Movie Sequels

What do you think of movie sequels? Apparently, Kevin Costner doesn’t like them. In a recent interview, he expressed his belief that the writing often suffers when a follow up film is introduced. Because the screenplay is what attracts Costner to a movie, he has the tendency to pass on such projects.

Many of us don’t have such a specific reason for disliking sequels. Instead, we will resort to the general line of “the sequel is never better than the original” when discrediting a film that has a roman numeral after it. However, I try not to be so dismissive.

In my opinion, I think a sequel can oftentimes be better than its predecessor. If a movie is so good that it deserves a second (or third, fourth, etc.) part, then chances are that the new film is going to receive more resources to make it. That means a bigger budget. A bigger budget means better technology and better talent. It also means a larger contingent of writers or, in the case of Mr. Costner’s apprehension to participate in sequel projects, original writers who are even more motivated to produce a better screenplay because they are getting paid more.

But besides a fatter budget to make a movie, I enjoy sequels simply because they will always be more updated and modern than the original. This goes beyond the technology aspect I mentioned above. Movies that are made later more closely mirror the current reality we all live in. In other words, we can relate to them more. What’s not to like?

As long as a sequel is not rushed in production, I truly think it can be just as good or better than the original. I think many of us suffer from a psychological bias in that we have been told so much that the original is always better than the sequel that we blindly assume it to be true every time.

However, to be fair, I think there is another bias that makes us favor sequels. If we watch a sequel first and then watch the original, from my experiences, we are likely to declare that the second movie is better than the first. Just like with our tendency to give the original the nod over the sequel based simply on an old adage, this thinking also dismisses objective thinking.

Sequels have a place in cinema. However, I think they will always face an uphill battle from a critical standpoint. Now, should I end this blog post with a few sequels I think are better than their originals? Okay! In my opinion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (being serious here), The Birds II, Poltergeist 2, and Rocky II are all way better than thei first films. Do you have a favorite sequel? Let me know! Don’t Blink.

Diet Coke Shakes It Up

Judging by the time I have spent on this earth, I can count three sodas that people depend on. What do I mean by “depend” on? I mean drinks that people rely on multiple times per day for their liquid intake. They grab it in the morning, at lunch, before they go to sleep, and every possible time in between. When it comes to these soda addicts, two of the soft drink choices I have regularly seen people obsessed with are Dr. Pepper and Mt. Dew.

But there is another soft drink that trumps both DP and Dew in terms of people using it as their water. Unequivocally, there is no drink more popular than Diet Coke. I have met people who are rarely seen without a Diet Coke in their hand. I know individuals who will pour three cans into an oversized mug container and drink a few of them throughout the day. I can name folks who have enough Diet Coke stockpiled at their residences to last them what seems like a decade or two. The obsession is real.

It is because of this mania that I just figured the Coca-Cola Company would never need to expand its Diet Coke brand. Why tinker with a product that basically has a cult following of millions?

Needless to say, I am not being paid the big bucks to serve as a soft drink executive. Apparently, Coca-Cola believed it needed to “liven” up Diet Coke and they definitely made good on their intentions. Last week, the company introduced a line of Diet Coke fruit-flavored sodas. In addition to the original, you can now choose between flavors such as ginger lime, feisty cherry, and zesty blood orange.

Diet Coke is introducing new fruit flavored sodas.

And the new flavors won’t be differentiated simply by packaging regular Diet Coke cans with the signature script in a different color. These new flavors will come in tall slim cans with splashes of color covering the can. As one person said, they will be very “Instagrammable.”

So yes, I made it clear above that I didn’t think Diet Coke would or need to alter/expand its brand. But now that it has, I kind of like what it did. I was very critical of Coca-Cola’s decision to “change” the name of Coca-Cola Zero but I think this Diet Coke rollout makes a little more sense.

The company is unapologetically honest when explaining why it is introducing new Diet Coke flavors and it can be summed up in one word: millennials.

I get it. Targeting millennials these days is a very profitable business strategy. When done right, it can pay off with a significant return on investment. I think Coke is introducing a product that will appeal to this audience. Although I read one article in the Washington Post where the author said Coca-Cola is trying too hard to entice this coveted group, as a millennial myself, I kind of like the new Diet Coke launch.

For one, I do like a little fruit with my soda. I am a fan of the Coca-Cola freestyle machines and will typically add a shot of cherry or grape to my soft drink. I also think the fresh look is sleek and appealing. It just looks modern to me. In my mind, it reminds me exactly of the Red Bull expansion. Just like Diet Coke, Red Bull has a very distinctive brand and taste. The energy drink went out on a big limb when it offered fruit flavor twists on its signature taste. However, it yielded success. I think Diet Coke will experience similar results.

I have never figured out why Diet Coke tastes good to so many people so I won’t go out to the store to buy the new fruit flavors. However, I think this move has the chance to succeed. If you are one of my Diet Coke-loving readers, please let me know your thoughts. Don’t Blink.

Thursday Rundown Within A Thursday Rundown

All is right here in Myrtle Beach. After some chilly temperatures, even by my own standards, we are back to 70 degrees. We are also back to the Thursday Rundown! Let’s get started…

Convocation of Priests – On Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to attend mass with a bunch of priests! The Diocese of Charleston held its 2018 Convocation of Priests retreat in Myrtle Beach. During the retreat, the group met for daily mass at St. Andrew. I attended the Tuesday service and had a nice time listening to Bishop Guglielmone and worshipping alongside every priest in the diocese. You will never attend a mass with more enthusiasm and crisp responses than one with 50 ordained disciples of God in the pews. Adding to a memorable night was reconnecting with Msgr. LeBlanc for the first time since he left St. Andrew about 10 months ago.

On Tuesday night, I attended mass at St. Andrew. It was in conjunction with the Convocation of Priests for the Diocese of Charleston. The priests sat up in the front section while parishioners sat in the middle and back sections.

The Lion King – Sidney and I spent our Saturday night watching “The Lion King.” It was a little ironic because we had talked about the movie just a couple days before. We had a nice time watching it for the first time in years. What stuck out to us was how old the animation looked but how beautiful and creative all the songs were. Did you know there is going to be a live action Lion King that comes out in 2019? Seth Rogen is going to play Pumbaa. Get ready!

A photo I took of my TV of one of the more well-known scenes of “The Lion King.”

A Thursday Rundown Within A Thursday Rundown – Five quick thoughts for you…(1) Congrats to Alabama on winning the national championship in thrilling overtime fashion, even if I didn’t make it to the fourth quarter. (2) We watched the 2018 premiere of “This Is Us” on Tuesday night – not the best episode and not the worst. That therapy scene though! (3) Sidney made her Cajun chicken pasta on Wednesday night, it is one of my favorite meals she makes. Trust me, look up the recipe! (4) One of Sidney’s New Year resolutions is to Tweet more. Make sure to follow her at @sidneyreser. (5) On Monday, students returned to Coastal Carolina for the spring semester and it has been great having them back on campus!

Sidney makes a Cajun chicken pasta that is to die for.

Sloan Update at 43 Weeks – Our daughter is doing just fine. She is reaching for us now and will cry if we walk away. It is imperative that we keep a close eye on her at all times because she can move from one end of the living room to the other in a flash. If Sloan knows that Sid is in the master bedroom, she will leave her spot in the living room and use her combination of regular crawling/army crawling to visit her mommy. Although she is not saying any words, she is very vocal! Her smile is as bright and frequent ever.

Here is Sloan’s photo collage at 43 weeks.

Throwback Thursday Baby Style – I snapped the photo on the left of Sloan and her cousin, Henry, at daycare this morning. Aren’t they cute?! Even though they are still babies, it made me think about when they were just newborns. Now they can sit up and eat ice cream! Time goes by so fast.

The photo on the left I took at daycare today. The photo on the right is from when they were newborns.


Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Happy 1st birthday to Stevie Blair, the daughter of our friends. We can’t wait to celebrate on Saturday. Don’t Blink.

The Decline of the Anti-Trumpers

In the paper today, I read an interesting and honest article. Titled “The decline of anti-Trumpism,” it analyzed the way in which people who oppose President Donald Trump are increasingly dooming their own cause. Instead of critically explaining their arguments and offering alternatives to the policies of President Trump, they simply aim to express their hatred for the man while embracing whatever negative rumor they hear, regardless if it is completely false (such as Fire and Fury). The author of the article said anti-Trumpism is “getting dumber.”

With Anti-Trumpism on the decline, it looks like Donald Trump could once again get the last laugh.

Here is the thing – the author of the article is an anti-Trumper himself. However, he felt it was time for him to speak out against what he thinks is a troubling trend. He decided to use The New York Times to do so.

Although I don’t involve myself in politics, it has been hard to not observe what Mr. Brooks wrote about this morning. After President Trump was elected, it was a tough time for many in this country. Protests were held, steam was vented, and threats to leave the country were levied. I understood the frustration. But when Inauguration Day came around, I challenged my fellow Americans to give Trump a chance.

That never happened.

Not that President Trump did himself any favors. Instead of ignoring the mainstream media and those who never bothered to give him a fair shake, he decided to fight back. When it came to his critics, he brought the same attitude he had as a private citizen into the Oval Office. He has been nasty and rude to many, a trait that many find very unbecoming of the Office of the Presidency.

Of course, President Trump’s rhetoric has only fueled those who hate him. People have so much anger toward our Commander In Chief it is damaging their ability to actually offer critical arguments, Brooks observes. Perhaps that has been Trump’s game plan all along?

Anti-Trumpers, as hard as it might be, need to stop taking the bait. The old adage of “two wrongs don’t make a right” couldn’t ring more true. Brooks argues that at this point you almost can’t tell a difference between President Trump and those who oppose him.

Unfortunately, this stalemate favors Trump. Why? Think about it, President Trump could suddenly stop lashing out. If he did so, Trump’s accomplishments in office (and as much as it hurts many of us to admit, he has achieved a lot in his short time in office) would take center stage instead of his poor temperament. Where does that leave the anti-Trump movement? As angry and bitter as ever, just with much less leverage.

The anti-Trump movement needs to do an about face. People who despise Trump must stop pressing the retweet button on every extreme tweet they come across, cease chastising people who voted for him, and swallow the venom they spew every time they hear the name President Trump. The chance to be a clear and respectable alternative is slipping away. And we all know what that means…Trump wins, again. Don’t Blink.

Not Pumped About Tonight’s Game

Tonight is the College Football National Championship Game. If you are asking if I will be watching, the answer is yes. How couldn’t I watch the grand finale of the game I like the most? It isn’t even close, I enjoy nothing more than college football, it just doesn’t get any better. However, if you were to ask my thoughts on the 2018 matchup, you wouldn’t see me jumping up and down with enthusiasm.

I am not one of those people calling for a drastic overhaul of the current playoff system. I appreciate the step that was taken in the first place to create a playoff, even if it only includes four teams. Although no lawyer, I have a rudimentary understanding of contracts and I realize this current format will be here for several years. I plan to live with it.

So in no way am I blaming this evening’s Alabama vs. Georgia national championship tilt on anyone. Rather, I am just chalking it up to dumb luck.

Sorry not sorry, I think it is lame that two teams from the same conference are playing each other to determine the college football national champion. Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking anything away from the SEC. I think it speaks volumes about the conference that two schools ended up making it to the title game. But for the average fan, this sucks.

In my mind, championship games, especially at the college level, are just better when they feature teams with contrasting styles of play from different geographic locales who don’t play one another in the regular season. The element of the unknown is part of the intrigue.

I hope we are all treated to a hard fought, close game this evening. In the end, I guess that is all we can ask for. But we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that this season’s championship game has lost some of its luster.

Oh, and by the way, I am rooting for Alabama. Don’t Blink.

Start the New Year Tomorrow

We are already a week into 2018 but to be honest, it seems like I never had adequate time to welcome in the new year. At the beginning of each year, I always take the first day to start things out right and fulfill a few traditions. Then, the next day, it all about returning to work and starting a routine.

Was your first week of 2018 a success?

However, that didn’t happen last week. A snow storm disrupted the start of 2018, wiping out Sid’s entire school week, shutting down Sloan’s daycare, and closing campus at the university I work at for 2.5 days. This unexpected time off created a type of purgatory between 2017 and 2018. The holiday season was over but the feel of a fresh start was absent. It was kind of weird.

Forgive me for overreaching my bounds, but as far as I am concerned, my new year starts tomorrow. Sid’s school will welcome students for the first time in 2018, Sloan’s daycare will finally open its doors again, and the spring semester will start at Coastal. The normalcy of a routine will set in and the opportunity to make positive new year changes will be available to us all.

I bring this up to illustrate a point. Perhaps the first week of your new year didn’t get derailed by weather. Perhaps everything went as scheduled and Mother Nature neglected to close down your town. But, despite favorable conditions, maybe you already faltered with your New Year’s resolutions or neglected to set any at all. What to do?

Start fresh tomorrow! You still have 51 weeks left in the year. The first week of the new year is hard enough to begin with a bang. The holiday hangover is real, it is tough to automatically flip the switch, and for those starting a fitness goal the regulars at the gym can be especially cruel to newcomers. Perhaps the week of “purgatory” I mentioned above can be a good thing for all of us.

I am a big proponent of New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because they are goals. To be productive human beings, we all need goals in our lives. They help better ourselves while also giving us hope and something to strive for.

No matter if it was impacted by a weather event or not, the first week of 2018 is gone and there is nothing we can do about it. However, what we can do is make the next 358 days of the year the best we possibly can. For those of us who didn’t crush the start of 2018 on January 1, start tomorrow. Don’t Blink.

First Thursday Rundown of 2018

After a couple weeks off from writing the Thursday Rundown, it feels good to work on the first one of 2018. It might be a new year but the premise of the Rundown is still the same…five random topics. Here we go…

Update On Snow – Yesterday, I wrote about the snow storm that was supposed to hit Myrtle Beach but never did. Well, overnight we did get some snow. Yep, what you see below is what we woke up to. But we did get a lot of ice and surrounding towns did get actual snow. Thankfully, roads were perfectly safe and clear in the Myrtle Beach area by 11 a.m. this morning. As a precaution, Horry County Schools will remain closed tomorrow so Sid will have another day off. At CCU, our day will be delayed with work starting at 11 a.m.

This is the extent of the snow we received in our Myrtle Beach yard.

Fun With Geofilters – When Snapchat first debuted custom geofilters, it was a long and sometimes expensive process to get them approved. Not anymore. The submission process is a breeze and approval comes within minutes. The price tag is even better. During the holidays, I was able to activate these custom geofilters for 24 hours at only $5 each. My family loved them and they were very well used. If you have a party, birthday, or milestone coming up for a loved one, I recommend creating a geofilter to celebrate it.

Custom Geofilters are easy, fun, and impactful.

Best Nine – A certain website uses Instagram to create a piece of content called Best Nine. The site will look at an Instagram account and determine the nine photos that received the most likes from a given year and place them in a collage. In the past, I haven’t been too happy with the output for my Best Nine. Just because they are your most popular photos doesn’t necessarily mean they are your favorite. Well, I was pretty satisfied with this year’s edition. My followers seemed to especially enjoy the photos I posted of my two favorite girls. Below is my 2017 Best Nine.

This is my Instagram Best Nine of 2017.

Sloan at 42 Weeks – As 2018 has now arrived, when someone asks me when Sloan was born, I can now reply with “last year.” In fact, I can also reply with “last year” when someone asks me when Sloan started to crawl. That’s right, Sloan legitimately crawled for the first time on Dec. 29 in Spokane right in the middle of my parents’ living room, the exact same place she rolled over for the first time last July. She loves her new Christmas toys but still enjoys playing with baby wipe packages, outlet cords, and iPhones. Her hair has curled in the back and she seems to be growing each day. We believe that 2018 is going to be a banner year for her.

This is Sloan’s photo collage at 42 weeks.

Life’s Little Instructions Back Again – For those who follow me on Instagram, you know my trademark is posting Life’s Little Instructions each day. For six years I have done this to brighten the day of my followers when they wake up in the morning. Well, your daily piece of lighthearted advice is back in 2018. If you wish to receive some extra motivation each day, make sure to follow me on Instagram (@brentreser).

Me holding the 2018 Life’s Little Instructions calendar. To see the daily instructions, follow me on Instagram at @brentreser.


The first of many Thursday Rundowns of 2018 is in the books. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great rest of your day. Don’t Blink.

A Disappointment for Myrtle Beach

It was supposed to be a glorious winter wonderland. Unfortunately, for many, it feels like the Grinch swooped in and stole Christmas.

Our area has been bracing for a winter storm for several days now. Our local media stations reported on the arrival of Winter Storm Grayson non-stop. Public safety outlets prepared for the collisions that would undoubtedly happen due to inexperienced winter drivers on the roads. Emergency management personnel worked around the clock to inform the organizations they work for about the intricacies of the storm so officials could make the best decisions about ceasing/continuing operations. Even social media professionals (cough, cough) worked hard to let their audiences know about closures and delays.

In terms of hysteria, this winter storm was right on par with your typical hurricane. However, instead of taking precautions to battle a tropical storm that can bring deadly winds, flooding rain, and violent destruction, we were bracing for 1-3 inches of snow.

To my friends out west, laugh all you want. Yes, we call that amount of snow a “dusting” where I am from, but I completely understand why people out here were calling it “Snowmageddon.” You see, these winter events typically don’t happen in the south. Most adults around these parts who have lived in the area most of their lives can count on one hand the amount of times they have seen snow. Most years, South Carolina is shielded from the white stuff and citizens don’t have to worry about the havoc and inconvenience it creates. Driving in snow? Removing snow? Dressing for snow? These are usually not concerns.

That was supposed to change today…

Sidney and I have listened to countless people joke with us the past two days…looks like you guys brought the snow with you from Spokane. Well, I don’t know if we can take credit for giving Myrtle Beach hope for its first actual snow accumulation in eight years but I do admit, it is kind of ironic. However, half of me kept wishing that we did leave it out in Washington. Personally, I hate snow.

In 2010, Myrtle Beach received snow accumulaton.

But many people out here don’t share my sentiment, or at least think they don’t. It was a very exciting time for Myrtle Beach residents as they anticipated a weather pattern completely out of the norm. Folks down here were straight up giddy. It looked as if a late holiday present was coming. So, while half of me didn’t want to see a single snowflake drop, the other half was hoping my friends down here would get their wish.

As the week went on, the forecast for snow kept increasing. By Tuesday night, it was a certainty that our area would be covered in a white blanket. The confidence this morning only grew. Once the day transitioned to the afternoon, our meteorologists had decided to up the ante. We would not get 1-3 inches; instead, we would get 3-5 inches!

By this afternoon, we were supposed to get between 3 – 5 inches of snow. We ended up getting nothing.

The local news told us the snow would arrive at 3 p.m. But it didn’t. They moved the time back to 4 p.m. Nothing. It was adjusted to 5 p.m. Then 6 p.m. at the very latest. Still nada. Some weather people put out a last-ditch estimate for the snow to start at 7 p.m. When that deadline came and passed with absolutely no snow fall, the meteorologists conceded that it was a “busted” forecast. After all that, Myrtle Beach would not see snow.

I found this tweet from popular meteorologist Ed Piotrowski of ABC 15 very funny and also humbling.

So even though I didn’t move to Myrtle Beach to see snow, I still feel bad for my friends and family who really hoped to experience it. There was a lot of buildup and excitement that never materialized.

I also feel bad for the meteorologists. They work so hard and put forth a lot of effort forecasting this storm. I know they wanted to deliver on the snow but no one can completely predict the crazy turns the weather will take.

The snow that was supposed to come as early as 3 p.m. never came at all.

If there is any consolation for the Myrtle Beach children who saw their hopes dissolve this evening, it is that they get another day off tomorrow. Although we didn’t get snow, we got a lot of ice. Thus, in addition to the “snow day” they got today, Horry County School students will get one tomorrow as well. Of course that means if the students don’t have school, neither does Sidney. But it won’t just be Sid and Sloan spending the day together. The Coastal Carolina University campus is closed due to the weather so I will be working remotely in the comfort of our own home. Although I am not a fan of snow days, I am doing the best I can to enjoy the time off with my girls.

As I look outside of my house right now, we have absolutely no snow.

Stay safe, everyone. I hope the people in the towns surrounding Myrtle Beach who did receive snow enjoy it. To those individuals going to bed this evening disappointed, don’t get too bent out of shape – snow really isn’t that great. Don’t Blink.

Enhancing Homemade Meals With A Little Help From Restaurants

Restaurants don’t just come in handy when you want to order a full meal. Often, you can purchase small items not listed on the menu to improve a dinner you are cooking yourself. A couple instances of utilizing a restaurant for an “assist” occurred this past week in Spokane, thus serving as my inspiration for this blog post. Let me give you five examples…

Ice from Sonic – It is no secret, Sonic is as famous for its ice as it is for its Sonic Blasts. A brand new Sonic just opened up a couple minutes from my parents’ house and my brother and Sid decided to stop by last week to pick up some lunch. Besides the grilled cheese sandwiches and mozzarella sticks they brought home, they also carried in a bag of Sonic ice. For just $0.99, they were given a bag filled with the famous “nugget” ice. We kept it out on our back porch and scooped our cups in it all week long when we went to fix a drink. My mom even commented that it made her soda taste better!

Taco Salad Shells from Taco Bell – When my mom would host her Bunco group, she would make homemade taco salad…well, almost homemade. Although she labored on the salad itself, she went to a famous fast food restaurant for the containers to serve it in. For $0.10 each, you can purchase taco shell bowls at Taco Bell. They are great for entertaining as you normally don’t see taco shell bowls outside of restaurants.

Fortune Cookies from any Asian Restaurants – Sure you can buy a box of fortune cookies at the grocery store but if you want the homemade or obscure variety, just walk inside any Asian restaurant and ask the hostess. Some places will charge a quarter per cookie while other places will happily give you a handful for free. Trust me, I have a lot of experience with this. Fortune cookies can provide the perfect surprise ending to any homemade Chinese feast.

You can walk inside any Asian restaurant and request fortune cookies.

Alfredo Sauce from Papa Murphy’s – Growing up, I always enjoyed it when my mom would let us kids make homemade pizza for dinner. She would set all the ingredients out on the table and let us have at it. While she provided the red pizza sauce herself, she called upon Papa Murphy’s to provide the white sauce. A couple hours before we prepared our pies, she would go inside the store and get several plastic condiment cups, usually $.50 each, of the delicious alfredo sauce served by my favorite pizza chain. Being able to choose an ingredient from an actual pizza place was always fun.

Salad Dressing from Tomato Street – There is a fabulous Italian restaurant in Spokane called Tomato Street. Besides its to-die-for pastas and savory garlic bread, it also has a reputation for an amazing creamy garlic salad dressing. For our Christmas dinner, my mom topped the salad with dressing she went and purchased at the busy restaurant the day before. No store bought dressing could ever compete with what Tomato Street serves and my mom took full advantage of it.


Do you use any side items from restaurants to enhance your homemade meals? If so, let me know. You can get pretty creative. Don’t Blink.

A Holiday Week With Family In Spokane

It was short, but it was so sweet. Last night, my little family arrived back to South Carolina after a special holiday visit to Spokane. It was the best way possible to conclude 2017.

You can’t beat being around family during the holidays. We just got back from a great trip spent with mine.

We departed in the afternoon on Christmas Day. By the time our plane touched down in Spokane, it was the very early morning of December 26. Nonetheless, my parents were at the airport with big smiles (and a happy tear or two) to greet us. A memorable trip was underway!

Sloan and I watching a movie on the plane.

After my mom had her chance to hold Sloan and give her plenty of kisses, we all went to bed for a few hours. Perhaps not well-rested, but more than awake because we were fueled by happiness and adrenaline, we enjoyed a great first day.

My mom holding Sloan in the wee hours of the morning of our arrival.

My brother arrived at the house first that Tuesday morning. Shortly thereafter, my sister pulled up in my parents’ driveway with her daughter and baby son in tow. A big draw of the trip was to see Johnny again. We were in Spokane when he was born in July but had not seen him for six months. It was so nice to hold Johnny and to watch him play with Sloan.

Johnny and Sloan spent a lot of time together.

That first day we celebrated our family Christmas. We played games, took photos with our custom Snapchat geofilter, admired the snow, and watched over the babies and toddlers. When my brother-in-law showed up we ate our prime rib dinner, opened gifts, and looked for the pickle.

My parents with Sloan, Johnny, and Mikayla on Christmas day.

The next day, Wednesday, December 27, I woke up early to work out with my dad at a gym I have grown very fond of over the years. I returned and shoveled the driveway as Spokane had received even more snow over the night. During this all, my mom joyfully took care of Sloan, savoring every moment. After I returned to Myrtle Beach my mom told me, “I sure loved my mornings with Sloan.”

On Wednesday morning, I shoveled our driveway.

My sister and her kids soon came over. Miranda and Sidney went to Target and Glen and I went to Costco. Later that evening, Glen, Sid, and I went to the historic Davenport Hotel in Downtown Spokane where we had drinks at a place called the Safari Room with my brother’s friend, Courtney. The atmosphere and conversation were both lovely. We came home and ate with my parents (and Sloan) as we heated up the leftovers from our Christmas dinner and made sandwiches. Later that night, Glen, Sid, and I went to a neighborhood bar where we caught up with old friends.

Enjoying ourselves at the Safari Room at the Davenport Hotel with Glen and Courtney.

On Thursday, our entire crew, strollers and all, went shopping at the mall. From there we ate lunch at a place called Fatburger, a joint that Sidney had wanted to try since we visited last Christmas season. When we arrived home, Sid and I took Sloan out in the snow for the first time. We took her on a sleigh ride and even though she certainly didn’t love it, we were able to make some cool memories. We came inside and we all played a Jeopardy board game (congrats on winning, Glen). Then, we all invaded the basement to watch the Holiday Bowl between Washington State and Michigan State. The outcome was far from what we wanted but the appetizers we made for the game sure were good. We concluded the evening by watching a movie.

Sloan experienced snow for the first time.

Friday rolled around and my dad and I got in another gym session. When we arrived home, Sid and mom were having a great time playing with Sloan. My mom cooked up a big breakfast for us all which was delicious. Later in the day, my mom gladly watched over the babies as my dad, Miranda, Sid, Glen, and I went to Birdy’s, another neighborhood sports bar near our house. We had the best time. We told stories, we laughed, and we enjoyed each other’s company. It was one of the highlights of the trip. We returned home and then our entire group went out to Tomato Street, a restaurant with some of the best Italian food you will ever enjoy. We had a very nice time. Upon returning home, we watched another movie to finish off the night.

Our crew at Birdy’s in Spokane.

Saturday was our last day in Spokane and we made the most of it. The morning was spent sitting in the living room as Sid, my mom, my dad, and I chatted while watching Sloan play. Sid and I made our traditional visit to a local haunt called Selkirk and we roamed the aisles of Fred Meyer. When we returned home, Miranda and her family had arrived. I was able to play with Mikalya and hold Johnny one final time. We then went off to vigil mass at St. Thomas More, one of the moments I always look forward to when returning to Spokane. After the service ended we drove by a house in the area that is decorated in a holiday Disney theme each year. When we got back to the house, my parents prepared a steak dinner. It was fantastic as it was my favorite meal of the trip. We then watched another movie and savored the remaining time we had together.

Sidney at Selkirk this past Saturday.

We left my parents’ house at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. They took us to the airport and we said our tearful goodbyes.

I had an amazing time in Spokane with my family during the holidays.

It was a special time in Spokane. We all stuck very close and enjoyed each other. It was nice to watch Sloan interact with her fellow baby cousin. Just as we were impressed with little Johnny, I know my parents, brother, and sister were impressed with Sloan. We were treated so incredibly well by my parents. We were also touched by how much time and love my brother and sister gave us. It was tough to leave my hometown and the people I love but we brought so many memories home with us. To my family – thank you and we love you. Don’t Blink.