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Friday, May 28th, 2010.  Today's photos are from Ben's birthday.  Click here to see our new friends from the new neighborhood sing Happy Birthday to Ben (and Jackson).  They made him a delicious chocolate birthday cake and delivered it to him last night.  Both boys had reward days at school.  Jackson got to swim at Reeve's Community Center, while Ben got to eat lunch outside. 

Jackson and Ben sliding with friends from the neighborhood Anne Rachel giving Brett a hug

Thursday, May 27th, 2010.  Happy Birthday Ben!  Ben's celebration started yesterday with a shopping trip to Winston-Salem with his Aunt Dee that included a stop at Chuck E Cheese and continued through today with presents this morning, a candle in his pancakes and cupcakes at school.  He played outside with kids from the neighborhood this afternoon, breaking out a new Slip'N'Slide.  We rushed over to Jackson's soccer team's ice cream party, which we almost forgot about, got into a nice big game of kick ball, then found the kids from the neighborhood waiting for Ben with a chocolate cake that they baked.  I can't believe our baby is seven.  (today's photos are by Deana)

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010.  Jackson said that this would be his last soccer game, he wants to switch to baseball next Spring.  So I told him to leave it all out on the field, to play hard enough on defense to make it the type of game he would be happy to remember.  He did.  The entire team played superb, as did the team they played against.  We had friends on both sides of the ball and it was a great game to watch.  The score was 0-0 with only a few minutes left in regulation, the field was wet and muddy, both goalies were having giant games, then, with only two minutes left, the game shifted suddenly and dramatically to an offensive storm.  When the whistle blew Jackson's team was up 3-1, giving him his second championship under Coach Vernon.  More photos here.

 

Monday, May 24th, 2010.  We accomplished a lot over the weekend at the house, but also managed to take a break each evening for some fun.  On Saturday we picked cherries at my sister Melanie's house, then, on Sunday, we went fishing and swimming at my sister Deana's house.  Ben decided that he wanted to catch a fish, so he broke out his little Superman rod.  Deana helped him put the corn on his hook, then stuck with Ben when the showers came.  Ben kept fishing in the rain until he finally hooked a big sunfish. 

The living room has been painted, the garage is empty, all the mulch is down, the sidewalks edged, the flock transplanted, the gutters emptied, the tools organized, the old boxwoods removed, and fertilizer and pesticides spread on the lawn.  Pretty productive weekend considering that we haven't been in the house a month yet.  The kids played outside the entire weekend, riding everything we own with wheels.   They also made up new games and created Survivor camps in the landscaping for their action figures. 

 

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010.  My boys have a way of gravitating to any nearby dirt pile.  Last night they played in our neighbor's fresh pile of red dirt.  I had to hose Jackson down in the yard before he could come inside.  He had a wonderful night though. 

Friday, May 21st, 2010.  I have lots of photos on my whitewater website, www.betweenswims.com, from Wednesday night's park and play session at the Boiling Hole on the Mayo River.   Great way to unwind.

On Thursday night, we wrapped up our 6 year old tee ball/coach pitch season with a narrow loss in the first round of the tournament.  The kids played a wonderful game against a really solid team, but two of our players did not show up and it proved to be too big of an obstacle to overcome.  I'll miss the kids from this season.  Definitely the most fun I've had coaching to date.  I had a great group of parents helping out at every single practice and game.  Jackson's soccer season ends with Tuesday's championship game. 

       

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010.  Last night was the best game I've watched to date.  Jackson's team went down 1-0 in the first quarter, then evened it at 1-1 in the second.  They had a dominating 3rd quarter and went ahead 2-1.  But just as time was about to run out, the other team scored on a corner kick.  So they went into overtime at 2-2.  Both teams played super hard and didn't give an inch.  We had a penalty kick just as time was about to expire, but their goalie made a superb stop, sending it to penalty kicks.  Each miss was matched with a miss by the opposing team.  Each goal was matched with another goal.  They won on the final round of kicks, a score by Alex followed by a miss on the gold team.  Lots of jumping, yelling and cheering from the kids after each goal during the game and afterwards.  Just a lot of fun.  They now move on to the championship game.

 

Monday, May 17th, 2010.  We all agreed that the past weekend was the best we have had in a very long time, possibly since our Disney trip.  Jackson had his friend Simon over Friday evening, which was a lot of fun.   Late that night, we made a list of all the things each person wanted to do over the weekend.  Jackson wrote RELAX AT HOME, so we made that a pretty high priority.  The boys only had to leave the house once, when we went to the movies Sunday afternoon, which allowed us to check off one of Jackson's other items; see Iron Man 2.  Ben and Amy watched How To Tame A Dragon.  The boys spent much of their weekend playing outside, either with the neighbors or in the driveway with their remote control cars.  Amy and Jackson went on a long walk with the dogs.  We all pitched in to work on our landscaping.  We mulched, mowed the lawn and cut low hanging limbs.  We also removed a dogwood that was blocking Ben's window.  On Sunday, Will, Christie and Anne Rachel stopped by for a visit, so we decided to have an impromptu cook-out, sending Will to the store to buy supplies while Jackson and I prepped the grill.  And just before bed last night, Amy and I hung a few more photos.  A really, really relaxing, yet productive, two days at home. 

Friday, May 14th, 2010.  I am so proud of the group of kids that Ben played tee ball with this year.  At the start of the season I said that I would be happy if every team won exactly half of their games.  I don't know about the other teams, but our team finished 3-3.  We had the best group of kids and I look forward to our tournament games.  After last night's close 17-18 loss, we celebrated our season with a pizza/ice cream party at our house and handed out the following individual awards in recognition of each player's unique contributions to the team.

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010..  In celebration of turning ten, Jackson invited four of his friends to spend the night with him.  Amy joined him earlier that day on a field trip to Dan Nicolas Farm and drove the van full of boys from Salisbury, NC to our house.  We played kick ball, woofle ball and basketball.  We rode scooters and fought a Nerf war.  Jackson also made his first ever trip to the emergency room after getting a pretty nasty bump on his head and, as a result, missed three hours of his own birthday party.  He came home, feeling fine, at 11:00PM to find his friends awake and waiting up for him.  Other than the accident, it was a great weekend and all the boys seemed to have a lot of fun.  If the accident didn't leave too bad of an impression on his friends' parents, then maybe we can have a re-do sometime soon. 
Jackson played soccer last night in the rain.  His team, which has the same coach and three of the same teammates from his 2007 undefeated soccer season, is in first place going into the tournament.  

Monday, May 10th, 2010.  A few photos from Mother's Day morning.

Sunday, May 9th, 2010.  Happy Mother's Day Amy!  We left Mother's day tree number two behind (I killed tree number one by accident), so it was time to plant tree number three.  I think this one will out last the others and hopefully be the most special one yet.

Thursday, May 6th, 2010.  In today's photos, you see our garage on the day before we moved in.  We eventually filled it completely, but were able last night, by working into the wee hours of the morning, to empty it enough to park one vehicle inside.  Another photo shows Ben playing in the neighbor's backyard.  He has had SO much fun playing with the neighbors, who appear to be wonderful kids.  Our backyard is in the background.  The third photo shows the impact of our "moving" schedule.  Ben fell asleep that afternoon with a sucker still in his mouth.  It has been a struggle to maintain our regular bedtime and everyone has felt the effects of it.  Tonight, we once again went to bed late, but only a little, following Ben's tee ball game.  Ben's team played awesome and improved to 3-2 on the season with only one more game left.  It was the most excited I have seen them after a game.  They knew that we lost pretty bad to the same team a few weeks earlier.  They were jumping and yelling and picking each other up.  Really fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010.  I finally caught up on a little sleep last night, although Amy still worked through half the night.  Jackson had a soccer game last night.  His team has only surrendered two goals all season, but have lost twice.  That's amazing.  I bet they have scored fifteen or twenty goals so far.  They are a great team and played a great team last night.  Jackson was tired, but perked up in the fourth quarter, as did the whole team, in their push to even the score.  Ben played on the playground with his buddies, while Amy unloaded another van full of stuff at our house.  Jackson also had to play in cleats that were one size too big because I have no idea where we packed the ones he normally wears.  After the game and a quick shower, he was able to play the new PS3 Deana and Martin gave him for his birthday on the new TV that Amy and I gave the boys for their birthdays.  He was very excited about that and woke up this morning talking about how awesome the graphics are.  And Jackson's room is finally completely coming together, which makes him feel more at home in the new house.  At the top of tonight's to-do-list, find Ben's baseball cleats.  More soccer photos here

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010.  I uploaded more of Deana's baseball photos here.  I don't think I've been this sleepy since we had a newborn in the house.  Life doesn't slow down just because you move into a new house.  You still have ball games, practice, homework, baths, dinner, etc...  So all the things like painting and unpacking have to happen late at night after the boys are asleep.  <yawn>  I'm hoping to turn in early myself one night soon.  <yawn>  Or you might find me one morning sleeping among the boxes in the garage.  We have received two welcome-to-the-neighborhood baskets and one bear-shaped chocolate cake, which did in fact make us feel very welcome.  And yesterday, I was treated to lunch at Olympia by my ninety year old grandmother who stopped by to see our new house. 

 

Monday, May 3rd, 2010.  Happy Birthday Jackson!  I love you!!  Both Jackson and our website turn 10 years old today.  Amy stuck a candle in his oatmeal this morning so that we could sing him Happy Birthday.  We wrapped up the evening by blowing out candles on cupcakes that Amy made.  Click here for the video.  We are still unpacking, painting, installing, etc... and probably will be for a long time, but we all love the new house and the area.  The kids spent their evening playing in the yard with many of their new friends from the neighborhood. 

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010.  Thursday could be remembered as the day that we moved everything we own out of our house, working from 6AM to 4AM.  But instead, I'll probably always think of it as the day Ben hit his first home run off a pitch.  Man were we excited.  All the players on his team were just monsters at the plate during that game, which they won 18-10.  It was a fun break in the middle of all the packing.  Amy and Jackson took their break at the soccer field where Jackson's team won 3-0 to move them into first place. 

The past week has been the busiest of my life and I don't see any signs of things slowing down, but we are now in our new house, so a new phase of our life has begun.  I'll post more about the new house when I have time.  (My sister Deana took the baseball photos)