Monday, March 23, 2009

Destination: Orlando, Florida!!!!

March 11th, 2009

Well, I survived the initial leap. The flight to Orlando went off without a hitch. My lovely husband kindly dropped me at the curb at Des Moines International 2 hours prior to my flight and I was on my own. Considering it was a Wednesday afternoon and I was flying out on a discount carrier (Allegiant Air) on their only flight to Orlando that day, check in was a breeze!

After spending maybe 10 minutes in line and checking in, I was off to explore the airport. I was exploring for two reasons, 1-I haven't been to Des Moines' airport for years and 2-just for the purpose of movement, exercise, whatever . . . I just can't handle sitting around for two hours! Well, come to find out, Des Moines International can be walked from the furthest check in through all terminals in approximately 25 minutes, and this was just a notch up from a snail's pace. So, I walked it all again but this time took a few detours to check out the gift shops and such. I would say that airport gift shops have to be the ideal place to buy that corny gift that speaks to the place you're visiting . . . there were the "Corn Fed" t-shirts, cow pies, corn nuts, if it spoke to anything corny or stereotypical about the state of Iowa, they had it. And I loved it. You can hardly ever find such a plethora of fine giftage all in one place!

I have to hand it to Allegiant, they promptly start boarding half an hour before take-off and that paid off with no delays or issues. I selflessly gave up my window seat for a pre-teen little girl and her mom (because they were already there) and had a smooth flight. A short couple hours later and I arrived at Orlando Sanford airport. . . and was shocked to find another airport possibly smaller than Des Moines' airport in a much larger city. Of course, this isn't Orlando's primary airport and I did like coming in during the evening to an airport that wasn't swamped!

15 minutes after landing in Orlando I had my bags in hand and walked my first wonderful steps out into the balmy and breezy night.

It was after 9 o'clock by the time I got to our hotel and settled in so we headed down the street to Kobe, a Japanese steakhouse. My friend mentioned that she had never been to a restaurant like this so we had to try it out. To our amusement, we were seated at a table full of Japanese tourists. What a hoot! They were having a blast and we were having a good time watching them!! The food and the service were excellent by the way.

A great start to a wonderful trip!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Catch up time

I've got some serious catching up to do here. I've been back from my quick jaunt to Orlando for a week now and finally getting caught up at home (although there's still a few items straggling around in the suitcase still sitting on the floor). But now it's time to sit down and do some writing. I'm hoping to get my posts caught up this week from the Orlando trip and also get cracking on our upcoming family vacation in July. I kindly reminded Brock the other day that it's only 4 months away!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Final Countdown . . . and the days until then

My blessed trip to Florida is finally only a week away. With an airline ticket, a hotel reservation and absolutely no agenda I am ready for a few days in the sun.

In the meantime, my husband and I have started dating again . . . dating each other of course! We had found though, that in the short two years since we got married, all our priorities had gotten jumbled and we put "taking time to go out and have fun together" on the back burner, like the furthest back burner there is!! So, we've now committed to regularly going out and two weeks ago we actually went out together on Friday AND Saturday night; this was quite a feat and an improvement!

Friday night was pretty laid back, just a dinner out at a new chain restaurant we hadn't tried. We had been hearing soooo much about the incredible salad bar at the new Ruby Tuesdays that we thought we'd give it a try. To start off, the place is pretty deceptive because the building really isn't as big as it appears and the layout inside is horrible! The salad bar is directly behind the host/hostess station so once you make a pass at the salad bar you are forced to back-track where you came from between the line of people going through the salad bar and the throngs of people lined up beside them waiting for a table, or make a u-turn between the host station and the front door! The salad bar did not dissappoint though, it was great as far as salad bars go. Lots of selection and it was constantly being refilled . . . literally, I believe 2-3 people came out to restock things during my first trip.

Now, Saturday evening ended up being quite a treat. Some friends suggested we meet up at J. Benjamin's, a local neighborhood joint. I'm embarrassed to say, it's only about a mile away and in six years we had never been there before. It turned out to be a great, quaint little casual restuarant with a great menu and wine list, but I was definitely glad we had a reservation. Once we were seated at our table right inside the front door the masses started to pour in. And wait and wait they did, right inside the door where no good waiting place was available. As we started with bruscetta and moved on to lasagna, scallops and chicken florentine these waiting patrons made small talk and asked for our recommendations on the menu. This didn't bother any of us in the least but the waitress and owner felt we were owed their apologies for dealing with the location of our table and the crowd all evening so our table was graced with a complimentary slice of chocolate cake and peanut butter cheesecake for our trouble. Trouble me any day, they were delish!