SAHMcation Recap

Working titles included, “The Longest HappySad Cry of My Life” and “How long has that banana been underneath the china hutch?”  But, for efficient reading, I kept it short.

This past week, I was home on vacation with Miles (hence the term “SAHMcation”)  When we had Miles, I knew that I wanted to utilize some of my vacation time to just hang out with him, and soak up his awesomeness.  This is my second SAHMcation; the first occurred the week after Thanksgiving, when Miles was about 7 months old.

Man, a lot changes in six months.

I remember my first SAHMcation, during the two naps a day phase, when I accomplished both an abundance of quality time with my tiny and an abundance of household drudgery (organizing the linen closet, washing the kitchen cabinets, cleaning the garage) that had loomed over our heads since I hit about 37 weeks pregnant and solidified my spot on the sofa, counting the days until I could see my toes and not belch or urinate every five minutes.  When your child takes two naps that are two hours each, shit gets done.

We are on one nap a day now; granted, that nap can top out at three hours, but it’s still just one nap.  And this isn’t new; we’ve been on this schedule for three months now.  Also, most Saturdays are just me and the kiddo, so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with how things work when it comes to chores.  It’s simple: the chores that absolutely, positively, must get done are the ones checked off the list.  Well, most of them.  I’ll admit that for the past six days I’ve been drying off with two hand towels after showering because no one has done the towel laundry yet (all of our cats are freeloaders, and I’ve also learned that being home with your toddler full-time causes you to lose sense of all time and space…I asked my husband on multiple occasions not only the date, but also the day of the week, and possibly even what month it was).

I didn’t have a big list of things to get done this week, other than hang with Miles.  I did have a few minor things I wanted to accomplish, and I did successfully complete those tasks:

  1. Clean the microwave.  The sloppy joe explosion seemed to be flavoring other foods I was reheating.
  2. Organize the bathroom cabinet, more appropriately known as “where all the q-tips go to fall out of their boxes and die beneath piles of loose bandaids and half empty bottles of lotion.”

Other things that happened on SAHMcation that I was not prepared to handle…we dropped bottles.  If you have children, you know what I mean.  If you don’t have children, please know that dropping bottles doesn’t involve champagne (ALTHOUGH IT SHOULD).  We went off bottles, for good.  Do you know how much Miles cared about this transition?  Not one single bit.  Do you know how much cared about this?  Enough to cry for 45 minutes while I packed his bottles up during his nap on Monday.

Yes, part of me thought, “Yippee!  No more 4,873 piece bottles to scrub with our three varied-in-size brushes!”  But the larger part of me, and my entire heart, thought “Oh my gosh, there goes my baby…”

And now, I understand why so many moms always wanted to hold Miles and feed him his bottle…he was still little, still tiny, and still still.  The bottle dropping happened by chance, and had I known that the bottle I gave Miles at 6:30am on Monday would be his very last, ever, I would have probably cried…so it’s a good thing I didn’t know.

In addition to happysad crying while packing bottles, I also happysad cried every day after putting Miles down for his nap.  Each day, I’d rock him and sing, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”, the song that I’ve sung to him since he arrived in our world.  Each day, he’d fall asleep in my arms, and I’d hold him just a few minutes longer than usual, and I’d just marvel at this tiny, perfect, precious boy, and I’d remember the days of teeny-tiny onesies and burps and that sweet baby smell.  Each day, I’d grow more and more aware of the amazing and incredible growth that has occurred in just 13 short months.

SAHMcation was void of chores, and had its happysad moments, but I also found a new appreciation for my fellow SAHPs of toddlers because holy cow, it’s the Indy 500 around here all day, every day.  I remember on my first SAHMcation, marveling at my ability to get so many things done during nap one, that I could actually nap myself – for two hours – during nap two.  And I remember a girlfriend of mine telling me that she never ever got to nap (her daughter is two years older than Miles).  Sister, I feel you.  These kids are whirlwinds of squeals and smiles and screams and beating you in the head with wooden blocks because it’s fun.  Right?  RIGHT.

Our days were filled with swimming in the pool, playing at the water table, coloring (and eating crayons), fingerpainting (and eating paint), swinging, walking, running, cat chasing, dancing, singing, reading, stop and take a breath and do it all over again after naptime because MOM THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!  Oh yes, it was a blast – an exhausting blast, but a blast nonetheless.  I marveled each evening at the fingerpaint smeared across the floor, and the toys strewn from here to kingdom come.  But you SAHPs who do it day in and day out, kudos to you, because it’s the most exhausting fun I’ve ever had (Spring Break has nothing on toddlercation, people).

I found that our house is much messier when we’re home full-time.  Laundry, while folded, piled up on the couch.  Bert and Ernie somehow found their way into the freezer, while my bag of frozen mixed vegetables wound up in the laundry basket under three stuffed bears and a mound of wooden blocks.

With no more b-o-t-t-l-e-s in the house, mealtime became even more important.  We did pretty good most days, but there were plenty that ended with me wearing spaghetti, or zucchini being thrown at the cat (this is why I wore the same yoga pants for six days straight – why bother?)  I learned that Miles takes great joy in watching me flinch as he picks up his fork, which encourages the flinging/hurling/throwing of utensils and food.  That’s something they don’t tell you in birthing class: as a parent of a toddler, you’ll flinch a lot.  Every time they pick up a hard toy, or a book, or their food.  I also found half a banana under the china hutch tonight.  I have no idea how long it was there.

Miles also cut his 7th tooth this week, and I finished a 900 page book.  Yes, SAHMcation was awesome.  It was beautifully, wonderfully, messily exhausting in the best ways possible.  And I can’t wait to do it again.



Kitty Love.

Pool Fun.


Time, slow down.

Time, slow down.

Crying over Cheerios

Tomorrow, my very big boy is moving to the toddler room at school.  This is a big deal; he’s moving early, because he’s thisclose to walking, and he’s no longer one of the “babies.”  Am I proud?  Unbelievably.  But my initial response when his teacher told me about the move two weeks ago was a total sob fest.  This is normal, right?

Last week, while shopping online for an Easter outfit, I came across some of those cute onesie and pants combos with little bunnies on the butt, and again, the tears began.  I realized that my big boy would not be wearing pants with anything on the butt ever again.  No footballs, no lions, no crabs, no Santas.  He’s no longer a onesie-wearing baby; he’s on the brink of toddlerhood.

I have found that, again, this is something our birthing coach failed to include in our eight week class: YOU WILL CRY ABOUT EVERYTHING.  Every.  Single.  Thing.

Kid eats a Cheerio for the first time?  Tears.  Takes two steps?  Weeping.  Learns to wave bye bye?  Hello, hysterics.  Not a single milestone has arrived with a dry eye for me.  Each day, I feel myself identifying more and more with the women on Lifetime and WE.

Also, James Van der Beek.

Also, James Van der Beek.

Where did my teeny, tiny, itty bitty baby go?  Over ten months have flown by since his arrival, and I just can’t find enough hours in the day to play with him, dance with him, teach him how to eat like a big boy, or stare at him while he sleeps (not as creepy as it sounds).

And so, I cry.  Not in front of Miles (often), but  cry.  I realize on a daily basis what a gut-wrenching job parenthood can be.  My tiny baby is growing up quickly, and I am not prepared for this.  Totally normal, right?

Send wine.

If I could turn back time,


Round-Up: SAHM Edition

Last week, I was on vacation.  Glorious, stress-free, vacation…AT HOME.  I have always wanted to take a full week of vacation time and just sit at home, eating nachos for breakfast, watching Kathy Lee and Hoda, reading Us Weekly and wearing yoga pants with zero intention of actually doing yoga (or any physical activity, for that matter).  Now that we’re parents, a week of time at home gives me a peek into the life of a stay-at-home mom.
I learned a few things in those 7ish days; some of those things are valuable life tools.  And some of those things involve The Wiggles.
Top Ten Things Learned During SAHM Week…
10. You’re an anti-TV parent until you are forced to become a TV parent.  Let me clarify this by saying we are still anti-TV parents; however, when you need 15 minutes to vacuum, take a phone call, find the cat or just poop, well…plopping Miles in the Jumperoo and giving him some PBS was the answer.
9. Your coffee will probably be cold by the time you finish it.  Every morning, I would play with Miles on the floor in the living room and attempt to drink my coffee.  This worked fine, until he noticed my coffee mug.  Once the mug was in his line of sight, it was game over.  He would stop at nothing in his attempts to grab my mug, because suddenly that mug of coffee was more important than anything in the entire universe, ever. 
8. All electrical cords belong to Miles.  I thought I could work on our family Christmas card while Miles was playing with one of his favorite toys (a measuring cup).  He was intently putting his orange monkey under the measuring cup, scooting it over, then picking it up again to see if monkey was still there.  He had no idea I was even in the room.  I quietly plugged in my laptop, and started working.  That was the moment his spidey senses kicked in…realizing an electrical cord was nearby, Miles immediately stopped playing with his cup.  After 10 minutes of attempting to work, I gave up.  A similar situation arose with the vacuum, steam mop, and phone charger.  Some of you may be wondering why electrical cords are so awesome.  Like all awesome toys, you can BEAT THEM ON THE FLOOR AND MAKE NOISE.
7. A majority of children’s programming is frightening, or created by people taking psychotropic drugs.  I thought I’d check out that BabyFirst channel, only to find some terrifying show with three large and incredibly realistic looking mice singing and dancing, with no movement from their mouths.  Just these blank, vacant stares from their beady costume eyes.  

And now you can share in my nightmare.

So that ended up on the “do not watch” list.  Then I tried something called Lazy Town, but found most of the actors had rubber masks or weird hair, and added that to the list as well.  These very strange shows also seemed to lack any educational value.  

Not good role models.  Also, questionable fashion choices.

What made the cut?  The Wiggles, Barney and Friends (YES, THAT IS STILL ON THE AIR!), Sid the Science Guy, Sesame Street and The Chica Show.  Good stuff.

6. A majority of new children’s music is also frightening.  While I am anti-TV, during playtime we do have music going…Miles loves music.  We usually listen to jazz, but I decided to venture into the world of children’s music.  There’s a lot of good stuff out there.  For instance, Caspar Babypants (you can’t make this stuff up) is now in my regular playlist.  He’s like a Jack Johnson for babies, and it is awesomesauce.  

How can you not love this guy?

SERIOUSLY.  He’s awesome.  I would listen to him even if I didn’t have children.

However, when a group called “Preschool Popstars” came on singing a song about a daycare dance party, I decided I did not want my eight month old in da club.  You would also be amazed at the number of adult pop songs (Lady Gaga, Beyonce, etc.) that make it to the children’s station because they are being sung by THE CHIPMUNKS.  This type of torture should be saved for Guantanamo.  Fun fact: These tunes will also make your ears bleed.

Sippin’ on juice.  Just juice.


Yes, I could have made the entire post about this one thing.
It’s like a train wreck, I just can’t turn away from it.

5. You can wear the same clothes five days in a row, and no one will know.  Except the UPS guy.  And maybe the mailman.  Also, employees at Publix, depending on how many times you visit the store.  Fashion be damned, I wore the same yoga pants and Grateful Dead t-shirt ALL. WEEK. LONG.  It was awesome.
4. You get to eat lunch with your kiddo!  Feeding Miles while simultaneously feeding myself is nothing new, but eating lunch at 11am is.  So at 2pm, when I was suddenly hungry in a way that can only be akin to a bear waking from hibernation, I would usually binge on something sensible, like an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers and half a jar of Nutella.  Don’t look at me like that.
3. You finally see why all the other moms won’t stop talking about the blue Wiggle.

 Oh, you think he’s kind of lame?

2. You get to read a book!  And a magazine!  And watch re-runs of SATC!  Miles’ longest nap usually happens around lunch time…two hours of glorious, uninterrupted ME TIME.  Choirs of angels sang the first time I sat down to read. 
1. YOU GET TO TAKE A NAP…EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Oh my gosh, naps.  I haven’t taken a nap since…how old is my son?  That long.  It was awesome.
Besides these learning moments, I also really, really, really enjoyed just getting some downtime with my kiddo.  These are the days that go by quickly, where he seems to still be swaddled one minute and somehow riding a tricycle the next.  It happens that fast.  So having many, many days of “just us” was an incredible, tremendous blessing.  I cried The Ugly Cry three times last week, just sitting there watching him play, because I suddenly realized he was no longer my teeny, tiny little baby.  He’s a big boy.  An amazing, smart, funny, snuggly and loving little guy. 
Dropping him off at school on Monday was like that first day, all over again.  Only this time, Miles eagerly crawled to the basket of toys and immediately began dumping them all over the floor, totally oblivious to the fact that mom was standing there, teary eyed, watching her baby grow up.  I kissed him goodbye; he bopped me on the nose and tried to take my glasses, then he gave me a hug.  A real hug.
I left before my morning at daycare turned into a Publix Thanksgiving commercial.

You cried when the pilgrims were separated at the table, right?
Working parents, if you get the chance to take some vacation and spend it at home with your young ones, I cannot encourage you enough to do it.  In the blink of an eye, kids are off at college, getting married, giving you grandchildren…these days are precious and brief.  Even when you’re tired, distracted, running a hundred miles an hour…stop, and make the most of these days.  You will appreciate these memories so much as your children grow.
Sappy McSapperston,

The Best Days, Ever.

Today is an exciting day in the Coke House…we are celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary!  Time flies when you’re having fun, right?  In honor of the special day, I thought I’d reflect back over the past 2,922 days.
Eight years ago, we were both in our 20s (some of us in our very early 20s!)  George W. was still in office.  None of our friends had children.  Facebook was an unknown.  Cadillac Williams still played for the Bucs, and we went 11-5 in our 2005 season.  Evan and I both had siblings still in high school.  Brad and Jennifer were still married.
Life has changed.  Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane…
Eight years and an undisclosed number of pounds ago…
We tied the knot at my home church in Pahokee, where I spent some of the best years of my life, and PFUMC will forever hold a special place in my heart.  Hurricane Wilma had ravaged both coasts just three weeks prior; we didn’t even know at the time if our wedding could happen, but God willing, it did.  We were forced to move our reception location due to damage at the Elk’s Lodge in Pahokee.  Our florist, Fran, went as far as Miami to find THE flowers we had picked out months earlier.  We patiently waited days and weeks for electricity to be restored.  It all came together in an imperfectly beautiful and wonderful celebration.

Mr. & Mrs. Coke

Happily Ever After

We honeymooned in Key West.  We literally crawled Duval.  I climbed on stage at Sloppy Joe’s and sang “I Wanna Be Sedated” with a punk band from Minneapolis.  We happy houred at Irish Kevin’s at 10am.  We pet six toed cats and sting rays.  Evan got food poisoning from a Cheeseburger in Paradise.
We traveled.  We fell in love with Western NC, and have returned half a dozen times.  We have hiked over 300 miles.  Evan grew a mountain man beard. We plan to continue visiting every year until I can convince Evan to buy a mountain and build a cabin.
 Downpour on the AT.

 Day hike to Siler’s Bald.

 Tubing on Deep Creek.

“…got to set down and take a rest on the porch.”
We took a 4,000 mile road trip from Cape Coral to Washington DC, then to New Jersey for Evan’s 10 year high school reunion, then north to Niagara Falls, and west to Fort Knox, KY.  We visited monuments, toured Radio City Music Hall, ate Thanksgiving dinner at a hoity toity restaurant in the Upper East Side.  Then we watched my brother graduate from Basic Training, and prayed for his new journey and career in life as a Combat Medic in the US Army.

 Rockefeller Plaza

 Top of the Rock.

 Cannoli time!


 Lincoln Memorial

 CPL Cameron M. Hatton

 Proud sister.

We survived several hurricanes, both of the meteorological and real-life variety (not to mention the number of hurricanes consumed on our honeymoon in Key West). 
Both my parents and Evan’s grandmother lost their homes in Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.  We headed to the east coast to help salvage what was left.  We cried endless tears upon seeing the devastation.  We prayed for restoration.  And our families overcame the struggles.
We welcomed Maggie Mae in our lives.  Then Kiwi.  Then the “Wild Bunch”: Blueberry, Patches and Frankie, a litter of kittens abandoned in our neighborhood.  Mai Tai, my old tabby cat, remains my “first born” regardless of our ever growing family.

Mai Tai, my first born, adopted in 2003. 

Maggie Mae joined the fam in 2006. 


The Wild Bunch, left to right: Blueberry, Patches and Frankie
We decorated eight Christmas trees.  The pets only knocked over one.
My baby brother got married in Germany, and I gained an amazing sister-in-law.
Jess and Cameron
We turned 30.  And then some.

We found CCFUMC.  We became members.  Our lives forever changed, for the better.
We made many, many friends.  Many friendships grew; few failed.  We have been immensely blessed by the people in our lives, who we consider an extension of family.  Some have moved on, and there is greater time and distance between us, but an unconditional love remains. 
We grew deeper in our faith.  I picked the bass guitar back up.  I discovered worship through music.  Evan discovered worship through the tech ministry and running the sound board.  Our lives were again forever changed, for the better.
We bought our first home.  We renovated one room at a time, and finished the interior remodeling earlier this year.  I am now ready to paint the dining room again.

My favorite renovation, by far.

 A space for Baby C.

Our surprise to be…

We started a small business.  We grew.  We bought another small business.  And we continue growing and persevering.  Evan is overly humble about his accomplishments.
We said goodbye to some of our greatest loves and supporters.

My Moosie.

With Grandpa Lee and Grandma Lil.


August 16, 2012

Eight weeks!

Announcing to the world…

39 weeks!  Only two (long) weeks to go…

We experienced the most awesome, incredible, amazing, sunshine and rainbows day of our lives when we welcomed Miles Clark to the world.  We did not know then the overwhelming love, joy and happiness that would now fill our home.  We became parents.  It still sounds funny when I say it out loud.  Miles does let us know we’re doing an awesome job, though.

That face still gets me, every time.

Love at first sight.

My boys.

One day old.

I did not think I could love Evan more; then, I saw him as a father, and I found a new love that I didn’t know existed.  And we both found that it was possible to have an enormous mountain of love for a teeny, tiny person.
The Cokes – October 2013

The past 2,922 days have been an unbelievable journey, and there is no single person on this planet I would have spent it with besides Evan.  We have journeyed, side by side and hand in hand, through peaks and valleys, good times and bad, tears of joy and tears of sadness, together.  

I am tremendously blessed with his love and friendship.  He is my rock, my best friend, my happy place, and the most amazing father in the entire world.  My heart still skips a beat when he enters a room, just like it did over 10 years ago when we first met.  

And I cannot wait to see what life has in store for us next.

I love you to the moon and back, and then some.