World’s longest tummy bug gone, and our little bug is everywhere!

While my father in law was visiting us in Florida from Wisconsin a few weeks ago, the plan was that my we were all going to take our dude Max to the Packers game in Jacksonville, but our little bug came down with the world’s most horrid tummy bug.  My friend at work said her mom used to call it “a cold in your colon”.  Mommy and Max had to stay home, and Max had to miss his first NFL game.  Instead he napped on mommy for most of the day.


I had a business trip early the next week so my husband had to work from home for a two days.  As soon as I got back, my husband had to leave the next day for his business trip so then I had to work from home for three days.  Our dude had a great appetite and was drinking a ton so we weren’t too worried about him getting dehydrated, though managing diaper rash was quickly becoming a top priority.  My husband and I are both lawyers and working from home with a mobile 11 month old is no joke.  We would close ourselves off in our family/movie room upstairs that is the most baby proof room in the house, respond as we could to emails, and work feverishly the second he would go down for a nap, and then late into the night after Max went to bed.

Nevertheless, we all enjoyed our time at home together and Max had plenty of time to learn about how to free the doggies from their cages.


The second weekend of the world’s longest tummy bug, we thought that it would surely clear up with the next diaper change.  It did not.  Max’s favorite teacher at daycare was texting to check on her little guy, and the front office let me know that about half the kids in his class had come down with this thing!  Notwithstanding Max seemed to be very happy and eating and drinking well, daycare doesn’t allow babies with a “cold in their colon” to go to school, and with good reason obviously as we didn’t want this thing to spread either.

I called his pediatrician’s office to be safe and his nurse assured me that this thing was going around and told me when to call back if needed, but that didn’t change the fact that work was not going to be quite so forgiving for a second week.  That second Sunday we sheepishly asked my mom to fly down from Pennsylvania to Florida to babysit Max until he was better. She usually babysits my niece now that she’s retired, so pap pap had to take off work and had big shoes to fill too!

With my mom on her way, we relaxed a little and played the day away in Max’s new kiddie pool.  My mom had been telling me to get one for months, and our water baby really enjoyed getting to splash and play on his own.


My mom stayed here 3 more days until this thing was gone!  We are so incredibly lucky to have an amazing family that is willing to just pick up and leave at the drop of a hat.  Living so far away, I know my mom enjoyed getting  baby snuggles and one-on-one time with Max. (That being said, I know my mother in law would kill to come down to be with him too, but she was on vacation!)

Finally at the end of last week Maxy returned to school and the world returned to its normal order .  I never in my life thought I could talk about, look at, and judge poop as if it was in a beauty pageant.  Yet, we survived tummy bug number two.

Now on to surviving Max learning how to climb up the stairs!



How is he doing this before he’s a year old?!

 And yes, I started this post with him in a Packers jersey, and ended it with him being in a Steelers jersey.  I’m from Pennsylvania and have been a Steelers fan forever, so Max grows up in a house divided.  That being said the way the Steelers played on Sunday I understand if he picks green this year (but just this year).

 

 

Discovering Street Art

We went on our first family vacation to Italy last summer with our 8 month old Max, so I started the trip with a pretty limited agenda. Somehow we are lucky enough to have the world’s happiest baby who was completely content that first day being pushed over the bumpy cobblestones in the Florentine streets, observing hustle and bustle of the tourists, vendors and mopeds zipping about the streets, and listening to so many new sounds.


I briefly studied abroad while in law school in Florence, but I had not been back for years.  My husband had never been to Florence with me, so not knowing if Max’s demeanor would change (it didn’t), I wanted to take advantage of Max’s generous mood that first day and attempted to hit all of my “must do” items in the city.  Anyone who has ever been to Florence knows that is impossible, but I was determined to try.

Late in the afternoon I decided that my husband Matt had to try what has been dubbed by many as the BEST gelato in Florence at Vivoli.  Vivoli is pretty close the general area where the Ponte Vecchio is located, and I had vague memories of where to find it, so we wandered the nooks and crannies  of the tiny streets behind the Piazza Signorina for a bit for it before I finally pulled out my iPhone to help me find the rest of the way there.


When we finally arrived, I ordered up my layers of limon and fraggola goodness, and I was correct in remembering that the gelato at this place was out of this world!  Unfortunately because I got lost and we took forever to get there, Max fell asleep and missed his first authentic Italian gelato experience.


As we wandered back toward the crowds of the Ufizzi gallery down yet another narrow path, I was intent on capturing the light on the buildings with the afternoon sun peeking through just right.  A ray of light caught my eye and I noticed a small dove on one street sign and what appeared to be an elephant on the other.  I thought they were so unique and snapped a quick shot before running to catch up with my husband who was graciously pushing our baby over yet another bumpy cobblestone street.


Because I take what seems like a million photos a day, and in fact took well over 2000 photos during that trip, sometimes they get lost in the shuffle.  Last night I was showing my trip photos (yes, all 2000 of them) to my mom and I came across that photo of the signs.  I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about it and immediately grabbed it to share on Instagram last night.  I tried doing a quick internet search for things like “dove art street sign”, but nothing popped up so I uploaded my photo anyway and went to bed.

I woke up this morning to see that someone recognized this street art and tagged the artist, Clet Abraham.  After some early morning online searches, and some articles on the Daily Mail and the Guardian, I learned that this French born classically trained artist lives in Florence and has been sneaking around cities across Europe altering street signs in the middle of the night, in the hopes of both entertaining those around him and discover the signs reflect on how people can blindly obey orders.

I’m so glad that by accident I stumbled upon this artist, and only wish I had known more about him before I went back to Florence this summer. What a fun it would have been to go on a scavenger hunt for his work while wandering the streets of the birthplace of the renaissance. It’s like the more sophisticated version of searching for hidden Mickey’s at Walt Disney World!  If you would like to see more of his art, search for #Clet on Instagram and you will see a whole host of his work.  Next trip to Florence, I’m adding one more activity to my agenda!

So your family won’t have to wander like we did, here is a list of the Top 10 Gelato Shops in Florence!  And don’t worry, Max finally got that gelato in Lake Como 🙂

This is why I run

As I was packing for a business trip earlier this week, my running shoes were automatically thrown in my overnight bag.  I have been a runner for nearly 25 years, and running has seen me through good and bad times and helped shape the person I am today.  Like an old friend, my relationship with running may change over time but I know we will always have a special bond.  In honor of my love affair with Forrest Gump’s favorite sport (I maintain he loved running more than table tennis), my top 10 reasons why I think running is the best sport:

  1. Smartphone of fitness. Running is a one stop shop, working legs, arms (yes, I said arms), core, heart and lungs all at the same time.   Cardio and toning all in one.  It’s the most efficient way for me to get a total body workout, which is especially important now that I’m a working mommy and feel like I have zero time to spare! 
  2. Practical.  It is easily portable, and doesn’t require a gym membership or a class to rush off to.  You can run on your own schedule, which will change over time.  When leaving on a trip, just stuff a pair of running shorts, sports bra and socks into your running shoes to help save space while packing.  And unless you plan on doing a ton of intense training while away, typically I don’t pack more than 2-3 running outfits for even the longest of vacations – wash and reuse people!  If you want to get fancy you can get a GPS sports watch, but honestly there are so many apps out there now, you don’t need it.  Also, take that smart phone people – great from a safety perspective and can also help you find your way back if you make a wrong turn.  Pop in at a local running shoe store to get fitted for the right sneaker for your foot strike and gait.
  3. Solo or Social.  Whatever your preference, you can find what works best for you.  I often like to run by myself to decompress and meditate, without so much as music.  Other people thrive on working out with others, and there are running groups out there for all levels and types of runners (again, pop by your running shoe store and you’ll likely get a list of local groups… or just find some via social media).  Ideally I like working out with one or two close friends that I can chat with and won’t judge me if I have to hock a big running loogie (sorry, sometimes it happens), taking my dog along with me, or pushing my jogging stroller with my little dude in tow (I also love the fact that I don’t have to sacrifice time with him or working out – jogging stroller offers me the best of both worlds!) 
  4. Fosters Goal Setting and Confidence.  Running is a sport that easily lends itself to goal setting.  First it’s running a mile, running for 5 minutes, then it might be the corporate 5K, a 1/2 marathon, or that crazy marathon that your friend “made” you sign up for.  Personally I stink at running shorter distances, but I’m pretty good at marathons, so I enjoy long distance running more than short ones.  Picking a race, a distance, or a time as a goal and working toward that goal is great way to build a sense of accomplishment outside of school, work, relationships, etc.  Setting and achieving goals, even small ones, is a great way to boost your self confidence.
  5. Easily Adaptable.  At some points in my life I had more spare time than others, so it was easier to train for a marathon when I could afford to easily run more than 100 miles in a month.  Now as a working mommy, I don’t have much time so I try to do more frequent shorter runs to get my heard and lungs going just a little bit each day, and then I try to amp it up a few miles on the weekends.  While I was pregnant and right after having my c-section, I couldn’t run and instead chose to walk instead (and it had the added bonus of being easier on my joints).  Just walking or running 2 miles every other day can have a great impact on overall health.
  6. Helps you feel better.  Running consistently helps me maintain a happy healthy weight, and it also helped me shed the more than 50 pounds I gained over my pregnancy within 16 weeks after giving birth.  Walking or running just a little bit every day can add a boost to your metabolism (which is even more important as you start to age).  And on a bit of a healthy/not-so-healthy note, I’ve always found that running is a fantastic way to sweat out a hangover and recover more quickly (along with water, LOTS of water…)
  7. Exploring.  Running is great way to keep up with your workouts while traveling, and explore a new place at the same time.  When I studied abroad in law school (back in the archaic days before smart phones), each time I visited a new city I would grab a map and ask someone who was local where a good place to run might be.  It is a great way to quickly explore some sites you may be interested in visiting later, and discover some more things you didn’t even know you wanted to see.  Now you can just grab your smartphone and just wander away!  Btw, running past George Clooney’s house on Lake Como is my favorite travel run. 🙂
  8. Zen.  When I am running my brain goes through a detox, where all the clutter of the day is categorizes, my inner peace reset, and life is put into perfect perspective again (which is part of why I enjoy running on my own so much).  I think running is a fabulous way to relax and decompress.  Exercising regularly is shown to help reduce stress levels, improve mental health, and help make runners happier people (your body releases a ton of endorphins, so there is a physiological reason).
  9. Longer Life.  Running can be hard on the joints, I readily admit that, but the pros still far outweigh the cons for me.  Running and a generally healthy lifestyle helps keep the heart and lungs strong, and I have read that regular runners can lower their risk of death from cardiovascular disease by nearly 45 percent.  If running isn’t for you, walking has so many of the same benefits.  After having triple bypass heart surgery over seven years ago, I could probably count the number of days on my two hands that he hasn’t walked at least 2 miles a day – and he’s fit as a fiddle today.  You don’t have to be an ultra marathoner to reap the benefits of walking and running, a moderate schedule will have lots of the same benefits.
  10. Everyone Wins.  While running isn’t thought of as a team sport, you have the comradely of a team in every other runner.  Go to any 5 K or marathon and you will see runners cheering on other runners, from the sidelines, during the race, and nearing the finish.  I love nothing more than seeing someone who has struggled with fitness, or someone who is just catching the running bug, succeed and meet their target goals.  Just because you want to hit a certain time, distance or speed doesn’t preclude you being genuinely happy for someone else who has also done the same.  I love the fact that runners are one big family, cheering each other on, supporting one another, and helping each other over the finish line.

Hit the trail soon!

 

Goat Cheese Cigars with Honey and Thyme

I am by no means gifted in the gastronomy department, and my husband is a wizard in the kitchen, so I’m the backup chef my my house. Being a full time working mom doesn’t help in the time department either. That being said, those times when I decide to cook, I try to step up my game and go all out. Cooking is so thing I want to get even better at, and I really do love the process once I’ve started.

OK, reasons I love this recipe:

1. I love goat cheese.
2. You can prep these well in advance of any event and pop in the fridge – then just stick in the oven and boom, you are done.
3. I think anything with an herb accoutrement is particularly stunning!
4. Did I mention they have goat cheese, oh yes, and butter. Butter and goat cheese… Yum…. Ok, getting back on point…

And yes, this is the opposite of my juicing post, and I don’t care, it’s ok to indulge sometimes!

Ingredients and Equipment

1. 1 rectangular package of filo sheets
2. Leaves from 16 sprigs of fresh thyme
3. Half stick of salted butter, melted
4. 125 grams of goat cheese (either soft or crumbled will work)
5. Bottle of fresh Florida honey
6. Sea Salt
7. Parchment Paper
8. Baking Sheet
9. Knife
10. Brush

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The Incidentals

1. If frozen, set filo dough out to thaw for approximately 2 hours
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. Unroll filo sheets (approximately 3 layers thick) and cut in half both horizontally and vertically, making 4 rectangular squares measuring approximately 5-6” long, laying them on a wooden cutting board.
4. Generously brush the upward facing side of pastry with butter prior to rolling your goat cheese doobie
5. Sprinkle thyme leaves along the left side of each pastry rectangle and fold it over to cover.
6. Line the right side of each pastry with goat cheese, no thicker than the diameter of a standard pencil at most
7. Drizzle honey inside the right side (a/k/a goat cheese side) of the pastry
8. Roll the pastry over the goat’s cheese and down to the thyme side
9. Repeat the process and make all 4 Goat Cheese Cigars from the sheets of filo. Once all four are completed, brush butter along the inner seam to help seal and then brush the top generously again with butter
10. Repeat the above process for remainder of filo dough in single package
11. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. If you would like a little extra browning, put under the broiler for 20 seconds or so, but watch carefully as to not risk your goat cheese cigar into a real flaming cigar
12. Allow to cool enough to transfer onto serving tray and garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme and drizzle with honey
13. This dish is best when made just before serving; however, you can prepare all cigars ahead of time and then just pop them in the oven to look like a pro.

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Bon appetite! 😉

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Juice Cleanse

Leading into Labor Day weekend, my husband and I wrapped up another a 3-day juice cleanse. Although some people who have never tried a juice cleanse may think we are crazy, it’s honestly not that hard. I mean, I definitely want to eat food while doing it from time to time, but your body totally adjusts and don’t get very hungry at all.

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I tried my first juice cleanse after finishing up an IVF cycle where I’d pumped my body full of hormones, which would make me gain a few pounds of water weight and just made me feel “icky”. I juiced for a full 5 days my first cleanse and made all my own juices at home, which at the time was doable because I didn’t have a little one under foot.  I was super happy with the results, I felt more energetic and like I washed all the “icky” right out of my body.

Since then I’ve found that for me, doing a juice cleanse for 3 days every other month or so is a great way for me to keep my mind and body on a healthy track.   Juicing is a great way to get a lot of beneficial vitamins and nutrients found in fruits and veggies into your body efficiently, and may help counteract certain inflammatory diseases.  I like knowing that what I am putting into my body is healthy and useful. When you are a working mom and always on the go, it helps make sure you don’t skip meals and is an efficient way to get the vitamins you need. If juicing at home, find a great produce store with reasonable prices to help keep costs down.  At home juicing machines can range from $50 to $300 and up – cold press machines are best because they help keep the optimal amount of nutrients in your juices.

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Since having my little dude, I’ve been juicing more at my local cold press juice bar in Winter Garden, Press’d at Plant Street Market.   Press’d has great juicing packages, and all you have to do is pick up your 6 bottles for the day every morning or the night before.  Easy peasy.  You can also pick up different premade juices or juicing plans at Whole Foods and on-line, which are good in a pinch, but I always prefer something I know is fresh.

During a juice cleanse, it’s important to make sure that you are consuming enough calories (at least 2000 for an average person), and drink TONS of water.   Juicing shouldn’t be thought of as a quick fix for weight loss, and that shouldn’t be your goal, although some people do experience weight loss and juicing helped me lose those last few pregnancy pounds that I couldn’t even shake with marathon running.

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Before starting something like this, it is always worth having a conversation with your doctor, especially if you have an existing medical condition and especially if you are pregnant (I would maybe just enjoy some juices along with what you are already eating in that case, but be very cautious about making sure you properly wash all your veggies to clean off any bacteria and contaminants like Ecoli that can be found in the soil).

For me, when I am juicing I am more energized, think more clearly, and feel stronger.   And when I’m done, it helps to reset my body as to the quantity and types of food that I’m drawn to eat.  When finished, I tend to eat smaller portions, and when I do eat foods or drinks that are not as healthy, I can feel a tangible difference, so it helps keep me honest and on track.   Juicing makes me want to put healthy foods in my body, and helps me maintain a healthier lifestyle.  Instead of ice cream, I’ll opt for something like this amazing acai bowl (also from Press’d by the way!).

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Here’s to a healthy next week!

 

 

 

 

Traveling with Baby

Traveling has always been one of my passions, and when I got pregnant I was determined that having a baby wouldn’t stop me from doing what I love.

Having a little one may slow you down a tad, with a bit of planning and a can-do attitude, I promise you can do it too! In a little over 10 months we have completed 12 flights, including a trip across the Atlantic. Below are my top 20 travel tips for flying and traveling with baby!

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1. Plan in advance. Weeks ahead of time I start making lists of what I intend to back. Rushing to pack mommy, daddy and baby (not to mention other kiddos) the night before sometimes can’t be helped, but odds are you will forget something. Make a list and create a small staging area where you can start to collect those things you don’t to make sure you remember!

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2. Get a passport card. For international travel baby will need a passport, which will be good for 5 years. I suggest also getting the passport card for baby as a form of identification. Although the card can only be used for international travel to select destinations, you can throw it in your wallet and use for domestic travel so you can avoid lugging around a copy of the birth certificate or passport in your things.

3. Stroller is your best friend. Take a stroller that is nice enough that it’s enjoyable to push around, but that you will feel ok checking at the gate. If you don’t have the stomach to have an expensive jogging stroller possibly damaged, don’t bring it. The stroller will be a great place for baby to nap while you enjoy a museum, seeing the sites, or use as a place to feed baby. It’s also an excellent caddy at the airport. Until you check your larger luggage, it can be hard to manage getting all that stuff through the airport, so I usually wear my Baby Bjorn Carrier with him and dump the diaper bag and carry ons in the stroller. (Side note, Baby Bjorn is also a must have getting on and off the plane with your bags.) Adding an extra caddy and cupholder will add to the convenience. You will need to stop at gate check-in to get a tag to check your stroller. Don’t worry, it will be waiting for you when you disembark the plane.

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4. Clutch and diaper bag. The days of a trendy purse are now replaced with a diaper bag, but I still need someway to organize my necessities (wallet, phone, lipgloss, hair ties, sunglasses), so I use a small clutch to contain all my clutter and then stuff it into my carry on or diaper bag. I highly recommend a backpack diaper bag because you can wear it, keeping your hands free for holding your baby, carry on, pacifier, tickets, folding your stroller, car seat, and well, you get the point. :-). There are lots of cute ones out there, but I’ve coveted my husband’s Diaper Dude bag I bought him last year- it’s the most practical and comfortable hands down.  PetuniaPicklebottom also has another great option!

5. Changes of clothes. As a general rule, I pack 2 outfits a day for baby, assuming we will have a food or butt disaster at some point :-). Make sure to pack a few onesies in your diaper bag or carry on so you can do a quick change, or aren’t left scrambling if your luggage doesn’t arrive with you. Also remember to bring plastic bags to put the dirty stuff into (dog poop or produce bags are a good because they wrap around what’s inside pretty easily), although if it’s too gross and just a basic onsie, you may just want to cut your losses (no need to carry poop with you for a full day if you aren’t returning to your hotel). Also pack an extra shirt for mommy and daddy in the event of a longer trip where you won’t want to be in dirty clothes all day.

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6. Don’t Stress! A lot is going on at the airport, but try not to get stressed or rushed. There are lots of people without babies who fumble about and take forever to board. Don’t let anyone rush you or make you feel bad. You paid for this flight, and just because you take longer to unpack or may have some crying here or there, other non-baby passengers can do the same thing. That guy farting up a storm across the aisle or teenager with headphones blaring for the world to hear can be far worse!! While in a good mood, let you baby smile and mingle, charming all those around him. That way he’s that cute baby who just happens to be crying, just not another noise. And honestly, I have found other passengers to mostly be very understanding and helpful, one college girl even offering to “babysit” on the plane for us 🙂 If someone does give you a hard time, just turn the other cheek and pay all your attention to cuddling and caring for baby!

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7. Car seat. You can use a TSA approved car seat on the plane if you buy a ticket for baby, or you can have a lap child up to 2 years of age. If you intend on getting in a car when you land, you will need a car seat, so you will need to bring one along unless you plan to rent one. Car seats can be very heavy, so I recommend investing in a lightweight travel car seat so it isn’t as bad to lug through the airport- I love this Costco Carseat and it has been recommended for travel on a number of websites too. If you buy baby a seat, it is required he or she sit in a car seat. Also, install the seat the way you would in a car- rear facing is ok!! Car seat hack: Buy a container of bungee cords (which can also be super helpful around the house), and use those to attach your car seat to your wheely carry on bag.

8. Basic baby stuff. Don’t obsess and bring 50 bottle along with you, as you can only use one at a time. I’d recommend maybe 2 bottles in your carry on and then maybe another one in your checked bags if you are nervous. Always have a fresh bottle or sippy cup ready for takeoff and landing- keeping baby swallowing often will help regulate the pressure in their ears during takeoff and descent. Remember, anywhere you travel will generally have bottles and diapers. Anything that you can buy locally, leave at home and take only the travel day essentials with you. If you need a specific formula or medicine, make sure you bring along. Bring pacifiers, one or two small toys and a book – babies don’t need a huge variety to be happy. I highly recommend stocking up on a few of these Baby Rings that I usually just order on Amazon.  They have great textures and colors for baby to play with, look at and chew on, and you can also loop some of their favorite smaller toys or pacifiers through one end and attach the other to you, the stroller or the baby carrier – that way when baby chucks that toy it won’t land on the dirty airplane or airport floor!

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9. Seat or no seat. As a general rule, I’ll fly up to 3 hours holding a baby in my lap on a plane, but after that I’ll purchase a seat. Some airlines offer reduced fare for babies, so be sure to call and ask the airline to see what they may offer. Another plus of the seat is two more possible bags you can carry on board – although that also means two more bags to manage through the airport. If you don’t buy a seat, you will still need to check baby in and get a boarding pass to proceed though security and onto the plane. Even if you don’t buy a seat, still bring that car seat and ask to see if there are any open seats – you can possibly get that baby in a seat free of charge!

10. Download. On your phone, iPad, whatever you have, download some visual apps to distract baby, and some noise maker apps to help sooth baby wherever you are. My favorites at the moment include a couple Fischer Price apps, and Sesame Street has a great one as well. We don’t leave home without a fan episode of Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And no need to download 20 shows- babies are happy watching the same thing over and over again. Remember to bring your charging cord in your carry on to power up in the airport, or pack a few small battery chargers.

11. Rent a car. Sometimes taxis and trains can sound appealing, but renting a car is the best way to get around on the ground after you get to your destination. Make sure to get one big enough for your stroller and extra baby bags. Having a car will allow you to stop when baby needs to stop and take a break, or have baby’s diaper changed, and is less stressful than trying to rush baby, stroller and a million bags on and off a train before it takes off for its next stop.

12. Packing Cubes. These things are amazing for travel with or without babies, but are especially nice for corralling all the little tidbits like socks, washcloths, onesies, food packets, ect. It allows for easy categorization and organization, especially if mixing mommy and daddy’s clothes in the same cases.  I have found the ones on Someebags to be really nice and have several – they also have lots of other great diaper and travel bags as well.

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13. Accommodations. Stay close to the sites you want to see so you can make pit stops back at the hotel pretty easily for meals or naps if you like. It’s also nice to have someplace where baby can crawl around in the grass at the end of the day and stretch this legs. Staying in a rental house or apartment is ideal so you can have access to a kitchen and more space to move around. It’s also great to have a separate sleeping area for parents and baby, and a bonus if there is a washer/dryer inside. If choosing a hotel, call ahead to make sure they can help provide a crib and the room will be big enough. If you are driving (or don’t mind lugging one more item when you fly), I recommend bringing your own portable crib, that way baby has the same bed night after night and you know it’s clean.

14. Inflatable tub. This is a great option to help contain baby in a cleaner space. It’s also a good idea to bring along when traveling in Europe, because not all hotels will have a bath tub. You can pick them up on Amazon, so its super easy!

15. Blankets. I usually being a soft snuggle blanket to help baby fall asleep and cuddle with, and an old swaddling blanket or two for something to put down on the ground when baby needs to stretch his legs.

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16. Changing in Europe. Get ready to change baby anywhere and everywhere. There are not as many public bathrooms with changing stations readily available. Get a cushy changing mat and get ready for some baby buns in the piazza. No one seems to mind, but it is a little tricky when have have to address a Mt Vesuvius explosion in the diaper.

17. Doctors and Meds. Before leaving, try to locate through your doctor, recommendations from locals, or even the internet, a pediatrician and/or hospital in case baby needs to go to the doctor. My doctor said if you are flying blind, generally speaking she would recommend going to a university hospital because they tend to have better care and services. Bring a digital thermometer (I like the ones that you can scan their ear or forehead) so you can easily check if baby is just tired and a little off or actually sick. Always have a fever and pain reducer like Tylenol or Advil on hand, some teething aids, and a nasal bulb. If going to a foreign country, also bring any other regular meds with you that baby often takes because it can be difficult to find the same brands that you are used to, not to mention trying to figure out the dosage. In addition to his ear infection, out little dude also got pinkeye, and trying to find drops was crazy (we eventually did succeed in convincing a pharmacist what to give us after going to med school at WebMD). Another great thing to take along to help with dehydration if baby isn’t eating well or has tummy issues is powder packets of Pedialite.

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18. Flight Times. Try to book your flights that work well around baby’s schedule. While you may be up for a 6am flight, baby might have different ideas woken up at 3am from a cozy snooze to get ready and packed in the car. if traveling internationally, doing an overnight flight where baby can sleep most of the time can be great!!

19. Time Zones. When we flew to Italy the time difference was 6 hours ahead for us. He slept most of the way over on the flight, but his schedule was still a little off those first few days. The first night it was tricky to get him to go down to bed because for him it felt way early, but night by night we backed it down a little, and by the 3rd night he had adjusted and seemed to be sleeping and napping close to his regular schedule. On the return he seemed to bounce back in about 3 days as well. Pushing the bed times back or forward just a little for a few days should help them adjust to the new time, and they will be sleeping well before you know it.  If only changing an hour here or there, I’d recommend sticking to their regular schedule to make it easier on everyone.

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20. Great Expectations. It is good to have realistic expectations before embarking on a trip with baby and plan accordingly.

If you are day dreaming of a relaxing trip to the south of France, it is healthy to embrace the fact that you will in fact get to bask in the sun along the French Riviera, but as you try to balance a glass of rose in one hand you will be applying copious amounts of sunscreen on a wiggling little critter with the other, desperately looking for shade for baby, lugging a beach bag and a diaper bag, chasing baby around quickly blocking baby’s attempts to eat yet another pebble on the beaches you peer over at the other beach goers, the lovely people who are lazily sipping delicious cocktails, gazing out at the sea for hours on end, drifting in and out of a lovely sleep while reading their new favorite summer novel.

Get ready. Babies can cry, get tired, get cranky, require a lot of extra equipment, and can get sick (ours got a double ear infection and cold when we went to Italy). That being said, I would take a vacation day with baby than staying at home any day of the week, hands down. I am so excited to share this planet with my child and watch him experience all the amazing things this world has to offer. I will never forget watching him crawl around in the grass under a giant lemon tree in Tuscany, watching the world whisk by him in a busy market in Florence, sitting at an Italian restaurant teething on a hunk of delicious crunchy bread, and going for a boat ride on Lake Como. Vacations, big or small, are moments for families to come together and make memories, and I promise as soon as you are back you will forget the hard parts (well, for the most part anyway), and just look back at those photos and smile.

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To make it easier on yourself, pick an itinerary that is more suited for a baby lifestyle. Choose one or two key places and set up camp for a few days at that destination to minimize unpacking and repacking your and baby’s things. Pick a few items on your agenda that are must see and leave the rest of your schedule open for walking around and just taking in the sights, or playing at a park. A more relaxed itinerary will lend itself to a more relaxing trip for the mommy, daddy and baby.

Safe Travels!