.

In other news, our hunt for a house is seriously underway now. After getting preapproval notes from three lenders here in town, we’re scoping out potential pads all over town. It’s hard to weigh a nice home that requires two working people to pay for and a more modest home that would allow Vivian to stay home when we have kids someday.