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Trip Report I Left My Kids and Indulged in a Week of Pizza and Polizia: A Trip Report to Rome and Florence

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My trip was from May 12-19th. I've mulled over writing a trip report, but my mind was blocked with the OMG of turning 30, DH deciding to quit his job and general kid chaos. The first two issues have been resolved (kid chaos is here to stay)...I can finally begin....

After my husband told me to leave the kids with him and indulge in a solo trip to Europe, I immediately came to Fodor's to celebrate.

Big Thanks to those Fodorites who helped me work out the details of this trip.

Another big thanks to the rest of you who write trip reports: reading your adventures motivated me to keep making my own.

A bit of background:

I'm obsessed with travel. I've been to Europe five times so far and I've visited Scotland, England, Amsterdam, Belgium, France and Italy, twice.

I'm a stay-at-home Mom to three children: daughter age 4 and twin boys, 1.5 years. Yes, my hands are always full. And yes, I live in chaos. :)

Motherhood is a blessing, and at times, a test of a woman's sanity. My three kids have driven me to the edge many, many times. I've avoided falling into the abyss of crazy, due mostly to my amazing husband Aaron, who sees the cuckoo in my eyes and steps in to rescue us all from the fallout.

I guess crazy was on my horizon however, because by the end of December, he told me I needed a week for myself to figure out whom that "self" was when not consumed with the demands of three loud, sticky children. After the shock and disbelief wore off, which took only a few minutes, I was far away in la-la land, daydreaming about airplanes and hotels and cafes...and freedom.

After a bit of help from Fodor's and my January issue of Smithsonian Magazine, which touted "28 Places to See Before You Die," I decided I would spend my week in Rome (because it's one of my true loves) and Florence (to see Botticelli's paintings in the Uffizi -- which Aaron has no interest in ever seeing.) Because my last trip to Italy included my daughter at 1.5 years old, my main goal for my upcoming trip was to experience all that I missed before: quiet cathedrals, quiet museums, quiet restaurants, slowly drinking coffee during a quiet morning......

After I picked my destination, I had four months to get my appearance together - and I looked a mess. I showered maybe once a week. Instead of changing clothes, they were rotated. No makeup. Hair brush - not likely. What was the point, really? Where did I go other than my daughter's preschool and Target? Italy became my reason to spend time on me. Funky sweats in Rome -- totally unacceptable.

Leaving my family was fun to daydream about, but the reality was, it was gut-wrenching. I had a lot of guilt. Friends and family asked why I chose a week in Europe as a break from my life. Why not start with a day at the spa? Or maybe a weekend away, close by. I never knew how to answer this question, since jetting away did seem slightly extreme for someone who never left the house.

Then while packing my bags, consumed with anxiety and guilt, I realized that only a plane heading to Europe, could take me away from my family.

And man, am I glad it did! :)

To Be Continued....

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