Sorry for the long hiatus since the last post. We have been busy holidaying :)
The family and I went to Italy for few weeks and now we're back again in sunny LA.
Definitely, this holiday has been very different from previous years: traveling and holidaying with a baby is not as relaxing as it used to be when Leon and I were two love birds. Ironically, we lived in a condo 5 minute walk from the beach and we never laid on the sand or had a dip in the sea.
When I travel there are few things that keep me balanced and healthy and, especially, now with Grace it is extra important that a dreamy holiday doesn't turn into a nightmare...
Flying solo with her...
Daunting as it can sound, we made it to Italy after 16 hour flight via London; Grace and I flew to Italy one week earlier than Leon. After watching gazillions of Youtube videos and read hundreds of posts on the topic, I decided I had to relax more than planning ahead everything. Packing dozens of diapers, tons of toys, cloth changes, plane headphones and other little things was maybe a good idea for some moms, but for me it just couldn't work: not only my diaper rucksack could not fit everything, but also I couldn't possibly carry that on top of a 19 lbs baby, a trolley and a stroller.
Key for survival?
Minimalist packing - you don't need a lot, seriously. Especially, if you stopover somewhere, you can buy anything at the airport. Three diapers, travel size wet wipes, one bodysuit, sippy cup, one swaddle, sanitizing wipes and one snack were basically the only things I packed for Grace.
A good amount of hope and sense of humor - probably the most important factor when traveling in general. Grace had her crying diva moments on the plane when everybody else around us was trying to enjoy their flight. Do your best to avoid the situation going worse, then smile and take it philosophically: in the unlikely possibility you'll meet those people again, you'll have something to talk about next time.
Be friendly with the cabin crew from the very beginning - be kind and polite to people always, even more so if you have to captivate their attention. That was the trick: I introduced myself and the baby to the cabin crew in our section before taking off. When it was time for me to take a little break from a very fussy little one, they were very happy to babysit her for a whole hour. Grace's favorite entertainment was a steward's goaty beard..he didn't bat an eye and let her play with it...that's what I call excellent customer service! :)
Eat well and you will only gain pounds of happiness
The best ice cream, the best pasta and real bread...Italy is my world of food temptations because everything tastes so good, it's widely available and it's super affordable. For example, you only need 5 euros (around $5) to indulge in the most luxurious breakfast in any cafe: freshly baked croissants or danish pastries, foamy and velvety cappuccino and even a freshly squeezed orange juice. It's carbs heaven and I love it.
How did I not gain more weight? I kept breakfast as usual with overnight soaked oats, a handful of nuts and an espresso. That kept me going till lunch and kept me from overeating later on. I never said no to pasta or any other good food on the table. Eat plenty of vegetables at the beginning of the meal and you'll naturally eat smaller portions of indulging food and drinks. I'd have ice cream only after having a couple of portions of fruits at the end of the meal...again, that helped with portion control and some days I had to give it a pass after devouring half watermelon.
It didn't feel like I was restricting myself: on the contrary, I felt in total control of what was going into my body and every bite was a real pleasure.
Get some time off from the 'family' holiday
We learnt this lesson the hard way. We underestimated how tiring (yet, fun!) visiting relatives is and how much we had to juggle since everybody was rightly trying to spend time with Grace. Between baby and family, Leon and I didn't relax as much as we planned, but on our last day in Italy we decided it was time to leave Grace at home and go out for a pre-wedding anniversary date (4 years! where does the time go?).
If you are away with your family or a group of friends, plan some time off just for yourself and/or with your partner. Book a treatment at a spa, have a romantic dinner (friends or family will happily babysit for few hours) or if your holiday schedule is too dense of activities, then commit to get that self-care weekend in your diary once you're back. It is also a great way to beat those holidays blues.
Little exercise? Don't sweat it...
Unless you're a professional athlete, exercising less for a couple of weeks is not a big deal. Some people are very good at doing HIT in their hotel room or in the park. I'm a creature of habits and if I change environment it takes a long time to rebuild a routine. So, what do I do when I'm on holiday? I aim to walk at least 30 minutes a day and I always take the stairs. Yes, sometimes my body craves more movement, so in those rare moments, I do a power walk, squat and do lunges for few minutes until I feel achy and the crave has disappeared.
What I'm trying to say is...chill out, guys. Don't feel guilty if you don't break a sweat every day. Rather, enjoy the rest and your body will thank you for it. Movement is important and I highly recommend to move your butt on a regular basis, but don't stress about it. You'll go back to your good old routine and although your endurance would have been affected, your body will feel recharged and ready to rock 'n roll again.
Holidays are an opportunity to recharge your body and mind , reconnect with your loved ones or just finish that book that has been on your nightstand for too long. Whatever holiday means to you, enjoy it fully. If pasta alla carbonara makes your heart content, so be it. If you're happy and relaxed, you'll be more likely in tune with your own body's needs: if you indulge in a big dinner one day, you'll adjust your eating the following one and, perhaps, you'll go for a long walk too.
Holidays are "holy" days: they are blessed moments to treasure in your heart (and in your belly).