Here’s your sporadically produced Round-Up. I know you’ve been waiting eagerly for this one, because who doesn’t want to know what I’m doing when I’m not spending my time here, writing? That’s what I thought. So while you’re enjoying that final sugar rush of the holiday season, tree still twinkling in the window, leftovers still fresh in the fridge, enjoy this belated Christmas gift.

The Heathens
You remember The Heathens, right? The little scoundrels we discussed in this post? Well, they got golf clubs for Christmas. ALL OF THEM. How do I know they got golf clubs? Because they were at the park committing arborcide yet again. I’m surprised they weren’t wearing their karate uniforms and shooting paintball guns at squirrels, too.

How squirrels feel about the Heathens.

How squirrels feel about the Heathens.

We have a “no heathen” rule in our house. Miles – and all future sons – are banned from exhibiting any heathen-like behavior. Guess what Mr. and Mrs. Heathen got for Christmas? Matching Lexuses. Lexi? Lexusi? I’m not sure how you pluralize “obnoxious” but that’s what Santa brought them. Mrs. Heathen even got a pink bedazzled license plate cover. Barf.

The Crunch Off
Let me preface this by saying I’m not that crunchy mama, but on a scale of Fig Newton to Mama Earth Arrowroot Cookies, I’d probably fall somewhere in line with a Pepperidge Farms Sausalito (side note: DROOL). Here’s what I’ve learned: No matter how crunchy you think you are, there’s someone crunchier. And if you boast about your crunchiness (which I would never do because I’m lazy, and my buggy probably has some non-organic produce in it because I’m also thrifty) someone is going to out-crunchy you. Before you know it, you’ve entered The Crunch Off. For every cloth diaper you’ve changed, someone else is teaching her kids “elimination communication” (Google it). And for every mama going with elimination communication, some other mama is taking her kid’s poop and adding it to her compost bin outside (Google that, too). And for every mama with a compost bin, there’s another mama using Family Cloth (GOOGLE IT. I DARE YOU. No, don’t…it’s toilet paper you wash. Feeling crunchy?)

Hate your hubby's lumberjack shirt?  PROBLEM SOLVED.

Hate your hubby’s lumberjack shirt? PROBLEM SOLVED.

So, moms of granola and non-granola alike, can we just stop it already with the one-upmanship? It’s so lame and aggravating. Parenting really comes down to one thing: love. Also, feeding them and keeping them clean, but that should be part of the love. As long as you’re loving your kids, and caring for them in the best way for your family, you’re getting an A+ from me. Also, Doritos moms, stop telling the crunchy moms that they’re weird, because it’s not nice. At least we never have to clean orange cheese dust off our furniture.

I think I’ve mentioned before that we are big fans of The Wonder Weeks. At 36 weeks old, Miles is in his sixth phase of mental development, called the “World of Categories.” The book tells you that he’s starting to group things in categories. For example, a picture of a cow, a stuffed cow and a live cow are all in the category of “cows” (yes, I realize that sounds simple, but remember…Miles still eats his toes). Each leap in development has its own challenges. I will brag and say that for the most part, Miles has had very few fussy moments during these leaps. The app gives you a chart with sunshine and rain clouds so you can track where your baby’s mood might be. Miles currently has a picture of a looming black storm cloud with a huge bolt of lightning. Nice thought, huh? Anyway, one of the new things that can begin during this development: NIGHTMARES. So this is what I get for bragging about what a good sleeper my son is…last night, starting at 1:30a and every 90 minutes until 7a, he woke up. Sometimes he would cry, sometimes he would talk, sometimes he would just crawl around his crib and bang on the rails. But there was crying, and he was asleep. Suffice to say, we’re thinking we’ve had our first nightmare. Of course, when Miles woke up this morning you’d think he had 12 hours of beautiful sleep at a Swedish spa, because he was rip-roarin’ and ready to go. I, on the other hand, needed two cups of coffee. Let’s hope tonight is more…peaceful?

EDITED TO ADD:  The “up every 90 minutes” fiasco from last night?  Mystery solved…WE HAVE A TOOTH! HALLELUJAH! I thought this kid would be toothless until being toothless is okay (i.e. when he could wear dentures).

Cheers to the weekend and GLORIOUS NAPS TO BE HAD,

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.