Tuesday, November 26, 2013


It seems my children have been full of stories lately. I'm sorry to overload the blog with these types of posts but I am eager to get them down for memory's sake.


"Mom, do you wanna know how to play the guitar? Here's a hint: you do Itsy Bitsy Spider Hands."


As you know, last week was the 50th anniversary of the shooting of John F Kennedy. Julianna asked me as I was putting her to bed that night what I was doing when I heard the news that he was dead.  Innocent question, but it did give me a chuckle.


Nanna started keeping Jane this week when my sister returned to work.  After the first day Josh asked me how cows got milk and why they made it and we talked all about mom's feeding their babies some milk, etc.  The part he really couldn't understand was how Nanna got milk for Jane's bottle. He thought it was milk from a cow and when I told him it wasn't because babies can't drink cow's milk he said, "Oh, I know it's milk from Nanna's boob."


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

by the numbers (November edition)

miles run so far in November: 47
pace per mile of my fastest 5k ever (just the other night): 9:33
hours until we find out if my sister-in-law is having boy(s)/girl(s) twins: 3.5
days until Thanksgiving: 7
long runs left until my next race: 1
cupcakes I could eat right now if I had them: 3
days until I get to see Catching Fire: 4
dollars our vet was going to charge to spay Trixie: $252.69
minutes it took me to hang up and call a spay & neuter clinic: 0

What do your numbers look like today? What are you counting down to? Also, will you make me some cupcakes?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

stories (Disney edition)

Look, Mom! Mickey Mouse is doing thumbs up and Minnie Mouse is doing Wolfpack hands!


In the Haunted Mansion ride at Magic Kingdom we were worried that Josh was too frightened so we narrated parts of the ride to him. Mamaw was on one side of him and I was on the other. We'd say things like, "Look! That ghost is playing the piano!" or "Those ghosts are having a party!" Then my mother-in-law said, "Look at them dancing. I wish I could dance like that!" Josh told her, "Well, you have to be married to dance like that."


Several times during the trip Josh asked, "How come every ride you ride at Disney World comes out in a shop?"


After the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review, a dinner show at Fort Wilderness we asked Julianna if she liked it. Her reply? "Yep! The potatoes were so good! They tasted just like Carabbas!"


On the way home a lady on the airplane asked Josh what his favorite ride was at Disney World. He answered, "The tea cups was my favorite until I hit my head."

Monday, November 18, 2013


Over the baby monitor I heard Josh knock on Julianna's door.
"I'm really sorry I hurt you. Will you be my friend now?"


Student looking at the cuff bracelet I was wearing one day:
"What is Ms. Tucker trying to be, like Wonder Woman or something?"


Josh was having trouble with all of the things he had to carry inside from the car one afternoon and Julianna just told him to put all of it in his baseball cap.  He thought it was a great idea but I heard him ask her how she knew to do that.  She began telling him that a hat could hold anything but water and then she clarified that a hat could hold anything except liquids.  I heard him tell her as we got out of the car, "Well, that's not true because I know something else a hat can't hold!" She said, "Oh yeah? What?" He answered, "It can't hold fire."


"Jules, what makes you like Pokemon?"
"It's just a childhood memory for me."

Saturday, November 16, 2013


We woke up as usual on Saturday morning and after breakfast and lounging in PJs as usual we announced to the kids that they needed to get heir shoes on and we needed to get the Disney jar and count out the money because we were getting ready to leave for Disney World.  Both kids reaction was priceless.  Here is the video of their hilarious responses:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

six things I've learned as a teacher that might not have occurred to you as a parent

  • Lack of routine and little structure at home almost always means difficulty with routines and structure at school. This seems obvious, but as a teacher I see it every day. A parent is unorganized or un-involved in the child's time and activities after school and then they expect the student to get to school and adjust accordingly to the schedules and rigorous expectations there. It's hard for an adult to switch such environments daily so why should we expect our kids to do it well if we can't?
  • A well-timed email to your child's teachers to say "Hi! How's my kid doing? I saw his ______ project and it looked like he'd worked hard on it" the week before the end of the grading period will be remembered as the teacher is entering grades.  Every quarter as I'm finalizing report cards I associate a student with a conversation or a note that I've had (or not had) with their parent recently.

  • Another thing I have learned as a teacher is that the importance of reading with your elementary school child, or encouraging library visits for your older child is often underestimated. As a teacher I have learned that reading skills are invaluable. If parents read, kids are more likely to read and if parents take advantage of the resources offered for free at our public libraries then their kids are more likely to be successful at school. I've heard parents complain that the library waiting lists are too long for popular fiction, but the point I'm making is that simply visiting the library regularly is a powerful tool that a parent can use to help their children succeed.
  • One of the best gifts you can give a teacher is to give them one day of duty-free lunch or one afternoon of no bus duty. It only takes about 20 minutes of volunteer time and it will be oh so very appreciated.
  • As a teacher I have learned that middle and high school students give a lot of presentations, often one each week in a variety of different classes. Ask your child if they have a presentation this week and ask them to rehearse it for you. You can offer valuable feedback and it will help them relax when they give the presentation in front of their peers.

  • Cyberbullying happens whether or not your child has access to a computer/smartphone/internet at home. Meet your kids on social media sites. Talk with your child about cyber safety. Have the conversation that says, "Hey, I care about you and it is your responsibility along with everyone else to make sure that it's a safe world... that includes reporting bullying incidents and not forwarding an embarrassing photo of a peer." Tell them to imagine walking a mile in someone else's shoes and then model it as an adult.

Parenting is hard, y'all.  Let's help each other do a better job of it.  Any tips or things you have found especially important as a parent? Please leave ideas in the comments.

Monday, November 4, 2013

half marathon recap 4.0: City of Oaks Half Marathon

I traveled to Raleigh this past weekend to run the City of Oaks Half Marathon with my friend Michelle.

We arrived Saturday night, picked up our packets, drove the course, and went to stay with some of her friends from graduate school.  Whoever thought to plan a race on the Sunday of Fall Daylight Savings Time was a genius!  Even though I never sleep well the night before a race, it was wonderful to have that extra hour of sleep.

We got up early Sunday morning and drove from Apex/Cary to NC State and found a parking spot at Cameron Village.  Then we walked to the starting line near the Bell Tower.  The sun was just starting to rise and it was so pretty.

We had about 35 or 40 minutes to wait until the start of the race so we walked up and down Hillsborough Street to stay warm. It was 42 degrees outside!  I'm an NC State grad so it was so much fun to be back on campus after being away for so many years and it really wasn't that crowded at the starting line.

There were pace corrals and we got in the 11:00/mile space.  You can't tell it from these pictures, but it was really spread out.  With almost 6000 people there, it was nice to not feel like people were on top of each other.

This was a hard race.  Let me just give you a small snapshot of the elevation profile of the course. It made me wonder why I'm signing up to do my first full marathon on some the same streets in Raleigh.

The first two miles were downhill and we both struggle with going out too fast so we knew we were going to have to hold back.  It was frustrating though, because there were a ton of people doing the Galloway walk/run method and they would get in front of us and then stop suddenly so we'd have to keep going around.

We finished the first half just seconds before the 1:10 mark.  Our first six miles we averaged about an 11:04 pace which we knew was a bit fast for us and I think we recognized that it was going to be difficult to negative split at this rate, but it felt OK so we kept going.

We saw/heard a drum line playing at the state capital.  We saw a group doing some Indian dancing in another area downtown.  Then before heading out of the commercial area we saw a fitness club that had moved their stationary bikes out onto the sidewalks to face the runners and they were cheering and yelling so hard for all of the racers.  It was so awesome.

Somewhere near the 9 mile mark it got harder. Michelle dropped back and we separated at about mile 9.5, from that point on in the race we kept alternating catching each other, passing each other, and catching back up to run together for a bit.  I think I first walked at about 10.5 miles which is most definitely the earliest time I have walked in a half marathon race.  In fact, I walked a good bit between mile 10.5 and 12. I think my mile 11 time was 12:39, by far my slowest mile.  I kept telling myself that I could PR if I just ran the rest of the way but I had the devil on one shoulder telling me to quit that the time didn't matter and the angel on the other telling me to just run it and get my best time.

With a little under two miles to go I could see Michelle ahead of me at the turn around point on Hillsborough Street and that kept me going since I wanted to catch her for the end.  Mile 11 was the absolute hardest, but for some reason mile 12 was better.  At mile 12 I was ready to run it on in and Michelle and I were back together.  We felt like we were sprinting at maximum effort and I think we could have made it across the finish line before 2:30 but I thought it was really important to cross the finish line together since we had traveled so far to get to this point together.

I don't know the official time yet, but I'm pretty sure we crossed the finish around the 2:31 mark, a personal record for Michelle and not far off of my Wrightsville Half time. [Edited to add: 2:31:13 official time.]

We ate Bruegger's soup, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Great Harvest Bread Company food at the finish. We both passed on the beer and pizza.  Michelle and I both said we hurt in places we'd never hurt before during this race. The hills caused some major pains in the butt (literally) and we both had hip pain down the front that we'd never really experienced.

I'm definitely satisfied with our effort and certainly pumped about being back on home turf for Mistletoe in four weeks.  Since Wrightsville is a flat course and Mistletoe is more hilly, I know I gained a lot of confidence in being a 2:30 pacer for Mistletoe as a result of this race and I think Michelle did too.  Michelle has become a great running buddy of mine and I was so happy to have her with me for this race.  I seriously can't wait to do it again in a few weeks!

my goofy race swag picture

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Whenever it's my turn to put Josh to bed he always asks me the same questions when I am leaving his room.  "When do I get to have someone sleep in my room?" and "Don't forget to take care of me!?" (yes that last one is in the form of a question)

One night earlier this week he was ready for my response to the first question.  He rushed to speak before I could get out of the room, "Mama, I already have somebody I love and want to marry. She's in this family and sometimes she's mean to me but I love her anyway. It's Jules!"


"Mom, tomorrow is Teddy's birthday. You need to make him a fake cake (Hey! That rhymes!) You know, because he's fake."

And yes, you CAN talk in parentheses.


Julianna has always wanted the boy prizes in the Happy Meals. She's always wanted the Pokemon cakes instead of the Hannah Montana ones. She's always asked for marshmallow shooters and bow and arrows instead of American Girl dolls and while she went through a small Disney Princess phase when she was three she has still mostly gravitated to the less girly toys.  Still, I heard her tell the nurse earlier this week at her check up that she was "ashamed" of her Halloween costume. When I asked why she said, "Because it's a boy costume!"


Nanna and Josh made cupcakes one day while we were at school and Josh wanted to save one of the beaters for Julianna to lick when she got home.


One day after nap time Josh told Nanna that he sucked on the edge of his blanket during quiet time. He told her he didn't like how it got all wet so he took his socks off and used them to dry it off.


Something was said one day about Disney World and my dad asked Josh if he was going to Disney World soon. Josh replied, "Well I don't think I get to go until I'm twenty or somethin' because we only have some money in our Disney jar and we have to get it full."

After Pap stopped laughing he gave Josh a five dollar bill to put in his Disney jar.

Friday, November 1, 2013

halloween twenty thirteen

We hosted our annual Halloween weenie roast for our neighborhood last night.

Josh and Jules dressed up as Yoda and Darth Vader.

You can barely tell in this picture but we put our monsters in the windows again.

We then went trick-or-treating. Let me just say that I have no idea how we're going to make it through ten hour days in Disney World when my kid was asking to be carried after walking to ten houses in our neighborhood.

Aaaaaannd the kids divided up the candy this morning.  They're still learning trading techniques.

Hope you all had a fabulous, Halloween 2013!

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