Hartian Family Vacation Day 8

We were able to rent our condo for one more night, and so we decided to actually leave tomorrow instead of today. Yay!!!!! Warm weather for another day! Anyway, we left for the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. They were beautiful! Apparently, Edison and Ford were best friends. So much so that Ford moved his family’s winter abode to the place right next to Edison’s. After touring the estate, we went to The Island Cow for lunch/dinner (we left our condo really late….), then we went on an alligator hunt at the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. There was a trail that you could follow and see alligators, no barriers or anything in between you and them. We saw one as we were walking over a bridge. He was sleeping, but kept opening his eye to look at us. We left and went to the beach that was by the Sanibel Light House. We didn’t go swimming, but we walked along the beach as the sun was setting. The sun looked so cool! I did a photoshoot with Tenney, and we left right before it got really dark. We then went and ate at Love Boat Ice Cream – can you tell we really enjoyed the ice cream from there?  Then we came home, cleaned up all the shells we collected (there were a lot), did some packing, because we actually are leaving tomorrow, read our Bibles, and went to bed.

I think this is Ford's house.
I think this is Edison’s house.
This is the actual furniture that the Edison family used.

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This is the pantry.
This is the pantry.
The flowers and plants were gorgeous.
The flowers and plants were gorgeous.

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The mangrove trees were so cool and I really wanted to climb them!
The banyan trees were so cool. I really wanted to climb them!
This is too funny.
This is too funny.

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Inside one of the rooms.
Inside one of the rooms.

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These were some of the meals we got. They were huge! (We really need to remember to take pictures before we start eating!)
These were some of the meals we got. They were huge! (We really need to remember to take pictures before we start eating)!
This is the sign at the beginning of the trail. It's kind of freaky to think that were looking for alligators with nothing between us and them.
This is the sign at the beginning of the trail. It’s kind of freaky to think that were looking for alligators with nothing between us and them.


The alligator was close. This photo is zoomed a little, but he wasn't that far away.
The alligator was close. This photo is zoomed a little, but he wasn’t that far away.
I did a photoshoot with Tenney on the beach. These are the raw images (no editing or anything like that). Enjoy!
I think this one is my favorite.

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The History Of American Girl

Around 14 million American Girl dolls have been sold in the world, but most of the girls who own them have absolutely no clue as to how the company started; can you believe that?  So, I gathered as much info about the company as I could from friends, myself, and online and tried to explain it as well as I could. I have included a little about the woman who started the company, the first dolls, and the changes made throughout the company’s history. The result is what you see here.

Pleasant Rowland was the woman who started American Girl, originally named Pleasant Company. The reason she started the company was she was looking for dolls as a gift for someone and couldn’t find any dolls that were for girls ages eight to twelve years old. Also what inspired the idea, was a visit to Colonial Williamsburg.  She thought that girls would like to learn history with dolls from the perspective of other girls nine to ten years old.

The first dolls made in the line were Historical Characters released in 1986.  Samantha Parkington, a brown-haired, brown-eyed orphan with bangs, who’s story was set in Victorian times, Kirsten Larson, a blond-haired, blue-eyed Swedish girl with bangs, who’s story is set in the time period when people were moving from Europe to the New World for a better life, and Molly McIntyre, a blue-eyed, brown-haired girl on the home front with bangs and glasses, who’s story is set during World War II. They all were made with the exact same face molds. In case you didn’t know some dolls have different face molds. Try comparing Josephina’s face to Kit’s. Originally their bodies were white, which changed when Felicity (fourth doll, released in 1991) came out, because of the cut of her dress. The dolls all came in boxes, and to my knowledge, with their first book. When the original dolls were released, they each had only three books and some of their collection. The rest of their series:  clothes, accessories and Samantha’s and Molly’s friends, came out later at different times.

American Girl has made several changes to their company, including changing Historical Characters to Beforever. In 1985 the company added a line of dolls called American Girl of Today. That changed to Just Like You in 2006, then changed again in 2010 to My American Girl and included a charm necklace and an online code that you could unlock the online world of Innerstar University with (Innerstar U was discontinued in 2015 when they changed the name again). Then in 2015, MyAG (My American Girl) was renamed Truly Me, which comes with a couple of fun activities, but no necklace or online code. This is American Girl’s line of dolls that allows girls to choose one that looks like them, and there are a ton of accessories that can be purchased to go with it.

In 2001 a new line of dolls were introduced – Girl of The Year. The first Girl Of The Year is Lindsey Bergman, she was the Girl Of The Year for two years, then they changed it so each Girl Of The Year is for only one year. Girl Of The Year dolls each have at least one story (now they have mostly been having three) and a bunch of outfits, accessories and furniture to go with. From 2012 each Girl Of The Year doll had a movie to go with it.  In between all that, new dolls were released and some dolls were archived. I could go on and on and on about all the changes, but I don’t think I will have room! I haven’t even covered the other doll lines they had and have!

If you are (or were) one of those girls who has an American Girl doll (or several) and didn’t know how the company started, now you do! Pleasant Rowland had a wonderful idea, and I’m glad she did. What’s amazing is how these doll have stood the test of time – especially Molly, Samantha, and Kirsten, who are still much loved favorites. Samantha is was particularly popular, and was just re-released in 2015 with the arrival of the Beforever brand. This company has gone through many changes, and I didn’t even cover half of them; but it is still a beloved toy that has stood the test of time.

My Vacation To Dearborn, Michigan And Baltimore, Maryland

This post took me longer to put up than I was hoping, but here goes…We just got back from a week-long vacation where we went to Dearborn, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland. We visited a lot of fun places like the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and the National Aquarium, Historic Ships, and Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. We drove there, so in between places there was lots of school, Ipad time and reading. We started by driving to Dearborn, Michigan where we visited the Henry Ford Museum. We got there Sunday afternoon, and it was the last day of Greenfield Village to be open for the season – the village where they have Henry Ford’s house, Tomas Edison’s  house and work shop, the Wright brother’s house and workshop, and so much more. We were only able to be there an hour, because like I said earlier, it was closing that day. Here are some pictures from the village:

This is a horse drawn carriage that I saw.
This is a horse drawn carriage that I saw.
And this is a close up of the horses.





The day after, we went to the museum part of the Henry Ford, and took a bus to the Rouge Factory and watched how they made pick-up trucks. Sorry that I didn’t get pictures of the trucks being made, we weren’t allowed to take photos in the factory part, but I got some of the main area:

Me and my siblings in front of the Henry ford factory.
Me and my mom and siblings in front of the Henry Ford Rouge factory.


Then we came back and went to the museum part where we saw things like old airplanes, trains and cars, old inventions, old doll houses, a dymaxion house, and so much more! Here are some pictures:

This is a replica of one of the carriages from the first train.
This is a replica of one of the carriages from the first train.
So is this.
This car won a race in 2011
This car won a race in 2011.
This is the interior of an old train car.

Then we left and went to Baltimore Maryland. We started by visiting the National Aquarium. We saw some very interesting fish, sharks, jellyfish, and a lot more:

This is the escalator we had to ride to get up to the jungle area.
We got to touch jellyfish. They were slimy!







This is kind of creepy. The sting ray looks like it doesn’t have any eyes.

The day after we visited some very cool old historical ships. We saw a Coast Guard boat that was at the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and an old submarine. They were cool, but I would most definitely not want to live on one!



Then the day after that we saw Fort McHenry. It was a-maze-ing! It looked so peaceful, but on the night the Star Spangled Banner was written it was anything but that. There we got to participate in the changing of the flag ceremony, where we took one flag down, helped fold it, and put a new one up.

This flag is a replica of the actual flag flown at Fort McHenry. Looks smallish, doesn't it?
This flag is a replica of the actual flag flown at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. Looks smallish, doesn’t it?
This is the flag up close, but - its only 1/9th of the actual size.
This is the flag up close, but – its only 1/9th of the actual size. It’s big isn’t it?
We got to see a ship docking.
We got to see a ship docking.

Sorry for a lengthy post, I hope you enjoyed these photos of my vacation and what I did. Thank you for reading, and please leave questions and comments below.