Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Prague Blog :)

Traveling to Prague with a 14 Month Old

We visited Prague at the end of the summer while we were still in Stockholm before coming back to Kansas.  It was our first major sightseeing trip with Linnea.  We went to Florida and California with Linnea when she was 6 and 7 months old but those trips were mostly to visit friends and family.  This trip to Prague was just to see the city.  It was definitely different traveling with a mobile baby (even compared to a 6 month old) and obviously very different than traveling without kids.
We packed in two backpacks, and a duffel bag plus a travel stroller and the Ergo baby carrier.  I wish we could get away with just two backpacks but I think we have to get bigger backpacks to do that :).

The first day was all about figuring out how to see the city with a baby.  What do we do about food, milk, naps, etc?  I felt like day two was much better!

We had a direct flight from Stockholm to Prague (which was a deciding factor for this trip).  We arrived around 11:30 and headed to lunch at a pizza place close to our Airbnb.  We had a great lunch and Linnea like watching the pizzas go into the oven.
*Side note: Kids squeezy pouches with baby food in them freak me out.  What if the food goes bad and you can't see it and your kids just sucks it up?  Why can't one side be clear so you can see if the food is spoiled?  However, they are SUPER convenient for traveling and eating on the go.  This was the first time she had ever had one.

We walked around the city and headed to a park to relax for a bit and take in the scenery.

We spent two afternoons at this park.  It is actually an island in the middle of the river.  You walk halfway across the bridge and then take an elevator or steps down to the park.  The first afternoon after we landed we hung out here while Linnea napped.  We came back another time to just enjoy the view and some downtime.
We had dinner at a place called Lokal.  It was a big food hall with large beer tanks.  The food was okay but not that memorable.  This desert though was pretty memorable.
After dinner we walked to the big square and ended up catching the last clock "show."  We thought Linnea would fall asleep after dinner and milk but she kept trucking along.  We watch a violin duet which Linnea really enjoyed.

We stayed at an Airbnb and they had a pack n play and a high chair we could use.  We put Linnea in the kitchen because if she sees us in the morning she wants up right away instead of playing by herself until we get her up around 7:30.

The next morning we headed out to see more of Prague.  We stopped by the store first to grab some more milk and different cereal.  The kind we bought the first day ended up being more like cookies which tasted great but wasn't very filling or healthy.  While Jake was dropping off our groceries and filling up the thermos with milk for Linnea he left the apartment and when he went back he realized the door latched behind him. The knob is stationary so you have to have the key to turn it.  The key was inside.  So we were locked out.  Awesome!  I suggested that he pull the door out and push in on the lock with our stroller lock key.  It worked!  Thankfully that didn't turn into a big ordeal and we were able to head out and explore the city.
We walked by this moving sculpture/statue.

 My store! 
(Notice the lady behind the desk. She is in every picture we took and was very suspicious of us when we walked through the store.  Which makes sense.)
 We took a tram to the top of the hill to walk around the Prague Castle.
Linnea did a great job napping in the stroller even though the streets in Prague were BUMPY!
 Jake carried Linnea up to the top since I carried her up several other towers. (I was pregnant with her in Florence, Rome, Paris and Barcelona when we climbed a tour in each of those cities, so it was clearly his turn :).)
 The Charles Bridge from above.

 Cute street on our way to lunch.
Playing with coasters waiting for lunch.
 Food times were probably the hardest part of traveling with a baby/toddler.  We packed canned veggies (which we bought at a grocery store near our Airbnb) but it was hit or miss with high chairs and with how long she would be cool before being ready to go.
Jake had a stew and I had potato dumplings with smoked ham.  Lots of meals included potato/bread dumplings.
 A traditional Czech food (according to everyone trying to sell one to us).  It is a bread roll and some places will make them sweet or savory.  I picked sweet, duh, with chocolate and ice cream inside.
 We did a little bit of research before our trip to find some kid friendly things and this playground was one of them.  It was right on the water and a fun spot to play for a few minutes.
 At this point she wasn't walking all that much but apparently standing on a teeter-totter is no big deal.

A playground plus a view of the water.
A fun sandbox but no toys.  We were spoiled by all the sandboxes in Stockholm that had shovels and buckets that you could use.

Our dinner this night was pretty good although our waiter seemed a bit pushy and our food took way longer than it should have.  I think something got mixed up in the kitchen.  The table next to us ordered after us and had their food at least 20 minutes before we did.  Linnea did great patiently waiting through dinner.

There was also more smoking than we were used to.  We often wanted to sit outside for meals because the weather was nice and we wouldn't have to be so worried about Linnea being quiet but the second hand smoke was not fun to deal with.  I just do not understand why people smoke.
During dinner a parade went by us as part of the coronation celebration celebrating 700 years since the birth of Charles IV.  We thought about trying to go to some of the festivities so it was fun that it went right by us.

 We walked across the Charles Bridge on the way home after dinner.  You can see the Prague Castle lit up in the back.

The next morning we stopped by this park which was about a 10 minute walk from our Airbnb.
If you haven't noticed I LOVE going to parks in different cities.  This one was decked out in playground equipment which was made in Sweden :) so it looked pretty familiar to us.

 They had a huge sandpit!  Linnea was in heaven!
Not a very ladylike way to ride in the stroller.  This was the first time we used our travel stroller on a big trip and it was AWESOME!  The streets and sidewalks were really bumpy but the stroller did a pretty good job.  (Our bigger stroller would have handled the streets better but we were thankful for the smaller one.)  Plus it is super light, folds up really small (in fact we carried it on the plane and put it in the overhead bin), it has one handle so you can push it with one hand and there is a pocket right behind the handle to store your wallet, keys and phone.

Bumpy streets + sleeping baby
There were a few streets when we carried her stroller instead of pushing it because the bumps were so big.  But when she was tired enough she could sleep right through them.  We thought after dinner (and a sippy cup of milk) that she would fall asleep on our way back to the Airbnb but she actually only did that one night.

We decided to spend part of the day a little bit outside of the city at a park that would have a view of the city.
 We found this awesome playground!  I love how shaded it was!
 When you are a little too short to see.

 Just a bit windy.
We stumbled upon a kids' festival with all kinds of activities.  We spent most of the time in this tent.  There were lots of things for Linnea to climb on, ride on and play with as well as other kids to interact with.  She had a great time!

We had lunch in this tent while watching kids build towers.
 After spending the morning and part of the afternoon at the festival (including a nap - for all of us -on a blanket at the park) we headed into the city and stopped at this train restaurant.  We only order a few drinks but Linnea had fun watching the trains.

 On the way to dinner.
 We had dinner at the restaurant just to the right of the boat in this picture.

 This was our view at dinner.  It was a pretty fancy place but they were super accommodating with Linnea and it wasn't very busy which was nice.  I would say eating meals while traveling was probably the most stressful.  She was fine if she was eating but waiting for food or having to sit after she finished eating wasn't so much fun.  We definitely felt more welcome at some restaurants than others.  I was surprised how welcome we felt at this fancier restaurant.

She was starting to get a bit silly after dinner.

We walked by a restaurant on the way home from dinner stopped to watch the musicians for a few minutes.  We thought about stopping in for a drink but we weren't sure how Linnea would handle it so instead we just watched outside for a couple of minutes.

A few things we learned:
*Don't stress too much about nap times.  She will sleep when she is tired so just try to go about your day and let her do her thing.  If you stress too much about keeping her on a schedule you are going to spend most of your day worried about that and you'll miss out on seeing the city.
*Jake suggested that maybe we try to split our days up into thirds and we each get to pick something we would like to do for one-third of the day.  That way we aren't doing everything Linnea likes or Jake likes and the rest of us have to just suck it up and do it without having a say.  I thought this was a great idea and the earlier we start the better.
*Linnea was most content in the mornings so we were thinking maybe try to do something she isn't as interested in in the mornings and then plan things she will like in the afternoons/early evenings when she tends to be fussier.
*Don't over pack.  Man, I wish I was better at this and I am WAY better than I used to be.  I still bring too much stuff.  This time we packed in two backpacks, one duffel bag and her travel stroller.  We bought food while we were there.  Diapers are always hard to know if we should pack or buy.  We decided to pack them since most packages would include more than we would need for our quick trip.  Since we brought them we had plenty of extra space on our way back home which was nice.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Prague!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Finally Getting to Stockholm & What We've Been Up To

The list of things that went wrong leading up to our trip to Stockholm was long and at times felt a little like maybe we shouldn't go.  There were some tears shed and some frustrating times but we eventually made it and the actual flight (once we got on it) couldn't have been better/easier.  For fun and hopefully some laughs since it is over here is what all went down before we flew to Stockholm:
*About 3 weeks before our flight - I was having some stomach pain/cramping that had been going on for about 3-4 weeks so I went to the doctor. (Before getting to the doctor the car wouldn't start so my friend Amy came over to watch Linnea and she let me borrow her car.  Only having one car hasn't been that big of a deal until this happened.)
*The doctor pushed on my appendix and I thought about jumping off the table so she sent me for a stat CT.
*Amy stayed to watch Linnea and I had the CT done.  It came back fine.  I was relieved because the recovery time and weight limit after an appendectomy was a concern for sure with the trip coming up.
*One week later (2 weeks before the trip) I went to a GI doctor because the pain wasn't going away. He read that my CT couldn't clearly identify my appendix . . . awesome, and decided it was probably my appendix and sent me to see a general surgeon to schedule a laparoscopic surgery to look at and then remove my appendix.
*I met with a general surgeon and she didn't think it is my appendix but schedules a sonogram to check other organs.
*Sonogram looks good (and apparently I'm crazy!).  I stop taking a new supplement (which I didn't even think about until after all these appointments) and then the pain went away . . .
*About 10 days before the trip my phone broke.  I didn't drop it on the floor or in water. I picked it up and hit the power button to turn on the screen and nothing happened.  I tried restarting it, plugging it in, taking out the battery and nothing worked.  I start using a dumb phone which did not help me with all of the lists I had of things to do before we left including Linnea's first birthday party and packing.
*One week before the trip - Linnea's 1 year shots plus some (sorry tmi) diarrhea and a bad diaper rash for her.
*Linnea started getting her 4 top teeth.
*5 days before the trip I get the smart phone I won in a contest (which is huge) unlocked so I can use it in Sweden until a phone I actually might like comes out. (Then I decide to try an iPhone for a few days before returning it the morning before our flight because I just can't commit to switching over to Apple!)
*3 days before the trip Linnea started breathing quickly, acting lethargic and had a fever so we called the afterhours number and they told us to take her to the ER.  We spent 3 hours at the ER to learn that sometimes kids breath quickly when they have a fever to try to cool themselves off and she had a little bit of a red left ear.  Her first ear infection and antibiotics.
*2 days before the flight Linnea gets her first dose of antibiotics.  Her fever hangs out between 103-105 even with ibuprofen and tylenol. She just wants to be held. It is so sad.
*1 day before the flight Linnea goes to the doctor and her ear looks pretty good but she might have Roseola (3-5 days of a high fever and then when the fever breaks she gets a rash.  She could also get a rash from her antibiotics or her 1 year shots from the week before.  The doctor shows me pictures of different examples of each.  We won't really know what it is until a rash shows up.)
*Night before the flight I decide to use the smart phone I won in a contest instead of the iPhone only to have Jake accidentally break the sim card slot in the free phone and now I'm back to a dumb phone.
*Day of the flight - A friend takes us to the airport (because we aren't taking Linnea's car seat to Stockholm and SuperShuttle doesn't provide car seats).  As soon as we sit down on the plane for our first flight they tell us the Chicago airport is shut down and there is a 1 hour delay. No big deal we have a 4.5 hour layover in Chicago.  1 hour delay turns into 2 and eventually it is delayed enough we would miss our connecting flight. We decide to stay in KC because if we made it to Chicago we would have to pay for our own hotel room because they don't pay for hotels due to weather delays.  (We learn the next day that all the hotels were booked so they brought in 300 cots for people to sleep on in the airport.  That could have been us.  SO thankful we didn't go!)  I realize we can't get back to our house because we don't have a car seat. American Airlines says we can borrow one.  Sweet! Go to get it and I am told we can't actually use it because they didn't lose ours. I walk back to tell Jake we can't have the car seat and before I can get the words out of my mouth he says the same flight for tomorrow is fully booked and then I cry. In the middle of the airport.  It is 7:30 pm and we've been at the airport for 6 hours with a baby who isn't herself and now we are headed back home except we can't get there because we don't have a car seat.  I call Jan to see if she can come get us (she has a car seat we can use to get home) and then the American Airline lady calls the guy that told me no and convinces him to loan us the seat.  We get rebooked for the next day with 3 flights instead of 2 (KC - Chicago- Newark- Stockholm) and then we finally get home at 9:30 only to get up at 6 the next morning to leave for the airport again.  I was done with that day!
 On the way back to the airport in the borrowed car seat.
*Day of flight take 2 - We take the borrowed car seat in a SuperShuttle back to the airport and arrive to find out the KC airport is shut down due to fog so now we will miss our first connecting flight and I go back out to the desk to get rerouted.  (We learned a hard lesson on the first day that we should have left the gate and gone outside to get help from a ticketing agent to get rebooked instead of waiting around.  And the agents at the gates are not nearly as fast as the ones at the ticket counter.)  I wait at the counter for 45 minutes to get rebooked (rebooking with an infant on your lap is really time consuming apparently).  When I left the ticket counter there were over 100 people in line because of a cancelled flight.  I am SO thankful I got in line as soon as we found out our flight was delayed.  Our new flight is KC-Chicago-Dusseldorf-Stockholm.
 Napping in the stroller! We almost didn't bring the travel stroller but after spending a total of 18 hours in the airport waiting on flights I'm sure glad we had it!
Finally on the plane! Linnea flew on our laps but the person next to Jake moved over to an open seat so we had more room.  Linnea thought she was pretty big stuff sitting there all by herself!
Napping on daddy during on the flight to Chicago.
*Finally in Chicago (This part has some serious TMI about a baby diaper explosion so feel free to skip this paragraph!) We fly to Chicago and have lunch at our favorite restaurant in the Chicago airport.  While we are eating lunch Jake says "We have a major problem. Major."  I turn and see some green liquid on the chair in front of Linnea.  It looks like Jake spilled something in her lap and then I realize it is diarrhea shooting out of her diaper and onto the chair.  Biggest blowout ever.  Thankfully she is sitting on an aluminum chair that is easy to clean up and not in our laps on a flight.  I clean her up in the bathroom and then she naps in the stroller.
*Dusseldorf flight delayed which makes us miss our connecting flight so we get rerouted through London instead. That flight is leaving in 3 hours.
*We wait at the London gate. Everything looks great.  It is almost Linnea's bedtime so she should sleep great on the plane. While scanning our ticket at the gate they said our seat has been changed and we need a new boarding pass.  I freak out.
*We walk quickly to the desk and she checks our seats and tells us we've been rebooked (without being told) on the SAS flight at 9:10 pm (which is in less than 2 hours and was our original flight from the day before that we were told was full).  I ask her a million times to make sure we are on that flight since the London flight is leaving and then we leave the gate and go to the ticket counter to get Linnea's ticket switched over.  This takes a good 45 minutes and we start to panic that we will miss the flight.
*We make it to terminal 5 and through a SLOW security line and end up running to catch our flight.  We had been in the Chicago airport for 9 HOURS and we have to run to catch our flight.  Linnea is done with the day since it is almost 2 hours past her bedtime.
*We board the plane and get seats right behind SAS Plus next to a sweet couple who is visiting their one year old grandchild for the first time in Oslo.  We had extra leg room and Linnea fell asleep during takeoff and slept until we landed.  She slept the ENTIRE flight.  It was awesome!
*We land in Stockholm at 12:30 pm and wait for our bags even though we are pretty sure they didn't make it.  We were right, they didn't make it so then we waited to file a missing baggage claim which we've done a few times at the Stockholm airport.  Thankfully we were smart enough to pack 2-3 days of extra clothes for us and several days of clothes for Linnea.
*Our bags show up one bag and stroller at a time over the next few days.  Thankfully we had our travel stroller while we were waiting for our big stroller to show up.
We stopped for some Fika!
We had some fika, went to the store and just walked around our first day in Stockholm.  Going to bed that night was a little rough. Jake and I were really tired but Linnea wasn't ready for bed since she didn't get up for the day until after 12:30 pm because of the flight and time change.  Jake stayed up with her and held her while they both slept on the couch. I guess she tossed and turn from about 11:30 pm - 4 am and then around 4 she started sleeping but Jake was worried because the sun was coming up and he thought Linnea might think it was morning but she stayed asleep until we woke her up around 9.  We didn't want her to sleep too long and be off again.  After that first night she was back to her normal sleeping through the night routine!
Jake left her on the couch from 8-9 after he woke up.
Later that morning she crawled over to him and fell asleep on his leg.
The Royal Palace in the background.
We went to the Modern Museum the next day with Tim, Mona and Florian.  Linnea had a rash all over her chest, back and face and was tired due to jet leg plus she was getting 4 new teeth so she was struggling.

We made a bucket list of things we wanted to do in Stockholm and we started crossing those things off as soon as we landed.  Here is our list:
Restaurants: Spring Rolls (Vietnamese), Thai Middag (Thai by our old apartment), Pizzeria Kristineberg, Johan & Chelsea's pizza place, Italian place, Espresso House, Xoko
Food: cinnamon rolls, finn crisps, salted butter, flavored water, pear cookies, dulce de leche ice cream, magnum ice cream

Places: Our waterfront, walk up and down Sveavagen, Rålambshovsparken, fountain by Kristineberg & Piren, Kulturehuset, Rosenbadspark, Kaknästornet, Skinnarnksberget, all the parks we can make it to :), Junibaken, Ivar Loss Park
To do: hang out with Johan & Chelsea, Tim and Mona, Mommy fika friends (Angela, Meltem, Riandi, Maggie), James & Malin, George, play frisbee, go on a boat ride, ride over Alvik bridge on metro, ride over Västerbron in bus, get fika, go on walks
We've checked off several things but we still have more to do and of course some things are happening several times. 

Here are lots of pictures of what we've been up to!
 Riding on the metro (in a borrowed stroller).
 Finally feeling up to playing with toys!

 Play date at the park with friends!

 She sometimes crawls into her room and pulls her monkey out of the crib and then sneaks out with him.  Little stinker!
 She is working on using a plate and utensils.

Linnea had a hard time figuring out how to tip her cup up to drink from it but it looks like she is making up for lost time now :).
 Beach play date!
 Looking at some books at the library!
 This play area is in the middle of the library.
 A picnic by our old waterfront area.
 She is figuring out that she can stand for longer periods of time so on this night she decided she would stand and eat. 
 Another picnic by the water.  We are trying to soak up as much of this perfect summer weather as we can.  In the summer it is between 65-75 degrees and sunny in Stockholm (on a typical summer day).  Some days are cloudy but we had a couple weeks of perfect weather right after we arrived!

 We had dinner at a place called Texas Burger and this was a big painting on the wall.
 On our way home from a friend's house we decided to walk by city hall.  Linnea was asleep in the stroller so we took a few minutes to soak in this view.  One nice perk of using public transportation is we can easily extend our trip home to include a walk by the water or a park or a quick stop at the store because Linnea can just keep sleeping in the stroller and not be bothered by getting in and out of the car or car seat.

 We ran into Meltem and Zoe at the park.  So far we've run into 8 different people while we were out and about in the city.  I love that Stockholm is a big city but can also feel really small since everyone is walking and taking public transportation.
 I put Linnea in her crib with some toys when I need to shower.  Apparently she played throw everything out of the crib while I was in the shower :).
 She loves the swings!
After dinner with Josh, Jake's childhood friend, we stopped to watch the sunset (standing on Södermalm looking at Gamla Stan and Kungsholmen).
Rum för barn (room for kids) at Kulturehuset.  We met up with several of my mommy fika friends plus their husbands for a play date.  Some of them were off work because they are on parental leave and some were off work for vacation. 
Linnea hugging Zoe.  Zoe wasn't as excited as Linnea was for this hugging session.
Riandi watching all the kids and Linnea trying to do a somersault at the end of the video.

We went to Gröna Lund which is an amusement park.  We played carnival games as part of their femkamp package where you get to play 5-7 carnival games against each other to see who wins.  You also get money for food and two ride tickets.  Last time we went I was 4 days away from my due date and this time we went with 2 kids!

 4 days before my due date!
Johan, Chelsea, Ethan, Jake, Linnea and me all at Gröna Lund!
We walked by our old waterfront and stopped by the rocks to watch the metro go over my favorite bridge!
 Linnea is having lots of fun with all the toys in our apartment.  It took her a while to get used to playing with the toys since they were all new she didn't really know how to play with them if that makes sense.  Now she has some favorite toys like this red car, a duplo lego guy (that looks a lot like her swimming friend), Mater from Cars 2, clips that close plastic bags and some wooden puzzles.

She also likes playing with the stroller and crawling in the basket which isn't something she should be doing but she sure likes it.

The parks here are INCREDIBLE. They are fun and full of kids and parents playing.  There are big parks and little ones all over the city.  It is almost impossible to walk anywhere and not see a park.  I'm hoping to do a full blog post about parks just to show you how neat they are.  I wish Linnea could walk especially when we are at parks.  I think she would have fun toddling around (and she wouldn't wear out the knees in her pants as fast).  She has figured out how to go down slides feet first which is great!

 We ran into Tim and Florian at the park!

 Looks like Jared has this group under control!

Feet first!

 Picnics with friends have been a weekly thing! 

We went to an awesome indoor play place called Andy's Lekland.  Kids under 2 get in free and so do adults so it was free for us and it was a blast!  We met my mommy fika friends again and had the best time!


We went there for the kids . . . of course but we might go back for the parents ;).

This slide was so steep!
Angela is going to get you Linnea!

We are having a blast here.  We weren't sure how we would feel being back.  If Stockholm would live up to our expectations after missing it for the last 9 months but it is just as great as we remembered plus some since we are experiencing it with a 1 year old :).
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