Better Shape Than Last Year

Just two very quick notes before a very brief message…

– Happy birthday to all those shafted people who would be celebrating their birthdays tomorrow if it was a leap year. To be born on February 29 is kind of a cruel joke but I guess these folks have the benefit of learning very early that sometimes life brings disappointment.

– I couldn’t let today pass without recognizing that it is National Pancake Day. I have loved pancakes my whole life and this manifests itself in the fact that we make them for dinner a lot in our household. Some people might be turned off when I say that I prefer my hot cakes half cooked with the batter oozing out but you like what you like, right? Most of you probably aren’t surprised that I wrote a blog post solely about pancakes in 2015.

After looking at this photo, does anyone question my love of pancakes anymore?!


With that housekeeping out of the way, I want to make note that today is the end of a precarious two-month stretch. I always say that January and February aren’t particularly my favorite months. The holiday hangover, short/dark days, and pressure to live up to resolutions can throw me for a loop. If it weren’t for the birthdays of Sidney (Jan. 28) and Beau (Feb. 5), I think I would be obsessively counting down the days until March.

But advancing age will teach you never to count away any of your days.

My family will “march” into the new month tomorrow. This is welcome because last year we kind of limped. COVID had impacted us, we lost a loved one, and Sidney battled other health issues. To advance into March with momentum instead of licking our wounds is a great feeling!

For everyone out there who opened 2023 on a less-than-stellar note, stick in there—things are looking up! Longer days and springtime are just around the corner. For what’s it worth, after our slow start in 2022, we went on to have a fabulous rest of the year. You got this! Don’t Blink.


I love a routine. I make no qualms that I feel comfortable with a set-way of doing things. However, I am not enslaved to routine. If a situation calls for me to be flexible, I will.

However, I feel something related to routine has a firmer grasp on me. I don’t even know if this concept/condition has an official term so let me coin it for my Don’t Blink audience with my own word—streakism.

Streakism is routine’s cousin and I feel like it has become much more prominent in society over the past several years. I define streakism as the compulsive need to complete a task on a daily, weekly, or other timed interval basis. There isn’t a prescribed way—or routine—to do it, you just got to get it done somehow within the certain allotted time period.

But definitions are one thing, examples are another. Let me give you a couple. This morning I completed my 2,047th straight day of looking at my Timehop app. For those who don’t know, Timehop pulls your camera roll and social media posts to give you a curated snapshot of what you did on a particular day in past years. To keep you checking, the app keeps a tally of your “streak.”

Another example is the 1 Second Everyday video challenge I am doing this year. You literally get a notification telling you to record a video at the end of the day if you have not uploaded one to the app yet. After two months I have really enjoyed doing this, but the low-key pressure is definitely there.

Keep in mind, streakism isn’t always expressed so blatantly. Whether it be listening to my Catechism in a Year podcast, making sure I get that blog post written, or getting my five workouts in for the week, these are all examples of streakism that gnaw at me until I get them done. Lent adds even more to my streakism mindset.

Just like with routine, I think streakism can be great. However, in the same way that being so routine-based can produce rigidity and stress, leading a streak-based life can produce similar feelings.

For me, I need to do better at not equating a “good day” to whether I checked all the boxes and extended all of my streaks. Shedding some pressure, especially when it comes to silly social media streaks, wouldn’t be a bad thing. Because when it all comes down to it, even Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games played streak came to an end, right? Don’t Blink.

Pillow Calculation Thursday Rundown

We have reached the final Thursday Rundown of February. Next week it will be March and that means Spring will be here, right? On that sarcastic note, let’s get to tonight’s five topics…

Ham Bingo – We love bingo. We played turkey bingo in November and we played taco bingo earlier this month as a fundraiser for Sloan’s school. So it goes without saying that we naturally jumped at the chance to play ham bingo this past weekend. My Knights of Columbus council staged the Mardi Gras-themed event. The idea was to have one last hurrah before Lent and allow people to win hams that they could save for Easter. Although Sloan and I didn’t win a ham, we sure had fun eating gumbo, wearing Mardi Gras beads/masks, and hanging with our St. Mary community.

Sloan and I at the Mardi Gras-themed Ham Bingo at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley on Feb. 19, 2023.

Picture of the Week – I mentioned earlier this week that we attended a Whitworth basketball game. Even though I snapped a lot of cool mascot photos, the image below was my favorite from the evening. Sloan, Beau, and their two cousins stood at perfect attention for the national anthem. It made my dad’s heart melt to see his four grandchildren displaying such respect for the country.

Although you can’t quite see Johnny, you can see Beau, Sloan, and Mik focusing all their attention and respect on the national anthem.

Mascot Phobia – Let me use the Whitworth basketball game for one final springboard topic. The mascot birthday party is a dream come true for many children but it is also a nightmare for others. When I worked in the University of Montana athletic department, one of the responsibilities I held was mascot coordinator. Parents would desperately reach out to me and convey that their child was petrified of Monte. On this date 9 years ago, I wrote about how we approached this problem and helped kids overcome their fear.

It’s true; not everyone liked these cute bears.

Pillow Calculation – Let me thank my friend Lindsi for the below rule of thumb. However, I would argue this relates primarily to women. As a dude, I still need just a single, no-frills pillow to sleep soundly. Sidney? You could probably take that formula and add five to it.

How do you feel about this calculation?

Mardi Gras Treat – Let’s end on a sweet note! We celebrated Fat Tuesday by making an ice cream run to Zip’s, a Spokane fast food staple. The kids each got a swirl ice cream cone, Sid got an Oreo Hurricane (the Zip’s version of a Dairy Queen Blizzard), and I ordered a butterscotch milkshake for myself. Beau came with me to place the order and before we brought the goods back to the girls, I took this picture of him admiring our purchase.

Beau admiring our ice cream from Zip’s.


I am calling it a night. Thanks for your support and I hope you have a fabulous weekend. Don’t Blink.

General Lenten Points of Emphasis

Lent 2023 is officially underway. Thanks to Ash Wednesday, we are now on the journey to Holy Week. As I mentioned yesterday, Lent is a necessary time of preparation and reflection. In terms of tangibility, it takes the form of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Many Catholics will embrace Lenten intentions that practice these virtues to draw closer to God and to prepare for Easter.

Most of these individual Lenten intentions are also private intentions. Taking the cue from Matthew 6, it is important to perform Lenten deeds so God sees—not man. With that said, there are general Lenten attitudes that we can all adopt and strive for over the next 40 days. Here are three things to keep in mind as we try to make Lent 2023 as fruitful as possible…

Sloan and I after Ash Wednesday mass this morning.

Seize Control – In the end, God is ultimately in control and we need to always defer to him. But he did give us free will and we are faced with choices every single day that we must make. St. Paul sums up a depressing dilemma we all face by saying, “I don’t do what I want to do, and I do what I don’t want to do.” During Lent, let’s take every opportunity to do what we want to do in order to better walk with Jesus.

Stop the Noise – It is a timeless Lenten best practice to embrace silence and retreat from the cacophony of daily life. But each year it becomes seemingly harder and harder to do. Escaping notifications, text messages, emails, and other mindless distractions is difficult. However, it would serve all of us well to make a conscientious effort to block out the noise as much as possible. The power of total silence in the presence of God is something we all need.

Mend Relationships – Lent is the best time to reconcile with others. Whether big conflict or small conflict, we should reach out to those we have a strained relationship with. We can’t forget about God either. Repent and confess. As we walk through our personal deserts, we need to find opportunities to express humility.

May all my readers have a blessed Lent. God bless you all! Don’t Blink.

Lent 2023: A Necessary Time

A couple years ago, I listened as a priest was open and honest about his personal thoughts on Lent: It is not my favorite time, but it is a necessary time.

In a homily a couple years ago, I listened as a priest described Lent as, “Not my favorite time, but a necessary time.”

Both parts of his statement hit the mark. Lent commemorates, in part, the 40 days that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert. Just like Christ suffered, we are also invited to suffer in our own personal deserts over the course of 40 days. Not exactly the “invitation” that most of us take delight in receiving, right?

Although we don’t generally count toiling in the desert as a “favorite time,” the point of Lent isn’t about that. The focus shouldn’t be about creating pleasant moments of comfort and excess. Rather, it is about embracing prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

So where does the “necessary” part come in?

The Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.” Although awful and violent, Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins. Without that death and the unspeakable suffering that accompanied it, there would be no Resurrection; there would be no Easter.

The next 40 days will culminate with Good Friday. This time of self-denial is necessary to adequately prepare for Easter. Because if we make no attempt to at least understand on an extremely small scale the suffering of Christ, how can we truly appreciate the most holiest of all feasts when it arrives this year on April 9?

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow! As I reflect on the priest’s words from his homily, I remind myself that the next 40 days are not supposed to be pleasant. Instead, they are supposed to be transformational and preparative. When it comes to recognizing Christ’s suffering and rejoicing in His victory over death, there is simply nothing more necessary than Lent. Don’t Blink.

Past Lenten Blog Posts
Lent 2022: Solidarity With Ukraine
The Lenten Road
The Journey of Lent
The Real Purpose of Lent

Fun Evening at Whitworth Basketball Games

On Friday night, our family went to a Whitworth University basketball game. Whitworth is a small Division III Christian private college in north Spokane. In my opinion, it doesn’t get purer in intercollegiate athletics than D-III. Student-athletes don’t receive scholarships, they aren’t banking on NIL deals, and there is a community vibe at all sporting events.

It was fun and relaxing to watch the Whitworth basketball games on Feb. 17, 2023.

That latter characteristic of Division III athletics—community—was on full display when we visited the Whitworth Fieldhouse to start the weekend. My kids and their cousins jumped in a complimentary jump castle throughout the game, the football team unfurled a United States flag on the court during the national anthem, and the cash-only concessions trailer sold all items for under $5.

Sloan, Beau, and their cousins, Mikayla and John, had an awesome time bouncing around in the jump castle that was free to all kids.

However, what delighted me the most—besides both the men’s and women’s teams picking up wins—were the special guests who attended the game. As the men’s team warmed up, a crew of costumed characters appeared from behind the bleachers.

Sloan, Mik, and Johnny engage with Otto from the Spokane Indians.

In addition to Whitworth’s new mascot, Captain Patches, six of his friends emerged with him. You had Boomer from the Spokane Chiefs, Spike from Gonzaga, Chazzy from CHAS Health, and the entire Spokane Indians mascot contingent—Otto, Doris, and Ribby. Sloan, Mikayla, and Johnny were so excited they didn’t know what to do with themselves. After a few minutes, Beau warmed up to most of them too.

A look at some of the mascots who attended the Whitworth games on Friday night.

Ah, yes, Captain Patches was marking his first birthday and all his friends came to celebrate. As a former sports marketer, I know the appeal and logistical challenge of getting so many mascots under one roof on a given night. Fans love to see so many area characters together. There is just something cool about numerous furry faces collaborating with each other and supporting one of their own. But getting everyone together takes a lot of scheduling prowess and hosting them requires ample locker room space and accommodations.

At halftime, the mascots put on a skit in honor of Captain Patches (Whitworth’s mascot) birthday.

Kudos to the Whitworth gameday team for making it happen on Friday. A truly impressive lineup of Spokane mascots traveled up north for the occasion and the kids in attendance had full access to them. As the teams warmed up, the mascots were available under the baseline for children to interact with them. Parents were free to snap photos and take videos. During halftime, there was a skit with the mascots. It was a bowling competition with an oversized ball and pins. Go figure, Captain Patches won. Afterwards, everyone was treated to free cake.

Captain Patches shared his birthday cake with everyone in attendance, including our kids.

We had no idea that Captain Patches was celebrating his birthday on Friday night and that so many mascots would be in attendance. But it was such a nice surprise and the perfect way to put an exclamation point on a perfect Whitworth basketball experience. Don’t Blink.

Dancing in the Dark Thursday Rundown

Well, how is your February going? In less than two weeks it will already be March. I guess that means I better get writing if I want to finish this by the end of the month. Here are tonight’s five topics…

Father/Daughter Dance – A few weeks ago, Sloan slid into the car as I picked her up after school. She bashfully asked, “Daddy, will you go to the Father/Daughter Dance with me?” I told her “absolutely” and we eagerly awaited the big evening. It all took place last Friday night. After we took photos in the front of our house, we went to Red Robin for dinner where we met Sloan’s classmate and her dad. We had the best double date! We then went to St. Mary for the dance and had a blast dancing to all the classics (think “Don’t Stop Believing,” “YMCA,” “Sweet Caroline,” etc.) and having fun with the other dads and daughters. As we drove home, Sloan was already planning for next year’s date.

The St. Mary Father/Daughter Dance was such a fun experience!

Heart-Shaped Pancakes – I didn’t purchase a Papa Murphy’s heart-shaped pizza this year so we did the next best thing and made heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine’s Day (and by “we” I mean Sid). She used red food coloring and her special skills to make (near) symmetrical heart-shaped pancakes. Served with fresh fruit and sausage, we topped the pancakes with whipped cream. Chef’s kiss.

We got a little wild with the heart-shaped pancakes that Sid made.

Marco Rubio – On this date 8 years ago, Sid and I went to a Marco Rubio rally. It was 2015 and all serious presidential candidates—Republican and Democrat—were campaigning in South Carolina ahead of the 2016 presidential election. I took advantage of South Carolina’s coveted spot in the primary landscape and also attended rallies for Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. But on this particular night it was all about the fresh-faced senator from Florida. We watched him stump and then he graciously posed for a photo with us. He seemed like the real deal at the time and he has remained very relevant over the past several years but I don’t think another presidential run is in the cards for 2024.

On this date 8 years ago today, Sidney and I met Marco Rubio.

Welcome To Your Home – Oh man, I must go down memory lane for the second time tonight. On this date three years ago, we brought Beau home for the first time. His arrival was a little delayed due to his stay in the NICU, making it all the sweeter. The highlight was Sloan meeting him and holding him. As we helped keep Beau steady on her lap, she spontaneously started to sing to him. I was fortunate to record that precious moment.

This was the first ever meeting between Sloan and Beau. It went well.

What Would Be Your Pick? – Alright, I will bite on this. If I had to select just a single treat on this ice cream truck menu, I would opt for 11, 14, 15, 24, and 25. I loved the character ice cream pops, even the hard-as-rock bubble gum that made up either the eyes, nose, or other component of the pop. Those diehards of this blog might not be surprised by this. Nearly five years ago, I literally wrote about my favorite ice cream truck treats. With that said, my next choice after the character pops would be 27 followed by 8.

Here is the ice cream truck menu…what do you choose?


Phew. I did manage to complete this rundown before the month slipped away. In fact, I made such good time I think I will be able to fit another Thursday Rundown in before February passes. Stay tuned for that. Don’t Blink.

Cake Mix Cookies

I don’t know where this recipe has been all my life, but I am mildly obsessed with cake mix cookies. Wait, you didn’t know you could use your favorite boxed cake mix to bake cookies? Or are you just rolling your eyes at my stupidity of recently figuring it out?

Sloan and Beau both love cake mix cookies.

Anyway, making them is a piece of cake (pun intended). You just need cake mix, ½ cup of vegetable oil, and two eggs. If you are more of a visual learner, you can watch the TikTok video I made. After you have your batter spaced out on your cookie sheet all you need to do is pop them in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

I recently made rainbow confetti cake mix cookies. You just need cake mix, vegetable oil, and two eggs.

Perhaps it is just the novelty of it all, but I prefer cake mix cookies over the cookies produced from actual cookie mixes. They keep a better texture and are satisfyingly moister than cookie mixes. Cake mix cookies are also larger and softer. What’s not to like?

These cake mix cookies are delicious right out of the oven.

You can get creative with your cake mix cookies. An assortment of flavors come in cake mixes that you can’t find in cookie mixes. Take for example the strawberry cake mix cookies I made below. When have you ever seen a strawberry cookie mix? You can also add fun mix-ins. These cookies below have white chocolate chips that I added.

These were Chef’s Kiss!

I am so high on these cookies that we made them for our neighbors during Christmas. Not only did they receive our Christmas Trash mix, but we included confetti cake cookies as well. I have also brought them to our Young Adult Catholic group, served them at my parents’ Super Bowl party, and allowed my children to make them with me.

These were my strawberry white chocolate chip cookies right when I took them out of the oven.

If you are in the need of a new treat to bake that is quick and super inexpensive, consider cake mix cookies. I hope you love them as much as me. Don’t Blink.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! It has been an exciting day at our house. Sloan and Beau woke up to small Valentine treat bags and fresh cinnamon rolls. They then went off to their respective school/daycare for parties and fun.

The treat bags Sid prepared for Sloan and Beau.

I hope our children savored today, even though they both have probably no idea what that means. You see, they are at peak ages for genuinely enjoying Valentine’s Day. At least for Sloan, sadly, it will probably be only a few years until she is exposed to heavy doses of Valentine’s Day cynicism. Some time ago, it became cool to hate today’s holiday and view those who appreciate it with scorn. Although I understand the natural feelings of sadness and envy that today brings to many, I view the detestation campaigns that some launch as a little over-the-top.

Beau and Sloan all dressed for Valentine’s Day.

But enough negativity because today is a good day. Since Sloan has started attending Valentine’s class parties, I have been amazed at the creativity that kids (and their parents) possess when it comes to creating Valentine’s Day treats. The thoughtful Valentines continued this year and extended to Beau’s class as well.

Beau holding his Valentine treat bag after he returned from daycare.

Speaking of creative parents, scope out the Valentine receptacle that Sid made for Sloan. She constructed this thing last night and it worked like a charm for Sloan during her party.

Sloan holding the Valentine box that her mom helped her make.

Of course we couldn’t celebrate this holiday without recognizing who it is named for. At the breakfast table today, Sloan told me everything I could possibly want to know about St. Valentine. The patron saint of love, St. Valentine married Christian couples at a time when a war general prohibited it because he thought marriage made soldiers weak. He was imprisoned and after being mocked for his faith by the jailer and challenged to heal the jailer’s blind daughter, Valentine did just that. Despite the miracle, St. Valentine would later be martyred.

Sloan learned a lot about St. Valentine at school. She also colored a picture of him. St. Valentine, pray for us! (she won the wings playing Bingo at her class party).

Hope everyone had a good day with at least a little sugar. If you do know someone who could use a little encouragement on this day, you still have time to call or text them. St. Valentine, pray for us! Don’t Blink.

My Super Bowl LVII Review

And another NFL season is in the books. I didn’t watch a single game from beginning to end until the Super Bowl, but that still constitutes me a football expert, right? Just like watching the halftime show establishes me as a music connoisseur and catching all the commercials makes me an advertising whiz? So just like any good American, I am here to offer my hot takes and unsolicited opinions. Are you ready? It is time for me to armchair quarterback the tar out of Super Bowl LVII.

The Game: What more can you ask for than a high scoring game that goes down to the last minute? Well, hate to be picky, but I have a couple things…and the controversial holding call doesn’t even factor in. I would have liked to see a better final play by the Eagles, a more dramatic game-winning drive by the Chiefs, and a punt return that found the end zone instead of turning up five yards short. But other than that, I shouldn’t be complaining. Despite his fumble that was returned for a touchdown, Jalen Hurts was electric. Patrick Mahomes made up for an abysmal Super Bowl performance in Super Bowl LV. The game was relatively clean with the officiating crew keeping the laundry in their pockets for most of the contest. Super Bowl LVII wasn’t a classic but it was by no means a dud.

The Chiefs and Eagles played a close and exciting game (photo courtesy of SB Nation)

The Anthem: Isn’t it amazing how simplicity can sometimes deliver the biggest impact? Chris Stapleton didn’t set out to put his “stamp” on the national anthem nor go crazy with a guitar solo. Instead, he simply performed the song in a mellow, humble manner. He added a little twang at banner yet wave and he did let the last line go a little long but for the most part it was just a straight shot. Stapleton’s rendition will always be paired with the image of tears streaming down the face of Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni.

I thought Chris Stapleton did a noble job performing the national anthem at Super Bowl LVII (photo courtesy of the NY Post).

The Commercials: The success of Coinbase’s QR code ad from 2022 was not lost on practically every advertiser this year. It seemed like every commercial had a QR code on screen. Like last year, electric vehicles and tax services had a heavy presence. My overall assessment of the crop of commercials for Super Bowl LVII? I am going with a B-. I like the emotional, call-to-action ads and besides the HeGetsUs spots and a couple dog PSAs, I didn’t get what I crave—most went for the funny bone.

With that said, I liked the Pringles commercial. Watching different people caught with their hand stuck in the Pringles tube was hilarious but it also illustrated an actual conundrum when trying to fish out those last few chips. The Uber One commercial with Diddy packed a whole bunch of nostalgia with artists from my elementary/middle school years performing their hits (not “jingles”) with an Uber One slant. I appreciated the Crowd Strike spot that utilized the trojan horse because it successfully paralleled history with its product. My final favorite commercial that won points in the “cute” category was from Bud Light. I am talking about the one with Miles Teller and his wife dancing to the on-hold music, pausing only when an automated voice or operator jumped on.

Miles Teller and his wife brought smiles to many with Bud Light’s “on-hold” commercial.

The Halftime Show: I give the halftime show a C+. The color scheme was visually appealing and the suspended platforms added a sophisticated symmetry to the performance. For the most part, I thought Rihanna was solid. She really took me through the second half of my life as each song she performed placed me at a different spot over the past 17 or so years. I was a little disappointed she didn’t perform my favorite Rihanna song—“Live Your Life.” Docking the performance a whole letter grade was the lack of a surprise special guest. In the past, some performances could stand on their own with just the headliner, but this was a show that I think could have benefited from some extra firepower.

Rihanna definitely had me reminiscing (photo courtesy of Rolling Stone).


Hope all my NFL-obsessed friends enjoyed the season and that your fantasy league performances were up to par. Congrats to the Kansas City Chiefs. Don’t Blink.

Past Super Bowl Commentary
Super Bowl LVI
Super Bowl LV
Super Bowl LII
Super Bowl LI
Super Bowl 50
Super Bowl XLIX