The Life of Bon

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Cling


Greg and I our beside ourselves.

Ya see, our independent, will-go-to-anyone, always- happy baby has turned clingy.  And maybe a little fussy?  Tell me how did this happen, internet friends?!

I suspect it had something to do with the four straights days she spent with me in California.  I never left her side.  I held her all the time.  She was literally attached to my hip.

LITERALLY.

Well, not literally.

 But you catch my drift.

Now, after a week back at home, she cries when we set her down, cries when I walk out of the room, cries when I pass her off to someone else.  June, this ain't cool.

It has always been really important to me to have a baby who is willing to go to other people- who shares herself, (And by always, I mean the nine months that June's been alive.  But always sounds so much more dramatic.)  I will love my baby no matter what, but it's important to me that other people love my baby, too. And that happens when she allows others to hold her, to love her to play with her. I want her to have lots of time with all sorts of people.

Up until last week, I'd say we were doing pretty good with it.  But four days of no one but mom and it looks like we've ruined all of our non-clingy hard work.

Sunday at church I sat next to one of my good friends, Latisha.  She wanted to hold June, and I gladly plopped June down in her lap.  June started to immediately cry and so Latisha gave her right back to me.  I don't blame her.  Most people don't enjoy holding crying babies.  I was determined, though, to get June to sit happily with Latisha.  I distracted June with a book and then quickly whispered to Latisha, "Here.  Let's try again!" before sneakily sliding June over to her lap. This is where the weird circus act began.  I tried to hide behind Latisha so June couldn't see me, I stupidly tried to wave books and toys in front of June's face to distract her, I stubbornly believed that if I willed it hard enough I could make June not want me to hold her.

And guess what?  It kind of worked.

For about two minutes.

She started fussing again and as Sunday school isn't really the best place for baby training so I took her back.  She sat on my lap for the remainder of the lesson, happy as a lark in a meadow- just as long as I wasn't trying to pass her off on anyone.

I realize that a lot of this might just be the age, but tell me oh wise internet friends, is there anyway to uncling a baby?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break 2015: California Style.

Last week was spring break and I flew the coup and headed to California for four days to hang with two of my best friends.  (They live a mile away from each other and minutes from the beach.  This is the part where I try my best to not get stupidly jealous.)  Originally I was supposed to drive out with Greg, but then plans changed last minute.  I found a relatively inexpensive flight at the eleventh hour, and so it was Junebug, Agathe and me on our way to sunny California.  

I was a little worried about how much Agathe would enjoy the break.  She was to spend the first couple days with me and then she was going to stay with a family friend in the same area starting Wednesday. I warned her that hanging with three women (two of whom are pregnant, one who is nursing) and their combined five kids might not exactly be the "spring break" a seventeen year old French girl envisions.  She said she was fine with it, though, so she came along for the madness. We basked in the sun for four straight days, skipped naps any time we could, and played for hours on the beach.  At the end of the two days I asked Agathe if she was bored with all the kid stuff/ mommy conversation.  She replied she enjoyed it all except for the conversations about childbirth, which absolutely terrified her.  OOPS.

And now, a bajazillion pictures.  I shall narrate as we go, whaddya say?

DAY ONE:  RELAXED BEACH DAY.  I stayed most of the time with Akasha.  She has three (going on four) kids.  The kiddos adored June and June adored them right back.  It became alarmingly clear to me that June needs siblings stat.   Here are Akasha's kids entertaining June with the best, biggest baby toy they could find.  Naturally, June did not oppose.  I mean, who would?!


Yes, we are quite the crew!  We went to the beach three days in a row (including a day of surfing) with all five kids (ages six and under) and no men around.  I'm right proud of us. NO excuses for missing out.


This is Amy- expecting her baby in June.  She has more confidence than the rest of the world combined.  I love her with all my soul.





June LOVED the beach.  Blew right through her nap time like it was nothing.  She watched the other kids play (I hate to tell Greg, but he's got another hardcore extrovert/ wants to be outside all the time family member on his hands) and dug her hands in the sand over and over and over.

Day 2:  SURFING.  Agathe had never tried it so we pretty much forced her into the wet suit and out to sea.  16 week pregnant Akasha showed her the ropes while Amy and I manned the army of children on the beach.  Also, children are SO easy to watch on the beach.  I think if I lived close the beach like Amy and Akasha I would go every darn day because the kids just entertain themselves.  For hours!  They are so content.  No screaming no fighting no crying- they just want to play in the sand and water.  I am investigating a theory that the key to successful child rearing is living close to the beach.



All the kids were CRAZY about June in the most adorable way.


After Agathe and Akasha came back from surfing it was mine and Amy's turn to give it a go.  Amy is 28 weeks pregnant but she doesn't believe in slowing down for fetuses so she took me on out.  I am kind of a whoos/ terribly uncoordinated so I didn't have a lot of hope in myself. (SIDENOTE:  HOW DO YOU SPELL WHOOS?  WOOS?)  Plus I have tried surfing several times and I always biff it for every time I try it.  But Amy was bound and determined to get me up on a board so out we went.  First we had to pose, because you know, if you went surfing but didn't take pictures did you even go surfing at all?!?



I lasted about twenty minutes out on the surfboard.  June was crying back at shore and I couldn't quite enjoy myself knowing that my baby wanted her milk/ needed her nap.  So I went in early and Amy took Aspen out for a minute.  Yes, Aspen is six, and yes Aspen likes to surf.  (Notice all the A names in our crew?  Akasha Amy Aspen Agathe.  It's madness!)

After surfing I promptly took a nap.


And so did June.


She then woke up from her nap NOT PLEASED.  June's crying face is about as cute as it gets.

"ALL HOPE IS LOST" says Baby June.  It's rough being a baby.

Of course, it seemed fitting that we take some jumping pictures.  The "almost jumping" pictures are always better than the successful jumping pictures, dontcha think?

ALMOST.

Success!

Not pictured Day two activities:  The best fish and shrimp tacos I've ever eaten.  I could live on a straight diet of shrimp tacos and die a happy woman


DAY THREE:  HUNTINGTON BEACH.  I was the one that suggested we give Huntington Beach a shot even though Amy and Akasha warned me that it is way too touristy and kind of a drive.  They were gracious enough to take me anyway and we found it to be... well, way too touristy and kind of a drive.  It was also windy and a tad bit cold (cold in California = 65 degrees.)  Also, I think two straight days of no schedule and weird naps had June acting fussy and me acting a bit fussy too.  So it was awesome, but not as awesome as day 1 + day 2.  Not everything can be perfect all the time, guys, and that's okay.


At night we went to watch the sunset over the ocean.  You know, typical Wednesday night stuff.  I swear, these two girls live on vacation!



DAY FOUR:  
Time for me to head home.  But first we hit up the park in the morning and played a round of cards before Amy took me to the airport at 2:00 to catch my 4:00 flight. (Poor Akasha was stuck teaching preschool.)  By now I had said goodbye to Agathe and was embarking on the flight by myself with June.  I'm not usually that scared of doing things by myself, but flying with June without another adult had me shaking in my britches.  What if I need help!?!?  We had a layover in Las Vegas and the Vegas flight was delayed five hours, so instead we went to Phoenix in a futile attempt to get home a little bit sooner.  But the Phoenix flight was also delayed and by the time we were home in our own beds in Utah it was 2 am.  Twelve hours in airports and planes.  I would've been faster to just drive home, sheesh!  Luckily, June pulled out her best baby behavior and the twelve hours was pretty seamless.  Sometimes I think this child really gets me.  Like she knows when I really need her to just be chill and so she chills.  I swear, she senses my stress and anxiety and turns into an angel baby.  Where did this child come from and how is she mine?!

Airport chilling.


I attempted to get some reading done for Bon's book club that is coming up next week.  I am about 200 pages into Unbroken.  This is my second time reading it and I love it just as much as the first.  (Although I might add that my best idea was not to read about planes crashing while waiting to board a plane.) Hillenbrand's attention to detail and to getting the story "right" is unsurpassed.  My fingers are crossed that she will write another book.  (Her other book that I absolutely loved is Seabiscuit).

My best travel buddy.

Wendy's picnic in the Phoenix airport.

Other California things that were not pictured:
+ The most amazing maple bacon donut I have ever had at a little donut shop in Newport.  It was $4 for that donut and I declare it was the best $4 I have ever spent.
+ Swimming and hot tubbing- Akasha lives ACROSS THE STREET from a pool and hot tub and Amy has one in her apartment complex.  There is so much that is unfair about this whole set up.
+ Akasha made me the most killer orange smoothie I have ever had in my life.  She dropped an orange right in the blender, threw in some concentrate and ice, and voila, it was absolute perfection.  I need to get a better blender.  Anyone want to spot me $500?
+ We played a rousing game of Bang! one night.  I love playing that game so much, but gosh it brings out competetive, mean Bonnie. KILL THE SHERIFF.

Alright, that's a wrap.  It sure was good to get home to Greg.  It was good to be away and good to come home.  Sometimes I think relationships need oxygen, and whenever I spend a few days without Greg I am always giddily excited to see him again.  Friday we were both still off for spring break and we relaxed and cuddled our sweet baby and soaked up that time together.  Spring break always goes too fast, doesn't it?  Also I know a lot of teachers complain about low pay, ungrateful students, ever changing curriculum, ETC, but after a week in California in the middle of April I have to think to myself, geez oh man, I chose the right profession.

Over and out.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

On blogging and voice and writing about real life

Easter Sunday with my two favorite redheads and the parents/grandparents of those redheads.  June was like "Oh no, please stop this madness" and we were like, "Oh but we have to show the world how happy we are on Easter Sunday" and this picture was the result.  You're welcome!


Tonight is the last night of our "spring break." I spent the better part of the week in California (all the details tomorrow), but now it's back to real life.  Tomorrow Greg will head back to work (I don't have to go until Tuesday.  Boo-yah!) while I will attempt to restore some order in our home and lives.  Laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning, grading research papers, tackling my blog, and buying dirt to lay in our back yard are all on the ever exciting to do list.  Hashtag I hate Mondays.

Speaking of hashtags... I noticed my friend Helene hashtagging up a storm on all of her instagram pictures.  It was confusing to me so I said, "Yo, what's up with all the hashtags?"  She said it was strategy- to use popular hashtags to connect with more people and gain more followers.  I was and still am dumbfounded by the whole thing, but I decided to give it a try.  I downloaded the app (YES, there is an app to tell you what all the popular hashtags are.  It's called Tags for Likes and I hate myself for knowing that and using it.) and then started pasting hashtags like it was nobody's business to my instagram photos.  And you know what?  More random people have started following me.  So it works!   But it's a lot of hassle.  And I don't know that the kind of people I want following me are instagram are the kind of people who look up popular tags and then follow those people in hopes of a follow back.  You know what I'm saying?  That whole paragraph basically to say I don't know what is going on in the world, but that is why my pictures have so many hashtags as of late.  (Also, before we're done talking about it, I want to tell you all that I hate that instagram is taking over blogs.  An instagram pic is awesome, yes, but it will never be as good for me as the real deal on your own personal little website.  LONG LIVE BLOGS.)

Next subject!  Spring break was really good for me.  I feel like my head has been cleared and I have realigned some priorities.  I think I am finally ready to give this blog a little more love again.  Here's the thing with my blog.  For a long time I wrote whatever I wanted and I had a lot of fun with it.  Some people started reading and it felt real and authentic and it was easy.  Then more people started reading it and some people told me they didn't like what I was writing.  Then I got in trouble at work for talking about work.  I hurt some people's feelings.  And all of a sudden I didn't want to write- really write- anymore on this blog.  So I did a lot of sponsorships, made a couple bucks, and struggled mightily to figure out how to write about my life without writing about my life.  You still with me?

At the same time I started to feel this pressure that all my posts had to be "pinnable".  9 ways to make your house a home.  17 things never to say to a pregnant woman. 4 ways to load your dishwasher.  ETCETERA.  I basically blame buzzfeed and pinterest for all these problems.  But suddenly my day to day happenings didn't seem interesting enough to write about on my blog anymore... to merit a blog post something had to be shareable, viral-able, relatable-to-the-world-able.  And most of the stuff I had to say was none of those things.  And so then I felt very uninteresting.  Boring.  I had major writer's block.  The blog became a huge chore instead of an outlet for me to really enjoy writing.

None of this means anything except to say that I think maybe possibly I am past all of that, and that I'm excited to get back to the writing that was when I began this blog.  The writing about nothing and the writing about everything.  I want to get my voice back, the voice that somehow got lost in all of the business and chaos.

I don't know how this blog will evolve with time.  Once upon a time I wanted a full time living off of this blog.  I don't want that anymore, because I love teaching and because I know if my career was hanging out with people on the internet all day, I'd kill myself.  No offense, internet peeps.  But real life people are so much better than internet people. (Disclaimer:  I've met some really really awesome internet people that I hope one day become real life people.  But there are also lots of anonymous mean people and this is the part of the internet that makes me know I could never be a full time internet person.)   (Tangent: Internet people I most want to meet: Elizabeth Ivie (who stopped blogging.  BOO), Kelsey, and Taylor.  ONE DAY.)

Now feels like an appropriate time to end this blog post.  Mostly because everyone in the house is asleep except for me and that means that I get to pop popcorn and watch Kardashians without anyone to bother me.  It's the little things.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Around the Web Spring Break Edition

If you follow me on Instagram, you may notice that I am spending a few days in California with my best friends.  We're on spring break and I needed a break in a bad way so I am enjoying some beach best friend therapy.  It is everything you imagine it to be.  Maybe the answer to all of life's problems is to live near a beach?

While here, however, my computer totally crapped out.  It's been on its last legs for several months now- I have to jam a metal stick in it to get it to turn on- but apparently the journey to California was really the last straw.  So now I'm hijacking my friend's computer and saying silent prayers that my computer will magically turn on the next time I try.  It won't, but I'm allowed to think whatever I want.

Because of my injured computer, I have no pictures to share with you.  Next time, friends.  You'll forgive me, won't you.

And now, while I take naps on the beach, I share with you the best things I've been reading on the web lately.


Around the Web

+ Soaking it up on the beach the past couple of days has made me realize that I am in desperate need of a new swimsuit that fits.  (Hello nursing boobs!)  I LOVE this post for highlighting the best modest and affordable (Under $40!) swimsuits.  I might just have to buy the navy polka dot one piece.

+Speaking of nursing, for all your breast feeding moms (or soon to be breastfeeding), Sonya is doing an awesome giveaway right now for milkies milk savers and milkies freeze. (Basically a way to save and store your milk.)  There aren't many entries meaning your chances of winning are so much higher!

+ I got sucked into this quiz after a friend posted it on facebook.  What color is your soul?  I'm orange.  I could have guessed that.

+I work with some very talented, thoughtful, and hard working people.  My co-worker, Stephanie, posted this essay earlier in the week about responding to disagreements/ arguments on facebook.  It has made me think so much about my discourses online and how I respond to people with whom I disagree.  Her opening point is a zinger,  "A conversation is not a selfie. There are more reasons to talk to someone beyond "winning" or making someone think like you. It's incredibly narcissistic to believe that a conversation only has worth if the other person leaves with a matching brain." 

Monday, April 06, 2015

Diaper Changing Stations: How to Regain Sanity

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #SamsClubMag #CollectiveBias




Having a baby is one of the coolest things in the world.

Having your house taken over by everything baby is not one of the coolest things in the world.

Ever since we had June it has been so hard for me to keep track of everything.  There are diapers in the master bathroom, headbands in the washing room, little baby spoons popping up somehow in the car.  Keeping track of everything baby make me feel like someone has pulled my head off, attached it to a pinata, and let hundreds of screaming toddlers take a swing at it.  

Perhaps what it the hardest is keeping track of diapers and wipes.  Diapers, those elusive little suckers, are everywhere when you don't need them and nowhere when you do need them.  The only thing more frustrating than finding diapers in your grading bag, your kitchen cupboard and your lingerie drawer is not being able to find a single diaper when you need it most.

My original idea was to only keep diapers and wipes in June's closet and in the diaper bag.  They were never to leave those two spots.  That's a lot harder than it sounds.  Because sometimes I'm not in June's room, I'm downstairs making dinner.  Having to run up to get all the diaper gear and then take it all back up to put it away was seriously wearing on me.

Last month, I finally got smart.  After reading this article in the Healthy Living Made Simple magazine about organizing beauty care items, I decided what I really needed to do was organize my baby care items.  Instead of having one place to keep my diapers, I would have three places- all the main areas of the house.  Diapers would no longer be kept in drawers or cupboards, but out in the open, in baskets.  Diapers and wipes needed to be easily accessible and easily visible so that I could finally quit answering Greg's ever constant question, "WHERE ARE THE DIAPERS!?!?"

First stop in my genius plan was to hit up Sam's Club.  Three separate stations around the house were going to require a lot of diapers and a lot of wipes.  There's no place like Sam's Club to stock up on massive amounts of baby stuff. (And they always have everything I need. Nothing is more frustrating than having to make several stops for your baby needs. Sam's Club has got it all.)  Also the idea of not having to buy a new pack of diapers in a week was very alluring to me- bulk buying for the win!


The second step was to determine the best places for said "diaper stations."  We definitely needed one in June's room, by the changing pad.  One on the main living floor was a must, and lastly, one in Greg's and my room seemed crucial to maintaining our sanity.

I got to work on my diaper stations.  I found baskets in my downstairs storage.  Each basket was loaded up with as many diapers as it would hold and a big pack of wipes.  Easy as pie.

DIAPER STATION #1: 
JUNE'S ROOM- NEXT TO THE CHANGING PAD





DIAPER STATION #2: 
MAIN LIVING AREA- ON OUR BOOK SHELF





DIAPER STATION #3:
MASTER BEDROOM- ON OUR NIGHTSTAND




Having these bad boys all around our home has seriously made changing diapers SO much easier. (Disclaimer: every diaper station needs a diaper waste basket right next to it- that makes life even easier!)  It is so nice to have a little diaper station so close at hand that I never have to go far to get my little girl cleaned up.  And maybe, just maybe, I won't lose my head after all?


Now it's your turn!  Take a look at this Healthy Living Made Simple magazine and tell me how you are inspired to simplify and organize your life this spring.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Sick Baby// Around the Web



This is what a sick baby looks like.  

It came on Friday night and by Saturday we knew something was definitely off.  She was sniffling, coughing, and wanting to be held every stinking minute.  Our pleasant baby was suddenly the fussiest and her independent spirit refused to be taken off mommy and daddy's chest.

Monday I stayed home from work where she spent the day snoozing on me.  Anytime I tried to put her down, she raised her little voice in protest.  She cried, she fussed, she nursed about a million times.

Finally Tuesday morning I took her into the doctor.  "It's an ear infection!" the doctor declared in half a minute and sent me off with a prescription for an antibiotic.  Why oh why didn't I take her in sooner?!  When will this stubborn mom learn?  (I always tell myself it will just clear up and to give it a little bit of time.  I am now declaring that while I can use that strategy for myself, I am not to use it for my child!)

So now she's got some medicine in her tummy, and for the first time in three days is taking a long nap all by herself in her crib. (She's been down for almost two hours!)  And for the first time in three days I can think about cleaning the house/ folding the laundry/ grading papers/ attending to my blog.  My mother in law is going to come tomorrow and watch her so that I can go back to work and so that June doesn't have to go back to daycare quite yet.  I love our daycare so much, but it is no place for sick little babes.

MEANWHILE, I've been spending a lot of time around my home- reading books, watching reality TV, and catching up on so many many blogs.  Here's the best stuff I've been reading on the web the past few days.  You're welcome!

AROUND THE WEB:
+ For all you breastfeeding moms out there (or soon to be nursing mamas), I loved this comprehensive guide for all things breast feeding related that you may need (And who said breast feeding was free?!)  I was given the nipple cream from a friend and really loved it.  Next baby I'm totally trying out that breast friend pillow!

+ For blogging fans, Erin's post on "blogging is hard" hit close to home for me.  Blogging balance is tricky and sometimes blogging doesn't love you back the same way you love it.  Or, as Erin says, "sometimes this space can feel pretty dang empty and lonely. It's a weird mix of too much noise and not enough feelings."

+ I'm trying to put a little extra love in to my blog this month and hoping it repays me.  I've referenced Elisabeth's guide on making money from blogging again and again.  Not only is she brilliant, but in real life she's the sweetest I know.

+ My go to place for easy, yummy recipes has been cookingclassy.com.  Maybe the best recipes on the whole world wide web?  Greg and Agathe both LOVE this slow cooker beef and broccoli (and it's SO easy).  Tomorrow I'm making this lemon alfredo chick fettucine diddy.

+ I'm so proud of my friend, Taylor, and her "I just want to hang with my dog" shirts.  She is such an idea person and the best part is she goes through with all her great ideas which is why she's so successful.  She's also hilarious.  And also so so kind.  20% of proceeds on the shirts go to animal shelters.  She's the best kind of people there are.  Order her shirts here.   Read her hilarious blog here

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April Fool's Day: A History

Excerpts of this post originally published April 1, 2012 and April 1, 2014.

My passion for April Fools runs deep and true.

What is better than a day to skip out on work and school, play jokes on your friends all day, and prank to your heart's delight?

My obsession with April Fool's Day came in high school.  I had the genius idea to put flyers on all the cars parked at Albertson's that read: "HUGE ELECTRONIC SALE!  EVERYTHING MUST GO!  MOVING OUT OF COUNTRY IN THREE DAYS"  and below list insanely cheap prices for big screen tvs, laptops, sound systems, etc.  At the bottom I put my best friend's name and phone number.

The phone calls she received were relentless.  She was clueless as to the prank, just knew that she was receiving phone call after phone call after phone call.  I laughed silently to myself, never letting her know it was me.  She was driven to insanity by the ever-ringing phone. 
The prank was a success. 
I was a genius. 
And from that day forward, I declared myself the April Fool's Master.
The next year, as a freshman in college, I tried similar pranks.  I did the electronic prank to my then-boyfriend.  I hung my roommates' bras and undies from the ceiling.  I mixed up all the pots and pans in the cupboards.  Year two: Success




The insanity continued on the next year.  With a whole new set of roommates and a new boyfriend, I tried variations of the same tricks.  This time I stole all of my roommates' underwear, threw it in a huge plastic sack, and then flew the coup, driving home to Price for the weekend.  I was gone for three days with the bag, and my roommates remained underwearless for the duration of that time.  What was more, they couldn't find anything in the kitchen.  I put the bag of chips in the pots and pan drawer, the silverware in the fridge, the plates in the oven.  Year three of pranking:  Success.

That's me in the middle- trying to scare people with a diguise.  Just one of many, many pranks.

From then on out, the pranks only intensifed. I had found something I was good at, and I thrived with my newfound talent, preparing all year long for the big day. 

The next year, my roommates were now well aware of my April Fools antics. So while I was busy putting flyers all over town with their names on it, they were retaliating. They locked my door, stole my car, they changed the names of contacts in my phone and sent me weird messages from ex boyfriends and new crushes.  I, in turn, retaliated in what I believe to be the best April Fool's prank of all time. Through an internet site called PeterAnswers.com, I made them one hundred percent believe that the apartment was possessed. So scared were they that they about dang near got the bishop of our church to come over and rededicate the apartment to cast out the evil spirits. Some would say I had gone too far. I would say it wasn't quite far enough.

You can tell from this picture that we're a pranking-loving gang, can't you?

Year five of April Fool's I was on a mission in Argentina.  But this didn't stop me from pranking my American companion.  I set all the clocks back two hours, forcing us to get up and go on a run at 4:30 in the morning, instead of the usual 6:30.  Then, we called the Elders and told them we were being emergency transferred for flirting too much.  The Elders freaked.  Year five: Success.

The next year brought me back home to Provo, Utah, and living with my same roommates of old.  April Fools, seemingly innocent and playful, bordered on cruel. We stayed up all night on March 31, popping popcorn to put in plastic bags and tape to people's doors so that when they opened the door the popcorn would go pouring in to their home.  We put peanut butter under people's car doors.  I filled my boyfriend's room with infinte pieces of shredded paper (Greg is so lucky that he met me in July and not in March), covering every corner of the room.   You don't have to tell me that I was the world's worst girlfriend.  I already know.  I spent the day pranking my roommates, filling plates of paper with water and covering their bedroom floor, locking doors, changing phone numbers.  We pranked all day and all night, and when midnight rolled around and it was April 2, I prided myself on a job well done.  A few friends were mad at me, sure, a few were offended, yes, a few hated me with a passion, but hey, the day was a success!


And then.  My last year of April Fools pranks.  I started off the day like all April Fools, with middle of the night escapades and pranks.  Student teaching that year, I told all my students we had a massive test.  Then I told them my I-pod was missing and one of them had stolen it.  No one would leave the classroom until it was found.  I made them sit in uncomfortable, awkward silence for several minutes before I finally said those magic words, "APRIL FOOLS!"  I made flyers saying that a friend had free conference tickets and posted them all over campus.  I put my friend's name on Craig List with a post that they had several job openings (You gotta know how to take advantage of a recession, people!).  I worked for over an hour trying to capture a duck to put in one of my best friend's room.  I was unwearing in my efforts.

This was also the year that I started forming alliances.  I promised friends to help them prank someone else, while at the same time, scheming a prank on them behind their backs with another friend.  CrazyA had been married that December, and her husband, Cody, enlisted my help to prank my roommate, Mandy to pay her back for last year's April Fools.  Naturally, I hopped right on board.  Cody shredded thousands of newspapers and his dad's work, and we communicated all day long, me unlocking the apartment for him and letting him know when Mandy would be out that day.  When I came home from teaching that day I checked out Mandy's room.  It was a foot high with shreds of newspaper and wood chips.  Even I was impressed with Cody's thoroughness.

Tired from my endless pranking and chasing after a duck, I laid down to take a nap.  I was awoken half an hour later by frantic shrieks, cries, screaming, whatever you call it when a girl is having a major major freak out over the phone. 

"I HATE HIM!  HE PUT IT ALL OVER MY ROOM!  I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!  HE WENT TOO FAR!  I AM SERIOUSLY SO MAD!  I AM FREAKING OUT" (right, because we couldn't tell that already.)  I sat silently on my bed, terrified.  Mandy had obviously not been humored by the joke.  She was irate.  Stressed.  Hurt.  On the verge of a complete meltdown. 

I left my room carefully, tiptoeing down the hall to assess the damage.  Mandy, tears streaming down her face, turned to look at me.  "Look at what Cody did!!  This is such a joke!  I am so stressed right now, I have two huge exams and I don't have time to clean up all this crap!  I can't believe it!"  Mandy was in absolute tears, not seeing anything funny in her disastrous bedroom.

"I seriously hate April Fool's so much!" she continued. "People think they are being cute and funny, but they're not! They're just being rude and annoying and making other people miserable." I nodded sympathetically.  She had no idea I was a part of it.  And I intended to keep it that way.

"I'll help you clean it up, Mand, I'm so sorry this happened to you," I tried to veil my guilt.  I spent the rest of that night trying to help Mandy clean up the room.  The vaccuum didn't come close to being able to clean it up, and the little pieces of paper were scattered in every corner of Mandy's room.  We were interrupted only by a few strangers knocking on my door, saying they had been told to come to this address for conference tickets, part of someone else's April Fools joke.  Fools, indeed.

As I helped Mandy clean up shreds of paper from her underwear drawer and DVD cases and homework assignments, it finally dawned on me. 

I had gone too far.  Done too much.  April Fools is not nice.  People don't like mean pranks, and it's not fun when you're the victim.  In that moment, trying to make up for the damage I had done, I vowed to end my April Fooling ways.  You can't just prank to death the people that you love every year.  They won't want to be your friends anymore.



And so, for the past few years I have been laying low on April Fools.  Part of it is to keep my friends; part of it is due to Greg's absolute hatred for the day.  When we got married there were a few "conditions."  A kind of pre-nup, if you will.  One of the conditions of our marriage was that I do not play April Fool's pranks on him.  I reluctantly agreed to his condition if he would satisfy my condition that we would go on a vacation every year.  He said yes.  You win some you lose some I guess.

The other reason I've been laying low is I am trying to lull him and everyone close to me into a false sense of security.  And of course, I'm building my army- give me ten years and I'll have a gang full of kids whom I will train in my prankster ways.

(Also, I get Greg every year; he just doesn't know.  You see, every April Fool's Day I tell him that I am going to get him, and that I have a prank planned.  He then spends the entire day in paranoia of what may be coming.  He's convinced that a horrible prank lies in wait around each and every corner.  I never have anything planned, but he worries about it all day anyway.  Easiest prank ever. I WIN!)

I have a thing or two up my sleeve for this year, but I'm always open to new prankster ideas.  What's the best prank you've ever done?  Or had done to you?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

CURRENTLY...

June and her two cousins.  
They were all born within six weeks.  

Reading... 
+ Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand for April's Bon's book club.  I first read this book three years ago and loved it.  Rereading it, I am amazed at the detail, the story telling, and Hillenbrand's ability to suck you in.
+ French Kids Eat Everything.  I actually finished this today.  I really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would and it has made me rethink a lot of my own attitudes about food.  My biggest takeaway from this is that eating should be about pleasure, slowing down, eating mindfully, spending time with loved ones, etc.  For anyone who struggles with picky eaters, I recommend this book 110%. (Now if I could try some of those tactics on Greg...)
+ Edenbrooke.  A neighborhood book club is doing this book in a couple weeks.  I haven't technically started reading it yet, but am looking forward to it. A period romance, a la Downton Abbey. Count me in!

Listening to...
+The soundtrack to the movie St. Vincent with Bill Murray.  We watched this a couple of weekends ago and I loved the music so much that I downloaded the album the next to.  It's a good one for cleaning, driving, relaxing, everything.
+ Nora Jones.  She is my favorite.  I like to listen to her on the drive home from school when I am stressed/ exhausted/ spent out of my mind.  I also love listening to her while I cook dinner in the late afternoons.
+ Van Morrison Pandora station.  It gets me.

 Watching...
+ Married at First Sight- Reality TV at its finest!  A couple is matched up by experts according to who their perfect match is on paper.  The two theny meet at the alter.  It's a social experiment along the lines of arranged marriage.  Greg and I accidentally started watching a few minutes of the premiere and now we're hooked.  Don't judge us!
+ Parks and Rec.  We just finished season 6 but are kind of stalling a little to start in on the last season.  Part of it is that it's such a great thing and we don't want it to be over.  The other part is that we've heard season 7 isn't as good, takes place out of the office, etc, etc, etc.  Part of me wants to just end on this high now.  Tell me, internet abyss, is season 7 worth it?
+ Lots of Jazz games.  We got cable just in time for the last ten or so games of the season.  They won't make the playoffs, but they've got lots of potential for next year and I love watching me some Rudy Gobert any day of the week.
+ The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  We've only seen the premiere, but we're loving it so far!

Excited for...
+ Spring break in a week.  Greg and I both have a week off so we are going to Southern California, hitting up the beach, and  doing Disneyland with the Junebug.  I always love me a good vacation.
+ The second week of June my entire family- my mom, siblings, siblings' spouses and siblings' kids are going to Cancun.  I am beyond excited.  There are going to be 33 of us taking over the beaches of Mexico.  It's going to be so wild.
+My AP Lit class next year.  I've started planning the books we'll be reading and I'm thinking about activities, poems, skits, etc.  It is fun to feel really excited and challenged by a class.  I've really enjoyed teaching juniors this year, but it's a class I've taught for five years now.  I needed this easy year with June and going to part time, but I feel excited about a little extra oopmh next year.

Worried about...
+ Junebug has been sick this weekend. Coughing and sneezing and snot down her face for days. And goopy eyes. Lots of goopy eyes. Her spirits seem to be a bit improved tonight and I think she's on the mend, but there is something about a sick baby that just makes you want to sue the world.  How dare a baby get sick?  What did she ever do to you?!  She's innocent!

Frustrated by...
+ A bill I got in the mail this week for the car accident I was in a year ago in California.  GEICO said they had paid all the bills, but apparently one fell through the cracks.  We moved in August, never saw a bill, assumed all was well, and boom comes a bill from a collection agency.  These are the types of life annoyances that will make the sanest person go completely bonkers.

Craving...
+ Melted milk chocolate with oranges.  It's my go to nighttime snack.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave, (20 seconds then stir, 20 seconds the stir) dip your little orange in. (I have been eating lots of cuties lately.)  It's heaven.  And kind of healthy maybe?

Wondering...
+ Strategies for increasing Instagram followers.  I feel like marketing/blogging/ sponsoring is all going towards Instagram.  Anyone figure out the magic secret to increasing followers?

Tomorrow's Monday, folks.  I ain't scared.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Backyard Oasis... but how?!

Below is a picture of my backyard.


Oh, wait.  Sorry about that.  That was a picture of what I wish my backyard looked like.  Below is a picture of my real backyard.


 I mean... those two pictures almost look the same.  It's easy to see how I could have gotten them mixed up.  Here's some more picture of said "backyard."



It's not much, but it's the most backyard we've ever had and I am stoked about it.  As you can see, we have half dirt half concrete.  As the weather warms up, I've got big plans for my backyard.  The problem is I have too many plans for too little space.  I am driving myself crazy trying to decide what to do with what little room we have.

In the past my blog has acted as a kind of life counselor.  I come to you guys with my problems.  You help me solve them and find a place of inner peace.  When I said my milk supply was getting low you came to my rescue.  When I asked you what to do about my non sleeping baby you knew the answers.  When I asked where to find good jeans after baby you did not disappoint.

So now I give you my latest problem to solve.  Your counsel, wisdom, and advice is most welcome.

I love to be outside and I want my backyard to be a place where we can really enjoy our beautiful summer nights.  I like to be outside no matter what, but I need something to entice Greg a little bit as he generally prefers to be inside.  June (and future children) will also be spending time outside so it needs to be friendly to them as well.

Options for the dirt:
#1:  Put grass in.
pros:  Maverick loves grass and so does June.  Grass would help keep the backyard and house cooler
cons: there is no irrigation system so we'd have to water the grass with a hose.  We'd also have to get a lawn mower just for that itty bitty space.  It is possible Maverick would just poo all over the grass and ruin it anyway.

#2:  Fire pit.
pros:  This is probably the best way to ensure Greg will want to spend time outside. Great for hosting friends on summer nights (especially when June goes to bed). It wouldn't matter where Maverick went to the bathroom
cons:  Our backyard would consist mostly of dirt and rocks.  June wouldn't be able to crawl around and play.


#3:  Grow boxes/ garden and trees
pros:  I really really really want a vegetable garden.  The vegetation outside would help keep the home cooler.  We'd have fresh vegetables in the summer.  I would enjoy spending time outside gardening.  A tree would give shade.
cons: Nowhere for June to play, I have no idea how to plant anything.


Option #4: Sandbox, slide, or something more kid friendly
pros: I can let kids go outside and play, becomes almost an extra bedroom in our home in the summers
cons: Our backyard is sacrificed for kids and it doesn't become the outdoor oasis I want it to be.


Options for the concrete:
#1:  A table to eat outside.
pros: we could eat dinner outside!
cons: would we really eat outside?


#2: Hanging bed/ hammock
pros: I could go out there to read, makes the backyard seem more enjoyable and welcome, a little oasis
cons: seems trick to make (I am not a DIYer), would a bed hanging over concrete just be really hot and miserable?
Option #3:
Outdoor lights and couches.  (I know you don't call your outdoor relaxing furniture couches but I can't think of what else to call it!)



Option #4:  Put grow boxes on pavement to free up the dirt for fire pit or grass?!

I have given you everything that is in my head.  Now tell me what to do!  Or is there anything you have had in your backyard that you have really loved?