Tag Archives: travel with children

The Clip-On Highchair, Italian Space-Saving Genius


There she is at home, eating her first strawberry. The world will never be the same.

While we were in Italy, the most common high-chair provided in restaurants was a clip-on high-chair. Every now and then, there would be a tall chair with NO restraint, like a miniature barstool (um, no thanks!), so we would just hold Sugarpie on our laps.

Space is always a premium in Italy, so these high-chairs offered restaurants a family-friendly and space-friendly option. You can imagine, that it does the same in your own home.

There were always three different brands: Inglesina, Chicco (pronounced KEE-koh, people), and some other that I don’t remember.

Now Ettore, you know you can’t have no sugar! That was the Inglesina chair in Italy.

The first was an Inglesina. It was a pretty spruce green and had a strap inside that wrapped from the back to the front where it clips under a Velcro cover. The clamps were short (adaptable to more types of tables) and the hold was steady.

Daddy is getting bread for her in the Chicco chair in Siena.

The Chicco was great too, but the under-table clamps were so long that it limited the types of tables we could use it with. The third one had a cotton knit lining and a strap that was hard to adjust. The first two have a material that is more receptive to spot cleaning.

This was the not-so-memorable third brand at an al fresco lunch in some Prosecco vineyards.

We were so in love with this chair that we decided to buy one once we got home. We have a lovely Svan hand-me-down, but this chair is going to be great for travel, etc.

I did a little research and found that the Inglesina is sold through Amazon and Diapers.com. It had great reviews, confirmed by our own good experience with it in Italy. It has a storage pocket in the back and a pouch that stores the tote bag under the bottom. Sugarpie feels really secure and it’s so cute having her at the table with us.

They come in a ton of different colors, but I resisted the temptation of some light bright color in favor of a less-stain-apparent dark green. It’s made in Italy instead of China, which makes me trust the quality more.

I can also spread out our mess-prevention table cloth under the chair on the ground instead of draping it over the highchair base.

The only drawback that I can see for now is that the arm clamps don’t allow us to use her suction cup place mat, so she just eats right off of the table!

This is how the clamps work. They’re very sturdy!

We’re pretty in love with it, and at around $50 it’s a justifiable extra piece of gear. I highly recommend it!

Anyone else out there use one?

Siamo Tornati! We’re Back, Proof That Sleep Deprivation is Not Fatal


Finally in Chicago, after a 10 hour flight, 10 hours of crazy baby, it was not fun. How is she smiling? I did not feel so chipper.

After a grueling 10 hour (and by grueling I mean OH MY GOODNESS WHY WON’T SHE SLEEP) trans-Atlantic flight, we have arrived in Austin.

I have many tales to tell, and we’re backed up because I had no internet connection the last few days of the trip (thanks, Italy). For now, we are working on three things:

1. Getting over jet lag (duh)

2. Convincing Sugarpie that there is more to food than just her beloved pasta

3. reacquainting her with her ability to play alone for more than 5 minutes (at least back up to her record of 10)

We’ll be in touch soon!

Letter for My Sugarpie, 9 Months


Chunky beach monkey, checking out the scene in Porto Cesareo (on the west coast of Apulia)

Dear Sugarpie,

It’s been another month of firsts! I’m writing this from Lecce…our trip to Italy has been such an adventure. But first, let’s back up and review what you’ve been up to.

I guess the biggest news is that you started crawling! In the afternoon of August the 20th, you finally stopped rocking and took your first crawling steps! It is unbearably cute when you crawl.

Crawling on the floor in Sant’Angelo in Colle (Tuscany)

Two days before, you also said “mama!” As clear as day…I still wouldn’t have believed it if Nanna hadn’t been there to confirm. In a long string of babbles, you stuck mama right there in the middle. And guess what? You also said dadadadadada for the first time a couple of days later!

Sugarpie, you also did something that made Mommy’s heart melt, we were in bed in the morning and you grabbed my face and planted a big slobbery kiss on Mommy! Oh will never forget how that felt, your little hand turning my face toward yours!

Waving has become a staple of your routine, although you don’t always do it in the right context. You’re getting better at knowing when to wave and pretty soon you’ll be saying “bye bye” too 🙂

Your new friend Adalyn waves a lot, I think you just really like to do what she does. She’s fun and you like to watch her!

Eating has become a real moment of joy in your day. You eat like a champ and know just what you like and don’t like. You’ve even learned that you can open your little hand to get the food out! And you like to grab things sometimes with your developing pincer grip.

Your 7th tooth came in! Wow, you are really in a hurry, aren’t you? 😉

On the Tuesday before we left for Italy, you got your first stomach flu 😦 You had a high fever and you were just so pitiful! You lay in Mommy’s arms and let me snuggle you. You threw up twice and we went to the doctor. But you were all better by bedtime–happy as ever again 🙂 Whew! I was so worried.

And oh my goodness–now we’re in Italy!! You are SO good, Doodlebug, and you are having so much fun. You love meeting all the people and hearing the funny way that they talk. Spending more time outside makes you really happy, and your favorite people are the nonne (grandmas).

The grandmas sure loved talking to you! And you loved to touch their faces.

You have your Mommy and Daddy together every day! You really love that. It’s fun when Daddy and I sit on the bed on our computers and you play between us. You even succeeded in pulling up for the first time in your bed in Tuscany! You wanted to pull up on the chairs in the kitchen, but Mommy didn’t want you to fall and hit your head on the tile floors.

What a view! That’s from Sant’Angelo in Colle

You’ve been such a trooper as we’ve gone up and down the whole length of Italy. You hardly cry in the car–only when you’re really hungry or tired. And speaking of hungry, you love love love pasta–any kind! We went to the beach yesterday and you relished in the breeze, and even enjoyed touching your hair as it blew in the wind. I brought you in the water totally naked! That was fun 🙂 Have a look at this video, Sugarpie…you are such a doll:

Anyway, we love you so much and are so glad that you’re such an amazing travel companion. We’re looking forward to getting you back home, in your bed, and in our native time zone, but being with you this way has been the adventure of a lifetime. I’m sorry you won’t remember it, but we’ll never forget 🙂

I love you, darling baby girl! You make Mommy love you more every single day. Who knew that was possible?!



Not Your Average Tuesday


First dip in the Italian sea! (The Ionian, to be exact)

Sugarpie loves her some breeze. Espesh when it’s one from the sea.


Uh-oh, time to go!

We went to the beach today at Porto Cesareo (just inside the heel of the boot). I told hubs that I wanted at least a day at the beach where I could eat clams, drink white wine, and fare il bagno(swim).

Sugarpie needed some mare! She had a great time eating pasta with sea monsters (more on that later) and just generally splashing about and letting her hair blow in the breeze.

A domani!

Baby Jet Lag is No Joke and Sugarpie’s First Meal in Italy


Mmmmozzarella. She could eat her meager weight in it.

Having had a grand total of 4 hours of sleep (3 1/4 if I’m being honest) in the first 24 hours of our travels, one would think that a little stinker might sleep like a rock the first night in Italy. One would be very mistaken.

The agriturismo provided us with a nice play yard for Sugarpie to sleep in. But since we were in a hotel and share walls with others, we couldn’t quite get her to sleep in it. This would have required about 10 minutes of crying before getting comfy and finding her sleep groove, which I just couldn’t subject our neighbors to!

So at 8 pm, she snuggled in bed with us nursing, and we all fell asleep exhausted after the difficult journey. At 10:30, Sugarpie woke up and was ready for action. After 4 and a half hours of walking her outside, nursing her in bed, walking her outside, nursing her in bed (repeat repeat repeat), she finally gave in. We slept until 9 am. Whew! Hubs and I will likely never forget that night!

I was a little bit of a hostage to her because we had to do everything possible to keep her from crying and babbling loudly. But we survived.

Naps next day were wonky but she went to bed around 9 pm downstairs in the car seat next to us while we had dinner. She woke up for about an hour and slept again until 9 am.

Fast forward to Friday (in Tuscany now), and we have finally reached some semblance of a normal schedule. She slept all night, albeit late to bed, but she slept in the crib that they provided us. I’m so proud!

I read somewhere that babies get their circadian rhythms on track more quickly than adults. That is a lie, at least for Sugarpie. I think we adjusted before she did.

Anyway, that’s the nitty gritty.

Why such a dainty bite?! I had no idea. This is why I don’t like to post pics of myself.

The good news is that her first meal in Italy was mozzarella di bufala. And this is her having her second…

Spinach Ravioli in Sant’Angelo in Colle


Sugarpie has been having so much fun in Italy! I wanted to post chronologically, but that’s not going to happen. I still want to tell you about our campaign against jet lag and her first meal, but that will have to wait.

Now we are in Tuscany where we will stay for two more nights, and Sugarpie had her first dinner in the hills!

We went to our favorite spot for Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak), Trattoria il Pozzo in Sant’Angelo in Colle (Tuscany) and Sugarpie had her first spinach in the form of ravioli.

It seems that ravioli are the perfect spinach delivery system, especially when they’re slathered in butter.

She also enjoyed tiny bits of our massive steak right along with Mommy and Daddy. There was no acceptable high chair, so we just let her eat in our laps. It wasn’t the most relaxing dinner, but you do what you gotta do.

Sugarpie is Goin’ to Italy!


Does she look excited to you? The answer is yes. Yes she does.

Well, the day has finally arrived. (Remember when we posted about getting a baby passport?)

We’ve traveled to California and other parts of Texas before with Sugarpie, but we haven’t gone trans-Atlantic until now. Hubs and I both lived in Italy at different times in our lives. I lived in Ischia for about four and a half years. I wrote a blog about it starting in January 2006 called my life italian.

Hubs lived there on and off for a span of 10 years while he was gettin’ all smart and pursuing his PhD in Italian literature. He has a blog too, and it’s fantastic. It’s called DoBianchi.

Clearly we share a love of all things Italian (and blogging), and we want to make sure and show Sugarpie what all of the fuss is about.

Hubs goes every September (plus a couple of extra times during the year) to visit clients, so we thought we’d tag along. We’ll be in the Veneto (Montebelluna, Prosecco country), Tuscany (Montalcino, Brunello country), then down to Apulia (Lecce, Negroamaro country). We’ll drive back up to the Veneto but stop in Le Marche on the way. There will be a beach or two involved and this thrills me to the core. I miss Italian beaches!

I used to work in the wine business, he still does. So this is all wine-related, of course.

We will endure about 18 hours of travel to get there and the same to come back, and we’ll have 2 long road trips. We have reserved a bassinett for the Chicago-Zurich legs, we’ll see if she sleeps in it. (Anyone out there ever done this?) We’ll also see how my milk supply is affected, hopefully not at all.

I have no idea how Little Miss Priss is going to handle the travel, let alone the time change but we will roll with the punches! It is worth it, after all.

Italy is SO kid friendly, as the family is the center of the Italian universe. Since she is the center of ours, the transition should be (relatively) smooth.

I’ll be posting from the strada, so keep in touch.

A tra poco!

Month 1 Baby Led Weaning Wrap-Up, Travel Eating, and Things to Come


Well, I simply cannot find the photos from the last 3 days of our first month of baby led weaning. This, combined with our two week vacation combined with my procrastination has us a little behind.

Anyway…I think it’s safe to say that the last few days involved leftovers, hummus, and broccoli.

Overall, the first month went smoothly. The second month, with half of it being on vacation, was a little spottier. I relied more on breastmilk as my mother-in-law’s house is not particularly equipped for mealtime flotsam and jetsam.

There were quite a few restaurants, but we always found something Sugarpie could eat. One thing I’ve learned is that high chairs RARELY get wiped down. Ew. I am no germaphobe, but I will make an exception and whip out the antibacterial Wet-Ones for these grungy little things.

We had SO much fun, though. Here are some of the highlights of her California culinary adventures…

Her first sausage! It was yummy chicken and apple. She loved it.

Meatballs and fior di latte at the LA restaurant where Daddy consults

Once we got back home, I made a concerted effort to get her two proper solid meals a day, but always tried for three. She has become quite the confident eater!

Her favorites are…

*scrambled eggs (cannot get enough) in any form. I make them with cheese or sauteed tomatoes and she eats them up then looks for more. I like to make them with coconut oil. She also loves a zucchine frittata and a pasta frittata.

*fresh mozzarella. She will suck the milk out of her slice then munch away at the cheese.

*Broccoli is still a winner and green beans have finally made their way into her heart.

*cherries! I chop them up and let her go at it. It has really helped to develop her pincer grip which comes in handy now that she is crawling and wants to pick every single piece of lint and debris off of the floor.

*her Daddy’s pesto. She really enjoyed fusili dressed in it! She seems to like strong flavors. Hubs also makes eggplant parmesean which she will dig into with gusto. But the tomato sauce gave her a red tushie, so we had to stop.

*broccoli cheese muffins. Recipe coming soon.


What she doesn’t like is a short list…

What a drama queen.

*Avocado…what?! She used to love it. Sugarpie will try it every time, but the wincing is just over-the-top dramatic. I do, however, appreciate the continued effort.

I have a few recipes coming up and some cute pics too, but I think I will try posting such things on Wednesdays, maybe in a Baby Led Weaning Wednesday sort of way.

Hubs and I love food, and so does she. Hopefully we can continue to foster a sense of fun and fellowship, as well as help her to cultivate a spirit of adventure when it comes to food. Maybe she’ll be open-minded, or maybe she will be painfully picky. We shall see.

These first few months of food introduction have been fun beyond my expectations and I cannot wait for to eat her way through Italy on our upcoming trip. You better believe we’ll be blogging about that!

Stay tuned!

Obtaining a Passport for Your Baby


Little Sugarpie’s passport photo…now that’s a whole heap of cute right there.

So we’re planning a trip to Italy in a few months and Sugarpie needs a passport ’cause apparently you can’t get through security with just a gummy little smile. This goes for all children under 16, from newborns on.

Here’s what you have to do to get a passport for your baby…

Go to your local Passport Acceptance Facility (click here for the Austin ones) with the following documentation. Here’s a link to find them for the whole country. Many post offices function as passport acceptance facilities and so do some courthouses.

*Completed but UNSIGNED DS-11 form.

*If both parents cannot appear at the passport acceptance facility, the absent one needs to fill out this consent form and have it notarized: DS3053. You can get things notarized at most banks. If you go without this they will send you back.

*Proof of citizenship, i.e. child’s birth certificate. As of April 2011, both parents’ full names must appear on the BC. This must be an original and yes, you have to leave it, but they’ll send it back with the new passport.

*Valid ID of applying parent along with copy of valid ID of both parents. This could be a passport, driver’s license, or other state or federal ID.

*One 2inx2in photo. Yes, even if applicant is a newborn. CUTEST PASSPORT EVER. Photo must be no more than 6 months old. Call the acceptance facility before to see if they take pictures, some do.

Bring your credit card AND a checkbook, just in case the office has not yet entered the 21st century.

Here’s the official passport info page, in case you don’t believe me. It has all of the appropriate paperwork links and such.

Click here to find current processing times.

Easy Breezy, right? Now go get your jet-settin’ bebe’ and hit the road!