The Life of Bon: November 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

BEARD ME STRENGTH (A guest post by Greg)

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


Hello!

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

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

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

BEARD ME STRENGTH
A STORY OF MANHOOD




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

Oh no.

I became a man when I grew a beard.

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

BEARDS.

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

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

You want respect? Then grow a beard.

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the men with the best beards…

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will both thank me.

Sincerely,

A Real Man.








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

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


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


Monday, November 21, 2016

My Dad (Seven Years)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

On Waiting for Baby's Gender

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

Friday, November 04, 2016

Some thoughts on teaching

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

WHAT I WORE:

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


WHAT WE DID:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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