Monday, September 23, 2013

Basketball in Glasgow!

One of the highlights of our time here in Glasgow was the opportunity I (Lars) had to play with the University of Glasgow men's basketball team. When I first arrived here, I missed the tryouts because of the delays caused by visa problems. I wasn't too concerned. However, after a few sessions of the weekly open gym, I realized that I would like to play at a more competitive level. I was able to find the email of the club captain on the website and sent him an email to see if I could just come practice with them or something. It took a while but eventually, I was invited to come to practice and feel things out. Unfortunately, the practice was just days after my bout with illness (likely salmonella) and I was feeling quite weak. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I attended anyways and began to play with the 3rd team. You see, the University Basketball Club has a fluid 3 team structure, with players moving up and down for various reasons (need more players, players improving, etc). I had a blast playing with the 3rd team and made friends from all over the world, including Greece, Italy, Spain, China and Lithuania! Around New Year's, I asked if I could move up to the 2nd team. They were glad to have me and I enjoyed meeting even more new people and playing more basketball. Finally, I think a few players from the 1st team left early to go home for the summer and I was invited to play with them for the last game of the season. The best part was, even though it was my first game with the 1st, I was included in this sweet team photo :)






But I didn't just have fun with these handsome men on the basketball court. Oh no, we had some great times outside as well. There were the weekly social gatherings and free food at CAMPUS (a restaurant/bar) as well as some fun organized activities, movie nights, birthday parties, and many of them even came to my concerts. My favorite event, though, would have to be the super smash bros tournament. In order to participate, you had to dress as the character that you would use. Here's my costume:
I was Jigglypuff!



As you can see, Link, Pikachu, Mario, Ness, Star Fox and Donkey Kong were all in attendance as well. I made it to the final bout but was sadly defeated by a laser gun (although there were many who thought it was cheap and that I should've won, so they bought me dinner :) ) It was a lot of fun.

As of right now, I have continued to practice with the club throughout the summer and have been able to play a few pre-season games as well. I'm really going to miss all of these guys and have loved every minute of it. I mean, how awesome is it that a 29 year old grad student with a wife and a daughter can play basketball with a university team!

Finally, here are some shameless dunk videos people took of me during the year :/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWsWyij7k7g
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTk1Njg4OTgw.html
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=705546432793171

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Baby is 5 Months Old?!?

Had a baby. Five months later. The End:P

Yeah right. I wish it were that simple to explain so many questions and so many firsts and so many emotions and so much CUTENESS AND LOVE!!!

So, I'll just put up some fun pics and home videos that will hopefully entertain:)
instead of me writing a book:P



The first month was this. SLEEP:) and us just watching her...


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...and trying to tickle her...Sleepy Baby...
(Watching "Sense and Sensibility" in the background:)


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Poor baby has the hiccups in her sleep:( 


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And when she was awake she'd be sneezing...


and making other adorable noises...


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Everyone asks each other who they think she looks like? So I did a comparison:


What do you think?

Most people think she's a pretty good mix of us both...

Lots of this as well:(

Poor Baby!

Lars was always taking pics of Aluinn when her hair was sticking straight up!
I was always trying to comb it down:)

Lars was having too much fun with the nursing pillow! :D
This is why you strap them in!
(No babies were harmed in the making of this post:)


Getting out and about when Grandma Grout and Auntie Kris were here:)
This is THE cutest bear outfit! Sorry we didn't get a better pic:(



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Aluinn really doesn't like "tummy time" here at 2 months old...not much has changed in these 3 months:(

Do I have my dates mixed up or does she look really big for a 2 1/2 month old???

But she DOES love her bath time:D
That hasn't changed!
(2 1/2 Months:)
3 months



Lars was having fun flying the baby around:)
Great abs and neck strength!

What a Darling Dolly at 3 months!
LOVE this sleeper:D

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We get date night every so often...


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Lars and Aluinn communicating:D LOVE!!!


Us posing in front of our flat with some pretty flowers
on Lars and my 6th Wedding Anniversary<3
(3 1/2 Months old, Aluinn of course:)

Have to have at least one naked baby pic. Awh:D
Such a Sweetie Pie at 3 1/2 months!

I LOVE the swirl of hair she has:D It has since disappeared:(
Glad I was able to document it:D

Got some cute ones!
Still 3 1/2 months:)
At 4 months old we wanted to take a pic of us all wearing the head gear my mother,
Verdella made for us:) Thanks MOM! We so cute!





Lars LOVED his Mother's face here:)
Can't remember what they were all laughing at...?


It does actually rain in Scotland:P
4 months old

Showing off Daddy's new haircut at 4 months old:)
He be looking FINE!


YEEHAW!!!


So many cardigans!!! The Scottish LOVE their cardigans:)
4 1/2 Months 


SO HARD to get Aluinn to look at the camera. I think she inherited her father's sensitive eyes:) 
Those two can't handle bright sunlight with their baby blues! 

Her swirl of red hair is gone:( at 5 months.
but she's got more hair coming in all over:)

SO HARD TO KEEP EYES OPEN!

...SO HARD...

SUCCESS!!!

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At 5 months this girl is almost 19 lbs! 
Already outgrown most of her 3-6 month clothes?!?
and soon to be....walking...?
Nah, she has a LONG way to go before that...right???


Happy 5 Months my Darling!!!
WE LOVE YOU <3




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Inducement, Delivery and Beyond!


Morning of Induction
Hospital Bag...Suitcase actually:)

I was actually very nervous about being induced. Hearing that when you are induced they give you an IV drip and they break your water then the contractions hit you HARD! It frightened me enough that I seriously considered not being induced for another week or so...

I really wanted my body to be ready. I figured that when contractions come naturally that you have time to "get used" to them. That the gradual increase in strength and frequency allows you to acclimate to them.

Well, my desire to have my Mother-in-law there for delivery and recovery time was stronger than my desire to wait. The appointment was 9:45 in the morning of the 21st and I was READY! ...

...To WAIT:( We got to the hospital and the ladies at the front desk seemed very confused as to why I was there...? They took me into this big room where curtains sectioned off all the other women being induced. We sat there for at least an hour waiting for someone to tell me what to do.

While we waited we took a final measurement of the belly. 
(Thank goodness Kathy keeps a measuring tape in her purse:)

I measured 42 inches around!

Finally a doctor (at least I think he was a doctor) came in with his entourage to explain how "this" works.

How he explained it: 
Monitor baby for 30 minutes, get a prostaglandins, monitor baby for 30 minutes, wait 6-8 hours, check for any progress (cervix dilation). If nothing happens or not enough progress then we do it all again, and possibly a 3rd time.

How it really worked out:
Well, whoever put the monitor on in the first place did it incorrectly so the data they received for a whole hour was funky. After fixing the placement of the monitor, they left me there for about an hour and a half. Then they came in to check it again. Okay, it was good. They said they would be right back with the prostaglandins...Thirty minutes later someone else returns but not with the prostaglandins:( Maybe an hour after, the first person returns and I get the first pill. Finally. Then to monitor for another "thirty minutes" which turned into another hour. Now to wait 6+ hours...

I stood and walked a lot trying to allow gravity and exercise to help me in anyway possible. I would've signed up for an aerobics class if one was offered:)

Me looking out the window and waiting and waiting AND WAITING!
Can you see the irritation?

And do you know what happened? Nothing. Not a darn thing. I didn't feel anything! I wanted to just go home and wait it out in comfort. Not there amongst all these other ladies who were whimpering and/or crying or any other number of ways one would very vocally deal with pain. Yes, that's what I want to hear at a time like that, NOT! 

Add to the fact that I knew visiting hours were quickly coming to a close and Lars would have to leave me there, alone, at night, with the scary noises:( 

Before Lars left, they started the second round of monitor, pill, monitor, wait. (I was still only at 2 centimeters.) As I lay there with the monitor we were discussing what to do. 

Lars would have to leave the hospital ward that I was in but he could wait in the hospital "lobby" on the ground floor. (Not really a lobby...more like a hole in the wall with chunks of drywall to sit/sleep on.) Or he could just go home and get a good nights sleep in an actual bed. We didn't know what to do. We just didn't know what was going to happen with me through the night.

It was very nice of the lady in the curtained room beside me to poke her head in and offer her opinion:) She said that she had been there since the day before just waiting.

That decided it. Lars would go home with his Mom. (Who had been waiting downstairs all day!) 
I called my friend, Kate and asked if it would be okay with them if Lars called them for a ride back to the hospital if he got THE call. She said both she and her husband, Ray, would have their cell phones charged and ready:)

It was interesting because even though I wasn't feeling anything Lars had noticed that the monitor was starting to show very consistent peaks and valleys...

Our sweet farewell for the night. <3
In Scotland you provide your own hospital attire.
I look stunning in my gown, robe and fuzzy socks:)

Once they left around 10 p.m., the real "fun" began!

I FINALLY started to feel something! 
Definitely an ache in the abdomen that got stronger and stronger and STRONGER!

So I tried to deal with it how I would deal with menstrual cramps: heat. I asked for a heat pad. It helped a very little. 

After a bit, I asked for some pills. Don't remember what they were but they couldn't have been much more than Advil. I didn't even end up taking them anyway because I decided to try a hot bath first.

That felt real nice but I couldn't get very comfortable due to my big belly and not wanting to lie on my back. So it didn't last long.

The pain was making it difficult for me to move. Getting out of the bath was tricky. This exertion must have helped my water to break! Which surprised and confused me. 

Immediately after that I began to vomit.

Somehow I managed to get dressed, somehow. But I knew I'd never make it back to my "room" unassisted. So, putting my pride aside I pushed the "Help" button.

A nice midwife showed up and asked me what was wrong. I told her how my waters had just broke and I was vomiting. She helped me down the long corridor allowing me to stop as much as I needed to. At this point it was pretty hard to walk or talk because of the pain. 

Luckily we arrived at my hospital bed in time for another round of vomit. I'm sure I was quite the sorry sight:( Me just rocking back and forth while trying to keep an emesis basin next to my mouth. Very glad Lars was not there for this part. 

The midwife could only look on with sympathy. She said soothingly, "Oh, pretty sore?", and all I could think is, "SORE! I'm in PAIN!"

This is where they should have wheeled me into an actual delivery room but the midwife did not believe me that my water had broken...! Do women lie about this??? Well, she wanted to make sure. This entailed a fun procedure of prodding and coughing, which only resulted in her still not believing me:( 

Okay well there was no point in taking the pills now if I was to just vomit them out. So I asked about other pain relief options. She ran through a short list. The only one that I remembered from the antenatal class was called Diamorphine. I asked her to give me the pros and cons. (I was pretty talkative for being in LABOR! Ha!)

She didn't mention anything that would adversely affect me or the babe so, why not? I'll tell you why not! Because I would have to stay still so they could monitor the babe before administering the drug and after. I may have actually whimpered at the idea!

This was around 1 in the morning and my memories got a bit fuzzy from this point. All I know is that around 3 am the midwife checked how dilated my cervix was and it had jumped from 2 centimeters to 8!!! (That midwife sure was surprised:D Maybe now she believed me that my water DID actually break:P) 

I told her to call my husband. 

At this point the contractions were contorting my body. I remember the midwife that would be delivering my babe took her first look at me and exclaimed, "Are you pushing?" I was clenching everything that could be clenched trying NOT to push!

Well, they wheeled me into a delivery room and gave me "Gas and Air", also known as "Laughing Gas". Imagine a woman in labor LAUGHING! The thought amuses me now:)

I guess that if used incorrectly gas and air can make you feel sick and light headed but I just took is slow and it seemed to do the trick without paralyzing me. 

The midwife told me not to push and we'd let my body naturally do the work getting baby in position. This allowed me to conserve my energy for later.

Lars and Kathy arrived around 4 am. 

Kathy wasn't sure if she should've come but I'm glad she did:) I very much appreciated her presence of mind and service rendered. Heck, this is her first grand baby and she flew all the way to Scotland for it, she sure as heck better be in that delivery room!

The waiting was kind of interesting to me. We'd all just be talking and then they'd all stop and look at me, as if they knew something I didn't. I guess they did since they could see he monitor and I couldn't:)

There I am with the two most important things: My husband, Lars, and Gas and Air :)
At one point Lars was rubbing my hand and I was just like, "Stop. I'll rub your hand."

Some time after 5 am is when I started actively pushing. The contractions didn't feel very long...I was only able to get one good push and by the time I took a breath it was gone. 

And I was pushing as hard as I could! I remember a different midwife almost threatening me that if we didn't get the baby out in the next couple pushes they'd have to use forceps. I guess that inspired me to push even harder, which I didn't think was possible!

FINALLY!!! With the help of an episiotomy (and tearing), our baby girl arrived at 5:47 am on March 22, 2013!

Well, from what it felt and sounded like:) I hadn't seen her yet. The two midwives we busy doing this and that and this which I'm sure included cleaning her up, cut and clamping the cord and weighing her.


Even before she was weighed the midwife said that she felt pretty heavy. She turned out to be much bigger than any of us expected. Officially 4.13 kg, which equates to around 9 lb. 1 oz.! And LONG too, 21 3/4 inches!

Then to FINALLY meet her...

Little Miss Aluinn Skye

Aluinn (Al-oo-inn, emphasis on the Al) is Scottish gaelic for beautiful, elegant, splendid. And if that weren't enough to remember her origin, "Skye" as in the Isle of Skye should leave you in no doubt:)

Mother and Daughter meeting for the first time!

Such a sweet moment! Those little eyes peeking up at me:) We were all amazed that she seemed to have a decent amount of black hair! Along with the cutest dimples on cheeks and chin. And her chin just kept quivering! Once she was warm she started to almost purr! I'm in LOVE <3

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Baby and Daddy <3

Such a funny little bonnet they put on her:)


Family Photo

Kathy took her first opportunity to hold the wee yin while I was being attended to:)


Grandma Shurilla:)

I just wanted to look at her FOREVER!!!


Kathy got some alone time with her grand daughter while I took a bath:) Avery HOT bath which turned out to be a bad idea since I had lost a lot of blood and generally have low blood pressure...If Lars hadn't been there with me I would've passed out and fallen:( 

Seeing that I was pretty weak, they wheeled us to another big room with curtains sectioning off all the other women who just had babies.

There was a different midwife coming in every minute to do tests or other necessities. One gave Aluinn a bath, another gave her a hearing test, etc. After some time we were finally left in peace with our Beauty!

We got her dressed and gave her a decent hat:)



LOTS of LOVE going on <3




We had a few visitors as well:)

Our amazing "Uncle" Jim Loftus
The super fun and talented Rachel and Mairi:)
and the super sweet, Dovile!

I thought I'd be out of there the next day but breast feeding wasn't going so well. It was hard for baby to stay focused. I'm sure she wanted to look around and see EVERYTHING:)

We ended up being in the hospital for 5 days! 

It was very nice of the staff to give me my own room:) With a pretty cool view!



(Scotland really can have every season in one day!)


 The Necropolis


I just have to add that the staff at Princess Royal were some of the most helpful individuals I have ever met! We left them a goody basket when we finally left:)

Finally arriving HOME from the hospital!!! (She's SO tan:)

Now the REAL challenge begins!