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Thursday, September 29th, 2011. I am posting more fair photos, this time they are photos that I took. 

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011. Jackson finished chapters 50-100 last night, and the last 34 tonight.  We sat on the back deck for hours working on it.  My job was to keep him on task and, while doing that, whittle Ben a new walking stick for our Cub Scout camping trip this weekend.  Amy and Ben went to curriculum night at BHT, joining the only two other students from his class that showed up.  Amy went to Yadkinville today for a seminar on the software the school uses to create their yearbook.  We volunteered to help with that project this year.  Ben's team had a good practice this afternoon.  The only things we have on tomorrow evening's schedule, besides homework, is packing for the campout and practicing baseball with the boys in the yard. 

Today's photos were all taken by Jackson.  Their Aunt Deana treated them to a night at the Patrick County Fair again this year.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011.  Both boys had 4PM games Sunday afternoon.  Ben's weather was fantastic, Jackson played in a downpour.  I got to see Ben, Amy got to see Jackson.  Ben's team won behind pretty strong pitching, Jackson's team only had 8 players and lost.  Updates and more photos for Ben are here and Jackson here.  Jackson was probably playing in his sleep since he had six friends (Robert, Clay, Simon, Ryan, Caleb and Tanner) over Saturday night and I don't think they went to sleep until 6AM.  The boys started their evening with a wuffle ball game on Heath Field, followed by a bike ride and an awesome game of football till dark.  They then came inside to play ping pong, video games, foos ball and basically acted goofy till they dropped  This week Jackson is working on three separate school projects, one of which is just a monster.  Because he was already reading the 450 page Maximum Ride-The Angel Experiment on his Kindle, he decided to write his report on it.  The catch is that the format of the report is to write a summary on each chapter.  How many chapters are in that book?  134.  He will have written his own book by the time he finishes.

Monday, September 26th, 2011. Our best little buddy Brett and his sweet little sister Sammi Grace were at the house last Thursday.  Jackson took all of today's photos, plus hundreds more, after school that day. 

Jackson took this photo at Caleb's football gameThursday, September 22nd, 2011. Jackson took today's awesome photos of baby Bronx.  Tomorrow night we plan on attending the Patrick County Fair and checking out all the ribbons Jackson won in the photography competition.  Two 1st place ribbons, one 2nd place and one 3rd place.  Way to go Jackson! 
We took a break in the middle of homework this evening to practice baseball on our backyard diamond and had a surprise visit from Papa and Seth.  Yesterday, my mom and Aunt Diana stopped by with a surprise visit.  And earlier today, Hama and Papa stopped by. AND our wonderful little buddy Brett and his adorable little sister Sammi Grace spent the day at the house, which made us all very happy.  AND to top it off, Anne Rachel got to spend a few minutes at the house following story time at the library.  Quite the week so far for having friends and family over.

Tuesday, September 21st, 2011.  Baseball, baseball, baseball.  We have been throwing ball before school in the driveway and at night on our backyard diamond and there have been practices and games.  Ben has had two games and Jackson one.  Ben's photos are here and Jackson's here. And let me just say that few things make me feel like a ten year old boy more than breaking in a new baseball glove.  I treated that process with reverence as a kid and am trying to pass that on to my boys.  Usually, I just end up doing it for them though.  Each night, after putting conditioner on Ben's new glove and placing it under his mattress, I tell him that it is essential that he fall asleep thinking about making great catches, because dreaming about baseball while sleeping over your glove is the secret to making a truly great mitt. 

Monday, September 20th, 2011.  There are a great many things about our house and neighborhood that we have come to love over the past seventeen months, but none more-so than our next-door neighbor Joe.  Joe was one when we moved in and just the cutest little guy you have ever met.  He turned three earlier this month, celebrating his birthday at His House Of Bounce.  It was a great party.  Everyone loves Joe and all the kids played a game with him where he got to knock them down in the big Jousting tent.  Today's photo was taken later that day at our house.  Joe stopped by to visit, as he often does (he calls it "going to Miss Amy's").  He got a drink of water, read a book with Amy and one of our other sweet little neighbors, ECV, then joined Ben downstairs, where he played with our Matchbox cars.  There are two constants with Joe's visits.  First, he goes to our 'lazy susan' corner cabinet to get a red plastic cup, then pours himself a cup of ice water at our refrigerator door.  He does this every time.  Second, he plays with our boys' old Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars.  We keep them in cases, set out for Joe to play with whenever he stops by.  Sometimes he plays in the kitchen, sometimes in Ben's room or the living room, sometimes downstairs.  But he almost always finds his way to the cars.  His visits are always extremely welcome as Amy, myself and both boys just love him dearly.  I couldn't imagine anyone not loving Joe.  The doorbell rang one evening earlier in the Summer and we found him, along with his sister Jessica, on the front porch.  Joe wanted to tell everyone good night.  He walked to each person, gave them a long hug and softly said "good night."  Over the last year and a half we have said many, many times that the best thing about moving to our new house is getting to know Joe.  Three days after Joe's birthday party, he was diagnosed with Leukemia and started treatment later that same day.  His prognosis is good and his treatment is going well.  He came home from the hospital yesterday and Jackson and Ben were able to play with him some in his driveway.   Of all the things going on in our lives right now, none takes a higher precedent than wishing Joe well and praying that every single step goes as well as possible for both he and his family. 

Monday, September 19th, 2011.  Today marks our sixth year without Grandma Sue and we still miss her terribly.  On Saturday while I was at work, Amy took the boys to Cana, Virginia to shop for apples and candy, which is something they always did this time of year with Sue. 

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011. Amy and I treated the boys to their first Lane Stadium visit this past weekend.  And the Hokies treated the boys to one heck of a show during their 66-13 win over Appalachian State.  It was super hot, but we made into the 4th quarter before heading back for some post game tailgating and football throwing.  Before heading home we took a stroll downtown, to the campus bookstore (where Ben bought a foam finger) and to the campus library (where we went online and read the box scores from the game). Before the game, we tailgated on Houston Street with Amy's our friends Monica and Dan and their families.  Always nice to go back to the 'burg.

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011. Our weekend included two baseball practices, a Labor Day party at Deana and Martin's house, a trip to Blacksburg to watch VT beat ASU 66-13, lots of rain, games, movies, multiple games of catch and a lot of other fun stuff.  It was a really nice three day weekend.  Jackson spent Sunday night with Deana, then spent Monday with her and Caleb in Winston-Salem.  That is always nice for both boys as Jackson loves spending time with his extended family and Ben really seems to enjoy a little undivided attention every once in awhile.

We had the first Cub Scout meeting of the year Monday evening.  While the adults met to discuss an upcoming camping trip and popcorn sales, Kristen and Lone, the Wolf Den leaders, gave all the boys a cooking lesson.  It was a great idea and Ben talked and talked about making his hard boiled egg.

Thursday, September 1st. A couple of weekends ago, United Fund of Surry held a Downtown Rocks and Run 5K/concert combo.  And for the price of one ticket I was treated to the great music performed by friends Chad and Shane of Janus 4-14, Steve of Acoustic Blen, Jacob of The Uppercuts and Jackson's friend Kelsey of The Foothills Blues Society (all pictured below).