Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tess's Tidbits: Some Updates

Hi everyone!  Just thought I'd take a minute and let you all know what's been going on around here lately.  We hope that all of you are having a wonderful summer! :)

Things have been pretty crazy around here.  Two of Mama's girls got the flu at the beginning of the week, and tonight Papa has it!  Mama is hoping it won't spread any further than that! :(

As for the 18 inchers, as Maggie likes to call us, ;)  we're doing fine.  So far, none of us have caught the bug that Mama's family has (thank goodness!).  We've all been spending time enjoying our various hobbies and activities.  I've gotten a chance to get some great writing time in, which has been wonderful! :)

Do you like our new header?  We worked hard to get it just right.  Maggie and I thought it would be fun to use some of the pics from her vacation since they are so nice and summery.  The only problem is, Maggie keeps gazing at the pictures and wishing she could be back on the beach! :}

Charlie and Maggie have been very busy, as they are both competing in photo competitions this summer.  Charlie is involved in The Doll Wardrobe's doll photo contest, and Maggie is competing in the Little Miss Playthings photo contest on the AG Playthings Message Board.  They've both been hard at work...Mama too!  Maggie confided that she'll be glad when all of the fuss is over.  She thinks the only reason Mama entered her in LMPT is because Maggie happened to be the one Mama took on vacation with her, and Mama got some great pics on the beach.  I must confess I agree with her theory.  Maggie's definitely not the obvious choice from our group for a LMPT contender.  I hope she can have fun anyway, though.

Charlie found out that if Mama happens to win the Doll Wardrobe contest (the prize is the photographer's choice of a new doll:  either Ivy, Kanani, or MyAG #26!), she wants to choose Kanani as a present for her aunt.  Mama's aunt loves Kanani but won't be able to get one on her own at this time...I'd go into further detail, but as you know from previous posts, it's very impolite to discuss doll purchase prices and such.  Anyway, Mama thought it would be fun to enter no matter what.  The competition is pretty tough, so Mama and Charlie's chances of winning are slim.  Mama told Charlie not to worry, though.  The important thing is that they're having fun and unleashing their creativity.  Charlie said it's been really neat seeing all of the fun photos that people have come up with. :)

I wanted to let all of you, our dear readers, know that our posts may be rather sporadic for a while here.  Summer is always a tough time for us, because all of Mama's girls are home.  None of them are aware that we are really alive yet, so we have to lay low to keep from blowing our cover, so to speak.  Not only that, but Mama and Papa both tend to spend more time on the computer during the summer, so we have to find a time when Mama's girls are in bed AND the computer's not in use.  As you can imagine, our opportunities are pretty slim.

So don't be alarmed if you don't hear from us as frequently as you're used to.  We're still here...we're just kind of in limbo for a while.  I know that Maggie is still working on her interview post...she's hoping to get that all taken care of before the summer ends.  I'd love to do some more "Tea with Tess" posts, and Emma has been hoping to do another of her "Emma's Editorials" posts before too long.

Oh, and before I forget, Maggie and I were really excited to see that our friend Claire, who used to live with us, finally has another post up on the blog her new Mama writes!  Unfortunately, we can't comment on Claire's blog anymore because of our commenting issues with Blogger.  So Claire, if you're reading this, we still love you and love to hear from you, we just can't comment on posts that have the comments embedded underneath them. :(  We're glad you're doing well and we can't wait to hear more about your adventures with your sister Kerri! :D  For those of you interested in reading about Claire's new life, you can click the link HERE.

I think that's about it for now.  I hope you all have wonderful adventures this summer with your families and friends! :)   

P.S.  I included the introductory photos Mama sent in for Charlie and Maggie's photo contests.  Hope you enjoy them! :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tess's Tidbits: Vivah Movie Night

Hi everyone!  Tess here.  We're so glad to have Maggie back with us, and we're really excited to have a new member added to our doll family:  Rachel. :)  I'm glad you're all enjoying reading Maggie's posts about her vacation.  She had a wonderful time.  I love all the pics that Mama took!  It makes me wish I'd been able to go too.

We had lots of fun here, though.  I meant to do a post or two while Mama was gone, but we were all so busy eating snacks, playing together, reading, listening to music, and enjoying the freedom of a house to ourselves, that I just never got around to it! :D 

One of the most fun things we did during Mama's vacation was our movie night.  As promised, Mama added "Vivah" to her Netflix queue, and it came a few days before she left.  Mama watched it first and said it was WONDERFUL and she wanted her own copy. Since it was Piper's favorite movie, Mama agreed to leave it here so that Piper could watch it while Mama was gone. 

So, Wednesday night, Piper asked Emma if she'd like to see "Vivah".  Of course, Emma said yes without hesitation.  There's nothing she enjoys more than a good Bollywood movie! 

I think Emma was also excited to share an experience with her sister.  She and Charlie are still trying to get to know Piper, but Piper's so quiet and introspective that it's hard work trying to get close to her.  I can certainly understand being quiet and shy myself.  Piper's a different type of quiet, though.  I'm too timid to voice my opinions (which is why I love writing them instead), but with Piper, it's almost like she doesn't have the need to voice things.  She feels things inwardly and ponders them instead of expressing them.  It's going to take some getting used to, especially for Emma, who loves to talk through EVERYTHING she's thinking or feeling. I think she feels like she can't communicate with Piper sometimes.  I'm hoping that as they get used to each other, they'll figure all this out.

Anyway, back to movie night.  As Emma and Piper started heading for the living room, Emma asked if anyone else wanted to join them.  Katie declined, as she was in the middle of reading Kingscote by Linda Chaikin and almost to her favorite part.  Hailey was in the middle of a scrapbooking page, and Charlie didn't feel like sitting through a movie (she normally doesn't, unless it's a Disney Pixar movie).  Emma finally got to me and asked the same question.  

While I'm not as big on Bollywood as Emma is, I don't necessarily mind Bollywood movies in moderation.  I wasn't really in the middle of anything at the time, and I was also feeling the desire to get to know Piper better, so I agreed to go with them.  

"Hey," Emma said as we started to leave.  "We should all get in our PJs!  That way we'll be all comfy and can hop right in bed when we're done!"  That's another great thing about being home during Mama's family's vacations...we get our choice of the 4 big beds in the house. :)

"Sounds great!" I agreed. 

We all turned back to get changed.  When we were all ready, we met at the doorway of the room, fully dressed in our comfy PJs.

"I'll take care of the girls go find the movie!" Emma said excitedly.

Piper and I barely had time to nod in agreement before Emma shot down the hallway, her excitement nearly bubbling over.  Piper and I exchanged an amused glance.

"My sister is very...exuberant, isn't she?" Piper said thoughtfully.

I chuckled.  "You have no idea...especially when it comes to Bollywood, Disney, Nascar, or Jane Austen!"

Piper smiled.  "She has a lot of interests."

"Yes, but that's what makes her so interesting," I pointed out. 

Piper's smile deepened.  "She does seem to be well-loved by all of you."

"She is," I agreed.  "She's a lot of fun to be around...and she loves to talk, which is nice for non-talkative people like me."

Piper glanced at me, waiting for an explanation.

"I never have to think of what to say when I'm with her.  She fills all of the silences by herself," I finished.

She laughed, a light, silvery sound.  "That is nice," she agreed.  "Everyone always wishes I would say more, but I've never understood the need to fill silences just because I can.  If I don't have anything worth saying, I'd rather sit and enjoy the quiet."

I sighed.  "I wish more of us thought that way.  I get really stressed trying to think of something worth saying when the conversation is lagging.  And Emma says quiet spots in conversations make her nervous, so she just starts saying whatever comes into her head.  Or so she's told me."

By this time, we were in the living room.  We could already hear the popcorn popping in the microwave.  Emma had wasted no time...she was ready to watch that movie!!

I gave Piper a boost up to the cedar chest, where Mama had left the movie for us.  I could see Piper's eyes sparkling with excitement as she pulled the movie out of the red envelope. 

With some difficulty, we managed to get the movie in and the remotes down with us.  In the background, we heard the microwave timer beep and the door open and slam shut.  I could hear Emma ripping the bag open, and if I listened hard enough, I could just catch the sound of soft popcorn hitting the bowl. 

Piper and I were just moving Mama's girls' Disney Princess couch over in front of the TV when we heard Emma's "Oh, great!!" from the kitchen.

I turned to Piper.  "I'll go see what the problem is," I offered.

When I got there, I saw Emma standing on the counter with the bag of popcorn beside her...and a big pile of popcorn on the floor. 

"It came out so fast...I didn't notice the bowl was overflowing until it was too late!" Emma said in exasperation.

I hid a smile.  This was a typical Emma thing.  She would get into something without thinking it all the way through, and then get frustrated when it went wrong.  With just a bit of careful planning, most of her mishaps would have been avoidable.  She preferred "winging it" instead.

Well, never let it be said that we dolls don't clean up after ourselves!  Within moments, Emma and I had the dustpan and dust broom and were sweeping up the mess. 

Emma was grateful for the help.  It was hard handling the huge dustpan and the little broom by yourself. :)

When we'd cleaned everything up, Emma handed the bowl down to me (after taking my recommendation and transferring the popcorn to a plastic bowl instead).  We took it into the other room.  Piper was waiting patiently on the couch, fast-forwarding through all of the previews and getting to the main menu.

"Are we all ready?" she asked from her seat in the middle of the couch.  Emma and I nodded.  We each chose a spot on either side of her.  It was decided that Piper should hold the popcorn since she was in the middle.  That way, everyone could reach it.

"Let's do this!" Emma said happily.  "I'm so excited to see this movie!"  We all took a handful of popcorn as Piper pushed play.

Emma and I had both brought our teddy bears to snuggle with.  My bear was a Miss AG Bear that Mama got for me when she bought me my red AG nightshirt.  They'd come in a lot together on eBay.  Isn't she adorable?

Emma, of course, brought her Shahrukh Bear.  I mean, who would be more appropriate to bring to a Bollywood movie than a teddy bear named after the "King of Bollywood"? (Emma refers to Shahrukh Khan that way constantly, which is the only reason I know that.)  :)

It didn't take us long to get hooked on the story. :)  We loved pretty Poonam (Amrita Rao is gorgeous!!) and her sweet, goofy sister/cousin Choti.  Prem was so sweet...and not bad looking, either!  They both had wonderful families...overall (I don't want to give too much away!). 

Choti and Poonam during the song "O Jiji" (Oh Sister).

Here are Poonam and Prem during another one of our favorite songs...sorry I can't remember the exact name.  I don't speak Hindi, you know. :}

Some of the funny scenes from "Hamari Shaadi Mein".

Two Poonams?

It was all around just a sweet, clean little story that reminded us of a "twitterpated" (to borrow the phrase from Bambi) high school romance...except it was centered around older characters entering an arranged marriage. Wow, I can't imagine getting engaged to someone I'd only met once!

And then, all of a sudden, tragedy struck, right in the middle of the storyline.  It was so unexpected and horrible!  The movie had a happy ending, but my goodness!  We went through almost a whole box of tissue between the three of us.  The funny thing is, Piper knew it was coming, and she still cried just as much as Emma and I did!

True love tested to the extreme.

When it was over, (THANKFULLY with a happy ending, or Emma and I would have been really upset), Piper didn't say anything.  You could tell she was content to just sit there and revel in the beautiful love story we'd just witnessed. 

I sniffed and wiped my eyes one more time.  "Wow." 

Emma and Piper turned to me. 

"I'll always prefer Jane Austen movies," I continued, "but that was a beautiful story."

Emma agreed, setting down her most recent piece of tissue.  "This one's right up there with 'Veer-Zaara'," she sniffled.  "I still like 'Veer-Zaara' better because 'Vivah' doesn't have Shahrukh in it, but this one was great!  It's so nice to find another Bollywood movie that doesn't have a lot of over-sensual songs in it.  That's my main complaint with these movies, as much as I love them."

"I'm glad you enjoyed it," Piper said quietly, wiping the last remaining traces of her tears away.  "I hope Mama decides to get a copy like she said."

"Me too!" Emma agreed.  "Thanks for showing it to us."

"Maybe we should do another movie night," I suggested. 

"That's a great idea!" Emma agreed enthusiastically.  "I have tons of movies I could show you!"  She hesitated.  "What do you think, Piper?"

Piper smiled.  "I'd like that."

"It's settled, then.  Tess, maybe you should pick the next movie since it was your idea."

"Okay," I said, already thinking about which one I would choose.

We turned off the TV and started cleaning up our tissue.  It had been a really fun night.  I couldn't wait to do another one soon. :)


Here are some fun online pics we found from the movie. :)

Below you'll find a link to a video of our very favorite part of the movie:  "Hamari Shaadi Mein", the song Prem sings on the plane.  Sorry, this particular version does not have subtitles, but it has a really clear picture.  After you watch this, you can find several versions on YouTube with English subtitles that have a fuzzier picture. 

Basically, all you need to know is that Prem is on his way back to his hometown after being away for about a month.  He really misses his bride-to-be, and therefore starts imagining that she is on the plane with him (in several different personas).  There are also a few scenes of his actual bride-to-be preparing to meet him at the airport. 

Prem is basically saying, "Our wedding day is four weeks away and I'm really excited."  Honestly, that's pretty much the main thought of the song.  It's really fun and lighthearted, though.  We actually rewound (rewinded?) it and watched it again after the movie was over, we liked it so much. :)

Click HERE to see the video. :)   

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Maggie's Memos: Day Six

When Mama and Papa got back the morning of Day 6, it was time to pack everything up and leave.  I was still a bit grumpy about being left out of Mama and Papa's evening, but Mama told me to adjust my attitude and get everything packed. 

I searched in vain one more time for Aragorn's sword.  Hopefully the S family will be able to find it and send it to me sometime.  For now, hopefully there are no Ringwraiths around, or poor Aragorn is doomed with no way to defend himself. :(

Once the car was all packed up, Mama took a moment to take some pics of Rachel and I together on the front porch and in the S's yard.  Rachel was wearing her "Humboldt Hat", as she called it, that she had made herself.  I couldn't help thinking that it would be a long time before she would have the need to wear it again.

Mama loves this front gate that Mr. S put in their front yard.

Ready to go home!

On the way out of town, we stopped at Pierson's so that Mama could show me the lion statue that's been there since she was in high school.  She figured I'd like it since I'm as much into Narnia as she is.  Oh. My. Goodness.  How awesome is this?  We totally need this for our backyard. 

I tried to convince Mama that we could fit him in the trunk, but she said there's no way we could get over the mountains.  Plus, we'd have to leave all of our stuff here.  I didn't see a problem with that plan, but Mama and Papa didn't go for it.

So for now, I'll just have to be content with pics.  Someday, though, I think Aslan needs to come to our house. ;)

After our Pierson's stop, we went through the Burger King drive-thru and picked up lunch.  We drove to a car dealership at the edge of town and ate in the car.  I wasn't sure why we were stopping there until we finished and all got out.  In the parking lot, there was a huge carousel.  Mama said that she and Papa and the girls stopped here last year and the girls really loved it.  The carousel runs from 12-4 pm every week day and is free to ride.

Rachel, Josefina and I climbed on this daring orange charger.

Molly and Polly rode the chocolate brown horse next door.

Then, for the next couple of turns, we all piled on the yellow benches and rode around.  It was so fun!

We didn't want to leave (and neither did the human girls), but Mama and Papa said we needed to go if we wanted to get home at a decent time.

Goodbye, carousel!

Once we'd found another bathroom for one last potty stop, we all settled in for the long car ride home.  I found it rather awkward to be stuck alone with Rachel.  Jess had stayed behind since she was going home with Grandmama.  I hadn't realized until that moment that most of our conversations had been between Jess and I, with Rachel interjecting only every so often.  I wondered what on earth we'd find to talk about on the way home.

Rachel reminded me a lot of Tess.  She was quiet and almost painfully shy.  I realized that I'd kind of assumed what she'd be interested in.  I was sure she was another Jane Austen lover, a dreamy reader and a romantic.  Not much I had in common with her then.  Of course, Tess and I didn't really seem to have much in common either, but we'd been best friends for years.

Mama kept shooting pics right and left.  Everything was so green, she couldn't help herself.

Rachel and I watched the road quietly for a lot of the trip.

For part of it, we even fell asleep!

When we woke up, we realized we'd been out for over an hour.  We peeked out the side window to see where we were. 

The beautiful Trinity River lay sparkling in the sun (Whoa...that was another Tess sentence!  I think I've been hanging around that girl too long!).

Here's a pretty picture Mama took at a rest stop.

As we traveled along, I happened to mention to Rachel how disappointed I was to miss out on "Thor".  Her usually shy demeanor lit up. 

"I love that movie!" she exclaimed.  "It's my absolute favorite!!"

I blinked in surprise.  "Really?  Because I totally had you figured for the Jane Austen type."

Rachel made a face.  "Only if I want to fall asleep.  I love superhero movies, especially Thor and Iron Man...I haven't gotten to see Iron Man 2 yet, though.  And I'm TOTALLY excited about Captain America and then The Avengers next year!"

I looked at her, a bemused smile on my face.  "Wow, so you do know how to talk, when it's about something you like.  And I so did not think you'd be the superhero type!"

Rachel blushed.  "Not very many people do.  Just because I'm shy around people I don't know, everyone thinks I'm into frilly, girly stuff.  I'm not."

I grinned.  "You know, I think you and I are going to get along just fine.  So, is there anything else I should know about you?"

Rachel thought for a moment.  "Well, I love the beach, as you already know.  I'm a big fan of the Muppets.  My favorite is Kermit.  Oh, and my favorite food is fish 'n chips from Trinidad Eatery!"

"Well, we don't have a Trinidad Eatery, but we do have a few places in town that make decent fish 'n chips."  I shook my head.  "Hmmm, Muppets and Superheroes.  Who'da thunk it?"

By this time, we'd reached our next stop:  the Tops Sentry market.  The humans got out, took another potty break and picked up some snacks.  Rachel and I stayed in the car, and Rachel went over most of the plot points of Iron Man and Thor.  I couldn't wait to see the movies. 

"So, do you read all the Marvel comic books too?" I asked. 

Rachel shook her head.  "I basically found out about the Marvel stories from the movies.  I've looked over some of the info on the comic books, but there are so many of them, and the stories are really was just too overwhelming.  I'm sure the Marvel purists wouldn't be impressed, but I just stick with the movies, myself.  And I try to go for the ones that aren't as...racy...if you know what I mean.  That's why I liked Thor so much.  It was violent, but it wasn't too sensual."

I nodded.  "It's always so annoying when they ruin a movie with that."

Mama, Papa and the kiddos came back to the car, ending our conversation for the moment.

We kept on driving.  We were really surprised to be met with misty weather as we got closer to home.  It seemed like we'd accidentally turned around and headed back to Eureka!

When we got to our hometown, Mama and Papa decided to go to their favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner (so that Mama didn't have to cook).  We all enjoyed our meal before heading home.

Tess was so excited to see me when I got there.  She almost knocked me over with her hug!

I had Tess round everyone up so that I could introduce Rachel to them.  I could tell she was nervous again, because she hadn't spoken a word since we'd arrived.

"Girls, this is Rachel, the newest member of our family.  Mama found her in Eureka."  Everyone smiled at her.  Charlie stood on her tippy toes on the chair so she could get a better look.

Tess gave Rachel a special smile.  She had a knack for recognizing another shy doll that might need a bit of encouragement before coming out of her shell. 

Within moments, everyone was surrounding Rachel, introducing themselves and asking her about herself.  She seemed a little overwhelmed, but happy.

Tess gave me another big hug.  "I'm so glad you're home!" she said excitedly.

I grinned as I looked around the familiar room, my home for the past 3 years.  I watched my friends as they worked hard to make my newest friend feel accepted and welcome. 

I turned back to Tess.  "Me too.  I had a great time, but it's good to be back!"