Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas in October?

Hello everybody. Julie here. My sisters and I decided to write this post together, hence the multicolored text. It's almost Halloween, and we're watching Monster House on TV tonight to get into the mood. Not my idea. I'm kind of glad for the commercial breaks. It doesn't seem nearly as creepy and dramatic when you just watched a commercial for Revlon lipstick, lol.

And speaking of dramatic, we've sure been riding the weather roller coaster this month. Just to give you some idea, Wednesday and Thursday were freakishly warm: temperatures topped out in the upper 70's. Then a cold front blew in overnight to drop our temps 30 degrees. Yesterday and today, it's struggled to make it into the upper 40's. It's definitely feeling more like late October now. And looking like it too. The oaks in the backyard are finally dumping their leaves big time this week.

But enough about the weather. I saw my first Christmas ad this week. It seems crazy when it hasn't even been Halloween yet. Companies sure want consumers to realize that Christmas is "only" 2 months away. Mom went to the mall today (to take advantage of a 30% off total purchase coupon at Kohl's) and reported back that they've already got some Christmas decorations up.

We also got the American Girl Christmas catalogue in the mail a few days ago. Guess who made the cover?

Yeah, that's right. A clone of me in the Purple Party Outfit. And that's not all! Clones of me appear 6 more times in the catalogue! Now that's crazy.

Maybe you should think about a career as a professional model, Bethany.

Ha, ha. I don't think so. But I do look good in purple, don't I?

Focus, girls. We decided to each pick the one item we'd like best from the catalogue. We don't expect to get them, as pricey as they are, but it's fun to see what's out there.
Lily's pick: Caroline's Holiday Gown - $36
(I think all of Caroline's clothes are beautiful. This is my favorite.)

Felicity's pick: Casual Chic Outfit - $34
(Minus the vest. I'm not a vesty kind of person)

Bethany's pick: Casual Chic Outfit - $34
(But I'd probably never wear the hat.)

Julie's pick: Doll Scrapbook - $17.95
(This looks fun, and AG clothes are too big for me.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm No Einstein

Bethany here.

I just finished reading Caught, a book Mom has out from the library. It's the latest book in The Missing Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I know I'm going to love pretty much anything M. P. Haddix writes, and I was not let down by Caught

This series is really cool for someone as into sci-fi stuff as I am. The main character, Jonah, lives with his dad, mom, and 12-year-old sister Katherine. He was adopted when he was a baby, but otherwise he's your average 13-year-old boy. In book 1, Found, he finds out that he's actually one of 24? I think? famous children that have mysteriously gone missing throughout history. Time travelers from the future stole them, reverted them back to babies, and intended to sell them for big bucks to families in the future. (What parent wouldn't want to be able to introduce his son as a boy-king of England or his daughter as the first child born in the mysterious Roanoke colony?) This screwed up time so badly that the futuristic plane carrying the babies got stuck in the 21st century. The babies were adopted out to families, and the whole thing was covered up by the F.B.I. 

When Jonah is 13, time has recovered enough to allow time travelers back to the 21st century. The children are gathered together and told that each must go back and "fix" their time period. 

This book is about Jonah and Katherine's attempt to return Emily (aka Lieserl Einstein, illegitimate firstborn of Albert and Mileva Einstein) to history while also saving her from death by scarlet fever. This book accurately shows Einstein as the flawed yet brilliant man he was. It was another fast-moving, super interesting read!

I will leave you with this real quote that Jonah read in the last chapter as he was puzzling over the deep issues of time paradoxes and fate's role in fixing time: 
We are in the position of a little child
entering a huge library filled with books in
many languages. The child dimly suspects
a mysterious order in the arrangement of
the books, but doesn't know what it is.
That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even
the most intelligent human being toward
- Albert Einstein

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15!

AKA my birthday!

Mom spent the entire weekend up north, so we had free reign of the house for a pre-birthday celebration on Saturday night. We watched my favorite movie, Homeward Bound, followed by Homeward Bound 2. You wouldn't believe how much popcorn we ate! In between the movies, we had a little contest to see who could toss and then catch in their mouths the most pieces of popcorn in a minute. Felicity won with 29. She's gifted. It wasn't much of a contest, but I was starting to get the hang of it by the end. The dogs had a ball finding and eating all the pieces that ended up on the floor. They're like vacuum cleaners when it comes to food on the floor, especially Silver. 

It's been cloudy pretty much all day, but who needs the sun when the sassafras leaves in the backyard are neon yellow?

School went pretty well for a Monday. No Monday tests or quizzes, thank goodness. I passed out mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for my birthday treat. They were a big hit. In choir, the whole class sang Happy Birthday to me. I had absolutely no homework for once: the teachers are always good about that when it's somebody's birthday. Oh, the benefits of being home-schooled.

Mom and I spent some one-on-one time together after school: playing games on InnerstarU, watching AG videos on YouTube, showing me pictures of the horses that are going to be in her next story, and looking at the new AG catalogue that came in the mail today. Now I will go and hang with my sisters for awhile. I think we might all get out our instruments and have a little concert.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ArtPrize 2012

Lily here. Again.

Sadly, ArtPrize 2012 ended on Sunday. It's taken awhile for me to get my act together and post something about it, but now I am finally ready. What is ArtPrize, you may ask? It is the world's largest art competition, and it's held every fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This year, there were 162 venues and 1517 art entries. $360,000 was awarded by public vote and $200,000 was awarded by a "select group of art experts" (quoting ArtPrize's website there, lol). That adds up to $560,000 in prize money!

I didn't go downtown, but I got the scoop on a lot of the best pieces from Mom and helped her vote. It's taken awhile for me to get my act together and post something about it, but now I am finally ready.

These entries came in first, second, and third by popular vote:

First Prize:

Elephants by Adonna Khare
This impressive piece is a huge, ridiculously detailed pencil drawing of a entwined grouping of animals: mostly elephants and primates, but also all kinds of other animals in scaled-down sizes. There is so much going on in this piece - the longer you look, the more you find. That makes it pretty amazing. However, when I said the animals were entwined, I really meant it. The animals are literally sewn to each other. For this reason, I found the piece rather disturbing. It didn't get our vote.

close up on Elephants
Second Prize:

Song of Lift by Martijn van Wagtendok
This entry is a 5-minute long visual experience set to opera music. From a circular structure with 12 arms hang tons of these little "birds" on discrete strings. The birds start off flapping in place gently in various groupings at the beginning of the piece. As the music gets darker and more intense, they all start flapping and then flying around in a circle while the lights spin and change colors. I wish I could have been there to see this in person. Mom said it reminded her a lot of the scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone where there is a room with winged keys flying around. 

Third Prize:
Rebirth of Spring by Frits Hoendervanger
This absolutely gorgeous oil painting was so perfect that it looked like a photograph, only better. It had a prime spot in its venue. I was quite pleased that it did so well.

And now, for my own list of the top 3 best works of art:

Stick-to-it-ive-ness: Unwavering pertinacity; perserverance by Richard Morse
This herd of 9 "stick" horses was installed out in the Grand River, which runs through downtown Grand Rapids. The horses are determinedly making their way upstream together, strengthening and supporting each other. The artist himself struggled to survive stage 4 cancer, which inspired the title for the piece.

"Stick-to-it-ive-ness" made it into the juror's short list for Best Use of Urban Space. In addition, they made it into the Top Ten by popular vote and then came in 4th of that 10 in the second week of voting. 4th through 10th place all received $5,000 each, while 3rd, 2nd, and 1st all received way bigger prizes. So I was bummed to hear that this one didn't at least make 3rd. It got Mom's vote.

Close up on 3 horses

On Thin Ice by Justin La Doux
The far-away picture above doesn't do this work justice, but it's the best one I could find online that shows the whole thing. The animals floating on icebergs are made from a wide variety of recycled materials. These included a mother polar bear and her cub, a snow leopard, an arctic fox, a walrus, 2 seals, a narwhal, a snowy owl swooping down on a rabbit, and a bunch of cute penguins. The fragmented mirrors that made up the "water" around the icebergs gave the piece a really cool icy shine. According to the artist, the purpose of her entry was "to illustrate how everyone can recycle and help Mother Earth retain all her beauty." What a beautiful sentiment. 

The owl was made mostly of silverware!
A narwhal! My favorite part hands down! =)

The Allegory of the Cave by Read Lockhart
I loved this incredible oil painting! The idea of painting a horse from a shadow is awesome in the first place. Its connection to The Allegory of the Cave makes it even more meaningful.

For those of you who don't know, The Allegory of the Cave is a parable from the philosopher Plato's work, The Republic. I'm no philosopher, but here's my probably oversimplified summary of it:

Socrates is the narrator of this story even though the whole thing is written by Plato. Don't ask me why. Anyway, Socrates describes a group of prisoners who have spent their whole lives chained inside a cave facing a bare cave wall. They are restrained so that can't even turn their heads - all they can see is the back wall of the cave. Behind them is a fire. When people and animals pass between the fire and the prisoners, the prisoners see their shadows on the cave wall. The prisoners come to think that the shadows are the real things and the echoes of sound they hear are the real sounds the shadows make. Then, one prisoner is freed from the cave and learns that shadows aren't reality at all, just projected shadows of real things. (Supposedly, philosophers are like this enlightened prisoner.) When the former prisoner returned to the cave and attempted to share his revelations with the other prisoners, he would have been laughed at.

It's interesting to think about what might've happened had the prisoner been able to drag a real horse in front of the other prisoners. Or, of course, paint a horse from its shadow. XD

There were so many other awesome works of art at ArtPrize this year!

If you'd like to quick click through my Photobucket album of my top 25 favorite ArtPrize entries, check out this link: My Top 25

Monday, October 8, 2012

Old Posts

As Lily explained in her post, my sisters and I spent a summer making diary entries on our website. The website's biting the dust, so I was put in charge of copying and pasting those old entries here for the record. Therefore, this post is going to be super long and unwieldy. You have been warned.
~ Felicity

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In less than an hour, it will be officially be fall! I am already getting excited for my birthday. It's coming up in less than a month!

Julie was bumming about summer being almost over in an earlier post. Felicity was with her 100%, and even Bethany seems a bit sad to see the sassafras leaves starting to change in the backyard. I don't know what they're thinking. I love fall! The colorful, crunching leaves, apple cider, brisk air, and the special events like Art Prize, my birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving make it fun. As Bethany has said before, I think we are lucky to live in a place where we get to experience 4 dramatic seasons to keep things interesting. 

Mom's hopefully going to go downtown today to check out some of the art at this year's ArtPrize (an art festival). I sure wish she'd take me, but I guess a young woman carrying an American Girl doll around in downtown GR (where there is not even an AG place) would get some odd looks. Not to mention it's predicted to rain on and off today: dolls and rain don't mix well. I will be content as long as she shows me photos of the best pieces. She says she will let me help her do her online voting, and I'll definitely be taking her up on that.

Since today is so dreary, I don't think we'll be taking a ride outside today. Mom's little sister had a sleepover last night with a friend from school. They're still asleep in the big room in the basement, so my sisters and I have been tiptoeing around ever since we woke up. (I am typing this from my laptop in my bed.) I think I'll get going on my homework now and then do some drawing.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My sisters and I had our pictures taken on our ride on Wednesday. We dressed up in our show clothes for the occasion. I love my new riding outfit - it looks cute and it's comfortable! The only trouble is getting the boots on. Those definitely could've been designed better. You should've seen it all the determination, readjusting, and wiggling it  took to get them on!

Once the boots were finally on, I tacked up Dune and headed into the backyard with my sisters and their horses. It was probably the last 80+ day of the year, so you can guess how much we appreciated our jackets. Lily was rubbing it in a little bit that she was in short sleeves, since she's the only one who doesn't have a riding jacket yet. (Mom's looking into buying her a jacket, but they never seem to be sold separately from the rest of the outfit on eBay.) Then this huge daddy long legs crawled from Sunlight onto Lily, and Lily freaked out. She hates spiders. Mom blew it off her and calmed her down, but after that she wasn't so smug, lol.

Here are some of the best photos. It's too bad Mom didn't get any of Lily and her 8-legged friend. =)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Okay, don't tell Mom, but I snuck onto Carl (her laptop) last night. (All 4 of us dolls were sleeping upstairs. Mom left us up there after taking some photos of us, and the living room couch is comfortable.) She had two documents minimized: Gems Story and It's Elemental, my Dear Watson. Lily saw what I was doing and didn't approve, but then curiosity got the better of even her when Beth and Julie came over and started to read. 

So here's the low down. Gems Story is not about a GEMS church group, or about stolen gems, or anything like that. It's about these 9 "Gemnines": dogs who've been genetically "enhanced" with DNA of various gemstones. The main character is a dog named Emerald. She and the other dogs have to escape from some evil scientists after their master mysteriously disappears. There's a big gap in the story right now about just how it happens, but the dogs somehow make it to a forest. Only problem is that the forest is home to a hostile wolf pack. Then Emerald gets bitten by a wolf, and before they know it, the whole pack has turned Gemnine too. What happens from there? We don't know because it hasn't been written yet. Apparently she was distracted by her newest story, It's Elemental

It's Elemental, my Dear Watson is totally inspired by us! The 4 decent characters who've been introduced so far are a small brunette, a stubborn red head, a peacemaking dark brunette, and a blond who doesn't like breaking rules. So us! 2 of the girls have found this box of 4 toy horses in this ramshackle long-abandoned stable in the woods. The horses totally represent Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. Those 2 girls are definitely not "normal," and who knows what secrets the other 2 are keeping. I so wanted there to be more to read, but then it just ended. Mom'd better get writing! I'm dying to know what she's got planned, but it's not like I can ask her. She won't voluntarily show her stories to anyone.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I don't have anything in particular to talk about, but it seems like I should make a post because all of my sisters have. I heard Julie talking last night about wanting to write a story about the four of us turning into dogs. That got me thinking about what breeds of dogs represent us best. Here's what I came up with, thanks to Google:

Bethany: liver Flat Coated Retriever
Personality: outgoing, friendly, optimistic

Felicity: black-masked red Belgian Malinois
Personality: active, stubborn, confident
Julie: brown and white English Cocker Spaniel
Personality: friendly, quiet, faithful

Lily (me): gold and white English Shepherd
Personality: kind, devoted, bossy

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer is winding its way down. Knowing it won't be here that much longer makes me more appreciative of the sweltering temperatures predicted for this weekend. There's nothing like knowing the end of something is in sight to make me all nostalgic for it. I guess temporariness is part of what makes things like vacations, desserts, puppies, birthdays, and seasons so special. But for me, the temporariness also makes me a little apprehensive deep down. It makes me crave permanence. Permanence is part of what makes God and heaven seem so amazing to me: someone and something infinitely good lasting infinitely long.

Sorry to get all deep on you there, but I was just reflecting on a blurb I watched on the news last night. It was about an atheistic children's camp somewhere in Washington state, and how atheism is growing like crazy in the U.S. At the camp, God's name is symbolically covered up with ridiculous phrases like "spaghetti monster superhero." Kids happily paddle kayaks, play games, and casually discuss atheistic philosophy. I heard a 9 year old girl tell the reporter that she thinks God is like a plan B for believers when they can't handle things themselves. When asked what her plan B was, she said she didn't know. The whole thing was disturbing to me. I felt like I was cringing through the entire segment. Something about it being kids, I guess. And thinking how hopeless and pointless life would seem to me if I'd been brought up like that. 

I am so thankful for freedom of religion in the United States, and I respect people with different religious beliefs from my own. I just wasn't expecting to see atheism promoted in such a light, whimsical way on the news.

Boy, this post is a downer so far. How about I end with this comic that has nothing to do with anything?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Felicity's Thoughts on the London 2012 Summer Olympics

Okay, so I only saw like 5 minutes of Olympic equestrian event coverage on NBC this year. Why do they give so much coverage to some boring sports, like tennis, basketball, water polo, and every qualifying heat for swimming/running/rowing/canoeing/kayaking under the sun, but give basically no equestrian coverage? Sure, the dressage may not be super thrilling, but show jumping and cross country? Come on! Those are so cool to watch! NBC's lame-o excuse for any and all gaps in their coverage? "You can watch live streaming of many events online!" Um, no. Tried it. If your computer isn't set up to communicate with your satellite tv service or whatever, forget it. So I saw a total of 4 horses and riders ride a show jumping course in the rain. That's it. I'm bummed.

Now that I'm done ranting, I will say that it's pretty sweet that the U.S. took home the most medals overall (104!). And I did enjoy the extensively-covered swimming, diving, and gymnastics events. It was also cool that I was able to catch some rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming during the day, even if it was incomplete coverage. I asked mom and my sisters what the highlight of the games was for each of them. Here's what they said:

Mom: The Fab 5 winning gold for the U.S. in the women's team all-around gymnastics event.

Bethany: Kelci Bryant and Abigail Johnston winning the silver in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard diving event. 

Lily: Gabby Douglas winning gold in the women's individual all-around gymnastics event.

Julie: The U.S. winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Medley Relay.

Me: Michael Phelps winning gold medal #16 and beating Ryan Lochte, who got the silver, in the 200-meter individual medley.

What can I say? While we were awed by many Olympic athletes (the Chinese divers, the Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Jamaican runners, and South Africa's sprinter Oscar Pistorius, for example), we loved watching our country's Olympians win medals most of all.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Julie and I have gotten the short end of the stick this year: Mom's been gone on vacation without us on our birthdays. For Julie it was White Lotus. For me it was camping. Talk about unfortunate timing! On the bright side of things, it looked like it was going to rain overnight last Wednesday, so Mom came home for the last hour of my birthday. It was awesome to have a sleepover with her on her enormo bed on my actual birthday.

So what did I do during the rest of my birthday? Well, it sorta starts the night before. We were wishing we were camping like Mom, so we set up the pup tent in the backyard. According to my sisters, it is much easier to do with 4 dolls than 3. It still isn't easy, let me tell you. We craved s'mores after supper, but Mom doesn't like us messing with fire, plus I think campfires are illegal in our suburb. So we had to use the microwave to make our mini marshmallows puff, but it worked. Then we went out to the tent with the dogs and had a fabulous evening of pretending to be hikers hopelessly lost in a vast wilderness. Lily and Julie apparently hardly slept all night long, but I slept like a rock. 

It was so fun to wake up to birds chirping and dogs nosing us on my birthday morning.
After breakfast, we took down the tent and went horseback riding in the backyard. We pretended to be the USA's Olympic eventing team and held our own team eventing competition. We beat the pants off Germany, GB, and New Zealand. =)  Later on, my sisters and I had a little Olympics-watching party in Mom's room since she was gone. During commercial breaks and the more boring bits, I started reading The Host, a book that I found on Mom's nightstand. Felicity had to help me wedge it out from under a few other books in the stack - we almost tipped them over. 

First Post Ever

Hello world. Lily here. Somehow you have managed to stumble upon our blog. We hope you will take a look as long as you are here. 

This summer, my sisters and I decided we wanted to have our own website. That was fun, but once it was made, we realized we had ended up using it mostly to talk about what was happening in our lives. By October, it was getting annoying to wade through all our entries, and a certain person kept forgetting to write the date at the top of her entries. So, I convinced everybody to switch to this blog instead. It will keep everything much more organized. 

As you've probably already figured out from the title, we are dolls. We are also sisters (adopted sisters, obviously) and good friends. There are 4 of us: Julie, Felicity, Bethany, and Lily (me). Being 18 inches tall in a civilization built for people over 60 inches tall isn't exactly a cakewalk. We get around pretty well, though, and we are fortunate enough to have our own space in the basement where furniture is scaled to fit us.

We each have our own page where you can read about each of us and our pets in more detail. We'll probably add some more sections when we get around to it. Maybe a page of stuff that makes us laugh or a section of photo albums. Oh, the possibilities.