she’s an american girl.

Our trip to Boston would not have been complete without a pilgrimage to the American Girl store. Sarah has had her heart set on one of these dolls for a while now but we’ve held her off, promising to think about it for her birthday. After all, these dolls ain’t cheap and this mama wasn’t about to go placing an order just because Sarah said the magic word. But with this trip to Boston on the horizon, and the chance to actually visit the store and pick out the perfect doll, I knew this was the right opportunity.

If you’ve never set foot in an American Girl store before, first count yourself lucky then thumb through your extra bills. It’s an overwhelming experience to walk into this mecca of high dollar girly-dom.

But somehow this place just seems to hit the right chord for girlies and their parents alike. Choosing the perfect doll together and experiencing such a special place will probably now rank on my list of favorite memories. Sarah was enamored. Shamelss consumptionist guilt aside, so was I.

Sarah opted for a My American Girl doll, which is a series of dolls with features in enough combinations to fit almost any girl out there. I first thought I’d found the perfect doll for Sarah but our Pi’bears wasn’t convinced. And I’m glad she stood firm because she truly did find the perfect doll for her. Faintly auburn hair, hazel eyes, and just a soft splash of freckling around the nose. Pi’bears perfection to a T.

(Ignore the bruiser. I promised her I would edit it out of the photographs but I can’t stand to erase the memory of her little skinned up brow from a spill at the park.)

Like any new mama should be, Sarah was unabashedly smitten.

And that my friends, was worth the price of admission.

After choosing her doll and naming her “Cara” (which I believe is the perfect compromise  between “Sarah” and “Caroline”, and thus, a truly perfect name) we headed upstairs for tea. Samantha had made us reservations in the cafe and the girls were beside themselves with excitement.

The hostess brings a high chair for each doll and her very own tea cup as well. With REAL WATER IN IT(!!!) to Sarah’s extreme delight.

We sipped and preened and feasted till our hearts’ content,

somehow managing to tump only one mug of hot cocoa resulting in only one trip to the restroom and only one outfit change/swap. It was a small miracle.

As we gathered up our girls, dolls, outfits, hair brushes, charm necklaces, full bellies and noticeably less-weighty wallets I etched the moment onto my eternal hard drive. I would never forget this day with my only daughter.

And I will never forget the way she looked up at me, just before we walked out the door, with more than a hint of entitled exasperation in her voice and said, “But Mom…can’t I at least get her hair done in the salon???”

Yep, she is truly an American Girl. Shameless consumption and all.

cathyOctober 20, 2011 - 8:03 pm

This entire post is so sweet & makes me so happy that I too have an only daughter that hopefully get to experience this store with.

SusanOctober 20, 2011 - 8:41 pm

Now it just doesn’t get any sweeter!!

I dream of taking my granddaughters to that store!

Elizabeth JOctober 20, 2011 - 9:07 pm

I love this post Erin! I had an American girl doll when I was growing up (Kirsten) and loved that special doll. So glad Sarah found her special one. She will always remember that day and you are such a good mama to giver her beautiful memories. Know she will enjoy her! Part of me would love to go have tea in such a fabulous place, maybe one day : )

AllisonOctober 21, 2011 - 6:42 am

I have such vivid memories of our trip to the AG store in Chicago around 10 years ago. We took our two girls (and our son was “dragged along” as well) and had tea/lunch in the cafe. I’ll never forget the girls sitting there with their beloved dolls in the little booster seats, and my son with his favorite stuffed raccoon in a booster seat. And of course, my husband nearly having a heart attack over the price of the miniature PB&J sandwiches. We were in Chicago for three days, and I’m pretty sure that was our most expensive meal! Still, what a wonderful memory. Now the kids are all in high school, and the dolls are packed away, waiting for the next generation, but the memory is as vivid as if it were yesterday!

Jessica WOctober 21, 2011 - 7:05 am

So glad you girls had this experience! I grew up loving those dolls and it has been so fun to take my daughter there!

Stephanie @ La Dolce VitaOctober 21, 2011 - 7:43 am

This was so cute! and now i completely remember my baby girl’s first trip to the store. (and forget shameless consumption – you don’t want to KNOW how much american girl doll things she has!)

Marty RogersOctober 21, 2011 - 9:22 am

This made me want to cry. Me and my daughter and a friend flew to Chicago about twelve years ago to shop. My daughter was around eight at the time. One of the stores on our list was the American Girl store and we spent HOURS in the store picking out just the right doll and clothes. My daughter is now twenty and getting married in two weeks and that is still one of my favorite memories! Neither of you will ever forget that day! And she still has the doll and the clothes in her dresser! 🙂 Marty

Lorena MoraOctober 21, 2011 - 9:42 am

Such a sweet post. I never got to take Mady to get on those dolls, she’s 8 now so I’m thinking she’s too old? I did however take her to Build a Bear which is pretty pricey and Tristan got to go to Ridemakerz in Downtown Disney. They get to build some pretty pricey cars. But it’s so much fun to watch how they walk around trying to find the perfect one, love it.

JenniferOctober 21, 2011 - 9:49 am

Wow – having boys (and being a tomboy) I can’t say that I can relate to it all, however what I can certainly appreciate the special time spent together. It looks like the cafe was worth the trip alone! 🙂

SabrinaOctober 21, 2011 - 1:22 pm

We made our own trek to the Chicago AG Store on a couple of occasions – our only child, who loved the American Girl books as much as she loved ‘her girls,’ as she called them, saved her money carefully so she could have more than one ‘sister.’ The memories are much as you describe them, Erin, and yes, you will cherish them forever. When we were packing Jenn’s things for college I broached the subject of ‘sharing’ her dolls with one of the girls that she had nanny’ed for over the summer. Even my husband thought I’d lost my mind! So our ‘girls’ are safely packed away awaiting the day when I have granddaughter(s) who will love them as much as ever.

GinaOctober 21, 2011 - 1:52 pm

PRICELESS! What a wonderful memory!

LacyOctober 21, 2011 - 8:39 pm

I’ve been waiting on this post! So sweet – reminds me of great times with my mama. My Molly, Samantha, and Felicity dolls are all patiently waiting for another little girl to play with them some day!

SusanOctober 22, 2011 - 6:58 pm

I’ve always wanted to take a little girl to this store; it truly looks like a magical place! You captured such joy, and I love the little Eskimo kiss moment. And the sweets with hot chocolate? Oh my goodness, what an amazing tea party it must have been!

BreeOctober 23, 2011 - 9:00 pm

I am so glad that you had the American Girl experience too. Ava and I went last year to the one in LA and it is something that I will always cherish. Yes, the dolls are pricey, but there has never been anything that she has loved or played with more. They are wholesome and age appropriate, which is not an easy thing to find these days.

BreeOctober 23, 2011 - 9:02 pm

Oh, I forgot, my aunt gave Ava a Bitty Baby when she was born. It was such a great baby gift. I saved it for her and gave it to her when she was 5. Having a girl is so much fun.

Anna ClaireOctober 24, 2011 - 6:23 am

I had the Samantha doll when I was younger and just LOVED her. Back then I think the only way you could get an AG doll was via catalog – not even any internet 😉 I so so so hope to have a girl one day and get to have a girly sweet experience like yours – just precious.

KatieOctober 25, 2011 - 10:30 am

I loved American Girl when I was her age! When she gets a bit older, and if you make another trip, try to see the show…its fabulous. Also, if she likes to read, the books are great as well! American Girl has turned into a lot of consumerism, but if you go back to it’s original roots, there is a lot of learning in fun stories that little girls love to read!

VirginiaOctober 25, 2011 - 12:44 pm

The American Girl Store alone makes me jealous for a daughter. I guess LegoLand is the consolation prize for a mother of a boy. By the way, there are plans to open up a huge LegoLand at Phipps Plaza in ATL. Mr. E will surely enjoy this. The Pig Bears can then hit the American Girl Store up the road in Alpharetta for yet more outfits/accessories that she will surely be requesting for Miss Cara.

KimOctober 25, 2011 - 5:40 pm

What great memories you’ve captured! My 8 year old is an AG fan too. Since she was the first granddaughter to actually give a hoot about dolls (after 3 born before her!), you can imagine that her GaGa has gone overboard. I see memories and relationships being built and strengthened, my husband sees dollar signs. 🙂 Men just don’t get it do they? You know they’ve built an AG Cafe store in Atlanta….if you’re up for a road trip!

AnonymousApril 21, 2012 - 11:14 am

where do you look online to buy a look alike doll;

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