Bringing Bébé: Part 3, Babies on a Plane

Part three in a small series on the practicalities of traveling with a one-year old

Quick review: Michael and I decided to bring our one-year old on a 2.5 week trip to London and Paris this past December. This series is all about what we learned as new parents during this adventure. If you missed part one, here’s the link to the post on what to pack. Part two was all about selecting accommodations and hopefully getting to sleep in said accommodations.

The topic at hand today as one element of the trip we were nervous about...the dreaded “baby’s first flight.” We took two daytime flights to and from Europe so I wasn’t even too worried about a crying baby disturbing people. I was more concerned with having to keep a very curious, active toddler occupied for a length of time in a confined space.   

Here’s a few things that helped make the plane ride actually go smoothly:

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Bringing Bébé: Part 2, SLEEPING (or not?!)

Part two in a small series on the practicalities of traveling with a one-year old

Recap: Michael and I decided to bring our one-year old on a 2.5-week trip to London and Paris this past December. This series is all about what we learned as new parents during this adventure. If you missed part one, here’s the link to the post on what to pack.

Today’s topic is one dear to any parent of little ones: SLEEP. It was my number one hesitation about attempting to take a one-year old to another time zone, even more so than it being his first flight.

While I don’t think that should stop one from traveling, it is good to have a realistic expectation and know that things will be bit rough. Time zones (plus sleeping in a new place) can throw adults for a loop, so naturally will be confusing and uncomfortable to a little one who doesn’t understand what is happening. That said, here’s what we did to prepare ahead of time when selecting where to stay, and what we did in the moment during bedtime.

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Bringing Bébé: Part One, PACKING

Part one in a small series on the practicalities of traveling with a one-year old

There was a time when Michael and I prided ourselves on being able to travel light - not a skill that came naturally to me, but  over time one that I honed out of both necessity and convenience. (You can do it too!)

Then we had a baby. I’ve realized that I need these skills more than ever - I still have to pack relatively light for myself because all free hands and resources are now dedicated to hauling said baby’s stuff.  

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Ringing in 2018

Bonne Année! Happy New Year!

Believe it or not, Simply Sara is back from the long hiatus. To give a brief snapshot of what went down behind the scenes after moving back from Paris, it went something like this: bought a house within 4 months of returning to the US, embarked on a big home renovation project, and started (and ended) a full time job because of stage 2 of the house project - fill the rooms! Our family expanded to three with the addition of a sweet baby boy - and the past year has involved a lot of trying to keep up with a now-toddler! 

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Bon Paris-versaire

The other day, a feeling came over me that I was forgetting to do something. You know that familiar sensation when a to-do list item is just out of reach from your mind’s grasp. It’s common for this to happen to me these days, between managing work and major house renovations and day-to-day life in general. Finally I looked at a calendar and realized what it could be this time.

I should be planning my next Paris-versary party. And I would be, if we still lived in Paris.

Let me explain. 
Paris-versary (n): The festivity that ensues on the weekend nearest the calendar date of moving to Paris, marking another year of life in France and celebrating the friends that made it wonderful. 

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Park it in Paris: Parc André Citroën

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

The last park spotlighted in this series, the Square des Batignolles, took me a very long time to get around to discovering it. Similarly, this featured parc du jour waited a while for me to step foot inside. Over three and a half years of living in Paris passed by and just five days before our flight out to NYC, we made the trip over to check out the Parc André Citroën.

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Sheep in the Big City // Salon de l’Agriculture

Picture this for a moment. You’re in the metro and you see some posters for an event called the Salon International de l’Agriculture (International Agricultural Show). What is your general concept of what this show entails?

If you are like me, a few things come to mind: farmers, pitchforks, plows, soil, crops, barns. Basically, a whole world of things that are very far removed from me. This is why for two years, I wrote off the advertisements as an event that wasn’t for someone like me. Certainly not for a someone who struggles to take care of the occasional house plant that has the misfortune of falling under my guardianship. I assumed it was a nice convention for farmers to put aside their road barricades (as seen in articles like this one) and meet up peacefully to discuss the hottest tractor of the year.

I’m here to do my civic duty of telling you this is NOT what the Salon is all about! Thanks to a post by Expat Edna, and then a huge food post highlighting the event by David Lebovitz, I realized last year that I had it all wrong. I needed to go check it out and -- and if you’re in Paris, you need to as well. It starts on Saturday, February 27, 2016 - so here’s a little of what you can expect.

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Park it in Paris: Square des Batignolles

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

I used to think that parks were only meant to be visited in the warmer months of the year. That concept was formed in my suburban days, as I grew up surrounded by trees and grass and was even accustomed to seeing wildlife such as deer wander through our property. Living in a city as an adult made me realize the need to see nature all year round - something I had long taken for granted.

That’s why I’m sharing another “Park it in Paris” in the dead of winter. Today’s parc du jour was a brand new one for me to set foot in during my visit this December: Square des Batignolles. I love that even after living in Paris for a couple of years, I can still go back and continue to discover new places.

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Natural Beauty: Winter in Paris, Part Deux

If you want to see an intimate side of Paris, pay a visit during the winter.

This isn’t the first time I’ve shared this sentiment. Last year I shared this post full of my favorite photos from our last winter living in Paris. Every time I look at those pictures, they bring back a sense of calm and peacefulness. Paris felt like it was ours, devoid of tourists and full of true locals hunkering down for a season of chilly weather and overcast skies.

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2015: A Year of Wander

2016 has arrived and everyone’s looking ahead  to new beginnings, fresh starts, and wish lists for the upcoming year. I am too - but I’m a little behind, and I can’t fully move on until I take a long pause and reflect on all that 2015 was before I catch up with the rest of you.

Some years slide by us, and as the calendar flips to January, it just marks the passage of time. Then there are some years that are so life-changing and momentous and exhausting yet exhilarating all the same that as that last digit changes, you try to peer out of the wild haze you are surrounded in, wondering aloud, “Did that just happen?” That was this January 1st for me. And because of that, more than anything I need to recap it all for myself so one day in the future I remember what was built in the tumultuous year of wander that was 2015.

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A New Perspective on Thanksgiving

“Do you like Thanksgiving?” a co-worker asked recently, after admitting that she wasn’t too fond of the holiday.

I was taken aback at first. I didn’t think that Thanksgiving needed to be defended. What’s not to like about an excuse to gather together and eat wonderful seasonal one-offs like sweet potato casserole and pecan pie, and, being a conversation set in America - get one (and often two) whole days off?? 

But as I headed home, I reflected and realized that while I’ve always enjoyed Thanksgiving as an opportunity to spend time with my family, I never loved it until I moved to France.

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The Peach and the Pit: Tour de France in Numbers and Superlatives

There many reasons why I love my sister. (Yes, she’s technically Michael’s sister, but I believe when you luck out with great in-laws, you can just freely claim them as your own family.) One reason is that she shares the same enthusiasm I have at the end of a trip for reflecting back on the ups and downs. After an adventure with Dawn, we sit down over a meal and rehash the “peach and the pit” of the vacation. Each time we realize at some point that this exercise is really called the “peak and the pit,” but we inevitably decide that the peach and the pit sounds cuter anyway. We continue mentally narrowing down the experiences until each person arrives at one highlight and one lowlight of the trip that s/he shares with the group.

Last week, I began to recap our month-long road trip around France as seen through our various accommodations. This week is a different way of stepping back and taking a sweeping survey of the trip as a whole before examining each stop in sharp focus. (I warned you, I love reflection time!) Whether you’re more math-oriented like my hubby or a lover of language like me, I think both approaches give a sense of how this journey through France was an emotional release as we ran around the country with open arms, trying to embrace all that we could in our last month before moving back to the US.

Ready for the big picture of our Tour de France? 

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Home on the Road: Our Tour de France in Accommodations

Recap: Michael and I lived in Paris for three years, and moved back to where we grew up and previously lived (in the northeastern US) in June. But before we said au revoir, we went on a month-long road trip through France as a part of the transition process.

That was back in May. It’s October, and it’s finally time to start talking about our Tour de France.

There are so many ways to start telling about the adventure we went on. I’m going to start with perhaps an unconventional one, by first sharing about our accommodations during the trip.

Often when I travel, accommodations are just a necessity to a trip. I often view it as a place to rest my head - especially when it’s just Michael and me traveling together. I would rather spend my money on a decadent meal than a luxurious room. This trip though was largely enhanced by our accommodations - and it’s not even necessarily because we dished out the last of our euros (in many cases, quite the contrary!). Here’s a first look at our Tour de France, as told by the places that became home at a time when we were wandering without a permanent address.

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