Family trip and toddler friendly Wellness weekend in Germany <3

It’s a perfect moment for a short break. Although our holiday is planned for the end of September, a relaxed getaway was definitely a priority. I was just in need of a spa and a big massage! Looking so last minute, it was a challenge finding a free spot anywhere. Luckily, from a Luxembourgish point of view, we are situated in the heart of Europe and I found a wellness center only one hour away in Germany.

Check-in & pool area
Last Saturday, early afternoon, we arrived at Weiskirchen Parkhotel. A four-star hotel somewhere in the Saarland.  We booked a junior suite which is fantastic with kids, because of it has two rooms. That means we could actually sleep separate from our kids and only had to open a door to get to them again.littlelux lion toddlertravel

After the check-in we had a little drink at the bar, while our 20-month-year old toddler was playing with duplo. The best part about the hotel for kids is the pool area. With two big toddler pools and a huge bubble bath/pool, you can easily float hours away.littlelux lion toddlertravel

We also booked directly a (free of charge) late check-out at 3 pm on Sunday. This way we could easily enjoy our time and spend a little extra wellness time during their afternoon nap. Just one at the time we visited as we couldn’t leave our kids of course going to a spa together. A babysit service would be an asset to this hotel that is so well prepared for kids ;-).

The food
Because of our last minute booking, the restaurant was fully booked unfortunately. However, we could sit down at the Brasserie for some simple food and they offer a nice kids menu. It is a spot for a quick dinner or lunch which could be just all you need with small kids. Next time I would definitely go for the restaurant as the menu and the atmosphere looked tempting. Maybe our next visit I would wait until the kids are asleep (and use a baby monitor) so you can really enjoy a romantic getaway. Instead, I took my moment and immediately went to the wellness center after diner as they both slept quickly. Also not too bad…..

The following morning we enjoyed the restaurant for breakfast. The breakfast is great! The Germans always seem to be quite good at it… The service, the staff and the wide choice of fresh food provide an excellent start of the morning.

Playtime!
Besides the duplo corner and the pool area, they also provide a playground for kids. With a sunny day ahead, our little lion went outside for some playtime in the adjacent garden that has a large and great equiped playground. For kids that are a little bit older, we saw a midget golf club across the street.

The spa/wellness
The main reason we went was because of the wellness center. I was surprised, because it littlelux lion toddlertravelwas a lot bigger and better organised than I expected it to be. With different sauna’s inside and outside and a large garden area, it was actually big enough to call it a true wellness center, not too crowded (even on a Saturday) and wide enough to have sufficient relaxing corners. We both booked massages at the sauna area and were happy about it. The massage is only 22 euro per half hour and was actually quite good. So I came back the next day for an extra hour, to really lose up!

The end/our reflection
We were really happy about the hotel, because:

  • It’s only one hour drive from Luxembourg
  • A good combination of a kids friendly hotel and true wellness center
  • The staff was extremely friendly and helpful

What did we miss?

  • I would like a babysit service, so you can add some romantic quality time together (for example during their nap time).littlelux lion toddlertravel

Thoughts: It’s about time…

To really observe how one is handling and exploring the perspective of time is quite interesting. I believe that every life changing event gives another perspective of time. Whether you go to University, become a parent, or starting a relationship…. Your former perception of time is done, over, schluss. Hence, since I became a parent, it almost feels that I ‘wasted’ my time a lot when I was young.

Although… that may sound quite negative, in other words I found it a massive luxury in my ‘ former’  single, kids free, student life. How I could easily spend my weekend only partying or trying to see the whole season of 24 or Soprano’s, moving from the couch to the fridge and back….Or just being able to be very occupied to attend EVERY festival in summer and book at least 8 times a year a flight for a trip wherever without thinking. What a life…. ‘sigh.’


Currently it is like this: all the ideas that come to mind and ambitions I have, and then the smack back to reality. Kids that wake up way to early (bye bye yoga routine) or suddenly reduce or extend their nap time now that you thought you had a rhythm. It is definitely no complaint, but it is the law of economics where time management becomes a very scarce product.

Chronos vs. Kairos

img_0748Looking at the phases of my life, it feels like I have lived in different timezones. Not per definition during different ages, more different phases. I love the Greek philosophy about Chronos and Kairos. Chronos governed linear, chronological time. Kairos meaning the indeterminate moment that is right for something to occur. While Chronos is quantitative, Kairos has a qualitative, permanent nature. The term kairos is also used to denote “the appointed time”, “the crucial time”. Chronos is usually portrayed as an old, wise man with a long, grey beard, similar to Father Time. Whilst Kairos be portraited as the extended version of Mother Nature of time?

With all that is going on in my life at this moment I do feel that I have to be very aware of Chronos and Kairos. Father time is just ticking and ticking, while there are a lot of qualitative decisions to be made.

While I am currently not even checking out ONE festival and booking unlimited trips
seems ages away, change is possible. As I am organizing to be settled more and more, in the mean time there are still choices to be made that will have crucial influences on my life. I feel Chronos and Kairos more then ever nowadays. But that means also crucial time will pass by and will open up some air again, closing a phase and maybe even be able to “waste” some time again.

Shameless mom

Every now and then I can picture my school period again, whilst thinking about my current life as a parent. I mean, sometimes it feels like you go out and play and sometimes you feel really bored, staring at the clock. Another parallel is that you do actually learn a lot. And  of course parenting comes with a lot of ‘homework’ as well.Littleluxlion

One thing that really got clear to me these past few weeks is how toddlers don’t embarrass themselves, aren’t ashamed or are to busy pleasing others. Though kids are looking at examples in life and towards their parents, they don’t have a lot of standards yet. This makes them free as a bird and a joy to watch.

How I enjoyed my son demanding wearing his sisters’ clothing. How discovering new things in life and learning about anything is without prejudgement. What an example! It becomes clear to me that I don’t need to teach my kids to feel free and follow their strong will to develop their talents and learn about life. Like I already mentioned in this blog. I just have encourage it.

I love the words of the song of ‘Emili Sandé about learning to be free:

Littleluxlion
You’ve got the words to change a nation but you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it, how we gonna learn your song?
So come on come on, come on come onYou’ve got a heart as loud as lions so why let your voice be tamed?
Maybe we’re a little different, there’s no need to be ashamed
You’ve got the light to fight the shadows so stop hiding it away
Come on, come on” 

The reason I write this, is that in a certain way I feel like I am holding back. Maybe people will say that I am adventurous, with taking lots of risks in my life and not holding on to securities. That is true and I am proud of that. The most regrets I have in life are because I made the wrong choice, instead of holding back.

These regrets came from trusting the wrong people, miscalculating the situation or denying my intuition.  That made me sometimes weak. In the end, I believe experiences in life make you humble, more empathic and self-concious about your resilience and confidence. I think that is what people mean with that it makes you stronger. Only, writing just that (stronger) down, feels a little hollow.

LittleluxlionWhy I am still feeling like holding back? The most challenging in life is not to follow your patterns, but to change some of them. To do believe in what you are capable of it and go 100% for it. I went to Luxembourg with a mission. That mission is to do what I love  besides my ‘homework’ as a mother. Now, 6 months after giving birth to Chloé, I do feel I really want to develop my talents in a productive way 100%. Follow my heart and ambitions instead of choosing the easy way for the reason of certainties.

Let’s do this shamelessly, without prejudgments, without standards and add that strong will to learn things in life.

Thoughts: Hero

Sometimes in life, at the worst moment you will have a memorable and inspiring experience. This happened to me last weekend when I was visiting my friends and family in Rotterdam.

Chloé and I went on a ‘girls only trip.’ Looked very much forward to it and this happy little lion is almost always joining me with a big smile on her face. Actually nothing really changed about my opinion towards her since I wrote my ode to her.

Now, she is a six month old baby andI try to adjust my schedule as I can be very enthusiastic trying to meet up with lots of people. Looking back, I still should have planned more peace and rest for Chloé. With a 4,5 hour drive and getting much attention of an enthusiastic family and little sleep during the day, the dinner with friends at night started as a nightmare. Although I did expect a little resistance of her sleeping in a pushchair, it got worse than that…

As I tried harder to calm her down, she panicked more and more. I didn’t feel ashamed among the other guests, however I did feel horrible not being able to calm my babygirl down. Stubborness came over me, just trying to wiggle the pushchair back and forth, forth and back. I was just out of ideas of what to do. Then, a man suddenly stood next to me. With a calm and deep voice, he asked me; “Can I help you? She is really panicking…”

The way he asked this question was crucial. He sincerely wanted to help me and asked for a yes or no. Whatever I chose was fine with him. This feeling opened a way to listen and think again. There was very little room for others with a desperately crying baby next to me. He looked at me and started asking questions about Chloé. I answered them and already the situation eased down. He held her for a minute and gave some advice. One of his advices was how to ease a child down when it’s upset. He mentioned that the art is finding a balance between attention and neglecting. He softly holded Chloé against him, while talking with a deep and soft voice to me and moved her just a little from left to right as he explained. She eased down.

I got curious about him and wondered about who he was? “Who are you?” I said to him. “With all these questions it is hard to believe that you are just a concerned person.” He answered me;” I am a paediatrician specialised in neonatology and besides that I have two daughters.” I immediately trusted him.

This man was special. You just know it in an instant. With Chloé calmed down, I could actually start conversations with my friends and take a look at the menu. But then, Chloé started crying again. I didn’t manage to calm her down again. I immediately walked over to “the doctor” and asked him for help. It’s a fragile boundary; asking for help as a mother. Sometimes people really just make you feel bad or are obviously or indirectly judgemental.

The best way I can describe this, is that he helped from his inner strength; obviously a lot of experience and confidence about his knowledge and skills. He didn’t want to hear a thank you. His motivation wasn’t likely to be external focussed, but really from the heart.

The day after I was still in thoughts and one friend that was joining me that evening, looked him up on the internet. As a doctor he coaches people among different therapies, being specialised in helping people through traumatic events as he has seen a lot as a paediatrician. Also in his personal life, coming out after 20 years marriage with a wife and two daughters had thought him valuable lessons.

I am grateful and inspired meeting this man. I learned about my daughter and learned about life. Being confident and do what you love, with the use of all your experiences in life can make a difference. This man didn’t need a lot of words to tell me that when I met him. A true hero.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday: 7 ways to prevent your kid from car heat stroke

Reading newspapers about hot summer days gives lots of joy, but sometimes also some sadness. Especially articles about car heat strokes and babies. Luckily some articles have a good ending, but unfortunately not all. It is interesting taking a closer look how you can prevent yourself from this situation and here are some tips I found on the internet:

Facts about car heat stroke

  • With an outside temperature of 24 degrees celsius, the temperature in the car can rise to 31 degrees Celsius and two hours later even to 36 degrees. If you arrive at your car after six hours, the temperature in the car can even be increased to 50 degrees;
  • Between 1990 and 2016 775 children died in the USA because of  car heat stroke;
  • There are developments for reminder systems in cars, only not yet available in Europe.

Tips to prevent car heat stroke

  1. Never leave your baby alone in the car
    You might consider to leave your baby if you only have a quick car stop for five or ten minutes. However, please remember how fast temperatures rises in your car, even when you’ve opened a window slightly. The body temperatures of babies rises faster than a mature person and a body temperature of 42 degrees can be fatal. If the temperature in the car can increase 6 degrees in one hour, what does it mean in a baby’s body?
  2. Keep something you need in the backseat
    Put your cell phone, briefcase, computer, lunch, ID badge, left shoe, or anything essential to your daily routine beside your child.
  3. Cover your windscreen with a screen
    In winter, screens are handy to prevent scratching when it has frozen; in summer it keeps warmth out. It does not prevent the indoor temperature from rising, but keeps the contact temperature of the dashboard, the steering wheel and the seats lower.Tip: Cover buckles and other items that can get hot with a towel when you leave the car.


     

  4. Always allow children to wear clothes in the car. Ensure that children wear a layer of clothing in the car to prevent the skin from coming into direct contact with a glowing hot buckle. Also wearing clothes is safer in case of a collision; The belt can cut into the skin or provide abrasion and burns when carried directly over the skin. Maxi cosi has some proctectors for use of the seat belts. These protectors prevent friction between the skin and the belts. Belt protectors are also available for the standard seat belt. Ideal for children sitting in a car seat group 2 or on an enhancer. These “mature” belt protectors are also available in a thicker version, useful when your child falls asleep in the car.
  5. Always lock te doors and keep the keys away
    In some cases, a child climbs into a car to play and is overcome by heat, becoming disoriented and thus unable to get out. To stop this from happening, you must always lock your car when parked.Keys should be kept out of the reach of children and if a child goes missing, cars and boots should be checked immediately.
  6. Use sun shades
    A wide sun shade on the rear door window can be very useful with babies sitting in the Maxi-Cosi on the back seat. Early in the morning or later in the evening the sun is low and shines exactly through the rear window in the face of your baby.
  7. Have a plan with a childcare provider
    Ask your babysitter or childcare provider to call you if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
Sources:
https://www.allinmam.com/baby-in-auto-laten-zitten/
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/pinecrest/article131368004.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/pinecrest/article131368004.html 

Thoughts: How to be a fit and strong mom?

With Chloé almost 5 months, I notice times are changing. The development of Chloé is really visible now and she is obviously getting stronger. Last week, I witnessed her first real turn from back to belly and this week she’s already moving a lot more.

LittleluxlionMy own physical condition is also a lot better since I gave birth. I feel a lot of motivation to get stronger and fitter. Mentally and physically I really need to gain a little bit of “me” back after two years of non-stop pregnancies and breastfeeding.

My goal will be to gain strength, flexibilty and fitness. I felt strong, fit and flexible just before my first pregnancy. Went to the gym five days a week for different exercises. Played tennis, was active in yoga and boxing.

LittleluxlionWith two under two, being at a gym five days a week doens’t seem realistic. However there should be more into it than I am doing now.

No need to lose any pregnancy kilos. I actually never understood the motivation behind “losing weight”. Losing sounds so depressing. You lose your wallet, you lose hair on your head or lose a beloved one in your life. So what’s the fun of losing weight? It won’t make me realise my goals.

Littleluxlion

This summer I will definitely orientate myself for yoga or pilates places in Luxemburg. A closer look to Chloé’s back to belly turn shows me babys have a ‘winning’ spirit. No is not an answer. They achieve their goals with curiousity and a good balance between perseverance and relaxation. I will follow her spirit. Let’s make it happen and win myself back.

 

 

Holiday: toddler travel Autoroute du soleil to the Provence/Côte d’Azur, France

Our first family trip. What kind of traveling would be nice with a toddler and a baby? Our very first holiday, with one baby, was with an airplane and we enjoyed it very much. This time, having two kids, we are eager to discover how a trip to the south of France would be. On our way to the Provence/Côte d’Azur, we found some nice spots. In this blog I will highlight our favourites on the way!

Aire de Lloraine Sandacourt (100km from Nancy to Dijon)

This restaurant we mainly like because it has everything for a stop to eat and change a toddler/baby. It has a small playground inside and a spacious changing room for toddlers, including a toddler toilet.

Littleluxlion.wordpress.comMoreover the restaurant is very clean which I find the most important. For meal orders they have a promo for kids €4,90 including water, dessert and a surprise. Besides that; make sure you order seperately with your partner, as the
ticket had a discount for the next visit of €3,-. You can use it directly on the order of your partner

littleluxlion.wordpress.comAire de Repos de Jugy, A6 to the South, between Chalon en Macon

This is the parking-lot for children! Up to the age of 12, they can enjoy themselves in a mushroom themed area. There is a large playground full of mushrooms and slides for children to climb on and play. Side note: It can get quite busy here and there is no restaurant.

Auberge de Moulin for tasty meals between Lyon & Valence

We got of the highway to find a place for a good French lunch. By chance we found  Auberge du Moulin in St Sorlin en Valloire. It’s just a small detour and worth it. Very tasty meals, excellent service, a high chair and some green gras to run around for our toddler.

Chambre d’hôtes close to Valence

We spent our first night in a chambre d’hôtes on a farm in the Ardèche, close to Valence. We are immediately overwhelmed by the fantastic view and the relaxing spirit. The kids and you will have an amazing time with the animals. And you will love the hosts and their delicious homemade and regional dishes.

This is truly where holiday begins. The table d’hôte is definitely a recommendation. Costs only € 20,-.

littleluxlion.wordpress.comlittleluxlion.wordpress.comlittleluxlion.wordpress.com

 

 

 

How we enjoyed our holiday in the Provence/Côte d’Azur, will be blogged soon!

Familytrip Rotterdam. Must-do visit!

Want to plan a visit with kids and looking for a new destination? Born and raised in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, I can highly recommend this upcoming city. After a visit last week, I really need to inform you about my love for this city. You think it’s only fun for a romantic weekend or a getaway with friends? No way! Rotterdam has a lot of options if you want to have a short family trip. Here are some ideas that will get you mostly on and off the beaten track:

Day 1: Iconic eye catchers of Rotterdam

Start the day with the fantastic Hotel New York (HNY) for breakfast or brunch. This used to be the former office building of the Holland America Lines and has been national heritage site since 2000. Here you already have a beautiful view of the Erasmus bridge, locally know as ‘the Swan’, and the skyline of Rotterdam.

img_4070-1
Skyline of Rotterdam (story continues)

To experience the largest port of Europe, hop on the watertaxi from HNY to the Oude Haven. At your arrival you can see where the first high-rise building of Europe was built in 1898. From there take a five minute walk to see a unique peace of architect at the ‘Cube houses‘ and visit Rotterdams’ newest tourist and local highlight; the Markthal.

img_0778-1
Markthal

On the second part of the day hop op the watertaxi again to the Euromast. Here you’ll get a great look of Rotterdam from above. From there, walk to the nice citypark and get a tea/coffee at the kids-friendly Parqiet .

Ready for dinner? A few minutes away you will find the departure point for a pancake cruise. This will show you the grand tour along the skyline and port of Rotterdam with a kids friendly meal.

DAY 2: Relax and Enjoy!

After all the sightseeing of the first day, you’re probably planning a more relaxed day. Let me take you to my home neighbourhood, ‘ Kralingen’, it is absolutely my favourite.

Juffrouw van Zanten

Start with some breakfast at the coolest high quality kids cafe you have ever seen. Since February 2017 ‘Juffrouw van Zanten’  is the new hot spot which combines kids friendliness with a delicious menu for everyone. These places are very rare, I promiss you. Another option is the cafe ‘ Thuisch’ in Kralingen. Also a very nice cafe with a massive playroom inside and outside playground.

After that take a look at a kids store Dattie & Die, and move on to relax at the ‘Kralingse bos’. You will enter a huge recreational park, where you can easily spend a whole day. Take some picnic gear with you or have a lunch or coffee at one of the cafe’s. Cafe ‘de Tuin’ has an outside playground. If you want to do something with the kids besides walking along the lake, don’t miss out on the other fun things to do. Here are some options:

img_1450-3
Kralingse bos
img_1679
Kids farm

DAY 3: Can’t choose. Both are great!

Want to spend your final day at one place? Here are two options that are equally worth a visit.

PLASWIJCKPARC
Visit the recreational park of Plaswijck on a good or a bad weather day. The park currently consists of Speelwijck (play area), Dierenwijck (animal area) and Wandelwijck (walking area). In the event of bad weather, enjoy the House on the Hill, a giant playhouse where kids can jump on a trampoline beds in the bedroom, squirt bubble bath in the bathroom and crawl and climb through the secret tunnels and passageways. Animals from around the globe live in Dierenwijck, including monkeys, owls, lynxes and goats. Wandelwijck offers various places to relax, including the English Garden and the Picnic Meadow. Plaswijck Park also has a restaurant with a terrace where drinks and (healthy) snacks are served.

ROTTERDAM ZOO
This is by far one of Europe’s most beautiful zoos. While wandering through different parts of the world, you will discover and encounter the most amazing and countless animals. Take a look at the amazon where crocodiles swim, see the elephants and visit the one cave where you can see polar bears. Furthermore there is a gorilla island and savanna. But one of the most iconic features of the parc is ‘Oceanium’. You will meet many marine and coastal animals as sharks, turtles and king penguins in a 22 meters long tunnel.

img_4188-2
Blijdorp, Rotterdam Zoo

Still not convinced or some time left? In the near area of Rotterdam there are also places worth a visit. The beach is just 20-30 minutes away by car or train and ‘Kinderdijk‘ is world famous for its windmills.

Can’t wait to see your feedback about this and above all, enjoy!! ❤

In between

It’s a very odd time capsule that I feel myself being sucked into. It’s like the movie “Back to the Future.” I just settled in my new future, but I’m still influenced by my past and travelling back and forth to the future in a Seat Leon instead of a Delorean.


It’s living in between countries, in between jobs, in between a house we own, in between my body recovering from pregnancy, or at least I hope that it is temporary. In between a creche for my kids, in between my true friends from the Netherlands and building up true friendship(s) in Luxembourg.

Have you ever felt that in between?

What does one do to let that feeling  go away? You can see this from several points of view. Glass half full/half empty kind of thing. In between can mean all options are open and you can experience enormous freedom. On the otherhand ‘all options’ are  a lot. So you might as well feel a bit squized into nomansland as well.

img_1136
Statue of Willem I in Luxembourg

img_1422-1
Statue of Willem I in The  Netherlands
With travelling “back in time” to the Netherlands this week, I will set the first steps with closing the deal of my sold house and some final appointments for my kids.

The next week I should put on my self lacing Nikes, get in the Seat Deleorean and gain some energy and decisiveness like thunder and lighting to help me get “back” into the future.

On the other hand, maybe I must not expect to be in a fully settled future at once. Maybe some things will occur with the energy of thunder and lightning. But maybe a lot of things just need time to pass by instead of heading there at once. Only time will tell.

img_0920