Juggling A Thursday Rundown

Are you settling into 2024 yet? I hope you are and that this year will be a fruitful one for you. Let’s get started with the five topics that encompass my latest Thursday Rundown…

Zags Game With Dad – The hottest ticket in Spokane is no doubt Gonzaga basketball. People do some pretty wild things to secure a seat inside McCarthey Center. Luckily for me, I got inside this past weekend simply because someone asked me to go. My dad scored seats from a lady he used to work with and was beyond kind to take me with him. Prior to the game we went out for dinner and drinks and then moseyed over to “The MAC” for Gonzaga vs. San Diego. What a thrill it was to watch a game in that setting with the Zags notching a decisive victory. Thanks, dad!

My dad and I at the Gonzaga game inside the McCarthy Center on Jan. 6, 2024.

Juggling Act – You never know what you are going to get when you stumble onto a street act, but this juggler outside River Park Square in downtown Spokane was pretty good. I gave Sloan and Beau each a dollar (cheapskate, I know) as they watched the entertainer do his thing while he interacted with them. Just a small thing to make a fun trip downtown even more memorable.

Beau and Sloan watch a juggler perform outside of River Park Square in downtown Spokane.

Papa Murphy’s Deal – I love this! When scrolling Instagram I came across the below offering from Papa Murphy’s. Of course I used my info (October + Blue) to discover what pizza I would qualify for and it is a good thing I like cheese because my combo is mozzarella cheese and feta cheese. It might not surprise you that I sought out more information and found that the $10.99 price is for a large pizza and all pies begin with red sauce, mozzarella cheese base, and cheddar/mozzarella top mix. Obviously if I make good on my combo it will end up being a quadruple extra cheese pizza 😂. What is your combo?

This is kind of fun! What is your combo? You can get a large for $10.99.

Pete Carroll – Yesterday it was announced that Pete Carroll would not return as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. I am a Pete fan and really admired the infectious enthusiasm he brought to the organization. You won’t find a cooler 72-year-old (including you, Mr. Saban) and I remain amazed at the through-the-roof energy level he seemingly sustained at all times. Pete Carroll deserves the sincere gratitude from all Seahawks fans and he definitely has it from this blogger.

Thank you, Pete Carroll, for all you did for the Seattle Seahawks (photo courtesy of Fox News).

Those Who Wish Me Dead – Recently, Sidney and I watched “Those Who Wish Me Dead” starring Angelina Jolie. The film contains multiple plots but the gist is that assassins are trying to end the life of a boy on the run who has incriminating information with worldwide ramifications (but it is never revealed what that info is). The bad guys start a massive forest fire that creates a diversion away from the search and rescue operation. Jolie plays a smokejumper who is battling past demons while trying to protect the boy. Although my mom recommended the movie to us, I didn’t think it was that great. I felt it lacked focus and even with a superstar like Jolie the acting was a little corny. One funny thing happened when the movie ended: Sidney told me it was made by “Yellowstone” creators. It made so much sense! The vibe, effects, make up, and more all had me thinking about the Kevin Costner series in the back of my head. If you are a “Yellowstone” fanatic you might appreciate “Those Who Wish Me Dead.”

I wasn’t a big fan of “Those Who Wish Me Dead.”


That will conclude things for tonight, I hope everyone is staying healthy and optimistic. Have a fantastic weekend and I will be back on Monday. Don’t Blink.

A Staycation Holiday Break

I don’t think there is a harder day to return to work than after the holiday break. After so much fun, joy, and celebrating, it isn’t easy to return to the (virtual) office, even for people who really enjoy their jobs, like me. But today I ripped off the band-aid and worked my first day of 2023. It wasn’t that bad and after a couple more days the holiday vacation hangover will be a distant memory.

With that said, while the hangover is still lingering a bit, I can’t express what an awesome break it was. This year was different because we didn’t travel anywhere. When you fly cross country, like we have for many of the past several years, you lose a couple days to travel and then you have to deal with jet lag. Thanks to staying in Spokane for the nearly two weeks I had off, I was able to maximize the time I had.

Much of the joy I experienced from my break centered on hanging with my children. We did a lot. Yep, this wasn’t a hiatus from work where we slept in and watched Disney+ the whole time. Tonight I thought I would share 10 of the fun things we did over the past couple weeks (in no particular order). I would have included 20 things but no one has time for that…

Rise of the Guardians – The Garland Theater is a large, historic theater in Spokane. During the holiday break, it offered free morning showings of older movies. At the start of break, I took Sloan to “Rise of the Guardians” where she watched the film while enjoying popcorn and soda.

Sloan stands at the marquee of the Garland Theater after we watched “Rise of the Guardians.”

Craft Day – The Spokane Valley Library held an ornament craft day the first week of break. Sloan and I attended and had a great time. We decided to make an elf ornament that turned out pretty great and earned a place of honor on our Christmas tree.

Sloan made an elf ornament at the Spokane Valley Library ornament craft event.

Outback Dinner – One of my favorite things we did all break was a family dinner at Outback Steakhouse. After Sid finished her last work day before Christmas, the four of us went out for a Blooming Onion and steaks. It was relaxing and special to enjoy a nice dinner with the impending Christmas holiday just a couple days away.

It was cold outside but inside it was toasty and the steaks were warm. In all honesty, it was a wonderful dinner with the family.

Trampoline Park – A couple times during break I took Sloan and Beau to the Flying Squirrel, one of the many trampoline parks in Spokane. On one of the visits Sloan had a play date with her school friend, Aminah. During the other, we met up with my sister and her two children.

Sloan and Beau jumped at the Flying Squirrel twice during break. This is her with her friend, Aminah.

McDonald’s Lunch – The same day that Sloan and Beau jumped with their cousins at the trampoline park, we continued the fun at McDonald’s. The kids ate Happy Meals and played with their Mario Bros.-themed toys.

It is always a great day when you get to eat a Happy Meal.

Build-A-Bear – Sloan and Beau decided to use some of their Christmas money for a Build-A-Bear experience. After much debate, Sloan opted for a rainbow unicorn and Beau chose a Chase doll. It was a long process but what kid doesn’t need another stuffed animal to add to their overflowing collection?

Sloan and Beau holding their creations after an afternoon at Build-A-Bear.

Lunch With Sid – After the Christmas holiday, Sid returned to work. On Tues., Dec. 27, the kids and I joined her for lunch! We drove out to River Park Square which is right next to where my wife works. The four of us ate in the food court and then walked around the mall for a bit after.

We went to River Park Square to have lunch with Sid. As we waited, we crossed the sky walk and enjoyed a beautiful view.

Jump For Joy – Close to our house is a fun center called Jump For Joy. It specializes in inflatables such as jump castles. In-between our trampoline park visits, I took Sloan and Beau here for a fun afternoon.

Beau loved running around Jump For Joy.

Noon Year Party – On Dec. 31, Sloan, Beau, and I headed to the Shadle Public Library for its noon year celebration. We arrived at 11 a.m. and listened to a New Year’s Eve-related book. We then went to different stations and made noise makers, party hats, and a fireworks craft. As noon approached, the kids all surrounded a play parachute and ruffled its sides before launching balloons out of it at 12 p.m.

Sloan and Beau had a lot of fun making crafts at the Shadle Park Library Noon’s Year Eve party.

New Year’s Eve Date Night – Call me a bad father, but I allowed Sloan to stay up with me until midnight on New Year’s Eve. She just about made it on her own devices, falling asleep at 11:30 p.m. I couldn’t let that solid effort go unrewarded, so I woke her up at 11:55 p.m. to watch the ball drop. We spent the evening watching “Edward Scissorhands,” baking cookies, and watching the fireworks go off around our house.

Sloan and I all snuggled up for New Year’s Eve.


After so much “out and about” activity, it is tough to confine yourself back to a desk. However, I am managing, as are Sloan and Beau at school and daycare, respectively. We will hold memories tight from this past break and will look to have just as much fun in 11.5 months. Don’t Blink.

Guadalupe Thursday Rundown

We are smack in the middle of December, AKA, one of the best times of the year! I hope all is well with you as the holidays loom. Let’s get started with tonight’s Thursday Rundown…

Christmas Light Glasses – Beau’s daycare gave him a really cute and thoughtful Christmas gift package. It came with a stuffed reindeer, a couple books, and a pair of HoloSpex glasses. When worn, these glasses add a charming snowflake pattern around Christmas lights. Putting them on and looking at our Christmas tree is a trip! Thank you to St. Paschal EduCare for “brightening” Beau’s holiday just a little bit more.

That’s Beau holding his glasses to his face while looking at the Christmas tree. The lights on the tree take on a snowflake shape thanks to the spectacles.

Newest Ornament – Many years ago, I wrote about my favorite ornaments on our tree. Since then, we have added new meaningful ornaments on an annual basis. Last night, Sid brought home the latest ornament that will no doubt carry special sentiment for years to come. She had this Christmas light-themed decoration made at a kiosk in River Park Square during her lunch break. As you can see, it already has a home on our tree.

This is the new ornament that we have added to our tree.

RIP Mike Leach – News broke yesterday that Coach Mike Leach passed away on Monday night from heart complications. What a major loss. Although I can’t say that Leach and I worked for the same employer at the same time (he left WSU a couple months before I started), I followed his career closely, especially when he was a Coug. Whenever Coach Leach would say something humorous or make a bold coaching move, my brother and I would text each other with a four-word phrase of endearment: Leach is gonna Leach. We sent this text countless times, including just a few days before his condition turned critical. My brother and I shared a Leach memory back in 2006 when we attended the Insight Bowl in Tempe. Leach’s Texas Tech team overcame a 38-7 deficit with 7:47 remaining in the third quarter to defeat Minnesota. Personal reflections aside, there is no denying that Mike Leach was a brilliant mind both on the football field and in the arena of life. May eternal rest be grant unto Mike Leach and perpetual light shine upon him.

Leach is gonna Leach. We will miss him (photo courtesy of Mississippi State University).

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Earlier this week on Dec. 12, we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It commemorates the same day back in 1531 when our Blessed Mother appeared to Juan Diego over the course of five different times. The event was responsible for NINE MILLION Mexican people converting to Catholicism. There are so many miraculous components of this Marian visitation but perhaps nothing is greater than the image of the Blessed Virgin that was left on the cloak of Juan Diego. This cloak is still preserved in pristine condition today. In 1929, it was discovered that Mary’s eyes reflected figures of many people, including Juan Diego and the bishop he consulted after his encounters with our Blessed Mother. You can read more about this holy self-portrait here.

This was the miraculous image that appeared on Juan Diego’s cloak after the flowers he presented to the bishop fell to the ground.

Photo Frame Tradition – On this date two years ago, I wrote about a very unique tradition that we would do on Christmas Eve every year with my dad’s family. Essentially, we would decorate Christmas photo frames and write Reser Family Christmas on it earlier in December. Once Christmas Eve came around, we would then draw numbers and the person with the lowest number would pick a frame. Then the person with the next lowest number would pick and then on. Once we all had a frame, we would each get our picture taken with a Polaroid camera. We would then insert the Polaroid print inside our frame. I describe this tradition in much more detail in the original post but to this day we still have many of those frames hanging around my parents’ house.

One of our “Reser” frames from 1997.


That will wrap up tonight’s Thursday Rundown. Can you believe that a week from today it will be Christmas Eve Eve Eve? Thanks for reading! Don’t Blink.

Christmas Tree Elegance

Downtown Spokane is a special place to be during Christmas time. The trees on all the streets are strung in lights, Riverfront Park boasts a “trail of lights” through its premises, and a festive “ice ribbon” is open for those who want to do some open air skating.

Sidney and I eating at the Twigs in River Park Square.

On Friday night, Sidney and I ventured downtown to soak up some of this holiday spirit. We ate dinner at Twigs in River Park Square. The restaurant is located on an upper level that allowed us to admire the 60-foot Christmas tree that towers inside River Park Square. What a setting it was!

Our table overlooked the famous River Park Square Christmas tree.

But for all the glory of River Park Square, Riverfront Park, and the Spokane streets themselves, there is not a more prominent Christmas experience in the city than at the Davenport Hotel. If you remember, Sid and I stayed at the historic hotel in October of 2020. Although beautiful in its own right during the autumn, we didn’t experience the Davenport during December. We made sure to change that.

After dinner, we strolled over to the Davenport Hotel to experience its Christmas Tree Elegance event. Before entering the lobby, we paused to admire the display at the entrance.

I snapped this photo of the entrance of the Davenport Hotel.

Christmas Tree Elegance is hosted by the Spokane Symphony Associates. It takes place in the lobby and the second floor Mezzanine of the Davenport.

A couple moments after we entered the lobby of the Davenport Hotel for Christmas Tree Elegance.

The event is built around beautifully decorated trees meant to “wow.” Each decoration is placed with care and, trust me, there is no shortage of elegance.

Many of the Christmas trees are gorgeous.

Who owns these 15 trees? That’s a good question. Spokane businesses donate the trees and decorate them. In addition to all the decorations, they have additional display space around the tree that they can load up with products and prizes.

I wish I had enough space in this post to show you all the trees.

But why the products and prizes? Christmas Tree Elegance is actually a fundraiser. The general public can purchase raffle tickets for $1 and deposit those tickets into the basket of whatever tree (and all the prizes associated with it) they would like to win.

If you look at the left of this photo, you can see the bin with raffle tickets.

Regardless of whether you want to purchase raffle tickets or not, the opportunity to stroll through the Davenport to look at the trees is available to everyone. Take it from me, it is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up. There is just something special about walking inside an historic hotel during the holiday season. You can feel the Christmas spirit (click here for a TikTok I did of many more trees).

Sid and I felt some type of way after walking through the Davenport.

Unfortunately, Christmas Tree Elegance concluded its annual run last night. Although that means you can no longer purchase raffle tickets they might still keep the trees up through Christmas (sorry, I don’t know for sure). At the very least, you can still walk through the Davenport and view the lobby Christmas tree. Something to think about as we reach mid-December. Don’t Blink.

Sidney’s Spokane Bucket List

When Sidney arrived in Spokane a few days after I did this past month, she had a list. Now I know the term “bucket list” is very much overused and misapplied in our society but we don’t know what else to call it. During our time in Washington, we kept referring to Sidney’s northwest goals as her “Spokane Bucket List.”

Upon her arrival, we quickly started checking items off. Since Sidney is a southern girl and since it was a winter Spokane Bucket List, you could imagine that most items centered on the weather. Thanks to Spokane for delivering on a certain type of precipitation that Sidney really wanted to see, we completed most of the items with ease. How about we take a look at how she fulfilled the items on her list?

Shoveling Snow – We will start with the most mundane item on the list that also happened to be the first one completed. Sid wanted to experience the “joy” of shoveling snow. Arriving in Spokane a little past midnight on December 22, she was out shoveling with us several short hours later that morning. She woke up to the sounds of my mom and I hastily shoveling out my neighbor who had massive amounts of snow and ice at the foot of her driveway courtesy of the county snow plow. Sidney watched us do the heavy work from our living room window and then joined in on the fun when we came back over to our house to do our own driveway. After a few swipes with the shovel, Sid was a pro.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of Sidney shoveling snow. However, I do have this photo of a snowman we built!

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of Sidney shoveling snow. However, I do have this photo of a snowman we built!

Sledding – I grew up sledding with my friends. Since we lived across the street from a park with big hills (and plenty of snow), the entertainment was endless. Never once in her life had Sidney enjoyed this winter activity that I took for granted. Last week my sister let us borrow her sleds and Sidney and I ventured over to the park that I had so much fun in as a kid. We spent time in our traditional and saucer sleds going down the hills that didn’t seem as big to me as I remembered them. Sid learned that sledding is a tiring activity! Soaring down the hills head first is exhilarating but running back up the hill in the deep snow is not. However, the cardiovascular workout was well worth the thrills we both got as we had the whole park to ourselves.

I had a wonderful time taking Sidney sledding.

I had a wonderful time taking Sidney sledding.

Ice Skating – This item on the bucket list goes back quite a bit. It seems like since we first started dating, Sidney has expressed her desire to go ice skating. On a night downtown with my brother and his girlfriend, we made it happen. After drinks at a River Park Square restaurant and a walk through the Riverfront Park light display, Sidney had her chance on the pavilion ice rink. Since I am a terrible ice skater and my brother isn’t much better, we sat in the stands and took photos while Sidney and Ashley (my brother’s girlfriend) skated around the winter wonderland. Sid picked up the skill extremely quickly and looked great making circles around the rink. When she got off the ice I could tell she was so happy to have had the opportunity to ice skate…it was very cute.

Sidney ice skating with Ashley to her right.

Sidney ice skating with Ashley to her right.

Gondola Ride – This was Sidney’s third visit to Spokane. The prior times she had eyed the gondola cars hovering over the Spokane Falls. Because of time constraints, we never made it to the attraction. However, this time around with an open schedule and the city covered in beautiful white snow, we knew there wouldn’t be a better opportunity to do it. We went back to downtown Spokane, purchased tickets, and jumped in a gondola car. We went across the falls while Sidney got to Facetime her dad for a portion of it. Although I got a little queasy right at the beginning because our car/cage was rocking back and forth so much, I loosened up and we both enjoyed the ride and spectacular views.

Here is a gondola collage I posted to Instagram. The photo on top is of us inside the gondola car. The image on the lower left is a view of the falls from the gondola. The image on the bottom right is just of Riverfront Park not taken from the gondolas.

Here is a gondola collage I posted to Instagram. The photo on top is of us inside the gondola car. The image on the lower left is a view of the falls from the gondola. The image on the bottom right is just of Riverfront Park not taken from the gondolas.

White Christmas – This was the big one. All Sidney wanted was a white Christmas and she definitely got it. I didn’t even have to sweat it out either. It snowed the whole time we were in Spokane and it was guaranteed days before that Christmas would be white. She enjoyed the traditional conditions in Spokane while her family in Myrtle Beach celebrated the holiday in 80 degree temperatures. We went out and took photos in front of the deep snow and Sid gleefully posted one to her Facebook account. Snow on Christmas isn’t always a sure thing so I was happy that Mother Nature pulled though.

Sidney and I posing in front of the snow on Christmas Day.

Sidney and I posing in front of the snow on Christmas Day.

Check, check, check, check and…….check! Sidney satisfactorily completed her Spokane Bucket List and I was honored to be along for the ride. Because of Sid’s motivation, some simple planning by me, and a little bit of luck with the weather everything went smoothly. Don’t Blink.