Monday, January 01, 2007

Trip to the American Girl store in Chicago with Ally

We arrived in Chicago, checked in and headed out for dinner. Ally is enjoying a perfect Shirley Temple at the Char House.

We got up the next morning to discover that the American Girl store is directly across the street from the Park Hyatt. Ally just stood in front of the display window and watched the animated dolls "perform". She was so excited to be there, yet she could not rush inside ... she really enjoyed the animated window display. (look, Mom! they're really tap dancing!)
Once inside, Ally selected a doll that looks like herself, and got her a cute outfit (which coincidentally is available in real-girl sizes, too).
We were surprised to learn that, in the store's bathroom, they have doll-holders affixed to the wall so that you can pee without having to put your new doll on the floor. How clever!We went to the Theatre Revue - a live show featuring girls acting out roles and stories from the American Girl books. After that we took a carriage ride that took us over to Lake Michigan and back around downtown.
Ally just looked around, pointed out anything that was particularly cool, and sipped at her vanilla steamer. She kept saying that we should do this again next year.
We shopped some more and then had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe...

...and taxi'ed back to the hotel to get to bed. She and her doll (yeah - those are matching pajamas -- I told you before we even left that I was doomed... it's true!)...

And woke up and had room service... took a bath with candle-light and used up all the sea salts and other spa products that were supplied (!), got dressed (in the same outfit as yesterday! So cute! She loved that outfit, and I was glad she didn't ask for another set of matching outfits for the next day...
We had her doll's hair styled at the doll-salon, got Ally's photo taken with her doll for a magazine cover thing they sell... and shopped some more,

(which resulted in a second AG doll named Elizabeth, and an outfit for her - ouch), and then had lunch before heading back to Minneapolis.

Ally looked so grown up shopping in Chicago...... she's only six, and still so sweet... During the day she passed me a note that said, "I love today". I am SOOOO saving that. I may be "doomed" by the AG girl thing, but like I said before, soon she will be a teenager and will hate me.
This weekend was perfect. I love her so overwhelmingly it makes me want to cry.
Thank you, God.
I love life.
All of it. ;-)

Got my Geek On!

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Went to bed early last night just so I could rest up and be fully prepared for the big event. Upon arrival --- first things first -- liquid bravery.

... followed by the mandatory Athlete Meeting. T-Storms, Trimama, and me.

Jeff and I start the swim. Interestingly enough, we covered the 5 yards in record time. Jeff is wearing a stars-and-stripes man-thong. Okay, now I just have to wonder where he got that sort of thing. We'll have to get the skinny on that in Zurich... maybe we can get him to wear it for the swim there in June. It'll be his first full Ironman ;-) .
T1 Team Photo: T-Storms, me, Jeff, IronDia, Siobhan, and Trimama. Taconite Boy did not jump per doctor's orders, but I think that's his shadow in front. It was cold.
Awhile later we ate some non-New-Year's-Resolution-approved food that Trimama baked herself, and placed a "surprise-a-triathlete" call to IronKahuna. (yeah - we copied that idea from your podcast IK and Wil)!!

Official Team Photo after the finish. That's IronNick in the front with glasses on his head. He told us that he just signed up for Ironman Zurich yesterday. Awesome!! I think we have 22 going now. What a blast that will be. Nick, IronDia and I all did Brazil IM together just this spring, so it will be awesome to do another foreign race with him. He's a great travel buddy - so easy going and fun. Has everybody checked out IronNick's websites? He has two. The first one, highlights where all the races are (world-wide); and gives you all the skinny on the goings-on in the tri world. Check them out!

What a fun way to start the year. Kahuna and Wil - this was a great idea! Can't wait to hear how all the other tri's around the globe went. I doubt we did the longest one, but maybe we did the coldest one?