Finally Getting Around…

to posting about our trip to Norway, my favorite of all our European getaways this past fall. It was our last trip before we headed home to the states and it was the perfect way to end our European adventure. After a few not-so-smooth getaways, we were thrilled to finally experience an almost hiccup-free weekend!

We flew out of London (I think it was Gatwick airport?) on Friday morning and arrived early afternoon; giving us plenty of time to find our Airbnb and explore the wonderful coastal city of Bergen. Whenever anyone asks how our trip to Norway was I start out by saying, “as soon as we started to descend and saw the scattering of quaint islands, we both knew we were going to love Norway” and it’s true – we really did!

It was foggy and drizzly as we cabbed it to our apartment for the weekend, but it didn’t hide the beauty of the landscape. Our cab driver went on and on about how this time of year was REALLY not a good time to travel to the country because of the weather, to the point where Geo and I were exchanging looks, saying to ourselves “dude, we get it but we’re here and there’s no going back… its our SECOND time buying flights to Bergen!” (yes, the first time we tried to go we missed our flight – #travelfail). Even with him being somewhat negative we were looking out our windows already so excited with what we were seeing.

Our Airbnb was perfectly cozy and centrally located. Once we got settled we bundled Lucy up and headed out to explore.

After an afternoon out and about we went back to the apartment and tried to get to bed early to prepare for Saturday’s Norway in A Nutshell adventure! (Note: that night was not so great, Lucy was fussy and sick meaning Geo and I maybe got a whole of 4 hours of sleep? It wasn’t pretty.).

Our tour started at 8 am so we were up and out of the apartment by 7:15 am to give us plenty of time to get to the train, the first leg of the trip. We were tired but also in awe of what we were seeing. The fog was heavy in some areas but parting in others and everywhere we looked, from the land to the water was just beautiful. The scenery is very drastic, going from serene and flat to mountainous and rocky, quickly and seamlessly. Geo and I kept looking from left and right on the train – we didn’t know which side to sit on because there was so much to see on both! Once we were off the train we hopped on a bus, which took us to the boat that cruised through theΒ Aurlandsfjord fjord πŸ™‚

I’ll say this, throughout the entire day we kept pinching ourselves saying “is this real?!” because it just felt that majestic, and I’ve been lucky enough to do quite a bit of traveling, BUT by the time we were half way through the cruise I was getting pretty tired… I may have closed my eyes for a few minutes! The reality of traveling with a baby is it’s freaking exhausting and both Geo and I were feeling the affects.

Once off the boat, and yes, the fjord was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, the one word that comes to mind is peaceful. The experience was quiet, serene and very calming – which may have had something to do with my sleepiness!

We got off the boat in Flam which is where we then got onto the Flam railroad, another wonderfully scenic route that started our journey back to Bergen. And yep, once in Flam we all of a sudden felt like we were in the Arctic! Snow covered peaks everywhere we looked.

We got back to Bergen a little after 6 pm that night… Β nearly 12 hours out and about with a 8 month old – I’d be lying if I said we weren’t thrilled to get home and put her to bed. But we also looked back on the day and thought “wow, that was amazing.” We both realized that day tours like that are tiring but they are the best way travel when you’re visiting someplace for a short amount of time. Too often we spent our weekend trips walking from place to place wondering what we should do next. Never. again. lol

The next morning, we strolled through the very quiet city (hardly anything was open at 8 am and the streets were empty. haha clearly not a lot of young families living in Bergen!). We found a statue of Haakon IV, a Norwegian King who my great-grandfather was named after. So, obviously we had to snag a photo of me with it πŸ™‚

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There is something about this country that everyone should experience, its hard to explain but its there and I promise, you won’t regret it. Geo and I plan on going back someday and can’t wait to explore it more πŸ™‚

What A Whirlwind…

these last few weeks have been! We successfully (thank goodness) traveled to Norway (amazing), packed up ALL our stuff in London (a miracle) and traveled home to Scituate, MA last week (can’t believe it).

It has been a really crazy time for the three of us but we’re very happy to be back in our little home and near friends and family. Unfortunately, Lucy and I have been taking turns giving one another snotty colds but I’m hoping that with a decrease in public transport and travel we’ll be able to recover and get healthy again. City living was so much fun but it takes a toll on your immune system!

Between the packing, the sickness and just getting acclimated to Β being home I haven’t had a chance to blog in a while but there are a few things that I am hoping to post about this week – one being our trip to Norway, which was really spectacular.

For now I’ll just say our time in London was really wonderful. I’m so fortunate to have a husband who’s up for an adventure and 100% embraced it πŸ™‚ Here are some of my most memorable times from our experience there:

  1. Our first full day there we walked the South Bank and fell in love with all the commotion that city living has to offer. This then became one of our go-to walks for any of our visitors.
  2. A hot summer Friday spent walking through Regents Park with Lucy. We walked through Primrose Hill, the park and then through Covent Garden all the way home and it was perfection. I felt good, Lucy loved it and it was that day I started to understand my way around the city – I felt pretty darn accomplished.
  3. Our first time eating Indian in London! I made reservations at Chutney Mary for Geo’s birthday and after that meal was when we started our love affair with Indian food πŸ™‚ It was our first date night out since being in the city and everything about the night was romantic and fun.
  4. Our adventure to Scotland! Out of the 5 countries we visited while in England, Scotland was one of my top 2. We stayed in Edinburgh and then rented a car and headed up the coast to St. Andrews for a couple nights. There were so many moments during that ride that Geo and I looked at each other and were like “is this real life?” haha It’s also where I found out I was pregnant for a second time, which unfortunately resulted in a miscarriage but I don’t want to leave that moment out because it mattered and added a lot of happiness to a really wonderful weekend in a really beautiful place.
  5. Our day-date πŸ™‚ Our babysitter watched Lucy for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and it was so nice to be out and about together during the day, without a baby :p
  6. All our visits from loved ones. It would not have been nearly as enjoyable an experience if we hadn’t had visits from geo’s parents, my sister, geo’s brother and wife and my brother and his wife. We had so much fun with everyone πŸ™‚

Oh gosh, I could honestly go on and on (and maybe I will in the next post!) but I’ll leave it at that for now. It was an experience of a lifetime, we both hope we’re given the opportunity again.

Off to go get little Lucy from Grandma’s house and then work on dinner, fun fun!

Grateful for: This moment. I’m on the ferry, heading home from Boston and enjoying the short amount of time I have to write this post. It’s been a while since I’ve visited this little blog and I’m grateful to have had the time to get my thoughts out πŸ™‚

Getting Excited…

to head back to the states πŸ™‚ Our flights are booked and we’re getting ready to start packing things up! I know I will miss London (a lot) and we’ll probably go through a withdrawal period but I just can’t wait to be home for the holidays, to be near friends and family and to be back in our home (which I’m planning on repainting over the winter months πŸ˜€ he he he). I also really can’t wait for Lucy to be back in her nursery, a room that I worked on so hard during my pregnancy and we’ve barely gotten to enjoy. London is a wonderful city but Scituate is our home and we’re ready to get back.

I think our excitement to travel back home also has a lot to do with the fact that we just bid farewell to our last visitors – Cullen (my brother) and Julie (his wife). We had such a nice time with them and managed to cram in A LOT (thank you Lucy for being such a good baby through it all!). From the V&A, to Greenwich, to Chartwell, to the play, “The Woman in Black” – we did not waste a minute. We also made it over to the Natural History Museum which is really amazing. Before you even get inside you’re in awe because of the building itself…

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However, something I was not in awe of and was actually a bit pissed with was their main floor handicapped/family bathroom. Not trying to be too nitpicky here but I’m starting to get so frustrated with the lack of parent-friendly bathrooms there are.

Lucy really needed a diaper change so I headed off in search of a bathroom for us. After finally finding it (I found the directions to be a little confusing :/) I realized it was a handicapped bathroom inside of a changing station. We go to open the door and that’s when my first frustration with it kicks in. It’s this big heavy oakwood door that’s beautiful but when you’re trying to get a stroller through that’s loaded with a diaper bag, coats, oh and a baby – it’s not ideal. I was annoyed for myself but even more concerned with how a handicapped person would manage.

I walked directly into the changing room area that was very basic – had countertops with a couple changing stations. Could use a bit of brightening or a touch of warmth I’d say but I don’t want to be too fussy here. What I had a real problem with was the bathroom. While changing Lucy I realized I needed to pee. So I opened the door tho the handicapped facility and was instantly shocked. I’m honestly not being dramatic when I say it looked like something you’d see in a prison (I assume since I’ve never been to one lol). It was dirty, smelly, old and literally had two flies buzzing around the toilet bowl. It was so gross that I took a photo of it, although the picture really doesn’t do it justice.

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I think this bothered me so much (enough to blog about it!), is because this is a VERY family oriented museum. They should have their baby changing areas and handicapped bathrooms ready to go and it felt extremely half assed. And not to sound self involved but parent’s deserve better, and those with special needs definitely deserve better. Maybe the museum was just having an off day and maybe I was just tired from lugging a baby around the city but opening that bathroom door (barely managing to open it I should say) felt like a mini slap in the face. I remember thinking “great. this will be fun. gross.ugh.” And one final point I’ll make about this is that this isn’t an isolated experience. Yesterday I had to change Lucy on the ground in a restaurant bathroom. It’s just annoying! haha Public places, please get your shit together. In order to stay in business you need people and that only happens when people have babies!

Okay, rant over.

In other news I’m heading to the BabyccinoΒ Shop Up Event in London today and can’t wait! Something tells me their bathroom situation will be spot on πŸ™‚

Grateful: For moments like this… a sleeping baby during a cab ride. Quietness, holiday lights, nothing to do but sit back and relax, it doesn’t get much better πŸ™‚

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I Have A Love/Hate Relationship…

with Lucy finding comfort in only my arms, and not her dads. Yes, she loves George but when she’s having a meltdown or isn’t feeling well the only person she wants is me. There are many times when I find pure joy in this (she’s mine, all mine! haha) but when I’ve had to go into her bedroom 3 times in a span of 30 minutes to try to get her to fall asleep, while George gets to just chill on the couch, yea that’s when I start to not love those moments so much. In the same breath, I know this is only a phase and they’ll be lots of times when I wish she would come to me and want me to hold her so I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can :p

One thing I do really like is oftentime, when I put her down, she’ll fall asleep and then a few minutes later start to cry. So I’ll go in, pick her up and rock her a little bit – she immediately falls back to sleep. She just wants to fall asleep in my arms opposed to in her crib. There’s something so sweet about it. Sometimes I linger a bit longer than I need to because who doesn’t love a sleeping baby in their arms πŸ™‚

After a couple days housebound because of Lucy’s cold/ear infection, we decided to venture back out into the world and check out Portobello Road. We weren’t disappointed – so cool. I loved walking around and taking in all the commotion; Geo didn’t exactly feel the same way but he lit up when he realized there was a Banksy hidden among the craziness. I lit up when I got my cup of Parmesan and Garlic fries… πŸ˜€ haha Here are some snaps of our adventure!

Our home underground stop πŸ™‚

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Banksy! You can’t tell but its protected by plexi glass.

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The London escalators are never.ending. And so steep!

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I spy a couple of cutie pies!

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Grateful: For taking time to go to yoga this morning. The class is intense but it felt so good for my body and mind. Note to self: do that more often.

Another Missed Flight…

this time to Vienna. After our failed attempt to get to Norway last weekend we were very excited (and VERY prepared) for our trip to Vienna. Bags were packed with plenty of time to spare, passports were OUT of the safe the night before (the reason for our Norway fail) and we headed to the airport 3+ hours ahead of our flight. However, it was on the train to Stansted Airport that Lucy started uncontrollably coughing/crying. It was bad. We were those parents that everyone was staring at wondering “who gave these two a kid?” “did they really think taking a sick baby on a train was a good idea?” “that poor baby, they should just hand her over to me” – even thinking back on it makes me cringe. Little did they know Lucy had been cleared by the doctor to travel and had been a little fussy but mostly fine until we stepped on the train. It didn’t help that I, in an attempt to calm her, tried to give her a baby cookie which she then proceeded to choke on. Another mom win…

Anyways, between lots of “omg wtf is going on” glares between Geo and I during the train ride by the time we got to the airport we knew Vienna wasn’t happening. We got to the airport, gave Lucy a bottle and some medicine and turned right back around. Silver lining of that was we didn’t end up paying for our train ride back. I guess we were both looking for a #win and got a little sneaky about it (Geo did, I just nervously followed his lead).

We got home, ordered turkey from Strut and Cluck because it was Thanksgiving, after all. A holiday our family members were blissfully celebrating while we struggled to not simultaneously have mental breakdowns (we made sure to take turns – for the safety of Lucy of course :p).

Two things I learned during this shit show of a day:

  1. When you had a kid, travel insurance is necessary. No. Brainer. Gah.
  2. A cabbage can be eaten whole and raw. I saw it with my own two eyes while feeding Lucy at the airport. It made me smile with awe and slight disgust, which is exactly what I needed in that moment.

Grateful: That even though we aren’t in Vienna right now we made the right decision to stay home because it turns out Lucy has an ear infection 😦 And we now have a weekend at home with NOTHING to do. Which is not something we’ve had in a long time.

Our Day Date in London…

was the perfect remedy for a couple who had barely seen each other in two weeks and were in need of some alone time to reconnect and just, have some fun!

Last Saturday, after taking a 7 hr long flight home with an 8 month old, Geo and I spent the morning sleeping, unpacking and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our babysitter, Jenny. I had made the decision earlier in the week that having Jenny come would be a nice way for us to rest, eat out, take a breather and I was right – it allowed us to do all of the above. We had Jenny for 4 hours and spent the first hour sleeping… pure bliss. We then headed out for a mini adventure.

First stop, a photo with my two new besties:

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Next we headed to London’s South Bank in search of a good place to eat. Along the way we couldn’t help but take a few pics like this one:

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We then came across a restaurant called Bill’s, a small chain in London. It was cosy, warm and had a great menu. I ordered a Mint Iced Tea and had NO regrets (might have been the best part of the meal!). Here’s a peak of our visit there:

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I got the veggie platter and between the falafel and spicy hummus I was in heaven.

After indulging in a late lunch we headed to the highlight of the day date, the Clink Prison Museum! Dun dun dunnnn. It was spooky, grotesque and basically everything you’d expect it to be. Next date we’re heading to the National Portrait Museum, probably a little more worthwhile :p

We made a couple friends though! (the sort of friends nightmares are made of… creepy.)

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When we were finally done with the museum we headed back home feeling refreshed, reconnected and just excited to see Miss Lucy. But of course we had to stop to take in the Thames one more time. It’s amazing to me how busy it always it. I wouldn’t say it’s the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen but there’s something magical about all the commotion that seems to take place on it – always moving, always different, always with a backdrop of London. We will certainly miss it.

Geo asked me to pose, so naturally I gave the best Kardashian look I had… #Fail #HowDoIDoPoutyLips?

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Grateful: For this little pipsqueak who finds amusement, wonder and happiness in just about everything (especially my phone!). I hope she holds onto this for a long long time (the wonder, not my phone!).

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Right Around the Corner…

from us is the cutest, coziest little coffee shop. Verde and Company is the perfect spot to stop in for a coffee, or in my case, a late-afternoon hot chocolate πŸ™‚

Their hot chocolate is voted best in London for a reason – it is truly delish! Dark, creamy and sweet; just what you need after a long day with a baby who is jet-lagged :p Lucy enjoyed her teeny little baby sip so much that she wouldn’t stop grabbing at it! Like mother like daughter. #ChocolateDoesTheBodyGood

Grateful: For our construction worker friends who are always around to help me lift the stroller into our apartment complex, give us a friendly wave as we walk by and/or come chat with us during those witching hours that we so often spent sitting on our front stoop watching the people walk by πŸ™‚

Our Visit Home…

was wonderful. I was excited to visit friends and family but what I hadn’t realized was how nice it would be to be back in my comfort zone. I absolutely love London and have whole heartedly embraced our way of life here but it was really calming to be back by the sea, by our friends and family and in a town that we’ve very much made our home.

One thing that wasn’t so wonderful was how I spent much of my time there…

work work work.

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But there were many moments that were pure bliss. Here are a few of those πŸ™‚

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Grateful: For a mellow, relaxing Sunday. Breakfast out, followed by lounging at home, grocery shopping together and some cooking. It doesn’t get much better!

Gone Are The Days…

Of looking forward to traveling and in are the days of dreading it with every morsel of my being. Dramatic? Maybe a little but honestly traveling is not what it used to be. What it used to be was “do I read my book, watch a movie or take a nap during the flight?” What it is now is “do I try to get her to nap (enter hours of frustration), entertain her with toys (each toy keeps her occupied for approx. 1.2 minutes) or just hand her off to the hubby and take 3 minutes to find my inner buddha before Geo looks at me with desperation in his eyes and hands her back over?”

Lucy has brought so much joy into our lives and I can literally feel myself loving her more and more every day but geesh, flying from London to NY with a 6 month old is not for the faint of heart! Luckily we made it out alive and I’m hopeful our flight home, which is a night flight, will be full of zzzz’s and downtime because she’ll be peacefully sleeping… a girl can dream πŸ˜€

In other news, this girl seriously is so lucky to have so many knitters in the family! How cute is this skirt?!

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Grateful: For being back home in the states for two weeks. I’d forgotten how nice it is to have the love and support of so many loved ones, we’re so lucky to live near our parents πŸ™‚