Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Slow. Down.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, and not just for the endless array of casseroles, gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, dessert (and dessert wine).  It’s a time that we get to enjoy at a slower pace, surrounded by friends and family, wearing stretchy yoga pants, watching football and just enjoying each other’s company.  Right?  RIGHT?!

I have never been a Black Friday shopper.  I hate the mall, I hate the crowds, and I really don’t enjoy shopping (my nineteen year old self just rolled her eyes at me…) Some people love Black Friday; the thrill of the hunt, getting up at 3am, standing in line, fighting over Tickle Me Elmo dolls and arguing with the barista when she forgets the triple shot of espresso. 

And each year, stores open earlier, stay open longer, offer more insanely unreasonable sales to drive the hoards of crazies through their doors.  Thanksgiving is no longer a holiday to be celebrated; it’s become a minor preamble that we rush through just to get to the 100 MILE PER HOUR GIVE ME ALL THE STUFF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EXPLOSION IN YOUR FACE.  NOW WITH MORE STUFF!!!

The commercialism of the holiday season is overwhelming.  There are too many screaming TV commercials with blinking lights, bells, dancing elves, annoying music and size 72 font prices for me to handle.  This time of year is not about getting a Hamilton Beach crockpot for 83% off retail price, just because you can.

People, you don’t need this stuff.  You have enough stuff.  You don’t even have room for the new stuff.  You can’t even name all of the stuff you already have.  Do you know what you really need to do?  Slow. The. Hell. Down.

We wait until after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas tree.  We wait until after Thanksgiving to do any Christmas shopping.  We want to enjoy each moment, day, holiday, gathering, activity, as it comes.  If you’re constantly racing to the next event, can you truly enjoy and appreciate where you are right now?  Stop.  Sit with each other.  Talk.  Laugh.  Drink more wine.  Eat more pumpkin roll.  Enjoy your time.  And be thankful.

We have instilled a “Get One, Give One” mantra in our household.  If you get a new toy, you must give an old toy to Goodwill.  It’s important to us that our children understand that receiving gifts can be fun, but giving is so much better.  Because if you feel a thousand rays of sunshine happy when you get something, don’t you want someone else to experience that same feeling?

We are also making an effort to spend less because, again, stop it with the stuff.  I have a decent list of DIY Christmas gifts I have put together over the past few months (friends and family, be prepared…)  If spending money on a gift, we are considering things that are practical, enjoyable and most importantly, meaningful.  And if I actually go through with any of this DIY business, rest assured there will be a post about it, wink wink.

We will focus on our time together, more than ever.  Ignore Pinterest, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram and television.  You have enough sugar cookie recipes; you will never get around to making those votive holders (unless it’s a gift, then have at it…), and there’s no need in making yourself feel holiday guilt by comparing your tree, house, gifts, etc., to those of your 1,872 “friends” on Facebook.  Look at each other.  Spend time with each other.  Put down the smartphone, close the laptop, and connect to something other than your wi-fi for a change. 

This really is a time of thanks; if you stop for a moment and take inventory of your life, you will find you are immensely, tremendously, incredibly blessed.  And it’s not just the stuff you have; it’s the people, the relationships, the memories, the time together, the experiences, the laughter, the love. 

Ferris Bueller said it pretty well back in 1986:

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Taking it easy,

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ferberization: Complete

This post is brought to you by the letters Z and W, for zombies and wine.  Which I can have at full volume (and full glass) at 8:30pm.  Thank you, Ferber!

A couple weeks ago, I told you all that we were going Ferber Method in the Coke House.  It’s been 10ish days of Ferber, and I feel moderately confident to say: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

So how did we get this Ferber stuff to work?  It was actually pretty easy (jinx, I know).  Our son is totally awesome, and that helps.  Also, Miles has always slept in his crib, so we didn’t have the co-sleeping nightmare to deal with.  Not that there’s anything wrong with co-sleeping; I’m not judgey about any parenting style, whether you cry it out, co-sleep, babywear, use disposable diapers, only let them eat green foods until they’re a year old…as long as your child is loved and cared for, it’s all good in my book.  Except that attachment parenting stuff…that’s a little weird.  If your kid can easily eat dinosaur shaped Tyson chicken nuggets and tie his own shoes, I don’t quite get why you’d still breastfeed…but that’s just my opinion.

Back to Ferber.  Since Miles already sleeps in his crib super well, this was more about getting a consistent bedtime established.  He tends to fall asleep between 8-8:30p every night; the problem we were having was our own, because one of us would just continue rocking Miles in the recliner until we thought he was sleeping really well, and then we’d put him down.

While this system worked, there are some issues.  Issue number one: having to watch all of my vampire-zombie-toddlers and tiara shows in an acceptably low volume.  Miles can sleep through most anything, but if a toddler suddenly starts hollering for her “tinker tea” (Google it…seriously) or a hoard of zombies comes crashing through the roof of an abandoned IGA, the volume might be too loud for a sleeping bambino. 

Issue number two: falling asleep with Miles in the recliner, waking up at 10:30p and realizing you still have Miles.  While this didn’t bother Miles, losing all feeling in my arm for the next half an hour wasn’t fun.

And so, out of my need for louder zombies and two free hands, a bedtime was born!

First three nights: Superawesome.  We did bath time, bottle time, story time, and then bedtime.  Miles babbled for 10-15 minutes, and fell asleep.

Night four: 6 minutes of crying.  Now, that might not seem like a long time, but I can tell you that when it’s your sweet, little baby in there crying, six minutes is an eternity.  But we made it.

Night five: 5 minutes of crying.  This time, more hysterical.  I caved; I picked him up, I rocked him for 20 minutes, he fell asleep.  Ferber would have been disappointed.

Every night since then: Asleep within 10 minutes.

People: BEDTIME IS THE BEST THING EVER.  I can watch zombies, fold laundry, jump on the sofa, yell at the dog, drink wine, and trip over 1,487,633 baby toys without having to worry about waking the baby in the living room.

Some of you think Ferber is mean.  I’m going to tell you to stop being a baby.  Bedtime is important; routines are important, consistency is important.  Kids like knowing what to expect (and guess what – SO DO GROWN-UPS!)  It’s also important to give your child their own space.  Well, right now.  When they’re teenagers, that’s different.

You know those kids you see running down the street barefoot at 8pm drinking Mountain Dew and eating Cheetos?  They don’t have a routine.  They also have high blood sugar.  And they’re probably poor sleepers.  AND THEIR PARENTS NEVER GET TO WATCH ZOMBIES!  Or, they’ve given up and watch zombies with their kids.  Don’t do that, either.

Does not have a bedtime.



Like I said, I’m supportive of whatever works for your family…but don’t disregard Ferber until you’ve tried it.  Your zombies and non-Honey Boo Boo children will thank you.

Ferberization Complete,


Monday, November 18, 2013

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.

" 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.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

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 assumed that 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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Early Round-Up

Just boob, no tube…
Remember last week when I told you I was going without TV for a week?  Well, weekdays?  Maybe?  I did it.  Sort of on purpose, sort of not. 

Here’s the reason it wasn’t exactly on purpose…Evan had a couple late nights this week (like, Miles is already in bed asleep late nights).  So, when I’m in Single Parent Status (this is a real thing I refer to at home, just ask my husband) there’s really no time for television.  Once The Short One has hit the hay, I’m washing bottles, prepping food for the next day, herding the small zoo that lives in our home, touching up my nail polish, drinking a glass of wine and going to bed.  But I did appreciate that time in a way, because it helped me to see that my dependency on TV isn’t as severe as I thought it was.

For instance, I have FIVE episodes of Law & Order: SVU sitting there, just waiting to be watched.  Of course I miss Detective Benson, but she’ll be there when I eventually get around to watching it. 

Other than the regular weeknight stuff, what else did I accomplish in my disconnected state?  I got Miles’ baby book caught up to current!  I also mailed some stuff to the IRS that I’d been meaning to send since 2009 for a while, painted my nails, organized our bedroom closet, did eleventy billion loads of laundry and and AND started reading a book; one that was not written by Dr. Seuss, does not have heavy duty cardboard pages perfect for chewing, or pictures!

Side note: IRS, I’m sure you’re in kahootz with the NSA.  If you audit me, you will unleash the wrath of the past eight years I’ve spent learning tax forms for personal and business, single member LLC, S-Corps, carry the 2 and divide by 17.8, wrongformagainlololol.  It’s not easy to have a full-time career and also be a volunteer accountant on the side…now that I’m a mom, I’m not playing around.  If you audit me, I will send that guy from “Taken” after you.  Seriously.  Not really.  Please don’t audit me.

I did watch a teeny, tiny bit of TV: one episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and one episode of Two Broke Girls.  Because I also learned that without TV, I can get extra sleep.  Glorious, beautiful, sleep.

So, DVR…I guess our relationship just went from “it’s complicated” to “I’m just not that into you.”  If it weren’t for The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Criminal Minds, The New Girl, SVU, Two Broke Girls, Boardwalk Empire, re-runs of Cosby and Roseanne, football, Food Network and Hot in Cleveland, we’d probably never see each other again.  Probably.

Speaking of sleep…
Miles has always been given an A++ with extra gold stars and sunshine for being such an excellent sleeper.  Then, the mindgame of Daylight Savings Time came, along with the 29-30 week growth spurt (which is, coincidentally, when babies learn about separation anxiety).  And now, for the past week, he has woken up every couple hours.  Sometimes he cries, sometimes he lays there and makes noises, sometimes he wants to play. 

Either way, he’s getting a D+ right now as far as I’m concerned.  He isn’t failing yet because his daytime naps are superawesomesunbeams, which is great.  Also, this waking up business makes me grumpy, but has zero effect on The Short One.  In fact, Miles seems to get a super energy burst of smiles from waking up every two hours.  What happens in our adult lives to change this effect?

He’s almost seven months old.  We’ve never had to sleep train, but when faced with the choice of sleep training or crazy training, well…you know what’s up.  Tonight we’re going to go all Ferber Method and see how it goes.  Please pray.  Hard.  Also, send wine.  I don’t know if my heart/mind/mommy guilt can take it.  But I need sleeeeep.

Parents of young kiddos, we follow The Wonder Weeks.  You can download a free app on your phone, and it’s super helpful for knowing what each growth spurt entails, and what skills your child is developing.  This is also how I know that we’re going through the “holy crap my parents can just walk out of the room and leave me here?!” thing at night.

Also, since my post on parenting fail, he has fallen down umpteen times, with minimal crying.  I think the feelings of fear when falling have been replaced with a dogged determination to walk, because he really, really wants to hang out with the cats and they keep finding places to nap that are just out of his reach.  He’s like a little McGyver, moving boxes against the couch to climb up them.  Right now it’s adorable; ask me if I feel the same way when I find him swinging from a ceiling fan one day.

Wow, this is the first update I’ve ever had the pleasure of giving!  Remember this post?  Well guess what…

THERE WILL BE A PART TWO!  Oh yes, there will be.  Evan was called to testify.  It’s awesome, because it gives me some writing material.  It also sucks, because the trial falls on our 8 year wedding anniversary.  Sacrifices, right?



Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Round-Up: Halloween(ish) Edition

If it takes four months to prepare for vacation, then it should naturally take some length of time to get back into the swing of things, right?  I’m getting there…it’s just hard to catch up with so many important things on my list I need to accomplish:

-         Haul all of the fall and Christmas decorations out of the garage.
-         Sort the decorations.
-         Admire the decorations.
-         Tell the decorations how much I’ve missed them.
-         Sit around and smell my Fall Harvest, Cozy Fireside and Balsam Pine Scentsy bars, to prepare myself for the seasons.

Look, it’s a zen process, full of meditation and sitting around in PJs wishing the weather would turn cooler.

So, Round-Up time…yes, Halloween was a million years ago, but I had some thoughts that I wrote down and I’m sharing them now…

Teenage girls and mothers of teenage girls…seriously, what’s up with the costumes?  Why do you look like you’re auditioning for the Bunny Ranch?  WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE ARE YOU SETTING?  I would like a nationwide spandex/lycra ban next year.  Also, no more animal ears and tails.

Greedy kids…one visit to a house/trunk-or-treat/other Halloween event is adequate.  There’s no need to show up four times, demanding more candy.  I’m totally ratting you out to your dentist.

Florida…can we get some cooler weather for Halloween?  It’s unfair that I find the most adorable costume ever in the history of time and space, and Miles can only wear it for 20 minutes because it happens to be fleece but it also happens to be 178 degrees outside at 8:00pm.  Get with the program.

Neighbors...when we arrived home from Trunk-Or-Treat, you were throwing boomerangs in the park across the street.  You are not Aussies, but I respect your hobby.  I am unsure as to why (and a little unnerved) you felt the need to throw boomerangs until ELEVEN THIRTY PM.  I half expected Halloween night to turn into some B horror movie: “Boomerangicide: THEY ALWAYS RETURN.”

Costumes…other than the costumes for Miles and Evan (I win 1,000,000 points for those) my favorite costume this year belonged to a dad of one of the kids trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.  He was wearing a “bloody” t-shirt with knife slashes and mini cereal boxes attached all over.  I interpreted this costume as “Killer Cereal”, since to be a cereal killer, it seems like he’d be the knife wielder, right?  So if his intention was ironic, he gets 10,000 points.

American Horror Story…are you guys watching this season?  It hasn’t been very scary, but it’s been disturbing.  I’m loving the last two Halloween episodes, though.  Good stuff.  If you watch AHS, you can catch a good (and hilarious) recap over at My Favorite and My Best.  She’s awesomesauce, not only for her artistic abilities (inspires me to continue not finishing any of our reno projects) but also for her spot on Jessica Lange impersonation and screen caps from each episode.  I mean, it's no Walking Dead (swoon) but it's still good stuff.

Candy...I love you SO. MUCH.  Especially candy corn, mini Snickers, Milky Ways, Baby Ruth, Tootsie Rolls, and Dots.  Man, do I love Dots.  They're totally worth it, even if they pull out your fillings.  But candy corn wins all the candy points; that stuff is irresistable.   

Now, for things non-All Hallows’ Eve related…

Hairy Carey…last week, I cut my own bangs.  I do this a lot, usually with some level of success.  I’m still growing out a not-awesome haircut I got right before Miles was born (my hair grows super slow, except for the grays – they sprout like bamboo and take over).  I know I’m not the only person too lazy/thrifty to pay for someone else to cut my bangs.  What about color?  I’m considering a new color, which I’ll do myself.  Darker?  Lighter?  Grayer?  If your choice is the last, I have been fashionable for 18 months.

The No TV Project
PEOPLE: I am considering taking a hiatus from television for one week (okay, five weekdays).  One of those guilt-ridden inspirational photo posts popped up somewhere (Facebook?  Pinterest?  Instagram?  Epicurious?  I have no idea…) and it said,

If you don’t have enough time, turn off the TV.

And I thought to myself, “sonofabitch, they’re watching me through the living room window.”  Because seriously, I love my DVR.  I love my DVR in a way that if polygamy was allowed in Florida, we would go all Big Love with the DVR.  Maybe the OnDemand, too.  I will admit that my amount of TV watching isn’t what it used to be, but I still think that I watch enough of it in the evenings that it interferes with the things I’d like to accomplish during the week (also, things that have been on my to-do list since before Miles was born).

We don’t watch TV until after Miles goes to bed, normally around 8pm.  I usually hit the hay by 10pm, sometimes earlier, but let’s average and say I’m watching two hours of TV a day.  It doesn’t seem like much to some, but when I consider how ticked off I get the next day because I didn’t complete XYZ task, I silently curse the TV in my head.

TV : Kristin  ::  Apple : Eve

So, I am considering going off the DVR grid next week.  Wish me luck.  I’m already depressed.  A little excited, but depressed, too.  Maybe I can just cut down to one show a day?  The thought of missing AHS, SVU and Criminal Minds is giving me heart palpitations…thank the TV angels that The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights.

18 mini Snickers to go,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life Lessons from Cliff and Roseanne

Recently, I noticed a friend of mine had posted something on Facebook that read along the lines of, “having one of those days where I feel as if I’ve failed as a parent.”  Miles may only be 6 ½ months old, but I think that all parents, regardless of how old your children may be, can relate to that feeling of failure and worthlessness sometimes.  It sucks, right?

Example: The other night, Miles was pulling up on the sofa to antagonize harass gently pet my old tabby cat, Mai Tai.  I was so impressed with his determination, and I was so proud of my sweet boy for pulling up and standing on his own, that I immediately grabbed my phone to document the moment (you know, because if you don’t take a picture it didn’t happen). 

As soon as I snapped the photo, he fell backwards and landed on his rear end.  He wasn’t hurt, but it definitely startled him, which in turn upset him.  And in that moment of crying, I felt like a total jerk.  I was so focused on getting a stupid photo to share on stupid Facebook that I didn’t have a free hand to catch him.  Parenting Failure 101.

Photo taken just moments before asshole parenting began.

Yes, I know he’s going to fall, and I’m not always going to be there to catch him.  He’s going to get stitches, or break a bone, or at least get a bump on the head, while running around as an unsupervised and insane toddler.  But still…I should have been there in that moment.  So when someone says they’re having a bad parenting day, even as a very new mom, I get it.

I watch a lot of TV Land.  Well, not as much as I used to...before Miles, I could spend an entire Saturday watching reruns.  Coincidentally, in those before Miles days, I also never found time to finish anything  I started because I was "too busy."  And now, I'm TOTALLY one of those parents who will give the side-eye to anyone without children who says they are too busy for anything.  Oh, you have the time, you just don't realize it... (side note: I wouldn't trade a single super busy moment for anything in the's busy in the most awesome way possible)

I digress.  Two of our all-time fave shows are “Roseanne” and “The Cosby Show.”  When we got pregnant, we always remarked during either program that we would parent this way or that way; we discussed how we’d handle situations needing discipline, difficult times calling you to come together as a family, schoolwork, dating, and even holidays.  The two shows have seemingly different parenting styles, but they do accomplish a common goal.  And the closer I watched, the more I realized that on some days, you’re going to be a Huxtable, and on other days, you’re going to be a Conner.

We may strive to make all of Miles’ baby food from scratch, choosing organic and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables cultivated by happy, smiling farmers and washed by the tears of alpacas, gently steaming then mashing/pureeing to the perfect consistency (Huxtable).  But we may have an insanely hectic, busy, demanding week that might not allow for such luxuries, and we may just ::gasp:: give Miles baby food…FROM A JAR (Conner).

I hope to one day include all of our children in our current Saturday night tradition of making our own pizza (Huxtable).  It’s a healthier option, and it’s a ton of fun.  But, I am well aware that as kids get older and involved in extracurricular activities, make friends, develop their own little social lives, there are some nights that a pizza from Dominos will just have to work (Conner) if it means it will gives us a little more time at the dinner table together.

We could have a girl one day; a girl that will turn into a teenager.  And should this teenage girl decide to wear make-up before I have deemed her age appropriate (30 years old), we’ll have a discussion.  And that discussion may be thoughtful, full of life lessons, and reaffirm her value, self-worth and natural beauty (Huxtable).  Or, that discussion may tell her to stop gussying up like a 1920s lady of the night, and put her Garanimals back on, because you’re always going to be my baby (Conner).  It really depends on mom’s mood that day, y’know?

TV could be a special treat, reserved for the weekends, or limited to half an hour of PBS programming a day.  Or, it could bring a peace that only things like Oomi Zoomi or Bob the Builder can provide, if you’ve got a crazy four year old climbing the walls while you try to nurse your newborn. 

Our children will have a curfew.  Should they choose to break that curfew, they may receive a stern lecture and end up grounded for two weeks.  Or, if they really scare the shit out of me and show up well past curfew, I will absolutely freak out and remind them that there are axe murders, rapists, cults, witches, zombies, minotaurs and vampires out there trying to kidnap my sweet little babies (another side note: I might have watched too many episodes of American Horror Story this week).

They could totally be after your children...I've seen them in The Gap. 

We may strive to protect our children, keep them safe, and prevent them from making mistakes.  Or, we may know of their intentions, and do what my mom frequently did: give them enough rope to hang themselves.  Because sometimes, that’s the only way kids (me) learn a lesson.

At the end of the day, even though the Huxtables and the Conners had different lifestyles and socioeconomic statuses, they were the same people: parents who were there.  Parents who loved, nurtured, and did the absolute best they could, whether or not they realized it at the time.  We will make mistakes, but we will continue to be the best parents we can be, because our little angels will keep us in top form…trust me. 

Your parenting style will change; it will grow and evolve, just as your kids do.  You will have good days, but you will also have better days, because as long as you’re there, you’ll never have a bad day (not one that two glasses of Merlot won’t fix, anyway). 

Clair Huxtable: “So, Cliff, you don’t want one more?” (referring to a child)
Cliff Huxtable: “Dear, there are times I don’t even want the ones we have.”

Becky Conner: “Dad, what’s all this fuss about Mother’s Day? We don't get a Kid’s Day.”
Dan Conner: “Some day, my precious angel, you too will be a parent... 
And then you will realize that every day is Kid’s Day.” 

70% Conner and 30% Huxtable,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jesus and Politics

Today is local elections day, which is also known as, “No One Knows How to Park” day in my neck of the woods, because of where our office is located.  We share a parking lot with Club Square; for those unfamiliar, it’s a massive, four block parking lot where the city holds the farmer’s market and other events throughout the year.  It’s also the parking lot used by several local business, restaurants, bars, and a church.  This church just happens to be a local polling spot.

And so, with every election, our parking lot becomes filled with eager voters who have total disregard for pedestrians, the right of way, handicapped parking rules and what those white lines painted on the asphalt represent.  Yes, it is as much fun as it sounds.


Seeing the parking lot today reminded me of our national election last year.  Remember the debacle that was “counting votes in Florida”?  Our polling locations staying open until 11pm, with numbers not being reported until well after midnight?  The lines and lines and lines of voters?  Ah, Florida election process…the reason we have always voted absentee, and will continue to do so.

I remember that last year’s national election just happened to fall on the same day as the regular delivery for the Budweiser truck at a bar adjacent to our building.  The poor delivery guy spent the better part of four hours wedged between angry voters and poor parkers.  Silver lining: at least it was a beer truck, and if there was ever a day deserving of a cold brew at 11am, well, national election day was it.

Politics are such a touchy subject, right?  It’s something that we tend to keep to ourselves in the Coke House.  Not because I wouldn’t want people to know who I voted for (Ron Paul 2008 2012 Ron Rand Paul 2016!) but because I’m consistently overwhelmed with the amount of negativity and manipulation involved in the campaign process.

My biggest political campaigning peeve?  Manipulating Jesus for your platform (and this goes for both sides of the spectrum).  Because, to be honest, I don’t think the Jesus I know would share some of the opinions that some of you feel he should have his name attached to.

I don’t believe that my Jesus would use platforms of hate, or scaring the bejeesus out of people, to get his message across.  I don’t think my Jesus would guilt you into feeling we owe people something that we can’t even afford to give.  And I most certainly can’t imagine my Jesus slinging mud, calling names and pointing out faults to get his point across.  He’d also probably want us to stop being so damn selfish.

The Jesus I know would want us to govern ourselves in our political lives in the same manner we do our spiritual lives, or at least the way he’s called us to live.  Decisions based on love and truth, on honesty and well being, on what would help us to create a nation and world that would make him proud.  He most definitely would want us to give of ourselves to help others; giving time, talents and money, in a sacrificial way.  You know, that whole "being a good steward" thing. 

Politicos: Stop using Jesus to try and get others to share your ideas; start putting him at the center of your life, and start sharing his ideas.  Base your decisions and ideas on his, and you may find that others are willing to follow suit for all the right reasons.

Let’s start by loving everyone.  Yes, everyone.  That includes people who voted for Michelle Bachmann, folks who believe in banning gun control, and those who supported the Affordable Care Act.  Because it's not our place to judge those decisions, remember? 

Jesus isn’t Red or Blue,