The New Girl

School is out here, yay! The girls have been enjoying those first few days of freedom, but yesterday they got a special surprise. I told them that something would be coming that they weren’t expecting, sometime after lunch. They were all speculating as to what it could be, and were talking so much about it, they almost didn’t hear the doorbell ring. They all ran to see who could be the first to open the door. You can imagine the surprise when they opened it and this was what they saw:
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They were all standing there with their mouths open, looking at her, then she started to speak.
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“Uh, I hope I am at the right house…um, my name is Shivan.”
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“This is my dog Archie. Am I at the right place???”

I interrupted at that point because she obviously was a little nervous. “Girls, I want you all to say hello to Shivan. She’s going to be living here now, she’s going to be starting at the school you all go to in the fall.”
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The girls were all excited and huddled around her, asking all kinds of questions. She explained that she was from Pittsburgh, her mom and dad were both of Indian descent and grew up in England, but came to the US to go to college and liked it so much that they stayed and became American citizens. Her dad is a college professor at the University of Pittsburgh and her mom is a radiologist at the hospital there.

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Marie-Grace asked her if she had any hobbies or played any sports. “Oh, I LOVE to play soccer, I’m already signed up for the team here. My mom’s cousin Jess is a women’s soccer player in California. And I love art, especially painting.”

The girls all introduced themselves. “Hi, we’re Abby and Zara, we don’t live here, but live in the house across the back yard.”
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“I’m Cassandra, I came here last fall. You’re going to love it here!”
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The rest of the girls introduced themselves, then Rebecca said she had a question. “Mom, where is she going to sleep?” I explained that for now she was going to have to share the room with Kit, but that once the new bedroom was finished, she and Alya would share a room. “Oh cool!” replied Alya, “a new roommate! Nothing personal Cassandra, but…, well…, uh–you snore!!” The girls all started to laugh.

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Kit told her she would show her the bedroom that they would be sharing for a while. They went upstairs to Kit’s room. “Hmmmmm, that bed is awfully small, how are we both going to fit?” asked Shivan. “Oh, it folds out to double it’s size!” replied Kit. “Oh good, I thought it was going to be rather crowded.”

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Just then Coconut ran over to her.  “Oh my gosh, is he ever cute!  Does he belong to you?”  Kit told her yes and also to be careful with any stuffed toys she might have because Coconut liked to claim them as his.  “Thanks for the warning!” responded Shivan.

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Marie-Grace offered to show her the room she shared with Rebecca.  “I love the bedding on your bunk beds, it looks so cozy.”  Marie-Grace told her that I had made most of the bedding in the house with the exception of Kit’s and that I would probably make her and Alya matching ones for their room.  “This is going to be so much fun” said Shivan.  “I don’t have any sisters, just a nosy little brother who drives me crazy!”

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While Shivan was touring the house and getting aquainted with the girls, Archie was trying to make new friends as well.  He tried to share his toy with Meatloaf, but Meatloaf wasn’t too sure about it.

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The girls spent the rest of the evening talking about all sorts of different things.  They also explained that in a few weeks, they would all be leaving to go home to visit their families.  Kit would be heading to Cincinatti, Rebecca to New York, Cassandra to Washington DC, Marie-Grace to New Orleans and Alya would be traveling across the ocean to Turin, Italy where her parents were living.  Even Abby and Zara would be heading to New Mexico to visit her dad’s family that still lived there.  “Wow, I just have an hours drive to Pittsburgh!” exclaimed Shivan.  “I can’t imagine having to go on a plane to go visit my parents, that’s amazing.”  Rebecca explained that they would all be back by August 1st though since they all had school related activities that started then.  Shivan said that she would be doing the same since soccer practice would start then.  “I think I’m really going to like it here though, the best of both worlds!”

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In case you are wondering–I was having a difficult time deciding what to name her. I had several things in mind, but nothing was coming together. I really wanted her to be of Indian descent, that was my intent long before I bought her. A name I have always loved is Siobhan which is an Irish name. Only problem is that so many people don’t know how to pronounce it. Then I remembered a host from HSN (yes, the shopping channel!) who went by the literal spelling–her name is Shivan Sarna. You can imagine how tickled I was when I looked her up online and discovered that she is of Indian descent and that this spelling is a traditional Indian name! It’s more commonly used for boys, but I didn’t care, it worked out perfectly for my storyline. I changed her last name to Sharma in memory of a gentleman I knew who had been a college professor at a nearby university, he passed away just a couple of years ago. And that’s how Ms. AG #62 became Shivan Victoria Sharma! (The pronunciation in case you are wondering is Shi-von with a short i.)

Goodies I picked up at the American Girl store, Part 1

As I was editing all the pictures I took of the things I bought on my trip to AG Columbus, I decided that maybe I should divide this in to two parts.  I have a lot of things I want to mention (if you read regularly, you know I like to talk!) and I was just afraid it would make too long of a post if I didn’t.  So, this is part 1, I will put up part 2 in a day or so.

First off, I want to call attention to a couple of items that I didn’t have interest in buying, but really impressed me.  Addy’s Table and Chairs and Kit’s Desk are both really nice items, extremely well made with a wonderful attention to detail.  These are both things that you could buy with complete confidence in them holding up and having lots of play value.  Another thing that I liked was Jip the dog, in the photos AG has put out he looks kind of funny, way too fluffy or something.  He looks MUCH better in person, I actually thought about getting him.

Addy’s hair-wow!  I had never seen an Addy doll in person and I was just amazed at how accurate the texture is on her hair.  I have a friend who has a bi-racial daughter and I remember her talking about what an adjustment it was learning how to care for the hair because of the texture.  How they managed to duplicate it so well in a doll wig just confounds me.  In the large Addy display they had her with her hair completely down and straight so you could really see it.  I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture of it!  If you’ve never seen an Addy doll in person you should check her out.  Her clothes are some of the nicest in the collection too.

The only item that I liked online that I thought was a huge disappointment was Julie’s snack set.  Blech.  It looks so cute online and in the catalog, but this is one of the few items that looks cheap.  Particularly the Jiffy pop piece, it not only looks like a big ole piece of plastic, but to me the proportions are off.  I grew up in the era of Jiffy pop and something just isn’t right.  One thing I definitely won’t be buying.  The little phone is cute as all get out though.

The two things that really impressed me the most were two outfits, I give these A++++ because both are simply stunning.  I never gave these a second look before, but in person I was wowed.  The first is the glittery outfit that comes with Rebecca’s costume set.  Unfortunately this only comes as a set, but if you are even slightly interested in the chest but haven’t bought it because you don’t like the outfit, you might want to reconsider!  This is one of the prettiest outfits in the whole Rebecca collection, online it looks blah.  The other outfit that impressed me is Kaya’s Deerskin outfit, this is sooooo well done, I can’t even come up with words to describe it.  The faux leather looks just like the real thing and the whole thing is beautifully done from top to bottom.  They had it on a doll by itself and also with the Winter Accessories and they were both super.

One last thing before I show you the first installment of goodies-Samantha’s new outfits.  Overall they are really pretty and seem to be very nicely made.  Only one issue and to me this is a major one, and you don’t notice it in the AG pics.  Some of her dresses are too short for the time period!  This really shocked me because AG does generally do a good job with this kind of stuff, but this is a bit of a fail in my book.  Particularly for this era, modesty was the name of the game when it came to clothing and dresses, even day to day wear was longer.  Not floor length, but not mini skirts either.

When I first found out I might be going to the AG store, I started working on a list of things that I wanted to look at and might consider buying.  I had some dolls I wanted to see in particular and also some of the accessories and furniture.  I had them prioritized in my head too as far as “definitely would like to get”, “want to see/might like to get” and “want to see/will wait for later”.  This worked pretty well for the most part!

So to start–the “definitely would like to get”.  I’ve had my eye on this set for a while and since it’s been out a few years, I decided that if I liked it I would go ahead and get it instead of order it for fear it might sell out or they would discontinue it.

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Julie’s Sound Accessories

This set is so cute, it takes me back to when I was growing up, I remember having a record player and a tape recorder that were similar. I tested it out yesterday, so cool, you should have seen the look on my husband’s face when I played back what I recorded on the tape recorder! I think this is a nice set and really a very good deal for the price, I hope it holds up.  If you would like to see these in action, there is a good You Tube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOIeJfIA8Sc    So cute, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly how that darned record player knows which record it is!

On to the “want to see/might like to get”:

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Rebecca trying out the School Desk Set
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“I LOVE IT!”

 

I had seen this set online and really liked it, but wasn’t 100% sure about it, I really wanted to see it in person.  It’s also something that has been out a little while and I decided to go ahead and get it.  I love how well it is made and the accessories that come with it:

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The details on this set are phenomenal, from the little wire rack under the desk to the book, folder and pencil case.  I do think they should at least include a pencil and an eraser for the pencil case though, seems kind of lost without it.  Unfortunately the pencils I made are too long for it, so I guess that just means I need to make some more!  In the reviews on the website someone was complaining about how hard it is to get the dolls to sit right in it and they wont’ stay–I don’t know what in the world they are talking about, I put Rebecca in it to take the photos and when I was done, carried it down the hall with her in it and set it on the floor–it’s been hours ago and she’s still sitting exactly where I put her.  The desk swivels away too, making it super easy to put the doll in, then you just swivel it back to the right position.  I remember when I first looked at this set thinking maybe it was a bit pricey, but now that I have it, I have totally changed my mind.  This would be a great gift item!

And lastly, the item I wanted to look at, but wanted to wait on:

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It’s COCONUT!!!
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“Yes, I am the world’s cutest dog!!!”

I just have to say that I have thought Coconut was the cutest thing ever since they came out with the very first one. The only problem is I was a little spoiled, I not only collect a lot of plush but I also have the first husky dog they came out with many years ago. The first versions of Coconut had some issues that I couldn’t deal with, she put me in mind of a blob, not a dog. But when they redid Coconut this past summer, I was like “OMG MUST HAVE”. I wanted to wait because I really did want to concentrate on things that might be discontinued. However, it was love at first sight when I saw her in the case and all common sense went flying out the window. Now the trick will be keeping her away from my real dog, she thinks anything stuffed is for her, but I put Coconut in the “bedroom” with the girls and so far she’s left her alone.

Some of the other things I looked at but decided to wait on were Kit’s typewriter, the Guitar set, and Kit and Rebecca’s new meet outfits.  I am going to try and order the meet outfits before the holidays as well as Julie’s old one since no one is saying anything on how long these are going to be available.  My credit card needs to recover first though 🙂  I will get Kit’s typewriter and the Guitar set after the new year sometime, I’m not in a huge hurry on either of these and I hardly think they are going to retire that typewriter anytime soon since they just came out with it again.  Sue told me that it was the one thing she was most happy about them bringing back with the BeForever launch, she said you wouldn’t believe how many times she’d been asked about it.  I can see why, it is super cute!

As for the dolls I looked at, I had 6 I wanted to see in person. Right off the bat I eliminated two, two were on the bubble and the other two I really liked, but they are almost identical, just different hair length. I held off on buying a doll because a)I knew I’d already spent more than I had planned b)I kind of wanted to wait until the new doll of the year comes out and c)another reason I’ll tell you about later this week. Hee hee hee!!!

Stay tuned for part 2–all of the store exclusives/souvenirs I picked up 🙂