Splash Pads in Spokane

I discovered the best summer hack ever: splash pads.

Sloan has discovered splash pads and she loves them!

Our state is in a serious and unprecedented heat wave with numerous consecutive days of 100+ degree days. It is pretty day. Now while I realize the best course of action for many is to just stay inside, a certain 4-year-old girl has other ideas. Sloan needs to be outside and doing things.

Oh yeah, Sloan isn’t the only one who enjoys splash pads…Beau does too.

So, we have been making the rounds at various parks in the Spokane and Spokane Valley areas. As I have mentioned before, the parks in this area are beautiful, green, and spacious. They have creative playground equipment, hiking trails, designated picnic areas, plenty of shade, and more. They almost all have splash pads too.

Can you spot Sloan? She is playing on this splash pad at Mission Park in Spokane.

For parents, the splash pad is a perfect attraction because kids can cool off without getting too wet to do anything but swim. Splash pads are usually situated right next to the playground so Sloan can go back and forth between each one. On these days that are scorchers, Sloan can run through the splash pad and then hit the play equipment that would otherwise be too hot to play on if not for cold water protecting her body. She can then spend time swinging on the monkey bars and going down the slides until she needs to cool off again on the splash pad.

After getting wet at the splash pad at Edgecliff Park, Sloan will then run over to the playground equipment.

The splash pads are terrific social centers. From what I have observed, they bring kids together as they laugh and splash as water shoots up and pours down. A camaraderie develops around the shared experience of getting drenched with cool water. Sloan has met several other kids on the pads and their newfound friendship expands to the playground as well. It is like magic.

Beau scoping out the splash pad at Greenacres Park in Spokane Valley all while keeping an eye on his sister.

Splash pads help parents fend off heat strokes too. It is a way for us to stay cool during these sizzling days. Although I don’t run through the pad myself, I do put my hands in the water and cool down my neck or arms. Also, the mist that develops and finds its way to the adults standing on the perimeter of the pads is very much appreciated.

The splash pad at Riverfront Park is pretty spectacular.

From what I have seen so far, all splash pads are different in Spokane, making it even more fun. Layouts, fountains, geysers, and funnels are all unique at each park, making for a special experience at each one. Variety is the spice of life, right?

Sloan and her cousins love hitting up the area splash pads. This is at Edgecliff Park in Spokane Valley.

Perhaps I am just on such a splash pad high because we were taunted by them last summer. Sloan and I would visit all these Spokane parks and see the elaborate but roped-off pads. Damn you, COVID. You sure know how to break a little girl’s heart.

Beau doesn’t mind getting wet.

So maybe we are making up for lost time. Or maybe it is just really hot out. Or both? Yeah, both. Thank you to our area parks for installing splash pads, they sure are fun! Don’t Blink.

Sloan’s Top 5 Spokane Parks

Alright folks, we like parks. Well, at least Sloan and I do. Luckily, we live in a city with a lot of them. In tonight’s blog post, Sloan and I thought we would reveal our top five parks in the Spokane area. My daughter doesn’t like when I write a lot so we promise this will be brief!

5. Holmberg Park – This park is located in north Spokane and it has a little bit of sentimental value because I used to play there as a little boy. But Sloan could care less about that! She likes Holmberg because it is an awesome summer park and a winter park. You can play on the toys and have a picnic in the warmer months and go down some of Spokane’s best sledding hills in the snowy months.

Sloan preparing to sled down a hill at Holmberg Park.

4. Mirabeau Point Park (Discovery Park) – This gem can be found in the Spokane Valley and is a nice modern option. Sloan and I like it because it reminds us of a certain park we played at in Myrtle Beach. Discovery Park is an accessible/enabling playground with a lot of special equipment and fun things to do. We have enjoyed our time at this park so much that we even made a TikTok.

Sidney and Sloan relaxing at Discovery Park in Spokane Valley.

3. Lincoln Park – Oh man, this particular park is pretty wild. It has a lower portion and an upper portion. The lower portion is where we begin our visits because it has a decent playground and a swing area. Once Sloan and I get our energy flowing, we then tackle the upper portion. A steep bluff connects the two halves of the park so bring your hiking shoes—I say that only half sarcastically. If Sloan can scale the hilly trails you probably won’t have much of a problem. Once you reach the top after a scenic and colorful mini hike, you are treated to beautiful views of Spokane and a pond. This tucked away park is awesome! (Oh yeah, we made a TikTok here too).

Sloan becoming one with nature at Lincoln Park in Spokane’s South Hill.

2. Edgecliff Park – Our neighborhood park isn’t making this list simply as an honorary gesture…Sloan and I honestly love it! This park is well-kept and boasts a playground, basketball court, baseball diamond, shelter, splash pad, benches/picnic tables, and lots more. We have had numerous picnics here and we appreciate the many shady areas. This place just feels like home…it is “our” park!

Sid and the kids hanging with my sister and her children at Edgecliff Park last summer.

1. Riverfront Park – The signature feature of the city of Spokane must be good for something, right? Well, tonight it is good for #1 on our list. Filled with history, nature, and personality, this large park in downtown Spokane is the place you need to take someone who is visiting the city for the first time. Sure it was cool back in 1974 when it hosted the World’s Fair but Riverfront Park is just as cool today. Although you might think Riverfront Park is our top choice simply because it has a lot more than what the other parks on this list have (a carousel, big red wagon, garbage goat, light show, etc.) you would be mistaken. Sloan and I like Riverfront Park because of the green space, trees, playgrounds, and smell of the outdoors. Nothing screams “Spokane” more than this place and we adore it.

Riverfront Park is the best that Spokane has to offer.

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Do you have a favorite local park whether it be in Spokane, Myrtle Beach, Missoula, or somewhere else? Let me know and happy park-ing! Don’t Blink.

Prayerful Thursday Rundown

Happy Thursday, friends. Thanks for your continued readership of Don’t Blink. Without any unnecessary delay, let’s jump into this week’s Rundown…

Praying For… – I always say that students who attend St. Mary School come home with some of the best crafts. Recently, Sloan made a figure that resembled her and attached a heart that contained the names of people (and…umm…things) that she is praying for. Her list included Jesus, Sid, myself, and…Muffin? Yep, that would be my parents’ cat. Sloan loves felines, especially the one belonging to her grandma and papa and felt the need to pray for it.

Sloan brought this home from school the other day.

We Remember – Speaking of people we pray for, a man named Dr. Robert Cina is always in our nightly prayers. He was the surgeon who performed corrective Pyloric Stenosis surgery on Sloan four years ago today. For those who don’t know, Pyloric Stenosis is a very rare condition in infants in which food is blocked from entering the small intestine, causing constant projectile vomiting and dangerous dehydration. Sid and I didn’t talk to anyone about the experience for a year after it happened but these days we are much more open about it. We promote Pyloric Stenosis awareness and try to support those parents and babies going through what we did. To commemorate the four year anniversary, I made this TikTok video.

During Sloan’s bout with Pyloric Stenosis and for over a year afterwards, we kept it between immediate family. Sidney and I are so thankful for the support of our parents. This photo shows our moms and dads with Sloan at MUSC.

Riverfront Park – We took advantage of the absolute gorgeous day last Saturday and met Miranda and her kids at Riverfront Park for a day of fun. We broke in the newly opened playground, admired the Spokane Falls, rode the carousel, and fed the garbage goat. Sloan and Beau absolutely loved it…and the adults did too.

It was a pefect day at Riverfront Park last Saturday.

Eating Outside – Spokane is pretty much the “Eating Outside Capital of the United States.” Pleasant temperatures and low humidity make it a great place eat dinner outside during the late spring/summer/early fall months. In fact, taking it outside for breakfast works too. This past weekend we were able to enjoy brunch and dinner out on our back deck as we ate waffles in the morning and then tried out our new grill in the evening. With a view like we have, there is plenty of incentive to eating outdoors.

It was nice to get an early start on “eating outside” season this past weekend. We ate waffles for brunch on Sunday.

National Jelly Bean Day – There is a day for everything, right? Today is National Jelly Bean Day and just like there is a day for everything, there is seemingly a Don’t Blink blog post for everything too. Back in 2017, I ranked my top 5 favorite Jelly Belly flavors. I won’t reveal my entire list in tonight’s post (you have to go here to read it) but buttered popcorn and Dr. Pepper are both on the list. If the subject of jelly beans seems redundant to you, I did write about sweeTARTS jelly beans just a couple weeks ago.

I wrote about my favorite Jelly Belly flavors four years ago.

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It is going to be tough to top last weekend but we will try. Have a great evening and we will catch up next week. Don’t Blink.

Pavilion Thursday Rundown

Thursday sure arrived quickly! Even by four-day week standards, this one went especially fast. But I never let my guard down and I am prepared for tonight’s Thursday Rundown. Here we go…

Boy Meets World – Thanks to Disney+, Sidney and I are making our way through the “Boy Meets World” series…all seven seasons. Watching these episodes sure brings us back to entertaining nights watching TGIF. But it also led us to YouTube where we stumbled upon a 17-minute documentary with some very insightful commentary from the BMW cast. If you have any childhood connection at all to “Boy Meets World,” I strongly encourage you to watch it.

“Boy Meets World; Back to the Beginning” was an insightful look back at the series.

Under the Lights – In 1974, Spokane held the World’s Fair. A large structure called the pavilion was built as the center piece of the event. During the fair it was draped but when it concluded the cover was removed. For the next 40+ years it would be a spot for rides and other attractions. With the renovation of Riverfront Park came changes at the pavilion. The rides were removed, green space was added, and a super cool light show that spans the inside of the pavilion was built. On Sunday night, we met my sister and her kids at the park. When dusk fell, we headed to the pavilion and enjoyed the show. If you live in Spokane, I recommend checking it out.

The Riverfront Park pavilion light show was terrific.

Never Forget – Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. In my less-than-adequate attempt to remember the tragedy, I always try to watch a documentary on the attacks and occasionally write something as well. If you are interested, here are some pieces I have written in the past: the importance of teaching our youth about the attacks, putting the tragedy in perspective, highlighting true courage, and re-visiting what I did on 9/11. 

Let us never forgot what happened on 9/11

Florence – During my time in the South, we faced hurricane threats every single year. But nothing compared to Hurricane Florence in 2018. With potential to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane and with Myrtle Beach on alert as a possible spot for a direct hit, it was a very scary time. Sidney, Sloan, and I evacuated to Jacksonville and even made a trip to Disney World. When we returned to Myrtle Beach, our new house was still intact and the area was spared from major catastrophe. Although everything turned out fine, I can still remember the sick feeling I had in my stomach as we would watch endless news coverage and brace for possible disaster. Today marks the two-year anniversary of when CCU shut down so employees could enact personal evacuation plans. On that particular day, I came clean about my anxieties in this blog post.

Evidently, the message I put on my marquee did the trick.

Desserts at Rosauers – Oh, did it come across that I was the only one who got dessert at Rosauers last Friday when I picked up my cookie dough? Not true. Sidney selected a pint of Americone Dream Ben & Jerry’s ice cream while Sloan picked out this unicorn cookie. Surprisingly, it tasted as good as it looked as I was able to steal a nibble when Sloan wasn’t looking.

This was the cookie that Sloan got from the Rosauers bakery.

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Thanks for stopping by this evening. Make sure to take time tomorrow to reflect on 9/11 and to also say a prayer for the end of the Coronavirus. Stick in there, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Jenga Jenga Jenga Thursday Rundown

Good evening to everyone! The second day of school treated my wife well and the first week of classes at CCU is going well for me. On that positive note, let’s get right to the Thursday Rundown.

Jenga – One of these days, I might get a wild hair and write about my most despised board games (I have wrote about board games I actually like before). Until that time comes, let me give you a preview of a game that will be on the list. I can’t take the stress of Jenga. The pressure of pulling out a block while fearing that the structure will tumble over and make that distinctive cacophony of failure is too much for me. Needless to say, going to school to become a surgeon was never an option for me. I bring all this up because the local Walmart carries a really cool CCU-inspired Jenga set. I might not like the game, but I sure like the colors!

I am not a Jenga fan, but this CCU Jenga set is pretty cool!

Framed Photograph – At the beginning of each school year, I always frame a photo for Sid to display in her classroom. This time around, my wife didn’t want to be surprised. She told me the exact photo she wanted me to frame. The best part of the image is obviously Sloan looking like the happiest girl on the planet. But the history of the carrousel she is riding is pretty cool as well. The below photo is of Sloan on the Looff Carousel at Riverfront Park in Spokane. It was completed in 1909 and is one of the nation’s most beautiful and unique carrousels. It was built by a man named Charles Looff as a wedding gift for his daughter. A master craftsman, he hand-carved all the horses and creatures, and over 100 years later, every original piece is still functional and included on the carrousel.

This is the framed photograph I gave to Sid for this school year.

Family Is Everything – Pope Francis (@Pontifex) sends out the most beautiful tweets. He is an incredible follow for not just Catholics but all Christians. Today he tweeted about family. I don’t need to add any commentary because his post says it all. I just thought that it was something we could all enjoy.

This tweet says it all.

Another Milestone for Sloan – Earlier this week, Sloan showed that she can use a certain eating utensil. Our daughter discovered how to use a fork. Using a miniature one to match her size, she successfully stabbed at pieces of watermelon and fed herself. She alternated between using her right and left hands but she seemed more comfortable with the latter. Could she be left handed? Mostly I am including this in the Thursday Rundown because the photos are really cute (she looks so triumphant!) but it is also a testament to the fact that she enjoys watermelon just like her daddy.

A couple photos of a triumphant Sloan eating watermelon with a fork.

August 23 Is Cool – Over the past four years on Aug. 23, I have been active with Don’t Blink. A year ago, I wrote about a parental rite of passage(spoiler alert: it is not particularly fun). Two years ago on this date, I wrote about how I constantly text myself to stay organized (I continue to use this technique in the present). On this date in 2015, I wrote about the importance of kids participating in fundraisers (learning to properly sell something is a very important skill). Coolest of all, on this date four years ago I participated in the filming of Darius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” music video. I would make the final cut and actually appear in the video (of course I blogged about it!).

I made the cut in Darius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” video.

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Enjoy your last weekend in August. Soak up the sun and savor these waining days of summer. 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.