Wednesday the 31st. Well, this is the last entry for 2003. Most memorable moments this year: Benjamin's arrival in May tops them all of course. But Jackson's first day at pre-school was a big one, and my surgery in July sticks out, along with our trip to Duck in August with the Burtons and Landon Joyce's birth in September. Then there were all the days spent with family and friends this year. Jackson is so smart and funny, he made most days around the house hard to forget too. And fat little Ben Ben was sweeter and more perfect than we could have imagined.
We have a lot to look forward to in 2004. Grandma Sue's is entering the new year in good health and hopefully will spend some time with us in Mount Airy. Eric and Christy and Anita and Stephen are expecting babies in 2004, very exciting. Benjamin will start crawling and walking and talking and... He will be so different this time next year, it's amazing.
Sunday the 28th. Home Sweet Home. We made the trek back to North Carolina safely and soundly. Jackson and Benjamin make five hour drives like seasoned truckers. And all it took was a little Dramamine to turn Zorro into a nice little travel companion. Who knows, maybe he'll go with us on all our trips now.
Saturday the 27th. A beautiful day in Virginia. We took Zorro on lots of walks around the neighborhood, then Jackson spent a few hours at cousin Lexi's house while Grandma went shopping with us.
Friday the 26th. Another fun day with family at Grandma's followed by a visit to Walter Scott and Virginia in Short Pump. I told Virginia that Benjamin had a tooth and showed it to her. She said "Two". I checked it out and she was right, Benjamin has his 2nd tooth. That's another milestone.
Thursday the 25th. Merry Christmas! Jackson was happy that Santa brought everything on his list, plus some things he didn't ask for. His big gift was the Mountain Action Command Center. Benjamin enjoyed his first Christmas too, especially his Santa balloon. Once the wrapping paper stopped flying, the boys, still in their PJs, went over the hills and through the woods to Grandma Sue's. Zorro made the trip to Colonial Heights too and after six years on Bluff Street he spent his first night ever away from home. The Mills family then got together for another nice supper and more present swapping. The Bat Cave from Grandma was a huge hit with Jackson.
Wednesday the 24th. Another favorite tradition, Christmas Eve with Hama and family. Jackson enjoyed playing with his cousins, Benjamin enjoyed getting held, and Amy and I enjoyed the fantastic food and getting to visit with family and friends. Jackson took a few of Hama's pickles home with him to leave out for Santa again this year. When Jackson tells Santa that he is going to leave him pickles, Santa tells him the same thing every year, he appreciates the variety.
Tuesday the 23rd. We got the boy's Christmas pictures back from Kids Shots today. Mo and Papa watched Jackson and Benjamin while Amy and I had fondue with Timmesa and Jeff. That was the first time in seven months that Amy and I were both away from the baby at the same time.
Monday the 22nd. Jackson's cousin Caleb slept over at our house tonight. A huge clubhouse was erected in the middle of Jackson's room, complete with Christmas lights, but Caleb says his favorite thing was the electric guitar. He had me play some stuff for him, then he took a turn cranking it up. Caleb played some awesome air guitar to a song by Stanley's band, Nex-Faze, that Jackson has me play on the computer for him. Jackson thinks Stanley is some kind of rock star and just loves the "I'll Be Fine" song. He jumps on the bed and yells stuff like "Stanley Rocks" or "Stanley is Cool!". After playing non-stop, they followed a long bath with movies and popcorn in bed. There was a lot of big talk about staying up all night, but both boys drifted off by eleven. Caleb first, then Jackson.
Sunday the 21st. Benjamin started the day playing with his new toys and Jackson started by shaving for the first time. That evening we went to a Christmas play to see Melanie, Eric, Caleb, and Isabelle. Most everyone came back to our house for ice cream afterwards. Check out the picture of Caleb whispering to Jackson. I think that photo illustrates their relationship perfectly.
Saturday the 20th. Christmas with the Heaths and Beasleys in Claudville tonight. Lots of great food, family and friends at Mo and Papa's house. It was a special suprise when baby Ella Marion stopped by. We were excited to finally meet her and it was nice seeing her family too. She is such a precious little girl. Benjamin enjoyed his presents, but maybe not as much as the ribbon and bows.
Friday the 19th. It was our turn to host Dinner Club. Judging by the pictures, everyone had a good time. Thanks for all the desserts that were brought. Hope Sharon feels better soon, we missed her and Keith. Sharon's "Dirty Santa/White Elephant" idea went over very well, a lot of fun.
Wednesday the 17th. Benjamin's tooth keeps poking out more and more. We are loosing some sleep over it, but it could be worse. It seems like everyone we know has the flu. Jackson has turned some part of the house into a hideout everyday this week. He takes chairs, pillows, afgan's, sheets, etc... and makes these huge monstrosities that he can crawl around in. He is very proud of the finished work each time. Maybe he'll be an architect.
Monday the 15th. A milestone for baby Benjamin today. He has his first tooth!
Sunday the 14th. A nice quite day at home. Cold and icy outside, nice and warm inside. Benjamin had both of us, and Zorro, to himself all morning. Zorro is very gentle with Benjamin and Benjamin loves him. I have a 100% success rate at putting Benjamin to sleep by playing guitar for him. And it worked so good today that I put myself to sleep too. When the roads cleared, Papa brought Jackson home to his little brother. He had told Papa that he missed him.
Time Capsule: "WE GOT HIM!" was the headline of the day, referring to Saddam Hussein's capture.
Saturday the 13th. Samuel came over this morning. Jackson and Samuel share a common passion, CANDY. The pieces on top of the gingerbread house taunted them until they just couldn't take it anymore. The pictures of Landon and Brooke are from their visit earlier this month.
During the afternoon we took a Christmas tree to Mo in Claudville. Jackson hung the ornaments, Benjamin played with Mo and Papa, Amy made coffee and cookies, I strung the lights. We had just enough time leftover to pull some mistletoe from an old oak next to an abandoned farmhouse and get back to Mount Airy before the winter weather started. Jackson spent the night with Mo and Papa. He doesn't spend many nights away from home so we miss him.
Friday the 12th. Wow, things get busy this time of year. The boys saw Santa at Hanes Mall this morning. Timmesa was with Amy and sent me the photo of the boys on Santa's lap. On the right, Benjamin and Jackson share some down time on the couch after a busy evening.
Benjamin is in an exploring stage. He wants to grab everything and anything. So we dump a bunch of toys in front of him and let him have at it. He also loves Peek-a-Boo. He's laughing at Amy in the picture on the left.
Tuesday the 9th. A school day for Jackson followed by pictures at Kid Shots. The baby did great, Jackson's photos may turn up on Toddlers Gone Wild.
Monday the 8th. Both boys visited Dr. Gale today. Benjamin got four shots. Jackson got one. Amy says all three of them shed plenty of tears, but it really didn't go that bad. Benjamin had gained another pound, but no inches. At six months he is still in the 95% for weight at 20 lbs 10 oz. He also drank his first juice today and loved it. That's another entry for his Milestones/Growth Chart. The doctor checked out Jackson's booboo while they were there. Looks like he survived his run in with the wall just fine. Luckily Benjamin's ear infection has cleared up too. Then before bedtime Amy and Jackson made a gingerbread house. Jackson mostly ate or licked everything while Amy tried to get it together.
Sunday the 7th. I don't know which moon was shining brighter. The one outside the house or the one inside. Our little man is sitting up very well by himself or maybe his belly just keeps him propped up, I don't know. Papa stopped by and watched a movie with Jackson. And just before bedtime Jackson ran as fast as he could into a door frame. The poor kid bounced back three feet and landed on his back. He seemed to recover quickly, but will probably sport a nice bump tomorrow.
Saturday the 6th. A nice day spent at home. Samuel stopped by just long enough for me to take his picture in front of the tree.
Friday the 5th. This evening Amy asked me to take this picture of Jackson watching Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Jackson spent the day with Papa and Caleb. We took Eric and Melanie's picture when they dropped Jackson off. I thought they would look nicer with a better background than our dining room, so I changed it. Hope they don't mind.
Thursday the 4th. Ho, Ho, Ho, it's Ben's first snow. Go, Go, Go, 'cause Jack's a snow pro. We took pictures of the boys looking at the snow this morning. Then Jackson got to play outside some when I came home for lunch. It's a great snow to play in. Benjamin has his first ear infection, so he's staying inside today.
Tuesday the 2nd. Time to trim the tree. Jackson is three, so we made the switch to fun colorful lights this year.
Monday the 1st. Decorations have begun... We pulled everything from the attic, Christmas CDs are in the stereo, the tree is in the house. Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la. Is that the right number of la las? Brooke and Landon stopped by to play for awhile too.