First, I’d like to applaud you for managing a regular nap routine at home with two toddlers! (Brava!) In Paris, I hope you will have a good double / twin travel stroller with seats that recline, if possible, so that they might both nap while you are sightseeing—and catch the zzz’s they need when they need them. One that folds compactly and can be carried through the Metro when needed will be ideal (like Maclaren Twin Triumph or Combi Twin, click here for more info). Inevitably, there will be jetlag, and on the off chance that you have to resort to taking them for a stroll in the night, you’ll be ready!
As for getting on the “new routine,” try to encourage fresh air, sunshine, and exercise in the mornings so they can kick-start their internal clocks in the new timezone, even if they need a small catnap before a picnic lunch of goodies gathered along Rue Cler. Encourage them to burn off their energy after breakfast running laps around the fountains at the Jardin des Tuileries and Jardin du Luxemburg, and laughing at the “Big Head” for pictures outside the Pompidou. There is also a nice playground for toddlers at the Place du Vosges in the Marais, and also in the Jardin du Luxemburg.
With the children feeling amused by Paris and physically free in the mornings, it should help you fit in some of the grown-up things you’d like to do while in the city in the afternoons. When they get sleepy eyes later on in the day, after the tour groups have made way through and lines are shorter, load them into the stroller and make way for Musee d’Orsay or L’Orangerie (at the Louvre you’ll even get a special grand open-top elevator entrance just for having a stroller—though the kids might not want to miss that!).
The “mid-day lag” may also be the best time to plan train rides and ventures farther afield, so they are happier and more ready to recharge their batteries in transit, and be refreshed for the next adventure.
Also, know that as with sleeping schedules, their eating clocks may be off too, and meal-size hunger may not surface during the new meal times. So watch for their cues and stand ready to beat the blood sugar blues before they strike with a few favorite snacks on the go. Fitting in the daily calories during waking hours will also help them rest better and longer when it’s time to sleep.
If you have a question for me, feel free to post to the Travels with Baby page on Facebook or email me at Shelly at travelswithbaby dot com, with “Ask Shelly” in the subject line.
I’m also pleased that I finally got a post together in time for “Mondays are for Dreaming” at the Mother of All Trips blog. Am I ever dreaming of being back in Paris this morning, where I could be sitting in a gorgeous park with a pain au chocolait watching the kids play this morning! If you’re dreaming of being somewhere else today (or any other Monday), join the dreamers with a blog post of your own.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
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This photo, taken at the Fantasy Fountains water show at Enchanted Forest on our last road trip (read more about the Enchanted Forest here) is by no means technically perfect. But I like it. And since having come across it last night, it has stuck with me for two reasons. The first is that I think it’s a fun photo to share as part of Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday, and the second reason is that I was having so much fun as I took it.
In fact, I was having as much fun if not more fun watching my kids and hubby watching the water show as I was having watching the water show itself. Tim often asks me why we come back from family outings and vacations with so many pictures of people’s backs? His back especially, and often the girls’ backs as well. Now, sometimes, even the baby’s back. It’s a good question. Just look at the lead photo from my last blog post on Fort Funston and you will see a good example of this.
My excuse? Just like at the water show, I enjoy watching my family taking in new places and experiences. And while I also love to get some nice pictures with their sunny smiling faces, as many of you know telling a kid to stop and “Smile!” for the camera in the middle of a new exciting discovery is tantamount to removing a toe nail with a can opener—and the facial expressions usually match.
For me, it is a powerful experience to look back through some of our travel photos and be able to see my kids rediscovering things just as they truly did the moment they happened upon them. And to feel again in my legs and toes what it was like to watch from where I stood as we took it all in together. Sure, I take my fair share of attempted postcard shots as well, and in spite of my sneaky “hip shots,” I can be heard shouting “Smile!” on plenty of occasions.
But these are often the photos I treasure most in the end.
It’s been a big month at my house, and you may have noticed an ebb in the flow of blog posts—first teeth, first day of kindergarten, first ballet lessons, arm-wrestling matches over final travel plans, and visits from three grandmothers have made for glorious interruptions in my usual daily routines, and I offer no apologies.
I’ve also been working on some exciting new things I’ll be sharing next month. In the mean time, if you haven’t stopped by the spanking new Travels with Baby page on facebook, please do. Fans get extremely good travel karma–and quite possibly some other great things to come.
This post is part of my “Cheap and Free San Francisco” series.
South of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, where the sandy bluffs are macraméed with blooming succulent, you’ll find one of the West Coast’s best venues for hang gliding—say nothing of dog watching. Welcome to Fort Funston.
It’s hard to imagine a more suitable name for this former military outpost, where hang gliders dazzle hikers, dog walkers, and families who watch from the wheelchair- and stroller-accessible viewing platform and trails overlooking the Pacific.
Ready to hit the beach? It’s a good hike down to the sandy beach here, so be sure your crew hits the chemical toilets at the parking lot before venturing down to the shore. We love this beach for its festive atmosphere of colorful man-kites passing above and constant parade of dogs below. Take a look at some of the Funston fun to be had here in my video clip:
There is also some great beach combing here during the low tide, but as with most beaches in the Bay Area, be wary of sneaker waves and sudden surges that catch plenty of grown ups off guard each year. As you might expect, winds can get a bit strong here, and fog is… well… always a possibility. So be sure to dress in layers, and if you have a chance, check out the Fort Funston webcam to see the current conditions.
View Fort Funston, San Francisco in a larger map
It’s easiest to reach Fort Funston by car, and it makes a great road stop as you venture out of the city toward Monterey or Santa Cruz, or while driving up the coast on your road trip to San Francisco. Just pull in to the parking area, pop out and take a look at what’s happening—and it won’t cost you a dime.
For another free, fun activity while visiting San Francisco with your family, see my post on Point Bonita Lighthouse. This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com.
I was recently discussing my first trip to Italy with a friend (before kids, before digital cameras, before Blackberries), and had the sudden realization that, these 8 years later, we remember much of the trip in detail, but not so much its significant beginning. I think that in itself makes a very good case for having taken the trip in the first place.
Amidst all the uncertainty during the week that followed, including the big question mark of who did this horrific thing and why, we were locked in our own holding pattern at home with nearly-packed suitcases and two tickets to Venice scheduled to depart San Francisco just a week after the attacks. It was to be our first trip to Italy. We had planned and dreamed about this trip for quite some time.
Meanwhile, airplanes were grounded, understandably, across the country. The nation was in mourning. We grappled with feelings ranging from outrage and shock to a selfish desire for normalcy. No one knew what would happen next. Extended family was still cooped up in post-wedding chaos, unable to return to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and fearful of the news of friends and neighbors when they would. We knew we were lucky to be home, yet a small part of us still couldn’t wait to leave on the next adventure.
Some people expected Tim and I to cancel our trip to Italy. Some people expected we would have no choice in postponing it. We weren’t sure what would unfold exactly, as we sifted through our emotions and kept the guide books ready, until we learned that the first international flight had departed SFO. We were on the third.
It was a strange time to travel abroad, to be sure. I tried to comfort family by explaining that Air France actually had undercover armed air marshalls on some of their flights, but quickly realized that was not something to comfort your mother. In line at the airport, we stood behind a German family with small American flags tucked into their backpacks in a show of solidarity.
As Robin Williams’ character states so well in Dead Poet’s Society: “Poetry, music… love… these are the things we stay alive for.” I would add to that list “travel.” And I do.
Those who followed our Oregon road trip last summer may remember my post about visiting the Oregon Aquarium at Newport. In my enthusiasm for Newport and the Oregon Coast in general, I included several suggestions for other things to do, eat, and see for those of you who might make it to the area yourselves. Included, was this mention of clam chowder—something you simply must eat to complete any trip to the Oregon Coast:
“If you’re not in the mood to do your own cooking, I recommend The Whale’s Tale here on the Bayfront for breakfast and Mo’s Annex with its Yaquina Bay view tables (across the street from the original Mo’s) for a filling budget lunch of clam chowder and garlic cheese bread (they’ve got hotdogs and other kid-pleasers, too). However, my mother, who has been eating Oregon coast clam chowder since childhood, will tell you the best “restaurant chowder” to be had is at The Chowder Bowl down at Nye Beach. (For the best clam chowder, however, you’d have to follow my great grandma’s recipe.)”
This year, I’m happy to report that, showing true journalistic integrity on the subject, I managed to eat clam chowder at both Mo’s (at Lincoln City) and The Chowder Bowl. Which not only goes to prove that you—or at least I—can never eat too much clam chowder at the coast, but that sure enough, my mother was right.
It’s not to say that Mo’s clam chowder isn’t perfectly adequate, or that the grilled cheese sandwiches and fries served on a Frisbee don’t charm the kids, or that I don’t enjoy stuffing cracker wrappers and mussel shells into a plastic bucket (really, I do!). But from the first moment our waitress sat my Chowder Bowl down before me, I could actually see the difference. “Grab the camera!” I shouted to Tim. The first touch of chowder to tongue was something like a hug from my long-past great grandmother who once cooked up her own marvelous chowder for us just a few blocks from Nye Beach, where we sat.
It was, without question, the real deal. I’m not sure I’ve ever been emotionally moved by soup before, but so great is this chowder and the entire Chowder Bowl experience (from sidewalk wait clear through the bread pudding with surprisingly “hard sauce”), that I felt compelled to write an ode to the Chowder Bowl. I’ll warn you that this is the first poem I’ve published in a very long time (since before I started wearing this ring on my hand, and changed my name)—and now you might see why. Nevertheless, I’m a sucker for great chowder. Cue bongos, please:
Mom said, “The tourists flock to Mo’s,
But locals seek a higher goal,”
While visitors settle for Frisbees and caps,
They head to the Chowder Bowl.
Thick, buttery bowl of ocean’s best
Chopped clams, potatoes aplenty,
No place on Newport’s Oregon Coast
I’d rather drop a twenty.
For other helpful tips for visiting Newport, including some of the history of Newport’s revived Nye Beach neighborhood, be sure to check out my post on the Oregon Coast Aquarium. And for a great family-friendly resort just up the road from Newport, don’t miss my review of Salishan Spa and Golf Resort.
This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com. Head over there to see more fun travel pix and inspiration for your family’s adventures.
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