My Thoughts on Toni Morrison’s: “The Big Box”

I was browsing books by Toni Morrison last week on Amazon and came across a children’s book she wrote called, along with her son Slade, called The Big Box. I am a fan of Toni Morrison so I logged into the King County Library System website and put the book on hold.

the big box

I picked up the book today and couldn’t wait to read it so I read it in the parking lot of the library while my kids whined about their hunger.

The book is about three children, Patty and Mickey and Liza Sue, who are told “you just can’t handle your freedom” and imprisoned to live in a cardboard box. They are showered with every materialistic thing their little hearts could desire and visited once a week by their parents, who come bearing gifts.

It is sad as the “teachers who love her”, the “tenants who love him”, and the “neighbors who love her”, talk to each of the children to explain to them that they can’t handle their freedom so they are going to be sent away. Each child answers in confusion with the things that they are doing right. Mickey replies, “But I comb my hair and I don’t do drugs, and every day I vacuum the rugs.”

The empty and sad looks on the faces of the children as they sit in their cardboard box surrounded by toys, junk food, and entertainment is heartbreaking and as a parent it really made me think about my own children.

How many times have I called the kids into the house and told them to watch television or play Nintendo for awhile because I was tired of them throwing dirt clods at the house, making mud “soup” when they weren’t supposed to be playing in the water, or screaming because one of the others was tying them to the oak tree?

A lot of times it is easier to throw toys, goodies, or entertainment at our kids so that we don’t have to deal “right now” with a behavior. And most importantly, there are many times that the poor behavior is not really poor behavior, but a demonstration of creativity or just being a KID!

Also, it demonstrates that it is not things that children want, but our time. That is something we hear and think we understand as parents, but to truly grasp it takes a lot more thought and effort than one would imagine.

Brett and I both strongly believe that children should be respectful and we enforce that, but I will be thinking a lot more about the motivation behind the action next time I jump to discipline one of my children.

Reading through the reviews on Amazon it is clear that this book can be interpreted in many ways and there are many who think this book is not for young children. My kids are mature enough to hear it. I will read it to them tomorrow and see how they react.

There are so many meanings that can be taken from this book. I would love to hear from others that have read it!

Technorati Tags: Children’s Books,Toni Morrison,Book Review. Parenting

Fun With Chocolate

I have been trying to find ways to use my spearmint and peppermint plants that are growing like crazy.

Luca suggested we put some mint leaves in lemonade and it turned out really good. We have been alternating the spearmint and peppermint in Crystal Lite or lemon or limeade made from the recipe on the back of the lemon or lime juice bottles (Luca’s favorite) once a day for that past week. Not bad!

Tonight we decided to try dipping the leaves in chocolate. They turned out really good!

dipped chocs2

We also tried a few strawberries and blueberries. They were all great, but I am going to use a darker and better quality chocolate next time.

They aren’t exactly pretty…but they didn’t last long so we didn’t care.

We dipped the strawberries and mint leaves with our fingers and used toothpicks to dip the blueberries. After we dipped them we put them in the fridge for fifteen minutes so the chocolate would harden. We also put one tray of dipped blueberries in the freezer and they were great frozen.

The kids are already thinking of new things to dip next time. First thing on the list: Teddy Grahams!

Randomness

* My four and five year olds don’t just ask for candy or chocolate. They say, “Mom, can I have some dark chocolate truffles?” Huh?! I didn’t know little people could be so high maintenance!

* $350 worth of groceries is the new $250

* When I grocery shop at midnight with an overflowing cart full of groceries and there is only one check stand open, how many people with only a couple of items should I let ahead of me before I feel okay about tying up the line for fifteen minutes while they ring me up? I let one guy with a bag of diapers ahead of me and then I totally avoided eye contact with the other six people that filed in behind me. (And then diaper guy asked for cigarettes after he had already paid and the checker had to go across the store to the film developing department and go behind the counter and use a key to get them out of a cabinet and then come back and ring him up again and I was all, “that’s what I get for being nice”.)

* The dang squirrels got our first two strawberries just as they became ripe. Elka (the dog) has been put on red alert to keep the rest safe until they are juicy and red.

* Speaking of the dog. She is normally very well behaved…but today she totally ate a plate of 5–6 blueberry pancakes from the table this morning while I was out of the room! These weren’t our typical pancakes. Oh no. We picked the blueberries ourselves and it was the most involved recipe I have ever used for pancakes. Beating the egg yolks and whites separately, sifting the dry ingredients, folding each ingredient in one at a time…ridiculous, but delicious! All I can say is the squirrels better not make it to any more of our strawberries.

* I don’t like the Nintendo Gamecube anymore. (no, we don’t have a wii) We have just slowly been coming off of a two month break from it and the kids are already fighting over whose turn it is and who played the longest and who gets the purple controller…reminds me of why we took it away in the first place. It is gone again until my kids start acting like they like each other.

* Oh, I don’t hate Nintendo DS’s though. Looooove those! They each have one to use so there is seldom fighting about them. They are life savers! Long car rides and doctor’s office waiting rooms are no big deal with a DS for each kid.

* It is 1am and I am tired and I am babbling. Good night!

Getting My Frizz On

This is why I only let the kids brush my hair late at night, and only if I am not going anywhere or expecting anybody to stop by for the rest of the night.

kims hair

Brett walked in the room and exclaimed, “Whoa! New hairdo?”

Yes, it is the Marsha Brady…only frizzier.

So the kids are starting to catch on just a little bit that brushing my hair is not a privilege. They used to fight over who got to do it and now they ask me how much it is worth. Good thing they still think a couple of dimes is worth ten minutes of their time.

Tonight Luca said, “Mom, I think I brush your hair the best, Lincoln rubs your feet the best, and Anna rubs your back the best.”

I said, “Hmmm, you might be right. I should probably have you all do it at the same time so I will know for sure.” I think she bought it. I will try to slip it into tomorrow night’s bedtime routine.

Brett found out before we were married how much I love my feet rubbed and my hair brushed. I can’t think of another way to win me over more than those two things.

The first time we watched a movie together (I think our second date), he rubbed my feet for the ENTIRE movie. It was Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I will always love that show. I knew that night that I had found “the one”.

Luckily in eleven years of marriage he still doesn’t mind when I prop my feet up on his lap for some attention, or when I lean into him while we watch a movie in the “please play with my hair” pose.

*About the picture: It was 11pm and I had already taken my makeup off and it is black and white because my eyes were so read from my contacts. And yes, my freckles really pop out in the summertime.

A Start In Gardening

We have a strawberry!

strawberry

I planted forty strawberry starts several weeks ago. They were leftovers from a nursery in town and were “certified”, whatever that means in plant talk. I was told they were very hardy and could be planted in almost any type of soil. They did survive being planted upside down for a couple of hours so I believe they are quite tough.

Notice that the strawberry plant is planted in very gravelly bark. It is also planted, along with some of it’s family, right under a pine tree and I have to rake dead pine needles away from them a couple times a week. I am kind of surprised they are growing as well as they are in these conditions. I believe in tough love.

Really, only about half of the plants I planted are going to survive, but that is way higher statistics than I usually get in gardening.

We were also told that this strawberry plant spreads out and forms vines, so if they survive we should have more each year. Then I am supposed to divide them when they get too thick. Good thing I have a couple of years to learn how to do that!

Thankfully Luca has happily taken on the roll as strawberry plant nurturer and she makes sure they get water every day. It has been her summer project.

daisies

Here are my daisies. I am hoping that this plant has at least doubled in size by this time next year. I bought the smallest of the daisy plants at Wal-Mart because I felt sorry for it. It was on clearance and the others weren’t and it needed some love. It has twice as many flowers now than it did when we planted it a few weeks ago. (this is only a portion of it…it isn’t THAT small)

lavender

And I am SO excited to watch my lavender flourish over the next few years. I LOVE lavender and I am sure I will add even more next spring.

Our tomato plants and herbs are also thriving. I am in shock. I have always been one to kill plants, not grow them! I am hoping I am onto something.

Next year I want to have a couple of raised beds for vegetables. I would love to make a delicious salad from my garden!

Technorati Tags: Gardening,Lavender,Strawberries,Daisies

Buried By Books

books

This is my stack of “currently reading” or “to read’s” that are stacked on my nightstand.

All but one of them are library books so I have a deadline. I hate deadlines.

I am currently reading “Breaking Dawn”, “Home Comforts”,The Dinner Diaries”, and “A Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Oh, and “Dearest Friend: A Life of Abigail Adams”, which a coworker of Brett’s let me borrow and it has been a very long time and I need to get back to it because it was fascinating. Sorry Jen. I will get your book back to you.

This is how I read. I need to work on my attention span.

I can’t take the kids to the library and not get myself a book or two. Or three or four. I try to just look for the kids, but I find myself browsing the books in the juvenile section and think, “I should read this to see if it is appropriate for Luca!” And then on the way out I pass the shelves of “Staff Recommended” books and I can’t pass up a recommendation.

And as I sit here I realize there are some missing from my picture. A friend recommended “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie and I have had my copy from the library for, oh, three weeks now and I am going to have to renew it before I ever start reading it. My plan has been to finish all the books that I am in the middle of so I can really focus on that one when I read it.

I also planned on reading “Beezus and Ramona” by Beverly Cleary with Luca. Her stack of books to read is at least as tall as mine so at least I have a little time.

I’m feeling the pressure; I better end this. I have some reading to do!

Technorati Tags: Reading,Books,Literature,Library

My Midnight Run To Get “Breaking Dawn”

I decided at the last minute tonight to run to Borders to get Stephanie Meyer’s new book “Breaking Dawn”. I got there at 11:54 with just enough time to get a numbered bracelet and get in line. They had a count down as if it was New Year’s Eve and there was lots of screaming and jumping when the clock struck twelve.

41xdccUi6LL._SS500_

It was an interesting crowd there. There was a group of moms (like me) standing in line in front of me. They were all hyper and chatty…so I guess they weren’t really like me. I was tired. It WAS midnight and my baby has been getting up at 4am all week to nurse.

The group behind me was a group of high school girls. I heard a lot of, “Whatever!” and “Nuh uh!”’s. Then one girl glimpsed the number 414 on my bracelet and said to her friend, “Oh! We should totally be in front of HER! We are LIKE 125!” And then they pushed past me and elbowed their way several feet in the line until the totally rockin’ employee handing out rewards cards kicked them out of the line and told them to wait until they were called. Us mom’s in line snickered as they grumbled their way to the back.

I finally realized that it didn’t really matter if I was in line because they were calling groups of numbers and I was still over 300 away so I wandered out of line to find a book.

When I got back in line I was behind a dad and his daughter. The dad was older and gray and the daughter could have been anywhere from 13 to 17. It is hard to tell these days. Her dad looked tired but happy and she talked his ear off the whole time we waited. When it was time to move forward he would gently put his hand on her back and nudge her forward in line while he smiled and nodded at her as she talked.

I want to be the parent that would stay up to take their kid to a book release party at midnight when I am tired.

When I got to the front of the line I had made it to page 25 of a book called The Bright Forever by Lee Martin and I was really into it so I had to scrounge around in my purse for a pen and paper so I could write down the name and author so I could reserve it at the library.

When I got to the counter I saw a couple of younger men (who were alone) at the counter buying the book. Of course, their copies of Breaking Dawn were hidden under another “manly” book as if they were getting the romance novel for their girlfriend and “Pimpin’ Your Civic”, or the likes, for themselves. Save your money. We all saw through it. I bet they totally went right out and started reading in their cars.

When I got to the counter they scanned my credit card and I picked up a pen to sign the receipt but she told me not to bother and shoo’d me away. Good way to keep the line moving fast.

I ended being in the store for only an hour. Not bad.

So here it is 2am and I am off to read the first chapter while I curl up in bed.

What the heck! Kai will be waking up in two hours to nurse anyway. I might as well pull an all-nighter!

Technorati Tags: Stephenie Meyers,Breaking Dawn,Twilight Series,Border’s,Midnight Release Party