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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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!

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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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