Thanks for Filling My Bucket

In a world that so often focuses on the negative, it can be exhausting trying to be a positive for so many people. Sometimes, a kind act, even a small one can be the one time someone smiles on a particular day. The very definition of a random act of kindness is when you do something unexpected, thoughtful, or helpful without expecting anything in return.

Today was the day I needed a random act of kindness to remind me how good the world can be. Today was even better considering that particular act of kindness was initiated by my older son and directed towards his younger brother… it was completely unsolicited, unprovoked and even better un-observed… (or so he thought).

As an aside, I recently read an amazing book, The Kindness Advantage: Cultivating Compassionate and Connected Children. The book was mentioned by my amazing school social worker and a few parents had even discussed it at a recent PTO meeting. So, I decided to check it out. The focus on values of community, compassion, and tolerance are themes that will resonate with any educator.

With increased concern about meanness and bullying, I was impressed with how simply the authors discuss how kindness spreads. Also, described is how children who not only expience others being kind, but those who demonstrate kindness are more apt to also show unity, respect, empathy and compassion for others. As a school leader and parent anything that supports a climate of respect and rapport is something useful that can be taught and also benefit the environment in a classroom and at home.

So, as I stood silently, just beyond the small crack in the bedroom door, I watched my eight year old finish reading a book to his younger brother. As he tucked him in, he whispered just barely audible, “Good night buddy. I’m proud that you are my brother. Thank you for coming into my life.” You see sometimes, kindness isn’t just for the person giving, or even for the person receiving. Often times it’s for the person observing.

Today, one random act of kindness filled three buckets and left this dad smiling from ear to ear.

The single greatest act of kindness

Santa Went All Out

No way did we get this much stuff when we were kids!

Don’t get me wrong. Santa hooked me up every year and we never went wanting, but I remember getting a WWF Wrestling Buddy, a 1987 Topps factory set and a Rickey Henderson autograph and I literally thought Santa went broke just on our Christmas presents every year!!!.

PS: the single greatest XMAS present ever given to any child:

Thank you Santa

Pizza Rat

Pizza Rat is an internet sensation based of of the most famous NYC rat since splinter taught those crazy turtles karate. The thing is… how can this brown rat carrying a slice of pizza down the steps of a New York City Subway station in Manhattan be any cuter than our very own (above) pizza rat?!????

The OG Pizza Rat

‘‘Twas the Night Before Kindergarten”

Twas the night before Kindergarten Oliver was asleep, his lunch was set out.

And mom and dad’s faces were in a pout.

His outfit was set on the dresser with care. In hopes that the school bus would quickly be there;

Both boys were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of breakfast danced in their heads;

And mommy in ‘PJs, and I in my shorts,

Jax was excited third grade means no more Covid Cohorts!!

When out in the yard there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon shown a shadow on the still of the pool

I yawned and I shivered in the late summer cool.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a memory of a child so small we shed tears.

We cried and we sobbed while we packed up his bag  

We were exhausted and beat, time to wave the white flag. 

We spoke not a word, but went straight to sleep,

We laid down with questions, but knew he was ready for this leap.

Yes, we were sad that our boy was growing so fast, 

But we knew it was time to move on from the past. 

While mommy and daddy wished time would go slow,

We realized Ollie was ready, it was time to let go.

So now as we lay, we wish him the best. 

All we can hope is mom and dad get some real rest.

#BackToHogwarts2022

Continuing with tradition (for the eighth year in a row) I tweeted at JK Rowling for advice in dropping the boys off at Platform 9 3/4.

I’m sure by now you know that September 1st is a sacred day for witches and wizards everywhere! Back to Hogwarts Day is when the Wizarding World boards the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station heading to Hogwarts.

The hope being JK herself will acknowledge my tweet and show some love to two little wizards who have the unfortunate luck of being born to the biggest Harry Potter fan this side of Privet Drive.

Kindergarten Orientation

This dude right here is about to embark on a magical journey, in other words:

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

There’s no doubt that this little guy isn’t so little anymore and all joking aside, if kindergarten orientation is any indication of how this school year is going to go, sign me up for the Gilligan Island’s Theme Song, because Oliver and his preschool now kindergarten friends are going to cause all sorts of high jinx!

Harry Potter and the the Goblet of Fire (Part Four in our Read Aloud

This blog entry will Chronicle (pun intended) a father and son’s continuation of the first time reading the Harry Potter series together. We finished Book One, Two and Three now will move onto Book Four: Harry Potter and the the Goblet of Fire. I’ll update it after each chapter so that I can capture the most memorable moments. Come back often and check in on our progress and leave us a note or some feedback!

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I know Jax and I will.

Chapter 1: The Riddle House

(The first few chapters Jax asked if he could “talk to text” his summary of the chapter. Why not, right?)

I was reading the chapter 1 the Riddle House and I was wondering what going to happen right away. So, when my dad read me the first page it made me, kind of like happy, and then I thought this book was going to be good, but then what he said and the next page made me kind of suspicious about what this chapter might tell us.

We read on the next page that all the Riddle family were all killed by something and I thought they’re the gardener Frank that takes care of their house when they’re gone.

Everyone in the town thought he killed them so they arrested him and then they and then they were like you’re innocent and you didn’t do anything, so they let him go!

One night after getting out of jail, Frank woke up and the lights were on in the house and there were people jumping around the house and they were like those ‘darn kids again’ he thought. So, he went to the house and he wasn’t kids. There was a fire and then he went upstairs he looked inside a small opening of a door in a bedroom. He looked and he saw a weird man that had his face covered and a man that looked very old and looks and sounds like a rat. (We met them in the last book… The Prisoner of Azkaban… Peter Pettigrew.

Then a weird snake walked into the door and then the strange man that had the hood on said how are you doing Nagini. Nagini was the snake… so Nagini who was now in the room told the man with the hood that there was somebody waiting outside listening to all they were talking about so then the man opens the door and said come in man.

So Frank walked inside and then what he saw was the last thing he ever saw in his life… a green flash!!!!! And then just like that, now he’s laying on the ground, dead.

DEAD AS EVER!!!!

Chapter 2: The Scar

Yes, we did HP newborn photos and added a scar

So Harry woke up with a SCREAM and was YELLING. The Dursley‘s were banging on the wall and telling him to… like, ‘shut up’ and he woke up and his Scar was burning more than ever!

When he woke up, he found a strange bird, he opened the window and found the bird was from Sirius Black! The letter said, ‘Hello Harry, I hope you’re having a good time, but I also know you aren’t really having a good time, because the stupid Dursley‘s are really rude to you.’

So, then Henry sent a note back that said, ‘Yeah I’m doing a little bit fine. But, my Aunt Petunia found Dudley smuggling donuts in his room yesterday. He’s on a diet so they took away his money and he threw his PlayStation out the window. Also, my Scar hurts really, really bad!’

Chapter 3: The Invitation

Not much really happen in this chapter, but I can tell you a little bit… So in Chapter 3 the Invitation, Harry got a letter in the mail from Ron that had about 38 stamps on it and there was just a little bit of writing in the middle. It said, ‘Harry we’re gonna come and pick you up to bring you to the Quidditch World Cup.

Chapter 4: Back to the Burrow

Harry woke up on a simple morning same as always, went downstairs and Petunia and Vernon commanded him to make breakfast. So it was a fight a normal morning until they heard something and the flames in the fireplace turned green, it was hotter and hotter in the room, he heard a whoosh, they saw legs… then they heard something that sounded like the Weasleys.

They were stuck in the fireplace! Mr. Weasley destroyed everything they were crumbs everywhere from the fireplace. Out spilled Mr. Weasley, Ron and the two twins Fred and George (you can’t tell them apart)!

As they were leaving Fred and George accidentally dropped some kind of magic candy. Dudley ate the candy one by one. Dudley ate all the candy and then his tongue grew 100 pounds! And the Dursleys were freaking out!!!

Chapter 5: Weasley Wizard Wheezes

The future Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes

Fred and George (the two twins), they love, love, love… (like, you can say love one million times????) love jokes. They once played a joke on their mother and they make fake wands and fart bombs. So now they decided to make a joke shop.

Chapter 6: The Portkey

“…Portkeys. They’re objects that are used to transport wizards from one spot to another at a prearranged time.”

Jax: “So dad, if anything can be a Portkey… can we use your weights from the basement, it’s not like you use them anyway!”

Chapter 7: Bagman and Crouch

Chapter 8: The Quidditch World Cup

Chapter 9: The Dark Mark

Chapter 10: Mayhem at the Ministry

Chapter 11: Aboard the Hogwarts Express

Chapter 12: The Triwizard Tournament

Jax is fascinated by the

Chapter 13: Mad-Eye Moody

Chapter 14: The Unforgivable Curses

Chapter 15: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang

Chapter 16: The Goblet of Fire

Dumbledore introduces the Goblet of Fire to the students and explains that those who wish to enter the Tournament should place their name on a slip of paper inside the goblet; he adds that he has drawn an age line around its perimeter, meaning that no one under the age of seventeen can approach.

Jax is fascinated by the age line and can’t fathom why anyone would just tie something heavy to piece of paper with their name on it and throw it from behind the age line into the Goblet of Fire… (Hey Jax, maybe you should have told that to Fred and George before they tried an aging potion!)

POSTSCRIPT: Also, click here for our other alouds:

Sorcerer’s Stone: Chapter by Chapter Read Aloud: https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2021/07/01/harry-potter-and-the-sorcerers-stone-our-first-read-aloud/

Chamber of Secrets: Chapter by Chapter Read Aloud: https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2021/09/24/harry-potter-and-the-chamber-of-secrets-part-two-in-our-read-aloud/

Prisoner of Azkaban: Chapter by Chapter Read Aloud: https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2022/02/23/harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban-part-three-in-our-read-aloud-series/