Leave it to Aurelio's Pizza to introduce the King of the Ball Tossers to the wonderful world of lollipops.  Who doesn't deserve a DumDum after they eat that tasty pizza?!?!

There's no turning back now with these things I'm guessing.  We go to Aurelio's often enough that I'm wondering if he'll remember where the lollipop came from?  They have them in a big basket right on the check-in counter and his two older sisters go up there and stuff their pockets with them.  He'll soon be joining them I'm sure.
We haven't?  Well...I'm on a major jerky kick.  Nat hates the stuff.  Repulsed by it, actually.

But this package of Golden Island Korean Barbecue Pork Jerky from Costco was awfully delicious.  I've been working it into my mix of snacks and don't know how I survived without jerky.  Guessing it was Doritos.
"Dad...I wanna be on the Dark Side!"

The Bird here was the only one to be brave enough to confront Darth Vader on our visit.  He was VERY tall and VERY imposing.  He startled us when we arrived.  The queue is set up so you don't really see him until he kind of jumps out at you.  I jumped back a bit.  The Babe wouldn't come out from behind Nat's leg.  Totally different reaction from when we all met Chewy.

They have Vader and Chewy (and now I think Kylo Ren??) set up in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in a place called the Star Wars Launch Bay that has various artifacts from the seven movies (helmets, sabers, vehicles, etc).  It is a nice little way to bring Star Wars into the Park at Disneyland while they're busy building the new Star Wars land.  Which...can't get done soon enough.  Pandora (Avatarland) is coming online sometime in 2017 and unlike some folks, that has me really excited.

I'm a big Joe Rohde fan (even follow him on Instagram) and he's been at the helm of Disney's Animal Kingdom from day one and is running point for Imagineering on the new Pandora (Avatarland) that is going into Animal Kingdom.  Am I a huge Avatar fan?  Meh.  Sure....I liked the movie, but I hardly remember it.  But, from the previews of the land at the D23 conference this summer, the new land looks awesome.  So, I'm excited about experiencing this new immersive 'land' and once we know when the new land will open, I'm sure we'll book a trip down to Orlando for a visit.  
Both of these were in the hotel rooms during our stay(s) at both Walt Disney World (Bay Lake Tower) and Disneyland Resort (Disneyland Hotel).    The one on the right from Disneyland is particularly neat with the whole retro vibe and the original DL Hotel sign and monorail.

Added these to the 'Coaster Collection' here on the blog.  They take a spot next to the other ones from Ted's and a brewery up in Michigan and others from our travels.
 One morning on a visit to Disneyland, we had breakfast with the kids at the Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel.  Besides the Mickey waffles, we were fortunate to be graced by this photo of Walt Disney himself with his animatronic talking and singing birds from the original Enchanted Tiki Room.

I've already (gasp!) let my Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room-freak-flag fly by posting this print/art that we picked up on a trip to Walt Disney World last year.   I still maintain that it is my favorite experience in all of the parks.  Disneyland, and their 'inside the queue' Dole Whip line and cast members who kind of 'put on a show' at the beginning make it just about perfect.

Those Disney nuts know that the Tiki Room was originally envisioned as a restaurant, so we *kind of* got the best of both worlds there at the Tangaroa Terrace.

From the Facebook page of 3rd Ward Alderperson Dannee Polomsky comes this nice little nugget:  someone is applying for a liquor license for the old Cocomera location on York Street.

I covered Cocomera's closing back in September of 2015 here on the blog.  Most recently, this holiday season, the space was used as a pop-up shop for the Elmhurst Art Museum.

Here's the post from Elmhurst Alderman Dannee Polomsky:  (click it to make it bigger if you can't read this!)
A quick Google search for [Elmhurst Craft Kitchen and Bar] turns up nothing new, so they haven't put up a site yet. This seems like great news for the City Centre and for the Downtown. Here's hoping that they'll be brewing their own, right?

(UPDATE on 2/3/16:  I heard from someone that the the name "Elmhurst Craft Kitchen and Bar" might just be a placeholder and that they haven't quite settled on a name yet.  It *may* change.  Might not.  Also...heard from the same source that they're being quite thoughtful in their approach to the food/bev as well as staffing.  All good news for the Elmhurst City Centre!)

It is a pretty good size space, but isn't equipped with a kitchen (that I know of), so it might be a lengthy build-out.  Would love to see them put in some new front windows that open up during the summer.  That'd be some solid people-watching on York Street right across from the York Theatre.

Also...isn't technology wonderful?  In terms of being a constituent, platforms like Facebook make it really easy for communication between elected officials and us - the citizens.  Alderman Polomsky has done a really great job of being open and communicating with the residents of the 3rd Ward.  She should be commended for not just communicating, but also listening and representing our interests.  
I swear I had a strong flashback as I was working to put shin guards and long socks on the Babe over the weekend as she got ready for her indoor soccer practice.  She seems to like playing, but isn't too terribly aggressive when it comes to getting to the ball and winning 50/50 balls and the like.    But the jersey?  She loves the jersey.

I spent a good part of my childhood in shin guards and loved everything about it.  But I really loved indoor soccer in particular.  The noise, the pace, the turf, the anticipation of waiting for your team's 'turn' to go behind the boards.  The team stuff was where I spent most of my time and I had a strong nucleus of a team that stuck together for almost our entire childhood.  Loved it all.  Hoping I get one of these kids to dig in and find a team they want to be part of.
I've long wondered why we see so many non Chicago-area transit cars on our rails around the western suburbs, but on a drive to Iowa recently, I think I've finally figured it out.  There's a HUGE Nippon Sharyo factory in Rochelle, Illinois.  I snapped this photo of one of the massive buildings as I drove by, but there were *at least* two of them with track laid right next to the building.  They call it 'rolling stock', which I think means everything but locomotives.

The Metra cars are marked with Nippon Sharyo and I'm guessing so are these MTA North line cars that I spotted on the Union Pacific West line back in 2012.
Saw these Party Chimes - which appear to be a metal set of bells that hang above taper candles - at an antique store recently.  Kind of like a German Pyramid but with music, I guess?  The heat from the candles causes some part of the metal to move and strike the bell it appears.

These didn't come home with me, but now you know that $10 is the 'going price' if you come across them again.
For a certain segment of our house (welp...it really is the entire household but me), this is a big deal:  These Crunchy Rice Rollers from Bamboo Lane are back at Costco.  I took the King of the Ball Tossers to the Melrose Park Costco over the weekend and we stocked up.  I think he ate three on the way home.

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