Friday, May 25, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Off to the Park: May Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Sweet Pea,

You have been making spring time so much fun!  We spend hours outside…

and when we finally come inside, you are completely drained!

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

So as for our weekly guidelines… we need to be honest.  We have stuck to most of the rules except the time limit.  We are having so much writing these fictional pieces that your Mimi and I have gone way past our 45 and 90 minute allotments!  So from now on, we will write until we want to stop- no time clock (although I don’t think we ever honored it anyway!).  So here are the revised rules: 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.  We also need 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 before we continue our story, I wanted to share a picture of you and Lion (it warms my heart that you love Kyle's stuffed animal so much.  I feel like you have such a connection with your brother even though you never met him).  Just like in the story your Mimi and I are writing to you, you really do go on adventures with Lion as he comes most places with us!

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Park Part 7

“March Red Team, ah never mind, make that RUN!” bossed Skeeter.

“Where are we running to?” asked a confused Slyguy.

They heard another crack of a bat in the near distance and Slugger knew exactly where they were headed as he struggled to keep up with Skeeter’s sprinting pace.

“The gold and black baseball cap!” Shortstop exclaimed as he too caught on.

Speedy nodded that he understood too but couldn’t form any words as he was panting for air as they raced toward the baseball diamond.  Sweat dripped off of him and he couldn’t help but wish that he were on the Pink Team having more fun.

Slugger looked over knowingly and gave him an encouraging wink. 

Fortunately the baseball diamond wasn’t far (The Hill was right behind center field).  But within minutes of approaching the backstop, the ants came to a screeching halt as they took in all of the spectators upon their arrival.  There were people everywhere- parents in the stands cheering, players in the dugout waiting their turn, and then all the players in the field standing at attention. 

Speedy whispered, “You know I hate crowds of people Skeeter.”

“Don’t be a wimp Speedy, you won’t get trampled on if you watch where you are going.  And you don’t have to whisper.  Humans can’t hear you!” Skeeter scoffed.

Slyguy patted Speedy on the back, “Don’t worry Buddy, we’ll be out of here quick!”  And he gave him another wink.

Skeeter saw him and wondered what he was thinking, “You have an idea?”  His eyes trailed toward Slyguy’s gaze and they rested on the pitcher.  All of the ants already noticed on their run in that the players in the field were wearing gold and black caps.

“I think we should climb up to the pitcher’s head, tip off his hat as he pitches the ball to a strong hitter, and as the ball (with the hat attached) sails to the batter, he will hit the ball (and the hat) in the direction of The Hill which is behind centerfield,” Slyguy announced proudly.

“Hmmmm… not such a bad plan,” Skeeter said getting more excited as he thought about the possibilities.

“But how are we going to know who can hit that far?” Slugger asked.

“Well, I bet size has something to do with it,” Slyguy said as he set his sight on the batter warming up.

“Look who’s next,” pointed Shortstop seeing the huge teenager swinging his bat around in slow motion. 

“I think we have our man gentlemen!  But we need to get moving!  I think it will take three of us to maneuver the hat off the pitcher’s head.  Slyguy and Shortstop, you come with me.  Speedy and Slugger, you head off into centerfield and follow that ball and cap as it gets hit.  We’ll meet you where it lands,” Skeeter said as he took off toward the pitcher without allowing for questions. 

The other ants shrugged and did as they were told.  As Slyguy tried to dodge all the infielders on his way out to the center of the diamond, he muttered under his breath, “You’re so bossy Skeeter!”  At least that took his mind off of his fear of a lot of humans and being stepped on!

Just as Skeeter, Slyguy, and Shortstop got to the pitcher’s mound, they heard the umpire yell, “Strike two!”

“Hurry!  He only needs one more strike and our big batter will be up,” Skeeter yelled. 

They all scurried onto the pitcher’s metal cleats, up his gold socks, onto his striped baseball pants, up his black jersey, and then they stopped to make some decisions.  They chose to climb up the pitcher’s hair instead of up his face so he wouldn’t feel ticklish pricks and possibly wipe them off.  As they clung desperately to clumps of sweaty slippery hair, they heard the umpire yell, “Strike three, you’re outta here!  Next batter up!”

“Uh-oh!  Hurry,” Skeeter cried out.  They scrambled up and grabbed the edge of the cap.  They could see the giant batter coming to the plate and taking a practice swing.  The pitcher winded up but the ants weren’t in place yet.  Luckily, the batter let that one sail by him to see what kind of pitches the pitcher could throw.  “Strike one!” the umpire called out.

“Ok boys, now on the count of three, plant your legs against the pitcher’s head for leverage and push the hat forward.  Make sure it’s with enough force that it will flip over the pitcher’s head!” Skeeter shouted.

They could feel the pitcher winding up for his second pitch and Skeeter screamed, “ONE, TWO, THREE!”

The baseball cap fell forward, bounced off the bridge of the pitcher’s nose and landed onto the newly released ball that the pitcher had let go of.  The ball and the newly attached cap arched perfectly toward the batter who swung and made contact.  The ants heard the crack of the bat and the whistle of air as the ball (and hat) flew over their heads.  Skeeter didn’t give the ants time to bask in their success; instead he rushed them down and took off toward centerfield.

“I know we are going to beat the Pink Team on this one!” he sung out happily as he approached Speedy and Slugger who were now with the baseball cap.  They were all really proud of their accomplishment.  Not only was the hit a homerun, the ball (along with the cap) sailed out past centerfield right at the base of the Hill.

Skeeter just instructed his team to lift the hat up to make the climb up The Hill, the Pink Team whizzed by him with a container of…, “What the?  What is that?  That can’t be right!  That’s cheating!” yelled Skeeter dropping his part of the baseball cap. 

“Skeeter, forget about them!  Let’s just get this to the top of The Hill,” said a struggling Slugger who was now lifting twice as much since Skeeter let go.

Fortunately for the Red Team, Skeeter’s rage made him stronger and he lifted the hat easily and led his group to the top of The Hill where he confronted the Pink Team.  “You should all be disqualified!” he yelled at them. …..

“Disqualified? “ Shouted Alfy, “Skeeter, our container has Honey it!  Nowhere in the rules does it say that it has to be the drippy gooey sticky kind.  Just because we made it back to The Hill first doesn’t give you the right to accuse us of not playing fair!” Alfy continued.

“That’s right Skeeter.  Each team still has four more items to scavenge.  It looks like it’s going to be a closer race than you expected, so don’t be a poor sport!”  Ajax anxiously added, “We found this container fair and square…. well, actually plastic and round would be a better description, but still…!”

And they did.  Fair and square that is.   When the Pink Team first started out, they were pretty sure the chicken bone would be their next easiest item to find.  So they had marched over to the pavilion but were quickly dismayed, as all the picnic tables were void of picnickers.  Even with antennas at full alert, not one of the three ants could pick up the scent of chicken anywhere within the parameters of the park.

Abner heaved a heavy sigh, “Now what are we going to do?  We’ve been doing great up till now!”

Lion looked at Ellie for an answer.  “El, any suggestions?”

“As a matter of fact yyyyyyyye…no,” she shrugged.

“Oh great,” Abner pouted, “This was the first time that Alfy, Ajax and I had the lead in a game against Skeeter and his boys.  And now we are going to lose, all because we can’t find a chicken bone!”

“Wait!”  Alfy interrupted,  “Why are we focusing on just the chicken bone?  Did everyone forget that we still have four other items to find besides that one?  Let’s worry about the chicken bone later.  Right now we have to change tactics!  Who’s got an idea?” he encouraged.

“Oh Alfy, you are brilliant!  How silly of us all to get fixated on this one item,” Ellie chimed in., “OK… let’s refocus and scout the area for other possibilities.” 

So they climbed to the highest point (which was the splintered picnic table) and each team member cupped their own hand and placed it over their own brow, searching the park grounds for other options.

“Look!  Over there!”  Ajax yelled as he pointed to the parks entrance.  A Mommy who was slinging an overflowing diaper bag on one arm, talking on a pink cell phone with the other hand and pushing a baby stroller with her hips while guiding it with her elbows was walking down the path straight towards them.

“It looks like the baby in the stroller is sound asleep… let’s wait to see if the Mommy is planning on coming to the pavilion to take a break.  It would be a lot easier on us if she does, then we don’t have to chase her all around the park to see if she has anything on our list to scavenge!” Lion stated excitedly.

And sure enough, the Mommy rolled the baby stroller right into the pavilion.  She eased it in between two picnics tables, plunked all her belongings down on one of the wooden tabletops, then sat down on the weathered bench as she continued to chat away on her cell phone oblivious to the five tiny members that were quietly descending upon her ‘stuff.’

As they rummaged in and about the stroller, Alfy came upon an interesting item that sat squarely in the middle of the food tray.  So he climbed up its side and peered over its edge, “Hey everybody, check this out!  A pool!  And it has oodles of floating rafts!  I’m hot…. Anybody care to take a dip with me?”  Ellie glanced over to see what Alfy was talking about, but before she could stop him he gracefully bounced off its ledge creating the perfect swan dive.  SPLASH, GURGLE, GURGLE, GURGLE…

Lion, Abner and Ajax came running when they heard all the ruckus and stood next to Ellie.  They all tried not to giggle but they couldn’t help themselves.   Alfy didn’t dive into a swimming pool of floating rafts but rather a tiny plastic bowl of soggy cereal in a quarter cup of milk!  And his chubby little body was snuggly centered in one of the many floating cheerios.  “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!  Help me! Help me!  I’m stuck!  Don’t let me drown!  Please! Uuuuuuuuuu… yum… yum, yum, yummy!  Oooooooooooo, everybody… this is scrumptious.  Come on!  Why don’t you all ump in and join me!” Alfy said between heavenly crunches and chews.

Just as Abner and Ajax were ready to take a dive, Lion and Ellie held them back.  “There’s no time for that.  We’ve got to stay focused on The Scavenger Hunt Game or we’re going to lose,” the two said in unison.

Then Ellie took control of the situation, “Alfy, kick your feet and paddle as fast as you can to this side. Abner, Ajax and Lion, on the count of three let’s jump up and down together with the hopes of creating the bowl to tilt and ridding it of its liquid so that Alfy can wiggle out of the cheerio and crawl out of the plastic container.  Ready…. One, two, three!”  Within moments, Alfy was standing next to the group.  Ellie’s plan worked.  “Now that the container is a lot lighter, everyone grab a side.  We need to heave it over the side of the baby stroller and hope that it stays upright with the few cheerios that are left in it.  Since the baby is still sleeping, when he wakes I don’t think he’ll notice nor care that the container holding his cereal is missing since most of its contents is all over the strollers tray.  He’ll have way more fun playing in that mess.  Trust me, I know!”  And with one heave together they threw the plastic container overboard not dropping any of its contents!

Abner was confused, “I don’t get it Ellie.  What good is a container of cheerios to us?  That’s not on the list.”

“Ahhhhhhhhh…. But what if those cheerios are ‘HONEY’nut cheerios?” purred Lion.

“You two are geniuses!” Praised a no longer shy Abner.

“No, actually Alfy is the genius for finding the cereal,” credited Ellie, “If he didn’t dive into it and need to be rescued, I would never have known that the cheerios were made of honeynut!  I smelled its sweet honey scent as soon as Alfy kicked up the bowl’s contents!”

“Well, it’s awfully nice to pat each other on the back but if we don’t stop talking and get this container out of here quick, we’re going to get caught.  Look, the Mommy is putting her cell phone down!”  Ajax commented nervously.

“El, by chance do you have another gadget hidden in that tutu of yours that will help us get out of here quickly?” prayed Lion.

Ellie flashed him a big bright white smile!  “As a matter of fact Lion I do!”  Right below the waistband of her pink tutu was a very small pocket.  She slid her right hand inside and quickly pulled out a tiny flat metallic oval shaped rock.  With three slaps to the heel of her foot, the miniature object expanded lengthwise while four spinning wheels popped out of its bottom. 

“Cool!  A skateboard!” Lion roared with laughter.

“No time to ogle Lion.  Everybody, lift and put the container on the board’s middle section.  Then hop on and do as I do.”  Ellie directed while she took her place at the back of the skateboard.  With one foot planted firmly on the board Ellie used her other foot to push off of the ground propelling the skateboard into motion, “See… push, glide, push, glide.  Give it a try Pink Team, I know you can do it!” 

Lion, Alfy, Abner and Ajax got the hang of it right away.  With everyone in sync, they sped off towards The Hill faster than lightening.  They also whizzed by the Red Team, beating them by only inches, to drop off their latest scavenged item; a container of honey… Honeynut Cheerios that is…

We love you Ellie!  More next week!
Mom & Mimi

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