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.