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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

saskatoon, saskatchewan, selks, and so-longs.

Before you read anything, these clips from my visit are just too cute not to watch.

I spent last week in the sunny city of Saskatoon with Jantz, Katie and the boys.
We spent the days playing paw patrol, building lego, running from monsters, being numerous superheroes, eating delicious food, swimming, skating, searching for stolen phones, watching the Mindy Project, celebrating birthdays, jammin' to tunes, and let's not even mention the goodbyes.
I feel so blessed to be the Aunt of such amazing little boys. Nixon and Benson absolutely melt my heart. I was able to see Benson's personality even more throughout the week. He's a little firework, he smiles all the time, he's determined, and I love him to bits! I can't wait to see how Benz changes while I am gone. He is going to be talking the next time I see him. Weird! I was also able to be there during Nixon's 4th birthday. What a little stud. He can make friends faster than anyone I have ever seen—it doesn't matter if they are old or young, everyone loves that kid...but I am probably his biggest fan.
One moment of the trip that I will never forget was on my last night there. We were driving home from Nix's birthday dinner, and a few blocks before pulling up to the house we blasted a kid's remix of "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission." We were all singing, and laughing and dancing in the minivan, and everything just hit me all at once. Luckily I was sitting in the very back seat so no one could see my silent tears as I cherished the perfect moment.
Friday came too quick and before I could comprehend it I had said goodbye to my brother and his little family. The tears started as we dropped Jantz off at school that morning, and I stepped out to give him one last hug and say goodbye for a year and a half. Katie and the boys then dropped me off at the airport. I gave Nix and Benz a big hug, and as I was hugging Katie I heard Nixon excitedly say, "She's going to be a missionary Benz!!" It was another precious moment I will treasure forever.
I have the most incredible family. Jantz and Katie have always been there for me, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to spend the past week with them. I look up to them and appreciate them more than they will ever realize. I cannot wait to see how their family grows over the next year and a half!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

a Christmas update

Life has been a bit of a blur lately. I could have sworn I just got home 3 days ago...not 3 weeks ago.
So here's a little update on the last moments of 2014 and the first moments of 2015:

On December 20th, I was able to start off the Christmas season perfectly by going through the temple for the first time with my entire family. Incredible. That's all I'm going to say about that. Oh, and G's are the bee's knees if you know what I'm sayin.

We did a LOT of cooking, baking (gluten-free of course), eating, snacking. You name it, we ate it.

This year was especially fun because we had the whole family around for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  We have two traditions on Christmas Eve: Christmas Eve Fondue & Christmas Eve Books. Both a major success.

One of my favourite moments of the holiday was being woken up by Nix whispering "Kayla, it's time to get up, it's Christmas!" We were up opening stockings and presents by 6:00! It's been a while since we've had to be up that early on Christmas, but we all know Katie just couldn't wait any longer! ;) There's nothing better than watching a kid on Christmas though. Nix and Bens were loving every minute of it (even though poor Benson got sick). Having a bight taken out of the carrot we left out was almost as big of a hit as the presents.  The other highlight of the day was getting video clips that Mason's parents recorded from their skype conversation. Although I didn't get to talk to him, I cannot tell you how good it was just to hear his voice. I can't complain one bit, this Christmas was perfect.

Ummm....What? For the past 20 years of my life, the Johnson family has ALWAYS gotten together on Boxing day, but this year—for the first time in my life!!! it was cancelled!!! Can you sense the distress? That's because I was absolutely shocked. One of my last opportunities to see all the Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins before my mission, and it was cancelled. I'm still not over it, but maybe by Christmas of 2016 I will be.
We headed down to visit the newest addition to our family (the cabin) on the 27th and stayed through the New Year. Lindsay even flew up from Utah to join all of our adventures. It was a blast, and the perfect way to celebrate a new year! Can you believe it is 2015?!

Sunday, 21 December 2014


7 finals
end projects
study study study
little sleep
driving driving driving
even less sleep
However, I am happy to announce that after enduring 18 credits at BYU and everything mentioned above, I am ALIVE. In recovery mode. But alive. 
Like most people, my exam week went a little like this: Wake up early, study, take a final, study, study some more, take another final, study, study, study until the early hours of the morning, catch approximately 2-4 hours of sleep, repeat.

I ended up walking out of the house like this most days:
unicorn shirts, rainbow socks + sandals, hair up, no makeup......oh yeah....lookin good.
I don't believe in sweat pants during finals week though, so that gets me some bonus points right?

And even on my last day of Finals (Thursday) it didn't end. It followed the usual pattern. I got up at 6:00, studied until my scheduled Food Science final at 8:00, continued to study for New Testament after that, and finally took my last final of the semester at around noon. I was on question 40 of 50 on my New Testament final and in my head I was thinking, "I only have 10 questions left.......I only have 10 questions left......Let freedom ring!" I cannot tell you how good that realization felt, and I walked out of the WILK testing centre with the biggest smile on my face. 
I felt a little bit like this:

My original plan for the rest of the day was to pick up some things around Provo before heading home, as well as making one last trip out to So.Jo. to visit with the Bentley's.....and of course that didn't end up happening. I got home and as I began to take down the pictures in my room and do some small things to pack up my room, I got a text from mom saying that I needed to go get finger prints asap because the church travel had called and said that plans had changed (yet again) for my mission visa. I got that text around 1:30, headed to campus shortly after, took care of some last minute business with the international office, and then headed over to campus police. I walked in at 2:09, not knowing they only did finger prints until 2:00.....LUCKILY they had mercy on my desperate face and the finger prints did get done. 
I thought I was done stressing for the day, but I found out at around the same time I was getting my fingerprints done, that Rawley was planning to head home at 6:00....6:00 that night......and I had packed up a total of maybe 10 pictures.....!!!!! Say what? 
4 hours to run home, pack up EVERYTHING, clean, and load up the car. 
not cool.
It was so last minute that I didn't even get to say goodbye to all of my incredible roommates. I am going to miss these beautiful girls so much, they have the sweetest spirits.

It was a miracle, but by 5:50 we were headed out of Provo. I dropped Rawley off to visit a friend while I quickly stopped by the Bentleys to say goodbye. I just couldn't leave Utah without saying goodbye to my favourite Utahan family. They treated my like gold this semester, and even got me the sweetest gift for Christmas. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but it was FAR better than the last goodbye I had to say in that house.
With that done, we buckled up, got the jams going, and were really ready to start the 12 hour drive. Rawley ended up driving the first part from Utah to a little rest stop in Dubois Idaho, and I took over from there. The drive was long, and I was past exhaustion—I really probably should not have been driving at some points, but Montana delivered some incredible morning skies, which just could not be captured out the window of our moving car with my ancient i-phone 4, but....I'll give it a try anyways.

Yup. No justice was done.

We pulled into little C-town at 9:30 Friday morning.
I walked through the door,
crawled up the stairs,
dragged myself onto the closest couch possible, 
and fell asleep for the rest of the morning
.....and maybe spoke a total of 10 words to my mom before doing this.
Sorry mom.
But I am finally home, the semester is over, Christmas is in 5 days, and I am JOYFUL!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Phamous up in Vegas

Since American Thanksgiving doesn't hold much significance to the Selk family, we usually hit up Vegas for the week. Rawley, Lindsay and I left Monday evening and met up with the 'rents who flew in earlier that morning. Every year we stay in the same condo—its familiar, its comfortable, and I love our Vegas trips.

This year I knew the majority of the time would unfortunately be spent mission shopping. And that is exactly what happened. Shopping in crowds. Shopping under stress. Shopping with specific guidelines. All things that I dread. To say that I was sick of shopping by the end of the week would be an understatement.

skirts were found,
shoes were bought,
and I am...

Some of my favourite memories of the week were:
Spending precious time with my family, treasuring the simple moments while I can.
Watching Food Network with Mom. Always my #1 idea of a good time.
Capriottis mouthwatering bobby sandwich. Every year without fail.
Mom's "Swag" face. #mymomiscoolerthanyourmom
Speed Walking Races.
Simple conversations.
Matching sweaters.
Midnight bowling.
Temple baptisms.

Friday, 28 November 2014

orthopaedic shoe stores

Laying on a typical springy, squeaky, and uncomfortable bed that a futon tends to consist of in our Las Vegas condo and realizing how absolutely exhausted I am. Vegas was supposed to be a vacation. A time to get away from all the stress of school work and to relax a little before finals week totally destroys my soul. Dramatic? Nah. But instead my body aches from being so tired.
Guys. Shopping is hard work. I don't care what anyone says.
For the past couple of days I have been on the hunt for mission clothing. 
I have probably been into every hideous, orthopaedic shoe store there is, and unfortunately...there are a lot.
I have tried on more skirts that barely hit above the knee than I ever hoped to try on.
I'm sure my hair will be pure static for the rest of my life from ripping on and off shirts all day.
And I am tired.
Worn out.
WASTED. Appropriate for Vegas, Yeah?!
I don't want to shop any more.
Give me 10 white shirts, a couple pairs of dress pants, and some ties.
I will take that any day.
But tomorrow, unfortunately, it will start all over again. Is this skirt the right length? Will it go with at least 10 different shirts? Can I run, hop, skip, and jump out of a moving bus if needed in it?
The struggle is real.
And I'm now going to go to bed with the fear that I will dream about Chinese men in orthopaedic shoe stores.
UGH. Shudder. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Bentley Bonding

Friday night consisted of Mason swooning, puzzles, and spending time with my favourite Utah family. Because Mason was Traci's designated puzzle partner, she insisted I come and do a puzzle with her before the Holiday season, and I was so exited and honoured to do so. I'm grateful to have had these months to get to know this incredible family. It was just this past January that I met them for the first time. I was terrified and praying my little heart out that they would like me as I walked through the front door. A lot has changed in the past 11 months. My fear has changed to pure excitement, and I have gotten to know this family better than I ever anticipated.  It is bitter sweet knowing that I will only see this amazing family once more before I leave for the next 18 months. Goodbyes are creeping up on me already. Scary.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Ode to November

It seems like the months have progressed faster and faster. I thought September flew by, and then I thought October went by even faster, but November has exceeded the speed of the past two months by far! The fact that we have next week off for Thanksgiving break really helps.
....can we have a week break off school every month? I think that is a great idea.
I cannot believe November is almost over, I cannot believe I will be done this semester in a few short weeks, and I cannot believe I will be leaving on my mission in just a couple of months. The concept of time freaks me out more than anything, so let's not dwell on timelines.
I'm getting to the point in the semester where I can see the end of my checklist:
Take my last midterm in this class—check. 
Take my last quiz in that class—check. 
Write my last research paper in this class—check. 
Finish up my last assignments in that class—check. 
I cannot tell you how good it feels to check the final things off and see the end in sight.
I'm too excited to be done.
So here are a couple of things that sum up November:
Eating anything and everything with spinach, mushrooms, and balsamic dressing = I die in heaven.
While on the subject of food. Celery and Peanut butter is also my go to. I'm still 5 years old, it's ok.
School. Ugh. But my personal favourite of the month—taking an online midterm until 2 AM. Never again.
significant dates. November 1, 8, and good.
The cold, brisk weather. My ideal.
Christmas prep. 33 days people!
Letters from my one and only.
Mission Paper Messes. Looks like I will be flying to Vancouver in December to beg the Portuguese consulate to let me into their country....I solemnly swear that I am not a terrorist.
Shopping online. Someone please help me with my mission wardrobe. I got nothing.
My peeve for the month..."easy close" packaging that literally takes me 5 minutes to properly close. Am I the only one?
I just want to give a personal shout out to the month of November for being so stellar. I was expecting a less than excellent performance, but it far exceeded my expectations. Cheers to you November. Thanks for finally showing me some mercy.