Post #3: No Such thing as an Old Hat in the World of Babes

Today, I was scrolling through my photos and I stopped here…

I thought to myself, remember this?

The answer, if I’m being completely honest, is not really. As I watch Brayden run around making tractor sounds and playing with his new toy truck, it’s hard to fathom that baby is this baby. I watched it happen with my own two eyes, and yet I still can’t believe it. I know that parents have these thoughts when their children start kindergarten, graduate high school, or get married. But to be in such disbelief about my baby growing up when he’s only 16-months old is a bit surprising. I can see why it would be hard to remember your child as a newborn when he’s standing on a podium receiving a diploma 18-years later. But how could I have forgotten so many little moments like these already? After less than a year-and-a-half, I should be able to look at that picture and feel warmth on my chest in the place he was snuggled. But I can’t. It is such a distant memory that I can barely believe it happened at all. Maybe I was really THAT tired. Or perhaps, from a parental perspective, the stages of early childhood are just too short for the monumental changes that take place.  It seems that, just when I figure things out, Brayden undergoes some fundamental change. It is a continuous learning process where my own adaptation is just barely on pace with his growth and development. Routines evolve before they are even established so that the details quickly blend together. It’s a phenomenon that I will soon be experiencing all over again.

The very idea of having another little love in my life astounds me. I suppose I thought that reflecting on Brayden’s first months would make what lies ahead with Baby 2 more tangible. That seeing him as an infant would remind me of what I have to expect, to look forward to. That maybe it could prepare me in some way. I mean it was only just yesterday. Wasn’t it? Apparently not. In baby days, it was an eternity ago. Basically, just because I already have one baby doesn’t mean I’m not going to feel anxious about having another.

Needless to say, looking at pictures of Brayden’s newbornhood didn’t have the effect I was looking for. It didn’t leave me thinking “Oh, I remember that. No worries about number two. It’ll be like riding a bike”. It didn't prepare me for having a new baby, especially when I have another slightly older one running around, threatening chaos at every turn. 

Though my picture perusal process didn’t necessarily inspire the comforting feelings of familiarity that I expected, it served one purpose other than to remind me of Brayden's adorableness: It offered a compelling reminder of how fast time goes. And maybe that’s the only preparation I need: The understanding that in two months, I will be holding a new baby. A baby that, 16-months later, I will hardly believe existed. Whose older brother will seem another light-year away from than the tractor-bearing little man he is now. So while I am battling through exhaustion and the trials that come along with being a mother, I don’t have to feel guilty if I’m not “enjoying every little moment”. (Because, let’s face it, some mommy moments just aren’t enjoyable.) I can, however embrace the fact that those moments of frustration or self-doubt will dissipate. Very quickly. Together with the love and cuddles, they blend into nothing more than a strong sense that something wonderful happened. And I am so excited that it will be happening all over again. 


Post #2: Hiya! from Scotland

We’re here! And between Kevin’s two-week headstart and the familiarity of the  language, we are on pace to settle in quicker than we have before in our international relocations. Car, check. Bank account, check. Phones, internet, preliminary health insurance paperwork, check, check, check! Probably the hardest part of the transition this time is the driving. Moving the driver’s seat to the right and driving on the left isn’t easy. Just ask my father-in-law! wink wink.

As expected, this week was a bit of a whirlwind. The time-change didn’t affect us as much as I expected, but I’ve yet to recover any sense of what time of day it is, or what day it is in general. This is particularly tough on a pregnancy brain like mine, and so the primary goal for this week will be establishing a routine. Getting my hunger cues on pace with a clock and regulating Brayden’s napping schedule will undoubtedly help me keep our lives in order.

While we haven’t done much traveling yet, we did spend yesterday afternoon exploring the golfing oasis that is St. Andrews. Kevin’s father, who so graciously escorted/carried Brayden and I to Scotland, has been on a golf tour of the area since we arrived. He wasn’t able to play the famous course because it was limited to the public for an upcoming tournament, but we decided to visit nevertheless. I’m not much of a golfer, but I would be if I lived here. Situated virtually atop an endless beach in the center of a quaint, gray-bricked historic town, the scenery is beautiful. Contrary to the supposedly typical rainy Scotland weather, the sun was shining on our backs as we walked along the 18th hole and onto the beach. The beach, where, by the way, the famous scene from Chariots of Fire was filmed. The tide was impossibly low, and Brayden happily collected seashells by the shore while we all took in the panorama of lush green fairways, a dunes-lined ocean, and ancient Scottish architecture.

Strolling through the town center, I felt that I was in golf’s equivalent of a ski town. Pro shops lined the streets, golfing apparel and merchandise was displayed in every window. Restaurants were aptly named to suit the sport and pubs were full of golfers grabbing a drink after their rounds. After a nice dinner at a local hotel restaurant, we contentedly headed back along the narrow windy roads to Kirkcaldy.

In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect coming into this season. It all happened so fast, and I was so focused on getting everything organized to go, that I hadn’t even looked on a map to see where we’d be living.  Embarrassing as it is to admit my weaknesses with geography and history subjects, I couldn’t think of one defining characteristic of the country. Beyond what I’d seen in my forty viewings of Braveheart, I didn’t know much of what to expect from the landscape. Was that even filmed in Scotland? (Partially). My only reference for the accent came from Liam Neeson. Is he even Scottish? (No.)  I couldn’t have even told you that the country was situated along a water body. (I told you it’s embarrassing).

The fact that the United Kingdom sits in my educational blindspot has one benefit, however embarrassing it may be. I may not be a good candidate for “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader”, but I’m surely in a good position for some wonderful surprises. What other beautiful sights await in the year to come? What fun adventures lie ahead for me and my boys? I’m going to resist using Google, and relish in the experiences as they come. I’ll focus on making a healthy, happy, comfortable home-away-from-home for our family, and I’ll let the rest of those details figure themselves out.

Beach Baby

Kev and his dad on the fairway of the 18th hole with the Clubhouse to the left

A little St. Andrews side street

A shot from another course courtesy of Barry


Post #1: Life, Love, and...

Buh-Bye, See you Soon!

After 28 years, one would think I’d know how to pack for a September weekend at Lake Sunapee. And yet here I am, bundled in a borrowed sweatshirt to wear over my tee shirt and pair of leggings for under my cotton PJ pants. My calf-high Smartwool socks sitting in a drawer at home would be far preferable to the little ones on my feet but at least I have my toasty “preggo” slippers.  I guess I packed one thing right…

Though my wardrobe doesn’t fit the weather, I am grateful for the cold front that’s made it’s way up north. It gives me a taste of the New England fall season that I love so much, but usually miss due to the start of hockey seasons spent elsewhere. I’m able to enjoy the crisp fresh air, the scent of a late-night fire on the dock, and the comfort of a cup of tea on the porch overlooking the lake. Not a bad way to close out this summer’s Goodbye Tour. 

As always, prepping for a season away from the places we call home has taken some time. The usual logistics of moving like storing belongings we’ll leave behind, packing and transporting what we’ll bring along, and organizing bills and insurance are amplified by the fact that we’ll be headed overseas as opposed to across the country. And, we have a 15-month old and another baby on the way. Not to mention the fact that we are planning on an extended season of nine months instead of six so that Kevin can finish out the masters program that is a part of this year’s contract. Despite the fact that we had lists of lists of things we’d need to get done, this August was surprisingly less stressful than some of the last. Maybe practice really does make perfect and we’ve finally developed a good system of being nomads. Or maybe we have just accepted the inevitability of a little chaos and learned that those logistics really do sort themselves out. Whatever the case, we’re ready for our next (and final?) season. Including the years at UNH, this will be our tenth hockey season together. And what better place to cap off a decade than Scotland!

This year, like the last two, Kevin headed out early to start pre-season training. He got things situated over there while I tied up loose ends back here. Since B, Baby 2, and I are joining him in two days, we’ve spent most of the week on a hug-collection tour of the East coast. We made it to Norwood for a breakfast with my father’s family, to the Cape to see the Regan relatives, and now New Hampshire to see my mother’s side. As always, these visits are bittersweet. While I’m excited about the adventures that await us, it’s sad that they will bring us away from so many people we love. I guess that’s the one and only unfortunate side effect of having such loving family and friends… it’s never easy to say goodbye, even if it’s just for a little while. But, like my wise Grandmomsa always says, you have to say “goodbye” if you want to experience the joy of a reunion. So, to all those we’re leaving behind, thank you for a wonderful off-season and I’m looking forward to the epic “hello again” that comes nine months from now. xoxo