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Wednesday, July 27th, 2011. Wonderful day yesterday.  I am posting a couple of photos from Wet n Wild, plus a photo of me reveling in the moment as the family sings me Happy Birthday and a photo of us making the lawnmower drag strip prior to the Olympics. 

I am also posting photos from the Boiling Hole yesterday.  I was able to get a couple of hours of park and play action in with friends on the Mayo River.  It was my first visit to my old playground and I enjoyed it immensely.  I purposely, in honor of being another year older, drove in a little harder, dug a little deeper, caught a little more air, flew a little higher, got a few more bruises, scraped a tad more skin off my knuckles and grinned a little wider.  I forgot to take a water bottle onto the river with me, so I stopped at the 1st store I came too and bought what possibly might have been the best Gatorade on the planet, it was gone before I made it to the counter.  You sure can work up a big thirst out there on the water. more photos here

And to continue with the Olympics documentation...  Following the tractor race, we had a single elimination basketball tournament.  Jackson, Ben and I took home the gold after a tough championship game versus Will, Amy and Nicole.  After three straight games in ninety degree heat, I was glad I wasn't entered in the next events.  Immediately following basketball, it was time for another crowd favorite - the toddler race.  This one was a lot of fun to watch.


Tuesday, July 26th, 2011.  Happy Birthday to me.  Amy, the boys, Nicole, Deana, Izzy, Seth and Caleb are all spending the day at Wet n Wild in Greensboro.  Last night, our gang all went to see Captain America, one of my all-time favorite super heroes.  Great flick, even Amy liked it.  I will continue throughout the week to document last weekend's Neighborhood Olympics.  Following the opening ceremonies, the Olympic crowd gathered in our driveway to watch the inaugural Margaret Drive Lawnmower Drag-race.  From a spectator point of view, this had to be one of the more popular events.  Will Sheppard's alter ego Johnny Awesome even made an appearance.  Jackson and Jack started things off with a demonstration race, then things kicked off in earnest.  We set a video camera up at the finish line in case there were any close calls.  And as luck would have it, the 2nd race was so close that I am still questioning the call we made.  In the end, Mark Coleman, fresh off a 5.5 hour drive from the coast, won the gold on his Cub Cadet.  Jessica came in 2nd and Jack 3rd.  Jackson raced on my dad's twenty year old mower because of its high gear, but it proved to be a little too slow off the starting line.  And I was blown out of the water on our orange Scotts mower. 

Monday, July 25th, 2011. I can't say enough positive things about the job the kids did with the Olympics.  Jackson has a bright future ahead of him if he keeps those organizational and leadership skills.  He was very well spoken during the opening ceremonies and when announcing each event.  Jessica did a great job of keeping up with all of the brackets and who competed against whom.  Jack and Ben were also there to help.  The four of them made a very efficient team.  I have a million photos, but will just start with some of the crowd shots from the cookout and from the lawnmower races.  It started raining an hour before the opening ceremonies and Jackson couldn't stop pacing.  After two months of planning and work, he was distraught thinking that they would have to cancel.  But the skies cleared just in time and everything went off perfectly.  I don't think I've seated that much in a single day before, but it was a lot of fun.  We also have our niece Nicole visiting with us, which is always a highly anticipated event it its own right. 

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011.   The day of the Neighborhood Olympics has finally arrived.  Jackson hatched the idea back in May.  He and Jack and Jessica next door formed an Olympic Planning Committee and have worked for months, holding countless meetings.  They made entry forms, delivering them to families in the neighborhood.  They wrote rules, information sheets and made signs.  They created the schedule and delivered that to all the competitors weeks ago.  They made supply lists and divided the items between the two families.  They painted lines for badminton courts, a soccer field and even a lawnmower drag-strip.  They have rehearsed the opening ceremony dozens of times.  And it all finally comes to a head at 3PM this afternoon, followed by a neighborhood cookout and backyard campout.  The prediction is for 96 degrees Fahrenheit and a 30% chance of thunderstorms, let's hope the weather doesn't throw a kink in over two months worth of planning.

And I forgot to post a photo a few weeks ago of the first bluebird to visit Jackson's birdhouse.  It only took about two days before this little fellow decided to stop by and check it out.

Friday, July 22nd, 2011.  I took the day off work Wednesday to join friends Jeff and Steve on a relaxing float down the Dan River in Danbury, NC.  This was the same stretch of river where Jeff and I kayaked for the 1st time seven years ago.  It was my first return trip to this section of the Dan in five years and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  It was a nice break from the heat and from the office.  The company was outstanding, the water cool and the views, as always, fantastic.  We jumped off rocks, swung from ropes and sometimes we just floated along in the water; the very definition of chillaxing.  I posted a fun little video of the trip here.

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011.  Last night we enjoyed the hospitality of the Lindsley family as we celebrated our friend Jeff's 40th birthday with a cookout.  We also celebrated Jeff's birthday on Saturday night at a party that Timmesa threw for him at Old North State Winery.  Today's photos are from the cookout and some of Jackson with our little friends AR and Joe.  Jackson will be a fantastic father one day.  He is just phenomenal with little kids.

Friday, July 15th, 2011.  Jackson went to his first ever midnight premier last night with Amy.  They saw the final installment of the Harry Potter series.  On Wednesday and Thursday Jackson attended the Middle School orientation camp and today he goes to Wet n' Wild with his friends Simon and Harrison followed by a sleepover.  Just another big week in a summer jam packed with them. 
Following a weekend where I spent the majority of the time working, I took Tuesday afternoon off to go paddling in Kibler Valley.  I ran into friends Steve and James on the way into the valley and found 14 year old Mason surfing at the hydrostation.  Mason was in Jackson's karate class years ago and is now into whitewater paddling.  We had a fun side surfing, eddy hopping, stern squirting trip down the river and along the way ran into many more of my paddling peeps.  At the end of the run, I found Amy and the boys at the Slate house ready for some tubing fun.  A great way to cool off on a scorcher of a July day.  We then made stops by Hama's house to visit and raid Papa's garden.

Thursday, July 14th, 2011. Today's photos are from last weekend's Muncy Family Reunion in Bland, Virginia.  Amy's brother Alan and his family spent Friday evening at our house, then traveled to Bland with us where we met up with Amy's sister Sherri and the rest of the Muncy clan.  From there, we went to Bluefield to visit Amy's aunt Jerry Ann and uncle Charlie.  That evening we had a fantastic cookout at our house followed by an outdoor movie under the stars. 



Wednesday, July 6th, 2011. Ben survived his visit to see Doctor Gayle.  He is NOT a fan of shots and has just been sick over worrying about going for this year's checkup.  As it turned out, he only had to get a TB test and a finger prick though and was able to skip the needles, a very nice surprise for sure.  When we painted his bedroom on Saturday, we moved his bed and found a single sheet of paper hiding behind it that read "Free flu shots to MACS students".  He is a sneaky little bugger.  Very proud of him today though for being brave.  I updated his milestones and growth chart with his latest stats
Today's photos are of Amy's Mother's Day tree, now over a year old, and of the bluebird house that Jackson built and painted over the weekend.  

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011. A return to the scene of Independence Day 2007.  Deana and Martin hosted a party featuring great food, fireworks and a game of wiffle ball at their house in Kibler Valley.  The kids played at the river following a rain storm and we made a swing in a tree using the rope from the Seth's pinata.  (The evening also doubled as a birthday party for Seth.)  I didn't take a single photo, so I'll post a few that I stole from my sister.

This past weekend, we painted Ben's bedroom blue and the back deck rails white.  That pretty much consumed all of Saturday.  On Sunday, Amy went to lunch at Chatteau Morrisette in honor of Melanie's upcoming arrival.  It was so hot that the boys and I stayed inside.  Jackson and I made the most of the day though by building a new bluebird house to go in the back yard.