VANILLA CUPCAKES

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Amelia had a cold so we stayed home all weekend long. The weather was cloudy and rainy, really puts you into the Christmas mood. We started to decorate the house for the holidays, reading books and watching ‘Peppa Pig’. It has been very sweet and cozy. Sunday morning found us making cupcakes. I gathered all the ingredients and we started playing  with the colors and the buttercream. The kitchen was a real mess but it was very funny and totally worth it. We sang the happy birthday song to Amelia, even though it is not her birthday but she loves to blow the candles from any cake or cupcake and then we had them for breakfast. They didn’t came out looking perfect but they were really tasty. This is a cake recipe so it serves about 20 cupcakes.

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Vanilla Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

250g softened butter

2 1/2 cup sugar. I put half regular sugar and half coconut sugar.

4 eggs

1 1/2 any milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

500g self – raising flour

For the buttercream:

100g soften butter

230g icing sugar

20ml milk

food coloring

 

Preheat oven to 180C and fill the cupcake tray with paper cases. With the electronic hand whisk beat the butter and the sugar. Then add in the eggs one by one and beat for 3 minutes. Lastly, add in the flour and the vanilla extract and mix well. Fill each cupcake and bake for 15 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the buttercream, beat the butter and the milk together until smooth and add in the sugar and the food coloring. You might want to separate the mixture in different bowls to color each of them differently. Take out of the oven the cupcakes and decorate with the buttercream.

 

 

MONTHLY BABY PHOTOSHOOT

A few days ago Amelia turned 18 months old, a year and a half she came into our lives. It is crazy how much in love I am with this lady. I could seriously eat her but instead we spend most of our days hugging each other. I took the monthly photoshoot idea from the amazing Mimi Ikonn when I was pregnant and decided to do it too with my daughter. I can’t wait to show them to her when she grows up, but it is also a beautiful memory to keep from my baby’s first year.

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Did you liked this idea? Have you done anything similar too?

Anna

7 MOST INCREDIBLE PLACES IN GREECE

Every time my friends ask me which is the most beautiful place I’ve seen, I say Greece. It is the absolute true, considering that it is full of tourists at any season. Greece is unique, eccentric and attractive, just as its zodiac sign, Aquarius.

I had the chance to travel in many places in Greece, but would take a lifetime to see all the  islands and villages. Below I will present you some summer and winter destinations that really impressed me.

Santorini. First time I went in Santorini in January 2015, for work with my husband, so logically not the perfect period to be on a Greek island. When we arrived in our hotel, in Oia village I was fascinated with all that beauty around me. We all have heard about Santorini’s view and sunset, but nothing can prepare you for what you come across. The volcano right next to you and the sea just under the cliff is unreal. I haven’t been everywhere, but I hardly think I’ll ever see something similar to Oia.  If possible you should stay in Caldera and enjoy the most romantic sunset in the world. Every corner of the island is beautiful and you should visit the cute villages and beautiful beaches. Summertime is very crowed with tourists, that is why spring and the beginning of fall is a good period to visit it.

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Mykonos. One of the most famous places in the world could not be out of my list. I have to be honest with you, I didn’t expect much from Mykonos. Even though I love parties, the idea of drunk and half naked people around kept me away from the island all these years. End of this August found me in Mykonos I found out what makes it so special. First of all, the crystal blue beaches. You need at least a week to see every single one. Secondly is the aesthetic the island has to offer. Everywhere you go in Mykonos the design and décor of the hotels, cafes and restaurants is just stunning. So fresh, chic and modern with wood and white colors, it will certainly inspire you. Lastly, to my surprise partying was not that crazy. You need to go to specific areas to experience the party and clubbing. Mykonos offers a variety for any taste, beaches with loud music and people dancing, quite and private beaches, unique restaurants with amazing views, great cuisine, etc. I can keep writing of all the things I loved about this place, but what really fascinates the visitor is that the place completely feeds your spirit. Somehow I left happier and more optimistic. Maybe it was the sun or maybe the happy people, but I definitely look forward to going back again next year.

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Kefalonia. Is the largest of the Ionian islands and the perfect place for couples and families. We went there before we have a baby and I cherish those moments deep in my heart. The best way to explore the island is by renting a car and you need at least five days to see most of it. It truly is a paradise on earth. The stunning green nature and the blue beaches will make you want to stay there all summer long. The distances are quite long but the views make them worth it. The place is very photogenic, you will  make a stop and take photos every five minutes. For families with little children, I would suggest the red beach. Myrtos, which every year figures in the best beaches in the world, is definitely worth visiting it. If you are brave enough, go for paragliding. It is one of the most exciting extreme sports one can do. Don’t miss the picturesque village of Assos. Before heading to the beach make a stop at the Melissani Cave, to see the rays of sun shinning through the blue water. It is so romantic and beautiful!

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Alonissos. This is my personal favorite island. Not so well-known as Mykonos and Santorini but equally beautiful and special. It is part of the Sporades and probably the most charming one. There is no better place for quite and relaxing vacations. Having a car is necessary here too. What Alonissos lacks in sightseeing and nightlife, makes up in amazing little beaches, food and relaxation. Agios Dimitrios is no doubt the best beach. We stayed at Votsi village, which is built on a hill and has a very cute little port. Chora offers a sea view at any corner. If you go to Chayati café you will enjoy the best desserts and try the famous chocolate waffles. There are lots of pizza restaurants but traditional food is what everyone should go for. LRM_EXPORT_46144125401597_20181108_160045795LRM_EXPORT_119152926197544_20181111_001351630

Crete. It is the largest island in Greece and there is so much to see and to do there. Three years ago, in summer we went in Crete and we were driving all day long crazy distances, so that we could see as much as possible. I can say we came home more tired than we left, but totally worth it. This is what you do when you don’t have kids. We stayed in Elounda, a little fishing village in Agios Nicholaos. It is such a lovely place that we went back this year with the baby. Only one hour away from the Heraklion airport, it is the appropriate place for those looking for an all inclusive resort, especially for families with young kids. Definitely take a boat tour to the island of Spinaloga that was used as a leper colony in the 20th century. It is so atmospheric and touching if you think of what these people had to go through. Anywhere you decide to stay in Crete you will have unforgettable vacations.Balos and Elafonisi are pink sandy beaches that you can’t find elsewhere in the world so keep them on your mind. Great food, nightlife, huge sandy beaches, watersports, beautiful scenery, friendly people and amazing hospitality is what makes this island so popular.LRM_EXPORT_119715041299911_20181111_002313745

Metsovo. This is a winter destination in the mountains of Pindos, in Ioannina. Even though Greece is mostly known for the islands, it is a perfect destination for winter too. Metsovo is a breathtaking town with small houses and red roofs that has so much to offer to the visitor. Coziness is what can describe the feeling this places gives you. Hot chocolate in front of the fireplace and snow outside is what dreams are made of. If you are looking for a five star accommodation there is a great hotel a little higher on the mountain with spa, huge traditional breakfast and playground for kids. You can do shopping in the little stores and buy homemade pasta and goodies for home. Nice coffee shops and tavernas are everywhere. You can go to Metsovo by the Ioannina’s airport and then hire a car or taxi service to take you up there.  It is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen, so I totally suggest you put it on your list.LRM_EXPORT_129306923955281_20181111_100355651

Hilly streets of Metsovo, Greece

Monemvasia. Last fall we went in Monemvasia with our six month old Amelia. I had heard about it and we decided to go for a weekend. It is located in the east coast of the Peloponnese and it is actually built on an island. Little old houses and cafes, historic churches and narrow streets on a hill just above the sea will truly leave you speechless. Fall and winter make the perfect cozy atmosphere, but coming in spring and summer is great too. You should stay in the old town for the real experience, but if you are coming with a baby, avoid to take a stroller with you because of the many stairs and the paved streets. The area around is beautiful too with nice people and restaurants on the beach so a trip on the near towns is recommended. LRM_EXPORT_71888259943566_20181109_092920324

Aerial view of the ancient hillside town of Monemvasia located i

Anna

HOW I HANDLE MY TODDLER

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Amelia is 18 months old, so already a toddler and I am more scared than ever of what is going to come. Since now she hasn’t been the wildest kid, but mood swings and tantrums have made their presence in the past months. I am with her 24/7, all my days are dedicated to raising this child and it truly is the most rewarding job in the world, I wouldn’t change it for anything. The moments I get to live with her, watching her character changing from a baby to a toddler make me feel so privileged. I know that most mums have to return to their jobs a few months after giving birth, I am so grateful I had the chance to experience this whole new world.

However, not all days are good and the hard part is that I cannot take a break if I feel I need to. Dimitri leaves for work early in the morning and gets back after 8 pm, so there is nobody to keep her even for half an hour. She has been so attached to me, playing, eating, sleeping I am there. Even on nap time most of the times she will wake up 2 to 3 times to make sure I am close. It is the sweetest thing and she is my baby girl, I couldn’t be more lucky, but sometimes I really need a break. I know there are mums out there that feel the same so I have a few tips I use myself in an everyday basic.LRM_EXPORT_566313040414173_20181102_141909139

Nagging. Toddlers may be nagging for their socks, for their toy not standing on a ball, or for any other reason. You may have all the good intentions to offer your hugs and understanding but at some point you start to get frustrated too. If I see her in a bad day all I do is to take her outside. We go for a walk. To me the answer to most issues is to just go out. As soon as we head to the door her face softens and she is smiling again. I show her the little bugs or we cut an olive from the tree and she is the happiest baby.  The world is full of exciting things for kids to explore, so you don’t have to go far, the playground or simply the street out of your house is the perfect place for a toddler to forget all his worries.LRM_EXPORT_566452655145804_20181102_142128753

Not eating. Your kid may be a champ at eating or a picky eater, but the truth is that most toddlers will have days or longer periods that will resist eating. I know how hard this is for a parent, you can’t just put him to bed with an empty stomach. It took me a long time to accept it, but eventually I made up my mind and I offer her healthy options and new tastes to try. I don’t push her, if she is hungry she will eat if not she won’t. Aren’t we doing the same? We can’t eat if we are not hungry either, can we? Toddlers are going through different phases with teething, growth spurts and many other things that have an impact in their eating and other aspects in their lifes. As long as the pediatrician says there is no reason to worry about, then don’t worry.

Tantrums. All toddlers at some point will have a tantrum. Some of them more often then the others. They cannot express what they want or how they feel in a situation so they start crying and shouting. Sometimes people may think that a kid who acts like that is a spoiled one, but this is not truth. It is just the way toddlers are. They get overwhelmed easily and we have to provide a safe environment for them at that moment. When my daughter goes through it I let her express herself and I am somewhere close to her so that she can see me. After the tornado I hug her and tell her that I understand why she felt like that and I probably ask questions so that she can totally let go of what got her upset.

 

When I am tired and have reached my limits, I tell her that I am tired and I need a moment. So, I go in an other room to calm down for a few seconds and then I get back. It is not about how to handle the toddler, is about yourself too. We are humans and my personal opinion is that I don’t find it wrong that the kids sees as in a vulnerable way. This is how we teach them empathy.

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An other tip is to make fun on a difficult situation. Do you remember when you were a child how much you enjoyed to have fun and to lough with your parents? I’ve taken this advice from the book ‘The Danish Way of Parenting’, which is a great book by the way. One day in the playground, Amelia wanted to play with some older girls  but they didn’t want her, because she is just a baby. She stayed there disappointed, watching them go, then her daddy told her a funny Greek song about why she shouldn’t care of those girls not wanting to play with her. Amelia started dancing with the song and everything was ok! So don’t be afraid to turn an awkward moment into a funny one. They will also learn not to take hard moments too serious.

Tell me how do you deal with those situation? I am a new mom and any advice is welcomed.

 

Anna

MALTA WITH A BABY

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The end of August 2017 found us looking for a new trip destination. It would be the first time abroad with the baby so we wanted something that we would be there within a two hours flight.The baby didn’t cry not even once during the whole trip. She was sitting in her stroller all the time and was very happy. Malta is very easy to get around and neither us or the kid got tired at all. I have to say that traveling with a four month old baby is not as challenging as you might think, as long as their needs are met they are happy and calm.

Malta had been on my mind for awhile, but for some reason I had never visited it. Mostly because when I asked people that had been there if they liked it, they said that it was similar to the island of Rhodes. Personally I did not find any similarities except of the fact that they are both islands. I have so many sweet memories from Malta! Amelia was only four months old and it was a whole new experience for us.

We stayed in Valletta which is the capital and is such a beautiful city. It kind of takes you back in time with the old streets and the port. As it was the beginning of September it was very hot and humid. I thought that summer vacations were over but we had the chance to enjoy the beach one more time.LRM_EXPORT_423085757334158_20181030_132742757

With Amelia in her stroller and amazed by all the new things she was seeing for the first time (she did not cry even once in the whole trip), we started our exploration with the Popeye Village. It is a bit far from Valletta but totally worth it. That day was raining so many activities were cancelled. However the park is so pretty and the sea has the most amazing green color I have probably ever seen. Amelia laughed for the first time there and I cried and laughed too when I heard her. It was such a special moment!

The second day we visited the Blue Lagoon and Mdina. You have to take the ferry boat to get you to Blue Lagoon. We thought it would be a big secure ship but when we saw the little boat called as ‘ferry’ we were pretty hesitant because of the baby. They reassured us that it was secure and eventually we trusted them. For our surprise, there were many babies in the Lagoon, all alive! The place was so crowed and the beach was dirty. It is one of the main touristic attractions so is normal. The place is really small and people were having so much fun dancing with the loud music and drinking cocktails. I am very glad we went there because of the island’s natural beauty, which was stunning. You cannot skip this trip if you go to Malta.

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Mdina is the old town and the perfect place to get lost in. So many narrow streets with flowers everywhere and cute restaurants, you just wanna stay there all day long. Just make sure to make a reservation for dinner earlier because is quite difficult to find a table.LRM_EXPORT_423721136544817_20181030_133837542

Overall, I can say that Malta has a lot to offer, history, beauty, beaches, interesting sights and nice hotels. It is a small island, 4- 5 days are perfect to see everything, but I wish I could had stayed longer to get a full experience of this gorgeous country.

 

Anna

SNACK AND BREAKFAST IDEAS FOR BABIES

I try to offer only healthy food options to Amelia. No sugar, salt and processed food. It has not been easy though. Living in a Greek family where everyone has an advice to give me, sometimes made me feel unsecured about my parenting style. Questions like ‘This poor baby needs some sweet too after her meal.’ or ‘How is she gonna eat her food unsalted?’ hit me everyday. So, I haven’t been able to keep her totally away from what I consider wrong, but it is ok because kids need to be spoiled by their grandparents too. Today I am sharing some snacks and breakfast ideas that I often offer to Amelia. Her breakfast always has some protein combined  with fruits or veggies. When she was a baby she had an egg allergy, she is fine now, but doesn’t like to eat eggs, unless they are in a recipe.

  1. Pumpkin pancakes

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It is possible to make these pancakes with only an egg and smashed pumpkin, but I add more ingredients to make them even more nutritious. Instead of pumpkin you can use sweet potato as well.

1 egg

3/4 cup of smashed pumpkin

1/4 cup of smashed banana

1 tablespoon almond powder

1/2 tablespoon tahini or any other nut butter

Mix all the ingredients together and cook the pancakes in a preheated pan for 3 minutes each side with butter or coconut oil, in medium heat.

 

2.  Sweet egg toast

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This one is so delicious! It actually tastes like a pancake if you let the break soak in all the mixture.

2 slice of bread toast

1egg

2 tablespoons of milk

A pinch of cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients and let the bread soak in all the blend then cook the bread in medium heat. Enjoy with maple syrup or honey (for toddlers).

 

3. Soft apple cookies

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I took this recipe from this Greek facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/baby.nutrition/. The cookies are really soft, perfect for little kids, but we enjoyed them too.

100gr butter

150 gr honey or coconut sugar

1 egg

1 grated apple

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

200 gr white flour

Mix all together with a spoon. Drop cookies by teaspoonful about 2 inches apart on greaseproof paper and cook in preheated oven at 338 degrees for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Hope you liked those ideas and tell me if you want me to post more recipes. I have so many!

 

xo xo, Anna

DUBROVNIK WITH A BABY

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We went in Dubrovnik this April. It had never been on my list, but Dimitri suggested it because he wanted to visit the castle from ‘Game of Thrones’.  It was a great choice. This city is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I didn’t thought I would like it so much, but honestly it was stunning! When we arrived there, I was so amazed and told to him that I couldn’t believe we were so lucky to live such moments. The sun was so shiny and made the place look even more beautiful. I remember in the afternoons, when we were in the hotel for the baby to nap and everyone was sleeping I was looking from the window the whole time, because I didn’t want to miss a moment from all that beauty.

We stayed just outside the Old Town, at Ploce area, which had a great view of the city and the sea. The beaches were very pretty.  The beginning and the end of summer is the best period to visit Dubrovnik, because the weather is still warm and there are not so many tourists as in July.

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It is a perfect place for families. The Old Town is small and easy to walk. The locals are so friendly with kids. In a restaurant they even offered to keep Amelia until we finish our dinner and in another one they played ‘Johny Johny Yes Papa’ in the piano for her.  If you want you can visit the near countries too, such as Montenegro which is about an hour away. Don’t forget to try the local food and specially seafood, which is delicious.

Getting lost in the narrow streets of the Old City is the main thing to do, there are restaurants and cafes at every corner.  Also walking the City Walls is a must. It is the most amazing experience and the view is just breathtaking.  Remember to bring the baby carrier with you cause using a stroller up there is impossible.

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Overall, 4-6 days are enough to see and do everything. We had a baby so we were limited to the main attraction and a more relaxed vacation.

Have you ever been to Dubrovnik? Did you like it as much as I did? Feel free to ask me any questions.

NETFLIX SHOWS I’VE BEEN WATCHING

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It has been a couple of months since we have a Netflix account. I can say it has quite good shows for any taste. The good thing about TV series is the fact that you can watch them even if you have limited time. I cannot stay for more than an hour in front of the TV because little human will wake up. So below I have listed the shows I have been watching.

1. The Alienist. It is a mystery/thriller series. We watched the whole season in a weekend. It is a great show! So atmospheric and intriguing. You just can’t move until you find out who the killer is.

2. Cable Girls. Or ‘ Las chicas del cable’ in Spanish. This is my favorite one. It takes place in the 1920s, in Madrid and it is all about friendship, love, female rights, suffragette, etc. Anyone who I recommended this show loved it too. I can say though, I was a bit disappointed with the 3rd season. Too much drama.

3. When Calls the Heart. This drama series is so easy and simple that one (Dimitri) may say boring. I didn’t find boring the first two seasons. I liked the characters and the time period. But at some point there has to be a progress in the relationship between the teacher and the police officer. It is a bit slow but so romantic in a nostalgic way.

4. Outlander. This is what I am watching now. I like it so much! It is about a girl in the World War II, who time travels in 1700s in the region of Highlands, Scotland. Scotland is my favorite country and we’ve been there when I was pregnant. So this series takes me back to those outstanding views. This series has everything you want in a good show, war, love, beautiful landscapes, history and so much more. Highly suggested!

5. La Casa de Papel. This is in Spanish too. I watched this show because I had heard so many people talk about it. It was very interesting in the beginning but then you realize that the whole scenario is about a very well – planned robbery in the national mint of Spain and that’s all. Maybe it would show something different after a few episodes but it didn’t intrigued me to keep watching.

Occasionally I have been watching other shows too but nothing I really liked. I am always in the hunt for a good series, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

 

xo xo, Anna

 

AMELIA IOVI’S BOHO CHRISTENING

LRM_EXPORT_204045725717238_20181018_142247261Amelia’s Christening was something I was looking forward since she was born. I wanted everything to be pretty and classy but simple. It was a beautiful bohemian themed Christening in a rainy Sunday. I loved every detail about that day. The white seaside church, the summer feeling, all our people together. My girl was so pretty in her dress, seriously she looked like a princess. I can’t believe she is my daughter. She has brought so much joy into our lifes. Such a big personality into such a little person.. And she made sure to show it that day! I had to hold her all the time because she was shocked by all the situation and wouldn’t go to anyone. However, after the ceremony, she was calmed and dancing until she fell asslep on me of course!

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Photographer: Panagiotis Argyrakis

Decoration: Romantic Chic Event Planning

TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH A BABY

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Mikonos

Before we become parents, we loved to travel together. We had so much fun so we kept booking a trip after trip. When Amelia came we knew that we didn’t want to stop traveling until she grows up. In fact, I dreamt about creating family moments in new places and showing her the world. Her first trip was when she was only 40 days old to Dimitri’s brother wedding. She was so tiny and stress level so high. We stopped every hour to check her, so an actual 3 hour distance we did it for 8 hours. Since then this little girl has gone to so many places in Greece and abroad.

I don’t know what it is but we travel even more since we had her then we did before. Maybe it’s because we cannot go out that much anymore during the week as we used to. So we make up with traveling. Our people think that we are out of our minds and this poor baby is only getting so tired. But the truth is that she is the happiest and the most excited kid when on a trip. However, keeping her well rested and happy doesn’t come just like that. There are challenges so we make sure to follow some rules.

  1.  Keeping her on a schedule. Babies thrive when are in a routine. They have to eat and sleep when they need to. In every trip we make sure we return in the hotel room for her main nap. This usually happens at 13.00 pm to 16.00 pm. This is also the perfect time for us to have that much needed rest. Before Amelia we would walk and walk all day to explore every spot, but this is a small sacrifice we have to make. Adaptability is the key!
  2. Food. I know this is the main worry for parents. Babies until the age of six months usually only have milk. This is actually the easiest period to travel, because all you need is the bottle or your boobs. I was breastfeeding so the baby was fed at any time. After six months we did baby-led weaning so she pretty much was eating what we were eating, without any sugar or salt. For the babies who eat pureed food I would suggest bringing a small mixer with you. This is not necessary because usually all restaurants and cafés are glad to help you with the baby’s food. But sometimes you may not find an appropriate place to do it, mainly when you have doubts about the hygiene. You don’t wanna risk your baby’s health especially when you are not home. When you are back at the hotel for nap time, you can order something there for your baby to eat. There is also the choice of baby jar food. I only offered her twice but she didn’t like them. I am a huge advocate for fresh homemade baby food and I try to keep that in travels too but sometimes it is difficult to find something fresh and healthy, so baby jars are an easy choice for once in a while.LRM_EXPORT_1112816005064559_20180905_005856222LRM_EXPORT_1112958630339304_20180905_010118847
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  3. Baby carriers. I can’t say enough about them. If you plan to travel with a baby go and get one. You will thank me later. I can talk for hours about carriers, but I will do it in another post. When you are in a new place there are spots that a stroller can’t go through. For example, I had to ‘wear’ her in order to visit the Dubrovnik walls when we were in Croatia. It was the most beautiful thing to see, but so many stairs. She slept the whole hour on me and we enjoyed the view. I even nursed her and nobody noticed it.
  4.  Accept it. Last but not least, is to accept the fact that traveling as you used to is over. It won’t be as relaxed as it was before and you may not get the chance to experience everything you planned to. I remember how excited I was for our summer vacation to getting some sleep on the beach, or having a dinner where I could actually take a conversation with my husband. But that was impossible with a 14 months old toddler. I got myself thinking that this was a mistake. I can’t lie, it is not always easy. But it is OK. Family time, creating memories and bonding together is worth it!
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Dubrovnik