Category Archives: Charm City Kim Travels

Catching Up

I know I alluded to lots of changes happening in the Charm City household… and these changes have been keeping me busy. And then coupling that with the fact that daycare has been closed these past 2 weeks, I haven’t had any time to blog.

So this is just a quick catch up for those that may still be checking in.

I actually did a photo dump from our small point and shoot camera the other day and totally forgot that we had pictures from our trip to Washington, D.C. on there. We did a quick tour of D.C. with my aunt who was in town for my dad’s funeral since she’d never been to Maryland or D.C. before. And it was balls hot out that day. Like 100 degrees hot.
Abe Lincoln!

I was worried that AM wouldn’t last but she was a little trooper. Next time though, I’ll hold off on touring cities until it is much cooler.

It is crazy to look back at a photo from just a little over a month ago and realize that (1) AM no longer fits into the shoes she was wearing in the photo and (2) she no longer users the pacifier outside of the house. So many changes. Seriously though – her feet are growing like crazy this summer.

More recently, we visited the Maryland Zoo last week. It is hard to plan this types of outings with AM now since she naps from 12pm – around 3pm every day. We hate disrupting this because her mood definitely is impacted based on whether she had a good nap or not. This means we usually have to split our activities to things in the morning and things in the late afternoon/early evening.

We figured AM would only be into the zoo for like 2 hours anyways and we were so wrong.

She did a lot of this:
Pointing at unknown animals

And this:
Pointing at birds

And some more of this:
Looking at zebras

It was really difficult to pull her away from exhibits. She’d see an animal, point and say something. She would also insist that I hold her up so she could get a better look. And for some reason she was all about ME holding her up this day and not dad.
Looking at turtles

And the ONLY way we could get her to move on to the next area was with the promise of her seeing “more animals”. (She now says “more” and completely understands the concept)

We actually had to trick her into leaving the zoo willingly by saying we were going to go see “more” (we didn’t say animals but she isn’t hip to our word trickery just yet). When we got halfway to the parking lot you could see the instant she realized we were leaving and she had a total meltdown. I think it is safe to say that she likes looking at animals.

We also took her to her 18 month check-up and learning that she’s still measuring in the 90-95% for height and weight (yowza!). Apparently she’s measuring on point with the average height of a 27 month old. That is insane to me. Our pediatrician also made some comment about how we’ll probably end up having 4-6 kids. Um… let’s see how we do with 2 first.

Lastly – I haven’t really been posting stuff on Facebook. I think right around the time my dad died, I didn’t want to share his death as a status update and get inundated with messages of condolences from people with which I don’t keep in close contact. But that also means I haven’t shared my pregnancy news either. I went to a baby shower this past weekend completely forgetting the fact that I haven’t seen many people in awhile and I think it shocked a few folks. It is amazing how much people rely on Facebook for news on friends. (and I totally rely on it to stalk people!)

Do you share big news on Facebook? Do you enjoy “stalking” old friends and acquaintances as much as I do?


Filed under Charm City Kim Breeds, Charm City Kim Travels

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.


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?


Filed under Charm City Kim Travels

Traveling Tuesday (We Survived Flying with a Baby)

I’ve been a bit MIA lately on here and on Twitter. My grandpa died on Thursday, November 3rd. We flew out to Utah the following Saturday and were there for a few days.

I will blog about my experience in Utah and reflections on visiting with family but this is about traveling with a baby.

I asked my Facebook friends for some traveling tips and most recommended packing plenty of snacks and new toys for the plane ride. Another suggested just using a wrap instead of taking a stroller. And nearly all suggested slipping AM some benedryl to knock her out. We skipped the benedryl only because our pediatrician said that some babies react differently to it and it can actually make them hyperactive. No thanks – I didn’t want to risk it.

So this is what we packed:

  • enough diapers to get us through the flight.
  • enough jarred solid food to get us through the flight.
  • Moby wrap. It isn’t easy trying to carry a 23 lb baby AND coordinate carrying luggage
  • Car seat and base. We had to rent a car when we were there. This had to be packed. We were able to bring it onto the plane as our carry-on.
  • Lots of small toys, new ones (picked up for less than $3 each from Target) and some old favorites
  • Snacks! She loves these Organic Puffs.
  • Enough clothes for 2 outfit changes daily (in case of leakage).

Things we purposely did not pack: 

  • cloth diapers. We wouldn’t have access to a washing machine for daily washes so it didn’t make sense.
  • Disposable diapers for the week. We weren’t traveling to a 3rd world country. We knew we could pick up diapers in Utah. No sense in packing stuff we could just purchase later.
  • Solid foods that we prepped. This seems pretty obvious. We had the same mindset with food that we did with diapers – we could buy some when we got to Utah.
  • Stroller. We thought about it but we weren’t really going to Utah for sightseeing purposes. It didn’t make sense to pack a stroller.
  • Baby towel/washcloths. The hotel has plenty of towels!

Our pediatrician recommended timing feeding AM with the takeoff or at least ensure she’s sucking on a pacifier. I was petrified that she would flip out. We got side eyes from the majority of passengers when we boarded the plane.

But… AM was fine. She didn’t really fuss at all. Granted – she seemed restless whenever she wasn’t napping so we were constantly passing her back and forth to occupy her. Overall however, it wasn’t a bad experience.

About to take off
Annmarie 036

As for traveling around Utah with her? Not so bad. The only negative thing was having her sleep in a crib in our room. Between the time zone difference and altitude, it took her 2 days to adjust. She would NOT go to sleep if we were awake in the room (watching TV, eating, etc.). So that meant we had to go to bed when she went to bed… around 7pm. That was good AND bad. We slept longer on that trip than we had in awhile (9-10 hour stretches usually).  But sometimes it was tough to go to bed that early.

It also didn’t take her long to readjust back to our time zone. She actually slept 12 hours the following night (and each night over the weekend… it was glorious).

I also hauled her around in the moby wrap most of the time.

Annmarie 042

And on the trip home, our flight left Utah at 5pm and we landed in Baltimore at 11pm. We dressed her in her PJs and she slept most of the way.
Flying Home

We survived!


Filed under Charm City Kim Travels

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)


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.

Annmarie 047
She got a few naps in at the beach. Apparently the ocean makes for a great sound machine!

Annmarie 054
Snapping a photo of herself (okay, not really – she was just trying to grab the camera from Jeremy)

Annmarie 089
Playing with dad on the beach towel.

Annmarie 078
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”:
Annmarie 190
She’s riding side saddle…

Annmarie 193
Now’s she’s riding a shark! She’s fearless.

Annmarie 194
She didn’t like pretending the be eaten by a shark. Party pooper.

Annmarie 198
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).


Filed under Charm City Kim Breeds, Charm City Kim Travels

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):

The Tower Bridge in London

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!)


Filed under Charm City Kim Breeds, Charm City Kim Rambles, Charm City Kim Travels

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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We Found Where Love Died (aka My Trip to the Poconos)

The long awaited post about the Poconos is here! 

So, as I mentioned previously – Jeremy surprised me on my birthday with a 2 night getaway to the world’s cheesiest hotel in the Poconos.  He recalled me saying (a long time ago) that I thought it would be hilarious to stay in a hotel with a champagne glass bath tub.  Because this pregnancy has left me without the ability to do a lot of the things I wanted to do (most notably go white water rafting) – Jeremy planned this very unexpected surprised.

I was surprised that the Poconos was about 4 hours north of Baltimore.  For some reason, I always thought it was closer.  My ass was killing me by the time we got to the hotel but seeing this sign made it all worth it:

The main sign to Cove Haven

We took that picture on day 2 because day 1 stated that Lewis Black was performing that night.  But the giant hot pink hearts really had me laughing.

As we kept driving, we saw another sign pointing us to our destination:

 After spotting this giant heart, I knew I was in for a real treat!

The slogan of Cove Haven is, “Love Lives Here” and omg – they really beat this into your brain. 


This slogan was everywhere.  Hearts were EVERYWHERE.  If you didn’t believe in love, god dammit – they were going to MAKE YOU.

As cheesy as this hotel is (in terms of the hearts everywhere) – they are surprisingly pricey!  But apparently it has to do with the fact that they have so much crap to do – you never have to leave.  They have a driving range, several pools, boating, indoor tennis, arcades, ARCHERY…

… they also had entertainment every night (for free if you were a guest).  As I mentioned before, Lewis Black was there.  He was hilarious.  But even MORE hilarious was the “opening band” – Group D’Jour.  They were a middle-aged cover band (I don’t think a single band member was under the age of 45 and they ranged in looks from an aging Kevin Smith to the missing member of the Bee Gees) that sang songs from the Black Eyed Peas, Outkast, and Lady Gaga.  It was brilliant.

Anywho – the rooms.  Oh the rooms.  For as expensive as this hotel is – you’d think the rooms would be posh.  Holy hell.  The rooms are liking walking through a time machine to 1983. 

They couldn’t even be bothered to update their wedding sign to something more current.

The rooms were equipped with formica EVERYTHING.  We stayed in the Cleopatra rooms (not sure why there was an Egyptian theme to this section of the hotel) because they were the only rooms with the champagne glass tub:

And there were mirrors EVERYWHERE in the room… including above the ROUND bed:

I really could go on and on… but I’ll stop here.  Aside from the massive “love theme” everywhere – they managed to make everything sexual.  Their gift shop?  About a 1/3 of it was super dirty sex stuff (including a penis pump… why?).  The actual candy store was hidden below the gift shop as though candy was the dirty thing nobody should see upfront.

I was also really shocked by the number of return visitors.  If you return more than 4 times, you’re considered a “forever lover”… and there were a ton of them!  It made me sad that they didn’t want to try a different sort of vacation.

So there you have it – we stayed at a place that claimed “Love Lives Here” only to discover that it really died there in 1983.


Filed under Charm City Kim Travels