Just Take the Blame…

Just Take the Blame…

James’ grades have been atrocious lately – just downright bad. Last week we lowered the proverbial boom, as John Rosemond would say, and removed all his screen time during the week.


Thank goodness for PE and Bible, right?

His issues with school are twofold: Number one, he doesn’t write down what is due. Thing the second, he doesn’t study even when he knows what is due.


On his last five assignments in Math he has achieved a 77, 74, 38, 56, and 43.

The thing is, I kind of mistakenly tend to think of him as my ‘grown up’ kid. He is an inch away from being as tall as me, he behaves incredibly well, he reads a lot and carries on conversations and so on. But this morning, while ruminating on his ruining grades I was struck by how ‘not a grown up’ he is.

The thing about being a grown up is dum, dum, dum, dum, responsibility.

If had gotten an F on my last three assignments I would think that the blame for that is on me. And that’s because I’m a grown up.

James? Not so much. According to him, he’s trying his hardest. But the thing is, he isn’t, because that would require writing things down and studying which he doesn’t think he needs to do.

And he’s eleven. So now is the time he needs to learn this. And that’s okay.


“Oh, so this is what we’re blogging about today? Fun.”

Yesterday when he got home from school I asked him if he had written down what was due tomorrow. He raised a piece of loose leaf paper on it and said ‘yeah, it’s here.’ I asked him why it wasn’t written in his planner and he said he’d lost it. Because, of course he had. 

I didn’t look at what was on his paper because, apparently, I’m an idiot so when he said he was done with his homework I believed him. After he was asleep last night I glanced at what was on the paper. Two quizzes in addition to the homework he’d done. Quizzes I knew he hadn’t studied for. Least I hadn’t seen him study for.

I woke him up early and had him sit down and study for English. Lucky for him, he has a dentist appointment during his history quiz so he gets to skate on that one, for now. For English, he had to know the twenty three helping verbs. So, he begins to say them over and over and study them.

After I dropped him off at school I got this text asking me to pick him up because he’d just found out that he didn’t just need to know the twenty three helping verbs…he needed to know them in the order of the jingle.

IMG_1381What’s a jingle you ask? Oh, pretty much the worst thing ever invented. The sixth grader’s at James’ school use this frightful thing called the Shirley Method (which is allegedly really effective) where they learn and PERFORM these songs to help them remember facts.

So, right now, in your head you have an idea in your head of what these songs sound like. Whatever you are thinking I can assure you it’s MUCH MUCH worse. Don’t believe me? Click this link. 

It is the most babyish thing you can imagine. Like, I think my five year old would think it was babyish. So you take an eleven year old who is tall and gangly and awkward and have him stand up with his peers and sing a jingle. Y’all, I can’t even. That poor child.

But…so what? Big deal. Is it fun? No, it’s hellish to him. But it’s what he has to do right now.

And that, my friends, is how I know he’s still a kid. Because a kid says ‘I don’t have to write down what’s due, I’ll just remember.’ A kid says ‘I don’t like learning the jingles, so I won’t.’

A grown up just knows, sometimes you have to do things that suck.

So, welcome to adulthood. Things sometimes suck here.


Ball! Ball! Ball!

Ball! Ball! Ball!

Well, hey there Monday! Another weekend has come and gone.

Thursday night…Okay, I know Thursday night isn’t technically the weekend but work with me. Who are you? The weekend police…the Beasley girls had dinner at my Mom’s house.

I made Kevin and Amanda’s Salted Caramel Pie.

IMG_1219It was amazing. Like, crazy amazing. The whole time I was making it I sang ‘it’s going down, I’m yelling timber’ to it. I think that made it even better – even though Amanda didn’t even mention that step in her recipe. She also uses dark chocolate which is disgusting so I substituted semi and it was grand. Although, next time I’m just going full on milk chocolate.

It’s always fun to get together with the Beasleys. Everybody has REALLY BIG OPINIONS. We talked about everything from gay marriage in the state of Alabama to sports to teen pregnancy and so on and so forth. Lots of laughter mixed in with the heavy topics which is a good way to do heavy topics. Shy and retiring, we ain’t.

The problem with that is that everybody wants to talk and ends up kind of saying ‘me!me!me!’ over and over again. Me included.

My cousin Christy remains immune. She actually is quiet – which, of course, we give her trouble for. 


I brought Stella with me so she could hang with her cousins. There was just A LOT of giggling.

Friday afternoon this little piece of awesomeness came to the neighborhood.


A Little Free Library! So far, we’ve checked it four times and it’s had wildly different things each time.

Friday night we did one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world.


We watched high school girl’s basketball. Sadly, Westminster lost to Catholic. Those shoes squeaking on the floor? I could listen all night long!

Now, James…James is not quite the social butterfly that I am. In fact, when we go to this kind of thing his modus operandi…seriously, no clue what that actually means but I’m standing behind my decision to use it here…is to stick to me like glue. Even though there were plenty of kids his age there. Finally, I told him I’d pay him $20 to go sit with his cousin who is a ninth grader.

I know y’all think I’m crazy but it took a lot of courage for James to walk up the steps of the bleachers full of high schoolers and ask to sit down.

Money well spent.

Saturday morning Hank had a basketball game.

He spends most of his game begging his teammates for the ball. I spend most of them thinking ‘if you want the ball go rebound it!’

IMG_1317Of course, him yelling ‘ball, ball, ball’ during a game and me interjecting ‘me, me, me!’ during a conversation with the Beasley girls is pretty much the same thing.

Apparently, James spent Hank’s game learning how to manipulate me because this was pulled up on my phone after he borrowed it.

IMG_1246Sadly for him, I remain immune.

Saturday night we crashed my cousin Rusty’s date night and had dinner with them.


The strawberry lemonade mojito was mighty fine.

It was a win. This child’s hair Sunday morning? Not a win.

IMG_1336Look. We made it to church on time. What more do you people want from me?

Hope your weekend was good!




Crepes ARE magic…

Crepes ARE magic…

Oh, Stella. She’s at a fun age right now.


Our last day in Colorado was spent at Winter Park Ski Resort. Billy met his best friend out there and while they went snowmobiling me and the kids palled around. It’s such a cool town!

Stella and I had a blast there. I gave the boys free rein of the village so the only time I saw them that day was when they needed money. Minions.

I haven’t been to Winter Park since 1991 when we went with a big group of kids from school. And, let’s face it, last time I was there I was more concerned with getting Jonathan Lusk to acknowledge my existence than taking in the sights.

Oh, Jonathan Lusk. He was a senior when I was an eighth grader but I can assure you, I wasn’t the only girl vying for his attention. 

Winter Park has a little Cabriolet lift that takes you from one part of the village to the next.

Cabriolet lift Winter Park

We rode that several times just for the fun of it. They also have a nice arcade, a playground, an ice skating rink and a great tubing facility. The tubing is definitely something I remember from high school.

When I told Stella we were going to go tubing she started crying. She pleaded with me ‘Mommy! Please don’t make me tube. I don’t want to wear a swimsuit and get in the water!’

Yeah, not that kinda tubing, lady.

We stopped in at Goody’s and I ordered a Nutella Crepe. Stella had never seen one before and asked me what it tasted like. I gave her a bite and her eyes began to sparkle. Y’all! I’m telling you they sparkled!


“Mommy! It tastes like magic!”

Well, yes. Yes, it does.

The fact that she used the word magic doesn’t surprise me at all. On Christmas Eve she said ‘Daddy! Dip Mom like your dancing and I’ll take a picture and it will be like you are getting married and it’s magic!’


 Yes, it’s magic 100% of the time, all right.

Johnathan Lusk did eventually acknowledge me on that trip. I sat beside him on an eight person tube and as we raced down the tubing hill we hit a bump I almost fell out. I only managed to stay in the tube by grabbing on to him.

When we landed he looked at me and said ‘you okay?’

Why, yes. Yes, I am. And when I get home every girl in the eighth grade is going to know that you said those two words to me. Hey, remember that time that Jonathan Lusk asked me if I was okay? Paula, that was two years ago. Yeah, but it was awesome.

Hey Stella, How about we worry more about tubing than boys when you’re a teenager?


 “How about we worry more about getting some of those crepes!”