Sunday the 31st. We closed out the month with a perfect eighty degree day spent outside in the country. Jackson rode his four-wheeler all around Hama's farm. He and I then rode Papa's four-wheeler up and down Pigg Creek (Papa had told us it would float, so we wanted to test it). We all took a nice walk through the leaves to the cabin. Jackson hiked to the top of one hill with me where he found a turtle hidden in the leaves. I then taught him how to slide back to the bottom under the mountain laurels. Later Jackson surprised us with his stamina by hiking over another hill with Papa. Benjamin spent most of his day talking to anyone that would listen. And he had a big audience because, besides Hama, he saw Uncle David and Aunt Cathy, cousins Peggy and Bruce Francis, and cousin Marcus and Chastidy Heath with their new baby Wyatt. And of course being on the farm meant great food and lots of it. On top of Hama's stove we found greens, turnips, baked apples, mashed potatoes, beef, meatloaf, cornbread, green beans, and sweet potato cobbler.
Saturday the 30th. Big, big day. While Amy worked, the boys and I spent a couple of hours at Sci-Works. We later met up with Amy and the Eads for a walk to Main Street for some daytime trick-or-treating, followed by a Halloween party at the Eads. Finally we had a big night of door-to-door trick-or-treating that we ended by making a few house-calls on our way to Claudville for the last stop of the night at Mo and Papa's.
Friday the 29th. Jackson went as Robin to his Halloween party at school.
Thursday the 28th. This morning Jackson borrowed Amy's camera to take some pictures around the house. He then sat down to draw a picture of the camera and signed his name when he finished.
Wednesday the 27th. Happy Birthday to my little sis Melanie. We all went to Claudville and celebrated with the rest of the family at Mo and Papa's house. Benjamin also had a birthday of sorts today, he turned seventeen months old.
Tuesday the 26th. Soccer season ended last night with a game against the parents, a party, and a medal ceremony. Jackson couldn't be any prouder of his medal. He had me in the tool shed at 6am this morning looking for nails to hang a trophy shelf to display it. He also polished it with lemon juice this morning. Click here to see all this season's soccer photos.
Monday the 25th. Jackson picked out his pumpkin, scooped out the insides, and drew the face on it all by himself this year. He is getting so big. Yesterday he counted to 48 without making any mistakes, which I thought was big enough to add to his list of milestones. We are very proud of him. Benjamin helped with his pumpkin too, but mostly he contributed by beating on it with a spoon.
Sunday the 24th. The family pushed our way up through an incredibly thick fog for the second day in a row, but this time drove high enough in the mountains to rise above it. We later heard that a Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed in the same fog at nearby Bull Mountain killing all ten onboard. Very, very sad. I've been on top of Bull Mountain before. It rises high, just to the east of Stuart and, at seven miles west of Spencer Airport, it is the first and tallest mountain you reach when approaching from that direction. From what I understand, they aborted their initial approach at Blue Ridge Airport and probably just looped to far to the west at a low altitude with no visibility and crashed into the side of the mountain.
We had lunch in Galax, Virginia at our favorite restaurant, Macado's, then went for a nice leaf-watching walk on the New River Trail. An on our way through Cana we picked out a couple of pumpkins (our first pumpkins sort of pooped out on us), then carved them just before bedtime.
Saturday the 23rd. If you didn't know it already, I lean very hard to the political left. Well, somehow Jackson heard about the presidential election and started asking about it. Amy explained to him that two people were competing for the job. He asked "who is our president now?" Amy told him it was George Bush. So he proclaimed right then and there that he was for "George Bush!" (you know how Jackson hates change!) He called me at the office to tell me that he was pulling for George Bush. When I told him that I wasn't, that I was pulling for the other guy, he actually got mad and hung the phone up (politics!!). Then at dinner last night (and I really don't remember how it got started), things heated up again and ended with Jackson yelling "George Bush!!!" and me yelling back "John Kerry!!!" Jackson thinks the whole affair is a hoot. Now wouldn't it be funny if he grows up to be the one thing in the world we aren't open minded enough to accept, a republican! Aaaagghhhhh
Jackson, Ben, and I fumbled our way through the fog this morning to Anita's house on the mountain. Little Jimmy is now three months old and we really wanted to see him. He has grown a ton, I wouldn't have recognized the big guy. What a cutie! He even smiled at as some when we played patty-cake. We then made a stop at Nancy's Fudge in Meadows Of Dan to pick up some delicious chocolates.
Friday the 22nd. Benjamin is such a character. It is like living with your grandpa that doesn't speak any English. He tells so many stories, but we have no idea what he is saying. He bends over and stomps his feet and waves his arms around the entire time he is talking. It is hard to describe, but it is sort of like watching an old Greek man telling a story, or maybe French. Or maybe it is more like a caveman. I don't know, but I would give anything to know what he is talking about.
The boys had a lot of fun tonight at Tharrington Elementary School's Fall Festival. Jackson saw lots of friends and won lots of candy, plus it gave him his first chance to be Robin in public.
Thursday the 21st. Jackson has enjoyed playing soccer this year, but what he really wants to do is karate when he is five.
And speaking of sports... I'm not a big baseball fan, but I know enough to not like the Yankees. So it was a lot of fun watching the Red Sox come back from being down 3 games in the ALCS to win four straight and send the Yanks home for the year. Either one of the biggest comebacks in sports history or the biggest choke, depends on how you look at it.
Wednesday the 20th. Happy Birthday Mo! We love you!!
Jackson had the idea on Tuesday night to give Oliver a birthday party. And today, true to his word, Jackson threw Oliver a very nice Elmo party. Apparently Oliver turned one and shares a birthday with Mo. (Oliver is Amy's Cabbage Patch doll that Jackson found at Grandma Sue's and brought home a very long time ago. He sleeps with Jackson, O'Bear (his hand-made teddy bear), Leroy (Amy's teddy bear), Cubby (my little orange bear), and Teddy (my teddy bear). That's a lot of history and a lot of critters for one bed.
I've got to give Hickory Station in Hickory, NC a plug for giving me two free pieces of pie today, one sweet potato and one chocolate, and they were gooooood. Makes me sound like Hugh Neutron doesn't it? If you're in Hickory, go to Union Square and try Hickory Station, and if you're nice, maybe they'll give you free pie.
Tuesday the 19th. The boys went to Claudville on a dark, foggy night to celebrate Mo's birthday with her. The grandkids all took a photo together and gave it to her as a present.
Monday the 18th. Benjamin woke up this morning at 4:15 and did not go back to sleep, so it was a long day for mommy. I managed to sleep in a little later than that. Jackson had his next-to-last soccer practice and was happy to have his Aunt Deana there watching.
Sunday the 17th. I am sure that this will be the first of many appearances by Robin this month, in fact, you may not see Jackson for awhile. He is pretty excited about his latest secret identity. And what about that Steelers/Dallas game. That only took me back about 25 years. Good defense, good receivers, strong running game, AND a decent quarterback. It's been a long, long time since Pittsburg had that combo.
Friday the 15th. Brooke and Landon came to visit and play this afternoon. Landon is cuter every time we see him.
Thursday the 14th. All of our thoughts and sympathies tonight are with the Alley family, with our brother-in-law Eric Beasley, and with his family after the sudden passing of Eric's sister Margie Alley this morning. Margie was thirty-four years old, a mother of four boys (Zachary, Alexander, Nicholas and Christopher), and, along with her husband Jeff, ran her own company, J&M Construction.
Wednesday the 13th. We are very happy that our friend Megan is recovering well from her surgery Monday and got to come home today.
Tuesday the 12th. Jackson told me that the Santa Claus he talks to at the mall every year is not the real Santa. I asked him why he thinks that and he said "have YOU ever seen any reindeer? Or a sleigh? It CAN'T be the real Santa."
Monday the 11th. Jackson's Monday went school, dentist, soccer for the second straight week.
Sunday the 10th. The family went to Main Street and joined friends Sharon McMichael and Tonya Williams at the Autumn Leaves Festival. We also had our friend Hilary visiting from Richmond this weekend.
Saturday the 9th. The Hokies won a hard fought game against a good Wake Forest team to go 4-2, 2-1 in conference play. It was a pretty low key day around the house, as low key as Wild Ben will let it get anyway.
Friday the 8th. The Autumn Leaves Festival kicked off today in Mount Airy. Click here for more photos from the Sci-Works trip yesterday.
Thursday the 7th. Amy, Ben, Jack, Timmesa, and Sam all went to Sci-Works in Winston-Salem and had a great time. The Richard Scarry BusyTown exhibit was a big hit. I took advantage of the nice weather and rode the bike to Lovills Creek Lake in Cana, Virginia at lunch.
Wednesday the 6th. I hit the water in my new Dagger Element for the first time and had a great thirteen mile paddle on the Dan with it. Jeff and I started at the 704 bridge around 9:30am and took out at the Dan River Company at 4:00pm. More photos on the paddle page.
Click here to watch the movie. (4.9MB)
Tuesday the 5th. Amy and the boys went to Fisher River Park with the Eads on a nice autumn morning.
Click here to see a movie about big and little brothers. (1.4MB)
Monday the 4th. In between school and soccer, Jackson made his second trip to the dentist.
Sunday the 3rd. Both the Hokies and the Steelers won, so it was a good football weekend. Congratulations to Grandma Sue on Junior's win at Talladega. A new word for Benjamin this week is Big Bird. He pronounces it something like Big Bir. It was a Play-Doh weekend for Jackson who has been playing with his old Doh-Doh Island and new Doh-Doh Beach Buggy a lot. The most frequent creations are pet snakes and maybe an occasional lizard.
Saturday the 2nd. We painted gourds with Megan and took the puppies for a walk around the block.
Friday the 1st. After work and dinner at Coppola's, we went to the playground.