Category Archives: Toys

The Favorite Toy: Meeting Molly

On Christmas day, I got my very first American Girl Doll.

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Yes, I am 30 years old. Yes, I have a child of my own. Still, I cried when I read that Molly was being retired. I actually cried. Not only was she the doll that I wanted as a child but never got, but it meant that all of the “original” American Girl dolls from my childhood would be gone. Molly was the only one left since Felicity, Samantha, and Kirsten had all retired before her.

I remember vividly the first time I heard of American Girl. I was in the third grade. I think there was some sort of awkward moment and I tried to make friendly conversation with another girl.

I said “So, what do you want for Christmas?”

“American Girl.” She said, in a sort of dignified tone. I did not know what that was.

I don’t remember how I found out what it was, but before long I was browsing the catalog and imagining myself as a girl in times past. My first favorite was Kirsten, but at some point I moved on to Molly.

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I was 13 for Christmas 1995 when my younger sister Holly, the blonde one, was going to get a Kirsten doll from our grandmother. I kind of still felt like I wanted a Molly doll but I thought maybe I was too old to get one. The mini dolls were released that year and she was going to get me a mini Molly instead, but they were sold out. I got a Molly Pastimes Collection which included a cookbook and theatre kit, among other things. I did really like those things, and especially loved reading the cookbook. I ended up really involved in theatre too. Looking back, I wasn’t too old. Remember that, everyone. You’re not too old for a doll at 13!

The next year my youngest sister, redheaded Amy, got a “Girl of Today” doll. After that, each granddaughter has gotten an American Girl doll from Gramma when they were seven years old.

In high school, two years in a row, I volunteered for the American Girl Pastime Parties at the library and performed in shadow plays featuring American Girl characters. I remember seeing some little girls in the audience from my church, dressed to match their dolls. The second year I did it was the year Kit was introduced.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131226-002 Fast forward to 20+ years later, and I’m crying about Molly retiring. I asked my husband if it would be silly to ask for a Molly doll for Christmas. Gramma heard about it and said she was going to make sure I got one. She was sorry she didn’t get one for me earlier. We both thought I was too old for it at the time, but now we knew better. Anyone can have one.

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So on Christmas morning I finally go the desired childhood doll. I’m glad I still got it as a gift from my grandmother. One of the things I always liked about Molly was that she was about the same age as Gramma, who was born in 1936. She was a little girl of similar age during World War II.

So I got to open up an American Girl doll for the first time on Christmas morning, and my little girl was there to help me. I explained about how this was a special doll I had wanted when I was a little girl. She was very interested in all the accessories, and asked me to read the book to her.

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I’m making a funny face, but you should know that I’m an excellent reader and she’s not bored, just really tired.

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I’ve also become interested in Saige because I think she looks a bit like me, so I ordered the mini doll and I love her. I can imagine collecting the mini versions of my childhood favorites. More on her to come.

I’m now on the lookout for accessories that I can use to better display my Molly doll. Many of my favorite accessories and outfits had already been retired. For now, I’ve got a doll stand and I managed to find a spot in my office that was tall enough. It’s nice just looking up and seeing her there.

The Favorite Toy: PenPalGirls Doll Emma

Thanks to Doll Diaries we won a PenPalGirls Doll a couple weeks ago. I was so excited! I asked for Emma who has blonde hair and blue eyes like Guinevere, and is from England like my Pilgrim ancestors. She arrived Wednesday but we waited until after Thanksgiving to open her.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-001 A Package! Let’s open it.

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She came in this great box that is styled to look like a letter. We couldn’t see the doll’s face through the window until we stood it up and the package in the box with the doll slid down.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-003  Guinevere wanted to take a picture with the doll, naturally. This child is Disneyland trained.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-004 She shipped with no clothes on! Good thing we live in California. I’m sure she wasn’t cold.

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She came with a letter I didn’t really read it because Guinevere was so sweetly “reading” it. From what I saw at a glance though it was a cute letter from Emma which featured things about England.  I would have read the letter to her, but then something new happened. I asked Guinevere if what the doll’s name was, and she said “Kelly”. This is the first time that she’s picked a name for a doll other than “baby”.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-006 Guinevere is amazed by Emma Kelly. Her hair seemed to sparkle.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-007 We got her dressed in the outfit, I love the jacket! Guinevere has apparently not experienced sleep eyes before, and was very interested in having Kelly go to sleep.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-008  I managed to get Emma Kelly alone for a shot of her in her outfit. Interestingly, Guinevere seemed insistent that the doll is mine, but was very upset when I put her on the shelf to take a picture. I only got one shot!

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-009 Guinevere added this build a bear skirt to Emma Kelly’s outfit and gave her a ride on the rocking moose.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-010  When Emma Kelly fell off, Guinevere decided to ride the rocking moose with her.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-011 Like all children, Guinevere loves boxes. The doll box was an especially exciting bed/boat/bathtub.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-012 I managed to get a couple of shots of the doll mostly alone in the box.

This is our first 18″ play doll. I didn’t have one growing up, and I can’t remember holding or playing with an American Girl doll even though my younger sisters both had them. This seems strange, but I really can’t remember ever touching their dolls. I mention this because Emma Kelly just felt different than I expected, like her limbs seemed loose. I’m not sure if they were actually loose, because they seem to be holding up to moving and carrying and everything just fine, but the feel surprised me.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-013 She was joined by two Princess Aurora dolls, one animators collection and one Marie Osmond.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-014 thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131128-015And finally, by keeping them on the ground, I got a comparison of Emma Kelly and Animators Collection Aurora.

She is a beautiful doll and I look forward to enjoying her with Guinevere.

The Favorite Toy: Animators Collection Sleeping Beauty Doll

What’s in this Disney Parks store bag? It’s so huge!thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-001

Animators Collection Aurora!

I’ve been admiring these dolls for a while. Aurora was my favorite, in her Briar Rose dress with her plush owl friend. When I saw that the series was being refreshed, it made me anxious to get one of the older ones.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-002

At Disneyland the other night, I saw they still had some. In fact, they had a mix of the old and new ones. I was deciding between Aurora, who was my favorite of the dolls, and Cinderella with her cute mouse pal, who my daughter would prefer. I tried to get Guinevere’s opinion on the matter, but she didn’t seem that interested. So I got the one that I liked best. I think it’s one that is changing the most anyway.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-003 She seemed pretty interested in it when I got it out of the bag at home, though. Here she is posing with the box. I almost didn’t notice that’s what she was doing because I was looking through my camera at the doll and I just thought she was looking at the doll, but my husband assures me she was lining herself up with it.

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Here she is just out of the box, still attached to the cardboard.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-005

My husband was called in to assist with the usual tangle of tape and ties securing her to the box.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-006

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And she’s out! Isn’t she pretty? She still has a net on her bangs.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-008 Guinevere certainly seemed to think so. I only got a couple of shots in before she grabbed the doll.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-009 Well that’s pretty cute, isn’t it? We did have a minor issue when Guinevere said it was her doll. I told her that actually, it’s mommy’s doll but she can share it. She was like “But it’s my doll. You can share it.” We finally agreed with that.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-010 There she is with her bangs out of the hairnet, mostly. There are still a couple threads on the edges. How am I supposed to get those out without cutting her hair?

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For comparison, here she is next to the 12″ Disney Store singing Sofia the First doll.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-012 And lined up with a couple more Sleeping Beauty dolls we have. The first is another toddler princess, actually. It’s from the Disney Parks plush doll series called “fairytale beginnings”. We have several of them but I think this is the first one Guinevere got. On the right is a Marie Osmond baby Sleeping Beauty doll, she’s about 8″. And she’s supposed to be lying down because she’s asleep so she’s kind of propped up and slipping.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131102-013

She’s can sit, but only with her legs wide apart. Still pretty cute.

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I think her face is cute, but Guinevere has said several times that she is mad. This doesn’t seem to have deterred her too much. She asked to have her tucked into bed once, and watched a movie with her another time.

The Favorite Toy: Old Friends

We were over at my parents house and my mom had gotten out a bunch of old toys that belonged to my sisters and I. I thought it would be fun to do some comparisons. For one thing, I wanted to see the old Kelly doll compared to Princess Sofia and Chelsea.
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There were also a few small toy items that were surprisingly suited to the little dolls. We can’t remember where the little slide came from, but the brown cabinet behind Kelly and little desk behind Chelsea were from Maple Town, a show I loved from Nick Jr which had toys similar to Calico Critters. The little table behind Sofia is Little Tikes, and I know I had little yellow chairs to match it. I had a matching kid sized chair so it was especially fun.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131025-002 And as you can see, Sofia is right between Kelly and Chelsea’s heights. They enjoyed playing together.

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Poor Kelly really needs a rubber band for her ponytail, but she’s still enjoying the mini Little Tikes kitchen. I love that it’s another tiny toy sized version of the kid sized Little Tikes toy. I’m pretty sure we still have one of these oldie but goodie kitchens in the nursery at my church.

The Favorite Toy: Sofia the First

Disney Junior’s Sofia the First is a big hit with Guinevere. I thought I’d line up all of her Sofias for a photo.

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Disney Store 12″ Singing Sofia, Mattel Sofia the First 5″ mini doll, Mattel Sofia figure, Mattel Sofia the First figure from the Royal Family set, Disney Store figure

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Guinevere said “Those are my dollies. You can’t take pictures of them!” and some of the Sofias were taken.

We have a Disney Store plush Sofia too, but I can’t find it. Here’s an old shot of it with the singing doll.

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And with Guinevere at Disneyland. Aw.thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20130613-001

Back to Singing Doll Sofia. She is lovely and fairly easy to move and pose.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131016-005She has an on/off/demo switch under her dress on her torso. Be sure she is switched to “on” and not “demo” or she’ll only sing part of her song.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131016-003Her dress is pretty nice and she’s got a plastic Amulet of Avalor. Her tiara is still tied to her head. There are a few thread ties still in her hair too.

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I was surprised at how much taller Life in the Dreamhouse Barbie is than Singing Sofia. Since she’s supposed to be 12″ I figured they’d be about the same height, and I guess they’re not far off. The proportions are pretty different though. Barbie is much thinner and of course Sofia’s head is comparatively huge. Mini doll Sofia seems of decent child height in comparison to Barbie.

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Here’s a shot of Mini Sofia with a Minnie Mouse mirror. If I’d been thinking clearly, I might have tried to get a shot of her reflection in the mirror. Oh, well. I thought Mini Doll Sofia would be able to play with Chelsea’s friends.

 

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The Chelsea dolls are a little taller and Sofia has different proportions, but I still think they can play together nicely. I was just getting the dolls set up when Guinevere pushed up her tiny chair and got in on the playing.

thefavoritetoy-shannonkay-20131017-012Which, of course, is the point.