Birthdays are pretty much a big deal around here. For Preston's 16th birthday, we kept asking him what he wanted to do. He wanted to go paint balling. Mind you, he has no paintball equipment, and his birthday is in March, a typically cold time of year in Ohio. So we tried to sway him with the idea of a train ride...We kept saying things like "Hey, how 'bout a trip to the zoo, and we'll have the train engineer take you on a longer ride? We can pay extra, and he'll take you off the regular route." Although he wasn't much impressed, when we gave him the tickets to take Amtrak to Chicago, his interest level perked up. We hopped on board, after the obligatory delayed arrival of the Lake Shore Express, and spent 3 days firmly planting blisters on the soles of our feet, downtown Chicago.
After a very kind Some-Kind-of-Order Monk/Priest helped us figure out the bus route to the Museum of Science and Industry, Preston discovered his disfigurement wasn't just his imagination.
When we were in Orlando 2 years ago, we wanted to visit the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre, but for various reasons including the $350 cost for family tickets, not to mention having to deal with a grumpy father-in-law who totally didn't appreciate Florida (he's 70, for Pete's sake!! Isn't that required???!?) - (THAT's a whole other story in itself - suffice to say, there will be no more vacations with father-in-law!) ...we decided to save the knights and damsels in distress for another time.
The perfect time seemed to be Preston's birthday! I think the most expensive part of our trip was the train/cab rides to Schaumburg! Preston decided he'd like to work here.
Strolling the streets of Chicago, we had lunch (any sandwich, chips and a pickle = $4.19) at Potbelly Pig, or Potbelly Stove, or something like that. Maybe it was Beergut Delight. My very favorite picture of the whole trip, I think.
Somebody told us the Lego store was in Nordstroms. What they didn't tell us was that the Nordstrom sign was rather small, compared to other shops. We walked from South Michigan to the opposite north end of the Magnificent Mile and halfway back, before we located this obscure shopping center. Did I mention the blisters on my feet?
We hunted all over for Ed Debevic's diner. When we found it, there was a busload of what appeared to be prom-goers waiting for entrance. We quickly ducked into Hard Rock, where the guy seated one table over looked very much like Bob Seger. He even was wearing a Bob Seger t-shirt. Tom thought maybe that was his way of being incognito. (When I try to go incognito, it usually has something to do with leopard print leggings and rhinestone sunglasses, but Bob would look silly dressed like that. Elton John, on the other hand...)
When the kids were little, Tom was the resident cake decorator, and I must say, he did a right smart job usually. However, as Preston has grown older, he's adopted the position of being a Wolverines fan, and Tom gets Artist Block with that whole concept, so Preston now decorates his own cake.