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Monday, January 28th, 2008.  We had another fun weekend.  Jackson's team won the first game of their basketball tournament, we went to the mall in Winston-Salem and game-night at my sister's house.  Amy went to the gym to exercise and I went to roll my kayak.  There was karate class, a skate birthday party and time spent at home.  Jackson enjoyed the birthday party at the skate rink so much that he has now decided to have his own birthday party there.  Today he had to go to the dentist to have a sealant put on his back teeth and I'm happy to report that he did fantastic.  Much better.  Amy had to take Ben with her, so I was worried, but she had the wonderful idea to take him music to listen too.  He had his CD player and the latest CD his Aunt Dee made for him and it helped distract him a lot.  Amy's good with ideas like that. 

We've been playing Clue lately and on the way to karate class Friday night Ben said "I suspect Daddy has a fat butt and poops with it in the potty."  I told him that I suspect he is right, but I wouldn't want to see the cards for those clues.

Thursday, January 24th, 2008.  Jackson had a great weekend.  I asked him when it was over "You dunked for hours in the living room, won your last regular season basketball game to go undefeated at 7-0, played with your cousin Caleb Saturday afternoon, went to see the Harlem Ambassadors and got to spend a night playing with our friends the Eads.  What was your favorite part?"  He said "seeing Caleb, wait, Caleb was at my ball game, so that too.  And he was at the Ambassadors game, so I'll say all three of those."  I don't know how many times he looked at the bench during his basketball game to see if Caleb was watching him.  I think everyone was happy with the Harlem Ambassadors show.  We all laughed a lot, even Ben.   It was also fun having family at Jackson's basketball game and hanging out with our friends Saturday night.

Jackson is currently either bouncing a ball, talking about ball, playing ball, playing ball on his PS2, reading about basketball, dreaming about basketball,  or some combination of those.  Amy and I are currently either listening to Jackson talk about basketball, watching him play ball, listening to the constant non-stop bouncing of a ball, telling Jackson to stop bouncing the ball, telling him to take the ball into another room or some combination of those.

Thursday, January 17th, 2008. It Snowed!!!  Jackson woke us up at 6am, delighted to see snow out his window.  Knowing it would last only a few precious hours, we headed outside just as soon as it was light enough.   Jackson rolled in it, made snow angels and even stuck his face in it.  Ben LOVED catching snowflakes in his mouth and LOVED sledding on the tubes.   I wish they could have played longer.  Amy and the kids made one more trip out before lunch, right before the last of the snow turned to slush and made a tiny snowman who now lives in our freezer.  More photos here.

    

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008.  We're all hoping for snow tonight, it's been so long since we've had any that I don't think Ben even knows what it looks like.   Amy has had bronchitis since before Christmas and now has a terrible sinus infection to go with it.  I'm not sure how she's been able to sleep at all.  She went to the doctor yesterday though and hopefully the antibiotics will kick in sometime soon.

Monday, January 14th, 2008.   Today's photo is of our big boy Ben.  Tonight was our first night going to his karate class at the new 6PM start time.  For the past three years it's been 5PM.  It was so nice to be able to come home, eat dinner together, then actually get to class early for a change.  And the wonderful dinner Amy cooked made it especially nice.  I have to say that Ben has really surprised me with how well he behaves in karate class.  I didn't think he would listen well at all, but he's as quiet as a church mouse and has worked very hard.  He was excited tonight because he won two rounds of last man standing and even pinned someone.

Jackson and Jimmy shooting ball - April 2007Saturday, January 12th, 2008.  Following a fun night spent with his Aunt Dee and Uncle Martin, Ben had us all to himself today.  That's because Jackson went to Claudville following his basketball game today to spend time with his grandparents.  He took the tools with him that Santa gave him, hoping to work on a project with Papa.  And they found the perfect project for Jackson.  They salvaged an old basketball goal that had been thrown in the woods, working for three hours to restore it.   For a little while after the game, our nephew Seth got to come over and play with Ben.  And after Seth left, Amy, Ben and I took a three hour nap together.  We practically had to wrestle Ben into it, but we all slept long and hard.  Wow, I could go for one of those every weekend.  Awesome I tell you.  Last night, while Ben was living large in Stuart, Jackson, Amy and I went to our friends, the Eads, for dinner and games.  We pulled out their new Clue board game and after Jackson and I explained all the rules (we got Clue for Christmas too), Matthew took the first turn.  He  said "I suspect that Mr Green committed the murder in the hallway using the revolver."  Can you believe that he guessed right on the very first turn?  With no clues!  We checked the odds and it was 1 in 324.  So that was it, game over.  Matthew said "Well this game isn't very fun."  We played a second game that did take a little longer and everyone enjoyed it much more.

Jackson had a lot of fun at his ball game.  He didn't play quite as well as he did last week, but his team won again and he ran, skipped and jumped the entire time.  I bet there's not another kid in the league that enjoys it any more than him.  With only one game left, I think his team is guaranteed at least a share of first place.

This photo is of Jackson shooting ball with his cousin Jesse last April.  Amy and I were talking the other day about how Jesse turned seventeen this month.   Jackson said "Yeah, he'll be showing up in a mug shot soon."  Amy and I both looked at him questioningly, wondering where he got that from.  When we asked him what he thought a mug shot was he said, "You know, it means he'll be in a photo drinking coffee."  

Thursday, January 10th, 2008.  On this date, nineteen years ago, Amy's father passed away following his second battle with skin cancer.  Amy was far too young back then to no longer have a father and today she's far too young to have neither parent with her.  The Christmas photo was one that I don't recall seeing before.  Amy says that her father liked getting his gifts as much as the kids did.  The other photo is from a golf tournament that Amy's brother and father both participated in.  Her dad was an avid golfer and many of the stories I've heard through the years have been golf related.  The grandchildren were all born after their grandfather died and have always referred to him as Grand Jimmy.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008. Poor Ben had a bad day.  At dinner he said "I've got one bad part and no good parts."  He and Amy made it back from Colonial Heights safe and sound yesterday in plenty of time to get Jackson off the school bus.  They then headed back to Virginia for Amy's appointment to get her hair cut, except that the boys stopped off to spend a little time with my folks.  When they got home last night, Ben climbed into the recliner and said he just wanted to sleep.  You guessed it.  He's sick.  He ran a fever all night and continued to sleep all night, then off and on all day, spending all the awake time attached to Amy.  The poor little guy looked terrible when I got home from work, but seemed to feel a little better by bedtime.  Today's photo was from this two years ago, when Ben was having a better day.

Monday, January 7th, 2008. It's all basketball all the time for Jackson right now.  He shoots ball in the driveway when he can and plays NBA Live on his PS2 when he can't.  He had a great game on Saturday and has a more active roll every week.  He brought the ball up the court during three different periods, was in position for some rebounds, took a few shots and, as usual, played his tenacious defense.  His feel for what is going on in the game improves every game and his team is still undefeated.  But most importantly, he's having loads of fun and loves playing.  After Saturday's game I said something about him bringing the ball up the court and he replied, with a grin, "Yeah, I think Coach is starting to see my full potential."

 Amy and Ben were on the road by themselves today.  The father of a friend of Amy's passed away unexpectedly, so she drove to Colonial Heights to attend visitation at the funeral home.  It was a sad evening for Amy, but I think the drive went well for her and the little guy.  They are staying at her brother Alan's house, so I know Ben is enjoying his time with his cousins.  Jackson rode the bus to his friend Samuel's house after school.  After I picked him up, he and I had what Jackson called a "Man Night."   We ate Chinese food, finished his homework, raced RC cars under the street lights at the elementary school, shot some basketball, played Guitar Hero and watched the new American Gladiators.

Friday, January 4th, 2008.

If you haven't seen little Ben in his karate class, then you've missed something cute.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008.  On a cold, cold day, I came home to find home-made vegetable soup and apple cobbler.  How awesome is that?

A year ago, on the first day of 2007, I paddled the Jessups Mill section of the Dan River.  I was able to bookend 2007 by making the same paddle on the 29th of December.  After two and a half months of no rain, the forecast called for showers on Friday the 28th, so I sent out a post in the middle of the week asking if anyone wanted to join me for a Saturday paddle.  Twenty four paddlers showed up that morning for the foggy trip down the Dan.  It was a great crowd and a fun day.  I rolled once just to say I did it, then another time when I actually had to and before the day was up, I had to climb out of my boat and take a little swim too.  Not a bad way to spend a Winter weekend. You can see more photos here.  I also posted an 18MB video if you're interested.

   

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008Jackson finally got outside long enough yesterday to shoot off the rocket we put together.  But it was freezing, so we came back in.  The afternoon was spent celebrating our friend Samuel's 7th birthday at his house.  Following that, while Amy took down Christmas at our house, the boys and I  drove to my grandmother's house to help her take down her Christmas tree.  Ben slept all the way there, then continued to sleep on the couch after I carried him in, then slept all the way back home.  We were shocked when Ben actually fell asleep at bedtime.  Today it was back to the regular schedule.  I went to work, Jackson went to school and Ben went to karate class.