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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010. Historically, our family celebrates Father's Day with either a camping trip or a weekend at the river.  This year, however, we visited with friends at Blue Mountain on Saturday, then I spent twelve hours on Sunday taking a much needed river rescue class in Martinsville, Virginia.  I was joined in the class, which was instructed by Edgar Peck with assistance from Eric Stuart, by many of my good paddling friends from SRVCC.  It was an exceptional class and I learned a lot.  More photos are on my BetweenSwims website.
Jackson spent yesterday and last night at his Aunt Deana and Uncle Martin's house and was joined by his cousin Caleb.  Tonight he goes to vacation bible school, then has a sleep over with friends Simon and Harrison.  Even with all the picking that Jackson does, Ben was not in favor of Jackson being gone two nights in a row.  We also had friends Tonya and Ken over for dinner, which was a very nice treat.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010.  The boys enjoyed attending vacation bible school at First Presbyterian Church last week as they both had friends in their classes.  It also gave Amy and I the chance to go to the gym together for the first time ever.  The next night we relaxed with a walk together down Main Street.  Click here to watch a video from the VBS musical finale.  Tonight Jackson is with his aunt Deana and uncle Martin.  Even though they have only been out of school for a little over one week, I think both boys were ready for a break from each other.  Amy took Ben to Reeve's Community Center to swim this afternoon and I'm sure that Jackson probably took plenty of jumps off Deana's dock. 

Monday, June 21st, 2010.   In the past week, the kids have went swimming 4 times in 3 different pools.  On Friday night we very excitedly went to see Toy Story 3 in 3D at the theater.  Very, very good movie.  Later that night we caught a little of the first Toy Story on the outside screen at a neighbor's house.  Then on Saturday, we had an awesome time seeing old friends at Rob and Shanna's party at Blue Mountain in Franklin County.  Rob and Shanna have a beautiful venue and the kids loved playing in the creek.  We also went on a hike, threw baseball, played woofle ball, badminton, cornhole, frisbee and hula hooped.  All this in addition to having a fried chicken picnic and listening to some great bands while catching up with many of Amy's good friends from Virginia Tech.  Good times.  More photos here.


Tuesday, June 15th, 2010.  Ben loved bible school last night.  Those were actually his exact words when I asked him how it went.  He said "LOVED it."  While Ben was playing with his friends and working on crafts, Jackson and I hit the gym and Amy visited with friends.  Following that, we all crashed after the first big Monday of summer.  Last Friday, Ben had a play-date at his buddy Collin's house.  Today Collin came over to Ben's house to play.  Then they saw each other again tonight at Bible School.  Jackson had friends there as well, so tonight he opted to go, which meant that Amy and I, for the first time ever, went to the gym together.  One of today's photos is of Ben and another of our buddies, little Brett.   The other is of Jackson and his black eye.

Monday, June 14th, 2010.  Today's photos are from Ben's last two days as a kindergartener.  He left one day with Anne Rachel and the next with Brett.  We had a big, full weekend that included watching a movie on our garage door with 4 other families from the neighborhood, watching the new Karate Kid at the theater, sprinkler fun, car washing, riding the neighbor's zip line, building lego vehicles, playing chess and more.  Jackson stopped at a friend's house to shoot basketball while he and Amy were out walking the dogs last night.  When he came home he was sporting a nice, shiny black eye.  Apparently he took an elbow to the face.  It's a doozy, swollen and black, definitely one to be proud of.  Today, Amy and the boys are at the pool, then tonight Ben has bible school. 

Friday, June 11th, 2010.  The school year is over and summer vacation has started.  We celebrated last night by breaking out a new sprinkler, lighting sparklers, playing with water balloons, catching lightning bugs, eating popsicles and staying up late watching Wipeout (a summer tradition for us).  We had lots of neighbors playing in the front yard with us, including pretty little SKV.  Her mother, Carrie, Jackson's all-time favorite teacher, was pregnant while Jackson was in her 2nd grade class.  It was VERY exciting for all the kids, which is why Jackson has such an affection for SKV and why he thinks it is super cool that they now live just up the street.

Both boys excelled this school year.  Jackson started the school year with straight As, but still found room for improvement by scoring 100s in both C.A.P. math and reading.  He averaged 95 or better in all four of his subjects.  Ben is reading above a 1st grade level and showed improvement as well.  Personally, I am super proud of his good marks in behavior, as I thought that might be a tough area for him.  He proved me wrong and was a super student.  We are now looking forward to months of summertime fun, with the one challenge of keeping the boys from fighting non-stop.  They seem well served to get breaks from each other, which school provided.

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010. The Sillybandz craze reached our town just in time for the last few weeks of school.  The bands, which come in different colors and are in the shapes of animals, musical instruments, etc..., are traded at school and are the definitely the fad of the month.  The boys bought their first pack a few weeks ago, then bought three more packs each this week with birthday money.  It was actually pretty hard to find them because all the stores were sold out. 

Monday, June 7th, 2010.  The big project over the weekend was building a Huck Finn/Robinson Crusoe style hideout, dubbed Fort Brothers by Jackson and Ben.  Lots of fun.  Tonight we celebrated Jackson's perfect 100s on his C.A.P. report card with dinner at Chili Verde and shakes from Sonic.  The boys then played outside with their friends Jessica and Jack until bedtime.


Friday, June 4th, 2010.  Today's photo of our friend Eli was taken during Sunday's dinner club meeting.  We really enjoyed having so many of our good friends come over for grilled kabobs.  Even though it was a little warm, most everyone sat outside in the shade while the kids ran around and played. 

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010.  C.A.P. awards at school this morning.  Jackson was awarded certificates for the following;

All As in Reading and Math
National Young Scholars Program 4th Grade Nominee
News Bowl USA 4th Grade March -11th Place in the Nation
Duke University Talent Identification Program nominee
4th Grade Reading Counts Goals met and exceeded

Amy was awarded a certificate as well in recognition of her volunteer hours with the C.A.P students and classroom.  Tonight the 4th grade C.A.P. students performed Charlie and the Chocolate factory.  The 3rd grade enrichment students were Oompa Lumpas.  It was a wonderful performance.  The place was packed, Jackson himself had 13 friends and family in the audience.  He seemed to enjoy the play and hammed it up a little during his performance as Grandpa Joe.

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010.  I've made updates to the watermelon gallery, Ben's birthday page and Jackson's birthday page.  Ben had a great birthday party at his house on Saturday, celebrating with lots of friends and family.  We rented a bounce house, Amy made a Toy Story big top cupcake, the kids played in the yard, bounced and sang Happy Birthday.  Lots of fun.  After the party, we had a cookout with the Eads family and continued playing until dark.  Many, many more photos on Ben's birthday page.