Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Last fall I read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I adored it. I couldn’t talk it up enough in my classroom, and for the rest of the school year there was a wait list for it. I meant to read Fangirl next, but due to the popularity of Eleanor & Park, it was also checked out all year, so I moved on to other books and other authors.

This summer I was perusing the “new in paperback” section at the book store and saw Landline. I picked it up even though I had a pile at home of other books to read.

I will admit the premise of a telephone that calls the past was weird, but I trusted Rowell. I knew if anyone could make it work in a quirky, witty way, it was her.  And I was not disappointed.

Georgie McCool is a writer for a TV comedy series with her best friend since college, Seth. She spends a ridiculous amount of time at work, leaving her husband, Neal, home with their two small daughters. Georgie and Neal love each other, but there is always a tension. It comes to a head when Georgie chooses to spend their Christmas vacation home working with Seth rather than travel Omaha with her family. Over the time her family is gone, Georgie discovers that the phone in her childhood bedroom at her mom’s house can call Neal–not present-day Neal–but Neal from when they were in college. Her phone is like a time machine.  Now she has to figure out how to make things right with him by talking to the past.

I don’t tend to pick up a book if I think it might be a sappy love story. This is not a sappy love story. It is funny and ridiculous and a little sad in places, but not sappy.

Rowell tells the story from Georgie’s point of view. It bounces back and forth from present-day to her memories of meeting and dating Neal when they were in college, when they were first engaged and married, and to when their daughters were born. Rowell’s characters and dialogue quick and spot-on. She even manages to make me a bit nostalgic for the 90’s.

I think I even liked this book more than I liked Eleanor & Park. And that is saying a LOT because I gushed about that book.

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Want to contribute to my classroom library? Check out my students’ Wish List!

Links are affiliate with Amazon. Anything purchased via those links will give me Amazon credit toward books for my classroom.

My Girl

Dear Alice,

It’s all going too fast. Thursday you were five months old and I missed it. I knew it was this week, but it sneaked up anyway. I noticed yesterday morning as I fed you. I turned on the Today show, settled into our spot on the couch, began feeding you your morning bottle, and there it was on the TV: Friday, August 7.

The day after your five month day.

Admittedly, Thursday was difficult. We had the funeral for Mary in the morning. They boys went to hang out with Grandpa, but you came with me and Daddy. It seemed right since she was so excited about you. You slept in my arms as Karsten delivered the message. He talked of her love of children–specifically the Children in Worship program. She knew every child by name. And she knew you too. She talked about you in her last days. Knowing she won’t be around to watch you learn about Jesus’ love for you hurts my heart.

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You are growing and changing so much, Alice. I looked back on both Eddie’s and Charlie’s five month posts and I realize I felt the same with them. Five months is a game changer, apparently.

Gone is the new babyness. No more infant. Nope, you are a baby with a rapidly developing personality, tons of smiles, and a penchant for rolling over in your sleep and playing with your feet.

You are no longer happy just lying somewhere with toys. You roll immediately to your tummy to be able to see what everyone is doing. Then you yell. Being left out irritates you. You work those abs and try to sit up in your bounce seat and swing, yet unlike your brothers, you still like them. You actually play with the toys that are attached to them–something Eddie and Charlie had no interest in.

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You are still on bottles only–no solids. Both of your brothers were into cereal at this point because formula alone wasn’t satiating them anymore, but you are good. Although the way you watch us eat is hilarious. So intent on watching us put things in our mouth.

You are no stranger to putting stuff in your mouth though! Everything that is within your reach goes in there!  You have been teething and just this week I could feel the ridge of a tooth on your bottom gums. The days of gummy smiles in our house are almost gone. It’s bittersweet.

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Eddie was a pretty smiley baby, and Charlie was pretty serious. You are extremely social. You clearly recognize certain people and reward them with giant grins. Your Church Grandma Nancy is one of those people. She loves you so much and you are starting to show her that you love her too!

You have a tickle spot on your ribs. When we kiss you or nom on your ribs you giggle so hard your eyes tear up. You love to shout-talk at us too, which is also hilarious. I am starting to think that just like me and Eddie, you might not have an indoor voice. You cannot stand to be ignored, so you will growl/shout/cry until someone looks at you. Then you will smile. You’re kind of a stinker.

The only time you get truly angry and cry is when you are hungry. And as soon as you’ve eaten, you’re back to being your happy pants self.  Most of the time. Like I said, you are teething. You’ve been a bit clingy because of that, but by and large you are our easiest teether yet. Eddie was pretty good–he would get a little butt rash and be a little warm. Charlie was awful. Poor guy got a million teeth at once and his life was hell during that time. You felt a little warm to me a few times, but nothing I thought twice about. When you were being particularly clingy, I stuck my finger in your mouth and low and behold, a tooth was coming through. No big deal.

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This month you had your first beach day and went to your first funeral. You began to enjoy bathes and cry when Charlie cries. You are happy to sit in your bounce and watch me do something, but not happy to sit there and watch me write or read. Apparently that is boring.

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You love going places, but not being confined to your carseat/carrier. You would rather be held or put in the Moby/Ergo. You love to be outdoors because there is so much to see and take in.

I don’t remember much about Eddie’s first year. I don’t remember taking his picture for his 5 month post. I remember a lot about Charlie. We spent his first 6 months almost inseparable. That is how it is with you, Alice. We are almost never apart. I would say I was better at leaving Charlie with a sitter than I am with you. I just don’t mind you being along for whatever I am doing–most of the time.

When I need to be alone, it’s not because you’re driving me crazy, it’s that I have to get some things done–like writing or school planning. It’s never because I need to be away from you. I know that will change as you grow and change more. I know your toddler years will be more demanding. I know this because I am going through it with Charlie right now.

But I want you to know you make me very happy.

I have had some pretty dark days lately, and I never didn’t want to have you around. Feeding you or holding you or just talking to you somehow lifting the ugly thing on my soul, even if just for a little bit. You are starting to “hug” and “kiss” my shoulder and face. I love it. I find myself wondering if we will always be this close. If you will always be My Girl who loves me best and likes to “talk” to me when you are sleepy. Will we always prefer each other’s company?

I hope so, Alice. You are my smart, funny, pretty girl. And I love you so so much.

Love,

Mommy

I realize this could be the same baby, but I assure you, it's three different children.

I realize this could be the same baby, but I assure you, it’s three different children.

We Are All Made of Molecules

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I am on the biggest YA Lit kick since I was a teenager myself, I think. I am going through them fast and furious this summer. I never set out to do that either. In fact, before this summer I would claim to not really enjoy YA Lit that much other than the occasional stand out like Winger by Andrew Smith.

This summer I am finding myself not just enjoying YA Lit recommendations, but seeking out titles for myself. While searching for new reads a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilsen. I had never heard of the book, but I read the inside flap and thought it was definitely for me.

The story has dual narrators: thirteen-year old Stewart and fourteen-year old Ashley. While I am getting a bit tired of the whole “two points of view” trend, I decided the story seemed like one my students (who are also in the 13-14 year old age range) would relate to: a blended family.

Stewart loses his mom to cancer. Ashley’s parents divorce. Stewart’s dad and Ashley’s mom date and move in together. It’s like the Brady Bunch. Only it’s not at all like that because there are only two kids and it seems they have absolutely nothing in common. At all.

Stewart is, well, he’s different. He’s taking all ninth grade classes (even though he’s technically an 8th grader) now that he is enrolled in the public school after transferring from the Little Genius Academy.  This means he is in some of Ashley’s classes.

Ashley is not interested in school. Or books. Or learning. She is interested in fashion, boys, and herself. I spent most of the book hating Ashley. But I liked Stewart. He was my kind of kid–totally nerdy. He’s got the brains of Sheldon Cooper, but he is nice and thinks of others.  I mostly love the way he loves his mom and his relationship with his dad. I also love how he truly seeks to find the good in everybody. Even Ashley. Even when she gives him no reason to.

I think I gave the book three stars on GoodReads. I think it’s one my students would really like. The characters have very authentic voices–especially the teenagers.  I enjoyed all the characters (well, Ashley was pretty awful and so was Jared, but you will have to read to find out about who Jared is). It took a while to get to any real action though, and once there was finally something going on, it all ended quickly. I felt like 3/4 of the book was a day by day narration of how things were going being a blended family and then BAM 1/4 of the book was about bullies and other stuff and then it wrapped up.  My head was sort of spinning at the end.

It was a quick read though, and like I said, lots that teenagers can find to relate to from blended families, to bullies, to the hierarchy of popularity in high school, to deciding to stand out or blend in.

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Want to contribute to my classroom library? Check out my students’ Wish List!

Links are affiliate with Amazon. Anything purchased via those links will give me Amazon credit toward books for my classroom.

 

We Are Trying

This summer is a bit less…exciting…than I thought it would be. I thought we would do all these adventures and go to the park all the time and hit the beach once a week.

We have not done that because, even though she is my easiest baby yet, we are sort of on Alice’s schedule rather than our own most of the time. Also? Three kids is way more exhausting than two.

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So rather than go to the library every week, we have opted for every other week…or just when the books are due. We try to get to a park once a week, but sometimes we don’t.

My kids are whiney and bored most days. Even when I kick them outside, they complain there is nothing to do.

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So I gather up Alice and we go outside too.  And they plop their toys and chairs by us under the tree and complain. I come up with games and ideas for them. They play nicely for a few minutes.  Then they are back over by me tattling about what someone did to the other.

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There is only a month left before we go back to school. Technically a month plus a week, but I go back in a month. I finally got my teaching assignment: All 8th Grade English this year. I’m pretty jazzed about having only one class to prep and hoping to do some awesome things with Reader’s Workshop this year.

We are still waiting to find out who Eddie’s first grade teacher is, when orientation is, and what he will need as far as back to school supplies.

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We still have some summer left.

And I am determined to make some fun memories. We have a couple beach days planned, a zoo trip as a family, and hopes for a few other things.

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The boys are starting to feel the need for their regular schedule. I can feel it too–the pull back to the classroom.

I also feel the sadness that means by going back to school, the whirlwind will start and Alice’s baby-ness will start to go even faster as I don’t get to see her all day, every day anymore.

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We are trying to make the most of this last month of this last summer of having a baby around. We are trying to breathe it in rather than look forward to “it will get easier” and “it will get better”.

We are trying to live in the now.

Even when the now makes me want to pull my hair out and run screaming down the street.

We are trying.

My Social Life…er…Book

I always feel a little bad when someone who is not a blogger/social media person “friends” me on Facebook. I post a lot. More than the average person, anyway.

I try not to over do, but I am almost positive that I have been “blocked” and “unfriended” for how often I show up in people’s newsfeeds. Those who do still keep me around have mentioned that some of the things I post–such as funny little things the kids say or pictures of stuff Eddie has written or drawn–I should somehow keep. I always figure by putting them on Facebook, I AM keeping them, however unorganized that is.

You may not believe it, but I used to be a hard-core scrapbooker. HARD. CORE.

I like to think that someday…someday…I will go back and at LEAST finish the projects I started (like Charlie’s baby book and Eddie’s toddler years), but I have started making photo books via websites because it’s just easier. But I don’t remember to put all the little details in those, ya know?  They are just photos.

I was given the opportunity to try something called My Social Book, a site that takes your Facebook and Instagram feeds and turns them into a keepsake book.

My Social Book

Before diving in to making my book, I checked out all the other options–there are five total:

  1. My Social Book Photos: This one makes a book of all your Facebook Photo albums
  2. My Social Book Page: This one makes a book out of your Facebook Page, so if I wanted to make Sluiter Nation’s Facebook page into a book, this would be the one I would choose.
  3. My Social Book Lovers: This is for two people’s social accounts so they can be side-by-side. I would make one with Cortney, but he would have one status update to my fifty, so maybe no.
  4. My Social Book Friends: This one is for up to five people so you can all tell a common story.

I made the classic “My Social Book” out of my Facebook updates from January of this year until June 30. Six months. It took 324 pages.

I KNOW.

But look!

My Social Book

All of my status updates, photos, and all YOUR comments from the past six months! {you can choose to leave comments off. Admittedly, this added more pages to mine}

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It’s a pretty awesome way to keep all the pictures and thoughts I’ve shared all in one place. There are a few things I would have taken out if I could have individually gone through all the pages (like some of the memes and stuff I don’t really need to keep for the sake of nostalgia, ya know?), but I thought it was neat how it’s all laid out. And since I share ALL OF THE THINGS on social media, it makes for a pretty cool “diary” for my kids to look through some day.

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It would be pretty cool to do this every six months. My one beef with that is that it’s a little pricey. My 300+ pages would have cost about $80 to do. Although, if I had done that much scrapbooking, it would have cost WAY more than that.

So Cortney and I were discussing how it was WAY cool, but was it $80 cool?

Of course they are not all that expensive. Mine is a little crazy big, so if I did smaller ones without all the comments and excluded a few other things, it would be more reasonable to do this every so often.

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And at the same time, I think it would be so cool to sit down in 20 years and look back on this book. Or better yet watch Eddie, Charlie, and Alice look back on this book. The year our family was made whole and complete.

I’m sorry. I got something in my eye looking back…

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Yeah, it’s $80 cool.

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. My Social Book provided me with an $80 credit to make a book and then write about it. No other payment was exchanged. All opinions are mine.  To learn more about My Social Book, like their Facebook Page or visit their site.

We Were Liars

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I didn’t even realize We Were Liars was a YA novel until I went looking for it in the book store. I was scouring the fiction and literature section for E. Lockhart, and I was annoyed I couldn’t find it. I was going to ask at the desk, but I wanted to check out the YA section first to see what I might nab to read that I could add to my classroom library. And there it was.

(This should tell you how much I need to know about a book before I will read it. Hint: not much.)

It seemed like every time I posted a new “review” people would follow by asking “Have you read We Were Liars yet? So I caved and read it.

The book is told from the point of view of Cadence, a seventeen year old who is part of an East Coast family of “Old Money” Democrats. Her mother is one of three sisters in the family and Cadence is the oldest grandchild, so she stands to inherit much of the Sinclair legacy which includes a private island complete with houses for her grandparents, her family, and each of her mother’s sisters’ families. Cadence is very close with her cousins, Mirren and Johnny and Johnny’s mom’s boyfriend’s nephew, Gat (yes, it’s that complicated and weird). The family has nicknamed them The Liars. Every summer, the entire Sinclair family lives on the island. The family is very rich and very entitled and very snotty.

Anyway, Cadence has some sort of accident on the island when she is fifteen. Because of it, she suffers migraines and complete amnesia about the summer it happened. When she is sixteen, her dad takes her to Europe rather than go to the island, something that bothers her. When she is seventeen, she goes back to the island and is determined to figure out what happened two year previous.

I will say none of the characters were particularly likeable, however the plot was very fast-paced and I read the entire book in about 48 hours. Even though I found the teenagers entitled and full of themselves, I still wanted to know what the heck happened, so I was drawn into the story. I think my students will definitely love it.

The ending is…well…the ending is why you read the book. Everyone who asked me if I read it said, “I won’t say anything, but when you finish? Let me know. I want to know what you thought of the ending.”

I am of the “I liked it” camp with the ending. Rumor has it, Lockhart wrote the book after reading Gone Girl because she loved the plot twists. Since I can’t give my students Gone Girl, I like We Were Liars as an example of a fast-pasted novel full of twists.

I also sort of like that it’s hard to relate to any of the characters. I think a book can still be good and the writing done well even if you don’t like the characters. The Great Gatsby is a wonderful example of that. However, I think Fitzgerald and even Flynn purposefully wrote unlikable characters. I’m not convinced that Lockhart wanted her readers to dislike the teens in her novel, given the ending. But maybe.

Either way, I liked the book. It was a great quick read for the summer and I know my students will love it, so I look forward to adding it to my pile of Book Talks this fall!

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Want to contribute to my classroom library? Check out my students’ Wish List!

Links are affiliate with Amazon. Anything purchased via those links will give me Amazon credit toward books for my classroom.

 

“You Look Great!” and other lies I want to believe

I don’t gain weight when I’m pregnant. It’s one of the only happy side effects of pregnancy I get other than the baby at the end. I spend a lot of time either barfing or feeling like barfing.  When I’m not sick, I just don’t feel like eating. When I do feel like eating, it’s almost always fruit I want.  Or peanut butter. When I crave junk, I let myself eat junk because at least it stays down.

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All that to say, after my baby is born, I am lighter than when I got pregnant with said baby. Every time. It was most drastic this last time with Alice. I think I was even surprised because she was my first baby who gave me junk food cravings (“fried” is a food group that can be craved, yes?), and because I knew she was the last, I really let myself just eat whatever I wanted because I was so SO sick the first trimester.

I knew it would bite me in the butt later, but pregnant women care not for “later” when it comes to food.

After Alice was born, I lost a LOT of weight. A lot.

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In fact, I was almost 40 pounds lighter than when she was conceived. After “she’s beautiful!” the very next thing people said to me was, “you look great!  Really! So great!”

I thanked them and blew off the compliment because I died a little on the inside every time.

Because I know you meant the compliment in all the wonderful ways possible, but I also knew that the weight loss was temporary.

You see, after I have a baby, I am completely uninterested in food. Nothing really tastes good to me except coffee. So for a good 2-4 weeks, I live on almost nothing but coffee and the occasional peanut butter sandwich. The weight falls off because I’m not eating or sleeping well and my hormones are still all out wack. When you tell me how fabulous I look, I know that as soon as food tastes good again and my hormones start evening out, the weight will pile back up, and no one will tell me I look fantastic again.

Here I am, almost five months postpartum, and the weight is all back.

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I’m disappointed in myself.

I had high hopes of keeping it off this time. Of getting into a work out routine. Of eating healthy.

I have all the excuses: hormones are still acting dumb (my hair is all falling out, my complexion is under the impression I am thirteen again, etc.), I am tired all the time (baby + two active boys = not enough sleep), cardio makes me wheeze (yes, I need to talk to my doctor about this because it is a new turn of events that I need to know if I need to work through or what), I’d rather read a book.  You know all the typical stuff.

The thing is, five months ago when everyone was complimenting me, I knew my aspirations to do better this time were empty. I didn’t want to accept those compliments because I didn’t feel that I did anything to deserve them. I didn’t work on myself or take care of myself to earn a healthier physique. I had a baby and lost a bunch of blood and water and a human from my body. And I didn’t eat.

Back then, I felt that if people knew what I knew, they wouldn’t be telling me I look great because they would also know that given a few months, I would not look great anymore.  Or at least not the “great” they were currently complimenting.

Now I struggle with my body image daily, and I feel that I have somehow let people down.

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I always said, once my last baby was born, there would be no more excuses for not getting my body back to feeling great. But here I am again.

I know it’s not “too late”. I know what I have to do.

I also know thinking about starting makes me want to cry.

Not just because it’s a lot of work (well, that too), but because it overwhelms me. I know I need to start by making an appointment with my doctor. I need to get blood work done and check my thyroid and all those good things that haven’t been checked. I need to talk to him about the wheezing (because DUDE. That never happened before) and find out if my knee is good for some brisk walking (and hopefully more).

I know I need to eat more spinach and less bbq potato chips, more water and less lemonade.

I also know that more importantly, I have three kids watching me. I have a daughter now who will be determining what looking “great” means, and I want her to associate that with “healthy”.

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But most of all, I want to believe that I will do these things because I want to believe that I look great, and I am not in that place yet.

Adventures and Netflix

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Being home with three kids ages 6 and under is intense. It’s always been my goal that we get dressed and get out of the house at least for a bit every day in the summer. This summer that has sort of gone out the finger-printed window. With a new baby and a freshly turned three-year old in the house who still needs a nap, we haven’t been able to do all the adventures outside the house that we would really like to do.

We have had to resort to calling swim lesson drop-off an “adventure” for the day. I have also declared Popsicles as a snack an “adventure” because we couldn’t go anywhere due to a baby who was on a weird nap schedule that was different from her three-year-old brother’s nap schedule…so pretty much someone was always napping.

That being said, my boys were off the charts excited when we got a big ol’ box from Netflix a couple weeks ago.

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My boys really like How to Train Your Dragon, and Eddie informed me he had already watched several episodes of the Netflix series, Dragons Race to the Edge. After we opened the box, Eddie blew up the sword and Charlie grabbed the treasure map and they were off to outside.

Later while Cortney was feeding Alice, I came out with the chalk and we filled up the driveway.

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That night, Charlie asked to sleep with his blue dragon.  After he tried on the mask…and let his sister have a turn, of course.

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I have let myself feel quite a bit of guilt this summer for not being able to take my kids out daily to do fun adventures. I stare at the “bucket list” we made and wonder if we will get to even a couple of the items.

But you know what? Netflix reminded me that we don’t have to leave home to have fun adventures. We can use our imaginations and our resources right here to find fun.  And when we get tired from all that fun? We can sit down and enjoy adventures on our TV thanks to Netflix!

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This is not a sponsored post. Netflix provides us with service and a device to stream movies and shows on, but the opinions are all our own.

The Chosen

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I had never read The Chosen by Chaim Potok. Apparently I am in the minority since even Cortney–the self-proclaimed “not-a-reader” has read it.

After I posted about not wanting to be a sheep, my soul sister, The Pastor’s Wife, recommended it to me. After I started reading it, I texted her, “I think I get why you recc-ed this book to me. I really love it. Thank you.” In reply she said, “It’s like a rich dessert.”

Yes. It is like a rich dessert.

It small and easily devour-able in a short amount of time, yet it’s much more enjoyable taken in small bites and savored.

The novel takes place over the course of six years starting in 1944 with the death of president Roosevelt, World War II, D Day, the revelation of the Holocaust, and the struggle for the creation of the state of Israel in the forefront of the story. The story is told from the point of view of Reuven Malter, a Jewish boy living with his father in Brooklyn, New York. Reuven and Danny Saunders, an Hasidic Jew, meet when they are fifteen years old during a softball game between their two school teams. Both boys go to Jewish schools, but Reuven’s is very strictly Hasidic and the softball games quickly becomes a religious war-zone.

During the game, Danny hits one of Reuven’s pitches right into Reuven’s eye shattering his glasses and sending him to the hospital. Against those odds, the boys become friends. Best friends.

You know what a friend is, Reuven? A Greek philosopher said that two people who are friends are like two bodies with one soul” (74).

Reuven quickly realizes that Danny is extraordinary. He has a photographic mind, remembering word-for-word everything that he has ever read. His father, Reb Saunders an Hasidic rabbi, doesn’t speak to Danny except when they are discussing the Talmud. He is raising Danny in silence. This is something neither Danny nor Reuven understand, and Reuven grows to hate Reb Saunders for how he treats Danny. Danny, however, respects and trusts his father.

Reuven’s father, a Jewish scholar and writer, gives Danny book recommendations even though he knows Reb Saunders would not approve of his boy reading secular works.

I will admit I had to look up some of the Jewish references. I didn’t know what the Talmud was or what some of the Hasidic garments were.

I loved that the story was told from Reuven’s point of view even though it was as much about Danny as it was him. It allowed the reader to be amazed by Danny as Reuven was. To watch Danny’s story unfold and be explained by Reuven’s father to us as well.

As I read, I kept thinking about the title, The Chosen. The Jews are known as “The Chosen People” by God in the Old Testament. They are the ones who will inherit the kingdom of God. No one in the book seems to have “chose” Judaism; it is part of who they are. Danny and his father strictly practice the Hasidic tradition, and that means Danny will take his place as a rabbi., even though he doesn’t want to. There is no choice in Danny’s future, unless he gives up being a Hasidic Jew.  Reuven, on the other hand, is free to choose what he wants to be, and while he excels at mathematics, he is choosing to become a Jewish Rabbi.

I don’t know that my question about needing to be a sheep was answered, but I was able to see the idea of choice and following a faith in a new way.

you will discover that the most important things that will happen to you will often come as the result of silly things, as you call them–‘ordinary things’ is a better expression. That is the way the world is” (110).

The Chosen is as much a thought piece as it is a beautiful read. It’s a rich dessert for the mind.

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Some links are affiliate. That means if you click through and then buy? I get a little kickback from Amazon to put towards books for my classroom library. Find me on GoodReads to check out what else I’ve been reading!

Three is Hard, Yo.

Dear Charlie Bird,

Part of me doesn’t want to record this time in your life. I want to let it go by the way side so maybe we can both forget it. But that wouldn’t be fair because it’s part of who you are and who we are right now. So let me tell you a story.

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Tuesday night we were watching Curious George before bed as usual. Daddy was in the chair with Alice, I was reading my book at one end of the couch, Eddie was in the middle with the tablet, and you were on the other end. Everything was totally fine.

Then you decided to sit on the arm rest.

It is a well-known rule that we don’t sit on the arm rests of furniture. For one, you fell off from it just an hour before and landed in your sister’s rock n play with her in it. There was much crying.

Anyway, I said, “Charlie. Please sit on your buns the correct way on the couch cushion.” You looked over Eddie at me and stuck your tongue out.

Daddy said, “Charlie. Sit. Now.”

You spit.

Daddy started to count. You did not comply.

We were all tired. We just wanted you to listen just this once. But no. You did not want to. I had been going through this with you all day, although throughout the day, your clip drops on the behavior chart when you make a poor choice. I don’t know why we were giving you eleventy billion chances in that moment.

Yes I do. We were all tired.

I had been doing it for ten hours. Daddy was soothing Alice and had been at work all day. We were so done. We didn’t handle it well. I didn’t handle it well.

I threw my book on the floor. Marched over to the Behavior Chart and put you in the red. Then I stormed over to you, picked you up off the arm of the chair, and threw you onto the couch so you would land on your butt. I yelled.

I know this is not the way to parent. I especially know this is not how to parent you. You will not cower and crumble and obey out of fear (not that I want to parent that way anyway. It’s awful just typing it). You will lose your mind.  And you did.

You screamed. You threw things. You spit.

Dad got mad. He set Alice down, grabbed you, and put you in your bed.

When I got downstairs to put you boys to bed, you had thrown everything out of your bed. The rule is, if you throw it out, you don’t get it back. So you screamed while I read books to Eddie. You cried when I turned out the light.

Eddie got concerned that you would cry so hard, you would barf. You didn’t.

You spit and tore things off the walls because you had run out of things to throw.

I ignored you.

You continued to freak out.

I gave you your pacifier and your pillow.

You threw them back at me.

I left.

Daddy came down and talked you down. He gave you your pacifier and your small pillow. You were fine. So I came back down to lay by Eddie for a bit.

You freaked out again. You were so mad at me.

So I gave up.

Daddy came down instead.

I went up and cried.

This is not an isolated event, my dear Charlie.

You have one of the worst tempers I have ever seen. Most times, I don’t freak out on you.  Most of the time I can muster the patience to talk calmly to you and administer your consequence with a soft voice. Most of the time. Tuesday I was weary of mothering. I just wanted you to listen and obey the first time. For once. I didn’t want to have to count to ten and put on a calm face.

Three is just hard. It is. I have to remind myself of this over and over.

And it’s not just hard on me and daddy. It’s hard on you.

Three is a big age. You aren’t a baby anymore, but you are clinging fiercely to baby things (like diapers and your pacifier). But you want to be BIG and STRONG too.

You have BIG feelings, but no words to describe them.

You are trying new things and wanting to do things on your own, but getting so so frustrated when you can’t do it easily like your older brother.

And on top of all that, you lost your place as the baby of the family four months ago. You are trying to figure out your place and your voice in all this, and, well, it’s just down-right frustrating and stupid sometimes.

We went through a lot of this with Eddie when he was three. He also had a new baby (you!) to deal with. His temper wasn’t as short and he acted out in different ways, but still it’s all about three just being dumb and hard.

I’m sorry, buddy. I’m sorry I lose patience with you. I’m sorry three is so hard sometimes.

But it has it’s good stuff too. I hope you remember the good more than the difficult.

Like how I was there during the thunderstorm on Monday morning and you said, “Mom mom? I am going to sit right here so you can keep me safe.”

2015-07-13 19.39.25

I love you so much, Charlie.

So much.

Love, Mom mom

 

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