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Monday, April 28th, 2008.  Jackson turns eight this Saturday.  He and I worked on his invitation together and came up with the photo above.  For his birthday he wants NBA jerseys, Nike socks, arm bands, head bands and basketballs.  He likes to point out that he isn't asking for any toys. 

Ben has had a nasty cough since late last week.  He also tossed and turned much of last night, so Amy took him to his pediatrician this afternoon.  Ben is turning five next month and we think that today marked the first time he's ever been to the doctor because he was sick.  He's been lucky enough to stay pretty healthy.  And we've also been lucky that with Amy home, we have the time to let a lot of illnesses work themselves out without having to go to the doctor or use antibiotics.  He's on an antibiotic now though and I hope the little guy feels better soon.  He's never had an ear infection, but the doctor said that one was developing due to the prolonged congestion, which is probably a result of allergies.  While Amy and Ben were at the doctor's office, Jackson was at a local sporting goods store with me picking out a new pair of basketball shoes.  He's been wearing a hand-me-down pair for some time and they are pretty worn out from all the time he spends in the driveway shooting ball.  He picked out a white and red pair of Adidas shoes and was very proud of them.  We came right home to break them in with a game of one on one.

I was gone over the weekend on a camping trip and one of the things I missed was our friend Megan's birthday party.  Another event the boys enjoyed was a Webkinz Extravaganza on Main Street.  They were able to see their cousin Izzy and Aunt Deana there and join them for lunch at Ben's favorite spot, Barney's.  Amy was also able to spend Friday helping out at our local Special Olympics, which she always enjoys very much, primarily because she gets to see so many friends that we don't see as much these days.

Delane with a vertical enderTuesday, April 22nd, 2008. While Amy and the boys were out of town, I got a couple of kayaking sessions in.  Friday night I enjoyed some park and play action with SRVCC buds Kevin, Grant and John at Eggleston Falls on the Smith River (more photos here).  The next morning I got even more river time in with my old paddling pal Jeff at Foster Falls on the New River (more photos here).   Jeff and I also went for a ride on the new river trail, which was probably the first time I've been on a bike since college.  We had a really good time being outside enjoying the day.   And I appreciated Jeff taking the cool photos of me doing enders in my Jackson Fun.  Last night I put together a two minute, 14MB, video summary of my paddling trips so far this year.  I'm the one in the red boat and black helmet.

I want to say thanks to everyone who've supported Amy in her upcoming 5K race, both online and off.  Her training has been going well.  She's ran either 5 or 6 miles each of the past three Sundays.  This morning she ran 3 miles BEFORE bootcamp at the gym.  If that sounds like a lot of training for a 5K, that's because she's actually got her sights on a 13 mile half marathon at Virginia Beach in August.  Isn't that cool?  She's tough. 

Ben had his second T-Ball game tonight, but I forgot my camera in the rush to get to the game on time.  He played great and had a lot of fun.  It was a good game with buddies on both sides.

Jackson and Amy have a field trip tomorrow, so Ben gets to spend the day with his Papa.  Hopefully everyone will have a good time.

Sunday, April 20th, 2008.  The family made it back safe and sound, even though they had a long drive in thunderstorms and traffic.  They had a fantastic trip, with side trips that allowed them to see Amy's sister Sherry, nephew Jesse and her brother Alan's family.  I'm posting photos that Amy took while they were gone, including Ben's bear, the trampoline and zipline from my last post. Plus one for the Virginia and Jackson page.  They got to see Nicole ride her bike without training wheels and spend time at Sherri's Little School, earning a paycheck by the time they left.  Today we played baseball, basketball, launched rockets and swung golf clubs in the front yard.  Ben has a new set of clubs that his uncle Alan gave him. 

Jackson and I took great care building a rocket from scratch.  We painted it black and put the stickers on in just the right spots.  Jackson launched it in the middle of our fairgrounds.  We watched it go up. And up.  And up.  Until I couldn't see it anymore.  And that was it.  We never saw it again.  As far as we know it's in orbit right now.  Luckily we had a second rocket that goes half as high as the custom one.  That one floated safely back to ground, just on the other side of a nearby river.  It was that rockets fourth flight and we've been lucky to retrieve it each time.

 

Thursday, April 17th, 2008.  Amy and the boys are in Richmond, Virginia visiting friends this week.  Ben called today to tell me that he saw a bear on a tree, a bear on a cliff, had strawberry ice cream and jumped on a trampoline.  Amy could add to that story, that while at Maymont Park, Ben accidentally stepped in a puddle.  Ben cried, his shoes were ruined, they would never light up again, he couldn't walk.  So Amy carried him the rest of the way while he sobbed.  He later recovered and his shoes, of course, are fine.  Jackson called to tell me that the neighborhood backyards have a basketball goal, a treehouse and a zipline.  It doesn't get much better than that.  I miss them all terribly though and our house is way to quiet.

And how am I faring all on my own? I actually screwed up dinner bad enough to have to throw it away.  Not surprising huh?  Well, what if I told you it was a frozen pizza.  I know it sounds impossible, but try cooking a pizza sometime without removing the cardboard from under it. 

Today's photo is from a game Jackson and I attended at Surry Central earlier in the week featuring ACC seniors like UNC's Quintin Thomas and Duke's DeMarcus Nelson.  In the photo Jackson is on the court to compete in a halftime 3 Point contest.  He loved the game, loved all the dunks, loved getting autographs.  On his way back from the bathroom, he walked through the players on the side line.  As he passed 6 foot 9 inch Clemson forward James Mays, he received a double high five.   When Jackson got to our seats he excitedly told me that was "a time line moment."  In other words, on the chart of Jackson's life, he'll mark that moment with a pushpin.  Things have really come full circle with Jackson and his love of Basketball.  This is what I wrote in a post when Jackson was 14 months old, "1st thing in the morning, last thing at night.  SHOOT THE BAAALLLLL!!!!  Jackson has actually woke up, pulled out the pacifier, and said "SHOOT THE BALLLL!!!!" He crawls out of bed and goes to the door and says "shoot the ball?????"  He also refers to it as Up Ball (as in baskET BALL"  Jackson's number one thing to do by far is play basketball.  Our only relief is to bring the goal inside so that we can just sit and watch him play."  Below are some photos from that post.

    

Saturday, April 12th, 2008. It didn't take long on Friday night to learn that TBall = pants.  Ben wore shorts and came home with two legs covered in boo boos that he's more than willing to show you.  Ben had two practices this week thanks to a schedule mix-up.  They were supposed to have a game, but the other team didn't show thanks to a schedule mix-up.   He'll now get a week off from both ball and school thanks to Spring Break.

    

Thursday, April 10th, 2008. On Saturday, Amy got the rare treat of some serious girl time, with lots of nail polish and glitter.  The boys meanwhile ran around outside catching beetles, then sending them to space attached to helium balloons.  For photos from more of our niece Isabelle's birthday parties, click here.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008.  On Sunday, following a week of welcome rain, I paddled a great little local hard-to-catch run with eight of my SRVCC buds and had a great time.  Many more photos and details here.

You know your kid spends a lot of time shooting ball in the driveway when your mailman calls to let you know that the Harlem Globetrotters are on television.  Actually Jackson and our mailman are good friends.  He's been delivering our mail since before Amy and I were married and often stops for a few minutes while on his route to shoot hoops with Jackson.  Jackson thinks the world of him.  And if I'm around we'll usually spend some time talking motorcycles.  Jackson does spend an insane amount of time shooting ball though and it shows in how much his playing has improved.  We get in at least one 1on1 game in every evening and I think Jackson really looks forward to it.  Today Amy and Ben worked on his hitting and she said he did really good when she pitched the ball to him.  I'm behind on posting photos, but I've got some good ones from his T-Ball practice yesterday and from my niece Isabelle's party on Saturday.

 

Monday, April 7th, 2008.  "You should do something different tomorrow to make me happy.  Because if you have this again tomorrow, I'll cry again.  If you have it again and again and again, I'll cry again and again and again.  And when I'm an old man I'll drop my cane and lay down."  That was what Ben had to say to Amy following our supper of chicken pie, mashed potatoes and broccoli. 

Today's photo is Jackson running with his cousin Caleb and Caleb's cousins Nick and Christopher.  They were on their way to Caleb's house from our niece Isabelle's birthday party to get a soccer ball.  Caleb later got to come home with us and even spend the night.  We all had fun with him.  I like having Caleb around because we both like to write songs and he actually likes it when I play guitar.  I'll post more photos from the weekend tomorrow.

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008.  Happy Birthday Amy!  My beautiful, young wife turned thirty-four today.  When Amy got back from the gym this morning, the boys gave her their present and hand-made cards.  Then after spending the morning tutoring at Jackson's school, Amy celebrated her birthday with more presents and lunch at Goobers, along with my sister Deana, my mom, Aunt Dianna, Hama, myself and Ben. Thanks for lunch Deana!  I had to split and get back to work and found out later that Deana picked up my check, so I owe her one.  Tonight we celebrated yet again at our friend Timmesa's house with more presents, a wonderful dinner and a delicious birthday cake.  The kids are tucked in and asleep and I might soon be joining them.  Amy however is back out in the cold rain running "room mother" errands for Jackson's class.  They are throwing his teacher a surprise baby shower tomorrow.

So in case I'm asleep when you get back, I'll say it again "Happy Birthday Baby!"

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008.  Ben had his first T Ball game tonight.  I think he was happy to have a real baseball uniform, cap and all.  He did great and stuck tight to whatever position they put him in.  Maybe a little too tight, because he only had one ball come his way, not that the coaches didn't try hard to get him in just the right spot.  Ben is convinced that you get points for fielding grounders, not for running the bases. 

Jackson had curriculum night at his school, so he and Amy had to miss the game, but both of my sisters were able to see Ben play.  Ben's cousin Caleb just happened to have a soccer game starting right after the TBall game on a neighboring field.  So once Ben wrapped his game up, we went over to watch Caleb and were soon joined by Amy and Jackson.