Thursday, January 31, 2013

Creative Month of February: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

I am really enjoying my time with you at home!  Working part-time has been the best decision I’ve made in a long time.  You and I get three full days a week together… and let me tell you, you have an imagination that won’t stop!  Your latest make believe scenario is switching roles where you are the Mama and I’m Ellie!  We also do creative activities too- like bringing the snow inside when it was too cold to play outside and lots of arts and crafts.  

You help me cook and you’re learning a lot about numbers in the process.  Of course, reading and playing babies are always on our daily list too!  I will cherish this time I have with you always! 

And now back to our story…

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 (an aquarium).  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 fourth piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Aquarium- Part 5

Ellie and Lion approached the giant shipwreck cautiously.  They had no idea what or who was waiting inside.  As they looked around the side of the large ship for an entrance, they noticed a circular window was propped open above their heads.  Before they could peek through, they were stopped in their tracks by what they heard first.

“Why are pirates called pirates?” they heard a silly voice say.  Ellie looked at Lion with knowing and suspecting eyes but before she could say anything the voice continued, “They just arghhhhh!”  Lion couldn’t help but smile at the joke he just heard, despite now knowing who probably took the treasure chest.

“Why does it take pirates so long to learn the alphabet?” the voice began again.  Lion looked at Ellie perplexed by the questions and then he craned his neck to listen to the answer, “because they spend years at sea (C)!” the voice chuckled.

This time Lion couldn’t help himself and started laughing hysterically loud.

“Hey, who’s there?” an orange and white striped fish with white face paint poked out of the circular window, looked down, and swam right up to Ellie and Lion. 

“Do you mind?  This act is supposed to be a surprise and I need time to rehearse!” the fish muttered.  Ellie noticed that the fish was in costume.  He had red paint around his lips, a fake red rubber nose, and a red polka dotted bowtie strung around his neck.

Lion was still giggling at the joke so Ellie elbowed him gently in the ribs to pull it together as she introduced herself and Lion politely. “And who are you?” she asked the annoyed fish who seemed to soften as he realized Lion really enjoyed his jokes.

“I’m Collywobbles the Clown Fish, I like to make people laugh!” he said as he gazed at Lion. Once a week I host a comedy show down by the giant seashells. I rehearse my bits here so that I have privacy as I prepare.  You’re not here to steal my jokes are you?” he narrowed his eyes as he accused Ellie and Lion.

“Interesting that he chose to use the word steal,” Ellie thought ironically before she said aloud, “we’re here looking for information on the missing pirates’ treasure chest.  Do you happen to know anything?”  Ellie took out her notepad and again started jotting down some notes.

Collywobbles seemed baffled as he gestured for Ellie and Lion to follow him in through the circular window to chat further.  “Welcome to my office,” he said.  Ellie and Lion looked around.  He had set up some wooden beams in the large open room to look like benches that faced a staged platform.

“No I didn’t even realize that it was stolen,” he looked sullen and perplexed as he went back to the question.

“Why do you look so grim?” Lion asked Collywobbles.

“Well, my whole act this week centers around the theme of pirates because of that new exhibit.  It won’t make any sense if there’s no pirate chest,” he said as he bit his lip dejectedly.  “My performance is tonight.  It doesn’t give me much time to prepare new material.  I suppose I’ll have to cancel.”

Ellie realized that he was telling the truth and she suddenly felt sorry for the clown fish, as he was so obviously passionate about his job.  She tried to cheer him up.  “How about you tell us one of your most famous jokes?” she proposed and Collywobbles’ eyes lit up.  He took Ellie and Lion to a bench to sit as he took the stage.

“Why are fish so smart,” Collywobbles began with a wink.  Lion shrugged his furry shoulders and Collywobbles continued, “because they live in schools!”

Lion and Ellie couldn’t help but join him in his laughter.  “That was a good one,” admitted Ellie as soon as she could catch her breath between fits of giggles.  She started to hic-cup sending many bubbles through her breathing machine, which made her laugh even more.

The clown fish then remembered that he might have to redo or cancel his skit and became gloomy again. “Don’t worry Collywobbles, we will solve the mystery of the missing pirates’ treasure chest really soon so by the time you do your comedy routine tonight, it will be right back where it ought to be,” Lion encouraged.

Ellie recalled something she had in her pocket that would perk up the Clown Fish so she stuck her hand in and dug around.   Finally with a firm tug, she pulled out a large black microphone.  “Here Collywobbles, why don’t you hold onto this for me?  Your jokes are so funny that I think all the fish in the sea should hear you,” Ellie prompted.

“You’re giving him your beloved microphone Ellie?  But you love singing into that thing!” Lion gasped in disbelief as Collywobbles gleefully started playing with the device.

“Not giving, just sharing.  Besides, I’m not singing right now, am I?  We have a job to do!  And now we are on a time limit.  We have to find that treasure by this evening. Collywobbles, do you have any idea of where we should go next for clues?”

“Oh sure!  You know when I was up on deck earlier I did spy something weird at the Helm.   Why don’t you swim on up and see for yourself?”  And as Collywobbles explained a bit further, Lion and Ellie knew where their next stop would be….

Until next week!
I love you Ellie!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Creative Month of January: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

You have now had two weeks into your gymnastics class and you adore it!  You are quite limber and flexible but you also love to jump and spin fearlessly so really you are the perfect recipe for a gymnast!  Graceful you are not but we love watching you become such a social child who is happy, having fun, and taking some risks.

With all of your new activities, you sleep soundly at night so our latest bedtime story could not come at a more perfect time!

And now here is our final story (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 (an aquarium).  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 fourth piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Aquarium- Part 4

“Keep up Lion!” Ellie breathed as she drifted towards the patch of swaying seaweed.  “Flap those flippers of yours a little faster!  Otherwise our new suspect might dart away before we get the chance to question her!”

“Ok, Ok El!  Geez… I am trying you know.  It’s just that sometimes I get so fascinated watching the bubbles escape from my breathing apparatus, that I forget to kick my feet!  There sure is a lot of things to remember Ellie when it comes to living under the water,” Lion countered.

“I know Lion.  Just keep up,” she shot back with a little more patience this time.

Lion gave Ellie a thumb up, but he still couldn’t help but continue to watch his own bubbles and it made him giggle.  If he breathed fast, the bubbles gushed out of the tube one after another, and if he breathed slow only a handful of bubbles trickled out and then there wouldn’t be any more in what seemed like forever. 

And in those few minutes that Lion was distracted, the new suspect flitted further into the lush green seaweed, which hid her completely from their view.  “Great,” Ellie grumbled.  “I guess we will just have to see if we can track her down later,” she tried justifying to herself.

But luckily for Lions distraction, his forgetting to flap his flippers had him floating backwards and believe it or not, straight towards the edge of the seaweed patch.  As soon as his legs touched the slimy green stalks Lion let out a scream.   And in his confusion as to which direction to hightail it out of there, he swam right into a colorful fish that was gliding out of the protective cover.

“Hey there Mister, watch where you are going!” glubbed a very pretty rainbow fish.  Then realizing that Lion could be a predator, she darted back into hiding.  After waiting a few moments and realizing that “it” wasn’t coming after her, she decided that maybe there was no threat.  So she darted back out and swam a dozen circles around Lion making him quite dizzy.  “You know Mister, all my aquatic friends are excellent swimmers, and, and, and, they have scales not fur… and, and, and, they have fins not hands or feet… but, but, but, you aren’t… wellllllllll… exactly what kind of sea creature are you?” she questioned cautiously.

Just then Ellie swam up and hovered in between the two.  “Excuse me miss,” she began, “My name is Ellie and this here sea creature (she pointed her finger right at her furry friend) is not a sea creature at all but rather my stuffed animal.  His name is Lion.”

“Is he a real Lion?” she asked in awe.

Ellie giggled, “Welllllllllll, he is not ferocious if that is what you are wondering.  He’s more like a kitty cat as his growl is just like a purr.”  And Ellie winked at Lion, her heart filled with love.

“Ahhhhhhhh… a lion who poses as a kitty cat!  I like that!  Well, it is very nice to meet you both.  My name is Rita.  Did you know that I am a Rainbow fish and MY biggest dream is to pose as a Pirate fish?” she gushed. 

Ellie and Lion looked at each other with wide eyes.  And very quietly Ellie reached into her pocket to fish out the notepad and pen.  She began scribbling down every word that bubbled out of Rita’s mouth. 

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, just once I would love to be feared by all who live in this tank.  Wouldn’t it be magnificent if the next exhibits headline starred my name ‘Rainbow Rita’ followed by ‘The Greatest Sea Pirate To Rule The Aquarium?’… Mmmmmmmmmmm yes now that would be lovely,” she sighed a bit too dreamily.

“Humph,” sighed Lion.  “Honestly Rita, if you want to sound tough and scary like a pirate then don’t put ‘Rainbow’ in front of your name.  It sounds too frilly.  You need a name like ‘Raging Rita’ or ‘Radical Rita’ or how about ‘Rotten Rita’? Lion rattled off.

“Lion, what are you doing?” whispered a worried Ellie.

“Why I am trying to help Rita find ways to change her name into something much mightier, something that sounds like a fearsome pirate,” responded Lion, “I would think you would want to help too Ellie.”

“Ahhhhhh, did you forget why we are here Lion?  You do know that you are tampering with a possible suspect!” she shot back with a hint of annoyance.

Lion sheepishly answered, “OH! OH MY!  Sorry Ellie.  I guess I got caught up in… ”

“Her trap!” accused Ellie.

“Wait a minute!  WHAT?  Are you saying that I am a suspect?  A suspect to what might I ask?” Rita mouthed.

“Why to the disappearance of the Aquarium’s Treasure Chest Exhibit.  We are trying to figure out who stole it,” Ellie answered her while pointing a forefinger towards the spot where the chest originally sat.

“Well I didn’t take it!” Rita panicked.  “What would make you think that I did?”

And before Rita could finish her sentence Ellie reached into another one of her many pockets and pulled out a giant magnifying glass.

“Welllllllllllllllllllll for starters, how about that sparkly necklace you have hanging around your neck?” Ellie stated while practically setting the lens right on top of the baubles.  “Looks to me like it was freshly made with the treasures emeralds, rubies and diamonds.

Rita looked down.  “Uh-oh. No, No, No, No… you’ve got it all wrong.  You see Ellie and Lion, when the workers brought the Pirates Chest into the tank; I thought it would be fun to host a ‘Make Your Own Jewelry’ party.  So I sent out flyers to all the fish stating that my party would start immediately after closing time last night.  And can you believe… everyone showed up!  Oh what fun we had stringing our favorite colored stones on freshly cut seaweed strands!  Well, the party was still going on around 2:00 am and I knew if we didn’t call it quits immediately we were sure to get into some trouble.  So with the help of Sammy the shark, we had everyone return their jeweled accessories back to the chest pronto.  I guess in all the rush I forgot to dismantle my own fashion creation.  Sorry!”

Ellie pouted, “Oh brother.  I guess that puts us back to square one Lion.  Rita is not a suspect after all.”

Lion pouted too, “Oh sister!  What is our next move then Ellie?”

After giggling at Lions response Ellie asked Rita.  “Rita, do you have any ideas who may have walked off with the Pirates Treasure Chest?”

“As a matter of fact I do!” she stated with great certainty, “While Sammy was swimming from one fish to another and helping each of them undo their homemade necklaces and bracelets, I did notice a suspicious looking shadow disappear inside the shipwreck prop which is temporarily on loan to our Aquarium.”

“An interesting fact Rita.  Thanks!” Ellie said aloud while jotting this new information into her notepad.  And then she turned to Lion.  “Lion, are you courageous enough to take a swim inside that ship?”

“I, I, I, I, I guess so,” he stuttered, not really sure at all.

So over to the wreck they swam.  Lion’s air apparatus was releasing bubbles nonstop because he was scared silly while Ellie’s air apparatus was very, very still.  She was determined to nab this new suspect!...
Until next week my little Bean!
Love Mimi

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Creative Month of January: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

Well my dear, life is mundane this week (which after the busy holidays is a welcome change).  You continue to love preschool (even greeting your teacher with a hug each morning) and the library.  
But still, it is the depth of your imagination that never ceases to amaze me.  Just a few days ago, you pretended the whole house was Disney World and each room held a different ride.  Dumbo was in the living room, the new Ariel ride was in the entryway, Winnie the Pooh was upstairs in the guest room…).  You have such an incredible memory (even recalling the tunnel in the People Mover ride, which you closed your eyes tightly because you were scared) as you experienced these attractions all over again.  You also pretended to be Snow White and would call your Dad, Mimi, and Poppy, and I over to you as it was our turn in line to meet the princess and get our picture taken.  I feel like life with you is a fairy tale Ellie so it’s fitting that we are writing to you another piece of fiction!

And now here is our final story (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 (an aquarium).  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 fourth piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Aquarium- Part 3
As they used their fins to propel toward the brain coral, Ellie and Lion realized they could swim almost as well as the other fish in the tank.  Ellie was a little faster than Lion and she looked back to make sure he was following.  He smiled and waved to her as he kicked to catch up.  As Ellie winked and turned her head forward again, she screamed into her mouthpiece (that not only functioned as an airway but also as a means to talk underwater). 

She had almost glided directly into the scariest fish she had ever seen with bulging eyes and a long snout.  Ellie’s screech startled the fish too, which caused him to puff up several times his size and look like a giant bubble with spines jutting out of his skin.  The fish actually looked like a swimming porcupine.

Ellie stuck out her arms to slow her pace but it didn’t stop her from running into the puffer fish.  The tip of her nose touched one of the jagged edges of a quill on the puffer fish’s face.

“Ouch,” Ellie shrieked with tears coming to her eyes.  She instinctively began to rub her nose as the puffer fish said, “I’m really sorry!  Anytime I get scared I blow up really big so that predators can’t eat me.”

Ellie forgot about her sore nose as she became curious about the puffer fish, “How do you expand like that?” she asked inquisitively.

“I have a very elastic stomach so when I suck in lots and lots of water, I get really big really fast,” the puffer fish said proudly doing it all over again.

Ellie laughed because he reminded her of a balloon and she loved balloons!  “My name is Ellie and this is my friend Lion,” she gestured to her furry friend.

As the puffer fish started to shrink back down to normal size, he replied, “I’m Perseus the Puffer Fish.”

“That’s a cool name!” Lion exclaimed.

“Thanks!  It means destroyer, which is kind of funny because I don’t destroy anything (expect maybe your nose by accident Ellie),” he said gesturing to the small red cut on her face sheepishly, “I just know how to scare people but it’s all an illusion.”

“What’s an illusion?” Lion asked curiously.

“’An illusion is a misleading image meaning what you see isn’t really what is there,” Ellie answered smartly.

“I like my name though, ”continued Perseus proudly, “because my favorite letter is P and it works out pleasantly enough because not only am I a Puffer fish but I am also pale purple in color!”

Lion and Ellie giggled, “That is very neat Perseus!”

“It would be more perfect though if I weren’t a fish,” Perseus said, “I wish I were something that began with a P.”

“Like what?” Lion inquired not fully understanding what he meant.

“Like a Pirate!  Wouldn’t that be great?!  My name would be Perseus the Puffer Pirate!” he said as he imagined himself puffing up with an eye patch and sword.

Ellie gasped and she looked at Lion as they each remembered the stolen treasure chest.

Ellie unzipped the small pocket on the left side of her ruffled pink bathing suit and pulled out a waterproof notepad and a red waterproof marker.  She flipped a few pages (past her doodles of princesses and castles) to find a blank place where she began to write some notes.

“What are you doing?” asked Perseus the Puffer Fish who wanted to be Perseus the Puffer Pirate.

“Well you see Perseus, someone took the pirate’s treasure chest,” she motioned across the tank to the crime scene tape that marked the big X where it once stood.

“You don’t think I could actually steal something like that do you?” Perseus said fearfully and just like before when he became scared, he puffed out into a gigantic spiked ball.

“We’re not accusing anyone,” Ellie said, “but we will leave no stone unturned.”

Lion looked at her confused.

“That means we will search in all possible places,” Ellie clarified.

“Even though I would love to be a pirate, I would have no way of moving a treasure.   See; look at my small pectoral fins.  They could never lift something that heavy!”  Perseus tried to explain.

Ellie jotted that down in her notebook with a diagram. 

“Besides,” Perseus encouraged, “I think you’re looking at the wrong fish.”  He gestured over to the seaweed protruding out to their left.

What Ellie and Lion saw sparked their curiosity and made them both very suspicious… it looked like a new suspect was going to be on their list…

Love you Ellie Bean!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Creative Month of January: Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

This past week we celebrated your Poppy’s birthday by having the family over for dinner.  We made individual pizzas and sang happy birthday.  You and your Poppy have always had a close relationship but now that we are home and he is retired, he’s been helping me watch you a lot during the week…. And you adore him (even wearing a fedora like he does but he bough you a sparkly pink one!).

And this week’s funny Ellie-ism:  When we were driving to lunch with your Poppy a few days ago, I asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up.  You responded, “I want to be a penguin or maybe a lion!”  Your Poppy’s response was, “Everyone has to have a goal!”

And now here is our final story (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 (an aquarium).  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 fourth piece of fiction. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Aquarium- Part 2

“Where are we Ellie?” questioned Lion, as he took in their surroundings with eyes as big as saucers.  “You said we were going to the Aquarium but this certainly isn’t the entrance area to where your mom always buys the tickets for us,” he added a bit more nervous now, “What are we doing behind a curtain?”

“Welllllllllllllll,” began Ellie, “You’re right.  This certainly isn’t the entrance lobby.  I’m pretty sure we’re past that.  Turn around and look Lion.  Somehow we’ve landed in between the aquarium’s glass and this silly curtain covering it.”

Lion looked with confusion.  “Why would they have a curtain hiding this attraction El?  Do you think it is for a special ‘unveiling’ of the cool exhibit we want to see?”  He spoke in a nervousness that was more about being caught in a place they shouldn’t be rather than a nervousness of being plain ole scared in general!

“Hmmmmmmm,” Ellie sighed.  So with both hands she felt her way down the curtains fabric until she found the center slit.  With her thumbs and forefingers she opened them just enough to peer out with one eye.  After surveying the area and observing that the coast was clear, Ellie popped her whole head out of the opening.  Lion was getting quite anxious by the silence.  Not only were there no voices to be heard anywhere in the room, Ellie herself had not made a sound.

Tugging nonstop on the blue ruffle that trimmed Ellie’s shirt, Lion whispered in a loud voice, “El… what do you see out there?  Are we going to be in trouble?”

“I don’t think so Lion,” Ellie whispered back.  “It doesn’t look like anyone is here.  In fact it looks like this room has been closed off to all the public.  Here, take a look,” Ellie encouraged as she grabbed Lion’s paw from behind her and pulled him around to the front.  Ellie was going to let him peer through the opening she created, but Lion lost his balance and tumbled forward landing outside of the curtain.

As he picked himself up he looked around.  “El, it looks like a crime scene out here.  There is yellow tape everywhere!”  And that quickly Ellie pulled him back in behind the curtain with her.

“Shhhhhhhhhh,” she said.  “It IS a crime scene!  And we shouldn’t be here either but we are!  Lion, turn around and look inside the tank.  So Lion pivoted and like Ellie he cupped his paws on the glass window and placed his face inside their frame.

“Awwwwwwww, I can’t see anything in there Ellie!” Lion grumbled.

Ellie giggled.  “That’s because you’re nose is pressing on the glass and your breath is fogging up the whole window!  Back up a few inches Lion and take a good look inside the tank.”

So Lion did.   Once the tanks window cleared he saw a beautiful undersea world.  Cool tropical fish, dancing seaweed and tiny caves dotted the colorful coral reef.  At first he wasn’t sure what it was he was supposed to be looking at, but then it became obvious.  The pirates treasure chest was missing and in its place someone had put yellow crime scene tape in the shape of an ‘X’ on the sandy floor.

Lion asked a very perplexing question, “Where did it go Ellie?”

Ellie gave Lion one of her signature shoulder shrugs and answered, “How do I know” while scanning the sandy floors bottom.  Lion watched her and waited.  Sure enough, within minutes Ellie zeroed in on a possible clue.  “Lion, look down there!” she said as she pointed to a camouflaged stingray.

“Cool El, but we already know that that is what they do to hide from predators,” a know-it-all Lion responded.

Ellie looked at him and rolled her eyes.  “I know that we know that Lion.  That is not what I am pointing at.  I’m pointing at the area where its long tail twitched and dusted the sandy granules.   I can just barely make it out, but it is there! Don’t you see it Lion?  Come on, look harder!”

So Lion narrowed his eyelids to bare slits and focused on where he thought the stingray’s tail was.  He also jumped up and down and from side to side hoping that would also provide him with a better view of all angles.  Thankfully the aquariums lights were turned up high too.  “Oh my!  Ellie, I think I see what you are seeing!” he roared with excitement.   There hidden in the dirt and just barely noticeable was what looked like to be a glinting metallic object, possibly the edge of a gold coin.  And a pirates gold coin at that!  “I have to admit Ellie that being in the center of this crime scene is a bit exciting, but since there is no exhibit for us to look at I think we should just go home and wait for your mom to bring us here on another day.”

“Are you kidding Lion?  There is a crime to be solved here and I think you and I are the perfect detectives to get the job done!” Ellie stated.

Lion was quick to answer her.  “But we have no equipment.”

“Oh yes we do my furry little friend!  You should know by now that I always load my pockets with lots of gadgets before we embark on an adventure Lion.  And this trip is no different,” Ellie answered while rummaging through her left side pants pocket.
“Ah-ha!” she squealed as she pulled out a flat square board about 4 inches wide.  Laying it down on the ground she went back to rummaging inside her right pants pocket and again squealed in delight.  There she found 2 long cylinder canisters, pulled them out and laid them down next to the flat board.

Lion stared at the floor for a few minutes.  Since nothing was happening he grumbled in exasperation, “I don’t think this is the best time to play with your shape sorter puzzles Ellie!”

“Just wait Buddy,” Ellie murmured as she tapped her toe twice on the flat board.  Click, click, click the board groaned as it stretched slowly into a privacy wall for changing clothes.  That quickly Ellie jumped behind it first.  Eyeing her pink ruffled bathing suit on one of the two hooks attached to it, she grabbed the suit and changed into it as fast as she could.  Then she walked out, took Lions hand and gently pushed him behind the wall to do the same.  Upon entering the other side, Lion saw his colorful beach ball bathing trunks and slid them on quickly.  As he walked out he reminded Ellie that he wasn’t a very good swimmer.

“Not to worry Lion,” Ellie comforted.  She picked up the two cylinders and placed one in Lions right paw while holding the other in her left hand.  “You will breath a sigh of relief when you see what happens.  OK… follow my directions.  On the count of five we need to smack them together and wait for each cylinder to break into three tank swimming necessities.”

“Huh?... Wha?... Whoaaaaaaa!”  Lion shrieked as Ellie counted to five and that quickly both cylinders broke open and split into three objects; diving tanks, swim goggles and flippers.  “Wow El!  These gadgets are way cooler than all your other cool gadgets!” Lion drooled.  He never ceased to be amazed at what Ellie could pull from those pockets!

“Ok Lion, let’s don the equipment and dive into that tank.  We’ve got some investigating to do and a pirates treasure chest to find!” she breathed with excitement.

So Lion followed Ellie’s lead and strapped the tank onto his back, put the breathing apparatus into his mouth, slid the goggles over his eyes, stepped into the duck-looking flippers and then waddled over to the ladder that was propped up on the far side of the tank.  Ellie climbed up first and without hesitation dove right in.  Lion climbed up next but stalled on the top step.  His knees started to tremble and his goggles fogged up.  Knowing that Lion would probably go into scuba-diving panic mode, Ellie rose to the surface and screamed out a little white lie.  “Hey Lion, don’t be scared.  If you take one step forward you will step into a float!”

Since Lion couldn’t see through the foggy goggles he did as Ellie told him.  He took one step forward and kerplunked right into the tank!  Once he realized how easy it was to breath with his air tank, Lion swam side by side with Ellie down to where the pirates treasure chest should have been. 

“What do you think Ellie?” he muddled.

“I think we should look around for possible suspects,” she muddled back.  “Like that one hiding behind the brain coral.  Follow me Lion.  We have some questioning to question!”   And off they swam….

Until next week Ellie!
Love you,
Mom & Mimi

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Creative Month of January: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Happy New Year Beautiful Girl! 

It’s been a wonderful holiday season filled with many friends and family and now it’s time to settle down and start new routines.  With the start of my new part time job, you have officially begun preschool!  You were so excited to use your backpack and lunch bag. When I dropped you off, you were apprehensive at first (and even looked like you would cry) but a four year old partnered up with you and you went off happily playing. I have to say that I shed a tear as I drove away. 

Ellie, you are growing up so fast. 
My favorite time of the day with you is just before bed when we say our prayers, read books, and sing songs- I feel like that is our special time to connect when it’s very quiet. And I love that your Mimi and I are adding to your book collection by writing you stories this year.  So alas dear girl, we have one left to write before we switch our yearly blog theme on your birthday in March.       

And now here is our final story (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 (an aquarium).  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 fourth piece of fiction. 

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

Ellie had gotten up early that day. Instead of lingering in bed like she normally would do, she leaped out so fast that she got a bit dizzy.  Having already considered the perfect outfit, she threw on her polka dotted pink pants and her blue shirt with an octopus on the front.  She picked up her brush and gave a half-hearted attempt to get the knots out with three short strokes down the side of her head.  When the brush became entangled, she pulled it out and gave up.  Then, she went over to her bed, and before she threw her comforter over her pillows, she found Lion in a tangle of sheets.

“Come on Buddy, it’s almost time to go!”  Ellie called as she held him by the paw and drug him out of the room with her. 

With a quick stop in the bathroom to brush her teeth, Ellie flew down the stairs.  She found her purple boots by the door where she left them the night before and while setting Lion on her lap, she pulled them on, tugging hard to get them over her ankles.  She skipped into the kitchen, singing the first few words of the Fish Song, “I swim with the fish/in the ocean that’s blue/ I met… I met?”  Ellie looked at Lion quizzically.  She realized she forgot the rest of the verse.  She shrugged and continued on making up her own words as she pulled her step stool over to the pantry to retrieve her cereal (her choice today being Sea Creature-O’s), “I met an octopus with eight legs/and he didn’t wear not even one shoe!”  She looked at Lion, half expecting him to smile at her creativity but since he was a stuffed animal, he didn’t.  Ellie hugged him anyway, hopped off the stool with the cereal box in hand and headed toward the cabinet with the bowls.  She danced her way over, tripping on her own feet and had to let go of the cereal box to catch herself and Lion by grabbing onto the counter before the cereal crashed to the ground.  Sugary starfish, seashells, and fish scattered across the kitchen tile.

“Urghhh,” Ellie breathed frustrated with her clumsiness.  She set Lion on the table and cleaned up the mess as best as she could before she started over.  Within two minutes she was sitting at the table with Lion, eating her breakfast with the aquarium information printed out in front of her.  Her Mom printed it out last night. Underneath the price and hours, Ellie saw a picture of a pirate’s gold chest.  Ellie’s mom said that there was a new exhibit they were showing- REAL TREASURE!  Ellie only thought that belonged in storybooks!  Ellie crunched down on two more bites before looking around.  It was only now that she noticed how odd it was that her mother wasn’t up yet.  Her Dad was on a business trip for the week but Ellie’s mom was always up with the sunrise.  But then Ellie heard the bathroom door close upstairs and the swish of water as the faucet turned on.  Ellie breathed a sigh of relief and continued eating, looking further at the information sheet.  She saw pictures of all different fish, some with beautiful colors.  Ellie had been to the aquarium many times, but it never got old.  It seemed so magical to look into the sea world so easily through the big glass plates. 

Ellie’s Mom slowly walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, stepping on cereal pieces Ellie hadn’t seen when she cleaned up.  “Ellie honey, what is all this?” Her mom sighed at the mess.  It was then that Ellie noticed her Mom’s bright red nose and scratchy voice.  Her Mom was still in her pajamas with tissues piling out of her pockets.  She coughed into her shoulder.

“Sorry Mom, I cleaned up as best as I could,” Ellie exclaimed bounding over to her Mom, hugging her waist excitedly.  “What time are we leaving this morning?” Ellie proudly backed up, spread out her arms and did a ballerina spin so her Mom could see that she was all dressed and ready to go.

“Oh Bean, you look beautiful and you did a great job getting ready by yourself but I just feel awful.  I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to go out like this,” Ellie’s Mom said stepping over cereal pieces towards the refrigerator.  “Let’s try to go tomorrow when I’m feeling better.  I’m going to try and fight this cold with Vitamin C and head back to bed.  I can trust you to make your own fun today, right Spaghetti?” her Mom said warily looking at the cereal again all over the floor. 

Bewildered, Ellie pursed her lips and tried to hold in her disappointment, “Sure Mom.”

Ellie’s Mom lovingly touched her on the head before she began moving around the kitchen as Ellie watched her absently (her mind was swirling, considering new options of what she could do to stay busy today).  After Ellie’s Mom was done, she blew Ellie a kiss from the foot of the stairs before heading back up to bed.

Ellie mustered up a smile and called after, “Feel better Mama, love you!”  She turned to Lion as she folded up the information sheet and stuffed it into her pants’ pocket.

“Lion, are you ready for an adventure?  We’re going to that aquarium!” Ellie determinately said to him as she ran up to her room and collected her magic teapot and flew back downstairs in a flash. 

“I know what you’re thinking Lion but we don’t need my teacups.  We can use my Mom’s since we can have the tea party right here in the dining room!” she said using her step stool to help her get into the cabinets.  Two mismatched mugs and spoons were placed in front of Lion.  Then digging again in the cabinets, Ellie found the sugar dish and set it not-so-gently on the table.  The white granules that were now all over the place-setting reminded Ellie of softly fallen snow.  She turned her attention to the refrigerator and found the milk glass her Mom used for teatime and grabbed it.  She tried really hard not to let it drip on the floor as she brought it to the table.  “Now I think we’re ready,” Ellie said proudly with her hands on her hips.  She set Lion on his own chair.  “Just one more thing,” she sang as she grabbed her teapot and headed for the sink.  She filled it to the brim and did her best to keep it balanced as she walked it back to the table. 

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….

Love you Ellie!