Tuesday the 30th. Benjamin and Jackson went to see Santa Claus at Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem today, while I stayed home in bed sick with the flu. Benjamin wasn't very thrilled about sitting on Santa's lap, so no picture of him this year. Amy did say he enjoyed walking around the big guy though. Jackson wasn't very thrilled with Santa at one and a half either. But at four he was very happy to see Santa and give him his wish list. He also told Santa that he would leave him a ham and cheese sandwich with a pickle on Christmas Eve.
Monday the 29th. Last night Jackson was playing a game on the PC when Ben reached up trying to get to the keyboard. Jackson pulled Benjamin's hand away and in retaliation Benjamin chomped down hard on Jackson's hand for a good five or six seconds. Jackson had time to tell me three times that Benjamin was biting him before I could drop what I was doing and rush in to save him. The little scamp was clamped down like a pit bull on his big brother. When I pulled them apart Jackson had deep teeth marks all the way around the base of his thumb. I let him hold a frozen bag of peas while he cried on the couch and the whole time, the part about it all that amazed me so much, was that it never occurred to Jackson to get mad at his little brother for biting him. After a year and a half he is still madly in love with his baby brother.
Sunday the 28th. Thanks to the Eads who watched Ben and Jack today, Amy and I were able to spend the afternoon together Christmas shopping. It was the longest amount of time we've been away from the kids since BenBen was born and we enjoyed it. I think the boys enjoyed it too! Hama is still in Mount Airy and is scheduled to transfer to Forsyth tomorrow. My great football year continues, the Steelers beat the Redskins today to improve to 10-1. This is there best start since the 70s when I first became a fan.
Jackson drew these five superheroes, named them, and created their profiles all on his own. According to him... Halfman tells jokes, likes pulling practical jokes, wears horse shoes and horse gloves, can turn into half boy/half girl and can grow. Superboy flies, is indestructible, turns invisible, and has O for a symbol. SuperGirl has "gription", sticking, and webs for power. She is also superstrong. Mr FlyGuy has jets and can poke with his boots. Slippery guy's power is his ability to slip.
Saturday the 27th. Go Hokies!!! After beating a tough UVA team we are now guaranteed a share of first place in the ACC. And if we can somehow beat Miami at Miami we win it outright and go to the Orange Bowl. Hama's heart is back in rhythm and is feeling better today. She transfers to Forsyth Hospital in Winston-Salem either tomorrow or Monday for a cardiac catheterization that will hopefully find the source of her heart problem.
While in town to visit Hama, Papa dropped Isabelle and Caleb off at the house to play. Melanie and Eric came by later to pick up the kids. Before leaving Caleb went outside and came back inside with their kitten Strawberry. Strawberry lives about twenty miles away in Virginia, so everyone was pretty surprised to see her. We still don't know who she hitched a ride with, but both Melanie and Papa had been to the hospital before coming to our house. We visited Melanie's house the night before, so I guess it could have been with us. Whoever it was with, it had to be one long cold ride.
Friday the 26th. This photograph of Jackson was taken at his pre-school earlier this month. Yesterday Hama's pulse was high and her blood pressure low, so Mark and Susan stayed the night with her, then took her to her heart doctor in Mount Airy this morning. The doctor felt that she might have a blockage or a problem with her stint, so she has been admitted to the hospital for at least the weekend.
Thursday the 25th. Almost all the other holidays change as you get older, but one that stays the same year after year is Thanksgiving. Because I have never missed celebrating it on the farm in Virginia, it has become one of my favorite traditions. So much wonderful food. Hama felt a little under the weather today, but still managed to fix her famous chicken and dumplings, along with turkey and tons of other sides. Amy made two Paula Deen recipe's, Pumpkin Gooey Cake and Mac-N-Cheese, plus a cranberry salad and pineapple casserole. Later in the evening after returning from Claudville, the whole family sandwiched together on the couch with a bag of popcorn and watched Frosty The Snowman. Jackson snuck Zorro pieces of popcorn while Benjamin kept his arm buried in the bag. Ben LOVES popcorn. So does Zorro.
Wednesday the 24th. I took these November sky photographs when I stepped out of the office this evening. Amy went to work as soon as I got home. After dinner I decided it would be a Rock History night for the boys. After all, teaching music appreciation is just one of the many responsibilities we, as parents, have. (you should be picturing Jack Black and The School of Rock about now) So I started with Robert Johnson, then moved up to Elmore James, and closed out the lesson with some cranked up ZZ Top. Jackson is getting close to perfecting his air guitar rock star poser moves. Ben likes it too and likes it LOUD! I already knew that Ben liked Elmore James, especially the Hawaiian Boogie, I'm not too sure about Jackson. But they were both crazy about the old school ZZ.
Tuesday the 23rd. I spent the day in Wytheville, Virginia, which meant I got to eat a couple of world famous Skeeter's hotdogs with the works and window shop for paddle supplies at Tree Huggers Outdoor during lunch. After all our recent traveling, Amy and the boys decided to stay home and out of the rain, except for a quick trip out for Jackson's haircut.
Monday the 22nd. Ben and I stayed home while Amy and Jackson went to his pre-school Thanksgiving party. This afternoon we picked up our nephew Caleb at Blue Ridge Elementary and took him to Chuck E Cheese for his birthday since we missed his party on Saturday.
Sunday the 21st. We're back in Mount Airy and the boys miss Grandma Sue already. This is a picture I took of Ben and Sue during the VA Tech game last Thursday night. After the traffic problems we had on our trip Friday night, we were more than happy to take a different way home. My kayaking buddy Jeff bought a new kayak and we drove through Charlottesville, Virginia to pick it up for him. That meant we got to take a new western route home making it one big loop through Virginia for the weekend round trip. We left Grandma's at 11:30 this morning and got home just in time to record Desperate Housewives at 9:00. The kids were great as usual during the drive. We also got to stop and see our friend Hilary and her two children, Virginia, and Walter Scott, in Short Pump along the way. It was a really pretty day so the kids got to play outside for a couple of hours.
Saturday the 20th. We arrived late, but safe, in Colonial Heights following our six and a half hour drive last night. Today was spent decorating Grandma's house for Christmas and visiting with family. We got to see Amy's brother Alan and our nephew Jimmy, plus Amy's sister Sherri and our nephew Jesse. Jimmy went with me to Swift Creek to scout a possible future paddle in the kayak.
Friday the 19th. Jackson drew the picture of a truck all by himself while I was giving Benjamin a bath. I scanned it onto the computer and then let him color it on the PC. We are taking Grandma Sue home right now, completely stuck in a traffic jam. Bad enough that I am updating the website while I'm driving.
Thursday the 18th. Just look at those eyes. Is he precious or what? That look is how he gets away with being such a stinker all the time.
Amy and Sue, along with the boys, met me at Chili Verde for a nice Mexican lunch before heading to Sue's hometown of Bland, Virginia and her homeplace.
How 'bout those HOKIES!!!! 55-6 over Maryland. WOW! First place in the ACC so far, picked to be 8th. I'll say it again, how 'bout those Hokies??? Any other fans out there, go ahead, turn up your speakers, sit back and enjoy the Tech Triumph .
Happy Birthday Caleb! My nephew Caleb is seven years old today.
Wednesday the 17th. I decided today at lunch that it was time to leave quarantine and rejoin the living. I'm not %100, but at least I can swallow again. Ben went shopping this morning with his mom and grandma while Jackson was at pre-school. Grandma Sue bought Benjamin his favorite thing in the whole world, Krispy Kreme donuts. She also got the boys the new Mickey Mouse Christmas movie, Benjamin an Elmo puppet book, and Jackson a new Rescue Hero. They will be good and spoiled by the time we take Grandma Sue home this weekend.
Tuesday the 16th. With the exception of a trip to the doctor's office, I've been shut up in the bedroom with a bad case of strep throat. It's the first time I've ever had it and I hope it is the last. And more than that, I hope the rest of the family doesn't get it. Terrible, terrible stuff this strep throat business.
Monday the 15th. I have been under the weather with some sort of sore throat bug, but the rest of the wild bunch is doing fine. Lots of bed rest and Amy's prescription of homemade vegetable soup and Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake will hopefully have me back on my feet by tomorrow. The kids have continued to be in great spirits. I think having Grandma Sue in the house has really agreed with them. When Amy kissed Jackson good night last night she thanked him for their date at the movies and said " it was the best part of my day." Jackson said "you mean month?" He is so full of himself.
Sunday the 14th. While I spent much of the day at the office, Jackson and Amy went on a big date to the new movie theater and to the park for a sit on the park bench. After pouring out what he thought would be enough money from his piggy bank to buy movie tickets and popcorn, filling up his canteen with water, and picking out his own clothes (he called his suit his tuxedo), he went to see The Polar Express with his mom. They made a very attractive couple.
Saturday the 13th. Fantastic day. Benjamin was in a wonderful mood all day long. He laughed at everything. I would pretend to sleep, then he would try to wake me up. When I jumped up and said "BENJAMIN!!", he would throw his head back and laugh and laugh. After lunch everyone went to Sci-Works. Our good friend Megan went with us and we had a lot of fun. When we got home Jackson stretched out in the grass to watch the sun set. He also sat on the bank next to the driveway and pretended he was fishing for catfish using a stick as a fishing rod. Benjamin found the sandbox and played in it by himself until we went in for the evening. And both boys played their own games with Frankie, which doesn't happen very often. We have a very low maintenance cat that doesn't get a lot of attention. Then Grandma Sue treated everyone to Sonic, one of our favorite indulgences. And before we called it a night, Jackson went in to the office to help me out with a project. He took a canteen with him in case we got thirsty. He asked me a few questions about different pieces of equipment in the office. When I told him that the black computer was a server. He asked something else, but was laughing so I couldn't tell what he said. He had to repeat it several times before I could figure out what he was saying because he couldn't stop laughing. What he said was "Does it serve meals?". (Server, as in waiter... get it). I didn't know the love for bad puns was genetic.
Friday the 12th. First SamBam came over to play at our house, then our boys went to Sam's house. A yucky, rainy day.
Thursday the 11th. Jackson has started getting into bed with us during the night. We don't know when he does it, he is just there when we wake up. I woke up when the baby did (yes he didn't make it all night in his room either) and took him downstairs to Amy. When I ran back upstairs to get clothes for the day, the baby went to the baby gate at the foot of the stairs and started crying/yelling because I had left him downstairs. (Ben loves climbing the stairs) Jackson's eyes opened slowly. When he saw me standing next to the bed, he sat up and said "That's okay Dad, Mom and I can handle it, you go back to sleep."
Wednesday the 10th. Benjamin started saying Grandma yesterday. He pronounces it Ga-Maw. And he knows what it means too. You can tell him "go show gamaw" and he will run through the house to find her. And at lunch he started saying "again" while we were playing a game that was making him laugh. That's three new words in just four days. Having Grandma Sue around to talk to all day must be paying off.
Tuesday the 9th. Jackson was happy this morning to find Zorro in the house after spending his first winter night of the year inside. Ben got pretty close to Zorro last winter, but I'm not sure he knew what to think about him this morning. He gave Zorro some pretty big speeches, who knows what he was telling him. Jackson had a dentist appointment at lunchtime that didn't go as well as his last one, but he was still very brave and pulled out of it just fine.
Monday the 8th. While Jackson was at school this morning, Grandma Sue, Amy, and Ben ran errands around town and made a short trip to Cana, Virginia to pick up some produce. Then Grandma went with Amy to pick up Jackson and Samuel at Central. The boys then played dress-up this afternoon.
Sunday the 7th. Today, with the race on in the background, Jackson said "Hey Daddy, Bush won the election AND he's winning the race!" (Kurt Busch was in the lead at the time) And Ben added apple to his growing vocabulary list this afternoon.
Jeff and I made a six mile paddle down the Dan on maybe the nicest day of the year. The water was clear, the sun bright, and the breeze warm. We had a fantastic time. Click here to go to the Paddle Page for more on the trip.
If you have broadband, check out the November 2004 Paddle On The Dan movie (5.4MB)
Saturday the 6th. GO TECH GO!!! After beating North Carolina and Miami loosing to Clemson, the Hokies moved into a two-way tie for first place in the ACC with UVA.
Friday the 5th, 2004. On my way out for lunch on the motorcycle it was surprisingly cold and windy to be sixty degrees, but I thought "what the heck, who needs to eat? Let's go for a ride." So I headed into Virginia and rode all the way to the top of Squirrels Spur. The scenery was awesome and the new road is very cool. I'll miss all the little dips and curves on the old road, but the new one is fast with a lot more overlooks. The mountain was closed when I last tried it in May and just opened this week.
Meanwhile, Amy was driving Grandma Sue and the boys home from Colonial Heights. I think their trip went well and we are all very pleased to have Grandma with us again.
Thursday the 4th. Amy and the boys drove the 250 miles to Colonial Heights today. They had dinner with Sherry, Wesley, and Jesse at CiCi's. Jackson then went home with Grandma Sue while Amy and Ben went to watch Jimmy square dance at Tussing Elementary.
Wednesday the 3rd. Megan finally got her casts off today, so we all met at one of Megan's favorite restaurants, Chile Verde, to celebrate.
Tuesday the 2nd. Did you vote today? I hope so, because it was your ticket to complain, whine, and yell for the next four years. If you didn't vote, then I don't want to hear about it. Amy and I stood in line for an hour and a half with the boys today to cast our ballots. I let Jackson help me in my booth. Of course I didn't tell him that I checked Kerry and the straight democratic ticket. He had already said that he was voting for Bush. Then when I told him that there were basically two teams, the Republicans and the Democrats, he didn't miss a beat. "I'm a Republican!" he proclaimed. I just don't know how these things happen.
Monday the 1st. On the way home from pre-school I asked Jackson "what is the first thing we have to do when we walk in the house?". The answer I was fishing for was go to the potty. Jackson said "kick off our shoes." I said "okay, so what is the second thing we'll do?" He said "smell our stinky feet!"
It was a year ago that I decided to start updating the website daily. I was curious if I could keep it up for a year. Well, one year down. I actually found it easier to post daily than to get behind and try to catch up. We take so many pictures, it is more convenient to take a few minutes each day to pick out a good one than to have to spend hours sorting through a weeks worth of pics. Anyway, I hope everyone else enjoyed the updates, and I'll try to keep it going.