A Magical Celebration

As unbelievable as it seems, our girl turned 8 today. Every year I have the same thought: Where did the past year go? It's true that life speeds by, so I am attempting to be conscious of savoring moments with her, whether it be reading at night before bedtime, or the hugs she always wants, or just watching a movie with her.

I wasn't as successful at this as I would have liked at her birthday party earlier today. We were so busy from the moment it started until the last kid left, but y'all ... that party was a blast!!

For the kids, it started a month ago with an owl post delivery ...

Inside the invitation was a Supply List and a ticket for the Hogwarts Express.

As the 'students' arrived, they first went shopping in Diagon Alley. All the major shops were represented: Madam Malkin's, Ollivander's, Eeylop's Owl Emporium, Flourish & Blotts ...



The across-the-street neighbor is an actual rocket scientist, and his daughter is head over heels for Harry Potter, so he BUILT HER A NIMBUS 2001. They were awesome enough to bring it over and let the kids have a broom ride while we were waiting for everyone to arrive.

Once everyone was there and had their school supplies, Uncle Dink (Slytherin) collected tickets and sent the kids through Platform 9-3/4 and into Hogwarts.

Next, the Sorting Hat put everyone into their houses. 

... and then the fun really began!

The first class was Care of Magical Creatures. A Ravenclaw student won 10 points for his house by being the first to find the basilisk in his course book. After he read to us what a basilisk was, the students spent time painting their very own wiggly snake.

The next - and most entertaining - class was Potions. Grandma (Gryffindor) was our Potions Master. These kids had so much fun doing their experiments. 

We had plans for a Charms class (balloons and wands and 'leviOsa not levioSA' and lots of running around) but Potions was such a hit, and the Potions Master had so many cool things ready, that we just stayed in Potions until lunch time.

Part of they way into Potions class, Maggie had two surprise attendees:

Maggie and the Sisters have a mutual affection for each other. They love and adore her just as she loves and adores each of them, and it was so sweet of Sr. Veronica and Sr. Maria Alejandra to take time to acknowledge her special day. 

The day wound down with lunch in the Great Hall, followed by cake and presents. 

Everyone also had the opportunity to make their meanest face for an Azkaban prison poster.

As Sr. Maria Alejandra was going up for her turn, Jordan commented to Sr. Veronica, "I don't think she can make a mean face." I think we can all agree with that assessment :)

At the end of all things, as the kiddos were leaving and the adults were turning Hogwarts back into a home, all of us - though a bit tired and starting to drag - were each smiling and exclaiming how much fun we had that day. It's safe to say this party was truly a magical celebration.


Note: It must be unequivocally stated that this party could not have been possible without all hands on deck. A heartfelt 'Thank You!' to the fam for all of their help. Three deserve individual attention for their contributions:

* Nana gets the first and biggest shout out because, in truth, she did almost everything. I'm good at researching, designing, and printing on a computer. Nana is awesome at creating, painting, and making. She cut, folded, and glued Chocolate Frog boxes and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans boxes and wand boxes; bound course books; cut out and attached the Marauder's Maps; foam boarded all the shop signs; cut out labels and boxes for the Honeydukes candy (and made some it!). All the cool details - Hedwig flying over head, Dobby peeking out from the corner, the candles hanging from the ceiling - were all her effort. 

* Grandma was an amazing Potions Master. I asked her a couple of months or so before the party if she would be willing to lead Potions, and if so, could I just turn it over to her. I had taken the experiments from Maggie's kit, but she also added in the fire snake and a lava bottle thing that was super cool. 

* I am telling everyone reading this the key to a successful kids party: Uncle Dink. He is the best at getting into the party and playing along with whatever the theme happens to be. He helped in all areas at this party but his main gig that day was to be the Sorting Hat. (I hope there is a video I haven't seen yet because he was so funny!) He even pointed out all the little red-heads attending - "Is this another Weasley?" It was a highlight, and I heard kids chatting about how funny they thought the Sorting Hat had been. My brother has a gift for fun.



My childhood memories are flooded with images of my Grandma.

I had a wonderful family, including an aunt and uncle whom I (still) love dearly, and cousins that I grew up with and played with and spent the night with, but my abiding memories, the stories I tell my daughter when she asks about my Southern years, are almost always about my Grandma.

I tell my girl the bedtime story Grandma used to tell me when I would spend the night. It's one she made up, about a fairy and an orange, and I know I'm not telling it as well as she did, but the love for her comes through that tale as my daughter listens. She loves the story almost as much as I did.

I remember eating out with Grandma and Pop at Cap'n D's. Riding in Pop's old green truck (just the two of us), or all of us in Grandma's Gran Torino. Grandma at her piano, her warble-y voice blending with the warm notes under her fingertips, her well-loved Baptist hymnal open in front her. Hiding under that piano when our parents came to pick us up because we were sure they would never find us there (every. single. time). Picking roses in  her garden to take home, roses heavy with perfume and beautifully open. She would wrap our roses in a wet paper towel and tin foil so we could carry them home.

This wonderful, crazy, loving, cantankerous, beautiful woman has left this place for her heavenly home. She is missed more than words can express. 

I love you, Grandma. I am so thankful that I was yours, and you were mine.

Until we meet again...


So, Parenting Fail # ... whatever

Our girl lost her 3rd tooth yesterday morning while she and daddy were at daily mass together. They wrapped it in tin foil from the parish kitchen to keep it secure. They called me at work to share the news. Once home, they popped the little packet into her tooth fairy pillow.

Aaaand ... the tooth fairy got caught up in watching Doc Martin with her honey and FORGOT TO PAY THE KID.


Jorde called me today to tell me of our oopsie. Thankfully, The Girl wasn't upset. She theorized that maybe the tooth fairy couldn't see her tooth through the foil, and it should have been wrapped in tissue like we have done for her previous losses. So, we switched out the wrapping before bed.

It worked! The TF saw her tooth! ... or the alarm on her cell reminded her ... or the call from her hubs reminded her ... Anyhoo, the girl got paid.

Making childhood magical is hard work.