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Monday, August 30th, 2010.  What a great start for Jackson's JV Little League team.  Not only was playing time divided evenly between all the players, they also won.  I loved it.  The team played really nice solid football.  I am just really impressed with this year's coaches.  I believe they have created an atmosphere that will motivate many of the kids to stick with it.  And speaking of coaching, Ben and I have our first soccer practice of the season tonight.  We are both looking forward to it and hope that it goes well.  (More football photos here. )

 

Friday, August 27th, 2010.  I could not be more pleased with how well the first week of school has went.  Both boys have been excited about their new classes.  They have both woken up on time and gotten ready ahead of schedule, especially Jackson.  He has woken up on his own, taken his shower, gotten dressed, eaten breakfast, walked the dogs and made his bed every morning, completing all of those tasks thirty minutes ahead of schedule.  The only snag, just like last year, was the initial bus ride.  Jackson only has to ride the bus across the street and is the first stop, but Ben was on the bus for two hours on the first day.  However, on day two , he was the first stop, which meant only a twenty minute bus ride.  So we are very pleased with that.  Everything is running perfectly so far. 

Jackson has his first football game tomorrow afternoon which is exciting.  He gave up an offer to watch the Panthers play in Charlotte with his friend Everett so that he could be at the game, which I know was a tough decision.  He is a lucky kid, because he often finds himself having to choose between two things that he really wants to do. 

My friend Jeff and I drove to Martinsville last night for the 2nd Annual Smith Fest Film Festival, which was a lot of fun.  Even more fun than watching the movies was seeing so many of my good friends.  Tonight Jackson and I are going to watch the first Bears home football game of the season.

Monday, August 23rd, 2010.  We just got back from a great weekend at Atlantic Beach (thanks to our friends the Mosers and the Chiltons for letting us once again stay in their cozy little spot on the beach).  It was a very photo friendly weekend and I have posted several photographs here.  We invited Jackson's friend Simon to join us and he made a wonderful, funny, easy-going addition to our troupe.  It was our last carefree fling of summer as this week brings the start of the school year.  We met Ben's teacher 1st Grade teacher this afternoon and were thrilled to find that our all-time favorite teachers assistant has been assigned to his room.  Jackson has open house tonight, followed by football practice.  I have the fun job of coaching Ben's Pee Wee soccer team this year and have scheduled the first practice for Thursday evening.  Lots and lots of stuff going on right now.

Thursday, August 12th, 2010.  With Jackson away in DC, attention has turned to Ben, who has had a whirlwind week.  He has played with some of his favorite people (Brett, Anne Rachel, SKV, Joe and Jack) and had a sleep over with his longtime pal Luke.  He and Luke had a wonderful visit, they never fight and both give as good as they get.  It was like old times having Brett in the house on Tuesday.  He, Ben and I sang songs at lunch.  One was a version of our Random Word Song (Ben loves that song) and the other was about a moth that the boys named Woo.  Lots of fun.  Click here (8MGs) here for the video.  Before Amy started recording, Brett was laughing so hard that he had applejuice coming out his nose.  Last night we had the neighbors over for dinner and enjoyed games of foos ball and air hockey.  Tonight, while we wait for Jackson and Deana to arrive back in town, we are going to host another outdoor movie in the driveway.  Summer is coming to an end quickly and we are busier than ever.

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010.  Today I am posting photos from our seven mile adventure on the Dan River in picturesque Claudville, Virginia on Saturday.  This was the stretch of river that I paddled when I was Jackson's age, so it was nice to share it with Amy and the boys.  Jackson left this morning for a three day field trip in Washington, DC.  He will be traveling with his Aunt Deana and his CAP class.  He went into Ben's bedroom at 5:30AM to tell him goodbye.  Ben was already sitting up in bed and said "See you in a week.  Looser."  Is there anything like brotherly love?

Friday, August 6th, 2010.  Today's pics are from a trip to sci-works a few weeks ago during Jimmy's visit.  (more photos here)  In the last six years, we have visited sci-works 25 times.  Amy and the boys had a productive day that included getting Zorro cleaned up for tomorrow's fashion show at Froo Froo Pet Boutique.  They also washed the van, pulled weeds, shucked more corn, went to the recycling center and cleaned the house.

Thursday, August 5th, 2010.  Okay, so teaching the kids to play Texas Hold 'Em was not on the summer to-do-list.  We'll just consider it a bonus educational opportunity.  In this photo, Ben, with two aces in the hole, is getting ready to loose all his goldfish, because Jackson has the fourth six in his down cards.  By far the two best hands of day and they fell at the exact same time.  And speaking of education, Jackson, along with his friend Simon, sold raffle tickets on Main Street today as a fundraiser for their Curriculum Advanced Placement class's trip to DC next week.  I am proud of them for making it through the heat.  Amy tells me that they sold quite a few tickets.

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010.  Saturday was race day in the valley.  It was chilly, wet and foggy, but the water was great, the company pleasant and the scenery superb.  Amy helped Ben setup a lemonade stand.  The poor fellow would have done well had he chosen hot chocolate rather than refreshing cold lemonade.  He was still very proud of the money he did make and I appreciate all his patrons' support.  I paddled with many of my friends for the first half of the day, then made a run with Jackson after lunch.  Jackson impressed me with his strength and ability to make tough ferries.  He stayed out of trouble and tackled some big waves head on.  Today's photos are credited to myself, Deana, my niece Isabelle and Amy.  Many more of our photos from the 28th Annual Kibler Valley River Run can be found here.

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010. On Friday, I joined many others in celebrating my friend Mike M's birthday at a cabin on the Primland Resort.  We picked some bluegrass, played horse in the dark and played table tennis until 3AM.  I had the best time, accompanied by my first hangover in years.  Mike's uncle Barry was a phenomenal banjo player and humored Mike J and I by playing a few songs together.  When we could only remember two of the verses to The Crawdad Song, Mike J used his phone to find them on the Internet, which resulted in a huge group sing of the old Mayberry classic.  I am also posting a couple of photos from my own birthday last week.

Jackson had his first football practice last night.  I can't believe how fast the summer has flown by.  Ben spent much of his evening riding bikes with the other neighborhood kids.  Today both boys saw The Scorcerer's Apprentice and tonight Jackson has practice number 2.

Monday, August 2nd, 2010. A lot happened over the last week.  We'll start with Nicole's visit.  I posted a couple of photos of her visit to my grandmother's house.  The following day she, Amy and the boys visited my office where they met Butch Willmore, a captain in the Navy and NASA pilot on the STS-129 November 2009 space shuttle flight to the international space station.  On Wednesday, my sister Deana took all the big kids to Carowinds.  Amy joined them and they had a really long, fun day.  By that night, Nicole was starting to get a little homesick and decided to leave on Thursday.  We, as always, thoroughly enjoyed Nicole's visit with us and will look forward to all of her future trips to Mayberry.