Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back

This year was a remarkable, blessed year for our household to say the very least! It's a bittersweet goodbye that we'll be saying to 2011, but we're looking forward to road that God has laid out for our family for this next year.  I feel almost selfish making this statement due to the amazing year we have had, but I hope we continue to see God's blessings in our lives during 2012.

Let's take a look back at our year.

In January, we celebrated my Gram's 80th birthday with a party full of family and friends.  Alan and I also attended the Chili Bowl Nationals (indoor sprint car racing).

In February, we went on a 7-day cruise with some of the best friends in the whole world. It was the most memorable vacation I've ever taken.

 In March, Alan took me to see Randy Travis at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. He was just as legendary as I expected him to be!

April brought us the news of our little bundle of joy on the very same day that we left town for Nascar at Texas Motor Speedway.

In May, we celebrated Mothers Day by revealing our BIG NEWS to family and friends! :)

In June, Alan and I took a trip to Denton to visit Beau, Jill, and Tyce.

July marked our 7th Annual Float Trip Extravaganza at Eagle Bluff Resort.

August brought Jill and Tyce back home for a visit, and it also marked the month of Alan's 31st birthday.

In September we were still hitting the lake on warm, sunny days!

 October was the "baby moon" trip to Branson month with some of our dear friends.

In November, our lives changed forever by the biggest blessing we have ever been given.

And lastly, December marked the first Christmas that we celebrated as a family of four!

We hope that 2012 brings each of your families BIG, BIG blessings :)

Happy New Year from the Hancocks!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Blessings Overflow

Yes, yes, yes....we are still alive and kicking! :)

My sweet babe is FOUR weeks old today, whoa!!

I'm trying to learn this whole time mommyhood time management thing--it's quite tricky sometimes.  So far parenting has been quite blissful, but not without it's fair share of tears, though. I'm assuming the changes that have occured around our house are no different than any other first time parent trying to figure things out.

For me, the most challenging part of being a new mom is not being on top of everything like I normally would be.  This ranges from anything, like not being able to check in with sick family members and blogging, to everything, like not keeping up with my house chores like usual or loving on my sweet dog like I should. I've had friends have babies, surgeries, and other life changing events since I've been mothering, and I feel like the time has come when I just can't be everything to everyone. It's a little bittersweet, honestly.  I've dreamt of the day when I can be a mother to my own sweet baby, but I've also enjoyed my time of being an encouragement to those around me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up on it. I've realized that I have finally reached my 'calling' in life, though! THIS is exactly what I'm suppose to be doing---being a wife and a mother to the gosh darn best little family ever ;)  My new job is to love and serve the other three living with me until my little heart explodes.

Being a perfectionist and slightly anal-retentive, another challenging aspect of parenting has been figuring out a schedule for our family.  Cale has been a rock-star while trying to adjust to a sleep schedule--we feed at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, (bath at 8:30pm), 9pm, and 2am. Not too shabby.  I'd like to get myself on some kind of schedule, though. Some days I shower, some days I don't. Some days I eat lunch, some days I don't. Some days I can squeeze in a load of laundry, some days I can't find a free second in my day to brush my hair. You get the picture. I'm open for advice and/or suggestions!

For the past four weeks, while we've been figuring out this new life in our house, the blessings have not stopped coming our way. God is simply amazing. He is continuing to leave me speechless each day.

For starters, my husband is my hero! He is the best partner I could ask for in this life. It chokes me up inside to watch him be a Daddy, he's so good at it! :) Whenever my hands are full with Cale, it's so nice to watch Alan love on Bentley. And, when he knows I need some rest, he gladly pitches in on baby duties. And, when he knows something needs done around he house, he does it without being asked. He goes without his sleep as much as I do, and I never hear him utter a negative word or compliant.

Speaking of my incredibly hard-working, loving husband, he managed to snag a big promotion at work! He's been studying for months for a promotional exam, knowing that it would fall right around 'baby time.' He continued to study his booty off around NICU feeding times, sleepless nights at home, and 24-hour shifts at the fire station. It paid off! ;) 

Also, I'm not for sure if this is a blessing yet (ha!), but Alan took himself out and bought a new truck. He'd been looking for the perfect new (used) truck for awhile, knowing we'd need an extended cab for car seat type things. He came across a steal on Auto Trader one day, and he was driving his new truck home from Oklahoma City the next evening. He was patient in his search, and it too paid off!

We also found out that we'd be getting Christmas bonuses from work this year---FIRST TIME EVER! Since I'm out on maternity leave, especially with the Christmas holiday, this is a huge, unexpected blessing to us. We are so thankful to work for a company is choosing to recognize it's hard-working employees. The timing is impeccable in our lives!

See? I told you, we are on blessing overflow.

God is so good to us!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Cale's Birth Story

The week that Cale was born, we'd been to the doctor on Monday AND Wednesday for non-stress tests and ultrasounds. My blood pressure continued to rise, despite bedrest and medication, and my hands, feet, and face continued to swell.  The doctor had been unimpressed with Cale's performances on the monitor--he was just a bit sluggish and not responding ideally to contractions or movements.

On Wednesday, November 16th, they scheduled us to go to Labor and Delivery that following Friday, November 18th, to be put on another non-stress test for an hours worth of monitoring. (CATCH: The doctor told me not to eat anything before we went to the hospital.) We had a feeling that it might be the big day!  We made a selfish (but not regrettable) decision to keep this information to ourselves instead of getting our large family all geared up for a possible delivery. We wanted our last moments of "us" to be peaceful and relaxed; therefore, NO ONE knew we were at the hospital :) We didn't want to be tied to phone calls, emails, or texts with questions or concerns, when we could be spending our last moments of 'just the two of us' together. 

Upon checking in at the hospital, we got all hooked up for another non-stress test. Cale was performing par-for-the-course. I was having plenty of contractions that morning, and Cale's heartrate was remaining a steady 130-135----not rising like they would expect it to do. My blood pressure was high, 140-150/100.  After an hour of monitoring us, the nurse came into the room and said, "You're going to have this baby today!"

We immediately sent out a mass text to family and close friends with a cute little rhyme letting them know that we would be meeting Cale that day!

{(Jump in your car, it's time for some fun. Today is the day, that we are going to meet our son!)}

  Alan ran off to the bathroom to shave off his mustache. This little momma informed him that he couldn't meet his son with that thing on his face ;)

He made two quick phone calls to both of our momma's to make sure they had received their texts, and we spent the next hour and a half just smiling, reflecting, and dreaming of the future. 

Things happened SO quickly after we received the news that I'd be having Cale within a few hours, just general prepping for c-section things I suppose.

Before I knew it we were walking ourselves into the c-section room, and I was putting my gowned body on the operating table. I received a spinal block to numb my lower half---weirdest feeling EVER!  Within three minutes of appearing in the operating room, my physician was pulling Cale out of my belly! To hear his sweet little cry was the most surreal experience I've ever had, seriously. I was crying, Alan was crying, we could hardly form a sentence to each other. Since he was four weeks early, they rushed him off to the special care nursery (later determined that he was best suited for the NICU), but not without a quick kiss from his momma!

My pregnancy definitely wasn't ideal (I would've preferred to keep my body healthier), but looking at my tiny little gift from God, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. No questions asked.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lovin' Our Family Life

Y'all forgive me for taking so long to post more pictures with an update.

We are BOTH home safe and sound :) I spent five days in the hospital, and Cale spent ten days in the NICU. We feel so blessed to finally be home as a family.  I know most of you are here to read about my handsome little guy, but know that I'm recovering amazingly (in my own opinion) from the c-section and other stuff. My hemoglobin had been low for so long, I guess it just hit rock bottom after I delivered him.  The transfusion was a little freaky to think about, but it helped my recovery A TON! I didn't know I'd been feeling so bad, until I started feeling better (if that makes any sense!).

Cale has really been an awesome baby! At his very first pediatrician appointment this past week, the doctor said "he was perfect!" Well, duh, right?! :)  He eats every three hours and sleeps well between his feedings. He likes to stay awake from 11pm-2am just to hang out, but he is not fussy in the slightest. Our fingers are crossed that this pattern continues!

I'll work on postings with his birth story and also some tidbits that I've learned as a new mom already---like products that we've found extremely helpful.

Until then, enjoy our pictures.