The Life of Bon: 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

Resolutions + Potty Training Round 2

Are you guys making New Year's Resolutions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Days after Christmas

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On Christmas, Creating Traditions, and Teaching Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Here are a few gifts you can purchase this Christmas:

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

We are alive. I repeat, we are alive.

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

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

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

It's thrilling!

But also really stressful!  

And also taking over our house!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 05, 2016

For the man who checks up on my car

This is Gary.

Gary is my father in law.  I first met him in September of 2010.  Greg took me up an hour away from our college town- Kaysville-  to meet his parents.  It was time, he said.

Meeting Gary made me both really happy and really sad.  He was energetic and lively and absolutely hilarious.  He was so much fun to be around.  But my own father had passed away only ten months earlier- seeing someone else's dad be a dad to them wasn't easy for me.  It would have been easier to just pretend that none of us had dads, and that I wasn't missing anything.

I remember the way Gary asked me questions about my life, the way he drove like a maniac to the restaurant, and the way he told inappropriate jokes. The night wasn't even over before I felt like he was already being a dad to me.  Checking up on me.  Asking the kind of questions that dads ask their daughters.

Some of the first of these questions were about my car.  Did the tires have enough air?  When was the last time the oil was changed?  Would I need to renew the registration soon?

I remember how I kind of froze at this.  When your dad is gone, there isn't anybody else who asks these seemingly trivial questions.  Nobody else had cared one lick about my car in the past ten months.  This is dad territory.  Gary was filling in.

I stayed the night that night at Greg's parents' house.  When I woke up Gary had taken my car, filled up the gas, changed the oil, and vacuumed it out for me.  I cried at his kind deed.

This was only the first of many ways that Gary has filled in that dad role for me.  He is so good at taking care of me.  Somewhere along the line I realized that no matter how "adult" you are, and no matter if you are parents yourself, you never stop needing and wanting a parent to take care of you.

Every Christmas and birthday I struggle with ideas of how to appropriately show in gift form how much I appreciate Gary.  When I saw this Armor All Car Care Gift Pack, it had Gary's name written all over it.  Nobody cares for and appreciates cars the way Gary does.  You have not seen a car that is well maintained until you have seen his vehicle.  If anyone would appreciate a car care package, it is Gary.

This Armor All Car Care Gift Pack is perfect for any man who appreciates and cares for his car.  In fact, when Greg was helping me take pictures of the car package this afternoon he asked,

"We're giving this away?  Why?"

"Because it's for your dad.  It's perfect for him.  Your dad always helps us with our cars so it's a great way for us to show that appreciation to him."

"Yah.  You're right.  He's going to love this."  And a slight pause before he continued,  "But shouldn't we have one too?"

Yes, Greg, I'll go buy us one too.

Just a couple of things you should know about this Armor All Car Care Gift Pack before you buy:

1. There are six cleaning products- tire shine, window cleaner, everything you can imagine to keep your car looking at its best year round.

2. All items come in a resuable bucket. We are all about effective storage at my house, so a bucket like this is great for future storage needs.

3. In the bucket you will also find a microfiber towel and sponge- easy on the surface of your car.

4. The package contains a Pro Secrets Booklet that has a coupon value of up to $13 off of Armor All Products. MORE MONEY BACK!

You can find this car care gift pack at your local Wal-mart.  It is a seasonal gift for Christmas, so make sure you pick it up before the holidays are over.  It is the easiest item to find ever- they were stacked right smack in the middle of Automotive Center aisles.  You can't miss them!  And at $20 they are totally affordable.  And you can take advantage of the $3 off digital coupon offer for the Armor All Car Care Gift Pack from Walmart while supplies last.  Every care car item your car lover will need at an extremely affordable price.


This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®  
& Armor All but all my opinions are my own.
#pmedia #ArmorAllGiftPack

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

BEARD ME STRENGTH (A guest post by Greg)

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


Do I have a treat for you today!  For months Greg has been asking me to get him beard oil.  I told him I haven't the slightest idea where one buys beard oil and he would have to figure that one out on his own.  Well, Greg isn't exactly the world's best shopper so we both pretty much dropped it at that.  I had thought maybe I'd look for some for him for Christmas, but again, was overwhelmed with where/how someone goes about finding the best beard oil.  It's not exactly like deodorant, you know. This is a novelty man's grooming product!  You gotta make sure you get one you love!

Naturally I was stoked out of my mind when I was approached to do a post for Lovely Beards.  It was a dream come true!  A way to try out some beard oil and give Greg a sweet little pre- Christmas surprise.  I didn't tell Greg I was doing the campaign until the oil and balm arrived in the mail, and boy, was that man stoked!  So stoked, in fact, that he insisted on writing this post for me.  "It's my product!" he claimed  "I'm the one that actually uses it and likes it so I should write the post about how great it is!"  Hey, when someone volunteers to do your work for you, you just agree, people.

So here it is, without further ado, a guest post by my dearest husband.


I didn’t become a man when I turned eighteen years old. I didn’t become a man when I put my brother’s pet chameleon out of its misery (Story for another day). I didn’t become a man when I first kissed a girl or took a spin on a Honda Shadow.

Oh no.

I became a man when I grew a beard.

Zeus, Moses, Willie Nelson… What do these three all have in common? (Besides brushes with godhood...)


It’s the key to their power and the key to our own.

Every aspect of my life improves while I have a beard and I mean every aspect… (Insert innuendo of your choice here)

You want respect? Then grow a beard.

But you can’t just grow a beard… Does a farmer just grow corn? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He nurtures that corn. Waters it, massages it, and reads it bedtime stories. It’s the same routine with beard treatment.

Every time I see a man with a real beard, and I mean a REAL beard, I ask ‘How does your beard look so good?’

This may seem too direct or slightly emasculating… on the contrary- It’s empowering. Nothing is better to a man than being complimented on his beard. It’s basically saying, ‘Hey guy, you are stronger than me.’

In ancient times society was ruled by those with the longest beards. Think I’m wrong? READ A BOOK.

Back to the men with the best beards…

The answer is always- ‘I oil bro.’ or ‘wax bro.’ or sometimes just, ‘bro’. Because I should already know the answer.

I’ve been trying to find the right oil/wax for many manly moons and when Bonnie had a chance to receive some through her blog, you’re damn right I hopped on board.

Lovely Beards Beard Oil and Wax makes my beard purr. (And that’s a good thing).

It smells better, looks better, and feels better to the touch.

You want to empower your husband? Want him to get that big promotion? Want to spice things up in the bedroom?

Have him not only grow a beard… but have him nurture it!

You will both thank me.


A Real Man.

Hi!  Bonnie here. Greg really does love this oil and balm. I got him the Mandarin Cedarwood oil and the Nectarine Mint balm. They smell AMAZING. Which is necessary because I feel like beards can kind of start to smell weird once they grow very long. The Mandarin Cedarwood definitely smells a little more manly, while the Nectarine Mint is more of a soft, mint smell. June, being the true champ that she is, spilled out all of Greg's oil on Sunday (and he was seriously so sad) so you better believe I have already ordered him more for Christmas. I ordered the oil in gingerbread this time around, because when you've got a ginger like Greg, you've got to appreciate him, you know?

And because this company is AWESOME, they are offering 10% off your order AND free shipping to Life of Bon readers. Woot woot! (Use code BEARDS10 at checkout!) It really is the perfect gift for your bearded man. I like it because it's fun, but it's also totally practical too. Win win!

P.S. For a good explanation of the wonders of the oil, I suggest checking out this page. Click on oils and then read the description at the bottom of the page- explains perfectly why the oil is so essential for beard growing men.

Monday, November 21, 2016

My Dad (Seven Years)

This picture was taken on a family vacation the summer after my sophomore year of high school.  
I remember that my hair had just been permed and I thought it looked real fly.

This weekend marked seven years since my dad passed away.  I laid my pregnant belly in the tub on Friday night and read all the posts I have written on this anniversary. (Two years, three years, four years, five years, six years.)  Then I read the post I wrote about grief and the post I wrote about potatoes and the post I wrote about finding out I was pregnant with June on that same anniversary.  I cried.  I felt peace.  I missed my dad.

Now, seven years later, there are certain things that stick with me about that day.  Is it a day you try hard to remember all the details of?  I don't know.  But I do.

I remember how my sister and her husband picked me up from the school where I was doing my student teaching.  They took me to my apartment so I could pack some stuff to take home for the next week or so.  I remember standing in the middle of that little bedroom of my Branbury apartment, trying to think about something so everyday and routine as what physical items I would need for the next week.  My dad just died.  Are my jeans clean?  My dad just died.  Did I pack a toothbrush?  My dad just died.  How many pairs of socks would I need?

I remember how I left a note for my roommates.  My childhood home was about an hour and a half away from where I was going to college.  My roommates were my best friends, but I couldn't tell them, couldn't talk to them.  So I wrote a note on the white board in the front room.  "I went home for the weekend.  Bonnie."  It was a Thursday morning.  I had student teaching and classes and work that weekend.  We had plans with friends on Saturday.  I knew they would wonder.

I remember how I went a run for that evening, in the bitter Carbon County wind.  How the bite and sting of the oncoming winter felt good as I ran.  A song I had learned to love while in Argentina "Noviembre sin ti" came on my ipod.  November without you.  It was November.  I was without my dad.  I cried.

I remember that the Jazz were playing.  They lost.  I couldn't make myself care.

There are a lot of things about the day that I don't remember.  I don't remember how my car got from the school where I was student teaching back to my apartment.  I don't remember who drove me down to Price. I don't remember if I took a shower or combed my hair all day.  I don't remember eating lunch or dinner.  I don't remember what any of us did to fill the long hours of that day.

Seven years after loss, the hole is still there.  The missing morphs and the grief shifts, but there is no end.  I miss him the most now on my extreme days.  During the best of times and the worst of times.  I miss him during those happiest moments- times he should be there to share it with me.  I missed him when I graduated from college, when June was born, when I was married, when I got my first teaching job.  The absence of a father in moments like that is fierce.

I miss him on the worst days.  The days I feel scared and frustrated and alone.  The days I want to cry and go to lunch and complain to someone who loves me.  The days where I experience heartache.  The days I want to give up.  Those are the days I notice so strongly that he is not here anymore.

Sometimes I wonder now, these seven years later, what is the best way to stay close to my dad?  How does anyone continue to build a relationship, or at least honor that relationship, after seven years of absence?  And what's that to say for ten years later?  15?  25?  How does anyone keep that person close to them, keep their memory close to the surface, keep them alive?  How do I help my children have a relationship with him?  How do I help him become more than just a picture to them?

For me, I keep my dad alive by doing the things that he likes to do.  I find myself being drawn to many of his hobbies and desires, not because of my own innate interest, but because my dad was interested in it.  This fall was so warm in Utah.  We had day after day of 60 and 70 degree weather.  I heard on the news that our first freeze wasn't until November 17- the last time it waited that long to freeze was on November 16, 1921.  November 17 set the record for latest freeze of all time.  My dad loved weird information like this.  Statistics and records about dates, temperatures, times.   It fascinated him.  So I guess I kind of take up this occupation for him now.  Wow, we're having a record breaking fall!  How many days in a row of 60 degree weather?  How much rainfall?  What time did the sun rise this morning?  How many minutes a day of sunlight are we losing?

This year the Chicago Cubs won the world series, the first time since 1908.  I like the Cubs because my dad liked the Cubs.  My mom grew up in Chicago, my dad went to podiatry school there, and quite frankly, my dad just likes underdogs.  He never roots for the team that is slotted to win. He watched so many Cubs games in his den.  When I wore my Cubs hat this fall and watched those world series games, I felt like my dad was watching them with me.  Telling me the stats.  How historic would this win be?  The night the Cubs won I felt like I could hear my dad cheering from the heavens.  And what a way to win!  Back from being down 1-3.  Delay because of rain.  Extra innings!  Wow, way to seal it, Cubs, you dirty dogs!

I mentioned on my Instagram, but every fall my dad would read the Book of Mormon cover to cover.  He'd start in September or October, pace himself for about 6 pages a day, and finish on New Year's.  He said he felt like it was the perfect way to celebrate the Christmas and New Year season- to spend so much time focusing on words of Christ.  So I do that too, now.  It's a struggle to try to fit that much thoughtful reading in- especially during the madness of December- but I feel my dad there with me, helping me concentrate, helping me understand, filling my soul with peace and joy and family.

I hope I can teach my children to like the same things my dad likes, and by doing so his legacy can continue in my family.  I hope they enjoy gardening and big breakfasts.  I hope we can somehow keep visiting the cabin he built and toiled over and poured his heart and soul into.  (Cabin posts here here and here.)  I hope they enjoy looking at stars and they enjoy the satisfaction from a day of hard's work.  I hope I can teach my children the importance of gathering people, of clinging to faith, of making family and God the priority always.  That is the legacy he left for me.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

On Waiting for Baby's Gender

I am 29 weeks pregnant!  That means if everything goes according to plan in 11 weeks I will a) have a new baby! and b) know the gender of my baby!  I'm not quite sure which one I'm most excited for...

I have had a lot of people ask about the decision to wait to find out our baby's gender.  Well, not so much "asked" per se, as given very strange looks.  So I figured I set the record straight.  Or something.

It first occurred to me probably a year ago or so that it would be really exciting to wait to find out a baby's gender.  I didn't have a whole lot of reasoning, mostly that I feel like we wait for so little in our modern world, and I think there can be something very sweet about many periods of waiting.  The anticipation, the excitement, the preparations.  For the rest of my life I will know the gender of my child, so why not wait a few more months and add to the suspense and excitement?   I also figured that it would be a sweet "reward" at the end of delivery to get to know the gender of the baby.  I'm kind of sucker for huge "reveals" and what not--- I just love the surprise and the suspense. 

Of course, I knew the hardest thing would be convincing Greg.  He is a man who does not like to wait!  When he wants something he wants it now.  (Like when he decided he wanted to marry me in October and literally wanted to get married at Christmas.  Oh, sweet, Greg.)  When we had June we found out her gender at 16 weeks and it was all we could do to wait that long, honestly.  I thought at 14 weeks Greg would be busting down the doors of Fetal Fotos to get a peek at the babe.

So, I started trying to sell Greg on my idea long before I ever conceived.  I mentioned it all nonchalant like.  I figured if I laid it out there enough times he would just subconsciously realize that he also wanted to wait for baby.  And maybe it did kind of work that way?  I'm not real sure.  I just know he didn't put up much of a fight.  I know not knowing the gender is kind of killing him, but it was much harder in the beginning, to be honest.  That first trimester is when it feels the most tempting- I could know in a month!  I could know in two weeks!  I could know TOMORROW!  I think, though, once you get past the "I could know right now" and switch your mindset, it becomes much much easier.  I find out the gender when the baby is born.  End of story.  Stop thinking about it.  And then your brain kind of does.  (Believe it or not, there are a million other things to think about besides my baby's gender!  Thanks, election!)

There have been a few really pleasant things that have surprised us too about waiting.  Here are some perks I would have never thought of:

People kind of get off your back.  I feel like it is human nature to rush everybody on to the next stage of life.  Where are you going to go to college?  Are you dating anyone?  Have you thought about marriage?  When's the wedding?  When are you going to have kids?  When are you due?  What's the gender?  Have you decorated the nursery?  What are names you're thinking about?  When are you going to have your next baby?  ETC ETC ETC ETC.  I feel, like, though, waiting for the gender kind of thwarts people in their questions.  They see the belly, ask about the gender and then when I say that we are waiting to find out they stop asking about the next thing and the next thing and the next thing.  It's almost like it slows down the whole pregnancy in a "sit back and enjoy this period of anticipation and growth" NOT in a "this pregnancy will never end" way.  I've really enjoyed just getting to daydream about the baby, wonder what he/she will be like, enjoy feeling the movement in my tummy.  Leaves more to imagine, I guess, and I've really enjoyed that.  It feels slow and peaceful and that is what I have needed this fall and this pregnancy to be.
  • No crazy "I'm a princess, mom and dad listen to me!" onesies!  Can we all just agree that some baby clothing is really obnoxious?  When June was born we received an explosion of pink.  People were so generous and we felt so grateful for all the ways people wanted to celebrate the new baby with us.  That didn't change the fact that our new baby was dressed head to toe in pink, purple, butterflies, sparkles, you know the drill.  And baby clothes for boys can be just as obnoxious- dinosaurs, footballs, I AM BOY, HEAR ME ROAR all over the place.  When you don't know what gender you are having, the clothes and blankets tend to remain a lot more neutral- whites, grays, beiges.  I LOVE these colors and have loved being able to shop for this new one without feeling all that pressure of gender specific clothes.  I guess I just feel like overall the clothing you buy and receive is a lot more "chill" than if you knew the gender.

  • Gender neutral nursery!  Similar to the idea above, I am really looking forward to a gender neutral themed nursery.  June's nursery is pretty much gender neutral- there are pink highlights that could easily be swapped out for blue.  BUT I love June's room so much and to me it will always be June's room, so I'm going to transition that to a big girl room (and by that I mean take her crib away and give it to the baby) and just put the nursery in our spare room.  (That means we won't have a room for visitors anymore so if you come visit us, just know you're sleeping in our unfinished basement!)  I also really like the idea of a gender themed neutral because it takes away the temptation for me to project on to my child what I want him or her to be.  Make the room a camping room or a baseball themed room for a boy when who knows if that's what the boy will be like at all?  Or a princess room for a girl who would much rather play in the dirt.  I know that they're only babies, but I guess for me it takes away the preconceived gender expectations and just lets me love my child for who he or she is.

These are the three gender neutral themed nurserys I am debating between.  Which one do you like the most?
  • Takes the emphasis away from gender and on to baby.  The more I think about it, the stranger I think it is, actually, that we care SO much about what gender our children are.  And I think it's weird that the first question we all ask a pregnant person is what the gender the babe is going to be.  As if that is the very most important thing about a person.  And I guess I don't think that's the most important thing at all.  I want my child to be kind, smart, sensitive, thoughtful and a hard worker.  I hope my child laughs at my jokes.  Whether or not the child is a boy or a girl really doesn't matter at all.  Waiting to find out the gender has brought that emphasis back on just the miracle of being able to have a baby.  This one is hard for me pinpoint my feelings exactly, but it just feels like it takes away the focus from something that doesn't really matter that much to what is most important.  No matter what this child is going to be loved and is going to be a huge blessing in our lives.  This baby came at a time when we were not expecting him or her at all, and already the pregnancy has brought so much sweetness and joy in my life.  That's what I want to think about and focus on when I feel his or her little jabs and kicks in my tummy.

People always say to me, "I could never wait, I have to get everything prepared!"  I totally get that some people want to have EVERYTHING ready when baby comes, but there is so much you can do after.  It's not a big deal at all to buy a few gender neutral items ahead of time and then when baby comes buy the rest of the clothing necessities.  I still think you can feel very "prepared" without knowing the gender of the baby

I read somewhere that only 5.% of couples actually wait until the delivery day to find out their baby's gender, so we'll see if we can make it!  (Greg keeps trying to convince me that we should have the ultrasound tech put it on a piece of paper and then open it for Christmas...)  I'm feeling very excited, and overall just love this period to focus on the little life that is squiggling around inside of me.  Have any of you waited to find our your baby's gender?  And how was it?!?  Tell me everything!!!

Side note:  I can't help but start Christmas shopping already!  I don't know why, but I feel so excited to get things for my family.  I've got a great idea for my mom but I can't share it because I know she reads this blog.  For Greg I've got this coming in the mail that he's wanted for a long time, and for June I have this hiding in the closet... it's all I can do to not break it out right now!

Friday, November 04, 2016

Some thoughts on teaching

I used to call these posts "What We Did in Class this Week"  I feel like it should be "What we did in class this year" this time around.  So much to say about school and I haven't said one thing this whole year.  Well here goes!


Maternity dresses on repeat!  This one is from Old Navy, cardigan is from J. Crew (two years ago?), shoes are from Gap (also probably two years ago, but in general I LOVE Gap's flat selection).  I hope you're not sick of the high school pregnant bathroom selfie yet- we got 13 more weeks of these bad boys! (All high school pregnant bathroom selfies can be found in all their glory on my instagram account @thelifeofbon)


I am teaching four classes every other day.  I teach two AP Literature classes in the morning, scarf down my lunch in thirty minutes, and then teach two Honors 11 English in the afternoon.  Each class is 85 minutes long.  School starts at 7:55 and it gets out at 2:25.  I only teach every other day because our high school is on a block schedule and that means I can teach these four classes and then on the other days, I just don't come in!  Instead I stay home, take June to the park, work on our small business, make dinner.  It's awesome and a total dream.  I wish every woman who wanted to could have a schedule like this.  I hope I live in a day where employers everywhere value their female employees enough to provide part time work, onsite day care, and maternity leave for all women.  For me it is the difference maker in being able to continue to work professionally without being overcome with mom guilt.

Because I teach four classes straight, the days I work end up feeling quite chaotic.  A full time teaching schedule is to teach 6 periods and have 2 periods of prep time- teach 3 and prep 1 each day.  The four in a row means I go without the prep period, and it can leave me feeling way burnt out and stretched pretty thin.  After last year I promised promised promised myself I wouldn't do it again, but because of the way the numbers shook out at our school it was either that or cram 60 AP Lit students into one period so.... four classes a day it is!

To be honest, I feel like I am at a bit of a crossroads with teaching- trying to figure out exactly the role I want it to have in my future.  We feel so grateful for our business venture and it has been able to replace Greg's full time teaching income.  If I quit teaching part time and spent that time marketing and working on our business, I feel confident that I could replace my teaching income as well.  I have so many small business ideas, but I just don't have the energy or time to do them because I am devoting so much time to teaching.

BUT I devote the time to teaching because I honestly love LOVE teaching.  I really enjoy working on our small business too, but I wouldn't say that making earrings quite carries the satisfaction or fulfillment that teaching does.  When I'm teaching I really do feel like I'm making a difference, contributing to the world, making a positive impact on teenagers.  I love getting to share my passion for literature and writing.  I love kids.  Analyzing Shakespeare and acting out battle scenes from Lord of the Flies and showing students how to effectively write arguments- it is everything I ever wanted from a job.  I honestly feel so lucky to have had the 7 years of teaching that I have had.  Making necklaces is rewarding and fulfilling in a different way- it's rewarding to help provide for a family, to work with Greg, to make and pass entrepreneurial goals.  It's fun to be our own bosses.  But I don't exactly feel like I am contributing to the overall good of society by making and selling jewelry.  And if I'm really being frank with you, I don't even necessarily feel like it takes unique talent or ability.  With a little training anybody could easily do what Greg and I do in our shop. Whereas I feel like teaching needs me specifically- who I am and my unique talents and skills- on the front lines.   If I quit making jewelry, somebody else would make it instead and the world would continue on in pretty much the same fashion.  If I quit teaching there isn't someone waiting in the wings with that same passion to take my place.

But on especially busy weeks I feel the pull toward leaving teaching.  I could be done with this and have so much extra time for my family, my home, my blog, my business.  I would feel so much more balanced!  On days like yesterday, when we have pointless meetings and are introduced to new ways to evaluate teachers and new programs that we all know will last max two years, I feel like I have one foot out the door.  The very bottom line is that I absolutely absolutely love teaching.  I love the kids, I love the content, and I love everything that is happening in my little second floor classroom.  I don't love all of the core.  English has shifted over the past five years away from creative writing and literature to technical writing, nonfiction reading, rhetoric.  This stuff doesn't speak to me on the same level that the good old fashioned reading books and writing stories does.

I don't like the constant push to collaborate,  I don't like the incessant meetings just to have meetings or the tests just to give tests.  Somewhere I feel like we've maybe lost sight of the bottom line of education- what are we trying to accomplish here?  It ends up feeling like a rat race followed by a horse and pony show followed by one big hoop jump.  Instead of giving me extra time to create engaging lessons and grade my AP papers, I spend two early mornings a week with other teachers, analyzing and collecting data to send to the district, creating more and more "formal assessments".  Whether or not the district actually looks at this data is a mystery to us all.  The assessments we end up changing or throwing out every two years and then we start all over again.  I survive these meetings with the help of fellow like minded teachers- who grumble about the many hoop jumps, who sometimes sluff the meetings altogether, but then go to their classrooms and kick butt teaching with passion and love.  Most days I just try my hardest to ignore legislators and curriculum specialists and lock myself in my room so I can teach my kids The Kite Runner.

Which reminds me... I need to tell you what I'm actually teaching these days!  But that will be a post for another day.  I did just finish Kite Runner with my AP kids and it was a profoundly moving experience for me, and I think for them too.  Reading the book is powerful, teaching it was insane.  At the end of the day I am so grateful for these little tikes and how eager they are to learn.  Sharing literature with them really is a dream for me.  Hopefully I can figure out a way to keep that dream going.

As always, thank you for reading!  You guys are the bomb.  And sorry for the low frequency of posts- again, I'm hoping come winter I can really get my hibernate on and get back to more consistent posting around here.

And I'll leave you a picture of my adorable students getting their brainstorm on.  Follow me on snapchat (@thelifeofbon) for the fun behind the scenes stuff that happens at school.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Someone let me nest!

Hello blog!  I feel like it's been forever since I checked in here and I miss you.

Here's the thing.  Fall in Utah this year has been absolutely amazing.  We have had days in the seventies for weeks and weeks.  Every few weeks there will be a day or two of cooler weather and I think, "that's it!  The cold weather is here now.  So long fall!"  And then the next day it's gorgeous again for another ten straight days.  We have taken full advantage of the nice weather (or shall I say FALL advantage?!?) and have been able to do so many fun outdoor activities as a family.  This summer I was so sick with my pregnancy that I feel like my summer just kind of wasted away.  There were so many days this summer where I didn't have the energy to do a darn thing and instead stayed in bed the whole day.  Second trimester made a big comeback and so we made up for our lost summer with a very full fall.

All that being said I think I'm ready for winter?  I mean, have I ever said those words?  The nesting bug is hitting me hard and it's like, "UTAH!  TURN FREEZING COLD ALREADY SO I CAN HIBERNATE IN MY HOUSE ALREADY AND NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!  I am dying to organize my pantry (nesting!) and scrub my toilets (nesting!) and get the nursery ready (nesting times infinity!) but every day is so freaking gorgeous that instead we head to the park or the pumpkin patch or on a little road trip over the weekend.  It has been absolutely amazing and everything that you need from a fall so someone please tell me why I'm craving a freezing cold day where I don't have to leave my house once?  It's a weird world.

Our busy fall means I have not done any of the more introspective/ low key activities that I normally enjoy doing- less reading, less blogging, less bingeing on Teen Mom.  I feel okay about less Teen Mom- reading and blogging I miss.

Also as soon as it turns cold I am locking June and myself in the bathroom for three days until she emerges potty trained.  I refuse to be dealing with her potty training while trying to get an 8 pound babe to learn how to latch.  That just sounds like hell on Earth.

My goal this week is to write MWF.  So hopefully Wednesday you should get a "real" post from me.  Whatever that means these days.  While I have not been writing much these past few weeks, there are some people who have been, so I will leave you with some of my favorite things I have read on the internet the past few weeks...

+ I have been using these bad boys at school the past three weeks and it has changed everything for me.  Lunch just got 100 times better.
+ Still confused who you are voting for?  I loved this Guide for Republicans Deciding How to Vote.  One of the few informative and respectful political articles I have read this year.  If you know you can't vote for Trump but Hilary's healthcare plan has you really uncomfortable (ME!) then you may find it helpful.
+ My friend, Stephanie, who has been doing the 8 minute memoir with me (I am hoping to pick this back up once winter comes)  wrote this little piece about being eight.  I love it so much.
+ This "Am I Pregnant" video that my friend Sally shared had me laughing out loud at 11:00 in bed.  I showed it to Greg and laughed harder the second time around.  Make sure the sound is on!
+ The link between clutter and depression.  My friend, Sierra, shared this and the whole time I read it I thought Yes, yes, yes!  Please cold weather come, so I can get back to decluttering every single thing in my house!