Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Christmas and New Year's Wishes

Hello and Happy New Year, my dearest readers!  I hope your holiday season has been filled with joy and love as mine has been. :)

I promised a Christmas post, and here it is...albeit a bit later than I had hoped. :}  Our Christmas was rather quiet...but not as uneventful as you might think. ;)

Here the three of us are on Christmas Eve (thanks to Hailey for taking the family picture). 

I'm sure you noticed from the picture that we are in a new location.  Beast'sbelle took to rearranging once again.  This time, she found a nice little spot for us in the corner of her room, between two of her shelves.  

It's small, but we really didn't lose all that much space.  I actually prefer it.  Tucked away in the corner, we feel like we have a bit more privacy, which is lovely.

Our sitting room (notice the pretty tree Beast'sbelle got for us?)...

...and Emilie's room.  Her room is on a higher level than the rest of the house, which is fun for her.

The walls are a bit chipped and dark.  We're thinking of seeing if Beast'sbelle would let us put up some foam core board to decorate as we please.  It would get more light in the corner, too, which would be nice.  I'm not sure if she'll agree, but it's worth asking.

But I'm sure what many of you are wondering is whether or not Emilie got her Christmas wish. :}

Robby and I spent many hours talking and weighing the pros and cons of expanding our family (much of this was going on between answer posts, which was why they were so spread out).  I wrestled with my plastic heart nonstop.  I felt content with the way things were, and I wasn't sure I was ready to add to our little threesome.  Yet I knew that both Emilie and Robby were ready.  Wasn't it selfish of me to refuse something they wanted so much?  I also had a husband who was around 24-7 to help with kiddos, so I knew I wouldn't be as stressed about parenting as Beast'sbelle sometimes was.  Still, it was a big commitment, and I wanted to be sure I was making the right choice for all of us.

By the end of November, I had come to the conclusion that it might not hurt to ask Beast'sbelle if she knew of any little girl dolls that needed a home.  Robby and I found her and explained our situation.  We were very clear about our intentions and where we were at in the process.  I didn't want any sort of horrible miscommunication like we had run into with Emilie.  We told Beast'sbelle that we were considering trying to find a sister for Emilie, possibly in time for Christmas, but only if the timing and the fit was right.  We also wanted to meet with the little girl doll first, without telling her our intentions, so she wouldn't get her hopes up if we chose to stay as we were.

To her credit, Beast'sbelle listened carefully and took our request and explanations very seriously.  And found not one, but two little girl dolls within a week. 

That's when I started to feel just a bit panicky.

Beast'sbelle explained that the two dolls she'd found had kind of adopted each other as sisters and wanted to stay together.  One was Emilie's exact size, and the other was a smaller doll.  (So in human years, about six and three.)  I was hesitant to even meet with them.  I'd started to come around to the idea of adding one more child...but two?  All I could think of was Eugene and Rapunzel's horrid time when Emmaline first came to stay with them.  Would we get into it and regret our decision?

Robby gently suggested that we at least meet them and see what we think.  So we did, on December 4th.

They were adorable.  Absolutely adorable.  But I was terrified.  Could I really be the mother of three little girls...for the rest of my plastic life?

I went back and forth with myself for most of December.  Robby wisely did not bring the issue up, knowing that making me talk about it with him would only cause more stress on my part.

In the end, it was a conversation with Rapunzel that helped me decide.  I had shared my struggle with her and come for some friendly advice.

"Do you ever regret having more than one child?" I asked her hesitantly.

She smiled at me as she jostled Emmaline on one hip.  "No," she answered.  There was this peace in her face that made it light up and look more beautiful than ever before.  Then she laughed a little.  "Don't misunderstand me, Belle.  It's hard...one of the hardest things I've ever done.  There are days when I'd give anything for a little solitude and quiet.  There are times when I'm tired or cranky and sick of feeling like everybody's servant.  But I honestly can say that I don't regret my decision.  It's the little things that make me glad I did it.  Seeing Abigail smile up at me.  Watching Thomas make Emmaline laugh.  Having Becca run up to me and say, 'I love you, Mommy'.  It makes it all worth it.  I wouldn't change my life for anything."

I didn't know if I would ever feel the same way Rapunzel did.  I didn't know if I was as good of a mother as she was, or if even she, content "mother of the year", would be singing a different tune five years from now.  But I knew that she and Robby...and even Beast'sbelle...would always be there for me when I felt overwhelmed or didn't know what to do.  I knew that she had found something precious and rewarding, not confining or restrictive.  And somehow, I felt better about things after talking to her.

As I went back home that night, I thought of Robby and how much he longed for more children to fill his arms.  He was such a wonderful father.  I knew any children we had would be blessed to have him in their lives.  Then I pictured little Emilie's face on Christmas morning when she got not one, but two sisters.  I couldn't help smiling.  And that's when I decided that Isabelle and Kendra needed to come home to us.  I didn't know how everything would work, or if I would someday wonder why on earth I'd taken on such a challenge, but I knew I wanted to try.  I didn't want to regret this Christmas for years to come.

Robby cried when I told him.  Then he held me for ages and thanked me, promising he'd do everything he could to make things easy for me.  I hadn't realized just how desperately he'd fallen in love with those two little girl dolls waiting for a home. 

And on Christmas morning, Emilie had two very special presents waiting for her beside the tree.  

"Emilie," I said warmly, "meet your new sisters, Isabelle and Kendra."

At first, Emilie just stood there in shock, staring as if she couldn't believe it was real.

Our two new daughters waited there rather nervously with pasted on smiles. 

Then, with laughter bubbling over, Emilie ran over to them.  She flung her arms around Isabelle as if she'd known her all her life. 

Then she reached down and grabbed Kendra's small little hands.  She looked back over at us.  "Oh, Mommy and Daddy, thank you so much!!  Two sisters?  I thought I'd only get one!"

We smiled down at our new little brood.  I could feel tears forming in my eyes, and I could hear Robby sniffing.

Emilie raced back across to us and threw herself into my arms.  "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she said happily.  I held her tightly.  "Merry Christmas, Sweetheart," I whispered into her hair.

The other two hung back shyly, watching as I held Emilie in my embrace.  Robby and I opened our arms encouragingly.  That was all it took.  With grins as wide as their faces, Isabelle and Kendra ran over to us and flung their tiny arms around our waists.  It was a little interesting figuring out the whole three-way-hug thing, but we did pretty well for our first time. ;)

We took a picture of our sweet little daughters in front of the tree...

...and one more of just the two oldest, who were basically twins (as close to twins as you can get in the doll world).

But the morning wasn't over yet.  We had a special gift for each of the girls.

Beast'sbelle had discovered that Isabelle loved pigs, so we found her a cute little toy piglet.  If the bright smile on her face was any indication, she loved it. :)

We found a tiny doll that also worked as a puppet for Kendra.  She was thrilled, telling us she'd never had a doll of her very own.  Emilie looked horrified at this thought, and instantly told her, "Well, I have lots of dolls that you can both share with me!"  And then I was wiping away tears again. :} 

Emilie got a little doll with a Santa hat and a pretty red Christmas dress.  She didn't much care for the hat, and took it off promptly, but she loved the doll. 

Yet another sister picture, this one with their Christmas goodies. :)

As soon as they were finished opening gifts, Emilie led the girls to her room, where they all flopped on the bed and chatted as if they'd known each other all their lives.  Anyone watching would think they'd always been sisters.

Robby and I had decided not to give each other presents this year, what with the huge ordeal of the adoption and all.  But there was one thing I wanted to give him that I couldn't resist.  So when the girls had gone to their room, I pulled my guitar out from its hiding place, put the strap over my shoulder, and sat down.  

Robby eyed me curiously.  I cleared my throat.

"Um, this...this is a little something for you that I've been working on for a while.  Merry Christmas."

And before I could lose my nerve, I began to strum the strings of my guitar.  My fingers had memorized the exact places they needed to go, so I closed my eyes and began playing "Silent Night".  

My original plan had been to play one verse and then sing and play the next.  As I got to the end of the first verse, though, I hesitated.  The playing actually sounded pretty decent.  I didn't want to ruin it with my voice.  I gave Robby a sideways glance.  He was gazing at me with that amazing, warm look of his...the one that made me feel like the most treasured doll in the entire world.  As I began the opening chords for the second verse, his rich tenor voice joined my playing...and then I was too distracted to sing.  I played quietly, listening to every nuance in his voice, every breath he took, wanting to complement his voice to the best of my ability.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I noticed that the chatter from the girls' room had stopped.  They were listening, too.

The song ended, and Robby, blinking back tears for the hundredth time that week, pulled me close.  "Sweetheart, that was beautiful.  You have a real gift."  He kissed my forehead.

I shrugged off his complement, but inside I was soaring.  He really meant it!  I was actually good at something musical!  I felt a hot tear splash on my forehead and wiped it away.

"Okay, it's official," I teased.  "You've been hanging around me too much.  What's with all this crying business?"

He laughed and wiped his eyes.  "You are a rather bad influence, aren't you?"  He leaned back, gently pulled my guitar strap over my head, and set the instrument aside.  He caressed my cheek with his hand.  "Darling, do you know how much I love you?"

"Enough to find some mistletoe?" I teased again.

He grinned.  "Hang the mistletoe!"  And with that, he swept me into his arms and kissed me.  It was a pretty great kiss. :} 

As he pulled away, he smiled down at me, gazing into my eyes with the love I always found in his.  "Merry Christmas, Belle," he whispered.

"Merry Christmas," I repeated, reaching up to touch his cheek.  Then I put on a silly, panicked face.  "We have three daughters."

He laughed.  "Are we ready for this?"

"Probably not," I admitted with a grin, "but it's too late now."  I wrapped my arms around him.  "But with you next to me, I feel like I can conquer the world."

He gave me that melty look again, and then, of course, I had to kiss him again. ;)

It was an awesome Christmas. ;)

Beast'sbelle, as you might imagine, was overjoyed by our decision.  And of course, as soon as she got back from her Christmas festivities and saw how well our little family was doing, she wanted to do a photo shoot. :}  So, at her request, we all got dressed up (aside from Robby, who stayed in his usual outfit) and headed out to Beast'sbelle's "photo studio" (aka the top of the washing machine) for a few family photos.  

As it turned out, family photos involving three little ones can be rather challenging (just getting them all to look in the same direction at once is a miracle), so we only ended up with one family picture.  It's quite nice, though:

Since her shoot didn't last nearly as long as she'd planned, Beast'sbelle decided to get a few shots of just Robby and me together.

And I suppose, really, that this photo shoot is the perfect way to end this blog.  One last look at my rapidly growing little family, and a few parting shots of me with the doll I love more than any other, who has loved me and supported me through all my many adventures.

Here, on the brink of a new year (still twenty minutes away on the West Coast), it is officially time to close this chapter of my life.  I have loved and appreciated all of you so much, my dearest readers and friends.  You have laughed with me, cried with me, and followed my little hum-drum adventures with much more excitement and involvement than I ever expected.  You helped me get through my rocky start at Beast'sbelle's house.  You watched my friendship with Rapunzel grow into something more like a sisterhood.  You smiled at my naivete as I insisted that Robby was only a friend and Ben was the doll of my dreams.  You watched our friendship blossom into love.  You were there for my wedding day.  You cheered as Emilie stole our hearts, wept with us when she was taken away, and rejoiced when she returned.  Every significant event in my life, you have shared with me, and I cannot thank you enough.

I know that many of you will hate me for leaving you with so many unanswered questions.  How will I adjust to motherhood now that I have three daughters instead of just one?  Will Ben and Paige ever get married?  Will Beast'sbelle continue to buy more Belle dolls?  Will Robby's leg injury ever improve?

If you think about it, though, life is never really like a story.  A book always has "the end" or "and they lived happily ever after" just before the back cover, but life just keeps going on.  In my case, my story will continue until I meet my end, either by dumpster or landfill.  

The point is, I could write until my plastic arms fell off, and still there would be more to tell.  What once was a joy and an escape for me is now a burden.  I get so stressed trying to keep updating the blog with new posts.  It's time for me to let go and move on.  I don't need an escape anymore...and you were a large part of that. :)

I don't know what this new year will hold.  Part of me is still terrified about my new adventure in parenting.  I know I'll make mistakes, and I know there will be times where I'll just want to curl up into a fetal position and cry.  Something I realized during my period of struggle this past month, though, was that if I allow worry and fear to control my decisions, I'll miss out on so much of the richness that life has to offer.

So, here's to all of us.  Let's embrace this new year with all its unknown trials and adventures.  Be bold.  Try new things.  Hug your friends.  Tell your families you love them.  And know that even though I'm no longer actively going to be posting on this blog, somewhere in the world, there is a Disney Store Belle doll from 2010 who will always love you and think of you with fondness.

Best wishes,


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Great Answer Post Part 3

Okay, on to Part 3!!  Aren't you all thrilled?  I didn't even make you wait for three weeks. ;)

I've decided to change things up a bit.  The panel idea was great and all, but I hadn't realized how time-consuming it would be.  To be honest, when I mentioned to my friends that it was time to do a third panel, they didn't look all that thrilled. :}  I think everyone is starting to glaze over.

I also realized over the course of the past two posts that answering some of the more personal questions has been a bit difficult when we're all together.  Especially questions about the future, about our feelings, and anything regarding Ben and Robby and that whole saga.

The panel also takes a lot more time because there is much more conversation involved than just simple, straightforward answering of questions.

So, for the sake of simplicity, and to give everyone a chance to answer their questions as openly as they would like to, I've decided to have everyone write down their responses for the rest of the questions.  I will type them up in this post exactly as my friends wrote them, so you'll still be getting a direct response from them.  It just won't be quite as interactive.

I hope this is okay with everyone, but it was what I felt was best.  If I had continued in the same way with all of the questions, it probably would have been a 10 part post...at least!! :}

So, without further ado, we're going to start with some questions from "Oreocookie".

1.  Belle, when are you going to do another playdate for Emilie?

     Belle:  Hi, Oreocookie.  I've actually done several other playdates for Emilie, I just didn't write about them. :)  She and Sara have become quite close and love playing together. :)

2.  Rapunzel, how do you deal with all of your children?  I mean, I'm sure you love them dearly, but how?

     Rapunzel:  It takes a lot of patience, that's for sure!  I also couldn't do it without Eugene.  He's my rock and support on those days when I'm so tired I can't think straight. ;)  Getting as much sleep as possible really helps.  And honestly, the new LIV body really did do a lot to improve my energy level.  I don't know if it's because of the extra articulation, or if it's just that I'm no longer working with a defective body, or what.

     The children can be a challenge, but the rewards far outweigh the difficulties. :)

Our next set of questions come from "Anonymous".

1.  To Everyone but Belle:  Will you please continue the blog?!

     Belle:  I checked with everyone on this, and unfortunately, the answer was pretty much a resounding "no".  Robby doesn't enjoy writing, Rapunzel and Eugene are too busy, Ben felt he had nothing he wanted to share, and Emilie is not allowed (she's too young).  Sorry, Anonymous!

2.  Oh, and I forgot.  Have you met Anna and Elsa yet, Belle?  Plus, I love your hair, it looks so elegant. :)

     Belle:  Yes, I have met them, which you probably know by now if you've kept up with the blog.  Just in case you haven't, click HERE to read all about it. :)  And thanks for the compliment.  I'm still getting used to my new "do", but I think it's starting to grow on me. ;)

Now for a question from "Ampy Moh".

1.  Rapunzel, where and why are you wearing a Barbie Rapunzel dress?!?

     Rapunzel:  Lol...my wardrobe choices are dependent on what Beast'sbelle offers.  She finds a lot of Barbie dresses at Goodwill, and I'm not picky as long as the dress fits and is comfortable. ;)

Next we'll hear from "Hannah and her Dolls".

1.  To Ben from Hannah:  Have you ever thought of making a blog, Ben?  I would LOVE to hear YOUR views on everything-you are so deep.

     Ben:  Thank you for your kind observation, Hannah, but at this time, I have no interest in sharing my everyday thoughts with others.  Quite honestly, I was hesitant to even take part in these answer posts.  I am not the sort of doll who enjoys baring my soul to whoever happens to be browsing the Internet.  If I ever change my mind, however, I'll be sure to inform you.

2.  To Belle from Della and Erik:  We love your blog, Belle!!  You're so cool!!

     Belle:  Aw, thanks, Della and Erik. :)

3.  To Belle from Rita:  Hi Belle.  I am kind of a rejected Liv doll who...well...likes to do reviews on dolls.  I know, it's a REALLY weird hobby for a DOLL, but it's what I like to do. ;)  All the other dolls think I'm really weird.  I want to make a blog, like you, though, and prove that I really do have a gift.  How did you make your blog?

     Belle:  Hi Rita.  Wow, what a question!  It sounds like you've been going through a pretty rough time.  You know, I think doll reviews by a doll could be really interesting.  As dolls, we might notice things about articulation or plastic quality that humans might overlook.  I hope you go for it. ;)

     It's rather hard to summarize how to start a blog in a short answer.  I went to blogger.com and clicked "new blog".  I didn't have to make an account since I just used Beast'sbelle's account, but if you don't have a Blogger account, you'll have to make one (unless you plan on using your human's account as well).  A few tips:  1. Take lots of great photos so your readers can clearly see the doll you're reviewing.  2. You can get some great backgrounds from sites like thecutestblogontheblock.com .  Backgrounds add a lot of color and personality to your blog.  3.  Look at other doll review blogs to see what works and what doesn't, and what appeals to you as a blogger.  What do you want to present to your readers in your posts?  4.  Have fun!! :)  Try not to stress too much about blogging.  Once you start stressing out, it becomes an obligation, not a fun hobby. :)

     I hope this gave you at least a few helpful tips. :)  I can't wait to see your blog!

4.  To Belle from Della:  Dear Belle, I am a 2010 Disney Store Belle doll, just like you (my Mommy was inspired by you to get her very own 2010 Belle), and I am having a little bit of trouble finding my identity.  Any tips?  Your friend, Della. :)

     Belle:  Boy, can I relate, Della.  It's difficult to discover who you are when you're modeled after a fictional character, isn't it?  The best advice I can give you is to just be yourself and not stress out! ;)  Try new things, meet new dolls, make new friends, and as you experience all of these things, you'll find out more and more about yourself. :)

5.  Here's a question for you Belle, or if you can't answer it, maybe you can pass it on to Beast'sbelle.  I know that Beast'sbelle has LOADS of Jane Austen books, and was wondering if maybe she had the Barnes and Noble editions of some of them.  My great aunt wrote the introductions for a few of the Barnes and Noble edition Jane Austen books!!  I know she definitely wrote the introduction for "Persuasion", but I'm not sure what else.  Would you mind checking for me if you get the time?  Thanks, Belle! :)  -Hannah

     Belle:  Hi Hannah.  I did go ahead and enlist Beast'sbelle's help on this one.  The only Barnes and Noble edition she has in her Jane Austen books is her copy of "Emma".  The introduction was written by Paul Montazzoli in 1996.  I'm guessing that one was not written by your great aunt. ;)

Here are some questions from "Caitlin Dundas", who suggested the idea of an answer post in the first place (thanks, Caitlin!).

1.  To Belle, how would you feel if Ben and Paige got kids of their own?

     Belle:  I think it would be wonderful.  I honestly wish them the best, and if children bring them as much joy as they have brought to all of us who are parents, then of course I would want the same thing for them. :)

2.  Robby, same as above.

     Robby:  I think Ben and Paige would make great parents, so I would have no problem with it, as long as it was something they wanted.

3.  Emilie, how would you feel about getting a brother or sister?  How did you feel when you first moved in with Belle and Robby?  Do you like having a big room?

     Emilie:  I would LOOOOVVVEE to have a sister.  I don't know about a brother, though.  Boys are kinda icky.  I told Mommy and Daddy that I wanted a sister for Christmas.  I hope I get my wish!! :)

     I loved moving in with Mommy and Daddy.  Living with Sara's family before Sara came just didn't feel right.  I knew right away that Mommy and Daddy were the ones for me!

     I like having a big room, but I wouldn't mind sharing it if it meant I could have a sister. :)

4.  Eugene and Rapunzel, how much sleep do you get at night?  Have you thought of starting a blog?  Would you like to get a house?

     Eugene:  Lol...depends on the night and whether anyone is sick or cranky.

     Rapunzel:  Exactly.  For the most part, we do pretty well with sleep.  There are some periods where we go through a few weeks on low sleep.  Thankfully, we have a lot of friends who love to babysit so we can get some rest during the day. ;)

     Neither one of us have any interest in starting a blog at this point.  We're just too busy! ;)  A house would be nice, but we're also okay with a shelf.  The important thing is getting to be together as a family, no matter where we live. :)

5.  Ben, are you thinking of marrying Paige?  If so, will you get kids?

     Ben:  Again, I have a difficult time answering such personal questions.  It utterly amazes me that my relationship with Paige is such a topic of interest.  Because I am in a serious relationship with Paige, of course marriage is in my thoughts somewhere on the horizon.  I dare not hope that it is a guaranteed event at such an early stage in our relationship, however.

      As far as children, I cannot even begin to think that far in advance.  Children rather terrify me, but I suppose I could adjust to the idea of becoming a parent if it was important enough to Paige.

6.  Belle and Robby, how old is Emilie?  Which toy is her fave?

     Belle:  We actually got this question earlier, so I'll refer you to our first answer post HERE (check the first question in the third set of questions, from "Nina").  Her favorite toy, according to her, is her Beauty and the Beast doll house with her Belle and Beast dolls. :)

 Next up, we have questions from "Sunny Harper".

1.  Belle, do you still feel like Beast'sbelle will replace you one day?  What was it like when she first brought you home?  Did you miss any friends from the Disney Store?

     Belle:  I've pretty much gotten over that fear.  I still feel a bit inadequate whenever she brings home one of the newer Disney Store Belle dolls, but the fact that she swapped out my entire body when she could have just thrown me away definitely did wonders for my confidence. :}

     Oh, when she first brought me home, it was completely overwhelming.  I felt like an insignificant dot in a sea of Belle dolls.  Especially since all of them could sing.  On key. ;)

      I didn't really make that many friends from the Disney Store, so no, I didn't really miss anyone.  I wasn't there long enough to establish any long-lasting relationships, and frankly, most of them looked down on me because I was tone deaf.

2.  For Robby, how has life been since your accident?  What do you miss doing that your accident prevents now?

     Robby:  I don't think anyone has ever asked me that directly about my accident before.  I think a lot of dolls and people aren't sure whether it's a safe topic to bring up. ;)  Even Belle hates to draw attention to it.  She thinks I don't notice, but I do.

      Life has been...different since the accident.  There are some days that are so hard.  I hate being "broken"...I hate not being able to be as strong as I want to for Belle and Emilie.  I especially hate it when Belle has to take care of me.  I should be the one taking care of her, not the other way around.

      At the same time, I look at what my life was like before the accident, and I think of how it brought Belle and I closer.  If going through that is what it took to bring Belle and I together, then I wouldn't change a thing.  I'm very blessed, and I'm thankful every day.

     I think what I miss the most is my long, outdoor rambles I used to take.  I miss climbing trees and exploring.  My injury really limits my physical activity.  It is what it is, though.  I just need to keep taking one day at a time.

3.  Beast'sbelle, how does it feel now that Belle won't be blogging anymore?

     Beast'sbelle:  I respect Belle's decision to focus more on her family.  As a busy blogger myself, I can definitely understand how she feels! ;)  I'll miss hearing all about her daily adventures, but I also want her to do what's best for her and her family.

Okay, now I'm totally emotional after reading Robby's response.  He's right.  We've never really talked in depth about the accident because I didn't want to hurt him.  Thank you, Sunny, for asking your question.  It's nice to know how he feels.  

But enough blubbering on my part.  Time for the next round!  Here are some questions from "Jasmine", a Disney Store doll.

1.  Rapunzel, how do you manage all that hair?  Would you recommend having children?

     Rapunzel:  As I shared in an earlier answer, I don't do much of my own hair at all.  Belle, Eugene, and Beast'sbelle help me a lot.  Without them, I'd probably just tie it back in a ponytail and call it good! ;)

     I would definitely recommend having children, but only when you're at a place where you're ready.  Having an amazing, helpful husband at your side makes it much more pleasant.  I think I'd be a basket case without my Eugene.  And I would probably recommend going a little slower at the first than we did.  It might have been easier if we would have spent a little more time with one baby before adding to our family. :}  No regrets, though.  It all worked out. :)

2.  Belle, has anyone other than Robby heard you sing?

     Belle:  Um, just Emilie.  I'm working up to it, though. :}

And moving on!!  Our next questions come from "honeysucklejasmine".

1.  Belle, this is something I've been curious to ask you since the beginning...what do you think of the other Belle dolls the Disney Store has released?  Would you consider you're the prettiest of them all?

     Belle:  Usually they intimidate me, lol. ;)  I'm always very conscious of my frizzy hair, missing hair plugs, and shiny, stained plastic when a brand, spanking new doll joins the collection.

     Heavens, no!!  I think I'm probably the worst looking of all of them!!  I'm glad my head is just a bit smaller than some of the newer dolls, though.  It's already a bit larger than Robby's (which I hate).  I wouldn't want to have a ginormous head compared to him. :}  I wouldn't want to take after Snow White's Evil Queen, anyway, so I suppose it's better this way. ;)

2.  Rapunzel, another question I've been wanting to ask...how do you manage your hair!!!  Please do tell!  Does it tend to get tangled a lot?  (Pardon the pun)

     Rapuznel:  Lol...haven't heard that one before! ;)  Again, keeping my hair in line is due largely to the help I get from Beast'sbelle, Belle, and Eugene (oh, and Apple and Ashlynn every once in a while).  There are certainly some days when I just feel like chopping it all off!  I think Beast'sbelle would have a heart attack if I did, though.  She keeps talking about my "original hair with iridescent strands".  Sometimes I wish I was one of the post-haircut Rapunzels. ;)

     And yes, it does get really tangled if I'm not careful.  I've found that braids or ponytails are the best styles for keeping it in line.

3.  All of you guys:  What do you think of the actual characters you were inspired from?  For example, what do you, Belle, think of Belle from the movie?

     Belle:  Wow, great question.  This was a difficult one to answer individually, so I chatted with everyone about this one.  We thought we'd give you a brief impression from each of us.  I think Belle is an amazing character and someone to look up to, especially for her kindness and selflessness.  Robby thinks his character is intriguing, and he enjoys how he changes throughout the course of the movie.  Rapunzel loves her character's innocence and spunk, and Eugene thinks his character is hilarious.  They both love the end of their movie, where both characters sacrifice everything for each other.  Ben thinks the Beast is rather disgusting with his awful manners and thick fur, and he thinks the Prince needs a haircut (he's not really into Disney movies). ;)  Emilie doesn't really have a character she's modeled after, although Beast'sbelle recently confided that she named Emilie after Emilie de Ravin, who plays Belle in "Once Upon a Time".  She thought Emilie's coloring looked very similar to that Belle's.  Emilie can't comment on her character, however, because she's not allowed to watch the show. ;)

So now we'll move on to a question from "Ava Rose Milberger".

1.  To Belle and co...Have you met Anna and Elsa and all those peeps?

     Belle:  I have, and I think Rapunzel has too.  You can read all about my first meeting with them HERE.

Here are two questions from "Anonymous".

1.  This is just a nonsensical question followed by a real one.  I just thought you might get a laugh today.  On a scale from one to ten, what's your favorite color in the alphabet?

     Belle:  Um...blue. ;)

2.  And the real one:  Emilie, do you get to hang out with Sara and her sister a lot?  If so, do you have a lot of fun?

     Emilie:  I get to see Sara a lot, but I'd love to see her even more!  We always have way lots of fun when we play together. :)

Here are some questions from "Punzie and her Human Friend".

1.  Belle, whenever a new doll arrives in the house, do you ever feel overshadowed?  If so, how do you cope?  Our human friend here often tries to give as much love as she can to newer dolls, and so it can be a little hard.

     Belle:  Yep, pretty much every time a new doll arrives, I have a little mental pity party. :}  Then Robby usually notices something's wrong and makes me laugh about my silly complexes.  Seriously, without him I'd be a nutcase...and a lot more insecure.  So my advice would be to stick with friends that help you laugh at yourself.  It really helps! :)

2.  Rapunzel, it must be tough trying to keep up with four kids, how do you manage?  Also, what is your favorite hairstyle?  I'm also a Rapunzel doll, and would love to have some new hairstyles to try out!

     Rapunzel:  A lot of patience, a lot of babysitting, and getting as much sleep as possible...not to mention having an awesome husband. ;)

     My favorite hairstyles, as I shared before, are the simple ones.  Sorry to disappoint you.  I often feel I was the wrong doll to have so much hair.  I'd be much happier with a bob or a pixie cut.  Hair has never really interested me.  Braids are always great, though.  They're practical, easy, and comfortable. :)

3.  Emilie, are you still surprised that your parents are technically THE main characters from Beauty and the Beast?

     Emilie:  Well, Mommy says they're not really the REAL characters, but I still like to pretend they are. :)  I think it's AMAZING!! :D

And now it's on to our very last questions!! :D  Wow, we made it!  These are from "Anonymous A" and "Blythe the doll".

1.  To Belle's daughter, will you continue the blog?  For me?

     Emilie:  Sorry, but Mommy said I'm not old enough yet.

2.  Rapunzel, YOUR FAMILY IS ALMOST JUST LIKE MINE!  Except, the boy is the second youngest.

     Rapunzel:  Fun! :)  It's always nice finding families similar to your own.

3.  Belle, as I said, I am very disappointed.

     Belle:  I'm sorry, Anonymous A., but I have to do what's best for my family. :}

4.  Belle, how old are you?  Do you want more kids?

     Belle:  I got this question earlier.  You can read the answer to the very first question on this post HERE. :)

5.  Emilie, (this is actually my doll that is your age named Blythe) will you ever have a blog?  Will you continue this one?

     Emilie:  I think blogging would be fun, but I don't know if I will or not.  Mommy says I have to wait 'til I'm older, so I can't finish this one.

6.  Robby, are you ever curious why you have painted on hair and Belle has real hair?

     Robby:  The thought never really crossed my mind, but that is odd.  I don't really mind.  Plastic hair is very easy to take care of. ;)

7.  Rapunzel, is it scary having your body removed and swapped?

     Rapunzel:  It's one of the most terrifying things I've ever experienced.  I think the worst part was the anticipation of the unknown before the procedure.  Once it was all over and I'd been through the recovery process, it was okay...but I wouldn't want to go through it again! :}

8.  Eugene, can your clothes come off?
     Eugene:  Um, I'm not sure that's an entirely appropriate question, but yes.  I just like staying in my outfit.  It's comfy.  Beast'sbelle keeps offering Robby all these extra outfits and doesn't do the same for me.  Which is totally fine.  I like things simple.

9.  Beast'sbelle, is Belle your favorite doll?

     Beast'sbelle:  That's kind of hard to answer.  I really love all my dolls.  It's safe to say she's one of my very favorites, though. :)

And that officially wraps up our answer posts! :D  Thank you so much to everyone who contributed questions.  I hope you enjoyed the answers!!  Now that we're done, I've got to start getting ready for Christmas with my family!  It may be a very special holiday, but more on that later! ;)

Talk to you sometime next week! :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Great Answer Post Part 2

Hello again everyone.  Goodness, I never dreamed it would be eighteen days between my first and second answer posts! :{  Thank you so much for your patience.  Between Beast'sbelle's illness and serious computer issues, I haven't had the chance to use the computer until now!

So, as you've probably guessed, we're a bit behind schedule on the whole "ending of the blog" idea.  My new plan is to finish off the answer posts, give you some sort of Christmas post, and officially end Belle's Bulletins before the new year.  Just so we're all on the same page. :)

But enough of all that!  It's time to get back to the questions you've been waiting for! :D

Before we get started, I just wanted to remind you how we did this last time, as we'll do it the same way in this post.  I'll be asking the questions in the order we received them, and we'll keep them grouped according to who asked them.  After each question, we'll stop and get the answer from the doll to whom it was addressed.  Also, my part of the conversation will be in blue since I'm kind of serving as the Master of Ceremonies.

     Belle:  So, our next set of questions come from "Dollygirl".  The first one is for me.

1.  Belle, how old are you?

     Belle:  Like I mentioned in the first answer post, this is a kind of difficult question to answer because of the whole "doll years" versus "human years" thing.  In doll years, I'm only three.  But in human years, I'd be somewhere between twenty two and twenty five...I think.  It's kind of hard to say.

     Rapunzel, this next one's for you.

2.  Rapunzel, do you ever get regretful that you adopted all of those kids?  What's your favorite hairstyle?

     Rapunzel:  I'll admit there are times when I'm worn out and wish I could go back to simpler times with just Eugene and me. I think every mom goes through that, human or doll. ;)  But it never lasts for long for me.  They give me so much joy and make my life so complete.  I'd be devastated without them.

     As far as my favorite hairstyle, simple is best for me.  Honestly, I love just putting it in a braid so it's contained and out of my way.  Sorry if that's disappointing to you. :}

     Belle:  Here's one for you, Babe.

3.  Robby, what were your thoughts when Belle sang to you?  How do you feel about Ben's new um...girlfriend?

     Robby:  I can't even describe it.  It was incredible.  I know how hard that was for her.  To have her open up so completely, so vulnerably to me, was an amazing gift.

     (Belle blushes and grins over at him.)

     And Paige?  She seems great.  I'm just glad that Ben has found someone he enjoys being with.

     Belle:  Hey, Emilie, here's a question for you, Sweetie!

     Emilie:  Yay!!

4.  Emilie, what is your favorite object in your room?  What is your favorite toy?

     Emilie (thinking hard):  Hmmm...I think my favorite object is my bed, because it's really soft and I like to sleep in it.  My favorite toy...my favorite toy is my Beauty and the Beast doll house with my Belle and Beast dolls.  I play with it every day!!

     Belle (exchanging an adoring gaze with Robby):  Good answer, Honey.  Let's see, the next one's for you, Eugene.

5.  Eugene, how do you feel about having four kids?

     Eugene:  Peachy.  I knew Rapunzel wanted a large family, and thankfully, I appear to enjoy having a large family, too.  Seriously, the kids are great.  Like Rapunzel said, we couldn't imagine our lives without them.

     Belle (grinning at her best friend's excellent choice in a husband):  Ben, here's a question for you.

     Ben (nodding curtly):  Very well.

6.  Ben, how did you meet Paige?  Are you two going to get married? :)

     Ben (taken aback):  Um, I believe we've already covered how we met in an earlier post.

     Belle:  No problem, Ben.  I'll add a link so they can look it up (click HERE).

     Ben (nodding again):  As far as your second question, I find it rather personal.  (Shifting in his chair)  I would not pursue a relationship with another doll unless I had marriage in mind for the future, but I have no way of guaranteeing that everything will go according to plan.

     Belle (trying to help):  So, basically, Dollygirl, I think what Ben is trying to say is that he would enjoy marrying Paige, but he'll just have to wait and see what happens.  Am I right, Ben?

     Ben (relaxing a bit):  I suppose that is an accurate description of the way I feel.

    Belle (giving him a compassionate smile):  Let's move on.  Here are some questions for us from "Natalie".  There are some really great ones here, but we'll have to think! ;)

1.  Belle, what do you feel has been the best part of blogging for you?  What will you miss the most?

     Belle:  I'd have to say that one of the best parts of blogging has been getting to "meet" all of you, my readers! ;)  Though we've never met face to face, you've shared in each event of my life for the past three years, whether a joy or a trial.  I think that's also what I'll miss the most...having that close connection with all of you.  I'll still respond to comments and I'll still be at least somewhat active on Facebook, but I know it won't be quite the same.  

     Okay, let's move on to Robby's question before I start crying! :}

2.  Robby, other than your engagement, marriage, and getting to have Emilie as a daughter, what is your most precious memory of your relationship with your wife?

     Robby:  Wow, that's a great question.  I'd have to go with the day I took her outside when she was having a hard time with...(glancing at Ben from the corner of his eye and adjusting his comment) well, just having a hard time.

     Even though she didn't think of me as anything but a friend at that time, I was completely smitten with her.  Spending such a special day with her was incredible.  There were a couple of times when she looked at me and I could hardly breathe.

     Belle:  Like when we fell off the lion statue?

     Robby (grinning):  Yes, that would be one of them.

     Belle:  It's funny.  Like you said, you were just a friend to me then, but there were a couple of times that day that I started questioning how you felt about "us", especially that moment after we fell.  It was awkward and weird...things are much nicer now.

     Robby:  I agree, especially after all you put me through.  (He winks.)

     Belle (scowling playfully):  If I were closer, I'd sock you.

     Robby (still grinning):  Good thing I'm over here, then.

     Belle:  Okay, on to the next one.  Rapunzel, this one's for you!

3.  Rapunzel, what is the funniest moment you've had with Belle over the years of your friendship?

     Rapunzel:  Aside from that time not too long ago when she fell off the dresser...

     Belle (blushing):  Um, do we really have to keep bringing that up?

     Rapunzel:  There was one time when we were visiting and Belle decided to try a red hot that Beast'sbelle had left lying around.  (Giggling)  I thought her head was going to explode!!

     Belle (holding her head in her hands):  Oh my goodness, that was something I was NOT going to share with my readers.

     Rapunzel:  You have to admit, though, it was pretty funny!

     Belle:  For you, maybe!  You weren't the one with the piece of fire in your mouth!!  

     Rapunzel:  Maybe we should move on.

     Belle:  An excellent idea.  Eugene, here's one for you.

4.  Eugene, when have Robby and Belle been the most helpful to you, friendship-wise?

     Eugene:  Hands down, when they came and watched the girls for us when we were having such a hard time sleeping.  Rapunzel and I were complete basket cases.  We had no clue what we were doing!  If it wasn't for those two giving us a little break, I don't know what we would have done.  Of course, they would have been even more helpful if they wouldn't have startled us awake with that alarm clock... (throwing a teasing grin at Belle)

     Belle (turning beet red):  I felt so terrible about that!!  There I was, trying to help, and I made things worse instead!

     Rapunzel:  You were a help, Belle.  Eugene's just teasing.  We know it was an accident.

     Belle (still embarrassed):  I think there's another question here...yep!  One for Emilie.

5.  Emilie, what are your favorite things about your Daddy and Mommy?

     Belle (in a stage whisper):  Your Mommy is amazing and beautiful!

     Emilie (giggling):  Mommy!

     Belle:  Just kidding, Honey.  You can give your own answers.

     Emilie:  Well, I like my Daddy because he plays with me.  He does the best Beast.  And he loves me and makes me yummy food sometimes.  And I like my Mommy because she's funny and pretty and she gives good hugs.

     Belle (melting):  Very nice answers, Sweetie.  Let's see, it looks like there's one more question from Natalie.  It's for you, Ben.

6.  Ben, what do you like best about Paige?  How would you describe her?

     Ben:  Physically or otherwise?

     Belle:  She didn't specify.  Maybe you could choose one of each.

     Ben (nodding seriously):  I admire Paige for her compassionate spirit.  Physically, I'm intoxicated by her beautiful eyes.  Sometimes I feel I could drown in their depths.

     Belle (breaking the awkward silence and giving Robby and Eugene scolding looks for the laughter they're trying to hold back):  And how would you describe her?

     Ben:  She is perfection.  She is beauty, and light, and goodness.  She is everything I wish to be...she completes me in every way.

     Belle (trying once again to lighten the mood):  It sounds like you've found a keeper!

     Ben (giving her a withering look):  I suppose I agree with you, even if the fact that you feel you must cheapen my feelings with such a flippant phrase is rather disheartening.

     Belle (wanting to disappear into a crack in the floor):  And on that note, we've once again run out of time for the evening.  I'm sorry we didn't get to all of the questions, everyone.  There are just so many of them!!  I will do everything in my power to get the next answer post much quicker than I did this last time. :}

Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for Part 3! :)   

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Issues

Hello again, everyone.  I'm so sorry that there has once again been a delay in the next answer post.  Beast'sbelle's computer has been having some major issues , which makes blogging very difficult. 

In addition to that, Beast'sbelle has been very ill this past week and is still recovering now.  I will do everything in my power to get the next answer post up by this week.  Again, I apologize for the wait.

The good news is, the more delays there are, the longer it is until I finish this blog! ;)  Of course, now none of you will believe me when I actually say I'm quitting. ;)

I hope you are all having a wonderful month, preparing for the holiday season.

Talk to all of you again soon!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Great (and Long-Awaited) Answer Post Part 1

Thank you for joining us today!  Here's the post you've all been waiting for: our answers to your questions. :)  Because there were so very many questions, I decided it would be best to split the post into at least two parts, if not more.  So here are the first of them. :)

I've got my "panel" of friends here, as Beast'sbelle keeps calling it. ;)  Say "hi", guys!


Don't we look so very official?  Beast'sbelle even made us name cards.  Whoops!  It looks like mine fell down for this picture, though. :}

Oh, and some of you might be wondering about my green scarf.  One of Beast'sbelle's daughters, Middle Gal, made it for me and hoped I would wear it for the post.  It doesn't exactly match, but I wore it anyway.  It was a sweet thought, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings. ;)

So, it's time to get on to the questions.  We had about 69 of them in all (calculating an exact number was a bit difficult due to multiple questions and such...plus, I'm horrid at math). :}  Thank you so much to everyone who contributed). :)

For simplicity's sake, I'll be asking the questions in the order we received them, and we'll keep them grouped according to who asked them.  After each question, we'll stop and get the answer from the doll to whom it was addressed.  Also, my part of the conversation will be in blue since I'm kind of serving as the Master of Ceremonies.  Confused yet? ;)  You'll get it. 

    Belle:  Our first set of questions come from "Anonymous":

1. For Belle, has Rapunzel heard you sing yet?

     Belle (looking sheepishly over at Rapunzel):  Um, actually, not yet.  The opportunity hasn't really come up.
    Rapunzel (grinning mischievously): I'm free anytime.

    Belle:  Next question!  It's for you, Rapunzel.

2.  Rapunzel, how on earth do you keep that much hair looking pretty?  Does Eugene help you?

     Rapunzel:  The credit goes entirely to Beast'sbelle, Eugene, and Belle...and I have a feeling that Apple would be thrilled to be my self-appointed hairstylist. ;)  I pretty much just keep my hair the way it is until someone else feels like doing something with it.  I've got other things to keep me occupied. :) 

    Belle:  Robby, this next one is for you.  Answer carefully. ;)

3.  Robby, what is your favorite thing about Belle?  Did you have any friends from the Disney Store before you came?

     Robby (pretending to think hard): Hmm, favorite thing...favorite thing...

     Belle:  Watch it, buddy...

     Robby (winking): Just kidding.  I think what I love about Belle most is her random personality and her sense of humor.  She's funny without even realizing it.  I love how she makes me laugh.

     Belle (teasing): And here I thought you loved me for my gorgeous looks.

    Robby (teasing back): Well, those aren't so bad either. ;)

    And as far as friends from the Disney Store, I didn't really end up socializing much before Beast'sbelle brought me home, so no, I didn't have any significant friendships, just a few acquaintances.

    Belle:  This next question is for you, Ben.

4.  Congrats Ben for finding the doll that's right for you. :)  It's so nice to see you happy.  Ben, did you ever realize that Belle liked you?

    Ben (shifting uncomfortably in his seat):  I would have preferred a less personal question for my first, but...yes.  Sometime after I confessed my feelings for Belle, and she very graciously informed me that her affections lay elsewhere, I went through a rather...(clears throat)...wistful stage in which I read some of her blog.  It was only then I discovered just how close I'd come to winning her hand.  (straightening up) It is all for the best, however.  Belle and Robby are a wonderful pair, and I am now happily in a relationship with Paige.

    Belle (blushing bright red and jumping into the conversation quickly):  Okay, we're going to move right along to the next set of questions.  These are from "The Forgotten Angel".

1.  Rapunzel, your family is so adorable.  Have things gotten easier now that there is a routine?

     Rapunzel:  Things are definitely easier now that we've gotten used to four children.  They're never "easy", but definitely easier. ;)  I have much more energy with my new LIV body, so that definitely makes a difference.  Our son Thomas is a big helper, too.  He loves watching his little sisters. :)

     Belle:  This next one is for you, Robby.  It reminds me of something that I was going to mention.  Some of these questions were already addressed in the posts I've done since the Blogoversary post, so they may seem a bit redundant.  We'll go ahead and answer them anyway, though. :)

2.  Robby, have you and Belle thought about adding to your little family?  Like a brother for Emilie or something?

      Robby: (watching Belle carefully, then smiling down at Emilie) I believe Belle brought this up in a former post.  Emilie is hoping for a sister for Christmas.  We'll just have to see if the timing is right.

      Belle:  Here are some questions from Nina for me or Robby.

      Robby:  Why don't you take them since I just got a turn.

      Belle:  Okay.

1.  How old is Emilie?

      Belle:  This question is actually a lot more complicated than you might think, because we've got the whole "doll years" versus "human years" thing going on.  In doll years, Emilie is one.  In human years, she'd probably be around six or so.  She'll stay the same age in human years for the rest of her life, but she will grow in doll years.  Make sense?  I know that's pretty confusing for humans. ;)

2.  Do you like the size of your house or do you want to go bigger?

     Belle:  Believe it or not, I'm actually quite satisfied with my house size.  If anything, I'd want to go smaller.  Robby and I have always felt a little bad about the fact that we're the only ones with a home instead of a shelf.  And to be honest, I'm not the greatest housekeeper.  I can barely keep our current house clean!  I don't know how I'd manage a bigger one!!

3.  After you stop posting, are you planning to delete your blog?  Please don't!

      Belle:  Definitely not!  This blog represents far too many hours of love and labor to lose it to cyberspace. ;)  It will stay up so you can all reread it from time to time, if you wish, and so new readers can discover it. :)

4.  And do you have any pets?  Do you want to get any?

     Belle:  Emilie has a little puppy that was lost for a while (we finally found him again when Beast'sbelle rearranged some things).  Other than that, we are petless and happy to remain so...for now, at least. ;)

    Belle:  So I think we'll do one more set of questions and then call it a night.  Emilie has to get to bed.  These questions are from "Heather".

1. Rapunzel, where do you find the time to keep track of the kids and keep looking great!  Amazing!

    Belle:  Yes, Rapunzel, do tell...we're all dying to know your secret.

    Rapunzel:  (laughing) Stop it, Belle.

    Belle:  Hey, have you seen my hair lately?  I could use a few pointers!

    Rapunzel:  It looks beautiful, Belle.  But honestly, Heather, I don't really have any secret strategy.  Being made of plastic definitely helps.  We don't have the same issues with weight gain that Beast'sbelle is always complaining about.  Having straight hair is a definite benefit, too.  I think my hair doesn't have as much of a tendency to frizz as some of the other Disney Store dolls.

    Belle:  So that's my problem!

    Rapunzel: (gently) Stop it, Belle.  Your hair looks lovely.

    Belle:  You're my best friend.  You're supposed to say that.  (moving on before Rapunzel can protest) Robby, this next one is for you.

2.  Robby, is it hard knowing that your love once loved another so strongly?

    (Awkward silence...Ben has a sudden intense interest in his name card) 

     Robby (calmly):  No, I don't have a problem with it.  The facts that she fell in love with someone I respect and that I lived through it with her make it a non-issue.  The experience helped me cherish her even more, since I know how close I came to losing her to another.  

     Belle (getting emotional):  That was beautiful, Babe.

     (Now Robby looks embarrassed.)

     Belle (sniffing):  Okay, time for the last question for tonight.  It's for me.

3.  Belle, what will you do when you bring the blog to a close?  Is it time to travel?

     Belle:  That's a possibility.  The first thing I have planned, though, is to just relax and enjoy my family without any other obligations fighting for my attention.  I'm looking forward to that. :)

     If we do end up taking any trips, we'll be sure to post some pics on Facebook! :)

Well, that's all for this time around.  I hope you're enjoying the posts so far! :)  Tune in later this week for Part 2! :)