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Saturday, August 29th, 2009.  Man it was hot in the bleachers this afternoon.  I can only imagine what it felt like under those pads.  I'm now totally looking forward to Fall.  Amy and Ben spent their morning, along with our friend Lorie, manning a rest stop along the Tour de Gap course.  Jackson and I helped briefly as well, before we made the lengthy drive to North Stokes High School.  This afternoon Ben visited with our friends the Eads.  Then tonight, Matthew joined us at the Downtown Cinema where we watched Up, which was a very good movie.  Typical busy Saturday.


Ben's 1st Day of School (11MBs) Aug 2009

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009.  Ben's 1st day of kindergarten was a success.  (Click here to watch the movie)  He wore his new Spiderman Crocs and his new Spiderman T-Shirt.  He carried his Yoda lunchbox and Transformers backpack.  He had fun.  He enjoyed it.  He is looking forward to going back.  Jackson said that when Ben sat down next to him on the bus, he said "Whew, now I know why you are so tired every day!"

Amy and I walked him to school this morning.  I was very happy to see how comfortable he was.  Amy was very sad that we no longer have a baby.  Our only snag is that rather than drive down the hill to our house, his bus goes the other direction, meandering through town for forty minutes before dropping him off.  We think this makes for too long of a day, so if we can't get his bus route changed and can work out the logistics, Amy will start picking him up from school.  All things considered though, it was a smashing start for our little man.


Tuesday, August 25th, 2009.  Due to a slight mix up over last night's schedule, Jackson had to rush straight from the dinner table to football practice.  He had just finished eating a big piece of the the cake he, Ben and Amy made in honor of Grandma Sue's birthday. Apparently his full stomach and the football drills made a bad combination because he threw up somewhere in the middle of practice.  He did say that it made him feel a whole lot better.   This morning, while waiting in the car line for his first day of fourth grade, Jackson said "Dad, don't say 'Bye' or 'Good Luck' or anything like that."  So I silently sent him on his way, without saying anything to embarrass him.  Ben spent his last day of freedom taking a walk to downtown with his mom that included a trip to the candy store.  Tonight he and Amy went to McDonalds to play.  I think Jackson's day went well, although he doesn't exactly provide a lot of information.  His bus ride lasted for an hour, which was odd since we only live a couple of miles from the school.  Jackson said that his bus went by the house twice before it finally stopped.

Below are photos from my dad's 45th birthday party at the cabin, the same spot that we chose to celebrate his 65th birthday last week.  Hama is in photos from both parties, so is Martin.  Gabe, who is the baby in the photos, is now a junior at UVA.  Chad, who was just a kid in the photo, and his wife Leslie had their first baby just this week.  Nannie and Papa Welbert are no longer with us.


Monday, August 24th, 2009.  (more photos from Saturday's trip to Kibler here)  Today is the last day of Summer vacation.  We spent yesterday working around the house and taking a late afternoon stroll along the Ararat River with the dogs.  Zorro's legs started bothering him after getting stuck in the mud, so Amy carried him until he started feeling better. We've decided that Zorro has probably aged out of our adventure walks and will now be limited to short strolls around the block.  On the way home, while walking up a big hill, Ben fell and decided he didn't want to walk either, so Amy carried him the rest of the way home.  Amy ends up with a little more exercise than the rest of us when we go walking.  We gave the dogs baths, then spent the rest of the day relaxing.  Jackson read, Ben napped, I edited photos and Amy went to the grocery store.  This morning, when I opened the door to Jackson's room, he was already reading.  Amy and Ben have played Wii and Play-doh.  I think that is basically the plan for the day.  To take it easy and enjoy the last day of having nothing to do.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009.  Jackson managed to finish reading the 500 plus page third installment in the Harry Potter series in just four days this week.  I'm very proud of our well rounded and active nine year old, he had quite a day.  This morning, we woke at 6:30 so that he and I could be at North Surry by 7:30 for the weigh-in prior to his 8:30 scrimmage.  The game was played in a drenching downpour.  At 10:50 Jackson's team of Bears played a second scrimmage game under a baking hot August sun.  By mid afternoon, he was paddling over three miles of white-water in Kibler Valley for the first time.  Then, following our dinner with my dad and many of my paddling friends at the Claudville Cafe, he played kickball with his cousins, aunt and uncle until it was too dark to see the ball.  Once home, he watched the third Harry Potter movie which ended one minute shy of midnight.  And in between each of the day's events, he managed to squeeze in a few pages of the fourth Harry Potter novel, which was a gift to him from his Aunt Jennifer  (More football photos here).

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009.  Jackson and I managed to sneak one more Wednesday night paddle in before school starts next week.  Following this afternoon's rain, both the water level and the weather were very conducive to an evening on the river.  (more photos here)  Amy performed wonderfully in the role of shuttle bunny, dropping us off at the park and then driving down to the river in the car to save us from carrying the boats all the way to the house.  Ben meanwhile is having the time of his life at Deana and Martin's house.  He spent the day shopping for school clothes in Winston-Salem, then the evening fishing.  Deana sent us photos of Ben's fish and they were awesome.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009.  Amy and the boys were joined by Timmesa and her boys on a dash to Greensboro where they took advantage of a hot sunny day and the rain-checks we received during our last visit.  By all accounts, they had a blast.  And in other news, after a six month hiatus from Facebook, I fell off the wagon and signed back up this week.  Even worse, I brought Amy along with me this time.

Monday, August 17th, 2009.  We had another 'three event' Saturday.  This time it was my dad's 65th birthday party at the cabin, Brooke and Gary's wedding in Low Gap, then Mike's 40th birthday party in Winston-Salem.   And before any of that happened, Amy went running.  That evening, the boys stayed at the cabin with Papa, while Amy and I went to the wedding and Mike's party.  They watched Andy Griffith re-runs and had pretend sword fights with sticks.  The wedding was beautiful, although we had to run not long afterwards to get to Winston.  Mike's party was a lot of fun.  We saw many old friends, like E Frank, that we hadn't seen in a long time.  It's also been a long time since I got to sit back and listen to the Joyce brothers harmonize with Barry Hutchins.  We laughed and told old stories about Mike until it was time to leave.  Sunday was equally as busy, but not nearly as fun.  Amy spent the entire day organizing our storage room while I cut the grass, pressure washed the back deck and trimmed the hedges.  Jackson helped for awhile, but then went inside for a break and didn't return.  While on his extended break, he was able to finish reading the second Harry Potter novel, so before bed, we watched the movie.  Jackson and I were the only two that made it to the end, Amy and Ben were fast asleep.  (more wedding photos here)


Sunday, August 16th, 2009.  Ben deserves a good sleep, it's been another big weekend.



Friday, August 14th, 2009.  A few photos from Jackson's team of Bears scrimmaging the North Surry Greyhounds.



Thursday, August 13th, 2009.  Monday.  Tuesday.  Thursday.  Friday.  Those are Jackson's nights for football practice.  Games will be on Saturdays.  When practice ends at 8:30, he walks off the field, in the dark, completely soaked with sweat.  He's having a good time and certainly getting a work out.  Ben will be playing soccer this fall and found out last night that his buddy Cooper's dad, Shane, will be his coach.  That's awesome.  And even more awesome than that, he found out today who his kindergarten teacher will be and she's great.  He saw her at the pool today while swimming with friends Conner and Hunter.  The boys played at the pool all afternoon and didn't want to leave, but Jackson had practice and Ben had a play-date with his pal Colin.  Ben and Colin played for hours this evening at the house and had just the best time.  Summer is nearing an end, but the boys are closing it out with some really fun days.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009.  Jackson and I were joined this evening by Dale, Brandon, Dave and Meg on a late evening three mile paddle on the Ararat.

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009.  What a weekend.  On Saturday, we were in Radford at noon for Amy's college friend Dan's wedding (photos here), Blacksburg at three for the Stepping Out Festival and Salem at seven for dinner with friends Monica and Rodney.  Sunday was just as busy (and fun).  I spent the afternoon at Foster Falls cooking out and kayaking.  Amy and the boys were at our friend Matthew's birthday party.  We were heading back out five minutes after I pulled in the driveway for a dinner club meeting, hosted by Keith and Sharon, at Belews Lake.  The wedding was wonderful, I got to see our friend Erin in Blacksburg and her baby Wylie (Ben and I had gotten separated from Amy and Jackson twenty minutes earlier), dinner at Monica's was superb and so was the view from their house, I had a blast kayaking (photos here) and the kids had more fun at this dinner club than at any other, and that's really saying something.


Anne RachelThursday, August 6th, 2009. Today's photos are of Ben and his little friend Anne Rachel.  Amy is watching Anne Rachel three days a week this Summer and Ben has enjoyed his role in making sure she is entertained.


Wednesday, August 5th, 2009. Today's photos are from last week's trip to Fairystone State Park in Virginia.

Monday, August 3rd, 2009.  While the weather cooperated with us on Friday, it did not yesterday, and essentially washed out our plans to go to the zoo with Brett, Grayson and Jason.  Because the boys were more disappointed to not see Brett than to not go to the zoo, we met him in Pilot Mountain for ice cream and a little play time.  On Saturday, Mount Airy celebrated the Dog Days of Summer on Main Street with a host of activities.  We took Zorro with us to check it out before driving to Greensboro to meet Alan, Charla and Jimmy.  We were surprised by the sizeable turn out and the number of things to do.  Hopefully this will turn into an annual event.  We've made our own concerted effort this Summer to pay Zorro and Emma more attention and have gone for frequent walks in the evenings, sometimes around the block and sometimes behind the house.  On Saturday, the boys and I took Emma for a stroll along a trail that followed the Ararat River.  Ben was tired and ready to go home and I could hear a thunderstorm approaching, so I sent Jackson through the woods to see where we were.  Upon learning that we had walked all the way to Chili Verde, I quickly whipped out the cell phone to call Amy for a ride home.  Nicole is back home in Colonial Heights and we miss her laugh already.  Six years ago, Jackson gave me a skateboard for Father's Day.  Time has flown by since then and this weekend he raced down the road on that old board.  He also went to the track this weekend as part of his own pre-conditioning plan for tonight's first football practice and ran for one mile.  Add in the amount of reading he has done lately, and you would have to say that he is a pretty well rounded kid.