Elodie’s First Trip to America! Part 5: Disney World Continued

The fifth and final leg of our trip to America was a final few days of holiday at Disney World with just the three of us. We had intended to stay a little longer and see more friends and family but Hurricane Irene cut our trip short. 😦

But picking up where we left off, we awoke early Tuesday morning to say a sad goodbye to Grandma Jill. It was so great having her there with us for the weekend!

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Andy took her to the airport and returned our rental car at the same time, while I took Elodie on an early morning walk around the Boardwalk for her first nap of the day. When Andy was back, we walked over to Epcot, my favourite park and the one we visited the most while we lived in Florida. The Food and Wine Festival was going on and we were so excited to check it out!

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We spent that whole day at Epcot, riding Spaceship Earth and Livin with the Land, checking out the Festival Center and spending plenty of time exploring all the international pavilions in World Showcase and sampling the food and drink on offer as part of the festival.

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I just love Epcot. I love the theming, I love the detail, I love wandering around all the hidden places. We weren’t sure how Elodie would last or how we would do an early baby bedtime that night, but it all worked out well. We took it slow and took turns putting her in the carrier for slow walking naps in quiet, air conditioned corners. We didn’t ride as many rides or sample as much of festival as we may have in the past but we very much enjoyed ourselves. We ended up staying through the evening and watching the fireworks. We didn’t anticipate keeping Elodie up that late, but since the fireworks woke her up the night before anyway, we ended up just doing more naps through the afternoon and evening and then hightailing it back to our room once they were over.

The next day we went to Animal Kingdom and this was a really fun day! We rode the Safari ride and had a really nice lunch at Tiffins, a new high-end restaurant there. The great thing about being at Disney was we could easily take an infant to a nice restaurant and no one batted an eye – the waitress loved her. And the food was amazing.

We also took advantage of the child swap policy to take turns riding the new Avatar ride there, Pandora. I never saw Avatar and wasn’t really that excited by this new addition but the ride, and the new “land” Disney built in that section of the park, is truly amazing. Andy and both loved it.

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We also did the Tiger Walk and watched the monkeys for awhile, and I rode Expedition Everest, probably my favourite roller coaster, and we just enjoyed the theming and atmosphere.

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Unfortunately we also spent awhile on the phone with Virgin to try to change our flight, and spent some time figuring out what we would do if we were trapped by the hurricane. We ordered supplies from Amazon and made plans to stay with my brother, but also kept calling the airline. Eventually the next day, we got put on an earlier flight, so we would be leaving on Friday. We were so bummed to cut our trip short, and have to miss out on seeing our friends the Floyds and their kids, and seeing Mark and Becky again and other family and friends. 😦

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But we decided to make the best of it. We ended up staying late at Animal Kingdom that night too, first watching a light show on the Tree of Life, during which I fed Elodie: absolutely the best entertainment while feeding I’ve ever had. We finished out the night watching the new Rivers of Light show.

On Thursday, I went for a run around the Boardwalk and we hung out at the pool in the morning, taking advantage of the nice resort and getting Elodie more pool time. We then spent the rest of the day at Epcot, getting to explore the parts we didn’t get to on Tuesday, riding some more rides and sampling more of the festival. It ended up working out really well to eat most of our meals on Tuesday and Thursday as snacks from all the different festival marketplaces since we could eat on the go.

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We also met some characters! This is not the kind of thing we ever would have done before but with a baby, we kind of embraced the chance to be silly.

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We had planned to spend Friday at Magic Kingdom, but since our flight was changed to Friday evening we’d have to leave for the airport by 1pm, knowing the airport would be mobbed (it was). Since going to MK would mean having to take a bus to/from, adding in  Elodie’s napping and the complications that entailed, before a full day and night of stressful travel back home, we decided it would just be better and easier to walk over to Epcot again and have a more relaxed morning. So we did, and it was great.

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Kevin and Debbie were back at Disney that day, escaping the storm, so we got to see them again too right before we left for the airport!

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We were super duper sad to leave for the airport. Our flight went off without a hitch and amazingly, Elodie slept the WHOLE FLIGHT HOME! She fed on takeoff and then passed out in my arms for three hours. She woke up to feed, and then I transferred her to Andy and she slept in his arms another few hours. She woke up when we were landing in a great mood. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were. it was amazing! Mind you, baby jetlag the whole following week was awful…but at least the flight was easy!

All in all it was a great trip, albeit exhausting. Never before has that old cliche, “we need a vacation after that vacation!” applied more. But we were thrilled we saw so many family and friends and happy the trip went so well!

 

 

 

 

 

Elodie’s First Trip to America! Part 4: Walt Disney World

For the final leg of our trip to America, we went to Disney World! We figured this would be a fun place to spend time with family and friends and also get a bit of a holiday for just the three of us as well. Living in London, we really miss warm weather and the idea of staying in a nice hotel, getting some great food and enjoying the theme parks all in a very family-friendly environment sounded appealing. We have such good memories of visiting Disney when we lived in Orlando and were looking forward to some of our favourite rides and restaurants and just enjoying walking around the parks.

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We left Tavares on Sunday morning and checked into a Holiday Inn near Disney Springs (what used to be known as Downtown Disney), a collection of shops and restaurants. To make a long story short, our plans for this trip changed multiple times beforehand which is why we ended up with one night at this hotel before transferring to a hotel on Disney property for the rest of our trip.

Anyway, we checked in (Grandma Jill was staying with us at the hotel that night too) and walked over to Disney Springs to pick up some lunch.

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As I’ve mentioned before, Elodie has always hated being in her buggy (stroller), particularly hating the carry cot (aka bassinet) style which require newborns to lay down and therefore not see anything. Our primary mode of transport (and her sole napping situation) is in the carrier, strapped to one of our chests. But in the lead up to this trip, I knew it would be much too hot to keep Elodie in the carrier all the time so we would need to figure out a way to get her comfortable in the buggy, and that she would be in her carseat a lot too. Her carseat attaches to her buggy base, so we went on lots and lots of walks in our neighbourhood parks in London in her carseat attached to the buggy, to get her more comfortable with this set up. I was pretty proud of both of us that all this effort ended up working out. She didn’t love being in her buggy, but she was able to hang out in there sometimes and it was good to have the option and definitely cooler for her (and us) than being in the carrier all the time.

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We had lunch at one of the many new restaurants that has opened at Disney Springs in the last few years, Frontera, a Mexican restaurant by Rick Bayless. It was so, so good: probably the best meal of the trip so far. Andy and I both love Mexican food and it’s impossible to get good Mexican in London or anywhere in Europe.

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We had plans that evening to see my brother Kevin and sister-in-law Debbie, who live on the Atlantic Coast of Florida and were coming in to see us that night and the next day. Fortuitously, they ended up coming to walk and shop and eat at Disney Springs that afternoon too, so we met up briefly before going back to our hotel since our room was now ready.

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Meeting more new family members! So much fun. Elodie needed a nap at this point though!

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We went back to the hotel and I found a quiet hallway to put Elodie in the carrier and do about a million squats and lunges to help her settle and fall asleep.

Later, we were back at Disney Springs for dinner with Kevin and Debbie at Homecomin’, a Southern-themed restaurant by Art Smith. Again, we wanted a type of cuisine we can’t get in London and this was another awesome meal.

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Elodie fell in love with water bottles on this trip

It was really risky having dinner that evening since it would be past Elodie’s bedtime, and she was kind of shouty during dinner but overall it worked out. It was great seeing Kevin and Debbie and catching up with them; we used to see them a lot when we lived in Florida. And they agreed to be Elodie’s godparents!

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The next day we were up early to switch to our hotel on Disney property (Disney’s Beach Club) and the meet up with everyone at Magic Kingdom for the day.

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I was so happy when we arrived at Beach Club. It’s at the Boardwalk area of Disney, walking distance to Epcot, and one of my favourite places. Disney has such nice theming, landscaping and attention to detail.

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We made it to Magic Kingdom not long after the park opened for the day.

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It’s not too easy to get a family photo with the baby smiling!

One thing that was great about Disney is their child care centres. There is one in each park and each one has plenty of baby changing tables, facilities for preparing formula or feeding toddlers, bathrooms, baby products like nappies for sale, and best of all, breastfeeding rooms. Of course every bathroom at Disney has baby changing tables (the mens rooms too!), and I am totally fine with breastfeeding Elodie anywhere (and I certainly have) but it was really nice to have this option available. Anyone could go in the baby centres but only breastfeeding women were allowed inside the nursing rooms, and these rooms were dark, quiet, and air conditioned, with comfortable seats. Elodie is at the age where she is really distracted while eating and having a quiet place to take her away from the crazy overstimulation of the park was fantastic.

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This was the room at MK; in true Disney fashion each park’s breastfeeding room was themed slightly differently. This one had Victorian photos of mothers and children on the walls, how adorable.

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Sitting on a soft in the baby centre

So we went there first for a feed and a change while waiting for the rest of family to arrive, and then when we were done met up with Sean, Jess and the three girls.

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We headed to It’s A Small World first! A classic and one of my favourites. Elodie’s first ride!

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Next, Kevin and Debbie joined us and we went on Pirates of the Caribbean. Another classic, so good!

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It was a super hot day and after some more walking around, shopping and photo taking, the others decided to call it a day. Andy, Jill, Elodie and I stuck around to ride Jungle Cruise.

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Check out Elodie’s face! Pure excitement.

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We had lunch (Columbia Harbor House, my favourite) and then Grandma Jill got some quality time with Elodie while Andy and I rode the new(ish) roller coaster, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. So much fun, we felt like kids again! This was also the first time in Elodie’s life that we had ever both been apart from her together. Up until then, she has always been with at least one of us at all times.

We were amazed that the day went so well and Elodie held up great. We left in the mid-afternoon and headed back to our hotel for some pool time.

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We had big plans that night for our first post-baby date night. Since Grandma Jill was staying in the hotel room with us, we planned that I would feed Elodie and put her down to sleep, then sneak out while Grandma stayed in the room with her. Usually (back in August and September at least) Elodie would pretty reliably sleep for 3-4 hours in the first part of the night.

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Excited for date night

It kind of worked. After Elodie was asleep, Andy and I snuck down to the hotel bar, the Crews Cup Lounge. It was so fun and felt so weird! I even wore a dress and some makeup. We split a burger and a beer and sat there chatting about the trip, how our lives have changed, reminiscing on the old days but agreeing how happy we are and how much we love Elodie and love being on holiday with her.

We went to sit on on some rocking chairs overlooking the pool, when Jill texted that the fireworks woke up Elodie and she was inconsolable. 😦 Poor thing. Our hotel room was so near to Epcot that you could hear and see the fireworks, and it woke her up. I went back up to calm Elodie down and give her a comfort feed back to sleep, then went back down to meet Andy. We ended up being out for about two hours. It’s funny, I know a good number of other mums who have been away from their babies for an entire night, or even a weekend by now! Because they all take bottles it is possible…for us that’s not possible at all, and I wouldn’t even want to be apart from Elodie for that long. Just a few hours is plenty!

So our first two days at Disney were busy but a blast. This is getting long so I’ll write about the last few days of our trip in the next post.

à bientôt!

Elodie’s First Trip to America! Part 3: Florida

After New York and New Jersey, we spent a little over a week in Florida. It felt so good to land in Florida, where Andy and I moved in together, got engaged and started our married life together. We lived there in our mid-twenties, had a great group of friends there and we have such good memories of those years in Orlando. 🙂

So we arrived there on Wednesday afternoon and once we got off the plane, Andy went to get our luggage and rental car while I walked  around the airport with Elodie in her carrier to help her take a nap since she didn’t really sleep on the plane and we had a long drive ahead of us, and in the last few days she had given up on napping in the car. It felt silly to walk around the airport like that but it’s just what had to be done. After her nap we drove to Tampa, stopping halfway at our beloved Publix to buy a few things and feed Elodie in the car.

And then finally, we pulled into the driveway! We spent the evening hanging out with Andy’s dad (Gpops) and Becky and Elodie’s great-grandma. It was the first time Mark and Becky had seen Elodie since their visit here in May when she was just six weeks old.

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It wasn’t long before Elodie needed to be put down to bed, and we felt bad they couldn’t see her more. 😦 But it was great to at least have the time we did.

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Four generations

Unfortunately Elodie went on to have a very rough night, with some early morning screaming fits (she was showing all the signs of teething, yet a tooth still hasn’t popped through).  

Once we were all up for the day, we spent the morning hanging out and playing with Elodie on this awesome blanket that Becky made for her! It came in really handy on the trip and we love it for tummy time; it’s super soft and thick.

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I had ambitions of getting out for a run that morning but after the tough night and with the Florida heat, there was no way. That was a particularly hot day, with the temp around 100 I think, and taking Elodie for a walk and a snooze outside was eye-opening: wow was it hot! We sadly left around noon, the visit was just too short but there was lots to fit in on this trip. We thought we would see them again but (foreshadowing) Hurricane  Irene ended up disrupting the final days of our trip….

Anyway, we headed back to the airport to pick up Andy’s mom (Grandma Jill). Elodie wasn’t too happy in her carseat that day and we had another round of walking/napping at the airport, but once we arrived at our Airbnb on Lake Dora in Tavares, everything felt so good. Our house was in a beautiful setting on the lake, with a patio and chairs and a little beach plus a dock, and all the amenities we needed to feel at home. It felt so comfortable and easy to be there and it was so nice to have Grandma Jill staying there with us. It was her first time seeing Elodie since she was a tiny three-week-old newborn! We love living in London but definitely miss having family around. Settling into the house here for a few days made us feel like we could finally start to relax a bit!

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That evening Elodie got to meet her Uncle Sean, Aunt Jess, and cousins Aly, Jayden and Layla for the first time. It was a short meeting that night what with baby bedtime, but so fun to see them all! Each time Elodie met a new family member it felt so special!

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Elodie continued to wake up early every morning, but it didn’t matter because we got to see this gorgeous sunrise over the lake each morning. Our room had windows facing out and it was actually really lovely to feed her early in the morning while watching the sun come up.

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That morning we met Jess and Layla for some playtime at a park in Tavares in the morning. It was great to have more time with Layla, who we hadn’t seen since she was six weeks old! She and Elodie are about 20 months apart so I hope they grow up as friends!

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After it got too hot to stay in the park much longer, we made our way to Target to buy all sorts of things we needed both on the trip (new baby swimsuit, sunscreen, etc) but also stuff to bring back to the UK that we can’t find easily or cheaply. We had major culture shock here – the size of this Target was larger than our entire neighborhood in London! I couldn’t get over the amount of stuff or the huge range of selection. And I loved the baby stuff, although I don’t know why you need so much selection. For instance, there were about four different varieties of Pampers. Why? How was I supposed to know what is best? In the UK we have one type and that works well. Same with everything else on offer, from paper towels to peanut butter to laundry soap – millions of variations on everything. Totally overwhelming and yet I kept finding things I wanted! I had to get out of there after awhile.

We had a relaxing afternoon at our place and Grandma Jill tried to give Elodie a bottle (sadly didn’t work) and read to her. I got to sit down and read a magazine, it was great! 🙂

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Later we went over to Sean and Jess’s house in the evening for more cousin time and dinner.

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And the girls got dressed in matching outfits, courtesy of Grandma Jill!

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On Saturday, we visited our friends the Walshes in the morning and did more walking naps with Elodie around the neighbourhood.  

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She even began to sleep in her carseat, a welcome development!

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You are putting me in here again?

Sean and Jess and the girls came over in the afternoon for a cookout and some attempted fishing in the lake.

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This was kind of a busy afternoon, and we somehow got hardly any photos! It all went by pretty fast, just like the whole trip.

Sunday was a our last morning at the Airbnb, and Elodie’s five-month birthday! We took the opportunity for some family photos.

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Five months!

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Next up, Walt Disney World!

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Elodie’s First Trip to America! Part 2: New Jersey

For the second leg of our US trip, we visited my family in New Jersey. We arrived on Sunday evening and went straight to see my mom.

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She was so happy! And her new place, for retirees, is so nice. I was so happy to finally be able to introduce Elodie and my mom.

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We didn’t stay long since Elodie needed to get to bed soon, so after visiting for a bit we checked in at our hotel and I put Elodie to bed, then stopped in to see my aunt and uncle, Claudia and Fran, who had also arrived that day and were staying at our hotel. So much fun to see them and catch up!

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My cousin David couldn’t join us, but when he was born, I gave him a teddy bear that was later christened “Kathy Bear”. He returned the favour and gifted Elodie her own bear to love!

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That night, Elodie slept six hours straight! She was up relatively early. We had coffee at the hotel and Andy helped her nap, and then we went to my mom’s place again (got more bagels too). It was tough trying to help Elodie nap when we had to drive everywhere; I am so glad we don’t have to deal with that in London. It made the timing much trickier.

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We hung out at my mom’s place, along with Fran and Claudia explored the facility (it’s so nice) and chatted more, and went to a diner for lunch.

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Later that afternoon we went over to my brother Tom’s house. Elodie got to meet Tom and Nicky and her cousin Ella, and I was able to collect a lot of my old things that had been at my mom’s apartment.

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I am so grateful to have my baby book, and even my mom’s baby book! Such treasures! I also got a lot of my baby photos, some baby clothes, other family photos, and my beloved Cabbage Patch Kid and Berenstain Bears books.

On Tuesday we did more of the same, with a trip to Target (so overwhelming) and more time with my mom and Fran and Claudia, and a visit to Tom’s house again. Busy days but really nice to see everyone.

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Early on Wednesday we were up and off to the airport for our next flight. Again, we had plenty of time at the airport so we could walk around and help Elodie nap. The flight was short and crowded but it went fine. Elodie didn’t really sleep but she fed fine and it went fast. And when we landed, we were in warm and sunny Florida!

Elodie’s First Trip to America! Part 1: NYC

At the end of August, we went on our biggest adventure yet! We took off for Elodie’s first trip to America, which would entail her first flight, first overseas trip, and her first time meeting many family members and friends – 37 in total!

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In the lead up to this trip, we were super stressed. I noted that our weekend in Paris was pretty tough, and we were really worried about the first flight, an eight-hour trip to New York City. What if she screamed and cried the whole time, and we were trapped in a tiny space with hundreds of angry people? What on Earth would we do?

Luckily, we had an incredibly smooth journey. The Uber to the airport was easy and Elodie actually slept in the car.

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We got to the airport very early just in case, and that afforded us plenty of time to check in, check our luggage, and hang out in the No. 1 Lounge at Heathrow, which our credit card allows us to access. For me, having the chance to sit in the lounge, eat lunch and read a magazine while Andy took care of Elodie was amazing; I already felt like I was on holiday.  For the first time all week I felt my body relax – and as the adrenaline wore off, the sleep deprivation hit. So tired. But so relaxed.

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Virgin Atlantic is such a great airline, and the flight attendants and people around us were so nice. They fitted her with a little baby seatbelt that attached to my seatbelt for takeoff and landing, and I about died of the cuteness!

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We were lucky to have seats at the front of the economy section in the bulkhead row, with a bassinet attached to the wall in front of us. Elodie fed like a champ on takeoff, and overall was fabulous on the flight.She was off and on fussy and wiggly the first four hours, interspersed with lots of feeding, and finally I was able to rock her to sleep.

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Much to our amazement, she then slept in the bassinet!

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Only for 45 minutes but still! After that, we had more feeding and sleeping in my lap, and she was very cute and happy and smiley on the descent, charming everyone around us.

I was weirdly very excited to have her in America and go through immigration with her as a US citizen for the first time. We got through the airport and took a cab to our friends’ apartment in NYC where we would be staying the weekend. Unfortunately she screamed bloody murder in the cab! It was awful, so hard to listen to, heartbreaking. By then it was so late and she was just so tired, and it was awful to be stuck in traffic and have her trapped in a car seat, when I wanted so badly to take her out for a cuddle and a feed. Poor thing, it was such a long day.

That evening, it was so nice to arrive at our friends’ place and have a comfortable place to feed her and put her down to sleep, followed by pizza and catching up with Carl and Kristen.

Elodie slept for a little while that night but then was basically up for the day at 3:30am, which after all was 8:30am London time…Andy and I took turns hanging out with her and watching the sun rise over the East River, which was pretty amazing. I was so happy and excited to be in New York, which feels like home to me. So excited to be there with Elodie, her first trip to New York.

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Once it was a reasonable time for other people to awake on a Saturday morning, we greeted the adorable Soren (Carl and Kristen’s 18-month-old boy) and got ready to take a walk and help Elodie have a nap.

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We picked up bagels (soooo happy to have a good bagel) and cold brew coffees and walked to Central Park. Elodie napped for a bit, Soren played in the playground, and I fed her on a bench overlooking the Duck Pond. It was a great first morning in the city and felt like coming home.

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Later that day we met with our friend John and his girlfriend Kyle, who were up from DC for the weekend. We walked along the East River for a bit and had beers and an early dinner, sitting outside and catching up.

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Tiny little beer for this breastfeeding mama

Elodie was a champ but eventually we had to take her home in an attempt at a better night. She slept a little better that night but was still up quite early on Sunday.

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I didn’t mind, and I took her for a walk again, by myself this time, to Central Park and back, stopping to get bagels again on the way back!

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Later that day we met John and Kyle again, as well as Andy’s cousin Matt + Perrie, in Madison Square Park.

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Baby’s first NYC subway ride

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So much fun to see them! We had a great time in the park, getting salads and sandwiches for a picnic, catching up, and letting Elodie stretch her legs in the grass.

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Eventually we made our way back to Carl and Kristen’s and packed up to leave.

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Soren kissed Elodie goodbye! It was so sweet. 

So sad to leave them! The weekend went by way too fast. We got a rental car and Elodie was a champ in the car, drifting off to sleep on the way to New Jersey.

To be continued!

Baby’s First Trip to Paris!

As I mentioned in the last post, we spent last weekend in Paris! We booked this back in April and it was Elodie’s first trip overseas! We were so, so excited.

It was all quite uncertain whether we’d have our passports and visas in time for this trip, but we got them just in the nick of time (literally the day before we left).

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Elodie’s first passport stamp! We took the Eurostar (train) which is such a great way to travel.

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I love Paris so much and couldn’t wait to get back there, and be there with Elodie.

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But it’s not the most baby-friendly place. We saw little kids and toddlers here and there, but never saw another baby the whole weekend, whereas in London, I see babies everywhere. Breastfeeding rates in France are low, and while nobody ever bothered me, I was self-conscious feeding her in public. All three of us had a cold which probably exacerbated things, and Elodie is teething as well so I think she was pretty uncomfortable. Overall, she was rather fussy a lot of the weekend, and had trouble napping. 

We stayed in a great Airbnb, and it’s a good thing it was a nice place because we spent a lot of time there!

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Playing happily on the apartment floor!

 

On our first afternoon, we walked down to the Seine. I love being by the river in any city. Since the highway along the Seine has been pedestrianised, lots of bars have popped up and it was a pleasant stroll.

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We grabbed a glass of wine and snapped what would be our only family photo of the weekend. Elodie had just woken up from a nap so wasn’t quite up for smiling at that point.

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We went grocery shopping and had dinner in the flat each night, to make baby bedtime easier. We had excellent cheese, bread, produce and wine, and it was really pleasant.

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We were nervous about trying to go to any cafes or restaurants with Elodie, since we didn’t see many (any) babies out like we do in pubs in London. We had a quick lunch on Saturday at a cafe in the Marais while shopping, and the other days we bought sandwiches to go and ate in parks or while walking around.

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We had planned to spend lots of time in Paris’s many beautiful parks, but neglected to remember that in many parks (or at least the ones we chose), the grass is roped off! So we couldn’t put her down for a picnic like we had imagined, unfortunately. Daddy’s lap it was.

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We had some nice long walks with Elodie in the carrier, including a good long stroll around Pere Lachaise (my favourite cemetery).

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And one afternoon after walking around and doing tons and tons of squats and lunges to help Elodie fall asleep (pretty embarrassing….) we snuck into a brasserie with a sleeping baby to have a cheeky glass of wine. It was an excellent Rasteau and a chance to breathe a bit. 🙂   (I feel compelled to point out that I don’t drink much, and only when I know she won’t need to eat again for awhile.)

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On our last day, I felt well enough to sneak out early for a short run along the river, and returned home with pain au chocolat. In a few years it will be fun to introduce Elodie to Paris’s many culinary delights!

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But I think it will be awhile before we do this again. I know it sounds incredibly bratty to be negative – after all, we were in Paris! Elodie’s first trip to Paris! And we did have some lovely times, and it was really nice to have all three of us together for four full days. It’s just not the greatest place with a baby.

And it had been a hard week for all of us leading up to the trip, which may have made it more complicated, what with having to stay in a hotel in London unexpectedly, Andy having a crazy work week (every night he had to work late in the hotel lobby), worrying about our visas being issued in time, being sick, and teething….I do think all those things combined affected Elodie, since babies can pick up on our stress levels, too.

All things considered, she was a trooper! We did have smiley moments…just tough moments as well.

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The whole trip has made us extra nervous for our upcoming trip to the US…!  But it was also a good practice run to learn what works and what doesn’t. We’ll cross our fingers and do our best….that’s all we can do, right?

 

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August Catchup

Here’s what we’ve been up to the past few weeks. It’s been rather stressful and busy so going to do this bullet point style!

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As background, the stress was because our flat was being painted and other work was being done. We already had plans to be away in Paris for a long weekend last weekend, so thought that would overlap well. But the communication with our landlord wasn’t great and the painting in our flat started a good five days before we were going to depart. With the fumes from the pain and our furniture under tarps, we ended up having to stay in a hotel in London last week. It was all rather last-minute and stressful and costly.

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Elodie enjoyed being in the hotel bed though!

On top of that, we didn’t get our visas (which allow us to live and work in the UK) until the very last minute before our travels to Paris, so all week we were thinking we’d have to cancel our trip and figure out an alternative since we couldn’t go back to the flat. Luckily, they came through but it was stressful waiting for them. Then when we returned from Paris, our flat was a mess and the work wasn’t done. We could sleep there and eventually it got done, but it was all pretty frustrating and resulted in me and Elodie having to find places to go during the day each day to stay away. It stressed us both out but it’s over now.

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Anyway, here are some general highlights and notes:

  • Elodie has been loving her swim classes! So cute. At the last class I got chatting with some other mums in the class and we went for coffee after, which was so nice.
  • Elodie weighs over 12 pounds now and has moved up a bit in the percentile chart!

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  • She is definitely teething: she grabs the right side of her face a lot and really likes her cold teething gel, cold teething rings and this teething powder. Does not like infant paracetemol or ibuprofen.
  • To keep busy and out of the flat/hotel, I took her to two art gallery exhibitions and the British Museum, all so fun!

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  • She giggles when we kiss her tummy! So so cute.
  • Sometimes when she wakes up a night, if it has only been an hour since her last feed, I can get her to fall back asleep with some tummy rubs and a few sucks of the dummy. That is a great feeling.
  • I’ve really been working on helping Elodie get more used to the buggy. I’ve been able to get her to go in calmly and fall asleep in there about 50% of the time, which is a big improvement so I’m proud of that.

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  • Spent one whole day at a friend’s house with a baby 7 weeks younger than Elodie, on a day when our flat was being worked on, and it was so nice! Really nice to have a good network of mum friends here.
  • Been to mum/baby yoga three times now and gone really well! Elodie really chills out for it, and it feels good for me too.
  • She now recognizes and reaches for her toys, and the bottle! She’s not really drinking much out of the bottle but we’re getting there.

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  • There are two nursery rhymes I learned in baby massage that she likes: Jungle Rain and All Around the Garden. Good for settling her down!

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Finally, a word on naps. Napping works great in the carrier, although it often requires a lot of active help from me to get her to nap (many rounds of squats and lunges). It’s tough that naps require walks now, whether in the carrier or buggy. It’s a really active process to help her sleep. When she falls asleep peacefully it is so wonderful, but often, sleep is preceded by tears and screaming. It breaks my heart and is stressful for me and Andy, and I am so tired of walking around the neighborhood with a screaming baby strapped to my chest.  Really trying to get her to nap at home by rocking her which occasionally works, and putting her down in her bed to sleep never leads to sleep.

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A rare nap in the rocker

At any rate, I am nearly constantly moving with Elodie. It’s exhausting, or at least it was when we had to be out of the house almost entirely the last two weeks. Is it this hard for everyone? Maybe next week will be easier.

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And I will do what she needs. She is a tiny baby and if she needs help falling asleep, I’ll do whatever works for her. Nothing will last forever.