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Thursday the 30th. When I came home for lunch today, Ben was already in his crib for nap.  But he sang and talked the entire time I was home, mostly to his new toy elephant.  So before I left, we went in to see if he just wanted to skip nap today and go to the pool.  Amy, Jackson, and Ben spent another fun day swimming.  On the way home, they had to pull off the road because of a big thunderstorm.  But at least it waited until after their swim.  I also got the new camera today and took the piggy and tub pics with it.

Earlier in the week Amy replaced the batteries in a lot of fun toys that turned into duds when their batteries died.  Ben was thrilled to discover that the little whirlwind thingy on his bike was working again.

Wednesday the 29th. When you take as many photos as we do, it becomes a habit, something you don't even think about.  That's why it kills you to forget your camera.  I left mine at home tonight when we went to the Mayflower to celebrate my grandmother's 86th birthday.  Luckily my little sister had her camera with her, so I borrowed it and later got the pics below.  Speaking of cameras, FedEx dropped by the house today but no one was home, so I've got to wait one more day for our new Kodak.

Ben's two year doctor's appointment was this morning.  It went well, although it took two nurses to help Amy hold him down for the finger stick, poor baby.  He weighed 27 lbs, so he's lost weight in the last six months.  He is 33 1/2 inches, which is the same as Jackson at two.  Of course Jackson was a lot fatter at 31lbs.   

Tuesday the 28th. Our nephew Jesse from Prince George, Virginia is spending two weeks with us starting Friday.  We are very excited about all the fun things we'll be able to show him in Mayberry.  Amy can go to the midnight release of Harry Potter with him, I'll have someone to go see Star Wars with (hopefully the drive-in will still have the Star Wars/Batman double feature).  I think we may do some kayaking, spend time at the pool, maybe go fishing.  We are celebrating Independence Day on the farm and with a cookout at my sister's house in Stuart, Virginia.

We spent our evening shopping at Toys-R-Us in Winston-Salem.  Both boys had birthday money from my Aunt Dianna that they wanted to spend.  You can tell we don't hit the toy stores very often because it took the boys two hours to pick out their toys.  Ben bought an elephant that he wouldn't put down.  He said "Mine, Mine, Mine".  He loves "ellies" almost as much as "lipards".  We also discovered that Jackson has way outgrown his 12" bike.  It's no wonder he hasn't enjoyed riding it.  He cooked through the store on the 16" bikes.  Guess we'll be going back soon for a bike upgrade.

Monday the 27th. I've had this giant craving for more optical zoom lately and today we fed that by purchasing a new Kodak DX6490 with a 10X Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon optical zoom lens.  I am very excited, our photos should start getting a lot better following the 7-10 day delivery.  And since Amy and I both have the photo bug, it's a rare his and her new toy.  I love the Kodak cameras and we've stuck with them over the years, I just wish they would get away from the Quicktime movie format.  I almost went with an Olympus C770 or Canon S1 just to get something that uses AVI instead.  It's such a pain trying to convert the Quicktime into something that Windows Movie Maker can use.  

Sunday the 26th. We hosted a successful and fun Dinner Club tonight.  We are waiting to hear that Brooke is feeling better, everyone missed the Joyce family tonight.  Anita, Stephen and little Jimmy made it down the mountain from Meadows of Dan.


Saturday the 25th. Two weeks ago we joined the Mayberry Babysitting Co-op and tonight Amy and I reaped the benefits with a night to ourselves out on the town.  We ate dinner at Pano's in the Old North State Winery on Main Street, then walked around to pick which music to listen too.  The winery had an outdoor concert, The Good Life was supposed to have a band, but had cancelled, and the amphitheater had an Elvis impersonator for $10 a person.  Amy couldn't resist the Elvis intro music, so Elvis it was.  We were on our way to buy our tickets when Amy ran into a friend that gave us two free ones.  So perfect, we got a little CC Rider and Suspicious Minds before dessert and iced coffee at The Good Life.  (The Mayberry Babysitting Co-op consists of The Eads and The Heaths)

Jackson taught me a new trick this morning, one that I wish I had known a long time ago.  Apparently, if two or more persons count 1..2..3.., then yell "GREEN LIGHT!!!", you can make a red light change color.  Amazing, all that time I've wasted at stop lights over the years and all I had to do was count to three and shout "Green Light".  Anyway, Jackson taught me the trick and it worked to perfection.

Friday the 24th. Ben is officially a native of North Carolina.  Last night he looked at a bottle of Mountain Dew and said "I WANT SOME POP!"

Today's photos are from this past Tuesday night.  Thanks to Andy Griffith's contribution through the Surry Arts Council this year earmarked for children's theater, Once Upon A Blue Ridge is performing weekly for free at the new amphitheater.  Fortunately for us, it's just a short walk up the street.

 Thursday the 23rd. Jackson's laundry list for today...

  1. Morning - Summer Fun at Central

  2. Afternoon - Swimming at Homeplace

  3. Evening - Arts Alive parade and finale. (click here for more details)



Wednesday the 22nd. Okay, tonight is brag night.  Jackson and his sparring partner did so well tonight in Karate class that they got not one round of applause, but two.  Read more...


Tuesday the 21st. Amy and the boys walked to the local farmer's market this afternoon, where Jackson bought carrots, peaches, and blueberries that were picked earlier this morning in Low Gap.  After work I found them still on Main Street enjoying a long walk following their visit to Opie's Candy Store.  We ate dinner at Barney's Diner (I'm not making these names up, we really do live in Mayberry), then enjoyed the children's theater provided by Once Upon A Blue Ridge at the amphitheater.  We have a story telling tradition with Jackson that goes back years.  Our current stories revolving around the Karate heroes Tiger and Cobra have probably hit chapter one hundred by now.  But the very first time Jackson asked me to tell him a story, the first thing that came to mind was Uncle Remus.  So I told Jackson all the Brer Rabbit stories I could think of and he loved them.  Which is why it was very special that all the acts tonight were Uncle Remus stories, ending of course with The Tar Baby.  Lots of fun, beautiful night to enjoy an outdoor play.

Monday the 20th.  We took so many photos yesterday that I had to make a Father's Day page to hold them allActually, that page didn't hold them all, so click here to see all the kayaking photos from yesterday's paddle on Dan River.

And click here to watch our Father's Day 2005 movie. (4MB)

Jackson is having his first sleep-over ever at a friends house.  And we can't remember the last time he stayed overnight anywhere without us.  We miss him!!!

Sunday the 19th. Last year we went camping for Father's Day.  This year Amy had a better idea, what about something that would get me in my kayak and where I could still be with the family all day.  So following a Father's Day breakfast in bed, we went to Kibler Valley, Virginia for an afternoon on the river... more details and photos

  We know two different families that lost their fathers this week.  Our thoughts have been with those friends all weekend.


Saturday the 18th. Today while Amy worked, the boys and I spent the morning at Sci-Works before watching my niece Isabelle dance at Winston-Salem State.  Izzy did a wonderful job, although we were only able to stay for one number.  Jackson loved it, but Ben was pretty freaked out by a thousand or so people clapping and cheering in a dark auditorium, and he eventually convinced us to split. 

  Friday the 17th. Since I have a page for cherries and strawberries, I decided to make one for watermelon too.  After all, our boys enjoy nothing more than a face full of watermelon.  What beautiful weather in Mayberry this week.  I've thoroughly enjoyed riding the bike everyday.  The boys played on Miss Etta's playground this morning, then went to the pool this afternoon (have they been every day this week?  I didn't post the laundry list on Monday and without it we can't remember).  Jackson had karate, then it was off to Winston-Salem to finally meet dear little Ella Joyce.  We were afraid to get around the Joyce family for so long because of the alien stomach virus.  But we finally got to meet Ella and she is perfectly adorable.  The three boys played well together, it was a nice visit.

On the corner of our very quite Main Street stands a man yelling, and I do mean YELLING.  It's one of those southern small town type things, the... read more...

Thursday the 16th.  Jackson slept until 8:40 this morning and only woke up then because Benjamin was standing next to him yelling "Wake Up Baby!" (Ben calls Jackson "Baby") After dropping Jackson off for his last morning at Arts Alive, Amy and Ben visited my grandmother in Claudville.  I spoke with Hama later and she said "Ben is a mess".  That has to be the single most used description of Ben, it's the way I describe him.  He laughed and put on a big show for her, they ate lunch of course, then came back in time to pick up Jackson.  The afternoon was again spent at the pool.  Tonight the boys are pooped, Summer is wearing them out.

Wednesday the 15th. Jackson received his first belt rank tonight.  He is now a Yellow/Orange Stripe.  We are very, very proud of our little karate-ka.  Of course Ben had me next door visiting the people at the Goin' Postal store while Jackson was being presented with his belt.  The nice lady in the postal store gives Ben a sucker when ever he goes in there, plus they let him pet their poodle Snowball.  So of course he starts screaming sucker as soon as we get to class.  Ben even them "I Lub U" when he leaves.  Never under estimate the power of a sucker on a two year old that hasn't had supper yet.  I was sick to find out that Jackson got his first belt promotion during the only 10 minutes from the last twenty classes that neither Amy nor myself were watching him.  So if you see him you'll have to tell him congratulations, he is taking his lessons very seriously.

While Jackson was at Arts Alive this morning, Ben and Mommy went to the pool.  I picked up Sam and Jack at the playhouse and the minute they got to our house, they hit the pools in the front yard.  Our neighbors Jacob and Sara and Sam's brother Matthew also ended up in the front yard water park too.  After days like today, Jackson moves a little slower at Karate.  I think Amy will sleep well tonight too.

Tuesday the 14th. Jackson's busy summer is in full swing with Arts Alive this morning, swimming at the pool this afternoon, and his friend Matthew sleeping over tonight.  We have been very impressed with how well Jackson is doing in Arts Alive.  Last year it was a major accomplishment to get him to stay.  This year he just waves bye and runs inside.  He even stays for lunch, amazing.  And what a day for the pool, hot, hot, hot.

Monday the 13th. Our fellow Hokies may appreciate this cloudy day photo of Burruss Hall (if you don't like the weather in Blacksburg, just give it a minute!)  Click here to see not only photos and details from yesterday's trip to Virginia Tech, but photos from some of our other recent trips there as well.  The time Amy and I spent living in Blacksburg pre-dates our website, heck my time there pre-dates Windows 3.0!

Sunday the 12th.  Amy and the boys spent the day at Virginia Tech, with lunch at Macado's, time spent on campus, at the duck pond, the off-campus bookstore, a Ben n Jerry's ice cream snack on Main Street, and a visit to our friends Shauna and Chris (thanks for the home brew variety pack Chris!! I can't wait to try it).  Ben played well with Eva and Jackson played with Ella, and both boys enjoyed playing with new toys at a different house.  It also sounds like they loved feeding the ducks at the duck pond.  Ben said "here duckie, duckie."   And while they were in Blacksburg, VA, Jeff and I paddled thirteen miles of the Dan River in Danbury, NC.  It was our first time paddling in Danbury since the fall and we had a really enjoyable day.  Lots of other happy paddlers were on the water and it made for a very relaxing day.

Saturday the 11th. While Amy worked today, the boys and I went to Sci-Works because we thought it was going to rain.  It actually turned out to be a nice day and we spent a lot of our time outside.  Later in the afternoon we brought the pools back out on the front lawn and enjoyed some popsicles while kicking back in the baby pool.  Hama got to come home today, so the whole family went to Claudville this evening to visit her.  We also stopped by Mo and Papa's house to check on their new front porch's progress and to catch a few lightning bugs.  Jackson is sleeping with them at the head of his bed and plans on letting them go tomorrow morning.

Friday the 10th. Update on Hama... she did end up staying through today and tonight at the hospital so that they could run more tests, but she continues to do fine and should be home tomorrow. 

Papa watched Ben this evening while Amy, Jackson, and I, accompanied by friends and family went to the opening night of Shark Boy and Lava Girl.  Jackson could have wrote the script for this movie.  He enjoyed it very much, the 3D glasses were way, way, too annoying for me, but they didn't bother Jackson at all.

Thursday the 9th. My grandmother, Hava Heath, had to go to Forsythe Hospital in Winston-Salem this morning because her blood pressure was low and things seemed a little abnormal with her heart.   But luckily everything looks normal now and, even though Hama will stay the night, she should get to come home tomorrow.  

Jackson went to Summer Fun this morning, while Ben played at the playground next door.  Later in the afternoon Amy and the boys played at the pool until the thunderstorms chased them home.  Tonight while Amy worked, The boys and I stopped along Main Street on our way to the playground to wave to our visiting Harley-Davidson Owners Group as they paraded through.  We also ran into our friends Cindy and Peggy along the way.


Wednesday the 8th. I weighed when I got back to the office today and discovered that, thanks to the alien virus crash diet, I lost six pounds in twenty four hours.  Now that's a way to loose weight that I wouldn't recommend.  The good news is that after a year and a half of dieting and semi-exercising, the alien virus took me past that target weight I couldn't quite reach and beyond.  I now weigh less than I have at any point in the past ten years.  I'm sure that will only last until I can start keeping solid foods down again, but still, at least I got something out of it.

Tuesday the 7th. Okay, good part/bad part today.  First the good part; Jackson had a good first day at his two morning a week Summer Fun program at Central.  His buddy Sam is in his class which was fun for him.  And while Jackson was at school, Ben had the entire playground to himself for two hours of play.  Later in the evening, after a quite projects day inside, Ben and Jack played in the yard with our neighbor Jacob.  They played in the sandbox, played with the bubble machine, and played baseball.   All of this I get second hand, because I was oblivious to everything going on around me, but more about that in the bad part.

Alright, now the bad part;  Our alien stomach virus invasion continues.  Last night it was our friend Matthew's turn.  Matthew was supposed to have a sleep over at our house tonight, but that was cancelled.  Today, it was finally my turn, and oh brother was it my turn.  Miserable, miserable day for me.  I would describe what it's been like, but you really don't want to know, trust me.

Monday the 6th. Grandma Sue purchased a season pass to Homeplace for the boys and today was the first day they hit pool.  It was a perfect day for it, nice and hot.  The boys are old enough this year for Amy to take them by herself, so hopefully they will have lots and lots of days spent swimming this summer.  Jackson's two morning a week Summer Fun program starts tomorrow morning at Central Methodist, then Arts Alive starts next week.  Add in Karate three nights a week and he'll be an active little five year old.

And just when we thought that horrible stomach virus was gone, Megan got terribly sick.  As far as I know it's still just an Eads/Heath thing, we haven't managed to spread it to the rest of the community yet.

Sunday the 5th. Click here for details and lots of photos from our afternoon spent picking cherries in Virginia.  The rest of the day was spent cooling off in our front yard water park.  Our neighbors Jacob and Zachary, as well as our friends Matthew, Megan, and Samuel, joined us for lots of water play.  We had two pools (one with bubbles) and two sprinklers going. 

Saturday the 4th.  Everyone is back to normal, so we walked on Main Street and played in Ben's new pool in between rain showers.  Tonight we went to see Madagascar at the drive-in.  Jackson says he never wants to go to the regular movies again.  He loved the freedom of being able to walk around the van and sit on the window with his head outside.  Ben sort of struggled with the idea of going to sleep in a hot muggy van with a movie playing through the speakers, but he eventually crashed in Amy's lap.

Friday the 3rd. Lots of Jell-O, water, movies, and bed for Amy and Jackson.  They are pretty wiped out following their bout with the mysterious stomach virus Ben brought home as a souvenir from WV/PA, but hopefully are beginning to recover.  After watching what the rest of the family went through, I am VERY happy to have (so far) escaped the bug's wrath.  Plus everyone else has set a pretty high bar as far as dealing with it.  That means I can't blubber like a baby when it's my turn at being sick and I'm pretty sure I will want to do lots of blubbering.

Thursday the 2nd. Ben spent Monday afternoon very sick with a stomach virus.  At the time we thought he had a belly ache resulting from all the junk food I fed him at lunch.  But then Amy spent all of last night running to and from the bathroom.  She was really sick, probably the sickest I've ever seen her.  Now it's Jackson's turn.  One minute he feels fine, then he walks to the toilet and hurls his little guts out.  Our friend Sam across town spent his night sick too.  So we've definitely got one doozy of a bug in our midst. 

Wednesday the 1st. Sam had his first sleep-over at our house last night.  After dinner the boys went to the playground at Tharrington, discovered the joy of sucking the honey from honeysuckles, took baths, put on their PJs, then loaded up to go see Madagascar at the drive-in.  We rolled into the drive-in's parking lot right at 8:30 with a van full of snacks, pillows and blankets.  It was a little disappointing to find no one else there since the drive-in is apparently closed on Tuesday nights.  But we rebounded quickly by renting The Sponge Bob Movie and turning it into a movie night in bed with tons of popcorn and candy.