For Lena’s second birthday, we were really hoping to make it back to the States so we could celebrate with all our family and friends. So we decided that if we could find a military flight going anywhere on the East Coast, we’d try to get seats and figure out the rest once we got there. Not knowing if we’d actually find a flight, we didn’t tell anyone beforehand since we didn’t want them to be disappointed. On the first weekend of Jason’s leave, we saw a flight to Dover, Delaware, and decided to go for it. We had our bags packed, house cleaned and perishable food thrown out before heading to the terminal. After waiting several hours, they finally told us no seats would be released and to head home. Womp, womp! Feeling a little dejected, we drove home, not knowing at the time we were going to repeat the process two more times over the course of a week.
That week felt more like a month as we just had to hurry up and wait. Luckily, we found some fun things to do in the meantime.
Lena is just like her daddy when it comes to entertainment. When she finds something she likes, she can’t get enough of it. Thanks to a suggestion from Netflix, we ended up watching Dumbo one night and the rest is history. She became utterly obsessed with the movie and would request/demand that we play it multiple times a day. We try to limit the amount of television she watches but during this particular waiting period, Dumbo ended up on repeat. It’s kind of hard to say no when you see how much joy it brings her!
We also got a birthday package from GeeGee and MawMaw – Jason’s dad and stepmom. As usual, it was packed full of the cutest, most thoughtful clothes and gifts you can imagine. Lena was super excited when we told her she had gotten a package and proceeded to rip into it. This Sesame Street book was a major hit and we’ve been reading it daily since then. So a big thank you to the Georgia grandparents!
Speaking of Jason’s dad, he was actually stationed here in England when Jason and his sister were born. And oddly enough, they lived in Newmarket like us. One of Tom’s favorite places from his time here in England was a village called Lavenham – famous for it’s crooked buildings and being birthplace of the lyrics to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. We’d been meaning to visit and decided our waiting week would be the perfect time.
Our National Trust membership gained us free entry to the guildhall where we had fun playing dress up and exploring the 15th century building. In the 16th century, Lavenham was one of the wealthiest towns in Britain thanks to it’s famous woollen blue cloth. Unfortunately, the success didn’t last and many of the buildings once funded by wealthy merchants began to crumble. Being that the buildings are so old, the timber has warped over time thus giving them the infamous crooked look.
It really feels like your eyes are playing tricks on you as you stroll down the streets and the various colors of the buildings create a charming feel. We browsed some of the store windows and even popped into an antique store at one point. For a day trip, this is a great little stop in Suffolk.
We stopped for lunch at Sweetmeats Tea Room and I absolutely loved it. You enter through an old-fashioned candy shop where the walls are lined with bins of candy and handprinted signage. I was drooling over all the pretty sweets in the display case and I think I really left an impression on the young boy working the counter. I asked if I could take pictures and he looked at me like I was nuts but said it was fine. Much of the marsipan was handmade by his father and he told me he was learning how to do it as well. I just found it to be really sweet. Up an incredibly narrow staircase (even by British standards), we entered the Tea Room. There was barely room for four small tables and the makeshift kitchen. The ceiling rose to a point with more crooked timbers and I felt like we were in the middle of a nursery rhyme. If we go back to Lavenham, I will definitely stop here again as it was such a unique experience.
After our little lunch, Lena let us know she was due for a nap – cue crazy toddler actions – so we headed home, fingers crossed we would find another open flight.