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The Heath Jack-O-LanternsWednesday, October 31st, 2007.  The big day finally got here.  Jackson started things off with a field trip to see a Judy B Jones play in Winston-Salem.  Amy and Ben also drove to Winston, but they went to get doughnuts for Jackson's party at the Krispy Kreme store.  They had to wait an hour because, somehow, they were out of doughnuts.  How does that happen?  That's all they make!  .  Amy and Ben unloaded the supplies at Jackson's school, then when I came home for lunch, Amy went back for Jackson's party.  Her Mad Scientist's Lab was a big hit.  She used things like peeled grapes for eye balls, wet noodles for guts, a clump of mushy oatmeal for brains, apricots slices for ears, etc...  Our friend Timmesa stopped by and walked with Ben to Jackson's school.

From there, the boys made their first trick or treat stop at my office, then hit all the stores on Main Street with friends Matthew and Samuel.  We later joined the Eads again for dinner at their house, trick or treated first on their street, then again in another friend's neighborhood.  Both boys had a good time, but Ben, once again, skipped all the scary houses.  By then it was getting late, so we drove to my parent's house in Claudville, making one stop at Jackson's teacher's house along the way.  After lots of playing with their cousins and family, the boys were wiped out.  We had to brush Ben's teeth while he was sleeping when we got home.  

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007.  For the second year in a row the boys picked out their pumpkins in Cana, Virginia.  We carved them Saturday night.  Jackson made a skull face.  Ben, just like every year, drew on his pumpkin, but wouldn't let us cut it until the candles were going into everyone else's.   All the Jack-O-Lanterns came out great.  Tomorrow will be a very busy and much anticipated holiday.  Jackson worked all month doing chores to pay for the extra Jedi robe to go with the Jedi costume we ordered for him.  Both boys spent weeks looking at every costume on the official Star Wars costume website before making their choices.  Jackson will be a Jedi this year and Ben will be Darth Vadar.  Ben only seriously considered the bad guys as possible costume choices.  He doesn't like wearing the mask and the cape was too long, but Jackson traded that one for a shorter cape off his old Robin costume.

Amy is Room Mother this year for Jackson's 2nd grade class and tomorrow is the first big party of the year.  She has some fantastic ideas for it and I'm sure the kids will love the party.

Click here to visit our Pumpkin Patch Gallery.

 

Friday, October 26th, 2007.  Amy and I were just discussing how well moving the boys into the same room and turning Ben's bedroom into a playroom worked out.  I think everyone is really happy with the arrangement.  Today's photo shows the boys reading before bedtime.  It also shows Jackson's trophies, medals and belts above his headboard.  And a little of their racecar themed room.  Two walls are painted with the blue Ben picked out and two walls are painted with the Dover Gray Jackson picked out.  Another interesting side note is that Ben's bed stays made up %100 of the time.  He has refused to sleep under any type of cover since the day he was born, so eventually we stopped pulling his covers  back.  He just sleeps right on top.  If he gets in bed between Amy and I, the covers have to make a big U in the middle because he pushes them down with his feet while we fight to keep them over us.  One of my two nicknames for him is still Snuggle Buddy though because he has to have an arm or leg thrown over you and he loves to sleep.  The thing I call him the most though is Sugar Booger.  

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007. On Sunday, Amy and Ben spent the day at the Winston-Salem Children's Museum's "Touch-A-Truck" day.  Their buddy Landon went with them and even though they had every kind of truck you could imagine, including fire engines and even a helicopter, both boys only wanted to jump in the big bouncy tents they had setup.  Jackson and I spent our day at Martinsville Speedway watching a NASCAR race, thanks to my friend Anita and a couple of free tickets.  Jackson loved the crowd and the pre-race events.  He got to be in the crowd shots behind the SPEED channel pre-race show.  He stopped at every race car we saw and had me take his photo.  I was actually surprised that we made it all the way through the race.  Especially since it was really hot and we were sitting in the sun all day.  But he did fine.   The cool race scanner we had helped.  He played with it a lot and constantly checked race and driver stats.  We couldn't listen to the race drivers over the scanner though because the language stayed on the colorful side.  On the VERY colorful side.  Especially our favorite driver Tony.  I was glad that Jackson had his radio turned off when Tony shouted out two or three words that I'm pretty sure Jackson has never heard before.  All in all, it was a fun Father/Son day out at the races, enjoying a cooler full of snacks, a Mart-Dog or too, some loud, fast cars and the occasional crash. 

You may notice from the photos that Jackson switched to transition lenses.  It's something he wanted and I'm sure it's nice on bright sunny days to have the tint.  

 

Monday, October 22nd, 2007. They did it!  They're the undefeated 2007 Pee Wee Soccer Champions.  Wow, it was an awesome game.  So close.  It was tied 1 to 1 for the last three quarters and we knew that if it went to a shoot-out, the other team probably had the advantage.  But Jackson's team scored on a sensational play with only minutes left, then held off a last minute charge from the other team.  Jackson was a wild man on defense and made some super plays.  They all did, on both sides of the ball.  It's great to see how well they all play together as a unit by the end of the season.  Before drifting off to sleep, Jackson said "Why does it have to end?  The fun things always end."  He had a great team and a great coach and really enjoyed playing this year.  After the game he kept screaming "We Are Champions!!!"  I'm not sure if they ever calmed him down enough to snap a good picture for the paper.  Click here to watch Jackson's celebration dance with his trophies.  He was also happy that his cousin Caleb and family were able to make the late evening trip to Mount Airy for the game.  I had to get the post up tonight because I heard him tell his cousins Wesley and Jesse on the phone to check lifeinmayberry.com for photos from the game.

Saturday, October 20th, 2007.  Jackson's soccer team played their semi-final tournament game this morning and won 3-0.  Jackson played the first three quarters on offense and scored the first goal, his second of the season.  They remain undefeated and move on to the tournament finals which will be played Monday night.  They've had a great season and we hope that their winning streak continues through to the end.  The team they face next has improved a lot over the course of the season and looked really good in their win this morning. 

Jackson was flying to the ball at practice Wednesday night and an absolute menacing wild man on defense.  His coach told us then and again today after the game that he didn't know what Jackson was doing to get so much energy, but for him to keep doing it.  Jackson credits it to popping in a big piece of Double Bubble gum right before hitting the field.

After the game, we took the boys to a Halloween party hosted by one of Jackson's good friends at school.  Both boys had a lot of fun.  As tired as he should have been, Jackson couldn't go to sleep because he was too excited about the NASCAR race he and I are going to tomorrow.  My friend Anita called earlier in the week with an offer of two free tickets.

      

Friday, October 19th, 2007.  Congratulations to the Joyce clan on the arrival of Elijah Bryant! 

Amy and Ben spent the day in Winston-Salem with friends Ella and Landon while their mommy was at the hospital having baby brother Eli.  I think everyone had a wonderful time and I know Amy was happy to meet and hold Eli while he was only a few hours old.  The photo on the right is from the grocery store this afternoon where the kids bought a black cat birthday cake for little Eli.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007. Ben completed his Instructional Soccer League season last night.  When they gave everyone a medal, he said "We ALL won!"

Amy found out today that she finished 11th out of the women and 69th out of the total 130 competitors in her very first 5K with a time of 26:39.  I think that's amazing.  I'm terribly proud of her.

I met Jackson today at his school for "Bring A Parent To Lunch Day".  It was my first time eating lunch with him this year.  Ben didn't want to wake up this morning and once downstairs, he climbed onto the couch saying that he was sleepy.  Amy and I both commented about how he would jump up the minute it was too late to go to school.  I don't know how many times he has to do that before I pick up on the fact that he is sick.  Whenever Ben says he wants to sleep and will not wake up, he's sick.  Every time.  And he was sick today.  He slept most of the day, sometimes just laying on the couch staring at the ceiling.  When he's content to lay in front of the television while the television is off, you know he doesn't feel well.  He's much better tonight.

Monday, October 15th, 2007. We had a very busy weekend.  Amy and the boys starting things off on Friday with a visit to Main Street for the Autumn Leaves Festival.  Later that evening we partied in Stuart at the Star Theater in celebration of my mother's birthday.  That was a lot of fun, the kids danced for three straight hours to Elvis songs, most of which they already knew.  We saw lots of friends and family and I think my mother enjoyed it.  Ben woke up the next morning with a smile on his face and said "That was a goooood party."  Amy was off and running early Saturday morning at her first 5K.  She did fantastic, didn't walk and finished with a very respectable time.  She ended up separated from everyone she knew, so she picked the person in front of her and stuck with him till the end.  I would have given anything to have been there when she crossed the finish line.  If anyone has a photo, please send it to me.  She was right back at it before the sun came up this morning, running seven miles around town with her group from the gym.  While Amy was running Saturday, Jackson was in the goalie box fighting off fast flying soccer balls during a very offensive and exciting final game of the season.   His team won 5 to 3, which meant they went undefeated and are in first place.  Jackson loved the game because the other team was excellent and kept the defense on their toes.   Amy raced to the soccer field following her race and made it in time to see the entire second half.  Click here for photos from the entire season.

Once the game was over, we rushed off on a five hour drive to Colonial Heights to spend the night at Amy's brother's house following a stop by the cemetery in Petersburg.  Jackson and Ben were very, very happy to see their cousins and played as hard as they could all evening.  On Sunday we celebrated our niece Nicole turning seven at a skate party.  Between Friday and Sunday, the boys were able to see every one of their eight cousins.  They also both had a very hard time leaving on Sunday.  It was a quick visit that didn't last 24 hours.  Jackson loves his family very much and has a hard time living so far away.  Amy found him crying in a booth when we stopped for dinner because he missed his cousins.  Ben expressed his displeasure with us leaving his uncle's house by kicking and screaming all the way to his car seat and beyond.

       

Thursday, October 11th, 2007.  Jackson's team won their game Monday night giving them a record of 6-0-1.  That means that they are guaranteed at least a share of first place following Saturday's final game.  All Ben has to say about his first scrimmage game on Monday is that his team lost and that he had to play against his buddies.

Amy has been running up to seven miles lately and will run her first 5K race Saturday morning.  I hate that we won't be there to cheer for her, but it overlaps with Jackson's soccer game.  We're wishing her the best of luck though.

Our friend Timmesa picked up the boys today and took them skating with her boys, then back to her house for pizza.  Schools out tomorrow, so we didn't have to worry about homework or getting to bed on time.  Then tomorrow night we celebrate my mom's birthday with a big party at the Star Theater in Stuart Virginia.

 

 

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007. Today's photos were taken directly in front of and behind the office in Colrain Massachusetts where I spent the weekend working.  I didn't take photos from anywhere else, because I didn't spend anytime away from the office while it was daylight.   But from what I could tell, it's a beautiful part of the world and they definitely know how to cook a mean baked Boston haddock and brew a smooth river ale.  Being out of town for work meant that I missed my big kayaking trip in Kentucky, but I've already got it penciled in for next fall.    While I was gone, Amy and the boys stayed busy by going to the new Disney movie about the football player and his daughter (they all loved it), swimming at the gym, playing and visiting with cousins and friends, having a pizza/ice cream night and playing with their WebKinz.  The WebKinz thing is new at our house, but it's right up Jackson's alley.  Amy read about it on one of our blog friend's site and knew she had to get them for the boys.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007. It's officially Autumn and that means corn mazes and hay rides.  Ben's Papa joined him at pre-school for a Farm Day breakfast last Thursday.  Over the weekend Jackson had fun making parachutes for his action figures.  The weather was so nice Sunday, that after picking the boys up in Claudville, we drove up the mountain and along the parkway to Meadows of Dan.  We stopped first to check for apples on the tree my great-great grandfather planted in Bellspur before leaving for the Civil War.  For lunch we ate at the Poor Farmer's Deli because we couldn't get a table at the restaurant we normally go to.  From now on, the deli will be where we stop.  The Meadows of Dan Specials, root beers and desserts were awesome.   Then, for the second year in a row we visited Sammy Shelor's corn maze.  Sammy is the banjo player and current leader of The Lonesome River Band.  While we chatted with Sammy about Goober's restaurant, Blacksburg and the band, Amy explained to Jackson that "Sammy is kind of like a star."   Thanks to the drought, we never did find any apples, but it was a fantastic way to spend an early fall afternoon. 

Today, both boys went to the pediatrician for a yearly checkup and to get loads of shots.  I think Amy, Jackson and Ben would all agree that going to the doctor was not a good way to spend an early fall afternoon.  Jackson did a lot of growing this year and measured 4 lbs heavier and 6 inches taller than last year.  Ben didn't grow quiet as much and came in at 38 inches and 32.5 lbs.  That's 2.5 inches taller and 1.5 lbs heavier, putting him in the tenth percentile for height and thirtieth for weight.  He may not be the biggest kid on the block, but I think he's a perfect size and all the more cute for it.

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007. Jackson's team has played two more games and remain undefeated with five wins, no losses and one tie.   Last night's game was a close one that they won by only one goal.  Jackson played offense, midfielder and finished as goalie.  They have the weekend off, then a game on Monday and the final game that will decide the regular season championship on Saturday the 13th.  (more photos here)  Ben had team photos on Saturday.  Doesn't he look cool with his shades on?

Amy called me on her way home from Lowe's Home Improvements this morning, but had to get off the phone quickly.  She called me back to explain that a little old man was sitting in his pajamas in a hospital wheel chair WITH OXYGEN in the middle of the 52-601 intersection, by far the biggest intersection in town with over four lanes of traffic in each direction.  She jumped out of the van while it was still in the middle of the road, left the door open, and ran out to where he was sitting.  She asked if he needed help and he said "yeah, I'm trying to get to Wendy's, but I got too tired."  So she pushed him across the road and into the Wendy's parking lot before running back to her van.  Apparently he wheeled himself out of the hospital at the top of the street and managed to get all the way down to Highway 52 before running out of steam.  Amy said he had this look on his face that said "Well *&#^, now what am I going to do?"  She saw someone else pull over to help him in the parking lot before she drove on.  That dude must have had a serious craving for a Frosty.

            

Monday, October 1st, 2007.  The Patrick County High School Class of 1987 twentieth year reunion was a lot of fun.  Very few people had changed at all, which I suppose means we looked really old when we were young.  It was fun seeing friends from near and far that I haven't seen since the last reunion.  It was also nice spending an evening out with my beautiful wife and laughing with my good friends that I do still get to see from time to time.  The entire reunion board did an exceptional job, but I especially want to thank our buddy Sandra who spent the past year and a half tracking folks down and putting it all together.  Thanks Woo!  Se ya'll again in 2017!