Jackson slept in the bed between me and Amanda last night. We didn’t have any trouble getting him down- he was pretty tired after watching The Incredibles, and with all the time he spent in the water earlier today he had to be tuckered out. He woke up a couple times, briefly, and fussed just a bit before falling back to sleep. He did kick in his sleep quite a bit though, and when Amanda and I were comparing notes we found that he scratched both of us in the eyes.

We got up and Amanda took a shower while I gave Jackson a bath. He kept wanting to pour water on me too so after a while I gave up and got in too. That’s not too weird is it?

We got to church on time. Kyle and Lorin Van Zandt sat next to us, along with a friend of theirs named Amanda. So they got to see Jackson, as did Mike Paschal, Rachel, Wayne and Polly. Oh, and Elliot Clark and Melissa Smith, although Melissa had met Jackson before. When the music first started Jackson made his shocked and surprised O face. (Not the same as the O face from Office Space.) He was pretty good the whole time. He got pretty squirmy during the message, but I was able to distract him with a toy car he brought and a pen that he used to draw on the bulletin for the most part.

Amanda and I had thought about dropping him off at Grow Zone, where small children stay during the service, but, selfishly, I wanted to show my nephew off.

Once in the car I gave Andra a call to see what their schedule was looking like, since we had to meet up to give Jackson back to them. Andra and Josh Sawyer (my baby sister no longer shares my last name!) were meeting my parents and Erin for breakfast and it had taken them longer than they expected to get seated, so they were running a little behind. Amanda and I went to the Manhattan Bagels over on 17th, which we used to do a lot more often when we lived over in Sunset Park.

When we finished the bagels, which we took our time doing, I called Andra to see what was up at that point. They weren’t ready quite yet and Erin suggested that we drive back down to Oak Island so she could see Jackson some more. I reacted a bit harshly to that and Erin said, “Okay” and quickly got off the phone. The problem I had was that we’d spent some time working out arrangements yesterday and it seemed like things were trying to get changed. On top of that, if we were going to go hang out at the beach again we’d have to drive back to our house again to get our stuff when we were already on the other side of town.

Anyway, we ended up going to Greenfield Lake to waste a little time. Jackson tossed some leftover bagel to a duck )or some duck-like creature that was hiding in some bushes) and threw the rest to the hordes of turtles hanging out in the lake. After that we took him to one of the playgrounds, where he went down the slide a bunch of times and climbed all over stuff. He was prissy at first though, when he stepped into the sand. He fussed about having his sandals on in the sand then when I took them off he said his feet were dirty. It was cute, and he didn’t care after he started playing.

After that we started our trip down 74. As we were passing over the Battleship Memorial Bridge I pointed out the “big boat” to Jackson, but he couldn’t tell that the battleship was a boat since it was partly behind trees from our view, so I asked Amanda to pull into the parking lot of the memorial so he could see it. Of course then he wanted to go on it, so that backfired a little. I told him we’d go on it next time he came to see us in Wilmington.

Jackson and I dozed off on the way to our destination, which was “something” near the intersection of 74 and 211. We ended up getting there about fifteen or twenty minutes before Andra and Josh. They thought they were close when we called them to tell us what gas station to meet us to, but it ended up that they were at 211’s intersection with 17, not 74. Jackson was still asleep when they did pull up. We talked for a few minutes and Andra and Josh gave us some hanging spider plants to clear up some room in their car for Jackson’s car seat, then they took off for Gastonia and we headed back to Wilmington.

Overall Jackson was very fun and as well-behaved as one could expect a two-year-old to be.

On the way back we talked to Mom. Mom, Dad and Erin were on the way to our house from Oak Island. They’d spent some time walking on the beach, returned a keg and checked out of their place. I talked to Adam too, and he and his girlfriend Renee Sikes wanted to meet up with everyone for lunch. Mom, Dad and Erin were maybe a mile in front of us as it turned out, but we got back a couple minutes before them because they stopped to get gas for the Prius.

I was driving. Not that that had any bearing on anything at all, but I just thought I’d mention that I drove back.

Amanda and I had a couple minutes to pick up a little before the rest of the crew arrived. We’ve done a lot of work in the yard since the three of them had last been here back in March, so we showed that to everyone. We let Erin pick where to go, since she used to live in Wilmington but obviously doesn’t anymore. She wanted to go downtown and we ended up picking The Real Cafe. It took us a minute to find a place to park, and when we were walking up to The Real Cafe we saw Adam and Renee crossing the street to get there too.

We dropped our names off and requested to eat outside. The hostess said it’d be a few minutes so we decided to walk around a bit. We went towards Elijah’s and went into a marketplace i’d never been in before. It looked like it was an open street at some point, but that the roof had been installed with some runners of some kind. I was thinking maybe it was for launching ships, but it could just as well have been for loading cargo into boats. I don’t know, but there were some cool shops in it. There was a wall in there too that had been signed by a number of famous people including James Earl Jones, Josh Jackson, Henry Winkler, Jamie Lee Curtis and a number of others. Josh Jackson (who played Pacy on Dawson’s Creek, which was shot here in Wilmington) signed in between James Earl Jones and Henry Winkler and said something like: Now I can be just where I’ve always dreamed of being- sandwiched between Darth Vader and The Fonz.”

We went back to The Real Cafe and they seated us pretty quickly. We actually sat the same place Amanda and I had sat almost two years ago when we’d gone out with Ben and Jessica Lambeth, Kristen Barriner and Rob Peterson. That had been a really fun night.

So we all ate and hung out and talked. Mom and Dad paid for everybody. As my mom said, “What’s another hundred dollars this weekend?” Adam and Renee left after we ate, as she had a paper to work on, and the rest of us decided to walk by the riverfront. Mom wanted ice cream so we walked down to Market Street. The ice cream shop is right next to the offices of William Poole, who is a website client of ours. I mentioned that to Mom and Dad and Erin, throwing in that he’s a world-renowned architect.

The ice cream place was packed. Dad was on the phone outside so I went out there, then Erin joined us. She and I went to go sit on a bench then Dad joined us while we waited for Mom and Amanda to get their ice cream. (Amanda bought Mom’s.) While we were out there it sank in for my mom that the William Poole I was talking about was William E. Poole, the famous architect. She was like, “You do the site for William E. Poole?!?!” Then she asked if I knew him and if I’d met him. (The answers being yes, no.)

I don’t generally mention clients of ours on this website by name, but it was a good moment for me. I think that a lot of people don’t realize what all my job entails or that it’s not just some people who sit around “doing” websites. I think it was validation for me that my mom was so impressed by a client of ours, particularly since it’s one we do a lot with.

We walked back to the car along the river. Since we were near it we went by the house Erin lived in on 4th Street then went on home. People took turns with bathroom breaks and Erin and Mom both gave Guitar Hero II a try. They got booed off, so I showed them what it was like to play Carry On Wayward Son on Hard. Of course, I nearly got booed off myself, but I made it through.

Mom, Dad and Erin left after that. I played a few more rounds then Amanda and I settled into watching some TV. The Bourne Supremacy was on, and neither of us had seen it, even thought we thought The Bourne Identity was pretty decent. I was a bit tired so I dozed off towards the end, which I hated to do. Amanda watched an episode of Seventh Heaven (since nothing much else was on) and while she did that I tried to fall asleep again, but sadly I couldn’t.

After a bit I went upstairs to take my initial look at all the pictures I’d taken this weekend. I’ve got to say, these were some of my best wedding pictures to date. I ended up tossing out 90-some pictures just on this preliminary round and I’ve still got 420-some left.

Zach Dotsey