Monday, April 4, 2016

Our American house has American internet. :) :) :)

   Kyle, Gunner, Tesla, and the general potato shape that I have become have moved into our new house and I think it finally smells like us. One of the most annoying parts of moving (in my opinion) is trying to get over how much a new house smells like someone else's... but I think glade plugins, cooking, and using my handy dandy new coffee maker has gotten us to a good start.  This house has some definite quirks... like a possessed garage door, a dive-bombing dove in our pergola,  and a guest bedroom we're not allowed in.. (The door is suddenly... locked? Held closed by a ghost who works out quite a bit? Idk... but we can't get in there.), but we feel pretty lucky to have found a nice place in a good neighborhood right at the base of the mountains. 
    As per usual with a military family returning from overseas, we really have no idea when our stuff will get here. Hopefully the boat hasn't caught fire somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, destroying everything we own. (It happens.) Usually it isn't such a big deal staying on air mattresses and eating on the floor.. except in this case I am 8 months pregnant with the Incredible Hulk and those activities sound like absolute torture. Thankfully, my husband loves me and wants me to be actually happy.. instead of just pretending to be happy when what I really want to do is crawl under the porch like an old dog and die. ... so we now have a king-sized mattress and box spring and a super wide snuggler recliner. These things are actually intended for the expansion of our family, since we're pretty sure Gunner will be sleeping in our bed til he's 18 and the boys and I will undoubtedly be camped out on the recliner for awhile after I give birth... but they really help me out now, as well. This is especially true since my body is hilariously terrible at everything and I spent some time in the hospital yesterday. I'll know more tomorrow hopefully but I am having high blood pressure for the first time in my life and so we are trying to watch out for pre-eclampsia on top of the cholestasis problem I had with Gunner, AND gestational diabetes.  I'm supposed to call for a follow-up tomorrow and will HOPEFULLY get to see my OB on Tuesday.  I have been having lots of headaches, dizziness, itching, and swelling so it will be good to get some actual bloodwork done and be safe, rather than sorry. 
    There is really so much more I could write about, and I will try to soon, but I really should at least TRY to sleep. I'll try to keep everyone informed on a possible induction date as soon as I know it and maybe, just MAYBE we will have our furniture and other things by then? It is awfully hard to nest in an empty, echoey house... and many of our baby things are on that boat.. but I DID order his carseat today and will hopefully have a lead on a baby swing soon (We sold Gunner's soon after he outgrew it, due to lack of forethought and living in a tiny British house.) 
   Anyway, know that you are loved!
  Until later. :) -Lolli

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Home is where the Air Force sends us

It has been a crazy and tiresome week in Alamogordo New Mexico, but I am SO glad it happened. We have learned many things.. like: 
1. Kyle will get an amazing tan here. 
2. Poor Gunner and I, however, will be smelling like sunblock for the next 1-? years.
3. Transition lenses are a must.
4. Gypsum sand will get in your shoes if you even dare to look at it.
5. The water here makes even sweet tea unbearable... and our choice in restaurants will inevitably be based on who has the best water filter installed.
6. The people here are awesome, inviting, and polite... and I am so excited about making friends here.
       There are many events from this week that I could talk about, but for an update I want to focus on my 3 main goals for the trip...

 On Sunday, after lots of deliberation I decided to take a chance and visit Cloudcroft church of Christ about 30 minutes up the mountain. It is nearly impossible to research congregations in the area because they are small, keep to themselves, and have almost no online or social media presence at all. I was nervous about using my one chance to blindly attend a church I knew so little about, but I went with my gut and it worked out. The drive was breathtaking, the members were wonderful, and the scripture was sound. After church every Sunday, many of the members stay in the building for lunch and a more informal 10 minute devo presented by one of the men. We were invited to join them in food and fellowship... but as we circled up to pray for the meal laid out at the other end of the room, I realized that Gunner had broken away and was wandering by the tables. Suddenly I was holding hands with bowing strangers, and didn't want to break away, so I kept one eye on Gunner... who very nonchalantly walked over to the potluck table and got a styrofoam plate (which was actually 3 stacked together). I had to quietly let go of the hands I was holding and make my way across the circle just as Gunner was helping himself to a GIGANTIC scoop of casserole. Quite a few members of the congregation saw everything and died laughing. Gunner makes a great first impression. :)

  I had a few leads to follow up on with finding a house, but was feeling anxious because nothing felt like a sure thing. The rent here is driven way way up thanks to the German Air Force getting paid more than us.. so we get stuck paying more for pretty crummy living quarters. One house that I thought would be reasonable turned out to look way smaller in person, and need lots of TLC that I wasn't sure it would ever get from the landlord. ..Another house was too expensive and would never be ready in time. Thankfully, a chance I took a couple of months ago actually paid off in a big way. I won't go into the lengthy explanation, but I will say that 1.)It never hurts to ask, even if you think they will laugh in your face 2.)Being thorough beats being lazy every time, and 3.)Apparently being polite and courteous to people in times of great stress make you memorable to them and they might end up helping you out anyway.

  My last big project of the week was to try and determine the best place to have this baby. I had 3 hospital options and needed to research induction methods, birthing suites, quality of care, visiting policies, NICU protocol, and ease of travel to and from the location. I visited the hospital closest to our new neighborhood, hoping that they would let me peek into one of the empty rooms, and a nurse surprised me by giving me a full tour and answering all of my questions. She put my mind at ease about so many things and was genuinely interested in knowing my history, due date, birth plan, and discussing possible scenarios. I will definitely be making an appointment at that hospital as soon as possible to get the ball rolling towards having this baby, because I really don't have much time left!

  Tomorrow we will be making our way back to Arkansas where Gunner and I will sit and twiddle our thumbs until we FINALLY get to pick up Kyle!!! We are so excited and can barely stand it. An arrival date has yet to be determined but it will be soon!! SO happy!

More updates to come on this crazy adventure!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


 Unfortunately, we are back to the drawing board on finding a house in New Mexico. The house we were counting on must now be sold, because the Landlord is dealing with some serious health issues that require some big decision-making for him. We really feel for him and totally understand. However, now that we have only about a month before we move down there, things might get interesting. Prayers that we can find an affordable home in a safe neighborhood would be hugely appreciated! The rent down there is crazily overpriced.
    Mom, Dad, Denny, Gunner, and I are planning (for the time being) to make a trip down to that area around the first week of March to scope out houses, congregations, and labor/delivery units.  I would love to start developing connections/ relationships with people from church asap, since Kyle and I could definitely use some help during my possible C-section/ early induction/ super fun baby extravaganza.  
   Hopefully, by then, we will have an idea where we will be living, and the following scenario will probably involve Kyle heading to Lawrenceville to try and get his truck running well, and me renting a UHaul and driving it (with Gunner in the passenger seat and Tesla in the floorboard) down to New Mexico.  
Soooo that's where we are now. God bless anyone who actually read all of that. As your reward, here are some cute Gunner pictures. :) 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maybe I'll get better at this...

So. Many. Things. have happened since my last update, and it's like time was ever-so-rudely stolen from my handbag.

-We flew up to DC with Dr. and Mrs. McLarty and made it up there in 2 hours. Definitely a HUGE perk of being a University President.. and I love how grateful Bruce was for the privilege, despite having flown on the plane countless times before. They truly are wonderful people.

-We met up with our Howards and had an amazing time all around. Rena and Mom went to rent a van for us all to fit in, and came back with a brand new, totally tricked out Suburban/ spaceship. The thing was HUGE.. and had wifi... and "projection capabilities", and also held the secrets of the Universe, no doubt.

-We went lots of places: La Madeleine, swimming at Cub Run, the Cheesecake Factory, George Washington's Apothecary, honestly too many places to really think of while trying to pick apart the trip that now seems like a whirlwind. I just know that the entire time was fun. I love DC. I love my Sister and her family. That's really all that needs to be said, I guess. DC always makes me miss Kyle even more than I already do because of how much I want to show him, there. He always reassures me that we'll make it there together some day and I can tour guide him til he can't stand it. :)

-We picked up TESLA!!! Rena and I navigated the weird secret agent-style catacombs of the United Cargo office and were there when her pet taxi pulled up. It was nerve wracking, but she made it to us unscathed, for the most part. The poor pup was in that crate with it ZIP TIED shut for probably around 11 hours. Most dogs would have just gone in the crate.. but not our Madam. She held it the whole time. A few days later, I picked up on something being a bit off with her and took her in to the vet. She is now on a round of antibiotics for a pretty good bladder infection.

-The reunion between Gunner and Tesla was glorious. He ran to her and pet her saying "good Girl" about 80 times while I was trying to convince her that peeing in snow was acceptable. haha

- The ride home was just as great as the first! The pilot, Bruce, and Ann were all taken with Tesla and she was allowed to ride in the cabin with us. Bruce even offered to have the pilot stop halfway to let us all out to stretch our legs if the kids needed it, but we decided to press on. She and Gunner both slept for most of the flight and we were back in Searcy in no time!

So now we are back in Searcy and not a whole lot is going on except for appointments, appointments, appointments, and trying to figure out a neater way to live out of suitcases. Gunner called Kyle on video chat the other day while I was in the kitchen making us a baked potato. I still have no idea how he figured that out, but I love how he took the initiative to talk to his Dada. :) I hope he's always that eager to call home!
  We are mostly just counting down the days until we get Kyle back and can start our new adventure together. I love the Holloman wives page because about 50% of it is bickering over whether the loud bang that just shook their house was either a sonic boom, or a bomb being dropped at the missile range. :) Haha I can't wait to be a part of that.
  'Til next time, Lolli.
(I'll try to start updating about once a week.... hopefully)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sigh no more Ladies, Sigh no more...

My favorite version of Much Ado about Nothing was on TV yesterday, hence the title. :)

This update is being brought to you in list form... because listing things is fun, and easier to do when a toddler is attached to you.

Also.. I can't believe the last time I update this blog was when Gunner was born.. but little boys tend to keep One a bit busy.   ..anyway...

1.) I'm not sure if its the reverse culture shock (Which is NO JOKE, by the way), or some sort of new-found enlightenment, but Facebook just hasn't seemed super appealing to me since arriving back in the States. So if you want to know what is going on with us, you might have to actually call me and talk to me. Ha. Sorry.

2.) Gunner got to play in snow for the first time ever, yesterday! He had fun chasing the dogs around in it.. though, when I tried to show him that you can actually EAT snow, he laughed and looked at me like I was the most uncivilized person he had ever met. haha.

3.) We will be running around like crazy the next two days because we are taking off on Tuesday for DC to pick up Tesla!!! The awesome President of Harding and his wife have invited us to fly with them in Harding's private plane since they are headed to the Capitol anyway. We'll stay there and get to spend lots of time with my sister Rena and her family (Yay!!!) before bringing Tesla back on the same 12-seater (?) plane on the 3rd. Hopefully the weather will be calmer then, since a tiny plane in freezing rain and snow really doesn't sound fun. Prayers for safe travel will be hugely appreciated!

4.) Prayers for the husband would be wonderful, too. Days must seem even longer to him while we're apart and now he won't even have Tesla at home. :( Though, she did just start her season so I'm betting he is pretty excited about not having to deal with doggy undies the next 2 weeks. You're welcome, Kyle. haha. He's going to drop her off at Silver Birch Kennels on the 27th where our pet courier will set up her crate and get ready to drive her to London and check her in to her flight. I'm sure both Kyle and I will be nervous wrecks until I pick her up. We are VERY attached to that dog and so is Gunner! He's going to be over the moon to get his good girl back. :)

5. This may be TMI for silly people, but according to Babycenter my uterus is the size of a soccer ball and I'd say I concur. It already feels like this child is running out of room... but everything looks great so far and my next appointment is Feb 8th. I am planning on having the baby in Las Cruces after we move, but my OB here has said to be prepared if he advises me that I shouldn't leave. Hopefully there will be no problem and I'll get to have my desert baby. Showing up right before having a baby is a little daunting but the hospital there is supposed to be very supportive of your wishes ( like when I say "You're going to HAVE to induce me... probably early... and no I don't want an epidural.")

6. As long as nothing insane happens in the next couple of days, we should have a house waiting for us when we get to New Mexico! The rent in that area is ridiculous (Thank you German Air Force), so it has been a challenge but after weeks of research, calling, requesting videos, haggling, and learning all about water softeners and swamp coolers, I finally located a great house not far from base! We are so relieved and excited to be able to settle into a home right when we get there, and to have a place to bring the new baby home to! I can't believe we'll be moving into our 4th house as a married couple! We will have lived on  Street, a Square, a Drive, and now an Avenue!

Hopefully this has been a sufficient update.. Now to lay out a certain toddler's church clothes for the morning! Know that you are loved!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Gunner in a Day

      Monday afternoon I was sitting in a hospital bed hooked to monitors for my weekly non-stress test in the inner bowels of our base OB clinic. I usually had them on Tuesdays, but just happened to be scheduled a day early this time, at 37 wks + 1 day. After reviewing my blood sugars, monitoring fetal heart rate, and checking amniotic fluid, the OB asked if I had any questions. I casually mentioned that I had been dealing with itchy hands, legs, and feet for the past week and a half and that it particularly bugged me at night. The OB said "My antennaes aren't going up, but I think I'll have some labs drawn on you. You are scheduled to be induced in 2 weeks, but if your liver function is raised, we might have you come in earlier because there unfortunately would be a higher risk of fetal death. In cases like this, we try to keep the baby in as long as possible, but typically take them at 37 wks, which was you yesterday. Come back Thursday and we'll talk about your results."
     On the way home from picking up the husband, I was in the middle of explaining to him that I might have Gunner as early as Thursday, when my phone rang. It was the OB saying "I got your results back, and it looks like your liver function levels are elevated, and by that I mean three times what they should be. Your liver is in cholestasis. Please report to labor and delivery when you can and we will go ahead and induce you tonight. If we wait, both you and baby could be in big trouble."
     We went home and gathered what I had prepared for the hospital, and I did my best to let everyone know what was going on. At labor and delivery, we went straight back to my birthing room where they inserted a foley balloon to manually dilate my cervix to a 4 or 5. That was pretty intense. After 6 hours of definite, but bearable contractions, the balloon finally fell out and they let me contract on my own for awhile.There was a shift change and I finally met the OB who would be catching little Gunner. Her name is Dr. McBee and she has the largest hands I have ever seen on a woman.  Kyle and I took turns trying to explain my pain tolerance to the nurses when they wondered why I was just sitting there and thought it must not be working. Every shift change we would have to explain to a new set of nurses that I feel pain, but don't externalize it, which is why I look like a person sitting in bed watching TV instead of a person in labor.  My contractions looked significant on the screen, but I kept rating them at a 3 out of 10. I am horrible at rating pain and hate when I have to do it. I almost always say 3 because it was my jersey number in little league. They decided that meant the contractions weren't strong enough, so they started the pitocin.  Unfortunately, the adding of pitocin tended to make Gunner's heart decelerate during contractions, so we had a very very long journey of switching it on and off throughout the night and the next day. I kept contracting, but stayed stalled at 5 cm, which was incredibly tiring and frustrating. They asked if I wanted an epidural, which had been suggested to me as a means of relaxing me and hopefully keeping me conscious for the rest of the delivery. I said sure, since my passing out would be bad for the baby. After a mostly failed epidural (which messed with my heart in a really weird way and was intended to keep me from passing out as I have a habit of doing, but really just made me feel pins and needles on one side of my body) and manually breaking my water, I tried to tell the nurse that I felt light-headed and sick, but since my vitals looked normal at the time, she left. I laid in bed and watched TV. Suddenly it felt like I was laying on a slab of ice and slowly sinking down into it. The nurses came running in and yelling and suddenly I was laying on my side with an oxygen mask. Apparently my blood pressure and heart rate plummeted and they saw it on their monitors in the nurses station. 
   I was now forbidden to lay anyway but on my left side connected to Oxygen, a blood pressure cuff that went off every 10 mins, an IV, an epidural, a catheter, and ciculation boots. I laid there breathing the oxygen for hours waiting for what I had heard was the most painful part, transition. The pain had changed locations, so I thought it might be starting, but wasn't sure. Over time the pain became very intense and full of pressure. A few hours later,after 24 hrs of labor, Dr. McBee came in to check me and said I was complete and transition was over. She asked if I wanted to try and push or if I wanted a break. I thought that was such a silly question, and I said "Let's do it now." Here came the hard part. 
I waited for a good contraction and did my first 3 10 second pushes, then immediately requested something to throw up in. After I lost my all-liquid diet from the past 24 hours, I was good to go. Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events was playing on the TV and I tried to explain to my OB what it was about between pushes. I'm not sure how well I did because pushing 3 times during each contraction has to be the hardest, most exhausting thing I have ever done. I have also never sweat so much. Dr. McBee said that I was a good pusher and was making progress, but that Gunner's heart was dipping more drastically after contractions and that she wanted to get him out by vacuum as an emergency measure when I got him low enough. That was absolutely terrifying. I did not want that to happen. I remember thinking "I need to get him out on my own. I'm going to get him out on my own." Kyle later said he knew that was what I was thinking and that's why it wasn't much longer after that. This was definitely the painful part. I knew I was getting close when Dr. McBee started to quickly put her smock on while asking Kyle if he was going to cut the cord. I was able to get him out without the use of vacuum after only 40 mins of pushing altogether. Dr. McBee started to pull him out, but had to stop because Gunner's cord was wrapped around his neck, which explained all the heart decelerations. She quickly apologized to Kyle, and cut it herself because it was pulling on Gunner's neck. (Kyle was able to cut it later when they clamped it, though.)The baby came out squeaking and making little puppy noises. They flopped Gunner on my chest while they worked on him and I was so indescribably happy. I barely heard Dr. McBee say that I had a second degree tear and she started to sew me up. I was so enthralled by my son that I didn't care about the pain at all. He measured in at 7.95 lbs and 19.5 inches at 3 wks early, born at 9:22 pm March 18th.
      After all this, Gunner and I were closely monitored for blood sugar and bilirubin for him, and blood pressure, Oxygen levels, and plummeting heart rate for me. It was a strange sensation to feel so wonderful and so awful at the same time. Kyle was feeling sick so I sent him home to sleep instead of having to use the hospitals fold out bed. Gunner and I had to stick it out alone the next couple of nights while Kyle had to stay home and recover from his own malady, but he was feeling much, much better the day we were finally discharged. Within 20 minutes, Gunner went from high risk to low risk, and I finally passed an EKG, so they let us go home. Now I am typing this in our living room while Kyle and Tesla the dog are asleep on the couch and Gunner is napping in his swing, milk drunk. We are all so happy to be safe, sound, and finally together.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hormones are killing my brain

   Tesla and I are pooped. She is upstairs passed out on our bed and I am propped up on the couch. We've been dog-sitting a pair of dachshunds for over a week and they went home today. It's nice to have a place to sit on the couch again. Yesterday, Kyle and I drove to Essex ( East of London) to Lakeside Mall, which is right next to where the Thames heads into the city. They had a Build-a-Bear, a Disney Store, a Forever 21, and a Cinnabon! (Though, in my current state, I couldn't even think of eating one, which was very very sad..)  We ate at Wagamama for lunch, and then went to IKEA, B&Q, and Toys R us/ Babies R us. It was fun and I made it through the whole day without feeling too sick! 
   Most of you have seen the pictures and know that our ultrasound went well! But if you haven't, here is the better of the two:
   The baby should look completely different than this by now, but in the picture you can see the umbilical cord, the head (on the right) and the little arm and leg sticking out. The heartbeat was 180 bpm, which is fast but that might be attributed to the fact that I was SUPER nervous before the tech finally zoomed in on the heartbeat. I also had an ultrasound tech friend look at it and she said everything looks good! Since the ultrasound, everything has been going well.  I'm starting to feel a bit thicker around the middle, which is a good sign. The baby should be about the size of a kumquat by now. :)
   Kyle made Honor Guard! He got this awesome medal that he gets to wear on his blues, and I think he will get his specific details soon. He also was able to fix the Jeep this past weekend! It runs SO much better now. 
Not much is happening out of the ordinary this week. I have been craving soul food like nobody's business, so Kyle is taking me to Pinkerton's (A steakhouse at the Liberty club on base) on Thursday. I am so excited! :) We love you all and hope things are going well stateside!