Monday, October 24, 2011

Tess's Tidbits: Our 105th Post!!! :D

Hooray!!  It's officially our 105th post! :)  Thank you so much to all of our lovely followers and readers.  We truly appreciate you and all the wonderful, supportive comments you leave.  It really makes our day when we hear from you and know that all of our hard work is appreciated. :)

Speaking of hard work, as part of our celebration posts, Maggie is in the middle of preparing a special post for everyone.  She and I talked a lot about what we wanted to do to celebrate our accomplishment.  We had several different ideas, and then a couple of things came up that just seemed to fit into the scheme of things perfectly.  As a result, we came up with the idea of having 3 celebratory posts. 

For this, our 105th post, I'll be sharing photos and stories from my recent trip to Mama's church Ladies Retreat. :)  I didn't get a chance to share this news with the readers on this blog, but those of you who follow Mama's blog are aware that I was chosen to accompany Mama this weekend on her trip.  I had a wonderful time, and I'm so excited that I get to share my trip with you! :) 

Another thing Mama's readers will be aware of is that Emma and Charlie's sister Hayden has officially arrived! :D  Everyone is very excited about this, especially Emma and Charlie.  So, for our 106th post, Emma will be introducing Hayden and telling the story of their first meeting.

Finally, for our 107th post, Maggie will share her special surprise post with all of you.  Also, keep your eyes open, fans of Belle's Bulletins, because within one of the next two posts, we will announce when Belle gets her newest post up on her page.  We know you've all been waiting for a long time to see what happens! :)

I had such a wonderful time at Ladies Retreat.  I was honored that Mama decided to take me out of all of the dolls. :)  What was even more exciting was that Grandmama and Mimi went, and they brought Piper and Katie with them! :D  It was great to spend a whole weekend with my cousin and my friend.

Here we are in Mimi's car, all ready to go! :)  We didn't take any other pics of our trip up, although we had fun stopping at ToysRUs (for Mama) and Starbucks (for Mimi) before we got to the hotel.

I just realized as I was doing this post that we never took a picture of the hotel itself! Here's a picture of us by our hotel room door, though.  Well, to be perfectly accurate, this is where Piper and I stayed with Mama, Mimi, and Mama's best friend.  Katie stayed in another room with Grandmama.

I really liked how the welcome mat looked like it had cobblestones on it. :)

I loved our room key, too!  Isn't it fun and old-fashioned?  Usually in hotels you end up with those keys that look like credit cards, or so Mama has told me.  I thought having a real key was much more romantic. :)

Here we are on one of the beds.  The bedspreads were very beautiful and elegant.   

The funny thing was...they really didn't match with the rest of the room! :}  The far wall was almost a mint green color, and there was a wallpaper border with mint green and pink accents.  The carpet was blue, and the curtain was striped in dark brown and gold.  The lighting was a rather random mixture of old and new pieces, too.  But I still loved the room.  I haven't traveled much, so anything is new and exciting for me! :)

Here's the other half of our room.  It was so least to a doll like me. ;)

Here we have the bathroom.  Mama mentioned how nice it was that they had two different sinks:  one in the bathroom and one next to it.  That way, a sink was still available when one of the humans had to use the bathroom or take a shower.

We even had a refrigerator and a microwave!  And coffee...for whoever drinks it (not me or Mama!).

Piper preferred her Starbucks. ;)

Piper, Katie and I loved this little mirror behind the nightstand.  It would be the perfect place for Piper and I to get ready in the mornings. :)

This was the view from our back sliding door.  Isn't that a lovely pool?  Too bad I can't swim. :(

It was such a beautiful day!  We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather.

I couldn't wait to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. :)

After we were done checking out our room, we went over to see where Katie would be staying.  It was amazing!

Here's Katie on her bed. :)

I loved the beautiful bedspread and coordinating wallpaper!

She also had a beautiful artificial floral arrangement.

Piper was more impressed with the big flat screen TV.  Our TV in our room was not nearly as impressive.

Next to Katie and Grandmama's room was this cute little kitchen, perfect for making midnight snacks! 

Then, next to the kitchen was this huge conference room.  Mama said that this was where we would hold all of the meetings. 

We had quite a surprise waiting for us in the conference room:  Grandmama had treat bags and name tags for each of us!  We hadn't really expected that, since we were kind of "tag-along" guests (no pun intended). ;)  I thought it was very nice of her to include us. :)

We all opened our goodies to see what we'd gotten. 

Each of our bags had a "Christian Emergency Kit"...

...a fruit and nut bar... 

...a pen...

...and a water bottle.  They also had a program with the retreat schedule.

Here we are modeling our name tags. :) 

After we'd gone through our treat bags and toured the place, we went outside.  There was a beautiful lawn area right next to the conference room, so of course Mama wanted to take some outdoor pictures! ;)

Katie with a giant pinecone she found (you can see Grandmama's fingers...she was holding Katie up for the picture).

In the background behind us, you can see the hotel lobby.  It's the big building behind the trees.

I just had to share this funny picture with you.  Mama wanted to get a view from the front when we were strolling through the grass, but right as she took the picture, Katie fell over.  Mama saw her fall, so she started to move towards us just as the camera clicked.  We all had a good laugh about it. :)

We all enjoyed the beauty of God's creation around us.

As we were walking through the lawn, I found this cute little batch of mushrooms, just doll-sized!  I asked Mama to take a few pictures.

One last outdoor picture.  It was really hard to keep smiling...the sun was so bright!  Soon after this, everyone else began to arrive.

We had a great afternoon and evening together.  For our evening meeting, we sang a few hymns, and then Mimi and another lady from the church shared their testimonies.  They were both nervous, but they did a great job.  Everyone was very touched by their stories.

When the meeting was over, most of the ladies stayed in the conference room to play games.  Mama was tired and a little bit nervous about her devotional in the morning, though, so she, Mimi and Mama's friend decided to go back to the hotel room.  Piper and I said goodnight to Katie and headed back with them.

We got into our pajamas quickly, so we were ready for bed before everyone else.  While the humans got ready for bed, we looked at Mimi's magazine she'd brought. 

We were really excited when we saw the great snacks that Mama's friend brought with her:  Baked Lays and Monster Trail Mix!  Mama's been really strict with her diet lately, so we haven't had food like this in a while.  We also split a string cheese to make sure we had enough protein.

Piper and I had a lot of fun visiting.  She's only been at Mimi's house for a few days, but we all miss her quiet, cheerful ways already. 

Piper's opened up a lot more since she's moved to Mimi's.  She was more talkative than I've ever seen her.  I think being where she is has really helped her come out of her shell.  We had a wonderful time talking and laughing.

The Lays were yummy...not quite as yummy as the unbaked kind, but I'll take what I can get! :)

The Monster trail mix was AMAZING!!!  How can you go wrong when you add M&Ms, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips to your trail mix? :D

Here's a close up, just to make you hungry. ;)

Before long, Piper and I fell asleep.  It had been a long, full day, and we were exhausted!

The next morning, I was up early.  Mama was going to let me be a part of her devotional, so I wanted to be sure I was ready in time.  I was something called a "visual aide". 

Mama was really nervous about her devotional, so she stayed behind in the hotel while Mimi and Mama's friend went out to breakfast.  Piper and I were Mama's practice audience as she went through her presentation.  She did a great job in the hotel room, so I knew it would turn out okay during the real thing, too.  She prayed a lot, too, so I'm sure that helped considerably.

When it was time to head over for the meeting, Piper confided that she was going to stay behind.  She hadn't slept well, and a pajama day sounded nice.  I was a little bit disappointed that she wouldn't be there for my big debut, but I completely understood.

Mama's devotional went really well, just like I knew it would.  She told me later that when we pray and ask God to work through us and glorify Himself, we have nothing to worry about.  God can use us to bless others even when we mess up.  I thought that was wonderful!  It takes a lot of pressure away when you're not trying to be perfect and when you don't have to do things on your own!

I really enjoyed getting to meet all of the ladies that came to retreat.  They were very nice.  I also got to meet Mama's other aunt.  She lives close to where our retreat was held, so she came to the morning meeting to hear Mama share her devotional and sing. 

After the morning meeting, it was time for lunch.  Mama, Mimi, mama's friend, Mama's other aunt, Grandmama and I all went to "Juice and Java", a restaurant across the street from the hotel.  (Piper and Katie stayed at the hotel and ate something there).

The restaurant was really fun, although Mimi and Mama's friend had to order three times, because they were out of potatoes (their first choice) and roast beef (they had both chosen french dips after striking out on the potatoes).  The third time they ordered, they managed to order something that was available.  After that, Mama's friend didn't get the shake she'd ordered until close to the end of the meal, when she finally asked the waitress about it.  The poor waitress was very embarrassed and gave her the drink for free! 

Despite these problems, we all enjoyed ourselves.  The food was delicious and the laughter infectious.

When we were done with lunch, we all headed back to the hotel.  Mama's aunt had to leave, and Grandmama needed to take a nap (she hadn't slept well either).  I was pretty tired myself, so Mama, Mimi, and Mama's friend dropped me off at the hotel for a rest while they went to some of the local antique shops. 

Later that afternoon, they picked Piper and I up, and we all went to see "Courageous", the newest movie from Sherwood pictures (the same studio that did "Facing the Giants" and "Fireproof").  The three humans were in a really goofy mood when we first got to the theater.  It was really funny.  I've never seen that side of Mama before. 

The movie was really good, but we all cried...a lot!!!  It was a good kind of crying, though.  I hope that the movie touches many hearts for God.

There was another meeting that night, but Piper and I decided to stay in the hotel room.  We were wiped out from our big day...and from crying so much.  We settled ourselves on the bed with the remainder of the snacks from the night before and did some channel surfing. 

We also had fun looking at the cute little copper dish set that Mama had found at one of the antique stores.  She's still not sure whether this will be for us or for her daughters' dolls.  It was fun to look at, though.

I think it would be so fun to have a whole kitchen, just our size! :)

My favorite part was the cute copper tea kettle. :)

Later that night, after their meeting, Mama, Mimi, and Mama's friend came in and joined us.  We were all a little sad, knowing it was our last night already.  We made sure to enjoy it though.  It was amazing how quickly the time had gone! 

The next morning, we were once again blessed with beautiful weather.  Mama took some pics of the sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees.

We had one last meeting that was very inspiring.  Before long, we were all going our separate ways.  Mama said she always feels a little bit sad at the end of Retreat, watching everyone drive away a few at a time.  She knows she'll see them again, but there's something about that special bond you form at Retreat.  I think I understand what she means.  I will cherish this trip in my memories forever.

We needed lunch before we left, so we stopped at the "Kalico Kitchen".  We got to eat with three other ladies from Retreat.  One of them was Mama's family's friend from Eureka, the one that Maggie and Rachel visited last summer. (Sorry for the involved's difficult when you can't use names.) :{  I'll have to be sure to tell Maggie. 

I ordered the AMAZING broasted chicken.  It was so delicious and tender!  I couldn't finish it all, though.  They gave us so much food!  Piper ordered the Pot Roast sandwich (it really was a lot more delicious than it sounded), and Katie had the Cobb Salad.

One funny thing about the picture above (where we're standing under the sign) is the way the people are looking over at us.  I guess they'd never seen dolls get their picture taken before.  I felt a little self-consious, and I think Mama did, too.  She still got the pictures, though.  I think it helped that her best friend came with her, even though her friend isn't a big fan of dolls.  That's just the type of friend she is. :)

By the way, the mark on Piper's face is only a shadow, just in case any of you are worried. :)

After our lunch, it was time to head back home.  We got to stop and get a tour of Mama's friend's house on the way (it was lovely!), and then we went back to our hometown.  More surprises awaited us there, but we'll have to save that for next time. ;)

I hope you enjoyed hearing all about my journey.  I had such a wonderful time.  Maybe someday I'll get to go again.  For now, though, I'm just glad to be back.  I hadn't realized how much I'd missed my familiar room and all of my friends. :)

Emma should be getting her post up sometime this week, and then Maggie will do hers, so there's more fun to come.  Have a wonderful week! :D


Claire said...

Hi, Tess! It seems like you had a wonderful time at the ladies' retreat. And you and Piper seemed like you were enjoying yourselves. :)

I haven't seen "Courageous" yet, but I've been hearing wonderful things about it. I know the older humans (the adults) ;) will probably end up seeing it one time or another since they liked "Fireproof".

Can't wait to see Emma's post and Maggie's surprise, and happy 105th! :D


Caelen said...

Great post!

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks, Mia and Caelen. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Mia, "Courageous" was really good. I just realized that I should mention that it's got some pretty intense scenes, both emotionally and violently. No blood and no swearing, but it's still enough to make you feel like a wrung-out handkerchief by the end of it. It might be too intense for some of our younger readers. It's really good, though.

Have a great week, girls! :)

Emmie said...

Wow! I can't believe how fun your retreat looked! I saw "Courageous" too! My family was laughing when Javier Martinez was in the police car pretending to be that snake gang leader. How funny that was! I have to admit I did cry in the movie, who wouldn't? I'm glad you're safe from your trip, I can't wait for the upcoming posts! Thanks for the encouraging words in this post :)

beast'sbelle said...

Sigh...I just realized I forgot to sign my name on that last comment. We all have a problem with that on this blog. ;)

I just remembered, there is one bloody nose that I can remember. There are several intense violent situations (the men are police officers, so there are several scenes that show them on the job). Just trying to be as accurate as possible! :}


beast'sbelle said...

Emmie, that was one of our very favorite parts, too!! He was so hilarious in that scene! :D

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)


Spicemuffin and Company said...

Hi Tess!
I LOVE your new header! You gals look awesome.
I'm so excited to see Hayden {love the name}, and we're all glad that Piper is happy.
I hope we can go see Courageous too! {it'd be a good chance to go to a movie theater}

~Sunshiny Ivy

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks, Ivy! :) I'm glad you enjoyed the post and the header (we just got it up!). I hope you get a chance to see Courageous. It was a great movie. :)


Mary said...

Ooooh, I want to go see that movie!!! :D It sounds like you all had tons of fun. :) It was so cute how you had your own name tags!

YAYNESS! I can't wait for Belle's Bulletins and Hayden!

Oh, and to Emma: Where did you get your shirt? It's so pretty!

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Mary. Thanks for commenting. :) We did have a ton of fun. Our name tags were a little big, but it made us feel very special to be included like that. :)

I'm sure you're not alone in your excitement. We've been getting so many comments about Belle's Bulletins and Hayden.

I'd love to pass the question along to Emma, but I'm wondering which shirt you're talking about. Do you mean her purple one? She got that from Liberty Jane clothing (it was part of a giveaway. If you're talking about a different shirt, just let me know and I'll ask her. :)


Mary said...

Her multi-colored-with-black-trim shirt, but I love the LJ shirt too. ;) Sorry I can't give a better description of the shirt! I am very bad at descriptions. :)

beast'sbelle said...

Oh, okay! :) That would be Piper's shirt. Mama got it at She's been meaning to do a review post on her Never Grow Up blog about that outfit...she just hasn't gotten to it yet. :)


Gemma said...

Can't wait for posts 106 and 107!!

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks, Gemma. :) We're working on them! ;)