High Dive Thursday Rundown

Have you walked outside in the early morning this week and felt it? By it, I mean the crispness in the air that is reminding us that autumn is on its way. Let’s take a look at tonight’s five topics…

House Blessing – Last night we had a special visitor as Fr. Jeff Lewis, our pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley, came over for dinner. Well, the evening was about much more than just eating chicken bog with us. His primary reason for dropping by was to bless our house. He went to each room in our home and sprinkled it with holy water and applied sacramental oils. The house blessing is a way to protect our home from both internal and external forces while inviting the Holy Spirit into our residence to promote family life. You are the best, Fr. Jeff!

Fr. Jeff takes a photo with our family after he blessed our house.

Bishop Fleming With Pope Francis – This photo is everything. When I attended the University of Montana, the priest in charge of the Newman Center and pastor of the parish in the University District was Fr. Jeff Fleming. Since the many years after I graduated, we have kept touch via social media. I was ecstatic when Pope Francis appointed him as the Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings last year. Recently, Bishop Fleming visited Rome for Bishops School and met with Pope Francis. I love how authentic and joyful this photo is. Please pray for Bishop Fleming as he continues his very important vocation.

Bishop Jeff Fleming greets Pope Francis in Rome. When I was in college, then-Fr. Jeff was the priest of the University of Montana Newman Center.

Diving Act – Our family visited the Spokane Interstate Fair last Friday and besides all the rides and food we enjoyed, something else stood out. We watched an extraordinary diving act presented by Milord Entertainment. The show was delivered via a police academy theme and we couldn’t believe some of the dives these performers were making. The most memorable moment was the grand finale when the emcee climbed up 80 feet and gracefully dove into the water tank below. We were amazed!

The Top Cop high dive show by Milord Entertainment at the Spokane Interstate Fair was awesome!

Donut vs. Doughnut Explanation – On Tuesday I wrote about the great “donut” vs. “doughnut” debate. I expressed my support for the former spelling and later that night I received some major firepower to back up my preference. Jon Fine is the owner of Retro Donuts in north Spokane, my favorite donut shop in the whole world. He gave a very technical and logical response about why our favorite morning treats should mostly be spelled as “donuts.”

I mean, how do you argue with this response?

Bad Lobster Chowder – Earlier this year, I mentioned I have only seen three movies more than once in the theater. “Jurassic Park” and “Rise of the Guardians” happen to be two of them. The third? Well, “Titanic” of course. Last night I learned an interesting tidbit from the filming of the movie. One evening the crew ordered some late-night lobster chowder but it didn’t exactly hit the spot. Someone had spiked it with PCP! Numerous people were hospitalized including director James Cameron. Those working on the movie didn’t allow the sabotage to sink their film—we all know that “Titanic” went on to become a box office smash.

James Cameron speaks with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Look how young Leo is! (photo courtesy of @historyinmemes)


That puts another Thursday Rundown in the books. A wedding weekend in Oregon awaits our family and perhaps I will have an experience or two to write about when I return. Take care, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Donut or Doughnut?

In ninth grade, I had a math teacher who one day wrote something that wasn’t an equation on the whiteboard. Instead, he jotted down perhaps the most perplexing question facing humanity.

“Donuts or Doughnuts?”


Raise your hands if you know how to spell “donut.”

For what it’s worth, the AP Stylebook cites “doughnut” as its preferred spelling of the word but do you really think I am going to defer to a stuffy and archaic grammar guide as my authority on such an important manner? Please!

My preference is “donut” and that is the spelling I would choose if I could only use one version for the rest of my life. However, I do understand that exceptions are sometimes necessary so I can excuse and sometimes even use “doughnut.” Here is my quick breakdown:

Sloan holding her “worms in dirt” donut from Casual Friday Donuts.

The pastry treats topped with sprinkles and filled with jelly in the bakery section of your supermarket are donuts. The homemade maple bars served with chili at the elementary school I attended are donuts. Those mini bites from Hostess that come in powdered and chocolate form are donuts. In my mind, the word “donut” describes a mouth-watering, calorie-rich, blue collar treat that is a staple of morning meetings and Saturday family breakfasts.

On the other hand, I equate a “doughnut” as the gourmet and prettier version of its “donut” brother. You might order a doughnut in a bougie café and eat it with a fork.

But if this question doesn’t weigh as heavily on your mind as it does for me and you don’t have a preferred spelling in the donut/doughnut debate, I would offer this advice: just be consistent. In your written communications choose one and stick with it.

I don’t always heed my advice when it comes to staying consistent with my donut/doughnut spelling

Funny enough, the above advice isn’t necessarily heeded by this blogger. A quick search of Don’t Blink will reveal that I have used both terms over the years, although the usage of “donut” is much more prevalent. I hope to make it the exclusive spelling of my blog from this point forward.

Donut or doughnut? Although I have a preference, if you are giving me one (make it an apple fritter, please), you can spell it however you want. Don’t Blink.

Summer 2023

We are more than halfway through September and Labor Day seems like a distant memory so please forgive me if I bring up an outdated word: Summer.

Ah yes, Summer 😎. Because things have been rather busy around the Reser household I neglected to recap Summer 2023 in a more timely manner. I hope you can forgive me. If I do have your pardon, I figured I would rewind the awesome summer the four of us had by listing 10 themes/events from the season. In no particular order (except maybe the first item), here we go…

New Home – At the very beginning of August, we moved into our new house. This major development was felt the entire summer as we packed up our old house during both June and July. After we moved all our belongings into our new abode, it took the rest of August (and beyond) to unpack.

This is our new home by D.R. Horton.

Godparents! – In the middle of June, Sidney and I became Godparents for the first time. We were honored and blessed when our good friends, Ryan and Allyson Andrade, asked us to be the godmother and godfather of their sweet little boy, Noble.

Sidney and I became godparents to Noble Andrade. Fr. Jeff Lewis of St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley performed the baptism. Noble is the son of Ryan and Allyson Andrade (photo courtesy of Rachael and Josh Photography).

Hoopfest – A highlight of the summer was definitely competing in Hoopfest! I played on a St. Mary team that under the guidance of Fr. Jeff Lewis managed to make it to the championship game. It was a wonderful bonding experience with my teammates and we all appreciated the chance our children had to be part of it.

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

Weddings – It was such a blessing to attend three weddings at St. Mary this summer. Two of the weddings were for couples that Sidney and I mentored through Pre-Cana. The other couple, Dylan and Fidela, are our friends and former neighbors from our Young Adult Catholic group.

We had the blessing of attending three beautiful weddings this summer.

Extended Fourth of July Weekend – With the Fourth of July on a Tuesday, it set up the opportunity to take a nice four-day weekend. During that time we had a picnic in Riverfront Park, went to the aquatic center, watched the debut of a friend’s band, saw big cats up close at Cat Tales, and more. Independence Day itself was a treat as we sipped gourmet sodas, enjoyed a cookout at my parents, and then watched fireworks with friends at Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake.

Sidney watches the fireworks at Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake on the Fourth of July.

Vacation – For vacation we headed to the west side of the state. We spent one night in Seattle where we watched a Mariners game and then spent several days in beautiful Seabrook. It was great to get up close and personal with the Pacific Ocean.

What a fantastic vacation it was. We took our photo at Seabrook’s signature oversized chair.

Summer Reading – All the fun we had outdoors didn’t stop us from hitting the books. Sloan and Beau participated in the Spokane County Library’s summer reading program. They logged nearly 20 hours of reading over the summer and although they didn’t win any of the drawings we sure read some memorable stories.

Sloan posing with a couple of the books we read this summer.

Fun in the Water – We didn’t meet a pool we didn’t like this summer. Scorching temperatures made the decision easy to cool off at both public and private swimming pools. Sloan is a little fish while Beau is still pretty anxious.

Just some of the pools that the kids swam in this summer.

Labor Day Getaway – We spent the traditional end-of-summer Labor Day weekend in Missoula. The kids enjoyed their first taste of Montana as they attended a Griz football game, ate Big Dipper ice cream, spent time downtown, and hiked The M.

Our family inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium prior to the University of Montana vs. Butler football game on September 2, 2023.

Pickleball – We picked up a new sport/activity this summer. Our new neighborhood has a pickleball court so we naturally purchased some paddles and balls. It has been fun to compete against Sidney while also watching Sloan pick up the game.

Sloan loves pickleball already!


It was a memorable summer for sure! Thanks to everyone who played a role in making it so much fun, especially my wife and children. Although it is always sad to see summer go, it is hard to dwell on it when your autumn is already off to a busy and exciting start. Don’t Blink.

Ring Thursday Rundown

We are smack-dab in the middle of September and I hope everyone is easing into their back-to-school routines and whatnot. If I am not mistaken today is Thursday and that mean’s I have five topics coming your way…

Soccer Girl – Sloan is playing soccer this fall! She is “playing up” because team spots for girls born in 2017 were full. It’s okay, after two practices with her 2016 team it looks like she will be just fine. The Icky Squids (team name chosen by the athletes 😂) will play their first game on Saturday. As a parent, I am encouraged to see Sloan try new things and I hope this turns out to be an overall excellent experience for her.

Sloan at her soccer practice last week,

Ring – What do you do when the doorbell rings and the camera shows these two hooligans at the door? Call the police, right?! Our new house came equipped with Ring technology, the first time I have had such capabilities. So far in the five weeks since we moved in, I think our doorbell has been pressed around 50 times. Of course, 49 of those times came via our two children while the remaining ring came courtesy of a maintenance person. Yep, it is being put to great use.

What are you gonna do when these two come to your door?

Peanuts – On a back page of yesterday’s paper was the below information. I love peanuts so I took interest in the facts. I appreciated that boiled peanuts were called out (so good!) and I didn’t know about all the towns/cities in our country named “Peanut.” But the fact that I found fascinating was the quantity of peanuts in peanut butter. Supposedly 500 peanuts are ground up into a jar of peanut butter. Although the size of the jar isn’t specified, I will assume it is an average-sized jar and when I have that image in my mind, I can’t help but mentally stack 500 peanuts into an empty jar for a true visual.

This peanut back page was published in the Spokesman-Review on September 13, 2023.

Eucharistic Revival – Last Sunday, Sloan and I had the blessing of attending the Spokane Diocese’s Eucharistic Revival at the Podium in downtown Spokane. The event, which was put on by my home diocese, was part of an overall National Eucharistic Revival spearheaded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The point of the revival is to inspire people to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. Sloan and I watched the beautiful and holy procession enter the Podium and then we followed inside to grab our seats. Dr. Mary Healy and Bishop Thomas Daly both spoke and then we spent time in holy adoration. After the event everyone converged outside in the park for a picnic dinner. It was powerful to see thousands of Catholics from our diocese and BEYOND gather for such a sacred event. Thanks be to God.

Photo I took of Catholic faithful walking into the Podium for the Eucharistic Revival sponsored by the Diocese of Spokane on Sept. 10, 2023.

Disney World! – On this date five years ago, we took Sloan to Disney World (sorry Beau, a little before your time). The reason the opportunity presented itself was because of Hurricane Florence. We had evacuated Myrtle Beach and went to stay in Jacksonville at Sidney’s aunt’s house. The three of us stayed there for a few days and decided to drive to Orlando for one of them to see Mickey. It was a lot of fun but also very HOT.

Five years ago on this date, we made a trip to Disney World. The impromptu visit resulted from our Hurricane Florence evacuation.


Time to wrap things up. It is supposed to be a gorgeous weekend and we will be busy. Wishing you the best and will catch up next week. Don’t Blink.

Sherbet Island Music Nostalgia

A couple nights ago in bed, Sidney was scrolling through TikToks. My concentration was focused on a documentary until audio from Sid’s phone drew my attention.

It was a familiar melody, definitely something from my childhood, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. After racking my brain for a little longer, I finally conceded and straight up asked her:

“Where is that song from?!” I blurted out.

Sid smiled as she could sense how wrapped up I was in this mystery.

“It is from Sherbet Land in Mario Kart for Nintendo 64,” she responded before adding, “You know, the snow track with penguins?”

Ah yes, it all made sense now. That was where it was from. But despite the pleasant soundtrack for Sherbet Land, it couldn’t cloud the unfavorable memories I had of that slippery and tough track…definitely one of the worst in Mario Kart for N64.

Sherbet Island in Mario Kart for Nintendo 64 was the bane of my existence.

After I was able to overcome the bitter thoughts of my futile attempts at guiding Donkey Kong (unsuccessfully) through the icy track, my mind contemplated something else semi-related…

Is video game music creation a specific career? Or does composing a soundtrack/score for a video game often go to an out-of-work musician or someone in-between music composition jobs for the movies? I am thinking these gaming companies probably have people on their payroll who specialize in this talent but I don’t know for sure. Perhaps I will Google it later.

Reflecting on the sounds of Sherbet Land also influenced me to reflect on other video game music from my youth. I immediately thought of the Tetris melodies for Gameboy, the Mario 3 ditties for Nintendo, and perhaps most of all, the soundtrack to the original Mario game for Nintendo 64 (such a classic). I remember playing these games and then having the music play in my head the rest of the day.

It was kind of nice to be reminded of the familiar music that accompanied my very basic childhood gaming. Will I be putting the Sherbet Land track on a playlist anytime soon? Absolutely not. But it did fill my soul with soothing nostalgia, even if the music did accompany my terrible Mario Kart game play. Don’t Blink.

An Anniversary That Hits Harder Each Year

It doesn’t get any easier, in fact, it seems to get harder. When 9/11 approaches, I have always made it a point to watch a documentary about the attacks and the heroism exhibited by Americans on that awful day. But this year it seemed even tougher to press “play” on the multiple streaming options I had.

I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it is because I am just more sensitive to the preciousness of human life. Or maybe it is because more details and footage come out every year chronicling more of the horror that transpired 22 years ago. Or maybe it isn’t the new stuff as much as the images ingrained in our minds since we watched it live in 2001.

The video of the person jumping out a World Trade Center window haunts me year-round.

But no matter how much harder it becomes, I still have to mark 9/11 in some way. Last night I watched a documentary about a search and rescue effort. An ex-paramedic teamed up with a U.S. Marine to save a police officer trapped in the World Trade Center rubble. It was an extremely emotional tale of two men who didn’t know each other risking their lives to save a stranger. That police officer was only one of 18 people rescued from the rubble of the WTC.

While U.S. Marine Jason Thomas was in a hole saving a police officer from the World Trade Center rubble, he had this photo taken of himself with a disposable camera so his family would know what he was doing during his last hour if he didn’t survive.

Before I watched the program last night, I had my first ever conversation about September 11 with my daughter. During our nighttime routine, I prayed for the souls of the 9/11 victims and their families. Of course Sloan had questions. I explained on a very basic and first grade-level what happened. After she took it all in, she spoke up.

“I wish only the bad people who took the plane died and not all the good people.”

Me too, Sloan.

It happened 22 years ago but let’s take time to remember 9/11 today. If you have the chance to educate someone about the attacks who wasn’t alive in 2001, don’t hesitate to do so. Don’t Blink.

Past 9/11 Blog Posts
Putting Faces to the Victims (2021)
Never Forget, Always Educate (2019)
Putting Hurricane Florence in Perspective (2018)
What Touched Me on This 9/11 (2017)
Standing With Unity (2016)
10 Years Later (2011)

Wisconsin Is Anything But Cheesy

It seems like wherever I have worked during my higher education professional career, there is one university and one fan base that I have crossed paths with the most: the University of Wisconsin.

Way back in 2012 when I was working at the University of Montana, I traveled to Albuquerque with the men’s basketball team for the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Griz opponent? The Wisconsin Badgers. I got to meet Bucky and see firsthand how passionately the Wisconsin fans show up for their team.

I took this photo of Bucky and Monte in the fitness area of The Pit prior to Wisconsin and Montana tipping off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Just a few years later I was working for Coastal Carolina University and I was once again bound for the NCAA tournament with the men’s basketball team. This time I was off to Omaha but while the city changed the opponent didn’t—our #16 seeded Chanticleers played #1 seed Wisconsin. This was the final year with Bo Ryan as head coach as the Badgers would make the NCAA championship game before falling to Duke. This particular experience exposed me to the digital fandom of the University of Wisconsin. I participated in a Twitter/X back-and-forth with the UW social media manager that generated rave reviews and endeared us to the Badger faithful.

A photo I took from the 2015 NCAA game between the Badgers and Chants. CCU player Badou Diagne goes up against Wisconsin’s big stud, Frank Kaminsky.

Fast forward eight years and this weekend I had yet another experience with the University of Wisconsin—this time as an employee of Washington State University. The Badger football team came to Pullman for a marquee non-conference showdown with the Cougs. Earlier in the summer I pitched a video idea centering on Wisconsin’s reputation as the “Cheese State” in relation to our university’s famous Cougar Gold white cheddar. The crux was to have Badger fans try our Cougar Gold and give their honest feedback. After all, who is more of a cheese authority than the “cheeseheads” themselves?

These gentlemen were the first Wisconsin fans to take the “Cougar Gold Challenge.”

The idea became reality on Saturday. I approached Wisconsin fans and offered them the opportunity to sample Cougar Gold as our video team filmed their reactions. Our videographers then turned around this fun video.

It was a lot of fun to engage with the Wisconsin fans on Saturday.

As with my prior interactions with Wisconsin fans, everyone was nice, gracious, and humble. When I approached them, they were more than willing to play along and most of them had nothing but genuinely complimentary things to say about Cougar Gold. It was a joy to work with them.

This couple was a lot of fun!

So if anyone from the University of Wisconsin community happens to see this blog post, please know this—I respect you! Thanks for making intercollegiate athletics so fun. Don’t Blink.

Ninth Month Thursday Rundown

Well I hope your September is off to a fine start. Our month started off with a trip to Missoula, the celebration of my niece’s 9th birthday, and the beginning of the school year. Let’s dive into tonight’s five topics…

Back-To-School Boards – This year we purchased our back-to-school boards at Michael’s. We opted for a dry erase version so we no longer have to purchase a design on Etsy, get it printed, etc. Now we can just fill out the board the morning of the first day of school and we will be able to use them for years to come.

We purchased our back-to-school dry erase boards at Michael’s.

Griz Vision Cameo – As I briefly mentioned in my Missoula blog post, a highlight of the football game was Sloan making it on the giant video screen of Washington-Grizzly Stadium (called Griz Vision). We had a couple girls just a little older than Sloan sitting by us and of course our daughter made quick friends with them. Their mission throughout the game was to appear on Griz Vision. They danced their hearts out throughout all four quarters but it almost looked like the Griz Vision cameras would allude them. Not so! With under two minutes to go in the game, the girls caught the eye of the camera person closest to our section and they were projected onto the screen during one of the final timeouts. The below photo shows the group reacting to their accomplishment while they are literally on the screen.

Sloan and her new friends react as they projected onto Griz Vision in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Creepy Clown – I don’t know how it got there or who the previous owner was, but Sloan found an unsettling clown doll in my parents’ house on Sunday night while celebrating my niece’s birthday. The doll was the subject of much humor throughout the evening. Sloan wanted to bring it home but I adamantly told her no, especially since we have a certain member of our household (the other person whose name starts with “S”) who is afraid of clowns. Nonetheless, when we pulled away to head home, I noticed my dad had sneakily placed the clown in our car. Yep, it is now living under our roof.

A photo of Sloan holding the creepy clown doll that now lives at our house.

National Beer Lovers Day – I think there must be like eight different national beer days on the calendar because I find myself sharing this blog post a lot. Approximately 5.5 years ago, I counted down my top five favorite beers and a lot of people hated me for it. You will just have to see my choices to learn why (and happy National Beer Lovers Day).

I don’t think a lot of people agree with my beer choices.

What A Big Heart – Ready to feel small? Courtesy of @HistoryInMemes, the below photo is the heart of a blue whale. The arteries in this organ are so huge that an adult human could swim in them. Some more incredible facts: that heart you see is 1,300 pounds and a single heartbeat of the animal can be heard from two miles away. Puts into perspective our rather small physical size, right?

This is a photo of the heart of a blue whale (image courtesy of @historyinmemes).


Time to sign off for the week as I turn my attention to another football weekend. Thanks for your support of this blog and may God bless you! Don’t Blink.

Kicking Off the 2023-24 School Year

Watch a “First Day of School” video of Sloan and Beau

A new school year has started and the excitement is palpable at the Reser household. Today we sent both our children off to the same school, a pattern that should hold for (fingers crossed) the next eight years.

Sloan and Beau stand outside St. Mary Catholic School on their first day of school on Sept. 5, 2023.

This morning, St. Mary Catholic School welcomed Sloan and Beau with open arms. Sloan is a first grader in Ms. Lunsford’s class. If you remember, Ms. Lunsford was Sloan’s Pre-K4 teacher during the 2021-22 school year and we couldn’t be happier that she has moved up to lead the first grade classroom.

Sloan is a first grader in Ms. Lunsford’s class.

Beau started his projected 11-year run at St. Mary with his first day of Pre-K3. There is plenty of familiarity with his classroom too. Ms. Shaurette, who taught Sloan during her Pre-K3 year, will teach her second Reser child. Like with Ms. Lunsford, we are so happy and comfortable with Ms. Shaurette.

Beau is in Ms. Shaurette’s Pre-K3 class.

Besides Sloan and Beau, someone else had their first day at St. Mary today—the principal! Mr. Stephen Hart was hired at the end of last school year and there is much joy with his arrival. Mr. Hart has an impressive teaching background and an unwavering devotion to the Catholic faith. He will set the tone for this year with his strong leadership and passion for academic excellence. At the same time, there will never be a doubt about what is most important at St. Mary during his tenure: instilling a love of God that is infused with an unstoppable pursuit of salvation. Stephen is a great family friend and we can’t wait to watch him do amazing things.

St. Mary Principal Mr. Stephen Hart opens the doors for the first time during the 2023-24 school year. He will do great things.

Besides our kids, Sid and I are also excited for the school year. There is nothing like the St. Mary community, especially the relationships you get to build with the parents and family members in your child’s class. We have met so many friends and faithful Catholics by getting to know the parents of Sloan’s classmates. Lucky for us, we will have even more chances to build additional meaningful relationships with Beau’s new class. We can’t wait!

It is great to have both of our children at the same school. 🙏🏻

Best of luck to all students beginning a new school year! May we pray that everyone has the chance to learn and grow, both mentally and spiritually. Don’t Blink.

Sloan and Beau Experience Missoula

As a parent, there is something profound about providing your children the chance to experience something that was special to you. Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to share with Sloan and Beau a place that played an incredible role in shaping the person I am today. Although it was for only about 36 hours, I was overjoyed to take my kids to the town where my educational, social, and professional development was built and shaped. Hello, Missoula.

It was special to take Sloan and Beau to Missoula for the first time.

Sidney, Sloan, Beau, and I were on the road by 5 a.m. on Saturday morning of Labor Day Weekend 2023. After a ride filled with Jonas Brothers music thanks to DJ Sid, we pulled into Missoula at 9 a.m. and parked at our hotel. From there it was a quick walk across the footbridge and onto the campus of the University of Montana. We had watched a bunch of Monte videos the day before so Sloan and Beau were starstruck when we lined the route of the Griz Walk and saw the famous bear himself leading the procession. Seeing the Spirit Squad and football team up close was also pretty cool. It was then off to the GSA Tailgate before entering Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Sid and Sloan watch as the University of Montana Spirit Squad leads the Griz Walk.

On a hot early September day, we watched the Griz host Butler. We had the pleasure of taking in the entire pregame performance followed by some football! Sloan stayed in her seat the entire game despite the sun beating down on us. Her goal was to make Griz Vision and with about two minutes left in the game she accomplished her goal along with the two new friends she had made in the stands. Beau was a little less engaged than Sloan but he sure took an interest in running up and down those Washington-Grizzly Stadium stairs 😂.

Our family inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium prior to the University of Montana vs. Butler football game on September 2, 2023.

After the game I let the kids run on the stadium turf and then we walked through the Adams Center. As we did the latter I showed them the Hall of Champions, a section of the facility that I played a major role in updating during my time with Grizzly Athletics. We snagged posters and then made the short walk back to the hotel.

Sloan on the Washington-Grizzly Stadium turf after the game.

Okay, football is cool and all, but we all know what trumps watching a storied program host its home opener on a gorgeous day…swimming in the hotel pool! When we got to our hotel room, Sloan and Beau couldn’t get their suits on fast enough as we splashed in the outdoor pool and hot tub for a couple hours.

Sloan (in the pool) and Beau (wrapped in towel outside of pool) had a fun swim session after the game.

The swimming helped us work up our appetites and it was off to dinner. We ate at Old Chicago and for some reason, family dinners enjoyed out of town always seem to be more special. After we ate the four of us drove around downtown Missoula a bit before ordering Blizzards at Dairy Queen. We took the ice cream back to the hotel and watched TV before calling it a night.

Sid and Sloan making some tough decisions at Dairy Queen on Higgins St. in Missoula.

We started our Sunday at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church for 10 a.m. mass. Our own pastor, Fr. Jeff Lewis, describes the beauty of this Missoula gem by remarking, “It is almost like it dropped upon Montana from Rome herself.” After mass we went to Cracker Barrel for brunch. The Missoula location was the first “Crack Shack” I ever ate at and Sidney misses the Southern chain greatly as there is not a location in Spokane. The food was excellent as usual.

Beau kneels in a pew at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Missoula prior to the 10 a.m. mass on Sept. 3, 2023.

It was now time to play! We headed off to Dragon Hollow, a spectacular and creative playground that was designed according to the suggestions of children. It definitely ranks as one of the top five playgrounds our kids have ever had the pleasure of playing on! We then hit up the adjacent carousel. Called “A Carousel For Missoula,” it was inspired by the Loof Carousel here in Spokane and is one of the fastest carousels in the country.

Beau plays on a portion of the Dragon Hollow playground in Missoula.

My daughter then proceeded to impress me. After we were finished in downtown Missoula we headed back to campus where Sloan was adamant that we hike “The M” trail. I was a little skeptical about whether she could do it but after we changed clothes in the University Center and headed to the base of Mt. Sentinel, I knew she was dialed in. Sloan did awesome as we ascended the mountain and made it to the top of The M. What a memorable moment with my little girl!

That’s Sloan on The M overlooking the University of Montana campus and the city of Missoula. I was so proud that she hiked all the way to the top!

On that high note, it was time to head back to Spokane. We made a stop at the $50,000 Silver Dollar Bar and then drove the rest of the way to our home. It was about 8 p.m. by the time we walked inside the house.

Sloan holds a stuffed animal she bought at the $50,000 Silver Dollar Bar.

There are certain “firsts” that you don’t forget. I believe Sid and I will always remember taking the kids to Missoula for this initial time. I am also convinced that Sloan will always remember the trip as well, especially the adrenaline of seeing herself up on Griz Vision and the accomplishment of hiking The M. What a perfect Montana getaway it was. Don’t Blink.