Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wonderful Two's

 Sarah's second birthday was great.  To lessen the pressure I asked a friend to do a joint party with her soon-to-be 2-year-old and it definitely helped!  We had pizza, cupcakes and lots of balloons and held it at the fancy neighborhood center.  Our friends came and generously gave Sarah fun toys and great books! To finish it off we all went swimming.  I never had a more fun time at the pool seeing so many people we cared about and their sweet kids fill it up!

Bonus bum shot

Skin on skin time

 These two love to snuggle. Notice how Sarah holds on to his earlobe while sucking her thumb... if no one else's ear is available, she holds onto her own.

Fun and Mischief

 Sarah likes wearing my pretty apron... and of course I had the idea that she ONLY wear the apron... sorry (or you're welcome) that I don't have any back shots ;)!

Sarah's neighbor and best friend is her partner in mischief also... that is body wash in her friend's hair.

Peace at the Lake

 We love to go to Lake Tholocco (Tuh-LOCK-oh).  I revisit my sweet childhood memories at Lake Sammamish in Washington when I'm here.  There are wonderful parks, beautiful beaches with soft white sand, and the water is still warm and it's mid-November.  We drive or bike there once a week or more. 
Sarah usually ends up naked when we go there, because she wants to take of all of her clothes and play in the water.  I can't blame her.  Hence the picture with her cheeks exposed.

Pilot Training Graduation

After 16 months of almost constant training, Michael finished, and he finished well.
That weekend was one of my favorite weekends of my life, minus not being with my side of the family.  We were with Michael's parents and really just basked in the feeling of accomplishment- I guess the best reward for all of our hard work.  I say our because although Michael was the only one who actually participated in and graduated from Pilot Training, I was the one in the background praying for him, making him meals, keeping his home clean, waiting for him to come home safely, and working hard to raise our daughter whenever he wasn't there to help.  Neither of us was perfect through the whole process, sometimes we didn't appreciate each other like we should have or realized what the other was sacrificing for the family as a whole, but we stuck together enough to see it to the end and are feeling very grateful now.  

I went through a strong bout of depression midway through his training from late February to early September which was obviously hard for me and- just as worth mentioning- difficult for Michael.  When I say depression I mean that I had depressive "episodes" a good 1-3 times a month for those 6 months.  I'd love to explain more another post but lets just say that they're not easy to experience and they certainly aren't easy to watch and try and handle for Michael and anyone trying to help.  The times I was depressed I was very likely to NOT see the good in those closest to me (Michael) and recognize all the positive things they're doing.  Also, on the flip-side, Michael was so busy and consumed by training that he wasn't able to care for me like I hoped. Thankfully I have many family members that were there for me on the phone and in prayer.  Eventually I sought professional help (again) and have benefited immensely from that treatment.  

Honestly, I think we both did our very best considering our individual situations.  I am so grateful we never give up on each other.  There are some habits we formed from the beginning of our marriage that have most likely been that saving glue to keep us from tearing apart even when things are so difficult.  In no way are we remotely close to being super righteous people BUT we try to do certain things to help us stay on a good path.  

Those things are: We pray morning and night, usually on our knees, together, and out loud.  We pray for each other, our daughter and other family and that we'll be guided by God's Spirit to do what's right.  We read divinely inspired words daily together from the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants or modern day General Conference Addresses.  We hold (almost) weekly Family Home Evenings where we spend time, sometimes only minutes, talking about a principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it applies to our lives and then commit to living cleaner, more selfless lives in the coming week.  We go to Church and partake of the Sacrament to be forgiven for mistakes and promise to live more according to the promises we made when we were baptized.  We accept callings (responsibilities) at church and serve the best we can believing that our Father in Heaven literally called us to that position and wants us to serve His children in that congregation in that capacity. 

In addition to these habits, just as or even more important are the guiding principles of love, faith and forgiveness which Jesus Christ exemplified that we try our darnedest to emulate ourselves.

Also, let me clarify that we don't believe we'll be saved because of all the good things we do but that we show our faith in and love for Jesus Christ by following Him and that includes doing a lot of good things. 

Back to flight school.

He finished, and he finished well. Meaning... he was top of his class and top of many classes that came before him.  I was so happy for him and proud to be his wife.  Here are pictures of the graduation ceremony that he conducted.  The picture of me standing in front of him is when I put his "wings" on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Sarah pointed to something while I was holding her by the sink and I looked and it was the picture of Jesus in a red robe I have up on the window sill... she pointed and smiled and I said, "Yeah, that's Jesus!" and then she repeated me and said something like "de-zuss!".  It was so sweet! 

She just started "folding" her hands when we pray and tonight before we put her down Michael said, "OK, lets say a prayer..." and before we did anything she clasped her hands together and looked at us like she was waiting.  Also, at the end of a prayer she says some jibber jabber form of "amen" and I love it.

This is a big deal to me because it makes me realize just how quickly she is growing.  In my church we are taught to teach our children principles like faith and love and teach them practices like prayer and forgiveness (to name a couple).  I try my hardest to take time daily to pray with her and sometimes I read scriptures with her and I try to talk to her about blessings from Heavenly Father when they happen so she recognizes them. 

It just feels so good and I feel so proud of her to see her do these little things.  I don't think she's "holy" or soo good for doing them, every other kid is just as perfect as her, but it really tugs at my heart strings to think of her having faith in someone that really does bless her and take care of her.  I feel calm knowing that no matter how she chooses to live her life, she'll know that her mom and dad have found peace and joy in following the Savior and she can do the same easily if she follows some basic guidelines we hope to teach her by precept and example.

I really do love being her mom and having these responsibilities.  I'm very humbled often by the fact that she will be better at many things I've tried my whole life to be good at just because of the generation she is a part of.   I believe she has to be stronger than any other generation because of the state of the world now.   I know she was meant to come to earth at this time to our family to teach us things and hopefully love and serve many other people.

Thanks for reading!


For record-keeping's sake I also want to remember:
- How she likes to take Michael and my heads and pull them together to make us kiss and then kisses us together... hehe.
- How she likes to nod now so she says yes to a lot of things when she actually means no and then gets confused when I react to her yes :)
- She loves to dance, so much that when a song is over she whines until we play another one for her to dance to
- I still love her feet so much, I can tell they're getting bigger but I don't care. I wonder how long I'll love her feet and want to kiss them... either I'll stop wanting to or she'll stop letting me :)
-  She likes to hug kids (she also likes to hit them and pull at their clothes and pinch them but if I catch her I ask her to give the kids loves and she does with an "mmmm" sound)

 At the zoo in Colorado from this last weekend.
  I have to mention what happen this last weekend.  We hit a deer broad-side around midnight on our way to Colorado Springs to visit friends.  It was such a hard hit and freaked me out bad, I screamed and Sarah woke up a little and then fell right back to sleep.  We were all completely fine.
The minute we came to a stop on the side of the road after the collision I looked at my family and was so grateful and even happy.  Although it was scary hitting the deer and being without a car for a while will be a drag, I'm grateful for an experience that gives me a lot of perspective.  What is really important in life? That's right, it's not a car, it's the peeps sitting next to you and snoozing in the back ;).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Michael's First Solo Flight in the Air Force

Michael flew the T-6 by himself this week! 

Watch the videos of him flying, taxing, and then getting "dunked" by his classmates as is ritual :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lake Chelan

I might say this every year, but this year's trip to Chelan was the best.  Being in close quarters with my brothers and sister and parents again just makes me feel like a kid again.  It helps that I love my family so much.  Billy keeps me on my toes with his need to be active and thought-provoking topics of conversation.  Denny never fails to make me laugh and but then shows his concern for me with questions that allow me to express more of who I am to him.  Mike makes me feel good with his sweet smile and quickness to laugh at my jokes, his dedication to his family is something I always learn from, too.  And then there is my sister, Rachael, beautiful as ever with her bright blond hair and fun jewelry I always covet and I find myself looking up to her just like I did on the sidelines at every high-school football game she cheered at.  My mom and dad tirelessly love on all their grand-kids all week and I'm SO happy to be part of that now with my little Sarah.

It just felt so good to be together.

I have to put a plug in for the in-laws: Nate, Crystal and Melissa.  You didn't grow up with us so the magic I refer to might not be there for you.  THANK YOU for coming and being a part of this Hancock reunion so we can remember how important the family unit is that us siblings came from and then return to our own family units inspired and strengthened to make just as many good memories for our own children.

I get just as much out of being with my in-laws.  Nate works so hard at being a good dad.  He also makes himself comfortable in any situation and this way of ease he has makes him nice to have around.  Crystal quietly does all she can to make everyone happy.  She supports Denny in every way and has joined me in laughing at all his jokes.  Melissa's soft spirit contributes a serious tone of reflection and care to do what's right... she's also a bit goofy, which I appreciate.

What marked this trip was not the perfect weather, nor the nightly meals, but the 24-hour flu epidemic that Sarah carried in her tiny body and passed on to little Mary and me who then passed it to Alex and Crystal who then passed it to.... until 11 out of 20 of us suffered the wrath!  We tried our best to wash hands and keep them to ourselves but if anyone knows us they know we're a touchy family.  That otherwise sweet family-trait proved to be our downfall this vacation.

But, to Sarah's credit (wink, wink), our constant battle over the flu brought us together in a way we wouldn't have if we were completely healthy the whole week.  Families were taking care of each other but also families were helping and taking care of other families.  Since there were 20 of us in one house, some of us shared the downstairs TV room as our living quarters.  I saw my big sister take diligent care of her little Mary throughout the night as she vomited almost every 30 minutes for multiple hours.  I, too, was vomiting that night... one episode I was actually nursing Sarah while throwing up in the toilet at the same time... Sarah didn't seem to mind.  During these episodes I thought of how strong Mary was and how she started to repeat what Rachael kept telling her every time she threw up, "It's gonna be OK, I'm OK."  I saw how much Rachael loved Mary, how seriously she took her job as a mother and the incredible impact what we say and do can have on our children.

All throwing up aside, we did have some crazy fun times.  The usual cliff-jumping was so much fun.  It's easy to jump when your 10-year-old nephew jumps without thinking twice!

Just driving around on the boat brings back a flood of memories.  That feeling of up and down with the wind and sun in your face is one I love to remember.

Any chance I had to ride a bike I took.  My mom let me ride hers down to get snow-cones with D&C (Denny & Crystal) where we sat and I laughed at Denny's impersonations.

Some nap-times I was the one at home while Crystal played at the pool.  This was precious time to read or just relax in the familiar Eastern Washington heat.

We even took a girls night to spoil Melissa a bit before her 4th little one comes along.  We got all spiced up and then drove around in a mini-van looking for fun.  We ended up at the grocery store buying ice cream and a tabloid and then enjoying those on the end of a Wapato dock in the dark to the light of my iPhone.

 Sunday evening we tried to make special with a little family testimony meeting.  All of us have been through and/or are going through very challenging times.  The running theme was that embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to happiness.  I know this, too, but it is hard to live by it at all times, in all things and in all places.  This spiritual pow-wow revealed to me that we are all striving to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in our own way.  Having faith in something you can't see can be difficult, but with the support of the ones you know, love and respect most in your life it is made a lot easier.

Thank you Mom and Dad for starting this wonderful tradition of Lake Chelan.  In my dreams we will continue it until we're all old and grandparents ourselves.  But, it is comforting to think that even if Lake Chelan dried up, I'd still have the people I have enjoyed it with my whole life.  That will always be what's most important- our family.  Lake Chelan has just been an instrument in bringing us together- so, thank you, too, Lake Chelan.

that's me in the air...

On our way out we serendipitously ran into some of my dearest friends, Linsey & Tri