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?


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! :-)

#throwbackthursday: Best of Facepainting

Yesterday I wrote about our trip to the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Late in the afternoon the girls chose to spend the remainder of their souvenir money on face painting - surprise! Both girls have a thing for getting their faces painted (I guess most kids do)--- the bigger, and more colorful the better! At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old person: they call that facepainting? In my day they plopped a heart on your cheek and sent you on your way!

Ever since the great facepainting fiasco of 2011, I've made sure to get a picture while the facepaint is fresh, to comfort them when it inevitably gets smudged/wiped/cleaned/showered away. For #tbt I dug out some pictures our favorite past facepaintings! Enjoy!

2014: Michigan Renaissance Festival 

2013: Princess and Pirate Birthday Party

For Viola's 5th birthday we toyed around with the idea of hiring a singing princess for her party but decided instead to hire a local facepainter. It was more affordable and something that all the kids enjoyed, boys and girls! The artist we hired did a great job of matching the colors to the girls' princess dresses and making surly pirate faces for the boys, and even had time to decorate a few of the parents! It was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again!  (Photos by our good friend, Adam at BreakfastWithAdam and facepainting by the very talented Cindy at Curlie's Face Art.)

2011: Animal Kingdom, Disney World

On our very first trip to Disney World, Viola was given $10 in Disney dollars (you know, the ones with Mickey on them instead of a president?) to spend any way she wanted. About 1/2 way through the trip she decided to spent the entire amount to get her face painted while we waited for the parade. This in and of itself was fine, it was a good way to keep her occupied while we waited. Unfortunately, on that trip, Viola developed an absolute terror of the public restrooms with the "magic potties". When it was time for her to go, she cried and cried... and cried all the facepaint off, then cried some more over the ruined facepaint. All-in-all, it was the absolute worst day of our trip. It was ironic, therefor, that when we returned home and saw these pictures for the first time... they are some of my favorites from that trip! The facepainting was absolutely beautiful, even if it only lasted ten minutes!


#throwbackthursday: Won't you help a fairy?

"Fairies are starving. Won't you please help a fairy in need?"

Happy #tbt everyone. This photo was taken on our 2011 trip to Walt Disney World. Viola was highly skeptical about the photographer's instructions to hold out her hands and look excited. Magic Photo Fail, or epic awesomeness?  I think the later. :-)

#throwbackthursday: Favorite Character Interactions - Mulan, Terrance (2011)


We have so many digital photos, but precious few printed ones. Last night Viola asked me to find and print a particular image from our first Disney trip for an art project she is doing in class. While I was hunting through the 2011 Photos folder, I came across these great two interactions from that trip. 

The first is a visit with Terrance that went hilariously awry. Even though Viola had already met both Tinkerbell and Rosetta earlier in the day, she was overcome with shyness during Extra Magic Hours. To earn her confidence he decided to show her that there was a hole in the back of the teacup in the area behind him....

Using my psychic-mommy abilities, I predicted that Viola (age 3) would crawl in and not ever come out... which of course, she did. You can hear us in the background giggled with the photopass photographer and Terrance's handler... who both seemed to find the predicament as funny as I did.  

"Should I go help?" I asked.  

"No," they laughed. 

Check it out below. :-)

Later in the trip we got caught in a down-pour near EPCOT China and ducked into the pavilion to stay dry. Being newbies, we didn't know that you could find Mulan there, so seeing her was a happy accident. She was THE BEST. I've held off on sharing this video because Mulan mentioned that she really wasn't supposed to be in the room with the Terra Cotta soldiers display, and I would guess she REALLY isn't supposed to be sword fighting in there and I would never want to get her in trouble. But, since it's been about 4 years I thought it would be safe to share this now. What an awesome interaction, right? You can see how excited Viola is just watching! She still talks about it, and she was only a spectator.  

I wonder if this is what Kenny the Pirate means when he suggests asking Mulan to show you her Kung Fu moves in his Character Interaction Guide?

#throwbackthursday: baby's first crawl

This is one of my favorite pictures ever!

Remember your baby's first crawl? That time you put them on the floor entirely expecting them to stay put only to turn around and find them halfway across the room? Viola's crawling was a process, but Eva was one of those babies that couldn't crawl one minute and suddenly could the next ... at Disney World, no less. We'd left her sitting quietly on the carpet while we had a family photo with Viola and she just spontaneously took off! The photo pass photographer captured her first crawls past the Christmas tree at the Grand Floridian! What luck! 

Just another awesome Disney memory and Disney first! :-)

Eva is one of those kids who has places to go, before she could walk she was climbing in and out of her jumperoo. We've had to attach all the shelves to the walls for fear she will climb up them. She outpaces all the older kids, including her sister, on the playground rock walls and cargo nets. It seems like she never stops moving. I love these pictures because you can see it in her face way back then that she was going to be a handful! Gray hairs, people.

Oh, you're looking the other way?

Oh, you're looking the other way?

I'll just be over there, then... 

I'll just be over there, then... 

This weekend at Greenfield Village's new playground.

This weekend at Greenfield Village's new playground.

The three year old at the top of the cargo net shaking the while thing to knock the older kids loose from following up after her? Yeah, that's Eva nowadays. Growing up so fast! (Did I mention the gray hairs, yet? Seriously people!)