Starbucks and Hamsters

22 Sep

Mama hasn’t blogged in a LONG time!

Why? Well, let me paint a picture for you.
Hamster wheel. ….
Strong, strong coffee.
Spin baby, spin!

Get it?
The Spotted Mama has turned into a Starbucks addict, hamster wheel running, crazy working woman.
I love love LOVE to teach.
I love walking into the doors of THE BEST elementary school in the world to teach six and seven year olds.
Truly, I love my “job.”

Take heart- I have not ceased to be the Spotted Mama.
My students understand my spots.
They too, call me the Spotted Mama.
Its why I feel special at circle time.

Balancing my adorable family and my little school-family of twenty-two has not been an easy task.
My Principal began the year by saying four words…
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

My little engine is chugging away 19 hours a day- straight.
I refuel by using paper plates instead of washing dishes.
My “moms” buy my kids clothes, take them on trips to the library and Zoo and organize my freezer.
I blare my husbands new album, “Steady Ground”, in my car at 6:15am as my “pre-game” motivation.
Mama needs Steady Ground…or at least the illusion that I have it.
The Starbucks on the corner of Powell Road and Rte. 23 has THE BEST baristas…EVER.

My friends and family give me the comfort of walking out the door.
It takes a town.
Especially when I cancel my check card thinking my account was hacked into.
Stupid Spam.
Lovely red wine, dark chocolate and money delivered at my front door at 9PM.
They get it.
Especially when my husband is on a trip to California.

THIS is why I haven’t blogged.
After 19 hours, I choose to sleep.
Occasionally, I shower.

Until next time….spin baby spin!

Everybody Poops, Some Just Need Help Wiping

10 Jul

I sat down this morning to grace you with my profound wisdom and decided that THIS is the direction I should lead you down.

One of my best friends has three boys.

They are all close in age, close to making her hair turn grey.

Sometimes I sit back and watch the insane chaos in her house and giggle. Because when you know someone as well as I know her, laughing at them is acceptable.

Often she will catch me laughing and join me.

Or toss a curse word my way in the most loving, sarcastic way that she can.

Then we hide in the laundry room and eat chocolate. Just kidding, but it has crossed my mind.
She and her husband have both been blogging about parenting these three little guys.

If you can’t laugh, you’d cry.

They do a fabulous job of finding the joy in the midst of the chaos.

One day, they will look back at these and find the treasure of growing three boys up into men.

For now, they are just focused on the parental-butt wiping phase.

So without further ado….The Joyful and Tired Dad:


For those of you who are easily offended by bathroom humor or are too disgusted when talking about all things toilet-related, this post isn’t for you. But for those of you who can’t help but laugh at a good fart, you are in for a treat.

I wanted to write down some stories about our boys and the toilet. Because 1) I think they are hysterical, 2) so I won’t forget these stories and 3) because I will have documented proof to embarrass them at a later date preferably high school graduation or their wedding reception. At this time I have officially potty-trained 3 boys for which I am going to make a t-shirt for myself and award myself a medal. I am still in talks with the mayor about earning a key to the city for this heroic feat but so far they’ve only offered a gold-plated plunger, which I will proudly accept and display on our mantle. Let me break down each kid individually.

At this time is 7 years old and has mastered the toilet. He being our first, we probably spent $500 – $1000 on all types of baby toilet seats, aiming targets for the toilet bowl, Playskool toilets that played songs when you flushed, and special educational DVDs like “Dora visits el bano” and “Thomas the Train goes toot toot at the station but poop poop in the potty.” But of course, Zachary was going to potty train when he was good and ready. Don’t you just hate those parents who say, “yes my little Jenny just looked at the potty and said ‘I want to use that from now on’ and we never had to do anything. She potty trained herself.” But here I am looking into a recurring payment plan with Pampers due to the diaper debt and wondering if you’ll be able to see the adult diaper under his graduation robe. Zachary waited and waited until he was ready. But he finally did get it.

One story I remember when he was 3. The back story is, like all parents, whenever Zachary would pee we would throw a “pee party” and cheer and yell because of the success. Well one time I took him into the men’s restroom with me and had him stand against the wall while I washed my hands. Well another man came in to use the urinal and I could see Zachary curiously looking at him as we stood there in silence. And as soon as Zachary heard the pee hitting the urinal, Zachary yelled to me, “Daddy, HE DID IT!!!!!” So excited that this man was able to go pee pee in the urinal. He threw him his own “pee party.” I always wonder if that was last time that man was ever able to pee in a urinal again.

Another story about Zachary and urinals. Around the same time in another public restroom and just discovering what they were, picked up a urinal cake and showed me, asking, “Daddy, what is this?” After throwing up and having him put it back, I replied, “well its poisonous and you only get to touch it once. So never touch it again if you want to live. Now lets go take a bath in bleach and never tell your mother.” Well, actually I just screamed and told him never to touch it and had that same face you are wearing right now for about a week.

Currently, as much as I am glad we are out of the diaper phase, I don’t know if this next phase is any better: the butt-wiping phase. Now the 2 younger boys can hold their respective 1’s and 2’s, but I am still in charge of clean-up on aisle 2. Drew, the 4 year old, picked up “holding it” and making it to the toilet pretty quickly but he is still unsure of the hygiene part of toileting.

Lindsey tells the story of recently after Drew had gone poop in the potty, jumped up from the toilet and ran back into the living room to watch TV. Well he plopped down on the carpet and to Lindsey’s horror, when he stood up there was a nice, round poop stain on the carpet. His butt cheeks had opened up to form a brown, stinky Rorschach test of poop on the carpet. It was a perfect butterfly or 2 goblets depending how you looked at it.

After much encouragement and training, we are getting him to wipe himself more. Of course just last week, I caught him taking all his dirty toilet paper and throwing it in the trash can instead of the toilet. But the best story is just yesterday he told me his process for checking himself. He told me after he poops, he always wipes his butt on the toilet seat and if there is poop on the seat, he has not gotten all of it yet. This explains a lot of things. Mysterious stains on the seat, recent extra toilet cleanings, and extra baths after the poop had spread down his legs, front and back.

Another Drew story back in May. We were visiting my brother in Cincinnati for my nephews birthday party. Everyone was outside after lunch playing in the yard or hanging out on the deck. Drew went inside alone to poop. When he was finished, he poked his head out of the bathroom and saw the only other person in the house, my brother’s mother – in – law. Since she looked like a grandma, Drew said, “Excuse me. Do you wipe butts?” To which she replied, “I sure do,” and helped him out. It reminds me of the old Chinese proverb, “the family that wipes together, stays together.” Thanks Ramona.

Our 2 year old was the fastest to grasp potty training and is also in the parental butt wiping phase. Not because he wants to be but because we demand it. If he had his way, he would always be pants-less and sitting on my pillow. The thing with Nate is that he has this need to mark his territory. Lindsey has found him standing in the pantry peeing on the potatoes. But who can blame him, he loves potatoes and those were now his. He also loves to stand on the bottom step of our deck, drop trough and pee on all the outdoor toys especially the ride-on toys that other kids love to play with. But to him, “if my dog can mark his tree, I can mark my toys. That will show them not to mess with my stuff.” Thankfully I have not found pee-covered inside toys. But I am not too confident when I find a puddle in our house, its always the dog.

Nate also likes to play “poop fake”. He will call me when he is ready to be wiped and let me get 3 good cleaning strokes in, then declare “more poop!” He will then proceed to have another poop marring all clean-up that I just did. Much like the “pump fake” in football, I fall for it every time. I think the stinker holds back half of his dump when he knows I am the wiper. He loves to “poop fake” me out.

Now you know some new things they don’t teach you in “What to expect when you’re expecting.”

You’re welcome,
The Joyful and Tired Dad


29 Jun

Holy Hot Diggity Dog! Yesterday was the hottest day this summer and we celebrated it by dressing our only son in a black shirt, long pants and instructed him to stand in the middle of a field for an hour and a half. 

Sounds incredible doesn’t it?

Little League Baseball is no joke in our neck of the woods. 

Neither are the bugs- Dear Off, I love you. 

Nothing like combating mosquitoes with a layer of bright white sunscreen, waterfalls of sweat and OFF bug spray. 

As Jack Black would say, it was AWESOMENESS. 

Thankfully, we recently braved the heat at Disney World and were equipped with hand held misting fans. Listen, we are Midwesterners, we weren’t created for heat. We are Country Chic.

Well, at least my spots are. 

Sweat founds its way to parts of our bodies we didn’t know we had. 

My spots were begging for mercy. 

And a cold shower with a side of a frozen Margherita. 

Mmmm. Summer. 

Besides losing water weight on dust covered fields, my little crew and I have been rocking the pools. 

Yes, poolS. 

We have a problem here folks. 

Some people travel the world- my kids and I pool hop. 

They will thank me someday. Lifeguard training at its finest. 

I hope you are loving Summa-tyme at your house. 

This is the proper way to pronounce it: Sum-AH-TY-MMMM. 

Thank your first grade teacher for teaching you phonics. 




From a Gator to a Bear

29 May

Stop the press…is it true? Can it be? 

It’s ME! You’re beloved Spotted Mama!!!!! 

I realize many of you thought I vanished for good.

I have been lost in the glorious land of Gators. Third grade Gators that is. On top of teaching full time for three and a half months, I’ve been balancing my family and three binders worth of “portfolio’s”. In August, I will turn from a Gator to a Bear as I begin my first year teaching first grade!!!! Yee-haw! 

I always wanted to be a spotted bear. 

With a “picinic” basket of course. 

Anyways, my life was a little intense for the past three and half months and I’m so very sorry I had to sacrifice my wonderful world of blogging.

Sorry. You weren’t the only one. 

My house went to pot too, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The bathrooms, floors and dust and I are going to have a “Come to Jesus” meetin’ very soon.  

A dirty house, a toothless kid and a three-year-old emerging on a sixteen-year-old have warmly welcomed me back into the “full-time Mama” roll. 

Alas, my Summer Vacation has begun. 

My under-spots can’t wait to jump out into the sun. 

This will be a fantabulous summer. 

You get a front seat to my madness. 

You’re welcome. 





Now I need the boots

3 Mar

So a few months ago, my Dad took a trip to Texas.
He’s been a traveling man ever since I’ve known him.
Truly, I can’t think of many places he hasn’t gone.

Texas, has been a new one lately and this time I had a request.

A cowgirl hat.

But, I wanted one that Julia Roberts would wear.
Sorry, I’m picky.
He’s used to it.

A blank look came across his face as he exited the car.

Oh, Dad. I love you.
Julia Roberts.
Pretty Woman?
My Best Friends Wedding?
Oceans eleven..twelve?

Still…blank look.
((crickets chirping))

Alright, I’ll send you a picture text.
Blank look again…a what?
Oh, sorry, I will email it to you and you can look at it on your phone.


Texas came and went, no cowgirl hat.
But, two weeks ago, a hat just like this one showed up at my house.


My Dad is the best.
He did his homework.

Now for my next topic…
Remember that trip I took to Georgia?
I wrote a song about grits?
Good times.
In honor of my new cowgirl hat, I will enlighten you once again….


2 Mar

I have to be honest…wait, when am I ever NOT honest?? ……

I would love to just submerge myself into The Pioneer Woman blog and avoid cleaning my house, doing laundry, taking care of another sick kid, and writing lots and lots of papers. 

I love student teaching. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. 

But I am getting extremely worn out with all the papers. I guess its a good thing that this Mama likes to write. 

Oh yes, I am student teaching. Sorry about the late notice. 

During the day I am surrounded by seventy-five nine-year-olds and truly, its heavenly. 

Cross my heart.

I love them.

They also call me Spotted Mama sometimes. 

I love teaching and the staff I am working with is exceptional. 

I refer to my mentor as the “Disney Princess Teacher.” And you know me, I tell her that too!

She is genuinely the sweetest person I have ever met; she’s always positive and sometimes I think she might have a blue bird fly over and sit on her shoulder.

Some days its like getting free therapy.

You can never be down about anything when you around her.

And at the end of the day, she feeds me chocolate.

It makes my spots happy.

Today, she’s flying off to an undisclosed  tropical location. 

I have snotty kids, fevers and dirty bathrooms with my hunky hubbies leg hair in the corners to clean. 

Am I jealous? Slightly.

I’m just pretending that the pounding hammers next door that are building a new house are the distant sounds of the steel drum. 

I’m so creative, aren’t I? 

I’m a stinker and I know it. That’s why you love me. 

Speaking of which, this week I told a fellow staff member that I hold three degree’s:

1 in smartypants, 1 in sassiness and 1 in stinker-hood. 

I’m so proud of them. 

It took many, many years to accomplish, but with practice, time and honesty…you too can hold such prestigious degrees. 

Alright, this has been enough of an avoidance. Back to work. 


Your Professional Smarty-pants Spotted Mama. 




Bob the Bucket.

24 Feb

Well hot diggity dog. 

The Spotted Mama has returned. 

Unfortunately, I am home today with a sick two-year-old. 

Poor little thing. She didn’t know what hit her at about 11:00 last night. 

She couldn’t understand why I would dangle her over the toilet as the” yuckies” came out. 

There’s a first time for everything, right? 

We transitioned her to “Bob the Bucket” (tupperware) instead of the toilet. She and Bob are now besties….. Yes, Karen- I learned this from you when Mo was hit with the same thing years and years ago. It’s a legacy sister! 

All hail Bob the Bucket! 

With that said, I am loving on my little honey. She has no idea she is sick and is trying to convince me that she should eat a pancake and hot cocoa. 

No worries, I keep diverting her attention to avoid the subject. Its like the picture book “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” in my house. 

“Mama, my wants a pani-cake and hot cocoa. “

“Wow, that sounds great. I would love for you to color me a picture of a pancake and hot cocoa.”

“Yes! Can I mail it to Wexi?” (Lexi,my niece in Florida) 

“I think that’s a great idea! Do you want to call Lexi and tell her about it?”

“Can I talk to her on your computie?” (Skype) 


(Opening the computer makes her think of playing hide and seek…don’t ask, I’m still trying to figure this one out). 

“Let’s play hide and seek, Mama.”

“Okay. You count, I will hide.” 

And off we go…. 

She is counting into “Bob” listening to her echo. 

“One, twooooo, freeeee,….Mama, Bob is counting wif me!” 

Like I said, she is the best patient I’ve ever had! 

Here’s to a healthier weekend and secretly throwing “Bob” in the trash when she’s all better!