Friday, September 28, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Into the Forest: September Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Spaghetti,

So now that you had time to digest the news of us moving back east (or rather trying to understand what that means), you’ve been quite a funny challenge.  You overheard your Dad and I talking about how to take Joe, the cat, with us and had a meltdown about wanting to go with Joe on a plane.  And every time that I get the living room ready for a showing, you beg to take out toys and proceed to dump them everywhere.  I must say that through all of my stress with this big adjustment, you make me smile Bean (especially in these recent days that you insist on wearing socks over your footie pj’s!). 

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

So as for our weekly guidelines: I write a piece one week in regular font, and then your Mimi will write a piece in italics the next week.  The only things your Mimi and I agreed on were the characters- Ellie and a magic teapot and the setting (a forest with trolls).  Anything else is fair game and will make our adventure a new tale.  We also need to figure out an illustration to go with our part.  Our goal Ellie is to have a beloved bedtime story for you and future generations.   

And so we will continue our third piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Into the Secret Forest Part 9

As Ellie and Lion continued on their forest journey skipping hand-in-hand, they were not nearly as nervous as they were before.  After all, these trolls were a bit strange but they definitely wouldn’t consider them scary (and Ellie could even see a few of them becoming her friends).  In fact, they were anxious to see the next personality to greet them. 

“Lion, I don’t think we need help from our protector friends this round,” Ellie said referring to Owl, Toad, and Snake, “I mean, they are so kind and I love to see their smiling faces but I think we are prepared.”

Lion agreed, waving to them in the air.  At that moment, the wind seemed to pick up and the blue sky turned grey.  A thin, tall ogre popped out from behind a skinny tree that resembled the Eifel Tower.  On his green head, he wore a blue beret and had a thin mustache above his upper lip.  Tied around his neck was a thin, checkered scarf.  Ellie loved his sense of style and was about to remark on his chic outfit but it was the troll spoke first,  “Arrete!”

Ellie and Lion looked at each other and shrugged as the Troll rolled his eyes, “Parlez vous francaise?”  Ellie and Lion’s confused face gave the Troll his answer.  They obviously didn’t speak French.

“Je m’appelle French Troll…. My name is Frenchy Troll and it’s time to get you both to Trudy,” he added enunciated the last part very slowly and very loudly. 

Ellie smiled and curtsied.  She had always wanted to go to France, especially after her mother told Ellie numerous and very glamorous stories of her time there.  Ellie sighed in wishful longing just at the thought.  Lion nudged her, bringing her back to attention.  “Oh right,” Ellie stammered as she began, “My name is Ellie and this is my friend Lion.  We aren’t ready to meet Trudy quite yet and we were wondering if we could make you a deal.  If you give us a riddle and we solve it, you will let us go to the next troll… otherwise if we can’t solve it, you can bring us to Trudy.”

Frenchy smiled a sneaky grin, “You will have one question only and three minutes to answer it.”

“Deal!” Lion and Ellie answered in unison. 

“You shouldn’t have agreed so quickly without going over the rules!” Frenchy spat in a thick accent, “because the riddle is going to be in French!”  He chuckled to himself as Lion looked worriedly at Ellie.  Ellie seemed unfazed.

“On me trouve à Paris, mais pas en France!” Frenchy said deviously.  “Your time begins now!”  He said as he started a stopwatch that was around his wrist.  He then walked back next to the tree and that’s where Ellie and Lion noticed a small round iron table.  There was a loaf of fresh bread and brie cheese spread in the middle.  Frenchy started to spread the cheese on a hunk of the bread that he had already sliced.  Lion and Ellie realized they must have interrupted his snack time when they came upon him. 

Ellie didn’t want to seem uncultured so she held up her right hand asking Lion not to speak (she knew he was panicked) while she dug into her pocket with her left hand.  She rifled around for awhile (and Frenchy seemed entertained, as he took his first bite, at the thought of Ellie’s seemingly small pocket that was obviously endless!).  Ellie finally pulled out a grey object that looked like a calculator but on the top it said, “French to English Translator.”  Luckily for Ellie she had a great memory and could recite anything back so she typed in what she thought she heard Frenchy say.

“You can find me in Paris but not in France,” Ellie mused allowed to share the riddle with Lion. 

Lion was worried, “Are you sure you typed it in right?  That doesn’t make any sense!  It just isn’t possible.” 

Frenchy studied them, wondering if they could solve his crafted puzzle, as he dabbed his lips with his napkin in between bites, “One minute left!” he reminded them.

“I’m sure I typed it in right.  It sounded like he said Paris so that’s why I typed P-A-R-I-S and I know he said France so I typed in F-R-A-N-C-E.”  It was then that Ellie understood the riddle.

Just as Frenchy was counting down from 5 seconds, Ellie shouted out, “I!  The letter I!”

Frenchy banged his fist on the table causing the fresh bread to fall on the ground, “You clever fille!”  And with that, he stuck his nose up in the air, shooed them forward with a flick of his hand, and refused to give them any more of his time.     

“Merci beaucoup!  Au revoir!” Ellie said gently to Frenchy, despite his indifference. 

Lion looked curiously at her.  “It means thank you very much and goodbye,” Ellie translated.

It was only then that Tad, Oliver, and Sebastian appeared on a rock near where they stood.  “I know you didn’t call us… Riddit…. But we wanted you to know how proud we are of you both,” Tad started.

“And we are here, Whoooo, to warn you,” Oliver continued.

“The next troll is very clever but also a sssssss…sore loser, BEWARE!” Sebastian finished.  And with that, the three protector animals vanished.

Ellie and Lion looked at each other wide-eyed uneasily as they marched forward.

We love you Ellie Bean!
Mom & Mimi  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Into the Secret Forest: September Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie Bean,

It is with mixed emotions that I can officially start preparing you- we are moving back home!  I am sad to leave our wonderful friends here in Colorado but I am so excited to be reunited with family and old friends in Pennsylvania.  Your Dad has a great new job opportunity, which will allow me to stay at home with you for awhile and help you transition (as I know you are going to love being back with your Mimi, Poppy, Uncle Ryan, and Aunt Sammy, it is going to be so hard for you to leave your many friends here).  So Ellie, this fall will bring many changes (and I do have to tell you when your Mimi found out the good news, she cried tears of joy of finally being able to watch you grow in person all the time!). 
Congratulations to your Daddy-O!
I see a lot more of this in our future Ellie Bean!
We went up to the mountains (where your Daddy feels closest to Kyle) to tell Kyle where we are going.

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

So as for our weekly guidelines: I write a piece one week in regular font, and then your Mimi will write a piece in italics the next week.  The only things your Mimi and I agreed on were the characters- Ellie and a magic teapot and the setting (a forest with trolls).  Anything else is fair game and will make our adventure a new tale.  We also need to figure out an illustration to go with our part.  Our goal Ellie is to have a beloved bedtime story for you and future generations.   

And so we will continue our third piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Into the Secret Forest Part 8

… Lion’s emotions as to what had just happened took a turn quickly, speechless at first by two amazing singing voices and then shocked when he realized that this last ogre, Rockin’ Troll, was really quite nice.  He knew that Rockin’ worked for Trudy and Trudy would expect him to do everything in his power to capture Ellie and Lion, but Lion was pretty sure that Rockin’ did not try his absolute hardest.  Actually he was pretty sure that Rockin’ was having a good time in the sing-off with Ellie and maybe even let her win in the end.  No matter though.  At least they escaped another troll.

“Ellie?” Lion hesitated still a bit confused.

“Yes Lion, what is it?” she responded warmly.

“I’m not going to lie.  This dark forest is very creepy and scary but the trolls that we have crossed paths with so far have been more ‘odd’ than anything else.  Tootsie Troll was a bit crazy, Hotdog Troll was kind of goofy, Fruity Troll was a bit tricky and Rockin’ Troll was kind of… well… kind.  If it wasn’t for this spooky forest I would actually think that this adventure could be fun,” he stated with a delayed tremble.

Turning her head while they continued to walk Ellie answered, “I know Lion.  I agree with you.  I’m a bit scared too but at least I have you with me.” 

She then gave him her biggest and bravest smile and squeezed his hand, “Come on, we have to keep moving forward.  Hopefully we can figure out why Trudy is turning children into trolls before we actually find her and then stop her when we do come face to face!”

“Yeah, before she turns us into them.  I don’t think I want to be a troll Ellie,” Lion mumbled hoping that no ‘hidden ears’ in the forest had heard him.  Silently he snuggled closer to Ellie’s side and synchronized his step to match hers because the forests’ sounds were getting eerier and creepier the deeper they walked.

“I’m going to call on Oliver, Lion.  I don’t know why but I think we may need him,” Ellie said with some trepidation.

“That’s fine with me Ellie.  You can call Sebastian, Ted, your mom, your Mimi and anyone else that would like to join us too.  The more the merrier for the trolls to capture first!” Lion blurted out accidentally.

“LION!” Ellie scolded though she understood her little friend’s fears.  Then ignoring his comment she started to hoot.  “Whooooo… whooooo.”

Within seconds Oliver appeared on a leafless branch above them, “Yes Miss Ellie.  How can I be of service?”

Grateful for his prompt company she answered, “I am not really sure Oliver but something from the storybook tells me that I might need your guidance.  I remember reading about a troll who uses vocabulary to trap children and I fear that he may be our next challenge.”

“Quite possibly so. Do Whoooo… or rather ‘you’ have a plan?” he hooted.

“As a matter of fact I do.” Ellie answered as she fumbled through one of her many pockets.  “Uh-huh! Here they are!” she stated as she pulled out three black devices.  “Oop, wait a minute I almost forgot,” and with her other hand she fumbled through another pocket.,“Come on now… where is that book?” she questioned herself and smiled when she felt the leather binding touch her fingers.  With her left hand she presented Oliver with one of three ear/microphone headsets (keeping the second one for her own use and giving the third one to Lion.)  With her other hand she presented Oliver with a dictionary and whispered to him to have it by his side and available at a moments notice.  She then directed him on how to operate the headset, “Oliver, turn the black knob to station #11 and I’ll do the same.  Now keep that frequency open in case I call for your help.  Lion, you also.  Got it?”  Lion nodded yes in response.   “Ok… now for the dictionary my feathered friend.  At some point it is going to come in handy but exactly when, I am not sure.  Anyway wish us luck Oliver with what ever lays ahead.  I think we are going to need it!” she sighed.  Oliver bowed his head in affirmation and flew not to far off in the distance camouflaging himself within the forest trees.

Sure enough it wasn’t long before the scenery in front of them started to change.  It began with a pattern of pebbles on the dirt path.  Both Lion and Ellie crouched down to observe their layout, “Hmmmm…. This first set spells out three letters El.  O-O-B.”

“Lion, you are reading it upside down.  Walk around to the other side and see what it says.” Ellie directed.

“Oh.  Ok. B-O-O.  aghhhhh!  Ellie, it spells BOO!”

Ellie walked a bit further and crouched down to read the next set, “This one spells S-C-A-R-Y… SCARY!”

“Ellie, I-I-I-I am n-n-n-not liking this,” he stuttered as he walked a few more steps past her and saw another set of letters, “This one spells M-O-N-S-T-E-R.  Mmmmmmonst….Yikes El!  It spells MONSTER!”

“Hold on Lion, I see one more set of letters.  Hold my hand and let’s figure it out together. Ok?” she coaxed.

“Ok,” he hesitated.   Together they got down on their knees and together they read the letters out loud, “A-H-E-A-D… AHEAD.” 

“A Head???” lion screamed out. “Whose head???  My head???” he continued at fever pitch, “I’m out of here El!”  And he was just about ready to turn and run out of the forest before Ellie stopped him.

“Nooooooo Lion!  Calm down.  Someone is trying to scare us but not by taking your head.  Look.  Read the four sets of words together.” So Lion did just that and he realized that it spelled out ‘Boo… scary monster ahead!’  “Ok, I guess no one is going to take my head, but this message doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling either Ellie,” he sighed with a smidgeon of relief.

“Agreed dear friend but let’s see who’s behind this.” And with a brave front both Ellie and Lion stood up tall with their shoulders pulled back, head raised high and together in unison they yelled out, “WhoEver you are, We are NOT afraid of YOU!”  Five seconds past.  Fifteen seconds past.  Thirty seconds past.  And just as Ellie and Lion were starting to relax out popped a short pudgy troll with crazy wild hair from behind a perfectly square stump that bellowed “BOO!”

“Aghhhh!” screamed Lion, “Who are you?”

“The scary monster that lay ahead of you in the woods,” he hollered out, but his words had more of a factual tone to them rather than a scary tone.

“No you’re not,” said Ellie with a hint of a giggle.  “Who are you really?”

“Well… you are quite correct in discovering my little white lie.  Actually I am Wrd Troll.  Trudy named me that because of my intellectual and advanced vocabulary.  But the other trolls in the forest call me Wrdy Nrdy.  And that’s ok, as I see it as a sign of their immaturity.  But enough with the introductions.  I know who you two are and my job is to capture you and bring you to Trudy’s cave.  So if you would be so kind, please put on these blindfolds… and tie them tightly around your head so you cannot peak underneath, and I will spin you 5 times… and not to get you dizzy by the way, but rather to confuse you as to which direction you are going in.  Chop, chop!”  He stated while handing Ellie and Lion two ABC patterned blindfolds.

Ellie took them both with her right hand and started to twirl them.  “Ummmmm, Mr. Wrd… before we blindfold ourselves, could we possibly interest you in a Word Challenge?”  Wrdy Nerdy’s ears wiggled and perked straight up.  Knowing that she had his attention, Ellie continued on, “You can name the game, but to be fair make it best out of three, and if you win then we will tie the blindfolds around our heads and you can lead us off to Trudy.  But if Lion and I win then we are free to pass and find Trudy on our own.  Agreed?”

“Oooooooo, I LOVE word games!  Yes, yes, yes yes!!  I will take the challenge!” he screeched out excitedly while he rubbed his chubby little hands together.  “Alright then, let me think for a moment,” he added while somewhat distracted.  Ellie knew this was the perfect moment for her and Lion to quietly slip on their headsets unnoticed.   “Hmmmm… what game will be easy for me to win and you to lose?” Wrd continued while playing with a strand of his crazy hair, “Ok, I’ve got it!  For the first round you need to tell me what the longest word in the dictionary is and you have less than thirty seconds to do so. On your mark, get set, GO!” 

Ellie whispered into her microphone, “Oliver, scan the dictionary quickly for the longest word.  HURRY as we have less than thirty seconds!”

“Tick tock, tick tock… twenty-one, twenty, nineteen, tick tock goes the clock,” sang Mr. Wrd Troll in an off-key note.

Ellie, there are over a thousand pages in this book… I can’t possibly flip through them that fast to find it, but I’m trying!” answered a frantic Oliver.

“Tick tock, tick tock… ten, nine, eight, tick tock goes the clock,” Wrd Troll continued singing.

“Oh my Ellie… I am so sorry.  I cannot find it!” Oliver resigned.

“Halt!  Times up!  Do you have an answer?” asked Wrd with a raised eyebrow.

“No,” admitted Ellie disappointedly, “What is it?”

“Ha!  It is 45 letters long and it is pronounced Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovol-
canoconiosis,” answered the proud and know-it-all troll.  “I’m not exactly sure what it is, but that doesn’t matter as its definition wasn’t part of the game!  So let’s go on to round two.  What is the shortest word in the dictionary and this time you only have twelve seconds to answer!  Tick tock… GO!”

Lion looked at Ellie and said to her, “That’s easy, it is the first letter in the alphabet… a”.

“NO, it’s a trick question!” squawked Oliver, “Everybody says that answer because it’s the first word they see, but there are actually two answers.  A… like ‘a’ game and also I… like ‘I’ like you.”

“Thanks Oliver.  I think you just saved us!” Ellie beamed.  “A and I,” she yelled over to Wrd Troll.

“What?  How did you know that?” he pouted while narrowing his beady eyes at them.  “Ok then, we are tied… one to one.   But I plan on winning this last round.  It is one of my favorite games, kind of like a race of sorts.”  He then reached under the log stump and pulled out a bag holding seven small square blocks with a letter on each side.  Wrd explained the rules as he dumped them out on the table.  “The word spelled out here is CAPTURE.  We each have twenty seconds to find the biggest word within this word.  Lion, I am putting you in charge of counting backwards so no cheating.  If you do, you both will be disqualified and shipped off to Trudy, pronto.  Ready, set, GO!”

As Lion started counting backwards Ellie quickly scanned the letters and the word possibilities within CAPTURE.  With Oliver’s help they came up with words such as ‘put, rat, tape, and pear.’  Wrd Troll was also scanning the letters and called out words such as “pat, cap, tear, and race.”   Lion was at the number three in the countdown and knowing there was not much time left he took a very slow deep breath before following it with two, then with one.  Fearfully looking at Ellie he called out, “Stop!  Your answers please.”

Wrd Troll spoke first, “I found CRATE and it is five letters long!” “Ha! I won, I won, I know I won!”

Before admitting defeat Ellie took one last glance at the letters on her own.  And what she saw made her smile.  “My word is… TEACUP… and it is six letters long!”
Realizing that she just won the game, Ellie quietly whispered a sincere thank you to Oliver for helping her and Lion and told him they would be in touch again soon.  Another thank you was said by Ellie but only in the form of a ‘thought.’  It was to her Mimi for introducing tea parties to Lion and herself.

“WHAT???  IT CAN’T BE!” Wrd stomped, “I’ve never lost this game!” he continued in a shocked state.  And then with some fretting he grumbled, “Oh my… Trudy is going to be angry with me!”

“Maybe so Mr. Wrd., but a challenge is a challenge and we won fair and square.  May we leave your area of the forest and continue on now?” Ellie politely asked.

“I guess so.  A challenge is a challenge and you and your friend did win.  So you may go, but if you do find Trudy before she finds you, please tell her that I picked the wrong word game for the tiebreaker and I’ll do better next time.  Ok?”  Wrd whined.

“You’ve got it Mr. Wrd Troll.  And for the record, you are one very smart ogre who knows his words!” complimented both Ellie and Lion with a broad smile, “Now we had better get going since we are not sure how much farther we need to travel.  Bye!”

“Yeah.  Bye.  Hey, thanks for not calling me Wrdy Nrdy!  You two are really sweet.  Just be careful because Trudy really likes that.  She says that sweet kids always have laughter in them.”

Ellie and Lion looked at each other with a quizzical expression once again but continued on their journey anyway…

We love you Spaghetti!
Mom & Mimi

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Into the Forest: September Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi My Sweet Elle-Belle,

As I am writing this blog after your bedtime, I am listening to you still awake upstairs and I am finding myself giggling… Ellie, you are so much like me when it comes to books.  We both have such a desire for reading.  And as I am typing, I heard you hop out of bed to go over to your bookshelf where you must have grabbed a book that you are clearly reading right now (as I can hear you talking to yourself as you turn the pages).  And most mornings, I find the book of your choice nestled in between your covers.  Your nightlight must provide just enough light for you to see the pictures to remember the words that we have read before.  Ellie, I will make you a promise- I will never stop you from reading books!  I know the suspense of putting a good book down… When you feel like you know and love the characters, it’s almost a form of betrayal to not have closure (yes, I have been known to stay up all hours of the night to finish my favorite novels and I think I am a better person to persevere well into the night… passion my dear girl is a blessing!).  
Bedtime giggles!

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

So as for our weekly guidelines: I write a piece one week in regular font, and then your Mimi will write a piece in italics the next week.  The only things your Mimi and I agreed on were the characters- Ellie and a magic teapot and the setting (a forest with trolls).  Anything else is fair game and will make our adventure a new tale.  We also need to figure out an illustration to go with our part.  Our goal Ellie is to have a beloved bedtime story for you and future generations.   

And so we will continue our third piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Into the Secret Forest Part 7

As Ellie and Lion walked deeper through the forest carefully, they noticed an opening with some rocky hills ahead.  Lion looked at Ellie cautiously as he knew how dangerous and sharp those cliffs could be.

“Lion, this must be the path to Trudy’s… if you think about it, our challenges have only gotten harder.  I think we need to be prepared that the stakes are higher now,” Ellie stated, although she herself was not entirely sure of what lay ahead. 

Lion wasn’t convinced, “Can we call Sebastian?” he asked Ellie hoping that she would agree to some advice.

Ellie smiled as she said, “Lion, you don’t need my permission to seek out more help!  The bigger our support system, the better!”

Lion and Ellie in unison whispered, “SSSSSSSSSSS…” and within seconds, Sebastian the Snake materialized. 

“Ssssssss…so, how are we doing ssssss… so far?” Sebastian said as he slithered around their legs managing an encouraging smile. 

Ellie and Lion looked at each other and shrugged.  “Well, we’re a bit confused.  We’ve been walking through this field and up ahead are those rocky hills.  I’m a little bit afraid,” Lion admitted, “Are we headed in the right direction?  And if we are, do you know what we can expect?”

“Sssss…surely, I will help as bessssst as I can,” Sebastian offered, “I do believe you are headed in the right direction as I have always heard ssssss…songs coming from those hills.  And I bet there is a troll sssssss…singing those ssssss…songs as a trap.”

Ellie and Lion glanced nervously at one another before Ellie asked, “What kind of songs?”

Sebastian chuckled, “You may not believe this but nursssssery rhymes that have a rock-n-roll beat.”

Ellie and Lion smiled because they were confident that they knew all the nursery rhyme songs as Ellie’s mom sung a different one every night before bedtime. 

“Don’t worry Sebastian; I think we are ok on this one.  Thank you for your help!”  Lion exclaimed with a new-found enthusiasm.  Lion was envisioning Ellie’s mom dancing out of rhythm as she sang and danced for Ellie.  Lion giggled at the thought and he could see that Ellie was nostalgic for the same reason so he grabbed her hand.  “We got this one,” he said as he winked.    

Sebastian slithered away as Ellie and Lion waved in thanks.  “Sssss… see you sssss… soon my friends,” he said as vanished into the air.

“You’re right, we do have this one!” Ellie said as she dragged Lion forward into a sprint toward the cliffs. 

Choosing to think about more positive things instead of the obstacle ahead, Lion and Ellie decided to skip.   But as soon as they approached the foothills, they heard an electric guitar playing.  It seemed like there were invisible speakers around them because the sound pierced every angle.  The music was beautiful, ingenious even.  The musician was obviously gifted.  But then Ellie and Lion heard the lyrics, the chorus to the song…. “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb…”

Ellie and Lion couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the ridiculous, childish words that went along to the very mature notes the guitarist played.  It didn’t seem to make sense.  In fact, Ellie was disappointed that the words weren’t as deep as the notes that pierced her heart.  It was only then that she realized that she and Lion had precariously walked along an uphill path leading them to a ledge… a ledge on a hill…. One might even call where they were now standing, a steep cliff.

Since Ellie realized where they had meandered to first, she tried to hide it from Lion by positioning her body in front of his… but really how long until you can hide a sheer drop decline from someone?  Lion immediately knew what she was doing and appreciated her protection but knew he had to be brave because he also realized that someone was trying to push them into a corner literally and figuratively…

And just as that thought entered his head, he turned back toward the only exit (and entrance for that matter) to see a tall, skinny green troll in tight black pants holding a guitar across his chest frowning at them.

“I know who you are… and I am taking you to Trudy!” he sang furtively as he strummed his instrument.

“What’s your name?” Ellie asked him, “You may know who we are but I wish we knew your name.”

The troll sang in response (to the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” chorus) as he rocked out on his guitar, “My name is Rockin’ Troll and I like to play instruments.”

Ellie loved that Rockin’ Troll’s passion for his music became his communication tool so she dug deep into her front pocket and she pulled out a black box.  She tapped the box against her hip and the block box flipped out into a microphone.  Ellie reached into another pocket and removed two AA batteries that she gently placed into her microphone before she said (speaking directly over it), “Testing 1, 2, 3” as she tapped the mesh top.  

Rockin’ Troll looked confused as he hadn’t expected Ellie to share his musical craving.  He eyed her curiously and winked.  Without verbalizing, the two began a sing off (a singing version of a dance off, which is a competition between two musicians who must progressively perform better than the other).  Lion recognized immediately the contest that was starting to enfold so as the early, easy stages progressed (the first round the troll strummed and Ellie hummed in response), Lion said to Rockin’ Troll, “If Ellie wins this sing off, will you let us past you to get to the next troll?  We’re not ready to see Trudy quite yet; I think we still have a few things to learn.”

At that point, Rockin’ was so into the second round that he looked at Lion and shook his head in agreement.  An hour must have gone by as the troll jammed at least thirty songs that Ellie matched with her voice.  It seemed to Lion that they were still tied with their abilities.  Rockin’ Troll and Ellie looked exhausted, sweat was dripping from both of their faces (and from Lion too as he couldn’t resist dancing along to their efforts).  Ellie would have to prove something big soon to get out of this trap.       

On the 31st round, Rockin’ Troll plucked out the beautiful ballad, “You are My Sunshine.”  Lion purred happily as he knew that was Ellie (and her mom’s) favorite song every night.  Ellie not only recreated a beautiful solo part after (Lion wished he could have heard Ellie’s voice simultaneously against Rockin’ Trolls guitar), she immediately upped the ante.  She went into her Mimi’s favorite song after, “I Love my Teddy Bear.”  But it wasn’t just her voice that made it so special, Ellie had all the moves to go along with it (pointing to her eyes and hair when she sung about the bear with one eye and no hair).  

It was only then that the clearly tired Rockin’ Troll put down his guitar in defeat.  Without saying a word, he came over to Ellie and vigorously shook her hand and in the chorus notes of “Row Row Row Your Boat,” he sang to her, “Ellie, you won fair and square.   You have a beautiful voice and your songs are unique renditions…  I concede to you.  You may move on to the next troll and I hope you succeed… go merrily merrily merrily on your way, life is but a dream.”

Ellie forgot that this was a contest and was sad to see it end.  She had so much fun with Rockin’ Troll that she almost didn’t want to leave (but she knew that trolls changed their minds quickly so she didn’t waste any time dwelling).  She went over to Rockin’ Troll and kissed him on the cheek (in between the green warts of course), “Keep playing and practicing Rockin’ Troll, you have such a gift!  I hope you and I can do this again soon for a rematch!”  Rockin’ Troll bowed as Ellie and Lion raced off down the cliff and back to flat ground.  What lay ahead, they had no idea…

You are so loved Ellie!
Mom & Mimi

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Into the Forest: September Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Your first professional haircut!
Hi Ellie Bean,

I know I say this all the time but I love the relationship you have with your Mimi and Poppy- despite the distance; you are so close to them.  You give your Poppy kisses through the computer screen 
and your Mimi teaches you songs  (she taught you the finger song that begins with “Where is Thumbkin?” but you chose to belt out your own version in the grocery store, “Where is Pumpkin!”).  You are now able to use the phone and you know proper manners with it (always ending with, “Love you.  Bye!).
You are becoming such a social butterfly (well, really only with people that you know well because you are still crazy shy!). 

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

So as for our weekly guidelines: I write a piece one week in regular font, then your Mimi will write a piece in italics the next week.  The only things your Mimi and I agreed on were the characters- Ellie and a magic teapot and the setting (a forest with trolls).  Anything else is fair game and will make our adventure a new tale.  We also need to figure out an illustration to go with our part.  Our goal Ellie is to have a beloved bedtime story for you and future generations.   

And so we will continue our third piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Into the Secret Forest Part 6

Ellie and Lion walked further into the forest, hoping that each step was taking them closer to Trudy’s secret cave.  Getting past three trolls was no easy feat and they knew that more were probably hiding.  As they moved forward they kept their senses alert: listening, smelling and looking for anything out of the ordinary.  What they didn’t know was that with every step they took, Trudy was watching them.  And she was not happy that they had outsmarted Tootsie, Hotdog and Fruity Troll.

“Humph,” she snorted as she took off her glasses, the blue-framed ones with no lenses.  Anyone who saw them would think Trudy was trying to be cool but the reality was those eyeglasses were actually magical.  Since her eyesight was so poor, all she had to do while wearing them was to recite the following verse ‘Find me giggles, find me laughter, and find me those who I should go after’ and the glasses would give her sight into all corners of the secret forest.  “Those two, the ones who call themselves Ellie and Lion, have the best laughs I’ve heard from children in a long time.  I want their laughter and I want it now!” she cackled while stomping her foot down hard on the damp earth, shaking the ground all around her.

It took Trudy many, many months to create the perfect machine that would extract all the happiness from any child who entered it.  Upon its completion she named it the Giggle Grabber.  Dome shaped and made of chain-link fencing, the Giggle Grabber had one lone swing hanging down from the ceilings center.  The short thin rubbery nubs that created its flooring and the side walls of the inside wire fencing had hundreds of over-cooked limp spaghetti noodles tied in knots around each link and each root.  Around the outside of the machine Trudy place four fans, one on the north side, one on the south side, one on the east side and one on the west side.  When Trudy turned them on, air would blow to and fro creating the noodles to dance and wiggle in all sorts of directions inside the dome.  If a child was sitting on the swing and moving back and forth, the spaghetti’s crazy motions would tickle their feet, their tummy’s and under their chins forcing them to release all their laughter.  And to catch that laughter Trudy placed jars strategically around the inside of the machine.  Once the jars were filled, their connected lids would snap shut and quickly seal in all their giggles forever or at least till Trudy figured out what to do with all that happiness.

“Humph,” she snorted again as she tromped around and around The Giggle Grabber.  Trudy didn’t do anything softly.  “Watching those two together tells me that I may have to update my machine.  Either I am going to have to make the seat swing wider so they both can sit on it at the same time or else I am going to have to make another swing and hang them side by side since that girl and that lion don’t seem to do anything or go anywhere without each other.  Humph!  What to do, what to do,” she grumbled to herself as she continued to circle The Giggle Grabber.  After much thought (about five minutes worth) Trudy came to a decision.  “Alright, my mind is made up!  I will lengthen the seat of the swing so that the two can sit on it together.  That should keep them happy!  Humph!” she boomed out one last time.

Turning away from The Giggle Grabber Trudy stomped off towards the woods behind her home in search of a long flat board.  She couldn’t wait to turn Ellie and Lion into her new trolls.  They seemed quite clever to her and with a little bit of training Trudy was sure she could make them her best yet!   But right now she had to put that thought aside and concentrate on the task she set out to do.  With each piece of wood she came upon Trudy examined it closely then tossed it to the side hoping to find a better one.  There wasn’t much time to waste.  When she last put on her magical eyeglasses Ellie and Lion had no idea that they were walking towards Rocky Troll.  Rocky was one of Trudy’s more experienced trolls and she was confident that he would be the one to successfully blindfold the pair and bring them straight to her.  So with as much excitement that a grumpy old troll can have, Trudy sang out loud and very much off-key the magical spell that would soon turn Ellie and Lion into her new trolls.

“Giggle, giggle coo
Chuckle, chuckle hey
Give me all your laughter
I want it today!

Once I’ve taken it
A troll you will be
The only way to break my spell
Is to try and stop me!

The secrets in my hat
For it holds the key
That will unlock the gate
And set you free!”

Just as Trudy finished singing the last verse, a long wooden board appeared at her feet.  Bending down and scooping it up, she examined the board closely, pleased with her find.  Walking back towards The Giggle Grabber she stopped to pick up her magical eyeglasses.  Positioning them on her face Trudy recited its verse, ‘Find me giggles, find me laughter, and find me those who I should go after’ and that quickly Ellie and Lion appeared inside the blue frames.  “Ahhhhh, Yesssss,” she grumbled aloud to herself.  “That’s the right direction.  Keep walking you two.  Rocky Troll will take good care of you!”  Pleased with what she saw Trudy took off her eyeglasses and tucked them into the small pocket located on her white apron.  She then entered The Giggle Grabber to prepare it for her new arrivals…

Love you to the moon and back Ellie!
Mom & Mimi