Venetian memories

Venice, Italy with a toddler - baby suspendersI’m in panic-attack mode because I’ve been saying that we’re leaving “in two weeks” (plenty of time  to do…well, whatever needs to be done before you leave the country for over two months. Right?). But time isn’t static, and I’ve been saying “two weeks” for over a week now. (Of course I’m also prone to procrastination and dramatization of my feelings).

Oh funny thing TIME — yes, it keeps marching on…and WHOA, we’re actually leaving in LESS than a week. What??! And most of our days are already spoken for until we leave. And I still have to pack. And I still need to get summer clothes for Mateo. (he grew! what?!). And I still need to organize my laptop. And is there still time to get in shape for summer?? ha. There’s still LOTS to DO. I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. Except that I’m not running around, I’m kinda just sitting on the internet trying to breathe because I’m not sure where to start. I’m pretty sure it’ll be okay.Venice, Italy with a toddler / traveling with a baby (eek, baby suspenders)Our last big trip (out of the country) was last fall when Mateo was 12 months old. It was new territory. We didn’t know how we would manage “the baby schedule,” the actual travel, his food, his napping, jet lag, all that. It was new territory. Did I say that already? New.

Travel is one thing; travel with a baby companion is another. It could have gone well, or it could have been incredibly stressful. We were gone for three weeks in Croatia (plus a day-trip to Venice, Italy). In those three weeks we shuttled through two days of flights (including an overnight stay in Stockholm on the way home), a road trip, and a ferry boat. And you know what?! It was FANTASTIC! It ended up being one of our favorite travel experiences EVER. Yup, with a one year old. So much so that this year we’ve decided to go for two months + 10 suspenders. Venice, ItalyBut yeah, I should get on the packing or at least list making. I spent yesterday afternoon listening to Spanish talk radio and looking through photos of that trip. That was the formula to calm me down. It’s so fun to relive memories. Wow, I can’t believe I never went through the photos! I do that.Mateo & Tata in Venice, ItalyYou know how I said that the trip was all super fantastic? Well it was, EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE DAY IN VENICE. Oh Mateo. The little man did not find Venice romantic at all. And made sure  that Aki and I didn’t either. :) There was no napping that day. There was no sitting at cute cafes like we normally did. There were no slow gondola rides. Instead we ate on the go and tried to stay away from the rest of the tourists. Mateo was a grumpy little bear.Venice, Italy with a toddlerOH that boy tried my patience! But you know what’s funny? I love the few photos that we took that day. It reminds me that there were some good times. And distance makes the stressful moments kinda humorous. Anyway, we definitely got some great photos. That’s important, right? :)

Ya gotta have a sense of humor. Especially when you’re raising a toddler. ;)Grumpy toddler. Traveling in Europe.napping in Venice, Italy. no way!Venetian highlights according to Mateo:

Marching through the stone streets was amazing (he had only been walking a couple months).

He loved the bakery pastries and sandwiches (even if we would have rather been eating fresh pasta at a restaurant with a glass of wine).

He was fascinated by the local boys playing soccer in a little square we wandered into (and even tried  to join in, ha. No luck though. One day!).

Trying to reach the canals was a fun challenge (even if it nearly gave Aki a heart attack).

The bright red fire hydrants were awesome (even if in hindsight, they may have been awesome to local dogs as well).

The boats were fascinating (as long as he didn’t have to be stuck on one).

And really, he was happiest at the local parking garage. Did you know the Venetian parking garage is super fun? Almost like a playground. Playgrounds are better than Venice. Mateo knows this.traveling with a toddler in Europetraveling with a toddler. Venice, Italyvenice-parking-garagetrying-to-get-a-photo-veniceYOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME. And guys, it’s worth it.

Sure, when it’s VENICE….you know, VEEEENNICCE (Venezia!), it’s hard not to anticipate candle light, gondolas, and old world charm whispering to you softly around every corner. But friends, when you have a babe in tow you have to let some things go, and just go with the flow. We learned Mateo’s limits with that day trip. Our original plans included a drive on to Rome or Vienna (weren’t sure which) but we nixed those plans. You have to be flexible. Instead we stayed a few more days in the Istrian region of Croatia (wine country! truffle country! yes please country!) and had an amazing visit with Aki’s sister and family and even ended up being there for the birth of Mateo’s youngest cousin! Right decision.venice-smileWhenever I travel, I try not to stress myself. I try to enjoy the moment. Travel is your time to enjoy the moment and be present. Sometimes that means letting go of your plans and if everything doesn’t fit…there’s always “next time.” I’d rather believe that there is a “next time” than stress myself out. I’ve been to Paris and never to the Louvre. I’ve been to Vatican City and never seen the Sistine Chapel. Next time! :) PS, woulda seen the Sistine Chapel but turns out we were standing the wrong line. Oops. Yeah, next time.Henna and Mateo in Venice, ItalyThe moral of the story is, not every moment of traveling with a baby is going to be stress-free. But if you hang out with babies with any regularity, you know that “real life” with them isn’t stress-free either. So if you have the chance to go away to somewhere beautiful, DO IT. Don’t be afraid to travel with a baby companion! :)

One bum grumpy day out of three weeks isn’t a bad average. If you have to be grumpy, Venice isn’t a bad backdrop. :)toddler suspenders! the boys in Venice, Italy

**if you haven’t already, GO ON and “LIKE” our Facebook page. Let’s hang out. It’s a place to share extra photos, stories, and keep in touch!

PS  I should take my own advice. Although I do TRY not to stress when I travel, sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to “have an experience” or to capture “the” photo. I want to try to just “be in the moment” and “go with the flow” this trip. I said try. :)

PPS  Ha, anyone notice? I’m wearing the same pants as this style post, and that one. Plus the purse I showed off in the first style post. Totally my go-to travel bag. And yeah, I wear the same clothes all the time guys. And now you know.


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26 Thoughts on “Venetian memories

  1. JaeHi:

    Beautiful photos! Lots of facial expressions! Romantic backdrop! Love it…

    • Thanks! :) hahah, yes, NO lack of facial expressions in this family. :) The day was decidedly not romantic…but yes, at least we had a beautifully romantic backdrop. I just loved going through these photos. :) It was hard to choose which would go in the post!

  2. I love that photo of you and Mateo from behind. So beautiful. And I am so jealous of your summer in Europe! Enjoy, and take lots of photos. :)

    • Well you KNOW I’ll take lots of photos! :) As long as our camera doesn’t break. OH DEAR, I never connected it but we’ve broken our camera two times on two different trips to Croatia! (only times I’ve ever broken a camera). Once dropped it down a mini mountain outside of Zagreb (luckily just a point and shoot)….and last time it fell out of our car at a rest stop in the countryside. One of those stops you make because you have a screaming toddler and you’re completely flustered. Luckily it was able to be repaired when we got home but sadly missed out on taking photos for the second half of our trip. Okay, now I’m nervous for our dear camera, ha. I better be EXTRA careful this time. Now that I have a “big girl” camera!

  3. Amazing photos! It’s kind of funny because I’m actually leaving for London in about a week so I’m totally feeling the same thing–anxious about everything needing to get done but excited to travel–minus the fact that the husband will be left behind. :[ But hey, maybe I’ll see you abroad if you stop in London! lol

    • Oh, I wish we were making a stop in London, but doesn’t seem to be in the cards this trip. Hope you take lots of photos and share! :) Have an amazing trip!!!!! And good luck on traveling without the husband! The “traveling” part might not be care-free and fun but I bet you’re going to have an amazing trip! xo

  4. ha ha love the mateo +1 pictures!! so true hey.
    soooo excited for you guys and your travels!
    oh and we ‘liked’ you…obviously :)

    • Seriously! Of course in the moment I wasn’t entertained at all…but it’s so funny to look back now. I’m so glad we’ve already done it and know it’ll be great. Of course we have a REAL toddler now (who sometimes likes to throw fits). I’ve found that singing makes him calm down when M gets worked up. So yeah, I’ll be the crazy lady singing in the streets. :) And THANKS for your LIKE on fb. :) We like you too. (for real though). ha. :)

  5. You got some great pictures and it looks like you had a beautiful, sunny day in Venice!

    • Thanks Jessica! :) Yep! It was a beautiful day. No rain…just Mateo raining on our parade, haha. jk. :)

  6. I LOVE your photos from Venice and Mateo is the cutest. We went to Venice with our son when he was 2 1/2 and luckily the boats entertained him quite a bit. We are leaving on a week long road trip through Germany and Austria in a week but this time we will also have a 5 month old. Fingers crossed. And could not agree with you more about trying to live in the moment when traveling…I always have to remind myself because I want the great photo too!

    • Oooh, we’re actually going to go on a weekend road trip with Mateo to Vienna in two weeks! :) Of course I’m guessing timing would be off but who knows, maybe we’d cross paths! And btw, the couple we are visiting actually met in Belgium (where you guys live, right?). Ah, big world, small world. Have a great road trip! Can’t wait to see your photos! :)

  7. Oh wow! I’m so glad you have such positive things to say about travelling with a baby. We’re due to travel to London at some point this summer/early fall. Bubs will be about 6 months so I’m slightly worried. I saw this awesome post on some sort of Buzzfeed where a family pre-packaged several bags of candy and ear plugs and handed them out to fellow flight passengers with a note apologizing in advance for the ruckus their twin boys would inevitably make. Genius!

    Hope all goes smoothly til you leave!

    Maria xx

    • haha, I heard about that too! Savvy parents. :) I once flew from Madrid to Lisbon with twin toddler boys (as their nanny) and omg, I am still scarred. ha. (and obviously not a long flight!). I feel sorry for everyone sitting around us. They definitely deserved candy, earplugs and a nice note. ha! I was much younger though, and those were not my children. I’m much more prepared now! :)

      Take-off and landing is hard because they have to be strapped to you facing forward and they don’t always want that but the middle isn’t as bad as you’d think. One nice thing about six months is that they are still nursing or take a bottle which calms them down (snacks are magic when they’re older!)…and also, they aren’t trying to crawl around or run away. I think around one year is the trickiest because they want to wander but aren’t old enough to get distracted for too long. I thiiiiink (hope) that now at 21 months it’ll be easier for us because although he’ll want to wander, we can try to distract him with a movie. :) I bet you have so many people in London who can’t wait to meet the baby! :)

  8. Oh my goodness, Mateo was so little! What a sweet pea! :-) One of the best bits of advice I got when we were about to travel with our little guy was to look at your plans, and cut them in half. And then be prepared to cut them some more. When kids a little older than Kyle used to ask me why he wouldn’t do what they wanted him to do, I’d always half jokingly say, “Because he has free will.” But, it’s true. They’re little, but they have likes, dislikes and opinions!

    • ha, oh yes they DO! :) It’s definitely a different pace with kids, but sometimes it’s nicer to take it a little easier. He felt so old there (he was walking! all grown up!) but yep, he was just a little sweet pea. :) I’m sure we’ll be saying the same thing when we look back on this year. :)

  9. Sonel:

    We’re planning a trip to Italy in the fall. We’ll be traveling with a 2 year old and I’ll be 5 months pregnant. I’ve been nervous about it, but keep telling myself that it will all be worth it. Hearing that it worked so well for you guys is so encouraging!! My worry is really the overnight flight – with a layover in Moscow!- and the time difference. I’d love to hear how you handle it.

    • I’ll definitely have to try and put together a post on what we did last year. I’m curious to see if this year will be the same. They change so much! We also had flight transfers and an overnight layover on the way home. I’ll tell you this, there may be about half an hour in the air that is miserable, but in the long run you’ll forget about it! :) Ooooh, can’t wait to hear about/see your photos! Love that you’re fitting in a trip before baby #2! :)

  10. I think you’re right that you have to be flexible when you travel with kids. I’m eagerly anticipating our second trip to Paris with the girls (gotta wait for school to finish first though!). Our first one gave us some lovely memories – but both kids and hubby were ill so we got to do quite the tour of French pharmacies (which are fab I might add, lots of things us English would not be able to get without a prescription!).

    And everyone except me was asleep by the early evening so we never got to see Paris by night – maybe we can rectify that this time around? I hear the Tower lights up on the hour…

    Your Venice pics are beautiful (like all your photos actually…).

    • Oh, I can’t wait to see your take on Paris with your family! :) Oh, you poor things…everyone sick at once! This next time wil be so much better! I bet you’ll appreciate this next time even more! :)

  11. Aunt Shirley:

    Love your posts, Henna, everyone of them! Hope you have a relaxing & amazing trip :) Looking forward to great Europe stories & photos.

    • Thank you Aunt Shirley! I’m so glad that you can share in on some of our stories. :) Love you.

  12. Happy belated Mother’s Day and your family is beautiful!

  13. Pingback: this is how we stroll: Split, Croatia style | HENNA BLOSSOM

  14. Beautiful pictures! Your little boy is adorable!

    I’m looking for some advice – we will be in italy for a wedding this September in scansano.

    We will be taking our daughter who will be 12 months then.

    After Scansano we are debating on either staying 3 nights in Venice or 3 nights in Lucca?
    I think doing both might be too much for our little one, which do you think is best for a one year old.
    Thanks so much!

  15. Pingback: if Mateo had a blog | HENNA BLOSSOM

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