Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ula's Umbrella

Ula Erickson had an umbrella. It was pink and purple with flowers and butterflies. It was fancy and frilly and super girly. It was her favorite possession. Her beloved Aunt Millie gave it to her for her 7th birthday. She used it in the sun and in the rain.

Ula had a younger sister named Adria.  Adria was jealous of Ula's umbrella. "Aunt Millie likes Ula better than me." Adria complained one day as she watched Ula get ready to go out in the rain with her umbrella.

"Of course, she doesn't." insisted Mommy. "What would make you say that?"

"She didn't give me a pretty umbrella like Ula's."

Mommy smiled. "Don't worry. You'll get one when you're older." she assured Adria  However, that was not good enough for Adria. Sometimes, she hated being the youngest. It was not fair!

About a week later, Ula's umbrella disappeared. She looked all over the house for it. She could not find it anywhere. "Adria!" she shouted angrily. "Did you see my umbrella?"

"No, I didn't." replied Adria.

"Adria!" shouted Ula even angrier. "What did you do with my umbrella?"

"What is going on?" asked Mommy upon hearing all the yelling. She did not like it when Ula and Adria screamed at each other. They were sisters. Sisters should get along.

Ula and Adria both began talking at once. "Hold on! One at a time." said Mommy. She led them to the couch in the den where they each sat on either side of her.

"Adria stole my umbrella." complained Ula.

"I did not!" insisted Adria.

"Yes, you did!" replied Ula. "I know you were always jealous, and you always wanted it.You definitely took it!"

Mommy looked Adria right in the eyes."Did you take it?" she asked.

Adria looked Mommy right back in the eyes. "No, Mommy." she replied.

"Well, alright then." said Mommy. "We'll have to look for it."

Ula shook her head. She looked from Mommy to Adria and back again. She didn't care what Adria said or what Mommy believed. She knew Adria had taken it. Adria had always been jealous of her umbrella. Ula fled from the room in tears.

Days passed. Many of them rainy ones, perfect days for Ula's umbrella. Still there was no sign of the umbrella. Ula continued to think that Adria had stolen it. Adria continued to insist that she hadn't. They barely spoke to each other except to argue. They constantly glared at each across the room. Mommy tried to get them to stop fighting. "You're sisters." she said. "Sister's need each other. You shouldn't act this way. You should kiss and make up." Ula and Adria wouldn't listen.

About a week later, Ula's best friend, Amelia came back from  a vacation to Florida. She came right over to see Ula. Ula was so happy to see her. It had been really lonely with Amelia away and not even having Adria to play with. "Oh Amelia!" she exclaimed happily upon seeing her friend on her doorstep. "I'm so happy your home. I missed you."

"I'm glad to see you too." replied Amelia  "and I brought you something."

"Oh." replied Ula excitedly. "You didn't have to." She eagerly took the plastic bag Amelia handed her. She couldn't imagine what could be inside it. Maybe, it was a t-shirt or a pretty shell or a souvenir from Disney World.

Amelia laughed. "Don't get so excited. It is not that kind of thing." she said. "I didn't get it on my vacation."

Ula frowned in confusion. Now, she really couldn't imagine what it could be. She quickly reached into the bag and pulled out her umbrella. To Ula, this was even better than a t-shirt or a shell or even a souvenir from Disney World. She was instantly filled with a jumble of emotions: relief at having her umbrella back, confusion over how Amelia got it, and regret for having accused Adria of taking it. She was so full of mixed up emotions that at first, she couldn't even talk.  She just stood there staring at her umbrella.

"You left it at my house before I went away." explained Amelia.

All Ula could do was nod. Finally, she got her emotions under control. "Adria!" she called.

Adria came running eagerly into the room. Despite, the fact that she and Ula hadn't been talking she still loved her sister and missed playing with her.

"I'm sorry, Adria." said Ula. She really really was sorry. "I'm sorry I accused you of talking my umbrella." She hugged Adria.

Adria smiled. "That's okay." she said quietly. She was glad Ula had gotten her umbrella back and Ula was speaking to her again, but she was still jealous.

Ula happily clutched her umbrella to her.  She was so happy to have it back. She couldn't bare to face another rainy day without it.  She was so lucky to have her special umbrella. Suddenly, she looked up at Adria. Adria was staring at Ula with sad puppy dog eyes. "I'm sorry, Adria." said Ula again.

"Yes,  you already said that." replied Adria.

"No, not that." said Ula. "I'm sorry that you don't have your own special umbrella like me. From now on, I am going to share my umbrella with you."

Adria's eyes lit up like candles on a cake. "Are you sure?" she asked eagerly.

"Yes. I'm sure." replied Ula sincerely. "After all, we're sisters and sister's need each other." She hugged Adria.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Riley's Really Sorry

Riley Evans was always getting into trouble. She made messes. She didn't listen. She did what she wasn't supposed to. Yet, Riley didn't mean to make so much trouble.

"Riley!" called her mother from downstairs "Why are your toys all over the living room again?"

"I'm sorry, Mommy." called Riley. She hurried downstairs to clean her mess. When she was finished, she was really hungry. "Can I have a snack?" she asked eagerly.

Mommy nodded. "Why don't you have a cheese stick?" suggested Mommy.

"We don't have any cheese sticks."

"What do you mean we don't have any cheese sticks?"

Riley looked down at the ground. "I finished them the other day." she admitted.

"Riley," said Mommy disappointedly. "Why didn't you tell me we were out of cheese sticks? I went shopping yesterday. If I had known we were out of them I would have bought more."

"I'm sorry, Mommy." said Riley again. Suddenly, she wasn't very hungry anymore. She quietly tiptoed out of the room before Mommy got even madder and scurried quickly up the stairs.

She flopped down on her bed and looked around her room for something to do. She spied something in the corner of her room and went over to see what it was. It was her yellow ball. She knew Mommy didn't like her to play ball in the house, but she started bouncing it around her room anyway.

"Riley!" called Mommy from downstairs again upon hearing the bounce of the ball. "What are you doing?" She did not sound happy.

Startled by the sound of her mother's voice, Riley let the ball slip out of her hands. It banged into her night table and knocked it over. The lamp that was standing on the table skidded off and broke.

The loud crash sent Mommy quickly rushing up the stairs once again yelling Riley's name. Upon seeing the damage in Riley's room, she didn't say anything. She just looked at Riley disappointedly.

Riley hung her head down and starred at the floor. "I'm sorry. Mommy." she whispered. She really was.

That wasn't enough for Mommy. "I know you're sorry, Riley." she said angrily. "You're always sorry. Sometimes, sorry just isn't good enough. Sorry is not going to fix that lamp. Your grandma gave it to us just for you when you were born. You need to listen. You need to do what your supposed to in the first place. Then, maybe you won't end up having to say you're sorry all the time."

Riley just looked at her mother. She was really really sorry, but she didn't say anything. She was so sorry she had disappointed Mommy. She really wanted to make Mommy proud.

The next day, Riley cleaned her room without being asked. When she finished the last apple she told Mommy. She picked up her roller skates which lay next to the front door and was about to put them on when she remembered she wasn't supposed to skate in the house. She put them away in the garage.

At bedtime. Mommy told her. "I'm very proud of you, Riley. You didn't have to say sorry once today." She smiled at Riley.

At first Riley was really proud and happy. She smiled back at Mommy. Then, suddenly. she burst into tears.

"Riley sweetie," said Mommy sitting on the bed beside her. "Whatever is the matter? Do you feel okay?" Riley nodded through her tears.  "Then, what's the matter?" asked Mommy again. "You had a real good day today. You should be proud of yourself. I'm proud of you."

"I know, Mommy." replied Riley. "I know I was really good today. I know you are proud of me."

"Then, why are you crying?"

"What if I am not so good tomorrow? What if I have to say I'm sorry for something? What if I have to say sorry for a lot of things? Then, you won't be proud of me anymore."

Mommy scooped Riley up in her arms and kissed her. "I will always love you, and I will always be proud of you."

"But what if I'm not always good." worried Riley.

"All I ask is that you try your best." said Mommy.

"I can do that." replied Riley instantly feeling a lot better.

"I know you can." said Mommy.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's a Long Long Way to Coral Gardens

Lorelei Gifford was five years old. More than anything else in the world she wanted to go to Coral Gardens. She was always hearing her Mom talk about it, and it sounded like the most beautiful place in the world. She could just picture it in her head, lush colorful gardens filled with green grass and trees and flowers of every color. Lorelei could not wait to go there. Every day, she begged "Can we go to Coral Gardens today, please?!"

Every day the answer was the same. "Not today, Lorelei."

Finally, the magical day that Lorelei had waited for came. Finally, she was going to get to go to Coral Gardens. She woke up bright and early and got dressed without Mommy having to even ask her twice. Mommy, Daddy, Lorelei, and her big sister, Ginger all  piled into the car.

For about five minutes. Lorelei sat patiently in the car waiting. Then, she got bored. "Are we there yet?" she asked.

"No, Lorelei." replied Mommy.

"Are we almost there?"

"No."

Lorelei sighed and slumped over in her seat. "Will you get off me!" demanded Ginger angrily. "You are taking up the whole seat!" She gave Lorelei a shove toward the window.

"Ow!" said Lorelei rubbing her head. "Now are we there?" she asked.

"Not yet." said Daddy. "Just relax and enjoy the ride."

Lorelei sighed again.

"Why don't you sing songs to pass the time?" suggested Mommy.

"Good idea!" exclaimed Lorelei eager to have something to do to pass the time away. She started singing the ABC song. As soon as she started Ginger took out her I-Pod and put on her own music to drown out the sound of Lorelei singing. Lorelei gave her a nasty look and sang even louder.

Lorelei went through all of the songs she could think of to sing. That took all of about five or ten minutes. Then, she was bored out again. "Are we there yet?" she asked once more.

"No!" said Mommy and Daddy and Ginger all together.

"Are  we almost there?"

"Why don't you look out the window and enjoy the ride."  suggested Mommy.

Lorelei looked out the window. They were on the highway and all she saw were other cars. She rested her head on her cheek and sighed yet again. She started kicking her leg back and forth. "Ow!" exclaimed Ginger as Lorelei accidentally kicked her. "Lorelei stop kicking me."

"Lorelei please sit still." begged Daddy. "I'm trying to drive."

Lorelei tried to sit still and quietly. She tried to concentrate really hard on the picture of Coral Gardens she had in her head. She couldn't wait to get there.

After what seemed like hours and hours to Lorelei, but was actually only about another 15 minutes or so, Mommy finally said. "We're just about there."

Lorelei was so excited. She decided to close her eyes and only open them when they arrived. A few minutes later although it seemed much longer than that, the car came to stop. Lorelei quickly undid her seat belt, jumped out of her seat, and looked up. "Oh, it's so beau--" she stopped herself before she could finish her sentence. Where were the trees? Where was the grass? Where were the flowers? Where were the beautiful gardens? All she saw in front of her was a mall.

She looked at Mom. She looked at Dad. She looked at Ginger. They all looked very serious. Still she thought it must be a joke. She started laughing. "Ha! Ha! Very funny." she said "When are we really going to get to Coral Gardens?"

"You're looking at it:" said Ginger.

Lorelei looked at Mommy and Daddy for confirmation. They nodded their heads. "This is Coral Gardens." said Mommy.  "Coral Gardens is a mall.  We thought you knew that."

"No, I didn't." replied Lorelei disappointedly. All that long boring ride for nothing she thought. Suddenly, she felt very tired.

"Well, you've finally made it to Coral Gardens." said Mommy trying to be cheerful.

"Can we go home yet?" asked Lorelei.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Dog is Bigger Than Your Dog

Noli Yarborough and Zanita Flynn were best friends. They had been best friends since they first met back in preschool. They loved each other but they were always arguing. They were so competitive about everything. Neither of them ever wanted to give in.

"I am taller than you." Noli said to Zanita on the playground at school one day. She stretched up on her tippy toes.

"You are not!" replied Zanita angrily. She stretched up on her tippy toes too. Noli stretched even more. Zanita stretched more. They kept stretching more and more and trying to make themselves look taller and taller until they both fell over. Then, they stormed off angrily to opposite sides of the playground.

Another day, they were at Zanita's house after school. "I can can count higher than you can." said Zanita. She started counting "one, two, three ..."

"No, you can't!" insisted Noli. She started counting "one, two three..."

"Your messing me up!" said Zanita angrily.

"No, you are messing me up!" replied Noli just as angrily. They glared at each other until Zanita stormed into her house, and Noli went off in a huff to her own house.

Of course, by the next day they were friend's again, and they were at Noli's house. They were sitting on the couch trying to decide what to do when Noli's Chocolate Lab, Coco jumped up on the couch with them. "My dog is bigger than your dog." said Zaneta.

"No, he is not." replied Noli.

"Yes, he is." insisted Zaneta.

"Is not!" said Noli a little louder.

"Is too!" replied Zaneta even louder.

"Hey, what is all the yelling about?" asked Noli's mother entering the room.

"Our dog is bigger than Zaneta's, isn't he Mommy?" said Noli.

"No, he is not." replied Zaneta before Noli's  mother could even reply.

Noli's mother couldn't help smiling. "Oh, is that what this is all about?" she said. Noli and Zaneta nodded their heads and opened their mouths to start arguing again. Noli's mother cut them both off before they could get a word in. "Does it really matter?" she asked. Noli and Zaneta were both silent. They didn't know what to say.  "Does it really matter whose dog is bigger?" continued Noli's mother.

Once again Noli and Zaneta were silent. They looked at each other. They looked at Noli's mother. "No, I guess it doesn't matter." Noli admitted finally.

"I guess not either." added Zaneta. "I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry too." said Noli.

"Best friends?" asked Zaneta.

"Best friends." replied Noli. They hugged each other.

"Now, that's more like it." said Noli's mother. She smiled and left the the room.

"What do you want to do now?" asked Noli. Zaneta shrugged. Noli turned on the TV. Good Luck Charlie was going on.

"I love Good Luck Charlie!" exclaimed Zaneta.

"I love it more than you do!" said Noli.

"No, you don't!" replied Zaneta,

"Yes, I do."  answered Noli.

"No, you -" Zaneta stopped in the middle of her sentence. "It doesn't really matter, does it?" she said.

"No, it doesn't." agreed Noli. They laughed and hugged each other.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Cat Like Kiki

Rachel's Grandma had a cat named Kiki. Kiki was an orange tabby. Rachel loved Kiki. Every time she went to Grandma's she would help take care of Kiki. She wished she could have a cat just like Kiki.

One day, her wish came true. "Rachel," said Mommy and Daddy. "We're so proud of you. You have been doing such a good job helping Grandma take care of Kiki. We thought that it's time you got a cat of your own."

"Really!" Rachel squealed excitedly jumping up and hugging each of her parents. "Thank you so much! I can't wait to get my own cat!"

The next day, they took Rachel to the shelter. There were all kinds of cats. There were big cats and little cats. There were black cats and white cats and gray cats. There were  striped cats and plain cats. There were no orange tabby cats like Kiki though. Rachel frowned.

"What's the matter?" asked Mommy. "You look disappointed."

"Aren't there any cats here that you like?" asked Daddy.

Rachel shook her head sadly. "I was kind of hoping for a cat like Kiki." she said.

"But there are plenty of cats here." said Mommy. "How about this one?" she suggested pointing to a little black cat.

"Too black. Too small." replied Rachel.

"Then what about this one?"  suggested Daddy pointing to a big white cat.

"Too white. Too big." replied Rachel.

"Well, why don't you take another look around." said Mommy.

Rachel nodded okay. She took a slow walk around the shelter. She stopped at every cage and studied every cat. Finally, she shook her head again. "No." she insisted. "I don't want any of these cats."

"Okay." said Mommy. "We'll try again next week."

The next week they came back, and there were more cats. There were big cats and little cats. There were black cats and white cats and gray cats. There were striped cats and plain cats. Still there was no orange tabby cat.

Once again, Rachel carefully looked at every cat in every cage. Once again, she rejected every one. "There are no cats here I want." she said sadly.

"Are you sure Rachel?" asked Mommy. "That little gray striped one is awful cute."

"Too little. Too Stripey." replied Rachel shaking her head.

"Then, how about that big black and white one." suggested Daddy.

"Too black. Too white. Too big." said Rachel."I don't want any of these cats." she added pointing around the room to the various cats. "Can we come back next week."

Mommy and Daddy glanced at each other. They were not sure. They did not think Rachel was ever going to find a cat. They did not want to spend every weekend at the shelter.

The next day, Grandma came by. She brought Kiki with her. "Kiki!" exclaimed Rachel scooping the cat up in her arms.

"Come sit down and talk to me." said Grandma. She sat down on the porch swing and Rachel sat beside her. Rachel put Kiki down on her lap. The cat purred happily as Rachel petted her.

"You really love Kiki don't you?" Grandma said to Rachel. Rachel nodded and continued petting Kiki. "Would you liked to have her?"

Rachel nodded. "Can I?" she asked excitedly. "Can I really?"

Grandma nodded. "She loves you and you love her. I am sure you will take good care of her."

"I will!" promised Rachel.

"I am going to miss my little Kiki." Grandma said kissing the cat. "She and I have been together a long time. I got her from the shelter when she was just a baby."

"You did?" asked Rachel in surprise. She did not know that.

"Somebody found her in an abandoned house and brought her there. She was just a scared tiny little thing. They told me that nobody else wanted her because she was so scared and tiny. I knew she was the cat for me though. I knew as soon as I saw her. She needed me "

Rachel looked at Kiki. Rachel had never seen Kiki scared or little. She couldn't imagine Kiki that way. Kiki was certainly happy and healthy now. As if to prove the point, Kiki rubbed her head against Rachel's arm begging to be petted more.

Rachel thought about the cats she had seen in the shelter. Some of them were scared and tiny too. Maybe, one of them needed her like Kiki had needed Grandma. She knew what she had to do. "You keep Kiki, Grandma." she said.

"Are you sure?" asked Grandma.

Rachel nodded. "Kiki doesn't need me. She has you. Those cats at the shelter don't have anybody. They need me. I am going to go back to the shelter to get one of them."

"Are you sure?" asked Grandma again.

Rachel nodded. "Yes I am sure." she replied.

The next week Rachel and Mommy and Daddy went back to the shelter. Rachel picked out a little white cat, the scaredest littlest cat of all. "I'm going to call you, Snowflake." she said to the little cat. "And I am going to take you home with me because you need me, and I need you too."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tammy's Not Tired

It had been a long day at the beach for  the Brady family, Mommy, Daddy, ten year old Tim, eight year old Trina, and six year old Tammy.  Everyone was tired. Mommy was tired. Daddy was tired. Tim was tired. Trina was tired. Only Tammy was  not tired or so she said.

After a full day of fun and sun, they trudged tiredly to their car lugging all their belongings with them. "I can't wait to get home, shower and crawl into my bed." said Mom.

"I still have to drive for another couple of hours until we get home." said Dad unhappily.

Tim and Trina just yawned sleepily.

Tammy walked along cheerfully smiling. She had had a really good day filled with building sandcastles, finding shells on the beach, and swimming in the ocean. She only regretted that it had come to an end. She wished they could stay at the beach forever.

They finally reach the car, threw all their stuff in the trunk and piled in.  Mom immediately fell asleep. Tim and Trina closed their eyes too. They were soon sleeping as well.

"Why don't you try sleeping too?" Dad suggested to Tammy. "It's been a long day, and it is going to be a long ride."

"But daddy, I'm not tired." insisted Tammy. "I'll keep you company while everyone else sleeps."

"Thanks, pumpkin." her Dad replied. "But that is not necessary."

"Oh, but I want to, Daddy."

Daddy drove. Mommy, Tim and Trina slept. Tammy chatted. She talked about her day at the beach. She talked about school. She talked about her friends. She talked about everything under the sun. Then, suddenly, the chatter stopped and the car was silent.

"Tammy, honey?" said Daddy. "Are you okay?" Tammy didn't answer. The car was silent except for breathing noises.

"Tammy? Are you okay?" Daddy asked again. He was worried. Tammy had stopped speaking in the middle of a sentence and that was so unlike her. He quickly glanced in his rear view mirror. There was Tammy fast asleep in the back seat in the middle of Tim and Trina.

Daddy laughed. "Not tired, huh?" he said.