Rae loves-- I repeat, LOVES --stuffed animals. Multiple times a day, she can be found going around her room giving them all kisses, over and over. Her obsession of all things plush and stuffed definitely comes from me. As a kid, I collllllllected stuffed animals. And I loved them so. I don't know, I think the movie Toy Story really sunk in and I wanted all my toys, but especially my stuffed animals, to know how much I loved them. I would sneak them in my backpack to school, bring them on grand adventures to the park, and even let them join me in the bath (if I needed a bath, they surely must as well #logic).
I could never bear to part with my stuffed animals, and up until I moved away to college, they sat lovingly on a shelf in my room. It's definitely not something to brag about, being 18 and still having fluffy stuffed bears and dogs on display, right next to the perfume and textbooks. But it's true. The thought of giving them away just seemed too harsh. After all they had done for me, what if they thought I didn't love them?! Seriously though, Toy Story traumatized me.
Anyways, before Rae's existence was even a thought, I had already started building up her stuffed animal collection. Panda and Ellie the Elephant joined the family when we lived in Knoxville, before I was even pregnant. And they now have a sleepover with Rae every night in her crib. On top of that, on my last trip to Idaho I was able to bring all my old childhood stuffed animals back home to AZ.
I am convinced that there's no such thing as too many stuffed animals! Which is why, when Build-a-Bear came out when I was just barely too old for stuffed animals (but is that even a thing, toooo old for stuffed animals?!), my eyes filled with hearts like they do on the cartoons. I've walked through the store many a'time, but never actually built me a bear. I know, deprived. Seeing other kids (7+ years younger than me) walking around the mall with those cool boxes that you get to bring your new friend home in…I was the definition of covetous.
Sooooo…..(get ready, this is the whole reason for the post! #4paragraphslater) when Rae's uncles and Grandma asked Rae if she wanted to go build-a-bear last week when they were here, I about died. It took everything in me not to start jumping up and down, singing, "Yes! Definitely! Right now, lets go! Run!!" Instead I was all, "Oh that might be fun. Rae would probably like it. If we have time."
So we went, and I documented the whole thing, duh. It was as great as I always imagined it would be. The boys helped Rae pick out which animal she wanted. She picked the bunny, because it's stinkin' cute, but also because it's the same one Auntie Mads in the Philippines got when she was younger, and that won her over. We wanted her to be a floppy bunny, perfect for cuddling, and she's just that. Rae loved picking out the heart, and then we all kissed it before sewing it up in the bunny. It was my favorite part of the whole thing, but Rae was quite concerned when the heart disappeared. Grandma helped Rae pick out a ballerina dress and ballet shoes, which are more than perfect. Somewhere in there we made the mistake of giving bunny a 'bath' in the store, which really just consists of a rather loud bathtub-looking table that blows air. It scared Rae half to death, and she refused to hold bunny after that.
Welcome to the family, Bunny Ballernia. We already love you so.