Wednesday, February 28th, 2007. Our website's birth coincided with Jackson's. In those days it was called delaneandamy.com. A few years later we renamed it www.lifeinmayberry.com , because no one could remember or spell the original name. I didn't delete the old domain name though and paid in advance to keep it active for a couple of years, both for sentimental reasons and so that everyone's shortcuts and bookmarks would work. Apparently those couple of years are up because I started hearing from long time visitors that our site was down. It took me a few days to figure out that it was the old delaneandamy.com domain name that was down. I hope that most of those people figure out how to find us or send me an email, because I think I'll just let the old name go. It's enough just keeping up with one name. I've definitely noticed the drop in the number of hits we get everyday though. So if you know of anyone that can't get to our site, just tell them to go to Life In Mayberry.
On the night the photos below were taken, guest instructor Emad Ali, past member of the Egyptian Olympic team, led much of the the advanced youth class. To watch a 6MB video clip from that class, click here.
Sunday, February 25th, 2007. Today's photo is from Ben's friend Katie's birthday party this afternoon. Ben and Katie are friends from music time, story time and playgroup.
Last night, my sister Deana, took the boys to see a High School Musical production in downtown Stuart, Virginia. (She has photos on her site) My other sister Melanie and her kids also went. Jackson loved the show and was excited that he got to meet the young actors that played the lead roles of Gabriela and Troy. Deana also kept the boys for the night, which allowed Amy and I to spend an evening out on the town alone. Following a nice late dinner at The Village Tavern in Winston-Salem, we celebrated Johnny Cash's birthday downtown at The Garage's 5th annual Cash Bash. We just missed Hearts and Daggers, but caught sets by Two Dollar Pistols and Bo Stevens. I'm a big Y'allternative kind of guy and a huge Cash fan, so this was right up my alley. We both liked Two Dollar Pistols the best, but both sets were really good. It was also nice having a whole night for Amy and I to talk without Jackson saying "Excuse me, may I interrupt?" a thousand times or either boy saying "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy...." or "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy...." Either boy can say that to infinity if needed to get our attention. So the boys had a fun night on the town and so did Amy and I, a great evening all the way around.
One of Jackson's favorite songs is "Push It" from the Disney motion picture "Jump In" starring Corbin Bleu, part of the High School Musical cast. Deana burned the boys a dance CD today with that song on it and we listened to it twice on the way home. Tonight Ben pulled Amy's head down next to his. He positioned her ear next to his ear and said "Can you hear it? I can hear push it, push it, to the limit, limit, oh yeah in my head." Isn't that funny that he wanted to see if Amy could hear the song that he could hear in his head?
And I know everyone is about as anxious to hear about my roll practice as they are to hear what we put on our hotdogs for supper, but I'm happy to report that I rolled 35 times this afternoon. And 31 of those rolls came on my first attempt, plus I had zero swims, meaning I didn't have to get out of the boat any today. So I'm very happy the progress made in my first month of roll practice. Four weeks ago I had to swim out of my boat over a dozen times and only managed to roll the boat a total of 4 times.
I forgot to note last week that Amy has completed one full year of going to the gym. Way to go Amy!
Thursday, February 22nd, 2007. Amy is better. She started feeling a little better Tuesday morning and was much improved by that night. My dad helped out by taking both boys to karate class and by taking them out for dinner.
Wednesday was a full day for everyone. Amy was able to return to the gym and catch up on the Survivor news. Her gym has three teams competing in a game of Survivor. It's been lots of fun to follow the action and drama, Amy's taken lots of photos. She and Ben returned to the gym a few hours later for Pee Wee Power, followed by story time at the library and a visit with Timmesa and Megan at their house. I too stopped by to visit and eat lunch on my way out of town. Ben went home, took a nap, Jackson came home from school, my sister stopped by for a visit bearing gifts of donuts and a movie. She then shamelessly spoiled them at the candy store on Main Street. It was a gorgeous day and Amy tried to take the boys to the playground, but it started raining, so they visited Timmesa's house again, this time playing with Samuel and Matthew who were home from school. I was out of town until late, but I had a fun evening attending the Smith River Valley Canoe Club monthly meeting in Martinsville, Virginia. And speaking of paddling, fellow paddlers Jeff and Dale shot this footage of me working on my roll at the pool. It's easy for me to see in the video that I have a ton of things to still work on, but at least I'm rolling the *#&! thing back up now. And for any non-paddlers that actually watch the video, the particular kayak roll that I'm learning is called "C to C", thus the choice of "C and C Music Factory" for the soundtrack.
Amy hit the gym early this morning, then returned for an extended work-out while Ben was at pre-school. When she picked Ben up he told her that he wanted to eat lunch at Barney's (a little diner on Main Street.) So I met them there for a Barney Burger and orange Nehi. We've decided to stick with two days of pre-school a week next year for Ben. Jackson went three days a week when he was four, but for some reason two days a week just seems like the right choice for Ben. Plus, he probably attends more activities on his days off than Jackson did. It's a little windy today, but still beautiful outside, so Amy and Ben spent an hour at the playground following lunch. Once Jackson got home, Amy put Ben down for his nap, helped Jackson with his homework, cooked supper, fed the kids a snack, picked up Jackson's gi at Timmesa's house (she sewed three patches on for Jackson), then took the boys to Jackson's karate class. That's when I show up and Amy goes to work. Now it's bed time and we have to get the boys to sleep before the Grey's Anatomy season finale. Some how the boys always know when it's Thursday and refuse to go to sleep.
Monday, February 19th, 2007. After weeks of playing CARS on Playstion2, Jackson was excited about the start of the NASCAR season. He rushed through his homework so that he would be done in time to hear Darrell Waltrip say "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity Boys, Let's Go Racin'!!!" Darrell "Cartrip" says that at the start of the races in the CARS game, so Jackson wanted to hear the real life version. He and I were disappointed that Tony wrecked, but the end of the race was a lot of fun to watch. I cut roll practice at the pool short so that we could get to Winston-Salem in time for Dinner Club at our friends Mike and Brooke's house. The shepherds pie Brooke made was fantastic and, as much as I liked the cake Amy brought for dessert, I was really happy to see the Krispy Kreme do-nuts Danny brought. You can no longer get fresh Krispy Kreme do-nuts in Mayberry and I can't remember the last time I had one. I had forgotten how much the boys like them too. Ben sat quietly and ate an entire do-nut, then said "I want another do-nut Daddy. And -buuurrrrrp- cut it in half please."
Amy didn't feel well when we went to bed last night. This morning she had to leave the gym early and come home because she felt sick. She continued to feel sick as the day went on. At least Ben cooperated by sleeping in with her till 9:30. Amy was disappointed that they missed Pee Wee Power at the gym and a play-date they had scheduled with new friends at lunch. Plus she had a dinner date to celebrate a friend's birthday that she had to miss, but she felt worse as the day went on. When I came home at five, she went to bed upstairs.
Jackson helped a lot this morning by dressing himself and by eating breakfast while I took a shower. Once we got to his school, as I reached to unbuckle him, I realized that we forgot his glasses, so we drove back to the house to get them. Then, once we arrived at his school the second time, I looked at Jackson carrying his backpack and knew something was missing. "My Lunch!" Jackson exclaimed. So I had to go back home, pack his lunch and bring it to his class on my way to work. I hope Amy feels better tomorrow. She's had a really miserable day.
Saturday, February 17th, 2007. After seeing a flyer for a Farmer Jason show at The Good Life on Main Street, Amy checked out his website. Ben loved The Forrest Rhymes video and watched it over and over all day. The concert was great, all the kids danced, sang and enjoyed themselves. We saw friends from Pee Wee Karate, Jackson's 1st grade, music time and even old friends from high school. Jackson didn't really want to go to the show, I guess it seemed a little too young for him. But he danced more than anyone and loved yelling out answers during the show. We actually had to reign him in as the night went on because he was getting a little too wild on the dance floor. After the show he was first in line to get a signed CD. Our favorite on the CD is The Punk Rock Skunk which has a little Ramones flavor to it. As a bit of trivia, the best bass player I've ever seen live, Victor Wooten from Bella Fleck and the Flecktones, sings on it. Farmer Jason also happens to be Jason Ringenberg from Jason and the Scorchers, one of the first alt-country bands.
Today was spent inside, except for Amy who worked. Our project for the day was making robots out of boxes and craft supplies. Tonight, Flicka was on tap for Movie Night.
Thursday, February 15th, 2007. We had an awesome Valentine's Day. Ben went to the first day of Pee Wee Power at Amy's gym. With fifteen toddlers running around, Amy decided to stay with him rather than leave him to work out. She said he had a blast. A little later in the morning, Ben had his Valentine's Day party at the library with his Story-Time group. I met them in passing at the house at lunch before Amy and Ben joined Jackson for his First Grade Valentine's Day party. In between that party and a visit to my parent's house in Virginia, they saw Deana and Martin who stopped by for a quick visit on their way to dinner and a movie.
After work I stopped by the grocery store to buy Amy a bottle of Our Dog Blue from local winery Chateau Morrisette, which we always considered "our wine", and myself a six pack of Newcastle. AND THEY ASKED FOR MY ID!!! I have no idea how many years it's been since that happened. It must have been the cashiers first day. I also picked up dinner at the Japanese steakhouse. Once home I called Jackson at my parent's house to see if he wanted me to set up Amy's "surprise party" or if he wanted me to wait for him. He said he wanted me to wait and then asked where I was. When I told him that I was at home, he immediately said "Bye!" and hung up the phone. Apparently he then told Amy that I called and told him they had to leave. It was very important to him that we surprise Amy with a party. It was his idea that we gave her a party and it HAD to be a surprise. He had even cried when he couldn't figure out a time of day that we could decorate the house without her knowing it. I set the table while waiting for them (the boys thought it was a lot of fun drinking soda out of wine glasses.) When they got home we ushered Amy upstairs without letting her peek. The boys then ran around the house pulling their Valentine's Day cards out of their hiding places and decorated the table with them. We also had red balloons, tulips, candles and a present. Once everything was ready, Jackson and Ben led Amy downstairs, making her come down the stairs with her eyes closed.
Dinner was great, dessert was a pink heart shaped cake that Amy had made earlier in the day. After dinner, I laid down on Jackson's bed to listen to him read a chapter from his reading assignment. Once he finished, he started showing me all the Valentine cards he got at school. Apparently I fell asleep, because Jackson had to wake me up a half hour later. As it turned out, Jackson had to wake Amy up in Ben's room too. She had fallen asleep while playing with him in his bed. I had been in the office late at night two evenings in a row and Amy had been running all over the place for days, so we were exhausted. Ben on the other hand was not. So our Valentine's Day ended with us falling asleep in our bed with Ben sitting between us talking a mile a minute.
Tonight we had front row seats for Jackson's first grade musical performance at his school's PTA meeting.
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007. How about those Hokies? Half of the number 4 team in the country's losses are to Va Tech. Beating UNC twice in the same regular season would be awesome any year. But beating them twice, once when they are ranked number one and the second time on Tech's first ever trip to the Smith Center when the Tarheels are ranked number four is incredibly awesome.
Ben was very excited about his Valentine's Day party at pre-school today. He was excited about it before school and excited about it afterwards as well. He had all his candy and cards laid out on the floor when I came home for lunch and enjoyed showing them all to me one at a time. Jackson's party is tomorrow and he is just as excited as Ben was. He's also very anxious to give Amy the cards we made for her on Saturday. We figure that since Amy is the only girl in a house with three boys, Valentine's day is really a holiday all about her.
Monday, February 10th, 2007. Today's photo shows how I have spent my last couple of Sunday afternoons; floating upside down. I rolled 18 times successfully, but still had 5 wet-exits. All in all, I'm pretty happy with how things are progressing and it's been a lot of fun learning something new.
On Saturday the boys and I made homemade ice cream and it was delicious. We had an ice cream maker for years but could never get past reading the directions on how to use it. I don't know how many times we pulled it out, read the directions, then put it back up. But a friend gave us a new Cuisinart model for Christmas and it's super easy. But I guess that's obvious if the boys and I were able to make dessert with it.
Sunday was spent around the house, with the exception of roll practice. Ben woke up with a bad cold and spent the majority of his day snoozing on the couch. He looked so sad laying there with his red eyes and runny nose. I didn't see him off the couch until I got home after five. He said "I'm all better. I'm cooled off now. Mommy helped me." I asked him what mommy did to help him and he said "When I needed something, I would yell for her, and she would come help me. Like if I was firsty" We were afraid that he wouldn't be able to go to sleep last night after so much rest, but he fell asleep right after getting out of the b*th. He climbed up next to Amy who was on the phone with her brother and started snoring a few minutes later. He later woke up with a fever and kept Amy up for much of the night. Our boys rarely run fevers, but when they do they get completely goofy. He wanted to watch the Cars movie, so I put the DVD on in our room and he laid down at the foot of the bed. I was back asleep within minutes, but Amy set up with him until he drifted back off.
Today Ben went his third straight day without leaving the house. He felt much better and had tons of energy. Amy on the other hand didn't get the benefit of sleeping all day Saturday, so she was at bit of a disadvantage following a night of no sleep and an early morning at the gym.
Friday, February 9th, 2007. Aaaaahhh, the weekend. I was really looking forward to it this week.
Jackson took today's photos during Ben's Tuesday afternoon Pee Wee karate class. I thought he did such a good job that I posted them on his sensei's website too. I told Ben today that he is a busy little guy. He goes to Pre-School twice a week, plus Story Time at the library, Playgroup at the Circle School, and karate class at the dojo. Ben and Amy had a big crowd at playgroup today. From the way Amy describes it, I think she gets as much of a workout keeping all those toddlers entertained as she does hitting the weights at the gym. Tonight we all went out for pizza, then came home to watch a movie together. Since Ben was a No Nap Ned today, he fell asleep on my lap halfway through Open Season. Jackson was wide awake though and raced me in a couple of "Cars" races on his PS2 after the movie before we tucked him in for the night.
Tuesday, February 6th, 2007. In the video to the left, Jackson is the one in the motocross looking headgear. Man I love Queen. Tonight I'm updating Jackson's Ni Kyu page, tomorrow I'll catch up on Ben's yellow belt page.
Monday, February 5th. I attended my first roll practice at Pro Health in Mount Airy on Super Bowl Sunday. I probably would have spent the entire two hours draining water out of my boat had it not been for a lot of excellent expert advice from one of the more experienced participants. I had made a number of failed floundering roll attempts when Ricky Blizzard came over to give me some pointers. It reminded me a lot of being on the golf course since my biggest problem was not keeping my head down. And even though I knew exactly what I was doing wrong, I still kept doing it over and over and over. Very frustrating. Rolling is so counter-intuitive that it took a lot of practice for me to finally stop bringing my head up first. One thing that helped a lot was rolling without my paddle. Ricky had me ditch the paddle and helped by holding my hands as I rolled up. That enabled me to focus on the movement of my head, without having to worry about what I was doing with the paddle. After several of those practice rolls I finally started catching on. Then after a few more attempts with the paddle it clicked. The first time I made it up I didn't expect it and completely window shaded. I then made two unassisted rolls before taking a break. When I came back into the pool I made two more successful rolls and decided to call it a day. My lower back was starting to ache. Those were my first four true C to C rolls without pushing off the bottom. I managed to go the entire two hours without touching the bottom of the pool with my paddle, which is a crutch that I'm trying to get away from. I spent the rest of the class watching the people that really knew what they were doing. I'm already looking forward to next week. Hopefully I'll be able to progress a little more this Sunday and maybe have a pretty secure roll in time for the my French Broad trip in April.
Sunday, February 4th. I had the worst night of sleep Friday night. I set up until 11:30 finishing our federal and state tax returns. Amy had fallen asleep early because she was tired from hitting the gym that morning. Then Jackson woke up at midnight and walked into the living room where I was watching guitar clips on youtube.com. I laid down with him and quickly went to sleep. At 1AM, the doorbell rang. This is Mayberry, our doorbells don't ring at one in the morning. Jackson, Amy and I all jumped up. I peeked out the window and saw some dude standing on our front porch. This may be Mayberry, but it's also 2007, so I called the police. I peaked out again and saw the guy standing in our driveway. He saw me and waved. I didn't look out anymore. Ben also woke up somewhere in the middle of all this and went back to sleep on Amy in the living room. Once I heard the police drive up the road I started looking outside again. I never saw the guy again and eventually went to bed. Amy and Ben went upstairs to our bedroom, but since we all of sudden felt weird leaving Jackson alone downstairs, I slept in his room with him. I don't know how long it took me to go to sleep. I kept thinking, "Now what if I go to sleep and that weirdo is still creeping around our house?" The next morning Amy and I both had incredibly sore necks caused by the combination of stress and sleeping with the kids.
Amy still made it to the gym Saturday morning though. She went to the gym seven times last week. Now that she's been doing the early morning classes for a year, she's added some workouts later in the day to her routine.
We grilled the best hamburgers on Saturday night thanks to my dad. Dad has a handful of cattle farms and showed up at our house on Friday with three big boxes of beef. We had turned our big freezer off about a year ago because we never used it, but now it's back on and full of meat.
This afternoon I practiced rolling my kayak in the indoor pool at Amy's gym. Then tonight we watched the Super Bowl at home. Our friends Jeff and Timmesa stopped by with their kids. We snacked and talked until halftime when they left to put their kids to bed. We let the kids stay up through Prince's halftime show, which Amy and I both really liked, then tucked them in for the night. The games about over now and I'm ready call it a day.