2 posts in one weekend??? Well, we figured we'd try and update this a little better than we have in the past. So, over the last week, we've done a lot of Easter activities as Holy Week approached, followed up by Good Friday and today, Easter Sunday.
Last Saturday was a busy day for us. Graham had his first coach-pitch baseball game of the season, and he played great. His coach is a guy we met this year at Graham's Upward basketball games, and we couldn't have asked for a better man to be his coach. His team is the Red Sox this season, and Coach Mike is fantastic. It was sunny, but VERY windy and chilly out there. But Graham was a trouper, he didn't want a jacket or anything.

They were able to fit in 2 innings in the hour time limit and everyone got to bat each inning. Graham was able to get hits each time without needing to hit off of the tee, which was great. Karis had a good time at the game, too. Many of the parents on our team have young girls her age, so she has friends she can play with while Graham plays ball.

KMC held their Easter Egg Hunt last Saturday (a change from years past when it was held on the day before Easter) and Mom came down to visit. She was able to see Graham's first coach-pitch baseball game and go to the Egg Hunt (This makes 7 straight years for her. She hasn't missed one since Graham was born.) The kids had a good time making crafts, decorating cookies, and of course, finding Easter Eggs.

Lots more Easter Activities and pictures to come!

Ok, so it has been a while since we posted, but life has been a bit crazy for us. (As if that were NOT normal!) We have been adapting to the news that we are expecting a new Tuck in August of this year AND some medication changes that have not been very easy to adapt to. All this added to the normal "Crazy" life that we Tuck's lead, has been a bit much.

We are finally "out"with the news as a wonderfully fun April Fool's joke on our family and friends- we claimed to be having twins... but really there is just one. It was a fun way to announce this unexpected surprise that has really thrown Zane and I for a loop. I think I got around 40 emails within only a few hours- nice to know that people are interested in what is going on with us!

Our Good Friday project this year was been to get our raised beds ready for gardening this spring/summer. Zane took the day off and we got both beds built and lined.... who knew that we could only carry enough soil in the van to fill just one??? Guess we need to do more math - calculating the volume would have told us that news pretty quickly. So today, we headed back to Lowes for another load (22 bags of soil/compost/mulch/etc...) and finished filling things in. Then the fun began. We planted tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli (Karis' request), zucchini, squash, peppers, cucumbers, cilantro, basil, and thyme. I'm sure that serious gardners would tell me that my plants are too close together, but, I only have so much space to work with and I plan to have many of them trail over the sides or move upward.

Here are a few photos of the beginnings of our little veggie patch:

We are still alive... just buried under the piles of laundry and mess that have invaded with full force this fall as we juggled Zane's referee schedule, full time jobs, and Graham's increased activity schedule. If I am still awake 10 minutes after the kids have gone to bed, I'm thinking it has been a pretty ok day!!

Lots has happened in the past month or so- here is a quick summary:
  1. Zane injured his achilles tendon while reffing a game and was in a walking boot for a month. During that month, he was going to physical therapy two or three times a week in addition to all of his games. He couldn't work the field, but he sure is a pro at manning the clock!! We were glad that he was able to keep working some games so that we can pay cash for Christmas!
  2. Karis was bitten by our neighbor's dog a few weeks ago and it has been a pretty bad experience for her. She has never liked dogs, but now she is TERRIFIED of anything that has 4 legs and fur. We were extremely blessed that our neighbors were so easy to work with and had good records on their dog. Tracy could produce the formal receipt and paperwork for the last rabies shot so that we had no doubt about Karis' health. They even called the police themselves to report the incident so that there would be the proper record on file and we think that they got rid of the dog. It was a bad scene, but it could have been sooooooo much worse. We are so thankful that Karis was not hurt any worse than she was!

I'm sure other crazy things have happened... like Karis asking me in the car Sunday if she had a penis and if I'd ever seen one, but I'd never stop typing if I documented all the hilarious stuff that happened around here. : )

The title drew you in to see our Trick-or-Treaters... so without further ado..... here they are!

This year it was Zane's turn to accompany the kids around the block and I stayed home to hand out the candy. When did kids forget that you are supposed to say "Trick or Treat" when you open the door? I think I had three kids all night who actually said "Thank you" to me... it made me sad to think that our culture doesn't value manners the way I was raised to value them.

Once the kids returned home, we threw our suitcase in the van, and took the costumes on the road! Our first stop was at Aunt Susan and Uncle Terry's house. We didn't stay long, but long enough to see the cool planet that were shining brightly in the clear sky. Awesome site!!

Our next stop was at Trish's house. For all 7 Halloween's that Graham has been alive, we have gone to Trish's to wish her a Happy Birthday and to have pumpkin pie. We though that this year would be the one to break the tradition as they had planned to go out of town for the weekend. Much to our surpise and definitely to our delight, those plans changed during the week, so we headed over to see Trish and Bean. Part of the tradition is to take a photo of the kids on the loveseat in their living room. In the first photo, there are four Nolan children with baby Graham... now there is only one Nolan with my two. Next year, the couch will be empty as Bean heads off to college. Here are some photos from that wonderful visit... and glimpse of what Karis was like at about 9:15 after 3 pieces of Halloween candy!!!

After we wrangled Karis into her PJs and doped Graham up on the Benedryl, we pulled off to grab a quick bite to eat at the local Wendy's. Never expected a huge line at the Wendy's in Walkertown at 9:35 at night, but you have to expect the unexpected in life. It was 10:00 before we headed off into the night to travel up to Nana's Mountain. We pulled into the driveway in Jefferson at about 11:30 with two sleeping munchkins who were pooped out! What a night!

We had a great weekend in the mountains... too short, but good just the same! Mom and I collected leaves for a craft project that we worked on, and Zane and I built a toilet bucket for my friend Dave's surprise birthday party on Sunday. More pictures and details to come on that adventure... photos are on Mom's camera and I need to show the final product rather than explain!

Fall Break is over in 15 minutes. I have students coming in for class tomorrow, so I must bring this update to an end. Hope all is well with you and that I can post more frequently now that football season is over!!!

These past few days I have had the opportunity to realize that there is a man inside my little boy. One day, he is going to be a full-sized hairy man. (Based on genetics... sorry Graham!) I have always known that one day he would hopefully become a husband and a father, but God really has opened my eyes in the past few days to the fact that I am shaping what type of man he will be in the future. It is up to Zane and I to make sure he knows how to be a man of God with integrity, self-control, kindness and forgiveness in his heart. Wow... I'm feeling the pressure.

Through several events this past weekend, we have had to teach some hard lessons. Ones like some of us had to learn the hard way... like when I took something from a store and rather than just punish me, my parents took me back to the store and made me go and explain to the manager what I had done. Graham didn't steal anything, but he did have some hard lessons to learn this week and it has been hard as a parent to know I am teaching them the right way.

Graham had to make a couple of hard phone calls to make apologies this week and as I stood by listening, I teared up to see my boy who months ago would have been meekly mumbling an "I'm sorry" stand there and boldly apologize and accept responsibility for what he had done wrong. I had a quick glimpse of that man within.

We have been blessed with a close group of friends in life. Several of these friends have been strong examples for Graham these past few days as they showed him forgiveness and support as he worked to right his wrongs. He has seen and experienced grace ... what a blessing for us as parents to have others in our lives who can help us raise our son to be the man we want him to be.

It is a hard realization for me to know that my innocent little boy is already taking steps toward becoming a man. It is even more scary for me to think about what a huge role I play each day in shaping who that man will be. My grandchildren and daughter-in-law depend on me to make God-centered decisions that will shape Graham into the man of God they will need in their lives years from now.

Thank the Lord for wonderful friends, fabulous church families and excellent grandmothers to help in the process! Keep us in your prayers as we continue to work each day on this project!

Karis and I took a break from consignment sale hanging and tagging two weeks ago and went to have some girl time. Zane and Graham dropped us off at the nail salon and then went next door to Game Stop to look for cheap used games. Karis was a true princess as she sat in the pedichair and was perfectly still while the girl painted her toes. She even sat still to wait for them to dry! I know some may worry that I am teaching her to be pampered and spoiled, but I want her to know that it is ok to do something nice for yourself every once in a blue moon. While she was getting the flowers painted on her toes, I was having a summer's worth of bare-foot-gunk scrubbed off my feet and a relaxing foot massage to boot. If you haven't taken 20 minutes for yourself lately... do it! It doesn't have to require money- just take time away from life's expectations and obligations to breathe and do something nice for yourself. If you are refreshed, it will make you much better equipped to serve others and return to your responsibilities.

Here's a peek at the princess' toes... boy, was she proud!!!

This is just one of the great magic spells that my boy spouted out last weekend as he entertained us with a magic show. He was trying to come up with things to do during the rain without turning on the tv. He had lost privileges for the afternoon, and was going crazy stuck inside with no electronic access. SO WERE WE!!!

Zane and I were in the midst of consignment sale HELL as we hauled out all the winter clothing our children had ever owned and most of the "baby toys" that we had in the house. We were hanging up clothes and tagging them in order to start the circuit in town of all the pre-school consignment sales. You'll notice in the background that there are piles of clothes EVERYWHERE... and that is after we picked up a bit. We have taken things to two sales now and have made a significant dent in our closet clutter.... but we made a huge mess in order to get to this point. We have hung and tagged an additional 150 pieces to take to the next sales on the circuit. I will be happy if I never see another safety pin and I really feel like Mommy Dearest with the "NO WIRE HANGERS!!!" mantra that is playing in my head. I'll let you know how we do when the checks start rolling in... hopefully it will be worth the time and energy we spent to get things ready to go!

Enjoy the magic show. Graham is available for your next birthday party, corporate event, or family gathering if you need a magician. Please contact his agent, Karis Tuck, for booking information.

Ok, I took a 3 hour nap today and so I am able to stay up a little later to catch up on some computer time. I haven't updated my BLOG in forever, so there will be a few posts tonight. For all of you readers out there, forgive my lapse. As Brian Thomas said, "you've been workin too hard if you don't have time to blog!" Thanks for reminding me to slow down!!!

Hope all are well and that you enjoy the catch-up posts.

Ok, so it is obvious that the first real week back to school kicked my behind... big time! I knew that it was going to be very different from the calm, relaxed schedule we have had this summer, but I had conveniently forgotten what a toll the days at school take on me mentally and physically. I was hurtin to stay awake longer than the kids all week this past week and I think I could have taken a nap every day if they would have let me.

Graham's first week in 1st grade went very well. He had "Green" days all week, which for those of you who aren't well versed in elementary behavior management means that his behavior was good. We were thrilled for that... especially when we discovered that he knew all but one of the other people sitting at his table! Wonder where he got that love of talking to other people from??? No Mom, you don't need to pull out the old report cards... we all know he comes by it honestly! He starts his 2nd grade reading class tomorrow, so we will see how this week goes. It works out very well that the two grade levels have matching schedules for reading group time. Graham will be with several girls who were in his 1st grade reading group last year which will hopefully provide him with some familiarity as he enters a new class tomorrow.

Karis' week was wonderful. She has made herself right at home back at "Nana" Suzanne's house and many days, she has to be forced to come home with me! That does my heart good to know that she is so happy there and so well loved and taken care of. We have been sooooo blessed with wonderful women (aka angels!) who have loved our babies in their first years. Trish was wonderful for Graham and Suzanne is a blessing to Karis. We thank God for his blessing that we haven't had to put either of them in daycare in their early years.

Zane had a JV and a Varsity football game this past week, so the end of the week was busy. He didn't make it home Friday night until close to 11 and as he climbed into bed, I asked if he had taken his state exam for football.... the testing window closed at midnight Friday. After he yelled "Yikes!" and jumped out of bed, he took the test in under 40 minutes and scored his highest score yet... a 94. Nothing like performing under pressure!

We traveled to VA to see Zane's family on Saturday morning for a quick 2 day trip. It was nice to spend some time with Grammy and the kids had a great time seeing cousin Nathan. I got up from napping with Karis Saturday afternoon to find Graham and Nathan in the back yard running in the sprinkler in their undies... won't be long before they are too old for that. They had a great time playing in the water and launching their gliders- until 2 of them got stuck on top of Grammy's camper. That was the sign that it was time to go to dinner. It was later than normal dinner rush, so our party of 8 was able to get seated right away- a true gift from God. Sunday was wonderful as we traveled to Bedford to the Wal-Mart there. This Wal-Mart is the Virginia Tech mecca and Zane was in heaven looking at all the things he wanted for Christmas- they had a 10x10 pop-up VT tent and tons of other cool stuff. We played outside and then finally packed up the family truckster to head home at about 5:30 or so.

Today was laundry day. While Zane separated clothes, I started hanging up the clothes that we are sending to the consignment sales this fall. I got close to 75 pieces ready, and I haven't even made much of dent in the piles yet! We got a call from Bryce and Ingrid Hoover, friends of ours who live in Charlotte now, and they were in town. We met them for a hot dog at Bill and Leah's and spent the afternoon catching up with them. After a short nap, we headed to mom's house for a family cook-out with Meredith, Micah and the girls. Since our trip to the beach this summer together, the kids are much more comfortable with the "uncles" who often aren't around when we do other activities together. It has been neat to see Karis kid around with Micah and Zane give Jordan a hard time about being his "girlfriend". I wish all of our family could be as close in location so that the family bonds were much stronger.

We missed church yesterday while we were out of town, and I can definitely feel the missing piece to my puzzle of life. Karis and I sang some praise songs while on the porch, but it wasn't quite the same. I am looking forward to getting back into the Word this week and getting to church on Sunday.

Looking at the week ahead, we have lots of things on the schedule already. As my title says, the race is on. I haven't done such a great job of staying on top of my game these past two weeks and I am hopefull that we will be able to control the pace a little better in the weeks to come. It is hard to say No to things that you really want to do and participate in, but at the same time, when is enough enough? I especially need some time with week to be still and know that God is God. Hope I can successfully make that time.

We are holding our breath awaiting the new arrivial of our friend's Jayne and Jason's first child. Hopefully we will have good news to report SOON!!!

Hope all of you out there in cyber land are doing well and that if you stop by the page, you'll leave us a note to let us know how you are. Take care and have a great week!!