Favorite Childhood Toys

For today’s Bloganuary post, the prompt is What was your favorite toy as a child? It’s hard to pick as I had a few favorites. They included Strawberry Shortcake, my Barbies, and any of my baby dolls. But my absolute favorite was a Holly Hobbie doll (Holly Hobbie’s friend, Heather). The vintage Holly Hobbie Heather doll, looked like the one above.

My “Holly Hobbie” doll wasn’t known as Holly Hobbie or Heather, however. I called her “Amy.” My Amy doll went everywhere with me. When I went to my grandparent’s house for the weekend, Amy came with me. My Amy doll was so well loved that my Grandma Light (mom’s mom) performed a bit of a facelift on her because she was starting to fall apart. Amy got a new face (haha) and dress. My Grandma was an awesome seamstress.

I loved her so much for everything she did for us. I was quite worried about how things would turn out with the Amy doll (I said she was my favorite) and my Grandma was so sweet to humor me and take such loving care with something that was so important to me. I actually still have my Holly Hobbie doll. This is what my loving Grandma did for me so long ago. 🙂 Grandma even made me a sack (behind the doll) to carry her, my favorite blanket, and any other toys when I would go to see my dad or other grandparents.

I have some very sweet handmade things from my Grandma, in addition to her facelift on the Holly Hobbie doll. 🙂 She made me clothes and even purses. Here’s one I have saved. Isn’t that sweet?

I was definitely a kid that loved her dolls, barbies, playing house, and anything related to being a mom, having a home, and caring for others. So it’s not surprising that my favorite toys revolved around that.

It was fun to take this little walk down memory lane for #Bloganuary.

Comfort Zones

Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, elaina avalos
Summer of 2017

I just found out a few short minutes ago, that WordPress is holding its first ever “Bloganuary” challenge. They’ll be sharing one writing prompt per day. The goal is to write one post each day, to go along with these prompts. I’m two-days behind, but being late to the party has never stopped me before – so here I am. Today’s prompt is to “write about the last time you left your comfort zone.”

I have many examples of stepping outside my comfort zone. I’m a weird person that likes home and the routine of it. I’m an introvert. I’ll go out of my way to not have to deal with people (because I spend all day being extroverted). But I also love a good adventure. I could pack up and move to Africa or Spain, tomorrow – if I felt it was the right call for me. I’ve pushed myself to leave comfort many times – since my very early 20s. The biggest example of this was in 1999 – when I left behind California, my family, my university (I was still about 2 years shy of getting my Bachelor’s degree), and everything I’d ever known in Southern California, for the East Coast.

I had worked with kids up until that point – as a nanny and a tutor in Orange County, California group homes for foster kids. I loved working with children. To be honest, I never saw myself having a career working with kids because I had such a strong belief I would be a mon. I figured that’s where all my kid energy would be focused. I sometimes wonder if I should have gone into a career working with kiddos. All that to say, I am really good with kids – to include kids from very hard places and with challenging backgrounds. I interviewed for nanny jobs in several places to include Buies Creek, NC, Connecticut, and all over the Bay Area. But it was the Washington D.C, area that won my heart.

U.S. Capital, Elaina Avalos
The last time I was in D.C. I stumbled onto a concert. It was so cool. Serendipity.

So off I went. I took a nanny job living a couple blocks from the “Courthouse” neighborhood in Arlington, VA. I was in love from the moment I arrived. In love with DC, Arlington, and this new little life I had created. I’m a huge history and political nerd & living in that area was a constant source of joy and excitement. I left my comfort zone and went to a place where there’s snow, ice (I had never seen snow fall ever before in my life – let alone drive in snow or ice), and metros to take you where you want to go. I adored most everything about life there.

But it wasn’t easy. I had to learn some lessons the hard way. Aren’t most of us like that in our early 20s? I wasn’t smart about some things. I had a lot to learn. But, I lived. I did things I’d dreamed of doing. I met my church/small group friends at the Tidal Basin for lunch – sitting under blossoming cherry trees. I was at the Supreme Court when big decisions about our 2000 election, impacted our country. I stood on the National Mall the day President Bush was inaugurated (it was a freezing misty rain that day), and I watched fireworks on July 4th, from the Iwo Jima memorial. I would eventually work for a Bush political appointee – but that’s a story for another day.

I will always be proud of myself for leaving my comfort zone and choosing to be uncomfortable some of the time, because it gave me some incredible experiences. I will always be grateful for those. Even with some things about those years I wished I’d done differently, I will never regret taking the leap. I think comfort zones are fine & good – for a while. But shaking ourselves and our lives up a bit, is often where we learn and grow the most.

Arlington Virginia, Elaina Avalos
Looking toward Arlington – near the Lincoln memorial.

How about you? What are some comfort zones you’ve left behind?

But You Won’t Forget Me

Fleetwood Mac is one of my all time favorite bands. This song is my favorite – just behind Sara. In spite of how much I love this song, I had not see this video until recently. The emotion from Stevie as she sings & stares down (haha) Lindsey Buckingham is…phew. She’s an incredible story teller and this video drives home that point (in my opinion). While I am waiting in a ridiculously long line, this song came on and it seemed to fit my mood. “Time cast a spell, but you won’t forget me.”

“So I’ll begin not to love you
Turn around, you’ll see me runnin’
I’ll say I loved you years ago
And tell myself you never loved me no
Don’t say that she’s pretty
And did you say that she loves you?
Baby, I don’t want to know – Oh no
And can you tell me was it worth it?
Baby, I don’t want to know Time cast a spell on you but you won’t forget me
I know I could’ve loved you
But you would not let me Time cast a spell on you but you won’t forget me
I know I could’ve loved you but you would not let me
I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you
Give me just a chance, you’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you”

No one here cares if you go or you stay

Love writes a letter and sends it to Hate
“My vacation’s ending, I’m coming home late
The weather was fine and the ocean was great
And I can’t wait to see you again

Hate reads the letter and throws it away
“No one here cares if you go or you stay
I barely even noticed that you were away
I’ll see you or I won’t, whatever”