We have quite a few Christmas traditions in our house. COVID has caused us to change, drop or modify a bunch of them. But, it also provided us with some new opportunities. One of them was this new drive-through light show that took place in the parking lot of Northbrook Mall. We went right before Christmas to celebrate the Babe's birthday. It is called the "Let it Shine" lightshow and you can find all the details here on their site . I don't know if this is a one-year thing (because of COVID), but based on our experience, I'm hoping it isn't. We really liked it. We packed a dinner and packed the kids in to the van and went up there. There is something akin to Disney's Fast Pass that you can buy to get a shortcut in the line. But, we didn't wait that long. Maybe 15 or 20 minutes of waiting until it was our turn to wind through the light show. I have to say...I'm not sure that was a terrible thing. It costs $39.99 per car - which see
Showing posts with the label the babe
Quarantine is a funny thing. We stay home and some days, we get NOTHING done. Other days, we power ahead with a bunch of projects. One of those projects is the Lego Walt Disney World Cinderella Castle that I've posted about recently . After a few years of dormancy (seriously...years), you can see that we finally put the last few pieces together and finished the castle. See below: The Babe and I put the final touches on The Castle (that's what we've been calling it) and now we have to figure out where we should put it/where it should live. We knew it was big, but the height of this thing makes it such that we can't put it on a lot of her shelves in her room.
Marking the seasonal shift through the introduction of Halloween stuff at our local Menards. And documenting it with a photo of the kids. Here's all three of them: The Babe, the Bird and the King of the Ball Tossers. Halloween @ Menards photo of two of the kids - 2017 version . Halloween @ Menards photo of two of hte kids - 2016 version . Halloween @ Menards photo of just the Babe - 2015 version . Halloween @ Menards photo of the two girls - 2012 version . Halloween @ Menards photo of just the Babe - 2011 version . *Blink* They've grown up so fast.
On a recent trip to NYC, I ended up spending some time in Midtown. And found myself close to The Plaza Hotel. I, of course, couldn't help myself and went to find the Eloise painting that is adjacent to the Palm Court. You can see that above. I didn't stop for tea in the Palm Court, but did wander down to the lower level and perused the Eloise store - the sign you can see below. I'm more of an Eloise guy versus a Home Alone 2 guy when it comes to the Plaza. But, the folks running the hotel sure give Home Alone 2 a little bit of billing, but not nearly as much as the Eloise story. Who knows...maybe one day, we'll be like Charlie Sheen . But without the trashing of the room. And the tiger blood. And the whole #winning thing? So, maybe nothing like Charlie Sheen. Rather...(or Rawther as Eloise would say) more like just a guy who stays at the Plaza in the Eloise suite. Bucket list stuff, right? Think this might be my fourth 'historic hotel' that
Have a little acknowledgement to make: I had never watched the movie 'White Christmas' until Nat and I were married and we were buying our own Christmas trees. Was never on my radar. But, in what has become a pretty strong holiday tradition, Nat puts this movie on our tv on 'Christmas tree Day' and we watch it as we bring the tree in the house, set it up in the stand and trim it together. Welp...we usually don't trim it that much that first night - rather we prefer to let the branches fall/settle and then put most of the ornaments on the next night. So, that's where this dollie comes in. You can see him above that Bing Crosby as "Bob Wallace". Funny isn't it? But this is what the Babe came home with from the Pre-Christmas train show . She saw it on one of the tables, liked it, then looked around for another hour or so and decided that she wanted it. So we went back. I always try to make the kids do their own haggling in situations
About 10 days before Christmas, our amaryllis looked like this . But on Christmas day? It had bloomed! All four ways. It was a spectacular flower and as luck would have it, the final of the four buds opened on Christmas day. That's a shot of the white/red beauty above. There were four of these double petal stars for us to enjoy for a few weeks. You'll recall that this is the bulb that we picked up at Wannemakers and it was far outperforming the cheap one from Menards . I'm really so pleased with how this - the $14 version one - worked out for us. The Menards one ($3 one!), is still chugging along, but it is all green shoots and no stem so far. Next year, the Babe already has plans to get after these things at scale. And by 'scale', we're talking about 4 or 5 of them. She's thinking that in addition to us trying a couple different ones, we can work on a project together and be in a position of gifting them already planted around St. Ni
Google released this " appsperiment " called Storyboard that takes your videos and makes these cute comic book-style images. There isn't much more to do than that and sometimes you get something garbled and sometimes you get some cute stuff like this one with the Babe, the Bird and the King of the Ball Tossers with the Big Guy. It is Android only, so all you iphone suckers are out of luck.
It took us about a month, but we finally got the big screen doors working properly out back. These are the larger doors that lead to the #newoldbackyard and little patio we have out there. They have this self-closing mechanism that allows us to set them to self-close automatically. It is pretty great - especially when you live with three little savages that don't EVER close any doors behind themselves. Except, when it turns into a guillotine when one of said kids doesn't open them far enough when they try to sneak out. It *does*, however help incredibly well with keeping the house flies out of the, ahem, house. They remain just flies for the most part now.
On a recent visit to Twin Lakes , we spent some time with friends at their place up on Lake Elizabeth. They have a few water toys that the kids got to try out including one of those massive water trampolines . What was most interesting was that the kids figured out how to use raft and paddle that they boarded from the dock to navigate out to the trampoline - all the while staying mostly dry and out of the lake. I talked with the Babe that night and she said that having the ability to pilot her own 'boat' out on the lake was a lot of fun. It was only about 20 feet from the dock to the trampoline, but that whole time, she was the captain and first mate. She was on her own. And, she expressed that she liked it! So...while we're not in the spot to score a trampoline, we happen to be in possession of an old raft. My Dad gave it to me as he was closing down Coloma and for the past year, it sat up in the garage in Twin Lakes. Until now. I dragged it to the porch, hoo
(image removed by me in late 2022 because it showed kids faces) Six years ago today, I posted her on the blog about our friend and neighbor Dannee Polomsky winning her first seat on the Elmhurst City Council and I showed a photo of the then 2-year-old Babe who came with us to vote. Fast forward those six years and you'll see this animated image above of me and all three kids outside of our polling place from Tuesday. We didn't get to vote for my sister (she's up north from here), but we did have a handful of races that were contested. Glad to have brought the kids along and they got to wield their own dry erase ballots to vote between the Cubs and Sox and Leno and Letterman. I think we've brought them to the polls every time we've gone, so we're doing our little part to do as Neil Steinberg called it yesterday : our little 'act of faith' in democracy. My little sacrifice of time, some drops of routine life sprinkled on the altar of democracy
In what seems like the past few months, the pace of adoption of Legos has increased rapidly in our house. We went from having a tub of Duplos that the girls would occasionally build something with to full-on regular Lego sets in an instant. You can see some of the Lego-related posts here on the blog. The Bird - who is younger - has mostly been spending her time with Lego Juniors. They're a bit easier to build but she still gets to work with 'regular Legos' like her big sister and leave the Duplos to her brother the Beef. The Babe on the other hand has a total unquenchable thirst for all things Lego. It started with a few Lego Elves sets. Then she got a few Disney princess sets (including some for Christmas) and the Millennium Falcon (Squee!) and it just exploded. (note: she hasn't built the Falcon yet because she wants to 'wait until her new room is ready so her sister and brother don't wreck it'...) She's built Ecto 1 and 2 from Ghost
The Babe traded for this Ant-man pin from a pin board at the resort. She's naturally drawn to 'big' pins and this this certainly *is* big. It is heavy, but has only one pin back on it. Surprisingly, after she plucked it off the board, I looked at it and figured out that it really wasn't a scrapper. Someone, who had this thing on their lanyard found something that they liked better and gave this one up. My daughters have no idea who Antman is nor have they ever seen the movie, but they both liked the pin. Based on this eBay listing , it was part of a limited release of just 2000 pins from 2015 (a doy! It says that right on the pin!) timed with the opening day of the film. This guy has it listed for $19.88 - which is nuts, but it says he's sold 3 of them, so this seems to be a sought-after pin.
The Babe traded for this one on a trip down to WDW recently. And it is a chaser. What's a 'chaser'? Welp, it is one of these non-colored, metallic versions of pins at Walt Disney World. From Living A Disney Life : These metallic doppelgangers of some of our favorite, colorful pins first appeared in 2011. They are “Hidden Mickey” pins (small Mickey head appears on these). All Hidden Mickey pin collections (painted and chaser) are released on Cast Member lanyards. Chaser pins, interestingly, are not released as part of the set they seem to belong to – they’re released (after the original, colorful ones) as part of a larger set of chaser pins belonging to a particular year. And this one features Figment - who has his own cult following. We've been on the Figment ride a few times and while I love Eric Idle and the song is pretty catchy, the ride is pretty meh. I know that's not an original thought, right? But, as for Figment? I kinda like him. He'
The Babe scored this little bonus pack that includes The Mini Batwing from the Lego Batman movie as the VIP Club 'free' gift along with a recent Lego purchase. I say 'free' in quotes because while it *is* free, that's because we bought the sets directly from the Lego store, which gives us VIP points and little free sets like this. They don't, however, have the best prices. You can go on Target and compare prices on just about any recent set and see that Target has it a few bucks cheaper. But...you don't get the points and the little things like this. So, since the kids are so young and it seems like we're just entering our Lego years, I've decided to play the long-game and go with the VIP points program. See this brickvesting post for some details . (btw...brickvesting? Like investing in Legos??? Seriously? Maybe that's how I can convince Nat to let us buy more! Honey....we're investing in our future!! ) The Babe seems to be
That's the "Alien pig Queen" on the top courtesy of the Bird. A scribbled-on two-eye and a heart (drawn by his sister) guy faithfully sawn based on some of the drawings of the King of the Ball Tossers. And....a masked guy as created by the oldest one - The Babe. Unlike in past years, these have stayed inside our front porch, not on the outside porch. Here's a post from back in 2014 showing the ways I have kept them free of squirrel bites .
A few nights ago, we packed the kids into the van and headed west. To Carol Stream to be precise. The reason? To go make our annual visit to the Canyon Trail Cemetery. Here's my post from 2014 when I think we went for the first time (and I made Richard Christie reference?!?) and here's my post from last fall . You can get all the details - including the address - about the Canyon Trail Cemetery from their Facebook page here . The place is pretty awesome. Tons of pneumatic animatronics and lots of sounds and lights and movement. Things jump out at you and make all sorts of racket. The Babe did some screaming. The King of the Ball Tossers kept his distance. You can see him in this photo below. Well past the fence and even standing in the parkway. He wasn't too sure of the 'scary skellies' as he calls them. Here's the big Pumpkin King that they have 'around the corner'. Always a big hit with us every year. He rises out of the g
Those of you that follow the technology world like I do likely heard about/read about the new Pixel and Pixel XL phones that Google announced last week along with other things like Google Home and Google Wifi. Being an Android guy and owner of every Nexus phone (and a few tablets!) that have come out, I couldn't wait to get in line to buy a phone. But, as part of the marketing for these new phones, Google has been doing a lot of talk about the camera. And how it is, by at least one regard, the *best* camera to ever be put in a phone. That's nice, right? They also talked about a feature called Smartburst. From their post : Pixel’s camera lets you take stunning photos in low light, bright light or any light. Catch action shots as they happen with Smartburst, which takes a rapid-fire sequence of shots and automatically selects the best one. Use Lens Blur to achieve shallow depth of field and bokeh effects, making your subject pop. You can capture dramatic landscapes