Saturday, September 13

Loving the Lalaloopsy Girls!



A few weeks ago, the Bee Girls were introduced to the Lalaloopsy Girls




We're pretty familiar with Lalaloopsies, as both girls have received Lalaloopsy dolls for Christmas for several years in a row. But! Lalaloopsy Girls are a whole new line of "fashion dolls" aimed at slightly older girls. They have their own school (the LaLa Academy!) and everything.  



It's safe to say that the Bee Girls absolutely love the Lalaloopsy Girls. 


I'm pretty wary of "brand name" toys. I've managed to avoid Bratz and Monster High toys altogether. (Plus, my girls have pretty discerning taste. They won't play with no junk!)
I have to say, The Lalaloopsy Girls are pretty awesome. Each Girl comes with a little animal friend. One of the Girls we got has magic color-changing hair. Another came with a dress AND pajamas. The Girls are sturdy enough to hold up under my girls' rough love, and they come without any pre-determined play... which means my girls get to make up whatever situations they want, and their imaginations have run wild! 


These dolls have become the centerpieces of my girls' playtime together. They've made up elaborate back-stories, they've created entire dioramas for the Lalaloopsy Girls to inhabit... they are incorporating so much free play into the dolls, and I'm loving it. 



The Bee Girls put the Lalaloopsy Girls to bed each night. 



I can't wait for the entire line of Lalaloopsy Girls to be released. I love watching my girls play with them. I've even joined the Lalaloopsy Insiders, a sort of club for Lalalovers with all kinds of intel and news about the Loopsyverse.



My next post will be all about the adventures of using the Lalaloopsy Baking Oven!!
Won't you join me on #TeamLalaLoopsy!?








I have received this product from MGA as part of their toy testerprogram.

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between my blog and MGAE. This could include MGAE providing me w/ content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Tuesday, September 9

Loss. Or: Why Friendship Smells Like Old Books

I tried to explain to my husband how the loss of a person I hadn't spoken to in almost exactly nine years had rattled me to my bones. 
It wasn't that he was unmoved, or cold, or lacked sympathy. It's just that he'd never really known her. Or, more, he'd never known her + me.

****

She and I met in fifth grade. We disliked each other almost immediately. I was small and quiet and nearly invisible (yes, there was such a time), and she was large and loud and demanded an audience. She knew who she was, and I wanted to be anybody other than myself. 
In sixth grade, our science teacher paired us up for the year. I don't remember the switch from hate to love, but isn't that how all romantic comedies work? One moment you can't stand the sight of each other, and the next moment well-whaddaya-know, you're inseparable. 
We rode the bus to her house after school, and I marveled that it stopped right in front of her mailbox (I'd never been on a school bus in my life). I met her big, loud parents and her floppy, useless hound. 
We giggled about boys. 
We cruised the mall. 
We DIY-ed facemasks. 
We were in band- she a first-chair flute, I a nearly-last chair trumpet. 
We watched age-inappropriate movies. 
We got snowed in. 
We at spaghetti next door at her aunt's house. 
We held garage sales. 
We snuck into the kitchen and mixed a cup of her parents' red wine with a cup of our red Kool-Aid.
(We never drank red wine again.)

****

When I moved school districts the next year, I refused to utter a single cheer for my new team. I secretly rooted for her school during the football game. I spent every single Friday night of seventh grade, and most of eighth at her house. 

We slowly, slowly, imperceptibly grew apart. Not even apart, just away. Same trunk, spreading branches. Every so often we'd stretch and our leaves would touch, and we'd know things were fine. 

I started rooting for my new football team. 
She started smoking weed. 
I was happy, and loud, and knew just who I was. 
She was miserable, and losing sight of herself. 
I took off for college.
She took drugs I'd never heard of. 

****

She called to tell me she was pregnant. I sighed in relief, thinking this would settle her down. She'd grow up. She'd straighten up. 
On the day she went into labor, I walked in the delivery room and told her to show me how to do it right, because I was next in line. We were twenty. 

Her daughter is six months older than my son. I'd dreamed that motherhood would draw her back to me, back to her senses, back to sobriety— instead it sent her crashing. Back to booze, back to drugs, back to choices I couldn't bear to watch. 

***

Some months later I saw her at the mall with her mother. "I'm getting married!" I squealed, as I showed them my ring. "Will you be my bridesmaid?!" It came out before I could even weigh the consequences. But it didn't matter. She looked good. She looked healthy. I wanted her with me at the front of the church. 

We made it all the way to the rehearsal dinner. Looking on it now, it's clear she was still using. She slumphed around the church. She complained about the food. About where she had to stand in line. About how the other bridesmaids weren't including her. When we left the church to go back to my house for the night, just us girls, she "got lost" on the interstate and found herself in the hotel room of one of the groomsmen. 

She never showed up at the church the next day. 

I haven't seen or talked to her since. 



*******


I tried to explain to my husband that it didn't matter that I hadn't spoken to her in nine years. "She's a book I know by heart!" He looked at me the way you watch a wounded bird trying to flap it's way into the sky. 

Without even trying very hard, I can smell the medicine cabinet in her bathroom, hear the hardwood floors creak in her parents' house, taste the Schwan's pierogies her dad loves so much. I can still pick out the dog treats her pup favored if I see them on a grocery store shelf. Her life was a book I'd memorized, even if I hadn't opened it in nearly a decade. 


There are some friendships that are shiny, new, spine-uncracked best sellers. They're fun, but haven't been tested. 

There are some whose covers you recognize, whose faces you recall fondly, but not forcefully. 

Then there are the friendships that, even after sitting on a dusty shelf, have the power to move your soul by title alone. 


***

I have promised to visit her daughter, to introduce her to my son, to tell her stories of how we sat them in side-by-side swings and imagined that they'd get married some day. 
I will tell her daughter how I'd marveled that her mother could play the piccolo so fast and so well. 
I'll tell her that her mother always had better shoes, better skin, and better hair than I had. 
I'll tell her how much her fifth-grade self looks like her momma's fifth-grade self. 
I'll tell her that I loved her mother, and that I'll never get over her loss, and that she'll always be one of my favorite stories.