The Life of Bon: March 2015

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, 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


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

+ 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.

+ 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.

+ 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?

+ 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?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bon's Book Club: Yes, Please


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!


+ What did you like about the memoir?
+ What did you not like about the memoir?
+ What did you find most interesting/ fascinating in this read?
+ Anything you wished Poehler would have talked more about?  Less about?
+ What was your favorite quote?

I didn't have a lot of expectations going into this book, which is sometimes the very best way to read a book.  There was a lot about Amy Poehler's memoir that I really loved and a few things that I didn't love so much.

+ Anytime Amy talked about her two sons.  I especially liked a description she gave of when her boy was two years old and she was pregnant with baby #2.  She would cuddle baby #1 in the hammock while growing baby #2 in her tummy and they would all nap together.  It's an image that will stick with me.  I want me some summer napping pregnant days.

+ "Your Career is Like a Bad Boyfriend".  This chapter should probably be entitled "Your comedy career is like a bad boyfriend" or "your acting career is like a bad boyfriend" because for anyone in a stable line of work, the commentary in the chapter don't totally apply.  When I read it thinking about Greg as an actor,everything was so spot on.  When I read it thinking about myself as a teacher, I didn't totally connect.  I do think, though, that it has a lot of connection with other parts of life.  The idea basically is that you just can't care too much about things that aren't in your control because they'll just end up disappointing you.  Practice ambivalence.  Try to care less.

"You have to care about your work but not about the result.  You have to care about good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look...  

You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout, "I made it!" You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful.  Most people I know struggled with that complicated soup of feeling slighted on one hand and like a total fraud on the other.  Our ego is a monster that loves to sit at the head of the table...

"We controlled the only thing we could, which was the show.  We did the thing.  Because remember, the talking about the thing isn't the thing.  The doing of the thing is the thing."

+ The Parks and Rec chapter.  I could have read it a million times.  I LOVED all the insight into all the actors, the way they filmed the show (love how much freedom they gave actors to make their own choices).  I especially loved all the nice things Amy said about everyone she worked with and what great people they all are.  It made me think she loves them all as much as Leslie Knope loves them.

+The last chapter, "The Robots Will Kill Us All"  WAS SO SO GOOD.  Basically all about how we are going to unknowingly let cell phones take over the world and I laughed and laughed because I love my cell phone and my computer and I also hate my cell phone and my computer .

+Her chapters on sleep.  Greg can relate because he sleeps like a soldier in a fox hole about to be bombed by the enemy.  In other word he sleeps like total crap.

+Amy tells a story about totally offending someone in an SNL sketch and then later having the opportunity to apologize to that person.  I really appreciated that chapter and Amy's effort to make things right and show the value of saying sorry.  I got the overall impression from the book that she really does try hard to just be a kind and thoughtful person.

+ My personal opinion is that Amy wrote this book at the wrong time.  I know that's when the book deal was offered to her and you gotta carpe diem and all that, but it just felt very much so like someone telling me a story when they don't know the end of the story.  She was not done filming Parks and Rec when she wrote the book and she is just barely recovering from her divorce with Will Arnett.  I would have loved to hear more about her marriage to Arnett, how they met, fell and love, and about the years they shared together.  But I could tell that all of that was way too raw for her and so basically Poehler hardly talks about Arnett at all except to say that he is the father of her children and a good father at that.  I can understand the difficulty of writing about a marriage right after it has ended, but I felt a little sad that in her "memoir" she talked so so much about career, SNL, TV, comedy, yada yada yada and so little about her family life.  I also understand that you have to protect family and those you love, but I just really missed that.

+ "Obligatory drug stories" chapter.  I hate it when people start talking about all their drug and alcohol stories.  It might be because I don't do either, but I usually am just pretty unimpressed when people go on and on about their drug use and everything that happened while they were high or drunk.  It just kind of feels like 17 year olds trying to show off and anytime behavior reminds me of 17 year olds, I know that's a bad sign.

+ Organization of chapters was horrible.  Poehler is all over the place.  One second she's talking about giving birth to her first baby and then she's talking about how sweet Chris Pratt is and then all of a sudden she's telling you what her high school was like.  It was just so scattered.  I guess I'm real boring, but when people write about their lives I like it to be in chronological order.  Her second to last chapter is about a trip she went on to Haiti and connecting with so many people and realizing our importance (or unimportance) in the world.  It's really beautiful and then the last chapter is this totally funny, weird thing about how cell phones are going to kill us all.  I loved the cell phone chapter, but its placement just felt so off.  Don't editors usually fix stuff like that?

+The SNL chapters.  Oh, gosh, these were such a chore to get through.  Stop talking about SNL.  It might just be me, but I felt like she was talking about SNL forever.  Again, it kind of reminded me of 17 year olds, trying to prove to each other how cool they are.  I felt like Amy was telling me all these awesome stories of things that happened when I wasn't there.  All these inside jokes she has with Seth Meyers and how much fun they have and how much they love each other.  And I just felt like the friend who sits there and listens to a bunch of people tell stories about stuff that happened while I wasn't there, or a bunch of friends with the same inside jokes day in and day out.  It got old.  

+One person commented about the book on my instagram (@thelifeofbon) that they had a hard time getting into it because they wanted Amy to be Leslie Knope.  I agree completely.  I like Amy and all, but she's not nearly as cool as Leslie.  There were a few things she said in the book that I just thought were really weird or harsh or that just made me not like her as much.  For example, she tells one story about a man being short with her and Tina Fey on an airplane and so Amy followed him off the plane yelling the f word at him.  Just makes her a little less likeable for me.

"I have a stomach for other people not stomaching me."

"Too often we women like to tackle chaos that is not ours to fix."

"Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being"

"He was the first important person in my life to die, and when he did, it was the first time I realized that life is not fair or safe or even ours to own."

"We were both so happy and so in love.  Nothing brings a couple closer than a baby about to arrive.  Each person needs the other so desperately and in such new and deep ways."

"An important part of apologies is not making excuses."

"It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for.  It takes years to find your voice and sizer over your real estate."

Gosh I've been writing about this book for way too long.  My eyes are drooping.  Overall I did really enjoy the book and would recommend it to anyone (anyone who can handle Poehler dropping a few f bombs here and there, at least.)

I can't wait to hear from you all.  What did you like about the book?  Not like about the book?  And do you still love Leslie Knope?  Leave your thoughts in the comments or link up your post.  I will be responding to all comments.  Let's get this book talk started!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Authenticity

Last week Greg and I got released from our primary "calling".  A calling in the LDS church is basically the type of work you do in the church.  When we started going to the church in our area they gave us the calling to teach the class of 10 year olds ("primary") every week.  We agreed.

A calling can begin or end at any time.  We believe that our leaders are inspired to choose people to fill callings based on the needs of everyone at church.  Greg and I were called to teach primary a year and a half ago.  Then, last Sunday one of our church leaders pulled us out of primary for a minute and said they were releasing us from our calling.  We said okay.

There is a lot that is really cool about this system.  You get to contribute in ways that you normally wouldn't choose for yourself.  We put a lot of trust in our leaders and ultimately in Heavenly Father to put us in a calling that we need and that also needs us.  We also trust them to know when it is time to switch up the callings.

All this to say that today, for the first time in 18 months, I found myself sitting in adult classes during church.  Instead of teaching, I was being taught.  I felt uplifted, edified, and instructed.

The lesson in Relief Society (the group for all women) was on choosing wisely and was based on this talk by one of our apostles, Quentin L. Cook.  I was struck by this that was said about living an "authentic life" online.  Naturally, it made me think of blogging and my own "online life".

(Quentin L. Cook is speaking.  It gets a little confusing because he starts quoting Arthur C. Brooks) "A prominent thought leader, Arthur C. Brooks... observes that when using social media, we tend to broadcast the smiling details of our lives but not the hard times at school or work. We portray an incomplete life—sometimes in a self-aggrandizing or fake way. We share this life, and then we consume the “almost exclusively … fake lives of [our] social media ‘friends.’” Brooks asserts, “How could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?”

I found this quote especially interesting as it is something that I had already been pondering a lot the past week... how to be real on the internet. This was partly triggered by an article I had read online earlier in the week entitled "7 Things that Shouldn't Impress Us Anymore."  Not surprisingly, one of those things that shouldn't impress us was people's social media pictures and posts.  Within the article it stated this:

Almost everyone posts flattering images and experiences of themselves online- from new clothes and restaurant food to local concerts and airplane wings.  These images are closely guarded and selected routinely portraying only the most exciting parts of our lives.  With foolish abandon, we blame Photoshop for perpetuating unattainable images of perfection while simultaneously editing and photoshopping our own lives for social media.

I agree with both of the quoted sentiments, but the problem is I don't know how to do post more authentically about my life.  Sometimes social media and blogging reminds me a lot of education.  A lot of questions, but not a lot of answers.  I don't know how to live a real and authentic life online while still protecting the privacy of those closest around me.  I don't know how to write authentically about education while protecting my students and my job.  I don't know how to write authentically about my experiences in marriage, my experiences hosting a French foreign exchange student, my experiences balancing work and motherhood and everything in between.  I don't want to complain, but I don't want to brag.  I don't want to tell you my life sucks, nor do I want to tell you my life is perfect. 

I have felt this blog shifting in the past year- I guess mostly since I have had June.  I read posts that I wrote two or three years ago and I kind of cringe, to be honest.  I am still me, but I am not me either.  There are things I said then that I would never say now. Then I wanted a big social media following, I wanted lots of comments on my blog, I wanted to make money from writing more than anything.  I wanted to be funny and make people laugh- sometimes no matter what the cost.  I still want many of those things, but first and foremost, I want to be authentic.  To portray my life as accurately as possible while still protecting the privacy of those around me.  I would rather someone tell me that a blog post of mine made them think than that at a blog post made them laugh.

Now... if someone could just tell me how one goes about creating this authenticity.  I'm all ears.

And now for some pictures from the last few weeks...

^^^ Agathe about to leave for Sweethearts dance. I curled her hair.  She said she can't believe Americans really curl their hair like this.  She thought it was only in the movies.

^^ Maverick thinks he's her boyfriend.

^^ I have no idea who this baby is.  But she's freaking cute.

^^ Scentsy party!  The spring/ summer smells make me CRAZY they're so good.

^^ Representing at the Jazz game. Four year anniversary.

^^ This guy = my everything.  The way to get him to love you forever is buy him a big fat coke with lots of ice and maybe some beef jerky to wash it down.  He's a man of simple pleasures.

For the sake of authenticity, I must admit that I never took a picture of when I was grumpy and late and stressed in the morning.  I never took a picture of being frustrated because June didn't nap long enough.  I also never took a picture of seventeen year olds who asks me questions I have already answered six times.  I didn't take a picture of Greg's and my disagreement over dinner nor are there pictures of how overwhelmed I sometimes feel for all the people who live with me and rely on me.  No, I didn't get those pictures in, although they are every bit a part of my life as smiling babies and curling hair and anniversary dates.  Our stage of life right now is a mix of hectic and calm, stressed and fun, confident and a little bit scary. It's overflowing with teaching and chocolate chip cookies and 6 am mornings and Sunday walks and end of quarter stress and cooing at our perfect angel baby.    

Here's to authenticity!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

To tip or not to tip

Picture and post have no relation.  
But this picture of Junebug playing on the floor with her grandparents melts my heart.

After eight months of living in our home, we finally caved and got cable.  Or dish.  Whatever you want to call it.  The black box in our living room now shows television shows.

I don't know why we cracked.  I mean, I got to the very end of Bachelor season just relying on bumming off of friends' tvs (Thanks, Sierra!) or waiting until Tuesday to watch it on hulu.  But suddenly we could take our tv-less lives no more.  I think it might have had something to do with the fact that the Jazz have won six straight games and are 9-1 in their last ten games. (Go Jazz!) Greg couldn't stand to be missing out on the action.  And I shamefully admit that I kind of wonder what the Kardashians have been up to.

This means that when I came home from work yesterday, there was a man installing a dish to our back fence post.  Greg had beaten me home by about an hour (the endless stacks of papers!), so I walked in just to catch the tell end of it.

The man said he needed to explain a few things to the both of us and then showed us how to work the remote.  We said yes, we have used a remote many a times, thank you good sir.

He handed me a sheet of paper, said "sign this please", and waited for me to give him my Hancock.  I turned the sheet over to sign and was surprised to see in big, fat letters:


I kind of panicked.  I was supposed to tip him?!  I didn't have any cash on me.  And wasn't this guy getting paid a decent wage?  I'm paying a pretty penny for the dish every month and I signed a two year contract so I certainly feel like I'm paying enough to pay for the hour this man spent at my house.

I very sheepishly handed the paper back over to him with my signature.  He stalled for a minute, and then left, realizing there was no tip.

I felt like such a cheap jerk,

Naturally, after he left, I took to the internets and googled it with a fury.  Was I supposed to tip him?  What was expected of me?  The internets were inconclusive.  I felt awful.  Had I just totally ruined this guy's work day, the way a family of 23 once did to me at Sizzler when they ordered all you can eat shrimp, had me refilling soda and shrimp for an hour and a half, and left me no tip?  Had I become the person I once so vehemently hated?

I guess what really throws me off is that I don't know the rules on tipping.  Who in this world am I supposed to tip and who works for a wage?  When I called to ask for rates on dish and they said installation was free why didn't they include, "but the installation guys to expect a tip."  Some tips are obvious- like waiters and pizza delivery guys.  When I waited tables I made $2.13 an hour.  I lived on tips.  But there are so many tipping gray areas.  Was this dish guy living on my tips?  Had I just basically made him work for free?  Had I known I was supposed to tip him, I would have had cash on hand.  But the thought never once even kind of crossed my mind to tip the man who sets up our dish.

Someone just tell me the rules please and I will follow them.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sleep: A tale of muggles, magic, and more

Sit down.  Tonight I shall share a tale of magic with you.

It all started a few weeks ago when I wrote this post in which I told you all that June's amazing sleeping habits had gone and died themselves a terrible death.  JuneBug, once thought to be the best sleeper in the wild west, was waking up in the night, rolling around in bed, wiggling out of her swaddle, and then screaming out in what can only be described as pure terror to be reswaddled.  She would not be comforted without a good, tight swaddle.  And don't even think about that self soothe crap!  That was never going to happen, insisted June.

It was miserable!  For a month there I thought I had seen the end of having children. She was a mess.  I was a mess. The whole house was a "no one is sleeping!" mess!

I took to this blog to tell you all that I was stumped.  I thought I had a great sleeper!  I thought I knew how to put a baby down!  Turns out I knew nothing!  What to do, what to do?

"Duh, Bon.  Buy a magic sleep suit!" Several of you told me in the comments. Baby Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit, to be exact.

A magic sleep suit?  What the devil do you speak of, blog commenters?   I did my internet research.  The suit looked alright in theory, but I doubted it would work for us.  To start with, it seemed likely that June was too old for it already.  She's eight months!  It was also expensive- $40 + $6 for shipping.  And it said it wasn't for babies who roll.  Meh.  I wasn't going to waste my time with it, nice try, commenters!

A week passed.  June's sleep continued to get worse.  She would go down at her normal bedtime of 7:00.  She would then wake up at 11:00 for a reswaddle, and hey, why not nurse while we're at it?  This is fun, right, mom?  Then again we'd do it at 2:00!  Maybe 3:00?  And how about 5:00! It was a party every hour!  June was in heaven.  I was tearing my hair out.  One night I was up a total of four times with her- and with a department meeting at 7 am the next morning.  I was at my wits' end!  First thing in the morning I ordered the magic sleep suit, I didn't care what my muggle friends would think of me!  I mean, who am I to question magic when I'm up four times in the night?

The suit arrived.  We put June in it.  She looked like this.

We couldn't decide if she looked more like the abominable snowman or the Pilsbury Doughboy. She didn't seem to like it.  But she also didn't seem to not like it.  We put her down for the night.  We went to bed.

Ten hours later, at 6 am, we heard June cry.


She had slept the whole freaking night through- just like she had done when she was four and five months old! Our baby was back to her old ways!  But surely it was a fluke?

The next night we put June down at 7.  She woke up the next morning at 7.  TWELVE HOURS.  At some point in the night I heard her stirring, but she quieted back down within minutes.  That magic sleep suit had put my baby right back to sleep.  No nursing no bouncing no swaddling from mama required!

It has been two weeks since we have had the magic sleep suit in our life.  I declare it the best two weeks of my life.  I can't tell you why the suit works.  I don't know why June is so happy in it.  IT'S MAGIC- DON'T ASK ME TO EXPLAIN, PEOPLE.  All I know is that this magic suit answered all my questions in the universe and now I understand the theory of everything.

And that, my friends, is the glorious tale of a magic suit.

Don't believe me, ask the dishes.  (You know... the ones that can sing.  And dance... Please tell me someone in the blogosphere is catching these references.)

Dear future June,  Please don't hate me for putting Pilsbury Doughboy pictures of you up all over the internet.  I promise I'm awesome.  Love, your mama

This post was not sponsored in any way, shape, or form.  I paid full price for the abominable snowman get up, (it was worth every penny!) the magic suit people did not ask me to write this post, endorse their product, or shout magical praises to their magical suit.  I did it 100% of my own free will and choice and I REGRET NOTHING.)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A post for fellow interior design idiots.

Since buying and moving into a home in August, one thing I have really tried to do is make our house into a home.  It's hard though, for an interior design idiot like myself.  I have no idea what looks good with what.  I try things like lime green walls.  I want my home to be welcoming, relaxing and peaceful.  Instead it feels like living inside of an avocado.

A couple of things that have helped me lately:

#1:  The realization that I do not have to do all the things at once.  We have been in our home for eight months and there is only one room I really love.  That is June's room.  Next on the upcoming "really love" list is our living area, followed by our master bedroom.  It's okay that a lot of our house still looks empty, as long as I am making progress on it.  Every month I add a little something.  Doing this allows me to 1) not break the bank and 2) not get overwhelmed and give up.

#2:  The second thing that has been an immense help on my interior design journey is my internet friend, Katy.  She is an interior designer and I love the practical suggestions she gives on her blog, Designs by Katy and on her instagram, @designsbykaty.  She takes pinterest perfect pictures and then breaks them down so design idiots like myself can do it in our very own homes.  She did June's  nursery design for me- and has since helped me figure out what to do with my master bedroom with this post.

Katy's design for the nursery ^^^

^^^Nursery completed.  Thanks, Katy!

Don't believe me how awesome she is?  See for yourself!  Straight from the horse's mouth!
Katy Intro
Hello, Life of Bon readers! I'm Katy, an interior designer and blogger over at DBK: Designs By Katy. Before you check out because "you don't care about design" think again. Interior design can have a major impact on your quality of life. A well-designed space can give the recipient a sense of peace and even happiness. The same, in turn, applies to the opposite principal. Poor or unattractive design can cause stress and discomfort. If you don't have the gift, how do you get there? This is where I come in. I love to share tips on how to style like this:
How to Style an Entry Console
Sourcing: Console, Horse Artwork, Red Lamp, Gold Candle, Small Frame, Orchid
I frequently show step by step guides on how to style or even obtain that amazing room you saw on Pinterest. Don't just file it away thinking it's unobtainable. With the right designer, you can make any dream room a reality. Like this amazing bathroom, broken down into quick easy steps:
DBK Bathroom How To Get The Look
So there you have it. Whether you're catching some tips or even inspiration, come visit me over at DBK. Thanks so much for having me, Bonnie!

P.S.  If you are interested in a "Takeover" post similar to this, please email me at for rates.  There is one available per week.

Friday, March 13, 2015

An Anniversary

As of yesterday we have been married for four years.

Four years of bliss.

Four years of work.

We have both fought hard for our marriage, and that's not something we are ashamed of.  It has not always been easy.  But it has been full of laughter and commitment and love.

I don't think I knew who Greg was when I married him.  Not really.  I had an idea of what his top layer was.  But I didn't understand him all the way through.  I didn't know what makes him tick, what he needs, what things drive him absolutely bonkers.

There have been some surprises in our marriage.  They are mostly good surprises.  It surprises me how witty Greg is.  How quickly he can make a joke and make a whole crowd laugh.  It surprises me what a good heart he has.  How much he cares for the people around him.  It surprises me what a good dad he is- how he absolutely adores June.

Last night there was another surprise.  The plan was to go to dinner last night.  But then, over chocolate mousse cheesecake, Greg handed me a card.  Inside were tickets to the Jazz game.  He said, "I know what you like to do more than anything is go out and do an activity.  So instead of just going home after dinner we're going to do something fun."  He had bought the tickets, found a jazz shirt for me, and arranged the baby-sitter.  It was sweet and simple and meant a lot because I know that Greg would have preferred to go home and take it easy.  But instead we drove up to Salt Lake on a school night and enjoyed a rowdy Jazz game.

Sometimes I can't believe how hard marriage is.

But sometimes I can't believe how easy it is.

And now, some not so serious wedding pictures.

(More of my posts about marriage are here and here.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Two Bachelorettes: "It's Not Ideal"

Britt's waist has got to be photoshopped in this, right?  Especially the right side?  
Is it humanly possible to look like that?

I am really mad at The Bachelor right now.

Tonight Greg and I watched The Bachelor finale.  (We were a day late and successfully avoided hearing any spoilers today.  No facebook twitter or instagram all day for me).  We, like everyone else, were shocked at the news that are going to have two bachelorettes for next season.  Well, let me rephrase that.  Shocked that they are not going to choose a bachelorette, but instead make two girls show up on premiere night and try to win over 25 men, wait while the men choose which one they want, and then send the other girl home heartbroken and humiliated.  So next season we're going to have one bachelorette and one loser.  An again loser.  Yah, that sounds like a great plan!

I know you have all been talking about this for the past 24 hours, but I just saw the episode so please humor me.  Lets talk about it some more!

Is there a worse idea?  I am so disgusted, honestly.  You see, I enjoy watching The Bachelor and Bachelorette against my better judgment.  It is degrading to women (and men when they are vying for the bachelorette), gives an unfair and unrealistic balance of power in a relationship, and allows people to think it is okay to be kissing and sleeping with multiple people at the same time.  But I still watch it because I'm an idiot.  Because it's entertaining, because I like watching people kiss (I'm a freak), and because a part of me wants so badly to believe in love reality tv style. I've watched every season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette since Jillian's hey day (hay day?) and that is something I am both proud and ashamed to admit.  I figure I will be a forever watcher.

But then something like this happens and it makes me think about giving up on the whole show for good.  Although the premise of the show is pretty awful I  justify my watching of it because there is a Bachelor and a Bachelorette.  A woman got to be in control sometimes, too.  Except wait.  Let's take the seasons where the woman gets some power and some control and give it back to the men, after all.  Gosh I hate it so much.

I also think Britt is a pretty horrible choice for a bachelorette and I don't know why they are considering her at all.  She always came off as sincere and manipulative to me.  And it's pretty obvious that Kaitlyn thought the same, which makes it all the more biting that Kaitlyn now has to compete with her to be the bachelorette.  And are we really okay with 25 random men deciding who the next bachelorette is going to be?  Come on Bachelor producers, what are you thinking on this one?

I think Kailtyn said it best when Chris Harrison asked her how she felt about it and she responded, "It's not ideal."  No, not it's not.

P.S.  I was thrilled that Chris chose Whitney.  They might be my favorite couple in Bachelor history with the exception of Sean and Catherine who go down as the Bachelor queen and king forever.

P.P.S.  Jimmy Kimmel on the After the Final Rose was the best thing that ever happened to me.  "Have you guys had your first fight yet?"  HA!  Thanks, Jimmy, for asking what we all wonder.

What We Did in Class This Week

The two hardest days of the year to wake up and teach are:

1) The day after Christmas break
2) Daylight's Savings in the spring.  Today.

But we made it this morning.  Made it to school with our baby and French teenager in tow.  Three stars for us!

This year I am teaching three junior classes.  This is my fifth year teaching juniors and it feels comfortable.  Easy. I can tweak my plans and my units each year, but I have a solid base that makes the day to day planning, teaching, and grading so much easier.

This year my "tweaking" has mostly involved trying to adequately prepare my students for their required testing.  And there is so much testing!  Last year Utah rolled out a new statewide testing system, the SAGE.  It is more rigorous and more difficult than our old test, the CRTs.  The biggest change is the addition of a writing portion.  Juniors are required to write two essays for the writing portion- an informative essay and an argumentative essay. Students are given three or four passages about a certain topic and then asked to write an essay on it.  It takes three class days (85 minutes each) for the writing portion and then two to three class days again in May for the English portion.  That is five- six days of classroom instruction for the statewide test.

Last year students took the writing portion at the end of the year.  This year, the writing portion was boosted up to the first week of February.  One of the drawbacks of teaching half time is that I miss half the meetings.  Usually I get the gist of the important info shared in the meetings, but sometimes I miss big things. That means the second week of January when my department head came in to give me the SAGE schedule for two weeks away I about had a mini stroke.  What?!  My students have to be prepared to take an end of the year writing test?  In two weeks?  But we haven't even done their big research paper yet!  We haven't gone over informative writing!  How do I get them ready for a test that measures year long growth in two measly weeks?

The result of this was a January classroom that was a scramble scramble scramble of trying to get my students ready for the SAGE.  I had to tell myself to relax and that I had been teaching my students writing all year long.  Still, with my maternity leave going until mid September and the end of the year testing boosted up to February, I felt like we were robbed of time and like I was sending them into battle wildly under prepared.  They had had four months to learn what should have been learned in a year.

When I found out they would be taking the SAGE in February we were smack in the middle of reading Great Gatsby.  I cut half of my teaching plans for Great Gatsby, skimped it down to the bare minimum, and January became a frenzied mess of Daisy Buchanan, thesis statements, prohibition, rebuttals, and extramarital affairs.  It was wild, but I hope and pray that something of what I taught stuck in those young kids' heads. 

Last year I taught Gatsby in May.  SAGE testing, though, cramped our style and made the teaching of the book rushed.  This year I decided to teach Gatsby in January so that none of the state testing got in the way of giving the book the attention it deserved.  Looks like that plan was a bust.

We finished our SAGE testing on February 9, we tested on Gatsby on February 13 and then we had two wild weeks to get the kids ready to take the English and Reading portions of the ACT.  This isn't technically part of the core for juniors, but the state pays for every junior to take the ACT on March 3, and I felt like I would be doing my students a huge disservice if I didn't help them prepare for it.  The two weeks leading up to the ACT we took timed practice tests, went over the structure of the test, reviewed testing strategies, etc.  Although it is not very "fun", teaching ACT prep is very rewarding to me.  All year long I teach things that I know will benefit my students, but they don't see the benefit until sometimes years later.  I have received messages from students in college, "Thanks so much for what you taught me.  I didn't think it was important when you were teaching me, but I have used the skills so much since."  It is rewarding to get these kinds of messages, no doubt, but it is a delayed gratification.  When I teach the ACT, I get the reward of seeing my students use what I taught them almost immediately.  The day after they take the ACT they strut into my class,

"It was exactly like you told us it would be!"
"I would have been lost without those strategies you taught me."
"When I came to the who/whom questions I knew exactly how to figure out the right answer!"

Now we are doing a short unit on Dead Poet's Society.   It is the one movie we watch in its entirety.  (Poor deprived children that don't get to watch movies in English)  I love going over the poetry references in the movie- almost all of the poetry we studied in December.  I also love it for its larger application questions.  What is the purpose of education?  What makes a good educator?  How much influence should parents and teachers have on teens?  It is always a fascinating discussion and leads to a lot of debate about what really is our purpose sitting at these desks, teaching this grammar, coming to school day after day.  One of the best discussions of the year.

Wednesday we will start our research paper.  The kids are dreading it.  But there ain't no rest for the wicked, right juniors?!

Now, just a word on our pacing and core curriculum this year.  In the five years that I have taught, our core has changed drastically.  Utah implemented a new common core, as most states in the nation did.  The new core calls for more rigor, more nonfiction reading, less time "playing" so to speak.  The first year I taught Gatsby I did vocabulary activities with it, a journal project where students had to write as if they were one of the students, a unit about the symbolism of the color in the book and a funeral for Gatsby.  This year all of that was scrapped in order to give test prep priority.  It makes my heart sad.  I understand and I don't understand.  Some teachers and I were recently lamenting all the fun and creative things that we used to do in our classes that we have slowly had to take out to make room for the more intense testing, the rigor, the demands.

I understand the high school students are entering college unprepared.  They are not reading or writing at the level that they need to.  But I don't know that taking out all the enjoyable parts of learning and replacing them with more "rigor" is the answer.  I also don't know that that is not the answer.  There are no answers in education, but to me it seems like you give a goal that teachers need to meet and then you allow them to get there how they may.  One of the things I loved about teaching AP is that there is so much freedom with it.  There is a big test at the end of the year.  Students are expected to pass that test, but what an individual teacher does to get those students to passing the test is completely up to the teacher. There is so much freedom, creativity, trust.  I love that and I wish I saw more of that for all teachers, not just AP teachers.

Speaking of AP, 49 students signed up to take AP Literature next year.  I did a happy dance.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

A Theoretical Question: Can a Salesperson Sell Without Being Annoying?

^^ When Greg saw this picture he cried out, "Who's the mystery host?  I hope it's not me!" 
No, Greg.  It's not you.

On Wednesday I am having a scentsy shindig at my place. Any and all who are local are welcome to come.  (I live in Lehi.)  Because I feel uncomfortable offering up my home address to the dark abyss of the internets, I have not included it on the picture.  If you want to come, just send me an email, ( and I will gladly tell you my address.

Wednesday night should be a lot of fun.  My new spring and summer scents arrived last week and they are goooooood.  Bonfire beach has got me craving summer in a bad way.  Stop on by anytime between 7 and 9 to give the new smells a try.  There are gorgeous new warmers, too, and, of course, all the classics.  (So many commas in that sentence!  Must we need so many commas?!)   AT 7:30 A "MYSTERY HOST" WILL BE SELECTED- THAT MEANS A PARTY ATTENDEE WILL BE RANDOMLY CHOSEN TO RECEIVE ALL OF THE HOST REWARDS- UP TO $25 OF FREE PRODUCT AND HALF PRICE ANY ITEM.

We will have treats!   We will laugh!  We will make the men put the kids to bed! (And one lucky person will get all their stuff for free!)

If you are not local, but want to check out all the new spring/summer stuff, you can buy online here. My favorite new scents are bonfire beach, Sedona sunset, sunkissed citrus (not new, but so good for spring), and coconut flower.  You can email me, too, asking for recommendations.  I can help you with any kind of smell your little nose desires.

If you are buying online you can buy five scents and get one free- go to the combine and save on the left hand column.  Please check out under the "February party"  I am very grateful to those of you who have bought.

Now, just a quick word on "selling" scentsy.  I know it's kind of weird that I took on selling scentsy a few months ago.  Afterall, I just had a baby.  I work part time.  I keep up a blog. We let a French girl move in with us.  My house is never clean.  Once upon a time I was trying to write a book.  Certainly I don't need scentsy!

Turns out I kind of do.  I didn't decide to sell scentsy because I want to become a milllionaire from it.  That'll never happen.  But I buy a lot of scentsy product anyway (I have a psychological need to have my house and clothes smell good at all times) and a discount seemed really nice.  Then I figured if I could sell a little extra to others then I could actually get my stuff for free or close to free.  And maybe make a little gas money on the side?  Is that so wild to think?  AND fuel my shopping addiction without spending all my money?!  (Putting in orders for other people and waiting for your packages to arrive is just as fun as doing online shopping for myself!)

The best part, though, turned out to be that it gets me out of the house a couple times a month- allows me to hang out with other adult women and not talk about explicit vocabulary plans or how long my baby sleeps at night or what we're cooking for dinner.  Not that I don't like talking about those things.  But sometimes I like to hang out with friends and remember the person I was before I was a mom and before I was a teacher and before I had all the responsibilities.  You know?  And weirdly enough, scentsy lets me do that.  I get to hang with friends, eat treats, and shop vicariously while Greg stays at home and puts the baby down,  Not a bad gig.

All that being said, somewhere in the back of my head I worry that my desire to get out a few nights a month and earn some extra gas money might annoy other people.  Because that is only possible if other people buy the product.  And people are (understandably) usually pretty careful with how they spend their hard earned cash.  They don't like it when they feel like their money is threatened.  I get it.  

I know that people who sell products can get real annoying real quick.  My facebook wall is flooded with every different type of MLM product imaginable. I'm not annoyed because I am one of those people, but I can see how it could get annoying to others.  So my goal to not be that person.  It is hard to know where the line is, though, of informing people about a product without stuffing it down their throats.  My goal is to find people who are genuinely interested in scentsy and sell to them.  I never want anyone to feel obligated to buy from me.  My worst fear is that someone wouldn't want to hang out with me because they're worried I would try to sell them some wax or force them into hosting a party.  What if someone thinks that about me?!  (I'm interested- do you know people who sell products who are not annoying?  What makes them not annoy you?)

So that's my huge, giant disclaimer.  Come on Wednesday if you want.  There is some amazing stuff if you like your house and clothes to smell good all the time.  But you don't have to buy if you don't want to.  And if you don't come, I will not take it personally.  I will not harass you next time I see you or talk to you.  I will not throw stones at your car and threaten to burn down your house.

That's a promise.

And now, let's do this weekend thang.