Thursday the 30th. Benjamin, like his dad, is a Steve Earl fan. Most nights his mother puts him to sleep in his crib after a few minutes in the rocking chair. But on some nights, it is just baby and dad, and on those nights he goes to sleep on my shoulder listening to Steve's Open Your Window. It knocks him out every time. If he doesn't go to sleep, it certainly puts him in the mood, and I get no complaints when I lay him in the crib.
I went into work late this morning, so we all took Emma, Cassie, and Zorro for a morning stroll around the block. Jackson does a great job walking Zorro all by himself, they make a good team. I remember telling the puppies when Jackson was a baby that one day he would be big enough to take them for walks. That doesn't seem that long ago.
Amy and I were engaged seven years ago today!
Wednesday the 29th. Benjamin fell last night, hitting his forehead on the wall, and got his worse boo-boo to date. He recovered, but now sports a big blue bump.
Congratulations Sendella and Greg! Evan Gregory King was born at 3:20pm!!!
Tuesday the 28th. On a day that Tropical Storm Jeanne flooded neighboring Patrick and Stokes counties, Amy and the boys ran errands in the rain and made caramel apples at home.
Monday the 27th. Jackson had his second soccer practice on a rainy evening at Westwood Park.
Tonight at 7pm, Barely Famous, a show on CMT will show the Warren Brothers visiting Mount Airy. Amy and I saw a little of it last night. We were flipping channels and recognized Main Street. The brothers got their hair cut at Floyds and kidded around with some ladies walking down the street.
Sunday the 26th. We came home from Virginia with a van full of potatoes, chestnuts, apples, and pumpkins. The pumpkins came from Painter's Pumpkin Patch just off the parkway. Some of the apples came from a tree in Bellspur that the boy's great, great, great grandfather planted before going to the Cival War. We also bought a bushel of Golden Delicious apples in Willis Gap. And before we started, everyone ate lunch at Hama's in Claudville. When we got there at 12:30, Hama wasn't home from church yet. Of course we still found a big pot of Chicken and Dumplings, potatoes, peas, spaghetti, and a pone of cornbread, all warm, on the stove. Jackson picked the chestnuts up under a tree behind the house that their great, great grandparents, Earnest and Alma Stanley raised Hama in. So now we are back in Mount Airy, the kids are asleep, and an apple pie is in the oven. Mmmmm, mmmm.
Saturday the 25th. A big day spent celebrating Mayberry Days by eating BBQ and fried apple pies, drinking orange Nehis, and listening to lots of good music. Benjamin and Megan loved listening to Mandy's band, Southern Sky, while we ate lunch at the new amphitheater, but Jackson skipped the festivities to watch Caleb play soccer in Stuart.
Friday the 24th. Tonight we joined the Eads for a walk to Mount Airy High School where this year's Relay For Life kicked off at 7pm. The children had fun, we saw lots of friends and it was nice supporting such an important cause.
It's Mayberry Days! Amy went for a walk on Main Street before sunrise. She said that Snappy Lunch was as full as she had ever seen it and that people were already gathered at the amphitheater. Later in the morning, Amy walked with Benjamin to the unveiling of a life sized statue capturing the classic scene of Andy and Opie walking to the fishing hole. Andy Griffith was on hand, along with the president of TV Land, and an unbelievable crowd of fans. I got to stop by for a few minutes. Andy was very amusing and it was nice to see so many people in town.
Click here to see of clip from Andy's speech. (1.9MB)
Thursday the 23rd. A beautiful day to spend outside. Amy and the boys went for a walk this morning at Fisher River Park, then walked to Main Street from the house this afternoon, and after dinner, we walked to Main Street again. Downtown is a buzz with activity in preparation for Mayberry Days and Andy Griffith's arrival tomorrow morning. Last minute work is still underway at the playhouse and the new amphitheater. Bluegrass bands were playing to large crowds at the playhouse, the Blue Bird Diner was packed, and Main Street was filled with out of town TAG fan club members. Notice the squad car in the photo of Main Street.
Wednesday the 22nd. I have often said that Jackson was at his cutest between fifteen and eighteen months. He was still short and chubby, with adorable cheeks, and we hadn't cut off his curly blond locks yet. But he was old enough to talk, to dress up for fall, and to do all sorts of cute things. I think Ben is entering into that same window, because at fifteen months, I think he is pretty darn cute. If you've forgotten what Jackson looked like at seventeen months, click here .
Tuesday the 21st. Amy and the boys took advantage of our wonderful weather by taking a morning stroll that included a stop by Daddy's office. Then I went with the boys to Fisher River Park for some late day play.
Monday the 20th. Jackson had his first soccer practice this evening. It was his first practice for anything and mom and dad were very proud. He did such a good job listening to the coach. All the kids were just as cute as could be. Check out other Jackson milestones.
Sunday the 19th. A nice cool crisp day that started with a walk to the Eads house from Main Street and ending with dinner club in Walnut Cove at the McMichael's house.
Saturday the 18th. We made it home safely yesterday, avoiding all the tornados reportedly in our path. We took a detour through Farmville, visiting The Appomatox River Company, and picked up a Dagger Element 11.2 kayak. Of course I pulled my back unloading it off the van, which makes me feel very old. This afternoon, after watching the Hokies beat up on Duke, Jackson went with his aunt Deana and cousin Caleb. Deana bought the boys Home On The Range and thrilled Jackson by giving him a set of Teen Titan figures.
Friday the 17th. I took this photo of a falcon in pursuit of a sparrow through Grandma Sue's neighborhood in Colonial Heights, Virginia.
Thursday the 16th. Like footprints left in the sand, our beach trip is now behind us. We had a fun morning playing in the ocean and walking to the pier before heading back to Colonial Heights. You can see all our beach photos by clicking here or click here to see galleries from all of our family beach trips.
Wednesday the 15th. Day two at the beach started early for Jackson. He and I hit the weights hard at 7:00. Met Amy, Sue, and Ben for breakfast at 7:05. Ben led us away from the breakfast table and onto the beach. So by 7:30 we were swimming in our clothes. Jackson just loves being in the waves, but they are really, really big this week. So we got all that in, plus a dip in the pool, before nine. Then Ben took a nap in the room with Sue watching him, while Amy, Jackson, and I hit the waves one more time before lunch. A rain storm gave us a chance to rest before hitting the beach again, and again. Jackson finished off his day by feeding the birds and taking a long sunset walk to the pier with Amy. Both boys fell asleep within minutes at bedtime. But I bet they will be up and ready to go again tomorrow.
Tuesday the 14th. After spending a fun afternoon visiting the boy's great-aunt Betty in Chesapeake, we arrived in Virginia Beach and hit the waves for the first time as a family of four. Ben was too little last year to count. Benjamin has loved everything; the waves, the sand, the pool. A wave knocked him face down into the sand and he came up just covered in salt water and sand. He was signing "more" and smiling the whole time we tried clean his face off. He also signed "more" while we walked back to the hotel. But as soon as he hit the indoor pool the smile came back. It's been two years since our last beach trip with Grandma Sue and we are very happy to be in the middle of another one with her.
Monday the 13th. Yesterday, Jeff and I rented a couple of Dagger Zydeco's from Hanging Rock Outdoor Center and paddled a ten mile stretch of the Dan River. We explored feeder streams, lunched on an island below Seven Islands Bridge, and really enjoyed spending a day outdoors. More photos are on the paddle page and you can watch a short clip of Jeff paddling the Dan by clicking here.
Sunday the 12th. Congratulations to Marcus and Chastidy Heath on the birth of James Wyatt Heath today. 7lbs 15ozs.
Saturday the 11th. We went downtown today with Megan to celebrate Mount Airy's diversity at the International Festival. Of course, this is Mount Airy so we were the only ones there. We also had lunch at the Blue Bird and ice cream at The Good Life before hitting the playground at Miss Etta's.
Friday the 10th. What a pretty day. Jackson had a good morning at preschool and made a very nice friendship necklace that Benjamin adores. Ben still feels pretty bad and has a fever, although he did sleep better last night.
Thursday the 9th. Ben was up all night again. We thought just to play, because he kept ramming his popper into Jackson's door and yelling like he couldn't figure out why Jackson wouldn't come out to join him. But his fevers kept coming back and it finally dawned on us that he probably had an ear infection. Amy took Benjamin to Primary Care (our luck, Ben's pediatrician started her vacation this afternoon.) Sure enough, the poor little guy has a double ear infection. We feel bad because it took us so long to figure it out. It is so much easier when they can tell you what hurts.
Wednesday the 8th. Benjamin's vaccinations from last week finally caught up to him. He was up much of the night and early this morning with the fever Dr. Gale predicted he would have. The poor little guy felt pretty bad all day too.
Jackson has been doing scientific experiments everyday. Yesterday he put a bowl outside to measure the rain. This morning he had over four inches of rain in it. I think the Dan should have plenty of water for this weekend's kayak trip.
Tuesday the 7th. The boys went to the library on a day that Frances kept wet and gray.
Monday the 6th. A nice Labor Day off with the family. We got out early for some biking and strolling on the greenway, which ended, as usual, with Jackson and his bike being carried. The kid is like a cheetah, big bursts of speed followed by complete shutdowns. The funniest thing is to see what he does when an attractive woman jogs by. He starts running or pedaling really fast until he passes her, then stops right in front of her to catch his breath. He'll do this two or three times and never mention what he was up to.
Sunday the 5th. Happy First Birthday Landon!
We started the day with a walk on Main Street with Mo and a stop at The Good Life for coffee and ice cream. Then it was off to Winston-Salem to celebrate Landon's 1st birthday.
Saturday the 4th. The boys hit the greenway first thing this morning for some more biking and strolling. And a day after Jackson rode a bike for the first time, he jumped off the diving board for the first time. I can't wait to see what he does tomorrow. Tonight Mo came over for dinner and a movie night sleepover with Jackson.
Friday the 3rd. What a great evening. The family followed up dinner at Chile Verde with a walk on the greenway bike trail. It was the second time Jackson took his bike to the trail and he pedaled solo for the first time, going over a mile all by himself. We were very proud. Then before dark Jackson and I caught a pet spider to go in his bug jar. His name is Spidey and he has really long legs. Jackson says that he loves him.
Watch the movie of Jackson's First Bike Ride (1.8MB).
I've recently scanned photos from my mother's side of my family and put them in the Rogers-Mills-Vipperman Family Album. This photograph is of Jack and Ben's great-great grandparents, Albert and Laura Vipperman. Laura was twice widowed and I remember her as Mrs. Stone.
Thursday the 2nd. Benjamin smacks his hands on the oven door and says "HOT!". So we've taught him another word, just not exactly what it means. My Aunt Dianna and Uncle Ronald stopped by for a visit tonight, which both boys enjoyed very much.
Wednesday the 1st. Jackson put on his guards and cleats for some soccer practice in the front yard. Team practice starts after labor day. One day you're in the delivery room and the next day you're a soccer dad, wow.