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Saturday, May 31st, 2008.  Amy is on her way to Roanoke for our friend Erin's baby shower.  Ben, who spent much of the morning watching a Muppets DVD, will soon be celebrating a friend's birthday at our local playground, then will spend the night with our friends the Eads in continued celebration of his own birthday.  Jackson and I will be hanging out and probably playing lots of basketball.  Today's photo is from Wednesday night at the Boiling Hole in Rockingham County.  More photos here.

Friday, May 30th, 2008.  I love the photo of Ben on the right.  When he saw the camera pointed at him, he popped his jersey out like Kevin Garnet of the Boston Celtics in the NBA commercials.  Click here for more photos from Ben's TBall season.  Even though the season has ended, we've continued to play ball in the front yard and are all enjoying it.  Ben now prefers us to pitch the ball to him rather than hit it off the tee.  The only problem is that our yard soon won't be big enough for him, that kid is going to be a slugger.

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008.  Happy Birthday Ben!  We love you!!

Following Amy's eight mile run yesterday morning, we headed up the mountain to Galax for our first stroll along the New River Trail since this one three and a half years ago.  Three and a half years hasn't changed the fact that Ben isn't a fan of long walks, so we pulled out the old stroller.  Sure enough, we were not out of site of the van when Ben climbed into it.  I accidentally left my camera behind in Winston-Salem Sunday night, so Jackson was responsible for documenting our hike.  As usual, he did a great job and took lots of nice nature shots.  You may notice in today's pics that I'm sporting shorter hair these days.  Ben and I went for haircuts about a month ago and he got a kick out of seeing the long hair come off.  That was the first time he had seen me with my hair short.   This was the last time he saw me with it long.  It was nice and cool in the shade of the trail and we had a nice Memorial Day, capped off with dinner at my favorite restaurant, Macados.  Ben told me on the phone this morning that he is staying home all day today.   I think the big three day weekend wore our little five year old out.

Monday, May 26th, 2008.  We got Ben the biggest birthday cake we could find.  One with five candles on it.  It was so big, we had to put it in the front yard.  The boys bounced all they could bounce for three days.  Friends and family bounced.  Neighbors bounced.  It was a very bouncy birthday.  Ben enjoyed his party very, very much.  He's playing with his Star Wars and Power Ranger toys this morning as I type.  Earlier, not long after he woke up, he said "I'm only going to say this one more time.  I can't believe I got Indiana Jones."  He can thank his buddy Landon for that gift.  Yesterday afternoon, while it was nice and hot, we broke in his new Slip'NSlide Mo and Papa got him.  Last night we went to Dinner Club in Winston-Salem at Mike and Brooke's house and played lots and lots of baseball in the backyard.  It's been a big weekend and it's not over yet.  We're going to do something fun today, we just haven't figured out what that is yet  Photos from all Ben's parties can be found here.  My sister Deana has more photos as well. 

Friday, May 23rd, 2008.  Picking Strawberries.  It's one of our oldest and dearest traditions here at Life In Mayberry.  Click here to see photos from six years of berry picking.  Amy and the boys visited Cave's farm in Dobson, NC for the second straight year and returned with three gallons of delicious strawberries.  I've also posted two more pics from Ben's last day of school in the four year old room.  Ben has one more year to go before we send him off to kindergarten.  This fall he will attend pre-school, five mornings a week, in the five year old room.

 

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008. This is a big week for Ben.  He had his last day of pre-school for the year, his last Tee Ball game and his End-Of-The-Year program.  The photos from Ben's pre-school program are all courtesy of Deana.  Following the show, she and my mother took Ben to Winston-Salem for a big birthday shopping spree.  Ben's birthday party will be on Saturday at the house.  For photos from four years of pre-school end-of-the-year programs, click here.

 

Sunday, May 18th, 2008.  A head cold and allergies have kept me out of the posting mood lately, but things have stayed about as busy as usual.  Mother's Day didn't go quite as well as I had planned.  I spent a lot of time on Saturday talking to the boys about how I wanted them to behave the next day.  I wanted us to take Amy out somewhere nice for lunch.  I guess the pressure was too much for them because they picked at each other and fought all morning long.  Amy called off lunch and we cooked waffles instead.  The rest of the day went better and we were able to visit my mom, my grandmother and one of my sisters.  I gave Amy a new camera to replace her old one, Jackson gave her a butterfly for her Mother's Day tree and Ben drew a picture of a tulip.  Amy worked with Jackson and Ben to make flower pots to give as gifts.  Today's photo is of the one we gave Hama.

Amy and Ben have been making frequent trips to Claudville lately to pick up Hama for appointments back here in town, mostly for things like checkups with heart doctors, stomach doctors, eye exams, cholesterol checks, etc...  On each of those days, Ben sits in the waiting room patiently and doesn't complain on the drives, even if some of the waits have been all day long.  I talk a lot about Ben's temper, but I should also say that he is actually a really well behaved kid, right up to the minute he looses his temper.  In school, on the ball field, even around the house, he actually listens really well.  Both Amy and Ben enjoy Hama's company and they've also made other trips with her, like to my Aunt's greenhouse in Ararat.  Often they stop on the way out of town for either breakfast or lunch.  Ben picked Barney's on Wednesday for breakfast and ordered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of bacon.  That's the perfect meal for Ben. 

We've been playing a lot of basketball, football and baseball lately.  We've been on a hike, took Ben to see Big Foot.  Amy ran seven miles yesterday in training for August's half marathon.  Jackson and I have been reading Encyclopedia Brown, which is fun because I loved that series as a kid.  Of course in the age of Google and Wikipedia, I had to explain to Jackson what an Encyclopedia is. 

 

Saturday, May 10th, 2008. One photo is from Ben's TBall game on Tuesday.  Two photos are from the March of Dimes Teamwalk today.  And the other two photos are from the Kids Walking For Kids walk at Ben's pre-school on Thursday.  Click here for photos from the four pre-school team-walks our boys have participated in.

Thursday, May 8th, 2008.  The day before Jackson's own birthday, he, Amy and Ben stopped by my office with a birthday cake for our friend Sharon, complete with trick candles.  We saw Sharon again on Jackson's birthday, where things went exactly as he wanted, with lots and lots of basketball being played.  He also loved all his presents and got to go on a big shopping spree at a local sporting goods store.  The weather held up nicely and everyone had a good time.  We filled a large orange cooler with Gatorade and after all the games were finished, I snuck up on Jackson and his cousin Caleb and dumped it on their head.  That was pretty funny and they thought it was awesome.  Both boys had to take showers before they could go back out and play because they were so sticky.  Jackson was thrilled that Caleb got to spend the night with him.  Later in the evening, two girls visiting their grandmother next door came up to throw ball with them.  Jackson insisted that Amy and I stay inside.  The girls flirted, the boys giggled and in the end I heard Jackson tell Caleb he was in Birthday heaven.  Photos from all of Jackson's birthdays are here.

 

Monday, May 6th, 2008. Saturday was so awesome that I'll need to split it into two posts.  We'll start with the race.  I couldn't be any more proud of Amy.  It was the first time I've seen her run and I was simply amazed.  I honestly had no idea she was that fast.  The course went straight up a looooong hill before turning and finishing on a steep downhill grade.  We arrived with three of our friends pretty close to the starting time and found ourselves stuck in traffic trying to get into the race.  As soon as we parked, Amy took off to get her chip and get positioned at the starting line.  The boys and I made our way to the course and were having fun playing frisbee when we saw the first person cross the finish line.  We hustled into position right at the finish and started watching for Amy.  There were 1,254 people competing and I don't know how many more thousands participating.  I felt like we would be waiting for awhile before the main pack got there, but the boys were looking hard for their mom.  And then, after only a few short minutes, I saw someone in a pink shirt making their way through only the second pack of people to come down the hill.  I yelled to the boys that their mom was coming and she was running fast!  Amy was flying through the crowd and crossed the line in full sprint.  I honestly had no idea she was that fast.  We were amazed and incredibly proud of her.  Amy finished 7th out of 63 in the 30-34 female division.  7th!  And 58th out of the 415 women competing.   She was only the 169th person out of all those thousands to cross the line.  Amy and her fellow team-mates Christy, Sandy and Mandy all did fantastic and represented Mount Airy and Pro-Health very well.  Personally, I got tired just walking back to the car, so they all have my respect.  And thanks again to everyone that helped Amy reach her fundraising goal.  It was great to see the large number of survivors on hand.  I had hoped to see some of those in pink that we know, like my friend and high-school classmate Sandra who has inspired us tremendously over the past year, but the crowd was too large.  And we had to get home to get ready for Jackson's birthday party (to be continued...)

          

Thursday, May 1st, 2008. Many more photos and a really, really big video from my weekend of camping and kayaking in Hot Springs, NC can be found at www.betweenswims.com .  We had a huge group of paddlers, 39 to be exact.  It looked like someone spilled a bag of giant skittles into the river.  Most were friends from my paddling club, some were friends of a friend from the Asheville area and one was a professional rodeo boater.  And all were super nice folks that I enjoyed paddling with.  I also enjoyed the time I spent around the camp fire roasting hot dogs, drinking IPAs and telling paddling tales.