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Thursday, February 28th, 2008. In Jackson's class of around fifteen students, three girls have lost their mothers this school year.  It's hard to even make sense out of something like that.   It's just too sad on so many levels.  I feel for the girls, for their families, their fathers and for all the students in the classroom.  With the death of one student's parent, you can explain that it's an extremely rare occurrence and they don't have to worry about their own mothers dying.  But when three students loose their mothers in three separate instances, how could they not worry about it.  Heck, even as a parent it makes you aware of how fragile life is.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008.  I think Jackson is finally okay with his new haircut.  We watched Air Bud and he realized that he now has the same hair cut as the basketball playing kid in that movie.  So he's cool again.  On Saturday, I paddled the Balcony Falls section of the James River from Glasgow to Snowden Virginia, near Natural Bridge.  I had such a good time, dropping in with a ten foot free fall seal launch, playing in lots of waves, working on stern squirts and rolling a dozen or more times.  It was fantastic being outside and on a new river.  More details and photos from that trip can be found here.

Sunday, February 24th, 2008.   Amy and I love Jackson's new haircut.  It's so nice to see his face again.  We get to see some of his facial expressions that we haven't seen in years.  I had almost forgotten how he raises his eyebrows when he talks.  At the same time, it makes him look much taller and older.  Jackson is having to adjust to the new cut.  He wanted the old style Steve Nash hair cut (point guard for the Phoenix Suns).  He says he got the new Steve Nash cut.  But like I said, Amy and I love it.  Things that happened over the weekend that Jackson IS happy about however are...
1. His new Dwayne Wade jersey.  Jackson has a long list of NBA jersey's he wants and this one was at the top of the list.  It's his first non-handy-me-down jersey.  He's worn his cousin Jimmy's old Allen Iverson jersey almost day and night for two months.
2. He lost a tooth.
3. He got to wrestle and horse-play for two hours in the tumble gym at Fit Kids Camp.
4. He got to play with his friends Matthew and Sam multiple times.

Ben and I went to Dinner Club tonight at Ken and Tonya's house.  mmmmm, mmmm.  Man that was some good food.  Jackson and Amy stayed home to shoot nerf hoop and watch sports on TV.  Jackson hasn't wanted anyone to see his new haircut and Amy decided to cut him some slack by letting him skip Dinner Club.  Matthew and Samuel knew Jackson was sensitive about his new hair and did just a marvelous job on Saturday of not mentioning it at all.  After spending a whole day together Jackson finally asked Matthew "So Matthew, what do you think of my new hair cut?"  Matthew, like a champ, said "I think it's cool, it will probably be easier to play basketball with it."  And that was all that was said.

Thursday, February 21st, 2008.   On Sunday, at my grandmother's house, Ben said "It's a good day for leaf fishing!"  He fished many leafs out of the creek before I made him go inside.  Amy had another busy Thursday.  She worked out at the gym and ran, took Ben to pre-school, tutored at Jackson's school, picked Ben up, drove to Claudville to pick up my grandmother, returned to Mount Airy for Hama's dentist appointment, went grocery shopping, took Hama home, picked up Jackson at Timmesa's house, then got home just in time to fix the boys dinner before Jackson went to karate class.   

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008.  My little sister at one time studied JuJitsu under Jackson's sensei, Eric Latza.  In today's photo, Jackson's friend Jake is using a move on him that Melanie once used on me in my parent's kitchen.   Let me tell you, Jackson's not faking, it will take you to your knees in a hurry.   Jackson is probably laughing somewhere under all that hair though.  At his age, any pain that doesn't make you cry, makes you laugh.  Jake can send him flying over his shoulder and crashing to the mat and they both think it's a hoot.  During Jackson's karate class last night, Ben played on the sidelines with Jake's little brother and another friend.  One of the games they played was Duck, Duck, Goose.  Ben recently asked Amy and I "Do you know what's the most horrible way to play Duck, Duck, Goose?  With two people, that's the most horrible way to play it."

Sunday, February 17th, 2008.  Today's photo was taken while the boys were tree climbing in their Great-Aunt Jerry Ann's front yard.  We left to visit Amy's aunt Jerry Ann and uncle Charlie after picking Jackson up at the gym at noon on Saturday.  On our way to West Virginia, after drinking two juice boxes, Ben started complaining that his tummy hurt.  In a crying tone, he asked "Can somebody un-full my stomach?"

As soon as we got home that night, Jackson tuned into the NBA's All-Star weekend coverage, something he's been waiting for with much anticipation.  The slam-dunk contest turned out to be worth the wait.  He taped it during a repeat showing this morning and took it with him when we visited my grandmother for lunch.  Amy, Ben and I returned just in time for my roll session, but Jackson stayed behind to spend the afternoon playing with his cousin Caleb.  He had to go to bed tonight after the first quarter of the East-West All-Star game, so I'm staying up to tape it for him.  I would love to go to bed, but the commercials are way to grown up, so I've got to stay awake to stop and start the VCR each time it goes to commercial break. 

We also watched the second half of the Daytona 500.  Amy's cousin and fellow Tony Stewart fan, Lamoore, was in Florida for the race, so I wish Tony could have pulled off the win for her.  He came close, painfully close.  But at least three of the four Hendrick cars had problems.  Amy and Ben were pulling for Jr.

Friday, February 15th, 2008.  We had a fun and busy Valentine's Day.  Amy took Ben to school, then went to the grocery store to get cookies for Jackson's school party, then went back to Ben's school for his party, then went to Jackson's school where she tutors on Thursday mornings, then back to Ben's school to pick him up, then back to Jackson's school for his party.  Amy got a dozen bluebird roses (from me), a heart-shaped box of chocolates (from Ben) and a pink Webkinz cat (from Jackson).  Today's photo is from Jackson's karate class last night. 

On Wednesday night, after tucking the kids in, Amy and I went to bed.  Not long after my head came to rest on Amy's shoulder, I began to doze off.  I was surprised at how fast I started to fall asleep.  I popped my head up and said, with exclamation, "I'm Pooped!"  Amy's eyes shot open with a look of confused shock.  Now let's pretend we're Amy and look at that same scene the way she saw and heard it.  She goes to bed and is drifting off to sleep, when I come in and lay down beside her.  Then a minute later I pop my head up and I say, with exclamation, "I Pooped!!"  Once I understood what she thought I said, I laughed for the longest I've laughed in a long time.  We both couldn't stop laughing about it and I even had to get out of bed to get a drink of water because I was almost choking.  Just thinking about the thought process Amy was going through before she figured out what I actually said  still makes me chuckle.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008.   It's been a while since I've had short hair.  Ben tells me that he wants me to cut my hair like my brother-in-law Eric.  Jackson on the other hand likes it long, because he likes to use it as leverage when it comes to his own haircuts, which is something he's due for.

When I came home from work today, I found the house unusually quiet.  Too quiet, it worried me.  Then Amy popped around the corner looking beautiful and dressed for a night out.  As an early Valentine's Day surprise, she had taken the boys to my parents for the evening.  We drove to Winston-Salem, shopped at Great Outdoor Provision, then ate at Bonefish Grill, where we had a wonderful strawberry shortcake dessert.  On our drive home, snow poured from the sky, covering everything.  But sadly, the snow didn't make it all the way to our little town.  We've picked up the boys and have them back home, all snuggled into their beds.  I hope everyone has a nice Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008. Today's photo is of Ben playing at Sci-Works a few days ago and when he was two.

On Sunday afternoons, during a two hour block of time, we practice rolling our kayaks in Pro Health's indoor pool.  This past Sunday, it worked out where Amy and I were able to take the boys swimming for a few hours before the roll session started.  Before he left, Jackson shot this video (warning, it's large and I can't imagine that anyone else would be interested in seeing boats rolling around in circles).  He's really pretty good with a camera.  Later that evening, we were all exhausted and climbed into bed to watch  Karate Kid II on Amy's laptop.

Jackson has been wearing glasses since he was this old.  He looked older with them on, but he was still just a baby.  Because he's always had them, he never questioned them.  He's yet to put them on without being asked to, but at the same time, he's never complained about having them on.  I honestly don't know if he can tell whether he is wearing them or not.  He's now reaching an age though where he is becoming conscious of his image.  I've suspected for some time that the reason he wants his hair to hang over his eyes is to make his glasses less noticeable.  One of my big pet peeves is when someone sees him with his glasses off and says something like "wow, you look really good with your glasses off."  It's usually kids, but adults do it too.  As far as Amy and I go, we don't even like seeing photos of him without them, because they are so much a part of the way we see him.  We were initially upset when we found out that he would need them, maybe because he was so young, but his doctor made a point that totally changed how we looked at it.  He said that if your child has a health problem that can be fixed as easily as putting on a pair of glasses, then you don't complain, because there are too many problems that don't have a fix .  We agreed %100.  Anyway, for some reason, Jackson has been pretty sad over wearing glasses this week, which makes me sad.  He's been asking questions like, does anyone in the NBA wear glasses, when can he get contacts and when will he stop needing them.  He was really, really sad when I told him that his vision wouldn't change, but then Amy reminded both he and I that Jackson can have corrective surgery if he chooses as soon as he stops growing, and then his vision would be perfect.  

On a side note, Ben's appointment with Jackson's pediatric opthamologist is coming up soon.

Saturday, February 9th, 2008. Pictured above are the undefeated, 10-0, Reeves Court Kid Boys Regular Season and Tournament Champions.  Jackson can't believe that he finished two consecutive seasons undefeated.  He's been lucky to land on two good teams, with two good coaches and with the best player in the league on his team two times in a row.  Along the way he learned a lot about both sports, soccer and basketball, and had a blast.  It's fun watching the kids learn and improve as the seasons progress.  The team they played today was much improved from the first time we faced them.   In Jackson's team's first game, they lost the lead and fell pretty far behind in the quarter that their main scorer had to sit out.  Today, in their last game, they pulled ahead by six more points during that same quarter against a team with an even better defense.  That shows how much they learned and improved during the season.   They all played great, especially their MVP, who was pretty unstoppable and fun to watch all year.  Jackson is far from being an offensive threat, in fact he passes the ball off like it's a hot potato whenever he touches it, but he plays super tight man on man defense and was only scored on once this year that I saw.   So two more First Place trophies went on the shelf and Jackson is in love with another sport.  Congratulations to both Jackson and the entire Granite Auto Sales team!

Jackson went straight from the game to Amy's gym where he is participating in a Fit Kids Club.  He got to swim, run laps on the indoor track, use the tumble gym and, of course, shoot more basketball.  He will get to do this for two hours every Saturday this month.  Today, the only other kids there were our friends Samuel and Matthew.  Ben and I played Star Wars Legos while he and Amy were working out, then joined them for a celebration lunch at Burger King.  Jackson got to pick the restaurant.  The boys and I spent the rest of the day trying to beat all the levels of Star Wars Legos II, while Amy and her friend Timmesa went to the Thai restaurant and to see The Bucket List at the cinema.

Thursday, February 7th, 2008. Jackson is back at karate, but Ben has stopped.  After four months of classes, Ben decided last night that he wanted to take a break.  He's only four, so that's fine with us.  He can start back next month if he wants. Tonight Jackson had his last basketball practice. 

Yesterday Amy and Ben made a trip to Sci-Works for the first time in a long time.  They had a great morning, with the highlight being the iguana walking around and taking a dip in his pool, but Ben's mood went South by the afternoon.  We've had a week long stretch of getting to bed later than normal and it's easy to see the effect on the kids.  Jackson, for the first time in his life, is actually sleeping until 7:00AM and we're having to wake him up for school.  And Ben just keeps getting grumpier and grumpier.  I think he and Amy have went more than a few rounds this week.  Hopefully we'll get back on schedule this weekend, because things seem to run a lot smoother when everyone has their full night's sleep.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008.  Amy's Super Bowl party went very well.  We had lots of good snacks and had lots of fun watching the game and playing.  Amy even made chocolate rice krispie treats decorated like little footballs.  I could have cared less who won the game, because I don't like either team. but I enjoyed the close finish.

With only one basketball game left in the season, Jackson was able to return to karate class.  He enjoyed being back and was definitely happy to see his buddy Jake.  He found out today on the playground that the team that played him the toughest this year in basketball lost in the semifinal round of the tournament.  So he now feels more confident about his team's chances in Saturday's championship game.  Hopefully he'll have better luck than the Patriots and his team will seal the deal on their undefeated season.  Last night we got to see our nephew Caleb play basketball for the first time this year.  The weather was great both yesterday and today, allowing Amy and Ben to make their first stroll down Main Street in a long time.  Today's photo is from lunch yesterday at Ben's favorite restaurant, Barney's.

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008.   Jackson's team won their semi-final basketball game yesterday morning.  It was the first game that I was nervous about this season and I was glad that they jumped out to an early lead.  I had to leave with three minutes left to meet friends for a day of river running on the North Fork of the Mayo.  Amy and the boys went grocery shopping, then skating with our buddy Matthew.  We'll see Matthew again this evening, along with the rest of his family, for a Super Bowl dinner at our house.  You can click here to see more photos from the river and here for a short video.   It was beautiful day, but I found out from spending lots of time upside down, that the water is still plenty cold.