Friday, April 13, 2012

Ellie and The Magic Teapot Off to the Park: April Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie Spaghetti,

It has been such a beautiful spring so far.  We have been outside at the park every chance we can get!  You had a wonderful Easter (with a beautiful dress from your Gigi to wear to church) and you even went on your first Easter egg hunt (and you also found the awesome basket from Mimi and Poppy).

As far as our creative story that we have been writing you, your Mimi and I are so excited that we completed another installment of Ellie and the Magic Teapot.  The zoo adventure was so much fun to write.  But we have a new journey for Ellie and Lion to go on.

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 second story. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Park Part 1

Ellie sat at the kitchen table drumming her fingers one by one.  She was trying to patiently wait for her Mom to get off the phone.  She heaved a very long and loud sigh.  Her mother shot her an angry glance as she placed her hand over the receiver, “Ellie please.  I am on the phone with your Dad.  He has a work emergency and needs to go out of town and I need to get a few things together for him.  I’m sorry Angel but the park will have to wait.”

Ellie hopped off the stool and glumly walked upstairs to her bedroom.  She really wanted to go down the slide today.  The sun was shining and the spring temperature was just right.  She unpacked her backpack that she was going to take.  Her water bottle was at the top and had leaked on the ball underneath making it slippery to pull out.  Lion was at the bottom as he is always the first thing she remembers to pack, “No park today, Lion,” she said hugging him, “Mom’s too busy.”

As Ellie set him gently down, she could have sworn his eyes moved toward the left motioning toward her red and blue table and chairs set.

“Oh Lion, you always make things all better!” she said excitedly knowing exactly what he meant.  She ran over to her toy box and started digging.  She came up with her beloved and magical teapot and one cup.   “Hmmmm… now I know the other one is around here somewhere…”

She pulled out one of her handbags and dumped its contents on the floor.  There was a hairbrush, her pretend lipstick, a plastic apple, three small ponies, and a toy car that were now sprawled all over her carpet.  Ellie quizzically peered back into the orange bag, turned it over again, and thumped the bottom.  Out rolled the matching teacup.  “I knew it!  Come on Lion,” she said scooping him up by the paw.  She set him down on one of the blue chairs at her table. 

She realized then that she was missing her spoons, milk jug, and sugar pot.  She furrowed her brow and pinched her lips while she thought where they could be.  She jumped up and looked under her princess bed.  “Aha!  There they are!” she exclaimed as she pulled them out.

“Now Lion, for this adventure I want to wear my new tutu,” she said to him with her back turned as she opened her dresser drawer.  She threw shirts and pants over her head and behind her before she found what she was looking for.  She shimmied her hot pink tulle skirt over her black knit pants.  Then she saw her sunglasses sitting on her dresser and added them impulsively to her outfit.  “Perfect,” she said briefly looking at her reflection on her closet door mirror.  Her yellow shirt had dirt smudges from playing in her Mom’s flowers this morning and her pigtails were coming loose.  She shrugged and smoothed down her hair before turning her attention back to Lion.  She ignored the mess she created in the process of searching for her tea party necessities despite having to stop over mounds of clothes and toys to get back over to her table. 

After organizing two place settings, Ellie surveyed her work, “We are missing just one thing now!”  She went over and grabbed her water bottle from underneath her backpack and brought it over to the teapot.   

“Oh Lion, I can hardly wait!  Where do you think we will go next?  And who do you think we will meet on our next adventure?” she asked as she unscrewed the bottle and poured the water into the teapot.  She was so eager that some splashed out onto the table.  Ellie rubbed it dry with her sleeve.

And just as a hostess should, she tipped the teapot over Lion’s cup first.  Then she filled hers.  With a huge grin, she whispered the magic words, “Baooohhhaoooahaljaljljljafooj.”  Glitter and music swirled around Ellie and Lion and they were swept up above the table.  And within seconds, they landed in a very unfamiliar place.  Ellie was so happy to see Lion come alive and then she looked around and couldn’t believe her eyes….

“WOW!  This tall grass is…well… really TALL, Lion.  Do you think we are in some exotic country?” questioned a wide-eyed Ellie.

“I-I-I-I-I… don’t know El, but i-i-i-f we are, then there are dinosaurs here!  Look!” Lion stuttered as he pointed to a footprint 20 times the size of himself.  “Yikes, El!”  Lion now screamed as he looked up and saw a monster walking their way.  “Run, Hide, Do something!”

When Ellie saw the monster, she immediately realized where they were.  “Calm down Lion.  That’s not exactly a monster, it’s actually an Ant,” she answered quite factually.

“Huh?”  Lion purred.

“I think we’ve been shrunk down Lion, way down!  See… a dinosaur didn’t make this gigantic footprint, but rather it is that of a sneaker.  And if you look up, you can see a sliding board, and a swing set! Oh My Lion… we are at the Park!”  Exclaimed an excited Ellie.

But it wasn’t quite the time to jump up and down with glee as a very chubby, slow moving Ant followed by another Ant who seemed rather shy and another Ant who fidgeted incessantly was walking towards them.  They stopped when they got to Ellie and Lion.  “Hey… who are you?” asked the first Ant.

“I’m Ellie and this is my best friend Lion.  We’re here for an adventure,” she stated with her arms proudly crossed over her chest.

“Well, I’m Alfy and this here is Abner and Ajax,” replied the first Ant.  Skeeter wants to get a good game of ‘Scavenger Hunt’ going but we are having a hard time finding ants to play.  Most of them haven’t finished up their work at the ant farm yet.”

“Who’s Skeeter?”  Ellie asked as she looked around not seeing another ant.

“Skeeter is kind of our friend, well, as long as he wins whatever it is that we are playing.  Skeeter says that we had better come back with two more players, and if we don’t we have to forfeit the game and he automatically wins... again.  Skeeter never plays fair so we’ve been looking everywhere for someone to play.  Do you know how to play ‘Scavenger Hunt’ Ellie and Lion?”

“Sort of.  And if you want us to play with you, we will.  We love making new friends and playing fun games!  Just tell us what we need to do,” answered Ellie.

“OK.  Then follow us back to The Hill where Skeeter is waiting.  He’s always in charge you know, and will pick the teams and tell us the rules,” replied a much-relieved Alfy for finding the additional players.  And with that, they weaved their way through the tall grass finding The Hill about fifteen minutes later.

“Hey Skeeter!  I found two more players, but they aren’t ants.  Does it matter?”  Asked Alfy.

Skeeter came down off his mound and with a keen eye looked Ellie and Lion up and down.  “Humph,” he snorted, “They look like two misfits so they can be on your team Alfy.  Slugger, Slyguy, Speedy and Shortstop can be on my team.  Fair is fair.  And I say this is fair!  Any objections?”  He bellowed.

Abner quickly put his head down and Ajax whispered to Ellie not to say anything.  “Skeeter makes sure that he always wins so we just go along with him.  Besides, Alfy, Abner and I aren’t really very athletic,… or quick,… and we never lie to win.  We’re just really glad that we get picked for the same team every time because we don’t make fun of each other like the other ants do, and we never cheat either.  You seem really nice Ellie, and we would really like to have you and your friend Lion on our team, but I have to be honest with you and tell you that we never win.  So if you want to object, we would understand,” Ajax said kindly.

“No way!” Ellie whispered quietly and with a hint of boldness, “Lion and I love a good challenge!  Tell Skeeter the game is on!”

Ajax grabbed one of Abner’s hands to keep from fidgeting and drug him over to Skeeter, “State the rules Skeeter.  We’re ready to play!”

And with that Skeeter gave Speedy a nod.  Speedy quickly reached into his back pocket and pulled out a rolled up scroll.

 “Shortstop, come over here.  Pull down and hold the bottom of the rule chart in place while Speedy holds the top so that Skeeter can read it,” stated a cool Slyguy.

“Thanks Slyguy.  Good teamwork,” answered Skeeter, “Now listen up everyone.”

“Rules for Scavenger Hunt:

1.  Each team must find all 10 items below and they may not be taken from the same place.  The HONOR SYSTEM immediately goes into effect once the game starts.  All team members must stick together in finding each item.  No separating to find items quicker.

2.  The Reader of the Rules automatically becomes the captain of his team and gets to choose his favorite color for their name.  Since I am the Rule Reader, I choose Red since it is a hotshot color!

3.  The Reader of the Rules also gets to choose the captain of the opposing team and its color too.  Again, since I am the Rule Reader, I choose the new guy, Lion, to be the captain and I choose pink because it is a soft color like all of you!

4.   The items to find are: a red and white checkered table cloth, a blue button, a fried chicken bone, a yellow Frisbee, a white birds feather, a container of honey, a watermelon rind, a black and gold baseball cap, one of Gertie Garden’s shedded snakeskins, and a Band-Aid with a cartoon character on it.  

5.  Once the whistle blows, which by the way I get to blow, each team has exactly 1 hour to find all 10 items and bring them to The Hill.

6.  The winning team is decided by who gets back here first with all 10 items, which you all know is going to be my team, and we… I mean the winning team; will get a trophy and a sheet of really cool stickers!

Any questions?” glared an out of breath Skeeter, “Good.”  And without giving Lion’s team a chance to make a plan, Skeeter blew the whistle and waved 2 of his left arms over his head for his team to follow him.  “March Red Team, March!” he hollered as they disappeared into the tall grass and out of sight…..

We love you Ellie!  Next week, we will find out which team finds the first items!
Mom & Mimi

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