Ungrateful cows…

Yesterday driving home I saw a cow standing in a vibrant, grassy field stick his big cow neck through a rusty, barbed-wire fence to munch the same green grass he was cow knee deep in. And I’ve never related more to an animal than I did in that fleeting moment. So with that… I reopen this blog site that’s been dormant for more than 3 years. Yup. The dramafreemama is back by popular demand. (Har Har.) And I’m here to talk about ungrateful cows.

Image result for envy is ignorance

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide.” It was not, by any means, the most celebrated or quoted line in the essay titled “Self Reliance,” but it was an important one. It gets to the root of how we should view ourselves in comparison to the world. Envy is ignorance. Imitation is suicide.  In 2018, we interpret that as “You do you, boo.” But whatever- the point remains the same.  Munch your own damned grass, you ungrateful cow.

Recently I engaged in a fun thread on Facebook about how social media makes all of us look at other people’s lives through rosy-tinted glasses. I call them “Social media goggles.” They are like beer goggles, except they make you bring home self-loathing, rather than ugly chicks. But is anyone really being 100% authentic on the gram? The filters, the angles, the catchy captions… they all add to the magic that essentially amounts to showing the viewer the version of you that you want them to see. I am guilty of it myself, in both directions. As in, filtering the fuck out of my face so yesterdays makeup I never washed off looks more like a smokey eye. Or placing a sentimental song lyric under a picture of my darling children rather than saying “These little assholes fought all day and this picture reflects the 4 seconds of peace I had all evening until they finally fell asleep.” Oppositely, I will look at other mamas’ posts and pics and go dang, she sure lost that baby weight fast. Or good lord those are expensive boots; how does she always look so stylish? Why doesn’t my hair do that? How does she always have a clean kitchen? How is her second grader reading that novel? How the fuck is everybody affording these extravagant vacations and still eating?   You get the idea.


This is why we can’t have nice things….

But here’s the thing… I have some mighty fine grass in my own little field. And so do you. And you know what they say about the grass on the other side of the fence. That mama that always posts gym selfies looking lean and serene? She might be facing terrible anxiety or low self-esteem or a persistent chin hair any other battle you know nothing about. That mama who tags all her designer brand names in every pic? That might be the only thing she has in her life that makes her happy, and she sure can’t take all that “value” with her when she goes.  And the mom in the grocery store whose hair is always perfect and her kids are always quiet and tame, even in the cereal aisle? Well fuck her, we don’t need her.


So here’s my takeaway… My kids fight and drive me up the wall <and throw balls in the house, and whine about chores, and don’t always eat what I fix,> but they are ultimately good-hearted kids who love others and live by god’s light. My body is bigger than it used to be, but it’s serving me well and I am learning to treat it with care and dignity. I don’t have a spiffy clean house or the newest model car on the road, but I’m figuring out I’m pretty lucky to have what I’ve got.  I could list a million other things about myself or my life that I question, but I’m choosing to set those questions aside and munch my own grass. And I encourage you to do the same. Nobody likes an ungrateful cow.

Image result for cow munching grass


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The dramafreemama is coming out of hiding. Stay tuned…


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Not in the baby book…

“Growing up too fast!” … “Don’t blink!” … “Where did the time go?!”… Seems like only yesterday!”

Parents echo these sentiments through social media on the daily… eager to show how their little ones are growing and developing, but also nostalgic for how quickly time really does fly. How do they get so big so fast? One minute, you’re terrified you’re strapping them in their infant carrier incorrectly, and the next, they are in a booster, asking for a happy meal. That cute  ruffly butt outfit you bought in size 6-12 months, thinking it will be forever before her tiny, spindly legs will fill it up… is actually snug when you finally pull it down off the hanger and snip the tags.

Meanwhile, parents celebrate and document their little ones’ milestones… their first smile, first wave bye-bye, first tooth, first solid food, first steps, first haircut, first potty…and it’s hard, because when they are really little, literally every day is a “first” something. And we don’t wanna miss a thing. We snap photos, post on social media, save curls, fill pages of baby books, call grandma– the works. (At least for baby #1…) But there are some milestones that don’t make the books. Weird ones that you never would consider documenting, but that are just as impactful as the more obvious ones, if not more. Here are some that have recently rocked my little mommy world…

* Downsizing your huge, stuffed with everything to run a small country, diaper bag to a smaller bag… This happened for me yesterday, and it’s a game changer. I feel like a new woman. Ok, not really, but it’s a welcome change. Plus cleaning out my huge’em was nothing short of hilarious. Aside from the obvious diapers/wipes/changing pad trio,  I found spare onesies (3 sizes too small,) nursing pads & burp rags(we weaned a year ago), swim diapers, wrappers from various bribery treats from god-knows-when, teethers, baby spoons (he’s been self feeding for 6 months), nail clippers, toys we forgot we owned, expired coupons (Damnit!)… you name it. I had been toting it around, all under the guise of “necessities.” And I laughed at how much of it I never needed to begin with. In my new whip? –a pouch with a couple diapers and a tube of Vaseline in it, a travel-sized wipes thingy, a little bitty hand sanitizer, a chapstick, a sunscreen stick, a comb, a couple matchbox cars & lollipops, and when I’m out the door, wallet, keys, phone. THAT’S IT. This is a huge weight off my shoulders. Literally.

Just because it fits, doesn't mean you need to carry it around with you everywhere... Seriously, calm down. You get to go home this afternoon.

Just because it fits, doesn’t mean you need to carry it around with you everywhere…seriously, calm down. You’re going home this afternoon.

Nothing makes a mama want to go ham more than someone hurting their baby's feelings... nothing.

Nothing makes a mama want to go ham more than someone hurting their baby’s feelings… nothing.

*Your child’s first time getting his feelings hurt by his friends… This recently hit me in the feels, because when it’s YOUR baby’s crocodile tears falling, you want to fix it, make it all better, and kick some pre-school ass. But you have to keep in mind that every child is somebody’s baby, and your child is likely to be somebody else’s asshole at some point. BREEEEEATHE, MAMA BEAR.

*The first time your child puts their hand on their hip, rolls their eyes, and projects a sigh or grumble of disgust in your general direction. (And sounds/looks EXACTLY. LIKE. YOU.) Oh dear Jesus, say it isn’t so! I thought I’d be spared this particular milestone, having boys. Not so. This is a perfect reminder that kids will follow your example, not your advice. Oopsie

*The first time you go to take care of a chore and realize that one of the children has already done it for you…Whoa, whoa, and more whoa. This one, I have mixed feelings about. Zachary, my four year old, has always been “Mommy’s helper.” He feeds the dogs, throws away trash, picks up his toys, carries towels to the laundry… when prompted. But recently, I am finding his independence is expanding. I went to the kitchen to answer a phone call the other night… during which time, Zac got the baby out of the tub, (drained the water), wrapped puddin-pop in a towel, took him to his room, and had him on the bean bag, warm and snug, waiting for help. How nice! That he should grow up and be responsible and not need me and find a woman and move out and be a better parent than me. CUE: UGLY CRY.

So basically, what I’m getting at is that every day is a milestone of its own…. even the moments that suck. Every temper tantrum, every thrown vegetable, every skinned knee, and every wet bed.  And so is every every hand-strung noodle necklace, every snugly pajama snow day, and every unprompted “thank you, mommy.” Aren’t those the best??

I was his first New Years kiss at midnight...

I was his first New Years kiss at midnight…



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Pinspired Garden Project…

It has been a long time since my last attempt at a Pinterest inspired craft project. Probably since the Garden Stone debacle of 2012. But I saw some neat photos on the Google machine of upcycled tires turned into garden decor, and my heart began to flutter. I promptly sent my hubby to the local tire shop to retrieve some old tires they were tossing, and to Lowe’s for a couple cans of spray paint. That is LITERALLY all I needed to create my tire planters I was dreaming up in my head.

I liked the idea of the planters hanging vertically on the outside wall of a garage or shed, and I had the perfect spot in mind, but I wanted a more polished look than dirty black tires. Below I will photo-chronicle the whole  project!


Step 1:

First choose your spot-- you want to consider the amount of sunlight and rain is desired for whatever flowers you have in mind.  You also need to wash the tires with soap and water. Remnants of 'tire shine' type products will affect how the paint goes on...

First choose your spot– you want to consider the amount of sunlight and rain desired for whatever flowers you have in mind. You also need to wash the tires with soap and water. Remnants of ‘tire shine’ type products will affect how the paint goes on…

Step 2:

Then spray paint your tires whatever color you choose! I picked flat white and yellow to bring some springtime to my garden shed!  Make sure any little helpers have a mask on so they don't inhale noxious paint particles!

Then spray paint your tires whatever color you choose! I picked flat white and yellow to bring some springtime to my garden shed! Make sure any little helpers have a mask on so they don’t inhale noxious paint particles!

The glossy yellow took additional coats to cover, but one can was still plenty.

The glossy yellow took additional coats to cover, but one can was still plenty.

Polka dots! Cute right?  (One can of each color was enough to do base color and dots on two tires.)

Polka dots! Cute right?
(One can of each color was enough to do the base color and dots on two tires. Allow tires to dry thoroughly!)

Step 3:

I recruited hubby and his power tools for this step... Decide which end you want to be the "bottom" of the planter and drill some holes for drainage.

I recruited hubby and his power tools for this step… Decide which end you want to be the “bottom” of the planter and drill some holes for drainage. Not too shabby, hubs. Not too shabby.

Step 4:

Now's the fun part! Choosing and planting your flowers! I picked petunias for their tendency to cascade when in full bloom, and  I placed a small sprig of ivy in the center. Don't you just love the color?

Now’s the fun part! Choosing and planting your flowers!
I picked petunias for their tendency to cascade when in full bloom, and I placed a small sprig of ivy in the center. Don’t you just love the color?

And lastly…

I used large hardware hooks to hang them so that I can take them down if "maintenance" is necessary... TA-DAAAAA!

I used large hardware hooks to hang them so that I can take them down if “maintenance” is necessary…



This was truly a fun, easy, and cheap project. I got the tires for free, and the paint and flowers cost about $12 total at Lowe’s.  And now I have something pretty to look at all summer! And maybe I’ll swap the petunias out for Pansies in the fall!

What do you think?

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Bad things can happen to good babies…

It’s been a couple weeks, so I can finally tell this story without hyperventilating, crying, or turning myself in to social services. But y’all, bad bad things can happen to good little babies. Even when they have good mommies and daddies.

Two weeks ago, Zac and Jett were in the tub after dinner, playing and splashing like normal. And now that Jett can sit up independently, I sometimes use this time to wrap up a few chores around the house… reassemble the dry bottles, sweep up behind the cat, switch over the laundry. Bear in mind, I don’t do this when Jett is in the tub alone, but with protective big brother in there with him, I figure it’s kosher. And thank God for big brother…

This particular night, I got the scare of my life. I was in my closet, tidying up shoe-palooza, still within earshot and a quick dash from the bathroom, when I heard Zac screaming. Moms of verbal children know the scream I mean. Not the one that says the dog ate my cookie or my lollipop fell in the dirt. The one that says MOVE NOW, ACT FAST! The one that sends panic chills up the back of your neck and makes you physically capable of professional athletic feats. And I am so grateful to my little boy for scaring the holy shit out of me with this scream…

Jett’s chubby, slippery tushie had slid out from under him and he was on his back in the tub, water up to his cheeks, with the faucet running right on his face. He was unable to cry <or breathe>, or be heard at all. Zac instinctively knew this was not good or safe and screamed <bloody fucking murder> for me. Luckily, I was ten feet away and dashed in, scooped him up, wiped his <still> smiling face, and he resumed playing like he had not almost just drowned. I sat there next to the tub with them and tried to compose, but  hot tears were streaming down my face, and my shoulders were quaking. I thanked Zac many times over for yelling for me. I didn’t want to scare him with the drowning baby possibilities that were running through my mind, and so he, at only three years old, doesn’t quite know the magnitude of his quick reaction, or how thankful I am that I wasn’t all the way in the kitchen. But the truth is, had Zac not been in the tub with Jett, or not screamed out in terror, I might be one less baby. And that thought sickens and terrifies me. I simply cannot fathom it.

And so I stay put during bath time now… chores can wait. There’s nothing all so important worth the risk of leaving my kids alone and open to potential danger. It also allows me to capture some priceless moments…



I haz baby. I protect him.

I haz baby. I protect him.

I share this story to remind parents of little ones that danger lurks in the most regular of places… and to be always mindful, watchful, and downright paranoid. Those horror stories you read in the news? Or the terrible things that happen to “other people’s babies?” They can happen to anyone… even the vigilant, attentive, good mommies and daddies.

Read these related articles when you’re ready… and pray for these families please.

Window blind dangers…This happened to a friend of a friend.

We don’t think about the toilet as a danger… but it is

Because grocery shopping with babies doesn’t suck enough… now this


I think this is how I will handle bath time from now on...

I think this is how I will handle bath time from now on…


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An open letter to Sophie the Giraffe…

Dear Sophie the Giraffe,

I, Deborah Suzanne, mother of Zachary Newman and Jett Owen, owe you an apology.

For three years, I have doubted your worth. I have called you names, such as useless, overpriced squeaky toy. Glorified dog chew. Elitist synthetic garbage. Sophie the whatever-I’m-Not-Paying-$20-for-a-teether Giraffe.

This "all natural rubber" thing has actually been around over 40 years...

This “all natural rubber” thing has actually been around over 40 years…

I have judged those who shelled out the money to buy you, passing it off as the newest silly trend that my gullible friends had fallen victim to. I have scoffed at every “must-have” list you have appeared on, dismissing it as promotional baby jabber. I have slandered the phony use of the word “organic” to describe your supple, dog-toy’esque construction. I have even advised my other mommy friends and readers not to bother with you or waste their money, because it’s no better than any other teething toy, just more expensive.

And today I sit here behind this computer and humbly, publicly apologize. I was wrong. I was wrong on all accounts. You are magical. You are squeaky, rubber love. You are all that is good about slobbery, gummy smiles and itty bitty teefies trying desperately to emerge. You make happies where there were none. You are baby crack. And you are worth every stupid penny.

You see, I was lent a Sophie, by chance, by a neighbor who was expecting her first baby soon, and wouldn’t need you for a while. She was a Sophie-believer. And I laughed on the inside a little at yet another sucker, seeing as how I didn’t think she could possibly know what my baby needed. But as she gently handed you over to Jett, I watched his chubby little fist clutch you with glee, and your foot didn’t leave his mouth for the rest of the evening. He was quiet and content. His upper gums looked like hamburger meat, but he gave zero fucks. Because he had you, dear sweet, phosphate-free Sophie.

Sophie Collage

And now there is a backup Sophie in every diaper bag/purse I carry, and one in my glove compartment. That’s approximately $88 worth of Sophie, not counting the borrowed one. And I’ve come to accept that something is “worth” what other people are willing to pay for it. And $22.99 seems like a lot of dough for a little toy, but I’m certain I’ve spent more than that on dumber shit. So I join the masses! I believe in the power of Sophie!

So yeah…

I love you, Sophie. And I’m sorry.


Sophie also makes a nice dinner companion.

Sophie also makes a nice dinner companion.



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Hide yo carrots, hide yo peas…

It is no secret that eating healthy is hard. But getting your kids to eat healthy can be a nightmare. (Including the large child you’re married to.) So I have devised a few sneaky ways to hide an extra serving of veggies into every day meals your kids already love.

Here are my top 6.

Peel first if you don't want any green to show through!

Peel first if you don’t want any green to show through!

1. Sneak some green onto the pizza– Spread a layer of grated zucchini under the cheese layer on pizza night! If you’re worried your people will call you out on this one, don’t. Grated zucchini looks like mozzarella cheese and is not strong in flavor. But it’s super healthy.

2. Using jarred pasta sauce for lasagne or ravioli or spaghetti? –Steam and puree carrot into your red pasta sauce… it hides well (due to color, of course) and is virtually undetectable. And if you are a cook who adds a dash of sugar to your sauce, now you don’t have to. The natural sugars in steamed carrots do the job!

3. Spaghetti night? Toss some pulled spaghetti squash into your spaghetti noodles and then coat in your favorite sauce. If you combine 2 & 3 you just made spaghetti night into spa-veggie night. (Ok, sorry. That was super lame.) Click HERE to find other wonderful things to do with my BFF, spaghetti squash.

Beechnut & Heinz also make an orange one.

Beechnut & Heinz also make an orange one.

4. Phoning one in? If you’re too tired to cook and planning on dumping out a can of Chef-Boy-Ar-Crap– Don’t feel guilty! Just drain off most of the sauce and stir in a jar of ‘mixed vegetable’ baby food. Yes, even for bigger kids. Most brands have an orange one so it looks exactly the same as it did prior to this ninja-mom maneuver. Your 3 year old wont notice. An 8 year old might notice a difference in taste, but they are old enough for you to say get over it and eat it.

5. Nachos! Steamed broccoli florets in the nacho cheese dip. This one is a stretch for more picky kids, but it’s the same concept as broccoli cheese soup, which is delicious. And the element of chips is sometimes enough of a “snack factor” to hide the fact that there’s broccoli happening. Proceed with caution.

Stock up in the fall when cans are SUPER cheap!

Stock up in the fall when cans are SUPER cheap!

And lastly…

6. Stir a can of pumpkin into your pancake or waffle batter. This isn’t exactly packing in the leafy greens, but pumpkin is rich in fiber and anti-oxidants. Regular pancakes are fried flour. So there’s that.

That’s all for now, my lovelies! Please comment below any other clever veggie hiding ideas you have tried on your kiddos! Large husband-like kiddos included.

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Oven pancakes… Good thinking.

Hey, mamas! Tired of eating cold pancakes all by yourself because by the time you get to sit down to eat, everyone is done eating? Well fret no more, my lovelies!
I present to you a brilliant idea ( that I stole from a friend who stole it from a friend… Etc.)


Simply prepare your batter as you normally would. Pour it into a GREASED baking sheet. And bake at 400 for 10ish minutes. Cut them into squares and serve!
They turn out slightly crispier on the bottom than tradition pancakes, but no one at my table complained. No flipping, no dripping, and best of all, mom gets to eat with the family.


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Will they know…

When my children are older…

Will they know how I watched them sleep some nights, praying over their sweet little souls? Will they know the sound of their even, heavy breathing through the monitor was all I needed to feel settled and “okay” at the end of my day?

Will they know the guilt I felt for feeding them macaroni and hot dogs three nights in one week near the end of that long month?

Or that I felt like a pushover for letting them eat lollipops in the car so they’d be quiet?

Will they know how it made me just as sad to take away story time when they misbehaved? That it was my favorite part of the day too?

Will they know how excruciatingly hard it was to be patient when nice things got broken or dinners got wasted? Or how I cried in the shower and beat myself up for days when I had failed to be so patient?

Will they understand that I always took so many pictures of them, for fear I would forget their sweet little smiles when they got older and their mouths less sweet?

Will they know that I needed that extra kiss goodnight just as much as they did, even though I fussed and sent them swiftly back to bed?

Will they know how hard it was some mornings to go to work instead of stay home and play? But that some Monday mornings I thanked God I got to walk out the door… and then felt guilty for feeling that way once I was at work?

Will they know that I told stories about them and looked at pictures of them just to get through a work day sometimes?

Will they know that I was so annoyed at letting them “help” with the chores, because it inevitably took so much longer and made a bigger mess? But that I did it (and all sorts of other stuff) just to see them smile or teach them something new?

Will they ever fully understand how proud I am to be their mommy when I see them being kind to each other or to others?

Will they know I think they are smart and handsome even when they aren’t acting like it? And that I have their back even when they’re wrong? That if someone tried to hurt one of them I’d go Lohan psycho in a millisecond?

Will they know I always tried, even when it wasn’t such a great day?

Will they know that I feel like the most important person in the world just because I’m their mommy, but at the same time not good enough?

Will they know how much they are ingrained in my every thought and action? That when their lives began, so did mine?

Will they know how the tears fell as I wrote this, just because?

Will they know?

...the very reasons my heart beats.

…the very reasons my heart beats.

–perfect sweetness–

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.  ~Sophia Loren
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My confession.

I owe you guys an apology. I’m a total fake. I’m not sure if I have just realized this or if I have known all along and just hidden it away. But I’m a fake and a phony. I’ve been calling myself the “dramafreemama” all this time… and it’s just simply not accurate or true. Because I’m a mom. And all you other moms out there know– if you’re a mama, (or you have one), you’ve got drama. Kids are little, life-sucking, purveyors of drama. You’ve got drama at every turn, every meal, every bedtime… life as a parent is pretty much a continuous theatrical production.

And there’s all sorts…

“You threw away my favorite crayon- you’re so mean” drama. –Never mind the fact that it was broken in two places and the only thing you have colored in three months is my picture window.

“I’m huuungrrrryyy…. except I don’t want any of the 19 things you’ve just offered me to eat” drama. This one is best reciprocated with “You don’t have to like it, you just have to eat it” drama. Or my personal favorite… “Just take 3 more bites” drama.

“He/she took my stickers/truck/barbie/fruit snacks/marker/soul” drama. –Anything and everything was always the property of a toddler first and fairly. Any second possessor is a damned thief. Thems the rules.– Employing the “If you can’t share it, nobody can have it” method will ultimately just increase the decibel level of the drama rather than squash it. Tread carefully.

Furthermore– I cried yesterday because my laundry hamper is heaped up taller than my three year old. Like a lot taller. And then, said three year old let the dog in the house caked with mud. And then I dropped a jar of minced garlic in the kitchen floor. And then I sneezed twice (cleaning up the garlic) and peed my pants. And so I cried again. Dramatic enough for you?

And so you see… the “dramafreemama” has got drama. Every day. So by “dramafree,” I guess what I mean is I don’t need YOUR drama. Because I have plenty of my own.

This is my confession. Submitted in all seriousness.

-the (nothardly)dramaFREEmama

No, seriously.

No, seriously.

The lead players in my awesome little drama...

The lead players in my awesome little drama…



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