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Saturday, May 30th, 2015. Amy, Ben and I joined our neighbors on a late season trip to Country Roads.  The day was just gorgeous and the strawberries plentiful.  It was a great way to spend our pre-race portion of the day.   (To see past trips to pick strawberries, click here.)

Based on how much fun everyone seemed to have at the inaugural Bulldog 5K/10K, I decided to join them this year.  I was very proud of how the whole family ran.  Not only did Ben bring home a 2nd place medal again this year, he beat his PR by 3 minutes, clocking in at 25:27, 10th out of males and 12th overall out of all 122 runners.  Amazing.  Amy ran fast again, barely missing out on a medal by placing 4th in her age group and 15th overall among women.  Jackson repeated as the champ in his age division and improved to 5th overall in the 10K with a time of 49:29.  And in my first ever 10K, I placed 1st in my age division, 7th overall, with a time of 50:02.  It was a beautiful evening that we enjoyed sharing with my sister Melanie and lots and lots of friends in wonderful Kibler Valley. I enjoyed getting to run with Jackson again, although I was only able to hang with him for the first 4 miles.  More photos here.

Friday, May 29th, 2015. Friday night with friends.  Ben took his buddy Luis to Air Bound while Jackson enjoyed a night with friends at a Dash game celebrating Sam, Jack and John's upcoming high school graduation. 

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015.  Ben celebrated at home with family this year.  Amy, as requested, made a strawberry big top cupcake and Mo made a fresh strawberry shortcake.  And following it all, we played two big games of basketball before a quick trip to GameStop to buy Fifa15 for the PS4 that Deana and Martin gave him.  The morning started with a candle in a breakfast muffin, then Jackson and I joined him for lunch at his school where Ben passed out KrispyKreme donuts to his classmates.  After school Amy took him for a frozen treat and to pick out his ribeye for dinner (everyone else had salad and pizza).  Ben proclaimed that it was a wonderful day.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015. Great Memorial Day from start to finish.  After Amy and I dropped the boys off at school, we went for a run on the walking trail, packed a picnic and headed to Kibler Valley.  After a nice lunch and a long walk along the river, we returned to town to pick up the boys from school.  After dinner the boys and I spent just a beautiful evening paddling on Lovills Creek Lake.  It is hard to believe it has been 8 years since I last paddled there.  And while we were doing that, Amy attended book club with friends from FPCMA.  

Monday, May 25, 2015. We moved Petunia out of the coop and into a wire kennel which will hopefully fix her broodiness.  The idea is to keep air flow moving under her, while not allowing her to have a place to sit.  Hopefully it will work, because if it doesn't, then we might just have to relocate her to a farm with a rooster. 

Sunday, May 24th, 2015. We had a great weekend.  Jackson played Ultimate Frisbee on Friday, Ben and I watched Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome , then around 1pm Alan and Jimmy arrived for a visit.  I cooked a big breakfast on Saturday morning, we played basketball and foot golf, visited Scoops for ice cream, had a big cookout that included Amy's banana pudding.  After dinner we watched Mad Max: Road Warrior, then Jimmy, Jackson and I went to a late showing of Mad Max: Fury Road.  Sunday morning started for Amy and I with a run on Main Street, followed by some relaxing time with Alan and Jimmy.  After they left Jackson went to Beacons while Amy and I went to our friends the McCluskeys for sangria on their back porch. 

Thursday, May 21st, 2015. We started harvesting lettuce this week.  This year we planted a new patch of strawberries, green beans, lettuce, a banana pepper and a host of tomato varieties.
Last night Jackson and I stayed up to watch the final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman.  An end to an era.  Watching Letterman in college was a ritual on my hall. Between the end of the Cavs/Hawks game and Letterman, I squeezed in a quick 2 mile run under the stars and streetlights.

Monday, May 18th, 2015. Ben wrapped up his successful and rewarding journey as a Cub Scout last night.  He received his Arrow of Light and following the bridge ceremony, he became a Boy Scout.  He, Peter, Martin, Brett and Will all started together as Tiger Cubs and made it through all the ranks together.  Damien joined them as a WEBELOS and filled out the group that bridged last night.  Martin, Deana and Papa joined us for the ceremony and dinner.  I thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Cub Scout program.  I spent time as a parent, an assistant Cub Master, Cub Master and Committee Chairman.  Amy volunteered as well and Jackson even joined us on a few camping trips.  It was a great five years and I am really proud of Ben for sticking with it all the way through.  And now he gets to start his Boy Scout journey!

Sunday, May 17th, 2015. Amy and I spent the morning outside with the chickens and also went for a walk before picking Ben up in Stuart.  I grilled lunch, Jackson and I played some basketball, Ben and I kicked some soccer, Amy ran errands, then Jackson drove us to Scoops for ice cream.   We worked in the yard on Mother's Day and now both Amy and Ben have a rash from Poison Ivy.  Ben's is really bad.  It is all over his legs, hands and arms.  It's been tough on the little guy, up until this reaction, we thought that neither son was allergic to it.  

Saturday, May 16th, 2015. I couldn't have asked for a better experience in my 1st ever 5K.  I ran it in 22:03, a full 3 minutes ahead of my goal, finishing an overall 18th out of 204 runners.  Jackson ran the entire race with me.  And Amy and Ben were cheering for us at the finish line.  Then that evening, Amy and I returned to Shelton Vineyards for a concert on a beautiful May evening.  Ben spent the night with Deana, Martin and Seth, while Jackson hung out at a friend's house.  Then after the concert, we got to visit with Mike and Brooke who were camping nearby. 

Thursday, May 14th, 2015. Ben's team won the tournament!  3 of his last 4 teams have now been tournament champions, that is quite a hot streak.  Great team, good coaches, fun season.  We were glad that our friend and neighbor Jack's team made it to the championship game.  Ben and Jack have put in a lot of hours practicing in their backyards together this season. (more soccer photos from this and the last game here)


Sunday, May 10th, 2015. Mother's Day started with Amy and I running to the store to buy bread for french toast.  I have wanted to cook that for a long time, since we have the over abundant collection of eggs.  We gave Amy her presents, including a video montage celebrating Amy's 15 years of being the best mom ever.    After church I grilled burgers while Amy made fresh squeezed lemonade.  We spent the afternoon working in the yard, then all went on a late evening walk together along the Ararat River.  It was a nice day.

Saturday, May 9th, 2015. I made my longest run to date, but by only a little.  I ran 6.3 miles, one tenth longer than last week's long run.  Ben had an indoor soccer game in the afternoon (he played very well).  That evening we relaxed and watched a movie together.  The night before, Amy went to see The Age of Adeline with my sister and friends, while Jackson played disc golf and Ben and I went to the talent show at the intermediate school.

Thursday, May 7th, 2015. I decided to get a little roll practice in while Ben practiced soccer by the river at Tharrington Field.  I followed that up with a 2.8 mile run that included 231 feet of elevation.  Ben and I were taking turns with the ice pack while doing his math homework before bed.  We also had double helpings of the strawberry cream pudding Amy made. 

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015.  Ben stayed home with an upset stomach, Amy has a sore throat, I dunked Petunia in ice water, AGAIN, she is still broody, Amy and I took a drive to Cana, she ran errands for work, I took a run around the neighborhood, Jackson drove me to town and back for some after dark driving practice, then we called it a night. 

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015.  Just a great day.  Jackson got his learner's permit, drove to school with me, drove home from school with Amy, drove around town with his Aunt Deana, drove to Chili Rojo following Ben's soccer game, then drove us home.  The weather was just perfect.  As I was running from our house to the soccer field, Jackson drove by in Deana's car and honked the horn at me.  Ben played really, really well in his soccer game.  Their whole team is playing hard and the league is really competitive this year.  They lost both their game last night and tonight, but they both were close.  Dinner on the patio at Chili Rojo was super.  Their Capichi Grilled Chicken has turned into a big favorite of mine.  It was just a really nice evening spent with family and friends.  (soccer photos here)

Monday, May 4th, 2015. I ran the longest I have ran in 30 years Sunday morning.  I made it from our house to the middle school, then up to Main Street and back home, which made a 6.2 mile (10K) loop.  The photo below is from a recent nap on a rainy Sunday afternoon following church.  And speaking of church, while it was sad to see our interim minister Rob leave, we are very happy to have our new pastor, Grif and his wife Elizabeth with us.  Hopefully they will like our little town of Mayberry as much as we do.

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015. Happy Birthday to Jackson!  He is 15 years old!  We had quiet day spent at home with the family and an evening at the movies to watch The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  It was the 2nd time Jackson watched it this week.  He had candles in his muffins at breakfast, banana pudding at lunch and strawberry shortcake at dinner. 

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015. Amy, Jackson and I all went for runs early, then we went to Pilot Mt for Ben's soccer game.  From there we went to King for a very fun lunch at Dairi-o, followed by an afternoon of shopping in Winston-Salem.  We hit Great Outdoor Provision, Trader Joe's and Edward McKay's used books, all of which are favorites of ours.  That evening Jackson watched the big Mayweather/Pacqiao fight while Amy, Ben and I watched Night at The Museum 3 at home.  In between all that, Amy and I worked in the garden, the chicken coop, dunked poor Petunia in ice water to cure her broodiness and took a nap on a blanket in the back yard.  And Ben and I hit the soccer field for some practice.

Friday, May 1st, 2015. Jackson closed out his freshman season with an amazing PR in the 3200.  He improved an incredible 1 minute and 24 seconds, completing the race in 12:11.  Could not be any more proud of how hard he ran in that race.  His 1600 time was 5:48, his 3rd best time of the season.  The Boys Team finished 3rd in the conference, the girls tied for 2nd. 

Ben spent the afternoon with Mo and Papa since it rained off and on at the meet.