Friday, March 23, 2012

Ellie and The Magic Teapot Off to the Zoo: March Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

March 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Ellie,

So your birthday was yesterday but we are celebrating with a big party tomorrow.  I cannot believe that you are two my dear baby girl.  You are so filled with energy, spirit, stubbornness, sweetness, intelligence, and beauty.  I love the little person you have become.  You have a hunger for books, 

you live for playing outside, 

and you have such a quirky sense of humor.  
And yes, your hair is just as crazy as ever so you got a very short haircut this week...
You make people work to get you to smile (and it’s a gorgeous smile at that) but once you do, it’s so genuine.  You are painfully shy but once you are comfortable, you are a complete chatterbox.  You like to make people laugh and you are a leader (a bossy one at that).  Ellie, you have so much to give the world and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for you.  Happy birthday Ellie Bean, Angel, Spaghetti.   You are so very loved!

And now here is our yearlong bedtime story/stories (with many chapters to write!) for you. 

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 4

Ellie and Lion found a box of ice cream cones right next to a container of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla swirl ice cream near the tire tracks outside the Penguin Exhibit.  Ellie looked around for an ice cream scoop but couldn't find one.  She sat down next to the container with the cone in her hand.  She shrugged and dug her hand into the sticky mess to fill her cone before licking her fingers.  Lion watched her curiously and then did the same thing. 

When they finished their very fulfilling snack, they stood up wiping their lips with their sleeves.  Ellie brushed the leaves off of her trench coat and straightened her detective hat.  "Ready!" she said with her finger in the air.

She headed back inside the hole in the fence quietly and saw all the penguins were taking their afternoon nap.  Ellie tiptoed around the snoring animals as Lion stood watch at the gate.  She reached her detective desk, quickly folded it up and just as she clicked it together before jamming it into her pocket, one of the penguins opened its eyes.  Ellie ran so fast out of there, she could hear his loud squawks alerting the rest of the penguins.

"You barely got it," said Lion as he watched the penguins flapping their wings angrily.

"Let's go Lion, we don't have much time.  We need to get over to Edna Elephant's Domain," said Ellie.  But as they walked closer to Edna Elephant's Domain, they noticed the cart that had carried some of the ice cream and left the tracks at the Penguin Exhibit before parking it in front of Edna Elephant's hay was gone.

"Someone must have known we were coming," Lion said looking up at the sky half expecting to see or hear Toucan Tillie, "And with our ice cream break, they had time to clean up!"

"It's ok Lion, I think we have all we need," Ellie responded as she stared at the back of a very large pachyderm.

Ellie set up her detective desk in Edna Elephant's domain by the entrance this time.  She didn't want to be without her tool kit again or have another scene like there was at the penguin exhibit.  Taking her notepad and pencil with her, she walked around to the front of Edna Elephant and tapped her on the shoulder.  She was startled as her trunk was in a bucket of water.  When she jumped, her trunk knocked over the bucket and Ellie and Lion got sprayed.

"Oh no," she cried looking at the bucket, "I have a job to do!"

Confused, Ellie looked around and saw colored balloons by Edna's gigantic feet.  "What kind of job?" Ellie asked as she tapped her pencil on the notepad.

"Toucan Tillie told me to fill up as many balloons as I can," she said pointing her trunk to his right side where there were about fifteen filled water balloons.

"Why does Toucan Tillie need water balloons?" Ellie asked Edna.

"I didn't ask," she responded, "no one ever needs anything from me because I am too big and awkward.  Usually I just knock things over with my long trunk.  So when someone needed my help, I was excited!"

"What are you going to do with the balloons when you finish filling them?" Lion jumped in.

"There is a small cart with very small wheels that comes and takes the ice cream from the Penguin Exhibit and then comes to collect my finished balloons," she said, "but I don't know where it goes after."

"Who was driving the cart?" Ellie asked.

"Well, he had a hat and sunglasses on to disguise his face but I could tell it was Gerry the Giraffe.  With his long spotted neck craning out the window (otherwise he would have broken through the roof), I knew it was him.  He even disguised his voice when he asked me which balloons he could take.  I pretended not to recognize him though.  I didn't want anyone to ask me to stop helping because I ruined a secret.  Now, can I get back to filling the balloons?  I don't want to fall behind," Edna Elephant said as she walked over to the hose and used her trunk to turn the water on before she dragged it over to refill the bucket.

Ellie looked around for the cart tracks and noticed that they were now covered with tree leaves after a light wind breezed through the domain.  She went back to her detective kit and got her duster make-up brush. 

"What's that for?" Lion asked Ellie curiously.

"I need to brush away the clutter to see the fresh tracks.  I have a hunch that Gerry the Giraffe didn't drive back to the Giraffe Hut," she answered as she carefully dusted away the debris with the white bristles.  The duster proved to be most helpful as Ellie could clearly see the cart tracks going right towards Manny Monkey’s Lair!

Before Ellie could say anything, Lion was folding up the detective desk and clicked it into the small 2x2 package that fit neatly into Ellie's pocket, "I have been wanting to try that all day," he said excitedly.

And then his eyes got as big as saucers when Ellie revealed, “If you think that is cool Lion, someday I will have to show you my compactable bicycle with a sidecar!  But right now we have a missing striped zebra coat to find, so let’s go!”  And she skipped off towards the Monkey Exhibit.

But Lion stood there frozen, scratching his head, shaking his mane and finally giving his tail a gentle petting before calling out to Ellie.  He was trying to sum up the courage in telling Ellie his biggest secret ever, or rather his most cowardly secret ever.  And that secret was… monkeys scared him!  “Ellie!  Stop!  Come Back!  I have something I need to tell you!” he yelled.

Ellie stopped, turned around and ran back to where Lion was standing when she heard his frantic cry, “Lion, you look like petrified wood standing there so still.  What’s going on?”  She questioned.

“Oh El, I’ve never told anyone my fear before, and I am a little embarrassed to have to do so now, but those ape swinging mammals scare me!  You see, one very warm summer day when I was just a wee cub, my mom laid me under a very dirty shade tree just outside our den for an afternoon nap.  While I slept a troop of monkeys swung by and seeing me sleeping on the dirty ground so soundly, they whisked me off to their Lair for a Monkey Spa Treatment.  I awoke to a Mama Monkey combing the knots out of my furry tail with yanking force, a Sister and Brother Monkey pinching me while picking flies out of my mane and a very fat Grandma Monkey sitting on top of me so I wouldn’t move!  Needless to say I’ve had nightmares ever since, especially when I’m in the doctors office glancing through the National Geographic Magazines!  Ellie, they’re crazy and they frighten me!”  Lion admitted with trepidation.

Ellie almost giggled at Lions very real and very silly scary memory, but knew how embarrassed he would be if she actually did, and that he most likely would never forgive her either.  So she needed to think quickly of a cure all.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh… she had one, “Lion, I’ve got it!  I know how you can overcome your fear!  And we’ll do it together!  Let’s get down to some serious monkey business!  Ok?”

“Ok.” Lion mumbled.

“Here’s what we’ll do Lion.  We will walk down the path side by side, me on the right with my left arm around your waist and you on the left with your right arm around my waist and our free hands scratching our armpits.  That will give the appearance that we are ONE very large “Monkey!”  Next we will walk the actual Monkey Walk.  I’ll start by swinging my left foot in front of your right foot followed by you swinging your right foot in front of my left foot.  Then we will sing the Monkey Song.  It goes like this….Hey, hey don’t mess with me: Hey, hey we are one big monkey: Oooo, oooo I’m not afraid of you: Eeee, eeee I’ll be your friend if you let me!”  Ellie sang.

“Do you really think this will work? Questioned a hopeful Lion.

“Absolutely!” stated a confident Ellie, “Now let’s go because there is still a lot of work to do!

And off they went arm in arm singing their silly song and having more fun than a barrel of monkeys!  And by the time they reached Manny Monkey’s Lair, Lion no longer feared them.  He was just about to grab one of the low hanging vines, when Ellie stopped him.  She bent down and unbuckled one of her shoes, took it off of her foot and before handing it to Lion, she twisted off its heal.  Lion was amazed.  He was also clueless, as he didn’t know what he was supposed to do with a broken shoe.  Ellie rolled her eyes with a bit of impatience and informed him that he was now holding a walkie-talkie.  She then unbuckled her other one, took it from her foot and twisted off its heal too.  Lastly, she synchronized both the left and right shoe to the same frequency.  With a quick lesson on how to use it, Ellie warned Lion that Manny’s jungle could be thick with vines, and very dark.  If they got separated, one of them was to contact the other using the walkie-talkies immediately. 

“10 : 4, Roger that… oops, I mean Ellie that.  Over and out!”  Lion screamed into the shoe, which screeched in Ellie’s ear, as Lion was only a foot away from her.

“Lion, stop goofing around!  Now grab that vine, take a few steps back and then swing your body forward with all your might!”  She commanded.

And so he did, the vine taking him deep into Manny Monkey’s jungle.

Ellie was quick on his heels, but not being very good with directions, she lost him almost immediately.  Lion, feeling like Tarzan was having a blast swinging from vine to vine when all of a sudden there were no more vines.  Lion dropped to the ground.  And when he stood up, he realized that he needed to contact Ellie quickly for he found another very important clue.  Actually he was pretty sure that he found the final clue…..

Where shall the next clue take us?  You will find out soon enough.
Till next week Ellie Bean!
Mom & Mimi

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