March 2020: I Will Never Forget

Well March, it has definitely been interesting…and long, and hard, and shocking. I thought nothing could rival the February we had with Beau’s two-week stay in the NICU, but this third month of 2020 brought with it an entirely new set of challenges.

As I look back at the start of the month, it is almost hard to recognize that life. I was living in our house in Myrtle Beach and spending some sleepless nights with Beau. I was taking Sloan on play dates to the trampoline park, Dave & Buster’s, and the library. We were attending mass, eating out at restaurants, and visiting Sid’s family. For that first week of March I had few responsibilities, other than a newborn, and the phrase “social distancing” wasn’t even in our country’s lexicon.

At the beginning of this month, I was playing with Sloan at Dave & Buster’s.

After those first several days, our urgency to pack up our house grew much more intense. Preparing for the movers was top priority as we boxed up our belongings and made arrangements for a cross-country move.

On March 11, an 18-wheeler turned onto our street and pulled up to our house. That hot day was spent supervising the guys who were filling their massive truck with our possessions. Still a little detached from the crisis that was starting to impact our country, we focused on emptying the house as quickly as possible so Sid, Sloan, Beau, and I could spend the next 48 hours together at my in-laws before I had to leave the state.

On March 11, the movers came to our house and packed up our stuff.

What a strange day March 12 was. Sidney and I returned to the house in the morning to clean and haul some trash. As we drove back to my in-laws, I listened to the radio as conference basketball tournament after conference basketball tournament was canceled due to coronavirus fears. Many other developments would unfold during the day as a swift signal was being sent that it would no longer be business as usual.

Against this uneasy backdrop, I bought a cake for Sloan so we could celebrate her birthday just a little bit early. On the eve of my last day in Myrtle Beach, with our country about to enter full crisis mode, I got to watch my little girl blow out three candles on her birthday cake.

Before I left for Washington, I had an early birthday celebration for Sloan.

It was Friday the 13th when I hopped on a plane that would take me to Washington. After saying goodbye to Sloan and Beau, Sidney drove with me Charleston where I caught my flight. In the next several hours I would go from sunny and 75 degrees to snow and below freezing temperatures. Although the climate change was an adjustment, my heart was warmed that night to see my parents. As we drove through the snowy roads of Spokane to their house, I noticed that it was a few minutes before midnight. We had not even completed two weeks of March yet and it had already felt like an eternity.

This was the scene I walked into after exiting the plane on March 13.

That mid-March weekend was spent prepping for my new job and acclimating to my new surroundings. I got some rest and dealt with some nerves. My parents, sister, brother, and their families all welcomed me home. On Saturday, we were still able to attend mass and eat at a restaurant. But as the “prodigal son” theme played out, the governor of Washington was about to issue some strict social distancing guidelines.

Enjoying dinner with my dad the first Saturday after arriving in Spokane.

I started at Washington State University on Monday, March 16. It was a perfect first day but it occurred as Gov. Inslee ordered the shutdown of public gathering spots such as gyms, restaurants, and libraries. That afternoon, our department was told to work from home for the next couple weeks.

I was all smiles my first (and only) day on campus.

A new world had been ushered in that consisted of daily President Trump news conferences, front to back coronavirus newspaper coverage, and “Tiger King” binge watching. I couldn’t help but feel sad that I wasn’t with my wife and children to go through this transition with them. However, thanks to the support of Sid, I was able to manage. The first full week of work, even though the majority of it took place from home, was fulfilling and exhilarating as I learned about the WSU culture and contributed to our COVID-19 response.

As the second half of March rolled on, social distancing measures became stricter. Washington issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that made staying in one’s house a necessity. The second week of my Washington State University tenure took place exclusively at home but I did manage to make the trip to Pullman for an entirely different reason. After more than two weeks since the movers picked up our belongings in Myrtle Beach, they had finally arrived in Washington with our cargo. The world was completely different since the last time I saw these guys in South Carolina and it seemed like two months, not two weeks, had passed. As I watched the belongings of Sidney, Sloan, and Beau be placed in the storage unit, I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

The tall U-Haul box in the bottom left hand corner holds Sloan’s toys.

This past weekend rolled around and we spent more time at the house as grim news about the virus continued to roll in. Although I didn’t get to celebrate Sloan’s birthday (except for the early celebration) I had the pleasure of celebrating my sister’s birthday for the first time in years on Saturday. The fifth Sunday of the month was once again marked by watching mass on the computer.

I missed Sloan’s birthday but got to celebrate my sister’s.

As the work day ended this evening, I found myself deep in thought about what a wild ride this month has been. Then, in what can only be described as the craziest and most appropriate way to end March 2020, something extraordinary happened––an earthquake shook the ground. Seriously, I can’t write this stuff.

I mean…really?

On many levels, this month was unforgettable. It was an emotional rollercoaster with plenty of stress and surprises. Looking forward to April, I am counting down the days until I see my family again while hoping for 30 days of progress for our country. Let’s pray. Don’t Blink.

Brent’s Guide to Teleworking

Today marked my third week of teleworking. Although not the first choice for many of us, it has become the new normal. I thought for tonight’s post I would write a combination of thoughts and personal best practices that have helped me maintain both sanity and productivity while on the job.

Saddle up, tonight I am talking about teleworking.

Staying Grateful – The fact that I am teleworking means I have a job. As people continue to get laid off left and right, I take to heart how lucky I am to still have a job and paycheck…even if it means I am doing majority of my work at my parents’ dining room table.

Forever Thankful – I am appreciative to Washington State University for giving us the directive to work from home. The institution has our health in mind and is allowing all workers who can feasibly do their job from home to do just that.

Professional Mindset – If you read any current article on teleworking, it will say to dress for your job at home just like you would at the office. I second this. At least for the first half of the day, I am sporting a collared shirt, slacks, and work shoes. It just helps me take things a little more seriously.

Dedicated Work Space – I joked above about working from my parents’ dining room table…ummm….wait…that’s actually not a joke. I set up shop each day from where my mom and dad have hosted fancy dinners for more than 30 years. It is the place where I feel most comfortable (at least for as long as I am living with my parents) and productive. When working from home, it is important to have some coziness and consistency

Break It Up – At least when you work at the office of your employer, you can roam halls and visit the offices of your co-workers to get your blood flowing. When you are working from a house, the walls start to close in on you a bit. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I make sure to run during my lunch hour to get some exercise and fresh air. It makes the second half of the day much more bearable.

Stretch It Out – When you work from home, there is no such thing as a commute. Personally, this allows me to start the day earlier and extend it past traditional quitting time if necessary. It is important to not let a teleworking arrangement turn you into a workaholic but there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of any extra time you might find on your plate.

Zoom Zoom Zoom – I participate in multiple Zoom meetings per day and appreciate its many conveniences. Although the service isn’t perfect and some social cues are sacrificed, I am comfortable using the platform. My best advice is to listen more than anything but when it is your turn to speak, do it confidently and clearly while looking straight into your device’s camera.

Prepare for Tech Meltdowns – At the start of each day, I know that technology will fail me at least a couple times over the course of the next eight hours. With this in mind, I have backup plans for spotty wifi and video conferencing with poor connection. My word for the wise? Always have an ethernet cord handy.

Accept Distractions – Many of us must deal with some distractions while teleworking. For me, I battle my mom’s cat leisurely walking across my laptop and nearby neighbors producing loud noises while completing yard work. Just like with tech issues, you have to be ready and not let them rattle you. Remember, in many cases, we are the ones imposing on the routines of others.

Show Your Employer What You Are Made Of – Crush this teleworking thing. Work twice as hard. Do exceptional work. Make your bosses proud.


Even those of us who are homebodies probably wouldn’t admit that teleworking is ideal. The arrangement is especially hard for those of us who have a great place to go to work each day, like a college campus. But this is the current reality and we must make the best of it. Like everything else that has been impacted by the coronavirus, we will sure appreciate our work sites more once we can finally go back. Don’t Blink.

COVID-19 Fatigue

Let me wish a pleasant good evening to my readers. I hope you have had the chance for some relaxation and enjoyment during this latest coronavirus-impacted weekend.

Tonight’s post is going to be short and it is going to take more of a PSA format. Last week I suggested what to do while confined inside our houses. Tonight I want to make a suggestion on what not to do. Now I know most of you are probably hearing this on a daily basis, but let me reiterate…

For your own mental health and stability, monitor the amount of COVID-19 coverage you are consuming daily. We all know there is no shortage of it and sometimes it is tough to escape it. If we aren’t subjecting ourselves to the latest twists and turns by obsessively following our social media feeds or flipping through cable news channels on our own accord, we are probably receiving updates via text messages and emails from others. It can become very overwhelming.

It is crucial that we stay up to date on what this virus is doing and what we can do to personally slow its spread. Likewise, it is wise to watch briefings from local, state, and federal government officials. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to do additional research into the pandemic to better understand its intricacies and to satisfy our own curiosities.

However, I do think there is a point when we must disconnect from “Coronavirus 24/7” and concentrate on the aspects of life that still go on despite the virus. If not, we can trap ourselves in an unhealthy cycle.

Attempting to keep up with a 24/7 news cycle during these unprecedented times is near impossible but surely harmful. Not giving ourselves a break can result in COVID-19 fatigue, a condition that will transform us into paranoid, depressed individuals.

It is important to stay informed but it is also important to stay mentally healthy; a balance that we all must practice to achieve. Like the virus itself, we can both contract and spread COVID-19 fatigue. Let’s be mindful. Don’t Blink.

Snow White Thursday Rundown

Greetings everyone! I hope you are all doing as well as you can be. I know these are challenging times and we are all going through our own struggles. To those who are having a particularly tough time, try to stick in there and let me know if I can help. Here is tonight’s Thursday Rundown blog post…

Our STUFF Has Arrived – I wish I could say it was smooth sailing with our moving company but that wouldn’t be completely accurate. Despite some conflicting estimates, less than stellar customer service, missed deadlines, and other head scratching moments, we finally received our cargo today. After the movers dropped some boxes and clothes off here in Spokane, I met them in Pullman where they transferred all of the big stuff into a storage unit. I look forward to the day when we can move it from the unit to our new house.

Our stuff finally arrived today…both in Spokane and Pullman.

Waking Up to Snow – I couldn’t help but laugh when I woke up yesterday morning to snow. Sure, I was greeted with snow when I arrived in Spokane on March 13, but it was still technically winter. I guess I just assumed that since it is now spring that the white stuff would be taking a break for several months…dang, it really has been a long time since I lived here. To make the situation even funnier was that it was 75 degrees and sunny in Myrtle Beach.

This was the scene on Wednesday morning.

#ThrowbackThursday Parent Style – When you are at your parents’ house, why not take a photo of their childhood portraits? These photos show my dad and mom when they were toddlers! I looked at them really hard and could see my dad pretty distinctly in his portrait but I had to squint a little harder at my mom’s.

My dad and mom as toddlers.

Sure, I’d Try It – This evening in Walgreens I stumbled down the candy aisle and saw Birthday Cake Cookie Dough Bites. I am a big fan of the original Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites AND I love anything that is birthday cake flavored so this treat was definitely calling my name. However, I decided to pass. Perhaps I will indulge once our country is out of this coronavirus mess.

One of these days I am going to try this candy.

Wish Man – I am in the middle of “Tiger King” so I can’t write about it tonight but I can offer another Netflix recommendation. If you want to take a break from Exotic Joe, I highly suggest “Wish Man.” If you are in the need of some inspiration (and I know many of us are), take 90 minutes and watch this film. It will make you cry and make you go to bed feeling good. I don’t want to give too much away but the movie tells the story of the man behind one of the greatest nonprofit organizations on the planet.

This movie was awesome.


Despite the craziness in our world right now, I hope everyone can find a little bit of joy in their weekend. Keep thinking positive and keep praying; things will eventually go back to normal. On the positive thinking note, just 21 days until my family joins me in the Inland Northwest. Don’t Blink.

The Best of Beau’s Newborn Photos

Shortly before I moved out west, we had a newborn photoshoot for Beau. Judy Johns, the director of photography at Coastal Carolina University and my good friend, sacrificed a Saturday to take the photos. Judy is an extremely talented photography who does a phenomenal job regardless of whether she is covering an event or taking portraits.

As I teased in last week’s Thursday Rundown blog post, I wanted to share a few of my favorite images from the shoot. Judy did a fantastic job, making the task of counting down the five I like the best quite challenging. Let’s give it a try…

Honorable Mention: I am too ugly for a photo with me to make the countdown. But honorable mention? Well, I think we can make an exception. I am proud to be pictured with my brand new son as we stand by the window.

Against my better judgment, I am including a photo that includes me.

5. Close Up – With Beau’s little cap on and with him holding up four fingers, Judy zeroed in for this shot. He looks so peaceful as he snoozes away. I also like the emphasis on his lips and nose.

Our little man fast asleep.

4. Tradition – During Sloan’s newborn shoot, a photo of her resting on my arms was captured. Sidney liked the pose and requested that it be replicated with Beau. Believe it or not, it was an awkward position for me to hold with my arms but thanks to the coordinated effort of Judy and Sidney to position the both of us just right, it turned out great.

We have a photo very similar to this of Sloan.

3. Full Body – This photo of Beau is a full length body shot…what you see is what you get! The sheets, pillow, and posts contrast just right with Beau’s gray outfit. That’s my son!

A sleeping angel.

2. Priceless – What more can I say? I will hold tight this photo of my children for a long time. This was another instance where we kind of showed Judy a photo of a pose we liked and then she went ahead and mastered it. Could she have captured a more genuine, natural shot of Sloan? Beau looks at peace as his sister cautiously watches over him.

I love the look on Sloan’s face in this photo.

Oh, you want a black and white image of this pose as well? Okay, here you go…

Same pose, less color.

1. The Love of a Mother – My undisputed favorite photo of the shoot! My wife looks beautiful and Beau looks right at home in the palm of his mommy’s hand. Judy captured both Sid’s pride and tenderness for her son in this special image. Does it deserve to be framed? You bet!

This photo captures my heart (and the top spot on this countdown).


Once again, I just want to thank Judy for taking these photos. After some great years working with each other, this was the last time we were together…a nice memory to end on.

Let me tell you what, these photos are helping me a lot during my time away from my family. Speaking of which, only 23 days until I am reunited with Sid, Sloan, and Beau. Don’t Blink.

Worse Things Than Staying at Home

I am guilty of making a complaint that is pretty common these days: We can’t do anything.

We need to realize that just hanging at the house isn’t a bad thing.

With daily life pretty much at a standstill, many of our daily comforts and routines are no longer possible, or––at the very least––deeply frowned upon. You can’t eat at a restaurant or enjoy a beer at a bar. You can’t get your teeth cleaned or sit down for a haircut. You can’t go into work or exercise at the gym. You can’t escape at the movie theater or take the kids to the playground. You can’t worship at church or go to a ball game. Heck, you can’t even check out a book at the library! Needless to say, it can become a little overwhelming as the walls start to close in.

However, I am trying to think more positive. Yes, many pleasures and conveniences of life are limited right now. But if you think about it, the things that matter the most aren’t.

While many of us are isolated from the general public, we still have direct contact with our families. Whether it be hugging, chatting, or playing a board game with our loved ones, we are able to ride out these difficult times with those who mean the most to us.

Even the “little things” still available to us aren’t so bad…

There is no ban on praying or meditating. You can still sing and write. No one is stopping us from penning a letter or Facetiming a friend. No restrictions are in place to cease movie marathons or Netflix binge watching. Home improvement projects and yard work tasks are calling our names. How about pulling out the home videos, the photo albums, and scrapbooks?

If people weren’t getting sick and dying because of this pandemic, you could almost say that this “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order we are under in Washington is a blessing. There is something to be said about a meaningful cleanse from the outside world.

Let us continue to pray and do our respective parts to flatten the curve. Remember, it is not a matter of if but when. There will be a time when this will be a distant memory.

Tonight I remember Kobe Bryant when I respectfully say that 24 days remain until I am reunited with Sid, Sloan, and Beau. Don’t Blink.

Looking Back On My First Week at WSU

Without a doubt, there was one question that was asked of me repeatedly during my first week of work at Washington State University…

What a time to start, right?

I was greeted warmly my first day at WSU.

Although one’s first week at a new job can rarely be described as “normal,” my first five days at WSU took that notion to a whole new level.

I arrived on campus just as the dominos from the COVID-19 outbreak started to fall across the country. On Monday, I worked in Pullman. Despite the lack of students, it was an awesome first day on campus. I met my co-workers and bosses, moved into my office, and even got some work done. I was on a high and excited to return the next day.

I was all smiles my first (and only) day on campus.

Not so fast.

That Monday afternoon we received the directive to work from home starting the next day. I packed up my laptop and commuted back to Spokane, not knowing exactly when I would return. I felt bummed that I wouldn’t be working from my new beautiful campus and connecting with my co-workers in person. However, I wasn’t sweating the feasibility of working from home. A few hurricanes and numerous days taking care of a sick child had developed my skills for working from a makeshift living room office.

The four days working from home (aka my parents’ house) just weren’t smooth, they were productive. I had the opportunity to take part in numerous Zoom meetings, meet campus partners, collaborate on a couple projects, and start to build the framework for some of my specific duties. At the end of Friday, I deemed the first week a success.

I know I am really going to like WSU. I have talented people around me and job responsibilities I am passionate about. Yes, things feel different right now but I think this period of working from home will just increase my appreciation for working on a college campus once we actually get to return.

Just 25 days and counting until I get to see Sidney, Sloan, and Beau. Don’t Blink.

A Small Dose of Normal: My Thursday Rundown

During this uneasy time, people are craving any type of normalcy. In my quest to provide some routine, I want to make sure to provide my weekly Thursday Rundown. Let’s get started with today’s five topics…

Sloan’s First Haircut – Yesterday, Sidney took Sloan to get her ears lowered for the first time. Sloan sat in a police car seat and enjoyed a sucker as her hair was trimmed. Sid said that both the customer and the stylist did a great job.

Sloan got her first haircut yesterday.

Newborn Photos – We were blessed that Judy Johns, CCU’s top photographer and my good friend, took Beau’s newborn photos. When she sent us the link, we were blown away by the job she did. In the future I might publish a blog post that highlights some of the very best images, but here is one to hold you over. Judy, you are an incredible talent!! Sloan and Beau…28 days until I see you!

The photos taken by Judy were amazing!

Finding a Way to Exercise – Hey Coronavirus…you can shut down the restaurants, you can shut down the bars, and you can shut down the beauty salons (how am I going to get my manicure?) but did you have to close the gyms too?! It is rough not having access to a gym but for those of us who really want to exercise, we can find a way. For me it is going to the local high school during my teleworking lunch breaks to run. After snow and below freezing temperatures greeted me upon my arrival in Washington, the work week has ushered in plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-fifties. This has made for perfect running weather as I break up my work day with laps around the track. Although I am missing the weights, I am happy that I can at least get in some cardiovascular exercise.

As gyms are closed, I have been running at the Mead High School track during my lunch breaks.

Even Worse Than Closed Gyms – I made a big deal about exercise centers being closed but the biggest pill to swallow has been the closure of churches. When that domino fell, I realized that this virus was like nothing we have ever seen before. It is one thing to not be able to increase my physical strength but when my spiritual strength is threatened that is something entirely different. Thankfully, at least in the Catholic faith, provisions are being made to let us worship from home. Masses are being streamed just not at the diocese level but at the parish level as well. And while masses might not be public, churches aren’t necessarily closed in the sense that the doors are locked. Many parishes are allowing people to come pray. Just like with exercising, there are ways to still make things work.

It is a tough pill to swallow with public masses being cancelled.

Birthday Tradition – I have an annual tradition that entails me taking a photo with Sloan on her birthday. I put on the green polo that I wore the day she was born and Sid snaps a picture of us. Of course this year’s image was taken a few days before March 17 but you get the idea. Sloan just gets prettier and I get…well…older.

Every March, I slip on the green polo I wore the day Sloan was born.


Thanks for reading tonight, everyone. Please make good choices and don’t forget about the power of prayer Don’t Blink.

Until Next Time, Myrtle Beach

I had a grandiose plan of penning a long ode to the Myrtle Beach/Conway community right before I left South Carolina. However, moving out of our house gobbled more of our time than expected and the simultaneous mainstream explosion of the Coronavirus froze my typing fingers for a few days.

With that said, although I won’t go north of 1,500 words, I did want to say goodbye to the community and some of the special people/places that made the last 5.5 years so enjoyable.

Sure, Myrtle Beach receives a certain reputation as a tourist town. But is that really a bad thing? I was never at a loss for things to do with major entertainment complexes, refreshing water parks, endless places to eat, some of the most insane putt putt courses you will ever see, and a beautiful body of water called THE BEACH all within 10 minutes of our house. Oh yeah, the gorgeous weather was also a perk.

This was me nearly six years ago right after I moved to Myrtle Beach. It was such a wonderful place to live!

But there was more to the community than fun activities and a favorable climate. Look past Broadway at the Beach or the Boardwalk and you will find passionate local people who take care of one another and do their best to make the Grand Strand a family-friendly place to live. I ingrained myself in the community and I can’t say thanks enough to everyone who welcomed me and treated me so well. Tonight I want to especially extend my gratitude to six different groups.

Sid’s Family – Not just “Sid’s family” but my family, I owe more than I can express to my in-laws, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews, and niece. They accepted me into the Mathis clan and made me feel right at home. From Sunday meals to vacations to holidays to milestones in our lives, I am so appreciative of all the memories and so honored to be part of the family. I miss all of them dearly, but I have a real soft spot in my heart for Russell and Harrison, my niece and nephew. They are terrific and mature kids who never ceased to impress me. Love you all!!!

The Mathis family minus the kids.

St. Andrew Catholic Church – What a special place. The best times in my entire life have taken place at the corner of 37th Avenue and Kings Highway. Within those walls I have tied the knot with Sidney, held both my children as they were baptized, and watched as my wife was welcomed into the Catholic Church. I have learned so much from amazing priests such as Msg. James LeBlanc and Fr. Roger Morgan, met our spiritual mentors (Tim and Kathy McCormick), and became part of a holy and charitable organization (Knights of Columbus). I absolutely grew closer to God at St. Andrew.

We had so many special and holy moments inside St. Andrew

Iron Legacy Gym – Before I started working out at what was then called Gold’s Gym, I didn’t really think the people at an exercise facility could be family. For nearly three years I worked out at the tucked away gem on Jason Boulevard and quickly realized that this gym was different. The vibe was positive, the gym-goers were considerate, and the owners were the kindest and most humble people you will ever meet. The endorphins I generated from my exercise were not the only thing that got my day off to a good start––it was also the greetings and conversations I would have with owners Nancy and Tedd Capp. I already miss Iron Legacy.

There isn’t a better gym in Myrtle Beach than Iron Legacy.

Sloan’s Best Friend – The hardest part about moving, besides leaving Sid’s family, is leaving Sloan’s best friend, Jacqueline. Throughout most of their young lives they have had a special, genuine bond. Nothing brought me more joy than watching them play together, especially that first moment when they would run full speed and clasp their arms around each other in the sweetest hug you will ever witness. I will also really miss Jacqueline’s mom and my former CCU colleague, Susannah. Besides family, I don’t know if there was anyone who treated Sloan better than her. Susannah also did many thoughtful acts for Sid and I…she is truly a great friend.

I miss Jacqueline and Susannah.

Oxford Children’s Academy – When searching for a daycare, we were looking for a center that was convenient for us and comfortable for Sloan. Little did we know that we would get so much more than that at Oxford Children’s Academy. Sloan’s daycare expedited her cognitive development and improved her social skills. She was able to enjoy each day with her best friend (Jacqueline) by her side and Sid and I also got to socialize with our friends during pick ups and drop offs. Best of all, OCA cared about us!! They showed nothing but concern when Beau was in the NICU and a few weeks after Sloan’s last day the owner came over to give us gifts on behalf of OCA. If we find a daycare that is half as good as OCA in Washington, we will be in good hands.

Us at Oxford Children’s Academy birthday party. I would recommend this daycare to anyone.

Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry – A dentist office, really? For someone who is not a big fan of the dentist, I felt fortunate to hit the jackpot with Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry. I suffer from gum disease so that means I have to make a lot of trips to the dentist for treatments and additional cleanings. Because of this, I got to know the staff really well. The ladies in the office were always so kind and accommodating and the dentists were all down to earth. But the best part about going there was my hygienist, Vanessa. She is so talented at what she does and always made me comfortable, even during treatments that could be painful. We became friends and I literally looked forward to going to the dentist…something I never would have said before.

Hanging with Vanessa after my final cleaning at Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry.


Stay classy, Myrtle Beach. I can’t wait to visit again and reunite with the people and places that mean so much to me. Don’t Blink.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Sloan!

If you ever have a few weeks between jobs, I recommend you take your child out of daycare and spend as much time with her as possible. I was blessed to have this luxury with my sweet little girl throughout the latter half of February and first half of March.

Sloan made a terrific 2-year-old. Time now to be a 3-year-old.

During this span, we spent Sloan’s final weeks as a 2-year-old doing non-stop activities both inside and outside of the house. Whether it was story time at the library, fun at the trampoline park, shenanigans at the indoor playhouse, experiments at our kitchen table, or riding bikes in our neighborhood, I cherished every second of it.

Sloan and I making “Ocean Water.” She loved doing experiments.

Although it would have been the icing on the cake to continue the fun throughout her third birthday, life opportunities sometimes call you in a different direction. Today, this blog post will have to suffice.

Over the past year, Sloan developed into a smart, sassy, loving, at-times-naughty, mischievous, and playful little girl. She wowed us with her intelligence, exasperated us with her stubbornness, and melted our heart with her capacity to love. At times it was tough to be around her and at times it was tough to stop holding her.

Sometimes it was tough to put this girl down.

During the past 52 weeks, her personality grew just as much as the curls on her head. Countless times throughout the year Sloan would say things that would make Sid and I look at each other and wonder Where did she learn that from? She showed her affectionate side and she showed her “terrible twos” side as well.

Many milestones transpired during Sloan’s time as a 2-year-old. She helped her mommy bake, she visited the southernmost point in the country, she dressed up as Peppa Pig, she learned to ride a bike, she memorized books and prayers, she developed her singing voice, and she acquired a taste for salad.

Sloan dressed up as Peppa Pig for Halloween.

Oh yeah, she also became a big sister.

For all the times she tested our patience over the past year, she made up for it tenfold by the love and selflessness she has shown toward Beau. Since the day we brought him home from the NICU, all that Sloan has wanted to do is care for him. Whether it be holding him, feeding him, or helping us with a diaper change, she has stepped into that big sister role with complete grace.

Sloan has embraced her role as a big sister.

I miss my little girl so much and hate to miss out on her turning 3. I fear that she will pause and wonder where is my daddy? With that said, I know she is going to have a special birthday celebration with Sid’s family.

Sloan, I am so proud of you! As crazy as it might sound, this year might be even more monumental than the year you just completed. Based on the special girl you are, I know you will just continue to thrive. 30 days and counting. Don’t Blink.