Saturday, November 30, 2013

Computer Issues

Hello, everyone.  Once again, I have to report that my plans have been foiled.  Apparently Beast'sbelle's computer is having some sort of issue.  Everything is running super slow.  As any of you who blog know, this makes blogging extremely difficult.

As soon as Belle'sbeast figures out what's going on, I'll finish up the posts waiting to be published.  Hopefully I won't have to keep you waiting for long.

Thank you for understanding.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Another Slight Change in Plans

Well, this is just embarrassing. :{  Once again, I've failed to meet my own deadline.  I still have a few catch up posts for all of you, and I'd really prefer to finish those before I do my answer post I promised you today.
So, the tentative plan is to finish my posts today (and possibly tomorrow, too) and then end with my answer post some time tomorrow afternoon.  I hope that's okay with everyone.  It's been very difficult to post this week with all of the humans around and less computer time.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. :)  I'll be back soon with more posts!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Catching Up - Frozen Friends and Lovebirds

In the days after our visit from Paige, life was slow and uneventful.  We spent our time staying in our house, or visiting with Eugene and Rapunzel, or just hanging out.  Emilie had another playdate with Sara, so I also got a chance to catch up with Faith.  She and her family were doing well.  

Every chance I got (when Robby wasn't around), I practiced on my guitar.  I had three songs that I'd gotten down pretty flawlessly.  Now I just had to figure out the best time to whip out my instrument and play for my husband.  I couldn't wait to share my newfound talent with him. :)

One afternoon, as I made my way across the dresser to see Rapunzel, I came across some dolls I'd never seen before.  It seemed impolite to just pass by without saying anything, so I stopped and introduced myself.

"Hi, I don't think we've met.  I'm Belle."

One of the dolls, a tall, graceful figure with extremely pale skin and amazing hair, regarded me with a serious expression.  "Nice to meet you.  My name is Elsa."

"Hi!" came a spontaneous voice.  "I'm Anna, and this is Kristoff."

"Nice to meet all of you," I responded.  "I don't think I've seen you around before.  Are you new here?"

"Yep," Anna said cheerfully.  "We're from the newest Disney movie, 'Frozen'."

"Ah, more Disney dolls," I said knowingly.  "I'm from the Disney movie 'Beauty and the Beast'.  It's one of Beast'sbelle's favorites."

"Beast'sbelle, she's the human, right?" Elsa asked.

I nodded.  "I've lived here with her for around three years.  My husband Robby and I live just up there."

As I turned to point to our home, I noticed a curious sight.  There was another new doll, still in his box, at the end of the dresser.  I hadn't seen him before because I'd climbed up the front of the dresser today instead of climbing down from my home.  In front of him stood one of the newer Rapunzel dolls...I think it was Rosemary, this year's Disney Store offering.

The two seemed to be in earnest conversation through the plastic of his box.  His expression was forlorn as he looked out longingly at Rosemary.

The other dolls must have noticed me staring at the two on the end.  "That's Hans over there," Elsa said gently.  "He's also from the movie."

"Why is he still in his box?" I asked.

The three dolls shared an uncomfortable glance.  "It could have something to do with the plot line," Anna finally admitted.

I looked at them curiously.  

"It's all in here," Kristoff explained, joining the conversation for the first time.  He pointed to a coloring book that was propped up behind him and Anna.  "We just read it the other night.  We haven't let Hans read it yet."

I wondered what they could mean, but they didn't seem willing to share any more information.  "So, how long has Rosemary been visiting him?" I asked.

"Since day one!" Anna exclaimed.  "They're completely nuts about each other.  They keep hoping that your Beast'sbelle will open his box so they can finally be together."

I couldn't stay any longer than that...Rapunzel was expecting me.  As I said my goodbyes and headed over to Rapunzel's part of the shelf, though, I couldn't stop thinking about Hans and Rosemary.  Yet another cross-canon couple.  I wondered how Beast'sbelle would react.  More importantly, I wondered if I could play a part in convincing her to debox Hans.  

Only time would tell...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Catching Up - Meeting Paige

As it turned out, I didn't have to wait all that long to meet the mysterious Paige.  Just three days after our Ever After High friends came over, Robby, Emilie and I were having a relaxing evening at home.

I was busy tidying up the living room, but I paused in my work to peek in on Robby and Emilie.  They were both on the floor, playing with Emilie's Beauty and the Beast castle.

"Here, Daddy, you be the Beast," Emilie stated, handing her Beast doll over.  "But you have to do a really growly Beast voice, okay?"

"I'll do my best," Robby said seriously.  "Who are you going to be?"

"Daddy," Emilie said patiently, "I'll be Belle, of course."

"Yes, of course," Robby agreed, as if the thought had just occurred to him.  "Are you sure you don't want to trade?"

Emilie giggled.  "I don't think you could do a very good Belle voice, Daddy."

I smiled at this adorable exchange between them.  It was always so wonderful to see the two of them interacting.  Emilie had Robby wrapped around her little finger.

Just then, I heard a hesitant clearing of a throat from behind me.

I turned to see Ben standing in my living room, with Paige hiding shyly behind him.

"Forgive this intrusion," Ben said slowly.  "I wondered if this might be a convenient time to stop by for a short visit."  He hurried on with a nervous explanation.  "Ordinarily I would never presume to invite myself in, but our schedules have been so conflicted I thought it might be best to seize the moment..."

I gave him what I hoped was a reassuring smile, trying to hide my amusement at his flustered manner.  It was unlike Ben to be so awkward.  "Of course we don't mind!" I said warmly.  "I'll just let Robby know you're here."

"Robby," I said clearly, leaning around the shelf.  "We have visitors."

Robby turned to see who our guests were, then looked back at Emilie.  "We'll finish our game a little later, okay?"

She nodded.  "Okay."

I helped Robby to his feet, and he quickly hobbled over to where Ben and Paige stood.  (He was always a little stiff after sitting on the floor for too long.)

"Welcome, Ben," he greeted the other doll with a smile.  The two shook hands.  "I'm so glad you stopped by."

I stood back for a bit, letting the two begin the conversation.  Emilie picked up her Belle and Beast dolls and peeked out at our guests from behind my skirts.

Paige held back as Robby and Ben chatted, looking horribly uncomfortable with the whole situation.  My heart went out to her.  I knew how overwhelming it could be to meet a whole group of dolls all at once.

Ben seemed a bit preoccupied.  He cleared his throat again.  "I...hope you don't mind, but I thought I might take the opportunity to introduce you to Paige."  His face burned red.

He turned to the doll behind him, and a soft expression instantly came over his solemn features.  He gently placed a hand behind her back, and she slipped hers behind his as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Robby must have sensed my excitement somehow, for he placed his hand over mine and squeezed it gently.  I got the translation.  Steady, Belle.  Don't scare them with your enthusiasm.  I squeezed back, assuring him that I understood.  I felt like breaking out into a huge love ballad right on the spot, though. ;)

"I'd like to introduce Paige, a Dazzling Princess Belle doll."  Ben must have realized how this sounded.  "Dazzling Princess Belle is the type of doll she is, I mean.  That is, I do think she's dazzling, but..."  He seemed to realize it was a lost cause.  "Um, Paige, I'd like you to meet Robby, Belle, and their daughter, Emilie," he mumbled.

"It's very nice to meet you," I said brightly, hoping to ease Ben's tension.  I couldn't get over how tongue-tied he was.  He was the most eloquent doll I knew.  He must be pretty smitten with her.

Paige gave a shy smile.  "Thank you.  It's lovely to meet all of you, as well."

Her voice sounded so graceful.  She had a bit of a British lilt to her voice, not the French accent we were used to with Marguerite and Isabella.  Perhaps that was for the best, though.  Another French doll might have constantly kept Marguerite in Ben's mind.

I stepped forward.  "Paige, would you like to come see Emilie's room?  That would give our guys a chance to talk." I winked playfully.  

Paige looked hesitantly over at Ben.  He gave her an encouraging nod.  She turned back to me.  "That would be nice, thank you."

So Robby and Ben settled themselves in our easy chairs in the living room and shared a quiet talk...

...while Emilie, Paige and I headed into Emilie's room.  Paige and I sat on Emilie's bed.  We spent the first part of the visit listening to Emilie as she talked about her room and all of her special toys.  Paige was very patient with her, which impressed me.

After a while, Emilie settled down to play with her Beauty and the Beast castle again, which gave Paige and I an opportunity to talk without interruption.  Of course, we had to be careful what we said.  No matter how occupied Emilie seemed, I knew from experience that she was very good at picking up on adult conversation.  I suppose all children are that way. :}  We kept our conversation as quiet as possible.

"It's so nice to finally meet you," I confided.  "I'm so glad you and Ben came over."

"I'm glad to hear that," Paige said with relief.  "I was rather worried when Ben suggested it.  Not everyone enjoys having uninvited visitors."

"Oh, Ben's an old friend," I said, waving a hand.  "He's always welcome.  And any friend of his is a friend of ours."

"You're very kind," Paige said softly.  "I've heard so much about you, Belle.  Ben speaks very highly of you."

I blushed.  "I'm surprised at that.  I always figured he thought I was a little silly."

"Oh, no...not at all!" Paige assured me.  "He goes on and on about your blog and how creative you are."

I couldn't have been more shocked if she'd slapped me upside the head.  Then I found myself hoping he hadn't read my earlier posts, when I was sharing my feelings about him.  I suppose that's what I get for blabbing my feelings to the entire world. :{

Paige gave me a shy, sideways glance.  "To be honest, I didn't think I would be able to compete with such an accomplished doll."

I thought I couldn't blush any more, but my face was now so warm I was worried my plastic might melt.  "You don't have to compete with me, trust me.  I'm not anyone special."  I flipped a stray strand of hair back behind my shoulder.  "Robby and I are both so grateful to Ben.  His medical talents are just amazing.  I don't know what I would have done without him when Robby was hurt."

Paige's face became serious.  "Yes, he told me about that.  Does..." she stopped and looked down at her hands.  "Never mind."

"What is it?" I asked. 

Now it was Paige's turn to blush.  "Nothing.  I shouldn't ask such personal questions when we've only just met."

I gave her a reassuring smile.  "It's okay, really.  You're wondering if it still hurts him?"

She looked away.  "It's none of my business.  I just...noticed the limp and..."

I put my hand on hers.  "It's natural to be curious."  I took a deep breath.  "Yes, his injuries still bother him.  They probably will for the rest of his life.  He doesn't complain, though."

"That must be hard for you," she said sympathetically, looking into my face.

I pulled my hand back into my own lap and observed my fingers.  "It is hard.  If there was anything I could do to ease his pain, I would.  But at the same time, I'm just so thankful that he's here.  I'd rather have him here and injured than live without him."

Paige's eyes filled with tears.  "I can't even imagine how hard it must be to see him suffer so much every day.  If Ben was going through the same thing, it would just kill me."

"It's not always easy," I admitted, "but we manage."

I decided now might be the best time to ask my own personal question.  "So, you and Ben seem to be very close."

A little smile played on Paige's lips.  "Yes, you might say that."

I waited for more, but that seemed to be all the information Paige was ready to share.  I couldn't help trying just one more prod.  "It's so nice to see him looking so happy.  You must be very special to him."

My companion turned a bright shade of pink.  "I would hope so...he's everything to me."

"If you don't mind sharing, how did you two meet?"

"Beast'sbelle brought us together," she explained.  "I've been one of Beast'sbelle's boxed dolls since before she married, so for years I've just watched things from behind the plastic of my box.  Then, a few months ago, Beast'sbelle randomly decided to open me.  The first thing she did was to set me beside Ben.  She made a few brief introductions, gave us a coy little glance, and walked away."

I swallowed to keep from saying something harsh about Beast'sbelle.  I'd thought she'd been so much better about the whole matchmaking thing, but apparently she was still up to her old tricks.  Then I remembered my own escapade, climbing on the dresser.  I might not be an active matchmaker like Beast'sbelle, but I was just as nosy.  Put in my place, I pushed unkind thoughts of Beast'sbelle away and focused my attention on my new friend.

Paige played with one of the flounces on her skirt.  "As you can imagine, it was quite awkward at first."

"Oh, I can imagine, all right," I said stiffly.  "That's how Robby and I met, too."

"Really?" Paige looked up.  "So this must be something she does often."

"Quite often, I'm afraid," I responded.

"Although, you have to admit, she does seem to have an uncanny ability to find dolls suited for one another.  Look at you and Robby, and Ben and me."

"I suppose," I said reluctantly.

"Anyway, at first things were very stilted between us.  But then, one day I mentioned my interest in medical science.  Ben suddenly looked at me with new eyes.  It was a wonderful turn in our friendship.  He shared all of his experiences as the 'doll doctor' of the house.  I hung on his every word."

I covered a smile.  Ben would have thrilled to having such a captive audience.  "So when did you, you know, realize how you...felt about each other?"  I knew I was pushing, but I couldn't help it.

Paige blushed again, but her expression was dreamy.  "From that first conversation, I knew he was the doll for me.  His eloquent way of speaking, his quiet dignity, and his knowledge of the medical field...I was smitten.  And thankfully," she continued, "in time, he came to feel the same way about me."

It was all I could do to keep from hugging her.  I impulsively grabbed her hand instead.  "I'm so happy for you and Ben," I said, blinking back tears.

"Are you okay?" she asked me, a concerned look on her face.

I laughed and wiped my eyes.  "Yes, I'm sorry.  Ben and I have been friends for a while now, and it's so wonderful to know that you've made him so happy."

"I hope so," Paige said shyly.

"I know you have," I said firmly.  "I've seen the way he looks at you."

She smiled.  "Sometimes I can hardly believe it.  He...he says he wants to marry me."

"That's wonderful!" I cried.

Emilie gave us a curious look, and I ducked my head.

At that moment, Ben poked his head around the shelf that separated the living room from Emilie's room.  "Paige, are you ready to go?"

Her face was radiant at the sound of his voice.  "Yes, I'm ready."  She turned back to me.  "It was very nice to meet you, Belle."

"Nice to meet you too," I told her warmly.  "Feel free to stop by anytime you like."

Robby and I waved goodbye to our neighbors as they left.  I watched with pleasure as Ben wrapped his arm around Paige's tiny waist as they left.  I never thought I'd see him so happy after everything he went through with Marguerite.  

When they were gone, I turned to Robby.  "I should go get Emilie ready for bed."

"Only if you promise to come back soon," he teased.

I pretended to think this over.  "I suppose I could."  I slid my arms around his waist.  "Isn't it wonderful to see them so happy?"

Robby winked.  "Your matchmaking dreams have finally come true."

I blushed.  "I've tried to be good about it."

He chuckled and held me in his arms.  "I know, Dearest.  And I'm glad to see Ben so happy, too.  If she brings him half the joy you've brought me, he'll have a wonderful life."

I kissed Robby's cheek.  "You've made me happy, too, Darling.  And I'll tell you all the ways you've done exchange for a foot rub after I get Emilie to bed."

He raised one brow.  "You drive a hard bargain."

"I know," I teased, "but I'm worth it."

He laughed and shook his head in mock bewilderment.  "What am I going to do with you?"  

"You'll think of something," I grinned, and headed to our daughter's room.  I could hear his laughter behind me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Delayed Plans

Hello everyone.  Once again, my plans of posting more regularly and wrapping things up have been thwarted.  While my own recovery has gone well, Beast'sbelle's entire family have been hit with horrible colds off and on throughout the month, making it next to impossible to get to the computer to type my posts.

While originally I had planned on doing my answer post this Friday, these difficulties have made me decide to postpone my answer post until next Friday, the 29th.  In the meantime, I'll plug away at my catch up posts as I have the time.

The good news, this gives all of you a little extra time to ask any questions you may still have.  I've gotten a lot of great questions from you already, and I can't wait to hear what all my friends and family have to say in response. :)

For those of you who missed out on the original post, click HERE to see what I'm talking about. ;)

I should be back soon with more updates.  Coming up next...hear about the night I first met Paige! :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Catching Up - Hairdos and Fairy Tales

Wow, it feels so wonderful to be blogging again!  It's been a really long week of recovery, but I'm finally starting to feel better.  

I thought I'd post a picture of myself.  I figure it will take a while for all of you to get used to my "new look". :}  I hope you guys won't be too weirded out, like I was with Rapunzel.  If you are, though, I'll understand.

Speaking of new looks, you might notice that my hair is a little...different.  Beast'sbelle decided to do a boiling water treatment in the middle of the surgery.  Leave it to a human to give hairstyle the same importance as a life-saving body swap.  I'm just glad I was out cold for the whole thing. :}  

I'm not sure what I think of my hair.  It's really...straight...right now.  Beast'sbelle said we can always curl it again later if I want.  I think that right now is not the best time for me to try to make decisions.  Everything is so topsy-turvy. :(

I know that you all want to hear about my surgery, but I really feel that I should back up and get everyone caught up with everything that has happened over the past month.  I'll try to get these posts out as quickly as possible so that you'll be caught up to the present as soon as possible. :}

I suppose we have to go back to the beginning of October, shortly after I sang to Robby for the first time. 

I can't even tell you what a relief it has been since I shared my song with Robby.  It's as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  Robby positively glows whenever he looks at me, Emilie acts like I'm some singing superstar...the whole world just seems a little brighter. 

I shared my success story with Rapunzel, and she was thrilled for me.  She and Eugene, of course, have been singing to each other from the very beginning of their relationship, so she knew what I had been missing. 

Even though I'd finally gotten past my fear, I decided to keep up with my secret guitar practice.  Robby would love a surprise guitar serenade sometime!  I wasn't sure when I would play for him, but now I knew that I didn't have to wait for the "perfect" moment.  I wanted to be ready for anything. 

As I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, Rapunzel and I were able to spend an afternoon with Raven and her friends in October.  We arranged things with Beast'sbelle ahead of time so she could release them from their doll stands and they could come join us in my home.

While Rapunzel and I waited, I shared my guitar secret with her. 

"Belle, that's wonderful!  I'm sure Robby will love it."  She pushed her hair back over her shoulder.  "What are you going to play?"

"I haven't decided yet," I admitted.  "I'm working on a couple of different songs...but I'd kind of like to keep them a secret, even from you.  I hope you understand."

Rapunzel grinned.  "Don't worry, Belle.  Whatever it is, Robby will be thrilled."

At that moment, we could hear the clatter of our guests as they climbed up the shelves to join us.  I hurriedly stuffed my guitar behind one of the chairs.  I wasn't ready to share my secret with anyone else just yet. 

The girls were thrilled to be there and to be free of their stands.  We noticed right away that there was an extra doll with them.

"We hope you don't mind," Apple said apologetically.  "Ashlynn arrived after we had already arranged things, and we didn't want to leave her behind."

"I don't know, she probably would have been happy to have some alone time with Hunter," Briar teased.

The new doll with long, strawberry blonde hair blushed.

"She came in a gift set with another doll, Hunter Huntsman," Raven explained.  "They're quite smitten with each other."

Ashlynn turned an even brighter shade of pink.

"It's nice to meet you, Ashlynn," I said warmly.  "I'm glad you could come." 

She gave me a shy smile.

Apple wasted no time.  "I've been dying to play with your hair since we first met," she admitted to Rapunzel.  "Would you like to sit here?  Ashlynn and I will get right to work."  

Rapunzel obediently took a seat, hiding her amusement at Apple's enthusiasm.  Apple stood to one side, and Ashlynn took a seat on the floor and pulled.  Within moments, Rapunzel had braids galore in her hair.  I wondered what it would look like when they were done.

Briar and Maddie settled themselves in the chairs and helped themselves to tea.  I knew that Maddie probably would have preferred coffee, but there was none in the house.  Beast'sbelle and her husband are tea drinkers. ;)

Maddie was talking a mile a minute, and Briar was laughing at her antics.

Meanwhile, I had the chance for a long, heart-to-heart with Raven.  I'd rather not go into all of it here, especially since much of what she shared was very personal.  Suffice it to say that she and I have a bit in common.  For her, it's a little more complicated, though.  Everyone expects her to be the daughter of the Evil Queen who doesn't want to be evil.  In reality, she doesn't even know who this "Evil Queen" is that everyone keeps talking about.  She's just a simple doll who likes to sing and would rather not put up with all the fuss being made about her.  Oh, and she hates her outfit, and she's not really a fan of black or purple, either.  Her favorite color is forest green. :}  

One thing that really struck me as I talked with her and the other dolls was how young they seemed.  I mean, age is a rather relative term for dolls.  In doll years, I'm only three. ;)  But there was a spontaneity, an innocence, and a naivete to these girls that somehow made me want to protect them and nurture them.  I guess my mothering instincts have really kicked in. ;)

"Well, what do you think?" Apple suddenly called out.  

I turned and saw Rapunzel, playfully holding a pose.  Her hair looked amazing!  

"Wow, Apple and Ashlynn," I said.  "You did a beautiful job on Rapunzel's hair."

Apple and Ashlynn beamed with pleasure.

Rapunzel turned around in her seat and peered through the glass doors of my curio cabinet.  She could just catch a glimpse of her reflection in the mirrors of the cabinet.

"It looks wonderful," Rapunzel said warmly.  "Much fancier than anything I could come up with.  Thanks, Apple and Ashlynn".

We spent most of the afternoon together, but all too soon it was time for them to head back.  Apple, Briar, Maddie, and Raven seemed a bit reluctant to leave, but Ashlynn was gazing longingly across the room, no doubt thinking of Hunter and missing him.  I hid a smile, remembering how lovey-dovey I was about Robby once we finally admitted our feelings for each other. 

The girls said their goodbyes and began climbing over the side of the curio.  Rapunzel and I watched them as they made their way across the room, back to their stands.

"Well, that was fun," I said.

Rapunzel nodded.

"And your hair looks quite elegant," I continued.

My friend patted it and blushed.  "It is pretty.  I'll have to take it out in an hour or so, though, or I'll have a horrible headache."

"Too bad," I said.  "Just make sure you get home in time to let Eugene see it first."

"I don't know," Rapunzel mused.  "He likes my hair best when it's simple.  He might think I have a bird's nest on my head or something." She winked.  

I chuckled.  "I doubt that...although I could see him saying that just to tease you."

She put on a shocked expression.  "My husband?  Never!"

We both laughed.

"Well, I should get going," Rapunzel finally said.  "Robby and Eugene are probably ready for a break from the kiddos." 

"Hey, have you had a chance to talk to Ben?"

Rapunzel shook her head.  "Aside from hearing him call Paige's name, I haven't seen him since the day you fell off of the dresser."

"Thanks for the reminder," I told her dryly.  "Rats. I was hoping you'd found out more about her."

"Why don't you talk to him?"

"I don't know...I was tempted to, but the more I thought about it, I just couldn't figure out a way to ask without sounding really weird."

Rapunzel gave a teasing sigh.  "I guess you'll just have to wait, then."

I gave her a playful shove.  "Get going already, will you?"

She laughed again.  "See you later, Belle."

As Rapunzel expertly hopped over the edge of the curio and swung down the shelves, I found my gaze wandering back up to the top of the white shelves, where Ben and Paige still stood.  It was driving me crazy wondering about them, but I wasn't quite brave enough to go talk to him.  I guess I'd just have to practice patience, my favorite virtue. ;)

More to come, everyone!  Another few posts and we should be all caught up. ;) 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Not So Great Week

Hello, dear readers.  I know I promised to post something last week, but I do have a pretty valid excuse.  I'm actually recovering from major surgery.  As of Thursday, Rapunzel is not the only fashion doll to receive a body swap.  Yep, I went through it too.  And let me tell you, I hope I never have to repeat the process!

I'd love to go into more detail, but I'm still pretty weak from the swap.  I'm only able to post this because Beast'sbelle agreed to take my dictation and type this for me.  I have so much to share about all that has happened over the past several weeks.  Once I've fully recovered, you'll have plenty of reading material, believe me!

Ben says I should start feeling more like myself (an odd choice of words, considering that the only part of "me" left is my head) within the next few days.  Robby's been keeping an eye on me like a nervous watchdog at all times, so he'll probably want me to take blogging slowly for a while.  As soon as I can, though, I'll share everything that's been going on.  And as long as everything goes according to plan, I hope to have my answer post up by the week before Thanksgiving. (Thank you for all of your lovely questions, by the way.)  Until next time, dear readers.