Monday, December 30, 2013

First Christmas

Merry First Christmas to my baby girl and my niece, Caroline.   It was special, wonderful, and as crazy as expected, but I know we'll always remember this special Christmas.  With two new babies and my sister in law still cancer free, we have had one blessing filled year.  Here is my adorable niece and gorgeous sister-in-law, Lindsey.

It was so funny at Christmas seeing the difference in the two babies' personalities.  Caroline is so chill, and she will sit peacefully in your arms.  Hannah is so not chill. :)  Her legs and arms move constantly.  Hannah grabs at anything in sight, and it will be in her mouth in literally a matter of seconds.  Joe recently sent me a picture of him working on a Christmas puzzle with Caroline sitting peacefully on his lap.  That would be absolutely impossible with Hannah.  Puzzle pieces would be flying with more on the floor than anywhere else and several in her mouth!  Also, Caroline is pretty flexible with her schedule, and Hannah is happiest on a pretty tight schedule.  And size wise, Caroline is the very top of the growth charts while Hannah is at the bottom.

Like I said each different but perfect in their own way.  Here are the girls with their older cousin, Katie, in matching red smocked dresses that my parents bought for the them to wear to mass.  Aren't all three adorable?!  From left we have Caroline (4mo), Katie (3yr), and Hannah (7mo)

The Hobgood's haven't had a real good track record as of lately with good health at Christmas.  Last year, Weston had a stomach virus at Christmas that nearly landed him visiting the ER.  This year we had a teething baby with her first cold.  First, she popped her very first tooth on my birthday, Dec 19th.  We are still waiting for the other lower to emerge.  Then, I came down with a cold on the 20th, and we just knew Hannah was going to follow.  Poor girl got hit with it on Christmas Eve.  She is still congested now, but thankfully she hasn't spiked a high fever or anything.  I'm hoping for a healthy Christmas in 2014!  But if a cold is the biggest illness we're dealing with then we are pretty blessed!

We traditionally spend Christmas Eve with my side of the family, and Christmas day with Weston's side.  My brother and his family from Texas always travels to Tennessee for Christmas and stays with my parents.  We had our ham dinner and then celebrated Christmas Eve mass together.  We all fit perfectly in the pew as one big family.  It was absolutely wonderful!

My oldest brother's family: Bryan, Jennifer, and kids:Ashley, Matthew, and Katie

And then we have my middle brother, Joe, and his little family.  Joe, Lindsey, and Caroline.

Getting excited for Santa!

Hannah had a little helper to open some of her presents.

Christmas morning was spent at Weston's parents house.  Santa came and left Hannah some wonderful gifts!  She got some new spoons in her stocking which was one of her favorite gifts!

Ripping into her new walker.

Checking out her loot, but still mostly interested in the spoon.

After all the unwrapping, she rolled over under the tree to admire Nonna and Pop's tree.

Later in the day on Christmas, we had a delicious turkey dinner with Weston's side of the family.  Then we opened gifts from each other.  Hannah was quite fussy from not feeling well at that point so I didn't take too many pictures, but I did catch a few cute ones.  She loved the soft blocks her Nonna and Pops gave her.

Pops helping her open her gifts.

Weston's brother, Travis, and his fiance, Jade, came to celebrate with us on Christmas Day.

Nonna always has the solid feedings covered.

We unfortunately had to leave on Christmas day because Weston had to work, but we are so looking forward to not traveling next year as we'll be living in town!!   Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

7 months

I'm in the midst of all the last minute details before we leave for Tennessee for Christmas.  The cards were sent out today.  Christmas sugar cookies will be baked tonight.  And it seems as though I am nearing the end of my shopping for gifts.  But before I run out of time, I wanted to post pictures of Hannah from her 7 month birthday she had last weekend.

I decided that I'm ready for her to stop growing and stay my baby.  She's changing literally by the day.  Her giggles are much more frequent, and it's really fun to get her to laugh.  She loves the "itsy bitsy spider".  Her favorite part is the spider climbing.  For a long time, she would get a serious concerned face during the "out came the sun and dried up all the rain" part, and then break back into a huge grin when the spider was able to get back up that water spout.

Hannah is sitting on her own wonderfully when she wants to be sitting up.  Usually something has to captivate her interest.  Otherwise, she'll throw herself back and roll around.  She's not crawling yet, but I know it won't be long.

 Hannah's babbles are starting to get better.  Occasionally we start to hear more consonants.  Weston watched her for me while I went to the grocery a couple weeks ago.  When I came home, he told me he didn't really want to tell me, but that he had heard her say "mama" clear as day twice in her string of babbles.  I told him to not fear that it doesn't count as her first word unless there is meaning or intent behind it and not in a stream of babbles.  He desperately wants "dada" as her first word.

No teeth have popped yet, but I may have seen a little more white on one of her lowers underneath her gums today.  She always sticks out her tongue.  So I can never get a really good look.  She has had some moodiness and other teething symptoms during the day and some restlessness during the night.

That's all for my 7 month old baby.  It's going to be a wonderful first Christmas with her this year.  Blessings to y'all this Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

It's a surreal moment to come full circle standing in line to see Santa as a parent.  These experiences during each new holiday as a parent witnessing the wonder and delight through our baby's eyes is one of our favorites of parenthood so far.  So of course we thought it would be fun to take Hannah to see Santa.

We decided to take her to Bass Pro Shop right by our house.  They have a pretty neat set up for Santa visits, and best of all, the picture with Santa was free.  Weston had Monday off because there are no real "weekends" in the ICU, and it worked out perfectly with the crowds.  We only waited maybe 5-10 minutes which is like 20-25 minutes in baby time.  Thankfully there was plenty to see while we waited. There was a carousel, trains, snowmen, and other various Christmas galore.  Quite a bit to see for a 6 month old's eyes.  True to Hannah nature, when in a new environment, she kept a very serious and intense stare on everything.

And then it was our turn!  The hand off...

Hannah is starting to get at an age where sitting on a stranger's lap with a big red suit and white beard could go either way, but Hannah didn't cry at all!

I tried to get her to smile, but the nice elf lady with the jingle bells captivated her attention.

Oh hey back there.

And in true Bass Pro Shop fashion, there was a shooting game...

Big toys to check out...

And fishies to see...

First Santa visit was a success!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Job and Thanksgiving!

First of all, thank you to all my friends and family on Facebook who shared in our excitement of Weston's new job and move back "home" that we announced yesterday.  It's crazy to think it's been 12 years since I have lived in middle Tennessee.  How is that possible??  I'm not old enough to be away for that long.  ....oh wait, I turn 30 in a couple, moving on.

I am going to post some pictures from Thanksgiving throughout this post as I talk about our move.  Hard to believe that last Thanksgiving we shared the news of our bun in the oven.  Now this year, we have a happy, 6 month old baby girl.  We celebrated Thanksgiving dinner a day early on Wednesday with Weston's parents visiting us in Birmingham.  Weston had to work on Thanksgiving and through the following weekend.  So Hannah and I made our way up to Tennessee afterwards on Thursday.

Now onto Weston's job, I just want to share with everyone how proud I am of Weston.  He is so smart, driven, and hard working, and he is super humble about it all.  Getting back to Nashville seemed like a slim possibility after anesthesia residency.  Weston has told me for years to not get our hopes up.  And I didn't even let my mind wonder to the possibility living there.  With the new healthcare laws, there is such an uncertainty in the medical profession.  This is probably one of the most difficult times to get out of residency and find a job.  And the Nashville area has really one big anesthesia group that runs all of the surrounding area's hospitals.  So if they weren't hiring or chose another equally qualified candidate, then Nashville really wasn't a possibility.

So it certainly was an answered prayer to hear that the group in Nashville was hiring four positions, and Wes was able to get an interview with them.  While he waited to hear back for one long month, he was able to get two other job offers.  One north of Nashville that didn't feel like the right fit for him.  And another great job opportunity in a small town in North Alabama that was extremely lucrative with a partnership offer 18 months after starting.  When we heard back that he had the job in Nashville, we were ecstatic!  There were over 100 applicants, and Weston was offered one of those four positions!  It was meant to be.  And suddenly the Lord's plan for our family keeps getting revealed to us piece by piece along the way.

With Nashville being such a desirable place to live and work, we knew that the salary wouldn't be nearly as good as the other offer.  It was an easy decision though after we really thought about it.  You can't put a price on the quality of life.  We are so excited to be nearby our family and friends.  No more traveling during the holidays.  We are able to celebrate family member's birthday or just meet for dinner on a random Tuesday night.  Hannah can grow up and play with her cousins, and both sets of Hannah's grandparents will be close by too.  Not to mention that Franklin/Williamson County has excellent schools and oozes with southern charm.  It's where we were raised.  It just feels good anytime we are back.  This is the life we want to give her.  Through the Lord's provision and Weston's hard work, it's going to happen.  You might as well pinch me.

As for the details on Weston's job, he isn't assigned to a hospital yet.  He will for the most part be working at one hospital.  He finishes his anesthesia residency at the end of June, and he will start his new job in July 2014.  We're not sure exactly where we will live.  We definitely want to be within Williamson county.  Our plan is to hopefully sell our house here in Birmingham, and we'll rent for a short period in Franklin/Nashville while we decide what area we want to settle into our new home.

Thank you all again for your well wishes.  We are so happy to be going back!

Monday, November 25, 2013

San Francisco Trip

Warning: Super long post!  Read and scan at your own discretion.

I mentioned before that we took a trip to San Francisco.  Weston had an anesthesia conference there in October.  He and I had been looking forward to going together for about a year now, but we weren't sure if we could or should do it with the baby.  I had thought about leaving Hannah with Grandparents, but I soon realized I didn't want to be away from her for that long.  Plus we're still breastfeeding.  So there was that factor too.  Well my parents volunteered to come help us out and enjoy the sightseeing with us!  It was SO nice to have them there.  I had them to go exploring while Weston was at the conference, and we were able to get away for a dinner and cocktail reception two of the nights while they babysat.

On our flight to San Francisco, we had the stroller, carrier, bjorn, pump, suitcase, garment bag, and diaper bag...and that was just our carry on items!!  It was hilarious going through security.  I was busy trying to figure out how in the heck I was not going to back up this line, and the couple behind us was so sweet and talking with Hannah while we waited for our turn.  The woman compliments Hannah, and I thank her.  Then she offers to help me load everything when we get to the front of the line.  I look up to thank her again and realize she looks so familiar.  My first thought was "Is she one of my friend's mom?  How do I know her."  So I ask her, and she smiled and said "Every Friday at 8/7c on TLC"  She was Lori from Say Yes to the Dress!  I had no idea the whole time waiting in line it was her!  It reminded me that I really should look people in the eye when talking with them.  Especially when they are being so kind to your baby.  I knew she had battled breastcancer.  So I asked her how she was doing, and she said really well, thank you.  She was the kindest lady, and it was a great start to our trip.  Here we are finally on our plane.

Our first day in town, my parents, Hannah, and I took a trolley tour around the city.  We started in Fisherman's wharf and then visited areas like Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, Alamo square, and Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco Chinatown really amazed me.  It is the largest Chinese community outside of Asia.  Next time we visit, Weston and I would like to explore it more.

The trolley tour day was our only true cold day there.  We bundled up, and when we were away from the water, it was toasty in the sun.   Hannah looked happy and cozy in her grandad's arms.

The trolley tour was a hop on hop off type of tour, and I just had to get off at Alamo square to see where the opening intro to Full House was shot.  Luckily, my parents obliged.  Full House was my absolute favorite show as a kid, and it was really cool to see.


When the tour ended, it was starting to get a little chilly.  We grabbed a delicious hot chocolate from Ghiradelli square that really hit the spot.

One afternoon Weston was free to do a little sightseeing.  Being a civil engineer and taking several transportation courses in college, I had read and heard about Lombard street, the "crookedest" street in the world.  So we hiked over there to see it in person.  And when I say hike, I literally mean we hiked it y'all.  Really I was hoping to give us a cable car experience over to Lombard street.  The only problem was we were going to start at the one cable car by our hotel which wasn't crowded at all, and then catch the second cable car in the middle of it's route to arrive at Lombard street.  Well we soon realized we are NEVER going to get on one because they were completely full from the start of its route.  So we walked it and truly appreciated the topography that is San Francisco.  I am impressed that my parents hiked it just as well as us.  Wahoo!

San Francisco in October is gorgeous!

And after all that hiking, we decided it definitely deserved us stopping by Ghiradelli square again, but this time for an ice cream sundae.  It.was.amazing.  Yum!

Weston had one day that he took completely off to hang out with us.  His number one thing to do there was visit Alcatraz.  Well of course our luck, we visited during the government shutdown which meant no Alcatraz and no Muir woods to see the redwoods.  Boo!  But we did have an awesome time visiting the Golden Gate bridge and the quaint, coastal town of Sausalito.

Our last day we took pretty easy.  We had lunch at the Boudin sourdough factory and walked a little bit around Pier 39.

  For fun, I took Hannah on her first carousel ride.

Not quite sure who had more fun... :)

Love her big, beautiful eyes.

Overall I would say everything went pretty smoothly with bringing Hannah.  I was definitely worried about how we would travel with her.  I am so much more confident to go on trips and flights with her now. The cabin pressure wasn't an issue for her.  We took a direct flight out of Atlanta (still about 5 hours) to avoid trying to connect to a different flight, and we met my parents in SF.  Hannah pretty much explored the city like a champ in the baby Bjorn and took her naps in there too.  We nursed wherever we were with my nursing cover.  That is one surefire way to get over your hesitation to nurse in public.  Go on a trip!

The one factor that did make traveling with her difficult was the time difference and sleeping.  Hannah was ready for bath and bed at 4 PM!  It sure did make going to dinner difficult.  It also meant she was ready to get up at 3:30 or 4 AM.  So every morning we would go down to the lobby and walk around the exhibits, look at the windows, and ride in the glass elevator to just kill time while the rest of the world slept.  Not to mention Hannah does not sleep really well in the pack n play or small crib nor does she like to cosleep.  She really just wanted her bed which is funny, because I had spent atleast a month prior to this trip working on getting her to sleep on her own! 

This was our sunrise view.  Our hotel was right across the street from the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge.  It was an awesome location.

I had such an awesome time.  I can't wait for all our other future family trips with Hannah.  It will be hard to top this one!