Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guest Post by Charlie: The Great Outdoors


Howdy!  Charlie here.  Yesterday, Mama and Papa and a bunch of Papa's family members took a day trip up to the camp where Papa spent many of his summers as a boy.  Mama invited Rontu and me to come along too, so of course we said yes! ;)

Mama didn't take a lot of pictures, but the ones she got were pretty cool.


The place we ate lunch had a great view. 

There were lots of trails for hiking. 

Aren't these waterfalls amazing?  Mama didn't let me get too close...she didn't want me falling in! ;)

Whenever I see a beautiful spot like this, I'm reminded of the beauty of our world and the wonders of God's creation all around us. :)  I'm so glad Mama invited me to go with her.  I wouldn't have missed this for the world!

That's all for now...just a quick little post. (I'm not nearly as wordy as Tess or some of the others around here.) ;)  Hope you're all having a great week!

~Charlie

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tess's Tidbits: Four Incredible Years

Hello to all of our wonderful readers out there!  It feels like such a terribly long time since I've shared anything with you.  In fact, it's been two months to the day since my last "Tess's Tidbits" post.  Forgive me for staying away for so long.

This year has not been quite the year we'd planned as far as our little blog is concerned.  Still, today is a day of celebration, because on this day four years ago, Maggie and I wrote our very first post for Jane Austen and Unicorns.  It still amazes me to look back and see how far we've come and how much we've changed since then.

Thank you to all of you, our faithful readers and followers, who have shared this blog with us, leaving your kind comments and showing such an interest in us.  You've been amazing, even when we've fallen behind on our posting and kept you in suspense for long periods without posts.

Maggie and I had a long discussion last night, on the eve of our Blogoversary, concerning the future of Jane Austen and Unicorns and what sort of strategy we might implement to improve the frequency of our posting.  We know we've rather let you down with our lack of posts this past year, and for that we deeply apologize.  As Maggie and I talked, we realized that our priorities have shifted a bit in these past few years.  Keeping up with our blog has become overwhelming for us, and while our numerous fellow dolls are interested in posting every once in a while, no one is really interested in being in charge.

One of the plans we'd discussed earlier in the year was to make our Blogoversary post our last post.  However, we still have some things we'd really love to share on this blog, which we can't possibly cram into one post.  We also feel that quitting JA&U so abruptly without any warning would not be fair to all of you.

Our tentative plan, then, is to continue on until the end of the year.  This should give us plenty of time to get caught up the way we'd like to, and also gives us the chance to share one last Christmas season with you.  Talking things over with Belle helped us in our decision as well.  Ending her blog at the end of a year seemed to work quite well for her.

From now to the end of the year, our goal is to post at least once per week on this blog.  We may not always achieve that goal, but it is what we're aiming for.  Our weekly posts might sometimes be merely a quick "hello" from one of us, or perhaps a picture or two with a few thoughts to share.  No matter what, I hope to finish strong, leaving all of you with many pleasant posts to look over after we have said our goodbyes.

Once Jane Austen and Unicorns is finished, we will keep it online so you can always come back and relive our old adventures.  Also, we talked it over with Mama, and she has agreed to let us guest post on her blog, Never Grow Up, every once in a while.  It's a lot easier to think about posting when one is not in charge and only has to do it once in a great while.

Oh dear.  I did hope to make this a happy, celebratory post, and I'm afraid it might end up being rather gloomy instead.  Know that we love and appreciate each and every one of you who have been a part of our lives these past four years.  We hope you enjoy these last few months with us exclusively, and that you'll stop by and read our posts on Mama's blog after that.

Happy Blogoversary to my fellow bloggers:  Maggie, Emma, Hayden, and all of you who have guest posted from time to time.  It's been a wonderful four years.  I shall cherish the memories we made during this time for the rest of my days.

Tess  


Monday, July 21, 2014

Not So Breaking News with Maggie: Rachel and Jenna's Vacation

Hello, this is Maggie Wilson of "Breaking News with Maggie" with some...well, not so breaking news.

Okay, okay, I know...this interview is horribly late.  I'd offer some excuses for why I'm so behind schedule, but the truth is, I just got busy and kept putting it off.  And to be perfectly honest, I was still a little annoyed that I didn't get to go, so the thought of listening to Jenna and Rachel talk all about their vacation and what they did and how much fun they had wasn't exactly appealing.  Yeah, I know...I'm a big, selfish meanie.  But admit it: you still like me. ;)

Anyway, here's the post you guys have been waiting for...for over a month. :}

I'm sitting in my room with my two roommates...

...Miss Rachel Benson...

...and her younger sister, Miss Jenna Benson.

M:  The Benson sisters have very graciously agreed to share with us about their vacation to the coast.  Because they both have the same last name, we'll forgo the normal formality of the "Breaking News with Maggie" interviews and stick with first names.  Does that work for you two?

R:  That's fine.

J:  Um...okay.  I didn't know this was going to be a formal interview anyway!  Should I have dressed up?

M:  No, it's not that formal.  Oh, and also, from this point onwards, we'll color code each doll's conversation to help avoid confusion.  I'll be in blue, Rachel will be in green, and Jenna will be in purple (I know you like pink, Jenna, but that's super hard on the eyes.)

M: (Turning to Rachel)  So, we all know that you went on a vacation with Mama and her family in June.  Can you tell us how long you were gone and where you went?


R:  Sure.  We left Thursday, June 12th and got back Wednesday, June 18th, and we went to the Eureka/Trinidad area on the California coast.

Here we are on the first morning!

M:  And, for those of our readers who don't know, isn't it true that this area is special to you?

R: (smiling) Yes.  Eureka is my hometown, so I always love going back for a visit.  (looking over at Jenna)  This year was even more special because I got to take my sister with me.  Jenna's never been there before, so it was really fun showing her all of my favorite places.

M:  Speaking of those favorite places, let's get on to the trip itself.  I remember when I took the same trip a few years ago, it was a really long drive.  What did you guys do to pass the time?

J:  Well, it was a really long drive, but we told each other stories, watched the scenery, and found other things to do. 


Oh, and Mama took lots of pictures, like these ones of Rachel's spiffy hairstyle.  I think she wanted to remember how to do it later. ;)


R:  It also helped that we got to make a few stops along the way.  That broke up the monotony of the trip.  

Here I am at our first stop:  Taco Bell for lunch! 

The humans also needed a few bathroom stops, so we got to stretch our legs...

...and pick up some yummy snacks!

J:  Even when we had to stay in the car, the scenery was really pretty, so we always had something interesting to look at.

One of my favorite stops was in Willow Creek.  Isn't this a cool miner statue?  He's made entirely out of metal...even his beard!

R:  There was also this great park beside the Bigfoot museum (which we didn't visit).  We relaxed in the shade with Oldest Gal's doll Kailey and Middle Gal's smaller dolls.  The humans spent time running around and playing Frisbee.

It was the perfect day to sit in the sunshine and talk. 

J:  I love this picture that Mama got of the two of us. :)  We should get this framed for our room!

R:  This one is a nice one of Jenna, too.  My little sis is very photogenic. :)

J:  Okay, moving on...that's embarrassing.  Let's see, here are a couple more pictures of some of the pretty scenery we saw: 

R:  We were really happy to finally reach our vacation spot.  It was great to be back there.  I still remember the S's house from when Mama first added me to the family.  This house was the first place she brought me. :)  We stayed in a different room this time, though:

Isn't it nice and cheerful?

J:  We tried out the bed first thing... 

...and then checked out the view from our window.

R:  Mama and the others were busy almost right away, so Jenna and I had some time to kick back and relax after our long drive.  It wasn't long before we had a couple of visitors.  As usual, Grandmama and Mimi had brought dolls along with them.

We invited our guests to join us on the big bed.  Mimi's doll Josefina, or "Fi" for short (pronounced "Fee"), was excited to be there with us.  She's quite a chatterbox...in a fun way...kind of like our Emma. :)

J:  Grandmama's doll Ashley and I hit it off right away, as you can probably guess from her excellent taste in fashion.  

I couldn't get over her shoes!!  She said that Grandmama had gotten them for her from Target.  Must. have. those. shoes.  I mean my own pair, of course.  I'm not planning on stealing hers. :{

R:  (smoothing over Jenna's embarrassment) Our first afternoon there, we just stayed at the house.  But the next day, we got to go to the Bayshore Mall.

J:  (laughing) And here are our horribly awkward attempts at getting a picture in front of the mall.  I'm not sure where we were looking...definitely not at the camera!

Pretty clouds in the background, though! ;)

Wow...just...wow.  Why are we even using these pictures?

R:  Because they were the only ones we took on Friday, remember?  We have to have some way to commemorate the day. 

M:  Whoa, wait a minute.  Are you saying you spent the whole day at the mall?  I'm suddenly thankful I didn't go.  What a waste of a vacation day!

R:  Not really, although we did spend several hours there.  We just didn't do a lot that day that was "camera worthy", if that makes sense. ;)  We spent the evening at the house again.

M:  Good, I was gonna say...I know Mama likes shopping, but that's a bit ridiculous!!  I mean, what about the beach?  Isn't that the whole point of going to Eureka?

J:  We ended up doing our first beach trip on Saturday, when all of Mama's family was there.  

R:  Yes, and we ended up at a beach that I've never even been to before.  It was called South Jetty.  The S family recommended it because they knew it would be far less crowded on a Saturday than some of the other beaches.

Here we are at the entrance to the beach.  It's funny, in the picture we look like we're standing in the sand, but we were actually on a picnic table. ;) 

J:  This was my first time visiting a beach ever, and I have to say, I fell in love right away.  I think Rachel was relieved.  The beach is such a special place to her.  It would have been hard for her if I didn't enjoy it too.

R:  I just loved getting to share a beach day with Jenna.  Of course, I was even more excited to take her to another beach I knew better.  Thankfully, that opportunity came on Monday, when we went to Moonstone Beach. :)  Still, a beach is a beach!  It was so wonderful to feel the warm sand beneath my feet and watch the crashing waves again.  I always miss the ocean when I'm away for too long. ;)

J:  Here we are with Fi and Ashley.  I'm glad they got to come too. :) 

We had a really fun time together on the beach.  I'm so glad Mama decided I could go on this trip.  She was actually a little hesitant to take me because I'm one of her newer, "nicer" dolls.  I think she was worried I would mess up my hair too much or something.  I'm glad she didn't let that stop her.  I would hate to be stuck sitting around the house just so I could look pretty.  I mean, sure, fashion and dressing up are huge for me, but I'm not afraid of getting dirty, either. 

R:  I'm really happy you were able to come, too.  A doll has to see ocean waves at least once in her lifetime. ;)

Look at that view!  Whenever I see that, I feel like I'm home. :)

J:  We were pretty tired out after our day at the beach.  That night, while Mama, Papa, Mama's brother, and her brother's wife went on a double date and the other humans watched a movie out in the living room, we invited Fi and Ashley to our room for some snacks and "girl talk", as Mama likes to call it. ;)  We ate way too much and stayed up way too late, but it was completely worth it! ;)


J:  I just have to add, I really need to see where Grandmama and Mimi find their doll clothes.  I really love these pajamas!!


Aww, Rachel, your hair looks so pretty in this picture.  You should wear it like that more often!

R:  (amused)  Thanks...I'll keep that in mind.

R:  So on Monday, we had another beach day, but we started with a stop at one of my favorite gift shops: WindanSea.

M:  Wait a minute, what happened to Sunday?

R:  We don't have any pictures from Sunday.  We had a pajama day at home and watched movies while the humans went to church and Downtown Eureka.  I really wanted to go to Downtown with Jenna, but we were just too tired from our late night.  Maybe we can go another time.

J:  I'd like that.  Bookleggers sounded really fun, and I'd love to see that gazebo that Mama was talking about. 

R: Anyway, we started Monday morning at WindanSea.  It's a fun little shop that has lots of inexpensive souvenirs (which is one of the reasons why Mama likes it so much). ;)

Once we were done there, we headed to Moonstone Beach.  


J:  I can see why it's Rachel's favorite beach.  We had an amazing time!  Mama took a LOT of pictures of us, too:


Fi and Ashley came with us to this beach, too. :)


After a while, they retreated to the shade, but Rachel and I couldn't get enough of the sand and sun.


R:  The scenery at this beach is just incredible.  I can see why Mama wants to use it for one of her story locations.

J:  I didn't know that!  

R:  That's why she was taking all of those pictures over by those caves.

J:  Huh!  Now I want to go ask her about her stories. ;)

R:  After a while, the sun got a little hot, so Jenna and I decided to go wading in the cool waves.

J:  There's nothing like squishing wet sand under your feet.  I just wish I could really squish it between my toes like Mama and her girls do. ;)

We had such a great time.  It was hard to leave, knowing it was our last trip to the beach for this vacation.  I hope I get to go back someday!

R:  Originally, we were going to leave first thing Tuesday morning, but on Monday night, Mama and Papa decided to stay an extra day and go home Wednesday instead.  Jenna and I were thrilled to get to stay an extra day. :)  We spent the extra day running a few places around town.

Fi and Ashley were still pretty tired from our beach day, so they decided to kick back and relax at the S's house.  

Apparently they spent most of their time texting and browsing Facebook and Twitter on their smart phones.

J:  (sighing) I want a smart phone.

R:  Why do you need a smart phone?  

J: I don't know...I just think it would be fun...

R:  Anyway, we started out at Toy Box, a really fun toy store that has all sorts of toys and knick knacks.  Kailey decided she wanted to hang upside down over the sign, but Oldest Gal wanted to make sure she was safe.  That's why you can see her head poking over the back of the sign. ;)

After several hours at the toy store, we headed back to the mall.  There were a couple of places Mama wanted to check again.

J:  Later that night, the humans had ice cream as a special treat after dinner.  When no one was looking, Rachel and I sneaked out and got some for ourselves.

Then we headed over to the table and ate it as quickly as we could. ;)

It was the perfect way to end a long day! :)


R:  The next morning, we packed everything up and got ready to head back home.

J:  Of course, Mama had to get several more pictures before we officially left:


We asked her to take pictures of our special matching bracelets.  These were made for us by Little Gal.

The turtle charms were our souvenirs from WindanSea.

We think they turned out really great!

Unfortunately, just yesterday the rubber bands wore out and the bracelets broke.  We're hoping we might be able to convince Little Gal to make us new ones!

R:  Here are the last few pictures from the S's front yard:


R:  We stopped for a quick lunch at McDonald's.

I was really excited when I saw that the toys were from "How To Train Your Dragon 2".

M:  And why were you so excited?

R: (teasing) Maybe because my best friend happens to love "How To Train Your Dragon", and I thought we might be able to get her something special.  

J:  Speaking of which...

R:  We have something for you, Maggie.

J:  It's supposed to be a little Frisbee...well, little for humans, big for us. ;)  

M:  How cool!  I've been wanting to see the second movie, but Mama hasn't taken me yet.

R:  We're not really sure what you can use it for, but it has Astrid and Stormfly on it.  And it's got one of those nifty 3-D changing pictures.  Maybe you could hang it up somehow.

J:  We saved the Happy Meal box for you, too.

M:  Yes!  Oh my goodness, Hiccup has improved with age!  He's gorgeous!!

J: We thought you could use some of the artwork as a poster or something.

M:  Thanks, you two.  This is great.  It was a great interview, too...

R:  We did have one more thing we did before we went home.

M:  What was that?

J:  (grinning) We stopped by the carousel.

M:  Of course!  How could I forget?  That's a huge tradition for Mama's family.

R:  I was really glad we went.  I knew how much Jenna loves carousels and couldn't wait to see her face.

Here we are with the other dolls. 
  
J:  It was incredible riding on a carousel for the first time!  I've always loved collecting carousel horses, but riding them is even better! :)

Rachel and I rode one together so we wouldn't fall off. ;)

R:  As usual, we got to ride the carousel three times.  By the third time around, we decided to ride on one of the bench seats instead. :) 

J:  I hated to say goodbye to the carousel, but we had to start getting home.

Mama took more pictures of Rachel's hair.  She tried a lot of new things with it that week:


R:  It may have looked interesting, but it was super uncomfortable!  I took it out as soon as I could.

J:  Just before we left Eureka, Papa stopped and grabbed a few extra snacks for the way home.  One of the things he picked up were these Scrabble Cheez-its.

We were each able to find crackers with the first letters of our names on them:


J:  The ride back seemed even longer, but at least there was more pretty scenery to enjoy.

R:  When we got home, it was right around dinner time, and Mama was too tired to fix dinner.  We stopped at our local Popeye's instead. :)  Yum!

J:  It was a wonderful vacation, but I have to admit, I was relieved to be home again.  There's nothing like sitting in your own room and sleeping in your own bed after traveling out of town. :)

M:  Did you two find any other fun souvenirs...besides your bracelets that broke and the presents for me, I mean?

J:  We did.  I found these cute little matching pegasus figures for Hayden and myself at Toy Box.
  
I love how detailed they are, even though they're so tiny.

I also got myself a pink monkey Iwako eraser from Toy Box.  It's an incredible store. :)

So adorable!

R:  I got myself this sea turtle Iwako eraser, also at Toy Box.

He makes me think of the ocean every time I look at him. :)

R:  Oh, and before we went to McDonald's, we found these for you, Maggie.

J:  This unicorn was in the same bin as my pegasus.  We thought you'd want to add it to your collection.

R:  They also had these great little dragons.  I thought you'd want to have it to go with your "How To Train Your Dragon" stuff.

M:  Wow, thanks, you two!  This is great!  Maybe I should do interviews more often if it gets me this many presents!

Maggie here again.  That wraps up the actual interview, which I did a couple of weeks after they got home.  Things have gotten back to normal again.  My roomies are all settled in and unpacked, and we're all back into our normal routines...except for regular blogging.  I'd love to promise that we'll get back on track like good little bloggers, but I've figured out that making promises like that is a dumb idea, especially with our track record.  We have some more posts that we hope to share with you soonish...that's as much as I can promise right now.

In the meantime, my little dragon and unicorn from Rachel and Jenna have found homes on my shelf.

I punched out the little "flying" (but not really) Toothless from the Happy Meal box.  It doesn't really work, but it looks kinda cool at the foot of the bed.

I scooted up our "Despicable Me" poster so I could fit Toothless and Handsome Hiccup on the wall.

No, I did not cut out Astrid and Stormfly.  For that matter, my Astrid Frisbee is tucked away behind our dresser.  Why, you may ask?  Because she has this crazy idea that she and Hiccup are meant for each other.  Silly Astrid.  Hiccup is all mine.  

What...you've never had a crush on a fictional character before?  C'mon...be honest. ;)

Anyway, enough of that.  I've been working on this post most of the day, and Mama is nagging me because I kept her from doing her post on her blog.  Apparently her followers will not live another moment if they don't have a blog post from her.  I don't see what the big deal is.

Talk to you guys later!

Mags