Of all the Disney pins that The Babe and The Bird picked off cast member lanyards on our most recent trip, the *best* one of the bunch just has to be this Minnie Mouse as Mary Poppins beauty.  I don't remember where exactly we traded for this one, but it came on our last few days there, so it was somewhere in the Magic Kingdom or over at Disney Springs.

She'll go nicely in The Babe's collection and I think...this might be our first Mary Poppins pin ever?
This post is making it 11 years that we've rung in Thanksgiving with The Band's "The Last Waltz" here on the blog.  There have been years where we've done the Turkey Trot.  Years where we've split time between my folks house in Frankfort and Nat's folks place in Naperville.  Some years where the Bears play on Thanksgiving (like tonight!).  But...one thing has remained persistent:  The Band.

Here's the post from last year.

And here's the rest of the posts that I can turn up on the topic:

Here's my post from 2013 on The Last Waltz.
Here's my post from 2012 on The Last Waltz.
Here's my post from 2011 on The Last Waltz.
Here's my post from 2010 on The Last Waltz.
Here's my post from 2007 on The Last Waltz.
Here's my post from 2005 on The Last Waltz.
Here's my post from 2004 on The Last Waltz.

Van the Man is this year's feature on "Why I Oughta".  Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

As I was cleaning out the garage recently, I came across a few garage sale 'treasures' that I picked up over the past year.  This Santa Train was one of them.  It has Santa on the locomotive and one car behind him attached via a small chain.  That car has another chain coming off the back of it, so I'm assuming that there was another car attached at some point, but it wasn't there when I picked this guy up.  We're not in our hold house this Christmas, so I'm not exactly sure where he'll go, but for now, he's on top of the tv console in the family room.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for the caboose - which we all know will be basically impossible to find.  I guess that's why I'm up for the challenge.
Earlier this month, I posted the little project I created about listening to Christmas music.  Well...good news for *some* of you:  there's an update.  Thanksgiving week is here, so rejoice fellow Christmas music people:  You no longer have to feel shame.

Go ahead.  Play the Bing.  Feel no shame.

This is the view I walked in to at the office this am.  You'll see that there's plenty of snow covering Maggie Daley park on the left side, but the city crews have cleaned up the bean pretty well.  Also, as a bonus, you can barely.make.out the new City of Chicago Christmas Tree in very bottom right.  See the oval-ish ice rink on the right side next to The Bean?  Just below that is a planter with the new tree stuck in the middle of it.  If you click on the photo above, it should blow up bigger and you can make it out.

Here's what this same spot looked like back on Halloween.  Much different feel, isn't it?
This morning, we hit up the local Menards to look over their Christmas stuff and I was surprised that A LOT of it was already gone.  Totally picked over.  Like...almost ALL of the inflatables were gone.  And most of the blowmolds.  I guess that's what happens when you put it out in October?

But, there were a bunch of different of these Tinsel-y cloth decorations.  This one above is a pretty cute Santa.  He's 110 bucks, though!  So, he didn't end up in our cart.  This seems to be an emerging place of compromise in the great Christmas decorations battle.  Not as crazy as a huge inflatable but a little bit of personality.  The prices on these things will likely come down in the next few years like they've done on inflatables and when it does?  We'll pounce!
A few weekends back, I packed up The Bird and The Gooz and my dad in the van and we went out to the Wheaton Fairgrounds for the Great Midwest Train Show.  This is the second time we've gone to the show (last year, I went with my dad) and it was a lot of fun.  

I picked up a few things for me, my kids and my nephew, but by far, the best purchase was this really cute vintage metal tunnel.  It was being sold by a guy who had HO scale stuff and had this over on the edge of his table.  He was asking $10 for it and I got it for $5.  Pretty great deal, if you ask me!  I think he was happy to get rid of it.  I was happy to get it!

It has some really great scenes on both sides of it.  And it is like a foot-long.

Our layout has never been 'realistic', so I think adding something like this adds a bit of whimsy and - frankly - vintage charm that I really like.
I think, tragically, we're not going to be putting up the kids' train this year because we're in Equation Boy/Man's house and won't have a great spot for it.  Maybe we can bring it to Grammy/Grandad's place?
Every time we've gone to the Parks, I've always worn the same thing on my head:  A Late Show hat.  Earlier this year, I upgraded to this old-school-cool original Disney World logo hat.  I've put it through it's paces a few times already, but it is now time to put it into short-term storage until we check out the place 'Walt built' when it is all dressed up for it's 60th next year.
Well, well, well.  Look what arrived in the mail this week:  the 2015 Christmas catalog from the fine folks up at Duluth Trading.  With the King Arthur catalog already in our house, with this, I can *now* build out my full Christmas "want" list.

I mean...who isn't all over henleys and fire house pants from Santa Claus this year, amirite?!?
For the second year in a row, we packed up the kids and took them out to see what is called the "Canyon Trail Cemetery" in a neighborhood in Carol Stream a few days before Halloween.

Here's the post from our visit last year.

With The Babe and The Bird getting a bit older and more *aware* of things, they started to get a little freaked out by some of the things that jump out!   We picked up a couple of 'kids temp' hot chocolates and watched Hocus Pocus in the van on our way there.  It was a great way to lead up to the big day on Halloween.

If you don't know about the Canyon Trail Cemetery, you can check them out here on their Facebook page.  It is a really impressive display put together by a family.  All they ask is for canned food donations for the local food pantry!
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