I don’t know how you do it…

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I hear these words more often than you might imagine for someone who has it pretty good. The truth is, I’ve got it really good, actually. I’m healthy. I’m educated and gainfully employed. My debt is manageable. I’m married to a hard-working (and hot) man who likes me a lot. We have three healthy and bright children. –Well I don’t know yet if the baby is bright, but he’s cute as hell.– We have plenty of room in our home that we are proud mortgage-holders on; and our cars, though not fancy, reliably get us from point A to point B each day. We don’t have vacation money or really all that much extra to spend (more month at the end of our money sometimes!)… but we are afloat.  And that’s more than what some folks can say and a lot to be thankful for.

But… (you had to know there was a but coming…) my husband works second shift at the shipyard. And since I am a teacher, my daytime schedule means I see him [awake] only on Saturdays and Sundays. He handles the kiddos in the morning. With nowhere to be till afternoon, they have a slow and snugly start to their morning. But he gets them fed, dressed and off to the sitter by 11, does some chores and/or errands, then on the road to work by 2. That means I am pick-up. After a long day in the classroom with eleventh graders, I handle our household solo at night. That means I have my two boys (the oldest is with his mom and stepdad during the school week) all to myself during the “witching hours.” Anyone who has ever had little ones knows that 4pm to 8pm can be a little dicey, at best. Especially now, as the daylight gets shorter and shorter…

But how do I do it?

Chores, grocery shopping, (library? park?) “homework,” dinner, bath, stories, bedtime… It is a lot to do on my own. Telemarketers and politicians calling at the dinner hour, beware. But we have so little time together as a family, that I’d rather not save grocery shopping or 834 loads of laundry for the already too short weekend. I’d rather not have gritty house chores to do in the only 48 hours we are all together, though sometimes we have no choice. And so yes, I have a lot on my plate during the week. Heaven forbid we be invited to a playdate or want to visit a grandparent! But how do I do it? It just seems like a silly question.

Multi-tasking at its cutest...

Multi-tasking at its cutest…

I do it as best I can. Sometimes I do it looking like hammered damnit. Sometimes I do it one-handed. I do it with a captive audience with a (thankfully) limited vocabulary. And there are times I’m doing 4 things at once, none of which all that wholly well. And well, sometimes there’s stuff I just don’t do. Leftovers again never killed anyone and little people can share a bath towel. (They have the same icky boy cooties anyway.) I don’t always do it with a smile. At least not a real one. Actually, sometimes I feel like I might break down in the Food Lion. Haven’t you ever wanted to cry for an icecream sandwich and wipe the snot up your face the way your child is doing publicly and loudly? No? Just me?

I'm pretty sure this is the 2nd time Sweet Brown has graced my blog... I just love her!

I’m pretty sure this is the 2nd time Sweet Brown has graced my blog… I just love her!

But “How do I do it?” you ask… Tell me what my other choices are? Not doing it? Pitching a grand hissy and staying in bed instead? Believe me– Sometimes, I really wanna. But in the wise words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” And besides– there are a lot of moms out there making it happen on their own seven days a week. Single moms, miltary wives, etc. You wanna know how they do it? With grace and dignity on the good days. With sweat and tears on other days. But they do it. Because it needs done.

So mamas, when you hear someone ask you “How do you do it all?” Smile and respond… “As best I can.” Because that’s all that is going to matter to your kids in the long run. And who gives a shit what anyone else thinks.

These beautiful people are why I'm crazy.

These beautiful people are why I’m crazy.

It doesn't matter HOW I do it... This is WHY I do it.

It doesn’t matter HOW I do it… This is WHY I do it.

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BONES drinking game!

bones1I am a big fan of the crime drama, “Bones.” It’s smart and it’s entertaining. It focuses more on the science and on the relationships between the cast members than the other crime shows do, which I like. But it’s got enough of the shoot-em-up stuff to entertain hubby. Thus, it’s one of the few TV shows we agree on and enjoy together. We have VERY different tastes. In everything. So “Bones” is our neutral territory. So with new season coming up, I have devised a way to make it drunky time!

Here are the rules:

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If you can still walk after a full episode, put down the wine cooler and try again, pansy.

 

If this were 1990, he'd be the page I'd pull out of TeenBeat and tape in my locker.

If this were 1990, he’d be the page I’d pull out of TeenBeat and tape in my locker. #NOTSORRY

 

P.S. I’d be lying if I said this guy wasn’t at least partly motivating my devoted fanship. —>

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Shotz Portrait Studio Review…

I woke up Friday morning to a 6 week old. [WHOA–that happened fast!] Right away I cussed myself for not making an appointment for baby portraits this week like I had planned to. I didn’t know who I would use since the Sears portrait studio I used for Zac had closed, and didn’t want to drive too far. I turned to the most trusted source I know… Facebook. I got a lot of negative feedback, but no helpful suggestions or reviews. Except one friend mentioned a studio in Northern Suffolk called Shotz Portrait Studio. I picked up the phone and hoped for the best.

The lady who answered the phone, Terry, the studio owner, was friendly and pleasant and booked us for a little later that day. I hadn’t failed after all! I dressed my little angel, packed a monogrammed blanket, a spare outfit, and a nursing cover– and Jett and I hit the road. Terry greeted us warmly and introduced me to her two sons who operate the business with her. The oldest of them, Kenny, would be our photographer.

We got started right away. Kenny was interested in my ideas and very accommodating throughout the entire process, helping to create a similar style shot as I did at Zac’s 6 week shoot, as well as plenty of original ideas, capturing every precious expression Jett made. Little guy was astoundingly cooperative for a first-timer! We did two outfits, tons of “poses,” and worked for just under an hour. Including the break I took to nurse! How nice they were to offer me privacy (and a cozy chair!) to take care of my baby. There was also a nursery style changing table (not one of those icky plastic foldout kinds) with wipes and disposal bags in the restroom. So baby friendly! I swear it’s the little things. When I asked Terry for “something yellow” to use as a background to compliment Jett’s second outfit, she retrieved from a stack of clean and ready-to-use linens a crisp, pastel yellow blanket which was absolutely perfect. The studio also contained numerous other fantastic props that I hope to use during other sessions.

We wound up with roughly 40 shots to work with. Kenny used his software program to help me narrow down the lot to my favorites, using side by side comparison technique. He also performed some subtle edits to complement Jett’s eyes and complexion just right. The hardest part was choosing shotzwhich poses I wanted to purchase! At only $15 a sheet, and numerous combinations of sizes per sheet, I was feeling great about it, but a little overwhelmed. They did not rush me at all and were more than happy to let me view shots over and over again while I was in full-on mommy deliberation mode. I wound up choosing one of the package deals, although I could have gone way overboard. I think I STILL have wallet sizes of Zac’s first portrait session sitting in a sleeve somewhere because I ordered twenty sheets! Ha! Rookie mom!

[A full list of Shotz products available and prices HERE]

Overall, I couldn’t have been more pleased with our experience at Shotz. The people were as kind as could be and the studio very clean and inviting. They have great hours, seven days a week. The photographer worked fast, but not shotz2rushed… understanding a mommy’s window of time! I was more than pleased with the technology they work with and the price list they offer for a variety of options. And I walked out the door with my pictures THAT DAY! A major bonus! Plus, a traditional studio session does not depend on the weather– and at 92 degrees that day, I was glad I wasn’t in a grassy field trying to capture the moment before we spontaneously combusted. Lastly, I love that I am supporting a family owned and operated business right in my home town. So give them a try… Angie’s List gives them an “A,” they are featured on Groupon, and the Dramafreemama thinks they are top notch!

Here are some of my favorite portraits from our session… not that this little nugget could take a bad picture! Or is that just a proud mommy talkin? Ha!

I am so in love with this little monkey!

I am so in love with this little monkey!

 

His wings are tucked gently behind him...

His wings are tucked gently behind him…

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Super DELISH pasta salad

I’m not usually the “I’ll bring the pasta salad” girl…. I’m more like the “I’ll bring the plates and napkins” girl. It’s not that I’m a lousy cook. I’m a really good one actually. I’m just lazy on weekends. I also don’t like keeping up with my bowl and serving spoon once I’m in cookout mode. [Read: drunk.] True story.

But the other night we had some folks over to our house and I threw together a quick pasta salad that was really awesome, so I thought I’d share the recipe.

You will need:

-a box of pasta (I used penne), a cucumber, a small container of grape tomatoes, a can of black olives, a bottle of Italian dressing, and a packet of ranch mix

Directions:

 

-cook pasta to al dente, drain and chill

-halve the olives and tomatoes, peel & chop the cuke to small (bite-size) pieces

-wisk together the italian dressing and ranch powder

-toss together chilled noodles and veggies, pour on the dressing

-mix everything until coated, chill until ready to serve

En processe...

En processe…

DELISH! PROMISE!

DELISH! PROMISE!

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I created a birth announcement…

on Shutterfly!

CLICK HERE TO SEE IT!

And I got free shipping on my order using the code SHIP30!

The dramafreemama LOVES a good deal!

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Didn’t see that coming…

As soon as I announced my second baby boy on the way, I began to speculate all of the ways in which my life would be different when I went from, “I have a son” to “I have two boys.” Whether that meant bigger, better, fuller? or Chaotic, stressful, and sloppy? Or some unforeseen combination of all of the above?? — That would remain to be seen.

I expected to lose some sleep. I expected to physically be a mess for a while– from my body, to my hair, to my kitchen.  And I fully expected some regression on behalf of  Zachary, who would soon be turning three. [Ahem–He did not disappoint.] But there are some post-baby phenomena that have taken me by surprise on round two…

Here’s the rundown…

My bad. Sorry, mom.

My bad. Sorry, mom.

I did not expect to feel confident in my ability to keep this thing alive. I certainly wasn’t the first time! Ha! But this time I feel like I know what I am doing (a little)…I mean, he tells me when he is hungry or dirty. And I can fix those things. And I’m not constantly in freak-out mode that it must be some catastrophic baby disease making him cry. It’s probably just poopy. I don’t have to leap to action the moment he makes a sound. He’s gonna be okay while I finish washing my hands or opening the mail. (Ya’ll know I really mean taking a shit, right?) So I’m rockin’ this Mom gig! And it surprises me more every day that I’m not afraid anymore. Now plants I still can’t keep alive. Maybe if they cried for water…

my angel

my angel

I did not expect to enjoy breastfeeding. At all. I definitely didn’t love it before. It seemed like constant work, that quite frankly, kinda hurt. I survived three months of it with Zac, and I was glad to have an excuse to wean when I went back to school. But these days, I am finding myself looking forward to the quiet, private time, just Jett and me. [I’m also not having to nurse him every stinking hour like Zac demanded. So I’m not staying sore and stressed round the clock.] And this is gonna sound so shallow and lame but I’m gonna say it anyway– I have an iPad/iPhone now… so I’m entertained. Nursing the baby is like a half hour break to read the Twitter timeline or Facebook newsfeed, troll Pinterest, catch up on news, text a friend, etc. It’s my excuse to not do another damn thing for that short time. Sorry, I’m feeding the baby! And no one else can do it! Now, I’m not going to keep him on the boob till kindergarten or anything, but I am pleased and proud of my nursing experience thus far this go round. And I didn’t see that coming.

Ok, this is starting to sound a little bit like “Why baby #2 is better”… which is not at all what I mean. So it’s important to share these too..

I didn’t expect my milk-production supplements (Fenugreek seed & Blessed Thistle) to make my armpits smell like spicy pancakes. And I don’t know why they do. It’s… odd. And I’m paranoid everyone can smell it. Like in a “Hey do you work at IHOP?” kind of way.

I didn’t expect to need help with the housework; I’ve always been able to manage on my own. Even when I’m busy. But I have called in for reinforcements a few times.  Between 3 dogs and a tornado toddler, I just can’t keep up! I’m worried about how much worse that is going to be when I head back to school in September. Which is a whole separate area of dread.

I didn’t expect to be so short tempered with pretty much everyone except the baby. Little things get to me, and fast. I have hurt Zachary’s feelings snapping at him. I have pushed my husband away. They love me anyway, but I don’t like this about me.

So there have been some positive surprises with bringing home  baby Jett, like how much Zac adores his baby brother– He loves to hold him and kiss him.  So sweet! And also some ones I’m struggling with. As in–My right boob is a full cupsize (maybe cupsize & a half) bigger than the left. Ugh, real sexy. And of course, being a walking waffle. But the overwhelming love I feel when I snuggle that sweet little beansprout outweighs any negative. Even the Aunt Jemima pits. 

<3 <3 <3

My entire heart and soul captured in a photo…So much love!
#brothers #bestfriends

 

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They were right…

It has been exactly two weeks since I have been able to say, “I have two boys.”

That’s two weeks of re-learning to breastfeed (–it’s easier this time, but still hard).Two weeks of fastening tiny diapers in the dark with clumsy hands and groggy eyes (–and pretending to be a fully functioning, rational adult during the day.) Two weeks of figuring out how to handle the needs of a newborn and a toddler at the same time (–the juggling never stops!) Two weeks of watching my tiny miracle sleep and listening to his whuffly breathing (–and realizing, they were right.) Your heart truly does expand to equally adore the two babies you made. You see, I HATE admitting this, but I was worried…

Having spent the past (almost) three years getting to know Zac and becoming everything he needed me to be, I was panicked that I wouldn’t know how to do the same for an entirely different individual. And how would I ever have time? But they were right. [They, being all my mommy friends (and my mommy) who have multiple kiddos.] You make time. Your lap has two sides for a reason. And the heart of a mommy has no limits. And I was smart to buy a bigger rocking chair for my little sidekick “helper” to squish in beside me when I am feeding or rocking the baby. Besides, showering every SINGLE day is for losers.

And so I’d say we are all doing a pretty good job adjusting… a few temper tantrums and potty accidents, but nothing serious. Oh, and for Zac too… HAHAHAHA I AM SO FUNNY. <sorry> No but really, my big boy has been a bit more of a whiny baby, which I expected. As in, throwing himself in the floor and shrieking “I FALLLLED I FALLLLLLLED I NEEEEEED YOOOOOUUU”– And the Academy Award goes to…!!! But we are pouring on the love and attention and exaggerating the praise when he is good. I am trying to not bribe him to behave, but a few extra rubber dinosaurs and sheets of stickers may have come his way these past two weeks. And he might have had lollipops for breakfast today. <Don’t judge me.>

So I thought I’d close with some advice to anyone expecting their second little one… but then I remembered I have no idea what I am doing and that I’m just wingin’ it, so that’s just silly. So I will close with some insanely adorable photos instead. You’re welcome.

XOXO- the dramafreemama

baby10

Sharing secrets…

Going for a walk... someone really likes his "big boy seat" in the new stroller! Like... a lot.

Going for a walk… someone really likes his “big boy seat” in the new stroller! Like, a lot.

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Eskimo kisses mean “I love you”

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Daddy time ❤
(Seriously, am I the only one who thinks that seeing a man adore your children makes him exponentially sexier???)

 

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Wordless Wednesday… New baby style.

So it’s been a considerable bit of time since my last post. My “Wordless Wednesday” post for today should provide a more than adequate excuse…

Look what I made!

Image

Jett Owen Perry
Born 24 May 2013
7lb 1 oz, 20 in

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Sweet little fella. Mommy is in LOVE!

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Meeting his big brothers (Age 10 & 2) for the first time… Pretty sure I’m just gonna burst. The cuteness! ACK!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have tiny toes to nibble and bitty cheeks to smooch! Toodles!

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Inspiring Blogger Award! WOOHOO!

This week, my blog was given the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” award by Linda’s Corner , creator of the Baby in Bloom website. Thank you so much, Linda! I am beyond flattered to be included, as I love being a part of the “Mom-Blogging” community! There are just so many cool people to connect with that love doing what I love doing– being a parent!

Anyway, this award comes with the following rules:

Keeping the "Blogosphere" a beautiful place...

Keeping the “Blogosphere” a beautiful place…

  1. Display logo on blog.  (TA-DA) –>
  2. Link back to the person you have so inspired. (See above!)
  3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and link back to them. (Holy shit, 15?)
  5. Perform 1 random act of kindness and include it in your post.

My 7 things:

In my early twenties, I vehemently expressed that I DID. NOT. WANT. CHILDREN. I said this often and with fervor. I was mistaken. My son, (and VERY soon to be 2 sons,) are the air I breathe and the ground under my feet.

Somebody is getting promoted to big brother very soon!

Somebody is getting promoted to big brother very soon!

I don’t like television. [GASP!] Programs worth my time and mental fortitude are such a rarity these days that I don’t even bother. Except for “Good Luck Charlie.” That shit’s funny.

I am somewhat of a social media junkie… I realize this sounds contradictory (and maybe even hypocritical) following my soapboxy sounding item #2. You’re thinking, social media can’t be any more worthwhile than TV shows, right?  You’re right. It’s not. I don’t care. Tweet me, baby! @1dramafreemama

I’m hopelessly cheap, and yet too busy (read:lazy) to be a good couponer. I have not yet solved this enigma.

I am a terrible procrastinator (or an excellent one, depending on your perspective) when it comes to shit I don’t wanna do, especially school work. (grading papers etc.) I will find a million other things I “need” to do to avoid a stack of essays to score or a pile of paperwork to complete. As in, I “need” to pin 87 baby outfits…

This is my bearded hubby... he's mine.

This is my bearded hubby… he’s mine.

Some of my weaknesses/addictions include: A good clearance sale (Oh, Zulily, you just get me!) Sweet Frog (Because it’s damned delicious.) A well-groomed beard. (SEXYYYY.) Good manners. (This will never go out of style for me.)

I’ve been told that I am “creative and resourceful in the kitchen”… Translation: I’m a decent cook. I occasionally share recipes under the tab dramafreeRECIPES above! Most of them are fast, cheap, and easy… that is entirely coincidental, and not a reflection of my character. No really.

My 15 “Inspiring Blogger” nominees… in no particular order:

  1. Their World We Live in
  2. Tanis Miller
  3. Real Young Housewife of Southern VA
  4. Baby In Bloom
  5. The Shitastrophy
  6. Spit-up in the Suburbs
  7. Crazy Dad Life
  8. This Is Mommyhood
  9. Momma’s Bacon
  10. Chockababy
  11. Let Me Start By Saying
  12. Moms Who Drink and Swear
  13. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
  14. Bad Parenting Moments
  15. Poop on My Hands

It’s hard to give a “shout-out” to just 15… as the mom and dad blogging community has grown to be this enormous family of awesomeness. But these blog sites are where my mind (and my browser!) goes when it wanders away from work… check them out! For laughs, for parenting advice and tips, for sharing what we can all relate to… doing the best we can as parents.

My random act of kindness:

I treated my dad and his lady friend to ice cream…

Yesterday at our local Sweet Frog™ yogurt shop, the owners of the franchise donated their profits to a local family who just lost their daughter in a terrible car crash. The line was out the door, down the sidewalk, and wrapped around the building… continuously from early afternoon until 10pm. Although I didn’t know the beautiful girl I saw in pictures all around the shop where she used to work, I felt honored to be there with her friends, schoolmates, and pretty much the whole community of our small town, and to be part of the fundraising efforts for her family. I read today where the total was somewhere around $8000. (WOW, that’s a lot of sprinkles!) I know money can’t resolve her family’s grief, but it was still a beautiful gesture on the part of the franchise owners in honor of their former employee.

Rest in Peace, Savannah. hand heart

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Stuff I don’t understand…

I realize that the collection of things I don’t understand could fill a book (or series of volumes even) rather than a simple blog post… But this will have to do at present. Perhaps I will write a book when I actually feel like I understand more shit… Anyway… Lately I find myself so often saying “I just don’t get it” and so I need to air a few things. Right now.

Here is a list of some things that make no sense to me… In no particular order.

bostonOne– The capacity for human cruelty that we are all faced with every day, every time we turn on a news station or unfold a newspaper. Bombings… shootings… child abuse… bullying… and the countless other ways in which man mistreats other man (and animals) on a daily basis. I need not even provide examples. You’re surrounded by it too… and probably just as baffled as I.

Two– Where are the mommies and daddies? Teaching eleventh grade for the ninth year in a row, I am appalled at the appearance (not to mention demeanor) of some children. Hey 16 year old girl with a skirt on the size of a sheet of loose-leaf paper… PLEASE tell me your parents did not see you when you left the house this morning– And that this is solely YOUR bad judgement  as a teen, and not theirs as adults. PS-Aren’t you cold? PSS- Everyone can see your vagina.

This is not a prom dress. It is half of one. And you are a whore.

This is not a prom dress. It is half of one. And you are a whore.

Three– Justin Bieber. Seriously, good opinion or bad, (Belieber or Non-Belieber?) — why does everyone care so damned much what this kid says and does? His impact canNOT  be that significant. Pipe the fuck down, people. He’s 19. He acts 19. He just happens to have a singing career. (WHY he has a singing career also remains a mystery.)

Seriously though, why do these exist? (To be fair, i linked to the Etsy shop where you can buy them... for you Beliebers. LOL.)

Seriously though, why do these exist? (To be fair, I linked to the Etsy shop where you can buy them… for you Beliebers. LOL.)

Four– A mommy can catch  an ailing child’s puke in her bare hands and not bat an eye (Trust me, I did this yesterday)… but a week-old sippy cup that started off as milk will bring her to her dry-heaving knees. Every time.

To open and pray for stale juice... or to chuck it and cut my losses?

To open and pray for stale juice… or to chuck it and cut my losses?

Five– How a toddler can watch the same [crappy] movie over and over again… actually DEMAND to… and not get sick of it. Seriously, I’m ready to set glue traps for Alvin, Simon, & Theodore.

Worst movie ever. Seriously I want to murder it.

Worst movie ever. Seriously I want to murder it. Twice.

Six– Algebra. For real, that shit’s still hard.

For real.

For real.

Ok, so this started off serious… and I fully intended to express myself maturely today. ( No really, I swear! ) But it seems I got progressively smartassier as I continued… Alas, still stuff I don’t understand.
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