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Monday, July 26th, 2010.  I liked the photo of Amy and the kids so much that I stole it from my sister's facebook album.  The other photos are ones that I took at Floydfest Sunday afternoon.  We do not have festival kids.  They are quite the opposite of that.  Well, Ben is probably okay with it, but Jackson is typically miserable at music festivals.  That being said, all the kids had a pretty good time on Sunday.  And Amy and I enjoyed hanging out with Deana and Martin, seeing friends and watching the William Walter & Co and Grace Potter shows.  And as always, Amy enjoyed seeing her dear blog friend and favored author, Colleen.  I had a great birthday today, complete with a boofing Big Top birthday cake.  All the kids got me presents,  all of which I loved.  Great presents from Amy as well.  Thank you to everyone that wished me well or sent cards, I really appreciate it. 

Friday, July 23rd, 2010.  Today's photos are from Hanging Rock State Park.  The kids spent today at the pool.  Ben continues to add to his new adventures.  Today his new trick was jumping off the diving board for the first time.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010.  Today at Camp Nicole, the kids made tie dye shirts and zucchini bread.  The Health and Wellness Committee at my office sponsored a night at the park, so we spent our evening there playing frisbee, riding bikes, eating popsicles and playing on the playground. 

 

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010. Stolen Picture Day!  Today I am posting a few beach photos that I stole from Mike and Brooke's camera, like the ones below (more new photos here) and a couple of photos that my sister Deana took today at Hanging RockThe kids had a good, full day yesterday that included a visit from our little friend Anne Rachel.  They spent the evening playing with the neighbors, who recently returned from vacation and have been missed by the boys, in the backyard.  Amy was on water balloon duty and I mowed the lawn, which is actually turning green again thanks to the recent rain.  Today they all went in search of waterfalls with Deana, Caleb and Izzy.

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010. The photos below are from our round of Pirate Golf, played late on Saturday following a big day of playing on the beach and at the pool.  The kids were pretty spent, but it was a cool course and they had fun.  We arrived back at the house to find our second delicious meal of the weekend, this time grilled by Brooke and Amy.  Mike and I grilled the night before.  It was very relaxing eating together at the house after big days on the go.  We slept in each morning, followed by bike rides, then lunch on the beach.  Visits to the pool took place on the way home from the beach each afternoon.  It was a pretty cool schedule.

 

The story is a little long to post here, but you can read about how Mike and I paddled with the dolphins and learned that they can play chicken by charging like a bull on my kayaking website.  It was pretty stinking awesome. 

We successfully completed the transfer of our nephew Jimmy for our niece Nicole last night.  We miss Jimmy, but at the same time, we are excited about having Nicole with us for a few weeks.  All three kids slept downstairs together last night, although Ben came up at some point to get in bed with Amy and I.  They attempted to go swimming this afternoon, but the pool closed due to lightning within minutes of their arrival, so they came home and rode bikes instead.  Not only did Nicole bring her bike, she brought Jimmy's old one for Jackson to have.  So both boys now have new bikes that fit them.  I continue to add photos, like the ones below, to our Hilton Head 2010 gallery.

 

Monday, July 19th, 2010.  Below are a few of the photos from our wonderful long weekend in Hilton Head, SC.  We were guest of our good friends Mike and Brooke and thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.  From hitting the beach, to the pool, to the great dinners, to the games, to miniature golf, to just hanging out -  it was a lot of fun.  Ben said "I've never been to the beach with a friend before!"  All the little kids played well together and the two big kids, Jackson and Jimmy, were lots of help.  I have more Hilton Head photos here, as well as links to all our past beach trips here.  More photos and details will come later.  Jimmy's visit ends today and we will miss him.  He's a super kid and we love having him with us. 

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010.  Last night at the dinner table we were doing impressions of Jackson's performance as Grandpa Joe in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Jimmy. At some point, Jackson said "Yeah, but I'm the original." Ben immediately piped back with "Yeah, well I'm the 2nd original."  Our little 2nd original spent the day at Tweetsie Railroad with his Aunt Dee, his Papa and his cousin Seth.  He had a great day and came home wearing a cowboy hat.  He said his favorite part was the train, although he was pretty excited about finding gold.  He was also tickled that for the first time he was too tall for a ride at the amusement park.  Jimmy and Jackson had a more relaxed day.  They hung out in the man cave at the house, making one trip out to watch Despicable Me at the theater.   

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010. On Saturday, the Heath family and the Mills family headed north on I-77 to the Muncy Cousin's Family Reunion.  We hit an hour and a half delay just shy of the Big Walker Tunnel due to a vehicle fire, but eventually rolled into Amy's cousin Heath's farm on the Muncy homeplace in beautiful Bland, Virginia.  It was a bitter sweet reunion as it was great chance to see so many of the Muncy family, but it was also a day that made Amy miss her mother very much.  The kids had fun playing on bales of hay, riding bikes, throwing frisbee, climbing trees and hiking around the perimeter of the farm.  Below are a few of the photos from the day.

 

Following the reunion, we went to Bluefield, West Virginia for pizza and cake by a hotel pool.  For Ben, this was the part of the weekend he had been looking forward to.  He has been full of new tricks this summer, including swimming under water and jumping into the pool unassisted.  He loves to show off his new skills, which this weekend included an underwater somersault.  There were probably only three teenage girls in the entire hotel, all of them cute, and all three ended up watching a movie with Jimmy later that evening.  On Sunday, we visited with Amy's aunt Jerry Ann and uncle Charlie in Bluefield, then returned home with Jimmy who will be joining us again this summer for a week or so.  His visit is going well so far.  Ben loves to throw Frisbee with him.  Jimmy throws it long and Ben chases it down, catching it on the run.  We've played lots of basketball.  I beat Jimmy and Jackson on day 1, but they avenged that lost last night.  Amy has cooked lots of good deserts and meals.  Today, after sleeping in really late, the boys went with Amy to Sci-Works in Winston-Salem.  We had an outdoor movie on tap for tonight, but the weather is really yucky, so we'll postpone that until next week.

Monday, July 12th, 2010.  We celebrated our nephew Seth turning 5 Friday night with a party at Deana and Martin's house.  It was a really fun party full of ice cream, pinatas, fishing and swimming.  Unfortunately, Ben's night ended early with a bee sting on the back of his neck while fishing on the dock.  He decided that he wanted to go home and since Amy's brother and his family were due to arrive from Colonial Heights, we all headed back to Mount Airy.  Ben had recovered by the time he reached his house and both boys were more than a little anxious to see their cousins Jimmy and Nicole for the first time since Christmas.  Jackson waited on the front porch until he finally saw their headlights appear in the dark and rain.

Friday, July 9th, 2010.  We really, really like the new neighborhood and all the fun the kids are having in it. 

Big weekend on tap, Seth's birthday party, family reunion, trip to West Virginia and when it is all said and done our nephew Jimmy will be at our house for his summer visit.  We haven't seen Amy's family since Christmas, so we are really looking forward to it.  The boys are SUPER excited to see Nicole later tonight. 

Thursday, July 8th, 2010.  Congratulations to my grandmother who turned 91 on June 29th.  We originally planned to just visit Hama at her house, but then Ben, who was spending the evening in Stuart with his Aunt Deana, said that he would not get to tell her Happy Birthday.  So we took Hama out to dinner in Stuart.  It is amazing, looking back at Hama's last several birthdays, how great she looks, year after year.
Another event that we attended at the end of June was our friend Steve Lindsley's CD release party at Moby's Coffee here in town.  Steve was joined by our friend Les Slate on drums and by Jerry Chapman on bass.  Good tunes and a big crowd. 

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010.  At the end of June, we spent three days camping in Bryson City, NC at Deep Creek Campground, along with many of my SRVCC friends and their families.  It was a very successful trip with tube rides, cookouts, paddling, a trip to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and more.  Highlights for the boys were playing with the goats at the campground, tubing, Disa and the Swiss Army pocket knives I bought for them at the camp store.  A lot more detail on the trip and many, many more photos can be found here.  Today, Ben had his buddy Luke over early so that they could go to Pirate Day at the museum together.  Then tonight he has his buddy Colin over for a sleep over.  Luke and Ben had a play-date last week as well.  They played HARD from 8AM to 5PM.  Ben was asleep in the recliner by 5:02.  Jackson had basketball camp all week and brought two friends home with him, Simon and Harrison.  He also went to a sleepover with Harrison and Simon during the prior week.  So, along with their many other activities, both boys are getting to spend time with their friends, which seems to be important to both of them.    

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010.   So yesterday I posted photos of the boys riding their bikes.  In those photos, Ben is riding without training wheels.  On Friday night, he told me "I want to take these off, they are embarrassing."  You can watch a video by clicking here showing how quickly he progressed.  Within thirty minutes, he was riding laps around the neighborhood.  He and I went bike shopping Saturday morning and bought him a brand new 18" bike to cruise around on and he loves it.  We also bought a better fitting helmet.  Very exciting milestone.
On Saturday, the Lindsley family invited our family and the Eads family over for a cookout.  On Sunday, the three families convened again at the Eads' house to watch fireworks.  To complete the cycle and celebrate the symmetry, we invited the Lindsley and Eads families over for dinner last night.  The kids played water games outside and turned our slide into a water/mud slide.  Good stuff.  We were especially happy to have our friend Megan over and to see her looking so pretty and happy following her recent surgery.   At the end of the evening, we walked with the Lindsleys back to their house, then stopped by another neighbor's house to play until dark.  It was a great three day weekend that included a trip to the movies, multiple neighborhood cookouts, an outdoor movie at the Coleman's, lots of work on Fort Brother, bike riding, water play and more...

Monday, July 5th, 2010.  Update for the Independence Day page.  We spent the morning working on Fort Brother, the afternoon at the movies, dinner at the Venables, then the evening watching fireworks with the Lindsleys and the Eads on Orchard Street.
SKV