Today is the last day of June and this month was as awesome as advertised. We became godparents, watched our good friends get married, finished up the school year, hosted Sidney’s parents, ushered my mom into retirement, celebrated our anniversary, enjoyed an epic Hoopfest weekend, and I went on a work trip to Everett. So many blessings!

It was an incredible June.

But today isn’t significant just in the fact that the month of June ends. Rather, today is the final day of the first half of 2023.

I always attach a lot of significance to July 1. Professionally, the beginning of July means a new fiscal year for many but from a personal perspective I always evaluate it for what it truly is—the midpoint of the year. In fact, I treat June 30 – July 1 as a metaphorical halftime. When a sporting event reaches halftime, you address what happened in the first half and then make adjustments to be successful in the second half. How doesn’t that apply perfectly to the halftime of life as well?

I invite you to take some time to think back on the first six months of 2023. How did it go? Successes? Challenges? Are you set up well for the final six months of 2023? Do you need to make some adjustments? If you allow me to take this silly sports analogy a step further, from a basketball standpoint, what is your halftime score? Are you crushing this year and up 65-40 at halftime? Or is it neck-and-neck with a 55-55 tie game? Perhaps you have experienced some adversity and find yourself entering the second half of the year trailing 56-48.

Whatever your situation, take solace in the fact that there is an entire second half to play. You can use the next six months to extend your lead even more, pull away from the close game you find yourself in, or make a courageous comeback and win the year.

Our family is heading into the locker room with a modest halftime lead. However, we have the potential to break the game open in the second half. Stay tuned to this blog for your full play-by-play of what will be a big six months for us.

I hope you are able to end your June on a high note and then begin tomorrow with lots of motivation and optimism. You got this! Don’t Blink.

Powerade Thursday Rundown

Does anyone else find it nuts that we are less than a week away from the Fourth of July? As much as I would like to give you some fireworks with this Thursday Rundown, I think it is going to be pretty lame. Here we go…

Brick of Fries – Last weekend at Hoopfest, we indulged in a very unhealthy snack. After I was done playing for the day, our family plus Fr. Jeff Lewis and my teammate/friend Amy would head to the park for lunch and shade. Both days, Sidney ordered a block of fries for us. Because Beau had fallen asleep, it was just Sid, Sloan, and I to tackle the brick. Thankfully Amy provided a little bit of help as it was an enormous, greasy task to eat that whole thing …but it was also really delicious!

Sloan begins to dig into the block of fries we bought at Hoopfest on Saturday.

Powerade Deal – Yoke’s is a prominent Spokane-based chain grocery store that doesn’t always have the best prices. However, this month it has offered an absolute steal. At the beginning of June, it sold the big Powerade bottles for just $.68. That price was available for a couple weeks as I would go in and purchase 10 bottles at a time. Last week it was increased to $.79 per bottle but I still bought large quantities to get us through the Hoopfest weekend. When I walked inside Yoke’s yesterday, the price per bottle took a hike to $.99. Although still a decent price, they are no longer worthy of buying them in large quantities.

A look at the Powerade shelf at the Yoke’s located in Argonne Village after prices increased to $.79 per bottle.

Wienermobile – On this date in 2018, we had a close encounter with the Wienermobile. The “big hot dog on wheels” visited Myrtle Beach and parked in front of a Publix grocery store. It was fun to scope it out, touch it, and pose for photos in front of it. But the best part was definitely the free hot dogs from the Oscar Mayer trailer that was a short distance away from the Wienermobile.

In 2018, our family visited the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Winnie – We read a lot with the kids but I seldom give book suggestions. However, I want to recognize a children’s book that tells the origin of Winnie-the-Pooh. When Sloan, Beau, and I read “Winnie” last night on our back porch, we learned that our modern day Winnie was a black bear named Winnipeg. His owner, Harry, bought him for $20 and trained him to help train horses as part of the Canadian war effort. There is much more to the story but eventually Winnie would meet the real life Christopher Robin. The story captivated the attention of my children while also teaching them about historic events. Not too boring but also not too fluffy, we thought this book deserves two thumbs up.

Beau, Sloan, and I had a nice time reading “Winnie.”

Prices Going Up – I once wrote an entire blog post about the best soda machines you will ever find and even made a TikTok out of these secret beverage dispensers. A big part of what made these soda machines stand out is that a 12 oz. can of soda cost just $.25. Unfortunately, that is all coming to an end. When I visited the machines this morning, the below sign communicated the lousy news that a price hike is coming. In a future rundown I will update you on the new cost of a can because I know you all must be extremely distraught.

I am not looking forward to the price increases at the soda machines at the Coke plant on Montgomery St. in Spokane.


Fries, hot dogs, Powerade, soda? Once again I focused more on food and drink than originally planned. Oh well, the hot dog talk makes sense as we approach Independence Day. Have a great night. Don’t Blink.

A Wilderness Adventure For Sloan

That special week in the early summer is here: Catholic Summer Camp! On Sunday night, the kickoff event for this year’s event was held on the St. Mary campus. We attended mass, ate dinner, and learned about this year’s theme…

This year’s Catholic Summer Camp theme at St. Mary in Spokane Valley is Wilderness Adventure Through the Sacraments.

For the next several days, Sloan is on a wilderness adventure. Or, to be specific, a Wilderness Adventure Through the Sacraments. The campers are taking each day to learn about 1-2 of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. For example, yesterday was baptism and today is Holy Eucharist.

Sloan loves going to camp! Each camper received a t-shirt that they wear each day. All first graders received green shirts.

As they learn about the sacraments, the kids are treated to all the fun stuff you would find at your typical vacation bible school: crafts, music, skits, games, and, most importantly…snacks! So the curriculum and the child-appeal factor are both definitely present.

Marie goes all out with everything she does. This photo backdrop that Sloan is posing in front of is awesome!

But what sets this camp apart from other vacation bible schools—both Catholic and non-Catholic? The answer is Marie Bricher. She is the camp director, which encompasses part of her role as St. Mary’s director of religious education. Marie goes absolutely all out for everything she does, including Catholic summer camp. You would be amazed at the decorations, organization, attention to detail, and enthusiasm she pours into this program. Most impressive of all, however, is how she can explain the content at a level that makes sense to elementary students.

Marie Bricher addresses campers, staff, and parents at the kickoff event inside the St. Mary gym. She is phenomenal at what she does.

And that special ability that Marie possesses is crucial, especially with this year’s theme, because nothing is more important than the sacraments. Ever wonder what makes being a Catholic so unique and why more than a billion people belong to the Church? It is because of these graces given to us by God. Needless to say, the sacraments is a topic that deserves the utmost attention and care when being explained to anyone—especially children—so it is such a comfort that not only is this year’s camp based on it but that someone of Marie’s caliber is leading the discussion on it.

All the decorations and props for this camp are so cool.

Sloan is on fire for this camp. She loved attending yesterday and I was impressed by all she told me about baptism when she returned home. What makes this year’s theme resonate even more is that in Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Catechism In A Year podcast we are currently right in the middle of the sacraments. He just finished baptism and is currently on confirmation. While Sloan is learning about the sacraments on a children’s level I am learning more about them on an adult level. Although two different modes of delivery are at play, Sloan and I are able to “compare notes” and know that we are still learning the same thing. How cool is that?!

Please pray for the campers, the volunteers, and Marie as they continue to go through this week. As Pope John Paul II said, “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.” Don’t Blink.

Hoopfest 2023: More Than A T-Shirt

Going into Hoopfest 2023, I was just hoping for a win. When the dust settled on Sunday, I felt like our team scored many more victories than just quadrupling the on-court win total I was crossing my fingers for.

I felt like our team overachieved in a pretty competitive bracket. People in this photo include (from l-r) JJ Nazzaro, Amy Martin, Fr. Jeff Lewis, me, and Ryan Andrade.

How It Went Down On The Court

What an experience this past weekend was. The St. Mary Squad started off the tournament on Saturday morning with a tough 20-15 loss to the Rez Runnaz. We knew the team we played was pretty decent and didn’t let the small setback get us down. We would win our 12:30 p.m. game (20-14) and then return the next day ready for a big run.

A look at our finalized bracket. We came through the loser’s bracket to play in the championship game.

Our team notched two comfortable victories early Sunday morning and then held on for a victory at noon to successfully seal our loser’s bracket odyssey to the championship game. For the title we played our opening round opponent—the Rez Runnaz. After playing three games seemingly back-to-back-to-back we had little gas left in the tank for the team that was undefeated and had last played at 10 a.m. Although we fell short, we had secured second place and a coveted finalist t-shirt.

We brought home a t-shirt! Ryan, Amy, myself, and JJ sport our finalist t-shirts in front of the Hoopfest backdrop on Sunday afternoon (photo courtesy of Amy).

But just a little bit of context about all those victories: I didn’t have too much to do with them. My St. Mary Squad teammates and fellow Young Adult Catholic members were simply spectacular. Everything started with our lead scorer and athletic specimen JJ Nazzaro. Then we had our 2-point ace Ryan Andrade who would answer the 1-point baskets of our opponents with bombs from downtown. Last but definitely not least, we had our team’s heart and soul—Amy Martin. Because of Hoopfest co-ed rules, a member of the opposite sex must always be on the court so that meant Amy played every single minute of all six games we competed in. Not only did she have the guts to go the distance, but she was an incredible contributor on both sides of the ball and never stopped hustling.

Ryan’s flawless shooting form is captured as he drains a 2-point basket.

Me? I was the fourth man who would give JJ and Ryan breaks while trying to play some defense and pull down a rebound or two. It was an honor to share the court with my teammates.

Even though I contributed the least to our team, I am pretty sure my kids thought I was the MVP 😂

Playing For More Than Hoopfest Glory

But enough about our on-court exploits and team scouting report. Hoopfest 2023 was so special because our St. Mary team was playing for more than a t-shirt.

Our team came together because we wanted to give thanks to God, pay special devotion to our Blessed Mother, and promote the Catholic faith. Helping us with this mission was Fr. Jeff Lewis, our pastor at St. Mary in Spokane Valley. At coffee and donuts one Sunday as our team was starting to come together, Fr. Jeff said that St. Mary would sponsor us once our roster was finalized. However, our dedicated priest did so much more than just make sure that our registration and uniforms were paid for.

Fr. Jeff Lewis poses with our team after the first day of the tournament. What a blessing it was to have him as our team chaplain.

Fr. Jeff rode the shuttle downtown with us, cheered our team on from the sidelines, and hung out with us after the games. But most importantly, he was there as our dedicated team chaplain. He led us in prayer before/after each game, had the materials in his pocket to distribute the anointing of the sick if needed, and was on-hand to give blessings and answer questions to the numerous people who approached him. Regarding prayer, as Ryan said, it was such a peaceful way to begin and end competition while at the same time drawing other people in. In fact, before the tournament was over, we had everyone praying with us from an opponent to our kids to the court monitor.

Fr. Jeff Lewis rides the STA Hoop Loop shuttle with us after the Sunday games.

This mission to put God before Hoopfest glory motivated those associated with our team to make sacrifices. Fr. Jeff gave up his Sunday morning masses to accompany us. Ryan and JJ both left their close-knit Hoopfest teams to play for the St. Mary Squad. And Amy played through serious knee issues. What selfless commitments from some truly great people.

Amy, Sloan, Sid, and Fr. Jeff walk through Riverfront Park on Sunday. Fr. Jeff hung out with us throughout the tournament.

Team Bonding

Because we were all so invested in this opportunity, it came as no surprise that we had such a fulfilling experience that went beyond the streets of downtown Spokane. Prior to this weekend, we got together for a couple of practices. We also had a lively text thread that was full of planning, joking, and anticipating (sorry for all the countdown texts, guys).

Perhaps I was a little too excited to play in Hoopfest.

Between our first and second games on Saturday, Sidney provided us all refuge from the heat by taking us to the break room of her work which happens to be in the heart of the downtown area. The four of us, some of our families, Fr. Jeff, and Fr. David Gaines took time to just relax and chat. Some of this break was spent talking about faith matters and some of it was spent talking about other things. But it all equated to some really nice fellowship.

Thanks to my wife’s connections, we had access to an air conditioned “team room” where we could find relief from the baking hot streets of downtown Spokane. In this photo, Fr. David Gaines and Fr. Jeff Lewis join the four of us and some of our families for a nice break.

Later that night, Sidney and I hosted a cookout at our house. Once again, us players and our families came together for more fellowship on a beautiful evening. In fact, do you want to know how close this Hoopfest experience has brought us together? We were all comfortable enough to play the game Stir the Pot as a big group. Don’t know what that is? Look it up! 😂

We had a team cookout on Saturday night that was pretty dang relaxing.

Finally, the icing on the cake was that when the tournament was over, we gathered for mass that night. With Fr. Jeff’s permission, we wore our finalist t-shirts to the service and he even incorporated our team’s Hoopfest success into his homily.

Holding up the number “2” after earning second place in our bracket. What a great weekend it was.


Before I close out this post, just a few shout outs: First and foremost, thanks to our families. Whether they were supporting us at the games or watching children at home, I know the four of us really appreciated the opportunity to concentrate on our six games we played throughout the weekend. Thanks to our spectacular court monitor, Keith Miner, and his daughter/scorekeeper, Maddie, for taking such superb care of our bracket. These fellow St. Mary parishioners always kept everything under control and applied all the rules perfectly. And finally, thanks to St. Mary for the sponsorship of our team.

Special thanks to my wife for all she did to prepare/take care of our family during the Hoopfest weekend.

I am grateful for the special Hoopfest opportunity I had this year. Amy, JJ, and Ryan…thanks for making our team work and for putting up with my less than stellar basketball skills. Fr. Jeff…you went above and beyond for us, thank you. Now, with all that said, who is sore?!

Thanks be to God. Don’t Blink.

Back For Hoopfest 2023

I’m back! After not winning a game in Hoopfest last year, I am returning to Spokane’s signature event in search of a “W.” This weekend I will hoop it up on the streets of Spokane at the same Main and Post location I played at last year. But not everything will be the same…

I hold the 2023 Hoopfest player shirt while Sloan holds the Inlander Hoopfet guide.

This year I have a new team. With my siblings caught up in other obligations, I had to find different teammates. Luckily, I wasn’t a free agent for long. Instead of playing with my biological family this year, I am playing with my faith family. For Hoopfest 2023, I am representing St. Mary Parish and School with my good friends Amy Martin, Ryan Andrade, and JJ Nazzaro. We are bringing our love of competition and God to our bracket.

This year we are playing on the T-Mobile court. When I was downtown at Team Check-In yesterday I found our backboard. It is quite…pink.

A cool thing about our team is that we are legitimately sponsored by St. Mary. Fr. Jeff Lewis made sure that not just our registration fee was covered but our uniforms too. The tops we will be sporting this weekend have the St. Mary Spokane Valley logo on the front and a different Marian title special to each of us on the back.

Amy with our Hoopfest uniforms. I am wearing the Fatima top. Amy’s top pays tribute to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.

We begin our Hoopfest quest at 10 a.m. on Saturday. You can find us on the T-Mobile court right in front of the P.F. Chang’s restaurant on Main. Depending on the outcome of our first game, we will play at either 12:30 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. and then will resume our ballin’ on Sunday. Insert our official team name (St. Mary Squad) into the Hoopfest app to follow our progress or just come watch us in-person.

This is our bracket. Come watch!

Thank you to St. Mary for allowing us to represent our faith-filled community this weekend. Let us pray that everyone participating in Hoopfest has a safe tournament. Hope to see you on the court! Don’t Blink.

First Thursday Rundown of Summer 2023

Happy summer! It doesn’t get more glorious in the Inland Northwest than it will over the next couple months. So if you are fortunate enough to live in this little part of the country, all I have to say is enjoy. Here is tonight’s rundown…

Summer Plans – Since we are talking about summer, I thought I would share Sloan’s plan for the season with you. At school she completed the below “Surfing Into Summer” exercise. Sloan listed great summer activities like reading and swimming but she also listed something rather specific too. For whatever reason, she indicated her desire to go to Froyo Earth on July 3. Her time for hitting it up is even specific—10:20 (she didn’t specify a.m. or p.m. but it would have to be the latter as Froyo Earth is open 12 p.m. – 11 pm.). As long as Sloan is negotiable on that time and allows us to go earlier, I think this ice cream date can be arranged.

Take a gander at Sloan’s summer plans.

Father’s Day Gift – This weekend I will hit the streets of Downtown Spokane for Hoopfest. As I have practiced with my team for the tournament, I have suffered from awful cramps. My wife, always so thoughtful, got me the perfect Father’s Day gift that will hopefully allow me to play pain-free. The gift I opened this past Sunday was a bottle Theraworx Muscle Cramps Spray. I spray it on my calves before physical activity to prevent cramps and if I do experience cramping the product claims to relieve the pain if I apply it during an episode. Crossing my fingers that it works!

Sidney got me this muscle cramp spray for Father’s Day.

Baptism Photo – Recently, I wrote about a very special baptism. On June 11, Sidney and I became the godparents of Noble, the son of our good friends, Ryan and Allyson Andrade. On Tuesday, Allyson shared with us the photos from the beautiful morning. There are so many good ones that I would love to share but space is at a premium so here is one that shows the parents, godparents, Fr. Jeff Lewis, and most importantly, Noble 😊

What a memorable day this was. (l-r) Ryan Andrade, Allyson Andrade, Sidney Reser, Noble Andrade, Brent Reser, and St. Mary Catholic Church pastor Fr. Jeff Lewis. (photo courtesy of Rachael & Josh Photography)

Flamin’ Hot Stream – My streaming pick of the week can be found on Hulu and it tells a pretty intriguing story. “Flamin’ Hot” is a movie that centers on the guy who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Richard Montanez was a Frito Lay janitor when he broke rank and managed to pitch his idea to the company’s CEO. Richard convinced the head boss that the Hispanic market needed something like spicy-flavored Cheetos and the rest is history. Or, fictitious history at least. Of course I did my research after the film and found that the storyline took tremendous liberties in the same way that “Cocaine Bear” did. Still, “Flamin’ Hot” was an inspirational comedy that provided 90 minutes of entertainment.

“Flamin’ Hot” covered a pretty interesting story about a unique product.

MYOB – I crossed this while mindlessly scrolling Twitter. Not a bad message, I know I am tempted to look over the fence from time to time. Luckily I haven’t been poked in the eye…yet.

This appeared on my Twitter feed.


And that shall do it for tonight. I am looking forward to a great weekend of basketball and I will offer more information about when/where our team is playing during tomorrow’s special Friday blog post.

The Opposite of Déjà Vu

On Sunday night, Sidney and I got the kids to bed early so we could spend some quality time together. The plan was to watch a movie and eat a dessert that Sid had made. While my wife dished up the dessert, I browsed through Netflix to select a movie.

I chose “The Mule,” a film from 2018 that stars Clint Eastwood as an unsuspecting drug mule pressed into work by a Mexican cartel. With Bradley Cooper playing a role as a DEA agent, it seemed like the perfect choice.

On Sunday we watched “The Mule”…again.

“Um, have we seen this before?” Sidney asked when she came into the living room with our dessert plates and saw the opening credits.

No way, I thought. I don’t watch movies twice so I definitely didn’t choose “The Mule” because I wanted to re-visit a film I had an affinity for. I selected the movie because I thought it was new to us.

Sidney wasn’t 100% sure we had seen it so we let the movie run to make sure. It didn’t take long for Sid to confirm that we had definitely watched it. However, it was a different story for me. It took about 30 minutes of letting the film run before I could convince myself that it seemed a little familiar. With that said, even though I conceded that we had watched it, it was still like watching a new movie—I had no idea what was going to happen next.

The next day I did a quick search on my Twitter account and it verified that we had in fact watched the movie on April 16, 2019. I immediately turned to my journal to learn more about that day and to see if the extra context would help me to remember watching “The Mule.”

There it is. My tweet about watching “The Mule.”

It was a normal Tuesday for Sid and I as we dropped Sloan off at daycare and reported to our jobs. When we returned that night we hosted my in-laws for a chicken parmesan dinner. I wrote about the Cathedral of Notre Dame that was devastated the day before by a fire. Later that night, Sid and I decided to watch a new release called “The Mule.” Nope, didn’t remember it.

What makes my lapse of memory even more sad/embarrassing is that I even blogged about “The Mule” (because of course I did, right?). In that week’s Thursday Rundown, I expressed that the film had a promising story line but “the ending was a letdown.” As my critique went deeper, I wrote, “Even more concerning was the supporting cast: there was an obvious lack of talent.” What a terrible take on my part! Both Michael Pena and Dianne Wiest appeared in the movie and over the past four years I have enjoyed their work in several other films. How naïve I was!

But more concerning than my unfair judgment of a cast is my awful memory. We watched “The Mule” just four years ago and it didn’t ring a bell the other night. That’s plain sad. At the same time, it supports my obsessive journaling habit—if I can’t remember something naturally, at least I have a detailed record to tell me it happened. I just wish I didn’t have to resort to that. Don’t Blink.

Kindergarten In The Books!

We now have a first grader in the house. Sloan’s last day of kindergarten was this past Friday as the St. Mary 2022-23 school year ended with mass. In his final homily of the academic year, Fr. Jeff Lewis challenged the students to “love like Jesus” throughout the summer. With that message and a farewell address from the principal, the students were dismissed.

We weren’t on top of it enough to update her board, but thanks to my mother-in-law we do have a photo of Sloan on her last day of Kindergarten to go with the photo we took on her first day of school. Sloan has definitely matured over the past year.

At the beginning of the school year, I wrote that I hoped Sloan would grow academically, socially, and spiritually. She has made progress. From an academic standpoint, she has developed into a proficient reader over the past nine months and has grasped mathematical concepts. When it comes to social growth, there is work to be done. Sloan is extremely outgoing and loves her friends but is learning to control jealousy, especially when it comes to accepting that everyone can play together. From a spiritual perspective, I have marveled at the strengthening of her faith. Whether it be feast days, the 10 Commandments, understanding of the mass, or important Biblical stories/concepts, she has learned so much and grown in her closeness to God.

Although Sloan wasn’t perfect, she did make strides.

Sloan poses for a photo with her Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Jordan Roff, moments after mass concluded on the last day of school.

From a parental perspective, Sidney and I sure enjoyed getting to know the other families in this year’s kindergarten class. Sloan completed two years of pre-school at St. Mary but the opportunities to engage and work with other parents increased immensely this year. To develop relationships with people who share commonalities with us—both in familial makeup and faith—is fulfilling. And to think that these relationships will just continue to grow over the next several years is such a blessing.

Sloan and her friend, Aminah, pose for a celebratory photo on the last day of school (photo courtesy of Shauna Durrant).

Our family has a lot of optimism for the 2023-24 school year. Sloan’s first grade teacher will be Ms. Emily Lunsford, the same talented educator who taught her in Pre K-4. Also, we couldn’t be more pumped about the incoming principal. Stephen Hart will take the reins of St. Mary and will bring his years of experience teaching in public schools and his devout Catholic faith with him. We are excited to see what our good friend will do.

Sloan poses for a photo with Ms. Emily Lunsford in June 2022 after her preschool graduation. Ms. Lunsford will be Sloan’s first grade teacher during the 2023-24 school year.

Oh, one final thing. St. Mary will have another Reser enrolled next year. Beau will join the Pre K-3 class. We are looking forward to sending both our children to a central location and becoming even more ingrained in the St. Mary community.

I am looking forward to the 2023-24 school year at St. Mary.

But enough about next school year! Summer is here and it is time to let the good times roll. Personally, I will be just fine not making the drive to/from St. Mary twice per day over the next couple months. Live it up, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Mary Reser: A Mead High School Legend

When I entered my freshman year at Mead High School, my sister was a senior. It was nice to know that I had a sibling with top dog status keeping an eye out for me. After that initial 2001-02 school year, I looked forward to when I became a senior and could return the favor by watching over my brother who would be a freshman during the 2004-05 school year.

Of course this meant I would have to navigate the halls of Mead as the sole Reser for two years…or so I thought. Instead, in what I am convinced was one of the best hires in the storied history of the school, another person of Reser blood joined the Mead ranks for the 2002-03 school year.

Mary Reser was hired by Mead High School in the summer of 2002 to serve as a paraeducator in its Developmental Learning Center (DLC). My mom had made herself known to the Mead School District by subbing in various classes in different schools over the course of a couple years. Craving consistent, full time work, she applied for the high school position and was thrilled to land it.

When my mom applied for her job almost 22 years ago, I don’t know if she imagined that it would lead to such a long and fruitful career. This photo of my mom and dad was taken today (June 16, 2023).

So, on that first day of school more than 21 years ago, it wasn’t just my brother and I standing at the bottom of the stairs gazing into the video camera with our predictions for the upcoming year. My mom also took her turn in front of the camera. In words that are now legendary in our family, she said the following:

“After 15 years, I am going back to school.”

My mom’s yearbook photo from her first school year at Mead High School (2002-03).


My mom worked in the DLC program her entire 21 years at Mead. The students she served were teens and young adults with disabilities such as down syndrome, severe autism, and other documented handicaps. Others were non-verbal and many were confined to wheelchairs. Whatever tough hand these students had been dealt, my mom was going to be there for them. From that first day in 2002 to when she walked out the door for the final time just hours ago, Mary Reser offered unceasing compassion and patience to every student she worked with.

My mom retired on June 16, 2023. Her co-workers recently threw her a party.

Where did these saintly attributes come from? To be honest, I think to a degree they were just innate. My grandmother birthed a person who entered this world with a kind heart. But I think my mom’s educational background and early professional experience as a substance abuse counselor for veterans proved to serve her well down the road. I don’t think it is a stretch to assume that if you are compassionate and patient enough to make strides with people battling addiction, chances are you can also reach a younger population dealing with a different type of mental struggle.

But back to Mead High School and back to those students she cared for so much. I think a lot of us might say we champion students with disabilities. We treat them kindly to their faces and maybe even volunteer a couple hours per week in an adaptive classroom or center. However, many of us have neither the desire nor skill to work with them on a daily basis. My mom willingly reported to that same classroom every day for over 20 years to put in long hours to make the lives of these deserving and inspiring students better. That takes a heart of gold.

My mom was a great asset for Mead High School and was always happy to proudly represent the Panthers.

As I mentioned at the beginning, my mom was a paraeducator, which can be essentially described as a teacher’s aide. But who am I kidding? It can also be described as the person who is 100% hands on with the students, does every dirty job possible, doesn’t get paid nearly enough, and exerts more physical/mental energy than you can imagine. The people who stay at the job—like my mom—do it because they know their work matters and are driven to do good.

My mom’s t-shirt says it all: superhero.

When I look back on my mom’s selfless career, some images come to mind. I see my mom accompanying students classroom to classroom as they picked up cans and bottles for their recycling program. I see her behind the wheel of a large Mead School District van as she transported the students on different community outings. I see her at a table teaching small groups. I see her compassionately helping students use the restroom. I see her calming down those individuals experiencing panic attacks or other anxiety-induced bouts. I see her celebrating the successes of her students and giving them the recognition they deserve.

Signs for my mom lined the walls in her classroom today.

I also call to mind examples of my mom going above and beyond her job description. These instances come in the form of her hosting an annual end-of-the-year BBQ at her house for all the students. Or her attending the funerals of her current and past pupils who passed away too soon. Or her giving support and an open ear to parents dealing with the stresses of raising a child with special needs.

With all that said, I think a big reason why my mom stood out in her position was just because of her humble nature. She showed up every day for work, stayed by the side of her students, didn’t complain, and did her job to the best of her ability. To put it simply, she was there solely for the kids.

My mom hung up her credential on June 16, 2023.


This afternoon, my dad, sister, brother, and I showed up to walk my mom out of Mead High School on her last day. We wanted to give her a hero’s exit because that is simply what you become when you devote over two decades to helping some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society.

We were able to surprise my mom before she walked out the doors for the last time. They called her out of the classroom, we snuck in, and when she returned she saw us (and proceeded to scold us 😂).

As we strolled out those doors, I thought about legacies. My sister, brother, and I all graduated from Mead High School where we each had some academic and athletic success. Perhaps you could say we each made a small mark at the school. But even if you took our so-called “accomplishments” and added them all together, multiplied that value by a large number, and added a couple zeros, our combined efforts would still fall dramatically short of what my mom achieved. There is no question about the Reser who did the most good as a Panther.

My mom with several of her current co-workers. Special shout out to my mom’s “work bestie,” Norma Stroeher (7th from the left with blue Mead Panthers shirt on) for being such a good friend and for doing so much to make sure my mom was recognized.

As my mom joins my dad in retirement, I hope she realizes the profound impact she made. Her service to Mead High School and to hundreds of DLC students is truly the stuff of legend. Don’t Blink.

Expo Thursday Rundown

We are now midway through June and thus far this month has been as spectacular as advertised. I believe I have five topics to share with you tonight so let’s get started…

Healthy Kids Day – Last Friday, the Spokane Valley YMCA held Healthy Kids Day. My sister and nephew met Beau, Sloan, and I at the Y for an evening of free entertainment. They played on inflatables, climbed the rock wall, ate complimentary Azteca tacos, won a lot of free stuff, visited with first responder personnel, and so much more. Kudos to the lady who showed up to blow gigantic bubbles for the kids to run and pop.

Our kids had a lot of fun at Healthy Kids Day at the Spokane Valley YMCA and we appreciated the free t-shirts 🙂

Reminiscing About the Honeymoon – As I have checked my Timehop over the past couple days, it is filled with photos from our honeymoon. Sidney and I went to Cancun in June of 2016 and had such a nice time filled with memories. In fact, we find ourselves fondly reminiscing about our week in Mexico all the time. This is the blog post I wrote about our honeymoon.

Sidney and I had an incredible honeymoon at the Sun Palace in Cancun.

Expo ’74 – Did you know SPOKANE (of all places) hosted the World’s Fair? In 1974, the Lilac City was home to the global event. Before Expo ‘74, downtown Spokane was a wasteland of railroad tracks and sketchy taverns. But some local visionaries pulled off the impossible by attracting the fair and Spokane became the smallest city to ever hold the event. Since I was probably 10, I have had a fascination with Expo ’74 as I consumed all the media relating to it that I could while picking the brain of my mom who was lucky enough to attend it. My WSU co-worker, Addy Hatch, used to work for the Spokesman-Review and wrote all the copy for a special section the paper did to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Expo ’74 in 2014. When I heard she did such a thing, I asked if a link existed that she could send me. Instead, she told me she could do even better by sending me an actual copy! It showed up in the mailbox on Tuesday and I took my time going through the whole thing that night. What a treat!

This was the front of the special section of the Spokesman-Review that commemorated the 40th anniversary of Expo ’74. It was published in 2014 and written/compiled by Addy Hatch.

To Leslie – This is one of those films that I recommended to my parents thinking they would like it but actually hated it. Oops. Still doesn’t change my favorable opinion about the movie. “To Leslie” tells the story of a woman who won the lottery, albeit a relatively small jackpot, and squandered all her money. She then falls on extremely hard times as a homeless alcoholic. I enjoyed the pace and vibe of the film as it seemed to honestly portray the life of a person who found herself as an outcast of society. If you are looking for something to watch on Netflix, I say give it a try.

Although I enjoyed “To Leslie” my parents did not.

Happy Father’s Day – As we approach Father’s Day weekend, I just want to give a shout out to these two guys! I am grateful for the examples that my dad and father-in-law have set about what it means to be a loving father and a good man. It was a joy to get these two together earlier this week (below photo) as my in-laws arrived in Spokane on Saturday. My dad and Sid’s dad always hit it off the moment they see each other.

Happy Father’s Day to these two great men!


That will conclude things for tonight. Always try to stay positive, my friends, and enjoy these long and glorious days of June. Don’t Blink.