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 theย Aurlandsfjord fjord ๐Ÿ™‚

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… ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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… ๐Ÿ˜€ haha Here are some snaps of our adventure!

Our home underground stop ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And we now have a weekend at home with NOTHING to do. Which is not something we’ve had in a long time.

Dear Barcelona…

we failed you.

It’s true, what I had imagined as being a beautiful and even relaxing trip ended up being a tiring, frustrating and at times surprising one.

Small glimpse of what just one part of our weekend looked like:

Saturday morning we sleep a little later than planned because, well, Lucy was still sleeping and who doesn’t go back to sleep on a weekend morning when the babe is asleep? That’s sacred time that does not come along all that often. When we do head out the door we (I) make the mistake of hopping on the first bus that shows up going in the direction of the city. “As long as its going towards the city, then it’s taking us closer to the Sagrada Familia.” **not my smartest moment. When we finally get off I suggest to Geo we just grab a cab because our tickets state our entry time is between 9:15 and 9:30. He assures me that this is just a “suggested” time and they’re probably not to stringent on it. **not his smartest moment.

Cut to us walking 1.5 miles to the basilica, only to get there and be told we weren’t allowed entry because we were 45 minutes past our entry time.

Enter annoyance and the beginning of whats to be a pretty long day.

Lucy wasn’t phased by her parent’s frustration, nope not one bit. Instead, she took in the sites like a boss. #HelloMyPeople

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And the weekend just continues in this fashion until we get home on Sunday night after multiple travel delays. Besides the issues we ran into while in Barcelona we did find area’s of the city that we really enjoyed. Such as the area in which our Airbnb was located, El Poblenou which is right across from the Mar Bella and Bogatell beaches; strolling down to the water was my favorite part of the weekend. And across from the water was a terrific little neighborhood – full of little shops, family friendly restaurants and some great people watching. This also happens to be where we lost Lucy’s favorite little bunny – #tear.

Lucy enjoying the Hop On Hop Off bus ๐Ÿ™‚

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Oh my heart…

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And then there’s this… #alldaylong

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Thank you for having us, Barcelona!

Grateful: For a visit from George’s brother and sister-in-law! It was so so nice having them here the past few days ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m No Expert, But Here Are Some Tips…

for traveling with little ones. I know there are many moms and dads who have traveled a lot more with their kiddos, so I in no way claim to be the go-to person when it comes to family travel but I’ve learned, mostly the hard way, some tricks that make traveling smoother with a baby and am happy to share the wealth ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Forget the cute over-the-shoulder diaper bag and use a backpack. It’s so much easier to have something secure to your back than having to constantly adjust a bag that’s slung over your shoulder. Plus I think it’s easier for my husband to deal with carrying around a backpack than a traditional diaper bag (a little less scarring for the ego :p). I use this Eddie Bauerย backpack/diaper bag from Target and love it.
  2. Organize the contents of the bag with individual bags. Sound redundant? It is! Haha But after going on a couple flights and getting so frustrated having to dig around for items I realized I needed to have three bags within the big one,: one for Lucy’s toys, one for Lucy’s food and one for Lucy’s diapers/wipes. The diapers one is great because instead of having to lug the backpack into the airplane’s TINY bathroom, I just grab the smaller bag and off we go. The bags I use are a variation of these ones from Cath Kidston.
  3. Bring an extra outfit for the babe (obvious) but also be sure to bring an extra shirt for yourself. I would say an extra outfit altogether but I’m assuming you’re like me and are already low on space! It’ll feel great to throw on a fresh shirt (poo, pee, spit-up free) before you get off the plane.
  4. Wear an extra large scarf. I say this only because some flights don’t provide blankets (especially the short ones) and it’s always nice to have something extra to wrap yourself and your little one in if it gets chilly (which in my experience it does, especially on night flights).
  5. Just because they invite you to board first because you have children, doesn’t mean you have to. I think spending as much time outside the aircraft as possible is best. I have no desire to get onto that plane and spend any unnecessary time in cramped quarters with Geo and Lucy… the flight is long enough ๐Ÿ™‚
  6. If you can, buy a handful of new toys to slowly introduce to your little ones throughout the flight. I literally just went to London’s version of the Dollar Store, Tiger, and got some things like measuring spoons, a mini snow globe, a wind-up pumpkin (random shit! lol), and showed them to her on the flight. It was fun for her and me.
  7. Lastly, my favorite thing about flying was being able to sit back and watch a movie. The first couple flights with Lucy I didn’t even bother turning the t.v. on because it didn’t seem worth it. One of my recent flights with her though I realized I just needed to find a movie so stupid that I didn’t need to follow a script to understand what was going on… that movie was Blake Lively’s The Shallows. And yes, it was awful. BUT I’m not gonna lie, during those brief moments of downtime it was nice to lock into my screen and know what was going on even though I hadn’t been following it.

Oh and I know there are lots of strong feelings about medicating your child during a flight but I’ll be straight-up and share that we gave Lucy Benadryl during our red eye home to London a few weeks ago. It was the first time we’d given it to her (ever, actually) but she’d had a cold all week that seemed to be getting worse and we were concerned her ears would be bothering her on the flight. I know, I know all about having her suck on a bottle or paci during the rise up and descent but the hours were so late I knew she wouldn’t be interested in a bottle at that time. So we drugged her and it worked.

We gave her 1.5 ml of the suggested 2.5 ml for a 7 month old and I would totally do it again. Our only motivation to give it to her was to prevent her from being in pain, and it did just that. SO if you have any reason to think your baby might benefit from some medicine during a flight than I don’t see why you should avoid it. It’s just an opinion but I know moms in my own circle of friends that might feel differently about this and I just think its important for any mom contemplating it to hear from someone who’s gone this route.

Flights can be stressful but Geo and I try our best to find humor in it all!

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Ps. Get ready to get a workout in! I feel no regrets eating candy on a flight because I know I’ve earned it carrying all this extra weight around! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Grateful: For the opportunity we’ve had these last few months to travel and experience so many new things together as a family. George and I understand what a rare chance this is and are trying to enjoy every moment of it. Next up: Barcelona!

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚