Teddy Bear Tuesday: All I want for Christmas is a Duffy Bear!

Folks who know me well, know that I'm not a big fan of babies. Whatever that gene is that gets folks crooning over itty bitty newborns--- I don't have it. I'm actually quite terrified of tiny babies. They so small and fragile and prone to vomiting.... but the great thing about babies is that they don't stay that way for long! Within the blink of the eye you no longer have an infant anymore and you suddenly have a toddler!  And toddlers are, hands down, the best thing ever!

When Viola was about three, she finally started to grasp the idea of Christmas, which was pretty exciting for me as I had grand plans for a grand Christmas tree stuffed with presents for us --- I mean, for her to play with. The company I worked for, situated in the heart of downtown Detroit, always had a Santa in the lobby starting in about the middle of November. One night after work I took her down to see Santa; as we waited in line I tried to coach Viola on how this whole wish-list thing worked. "You can ask for anything you want!" I explained, "A puppy! A bicycle! A helium floating shark!" 

Much to my surprise, when she climbed onto Santa's lap what she asked for was..... a teddy bear. It was kind of a let down, really.  I mean, she had teddy bears already --- lots of them. What I really wanted... I mean, what she really wanted was a puppy! 

After that visit, I'd explained that she didn't have to stick to her request for a teddy bear. When she wrote her letter to Santa she could change her mind and ask for something else (like a puppy!) But she was resolute--- she wanted a teddy bear. Period. Every opportunity she had to see a Santa it was the same thing, "Pleeeeeeeeaaase, bring me a teddy bear?"  

About a week later, we made our first (impromptu) trip to Walt Disney World, where we met Duffy the Disney Bear for the first time. Clearly, it was fate. What Viola had wished for most of all was a very special teddy bear, and what could get more special than Mickey's own BFF?

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But since the teddy bear was meant to come from Santa, we had to get through our trip without buying one... which was easier said than done as there were stacks of Duffy bears in literally every single souvenir store and  this kid really wanted a teddy bear. When she gets to batting her eyelashes and pouting her pouty lips it's very hard to say no, trust me. Viola was beginning to understand numbers, but fortunately for me she didn't yet understand decimal points. I told her that the Duffy Bears were $3,000.00! and that there was no way mommy could possibly afford such a special but expensive teddy bear. She would just have to be very good and hope that Santa brought one for her for Christmas. 

Which, of course, she was. And which, of course, he did. 

Duffy has been her constant companion ever since, joining us on most trips and adventures. For the past three years we've had a great time building our Teddy Bear photo album of all the places we've seen together. She even has a "little Duffy" (keychain bear) hooked to her backpack whom accompanies her to school every day. And in 2013 the Duffy Bear tradition passed on to little sister Evangeline. So, in retrospect her seemingly simple Christmas wish was probably the best one ever.... and we got a puppy, too! :-)

Frozen merchandise finally coming to Build-a-Bear!

Frozen merchandise is coming to Build-a-Bear "in time for the holiday shopping season". Honestly, I'm surprised it took them so long! We've been getting by since last Christmas with the Anna/Elsa American Girl sized costumes that "Santa" brought (from Etsy), but the girls get frustrated getting them on/off their ShellieMay bears

I'm pretty surprised that BABW was able to license sound bites for the popular movie songs.... I was hoping to avoid buying more bears, but that might be hard to do, they look so cute! And apparently they'll sing!! Alternatively, I'm thinking maybe I can work the soundchips into the bears' costumes somehow in the same way that some of the Limited Edition costumes have singing amulets...I sense some bedazzling in my future. :-)

UPDATE: Shortly after finishing up this post I received a VIP email from BABW that the Frozen merchandise was available from the online store. I tried, but was unable to place an order online. So, I called up and ordered the costumes for the girls via their customer service line and they said that they were experiencing a ton of calls even though the email went out to "only the VIP list". Our local BABW location said that they'll have the bears available on the 1st of November, so we're going to try and go make the bears this Saturday.... I wanted to make sure we got the costumes, just in case they sell out, but the girls LOVE making their own bears so I decided not to buy the bears from the online store, and take our chances on the 1st... the woman I spoke with said that they'd received 5 crates of Elsa and Anna bears.... hopefully that'll last a few hours! :-)

Below are our handmade from 'Santa' bear costumes, purchased from EliesStitches (Etsy)

It's beginning to look at lot like... Halloween!

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Considering that Halloween is my favorite holiday it's weird that we only have a measly half a bin of decorations, whereas Christmas gets a whole storage area. Unless you count costumes as Halloween "decorations", in which case I'd say it's definitely neck-and-neck.

Someday I hope to be the cool house on the block with the home made haunted house in their garage. That'll have to wait until my kids are a bit older and can help out, I think. Until then we're the wanna-be-coolish-house-on-the-block-with-the-kinda-lame-scarecrows.... But they look halfway festive with the instagrammy filter applied, right? :-)

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And, of course, no holiday would be complete without a Duffy bear....!

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Teddy Bear Tuesday: Fairy House Shopping

Last weekend we drove out to Holly for the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Viola wore her new (off brand) Tinkerbell costume and Evangeline her (hand me down, Theme park) Rapunzel dress. It was a sparkling, sun-shining day and likely the last warm day of the summer. Both ShellieMay bears came dressed as fairies. The first thing that the girls wanted to do, of course, was find the fairy houses. 

The last time that we were are the RenFest the fairy houses were hidden throughout the grounds in flower gardens here-and-there, and it was a delight to find them unexpectedly. This year, they'd been herded together into a fairy house subdivision toward the back of the festival. I had my doubts, but the girls actually seemed to enjoy them more this way. They spent forever peeking into every little door and window, exclaiming over the tiny details. There was much discussion over where their fairy-bears might want to reside, if they were tiny fairy-bear size... here are some of our favorites!  Enjoy!  :-)

All-in-all it was a great way to spend the last day of summer, with teddy bears and fairy houses. We ran into the good green fairy a couple times throughout the day. She was handing out fairy wishing stones, so the girls came home with lots of little sparkly hopes to put under their pillows before bedtime. 

Teddy Bear Tuesday: The Bear of Happiness and Luck meets the Carousel Frog of Good Fortune!

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After lunch at the Eagle Tavern, we made our way across the lawn to the circuit court where Abraham Lincoln argued cases when he was a lawyer in Illinois.

The courthouse was slated to be torn down when Henry Ford acquired it. When it became known that he meant to transport it from Illinois to Michigan, there was quite a backlash, but in the end he prevailed and the building was added to the village. Separate from this incident, Henry Ford was quoted as saying (about his museum efforts in general): 

I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used.... When we are through, we shall have reproduced American life as lived, and that, I think, is the best way of preserving at least a part of our history and tradition.

In addition to Lincoln's courthouse, the indoor museum has the chair from the theater where Lincoln was shot as well as his top hat. We're saving such morbid curiosities for the winter, and enjoying the outdoors for as long as the sunshine lasts!


We moseyed over to the local haberdashery to try on period-style hats. (Any time you have an excuse to use words like moseyed and haberdashery, I encourage you to do so!) ShellieMay was looking for something to cover her bear-head. (hehe). 

In addition to hats the kids can try on, she shop is full of vintage accessories and hat making material, like this case of beautiful old ribbons. And an on-site haberdasher!


Do you know the difference between a Carousel and a Merry-Go-Round? A Merry-Go-Round only has horses, while a Carousel has all sorts of animals. 

Greenfield Village boasts a beautiful carousel that just celebrated it's 100th birthday. The Herschell-Spillman Carousel was built in 1913 and is a "Menagerie" model carousel. My girls have been riding this Carousel since they were wee infants, and we have great through the years pictures of them both growing up with the Carousel. 

On our recent excursion to Greenfield Village, however, we learned something new: did you know that the Green Frog is the rarest Carousel creature, and it's considered good luck to ride on it? At least, that's what the Carousel master informed us while we waited in line. This might have been a ruse to break up the quarrel over who was going to ride the kitty cat (there is only one), and who would have to ride the puppy dog (there are only two). Fortunately, Evangeline is partial to the Pig (of which there are two) so she was OK letting her sister snag the kitty. (And, since we had unlimited ride pass, she had her chance to ride the kitty later in the day). 

For a bear that travels as often and is loved on as much as our Duffy is, a little extra luck with not getting lost, sticky, dirty, or otherwise damaged is worth a shot! 

I tried to get a picture of Duffy ON the green frog, but in the end this was the best I could do. Enjoy! :-)

The bear of happiness and luck, meets the carousel frog of good fortune! :-)

The bear of happiness and luck, meets the carousel frog of good fortune! :-)