From April to May

So how did April treat you? As we approach this month’s conclusion, it is worth noting that 1/3 of 2024 is just about in the books. Good time to reflect on goals, right?

I have been honest that April isn’t my favorite month. Although I don’t dislike it, it wouldn’t crack the top half of my preferred months. But it definitely has some good things going for it.

When I look at April 2024, I think of it as the kickoff to a busy three-month stretch. Both our kids started sports that in turn sacrificed most days of our week to practices and games. This has resulted in us logging lots of miles as we travel to different schools (competition sites) while eating many meals on the run. But the hecticness is worth it as Sloan continues to improve at soccer and Beau is trying his hardest to learn the basics of t-ball.

Beau runs the bases during an April t-ball game.

The month started with spring break. Sid and I each had the opportunity to take some time off to spend with the kids. Our St. Mary community kept us busy with its fundraising gala, Family Faith Night, Springo Bingo, Knights of Columbus events, and more. Work was insane with some major announcements and high priority projects. At the same time, it also offered some lighter moments: I interviewed former Amazing Race contestant Alex Boylan who was on campus for the filming of WSU Pullman’s “College Tour” episode and I had the opportunity to treat our graduating interns to a celebratory/farewell lunch.

Sloan participates in an activity at St Mary’s April Family Faith Night.

And now we look forward to May, a month I always enjoy. I love spring in full bloom, Mother’s Day tributes, and commencement excitement. Personally, it will be even more busy for our family than April. Sports, school, and church activities will continue. Sidney and I will preside over another retreat for engaged couples and I will attend an internal work conference. Bloomsday, birthday parties, and baby showers are also all on tap. It will be fun!

So as we bridge the gap between April and May, I hope you find yourself in a good spot. Take some time to assess your 2024 thus far and prepare for an amazing month! Don’t Blink.

Family Ice Cream Party

Last week, my St. Mary Knights of Columbus council (#4196) held a bingo event. Capitalizing on the Turkey Bingo phenomenon that draws huge crowds every November, my Brother Knights decided it would be smart to host a spring bingo opportunity, too. We put this thought into practice last year with Mardi Gras Bingo and then this year we staged Springo Bingo.

Our St. Mary Knights of Columbus Council (#4196) held a Springo Bingo event on April 21.

Making Springo Bingo unique from Turkey Bingo and Mardi Gras Bingo was the prize offering. Instead of turkeys and hams, my Brother Knights broke the mold by preparing themed prize packages. Carefully wrapped baskets filled with meats/wines, yard tools, candies, spa items, and much more were designated for specific games throughout the afternoon.

Fr. Jeff joined our table for some Bingo and snacks. (photo courtesy of Carl Lockwood).

At one point during the event, a “kids only” Bingo game was announced. Adults could play, but only children could win. The prize up for grabs? An ice cream sundae basket!

A look at the Springo Bingo event at St. Mary.

Sloan and Beau played this particular round hard but their cards just weren’t hot. Things were different for a nice lady at a neighboring table. She quickly made a Bingo and ran over to our table to hand off the card to Sloan. My daughter knew just what to do as she yelled the magic word. When we walked out of the St. Mary gym, we were hauling the ice cream sundae basket with us.

Sloan posing with her ice cream sundae basket.

That basket proved to be a great motivator. I told Sloan and Beau that if they each had a solid week of good behavior and kindness then we would have an ice cream party on Friday night. My ploy worked! I had two (mostly) perfect angels for five days straight.

The card that was placed inside the basket outlining its contents.

True to my promise, we busted out the ice cream sundae basket on Friday evening. We separated the contents of the package and Sid started to fill bowls with ice cream using the brand new scoop. While she did this, I oversaw an ice cream tic-tac-toe competition thanks to the board that was included in the basket.

Sloan and Beau play ice cream tic-tac-toe bingo.

We asked Sloan and Beau what they wanted on their vanilla ice cream and gave them what they requested. Both had a bowl of ice cream topped with gummy bears, caramel topping, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and cherries. It might seem a little excessive but it was a well-earned reward.

They waited a whole week for this!

After they were served, Sid and I made sundaes too. I had something similar to what the kids had but I held the gummy bears and cherries for lots of nuts. The four of us then had a really nice time eating our elaborate desserts and talking. It was one of those instances when I thought, It doesn’t really get much better than this. Hopefully simple memories like this will remain with the kids once they grow up and have their own children.

This was my ice cream sundae….yes, I did add sprinkles.

Kudos to my Brother Knights Keith Miner and Greg Hanson for putting on the Springo Bingo event. My family paid $20 for bingo cards, 50/50 raffle tickets, food, drinks, and two prize packages that each surpassed the $20 we paid. How is that for good, clean, affordable entertainment? And that doesn’t even take into account the priceless ice cream party my family got to enjoy together on Friday night.

How sweet it is! Don’t Blink.

Earth Thursday Rundown

Can we be nearing the end of April already? Well, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, we still have a handful of days left. But tonight’s blog post does mark the final Thursday Rundown of the month so I guess May will be here sooner than we know it. Here are tonight’s five topics…

Earth Girl – On Monday, Sloan received some serious Earth Day inspiration at school. I say this because by the time I picked her up in the afternoon, she was chomping at the bit to do something for the environment. When we arrived at our house, she took the initiative to roam our neighborhood and pick up random garbage. Her heart was definitely in the right place but I wasn’t too thrilled with my first grader picking up cigarette butts and other random “surprises” that people had discarded. Despite some of my hesitations, Sloan did help to beautify our street by filling a bag with trash.

Sloan holding the bag of trash she picked up on Earth Day.

Megan Leavey – On Sunday afternoon, Sidney and I picked one of the current Netflix Top 10 movies to watch. We settled upon “Megan Leavey,” a film from 2017 that tells the story of a struggling young woman in an uninspiring small town who ends up enlisting in the Marines. After going through basic training, she finds her calling as a K9 handler. Megan’s role requires her to train her dog to find explosives in a high stress combat situations. Once troubled, Megan’s job gives her purpose and she is sent to Iraq to assist with crucial missions. I found the movie interesting, emotional, and heroic. If you have the chance to watch it, I recommend the film.

I enjoyed “Megan Leavey.”

Road Trip 10-Year Anniversary – Time sure flies. We are in the midst of the four-day stretch in which my dad and I drove across the country 10 years ago. We rented a U-Haul and trekked to South Carolina where I would start my job at Coastal Carolina University a few days later. On the particular evening of April 25, 2024, we called it a day in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We stopped in better cities over the course of the road trip but every town that we spent the night in now holds a special spot in our hearts.

Although Council Bluffs wasn’t my favorite town we stayed the night in, it now holds a special place in my heart.

National DNA Day – Today is National DNA Day and I can’t get enough of all the true crime stories that highlight how cold cases are now getting solved due to genealogy companies. Just a couple days ago, Sid and I watched a Dateline where a man was arrested for two murders that took place 40 years ago. The guy was living in an extremely remote Canadian community where he never would have been found if not for distant family members submitting their DNA to genealogy companies. Several years ago, I signed up for and it might have been one of the best decisions I ever made. There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t receive a notification that I have a new match.

My DNA test got really specific on what areas of Italy my DNA is from.

Channel 13 – I think I need to make an adjustment to my top SiriusXM channel list. For the past two weeks, we have listened non-stop to the limited time Taylor Swift station that is appropriately located on Channel 13. The first week entailed my Swiftie-obsessed daughter belting out the lyrics to all of Taylor’s hits. This second week has taken the form of a listening session as my wife and Sloan learn Swift’s new music from her Tortured Poets Department album. By now I have grown pretty tired of Channel 13 but I guess I could be listening to worse.

Sloan walking into the theater to watch the Taylor Swift movie.


It is always a pleasure, friends. I hope everyone has a smashing weekend and I look forward to catching up next week. Don’t Blink.

Annoying My Front Seat Passenger

When it comes to old school, stereotypical gender roles, our family follows suit when it comes to driving. Whenever the four of us go somewhere, I am almost always behind the wheel. Naturally, this means we are usually in my car. And forgive me, but if we are in my car it usually means my rules…or at least my preferences.

Here are five ways I operate my car that Sidney absolutely hates.

I operate my car in a manner that sometimes annoys Sid

There Is a Horn For a Reason – In order to move things along when we have some place to be, I will back out the car from the garage while Sidney and/or one of the kids finishes getting ready. If we are at risk of running late for church or school, I will tap the horn to instill a sense of urgency. Yep, I usually get my rear end chewed for that one.

Safe Driver – I have documented this in depth before, but I am a grandma driver compared to Sid. I follow the rules of the road and go the speed limit. My world came crashing down on me when I received a speeding ticket this past fall. You better believe that I am not going to put myself in position to get another one anytime soon.

Freshness – I am a fan of the vehicle air freshener trees and Yankee candles. My wife? Not so much. In fact, the only thing she dislikes more than the air fresheners themselves are the scents I choose. You should see the face she makes when she hops in my car after I just hung a wild cherry tree on the rear view mirror.

In Your Face – Whether I have the heat cranked or the air conditioning blowing, I have the vents set to expel air toward the faces of the driver and front seat passenger. Sidney prefers to set it so the feet receive the air. Whenever she challenges me on it, I tell her, “Our feet are covered but our faces aren’t.”

Appliances Off – I inherited this one from my dad, but before shutting off my car I make sure to turn off all other appliances. Radio? AC? Seat warmers? I take my time to diligently turn off each one before cutting the engine. I guess Sidney wishes she could have back the five whole seconds it takes me to do that.


Despite all these inconveniences Sid has to put up with when I drive, they don’t add up to trumping her perceived greatest inconvenience of all: driving. So until she wants to get behind the wheel, she might just have to put up with that hot air blowing in her face 😂. Don’t Blink.

Gratitude 7 Years Later

If you actually read through all five topics of last week’s Thursday Rundown, you know that I reserved the final topic for a particularly traumatic event that occurred early in Sloan’s life. I mentioned that the anniversary of Sloan’s pyloric stenosis surgery was approaching. That day is today.

On this date seven years ago, Sloan underwent corrective surgery for a very rare newborn condition that prevented food from passing through her small intestine (watch video). Because of Sloan’s pyloric stenosis disorder, which really started to manifest itself about three weeks into our daughter’s life, she would violently projectile vomit whenever we fed her formula. A few weeks later (on today’s date), she would receive the innovative surgery needed to begin her healing.

During Sloan’s bout with Pyloric Stenosis and for over a year afterwards, we kept it between immediate family. Sidney and I are so thankful for the support of our parents. This photo shows our moms and dads with Sloan at MUSC.

Sloan’s bout with pyloric stenosis was a lot to handle for new and inexperienced parents. Sidney and I struggled through the whole ordeal as we watched Sloan suffer and doctors misdiagnose her. Relatively new in our marriage and faced with such a stressful situation, we weren’t the best equipped to effortlessly sail through it. However, it was a crash course in effective marital communication and the importance of turning to God for his grace. Although we had our moments as stress and uncertainty overwhelmed us, Sloan’s episode prepared Sid and I for down the road when Beau spent time in the NICU. Thanks to the lessons learned from Sloan’s medical scare, my wife and I were ready to deal with Beau’s crisis.

This is Sloan being wheeled out of MUSC on a wagon a few days after her surgery.

We write a card of gratitude to our all-star surgeon every year at this time. For the first handful of anniversaries, Sid or I wrote the note to Dr. Robert Cina. Last year, Sloan herself took over the duties. When she wrote to Dr. Cina over the weekend, she let him know that she is a healthy 7-year-old who plays soccer and loves Taylor Swift.

On this seventh anniversary of Sloan’s surgery, we couldn’t be more grateful for our daughter’s health, Dr. Cina’s skill, and God’s grace. I am also very thankful for my wife and the strengthening of our trust and unity that ultimately resulted from this early test. Thanks be to God! Don’t Blink.

Fruit Medallions Thursday Rundown

Do you prefer root beer or cream soda? I really have no reason to ask that other than I needed something to begin this blog post. Now that we got that out of the way, I am pleased to present my latest Thursday Rundown. Here we go with tonight’s five topics…

St. Mary Video – At this past Saturday’s gala, the latest St. Mary Catholic School promotional video made its debut. After watching it on the big screen in the middle of a large audience, I was able to view it again in a more private manner when the video was published to social media earlier this week. Principal Stephen Hart discussed the school’s mission of “making saints” but he had some help from his students. One of these students happens to be Sloan (shocker, right? 😉). Well, let me tell you, when it comes to her performance, my brother summed it up perfectly: Sloan is going to Sloan. You can watch the video here.

A screenshot of Sloan in the 2014 St. Mary Catholic School promotional video. You should watch it!

Sweet Prize – Earlier this month I won a social media contest. I participated in a See’s Candies X promotion and notched the victory. Last Friday, UPS dropped off a large cardboard box at my door. See’s took great care to add ice packs and plenty of packing to secure my prize. They sent me a box of their signature chocolates and a bag of their fruit medallions. I was pleasantly surprised by the medallions. I figured they would be chewy but instead they were soft and so fresh. I don’t think I have ever tasted a better gummy candy. Thanks, See’s!

Beau holds the See’s gummies while Sloan holds the See’s chocolates.

National High Five Day – With today being National High Five Day, I couldn’t resist calling to mind the most legendary brother high five/handshake there is. My brother and I developed a special handshake when we were kids and it has stuck around for a few decades. It is intricate, goofy, and pretty fun. You can read about it and/or watch it.

My brother and I in 2003 right before we executed our handshake.

Waterdog Challenge – I don’t normally do eating challenges but when I do you better believe I complete them. Today is the ninth anniversary of my successful completion of the Waterdog Challenge. I visited a tiny beach ice cream shop in South Carolina to attempt a tall task: 7 scoops of ice cream, 5 toppings, 1 waffle plate….FIVE minutes. It was quite the experience as I gave it my all to win that t-shirt. When the time elapsed, my last piece of the waffle dish was in my mouth and I was declared a winner. My mouth was numb for the rest of the day but my pride was not. Here is the full account of the wacky challenge.

I once ate seven scoops of ice cream in five minutes.

Pyloric Stenosis Awareness – Next week, we will mark the seventh anniversary of Sloan’s successful corrective pyloric stenosis surgery. I have documented this traumatic event in Don’t Blink before (and with this video), but as a newborn Sloan could not keep her food down. Each time she ate something, she violently threw it up. In addition to his permanent spot in our nightly prayers, we send Sloan’s surgeon a note of thanks/update each April. Thanks be to God for Dr. Robert Cina and Sloan’s health!

This photo was taken on April 22, 2017. This was moments before Sloan went in for surgery at MUSC in Charleston, South Carolina. Both of our parents were there for support.

Well, come on, root beer or cream soda? I like both but the latter is my jam. Thanks for reading and have an amazing weekend. Don’t Blink.

A Return to Jeopardy

For the first half of our marriage, Sidney and I had one constant: Jeopardy. It was like the moment we tied the knot we immediately fast forwarded to senior citizen status and centered our entire evening around the game show.

Jeopardy used to be our lives.

I am not kidding. The goal of each day was to put in our time at work, eat dinner, and then find our way to the couch where we would spend the next half hour with Alex Trebek. Sid and I were the BIGGEST dweebs ever. We competed against each other every night as we kept score in a notebook. We wrote down our Final Jeopardy answers and revealed them when the contestants did. We maintained a running tally of who won the most games. It was consistent, it was intense, and it was downright nerdy.

A page of our spiral notebook that displayed our game scores.

But then we moved. We welcomed another child. We cut the cord. And Alex Trebek died. Our Jeopardy routine ceased as transitions shook up our world and life became more complicated. As Jeopardy dealt with turmoil in a post-Trebek world, Sid and I were the bandwagon jumpers who left it behind.

Some things in life are like riding a bike. No matter how long you are away from it, once you return and pick it back up again, it all comes back naturally. A couple weeks ago, Sidney and I found out that we can access Celebrity Jeopardy episodes on Hulu. Hmmm…..Why not?

The two of us made ourselves comfortable in the living room and fired an episode up. The host had changed (hello Ken Jennings), the format was different (THREE Jeopardy rounds), and the gamesmanship took on a whole different vibe (even for Celebrity Jeopardy the contestant banter and jokes reached an entirely new level) but it was still Jeopardy. The crux was the same: answer the clues by responding in the form of a question.

We have welcomed Ken Jennings into our living room as we compete against each other in the current day version of Jeopardy.

More than four years after our nightly routine had ended, we picked up just like it was 2019. Sidney and I were blurting out answers, offering commentary on the categories, and competing like crazy against each other. Despite the return of that intensity, our re-discovery of Jeopardy also brought relaxation and sweet nostalgia.

Late at night after the kids are in bed, we are trying to find time to continue our Jeopardy binge. Ken Jennings is outstanding and we appreciate the new era of the game show. Who knows what will happen after we exhaust all of these Celebrity Jeopardy episodes but for the time being we are pretty content. Don’t Blink.

Batter Up! Beau Is Playing T-Ball

Beau has started his foray into organized sports.

My son now has three practices under his belt for his 6U “Navy” Spokane Indian Youth Baseball (SIYB) t-ball team. His squad met for the first time last week and they are putting in final preparations this week for the first game on Saturday. However, I don’t think he is stressing too much about his upcoming season debut. 😂

Beau is ready for some t-ball. This photo was from his first practice last Monday.

Beau is by far the youngest and smallest player on his team. His division includes kids ranging in age from 4-6 but his rookie status doesn’t seem to be holding him back. My little guy is engaged and attentive (for the most part) at the practices and he is always eager when we jump into the car to go to the field.

His coach was very honest with us from the onset. She said in her welcome email: At this stage of the game, the kids aren’t really that interested in learning strategy, rules, or technique. It is simply fun stuff such as running, jumping, and hitting the ball. LOL. Please keep that in mind this season while you witness firsthand the chaos of 6U t-ball.

Coach Karissa Gurske gives the team direction while Beau is at the bat at a recent practice.

Hey, I can get behind that! Having witnessed Sloan play two seasons of t-ball, I know exactly where the coach is coming from and I appreciate her laid back attitude.

I will write a season recap post in late May. I also might provide an update or two in future Thursday Rundowns. But until then, I am looking forward to Monday and Wednesday nights at the ballpark (aka neglected elementary school fields) as Beau takes his first step to the Major Leagues (😂). Don’t Blink.

Meeting A Spokane Icon

On Saturday night, Sidney and I met a person from my childhood past. Throughout my time growing up in Spokane, the local news was constantly on at our house. My parents made it a priority to tune in because of community connectedness, the ability to follow our local sports teams, and sometimes just for background noise.

We also tuned in for the weather. Whether we needed an update on the latest snowstorm, info on what to wear for Bloomsday, or just a general outlook on what the unpredictable and diverse weekly weather would bring to the Inland Northwest, we turned to the local news.

Growing up in Spokane during the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a power player on the local weather scene: Tom Sherry.

On Saturday night at the St. Mary Gala, Sidney and I met Tom Sherry.

Sherry’s name was synonymous with Spokane weather—and, if I dare say—Spokane celebrity in general. If you know anything about how the local news works, you are aware that a typical newscast consists of multiple throwbacks to the meteorologist for weather updates. Watch an hour of local news and you will most likely see the weather person a handful of different times.

With so much exposure, you better believe a sense of pressure exists: either develop rapport and trust with your audience or find a different job.

Well, given those two options, there was a reason why Tom was comfortably installed at KREM for decades. I believe Sherry’s success and longevity went way beyond his command of the weather. He was charismatic, relatable, and deeply ingrained within the community. The man’s legendary charitable work alone gained him the respect of Spokane local news viewers.

I remember the feeling of peace, comfort, and normalcy I felt upon returning to Spokane in 2020. After leaving the community in 2005 to go to college and eventually start my career, I returned 15 years later to find a familiar presence on the news.

Re-connecting with Sherry via the airwaves gave me the opportunity to introduce him to my wife and children before his retirement in 2022. Then, on Saturday night, I had my first ever chance to connect with him in-person.

Over the weekend, St. Mary Catholic School held its fundraising gala. None other than Tom Sherry graciously agreed to emcee the event. The dad of two children who attended St. Mary, Tom holds the school in very high esteem.

After telling our friends, Ryan and Allyson Andrade, of my family’s history with Sherry, Allyson took it upon herself to flag down Sherry during a gala break. Tom came over to our table and talked with us for several moments and graciously took a photo with Sidney and me.

When I told him I was part of a KREM family growing up, he quipped, “Thanks for keeping me employed.” He then talked to Sidney about living in South Carolina and mentioned his connection to Charleston. We also discussed what makes St. Mary so special and other topics. The conversation was just as warm as Tom came across all those nights on KREM.

Thanks for emceeing the St. Mary Gala, Mr. Sherry, it was a pleasure to meet you. Don’t Blink.

Nerd Clusters Thursday Rundown

Spring is definitely in the air here in the Inland Northwest, another very distinct season in this beautiful part of the world. Hope you are enjoying some decent weather in your neck of the woods too. Let’s get started on my latest Thursday Rundown…

Nerd Clusters Sale – If you remember, my wife’s favorite candy is Nerd Clusters. Whether in regular form or freeze-dried, there is something irresistible about them to Sid. Imagine my surprise when I saw them on sale for just 99 cents at Safeway on Sunday. I don’t know if you realize what a screaming deal this was! This candy, at least at the size pictured, is usually always more than $3. And to find them so cheap at Safeway? It was incredible! Do you really even have to ask if I got some for my wife?

I couldn’t believe it so I had to take a photo of the Nerd Clusters on sale at Safeway.

Getting Medieval – Over the weekend, I took the kids to Valley Mission Park for an interesting demonstration. Our good friends, Dylan and Fidela Perry, have many unique interests. One of them is the passion to strap on the armor and go to battle like it was the Middle Ages. They engage in this fun via the Society for Creative Anachronism and last Saturday the organization had a rare event in Spokane. Sloan, Beau, and I met the Perrys right as Dylan was going toe-to-toe with another knight. It was a lot of fun to watch and Dylan graciously let the kids hit him with his own sword.

Sloan and Beau pose with Fidela and Dylan in their full gear.

Eclipse Tourism – This week’s eclipse provided a jolt to the economies of many states. “Eclipse Tourism” was a very real thing as millions and millions of people traveled to catch a glimpse of totality. Include my sister’s family in that mix. The five of them traveled all the way to Dallas for the special event and made a nice little vacation out of it that included the zoo and Six Flags. My sister caught this below photo that I think is outstanding.

My sister’s family watched the eclipse in a super random field in Dallas.

Parting Ways With Stuff – It was 10 years ago this month that I was packing up my life in Montana and preparing for a move to South Carolina. I wrote this blog post about the necessity of letting go of junk. It is a pretty entertaining 3-minute read if you have the time. One of the items I was especially proud of myself for discarding was my old lap top I received as a high school graduation gift. It was 10 years old in the photo below making it 20 years old today. In my opinion, that hunk of metal looks more like 30 years old.

It was tough to do but I tossed my old lap top from my college years into the big black trash bag and threw it into the dumpster.

Chick-Fil-A Shout Out – Wanted to squeeze a bit of gratitude into my last topic tonight. Last Friday, I took the kids to the Spokane Chick-Fil-A for an Easter Egg hunt. The restaurant decided to hold its egg hunt several days after Easter Sunday but I don’t think it bothered anyone 😊. In addition to the eggs filled with candy and toys, all participating families received a free entrée for everyone in their party. Thanks, Chick-Fil-A!

The North Spokane Chick-Fil-A staged an Easter Egg hunt on April 5, 2024.


Stick a fork in it, another Thursday Rundown is in the books. We have a weekend coming up with sports, birthday parties, and a school fundraiser dinner. Thanks for reading this blog and I wish you a restful Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Don’t Blink.