The Life of Bon

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.


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


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



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***

-        -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
-        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

-       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.