Thursday, July 24, 2014


I keep hearing how "intense" the first year is much in the same way that I had heard that a mission would be hard, except maybe slightly more foreboding.

Thankfully, I have Allison in my life who's currently a 3L at the law school. I've been emailing her anytime a question pops into my head, and it's kind of really comforting to be able to talk with someone who's been through this whole life-changing experience before.

It was through this email correspondence that I came to think...
If I treat law school like the mission, I just might come out victorious.

So, I bought a planner.
A RM planner.
& I started penciling in orientation, & my classes, & placement break, & general conference weekend.
& my OCDness really came through.
It was all very déjà vu. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Serendipitous Weekend.

I took a quick trip to Utah last weekend for President & Sister Crawford's homecoming (he and his wife were the couple who were in charge of overseeing all the missionaries in my mission!). I thought I was going to Utah simply for the homecoming and a quick teaching evaluation at the MTC, but the trip included SO much more. It was a really great case of serendipity.

I stayed this weekend with the Hna & Sister I ALWAYS wanted to be companions with, but just never got the chance to... I joked that I would treat my visit just as exchanges on the mission. Hna VanLeeuwen (now known as Carly) picked me up from the airport and I got to stay at her cute apartment in downtown Salt Lake.
^^Carly's sweet roommates even made me a welcome sign ^^

^^please appreciate how Carly is wearing a Texan shirt as her pjs.^^

^^breakfast of champions^^

Friday morning I took the frontrunner train down to Provo to interview at the MTC (Missionary Training Center). After my interview I decided I'd walk down to BYU campus, grab a Jamba and wait for Carly to come down. Somehow in two years' time the BYU campus has changed immensely! 

I was navigating my way through a jungle of freshman dorms, talking on the phone with my Mom about the interview when I saw someone in the distance who looked oddly familiar. I kept trying to decide if the person in front of me was my former District Leader/Zone Leader of 4 transfers when one thing won me over. I have this thing where I catch on to people's mannerisms fairly quickly and sure enough, the blue shirted guy in front of me did this thing with his hand that I recognized instantly! I walked up, hung up the phone and said simply, "Ryan. Conan." Ryan's reaction was pretty priceless!

It was the best of reunions despite the EFY boys who kept asking if they could sit with us, asking what we were doing, and giggling every time they looked our way. 14-year-old boys. typical.

Carly and I had legit had a planning session the night before & decided we wanted to do Texas-y things together, including eating blue bell ice cream at the Provo Beach Resort. You will most likely find me frequenting that place a whole lot this upcoming school year. I will probably be rewarding myself with a waffle cone after selling my soul to Law School study sessions.

^^dulce de leche. you complete my life. & yes, that's a NASA shirt from the mission, had to!^^

To complete the Tejas experience, we went out Friday night for Mexican food at Lone Star Taqueria in Cottonwood Heights. It's a place I've been meaning to try ever since I heard it was mentioned in Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives (I'm not so secretly a big fan of that show). I ordered nachos which, I have to admit were pretty good.

^^I had to take a picture of this Godzilla with a sombrero, my little brother loves Godzilla.^^

^^We met up with Dillon (E. Seele) and Lisa (Hna Bigelow). We all served in Pasadena. & I actually knew Lisa before the mission.^^

Serendipitous moment #1. Saturday actually turned out to be Carly's birthday so we headed to Zupas had lunch with some of Carly's friends, grabbed FroYo at a place by the U, basked in the sunlight at a local park, and then had a bonfire for her in Big Cottonwood Canyon. 
^^In honor of our many MLC carpooling rides. For old times' sakes^^

Saturday night I got to spend the night with Kendra (Sis Haynie)! We were almost companions, something President Crawford always loves to remind us of. He always tells us how our names were right next to each other for weeks on his transfer board. Kendra is currently dating Gannon (our former AP E. Walser). On the way to the bonfire, we were talking wedding plans, she had a date picked out. It's funny because our minds literally work the same way. I was asking Kendra all the questions she had been asking herself about the wedding and the planning and what-not. Mind you, at this point she still wasn't engaged.
^^taken literally moments before the proposal^^

Serendipitous Moment #2. Kendra and I had stepped into her house and were you know, just chatting with her cousin when her cousin asked if I could help her get things out of her van. Outside she asked, "Do you know what's happening tonight? Kendra's getting engaged!" NBD! We had forgotten the keys in the house so we proceeded to retrieve an old door out of a nearby dumpster (to be used at the upcoming reception) to cover our story.

Next thing I know, we tell Kendra there's a meteor shower outside that she HAS to see, I grab my camera and begin filming the proposal of two of my best mission friends. It was a complete whirlwind.
^^Our tripanionship, soaking in all the happiness^^
^^I can still remember getting Kendra's first email about Gannon and having to keep it a secret from all the other missionaries. :) SO happy these two are getting married. SO happy I get to be there for it!^^

Maybe Kendra & I didn't go to bed till 4am that night. I felt like I had just gotten engaged with how much excitement was bottled up in me. I felt like I was on the mission all over again awaiting transfers the next day. & then, there was Sunday—glorious homecoming Sunday.

^^Sela (Hna Tonga) my first "daughter" born in the wilderness^^
^^Kendra & I always sat next to each other in MLC. No exceptions. & it was at our first MLC that we got this crazy idea. We thought, "hey, President Crawford  is kind of really quotable. Let's write down all the things he says, make T-shirts and wear them to his homecoming!" This was a project that had literally been planned for half of our mission. The above is President's reaction to reading the back of our shirts with all his Crawfordisms^^

^^Sela, Carly, Me, & Allison (Hna Canova: my mission "sister" we were trained @ the same time by Hna Maughan)^^
^^Of course, no mission festivity is complete without Sis Crawford's pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!^^
^^Five out of the original STLs of THE mission Jonna (sis Jackson), Me, Kendra, Carly, and Kelly (Sis Hyde). We were the guinea pigs for the whole Sister Training Leader thing, those first couple of transfers were an adventure.^^
^^We HAD to take a picture with President and our shirts, coincidentally we were wearing similarly colored skirts. Same wavelength I tell you!^^

The homecoming was like closure, I feel like I can finally come to terms with my mission being over because my President is now home.
& all in all, it was a Good time had by all!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I may not be in Kindergarten anymore...

but, I still give my Mom my scribble scrabbles as gifts.
As soon as I got home, my Mom asked if I would make a sign for her, she brought me home a thin piece of wood, showed me the little phrase she wanted painted on Pinterest, and I rather slowly (sorry Mom!) got to work.

We're trying to implement some more positive speaking in the Flores residence. It's kind of become our new favorite thing when someone says something kind of tongue-and-cheek to ask one of the questions above. For some reason, "Was that necessary?" has become our favorite. I really do try to remember to use the others, but necessary just has more of a punch to it, you know?

One thing that I love about the sign above—it's flawed.

When I was in third grade (okay, so I really can't remember the grade, but fifth always seems to be my go to choice, so I decided to be bold and go with third) I was really into the Box Car children book series. The books follow these children who make an abandoned Box Car their home, but then they discover they have a wealthy grandfather and they go on all sorts of great adventures.

Anyways, so there was this one book, book #37, where they visit a Navajo village and they learn all about Navajo rugs. In the book one of the women tells the children that the Navajo's purposefully make mistakes into the tapestries. I can't even remember why they intentionally made mistakes, but I've just kind of adopted the practice. I like when things look flawed, "real" so to speak. I like when you can tell a human's made something. I also now am kind of really curious to revisit the Box Car children series.