Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birthdays, Vacations, Chicago, and Heat

Too hot to handle
 Six months ago, we decided as a family to celebrate Darling Daughter's 12th birthday by camping at Indiana Dunes State Park. On her day we, along with my mom, would take the train into Chicago, and Daughter would would spend her own money at the American Girl Store there.

To me, vacation time is special. Being a grown up, gone are the glory days of summer vacation, the vast frontier of June, July, and August off. Now it is 10 days a year. I take 5 and divvy them up here and there (usually extending weekends by a day) and the remaining 5 leave me with one week over the whole year off. I like my job and career, but I love my family time more...
Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes
So we went camping and went to Chicago during the hottest week in Chicago / Northwest Indiana in 5 years. Observations and insights:

Excessive heat watches and warnings really do make outdoor activities harder.

It's worth it when a special day (birthday activity) has been planned 6 months in advance.

Camping trips with the weather a little too cool are easier than weather a little too hot.

Chicago River, Chicago
A family of 5 can live in a 144 square foot camper, but it it gets a little harder each day.

Taking the train to Chicago sure beats driving!

The Water Tower Place shopping mall downtown Chicago is designed for women. The only male friendly stores - Lego, Cubs souvenirs, and a high end game shop.

Hooray for ice cream!

Rare Shopping Spree
I happen to like the American Girl Store and American Girl concept (although if I really thought about it, the proposition that one could pursue their inner star without a relationship with the God who created the stars would bother me) with its ability to teach history from a girl's perspective and foster creativity and just being a girl. As a dad, letting a girl be a girl is a big deal.

Nice to be home, too!

Best Pizza in Chicago, I believe

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