Eve of Opportunity

It was a bittersweet weekend.

I landed in Spokane on Friday night to below freezing temperatures and a few inches of snow. But the drastic change in the weather couldn’t chill the warmth I felt from my parents and siblings who welcomed me back home after 15 years of living out of state. The “Prodigal Son” theme lasted throughout the weekend as my family celebrated my return and treated me better than I deserved.

This was the scene I entered after exiting the plane on Friday night.

However, it was a little lonely walking the red carpet that they rolled out for me. Not being with my wife and children is odd and unsettling. When asked by my parents and even Sidney why I didn’t take advantage of the past two days to sleep in, I replied that it doesn’t feel right to snooze when I know my loved ones on the east coast are up. Needless to say, Facetime calls were in abundance this weekend.

Excitement and anxiety are whirling around my head at the moment. I can’t wait to begin my new job at Washington State University tomorrow! Although I definitely have nerves about my first day, the anxiety I am referencing isn’t job related. I think my readers all know what I am alluding to. The weekend brought more shocking coronavirus developments and that “weird feeling” I referenced on Friday night is more prevalent than ever. The uneasiness jolts me even more because I am not with Sidney, Sloan, and Beau.

But I truly believe the President when he says that this will pass, just like the 32 days remaining before I see my girls and baby boy again. As this weekend comes to a close, I am shifting my focus to the fabulous opportunity that will begin in less than 12 hours. My time as a Coug is about to begin! Don’t Blink.

A Weird Feeling

As I sit in a plane that is taking me across the country, it is giving me a chance to reflect on what has been an insanely strange past few days and brace myself for a totally unique situation I am about to enter.

To say this week has been a bit stressful is an understatement. Despite all the planning we did and all the little tasks we accomplished to prepare for our move, we couldn’t quite anticipate the craziness that would take hold over the last few days in our old house. From last minute packing to the movers coming on Wednesday to the ensuing two days of clean up, it was more intense than I expected. But because of my wife’s take-charge attitude, we came out of the experience (at least the moving out of our old house experience) unscathed.

Since Wednesday night, we have lived out of suitcases at my in-laws. Now that I am gone, I know Sidney and the kids will become more settled and transition into a routine for the next 34 days––at least I hope they will. The fact of the matter is that things have been anything but normal lately, and the move is only half of it.

With things pretty crazy right now, I tried to have some normalcy by celebrating an early birthday with Sloan last night.

What can I say about the pandemic we are facing right now? I believe all commentary about the coronavirus is already out there and anything I say from a personal standpoint is just noise. There is no escaping the perpetual weird feeling I have had in my gut as this unprecedented global situation continues to rob us of any shred of normalcy we might have grasped to.

For me, it is going to get even more drastic.

I am about to land in the state of Washington, the so-called epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Minutes before boarding the plane, the Governor closed all K-12 schools in the state through at least April 24. All events of more than 250 people, including church services, are canceled. Universities are transitioning to online instruction for the rest of the semester and most campus events have been scrapped.

Soon I will be experiencing the higher education challenges firsthand. I begin my employment at Washington State University on Monday––what a time to start, right? I only hope that I can positively contribute to the great response already initiated by my new institution.

Yes, my head is spinning right now. But so are the heads of everyone else, right? We are all dealing with the impact of this virus while at the same time addressing our own internal anxieties as well. The circulating call for unity and support should not fall on deaf ears. We need to stick together. Along those lines, if anyone can help me cope with leaving 75 degrees and sunshine for 25 degrees and snow, I am all ears!

In all honesty, I am excited to return to the Inland Northwest and serve WSU. What an opportunity I am blessed with! It has been quite the week and I already miss my family but I know we will be even stronger when we reunite next month. Stay safe and healthy, everyone. Don’t Blink.

A Tuesday Update

Good morning, everyone! I hope the week is off to a great start for all.

Things are a little hectic at the Reser household as we work to move out of our house. Just about everything is boxed up and ready for the moving company, which brings up a development. The company we hired identified March 10 (today) as the most likely day for their arrival, with March 11 the contingency day. Of course we budgeted our time in a way that would have us prepared for today. Well, small change of plans…

Late yesterday afternoon, one of the moving company employees assigned to our account called me to say that the truck would be at our house on Wednesday, not Tuesday. The news generated some mixed feelings. We were working down to the hour and the notice that we would have a whole extra day to pack did relieve some pressure. It also gave us another night to sleep in our own beds in our own house. At the same time, we had mentally prepared for the movers to be here today and looked forward to our house being completely empty by this afternoon.

Regardless, we are rolling with the punches. Taking care of everything is keeping my mind occupied from focusing too much on the reality that I will soon be without my family for five weeks. I leave for Washington on Friday with Sidney and the kids joining me next month. In the meantime, they will be staying with my in-laws here in Myrtle Beach.

Speaking of the kids, both Sloan and Beau are doing great. Our daughter is handling the move well, taking it upon herself to help us pack. She is still in love with her brother, taking every opportunity possible to hold him and “help” with his diaper changes. Beau is healthy and growing! He is already too big for some of his newborn clothes.

Beau and Sloan are doing well and make great siblings!

Sidney is a rock. This is a very bittersweet time for her but she is leading the charge of packing up our house and making sure everything is in order. She has had a lot thrown at her in 2020 and has taken it all in stride.

Due to the complexities of a cross country move, I will not be writing much over the next week. Our family appreciates the support we have received throughout February and this first part of March. Enjoy your Tuesday and remember to watch those hands! Don’t Blink.

Final Myrtle Beach Thursday Rundown

Good evening, everyone! This will be my final Thursday Rundown as a Myrtle Beach resident. Next week I hope to write a post about what this community has meant to me. But until then, let’s get right to the five random topics.

Beau Turns a Month Old – Can our son really be a month old? According to the calendar the answer is “yes” although the short month of February did expediate the milestone. Beau has lived a pretty eventful initial month and has captured all of our hearts, especially that of his sister.

Beau was born on February 5. Today he turned a month old.

Unique Pancakes – I recently took Sloan to breakfast at a place called the Famous Toastery. As a pancake fanatic, I went to the flapjack section of the menu. Something caught my eye that I had never tried, not heard of, before––coconut pancakes! I ordered them and liked them well enough but I probably would get something different next time.

These were the coconut pancakes I ordered at the Famous Toastery.

Preparing to Move – As the days tick away until the moving company gets here, we are making progress. Sid has spearheaded the actual packing effort while I have taken point on administrative issues such as cancellation of services (in Myrtle Beach), ordering of services (in Washington), and document retrieval. Of course we are helping a lot in each other’s main “area” but two fronts are definitely set up. So far the strategy seems to be working pretty well.

One of our rooms filled with boxes.

Hard Ice Cream – To each their own, but I am not looking for a buzz when I eat ice cream. Recently, while perusing the aisles at a local supermarket, I came across a cooler containing a product called Proof. What differentiates it from other frozen alcohol products is that competitors usually only offer items with 3% alcohol while Proof has figured out how to freeze 80-, 90-, and 100-proof liquor. It doesn’t take the $10 price tag per pint to scare me off, I just am not interested in tequila or rum ice cream.

Alcohol ice cream? No thank you.

Archives – For those who want to play some #ThrowbackThursday, I have written several blog posts on this date. Starting with March 5, 2019, I commemorated the five-year anniversary of my on-campus interview at Coastal Carolina University with this post. On this date two years ago I wrote about a major key to the success of our marriage. Three years ago I wrote about how Sidney nested to prepare for Sloan. Finally, if you want to go waaaay back, check out this post from March, 5, 2013, when I wrote about a “hot” condiment that I was mildly obsessed with.

Read about my on-campus interview at CCU and my Sriracha obession.

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Thank you for your continued support of this blog. Let’s hope the rain tapers off just a little bit for the weekend! Don’t Blink.

One Last Myrtle Beach Hurrah for Grandma and Aunt Miranda

You must really want to see a certain baby boy if you take a whole day to travel across the country only to spend two days at your destination. Needless to say, nothing was going to stop Beau’s grandma and aunt from seeing him, travel logistics be damned.

My mom and sister in the airport on their way to Myrtle Beach.

A week ago, my mom and sister arrived in Myrtle Beach for a quick and final South Carolina trip. They arrived in the early afternoon and immediately started gushing over Beau while showering Sloan with attention as well. Not to get sentimental, but it was nice to hug two of Beau’s greatest long distance prayer warriors and supporters. That afternoon and evening were spent just holding the baby and playing with Sloan. My mom made us a delicious pasta dinner and we simply lounged around in the living room.

My mom feeding Beau.

Thursday was really special. That morning, Beau was baptized and Sidney was confirmed into the Catholic Church. To have my mom and sister join us at St. Andrew along with Sidney’s family, several of my Knights of Columbus brothers, and other supporters meant a lot.

My mom and sister got to witness Sidney’s confirmation and Beau’s baptism.

Back at the house we opened gifts people had given us in honor of the holy occasion. We ate lunch together and then my mom and sister started to help us pack up our kitchen. Later that night Sidney’s parents came over to watch the kids so Sid, my mom, sister, and I could go out to dinner. We had a really nice time relaxing and laughing. We returned home and did a repeat of the night prior––living room lounging.

The four of us had a really nice time at dinner on Thursday night.

The next morning, my sister and I took Sloan to the Carolina Forest Library and playground. A mother of three, Miranda enjoyed the opportunity to see some of the local educational places I take Sloan to the most. Back at the house we again ate lunch together and did some packing. Sloan and I then joined my mom and sister at Broadway at the Beach so they could shop for souvenirs. Our guests went shop-to-shop while us locals released energy on the playground. That night we ordered Mexican food takeout and watched the most recent episode of “This Is Us.”

My mom and Sloan take a break on a bench at Broadway at the Beach.

After about 60 hours in Myrtle Beach, by Saturday morning my mom and Miranda were on their way to the airport. Although short, they met their objective by seeing Beau and they got to witness a very important event for our family. The visit did a lot of good for Sidney, who really enjoyed talking all things mother-related with my sister. After so many high stress weeks, she appreciated a couple days of relaxed and carefree conversation. When it was time to say goodbye, there was no sadness because we all knew that we would be reunited soon. I look forward to it! Don’t Blink.

Long Distance Traveling

The boxes are starting to pile up in our house as we prepare to move. However, “we” will move in two different stages. When I announced on Sunday that I have accepted a position at Washington State University, I received a lot of questions about when we would be heading west. Tonight I thought I would update everyone on our timeline as I am sure my South Carolina contacts are wondering how much longer they are stuck with me.

This is what one area of our house looked like this morning. Didn’t take long for even more boxes to be added to the mix.

I will be leaving the state solo next week. I have bought a one-way ticket to Spokane for Friday, March 13. I will then have the weekend to adjust to the Pacific time zone before reporting for my first day on Monday, March 16.

A month from my start date is when Sidney, Sloan, and Beau will join me. Sid’s parents will accompany the trio on their flight. We have hired a moving company to ship all our items to Washington so I won’t be driving a U-Haul this time around (thank goodness!).

Okay, I know what you are thinking: He is going to be away from his family for how long? It will definitely be one of the greatest challenges of my life to be separated from my wife and kids for 34 days, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Beau is still very new and Sid still needs to heal from surgery, not to mention she will return to work for two weeks at the beginning of April. I will deal with the separation in the best way possible while counting down the days until we are reunited.

Thank you for the well wishes over the past couple days. It is an exciting, but stressful, time. I feel fortunate that I have employment lined up with a top-notch university and that Sid, Sloan, and Beau will be well taken care of during our time apart. Don’t Blink.

Pumped to be a Coug!

We all have that first love. However, very rarely does it stand the test of time. Due to countless factors, most notably the desire to explore what else exists, a first love relationship usually comes to an end.

Although uncommon for the most part, sometimes such a relationship can be rekindled. As the years march on, we sometimes long for the authenticity and joy of the past.

What happens when this occurs? In my case, it is the best professional homecoming I could have ever dreamed of.

My family is moving out west! I have accepted a position at Washington State University.


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Some of my best childhood memories revolve around weekend road trips with my dad to Pullman, a college town approximately 75 miles from where I grew up in Spokane, Washington. The reason for these Saturday odysseys was to watch the Washington State University Cougars play football in Martin Stadium.

An alumnus of WSU, my dad raised me as a Coug and his efforts had a distinct influence on me. Throughout elementary and junior/high school, I proudly rocked the university colors of crimson and gray. I enthusiastically supported the athletic teams and learned as much about the institution as possible. When it came time to apply to colleges, Washington State was at the top of my list. But when it was all said and done, I made a tough decision and ended up attending a university elsewhere (Go Griz!).

Don’t think for a second my affinity for WSU ever waned. Even though I attended and worked at different universities, I always kept a close eye on Washington State, no matter how many miles I was away from campus. Whether it meant reading WSU publications or watching the football team kickoff at 10 p.m. on the East Coast, I tried to stay connected.

Well, it will now be much easier to stay connected because I have been hired as WSU’s social media strategist!

I can’t wait to begin work at WSU starting on March 16.

If I was ever to leave Coastal Carolina University, I wanted to find an institution that met a few personal conditions. Power Five status, strong tradition, and an already established social media program were at the top of the list. Most importantly, Sidney and I agreed that we would only move to a campus that was geographically close to one of our families.

When a social media position within the Office of University Marketing and Communications at Washington State University opened, it was a no-brainer to apply. Not only did the university itself meet my aspirations but it also had other attractive intangibles, such as an increasing enrollment, countless prestigious academic programs, and land grant distinction. Even better, the opportunity would bring us not just within the same time zone of my family but within the same area code!

If the employer made it a no-brainer to apply, the position itself provided all the motivation in the world to pursue it with full force. As the social media strategist, I will be focusing on the aspects of social media that I am most interested in and skilled at. WSU has tasked me with executing effective paid social media advertising, building campaigns, reporting and acting on analytics, and helping to formulate an overall social media strategy. With a talented social media manager already in place, I will have the privilege of working on a legitimate social media team with multiple fulltime employees…I can’t wait!

There is one last component that will make all the difference in this job: the people at WSU are awesome. As I went through the interview process and met the team members I would be reporting to and working with, I knew that Washington State University would be a perfect fit. I felt at ease from the start and I have no greater motivation than to show my new bosses and co-workers that they made the right decision in hiring me. After all, I owe them nothing but the best––they graciously allowed me to pick a start date that landed weeks after Beau’s birth.

Which brings me to one final piece of information. My employment with Washington State University will begin on March 16. GO COUGS!

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Who says they get to work at the first university they ever loved? Although my first priority is to bring my professional experience to WSU, I also plan to bring some childhood passion as well. Watch out family and friends, I am coming home and bringing a beautiful wife and two children with me. Don’t Blink.

A Final Family Myrtle Beach Visit

Good morning! I would like to begin this post by acknowledging that today is Ash Wednesday. With the beginning of Lent now at hand, it is important to remember that the journey over the next 40 days is meant to be experienced both personally and communally. May your 2020 Lenten season be filled with meaning and sacrifice.

With that said, something else is special about this day. My mom and sister are coming to town! In just minutes, they will be landing in Myrtle Beach. The trip is significant in multiple ways, primarily for the reason that they will meet Beau for the first time.

My mom and sister are in route to see Beau.

Their mini vacation is meaningful in other aspects as well. This will be the final time I have family visit me in Myrtle Beach prior to our move. My parents will tell you that even though South Carolina is far away from where they live, at least it was always a fun and warm place to visit!

While my mom has made multiple trips to Myrtle Beach, this will be just the second time my sister has visited. The first time Miranda came to Myrtle was nearly four years ago for our wedding. In fact, that was the sole time she has ever met Sidney’s family. Speaking of time passing, Sidney and I haven’t seen my sister in more than a year. It is time to catch up!

Their visit will also coincide with major moments in the faith journeys of Sidney and Beau. It will be a very special day tomorrow morning at St. Andrew and my mom and sister will be there to witness it.

Beau has a big day coming up tomorrow and will be able to share it with my mom and Miranda.

Finally, it just isn’t “the Beau show.” I know my mom and sister can’t wait to hug Sloan again. And, although it might just be a rumor, I think they might be a little bit excited to see these new parents of two as well. Although their time in South Carolina will be short––they are leaving Saturday morning––it will definitely be sweet. Don’t Blink.

Experiments at the Picnic Table

Just because I have made sure to get Sloan out of the house every day during our transition period doesn’t mean we haven’t had any fun inside of it. On Sunday, we conducted a couple of “experiments” at Sloan’s picnic table.

I found a website that listed various educational activities that toddlers could enjoy. Out of the 35 options listed, we made a goal to complete two of them.

Figuring that Sidney would forgive me if I did one “messy” experiment, I chose one that was very hands-on and another that was more of a demonstration. We went to the grocery store and pulled baking soda, vegetable oil, strawberry cake mix, and food coloring. With our supplies purchased, we headed back to the house.

We came back to the store with these ingredients.

Our first mission was to make strawberry ice cream dough. The recipe promised that a fluffy, strawberry-licious product would result. Well, at least it was strawberry-licious.

This is what the strawberry ice cream dough was supposed to look like.

Much to Sloan’s astonishment, I instantly turned the contents of a liquid measuring glass pink by adding a few drops of food coloring. Pushing the pink water to the side, Sloan helped me rip two packages of baking soda into a white plastic bin. We then poured an entire box of strawberry cake mix on top of it. Next, we brought the measuring cup back into play and started pouring the water into the bin. We used a wooden spoon to mix the concoction, adding water intermittently.

Sloan mixing the baking powder and cake mix.

When it was all said and done, we added the water a little too intermittently. There was nothing fluffy or “doughy” about our creation, instead, it was more of a thick strawberry paste. Thinking on my feet to salvage the experiment, I spinned it to capture the imagination of Sloan.

The strawberry ice cream dough sure didn’t turn out fluffy.

“Hey look, it’s strawberry slime!”

Toddlers LOVE slime. They think it is the greatest thing ever while parents cringe at the mere mention of the five-letter word. Even though it goes against our parental values to encourage slime, on this Sunday afternoon I rolled with it.

Sloan had a lot of fun playing with the slime….even though it wasn’t supposed to be slime.

Although the strawberry ice cream dough didn’t turn out how I envisioned it, the mixture did feel soothing and it smelled really good. Best of all, Sloan loved it.

The encore of our Sunday experiment session was ocean water. I initially thought what we were about to do was unique but Sidney set me straight––apparently ocean water is just as common in elementary school science lessons as dissecting frogs is for middle school ones.

I took a Diet Sunkist 2-liter bottle that had a small amount of soda left and dumped it down the drain. I brought the empty container to Sloan’s picnic table. I then re-introduced what Sloan liked most about the first experiment…food coloring! I put fresh water in the measuring glass and added a few drops of blue dye. I then used a funnel to deposit the colored water into the soda bottle. Next, I took the bottle of vegetable oil and sent it down the funnel into the bottle as well.

Sloan and I making “Ocean Water.”

Sidney then came over to our station and shook the bottle up. The water and oil separated, creating an intense blue dreamy scene inside the bottle. It looked cool, but Sid quietly suggested that next time we should pick up glitter to add in as well.

We sent Sloan to the bathtub to wash off the slime that covered her arms. While Sid watched her, I was able to throw the slime (container and all) and bottle of ocean water into a trash bag and dump it in our big garbage bag outside. Although the experiments didn’t run perfectly, Sloan had fun and the cleanup was mini

Chillin’ Like Villains

I think when it is all said and done, I will have to write a blog post summarizing February 2020. It has been a major month in our lives and, if you can believe it, a few significant moments still await before March begins on Sunday.

But until the second half of the week arrives, we are trying to catch our breath.

Between wrapping things up at #CCU, Beau’s birth, his stint in the NICU, and our first week at home as a family of four, it has been a crazy few weeks in the Reser household.

Things are going to slow down a bit over the next 48 hours.

With Beau doing well and Sloan adjusting seamlessly to her little brother, some of the trial and error from last week has dissipated. Combine that with no work obligations for the both of us (don’t be jealous) and we have a couple days of carefree living to enjoy. I imagine this small window of time will be devoted to more Netflix binge watching, adventures with Sloan, and cuddle time with Beau.

It was a wonderful initial week as a family of four.

Things will pick up again mid-week with Ash Wednesday and a special visit from my mom and sister. A huge day for our family will follow on Thursday. Friday and Saturday will be eventful as well. Then, once March arrives, it will be all about packing for a move.

So please excuse us for pressing on the brake for the next 48 hours. We can’t thank our family and friends enough for looking after us throughout this hectic but blessed month. Have a great week, everyone. Don’t Blink.