Tag Archives: vacation

Our Trip to Napa: We Did Everything Wrong

We experienced a few new things as a family last week:

  1. I stopped nursing completely. This wasn’t difficult and I wasn’t as sad as I expected. If anything, I’m not worried about how I’ll ever clip AM’s nails ever again (I always did it when she was nursing because she would sit still!).
  2. I spent a night (actually 5) away from Annmarie. I had never done that before. I only cried twice the day that I was leaving.
  3. Jeremy and I vacationed together without Annmarie. And while I missed her terribly, I also felt guilty about enjoying myself. Oh mommy guilt.

An opportunity arose at work that involved traveling to Napa, California for a work conference. I didn’t think my manager would approve my going but the conference asked me to be a panelist in a discussion. My manager saw it as a good opportunity so off I went!

We only really had 2 1/2 days to explore Napa (I spent 2 days at the conference and we had an early morning flight on Sunday).

sadly – I felt pretty sick most of the trip so we didn’t do too much but here are some grainy cell phone pictures! I took pictures with our point and click but I rarely pull photos off of that camera (because I can never seem to find the cord). We had some weekly pictures of Annmarie on there from when she turned 1… and that was a few months ago.

anywho.

Jeremy and I ate at Kitchen Door twice because it was within walking distance of the hotel and they had some lighter, veg-friendly fare. Jeremy saw a menu item called “Mexi-coke” and ordered it. I expected something more interesting and was disappointed that it was just coke. Apparently it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup, it uses cane juice.
A "mexi-coke"

Jeremy was pretty pooped from traveling so we kept it low key the first night he arrived. We went and saw The Avengers. yes, we went to the movies while we were in Napa, California. Obviously we were doing it all wrong.

We grabbed breakfast at The Model Bakery (on both mornings). Their veggie sandwich (a fried egg with avocado and other delightful items) was delicious.

Then we went to Frog’s Leap winery.

Wine tasting at Frog's Leap

Frog's Leap vineyard

Wine at Frog's Leap

We broke for lunch (although we kind of winged it so it blew up in our faces. The nearby restaurant was crowded and the wait was too long. We had a wine tour within an hour and couldn’t risk it. We drove down to a Dean & Deluca’s but the lines for sandwiches were super long too! Luckily we picked up a baguette from the bakery so we just bought some cheese and called it lunch.

Our next stop was Robert Sinskey Vineyards where I failed to take ANY pictures. We did some cave tour and were the ONLY people on the tour. The woman was super nice and informative. Jeremy had a lot of questions about wine making. All I could think was, “I am so hungry.” A baguette with cheese wasn’t cutting it for me.

We were pretty beat from the day so we didn’t do much that night expect… see a movie. We’re so lame. We saw “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” (mostly because there wasn’t much else in the theater). It was okay.

On our last full day in Napa, we checked out Paraduxx.

Wine tasting at Paraduxx
Wine tasting at Paraduxx

We enjoyed this place the most, probably. They had little information cards with each of their wines. We prefered this over listening to a person discuss, at length, all of the wines we’re about to taste. Sometimes it is just too much information all at once. I felt like Paraduxx offered a slower paced tasting experience.

But after this place, we both decided we didn’t really feel like going to another winery! Again, I realize we are super lame. Instead we just drove around Napa. We stumbled across the Napa State Park and decided to check it out. Since this was an unplanned trip, my attire of a maxi dress with sandals wasn’t appropriate but we still decided to go on the nature hike anyways.
Poor choice in footware for hiking

Napa State Park
Napa State Park

We also got milkshakes from Gott’s Roadside. Again, we were in Napa and we had milkshakes. We really did everything wrong here.

We nearly missed out flight home (I’ve never experienced running through a terminal to catch a flight before!). I was happy to see Annmarie. I ridiculously worried that she would have forgotten me since it had been nearly a week. I know it is silly but I worried that she’d run to Jeremy and not me. I’m happy to report she came to me! Yippee!

Taken any vacations lately?

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Everything is Fine (I’m Still Here!)

I really didn’t intend to go nearly 2 weeks without posting anything especially when my last post was a super serious post on my family. 

Quick update – my dad is a stubborn man who refuses to listen to reason.  He and my mom have repeatedly told me that he merely went to the ER about his hiccups and they’re gone now so everything is a-okay.  I’ve compared this situation to a car.  It is like they’ve taken their car to get an oil change but found out that the engine is on the verge of dying (or perhaps just has a lot of things wrong with it).  Instead of addressing the engine, they just got their oil changed and left.  That is my dad.  (And thank you everyone for your nice comments)

Anywho…

One of the other reasons for the long absence (even though I totally meant to blog during this time) was that we just returned from our first family vacation to the Outer Banks (Duck, NC to be exact).  Jeremy is hyper-paranoid about indicating that we’re out of town on any sort of social network so I just dropped off for a week.

We were a little nervous about traveling with a baby but took comfort in knowing that (1) we weren’t going anywhere that wouldn’t have the essentials if we needed them and (2) Jeremy’s parents were also going so we’d have help if necessary.

The drive down to the Outer Banks is about 6 hours from Baltimore.  I was concerned about the long car ride with an infant but I looked up travel advice on parenting blogs, asked parents I knew and decided that the best plan was to travel at night.  That was we wouldn’t have to worry about frequent stops and it wouldn’t throw off Annmarie’s sleep schedule too badly.  As for OUR sleep schedule?  Meh – we survived.

Overall we had a great time.  I won’t lie – I was a little nervous about vacationing with my in-laws but we really did have a good time.  Annmarie’s cousin was also there (he’s 3.5 years old) and he was really sweet with Annmarie.  I never understood families that all vacationed together (even though I’ve had a blast vacationing with one of my friend’s families to the Outer Banks… and have gone 2 years ina row with them!  But things are always different when it is your OWN family) but Jeremy and I really had a nice time.  We hope to do this again yearly!

I won’t bore you anymore with rambling.  Instead I’ll bombard you with the cutest little 6 month old on the beach pictures (we took a ton and I have had a really hard time narrowing down to just a few to share on Flickr).

 
Annmarie 004
She seemed to enjoy hanging in the pool in this floaty (she tried to chew on it though).

Nathan & Annmarie 2
She seemed fascinated by her cousin. It was cute to watch her watch him play.

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She got a few naps in at the beach. Apparently the ocean makes for a great sound machine!

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Snapping a photo of herself (okay, not really – she was just trying to grab the camera from Jeremy)

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Playing with dad on the beach towel.

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One of my favorite pictures from the beach.

Annmarie 136

Annmarie 127

Annmarie 143

Annmarie 140

Annmarie 179

Annmarie 175
We tried to have her pose in the sand without us and then she quickly grabbed a handful of sand and put it in her mouth.

Now this is what I call, “Trying to Get Annmarie to Pose on Things”:
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She’s riding side saddle…

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Now’s she’s riding a shark! She’s fearless.

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She didn’t like pretending the be eaten by a shark. Party pooper.

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And now she’s a pretty (albeit confused since we had just waken her up to do this) butterfly.

I have plenty more but I think I’ll stop while I’m ahead (before I bore you all to tears since they’re pretty much the SAME photos but with slightly different poses).

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4 Years (And in that time we made a baby!)

Tomorrow is my 4 year wedding anniversary.  Holy cannoli!  I wish I could say that my wedding feels like it was yesterday but honestly – I sort of don’t remember much about the day anymore.  Perhaps that is what having a baby does?  My brain can only hold so many memories.

4 Years ago tomorrow, I was doing this…

and then some of this…

and then some of this…

And in those 4 years, we’ve traveled to some great places like…

The Maldives (our honeymoon)

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Scotland (where I got to drive on the opposite side of the road… and we lived to tell the tale):

London
The Tower Bridge in London

Paris
London and Paris 2009 479

And some other places (Turks and Caicos, The Outer Banks 4 times! and I’m sure I’m forgetting something because I forget everything these days…)

While I loved all of the places we’ve been and can’t wait for all the places we’ll go, our biggest adventure to date (cue sappy music) was having a baby…
Still can't believe we're parents
Annmarie - just a few hours old

and watching her grow and change everyday (this photo was taken on Sunday… can you believe she’s gone from the picture above to this?!  she’s frickin’ huge and adorable!)
Annmarie 039

(okay – sappiness over!)

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Turkeys & Tacos? (or “My Trip to the Turks & Caicos”)

We just returned from what may be our last vacation in a very long while.  Some may consider this a “baby moon” but we really just needed a damn vacation before the madness of Jeremy’s semester starts up again and then I plop out a bambino.

This trip was originally supposed to take place in Napa Valley where my gorgeous cousin Ji just got hitched (she got married yesterday).  I was super stoked when we received her invite and I saw where it would be.  Jeremy and I promptly took the time off of work and then started looking into planning the trip…

… and then I found out I was pregnant.  Now here’s the downside of pregnancy.  You can’t drink.  That is some bullshit, right?  Apparently drinking + pregnancy = defected babies.  Or something like that.  I love watching movies that take place in the 40s & 50s and they feature pregnant women chain smoking and sipping on brandy. 

Anywho.  I love my cousin and I’d still LOVE to go to Napa Valley, but we couldn’t justify the price tag of the trip when I couldn’t even enjoy some vino.  I told my cousin and apologized profusely (and hope that the sweet new blender we sent them makes up for it).

I figured with the pregnancy – we weren’t going to do anything but Jeremy had a different idea.  He pitched the fact that we already had the time off and that this may be the last vacation we have together… just the two of us (we can make it if we trrrrryyy… go ahead and say “just the two of us” and not hum that damn song).  He began looking at last minute deals to the Caribbean and we booked a trip to Turks & Caicos.

And holy shit – I love that place.  I’ve only been to a few places in the Caribbean but Turks & Caicos (or Turkeys and Tacos as Jeremy likes to call it… won’t he make a swell dad?) is hands down the best place we’ve gone.  It was apparently their low season (since its hurricane season) and we loved it.  There were still people there (and lots of babies… and they are super cute in their little swim wear and hats) but overall it was just the perfect amount of crowd and quiet we wanted.

So here’s a picture montage…

The view from our balcony (we stayed in an “ocean view” suite with a full kitchen)

It wasn’t the swankiest place we’ve ever stayed but we loved the fact that it had a full kitchen.  There was a grocery store about a mile down the road so we were able to buy food to prep (and as a vegetarian… this was amazing).

This was also the first tropical/beachy trip we’ve taken where I haven’t ended up with heat rash.  I basically parked myself under an umbrella for most of the time and wore some crazy, super thick, chemical-free SPF (it was 20% zinc oxide so it didn’t rub in totally… so I was a nice shade of white).

The place had Hobie Cats and kayaks that you could check out for free.  We kayaked for about 20 minutes until I realized it was too much work.  And the day we finally took out the Hobie Cat there was NO wind.  We caught a gust of wind and I sailed us pretty far from shore.  And then we were stuck.  And then Jeremy got pissed and accused me of trying to kill us.  We obviously made it back to shore.

They had several pools at The Royal West Indies (where we stayed) and Jeremy enjoyed himself in the kiddie pool.

Us at sunset.  This was apparently a very popular time for people to snap photos on the beach.  We saw a few couples setting up posed photos laying on the beach and one guy was even (what appeared to be) professionally photographing his very pregnant wife. 

I saw quite a few pregnant women on this vacation and also quite a few infants.  I’m not sure if I’m just more aware of them now but I felt like they were frickin’ everywhere. 

It rained every day that we were there for only about 10 minutes each time.  The weather was probably around 90 degrees everyday but oy, the humidity.  But it was awesome.  The people were friendly.  The resort was great.  We were conveniently located near a grocery store and other restaurants.  I highly recommend this place.

Now back to the grind…

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Vacation… Glad I Got Away

I went on another super secret vacation the last week of May.  Again – I never really publicize that I’m on vacation because Jeremy thinks our house will get robbed.  I don’t think our neighbors have internet access.  Whatev.

We went down to the Outer Banks, NC (again) but this time we stayed in Buxton.  Also new for the both of us is that we went with my friend’s family (her husband, her parents and her in-laws).  At first I felt like a little kid but it actually worked out just fine.

I’d also like to add that I absolutely love that her folks get along so well with her in-laws.  I don’t see that type of friendship often and I think it is awesome that they can vacation together. 

My parents are socially-challenged.  But I digress…

There isn’t much to do in Buxton.  In fact, there isn’t anything to do in Buxton so I ended up with a lot of this:
Image of bottles of wine

Also sprinkled in my trip was my attempt to run outdoors.  I haven’t really been running outdoors since the November marathon.  I’ve run twice with disastrous results.  Distrastrous in that I wasn’t able to run nearly as far and long as I used to and that is really ridiculously frustrating.

But I vowed to run at least twice while at the Outer Banks.  Running in Buxton is tricky because there isn’t any ideal running path.  When I vacationed in Duck, NC – there was a lovely path.  Buxton gives you a small shoulder on the road where tons of traffic zips by you.  It was stressful.  My first attempt at running wasn’t ideal but I was happy to do it.

Jeremy ran a different path (towards a lighthouse) and said he really liked it because, despite not have a sidewalk or shoulder on the road, traffic was light, there was plenty of shade and there were nice things to look at along the way.  For my second attempt I ran Jeremy’s path.

I ran past this lighthouse:

Image of a lighthouse

And up to a memorial for some fallen British soldiers:

Image of a soldier's memorial
Because of the limited amount of traffic – I wasn’t feeling as stressed and was able to run faster and longer while feeling fantastic.  Who knew I hated cars so much?

Sadly – the majority of the week was filled with dark clouds and rain but we did manage to catch at least 3 days of sun (and it was enough to give me an awful heat rash).  On one of the cloudy days, we hit up Ocracoke Island.  We ate at some restaurant, poked into a terrible gift shop (called the Treasure Chest!), were horribly disappointed that the ice cream shop closed and then were entertained by this:

Images of birds hovering around a car
Those are a mass of birds hovering around a car because they threw out a bit of food.  Jeremy started that trend by throwing a Pringle at the birds.  Immediately a ton of birds hovered around the car… it was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie or something.

So because I only ran twice, did nothing else but sit on my tush (I read a lot!) and eat a ton of junk food… this week has been tough.  I feel like I’m in a fog.  I’m exhausted.  I’m hungry all the time for junk and my workouts have been pitiful.

OY!

Tomorrow I’m attempting another outdoor run.  My goal is to get up to at least 5 miles outside.  Maybe I’ll even sign up for the Baltimore Half Marathon?  Who knows.

have a great weekend!

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My Husband the Boy Scout

Despite being together for nearly 6 years (over 3 being married) – my husband still surprises me from time to time with his knowledge and skills in specific areas.

Example – he has a freakish knowledge about cars.  I’m not even kidding.  He knows more things about makes and models of old cars than I think is healthy.  I think that is an entirely different post.

This post is about how his spending 1 month (or some ridiculously short amount of time) in the Boy Scouts as a wee lad has really shaped some of his adult skillsets.  He has an incredible sense of direction.  Freakish almost.  We can be driving through a new city and while I am completely turned around and lost, he knows exactly where to go (or at least a good idea of how to get where we need to).  He pulled this skill out when we were driving through Edinburgh and got lost in the city.  Amazing.  And another reason I think we’d totally kick ass in the Amazing Race.

He can also read maps.  Isn’t it amazing how things like a GPS system or Google Maps has rendered most people my age and younger incapable of reading old school maps?  My husband can read them.

Anywho.  Last week we were in the Outer Banks (surprise!  bet you didn’t know we went on vacation).  On the last night, we all decided to have a little fire to make smores.  My husband busted out his sweet Boy Scout skills and made an awesome fire that lasted much longer than I wanted.  I bring to you lots of boring photos of a fire!  Enjoy!

Starting a fire

I realize he is sort of cheating by using a lighter but I was still impressed with his wood stacking skills.

Roasting marshmallows

Roasting marshmallows

Now a bunch of random pictures of twirling burning marshmallow roasting sticks at night with the camera  flash turned off:

Oh… we amuse ourselves so easily.

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The Lights of the Eiffel Tower

Okay – I’ve decided to make this my last post about Paris! I have too many pictures and too much to say but was only there for 2 FULL days. I’ve dragged this out too much! Plus, it just makes me hate being here even more. So for my sanity (and everyone else’s, I’m sure) – this is the last post. I’m dedicating this post to the many lights of the Eiffel Tower.

The twinkling lights that twinkle every hour on the hour for 5 minutes. Everyone gets really jazzed about the twinkling lights. I was too… the first 5 times. I was then like, “meh… they twinkle. Ooh – look at that crepe!”
Eiffel Tower on NYE

Blue lights!
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Crazy multi-colored light show:
London and Paris 2009 245

More crazy colored lights from the light show:
London and Paris 2009 128

This isn’t easy to see but the colors and pattern looked like a Christmas tree! (I accidentally left the flash on my point & shoot and this lady got in the way):
Eiffel Tower on NYE

My favorite light show display – the French flag!
Eiffel Tower on NYE

And my absolute favorite? The crepe stand just outside the Eiffel Tower:
Drunk off of Crepes

People have asked me what my favorite thing was in Paris. My response? The crepes. I got a chocolat-banane crêpe avec chantilly. Basically it was a crepe smeared with chocolate sauce and sliced bananas and then filled with the most divine whipped cream. So.f’n.good.

If you really want to see my ridiculous pictures, you can view my albums here:

Our Expedition in London

Our Photo Montage of Paris

I missed so many things and rushed around so much that I definitely didn’t get to fully appreciate Paris.  And now I can’t wait to go back!  Next time, however, I will go back in the Spring!  I met a lovely couple in the Montreal airport that told me that April/May was a great time to go.

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