Kristen Hood, 39, is in constant motion from the moment she wakes at 5 a.m. Exiled to the living room of her Rowan County home by her sleeping husband and children, she readies herself for a long day among children.
This morning she is transforming herself into Princess Diana. It’s part of her celebration of Halloween as an influential historical figure for her eighth grade social studies classes at Rowan County Middle School. Soon her husband, James, and their children, Harper, 4, and Haddie, 18 months, will awaken, and Kristen and James will begin to orbit their child-centered universe.
Kristen and James have worked as social studies teachers at Rowan County Middle for 10 years. Since the arrival of Harper and Haddie, the couple have dedicated themselves to raising and educating children. “When I first had Harper, I really had to clean my mouth up, 'cuz I love to cuss,” says Kristen with a smile.
There is much more in the couple’s lives than clean language, though. Kristen has been helping for months to organize the school Halloween dance. The proceeds will fund yearly class trips to Washington, D.C.
“Last night when I went to bed, finally at like 9:30, my brain would not shut off," she says. "I was thinking, rambling off a to-do list, and I could not get it to stop. And I struggle with that. Shutting my brain off is difficult.”
Halloween is a week-long celebration for the couple. James will accompany Kristen’s Princess Diana at the Halloween dance as Prince Charles. Harper was Little Red Riding Hood for the Rowan County Preschool Center's Halloween parade. Kristen took off her fifth-period class to attend.
Even with the children away at the grandparents’, there are still the children of the middle school to look after. The couple will spend their first night in weeks alone together wrangling the costumed kids of Rowan Middle School. They wouldn't have it any other way.
Says Kristen, "I'd have more kids if I could afford it."