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Monday, January 30th, 2012.  Amy and I are putting the yearbook together for Ben's school.  I have spent a minimum of 2 hours a day for the past three weeks.  That is 7 days a week and a minimum of 2 hours a day.  And that explains the gulf in recent blog updates.  Add into that the fact that I am coaching Ben's basketball team and that Jackson is playing for two different teams, sometimes either practicing or playing 6 days a week, and I have had zero free time.  But I wanted to at least make one more quick update before the month ended.  Ben's team has been competitive in all but one of our games and ended the season with a 2-5 record, which puts us 6th out of 8 teams.  The tournament starts this Saturday.  Ben has a great season, but takes the losses very hard.  He is a really good point guard and has scored a lot.  We have actually, I think, done a really good job distributing the ball on the team, which is pretty difficult at this age and have had 4 different leading scores this season. 
Jackson continues to enjoy playing for the Patrick Prowl.  It is a great group of boys and he enjoys the weekend tournaments a lot.  They won two games and lost one last weekend in Stuart, VA.  Two weeks ago they made it to the championship round in the Silver bracket, but lost to the Surry Thunder for the second time this season.  I have never been able to take photos in a basketball gym, but my sister can, so I am posting lots of photos on the boy's basketball pages.  Click here for Ben's and here for Jackson's.  I also included a couple of Nolan photos in today's post to show how much that little cutie has grown.

Sunday, January 15th, 2012. Second win in a row improves our record to 2-3 in Court Kids Basketball.  It was a good game against our friend Abby's team.  All  the boys played really well.  Ben scored 9.  He scored 12 in last week's win against our friend Josh's team.  I've got my fingers crossed that the kids can make it three in a row with another win next weekend.  After winning two in a row, Jackson's team had a tough outing and fell to 2-3 for the season.  They play again this Friday night against Jackson's buddy Simon's team. 
After yesterday's games, Amy and Ben went to Wytheville for our friend Colin's birthday party.  It was at the Wytheville recreation center that includes a giant indoor climbing wall, water slides, pool and more.  They had a super time and went to Colin's grandfather's house when the party was over. 

Wednesday, January 10th, 2012. On New Year's Day, my friend Patrick and I took my long-time paddling buddies Tommy, Lang and Cindy down Wilson Creek Gorge.  It was a great way to start the year.  I have more photos and a longer trip report on my paddling website, www.betweenswims.com. (photos courtesy of Bev)

Tuesday, January 9th, 2012.  Amy's Aunt Jerry Ann passed away Friday evening.  Amy was in Bluefield at the hospital Friday morning, then returned on Sunday for visitation at the funeral home, then on Monday, Ben and I joined her for the funeral.  Sherri and Wesley were also in town and spent Saturday night with us.  Alan arrived on Sunday and stayed with us for two nights.  Jerry Ann was very special.  She was an incredibly dynamic and hard working person that suffered a very unfortunate stroke four and a half years ago.  She had been very sick this winter.  Jerry Ann's husband of 59 years, Charlie, is in our thoughts this week. 

The rest of our time has been centered around the boys and their basketball games.  Ben played two games this past weekend and Jackson played four.  Their rec games on Saturday went very well.  Both were leading scorers in their victories.  I was very happy for our little 6-8 year old team as it was our first win of the year.  It was a very close game.  In the final minutes, with the score tied, I told Ben that he had to get to the basket and get us two points.  He came through for us, then the rest of the team played superb defense and executed great ball management in the final minute to hold on for the win.  Ben scored 12 points in our 22-20 victory.  Jackson followed his rec game up with two AAU games with his Patrick Prowl team.  They had two close games, one in which they led for all but the last 4 seconds, but came away with losses.  They played again on Sunday though and ended the tournament with a 34 point win.  We really like the group of kids on the Prowl and are enjoying their games a lot.  Jackson has also become pretty fond of his rec team and is enjoying that season as well.  And on one last note, Jackson had all As on this report card again.  Ben's was perfect as well.  We are very proud of both boys.
Click here for video highlights from the game against the Stars (including one really funny shot at the 2:30 mark and Jackson's 3 pointer at the 3:35 mark).  And you can click here for video highlights from two games against Floyd on New Years Eve.  I have more photos, many courtesy of Deana, on Jackson's Basketball Page.

Below are photos of Ben and his team (courtesy of Deana), I have more on Ben's Basketball Page.