International Travel With A Toddler

Sounds scary, I know and  now imagine flying with your one year-old by yourself! I can’t tell you how many nights before our departure I had been laying in bed thinking how I was going to survive those 10 hours stuck on a plane with my quite active baby. I had spent time reading other posts and with great relief I can now share my own successful story about our international travel with my toddler and hope you can find my tips and tricks useful if you have an upcoming trip!

The reason for another trip by myself to Germany from Dallas, TX was a family reunion/ trip for my grandparents 80th birthday last year and I’m so glad my husband encouraged me to go. The first time I took Luca was when he was only 5 months old and he slept a whole lot more than now. But honestly it went better than back in October! Here are seven tips that made the traveling so much easier for me, Luca and everyone else on the plane 🙂

  1. Snacks: The power of food is incredible! At the time of the flight some of his favorite foods were (cut) grapes, strawberries, pouches, and puffs. I found it helpful to place snacks in this Munchkin snack cup which make it more interesting getting food out and helps with food spillage! Anything that would occupy Luca for even 5 minutes is a win!
  2. Fly over night: I know, some flights are set for day or night but if possible choose a flight in the late afternoon! We departed a little after 4 pm and spend about 2 1/2 hours playing, snacking, eating dinner, getting “bed-ready”  and going to sleep at the usual bed time. We got very lucky with having two extra seats next to use so Luca slept for a good 5 hours and only woke up an hour before landing. I actually got to eat dinner in peace and watch a movie!
  3. Window seat: We actually didn’t get to sit by the window but I know he was so interested in seeing what was going on outside the plane. It worked out well for us sitting in the middle with two extra seats but that’s not the norm. I had booked his ticket as a “lap child” which you are able to do until your child is two years old and was worried I’d be stuck with him on my lap for the whole ride (which did happen on the way back home). But if you are on a full plane having the window and the view as a distraction can be helpful!
  4. Blanket fort: As mentioned before on the plane ride home we didn’t get so lucky and were stuck in the middle row in the very center seat, and I thought this is never going to work out! Luca is usually very active and loves crawling, scooting around and can’t get enough from walking alongside me. But when it was time for his nap and everything around us was still bright, noisy and cramped it was a good option to hold a blanket over us to create a calmer and darker environment. And lucky enough we had two successful naps on my lap during a 10 hour flight that left at 11 am.
  5. Night time routine: Another trick that worked out really well for our over night flight was keeping our regular bed routine. Leaving at 4.15 pm left us with exactly 3 hours before bedtime. We played, snacked, and had dinner, and then “got ready for bed”. We went to the lavatory, changed into Pj’s, brushed teeth and back in our seat I nursed him and he fell right asleep. I held him a little longer than usually to make sure he was deep asleep and moved him on the empty seats next to us.
  6. Favorite lovey/ stuffed animal: That’s probably a no-brainer but being in a new environment with lots of new noises, people and smells can be difficult for the little ones, so bringing something familiar like a stuffed animal, favorite toys, or loveys can comfort them.
  7. Child friendly music, TV show or game on iPad/iPhone: This is my last point because I only wanted to have that option as “if nothing else helps” and emergency. We don’t allow any screen time on the TV or phone but I was willing to make an exception if there were to be a meltdown. Luckily we didn’t even use my phone at all on the way to Europe, only going back to the States he watched the first part of a Curious George and sort of played with the apps. What was helpful were these LilGadgets headphones for children and the following apps: Little Fox, Bloom Tunes, and My First Words available in the App Store.

I hope you find this post helpful for an upcoming trip! Let me know if you have anymore tips and tricks we have another trip coming up in July with my husband’s family. Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

xoxo, Lisa

12 Month Update

The day of Luca’s 1st birthday has come and went by so quickly and now it has already been a week that we have a one-year-old! I’m still a little in denial but he’s proving me every day that instead of my little baby boy I am a mom to a sweet toddler now! It’s so crazy to me how fast this year went by.

Luca’s actual birthday was last Thursday which we ended up at the doctor’s office with his second ear infection 😦 Luckily we got rid of it just in time for his birthday party on Sunday which I will put a blog post together hopefully this weekend. The hubby has officially left the house for a bachelor weekend and I’m hoping to get all things crossed off my to-do list – we will see how much I can actually accomplish. Stay tuned!

Latest tricks: Walking like a champ but still need a finger or something/ someone to hold onto for security (I’m blaming it on being sick twice in the last month which somewhat caused a setback); he does really well when he is unaware that he is actually walking and has done 8 steps all by himself so far, not that I’m counting and have my camera in my hand at all times… He also manages to feed himself with a fork when food is on it.

Daily routine: For just two days last week got a major scare thinking he was done with his morning nap but thankfully he is back on track with his sleeping schedule. waking up around 7 am, morning nap around 9-9.30 am, afternoon nap between 1 and 2 pm and bedtime at 7.30 pm. We still love going to our Mommy and me class, run errands, take Henry to the park or to the lake.

Foods: We have started giving him probiotics to build up his immune system again after getting sick twice and having to take antibiotics for 10 whole days and I just mike it in his pancakes or eggs for breakfast. It has only been a week though so I am not quite sure there has been a difference. For lunch and dinner, we always try to give him fruit first like cut grapes (current favorite!), strawberries, bananas, pear, or kiwi. then usually follow with bread with cream cheese, noodles, veggies, soy in form of vegan hot dogs, sausage or tofurky (all available at trader joes), and sometimes add apple sauce or yogurt at the end.

Favorites: Along with his birthday he was showered with new toys and the ones he’s been playing with the most are his Lego Duplo sets, a little tikes guitar (similar one here), a school bus, and still Mr. Bear (his giant stuffed teddy bear).

We’ve been enjoying having my mom in town from Germany, but we will take her back to the airport tomorrow. And then in just less than a week, we will start Luca and I will start our journey back to the homeland as well. I’ve been really nervous about this flight for several reasons. For one I am once again flying by myself and have Luca on my lap during the whole 10-hour flight, and additionally, he has become so active, he can never sit still or will fall asleep on my without being extremely tired or nursed. Planning on writing a post about our flight experience no matter the outcome.

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Day at the Zoo with Omi (German Grandma)

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Loved watching the chimps

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New Hippo compound

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Such a happy boy!

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Up close with the Giraffs
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So mermerized by the cheetah!

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Hope everyone will have a wonderful weekend and happy Cinco de Mayo!

xoxo, Lisa

Luca’s outfit: -shoes: Converse, jeans: Old Navy, t-shirt: Zara, striped long sleeve: GAP, fedora: Target

My outfit: jeans: Current & Elliot, tassel t-shirt: SheIn, sunnies: Betsey Johnson

11 Month Update

It feels like I just sat down to write last month’s update on Luca and once again I’m asking myself where time has gone!? We’re officially in his birthday month (April 1st) and I’m silently freaking out because I have like not even started with the party planning besides pinning a million unrelated things on Pinterest – oops.

Latest tricks: now only wants to walk everywhere either being held with one or two hands and my husband is convinced he’s taking steps with him (I’m more thinking he’s just stumbled and fell forward because I wasn’t present). He is finally showing interest in books and will pull them out of his shelf and just sit there and try to flip through it its adorable! Luca also has mastered feeding himself more less and does not want to have anything to do with mommy’s homemade purees anymore, pouches are ok though lol.

Daily routine: He still wakes up at around 7.30ish and I immediately nurse him and follow up with breakfast (see at foods). Afterwards we usually play until around 9 am and I will put him down for his nap (usually about 1 hour). The time before lunch we spend by going to the park, going on walks, playing with Henry or running errands. Lunch time is usually around 12.30 and then he goes down for another nap between 1 and 2 pm, even though we have been struggling the past few days to stay down and been all cranky and tired in the afternoon (another growth spurt?), who knows. About three times a week we go to a mommy and me class at the Little Gym which he loves going to and play with other kiddos. We nurse again around 4 pm and after more play time or errand running we put dinner on the high chair tray by 6.30 pm. Bath, story time and bed by 7.30 pm.

Foods: As mentioned we’re done with the purees, even though he still loves pouches and little organic apple sauce cups from Trader Joe’s. In the morning, we almost always do little pancakes (1 banana 2 eggs fried in coconut oil), and I’ll give him some blueberries until they are done. Blueberries are his favorite for sure! Also, loves blackberries, kiwi, bread wither lightly buttered or vegan cream cheese spread, tofu, pear, zucchini, rice, carrots, peas, butternut squash, yoghurt with fruit puree, eggs, bananas.

Favorites: His new obsession is this same sized stuffed bear that as always been in his nursery but just now caught his attention and he LOVES throwing himself on him and hugging the bear it seriously is the cutest thing! Still loves petting Henry and Lilly (our dog and cat), playing with blocks, enjoys Lego Duplo, books (especially the ones where you and open things and are interactive), looking out the window and playing hide-and-seek/ peek-a-boo under his crib.

We had my sister visit from Germany last week and he had such a great time with her and we’re so excited to be seeing her again the beginning of May! First my mom will come for his birthday the end of the month and we can’t wait for her to be here! It’s hard for me to have them so far away but the makes the reunions so much sweeter.

Thank you for stopping by and checking in on the blog!

xoxo, Lisa

Spring At The Silos in Waco

Road Trip to Spring at the Silos at Magnolia Market in Waco

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So much to discover in the garden on the market grounds!
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Dress is Nordstrom Rack brand Abound and shoes are Superga
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Best Crepes! 
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Entry into the market
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Everything is Pinterest perfect!

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Luca had so much fun exploring!

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Its already been one and a half weeks now that my friend Caitlin and I took Luca to a super spontaneous, in our definition “crazy” day trip to Waco to join in on the fun at the Spring Festival at Magnolia Market. On a weekend. With an almost one year old. Yes, fun! But knowing the obsession people (us included) have with the Gaines family and the Fixer Upper show on HGTV we thought we’d come prepared – without any too concrete ideas or expectations just wanting to have fun.

We left Dallas around 10.30 after a morning nap and without any traffic we made it to Waco around noon. First setting eyes on the Silos we couldn’t believe our eyes already seeing special enforcement by the police directing people for parking. We parked a few streets away from the market and after glancing over the crowd decided to start off with street market and vendors before trying our luck inside the actual market area and shop. There was no entry fee and the vendor fair featured artisans from all across the country with jewelry, leather goods, flowers, pottery, baby goods and much more. The most amazing part about it all was supporting all either local or ‘brick-and-mortar” type of shops highlighting craftsmanship and work with people in less fortunate circumstances. After shopping the stands, we went to grab our favorite treat – Crepes from a food truck called Co-Town who has a permanent spot inside the market. After talking to our table neighbors, we were encouraged to get in line to go into the magnolia store. The line moved quick and in 25 minutes we had made it inside and staff was incredibly friendly and made it a great experience with a tired little baby boy. After another round through the vendor fair and deciding not even try get anything from the bakery (line was supposed to take 45 min to an hour!) we headed back to our car and after a quick stop at Taco Bell we were on the road back to D-town.

Here are a few of my favorite vendors who all have a website or an etsy shop. Go check them out! (The full vendor list is on the Magnolia Market website:

Paper goods:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxHollowDesignCo

http://heartswellco.com/

http://www.wildfieldpaperco.com/

Clothing and accessories:

https://www.allthewire.com/pages/shop-our-gram

http://www.emjewelrydesign.com/

https://www.livefashionable.com/

http://gorings.us/

https://www.ravenandlily.com/

https://www.instagram.com/rootsboutique/

Home goods:

http://www.blackoakart.com/

https://www.letterfolk.com/

https://www.littlekorboose.com/

http://www.wild-arrow.com/

Little ones:

https://bannortoys.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/goodnaturedchild

https://www.littleadi.com/

https://littleunicorn.com/

http://thisandthatetc.bigcartel.com/

So overall it was worth it for us going since we’re only a short 1 ½ hours away from Waco and we didn’t come with any expectations. We timed it really great so Luca napped most of the car ride back and forth which made the whole trip so much better! We’ve told us next time we do want to go during the week, no extra event and NO Spring Break lol.

Hope everyone who went had a great time as well and my post will give you some insight if you couldn’t make it. Have a great day!

xoxo, Lisa

5 Tips on Being Confident in Your Skin Post Baby

I cannot believe Luca’s 1st birthday is creeping up so much faster than I can handle it and with that it’s been almost a year for my body to recover from carrying an 8lbs 2oz baby plus placenta, extra water etc etc… I had gained a total 34 lbs. before giving birth and even though I’m still young I knew it would take some work to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy. First and foremost, I have to say I am blessed with my momma’s great genes and basically didn’t get any stretchmarks during pregnancy. I also rubbed a lot of oil all over my belly trying to trick my skin into thinking massaging it will help. Additionally, I tried to stay active throughout even if it was just walks with my dog, anything that got my heart going. SO, with all that said here are a few of my tips on how to get back where you can feel like yourself again no matter if it’s your old self or a new and improved self, anything where you are comfortable AND confident!

  1. “The weight takes 9 months to go on, it’s OK if it takes 9 months to lose it” this amazing advice was of course given by my mother and when she told me that, I was thinking oh mother I will be back in shape in a hot second… right. You get really excited in the first week losing about half of your weight because, duh the baby is out, together with all the blood and water weight but then there’s still the uterus trying to go back to its original size and you remember the weekly ice cream runs to your neighborhood super market. And after a while I was coming around thinking it might be a while longer to get to where I wanted to be. So, give yourself TIME!
  2. Supportive partner: I am one of the lucky individuals that married a guy who continually told me that I looked great even when I really felt otherwise. It helped me so much knowing my spouse loves me no matter what and appreciates my body for hosting and growing a tiny human. Even though no partner would hopefully body shame you, but not hearing anything positive can hurt just the same. So, to all the baby daddies out there show your spouse/ baby mama how much you respect and love her for giving you the best gift in life.
  3. Fashion: fake it ‘til you make it! Wearing the right clothes for your postpartum body will do wonders! Everyone knows there are different styles for different bodies when it comes to fashion but you may not know it when you’re left with what feels like a stranger’s body after birth. My usual somewhat smaller self didn’t know how to dress a 20 lbs. heavier body and it took quite some trial and error to figure out what looked flattering and what didn’t. I felt really stressed out when I couldn’t fit back into my old clothes anymore. But until you do choose some loose fitted tops, re-wear some of your maternity items in the beginning and above all be patient with yourself.
  4. Active lifestyle: Just the way it helps to stay active during pregnancy, it obviously helps when you’re trying to lose your baby weight. And I’m not saying go run 5 miles and spent an hour a day in the gym, because who has the time and the energy? But for me it helped tremendously to go on walks. Even just 30 minutes every day made me feel refreshed and brightened up my mood and my spirits. I was never much of a jogger but incorporating some light jogging and ab training at home (YouTube to the rescue) worked wonders. Having a fellow mom-friend or girlfriend is a bonus (dogs count too 😉)
  5. Breastfeeding: I can’t stress this last and most important point enough. I hear about so many women who either are unaware of all the amazing benefits, not just for baby but also for you, or choose not to breastfeed because of aesthetic reasons (according to Dallas Child magazine only 6% of Texas moms report to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months). But let’s be honest: I too would like for my boobs to be small and perky again but that is just a small sacrifice for me to give the best nature can offer for my baby. I know it is a hot topic but which mother wouldn’t want the best for her child? And I am not talking about women who can’t produce enough milk. And I know there have been so many times in particular in the beginning where it felt incredibly weird and stressful, after all it’s something you’ve never done before. But despite a clogged duct, and returning to work part-time after 8 weeks, there was never a moment where I didn’t think it wasn’t worth it (I am still nursing now at 10 ½ months and working three times a week). Besides the advantages for the baby, it’s been the most helpful to losing those last stubborn pounds. I even have to be careful now to eat enough to not go under my original weight. And again, it is not all about the weight but about how you feel, but the closeness, the special bond to my son and my body confidence wouldn’t be the same without breastfeeding.

I hope after reading this some soon-to be moms and new moms will at least inform themselves about the incredibly positive things nursing does and I hope no matter what size you are post baby you are able to love the body that has brought new life to this world!

xoxo, Lisa

25 Things About Me

The past weekend I’ve entered the club of the 25 year old’s and thought I’d be fun to share some details about me and my life! Hope you enjoy…

  1. I was born and raised in Germany
  2. I got my first job waiting tables with 15 years old
  3. My first pet was a guinea pig named Fritz
  4. I have one older sister
  5. I wear glasses
  6. I first came to the US with 19 years old as an Au Pair (also known as a foreign exchange nanny)
  7. I gained 20 lbs. that year!
  8. I lived in Milan, Italy for 2 months working in a Fashion showroom
  9. I did gymnastics for 15 years
  10. I once dyed my hair brown as a teenager
  11. I owned a scooter for 4 years
  12. My celeb crushes are Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Hemsworth
  13. I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan from the start (my mom’s friend first started reading to my sister, my friend and I when I was about 6 years old)
  14. I got married in the same church in Germany as my parents and grandparents
  15. I ALWAYS wear nail polish
  16. I love dark chocolate
  17. I am a vegetarian since day one
  18. My husband and I have 3 wedding anniversaries (court, ceremony, and church)
  19. I hated wearing dresses when I was a little girl
  20. I broke my nose three different times
  21. I got engaged when I was only 20 years old
  22. I lived in the same apartment my whole life until I moved to Texas
  23. I have a degree in Fashion Marketing
  24. I don’t drink any soda
  25. I’ve never been to the Oktoberfest in Munich (yet)

Thanks for stopping by and check out my previous posts! Have a great rest of the week and enjoy this gorgeous weather!

xoxo, Lisa

10 Month Update

Every month I think the same thing but time is running you guys! It is March 1st and just two days ago our not so little baby turned 10 months old and I thought it would be fun to do a little update about Luca:

Latest tricks: standing by himself for a few seconds without holding onto anything, supported walking with mama and daddy, waving (sort of), high-fiving, crawling stairs, lots of babbling, and feeding Henry his snacks

Teeth: eight (4 top, 4 bottom)

Weight: 19.5 lbs

Foods: banana and blueberry puffs, lots of bananas, plums, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, peas, pears, mango, quinoa, brown rice, butternut squash, and breast milk

Bed time: night time routine starts with dinner around 6.30 pm, then bath, book, nursing and bed by 7.30. He usually sleeps until 7 am sometimes he wakes up earlier but after nursing him goes back down for 2 hours.

Favorites: Our dog Henry and Lilly the cat still get him the most excited, but he loves playing with balls, wooden blocks, wooden hungry caterpillar, stuffed bunny from his aunty, and all the non-baby friendly toys -.-

It seems like his first birthday is just around the corner and I’ve starting thinking about themes and location with Pinterest as my best friend. On the one hand I’m really excited because it is such a big milestone and my mom is coming to town from Germany to celebrate, but on the other it means he’s growing up and is basically off to College. Just kidding, but seriously time is running!

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Loves our walks and just look at his little crossed feet 🙂

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Besties!
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Thanks for checking out our post, feel free to leave a comment with things you’d like to see more of!

xoxo, Lisa

This is Us

It is finally nap time and no housework to do for once so I’m giving it my best shot to finally write our first blog post after creating my blog almost 2 months ago. I thought it’d be good to introduce ourselves first before I write more about everyday topics; so here we go:

Pictured above is my beautiful little family (minus the fur babies) last December. But let’s go all the way back. My name is Lisa and I was born and raised in a small town in Germany (as in 8,000 residents small). When I was a teenager my dream was always to come and visit the USA and after graduating high school it was finally my time to go. As an Au Pair ( aka foreign exchange nanny) I arrived together with 30 other European girls in New York City and I knew I was about to have the best year of my life. After a week exploring Central Park, Times Square and many visits to Starbucks it was already time to say goodbye to the Big Apple and head to the great state of Texas to meet my host family and my three kids I was going to take care of. Arriving at the airport in Dallas, I was welcomed with hot summer temperatures and felt at home right away (Germans typically like it hot and sunny since we don’t get enough in our area). The former Au Pair of my host family picked me up and showed me the house and my tasks. The family was still on vacation and was going to arrive a day later. That was in July 2011.

Fast forwarding to October the same year when I met my now husband Tommy. In my first few months in Texas I had been living the life and it felt like every day I experienced so many new things, ate Tex-Mex for the first time, meet so many new people, and spent every weekend by the pool (because that’s about all you can do in the summer) and spend every paycheck on clothes and food. One night my friend Tanja, who was also a German Au Pair in her second year in Dallas invited me to watch the 5th game of the Baseball World Series with two guys, one of them being Tommy. We got to his apartment and had a few beers, watched the Rangers loose and had a great time talking and laughing. On the way back home I remember thinking that Tommy was funny and pretty cute. After that night I didn’t see him again until a few weeks later at a soccer game and we again had a great time at a bar we went to after and it was then he declared he was going to be my “American boyfriend”.  In the next months we got to see each other a lot and in February on Valentines Day five years ago now, he finally asked me to be his girlfriend (Justin Timberlake and Nelly may or may not have been played that night ;)).

July 2012 came way too fast and my year in the States was about to end when Tommy started asking me all these life questions, me not knowing what it was all about. We had been trying to figure out ways we could be together but knowing that long term and long distance relationships hadn’t worked out for either of us before, wasn’t an option. I still remember that moment we were driving in his car when he told me about his family doing immigration work and about a certain visa that would allow me to come back a so-called “fiancee-visa”. I looked at him wondering if he was serious. He then told me he had thought about us a lot and didn’t want to live without me and eventually wanted to get married and spend his life with me that’s why he had been asking me all the questions.

This post is getting so much longer than I intended it to be when I sat down (it is now the next day and nap time once again…), I hope you’re equipped with a beverage of some sort and snacks, but to sum up the next few years: I returned home to Germany, told my parents basically the night I arrived I was going to go back to Texas to get married and live there happily ever after. Of course, that’s not what they wanted to hear from their 20-year old youngest daughter, but over the next months while my paperwork was processed they somewhat came to terms with my decisions. In September 2013 I finally packed up my life in Germany in three big bags, said goodbye to friends and family and my home of 19 years. Back in Dallas, I started school, work, we had a beautiful wedding the following April and thought we had life figured out. The ‘original’ plan was for me to finish school, find a great job in the fashion industry and then eventually add a human baby to our two fur babies. But you all know how plans sometimes work out and sooner than we thought I had a missed period and a positive pregnancy test 16 months in our marriage. And then just a few months later we became first-time parents to baby Luca, born in April 2016. I want to include more detailed posts to certain parts between then and now but that gives you a little overview about our family. To add a few words about my husband, he his born and raised in Dallas, growing up with a diverse family environment with a Peruvian mom and dad with roots in Germany, Sicily, and Ireland. As I mentioned before he is funny (sometimes too funny for his own good), caring, and incredibly hard working partner and dad and I couldn’t do this motherhood thing without him.

I want to thank everyone who has made it this far into our post and hope you are having a great week. I am very excited to start planning and writing more posts about fashion, motherhood, diy projects, and some travel.

xoxo, Lisa