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Jan 26, 2015 - General, Tips    No Comments

Traveling Around Europe With Your Toddler

Traveling toddler

We made arrangements to travel around Europe in May, so I need to make lots of lists, of things I need to take with me, of things I need to do before leaving, things I need to do while traveling. It will be a lot, especially when you travel with a toddler. Eric is 19 months old and he will be 22 months old. So no much difference, really.

He first needed a passport, which we made, and he is mostly set. Our plans for the trip needed to secure that Eric stays happy as much as possible. He needs to eat, to sleep comfortably, to nap when he’s tired, and to basically have whatever he has at home, and that is me and his father, a few toys, clothes and his schedule. So first we planned our way of traveling:

We chose to travel by train, mostly because of the liberty of moving that it gives us. Eric needs to explore the views, he needs space and needs to move around. He is already used to it, as we often go visit his grandma (my mom) to my home town. Plus, a train is cheaper than a plane, and more comfortable than a bus. It has a toilet, you can walk around, and no restrains. Of course a plane would be faster, but getting a toddler to sit still for the take off and landing could be challenging, or let me rephrase that, getting MY toddler to sit still, specially when his ears will feel weird and with all those strangers looking bothered by his complains, would be stressing. We also have two bus rides along the way, but no more than 2.5 hours and hopefully on acceptable hours. The train rides are no more than 6-7 hours at a time, and if more than that and we find night trains we’ll get the ones with bunk beds. Another thing we made sure of is to have traveling options without changing trains or buses, that would be too stressful.

Now that we chose the best way to travel, we thought to check out places we could possibly stay in. We really needed something that at least had a mini fridge, but having a microwave oven or a stove would’ve been awesome. We checked the cheapest hotels rooms with fridge and compared the prices to places on AirBnb, and  we realized that clearly studios or 1 bedroom apartments on AirBnb are our best option.

Why? Because we can save some money not needing to eat out that much, we can cook for the baby as we will know exactly what he eats. We can heat his meals, store his breakfast, store milk and yogurt, and be in better locations than the cheapest hotels. And needing a good location was key to our trip plan, because you need fresh water to drink, vegetables and bread daily, yogurt and milk, fruits and maybe a pharmacy. We also needed to be as close to the places we wanted to visit, the cities are big and a toddler can’t handle walking too much or being on the road too much without taking his nap.

So in case you are wondering why so much trouble for a trip, you need to know that we will be on the road for almost a month. This is our schedule:

We will leave town on May 2nd and head to Arad (still Romania) by train and stay there for a night, until May 3rd. The ride is 4 or so hours, so we figured seeing as our next stop is Budapest (Hungary) and that is not too close by either, we will need our rest.

We will most likely stay 3 nights in Budapest (Hungary) also from May 3rd to May 6th, on our way to Vienna (Austria), where we need to arrive on May 6th and we booked 3 days there, until May 9th, planning to visit AT LEAST the zoo there and meet up with a friend. Our next stop is Munich (Germany), from May 9th to May 12th. Next we’ll visit Verona (Italy) for a few days, from May 12th to May 15th, and we have a direct train ride from Munich. After Verona we booked 4 days in Trieste (Italy), from May 15th to May 19th, hopefully we’ll get nice weather as it’s close to the Adriatic Sea

Our fastest and the most direct route from Trieste to Pula (Croatia) is by bus, it’s a 2.5 hours ride so hopefully we will be fine. We”ll stay there from May 19th to May 23rd because we are still near the sea, and we love beaches and the sea smell. We’ll take the bus again from here to Rijeka (Croatia) for almost the same hours and again stay 4 days on the Adriatic Sea beaches, from May 23rd to May 27th. We take the train for our next stop in Zagreb (Croatia) and stay from May 27th to May 29th. We hope Croatia will be our meeting point with another good friend.

Then we leave by train for Belgrade (Serbia), and we hope we’ll meet some friends there and stay from May 29th to June 1st, then head home by train thru Timisoara (Romania), not sure if we need a night here or not, but at least we are close to home.

This is how our map looks like:

Europe Route

So all that planning doesn’t sound too crazy now, is it? Only the routes and cities we chose, but hopefully we’ll have fun and see as much of the places we visit as possible.

Oct 14, 2014 - General    2 Comments

About Breastfeeding in Public


A few weeks back I found a collaboration contest that meant writing on a pretty big site about motherhood. So I took the chance and wrote an article that I hoped it would win me the spot. It didn’t! I felt pretty bummed about it! I was feeling kind of hopeful that I could earn some money on something I am passionate about. My article was about breastfeeding in public and my husband liked it and encouraged me, so the news that I didn’t get choose got me really down.

So my sweet husband, either to make me happy or because he really thought it was worth it, took my article and got it published here, on one of his blogs. So this made me happy and grateful and got my hopes up and my mood to write more grew.

That article was a more of a “Don’t be afraid to breastfeed in public! Just do it!”, so I’m gonna tell you here why I do it. Why I need to do it in order to get places with a happy baby. Of course I could give him cows milk by now, but could a cow’s milk EVER be better than human milk? Cow’s milk is made for calves, and formula is made in a laboratory, for tiny robots or moms that couldn’t breastfeed! But yeah, why should I give something so unnatural instead of feeding my baby directly from the source?

To give him other milk than my own it implies I need the milk to be warm, or at least not cold, so I have to heat it more so I can have it for later. But if he needs it right after we leave home, how can I settle a crying baby AND cool the milk enough that he can have it right away? So for our family is best this way. I make sure I have the right clothing, I pull my shirt, baby covers the rest. I do my errands and everyone is happy. He gets the most healthier snack, I get the freedom of moving places, the people around us are not getting stressed by a crying baby, it’s a win-win-win situation.

I don’t have many friends that encourage me to do this, not even his pediatrician, not just in public, but in general too, but my baby is the MOST encouraging person I need! So read the article I published for more reasons to do it and what do you think about it!

Sep 2, 2013 - General    No Comments

Two Months Old Baby

Two Months Old Baby

The times flies by when you have a kid and you find yourself looking at the most beautiful baby in the world and wondering when did the two months go. You don’t notice any differences, you don’t see that he changed much from the day that he was born except if you look at the pictures from his first days.

But he is bigger, and he is growing up. He finishes his meals faster, he stays awake more and he is smiling at you with his eyes open, not only in his dreams, he looks at you and this time he is really seeing you because his eye sight has improved, and he is heavier but you don’t notice because your arms are getting stronger.

But someone said once small children have small problems, and big kids have big problems. Because at first it was just eat, sleep, poop, bath, walk, and repeat. Now is everything from above and then some. But I’m loving every single minute I spend with him.

I don’t get why people ask me if my baby is good, what to they want to know? My baby is good, he doesn’t throw stuff at me, he doesn’t yell or curse at me, he is well behaved, but doesn’t talk much. When he cries because of gas, or belly ache, or for food, or because he is cold, he is not doing it on purpose! It is his way of communicating something is wrong, the longer you wait to fix his problem the longer he’ll cry. It’s like a game of Hot and Cold, when someone is hiding an object and in order to find it you have to walk around and the person who knows where it is will lead you by saying Hot when you are near the object, or warm when you are close, or cold when you are far away from the object.

He doesn’t want to be cold or hungry, so crying is not something he does because he is spoiled, not when he is so small. When he needs you, he calls you the only way he knows. So hold your baby, be there to suit his needs, let him know he can count on you to be there when he needs you, and he will grow up to be a confident young man, that knows his mommy is there for him, and he will trust you and he will respect you, because you will give him what he needs, NOT necessary what he wants.

So, yeah, my baby is not a bad boy, even if he cries and he is fussy and can’t put him down in his crib for a few hours now and then, because his tummy hurts, his pain saddens me, it doesn’t make me angry, I want to take away his pain so he will not cry anymore, that does not make him a bad baby, that makes him a baby with a problem that needs to be solved and is my duty to make my baby happy, even if it means I have to hold him in my arms even when I have to go to the bathroom.

Jun 14, 2013 - General    No Comments

Deciding On a Name

This process took us very long. Since I got pregnant I asked my husband to think of a name. He didn’t want to because he said he wanted to know what it is first so that it will be easy just to think of boys names and argue just on those than have to argue on girls names too.

I agreed with him because we had different things in mind. He liked more local names and I liked more international names. So we definitely were going to argue. The first name was easy to pick. He took a list to explain to some friends why aren’t we deciding now for names and he found one that he liked and I liked it too because was not an usual name for our country. We didn’t had in mind then that we will keep that name, but as the time passed and as we only agreed on one, we kind of get used to it and kept it for his first name.

It was a name that suited both of us, he wanted a short name that is hard to have a nickname, and I wanted something that didn’t sound too Romanian. One of the reasons I didn’t want a regular name is because the babies I know, and the little kids I heard about don’t have usual Romanian names anymore and to give my baby a name like that would not be unique like many would think, it would be old, like: “Oh, my fathers name is ….”

So after choosing the first name, we both agreed he has to have two. One of the reasons was because if he gets older and doesn’t like his first name, he can choose the other to introduce himself.

So a few weeks back we took a list with like 500 names on it, more Romanian names than others but some of them looked ok. We both put our likes on a piece of paper, without talking with each other and seeing each other’s names. When we finished the lists we compared results. Few of the names were on both lists, so we choose those, and some that at a second view looked fine to both of us.

Long story short, after giving them grades we remained with only 3 names, and agreed to let just the first and second place for debate. We said we will think in the next days about the two names and see which ones sticks, like the first name did. And after a week or so, it worked and we choose a name that none of us got issues with.

But, as you know, after what happen on Monday, we felt we needed something to protect our little guy from harm. We have a tradition that one of the names should be a Saint’s name, but we didn’t liked any of the names we looked at. If you remember I said we had another name a few weeks back that we liked and the coincidence happen that the name we left behind was a Saint’s name, more of an angel really, but had something that we were looking for protection.

So this is the story about choosing names, it’s not easy, it’s not something you should do lightly, is hard because your baby will be stuck with it his whole life.

The other name we had for his middle name, was Oliver, but we had to change it as it wasn’t something biblical.

So his name is…… (drums beat in background)
Name me what


Eric Rafael (Ciabai)

P.S.: Rafael is the Angel of health. It means “God is the healer of soul, mind and body.”