The Life of Bon

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Treat Yo Self: Baby Edition (Plus a peek at the nursery!)

One of the funnest things about having baby #2 is that you get to buy a few more of the items that you want versus just the items that you need.  When we had June I felt up to my neck in just the bare essentials- crib, stroller, car seat, clothes, high chair, swing, diapers, etc.  Preparing to have baby Hugh was a totally different experience because I already had all of those essentials and could spend the baby budget on a few of the things that I really wanted.


If you've been around the internet or instagram at all then you know there are a million small businesses that sell everything imaginable for baby.  It's really exciting!  And can also be very overwhelming!  I LOVE internet shopping just like the next person, but a lot of times I want to see the selection in personal before committing.


Baby Cubby is the cutest online and in person shop that sells all the top baby stuff for your little one.  If you live in Utah, I highly highly recommend visiting their store in person.  It's located in Lindon, has a cute little play area for kids, and has all the gorgeous things you've seen online but are maybe slow to pull the trigger on.  I LOVE that I can buy in person (and return if necessary!) rather than hoping I will like it when it comes and then dealing with the hassle of mail- in returns.

This post has been a long time coming- I originally planned to post it the beginning of January.  I went to Baby Cubby three times not being able to decide on just a few things.  I could buy up that entire store in an instant and never look back, Corinne style.  (Bachelor anyone?)  There are so many adorable things for your baby.  Also, not knowing the gender of our baby threw a huge kink into things.  I went before Hugh was born and after Hugh was born... once I knew his gender I could pick out exactly what I wanted much easier. (Although everything I got is still pretty gender neutral... I'm a hot mess.)

Crib Sheets and a peek into the nursery!  We're still not quite finished with the nursery but I'll do a full reveal once we are.  I'm still adding just a few little details...


Deer picture- similar here



Rags to Riches romper (similar here) Kickee pants footie pajamas, Little Unicorn swaddle blanket.

I really really loved that I could find and see all of these brands in one place.  They also have Freshly Picked moccasins, Fawn Design bags, Baby Bling Bows, and a myriad of other products from popular shops.  I love supporting small business and I love that at Baby Cubby I can support many small businesses at once and see everything before I bought it.

All of the items that I got at Baby Cubby were a bit of a treat yo self.  Or treat my baby I guess.  They are the higher quality, super special things that I wanted to buy.  The swaddle blanket is beyond soft, as are the Kickee Pants pjs.  (If you've never had pjs from Kickee Pants, I highly highly recommend.  They are so so soft and have a little bit of a stretch to them.  They are also extremely durable.  June wore her pair for close to six months and we washed them like crazy and they are still in great condition (AND they were a hand-me-down from my sister in law.)

Something else I love about Baby Cubby is that it really isn't "just another baby store."  They strive to be not just a store to sell "stuff", but a resource for parents to use through parenthood.  You see that evident in their website at babycubby.com, the retail store, or through social media or their Cubby Community Blog.   (Probably one of the best blogs run by a business I have ever seen) 

A few other things to know about Baby Cubby:

  • Baby Cubby price matches anything from Amazon.  Any of your big ticket items- wraps, strollers, etc. you can price match.  A perfect combination of being able to check out the item in person and getting the best possible deal
  • Baby Cubby carries out only the best and safest gear so you can shop confidently (they spend hundreds of hours researching so you don't have to)
  • If you aren't located in Utah or just prefer online shopping, you will get free shipping on any purchase over $49 at babycubby.com

This blog post is sponsored by BabyCubby but the love for their products is all my own.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Welcome Baby Hugh!

Hugh Dennis Larsen
Born January 24, 2017
4:55 pm
6 lbs 11 ounces


Tomorrow marks three weeks since Hugh joined our family.  Three weeks!  Already!  Time is such a thief.  The last month of pregnancy drags and drags and then when you are finally holding that newborn a month goes by in the blink of an eye.  NOT FAIR.

My goal for next week is to write and post Hugh's birth story.  Today I have neither the energy nor the mental focus required to write it.  But next week!  It was overall a pretty great experience and I felt really lucky to go into labor naturally and to get to do a successful vbac.  Hooray!  

I did have a friend come and take pictures that day but I haven't gotten those back yet, so for now you just get the few shots I captured on my camera.  Here are a few pictures of the day I delivered Hugh.


 6 am, pre epidural, contractions every 2 1/2 minutes.
I'm not nearly as happy as I look in this picture!




 

He is total perfection and we are absolutely gaga over him.  There is nothing in the world like having a newborn baby.

I mentioned on my instagram (@thelifeofbon) last week that while we have been so thrilled by Hugh's birth, that it has been a difficult few weeks.  The day after Hugh's birth we learned that Greg's brother and only sibling has stage 4 colon cancer.  It has been hard to focus much on this new birth when we have that diagnosis on our minds.  It isn't my story to tell and I always struggle with how much to let the online world know on things like this so I probably won't give too many more details  It suffices to say that it has rocked us and Greg's family and has made for a very hard few weeks.

During this time we have had lots of help from family and friends, of which I am so grateful.  Greg has gone up several times to be with his family and I have been floored by the amount of people who have stepped in to help us with kids, projects, cleaning, etc.  Neighbors and friends have brought meals and June has had a busy little calendar of play dates.  I am so grateful as I don't feel like I'm quite functioning on full capacity.  (Or even half capacity.)  Physically I am still healing and emotionally I am a total mess.  Postpartum emotions are crazy.

 Times like these are so tough, but I love that it is a chance for me to realize how great people are.  I've been reading a lot of Brene Brown the past couple of months and at one point she talks about receiving help and how important it is.  She emphasizes that not only should we teach our children to help others, but to learn to graciously ask for and receive that help when they need it.  I'm glad I read that before all of this happened as usually my pride gets in the way of allowing myself to receive too much help.  I don't want to appear weak.  But I have found a lot of peace in allowing myself to be completely vulnerable.  (Like when my brother came by my messy house to drop off June after taking her to play.  I burst into tears at how overwhelmed I felt by it all and instead of trying to hold it back in front of him, I just let myself cry.)  I've said yes to every single person who has offered to help.  There's an honesty in vulnerability is such a relief to me.  I don't have to pretend to have it all together or even close to all together.

Thanks for all the love and good juju that you guys have sent this way since Hugh's birth.  He has absolutely been the joy these past few weeks.  He came bursting into this world nine days early... I can't help but think that it wasn't a coincidence.  He knew we were going to need him.

AROUND THE WEB:
+ Greg often enjoys the benefits of my little blogging gig, but he has assured me that this is the coolest thing that has ever come from me having a blog.  Can't say I disagree!
+ These audition tapes of The Office made me cry tears of nostalgia the other night during a 2 am feeding.
+ I loved this 6 Steps to Mindfully Dealing with Difficult Emotions and found it to be particularly relevant to me at this time.
+ I was nodding in my head in agreement the whole time I read this Dumb Ass Stuff We Need to Stop Saying to Dads.  Greg gets so many of these types of comments and it drives us both crazy.

Monday, February 06, 2017

How cool is your pad?

This post is sponsored by Coolpad, but my love for their products is entirely my own.


Hello friends!

Last time I wrote on this blog I was hours shy of going into labor.  Little did I know that as I gave you an update on ACT prep classes and nursery preparations that my body was getting ready for such a big feat.  I have a lot to say about giving birth to our little angel, Hugh, and I can't wait to share with you some of those details.  That will be Wednesday, though, so hold tight just a couple of extra days.  All you need to know right now is that he is absolute perfection.  He smells like new baby and milk and I can not get enough of his cuddles.  Right now he is snuggled up sleeping against my shoulder as I work on this post and there is nothing in the world better than newborn snuggles.



Before Hugh came bursting into our lives I committed to a few really fun campaigns and I am excited to get to share one of those with you today.  Greg has really been struggling with his phone lately.  We are still several months away from that two year mark where he can get a free (or almost free) phone by renewing his contract, but it''s been long enough that the phone feels pretty much trashed.  The camera is blurry and cracked, the gps never works right, and the battery charge lasts hardly a few hours.  We definitely didn't want to pay $500 for a new phone, but it really felt like he couldn't go on like this!  (First world problems, am I right?)

Enter Coolpad conjr.  This is the most top of the line, least expensive phone I have ever come across.  It retails for only $179.99 on Amazon, which is such a steal for a brand new smart phone.  At one point in my life I had "insurance" on my phone- I paid a monthly fee for the insurance and then when and if the phone broke I got a new one for $150.  What a joke when you get this phone for almost the same price and NOT have to pay a monthly insurance fee.



Some amazing features of the phone:

+ 8.0 MP Front Camera with LED Flash
+ 13.0 MP Rear Facing Camera
+ Metal body with 2.5D touch screen
+ 5.0"IPS HD Screen
+ Fingerprint Sensor

(The camera alone is reason to get this phone... With the 13MP rear facing and 8MP front facing cameras you can capture the best looking images. Cutting edge image processing and noise reduction ensures that every image you capture is sharp and crisp.)


So sleek!  I seriously love how thin and compact the phone is.



I really can't speak highly enough of this phone.  You will not find better quality for the price. I have a lot of friends and family who are very brand specific when it comes to technology, and I get that to a point, but this is one time when I think it really pays to venture out and try a new product. The Coolpad:

+ when you break or lose your phone in between contracts and you don't want to fork over the $500 that phone networks ask for a new phone
+ for kids or teenagers who may be first time phone users- get them introduced to using a smart phone without breaking the bank
+ for someone who wants a higher quality camera with their phone.



If you want more info, make sure to check out Coolpad's Instagram and Facebook page.

Thank you so much for supporting the brands that support my family.  It means everything to me!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Never Miss a Monday


This is a picture of newborn June NOT new baby.  I repeat, NOT new baby. 

Never miss a Monday.

I keep seeing that phrase on people’s instagrams.  I think it might refer to going to the gym?  I don’t know.  I don’t go to the gym and I definitely don’t go to the gym on Mondays.

In any case, the phrase is good for something because it has inspired me to get my butt in gear with blogging.  Today’s a Monday!  So I can’t miss Monday! 

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve taken a 3 week break and before that my posts have been sporadic at best.  There’s been a lot going on!  A few months ago I made the decision to kindly delegate blogging to “hobby” level and therefore put it in a league with my other hobbies- painting my finger nails, going to movies, doing puzzles… things I do when I feel like it, but not on any kind of schedule and not with any kind of pressure.

The problem is when blogging turns 100% hobby on me I can’t find the time to get in even a post a week.  I used to blog 5 or 6 times a week.  FIVE TIMES A WEEK!  And now it’s seriously a struggle for me to crank out even one a week.

Hence, the Monday mantra.  If I can never miss a Monday then I am at least getting in once a week and that is certainly better than the schedule I’ve been keeping lately.  Ideally, I’d like to blog 2-3 times a week.  Ideals are nice.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about.  I have so much to write about!  Probably more to say on this blog than I’ve ever had to say before.  But there isn’t the time to write it in.  Or the energy maybe?  Or maybe it’s just not the priority?  I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING.  But thanks for still reading and checking in here.  It means a lot.  Even if I do thank you by going awol for weeks at a time.

I have been pretty good at staying updated on Instagram.  I kind of feel like instagram has become my mini blogging platform.  And while it will never be to me what a blog is, it is nice that I can write long captions there with a picture and that you guys can comment and I can respond.  It’s blog-esque even if it doesn’t carry all the charm and commitment of a real life blog.  If you’re not following me on Instagram, my handle is @thelifeofbon.  My pics aren’t perfect.  But they’re real and they are of all the things, people, places, experiences that mean the most to me.  So it’s an important space to me.

And now, a quick update!  We’ve been busy!  I hate the glorification of busy and I’m trying to stay away from that.  But how do you unbusy a life that is clearly too busy?  December was an absolute hurricane of jewelry.  We did 7 local markets and close to 1000 online sales.  Just Greg and me!  And that was on top of me working every other day at the high school and taking care of our little June bug.  There were some hard, miserable days in there.  Days we wanted to kill each other.  Days we wanted to burn down the jewelry shop and not look back.  Days we wanted to run away and become hippies in Belize.  But we survived and the week before and after Christmas was filled with nothing but family and cookies and lazy mornings.  Well, that’s actually not true.  I did try to potty train June during the break.  That was a huge mistake.  I quit after three days and feel good about picking back up again in the spring or summer.  Home girl is going to be in diapers far longer than I ever imagined, but there’s a lot in my life that has gone much differently than I ever imagined and turns out I’m still ok.

December had such a focus on jewelry that by the time January rolled around I felt like I had to do a complete mind shift to school.  I had tests and essays that I hadn’t graded in a month!  End of second quarter was looming!  Kids were wondering when in the world I was putting grades in!  On top of that I told the school that I would teach an ACT prep class for two weeks.  The class was held Tuesday and Thursday after school from 2:45- 4:45.  I have a lot of great resources and tips for ACT prep so I really wanted to teach it- but it fell the same week as the end of the quarter and that was all kinds of total manic-ness.  I taught four 85 minute classes in a row and then darted downstairs to start in on the ACT prep class.  At 37 and 38 weeks pregnant!  I AM INSANE.  No one let me do that ever again.  I surely thought I was going to die.  And if I lived through it, then certainly not all of my students would because I was GRUMPY.  And TIRED.  And 17 year olds at the end of the quarter as annoying as they come.   (Then the next quarter starts and they are cute and sweet again.  It’s just that last week of the quarter.  It makes the sanest of people go nuts and I’m not even sane to begin with.)

But I lived!  End of second quarter was last week, ACT prep ended on Thursday and now I just have to make six weeks’ worth of lesson plans and train my long term sub.  Then I’m out of there!  Ain’t no thang!  It feels so good to be wrapping up school stuff for a little while.  And then in February the only thing I am focusing on is my kids and my family and my home.  It’s gonna be a dream.

In the midst of all of this I have been nesting up a ying yang, trying to get our home prepared for a new baby.  June was born ten days before we moved into a new home.  I felt like for a year we were living out of boxes, not totally cleaned up, prepared, slightly frantic.  We never really recovered from that time.  I think my lack of nesting with June has made me overcompensate for the nesting this time around.  I want my house perfect!  I am working on projects and house goals that I have been trying to get around to for two years!  It’s awesome.  But also exhausting and gosh I am so pregnant.  Too pregnant to be painting a wall. 

I really wanted to have the nursery ready by the time baby got here.  I know that’s not necessary.  I mean, June’s nursery wasn’t ready until she was 6 months old.  But again, I hated that I was so behind and I want to fel ahead with this baby.  But I’ve struggled a lot with the nursery.  The gender neutral thing throws a kink on it.  Last week I was having a triangle crisis.  A TRIANGLE CRISIS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. (I posted a pic on Instagram and you guys had AMAZING suggestions.  Thank you!)  I think this week I have finally figured out what I want out of my nursery (spoiler alert: it’s not triangles!) and we’re full steam ahead with that.  I’ll give you all the deets in another post but it feels exciting and fun which it DIDN’T feel last week, so I think that is a good sign.

As a Christmas gift my mom gave me the gift of a clean home.  She paid for a cleaning crew to come in and whip this place into shape.  They came on Wednesday and for three hours six amazing women cleaned my blinds, organized my pantry, mopped my floor, scrubbed my toilets.  My microwave right now is glistening.  GLISTENING.  While they were here I shipped Greg and June out of the house and I did laundry, folding, organizing, everything I want to get done but never can.  It was seriously everything dreams are made of.  My house has been spotless since.  I mean, no one is really allowed to move anymore, but it’s clean!  It is amazing the level of stress and anxiety it takes off of me when my house is clean. 

Oh, and we switched June over to a big girl bed this month.  That has basically been hell on Earth.  But she breaks out of cribs and play pens like the true escape artist she is so we were forced into it.  That is also a post for another day but basically nobody around here has been getting the kind of sleep we love and need.


Ok!  I think that’s it!  We are 10 days out from baby’s due date and meeting this little nugget is definitely the most exciting thing going on in our world.  Waiting for the gender has added a whole new level of suspense and anticipation and WE ARE ON PINS AND NEEDLES TO MEET THIS CHILD.  June was a c-section because she was breech but this baby is in position and ready to rock and roll so we are crossing our fingers for a successful vbac.  Send us your good juju!  And if there is no baby, I am hoping to continue my week of blogging by posting again on Wednesday.  A girl can dream, right?!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Resolutions + Potty Training Round 2



Are you guys making New Year's Resolutions?

Part of me wants to and the other part of me feels so dang tired I don't know that I want to set myself up for that.  I love the idea of setting and keeping goals.  But I also tend to do that naturally.  My natural inclination is to work over relax and maybe my goal for 2017 should just be to learn to slow down, be mindful, enjoy my family, practice gratitude?  Forget about business goals and house goals and having x amount of our mortgage paid off and maybe just be nicer to myself?  I always struggle with that line--- of when I should be content with all I have and have done and where I should push myself harder.  The difference between contentment and complacency has always eluded me.

One thing I know is that we pushed ourselves plenty hard in December.  Our jewelry business exploded in preparation for Christmas.  We are so so so so so grateful.  But I think this 7 1/2 month pregnant woman went too hard with business, school, Christmas preparations, etc.  The past week I feel like I have been in a total stupor.  My body is tired and achy.  My first pregnancy felt like such a breeze and this one has been significantly harder.  IS THIS BECAUSE I'M 30 NOW?!?  I can't go up the stairs without huffing and puffing and all I want to do is take baths and lie down and maybe curl up for another nap.  I had big nesting goals for Christmas break.  Clean out the fridge!  Organize pantry!  Get June's big girl bed set up!  Start working on nursery!  About the only thing I've gotten done is loved and cuddled my family but maybe that's all my goals should have been anyway?

That's not to say we haven't done ANYTHING.  We managed a sledding day.  (And by "day" I mean probably 45 minutes.  That's all it takes to get your fill!) And we went swimming at the rec center.  There were a lot of ten year old boys with complete lack of spacial awareness bumping into my very pregnant belly so that didn't last too long either.  But we did it!

Oh- and I've been doing something bordering on productive.  It's productive in theory at least, but not in execution.  We have been attempting potty training the last three days.  I hesitate to even mention it because last time we attempted potty training in the summer I mentioned it and received an onslaught of unwanted advice and criticism. Oh, internet how I love thee, let me count the ways.  Potty training feels like one of those things that maybe you should only mention once you've mastered it?  But then I think that's stupid.  Why hide the struggle of it?  Because other people struggle too and this should be a safe space to struggle together.  So here it is.  WE'RE STRUGGLING WITH POTTY TRAINING!  Do I give up again?  Wait another 6 months?  Keep pushing?  So many people have told me that when the child is ready the potty training is easy.  Maybe I've got the worst read on my daughter ever, but I swear she is ready!  She's 2 1/2 years old and shows so much interest in the potty.  She follows Greg and I around when we go to the bathroom.  (TMI!)  She tells us as soon as she goes pee or poo.  She tries to change her own diaper because she hates being dirty.  She changes her doll's diaper.  She takes her froggy to the potty.  But when it comes down to the actual execution of her going in the toilet--- there's some kind of disconnect.  Yesterday she woke up from her nap with a dry diaper.  I knew this was a golden opportunity.  I sat her on the toilet for 45 minutes.  I turned the water on.  I gave her juice.  She knew she was supposed to go.  She knew she was supposed to go.  And what's more- I knew she needed to go.  She wouldn't!  She sat there and held it!  And within five minutes of her getting off that toilet, she peed right through her big girl undies and then declared "big girl undies wet" and went over and sat on the toilet.  A little late there, champ.

Greg thinks she's just stubborn and has decided she isn't going to do it right now and it's not worth the power struggle.  He's probably right but it's hard for me to accept that she just won't be potty trained when she's perfectly capable of it. But June has proved her stubbornness to us before. Earlier this year we worked for probably 4 or 5 months to get June to say please.  She just wouldn't do it.  She'd be so dang stubborn about it and it drove us absolutely bonkers.  There wasn't any candy, any toy in the world that could make that girl say please.  And then one day she just decided, hey I guess I'll say please now.  And she said it.  Easily, happily, willingly.  And now she always says it.  So do I just have to wait until she makes up her mind that she's going to go potty?  Am I going to be waiting until she's 16?  AND SINCE WHEN WAS A TWO YEAR OLD RUNNING THIS HOUSE HOLD!?!

I woke up this morning feeling very stressed and frustrated about the potty situation and writing this all out has given me, if nothing else, a little peace of mind.  How does writing do that?  Thanks for letting me dump my potty woes here.  And I'd love to hear what you guys think I should do- wait for a few more months and then try again with June (BUT PLEASE I DON'T WANT TWO IN DIAPERS AT THE SAME TIME!) or keep pushing?  And if your child was potty trained at 18 months that is so great and I'm so happy for you but this might not be the best time and place to let me know that. ;)  I'm a fragile potty woman right now.

P.S.  Tomorrow is the last day for this important campaign that I've been working on.  It always makes me sad how easy it is to get people to click a link for shoes but how tough it is to get people to click on the stuff that really matters.  THIS IS THE STUFF THAT REALLY MATTERS.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Days after Christmas

Hello!  I am writing to you from the other side of Christmas.  It's over!  Done!  Terminado!

If I am being honest, sometimes Christmas can leave me feeling a little sad. This year, especially, I looked at the opening-present-destruction of the front room on Christmas morning and felt a little disappointed. I think it was because Greg's and my Christmas season was largely focused on us- blogging and our small business pushed us to focus a lot on sales, products, and income.  Social media turned into a madhouse of promotions, new products, discounts, hurry before it sells out!  And I think we allowed ourselves to get sucked into that too much.  I hate that feeling.

I think the reason I felt disappointed Christmas morning, and maybe the days after is that I know I needed to give more, serve more, and think about others more than I did this season. I know I missed the boat on several giving and service opportunities.  BUT I'm trying to be kind and forgiving with myself. So today I spent some time today searching around this site for what I want to give to people in underdeveloped countries. Right now I'm deciding between a sewing machine and training course or three months of emergency food.  That feels like a much better decision that if I should go with the brown or black boots.

If you are feeling like you maybe missed some giving opportunities this month too, I encourage you to check out the site too. "Gifts" range from $20 to $1500 and are used in every way imaginable to help those who aren't surrounded by Christmas present abundance like we are.  There ain't no better cure for the after Christmas blues.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On Christmas, Creating Traditions, and Teaching Children

This post is sponsored by CARE but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.


Hey Hey!  It's December 13!  We are in the thick of the Christmas season.  This is it!  Right smack in the middle- living, breathing, eating Christmas season.

For Greg and I, it has been largely a selfish time of year.  December is the busiest month for blogging and definitely the busiest time for our small business.  We have been going nonstop since a week before Thanksgiving.  Like I mentioned in our last post, we are so so so grateful.  But I hate that I feel so imbalanced and so consumed with us right now.  I've had little time to even think about how I'm doing, let alone how others are doing.

I realized this weekend that that had to change.  Our huge Christmas markets are over and we have had a little bit of space to breathe this week.  Next week should loosen its grasp even further on us and we can really focus on ways to give and share this Christmas.

As I've been thinking about some ways to give, I've been considering a lot on the longtime Christmas traditions I want to create for my family and what I want to teach my kids about Christmas.  One of the most important things for me to teach my children is empathy.  I've thought about this concept a lot-- at what age are kids capable of learning empathy?  When can June process that other people have feelings, that other people suffer, that the world is not just about her and her needs?  I used to think it wasn't until kids were 8 or 9 that they could grasp this concept, but since having June I've changed my tune.  She watches a kid cry on tv and exclaims "Oh no!" She climbs on my lap and says "Mommom sad?" when I'm having a bad day.  Yah.   She's two.  TWO.  And she gets it.

One of the ways that we have been and will be teaching June about empathy and giving his Christmas is through CARE.org.  I have worked with this company several times throughout the past year, and it is always an absolute honor when they choose me to help on a campaign.  CARE works in third world and underdeveloped countries to provide basic needs, as well as to educate and empower the people who live there.  This Christmas they are looking to raise awareness of their Christmas "catalog-" a great way for you and your family to buy "Christmas gifts" for individuals, families, and schools in developing countries.




 Here are a few gifts you can purchase this Christmas:

+ $75 buys you a goat (goat's milk provides nourishment for families and provides a source of income as extra milk can be sold at local markets)
+ $55 buys life saving medicine
+ $30 buys a 3 month emergency supply of water
+ $81 buys a basket of food for a displaced family
+ $95 buys a human-powered water pump
+ $143 buys a scholarship for a girl to attend secondary school
+ $38 buys school uniforms for two girls
+ $44 buys a blackboard for a classroom
+ $24 buys 3 Ebola hygiene kits
+ $27 buys 8 plastic sleeping mats



June and I have been looking through the catalog pictures online (You can find them here.  The photography is stunning) and I've been asking her what presents she wants to buy for other kids.  I swear to you, she really gets it.  "Do you want to buy them books?  Or a goat?  Or water?"  "WATER!"  She yells, pointing at the picture of the little girl carrying water.  Water it is, June bug.


I hope you consider looking at the catalog to see what gift of lasting change you could give this Christmas season.  We can make a huge difference and that is pretty humbling.  A huge thanks to CARE for letting me be on this campaign with them--- it really is such an honor.

Also, I know comments on blogs are kind of a thing of the past, but if you feel so inclined to leave a comment and tell me what "gift" you would most likely give from the catalog, I would love to hear!

Monday, December 12, 2016

We are alive. I repeat, we are alive.

Hi!  It's been awhile!  I am trying to be kind to myself and not go back to see exactly how long it has been or how sporadic my blog posts have been the past month.  That's a version of kindness, right?  To not beat yourself up for one of the many, many things you couldn't get around to?  

That's not to say I have been totally awol.  I mean, I did convince Greg to write an amazing guest post for this favorite product of his.  Victory!  

Our past three weeks have been absolutely insane with jewelry.  We have jewelry coming out of our ears.  It's kind of the craziest thing- this life we have somehow formed for ourselves.  We have been so busy and stressed the past few weeks that it's hard to even register what we have done- what we are doing.  We are making this work!  This is a business for us!  This is providing for our family!  We have made our own work and it is paying us better than other work we've done and we get to choose the hours, the way, the rules.  We are doing it!

It's thrilling!

But also really stressful!  

And also taking over our house!!!

So Greg does the caffeine run and I box up some orders and Greg finds a creative way to set up a booth at a Christmas market and I reply to a question about if someone can change their shipping address and Greg drives to set up a jewelry display and I order more inventory and Greg digs through the earring bins to find a pair of rose gold bars and I attach earrings to label backs and so it goes and goes and goes.  No time to think about what we are doing because the past three weeks it has been survival mode survival mode survival mode.

That's why there have been no blog posts.  There hasn't been time to write, let alone to think.  I keep telling myself that this is a temporary insanity.  We have to take the work when it comes because then January will come and everything will slow way way down and baby is coming in February so we need to save extra money in December.   You take the work when you get it and are grateful for it.  And you take the slow time when you get it and are grateful for it.   I think that has been one of the biggest challenges so far of our business- managing the busy times and the slow times.  During the busy times I can't relax or enjoy the success because I'm so stressed about getting the orders out and pleasing people and making sure customers are happy.  During the slow times I can't relax or enjoy the down time because I convince myself that we'll never get another sale again and the business will surely fail.  IT IS SO FUN TO BE ME!

Anyway, all this to say that after this next week everything in jewelry land should slow waaaaaay down and that's a good thing.  It is already slowing down, actually.  Our last day for Christmas delivery for our online orders is Friday, December 16.  Just five more days!  We have already done 6 of the 7 Christmas markets we committed to this year- and the seventh is already set up and stocked.  Last week was the worst of it.  I kept telling myself- just make it to December 11.  Just make it to December 11.  

Guess what?  It's December 11!  And I made it!  We made it!

I am so excited to start writing more this week.  I am planning to pick back up the 8 minute memoir project I started in the fall.  I really loved that and the opportunity it gave me to just write.  I'm also excited to tell you about this pregnancy (I'm really tired and my back hurts!) and to tell you about school (my students are the sweetest and teaching them Kite Runner was one of the highlights of my whole teaching career) and about my little Junebug (she talks nonstop but it's mostly purely gibberish and I don't think there's such as thing as too much two year old gibberish.)

It's a good life!  And we're keeping it together over here.  Thank you to every person who has ever read this blog or bought a piece of jewelry or done both!  You guys are so great and we love you.  We feel so grateful for our corner of the internet.  Sometimes people who read this blog order jewelry and they leave a comment on etsy that says something like, "Hey!  I read your blog!  Good luck with everything!" and it kind of makes my day that people out there are that nice to read a blog, invest in a person and family they've never met, buy a piece of jewelry, support and love and all that good juju.  SO THANK YOU!

SOME OTHER THINGS:
+ I got this gift for Greg this year and he's pretty much nuts about it.  So now I am buying some for my boss AND my brother.  Hey, go big or go home, right?

+ If you are looking for a great way to give globally this holiday season, may I suggest giving through this program that gives lasting changes to women and families in Malawi.  The gift of a farm animal, for example, can give nourishment and income to a family.  It is an excellent gift for that hard to buy for person who already has it all.