Thursday, December 30, 2010


Hi friends. Jacquie Here.

I know, it's been awhile. But like I've said before, I don't like blogging just for the sake of blogging. Who wants to read that stuff? Not me. So, after quite some time of "writer's block", if you will, I'm back!

Let me tell you... the last couple weeks of classes and FINALS kicked my little bum. I was a busy woman. A little crazy too. But grades were posted last week and I am very pleased. Very. I was a bit nervous checking grades before Christmas because I was a liitttttlleeee worried and didn't want them to ruin my weekend. I was weak; I checked them anyway. I was greeted with a pleasant surprise.. I may even go as far as to say it was like an early Christmas gift! A,A,A,B. 3.725. I'm okay with you calling me "Smarty Pants" for the next little bit.. (haha) Anyway, nothing like the satisfaction you feel when you get good grades after MONTHS of really hard work. I probably worked the hardest this semester and it PAID OFF! Yes. I just bragged a little bit.

Aaanyway, that was definitely a tangent from what I came here to say today.

And what I came here to say today is pretty much more unimportant, random stuff. Because lately, I've been thinking about several things and I feel the need to share tid-bits of them.

Like this:
Holidays are so different now. I hate to sound like a downer or a Scrooge.. but they just are. I guess that's just what happens with "age", but I feel like a lot of people my age still get that happy, nostalgic feeling about the holidays and I got kicked out of that ability a little too early. Part of it, of course, is because I am on my own now and don't always have friends and family surrounding me. Or fresh baked holiday goodies constantly popping out of the oven (unless I bake them myself). And a lot of it is because I had a sliiight interruption on my youth due to my parents deciding to split up like the day before I left for college a little over a year ago. And now every time the holidays come around, it's like 'Uhh.. do we even still have traditions? Or are we like supposed to make news ones?' And as much as I try to be "joyful and triumphant", I still can't help but feel lonely, stressed, uncomfortable, and frustrated during the holidays. Yay. It's almost like the holidays are a reminder that things are not the same at "home" anymore.
BUT - I still love the holidays. I still love BLASTING Christmas music in my car everywhere I drive from Black Friday to Christmas Day. I LOVE wrapping gifts. I love snow. I love reading the December Ensign and Luke 2. I love watching Christmas movies without stopping. I love decorating a Christmas tree and hanging a wreath. I love Christmas musical programs and firesides at church. I love drinking hot chocolate with way too many marshmallows. I love wearing long-john jammies. I love the food. I love thinking about and remembering Christ: His birth, His ministry, His amazing life, and His huge sacrifice. And I love that the season just makes people want to reach out and love and serve one another.
So this year, though it is sometimes hard not to pinpoint my thoughts on the negatives as stated above, I tried really hard to focus on the things that I still love about the holidays. And guess what.. Success! I didn't "get through" the holidays, I ENJOYED them. And I'm glad!

Christmas at Apt. 231

And this:
I hate to make this whole post about how much growing up sucks. But something else I have began to notice recently is how easy it is to become distant from your friends. And that is just the saddest thing ever. I hate the feeling that a really close friend and I are growing apart. And I have felt that too much this year. What is it about getting older that makes us worse at keeping in touch and remembering to check up on each other? I know that I, myself, am guilty of all of the above. But why? Is it because we are so busy? Is it because we are very consumed in making something of our grown-up lives? Is it because we are searching for or have found someone to love? Is it because we are naturally a lot more self-centered and self-involved because, like I said, we are deciding what to do and who we are gonna be? Because it sounds to me like all of those things are reasons why we should NEED to have our close friends still be close to us. I just find it very sad. Because in high school and stuff, we always talk with our best friends about how we're gonna live next door to each other forever and our kids are going to marry each other and we will be best friends happily ever after. But then we go to different colleges. And we forget to say hi every once in awhile. Even if we still love and value each other. It's just hard to remind each other of that. But WHY? This is something that I will never understand. And it pains me. I'm sorry if I forget to be a good friend and check up on you every once in awhile.. I still love you. I promise.
New Year's Resolution: Still be my best friends' best friend. Remember to tell them that I love them. Show them I care about the things they are doing with their lives. Make a real effort to get together with them in person more often. And definitely to be more patient with those friends who haven't figured this out yet.

Remember these days? Before we got 'old' and forgot about each other?

And this:
I'm not going to be going back to school for 8 months. EIGHT months, people. After I took my LAST final of the semester, I turned it in and walked out of the classroom kind of in a daze. A friend and I were walking back home from class after that and he asked me, "So, how does it feel to be done with school for 8 whole months?". And it hit me. Weird. That's how it feels. Right now, I still don't know whether I should leap for joy or feel sad.. I've been a student ever since... forever. And suddenly I'm not going to be for 8 months. I wonder.. Will I miss it? Will I see my roommates doing homework or projects and be jealous? Will I be excited to go back in the Fall? Will I get sick of a full-time job? Or will I be relieved that I don't have any assignments that keep me up all night? Will I love working full-time? Will it be hard to go back in the Fall? How will I feel? I don't know. It's kind of a foreign concept. Ask me in 8 months.

Note to self: Don't walk home from night class in the snow without a hat.
Guess I won't have to worry about THAT this semester...

And this:
I feel like I gotta add something that's a little more upbeat than the rest of this post to finish it off. Haha. So last week, I got to bring two of my youngest little sisters, Sara & Sofia, to my apartment for a few days leading up to Christmas. I got to play mommy. It was SO fun to have them here. They are the sweetest little things and I miss them all the time so I was really happy to get to keep them all to myself for a few days. We did so many fun things.. We went hot tubbing, we made big, yummy meals, had a spa day, watched lots of movies, checked out books and movies from the local public library, built the biggest fort I have ever seen in my life in my living room, went out for ice cream, played in the snow, went for walks, had a sleepover in the fort, read lots of books, and just spent lots of quality time together. It's really fun for me to get to watch them growing up, even though I miss a lot of it being away from them. But Sofie is getting so smart! She read the entire book, "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss to me. And lots of others. She loves reading. And she KICKS my butt at word searches. And Sara - Sara is such a sweetheart. I swear that girl is an angel. She's really creative too. She wrote a book while she was at my house and seriously, it was better than any book I would've written. I told her she HAS to get it published. She even illustrated it with really detailed, cute drawings. I really loved getting to spend time with those girls and I think it was a really good way for me to get closer to them and let them know how much their big sister loves them and wants them to be happy. :) I also loved getting to act a little bit like a kid again!

These are my little girls on their first day of school last year.
So cute, right? You can see why they make me so happy :)

So that's what has been going on in my head and in my life for the last little bit.

Tell me...
Did you get grades back?
How were the holidays for you?
Do you have any suggestions for staying close to your friends who are far away?
Have you made fun memories with your family this winter?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hey Jude!

Well everyone, it's official... I'M AN AUNT! And I couldn't be MORE thrilled! So what kind of aunt would I be if I didn't blog about it?

Meet my nephew...
(I love saying that)

~Jude Kendall Hancock~

born on December 7th, 2010 at 7:26pm

I love him. I wish I could hold him RIGHT NOW! This is really the BEST early Christmas present I could ever ask for :) I'm one happy little auntie. And he is SO precious, am I right?? And I simply cannot get over how much he looks JUST like his daddy, Shon. I love it!

The below picture is him today, Day 2. Caitlin had a very successful home delivery and everything went great. But unfortunately, little Jude has some "developmental concerns" so they are now in the Children's Hospital with him. Please remember them all in your prayers - especially the very concerned new parents. Pray that surgeries go well and they can all go home and be a happy little family. :)

Dear Jude,
I love you! I can't wait to meet you. You are so sweet and so special to all of us. We are so glad to have you as the VERY FIRST nephew/grandson on our side of the family. Be prepared for a long life with PLENTY of lovin' from all your aunties! Especially me! Be strong and tough, little boy!!
Aunt Jacquie.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Jacquie Here.

Life is funny sometimes.
Making decisions is hard.
Just when you think you have the next 100 years of your life planned out and golden, something changes and you gotta change all those 100 years of plans.
Believe me, I definitely had my whole life planned out. I'm just like that.

Here's what my life plan looked like:
2009-2013: Attend NAU, finishing my Bachelor's in 4 years like a normal person.
(Maybe get married somewhere in there.) Work at the same awesome job the whole time.
2013-2015: Attend Grad-School to get my Master's (preferably at UW, but depending on if I have a husband and where he wants/needs to go)
2015: Start teaching at a high school wherever the man and I decide to settle down.
~ 2016: Start a family. Stop teaching full-time, be a part-time substitute teacher. After all the kiddos are in school, go back to full-time teaching.
Many, Many Years in the Future: Be happy and old.

If you know me, you know that I'm the kind of person who always has to have a plan. I always have some kind of agenda for every minute of every day. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate spontaneity and love to participate in it, but there is a time and a place for that. Disorganization scares me. And uncertainty. As of late, my life has been a big bubble of disorganization and uncertainty. My worst nightmare? I think yes.

But I've learned that sometimes, you just gotta take a leap of faith.
My wise father says,
"Sometimes, you have to get off of the highway of life and take some side streets. Or maybe even stop at a rest stop. If you do that, as hard as it is, you can be better prepared to get back on the highway. Even if it puts you a little bit behind."
Thanks for that metaphor. It's true.

So, that's what I am doing; taking a leap of faith and getting of the "highway" for a bit. Hoping that the side streets will help me slow down, get my ducks in a row, and analyze my situation. One tough life decision I have recently had to make, and it has been a very long internal battle, was that I finally have decided to take a semester off of school.. Yes, that means I did not enroll in classes for the 2010-2011 Spring semester at NAU. Taking a semester off of school was something I have been advised against by several people, and I swore I never would. But WATCH ME! I mean, that was the past, and right now this is what feels right for my life. And as much as getting "behind" totally blows, I feel at peace with this decision. I mean, besides the fact that I had no choice financially, one thing that helped me make this decision and feel good about it was the fact that I am going to be able to work A LOT and make some pretty good money. Which I NEED desperately, in order to dig myself out of this "super fun" financial pit that I am in. And then, come next Fall, I will be able to get back onto the "highway" and get closer to reaching my destination: GRADUATION. So there are ups to this. It's taken awhile, but I can see that now.

And.... I'm okay! That is the best part of this all.
Yes, I have had to make some serious life decisions in the past couple weeks; I have experienced a lot of "the unexpected"; I have had a couple "minor" emotional breakdowns in my academic adviser's office as well as in the arms of one of my best friends... But I AM OKAY. It's all good.

Thanks to all who have been a support to me through this. And to everyone: just know, it's OKAY if your life plans change a little bit. That's life. It was a really hard thing for my structured-self to learn, but I know now.

Proverbs 3:5-6