Well folks, I must say – our friends at The Animal Kingdom have done it again! My sweet 15-month-old [gasp] is head-over-heels in love with her latest “friend” from the shop…
Last month, when Miss Lindsay asked Nora and me if we’d be interested in jotting some thoughts down about a new[er] item in the store, I was instantly elated. I had no idea what item she had in mind, but like dark chocolate with a fine wine - Miss Lindsay has a crazy cool way of knowing with which plush pal (or cool gift) any particular child will pair with perfectly. And she also knows moms…
My husband might use stronger vocabulary to describe my tendencies, but if you know me, you know that I am a self-proclaimed “neat freak.” I’m sure most veteran parents and caretakers can agree – life with a toddler is gloriously m-e-s-s-y. So when I learned that we would be bringing home a new friend who is unique, bold, soft, huggable, AND easily washable, I was over the moon.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Lena…
At 12” tall, Lena has quickly become the newest member of our family, accompanying us to the grocery store, restaurants, play groups, car rides, runs with mom… you see where I’m going with this. Because of her simple, pillow-like design (no strings, bows, buttons, etc. that may pose choking/strangulation hazards to a toddler), we made the personal decision to allow Lena to become a part of Nora’s nap time and sleep routine as well. There’s nothing quite so sweet as hearing your “baby” chit-chat away on the monitor, sharing stories with her favorite plush personality at the conclusion of nap time.
Produced by the North American Bear Company (a creative mom-owned-and-run business enterprise), Lena is one spunky character in a very cool, quirky collection called Sophie & Lili dolls. Sophie, Lili, Mimi, Lena, Joy, and Gigi are available at The Animal Kingdom, each with their own unique style and some in a variety of different outfits. For Nora, we set the dolls up in a parade and allowed her to choose which one spoke to her. After a few elimination rounds, Lena was the doll that wound up in her arms. For mommy, it was fun to read the profile-like tag that accompanies each doll. Coincidentally, Lena’s tag let us know that she loves to swing a baseball bat, play in the dirt and mud, and chow down on jelly beans and ketchup. It’s like Jennifer Vallez – mom, artist, and creator of Sophie & Lili dolls – created this doll and her sassy, rough-and-tumble personality specifically for my baby girl… and my baby girl knew it!
After a month of toting, grabbing, biting, hugging, throwing, sitting on, sleeping with, eating near, washing, and thoroughly loving Lena, I can’t come up with single negative thing to write about our Sophie & Lili doll. My only complaint is that we didn’t purchase one sooner! My recommendation comes with zero hesitation and an enthusiastic round of applause for Barbara Isenberg of North American Bear Company, Jennifer Vallez of Sophie & Lili, and The Animal Kingdom’s Williamson family. Bravo! Thank you for promoting [clean!] creative play in fun, new ways.
The Animal Kingdom has given me the honor of extending a fabulous offer to my readers! If you stop in the store to get your very own Sophie & Lili doll, tell them “Katy sent me” and receive $2 off each doll purchase! Prefer to shop online? Simply enter "KATYSENTME" at checkout for your $2 discount! This offer is available through March 31, 2014.
Katy Stager, proud mom and wife, is a fan of all things "active." She's a marathon running, swimming, cycling, hiking, art loving, community volunteering, book reading, Instagraming, Animal Kingdom shopping kind of mom who does it all with her little girl in tow. A Bloomsburg University grad, she now studies homemaking, successful childrearing, and thriftiness through the school of life's successful parenting program.
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