I haven't been to Germany in over three years.
The plan was, to fly there as a family of three this November, but when Katie's mom surprised us with a family cruise during that time, our plans had to change quickly, so it was decided that Fox and I would go by ourselves within the next couple of weeks.
I'm not going to lie, I was TERRIFIED of the thought to fly alone with a very active one year old, but I was even more terrified about having to take care of him by myself for two weeks, in a new environment and how this would mess with his sleep and eating habits. But more on that later.
After I psyched myself out for two weeks straight, I have to say, that I have the best little flyer there is. Fox was so chill and content, I couldn't believe it. The entire trip was 21 hours (including a layover) and he only slept 3 of them, but he never fussed once, he was a ROCKSTAR!
Play Area at the Phoenix Airport…a great start to our trip!
I love the Chicago Airport! Our 3 hour layover was so much fun, because they had a huge play area there, they even called it a Children's Museum. Fox loved it!
A lot of my family members had never met him, well, let me rephrase that, only my mom and dad had met him once, so I was really excited for my brothers and grandma to get to know him.
We spent our first day at a local petting zoo with my mom and little brother. Fox LOVED Maurice, he was obsessed with him, following him everywhere he went, which was very surprising, because he was very apprehensive toward everyone else.
I love this boy!
Look at that face!
Later that afternoon, we went to my aunt's house, where we met up with my other brother, dad and cousin.
This girl and I got into so much trouble together when we were little!
Fox loved it there. The sandbox, the toys (my aunt has small grandchildren, so it was paradise for Fox), the grass…he was in heaven!
My two little brothers.
The next day my mom and I walked into the city where they had a kidsfest.
She was so proud to finally be able to push a stroller!
The fun thing about living in a small town (or village) is definitely that you'll meet someone you know everywhere you go. We ran into three of my cousins, which was so fun!
Fox meeting his great cousin for the first time, he wasn't sure what to think of him.
The next day, we went to a Jungle Gym, which seriously kicked my butt. In order to get down the giant slide with Fox, I had to carry him up the play structure, about 549 times and I was seriously drenched in sweat when we left, but seeing his smile on the slide made it so worth it.
One day, I met my best friend, who now has a two year old. I just couldn't believe it, it was so surreal seeing us all of the sudden with babies! How did that happen?
Later that afternoon, we went to my dad's house, where Fox had to give "kisses" to all the animals in the yard.
This is his way to give a kiss…lol
Helping grandpa do yardwork
Grocery shopping one day, he loved this little car.
Another day, I met up with three of my cousins for a playdate.
Fox was not happy whenever I was holding the baby, he got so jealous and tried to push him away and climb on my lap himself.
Another visit to a different petting zoo, this time with two of my friends and their kids.
A boy and his animals
Obviously, he had to give "kisses" to all the goats.
He seriously hugged like thirty of them…sweet boy!
The one thing my mom really wanted to do with Fox, is take him to get his first ice cream cone.
Turned out, it was the most expensive ice cream cone ever, because she lost 100 Euros in the process, but Fox loved his treat.
He even stole my cone, so he could have two!
I think he approves!
Later that day, we met with a few other family members at my grandma's house, where Fox was doted on by my little cousins the entire time.
Playing soccer with my cousin's son.
My aunt showed him how to attach clothespins to his shirt.
Me and my cousins.
My brother Dominic (Fox got his middle name from him)
There you go, this is what happens when you leave him with my aunt for a minute…haha.
He had so much fun!
Fox learned so much during our two week stay, it was crazy! Here he is showing us how tall he is, raising his arms when you ask him. I've been trying to teach him this for months, and all it took was one afternoon with my aunt and boom!
My sweet friend Katja (if you remember, we met when she was an au pair in San Jose) came all the way from Cologne to meet Mr. Fox.
And yes, he's having another ice cream cone. When in Rome…, right?
It was so great to catch up with her and I really appreciated her coming out. Hopefully we'll be able to meet up with the rest of the Cali girls next time I come to Germany.
This must have been Fox's highlight of the trip, riding the electric lawn mower with my uncle.
One night, my dad and I took him for a walk in the woods, probably one of my favorite things. I loved the smell and I was in awe for the entire trip on how green Germany is. So pretty!
This kid is definitely not a country boy. He freaked when he stood in the straw!
My sweet grandma and Fox.
Phew, if you made it through all of these pictures, congratulations! ;)
It was fun to see my family and friends, especially the ones I haven't seen in years and I enjoyed eating some of my favorite foods there (I ate at my favorite restaurant like six times…haha), BUT this trip was far from a vacation.
Dealing with a toddler on jet leg was HORRIBLE, something I don't wish on anyone and something I won't do to myself ever again. I thought it would take a couple of days to get into the swing of things, but NOPE! We were up for an entire week between midnight and 5pm. People tell you to keep the lights off, don't feed the child, don't play, but hello? Are you supposed to be sitting in the dark for five hours with a kid who is clearly wide awake and ready to go?
2am…who needs sleep?
And then we had to get up at a reasonable hour (I tried not to let him sleep past 9am) in order to get on a schedule, which meant neither of us got any sleep.
If that wasn't enough, Fox also refused to sleep in his crib and now we're paying the price, being back home and trying to get him back to his regular sleep schedule and sleeping in his bed. I'm hoping we'll get there soon, it took about three days for his night time sleep to get back on track, but naps are still a cluster f***!
The other thing that was pretty awful, were his eating habits. This kid would not eat anything, even though I got him all of his favorites at the store. The struggle was real! I totally blame the high chair, I don't know what germans are thinking, but none of the high chairs I saw had straps, so Fox could climb out at any point. What the heck? At some point, I got really worried about him not eating enough, which only worsened when he got really bad diarrhea and as a result a bad, bad diaper rash.
I was seriously so glad to be home, to get him back to normal and luckily, he has been eating like a champ since we got home, thanks to Katie.
On top of all that, Fox was so clingy, it was ridiculous. He was fine as long as I was in sight, but if Mama tried to use the bathroom or even worse, tried to shower, all hell broke loose. So it wasn't like I could get a ton of help with him, it was all me, 24/7, 16 days straight, which left me physically and emotionally exhausted.
I'm sure I would've been fine caring for him by myself in our regular environment, but the sleeping, eating and clingyness was kicking my butt big time!
When we got home, I crashed. Hard. It took me about three days and a lot of sleep to get back to normal and I was actually really excited to get back to work, where I could use the bathroom by myself…haha.
Fox had a blast though, he seriously had the best time ever! I don't think I ever saw him smiling and laughing as much as I did these past two weeks. He truly enjoyed the new experiences and had so much fun! For that, I am grateful. I'm also grateful that I was able to see my family and friends and especially for my grandma to meet Fox.
My mom and grandma are planning to come visit us next spring (depending on my grandma's health), which would be the first time flying for her (she's terrified!), and I truly hope they can make it.
As far as I'm concerned, I might change my mind as soon as I'm fully recovered, but for now, I'm pretty sure I won't be back until my youngest child is at least three or four years old. LOL.
The flight back was just as smooth as the flight there, if not better. Fox slept a total of seven hours and none of the flights were delayed this time. He was awesome! When we got home, he was so freaking excited to see all of his toys again, especially his train table. I wish I had recorded it. He just ran from toy to toy, pointing and gasping in surprise and it was the cutest thing ever. He was so happy to be home. And so was I. There's no place like home!