The Life of Bon

Monday, August 03, 2015

Gone Cruising


Greg and I are off on a Caribbean cruise this week... enjoying wind and sand and sun and forgetting that four days after our return we'll be back to the grind in the classroom.  The good grind.  I hope you don't mind I'm taking the week off- no prescheduled posts or links to old posts to keep you entertained while I'm gone.  I'm sure you'll survive.

I'll see you on August 11!

P.S.  Thank you for all the sweet comments on this post!  So fun getting to know you all.  If you haven't yet, make sure to leave a comment and I'll be sure to respond when I get home.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My No Nonsense Post



Hi friends,

Can I call you friends?  I mean I don't really know all of you.  I know some people, but there are a lot of people who read this blog who I don't even have a clue that they are reading.  It absolutely blows my mind that there are people who read this blog whom I've never met who live in states I've never been to with children whom I'm don't even know their names.  Hello to all of you.  Please.  Tell me what state you live in and your kids' names in the comments.  Maybe then I'll feel like I know you a little better?

Today I don't feel like much writing a bunch of nonsense.  Sometimes I do feel like writing nonsense and that's okay.  Sometimes I like to write about how to clean your house really fast and where to buy the best jeans and how to discreetly nurse in public.  I mean, that's all really important stuff, trust me, I know, but it's all kind of just nonsense too, you know?  The best kind of nonsense, but still nonsense nonetheless.  Also nonetheless is one of my favorite words.

The truth is I kind of want to get my writing out tonight so I can get my reading in.  My family is doing a Book of Mormon challenge where we are trying to read the book in 60 days.  It's about 10 pages a day and that's super doable, but also super hard.  I know a lot of you who read this blog aren't Mormon and I know a lot of you aren't religious, but I think we can all agree that it's good to slow down and read things that somehow speak to our spirit and meditate on the things that are most important to us.  I have really enjoyed reading the Book of Mormon during these hot summer days and have had some personal questions answered.  I have felt a calm and a happiness in my life that I didn't even realize was missing.  I feel grateful for that.

I am also really excited about finishing Wild tonight.  I did my book review on the blog last night, but the truth is I still have about 30 pages to finish.  I thought about rushing through them last night so that I could write my post, but I was enjoying the book too much so I decided to save them instead.  Sometimes when I really like a book I try to go slower and slower as it ends.  To really savor those last few pages because it fills my soul and speaks to me in a certain way that I need at a certain time and can't quite bear it to be over yet.  I mentioned yesterday, but I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  I felt a lot of strength and a lot of hope from the author.

I am also excited about starting The Girl on the Train which is waiting for me on my night stand as soon as I finish Wild.  And then it's on to August's book club selection All the Light We Cannot See.  For non-fiction I've  been reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking in hopes of better understanding my husband and his introverting ways.  It's a great time to be a reader.  It's always a great time to be a reader.

If you can't tell, I have been feeling very introspective and maybe a little sad and reflective the past few days.  July does that to me.  It's the July blues.  Greg makes fun of me, but I'm certain it's a thing.  Have you felt it too?  A sluggish, heat stricken, do we really have to continue on with summer feeling?   I don't fully understand it because I LOVE summer and I don't even have to work in the summer and why in the world am I not 100% happy every single day in the summer?  I don't know.  That's why I call it the blues.

I've been trying to use my July blues time to study and reflect and better understand myself and my husband and my God and my role in the universe and you know- all those big questions.  Here's the thing, whenever I get feeling kind of depressed or confused it usually means I'm not taking enough time to myself.  I am an extrovert so I am constantly seeking the company of others, but it is important to feed the quiet Bonnie too.  I didn't know that about myself until the past year.  That I need time totally to myself- to go on walks with my dog and listen to Norah Jones and read books and write in my journal and study and reflect and let my mind kind of set me back on track a little.  A few nights this week Greg has been gone and I've been by myself.  I've put my little June bug to bed and then enjoyed four hours of total aloneness that has been necessary for me in a way that is very surprising to me.

Last night Greg and I stayed up past 2 am having one of those big talks about the big things... the mysteries of the universe, why we are the way that we are, what our wants and fears and needs and dreams are.  How we can be better spouses and lovers and partners... and not just that, but how we can be better people overall- how we can give to our family, to the world... what our future will look like and how we can sustain real and lasting happiness.  It was vulnerable and raw, and  I felt so close to him and so grateful for our relationship.  I have mentioned before on this blog- Greg and I are two very very different people.  But we are both totally committed to our marriage and to our Junebug and I will never regret marrying my sensitive, theater-loving redhead.  Our decision to partner up in life has stretched me, taught me, opened me up, made me a better person than I'd ever be on my own.  I have grown (and grown up) so much in our marriage.  Some of that growing has been painful, but it has been lovely, too, the result of two people trying to make a very important relationship work.  Sometimes I wish that Greg and I were more alike, that I could be married to my twin and then there wouldn't ever be any struggle.  But I'm grateful for the struggle, that Greg is willing to do it with me.  The sacrifice and the work that goes into our marriage makes it sweeter to me- the amount we are willing to give for each other because we know that it is worth it.

And now I'm crying.

Good night and happy weekend to all.



Bon's Book Club July: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

BOOK CLUB TIME!


HOW IT WORKS

Every month we read a book.  On the selected day, we talk about it. (Generally the last Thursday of the month).

Join in for whatever books you can.  Read what you want and comment on what you want.  Some readers write their own review on their blog and then link up to it, others just write their thoughts in the comments- it's up to you!  If you write your own post and link up, please slap the image above on your post! Grazi!



JULY BOOK:
WILD BY CHERYL STRAYED




Below you will find that we have given you a few questions to get your brain thinking.  These questions all come from Whitney, who is my book club co-host this month.  I love the questions she came up with- they foster great discussion! Remember, you never have to answer all the questions or any of the questions, they're simply to get your mind moving. (Or, if you are an eleventh grader you will ask me exactly how many questions you have to answer and how many sentences each answer has to be. Oh, teenagers!)

Questions:
1. Cheryl admits to her own transgressions and while she's remorseful, she doesn't seem ashamed. Is this a sign of strength or a character flaw?
2. How did being on the Pacific Coast Trail on her mother's 50th birthday help Cheryl to heal the wound left by her mother's death?
3. Does the hike help Cheryl get over Paul? Why, or why not?
4. We learn that Cheryl chose her own last name. Did she choose well? What was your reaction to hearing she chose it herself?
5. Have you seen the movie interpretation of the book? Did you enjoy one more than the other? Why?

WHITNEY'S TAKE:

As someone who loves movies and, in all honesty, doesn't read all that much, I thought that Wild would be the perfect marriage between the two. Reading a book that's recently been turned into a movie? Score! Well... maybe.

It's not that I didn't like this book. Don't get me wrong. It's just different for me. You see, I'm a super emotional person, so I try to steer away from stories that tug at the heart strings. My typical reading repertoire over the year consists of YA novels and memoirs from sassy ladies like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I don't think I realized exactly what I was getting into when I started reading Wild.
This book is heavy. Real heavy. I knew what everyone else knew about the book before I started it. Reese Witherspoon is in the movie. It's supposed to be really good. This woman's mom dies and she goes off on a trek across the wilderness to find herself again. Sure, that's essentially the plot of the book, but there's so much more to it. The drug use, the abortion, the horse... oh gosh.... the horse, y'all. I broke down. I had to skip some lines because my poor heart couldn't take it. I'm used to comedy and this was definitely not that.

I consider myself a "fast" reader (whatever that means) and it took me a good hour to read about fifty pages. It's just dense, and not in the Dickens or Tolkien sort of way. I just found myself trying to really imagine exactly where Cheryl was both physically and emotionally in each sentence that I read. This slowed me down quite a bit, but I appreciate that I was able to really think about her experiences bit by bit.

Another thing, I couldn't quite understand the "choosing her own last name" idea. I understand why she did it, but being someone so connected to my maiden name (even though I took my husband's last name) I can't imagine dropping mine completely. I just couldn't relate. However, her choice of "strayed" seemed to be a perfect, yet pretty literal, one. I'm really interested to hear other people's thoughts on this.
I think my favorite part of the book was Cheryl's relationship with Monster, her backpack. I imagine her backpack as a symbol of all of the baggage that she starts the trip with. Her mother's death, her divorce, Joe... she lays it all out, just as she lays out the contents of her backpack before she starts the trip. At the beginning, she is so weighed down, both physically and emotionally, that she questions even beginning the trip at all. However, as the trip continues, her physical and emotional load begins to lighten. It is lightened by the other hikers that she meets, like Albert, who goes through her pack to evaluate what she really needs, and Greg, who lifts her spirits and encourages her to believe in herself.
Most of all, this book encouraged two things within me: one is, of course, to be more communal with nature. I grew up with the Appalachian Trail at my back door step and never really took advantage of the beautiful mountains that looked over me my entire life. The second thing is that it really encouraged me to branch out in my reading. Sure, sticking to funny memoirs and chick-lit is all fun, but reading something that really makes me look internally, while scary at first, was totally worth it.
While I did find myself at times being frustrated with the decisions that Cheryl had made, I overall really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it

BONNIE'S TAKE:



In spite of myself, I really really enjoyed Wild.  I didn’t have especially high expectations going in- in fact if anything my expectation was that I wasn’t going to like it.  When I started reading, Strayed held up to what I thought she would be- narcissistic, self-destructive, whiny, etc.  I felt for her over the death of her mother but couldn’t in a million years understand how that led her to ruin a perfectly good marriage.  The beginning felt a little too Eat, Pray, Love esque for me, with the most common factor being that both women were incredibly selfish.

The parts I was most frustrated with Cheryl were the parts where she was acting the stupidest.  Like when she cheated on and then divorced her adoring husband, who was willing to try to work things out.  Like when she used heroin. Repetitively.  Like when she took on the trail a backpack that was obviously way too heavy for her and never once tested it out before arriving on a backpacking trail that goes all across California and Oregon. Like when she never had more than $20.  She drove me crazy!

But it’s interesting because Cheryl says the same thing about herself- that she drove herself crazy.  There was one part of the book that I really identified with- where Cheryl says basically that she’s tired of making the same old mistakes, having the same old flaws, being the same old messed up person.  I think most people can identify with that frustration- of us being the same old idiots that we’ve always been.  There is one part where Cheryl says that she is “sick of herself”.  I’ve never heard it phrased that way, but girl, I hear you.  I’m sick of myself all the time.

I found myself liking Cheryl more and more as the book progressed and by the end of the book I really admired her.  I think what endeared me most to her was her willing admittance of how bad she had screwed up her own life, how quickly she took the blame for the marriage, how upfront she was about her own faults.  I liked that.  I felt like she took accountability and didn’t make excuses or try to blame other people.  I love that she didn’t try to hide her flaws from us.

I enjoyed learning about the every day hiking. .. The difficulty of the trail.  (I also loved how Cheryl constantly told us what books she was reading along the way- made me want to read more!)  She mentions at the beginning of the trail how the physical toughness of the trail was so intense that she couldn’t think about any of her mental or emotional problems because just physically endurance occupied all of her strength.  I kind of liked that and I think it explains why I energetically organize the garage or go running or deep clean the house when I’m upset- the physical activity makes me forget about the mental turmoil.

One of the most beautiful parts of the book for me is when Cheryl talks about Crater Lake and how it was made from the eruption of a huge volcano.  First a volcano, then a wasteland of ash, then finally a beautiful lake.  But it could only be that beautiful after extreme pain and after healing.  I just really enjoyed all the talk about strength and how the trials make us better and stronger and form who we are and who’ve we also been supposed to be.  I connected spiritually to this book, which was definitely the last thing I expected.  I don’t know, I just really had a lot of respect for Cheryl and for her struggle by the end of it.  She is one tough woman.  (Stupid.  But tough.)

I could feel the lake’s power.  It seemed a shock in the midst of this great land: inviolable, separate and alone, as if it had always been and would always be here, absorbing every color of visible light but blue.  This was once a mountain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had its heart removed.  This was once a wasteleand of lava and pumice and ash.  This was once an empty bowl that thook hundresds of years to fill.  But hard as I tried, I couldn’t see them in my mind’s eye.  Not the mountain or the wastelenad or the empty bowl… there was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began.”

Lastly, this book made me want to hike!  Get out in nature and see the beauty around me and test myself physically.  It made me really think about the healing nature of physical activity.  All in all I was very pleased with this month’s book and would recommend it to just about anybody.  Such a pleasant little surprise for this summer.

Add your thoughts!  Both Whitney and I will be responding to ALL comments on the book discussion today.  If you did your own post please post the link in the comments so we can all check it out.  Let’s do this book talk thang!

 AUGUST BOOK: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Book discussion will be the last Thursday in August.

 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Babysitting Wages: What is fair?


I'd like to know what to pay the babysitter.  Will you please help me?  See, the babysitter won't tell me.  You know how twelve year olds are.  They think it's rude to ask for money when they've clearly worked for you and so they'll never give me a straight up answer.  "Listen chica!  Just tell me how much you charge!" I say.  And then usually their moms chime in, "No, seriously, you don't need to pay her."  Uh... yes I do.  Your daughter's time is worth something, and she just played with my child for two hours and kept her safe and happy and healthy so I'm going to pay her.

I just don't know how much.  Can you tell me what is a fair, reasonable amount? Utah is a notoriously cheap state so I feel like my standards for payment are totally skewed.  I remember when I was 13 I babysat three kids from 8 am to 5 pm.  I was paid $17 for my day's labor and when I told my mom that night, her eyes lit up, "That's great Bon!"  I wasn't real sure about money and how the world worked, but I was pretty sure even then that I had been royally screwed.

June is at a perfect babysitting age.  She sleeps for hours straight and when she's not sleeping she varies her activity from crawling after Maverick to slowly taking the books away from the bottom shelf.  A babysitter's duties entail, at most, putting the books back.  Maybe giving her an applesauce pouch if June gets real demanding.  June's easy to leave and kids love her and she smiles when we get back like, "Oh, you guys again?  I didn't notice you were gone." 

Lately we have been leaving June with neighborhood girls who are in the 12-14 range and we have been paying these girls a whopping $5 an hour.  Tell me, does that make us the cheapest people on the planet?  Because I actually feel like $5 an hour is a pretty decent rate for our gig.   The girls always seem fine, happy even, with the money, but there's always this nagging feeling in the back of my head, "Am I the world's cheapest person?"

Here's my rationale for paying $5/ hour:
Minimum wage in Utah is $7.25.  I pay less than min wage because:

My babysitter doesn't have to pay tax
My babysitter does not have to drive to "work"
My babysitter gets to eat my goodies in the pantry.
My babysitter is only 12 and therefore doesn't have many other opportunities for work or making money. (AKA Can't get a real job yet.)
My babysitter only babysits one child.
My babysitter's work is very easy- literally to watch tv while the baby sleeps or to watch an easy going and happy baby play on the floor. (I haven't yet had babysitters do the nighttime routine- if they were to bathe June, give June a bottle, put June down, etc. I would definitely feel like I should pay them more, but usually my babysitters are coming over while I run to do an errand or while Greg and I sneak off to a matinee.)

 Now... there have been a couple of times where Greg and I have gotten older babysitters- girls in the neighborhood who are 16 or 17.  In those cases we pay the sitter closer to $10 an hour although it kind of kills my cheapo brain to pay that much.

(Also don't feed me that bull about how I should pay a babysitter a very high wage because she is taking care of the thing more precious and important to me in the world.  If I were to pay the babysitter proportionate to the value of the "thing" she were watching, I'd have to give the babysitter my house and my car and my job and my wedding ring and everything I've ever owned and every dollar I will make in my future just to babysit June for an hour.  So that argument doesn't hold!)

Tell me!  Where do you live and what do you pay for sitters?  What should be the norm?  Is paying less thnt minimum wage ok or am I basically the 2015 version of Ebenezeer Scrooge?

(Also, while we're on the same topic, how much should I pay the same 13 year old to come over and water my plants and grass when I'm out of town?)

(P.S.  BOOK CLUB IS TOMORROW!  We're discussing Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  Come join the conversation!  If you have read the book and are doing a post, questions are on the post under this one.)

Bon's Book Club Questions: WILD BY CHERYL STRAYED


Ladies and gents! (Gents?  GENTS?  ARE THERE ANY GENTS OUT THERE?!)  Don't forget that Thursday is book club.  Whitney and I will be discussing Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  If you haven't finished (or started!) the book yet, get to it!  For those of you who are finished and ready to get to some down and dirty book talk- here are some questions to get those little mind cogs turning!

BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS:
1. Cheryl admits to her own transgressions and while she's remorseful, she doesn't seem ashamed. Is this a sign of strength or a character flaw?
2. How did being on the Pacific Coast Trail on her mother's 50th birthday help Cheryl to heal the wound left by her mother's death?
3. Does the hike help Cheryl get over Paul? Why, or why not?
4. We learn that Cheryl chose her own last name. Did she choose well? What was your reaction to hearing she chose it herself?
5. Have you seen the movie interpretation of the book? Did you enjoy one more than the other? Why?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I'm getting kicked out of Scentsy

This week I got an email.  The email was from Scentsy, and it said that I need to meet my product selling quota by July 31 or they are going to kick me off the scentsy bandwagon.  Rude!  My selling quota is $150 for every three months.  As long as I sell that amount of product then I can continue selling and continue earning a small commission and continue spending my retirement on scented wax.  Naturally it is very important to me to keep selling.

Here's the thing.  Utah is saturated with MLMs and a lot of people I know don't like them.  So I always hesitate to bring up that I sell scentsy products.  I have a deathly fear of annoying people with sales.  I feel like facebook could be a kind of not-so-aggressive way to sell products but turns out every other MLM rep in the history of the Earth had that idea first and facebook is now a mine field for every leggings/ mascara/ nail sticker imaginable.  No one leaves unscathed!

So for that reason I kind of haven't pushed the Scentsy stuff too much on people in real life or on social media.  But now I need to say something if I want to keep my disount and HELLO the fall scents are coming out in six weeks so this is of utmost importance to me. You understand, right?

Basically what I am saying in a million words is if you have thought about buying scentsy product, have been meaning to, or wanting to, CONGRATULATIONS this is the week!  Buy it now and do a friend a favor.  Me.  I'm the friend.  Do me a favor.

(Very quick scentsy product explanation- Scentsy is basically a way to have candles that last forever.  The scents come in wax bricks that you break off and burn in the warmer.  You burn the wax in your burner, it lasts much longer, and doesn’t get smoke everywhere. You pay $20-40 for the warmer and then $5 per scent instead of $20 per candle.  Scents last so much longer than candles.  If you are the type of person who likes your house to smell good, scentsys are an investment you need to make!  You will save so much money in the long run.)

So first let's talk warmers.  These are some of the great new ones they came out with this season:
 
Goldsmith ^^

Chasing Fireflies ^^

Parlor Shade ^^

Lampshade ^^^


Of course, if you can't find your style warmer there, there's about a bajillion other options here.

As for wax smells, there are seriously a million amazing scents.  My favorite smells for summer are: (Click on the link for a description of what each smell is like.)
Camu Camu (Orange clean smell)
Coconut Cotton (Might be my overall favorite summer scent ever.)
Lemon Verbena (If you like lemon smell, this is your no fail smell.)
Bonfire Beach (This has been the biggest surprise for me- kind of a marshmallow beachy sweet smell and it is the winner of the summer scents.  I have it in my car right now and LOVE it.)
Overall awesome smells for any occasion are:
French Lavender (My all time favorite scent!)
Ice Hotel (Has such a clean smell like it- like someone came in and left the floors with that just mopped smell.)
Newborn Nursery (this one is a must for a nursery!  I have it in a little nighlight warmer in June’s room and it makes the whole room smell so yummy and baby and warm and clean.  Just like a baby should be!)
 
To look at all the scentsy wax smells click here.
If you have questions about any of the scents ask me in the comments or email me (thelifeofbon@gmail.com) and I can help you figure out the best ones!
 
Of course, scentsy has way more products than that.  I kind of love these dryer disks you put in your dryer and it makes your clothes smell SO good.  Or there's lots of different stuff to make your car smell good.  And bath tablets!
Obviously I’m biased, but long before I started selling this stuff, scentsy was my go-to for tough gifts.  A warmer and a couple of scents is the perfect gift for those hard to shop for people on your list.  Mother in laws, co-workers, neighbor who babysits your kid, etc.!  (Also I love the plug-in warmers.  They’re perfect for bedrooms and less expensive!)

A couple of details about ordering:  When checking out (Step 4) there is a blue box you can click at the top of the page to select a party.  Please select JUNE party.  If you are ordering a lot of products, check the left sidebar and click on the "specials" link and then the "combine and save".  This will save you money when buying multiple things.  For example if you buy three scents, you get them from $14 and if you buy five scents you get one free.  But you have to click the button that says to get the deal- the site won't give it to you automatically.  There are deals with a warmer and a certain amount of scents, etc, etc.  And if you order $150, shipping is free!

AND... if you live in the Utah Valley area, and you want your warmer and scents for FREE we can do that too!  You just have to invite your friends and host a party (I know, I know, you've never heard this before.)  In all honesty, though, the products are easy to sell because there is also something inexpensive that people can buy (waxes are only $5) and because every one orders together the shipping is free.  Shoot me an email (thelifeofbon@gmail.com) if you are interested.  I love doing scentsy parties... they are so fun.

This is a picture of my cousin Marianne... she sold so much at her last party she got TWO warmers for free!
 
 
 Just look at this scentsy party goodness.
 
And lastly, if you ever thought about selling scentsy you can totally sell with me.  It's great to do if you have a blog or a fairly large social media presence.  Just ask me for details.  Happy shopping!  May you obsess over yummy smelling wax every bit as much as I do!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Utah + Mormons = 24th of July



Today is the 24th of July.  That is a holiday in Utah.  July 24th was the day that the Mormon pioneers arrived in Utah, Brigham Young lifted his sick head from his covered wagon and, overlooking the Salt Lake Valley declared, "This is the place."  The Mormons settled, the crickets came and about dang near ate every crop that was planted, and the rest is history.  Now we celebrate in similar fashion as the 4th of July- we spend long days at the pool, eat popsicles, and watch fireworks at night.

It wasn't an easy path that led the Mormons here.  Before arriving in Utah, they were kicked out of Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois.  In Missouri, an "extermination order" was released, authorizing the killing of all  Mormons.  And this was only 160 years ago.  Isn't it amazing how much our country has progressed?  I am grateful to live in a time and a place where I can live my religion freely.  The Mormons "trekked" across the country to isolated Utah, and here they set up camp for the long haul.

I am really grateful that the Mormons settled in Utah.  For a while I felt like it was really cool to live in Utah, but complain about Utah all the time.  I probably joined in for some of that.  Utah drivers are the worst!  Utah culture makes me crazy!  Everyone in Utah is so cheap!  But now I have grown to really love this state.  I teach at a great Utah school with lots of diversity and where I feel both challenged and accepted, a great combination.  I live in a great Utah neighborhood where the kids from one house freely run next door to ask if kids can play, and where future entrepreneurs try to get me to buy an otter pop for $.50 on the corner.  We have hot summers and cold winters and falls and springs that are absolutely stunning.  There are gorgeous hikes and camping and fishing at every corner, as we are surrounded my mountains.  I am happy to live in Utah and would be happy to raise my family here.

I am also really grateful to be Mormon and for what those pioneers endured.  One of Greg's theater professors, Chris Clark, wrote this blog post three years ago that I often think about.  He is a great example to Greg and me, and we have always really looked up to him.  (He is also the one who inspired me four years ago to start a blog.  He casually mentioned that his sisters Nie Nie and C. Jane do quite well in the blogging field.)  I love this what he says about being Mormon:

I'm still in this church. I have many friends who have left the church. I understand their reasons why and I would never judge them or stop being friends with them over faith. I love them too much. And as long as they respect my decision to stay, we remain close, great friends. I also have many friends who are not, and have never been, members of the church. I would never push my faith on them. It's not my style. Because of this my mission was a challenge for me, though I gave it my best shot. I guess I just believe in this quote from Madeleine L'Engle (a great writer, and not a Mormon)

"We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”

I don't have plans to leave the church. Ever. I've been told that I'm "too smart" for the church, or that I "don't fit" the culture of it. Maybe I don't. I am not the perfect Mormon by any stretch. And I'm not that smart. But I love what this organization teaches me about Christlike love and service, and I appreciate how it teaches my kids that there is a world of need out there that they can fill. My kids are learning to live beyond themselves, and I love that. I have a great life; not flawless, and not immune from problems. But I would be a liar if I didn't confess that so much of this happiness is derived from my membership in the Church of Jesus of Latter Days, from my pioneer heritage, and from being, against all odds, a Mormon boy.

Chris's words really resonate with me.  I don't think it's a particularly easy time to be Mormon.  There is controversy and confusion.  I know and love many people who have chosen to leave the Mormon church, and like Chris, I can understand their reasons for leaving.  I respect their decision to leave and they respect mine to stay, which I really appreciate.  I don't think it's easy to leave the church, and to be honest, I don't think it's always easy to stay either.

But at the end of the day, I feel I am a better and happier person by being a part of the Mormon church, and I feel my children will be, too.  The church teaches service, kindness, a life beyond our teeny tiny world.  (Just yesterday I spent my afternoon with a dozen eight year olds who cleaned top to bottom the house of a man who has cancer.)  The church teaches forgiveness, redemption, second (and third and fourth) chances.  The church teaches family and love.  The church teaches patience and humility.  The church has taught me how to have a relationship with Christ, how to pray to a Heavenly Father who loves me and wants to help me.  I recognize that the church is full of imperfect people who aren't always doing the things they know they should be doing, but I am immeasurably grateful for a place where we can heal, love, and try to be better together.
 
 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bachelorette Recap: MEN TELL ALL

I told myself I wasn't going to blog about The Bachelorette this week because I like to trick the internet world into thinking I am brilliant and mature and not totally obsessed with reality tv.  But, alas, the Men Tell All episode was just too good!  There is too much in my mind, too many weird things, too many good looking men who must be discussed!



For those of you who spend your time doing better thing than watching reality tv, I applaud you and I wish I were you.  If you still want to read, I will give you a real quick run down of what's going on.  The Men Tell All episode of The Bachelorette is the episode right before the finale where all of the men (except for the two men still chasing Kaitlyn) come to a taping in Los Angeles.  Chris Harrison, our ever beneficent host, asks many awkward questions, the men are forced to watch (in front of a live studio audience) tape back of themselves making out with Kaitlyn, talking trash on the other men, and inevitably crying in the limo when Kaitlyn sends them home.  The men then all have to face each other for all the rude things they said to the cameras about the other men.  (It's like they had no idea that this was being filmed and that one day everything they said would be aired on national television!)  As you can imagine, it is just reality tv gold, and for a The Bachelorette junkie like myself it is pretty much like all my dreams come true for two hours.



Here's what happened last night:

First there was a very opinionated guy who was apparently on the show but of whom I have absolutely no recollection.   His name was Corey and he wouldn't stop commenting from the back row on every single situation during the season.  I tell you, Greg and I who watched every single minute were like "ummm....who are you again?"  Lesson learned:  If you get sent home the first week you don't get to comment on everything that happened after you left.  (Leave that up to bloggers like me!)



Then of course we had to address the weird Clint/ JJ issue.  Are they really gay?  Did ABC just screw them over with the absolute craziest editing ever?  I am erring on the side of ABC edited it that way to drum up ratings.  But then why did Clint say, "I never thought that I’d meet somebody like that; Falling in love with a man never crossed my mind.”  I mean, those ABC editors are good, but they ain't that good.

Next Kupah wanted to speak up loud and clear and address how ridiculous it was that Nick was let back on the show.  Kupah, yes the Nintendo dinosaur who went home the second or third week after acting like a total idiot.  He never even met Nick.  Yet he was very upset that Nick was let back on.  Dearest Kupah, you don't get to be mad because she let someone else on the shoe long after you had already blown your chance.

Of course, then all the other men wanted to talk about if Nick should have been let on.  Absolutely!  No way!  It's Kaitlyn's show!  No one cares what you think! Here's my take on it which is probably worth about five cents.  Nick probably shouldn't have been let on the show, but it was ABC's job, not Kaitlyn's, to tell him no. I feel for the guy (I mean, watching his family all crying was just heart breaking!) and I don't think he had bad intentions, I just don't think it was a good idea to pursue Kaitlyn on the show.  If he had feelings for Kaitlyn pre-show (which he obviously did) then he should have tried to date her pre- show.  He should have made a huge effort to meet her, flown out to see her, etc, etc. instead of waiting to date her on TV where it made it seem like he was just out for fame or money.  I don't blame Kaitlyn for letting him back on because if she really felt something with him and she has the opportunity to explore it, yes of course, you should do that before hypothetically committing forever to someone else.  So OF COURSE she would say yes, but it wasn't fair for ABC or Nick to put her in that situation to begin with.  But ABC loves ratings and Nick didn't make his move when he should have (plus it's gotta be nice having ABC foot the bill for your dating life)  so that's the way it played out and all the other men (Kupah included!) need to get over it.  Or be mad at ABC . Or Nick.  But not Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn did the right thing for her situation.

Next we have Ian.  He left the show calling Kaitlyn "shallow" and "surface level" and that she was only on tv to make out with a bunch of men.  He also claimed that none of the other men were up to his Princeton caliber because they told fart jokes.  Now that Ian watched the taping it turns out he realized what an arrogant pomp he was being, and so he took advantage of the Men Tell All time to apologize.    He took off his suit jacket, went down in front of the group of guys, and got on one knee proposal style.  From there he gave a sincere, heartfelt apology.  The kneeling was weird, I admit.  One of the weirdest things I've seen on reality tv, in fact.  But I think the apology was sweet.  I mean, at this point he's probably just trying to save face, but still.  I thought the apology was nice.



Next we got a few moments with Ben Z.  I love Ben Z. and I feel for bad for him.  I mean, why in the world did Bachelor producers allow him to go to a fake wake date when he has lost his own mother?  Someone somewhere needs to be a little more sensitive.  COME ON PEOPLE.



Next up: Jared!  (Also, what is with Chris Harrison's questions?  I am starting to think the many years hosting the show are getting to him.  "So what you're saying is you're not over Kaitlyn?"  Umm... awkward.)  (Also, Jared shaved his beard which is just a praise to the heavens.  He looks divine!)   I have to say, I think of all the men, Jared would have been the best fit for Kaitlyn.  He is the most laid back, light hearted, fun, down for anything, likes to joke around and have fun, etc.  Right up Kaitlyn's alley.  I think her top three, Ben H., Nick, and Sean are all too serious for Kaitlyn.  She needs someone goofy and silly and who doesn't take life too seriously.  Jared would have been her perfect if you ask relationship expert Bon! 

But alas, Kaitlyn wanted the bad boy. 

Just look how adorable Jared is watching back the footage of himself.
Kaitlyn's perfect fun-loving partner.

Of course, we have to have our moment with Ben H.  I like Ben H.  Maybe not on the level that Greg does, but Ben H. is great.  He might be just a tad dull for me.  But we all know he is everything the Bach people look for in their next star (conventionally handsome, sweet, doesn't throw toddler tantrums) so unless Ben H. marries Taylor Swift within the next week, he's our upcoming Bach!  You could totally tell by the way Chris Harrison was asking the questions.  Trust me on this one, I've got disgusting amounts of Bachelor watching time backing me up.

Oh hello there, next Bachelor.


FINALLY, Kaitlyn comes out to confront the men which seems almost like an after thought to the show.  The show takes the opportunity to blast extremely mean comments that people have sent to Kaitlyn via twitter, facebook, email. etc.  The tweets are horribly mean.  I don't know who writes those things.  (Probably the same peeps over at gomi!)  I'm not real sure why ABC decided to do this...  I mean, I think they're trying to discourage the bullying, but they're going a weird, roundabout way. Maybe if they started their own hashtag like #lovemybach and encouraged everyone to comment kind things about the show, the contestants, Kaitlyn herself, etc.  ???  But just showing random mean tweets didn't feel like they were taking the strong stand against cyber bullying that they should have.

The men all want to say stuff to Kaitlyn but none of it is too interesting.  Ben H. has the most valid question which is "Why didn't you tell me about sleeping with Nick when you told Sean?  Did you already know I wasn't the one?"  To which Kaitlyn did not answer the question, instead said it was really hard to date 25 men at once.  Listen Kaitlyn, it's like I tell my students when they are writing their essays YOU DON'T GET POINTS IF YOU DON'T ANSWER THE PROMPT QUESTION.

Let's see... Ian comes up and gets on his knees to apologize to Kaitlyn, and it is even more awkward than when he apologized to the men as his leg randomly cramps and he shoots up off the floor.  Joe, who had the worst exit of anyone, shows up with a crazy bird mask, and that about wraps up Kaitlyn's time with the men. 


What'd you all think of the Men Tell All?  I know I'm a fool for enjoying it as much as I do, but we all have our weaknesses.  The winner got spoiled for me so I'm not as excited for next week as I usually am.  But I AM excited for Bachelor in Paradise, now that promises to be an absolute train wreck!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are thank you notes outdated?

 Picture source: http://oz.christianosmers.com/Wedding-2011


Dear World,

What's the deal with hand written thank you cards?  Are we doing them still?  Not doing them?  Did we all just decide that we don't have time anymore and that thank you cards are outdated?  I NEED ANSWERS PEOPLE.

When June was born a year ago, many friends and family gave gifts.  I was so grateful!  I wrote most people thank you cards.  But not everybody.   I lost some lists.  And I lost some cards.  And now there's still a handful of people that I know I need to write (or rewrite) cards for.  Part of me thinks "Give it up Bon!  It's been over a year!" and the other part of me can hear my mom's voice saying, "Did you say thank you, Bonnie?  Did you?  Say thank you!  SAY IT LOUDER SO THEY CAN HEAR YOU!"

I am pretty embarrassed that it's been a year, but dang it I'm going to get those little thank you notes out.  Even if it's tacky to send year old thank yous.  Because the thing is I am grateful.  And those people should know it.  Right?  RIGHT?  Our society still thinks this is important?

I suppose I'm troubled because of a silly little argument I got in with a stranger on facebook.  (Which is, by the way, how most of my problems start- arguments with strangers on facebook.  Note to self: STAY OFF FACEBOOK.  EVERYTHING PEOPLE SAY ON THERE MAKES YOU MAD.)  A friend was saying that it'd been over a year since her wedding and she hadn't sent any thank yous and should she still bother?  I said "Yes!  Absolutely!  Never too late to say thank you!"  I figured the world, in its beauty and wisdom would agree with me.

But the world didn't agree with me.  At least not the facebook world.  Everyone else on the thread was like, "meh.  I wouldn't worry about it."  "People will know you're grateful." "No one will notice if you don't send a thank you card" and one person even said "It's just kind of a waste of time, honestly."

Naturally, I had to defend myself in this facebook thank you note war because MY HONOR and so I said something like, "I don't think it's a waste of time at all- I totally notice if I never get a thank you card."

 To which my stranger facebook fight friend said something like " I received over 1000 gifts for our wedding.  I think people know I'm grateful and understand that I'm busy and just married and stressed and can't write those thank yous.  Isn't the purpose of you giving a gift to give a gift, not to receive a thank you?"

Yes, stranger, it is.  But that doesn't mean you can't take three minutes (Or, in your case, 3,000 minutes) to sit down and write a thank you card. 

Also I hope no one buys you a present ever again.

I kid, I kid. 

Kind of.

In reality, I answered back something kind of lame like, "Yes, I know that's not the point of giving gifts, I'm just saying if I give a generous gift or make a big effort and don't receive a thank you, I do notice, and it does make me feel unappreciated.  I may not be justified in my feelings, but if I make effort and that effort is not returned with a thank you, it hurts my feelings."

To which stranger facebook friend said, "Yah, I see your point, I just don't think people should stress out about it."

To which I left the conversation.

But to which I WANTED to scream, "No.  That's the point.  People SHOULD stress about it.  I've been stressed for a year about getting thank you notes out for onesies and pacifiers and you should be stressed about your silverware and toaster thank yous.  IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY THANK YOU."

Please, blogging world, will you come to my defense and agree that the facebook world is just the worst and that it is still important to send thank you notes?

(Also, what kind of a world do we live in where someone gets ONE THOUSAND gifts for their wedding?  Sheesh.)

I would love your thoughts because it's been a while since we had a down and dirty discussion on this blog and what better way to get down and what better way to get dirty than when talking about THANK YOU NOTES?   Do ya'll notice if you never receive thank you notes?  What if you received a thank you note a year or two after you gave the gift?  Is the whole thing just outdated and stupid?  Feel free to disagree with me!  But if you do I will never buy you a gift!

(Sidenote:  Has anyone seen the HIMYM  where Marshall is mad that Ted never got him a wedding present and Ted is mad that he never got a thank you note?  I feel you, Ted, I FEEL YOU.)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

We went to a beach in Utah. Kind of.

I have a new summer favorite item... the one I take on all my outdoor adventures.  

Let's see if you can guess what the item is...

It is the perfect size.

It is easy to carry.

It helps me store all my absolutely necessary items like diet coke.

I can sit on it if I want.

It is easy to stack if I am packing and have lots of stuff in the car.

Figured it out yet?  It's this!

I'll be honest, in a way I feel like I'm in a new relationship.  Everything is new and fun and exciting with this bad boy.  It’s one of those things that you don’t realize how much you need it until you have it.  Now that I have one, we use it for EVERYTHING.  We used it on June’s Birthday to take the ice cream to the park for the cake and ice cream.  The next day I used it when I went to a small reservoir to swim with a friend.  We took it with us in the car when we went to Arizona to keep all of our snacks and drinks cold.  Not more constant stopping at gas stations for treats because we had all we needed!

Also, this is one of those things that once you own it, you just feel like a bonafide adult. 

Here's some picture from our reservoir outing the other day.  My friend, Sarah, showed me this great little spot only 15 minutes from where we live.  Utah is full of these hidden gems.  I almost almost felt like I was at a California beach.  It inspires me to get out and do more in Utah.  I always want to go on these big vacations, but I need to do better at realizing how many great things there are right at my fingertips.

(For those of you who are local, it is Manila Creek Pond in Pleasant Grove.  A perfect place for little kids to play in sand and swim.  And it's free!  Also, I would love any of your suggestions of favorite outdoor swimming spots, hikes, camping sites, etc.  Summer is ending too fast and we've got to take advantage!)

This is June's pal, Liev.  They are the two chillest one year old babies you'll ever met.  Must be the red hair? 


And, of course, our trusty Stanley cooler.  My diet coke was ice, I mean ICE COLD.  (Fun fact, this 16 quart Adventure cooler from Stanley keeps drinks cold for 27 hours and can hold up to 21 cans.)



June's always got her eyes on the prize.  And by prize, I mean food.


I really do live Stanley brand.  They are quality quality products.  You probably have some memory of your grandpa shoveling snow and holding on to a green thermos.  That's Stanley Brand right there.  The products are built to last a lifetime and are worth their weight in gold.


Today’s post is sponsored by Stanley Brand.
Thank you so much for supporting the brands that support my blog.