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Monday, December 31st, 2012.  Over the weekend Alan, Charla, Jimmy and Nicole visited.  They shopped on Main Street, we played games at the house, watched the Hokies win an ugly bowl game, ate at Chili Rojo and Olympia, where we got to see my Aunt Dianna and Uncle Ronald.  Jackson went with his friend Hunter to watch his first NBA game, Ben, Amy and I went to see Parental Guidance at the movies, Jackson had basketball practice, Amy went running and I went kayaking at Wilson Creek.  Ben is at his friend Colin's house playing while Amy and Jackson are shopping in Winston-Salem.  Tonight we will ring in the new year at home, if we make it till midnight.  This past week has been a really good one and I think we had a pretty good year too.. 

Thursday, December 27th, 2012.  Jackson finally has the trampoline he has always wanted.  Another big hit this Christmas are the JT Splatmaster paintball guns Ben got.  The boys have went through around 900 paintballs shooting at targets in the yard.  And if you can't tell by the picture, the blue bathrobe's are pretty popular too.

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012.  We had a really, really nice holiday weekend.  We spent lots of time together as a family, we played Phase 10 and charades, Ben and I went to a Panthers/Raiders game (I won tickets at work) and both boys had AAU basketball practice.  On Christmas Eve we enjoyed another wonderful Christmas pageant at FPCMA.  Ben took on the dual roles this year of innkeeper and shepherd.  We then ran by the house to pick up all the great foods Amy had worked on all day before driving to Hama's house to spend the evening with family.  We also stopped by our old favorite mistletoe spot (had to keep the tradition alive)  Ben fell asleep on the way home, but woke back up to help hang the mistletoe, put out oatmeal for the reindeer (we were out of carrots), put out the cookies, pickle and milk for Santa, hang the stockings and to read Twas The Night Before Christmas with his brother.

Ben woke first on Christmas morning, but we had decided the night before to wait until 6AM to go downstairs.  He had to wait about 30 minutes before we all ventured out of our bedrooms.  The first thing they opened was a giant box labeled "To The Whole Heath Family", which held a trampoline.  From there we spent the next hour opening Santa's gifts and the gifts we gave to each other.  It was a very nice morning, both boys were very happy to have everything on their lists.  After breakfast we went outside to try Ben's new JT Splatmaster paintball guns.  I volunteered to be the test dummy and ran across the yard in my sweatpants and sweatshirt while they shot at me.  Lots of fun, even if they did take me to my knees on one very well placed shot.  From there it was time to wrap up the cooking for Deana's house, load up the van and head back to Patrick County.

We had another great meal at Deana's house with my family and the boys received many more wonderful gifts.  Ben again fell asleep on the way home and slept on the couch for hours while Jackson went back through his stack of gifts, Amy and I tried to straighten up the day's mess, or at least clean up the kitchen.  We also watched lots of NBA, connected Ben's new television in his room and once Ben woke up, built Legos.

 

Monday, December 17th, 2012.  We had a busy, fun weekend.  Ben made gingerbread houses at church, school and with the Surry Arts Council.  We had lots of basketball, Jackson's rec team recorded their first loss (details here).  Ben's team won their first trophy (details here).  Jackson practiced again with the Prowl.  Besides that, we wrapped some presents, visited Hama, watched some Christmas Movies, Amy had book club at Deana's house and the boys actually got along all day yesterday, playing lots of Pro Mini Hoop.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012.  For the ninth straight year the boys helped Hama decorate her Christmas tree.  It has become a very important tradition for them.  They both lover her very, very much.  Jackson holds his emotions very close to himself, but it is very evident how strongly he loves his great-grandmother as she has always been one of the very, very, very few people he openly hugs and kisses.  More photos here.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012. On Friday, Ben was in the 3rd Grade Spelling Bee at his school.  He was the winner from his classroom and moved on to compete against eleven other students in front of parents and the rest of the 3rd grade class.  It was very nerve wracking, but he did great, advancing to the 4th round.  He correctly spelled paper, totally, between and understand.  The word that knocked him out of the competition was describe, Ben spelled it discribe.  A formal invitation was sent to the parents and Ben was very excited about it.  He woke early for two weeks so that he could practice each morning at 7:15 in the gym.  Papa and Deana joined Amy and I in the audience and took him out to breakfast at Olympia before returning him to school so that he could take a number of tests that day. 

Monday, December 10th, 2012. Jackson had a heck of a day on Saturday.  He placed 3rd in the Rosy Cheeks 5K, then was the leading scorer on his basketball team in a hard fought 38-28 win.  Ben had AAU practice that morning, then after Jackson's game, we went to Winston-Salem to watch Wake Forest play Seton Hall with our Cub Scout pack, capping the evening off with a stop for Krispy Kreme donuts.  Both Jackson and Amy ran in the 5K, with both posting times close to their personal bests.  Amy's cousin Jerry and his wife Glenda were there, as were many, many friends from town, so it was a fun event.  Jackson left to get some rest before his game and didn't even know that he placed until we started receiving texts from friends.

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012. Jackson had his first rec basketball game of the season yesterday.  He played great, scored 11 points and left the court exhausted and with 4 fouls on him.  I was very proud of him.  I was very proud of the whole team in fact.  They all gave it %100 and looked really tired each time they came off the court.  For more details from the game, click here.   Afterwards, Jackson helped me hang some Christmas lights outside and later that evening the family watched the new Spider Man movie together downstairs by the Christmas tree. It was a pretty good day other than the fact that I have a bad head cold.  Later this afternoon, Jackson has his first Prowl practice of the season.  We are looking forward to seeing our friends from last season again.  Ben spent most of his morning reading Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, but is now at the gym with Amy working on free throws.  Last week, the boys were in the gym practicing every night except for Thursday when we were at the Christmas Tree lighting at First Presbyterian.