The Life of Bon: May 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bachelorette Recap Week 2: In Which Chad Clearly Establishes Himself as the VILLAIN

Is there anything in this world better than a 3 day memorial weekend, school that gets out in less than a week, AND a brand new episode of Bachelorette?  I submit that there is not!  It's a great time to be alive!

Date #1: Group Firefighter Date

Last night's Bachelorette starts out with the worst "date" in Bachelor/ Bachelorette date history.  On this "date" the men throw on 8- 10 pound of firefighter equipment and perform all sorts of manly obstacles/ firefighter duties (?!?) in the hot sun.  It looks absolutely miserable.  There is not a lot of talking to Jojo/ getting to know Jojo better as you would expect on a "date".  I was super disappointed with this macho date.  Also, slightly very unfair because Grant is in real life a firefighter, and so obviously won the firefighter challenge.  Hey guys!  Let's have an English teacher competition so I can beat you and make you feel bad that you are not as good at my profession as I am!

Poor Wells fainted, because, well he's probably a buck forty tops.  I've got a thing for skinny guys so I still like him just right but I am thinking my last week's theory of him advancing to the top five is probably not gonna happen.  He did score a little one on one time with Jojo (gasp!  On a date!  How dare he!) Wells, you sly devil, you.

Night portion of the date is mostly insignificant except for that Luke swoops in for the hot and heavy, romantic as hell kiss.  He's my predicted winner so this pleased me.  Also he's very good looking so that pleased me as well.

Back at the house Chad is bemoaning that he has to be in a house all day with a bunch of people whom he doesn't like.  Instead of socializing, he decides to do pull ups with a suit case attached to his waist  as one does when one does not get along with others.

Superfan James sums it up pretty well:

"There is nothing that can give you the gift of watching a man, in this case a Chad, use a weight belt in such a revolutionary way.  It's a gift from above."

I get that Chad is being a jerk, but one has to agree with him to some extent- I mean what are the other guys doing?  A Jojo singalong!  This is not a singalong, men!  This is an intense dating reality tv show- now act like it!  (Also, I do like James T., but for crying out loud, but the guitar away!)

Date #2: One on One Date for Derek

Derek is nerdy and cute in a very nerdy sort of way.  He's cute in a I-want-my-daughter-to-date-you -kind of way.  They somehow end up in San Francisco, see the golden gate bridge, do dinner, I tuned out and started looking at my phone.  Nothing against Derek, but just a little too boring for my taste and probably not cute enough for Jojo's.  He'll stick around for awhile, but I'm betting he doesn't make it past top 8.

While Derek is enjoying his time with Jojo, Super villian Chad and Daniel (who got super drunk and jumped in the pool the first night) are having an absolutely incomprehensible conversation by the pool.

Chad:  I always warn girls to stay away from nice guys.
Daniel: I totally agree!
Chad:  People say I'm an a***.  I'm actually nice.  It's the nice guys who are a***holes
Daniel: You gotta watch out
Chad: Agenda
Daniel: They're not being real
Chad: Plan by those eyes
Daniel: I agree man

Good job, boys!  I'm glad we talked this out!

The date card shows up for the next group date- James S., superfan, Chase, and other not very stand out people are left off the card.  The guys are understandably upset.  Chad chimes in with great advice:

"You've gone your whole life without her!  She's not going to fly away to Malaysia!"  Oh, Chad.  You are a wise one.

Date #3:  Group ESPN date

Date 3 is at the ESPN studios where the men will be power ranked by a couple of sports broadcasters.  Again, super competitive and manly, but at least it's better than the firefighter date.

It should also be noted that "St. Nick" from the first episode is on this date!  He's wearing blue all the way on the left.  He seems like such a normal, fun guy.  WHY THE SANTA SUIT?  Also, don't these boys all dress so differently?  What unique style they have!

The first part of the power ranking involve the men performing touchdown dances which are all super horrible and make me uncomfortable.  All I know is Christian, bless his heart, is trying way too hard.  Tone it down, brother.  The men also "propose" to Jojo and are judged on the level of romance of their proposal.  The other men play along but Chad, very literal person, states he can't propose and tell Jojo why he loves her, if he in fact doesn't love her yet.  He goes for a straight forward "Will you marry me?" and when Jojo asks for something a little more, he declares her a nag.  Not good for romance, but great for reality tv!  Thank you, Chad!

James Taylor (STOP SINGING JAMES) gets the #1 power ranking, Chad the #2 for his honesty, and Alex rolls in at #3.  Alex takes it personally that villain Chad out performed him and makes it his personal mission to tear down Chad.  For every villain in reality tv, there is a self- sabotager.  Alex, welcome to the role of self- sabotager- we're so happy to have you!

One on one time with Jojo is mostly unimpressive.  Chad does tell Jojo that his mom died six months ago, but acts super casual about it and brushes it off quickly, obviously not wanting to be some kind of sob story for ABC.  I don't mean to play therapist here, but obvioulsy there is a lot of grief that Chad is running away from and a lot of avoided healing that needs to occur which is manifesting itself in extreme douchery/ super villian status.  Classic villain!

Rose Ceremony

Chad is waiting on the steps when Jojo arrives so he gets a few extra minutes of time with her and when they walk in together, the other men are visibly upset.  How dare he!  There is an unwritten bachelor rule book, Chad, read up you fool!  Chase steals Jojo right away and the other men seize the opportunity to surround Chad.  They are led by Alex, who, remember, has a personal vendetta against Chad because he outscored him in the ESPN power rankings.  The men demand to know everything Chad said to Jojo, why he was with her, how long, WHY DOES HIS TIE MATCH HER DRESS?  Hate to say it, but I'm firmly on Chad's side here.  Loosen up, you crazy men!  Put all the energy you are spending worrying about Chad into your own relationship with Jojo and you're golden.  Dumb boys.  If they only had my years of watching the Bachelor experience, they would so clearly understand.

The best comment of the night comes from James, superfan, upon watching the way that Chad eats:

"When you miss a meal and you look like that, it's detrimental to your progress.  At least that's what I'm told."

Meanwhile Will (who did the awkward origami game "I am going to kiss you" on the first night) has arranged to toilet paper the Bachelor mansion with Jojo, an activity that I absolutely loved when I was in sixth grade.  You know the Bachelor producers are excited about that little mess they get to clean up.

Chad talks with Jojo, which upsets the men (WHY?!) and they again gang up on him to discuss.  Very reminiscent of last season when all the girls ganged up on Jubilee to confront her about not following their set of rules.  Only the men really don't have a lot to say.  They kind of just stand around Chad and ask (ish) why he keeps taking time with Jojo.  It is very non threatening and very weird.  Alex, of course, is leading the charge.  Chad says it best:

"We're a bunch of butt hurt dudes and we're going to confront you... slightly..."
"It was like watching West Side Story... a bunch of dudes surrounding me in a circle- let's get Chad!"
"It's like if the Care Bears surrounded you and told you their going to kick your a**."

Chad reacts in the most mature possible way and decides to continue pulling Jojo aside just to upset them. ("It's really fun to mess with people when they get upset.") Ah, third grade was so fun, wasn't it?

The rose ceremony finally goes down and Brandon (hipster), James (superfan) and Will (awkward and no chemistry) hit the road.  Why James Why?  I like Jojo, but why keep Vinny or Evan over James?  Give us at least one more week of awesome super fan one liners!

Rose Ceremony #2 Awards:

Best dressed: Luke in black suit and skinny black tie
Worst dressed:  Grant in tin-man/ silver pants silver vest get up
Worst dressed tie: Robby in pastel bowtie

Greg and I and a few friends did Bachelor brackets this season, and I find now a good time to let you all know that I am leading in the brackets!  HOLLER!

Tell me what you all think.  Do you all hate Chad as much as the Bachelor producers want you to hate him?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Summer: To bucket list or not to bucket list?

It is Memorial Day weekend and suddenly I am feeling kind of desperate that we don't have more plans for the summer.  It's upon us!  It's here!  It's breathing down our necks and summer only comes once a year and we have to really live it up, dang it!

Do you guys do summer bucket lists?  I really like the idea of it, but I also have very real FOMO (fear of missing out) so I worry that creating a bucket list and not checking everything off would just make me feel like I was missing out on even more in life?  Part of me thinks that I should allow myself to do nothing this summer and just relax and spend time with my crew and that should be enough.  No need to put all this pressure on myself to say and do everything quintessentially "summer".  What say ye?  Bucket lists- healthy or unhealthy?

Here is what I know I want to do this summer FOR SURE.

1.  GO TO DISNEYLAND.  Check.  We did that last weekend. (And I WILL post about it next week!)  I would love to go back within the year with June in tow.  Maybe January? (before June turns three so I don't have to pay for her!)

2.  Go on a family vacation with Greg and June.  I feel bad that most of mine and Greg's vacations in the last year have been without June.  She is finally getting to the age where she is easier to take and where I think she would enjoy the vacation more.  Now, where to go?  I would love love love to take June to a beach vacation, but I don't know if that is in the financial cards this summer.  My dream would be to go to Maui or Kauai with Greg and June.  Maybe next summer?

My more realistic family vacation goal is to visit a national park.  Any of you have some national park recommendations?  Right now I have my eye on Olympic National Park in Washington.  There are hikes, lava hot springs, and even a lake for fishing and beaching.  We could maybe include a night or two in Seattle and it is close enough that it is driving distance for us.  I also have my eye on Yellowstone and the Redwoods.  Any pro national park-ers out there have suggestions for me?  I am all ears!

3.  Spend some time on a boat!  This is a big goal of mine because growing up I have very special memories of being out on the water.  I love wake boarding and tubing, and just love being on the water and feeling the air in my hair.  Greg and I are not in a financial position to buy a boat this summer, but one of my long term goals for my family is to have a boat and go on frequent trips to the lake.  To me it is the perfect way to spend summer, do something active and fun, and also bond with family.  I want my kids to grow up enjoying doing activities together and boating seems like the perfect way to connect.

Some boating memories from the summer I met Greg.
Also the same summer that other boys stopped unviting me to go on their boats.
How rude!

So while buying a boat definitely isn't in the cards this summer, I still want to rent a boat for a weekend with friends and enjoy some time out on the water.  I have been using this site as a tool to get started-- it has information on local boat rentals and classes and has been a great starting place for me. (I feel like the biggest dummy when trying to plan things like this and always need a safe starting place.)  And when I AM in the market for a budget, this will be where we start.  It helps you find which boat fits your lifestyle and budget.

This is a sponsored post written by me in behalf of Discover Boating.
I get paid a small amount every time you click on one of the links within this post.
Thank you so much for supporting this blog and my family.
May your summer be filled with vacations and lakes and boats!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bon's Book Club: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

It occurred to me the other day that people who haven't read our book selection of the month probably don't care much to read the book club post in case of spoilers, or not really understanding anything that is being talked about.  So from here on out I'll do a "If you haven't read the book" book talk and a "If you have read the book" book talk.

If you want more deets on book club go here.  Every month we gather together the last Thursday of the month to talk about a book that we all read that month.  It's fun!  Next month's book is "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling and the book discussion will be Thursday, June 30. (My birthday!)

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult Book Club

The "If you haven't read the book" review:

-  The main gist of the book is that it is about a boy, Peter, who has been severely bullied since kindergarten.  He creates a video game where he wins by shooting and killing the popular kids and jocks who have bullied him.  Eventually, the bullying becomes so severe that Peter brings the video game to life and kill ten classmates and injures many others.

- The book is a very sympathetic look at killers involved in school shootings and what led them to get there.  It definitely does not place all the blame on Peter, but really the myriad of kids who severely bullied him and all of the adults who could have stepped into help, but didn't.  Teachers overlooked the bullying, saying it was "just a part of high school" and when he told his mom about it as a young boy she told him he would just have to fit in.  You can tell that Picoult really wants readers to sympathize with Peter and it makes you question your certainty of who the "victims" are in these cases.

- All in all I thought the book was very interesting.  The first 150 pages or so were sloooooow but once it got going I had a hard time putting it down.  I read the last 200 pages in 2 days.  Picoult is a great storyteller and creates very real characters- this part I loved.

- I would recommend this book to most people with the following caveats:
1.  It is heavy and sad, as can be expected from the book intro.
2.  It is quite long- 450 pages.  Picoult can be overly descriptive to the point of distraction.
3.  There are sex scenes between teenagers and some language.  I think it'd be a PG-13 or R rated movie depending on how graphic it was made.

The "If you have read the book" review:

- I found it hard to like any of the people in this book.  Alex is maybe supposed to be the protagnoist?  But to me she was a pretty cold and often selfish mother.  Josie was a liar (which I thought was pretty easy to guess from the beginning that she was lying about not knowing anything).  Peter was a killer, Peter's parents were totally unaware and uninvolved, Josie's boyfriend was abusive, etc, etc, etc.  I kind of felt like Picoult was focusing on the worst of humanity and that was hard for me.  Who am I supposed to be rooting for here?!

-I did like Patrick, the detective, but did not like it when he randomly got together with Alex.  As the only two single adults in the book, I thought it was obvious that Picoult would have them hook up.  But I didn't really buy it.  For all the detail she includes I felt like she didn't develop their relationship at all and it just felt forced.  And the random pregnancy at the end?

- I did like the twist at the end (Josie being the one who first shot Matt) but I also thought it was a little weird considering how heavily she was grieving after his death.  Again, some parts of this didn't quite make sense all the way to me.

- At some parts it was hard for me to believe all the bullying that was going on and all of the adults that were totally ignoring it.  At our book club on Tuesday I asked if others thought bullying was really this severe in our country.  Some said yes, others said no.  I went to high school and have worked in a high school for six years, and I don't think I'm naive to the stuff teenagers do and say, but I really think bullying on this extreme a level is not common.  (The pulling down his pants, stuffing him into lockers, spamming out personal emails admitting to a girl that he likes her, throwing his lunch box off of the bus, etc.)

-Josie's abusive relationship with Matt was very interesting to me.  That was probably the most interested/ invested I was in the book.

Alright, tell me your thoughts!  I am toying with the idea of reading another Picoult book because I did enjoy this one for the most part.  Those of you who are huge Picoult fans, what do you recommend?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bachelorette Recap: The Premiere

It's been a whirlwind few days over here and there is lots to say!  We drove to California and went to the beach and an Angels game and Disneyland and drove ten hours home and did the whole thing in 72 hours.  It was wild!  I was going to tell you all about it but then last night was The Bachelorette premiere and now I want to talk about The Bachelorette instead!  I'll tell you what, when you have to decide if your blog post should be about The Bachelorette or Disneyland you know you've really had a good week.

I'll tell you about Disneyland tomorrow because The Bachelorette waits for no one!

First off, a disclaimer.  We didn't start Bachelorette until 10:30 last night.  And I fell asleep during the rose ceremony.  WHILE TAKING NOTES.  So my thoughts are probably not the most coherent in the world and if I start talking about someone who wasn't even on The Bachelorette last night, well, now you know why.

The season starts off in usual fashion- Jojo waiting on the driveway with Chris Harrison and his spiffy new haircut.  (Don't think we didn't notice, Chris!)  Jojo says she's nervous and Chris Harrison says in genuine surprise, "Really?"  So obviously Chris has no idea what's going on.

Jojo is looking absolutely gorgeous- I love the nude sparkly gown.  Is Jojo the prettiest Bachelorette ever?  I say yes!

The men pull up and first out the door is Aaron Rodgers' little brother, Jordan!  Now, I know nothing about football but I know alot about the Bachelorette and whoever comes out of the limo very first is a guy who Bachelor producers have decided (after numerous interviews) is likely a front runner.  So keep your eye on Jordan!
Lots more men follow.  Some are well dressed.  Some are dressed like Santa.  Some have very bushy eyebrows.  Some tell inappropriate jokes.  It's a circus on the driveway.

We're not going to go over every man's introduction because ain't nobody got time for that; instead I will do some First Impression awards.

Best dressed:  Jordan OR Pete (who got sent home.)  Pete wore the tan suit and I LOVE tan suits.  Jojo obviously doesn't because he got the curb the first week.

Worst dressed:  James F. with the red tie, black shirt, black suit.  My eyes!

Cheesiest/ most cliche intro:  Chase with "I moustache ask you a question."  Listen, Chase, even in its prime that joke sucked, and two years later it's not getting any better!

Joke that fell the hardest:  Daniel with "Damn Jojo!"  Yes, we've all seen Damn Daniel (Er, at least anyone who works in a high school has?  I can't get away from that thing) but obviously Jojo hasn't.  The joke wouldn't have been so bad if he didn't insist on painfully explaining the joke to Jojo later.  Listen, Daniel, something I learned when I was 11 years old is if you have to explain the joke it's not a good joke.  Give it up!

Sweetest intro:  Derek.  He was the second out of the limo and said something very sweet/ sincere about how grateful he was to meet Jojo.  Later in the night he made fun of himself, saying he had a nerdy vibe and that when he was young he looked like Harry Potter.  My heart = melted.  Something about those nerdy ones always calls to me.

Funniest/ cutest:  James, Bachelor superfan.  His intro to Jojo wasn't anything too special, but I loved his intro video and the later stint he did with Chris Harrison during the credits.  (Chris: So you know everything about The Bachelor?  James: (totally serious) More or less.  HAHAHA)   How can you not love a guy who does Bachelor brackets at home with his mom and sisters?  Also, it's obvious he doesn't take himself too seriously and I always love that in a guy.

Most intense intro:  Chad.  He pretty much mauled Jojo when he introduced himself.  Way too strong there, Buddy, that is personal space you're invading!  I was uncomfortable just watching him.  After last night and the previews for what's to come I think we can all agree that he will smoothly slide into the Bachelor villian role.  I mean, hey, villians gotta vill right.

Most awkward intro:  Will with the cards falling.  Who coaches these guys on their intros?  His awkwardness continued later in the night when he "predicted" that he was going to kiss Jojo and then she gave him a little peck.  That was horrible.  You pretty much have to shield your eyes from that stuff because it is just painful to watch.

Most inappropriate intro:  Sal with the blue balls.  Why, Sal, why?!?

Most snazzy/impressive intro: Wells with the barbershap quartet gig he had going on.  Super cute.  But then he kept them around later to serenade again while talking to Jojo?  Too much, Wells!  You gotta let those guys go free!

Best overall intro:  Luke with the unicorn!  Playing off of Jojo's original awkward in a cute way was the most clever, stand-out-without-being-weird-or-creepy intro out there.  Luke is the Texan heartthrob as has been pretty understated in this first episode which I think makes him very likely as the winner.  Also, how cute is it that he brought a pair of cowboy boots for Jojo?  This guy has got it figured out.

Once the intros are over it's a free for all of alcohol and cologne and insecurity in the mansion.  Alex, who is short, takes Jojo away first.  The men make fun of his height because we're all very mature here.  A few men have entirely way too much to drink.  Daniel strips down to his underwear and swims in the pool because this is a first night Bachelor requirement and someone's gotta do it and we're all lucky Daniel volunteered as tribute.

All the men are really nervous and Jojo says she doesn't feel an instant connection with any of them.  Until, of course, Jordan sweeps her off his feet.  I don't know if his my-brother-is-Aaron-Rodgers is going to end up hurting or helping him overall, but I will say that brother's fame aside, the guy has got a lot of confidence.  He seems completely comfortable, fits in well with the other men, and so far hasn't said anything totally rude.  He gets the first kiss, because of course he does, which later leads to the first impression rose because of course it does.

And then there's Santa.  I have to admit, I thought Jojo was really sweet to him even though he had made a weird and unconventional choice.  And why does he keep wearing the Santa suit all night long?  It showed in the bloopers that he had a suit on under that.  I mean, do the Santa gig for an hour and then just wear your normal suit!  Given that the cocktail parties often go until 8 am, I feel so bad for him that he is literally wearing that all night long.  No wonder he was sweating his brains out.  My guess is the producers made him keep the suit on.  (But why does he keep saying, "Jo jo jo jo!"  I can almost excuse the Santa suit if not for this.)

Ten hours later, it's time for the rose ceremony.  Of course, before Jojo can really begin, Jake Pavelka, widely known as being the worst Bachelor of all time, drops on by in a suit.  As one does at 5 am at a mansion in LA.  The men all start to worry.  "Who's that?"  "It's Jake Pavelka" identifies James, bachelor superfan,  (There are THREE James on this season.  How are we ever going to keep track of them all?)   Bachelor producers love to get a little drama going so they all make us thing Jake has stopped by because he's really in love with Jojo and wants to be on the Bachelor too.  Twist!  All Jake really he says is, "follow your gut, kid" and leaves.  Oh Bachelor producers, you get us every time.

Now we're finally rose ceremony-ing it.  Here's the secret to successful rose ceremony prediction in the first few weeks:  Identify the ten guys who Jojo seems to have had any kind of even remote connection with.  Then idenitfy the ten guys who are just absolutely crazy and whom you would never in a million years date.  If you are not in one of those two groups, you are going home.  All the front runners stay, Santa stays, the drunks stay, Damn Daniel stays.  All the men act very surprised that Jojo has chosen men who behaved so poorly on the first night even though we all know at home that this is the doing of the evil Bachelor producers.

Three guys go home whom we literally know nothing about.  We're not surprised!  (Only three though?  That seems low to me for the first night.)

Before the show can wrap up we get a little preview of the season ahead.  Chad promises to be a villian to rival any previous vill.  There's going to be some tension with Jordan- looks like the men don't like former pro athletes dating the girl they like.  Shocker.  And Jojo makes out with a lot of beautiful men in beautiful places all around the world. 



1.  Luke
2.  Jordan
3.  Wells
4.  Graham
5.  Alex

Tell me your thoughts and I will be responding to all comments on this post.  Let's get a good Bachelor discussion going on!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Four more days of teaching. But who's counting?

Closing night of Peter and the Starcatcher.
Those suspenders get me.

It’s the end of the school year as we know it.  And I feel fine.

May is typically a really crazy month.  Sometimes I can’t handle the pressure of school ending and standardized testing and pop up assemblies and it makes crazy Bonnie emerge in all her glory and sometimes May ends in me crying stressed out frantic tears.  (See this post and this post and this post.)

This May has felt a lot less stressful.  May has been good.  May feels like  a lot of things are wrapping up and new good things are starting.  I can get used to the new May.

That’s not to speak of April.  April was nuts.

April was:
  •           four jewelry markets on four consecutive weekends
  •           Mother’s day sale and all accompanying orders and jewelry craziness
  •          Greg’s run of Peter and the Starcatcher which ended last night.  The run was five weeks            long and he performed over 30 shows.  It was wild.
  •      Preparing students for the AP test that they took on May 4.  The school days leading up to          this test were full of pressure and stress because I just can’t relax about stuff like this.

And we survived it all!  Last weekend was our last market, last night was Greg’s last show and now today after I get home from work we’re going to Disneyland!

But really!

We decided last weekend we needed a little break so we found some friends and as soon as I get home from work today we’re looking at a 10 hour drive.  Ain’t no thing!  June gets to stay home and play with grandmas because a four day trip including 20 hours of driving didn’t seem like the best thing for an almost two year old.  She has informed us she would like to come next time and we said yes, June, of course.

But this post wasn’t supposed to be about Disneyland!  It’s supposed to be about school!  And the end of school .  The end of the school year always ends up making me feel kind of nostalgic and sad.  I think it’s the closing doors and the moving on.  This year will be my sixth graduation watching those seniors get their diplomas.  But it still feels sad.  High school is over so soon, isn’t it?  I mean I think we can all agree that while we’re in it it’s pretty horrible.  Not many love high school.  But it’s still sad when it’s done.  

So what are we doing these last days?   Now that the AP test is over, my AP kids are working on scene project.   They have to choose a scene from any of those books that we read this year and perform it.  They are responsible for cutting the text, blocking, memorizing, costumes, set, etc.   Scenes can be anywhere from 7-10 minutes long.  This means that during class I have students reciting Pride and Prejudice in my room while others choreograph a duel from Hamlet on the lawn and a handful of students sit in the library and try to figure out how to act out the tralfamadorians from Slaughter House Five.  I mostly supervise and smile and drink diet coke.  It’s a good gig.

My juniors are reading The Things They Carried.  This miiiiiiight be my favorite book of the year to teach my regular classes.  They really invest in it in a way that they don’t with other books.  I always save it for the end of the year because I need something to really get me excited these last days.  I’ll tell you this now, if I left The Crucible for the end of the year I’d just give up at this point and start showing Office reruns instead. 

The first chapter of TTC is about all the weight that the soldiers in the Vietnam war carry- both figuratively and literally.  The day that I introduced the book I had students empty out their back packs on to their desks.  They wrote down every single they were carrying, both in their bags, on their person, etc.  Anything they had carried with them into the classroom.  They shared their answers and I got the expected answers (wallets, notebooks, cell phones) as well as the unexpected answers (floss, safety goggles, stuffed animals.) 

Then I had them write down anything else they were carrying with them that were not visible- things that were not tangible, but still had a weight to them.   Memories, culture, religious experiences, stress, anxiety.  It led to a great discussion of all the things we continually carry around with us and I kind of wanted to just hug them all and not let them out into the great big world quite yet.

If you’ve never read Things They Carried, I encourage you to.  Tim O’brien is a storyteller to rival any other.  There is some violence and language (probably at least a dozen f words) so if you’re sensitive to that, you might want to avoid it, but if you can handle it, I think you should read it.  It’s the most beautifully written war book I’ve ever read.   GO READ IT.

Speaking of reading, I just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette.  I need to talk to someone else who has read it.  I have feeeeeelings about it!

P.S.  Thanks so much for all your suggestions for our home on the last post.  I am excited to use a lot of those ideas and I’ll keep you updated on the progress.  I have to admit I laughed out loud at the comment  “It's going to be very hard to make your couches look attractive” about the only piece of furniture that both Greg and I really like and want to keep.  HA!

P.P.S. Are you reading Nineteen Minutes?  Or have you read it?  Come to book club next Tuesday.  Email me at for directions if you want to come.

Monday, May 16, 2016

I need some help decorating and YOU are going to help me!

Summer is close.  I can feel it.  The kids can feel it.  We can about dang near taste the thing.  And it tastes real goooood.

I've got two more weeks of teaching and then it's yearbook parties and assemblies and graduation and three months of 90 degree bliss.  I've said it again and again, the best thing about teaching is the summers!

This summer I've got three main goals:

1.  Grow our business
2.  Play with June
3.  Make my house a home!

This post is dedicated to point #3 on that list.  House ----- > Home!  There's a few things that will go into this process.  One is to organize all the crapola in the basement.  The other is to purge ourselves of a lot of stuff.  (See this post.  I want to go through all of our cupboards and closets and get rid of anything that is not either a) useful or b) beautiful).  Annnnnd the last thing is to decorate our home!

Yes, decorate!  We've lived here for two years.  And we are still not fully decorated, furnished, moved in.  But the things is I suck at interior design. (See: lime green walls.)  I get overwhelmed by the enormity of decorating and furnishing a home and then don't do anything.  I also tend to be very cheap and I don't like to spend money.  But we've actually got a little money in our budget (key word: little) so I'm hoping to make some improvements around here. The only room in the house that I consider finished is June's room.  She gets all the good stuff.

This is what I did with June's room a few months after we moved in.  Full post is here.

If you feel like you've seen this picture a lot, you probably have.  It's the only decorating/ homey thing that I have ever done that I am proud of!  So I flaunt the picture nonstop, baby!

This summer I want to work on the master bedroom and our main living/ kitchen area.  I am going for overall clean, white, minimalist feel.  I think?  I feel like every living space in the world right now is white and grays so part of me hesitates... is this style going to go out in five years and then will I be tired of my home?  My mom advised me to try to ignore trends and just go with what my eye has always been naturally attracted to.  So I'm trying really hard to figure that out.  And I think my eye is naturally attracted to whites, grays, blues, and soft yellows.  I like a lot of light.  I don't like dark spaces.  So that's what I'm going with.  (I've also in the past had lots of darks- dark couches, dark headboard, dark cabinets, dark car.  I know for sure I want to steer away from that.)

Naturally, as an interior design idiot, I would like your help.  I'm going to show you some pictures of our current spaces and let you make suggestions.


What I want: A light room free of clutter that makes me feel relaxed.  I also need a room that is convenient to keep clean.  Both Greg and I tend to be on the lazy side when it comes to undressing and going from our bedroom through the bathroom to get to the closet to put away clothes.  It's ten steps too many, and as a result our clothes mostly end up all over the floor by our bed.  I would like drawer space and hampers close to the bed.


  • What do I do with the space above the bed?  It feels awkward to me.  (The ceilings in this room are high and slanted.)
  • There is dead space right when you enter the room.  Not quite big enough for a dresser or desk, but big enough that it feels weird with nothing there.  
  • I want a pretty all white duvet cover that (maybe?) has some kind of design, but not much.  I do like the classic pintuck, but I'm afraid I'd get sick of it quickly and it's not Greg's favorite.  Any suggestions?
  • Matching lamps and nightstands!


What I want: A cohesive room that looks light, relaxing and inviting, but is very functional.  I feel like June's toys are constantly all over the front room- I'd love a way to put them away that doesn't involve stupid baskets all over the place.  The end goal is to have my home be an oasis- a clean, beautiful, relaxing place to be.  (I also want like four more kids, so good luck!)  We definitely have to work around the couches in this room as they are the most comfortable things ever and Greg would never forgive me if I upgraded them to something more sleek and stylish.  When it comes to couches, comfort wins.


  • LONG WALL!!!! Because we are in an attached townhome there is no window, no variety on that weird, long wall.  I have considered adding in shelving but the wall feels so long that even shelves on either side of an entertainment center don't feel like they would quite do it.  And what do I put on the wall?  I have considered three large family pictures in a row but don't want to be family picture overkill.
  • I don't love the way the couch separates the kitchen and living area.  But I don't really know how else to put two couches in that space.  It is kind of an awkward space because it is very long and not very wide.
  • How do you keep your main rooms functional, but still pretty?

Annnnnnnd................ just in case you didn't believe me that I need some serious help, here are the lime green walls I painted in our year of marriage:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Baby Animal Days with my Baby

The best thing about having a kid is that you get to do all the kid things with your kid that you couldn't do before you had kids.  You still with me?  I always kind of feel like I have an 11 year old boy trapped inside of me so having children means I get to do more of the 11 year old boy things that I always want to do.  There's only so many times a reasonable adult can push to go to an amusement park or the swimming pool or a fair.  But with kids you can go every day!  (Which is probably why I went to the tulip festival three times with June this year!  She never turns me down for a fun time!) Three cheers for kids!

Last weekend June and my mother in law and I went to the baby animal days in Kaysville. (Greg's hometown)  It should be noted that I struck the mother in law jackpot.  Becky is always down for any activity June and I have up our sleeve and there couldn't be a grandma who adores her grandchildren more.  When I decided the night before that I wanted to go (because I saw it on the 10:00 news) I knew Becky would be down to join us.  And she was!  Mother in laws for the win!

The day was a little bit cold and rainy which ended up being perfect because it chased the crowds away.  I love going out on perfect sunny 72 degree days as much as anyone, but the problem is, well, everyone loves it!  So everyone is there!  I'd take a less crowded cloudy day any day of the week.

We got to hold baby chicks and baby rabbits and we got to feed horses and watch little piggies.  It was awesome.  There was even a train ride and a horse ride that came with admission, but waiting in line for more than 10 minutes wasn't going to happen with our wily girl.  (AND WHEN DID SHE GET SO WILY?)  So we pet all the animals, we fed the horses some nice, green grass and called it a day.  And it was perfect!

dem baby chicks with grandma ^^^

cheering for the bunny rabbits ^^^

She was all about the bunny rabbits until I got one on lap and then she totally panicked. ^^^

More panicking ^^^

My favorite part was feeding the horse with her.  She had no fear.  She stuck her hand right in there for him to nibble on him.  We've got an animal lover here, that's for sure.

Baby pigs. ^^^

LOVES her grandma ^^^

She clearly has no idea how these things work.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Tulip Festival: Three times in a year--- is that enough?

Because we live within a few miles of Thanksgiving Point in Utah we forked over the big bucks for a season pass.  This means that we get access to the kids' museum, farm country (love those pony rides!) and the best part- TULIP FESTIVAL!  Last year we paid $30 to go to tulip festival alone, so paying $75 for the yearly pass was really a no brainer.

Well obviously I couldn't get enough of dem tulips because June and I went three times to see the tulips this year.  We got some great pictures when Greg, June and I went one quiet evening but that SD card has the mind of Satan and is not allowing me to download the pictures on the computer.  So right now you get the pictures of the tulips with June's cousin and friend.  When my other SD card finally decides to cooperate I will share the pictures of our little family at the tulip festival.  (Strangely enough all of our pictures are with different tulips?)  And if you're thinking, "Listen, Bonnie, I've seen these tulips, I get the idea, I don't need to see more pictures of tulips",  TOO BAD.  I will show you more tulip pictures and you will like it damnit!

(We're preparing for our fourth jewelry market in four weeks.  And we had a huge mother's day sale.  And my students took the AP test last week.  I'm obviously coping with the stress really well!)

P.S.  June was being such a stinker with that ball, freaking out any time the other kids tried to play with it.  When do you teach kids how to share?  And how?  I try to tell her and then it's just melt down city.  But she is seriously the worst little girl at sharing and IT IS EMBARRASSING TO US ALL, JUNE!  Send your suggestions my way!

P.P.S.  While we're talking about weird June things, she is doing this thing lately where she takes her diaper off probably 4-5 times a day.  It's always off when we go to get her in her crib, and often she takes it off and THEN goes pee.  (or worse!)  Does this mean she's ready to potty train?  Or that she's just learning about her body?  Or that she will some day live in a nudist colony?  Tell me your answers, oh wise internet!

Friday, May 06, 2016


I'm starting this blog post at 1:09 am.  ONE OH NINE!

Tomorrow is Friday already, and I haven't written on this blog since Sunday so I am making myself write tonight even if only to prove myself that I can still write.  So here I am!  Still writing!

My students took the AP Literature test yesterday.  It's over!  They're done!  We're all free!

I was a bag of nerves, as per usual.  The test was set for Wednesday at 8 am.  My work days this week were Tuesday and Thursday.  Tuesday in class I asked my class if they wanted to do a breakfast Wednesday morning before test or if they would rather celebrate Thursday after the test with pizza.  They voted pizza.  Wise little souls.

Because of our pizza plan, I wasn't planning on seeing them Wednesday before the test.  It wasn't a work day for me- no need to go in.  I went to bed Tuesday night and was afflicted with a myriad of AP nightmares.  In one nightmare I was in the testing room with my students and only 17 of the 35 scheduled to test showed up.  The other 18 had gone awol on me.  In my dream I was running around sobbing and yelling, "Where's Chris Lilly?!  Where's Michael Jones?!  Has anyone seen Catherine Wang?!?"

I woke up at 7 am Wednesday morning from said nightmare in a dead panic.  My students were taking their test in an hour!  Would they wake up in time?  Were they nervous?  Would they be okay without me to lead them into the testing center?  (NO I WILL NOT BE CRAZY OVER PROTECTIVE MOTHER, WHY DO YOU ASK?!)

I tossed in bed for about an hour before I realized I just couldn't leave alone.  I grabbed June, who was just stirring in her crib, and we went to pick up some donuts.  The kids have one ten minute break in their test, exactly one hour in.  I stood outside their testing room like a damn fool (several teachers saw me, "Mrs. Larsen?  Why are you in sweats and a baseball cap?") with June in her footed jammies and as soon as the kids emerged for their bathroom break I whispered violently, "Go upstairs to my room!  There's donuts!"

They inhaled the donuts in record time and returned to their testing room abyss for a two hour/three essay marathon.  I was left by my lonesome in my classroom with June.  So I gathered up my baby in my arms and we went home, leaving my other 35 babies alone in the testing center.

I don't really know why I tell you all this except for that the morning of the AP test always feels really momentous and significant to me and I like to remember it.  It's like Christmas morning.  Only more stressful.  And less wrapping paper.  You prepare for it and think about it and work on it and hope for it and get excited for it and nervous for it and then all of  a sudden it's here.

Today in class my students told me they felt really good about the test.  Most said they thought the test was easier than they anticipated.  One student said almost accusingly, "Mrs. Larsen, you over prepared us!"  I was happy though because I'd rather have over prepared students any day than under prepared and having students emerge from a test confident and excited is one of the best teaching rewards there is.

Not all my students took the test.  I had eight students who didn't take it.  They were scared and didn't feel confident they could pass and didn't want to put themselves through $96 three hour torture.

Not all my students who did take the test will pass the test.  When the scores come back in July there will inevitably be some who are disappointed in a non passing score.


I'm really proud of all my little AP students.  They have worked their tails off all year for me.  We read seven books from September- May.  They wrote countless essays.  We annotated and analyzed until we were blue in the face.  I know there were times when they were frustrated and tired and didn't want to read 50 pages over the weekend.  But they did and they kept going and they pressed through.  They chose to take a more difficult class and get a B than the easier class and get an A.  They chose to grow and stretch and force themselves out of what is comfortable for them.  They chose a harder path without any guarantee of reward.  I don't think it's every day you meet 17 year olds who are willingly seeking out challenging paths and voluntarily doing extra work.  They are smart and funny and the sweetest gaggle of kids I swear I've ever met.

So yah.  I'm really proud.

In case you are interested, the seven texts we studied this year:

Lord of the Flies
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Catcher in the Rye
Pride and Prejudice
Slaughterhouse- Five

(The post I wrote last time my students took the AP Lit test is here.)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

On Religion


I don't know if I will even publish this post, but there are so many thoughts on religion swirling around in my head and they need to rest somewhere.  Earlier this week Tyler Glenn of The Neon Trees released a music video expressing hurt and anger toward the LDS church.  It mocked things that are sacred to LDS members. I didn't want to watch it, but I did, because I have no self control.  It left me feeling sad and hurt and angry, precisely all the things that Glenn is feeling and, I assume, is hoping that others feel too.

I have told this blog many times that I am Mormon.  I have slowed down considerably on the religious posts lately because it is kind of a confusing, hard time to be LDS.  There is a lot of doubt and a lot of confusion.  In November the LDS church came out with a policy that said that children of gay couples are not to be baptized until they are 18.  This was very hurtful to many people.  I felt like facebook was such a hate filled place to be in those days following the announcement of policy change.  A lot of people condemned the church and the policy, a lot of people defended the policy.  There were horrible things said on both "sides".  I didn't feel like I was on either side.  I felt on the sad and confused side.  I even had a blog reader email me, "What do you think of the policy?  I'd love to hear your thoughts."  I couldn't reply.  My thoughts were too confusing even to me.

Watching the Tyler Glenn video this weekend I had the same feeling of sorrow and hopelessness that I did after the news of the policy broke in November.   I feel like the LDS religion is being hammered to death lately. (Or doing the hammering?)  Sometimes I feel like I haven't even caught my breath from the last big news story before I have to get ready for the next one.  A lot of people are mad at the church and I understand that.  A lot of people defend the church, and I understand that too.  I don't understand the church policy released in November, no matter how many times the most stalwart and faithful of Mormons try to explain it to me.  It just doesn't make sense in my mind and I have accepted that it probably never will.

There are people I love and care about deeply who have stepped away from the LDS church, largely in part to some of these huge issues that have been going on.  I understand their reasons for needing to step away.  I know that they are hurting and I know it is incredibly difficult to leave a religion.  I also think it should be noted, though, that people who have chosen to stay in the religion are also hurting.  It's not easy to leave and it's not easy to stay.

There is a scripture that says "by their fruits you will know them" and I cling to that now. (Matthew 7:16)  I will know if this religion is working for me by the fruits- the way I feel, the things it leads me to do, the desires the teaching of the church give me.

I get frustrated by the things that are reported about Mormons on social media and news outlets.  Yes, there is confusion and doubt, and yes there are people hurting.  No, I don't understand why the LDS church has to be so strict on their policies toward gay people.  No I don't understand why BYU culture thinks we need to report a girl to the honor code office if she has been raped and was simultaneously breaking honor code.  There is so much I don't understand and I hurt over it.  I am hoping and praying for a lot of answers on these issues.


There is so much good in the religion that is being totally overshadowed by all the big news stories.  I have been a member for 21 years, I dedicated 18 months to learning and teaching this gospel in Argentina, I have sat through more hours of church meetings than I could possibly count.  I KNOW this church.  And I know there is good.  The New York Times doesn't report on the families who make dinner for new babies in the neighborhood, or the youth programs that give teenagers a safe place to go and make friends every week.  Buzzfeed doesn't care about the millions of dollars the LDS church donates for humanitarian purposes all over the world or the talk in general conference about helping refugees.  There are not a lot of news stories about neighbors who help each other move or who volunteer hours of their time to teach teenagers and children or who show up to someone's house to give a blessing when a baby is sick.  These are the fruits of the LDS church and this is why I am proud to be a part of it.  This is what will not change.  The LDS church to me is a place to go to become better people, to serve each other, to teach our children about love and kindness.

I can't understand or defend all the choices that have been made by LDS leaders.  I do think they are inspired but I also think they are people who make mistakes.  But I do know that I see a lot more good in this religion than out of it.  And at the end of the day, the Mormon church encompasses all of the things that I want my children to know growing up- hope, peace, love, kindness, safety, JOY.  I want my children to know that they are loved by their Heavenly Father.  I want them to know that they matter.  That they have infinite capabilities and talents.  I want them to feel the divinity within them that enables them to be nice when they want to be mean, to have faith when it's easier to give up, to be patient when they are tired of waiting.

Questions, comments, concerns?  Fire away.