Sloan Loses Her First Tooth

It was a momentous evening in the Reser household on Tuesday night. Sloan lost her first tooth.

And thank goodness, because our daughter couldn’t accept having a full mouth of baby teeth any longer. With most of her class losing teeth left and right, Sloan felt the Tooth Fairy had a personal vendetta against her.

After personally wiggling on a tooth that seemed loose-ish for a couple weeks, Sloan allowed her mom to finish the job. With a Taylor Swift song playing in the background to calm nerves, Sidney, who is a self-proclaimed “tooth puller,” extracted Sloan’s first tooth.

On Tuesday night, Sloan lost her first tooth!

I can’t express how thankful I am that my wife wears the pants in the tooth pulling department. I get queasy just watching Sloan wiggle a loose tooth, let alone see one pulled out.

It would have made your night to observe Sloan’s joy as she held her tooth. FaceTime calls were made, pictures were taken, and high fives were exchanged. We had the happiest 6-year-old in the world under our roof.

Sloan cashed in on her tooth by following a Mathis family tradition. In order to avoid accidents and sleep disturbances, a pillow was placed on Sloan’s dresser with a note of explanation: Dear Tooth Fairy – My tooth fell out today! We are scared it might get lost under my pillows with my brother. Hope you will still take it on the dresser. xoxo, Sloan

Sloan left this note for the Tooth Fairy right by the pillow she placed on her dresser.

Indeed, the Tooth Fairy did still take it. Sloan was a little richer this morning and she held her head a little higher when she walked through those school doors. Don’t Blink.

Solving the Content Puzzle

Although we like to make fun of them, rich content abounds with the random “National Days of ___________” (insert whatever object, food, name, etc.). Morning radio shows, minor league baseball teams, and your favorite blogger capitalize on them all the time.

And guess what? Social media programs do too. At WSU, we have teamed up with our video team to create fun content for “holidays” such as National Area Code Day, National Twin Day, and National Hug & High Five Day.

These videos always hit the mark when it comes to creativity and timeliness but usually they are a one-and-done. We post them on the day they are observed and that is it. While that is all well and good, we wanted to take our efforts to the next level with our latest video.

Rhynne, one of our video interns, is just as good in front of the camera as she is in back of it. She lent us her acting chops and helped elevate our #NationalPuzzleDay video by starring in it.

Our social team selected National Puzzle Day as something fun to commemorate. We thought filming a timelapse of students putting together a puzzle could be cool. We were set to go that route when our video director suggested something a little more involved.

For National Puzzle Day, we decided to think outside of the box (pun intended – joke credited to Jason 😂)

Jason Refsland, who has served in his position at WSU since August 2023, suggested the idea of shooting a video where students put together a puzzle only to find out they are missing a piece. Upon that unfortunate realization, the students frantically look for the misplaced shape on a search that extends across campus. After turning up empty and with the students in despair, the video ends by challenging the viewer to use social media to find the missing piece.

Josh, a computer science sophomore, made this shot with his expression of despair. You must watch the video to get the full effect…the drone work is amazing!

How could we say “no” to such a brilliant idea? We cast the students and filmed the video. It turned out incredible and you can watch it right here. With the video team coming through in such a clutch way, it was time for our social media unit to complete the second half of the activation.

The look you get when you realize you are missing a single piece to the puzzle. This is Jayden, a pre-law freshman who played his role perfectly.

We posted our #NationalPuzzleDay video on Jan. 26, three days before the actual date of Jan. 29. Our plan was to reveal a clue of the missing piece’s whereabouts each day leading up to #NationalPuzzleDay.

The video ended with two still screens. The first one asked the audience to help find the missing puzzle piece (pictured). The second screen told the audience to view the caption for full contest directions.

Although the video was posted across our WSU Pullman social media channels, we made clue distribution exclusive to Instagram Story. Between 10 – 11 a.m. on Jan. 27, Jan. 28, and Jan. 29, students could go to our Instagram Story and type “clue” in the engagement box we had placed on the single IGS slide. Upon entering the magic word, we responded via DM with that day’s clue. Our goal with this method was to get a solid gauge of who was truly engaged with the contest.

In order to get a clue, students had to actually request it via Instagram Story.

On Jan. 27 the clue was the letter “I,” on Jan. 28 it was the letter “T,” and on Jan. 29 it was the letter “B.” Upon receiving the third clue, we encouraged our puzzle enthusiasts to put the letters from the previous days together to form the initials of a building on campus—ITB. The students took it from there.

This was how the first clue was presented to those who requested it.

We had eight students solve the riddle and triumphantly walk through the doors of the Information Technology Building. Upon entering the facility, they saw the puzzle placed on top of the table just like in the video. To the left of the puzzle was a small box with the missing piece inside. Each successful student had the opportunity to place the final piece into the puzzle and enjoy their moment of glory. The first four victorious students received swag bags while the final four received their choice of a single prize item.

Winning students actually had the opportunity to complete the puzzle by placing the missing piece.

What is the lesson in this? Well, I think there are multiple. First, go “extra” every now and then. Often “National Day” content can be low hanging fruit but there are opportunities to go above and beyond. Second, extend the shelf life and engagement of your video content by working in a social media promotion to go with it. Finally, and most importantly, listen to the ideas of everyone on your team…especially those video people 😉. Don’t Blink.

Missing Walmart

One of the truly great things about our new house is the location. Among many other things, there is a beautiful Safeway grocery store within walking distance of our home. I just need to look out the window and I can see it. Talk about convenience!

But can I make a confession? I miss Walmart.

It felt so nice to be back in Walmart this past weekend that I felt the need to take a photo of the experience.

The price difference between Walmart and Safeway is extreme. However, I can’t justify driving 10 minutes to Walmart when I can drive to Safeway in one. That is 20 minutes vs. two minutes for a round trip. My desire for convenience and gas conservation obviously trumps the grocery savings I would bank.

However, as I think about it more critically, maybe I should gladly drive the greater distance to Walmart. Why? There are a few things that irk me about my neighborhood grocery store like…

– The sky-high prices. It is offensive what grocery chains are charging these days and I think Safeway is the worst here locally.

– The out of control loyalty/membership cards. Just give all customers the sale price regardless of whether they have a card or not.

– The even more enraging “digital deals.” At Safeway, my silly loyalty status is now only good for scoring half the deals in the store. For the other half, I have to use my Safeway app to scan the bar code of the sale item.
At Walmart, there aren’t different colored tags on the products designating regular price, loyalty price, or digital price…there is just one single low price for everyone and it is already much cheaper than whatever deal Safeway is boasting.

Over the weekend I went to Walmart for the first time in months. I was only in need of three simple items (graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey chocolate…guess what we were making?) but I wanted to return to a place that offers low prices and no gimmicks. It was nice and I saved a lot. But will I do this next time as well? Doubt it. Like I said, the laziness…I mean convenience…is just too great to pass up.

Am I doing the right thing? Don’t Blink.

Sidney Is Feeling 32

My wife is a self-proclaimed “Swifty” so I have a loving plan to soften the blow of her turning 32 years old today. When Sid wakes up, I am going to sing that Taylor Swift song about “feeling 32”…

Oh, wait. I think Sidney is 10 years too old for that treatment. I just remembered the song is called “22”—not 32 😂.

Ha! Okay, enough with the jokes. My annual birthday blog post in Sid’s honor isn’t about roasting her; rather, it is about celebrating her and commemorating a date that would be tattooed on my bicep if I chose to have tattoos. Whenever January 28 comes around on the calendar, I always thank God for blessing this day with the most important woman in my life.

Today my wife turns 32. I love you, Sid!

Before beginning a new trip around the sun today, Sid had a pretty spectacular year as a 31-year-old. She led point on us buying a house, she amazed her bosses at Traveler’s, and her incredible faith continued to bear fruit as she led an entire retreat and became a godmother. And that just scratches the surface.

But the point of this blog post is not to look back at 31. Instead, it is to look forward to 32 and the promise it carries for my wife. This latest birth year is going to bring plenty of DIY house projects, continued chances to impress at work, and a couple big opportunities to truly help others. Stay tuned.

Sidney has so many incredible talents and qualities that I could celebrate in this birthday post. But this year, I just want to highlight one: her selflessness. She puts others first, always shows humility, and consistently takes the high road. People of Sid’s nature deserve birthdays the most because otherwise they would simply never permit a day to be about them.

We have a relaxing day planned with friends, family, and lots of cake. I imagine we might listen to some Taylor Swift, too, but I will refrain from playing that “22” song 😂. Thanks be to God for Sidney Mathis Reser! Don’t Blink.

Cash Thursday Rundown

Good evening, esteemed readers. After last week’s emergence of extreme winter weather across the country, things have seemed to settle down this week. In fact, the roads were decent enough that I was able to drive to Pullman today and work from campus. Let’s get started with tonight’s Thursday Rundown…

Pizza Pocket – Tell me you had an elementary school cafeteria moment without telling me you had an elementary school cafeteria moment. This past Saturday I had a pizza pocket, a delicacy I loved as a kid but can’t seem to really find in 2024. But thanks to the Rosauers deli, I was able to enjoy some nostalgia as I sunk my teeth into a fresh, flaky, slightly spicy pizza pocket. Although Sloan doesn’t look too impressed in the photo below, it was my top lunch of the year so far.

I was thrilled to eat a pizza pocket but I don’t think Sloan shared my enthusiasm.

Wrestling Match – Sloan recently brought home a flyer that advertised a youth wrestling program offered by the Catholic high school. She placed it in front of me and said she wanted to participate. That motivated me to take her to a prep wrestling match so she could see first-hand what the sport is all about. But I didn’t just take her to your typical high school wrestling match—I took her to the wrestling match where a legend was honored. Sloan, Beau, and I traveled to my alma matter for last Thursday’s Mead High School Hall of Fame match that honored Cash Stone. The man built the wrestling scene in Spokane and even though he had retired long before I arrived as a student at Mead, his energy seemed to still echo through the halls. It was a cool moment to see his induction and watch the defending state champion Panther steamroll Ridgeline High School.

Cash Stone is honored at the Mead High School wrestling match on Jan. 18, 2024.

Netflix Reports – I have a documentary and a movie to offer for your viewing pleasure. The documentary I watched this week is brand new and is called “American Nightmare.” The three-part series is about a boyfriend who falls under suspicion when his girlfriend is kidnapped. When the girlfriend returns a few days later, both are suspected of a master hoax. Wait until you find out what really happened! I also watched “Queenpins,” a 2021 film based on true events about two women who hatch a coupon racket. It is a comedy with some star power and some of the coupon tactics remind me of something I might do. I don’t think you can go wrong on either option.

You can watch both “American Nightmare” and “Queenpins” on Netflix.

Sunshine State Day – Today is National Florida Day. When it comes to the state, I have spent time in Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, and the Florida Keys. My favorite out of the four? The Florida Keys! We went there for my sister-in-law’s destination wedding and had the opportunity to be tourists in Key West. Fun fact: While there, we stood at the southernmost spot in the continental United States, just a mere 90 miles from Cuba.

A photo of Sidney and Sloan during our vacation in the Florida Keys.

Cinnamon Churro Ice Cream – When I went out late last Friday night to pick up some ice cream, my wife wasn’t too impressed with what I brought home. But what is not to like about cinnamon churro ice cream infused with a honey bun swirl and churro pieces? And the fact that it was deeply discounted made it even better (or perhaps worse?). Anyway, although Sid rolled her eyes when she saw Safeway’s Signature Select Cinnamon Churro ice cream in our freezer, she changed her tune when she actually tried it. Although I will admit that the frozen churro pieces are a little weird, it has great flavor and the swirl is on-point.

The Safeway Signature Select Cinnamon Churro Ice Cream was a little eccentric but actually pretty good.


That is a wrap for my latest Thursday Rundown. It is a special weekend for my sweet wife so I look forward to celebrating her. Thanks be to God! Don’t Blink.

The Demise of Sports Illustrated

Last week, news broke that Sports Illustrated is on life support. The publication failed to pay its licensing fees to the magazine’s parent company and now all of SI’s journalists are in jeopardy of being laid off. Unless readers want a magazine written entirely by AI, losing all of your journalists would seem like a death blow.

With the somber developments, I looked back at my own history with Sports Illustrated. I grew up in a time when Sports Illustrated advertised its product on television non-stop. Does anyone remember those commercials that encouraged you to subscribe in exchange for a gift? I will never forget the SI duffel bag my dad received for taking the plunge.

In high school, one of my English teachers, Glenn Williams, utilized the distinctive style of an infamous SI writer to encourage us to be more creative. Mr. Williams had us read Rick Reilly’s “Life of Reilly” column to spice up our own writing. We would read his work, analyze it, and then try to incorporate his techniques into our own writing.

Then, when I made it on my own, I subscribed to Sports Illustrated for many years. There was always something nice about opening my mailbox to find a glossy, crisp issue of SI. The Leading Off photography was always mesmerizing and first class. As an analytics person, I always appreciated the Go Figure side bar and it was always a thrill when a local product made the Faces in the Crowd section.

An X post I made all the way back in 2009. I enjoyed Sports Illustrated for many years.

But once I got past the regular departments, I would get lost in the long cover stories and other features. It truly was sports journalism at its best and as a single dude in his 20s, I was there for it. It is fascinating how things have changed.

When I look back at my past X posts that mentioned Sports Illustrated, they run the gamut from commentary on the cover to excitement for the swimsuit issue to actual story reaction. I loved reading through those pages and the enthusiasm was great enough to translate into my social media posts.

When I look back on it, my excitement for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was pretty immature. This post was from 2012.

However, like many things, when I started a family my appetite and capacity for Sports Illustrated dwindled. I didn’t have time to devote to a weekly issue and we didn’t need the physical magazines taking up precious space either. I also think SI lost its way in recent years as well.

Despite the fact that Sports Illustrated pretty much has a non-existent place in my life today, I am still saddened to hear of its possible demise. I feel mostly for the journalists themselves but I also feel saddened that a publication that helped millions of people get excited about sports is on the way out. Don’t Blink.

The Gift of Ramen

Over the weekend, I read a book to the kids titled “Magic Ramen.” It was the true account of how what we know today as Top Ramen was created.

Sloan holds the book “Magic Ramen” that we read on Saturday.

In the aftermath of WWII, Japan was in poverty and hunger was rampant. A man named Momofuku Ando would walk through the streets of Osaka late at night in freezing temperatures and notice long lines of people. These men and women were waiting for hours to pay deeply inflated prices for a serving of noodle soup.

Guided by his philosophy of the world is peaceful only when everyone has enough to eat, Ando set out to make a dish that everyone could readily enjoy.

For an entire year, Ando experimented to create a hot and satisfying dish that would be cheap to produce and easy to make. After 12 months of trial and error, Ando hit the jackpot when he invented ramen. He had created a product that only needed a single ingredient from the consumer to make. By simply pouring hot water on the ramen, the noodles would cook and the water would turn to soup.

The point of “Magic Ramen” when Ando is successful in inventing ramen.

Throughout my childhood, Top Ramen was always in our cupboard. One of the meals in our dinner rotation was ramen and grilled cheese sandwiches. This Reser family staple filled our bellies on countless nights over the years. I can still taste the sandwich dunked in the ramen broth. So good!

We have ramen in the pantry at all times.

In college and during my time as a bachelor, Cup Noodles (which was specifically invented by Ando, too) could be found around my place. Nothing like heating one of those up and topping it with crushed Ritz crackers 😋.

Since Sidney and I have been married, we have always kept Top Ramen handy in our pantry. However, my wife is a little more imaginative with what you can do with the dish. She prepares what I call “gourmet ramen” as she adds teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds, and honey. We even used ramen once to make peanut butter pasta. But I still sometimes make ramen just as Ando intended…by simply adding hot water.

A look at some of Sid’s gourmet ramen.

I think sometimes in our privileged society, Top Ramen can carry a negative connotation. But I sure am glad that Momofuku Ando invented such a versatile dish that has fed billions, including this blogger. Don’t Blink.

Baja Blast Thursday Rundown

Greetings to all! Is it Thursday already? Well, I think I am prepared for the latest rundown so let’s just jump in and cross fingers that my topics add up to five…

Baja Blast 20th Anniversary – I was a bit shocked when I saw the below display in Safeway. Not surprised that 20 years of life with Baja Blast had already passed but rather that it had only been that long. For some reason I thought I remembered Baja Blast being on the Taco Bell taps since the Stone Age, which would pre-date high school and thus eclipse more than 20 years of teal soda happiness. But I will take the word of Mt. Dew and celebrate just the two decade-milestone.

I am actually surprised that Baja Blast has only been around for 20 years.

Parenting Decision – Sidney and I put our feet down the other night. No more! Not in this house! We told Sloan and Beau that they could no longer make “ice cream soup” (their term) when we treated them to dessert at night. Our kids had become pretty obsessed with eating just a couple bites of their ice cream before swirling and mashing it into a lumpy, sticky liquid. I reached my boiling point when I watched Beau turn gourmet, beautiful ice cream into a disgusting soup when I took him out to a parlor after he ran a weekend errand with me. Not only does “ice cream soup” ruin a special treat but it also makes a mess and is terrible table manners. If the kids ever want to eat ice cream again I think we made ourselves clear.

After watching Beau reduce this beautiful treat to ice cream soup (they gave us a dish with his cone which you can’t see in the photo) I knew we had to put an end to the practice.

Throwback – Thought this week would be another good one for a Throwback. This comes from the “awkward Christmas card pose” file. I don’t know which one of us thought, “Oh, let’s go across the street and pose on the playground slide” but it is now etched in time. What were we thinking?! 😂

I will take “Random and Awkward Family Photos” for $1000, Alex.

90s Films – This past week I watched a couple of well-known movies from the 1990s. On Friday night, Sid and I watched “The Bone Collector” with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. The ending was completely problematic but it was still a fun mystery to try and solve. Although I usually prefer villain-Denzel, he played a great paraplegic hero in this film. Then, just recently, I watched “Searching For Bobby Fischer.” I thought this movie was great and beautiful at the same time as I thought the performance by the boy who played the chess prodigy was superb. The film made me want to go out, buy a chess board, and teach Sloan how to play.

I enjoyed watching both “The Bone Collector” and “Searching for Bobby Fischer.”

Snowball Growth Chart – With all the snow that dumped on the Inland Northwest yesterday, there was more than enough to roll it up into balls and measure the entire population of Spokane. Beau came in at a solid height of 14 snowballs. I didn’t want to waste Ms. Shaurette’s time so I didn’t measure myself but I am pretty sure I would have measured 27 snow balls.

Beau measured 14 snow balls according to the St. Mary snowball growth chart.


Alright, everything did add up to “five” tonight. I guess that means my work here is done. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the NFL Playoffs this weekend. Don’t Blink.

Beau’s Nightmares

An unfortunate obstacle that has challenged Beau over the past few months is nightmares. Since the early fall he has routinely had bad dreams a couple times each week.

When the nightmares hit he will run into our room and jump into bed with us. While crying he will tell us he had a bad dream and then he will do something that a lot of us probably understand: he will refuse to go back to sleep.

Beau will kneel between Sid and I at the top of our bed and not dare close his eyes because he “doesn’t want to go back into it.” After my attempt to settle him down I will drift off to sleep only to awake an hour later to find Beau in the same position with eyes wide open. I vividly remember feeling that same fear when I was a little boy and I actually still feel it to this day. If I wake up from a nightmare I know the moment I even think about shutting an eye that I will find myself right back where I was prior to waking up.

Beau after a night of no bad dreams.

I recently did a Google search about peacefully falling back to sleep after a nightmare. Some good tips were given: turn on the TV to something lighthearted, eat a snack/drink some water, or find a pet and cuddle it for five minutes.

Perhaps the next time Beau comes into our room after a nightmare I will fix his favorite drink (hot milk). We don’t have any pets and although I could turn on a Peppa Pig episode I am so burnt out on that show I am pretty sure it would only trigger nightmares for Sid and I.

Maybe the best option after a nightmare is just to pray? I am sure some of our nightly prayers would do a good job at soothing Beau. As for my own bad dreams? I don’t think there is anything that could make the evil go away faster than reciting the St. Michael prayer.

But what about all of you? After considering the Google search and my own personal solution, do you have any remedies for returning to sleep after a nightmare? I would conclude this post by writing “sweet dreams” but I think that is a little cliché so I will just end like normal (which actually works 😂)…Don’t Blink.

Explaining Mental Illness

I was probably 10 or 11 when I understood what mental illness was. My dad played on an “Over 40” recreational baseball team. Much to the delight of my brother and I, my dad would haul us with him to all games and put us to work as the team’s bat boys. We got to sit in the dugout and really feel like part of the squad. Needless to say, it was quite the experience for the two of us to be in close proximity to so many grown men with competitive juices flowing and no filters.

My bro and I had the pleasure of lending our bat boy services to the Spokane Marlins for two seasons. Although not much changed from one season to the next as the Marlins struggled to win more games than lose, there was one noticeable difference…

On a team with a lot of loud mouths and characters, there was one person on the team who was rather reserved that initial season. I will call him “Joey,” a quiet man who would join my dad, brother, and me for sessions of Pepper prior to the ballgames starting. He didn’t say much but could swing the bat and hold his own in the field. Glen and I looked up to him.

The next season Joey returned to the team but something was off. No, it wasn’t just that his batting mechanics deteriorated and he could no longer track a pop fly. Rather, skill level regression be damned, it was how he acted in the dugout. Once the reserved and polite presence on the bench, Joey was now unhinged. He would say wacky things—not in an overconfident, over-the-hill bravado manner—but in the same vein as a child would. It seemed as if Joey had turned into a big kid.

Of course this was pretty jarring to my brother and I. We laughed with some of the other guys at first, thinking it was Joey just being funny, but it didn’t take long for us to know something wasn’t right. I remember going home after a game during the start of that second season and asking my dad about Joey. My brother and I still remember his words…

“Joey is really sick, guys,” my dad explained to us.

Although it took some thinking on the part of my brother and I to know what my dad meant (as we naturally thought ‘sick’ in the physical sense), we came to understand what he meant.


On Saturday night, my wife, kids, and I went to a diner in the Spokane Valley for dinner. This particular restaurant caters to truck drivers so naturally the food is delicious and the portions large 😂. The bitter cold weather we have recently experienced in the Inland Northwest kept the crowd away on this particular evening. Just one table was occupied with a handful of truckers and then a woman held down a booth in the corner. Our family sat in a booth near the woman. Sloan and I sat on the side within eyesight of her while Sid and Beau sat across from us.

An episode played out a couple booths behind where Sidney was sitting.

I quickly noticed her uncontrollable fidgeting and audible conversation she was having with herself. With the frigid temperatures outside and my assessment that she probably didn’t have anywhere else to go, I felt bad for her.

As the meal went on and the server brought food to both the woman’s table and our own, I noticed she was becoming agitated. I don’t know if it had something to do with the food or another factor, but after the check was brought to her table, I watched as she jumped out of her booth and sprinted to the front of the restaurant. She had some type of conversation with the hostess and returned with a to-go box. She proceeded to violently and loudly shovel her remaining food into her to-go box while engaging in an argument with people who weren’t there. At this point I had given Sloan my phone to watch so her attention wouldn’t be drawn to the transpiring scene.

The episode concluded with the woman making another mad sprint but this time she completely exited the restaurant, running out into the dark, cold night. She left all of her stuff in the booth but did not return before we left.


The Saturday night incident could have been a teaching moment for Sloan. But I still think she is too young and I kept her eyes shielded the entire time. Instead, I let it just serve as another reminder of how rampant and debilitating mental illness is.

Also, over the weekend, I was able to watch a film that I am convinced was commentary on what it is like to live with metal illness. If you have the chance to watch “Self-Reliance” on Hulu (Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick star) give it a chance. I think it is insight into what Joey and the woman at the restaurant must go through. Let’s pray for everyone with mental illness and their families. Don’t Blink.