“Wizards and Rollercoasters and Sun, Oh My”

Wizards:

Walking through the Brick Wall to enter Diagonal Alley is always memorable, but experiencing it for the first time is special. I’ve done it (multiple times) and Jax did it last time we visited the sunshine state (although he had been there before). This time though it was time for Oliver to walk through the fabled brick archway that leads to one the most magical places in the Wizarding World.

I love the picture above because not only is Oliver sitting in the exact place that both Jax and I took photos in years prior, but in the background you can see the Quidditch Supplies Store in the background. Remember, Oliver was named for my favorite character in the series, Oliver Wood, who was a Quidditch junkie and Gryffindor superstar keeper.

Of course there is no Wizarding World without a couple of mandatory stops… when in Rome right?!??? First to grab a few of the required readings for first years like Ollie… and Flourish and Blotts provides just that. And then off to Knockturn Alley where Oliver was able to vanish a bird a lot quicker than Draco was ever able too. This Syltherin was all smiles when she met Ollie and I’m pretty sure they’ll be exchanging owls over the summer.

Both Jackson and Oliver LOVE trains so the trip to Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express was that of fantasy for them! Between Oliver yelling “choooo-choooo” every five seconds to Jackson building the LEGO Hogwarts Express this was a dream come true! I love that Jackson is still innocent enough to follow along with the CGI and really believe in what he was seeing, “dad, it’s Harry Potter he’s outside, LOOK!!!”

Bottom line with Harry Potter… it’s Hogwarts or Bust!! In a weird way for me this place feel like home.

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Rollercoasters:

I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again later… I do not like rollercoasters. I don’t like heights and of course I married a daredevil. Luckily for the boys they have their mom to take them on anything that goes above 20 feet high.

When you’re a parent and your child asks you to have a tea party, you sip that pretend tea like it was the best you’ve ever tasted. When they ask you to give them a horsey ride you neigh like you’re part stallion even though your back is shot and when your kid asks you to go on a wooden rollercoaster of course you swallow your fears and agree.

However I have to draw the line somewhere. So when my five year old strapped himself in the seat for his first rollercoaster ride ever and asked me if I was scared… I did what any respectable dad would do… I held him so tight and told him I wasn’t scared at all (I peed in my pants just a little on that ride). Damn you Buckbeak and The Flight of the Hippogriff for making me fake this smile:

Mom took our daring adventure seeker on the next ride while I wandered Hogsmeade with Oliver. Jax was just under the “you just be this tall sign,” but dive Steph was with him they waiting in a 75 minute line. Now I don’t know how many people have attempted to keep a five year old standing in a sow moving line for over an hour, but I would assume by the texts I was getting that it was not easy!

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And Sun, Oh My:

Listen there isn’t much I can say for this one. It was hot. It was unbelievably HOT. Orlando in July… extremely hot!

Don’t let the snow topped roofs fool you… it’s hotter than the Face of the sun out there!!!

A few years back we visited in mid December and even then as we escaped a winter snow storm In the northeast it was about 85 degrees in FL, which isn’t terrible, but factor in humidity and it was sweltering… IN THE WINTER. Fast forward to the spring and especially summer and you’re looking at unbearable heat. I always wondered why they made the Wizarding World at Universal look as if it were winter… fake snow on the roofs in Diagon Alley do not equate to cooler temperatures for visitors, as a matter of fact it’s like looking at a mirage in the middle of the desert! Here’s the thing, when you sign up to visit Hogwarts in Orlando in July… the heat, but more importantly the magic are a package deal.

Until next time… Mischief Managed.

Wizards Unite: Harry Potter- Go

Rubeus Jackson

Pete Scamander

So I’m not a Pokémon person, but a few years back there was that Pokémon GO game that was crazy big. Well the Harry Potter franchise just finally came out with their own Pokémon Go type game. This game is very similar in that you’re hunting around looking for traces of dark magic and doing it in real time.

I’ve never really gotten into the video game world and definitely never got into any type of the cell phone game hype. The thing is, like Ron Weasley at any of the Hogwarts feasts, I’m literally about to gorge myself on every bit of information I can get my hands on when it comes to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

The best part of that is that Mike Dan is dropped at excited to get out there and help save the Wizarding community as I am. Playing a game like this lets parents engage actively as opposed to passively where you sit and watch TV. Yes, I realize you’re still holding a phone and that the dreaded “screen time” counter is running, but you’re outside and moving. It’s exciting and allows families to interact with the Harry Potter world as well. What better way to continue to develop my son’s love for the Wizarding World then to chase creatures around our neighborhood.

So far Jax and I have subdued a troll who was loose on the town green and rescued Hagrid who was trapped in Aragog’s massive spiderweb. We also were lucky enough to stop and capture a bunch of Cornish Pixies who were trying to destroy our man cave and honestly, we did a much better job than Professor Lockhart could ever do!

I am enjoying spending more time with Jax outside, but I have to admit, I’m not a super parent. I’m not always completely happy to come home after a 13 hour day and play a game. Honestly, the majority of my parent life is spent living the tired parent zone. So with this game, I really appreciate how it has motivated me to get outside with Jax even if I’m still in my shirt and tie after a long day.

I hate to say it, but as someone who was trying to avoid long periods of TV time and electronics the first couple years of Jackson’s life… it has just become convenient while trying to get ready in the morning to throw on the TV or iPad especially with two kids now. Putting together four lunches, getting everyone changed and then figuring out schedules for the day and just getting out the door is a project. Same goes for trying to unwind after work and school. Lately however, everyone has a newfound enthusiasm for getting outside to take Buster and Max for a walk. Give it a bit and Oliver is going to be out there wrangling up Fantastic Beasts too. He’s a beast himself so I won’t be too long before he realizes what’s going on.

This “game” has been out for less than 24 hours and Jax is already begging to play every walking second. Last night before bed he asked me, “how many minutes before we can play Harry Potter- Go again?!??” This morning in the car… “Dad, can I have your phone? Lets park. I want to look for creatures to catch!!!” And honestly, I’d rather that then dad can I have your phone to watch Paw Patrol.

… luckily I handed my phone over, because Jax was able to subdue a fully grown Mountain Troll and let’s face it, even Hermione couldn’t do that!!!

Owl Post: This Lovey is MAGICAL

 

Wizardry has brought me so much JOY.  It taught me that my imagination has no limits and can take me to amazing places. It has inspired me to create.

I designed the Wizard Collection to teach kids at a young age about magic. I transfigured this print by using basic geometric shapes to tell the story about a boy, his scar and the magical journey he took us on. This collection is for any fan of the Harry Potter book or movie series, no matter how old you are.

“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”  – J.K. Rowling

The Owl Lovey is this round’s Baby Jack Lovey of INSTA30, a photo contest we designed to challenge our brand reps. We started with 30 people in January and have narrowed it down to our elite 8. Two people will be voted off this week so please take a moment (Wed – Fri) to look at their Owl Lovey pictures and cast your vote. (Wand not required)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ETZm_cYmCB-lY2OrPsFwm-lorQO8UdKN/preview

 

Video footage courtesy of Baby Jack & Company // Chronicles of a New Dad Peter Fragola who has recently joined our team as a writer and influencer.

GET $5 OFF YOUR VERY OWN WIZARD OWL WITH CODE “OWLPOST”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ETZm_cYmCB-lY2OrPsFwm-lorQO8UdKN/view

Hogwarts Honor Student

He’s either a Hogwarts Honor Student or is going to grow up to be one of the most evil dark wizards of all-time… 

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 Really though… Is my son Grindelwald???? Is he one of the most evil dark-wizards of all time? Stay tuned to find out… same #Wizard-Time same #Wizard-Channel! #ThatHairLineThough #HarryPotter #JohnnyDepp
PS: https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2014/05/03/little-wizard-on-board/

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