The Life of Bon: December 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

Resolutions + Potty Training Round 2

Are you guys making New Year's Resolutions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Days after Christmas

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On Christmas, Creating Traditions, and Teaching Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Here are a few gifts you can purchase this Christmas:

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

We are alive. I repeat, we are alive.

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

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

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

It's thrilling!

But also really stressful!  

And also taking over our house!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 05, 2016

For the man who checks up on my car

This is Gary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We're giving this away?  Why?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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