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Thursday, September 25th, 2008.  Congratulations go out to Jackson, who, after weeks of campaigning, was elected today to the third grade student council.  It has been a goal of his since he first heard about it during last year's tour of the intermediate school.  I'm proud of him for writing his own speech and for delivering it in front of his class this morning.  Over the past few weeks, Jackson and his friends have polled their classmates during their free time and, during dinner each night, Jackson has given us the latest election projections.  It's been a fun project for him and we're very happy for him that he got elected.  He will get to stay after school one day a month to meet with fellow council members and to work on accomplishing the council's goals

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008.  It's really hard to get a good photo during the night games, so I don't really try anymore.  But I was pleased to get the one photo of Jackson using his knee to stop an offensive push.  His team isn't on a winning streak or a loosing streak, they are currently on a two game tying streak.  Following their last two games, which ended in ties, their record is 1-1-2.  Jackson continues to enjoy soccer season and is having lots of fun during the games.  Last night was another double feature, starting with photos, then Ben's game, Happy Meals, more photos, and finally Jackson's game

Monday, September 22nd, 2008. Great weather, company, seats, game, food and spirits.  That's a wrap up of our Saturday in Chapel Hill watching the Hokies narrowly defeat the Tarheels.  It was so nice of Will and Christi to invite us to join them that we felt kinda bad when their team lost.  Not real bad, but a little.  The boys meanwhile had wonderful days of their own.  Following their soccer games, they spent the entire day playing hard with their cousins in Claudville.  Jackson even made the rare decision to spend the night at my sister Melanie's house, bunking with his cousin Caleb and friend Chase.  Ben spent the night with Papa and Mo.  We picked them both up early Sunday morning and spent the day around the house, playing football in the front yard, watching movies and relaxing.

Saturday, September 20th, 2008.  Both boys have ball games this morning at nine, but Amy and I will miss them as we will be on the road to Chapel Hill with friends Will and Christy for the UNC/Virginia Tech football game.  I hope the boys both play well and have fun.  I hope the Hokies play well too. 

Ben had his five year old checkup with the pediatrician yesterday.   He grew two inches and gained four pounds over the last year.  His 36.5 lbs and 40.75 inches kept him in the lower percentile range, but his pediatrician was very pleased with how healthy he is.  The bad news for Ben was that he came home with band-aids all over his little arms and fingers.  He had four shots, a TB test and a finger prick.  He was apparently not a fan of the finger prick, although Amy said he did very well.  He asked Amy last night if she would promise him that they would never do the sticks on him again.  She had to tell him that she couldn't do that, but that it would be at least three hundred and sixty five days before it would happen again.  That answer made him happy.  When they asked him to pee in a cup, he exclaimed "What?  You mean they don't have a potty here?"  Ben spent his afternoon napping at Papa and Mo's house while Amy took Hama for a doctor's visit in Mount Airy.

Friday, September 19th, 2008.  Last night my sister Deana treated the boys to a big night at the Patrick County Fair.  Among the large crowd at the fair, we were joined by Sharon, Papa, Mo, Melanie, Eric, Caleb, Izzy, Seth, Mike, Jennifer and Maddie.  And we also ran into Anita, Steve and Jimmy as well as many other old friends and classmates.  It was a big night indeed and we were wiped out by the time we made it back home.  For more photos from the fair, check out Deana's post.

Today marks three years since Grandma Sue died.   Sue took Jackson to the Surry County Fair once while she was visiting us.  I wish I could find a photo or two from that trip, but it must have pre-dated our digital camera.  The only thing I remember was Jackson riding a small baby rollercoaster.  Jackson says that he remembers that fair though and he probably does..

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008.  Jackson played three solid quarters in his defensive midfielder position on Saturday, helping to hold the opposing team to just one shot on goal and zero points going into the final period.  He hustled to the ball well and made several nice stops, once sliding into the corner to stop the ball, kicking it while on the ground, then getting back up fast enough to bring it all the way back up the sideline, past midfield, before booting it out to his offense .  His team won the game, 3-1, with his buddy and classmate Bradford getting at least a dozen kicks on goal.  Jackson has really enjoyed all the games this season, win or loose, and that makes them a lot of fun to watch.  We also learned that Jackson wasn't getting warned about aggressive play last week by the ref, which meant that he didn't have to hold back when attacking the ball.   He had apparently kicked his leg too high a couple of times and that was what the warnings were about.  Although when you freeze frame the action in the above photo, it looks pretty incriminating.  In reality, I think he had just ran in and kicked the ball away from the other player.

Our good friend Megan underwent lengthy surgery today and we are happy to report that everything so far has gone well.

Monday, September 15th, 2008.  Amy, Jackson Emma and I joined the Smith River Valley Canoe Club for a fun Sunday afternoon paddle on the cold waters of the Smith River, from Philpott Dam to the North Bassett access ramp.  Ben said that riding in a canoe was toooo boring, so he opted for time with his Papa instead.  It was a good choice, because I think the rapids would have made him nervous and the slow sections probably would have bored him.  The paddle took approximately two hours and went smoothly.  I was a little worried about making our first canoe outing in over a year on a stretch of water that I hadn't paddled before and, for the first time, with one of our dogs.  But except for the knot on the back of Amy's head from Jackson's paddle blade, the trip was smooth and bump free.  Amy is a natural on the water and liked the sections where she got to paddle without having to pause or wait.    Jackson did well with his time in the bow also.  In the end, I'd say Emma was neutral on the whole experience, but she certainly was tired by the time we got home.  It was a nice, large crowd of paddlers on the river and we enjoyed the company, the scenery, the water and the weather.   Many more photos here.  Ben of course said he had "morna" fun than we did.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008.  On our third annual September weekend at the river with the Eads family, we had tubing, kayaking, baseball, football, frisbee, guitar picking, marshmallow roasting, snorkling, relaxing and a game of Risk.  Ben as usual ate his weight in marshmallows.  Matthew spent countless hours, starting at the crack of dawn, surveying the river bed.  We saw deer everywhere we looked, including under the neighbor's apple tree.  And the weather was just perfect.

   

Monday, September 8th, 2008.  It's Soccer Season!  We spent over three hours at the soccer field tonight.  Ben had practice at 5:30, then Jackson had a game at 7.  Tomorrow we have soccer immediately following curriculum night at Jackson's school.  Jackson is having a wonderful time playing this year.  His energy level is unbelievable and he crosses the field countless times to make stops on defense.  Tonight he spent all four quarters on the defensive frontline and enjoyed playing with aggressive enthusiasm, often as the only person on his line.  In my opinion, he truly is a good defensive player and you couldn't ask a kid to play any harder.  The ref did have to give him a warning though after a few too many tackles resulted in an opposing player hitting the turf.  They lost 2-1, but played very well.  They also had a scrimmage game on Saturday that they won 2-0.  Jackson played on offense, defense and even as goalie in that game.  More of his photos here.

Ben is a social little fellow and enjoys getting to talk to his buddies on the soccer field.  He knows quite a few kids and speaks to all of them.  More Ben photos here.

 

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008.  Jerry Reed, who was just one of my favorite people in the world, passed away this week.  Here is a clip of Jackson and I listening to my favorite Jerry Reed song, Amos Moses, in 2004.  I've loved that song since I was a kid and still routinely pop in my Jerry Reed's Greatest Hits CD. 

Jackson had his second soccer practice last night and I believe he enjoyed it more than any other practice or game he's played in to date.  The league is for six to eight year olds, which means he is one of the oldest kids on the team, if not the oldest.  That is a fact that he LOVES.  He played great.  He played extremely hard and asked to play multiple positions.  And he also bonded with the other boys his age, congratulating them on good plays.  And he just LOVED getting to tell the "rookies" what to do.

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008.  Today's photos are from a handful of sources and are all from Amy's girl's weekend at Virginia Beach.  I'm so incredibly proud of my beautiful wife for having the guts and drive to both train for the half marathon and to finish it.  Amy said that she would choose to give birth over running that race again in those conditions.  It was very, very hard, but she did it and did it well.  Congratulations also go out to our friends Timmesa, Christie, Sandy and Mandy, because everyone finished and everyone ran an awesome race.  I was very happy that Amy's sister Sherri was there to cheer for her, especially since the boys and I couldn't be there.  This photo was taken at mile two by their friend Thelma.  You can see Amy in the upper right-hand corner and Sherri in the bottom left.  Bands played all along the route and the course was lined with people cheering the racers on.  But it was humid.  Very, very humid. 

While at the beach, Amy and the girls got to eat out, visit with Sherri, Thelma and other competitors from back home, relax on the beach and see at least one band.  The B-52s, Eddie Money, En Vogue, Bel Biv Devoe, Billy Idol, The Motels, Warrant and others were playing over the weekend, but they were only able to catch Morris Day and The Time as the schedule didn't lend itself to a lot of late nights of band watching.  We are glad to have Amy back with us, but we are also very glad that she was able to accomplish such a huge feat and in the process, spend time with her friends at the coast.