The Life of Bon

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


You guys.  One year ago Greg and I started Hey June.  It's been such a wild and crazy year for us and we are so grateful for your support and love.  We pretty much destroyed our basement and just turned it into a permanent jewelry bomb but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  I posted on instagram our stats for the last year in our shop and everything we have been able to achieve. (Personal: @thelifeofbon, Shop: @heyjuneshop).  It has been more than we dared to dream of a year ago.  We are so so so so grateful to all of you.

AND, of course an anniversary isn't an anniversary without a sale!  The sale is today!  Wednesday!  September 28!  I posted on my instagram page the details of the sale as 25% off from 10 am- 12 pm and then 20% off through the rest of the day.  BUUUUUUUT because I like my blog readers best I am going to go ahead and give you the 25% for the whole day.  Use code LIFEOFBON25 at checkout and that'll get you your deal.  But it's only good through Wednesday.  Don't you be asking me for a sale on Thursday because sales can't last forever people.

You all are awesome.  Thank you for checking in here and sharing this journey with us.  It means everything.  And now I'm going to collapse in bed and watch 16 and Pregnant (my weird pregnancy obsession) after a 13 hour day at the high school.  Parent teacher conferences, man!

Oh, and we have tons of new stuff in the shop.  Here's pics!  Now good night!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Games (8 Minute Memoir Part 6)

This post is part of an eight minute memoir project that I have seen some of my favorite writers and humans doing.  Join in if you want.  Sometimes my fingers and my brain need to write.  The details are here.

The first time I spent any significant amount of time with Greg was a Sunday evening in early August of 2010.  I invited him to come over to play games with my roommates and me.

The game was Bang!- a western style game where everyone plays a different role.  Sheriff tries to stay alive, outlaws try to kill the sheriff, deputies try to protect the sheriff.  Identities are a secret so you try to figure out who everyone is based on their behaviors during game play.

I had initiated that first hang out.  We had talked briefly before this, at a few church functions and around the apartment complex.  I thought he was cute and he seemed to flirt with me back?  In any case, I had nothing to lose because I was moving in 3 weeks.  He was a cute boy, the summer days were long and hot, and the two seemed to fit hand in hand.

So I did a bit of stalking.  I looked up his number from a list of numbers of everyone who attended our same church meeting.  LARSEN, GREG... there was his number in plain sight for me to use and abuse.

When I called he didn't answer.  I left a message.  "Hey Greg.  This is Bonnie.  We're playing games at my apartment Sunday night and you should come over.  We're playing bang.  It's not quite as fun as the name might have you hope, but it's still pretty fun."

He called back immediately.

That Sunday night he sat next to me and our legs kept brushing up against each other.  Was this on purpose?  Did he like me?  Was he initiating physical contact?

It didn't take me long to figure out.  The next afternoon Greg called me and asked me out for that very night.  We went and got ice cream (but only after I had watched The Bachelor with my friends first).  He was so honest. So upfront.  He hid nothing.

When he dropped me off at my doorstep he asked me when he could see me again.  Tomorrow?  Wednesday? "I am very interested in pursuing this.  I like you."  I remember being so taken aback.  Where were the games?  The texting waiting times, the trying to act cool?  How could this boy be so vulnerable and honest?

By Thursday he had kissed me, four months later we were engaged and by March we were setting off to Mexico on a honeymoon.  I learned quickly and happily.  Greg wasn't play games.

A few weeks before we got engaged.  December 2010.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Little Things (8 Minute Memoir Part 5)

This post is part of an eight minute memoir project that I have seen some of my favorite writers and humans doing.  Join in if you want.  Sometimes my fingers and my brain need to write.  The details are here.

When June was born, she was such a little thing.

Actually, she was a little thing long before she was born.  Throughout my whole pregnancy the doctors were worried.  You're measuring small!  You're measuring small!  You gotta little baby in there.  In fact, they were so worried that they took June from me 10 days before her due date because she wasn't growing enough.  They were convinced that she would get big and plump outside of me much better than she was inside of me.

And so, she came early and she came little.  Five pounds twelve ounces.  Everyone who held her marveled, "She is such a little thing!"  But outside of me she didn't grow at the pace most babies do.  She suckled from my breast with the fury of a thousand suns, but she didn't get much bigger.  By two months old she was still only eight pounds.  People made lots of comments, "She's too little!  Can;t you fatten her up?  Is she eating enough?"  Even some people who read this blog said, "That baby is too little!  You must be doing something wrong."

But we weren't doing anything wrong.  At least I don't think.  June just wanted to be my little thing for much longer than some babies do.  At 9 months old she was still wearing 3 month old clothing.  I could carry her anywhere with me and not think a thing of it.  For the entire first year of her life she was in the first percentile for weight and height.  She stayed my baby for so long and I loved every minute of it.

Now she's not my little thing anymore.  She has sprouted and grown and looks about like any other two year old.  She wears the clothes that should fit her at this time.  When I check on her sleeping in her crib, her body sprawled out on the mattress, she looks so big to me.  Too big. She is big in personality and spirit too.  No longer a baby, she is now a grown up- she talks and thinks and laughs and rides a bike.  She throws tantrums and buckles herself in the carseat and says "Mo?" when she wants more juice.  She is finally "big"- just like everyone wanted her to be.

And I miss my little thing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hey! I'm pregnant!

10 weeks pregnant in Connecticut, when the news was still our little secret.

Well by golly tomorrow I am 20 weeks preggers and I haven't even posted once about my pregnancy except to tell you that I am, in fact, pregnant.  What kind of a blogger am I?!?

I feel like it took us forever to announce our pregnancy on social media.  I don't quite know why we waited so long, but for some time it felt like a happy secret that I just wasn't ready to share.  Week after week went by and we still hadn't said anything to friends and family, not to mention our online friends and family.  I just wasn't ready to give the news to others yet.  I think I feel like our little family has been through so much the past couple of years and I feel a stronger desire to guard and protect them than before.  So we let the news be our own little secret until finally I know people were starting to wonder at the ever expanding belly and it was time to share.

Another reason why it took awhile to share the news is that I felt so dang lousy the first trimester, it was all I could do to get food in my stomach, let alone think up a cute pregnancy announcement.  I know first trimester sickness is par for the course with pregnancies, but it doesn't make it any easier when it rolls around.  (This is also the reason why I went weeks without blogging in June.  Couldn't get feeling well enough to stare at a screen to type a dang thing.)  With June I was sick the first trimester, but it felt like I could keep it at bay.  This pregnancy I just felt sick from the moment I woke up until about 4:00 in the afternoon.  I never threw up once with June, but this baby had me on a few bathroom trips.  With a little bit of afternoon energy I'd try to take June to the swimming pool-- swimming was about the only thing I did that made my stomach feel not so dang sick all the time.  At about 11:00 at night the sickness would return full force and remind me to get the heck to bed so we could start this really fun process again in the morning.

I feel lucky that my pregnancy lined up exactly with school getting out. I found out I was pregnant the last week of school which left me all of June and July to lay in bed and feel sick.  In August I started to feel better- just in time to get back to my teaching grind!  We weren't exactly planning to get pregnant when we did, but this baby was anxious to join the family, I suppose and jumped at the first opportunity.  (LITERALLY)  Now I feel so grateful for the timing of the new babe and am learning to trust that there is some higher power somewhere who knows what our family needs more than we do.  The moment I saw the second little line come in on the pregnancy stick I cried at how overwhelmed I was.  Greg wasn't home and June was destroying the kitchen and I just didn't think it could be possible that our family was ready for another little baby.  I cried frustrated, stressed tears that turned almost immediately into grateful, happy tears.  There isn't anything in the world that has blessed my life like being June's mom, so getting to do it all again is a gift I didn't know I was ready to receive.

Let's see, what else do you want to know about the baby?  It's the size of a mango!  I feel him or her moving around inside all the time.  Doctor says baby looks healthy and growing like he or she should be.   I am much more tired this pregnancy than the last and I daydream of naps and early bedtimes. I crave salads and vegetables and fruits and gouda cheese and raspberry lemonade crystal light.  I feel like I am the healthiest when I'm pregnant because fried food and junk food makes me sick to my stomach.  Long live tomatoes and cucumbers!  Now that the constant nausea is gone I've been able to go on more walks and exercise more and overall I'm feeling gooooood.

I don't know what else to tell you.  My belly button has popped out already.  It's so hot.  My boobs grew like melons.  None of my pants fit and I haven't been able to find maternity pants I like.  (What's with the full panel pants?  Is there a point where those start to feel comfortable?)  I'm wearing dresses all day eeeryday because that's about the only thing that makes me feel like a normal human being.

June has been passionately pushing a toy baby stroller around and around the neighborhood the past few weeks.  She's ready.

Monday, September 12, 2016

All about that lip

If you are on social media much, chances are you have heard of Lipsense by now.  It is the lipstick that is sweeping the country by storm!  It seems like you can’t turn around without someone new offering to sell this crazy new product to you.  (I’m not sure how it has spread outside of Utah, but inside of Utah it has gone viral!)

I am not selling Lipsense.

BUT.  I have a good friend, Kelly, who is.  And she offered to let me try it for free in hopes that I would love it and tell you all how much I love it.  And the verdict is in… I LOVE IT!

Color:  Fleur de Lisa

The basics of what makes this lipstick different than others:

1.  It doesn’t move!  I am a huge lipstick wearer and I know too well the struggles of finding a good lipstick that stays in place.  This is lipstick that does not smudge when you eat, when you kiss, when you drink, when you DO ANYTHING.  It doesn’t even get on your teeth!

2.  The lipstick stays on all day.  Hallelujah!  This lipstick is my saving grace on days when I teach.  I put lipstick on usually at 6:30 am and by the time third period rolls around at noon you know there is no chance of my lipstick being on.  Usually at that point it is smudged, bleeding, faded, etc.  Lipsense really does stay on and doesn’t move throughout the entire day.  I’m talking 5:00 rolls around and the lipstick is still perfect.  You don’t even have to reapply!  (Caveat- you DO reapply clear gloss throughout the day which seals the color on.)  I have found this to be especially important for bold colors of lipstick- I feel so much less stress wearing Lipsense than any other brand.

This lipstick is at 3:20 pm.  I put this on at 6:30.  Four classes of teaching, countless diet cokes, one lunch, and 140 teenagers later! (Color: Blu-Red)

This lipstick is absolutely worth it to me.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular lipstick.  If you haven’t tried Lipsense yet, I’m guessing there are a couple of things that might be deterring you from buying:

1.  Price.  The lipstick is $25 for a color and $20 for a gloss.  You DO need both of these for the product to work.  Most Lipsense distributors will have you buy a starter kit for $55 which includes the color, gloss, and a remover.   My secret:  Don’t buy the starter kit.  Just get the color and gloss.  A transparent Neutrogena face wash bar will take the lipstick off easier than anything else I’ve tried AND it only costs $2 at any drug store.  So save on the remover.  Secondly, my girl Kelly is giving you 20% OFF YOUR ORDER THROUGH FRIDAY 9/16.  I have never seen a distributor publicly offering this low of a discount so I would jump on it right this minute.  At 20% off that means you can try a color and a gloss for $36.  I know it still feels a little steep for lipstick but I promise you it is worth it.  (Also, take into account that you never have to reapply lipstick so it is actually lasting much longer than regular lipstick.)

2.  You are nervous to buy a color without trying it first.  You can look at all the colors on Kelly’s website here. For an idea of what lots of the colors look like, check out Kelly’s instagram @kellyecoombs.  Message Kelly and she will be happy to help you find a color that works for you and even send you pictures of what that color looks like. (Or email her at  She is so great at helping you find what you want.  AND if you don’t like the color you choose she will even let you exchange it for a different one so that you don’t get stuck with a lipstick color you won’t use.

3.  You are suspicious of MLMs or direct sales.  I’ve talked to a lot of people who will not buy something no matter how great it is if it is sold through an MLM.  The reality of sales is that somewhere along the line, someone gets a chunk of the profits.  It can be a big store like Target, or it can be an individual person who sells it and gets that percentage for their work- like Kelly.  I also know that some people can be super annoying and spammy when promoting their direct sales, but Kelly has always been so classy with the way she sells.  I really have a lot of respect for those who do direct sales.  It is not easy and they are grinding and working for their families and personal goals.  So why not support that as much as we support any large store that sells us something?  Plus, the customer service can’t be beat- Kelly really will help you to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Color:  Fleur de Lisa

Questions?  Fire away in the comments and Kelly or I will be happy to answer them.  If you want to place your order with the 20% off, you’ll need to do it through Kelly because the website won’t let you put in the discount code.  Email Kelly at and she can help you with your colors, your questions, and your order.  If you’ve been wanting to try, this really is your opportunity!

From Kelly’s own mouth: 

I am an actress and princess for princess parties, so you can bet that I am always looking for a great lip color… I have found it in LipSense!  And trust me, I’ve tried EVERYTHING.  LipSense won’t come off when you smoouch your love, or smudge off when you put on your favorite white t-shirt, or even budge off when you eat that delicious frosted cupcake.  It’s also nourishing so my lips are softer and healthier than ever.  I really love it and hope you do too!

Instagram: @kellyecoombs

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Adventure (8 Minute Memoir Part 4)

This post is part of an eight minute memoir project that I have seen some of my favorite writers and humans doing.  Join in if you want.  Sometimes my fingers and my brain need to write.  The details are here.

When I was 18 years old, I fell in love.  He was in law school and smart and funny and a little dorky.  We dated my entire freshman year of college.  The intensity of my feelings scared me.

I never wanted to get married young.  I wanted adventure.  But this boy wanted to marry me.  Or, if not me, someone who could at least say that they wanted marriage within the next five years.  I could not say this.

Mormon dating is weird.  I know this.  But if you are 18-25 and you meet a boy who is a returned missionary and who has a great career path and who you really love and who really loves you back then many Mormons may think it's a no brainer that you get married.  Who cares if you wanted more adventure and freedom before marriage?  You met someone amazing!  Take that and run!

But I didn't.  I couldn't.  Instead, we broke up.  It was my first and worst breakup.  I sobbed for days.  I wondered constantly if I had made the biggest mistake of my life.  I could hardly eat.  My classes went unattended.

But I had promised myself that if I was going to break up with such a great guy that I was going to have adventure, damnit!  So I applied to go on a study abroad to London.  I didn't get into the program.  I applied for a semester at BYU Hawaii.  They said, sure, we'll take you.

At just one month past 20, I flew to Hawaii with my best friend, who had just turned 18.  We arrived in Hawaii with no plans.  We didn't even know how we were going to get from the airport to Laie, where BYUH campus was.  School didn't start for another week, and we couldn't move into our house for another four days.  But we were here!  Ready for the adventure to start!

We spent the first night in the airport.  I was really scared, but I didn't dare say anything.  I kind of just wanted to go home and marry that boy.  (Of course, by now he was engaged to someone else, so that option was off the table.)  The next day we somehow found a shuttle that would take us from Honolulu to Laie.  The shuttle dropped us off at the college campus and we lugged our heavy suitcases around, looking at the classrooms and the library, excited and terrified.

"Where should we sleep tonight?"  I asked Akasha.
"Um... I don't know..."

We had no car, no place to stay, and not much cash.

"Should we just camp out on the beach?"

So we stowed our suitcases somewhere (I think the driver of the shuttle let us leave them in his house?) and headed toward the beach.  After several hours of beach bumming, a kind stranger somehow was observant enough to notice that we didn't exactly have a place to go home to.  When he asked us where we were staying, we replied truthfully, "the beach.  We can't move into our house for another three days."

The man took mercy on us and let us stay in his home for the next three nights.

God took mercy on us and allowed that man not to be a killer, rapist, or other terrifying person who may take in two young girls.

I got my adventure.  But sometimes I wonder if adventure is synonymous with stupidity.

(Sidenote- as part of my "adventure" I spent every penny I had- $500- on a beater car.  I didn't buy registration or insurance because I couldn't afford it.  I didn't tell my parents.  The car broke down three days later.  It would need a new transmission to drive again.  When I called the person who had sold the car and told him it broke down immediately he replied, "Well, did you pray about buying the car?"  I buried my head in my arms and sobbed and sobbed.  And so, instead of driving the three miles from my house to campus, I hitch hiked every day.  So yes, adventure= stupidity.)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Bon's Book Club August: The Martian by Andy Weir

I wanted to go straight with the 8 minute memoir project- do all prompts in a row.  But I realized I couldn't do them fast enough and that there are other things I want to write and talk about on this blog.  We've had a lot of changes around here lately and those are exciting things to write about.  (Pregnancy!)  (School starting!)  (June's talking!)  So I'll still do the 8 minute memoir project, but it may be broken up a little with other random posts in the way.

Today's post is BLOG BOOK CLUB post!  It's the end of the month which means it is high time we talked about the book we all read this month. (We all read it, right guys...)

August's book was The Martian by Andy Weir.

I have to admit when this book was voted by blog readers as one of our selections for the year I was super bummed.  It didn't seem my style at all.  I had heard two things about the book already: 1) there are a ton of f words and 2) it is very sciency and technical which makes it hard to read.

So.... I wasn't really looking forward to it.  On Christmas day, Greg and I with some members of my family went to see the movie and I loved  it.  So, I warmed up a bit to the idea of reading the book, but was still afraid I would hate it.

The first 50 pages were a rough go, to be honest.  I probably read the first 50 pages in 3 weeks and then the last 300 pages in a week.  Once the book got rolling it really got rolling and I was pretty invested.  Overall I'd give the book FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS on goodreads.  I really liked it!  It was more enjoyable than I thought!  I thought the f words were manageable (I also tend to not notice cussing a lot when I'm reading so I might not be the best judge on this) and the science stuff didn't weigh down the book like I expected.  This coming from a total science idiot.

I especially loved Mark Watney, the main character. (Played by Matt Damon in the movie).  He is smart, funny, and a total problem solver.  (At our IRL book club this week we talked about how at times we were a little annoyed that he remained so optimistic and never seemed to panic in the face of problem after problem after problem BUT whatever, he's a fictional character.  We can get over it.)  I thought Watney was really the strength of the book- at times the technical stuff could get a little tough, and the other characters weren't especially likeable or intriguing, but good old Mark Watney made up for it all.  There were times I laughed out loud at the things Mark was saying to himself.

At the end of the day, it's a great survivor story and a testament to the strength of the human will to survive.  I am really glad that book club pushed me to read it because I know I never would have picked it up otherwise.  If you have been hesitant to try it, I would really encourage you to at least commit to the first 100 pages- it really is a great read- you just have to have a bit of tenacity :)  If you're 100 pages in and you totally hate it then you have my permission to quit, but I really do think that there are a lot of people who would really love this book but haven't given it a shot.

Did you read the book?  See the movie?  Your thoughts!!!

Next month's book is So You've Been Publicly Shamed  and I am so excited!  This is one book I've been looking forward to reading for a year.  I already read the first chapter months ago and had to force myself to stop and wait until September.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Billboard (8 Minute Memoir Day 3)

I am doing an eight minute memoir project that I have seen some of my favorite writers and humans doing. Join in if you want.  Sometimes my fingers and my brain need to write.  The details are here.

When I was a little girl my family took all of our family vacations to Southern California.  My mom's parents and siblings all lived in beautiful Palos Verdes.  I was vaguely aware at this time that my mom wished she lived in California too, and that maybe being away from her family made her sad.  I was also vaguely vaguely aware that this caused some tension in my parents' marriage- but ten year olds aren't too keen on observation.  Mostly what I knew is that the distance my mom suffered from her immediate family meant that I got California road trips twice a year.  I didn't realize her sacrifice at the time.

We'd always visit in the summer, and often at Christmas.  We'd stay a week at least- sometimes longer.  My dad would sometimes drop us all off, fly back home to work a couple weeks, fly back to California, and drive his bunch home.  I didn't realize his sacrifice at the time.

The drives were long- 10 to 12 hours.  We were eight children which meant no mini van, no suburban could successfully contain our troops.  Instead, we had an ugly, 15 passenger white van.

Like many families traveling in the 80s and 90s, seat belts didn't seem to be a top concern.  The van had four benches and my parents took out the front bench, replacing it instead with a large rug and a bean bag.  That way we could play games, relax, and eat on the floor.  Why not?  Someone always called the bean bag, my dad always drove, my mom never gave up her seat in shotgun.  These were our travel arrangements.

Because I was little, and one of the youngest, I always had to share a bench with one, or often two of my siblings.  This seemed unfair to me.  In a van so big, why did I still have to sit so close to Mary?

We always left early in the morning- in the 5 o'clock hour.  I would wake up when we stopped for breakfast at McDonald's in St. George.  We're almost out of Utah!  Hitting Las Vegas meant we were halfway.

"Anyone want to play the alphabet game?  Who wants to play the alphabet game?"  Mary was relentless.  All my siblings were older (three years older than me and seven years old than Mary) and were obviously bored by us- the two little girls.  They put on their discmans and took naps and I would be left the lone soldier to reluctantly play the alphabet game with Mary.

The rules were simple.  Start with A.  Go through the alphabet.  Find every letter of the alphabet on a sign or billboard.

We scanned the billboards.  On most of the road from Utah to California the billboard pickings are slim.  There are long, empty stretches of vast desert.  Not a lot to see.  The alphabet game could be excruciatingly long and boring.   I figured out the way to win, though.  The trick was to get enough letters in Nevada that when we hit California I was at least to X.  Then all we had to do was pass the exit for Zzyzx and the victory was mine.

Sorry, Mary.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I Don't Remember (8 Minute Memoir Day 2)

I am doing an eight minute memoir project that I have seen some of my favorite writers and humans doing.  Join in if you want.  Sometimes my fingers and my brain need to write.  The details are here.

I don't remember when I decided to become an English teacher.  I can remember when I decided not to become an elementary school teacher.  

All growing up, I thought I would teach grade school.  Entering college, I stuck with this plan.  At BYU, all elementary school teachers were required to take a physical science class that was specifically for elementary education majors.  For some reason this really bothered me.  Why couldn't I take the same stupid generals that all my roommates and the cute boys in my dorms were taking?  Instead I signed up for the dumb physical science class specially taught for elementary education teachers.

I think there were two boys in a section of 200+ students.  This, of course, offended me the most.  The other girls themselves also bugged me.  They seemed too prepared.  They always remembered their books and their pens and their makeup was perfect and for whatever non-explicable reason this just drove me absolutely certifiably bonkers.  Not to mention they were waaaaay too happy and bubbly and chatty.  (But never happy and bubbly and chatty with me.)  Nothing annoyed me more than this 4:00 Tuesday, Thursday science class with all these girls girls girls.

What really turned it for me, though, what made me know I could never stay in the elementary education major was the jokes.  Our professor insisted on starting each class with a joke.  He passed around a sign up sheet and said, "Sign up for which day you want to tell the joke to start the class."  Now this was something I could get behind.  I love jokes!  I signed up.

When my day came, my 18 year old self bravely marched up in front of the auditorium full of bubbly girls.  I didn't know a soul, but I had a great joke, and surely they could appreciate that.

"What does Godzilla say after he eats Japan?"  I said loudly.

Blank stares.

"I WANT SA-MOA!"  I yelled in my best Godzilla impersonation voice.

More blank stares.  Some smiles.  But no laughs.  Not even a pity laugh.  The room was uncomfortably quiet.

And then I knew I couldn't be an elementary school teacher.  I didn't have it in me.  This wasn't my domain, these weren't my people.  I felt like such a fish out of water- a stupid, unfunny fish out of water.  I finished the class with a lousy grade, left the elementary education major, and never looked back.  I don't remember where or how the transition to English teaching major came.  I have always loved reading and writing and my high school AP Literature teacher was practically my hero.  So I must have put those pieces together and decided to try English teaching?  I have no idea the details- the decision just fell into my lap somehow.  All of a sudden I was an English teaching major and I was going to teach high school English and it felt right.  It had to be right.

And today, on the eve of the first day of teaching my seventh year of high school English, I can confidently say, it was right.

P.S.  I am in the last few days for this campaign.  Thank you so much for all of you who have clicked and participated.  The blogger in me thanks you and the teacher in me reaaaaaaaaally thanks you.

Monday, August 22, 2016

I Remember When... (8 Minute Memoir Day 1)

I am doing an eight minute memoir project that I have seen some of my favorite writers and humans doing.  Join in if you want.  Sometimes my fingers and my brain need to write.  The details are here.

PROMPT 1:  "I remember when". Set your timer for eight minutes. Go somewhere quiet and get out your writing utensils. Write "I remember when" at the top of your page and start writing. The rules are don't edit/censor yourself. Don't worry whether what you're writing is good or bad. Don't worry who might read it. Just write whatever comes into your head. Try not to think too much. If you get stuck, write "I remember when" again and try something new. Go the full eight minutes without stopping. If you want to keep going, great. If not, great. If you feel like it, comment about how it went. Happy writing!

I remember when my dad used to ask me to help him plant potatoes in the garden.

"Bopper, I need you to help me with the potatoes."

I thought it was annoying that he asked me this.  Couldn't Mary do it?  Or Dennis?  Surely Dennis wasn't doing anything better.  But I'd put my black Nike gym shoes on and trudge behind him out to the garden.  

The work was pretty simple.  My dad cut the potatoes up into thirds or quarters.  He'd throw them all in a bucket, and then together we'd start down the long rows of the garden.  He would lift up up a big mound of dirt with his shovel and my job was to throw a potato piece in there.   It wasn't hard, but it was tedious and boring.   Over and over.  Up and down.  Shovel.  Lift.  Throw.  Repeat.

Planting time in Price was usually cold and windy.  My thin jacket wouldn't feel warm enough.  My fingers began to freeze from the cold.  I couldn't feel my ears as the sun set behind us.  It seemed wildly unfair to me.  None of my other white, privileged friends had to spend hours outside in the dirt planting potatoes with their dads.  Why did my dad always have to make me do stuff like this?

That was in the spring.  In the fall, he'd recruit me again.

"Bopper, I need you to help me with the potatoes."

Why can't Mary do it?  I'd think again.  Or Dennis?  Why did he always have to pick on me?

We'd go back out, this time with an empty bucket, ready to be filled.  My job was different in the fall than the spring.  Instead of placing the potatoes, I was now finding them.  Dad would lift up a shovel of dirt and quick, I'd rummage through the dirt like a squirrel, searching for one potato two potato three potatoes.

We filled up buckets of potatoes.  And it always amazed me how so many potatoes could come from so few potato pieces.  What were those sneaky potatoes doing all summer long, buried in the dirt?

All throughout the year we had a bucket of potatoes right outside the garage door.  Sitting on the steps, ready to be used at any time.  There were eight kids.  My mom cooked with a lot of potatoes.  In spite of myself, I took pride in it.  I helped plant those.

My dad has been gone for almost seven years now.  When I cut up potatoes into thirds and fourths, I think of him.  When I see big bags of dirty potatoes in the stores, I remember finding those with him, clawing through the dirt, dropping potatoes into never ending buckets.  

It's almost fall now, time to gather the potatoes.  

I can almost hear his voice, "Bopper, I need you to help me with the potatoes."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016



June is going to be a big sister!

We are so excited to share the news that a new baby will be joining our family in February.  We are absolutely thrilled and, frankly, a little shocked.  (Apparently we don't know how it all works?)  But mostly we're excited.  Really really excited!

The due date is February 2 and we are waiting until D-day to find out the gender.  Eek!  There's something really special about that period of not knowing.  Kind of like waiting for Christmas morning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Best Weekend of the Year

I mentioned in my last blog post that we were headed up to our old family cabin for the weekend.  It's no longer ours, but the owners let us stay for three days it felt like it was ours again.

For me the cabin feels like it will always belong to us because we built it.  For five years while I was in junior high and high school we spent weekends, nights, spring breaks up working on the cabin.  I helped caulk the logs, paint the walls, lay the tile, sweep out the chimney, plant the trees, stain the wood.  My blood, sweat and tears are in that bad boy.  (Mostly tears.  I had to miss a lot of high school parties to help work on that cabin.  It's not easy being 16.)

I was a little nervous about going up and really excited.  The second the cabin came into view tears sprang to my eyes.  It felt like coming home.  My mom sold the house I grew up in about a year after my dad's death, so I think the cabin is the closest thing I have to a place that represents my roots.  It's really the only place that Greg knows or has been to that carries with it any significance to my growing up.

Our weekend at the cabin was everything I hoped it would be.  The new owners had changed a few things, but mostly it felt the same.  It felt like ours.  We played tennis, we went out on the lake, we did ping pong tournaments, we watched the Olympics, we played games late into the night.  We discussed politics, we had campfires, we prepared and ate huge meals.  It felt like home.  It felt like family.  It was PERFECT.

And now, pictures.

Dinner at the kids' table.  Reed is the lone adult. 

 The view on Scofield Lake.

 Sam and Davy, my most adventurous nephews.  (And ALWAYS in good moods.)

 The next five or six shots were all taken at the same time.  I just went around the cabin to see what everyone was up to so I could kind of capture everything that goes on at one time up there.

 Ticket to Ride.

 Mary, my little sis.

 Love this view from the front door of the cabin.

 Reed and Amber working on dinner.  (With so many people to feed, my mom assigns people meals.  We do the planning and shopping ahead of time and lug all the food up there.  It's not a perfect system, but it works!)

 Tammy, Travis, and Rachel.

 Er... the large floating elk head is a new addition to the cabin...

 The pre dinner mayhem.

 This is the playground that is off the back deck.  The kids LOVED it and spend so much time playing out there.  June thought she had died and gone to heaven.  I could feel her looking at me, asking, "Is this it, mom?  IS THIS HEAVEN!?!"

 My mom wanted a picture of all the grandkids. (21 grandkids!)  We are missing only one here- 3 year old James who threw up right before picture time.  Ages are 17 (Ben) down to 4 weeks (Cosette).

 I worked my magic with the self timer to get everyone in one picture.  This is the pre picture gathering.  For some reason I always love pictures like these.

 ALL OF US!  My mom, her eight children, our eight spouses, 
and our combined twenty one children! 
38 people total!  We're only missing my dad, but he was there.

 My little crew.

 The view from the front porch.

 My mom asked me to take pictures to document Mindy's departure, who was flying out to Washington DC where she and her family will live for the next five months.  Mindy and I both thought it was a little bit of a weird request, so here's the best picture we got of said "departure."  
As you can tell, everyone is really giving Mindy the attention she deserves.

 Listen, June was pretty much savage at this point, so you just take what you can get.

 Doubles tennis tourney that Greg organized.  We lost in the first round to my mom and 17 year old nephew, Ben.  BOO.

 Tennis spectators.

 Tennis tournament championship game.  Phil and Kathryn vs. Becky and Dave.  
It was Becky and Dave's anniversary, but love wasn't enough to beat P & K!

 Another day, another playground for the kids to feast on.

June and Jensen are only three weeks apart.  They LOVED their bath together.

That's a wrap.  Two more days of summer around here and then it's back to the teaching grind!

P.S.  I've been working on a campaign for these.  I hunted these down furiously when I was a little kid, but I feel like kids today are not as on board.  Why!?!