The Life of Bon: March 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Perfect Day

I don't post a lot of "weekend recaps" on this blog because I can't imagine that my very normal weekend would be at all interesting to you, reader, who likely experienced your own very normal weekend.  But this last weekend both pretty normal and very happy and maybe it was so happy because it was pretty normal.  Who's to say what normal means anymore anyway?

This past weekend was Easter, as I'm sure you are aware.  I guess in the past I haven't given Easter the attention it deserves.  The Fourth of July with its barbeques and swimming pools and fireworks has had its place as favorite holiday securely squared away in my heart for years now.  And of course Christmas is a close rival with gifts and cookies and snow and two weeks off of school!

But this year I thought, hey!  Maybe Easter is my favorite holiday?  A day to celebrate spring and new life and resurrection and warm weather and fresh starts and leaving all the cold muck of winter behind- figuratively and literally.  Yah, maybe Easter is it.  The holiday of holidays.

I bought June a pretty Easter dress and we all went to church and the church program was about Jesus and resurrection and HOPE.  Lately I've been studying a lot about hope, and I felt like God was answering some of my questions in a real and specific way on Sunday.  One speaker mentioned that the opposite of faith, hope, and charity are fear, despair, and selfishness.  This really resonated with me.

And after church we even got a picture!  Three cheers for a family pic in Sunday clothes.

Oh, and June handled her two hours in nursery like a champ.  Second week in a row.  After months of crying in nursery we consider this a huge victory!

We came home and all took naps and then went to my mom's house for good food and good company.  The adults sat at the dinner table long after we finished eating and talked a little politics, a little books, a little online dating sites (WHY?!)  Then there was a game of "rabbits" in the field (Blackburn tradition) and of course an Easter egg hunt.  The weather was 60 degrees and everyone was happy and there was so much chocolate and it was just such a great day.  My mom made a strawberry pie that put all other strawberry pies to shame.  Then Greg and I came home and put June to bed and cuddled and watched tv and I thought, "This day was perfect.  Normal.  And perfect."

The road Greg and I have been travelling down the past 12-18 months has been super sucky at a lot of times.  But I look at days like Sunday and I am so grateful for the things we have learned and the way we've grown.  Mostly I am grateful that we still get days like Sunday and that I can appreciate those days maybe more than I ever have in my life.

So Happy Easter.  I hope you felt the power of the resurrection in your life- in whatever form you believe in.  The power of life again, of new hope, of fresh beginnings.  Thanks so much for reading this blog and letting me share a piece of my life with you.

P.S.  If you haven't yet, please check out this campaign.  I have never been more proud to use my blog as a platform for an amazing cause like this.

Hello internet.

There is a "real" post coming in the morning, but right now it's 12:37 and I'm past properly functioning so to bed it is.  We've been busy prepping for THIS huge sale in our jewelry shop that starts today.  Well it starts today if today is March 30.  It starts March 30.  It ends March 31.  Crazy how that works.

Here's the details:

Hey Hey HEY!  Who loves a good pair of simple stud earrings?!  Well you're in luck because we're having a huge sale on all $8 stud earrings 3/30 - 3/31. (THAT'S TODAY! )  This sale only happens twice a year so listen carefully!


2.  Sale is good for any pair of stud earrings from @heyjuneshop

3.  Please purchase the two pairs of earrings that you want and then on the checkout page leave a note of which third pair you would like for free.  If you buy four pairs of earrings, leave a note of which two pairs you would like for free, etc.  If you don't say which pair(s) you want for free, you will get a surprise pair(s)!

4.  Offer is good as long as supplies last.  Earrings will sell out as the day goes on so act fast to get the ones you want the most.

5.  Buy 2 Get 1 Free is not good with any other sale or coupon code.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Syrian Refugees: How Can I Help?

I've been involved in a few really cool projects through this blog.  But none as cool or as important or worth your time as this one.

The past several months I have, as I'm sure many of you have, been troubled by the Syrian refuge crisis.  How can we help these people?  I think I probably speak for a lot of people that it's hard to hear of these types of things happening--- of the suffering, the pain, the families being torn apart--- and not know how or what to do to help.  For me, I feel helpless so much of the time.

I am so excited today to be partnering with to provide real, immediate ways that we can help.   What exactly is going on in Syria?  Here's a brief overview, provided by CARE's website.

Intense fighting in Syria has forcibly displaced more people today than any other country – and there is no end in sight to the conflict. Every day, thousands of Syrians flee violence to seek out food, protection, medical care and other urgently-needed aid, mostly in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. There are 12 million people inside Syria displaced or in desperate need of humanitarian aid. At least half of the displaced are children. 

While safer, life outside of Syria is increasingly difficult. Having left most everything behind, the majority of the 4 million refugees are struggling to meet the most basic needs including unemployment, rising living costs and lack of education for their children. Housing, schools, health clinics and local economies of the host countries are overwhelmed and the needs of both refugees and the communities hosting them are growing by the day.

CARE is reaching people impacted by the conflict, with humanitarian assistance, in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and inside Syria providing life-saving emergency assistance as well as solutions to help people cope with the longer term crisis.
I'm excited today to prove some simple ways that you and I can help refugees.  It is small enough that anyone can make time in their day to do it, and big enough that it will make a real and immediate impact.

Here are some things we can do to help:

1.  Write a letter to a Syrian refugee child.  This is totally FREE and you can do it through the portal at  I think this a great idea for adults, but especially children too.  If you have kids in your home between the ages of 5 and 18 this is a great opportunity to help them see some of the larger issues in our world and to give them an opportunity to put good out in the world.  The letters can only be 255 characters, so your kids shouldn't feel too overwhelmed.  This is a great idea for a family night or a weekend activity.  (Maybe part of your Easter festivities this weekend?)

Here's the letter that I wrote.

Hi!  My name is Bonnie and I teach English in the United States.  I hear on the news here about the wars in your country and that you have had to leave your home.  I'm so sorry.  I know you are in hard circumstances, but we are so proud of you here.  I wish I could meet you and give you a hug.  I would tell you that you are brave and that you are strong and that you can do hard things.  I would hold you in my lap and read you books.  Have hope!  Hope to me means that you have faith in a better world--- that things will get better for you and your family.

2.  Donate a care package.   If you are in a position to give, then consider donating a care package to a Syrian refugee.
  • $10 can provide a family with a baby kit containing reusable diapers, soap and disinfectant.
  • $35 can provide a hygiene kit with shampoo, soap, toothpaste, detergent, disinfectant, bleach and more.
  • $70 can provide a basket of rice, bulgar, pasta, lentils, beans, dates, tuna, tomato paste, oil, tea and sugar.
  • $150 can help winterize a shelter with a tarp and plastic sheeting, blankets, floor mats and more.

3.  Share this post!  Like #1, this option is totally free.  The more people that are aware of ways to help, the more good we can do.  You might not be in a position to help financially, but you uncle might be!  I think that most people really do want to help, but we end up not doing anything simply because we don't know how to help or where to even start.  I know I have felt that way many times.  These are easy, simple things that anyone can do to help the 12 million Syrians who are being affected by the ongoing wars.

Psst... while you are on CARE's website, look around at the other projects they are involved in.  Providing relief for the crisis in Yemen, preventing child brides, educating women in third world countries... this is an amazing organization.

All pictures are taken from

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Ever since we opened up about Greg quitting his job and some of the struggles we've been going through, people have (generally) been very kind and gentle with us.  Sometimes I feel like we're both wearing huge HANDLE WITH CARE stickers and it's kind of embarrassing because that sticker sucks, but it's also awesome because seriously, please handle with care.  It feels so vulnerable to have people know that you are an adult who is not adulting very well.  But it's also kind of liberating.  It's nice to not have to pretend to have it all together anymore.  And once you admit to others about the crap you're trying to wade through, people open up to you about the crap they're trying to wade through.  That's been a really nice side effect of admitting our struggles that I wasn't expecting.  Other people immediately let their guard down around you and it's like there's just this unspoken comfort like, "Okay, everyone knows that everyone here is a hot mess, right?"  It's nice.  Scary as hell.  But nice.

People are very thoughtful and kind about our situation and a lot of times people who care about us and our family will lean in and say in a soft voice, "So how are you doing?"  Which is really nice because I know that they care and want to check up on us, but aren't quite sure how.  But "how are you doing?" in a soft voice and leaned in is such a weighted question, you know? And it feels like there is no real clear answer.  But I try to answer those friends as honestly as I can without sacrificing the privacy of my family, so I suppose I will attempt the same on this blog tonight.

Most days we're doing great!  Most days are really productive and it feels like we have the world by its string.  We feel strong as a couple, we feel like kick a** parents, we aren't afraid of anything in the future.   The house gets clean, the orders are out, my papers are graded, June is fed and clothed and washed and happy, creative projects are underway.   Most days it feels like there is a lot of HOPE in our future, which is a really awesome feeling to have after months of not feeling it.

Take last week for example.  One morning I worked on a blog post while Greg cleaned up, took care of June and then put her down for a nap late morning.  We worked on all of our orders together, got all of our jewelry goals met and then when June woke up from her nap we all went out for a late lunch.  After lunch Greg went to the gym and then to his rehearsal and I came home and played with June and read my book and took a bath and it was a perfect day.  Very simple, but productive and happy and filled with all the best things in life- work, play, family.   We are making a living and making our family work on our terms, no one else's.  We are creating our own schedule and our own way of doing things.  It might not be traditional, but it is working and it's making us very happy. It is very rewarding to get to create your own work.  We are endlessly grateful for this blog and the jewelry and the plays Greg gets cast in and all the little extra ways we have found to make a living for our family.  (P.S. Greg is in Peter and the Starcatcher at the West Valley Hale and it opens in three weeks.  The show has a five week run with at least two performances a day, sometimes more, so things are about to crazy up in hurr.)

I know that there are days that Greg misses his students fiercely, and I know that those can be hard days to come through.  I know that sometimes he questions if he made the right choice, quitting.   We both do.  But those days are fewer and fewer as the time goes on.  I look back to a year ago and I look at where we are now and I'm proud of the progress we have made.  I wish I could show year ago Bonnie a picture of today and tell her that things would work out and that Greg quitting would not be the worst thing in the world and that we'd all come out of this healthy and smiling.  (Well, most days.)  That would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of stress.  I had a good friend at school who said to me when Greg quit, "I know it feels like you are giving up on a dream.  But know that now you're going to a new dream and the new dream will be better than this one and will be worth it."  I really clung to that and continue to cling to it.  I believe it, and I see the new dream Greg and I are carving out for ourselves and for our family and it is better than the old one.

That is not to say that all days are like this.  Some days are still really hard.  Some days still feel dark and heavy and like there's this looming shadow of depression and doubt in our home that lingers late in to the morning and stretches in to the afternoon and even sometimes has the audacity to show up for dinner.  Some days I feel tired and selfish and like I'm failing at everything.  Some days June is still in her pajamas at 3:00.  I still have moments where I feel like it's too hard and I just want to quit now mkay thanks.


These days are fewer and far between.  Sometimes I get frustrated when I feel like we revisit an old problem or don't make the progress that I think we should.  But I have to remember something I learned about healing after my dad died.  Healing is two steps forward, one step back.  Two steps forward, one step back.  Those steps back can still feel so painful and like there's no hope to be seen, but I have to remember that the forward steps out number the backward steps and on the whole we are better than we have been for probably a year and a half.

Greg is very strong and I am so proud of everything he is coming through and the battles he continues to fight.  It is not easy, what he endures. Greg is as committed an individual as I've ever met, and he is a fighter.  Sometimes I feel frustrated or overwhelmed or like life is just super sucky and not fair and in those moments Greg is my absolute rock.  He buoys me up and talks some sense into me and makes me see the good all around me.  When I need his strength, he gives that to me.  Then there are days where Greg feels overwhelmed or hopeless or panic stricken.  And then I get to be the strength to him.  We take turns being strong.  And I think that's a pretty awesome thing to have in a partnership.

Hopefully that answers some of your questions of "yes, but how are you doing?"  We're progressing, we're happier, we're figuring it all out.  But we're not 100%.  (But is anyone ever really 100%?)  Some days are sucky, most days are happy.  Two forward one back.

I tried to be honest in this post without divulging too much of the nitty gritty.  It can be hard to give a total update as it's not fully my story to tell.  Sorry if some of it is super vague and you can't even figure out what I'm saying.  Blog world + Openness + Honesty + Privacy don't always jive.  We're a work in progress over here.  And if you want to ask any questions about quitting jobs, coping with mental health, supporting loved ones, etc, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll do my best to reply.  I can't promise I'll have an answer, but I might have a joke and that sometimes helps too.

P.S.  In case you are interested...  This is far and away the coolest blogging campaign I have ever been involved in.  So proud to be involved in an organization that puts so much good out there.

Monday, March 21, 2016

4 Things To Try When Dealing With Diaper Rash (Hint... the DIAPER...)

I knew (and hoped!) when I married a redhead that chances were good that we would have a little red headed baby. Imagine my delight when June came bursting into this world with her dad's same shade of red locks.  Nothing quite prepares you to love a redhead.  Unfortunately nothing quite prepared me to care for a redhead's skin either. From the get-go June has had extremely sensitive skin that rashes up constantly. The first 6 months or so I was on constant freak-out mode trying to figure out what was going on with the never-ending diaper rashes. June went to the daycare at my school, and I remember being horrified when her caretakers would bring up the rashes. I kept hoping that they wouldn't notice. I felt like the rashes reflected my ability to mother June, and obviously I wasn't doing something right if her little bottom was home to a perpetual rash. (Oh, the mom guilt.  But that's a post for another day!)

Well, I am happy to say that a year later and after several pediatrician chats and LOTS of trial and error we have found a few keys to help June's skin stay smooth and clear. Here are four things that we switched out to make that nasty diaper rash go away for good.

1.  Soap and bubble bath. This was one of the first things that our pediatrician had us change when she saw June's diaper rashes. I was surprised to find out that babies definitely don't always need to use baby products. My pediatrician told me that some of the most popular baby products are actually not the best for babies' sensitive skin.  Who knew?  For soap she recommended CeraVe or Cetaphil.  We found the adult Cetaphil face wash to be the perfect gentle soap for June's baby skin.  We also did without bubble bath until June was over a year old. Now that she's a little bit older older and her skin a little stronger, we can use bubble bath, but we still use a sensitive skin line. We get our Sensitive Skin bubble bath from Avon,

2.  Baby lotion, cream, and ointment. I feel like we tried everything under the sun when it comes to this department. CeraVe was definitely the gentlest on June, but when it got really bad we ended up having to use Hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is a steroid and has to be prescribed, so for a long time we tried to avoid it, but finally gave in. A little bit goes a long way with Hydrocortisone so we would put just a dab of it with the CeraVe or even coconut oil. A lot of people suggested coconut oil to us for June's skin and we found it helped a lot. We would often mix it with her cream or even put a little bit in the bathtub with her. We also tried just about every brand's line of sensitive skin lotion as well as the eczema lotion in each brand. We didn't notice anything too miraculous with any of these.  Coconut oil, CeraVe, and Hyrdocortisone for the win!

3.  Wipes. The first year of June's life we rinsed her wipes before using them-- this was at the suggestion of our pediatrician. I guess whatever scents and soaps and what not they put on wipes can be irritating to a lot of babies' skin. The rinsing definitely helped.  Now that she is older and her skin is a bit more tough we don't have to do this every time, but anytime a rash flares up one of the first steps we take is to start rinsing the whites again.

4.  Diapers. Diapers are huge to helping diaper rash!  Shocking!  We went through about every diaper brand imaginable and here is what we found. Huggies Snug & Dry diapers far exceeds the competition not only in the leaking department, but in bothering June's skin the least.  That triple layer protection just can't be beat, you know? Huggies has up to 12 hour protection so I don't have to worry about June when I put her in Huggies to go to bed. I know that she will stay dry and that her rash won't flare up.  Nothing makes a rash worse than a wet diaper for hours on end. (And if your baby goes to bed at 8 and pees at 9, you are looking at hours on end in the same diaper). For a while we had another brand of diapers as well as Huggies in our home, and anytime we accidentally put the other brand on June to go to bed she would wake up in the middle of the night crying because the diaper was wet and hurting her little bum. Huggies Snug & Dry is definitely the way to go for the most protection for your baby's skin.  I would confidently say that this was the most important change for keeping the rash at bay.  Think about it- a baby's diaper is touching her skin 24/7 so making sure you have the right brand that isn't going to leak and irritate baby's skin is crucial.

We buy our Huggies at our local Smith's down the road.  You can find yours at any Kroger store.  And this next week you get even more perks for buying any of your babe's necessities at Kroger.  Shop at Kroger during the "Baby Me" Event going on between 3/20/16 - 4/2/16 and spend $40 on participating baby items so you can receive a $10 off coupon good towards anything at Kroger. (While supplies last)

I am always interested to hear in your experiences. Any magical solution that you have tried to help with the stubborn diaper rashes? I'd like to think that our journey into the world of baby rashes is over, but my guess is that with any future babies we'll be dealing with the same problem.

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Huggies, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HuggiesatKroger

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Five Reasons I Hate Instagram's New Algorithm

I'm sure you've heard by now that Instagram is changing up the way they do things.  Instead of a chronological feed, they are now taking a page out of facebook's book (no pun intended!) and giving us posts in an order according to what we like the most.  Or at least what an algorithm decides that we like the most.

Instagram hasn't been real specific on how the algorithm will work, but we know that if it's anything like facebook, when we like a post we will get more of that person's posts.  If  post has a lot of likes already, we will be more likely to see it.

This has got a lot of people with their panties in a twist.  Including me!  Why, Instagram?  Why why why why?  If it's not broke don't fix it!  I'm trying to see into the minds of Instagram developers why they would decide to make this change and there is really only answer- to make money.  If I want people to see the majority of my facebook friends to see my posts I now have to pay $10 or $20 to "boost" these posts.  My guess is that instagram developers have something similar in mind.

I get it, I get it.  We all want to make money.  But surely there are other ways that Instagram can do that than sacrifice all of us, its users?  I heard someone refer to it yesterday as the "crapification" of social media.  That basically all social media platforms do the same- the longer they are around, the more they change from their original mode and over time just become more and more crappy.  Social media apps get worse with time and popularity, not better.

At the end of the day, Instagram probably doesn't care.  They will make more money, and we will all adjust (unhappily) and Instagram will stay the powerhouse that it is.  But it doesn't mean we have to like it!  Here are just five reasons why I hate instagram's new algorithim.


This is pretty upsetting to me, especially as a small business owner.  Hey June relies on our instagram account (@heyjuneshop) to let interested shoppers know about new products, giveaways, and upcoming sales.  When I post about a sale coming up, the post is not often to get a lot of "likes" but it does result in a lot of sales on etsy for me.  The success of the post, therefore, isn't measured just by the reaction on instagram, but by the reaction on another platform.  The new algorithm means that without hundreds of likes to sustain my posts, fewer and fewer people will be seeing any of my business posts.  On a personal level, I understand the reason for not liking posts.  I follow several small businesses on instagram but am not as prone to "like"  their posts of a new dress that is for sale as I am to "like" my neighbor's announcement that they are buying a house.  This doesn't mean I am not interested in the dress sale.  But because I didn't like the dress picture I will now see these sales less and I will now hear more news of people buying houses.  I am afraid that Hey June will suffer as people who follow our business will see less and less of our posts.


Similarly to the effect that the algorithm will have on small business, I see the algorithm hurting this blog.  When I write a new post, I will often post a picture and share that on instagram along with a link to the post and a brief explanation of what the post is about. That may be how some of you arrived to this post today!) The picture I share on instagram may not get a crazy amount of likes, but I invariably see higher blog traffic surrounding the hours that I posted on instagram.  People don't necessarily stop to like the post on insta, instead they click right over to my profile to go to my blog link.  Again, the success of the instagram post is measured on another platform, blogger.  I fear that in order to get any traffic to my blog I will have to be writing huge, life changing posts with stunning pictures. Which let's face it- I do none of that over here.


I think one of the things I hate the most about the algorithm is that some formula supposedly knows what I am interested or not interested in.  My agency is taken away, and what I want to see is left to the social media gurus.  Didn't I decide that when I decided to follow these people, celebrities, and brands?  By following them I basically said, "Yep, I want to see everything you post on instagram."  And if I change my mind and no longer want that, then I have the freedom to stop following them.  I hate that this change takes the control away from me.  I like the way I see my feed.  Can't my algorithm just be exactly the way it is?  It's basically like the app is telling me, "Here.  Let us decide.  Your choices aren't as good as ours."  It feels like I'm just one of many pawns in their system and they will use me as they see fit.


With facebook now I am constantly seeing the same posts over and over and over.  I don't feel like my facebook scrolling is efficient at all.  The posts that have a lot of likes or that I commented on are at the top of my feed, regardless of whether I've seen it already or not.  Sometimes I'll see the same post at the top of my feed for a day or two.  It takes a ridiculous amount of scrolling to see something new.  And no matter how much I scroll there are certain things that facebook has decided I just won't get to see.  Ever.  I love that with instagram I can scroll until I've seen a picture I've already seen and then I know I'm caught up.  I saw all that my friends posted.


Now when I log onto facebook I am bombarded with marriage announcements, gender reveals, and birth statistics.  It's the time of life I'm in- people my age are getting married, giving birth, and buying homes!  Last week I remember scrolling through four new babies at the top of my feed.  That's awesome!  I love babies!  But most of these babies were from people I hardly know.  A high school acquaintance whom I literally haven't seen in 12 years.  A friend's husband's sister.  Yes, it may be HUGE NEWS to them, but it isn't to me.  The posts garnered lots of likes, accounting for why they were at the top of my feed, but I'd rather hear what silly thing my niece said today than the labor details of someone I hardly know anymore.  I feel like the "trivial" or the more enjoyable, subtle moments of life get crowded out for the big, flashy moments.  What if I want my social media feed to represent silly, mundane, and not life changing moments?  Well, too bad!  It's only worth seeing if it's huge!

Likewise, I am SO tired of the political conversations on my facebook wall.  But because those are the posts that are commented on a lot and getting so much attention, I can't avoid them.  It's big news to the rest of the world, so facebook has decided that it must be big news to me too!  I don't want to see it, I don't want to participate in it, but I am forced to because facebook says so.  Instagram will now follow suit.

Are you guys all as upset as I am about the change?  In the end there's probably not much we can do.  BUT.  There is this petition going around.  It might help.  It might not.  But it only takes a moment to sign if you want your instagram feed kept chronological.

Any things that you like or dislike about the change?  Maybe you can all help me to see the good?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bachelor Recap: The Last One

Well guys it's tempting to just be done with these Bachelor recaps and move on to bigger and better things (ahem... JoJo's season!) but I feel like it is my duty as a blogger and a ridiculous reality tv fan to see this last Bachelor recap through.  So let's talk Bachelor!

First off, I think most of us could probably see the Lauren B. choice coming.  I try my hardest to avoid spoilers but Ben has been so freaking gaga over Lauren from the beginning that I was actually surprised that the choice seemed that hard to him in the end.  Also, I saw a clip of Ben (I think it was on the 20th Bachelor reunion) where Chris asked him a question about Lauren B. and Ben said, "Since the other Lauren has gone home now, I think we can all stop calling her Lauren B. and just call her Lauren, right?"  To me that was a dead giveaway because unless Lauren B. was the winner why would Ben give a hoot in hell if we all call her Lauren or Lauren B.?

Some comments/ thoughts from last night's episode:

1)  I started this at 10:30 pm because Greg had rehearsal and wanted me to wait for him.  Getting him into The Bachelor was the best/the worst decision I have ever made.  Watching with spouse = AWESOME.  Waiting three hours and staying off all social media the night of the finale = EXCRUCIATING.  #firstworldproblems

2)  Is there a requirement that all the girls wear daisy dukes?  Every shot of Lauren or Jojo has her wearing the shortest pair of jean shorts imaginable.  And the more important question- how is it comfortable to wear shorts that look like they are riding straight up your crotch?

3)  Lauren and Ben's mom hold hands while talking about Ben.  WHY?  I don't understand this.  The only person I ever hold hands with is Greg.  Sometimes June if she's lucky.  But an adult of whom there is no romantic interest?  Not likely.

4)  Ben's mom definitely liked Jojo more.  Too bad moms don't pick the girls their sons marry.  Actually...  I take that back.

5)  Ben's mom:  "It's really disturbing to me that he is in love with both of these women."  You and the rest of America, mama!  It's new frontier for all of us, trust me.

6) Lauren during her one on one time with Ben-  "I feel like he's thinking about something... and I don't really know what..."  COME ON LAUREN!  Wise up!

7)  When Jojo asks Ben what he imagines their future looks like together- who would relocate, where would they live, etc.- Ben doesn't answer.  If I didn't think already that Lauren was going to win, that one gave it away.

8)  I asked it last week and I'll ask it again- why the bathroom floor, Jojo?

9)  I have a hard time buying that when Neil Lane showed up that Ben still didn't know who he was going to choose.  So you're telling me, Ben, that meeting the two girls' families, having them meet your family, soul searching, and time spent with both girls did not help you make a decision?  BUT when you saw the ring it all suddenly became clear?

10)  While we're talking about Neil Lane, why why why WHY was he at the After the Final Rose?  Bachelor, you're trying too hard here.

11)  Jojo's dress for the finale was stunning.  I give her 10/10.  Lauren's dress I give 7/10.  (Also I read this super interesting article on the dresses for the final day.  The show provides the dress and the girls get to keep it!)

12)  Why does Ben let Jojo go on and on about how much she loves him when he knows she's going home?  Cut it off, buddy!

13)  It is uncomfortable to me how much Ben tells Jojo he loves her.  I wish he'd stop doing that.

14)  I also wish we could stop calling her Jojo and call her Joelle instead.  Unfortunately (fortunately) nobody cares what I think.

15)  Jojo going home was predictably sad, but she held it together pretty well in the limo.  Sometimes those girls just unleash buckets of tears, so I was impressed that she didn't let all of her pride totally go out the window on national tv.

16)  Ben calling Lauren's dad for permission to marry her was adorable.  Points for Ben.

17)  Ben proposing again on the After The Final Rose ceremony with the families present was kind of weird.  I didn't understand the reasoning.  I mean, how many people are proposed to in front of their families?  I get if they got married alone so he wanted to do it again with families there, but engaged... ?  Did not compute in my brain.

18)  Jojo looked like a freaking million bucks at the ATFR.  How is one person that beautiful?!?  How is it physically possible?

19)  Jojo wearing black.  Lauren wearing white.  Was this planned?  Temptress/ future bride?

20)   I thought Jojo, again, really held it together while talking with Ben.  They were both totally classy.  Chris Harrison, however, was not.  "Ben, are you still in love with Jojo?"  He's engaged you dummy!  How awkward can you make it?

21)  JOJO AS BACHELORETTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Greg and I were literally jumping up and down screaming.  The only thing that makes me feel better about Ben choosing Lauren is this.  Such great news.  I thought going in that chances were slim (reports were going nuts that Caila was the next bachelorette) but a small sliver of me was still hoping (see last week's recap).  You know Chris Harrison and the Bachelor crew had to be so excited when the news started "breaking" that Caila was going to be the next bachelorette.  If anyone loves a good surprise, it's Bachelor peeps.

22)  But why was Caila filming in Ohio last weekend?  Possible answers a)  She was filming for something else.  Doesn't seem too likely.  b)  Bachelor producers were trying to throw the world off so filmed Caila and Caila agreed to do it because they paid were a gross amount of money.  But why such pains to throw people off on who the next bachelorette is?  c)  Bachelor producers offered the gig to Caila and up until a week ago were planning to have her be the next bachelorette but then decided last minute that Jojo would be better.  Again.  Seems unlikely as I'm sure choosing the bachelorette involves tons of paperwork, contracts, agreements, time, etc.  Not something you just change your mind on and announce in a week.  And why choose Caila in the first place when it seemed pretty obvious that Jojo was much more a favorite.

23)  WHY THE PASTOR?  Again, Bachelor, you're trying too hard.

24)  I will admit that Ben and Lauren are cute together and seem very happy.  Boring beautiful people like Lauren deserve happiness, so I say go for it.  I still think that Ben's a little too good for her (alot of people think Ben himself is very boring.  I don't think he is, necessarily, I think he just matches the people around him.  I always thought he was a lot of fun when he was around more energetic personalities like Jubilee and Jojo.)

25)  May 23 is the Bachelorette premiere.  Count down is on!!!

26)  My dream job is legit to work as a producer on the bachelor/ bachelorette.  Travel the world, eat good food, be involved in the weirdest process known to reality tv.  What a life!

I stayed up way too late writing this post and am disgusted at myself because I have to wake up bright and early to go teach.   What'd you all think of the finale/ ATFR?  Are you all as excited as I am about Jojo's season?

Sunday, March 13, 2016


On our five year anniversary.

This weekend Greg and I celebrated five years of marriage.


I don't know that I've done anything in my life for five years.  High school, college, my mission, even the places I lived after I moved away from my childhood home... none were such a commitment as five years.  Five years feels monumental to me.

I wrote on my instagram post that it feels like by five years we should have a lot more figured out than this.  My uncle, who has been married for more than 30 years, commented, "You never have it all figured out."  Maybe that's the key to a long, healthy marriage- just admitting now that you'll never know it all.

My first year of marriage I LOVED to write posts about marriage on this blog.  I had it all figured out.  I knew the ins and outs of the complicated institution of marriage.  I declared myself a success story and a true victor of all things matrimony.  I wrote advice like "hold hands no doi!" because I was certain I had the true formula for successful marriage and it was so plain and simple. (See here.)

Now, five years in, I feel a lot less confident writing a post on marriage.  "Do whatever works best for you."  "Be kind."  "Try to consider what it's like to be the other person."  "Remember that your marriage doesn't have to look like everybody else's marriage." Those might be the only pieces of advice I have on marriage, and even that isn't really so much advice as just basic how to treat another human.

When I look back on my marriage, though, I am proud of the person it has made me and the things I have learned.  I think Greg would feel the same.  We've learned so much about each other and we've learned so much about us as a unit.  I think that's something I learned this year- that our relationship is as much a breathing, living entity as Greg or me is.  It has needs and wants just as much as an individual person.  And now that we've invited June into our little unit, even moreso.  Our marriage's needs may not be the same as my needs or Greg needs- it needs it own separate caring and taking care of.

When my dad died my mom wanted to put a poem called "embryo" on the funeral program.  She said my dad had always loved it and that it held special significance in their relationship.  I liked it when I read it, but I didn't really get it.  Not yet.

The Embryo

by Carol Lynn Pearson

Love is no eagle
Strong amid
The heights.
It is an egg - 
A fertile,
Hold it warm
Within your wing,
Beneath your breast.

Perhaps in heaven
Love can live
But in this world,
Where mountains fall
and east winds blow,
Oh, careful - 
Love is embryo.

Now I think I understand it a little more.  The fragileness of our relationships, of our families...  I am trying to nourish my marriage, my relationship, my family unit.  To hold it warm beneath my wing.  I don't know that I'm doing that well at it, but I think I  least understand the importance of protection and nourishment more than I did.  I  think I know now more than ever what a great gift my marriage is to me.

So here's to protecting my embryo.

And now, some happy pictures... The best of times.

YEAR ZERO (Pre marriage)

Engagement night




 The night we found out we were pregnant.



Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Bachelor Recap: Women Tell All!

Alright ladies, I have survived the jewelry market madness for the week and I'm here during nap time with no other goal other than to write on this blog.  And what more important thing to write about than the Bachelor episode this week?  It was Women Tell All Week!  This is my favorite Bachelor episode of the year. What is not to love about it? All the contestants from the season are forced together to watch and face up to everything they said and did during the season. Every season it is the same... it is as if the contestants completely forgot that everything they have said and done will be aired on television. They squirm. They lie. They confront each other about all the mean things that were said behind each other's back. It is a reality TV show dream come true.

Leah gets her four minutes of talk time.  I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt on reality TV because I know editors play a big part in how people are perceived and I know that a lot of it is scripted.  But I can say pretty confidently that Leah is just the worst. The stunt she pulled throwing Lauren under the bus was already bad enough, and now that we've all seen that, Leah comes back to the Women Tell All not to apologize, but to stand by her choice.  Really Leah?  That's how you want to go about this?  She states "I didn't intentionally lie" which confuses all of us.  So... you lied on accident?  When she gets a minute to talk to Ben she demands to know why he would have the nerve to tell Lauren what Leah said about her.  Nice try, Leah.  I mean, it is perfectly logical if you think about it.  Girl #1 says mean thing about Girl #2 to Boy.  Boy really cares for Girl #2, so he asks Girl #2 if there is truth in it.  Girl #2 is mad at Girl #1 for saying untruthful, mean thing.  Girl #1 is mad that she can't say mean things without being held accountable.  This is clearly Boy's fault.

No one feels bad for you, Leah!

Then there's Jamie.  The token girl on the back row who went home super early and no one remembers but who has something to say about everything that happened on the season.  Jamie, leave that to the bloggers like me.  No one cares what you think about things you weren't there for!

I think it's around this point that the producers are seriously regretting their decision to let the girl bring her chicken on.  why why why why WHY WHY?!?!?  So the girl likes chickens!  Emily like NFL cheerleading, but you didn't let her bring her pom poms on, did you?

Let's see... there's some time with Jubilee.  Jamie (who no one remembers) and Amber (who no one likes) gang up on her.  Amber, can you cool it with your issues with Jubilee already?  You just look mean and insensitive.  

I really like Jubilee and I like what she said in her chat with Chris about how she doubted things so much that she self sabotaged.  I also loved what she said about "This situation breeds jealousy and insecurity."  I think she hit the nail dead on with that evaluation and I think it describes why so many girls go bat shiz crazy on The Bachelor.  It doesn't help that they give them unlimited amounts of alcohol and any access to the outside world.  

And then there's Olivia.  Do we even want to talk about Olivia?  Before Chris can chat with her, we first get a recap of everything Olivia said and did during the season.  We are reminded of such gems as " intellectual things are just my jam" and "I want to talk smart things."   (Also, Olivia claims she took six books on the shows.  I have two questions that I need answers to:  1.  WHAT BOOKS?! and 2.  I thought the contestants weren't allowed to have books on the show?)

Things I liked about Olivia on WTA:

1.  At the end of the night when she sincerely apologized

Things I didn't like about Olivia on WTA:

1.  Everything she said and did that led up to the sincere apology namely-

a.  "I was severely bullied as a child"- that is not an excuse to treat people the way you did!  We don't feel bad for you and it doesn't excuse any behavior.  Own up to the way you treat people, don't pull the victim card!

b.  "I think I'm like Jubilee, I'm just very complicated."  No.  Jubilee's whole family was killed at a young age and she was adopted from an orphanage in Haiti.  She has been in the military for several years and in the middle of all that life turmoil she somehow learned to play the cello.  You are a mean, manipulative girl who gets upset when girls call you out for being mean.  Your talent was jumping out of a cake with not a lot of clothes on.  I know I may be being harsh on Olivia and I don't think it's okay to make fun of her feet or her bad breath or whatever garbage is going on around the internet, but Olivia, just own up to the way you acted.  I think if she would have just pulled a Lace and said, "I am not proud of my behavior, I am very sorry for people I hurt, I am sorry for the unkind things I said, I am doing a lot of work on myself" then we all could have been proud of her.   I am proud of Olivia for her apology at the end of the night, but it definitely lost its power to me since she continued to try to defend herself for so long.  I felt like she apologized only when she was totally and absolutely backed into a corner and realized there was no way out.  Had the apology come before all the other bs I think I could have really supported her.

Finally we get some time with Caila.  I can not pay attention to anything that is happening with Caila.  She is just so boring to me. PLEASE STOP SMILING.  I have heard so many rumors that she's the next Bachelorette (apparently she was filiming in her hometown of Hudson Ohio- here's the US Weekly article that broke the "news".  Still definitely speculation but seems like there could be some truth there) and if she truly is the next Bachelorette I am just going to die from boredom.  She can't be the lead!  She is not interesting at all.  My first choice for Bachelor is Jojo 100%.  That girl is so interesting and funny and smart and HOT.  If Jojo wins then obviously it can't be her.  But if Jojo doesn't win and Jojo doesn't get to be the next bachelorette then my whole faith in reality tv is just destroyed forever because people like Jojo should somehow be rewarded for their awesomeness.   I CANNOT WATCH A CAILA SEASON.

(I have heard that the reason for choosing Caila is that The Bachelor is trying to be a bit more diverse.  That's awesome!  But then they should pick Jubilee as the lead.  Can you even imagine a season with Jubilee as the Bachelorette?  That would be one hot, awesome mess and I would support it 100%.)

Oh, Ben comes on too during all this.  His part is mostly uninteresting, though.  I know Ben has gotten some slack for being "boring", and I can see that, but I like him.  I think he's got an awesome heart and I just see him as being very sincere.  Might not make the most entertaining television, but it does make for a good husband.  Also, he's the best smooth talker ever.  The only problem with being married to someone like Ben is that you would never be right.  He would explain his side to things and you'd just be like, "DAMN!  He got me again!"

My one WTA complaint- why not more time with Amanda?!?

Oh, because we had to give her time for Leah to defend her lies.  Glad how that worked out.  Moms get no respect!

Before the episode can wrap forever we get a sneak peek into next week's episode which promises all the drama fitting for a Bachelor finale, including Ben telling Jojo on the bathroom floor that he loves her but loves Lauren too.  I have just one question.  WHY THE BATHROOM FLOOR?

Until next week girls!  Share your thoughts on the WTA.  You know I love a good Bach discussion!