Taking Your Medicine

When it comes to taking medicine, Sloan is usually awesome. We will approach her with a syringe, place it in the corner of mouth, and squirt the liquid in with no objection.

Usually, Sloan is great about taking her medicine.

Recently, Sloan found herself in an unfortunate battle with pneumonia. Our pediatrician prescribed her an antibiotic that, to put it mildly, was disgusting. It was basically a thick white paste that even made me gag. Suddenly, it wasn’t so easy getting our daughter to take her medicine.

After the first day of pleading with Sloan to take her medicine, Sid and I looked at each other and wondered how we could continue this for nine more days. I mixed the antibiotic with milk and tried to convince her that it contained no medicine. I encouraged her to chug it and she actually did. However, it would not last. The next time I offered it to her she called me out, Daddy, this is medicine. Yuck!

I put some milk in a sippy cup for myself and tried her to get to drink with me but to no avail. We tried straight up bribery, promising almost the world if she would just take it. Sidney would pretend to give some of Sloan’s stuffed animals the medicine, reasoning that if they could take it so could she.

When the stuffed animal strategy didn’t work, Sid let Sloan give her the “medicine” (straight milk) via syringe with the promise that Sloan would take it after her. Can you believe that our honest little daughter broke her promise?

It came to the point that she had to be forcefully held down on the floor by one person and the medicine entered into her mouth by the other. Sidney’s mom helped us refine the process by advising us to just squirt a tiny bit at a time. It helped a little but getting her to take the dosage was still an awful process filled with lots of tears and anger.

Then, miraculously, toward the end of the 10 days, Sloan simply allowed us to give her the medicine. No fight, no protest, no squirming. Sidney rationalized that Sloan finally realized that no matter what, she would have to take the medicine eventually. Once she had the epiphany, it just made more sense to suck it up and take the medicine.

Sometimes in life we can be like Sloan and refuse to do something that is for our own good. We can fight it and resist it, but until we realize that taking our own medicine will be the best option for getting healthy and not spending negative energy, it can be a brutal process. If you have any tips for getting your toddler to take their medicine, please let us know! Don’t Blink.

Tractor Thursday Rundown

Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve! Okay, that was a little lame. Here we go with my latest Thursday Rundown…

I Can Relate – When I ran across this meme on Facebook, all I could say was you bet I remember! This was a tradition that was dutifully practiced in our household growing up. We loved it when our dad would take us on a spin through neighborhoods to see some of the best decorated houses in the city. I have fond memories of those dark, snowy nights with the car heater blasting and Christmas carols playing on the radio. Sloan has already been treated to this tradition!

Yes, I do remember this!

My Big Red Tractor – When deciding on a Sloan photo for this Thursday Rundown, I opted for this one of her behind the wheel. Our daughter strangely loves engineering vehicles such as excavators and tractors and this past Thanksgiving she got to actually “drive” one. It was a real thrill for her to hop on the red tractor that was parked outside my brother-in-law’s business during our Turkey Day celebration. Our little girl is going to grow up to be a farmer!

Would you like to take a ride on Sloan’s big red tractor?

Got Milk? – I grew up drinking milk with every meal and I still do it for the most part today. Because I enjoy the beverage so much, I took note when a TV at the gym had a news story about the decline of Americans purchasing milk. You want to know the main reason? It isn’t about diet, it isn’t about other competing beverages, and it isn’t about the taste. Rather, it is about cereal. Yes, cereal. It turns out that Americans are buying even less cereal than milk. The correlation is an easy one to understand but I didn’t figure that cereal’s woes would take such a big bite (or gulp) out of milk.

I love milk!

Good Holiday Treat – Although I prefer my own homemade snack mix, we ate something over the Thanksgiving holiday that was pretty good. Walmart sells a Great Value peanut butter trail mix. What’s not to like about peanuts, pretzels, and Reese’s Pieces? However, if you have low self-control you might want to pass because the stuff is addicting! But for a holiday party or for a snack during a Christmas movie, it is still pretty good. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Rudolph’s Mix.

Great Value Peanut Butter Trail Mix is pretty good!

Follow Up On Ms. Lommasson – On Tuesday night, I wrote about my 2013 encounter with Emma Lommasson, the oldest person I have ever been privileged to meet. In the post I noted that we rubbed elbows because I attended a visit between her and Mick Delaney, the head football coach of the University of Montana at the time. I mentioned that I was there to cover the event for social media but I didn’t think I still had any of the content from that day. Well, crazy enough, the six-year anniversary of the visit is today and when I opened up Timehop I came across some photos of an elated Ms. Lommasson reacting to her visitor. After a long life, she passed away this past Saturday.

These photos document the meeting between Mick Delaney and Emma Lommasson in 2013.

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So what is everyone doing this weekend? As holiday parties start to take place, remember to use my tips for hitting the circuit. Enjoy! Don’t Blink.

What a Life! RIP Emma Lommasson

Over the weekend, the oldest person I have ever met passed away. In fact, the distinction isn’t even close.

I had a great uncle who lived to be 101 but he was a spring chicken compared to University of Montana legend Emma Lommasson. On Saturday, she died at 107 years of age, just shy of her 108th birthday. A few months before I moved to South Carolina I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Lommasson. Based on that special afternoon, I am not surprised one bit that she would live for six more years.

In 2013, former Griz football/basketball broadcaster Mick Holien arranged a visit between former Griz football head coach Mick Delaney and Ms. Lommasson at her nursing home. Besides the two Micks and the centenarian, I was the only other person there. I was invited to document the occasion for social media.

I watched as Coach Delaney held Ms. Lommasson’s hand while the two discussed life and football. Totally alert and with her wit intact, Ms. Lommasson convinced me that she should be the one calling plays on Saturday!

After she spoke with Coach Delaney, Ms. Lommasson focused her attention on me. She asked me questions and I tried my best to explain what I do. She was warm, humble, and funny. She made me think that perhaps living past 100 wouldn’t be so bad after all.

This is me with Emma Lommasson in December of 2013.

I feel blessed that I was able to meet Missoula’s oldest and one of its most famous residents. There is no doubt that she lived a long, happy life. RIP Ms. Lommasson. Don’t Blink.

Our 2019 Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

It was another pleasant Thanksgiving holiday weekend for our little family. It entailed plenty of lounging around the living room but just enough “out-of-the-house” activity to not make us go stir crazy. Tonight I am reflecting on Thanksgiving break with 10 ways that made it memorable.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – On Wednesday, Sidney did not have to teach and CCU let all employees out early. With the extra time, we went to the theater and watched the Mister Rogers movie before picking up Sloan from daycare. My review is simple: There is no need to see the movie in theaters as the cinematic experience does little to enhance it. But, you will cry and be inspired whenever you do choose to watch it. Tom Hanks nails the role of Fred Rogers and it is definitely a movie to watch with family during the holidays.

We saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” on Wednesday.

Thanksgiving – This past summer, my sister-in-law married her fiancée (John Henry) in the Florida Keys. For Thanksgiving this year, we spent the holiday with his family. They own an auction business and held the big meal inside what they call “the barn.” More than 50 people joined in on the Thanksgiving feast as it was delicious.

We had plenty of food at this year’s Thanksgiving celebration.

Pig – I had to honor this tidbit with its own section. As part of the Thanksgiving meal, John Henry’s dad cooked a 130 lb pig. I don’t know if I have ever eaten better pork in my life. It was true Southern barbecue at its finest and we were encouraged to fill up a big ziploc bag when we left. I am still making sandwiches out of it!

This pig was so dang good.

Thanksgiving Evening – Perhaps my favorite part of the holiday weekend was spending the peaceful Thanksgiving evening with Sid and Sloan. Our daughter was in a sweet mood and we just vegged out on the couch and relaxed. It was so nice. We watched a Disney holiday special and after we put Sloan to bed we started an adult movie (read below for more).

The Irishman – Netflix recently released “The Irishman,” a gangster movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. Because of the film’s 3.5 hour length, we watched it over the course of two days. Let me tell you this, it is the exact opposite of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” A sucker for these mob-based films, I loved every minute of it and would recommend it to anyone with a Netflix subscription.

“The Irishman” was really good.

College Football Black Friday – I don’t spend much time in bars, but I do honor a Black Friday tradition that I started with my brother. While everyone else floods the malls and shopping centers, I take a calmer approach and find a place that has a lot of televisions. I then relax and watch the day’s football games while enjoying a couple drinks. It is the perfect tradeoff between Sid and I; she shops in the morning and I watch football in the afternoon.

Santa Photos – On Saturday we took a drive into the country. We went to Booth’s Christmas Tree Farm so we could get our family Christmas card photo taken with Santa. Although Sloan talked a big game about how much she loves Santa, it became apparent when she was sitting on his lap that her phobia is still lingering. We are crossing our fingers that a good shot was captured despite Sloan’s tears.

Two years later and Sloan still has a Santa phobia (this year’s photo will be part of our Christmas card).

First Sunday of Advent – Even more important than Thanksgiving itself is the start of Advent. This season of waiting and preparation for Christ precedes Christmas. The first Sunday of Advent was yesterday and we marked it by mass and prayer.

We are now in Advent season.

Decorating for the Holidays – Yesterday we cooked up some hot chocolate and decorated the interior of our home for the Christmas season. Sloan, like last year, was exuberant to help put the ornaments on the tree. Thanks to my mother-in-law for assisting us!

We spent Sunday decorating our house.

Ending the Weekend With a Bang – Was there a better way to put a bow on the Thanksgiving Weekend? Before going to our beds to prepare for the work week (and daycare week) we sat down and watched “Christmas Vacation.” Yep, December is here.

We started off the month right by watching “Christmas Vacation.”

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The Thanksgiving weekend has passed and December is now here. I hope everyone has a special month and remembers the reason for the season. Don’t Blink.

Thanksgiving 2019: Gratitude

Over the past two years, I have written longer-than-needed blog posts about this holiday and its meaning. So, in a departure from 2017 and 2018, I plan to write much less.

Today is Thanksgiving. It is not the official start of the Christmas season, nor is it Black Friday Eve. It isn’t about making a magazine-worthy spread or polishing off numerous holiday nums nums. It isn’t about your fantasy football team or whether the Dallas Cowboys will finally fire Jason Garrett. It isn’t about saving room for pumpkin pie or making yourself a plate of leftovers for tomorrow. It isn’t about a parade or a dog show. It isn’t about social media likes or photo ops.

Thanksgiving is about gratitude. It is about recognizing that we have consciousness. It is about cherishing our loved ones. It is about accepting that we have what we need. It is about realizing we are so lucky to live in this country. It is about thanking God.

Take time to be thankful today. Enjoy the food and the football and the parade (I love the parade) but don’t let the extra stuff overshadow the real point of today. Happy Thanksgiving.

Overusing War Terms

For a week now, I have been intensely focused on a series available on Netflix called the Greatest Events of WWII in Colour. Comprised of 10 mini documentaries chronicling some of the pivotal moments of the war, this British series has captivated my interest and sent chills down my spine on multiple occasions.

So far, I have watched the first six shows: Blitzkrieg, Battle of Britain, Pearl Harbor, Battle of Midway, Siege of Stalingrad, and D-Day. Each one tells the stories of these events in masterfully restored color with the brilliant narration of Derek Jacobi. The episodes are complimented by the commentary of war historians and the real accounts of war heroes involved in the battles.

You will learn a lot from this series.

Each mini documentary delves deep into the respective conflicts. The intentions of the world leaders are revealed and the strategies of the generals are analyzed. No decision is made lightly as every move is tactical; it is the ultimate chess match––a chess match that often-had millions of lives riding on it.

As I have watched these programs, and become more aware of the brutality and death of war, I have felt a little ashamed at how often I have used war terms/analogies (“chess match” included) in everyday life. From sports to simply going to Walmart, I have used terms such as “going to war,” “in the trenches,” “hostile territory,” and “behind enemy lines” to describe mundane life experiences that don’t involve thousands of people getting killed.

Growing up, I would hear people say that war and football share common experiences and that war terminology is valid on the battlefield and the football field. You know, I am not so sure about that.

No matter how violent and popular football might become, it is still simply a game. War, although characterized sometimes in terms of a game, is not. Perhaps we should keep the two separate?

If in fact we decide to do that, this blogger needs to lead by example. In my eight years authoring Don’t Blink, I am sure I have probably hundreds of instances in this blog where I use a war term to describe something non-war related. What can I say? I have been ignorant.

I hate to say that it has taken me over three decades and a Netflix documentary to think twice about my word choice, but I guess better late than never? Time to do some re-evaluating. Don’t Blink.

My Recommended Gift for the 2019 Holiday Season

A year ago on this date, I revealed my best $10 gift suggestion for the 2018 holiday season. I recommended that my readers purchase an LED cinema lightbox for their next Chinese Gift Exchange or simply for their holiday sweetheart. Leading up to that blog post, I had vigorously used my own lightbox that I won at a gift exchange during the 2017 holiday season. I still use it to this day.

Throwback of Sloan playing with our lightbox. This was my recommended gift idea for the 2018 holiday season.

From what I heard, my endorsement of the product led to an additional 1,923,431 lightboxes being sold.

But a new year is here and that means I have to throw my support behind a new gift. In 2019, I am ditching last year’s $10 or under stipulation and simply recommending a gift that would be worth any cost you pay for it.

My 2019 holiday gift suggestion is a blanket.

If you need to purchase a material gift for someone, I feel there is no better option. In terms of use, a blanket should last forever. My parents still routinely use a couple blankets they received as wedding gifts. Sid still uses a blanket she received as a child. We have blankets that we have had since we started dating.

Blankets rule in our house!

Blankets don’t lose their warmth over the years. In fact, I would argue that they age like a fine wine, becoming more form-fitting and comfortable as the years go by. You don’t grow out of them, you don’t lose interest in them, and they don’t break. A blanket is for life.

You also need not worry about whether someone will put a blanket to use. Our family lives in one of the warmest climates in the country and we use blankets on a nightly basis. If you walk into our living room, you will find a large wicker basket containing five different blankets. Each one is used on a regular basis.

Or living room wicker basket holds our blankets.

Which brings me to my next point. Out of those blankets in our wicker basket, a couple were homemade just for us and the remaining ones came from stores. Although the homemade ones are very special and have love woven into the fabric, we really enjoy the ones that were purchased for us as well. So if you can’t sew, don’t think you can’t give someone a blanket you bought from Target…it will still be well-used and appreciated.

In closing, shut your eyes and think about someone draping a warm blanket around your body on a cold winter night. The practical feeling of warmth is nice but the psychological feeling of protection and homeyness isn’t too bad either. Remember what I said above about blankets being worth more than what you pay for?

Struggling for a gift idea this year? Want to be the hero at your gift exchange? In 2019, go with a blanket. Trust me. Don’t Blink.

Our Mystery Oreo Taste Test

Did you think I was joking on Thursday when I said I was going to review the Mystery Oreo snack that recently hit shelves? If you know me, the dude who once wrote a blog post exclusively about Oreos, I am guessing not.

Yesterday I braved the pre-Thanksgiving week Walmart crowds to buy myself a package of Mystery Oreos. The $2.98 purchase was more than worth a little Sunday afternoon fun.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t go to Walmart just to buy Oreos…I was on a diaper run!

When I arrived home I swung open the front door and told my girls it was time to eat some cookies! Before ripping open the top of the package I let my mind drift a bit on what the flavor might be (or what I hoped it would be)…

The Mystery Oreo package on our dining room table.

Dr. Pepper. Cake batter. Snickers. Sunny Delight. White chocolate macadamia. Coconut. Marshmallow.

I wanted something fun! I was hoping for a flavor that was unique and not something you would necessarily expect an Oreo to taste like. Spoiler alert: I was disappointed.

The smile on my face was not reflective of what I thought about the Oreos.

The moment I opened the top of the package I already had a good idea what the mystery flavor was. The aroma that drifted out was that overpowering and telling. Hoping that my sense of smell was off, I took a bite of the cookie. No disconnect between my smell and taste. I untwisted the remaining cookie and ate the wafer with very little filling on it. I then scraped the filling off with my teeth on the second wafer before eating that too. Both the wafers and filling tasted the same.

A look at the Mystery Oreo package ripped open.

Hiding my disappointment so I wouldn’t skew Sidney’s opinion, I gave her a cookie. She took a bite and looked at me. Well, someone had to give their opinion so I spoke up…

“It’s gingerbread.”

Sidney immediately concurred. The flavor was so distinctive and so unpopular (at least for us) that there was a lot to be desired. It tasted like a dang Ginger Snap. As you can probably guess, I am not a big fan of Ginger Snaps.

The Mystery Oreo itself looks exactly like a regular Oreo.

Although a majority had already been reached in the Reser household, we still let Sloan give her opinion on the Mystery Oreos.

“I like the butter,” she said, using her own term for the Oreo filling.

Sloan liked the
butter” of the Mystery Oreo.

So, um, 2-1 in opposition of the Mystery Oreos?

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After tasting the Mystery Oreos on our own with no outside influence, I did do an internet search. There is a common opinion that the flavor is graham cracker or possibly a more sophisticated s’more flavor. In my opinion, I think graham cracker is just as boring as gingerbread.

Whatever the flavor Oreo was going for, I think Nabisco missed an opportunity to really pack a punch and leave an impression. I love the promotion, just don’t love the taste. Don’t Blink.

Twinning Thursday Rundown

In a week it will be Thanksgiving! As someone who enjoys the holiday and the personal traditions that go with it, I am excited. But we still have seven days to go before I get my hands on any turkey so let’s begin this Thursday Rundown…

Will You Be My Twin? – When I picked up Sloan from daycare yesterday, she had a gift bag in her cubby. The teacher told me who it was from and when we arrived home I let Sloan open it. Inside was a pair of Christmas pajamas and a note. The note was from Jacqueline (well, Jacqueline’s mom) and it asked if my daughter wanted to “match” with her at the Oxford Children’s Academy holiday program next month. The duo wore the same pajamas last year and will be doing the same in a few weeks. What a cute and sweet thing for Jacqueline and Susannah to do!

Sloan will once again be twinning with her best friend, Jacqueline, for her daycare’s holiday program.

Mystery Oreos – I spotted these at Walmart this past weekend but was on a mission and didn’t pick up a package. I plan for that to change in the near future. As a sucker for these mystery flavor promotions, I can’t wait to put my taste buds to the test with Oreos. My only regret is that I most likely won’t be trying them with my mystery flavor partner-in-crime, Geoff, who is going out of town next week (I will save him a few).

It won’t be long before I try these out.

Another (but specific) Honor for #CCUSocialMedia – A trophy from the W3 Awards was recently delivered to my office. Our social media program was recognized for our stab at influencer marketing. Last Spring we debuted Social@Coastal: Influencers, a video series that profiles Coastal Carolina students who are savvy digital masterminds with large social media presences. Our goal was to start a relationship with these influencers in hopes that later down the road they might feel inclined to help us out with a large scale influencer marketing campaign. The W3 Awards, a body that judges marketing work from all industries, liked our strategic approach as we won the silver award in the Influencer Marketing category.

This was delivered to my office recently.

This Is Us, Season 4 (Fall) Review – It just keeps getting better. In my opinion, the episodes that made up the first half of the fourth season of “This Is Us” were the most suspenseful and well-done yet. It was Tuesday after Tuesday of mesmerizing and thought-provoking endings. There was the brutally awkward episode that centered on a couple of cringe-worthy dinners but other than that I thought the season was pretty solid. Last night’s Thanksgiving show delivered once again (I really enjoyed the three previous Thanksgiving episodes) and I am already looing forward to new episodes in 2020.

Thank You, South Carolina – Earlier this week, I opened up the daily email I receive from the USPS that shows me a screenshot of every piece of mail I will receive that evening. When I glanced at what was coming, I noticed an envelope from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Oh no, why are they sending me something? To say I wasn’t a little nervous about the contents of the letter would be a lie. Luckily, I was put out of my misery before I even arrived home. My mother-in-law sent an image to the family text thread that showed a $50 check she received from the agency. My sister-in-law immediately chimed in saying she received one as well. Relieved, I opened up the letter the minute I arrived home and read the explanation that accompanied the check. The state of South Carolina decided to distribute the tax funds generated by the 2018 Mega Millions winner to taxpayers! Because Sid and I file jointly we only got one check but I am not complaining! Perhaps we will be going out to eat courtesy of the state of South Carolina tomorrow…

At first I didn’t know what to think about receiving a check from the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

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To those who are working their last day tomorrow until Dec. 2, I envy you. Thanks again for your readership and I hope you have a fabulous weekend. I will catch up with everyone next week. Don’t Blink.

My Recurring Dream

It was one of those “NO WAY” moments. I was talking to a person about dreams the other day and we started discussing the recurring variety. As this person spoke, my eyes widened as a dream very, very similar to one I have often was described.

I have a couple recurring themes.

Let me back up. I have two recurring dreams that both produce anxiety. The first one is pretty lame because it centers on high school football (yawn…get over yourself, Brent). When I played, I put a lot of stress on myself. In this recurring dream, I find myself in practices and at games totally unprepared. I am out of shape and overmatched. I dread taking the field because I know I am out of my league and I lack the talent and desire to be successful. In the dream I am the age I am currently, making things even more confusing (oldest high school football player ever!).

One recurring dream centers around my high school football days.

The other recurring dream, which I share with my friend, also takes place in a high school (sometimes college) setting. In the dream it dawns on me that I have neglected to attend a class all semester. It is the day of the final exam and I need to take the test. With guilt and anxiety weighing me down, I frantically pace around the school trying to find my classroom. Each time I have the dream the layout of the school is different but the feeling of hopelessness is the same.

Despite overwhelmed with negative feelings in the dream, there is always a faint sense of hope that I can somehow pull off a miracle and pass the test. Although passing a final when you didn’t go to class all semester still wouldn’t do you much good, it is a tiny piece of consolation in an otherwise gloomy dream.

Of course the ultimate consolation is when I wake up and realize I was dreaming. It Is one of the best feelings ever. I wake up in a panic but then it all fades away as I realize I don’t have football practice and I don’t have any academic obligations.

Before chatting with my friend about the dream we share, I never put it in context. I never really questioned why I was having the dream and at what times I was having it. Thankfully, the person I was speaking with offered some suggestions, at least in their particular case. Next time I have the dream I should be mindful of whether I am experiencing stress or battling deadlines at the time. For people with Type A personalities (like me), there is nothing worse than being late, missing the mark, or not doing what is required. When the dream plays out, it might parallel a situation in my actual life where I have a lot going on.

Do you ever have recurring dreams? Better yet, do you ever have the ones I experience? Whether or not, I hope you sleep well tonight! Don’t Blink.