Holidays Here & Gone (and here, there and everywhere)

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The holidays flew by for us. Actually, I guess you could say we flew by (or so it seemed) since this holiday season we traveled half way around the world, and back.  Yes, Aria already has more stamps in her passport than most kids get their whole childhood. Our main destination was her Uncle Hayden’s wedding in Dubai, but we had a few stops between here and there (both going and coming).  Here are a few pictures from our holiday adventures.

First stop was visiting a few friends in Switzerland (a night in Zurich and then off to the beautiful Alps). We stayed in their house in the charming little village of Samedan (just next door to St. Moritz). Aria and little Sammy were in love at first sight, and it was incredibly sweet to see how they interacted.

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Next, was the main event in Dubai. A beach wedding and time to relax and enjoy a little sightseeing and warm weather. Not to mention, some well needed family time with Mimi & Dada (who came all the way from New Zealand) and, of course, Uncle Hayde & his beautiful new bride, Glaucia.

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Finally, just to round it all out, we stopped in Milan on the way back. In actuality, we made what could have been a painful 7 hour layover into a mini-milanes vk.  A quick train ride to the Duomo and Galleria to check out some highlights and history, and then a long and delicious afternoon, eating and drinking (as it should be when in Italy).

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All in all we racked up a whole lot of miles, and even more good memories.
Here’s to an equally adventurous 2014…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip: 7 Essentials For Baby In The Car

car ride essentials toddlerSo, riding in the car with baby/toddler is not always the easiest of experiences. Unlike a lot of NYC dwellers, we actually are in the car quite often.  Our recent road trip to Saratoga (a 3+hour ride) made me realize some things that were downright essential!

1) The Perfect Car Seat:  Ok, so there may not be a perfect seat, but some are better than others. For our infant car seat, I went with the Graco Snug Ride. It is safe, lightweight, versatile (fits in the snap and go travel system which is key for travel) and has an adjustable shade (essential). I didn’t like it’s infant insert, and definitely recommend buying one like this to keep baby snug and comfortable. When it was time, we also bought Aria a convertible (front facing) seat. She actually has a couple different ones but by far her favorite is the Britax she has in Oma’s car. It’s extra cushy and she sits higher which allows her to see out the window better.

2) Window shades: I can’t tell you how essential these are to keep the sun out of the baby’s eyes and off baby’s face. UV rays can still filter through window so these shades protect and keep your baby comfortable. I first bought the White Hot Safety Shade by Munchkin, but they totally don’t stick well or cover as much window area as my second (and much better) purchase by Safety1st. 

3) A Mirror (when still rear facing): A mirror allows you to look into your rear view and see you little one’s face. Some argue it can be a distraction, but I think a quick glance is much better than trying to bend behind the seat to check in on baby.

4) Tunes: Baby’s love music. One mom friend gave me a baby’s CD as a gift and said it’s “like crack”, meaning her baby was totally addicted and instantly gratified.  Aria too chills out when her tunes get on (not to mention now she asks for “Muffin Man” the second she gets in the car). My mom gave me CD of baby songs early on and I was like, “hells no, we’re not listening to that all trip,” but that quickly changed when I realized Hickory, Dickory, Dock is much better than a screaming baby.

5) Entertainment: Small books, stuffed animals and even soft little dangling toys for infants do make a difference. Now that Aria’s a toddler (and obsessed with Barney) I’ve also been guilty of passing back the iPhone when super desperate for a peaceful ride.

6) Snacks:  Again, some people would say this was a big no no (choking hazards), but, if you choose the right snacks (bottles, pureed fruit pouches, puffs that dissolve in their mouth, etc), I can attest that it makes for a much easier time.

7) Pacifier:  Again, a “love em or hate em” for many parents.  For us they’re  a lifesaver quite often (and I’ve cursed myself the times I’ve realized I’ve left the house without one). Aria def prefers Avent.

Last Days Of Summer: Sand & Serenity

beach day jones west endA few short days left until the unofficial end of summer. Where does the time go? A last minute city escape to seize the day…alone, with only the surf, sand, and sun.

Baby free. A rarity. Traveling with one bag filled only with my needs and one agenda– to have none.  A long walk through the dunes to my private paradise. No one in sight, just a long stretch of sand, a big sky and deep blue sea.

 

Road Trip: Fun On The Farm In Gansevoort

Until recently when I heard the name Gansevoort my only association was the trendy NYC hotel chain where I would sip cocktails rooftop or work them off at Exhale.  I came to find out, Gansevoort is also a town about 3 hours north of the city (near Saratoga Springs) which would become the destination of our very first road trip with little Miss A.

Gansevoort NY vkI had found a sweet little cabin on a farm on airbnb and since Aria is obsessed with animals I thought it would be an adventure. And, adventure it was since the cabin was without electricity or running water (I totally knew this going in), and although a very slight inconvenience at times, it totally added to the experience.

The cabin itself was gorgeous (beautiful wood interior from floor to ceiling and tons of windows) and the location was perfect for unwinding. We would wake in the mornings to total silence, except for the occasional distant whinny of one of the horses (Aria’s first word in the morning was always an exuberant “Horsey!”).  Each day we  would go for walks and wander down and see the animals.  Evenings consisted of watching the sun go down, cooking out ( on the fire pit/dutch oven, propane burners or charcoal grill) and sitting on the front stoop star gazing and using lanterns to light our way inside.  We throughly enjoyed “roughing it” and the beauty, serenity and fun we found there.

photo-1Although we could have easily stayed put and enjoyed the weekend without ever leaving the property, we ventured off and found some great local spots. On Saturday I dropped Aria’s dad to golf, and she and I hit Lake George State Park, a lovely spot with several little beaches, a very touristy beach main street and trails and campsite (we snuck in a hot shower there). On Sunday we all hit Saratoga Springs, which, much to my surprise, I loved. It has a great main street, cosmopolitan restaurants and a whole lot of charm. Of course, Saratoga is known for the horse race track so on the way back we checked out the ponies and placed a few bets which was good fun.

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All around it was a winning weekend, and one I’d totally recommend for any urbanite looking to shake off the city and get back to the basics.

Sometimes You Need To JUST DRIVE

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So I dropped the little one at my mom’s the other day en route to take care of some necessary upkeep at our country house. It was another beautiful day and I was happy to be out on the open road with the windows down and the radio up. The Taconic was wide open and a big sky with puffy clouds was the only thing ahead of me– well, in reality, a day of upkeep that would keep me inside was but let’s stay in the moment.  I turned the radio up when Robin Thicke’s new song came on, bopped my head a bit and smirked recalling my days of being single and free. Although I would never trade my life now, sometimes it’s good to remember we existed before they (baby) did, and just groove out a bit.