Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Year in Review

If I squint and strain I can almost remember back to January 2013. I think that is because the last 6 months have been packed full of awesomeness, it made the previous 6 less memorable.

The highlights (in no particular order)are: moving to Claremont, a trip with friends to Palm Springs, moving to Claremont, an amazing trip to Lawrence, Kansas, and moving to Claremont.

Thanksgiving 2013 was the best ever. (No offense to those whom we've spent the last many with because they are always special.) Flying on a plane without a stroller or diapers to deal with felt amazing. Then a week of pure joy, food, drink, and lots of fun away from home was incredible! It was cold, crisp, and clear; weather we rarely see. A trip to Allen Field House to see the KU volleyball team and hear the KU fight song and Alma Mater performed, ranks high on the list of memorable moments.
Then of course the great company and the many hours spent with cousins jumping in the trampoline was perfect. I have to say that Thanksgiving Day at Ron and Elaine Schmidt's home (Susan's parents) with 40ish people ranging in age from a new baby to a 92 year old, was straight out of a movie. Picture a beautiful home, a place setting for every one of those people, 16 kids running amok, every different kind of food you can imagine, drinks, KU basketball on TV, a white elephant exchange, YouTube video hilarity, more kids running amok, and more drinks. I was in heaven. Thanks to the Schmidts, the Rocks, and especially Mark, Susan, Andrew, and Thomas!
I really enjoyed having Christmas dinner at our house this year. Not only do we have the space, but we have added some entertainment pieces to help manage (or create) kid chaos. Santa brought us a trampoline, Eric got us a ping pong table, then to add to that we have some XBox and Wii games, a new scooter, nerf guns, American girl Doll Glamor parlor, chocolate, and egg nogg. Eric's two aunts and their families were here, of course Butch and RoRo, and Chad and Lisa's crew. So far Diesel and Porsche have not destroyed one present. That is worth noting. :)

Yesterday Eric and I played a soccer game with our entire family and a few others. I can barely move today. I never make resolutions, but this year mine is this: Get up and move around for things that are fun, like playing with my kids. I plan on jumping on the trampoline, playing some more soccer(!), and walking the dogs. A short list but I think I can handle it.

Happy New Year. 2014 here we go!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Decade

I get my daily eye roll in when I sign in to Facebook to read yet another parent's lengthy post reflecting on how "blank years ago our family was blessed when blank was born..." Well, I'm feeling a little like those parent's today, yet I'm resisting the urge write a novel about it on FB.;)

Yes, 10 years ago today, Zachary made his first appearance. Saturday night we celebrated with 8 of his closest friends at Sky Zone (trampoline park). Sunday morning he wrote each of those friends a thank you note without a complaint. That afternoon he got to enjoy the new Xbox 360 that his birthday money allowed him to buy. Today he took cookies to class. None of this appears to be a big deal to him, but it is to me. He's my first. I love that he's a self starter, that he has amazing friends, and that he takes really good care of himself and his siblings. For the record some of his favorite things right now are Minecraft, Minecraft, soccer, making odd faces in pictures, talking on the phone at length, and Minecraft. Did I mention he likes Minecraft?

Happy birthday Z!

Friday, September 6, 2013


It's 2 weeks into the new school year and I'm exhausted. I'm working full time for the first time in 7 years. I'm hoping the feeling of being hit by a truck every night will pass. I'm not complaining, just commenting. I realize how lucky I have been to do the 2 things I love so much at the same time.

Anyway, I'm on beer #2 and reflecting on the 24 precious darlings who have been left under my care. First there is M who I have to physically remove from his father (who speaks no English and looks like he may burst into tears and I frustratingly can't communicate with him :/) every morning. Then we endure a few minutes of screaming and kicking until his father has left the campus and M can go to the office since he's scaring the rest of the class. Then there is J who is adorable and sweet but not so much when she is whimpering all day while clutching a photograph of her family. And no, she didn't go to preschool. I know you're surprised. A special shout out to E who among so many super cute moments decided to sit in the middle of the wet soccer field and cry until I walked all the way in sandals through the (did I mention?) tall, wet grass to help her stand up and walk to class. She was mad that she was last in line. Life is hard. Then there is G. I'm actually genuinely in love with this guy. Unfortunately I'm not qualified to do anything but love him. He has Down Syndrome, he's nonverbal, and in diapers. I know what you're thinking. I'm so lucky. But truly I am. All of them are only 5 years old (babies!) and have only been with me for 7 days. I have 173 more to realize their potential. Help!

I feel inspired that my own children are doing well. Zac can't talk enough about how nice his teacher is. Claire is, well, Claire. Easy. And Luke has begun a new chapter back at the ECC. (More to come on that later.) Sara started high school and sent me a text saying she has a "few opinions about high school" she can't wait to share. I can't wait!

Summer was a blur of boxes, swimming, soccer, friends, sleep, movies, and more swimming. I wish it could all slow down just a little. Yeah. I'm on beer #3. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

14 Years

July 4, 1999 Eric (Bus and Mack) and I spent our first night at our first home,1422 N. Ukiah Way, watching fireworks on the roof. At the time 1400 sq. ft seemed like a mansion. 4 kids, amazing memories, and many dogs later, we felt a little squished.

Thanks to Butch and Roro we have now spread out quite a bit at their former home in Claremont. So far the perks are many. The kids all have their own room. There is so much space that the kids wrestling in the back of the house right now while I type isn't as annoying! When I have to take a kid to soccer, or the orthodontist, or a friend's house, it only takes 2 minutes. I love that I can hear the summer school bell at the high school across the street so I know when Eric will be home. Going to the grocery store means running into at least 3 people you know. The kids swim in the pool at least 2 times a day. And the neighbors are kind and actually visit with us. I could go one but I don't want to brag.;)

Butch and Roro's new home in Pilgrim Place is quite spectacular as well. In my opinion the best part is the parade location for the 4th of July.

July 4, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Luke is 4!

April 14th fell on a Sunday this year and in between baseball and soccer we managed to squeeze in a small party for our little guy that day. Spider man was able to take a break from crime fighting to show up at our gathering at Magnolia park near our house. (A park party is something I swore I'd never do. That was before my dogs destroyed my back yard and made it unusable.) Luke was extremely happy and great friends came out to help celebrate.

Luke has had a spectacular year. He continues to improve with his speech and especially language. Right now everything he says begins with "Me." "Me do it." "Me winner." My favorite is, "Me awesome." This habit is improving. Me working on it.

He happily approaches every day and experience. He loves school and he has 2 friends, Jason and Alex, that he is obsessed with. Their mom is responsible for the pictures above. I'm not sure the boys reciprocate quite the same feelings that Luke has for them, but they are definitely good buds!

He likes to tell me that "I'm mean sometimes." I figure that is way better than being mean all the time. We think he is pretty amazing and I can't believe it's been 4 years since we met. Happy Birthday Luke J.!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thank You Note/Rough Draft

Dear Idyllwild Reserve Campground,

It's been a little over a week since my family visited your RV Park campground. We arrived last Sunday to beautiful, clear weather. This was our first time in Idyllwild and we had NO idea what to expect.

Our first surprise was the giant sign at the entrance of the park that stated, "No Wood Fires." That was just effing ridiculous silly. Especially since we took the time and effort to pack the car full of wood we would later never use. Thank you so much for the $13 per night metal stand and the log of duraflame that would not warm us up at all.

When we drove in to find our sight, we were delighted to see all the gorgeous trees and the giant boulders that would make for awesome kid exploration. Too bad the ground was also solid rock and was almost impossible for my husband, Eric, to hammer the stakes for the tent into the ground. We only change camp sites twice. Thanks.

Our first night was cold but delightful. The stars were clear and the kids were happy. The bathrooms were only a small hike down the steep hill. Thanks.

When we woke up on Monday morning it was surprising to find that we were inside a cloud! Wow! So exciting! It was so quiet you couldn't hear a sound as I hiked down to the bathroom where I surprised a ranger. I want to say an extra special thanks to him. He was so amused when he asked me, "Are you the ones in the tent?" Then he went on to warn me that a cold front was coming in, but not to worry, because the next 2 days will be clear. Thanks.

That cold front sure did come in. First in the form of rain, then sleet, then snow. After a quick drive around the park to warm up in the car, we noticed that we really were the only campers. Everyone else was in an RV. So glad to know they were all warm and cozy. So comfortable, in fact, that not one person came out all day. Ever. Not even all of the times we hiked by them huddled together for warmth under an umbrella in the freezing snow to get to the bathroom. Thanks.

That night the wind came. Fortunately no one came to check on us then either. Not even your Rangers. So thankful they were warm and safe somewhere.

We survived the night, the cold, and the 50mph gusts of wind. I did have some fun moments throughout my sleepless night imagining catchy news headings. "Family of 5 Found Frozen to Death in Tent" or "Tree Kills Tent Campers in RV Park." The best part of the night was when my youngest, Luke, woke me up saying, "My legs are hot." "Hot" in fact was pee. Through 5 layers of clothing and 2 sleeping bags. Hilarious! Aw the memories. Thanks.

Well the Ranger from the bathroom was correct. We woke up Tuesday morning to beautiful sunshine and a layer of ice. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. We enjoyed a nice breakfast and packed up to head home a day early. Thanks so much for not giving us our money back but allowing us to use the credit toward our return trip! Can't wait!


Maria Tucker

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sports Mania

I recently posted a video on FB that I had to show Eric to help him understand why I try to "do it all" when he was moaning and groaning about 2 days of soccer this weekend. I have a hard time saying no to my kids when it comes to an activity they want to experience.

When AYSO soccer season ended in November for Claire, I got an email soon after from her coach asking if Claire would like to come out on a Saturday and play some more soccer. Claire said, "YES!" Here we are 3-ish months later and finished with our second tournament and attempting an indoor league. It's a lot of time and work but SO MUCH FUN! Her coach is amazing and Claire has learned so much. It fills up my happy tank.

The boys started baseball last week. Luke made the age cut off by 2 weeks and had his first Tee ball practice. It was organized chaos and pure entertainment. Luke feels it's necessary to fist pump and shout, "YES," after everything he does.

Zac had to try out this year and I'm not sure who was more nervous, me or him. He did great and moved up to kid pitch this year. He reluctantly shows up for practice but does well and has an amazing time. We've learned that's just Zac. He always needs that extra push to get out the door.

Here is the glaring difference between my boys illustrated in photographs.

Zac is silly but only with people he knows well. Luke doesn't hold back. Ever.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Zac's 9th Birthday

While cleaning Claire's room today I found the yellow "Queen of the Tournament" banner she received at Medieval Times while celebrating Zac's 9th birthday in November. It occurred to me that I never blogged about this event. I feel it is important for me to retell just one moment, if not for me, but for Claire and Zac to read when they grow up. Because when Claire received the special banner from the Yellow Knight, Zac was over-the-top excited for her. It was a surprise since we were there celebrating his birthday, and she got some serious spotlight at that moment. It was a surprise because then Claire handed the banner to Zac for him to wave since it was his birthday. It was a surprise because Zac handed it back to Claire because he didn't want the Yellow Knight to be upset if he didn't see her waving it, and it was awarded to her after all. All of this was done with smiles and thank you's. A sibling moment I won't forget.

By the end of the night, the kids all lost their voices from cheering. Though the Yellow Knight was defeated in the end, he fought valiantly.

The whole family and Zac's BFF, Drew.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Oh Say Can You See...

I post this with the intent of laughing at it many years from now. The country celebrated President Obama's 2nd Inauguration a few weeks ago. It was a Monday holiday in honor of MLK Jr.'s birthday. The kids were actually quite interested in it. Especially when they saw Beyonce. And Luke, being the adorable age of 3 and has no clue he isn't supposed to think Beyonce is cool, was really feeling her rendition of the National Anthem.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We celebrated Oma's 61st birthday Saturday night with the Tucker family. Lisa baked a cake and we set it in front of Oma for the photo opp with the kids. All went well until the end of the song.

Look carefully at Zac.

This was snapped seconds before he stood up and announced, "Well no cake for me!"

If you don't know my son well, he has inherited a phobia carried on the Henderson side of the family. Other known relatives with the phobia are his grandfather Butch, and uncle Mark. There is no cure. You just eat less cake at birthday parties and frankly, never get sick.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A New Year 2013

Christmas was fabulous. Thankfully Santa chose well and we had a house full of happy Tucker kids. With the horrific event that just occurred in Connecticut, I am forcing myself to slow down and enjoy all of the laughter, the yelling, the running, the chasing, the tears, and all the fun. And we have had a lot of all of that this winter break!

New Year's day Eric and I had the crazy brilliant idea to take the kids (and the dogs) to Big Bear and attempt skiing for their first time. I'll save some time and recap it in report card style.

Zac Tucker, Third Grade, Age: 9 years
Grade: A+ Comment: It's as if you have been skiing all of your life. Great job!

Claire Tucker, First Grade, Age: 6 4/5 years
Grade: C+ Comment: Maybe with time (and ski poles) you'll build the confidence it takes to get down the mountain without the help of daddy and "NOT mommy!"

Luke Tucker, Preschool, Age: 3 1/2 years
Grade: F+ Comment: Next time you can go with your dad. Sitting in the middle of the mountain with your mom, screaming and crying for daddy is not the best way to accomplish your goal. See you in 5 years.

Eric Tucker, Age: over 30
Grade: A+ Comment: You'd think the 80's style ski suit and the fluorescent skis would have held you back. But no! It's like riding a bike. You never forget. Good job!

Maria Tucker, Age: feels like 50
Grade: E for effort Comment: Perhaps attempting to snowboard after 10 years in an effort to save money wasn't the best idea. Next time pack some anxiety medication and perhaps a flask. And don't worry, walking down the mountain carrying your snowboard wasn't that embarrassing.

Looking forward to 2013!

Church School Again

I should be posting about our wonderful winter vacation but this update needs documentation.

My conversation while driving Claire home from a birthday party last night.

Claire - Mom! There's a plus sign lit up with Christmas lights on the mountain!

Me - No Claire, that's a cross.

Claire - Oh yeah. I meant a cross.