In England · Military Life

Halftime Show: Part 4 – Changes

We’re halfway through our assignment in England! I’m reviewing our journey so far before I forget everything when our second son is born (very soon!). This is Part Four of four. See Parts One, Two and Three for more!

Laundry on the Line

I developed  a new attitude in our year in the townhouse. Just because millions of people live a certain way doesn’t mean I have to like it. Street parking, for example. Maybe I’d feel differently had I not been introduced to it in my 30’s as the mother of a young child. Probably not.

Dog in the Yard

We found out I was pregnant the day we celebrated our 7th anniversary.  It was time to move. We needed more space (and not just so our visitors wouldn’t have to sleep on the pullout sofa in the drafty living room). We wanted a house with a garage for all of our two-wheeled vehicles. A backyard for the toddler and dog to run around. A room for the baby (and the grandparents we really really hope visit when he gets here). We found it and we love it. Maybe it’s that I can see a field from my bedroom window that I feel like I actually have the space to breathe.

60 Years

It was exciting to live in town during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, though. I loved the festive feel of the bunting and window displays.

We worked in some outings around the move and the morning sickness. (And, yes, I snuck in another girls’ weekend to celebrate a friend’s 30th. Don’t think my husband wasn’t gone for a week or two here or there in the mean time.) The truth is that I spent most days from mid-June to mid-August lying on the couch or a blanket in the yard, probably crying and definitely trying not to get sick. Ick.

Great Yarmouth Beach

Great Yarmouth

Red Arrows

RAF Feltwell Fourth of July Celebration

Toddler boys like kites.

Dunstable Downs Kite Festival

Beefeater Wenlock and Tower Bridge

The Olympics Men’s Marathon

Hedgehog

The biggest highlight of the summer for me, though, may have been the first night a hedgehog visited us. I leapt out of bed and begged my husband to find his headlamp so I could snap a photo.

Filling the Pool

It felt like summer for a second, one weekend in August. Temps in the 80s feel extra-hot with no A/C and after months of daily jacket wearing.

With Opa

Then we took a trip to the US for my sister-in-law’s wedding. We started in Minnesota, where my in-laws graciously cared for our barely time-adjusted toddler while we spent two nights on the North Shore of Lake Superior. We hit up the Minnesota State Fair. Then my husband’s dad had an accident that, clearly, my husband would stay around to help with while I took the toddler to visit my family in Indiana. (My father-in-law is OK! But… he wasn’t able to make it to his daughter’s wedding the following weekend. My husband was then in charge of hand-carrying the Monique Lhuillier wedding gown from Minneapolis to Connecticut. No pressure.)

Pushing a Combine

So, the little one and I made the trip to see my family, and my husband and I tried to devise a plan to meet up in Chicago and fly to New York together. Well. Long story short, that didn’t happen, but could have, and we almost ended up at different New York airports, but didn’t. All because of some sort of system malfunction? Thanks for the stress, Delta. Did I mention I was pregnant and jetlagged? And that the toddler had figured out how to climb out of the Pack & Play so never napped? Anyway.

With Bubbe

We (and the dress) made it to the wedding. It was a gorgeous wedding, despite crazy amounts of rain. It was really great to see my husband’s family – most of whom I really had only met at our wedding or heard of! – and also to let Walden spend time with my mother-in-law. And, bonus! My son has a new uncle.

First Strider Bike Ride

We were home (in England) for few days before my husband returned to the U.S. for some conferences. Two weeks later, in the four days he was home before this last deployment, he took Walden and his Strider bike out on the trail in our neighborhood. He got the hang of it, so we went out with the bike and the dog nearly every afternoon until it got too cold and/or he got too fast for my big ol’ belly to keep up with.

Daddy Doll

Did you catch that? How I casually dropped in another deployment in there? It was a tough one, mostly because the little guy could finally talk well enough to ask about Daddy. He could tell me he was sad. And, I was kind of always tired. Maybe it was the pregnancy, maybe it was the night wakings. But we did Halloween and his second birthday and Thanksgiving. The Daddy Doll was a regular source of comfort.

Backpackin'

I did enroll him at a nursery two mornings per week. There were a couple of tough weeks getting settled, and a couple more when he spiked high fevers from teething and had to stay home, but now he’s settled and LOVES it.

With Grandma and Big Ben

Thankfully my mom visited! Having her around about halfway through was a real lifesaver. It was her first time on this side of the Atlantic, too. So, of course, we went to London, on Remembrance Day.

Toddler at Work

My husband came home a few days before the end of Hanukkah. The above photo has nothing to do with either, but isn’t it really cute?

Boarding the Chunnel Train

Two days after my husband returned I skipped town to visit Brussels with some friends. The city was lovely, and it was great to spend time with my friends/converse with grown-ups only for three days. But mostly it was awesome to sleep as long as I wanted and worry only about feeding myself.

Winter Play

We’re really fortunate that my husband’s R & R fell just before the holidays. We spent several days together as a family before he had to return to work full time. I needed the help, and it has made winter much more tolerable.

Transport Day at Art Class

Keeping up with the little guy has gotten harder and harder. I’m finding it challenging to come up with things for us to do where our energy levels overlap. We have been attending a weekly toddler art “class” and are really enjoying it.

Snowy Sunrise

We did have some snow for a few days. It’s gone now. And here we are. Waiting for what’s next.

Little Brother is due this Saturday. I know everything changes as soon as he arrives. In my heart I know that, despite the challenges of getting out the door with two tiny people on little-to-no sleep, our lives will be fuller. The adventures we make for ourselves in the rest of our time here will be even richer, in that we get to share them with both of our sons. That all of this is memories in the making for them.

Thank you so much for following along! I felt that writing this series would serve as an acceptable substitute for the photo book I thought I’d make someday, but it’s proving to do so much more for me.

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