Baby’s first vacation: Florence, Italy

My husband and I are great believers in traveling with babies while they’re young. There are several upsides: Free airplane seat! (well, mostly. You still pay landing taxes and fees), no need to worry about whether they’ll eat the food! And they nap long enough for you to enjoy the Uffizi gallery. All in all, those are great reasons to take your baby to Italy!

We stayed at the Westin Excelsior which was gorgeous with inlaid marble floors, beautiful finishes and the luxe, upscale style that you hope for when dreaming about your first trip to Florence. The Westin is also close to all the main streets, museums and shops that we wanted to visit.

Prior to our visit, I read “The Agony & the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone. While it’s a work of fiction, it brought great context to the magnificent cathedrals and artwork of Florence. I knew who created each masterpiece and in a way, what that meant to the artist and the town itself. We visited the Duomo, which is a famous Cathedral built by Brunelleschi. With its inlaid white and green marble exterior, it’s truly unique and worth experiencing in person.

Of course we stopped by the Uffizi, which was an invention of Cosimo d’Medici. He wanted offices for the magistrates of the city near the Palazzo Vecchio. However, being Medici, he couldn’t have a plain edifice built. The black and white tiled floors and beautifully detailed rooms are an apt house for the Renaissance masterpieces that now reside there. My favorite piece was a painted tabletop by Michaelangelo. You can clearly see how sculpture influenced his painting style. It was everything I had imagined as I was reading his “biography.”

And finally, although Florence was everything I had hoped, it was still a family trip. We all got to play dress up at the Medici palazzo. There was a carousel in the main square that lit up at night. We went to the Disney Store when we discovered it on the Vei deCalzaiuoli and bought a Minnie Mouse doll(a consistent favorite). We ate a lot of gelato and discovered Isabella’s love for an aromatic Italian stew. And we bought shiny red shoes for Olivia, because her daddy said Italy makes the finest shoes in the world. As always, a little something for everyone.

Ciao!

365 Days of Disney

As a parent, I didn’t steer my kids towards Disney movies or toys nor does Disney hold a place of unusual prominence in our lives . However, in 2016 that changed due to several reasons.

  1. I have an almost three year old that is obsessed with jewelry.
    No one has better jewelry than a princess.
  2. My five year old began to read and the books that hold her interest are primarily about strong willed young girls like her. Her stories of choice involve Merida, Ariel and Mulan.
  3. Disney introduced a Latina princess.

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Elena of Avalor was introduced in June 2016 and quickly became the princesa favorita in our familia. Along with having long dark hair and beautiful brown eyes, Elena peppers her speech with Spanish phrases and latin flavored songs. My girls relate to a princess that looks like them and highlights use of Spanish language in a positive manner when relating to family and friendship.

Her best feature, at least to my girls, is that she has a little sister named Isabel. Disney has long featured singular princesses, but as with Frozen, the Elena of Avalor series highlights the special bond of sisters and the prominence of having a close knit family that you can depend upon.

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So to honor and document this new factor in our lives, we are celebrating 365 days of Disney! We’re combining our love of family and travel with our new infatuation with all things Disney.  I hope that you look forward to seeing how we’ve incorporated these smart, special characters into our lives. I’d love to hear more about how you celebrate these characters in your lives as well!