Okay, so here's the deal:

I haven't done any RPing in over 11 years . . . back then my friends and I played Middle Earth, from ICE games, which was way-old even then. Before that, I hadn't played D&D since AD&D 1st Edition and the original Red Box D&D essentials game. So, it's been quite a while and things have changed -- a lot. I have only ever been player -- have never DM'd before in my life, and have little clue as to how to go about it.

Two weeks ago I purchased the new D&D 4E core rulebook set, looking to get back into gaming after all these years. My friend, Tonya, and her two teenage sons Mikael and Ricky, approached me about maybe playing a D&D game with just the three of them (and maybe one other person, to be determined later), and since I am the aspiring SF/Fantasy novelist of the group, I was nominated to design & DM the adventure and/or campaign.

Stupidly, I agreed. Now, I have no idea what I'm doing. I've read through the DM Guide from the core rulebook, but it seems to assume that you know the nitty-gritty mechanical details of what you're doing; it doesn't assume total ignorance, as I find myself in. I've gotten so far as to have sketched out a basic narrative, established "who" various NPCs will be, when and where the DM's character (me) will come into the story, a few basic ideas of the terrain and/or locations that the adventure will take place in, and I've made a list of possible encounters the characters will face (but have not chosen any specific monsters or set up any specific challenges). But I've no idea of how to approach the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of running the encounters or the skill challenges -- or the adventure itself, really -- or of what to ask of my players (or how and when to ask it), etcetera. The DM Guide has been very helpful in the general sense -- i.e., it covers that last question fairly well -- but it's lousy on specific mechanics and procedures to use whilst DMing a game.

I'm sorry to appear to be such an utterly naive n00b, but I really would like some help here. Doing this with Tonya and her boys really means a lot to both them, and me, both in terms of recapturing past nostalgia for the medium as well as just plain having a good time. And they're all pretty stoked about doing it, too -- so I can't really back out now. Does anyone know of any (preferably detailed and exhaustive) "Newbie DM" resources on the web? Or, can anyone help me here? If so, I'd be ever-so-appreciative.