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Sunday, January 25th, 2009.   Jackson said that I needed to update the website, he was tired of seeing the same photo on it all the time.  My sister Deana gave the boys Mario Cart as a present this weekend and they've been playing it almost non-stop since, except for the breaks we took for Saturday's basketball game and skate party and today's Dinner Club meeting at Mike and Brooke's house.  Dinner Club was great, we hadn't seen everyone in months.  I ate entirely too much Mexican food and haven't been this stuffed since Christmas (more photos here.)  On Friday, Deana took photos of Jackson at her studio in Stuart and the photos that we've seen so far are excellent.  She later took Jackson, Ben and Izzy to the movies to see Hotel For Dogs.  Jackson and Ben again got in a fight, so it may not work out for them to go places together for awhile if Amy and I are not there.  They are brothers and have started acting like it, in a bad way.  Jackson picks on Ben, sometimes very subtly, but it is still picking none-the-less, and corrects him ALL THE TIME.  Ben has zero tolerance for being picked on or for being corrected by his brother and reacts swiftly and inappropriately.  So currently, mixing the two of them together is a recipe for disaster.  Ben went to bed as soon as they got home from the movies and ran a fever during the night.  He didn't eat very much on Saturday, then said that he was sick this morning.  He felt better as the day went on and it appears that if he was sick, it was a mild case.
On the positive side, both boys are doing excellent in school.  Ben's pre-school teacher had very nice things to say about him last week and commented on how prepared he is for kindergarten.  He has recently accomplished tasks in class that have made his teacher and his parents very proud. 
As motivation for memorizing the multiplication table through 12X12, Jackson's class is competing in a regatta.  Each week they take a test and if they reach certain benchmarks, they get to advance their boat to the corresponding level.  The test is in random order and must be completed within twenty minutes.  Missing only 30 answers is the first level they try to reach.  Jackson only missed 19 the first week, 4 the second and 3 this week.  According to his teacher, that is very, very good and puts him quite far ahead in the competition.  He also scored 92% on his mid-term benchmark reading test, which is also really good considering that they have only covered half the material so far.           

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009.  Documenting a historic day.  A day that we are sooooo happy is here.          

Monday, January 19th, 2009.  Over the past week we've had bitterly cold temps, dropping low enough over the weekend to make even the laundry room too cold for Zorro.  Both he and Jackson were thrilled to bunk together Saturday night.  If it were up to either of them, it would be a permanent arrangement.  Our basketball team lost again on Saturday, but I was very happy with everyone's effort and how the game went.  Jackson was in a good mood as well, even with the loss.  Facing a pressing, tight defense, he handled the ball with confidence, passed the ball when it became evident he was going to be kept away from the basket and didn't have any turnovers.  I think that as many as five of our seven players scored.  With a record of 2-3, we only have two games left in the regular season.  Saturday night we were once again guests at Deana and Martin's house, this time for family game night.  They had great food, games and prizes and the boys had a wonderful time.  Last night Amy watched the Inaugural Concert while I watched the AFC Championship Game.  Go Steelers!  Go Obama!  Tonight we capped our evening off with the Kid's Inaugural Bash on Disney Channel.          

Sunday, January 11th, 2009.  Saturday started with a tough basketball game.  Jackson played hard and played well, as did the rest of his team, but it was a difficult match-up and, for the first time, the score wasn't very close, although it might have been our highest scoring game.  Papa and Caleb came to watch and, afterwards, Caleb agreed to stay and play at our house all day.  That was a nice distraction, because Jackson is a very competitive kid and can get pretty emotionally invested in his games, which means that the losses hit him hard.  We played Nerf War, flag football, and basketball with Caleb.  That night, the boys stayed at my parents' house while Amy and I went to Deana and Martin's game night.   Lots of fun was had, with very nice company, playing Catchprase, Wii and Texas Hold Em'.  Click here to see a clip from the game of Catchphrase: Musical Edition that includes Deana's clues for Michael Jackson's Thriller.  CatchPhrase generated a lot of good laughter.  Saturday was Amy's first time playing poker and, not only did she enjoy it, she played very well, joining me in the final three of the winner's round.  We had good cards and I was lucky enough to be the last player standing.  We were going to blow the winnings on a trip to the movies today, but nothing is out that the kids haven't already seen.  So we watched Prince Caspian at home instead and spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing.  Amy and I had a bit of a lucky streak at game night.  We played on a winning team during Catchphrase and won the Smarty Pants Wii trivia game.  It would have been a sweep for us if Mark and Sue,  who had never touched a Wii remote before, hadn't crushed us in bowling.  When we got back to my parent's house it was late, raining and cold.  Since the kids were already asleep, we decided to join them for a sleep over at Mo and Papa's.        

Thursday, January 8th, 2009.  I forgot to post this year's addition to the last photo of the year collection.  Ben fell asleep in the playroom waiting for midnight and Jackson actually stayed awake.  So neither boy was actually in their room.           


Monday, January 5th, 2009.  Yesterday, on a sunny blue-sky afternoon, I met friends at the Boiling Hole on the Mayo River in Rockingham County, for some park and play paddling.  It was nice to be on the water after a month and a half paddling drought.  In the photo above, I'm trying out my new creeker with a little seal launch into the river.  Amy and the boys, meanwhile, took Zorro and Emma to the playground, where Jackson shot basketball and Ben rode his scooter.  After supper, we played Jackson's new Cadoo game that his Aunt Dianna gave him for Christmas.  It was a nice way to spend the last day of their holiday break.          

Sunday, January 4th, 2009.  Click here to watch Ben Wii Boxing (4MBs)  So far he's undefeated.  My arms still hurt from trying the time I tried to beat him.  We had a nice weekend that included a long overdue trip to ChuckECheese, a basketball game and some outside play in the nice weather.  Deana and Martin came to Jackson's basketball game and posted photos here.  One of today's photos is Ben riding the Razor scooter Santa gave him.  The other photo is our friend Christie and Will's new baby girl (photographed with her Daddy).  We also managed to take down our Christmas tree and pack all the holiday items back into the attic.  Amy was helping Jackson organize the shelf at the top of his bed.  She was setting up a little desk organizer that holds change, etc...  I said "Jackson, I used that same organizer the entire time I was growing up.   And now you're getting to use it."  Amy said "No you didn't.  The cleaning lady at your work gave that to you."  I said "Oh yeah."  Jackson and I laughed a long time over that.           

Friday, January 2nd, 2009.  Way to go Hokies!  Jackson and I just finished watching Virginia Tech win the Orange Bowl.  That means that Jackson has stayed up till midnight two nights in a row.  Something tells me he might sleep a little later than normal tomorrow morning.  Today's photos are from our weekend with the Cowboy crazy Mills family.  Jackson loved it.