A Food and Music Thursday Rundown

Greeting to my loyal readers. As I mentioned, this month is very exciting for me, with the real fun of June beginning tomorrow! I will make sure to explain what I mean in this Thursday Rundown.

Culinary Delight – On Friday night, Sidney made a dish that we originally saw prepared on The Pioneer Woman. She took hots dogs and cut them right down the middle. She then placed a stick of string cheese in each incision. Then, bacon was wrapped around the frank. After we cooked them, we placed them in hot dog buns and enjoyed. We both recommend that you give this recipe a try!

A look at our dogs (inspired by The Pioneer Woman) before we cooked them.

Carolina Country Music Fest – The Carolina Country Music Fest starts tomorrow here in Myrtle Beach! With the ocean as the backdrop, major country music stars will perform here for three straight days. Sidney and I purchased tickets to celebrate our anniversary and we can’t wait to experience the fun. Sid is most excited for tomorrow night’s headliner, Darius Rucker (I wonder if he will give me backstage passes or some swag since I helped him out with one of his music videos?). I am most excited for Kenny Chensey on Saturday night! Even though I saw him perform one song when I attended College Gameday in the fall of 2014, I am pumped to see him do an entire set. Also performing over the weekend will be Kip Moore, Gretchen Wilson, Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Parmalee, Billy Currington, Love & Theft, Chris Young, and Big & Rich.

These are our wrist bands that will get us into the Carolina Country Music Festival.

Sweet Flashback – It is our wedding anniversary on Sunday. That means that a year ago at this time, we were right in the middle of wedding week preparation. Over the past few days, I have thoroughly enjoyed all the photos and videos from Timehop and Facebook of that incredible time in 2016. Reliving the joy and excitement I experienced with Sidney and my family has been very nice. The walk down memory lane isn’t over yet…I can’t wait to see the memories that will be delivered to me via my smartphone over the next few days.

Just a few photos from our #SidAndBrent wedding week.

Comey Hearing – As many of you know, although I don’t delve into politics, I do enjoy major political events where the pressure is turned up and the consequences are major. I was very curious to hear the bombshells that would be dropped during the James Comey testimony. After all, the media hyped it up as the event of the century. When I got home and watched the coverage this evening, to be honest, I was really surprised at the lack of juicy info. The damning allegations against the President that were supposed to be revealed? Extremely underwhelming to say the least. In fact, Comey admitted that he did not believe President Trump nor his staff had asked him to stop the Russian investigation. Ironically enough, the biggest headline of the hearing was when Comey had to fess up that he purposely leaked information. Although I was hoping for more substance, I am ultimately happy that the White House wasn’t as involved with the Russian allegations as the media made it out to be.

The Latest of Sloan – As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, Sloan can’t stop kicking her feet! She is a very happy girl, especially in the mornings, and she lights up my world when she smiles. She turns 12 weeks tomorrow.

Here is the latest Sloan photo collage. Obviously she slept a lot.

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Have a wonderful weekend! I can’t wait to enjoy some live country music and celebrate an anniversary. Don’t Blink.

I Am Proud of Sloan Because…

For someone who is not a parent, like I was for most of my life, it is tough to understand what moms and dads mean when they say they are proud of their infant children. What can someone do to warrant pride who hasn’t even lived on the planet for three months?

A couple weeks ago I tried to explain my answer to this legitimate question. I replied that first and foremost, it is a crowning achievement just to start out as a microscopic egg and then undergo countless obstacles and milestones over a nine month period to ultimately emerge as a human. I then proceeded to give a more specific and current example on why I am proud of Sloan. However, as a dad who is too prideful for his own good, I have additional reasons as well. In tonight’s blog post, in no particular order, I want to give you ten other reasons for why I am proud of Sloan.

Tonight I give “just a few” additional reasons on why I am proud of Sloan.

I Am Proud of Sloan Because…

She carries my last name – By no choice of her own, Sloan has my name. I need to lead a good life to make her proud of it.

She has her mama’s good looks – Thanks to Sidney for providing her dominant genes, Sloan stops people in their tracks.

She has been through a lot – Sloan has already overcome enough to validate her toughness for the rest of her life.

She is taking her hair loss very well – Sadly, some of her hair is falling out (typical for many babies) but she is taking it much better than most men.

She sleeps through the night – I am not kidding here, we put her down around 8 p.m. and she doesn’t wake up until I feed her at 4:30 a.m.

She is in training to become a professional soccer player – Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. It seems to be all she does these days! We set her down and her feet go bonkers for intervals of up to 30 minutes.

She sits quietly through church Perhaps one day she will become a nun? Nah, I think she is just very well-mannered.

She is not jealous of her newborn cousin Although she hasn’t exactly told us that her feelings aren’t hurt by the birth of Henry, her body language seems to suggest that she is totally cool with it.

She puts up with daddy’s singing – If you have heard my singing voice, you would be extremely proud of Sloan too.

She makes you forget about the stresses of life – Feeling down? Text me and I will send you a video of Sloan being really cute!

Okay, I am finished with my bragging. I think I will hold off on sharing my other 100 reasons for at least another month. God bless you, Sloan! Don’t Blink.

Five Reasons to Compliment Walmart

In the past, I have written blog posts critical of Walmart. However, I have always maintained that no matter how much I make fun of the mega retailer, I still shop there. Tonight I want to break away from the cynicism. Adding to the cost saving advantages I have written about in the past, I actually feel the need to compliment Walmart on a few areas where I think the company really does a nice job. How about I give you five?

Great Value is Great – I have made up my mind. In my opinion, the Walmart generic brand is actually pretty good. I have mentioned before that Great Value ice cream is amazing but it goes further than dessert. You can buy really good chips and cheese puffs for $1 per bag. You can purchase decent peanut butter for half the price of JIFF. You can grab cereal off the shelves that taste identical to that of the premium brands but cost around $2 per box. Pasta, cool whip, cheese, bacon, milk, etc. etc. are just a few of the other items I buy under the Great Value brand. Honestly, it is worth both the taste and money to opt for Walmart generic products.

Baby Formula – We purchase a baby formula for Sloan that runs for $12.99 at CVS or Walgreens. At Walmart, the exact same bottle is under 10 bucks. When you are purchasing 6-8 bottles at a time, that equates to some pretty significant savings. Even if you aren’t buying generic at Walmart, you still save a lot on premium brand products compared to what you would pay somewhere else.

So Much More Than Groceries – Walmart really is a one-stop destination. Before or after you finish shopping, you can take advantage of all the other lifestyle offerings available inside the stores. Everything from Subway restaurants to Redbox kiosks to salons to ATMs to photo processing centers can be found in your average Walmart. There is no need to drive all around town making multiple stops…Walmart has you covered.

Cold Soda – Last week, I mentioned how I have developed a taste for soda. These days when I walk out of a Walmart, I am tempted to drop some coins into the wide range of soda machines that you must walk by before exiting through the doors. However, the ambush isn’t entirely bad. The soft drinks are always heavily discounted and most of the product is distributed in 12 ounce cans. Who doesn’t love a can of soda dispensed from a machine? Ice cold and bubbly, there is no better way to drink it. These days it is easy to find Coke machines at malls and airports that sell 20 ounce bottles for $1.75, a far cry from the aluminum delight you can enjoy at Walmart for just 45 cents.

Checkout Convenience – A pet peeve of mine at Walmart is that many times there will be 45 checkout lanes installed but only five of them will be open. The company is now seemingly trying to combat this by offering more self checkout lanes. In fact, it now seems that the amount of self checkout lanes equals that of clerk-administered lanes. I have noticed that Walmarts now have self checkout (I think Walmart calls them Scan and Go) centers located at both ends of the checkout area. Each center has around 10 different kiosks where customers can scan their groceries. As someone who likes to scan my own groceries when I have under 20 items (which is most of the time), I really appreciate this convenience.

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Does Walmart offer you any advantages? If so, let me know. Hope your Monday went well and that your week is off on the right foot. Don’t Blink.

Sloan’s New Friend

Well, things got much more exciting for our South Carolina family this past week. My sister-in-law, Steph, had her third child on Thursday. She gave birth to a handsome and healthy baby boy named Henry. Mom and son are both doing great!

The good-looking Yarborough family with newest member Henry (photo courtesy of Jon).

Sidney and Steph had a special bond over the past several months because they were both pregnant at the same time. However, now that both babies are here, I would dare say that bond intensifies even more. Two sisters will have the opportunity to raise their infants side-by-side.

Aunt Sidney holding Henry on Thursday (photo credit to Court).

Of course, the real winner in my opinion is Sloan. She now has a cousin who is exactly her age. How many of us can say that? Only 76 days separate the birthdays of Sloan and Henry. Better yet, only two miles separate the pair in location. Sloan only needs to get her mommy or daddy to take her on a five minute car ride whenever she wants to see her cousin.

Sidney holding Sloan and me holding Henry yesterday. Henry made Sloan look like a giant!

Actually, on second thought, perhaps the real winner is my mother-in-law who now has two beautiful grandbabies sandwiched between where she lives!

Okay, okay, I think we are all winners. To have two new healthy and happy babies in the family is a major blessing. For as long as the Resers and Yarboroughs are both in Myrtle Beach, it truly will be special to watch Sloan and Henry grow up together. It is my hope that they will be best friends and develop a special bond that will last their entire lives.

On Friday after work, I visited the hospital and got to hold Henry for the first time.

The seeds of that bond were planted yesterday. Stephanie brought Henry home from the hospital and it didn’t take long for Sloan to visit him. Although we were a bit surprised at how much she dwarfed her younger cousin (we still consider Sloan very small), we know it will all even out over time. The first meeting went well and there was nothing cuter than when both of their little heads were right next to each other.

I love this photo of Henry and Sloan resting right next to each other

This story will get even better in July but I will save that for when the time draws nearer. As of right now, we are so proud of the new additions to our Southern family and we can’t wait until later this afternoon when Sloan and Henry will meet again! Don’t Blink.

June Thursday Rundown

June is here! I am extrememely exicted for this month, but more on that later. Let’s get this Thursday Rundown rolling…

Cool Book For Sloan – A few weeks back I mentioned that I needed more books that I could read to Sloan. Well, one came in the mail yesterday. My mom sent us a book titled Night-Night Washington. Throughout the pages, the author takes the reader (and listener) to different places in my home state as activity settles down for the evening. For example, there is a point in the book where the ducks in Riverfront Park relax for the night. Sidney and I have both already read Night-Night Washington aloud and we are excited for the opportunity to educate Sloan on her “home away from home.”

In the mail this week we received this childrens book titled “Night Night Washington.” Thanks, mom!

Movies This Week– I watched a classic and a new release over this past week. I took two nights to sit down and watch “Schindler’s List.” What a well-done film. I only really know Liam Neeson from the “Taken” franchise and a couple other action films so to see him in such a dramatically different role was interesting, but he owned it. Extremely graphic and very hard to watch at times, I still think it should be required that everyone watch it.

Last night, Sidney and I watched “The Shack.” I had read the book and was a little curious to see how it would be adapted to film. I also am a fan of Tim McGraw. Usually this never happens, but the images I conjured up while reading the book in my brain translated pretty closely to how they were depicted in the movie! “The Shack” definitely drew emotion out of us but I am pretty sure many others won’t enjoy it as much as we did.

Ready For An Awesome Month – As I mentioned in the introduction, I am stoked for this month. Why so giddy? Well, a few reasons: Sidney and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary. We will attend the Carolina Country Music Festival. My mom and brother will both come to town. I will get to celebrate Father’s Day as an actual dad! Sloan will be baptized. Talk about a lot of fun….and a lot of potential blog posts!

My brother is coming to town this month. He will meet Sloan for the first time.

NBA Finals – After pretty much a whole season of hype, the NBA Finals matchup that everyone wanted to see (again) will tip off tonight. The Golden State Warriors will battle the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third straight season. I would like to see the Warriors sweep the Cavs but my prediction is that the series will go six games, with Golden State eventually hoisting the trophy. Depending on whether the referees grant Lebron every possible call (per usual), the series could stretch to seven games.

Latest Sloan Photos – Our baby girl had an excellent month of May. Now almost 11 weeks, Sidney and I are so pleased with the little person that is ours. She rolled over last Friday and she is sleeping so well at night. Here is the latest picture collage.

Here is the latest Sloan photo collage. She will turn 11 weeks tomorrow.

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I hope you are as excited and optimistic about this month as I am. Have a great weekend and enjoy the NBA Finals. Don’t Blink.

My Top 5 Favorite Sodas

I grew up drinking very little soda. My parents rarely kept it in the house and my coaches always told me it was detrimental to my body. However, as I grew older, and especially since I moved to the south, I have enjoyed soda more and more. Although I will still opt for water or milk before a soft drink, I am at the point now where I drink soda multiple times per week.

Because I enjoy making “top 5” lists based on my food and drink preferences, it is only natural that I do one on soda. So, without further ado, I give you my top choices for when it comes to deciding on a highly carbonated and sugary drink.

5. Pepsi – If there ever happened to be soda in the refrigerator, or, as we called it, “pop,” it was Pepsi. My mom grew up in a home where there was an endless supply of the stuff and she never lost her taste for it. My grandpa owned a restaurant and would always bring home cases of “Pepsi-Cola.” Because I was exposed to Pepsi at a young age and because we regarded it so highly, to this day I still enjoy it. I will always choose Pepsi over Coke and I will always enjoy a slight taste of nostalgia when I drink a can.

4. Sprite – My taste for Sprite and other lemon-lime sodas has evolved over the years. My taste for it started when I had braces. My orthodontist advised that if I did drink soda, which I rarely ever did, to drink light colored formulas. This pretty much left me with Sprite. I grew to like it, a preference that continues to this day. I like the mellow, light taste of the drink. If I am eating something really heavy, such as a McDonald’s quarter pounder meal like I had on Friday, I try to neutralize it with a Sprite. Come on man, obey your thirst.

3. Orange Soda – Call me a kid but every now and then I enjoy an orange soda. If it is 100 degrees outside and I feel dehydrated, order me up an orange soda. The way I see it, no other soda hits the spot like an orange one. I don’t even care if it is Fanta, Sunkist, Crush, or the various other brands out there…an orange soda is an orange soda to me.

An orange soda is so refreshing.

2. Wild Cherry Pepsi – My favorite soda logo, I find a can or bottle of Wild Cherry Pepsi aesthetically pleasing. But besides the attractive design, I genuinely like the taste. If I want to sit on my couch and drink a soda on the rocks, Wild Cherry Pepsi is my first choice. It is tasty, refreshing, and satisfying. Also, the smell that escapes when you crack open a can or twist open a bottle is the absolute best.

1. Dr. Pepper – Did you know that Dr. Pepper is actually the oldest soda? Well, in my book, the oldest is also the best. When it comes to types of soda that I see people addicted to the most, I can narrow it down to three major ones: Diet Coke, Mt. Dew, and Dr. Pepper. In my opinion, Diet Coke is flat out not very good and Mt. Dew is way too sugary. But with Dr. Pepper I can understand the mania. Dr. Pepper has that smooth and unique taste that allows you to drink more than one…just ask Forrest Gump. In all honesty, I just really enjoy Dr. Pepper. Like I said, there is no other taste like it (besides imitators). If you had to fill a refrigerator for me of only soda, I would say stock it up with Dr. Pepper.

Yes, I like Dr. Pepper so much I even have a Dr. Pepper shirt.

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I know what you are asking right now…why don’t you just drink Cherry Dr. Pepper? Although I do like that particular flavor, it doesn’t beat my top two flavors when they are served individually. Thanks for reading! Don’t Blink.

Pray for Zoe

Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone has had a great weekend. It has been a nice (and very hot) one for our family. Although we have taken it pretty easy the past few days, the big highlight of the weekend came last night when Sloan went for her first boat ride. She cruised down the Intracoastal Waterway as we caught an evening ride on Sidney’s dad’s boat.

June is almost here and that means we will soon celebrate our wedding anniversary. Along with reminiscing about that beautiful day, we will also remember the time in paradise we enjoyed immediately after it. For our honeymoon, we went to Cancun. It was an incredible trip full of romance and memories. Although Sidney and I spent a lot of time just the two of us, we still managed to meet new friends.

Toward the end of our trip we met several different couples from both the US and around the world. We all spent the day together in the pool at our resort. One of these particular couples, Ashlee and Chris Morris, had come to Mexico from Houston to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and renew their vows. We had a very nice time meeting Ashlee and Chris and since the trip we have kept tabs on each other via Facebook.

A photo of Sid and I with Ashlee and Chris at the Sun Palace pool in Cancun (photo courtesy of Angela Klaus)

Ah, yes, Facebook. Because of social media, I learned the devastating news that their daughter, Zoe, suffered a brain aneurysm last week. For the past several days, Sidney and I have waited for status updates on this extremely scary situation. Doctors at Texas Medical Center performed brain surgery on Zoe and removed an arteriovenous malformation. At this point in time, Zoe is in a medically-induced coma. Because of prayers and top-notch medical care, Zoe will pull through. However, the long term impacts are unknown.

For those of you with kind hearts who have the desire to help someone you have never met before, Ashlee and Chris will tell you that the most important thing you can do is pray. For those of you who are able to give financially, you can also make a donation to the Zoe Lee Morris Medical Fund. When you go to the fund’s website, you can learn the entire week-long nightmare (with actual medical language that I am incapable of articulating) that Zoe and her family lived out.

Please pray for Zoe.

Awful situations like this hit home much harder once you have kids of your own. Sidney and I know how scary something like this is and our thoughts and prayers are 100% with the Morris family. Don’t Blink.

A Thursday Rundown With Cereal

Where did May go?! Next week when I write my Thursday Rundown it will already be June. However, that is not a bad thing because next month is going to rock. Enough with talking about next week’s Rundown, let’s focus on tonight’s…

Another Interesting Cereal Spotting – Yesterday at Walmart I became aware of a couple new flavors from the Cinnamon Toast Crunch brand. You can now purchase Strawberry Toast Crunch and Blueberry Toast Crunch. As a big fan of cereal, especially Cinnamon Toast Crunch itself, I am very intrigued by these two new flavors. I am thinking both options probably don’t contain the cinnamon component of its parent cereal but you better believe that each one will pack a whole bunch of sugar. Perhaps this is an excuse to try both of them and then blog about it?

I took this photo of Strawberry Toast Crunch boxes and Blueberry Toast Crunch boxes when I saw the display at Walmart yesterday.

“Suffering” With No Hot Water – There is nothing like a cold shower to wake you up! During the weekdays I shower on campus in the locker room of our fitness facility. Usually it is a pleasant experience but this week it has been a bit chilly. Since Tuesday, I have maneuvered around to try to avoid the brunt of the powerful stream that shoots out from the shower head. With work on gas pipes taking place, the gym will be without hot water for two weeks. I wrote at length about what goes through my mind when I take a cold shower but there is one fact that can’t be disputed: a cold shower is better than no shower!

I will be without hot water when I shower at the gym at least throughout next week.

Big Day In One Month – I have had several people ask me when Sloan will be baptized. The answer is exactly one month. On June 25, our daughter will be baptized at St. Andrew Catholic Church. Judging by what a good girl she is at mass and by how much she enjoys listening to hymns, Sloan is ready for the sacrament right now! But my mom and brother will be traveling for the special occasion and my sister-in-law is about to give birth to a precious baby boy so we all knew that a date late next month would work best. I can’t wait for Sidney’s family and my family to be together again.

Sloan Photos – Sloan has adjusted very well to her first week at daycare. I am proud of both her and mommy. When either Sidney or I walk across a room, Sloan’s eyes will follow us. It melts our heart. Here is the latest photo collage.

The latest Sloan collage. She turns 10 weeks tomorrow.

From The Archives – I must admit, the blog posts I have written the past two years on this date have been a couple of my favorites. On May 25, 2016, I wrote about the wacky method I used to lose 30 pounds for my wedding. Then, on this date two years ago, I stood up for a segment of the population that is sometimes ridiculed for sharing a certain hobby/lifestyle on social media. I recommend reading them both!

I told the story about how I lost 30 pounds on May 25, 2016.

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There you have it, I am done! Have an awesome Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for your support of my blog. Don’t Blink.

My Excitement For New Businesses in Myrtle Beach

If you get excited about national restaurant chains opening up, Myrtle Beach is a great place to be over the next few weeks. Just in time for the tourist season, several very well-known locations will open their doors. Luckily for Sidney and I, many of these places are within close proximity of our house. For tonight’s blog post, I wanted to feature five new restaurants that are within a ten minute drive of where we live. I will also rate my excitement for the opening of the business based on a 1-10 scale.

Business: Dave and Buster’s
Opening Date: June 5
Excitement Level: 9

I have watched commercials for Dave and Buster’s my whole life. However, despite being exposed to the chain’s marketing, I have never spent time in one. I am excited for that to change. I have had a ball at other establishments with the same business model as Dave and Buster’s but I have never played in the one that pioneered the concept. Located at Broadway at the Beach, a better spot in Myrtle Beach could not have been chosen. Can’t wait for those doors to open!

Business: Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen
Opening Date: June 12
Excitement Level: 7

When Sidney and I took a trip to Savannah a couple years back, we ate at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen to celebrate our one-year anniversary of dating. Sid was extremely excited to eat there while I had never really known that Paula Deen had a restaurant chain. However, after that night I would never forget it! For those who enjoy Southern cuisine, this is your place. The biscuits they bring you while you wait for your food is the best part (and the food itself is really good so that is saying something). Also, having the option to order off a menu or go for a country style buffet offers the best of both worlds. I hope the Myrtle Beach location is bigger than the one in Savannah, however, because space was at a premium and the wait list was long.

Sidney and I at the Paula Deen restaurant in Savannah. I had a chicken pot pie.

Business: Panera
Opening Date: It opened yesterday (May 23)
Excitement Level: 5

Whenever a member of Sidney’s family would go to a city that had a Panera, they would always stop and clean that particular location out of its cinnamon chip bagels. Thus, over the past few years, I have had a cinnamon chip bagel or two. In fact, in celebration of the grand opening of the Panera that is now conveniently right in the middle of my commute from work, I bought a bag of bagels to surprise Sidney with when I arrived home yesterday night. Although I have not tried Panera’s sandwiches, soups, or salads, I am sure it will happen soon enough.

Yesterday, I surprised Sidney with cinnamon chip bagels from Panera.

Business: MOD Pizza
Opening Date: Today (May 24)
Excitement Level: 9

Yes, many of you know that there is a MOD Pizza in the general region of where I live. However, as of today, there is now one that is smack-dab in the middle of work and home. In fact, every night I will have to deal with this new MOD Pizza location calling my name as I drive by. Tempted to attend today’s 11 a.m. grand opening where the first 52 people got a free pizza,, I decided to hold off because I know I will have plenty of time in the future to satisfy my MOD fix.

A photo of me with the pizza that I built from scratch. I love MOD Pizza.

Business: Carolina Ale House
Opening Date: Beginning of June
Excitement Level: 3

This place is supposed to be the real deal. The creative menu supposedly takes pub food to the next level and 60 beers are available on tap. Adding to the intrigue, Carolina Ale House restaurants are supposed to be really cool inside and the atmosphere is supposed to make you feel right at home. However, believe it or not, I am not much of a craft beer guy. Because of that, I am not counting down the days until June.

Bonus Entry

Business: Dollar General
Opening Day: Last April
Excitement Level: 10!!

Okay, this isn’t a food place. However, a Dollar General recently opened up right outside our neighborhood. In fact, we can easily walk to it! Although not a traditional dollar store, these no frills locations have everything you need at a reduced price. Since the end of April, if Sidney and I need anything from batteries to beverages to bathroom tissue, all we have to do is make a short two minute trip to our local Dollar General.

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Any exciting restaurants or other businesses opening up where you happen to live? Let me know, I will share in your enthusiasm with you. Have a great evening. Don’t Blink.

My Proud Daddy Moment

Since becoming a dad, I have not had a single instance where I wasn’t proud of Sloan. However, this past weekend I had a defining “Proud Father” moment.

Before I became a dad, I would probably respond to that opening paragraph with something along the lines of “How can you be genuinely proud of a 9-week-old?” I mean it is not like Sloan’s brain is developed enough to ace a test. She can’t even crawl at this point so she can’t accomplish an athletic feat. She isn’t talking yet so she surely can’t blow us away with her singing voice.

But when you become a parent of a newborn, you immediately realize what being proud means. It isn’t about achieving something that society deems as an accomplishment. Just the fact that your baby happened to start as a speck in the womb, grow into an actual infant, and then enter the world is reason enough to be full of pride. However, like I said, Sloan recently provided me with a specific prideful moment that I will always remember.

On Sunday, I took Sloan to church by myself. It was my first real time taking Sloan somewhere without anyone else. I walked into St. Andrew carrying a car seat with a big diaper bag draped over my shoulder. I navigated the crowds and found a seat at the end of a pew. I then crossed my fingers that my daughter would make it through the mass.

This was Sloan and I after mass this past Sunday.

I kept Sloan in her car seat for most of the service. Because she was semi-covered and because she was a perfect angel, fellow parishioners who were fixated in prayer didn’t really notice the baby at the end of the row.

After we recited the Lord’s Prayer and offered the sign of peace, I knew it would be just a couple minutes until I would remove Sloan from her car seat and take her up to the altar with me for Holy Eucharist. I knelt down with the congregation as we recited the important words of Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. At that moment, as the eucharistic ministers approached the altar, I sat back up in my pew. I then slowly and gently took Sloan out of her seat and cradled her in my arms.

The couple behind me immediately cooed and asked her name and age. I answered their questions and they remarked on what a beautiful baby she was. Little did I know that this would be just the tip of the iceberg.

By that time, the communion line had started. Sloan and I were seated in the front half of the church but we were in one of the back rows of the particular section. Not only that, but because of our location, we (well, I) would be receiving the holy sacrament from the priest himself right at the front of the church. Thus, we would be walking past a lot of rows and a bunch of people to get to Father Jose.

I had the pleasure of taking Sloan right down the aisle of St. Andrew Catholic Church and straight up to the front of the altar.

The usher gave our row the signal to ease into line. Sloan and I moved from one end of the row to the other and then took a right to head toward the altar.

At that moment, I swear I knew what Sidney felt like the day she walked down the aisle at our wedding. I kept my eyes either directly on Sloan or straight ahead but I could feel eyeballs looking right at me. Well, let’s be honest, I could feel the eyeballs looking at Sloan. It was such a beautiful feeling, one I couldn’t really even find the words to describe to Sidney when we got home. The whole way down I could sense the gazes and hear the ever so light gasps of the people celebrating mass that day. When I finally reached Father Jose he had his wide grin once again. He gave me my host and then gave Sloan her blessing.

On the way back to our seats I could again feel everyone looking at Sloan. Although I still looked mostly straight ahead, I did shift my eyes back and forth as we walked back. I could see smiles.

Upon returning to my pew I was hit with emotion from not just receiving Jesus’ body but also from the reception that Sloan got. Even though I had absolutely no scientific evidence that people actually were indeed touched by Sloan, the feeling I had in my heart was proof enough. I was one proud daddy.

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With Sloan’s presence now out of the bag (ummm…I mean out of the car seat), parishioner after parishioner came up to me at the end of the mass to say what a precious little girl I had. Although the compliments were so sweet and nice, it still didn’t beat the feeling I had walking down the aisle with her.

When Sidney and I talked when I arrived home, she told me that there is just a sweet spot that people have for a daddy by himself with a little baby. I would say her assessment is right. I know I spent most of this post bragging but it was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. Thank you God for blessing Sloan with her mama’s looks. Don’t Blink.