Thursday, June 24, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 4

In the morning, we head down for a swim, where we discover that all the families with children hit the attractions first thing in the morning, and we have the pool pretty much to ourselves. Around noon, we bid farewell to Kelly and she leaves to catch her plane.

In the evening, we head to Downtown Disney, yet another shopping-restaurant-entertainment area with a theme-parkish feel. Despite our better judgment, we wait nearly an hour (at 9:45 pm on a Thursday) for a table at the Rainforest Cafe. We ask ourselves, it is worth it to pay $10 for a hamburger to eat in a fake rainforest, as elaborate as it may be? Big Champ is terrified of the animatronic gorillas, which our host leads us directly past on the way to our table. The heard of elephants we dine with are o.k. The huge tropical fish tanks are a big hit. And every 20 minutes or so, you get a thunder and lightning storm, complete with rain. Little Champ wants to go up and down the stairs near our table, which is not such a good idea considering the place is crowded.

The zoo it ain't.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 3

Today we head to Old Town, a fun shopping area with rides.  It is technically in Kissimmee, but is closer to Disney, and quite a drive from our hotel.  After some shopping, the Big Champ rides the merry-go-round with Kelley and the Tea Cups with me, and surprises me by not being frightened by the cups going up and down and spinning around.  By the end of the ride, we are both ready for it to be over.  LC enjoys hanging out in his new stroller.   Afterwards, we have some lunch and are ready to call it a day.  We drive through Kissimmee but are not impressed, so don't stop.

We finally make it to the pool in the afternoon.  For dinner we head to Pointe Orlando which is an outdoor mall on International Drive.  International Drive is surreal and has an amusement-park feel to it.  We park near WonderWorks  the facade of which is an upside-down building.  They have speakers with a recording of creaking noises as you walk by.  At Pointe Orlando, we stop by a stand where you can have your picture taken with a parrot, and the lady puts the parrot on BC's arm which delights him.  We don't pay for a photo, though.  We pick the cafe at XS Orlando which has decent food but not so great service.  For the most part, the service at just about every restaurant we visit in Orlando is slow, slow, slow.  Even in the middle of the week.

Monday, June 21, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 2

Start out the day by heading to Walmart to stock up on supplies, where I make the best purchase of the trip - a Cosco umbrella stroller with a canopy, about $13. Unlike our Graco travel system stroller, which I love, an umbrella stroller can be gate checked on an airplane.

From there we drive to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins college, which boasts Florida's oldest art collection, and had the added attraction of being free. But it was under renovation and closed. We head instead to the Orlando Museum of Art. I initially balk at the idea of taking two children under the age of 3 to an art museum, but we are surprised and delighted to find From Goodnight Moon to Art Dog: The World of Clement, Edith and Thacher Hurd. And although the Chihuly exhibit had closed in May, we were able to view one piece which had been purchased and loaned to the museum.

Then on to the Peabody Hotel, where we caught the daily march of the ducks from the lobby fountain down a red carpet, up the elevator, where they return to their penthouse. The Duck Master caries a walking stick, which does double duty keeping his ducks in a row and keeping small children off the red carpet.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

TRAVELOGUE: Florida Day 1

My husband says: "Orlando is like going to Las Vegas but without any chance of winning any money, only loosing."

We arrive in Orlando and head to the car rental. We have reserved a full size sedan for $119/wk. The service agent offers us a Dodge Durango for $139/wk. They have 50 sitting in the lot and are pushing them. What a deal. When we get the bill, we realize that the $139 was for an upgrade, in addition to the $119. Nevermind. We end up with a Buick LeSabre, more than adequate, lots of trunk space.

We check into the Hawthorn Suites Orlando Airport. My friend Kelley is already waiting for us. She will spend the next 3 days with us, exploring Orlando with me and the kids while my husband is in class. We immediately head down to happy hour. Hawthorn Suites offers complimentary drinks and snacks for two hours every evening. They also have free american (hot) breakfast every morning, and free dinner on Wednesday nights - though in this case, you get what you pay for.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

TRAVELOGUE - Introduction

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. The next several entries will be a travelogue. My husband goes for training in Orlando, so since the company will be springing for part of the trip, and we have adequate frequent flier miles for me and the boys, we are all going with. First to Florida, then to Iowa for a week to visit Grammie and Grampy.

The theme for this first part of the trip is: how little money can we spend in a week in Florida. Can a family of 4 eat well on a $45/day per diem? How many fun things can we find to do in Orlando without shelling out the big bucks for Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, or one of the countless other major attractions in the city?

My guide for Orlando: Top 10 Travel Guides: Orlando (DK Publishing, 2002).

Note to the blog purists out there: these blogs were written out by hand and post-dated when published.

Friday, June 18, 2004


An announcement from Valerie Runes, Acting Editor, From Calling to Courtroom:

"It is with delight, pride, and more than a little relief that we announce to you the final release of the book From Calling to Courtroom: A Survival Guide for Midwives. We began work on the book early last fall, and have put a tremendous amount of time and effort into times we have struggled, but we believed that the final product would be a gift to U.S. Midwives. I hope you agree that we have succeeded.

The book is a result of the experience and talent of many people -- midwives, attorneys, and midwifery advocates--all of whom volunteered their time and energies. From the beginning, our plan was that all those who worked on the book would do so without cost, and the book would be available without cost. You may find it at:

You can read it online, or you can download the entire book as a .pdf file. You may also order a hardcopy at cost.

Pay us a visit...sign our guestbook. Let us know what you think!"