Saturday, May 24, 2014

Orlando Through the iPhone

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have been on vacation the last several days.  Chris had a work conference and I tagged along while Dennis and Geri graciously watched our kids back at the homestead.  It was dreamy.

It was refreshing to wake when I wanted to and eat meals while they were hot and enjoy a cup of coffee with silence and beautiful landscape.  I did miss the kittens but when I would feel a tinge of sadness I scrolled through images of them on my phone while sitting on my lounge chair in paradise and learned to cope.  Rough.  I know.

I opted to leave my big girl camera at home since the kids weren't coming and let's be honest, that's pretty much what I take photos of these days.  So the following is haphazardly brought to you by the iPhone.

Our flight to Orlando was kept entertaining by some origami tableau.  After creating an elaborate origami hummingbird, Chris and Daniel used a hair from my head to suspend the bird and a peanut to create a scene.  These men are doctors.  The health and care of many is in their hands.  Ponder that for a moment.

 At several points they complained they didn't have a needle driver since tying a human hair is a little different then throwing surgical knots.  The tying of the hair lasted a good forty-five minutes but these two never gave up on their dream.
 The first scene was the hummingbird pooping a peanut.  It took several takes, as the hummingbird, when suspended, only wanted to spin in place.  #winning
 Scene 2: humming bird walking across cracker bridge.  Much easier to execute since it did not involve suspension.
Scene 3: humming bird sitting atop the shoulder of unsuspecting victims.  See photo above and repeat ad nauseam.

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, where the water bottles flow freely and you never have to be bothered to push your own elevator button.  A girl could get used to vacationing like this.  But I won't because my time at Ritz is limited to urology conferences covered by residency programs.   But I'm living it up while it lasts.

 This is the view from our room.  The grounds were impeccable.  Hammocks were  positioned in the shadiest spots and there was a nice walking path connecting our hotel to its neighbor.  We would walk to the Marriott each morning to grab breakfast and coffee.
 The bathroom at the Ritz is the real deal.  Imagine a marble room with perfect lighting where no matter how you stand, it's flattering.  Is it weird that I loved the bathroom so much?
 Casey and I mourned the lack of beach before we came upon this tiny, man made beach.  Guests could paddle boat and kayak. I opted to sit at the pool, but had I desired a small water adventure, one was available.
 Not too shabby.
 Most mornings began with an overpriced coffee and a beautiful view.

 I spent most of my down time at the pool.  Under the umbrella was the perfect place to finish a book or take a nap.

 Casey and Isaac were my pool buddies.  Isaac would nap at the pool in his stroller and was protected from the sun thanks to the awesome umbrellas.  He was a trooper all week, easily adjusting to changing times and all the day and evening excursions.
 Lakin and I Face Timed one day.  She hasn't quite figured out how to hold a phone so her whole face is displayed.  I did get an excellent view of her left eye though.
 I sent Casey this image over text one day when she'd taken Isaac up to the room for a little rest.  These nachos looked amazing and I wanted us to get some the next day for lunch.  She obliged.

Sunday evening we bought  after 4pm discount tickets and went to Magic Kingdom with Casey and Daniel.  The last time I went to Disney I was younger and I had forgotten a lot of the magic.  It's a pretty impressive place.  I look forward to going back with our kids when they're a little older.
 Chris and Daniel showed off with pull ups on the monorail.  Again, professionals.  #howwelldoyouknowyoururologist

 The place was packed.  If I had small kids with me I'd definitely leash them.  Judge if you want, but it would be easy to lose a kid in this insanity.  The park cleared out after dinner but the mad rush returned immediately following the light parade.  Hell hath no fury like a tired mom with sleeping toddlers in her stroller.

 I am a weenie when it comes to rides.  I don't like drops, crazy speed or upside down loops.  Lucky for me Isaac feels the same way about roller coasters.  So we limited our rides to things like Swiss Family Tree House, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and other mild attractions.  After figuring out the genius fast pass option, we were ready to ride.

 This is the face of Disney sans small children.
 Casey is the girl to go to Disney with.  She knows the park layout, the insider tricks and recommends all the food.  Girl got the Disney bug and she got it bad.
 Way too excited for our first "ride" which was actually walking in a long line through the Swiss Family tree house.  I may not like a lot of thrill but this one was a little too tame.  But you know we were hopped up on Disney excitement and there was no line...

 Casey suggested a smoked turkey leg.  Nothing says, "magical" like smoked meat right off the bone of an animal.

 Loved the balloons throughout the park.  The white Mickey balloons actually lit up in the dark and were a mere $15.  You guys, Disney is straight up robbing people blind and we can't stop smiling about it.
 The Light Rave parade.  Really incredible.  Casey and I staked spots for an hour to get a view while the guys rode Space Mountain.  There were a few moments of hostile feelings and people shoving and pushing to get a spot.  The momma next to me was not having it.  If you want to feel a lot of passive aggressive anger, try to get your parade spot fifteen minutes before it begins.  Oh no they didn't.

After the parade we were all glassy eyed and stumbled our way to the mono rail and began our two hour trek back to the hotel.  It's a happy place, that Disney World, but when you're done, you are done.  You know what I mean?  Children were melting in front of our eyes as the night wore on.  We joked it was like they were being taken over by a zombie virus.

The following day it was back to business as usual at the pool.  I fulfilled my week long dream and ordered the nachos poolside.  They were every bit as magical as the Kingdom.
 We met up with my Aunt and Uncle and had a yummy seafood dinner.  It was great luck that they were in Orlando at the same time as us.  So fun to catch up.

 More morning indulgence.
 The Ritz has some ducks who fancy their pool.  I took this picture for Lakin since I thought she'd get a kick out of it.

 As we checked out I snapped this photo that shows the juxtaposition of us and your typical Ritz patron.  Designer ladies wear, suits, golf attire, and Chris in the polo shirt he's has since high school, Chacos and a camping backpack.
 Final pics of the lobby before we left.
 I can still smell that Ritz air.

 We spent the final two days of our trip at a friend's condo with beach access.  It was the perfect way to end the week.
 We pigged out on sushi...
 spent an entire day on the beach...
 finished our books...

 ...and took intimidating photos of ourselves.

After dinner the last night we watched the sun set and had a great time taking ridiculous silhouettes of one another.

Another great conference goes down in the books of residency.

Dear residency,

What you lack in daily pleasure you make up for bi-annually in out of town conferences.  I suppose we might miss you.

Love, Chris and Sara.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

But first...

Let's puzzle. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Why I LOVE Sseko

I want to take a minute to tell you about a company I love.  I love this company, not simply because they produce beautiful footwear and handbags but because of their heart.  Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand based in Uganda.  The company started when my friend, Liz, traveled to Uganda post college graduation and recognized that there was a great need for jobs for women, specifically women who desired to continue their education at University.  A journalism major, Liz, took a huge leap of faith and started a sandal company.  She admits that at the time she had no idea what she was doing as well as what a significant impact Sseko would have in the lives of countless people.  I'm so thankful for brave women, like Liz, who take giant leaps to address the very real needs of this world.

These sandals, and now handbags, totes, scarves... and very soon jewelry, are an example of how ethical fashion can help end the cycle of poverty.  Our purchase has great power, friends!  

I urge you to learn more at  It a beautiful company with an awesome heart.  Join them in their mission to educate, employ and empower!

P.S.  I just got my leather tote.  I am beyond impressed with the quality and craftsmanship.  It's absolutely stunning.  I carry it everywhere and it's prefect for toting my laptop to and from work - it even has a special laptop pocket to keep it protected from the other chaos of my bag.