Tag Archives: Swanson Park

Parade, Fun Fest, and Moon Pies

We’ve had another week of lovely spring weather, which means lots of time to get outside to a park or two, smell the blooming lilac in our yard, and have a couple more bike rides around town.


On Sunday last week, August had a birthday party down at Swanson Park. That meant a couple hours of our kids having quality time running around together. The boys spent some time roaming through the woods, where Aaron found an abandoned sled lying in a creek. Hannah and the girls walked through the forest making a video together (which I haven’t seen yet).

In the meantime, Nate grilled some hot dogs, and I brought along our fire pit to make a couple s’mores over the fire later on. Donna also made August a lovely cake with him and his little pets together, all of which we enjoyed eating afterward.

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On Monday, I dropped by the Pachyderm Luncheon again to hear from Rick Holdcroft on current issues before the legislature. My friend Stephen showed off his new mug and I chatted with a few other people about politics for a bit.

The weather was also nice enough for some extra time biking. I went by Towl Park one day, where they a have some lovely flowers blooming. They finally fixed one half of the Center Street bridge, with a new walkway across for me and my bike (this one watthour the hazardous bumps on the other side). I also dropped by Hy-Vee on another day just to pick up a fun dessert for Vivian and the kids — RC Cola and Moon Pies, a combination that’s legendary in the South.

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On Tuesday evening, I helped Hannah get an extra hour of volunteer time cleaning up trash along the street for an award with American Heritage Girls. Then I took the next day off completely so I could get the car an oil change. I got to do some yard work around the house afterward and helped Grammy fix a doorknob in our hall bathroom (which had to be taken apart and treated with WD-40). Then Vivian and I went out to Stella’s just for fun — having some burgers and onion rings there for the first time in nine years or so.

That evening, I took Aaron down to Royal Rangers, where the weather was nice enough for them to have their “flag pledges” outside. Then they made “healthy body bags” before eating some brownie cupcakes. I went biking again the next day and got some RC Cola and Moon Pies to bring home to dessert — a thing neither Vivian nor the kids had ever experienced before.

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Then on Saturday, I had my first professional photo gig down at the Arbor Day parade in Nebraska City. My friend skip had skipped down and hired me to fill in to snap photos of Deb Fischer’s crew walking along Central Avenue during the parade. I saw a few familiar faces, such as state senator Rita Sanders and our junior senator, Pete Ricketts, but no Deb once again. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and I got a bunch of photos along the route before the parade was done. Vivian arrived with the kids to see just the last few moments of it, including Hannah’s friend Justin from her school (and a Cardinal, who gave Aaron a high five).

We hung around for a while afterward, getting some burgers from the Pin High Clubhouse & Grill with the campaign and eating down at Steinhart Park afterward. The kids played on an old merry-go-round and got to see a veterans’ memorial with a giant tank and an anchor. Afterward, we dropped by the Arbor Lodge Mansion for a peek inside before playing a bit more at the Arbor Lodge State Park before getting ready to head home. There were a handful of other things we might have done if we’d had more time, such as visiting the Wildwood Historic Center or the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure, but that will have to wait for another visit (Vivian told me to put it on the calendar).

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Then on Sunday, we took the kids down to Werner Park for Fun Fest, an annual event by the Autism Society of Nebraska. The kids got to meet some Star Wars characters who wound up riding a carousel with them. We also saw Spider-Man, Runza Rex, and Miss Nebraska USA as we walked around looking at the exhibits.

The kids got to play with bubbles and throw a few axes in-between grabbling merch from the dozens of vendors inside the big tent. There were some 30 mph winds blasting through nearly the entire time, but we did all right all the way up to the final walk around the park before heading home. Then we had some pizza for dinner and watched the movie Babe before finishing off the weekend.

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The biking weather continued through the next week, so on Monday, I took a trip up to Memorial Park to see a new statue installation. It’s based on the famous photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse on V-J day, marking the end of World War 2. It was particularly nice to pedal around a bit as the trees are still in blossom, and I also bumped into my friend Denise and her dog Rocko on my way back down the hill.

Then on Tuesday, I pedaled up the Field Club Trail and dropped in on Gerald Ford’s birthplace via Leavenworth Street. The trees were in blossom there as well, though I also noticed the plaques with names of governors and Presidents hadn’t been updated in over a decade. It was just nice to get out and get some sun while burning about 1500 calories in the middle of a weekday.

An endorsement, an egg hunt, and Jack Posobiec


It’s been a week heavy with politics for some reason, particularly following Brett Lindstrom and the race for Nebraska’s next governor. On Monday, his campaign got a boost when Jean Stothert came by to make an official endorsement for governor. I got an invite to the press conference along with a handful of people from media, so I got to enjoy snapping a bunch of photos and even sending a few along to a guy from Nebraska Sunrise News to use in a story.

Then on Wednesday, I got to attend a debate forum with three gubernatorial candidates — Brett Lindstrom, Charles W. Herbster, and Theresa Thibodeau. Jim Pillen was a no-show, as usual, and that pretty much writes him off as a choice on my ballot. An anchor from KETV served as moderator and asked questions about taxes, education, and critical race theory. You can watch the full debate here (and get an eyeful of my bald spot in the corner during the first several minutes).

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We had some absolutely gorgeous weather on Saturday, after a week of cold, gray cloudiness (with even a bit of snow). Vivian and Hannah went on an overnight camping trip with the American Heritage Girls, so I got to have some quality time with Aaron. I was able to install a “Mario Maker” game on his little Mini PC, which kept him busy as I tidied up a bit.

Then we went by Swanson Park to have some lunch and then have some time together outdoors. We went walking through a wooded area, climbing on logs and going into a makeshift shelter somebody left behind. He also got some time on the playground and rolled down a hill a couple times.


Saturday night was exciting for me, as I got to spend the evening with Jack Posobiec, one of my favorite Twitter follows and podcast hosts, and a bunch of folks with the Nebraska Freedom Coalition. They’d had an event earlier that day that was crashed by some local antifa thugs, and oen of them got the bum’s rush off stage by Matt Innis (who primaried Ben Sasse in 2020) and was taken away in handcuffs. The “cocktail reception” was held at Don Carmelo’s in Elkhorn and outside of a few angry phone calls had absolutely no problem whatsoever.

Posobiec himself was terrific, giving an hour talk and Q&A. He talked about China locking down Shanghai, the Whitmer kidnapping case going up in smoke, and how Trump enjoys watching angry reactions to his tweets on Twitter. He’d also come with his wife and kids and had spent some time in the Old Market at the Hollywood Candy store and Imaginarium, which was nice to hear. There were several familiar faces in the crowd (which was packed wall-to-wall, standing room only), including gubernatorial candidates Breland Ridenour and Theresa Thibodeau, Chris Baker, and a handful of other people running for office. Naturally, I got a photo with Posobiec afterward and also took a goofy selfie of me literally “following” him inside (which got retweeted by Beard Vet).


Vivian and Hannah returned from camping the next day, a little tired and sunburned. Then we went down to Renewed Hope church in midtown Omaha to go on an Easter Egg Hunt. They had some hot dogs and chips for everyone for lunch, and then kids in various age groups go to collect eggs in three squared off sections of the lawn. Hannah and Aaron each got a group of their own to compete in. The eggs were filled with candy, small toys, and “coins” they could redeem for bigger prizes. Lexi and her kids joined us on the lawn, which was nice, and the weather couldn’t have been better for an egg hunt and picnic outside.

Kid-Friendly Weekend

It’s been a quiet middle of August so far as the dog says of summer wind down into fall. Our garden has been blooming just enough to give us fresh tomatoes and basil for bruschetta. Grammy and Pop-Pop have been on a road trip to California and back, which means we’ve been bird-sitting Diggy and leaning even more on my own parents than usual for babysitting-related issues (and appreciating them more than ever!)


On the fifteenth, Mrs. B retired after twenty years with the Bellevue Public Library, so Vivian and I took the kids down to say goodbye. I first discovered Mrs. B’s weekday morning story time way back in 2013, when I brought one-year-old Hannah by during the week for a visit.

I got to spend a little more quality time with the kids down at Stinson Park as Mommy had an appointment at the Institute. Both the kids and daddy got to run through the fountains a bit over the noon hour, which was particularly fun. I’d also been making use of the rain-free weather to ride by bike to work, which worked out nicely as long as the tires don’t go flat (which one did at least once).


On Saturday the 20th, Vivian went on a camping retreat with her girls from WAG, which gave me a whole weekend alone with the kids. They got to have a little quality time both with daddy and grandma and grandpa Johnson, as I took them to Swanson Park to play and then spent the afternoon mowing the lawn and having dinner with the folks. My parents found a surprise squash in their garden, which we had for dinner with penne pasta.

Then on Sunday morning, we all got to go to Chandler Acres Baptist Church with my parents. Our own church no longer has Children’s Church available, so without that or Vivian or her parents to help corral both our kids in the service (during which time I’m handling the video), I chose to find another option for Sunday morning. Chandler Acres had some Sunday School for the kids, and I got to say hello to several of the people my parents meet with every Sunday. We went by Burger King afterward to get some lunch together before heading home. Vivian came home later that afternoon with stories of shooting bows and arrows at Platte River State Park. I suppose if she still updates her blog, we would get to hear more about that (but she won’t, so we won’t).