Hamptons Family Vacation

I enjoyed an amazing Hamptons family vacation over the month of August. We joined a group of friends in a house for the month – 12 adults and 6 toddlers! Yes, really. I know it might sound a bit crazy, but it was a total blast. I met all of the ladies through a local mothers group and we’ve been friends since the babies were born {they are all the same age}. My husband and I mainly spent the weekends at the house, but we were able to enjoy a full week recently and soak up the remaining days of summer.

Hamptons Family Vacation – What to Do
After spending a portion of our summer in the Hamptons for the second year in a row, I have to say the area is much more family friendly than it’s reputation lets on. We were fortunate enough to have a pool in the backyard, which was amazing for days when a trip to the beach or elsewhere felt like a daunting task – eating and nap schedules still rule the roost.

Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays/WestHampton
Tiana beach was absolutely stunning – one of the best I’ve visited on the East Coast. The waves were a little fierce for our little swimmers, but beautiful to watch. The beach is wide and the soft white sand is perfect for a stroll. Daily beach parking for non-residents is $20 per car – well worth the price if you are able to spend a few hours. 

Hamptons Family Vacation

Tiana Beach, NY

Hamptons Family Vacation

Tiana Beach, NY

CMEE {Children’s Museum of the East End}
Whether you get a rainy day or not, a visit to the Children’s Museum of the East End in BridgeHampton is a must. The space is adorable, not to large or overwhelming, creative, and perfect for fostering a child’s imagination.

Hamptons Family Vacation

Working the Farmers Market cash register

La Fondita 
La Fondita is a delicious Mexican kitchen located in Amagansett. The low key taqueria is perfect for families, with picnic tables, blankets and a kid’s menu, you can enjoy a casual and stress free meal {well, as much as you can}. If you’re traveling with kids, I would suggest visiting on a sunny day as there is limited indoor seating.

Hamptons Family Vacation

Lunch @ La Fondita

Ruschmeyer’s Hotel & Restaurant
Ruschmeyer’s restaurant is a fun summertime spot located in Montauk, NY – one of my favorite towns in the area. Generally speaking, Montauk tends to be a bit more low key and less of a scene than the rest of the Hamptons, even though Ruschmeyer’s definitely attracts a spirited crowd! We ate dinner in The Magic Garden, which is perfect for kids to run around and blow off some energy before, during, and after dinner. If you are planning a visit with the kids, arrive on the early side to avoid the crowds.

Hamptons Family Vacation

Ruschmeyer’s The Magic Garden

Wolffer Estate & Vineyard
OK – you got me, visiting a vineyard isn’t necessarily considered a kid-friendly activity, but Wolffer is to good to pass up. Located in East Hampton, Wolffer has one of the most beautiful backdrops in the entire area – the grounds are simply stunning. The space is actually really nice for roaming around, there are special weekly activities {live music, etc.}, and they even offer a bento box filled with snacks for the little ones. My husband and I only stopped in to pick up a few bottles of their famous Rose, but not before we shot a few photos and let our daughter play.

Hamptons Family Vacation

Roaming around Wolffer Estate & Vineyard

Aside from the destinations and restaurants above, one of my favorite activities to do while visiting the Hamptons is to drive around while taking in the views. Farms, beaches, vineyards, farmers markets, great shops and restaurants are among the types of sights you will see. Our Hamptons family vacation was so much fun, I can’t wait for next summer!

Hamptons Family Vacation

Have you visited the Hamptons? If so, what is your favorite spot?

xx
Anna

 

How to Display Photos

Have you ever returned home from a vacation with a ton of amazing photos that never see the light of day? Whether I’ve been puzzled about ways to display photos around the apartment, or my busy life simply got in the way, sometimes my pictures don’t even make it to the printer. Sound familiar? I took a lot of photos on my recent trip to Europe and promised myself I would find a way to display them around my home-no excuses.

Start Small
I took two photos of my daughter on the trip that I absolutely adore. In combining my love for DIY projects and photography, I came up with a simple and easy craft for displaying photos, details are below. This would work well for the home or office.

howtodisplayphotos9

Before I get started let me share a little background on the photos of my daughter. My family recently traveled to Switzerland, and while we were touring a 14th century bridge in Lucerne, a fellow tourist handed my daughter a blue balloon. Under normal circumstances I probably would have snatched it away seeing as it came from a stranger, but for some reason I let it slide. As my daughter continued to walk the ancient bridge with a balloon, I realized I should be snapping pictures. I loved the photos I captured on the bridge that day and decided to take similar photos on our next stop in Sweden. Our stranger with the balloon was no where to be found this time, but I was able to snag a balloon and ribbon from our hotel lobby. After seeing the photos, I decided to make a goal of photographing my daughter with a balloon in each new place she visits; two down, many more to see!

DIY Photo Project - WHAT YOU NEED:
Photos
Washi tape {similar to colored masking tape}
Square white canvas {I used an 8X8 version}
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil

Instructions:
1. First and foremost, arrange to print out your photos! I used Shutterfly, my go-to site for printing pictures.

How To Display Photos

2. Next, gather all materials and set up shop in a roomy work station, I used my kitchen table {gotta love city living!}.

How To Display Photos

3. Before getting started on the design, you need to mount the photo. The easiest way to do this is to take a ruler and measure the sides of your canvas, leaving a small pencil mark in the center of each side. Next, measure the sides of your photo, leaving a small pencil indent in the center of each side.

How To Display Photos

4. Next, line up the dots. If you are using a square canvas, the center dots of the photo should align with the dots you made on the canvas, leaving you with a 2×1 inch border {8×8 canvas and 4×6 picture} around the photo.

How To Display Photos

5. Once you’ve determined the center points, you need to secure the photo. I used washi tape, but you can also use a bit of craft glue {be sure to smooth it out along the backside of the photo, no big globs}.

6. Let the fun begin! How you use the washi tape is entirely up to you. I created two separate patterns using vertical, horizontal, and diagonals lines. I cut the washi tape in half for the picture boarder {see photos below}.

Note: If you’ve never used washi tape before, it’s about as adhesive as a Post-it note and is easily removable. Most tapes are sheer, so keep that in mind when choosing certain patterns and colors. Lastly, the simplest designs are centered around straight lines and diagonals.

How To Display PhotosThe final product:

How To Display Photos

How To Display Photos

How To Display Photos

The canvases I designed are meant to stand up, but you can certainly find a similar product with a bracket for hanging. There are so many different home décor ideas out there, so just focus on letting your creativity shine! Whether you decide to use washi tape like I did or another type of adornment, remember to allow your photos and most importantly the memories to take center stage! If you’re a bit timid at trying out a DIY project, I encourage you to still incorporate some personal flare into the home! Custom wall art can be done online for those of you that prefer that route.

What do you think of the display? Will you try this with your own photos? 

xx
Anna

 

 

How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat

My daughter has finally come of age, it’s time for the picky toddler chat. I wouldn’t have previously described my daughter as picky, but lately she’s been flexing her NO muscles a bit more at mealtime. As I’ve been navigating my way through toddlerhood, I picked up a few useful tips on how to get a picky toddler to eat, all the gory details are below.

How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat

How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat 
First and foremost, a toddler’s desires, emotions, interests, and food choices change on the drop of a dime. Save yourself the headache and do not act surprised if your pea-loving baby refuses to even allow the tiny green vegetable on her plate on any given day; it’s so normal, but exhausting. What are you supposed to do in this situation?

  • Don’t force a child to eat, even a well-intentioned one-more-bite should be avoided
  • Remove the undesired item while pointing out the other delicious options on the plate
  • Avoid turning into a short order cook by keeping several ready-made foods available
  • If your child hasn’t eaten much of anything, replace the “peas” with 1 additional food choice {a healthy smoothie is a great option}

General Tips on How to Handle a Picky Eater

  • Allow your child to “win” a few battles, i.e.: Jonny wants to eat on his blue plate, with the green fork and orange cup, don’t fight this unless you absolutely have to
  • Give your child some space during mealtime, i.e.: don’t hover, clean their face midway, or point out what’s left on the plate – teach him the art of mealtime by engaging in a conversation {it might be one-sided for a bit} that doesn’t involve the mention of food
  • Keep trying to offer new foods – today could be the day! 
  • Give your toddler some control by allowing her to choose between two dinner plates, the mozzarella cheese or the provolone cheese in the refrigerator, etc.
  • Prepare the same food different ways, i.e.: chicken nuggets, grilled chicken, pulled chicken, baked chicken, chicken meatballs, etc.
  • Partitioned plates don’t work for all children, i.e.: blueberries, cheese, and chicken on one plate – try offering each food one by one, especially if they have a strong preference towards one item {once my daughter saw the strawberries she wouldn’t eat anything else}
  • Fuel your toddler with healthy foods, a lot of changes occur during the toddler years, fill your little one up with nutritious, protein-packed meals and lead by example
  • Kids eat when they are hungry, don’t stress over any individual meal {consult a pediatrician with any concerns}
  • New {social} environments may hinder mealtime, don’t be surprised if your child is to distracted to eat, it’s completely normal
  • Set rules and be firm, i.e.: no walking while eating, no throwing food from the high chair- whatever the rule, first teach it and then enforce it, toddlers need limits 

What are your go-to tactics on how to get a picky toddler to eat? Let me know in the comments! 

xx
Anna

 

 

 

Toddlers Learn Through Play

I love when blog topics appear right before my eyes at the playground, thank you overzealous caregiver for today’s topic! To give you a bit of background before I launch into the story, I am currently reading How Toddlers Thrive, a helpful guide to understanding toddlers written by renowned expert Tovah P. Klein, PhD {more on Tovah’s book to come}. In a chapter entitled “Cracking the Code on Toddler Learning”, Tovah details how toddlers learn a tremendous amount through the act of playing, including the development of social and language skills. The idea that toddlers learn through play makes a lot of sense and seems quite obvious if you observe children, but all to often I notice well-intentioned adults stepping in.

Toddlers Learn Through Play

The scene of the crime

Toddlers Learn Through Play
Now that I filled you in on what’s been swarming through my brain lately, I’ll share my observations from the playground. My daughter, with her bucket in hand, approached a small water spout {a glorified faucet} at one of our favorite local playgrounds. I perched myself a few feet away from the water, to both save myself from getting wet and also to let her enjoy a bit of space. The caregiver mentioned above was with a young girl who looked to be the same age as my daughter, 18-months. Not surprisingly both girls wanted to fill up their buckets at the same time, but before they could even sort out a natural flow the caregiver lined them up and began assisting with filling up the buckets. She essentially acted as the water fountain referee when there was absolutely no need. My daughter is fully capable of holding her own in a situation like the one I described. She normally prefers to observe other children before she steps in herself and trust me when I say, if she wants to fill up her bucket, she will find a way.

In my opinion, I think the caregiver meant well, but she was a bit controlling and fully underestimated the abilities of the children. My daughter has played at the same park with other children and they always seem to find a way to sort it out. If I ever feel like a situation is getting out of hand, I have no problem stepping in and protecting my child, but it wasn’t warranted in this case. At the end of the day she still enjoyed herself despite being moved around like a puzzle piece – it was more my issue. :)

How do you feel about overzealous parents and caregivers? Would you intervene in a situation like the one I described? 

xx
Anna

 

 

How I Raise My Child in New York City

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked the question, how do you raise a child in New York City? I’m not writing about this in a negative tone, in fact I totally understand the question. The majority of people, myself included until I moved to the area, only know the city for the Time-Square-like imagery. The funniest part about hearing the question is that I don’t even have a great answer, most of what I say doesn’t seem to satisfy anyone. But, I have decided I am going to answer the question, right here, right now, and in print so I have it in writing for next time!

nyckid

How I raise my child in New York City
I raise my child in New York City just like any other parent except I walk a TON, I treat my stroller like a car {yes, including the mess}, I grocery shop at least every other day, I ride the subway with my daughter, I stroll by the Statue of Liberty most days of the week, and I am constantly reminded about 9/11 each time I look up and see the Freedom Tower. As one would assume, the streets of New York City are hectic, as are the subways and tourist attractions, but not our neighborhoods and homes. My home, a two bedroom apartment, probably looks about as clean as your home right now, toys all over the living room, laundry waiting to be folded, and beds unmade. I know it may seem hard to believe, but my life is really very simple.

What I find most fascinating is the fact that my daughter is a bonafide city kid. I often notice her peering out our 15th-floor windows, watching the yellow taxis and city dwellers pass by. It’s funny for me, having grown up in the suburbs, to realize this is the only world she knows. Everyone has skyscrapers for neighbors, right? The museums, culture, restaurants and all that NYC has to offer is a huge part of the city experience, but it’s very easy to miss when you have a young child at home. I’ll admit, you won’t find me strolling down to Time Square or waiting in line to climb the Empire State building often, no I’m usually at home with a glass of wine mindlessly watching the Real Housewives of somewhere.

I love living in NYC, minus the lack of a backyard, a spare bedroom, etc., etc., but there is never a shortage of something cool to see, especially from my new view of 32.5 inches. Oddly enough, answering the question is harder than it seems and that’s probably because I’m still learning and navigating this crazy ride of parenthood that living in New York City is the least of my concerns. :)

xx
Anna

 

Pier 25 In Tribeca

It’s hard to believe I’ve never wrote a full post on Pier 25 in Tribeca because my daughter and I have practically lived there this summer. It’s difficult to keep track of everything going on at Pier 25, but here’s my best shot, there is an awesome playground, Blue Marble ice cream {seasonal}, a volleyball court, a soccer field, mini golf and a snack bar, a dock for several historic boats, a new floating oyster bar called Grand Banks {open seasonally from July-Oct.}, and an enclosed skate park. It’s rare to find so many amazing outdoor activities in one space, especially in New York City.

Pier 25 in Tribeca

Pier 25 in Tribeca

Pier 25 Play Area 
Pier 25′s futuristic-looking playground is awesome, it has several swing sets, a mini rock climbing wall, a dome-shaped jungle gym, a sandbox and a splash park. During the summertime months, the splash park is seriously out-of-this-world-fun with tipping water cans, giant water guns, and various sprinklers and fountains. At the start of the summer my daughter was 15 months and despite getting knocked to the ground on several occasions, she repeatedly had the best day of the her life at the park. Now, as with most things that are awesome, Pier 25 is pretty popular. The best time to visit the playground, especially during the summer months, is early morning from 8-11am.

Pier 25 in Tribeca

Pier 25 in Tribeca
If the playground isn’t your thing, there is still plenty to do on Pier 25. When I’m tuckered out from chasing my daughter around the playground, I love walking around the pier while taking in views of the Hudson River, New Jersey skyline, and Battery Park City. Additionally, if you visit with small children, the soccer field is rarely used in the mornings throughout the week and serves as a nice space to let the kiddos roam free.

Pier 25 in Tribeca

A view of the Freedom Tower and Battery Park City

Pier 25 in Tribeca

Pier 25 with a view of the Hudson River and New Jersey skyline

Pier 25 in Tribeca

The volleyball courts are open daily from 9am-12am

How to get to Pier 25 in Tribeca
Pier 25 is part of Hudson River Park and is located at N. Moore Street and the West Side Highway. If you are traveling via subway, the 1 train {at Canal St.} 2 or 3 trains {Chambers St.} or the A, C, or E trains {Canal St.} will bring you within a 10-15 minute walk to the pier {approx.}.

Know before you go
The public restrooms are located in the building just north of the skate park, the building with a huge SKATE sign on the front. The Blue Marble ice cream window is also located in the building and they only accept cash. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and coverage for the kiddos, shade is limited. Lastly, there is a vending machine and snack window at the mini golf that sells treats, but also water and a variety of different beverages.

Pier 25 in Tribeca has one of the best playgrounds in Downtown Manhattan, with awesome Hudson Rivers views, this is a must-see destination if you visit New York City with kids!

xx
Anna

Babysitter Checklist for Parents

I came up with the idea for this blog post and the creation of a babysitter checklist after a conversation I recently had with a babysitter of mine. As we chatted about her morning at the park with my daughter it dawned on me, what did I even tell her before she walked out the door with my child?  When it comes to working with new babysitters, I often find myself rambling a bunch of nonsense as I head out the door and then worry for the next 20 minutes about what I might have left out. Well, my days of worrying are over! Ok, maybe not all worries, but I’m done playing a game of memory each and every time someone watches my child. Out of frustration and a poor memory, my babysitter checklist was born.

Babysitter Checklist for Parents

In order to get a wide selection of checklist items {no two moms are exactly alike},  I asked some of my friends for their input. Depending on the age of your child and when your babysitter comes, during the day or at night, choose which items are applicable and create a list specific to your needs. Below is a helpful guide to get you started!

Babysitter Checklist for Parents 

The Basics:

  1. Go over your list of emergency contacts – your number {cell, work}, your spouse {cell, work} and at least one additional person who is reliable.
  2. Emergency contacts should be WRITTEN and kept in the same place – do not rely solely on cell phones.
  3. Discuss any allergies in detail, no matter how minor the potential reaction.
  4. Your child’s status for the day i.e.: just getting over a cold, a little cranky, or she’s in a great mood!
  5. If your child happens to be sick and requires a dose of medicine, be very specific with your instructions and write them down.
  6. Give a guided tour of your home, focusing on the kitchen and the nursery. Also, demonstrate how to use your stroller or any other applicable gear.

Mealtime Prep {include as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with}:

  1. Lay out a menu for the day, include portions for all foods and a schedule
  2. Explain or demonstrate for a new babysitter how to prepare the foods {i.e.: how small/large you cut up specific foods}
  3. Be clear with certain food items and personal sticking points {i.e.: I always cut grapes in half}
  4. Does your child drink milk or water with meals? Does he use a bib or utensils?

Sleeping:

  1. Provide a bed time and detail any “sleepy” cues to take notice of i.e.: becoming silly or clumsy
  2. Explain your child’s bedtime routine {i.e.: brush teeth, change diaper, read a book, turn on white noise machine and off to bed!}.
  3. Do you get your child if he or she cries through the night? How long do you wait before going in? If so, how do you handle it?

Playtime: 

  1. Be specific about seasonal gear for heading outdoors; hat, jacket, gloves, and shoes for the winter and sunscreen, hat, and a bathing suit for the summer {lay it out ahead of time}
  2. Are you ok with your child playing in the water, or with certain toys or playground equipment? BE SPECIFIC, no one knows your child like you do.
  3. Provide cues for “ready to go home” or “hungry” {i.e.: if she starts trying to eat everyone’s food..}.

Apartment Living specifics:

  1. If applicable, write down the lobby/door man contact information and how to operate the intercom {it’s not always intuitive}.
  2. Provide a quick rundown of where the fire exit stairs are located i.e.: to the left of the elevators

Regardless of what items make up your babysitter checklist, never be afraid to communicate with your caregiver. Whether you review a list of 50 items or simply say “have fun” and walk out the doorthere is no right or wrong way. Certain checklist items will vary depending on the age of your child and the experience of your babysitter, but it’s helpful to keep a running list for both you and your caregiver. Now that I’ve created a babysitter checklist, it’s time to press PRINT and keep this list available for next time! I think I see a date night in my near future…

What is on your go-to babysitter checklist?

xx
Anna

 

 

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

I’m writing today, The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler to say, I lived to tell the story. I’m back from vacation with all my limbs, most of my marbles, and absolutely wonderful memories from our European vacation. As I often admit on The Baby Bump Diaries, I’m not one for sugarcoating the truth and there were admittedly some tense moments throughout our vacation. I would unequivocally say yes to another trip, but I might need a few months to fully recover!

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

The challenges of traveling with a toddler
The challenges of traveling with a toddler, hmm, let me count the ways… The best way to describe the challenging moments would be to say this, when I expected the baby to melt, she did. On the first leg of our trip, we took a redeye flight to Zurich and it was difficult getting her to settle down and sleep {not a big shocker}. At 10pm, roughly three hours past her normal bedtime, we reached a breaking point. She was exhausted, most likely confused, and probably a little peeved at her parents for making her sleep on an airplane; fair enough. Thankfully, she finally settled down and slept for several hours {tips on how to get there, below}, but it was exhausting to say the least.

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

Aside from the flights, which were the most difficult part of the trip, I think the adjustment to the local food was probably second in line. In typical toddler fashion, she has her favorite foods: yogurt, cheese, various fruits, pasta, etc. Well, the slight variations in flavor and texture sent her on a food strike, which was a bit stressful. I scrambled to figure out what she would eat and it turned out to be bread and soft pretzels.  Yup, carbo-loading was her method of choice for handling her new environment; again, fair enough.

Mom guilt
One feeling I hadn’t anticipated on experiencing throughout the trip was guilt. There were certain moments, as I detailed above, when I felt bad for bringing her along. If I hadn’t wanted to travel to Europe, she wouldn’t have struggled to sleep on a plane, eat strange food, or sleep in an unfamiliar crib. As a mom, I am generally very regimented with daily naps in the crib, a schedule for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I rarely change it up. I tried as hard as I could to maintain some resemblance of her schedule, but it admittedly wasn’t easy.

Throughout the trip I also felt joy, excitement, and relief as I watched her run around, laugh, and play with some of the most beautiful backdrops in the world. As far as mom guilt is concerned, I think it’s important to know when enough is enough and not to push your own agenda to hard. My husband and I traveled to Europe with a very laid back schedule and understood the majority of our activities would be determined by our daughter.

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

Tips for surviving a trip overseas with a toddler: 

  • If you’re a first time parent {like me} and haven’t traveled a ton, observe other parents around you. On our flight to Zurich, a father methodically walked up and down the aisles {probably 50 times} with his son and eventually he became so bored/sleepy he passed out; my husband and I took notice and followed suit.
  • Another tip I picked up was to drape a blanket across the seat {the seat in front of you to the back of your seat} to create a tent. My daughter finally fell asleep around 10pm and we laid her down across a seat with the blanket draped overhead to shield the light.
  • Pack tons of food for the flight, don’t rely on the airline to provide anything resembling a healthy meal for your child {or you}.
  • A lightweight stroller was an absolute must for our trip. If you are traveling to a city, check out the public transportation and decide whether you need to bring a carseat {we did not}.
  • We did not purchase a plane ticket for our daughter, but the outgoing flight wasn’t full and we were able to snag an extra seat; game changer. Despite the cost {eek}, I would purchase her a seat if we had to do it all over again.
  • I think we were very lucky with the 6-hour time change, my daughter changed over the first night in Switzerland. Upon arriving at our hotel {11am local time, 5am EST} we all took a two hour nap and then ventured out for the day. The baby went to sleep at 8pm and was set for the remainder of the trip {I don’t deserve any credit for that}.

All in all, we had a wonderful trip. The biggest change from our previous trips sans baby was the lack of any nightlife activities, there were no late night dinners on this trip. We ate dinner most nights around 6pm and enjoyed a glass of wine in the hotel room afterwards. My biggest piece of advice for those who might be contemplating a similar trip is to not overbook yourself. Create a list of places you would like to see, but factor in time for slowly roaming around and stops at parks and playgrounds. As I wrote previously, traveling with a toddler is incredibly rewarding and enjoyable, but you might need to let your little one pave the way a bit!

xx
Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

In my last travel post, I wrote about the start of our European vacation in Zurich, a lovely city to explore with kids. After a day and a half, it was time to pack up and head to Lake Lucerne, located an hour south of Switzerland’s largest city. Exploring Lucerne with a toddler was truly an unforgettable experience, with breathtaking views of both the Swiss Alps and the stunning lake, it is an absolute must-see if you are visiting Switzerland.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

14th Century Kapellbrucke

How to get to Lucerne via Zurich 
Lake Lucerne is located south of Zurich, approximately a 50 minute train ride from the city’s central train station {Bahnhofplatz 7}. Unbeknown to us, the train we booked had a small playground on the second level, which we discovered after hearing repeated shrieks and giggles from above. I LOVE the idea, but it’s a little hard to balance while on a moving train; it looked easier for the older kids.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler  Once we arrived in Lucerne, we were immediately blown away with the views of the Alps and the charming medieval city. Our hotel was situated several blocks away from Lake Lucerne and up the side of a mountain {yes, really}. After confirming with Google maps, we decided to walk the 20 minutes and stretch our legs after the train ride. Well, what Google maps neglected to point out was the elevation; we essentially hiked up a mountain with two suitcases, two carry-on bags, and a stroller with a 25 pound toddler inside. After we FINALLY arrived in the lobby, sweaty and panting, our lovely concierge pointed out the hotel’s private funicular (cable car) that transports guests to and from street level in 30 seconds; major fail.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

What to see in Lucerne
The city of Lucerne is extremely walkable, we never once thought of using a taxi and chose not to bring a carseat for that reason {we did our homework before traveling}. During our three day stay, we enjoyed a stroll around the Old City {Altstadt}, took an hour long boat tour of Lake Lucerne, walked the famous Chapel Bridge {Kapellbrucke} and the promenade along the lake, and saw Bourbaki’s Panorama {painted in 1881 by Edouard Castres}. We also visited The Lion Of Lucerne monument, a very moving tribute to the Swiss Guards who were massacred in the French Revolution in 1792.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

The Lion of Lucerne

One of my favorite activities throughout the entire trip was our afternoon spent atop Mount Rigi {known by locals as the ‘Queen of the Mountains’} and home of the first-ever cogwheel railway in Europe {it’s steep}. The train makes stops along the way to the top, where you will find a hotel, restaurants, shops, hiking trails, and small playgrounds scattered throughout the mountain. While taking in the views, I heard the beautiful sounds of Swiss cowbells ringing in the distance while my daughter splashed around in the rain puddles {we had our own ideas of “fun”}, it was truly an unforgettable experience.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

The view from Mount Rigi, Lucerne Switzerland

 If you travel to Lucerne with kids…

Let me share a few tidbits of information if you decide to travel to Lucerne with a toddler or young child {you should}.

  • The only grocery store open on Sundays is located in the train station, it’s called COOP. The store carries a decent selection of baby items, I picked up a pack of Pampers.
  • A local informed us that Mount Rigi is more family-friendly than Mount Pilatus, which is part of the reason we chose to spend our afternoon there. Mount Pilatus, the higher of the two mountains, is mainly for the view and there were major clouds during our stay in Lucerne. Rigi has restaurants, hiking trails, playgrounds, hotels, etc., so you can easily spend a few hours exploring along the various train stops. Also, it’s not cheap, expect to pay about 100 Swiss Francs per person, kids are free.
  • Check with your hotel prior to arrival about their distance {and elevation} from the train station, don’t make our mistake of hiking up a mountain for no reason!
  • There is a beautiful farmers market {Unter der Egg, Bahnhofstrasse} in Lucerne on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6am-1pm {the blueberries were amazing!}.
Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

Farmers Market in Lucerne, Switzerland

Hope you enjoyed the tour of Lucerne!

xx
Anna

 

A Parenting Milestone: Learning To Let Go

I was at the park recently, chasing my daughter around as she attempted to climb up and down the playground stairs, sneak underneath the jungle gym, and splash in any puddle she could find. In typical first-time-mom-fashion, I haphazardly tried to help her as she tackled a world that seemed much to big for her. After following her every move for a while, watching her successfully maneuver from one activity to another, I realized that maybe she didn’t need me as much as I thought; she can do this. The playground turned out to be pretty uneventful that day, not even a skinned knee, but we both learned a valuable lesson in learning to let go.

Learning To Let Go

Learning to let go is a process
Learning to let go is a process, it doesn’t happen over night. Starting with the moment I returned home from the hospital with my daughter, she began to change and grow. In such a fragile state, it’s almost impossible to imagine what your newborn will shortly become, a crawling, walking, running kid! On the park that day, the slide acted as the perfect metaphor for what I was feeling, I needed to let her go. I carefully placed her at the top of the slide, gave her a gentle push and watched her zoom down from above. She reached the bottom and turned back towards me with the most beautiful smile, she did it. And because this is real life and not a Lifetime movie, I slid down after to help her off and we carried on with our day.

Go at your own pace
The great thing about motherhood is that you get to be whoever you want to be, the type of mom YOU want to be. I tend to ere on the cautious side of life {I always have..} and this is reflected in my parenting. Why am I chasing around my daughter and another mom is comfortably watching from a distance? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. But what I do know is the wonderful thing about motherhood is that we can all go at our own pace and the same goes for our children. I know toddlers the same age as my daughter who are much more adventurous, carefree, and frankly, daring. Chances are, those kids were ready to face the slide alone much sooner than my daughter and their moms had to make the same decision at some point, do I let her go? 

Learning to let go

Thankfully, the process of learning to let go is gradual, our children aren’t born and out of the house in a week. As parents, we have many hours, days, weeks, months, and years to nurture and teach our children all that we can to prepare them for the outside world. Nowhere in the parenting handbook does it say this process will be easy or enjoyable at times, but it’s happening, each and every day. As a new mom, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I try to savor the moments and celebrate the small victories for her. The day at the park was a good day, even maybe a great day, and we both walked away with a bit of pride for what we had accomplished. Learning to let go, for both my daughter and I, is a process. We will take our time, create our own path, and end up right where we belong in the end.

How have you dealt with the process of learning to let go?

xx
Anna