Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC. 

‘Well, now – Let me see.’ He pulled a long tape measure with silver markings out of his pocket. ‘Which is your wand arm?’‘Er – well, I’m right-handed,’ said Oliver.

‘Hold out your arm. That’s it.’ He measured Oliver from shoulder to finger, then wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit and round his head. As he measured, he said, ‘Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons or phoenixes are quite the same. And of course, you will never get such good results with another wizard’s wand.’

Oliver suddenly realised that the tape measure, which was measuring between his nostrils, was doing this on its own. Mr Ollivander was flitting around the shelves, taking down boxes.

Oliver took the wand. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wand above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls. Mr Ollivander cried, ‘Oh, bravo! Yes, indeed, oh, very good.


Oliver Potter and the Staci Miller Newborn Photos

I’m not sure if i have a writing style… if you had to narrow it down I know a few people might say my style is “grammatically horrible,” or “not really funny”… something like that. First Person Narrative… I guess that’s the closest you can get to narrowing down the writing. I mean the blog is titled Chronicles of a New Dad… I’d like to think I’ve Chronicled my perspective on having kids in a unique way.

But, today… I’ve decide to change it up a bit… I needed to tell someone thanks. Thanks for quite a bit actually. So I’m changing things up a little bit and am going writing letter style.

Dear Staci Miller (Photography),

It’s been almost three years since you came into our life… expensive Nikon camera, gorgeous props and the patience of a saint. Yes, early on in our relationship you had a different name… Pink Elephant… different but still amazing. And that’s just it… i needed to thank you for bringing amazing to life.

Not many people can take the thoughts that swim around in this weird brain of mine… take those abstract ideas and make them concrete. You’ve successfully, in essence, painting the pictures of my mind and put them on canvas. You’re an artist with a flash and lost of fluorescent lighting.

The thing is, that’s not even what makes these pictures a masterpiece. It’s the fact that you have to deal with me… a hyper… anxiety riddled parent who is obsessed with details. I’m the Jack Nicholson (As Good As It Gets Nicholson) of parenting during new born photos. OCD to the max.

You’ve taken photos of a wizards hat and wand… you successfully posed an infant on a giant piece of cheese and most impressive of all captured numerous shots while getting peed on. It’s impressive to say the least.

There was the time at the barn where Jackson got bit by a rooster, the time where we got you caught up in a beach wedding with Miller Highlife cans in the background, the session where I made you take pictures of my sons butt and the time my pants were too tight to help hold Oliver’s head up. I admit to ruining quite the few “perfect shots.”

You took pictures while my son puked on your floor, peed on your brand new background and shattered glass Christmas ornaments (ok the ornaments were my fault… and I may have eaten a few cheese sticks out of your fridge, but you catch my drift… we’re not easy subjects to photograph.

But that all pales in comparison to the latest sitcom-like experience. You know the one where I made you snap photos of my son inside a flower pot while he was screaming (purposefully making him cry, because that’s what Mandrakes do in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets… (which by the way is my least favorite book and movie).

You did it all with a smile on your face and 85mm – 135mm lens in your hand (is that a real thing I know nothing about cameras?). You always welcomed us in your home, or your studio or some random farm, which if I were you I’d suggest every time since then Jackson can’t eat all your cookies and string cheese.

And for some reason you keep having us back and the pictures get better each time we do. For that… I thank you… from the bottom of my Harry Potter loving heart.


And then the unprofessional, I should have been helping instead of sneaking pictures w my iPhone, pictures:

 

Here is the link to Jackson’s newborn photos: https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2014/05/10/5-10-14-newborn-photos/

Visiting  with an Old Friend: Harry Potter


“There’s no way I’m reading this book.” I think I tried at least half a dozen times before finally giving up and looking for an Internet summary for a young-adult lit class in college. You see I was a “track star” and didn’t have the time for a story about witches and trolls or whatever these books were all about. It wasn’t until months later, during a dull summer afternoon I gave the Boy Wizard and his Lightening Bolt Scar another shot.

Fifteen-ish years… and seven books, eight movies, two trips to the Harry Potter thee park in Orlando and half an armfull of Harry Potter tattoos later, I’m on the verge of attending a midnight release of another Harry Potter book.

I am 37 years old and just became an elementary school principal and I now have a son who turned three this past spring and another who is five months old. Like most of us who are now in our 30s, we grew up alongside the amazing world of Harry Potter, and the impact it has made on our life is hard to quantify. For my generation, although I joined the wizarding world a little later than most of my peers, Harry Potter is a close friend and trusted companion. We came of age with the the a young boy who came of age after leaving the cupboard under the stairs and have taken him into adulthood with us. I can’t imagine a childhood without him, and I’m so glad he’s stuck around as I’ve grown older.

The books came to me at a time when reading was a chore… an assignment or research needed for a paper. I was in college and hadn’t been really interested in a book since The Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace which I read early on in high school. I was interested in my practice schedule and where my next track meet was. I didn’t have time for “reading for fun.” Plus I was never really a fan of the fantasy genre. I never really got into Star Wars and at the time had only read one book in the Chronicles of Narnia series (The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe, of course for an assignment). 

All that until I met a young wizard when I was in my early twenties. I was immediately… pardon the pun… enchanted by J.K. Rowling’s… pardon the pun… magical way of spinning a tale. Harry, Ron and Hermione felt like old friends and Hogwarts felt like home. I had never interacted with text the way I did with these books. I had heard of “page-turners” before, but never held one myself. That was until that dull summer day all those years ago.  

I tore through the first book in a few weeks, the second in about the same. Then came the Prisoner of Azkaban, my favorite of the series, which I devoured in three days on a trip to Boston. Book four, the longest of the series, took me about a week and was the first book I reread multiple times. The Order of the Phoenix was the first book I bought the day it was released and got through it in a few days. Then came book six, The Half Blood Prince. My first midnight release party. I asked Stephanie to marry me, gave her a ring and sprinted to the small Indy bookstore on the Wildwood boardwalk to wait in line with hundreds of other people. I celebrated my engagement by reading in the hotel lobby until five in the morning and had the book finished on the beach the next day. The final book was a sad and excited day for me. The last time I’d travel to Hogwarts with my friends, but also finally a chance to see our story to the finish line. I picked my preordered copy up at 8:00am and read 36 chapters and one epilogue (759 pages) in 17 hours. I stopped to eat and shower (I read in during bathroom breaks too). 

The Potter fandom has created a life-line for the stories years after the books and movies came to an end. The stories centralized themes of friendship and leadership helped me be more self-reflective and inspired others to create charities like the Harry Potter Alliance. A recent study led by top professors across the world states the “people who grew up reading Harry Potter are more politically engaged and develop keener social perception and increased empathy.”  


It’s been years since I picked up a new Potter book, but my time in the Wizarding World has still been busy. From Mugglenet.com and MuggleCast, to Pottermore online, movies, plays… and now as an educator and father introducing a new generation to my old friends and Professor Dumbledore’s wise words. My sons newborn photos were done with a Harry Potter theme, which I’m sure he will love me sharing when he’s in his teens. That’s what this series is all about… learning to love reading, whether it’s for the first time or like me learning to love reading again later in life. 

I’m excited to bring my sons to Hogwarts for the first time and introduce them to my old friends. I’m interested to see if they’ll be sorted into Slytherin like his father… although based on Jackson’s adventurous, brave and quite daring side… I have a feeling he might be a Gryffindor… just like that Boy Wizard with the Lightening Bolt Scar. Either way, I think we’ll all be awaiting our Hogwarts letters together

Here are some other Harry Potter related blogs I’ve written: 

https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/florida-trip-told-through-harry-potter-quotes/

https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/jax-tattoo/

https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/my-son-is-a-parseltongue/

https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/backtohogwarts/

https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/jackson-and-the-deathly-hallows/

https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/for-in-dreams/