The Life of Bon

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A family of 36 people went to Mexico and this is their tale

I'm starting this post at 12:34 in the am and that has never once been a good idea.  But we are headed on a road trip to beautiful, cool Phoenix in the morning and I promised myself I would get these pictures up before we left.  I know you are probably thinking, "Weren't you just on vacation?"  The answer is yes and the explanation is that Greg and I are both teachers so when summer rolls around we do what we want!  Ask me if there is anything in the world as great as having ten weeks off of work with your husband and your baby.  There is not.

We got back from Mexico two weeks ago and I am mad that I still haven't gotten around to posting these pictures.  It isn't so much that I haven't gotten around to it, as I lost the cord to transfer the pictures.  I am technology disabled.  It is no fun.

I am tired enough that I probably won't go in to a lot of detail about the trip.  Here's the short run of it- I went to Cancun with my entire family- my husband and baby + my mom + all seven of my siblings + their spouses + their kids.  There were 36 of us.  It was wild!  And so fun.  I don't remember a time in my life where we have all just hung out for a week.  It must mean we really like each other, right?  Either that or we're just totally nuts.

My mom planned and organized the entire trip.  She's a soldier.  I don't know how she did it all.  Organizing a trip for that many people- she should practically be a travel agent at this point!

And now, an absolute ridiculous amount of pictures.

WE ALL ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT IN CANCUN...



THE HOME WE STAYED AT...
My mom found a beautiful home with ten separate bedrooms.  Each room had a bathroom and small living area for each individual family + a room for my mom + a room for some of the older grandkids.  The accommodations were awesome.  Our only slight disappointment was that it said the property was beach front.  We thought that meant we'd be right on a beach and be able to play on said beach all day.  Well, beach = lots of dangerous rocks but you know, at this point we're just arguing semantics.






WE PLAYED IN THE POOL...
Almost all of our activities involved water.  We swam in pools, in the ocean, in a cenote! (A spring.)  It also rained every single day we were there.  It was warm enough that it didn't matter too much except for the two days there was a hurricane and we literally couldn't leave the property.  Ah, mother nature, you sneaky vixen you!  (I'm mad I didn't get any pictures of the hurricane.  It was unlike anything I've ever seen.  I seriously wondered if we were all going to blow away.)



WE RODE BIKES UP TO SOME RUINS...




Our tour guide was really nice to always offer to take pictures for us, but sheesh, he ain't got no picture taking skills...  I'm so bugged you can't see ANYONE'S FACE in this picture.
 





Again.  Awesome sight; bad picture.



My handsome beau... check out that sweetmaroon/ bright red color combo.  You're telling me you're not in to that?

Greg insisted we make human sacrifices when we got to the top.  I obliged.


That hat that Greg is wearing is my favorite history in the history of ballcaps.  We lost it that day.  A moment please, for the ballcap.


WE GAVE AWAY SOME STUFF...
Hands down the coolest part of the trip was when we stopped in a village to give away school supplies, clothes, toys, etc.  My mom had organized a humanitarian effort to bring some of the extra stuff we have to those who need it more.  She somehow talked Delta into letting us all bring an extra suitcase free of charge (my mom is AMAZING) so we each stuffed a suitcase full of stuff to give away and brought it down with us to share.  (The last day of school I sent an email to teachers asking for any old notebooks, pens, pencils, binders, etc.  The response was overwhelming.  We filled three full, big suitcases with school supplies to take down.  People are good.)

The experience was very sweet, but also very painful.  The distribution of wealth in this world confounds me.  It was so sweet to see how the people gathered and crowded, anxious for our supplies.  It was heartbreaking though, at how quickly the stuff was gone.  I felt like it was a matter of minutes and the suitcases were empty.  There just wasn't enough.  And when the stuff was totally gone people kept coming, hoping to get clothes for their kids, notebooks for school.  We had to keep saying, "Ya no hay. Ya no hay." (There isn't anymore.)  It was crazy because I felt like we had brought an absurd amount of stuff down with us and then it was just gone.  Like that.  There will never be enough in the world to fill the need and gosh, that's a hard truth to stare in the face.

Even though we couldn't give "enough" and there will never be "enough", it was still a beautiful experience.  I'm so grateful for my mom who always encouraged us and continues to encourage us to think about more than just us and to look out for the world around us.  My mom is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. (You can see her in the left of this picture giving something away to a little boy.)







WE JUMED IN A CENOTE (SPRING) OVER AND OVER.  AND OVER.  AND OVER.
Even though it was rainy and cloudy most days, Cancun was still plenty hot.  We were sweaty all day (Oh, the humidity!) and jumped at any chance to get in the water.




My mom and two grandbabies.  Jensen and June were born weeks apart.


WE SAW MORE RUINS...





WE HUNG OUT ON THE BEACH
 Well, some of us slept on the beach anyway...



A rousing game of smashball.  It's like four square meets racket ball meets tennis.


WE WENT TO XEL-HA 
Xel-ha (Pronounced Shell-ha) is basically a huge water park for snorkeling, tubing, jumping off cliffs, ziplining, and eating!  All you can eat food the whole day and all the outdoor adventure you can imagine.  It was the perfect day.
 
This is my pretty mama who organized the whole trip.  I'm sure she'll be mad that I put the picture of her up with her snorkel on, but she's gorgeous nonetheless, right?




Above and below are pictures of me and my adventurous, free spirited niece, Josie.  She's one of my favorites.  Sometimes I wonder if she is me in a five year old's body.  We also share that spirit with Davy, my 12 year old fun loving nephew.


One of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.  EVERYBODY GRAB A HAMMOCK.




The afternoon we all left for home.  WHAT A TRIP!

If any of you are thinking about traveling to Cancun/ Tulum area I'd be happy to answer any questions or share any advice we have.  All of our activities were so much fun, but my favorite part was just the uninterrupted time with my family.  We played late night games of mafia, talked about books, shared spiritual insights.  The cousins played and played and played with each other.  I feel so grateful for my family.  They are everything.  And I like to think that my dad was there with us too- watching us run wild around Mexico and being so dang happy for all of us.

P.S.  A short short side note on vacations with a baby.  They're awesome!  I loved having June along for all of our adventures.  There were definitely things that were different or that we couldn't do in the same way that we would have pre-June, but having our girl with us on the trip made it that much sweeter.  Before I had June I thought kids would be the end of vacation and the end of traveling and that's not the case at all- if anything vacations and traveling are better with kids in tow.  It is so fun to experience everything through their eyes.  Somehow it makes everything a little bit more magical.  I am totally of the mindset that you shouldn't let having a baby stop you from doing any of the fun things you would have done before kids- it is easy to make it work and so worth it for me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's my birthday and when it's my birthday I turn into an absolute psycho.

24th birthday-  
can't you tell how intense I am about birthdays just from this picture?!

Today is my birthday.  I’m 29!

(It feels like a huge joke to say that I’m 29.  Isn’t that always the thing that 45 year olds try to pull… “I just turned 29 hahahaHAHAHA.”  But seriously, you crazy old timers...   I really am 29!)

I’ve always really gotten into birthdays.  My birthday, specifically.  I’m a bit like a ten year old like that.  It’s adorable if you’re into adults who act like children.  I count down, I throw tantrums if people don’t remember, I make a lot of cake requests.  (Chocolate chip cake, no ice cream cake, no cheesecake… CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM CHEESECAKE!)  It’s basically hell on earth to be someone close to me when my birthday rolls around.  For those of you who are close to me and have experienced the intensity of my birthday expectations- Greg, mom, best friends, past boyfriends-  this is my formal apology.  I’m really really really sorry about how weird I get about my birthday. 

Let me just prove to you how crazy I am about my bday.  When I turned 18, I threw myself my own huge backyard birthday bash and invited about 80 people with whom I had just graduated from high school.  I remember me and my best friend, Akasha, sat in my backyard and individually called every single one of those people to invite them over.  A ridiculous amount of people showed up, and it was wild and awesome and everybody sang to me while I blew out my candles JUST AS I HAD PLANNED and it wasn’t until years later that I realized how totally weird that was.  (Also, a total side note but this is one of my favorite memories- when begging my parents to let it be a “hot tub party” and allow party guests to use the hot tub, my dad was emphatic.  “Absolutely not.”   

He was so stubborn about it and wouldn’t give me a reason.  I thought he was being unnecessarily strict and totally the meanest parent ever . “BUT YOU HAVE NO REASON! !!  WHY CAN’T WE GET IN THE HOT TUB?!?” I begged.

“BECAUSE IT MAKES BOYS HORNY!” My ultra conservative dad finally snapped.  And that was officially the first and last time I heard my dad use the word “horny.”)

Let's see... other crazy birthdays.  My 24th birthday I put so much pressure on my poor boyfriend that he broke up with me two days before the big day.  I mean, he planned me a birthday party and everything but he was the only one not there.  He couldn’t handle the expectations.  (But then I met Greg a month later so maybe it is my insane birthday love that bucked off Boyfriend so that I could meet and marry Greg?!?)

My first birthday with Greg ended in tears.  I couldn’t understand why Greg wasn’t celebrating all day long and doing every single thing I wanted him to do with me.  It was confusing for us all.  Luckily we made it past that first birthday and I have learned to not be a crazy psycho on my birthday and Greg has learned to remember to buy me a gift.  Marriage = Learning.  

I started writing this post with the intention of something really sweet and profound or maybe inspirational (and totally pinnable!  All blog posts must be pinnable!), like 28 things I learned when I was 28!  or 29 things I want to do when I’m 29!  Instead it just turned into me confessing to you what a birthday weirdo I am.  And so it goes (Name that book!)

I don't have anything too profound to say (shocker) so I'll just end with this.  I’m kind of sad to see 28 go.  28 was the best year of my life because 28 was how old I was when I became a mom.  And nothing I’ve ever done during any other age was half as cool, or made me as happy ,or changed me so deeply and profoundly. (I mean, don't get me wrong, the year I sold Mary Kay was a close second...)  I feel like my heart is fuller and happier at 28 than it ever has been before.
   
So thanks 28, for totally kicking butt.

Onward 29!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Teach Me How to Wean




We're ready to wean over here.

Correction.

I'm ready to wean.

June's ready to guzzle down her breastmilk for the next eighteen years.  Maybe twenty?  Yah.  Twenty sounds good.

From the get go, June has been the one who has insisted on breast feeding.  While I was pregnant I decided that I wouldn't push breast feeding if there were issues. (I know, I'm like, the worst mom ever.)  I even recall saying that I was committed to breastfeeding as I was a hole in the head.  I had heard all the horror stories, every one, and I made up my mind that having a new baby was going to be stressful enough and if the breastfeeding was too tough, that was one I was willing to let go.  You gotta pick your battles, you know.

But June latched right on.  She knew what to do, in fact, even kind of showed me the way.  The milk came easily and freely, June let me know when it was go time, and we just kind of fell in to it.  We figured out pretty quickly how to nurse in public, and it became an easy and sweet relationship- me and June and my feeders.  For that I am extremely grateful.  Somewhere along the way I became sort of attached to our nursing jam and when my milk started to slow down a couple months into the process, I did everything I could to keep it coming.  (Thanks to awesome suggestions from blog readers!)

And it kept coming.
And June kept nursing.
And now, here we are, staring a year of breastfeeding in the face.




A year!  I have been feeding another human with my body for almost a year.

It is a feat and I am proud!

I am also ready to be done.

I don't know if moms are allowed to say that.  To admit that they don't love every dang minute nursing.  That sometimes they wish the man could pull out his feeders and nourish the child.  That it is frustrating to not be able to leave your baby for more than four hours- to have someone so absolutely and utterly dependent on your constant company.

Allowed or not, I'm saying it.  I'm done with nursing.  I'm tired of June crying when she sees me because she just wants what's under my shirt.  I'm tired of having to wear the same stretched out tees every day to feed her easily.  I'm tired of being the only one who has got the goods- the food and the comfort and the ultimate sign of peace.  I need other people to be able to give that to June, too.

The question is, how does one go about weaning?  Our doc said we could start introducing whole milk at 11 months.  June hates it.  She has always taken from a bottle, but the minute she tastes the cow's milk on her tongue, she cries and wiggles and grabs for my shirt.  I have tried to stretch out her feedings by giving her bigger meals and lots of water, but then my boobs ache like crazy after six or eight hours.  How does one just stop the milk from coming?

Of course I took the internet to try to find help.  A lot of articles said to let your baby decide when she's done nursing.  Sorry, but June's not deciding this.  Most articles said to do it gradually, and that one day you'd wake up and realize that you hadn't nursed for a few days.  I find that hard to believe that the transition could really be that seamless.  Nothing I read said to stop cold turkey, but I admit this is a tempting thought.  I figure it'll be one hellish week and then we're done with the whole thing?  One year olds have short memories, after all.

I'd love to hear how your weaning process was and if it really is possible to do it so easily.  I definitely want to be done by the end of the summer.  Greg and I are going on a vacation in August that June is not invited to.  I know I could pump for a week, but that just sounds horrible.  Also, I can't do another frantic year of running down to daycare during my prep to feed June.  That and I don't have a prep period next year, so yah... it's do or die.

Please send help.
But please don't send Dwight.


JUNE BOOK CLUB: Dark Places



HOW IT WORKS

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

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



JUNE BOOK:
DARK PLACES BY GILLIAN FLYNN



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

Questions:
1. Throughout the book, who did you think was the killer?
2. Later this summer, Dark Places the movie will be released.  After reading the book, will you see the movie?  Any predictions on what will be emphasized or downplayed as they adapt the book to a movie?
3. Does Calvin Diehl deserve the title “The Angel of Debt”?  How do you feel about his actions- are they justified or is he simply a psychopath?
4. Does Ben’s punishment fit the crime?
5. Flynn is kind of known for her plot twists, were you able to predict any of them?
6. Who was your favorite / least favorite character? Why?
7. Could you have forgiven Ben?
8. As we jumped from POV to POV, was there one you enjoyed most?  Least?

And here's Steph's review...



Shortly after seeing Gone Girl last winter, I devoured all three of Gillian Flynn’s books.  Flynn’s writing style isn’t my favorite, however I find extremely difficult to put her books down. I find it so interesting that this totally normal and pretty sweet looking woman can write these crazy books, I mean who thinks of plot twists like these!?! I say that, but obviously I love them- so maybe that makes me a sick person.  

I thought it was interesting that this story took us away from what I perceive to be Flynn’s comfort zone (Missouri) and into rural Kansas. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz’s Kansas though, it’s a poor, sad, depressing, dirty Kansas no one likes to think or talk about.  I think the setting lends itself to the storyline perfectly.  

I’m not always a fan of chapters flipping between characters and years, but in this instance I think it works.  It was interesting to get the current day perspective as well as the perspective the characters had in the moment.  Reading other reviews online, I wasn’t surprised to read that many people disliked the characters. I have a pity/hate relationship with Ben.  On one hand, I pity him, I mean Diondra completely ruined his life but he remains loyal to her.  On the other hand, he was a willing participant.  There were several points where I just wanted to smack him silly (the entire Krissi Cates situation). I have absolutely nothing nice to say about Libby, she annoyed me throughout the entire book and I felt no connection to her. Patty Day seriously might be the unluckiest woman around. Part of me wishes she would have just caught a break, but that wouldn’t have made for as exciting of a story, would it?  I think she tried, probably the best that she could with the crappy hand of cards she had been dealt and for that I have to give her some credit. I will say, I think Flynn creates interesting characters- they don’t seem cookie cutter to me.  I do enjoy that her characters from one book to the next are very different as well.

There were such weird and wild plot turns in Dark Places; some I felt were more believable than others.  The Kill Club was weird to me, but I think there probably are clubs like that – I mean there is a club for everything these days.  The whole premise of Calvin Diehl was creepy; I could see someone like that existing in real life. A crazy psychopath who thinks he’s helping people out. Eeks! I alluded to this above, but I was absolutely not a fan of the Krissi Cates plot twist.  I think Flynn probably could have given us a different more vanilla plot twist and the story would have been just fine, but she chose that specific situation purely for the shock value. I suppose when you are an author you can do those kind of things.  I also think that the Diondra/Crystal plot twist kind of went off the rails there at the end.  The dinner, Crystal fessing up to knowing what happened all those years ago, and then trying to kill Libby it all felt so unnatural and fake to me.

I’ll probably watch the movie when it comes out; I’m very interested to see how they adapt this one from the book to the big screen. 

And Bon's review...

I have so many mixed feelings about this book.  To be honest, I just finished it tonight, and I probably need more time to think about it and process it before I crank out a review.  But here goes anyway.  I don't normally answer all of our book club questions in order, but Steph's questions are so great that I think I'll be able to hit up all my big thoughts pretty well just by covering her questions.  You rock, Steph!


1. Throughout the book, who did you think was the killer? 
Because I have read Gone Girl I suspected there'd be a pretty crazy twist.  I could tell Flynn was trying to make us suspect Runner and that one seemed too obvious.  When Patty found out her farm was going to be foreclosed on, that was when I started suspecting that she may have something to do with the murders.  I originally thought that she had maybe killed her own kids and then tried to kill herself, but the way that the kids were killed was too gruesome to be the mom's doing...

A side note... I was pretty disappointed with who the killers were.  It felt like such a cop out that the killer was just some random hit man.  And that Diondra strangled Michelle.  I guess Diondra's motive didn't seem quite strong enough to strangle an eleven year old like that.  Then again, Diondra was freaking nuts.  Also, it was way too unlikely that the murders would be committed at the same time by totally different people with totally different motives.  I mean, that's just way too big of a coincidence and it bothered me.

2. Later this summer, Dark Places the movie will be released.  After reading the book, will you see the movie?  Any predictions on what will be emphasized or downplayed as they adapt the book to a movie?
I doubt that I will see the movie.  The book was gritty and dark enough for me that seeing it played out on a movie will probably be more than I can stomach.  I have a hard time with very violent tv shows and everything about the book was pretty graphic, so I don't know that I want to see it.  One thing that drives me crazy is that Charlize Theron is playing Libby.  Libby is supposed to be 4'11 with unproportionally large breasts and not very pretty.  She is described as cartoony.  And then they go and cast Charlize Theron, one of the prettiest actresses in the world to play Libby.  It drives me nuts when filmmakers cast actors who don't fit the physical description given in the book and just go for pretty girls to play the role.  (Another classic case of this is Myrtle in the Leo version of The Great Gatsby.  She is supposed to be fat not a cute, skinny redhead!)

3. Does Calvin Diehl deserve the title “The Angel of Debt”?  How do you feel about his actions- are they justified or is he simply a psychopath?  
The whole Calvin Diehl thing drove me CRAZY.  It was so out of the blue and random.  I almost felt like Flynn realized with 20 pages left that she had no killer figured out for her crime.  So let's throw some guy named Calvin in!  With so much back story that went in to this book it drove me crazy that our ultimate murder was just some hit man.  Pretty disappointing for me considering all the Krissi Cates and Trey and Runner drama I had to read.

4. Does Ben’s punishment fit the crime?
24 years in jail for being there when your little sister was killed?  No.  24 years for knowing the truth and not saying anything for 24 years?  Yes.  Ben was another character who drove me nuts.  I felt no sympathy for him- in his younger years or the present years.  I don't understand why Ben is still loyal to Diondra when he's in jail.  He said repeatedly when he was 15 that he didn't like her, that she was fiercely mean to him, that he knew he'd be unhappy with her.  It didn't make sense to me that he would still be covering for her 24 years later when he didn't like her to begin with.  Where was his motive?!? To me that was a total plot hole. (And you can say that he was trying to protect the baby, but wouldn't it be better that she was in jail and that he was out to raise the child?)

5. Flynn is kind of known for her plot twists, were you able to predict any of them? 
Like I mentioned, I figured Patty had something to do with it.  The Calvin thing was just stupid, how he had to chase down Debby.  I hated that.

6. Who was your favorite / least favorite character? Why?
The characters were so so tough for me.  I know books are not in the business of creating likeable characters as we discussed last month, but these characters were beyond unlikeable.  All of them except maybe Aunt Diane.  And Lyle.  Gotta love me some Lyle.  I agree with Steph in that I had such a particularly time with Libby.  She was so tough and bratty and mean, and I just couldn't exactly figure out why I was supposed to care if she solved this case or not.  I cared mostly for Lyle's sake, to be honest.  I didn't like Ben at all and I didn't care that he was in jail, perhaps unjustly.  If he didn't care to try to get himself out and give an honest testimony, why should I care?  I think that was the hardest part for me about the whole book- I didn't like Libby or Ben enough to care if they solved the case or turned out happy so it was hard for me to invest in the story.

*Side note= one thing that I did love was how Libby was a total kleptomaniac of totally useless things.  Like salt shakers and lotion bottles.  I just loved that, and I can't quite figure out why.  I think it shows her vulnerability, but also her tenacity.  And I loved that she eventually nailed Diondra by stealing her lipstick.

7. Could you have forgiven Ben?
No.  He allowed his sisters to be killed to protect his crazy girlfriend whom he hated... so no.

8. As we jumped from POV to POV, was there one you enjoyed most?  Least?

I probably enjoyed Patty's POV the most.  I am 29 next week and she was only 32 so I am closest in age to her, and I identified with her struggle of trying to provide and take care of her family.  I think I just really sympathized with her and enjoyed seeing things from her point of view.  At the beginning of the book I had a really hard time with the constant switching back and forth and the POV in the past went SO SLOW at first.  Gosh, some of those sections dragged a lot.

One last thing- I really enjoy Flynn's writing style.  Sometimes I got frustrated because I wanted the plot to move quicker and she was going on and on about some porcelain bunny that they used to put on top of the toilet, but in spite of myself, I kind of ended up appreciating it.  I enjoyed the extra taste all those little description gave- like it allowed me to see and understand the characters a little bit better.  There's one part where Ben is describing Diondra's cousins and how they threw change out the window- not just pennies and nickels, but quarters.  And how that's how you can tell the difference between people who have a lot of money and people who don't- by the way they treat their quarters.  Because several quarters can buy a meal and people who don't have money don't throw away quarters.  Gosh, I loved that.  It's just one of those thoughts that sticks with you.  A totally new and interesting way to describe something that at the same time has an old familiarity to it.  And tonight when I was cleaning off the counter and saw the quarters in Greg's spare change, I thought of that.

(Also loved the way she described Magda's neighborhood- like a bunch of ugly girls trying to pretend they're not ugly by wearing lots of make up and nice clothes.)

Alright, I'm done.  I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one.  Comment your thoughts below or post the link to the book review that you did.  Steph and I will both try hard to respond to all comments so we can get a nice, healthy discussion going.  Can't wait!

JULY'S BOOK CLUB IS WILD BY CHERYL STRAYED.  DISCUSSION WILL BE THE LAST THURSDAY OF THE MONTH, JULY 30.