A Dude Who Doesn’t Accessorize

A photo that stands out from this past weekend is an image of Sloan wearing a pair of sunglasses. Although I would say she looks “Hollywood,” the cool kids these days would probably say she looks chic, fly, fresh, etc.

With Sloan sporting her birthday sunglasses, I couldn’t help but think to myself she is going to love accessories just like her mommy.

Sloan sporting her new sunglasses during her birthday party.

Me on the other hand? Not so much. I wear clothes and that is pretty much it. I don’t do bling, jewelry, or flair. Unless I am purposely dressing up for a holiday, I keep it pretty basic. Let me give you my very uncomplicated history with accessories…

Sunglasses – Had to start with the accessory that started this blog post. I will occasionally wear sunglasses during the summer but here is the caveat…you will never see a pair of shades on my face that cost over $10. If I need a pair of sunglasses, I am notorious for stopping at a $5 stand on the side of the street. The most expensive shades I ever purchased was an Oakley knockoff pair in Cancun (still set me back only $10). Even if I plan to wear sunglasses, I usually forget to put them on.

I rarely wear sunglasses.

Rings – I love my wedding ring. For someone who never wore a ring before, I actually got used to it pretty quickly. With that said, my ring won’t have any company soon. Because they are small, rings are tough to keep track of and can fall off. Even though I had my wedding ring perfectly resized to snugly fit my finger, it still loosens at times depending on the weather. I don’t want another “finger decoration” that I have to fly off each time I take a shower or hit the gym.

The only ring I will wear is my wedding ring.

Watch – I have never worn a watch before. Wait, let me be more specific. I have never worn a wrist watch before. Sidney saw old home movies of me wearing a pocket watch that was attached to the loop of my jeans and she still hasn’t let me live that down. But when it comes to traditional watches, I find them way too gaudy and bulky. I don’t want the weight of a watch restricting the movements of my wrist. I also find them obsolete. We all have smart phones that remind us of the time every few seconds we whip it out. I see no practical reason to own a watch.

Hats – I will wear a hat on the weekends, usually if I am outdoors doing something active or if I leave the house to run an errand and have not showered. I make limited use of hats mostly because majority of them don’t look good on me.

Every now and then I will throw on a hat.

Necklaces – I will slip on beads from a party story but I would never wear a necklace of any value. What’s the point? They are tough to contain if you make any body movements and they irritate the back of my neck. While most watches are gaudy, most guy necklaces are dainty. It once again brings up the possibility of losing it or accidentally discarding it.

Bracelets – Wearing rubber bracelets modeled after the famous Livestrong prototype is cool in my book. I favor the concept of rubber but meaningful over silver but meaningless. However, I will only wear one at a time. As for traditional bracelets, they aren’t my thing.

Piercings/Tattoos – No and no. I know a lot of men sport an earring(s) but I wouldn’t want to put a hole in my body nor worry about taking them in and out. As for tattoos, I support them and think they look good on a lot of people. However, as a personal preference, I could not put everlasting ink on my body.

Call me a bore but I am a pretty plain dude. The most “accessorized” you will ever see me is during the summer when I might be wearing a cap and sunglasses (and of course my wedding ring). Is that bad? Don’t Blink.

Switching Gears With 20 Random Thoughts

With the recent overload of Sloan birthday-related posts, I decided to switch gears for tonight. In no particular order, I present 20 random thoughts that have nothing to do with my daughter turning 1.

1. Easter is only 13 days away.
2. Another amazing accomplishment for Gonzaga as the Bulldogs advance to another Sweet 16.
3. Publix chicken tenders are delicious.
4. Kind of depressing that we don’t have “This Is Us” to look forward to this Tuesday.
5. Palm Sunday/Holy Week is only 6 days away.
6. Sidney and I have a lot of thank you notes to write!
7. The last movie I saw in a theater was “Girls Trip” with Sidney on Aug. 11, 2017.
8. My favorite Netflix original series, “Love,” just recently released new epsiodes (give it a try!).
9. My car recently surpassed 190,000 miles.
10. Tonight for dinner, Sidney made chicken alfredo.
11. Still blown away that someone bet $20,000 on Virginia to defeat UMBC just to potentially win $800 (ouch).
12. I pray that the Austin serial bomber is captured soon.
13. Last Friday’s Dateline episode was insane. Two words: bounty hunter.
14. Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert still aren’t funny.
15. Compiling a list like this is a great way to brainstorm blog post topics.
16. I am loving these longer days.
17. Teachers are saints yet underappreciated.
18. I have written 1,428 blog posts for Don’t Blink.
19. Three years ago on this date I saw Marv Albert in person.
20. Don’t Blink.

A Birthday Bash For Sloan

You only turn 1 once, right?

To have a big birthday party for this little girl or not to have a big birthday party for this little girl? No brainer!

After some contemplating, Sid and I decided that we wanted to have a big birthday party for Sloan. After reaching the conclusion that we would throw a party, the second question was what the theme would be. This was the easiest question of them all. Sidney had her heart set on a St. Patrick’s-themed gathering. Sure, in 10 years Sloan might tire of the St. Pat’s connection but for her first birthday it was pretty much a given, especially since the holiday fell on a Saturday this year. The third and final “big” question was where we would have it at. After flip flopping between our house and Sidney’s parents’ house, we decided on the latter (thanks in-laws!).

With the main components squared away, we started focusing on the finer parts of Sloan’s birthday bash. We made a guest list, selected an invitation template, and decided on a menu. A couple weeks before the big date, Sid and I (Sloan came too) picked out balloons, decided on a cake, and purchased decorations. The planning phase went great.

A look at Sloan’s invite (minus the address and regret number).

A week before the party, we started to make final arrangements. Sid made checklists and I started on my special projects. Then, this past Thursday and Friday, my wife was in full party planner mode. Both days she was out picking up food, utensils, and necessities for Saturday’s event. Things were coming together!

I worked with Brooke Holden of Brooke Holden Calligraphy to have this board made for Sloan. It was displayed at her birthday party.

Sid awoke at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday and prepared her dishes. Among other things, she made a broccoli salad, fruit salad, and a Lucky Charm mix that guests took home as their party favor.

The Lucky Charm mix that Sid made for guests to take as their party favor.

We arrived at party headquarters 90 minutes before the bash started. As Sid decorated, I dashed off to pick up the balloons, chicken, and cake. I first went to a party store and picked up 20 balloons, including a giant #1. Whoever saw me attempting to stuff all those inflatables into the back of the car would have enjoyed a good laugh. I then went to Publix and picked up the giant cake and chicken tenders.

A few of the balloons that we placed outside (including the big #1) that I picked up for Sloan’s party.

I arrived back at the house just as the party was about to start. Our first guests pulled up right as I was bringing all the goods inside the home. Sid worked to get everything set up, doing a great job working under pressure.

Sloan’s cake for the guests.

It didn’t take long before we had a full house. We crammed 32 people (babies included) into the living room and dining room areas of my in-laws’ home. With everyone there, we played a slideshow on the TV, one of my responsibilities. It was a silent looping video that showed some of the best shots from Sloan’s first year and proved to be an effective conversation starter among the guests.

Our family at Sloan’s party.

Sid worked the whole house, talking to all the guests while making sure everything was stocked and in order. My mother-in-law also worked extremely hard to back her daughter up and make sure everything went according to plan.

With Sid running the show, I was able to take video and photos of the momentous occasion. I also was able to use and promote the two special geofilters I had designed for Sloan’s special day.

Sloan was a little shy with her cake at first.

Things were going by fast. It was time for Sloan to eat/smash her cake. We sang “happy birthday” and then our daughter went for it! Well, she didn’t exactly “go for it.” It took her a few moments to warm up to the cake but eventually she discovered that she liked it and started to tear it up a bit.

After a little hesitation, Sloan warmed up to her cake.

When she was finished, we called a quick timeout and gave Sloan a bath and wardrobe change. She then made her encore appearance to open up her gifts. So many presents surrounded Sloan that she possibly couldn’t open them all…thankfully mommy and daddy were there to help. One word can describe Sloan after all the gifts were opened: Spoiled.

Sloan with one of her friends, Stevie Blair, while opening up gifts.

As our party guests started to filter out, we both felt a couple different ways. First, we felt a little bit of relief. Throwing a party can be stressful, but the predominating emotion was definitely joy. Not only was our little girl 1 but we had shared the day with a large group of people who care about her.

Sid organized and executed a very nice party for Sloan and her guests.

Sidney worked long and hard on this party and her efforts paid off. Call me one proud husband and one proud daddy. Don’t Blink.

Happy 1st Birthday, Sloan

A year ago today, at 2:44 p.m., my life changed. One of the nurses in the operating room raised up a little girl over the partition that separated Sid and I from the surgical team. There she was. Sloan Anne Reser. I will always remember the feeling. After waiting for almost nine months and conceptualizing Sloan as an unborn baby in Sid’s stomach, to see her in the flesh was surreal. Still covered in birth fluids with her little body emphasized by the brightly lit room, the sight was a bit shocking for a stressed out new dad.

This photo was taken very soon after Sloan was born.

The nurse disappeared with Sloan for a moment. She wasn’t out of sight long. Before I knew it, I was holding my little girl for the first time.

That’s when the love affair began.

This is my first picture taken with Sloan.

It has been a year of happiness, inspiration, and enlightenment. I found out firsthand that the joy of being a parent is not overrated. In fact, it surpasses all possible expectations. Then again, the baby that God gave us might have something to do with that.

One year later. Same shirt. Same pose. Same love.

Sloan has brightened our world. Throughout her first year she has been happy, low-maintenance, and strong. She bonded with us almost immediately and there has not been a day where she hasn’t made us smile or proud.

Our daughter changed my outlook on life and gave me something new to look forward to every single day: Walking in the door after a day at work and seeing that cute, innocent little face. She sparked my productivity at the office. I knew that the harder I worked and the more I got done, the sooner I could get home. Leaving right at 5 p.m. so I could spend the maximum amount of time with her before she went to bed became my top goal.

Sometimes I wouldn’t even have to wait until after 5 p.m. to see her; Sidney would just bring her to me at work.

She gave me more of a purpose, she strengthened my faith, and she made me value my wife even more. The power contained inside that 19.5 pound baby has completely melted the heart of her daddy.

It just isn’t her good-natured disposition and bloodline that has made me infatuated with her. Sloan has given me a major lesson in resiliency. Early on in her first (and only) year, she got pretty sick. I watched her go through a lot – much more than any child, let alone a baby, should have to go through. In the hospital, when it was just the two of us, I held her and let her know that I would never forget her courage and that I would always be there for her.

Every parent believes that their baby is special and I am no different. I know I am the stereotypical sappy dad but I can’t help it. I am so happy to have Sloan.

Sloan and I hit it off from the start.

Now we move to her second year of life. She finally has a number in the year column. Weeks and months need not apply. But excuse me for addressing the first 365 days once more by thanking some people – my parents (who gave Sid and I so much support and never neglected to tell us that we are good parents), my in-laws (who taught me much about how to care for a baby and who have helped out incredibly with Sloan), Sid’s sisters (who have been there for Sloan since Day #1), and my siblings (who spoil Sloan even though she is 3,000 miles away) – THANK YOU.

Of course, there is one person I could never possibly thank enough and that is my wife. Sidney carried Sloan for 8.5 tough months and has been the best mom any baby could ask for. She has taught me a lot and inspires me just as much as Sloan does.

Happy first birthday, Sloan!

We love you, Sloan. You are our lucky charm and we can’t wait to spend many more years with you. Don’t Blink.

Sloan’s Thursday Rundown

It is the final Thursday Rundown before Sloan turns 1. Got to make this one quick because we have party planning to do! Here we go…

When It All Started  Although Sloan wasn’t born until March 17, Sid and I will always remember March 15, 2017. That morning, Sid left work before the school day started and went to Conway Medical Center. She was not feeling well. When I arrived, they had just put Sidney in an evaluation room in the labor and delivery wing. After running tests, the doctor came in and said they wanted to start the induction process. Although Sid was the one in need, she had to direct me to sit down because I almost fainted! Sloan had a due date of April 7 but we were going to meet her much earlier. It would be an extremely long day as the medical staff tried to induce labor…but God had other plans.

Later that night, when it became clear that Sid would not give birth that day, the doctor let her eat a meal.

Why Catholics Abstain From Meet on Fridays – During Lent, Catholics don’t eat meat on Friday. Some people who are unfamiliar with Catholicism might question why we do this. In general, we don’t eat meat because it is another way to remember our Lord. Meat, both thousands of years ago and today, is a food that is valued, delicious, and widely consumed. Taking the initiative to refrain from eating a food that many of us depend on takes discipline. When we exercise this discipline,  even though it is an extremely small act, it is just another way to remember the suffering of Jesus Christ.

But it goes deeper. Jesus was crucified on a Friday. On that day, he gave up his flesh for us. Thus, during Lent, we give up eating flesh for him. Another important aspect of Fridays during Lent is the Stations of the Cross. At Catholic churches throughout the world, Christ’s passion is remembered. If you want to really prepare for Easter, I recommend going to a Stations of the Cross service.

Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays for multiple reasons.

Remembering Parkland at CCU – Yesterday, schools and students did a variety of things to remember the Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy. Some organized walkouts, some held walk-ins, some just reflected on the lives lost. At Coastal, the day was marked with various activities. However, I was especially moved by the solemn tribute that was offered at 10:05 a.m. At that time, our signature bell tower chimed 17 times for the 17 victims who lost their lives.

I filmed the bell tower chiming and tweeted out this video/tweet.

New Kicks for Sloan – I would like to thank the Wyeth family for giving Sloan an early birthday present. Last week, Rob gave me the below pair of Converse shoes. Originally intended for one of his twin grandsons to wear, they grew too big before they could lace them up. The new kicks look so cute on Sloan and even though she needs to get used to them, we think she feels pretty cool wearing them around. From a daddy perspective, it doesn’t hurt that they are teal (CCU colors).

Take a look at Sloan’s fancy new shoes.

Sloan at 52 Weeks – This weekend it will be official…52 weeks of life for Sloan! She has set herself up to end the year on a good note. She is on the verge of walking, her new favorite word is “UH-OH,” and her babbling has reached an advanced level. She has kept us very busy this week(and I know I practically say that every week) but her level of activity just keeps increasing and increasing. Each time we have scooped her our of her crib this week she has been standing up waiting for us. Her obsession with the refrigerator has seemed to intensify over the past few days. There is no dull moment. Each week has been so much fun!

This is Sloan’s 52 week collage.


I want to thank everyone for the support we have received for Sloan as she approaches her birthday. Have a great Thursday evening and happy St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t Blink.

What A Child’s Birthday Means To A Mom

Long before Sidney gave birth to Sloan, she told me numerous times what her first words to her daughter would be: Happy Birthday.

Although Sloan’s delivery didn’t go 100% according to plan, Sid was still able to make good on what she had envisioned for so long. With Sloan nestled in Sid’s arms, mommy wished daughter a happy birthday. On Saturday, Sid will be able to once again greet Sloan the same way.

Sidney was able to tell Sloan exactly what she had planned to.

Sloan’s birthday is important to both Sid and I. The date is etched in our hearts and is a major milestone for our daughter. As parents, the date is a big deal.

However, at the gym this morning I had a thought that hit me hard. Sloan’s birthday must carry with it so much more significance for Sidney than for me. In fact, I realized that this deeper meaning must be true for all moms when compared to fathers.

It is not that I am insensitive. I like to think there isn’t anything I cherish more than Sloan’s birthday. But, try as I may, March 17 will simply mean more to Sid than me. Here is why…

As I mentioned above, Sloan’s birthday is a milestone for us as parents. It marks the beginning of our daughter’s life. However, for Sidney, as a mom, Sloan’s birthday marks the ending of all the hard work, discomfort, and pressure that came with carrying a child. Likewise, Sloan’s birthday also marks the end of the extremely special relationship that a mom has with her unborn child while he/she is inside of her.

It never occurred to me until this morning that Sloan’s birthday is a cause for Sidney to celebrate not just a beginning but an end. Strong emotions and memories come from both vantage points. As a dad, I can only imagine how Sid feels. Sure, I rode shotgun on the nine month journey with Sid but there is no way I could ever truly know how it must have felt to be in the driver’s seat with a baby inside of me.

Sid’s words will once again carry love and meaning when she wishes Sloan a happy birthday on Saturday. My words will too, just not to the degree of my wife. Don’t Blink.

Top 10 Moments From Sloan’s First Year

We have reached a very important stretch of the month. It is Sloan’s birthday week! As we countdown the days until she turns 1, I thought I would countdown my 10 favorite moments from her first year. Some of the moments on this list are specific while others are more abstract. You will see what I mean.

10. Color Me Pink – Sidney and I switch off waking up with Sloan on the weekends. One morning on my day to sleep in, I awoke to Sidney walking in the bedroom with a pink fur ball in her arms. It took me a couple seconds to become fully conscious and for my eyes to focus. Once I was alert, I could see that my sweet baby daughter was dressed as a flamingo! Making this scene even better was the fact that Sloan had a smile on her face. Sid surprised me by having Sloan model her Halloween costume and it was the best way to wake up.

This is a photo from that exact morning when Sid/Sloan surprised me with the flamingo costume. Made my day!

9. Swaddle Off, Arms Up – During the first several months of Sloan’s life, we would swaddle her before she went to sleep. When our little darling woke up in the morning, we would remove the swaddle and her tiny arms would shoot right up as she closed her eyes and stretched so hard. It was adorable!

Watching Sloan stretch after we took off her swaddle was always rewarding.

 8. That Face Though – My heart just about melted. Sloan was probably 2 weeks old and Sid was finishing up bathing her. I was in the living room when I heard Sid sweetly say “Daddy…”. I looked up as my wife walked out the bedroom door toward me in the living room. Sid was holding Sloan who was wrapped tight in a swaddle. I held out my arms and Sid handed over that small, sweet, fresh smelling baby. This is what I remember the most: Sloan was sucking on a large, clear pacifier that seemed to take up half her tiny face. Her cheeks moved out and in as she sucked away. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen and a moment I will never forget.

 7. Late Nights/Early Mornings With My Girls – During those first couple months of Sloan’s life, she would wake up a couple times during the night. Sid and I both insisted on getting up with her. We would sit in the dark living room and feed her while we watched music videos (before Sloan’s addiction to BabyFirst TV). The music would slowly soothe her back to sleep as her parents admired their cherished daughter. It was a great way for the three of us to bond while also giving us parents a comprehensive education of the Billboard Top 40 landscape.

Watching music videos and hanging with Sloan.

6. All Eyes On Us – I will never forget the spiritual feeling I felt in my heart when I took Sloan to church alone for the first time. She was an angel the entire mass, leading up to the special moment when she and I walked down the aisle to receive Holy Eucharist. In those seconds, I felt the entire assembly look at us as we walked toward the priest. It was a surreal moment and I could sense God telling me that I must always love and protect my special girl.

This was Sloan and I after that special mass in May.

5. Those First Few Days – After Sidney and Sloan were released from the hospital, we returned home. However, we didn’t go back to an empty house. Sidney’s family helped us out for several days as we adjusted to our incredible blessing. We all ate dinners together and my mother-in-law taught me how to care for a baby. Sloan was so warmly welcomed to the Mathis family and I learned so much during those initial days.

The early days with Sloan were special. Luckily we had Sid’s family to share them with us.

4. Meet Your West Coast Admirers – In 2017, I didn’t have more fun than I did on July 15. This was when we threw a joint 60th birthday party for my mom and dad. We had a huge party as relatives, neighbors, and friends converged on my parents’ backyard to celebrate. Throughout that afternoon, we were able to showoff Sloan to so many people who up until that point had only seen her in photos. She stole the show and I was so proud.

Sloan met close to 60 people that day. Here is a photo of her with my aunts, my dad, and her cousin.

3. She Really Loves Us – I told a story a few weeks ago about when Sid and I returned from an overnight weekend trip to Charlotte. When we picked up Sloan at our in-law’s house, she greeted us by wildly clapping her hands and smiling ear-to-ear. Nothing is sweeter. Although Sidney and I don’t always get an applause from Sloan when we pick her up from daycare or take her out of her crib in the morning, we always get at least a beautiful little smile that makes us feel so valued and special. We treasure each of these special little moments.

Having this face constantly look at us with joy is one of the best parts about being a parent.

2. Sloan’s Baptism – No other moment can beat June 25, 2017. How could it? On that afternoon, Sloan was cleansed of sin and welcomed into the Church. Her baptism took place in front of family and a few close friends. I held her throughout the ceremony and although she was physically light, I felt the weight of the role I now had to play in making sure she grows up to be a child of God. Within that half hour, Sloan’s life changed for the better and I believe the angels sang with happiness. I have moments ingrained in my head from that day and I always replay them when we go to mass at St. Andrew and walk past the baptismal font.

Sloan’s baptism was beautiful.

1. Happy Birthday, Sloan! – St. Patrick’s Day no longer stands out in my mind as a time to wear green and to remember the patron saint of Ireland. Rather, it will forever be remembered as the best day of my life (along with when I married Sidney). After a tumultuous labor process, Sloan joined us in this world at 2:44 p.m. on March 17, 2017. Life became more important and I knew I would never be the same person again. Our baby girl was healthy and happy, the absolute greatest blessing in the world. Although no single moment can technically beat her baptism, the numerous moments that came together to produce the center of our world on that March day will never be topped.

The greatest day of my life.


It has been a year filled with moments we will always hold in our hearts. Thank you, Sloan. I hope you enjoy your birthday week. Don’t Blink.

Primed for 2018 NCAA Tournament

It’s March Madness, baby! The bracket was revealed about 90 minutes ago and the week that many consider the best in sports is now upon us. The NCAA tournament used to be what I looked forward to most in March – but then my daughter was born on St. Patrick’s Day – so my priorities have changed a bit. Regardless, I still get excited for the 68-team college basketball extravaganza.

This post is going to be super short because the time change has me exhausted…just kidding, I reject the imaginary impact of daylight savings. But it is still going to be short because Sid and I have a Netflix series we want to start.

First, I want to give credit to CBS/Turner Sports. For the second year in a row, the Selection Show was a big improvement from the 2016 atrocity. This year’s edition was even better than the make-good show in 2017. Cutting right to the chase by announcing the teams that made the tournament, both automatic qualifiers and at-large teams, was a great call. This set up great organization prior to bracket reveal and spared us from the awkward cut-ins of teams who sweated it out for an entire 2-hour Selection Show only to be disappointed at the end.

The “live audience” in the Turner studio was pretty hoaky and I wasn’t sold on bringing in a separate analyst for each region (I still have a tough time accepting Charles Barkley as a college basketball expert) but it was the best show to date so I will keep my complaining to a minimum.

Sadly, my Chanticleers did not make it to the NCAA tournament this season. Thus, because my #1 team is not in the field, I will have to pull for a couple others.

In 2015, I traveled with the Chanticleer men’s basketball team to the NCAA tournament.

One of these universities is (surprise) Gonzaga. A No. 4 seed in the West region, the Zags will face UNC Greensboro in Boise. After last year’s narrow loss in the national championship, the Bulldogs will have to actually win the title this season to top their 2017 run. Not an easy feat but hopefully Gonzaga will at least win a couple games and bring my hometown the excitement that Spokane has become well-accustomed to.

Even more than Gonzaga, I will be enthusiastically cheering for the Montana Grizzlies. How can I not cheer for my alma mater and former employer? It will be great to watch the maroon and silver on national TV as one UM goes up against another UM. Although the University of Michigan might be recognized as the premiere “UM” across the country, I am crossing my fingers for a major upset in this No. 3 vs. No. 14 matchup in Wichita, Kan. Yes, I have been removed from Montana long enough that I don’t know any of the student-athletes or coaches on the team but a lot of the athletic department support staff remains, so I will be pulling for them and hoping that they have an enjoyable experience.

This is me at the 2012 NCAA Tournament when Montana played Wisconsin in Albuquerque.

Okay college basketball nuts, your time has arrived! Enjoy the games and Go Bulldogs and Go Griz! Don’t Blink.

Target Thursday Rundown

I know a lot of my readers are fans of “The Bachelor” so I hope you all have regained your composure after the bombshell episode this week. Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t watch the show (although I did write a post on a contestant from “The Bachelorette”) so don’t expect to see it included in my latest Thursday Rundown. Onward and upward…

The Target Trick – My wife was quite tickled last Sunday as she excitedly told her family what she got me to do. I am not a fan of Target – I find it overhyped and overpriced. Sidney does not share my opinion. If at all possible, I try to never walk through the doors of that store. This past weekend, Sid asked if I would join her and Sloan on a shopping outing that included Target. Not wanting to stay home by myself, I accepted. Our first stop was Target as we looked at presents and party decorations for Sloan’s upcoming birthday. We spent a long time in the store before eventually leaving. It was now time for lunch. After Sonic fell through because no one asked to take our order, Sid enticed me to go to Which Wich, a sandwich chain we really enjoy but is also really out of the way. The hidden motivation for going to the restaurant? It is right next to another Target! Yep, Sid convinced me to spend an hour in that location too, noting that this second store was so much bigger and better than the previous one. She found her little stunt quite amusing.

This is Sloan at Target (the first store) this past Sunday. As you can see, she is already getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day/her birthday.

Message in a Bottle – I am fascinated by messages that find their way to random people by way of a bottle at sea or a released balloon. In today’s newspaper, I learned that the oldest message in a bottle ever recorded was recently washed ashore in Australia. The note inside was in perfect condition and dated June 12, 1886 (132 years old!). Sadly, it wasn’t a love letter or prophetic scrolls. Rather, it just contained scientific information relating to a German experiment on global currents. Although the content of the correspondence was a letdown, it was still really cool that someone would find a message in a bottle that old.

Sloan at 51 Weeks – Here we are folks, just single digit days away from Sloan turning 1. I think Sloan is excited although I know mommy isn’t. Even though Sid is a little sad to see Sloan reach a major age milestone, she has kept herself busy planning for Sloan’s birthday party. Our little girl is standing up more and can walk with our aid or by using the walker toy she has. Sloan is starting to figure things out and she seems to have a little bit of daddy’s OCD in her. Over the past few days, Sid and I have taken moments to reflect on what we were doing a year ago at the given time, reflecting on the buildup to the birth of Sloan. So many memories.

This is Sloan’s photo collage at 51 weeks.

March 8 Archives – I have written some creative blog posts on March 8. Take for example just last year when I notified my readers about a website that gives your life historical musical context (when I was born, “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis and The News was the #1 song in the country). On this date in 2016, I wrote about some unique treats that the Reser household grew up on. In 2015, I wrote about the great experience I had working the Big South tournament as the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team punched a ticket to March Madness. Additionally, on March 8, 2012, I attended the best concert of my life. Standing front row at the Spokane Arena, I watched Blake Shelton put on an incredible show.

I took this up close photo of Blake Shelton at the Spokane Arena exactly 6 years ago today on March 8, 2012.

Gonzaga Still Amazing – Speaking of Spokane, I must give another nod to Gonzaga. The Bulldogs played in their 21st consecutive WCC tournament championship game on Monday night, defeating BYU. The victory automatically put the Zags into their 20th consecutive NCAA tournament. I will always be proud of the accomplishments of this small Jesuit school and will always hold tight to the small connection I have to the program.

I was a ball boy for Gonzaga years and years ago.


We are going to try to enjoy Sloan’s last weekend as a 0-year-old (typing that made me laugh) as much as we can. Thanks for reading and I will catch up with you again soon. Don’t Blink.

My Top 5 Soups

Last week, I discussed my quirky food duos. In the post, I mentioned that I regularly drop an ice cube or two into a cup of soup before I eat it. I do this to cool it down because I love soup way too much to burn my tongue and develop a negative connotation.

How far does my enjoyment of soup go? Believe it or not, I once went on a diet that consisted of Campbell’s Chunky Soup (it worked!). So, because I mentioned soup last week and because I have shockingly never counted down my favorite soup varieties before, I thought I would do that tonight.

Honorable Mention: Italian Wedding – I will never turn down a cup of Italian wedding soup. Not only do you get to scarf down mini meatballs, but you also get a complete serving of your green vegetables as well. Add pasta to it and you have a soup with much going on. Out of all the soups on this list, it is probably the one that I have the opportunity to eat the least so I think it just makes it that much better when I do actually get to enjoy some.

5. Clam Chowder – As someone who doesn’t get too excited about seafood, you might be shocked that I included clam chowder on my list. However, I grew up on it. My family’s (mom’s side) Italian restaurant, the Pastime Café, served clam chowder on Fridays. Because we would make our trips to Walla Walla at the start of the weekend and because we would always drop in for dinner at the Pastime when we arrived in town, I was offered clam chowder a lot during my younger years. I ate it every single time. As I grew older and the Pastime shut its doors, I still ordered clam chowder at other restaurants. Although not my all-time favorite soup, it is a taste of my childhood and deserves a spot on the countdown.

4. Chili – Calling chili a soup reminds me of the “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” question. I think it straddles the line between a soup and its own separate dish but I am counting it as the former for this blog post. As a guy who loves spicy food and meat, chili is the perfect combination for me. Pairing a big bowl of chili with chips or cornbread is dynamite. I think it is cool that chili can be made so many different ways and that every town seems to host a chili cook off competition. Chicken chili, white chili, even beanless chili – I love it all (except for maybe vegetarian chili).

3. Butternut Squash Soup – Flavor flavor flavor! While the other soups on this list have a chunky texture because meats, veggies, and pasta comprise them, butternut squash soup is known for its smoothness. You aren’t enjoying this soup for its ingredients, you are enjoying it simply for the taste. I love the buttery and rich flavor of this soup. It is the pumpkin pie that is served before the main course. If you have the chance on an October or November brisk evening to enjoy a bowl, make sure you savor every drop.

2. Potato Soup – Nothing says “winter comfort dish” more than potato soup. There is no better way to warm the soul than with a piping hot bowl of potato soup served on a dark, snowy day. Creamy broth and chunks of potato go down easy and taste so good. Potato soup is the one variety on this list that you can confidently serve as a meal itself. Sprinkle a little cheese on the top and you have it made!

1. Pasta Fagioli – For those who don’t know, pasta fagioli is a classic Italian staple. It is basically pasta in soup form. I have told the story before, but my mom had to convince me when I was younger that I liked it by “re-branding” it as Button Soup, a dish in one of my favorite children’s books. But as I grew older, I liked it so much that I finally just started calling it by its actual name. My mom still makes big pots of pasta fagioli and she will jokingly text me and tell me to “come on over and get a bowl.” Although I can’t serve myself some of my mom’s version (a recipe that has been in the family for generations), I always order it when I get the chance at the Olive Garden. If you haven’t tried it, you have no idea what you are missing (make sure to top it with plenty of parmesan cheese!).


As I said last week, when given the option at a restaurant, I will take a cup of soup over a salad any day! If you have a soup that I need to try, please let me know, I will definitely be down to test it out. Don’t Blink.