OK, so the above images aren't crystal
clear...chalk it up to being a computer dork.  I
couldn't figure out how to take a screen shot, or
even save and paste, so I resorted to what I do
know how to do...take pictures.  I took the
Build-A-Bear email, made it big on my monitor,
and took a photo of it.  There you go, posting for

The important thing isn't how the information got
here, its what it says.  The Build-A-Bear
company has a secondary company, Friends 2B
Made.  They are soft-sculpture dolls that you go
and pick out, stuff, and dress ~ just like the
creatures at BAB.  My girls are crazy for them!  
They are often-requested owie toys and
birthday/Christmas gifts.  Avalon even has a
wheelchair for hers!  

Before I go on to describe the cool thing we did
today, I think it "bears" mentioning (haa haa, I
crack me up!) again, that Avalon has a
BAB/Friends 2B Made
WHEELCHAIR.  Isn't that
fantastic?!  You can't imagine how excited she
was to get a wheelchair for her dolly that's just
like hers.  It lets she and Ambrosia play act their
real lives, where not all kids are the same, and
not all kids are perfect.  

I am a HUGE fan of toy companies recognizing
that differently-abled kids exist.  In all fairness, I
need to point out that American Girl dolls also
have a wheelchair you can buy for their dolls.  
So do My Twinn dolls.  However, as much as the
girls wish over them, AG and MT dolls aren't in
our budget, and the Target knock-offs they do
have - don't have a comparable wheelchair.  
Maybe someday.  Also, Barbie has had
wheelchair dolls for years, and should be
celebrated for it.  Even though Avalon only
needs her chair when we're out, the fact is, its a
part of her life, and its wonderful when toy
companies acknowledge that our kids are just as
normal as those with legs that do what they're
supposed to.

OK, I'll step off my soapbox now!  ;-)  Back to my
earlier Bragbox about Build-A-Bear.  The email I
posted above, was about an event that really
blew my socks off.  We were able to go to
Friends 2B Made and make dolls that will be
donated to our local Children's Hospital to be
given out as "owie" toys.  I think that's just about
the coolest thing ever!  As you can see in the
email, it offered the ability to do that "while
supplies last".  We didn't want to possibly miss
out on the opportunity, so we made sure we were
at the store, right at opening.  As it turns out, my
girls made the first two dolls of the day.  We
proudly took the picture of the carci in the bottom
of the Donation Box.  I'm pleased to also report,
that by the time we left the store, the first
Donation Box was nearly half full!!  OK, getting
teary just thinking about it....

I know this may seem small, after all - the
company could have just made the dolls and
donated them - the end result would have been
the same.  Except...it wouldn't have been.  When
you make dolls/creatures in a BAB store, there is
a whole process to it.  You pick out a heart for
your friend, and go through a whole process with
that heart - to make sure your friend has a
happy life.  You hold it in your hand and tap it, so
she has a good "heart".  You put in on your ear,
so she'll keep your secrets.  You rub it on your
funny bone, so your friend will be funny.  You rub
it on your tummy, so your friend will never go
hungry.  You put in on your forehead, so she's
smart.  You put it on your nose...but we can't
remember why.  You jump up and down, so your
friend has good energy.  And finally, you kiss the
heart, so your friend is loving.  When all of this is
done, you put the heart in the creature and help
to "stuff" it, and bring it to life.  

Sure, the company
could have simply stuffed
dolls and shipped them off.  But...they wouldn't
have had
heart.  These dolls were created with
all the love and attention that girls give their own
friends.  They poured hope and love into their
creations, and I simply refuse to believe that is
meaningless.  The children who will receive
these friends are, in essence, being hugged by
the children who took the time to make them.  
Can you see the beauty of that simple act?  If
you could have stood and watched the group of
girl scouts lining up to make dolls, discussing
what they would need to make their future
owners happy...you would, indeed, have seen
the special magic of the day...it was palpable.  
Maxine Clark, you have, again, given my heart
wings.  I thank you, my friend.  Your open heart
and generous spirit are true gifts to the children
of the world.

As you can see in the photos, we stuck around
BAB and F2BM and spent some time, and
more-than-we-should-have money.  I'm sure you
all remember our beloved newest family member,
Hawgs.  While Hawgs has become quite the
regular on family adventures - he has also
become a bit of a problem.  Anam LOVES
Hawgs.  Anam stalks Hawgs, and thereby irritates
the livin' snot out of Hawgs' proper owner,
Princess Avalon.  This has become a bit of a
battleground.  To ease tensions, and attempt a
cease-fire, Daddy and I agreed that we needed
to introduce another monkey into the mix.  As
you can see from the pictures, Mr. Sleepy-pants
was less-than-impressed with the process.  
Thankfully, I can report that he has fallen in love
with his new buddy, and we can successfully use
him as a substitute for the sainted Hawgs.  
Therefore, it is with great fanfare that I introduce
to you, "Ah-Ah Monkey", little brother to Hawgs.  
(Anam can't say his own name, he calls himself

You can see another one of our "finds" in the
background of several of the pictures.  We were
THRILLED to find a motorcycle for Hawgs!  
That's right, our motorcycle monkey can actually
"ride" now.  Its the cutest thing you've ever seen.
 Its a Harley motorcycle through and
through...and will undoubtedly be the subject of
future photos.  

It was at this point, that I got completely
hornswaggled.  Oh yeah, bamboozled in the
worst way.  Two very sneaky, conniving, and
darned-cute little girls twisted my arm and
convinced me they
needed new friends to add to
their clan.  I admit it, I'm a mush.  Considering the
rotten Summer these girls have had, it really
didn't take too much pestering.  The truth is, we
only buy our kids toys at birthdays and holidays.  
We often only step in a Toys R Us once or twice
a year.  We're pretty pathetic consumers!  The
girls still play with things that were handed down
from Aurora, or that they received years ago.  
When our kids love something, its pretty
permanent.  Their F2BM dolls are well-loved and
often used.  Adding a new friend didn't seem like
too big of a request.  Besides, I like them as
much as they do!  The accessories just crack me

So, each girl made a new blue doll.  They chose
the fabulous blue witch outfits that matched their
dolls, and spent the rest of the day marveling at
their good fortune.  I'm sure several of you are
currently thinking I'm simple, that I've been "had"
by the marketing machine of BAB.  They enticed
me into the store to "do something good", then
got me to spend lots of money.  I hate to tell you,
but you're wrong.  We'd been discussing the
need to build a monkey, long before the fated
email came.  Truly, the email just helped me
choose the day to go.  And as for the other
dolls?  Again, the girls have had an AWFUL
Summer, I'd been wanting to do something
special for them.  So no, the marketing
department didn't win.  The fact is, I like
spending money at BAB, its a company I can feel
good about supporting.  We have very few
dollars to toss around as we please, so I'm
extremely focused on how I use them.  Making
my girls bouncy with pure joy, while actively
supporting an American company that gives a
great deal to children's charities.  I can't help but
see the morning as a complete win-win situation.

After BAB, I took the kids apple picking.  
Dad-blast it, I even had the camera - and didn't
take a single picture!  Rats.  Fear not though, we
will go back.  We are one apple-pickin' obsessive
bunch!  Years ago, we discovered an incredible
orchard close to Columbus, and we've been
single-handedly trying to support them ever
since!  You seriously haven't lived until you've
eaten an apple fresh off the tree...its simply
Avalon's Army of Angels
September 13, 2008
Build-A-Bear and apple picking
In the last entry, I tried to educate you a little bit
about Childhood Cancer, and I tried to get you
fired up to do a little something for our kids.  
Oddly enough, we spent part of our day putting
our effort where our mouth is - and would like to
share something pretty wonderful with you.  Old
followers of this site, may remember one of my
very favorite stories from Avalon's
chemo-therapy days.  The entire story can be
found in the  
Build-A-Bear Angel
section of this website.  If you read the entry, I'm
pretty sure you'll agree that Build-A-Bear, and its
founder-bear, Maxine Clark, are doing more than
their fair share for cancer kids.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from
Build-A-Bear that made me weepy it was so
wonderful.  I'm going to copy and paste the entire
email below in the yellow box.  I'll continue my
rantings after it.  
My little Buckeyes with their
friends for the hospital.
Introducing..."Ah Ah Monkey"
Standing proudly by the donation box.
 Gee, can you tell its Football
Saturday in Columbus, OH?
You can't have a naked monkey.
The first two hospital friends!
The are pictures of the stuffing
process.  The pics were taken while
the girls were making their blue girls.