A Library Hack

Our family makes bi-weekly visits to our local county libraries to check out 20-30 books at a time. Since pandemic restrictions eased and they re-opened about 18 months ago, we have followed this routine pretty stringently. But we don’t visit the library simply to borrow copious amounts of books. We also visit to print documents, attend story time, and select STEM kits to bring home.

Feeling comfortable surrounded by books at the Spokane Valley Library.

However, tonight I am here to offer an additional resource the library has available. In fact, what I am about to tell you goes beyond just a “resource” – it is a hack.

Believe it or not, there is a good chance that your local library has passes to educational and cultural centers in its circulation. And no, these passes aren’t for the library employees…they are for YOU (and, well, me too 😊).

The Spokane Valley Library is kind of like a second home for us. It offers so much more than just books.

I know firsthand. This past Sunday, Sloan and I went to Mobius Discovery Center (aka the Spokane children’s museum) on an outing covered completely by the Spokane County Library System. We checked out the Mobius family pass that provided free admission for a family of four, equating to a $40 value. I didn’t even need to step foot in the library to secure the pass. I simply went to the library’s website, selected the item, submitted my library card number, and was sent a bar code.

The Mobius Discovery Center is so freaking cool. It is full of countless many educational activities that will keep your children occupied for at the very least a couple of hours.

Mobius Discover Center is a children’s museum in downtown Spokane.

A few of Sloan’s favorite activities included using the excavator…

Being able to control a mini (but functional) excavator was a thrill for Sloan.

Blowing enormous bubbles…

Mobius has a bubble contraption that allows you to produce a large sheet of bubble solution.

Dressing up as an astronaut…

Sloan loved jumping into the space suit.

And doing all the various arts and crafts stations, including the construction of a “silly frog” hat…

Sloan gravitated toward the arts and crafts stations at Mobius Discovery Center.

We were given an afternoon of entertainment in an air-conditioned state-of-the-art children’s museum simply because we had a library card.

Speaking of library cards, this is my ancient library card issued to me as a little kid. If you look on the back, you will see my name. I only wrote the first letter of my name before my mom completed the rest of it because of my awful toddler penmanship.

I strongly recommend that you reach out to your local library to see what community entertainment options it might have in its possession. During these hot days, it might just be the answer to making some special (and affordable) summer memories. Don’t Blink.

A Special Time in Spokane

I would be lying if I said it was easy leaving Spokane. Truthfully, we didn’t want to leave. But all good things must come to an end. Before I recap our trip by mentioning a highlight from each day we spent in my childhood hometown, I want to mention the absolute best part of the trip:

The bonding.

Throughout the eight days, our growing family continued to come closer together. My brother and sister already have a special and supportive relationship with Sidney, one that will make most envious. But the brother-in-law/sister-in-law connection strengthened even more over the week.

Sidney has a strong relationship with both my sister and my brother.

Then you had the extremely special friendship that developed between Sloan and her cousins. You would think that a meaningful relationship between a 1-year-old and her cousins she only sees twice a year, a 3-year-old and another 1-year-old, would be very elementary or non-existent. Not the case. The kids grew to really love each other, so much so that Sloan would reach over to Mikayla to give her a hug and walk over to Johnny and kiss him on the cheek. It was so cute but also so genuine.

There is definitely a love between Sloan and her cousins.

Sidney and I had the pleasure of meeting Glen’s girlfriend, Carrie. We were so impressed with her as we all had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. My brother has definitely found himself a great girl.

It was a pleasure to meet Carrie.

Last but not least, my wife and mom developed additional chemistry as well. Sid would go alone with my mom to run errands and they had several in-depth conversations that centered on a lot of topics, including me!

Sid and my mom had many opportunities to spend time together while we were in Spokane.

It was nice to see our family get along so well. But enough with the mushy stuff, let’s get to the highlights of the trip from the eight full days we were in Spokane!

Tuesday, July 17: Nephew’s Birthday Party – We were present when Johnny was born a year ago and we were fortunate to be in town for his first birthday. My sister held the party in a shaded part of her lawn on Tuesday evening. All of my parents’ children and grandchildren were present and I had the pleasure of meeting Carrie for the first time. Of course, the star of the show was Johnny. After we ate dinner he “smashed” his blue cupcake and then we moved inside to open presents.

I felt fortunate that I was able to attend Johnny’s first birthday party.

Wednesday, July 18: Swimming at Northside Aquatics Family Facility – We didn’t pack our swimsuits for nothing! On Wednesday morning, Sid, Sloan, and I went to nearby Colbert, WA, to enjoy one of Spokane County’s public swimming pools. A modern spin on a public swim center, we enjoyed the different water stations and laid back atmosphere of the Northside Aquatics Family Facility. It was a refreshing start to the day!

It was a refreshing time at the Northside Aquatics Facility in Spokane

Thursday, July 19: Visit to the Mobius Children’s Museum – This was a treat. The three of us went with my sister, Miranda, and her 3-year-old daughter, Mikayla, to downtown Spokane for an educational and fun experience. We visited the Mobius Children’s Museum, an interactive center where kids can play and experiment with different hands-on exhibits. Sloan and Mikayla blew bubbles, learned about electricity, built structures, played at the water table, and so much more. Afterwards, the girls rode the famous Riverfront Park Looff Carousel.

We had a lot of fun at the Mobius Children’s Museum.

Friday, July 20: Putt Putt with Glen and Carrie – Although Spokane can’t hold a candle to the putt putt courses in Myrtle Beach, it sure is enjoyable golfing 18 holes in zero humidity. Sid and I went to Wonderland Family Fun Center with my brother, Glen, and his girlfriend, Carrie, for some friendly competition. Before we hit the course, we sipped a drink on the patio as we enjoyed engaging conversation. Congratulations to Sidney for pulling off the upset and coming out as the big winner.

Enjoying our best lives playing putt putt at Wonderland Family Fun Center.

Saturday, July 21: Reser Family Cookout – My parents hosted an extended family get-together on Saturday. My aunts and cousins from my dad’s side traveled from Walla Walla to join us in my parents’ backyard for an evening of good food, cold drinks, and summer fun. It was so nice to see everyone and show off Sloan. With the weather perfect, the music playing, and the laughter abundant, it was a thrilling atmosphere.

A photo of all us “kids” (minus the aunts and my mom/dad) at the cookout.

Sunday, July 22: Mass at St. Thomas More – Every time I return to Spokane, I look forward to attending mass at the parish I grew up in. We worshipped at the 7 p.m. Sunday evening service with Fr. Pat Kearst officiating. My parents, Glen, Sid, Sloan, and I all sat in the same pew as the gospel was about Jesus having pity on the large crowds of people who crowded the shore to see him when he was out on a boat with his disciples. It was a perfect time to reflect and thank God for the great trip we were enjoying.

I always looks forward to attending my childhood parish of St. Thomas More.

Monday, July 23: Going on a Walk – Pacific Northwest evenings during the summer are the best. The temperature drops but the daylight lingers. This past Monday night, we went on a family walk through my parents’ neighborhood. We had so much fun taking turns pushing Sloan and reminiscing about who used to live in the various houses that we passed. It was special to walk side-by-side with family members I don’t get to see nearly enough.

We took a nice walk through the Camelot neighborhood on Monday night.

Tuesday, July 24: Family Dinner at The Onion – We concluded our last full day in Spokane with a very nice family meal at The Onion location in the north part of the city. As we sat around the table I took to heart how much I loved everyone and how lucky I am to have such a great family, even if I do live far away from them. The engaging conversation and endless laughter that was evident throughout the week was present once more in the restaurant.

Our table at The Onion on Tuesday night. It was a very nice meal.

Of course mentioning only one highlight per day leaves a lot out. I didn’t even mention morning coffee outings, shopping adventures, nightly ice cream treats, a trip to a hole-in-a-wall bakery, a Costco grand opening event, blowing bubbles in the front lawn, Jeopardy viewings, swimming at the house next door, donut runs, and so much more.

We had such a memorable time in Spokane.

But, in the end, it didn’t really even matter if we did a million things or not. Like I mentioned at the start of the post, the big takeaway from our time in Spokane was the love that was felt during the entire trip. Sidney, Sloan, and I might not be on the West Coast anymore, but we still feel the special bonds that were built and solidified. Don’t Blink.