The boy had a proper Christmas train setup this year with the basement being done. (or mostly done) You can see his setup (a large oval) with a steam O-gauge locomotive running with some rolling stock behind it. The tubs in the corner contain a few more pieces of track and cars that we didn't get to this year, but it still is a Christmas tradition. My Dad set up a Christmas train with me. And I'm setting up a Christmas train with the KotBTs. Here's last year's post - 2020 Christmas train . In our new house, this marks four years - 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 (now). There's a very short period of time these days for a boy to be interested in these model trains. With our train being O Gauge (larger than the most popular - these days at least - HO), I think that also limits the potential in these trains. HO (smaller) can pack A LOT more into a layout with the same footprint and the hobby is more well-formed for adults at that scale. You can go to hobby shop
Showing posts with the label the king of the ball tossers
Here I am sitting in the line on drop the King of the Ball Tossers off at pre-school one morning recently when I see in front of me this Dad dropping off his toddlers LIKE A BOSS in his Tesla Model X with Falcon Wings. Talk about winning the whole drop-off line, amirite? No fancy grocery wagon from Volvo or Infinity can shake a stick at this guy. Sorry to my kids...I have good news/bad news. The good news: for the older girls....you're taking the bus. The bad news? When we drive you, you're rolling out of the Swagger Wagon .
On a recent Saturday, we took the three kids down a couple of blocks to Fairmount Avenue to the annual neighborhood Block Party and Soapbox Derby. 1 This is the second year in a row that we've participated and you can see a video and my post from the 2017 edition here on the blog . As I wrote last year, this is a really fun family event. The families that put this on go out of their way to make their block party a really special experience and they draw in families from not just their block, but from people like us - who live a few blocks away. Once again, they had a DJ tent set up, a really well-put-together starting gate/ramp, a big food spread including hot dogs, a frosty keg and lemonade/water setups for all the kids (and shandy setup by combining the keg and lemonade setups for me!), a snow cone station, a number of sawhorses set up by the garage to tune up your car and every tool and wrench and impact driver you could ever need. Oh, and they invited Guac and Ta
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.
Just two days ago, I posted the first of what I'm calling "Earth Day 2018" trees that I planted with the kids in our #newoldbackyard . Today, the KoTBT is up with his hand-picked tree. This one, too, came from Home Depot out of their $15 deal for Earth Day. That's him up there, standing next to his very own tree that he helped plant. We planted it pretty far back in the yard, pretty close to the rear fence in the area where we've been putting most of our yard waste (leaves, etc) to compost on their own. You can see the dirt that he's standing on is pretty good dirt, unlike the clay that was used to backfill in around our house and adjacent areas. This tree is a Red Maple "Sun Valley" and requires "full sun", which it isn't going to get here. But, I'm thinking that might be fine. This one is planted about 50 feet or so away from the King Crimson Maple that I planted last summer and that one, too, is listed as
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.
The King of the Ball Tossers came home with this It's a small world pin from a trip earlier this year. We have a few IASW-based pins, but they're mostly modeled on the little kids in the ride. This is genuinely one that *he* picked out. Without any of our help. Which...I think was a surprise to everyone. One of the projects I have on my list to kick off is pin boards hung up in the house. Maybe in the basement? Or in the kids' rooms?
A few days ago, I posted some photos of a handful of Purple Sensation Allium bulbs that we did a fall bulb planting with around one of the big oak trees in our #newoldbackyard. Photos here . I mentioned that we also planted some tulips on that same day. Today's post shows off the bulbs of the two varieties that we put down. I picked up 2 15 packs of tulip bulbs at Menards that were on sale (they also had the 11% rebate thing going on...which....seems right now to be an almost constant thing??). The first set was 15 Darwin Hybrid Tulips in orange. You can see the packaging below: According to Longfield Gardens , Darwin Tulips have some special characteristics: Darwin hybrids produce big, showy flowers with a classic tulip shape: broad at the base and slightly narrower at the top. They come in a rainbow of rich, saturated colors that range from white through yellow, orange, red and pink, including several lovely bi-colors. Darwin hybrids are reliable performer
On a recent Saturday, we packed the kids in the minivan and took them down to see a White Sox game. When we arrived - which was early - we were surprised by the crowds waiting to get into the park and the noticeable buzz around the gates. There were huge lines waiting to get in even before Comiskey Park opens. Strange, right? I mean....it *is* the White Sox, right? They're terrible. In last place. ( In Hahn, we trust , btw) The place should be empty. I guess it was a Saturday night, so there are the fireworks, but in today's world, that seems like a stretch to think that people would be willing to go to a Sox game just for fireworks like we used to when I was a kid? (Maybe the whole Disney fireworks thing has jaded me for fireworks now?) But then we saw the t-shirts. And the costumes. There was a lady with Princess Leia buns. A dude with a wookie hoodie. And the buzz? It was because it was Star Wars night. Nat poked around on her phone and realized that t
Last week, I posted a photo of part of the Menards Halloween section , but it didn't include the kids. Here's a post with a photo to correct that omission. That's The Bird's "scared face" she says. And yes, that is a 10' tall pumpkin inflatable in the cart. You have a good eye! Here's kids at Menards Halloween 2016 . Here they are in 2012 .
Here's another fun little thing that the King of the Ball Tossers (KotBT) picked up when we were down last time at Walt Disney World. Earlier this week, I posted a photo of a new Transportation Card we picked up on the Friendship IV . We were in one of the parks and stopped somewhere eating popcorn out of one of those buckets that they sell you for $10 and give you $1.50 refills (best deal at WDW, amirite?!?!) and we must have dropped something like a paper cup. The boy got out of the stroller and went over and picked it up and carried it to the garbage can and put it right in. A Disney Cast Member in custodial must have been watching him and after he came back to the stroller, she came over and said "Hey! Thanks for the help Little Buddy!" And peeled off this sticker and handed it out. The KotBT smiled big at her and took the sticker. He shyly - as he usually does - buried his head into the side of the stroller. I thanked her and we moved on. A minute later,
(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
A few days ago, I posted a couple of photos from our visit to the Legacy Lounge in the Northwest corner terrace of Memorial Stadium down in Champaign that included finding one of the team photos that I was in from my days on the Fighting Illini squad in the late 90's. But, this was our first trip down that we were able to enjoy the *kinda* new Grange Grove. The Athletic Department christened the Grange Grove for last year's season and it has been a big hit. From FightingIllini.com : Grange Grove has transformed what was previously Lot 36, the parking lot directly west of Memorial Stadium, into a free, high-energy tailgating area, which Fighting Illini fans of all ages can enjoy. When we arrived a few hours before kickoff, the place was jumping! There was a band playing on one side and the beer garden was loaded with alums and students. It was Dad's day, so it appeared that a few Fraternities had their "Football Block" on site in the Grange Grove and
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 .
For the King of the Ball Tosser's 2nd birthday, I gave him a collection of three different vehicles including this Police Cruiser from Candylab Toys . I came across these guys on Kickstarter and have backed them with their latest project featuring some mid-century cars like a stationwagon and a few race cars. But, they also had earlier projects that were backed featuring cars that they billed as "heirloom" toys that included this cruiser you see in the box above . The latest cars are set to come sometime before Christmas and they had more than 1K backers and raised more than $120K to launch the new line . So, we'll soon have six of them knocking around our house. After opening up the cars including the cruiser, the kids all tooled around the floor with them (briefly!) and then quickly moved on to other stuff. Isn't it always that way when there's a pile of presents on the floor awaiting to be opened? These are, seemingly, pretty special toys and
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
That right there is a foam-ish miniature soccer ball. And it came out of a vending machine. In Cortona, Italy. Yeah...kinda neat. No gumballs. No chiclets. But a soccer ball. This one is from SSC Napoli - which is a club out of Naples that plays in the top league in Italy, but we tried the machine a few times and got other teams like AC Milan and Roma. We have a ball-crazy boy in our house these days so this was a perfect fit for us during our visit. But, it has me wondering if this is a chicken-or-the-egg-thing? Meaning...are they soccer ...errr....sorry football crazy as kids because they love it or is the culture make them football-crazy because it is pushed at them like with these vending machines? Either way, the Boy was happy!
We've had these silhouettes done of the kids over the years and the same woman who did the first ones of just the oldest two, did these three. If you know the kids in real life ( Is this real life?!? ), you'll note that these are *really* good. How 'bout those 'lashes?!? We had these done down in Florida earlier this year and I shared them on our family blog a bit back, but figured I should post them here for diary-keeping sakes. How these are done is pretty amazing. The kids sit for a woman who uses some tiny, super-sharp scissors and she looks at the kid for maybe two or three minutes while she cuts. And in no time, she pulls one of these beauties out and we're all amazed. We had the old set hung up in our house, but...since we have no house...these are sitting in a pile of stuff awaiting our next move. Life on pause is great, isn't it?