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Friday the 31st.  Ben has the best memories from our trip to Lucaya Beach for my sister's wedding last Spring.  He often looks at a framed photo of Amy holding him in the Bahamas and asks when we can go to the beach.  He even fell asleep holding that photo two nights in a row recently.  So I know that he will be very excited to get his feet back in the sand.  Jackson on the other hand keeps saying grumpily "I don't see the point in going to the beach when it's cold."  Something tells me he'll change his mind once we get there though.           

                                                

Thursday the 30th. What better way to end March than with kite flying photos.  Jackson and I spent time over the weekend flying his kite, first in the fields behind our house and later in the fields in front of his great-grandmother's house in Virginia.  He's gotten pretty good at it.  He talks about making a nice easy landing as he lets the kite glide slowly down, then just as it touches the ground, he says "Like that's going to happen!" and zips it back high into the air.  In a few weeks we'll be kite flying on the coast during his kindergarten spring break.

It's finally getting warm again.  We mowed the lawn for the first time last night and this morning I was able to walk Jackson to school.  Amy and Ben will walk to Music Time at the Andy Griffith Playhouse later this morning.   Hopefully it's Spring for real this time.

Amy is on her sixth week of going to five am classes at the gym five days a week.  Ben usually gets up while she is gone and comes to our bedroom to wake me up.  This morning he and I were still in bed watching The Wiggles when Amy got home.  After I commented on my own morning breath, Ben pointed at my mouth and said "YOU GOT A SKUNK IN DERE DADDY!"

Wednesday the 29th.   Ben has only touched sweet potatoes three times.  Each time he threw up violently.  Once it was just sweet potato flavored rice cakes.  Up until now, it's been the only thing we've found him to be allergic too.  But as it turned out, Ben wasn't sick yesterday morning, he was having an allergic reaction to all the pumpkin bread he ate on Monday.   Poor kid.

My beautiful bride - March 28, 1998Tuesday the 28th. Today I celebrate eight years of marriage to my beautiful, caring, honest, sweet, and, to top it all off, really hot soul-mate.  Happy Anniversary Baby!

We actually got to do our celebrating a couple of weeks ago, which worked out well since today is the day little Ben has to be put to sleep for his dental work.  So keep your fingers crossed that all goes well.  We are a nervous wreck and have to be in Winston-Salem by 7:45am.  And I can't wait to see what Ben says when we tell him he can't have his "cuppa" or breakfast this morning. 

Update:  Ben isn't going to the dentist today, he is sick.  He threw up when he woke up and has done so again twice.    Which just continues the streak of our kids getting sick at the absolute worst possible moments.  I feel really bad for Ben and hate that he is sick, plus we are the type people that really stress out over missing appointments, because you know they think you're lying when you call.  AND we've been up since four trying to get ready on time.  .  Arrrgghhhh. 

Monday the 27th. In today's main photo I wonder if Ben and the cow are both pondering the beauty of the daffodil bud or if they are both curious about what it would taste like.

The fact that Ben looks in no way shape or form anything like me, in my mind, gives me the freedom to say that I think he has got to be one of the cutest damn things on the planet.

In other news, Jackson's martial arts class group photo made the front page of our local paper's Sunday sports section.

     

Sunday the 26th.  I took Friday off from work to paddle a section of the Dan River that had been on my "to do" list for some time.  We are in the middle of a major drought, so the water level was extremely low.  It was also a cold day with snow and rain in the forecast, although nothing fell until we were off the water.  Even with the low water and bad weather, my friend Jeff and I had a fantastic time.  The scenery was beautiful and there was a really long nice stretch of rapids that I hadn't anticipated.  I really, really had a good day spent outside rather than in the office.  I want to warn you, this video clip is 9MB, so only the interested with broadband want to click here.   You can also see more photos and a more complete trip report here.  

My mom had to go to the hospital yesterday with a kidney stone, so we visited her in Virginia this morning.  Luckily she is feeling much better and hopefully won't ever have to go through that experience again.

 

Thursday the 23rd. I just wanted to post this cool photo from tonight's Advanced Youth Karate Class.  Jackson was awarded Green belt status on Tuesday night, his fifth belt and fourth promotion. 

Lots of bragging tonight because we also had a progress meeting with Jackson's kindergarten teacher this afternoon and nothing was said that wasn't very positive.   We are very proud of how much he has learned this year and of how hard he has worked.  I am amazed nightly at how well he can read and his writing is both intelligent and very creative.   That's it, now I've got to run out and buy some trail mix for tomorrow's kayaking trip in the snow and rain.

Wednesday the 22nd. Jackson's favorite movie is the Disney channel original, High School Musical.   That's been fun because it has him interested in basketball and we've been playing a lot lately.  He also likes the Disney channel shows Zack and Cody and Drake and Josh. If you know those three shows then you know that all the main male characters share the same shaggy hair cut.  And that's the way Jackson wants his hair, shaggy.  So let's just say that last week's highlight, or maybe I should say drama, was the huge embarrassing scene Jackson made at the barber shop,  the resulting punishments and the half-haircut Jackson has sported for days.  But it all worked out, everyone lived through it, and tonight Amy took him to her hair stylist so that Jackson could describe the hair style he wants and get his half-cut turned into a full-cut.

In other Jackson news, his tooth that changed color after being knocked loose on the playground, turned white again.  We were very happy.  Then over the weekend he ran into the back of his friend while playing and bam... blood and the same tooth knocked loose.  We are hoping for the same recovery as last time, but now Jackson has discovered that he can wiggle it, which is what he does because he really wants to start the whole tooth fairy/missing tooth thing.  

We also visited my sister tonight to wish her an early "Happy Birthday".

And I've got a few new photos from this past weekend's Dinner Club posted here.  Today's photo is from our night at Dora's Pirate Adventure.

Tuesday the 21st. One of Jackson's cousin's recently went to a ring dance.  When Jackson heard his date's name he started singing "____ and ___ sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" over and over and over while laughing.  After the ninth or tenth verse he stopped and said "what does K-I-S-S-I-N-G spell?"  That made Amy and I start laughing and Jackson laugh even more once we told him.

Today's photo, taken last March on Lovill's Creek Lake, has been my desktop wallpaper for the past year.

Sunday the 19th. Jackson went to his first USSJA tournament yesterday in Wytheville, Virginia.  We are so proud of him and of all his fellow Mount Airy Martial Arts students.   They all competed so well and with so much heart.  Amy and I couldn't believe how emotional and dramatic it was.  We were exhausted by the time we left, so I can't imagine how tired the kids were.   Read more and see all the photos...

                        

Friday the 17th. Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  And Happy Second Birthday to little Ryan! 

Oh man am I stinking it up big time on my NCAA tournament bracket.  Amy went to Opie's candy store and bought tons of gold coin chocolate candies so that a leprecon can hide them in the yard while Jackson is at school and Ben naps.  That should be fun.

Thursday the 16th.  Here is what I have to say about the Dora The Explorer: Dora's Pirate Adventure show we went to on Tuesday...  America has a successful popular children's cartoon that features a person of color in the leading role and what do you do when it's time to cast the live show?  Hire a white girl.  Unbelievable.  I can just hear the conversation during casting.  "Okay, well, we had five hundred actresses audition, did any stick out for you?"  "Yeah, I liked that white girl."  "But, you do know that Dora's creators describe her as a bilingual pan latina.  Her voice is done by someone of Peruvian descent.  She's a source of pride to Hispanic children everywhere as someone they can relate to.  How could you possibly not hire a Hispanic actress to play Dora?"  "I don't know, I guess I just really like that white girl."

Monday the 13th.   What a gorgeous weekend!  While Amy worked on Saturday, the boys and I started our day with a hike to the river behind our house.  Then, after lunch, I took Jackson to his Aunt Dee and Uncle Martin's house for a much anticipated sleep-over and Ben to my parents house so that Amy and I could leave town for a wonderful relaxing night away in celebration of our upcoming eight year wedding anniversary.  This weekend's unseasonably warm weather actually reminded me a lot of the weekend we were married in Petersburg, Virginia.  The temperatures that weekend were in the high eighties and low nineties.  Saturday's trip was into the mountains to our north, just far enough north that they didn't serve sweet tea, but not so far that you couldn't still get biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  more photos and story...

  

Friday the 10th. Today's photo is the Coiled Cobra rapid at Joyce's Mill on the Dan River.  I'll be paddling through this spot in exactly two weeks, provided that Spring does what it's supposed to do and rain a little.  We've got fun plans for this weekend too, so I had better hurry up and kick this cold I have to the curb.  And even more importantly, not give it to anyone else.

Thursday the 9th.  I'm going to abbreviate yesterday's events as much as possible, but I'll preface it by saying that when I got home from work I found Amy sitting outside on the side porch with a "Calgon take me away" expression on her face.  read more...

Today was much better though.  Ben spent a fun filled day with his Aunt Dee, who sent me the photos above.  And Amy went with Jackson on a kindergarten field trip to Sci-Works.   Both boys were exhausted from their exciting days and slept hard once they got home.   Jackson even slept through his karate class.

Tuesday the 7th. The thumbnail to the right is a link to our nephew Wesley's heel flip clip (1.2MB).

Our calendar here in Mayberry usually isn't that full, but this week is busy, busy, busy.  We usually have what we call a "nothing day" during the middle of the week (that means Amy doesn't work and Jackson doesn't have karate), but this week they are all "something days".  Jackson went to karate class last night instead of tonight because we have curriculum night at his school.  And then, since it's the only chance to do it this week, he is taking his mom to see Aquamarine at the movies when that is over.    Jackson's current favorite movie is High School Musical.  We taped it off Disney Channel for him because he HAD to see it.  So now he is all into playing basketball, which is cool.  He hasn't wanted to shoot hoops since he was two.  After watching it about a dozen times he said "You know, I think I know why they call it High School Musical.  It's because there's so much music and singing in it."   I told him he might be on to something there.

Then later in the week we have a pediatric dentist appointment for Ben, more karate, a birthday party, sleepovers for the kids, a field trip, other miscellaneous appointments and a night out of town.  I'm glad the night out of town comes at the end of the week, we're really looking forward to that, plus it's supposed to be eighty degrees this weekend.   Next week will be big with Dora The Explorer's Pirate Adventure and Jackson's first karate tournament, but it doesn't look nearly as busy, so far....

And if you're curious about what's going on right this instant... Amy is working out at Boot Camp (she hasn't missed a day in three weeks) and I'm up at five only because I had a nose bleed and couldn't go back to sleep.  If I could have gone back to sleep, I would have, trust me.

Monday the 6th.  Here are a few photos taken during a break from a busy weekend spent working on projects in Colonial Heights.      

 

 

Thursday the 2nd.  It's Spring cleaning time.  We had three eighty foot oak trees removed from our back yard this week (You don't realize how high that is until you see somebody up there).  They should have been cut down eight years ago when we moved in.  All three leaned toward the house and one practically leaned all the way over it. 

Wednesday the 1st.    I posted this clip  to share what Ben sounds like these days.  He is saying one of his little catch phrases that I think is cute... That's a good idea (1.6MB).  Jackson has turned the corner with his virus, although he did hand the baton to Ben who ran a fever yesterday.  They both have some congestion, but aren't feeling too bad today. 

This post is also to brag on Amy who has been waking up at four in the morning and getting to the gym by five for advanced exercise classes like Boot Camp and Spin Class.  That's five in the morning... five days a week... and from what I hear, these classes are HARD.  I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty worthless at five in the morning.  As a matter a fact, at five in the morning, I'm sound asleep.  Of course, the only time Amy has free is when everyone else in the house is asleep.  So I just want to say "Way to go Amy!  You're one tough cookie, one tough, really cute cookie."  Of course it does make me feel like a sloth, so I guess it's time I get back on my own little exercise regimen (I've been saying that for months now).