For the last 9 years, we haven't taken any major vacations. It's mostly by choice, but money plays a big factor into that too.
But that's ok. With animals at home, and lining up people to take care of them, we try not to be away from home for too long. It makes us feel a little guilty. (Well, it makes ME feel a little guilty.)
We've been going to Chicago each summer for all of these last 9 years. It's not too far away (3 hours by train, about the same by car), and it has plenty to do.
Since we started going when Grace was 5, and Evan was 4, they know the city pretty well too. The only thing that has evolved is we no longer have to haul them around in strollers (THANK GOODNESS), and the cost of eating out has gotten dramatically HIGHER!
We tend to do the same kinda things each summer in Chicago that we've always done, but some have changed slightly too.
I still LOVE all the architecture, and now Evan feels the same.
We go shopping...and when I say WE, I use the term loosely. Brent and Evan like Sports Authority, and Evan likes the Lego store still. Grace and I this year, dropped the boys off at the hotel after going to their stores, and we power shopped for a couple hours. It was a lot of fun!
Since we FINALLY figured out where the "bean" was in Chicago, we now go to Millennium park to pose in front of it, visit the crown fountain, and people watch.
It took us a good 7 years to get everything in order, but we finally know our way around pretty well now.
Grace even spotted a sign for a design college downtown that she might be interested in pursuing in a couple of years. It sure would be fun to go visit her there!
We had a great time. The kids swam, we shopped, ate a lot, and relaxed sometimes too. It was great weather, and we couldn't have asked for more.
Now, back to the appointments, the animals, and the fair...bring it on!