This past year I started focusing on myself, what makes me happy as a person, what “re-energizes” me or gives me energy. It's not that I wanted "the old me" back... Being a mom is part of my identity now, but I needed to figure out what else I wanted to be part of me. Lee has always been amazingly supportive of all of my "crazy ideas" and has really embraced my desire to become more Minimalist. In addition to making our home, our family our marriage happier and healthier I wanted to find things to "fill my cup." While I love my job and my employer, I've started feeling like I wanted more... more meaning, more purpose, more healing. I've always found that helping others was a great way for me to heal myself.
You may have noticed I’ve been unusually quiet and antisocial this year, especially as I tend to be an over-sharer and outgoing person. The thing is no one ever told me the second year of being a parent is harder than the first... or maybe it isn't for most people. Its not that Bram was more difficult, it was that being a Mom changed me in ways I didn't expect.
Yesterday Lee and I spent an hour doing nothing... and it was AMAZING! Hope Floats (in MD, DC & NY) offers "Flotation Therapy" where you get into a capsule filled with warm salt water, otherwise known as a sensory deprivation chamber, and literally float with no sound & no light for an hour. It may make some people feel uneasy to think about doing this but as overworked, exhausted and stressed parents this sounded like the ideal way to spend an afternoon date! Complete silence with no one touching me or asking me for anything? YES please!
Our final day and night in Italy we spent it just the 3 of us in Venice, the city of water. Learn from us... do Venice first, not last! There is a lot of walking, lots of bridges, navigating, etc... you need fresh feet and a fresh mind.... things we didn't have. What we did have was a VERY sick kiddo and a getting sick Momma. I think Bram slept 80% of the time we were in Venice, and if he wasn't asleep...he was not happy. We tried to see what we could, but we definitely missed out on a lot of sights and experiences
I was always told "Venice is amazing because Venice itself is the attraction" no need to plan or book anything... just show up. So I thought it would be easy... and I guess that statement is true.. but it was far from easy! Just getting to Venice seems like a journey... but maybe that's because we were so sick and tired by this point.
Verona, Italy is the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. A city of young love, and just a few cities over from where we were based, so we took a day trip there from our friend's home in Vicenza. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were light, and it was a great experience overall.
We took the double stroller and I also wore Bram in a carrier when needed.
When researching for our trip to Italy I came across this AirBnB listing….and I knew I HAD to go there! It was 30 minutes outside of Florence, an organic grain farm in a traditional land house in Calenzano. This picture was taken out the front door!! View of a lifetime!! Going to this particular place though meant taking the train from Vicenza wouldn’t be easy (the house is 3km away from the local station through windy dirt roads, and taxi’s are almost unheard of there). So we looked into renting a car from Florence, but for the weekend it was nearly $800 since we needed a van…normal European cars wouldn’t cut it with 3 adults and 2 carseats. Luckily our friend offered to drive us in her SUV from Vicenza, a 2.5 hour drive, if we paid for tolls and gas, easy enough for us! And yay we got to spend more time with them!!
While Vicenza isn’t usually on any tourist’s radar, It turned out to be our favorite part of the trip! There is a US Military Base nearby so you may notice Americans, but it maintains the authentic Italian charm of a smaller city. And it actually has quite a bit to see and enjoy! It was relaxed, calm and a glimpse at “normal” Italian daily life. It made us realize this was the type of locations we want to visit in the future, not the main cities and tourist traps which usually cause us stress.
The flight there was easy-peasy, the flight home we came out with battle wounds and illness. We flew Air France and cannot speak any higher of them. The crew went above and beyond to make our journeys as easy and comfortable as possible!
We were lucky enough to find a "flash sale" for $400 round trip tickets to Venice (it was $931 total, for the three of us including insurance, you have to pay taxes for a lap-child even though they fly for "Free), When we started second guessing having Bram be a lap-child I called Air France about two weeks later to see how much an extra ticket would be, they said it would $1,200 a ticket!!!!
We had the opportunity to visit Italy for a week for our 10 year wedding anniversary. Yes we took our 19 month old son. Some people may think we’re crazy, but we couldn’t imagine not taking him. We haven’t spent a night away from him yet, he’s our life….parenting after infertility will do that to you! Also he’s been an amazing traveler (we’ve taken many road trips, flights to visit family in Florida, and a cruise when he was 13 months old) so we didn’t hesitate bringing him! We knew it wouldn't be the most "romantic" anniversary trip, but we were excited to see the awe of Italy through a child's eyes.
This past weekend, Lee Bram & I drove up to Ann Arbor Michigan (9hrs, 500mi) to spend the weekend with my fellow MRKH Warriors. We went last year for the first time and it was a great experience so I knew we had to come back. My BFF Allison lives in Michigan and even though this was only our second time meeting, we've talked daily for over 3 years, so it was great spending face time with her and her lil munchkin too.
Now that our triangle family is complete, follow along as we live our "life after infertility." Our travels, our joys, our laughter & our sorrows of parenting.
Chrissy is a...
full time corporate world working somewhat crunchy mom, a loving wife, an MRKH Warrior, Infertility Advocate, support group leader & a bad ass breastfeeder. In her fleeting spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling, walking her pooch, sewing and watching funny or sappy TV shows.