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Scenes From April (6MB)

Saturday the 30th. We got our tickets in the mail for Sesame Street Live today.  They are a combo birthday present for both the boys.  Amy and I are excited because we know how much Jackson and Ben will both enjoy it.  We wanted to take Jackson when he was Ben's age, but the show didn't come to town.

Friday the 29th. Jackson's trial isshinryu lesson was tonight.  He did exceptionally well, paying very close attention to his sensei Eric Latza and guest sensei from New York, a 1995 World Champion.  After class the sensei invited Jackson to join the Monday/Wednesday classes.  He said that Jackson seemed very focused and paid very good attention.  During the sparring competition at the end of class, Jackson set with the instructors.  I thought that was a great idea, I mean, it was his first class and it's not like we let Jackson fight.  Then I heard the sensei ask everyone to stop talking, I looked up and saw him holding Jackson's glasses.  And there was my four year old, standing in the middle of the mat, bowing to a little girl in pink.  Jackson ran right at her with his tough guy game face on.  He later told us that he wished that part had lasted longer.  We were happy with the way the class went.  The guest sensei spent lots of one on one time with Jackson.  Lots of stretches and not a lot of goofing off.

"Yee-haw!" is not a foreign policy.  That's a bumper sticker I just ordered from www.irregulartimes.com.  Plus a couple of stickers.


Thursday the 28th. Tomorrow will be Jackson's first night studying isshinryu and he is so excited he could bust.  He's wanted to learn martial arts for a very long time, but we told him that he would have to wait until he was five.  Jackson's birthday is next Tuesday, so we go for a trial class this week.  It seems to be his passion, much more so than sports, so we'll try it out and see what happens.  Jackson says that he wants to be a karate instructor when he grows up, so who knows.  Of course that would just be his secret identity because his real job would be super-hero.  His lessons will be three nights a week, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. 

Amy took the boys for a walk to the new candy store on Main Street this afternoon that included a stop at Miss Etta's playground.

Wednesday the 27th. Ben's word for stick is icky, he can say "I wanna cookie!", often asks for "hep", and Oscar the Grouch's pet worm Slimey is one of his favorite Sesame Street characters.  His favorite past time is holding things in his hands that he can shake or wiggle, things like daisies, dandelions, or his rubber lizard.  And when you hand him something, like a cookie, he asks for more.  When you hand him a second one, he holds it against his chest with the hand that's holding the first cookie and then, once again, asks for more.  After getting a third cookie he says "Thank you Daddy" and walks away.  He has to have one in each hand, plus an extra for good measure. 

Tonight we visited the boys' great-grandmother in Claudville.  Getting to talk to the cows made Ben very happy.  Ben has a new calf that he hasn't seen yet, we'll need to get to Papa's farm soon and check it out.  Ben also made a big deal over Hama, hugging her and playing peep-eye. 

Tuesday the 26th. Things I've learned about Grand Bahama Island that I didn't know before I visited it...   The first settlers, the Siboney Indians, lived on the island as long as 7000 years ago, living off conch and fish.  They disappeared around the time the Lucayans made their way to the island by way of the Caribbean from South America.  Good old Christopher Columbus and his fellow Spaniards quickly wiped out the 4,000 Lucayan inhabitants in 1492 through enslavement, murder, and the introduction of new diseases. The island, named Gran Bahamar (meaning great shallows) by the Spanish, was ... more

Monday the 25th. Well, it's back to reality day for the Heaths.  We are still waiting for Amy's voice to return, she apparently left it somewhere in the islands.  Below are a few more photos from our trip, I've posted a lot more on the beach photos page and click here to see all our pics from the wedding.



Happy Birthday Megan!

Sunday the 24thStarted the day with a nice Bohemian breakfast across the street before making the trek home.  Jackson got sick during our first trip, which caught us off guard and made for quite an interesting scramble.  The poor little guy got sick during our landing at Greensboro too, but at least this time we were ready.  He threw a dime in a fountain at PTI airport and said "I wish I never get on an airplane again."  Surprisingly cold in North Carolina, but we are very happy to be back home.

Saturday the 23rd. Amy took an early morning walk and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise.  Jackson and I then bought donuts across the street and brought back breakfast.  Next it was the pool and the beach before taking a break in the room so that Ben could nap inside today.  Below are some of the photos from yesterday's wedding.  I'm posting more on the wedding gallery. We ran into Deana and Martin a few times by the pool and on the beach.  They had a fun night at their private blackjack table and spent their first day married having fun outside.  They even parasailed later in the afternoon.  We spent the afternoon doing some hardcore beach play, Jackson worked for hours with Caleb and Izzy digging a hole.  For some reason Ben can't stay awake on the beach, maybe the waves lull him to sleep.  So he took another nap on Amy, he is averaging about three a day in the Bahamas.  We ate dinner with family at a British pub at Port Lucaya, then fed fish off the pier.  We were excited that a unicorn filefish swam by, of course someone had to tell us what it was and that it we were lucky to see it.  Izzy got braids and we all ate ice cream at Andy's Ice Cream parlor.  Then Mo watched the boys while Amy and I returned to Port Lucaya for Kaliks and tunes.  Amy's voice has mysteriously left her however, and it was impossible to carry on a conversation near the music, so we walked along the harbor looking at all the yachts before ending the evening on the beach with Pina Coladas from the Prop Club..     


Friday the 22nd. Started early with lots of beach and pool time, then ate lunch at the prop club before getting ready for the wedding.  The wedding went perfectly, it even had a rainbow.  I'll post photos from that later.  After the wedding Eric watched all the kids and we went to the reception dinner at The Ferry House.  The tables were on the pier overlooking a moonlit harbor.  We had sushi for the first time and course after course of delicious food to go with the wine, Kaliks, and great company of family and old friends. 

Thursday the 21st.  Yesterday exhausted us, we slept very hard last night.  But Jackson was up early and ready to go again.  We spent most of the day at the pool.  The weather is wonderful, hot and breezy.  After making a quick run-through rehearsal for the wedding, we decided to take a break from the sun and came in for a rest.  Later in the afternoon we went shopping through the straw market and had a blast.  Papa bought the boys wooden snakes and Jackson bought a cool necklace.  We then met up with the rest of the family and went to Port Lucaya where Deana treated everyone to a wonderful dinner at FatMan's Nephew overlooking Count Basie Square.  We tried conch fritters and I absolutely loved them, fantastic.  The shark entree was delicious too.  That's it for today, tomorrow is the big wedding day, but I'm sure we'll have lots of time on the beach first.  more beach photos


Wednesday the 20th. All the kids loved their first flight, I don't even think Mo minded it that much.  We are traveling with a large group of friends and family, which has made it even more fun. Jackson was so excited this morning, he ran into the living room at 4:30 yelling "Let's go to the Bahamas!" more beach photos



Tuesday the 19th. Tomorrow morning we fly to the Bahamas for my sister Deana's wedding on Friday.  We are terribly excited, especially Jackson.  This morning he ran back and forth through the house yelling "I'm going to the Bahamas! I'm going to the Bahamas"  He can't wait to be above the clouds and on an island.  We are also very excited for Deana and Martin.  Deana says she is "frantic", trying to get everything ready.  Our hotel has high-speed Internet access, so stay tuned for updates from our trip and from the wedding.   As for the trip, we have to get up around three in the morning to be at the Greensboro airport in time.  Not sure how that will work out with the kids, but the awesome part about starting early is that, following a brief layover in Atlanta, we should arrive at the island before lunch.       


Monday the 18th. We had a great time at Dinner Club in Greensboro last night.  Brian and Jenny's street was in full bloom, the weather was great, the barbeque chicken was awesome, the kids enjoyed playing, and we enjoyed seeing everyone.  Click here for more photos and dinner club details.  After school this morning, Jackson went to Sam's for a tea party.

Sunday the 17th.  After being with their Grandma Sue everyday for the past four weeks, the boys have to say goodbye today.  We brought Grandma home yesterday and return to Mount Airy today, making a stop in Greensboro for Dinner Club at the Hunt's.  Whenever I told someone that I was taking Grandma's new couch on top of the van they looked at me like I was crazy.  A few people on the 250 miles of Interstate looked at us like that too.  And a few gave us the thumbs up.  But I figured it's shorter than a kayak, just a little fatter.  Anyway, we got it there.  Saturday morning Papa, Caleb, Jackson and I helped Deana move some of the things out of her house.  The wedding is Friday, we'll miss Deana being in town with us.  Following the wedding, she'll live in Stuart, Virginia.  This morning was beautiful, so the boys and I went to Fort Clifton to stretch our legs with a stroll along the Appomattox before hitting the highway.  We also played at the Tussing Elementary playground.


Congratulations Warren, Jennifer, and Emma on the arrival of Bethany Grace Davis!

Saturday the 16th. When Ben isn't comfortable with what he sees on the television, he hides. It's usually a character on Sesame Street, like the elephants, or maybe an episode where Elmo is arguing with Zoe, those type things. Sometimes he walks into the dining room and peaks around the corner, sometimes he gets behind a chair, and sometimes he holds something in front of his face.   If it's an episode he's seen before, then he starts walking backward before the troubling scene starts in anticipation.  I don't think he is going to like horror movies when he grows up.


Friday the 15h.. What a busy morning!  By eight o'clock I had taken both the kayak and the bike for a spin.  Jackson had his March of Dimes Teamwalk at Central this morning, so Amy, Sue and Ben went to watch and walk with him.  Great morning for it.  (Click here to go to see both last year and this year's pics) Sue and Amy first went to The Good Life for coffee and scones (they turned the flatscreen to PBS for Ben).  I was on the water at 6am and off at 7am.  The lake was exploding with activity this morning.  The osprey was back and seemed interested in what I was doing.  He never strayed to far from where I was at.  I heard him for the first time, along with three gobblers bantering from three different locations. I found one of them, still in his tree, on the right side of the lake.  While I watched him, he flew across the water, to the the hillside where Jeff and I have seen them the last few times we've been.  The mist was heavy and the first three times a beaver swam up, I didn't know they were there until they gave me their tail splash, almost giving me a heart attack every time.  I found one beaver on the far left side of the lake.  He swam from the bank and all the way around the front of my kayak before slapping the water and diving below.  Unfortunately I didn't have enough light to focus without a flash.  I had some great shots as he passed the bow of the boat with geese framed just beyond, but they were all terribly fuzzy.  Great morning to be outside. The afternoon wasn't bad either.  After Jackson played with his friend Samuel, he went for a walk with Amy and Ben to my office.  Unfortunately I was in a meeting, but Jackson got to visit with our friend Cindy Ritenour while he was there.  Then later, while I was out picking up Chinese food and Japanese food for dinner, they played in the front yard with our neighbor Jacob.  And in case any of you were wondering about the pie from last night.... it was delicious.        


Thursday the 14th. The rain clouds are gone, the air is chilly, but sunny and beautiful.  Our lawnmower returned, repaired, so Amy pushed and shoved it through our front yard during lunch (fertilizing twice right before the lawnmower broke worked out great!).  Supposedly the repairman just shook his head when he looked at my handiwork and said "you never take off the spring..."  Funny, that's the same thing my Dad said.  Jackson played with Samuel across town, I relished getting the bike back out for my 30 second commute to the office (as if I didn't already have reasons to ride the bike, for the first time the price of fuel is a factor too.)  The Bahamas trip is next week, so ... more

Happy Birthday Dianna!! (hope you feel better!)

Wednesday the 13th. After helping us work on the bathroom plumbing, Jackson fell asleep with his miner's light on last night. Earlier in the evening he pulled out the mandolin and said he wanted us to write a song together.  So I picked up the guitar and asked him what it was going to be about.  He said "about life."  I said "well, what about life?"  Jackson replied "you know, just how we pass through life, like, how we are."  I told him that the best songwriters in the world had no more noble pursuit.  I started playing, as instructed by Jackson, very slowly, in the key of C, while he sang...

I'm so special

I'm such a good boy

I make it through my life

just being how I am.


Oh, I'm so special

Oh, I'm so special

I'm such a special kid, ooooohhhh

He followed that song up with an ode to his mom that was really pretty good considering he was making it up as he went.  I caught that song on video tape.  He never missed a beat, kept a nice melody, I was very impressed.

Tuesday the 12th. I haven't updated everyone on Ben's state of affairs lately.  Everyone calls what Ben does jibber-jabber, and that's a good definition, but he just recently started putting many more real words into his jibber-jabber speeches.  He's in the middle of a pretty rapid increase in vocabulary.  If we repeat a word he said, he now... more

Monday the 11th. Such nice weather.  Jackson organized a picnic lunch in the front yard.  We had homemade lemonade, peanut-butter and banana hotdogs, chocolate chip cookies (he gave two to the mailman), strawberries, watermelon, and Cheetos.

The good news: I retrieved Ben's little stretchy orange must-have carry-around-all-day sleep-with toy lizard from the bathroom sink's drain pipe.  The bad news:  I accidentally completely entirely ripped out the plumbing while doing it.  So in the last month I've ... more

Sunday the 10th. I started paddling early this morning, as the steam rose from the lake, right around 7:30.  I snapped a few photos at the put-in, but then left the camera behind.  So I didn't have it with me to photograph the osprey I saw fishing.  I spotted it after it hit the water and flew around the bend.  I wasn't sure what it was at the time, but it later flew a few hundred yards in front of me, then circled back and perched in the top of a high poplar tree.  I was able to glide directly below it in the kayak, allowing me to get a much closer look without disturbing it.  I actually thought it was a bald eagle at the time, but after researching it on the Internet, I've decided that it was an osprey instead.  It would have been a first time sighting for either, but it was a lot more exciting when I thought it was an eagle.  I also saw a gobbler strutting in the early morning sun, tail feathers fanned out, at the crest of a grassy ridge.  So it was a fantastic, un-photographed morning on the water.  My sister Melanie picked Jackson up and took him to Claudville for the day.  He left dressed as Superman and planned on spending the afternoon with Papa.  Sue and I watched the Martinsville race while Ben napped and Amy went for a Main Street walk with Megan.  Later in the evening, Mo and Papa visited after bringing Jackson home.


Saturday the 9th. Amy, Sue and Jackson went to Cana again for some fresh fruit, then Amy went to Christie Hole's wedding shower hosted by Christi Kirkman in Holly Springs.  Wonderful Spring day today.

Friday the 8th. Jackson won a whistle at school when he recited his full address and phone number.  On their way out of school after dropping Jackson off, Amy tossed Ben into the air.  He threw his pacifier and said "The birdies, the birdies!"  He loves birds and watches them very affectionately.  Are their birds on the beach in the Bahamas?  If they are there, Ben will enjoy them.

Thursday the 7thWe live in Mayberry, NC.  At least I think Mount Airy still has plenty of Mayberry left in it.  Here's one example...  Jackson runs out to meet our mailman every day yelling "Hello Tom Snow!".  Our mailman yells back "Hello Jackson!"  Our mailman also stops by to talk to me about motorcycles and usually ... more

Wednesday the 6th. Yet another beautiful day, great motorcycle weather.  Ben has loved spending time outside this week.  He picks flowers, collects sticks, talks to the neighbor's cat, runs down the driveway... Jackson had another good day back at school, today was picture day at Central.  Grandma Sue went for another ride, this time going with Amy to pick up Jackson from school.  Jackson asked our neighbor Jacob over to play tonight and we had a lot of fun playing tee-ball in the front yard.

Tuesday the 5th. Happy Birthday Isabelle!  An amazing seventy-eight degrees today.  One of the things Grandma Sue enjoys about visiting Mount Airy is having produce markets close by.  Today she was able to not only go to Cana, but to actually walk around and do her own shopping.  Ben gave plenty of ooohs and aaaahs from the cart as Sue pushed him past the strawberries and candies.   Jackson played with Matt and Sam at their house before going with Ben and I to Claudville to wish Izzy a happy fourth birthday. 

Monday the 4th. After spending ridiculous amounts of time on the highway, our van had a flat tire in the driveway today, very lucky.  And to make it even more fortuitous, I discovered the leak while home on my lunch break, before all the air had escaped, giving me just enough time to drive to Parrish Tire before it went pplllfffff.  The afternoon was lovely, over seventy degrees, allowing Jackson, Benjamin, and Grandma Sue to spend time outside in the sun.

Sunday the 3rd. Happy Birthday Amy!  Timmesa made Benjamin's morning by bringing Krispy Kremes for breakfast.  Amy and Timmesa then went out for coffee and catch-up conversation.  While Amy was out, Jackson made her a red velvet birthday cake with yellow icing and sprinkles.   Later we all gave Amy her presents, cards, and cake before Amy went to my sister Deana's wedding shower.  Papa and Caleb stopped by to play with the boys this afternoon and took Jackson back with them to Claudville.  Amy later picked him up on her way back home from Stuart.  The rest of the day was an uneventful evening at home, something we all enjoyed very much.  Sue had a good day and, while tired from the trip, continued to make great strides in her recovery.


Saturday the 2nd.  We made it home with Grandma Sue today.  It was a pedal to the metal trip made in near record time, even with a stop to fill up on gas and a lengthy layover at a rest stop, we still made it in under four hours.  Ben slept for about ninety percent of it which helped.  Jack and I went out to get some supplies for Amy's birthday tomorrow while Ben danced around the house playing with the toys he has missed over the past few weeks.  It's very cold and windy tonight for April.  Hope it warms back up soon.

Friday the 1st.  Arrived back in Colonial Heights and even April Fooled them by slipping in early.  I was talking to Amy on the cell phone when I rang the door bell, she thought I was still a couple of hours away.  It scared her when she opened the door and saw me standing there.  I think that's the first time I've ever tricked her on April 1st.  She's pulled some whoppers on me though.  Sue tripped and fell early this morning, but wasn't hurt and Amy was able to help her get back up.