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Friday, December 30, 2011.  Click here to watch a 2 minute highlight from Ben's last day at basketball camp.  He had just a phenomenal week and  really enjoyed getting to play with friends during his Christmas break.  At the end of camp Ben was presented awards for being the Knock Out Champ, the Hot Shot Champ and the Most Outstanding Player in the boy's 6-8 year old division.  He won every award except for Most Improved.  I am very proud of our little shooter. 

Christmas was great and we have really enjoyed our time off this year.  The boys have spent much of it in the gym shooting ball, although Ben has been pretty addicted to his new Spylander video game.  More Christmas photos can be found here.

Saturday, December 24th, 2011.  Wonderful pageant this afternoon at First Presbyterian and a wonderful evening at my grandmother's house in Claudville.  The cookies are out, the stocking hung, carrots are on the sidewalk, time to turn in for the evening. 

The photos below were taken earlier this week while the kids were out of school.  They include a visit from our neighbor Super Joe and from a project that Amy did with the kids, where they made Christmas trees using ice cream cones, green icing and M&Ms.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011. I finally got to watch Jackson play basketball last night.  He had a great game, scoring 15 points and making lots of good plays on both sides of the ball.  Really solid performance.  His whole team was playing great and they held a lead for most of the game.  The lead disappeared in the 4th quarter however as Jackson's friend Clay continued to rain 3 point shots.  At one point, Jackson shot a 3 to put his team back up, then Clay answered right back with a 3 to tie it again.  With 4 seconds left, Jackson's team got the ball and called a time-out.  The inbound pass went to Scott who made it to the top of the key and launched a long range shot just as the buzzer sounded.  The ball went in and Jackson's team erupted.  Great, fun win.  Jackson's entire team played great team ball on both offense and defense.  We then stayed to watch our nephew Caleb win his second game of the night. 

Helping Hama decorate her tree has become one of our favorite Christmas traditions.

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011. We spent a fabulous weekend as guests with Alan and Charla in Colonial Heights.  Our days were full of time spent with family and friends.   The boys got to see all their cousins on the Mills side for the first time in a very long time, we got to see our good friends in the Pettway and Joyce families and on our way out of town got to visit with old friends from the Little School, including our very dear friend Mrs. Bertha.  This week we have basketball four nights in a row, plus Ben's Christmas program at school and practice for the Christmas pageant at First Presbyterian.  Things look to be very busy leading up to the holidays. 

Thursday, December 15th, 2011. Jackson took today's photos while we were watching VT beat UVA on television.  The game was on while we were decorating our Christmas tree.  I am also posting some photos Amy took of pretty little Nolan. 

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 After six years of harvesting mistletoe from the same tree in Claudville, we tried something new this season.  After noticing a big clump of mistletoe high in our neighbor Tommy's yard, I went to the house and came back with Ben's slingshot.  The project peaked the Bevards' interest and they joined us in knocking down a couple of nice branches.  We got ours with the slingshot, they got theirs with Jack's paint gun, which worked really well.  No photos for the mistletoe page this year, but it was a fun spontaneous harvest.
(Today's photo of Jackson and little Anne Rachel is courtesy of Deana)

Friday, December 9th, 2011.  I have not had time recently to keep the website updated, but I am spending this morning in the airport, with three hours to kill, so I should be able to get a few things posted.  First off, Jackson is playing AAU basketball with the Patrick Prowl.  His first tournament is tomorrow in Roanoke, VA.  Ben and I will miss it however, as his rec team plays at noon in town and I am his coach.  He had his first game, a scrimmage, last week and played very well.  The photos below are of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River. 

And going allllll the way back to November, I posted photos on our Thanksgiving Page.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we decorated the house for Christmas..

 and picked out our Christmas tree at the tree farm,

after watching the Christmas Parade on Main Street.

Thursday, December 8th, 2011.  I have been in Reno, NV on business all week and have been confined to the office for 12 or 13 hours a day, getting there early and eating dinner in the hotel room each night.  So this morning, I woke early, followed the Truckee river north from Reno, into California and high into the Sierra Nevadas, past Squaw Valley, all the way to Lake Tahoe.  On my way back, I stopped at Donner Pass, site of the infamous Donner Party's long cold Winter of 1846.  I was strolling around through the woods when I decided that I wanted at least one good, clear unobstructed photo of the mountain peaks.  So I hiked to the base of the mountain and started blazing a trail straight up.  I was wearing sandals, so the stretches through the snow got a little cold, but up and up I went until I reached the ridge line.  From there it was a pretty easy hike up to the summit.  Except that about 200 feet from the top, the brush became so thick that I had to climb over and through it, often falling into waist deep snow.  But the view was worth it.  Now, instead of remembering the trip as the time I spent my whole week working in Reno, I will remember it as the time I climbed to the top of Donner Mountain.