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August 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006. We hosted Dinner Club this past weekend at our friend Jenny's river house in Kibler Valley, Virginia.  Not everyone was able to make it, but I think those that did had a really nice time on a beautiful evening in the mountains.  Both boys cried when we left to go home because they wanted to spend the night like we did on Father's Day.  Everyone had such a good time that I think we'll do it there again.  It is such a nice spot, very relaxing and stress free.  The kids have plenty of room to run around and the scenery is awesome.  After every one had left and everything had been packed up and cleaned up and after the boys were buckled up in the van.... the van didn't crank.  Remember how it did that last week?  Well this time we were not in cell phone range and quite possibly in the darkest place on Earth.  I popped the hood again so that I could stare at the engine in the dark for no reason.  I tried hitting the dash again, but it just wouldn't do anything.  Then Amy figured it out.  She asked if the van was in park.  It said it was, but I pushed the gear stick further toward park and it cranked right up.  Way to go Amy!  more dinner club photos here...

Friday, August 25th, 2006.  Ben enjoyed yesterday's picnic so much that he asked for another one today.  So Amy packed a lunch that could fit into Ben's stroller and the two of them started walking toward downtown.  Ben fell asleep shortly after leaving the house and slept while Amy browsed the stores on Main Street.  I was able to meet them for a nice picnic lunch in the Episcopal church's garden, choosing a nice shaded spot beside the Saint Francis of Assisi statue (does anyone else think his name sounds like Saint Francis the Sissy?)  Ben looked up at Francis standing in his cloaked robe and asked "was he in Harry Potter?"

Thursday, August 24th, 2006.  "Grandma Sue, I hope you have a great birthday with Grand Jimmy.  I can't wait to visit you and Grand Jimmy.  From Jackson down on Earth.  I love you."  That was the message Jackson wrote on the balloon that he floated to Heaven tonight, along with balloons carrying birthday messages to Grandma Sue from Amy and Ben. 

Grandma Sue would have been proud of Ben today.  On his third day of pre-school, he took care of his need to tinkle all by his self.  He pulled his pants down by himself and didn't need any help from anybody.  Of course, he was out on the playground at the time.  Grandma Sue would have gotten a big kick out of that.  Apparently the teachers got a pretty good chuckle out of it.  Following school, Amy and BenBen had a really nice picnic under a tree between the playground and the river.   Then tonight, Jackson had his first soccer practice of the season.

We miss you Grandma Sue!

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006. Our boys are masters of disguise.  For today's photo, I played the role of Jimmy Olsen, snapping a pic of Superman dining with Good King Ben.

Ben had his three year old checkup this morning.  That means I get to update his growth chart.  Ben is now 31 lbs and 35 1/2 inches tall, which keeps him in the 25th percentile for height.  But so what if he's always going to be a couple of inches shorter than his big brother, because he might just be a little bit tougher.  He didn't cry a drop today at his checkup.  Not even after a shot in his arm, his leg and in the end of his finger.  That's one brave little boy.  I'm not ashamed to say that those finger pricks make me want to cry.  He came home with bright orange band-aids on all his boo-boos.  Ben is obsessed with the color orange lately.  Everything has to be orange.  Everything. 

Both boys seem very happy with school.  Ben loves it.  He is so happy on the days he gets to go to pre-school and see Mrs. C.  That makes things so much easier.  And Jackson seems really happy about school too.  I don't think he has complained once (and that's really saying something!).  He says that his teachers are the best part about first grade.   

On Tuesday night, Jackson went to the screening for Pee Wee fall league soccer and has his first practice tomorrow evening.  He did great and is really looking forward to being on a real team that plays real games.  After two years of instructional league, he's ready to keep score.

Monday, August 20th, 2006. Jackson lost his second baby tooth tonight.  Apparently he wiggled it loose himself right after dinner.  No blood, no pain.  Much better than how the first tooth came out.

On Sunday, we had our first family canoe outing.  Hopefully it will be the first of many as we had a very enjoyable and successful trip down the very scenic Dan River in Danbury, NC.   Well, successful except for the part where we put a hole in our good friend Jeff's 16 foot Mad River canoe.  That part was not good, not good at all.  But you can read all about that here, if you want.  Ben fell asleep twice in the bow of the canoe.  The second time, he slept all the way to the take out, then on Amy at the Dan River Company while Jackson and I loaded the van.  He continued to sleep through the forty-five minute drive back to Mayberry, then slept for another two hours in his bed once we got home.  This morning we discovered that the poor little guy was sick.  He's migrated throughout the day between feeling great to feeling really tired and yucky.

We spent Saturday evening at my sister's house celebrating my father's birthday and my brother-in-law's father's birthday.  The food was fantastic, lots and lots of barbeque, and it was a very fun evening.

Friday, August 18th, 2006. Our friends Brooke, Landon and Ella joined Amy and Ben this morning for a walk to Main Street.  They spent lots of time in Mr. Mike's train store before I caught up with them playing with the wagons and bikes in front of the hardware store.  We then went next door to the Blue Bird Diner where the boys ate dinosaur nuggets and ice cream.  Ben stuck with his usual "cherry danilla", while Amy, Landon and Ella went the mint chocolate chip route.  From there Amy and Brooke had a quiet walk back as all the kids were tired.  more photos and three updates...


Thursday, August 17th, 2006.  Ben did awesome on his first day of pre-school.  He was excited about it all morning and wanted to go before we even walked Jackson to school.  He especially wanted to find the toy spiders that Jackson had talked about playing with on the night of the open house.  We got there early and waited with the other nervous parents and three year olds.  After putting Max, his moose backpack, in his cubby, I took Ben to where the spiders were.  Three other little boys were playing in the same area and Ben immediately started playing with them.  One of the boys told me that he "saw a big BULL this mownin!"  Another boy said "I saw a bull on the television and a man was ON it!"  Then the first boy said "I saw a man ridin' a bull and he was wavin' his hand like this" as he swung his arm around in circles. 

We took Ben to the bathroom, showed him where to wash his hands, then let him go back to playing.  He was fine.  We left him having fun.  Three years ago, just as Amy was about to walk out the main door on Jackson's first day, Jackson ran out of his room crying and latched onto her leg.  Jackson's teacher had to pick him up and hold him so that Amy could leave.  So we were pleased that it went differently this time around.  Of course, three years ago, Amy was leaving with baby Ben in her arms, which for Jackson meant he was getting left behind and was missing out on something.  For Ben, he was just going to school like his "big brudder."  And just like that, Amy was able to run errands, by herself, with no kid in tow, for the first time in who knows how long.  When she returned to pick Ben up three hours later, he was so excited that he jumped up and down as he told her everything he had done.  Over lunch Ben told me all about the pirate ship on the playground, his graham cracker snack and lots of other fun things that he remembered.

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006.    Yesterday, on Jackson's last day of freedom, he, Ben and Amy went to the Winston-Salem Children's Museum (photos here).  Our friend Brooke had invited them, which meant Ben got to play with his good buddy Landon.  At bedtime I asked Ben to tell me about the museum.  He said "they had a garden and Brookie helped me work in it.  They had a grocery store with DOOBIE DOOS!!   And they had rubber duckies in pretend water."  read more...

Saturday,  August 12th, 2006. Tonight we celebrated our friend Matthew's birthday at his house.  After the presents were opened, Jeff, Thomas and I snuck outside to play with Matthew's new toy airplane.  It wasn't long before we were busted though and had to give the kids turns too.


Friday, August 11th, 2006.  Amy's running group ran 5.5 miles earlier this week, which was a personal best for Amy.  That short-lived record was eclipsed this morning though when they ran 6.5 miles. 

Jackson took much of the Summer off from karate class, but is now back in full swing.  read more...

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006. A couple of funny things have happened at our house recently.  The first one is that our boys have turned into Full House junkies.  You know, the show with Mary Kate and Ashley.  Fortunately, I managed to go through the early nineties without seeing a single episode of the show.  I was too cool for it back then.  But now it's on at our house multiple times a day and I don't mind because I'm not so cool anymore.  read more...

Monday, August 7th, 2006.  Amy started her day with a 4.5 mile run while the boys and I were still sleeping, then made a peach crisp later in the morning while the boys played with their cousin Caleb.   My dad brought a flat of peaches to the house on Saturday.  Amy made a peach cobbler that night for us and another for Jeff and Timmesa Sunday morning.   The peach crisp she made today was an awesome vanilla ice cream topping.  After lunch Amy herded Jackson, Ben and Caleb into the van and hit the pool.  A few hours later they came home, then I came home, then Amy went to work, then returned just in time for the kid's bedtime.  We pass the baton like that on Mondays and Thursdays.  The boys practically clung to Caleb's legs when it was time for him to go, which I think means they had a pretty good time playing with him.

Yesterday, I had an awesome time kayaking on the New River at Foster Falls, Virginia with a really fun paddling crew from the Smith River Valley Canoe Club.  I've got more photos and a short trip report here.

On Saturday, while Amy worked, the boys and I were joined by Jeff and his boys at Kibler Valley where we escaped the heat by swimming in the river and paddling kayaks.  The kids had fun taking turns paddling the boats around the small pool in front of us.  Since Ben liked the rapids, I held his boat in the moving water so that he could squeal and dangle his hands in the river.  More photos from Saturday can be found here.

When I came home Friday for lunch, I found Amy and the boys making tie dye t-shirts.  Any project that involves a 3 year old, six year old and three bottles of permanent dye can be a risky one, but we were all very pleased with how they turned out.

And the last thing for today is a short clip of Ron, myself, Mick and Don surfing to some Green Onions in Kibler a few weeks ago  -  TPA Surfing (4MB).    (footage courtesy of Mick)

Friday, August 4th, 2006. Today's photo is of Jackson's frames, which he sets on a wooden rail attached to his dojo's tori gate during karate class before grappling or sparring.  That's Jackson in the background and in both lenses.  I was really happy that everything lined up the way I wanted for this photo, especially considering that Ben was swinging from my arm and climbing on my back at the time. 

The boys enjoyed The Barnyard tonight.  Ben got a little sleepy, but made it through the whole movie.  On the way home Ben's comments were... "My favorite part was the pizza guy.  He said 'I got an arm!' And the other guy said 'woo hoo!" And when the cow hit that fox with the golf stick."   Jackson's friend Matthew joined us and is having a sleep-over tonight.

While in line for concessions and while the boys were running wild, a very nice blog visitor from out of town whom we've spoken with via email recognized us and introduced herself.  I'm surprised she came over, because at that exact moment in time, I'm not sure my boys were living up to their blog personas.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006.  One of the many examples of why it was fate that Amy and I found each other is how much Amy enjoys making desserts and how much I enjoy eating them.  It was one of the wonderful things we discovered about each other after we were married.  That's why the call I received tonight from my friend Jeff was so shocking.  Apparently they have an abundance of blackberries in their backyard and while at their house, Amy made a COBBLERAND DIDN'T BRING ME ANY HOME!  Not only that, she didn't even tell me about it when she got home.  Not a word.  Granted, we were trying to get the kids to bed, so we didn't have a lot of time for chit chat, but still.  I just don't know what to think about that.  The guilt was too much for Jeff though, because, not only did he call and tell me about it, he then drove all the way across town to bring me a serving while it was still warm, from the oven.  I had just enough peach ice cream in the freezer to go with it and it was wonderful.  But now I have to wonder, how many other pies has Amy made that I don't know about..

Amy and the kids went to see The Ant Bully this morning.  It's so hot that sitting in a cool movie theater was a great way for them to escape the heat.  Tomorrow night I think we are going to see the premier of The Barnyard.  It's been a big movie summer for us this year.

10pm Post Note:  When Amy got home from the grocery store tonight, she asked me if I had saved her any of the pie Jeff brought by.  Ooops, now I'm the one that feels guilty. 

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006.  Today's photo has one pic from each of Jackson's eight beach trips.  Jackson starting 1st Grade has me thinking about how fast he is growing up

I haven't been riding the bike much this year, other than to the office every day.  But today I made a 130 mile ride to Martinsville and back, even though it was a scorching 98F/37C.  Not only was it a great mental reset, it might actually have helped my aching back.   For some reason my back has been killing me since the middle of last week.  Let's see, the middle of last week, that would have been my birthday.  Hey, maybe that's the problem, I'm getting OLD.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006. Is it just me or is Summer moving way to fast?  I can't believe it's August already.  The kids had a fun day at the pool, then Jackson went to karate class.  Now that school is only a few weeks away, we are trying to get back to our eight am bedtime, but so far that task hasn't been an easy one.  Today's photos are a few more from the beach.