Editor's Note: My dad is really unhappy with the seats they gave us at the parade and I think I further aggravated this when I mentioned I couldn't see Jane in my last post. So I apologize to the person at Premiere Sports if you got an extra earful that day.
Just wanted to tie up a few loose ends from the family vacation...and I'll tie it up with nice bows around the souvenirs that we shopped for.
After the parade we went back to the hotel. No, for the 50 millionth time, we didn't go to the Rose Bowl. End of story.
It's January 1st, 2013 (or as The Bloggess calls it "In The Library" - so crazy, it makes sense) and you know what that means...American Girl is introducing their "Girl of the Year". Oh, you didn't know? You don't live in my house of many catalogs. Well, we're also near Los Angeles and you at least know what that means, right? Yep, just a short taxi ride from The American Girl Place.
In case it hasn't been mentioned here, Zoe has what you might call a slight obsession with "babies". Her Bitty Baby in particular and Kit is a close second. Technically, the historical dolls are meant for girls 8 and up, but Zoe is advanced for her age when it comes to doll guardianship.
Morgan has an American Girl doll, too. Molly. She asked for it for her 7th birthday. It stands on top of her dresser. She occasionally lets her go to Aunt Zoe's for an out-of-time-continuum play date with Kit (Molly is from 1944 and Kit is from 1934 - in case your AG history is a little rusty). Morgan is not maternal. She does, however, own a rather large nature preserve of stuffed animals. It's a no-kill shelter. Therefore the population only multiplies. Not unlike rabbits.
There are people of the belief that AG is a little, shall we say, pricey. And it seems weird to them that I would submit to the mass and brilliant marketing scheme that has pulled my four-year-old into their cult. But I have to say, you get what you pay for. And I am paying for the sheer joy that I saw on Zoe's face when we walked into that store - her first time at Mecca. (And she takes VERY good care of her AG's! It's bizarre.)
Now this could have gone very badly, because once she entered Kit's room on the second floor of the store there was a moment of "I want that, I want that, I want that." But I forged ahead and said I would purchase one thing for Kit and one thing for Bitty and she could purchase one thing with her Christmas money from the great grandmas. And while, it wasn't exactly music to her ears, there was not another word.
She picked a nightgown for Kit and Kit's dog Grace. There was a moment when we got to the Bitty section and I knew she was going to go straight to the crib that she had hoped Santa was going to pick out for her, but they were luckily out of stock so I didn't have to go through the whole spiel about not being able to get it in our luggage and instead we got Bitty a lovely white Christening gown? (Yeah, I don't know either. Zoe thinks it's a party dress.)
Morgan was also allowed to pick two things. She picked a new Molly book and Molly's friend's dog Yank. (She already has Molly's dog Bennett.)
Just a quick side bar: I struggled with Morgan's Christmas gifts this year. All she wanted were these fossil, mineral, and geode kits. Which is fine, but in comparison to AG, the short end of the stick. Then her Girl Scout Cookie form arrived and she told me what her goal was this year...the Kindle Fire. She only has to sell 2013 boxes of cookies. Now, if you all want to help a Scout out, that's fine. But otherwise, I think we have officially stepped into the technology phase of presents for Morgan. Oy.
Technically, the AG store was just a little add on to Christmas so we asked the girls what they wanted as a souvenir. Universal City Walk is full of stores and restaurants. Some are your everyday Abercrombies and some are your typical tchotchke tourist traps.
Zoe had already scoped her souvenir the day before and had been talking about it non-stop since. A pair of boots from Sketchers and a pair of flip flops from...wait for it...The Flip Flop Shop. I'm not making this shit up. I explained to her several times what a "souvenir" was, but she held fast with the footwear (and she got an extra pair of kicks because it was buy one, get one 50% off at Sketchers). She fell asleep with her boots on that night. John Wayne would be proud.
Morgan just wanted...wait for it again...a stuffed animal. So we went into what appeared to be toy store and she picked out one of those Ugly Dolls. They sell them at Target. They look like stuffed monsters or aliens or something. But these were not not only ugly. They were dirty. Upon closer inspection everything in that store had grime all over it. She was really disappointed as we steered everyone out of there before we became contaminated.
Luckily, the Universal Studios gift shop is outside the park. It's clean and surprisingly economical. I lobbied for the plush King Kong since the only Jaws items were magnets and post cards, but she went with Thing 1 and (honestly, it was REALLY inexpensive there) Thing 2. I mean, considering the ticket prices to the park, I was amazed at the lack of mark up. Well done, Universal.
So the only thing left to do is dole out my "thank yous".
First and foremost, thanks to Nana and Papa "SidandLeo" for pulling this all together and taking us on such a great trip that has provided us all (but especially the girls) with wonderful family memories. I know how much preparation it takes our family of four to get somewhere, so coordinating sixteen of us seems like a Herculean effort. It was beautifully executed and you can stop yelling at Premiere Sports now!
Thank you to every person that sat beside, held hands with, carried, played with and entertained our girls for the duration. I know it was rarely Scott or I. (Uncle Scott gained a mostly silent companion in Gabe to recoup his loss, which he thought was fun for a change.) In particular, the 3MJs are absolute saints when it comes to this stuff. Any of you want to live with us this summer? And thanks to boyfriend Brian back home who always responded back to Zoe's love letter texts!
Thank you, Scott, for not being disgruntled about the fact that you spent a traditional football day in a doll store. You know that you are the hero for that!
And thank you, Jane Goodall, for saving chimpanzees.