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™‚

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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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.

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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

  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 BauerΒ 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 πŸ™‚
  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! πŸ™‚

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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!

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™‚

I Love When…

I take a look-see through my husbands photos and see these two pop up in a matter of seconds… what the? Why?! Wah.

At least he accepts my love for food :p

He slightly redeemed himself with this one… slightly.

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This time in London and exploring Europe has been such an amazing experience for us. I hope we keep up our adventurous spirit when we return back to the states πŸ™‚

Grateful: For our wonderful babysitter, Jenny. It’s so nice to hear her chatting, singing and reading to miss lucy lou πŸ™‚