Lake Como, Italy

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We’re back!!  After a magical week at STUNNING Lake Como, we have so much to share!

Can we just start by admiring that incredible view from the villa we found with Luxury Retreats?!?  The first picture really captures the beauty of Bellagio, which is the town we stayed in, and it’s where the lake splits and goes to each side of this peninsula.  The mountains surrounding all of Lake Como really are the icing on the cake for the views, in the distance you can even see the Swiss Alps!

Two days of our trip were spent on the cutest wooden boat with a captain to show us all the sights.  You name it, we probably saw it.  Richard Branson’s house, Orrido di Nesso (aka the secret waterfall), the gardens at Villa Balbianello, and of course The Clooney’s home… we saw it all!  And it was fabulous!  We enjoyed gelato on the steps of Varenna, had lunch at the cutest and quaintest spot that for some reason I don’t remember the name of (whomp whomp) but when I do I will update!

On Sunday, Husband & I took a cooking class (with wine pairings ;)) from a place I found on TripAdvisor that ended up being really fun and full of Americans!  We made pasta, gnocchi, and creme brûlée’s, all of which were delightful.  Highly recommend!  Did I mention or did you notice in the pictures that grandparents of the boys were on this vacation with us?!?  Husband & I were able to go out on dates and do fun things like the cooking class because we had so much help with the boys.  We are so thankful for them!

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When we first landed in Milan it was pretty early in the morning so we had some time to kill before heading to the lake.  We decided to go into the city and admire the Duomo… omg… the most stunning architecture that literally takes your breath away as you turn the corner and it comes into view.  WOW!  On another note, there were tons of pigeons who love the tourists.  There are gentlemen who make a a living off giving tourists handfuls of corn and the pigeons literally flock to you like bombs out of the sky almost nailing you in the head in the hopes for one small kernel.

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There were yummy street carts set up with fresh made donuts and churros that would be split and stuffed with Nutella. My mouth was watering from the moment I smelled the dough frying!

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We also went into Milan one night to see the opera at one of the most beautiful and world renowned opera houses, Teatro alla Scala.  We got all dressed up, had a nice dinner, and enjoyed the ensemble in the historic building.  There was no AC, nor were they selling water… it must have been about 85 degrees in that building, but it was worth it just to say we have been.

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We did a day trip to Switzerland which I will write about in my next post, but I wanted to dedicate this entire entry to beautiful Lake Como, Italy!  I feel like we did it right by going and exploring all of the little towns for the entire week.  We ate so much pizza and drank too much wine ha ha ha… but dang we lived it to the fullest!

Ciao!


Bennett Wesley :: Four Years Old

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Oh, wow.  I’m the mom of an “officially” four year old boy.  Bennett and I have been talking about how he is turning four, for weeks now and yesterday it was official.  He is so pumped to be four… he lets me know that he is “A LOT older than Remy because Remy is only two”.  He and I have been having some really great conversations lately, especially since he has started the “MAMA!!!” chant at bedtime, so basically that means I have to turn around when I’m half way back to bed, to go back to his room and sit (or lay… whichever he is demanding at that moment) with him and talk about powerful life topics like: When will the full moon come back?  How many stars can we count out the window?  Why spaceships countdown like, 5,4,3,2,1 BLASTOFF?  He is in a big time mommy phase where I’m the only one who can help him with any of his wishes and desires.  Daddy will be standing right there with a towel ready for him to get out of the shower because Bennett has of course already announced his willingness to depart from his hour long water escapade, but as soon as he realizes it’s daddy who has the towel… it’s like “how DARE they send this random person to wrap me up in my towel!  I need the peasant woman… MOM!!!!!”

I have been reflecting on the last year with Bennett and how much he has grown.  Not only is he a couple inches taller, he has matured quite a bit!  When he turned three he would barely say a handful of words to communicate, now he communicates SO well with unlimited vocabulary!   He has the best memory, WAY better than mine.  He remembers so many details from trips we have taken, names of people we have spent time with and where we were… some times I have to try to remember if he is correct!  And he always is!  Oh another thing, when he turned three he was still in diapers, now he is a big boy and does his business on the potty (for almost a year now… but still…)!  I’m one proud mama!

Yesterday was different from all the birthdays before.  Instead of having a big, over-the-top party with lots of friends, we decided to be mellow and just have family over for pizza and cake and pool time, which are all things Bennett loves!  He told me he had so much fun that he wants to have “three birthdays this year”!  Cutie!

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My sweet sweet Bennett,

Two nights ago, you went to bed as a three year old and woke up a four year old!  I can’t believe that this time next year we will be thinking about Kindergarten! You are so precious and every little thing about you brings so much sunshine to my life daily.

There are so many sweet moments that you share with your brother these days.  When you guys are playing together and he walks away because his attention span isn’t quite as long as yours is, and you yell for him to come back and play some more… it’s so so sweet!  When I spy on you guys and find you both sitting on the floor in your room reading books, just the sweetest!  When you grab Remy’s feet so that you can play “This Little Piggy” with his toes and you both squeal out with laughter…ugh!!  SO SWEET!

I love that you can spend hours in the pool with Daddy!  I am so fascinated that you guys can hang in the hot tub playing and chatting for so long and never get bored.  You are always down for a new adventure.  When we went to Belize, I wasn’t sure you would enjoy being on a sailboat for 6/7 hours straight, but you completely surprised me and had the best time!  And it’s something you are always bringing up to talk about with me and reminisce on…. that and the seaplane adventure in Alaska… lol

My favorite times with you are when you show a lot of excitement.  Because you are such a chill little dude, it’s few and far between when you really get amped about things.  When you know you are going to be flying on an airplane, when I tell you we are going on an adventure, when you know it’s Tumble Bus day at school, or when you know that we are going to AlliSongs… all those exciting moments for you are so special for this mama.  I love seeing a big smile on your face and will do anything and everything to keep one on your face whenever I can!

I love you so much little man.  I hope you have the best year being FOUR!

xx Mama



The Dietrich Boys Take NYC!

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Approximately number 13 on my bucket list would be to stay in a hotel that completely overlooks Central Park without any obstructions.  Well… CHECK!

Yes, it was excessive.  Just a little.  But dang, it was worth it!

The Dietrich boys painted the town red!  Our weekend started with a trip to The American Museum of Natural History which itself could have taken up an entire day if my boys were that patient.  When researching fun things to do with the kiddos in NYC, I saw that there was a limited time exhibit dedicated solely to the T-Rex!  Bingo!  From the moment we started the walk through, Bennett was engrossed by every little detail surrounding the ideals of this no longer existent predator.  There were sculptures of how scientists believe it was created, what it looked like as it transformed into the beast we know it as today, there were interactive tools that kids could enjoy to learn more, there was even a 3D video-like imagery that took up an entire wall (think maybe 2 times as big as a movie theater screen) of a T-Rex and baby stomping around the woods, breathing heavily, grunting, and staring at you directly like it was there in real life… yep!  That’s what we saw!  It was so life-like, Remy flipped the ‘F’ out!  He was so scared!  Poor guy, it kinda ruined him for the rest of the museum.

We moved on to the entire dinosaur wing, which is the largest dinosaur collection in the world (by the way), where Bennett had to see the Stegosaurus which is his current favorite dinosaur.  We also got to see the newest member to the museum, the Titanosaur, which was discovered in Patagonia, and the cast of this dinosaur is 122 feet long!  It’s only been there since 2016, go check it out next time you are in New York!

On Saturday we spent majority of the day in Central Park.  The boys loved climbing all the big rocks and staring out at the skyline.  We rode the Carousel, which they absolutely hated.  We then moved on to the small, but fun (!!) Central Park Zoo.  Our favorite thing to see was the penguins.  They were SO interactive!  They loved coming up to the glass window and diving right in front of everyone, they really put on a great show for us!

To top off the trip we had a late lunch at Serendipity 3 where we indulged on the frozen hot chocolate (the best!), then moved on to Dylan’s Candy Bar where Bennett got a cotton candy bigger than him!

We had such a great time and did more than I thought we would!  There’s just something about doing all the kid things in NYC that is just SO.MUCH.FUN.  Seeing and experiencing everything new to them is what makes patenting the best!  I don’t know… now that I have my sons, I feel like I have such limited time to share with them.  I want to show them the world!  We are not promised tomorrow, take the trips now! Who cares if they are wearing the latest designer outfits and who cares if they miss so-and-so’s 3rd birthday?  Make the sacrifice, plan the trip, and go.  There’s nothing more educational than traveling.  I promise.  Someone once asked me, “Why do you travel so much?  Do you not like being home?” It really took me aback a little bit and made me judge that person slightly (if I’m being honest)… my response was probably something like…. “uhhhh… because we love it… and it’s awesome!!” but really, I felt happy in that moment with this person, because it’s not every day you get to try to influence someone to travel more :)

Anyway, that’s my daily rant for now!  WE LOVE NYC!  Gotta go pick up my little rugrats from escuela!

P.S. Guess who’s turning 4 years old on Wednesday?!?!?!?


Ocho Años :: Bermuda

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Hey hunny,

How on earth have you put up with me for eight whole years?  I don’t know what I did so good in life to deserve you, but dang… I’m so lucky.  You are so patient and kind to me (except when checking the credit card statements ;) LOL!) and you are always ready for any adventure I throw your way, like renting scooters in Bermuda where we had to ride on the opposite side of the road and where I eventually ate pavement and almost got run over. Yes, that happened.

You are so wonderful and I’m so proud to be your other half…  everyone in the world can see that you are, without a doubt, the better half!

Thank you for taking me to Bermuda!  We stayed at the lovely Rosewood which was the most gorgeous setting, set up cliff-like looking down at the most stunningly beautiful blue water.  We trekked around in a golf cart to the pools and beach where we enjoyed all the different food and drinks at our leisure. Friday night we had the most lovely dinner at the Chef’s table in the kitchen of the main dining room at the resort.  The wine pairings were perfection and the food was impeccable. On Saturday, I had the bright idea to rent scooters, which was actually very nice (until the mishap).  We got to pop in at all the different “secret” beaches and enjoyed some local flair with music and dancing.

It was a great weekend away together!  Looking forward to all the years to come!

I love you.

** PS sorry if I scared anyone with the bikini pic!! #MomBod**


In-Flight Entertainment

Entertaining a toddler with never ending demands and an attention span the size of a peanut can be extremely daunting, this is especially so, when said toddler has to be confined to 18″ wide seat for what some might feel like hours on end, even if it’s only an hour long flight.  So, wether it really is an hour long flight, or 15 hours, here are some ideas for entertaining small children on the airplane.

Books, Puzzles, and (some) Electronics

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So… I tend to over pack in all aspects of the term.  I recently got the boys new carry-ons to hold all of their traveling fun and they are the perfect size for someone like me (and my boys) who wants to bring ALL the things!  First things first, books.  Both of my boys, like most children, LOVE books.  I try to pack at least 8-10 of our favorite books, small/ lightweight ones for the plane, and the others get checked with the luggage.  Books are the easiest entertainment in my opinion.  My boys read the whole library of books I bring, repeated amounts of times, on every trip we go on together.  Sooooo books are a no brainer, and I’m sure you all knew that.

Small puzzles are such a great airplane activity.  We like these Melissa and Doug ones and I just recently got this Djeco AnimaBasic for Remy because they help with his sorting skills in addition to his fine motor skills.  Speaking of fine motor skills, this Melissa and Doug Lace & Trace is sooooo good for killing time, but the little ones might need more of your attention because they will need a bit of help, but my kids “need” my attention 100% of the time, so nothing new here…

As for electronics, we do have iPads for the boys, and we do use them often on flights, but I prefer that to be a last resort option (more about that later).  The electronic I like to whip out first would be this LeapFrog My Own Leaptop.  It has different levels of skills for toddlers which is nice because what Remy is learning in school is certainly not what Bennett is learning.  It’s nice that you can change the program to something a little more advanced for the older kiddos.

Play-doh & Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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Ok, if you have kids on a plane and you do not bring Play-Doh, I don’t know how you do life.  In fact, I don’t want to know, because there is no better place to bust out play-doh than on a plane (I NEVER DO PLAY-DOH IN MY HOUSE).  I keep this sacred activity special by only allowing it on the plane.  Now, they play with Play-Doh at school almost every.single.day… they certainly are not deprived of it.  I just prefer the nasty crusty mess to be somewhere else.  K, thanks!

P.S. bring ALL the accessories- not just the Doh. Again, part of my over packing problem.

We also tend to over indulge in small airplanes, trains, and monster trucks, but who doesn’t?

Window Clings

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I feel like this is another “duh” product that everyone knows about and uses, but in case you haven’t seen these things before, or maybe you haven’t thought to bring them on the plane, do it!  This most recent flight, Bennett was more interested in the Play-Doh than the window clings, but let me tell you, when we had downtime at the resort, those boys proudly displayed almost every single window cling we brought on the windows in our room.  The best part, they can be used again and again.  I found these to be the most economical.

More random small stuff...

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The fox sweatband is Bennett’s headphones that he just started allowing me to put on him.  They are soft on his ears so if he happens to lean his head against the window or lay in our lap they are not all bulk and in the way.  He can easily sleep with this on his head.

I always find a lot of small travel activities in the dollar section at Target.  The little Dinosaur book, card games, stickers, etc… all from that (soul sucking) section that you cannot avoid when you first walk in to the mega store.

Have y’all played with Kinetic Sand?!?  Ummmm… can we all agree it’s so much better than Play-Doh?!?  I always grab a couple packs of it when I see it to throw in for extra fun on the plane.  To me it is not nearly as messy.

I also bring a pencil bag (the shark one pictured above) full of those special markers that only mark on special paper. Such magical little things!

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Now this Skodzy set was initially introduced to me by Bennett’s speech therapist who has really been such a blessing to our family.  For those who may or may not know, Bennett was a late talker and struggled behaviorally (think frustrated because he couldn’t express what he wanted, when he wanted) for a while before starting the therapy.  He started right when he turned 3 years old and not even a year later, he is a totally different child.  He talks with ease (almost too much now) and is so much happier in life now that he can communicate.  I highly recommend this for anyone who thinks their kid needs a little push with speech.  Anyway, this activity is great for helping your kids learn their prepositions such as over, under, beside, and on top of.  You can say something like, can you put the green peg on top of the red peg, and they will do as you ask.  You can make it more complex with numbers and color coordination.  My son loves this “game”.

Thoughts about the iPad

So, here are my thoughts on the iPad… I am ALL ABOUT the iPad.  My problem is, the iPad is a special treat while traveling, so my kids are not the best navigators on the iPad which causes a lot of melt downs at the absolute worst times on the airplane.  Which sucks, this is a double edged sword for me.  I don’t want them playing on an iPad at home.  When my kids have access to YouTube Kids on the iPad- its like a crazy vortex that takes over their ability to be human beings and they instantly become zombies.  Then, when you are on an airplane and you cannot stream YouTube Kids- they are psycho!!!  It’s seriously the worst.  Now, Bennett is getting better at navigating around and finding matching games that can entertain him an entire 2 hour flight (crazy!!), but with Remy, he is unreasonable and I dread the moment he loses it while playing on the iPad which happens within minutes of getting his little hands on it.  I know I will grow to like to iPad… Remy just needs to mature a little bit before I do.  For now, it’s my last resort.

The New Carry-On!!

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I’m obsessed.  Great size, fits right under the seat in front of you on the plane.  Some might not like it because it is quite large for small kids, but if your kids are like mine and enjoy having their own bag of tricks, this is a great option!  It holds ALL the things!  Seems that’s the theme of this post… ALL THE THINGS!

You can find it here.

I hope this post was somewhat helpful! Oh!  And if all else fails, SNACKS!!!  Bring ALL THE SNACKS!!

xx


Ambergris Caye, Belize

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Oh, Belize… you were so good to us.

Going to Belize, I really had no idea what to expect.  Everything that I heard about Belize was not the most flattering of reviews.  People said the bugs are insane (which they are, but manageable), that Belize wasn’t the best idea for a family vacation (false), the infrastructure was terrible (yes, but… whatever).  As soon as we arrived at the resort, White Sands Cove, (three flights and almost 5 hours of travel), I knew I would never want to leave.  This place was pure paradise.

The backstory… so my good friend (you all know her- Laura- she takes all of my family photos) went to a charity event and won the trip at an auction.  When she was telling me about it at church one Sunday a few months ago, I obnoxiously and overwhelmingly invited myself and my whole family to tag along with!  Of course, she said yes, because… who wouldn’t want me and my two terrorist (JOKING!!) children to join them on their fabulous trip?!?  All in all, I’m so glad we went with another family.  The kids entertained each other and the adults got to hang out and sip the local cocktail favorites.

We spent a lot of our time hanging by the pool, beaching at the not-so-secret Secret Beach, eating so much good food, drinking all the drinks, and oh, yes (!!), we took a private catamaran trip for a whole day where my TWO YEAR OLD swam with sharks!  No need to clean your glasses, or re-read that last line.  You saw correctly.  My baby, Remy James, swam with sharks in Belize.  We did some snorkeling too.  Did you spy the Spotted Eagle Rays and Green Moray Eel in the underwater pictures above???

We drove around town to see all the sights via golf cart which is the ideal transportation on the island.  The roads are very rough, but not the worst I’ve ever seen.  Everything was extremely casual.  No need to dress up for any of the restaurants, even the nice ones on rooftops were shorts and flip flop appropriate.  Speaking of restaurants, the food… my mouth is still watering over the wonderful Snapper they would prepare in the Belizean way, wrapped in foil with spices, peppers, and onions.  Wowza!  So yummy!  Another thing, the first language of Belize is English.  All of the signs and locals speak it perfectly, no language barrier whatsoever.  This makes traveling there even more perfect!

Our whole family had the best time with our friends in this wonderful country!  Hope you guys enjoy the pictures!