My Five Favorite Seasonal Treats

As a marketer, I understand the need to capitalize on the holidays or other special times during the year. For whatever reason, if you can twist your product to fall in line with a unique day or time on the calendar, people will bite. I am not immune to this sneaky technique by any means. In fact, I am a big sucker for purchasing “seasonal” items (except for Starbucks holiday cups…I don’t drink coffee).

In tonight’s blog post, I want to share the five seasonal items I looked forward to the most growing up. This is not a countdown as I couldn’t bring myself to rank one sugary treat ahead of another.

Girl Scout Cookies – To be honest, this blog post was inspired by the fact that I just purchased Girl Scout Cookies. My co-worker’s daughter is selling them and I couldn’t resist. I bought a box of Tagalongs for me and two boxes of Trefoils for Sidney. Also, new this year is a S’mores cookie. I bought a box of those as well. Come on though, what seasonal treat is more beloved than Girl Scout Cookies? There is nothing better than seeing cute Girl Scouts out front at the grocery store and there is nothing better than making their day by purchasing a box or two.

Sitting around with the Girl Scout Cookies I purchased today.

Shamrock McDonald’s Shake – When I was growing up, I didn’t have access to a thousand different milkshake flavors like I do now. Back then, it was just chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. When McDonald’s would release its Shamrock shake around St. Patrick’s Day, not only did it have that distinctive mint flavor but it was also GREEN, something that looked completely different from what I was used to. We didn’t get milkshakes that often but during March my parents would always let us get a Shamrock shake.

Heart Shaped Papa Murphy’s Pizza – My love for Papa Murphy’s take-n-bake pizza is well-documented. Back in the day, I spent a couple different Valentine’s Days with a heart shaped pizza as opposed to a date. I don’t know if the chain still does it, but Papa Murphy’s would offer $5 pepperoni heart shaped pizzas on Valentine’s Day. The discount and the shameless holiday cut of the pizza was enough to entice us.

Cap’N Crunch Christmas Crunch – There was not another cereal that got me more in the Christmas spirit than Cap’N Crunch Christmas Crunch. But hold on here, I am not trying to be cute or to overstate this. I sincerely looked forward to when the Yuletide cereal would hit the shelves. I loved the red and green crunch berries but I also just enjoyed the box itself. It was so festive how they put the Captain in front of a Christmas background while donning a Santa hat. A Christmas memory for sure!

Costco Pumpkin Pies – Although I don’t get excited about the mainstream obession with everything pumpkin flavored, I do very much enjoy the true pumpkin staple of the holidays. But it isn’t just pumpkin pie that I like, it is Costco pumpkin pie. When Thanksgiving comes around and Costco starts putting out big crates full of pumpkin pies I get happy. Not only is it an indication that the holiday season is here but it is also an indication that my taste buds are about to enjoy one of the most consistent and pleasant tastes that I know of. Thank goodness for Costco pumpkin pie.


Go out and support your local Girl Scouts! If you need someone to purchase them from, let me know! Don’t Blink.

Sid’s Baby Shower

Yesterday was a special day for Sidney. She had a baby shower thrown in her honor. As someone who has desperately wanted to be a mom her entire life, this was a moment that she had always looked forward to. The coveted baby shower is a major step toward impending motherhood and Sid got to experience it on Sunday. It didn’t disappoint.

For her special party, Sidney spent a lot of time doing her hair, putting on makeup, and picking out that perfect maternity outfit. When she came out of our room, she looked absolutely beautiful (I love it when she curls her hair)! I took Sid to her older sister’s house, the location of the party. When I arrived, Sidney’s two sisters and mom were hard at work getting everything ready. With the event set to begin in an hour, I told Sid to have fun and I left for the movie theater.

Sidney looked so beautiful for her bridal shower. I took this photo before I took off for the movie theater.

While the girls enjoyed themselves, I went and saw “Lion.” By the time the movie was out, Sid texted me to invite me back over to Steph’s house to check out the “loot” she received and to of course eat some of the leftover food.

I returned to the house a little after 4 p.m. When I arrived, it was the same people who I had left there at 1 p.m. (Sid, her sisters, her mom, and brother-in-law). However, within those short three hours around 20 additional women had come through the house, showered Sidney with gifts, and celebrated the upcoming birth of our daughter.

A look at some of the women who lined Steph’s living room and kitchen for Sidney’s bridal shower (photo courtesy of Rhonda Shelley)

However, you would not have known about the tornado of activity, fun, and laughter if it wasn’t for the area in the living room that was overran with gifts. Sidney was not kidding, she had made out with some serious “loot.” While I pigged out on wraps, chicken, and brownies, Sid took me on a tour through our new baby items, a tour that lasted long enough for me to go up to the food table three different times.

After seeing all of the stuff, a lot of it I had no idea how to use, I felt a little overwhelmed. But I wasn’t alone. Even Sidney admitted feeling a bit of anxiety over the haul. But the pressure she felt wasn’t from fear of looking like an idiot when using the gifts, it was from the standpoint of realizing that we still have a lot to do before the baby comes.

A look at some of the baby shower gifts we received. We took it all up to the nursery.

But the last thing I want to do is sound like I am complaining because that is completely not the case. We can’t describe how thankful we are for the outpouring of warmth and generosity. Not only did we get incredible and useful items but Sidney also got a whole bunch of love from the women who attended. It just doesn’t mean a lot to her, it also means a lot to me.

We packed up the car and drove to our house. We unloaded all of the gifts and took them upstairs to the nursery. Later that night we FaceTimed my mom and showed her everything we got. By the end of it, we were tired! We were going to do the same thing for my sister but we told her she would have to wait until the next day.

The stars of yesterday were definitely my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. They put in so much work to pull that baby shower off. Everything from invitations to decorations to the organization to the food (especially the FOOD!) was top notch. It makes my heart warm how much love and consideration they show toward Sidney. They truly go all out to make their daughter/sister feel special. It surely makes Sid and I want to pay it forward! Don’t Blink.

A Man of Faith: Monsignor James LeBlanc

Last weekend, St. Andrew Catholic Church was packed. As is usual for the 4:30 p.m. Saturday vigil this time of year, a standing room only crowd had gathered. A few minutes before mass started, Monsignor James LeBlanc left his spot in the entrance procession. Walking away from the staging area near the vestibule, he started strolling past the rows. Giving the hardworking ushers a big hand, he used his lapel mic to point out to the folks standing against the walls of possible seats within the pews.

“We got some room here.”
“Looks like we got a spot right there.”
“Brothers and sisters, please make sure to move to the center of the pews so others can sit down.”

St. Andrew is not a small church. Msg. LeBlanc had probably went 20 rows deep, almost reaching the altar itself, before turning back around and meeting his altar servers and deacon back at the vestibule. You don’t usually see a pastor of a large parish take on the role of usher but then again you also usually don’t get the opportunity to be in the presence of a special priest like Msgr. LeBlanc.

Msgr. James LeBlanc strolled past several rows of pews inside St. Andrew Catholic Church to try and find seats for the people standing. Try to picture this photo with an overflowing crowd.


A parish is not defined by its pastor. Rather, it thrives or declines based on the faith of its community. To make this point perfectly clear, the Catholic Church does not keep priests around at one church for too long. Dioceses hand out new assignments to priests on a regular basis, uprooting them from one parish home and transferring them to another.

It is by design that the names on a parish marquee won’t be there forever. However, it is still bittersweet when the priests move on.

Although I understand this thinking and although I have come to expect it after three decades of practicing the faith, it is still bittersweet to see a priest move on. However, when Msgr. LeBlanc announced he would be departing St. Andrew a few weeks ago, I felt more “bitter” than “sweet.”

When Msgr. James LeBlanc announced he was leaving St. Andrew, both Sidney and I couldn’t help but feel sad.

If you know Msgr. LeBlanc, the story about him navigating a crowded church to find seating for those on their feet wouldn’t surprise you. You see, the man just doesn’t fit the mold that some people might concoct of a Catholic priest. Msgr. LeBlanc made no qualms about challenging the congregation to sing louder or say a prayer with more conviction. He liberally exclaimed “AMEN” with the expectation that the congregation would respond with the same (they did). He opened up his homilies for discussion. He wasn’t always 100% politically correct.

But even though he effectively smashed stereotypes that some people might have about how Catholic priests should serve and/or act, make no mistake about it, he was always Catholic to the core. He ran smooth services, gave beautiful homilies, displayed absolute reverence for the Holy Eucharist, and was very knowledgeable about any question you might have about Catholic doctrine. He made me proud about my faith; he made me confident to introduce Sidney to it.

Sidney and Msgr. LeBlanc made quick friends. He helped make me comfortable to introduce Sid to the faith.

St. Andrew is a tough assignment. Serving as an administrator for a large parish is one thing, it requires management and diplomacy skills. But St. Andrew is more than a big community. On any given Sunday, the crowd for that mass could be comprised of 75% vacationers and/or snowbirds. The constant revolving door of new worshippers can throw a wrench into a pastor’s plan for cohesion. Traditions that priests want to instill with their parishes become harder when the population changes drastically week to week. However, Msgr. LeBlanc successfully implemented the type of mass he wanted to run. More importantly, he served as a strong and holy man of faith for the thousands of people who travel to the Myrtle Beach area on a yearly basis. By giving a great impression to our visitors, he not only represented the parish well but the entire Diocese of Charleston.

Sidney and I with Msgr. LeBlanc at his farewell party.

As you can see, Msgr. LeBlanc was an incredible pastor when it came to Sundays. He mastered the responsibilities that many outsiders and even people of the faith think priests solely concentrate on. But Msgr. LeBlanc’s mass presentation, preaching style, and rapport with the audience weren’t the only things that endeared himself to so many during his time at St. Andrew. Rather, it was what he did on the days when the church wasn’t overflowing with people that made him stand out.

Sidney and I had the pleasure of getting married by Msgr. LeBlanc. In addition to listening to a workshop he gave on marriage in the Catholic Church that was open to the parish community, he also privately counseled us. About 10 days before our big day, we met with Msgr. LeBlanc in the parish offices. He blew us away. We chatted for almost two hours, a truly inspiring conversation that touched both Sidney and I. As Sid and I talked later that night, we both expressed how thankful we were for that special time.

About 10 days before our wedding, we sat down with Msgr. LeBlanc for a very spiritual and memorable conversation.

The day of our wedding was incredible. He squashed nerves, provided a sense of calm to the ceremony, and made it special from the entrance procession to the signing of the marriage certificate. He preached about how it wasn’t him that was administering the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony but rather Sidney and myself. We will never forget him coaching Sidney’s 3-year-old nephew to give us the rings right before we said our vows.

The moment where Msgr. LeBlanc coached our nephew, Harrison, to help with the ring delivery. Under LeBlanc’s guidance, Harrison held out the rings so they could be sprinkled with holy water and then he brought them to us.

Whether it was listening to confessions, attending church functions, or pouring his heart into starting the area’s first Catholic high school, Msgr. LeBlanc gave 100%. He didn’t do it for recognition or praise, he just did it for God and the people of the parish. You see, they don’t come more humble than Msgr. LeBlanc. During the summer, a nice reception was held to honor his 20th anniversary to the priesthood. But the truth is that if parish officials had not learned about that milestone themselves at the last minute, Msgr. LeBlanc would have let it pass by without saying a word. He also said next to nothing (at least when I was around)  about his elevation to the rank of Monsignor, a major and holy achievement in the career of any priest. And, as I have been told, any gratuity he received for performing special ceremonies such as weddings went promptly into the collection basket at the next mass.

Msgr. LeBlanc speaking at the reception marking his 20th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.

Msgr. LeBlanc is off to the Columbia area to become pastor of two parishes, Transfiguration Church and St. Theresa Church. Undoubtedly he will touch countless more people. Both parishes are very lucky.

It goes without saying that the community of St. Andrew is so appreciative toward Msgr. LeBlanc. We are sad to see him go. On a personal level, I will really miss listening to him preach. I will miss the way he impacted Sidney, an influence that has helped her express to me that one day she wants to become Catholic. We will both miss him when it comes time for the baptism of our daughter. But more than anything else, we are just thankful. Msgr. LeBlanc touched and enriched our lives and we can’t express our gratitude toward God enough. Don’t Blink.

Wild Thursday Rundown

It is only the 23rd of the month but it is February so that means this is the final Thursday Rundown before March. With that said, here we go with this week’s five topics…

Popcorn With What? – I am a follower of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Twitter account (@CTCSquares) so when it tweeted out this snack idea it definitely caught my eye. Popcorn and Cinnamon Toast Crunch? In my opinion, it is probably just a better bet to go with kettle corn. It is proven that chocolate goes with popcorn (have you ever combined Junior Mints Peanut Butter M&M’s with popcorn before?) so if I was to sprinkle cereal on my favorite movie theater concession item, I would go for Coco Puffs or perhaps Cookie Crisp. Just my opinion though.

The Cinnamon Toast Crunch Twitter account suggested it is a good idea to mix the cereal and popcorn.

Baby Update – Sidney will turn 34 weeks tomorrow! The arrival of our daughter is very quickly approaching. This afternoon we had another ultrasound and baby looks great. On Sunday, Sidney’s sisters will throw her a baby shower. I am excited for Sidney to have a good time at this special occasion with her family and friends. I think I might go watch a movie while they are enjoying themselves. Things are happening fast!

A photo I took of my beautiful wife at the doctor’s office today.

Hey I Heard You Were A Wild One – Over the past week, Sidney and I have watched episodes of a Netflix documentary series called “Wild Ones.” The series features animals from all around the world. Each episode centers on a region such as the African Savannah, wetlands, Amazon Rainforest, deserts, jungles, etc. For each region, about five different animals are featured. With the footage being absolutely incredible and with each episode only 25 minutes, they are pretty addicting. The documentary is full of unbelievable moments of nature, making Sidney and I constantly ask each other how the filmmakers are able to capture such brilliant scenes.

February Heat Wave – Although I have lived in Myrtle Beach for almost three years, I still have to pinch myself when the mercury hits the 70s in February. Winter has been non-existant here this year in South Carolina, something I am not complaining about one bit. For a month that is characterized as cold and bleak for many, it has been pool weather conditions for us.

A look at the 7-day forecast here in Myrtle Beach.

From the Archives – I had a couple different blog posts that I wrote on this date in the past that I felt would be worth mentioning. Just last year I counted down the top ten concerts I have attended in my life. Then, three years ago on February 23, 2014, I wrote about a phobia that impacts children. As I oversaw a mascot program at one point in my life, I saw this phobia first hand. Is that a good enough teaser for you to click on the link?

Believe it or not, some children have a serious phobia of mascots.


Have a great rest of your Thursday night. Try to do something nice for someone else this weekend. Don’t Blink.

Cooking Lessons

Over the past couple of years, I have made fun of my very limited culinary talents by writing posts about my halfhearted attempts to cook. Although I did put forth effort into these endeavors, most of the “dishes” I made were either of the no-bake variety or incredibly unhealthy (most of the time both).

In a genuine effort to help out more around the house, and to give my wife a break during the upcoming final weeks of her pregnancy, I have sought the incredible teaching skills and patience of Sidney. Over the past couple of weeks, she has given me a Cooking 101 crash course.

It started off on a very remedial basis. Sidney taught me the best way to boil water. She also educated me on the various kitchen appliances we have at our disposal. After those first couple of lessons, I could confidently prepare buttered noodles, one of my favorite meals.

This week we have graduated to more advanced techniques. We cooked Hamburger Helper on Monday night and then we made tacos last evening. Being able to properly cook ground beef is imperative because it opens up the possibilities for so many different meals. Sidney showed me best practices for thawing, cooking, draining, and serving the meat. It was very helpful. Along the way, I also learned about mixes and seasonings, additional skills that provide options for countless dishes.

During our kitchen sessions I literally keep notes with a pen and paper pad. I know Sidney would probably rather do other things than teach me basic cooking skills but she makes light of it, saying she “feels like Trisha Yearwood” as she explains each step she takes while making a dish.

Over these several sessions in the kitchen, I have learned that cooking is a bit more complex than what I might have thought. It takes patience, attention to detail, and discipline. Making a mistake can lead to sickness, disappointment, and/or a waste of food. There are definitely risks when cooking.

But the risks seem to usually pay off. The past two nights, Sidney has given me a big high five after we prepared our meals. Being more aware of the labor that goes into a dish, the food does seem to taste a little better.

I have a looooooooooong way to go. But I am trying to learn and I have the best teacher there is. My goal is to one day make a delicious and healthy meal for my wife and our future daughter. Don’t Blink.

Seniority Card Not Working Here

In a Dear Abby column on Sunday, a reader described her recent frustration at her apartment gym. She had a longstanding routine each day where she would arrive at the gym, hop on her favorite machine, and turn the television to a certain channel. At one point, the reader noticed a younger woman arriving shortly after she started her workout. After a couple weeks, this younger woman started arriving before the reader did. To the reader’s horror, when she would walk into the gym the younger woman would be on her machine with the TV set to a different channel. The reader explained that this new development was ruining her exercise time.

The reader asked Abby if it would be appropriate to pull her “seniority card” and ask the younger woman to defer the machine and the television remote to her. The woman was obviously hitting the gym earlier so she could beat out the reader for the preferable equipment and the TV privileges. It wasn’t fair, the reader reasoned, because her work schedule didn’t allow her to “one up” the younger woman and get there even earlier than her.

Rightfully so, Abby told the reader her proposal was out of line. It is gym etiquette, Abby responded, that equipment usage and amenity availability is distributed on a “first come, first serve” basis, not a “seniority” system.

I will say this, I know the reader’s frustration. A fan of routine myself, or, as my wife calls me, “a creature of habit,” I like doing certain tasks in a predictable manner. This translates to my workouts as well. Depending on what I am focusing on that day, I have a specific plan on what benches, machines, equipment, etc. I will be using. In a perfect world, everything will be clear and available to me at the exact minute my body says I need it. One reason why I exercise right when the gym opens early in the morning is so I can increase the chances of this “perfect world” scenario.

But, it doesn’t always happen that way. When I am in a groove and all I want to do is keep the momentum going by jumping on the incline bench, nothing sucks more than when someone else is using the only incline bench that happens to be in the gym. It might cause me to say a bad word in my head.

Although I am already at fault for letting it get to me, I always do have a backup plan. I have created my workouts in a flexible manner so that even if the backup to my backup to my backup is being used, I have something else to turn to. Although having this many alternatives is easier said than done in an apartment gym, the Dear Abby reader needs to learn to cope.

We don’t just need backup plans in the gym, we need them in all facets of life. If a meeting goes off schedule, a trip is delayed, a show is sold out, or weather ruins an occasion, we have to respond the best way possible by countering with an alternative. In most cases, pulling the “seniority card” or writing to an advice columnist is not going to solve the issue. Don’t Blink.

My Top Ten Presidents

Today is Presidents Day. For someone whose obesession with presidents reached an almost unhealthy level when I was younger, it is hard to believe that I have never written this type of blog post before. So, even though I can no longer recite all the United States Presidents in order while giving you obscure information on each one, I still have my favorites. In tonight’s blog post, I will countdown my top ten favorite commander-in-chiefs.

10. Grover Cleveland – It always intrigued me that on my presidents poster that hung above my bed was a portrait that appeared twice. Grover Cleveland is the only president to be elected to two non-consecutive terms. This distinction made him special to me and is the best explanation on why he cracks my list.

9. Franklin Delano Roosevelt – The only four term president, it is hard to overstate the good that FDR did for this country. By ushering America out of the Great Depression and leading it to victory in World War II, he goes down as perhaps the best president in history as well as one of my favorites.

8. Dwight Eisenhower – I always loved the look of a modern day decorated general going from the battlefield to the Oval Office. Dwight Eisenhower just fit the bill of what it meant to look presidential. The guy experienced the horrors and triumphs of both world wars, thus giving him a pretty extensive worldview when he took office.

7. John F. Kennedy – Growing up, I always felt sadness and asked “what if…?” when I would pass his pages in my presidents books. Through my eyes as a kid, he seemed to look 50 years younger than all the other leaders. As I grew older, I still asked “what if…?” as I became more fascinated with both his political career and family life. He had so much potential.

6. Abraham Lincoln – For me as a youngster, Abraham Lincoln was extremely interesting. He was on money, he was the tallest president, and he was assassinated! Of course as I evolved from just knowing interesting facts to knowing the impact the presidents had on our country, my respect for Lincoln grew even more. Perhaps no president governed in such hard times as President Lincoln.

5. John Adams – The David McCullough book on the life of John Adams is a must read. It took me on an extraordinary ride through the times and career of our second president. Adams served our country both at home and abroad and his contributions helped shape this country. The relationship between him and Thomas Jefferson was one for the ages, as well as his beautiful marriage to his wife, Abigail.

4. Theodore Roosevelt – When it comes to personality, I don’t think any president (including President Trump) can match that of Theodore Roosevelt. When I watched the documentary done on the Roosevelts a couple years ago, Teddy was rightfully portrayed as a complete badass. Forget that he went to Harvard, served in the army, and became president….I was fascinated by the safaris he went on that brought him face-to-face with some of the world’s most dangerous animals. In fact, on one of these safaris he was pretty much left for dead. I also like Teddy because when I was little my dad would take me to Pioneer Park in Walla Walla, Washington, and lead me to an area where Roosevelt once gave a speech. To know that a president at that time in history made it that far our west proved pretty cool to me.

3. Thomas Jefferson – Although this man had his flaws, he did write the Declaration of Independence, the greatest document ever authored in this country. He also goes down as one of the nation’s greatest presidents, serving young America for two terms. But what drew me to Jefferson was his flamboyancy. Although he was a great writer, politician, and ambassador, he was also really into art. The man loved nice things but was extremely well-educated on what was “nice.” He was good looking and smart, a man who would absolutely take over a room when he entered. Having the distinction of appearing on the $2 bill, Jefferson is one of my favorites.

2. Ronald Reagan – The first actual adult biography on a president I ever read was about Ronald Reagan. The man had a very colorful life and encountered his fair share of disappointments. He served his country, thrived in Hollywood, governed over the largest western state, survived an assassination attempt, and did so much good during his two terms in office. Just like John and Abigail Adams, his marriage to Nancy was another example of true love and selflessness. There is no wonder why even Democrats genuinely respect the guy.

1. George Washington – It all starts with him. Remember above how I said I liked the story of a modern day general succeeding on the battlefield and succeeding in the highest office? Well, George Washington might not be modern but his heroic story is the epitome of the American spirit. Ask yourself this: what would our country be like without Washington? Kind of a scary question, right? In fifth grade at lunch, my teacher put in a movie about George Washington’s life. The film was extremely long because I think it took us about half the school year to finish it. But it was awesome. Washington paved the way for this great country and it is fitting that Presidents Day is celebrated right around his birthday.


Happy Presidents Day, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Attending A Birthing Class

My eyes were recently opened even more to a major event that will soon bless the lives of Sidney and I. Yesterday we went to Conway Medical Center, the hospital where our daughter will be born, for a birthing class. On our calendar for about a month now, we both had anxiously anticipated this all-day event as an opportunity to become more accustomed to what we could expect on the big day. With the stork marking the spot on the door we were supposed to enter, we quickly found the location where we would spend the next six hours.

With the stork marking the spot, we walked through this door to enter our birthing class at Conway Medical Center.

By the time the class was called to order at 9 a.m., we were surrounded by five other couples. The 12 of us (or 18 of us depending how you look at it) would be under the direction of a labor and delivery nurse named Tammy. A 37-year-vet of this type of nursing, we knew we were in good hands with her. Nurse Tammy opened the session with a pep talk on how the women in the room were more than capable of the monumental task of giving birth while also stressing the importance us guys play in our role as “coaches.”

Then the movies started. Throughout the day, we watched videos that followed various couples around as they navigated the realm of childbirth. Filmed in an educational/documentary style, Nurse Tammy showed clips that addressed preparing for the hospital, prelabor signs, true vs. false labor, onset of labor, labor itself, the different types of birth, medication options, and postpartum care.

A look at the layout of our birthing class. You can see three of the five couples that joined us. Nurse Tammy is up front starting a video. Our class took place at Conway Medical Center.

It was a lot to take in but the clips were broken up and we had a discussion after each one. The biggest eye opening part for me? In my life, I had never watched a woman give birth before, whether it be through the natural process or through a Cesarean. These videos made no qualms about showing the miracle of life in an up close and personal manner. When I walked out the door at the end of the day, I knew exactly what it looks like for a baby to enter the world.

Of course it wasn’t just videos and discussions though. Nurse Tammy took us on a tour of The Birth Place, the place at Conway Medical Center where we will have our baby. We strolled through the entire wing, walked inside a delivery room, met the staff, and looked at a postpartum room. While on this tour we had the opportunity to view all the room amenities such as the retractable mirror on the wall, the rollout bed for the husband, and the monitoring system used by nursing staff to insure that we are never alone in case we need something.

The opportunity to tour The Birth Place at Conway Medical Center was very much appreciated. I took this photo as we followed the other couples into the facility.

We also learned breathing exercises. Although one of the videos covered it as well, Nurse Tammy took time to offer us some breathing hints for when labor comes. She also gave us some massage techniques and stretching exercises that can help reduce stress and relieve pain for the mom.

A couple more photos of us touring The Birth Place at Conway Medical Center.

Toward the end of the day, Nurse Tammy brought out what she called her “toys.” She showed us an epidural tray, a skeleton of the pelvis, a vacuum extractor, a catheter, and several other instruments. It was cool to see these things right in front of us. Nurse Tammy explained that “knowledge is power” and that it is important to be familiar with some of the tools we will encounter while in the delivery room.

In the days leading up to the birthing class, Sidney joked that I was most excited about the free lunch and snacks advertised on the registration form. The free food did not disappoint! Fruit, graham crackers, and juice/water were offered in the classroom throughout the day. However, the best part was the lunch. They let us loose in the cafeteria and allowed us to get whatever we wanted. I hauled out a tray that included pasta, turkey, cornbread, and pudding. I told Sid that the lunch itself pretty much paid for the class!

Sidney and I enjoying our time at the birthing class.

But the complimentary food wasn’t what I wrote down as the best part of the day. When I filled out the evaluation, I noted that the biggest strength of the class was the opportunity for Q&A with Nurse Tammy. Throughout the day, and especially at the end, we could ask questions about anything and everything. Sidney asked a lot of great questions and the other couples asked some really good ones as well. Nothing was off limits and it was very nice to have a person who has seen it all through four decades in nursing give us truthful and compassionate answers.

The birthing class was worth the time and investment. I thank Conway Medical Center and Nurse Tammy for preparing us for an upcoming major event in our lives. Don’t Blink.

A Normal Thursday Rundown

Don’t Blink because February is more than halfway over. Here we go with my latest Thursday Rundown…

Latest Buffalo Wild Wings Visit – As I mentioned in a previous post, I am going to update you on all the meals we enjoy from the many gift cards we received at Christmas. My sister and brother-in-law gave us a card to Buffalo Wild Wings and we used it this past Friday. We usually order wings and split them, but this time around Sidney and I ordered our own non-wing items. She got the Bayou po’boy chicken sandwich and I went with the new buffalo mac and cheese. The mac and cheese comes with chicken covered in your favorite BWW wing sauce (spicy garlic for me) and it is topped with bread crumbs. Although it looked like kind of a small serving when they brought it to me, I soon found out that it was more than enough. Best of all, it was delicious.

We enjoyed a Buffalo Wild Wings date night on Friday.

Grammy’s Review – Over the past couple of years, I have been pretty hard on the Grammy’s. It just seemed to me that the content and quality of the show kept declining. I think 2017 was a step forward for the awards show. The energy was back and it seemed like the Grammy’s ditched efforts from the past couple years to be as artsy and symbolic as possible. It was more about the awards and performances this year. I actually even thought James Corden, someone who I am not a big fan of, did a great job with the hosting duties.

The Lego Batman Movie – On Saturday, my father-in-law and I took my nephew to the theater to watch “The Lego Batman Movie.” I assumed the film would be completely geared toward kids but I was wrong. I actually enjoyed “The Batman Lego Movie” and laughed often throughout it. In fact, at times it felt like I was watching something off of Adult Swim. But don’t think that the film was lost on the children! Harrison was so engaged with the movie that he refused to go to the bathroom, doing his best to fight off nature’s call (he was successful) until the credits started to roll.

The “Lego Batman Movie” was pretty good.

Latest Netflix Documentary I Watched – I recently finished watching a documentary titled “Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs.” The film profiles this guy who believes he sees UFOs pretty much on a nightly basis. He has video proof but it is sketchy at best. However, what really stands out is his personality. I was shaking my head in amusement throughout the whole documentary at the degree of eccentricity the dude constantly displayed. If you are weird like me, you will like it.

If you pass “Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs” on Netflix, give it a try.

Marco Rubio – One year ago today, Sidney and I attended a Marco Rubio rally. At the time, he was at the peak of his popularity in the Republican Primary race. However, Chris Christie would soon embarrass him on the debate stage and he eventually dropped out. But Marco has nothing to be ashamed about. He won re-election to the U.S. Senate and he is very relevant on the national stage. He will run again for president one of these days.

A year ago today, Sidney and I met Marco Rubio.


Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. I will be back on Sunday to share an interesting experience with you. Have a nice weekend. Don’t Blink.

Be Happy With What You Have But Work For What You Want

Every now and then, I come across a page on my Life’s Little Instruction calendar that I want to do more with than just tweet out. Sometimes I like to elaborate with a paragraph or two. Today is one of those days…

This was today’s Life’s Little Instruction.

This instruction gives us two big nuggets of wisdom:
1. Be happy with what you have.
2. Work for what you want.

I subscribe to the thinking that all of us living in this country hit the lottery. With so much of the world’s population living in poverty, filth, and danger, it goes without saying that we have it pretty good. How did we get so lucky? Why did we get picked to live in a non-third world country?

It seems like I have been asking myself versions of the above questions quite frequently the past several weeks (making today’s instruction speak even more to me). Lately I have been extra mindful of the fact that I get to go to sleep in an actual comfortable bed under a nice roof in a climate controlled room. Many people will never even experience this once in their entire lives.

What makes me even more aware of my luck is that I know I have it pretty good just in terms of others living in the United States. Our country is great but we definitely have way too many people who lack necessities that many others enjoy. Undeservedly, I have it incredibly good. I have a job, I have reliable transportation, I have a family, I have available food. When I take the time to break this down, there is no way I can feel any way other than ecstatic about what I have.

However, just because most of us (I am referring to my blog audience) have it great and can bring ourselves to be happy with what we got, it doesn’t mean we have to be complacent. In my opinion, there is no issue with working one’s tail off to improve and get what it is that we want. As long as we keep the charmed life that many of us enjoy in perspective, working hard to achieve goals is not something we should be ashamed of.

I have always taken heed of the bible verse from Luke that says whomever is given much, much is expected. To me, it is the command for all of us to reach our potential. It is a directive that in order to live our lives to the fullest, we must work hard.

To boil the entire instruction down in a different set of words, I think it is safe to say that we need to be happy but not complacent. We need to recognize on a daily basis everything we have been given but we still need to push ourselves. Never underestimate the power of both gratitude and hard work. Don’t Blink.