Why Publix is AWESOME on Christmas Eve (by: Miles)

Now that my mom has finally recognized my stellar writing ability, I’ve been granted permission to write regular posts for her little blog. Not only will my fans appreciate this, but it could bring new readers for my mom. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. – Miles

On Christmas Eve, my mom and I went to Publix. This was an exciting trip. I love the grocery store, and so does my mom. How do I know she loves Publix, especially on Christmas Eve? Because we had lots of fun, and played tons of games. Here’s how:

Singing. Lots of you know that my mom loves music. As soon as we neared the Publix parking lot at 7:30am on Christmas Eve, she began singing one of her faves, “Welcome to the Jungle.” Have you heard her Axl Rose impression? It’s pretty spot-on. She sang with such tenacity, I knew she was super excited to be at Publix. SHANANANANANAKNEESKNEES!

My mom's spirit animal.

My mom’s spirit animal.

Circling. Mom is a nervous driver. Don’t tell her I said that; she’s constantly telling me that she’s a “cautious” driver. Her level of caution can be measured by the number of circles around the parking lot, as she waits for her special parking spot to become available. Do you know about the special parking spot? It’s four rows away from Publix. Not only is it four rows away, but it’s also the last spot in the row. Mom says the extra 4,783 feet we have to walk to get to Publix is “exercise.” She really parks there so she can avoid hitting cars, shopping carts, palm trees and pedestrians. We do not park anywhere else, so for her to wait 37 minutes on Christmas Eve for the special spot shows her enthusiasm to start grocery shopping.

Bumper Buggies. Wheeeee! Bumping into other buggies is so much fun! I know mom loves it because she’s always whispering the nicknames of other shoppers under her breath as we bump into their carts. Her favorite fellow buggy bumper contender is “HURRY UP AND PICK OUT A TOMATO ALREADY, SLOWPOKE MCGEE.” Mom always wins Bumper Buggies. Christmas Eve was like the Superbowl of Bumper Buggies. We won all the points.

Ninja Chops. This is mom’s second favorite game, and it’s the most fun at Publix. As soon as someone tries to poke my face, she ninja chops their arm. The more ninja chops, the more points. On Christmas Eve we won so many points that my mom is now a Ninja Warrior.

Games, in General. In addition to bumping buggies and chopping strangers, there are lots of other fun games that my mom and I love to play at Publix. My current fave is “Pick Up Throw Down.” Mom gives me five toys (after she spends 10 minutes wrangling the cart seat cover into the buggy). I am allowed to throw two toys per aisle, as far as I can, then mom picks them up. Extra points if I hit someone with my teething giraffe or football. Our second fave game is “GIVEMEALLTHETHINGS!” I get to grab as many things off the shelves as I can, and fill up the seat. Mom tries to make this game more difficult by parking on an angle, steering away from the spices, and avoiding all of the leafy produce…but I still manage to win. Finally, we like “SURPRISE!” You can’t win this game until you get to the check-out line, and find the surprise grocery item. Last week it was a yucca root. Mom was surprised. That means I WIN!

Musical Instruments. This is my mom’s favorite part of Publix. We go to the wine section, and she picks out four different sounding bottles (mom says we must get four bottles because then we get a 5% discount – no point in shopping if you don’t do it the right way, she says). She carefully lays them in the buggy, and they clink-clank-clink-clank all the way to the check-out. Those are her favorite musical instruments.

Don't worry, we recycle.

Don’t worry, we recycle.

Friends. Best of all, we have tons of friends at Publix. The lady who bakes our bread, the lady who slices our turkey, the lady who makes the Apron’s meal that my dad always eats while my mom stares at cans of tomatoes, and all of the ladies at the registers. My mom loves our Publix friends so much that she always lets them win at Ninja Chop. They keep telling me when I’m “old enough”, I can have a cookie with sprinkles every time we visit. Well, newsflash ladies: I am officially eight months old. BRING ON THE SUGAR.

Merry Christmas,


It’s Christmas…don’t be a jerk.

Do you remember what Christmas was like as a child? If you have kids, or are around kids during the season, then you probably know exactly what I mean. Christmas is full of magic; tinsel, lights, pretty packages, time with family and friends, hot cocoa and Christmas cookies, lots of fun things happening at church, and tons of arts and crafts. The month of December guaranteed a smile from ear to ear.

Then, we grew up. And you know what I’ve found as an adult? Adults have the capability of making the Christmas season kind of sucky.

When we were young, we were naïve. We were protected from some of the unpleasant things that happen around this time of year. But as an adult, the innocence is lost, and you become fully aware of just what this season does to some people.

1. Commercialism and materialism is just overwhelming.  

Occupy Black Friday.

Occupy Black Friday.

The ads, commercials, sales, super sales, super huge sales, stores open 24 hours…STAHP IT. All this does is create a nervous, panicky feeling of, “I MUST BY ALL THE THINGS FOR ALL THE PEOPLE!” in most of us, and I hate it. I don’t want to purchase a gift with little to no meaning out of the simple feeling of obligation, because that’s not fun (also, you don’t need new mixing bowls, slippers or a neck pillow). I want to find something special and meaningful, with an enormous emotional value, and not necessarily an enormous monetary value. Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect gift, people.

2. People can be jerks.

Prepare to go postal.

That lady in the coat knows what’s up.

On the road, at the grocery store, in the mall, at the post office, everyone is in a hurry, and so many people are focused only on themselves and what they need to accomplish. Nevermind the gal (ME) with a kiddo (MILES) in a stroller, trying to wrangle four priority envelopes and two packages at the automated postage machine. Because if you really super hurry, you can cut in front of me in line. Yes, Season’s Greetings to you, too, jerkface.

3. You think people can be jerks? Well, guess what family can be…

Left alone? Guess what...

Probably has some jerky family members.

You guessed it. When we’re young, we have the joy of being completely oblivious to the fact that the holidays can exacerbate the existing stress/drama/malarky that families tend to carry around throughout the year. Not speaking to a sibling? Can’t stand your great aunt? Avoiding in-laws like the plague? That everyday behavior becomes even jerkier around Christmas. And do you know who suffers as a result? Not only you, but the rest of your family. You might not be in the mood to see Uncle Joe, but guess what? Your cousin might be. Is it fair to them that the holiday is spent broken into segments of family members who get along? Probably not. So next year, build a bridge and get over it. Christmas is not about you.

4. Loneliness. 

Not even cake can conquer loneliness.

Not even cake can conquer loneliness.

It happens whether you’d like to admit it or not. This time of year can be a total bummer sometimes, especially when you think about the family and friends who are no longer in your life; whether they’ve gone to Heaven, have moved across the country, or they’re just jerks who have disappeared. Regardless of the reason, there are times now that you’ll feel a twinge of sadness (most likely when a Publix commercial comes on…) and that’s okay. Not every minute of every day is going to be a holiday explosion of joy and glitter in your face. Sometimes, you want to cry. Guess what? Lots of people do. Have you listened to the lyrics for “Auld Lang Syne” lately? Grab a Kleenex and let go.

In our home, we do our very best to keep this time of year special and sacred. I want to keep that magical Christmas feeling forever; not just a few weeks a year, but every single day. And I don’t want the aggravation that can come with this time of year to slowly find its way into my mind.

This is immensely important to us now that we have Miles. That same joy and love and peace and fellowship should fill our home and lives constantly. The importance of Christmas and true reason for the season – that our Savior came to earth for us – should be remembered each and every day. Kindness, generosity, the gift of giving, time with the ones you love…365 days a year. The magic of Christmas.

No stress, no drama, no bleeding ulcers, no 24 hour shop-a-thons and no arguments. Just love for everyone…even the jerk at the post office.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34



Love love love,

Things Mom Should Know About Christmas (by Miles Coke)

After a two week hiatus (you missed me, right?) I’m back!  We enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving, and I was blessed enough to spend an entire week at home with Miles on “staycation” (that word is on my “Do Not Use” list for 2014).  A future post is in the works about my SAHM week, but for now, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d share with you…
Things My Eight Month Old Wants Me to Know About Christmas
As told by Miles Clark Coke
1. I do not want toys.  I do want all of the wrapping paper, tape, bows, ribbons, gift tags and other essential items that encase the toys.  Because in this situation, it’s absolutely not what’s on the inside that counts…it’s what is on the outside.  The pretty, sparkly, carefully wrapped yet must-be-destroyed outside.
2. I do not want your Christmas tree.  You can barricade that tree with whatever you feel is necessary, woman…I’m not interested.  What I dowant are those needles.  You know, the ones that you vacuum up five times a day, only to miss half a dozen behind the couch.  Guess what?  I found them.  Guess what else?  THEY WERE DELICIOUS.
3. You cannot hide all of the jingle bells from me.  You can hang the ornaments up high, move the mistletoe before I see it, and open the front door as slowly and quietly as possible to avoid disturbing the jingle bell wreath…but I know they’re there.  I will find them, and because I’m a jingle bell ninja, I will capture them.  Then, I will jingle them incessantly.  They’re A MILLION times better than your car keys.  Then, when I’m done with them, I’ll hide them and you’ll never find them again.  EVER.
4. Taking photos for this year’s Christmas card is my favorite game.  I know I’m winning because you squeal every time I grab your nose right before the camera flashes.  Extra points for blurry arms, drool and grabbing Dad’s beard.  Just give me the jingle bells, and I’ll call a truce. 
4. Anything you drop on the kitchen floor is fair game.  Especially cranberries, chocolate chips and sprinkles.  You’ll probably want to hide the cat food while you’re at it.
5. Thank you for the children’s nativity set.  It was delicious.
6. And thank you for the beautiful Christmas lights.  They were delicious.
7.  Please, try to read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to me.  Because you’re going to find out that I also find the book very delicious.


Christmas PJ Trafficking

Call me old fashioned, call me sentimental, call me slow to the draw…but I’m one of those nostalgic folks who doesn’t really begin celebrating Christmas until after Thanksgiving has passed.  It drives me absolutely bonkers that Home Depot and Lowes went from giant Halloween inflatables to giant Christmas inflatable, with nary a pilgrim, turkey or cornucopia in between.  Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday.
And so, in my infinite wisdom of preparing for Christmas, I assumedthat it would be easy peasy lemon squeezy to find Christmas PJs for Miles.  They’d been on the racks since Labor Day (it seems) so of course there should still be some left.  Right?  RIGHT?!
I had one particular set of PJs in mind, because I knew I wanted to use them in our Christmas card.  Miles is in between sizes right now (some 12 months, some 18 months – I’m having Ev save his old clothes now so Miles can wear them next year) and these particular PJs would still look awesome even if they were a bit too long in the arms and legs.  I put “purchase PJs” on my to-do list for November.
We were at Target on Friday night, and I cruised over to the clothes section, intending on picking up a Thanksgiving onesie.  Not happening; those are all gone.  Well, that’s okay, we have a back-up plan (is dressing your child as an Indian for Thanksgiving appropriate? Because Halloween costumes are on clearance…)  Moving on to Christmas PJs.  THEY ARE ALSO ALL GONE.  What the heck?!
The only Christmas PJs left were zip up sleep ‘n plays in size 3T.  I can’t even imagine putting a toddler in a sleep ‘n play; we’ve been in “big boy” PJs with Miles for a while, mostly because the number of attempts to swan dive off the changing table make it challenging to get him in anything that’s one piece with feet and zips. 
Side note: Why do kids think it’s so funny to throw the powder, lotion, baby wipes, then grab the curtains and try to roll up in them like a burrito, then try to launch off the changing table twice, and then kick you in the ribs?  Do the babies make these plans at school when the teacher isn’t looking?
PJs.  I was frustrated, but not deterred.  Yesterday, I went to the Carter’s website to order the jammies.  No such luck…they’re only available in 24 months.  Again, what the heck?
I was beginning to understand that Christmas themed anything for children is a hot commodity, and if you want it, you’d better get it early.  Because apparently, there’s an entire group of parents/grandparents/people who buy kid’s clothes just camping out overnight, waiting for things to go on sale bright and early…just like Black Friday.  Or waiting for concert tickets to see NKOTB in 1990.  Do you remember waiting in line for concert tickets?  Getting to Peaches or Sam Goody extra early?  The youth of today is lacking in that experience.
My determination was quickly turning into desperation.  I checked a few other places, but none of them had PJs I liked.  None of them had the jammies that I’d picked out in October.
The thought crossed my mind to check eBay.  I am so not an eBay person; I have never purchased anything from eBay, don’t really understand the concept of eBay, and I’m also a bit skeptical of eBay.  But, desperate times end with a new mom on a website she’s totally unfamiliar with, searching for something that she hopes wasn’t stolen off a truck in Miami, and giving credit card information that will probably end up in the hands of a terrorist who will use it to purchase anthrax.  Can you see the headline?  “PJ Purchasing Mom Funds Al Qaeda!”  My crush on Brian Williams would never come to fruition…
I type “Carter’s Christmas Pajamas” in the search box…lo and behold, sixty-five pages of listings pop up.  Seriously?
I noticed a common thread in these listings.  Most of the PJs were new, tags on them, and multiple sizes were available.  Do you know what this means?  These crazy eBay people, who I have had great contempt for since the Target Missoni disaster of 2011, are buying up all the PJs and hoarding them for resale!  Christmas PJs for babies and toddlers are being trafficked via eBay.
You eBay people ruin everything.  You’re the reason I only managed to get one pair of shoes when Missoni launched their line for Target.  Do you guys remember that?  Probably not, but that’s okay, you can’t all understand high fashion.  Missoni created a line for Target, and they began online sales at midnight the night before the line was available in the brick and mortar store.  Crazy eBay people lurked on the Target site, and when the “doors opened” the purchased everything they possibly could, then resold it for enormous profit on eBay.  Stores had to pull items from their shelves to keep up with the online demand.  When I went to Target the very next day, there were three pairs of shoes, a pair of rain boots, a shower curtain and a scarf.  Luckily, I have tiny feet (because you can always find shoes in size 6 and size 11 – tiny feet and big feet win!) so I scored a sweet pair of shoes.  But again, the eBay people ruin everything.  And there was nothing that Target could do about it.  The line was only available for four weeks; it lasted all of four hours.  Jerks.
People of eBay, you are ruiners.
So I found the PJs, size 18 months, and purchased them.  The seller had lots of gold stars and positive feedback; I’m assuming this should be a fairly safe purchase.  There was no mark up on the price, so I’m not sure what the seller is benefitting (this is where I begin to think the jammies were stolen off a truck in Miami…) but I don’t care because I win the Christmas Pajama Plinko Challenge! Huzzah!

People of eBay…you’re on my list.