Saturday, June 29, 2013

Eleven Years

Today I celebrated my eleventh wedding anniversary.  It hardly seems possible that I've been married to my high school sweetheart for that long.  But here we are, eleven years and three kids later.  Time sure flies. ;)

I love you so much, Babe.  You're my hero and my best friend.  You're always so patient and loving, even when I'm less than an ideal wife. :}  Thanks for making the last eleven years so wonderful and memorable. :)

I was spoiled this year...we got to celebrate our anniversary two weekends in a row! :)

We knew ahead of time that our actual anniversary weekend was going to be crazy and that our babysitters were not going to be available.  So last weekend, when my sister-in-law (Hubby's sister) and mother-in-law agreed to watch the girls for us, we clicked our heels with glee and sped away quickly before they could change their minds. ;)

Our traditional place to eat for our anniversary is Red Lobster, so of course that's where we decided to go for our early celebration. :)

Our favorite restaurant.  This place holds many memories for us...we even went here together back when we were dating. :)  So many birthdays and anniversaries have been spent here together.  It's our special place. :)

I got my usual meal: Shrimp Your Way with Shrimp Scampi, Popcorn Shrimp, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  (I also had a salad and one Cheddar Bay Biscuit).  And just for the record, I did NOT eat all of my popcorn shrimp and for the first time in a long time, I left the restaurant feeling pleasantly filled instead of stuffed.  Yay for me! ;)

After our meal, we walked through the mall a bit and Hubby got me an anniversary present:

The Funko Pop Dr. Whooves figure!! :D

I mean, come on, it's the ultimate's basically David Tennant in Pony form.  What's not to love? ;)  (By the way, there will be more pictures to come in a later post.) ;)

I'd been eyeing this guy for a while, so it was so exciting to get to bring him home!  He looks pretty awesome on my My Little Pony shelf. ;)

Hubby and I had a great time together and were so thankful for our impromptu date night. :)

So today, I was invited to participate in a "Doll and Teddy Bear Tea Party" by one of the local doll club members.  The girls and my mom-in-law were invited as well.  I was thrilled that my family would get to meet some of the ladies I've grown so close to in the past several months. :)

When I woke up this morning, these flowers were waiting for me on the kitchen counter.  Hubby bought and arranged them himself and gave me a really sweet card.  He was still asleep when I left (he's worked two 70 hour weeks in a row between his two jobs), so I left my card for him in the same place for him to find when he woke up. :)

The girls each brought their dolls:  Oldest Gal brought her American Girl Elizabeth, Little Gal (in the middle) brought her blonde Alexander Girlz doll Jane, and Middle Gal brought her brunette Alexander Girlz doll Leisel.  (And yes, I should have swept my floor before taking this picture.  Why is it that you never notice the crumbs and stuff on the floor beforehand?) :} 

I brought Hayden with me (along with several other dolls...I'd been asked to speak about some of my play line dolls) and was planning to do this whole clever post about the party with Hayden telling the story.  Yeah, sometimes brilliant plans don't really work out.  We ended up getting to the house an hour early, and since I felt going inside that early wouldn't really follow the rules of etiquette, we drove around for a bit and then parked about half a mile away in the shade of a tree.  Of course, then the truck decided to die on me (battery issues, apparently), and there was no cell service, so Oldest Gal, Little Gal and I walked to the party while Mom and Middle Gal stayed with the truck.  I got to use the house phone to call Hubby and let him know what was going on.  So that was our beginning!!  The party was fun but very busy and crowded, and between supervising the girls and speaking, it just didn't work out to pictures. :}  Better luck next time, perhaps? :}

Later, we decided to take the girls to our favorite family restaurant, a little Mexican restaurant with very friendly servers who adore our girls. :)  Oldest Gal loves practicing her Spanish with the servers. ;)

I had part of a Tostada (Hubby finished off the last part) that was delicious! :) 

When we got home, the girls spent a bit of time trying to woo the kittens who live next door.  They've been wanting to make friends all summer. :)  If you look closely, you can see the cute little gray and white kitten on top of the little planter on the other side of the fence.  The kitten actually came over and let the girls hold it, so they were over the moon! ;)

All in all, we had a wonderful couple of anniversary weekends.  Nothing overly fancy or spendy, but just right for us. :)  Sometimes the best things about life are its simple pleasures:  food, family, and precious memories. :)  

Well, the kids are in bed, so I suppose I should go spend the last few hours of my anniversary with my Hubby instead of writing about him. ;)  Talk to all of you later! :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

American Girl Goodies (Purple Party Outfit, BB Pretty in Purple Outfit, and More! )

As you already know, my American Girl order came on Tuesday! :D  There's nothing like getting a box of doll goodies in the mail.  (Oh, and speaking of which, I'm expecting my order today, so sometime next week I should have posts up about the newest 12" Belle and Rapunzel dolls.) :D  So let's see what's in this package, shall we? ;)

A box of mysteries to be revealed. ;)

My first view of the contents.  I was very disappointed that I didn't receive a catalog with my order.  I'm guessing it's because this was right before all of the new releases and they didn't want to send me a new catalog early. :( 

First up, my mom's Bitty Baby order.

The Pretty in Purple Outfit.  Since this was so similar to the Purple Party outfit but was so much cheaper, and since some Bitty Baby things will fit the 18" dolls, my mom decided to take a chance on this one.  It was a good choice, as you'll see later. ;)

Here's my first item...

...McKenna's dog Cooper! :) 

And my other order...

...the My AG Purple Party Outfit.  I was sooo excited that this went on sale.  I've loved this since it was released. :)

And here is... mom's Cooper. 

My mom also ordered...

...the Holiday Accessories since they were so inexpensive. :)

She decided to try the Lindsey book, too.

The back of the book.

Still no catalog! :(

Let's open up Cooper first.

Ta-da!  Such a fluffy cutie. :)

I'd heard from some of the reviews on AG Playthings that Cooper sometimes had a hard time standing up because he had beans in his buns and his feet, so I was expecting that.  What I wasn't expecting was how stiff he was.  When they described him as having beans in his stuffing, I imagined he'd be a bit like a Beanie Baby in the back, but he's actually more like a regular stuffed animal with a few pellets thrown in for good measure.  

This was his natural pose when I first got him out of the box...

...but with a little work on his back end and legs, I was able to get him to stand like this.

His ears are a soft, straight fur...

...and his body is soft, curly fur.

He has an orange leash and collar.

They're sewn into his neck and non-removable.  I may eventually cut them off and give him a more unique collar, but I haven't decided for sure. 

I'm also not sure which doll will end up with this sweet little pooch.

I did take a picture of him with Alice, though, so you could see how he looks size-wise next to the dolls.  The loop on the end of his leash fits perfectly on the AG dolls' middle fingers.

Next, we have the Purple Party Outfit for My AG dolls.

Yay!!  I'm so excited to finally have this dress!

It comes with the "Loyal" charm.  I didn't open the charm because I don't collect them and will probably either get rid of it or pass it on later.

Here's the dress.  It's a lot shorter than I thought, and especially looks short when it's not on a doll. 

There was tissue in the loops of the ribbon at the waistline, presumably to keep the loops from getting scrunched.

The inside of the dress is lined in pretty green material.

The shoes.

This picture gives a more accurate idea of the color.

The dress also comes with tights...

...and a headband.

It looks much to small for a doll head, doesn't it?  ;)

Check out the size of the tag on this headband!  Thankfully it wasn't sewn directly on the headband.  I was able to cut it off quite easily.

So here's the whole set.

There was quite a waiting period between these pictures and the next.  Even though the box was at my house, not everything was my order, and I wanted my mom to be able to open her things before I saw them. (Yeah, I can be nice like that every once in a while.) ;)  Thankfully, Mom was in the area (just down the street at her friend's house) later that evening, so I didn't have to wait too long to see her stuff too. ;) 

When we opened up her Bitty Baby Pretty in Purple Dress, she had me get a couple of dolls so we could try both dresses and compare them.  As you can probably guess from this photo, we were thrilled with the results.  Jenna (on the left) is wearing the Bitty Baby outfit, and Hayden (on the right) is wearing the My AG outfit.  If you didn't know that ahead of time, though, could you guess?

Both of these dolls look AMAZING in deep purple.  Just sayin'. ;)

I thought it would be fun to do some comparison photos of the two dresses.  Here's the front view.  What I love about these dresses is they coordinate wonderfully but are unique enough that you could have both and not feel like you had two of the same dress.

Here's a view from the back.

The Bitty Baby headband is much wider than the My AG headband...

...but it still fit Jenna nicely.

Here's a closer look at the My AG headband.

A closer look at the Bitty Baby dress...

...and the My AG Dress.

The Bitty dress has a thick, black velvet waistband.

The My AG dress has beautiful pleated detail at the waist and a smaller bow.

The Bitty dress also has a much fuller skirt with wide pleats.  It is also slightly longer than the skirt on the AG skirt.

The Bitty tights fit Jenna with no problem.

The AG tights fit too, of course. ;)  I have to say, though, doll tights make me nervous.  I'm always snagging them with my nails!  Thankfully I managed to get both of these pairs on without incident.

The Bitty shoes were just a little snug, but still fit Jenna.  She was able to stand in them unassisted without any problems.

The My AG shoes.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the shoes from each outfit (the My AG shoes are on the left this time).  The differences were so slight they were almost impossible to capture on camera.

I also wanted to mention that there was a bit of extra width at the waist of the Bitty dress, which is to be expected since the Bittys are slightly bigger around than the AGs, but it was not enough of a difference to make the dress look ill-fitting.

Oh, and before I forget, the Bitty dress also came with this cute little Bitty Bear mini board book.

Since Mom bought the Holiday Accessories, we thought it would be fun to try them with both dresses.

Here's Hayden modeling the accessories.  This was the dress they were made for, and I must say the whole ensemble looks adorable. :)

The set includes two "tickets" to see The Nutcracker.

Here's a closer look at the front and the back of the tickets.

The accessories also came with this adorable doll-sized Nutcracker.

His mouth really opens and closes like a real nutcracker, too.

"Open wide!" ;)

I thought this little watch that came with the set was really cute...

...but I was disappointed when this was the very tightest I could get the clasp.  The only reason it's in the right spot in the first picture is because I'm holding it there.  I wish the design would have been better on this. If it was hard for me as an adult to get the watch clasped tightly, it will be impossible for a child.  

I wanted to see what the jacket looked like with the Bitty dress.  I think it looks like it was made for it!  The black velvet trim on the dress matches the black velvet of the jacket perfectly. :)

And a closer look. :)

Mom and I are thrilled with our purchases.  They are absolutely beautiful and it was great to have a chance to get these items at a good sale price.  Of course, Mom gets the shopper brownie points for taking a chance on the Bitty outfit and getting a great AG dress brand new for just $16 plus shipping. :)  My Purple Party Outfit was on sale for $24.

For those of you interested in these items, everything we purchased except for Cooper is still available on the American Girl website.  You can see all of the sale items HERE.  Mom and I also purchased our things in one order so we could split the shipping and tax. :)

So, which of the sale items is your favorite?  Do you like the Bitty Baby dress or the My AG dress the best?

P.S.  I keep forgetting to add my previous header to the blog, so I think I'll tack it on the end of this post now. ;)  I was so happy with how it turned out.