Friday, March 2, 2012

Ellie and The Magic Teapot Off to the Zoo: March Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

My Dear Darling Baby Girl,

Happy Birthday Month (to you, me, and your Mimi!).  And what an amazing celebration it will be.  Your Mimi and Great-Gram Bubbles flew in yesterday and we have a noon tea party to get to (wait until you see our theme this time but I’ll fill you in on that in next week’s blog).

Your Mimi and I are so proud that we finished a year’s worth of letters to you Dear Ellie.  And so your new gift from us (and our new goal) is a yearlong bedtime story/stories (with many chapters to write!). 

We have specific weekly guidelines.  I will write a piece, then your Mimi has to finish it and we will do this every week (your Mimi’s part is in italics and mine is in regular font).  The only things your Mimi and I agreed on were the characters- Ellie and a magic teapot.  Anything else is fair game.  However, we are giving ourselves a time limit (because we know otherwise we will fall in love with this creative writing project and get nothing else done)- 45 minutes for me and 90 minutes for your Mimi (so whether that means 3 sentences or 3 pages, that’s what the other person has to work with).  And we each have an additional 30 minutes every week to figure out an illustration to go with our part.  Our goal Ellie is to have a beloved bedtime tale for you and future generations.    

And thus begins our journey. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Zoo- Part 1

(Ellie and her beloved Lion who actually first belonged to Kyle)

Ellie stood staring out the window.  She leaned on her elbows with her face cupped in her hands and glumly gazed out at the pouring rain.  It was coming down almost sideways since the wind was so strong.  She could hear tree branches hitting the side of her house with a rhythmic beat.  No one was outside in this storm as the street below was bare.  As she stood there, she noticed the window started fogging up and she traced a monkey face with her fingertip in the middle pane. 

She sighed and tried not to be sad.  Her Mom was going to take her to the zoo today and they were supposed to have a picnic lunch in between seeing the primates and the pachyderms.  Her Mom promised to go tomorrow when it would be sunny to make up for the cancellation.  She knew her Mom felt bad.  She could smell the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies that had just come out of the oven.  Her Mom knew they were Ellie’s favorite. 

Ellie saw a bright flash of lightening out of the corner of the window followed by a loud rumble of thunder.  The lights flickered before going out.  Ellie was more startled than scared.  Her house had enough windows to let the gray morning light in.  But so much for watching a movie, she thought.  As she turned to go downstairs to eat a cookie and check on her Mom, Ellie tripped over her pink teapot and fell to her knees.  She was about to throw it out of anger when she realized that a tea party might be fun. 

Near the window to get some light, Ellie set up her red plastic table with two settings- one for her and one for her stuffed lion, whom she affectionately called Lion.  He was a gentle animal and Ellie had stuck many colorful heart stickers on him to show him how much she loved him.  His fluffy hair always tickled her chin when she slept at night.  His crazy hair that stuck up in all directions reminded Ellie of her own crazy hair.  She smiled at the thought then she ran to the bathroom and filled up her teapot with water and set it down on the table before running downstairs to grab two of those fresh baked cookies. 

“Whoa!  Slow down there, Spaghetti,” her Mom said as Ellie slid into the kitchen on the heels of her socks.

“Do you want to have a tea party with Lion and I?” Ellie breathlessly asked her Mom as she picked up two of the biggest and softest cookies in the batch.  She noticed the chocolate was still warm and had melted on her fingers.  She licked them clean and then wiped them dry on her pants.

Ellie’s Mom handed her a napkin as she said, “Get started without me Ellie, I have to call your Mimi and discuss her summer visit. I was hoping she could come out for two months, what do you think?”

Ellie loved her Mimi so there was no question just a gigantic smile spread across her face.  “OK Mom, come up when you can and tell Mimi I love her!”  Then Ellie bounded back up the stairs and when she caught site of Lion and her tea set at the far side of her room, she smoothed her hair and glided over as if she had an important reservation.

Ellie took one look at Lion, poured the tea and said the magic words, “Baooohhhaoooahaljaljljljafooj….” And just like before music, glitter, and rainbows swirled them up hovering over the table.  Lion came alive and winked at Ellie.  And before Ellie and Lion were completely swept up on their adventure, they snatched the two cookies on the table and gobbled them up knowing they would need the energy for whatever lay ahead. 

“Woaaaaaaaa Ellie,” screamed Lion excitedly!  “Where do you think we are going?”

“I’m not sure yet Lion, but I have a feeling it might be near the zoo since that was my last thought before our little teapot swept us away!” giggled Ellie.  “Hold on Lion.  I hope you don’t get dizzy!” she continued to giggle. 

And just like that they both landed on a large patch of lush green grass with a few tall shade trees to accommodate picnickers.  Ellie brought her right hand up to her face and started to rub her chin.  “Wow, this looks very familiar Lion,” she commented a bit perplexed. 

“Of course it does,” Lion stated with a know-it-all tone, “You should know exactly where we are, if for nothing else, by that crazy peacock that is strutting towards us!  He’s always antagonizing you to chase him, of which you do and I think it is just a matter of time before he bites one of us!  And El, it better not be me!”

“Aaaahhhh, the Zoo!” she whispered with joy, and quickly thanked the teapot silently for taking her and her friend to the place she loved most!   And what a beautiful sunny day it was.  How could it be raining so violently by her house when here the sky was a clear royal blue?  Not wanting to question it too deeply, Ellie just shrugged her shoulders and ended that thought, “Lion don’t be a coward!  Mr. Peacock loves it when we run after him!  And Mom’s not here to hold us back, so you circle to his left, and I’ll circle to his right.  When he reaches the fence surrounding the lion’s den, you make the tackle!” She said in a barely audible voice.

“WHAT????  ARE YOU CRAZY El?????  That’s when Mr. Peacock will spread his peacock feathers and perform a Houdini disappearing act, and leave me dangling on the wrong side of the fence!  Those lion’s will DEVOUR me!” Lion screeched hysterically.

With that Ellie fell to the ground doubled over in a fit of laughter, and Mr. Peacock jaunted on merrily looking for another group of children to torment.

With tears in her smiling eyes, Ellie got up, brushed a few crushed leaves off her pants and grabbed Lion’s hand.  “Come on,” she said sweetly.  “Let’s go see the zoo!”  But just as she was ready to take a step, Ellie realized that they were already quite far from the Zoo’s entrance gate.  That meant they were already well past the pachyderm exhibit and nowhere near the primate exhibit.  Still not sure which path to take, she looked to her left and then to her right and then back to her left again, “Hmmmmmmmmmmmm Lion, I don’t know….. Why don’t you choose which exhibit we should see first?” she said a bit undecidedly. 

And before Lion could answer, they both heard a sniffle, sniffle, whimper, sniffle, sniffle, whimper coming from a very thick and densely green bush situated a few yards behind them just inside the fence of the zebra exhibit.  Ellie and Lion slowly walked over and quietly listened.  They heard it again.   Sniffle, sniffle, whimper, sniffle, sniffle, whimper. 

“Hellooooooo.   Hellooooooooo.  Is someone in there?” Ellie softly called out.

“Don’t be a coward!  Be an Animal and show yourself!” Lion bellowed out in a deep voice with great authority.

First the leaves of the bush ruffled a bit and then a timid narrow head with short pointy ears and two very sad eyes peered out of one corner.  In a soothing voice, Ellie talked to the animal and told her not to be afraid, that she and Lion were her friends.  She continued talking to her and encouraged her to come out from behind the bush.  When the animal finally did, both Ellie and Lion were shocked.  Right before their eyes stood a zebra…. a very stripeless zebra!

“Who are you and where are your stripes?” questioned Lion.

“My name is Zoe Zebra.” The animal sniffled again.   “And I don’t know what happened to my stripes.  Last night before I went to bed I sang my happy song….” 

“Happy song…. what is that?” asked Lion. 

“Oh, it is a song that I sing every night while I look at myself in the mirror.  It goes like this:  Zoe Zebra queen of the zoo, with your coat of stripes, no one here is as beautiful as You!  Then I brushed my teeth, washed behind my ears, and made sure my coat of stripes was brushed one hundred times to keep its shine before I took it off and hung it on the hook next to my mirror.  (I wouldn’t want it to wrinkle you know!)  Then I crawled into bed and slid underneath my covers.  When I woke up this morning, I walked over to my mirror to admire myself and was horrified to see that my beautiful striped coat was missing from the hook!   Who could have taken it?  Where could it have gone?” Zoe wailed.  “And what am I going to do now?  No one comes to the zoo to see a stripeless zebra!  I am supposed to be the most beautiful animal here!” she cried tearfully, “I am sooooooo embarrassed!”

Ellie and Lion looked at each other and than at Zoe.  It looked like some detective work needed to be done!.....

Until next week...
Mom & Mimi


  1. Love the story line so far. I envy your creative story telling. Ellie will be so proud to know that she has stories about her when she gets older.

  2. You always say the most encouraging words- thank you for reading our story :)