Germany Birthday Trip: Part 2

After the rain from the previous day, it was so nice to wake up to a clear sunny morning in Unterwössen!

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I found being in the mountains, out in the fresh air and solitude of nature, to be so refreshing.

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After breakfast we set off for a hike in the woods right from our Airbnb; it was so nice to have a trailhead we could access without having to drive anywhere. Andy, Jill, Laurie and I set off (Lindsey had to stay behind with her injured knee) with Elodie in the carrier facing out to enjoy the views.

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On the way back, she was ready for her nap so Andy turned her around and she went right to sleep.

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Back at the flat, we picked up Lindsey then drove to Kitzbühel, a mountain resort town in Austria. Andy and I had been there once before, on a Christmas trip we took to France, Austria and Germany the first year we lived in London.

On the way to Kitzbühel, we stopped for lunch at a traditional Bavarian restaurant. Everywhere we went, people were so friendly and happy to see Elodie.

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Once we arrived in Kitzbühel, we took the cable car to the top of the mountain, where there was still enough snow for people to be enjoying the end of the ski season. The cable car journey was a bit scary but the views from the top were incredible.

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Andy and I had a plan to do another hike at the top of the mountain so the others took the cable car back down, but then we learned the chair lift was closing and we couldn’t access the trail. Bummer.

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But, we made the best of it and enjoyed both a coffee and a beer at the top of the mountain while Elodie took a little nap. 🙂

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We took the cable car back down and met up with our group in the village of Kitzbühel, where we did a little wander around the shops and enjoyed an apfelstrudel.

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The drive back to Unterwössen was long….it was a really fun day but driving around with a baby who doesn’t enjoy her car seat isn’t much fun for anyone, including the poor little tyke! The advantage of having an Airbnb is that then we could get her ready for bed and I could put her down and have an easy dinner in the flat – which is just what we did.

First Birthday Trip: Germany, Part 1

This is way behind, but pretty much free minute since March has spent either working or taking care of Elodie so not much time for writing! I’m sad so much time has gone by but I want to recap our trip to Germany for Elodie’s first birthday! Better late than never right?

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We spent nearly a week there, taking advantage that Elodie’s birthday fell over Easter weekend, meaning we had a long weekend (Friday and Monday off work) to travel. We began and ended our trip in Munich but spent most of the time in the small Bavarian village of Unterwössen. Grandma Jill, Aunt Lindsey and Aunt Laurie all joined us to celebrate!

Andy, Elodie and I flew to Munich on Wed, 28th March and the flight went fine, generally uneventful. I was unfortunately sick with with a sinus infection which lasted through the whole trip but soldiered on. Since we only had one night in Munich we realised it was easiest to stay at the airport hotel, so we dropped our stuff there and set off for a fun afternoon in Munich.

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It was a lovely early spring day and we were thrilled to be on holiday; Elodie fell asleep in the carrier with daddy and we went shopping for her birthday presents, getting some lovely German wooden toys and a doll and some books.

Later that afternoon after Elodie woke up we stopped in a German beerhall near the Viktualienmarkt, Der Pschorr, for a beer.

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It was a very relaxed, family friendly atmosphere and we made friends with a German family with two tween-age daughters who were visiting from Stuttgart, and later with an American family on vacation. It was so much fun chatting with them and Elodie charmed everyone. It was so different and much more relaxed than it would be in America at a bar.

That evening we took the train back to the airport hotel and met up with Lindsey and Laurie who had freshly arrived! Andy went to dinner with them while I took Elodie upstairs for a rather tough night….

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The next morning Grandma Jill arrived! We had breakfast at a cafe downstairs and Andy got the rental car while we packed up and then departed for the Bavarian village of Unterwössen where we would spend the long weekend.

Since Elodie has rarely spent much time in the car, and at that point, she was needing both a morning and afternoon nap, we were nervous about how this would go and whether she would sleep. We were stuck in traffic leaving Munich and her tears quickly escalated…finally I put the Moana movie on my phone for her to watch (she loves the soundtrack) and that settled her down and she slept about an hour. I felt terribly guilty doing that but it was good for her to sleep.

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We arrived in Unterwössen which was just lovely! A cute little village, perhaps not as picturesque as some but very functional, normal place where people live, and that it was nestled in the mountains was just perfect.

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We were staying at an Airbnb which was the upstairs of a larger house, and it worked out well for our group of 5 and a half.

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Unfortunately our first day was a bit rainy (although happily that cleared up after day one). Because of the Easter holiday weekend, not much was open over the weekend and we arrived late for lunch, so we walked around the village then bought groceries to have a late lunch back at the flat, followed by an early dinner at a traditional Bavarian restaurant just down the road, Gaststätte Schmiedbräu.

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We toasted to being together, being with family, being on holiday, and our little one about to have her first birthday!

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And, Andy and I were thrilled to have extra sets of hands there to entertain Elodie!

Next up, hiking in the mountains!

April 2018 (12 Months)

Here is a quick catch-up post for April! I still need to write separately about our Germany trip over late March and early April for Elodie’s first BIRTHDAY! That is coming, but in the mean time, I didn’t want to get too far behind with this spring….so, here is what Elodie got up to in April after her birthday!

First, a few days after she turned one she posed with her fox for her birthday photos.

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We returned to the UK to some better weather here which was wonderful. I come alive when the weather warms up and it’s so nice to be able to leave the house without lots of layers on everyone.

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On April 19th, Elodie began walking holding my hands for the first time! A few days later she began to cruise in her cot.

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Within a week she was cruising on all our living room furniture. She loves it!

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Not long after, she began walking with her walker, a birthday gift from Uncle John.

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Since then, she has loved to pull up and climb and cruise on everything.

Later in April, we took the train to Paris for a weekend to celebrate Andy’s birthday!

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We were very apprehensive since our last trip to Paris didn’t go so well….but that was eight months ago, and we’ve traveled a lot since then!

This trip was amazing. We stayed at an Airbnb near the Bastille, and we had hot summery weather all weekend which made me so happy.

We started off with lunch on Friday at one of our favourite restaurants, A la Biche au Bois. The owners are very friendly but it is a small, traditional French bistro and we were worried how a baby would go over there. Everything was fine! The owners and other patrons were very kind to Elodie, she was happy and we all enjoyed the meal. Success!

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Since it was such a lovely weekend we spent a lot of time outside. Not many parks in Paris have grass you can sit on, but Place des Voges does and we made several trips there.

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I also got to got for a run along the Seine, one of my favourite things to do in Paris.

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We went shopping, went for long walks, ate excellent cheese and bread…it was wonderful.

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For Andy’s birthday on Sunday, we had lunch at La Stella. This is another favourite of ours, and the staff was very friendly to us, even bringing out a little baby high chair! Most places in Paris don’t have these. I loved that the chair matched the decor. Such style.

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They also let me breastfeed her upstairs at the restaurant, and turned an eye when we had to do an emergency outfit change halfway through lunch…..

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It was such a great weekend, and redeemed Paris with a baby for us. 🙂

Other developments in April:

  • Elodie began saying hello, dog, bird, cat, and uh-oh.
  • She has always loved to dance, and she dances and tries to do the moves to certain nursery rhymes they do in her nursery! ‘Wind the bobbin up’ and ‘row row row your boat’ must be popular tunes there.
  • Occasionally began to cut down to doing one nap in the middle of the day, instead of one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Not terribly happy about this new development….

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She also began to cut down to sometimes doing only one breastfeed a day, and to occasionally drink some cow’s milk. One day when I picked her up at nursery she didn’t even ask for a breastfeed. We just had dinner! What a far cry from the early days of nursery when she was so desperate for a feed. It makes the days we are out and about easier, but seeing that breastfeeding will eventually end completely makes me so sad.

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And we began to spend a lot of time hunting for a new place to live. Our flat is tiny and just not suitable for us anymore….as much as we love our neighborhood, we knew we’d likely have to look elsewhere to get more space, so we spent a lot of time this spring going all over London (and beyond) to check out flats and houses on the (rental) market. More on that to come!

February and March Catch-up: The Last Two Months of Year One!

Life has been WAY busy and I am way behind, but my OCD nature won’t let me skip any months! I have lots to write about going back to February, especially our trip to Germany for Elodie’s first birthday in April!

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But I drafted this ages ago and to keep things chronological, here is a quick summary of our February and March.

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We started February with Elodie’s ten month birthday and a weekend in York to visit Aunt Lindsey!

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Later in the month we spent a Saturday at the Harry Potter Studio Tour! This was really fun and such a good day for all three of us.

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In March, we took a day trip to Rye, a quaint seaside village. We had lunch at an amazing historic tavern, sat by the fire, and it was just lovely. The barman there was so friendly to us and Elodie.

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Also in March, we celebrated my first UK Mother’s Day. I got a lovely card handmade by Elodie at nursery which made me cry! I also got beautiful flowers and lovely soaps and lotions. 🙂

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We celebrated all the babies’ one-year-old birthdays with our NCT group! So much fun and so amazing to see us all with one year old babies! Really grateful for this brunch. It has been so nice and supportive to have a group of fellow mums and dads going through the same thing at the same time.

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And here are some developmental updates for Elodie. First, food!

Since Elodie suddenly began eating off a spoon, she started  enjoying all sorts of mashed foods: squash, eggplant, cous cous, and hummus are favourites. She loves yogurt for breakfast and also began to eat porridge like I do (none of that baby stuff for her, just normal oatmeal). We learned she also likes falafel and spicy food, and grilled cheese sandwiches!

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She continued to refuse milk in a sippy cup, but did slowly start to learn to drink water.

For most of February and March, she consistently nursed a few times a day when at home with me: first thing in the morning, around noon, and again around 4pm, each time for just a few minutes. I continued to send breastmilk into nursery every day, but mostly it ended up being thrown out. I stopped pumping milk around 10.5 months since I had a lot in the freezer, and just sent in the freezer stash to nursery until just before she turned one. From a practical standpoint, it was very liberating to stop pumping at work and not have to clean all the pump parts every night and cart them back and forth. But it’s also the first step in her weaning completely, which makes me sad. I’m proud of how well she’s done with breastfeeding, and I like that it is such a sweet bonding time for us. I can’t really imagine what it will be like when we stop completely.

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Other things:

  • She loves blowing kisses!
  • Likes turning pages and opening hidden flaps on books, and generally likes to look inside and under things.
  • She began to really get a lot more mobile, pushing up on her knees and up on her feet, climbing over me, and loves practicing standing up (while holding onto something).
  • Just after turning 11 months, she began pulling up on the coffee table completely by herself.
  • Making lots of sounds and noises and says “Da-da” and “Ma-ma” pretty clearly. One day I swore she said book when we were reading together.
  • We had several unusual snow storms in London, and she spontaneously decided to catch snowflakes in her mouth! I didn’t show her that, it was all her idea!
  • Continues to have fun in her baby French class and dances way more than any baby I’ve seen!
  • It’s increasingly more difficult to get her dressed because she wants to move around so much!
  • She also wants to grip her toys tightly and is not happy if you try to wrestle a dangerous non-toy away from her!
  • Gives us huge hugs around the neck!

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We had a few health scares, including a bout of pink eye and a staph infection on her skin, several colds and high fevers and at least one stomach bug. 😦

As part of her one-year, the NHS sends around a health visitor to do a home visit (!) and check on the child’s development. This was a lovely appointment and we went over a long checklist of Elodie’s developmental progress. I learned that she is doing very well in communication and problem solving, and is in fact advanced for her age! Only thing she is behind on is gross motor skills since she’s not standing on her own or walking yet, but that is not a concern and it could be 15-18 months before she does so. So proud of my little bear.

 

 

January Catch Up: Nine Months

Catching up with some highlights of January, when Elodie turned nine months old!

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Coming back from our Christmas trip was rough, and settling back into work and nursery was not fun for any of us.

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But we had some good times, including play dates with some of our parents/baby friends.

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We did a fun baby swap with our friends Janice and Tom, who have a baby seven weeks younger than Elodie. One Saturday, we dropped of Elodie at their flat for a play date with Elizabeth while Andy and I went out to lunch! It was so nice to get some alone time with Andy and enjoy a relaxed pub lunch.

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And a few weeks later, Elizabeth came over to ours while her parents went out. It was really fun for all of us and taking care of the two babies together was much easier than I expected! I feel really grateful to have such good friends here.

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We also took a trip to the London Zoo and Aquarium in Regents Park. That was a rather wet day….

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Some new things that Elodie began to do this month:

  • Making kissy noises with her lips in imitation of us
  • Working on waving and clapping
  • Turning pages in book
  • Kneeling and beginning to pull up in her cot by kneeling.

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Two of the biggest topics always on parents’ minds are eating and sleeping.

On the nap front, Elodie began to take deeper and longer naps, regularly lasting over an hour. She still had her usual routine of needing to be in the buggy or the carrier, walking around, to fall asleep; by far her best sleep association is being in one of our neighbourhood parks. But on several occasions I was able to bring her inside asleep after walking around for an hour and she stayed asleep! This was a big breakthrough. It didn’t (and still doesn’t) always work, so we can’t count on it, but it’s nice when the stars align.

On the food front, Elodie still refused a bottle at nursery and made up for it by feeding all night. But she began eating more food during the day and even started to allow us to spoon-feed her! Since October, Elodie refused the spoon and only wanted to feed herself, but suddenly around late January, she began to like eating off the spoon. I’m pretty sure she learned this at nursery. I like doing the baby-led weaning style of feeding and she still does a combination of both feeding herself and wanting us to feed her. But I felt like she really began to eat more food once we were spooning it into her, so that made me really happy. She also began to use her pincer grip to pick up raisins and Cheerios and chew them up, to my surprise (still no teeth!)

I’ll be honest that it was kind of a tough month, with long days at work and nursery, followed by long nights of lots of feeding and wake-ups. But Elodie stayed our happy, smiley baby throughout!

 

Christmas 2017: Basel

For our final day of our trip, and the final day of the year, we found ourselves in Basel, Switzerland, with about five hours to kill before our flight out (which was at 6pm on New Year’s Eve – best time to fly with a baby for a good price!). Given we hadn’t spent any time in Switzerland, we decided to make a day of it and make it Elodie’s fifth country (and roughly our twentieth).

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It was a very quiet city, given that it was a Sunday of a holiday weekend, and lots of things were closed but we enjoyed ourselves walking around for a few hours, checking out the Rhine River, the Munsterplatz and the main city centre.

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We also had a long relaxed lunch. As usual, Elodie was her smiley, sociable self and charmed everyone in the restaurant!

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We spent more time in the afternoon walking around the city before getting the bus to the airport.

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We enjoyed having the airport lounge nearly entirely to ourselves and toasted the new year early!

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And made it safely home to London in time to get in bed before midnight!

Christmas 2017: Black Forest

For our second day trip to Germany, we took the train to Hornberg, a tiny, somewhat random village in the Black Forest.

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We wanted to go to a pretty rural location without too many tourists, and this fit the bill!

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We arrived and it was such a pleasant shock to see the village completely blanketed in snow! It was absolutely beautiful.

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The snow, and our little companion, meant we had to temper our hiking plans somewhat, and we ended up structuring the day a little differently than we normally would, but that’s every day now. When we arrived in the village, we stopped at the tourist centre to get hiking maps and then went to get a coffee and a snack.

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And then realised it would really be best to have a lunch before going on our hike since that would work better for Elodie’s nap time, and also because the one restaurant we found open for lunch would close at 2pm. So, we had an early lunch, then set off.

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The hike we chose was basically a loop around the village and up to a castle overlooking the valley.

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It wasn’t terribly long or strenuous but it had beautiful views and was really fun in the snow, and Elodie napped most the time in the carrier with Daddy.

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I loved being out in the fresh air; it was so gorgeous and peaceful.

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Can you find Elodie in here?

We followed up with a second visit to the town’s coffee shop for coffee and cake, before getting the train back to Strasbourg. 

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Such a fun day out!