Why Tattoos are Life

Tattoos have been around for centuries and getting a tattoo inspired by your children or your favorite book is nothing new… therefor it’s no surprise two of my tattoos are directly connected to my sons and Harry Potter.

As a guy who enjoys tattoos… I wanted to get some ink done to represent my first after he was born. I decide on a meaningful representation of father and son taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [short story] “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”

The story’s moral is that you should live life for the right reasons: love and those you love. The youngest brother in the story youngest brother was a humble man asked for a thing that he could use to live a long and happy life. One in which he was allowed to see his child grow. He was given a cloak of invisibility. And thus because of this he attained a great age and passed The Cloak of Invisibility to his son. I was happy to get a tattoo representing a moment that every father dreams of… Passing down something (knowledge, skill, an invisibility cloak) to their child which will ensure he will live long, happy and successful live.

When I decided it was time to get a tattoo honoring my newest little man it was obvious it would be something related to his name, Oliver, and also had to have some connection to Harry Potter. The olive branch has a very symbolic meaning which made it the perfect choice both references. The Olive Branch symbolizes a beginning of a new life. In the Harry Potter story, Oliver Wood is the first Quidditch player we meet. He is the keeper and captain of the Gryffindor team. He’s an athlete, a leader and a loyal friend. He’s also and one of my favorite characters in the story.

My most recent tattoo is just as special to me as the other ones I’ve gotten that were dedicated to my sons. The first time I visited the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Stephanie and I were walking out after a long hot day and as we pass a shelf loaded with stuffed animals and other HP merchandise, Jax starts pointing and laughing uncontrollably. He was pointing at the blue Cornish Pixie hanging on the shelf… so of course we bought it for him. He still has it to this day… so I got his Pixie (that he calls Pickie) on my inner arm.

Here are my other Harry Potter inspired tattoos:

And a quote on my ribs dedicated to my sons: “If anything should happen to me, the love for my sons should never go unsaid.”

Do you have a tattoo inspired by your child(en) or of Harry Potter? Show them in the comments below!

Pickie the Pixie

Tattoos have been around for centuries and getting a tattoo inspired by your children or your favorite book is nothing new. of course it’s no surprise a few of my tattoos are directly connected to my sons and Harry Potter.

My most recent tattoo is just as special to me as the other ones I’ve gotten that were dedicated to my sons. The first time I visited the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Stephanie and I were walking out after a long hot day and as we pass a shelf loaded with stuffed animals and other HP merchandise, Jax starts pointing and laughing uncontrollably. He was pointing at the blue Cornish Pixie hanging on the shelf… so of course we bought it for him. He still has it to this day… so I got his Pixie (that he calls Pickie) on my inner arm.

Im about 2/3 of the way finished with my Potter sleeve, with a few directly representing my sons.

I of course had some ink done dedicated to my first after he was born.  I decided on a meaningful representation of father and son taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [short story] “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” The story’s moral is that you should live life for the right reasons: love and those you love. The youngest brother in the story youngest brother was a humble man asked for a thing that he could use to live a long and happy life.  One in which he was allowed to see his child grow. He was given a cloak of invisibility. And thus because of this he attained a great age and passed The Cloak of Invisibility to his son. I was happy to get a tattoo representing a moment that every father dreams of… Passing down something (knowledge, skill, an invisibility cloak) to their child which will ensure he will live long, happy and successful live.

When I decided it was time to get a tattoo honoring my newest little man it was obvious it would be something related to his name, Oliver, and also had to have some connection to Harry Potter. The olive branch [above] has a very symbolic meaning which made it the perfect choice both references. The Olive Branch symbolizes a beginning of a new life and in the Harry Potter story, Oliver Wood is the first Quidditch player we meet, he’s the keeper and captain of the Gryffindor team and one of my favorite characters in the story.

Do you have a tattoo inspired by your child(ten) or of Harry Potter? Post in the comments!

15 Minutes of Fame

What a few weeks. Your neighborhood Dad Blogger became the newest viral sensation. I was a Kardashian (minus 40 billion dollars). I was Barstool Sports when they hit it big. I was everywhere you turned… no, but really.. it was fun while it lasted:

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The number of online articles, magazines, newspapers and news outlets that picked up the story was amazing.  Some wanted interviews and others just a few quotes about the project, but it was a lot of fun feeling famous for a few minutes! (and let’s face it nothing beats being the #1 best blog on “Stairs”).

Besides having a bunch of great articles written about the project, there were just as many amazing comments on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest:

Going viral isn’t always a good thing… just look at whats happening with… well anyone who does something stupid on Facebook Live or Twitter… but in this case… going viral was pretty cool… it definitely provided me with a way to connect with people all over the world that I would otherwise not have been able to.  New Harry Potter fans and a lot of new readers on the blog are a direct result of this project… which is pretty cool!

Some of the Facebook posts had literally hundreds of thousands of interactions:

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The “Love What Matters” post and article has had over 10,000 unique interactions

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My original post on my Facebook account (where all the hoopla started) has had over 3,000 likes and shares.

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After the Parents Magazine article, they posted the video review of the project which has had over 120,000 views.

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People from everywhere were commenting on the project.  The world was my oyster for about two weeks…

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The shaded areas show where Chronicles of a New Dad was viewed in the few days after the Cupboard Under the Stairs blog was published. (Darker the color the more views there were
Here are links to some of the better articles and interviews that were written:
  1. https://www.fatherly.com/play/father-builds-replica-cupboard-under-stairs-harry-potter/
  2. https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Dad-Re-creates-Harry-Potter-Cupboard-Under-Stairs-44489977
  3. https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/everything-kids/dad-recreated-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs-from-harry-potter/
  4. http://www.scarymommy.com/harry-potter-cupboard-under-stairs-reading-nook/
  5. https://www.babble.com/parenting/peter-fragola-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs/
  6. https://www.purewow.com/news/dad-recreates-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs
  7. http://www.yuryz.com/youve-got-to-see-this-dads-harry-potter-inspired-cupboard-under-the-stairs/
  8. https://www.simplemost.com/dad-remakes-harry-potter-cupboard-under-stairs/
  9. https://www.beano.com/posts/someones-dad-has-given-their-cupboard-under-the-stairs-a-harry-potter-makeover
  10. https://www.thebump.com/news/dad-builds-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs
  11. http://www.cluebees.com/more/just-in/this-father-recreated-the-Harry-Potters-room
  12. http://diply.com/dad-creates-harry-potter-cupboard?publisher=different-solutions&config=21
  13. http://helenair.com/lifestyles/simplemost/dad-recreated-harry-potter-s-cupboard-under-the-stairs-for/article_2de9793e-d097-5a08-b5e8-5c9811c4dac1.html
  14. http://www.morefm.co.nz/home/trending/2018/01/dad-builds-sons-the-perfect-harry-potter-reading-corner-under-th.html
  15. https://vipleyo.com/america/baby/2018/01/11/this-dads-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs-is-all-sorts-of-amazing/
  16. https://www.magicmum.com/dads-recreation-of-harry-potters-room-is-what-dreams-are-made-of/http://www.morefm.co.nz/home/trending/2018/01/dad-builds-sons-the-perfect-harry-potter-reading-corner-under-th.html
  17. http://harrypotter.trendolizer.com/2018/01/dad-recreated-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs-from-harry-potter-for-his-sons.html
  18. http://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/parenthood/dads/dad-builds-a-potteresque-cupboard-under-the-stairs-and-we-want-one/news-story/d5feb87822f3f27eb077b51b46425c93

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

There was something about this house that stood out the first time I walked inside… it wasn’t the normal things that people might notice like a kitchen, bathroom or storage space… it was The Cupboard Under the Stairs that stood out for me.   Immediately I knew I would have some pretty big plans to carry out. As an elementary school principal and former teacher I know how important it is for children to have a space of their own to read and do school work, and a space where they feel comfortable.  Clearly I took my inspiration from the famous cupboard where Harry Potter spent most of his childhood.

The project took about two weeks total to complete (as I was doing a little bit of work each night after Jackson and Oliver went to bed).  The first and most difficult part was the actual planning of the project.  With so many amazing Harry Potter related ideas floating around in my head it was hard to narrow it down to a few so that the boys could actually fit in there.  The before was a blank canvas… just a bare, cold storage space that was not very inviting:

I wanted to give the room a warm feeling, especially since these cold winter months here in CT are a great time to get comfortable and read your favorite book.  I chose to go with Harry’s school colors: Gryffindor maroon and gold. The Harry Potter series provided us with so many amazing quotes, so I wanted to have some of my favorite visible each time you walk into the cupboard.  They are a good reminder for the boys… “have fun, work hard, and stay true and honest.”

The walls had a few scribbles from the previous owners, but were otherwise bare and white. What better way to get to know some of the most beloved characters in the series than to have them represented collage style? The Daily Prophet front pages provided a perfect way to feel the ups and downs of the seven books… from Harry Potter winning the Tri-Wizard Tournament to The Dark Lord Returning… these front page newspaper headlines did just that!  (I used Mod Podge to seal the walls in case sticky little toddler fingers sneak in a snack at some point!)

Completing the walls and with the Daily Prophet headlines, brought us to a big decsion… did Jackson (as the oldest he had final decision making powers) want a window in his newly created Cupboard Under the Stairs????  Of course the answer was a resounding, “YES!” and why not… its not like his dad lacks any type of real wood working skills… (just kidding, I had no idea what I was doing!)  But, honestly it wasn’t that hard… I found a really cool looking picture frame that utilized a window shutter design and just installed that on the existing wall and presto (magical pun intended!):

… add in some faux brick to give it a, “your about to enter Diagon Alley look” and the cupboard was complete with a working window:

The ceiling was full of nails and staples from the hard wood above… and if my sons inherited any of the “clumsy gene” from their father, it would not be long before we were bandaging children’s heads… so with some work from a hammer and a great second hand find, (Harry Potter Quidditch sheets), the ceiling seemed safe enough while also providing a great view of the Golden Snitch about to be caught! (I covered the header beams with parts of the Marauder’s Map in case the boys needed to see what was going on at Hogwarts as well.)

Of course no reading room can have a hard wood floor… you need a plush carpet to curl up and read on… if you take out the face that the guy at Home Depot needed three hours to figure out how to work the carpet cutter… this part was pretty easy to do.

Lastly, no Harry Potter themed room is complete without its very own Hedwig, and as Prof. Lockhart would say, a troublesome Cornish Pixie. Add in a few pillows and a Marauders’ Map blanket and Jackson and Oliver will be off reading about Harry Potter and friends in no time!!!

Now we could just get the kids to dress like this all the time we’d be all set! LOL

PS: why does the Harry Potter series resinate with me so much… read about that here:

https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2016/07/26/visiting-with-an-old-friend-harry-potter/

Visiting an Old Friend: Harry Potter

Mr O. Peter; Nursery up the Stairs

I may not be a child anymore, but I am willing to cut one off to get a better spot in line for a midnight release of one of the books or a prime seat at the midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” when it’s released.

As discussed numerous times my love for Potter started when I was in college . Bored on a summer day i finally decided to give the first book it’s due-diligence… and the rest is history. As the years passed and new potter books were published and new potter movies were released I would re-read the old books. I would wait in line at midnight at bookstares and head out, coffee in hand, for movie premieres. 

It’s no surprise that, to this day, I still check my mailbox hoping that my Hogwarts letter will be there… stuck between my mortgage bill, sports illustrated and the numerous credit card applications.

Luckily, for the second person in this house… their Hogwarts letter arrived. His Hogwarts Express ticket is in hand and he’s ready to board that steam-train and become a famous quidditch player… I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through him.

…that is… until my Hogwarts acceptance letter arrives too. 


Jax got his letter years ago as well… https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2014/06/23/6-23-14-mr-j-carmine-nursery-up-the-stairs/

Florida Trip Told Through Harry Potter Quotes

We left from Bradley International Airport early Friday morning. On the way, a motorbike overtakes us, and Vernon I complain about them. Harry Jackson explains that he had a dream about a flying motorbike, and Vernon I snappily reminds him that motorbikes do not fly…

“You’re the weak one. And you’ll never know love, or friendship. And I feel sorry for you.” Harry Potter  Seeing friends for the first time in months is not something that can be explained easily.  It is not something to be taken lightly either, because the time you get to spend with the people that mean the most to you comes and goes quicker as you get older, sadly we don’t often tell people how we feel. I was excited for Steph to be able to see Ashley again, I was elated to see Trevor, but I was more excited to have Jax meet two more amazing friends with who he can grow up with, even if it is from the other side of the country.

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“Yeah, Mum’s always wishing we had a house-elf to do the ironing,” said George. “But all we’ve got is a lousy old ghoul in the attic and gnomes all over the garden. House-elves come with big old manors and castles and places like that; you wouldn’t catch one in our house. . . .” –George Weasley  So arrival at Ash and Trav’s new house was a sight for sore eyes after three hours in the air (two hours and 45 minutes of which were spent occupying a baby) and another 45 minutes in the car with a hungry baby.  It was literally a whirlwind of bags, clothes, diapers, bottles, presents and drinks.  Brand new house + a one and a half year old + a new born + a seven month old + four adults = Absolute craziness!  The mama’s hugged and Trav and I carried in 756 lbs of luggage (for three days mind you) and the children made messes- balls from the ball pit where flying everywhere! I’m not sure who felt worse… Ash and Trav who’s brand new house was being transformed into a day care facility or us trying to keep the house as clean as we found it… sure could have used a house elf!

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“And now they’re calling you ‘the Chosen One’ – well, come on, can’t you see why people are fascinated by you?”  -Hermione Granger   Something interesting occurred on Thursday… Somehow, someway, Travis and I become the primary care givers of three little humans.  The mama’s walked slowly behind as we wheeled 3/5 of a basketball team through the streets of Lake Worth.  People slowly formed rows on the side of the street to watch two of the manliest, most handsome men saunter down Main Street pushing Britax finest.  The “ohhhs” and “ahhhhs” were deafening.  I heard whispers of, “How could these two roman gods have such a sensitive side?”  There was even a shout of, “You guys are bringing sexy back!” My response… “No we’re not… IT NEVER LEFT!”

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“Ahem — just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.  I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death” –Albus Dumbledore  Here’s the thing about vacations… when you are single they are tiring and event filled… when you are married with no kids they are relaxing… when you have a little one with you on vacation you don’t sleep… you move from one activity to the next without thinking and you squeeze in some food and maybe a nap if you’re lucky somewhere in your day.  From parades, to friends, to take out, to in-laws, to avoiding being eaten by swamp creatures, crocodiles and wild “ebberts” in the backyard… this vacation was a sleep-free trip and we loved every second of it!

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“Three up…two across…” Diagon Alley was waiting for us just behind the brick wall.  Diagon Alley spread out before us. Everywhere you looked was something familiar.  Jackson “wished he had eight more eyes…. There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Jackson had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon….”  A quick stop at the leaky cauldron for some Butterbeer and a traditional British lunch was first (is a chicken sandwich a traditional British lunch?).

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Although Muggle devices do not work in the magical world, we were able to (with the help of a charm from a nice witch outside of Flourish and Blotts) communicate through text messaging.  I assume this was probably a normal conversation during Vold… Volde… He Who Must Not Be Named’s reign:

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A wrong turn took us down Knockturn Alley… according to Hagrid this is not a place anyone wants to visit, “Skulkin’ around Knockturn Alley, I dunno — dodgy place.”  We wound up passing a few shady looking wizards and found ourselves in Borgin and Burkes.  As we walked by an antique looking cabinet we heard a bird chirping… quite an odd sound for such a dark and gloomy place… Luckily, however, we were able to make it out alive to continue our journey.

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After barely surviving Knockturn Alley and a fly by attack from some Cornish Pixies we were on our way! …and by the way, I don’t care what you say… professor Lockhart was right… “Freshly caught Cornish Pixies Jackson, Pixies can be very mischievous, devilish blighters!” IMG_9970.JPG

 

In order to reach our final destination of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry we needed to make quick stop at Gringotts to replenish our sickles and knots.  As we approached the bank was “Towering over the other shops” and etched plainly into the silver doors were the words:

Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.

The trip in and through Gringotts was marked by goblins hard at work until an appearance by Voldemort and Bellatrix almost brought our family trip to a screeching hault.  Luckily we were able to ride safely though vaults and out of the bank by a dragon which was ridden by The trio (surprising to see them in Orlando considering they are supposed to be filming elsewhere…) But none-the-less, thank the (dark) lord we made it out alive, because I hadn’t set my fantasy football line-up for the weekend yet.

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With our pockets full of wizard money we made our way to King’s Cross Station with a quick stop at the Muggle entrance to the Ministry of Magic (62442).

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The steam from the great Hogwarts Express billowed in the distance as we entered the platform.  “Funny way to get to a wizards’ school, the train.  Magic carpets all got punctures, do they?”  -Vernon Dursley. 

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Finally…

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“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” -JK Rowling