Friday, June 28, 2013

Maggie's Memos: Answer Post Coming Soon

Hey guys!  Just wanted to post this in case you thought we forgot about our answers post for our 102 followers "Ask Tess and Maggie" special.  Not that we've ever been late on a post before...ahem...maybe we should just move on. :}

So we're kinda attempting something epic with this, but we're not sure it's going to work.  It's going to take us a while to figure things out, though, so we'll probably have your answers for you sometime next week instead of the end of this week like we said.  And hopefully we'll have something to show for our effort.  If not, we'll present you with the back-up plan: a regular old answer post. ;)

We'll be back with our answers as soon as we can.



Monday, June 24, 2013

Tess's Tidbits: Just One More Day of "Ask Tess and Maggie"

Hello everyone.  I just wanted to let you know that Maggie and I have decided that we will accept your questions until tomorrow.  Doing so will give us plenty of time to prepare our answers by the end of the week.

If you have a question you would like to submit, you can either leave it in the comments on this post or you can leave it in the comments on the original post.  The original post is also a good place to go for those of you who are unaware of the subject matter of this post. ;)

You have given us some wonderful questions so far.  We look forward to answering them soon! :)


Friday, June 21, 2013

Emma's Editorials: Our New Arrival

 Hello again, everybody!!  It's Emma, and boy, does it feel like forever since I've blogged!!  I guess it's only been about a month, but still...I missed you guys. ;)

So as Charlie shared with you in her last post, Mama had informed us that a new cousin was coming to stay with us sometime this week.  And just this morning, she told us that it would be today specifically.  As you can imagine, we were on pins and needles all day long!! :}  Hayden decided to stay with us so she wouldn't miss the excitement.

The day seemed to crawl by, and all the while we wondered who she would be...

"I wonder if it's Saige?" Hayden guessed.  She had told us about her photo shoot with Saige on Mama's blog.  

"That could be," I mused.  "Mama did say that she thought Saige was probably our cousin."

"Just one problem," Charlie pointed out from her spot by the bed, where she was petting Rontu.  "Saige lives with Grandmama, and I think they're pretty attached.  I can't imagine Grandmama wanting to send her over here."

She had a point.  It looked like we were back to guessing. I wondered when on earth our cousin would get here.  It was already afternoon and still there was no sign of her.

Hayden directed her attention to my new little Eiffel Tower that Mama had found me.  Charlie continued to pet her dog.  

I gave a long sigh.  "I HATE waiting," I complained.  "I don't see how you two can be so patient!"

"To be honest, I'm not in any rush to meet her," Charlie confessed.  "I hope she doesn't have too much stuff or anything.  We just got this room the way we want it!  I don't see how we're going to fit another doll in here."

From behind Charlie, someone cleared her throat.   

Charlie went pale.  A guilty expression covered her face as she slowly turned.

And there stood our cousin, looking quite familiar.

I was shocked.  "Piper?" I squeaked.  I thought Mama had said we had a "new" cousin!

A pleasant laugh that sounded like tinkling bells escaped from the doll in front of us.  "No," she said cheerfully, "but I can understand your confusion.  I'm Piper's twin sister, Alice."

A twin sister?  I wanted to steal a glance at my sisters and see if they had any idea about this beforehand, but I didn't want to make Alice uncomfortable.  

Apparently my sisters were just as stunned as I was, because there was a rather awkward silence for a minute or two.

Alice seemed unaware of any strangeness on our part.  "Do you mind if I put my bag down?" she asked.

I shook my head wordlessly, and she plopped her cute blue purse on the bed next to Rontu.  

Well, it was cute except for the odd buttons on the front.  One was red and said, "Keep calm and don't blink", and the other one had a guy with some pretty wacky hair that said, "Trust me, I'm the Doctor".

As Pi-I mean, Alice backed away, I noticed that she had a necklace like the rest of us.  I didn't recognize the pictures on it, though.

I think Alice caught me staring, because she gave me an amused smile.  "Alice Ellison, cousin of the Hathaways, sister of Piper and Ruthie, and confirmed sci fi geek."  She winked, then corrected, "That is, some sci fi.  I'm a huge Doctor Who fan, and my two favorite movies are 'Alice' and 'Tin Man'.  They were sci fi miniseries that were retellings of 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'The Wizard of Oz'.  They're on my necklace charms...see?"

And she leaned forward so we could take a look. 

I think I said something like, "Oh," or "That's nice".  To be honest, I was just trying to get used to having such a bubbly, mischievous personality coming from someone who looked exactly like quiet, demure Piper.  And sci fi?  That was a new one!  No one here liked sci fi that I knew of.  Maybe she could get Maggie and Rachel on the bandwagon, but I sure wasn't interested.

Just then, Mama came in.  "How's it going, girls?" she asked us.  

"Good," I managed with a smile.  "We're all pretty surprised...we didn't know Piper had a twin!"

Mama laughed.  "I just found out a little while ago myself," she admitted.  "I think you guys will have a lot of fun getting to know her."

Alice shared a special smile with us that my sisters returned...and I think I did, too.

"Well, I just came in to rearrange a few things so we can fit Alice's dresser in here."  

And without another word, she got to work.  She moved our toy bin, my Lalaloopsy house, and Charlie's Woody guitar over to the place where Alice had just been standing.  

Then she plopped a blue plastic dresser in the other corner.  (Oh dear, I just realized when I looked at this picture that we never turned our calendar over to June! :}  How embarrassing!)

Alice grinned from ear to ear when she saw her dresser.  "Perfect!  My favorite color!"

Mama smiled and dropped a few things on the bed.  "Well, I'll leave you to get settled in."  She looked at the rest of us.  "You girls help her out if she needs anything, all right?"

We nodded, and Mama left the room.

Alice immediately began going through the pile, taking things one at a time and placing them carefully on her dresser.  We all gave her room and watched.

She beamed as she lifted a fish tank into her arms.  "Hey girls," she cooed softly.  "How are you?"

"You have pet fish?" Charlie exclaimed excitedly.  "How cool!"

"Yep," Alice replied as she gingerly set the fish tank down.  "These are my fishies, Donna and Martha.  They're pretty nifty."

I thought "Donna" and "Martha" were kind of weird names for fish, definitely not your typical names like "Nemo" or...I don't know...whatever else people or dolls name their fish.  

Next, Alice picked up a very pretty Madame Alexander doll with blonde hair and a blue dress.  It looked like...

"Isn't that Alice in Wonderland?" Hayden was quicker than I was.

Alice nodded.  "I'm actually not really a fan of Alice in Wonderland," she confided.  "But I really liked the sci fi version of it.  I totally had a crush on Hatter.  Plus, it was cool because in that version, Alice had dark hair like mine."

She looked down at her Alice doll.  "Mama gave this to me as a sort of welcome gift, and I didn't have the heart to tell her that Alice in Wonderland isn't really something I enjoy.  It was really sweet of her, though.  And now when I look at her, I can think of my favorite version of Alice."

I was impressed with Alice's sensitivity.  Mama's feelings would most likely have been hurt if Alice had admitted her true feelings.  

"Aha, here it is!" Alice suddenly exclaimed, holding up what looked like a blue rectangular box with a little knob on the top.  "My TARDIS!  I was hoping it had made it here okay."

My sisters and I exchanged a look.  "Your...what?" I asked her.

"My TARDIS," Alice replied.  "It stands for 'Time and Relative Dimension in Space'," she added in a matter-of-fact manner, as if this was something dolls discussed every day.  

It was like she was speaking a different language.

Seeing our confusion, she put the TAR-thingee on her dresser and said, "It's from Doctor Who, that show I was telling you about."

"Doctor Who?" Hayden asked blankly.

Alice looked horrified.  "You guys haven't heard of it?  AT ALL?"

"I think Mama's mentioned it once or twice," I said, "but we've never watched it."

"Well, we'll have to do something about that!" Alice said with a grin.

"We should probably talk to Mama about it first," Hayden offered timidly.  "Mama's pretty strict about what we watch."

Alice nodded as if her earlier obsessiveness was no big deal.  "Okay, sounds good to me."  Then she spied the last few remaining objects on the bed.

"Oh good!  These got here too!" she said happily, swooping up the first two figures.  "You can't have a TARDIS without a Doctor!"

Then she sighed.  "I do like Matt Smith, but I wish I could find the Tenth Doctor, too."  She looked over at us.  "Ten is my favorite."

Without waiting for a response, she held up the other figure.  "And the Doctor always has to have a companion!"  She turned and set the two of them on the dresser.  I caught a glimpse of the redheaded figure and thought she looked a bit creepy, but I didn't dare say anything about it.

Charlie leaned over to me and whispered, "Why am I suddenly thinking of the part in 'Finding Nemo' when Squirt is explaining to Marlin and Dory how to escape the current?  You know, where Marlin says, 'It's like he's trying to speak to me, I know it!'  All this Doctor Who stuff might as well be a different language.  Does any of it make sense to you?"

I shook my head but then put a finger to my lips.  I didn't want Alice to hear.  Then it struck me that I could barely remember what part Charlie was talking about.  And then my eyes wandered over the room to see all of the various obsessions we had.  "Tangled", "Beauty and the Beast", Pixar movies, "Emma" by Jane Austen, and now "Doctor Who".  Hayden was no better with her "Aladdin" and "My Little Pony" stuff.  Come to think of it, all of us dolls were pretty obsessive.  I felt a smile on my face.  Alice would fit right in, even if we didn't understand what on earth she was talking about.

"And of course," she was saying, "Eleven has to have his River Song and a Dalek to battle with."

She added the last two figures to the dresser and stood back to see her handiwork.  She must have liked what she saw, because she gave a little nod of approval. 

She turned to find us all watching her.  A rather sheepish smile covered her face.  "And now you probably all think I'm a complete nutcase!"  For the first time since her arrival, she looked insecure.

And right then and there, I knew that I liked this new cousin of ours.  She wasn't exactly what I'd been expecting, and it was going to take a while for me to get used to Alice's interests and opinions rather than Piper's, but she seemed like a lot of fun.  I laughed a little.  "Well, Alice, if you're a nutcase, then you'll fit in with all the rest of us."
My cousin gave a big sigh of relief, and the last of her hesitation melted away.  "So," she beamed, "who'd like to hear more about Doctor Who?  Or maybe Alice, or Tin Man?"
Oh dear.  What had we gotten ourselves into? ;)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Breaking News with Maggie: 102 Awesome Followers and a Special Announcement

This is Maggie Wilson of "Breaking News with Maggie", here to inform you that we officially have-not just 100-but 102 followers on our blog!!  Whoo hoo!!  (And you guys thought we hadn't noticed...) ;)

So, we wanted to do something special in celebration of exceeding our goal of 100 followers.  Honestly, when we started this little blog almost 3 years ago, we had no idea that it would ever be this successful.  What can I say?  You guys are awesome!! ;)

Okay, I'm rambling, and a good journalist shouldn't ramble...

What we'd like to do is have a special "Ask Tess and Maggie" feature to celebrate our follower milestone.  Do you have a burning question you've been dying to ask us?  Here's your chance!  Just leave your question in the comments below.  You can direct your question to Tess, to me, or to any of the other gals that hang around us pretending they're cool enough to be blog authors.

We'll take questions until the beginning of next week and then we'll work on getting them answered for you.  We should have our responses up sometime between the end of next week and the beginning of the following week.  (A lot will depend on how many questions we get and how complicated they are.) ;)

All righty, I think that's about it.  We'll look forward to seeing your questions.

This is Maggie Wilson, signing off.

P.S.  I almost forgot.  PLEASE do NOT fill the comments with Jane Austen questions for Tess and Emma.  One or two are okay, but seriously, if I have to sit through a discussion of the virtues of Mr. What's-His-Face compared to Mr. Whoever, I will literally go insane.  You will also run the risk of having to read through a never-ending post...when it comes to Jane Austen, those two have no clue how to shut their faces. You've been warned.

P.P.S.  Of course, "Avengers" and "Lord of the Rings" questions are preferable.  As many as you want. ;)  Just don't ask Tess...she doesn't know Iron Man from Dr. Doom. :}

Okay, signing off for real now.  Honest.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guest Post by Charlie: My Camping Adventure

Hello everyone, it's Charlie again, sharing all about my camping trip with Mama and her family.  Not only did I get to go camping for the first time, but I also got to ride in Mama's new truck for the first time.  It was pretty cool. :)

I figured we'd hop in the truck and head right up to the campground, but there were a lot of errands that Mama and Papa had to run first.

One of the first things we did was to stop by Taco Bell for lunch.  I shared Mama's favorite with her, a burrito supreme.

Next we had to stop at a hardware store so that Papa could grab some last minute items he needed.  He parked us in the shade and rolled down all of the windows.  Mama's daughters listened to a fun Adventures in Odyssey episode that told the story of Joseph in the Bible. 

Rontu and I looked out the window while we listened.  There wasn't much to see, but it was still nice to get some fresh air.

The trip was beautiful, but really long.  It felt like we would never get there!!

But at last we arrived!  Rontu and I were SO glad to be out of the truck!!

I immediately put on my backpack and started exploring.  Mama had told me that she had a special tent just for me, but I had to find a good spot to set it up.

She said that I had to stay in the same campsite and that I wanted to look for a nice flat spot so it would be comfortable to sleep on the ground. 

After a while, I found the perfect spot, just next to a big rock and a group of trees. 

Mama was busy helping Papa and the girls get their own tent set up, so she told me I could try to set mine up all by myself.  I figured it couldn't be too hard.  I have to admit, I chuckled a bit as I worked.  Maggie had begged and pleaded Mama to come on this trip, but Mama had decided it was my turn.  The thought of Maggie sleeping in a pink camo tent was pretty humorous, though.  I mean, you guys know her...can you imagine how annoyed she'd be to sleep in something like that? ;)  Maybe she should be thankful she couldn't come after all.

Getting the tent set up was a little more difficult than I had thought, but I kept trying... 

...and at last I had it all set up. 

Once I had all of my stuff unpacked and ready, I felt pretty happy.  Charlie Hathaway, camper extraordinaire! ;)

I tried out the camp chair that came with the tent.  It was a little small, but still better than sitting in the poky pine needles. ;)

I decided to take a picture of my campsite.  Hailey has been trying to get me into photography for a long time, and she let me borrow her camera for the trip. 

So I did get this one picture of my campsite.  Not bad, right?  To be honest, though, I was so busy having fun that I pretty much forgot about the camera for the rest of the vacation. ;)

Shortly after I took my one trip picture, Mama and her family headed off to their dinner with the rest of the humans from their church who had come too.  There was a slight delay at first.  Middle Gal fell and got a really bad scrape, so Mama was feeling pretty stressed by the time they took off for dinner...late.

I, on the other hand, had plenty of time to rest and relax while they were gone.  I raided Mama's snack bars in the truck when we got hungry.

Before I knew it, night had fallen and it was time to try out my new tent. 

Rontu and I were nice and snug in there with my thick zebra stripe blanket.

We conked out pretty quickly and slept hard all night.

It was so peaceful sleeping outside.  I've officially decided that camping is the best thing EVER!! ;) 

The sun rose early, and Rontu was ready to get up much earlier than I was.  

I didn't really want to leave my warm blanket, but part of me was just as excited as my dog to get up and explore. 

At first, I just put my boots on over my pajamas. 

I grabbed my Froot Loops (the "breakfast of champions", right?) but realized that I had forgotten to bring any milk...or a bowl and spoon, for that matter.  I munched on a few dry ones, but that was hardly filling.

I checked my ice chest and quickly decided that my options for breakfast were pretty limited.  There was only one choice.  I'd have to see what the humans were having and see if they could spare something. 

I quickly got dressed and then said, "Come on, Rontu, let's go get some breakfast."

We wandered over to the picnic table where all the food was.  We found some eggs, but I had no idea had to work the camp stove to cook them.  I couldn't really reach it anyway.  And I couldn't cook it over the campfire because there wasn't one started.  Besides, Mama had made me promise to stay away from campfires this weekend.  She was afraid I'd melt my plastic. ;) 

At last, we found some of Papa's sister's homemade granola.  Mama noticed me creeping about and very nicely poured me a cup with some milk.

It was delicious!

As if that wasn't enough, Papa fixed us some scrambled eggs and sausage.

Yummy!!  (By the way, the black thing on the plate next to the sausage is not a's a little cooked piece of sausage.) ;)

Later that day, while the humans were busy, Rontu and I decided to do some exploring.  The area around us was so amazing.  I couldn't wait to see as much of it as I could.  If Hayden had been there, her imagination would have been hard at work. ;)

The trees were so beautiful...I felt like I could spend the rest of my life just enjoying the wonders of God's creation.

I loved all the moss on this one.

There were more stumps and trees to climb than I could ever hope for. :) 

Here I am, Queen of the Mountain! ;)

Then I tried a trick that Papa's brother-in-law had done years ago (Mama showed me a picture).  You climb up between two trees, bracing yourself against both as you climb.  

Rontu didn't like it that I was so far up where he couldn't come.  He was much happier when I came back down. ;) 

After a while, we took a break from our hiking and climbing.   

I leaned against a tree with Rontu by my side and listened to the caws of the crows and the ocean-like sound of the wind moving through the tree branches. 

Later that afternoon, Rontu and I went and visited the cabin where Papa's parents were staying.  They were in Cabin 16.

The cabin had a nice little kitchen.

There was some delicious-looking watermelon sitting on the kitchen table.  I almost snitched a piece, but then realized it would be too hard to clean up from the sticky watermelon juice on my own. ;)

There was a sliding glass door in the kitchen that led out to a deck.

It looked so calm and peaceful out there... 

...Rontu and I decided to go outside and take a peek.  We stood on the table so we could get a better view. 

When we were done outside, we went back in and looked through one of Mama's daughters' crossword books. 

Mama and the girls had been at craft time, and when they came back, they brought me this necklace that Mama had made me.  The necklace wasn't quite finished, though.  Mama said she wanted to wait until we got back home so she could add some clasps to the end.  She didn't want me to have to stretch it over my head every time I wore it.

Isn't it cool?  I'm so glad Mama knew me well enough to use natural, outdoorsy colors.  I would have had a hard time with something too girly. ;) 

On our way back from the cabin, we stopped by the General Store to look through the little gift shop. 

I had to leave Rontu outside because pets weren't allowed.  

There were some really fun things just my size, like these cute little lanterns.

When I saw these Bear claws for 99 cents, though, I knew I'd found my souvenir. ;)

I went outside and sat on the "Liars Bench" at the front of the store.  Mama's daughters were playing on the playground next door, so I had to wait for them.  Rontu was over watching them.

Mama took a quick picture of me with my newest treasure.

I was a bit disappointed when I realized it was just plastic.  It's still pretty cool, though. :} 

While we were in "picture-taking mode", Mama snapped a few photos of me in front of the campground entrance.  I loved this big wooden bear statue. 

And here's the sign right next to him.  Yep, we stayed at the Trinity Lake KOA.  Now you know. ;) 

Ta-da!!  Here I am! ;)

I didn't really get any other pics from the trip.  We were so busy enjoying ourselves, we kind of forgot to stop and take pictures. ;)  The last couple of days went by in a whirlwind of activity.

Before I knew it, we were on our way home, watching the pretty plant life zooming by.

There were a couple of times on the way home that Middle Gal didn't feel too good, so we stopped and pulled off on the side of the road to let her rest until she felt better.

The second time we pulled over, Rontu and I climbed out and explored for a little bit.  Oh, and even though those plants have "leaves of three", don't wasn't poison oak.  I checked with Papa first. ;)

When Rontu and I finally got home, Emma and Hayden were waiting for us.  They couldn't wait to hear all about my trip.

So while I unpacked, I talked about everything we'd done.  Rontu made himself right at home, curling up at the foot of the bed.  Hayden stroked his fur while I pulled things out of my backpack.  

Mama had already helped me unpack and put away all of my clothes, so thankfully I didn't have too much to unpack.

As I took everything out, I showed my goodies to my sisters, like my bear claw... 

...and my necklace from Mama.

Then I handed them their souvenirs: a couple of pretty beads Mama had left over from her craft time.

As I started to put my books back on the shelf, Emma told me, "We have some news to share with you, too."

"Just before you left, Mama told us that we're going to have a new family member."

I was shocked.  Mama hadn't said anything to me the whole time we were gone.

"Maybe she was too busy," Hayden suggested.  "You know how stressed Mama gets when she's camping..."

"Who's coming?" I asked.

"All we know is that she's another cousin of ours and she'll be staying in this room with us, at least temporarily," Emma answered.

"Did Mama say when she was coming?" I asked again.

"Sometime later this week," Hayden informed me.

My thoughts spun as I took my hat off and finished the last of my unpacking.  I was excited to meet a new family member, of course, but I was a little nervous too.  I also worried about about how we could fit three dolls in this room.  We'd recently gotten it rearranged and it was just right.  I found myself wondering who this new cousin was and what she would be like.  I guess I'll just have to wait and find out!

Well, that's about it.  I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my camping trip! :)  I'm sure someone on the blog will keep you informed when our cousin arrives.

Talk to you some other time. :)