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Sunday the 31st. Today we are all recovering from our big day yesterday.  Jackson and Amy have finished reading Charlotte's Web, so we are renting the movie to watch later.  Just a take it easy around the house day.  I'm posting more kayaking photos from the race, you can read the full trip report here.

Saturday the 30th. Okay, I am spanking tired, so I'm going to keep tonight's update short.  I'll give the full trip report later.  But the short of it is that today rocked, the river was rolling, especially after the torrential rainstorm.  I got to paddle my new GT for the first time, rocked.  That's the theme, everything rocked. I was happy with my time.  I think Amy and the boys had a good time too.  But now the kids are asleep, we've finally unloaded all the stuff from the van, and it's time for one nice cold Yuengling, apiece of course [7/31/05 update: we split one], then a good nights sleep, we hope (pleeeeaaase sleep all night kids!).

Friday the 29th. Tomorrow is the big race, everyone wish me luck.  It's the first time I've paddled  the race in twelve years and my first time ever in a kayak.  Today's photo documents my last River Run, way back in 1993.  I actually won a trophy once in the junior 2 person canoe division.  Neil Marion was my partner.  I've got a sneaky suspicion that we might have been the only ones in the race under eighteen that year though, because I distinctly remember more than one crash and being dragged down the river while clinging to the canoe with one hand.   I'm pretty sure that wasn't the fastest way through the course.  But back to tomorrow...  I'm really, really excited about it.  Watching the kayakers in the River Run is what first gave me the kayaking bug way, way back when, and now that I'm a kayaking junkie, it's going to be pretty special to make tomorrow's race.

I also want to update everyone on Baby Seth.  After a few up and down days earlier in the week, he seems to be on a trend of gaining ounces and reducing his bilirubin count.  He is back over seven pounds again (he gained 4 ounces overnight) and his last bilirubin count was at 13.5, it had been as high as 18 earlier this week.  They actually let him skip having his blood drawn today for the first time in a week.  For my sister and nephew, it's been a hard week of making long drives in absurd heat to the doctor's office every morning, not to mention the needles, but hopefully Seth will continue to improve and Mom and Baby will be able to start staying home all day soon.  Then they'll just have all that other normal new baby stuff to deal with, like not sleeping.

Friends watched the boys for us tonight, so Amy and I went for drinks and dessert at Goober's.  I know a lot of you guys don't believe this stuff, but there really is a Goober's.  In fact it's one of the nicer restaurants in town.  We had a couple of Brooklyn Browns to go with our peanut butter pie and cheesecake.

Thursday the 28th. I had to blow the dust off the scanner so that I could post this photo of the boys.  This morning the boys went to the free movies at Creekside to see The SpongeBob Movie in a cinema once more (Goofy Goobers ROCK!!!)  Ahh, SpongeBob does lay down some sweet licks at the end (to quote Plankton... "his chops are impressive")  And who doesn't appreciate that Diamond Dave break.  Jackson says that is "old school dancing".  Have I mentioned that we now have a Spongebob toilet seat, that's how classy, I mean cool, we are.  After Ben's nap they went to Sci-Works in Winston.

I also broke out the scanner to show off this fantastic drawing Jackson made for me on my birthday.  It's so good I don't even have to tell you what it is.  But I would like to point out the details that might escape you, like the blue helmet, the black pony tail, the orange paddle, the red and black life-jacket.  All the details are right on the money.  Jackson says this about the photo "Daddy just paddled around a tree and is getting ready to go through a rapid."

Ben adores his great-grandmother, Hava Heath (Hama to us).  He loves her pickles, her cookies, her house, and her.  She's one of the few people he'll walk up to and kiss.  Ben and I visited Hama yesterday evening since my sister Deana went to Jackson's Karate class with him.  In the top corner of the photo Ben is diving onto Hama.  He always assumes somebody is going to catch him when he does that stuff.  

Wednesday the 27th. First the background...Once upon a time, when life was a little less complicated, my breakfast, five days a week for over ten years, was a honeybun and a can of Mountain Dew, somewhere in the neighborhood of nine or ten in the morning.  Then came the Delane's No Snack Diet.  It's now been about a year and a half since my last honeybun, and ooohhhh how I've missed them. 

On Monday Amy asked what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday and I had to think for a long time because Amy makes so many great cakes.  And then she suggested that she try the honeybun cake that one of our friends made once (it was really, really good, I think I ate all of what made it to our house).  So that was my choice, and I am hear to proclaim that my birthday cake was the best thing I have ever tasted in my life.  Absolutely super fantastic good, plus I get to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner until it's gone.  See on my diet, I can eat whatever I want three times a day, I just can't touch anything in between.  So now I can have my honeybun and eat it too.  Woohoo!   

Tuesday the 26th. Happy Birthday to Me! Thanks for all the birthday wishes!  The photo on the right is my sixth birthday (1975).

  Aside from the 1975 photo, all of today's photos are from this week.  Jackson made us some very refreshing lemonade yesterday morning.  Ben and Sam later sucked the left-over lemons dry.  Ben fell asleep one afternoon watching Jackson's television, he looked cute so I took a pic.  And the other photo is from last night's very productive bug hunt.  Jackson has a great bug collecting kit that his Aunt Sherri gave him.  At one point we found an area covered in red ants.  Matthew took off running and screamed "Red Ant Tunnel, RUN!!!"  Jackson followed right behind him, except he yelled "Ant Huddle, RUN!!!".  And then came Sam yelling "Ant Bubble, RUN!!!"  So with boys, it doesn't need to make sense, all you need to know is RUN!!!  read more. .  

Monday the 25th. Well, it's my last night as a thirty-five year old.  Not too dramatic, it's still in the same mid-thirties group.  Of course, I'll hit the river wide open this weekend to prove just how young at heart I am, then limp around for two days afterwards complaining about just how sore I am, because, well, I will be thirty-six after all.  

Sunday the 24th. We spent the morning and first few hours of the afternoon getting switched over to Dish Network, that's right Adelphia.  And we took a few more customers with us, so there.  The rest of the day was spent at the pool.  It has only been three weeks since the last time I joined Amy and the boys at the pool and I couldn't believe Jackson's progress.  A few weeks ago he wouldn't stick his head underwater and wore a life jacket.  Today he was under the water as much as he was above it.  He slides down the water slide by himself and dives to the bottom to get his toys.

Tonight Amy made one of Brenda Ead's recipes, BLT Dogs.  I am a firm believer that wrapping anything in bacon makes it better and hotdogs are no exception.  So bake some bacon wrapped wieners, then throw in some shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes and you have yourselves one mean dog.  

Baby Seth is on his way home tonight.  Melanie and Eric stopped by with him on their way to Claudville and he looks much better than he did on Friday.  His bilirubin count is staying steady at 15, but apparently his liver is having to metabolize the dying blood vessels in his shrinking hematoma, so until it is gone his little body will not be able to process the bilrubin.  He'll have to go to the doctor every day for a week to have his blood drawn.

Saturday the 23rd. The boys and I met Jeff and his boys at Kibler Valley to poke around some near the hydro station.  We had hoped to see the TPA  and TRR folks paddle the upper rapids, but couldn't wait around for the release.  We then went to our cabin to let the boys play in the creek.  Papa and Caleb also came up to join us.  The boys started by building a dam next to the cabin, then after a picnic lunch, we made a ten minute hike further upstream to a swimming hole below a water fall.  Lots of fun.  The boys (big and little) built another dam there to make the swimming hole even deeper.  We found fresh bear poop during the hike back, nothing like fresh bear dung to get a group of boys excited.  Caleb and Matthew caught salamanders, frogs, and crawdads.  Just a good old fashion Huck Finn all-boy outing on a hot July day.  Ben moved rocks from one spot to another for four straight hours.  I don't think he ever really got the idea behind the dams, but he was in love with the whole "pick up a rock, drop a rock" idea.  I'm not exactly sure of the why, but we've done this creek dam thing with lots and lots of kids and they always love it.  They'll work themselves to death trying to make a bigger and better dam.  And it's fun when I get a chance to share things with the boys that I had a blast doing when I was a boy their age.  


An update on Baby Seth.  The lights initially lowered his bilirubin count to 14, but it was back up to 16 by early this morning.  He did get moved from the prenatal intensive care unit to a regular room though.  I didn't mention last night that he also has a large knot on his head even though his delivery was very fast.  They are now concerned that this hematoma may be related to his high bilirubin count.  We won't have the latest test results until later tonight.  He has gained back up to seven pounds four ounces.  The lights bother his eyes and he has to wear shades that aggravate him.  So it was sort of an up and down news day from the hospital.


Friday the 22nd. Our new little nephew Seth had to be admitted into Brenner Children's Hospital this afternoon following his doctor's appointment because of an excessive level of bilirubin. He's also lost weight and is below seven pounds now.  Hopefully the levels will drop quickly and the poor little guy will get to go home soon.  He'll probably be there through the weekend though.  They at first said he would need a blood transfusion, but now are waiting to see if the lights help first.  


Thursday the 21st. Tonight I took the boys to Winston-Salem to buy a whitewater helmet while Amy worked.  Near the end of the drive I turned on the radio and hit the cool drum intro to Steve Miller's Dance, Dance, Dance just perfect.  By the time the song was over I had totally taught both boys the art of air drumming and air keyboards.  They already rule at air guitar.  So with their new found skills, along with Ben's awesome head banging (he's self-taught, total natural at it), we rolled into the next song.... The Scorpions Rock You Like A Hurricane.  I was so proud, it was such a moment.  I almost had a tear in my eye when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw both my boys biting their lips and wailing their air guitars and nailing some fake drum solos.  Of course Jackson later asked if we could maybe see The Lobsters in concert sometime.  I said "You mean The Scorpions?"  "Yeah, The Scorpions, I thought you said The Lobsters."  read more...  

Wednesday the 20th. So during Dora The Explorer this morning, our cable company, Adelphia, chose to air Adelphia Pay Per View commercials for both The Seed Of Chucky and The Boogieman.  Watching at the time was our two year old, five year old, and a four year old friend.  Jackson immediately said "What's the boogieman?"  To top it off, Adelphia was totally offended that anyone would question that programming choice.  Get this, the rep actually said "Chucky is a kid's movie."  Of course while you are on hold you get to hear their wonderful spill on parental control and the VChip.  A whole hell of a lot of good it does you when they stick clips of possessed blood covered dolls murdering people with a butcher knife right behind Dora and Boots' We Did It song. To quote Adelphia... "we can show any commercial, anytime, to anyone!!!!"  Explanation marks because the customer support rep actually yelled that into the phone.  I wasn't on the phone, Amy was, but I heard it loud and clear.  So I guess it's time to try satellite huh?  And just so it will show up in Google, let me say that " Adelphia Sucks ! "  It's like Amy said, we could have explained a porn commercial better than a possessed butcher knife carrying doll.  

Tuesday the 19th. Amy and the boys spent their afternoon swimming at the pool.  Tonight we read stories and drew the characters from Jackson's Tiger and Cobra stories.  Ben climbed into his real bed for the second night in a row.  I guess that's it for the crib.  Today's photo is my nephew, Seth Garrison Beasley.  I also posted photos from our visit to mom and dad's house last night.  Jackson and Ben both took turns riding on Papa and Caleb's homemade car.  I gave Ben pushes up the hill and Jackson got the rides back down.


Monday the 18thIsabelle came over this afternoon to play with the boys and work on projects, like making shirts for the new baby.  We then skipped karate to take Isabelle home and visit with baby Seth He is so dang cute.  Amy brought lots of food and dessert to cash in for an equal amount of baby holding time.  He snuggles up in this tight little ball on your shoulder, very sweet indeed.  After visiting with Mo and Papa and enjoying popsicles on their front porch, we came home and got the boys ready for bed.  We just put a mattress and box-springs in Ben's room to get him (and us) used to the idea of moving out of the crib.  Really no reason to rock that boat, he doesn't try to climb out and goes to sleep great.  We put a Sesame Street comforter on the bed and a Sesame Street pillowcase.  So tonight I told him it was time to go night night and, before I could pick him up, he ran as fast as he could to the bed and climbed in.  So that was that, no transition mode for us parents.  Jackson going to school, Ben moving out of the crib, yuck. Happy Birthday Jeff!

This photo was taken yesterday at the cemetery where Amy's father is buried.  Jackson wanted to visit Grand Jimmy's special place.  We stopped to feed the ducks and geese on our way out.

Sunday the 17th. We met Kelly, Lexi, Sherri, and Jesse for brunch.  Kelly and Lexi then took Jackson toy shopping before we made the trek back to Mayberry.  We had a great visit to Nana Sue's and look forward to the next one.

Saturday the 16th. A hot day in Colonial Heights.  Sue sent us out to buy a backyard pool for the boys.  Ben was thrilled that Jackson found him an elephant pool. 


Friday the 15th. We made it to Colonial Heights tonight around 11:30pm.  Ben woke up when we pulled in the driveway and was ecstatic to be at Nana Sue's house.  The trip went well and was uneventful, other than a detour through Mcleansville to pick up a Dagger GT whitewater kayak.  More on that later....

Thursday the 14th. Jackson had his annual checkup with his pediatric ophthalmologist in Greensboro this morning.  These visits have become less and less stressful over the years.  It is so much easier now that Jackson is old enough to read eye charts.  The visits when he was one and two were not so stress free.  And since Jackson's prescription hasn't changed and shouldn't over the next few years, his next appointment will be in two years instead of one.  That's great news because it always takes at least a day and a half for Jack's baby blues to return to normal after being dilated.  Today's photo is one of the first of Jackson with his glasses on, he was sixteen months old.  The weather was pretty yucky today, so Amy took the kids to Sci-Works this afternoon. Jesse was excited to ride a Segway and all the boys got to study a horseshoe crab up close.  Did you know horseshoe crabs have four eyes?  

Wednesday the 13th. Our nephew's stay with us is winding down, only two more days left.  We take him back home on Friday, so Amy and Jesse will miss the midnight release of Harry Potter at Pages on Main Street.  They might be able to make it at Books A Million in Colonial Heights though.  It also means that Amy and I won't have anyone around to point out how old we are.  When I called a motorcycle "phat", Jesse pointed out that "uh, Delane, you do know people don't really say that anymore don't you?"  He didn't believe me when I told him that what I really meant was fat, not phat, because read more... 

Tuesday the 12th. Seth is doing great, his mom is doing great, they should be home tomorrow. 

Monday the 11th. We have a new nephew!  Seth Garrison Beasley was born this afternoon weighing 7lbs 10ozs.  He is 21 inches long, has dark hair and is as cute as can be.  We went to Winston-Salem to meet Seth after Jackson's karate class.  It gave us plenty of time to teach Ben to say "Baby Seth".


This afternoon the kids were all playing at the house when Ben pooped.  Amy was busy with something and jokingly told our nephew Jesse that it was his turn to change the diaper.  Jesse said "nope, it's Jackson's turn."  Jackson said he didn't know how to change a diaper.  Jesse told Jackson how he used to change Jackson's diaper when Jackson was a baby.  Jackson stopped and looked at Jesse and said "Really?"  Jesse said "yep."  Jackson looked back down at his project and said "well good, you know how, so YOU can do it."

Sunday the 10th. Jesse and I made a mid morning paddle on Lovill's Creek Lake.  Jesse enjoyed it and did great.  At some point I told him to rock the boat around to get the feel for it.  I'm chilling out, messing with the camera, when Jesse says "Hey Delane, look how far over I can go."  When I turned around I saw my kayak leaning further than I thought a boat could go without flipping.   When he saw me freak out he rocked it back into place.  You have no idea, he had my Element completely on it's edge, the spray skirt was in the water.  You'll find more photos here.

This evening we surprised the kids with a trip to Chuck E Cheese in Winston-Salem, much fun had by all.  We thought it would make it more fun to not tell the kids where we were going after dinner.  That just killed Jackson.  He said "Can you plllleeeeaaassee just give me a hint.  Like the first letter, just the first letter.  I can't read." 


Saturday the 9th. Today Amy worked and it was my day with the boys.  We started the day with a hike around the pinnacle at Pilot Mountain.  Then this afternoon we had water balloon battles.  It was so HOT though and we ended up spending most of our time playing with the water hose in the shade.  Later, Amy made Jesse a half-birthday cake so that we could celebrate Jesse turning fourteen and a half.


Friday the 8th. Today the sky was the bluest of blues, so Amy and the boys went to the pool to enjoy the weather.  Not only did the boys have their usual fun time, but they also ran into their cousins Ian and Elena Heath.  That gave Amy and Carmen a chance to talk.  And since the family was at the pool, I used my lunch hour to ride the bike up Piper's Gap, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and back down 52 to town.  Tonight Jesse joined Jackson's karate class and did great.  Sensei asked him where he got his round house kicks from.  Jackson did well too and won a points spar 3 to 0 against a green belt.

Last night after my update on the website, I went for a really brief paddle on Lovill's Creek here in town next to the Creekside Cinema.  Click here for details and photos from my paddles through The Cineplex.  You can watch  The Cineplex Movie (2.7MB) if you want, it's dark and grainy, but you'll get to listen to 12 seconds of The Killer Barbie's Down The Street.. 

Thursday the 7th. Jackson declared today a pajama day.  It's rained, we've had tornado warnings (not that we knew about them until they were over!), but the kids have enjoyed the day off.  Tomorrow Jesse is going to take part in Jackson's karate class and on Sunday Jeff and I are taking him paddling on the New River.  I really wanted to go to Star Wars with him too, but it isn't on at any of our theaters any more.  I  don't want to support Tom Cruise's lunacy, so that rules out War Of The Worlds.  Maybe we can check out Batman.

Wednesday the 6th. Amy and the kids spent over three hours at the pool today.  When they got home all three boys fell fast asleep.  Amy had to wake Jackson up to go to karate class.  After grabbing a quick bite of lunch at the house (leftover stuffed peppers and homemade banana cream pie, yum!), I took a ride through the country on my bike.  Tonight I'm trying to catch up on all the photos we've been taking.  There's been a lot to document lately.  Well, there's always a lot to document, so maybe I've just been too busy to do it.  And just because we are a house full of goofy goobers, we watched The SpongeBob Movie one more time.

Click here for more photos and details from our Independence Day celebration. 

Tuesday the 5th. Amy took all three boys to Sci-Works today (click here for photos and details).  It rained out our evening plans, so it's The SpongeBob Movie Night.  Jesse will finally know why our family sings I'm A Goofy Goober Yeah! fifty times a day.  And why Ben yells "ROCK!!!" in response to anyone saying "Goofy Goober!"  I am not ashamed to say that I think the ending to the movie rocks.  If you want to get the entire Heath family to simultaneously play air guitar, just skip to the ending of The SpongeBob Movie, it'll work every time.

Monday the 4th. Happy Independence DayThe day started with Jeff and I paddling white water in Kibler Valley and ended with the annual fireworks display at Hama's house in Claudville.  In between we had a cookout at Deana and Martin's house in Stuart.  Mike, Gabe and Parker continue to put on a bigger and better fireworks show year after year.  Click here for more photos and details from our Independence Day celebration and here for photos and details from the our paddle on the Dan.  And a couple of  photos  made the watermelon gallery.

Congratulations Neil, Christy, and Ella Marion!  The latest addition to their family arrived right on time yesterday afternoon and was given a name that will mean a great deal to a great many people.  Burton Slate Marion was born at 3:30pm, was completely healthy, and weighed seven pounds.

Sunday the 3rd. We spent part of the day at the pool, the rest around the house playing.  Jesse brought his XBox and I'm addicted to his TopSpin tennis game.  It only took me about a thousand games, but I finally won a game.  I wouldn't let Jesse quit until I won, so as soon as I did, he said enough.  So I'm 1-999, but I'm on winning streak, so Ha!

Saturday the 2nd. Sherri, Wesley and Jesse arrived in Mayberry last night.  This morning Sherri treated everyone to breakfast at McDonalds before we took a walk along Main Street with stops at The Good Life for ice cream and Opie's for candy.  Wesley and Sherri are now on their way back home to Prince George, Virginia, while Jesse is just beginning his two week stay with us.Tonight we spent a hot muggy evening on the playground.


Friday the 1st. Click here for details from this morning's paddle on Lovill's Creek Lake.

Amy and the boys spent today, which was a very hot day, at the pool.  The boys saw friends Dylan, Matthew, and Samuel there.  Dylan's mom, Patti, took Jackson up the the water slide steps twice and caught him at the bottom.  Jackson then did it a third time all by himself.  It's something Amy could never do while she had Ben and it's something I've been telling Jackson I would do with him all summer, only I haven't made it to the pool.  So it was very nice of Patti because Jackson trusts her and he really wanted to do it once with somebody before he went solo.  This evening Ben spent an hour at Mo's house while Amy got her hair cut and I took Jackson to Karate.  But first Jackson got to spend some time at my office.  He always asks me when take your son to work day is, so it was nice that my little helper got to hang with me at work.