Valentine's Day Shenanigans of a Married Couple.

Oh Valentine's Day... the day of love.  The day every woman looks forward to.  The day I circle on my calendar counting down with anxious expectations....NOT.

I don't do that anymore.  In fact, I've never done such thing, and I consider myself a pretty normal woman... well... not-so-normal, just..nevermind.

Anyway.  My point is that in our "culture" we have learned that us, women, must never be single on Valentines's day (as if that was a sin), and must expect a bouquet of roses, and chocolate, and teddy bears from our significant others, ALWAYS.  If he doesn't, he's not a keeper.  


Valentine's day is just that, a day.  Being single on any other day doesn't kill you, why should it be different on February 14? It's not.  Don't believe Hollywood, or Facebook. You are beautiful in February too. 

If you happen to be in a committed relationship on this day, good for you! If your significant other is planning a load of gifts and candlelight dinner, that's great! Enjoy it!

If you are single, use this day to remind yourself of how amazing you are and pamper yourself. Eat your favorite meal, take a bubble bath, and binge on your favorite TV show (here are some ideas). 

When hubby and I were dating (a long, long time ago), he used to go over and beyond to impress me on Valentine's day.  Yeah, I enjoyed it, but, as our relationship grew, so did our love for each, no cliche intended. 

Since we love each other, we show our love on a daily basis, and not just in the middle of February. Over time, Valentine's day becomes less important. We don't need a box of chocolates to know that we are there for each other, or a romantic dinner at an overpriced restaurant after a three hour wait... maybe on our anniversary, on our terms, and not because we are told by commercialized teddy bears and candy hearts that we should show love.  

So, after so many years of marriage, Valentine's day is a day where we cook at home, open up a bottle of good wine, and binge on our TV shows. Life is good.  

But, don't drink too much wine or you might break your hand... that's a story for another time.

Valentine's day is just an over-commercialized day, like any other day, so ladies (and sensitive guys), don't take it too hard if your loved one plays blind to the millions of ads and Facebook posts, and forgets to get you gold earrings. Instead of exchanging gifts, save up your money and take a trip! (I wish I would've had this mentality when I was younger) Or just look into each other's eyes and express your love sincerely, not just on Valentines Day, but every day.  


We don't exchange gifts on this day.  We spend time together, and recognize that cupid didn't make it a rule to present chocolates to your loved one on a particular day.  Not just because we have been together many years...SERIOUSLY, it is NOT a rule.  Going out to dinner, or mandatorily being in a relationship on this day is NOT a rule either.  You are free to go about your day, as you would do any day.  Mind blown? you are welcome.

Feel special every day, and/or make your boo feels special every day.  Not just one day.  Every day.  That's what Cupid really wants.  

Whats your favorite Valentine's day story? Comment below and let us know!



Christmas lights! from NASCAR's Charlotte Speedway to Christmas Town USA.


One of our (many) holiday traditions is to visit Christmas shows, tree lightings, and of course Christmas light shows around our area. Fortunately for us, we don't have to travel far to experience the best Christmas light shows in the Carolinas. The two places we visited this year were, not only breathtaking, but full of the Christmas spirit we were looking to find! 

Charlotte, NC is famous for many things, and among those, NASCAR.  Home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, we also house the Charlotte/Concord Motor Speedway. Just a short drive outside the city, the Speedway presents races like the All-Star Race and the Coca Cola 600, as well as many other events and car shows year-round.  

From November 19 through December 31, the Speedway Christmas is the place to go. One word of advice, come in early so you don't have to wait too long to get in. Gates open at 6pm and you will have the opportunity to drive your own car on the tracks! (not at race speed though) Cover is $30 per car. Signage will direct you inside the speedway grounds, and through a magnificent spectacle of thousands of lights dancing to Christmas music. You can tune your car radio to their personalized station and listen to the music in your own car.


The perfectly synchronized Christmas lights move to the Christmas jingles making your spirit bright...and if that doesn't put you in a jolly mood, stop at the movie drive-in and Christmas village.  The village includes a walk through, live nativity set, petting zoo (with beautiful, well-taken care of animals), carnival rides, carriage rides, local vendors, great food, and of course, pictures with Santa!.  


The Charlotte Motor Speedway light show is a tradition every year in our family.  We come in prepared with warm outfits, hats and gloves since it can get chilly at night, and it's best to enjoy the outside attractions when you are comfy and warm.  



Another amazing Christmas light adventure is also a short drive south of Charlotte, NC.  The nationally famous, McAdenville, also known as Christmas Town USA is located between exits 42-47 on I-85.

Arrive after dusk, and this quaint little community comes alive with Christmas festivities. You can choose you park and walk the streets, taking in the sights or slowly drive through the pre-selected route through the streets guided by local officers. If you choose to walk, bundle up and make sure you put on your walking shoes! Stop in at the town center and enjoy some hot chocolate and sweet from the bakery! Christmas music can be heard playing through the streets and don't miss the beautiful water lights at the pond. The attention to detail and originality of the decorations is truly breathtaking.

McAdenville is open for the month of December from 5:30pm-9:30pm on weeknights and until 11:00pm on weekends and is open to the public free of charge! Be sure to check out the community page for exciting and fun events going on during the month of December! 

Cocos Christmas Edition: Top 10 Christmas Movies

My love of all things Christmas is pretty well documented, so it would only be natural for me to share my top 10 Christmas movies with you all. Bound to fill you up with Christmas cheer, make you laugh, make you cry, or simply sigh with nostalgia, my 10 picks are a must-watch each year at Christmas time. So pop that popcorn, warm up some hot chocolate, and cuddle up with a fuzzy blanket because you have some serious binge watching to do!

10) Die Hard (1988)- Now I know this may not seem like your typical Christmas movie, but Christmas just isn't the same unless I watch Bruce Willis outwit Hans Gruber as he takes his wife hostage during a Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza. And can we all just go ahead and agree that Bruce Willis is a total hottie in this movie?  

9) Elf (2003)- Quite possibly Will Ferrells best piece of work to date. I could listen to Buddy the Elf one liners all day. "Buddy the Elf whats your favorite color?!" You seriously have no heart if you can watch this movie and not be infected with the Christmas spirit. 

8) Prancer (1989)- Perhaps not as well known on the Christmas movie circuit, this was a favorite of mine as a girl. (It doesn't hurt that Sam Elliott is a total babe in a rugged/cowboy kinda way). Young farm girl Jessica Riggs finds, and nurses back to health an injured reindeer she believes to belong to Santa. Her infectious spirit and kind heart are the epitome of Christmas spirit, eventually reaching her emotionally dejected father. 

7) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)- This one has been remade a couple times, but I prefer the classic, black and white version. Proving Santa is real in a court of law? And making one skeptic of a little girls Christmas wish come true is enough to leave even the grinchiest among us with not a dry eye. 

6) Scrooged (1988)- A modern take on the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, cold hearted TV executive (played by Bill Murray) is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. Now you know ANYTHING by Bill Murry, especially from the 80's is gonna be golden. 


5) National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (1989)- Hands down, no questions, my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Perhaps it's because they remind me so much of my own family dysfunctions, but the Griswolds are legends in my eyes. As is any big event in their family, the Christmas celebration planned by Clark turns into a hilariously delightful disaster. 

4) A Christmas Story (1983)- Played on a loop for 24 hours every Christmas and I still never get tired of Ralphie as he tries for 94 minutes to convince his family, friends, and teachers he should get a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. "You'll shoot your eye out!"

3) Home Alone  (1990)- Back before Macaulay Culkin fell off the map and sunk into child star oblivion, he rocked it as 8 year old Kevin McAllister who gets left behind in Chicago as his large family travels to Paris for Christmas. His trickster trouble-making with the bumbling burglers Marv and Harry are hilarious and clever. 

2) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)- What better way to learn the true meaning of Christmas than with the lovable Charlie Brown? A Christmas classic, I can remember watching this on VHS as a child (yes I know, I'm old...). These classic characters are sure to bring a smile to your face. 

1) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)- An oldie but goodie, watching the recluse grinch learn the turn meaning of Christmas is a good reminder to us all this time of year! "Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!"

What are some of your favorite holiday movies? Did I miss any goodies? Let me know! please comment below.  Happy Holidays!


**photos used courtesy of

The Lighting of the Tree; An American Town Tradition

If you pay close attention, your city (or town) will have a Christmas Tree displayed for the public. Usually located in a central place, easily accessible, and highly transited. If your city is large, they may have several Christmas Trees around town. These special trees are no ordinary trees.  hey must be gigantic and splendid in order to be visible from far.  

If you must have a visual, think about the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree that appears in so many movies, TV shows, and pictures. A magnificent tree 80 ft in height, and illuminated with over 20,000 lights. You know what I'm talking about. It's a Christmas staple of our country.  

There are other famous Christmas trees, like the US Capital Tree, or the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC. There are also festivities, music, shows, and just plain Christmas magic happening every time one of these trees are lit for the first time every year.  

But, not every town or city can afford to place an 80 feet tall tree. And not everyone can make it to NYC or Washington D.C. to watch the tree lighting. Don't fear! You can still participate in this amazing Christmas experience from your own town.   


The lighting of the tree happens in almost every city, town, or community in the US, and, although it's not Rockefeller Center, it can as wonderful and Christmasy as one of the famous ones. We visited our hometown's lighting of the tree, and our kids loved every minute of it!

Our town had a beautiful tree in the park across from the Town Hall. There was live music, dance groups, local artists and crafters, local cuisine, horse drawn carriage rides, free candy for the kids, and of course, Santa.


The ceremony was short as the crowd counted down with anticipation to the lighting of the center tree. Once lit, the party began! Local dance groups, like our friends at Dance Fusion of Harrisburg, participated with beautifully choreographed Christmas performances, as well as  local school and churches chorus and music bands performed to Christmas music.  

Our spirits were lifted, Christmas mode was on, and we left the place with big smiles and ready for Santa!

So next time you are wondering what it feels to attend a lighting of a tree... check out your town or community events! You will have a jolly time.  

Friends!!! What is your towns' tradition?? We want to know!


Halloween Hunting: Finding the perfect haunted attraction

In case you guys didn't already know, I am a huge fan of Halloween. Second only to Christmas (because, hello? Christmas rocks! Pressies, cookies, huge dinners, snow, Santa & seriously can't beat that) I have tubs upon tubs devoted to all my decor. Every year on Oct 1st the decorating begins. I agonize for weeks about my costume and always delight in planing and prepping for the annual Halloween party, so it should come at no surprise that making a night of experiencing a local haunted house is a yearly must. We have frequented tons of spots around our hometown of Charlotte, NC and want to give you a run down of the top picks if you are in the area to go check out for yourself!

1) Scarowinds, Charlotte- Every year the local amusement park, Carowinds, transforms itself into spook central. This option is a tad pricey at a $55.99 per person ticket but you can always find a deal online, they are running right now for $31.99 if you purchase online. While that may still seem steep for a haunted house you have to keep in mind that you have a whole amusement park of rides at your disposal, including the worlds tallest gigacoaster, Fury 325. Top it all off with a handful of mazes, spooked out decor, you are set with plenty of thrills for a night of 

2) Boogerwoods, Rockwell- This is probably one of my favorite haunted attractions. Boogerwoods is a haunted trail located in Rockwell, NC. This one has some amazing displays, plenty of terrifying props and people, and a perfectly desolate wooded location. Boogerwoods is only running for 5 nights this year with tickets going on sale at 2pm each day for that day only. Tickets are $15 per person and proceeds go to benefit cystic fibrosis. Don't want to wait in a long line? They offer a fast pass for $25 which allows you to skip line! 

3) The Haunted Mill, Belmont- The Haunted Mill is a haunted house located in, you guessed it, an old mill. Opened Fridays and Saturdays from the end of September through October, this 20,000 square foot house boasts loads of thrills and scares and is even rumored to have experienced a run in with real paranormal activity. Snag your tickets on Groupon for a deeply discounted price of $19 for 2 tickets! 

4) The Amazing Maize Maze, Huntersville- This is definitely a more family friendly Halloween activity. Opened for day or night time maze exploring, The Amazing Maze Maize includes 265 acres of corn field, a pumpkin patch, corn hole, hayrides, and various other family friendly activities. Pack a picnic lunch and make a family day of it! Normal ticket prices range from $6-$18 depending on adult versus child and day versus night tickets. Be sure to check Groupon for deals! 

5) Spooky Woods, High Point.  This is also a favorite in our family.  Spooky Woods has been featured in USA Today, ABC, the Travel Channel, and Forbes Magazine due to its movie quality sets and super scary trails. Tickets are a little pricey but if you are looking for a good thrill, they are worth it.  $25 - $50 will get you in, depending if you want a general or VIP admission. You can also get discounts on their website!

6) Campground Massacre, Fort Mill. Michael Myers lives here. Seriously, he roams the camp and he will get in your face.  It's realistic and terrifying.  Tickets are $22 with offered discounts on certain dates.  Check their website for more info!

7)Maze of Terror, Albemarle.  If you go in the afternoon, this is a very family friendly corn maze. Amble about the fields and loose yourself in the rows of golden corn. At night, it transforms into a field of terror. Take a menacing school bus out to the middle of the corn field before traversing through a guided tour of mayhem. Just imagine walking in total darkness, through a corn field, where the only thing you can see is the sky. If you scream, no one will hear you...yeah...enter at your own risk.  Tickets are $15 but several discounts are available in their website.

8) The 13th Acre at Aw Shucks Corn Maze, Monroe.  If you dare to go into the 13th acre you are a brave soul. But if you still want to enjoy a family-small-kid-friendly Halloween experience, this is the place for you.  For the not so brave member of the family, there's Aw Shucks Corn Maze. There's so much to do in this place! Besides the main attraction, the huge and challenging corn maze, there are games, bonfires, spooky story time, pumpkin patch, animal barn, an 1800's train cart, paddle boats, and much more!  Fun guaranteed! visit for more info!

Where do you get your scares from?

Twas the Night Before School....

(I can't believe is back to school already!!! so, here...enjoy this classic with a tweak)

Twas the night before back to school, when all through the town,
not a child was stirring, they had all been lain down.
The bookbags were hung on their hooks with great care,
and nutritious school lunches packed in the fridge over there.


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of recess and new friends danced in their heads.
And Dad in his sweats, and I in my yoga pants,
had just settled our brains and did a happy little dance.


When up in the bedrooms there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
Right on up the stairs I flew like a flash,
tore open the door and kicked aside kid trash.


The moon on the lawn of the summer burnt grass
and a child awake in bed, with a face full of sass
she wants a book, he some water, and of course a song too
"Who do these kids think I am, do they think that I'm new?".


With a little mom luck, being lively and quick,
I threw back on their covers with a simple old flick.
More rapid than eagles, I dashed from the room,
while Dad whistled and shouted and said with a boom:

"Now Daniel! Now Lily!
Or, Thing One and Thing Two!
All Children must listen!
It's bedtime for the both of you!
Back on top of the bed!
And right up under the covers!
Now go to sleep! Go to sleep!
Go to sleep all!" 


As quickly as possible we dashed from their rooms,
and down the great stairs, to the living room did we zoom
exhausted and tired we fell into the couch,
with a sigh and a hump,  let our weary bodies slouch.


The summer was over and thank God for it we thought!
For all summer long they fought and they fought!
Over old toys and broken crayons, video games and the lot
better behaviors than that I thought that I'd taught. 


Too much time together in the same four walls.
So we took them on adventures to pools, libraries, and malls.
Their insatiable appetite kept the grocery bill high,
I couldn't eat that much as an adult if I tried!


My house what a wreck! They delighted, how merry!
Let's take out all my clothes and be the fashion queen fairy!
And my makeup was raided for dressup of course,
have you ever seen lipstick on a plastic toy horse?!
Because I have this summer, and much more to be sure,
I even found some in the carpet, ground into the floor!
She giggles and prances, without a care in the world
Singing and dancing, "Mom watch this great twirl!"


And what about that letter I received, right there in the postbox?
"Summer reading project is due soon, and you have to dress as a fox?"
A mad dash to complete and craft a costume to wear
"No I wont dye red your bleach blond locks of hair!"


But this is all in the past, we thought gratefully with a sigh.
We lay our heads back and ride the euphoric high.
I hold tight to my wine glass and pray to God that I find,
my sanity and sense, as this summer I have lost my mind. 


Once our drinks we had finished, and our shows over and done
Upstairs we tiptoed the weight of summer off our shoulders equaling a ton.
Quiet as a whisper, Dad turned to me in delight:

"Thank God school starts tomorrow, I cant wait for daylight!"

Reflections on 10 years of Marriage

Today is our ten year anniversary and so I find myself reflecting on marriage. Husband and I were young, still in college, and (surprise!) expecting a child. We had NO idea what we were doing. We knew we loved each other, we knew we wanted to be a family, but other than that, we had no idea how to "be married". So we figured it out. Together. I can't say that our story would have turned out the same for anyone else, but it worked for us, and here's why:


1) We take time for ourselves (individually and together). We are so lucky to have amazing parents who really support us and our marriage. My parents live locally and take the kids every Saturday overnight so that husband and I can enjoy some time alone. The work week is crazy. We see each other in passing as I work night shift at a local hospital and he does his 9-5 thing downtown at a bank. It's SO IMPORTANT that we have that time to reconnect and be present with one another. Hubbys mother lives in Colombia and even though she is far- she checks in on us daily, encouraging and supporting us from afar. We also have friends and interests separate from each other. Hubby is a member of a local beer club and goes weekly to sample new, local brews and unwind with his friends/colleges. I make time with my girlfriends to watch the latest RomCom and binge on popcorn or attend a bookclub to devour coffee and discuss books. It's equally as important to have time apart, doing things we love separately, as it is to do things together.

2) Understand that marriage isn't disposable. Although we were young and star-y eyed when we exchanged vows, we both understand the gravity of promising your life to someone. Through the good and the bad we know at the end of the day- neither of us is going anywhere. There is something comforting in knowing that no problem we encounter can't be worked through. Don't get me wrong- there have been times I have wanted to pull my hair out (and his hair out) in frustration. We have argued and bickered and been stubborn and unforgiving, but we are human, we are going to have bad days. But bad days don't equal a bad life. And that's important to keep in mind.

3) We don't take ourselves too seriously and we have fun! While we both are working professionals, raising children, doing the whole "grown up" thing- we are both still kids at heart. Date night for us may be paintball and drinks at a local bar, running in a "Wipe Out" style 5k (also please note I am NOT athletically inclined), lazer tag, epic gin rummy showdowns (I AM THE RUMMY MASTER!), haunted corn mazes, you get the drift. It's so easy to get caught up in "adulting" that you don't take some time to just have fun. We make it a point to have adventures and never shy away from trying fun things together.

In a world where people treat marriage as such a disposable commodity, I am proud that we have made it 10 years. We have fought hard for it, worked tirelessly at it, and loved fiercely through it. Looking forward to however many more decades God gives us on this merry-go-round of life!


What do you all do to keep your marriage alive? Any fun date night suggestions?

4th of July. Celebrating a Great Nation.

I’m not going to give you a history lesson.  We all know what happened July 4th 1776.  But what I do want to talk about is the amazing fact that our nation has celebrated its greatness every year, for way over two centuries.  I think Independence Day provides a good opportunity to remind ourselves of how fortunate we are; a good opportunity to celebrate our nation, our people, our heritage, our freedom. 

As an American that lived abroad for many years (in Colombia, South America to be exact), I can attest to the wonders of this country.  It’s sad to think that so many people take this land for granted.  Yes, I know there are many real obstacles in life, but this is the land of opportunity.  No other country in the world offers the freedom and the numerous avenues to attain the sense of self-accomplishment and success that we all crave from time to time.  No other country in the world lets you do this.

Contrary to popular (yellow press) belief, our reality as a nation is far better than what we see in the news. Please don’t let yourself get absorbed by the media and the political propaganda of the election year. Your nation, OUR nation is great already! – yes, there might be a thing, or two, or three to change, but that’s just a political stand point-  We let ourselves get brainwashed by what we see and forget the beauty of what is already around us

I have a proposition for you.  This 4th of July, celebrate, not only the Independence of our beloved Nation, but also those who serve it, those who have died for it, and those who are part of it. 

Celebrate YOU, regardless of your background, social status, religion, race, sexual orientation, or heritage.

Celebrate your neighbor, your friends, your family and everyone that makes part of us, because it was UNITY that led this great nation to sign the Declaration of Independence, and it’ll be only UNITY what will lead us into a peaceful future.

United we are strong.  All people, from all backgrounds included.  Diversity is a powerful tool, and if we hinder this wonderful gift that comes with different cultures, different ideas, and different beliefs, we are denying ourselves and our children of the real greatness of this country. Embrace the fact that we are all different, we are all unique; we are the United States of America. Happy 4th of July! Let the fireworks begin!

**** Read more in our Diary!

UPDATE on Easter Edition: Operation Rabbit

Hoppy Monday everyone (get it? hoppy?!)? So if you read yesterdays blog post, I'm sure you are DYING to know the conclusion to the rabbit saga. (If you DID NOT read yesterdays blog post I suggest you stop reading this now, and click over to that page(HERE) so you will know what in the world I'm talking about) If you continue to read without reading yesterdays, I warned you, spoiler ahead! 

After a frantic week of planning and Craigslisting (GASP- yes my 55 year old mother CRAIGSLISTED! Can you use that as a verb? I'm not sure but let's not get distracted here people), my mother secured not one, but 2 silver fox rabbits. She even went to the local feed and seed store and bought the swankiest outdoor rabbit hutch she could find: 


Look at that thing, isn't it a beaut?! It's like the Taj Mahal of rabbit houses. (And don't worry all you animal lovers out there- she also purchased a crate for indoors when its too cold or rainy) 

I guess it goes without saying, the kids were THRILLED. I guess it also goes without saying that I was thrilled. These things are the cutest, softest, "non-bitey/scratchy" (to quote my mother) rabbits ever. They will certainly be loved. 

So without further ado- let me introduce you to the newest members of the family:

This is my oldest with his rabbit- affectionately named "Spike". (just to note- they are both girl rabbits- we don't really care about gender appropriate names in this house)

This is my youngest with her rabbit which she named "Hippity Hop Hop" (try saying that five times fast)



I hope you all had a great Easter spent with family and food! If you don't celebrate Easter, I hope you had a fantastic Sunday! 

WHO LOVES BUNNIES??? Let us know! Share or comment below!


Easter Edition: Operation Rabbits

I love my mother for many reasons, one of which are her random emails/texts at strange hours. Now I have been on the rabbit bandwagon for years, pestering my husband to the point of insanity but he staunchly maintains his anti-rabbit stance (does the man have no heart?!). Perhaps I have been going about this operation all wrong. Who knew all I had to do was ply mom with some good wine, and let her do all the dirty work? If I had known it was this easy, I would have had her knock a few back before discussing my curfew in high school….

       From: xxxxxxxxxxxx

       Date: March 20, 2016 at 10:46:17 PM EDT

To: Coco

Subject: Easter

I keep passing that house that has the sign in front for rabbits and I am seriously thinking about getting 2 rabbits (they do better with a friend) for the kids for Easter - to keep at my house....

I am on my second glass of wine - is this crazy? I can get a hutch to keep outside - move inside the garage in the winter. Every Easter I think about ducklings or baby chicks - but no way we could keep those as they got bigger - but rabbits are doable and I think L is old enough to know how to treat them/act around them?

We had rabbits when we were little, am I being too nostalgic?

Every time I go into that feed and seed store I look at the hutches...I need a voice of reason.


       From: Coco

       Date: March 21, 2016 at 12:50:35 AM EDT

To: xxxxxxxxxxx

Subject: Re: Easter

GET THEM! I will totally be your voice of reason, it's SO REASONABLE to get a pair of rabbits. They are so easy, no potty training, get a hutch for outside. Just think of those little faces lighting up at the surprise on Easter (mine included).

And the plot thickens…


I received messages via Pinterest throughout the night with all things rabbit; various types of breeds of rabbits, hutches, dietary needs for optimal health, rabbit farms, really just anything you could think of related to rabbits. 

We will venture to the parents later this afternoon, be sure to check back to find out the conclusion to this gripping rabbit saga!  (HERE IS THE REST OF IT!!!)