Tuesday the 31st. Brooke delivered a healthy 20 inch baby girl with dark hair and green eyes that weighed 6lb 14 oz at 2:03. Congratulations Mike, Brooke, and Landon!
Monday the 30th. We are back home in Mayberry after an enjoyable trip to Pennsylvania to see our friend Scott and his wife Cherry. We stopped at Summersville Dam on our way out of town yesterday. Summersville Dam is the largest earthen dam East of the Mississippi and the reservoir for one of the best whitewater rivers in the world, the Gauley. Super, super jealous of everyone putting their kayaks in below the dam to run the upper Gauley. And the lake itself was beautiful with lots of cliff overhangs, I would like to kayak it too. Ben fell asleep before we reached New River Gorge Bridge, the longest arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere, so we didn't walk out to the overlook. The next stop was a visit with Amy's Aunt Jerry Ann and Uncle Charlie in Bluefield. Jackson enjoyed hearing Grand Jimmy stories and Ben had fun playing in the yard and in Jerry Ann's convertible. He played a game where he would count to three and jump off the sidewalk. We didn't find anyone home in Bland, Virginia, but the boys enjoyed stretching their legs at the Muncy home-place.
Tonight we celebrated Memorial Day with friends. Timmesa had a Sponge Bob cake for Ben. He was very happy to hear "Happy Birthday" one more time.
Sunday the 29th. We are in Summersville, WV and getting ready to drive home to North Carolina. The weather is great and we are hoping to visit family along the way.
Saturday the 28th. First off let me say that we have the loudest two year old on the planet. If we are in a restaurant, it's the people that just sat down that think Ben is the cutest. An hour later they aren't as charmed. And unfortunately it took over an hour at the Eat'n'Park in Somerset to get our food. Bob Evans in Summersville more than made up for it. They brought the fruit and rolls immediately, then followed it with our food just a few minutes later. I was almost giddy to be able to eat in quiet without having to worry about how long the food would take to get to the table . When you are waiting for your food and have a two year old octopus trying to climb out of their high chair, minutes are 600 seconds long. It down poured while we ate, but we walked out of the restaurant and back to the hotel with a giant rainbow in the sky. We found a hotel with an indoor pool and that made Jackson very happy. All in all it was a fun day on the road for all of us. The entire drive was very scenic and we only ran into very nice people the whole way.
Friday the 27th. We attended a wonderful ceremony and reception at Green Gables in Jennerstown, Pennsylvania celebrating Scott and Cherry's marriage. We would like to thank Scott, Cherry, Scott's parents, and everyone else in the Bearer family for their wonderful hospitality. The reception was fantastic and it was really, really fun to see Scott and to meet his wife and family. Scott looked great and Cherry is simply gorgeous.
Click here to see all the photos in our wedding gallery.
We started the day early in Summersville, West Virginia. Jackson and Ben woke up at 6am excited to be in a hotel. I didn't try to talk Jackson out of going swimming at 8am because that would have taken all day. Letting him stick his feet in the water only took a second. He said "I kinda thought it would be more fun. It's freezing!!" The scenery was beautiful all along the drive through West Virginia, a corner of Maryland, and into South-Western Pennsylvania, although it seemed like we drove uphill for four straight hours. I know at one point we were driving at 2880 feet and that we drove through the areas holding the highest points for both Pennsylvania and Maryland at 3213 feet and 3360 feet respectively. Mount Airy sits at an elevation of 1100 feet, so that means we should be able to coast all the way home.
Today was also Benjamin's 2nd birthday. We tried to take time all through the day to let him know it was his "happy day". For lunch we stopped at a McDonald's playland and let the boys play for over an hour. Ben also blew out two candles in a cupcake during lunch.
Thursday the 26th. Jackson, sniff..sniff, had his, sniff...sniff, kindergarten accessment this morning. Timmesa watched Ben while Amy took Jackson to his future elementary school (I was in Virginia on business). Then while Amy was taking the "we're going to distract the parents with a tour so that they don't glue their face to the window trying to watch their child get evaluated" tour, I got back to Mount Airy, snuck in to the school and glued my face to the window so that I could watch Jackson get evaluated. He was so sweet hopping on one foot, writing the alphabet, catching bean bags, sniff....sniff. Summer is going to go by way to fast this year.
The rest of the day was spent running errands because we start our drive to Jennerstown, Pennsylvania tonight. We aren't leaving until around 9pm, so the plan is to stop somewhere around Summersville, West Virginia for the night, which almost splits the drive in half. The wedding is at five tomorrow..
Wednesday the 25th. Our rose bush is exploding with blooms this year, it's really pretty. The awesome thing about our rose bush is that it was already there when we bought the house seven years ago. We've never done anything for it or to it. It just does it's thing every year, filling the corner of our house with big pink blossoms. So everyday on the way into the house and on the way out, we try to stop and smell the roses.
Amy and the boys played on the playground at Tharrington Elementary before walking to Opie's Candy Store on Main Street for some sweets. Later in the afternoon Amy, the most fun mom ever, poured over twenty pounds of flour into our kiddie pool and let the boys play in it. It was really intended to be something Ben would enjoy, but it was Jackson that had all the fun. He loved it. Ben, he didn't love it so much. Jackson discovered that he could run through the yard leaving a smoky trail behind him. Amy said that his hair was so white he looked like George Washington. Then after karate Jackson kicked the flour fun up a notch with our neighbor Jacob and Jacob's friend Sara by adding their trampoline to the mix. Ben just stood close by and watched. At one point he started yelling "hep! hep!" because some flour landed on his foot. Of course if it rains tonight we'll have the world's largest biscuit in our front yard. And speaking of karate, Jackson did really well again tonight. He continues to listen very intently and won his sparring match 3 to 1. Near the end of class while playing the red flag game, Jackson emerged from the pile of kids with his first bloody nose. Everyone felt very bad for him, but he rebounded in just a few minutes and returned to class for the final line-up. We then rented Mary Poppins, a movie that Jackson has wanted to watch for a long time. He fell asleep watching it.
Tuesday the 24th. Benjamin sang "We just got a letter, we just got a letter..." from Blue's Clues while opening his birthday card from Grandma Sue. Today's errands included a stop at the library for some new books, it's been a while since the last visit.
Click here to see all the photos and details from this morning's strawberry picking.
Monday the 23rd. We had a busy (and fun!) weekend, so it took me a few nights to get our Sesame Street Live photos online. Click here to see what we thought of the show and to see all the photos.
Sunday the 22nd. We celebrated Benjamin's birthday today with a small party at the house. All the photos and details are on Benjamin's Birthday Page.
Saturday the 21st. Jackson went to our neighbor Jacob's skate party with Papa, while Mo watched Ben at our house. Amy and I spent the evening celebrating Christie and Will Shepard's wedding. The ceremony was at the foot of Pilot Mountain and the reception at Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy. The weather, the reception, the band (The Catalinas), everything was awesome. Amy and I really enjoyed ourselves on a rare night out alone.
Friday the 20th. Good news, Megan is out of surgery. And she was able to have her procedure done laparoscopically, which was a very nice surprise. Hopefully her recovery will go perfectly and we'll see Megan back home in Mount Airy early next week. I'll have to go into more detail later about Sesame Street Live tonight, but let me just say that we had a wonderful time.
Thursday the 19th. Click here to go to Jackson's End Of The Year Program page and see all the photos and details from his pre-school graduation this morning.
Wednesday the 18th. Jackson had his last regular pre-school day in Mrs. Golding's class at Central Methodist. I know that was the fastest year in history. They had a "put everything you want on it" ice cream party outside to celebrate the occasion. Benjamin sat at his own little picnic table and ate ice cream too. I'm sure that when Ben starts Central in 2006 I'll again be writing about how fast time flies. Tomorrow Jackson graduates in the end-of-the-year program. Sam came home with Jackson after school today, then Timmesa took both Sam and Jack back to her house later in the afternoon. And of course Wednesday now means karate, as do Mondays and Fridays. This Friday we go see Sesame Street Live though. Then Saturday we have a wedding, while Jackson has another birthday party, this time at the bowling alley. And Sunday, we first have the KDH company picnic, then Ben's birthday party at our house. We are having Ben's party early because we go to Pennsylvania for a wedding next weekend. All of a sudden it's party time for the Heaths. But back to karate, Jackson got his gi and obi tonight, very cool. He looked very handsome in it. So on our way home we stopped for a spar/photo shoot with a guy that just moved up the street from the NC School of the Arts. Jackson also did really well in class tonight, he worked hard on his basic moves, pinned his opponent in a grappling match and drug his team-mate and both members of the other team across the goal line in a sort of tag football game they play.
Tuesday the 17th. Our friend Timmesa spent the night in Winston-Salem with Megan who is having tests ran in preparation for an upcoming surgery, so Sam came over bright and early to play with Jackson. The boys went to the playground and had a fun morning. This evening Jackson and I went to his buddy Cassell McMillian's birthday party at the skate rink. Jackson had a fantastic time skating. Plus we worked tag team on dad's favorite old school game of Galaga, making it all the way to level 26 on our only token. Jackson thought that was pretty cool, he hit the shoot button while dad worked the joystick.
Click here to go to the new Fort Clifton gallery.
Monday the 16th. More photos and details from last night are on the Dinner Club page.
Sunday the 15th. After lunch and a visit from Sherri, Wesley, and Jesse, we started our trip back to Mount Airy, with a stop in Winston-Salem for Dinner Club at Mike and Brooke's house.
Saturday the 14th. I started the day early by getting on the water at 6pm. A little later in the morning, Alan and Jimmy stopped by for a visit. Then Jackson, Amy, and Sue ran errands while Ben and I took it easy at the house. After lunch the boys and I went for a hike to the Appomattox River at Fort Clifton and played on a local playground. Just before bedtime Sherri, Wesley, and Jesse stopped by to give the boys their birthday presents.
Click here to watch Jackson practice his Jedi levitation trick (1MB)
Click here for details and more photos from this morning's paddle on Swift Creek and the Appomattox River.
Okay, as promised, I am going to let you in on another site that I visit regularly. The Hacking Family is currently cruising in Fiji. I've followed their travels for the past few years, starting around the time they went through the Panama Canal from the Caribbean. This site is interesting because the cruising lifestyle is just so very different than the one most of us live. They sometimes have lags in the updates, but always catch up. And you can find a ton of past reports to read through. Just thought some of you guys out there might like it. I mean just imagine, you and your family on a boat, no house, no car, no bills. Just you, your family, and a boat. Your only expenses are food, clothing, and boat maintenance. You anchor at an island and stay there for a few months, then move on to the next island. And from a technical standpoint, it's just interesting as heck that they can update their website via short-wave radio, how cool is that?
Friday the 13th. Jackson had one of his last pre-school classes this morning. He has two more next week, then his end-of-the-year program on Thursday. We did sign Jackson up for a six week, two day a week, summer program though so that it wouldn't be too big of a shock this fall when he starts going to kindergarten full time. Tonight we are in Colonial Heights visiting Nana Sue. We waited to start until Jackson spent some time in his marital arts class, so we arrived later than normal. We are all very glad to see Sue again. I brought my kayak with us and hope to explore some nearby rivers early in the morning.
Thursday the 12th. Jackson and I started the day early by getting a pickup truck load of mulch for the backyard. And after spending the morning on the Loville's Creek walking trail, he and Amy unloaded the whole thing by themselves. Wow, good day for me to be in Marion, Virginia because that was probably a pretty hot job. Sam also came over to play a little. Just before dinner the boys went outside to play in the rain. Notice that in the photo of Ben he is carrying a dandelion that he has shaken to death. Also notice that his daddy forgot to take his socks off before sticking him out in the rain.
Wednesday the 11th. We took so many photos last weekend, it's taking me all week to work through them. The very pretty girl in the photos on the left is our friend Megan. The 4X4 photos below are from our visit to my grandmother's farm in Virginia Saturday evening. The doggie is Emma, the most photogenic of our group of pets. In over six years I've never managed to get a single decent photo of Cassie. And we've got photos of Ben just being his funny little self, including one photo in the tree house. Notice that he is holding a little yellow flower in one of the photos. If you click through our website looking for pictures of Ben, you'll notice that in ninety percent of his photos, Ben is either holding a> a flower, b> a stick, or c> one of his stretchy lizard toys. Sometimes you have to look for it, but it's almost always there.
Benjamin spent his morning playing with his buddy Landon in Winston-Salem. Amy says that Landon is a phenomenal talker and the two boys played together really well. Benjamin enjoyed playing with Jake and with Landon's new backyard playground. Later in the afternoon, Sam and Matthew came by the house to play with Jackson.
Tuesday the 10th. Today's photos are from Saturday, when we planted Amy's Mother's Day maple tree and made Mother's Day garden stones.
Early this morning Amy took the boys to meet Timmesa and Sam on the playground (Megan was there too with a class from school). The playground was empty, so the boys all had lots of fun. Sam came back to our house to play, then Jackson went to Sam's house to play some more. During my lunch break, I got the nice treat of rocking Benjamin to sleep, he's often asleep by the time I get home. Ever since Jackson turned five I've wanted to rock Ben more because I know that we don't have many of those days left with him.
Monday the 9th. I've posted lots of new photos from our trip to the zoo, click here if you want to see them. Amy and Ben started the day with a stroll down Main Street after dropping Jackson off at pre-school. Everyone played outside this afternoon, well except for me. But I did get to commute on the bike to Hillsville, VA. The gorgeous weather had lots of other bikes out along the way too. Now that I'm riding with my "no dubbya" sticker on the helmet, if I get ran over, you'll know that it was somebody swerving from the far right to do it - ha ha.
Sunday the 8th. Happy Mother's Day Amy (probably the most fun, sweetest, best all-around Mom in the world - Jack and Ben are very lucky) Following a big buffet breakfast, we spent the entire day at the NC Zoo in Asheboro. We had a lot of fun, I forgot what eighty degrees felt like! By the time we hit the far side of the zoo and turned around, both boys were asleep in the stroller.
Saturday the 7th. Busy, fun day. Ben, Jackson, and I planted Amy a maple tree in the front yard for Mother's Day. Tomorrow we go to the NC Zoo in Asheboro as Amy's other present. Matthew, Samuel, and Jeff came over to play. Jackson helped me pour cement to anchor the swing set. And we spent the evening in Claudville visiting Hama first, then Mo for Mother's Day. Benjamin loves the trips to the farm for two reasons; first the cows and, second, the pickles. Ben and I walked to the end of Hama's Russia bottom to see a brand new calf that had just been born. Jackson likes the farm because he gets to ride his four wheeler around Hama's house.
Friday the 6th. Amy and Ben stopped by the office this morning to brighten my day, it's been cold and gray in Mount Airy.
Thursday the 5th. Timmesa watched Ben while Jackson went to Dr. Stone's for his five year checkup and immunizations. He didn't enjoy the shots at all and was glad to hear that his next ones come in five years when he's ten. Jackson weighs 35 lbs and is 42 inches tall. Click here to see Jackson's Milestones/Growth Chart. He is in the fiftieth percentile for both height and weight. I think it's interesting that in the last two years Jackson has gained only one and a half pound, but has grown four inches taller. Amy worked this evening while the boys and I went to Main Street to watch our friend Mandy's band Southern Sky perform. Jackson seemed impressed that we know a rock 'n roll singer.
Wednesday the 4th. Today Jackson played with all his new toys, then had a class at Mount Airy Martial Arts. In tonight's lesson he worked on three different Ju-Jitsu leg sweeps.
Tuesday the 3rd. Happy Birthday Jackson! We celebrated Jackson's birthday with a small party of family and friends at the house. Click here for all the photos, plus photos from his other birthday parties.
Monday the 2nd. Jackson had his birthday party at pre-school this morning and his second martial arts class this evening. I am really proud of how well he is doing in class.
Happy Birthday Sharon!
Sunday the 1st. We joined friends for lunch at my favorite restaurant, Macado's in Galax, Virginia. Everyone then spent the breezy Spring afternoon walking along the New River Trail. When we got back to Mount Airy, Jeff and I went for a paddle on Lovill's Creek Lake while Amy and the boys continued playing with our friends at their house.