A boy and his bike

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Felix spends hours on his tricycle every day. When we pick him up from the barnehage he is always completely shattered from riding his friends around on the double tricycle for three hours straight. This afternoon all he wanted to do was ride his trike to our friends house, so I rallied my non-existant third trimester energy and followed him over there. When we got there they were out. ‘But where can I ride now?’ he asked. ‘I know,’ I said, ‘we’ll go to the harbour.’

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After a quick stop for buns and a latte, after which I felt much better (Halden now has cafes open on Sunday afternoon!) we were off. ‘It’s so lovely!’ he said.

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He rode through as many puddles as possible all the way to the train station.

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He was a bit annoyed I wouldn’t let him get on the train,

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but rode all the way to the end of the line.

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When we got back to the harbour I collapsed onto a bench and let him ride laps up and down both sides. If you look very closely you can just make him out on the other side of the water. Even when we got home again he wasn’t finished – eating bites of spaghetti between rounds of our deck. Such a special afternoon.

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By the way

May2014-2-1

Did I tell you I got a new job? It is so momentous (and took such a long time to be confirmed) that when it finally happened (well over a month ago now) I couldn’t quite bring myself to write about it. But, there it is – I have a permanent job as Associate Professor of English Literature at my local University College. The start date is August 1. August 1 also happens to be the due date of my baby. Norway is one of the very few places in the world in which this isn’t a problem – I can take parental leave, and begin work next year.

It will involve the type of teaching I’ve already been doing (though slightly less of it), plus research and admin responsibilities. Even now, it feels a little too wonderful to write down. It is truly my dream job, which I’d almost abandoned hope of ever getting, in my dream location (a five minute drive from our house), with excellent colleagues and lovely students. And I will be able to get into research again, and there will be a point to it, and it will be supported.

It does feel a little strange that I won’t be able to start right away (currently I’m working there under a temporary contract, which will carry me through to the end of the exams period). Right now my head and my heart feel pulled in two directions – I’m 29 weeks already – can you believe it? I’m getting to the point at which I need to pull Felix’s baby things down from the loft before I’m too heavy to do so, and preferably clear some cupboard space for them first. The kicks I’m feeling are more solid, slow, persistent, and the baby blanket I’m knitting is growing. Third trimester tiredness and discomfort are catching up with me. But the fact that the job is waiting for me is a wonderful thing indeed.

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Barnas Dag

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Had a gorgeous day with Felix in town last Saturday. They had all sorts of activities on for children, including  a firetruck, police cars and an ambulance to climb in. Felix was very excited (and nervous) about meeting the police. One of his favourite things to say to us right now is ‘tell me about jails!’ In the photo below he’s telling me there are going to be two policemen, and it turns out he was right.

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He was much too terrified to go anywhere near the policemen or the police car. He peered at them from the safety of the fire station across the road, and eventually built up the courage to climb up into the fire engine.

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We picked up a free fireman’s hat at the shopping centre, had another coffee and bun stop, then strolled along the river.

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In the harbour, Felix discovered the best thing ever – a big slide! I was amazed how brave he was. It was really hard to peel him away.

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Packages

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Michael turned 40 a couple of weeks ago. There’s a tradition at his work that your colleagues decorate your office to mark the occasion and this is what they came up with. The packages are because Michael loves ordering things, and the huge photo of Trinity College library is a nod to the office library he has singlehandedly created. Felix loved it and insisted on taking the littlest package home.

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The Easter Train

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Last year we went down to watch the steam train leave; this year we were lucky enough to hop aboard. And it was much nicer weather. The train meanders for about an hour and a half before stopping in a village for a few hours – time for an Easter egg hunt, relaxing in the gardens, a train museum and an ice cream. When I asked Felix what the best thing about Germany was, he replied without hesitation: the engine.

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He was, however, not too pleased about having his photo taken, which is why he looks pensive in these shots.

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We also went back to the animal park. Felix adored the waffles and the penguins: ‘he’s swimming all by himself!’

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But the biggest hit was undoubtably the digger. It was very hard to leave.

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