The Life of Bon

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Pieces

The first time I felt it was in July.  I was on vacation with my family in Southern California- my mom and her (really great) new husband and my seven siblings and their spouses and all the accompanying children and babies and dogs.  Not the dogs.  They stayed home.

We'd been split 6 or 7 weeks.  The world did not know.  My family carried the brunt of the knowledge and support. They surrounded me with love, with care, with every way they knew to convince me that I would make it out alive.

We were playing pickleball at night.  My massive mormon family taking over the courts and playing two, three games at a time.  Players switching in and out.  Winner stays.  Davy needs a partner.  Are we playing until 11 or 15?  Wow, that's a mean serve you got there, Trav.

I was on a team with my 14 year old niece, Lizzy.  Pickleball is not a hard game, but it is new and different and maybe we didn't quite feel secure yet with our abilities.  And we were playing my brother and my nephew- tall, athletic men.  But we held our own.

The game was so fun.  My mom was watching my kids.  I felt a complete release of responsibility, of burden, of care.  The pressures of saving a marriage, of working two jobs, of trying to manage everyone else's happiness but mine own were gone.  Weightless.  Free.

"Smash it Lizzy!"  An energy and enthusiasm burst out of me.
"Oh, girl, it's all good, I know how it is.  We're going to get them on the next one!"
"Yes, that's what I'm talking about!  We're killing it!"

Pieces of the old me.

A life, a personality, a person.  Inside of me.  That's been hidden.  Buried under pressure, cracking under the weight of being in charge of every.damn.thing.all.the.time.  Coming out again.

I felt it again a few weeks later.  With my book club friends at Bear Lake.  At the insistence of Sarah, we rented a trampoline for an hour.  I would have been fine to sit on the beach and stare into oblivion.  Sometimes taking charge of your fun is work, and I have no more energy for work.

But she insisted and pushed and so we paid the money and swam out to the trampoline and there we were- six grown women, in our 30s and 40s, jumping on a trampoline, dancing to Beyonce's Single Ladies on the blue tooth speaker, playing games where we tried to knock each other over, human bowling pins getting bruised and jostled and stamped on.  Jumping in and out of the water.  In and out.  Laughing and dancing and feeling so free free free.  Feeling so me me me.

That life, that personality, that person bursting out of me again.  The person I was before.  The spunk, the laughter, the silliness.  I was doing ridiculous, wild things.  Yelling absurdities.  Trying to get a laugh from my friends and succeeding.  Feeling the energy I felt when I was 23 and the world was only full of possibilities and joy and opportunity and laughter.

Pieces of the old me.

That feeling is coming and going regularly now.  The old me venturing out again. On Saturday when I was hitchhiking up the canyon with my friend because we left the key in the car and I felt no fear, no intimidation, just boldness and excitement sticking my thumb out and waiting for them to pull over.

When I went to a Weezer concert and a midget sized and totally high man started dancing on me and my friend and I laughed and went with it, circling him, shaking our arms all around him, singing "Oh, oo, ee, I look just like Buddy Holly..."

Last week when I sent my friend a series of ridiculous and good looking and probably inappropriate memes and pictures of Antoni from Queer Eye.  (Oh heavens, has a more good looking human ever existed?)

Today when I made dinner and was dancing and cooking and screaming the music to Hamilton, "I'm just like my country- young scrappy and hungry and I'M NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT!"

That old me.
She's still in there.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Sunday

Sundays are the hardest days for me.

I feel it from deep inside.  A desire to hide.  To crawl into bed and never get out.  To cry and cry and cry.  To open up some valve inside of me- the valve that protects my pride, that tells me not to cry in front of people, that says, "Alright now... keep it together."  To just open up the floodgates and allow the outside to match the inside.

Instead I wear a full face of makeup, heels and an ironed dress.  Fresh dyed hair and shaved legs.  Maybe if the outside looks good enough I can almost trick the inside.  We got this!  We are bold!  Beautiful!  Confident!  This doesn't hurt a bit!

Sunday is a long, tiresome, lonesome day.  A day where I worship, where I plead for help from God, where I am surrounded by my church, my community and friends.  A day where I have a mandatory napping period (self imposed!); a day designated for rest, understanding, and healing.  Why is this day the one that sends me reeling, crumbling, begging for it to be over?

Perhaps I feel so strongly on this day the hope of what could have been.  The hope of a life together built around family, God, community, love, forgiveness, growth, healing.  A life of connection.  A life of belonging.

But.

When I feel my lowest, help arrives. My friend who takes my baby in the hall during church so I can at least catch one nugget of truth from the speaker. Help arrives from my sister who calls me and asks me if I want to come over last minute for dinner.  Help arrives when I come home from that dinner to a slice of chocolate cake on the porch.  Help arrives when my friend comes over to borrow some nutmeg and she asks me how my day was and I burst into tears and she gives me a big hug and then goes down to the jewelry basement with me and helps me crank out 40 orders so I won't be behind tomorrow.

A life of connection.
A life of belonging.
Thank you, friends, for carrying me through this Sunday.



Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Hobby Lobby.

It happened today at Hobby Lobby.

Everything was innocent.  So regular Tuesday morning, so easy,  so not "Oh my gosh I'm getting a divorce and everything about my life is going to be different and I don't even know where I am anymore."

I went with my friend Sarah because I needed her minivan to buy a tv stand for $139.99.  At first I thought the price tag said $1399.99 and I thought "dang, I can't afford that but I love that tv stand."  And then I realized it was $139.  And I talked to Sarah and said "I need your van for Hobby Lobby right away before someone else buys this. " And she said ok.

It was Sarah and me and three of our combined five children.  Heavens bless school.

We yanked the price tag on the tv stand.  I picked out two standard drawer knobs.  None of this bright turquoise or moon shaped door knobs that Hobby Lobby has going on these days.  We strolled down the party section where Sarah was looking for tickets so that she could open up her very own "Mommy Store" for her children.  Oh, parenting.  The kids touched everything in sight.  There was lots of "No, you can't have that, put that back before it breaks, DON'T OPEN THAT PACKAGE."

We rounded the corner from the party aisle and all of a sudden there we were, smack in the middle of the world's largest Christmas selection.

The memories came rushing back, like a flood- urgent, steady, swift.  The day after Thanksgiving, him and me and our two babies at Hobby Lobby picking out all things Christmas.  We need new decorations!  Fresh decorations for a fresh start!  What kind of ornaments on our tree this year?  I'm kind of tired of the gold.  Ok.  Let's add some color.  Do we want decorative Christmas pillows?  Oh that would be so fun.  I kind of want to put new lights on the front of our house.   Oh my gosh we have to get one of these silver Christmas trees with the snow.  Let's do all new stockings this year.  Red for the girls and green for the boys so they all match.  Should we buy extra just in case we have another baby?  You devil you.  Maybe three extra stockings?  Oh stoppppppp.....

A marriage rocky, hard, and troubled-seemingly finding its smooth sailing.  At last.  We can do this, I thought.  We're out of the rough patch.  Gosh we're so tough, and we've been through so much, but our marriage is stronger than ever and we got this.  It felt so good to be coming out of that storm and to feel safe, secure, invincible.  Hope bursting out the doors of that Hobby Lobby Christmas section.

We loaded up the babies and the Christmas decorations and picked up a pizza and went home to eat the pizza and put the babies to bed and decorate the home to be Christmas.

But the storms came back, the rocky got rockier, the invincible, suddenly, so heartbreakingly vincible.  A clear realization that we would never need those extra stockings.

And I'm left in this Hobby Lobby, looking down a row of tacky Christmas ornaments wondering when these memories will stop assaulting me.  When the hope that we are strong enough to make this marriage work will finally give up and die already.  In my head the hope is dead.  Put to rest and sleeping peacefully six feet under.   But in my heart that hope is more tenacious.  Still yearns for life.  Frantically tries to jump out of my chest and begs for another chance.

Leaving my marriage is essentially the painful job of forcefully saying goodbye to that hope.  Of knowing that giving the hope life again and again and again will not ulimately give me the life I want or deserve.  I tried.  For seven years.  Oh how I tried.

Letting hope die.

Who would know that's the hardest part?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

64

Sometimes I wonder.

How will I look back on this time in my life?

When I'm 64 what will I think of 32 year old me?

32 year old Bonnie, going through a divorce, trying to keep it all together, making french toast for two babies in the morning, taking pictures for a jewelry sale in the afternoon, taking kids to a birthday party in the evening, putting kids down to bed, going to Rich Crazy Asians with friends, staying up until 1 am making cookies and editing jewelry pictures, doing what it takes to provide for herself and her babies.  Sometimes feeling so overwhelmed with sorrow that she can't possibly go another day and sometimes feeling so overwhelmed with relief that this life is hers hers hers and she can make of it what she wants.

What will I think of this Bonnie?  My now Bonnie that won't be now Bonnie for long, that in the blink of an eye now Bonnie will be past Bonnie who was once going through a very hard time.

I'm not 64 yet.  So I don't know 64 year old Bonnie.  I hope she has a lot of money and is having good sex.  I hope she's not on any kind of lame diet.  But mostly I hope she's kind and compassionate and patient.  I think she is.  I think she's looking at me and this experience and saying "Wow, Bonnie.  You were so strong.  You were so brave.  You took such great care of those babies.  You were kind and you were beautiful and you were tough as hell."

I think 64 year old Bonnie is saying those things to me.
And I think 32 year old Bonnie is too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

School

Today was the first day of school at Jordan High.

And for the first time in my life I am not going back to school.

Not as a student in Price Utah, not as a college student at BYU, not as a high school teacher at Jordan High.

Eight years of teaching high school English.

Today is my first day of not being a high school English teacher.

I did not find a cute outfit to wear on my first day.  I did not write objectives on the board.  I did not assign the first chapter of Lord the the Flies for homework.  I did not pass out disclosures and try in vain to convince students that yes, I really will take their cell phones if they have them out during class.  I did not frantically study seating charts and try to memorize names, did not reward myself with a large diet coke from Sonic on my way home.

In another world I would have done all that.  A world I have lived in my whole life.  Now it's a new world, I guess.

In my new world I woke up to June asking me to watch show.  I was lying at the foot of the bed because it's the only place where I can get cool (directly under the ceiling fan) and now that I sleep in the king sized bed alone I guess it doesn't much matter if I'm at the top or at the foot, frontways or sideways, upside down or backwards.  The bed can be slept in however I please.

In my new world my mom came over in the morning to help me mop my floors, clean out the fridge, take care of kids, figure out why the garbage disposal isn't running.  This is at my request.  I finally worked up the courage to say mom can you come over every single week and help me keep everything together (physically and emotionally) and can you do this for the foreseeable future, possibly months until I feel strong again?  And she said yes of course, I'll be there.

In my new world I dropped my four year old off at preschool, put the one year old for down a nap, and then ventured to the basement to fulfill jewelry orders.  Orders for a business I have built myself from the ground up.  Work that I am so grateful for and that is flexible and makes a good wage to provide financially for me and my babies but that admittedly does not light up my soul the way that memorizing seating charts and passing out disclosures and assigning chapter one of Lord of the Flies does.

How did I get from where I was to where I am?

In my new world I met Greg at Maverick, switched car seats and babies, and drove off alone, back the way I came.  In my new world I went to the mall by myself to engage in retail therapy and left filling empty and assaulted by mall smells.  In my new world I drove to the temple and took a nap in the car and then went inside in search of rest from the chaos chaos chaos in my mind.

In my new world I drove thru In-N-Out, devoured a burger in the car, came home, trudged back down to my basement, worked on more orders, felt grateful, felt sad, felt relieved, felt heavy, felt alone, felt loved.

What a world.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Nap

Yesterday I had to wake Hugh up from his nap.

I don't really let him ever sleep past 5 pm.  Then he never goes down for the night.  But waking up a baby from a long and delicious afternoon nap always feels like a kind of sin to me.

I made a bunch of noise in his room.  Opened drawers and turned off the fan. But he didn't stir.  His bottom lip stuck out, his arms huddled close to his chest.  He wanted to sleep.  Not this rude awakening.

So I got in the crib with him.  I've never done that before.  Gotten in the crib.  But it felt like I needed to be on his level to do this mean thing to him.  So I climbed in, cuddled next to him, and slowly started stroking his back.

He opened his eyes.  Then closed them.  Opened them again.  Rolled over.  Curled into me.  Couldn't believe I was making him wake up.

He looked so sad and tired.  So disappointed that this was truly what was happening and that he was going to have to accept it.  And I thought, boy me too.  I get you.  So I didn't say anything, and I didn't rush him and I just lay there and rubbed his back.  Made it as easy as I could for him to get up when he was ready. 

He yawned.  He stretched.  He rolled from one side, to the next, to the next.  Eyes closed again.  Eyes open again.  Learning to accept his reality.

We lay there together minute after minute in his crib.  I tried to practice with myself the same things I had been practicing with him.  Love.  Compassion.  Tenderness.  Patience. 

We'll figure out a way to get up. 

But it might take a while.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Crime and Punishment

I'm reading a difficult book.  It's written by a Russian.  Is that what makes it so difficult?

The names are hard to keep track of.  And hard to pronounce.  I like to pronounce the names in my head when I read a book.  Also there are Russian nicknames and slang and unfamiliar terminology.  I need to start taking notes.  Who is who?

There are lots of characters being introduced in the first chapters.  And lots of storylines that are jetting off on weird side streets.  STAY LINEAR. My mind screams.  It's not staying linear.

I am reading it because it's my best friend's favorite book. And because she's married to a Ukranian and because she speaks Russian and make delicious Russian food that she sometimes shares with me and because those things are important to her and so they are important to me.

I am listening to it on audible.  And when my mind can't focus enough to catch everything that is going on, I am reading the hard copy.  And of course there is always sparknotes for when I am truly feeling like a lost soul, drowning in the ocean of Russian Literautre.  I feel like I am 14 again.  Too dumb to follow this book.  But now I'm 32 and I have the gift of a few more years and a lot more experience and I've learned self-compassion.  I am not dumb.  I am resilient and strong.

It's important to me that I finish this book.  For my friend.  Finishing it shows my loyalty and love to her, as well as my willingness to invest in things that are important to her.

Once I made a promise with someone I loved that we would read each other's favorite books.  I read his book.  All 1000 pages.

My favorite book was (is) Catcher in the Rye.  212 pages.  He didn't read it.  That relationship did not last.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My mom is getting remarried

My mom is getting remarried.

When I lost my dad, I lost him all at once.  It was so sudden.  I went to school and he was there.  I got a phone call.  He was not there anymore.  The loss felt so massive.  Impossible to work around.  Forceful.  Intrusive.  Inconceivable.

What I didn't know is that I would really lose him twice.  The first time I lost him all at once.  Quickly.  The second time I lost him in pieces.  Slowly.  Almost imperceptibly.   When I could no longer call his number and hear his voice on the voicemail.   When his car didn't smell like him anymore. When my mom moved from their (our) home. When his dog died. When we sold the cabin.  When I realized that I have no idea what happened to his favorite 1989 blue Scofield Triathlon shirt.

All these pieces of him that lingered after he left.
And then one by one those pieces left too.

I guess my mom's singleness always felt like that last piece of him.  And when the last piece goes it feels like I'm losing all of him again.  What will remain of him now?  Where do I look to find him?  Who will remember him?  He feels forgotten.  Not a person anymore, but only a memory.   With a widow he still felt present tense.  Remarrying makes him past tense.

I can't mourn forever.  But moving on makes the gap feel bigger. The chasm widens.  The space between when he was here and where I am now is getting too hard to cross.  Eight years.  He's never read this blog . Never met my husband.  Hasn't been in my home. Never held my children.

I am not ready to say goodbye,
still not ready for him to die.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

2017: An ode in pictures

I posted so little on this blog in 2017.  Instagram (@thelifeofbon) mostly serves as my mini blog now, but I do miss writing.  I am hoping to get back to more writing in 2018.  Right now I have too much going.  I have two kids and two jobs and two church callings and it's two much.  (Sorry couldn't resist the pun.)  A big goal for mine in 2018 is to figure out a way to simplify.  It will likely mean quitting one of my callings and one of my jobs.  I can no longer sustain teaching part time at the school and running a jewelry business.  Something's gotta give.  It's either that or give up one of the kids... 

I find myself in a place where I fill very full and I am grateful for that.  I get a lot of joy and satisfaction out of both of my jobs.  I get great joy out of my children, maintaining my home, working in my church callings, watching jazz games on the couch with Greg.  A contentment has settled into my life for which I am very grateful.  The only problem is I am *too* full.  Too many good things and that is what has made it so hard for me to quit any of them.  I recognize I can't be everything to everyone, and I recognize there is a season for everything.  Right now I wonder if I am trying too hard to cram every single good thing in my life where if I let some of those good things, the good things that remain could be even better.

Is anyone still following this?

Anyway, one of the "good things" I'm hoping to reclaim is more writing.  Which certainly doesn't mean "blogging".  I'm probably over "blogging" forever- the endless sponsored posts, the deadlines, the pushing for followers.  Maybe not, who knows, that season could re enter my life- but for now it feels good to reclaim this blog for me, for my kids, for my writing.

And now, some pictures.  Mostly of kids.  Kids who do not belong to you.  Somehow I think you are interested?  It's a weird world.


















Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Outing to the Aquarium

Well friends we have emerged from a pile of jump rings and gold chain and studs upon studs upon studs. We survived the Christmas jewelry season!  For the third year in a row!  Every year I think we won't possibly arrive on the other side.  And then we do!  (Our shop is here)

We have managed each year better than the year before.  We've found more effective and efficient ways to manage.  Last year's entire month of December was a blur of jewelry and pregnancy and stress.   I really thought it would kill me.  And we learned a lot from last year on how to do things much smarter for this year.  We were still crazy stressed busy to the max, but we managed it sooooooo much better.  One thing is for sure, the teaching school + running a business from home + being a mom to two all at at the same time is not sustainable long term.  I'm not sure what the future holds exactly, but I am sure that I have to cut something out if I want to remain a sane, happy, healthy person.  And if I ever want to see my kids.

Monday was my last day of teaching and also our deadline for all jewelry orders.  Which means the majority of this week has been catching up from everything else I have been slacking on, but also just enjoying the season.  Monday night we stayed up late playing games with my mom and sister, Tuesday we did lots of jewelry cleaning and organizing, and yesterday we got to sneak away and enjoyed the afternoon at the aquarium.  In the middle of the afternoon!  At the aquarium!  Just hanging with my family!

The aquarium in Utah is a tad on the expensive side, ($20 for adults, $15 for kids) but I think it is totally worth it to do once a year or so.  It is an amazing aquarium and you really can't beat it in the winter!



A note on our EvenFlo stroller.  When Hugh was born I did major major research on the best double stroller.  And then I shelled out big bucks for one that I now only kind of like.  It is one of the most popular strollers, but it is still so heavy and cumbersome to me that I, admittedly, look for any way to not pack the "big stroller".  After looking at SO MANY STROLLERS I thought it was just inevitable that a double stroller had to be big, bulky, and oh so heavy and I was kind of resigned to my fate.

Several weeks ago I found this Evenflo Sibby stroller system.  And it is honestly the perfect solution to our stroller woes.  It has the easiest fold up of any stroller I have ever used.  It is so lightweight.  It *almost* feels like an umbrella stroller in its lightness only it's way better because it has underneath carriage, way comfortable handle bars, and (essential for diet coke addicts like myself) A CUP HOLDER.

It is technically a single stroller, but here is where the genius comes in.  It comes with a board that you can easily clip on the back for your toddler to stand on while you push it.  June LOVES it and jumps on and off constantly.  It was so nice at the aquarium because she would hop on anytime her little legs started to get tired, but then could easily hop off and go check out the fish, hop back on, hop back off.  It is SO easy and so much nicer than her constantly getting in and out of a stroller.




This pic give you a good look at the cup holder (that is removable btw if copious amounts of soda is not your thing) and the board that hooks on and off for your toddler.




For those of you who live in Utah, the aquarium has the best kids' play place I have ever been to!  It was like a donkey kong level, complete with different parts of the playground that lit up.  And it even had that old school nintendo music going on.  And it had the cutest play place for itty bitty kids too.  Hugh was in heaven.  Our kids would have gladly stayed all day.





Oh, I forgot to mention that the leg rest on the stroller comes up and the back goes down for when baby falls asleep.  This is seriously the smartest, lightest stroller I've ever come across.  Hugh NEVER falls asleep in public, so I think it speaks something to the stroller that he passed out like this.





(I was gifted this stroller from Evenflo in exchange for my honest review.  I have stopped almost all sponsored material on this blog because it is only worth it to me if it is something I really really really love.  I have a rule that I won't accept any sponsored items unless I would willingly pay full price for it.  When I had the opportunity to review this stroller, all I had to do was look at its ease, functionality, and the reviews, and I knew I would willingly pay full price for this bad boy.  It was really been a total joy for us and we are so grateful to have it.  Also, I just checked the Evenflo Sibby landing page to include the links at is on sale right now for $133.  AND it also comes with a carseat and carseat base.  This honestly might be the best deal that you will see the entire Christmas season.  Like I said, if they didn't give me this stroller I would gladly pay for it- IT IS AWESOME.)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.

Because matching Christmas jammies.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday season.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

All hail King Froggie!




About two years ago, June's Uncle Brett won her a stuffed animal at an arcade center.  That stuffed animal was Froggie.  Froggie is a hero.  He is King around here.  Diety, if you will.  I would love to study the psychology of children and know exactly how/why it is that some toys get thrown aside and forgotten about it and some, well, some make it to King Froggie status.



Froggie has to go everywhere we go.  We waits in the car when we go to restaurants.  He never misses a family vacation.  He cuddles June while she watches TV.  And don't you ever ever ever think that June could fall asleep with Froggie.  No siree, ain't gonna happen Bob!

Naturally, this has caused a bit of trouble for us.  Mainly it has led to many many Froggie searches.  June takes him everywhere.  And subsequently leaves him everywhere.  I can't even tell you how many times we have have to practically call in the freaking search and rescue to hunt that guy down.  Searches in cars, toy rooms, closets, laundry baskets, etc, etc, etc.  One time we found him in the crock pot, I kid you not!

That's why we've finally wised up with Tile.

#TileIt

Tile is this magical little device that you attach to your frequently lost items, sync with your phone, and KABOOM, you can find your item just by logging in to the app on your phone.  The world's best-selling blue tooth tracker! Technology these days, folks!

(P.S. by the way Greg has mentioned that he wants to "invent" this product probably 40 times in our marriage and I always say, "Greg, I know someone has invented that already.  So when we got this Tile he was almost offended, "THEY STOLE MY IDEA!"  Oh, Greg.  Slow to the punch, but yes, this is the best idea ever.)





People who don't have King Froggie living in their home may choose to use Tile on a more traditional frequently-lost-item.  You know.  Wallets.  Keys.  Cell phones.  That's the beauty of it.  It can attach to any of those items SO easily, or you can thread a string through it, put it around Froggie's neck and make it the collar for your three year old's Froggie.  Its uses are endless, my friends!

Also you can use Tile and the Tile app to be a part of the world's largest lost-and-found community, where friends and strangers come together to find everything that matters.  Tile and the community of Tile users helps locate two million items every day.  TWO MILLION.

Now don't mind me while I go buy a Tile for my passport, my cell phone, my shoes, my laptop charger, Greg's favorite Jazz hat, etc, etc, etc, etc....

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fa-la-la-la-la


Hi friends!

We're having our Black Friday Monday sale over at Hey June today.  We do it early so we can enjoy the holiday with our family.  Perks of owning a small business!

Use code GRATEFUL25 for 25% off your order and use code GRATEFUL30 for 30% off yoru order of 60+

Can't thank you blog readers enough for the way you launched our business.  We never could have done it without you.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend.  May gratitude overwhelm you!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

We need to talk about cheese



Over the course of the past two years our little jewelry business has been able to replace the income that we once made in the combined efforts of Greg's teaching + Greg's directing plays + My blog writing.  What a thing!  How amazing and exciting and totally awesome is that?  We are so grateful for that.

Now I don't feel "forced" to write.  Or post on this blog.  Which is a really good thing because my writing can be more authentic and can come from a place of real desire.

It can also mean that I take three month sabbaticals.

I am sorry.

The really great thing about not relying on this blog for income anymore is that I can choose to work with the brands that I really really love.  I have the freedom now to say no to sponsored posts.  I mean, I once did a paid campaign for tampons, so I think that shows how hard up we were around here for a bit.  (I did turn down the KY-Jelly sponsorship though- even I have my limits!)

Getting to be a little more picky with the blogging "work" that I pick up is really great.  Because then I am doing the work that I really love.  I haven't done a paid sponsorship on this blog for MONTHS.  But then this week I had the opportunity to work with two companies that I absolutely love (this one and this one) and would recommend to any friend and even some of my enemies, so that was a no brainer to say yes.

Which brings us to today's "sponsored" post, which doesn't really feel sponsored at all but feels more like sit down and let me tell you about cheese because we all love cheese and need more cheese.  Chocolate and cheese- no one is ever going to say no to those two things, right?

Greg is actually the food connoisseur in this house.  I get intimidated buying it.  Last time I went to the store and asked the guy at the counter for gouda and I felt real profesh and smart because I knew what that was.  Then he asked me what kind of gouda and what age and I was a gonner.

What I really like about Great Midwest Cheese is that it makes it easy for cheese dumb dumbs like me.  I like my cheese to taste good.  That's all I know.  Great Midwest Cheese has an amazing selection of cheese flavors and varieties.  Unlike any line I've ever seen.  Apple cinnamon cheese?  Blueberry Cobbler?  Oh my! (Here you can find their list of varieties. Click on the "about" on the left hand side.  I am drooling.)

Hand-crafted in small batches, using only the purest, certified hormone-free milk for a smooth, natural flavor worthy of any dish.

I tried out the Cranberry Cheddar and the Mango Fire Cheddar.  I would have LOVED to try more varieties but the Target I was at only had these two different kinds.  If you go to this site you can put in your zip code and it will tell you the closest store that carries Great Midwest Cheddar so you can try it yourself.  (And when someone tries the blueberry cobbler I neeeeed to hear about it.)

So, full disclosure on this post, I originally tried to make a really fancy grilled cheese sandwich for this post.  I wanted to create a recipe so you would all think I was an amazing professional blogger and was trying to create a new twist on an old classic.  With the cranberry cheese I added cream cheese and turkey and cranberry.  A turkey cranberry cheese sandwich.  You know, kind of like grilled cheese meets Thanksgiving dinner.  In my head it would be amazing.  In reality is was disgusting.  I ate one bite and dumped it in the trash.  I also burnt one side so there's that.  THERE'S YOUR FULL DISCLOSURE PEOPLE.

For round two I focused just on the cheese.  Cranberry cheddar and bread- that's all I needed.  And this one was amazing.  The truth is I always want to be fancy with my grilled cheese, but these cheese are already "fancy" and give the grilled cheese the extra sass that you want without any extra work and I think that's the real miracle here.  The new "twist" here on this sandwich is the cheese.  Just focus on the cheese and your grilled cheese won't go wrong.



And if you are wondering about the Mango Fire- it was VERY good and VERY hot.  Greg shredded it and put it some broccoli cheese soup tonight and it was just the right amount of kick!

Friday, August 11, 2017

JULY GBOMB--- 11 DAYS LATE

JULY GBOMB

I am stealing this idea from Danica.  My blogging has been sporadic (at best) the last year, and as I gear up for another school year and the ensuing chaos I feel like some structure in blogging would be helpful.  My goal is twice a week.  Some slightly more “structured” posts may help me.  Or they may sink me.  Who knows anymore?  Blogging is like babies.  An explosion of unpredictable chaos.

GBOMB stands for Good, Bad, On my Brain.  So it’s a July review, if you will.

***Disclaimer!  I wrote this 10 days ago.  And then never finished writing it.  And then figured I should hurry and just post it before August is gone!  So here you are, an unfinished GBOMB***


GOOD
-        -On July 2, we gave Hugh his official baby blessing in our church.  It is mostly an opportunity to give blessings and love to a new baby.  It was two days before 4th of July so I made sure we were all dressed to fit the bill and it ended up being such an incredibly special and beautiful day.  Sometimes I get worried on big days like that that my huge expectations and the pressure of a big day may get in the way of just enjoying the day itself (Greg and I have an awesome history of epic fights on birthdays, holidays, and other huge high pressure days.)  But it wasn’t any of those things- just a beautiful day surrounded by family and people we love.  Hugh was blessed with some beautiful things, the one that sticks out in my mind the most is to be a happy and content person and to look out for people around him who need friends.  What a sweet thing to bless a baby with.

      Even though I am blogging much less frequently than in the past, I am still considered for a few sponsored campaigns- like this one I did this month.  It is a cause dear to my heart (as a kid I literally scoured the neighborhood collecting these from everyone I knew.)  I am so grateful for education and grateful for blogging and grateful for ways to help our schools.

-      The fourth of July this year may have been my favorite Fourth in Larsen history.  We played it lowkey- went to a little church breakfast and then came home and all took naps.  We hit the pool in the afternoon with our neighbors and friends, got J. Dawgs for dinner and ate on the lawn, and then met up with all of our neighborhood to watch fireworks from the nearby park.  It was such a perfect holiday, close to our friends and neighbors and I felt a great sense of community.

-       July is birthday month around here!  We celebrated Greg’s birthday on the 15th and June’s birthday on the 16th.  And while my birthday is *technically* in June, it is on the 30th so it feels like June.  Three birthdays in 17 days is nutso!  For Greg’s birthday my mom watched June and Greg and I got to do a little overnight Greg with some friends.  It was a dream.  We are trying to make more effort to do things just the two of us or to do things with only one child.  Being with just Hugh always makes me somehow love him more.  Like maybe it’s not Hugh that’s a hard baby, just that it’s hard to have a baby and a toddler?  Because when June is gone I just cannot get enough of Hugh.

-       For June’s birthday I threw her a long awaited “Purple Party”.  I asked her every theme in the book and that was the one she insisted on.  PURPLE PARTY.  Homegirl is going to love what she’s going to love.  Buying all the gear, making the invitations, and the overall party planning was tons of fun.  We had so many friends and family members who came to celebrate with us and it was so fun to see everyone and to all come together to give love to a crazy little three year old.  June was in absolute heaven.  When she was saying her prayers she included in a loud and proud “thank you for my purple party!”  Made it all worth it.    

-       I spent four days in an AP literature conference.  It was a total dream.  My teacher was phenomenal and I felt my teaching soul nourished in a way that was very necessary after my hardest year of teaching yet.  I have wondered if I have it in me to keep on teaching and this week was what I needed to charge my batteries and rejuvenate my soul.  I left excited and with tools that I can use immediately in my classroom.  Teaching AP Literature is such a gift to me.  Aside from raising my family, it is the most rewarding thing I have done in my adult life.

-       Speaking of AP Literature, I got my test scores back in early July.  85% of my students passed the AP literature test and 6 hardworking kiddos got 5s... the highest score. I feel so grateful for this news. This was my hardest year of teaching yet and I felt busy, stressed, and out of control so much of the time. I worried so much that the kids wouldn't be able to bounce back from my 6 week maternity leave mid year. I felt inadequate and like I was doing the kids a disservice for much of the year. These results tell me two things: 1) women can have children, families, take time off of work and still make valuable contributions in a work place. It doesnt have to be all or nothing. When I wanted to teach part time my boss told me that the AP program would suffer because of it and that AP classes should really be taught by a full time teacher. I insisted I could do it. Today I am reassured that family + work goals can coexist! 2) my students this year were incredibly hard working and resilient. They didn't stop while I was gone for 6 weeks and never complained about the time I had to be away. They were grateful and extremely kind kids/almost-adults and I consider myself very lucky for the privilege to know them. There were a few students who took the test and did not pass- of them I am just as proud as the students who got 5s. These kids stayed in an AP class all year, wrote essay after essay and continued to attempt tasks that were beyond their comfort and ability level for an entire year and THEN saw through a 3 hour AP test still unsure of whether they had what it takes to pass. They didn't let the fear of failure stop them. This to me shows incredible determination and tenacity. These students have what it takes to be successful in life just as much as the students who passed. So proud of ALL my students and I am beyond honored and grateful to have had the chance to teach them this year.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
-        
BAD
-        Hayward left the Jazz.  I hate that I care.  But when you are a big sports fan and pour a lot of your time into supporting and building a team, things like this do have an effect.  Utah is a small market team and it can be frustrating to spend years deceloping key players like Gordon Hayward and then as soon as they are good have them leave to a bigger, better team (Boston Celtics).  It’s frustrating.  Kind of feels like when you work hard to get a guy to like you and as soon as things start going well the popular, cute girl comes in and swoops him away with no effort at all. 

-       June’s purple party wore me out.  The day of the party I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and afterward I was basically like, “that was the worst thing ever and I am never doing that again.”  And the thing is I felt like I kept it pretty simple.  And it was still total madness.  How do you guys do your kids’ birthday parties?  I am venturing into this wild unknown territory of kids’ birthdays and I am frightened.

-       The month has felt so full and busy which I LOVE, but I haven’t had the time to read and relax that I usually crave in the summer.  I read Americanah, More than Happy: The Joy of Amish Parenting, Spark Joy and I am currently reading Sense and Sensibility.  I still really want to get to Heart of Darkness and Handmaid’s Tale

ON MY BRAIN
-       Our quiet and very enjoyable Fourth of July at home got me thinking about what I want my family traditions to be.  I think when we first got married and started our family we kind of just piggy backed onto whatever family traditions either of our families were doing.  I really like the idea, though, of being more purposeful of developing and creating our own family traditions.  I love our extended families, but I also love our little family unit and want to make sure that we are strong and connected all on our own.

     Doing this campaign has me thinking about ways to help people be more involved in education.  I feel like it's a lot of complaining about bad teachers, bad schools, etc, but not alot of action.  People are hesistant to get involved.

-       About a week ago Paul Swenson, a thirty year old man in a neighboring town, mysteriously vanished.  I’ve been absolutely obsessed trying to figure out what happened.  Lots of mysterious things surrounding the situation including a very suspicious “gofundme” account set up by his best friend, Cody--- a boy I kissed in college.  Oh, college Bonnie.  You were so dumb.


-       Every year I like to switch up my texts for AP Literature.  I’ve taught Lord of the Flies and have loved it but am needing a change this year.  I’m thinking The Things They Carried instead.