Dude. Check out these butt-buddies!

Silas told you about the party at our house last Saturday, and Bills commented “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO DAVID and BEN! Number 9 ALREADY!— p.s., Is that what Saturday’s party was celebrating?” Thanks for remembering our anniversary, Bill.
Actually, it was Dub’s idea to have a “Red Ripple party.” Our kids followed the election and we were all happy the predicted “Red Wave” (or even “Red Tsunami”) didn’t happen. It’s interesting that the number of young people who voted in the mid-terms increased 9% over the last election and was in no small part responsible for many Democratic victories. Ben and I have great faith in the younger generation and think they’re our best hope for the continuation of democracy in our Country.
On another topic, we had an e-mail from our good friend “Beto” telling us he’s recovering from a bad bout of covid. We’re thinking of you, Beto and remembering you in our prayers. Get well soon, babe. We love you!

Dude. Nothin’ better than a little grab-ass!

Sometimes, David and I will be just standing somewhere and I’ll feel his hand on my butt. Not rough or demanding… just gentle and like it’s us… just being David and Ben and understanding how much a simple touch can mean.

We’ve just started our second week of school and it’s a whole new experience. We have a new school building with six full-time teachers plus one part-time (Janette). Chad says we have twelve and a half teachers because Dub, Bella, Travon and the other kids are all busy helping us teach the new kids.
Our school is different than most. We don’t have grades… as in first, second, third, etc. All our kids are just students on various levels of accomplishment. Travon, for example is level five (highest) in math, arts and Spanish, but level two in English and communications. The kids go to classrooms determined by their achievement level. It’s a bit confusing at first, but they catch on quickly and they’re always learning – and being challenged at their current level.
We had a wonderful Labor Day holiday at the “hawks nest” with literally everyone here. The grandparents loved having the kids in Springfield for a few days and it was an excellent break for the kids (and dads 🙂 ). It’s hard to believe summer is almost over and fall is about to arrive. I love the crisp, cool, fresh mornings and a chance to pull out the jeans and flannel shirts. It won’t be long before it’s time for pumpkin pie and hot buttered run. Love you guys. Ben

Dude. It’s another Friends Friday “Who would you do?”

Hey. It’s Rick. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a “Who would you do?” post, so I thought another would be fun. This time, it’s two dudes standing side-by-side in each pic and you get to pick the one you’d do. Honestly, in most cases we’d do them both – but it’s fun to pick one or the other 🙂

From David: We have lots to tell you about our July 4th celebration and the new “hawks nest.” I’ll start this out and let Ben finish it. We apologize if it’s too long, but that’s just how it is. Literally everyone was here for the 4th. All 12 of the guys – all 7 kids – all 6 dogs -the grandparents – Denise and Scott, Jim and Carol – Silas’ parents and sister – Dante’s father – Ms Evelyn – plus Nathan, Diana, Daniel and (little) Nathan. It was exactly the crowd we had in mind when we decided to buy/build the “hawks nest.” As you might expect, Alex has magically transformed the former dentists office/school into the gathering place of our dreams. There’s a beautifully appointed kitchen with just about every gadget and appliance you could imagine. Chad, Cal, Denise, Carol and I put them all to good use preparing various foods for our first get-together in the nest. There’s a large mensroom, a beautiful womens room and a storage room with racks for folding tables and chairs that seat up to 48 for dining. There are beautifully finished chairs for everyone… all with locking wheels for easy movement. There’s a 85″ Sony bravia high def tv, a climbing wall (with safety harnesses), a really long zip-line and 3 corn hole game areas. Alex’ big indoor surprise was a regulation-size pickleball court we can put in use by moving the furniture to the sidelines. We spent most of the day inside enjoying good company, good food and fun and games in air-conditioned comfort. It was perfect.
From Ben: Alex had been messing with us for several weeks… telling us he had a big outdoor surprise but refusing to tell anyone (other than Dub and Bella) what it was. As our 4th celebration inside “the nest” wound down and evening approached, Alex told us it was time to move the party outdoors. None of us had seen the “hawks plaza” out back and it was really cool. There’s a central area finished with concrete and river rock that’s 24′ x 24′ – surrounded with beautiful plantings. There are wooden benches on each side with wood and stainless steel covers to provide shade. Jim, Carol and the kids brought out the ice cream freezers and cakes and we were all talking while we ate dessert. Just then, a bunch of water jets started shooting up in the plaza. I counted 16 of them. They were all spurting water up about 4 or 5 feet high. We all sat watching while Daisy started barking… then went chasing after each jet. She’d jump on one and try to eat it… then move to another. Before long, Buzz the wonder dog joined her and they were barking and chasing the water and we were all laughing. Then, little Daniel waddled in. He’d take a few steps and go “plop” on his bottom and laugh while the dogs barked and chased the water jets. Before long, all the dogs – and all the kids were running around while the water jets sprayed them. Then the jets stopped… and another set of jets started. Long story short, there are 4 sets of 16 jets that Alex controls with his cell phone. Eventually, all of us were running around laughing and getting soaked.
As darkness approached, Alex told us we should sit on the benches because there’d be a show. So we sat and watched as music started and the “dancing waters” began. The first song was “Stars and Stripes forever” and it got us all pumped as the colored waters danced. Next there was “America the beautiful” which we all sang as we watched. Then, everything stopped… and we all just sat there on the benches while the dogs shook and darkness settled. Then, with a slow rhythm, the music started again – and the waters came to life as we heard Freddy Mercury begin belting out “We are the Champions.” Before long, we all stood with our arms locked as we sang “We are the Champions” – and you know what? We meant it! Gosh. It was amazing. And no matter what happens with America and the Supreme Court and the radical right… it doesn’t matter because we really ARE the champions!
We hope all of you are happy and in good health – and that your 4th of July celebration was memorable. xoxo Ben and David