Traveling while pregnant

Bambino Fedeli has gotten around the world (whether he/she liked it or not).  Our first couple of trips were in my first trimester down to Naples, Florida.  These trips were spent mostly in the fetal position with saltines and ginger ale sitting in bed with me.  Around four months pregnant though we took Ari to Orlando to celebrate her 7th birthday at Disney World with some of Nick’s family and some of mine.  I was fortunately finally coming out of that first trimester haze and feeling well enough to   navigate Epcot and The Magic Kingdom.  We all had a wonderful time and the walking was good for me and baby.  The only difference traveling to Disney World pregnant made was that I of course could not go on some of the really cool roller coasters that I normally would have loved to ride and I had to constantly apply bug spray just to give myself some peace of mind concerning Zika.

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The next trip we took was another big European adventure or pilgrimage I should say.  We hopped on a plane and after three movies landed in Lisbon, Portugal.  17757511_10208851687395036_6783051151990565205_n.jpg

Now on this trip I’m about 6 months pregnant and I’ve got a little beach ball attached to me.  Portugal is very hilly so the pregnancy waddle was in full swing along with some minor complaints about how my feet hurt and some times when I just flat out stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to catch my breathe and pop my back.  The food in Portugal was pretty good in my opinion.  I don’t think my husband was over the moon about it, but he can’t see very far past Italian food.  It was a lot of cod cooked with onions and boiled potatoes.  I’m all for fish and potatoes so I had no problem with this.

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Ari ate a lot of their grilled and pressed cheese sandwiches.  All of us without question fell in love with a little pastry called Pastel de Nata.  They taste like a hybrid of a croissant and a yellow colored creme brûlée.  Delicious.  We ate about 7 a day, or at least I did.  Were they pregnancy safe?  I doubt it, the custard is made mostly of egg yolks and they are definitely not all the way cooked but for goodness sake if I followed every little thing I would be eating packaged food all of the dang time and that really goes against my eating philosophy of fresh whole food.  “Don’t eat sprouts, be careful if the veggies are bad or if the spinach has e coli, don’t eat this cheese, this fish, the sandwich, the salad with that dressing, the sushi, kombucha etc…” I understand some suggestions but others geesh.

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Lisbon reminded Nick and I of Barcelona.  Both are pretty tropical and warm.  Lisbon is just much more like I said earlier, hilly.  Portugal is a hidden treasure.  They have beautiful beaches, great surfing (not that I went surfing or to a beach on this trip) and beautiful music called Fado.  We went to a restaurant where we were able to hear live fado and it was so lovely.  Brazil has their Bossa Nova, Portugal has their Fado and they are both so melliflous with their language filled with shh like words.  The music is filled with passion.

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Baby Fedeli and I love these two so much

We took a day trip by bus to Fatima.  Before I met Nick I had no idea about the story of Fatima.  I did not grow up Catholic.  I was 100% open to the idea of becoming Catholic because I spent my childhood exploring Catholic churches and admiring their beauty.  I wanted to one day be able to get the Eucharist and even looked into taking classes to convert when I was in high school but never got around to it.  I didn’t think Christianity was any different than Catholicism so I didn’t see it as a big deal to convert.  After being Catholic for a year and half now I do see the differences and they are pretty big. Converting has taught me a lot.  I didn’t even really know the history of how Christian denominations broke off from the Catholic Church originally to pursue divorce.  I didn’t know much about martyrdom and holy wars, sacraments, the saints, Mary or the rosary.  I’m of course glad to know about them now.  My ideas and morals are pretty set in stone now instead of being all over the place and up to interpretation like they were when I was some sort of strange self created hybrid between Christian and Pagan.  Anyway, Fatima, there were three children who saw Mary in their home town of Fatima, Portugal.  She kept appearing to them until finally a great miracle in the sky happened.  There were also some secrets revealed.  The story is pretty incredible and anyone should read into it for themselves, believers or not.

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The next venture was to Lourdes, France.  We of course collected our water from the Grotto.  Lourdes is very commercialized, beautiful of course but I’m going to be honest there are a lot of little gift shops everywhere which make it a bit hectic and less peaceful.  I was not at peace while I was there.  I was cold and a little bugged because I couldn’t sleep at night there.  On our last day I went into the confessional in Lourdes and just cried to the priest.  There was so much in my heart that I was not at peace with.  There was a lot of anger and unforgiveness in me and I desperately needed to bleed it out.  I came out very puffy eyed and knew that I was going to have to begin a healing process and eventually write everyting off so I could free myself.  I needed to move forward and retrain my neurons to fire only to positive thoughts.  I needed to look around and see everything I had to be grateful for.  There were people in wheel chairs all around me, people fighting battles and demons I was unaware of and here I was with just some mental scars.  I had it easy.  I had to let go and let the light back in.  This did not take one day.  I was not completely healed after I walked out of the confessional or drank the holy water.  It took a couple more months for my mind to finally feel free and truly happy and content again.  I just finally spoke out loud what had been lingering and building up in the back of my mind to someone and was able to have someone pray over me and give me a little guidance.

Alright, so that was my experience in Lourdes.18010068_10208891239063803_4379070323962183042_n.jpg

On to Paris and feeling a little lighter.  The one thing I made sure to do in Paris was research all maternity stores.  I was getting rounder and the pounds were doubling what the Dr. suggested, so I decided if I was going to look like I had a beach ball attached to my ever growing body I was going to dress this beach ball cute.  One brand that I have fallen in love with is Seraphine for all pregnant mommas out there, you’re welcome!

Just make sure you are on the United States website and not the British website or else you will think those pounds are dollars and consequently think that the clothes are half of what they really are… not like I did that or anything…

We had a wonderful time in Paris again.  We visited Le Souffle everyday as a result of my husband’s souffle affinity.  We had chocolate souffles, pistachio souffles, creme brûlée souffles and my husband had Grand Marnier souffles.  Baby Fedeli and I opted out of those.  We also stayed in a different area this time.  Last time we were right by the Eiffel Tower in the beautiful Hotel Plaza Athenee.  This time we were at Hotel Bel Ami in Saint Germaine.  This is truly an adorable area.  It felt more like we were living in a little neighborhood.  There are cute shops around and the Louvre is not far.  We could also easily walk to our favorite shopping areas right across The Seine and to Ari’s park in The Luxembourg gardens.  I think because the Parisian children had school and it was a popular spring break time for American children there were a plethora of English speaking children for Ari to play with this time around.  She had so much fun it was difficult getting her to leave and it was difficult for me to get her to leave because I loved seeing her so happy and making friends in a foreign country.  It made me very proud of her.  She is so adaptable and open to new experiences.  I think I said, “Okay just ten more minutes” ten times.

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I have to mention, every hotel we stayed at on this trip made Ari feel like a VIP guest.  We went during Easter time so every single day there were Easter candies left for her.  We collected so many chocolate eggs from our hotels.  Also Hotel Bel Ami did not only leave her chocolates daily but a big bottle of Non-Alcoholic Apple flavored champagne, tangerines and assorted gummy candies.  Ari seems to make friends wherever she goes.

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Breakfast at Bel Ami

As for the Baby and me my only complaint was again sore feet.  I have come to the point in my pregnancy now at 34 weeks where I just wake up with sore feet.  It takes them about ten minutes to walk around and wake up.  Other than that traveling with a baby attached to me has been a lot easier than I thought.  I assumed I would have been much more uncomfortable.  My last trip with baby was last week.  We took a short trip to Chicago to celebrate a little family member’s communion.  My mom lives in Chicago so we stayed with her, my sister, step dad and grand father.  It was a short but wonderful reunion.  The flight was only thirty minutes long and though I’m eight months pregnant no one from United bothered me.  I’ve heard some stories where women have had to bring Dr.’s notes to get on flights.  That will most definitely be my last trip though because even though the flight was short each time my back hurt so badly sitting stationary in those chairs.  It’s definitely time to hang up my wings and nest for my little baby.  ❤

 

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Traveling with my Little

Ari’s first out of the country trip was last October (unless Puerto Rico counts… I suppose it does but anyway…)  We flew over the pond to Positano for a beautiful wedding celebrating two of our loved ones.  Ari was six years old at the time and she was an excellent traveler.  There were a few other children from our family that went on the trip as well and guess which one complained the most… ME.

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My husband and I travel a lot and one thing a lot of people don’t know (he certainly does though!) is that I am afraid of heights and hence I am afraid of being in an airplane hundreds, thousands, I don’t even know how far off of the ground.  I hate it and have found myself crying on several trips and reciting rosaries over and over again at the slightest turbulence.  Ah yes, it’s something I’m working on.  Flying with Ari though I can’t have a panic attack because I would never want to make her scared of traveling and exploring.  I want her to be fearless and blissful (to an extent, I do believe a bit of anxiety is actually beneficial in some aspects of life) so I take deep breathes and tell myself to suck it up, grin and bear it when she is next to me… all while sweating profusely and whispering Hail Mary under my breathe.

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Anyway, the first city we went to was Florence.  Nick studied abroad here so he knew the city well.  We saw his old school and went to his old favorite restaurant which was amazing.  The food in Italy is not hit or miss.  You can go into any mom and pop joint in my opinion and eat the best dish of pasta you’ve ever had, until the next meal of course.  I went to Florence ten years ago with my family and it was nostalgic being there.  I kept trying to piece together memories.  The Ponte Veccio is the bridge I almost rolled off of and died after my dress flew up and I tried to smack it down before I gave other tourists a show.  My parents were convinced I had an angel watching over me that day.  I was just glad no one saw the knickers.  The city seemed like a big maze when I was younger but on this trip it finally made sense and I was able to navigate my way around.

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After Florence and a mistake train ride to Bologna (I used to believe my husband was always right, until I started traveling Europe with him) we made it to Positano for the wedding.  The Amalfi Coast is nothing short of beautiful.  We stayed at a hotel that was on the bottom of the mountain, right next to the boats.  I loved it because it felt so convenient.  One morning our family decided to take a boat to Capri.  They had to hike down the mountain to get there.  I just had to watch from the balcony over breakfast, wait for the line to die down, walk down the stairs and hop in line with them.  A lot of the restaurants are on the bottom of the mountain as well so if you are planning on a visit and you’ve got bad knees or whatever, you will still enjoy yourself and have a beautiful upward panorama if you are lower.  Of course the wedding festivities were up the mountain so I did my fair share of hiking on the trip as well.  If you’re going to Positano bring flats.  Sure there are cars but driving through those winding streets off of the cliffs are scary and you’ll want to browse all of the cute shops and secret passage ways and corridors so I wouldn’t even suggest relying on it!  I had no idea what to expect but my Louboutins were not having it.  Hence for the most part of the trip I ended up wearing beautiful dresses paired with old flip flops until I got to my final destination.

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What I wanted to look like all of the time as opposed to what I really liked most of the time.

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Ari’s new friend. These two did not even speak the same language and yet they were attached at the hip. It’s amazing how children communicate and play.

If you do go to Positano get on that boat because Capri is gorgeous and if you like to shop they have a lot of options and higher end stores if that’s your thing.  Ari found a beautiful dress at a little boutique for cheap as well as a beautiful doll that she named Limone.  I picked up perfume from Carthusia.  It smelled lovely but unfortunately my bottle of perfume broke on my trip back to America so I was left with only a day’s use.  Just another excuse to go back though!  I also found these amazing chocolate covered limoncello balls.  Wow.  I have a few left that I hoard and savor.  There is also this crazy elevator tram that goes through the island to take people up and down.  I’ve never seen anything like it!  You’re packed in like sardines but it saves a taxi ride or sore feet.

After Positano all of us went to Rome.  Nick and I had just been in Rome for part of our honeymoon so for me it felt like, “oh hello again old friend.”  Nick and I revisited a lot of sights to show our family and our little Ari.

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I do have to mention a few places outside of Rome that are worth a visit.

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Villa D’Este in Tivoli Italy. These gardens are incredibly beautiful!!!
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Civita di Bagnoreggio or The Dying City or what I like to call the City of Cats. There are more cats living here than actual people. I also like to call it the Ultimate Walking Dead City because it looks like a good place to be if there were a zombie apocalypse.

After Italy it was off to Paris and London.  Ari says her favorite country is London.  I’m still trying to explain the difference between cities and countries and continents to her… but you get the point.  She loved London.  She loved their accents and she loved tea time even though she cried in Harrods’ tea parlor because she burned her tongue on scalding tea.  Poor baby.  Tea time is very special to Ari and I.  When we lived in Naples, Florida we went to Brambles Tea Room a lot to just have well, serious female bonding time.  Tea time is just such a luxury.  It’s not a mandatory meal, it’s just an excuse to take time out for yourself and loved ones if they’re around and simply treat yourself to flavored flower water, honey and little sandwiches and pastries.  You don’t work on your computer, you don’t play on your phone.  You simply indulge in little treats and talk to your company in the middle of the afternoon (often the most stressful run around exhaustive time for some people or when they just need a little break to day dream).  Its like a much needed siesta/meditation with others in my opinion.  Tea time is a lost art.

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Ari and her stuffed animals have seen a lot of the world.

Anyway, Ari enjoyed the London Eye, the many merry go rounds they have around the city and the Big Bus Tour.  She also was romanticized by the idea that a Queen and a Princess lived in London.  She was really hoping to spot them when we went past Buckingham Palace but no luck of course.  I personally was excited to see Ben’s cookies again.  I’ve traveled a lot of the world, certainly not all of it but a lot, and I can say that Ben’s cookies make the most Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie I have ever had.

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These things smell terrible.

Paris.  My dream city.  A woman I love very much, who was more of a mother figure for me in college than anything else, used to have me over for tea and we would talk and she would counsel me every week.  She sometimes gave me food to take home, chili one time, brownies another.  She and her husband put together Ari’s crib for me and one time she even watched Ari for me when I needed to finish a paper.  She was so kind to me and she never expected anything in return.  She was Jewish and I remember thinking that although she is Jewish she is the most Christ like person I have ever met.  To give, to welcome, to accept and to expect nothing in return is exactly how I think Christ would want us all to be.  I also just thought she was fascinating.  I loved her home, I loved the stories she shared about her own life and I held on to her every word because she is so wise in my eyes.  One day I asked her, of everywhere that she had been what was her favorite place.  She said Paris because of the light.  She said the light was different there and she couldn’t explain way.  Perhaps it was because of the way it reflected off of The Seine.  I then knew that before I died I would have to see Paris.  I just didn’t think it was going to be anytime when I was still in my 20’s let alone 30’s.  But my husband made another dream come true for me and took Ari and I to Paris.  We stayed in this beautiful hotel, Hotel Plaza Athenee, in the honey moon suite which was hilarious to me because obviously we had Ari with us so it could not be the seductive hideaway it was meant to be for those couple of days.  There were rose petals all over the bed, a bottle of champagne with freshly baked banana bread and candles lit all over the bath tub.  So… our six year old took candle lit baths every night, played in the rose petals and helped Nick and I eat the banana bread.

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Ari had just watched Audrey Hepburn’s Funny Face before we went on the trip so every chance she got she shouted, “Bonjour Pareeeeee!!!”

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After almost two weeks of traveling I fell very sick when we arrived in Paris but I did not let that stop me.  The adrenaline of a dream come true helped me drag my sniffly achy body through the city to see the beautiful light reflect off of each gorgeous piece of architecture.  We were able to run through the Louvre, make it over to the Eiffel Tower eat delicious souffles at our favorite restaurant justly called “Le Souffle” all while still giving Ari time to play at Luxembourg’s wonderful park and gardens.

This two week long trip was actually the most romantic trip I have ever been on, kid included.  It was our first international trip as a family.  A week before Nick and I had returned from our Honeymoon in Europe (will post this soon) and as beautiful and special as it was, there was just nothing like a family trip and seeing my husband bond with our daughter like that.  I came home loving him so much more and really feeling like a family.