Monday, May 27, 2013

Farewell, Dolly!

Dolly Bear. 
This photo was taken in May of 2012, after Dolly had a close call with being lost at Meijer's.
 She had been turned in to Customer Service, slightly the worse for wear,
with shopping cart tracks to mark her harrowing day.
For the past year and a half or so, there has been one constant in Ellie's evolving life:  Dolly Bear.

This week, we lost Dolly.  I feel terrible, because when we headed out last Monday afternoon, I realized Ellie didn’t bring Dolly to the car, so I ran back inside to get her.  WHY!!! So I know she had her when we headed to the bank.  The kiddos were rather cranky at the bank, and I tried to placate them first with books, and then finally with cell phones.  That one worked.  (Thanks, Aunt Sandy!) I remember hearing Ellie say she wanted to look at the pictures on it.  I don’t remember if she was still holding Dolly at that point, but my hope was that she dropped her there. 

After the bank, we headed to the courthouse.  They were closed, but we did get out of the car and walked around the block looking for the door before we realized that.  We circled back around it on our first search, then I got out and walked it again that night, but no Dolly there.

After the courthouse we went to Walmart.  For a few little things.  Like deodorant, dog food, garden fencing (which I didn’t find), cupcake liners, fruit, eggs, and milk.  Do you recognize where that takes you in Walmart?  Yep, everywhere.   And then for good measure, we went to the Subway in Walmart to get some cookies and water.

I didn’t realize Dolly was missing until I put Ellie in her carseat.  So I loaded the kids back in the cart and we went back in and retraced our steps.  Twice.  Ellie called out for Dolly in the store the same way she calls for Aunt Sanny at the park.  At least she didn’t get too teary.  And we went to Customer Service.  They have our name and number and a description of Dolly.  The customer service person said sometimes things like that aren’t found for a day or so, until maintenance finds them under shelves, etc.  From the look of the shelves that I looked under, I don’t think they sweep those out every day.

Ellie actually did pretty well without Dolly until bedtime.  And she tried to be a big brave girl even then. We said a special prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help her to get to sleep and to help us find Dolly. It took her a while to go to sleep, and she woke up and cried a bit several times, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.

I called Walmart every day last week to check for Dolly, and she hasn't been found.  She wasn't at the bank, or anywhere on the Courthouse grounds, and I think we have all come to accept that she is not going to be found.
Here are a some flashbacks through Ellie's life with Dolly Bear.

Although not the first time Ellie played with Dolly, this is the first photo I could find of her, taken in October 2011.

Traveling companion on a trip to Columbus, March 2012
Playing at home, May 2012
Mother's Day 2012

Ellie's first birthday.  Dolly helps her open presents.

Lake Erie boat tour, July 2012

Wheelbarrow ride with Grandpa Selvage, Sept. 2012
Dolly makes a great Peek-A-Boo aide, October 2012

Halloween 2012

Just chillin' at home. Nov 2012.

Christmas Eve 2012
Dolly goes with Ellie to visit Jesus, Christmas 2012

Cleveland Zoo, January 2013

Out to breakfast with Megan, February 2013

Tumbling with Rachel, February 2013

Playing with the new letters, March 2013

Taft playground, March 2013

Service doll for the blind, April 2013

All the toys to choose from, and Dolly is the pick, April 2013

Riding the Delta Queen, Florence Mall, April 2013

First flight, Florence Mall, April 2013

Brookside park playground, May 2013.
You may not see Dolly in this picture, because she was too slippery for Ellie to hold...

but she wasn't far behind!
Papa's graduation, May 2013

We once tried to get a back-up Dolly Bear.  A friend had pointed out that since Ellie was getting so attached, we should pick up a second bear just like her and use them interchangeably so that if one ever got lost it wouldn't be a problem.  Easier said than done.  First was the problem in finding one.  Family Dollar, Dolly's point of origin, had stopped carrying them.  I called every store within 50 miles to see if they had any left in stock, without luck.  I searched on ebay, and paid triple her original price to have one shipped.  (ebay has everything!)
Ellie was NOT amused.  She rejected the back-up immediately and forcefully.  One night as I was putting Ellie to bed, I slipped the new dolly into her hand so I could take the original and launder it.  She was asleep, but roused enough to sniff the new doll and grunt a rejection before she fell back to sleep.  That night I was awakened around 2 a.m. by a loud howl from Ellie.  I went into her room and she was screaming, "Dolly, Dolly!".  I picked up the new dolly and handed it to her.  She took it and screamed at me and threw it so hard that it hit the opposite wall, 10 feet away.  I went and got "real Dolly" and on handing it to her she sniffed it, rubbed its arms to make sure it felt right, and fell instantly back to sleep.
Ellie is recovering from her loss, and she has now taken over Beary Doll (a blue blanket bear that belongs to Tommy) for naptime and night time.  She doesn’t carry him around like she did with Dolly though.
A few nights ago she was crying for Dolly (the first time in several days that the name had come up) and I noticed that she picked up Beary and was sniffing him and feeling his arms and testing him out.  Tommy noticed too and threw a fit.  I pulled him aside and reminded him of how much she loved Dolly and how we can’t find her and I asked him if he would share Beary.  He went and handed Beary to Ellie, and although he has played with him during the day he has willingly let him go with Ellie for 3 nights in a row.  In fact, after I put Ellie to bed tonight empty handed, she cried for Beary, not Dolly, and Tommy took him and handed him to her and gave her a kiss.  He is a very sweet brother. J
Interesting to note that she still throws “Fake Dolly” down when it is offered to her. J

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pomp and Circumstance

On Saturday, May 11th, Tom received his
Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Ashland University.
Tom was honored at an EagleDoc breakfast honoring this year's four EdD graduates at Ashland University.
Tom with his advisor Dr. Carla Edlefson, and the other "surviving" member of his cohort, Dr. Jessie Tu.
This beautiful carved eagle was a gift from the program.
After the breakfast, the kiddos and I headed to the stadium
to wait in the rain for the graduation ceremony to begin.
Amazingly well behaved, at least while the Teddy Grahams held out.
Grandma and Grandpa were there to help entertain.
They were also handy babysitters when I ran to
the front to try to snap a few pictures of Tom.

Dr. Edlefson prepares the hood.

Oops! Dr. Edlefson accidently knocked off Tom's cap.
That's the risk when you can't wear bobby pins. :)

Hood and cap intact.

A very happy Dr. Selvage shaking Dr. Edlefson's hand.

Accepting his diploma.

Congratulations, sweetheart, for a job very well done!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Playgrounds and Animal Parks.

We enjoyed a super fun-filled visit with my sister Sandy and niece Rachel this week.  I invited them to guest post, but alas, they declined.  They should be warned that this means I'll use (and caption) any pictures I want, any way I want!  :)
Taft Elementary School playground, Wednesday May 1st.
Ellie finally conquered the curly slide.  She started out sitting,
in a feet first position, but by the time she landed...

Tommy enjoys a ride down with his cousin Rachel.
 Rolling Ridge Animal Park, Millersburg OH
Thursday, May 2nd.
Zedonks. A cross between zebra and donkey. Kind of homely.

Eland.  Or in the words of our wagon driver, "bucket thief". 
He warned us that these guys will be very determined to
take the whole bucket, not just a handful of feed.


Sandy won the struggle with this eland by keeping the feed bucket
inside the wagon, so he couldn't get the leverage to steal it from her.

I'm not sure what this animal was.  Did it have the scratchy tongue or the slimy one?

Pot-bellied pigs.

If I'm not mistaken, Tommy gave this feed a taste test.

This little guy has a head full of allergy goo and is really not
feeling well, but he has a fun time in spite of his challenge.

Scottish Highland Cattle

Buffalo.  Notice the nursing calf.
White Buffalo.  It didn't come close enough to feed or pet.

Water Buffalo and Ostrich racing to the wagon for lunch.

How far away from this bird can I stay while feeding him?
The ostrich won the race and Sandy learned that they can be rude when hungry.

Watusi cow and her 3-week old and extremely thin calf.

Feeding the mama

Nilgai Antelope


Japanese Sika deer

I kept trying to focus on the alpacas, but couldn't get
my lens to cooperate. Good thing. :)
For some reason this picture reminds me of "The Lion King", which is odd,
because there are no lions here.  Or warthogs either.
Water Buffalo.  Do you think she uses a curling iron on those horns?

Thank you ma'am.  That's right kindly of you. :)

Wildebeest, or Gnu.  This guy didn't come close to the wagon.

I think this llama looks like it is wearing Easter Bunny ears.

Llama, Llama, Red Pajama

Texas Longhorn

Up close you can see just how this guy got his name. 
I seriously thought he might hook a horn on that pole and drag
the wagon to the ground.  Bet he could have if he wanted to!

Zebra.  So much prettier than the zedonk!

Rachel petting it, Sandy feeding it.

Uh-oh!  What's over Aunt Sandy's shoulder?  Is it that pesky ostrich again?

Nyah, it's just a mama Brahma.

And her husband Mr. Brahma

Mama Brahma holds her tongue aside so that Rachel can just pour in the feed.

I hope she is just licking her lips, not sticking out her tongue at us. :)

Hmm... with that look, I''m just not sure!

Which is more exciting, petting a zebra or riding a rhinoceros? 
With the wagon tour over, we take a break for lunch before the petting zoo.


Rachel's finding out just how much goats like to eat.

And eat.

And eat.

And eat.

And eat!  Tommy just watched the rest of us feed the goats. 
He held onto his carrot, neither tasting it himself, nor sharing it.
He still had it in his hot little hand, quite a bit worse for wear,
when we got home a few hours later.

This monkey is eating a fruit loop that Sandy tossed in to him. 
The park had little vending machines like bubble gum machines that doled
out about 5 pieces of cereal per quarter.  Next time I'm bringing my own!

The monkeys are in the petting zoo area, but cannot be handled directly.
  Instead, you can shoot fruit loops down a tube into their cage.  As soon as he
saw us approach, this little guy waited at the end of the tube for his snack.

This friendly parrot kept shouting out "hello" from the tree above us.

Back to the ducklings!

Sandy and Rachel really fell in love with these little guys.
They named them Daphne and Gus.

Or was that Gus and Daphne?

I'm pretty sure this one is Gus.

I promise that Tommy is not squeezing a duck.
He is holding his puppy tail and his carrot.

 I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

We stopped on the way home to have some ice cream to celebrate Rachel's birthday which is on May 4th.

I'm planning to forget all about my birthday, which is a few more days away.

A little snuggling on the couch after a long day never hurt anyone.

Sandy promises to bring my children into the 21st century.
She is showing them how to use her iPhone.

Brookside Park Tot Lot, Friday May 3rd.
I'm trying to coax Ellie into the tube.  She's not buying.

Tommy goes for it!

Well okay, if it didn't eat him alive, I guess I'll try it too.

Aunt Sandy passes through Dolly Bear, who was making the trip a little too slippery for Ellie at first.

Canadian Geese.  They hissed at us to warn us away.
We were going to feed the ducks, but I forgot the bread.

What a great visit!  Thanks for coming, Rachel and Sandy!
We can't wait to see you again. :)