Tuscany with Bambino

The Sweet Streets of Pienza (our favorite little Tuscany town)
Strolling Pienza (our favorite little Tuscany town)

With spring break behind us, it seems that we are surging ahead to summer. I’m enmeshed in plotting out days, reserving camps, scheduling trips, and making air and accommodation reservations. I’m kind of strange, but I love this kind of stuff – a neat and colorful calendar makes me feel industrious (perhaps that’s why I went into event planning). One of my favorite tasks is planning our annual vacation and sharing what I’ve learned along the way. So, with summer on the horizon, I’d like to share my tips for traveling to Tuscany with Bambino/s. It’s really not as overwhelming as you think, I promise.

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The First Seven Months of William

We are about the cross the eight month celebration of sweet William making us a family of three and me a pink tiger, and I wanted to share what life has been like with this little guy thus far. The months passed at quite a whirlwind and I am only reminded that yes, the hours are long and the days (much too!) short!

Will’s first month (0-4 weeks)


Oh, the squishy, magical newborn days. I did not appreciate these as much as I should have, I now know. He was so tiny and grew so fast!


  • 7.5 pounds, 21 inches at birth
  • 10 pounds at 4 weeks old
  • LOTS of dark, dark hair

Will was: A champion eater and incredibly observant. He began to keep his eyes open for longer periods as his first month ended, and loved holding onto our fingers whenever he could. We learned Will was a sufferer of severe reflux when, at three weeks old, he spent a couple of days oscillating between sad, whimpery cries and eating. He began taking Zantac three times daily and continues to do so to this day! He wore newborn clothes until about three weeks old, and officially began to wear exclusively 0-3 month items.

Daily “Routine”: We worked so hard to get that internal clock set, and nights were pretty established a few weeks in. He’d give us a couple of great 3 hour chunks in a row by one-month old, and started getting a bottle of pumped milk on his first wake-up, sometime between 11 and 1 am. After 3 am, he’d wake about every 90 minutes to two hours, and I already miss watching the sunrise from my bed with him snuggled close to me, cluster nursing every morning from about 7 to 10 AM. I started to notice a pattern around three weeks old – a solid four to five naps a day, including typically a long 2 hour+ nap in the middle of the day – allowing me to leave the house with sleeping baby in tow and get lunch! We’d get home in time for some more nursing, a smaller nap or two, and then a nice cluster feed before bedtime around 8 PM.

He started to become reliably sleepy with the bedtime routine we began around two weeks old – bath, song, pajamas, bottle, swaddle and bed. We’ve continued this routine through today!

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Our Favorite Toddler Snacks

When Jackson turned one and we began to shift his eating schedule towards less milk and even more solids, I felt so overwhelmed by all of the options. How often were we supposed to feed him? All of the recommendations said three meals and two snacks a day… what would we feed him for a snack? I spent a good two weeks researching everything I possibly could and totally freaking out before I just dove in and started to figure it out. We’re a good two and-a-half months in to the new feeding schedule and I definitely feel like we’ve got the hang of it now. Here’s what a typical day of food looks like for Jackson:

6:15 – Breakfast, glass of milk
10:30 – Snack
12:00 – Lunch
3:00 – Snack
4:45 – Glass of milk, small snack
5:30 – Dinner

So, what do we feed him for snack? It took us a while to come up with a good assortment of healthy snacks that were easy to put together, but I think we’re finally there. Here are eight of our favorite snacks that are easy to grab-and-go for Jackson on weekdays:

favorite toddler snacks

1: Fruit! This is a no-brainer, but Jackson absolutely loves fruit and I try to make sure that one of his snacks every day is some sort of fruit. Right now he’s on a huge berry kick (blackberries and blueberries are his favorite) and he’ll almost never turn down a clementine orange.

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Chocolate Chip Protein Bites – Elimination Diet Friendly!

I’m on an breastfeeding elimination diet due to several sensitivities that make Baby Brother Stroller an unhappy little camper. I’ve slowly eliminated foods over the past month based on his symptoms. Currently I’m not eating dairy, soy, nuts, eggs or wheat. It’s been a challenge to say the very least, but the results are worth the effort so far. Except when it comes to sweets. I love brownies and cookie dough. But the essential ingredient that makes a brownie or a cookie really good is eggs. Forbidden eggs. I tried a few vegan brownie recipes, but they were so not worth it. One tasted like banana. If I wanted a banana….

In my quest for a quick, easy protein snack to replace my daily Greek yogurt, cheese sticks, and eggs, I happened to find a solution to my sweets craving too. These bites are little nutritional powerhouses with all sorts of good stuff to help my milk supply and chocolate chips to keep me happy. Little Stroller loves them too!

elimination diet friendly chocolate chip bites

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Working with Waketimes

I know there are all kind of theories and strategies of baby sleep. There are those in the co-sleeping camp and those that put the baby in their own crib in their own room from the first night home. Some people wear their babies from the time they bring them home from the hospital, while some like their baby to sleep in a stroller on the go.

For us, I’d like to think we’re a mixture. I’m a planner and an organizer, so I will say I would prefer for naptime to happen at specific times and for certain lengths of time, and for baby to sleep on my chest when it’s convenient for me and in her crib when I prefer that (ha!). But, babies are babies and they will kind of let you know what they do and don’t like by screaming at you until you get it. Or at least, that’s how it has been for us.

If you’ve read some previous posts, Sweet P has been more of a challenge than Little Piñata was (he was sleeping through the night consistently at 12 weeks!), but one thing we have stuck with for both kids has been wake times.

Wake times was a concept I originally read about in the “The Baby Whisperer,” but have read about in other places like Weissbluth’s “Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” and “Baby Sense” and in various articles and groups online and we’re big believers! The theory behind wake times, is that you discover the “ideal” length of time your baby can stay awake at a time, and it makes putting them down for a nap MUCH easier. This period of time where it’s easier to get baby to sleep is often referred to as “the window.” This was definitely true about Little Piñata. For him, if we got him down for a nap in his “window” it was as easy as swaddling him, giving him a pacifier, putting him in his crib, patting him for a few seconds and he was out in less than a minute. So, as you can imagine we’re big fans of finding “ideal” wake times. To put wake times into practice, it’s also a good idea to have baby on a routine of eating, then some wake/play time, then sleep. The total wake time includes the time that baby is awake and feeding, so if you look at ideal wake time charts, young babies are often ideally not awake for long at all between naps!

A yawn? Get that girl down for her nap while she’s in “the window”!

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Happy Friyay!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us with spring break and taxes, so we’re looking forward to a day in the park with the 77 degree forecast here in New York tomorrow. Hope you’re enjoying glorious weather wherever you are too!

Check out some of our post highlights from our archives 3 years ago!






The 5 Love Languages of Children

One day, my son just stopped listening to me. At first, he developed “selective hearing”: he wouldn’t hear me the first time I said something, but would hear (and usually listen) the second or third time. But then his case of selective hearing developed into something far more serious: full-on defiance, and a refusal to listen.

The problem was worst during the early morning rush. One day I was rushing around getting ready and packing his lunch, and told him, “Charlie, let’s get dressed and go to school!” I’ll never forget his answer: “No! If you don’t love me, then I won’t listen to you.”  Then he refused to eat breakfast, get dressed, or leave for school.

What in the world?! How could he say I don’t love him! Sometimes I feel like all we do is love him. I often feel like kids today are so lucky: when I was a kid, we would go to the local museums once a year with our school. These days, we take the kids to museums and other interesting places regularly – and our lives revolve around our kids. It got me thinking, maybe our kids are just spoiled? They have it so good, but don’t seem to really value or appreciate what they have.

museumAt the local nature center

But he was so adamant that I didn’t love him that I decided to take him at his word. Bee and I have always joked that Charlie’s love language is drawing, so I started a project to make a comic book together. We made up a superhero (the Jester, whose superpower is to tell super jokes!) and mapped out his entire backstory. Then we started to draw comic pages on weekends, starting with pencils and moving to ink and colors. He really loved it, and I got a real kick out of spending time together, doing something that he really loved. But the listening only got slightly better, despite hours on the comic project. At this rate, I’d have to draw comics with him 24 hours a day, just to have him feel loved.

The whole experience was incredibly humbling. I thought we had such a special bond, and he was rejecting it – and rejecting me! It was hard not to take it personally. It felt like he didn’t love me anymore. That’s not me being melodramatic either: on the way to school, he would tell me, “I don’t love you anymore!” 

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