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Saturday, December 31st, 2016. After watching the Hokies in an amazing come-from-behind win in the Belk Bowl over Arkansas, I went for my longest bike ride yet, 24 miles.  I was chased by dogs twice on Willis Gap Road, so it was a pretty exciting ride.  Jackson spent the night at his friend Grey's house, so it was just Amy, Ben and I ringing in the new year. 
Friday, December 30th, 2016.  Some notes from the break...
1. This has been our "music" Christmas, for two reasons.  One is Google Home.  If we want to hear a song, or an artist or a genre of music, we simply need to ask Google for it.   The second reason is that we gave Amy a record player, which has meant multiple trips to the used record store.  Amy and Jackson also dug out all of Grandma Sue's old records, which included almost everything Elvis ever recorded, Gordon Lightfoot, Mac Davis, Ann Murray and more.
2.  It has also been the "hammock" Christmas.  Mo gave a hammock to each boy, which we hung in the basement.  I liked them so much that I bought one for Amy and I too. 
3.  Jackson had basketball games on five of his days off from school.  His team played in both the SouthData Classic and the Frank Spencer Classic.  They went 1-1 in the Southdata, but took home the championship in the Pepsi Bracket at the Frank Spencer, going 3-0 against very stiff competition. 
4.  We arrived early for one of the games at LJVM Coliseum, so I let Ben drive through the empty parking lot for 20 minutes.  This was his first time behind the wheel and I think he enjoyed it very much.
5.  Ben shaved for the first time on Christmas Day, so those were two big milestones in a row. 
Thursday, December 29th, 2016. Photos from the Frank Spencer Holiday Classic at Lawrence Joel.
Sunday, December 25th, 2016.  The boys woke us up around 6am.  Once the chaos was over and the wrapping paper settled on the floor, the boys fell asleep on the futon downstairs.  Amy cooked for our dinner at Deana's house and I went for a ride on my bike with my new bike shoes and helmet. 

Saturday, December 24th, 2016. Amy and I drove to Deana's house to pick up the boys.  They spent the night there with their cousins.  On our way out of their property, we stopped to shoot mistletoe out of a large oak buried in the woods.  Dad joined us for dinner at the house and also joined us for our FPCMA Christmas Eve service.  That evening we relaxed downstairs watching Christmas movies.  The boys shared reading duties again this year.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016.  Jackson's first ever basketball game as a Mount Airy Bear.  The team beat Walkertown 71-42.  Jackson took the court in the 4th quarter.  I could not be any more proud of the path he has taken to reach this goal and the amount of time, effort and sweat he has invested.  Nothing was given to him.  When the other guys in town formed an AAU team, he didn't quit.  He joined a team in another town, where he didn't know a sole.  He made friends there, worked hard and learned a lot from two different coaches that had a lot of faith in him.  When he didn't make the middle school team, he didn't quit playing.  He played in the rec league, had fun and turned into a dominant scorer there.  And after scoring a ridiculous number of points last season, he decided that it was worth giving school ball another try.  He stayed in the gym, played all summer, went to every workout and practice and now finds himself wearing a Bear uniform on a very talented team.  We look forward to seeing him continue forward in a game that he truly loves.

Saturday, December 10th, 2016. Jackson spends his Saturdays teaching kids how to play basketball.  Working for RCC has been a good experience and a good fit for a kid that grew up with RCC sports.

Friday, December 9th, 2016. The Bears football team had a great season and made a run deep into the playoffs.  The student section had a good time cheering for them as they progressed through the season.  Jackson and his friends were at every game cheering for their friends. The season ended tonight at West Montgomery in the semi-finals.  We went to the game and it was FREEZING.  Ben meanwhile was at a shut-in with his friend Zeb at First Baptist Church.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016. The whole family was able to meet at First Presb to make our 2016 Advent Wreath. It is getting harder and harder for us to pull off these yearly traditions as everyone's schedules get more and more complex.