my pride and joy

Beat me over the head with symbolism, why dontcha

Last night I dreamt in terrifying, full color realism that made me fully believe it was reality. I walked into a larger room and I saw Josh's parents standing together, whispering, sort of holding each other tightly and looking a little distraught. I followed their line of sight and saw Sydney Li sitting on the couch with a toy in her hands. She was holding a baby doll the same way she holds a real baby, on her knees facing her, with her hands underneath its head, stroking the temples. Josh was standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders, looking kind of funny like they were posing for a very serious family portrait. Vi-Vi was standing facing them and talking to them but she was talking quietly, almost to herself. She didn't seem angry or sad or happy or anything, just standing there. I came over and I sat down next to Sydney Li and asked what's going on. Vi-Vi started talking and I wasn't listening like I should have. I wasn't giving her my full attention, my full focus. She was speaking calmly and quietly and she was making very intense eye contact that was making me uncomfortable. I didn't want to hear her. My eyes kept darting around the room, back-and-forth from Sydney Li and Josh to Josh's parents and I kept hearing things from their conversations. Sydney and Josh were being very quiet but I noticed that Sydney Li was being very still. She wasn't moving at all except for her thumb which she kept rubbing over the forehead and temples of the doll in her hands. And Vi-Vi wasn't moving at all. She was standing there almost limp, just looking at me and talking in a very quiet monotone. But I could hear little things from Josh's parents...things like "a granddaughter" "what are we going to do" "how can we have a granddaughter" "what are we going to do" and Josh just sat there with his hands on Sydney Li shoulder. I felt fuzzy and confused and scared and I didn't want to hear what she had to say but I knew I had to focus, this was important, she needed me. I caught the end of it and she said "I just woke up and she was there"... "I don't understand"... "I don't know what to do" ... "I don't know how this happened" ... "I don't what will happen to me now" and I figured it out in bright flashes. Flashes of her bedroom, all while she was talk and I suddenly knew the whole story all at once. I realize she was in shock because she just graduated from high school, she's 18 years old, she didn't know she was pregnant until she woke up and the baby was already here. I remembered how she had said her stomach hurt and she had gone to bed early. She was saying woke up in a bed covered with blood and after birth. And I looked over at Sydney Li, what she was holding. I realized it was a very tiny baby girl covered in blood and mucus and so brand-new and still attached to an umbilical cord. And Sydney Li wasn't acting like she was holding a baby, she wasn't acting like she was holding something gross and disgusting. But the baby wasn't crying or making any noise and Josh wasn't doing anything and none of this made any sense and I finally just sort of caught it like oh my god what just happened here. So I reached over and I gently lifted the baby off Sydney Li's lap and she sort of turned her body to me like she was going to stop me from taking the baby but when she saw that I was holding the baby carefully and I was going to be careful she continue turning until she was facing Josh and she sort of put her head on his stomach and he rubbed her back. Vi-Vi was still talking slowly and monotone and her arms were limp at her side and she was not there. She was in shock. I realize she was in pyjamas but she was dirty and messed up. She had had a terrible shock. I had help this baby girl in my arms and my baby girl. I rubbed some of the gunk off of her face because it was drying and she looked at me and she was so tiny. She wasn't at all ready. She was so tiny. And then I looked at my baby girl and she was so tiny and so not ready and this was so huge and how could this have happened? I didn't even know she had sex... I never realize she was pregnant ... and I realized I was both really excited and really terrified. I was always the one to say I didn't want my girls to have babies because I couldn't tolerate them going through all that pregnancy entails and childbirth is unbearable ... to watch my girls go through ... that but she went through it silently, like a champion, like she always does everything she wants, she once or twice complained about cramps, had probably had a little diarrhoea but ... she hadn't experience the fun of pregnancy. She missed out on all the excitement and the surrealness and the love. she'd been all alone in her room, asleep when the big moment came, and almost missed it. I know she had this huge responsibility and no idea what to do about it because she didn't plan it and it came at her suddenly and now it's here and she's unprepared and no one is ready for this. And I woke up and I was laying in my bed and Vi-Vi and Sydney Li were in my room and they were already talking to me and I said "wait where's the baby" and they looked at me like I've lost my mind. They just kept doing what they were doing, they were getting ready for something, and I said "that was a dream, Vi-Vi didn't have a baby" and they both kind of laughed a little and they said "no but it's moving day" "come on you got to get up, we got to get Vi-Vi to college" and then I woke up again. I was in my bed and it was dark and it was quiet and everyone was asleep in their bunkbeds and it was OK. But I'm still upset because my daughter really is going to college and it is scary and it is exciting and she isn't prepared for it and she's always had huge responsibilities but missed out on some of the fun of childhood and I'm not ready for her to go to college and I'm not ready for her to move on into some adult life without me when she didn't get to experience the fun and she is really, really tiny...
you grok?

A Calculated Risk

I announced on Facebook I was starting my new job tomorrow. Tbh I was looking for good luck to sooth my first day jitters. But I refrained from stating what my new job is. I'm not embarrassed by what I'm doing but the first couple of people I told gave me sympathy. I get the impulse but geeze that's not at all soothing!lol it made me feel defensive and I tried to justify it by saying yes it is outside my comfort zone but I have to do what's best for my kids. But that's not it, not really. I'm here on LJ to talk it out and see if I can explain the unexpected turn I've taken and why I actually am more excited than if I had gone in the direction you expected.

Let's get this out of the way first. Yes, I got my degree in education, yes I substitute taught for a few years and then spent 3 years teaching autistic and special needs adults vocational skills. Yes I keep a file open on my phone to write up lesson plans *for fun* which I am told is rarely fun for most teachers. This new job is not teaching. And That's Ok.
My new job is for a life insurance company that provides for unions exclusively. They found my resume on line, a headhunter called me to interview, I took the state licensing exam and I passed it. On My Own. While working 70hrs a week. I sent my daughter to Boston and San Franscisco when she was going to receive awards and explore Ivy League colleges. I did that. Just me. I make so little money I hold my breath when I pay the bills but I saved and sent her out. Me.
When I was offered this job my first step was to bring it before the kids and discuss the risks. We are a team. I couldn't do this without them and they know I do everything for them.
True, I work on commission. That's a huge risk. I might end up working a lot of hours. Well guess what? I get hit at my current job. That's a risk. I work tons of hours and I still just get by. If I can work the same hours but actually benefit directly from my own efforts? Tell me that isn't better!
So the next reaction to that is a dialing back of sympathy and the addition of pride... But not the good kind! Oh you are such a good mom, giving up your dream to make money to give your kids a better life. Ok yeah sure the money is definitely a part of it but I'm no martyr. I'm in this to win it. My kids are my dream. My Only Dream. If you know me you have heard me say for YEARS that I don't care if they are doctors lawyers or grocery store naggers as long as they are happy. I love my job. Honest. It's physical and ever changing and full of stories both entertaining and terrifying. But I've been told to my face that this does not make me a teacher. I've felt under appreciated and sorely under paid.
This new job? That outside of my comfort zone line I mentioned? Guess what. It's joy. It's happiness at an adventure. It's confidence I can do it and pride in providing a service to nurses, teachers, firemen all the union workers and their families. Damn skippy that's outside my comfort zone! I don't know what to do with confidence! I'm actually scared of making real money! Turns out my dream is not to be a teacher. My dream is to be happy! To make my kids happy and feel proud of them and they of me! I'm not sad for me and neither should you be. I am closer to achieving my dream than I have ever been before.
As of tomorrow I am a Union Life Insurance Advocate. "We bring minor miracles to terrible tragedy." It's crazy to say out loud but here it goes: I can do this. I can do it really well. I have never been afraid of hard work. I'm only afraid of working hard with nothing to show for it.
Be happy for me! Adventure awaits!
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful
you grok?

Cheer for all the kids because everyone has a struggle

I am so happy the 8th grade class broke the rules and stood to cheer for the boy with Down syndrome and the girl in a helmet. They made some special kids feel very important today. But knowing there is acceptance in the world makes my sons struggle that much more obvious to me. Autism is secretive and dark and it doesn't put on benign public smile. So yes I was a lone voice in a silent auditorium cheering for my boy. He graduated from 8th grade. I know it's not a big deal and parents complain about celebrating every stupid thing but autism is progressive. We didn't know if he'd make it this far. We don't know how far he will go from here. But today... He made it. I'm loud and I'm proud and I will cheer for a baby who doesn't like loud noises or big crowds because there isn't ever going to be a standing ovation for his fight and he'd hate it if there was. But be embarrassed on behalf of all teen boys everywhere. He's not entirely sure why he's supposed to be embarrassed but he knows everyone else is lol
my pride and joy

Missing moment for Hunger Games WRITTEN BY MY DAUGHTER!!!

What About My Sister?
I’m panicking. I stand as still as possible and hope with everything I have that neither of us will be noticed and we can survive another year. Her name is in there 20 times. She thinks that I am worried for myself, because my name is in the Reaping this year, but I’m not. I know my chances. I knew the day I turned twelve. I begged her to let me put my name in more! She wouldn’t listen! I don’t know what I’d do without her.
“Primrose Everdeen.”
I freeze. My blood freezes in my veins. My heart stops. My breathing stops. What am I going to do without Katniss? If I don’t take a step forward then I will pass out. If I do take a step forward I'm doomed.
Katniss calls my name and I know I’m going to cry. Stop talking. Don’t call my name. I know I can do this, just don’t remind that I am not alone in this world. I take a few tentative steps forward. My legs feel like lead and I can feel a thousand pairs of eyes staring at me. Burning holes into my back. A thousand sighs of relief kept inside because they were not chosen. Nowhere in the mix do I hear my mother. I have no idea where she is. I don’t even know if she is registering what is happening. Katniss is struggling with the Peace Keepers who try to keep her back. I don’t want her to come near me because then I know I will lose it.
“I volunteer as tribute!”
No. No! That's not supposed to happen! A thousand gruesome images cross my mind of Hunger Games, years past. She escaped! All those times that her name was in the Reaping and she escaped. Why is she throwing herself back into the mix?
The announcer, Effie Trinket, looks agast. So far as I know, no one has ever volunteered in District 12. Someone around me is crying and screaming. I can’t figure out who it is until Katniss pushes wet fingers across my face. I’m crying. I can’t deal with this. She is all I have left in the world. She tells me to go to Mother but I don’t want to. Mother can’t keep Katniss safe.
Katniss is pushed towards the stage and she walks forward. She looks determined. Her jaw is clenched and I know this wouldn’t be happening to her if it wasn’t for me. This is all my fault. I am too weak to protect myself so Katniss has to throw her life in front of mine. Doesn’t she know we won’t survive without her?
My mind doesn’t even register the boy tribute. I don’t register the same pain that his family is going through. My mind goes numb. I work on numbing my emotions.
If Katniss is going to win... no, survive the Hunger Games, then the other tributes can no longer be people to me. They are merely objects in the way of my sister.
Peace Keepers approach me and say that my Mother and I are allowed to say goodbye to “the tribute”.
“Katniss,” I blurt out.
“What?” He says. He looks at me for second like no one has ever done that before.
“Her name is Katniss and she is coming back.” My voice quivers at the end but my message was sent. One of the Peace Keeper’s face softens. Recognition flashes in his eyes.
“I know,” he says, “she always shot the eye.” He must been one of the Peace Keepers that my sister sold her illegal game to. My throat tightens and my eyes well with tears but I refuse to cry in front of him.
We walk briskly, but all I want to do run. I want to run past the last place I might ever see my sister. I want to run past the place where the Peace Keepers are dragging me. I want to run past it all and forget. I don’t want anyone to see because then they will know it's my fault, too. They will all know...
My feet shuffle into something. I look down. We have reached the staircase to the building. My final goodbyes with my sister. My legs weigh me down as I walk. The air thickens around me. It’s getting harder to breathe. I’m suffocating. I burst through the doors and there she is. I run to her before she can move.
*insert book lines here*
I don’t hear what she says to mother. I know though. Katniss is afraid, not of the capital and the games, but that mother will leave me again. That mother will be gone and I will have no one. I want to cry louder and hold on. I don’t want to ever let her go.  She has to win. No matter what.
On my way out with my mother, I see Gale walk into the building escorted by two Peace Keepers. They have a tight grip on his arms like he might run. He would. He would run if he thought it would protect anyone. I help my mother shuffle home. She has already begun to retreat but there is something in her eyes that says she is trying not to. I will have to talk to Gale tomorrow.
Every morning I wake up shivering. The nightmares plague my sleep. Katniss calling my name. Katniss sleeping and getting ambushed while she sleeps. I sit up. I don’t sleep in my bed anymore, I sleep in front of the television. In the richer districts, the broadcasts are 24 hours. In District 12, the television flickers on when the fighting starts. It’s just another way the capital controls us. Nothing has happened for a couple of hours now. I should eat something while I have the chance.
Lady hasn’t been milked in a couple of days. I haven’t had the motivation to do much. It’s been three days since Katniss first entered the Arena. I was relieved when she managed to escape the cornucopia, but her trek through the Arena makes her less the focus of the Capital cameras. I wish I could tell her everything. I wish I could tell her about the other tributes that would move in her direction. I wish I could tell her not to trust Peeta.
I hate Peeta. The boy tribute from my district has made it harder and harder for Katniss to win. First, he claims he loves her, but then he joins the careers and he keeps leading them closer to her. I wish the careers would kill him so he would be out of the way. Katniss doesn’t even know that he is using her.
Gale knocks on the door. With Katniss, Gale was always relaxed and could be himself. Recently he has become withdrawn. Rory says that Gale has been trading more of the game that he hunts in the black markets and with Greasy Sae. Rory is just like his brother. He tries so hard to remain cold and unattached to things, but you can see that he cares.
“Here.” Gale tosses a bag of rabbit in my direction and it lands on the table. He knows that Katniss had always prepared any meat in the past, and that I don’t know how to properly clean anything or prepare it. The rabbit is skinned and cleaned.
He turns to leave again, but I stop him just before he steps over the threshold.
“Wait...” There’s not really a good way to say this, but I need him to know. “Please, I’m worried about her too... but... You’re going to get yourself caught!”
Gale takes a deep breath before he turns again. His face is a mask. I can’t read him. “You sound like her.” He’s referring to Madge. “She was down by the Fence again trying to stop me.” The way he says it you know he feels threatened. “You don’t understand. If I don’t give what I have to sponsor her, she won’t make it...” His voice trails off like he just realized who he was talking to. He exhales loudly and waves. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He walks out the door before I can say anything else.
I go to my mother. She hasn’t left her bed since the Reaping day. She refuses to watch the games despite my constant warnings that she will get it trouble.
“Gale brought rabbit,” I whisper. She rolls over. Her eyes are glassy and the bags underneath tell me she hasn’t slept, despite laying in her bed. She sees the television begin to glow behind me and averts her eyes. I spin around quickly to see what’s happening. The girl from 8 has started a fire and the camera pans out to show the audience that the careers are nearby and hunting her. I feel bad but Katniss is nowhere in the vicinity so I turn back to mother. She has rolled back over and refuses to look at me. Nothing I say will convince her at this point. I no longer have an appetite either.
I return to my position in front of the glowing screen, my only connection to Katniss anymore. My eyes blur with tears. Gale is beyond reason. The Hawthorne’s are going to starve. My mother is killing herself slowly. I am all alone in District 12, but what about my sister?
The Guide

Possible review post for

I guess you could say the motel we got was less than advertised.
 Review:   As advertised, the first thing you see as you enter the motel is a sumptuous black leather couch, big screen tv, mini fridge, coffee pot and microwave. You failed to mention that these, along with a large and varied display of condoms, lubes and hot-pockets, were behind bullet proof glass. Ah. Managers quarters. The outside of the establishment has been carefully tailored to mimic early '70's trailer park; each small plot of dust and rocks sporting is own unique chicken wire fence or garden gnome.
   All of this clues us in to what to expect in our actual room. There are two lamps attached to the walls and two high school era fluorescent tubes hung from the ceiling. One of each is missing a bulb. Every light, phone cord and electrical appliance is given an extension cord so they may be plugged into outlets in the ceiling, creating a visual "modern rainforest" of browns and oranges. . Apparently, this was easier than making the wall extensions work?  You obviously saw no need for other decorations. There are no blinds on the window and we discovered that the curtains were too small, both length and width wise, allowing a large L of sunshine to wake us at dawn. This was fine as there was no alarm clock provided.
    Every sheet, pillowcase, blanket and towel had at least one visible cigarette burn in it. This is unusual in a nonsmoking room. The closet has no door, no shelf, no bar and no hangers. The closet is quite literally a hole in the wall. The bathroom, however, is large with a thick exterior door, sound proof walls, large faux marble tiles (except for the floor tiles which were rescued from the YMCA a few decades ago) and a five foot by seven foot mirror. There is also a large storm drain in the center of the room, perfect for more nefarious reasons than my current family vacation.
    In short, the facility was not what I had in mind for my daughter and I. However, the bed was large and comfortable, the hourly rates quite reasonable and the buy two get one free hot pocket and condom offer not to be missed. I will definitely pass this on to my "Daddy" and the rest of the girls on the corner.
Candy Zippers
Room 7

Moral outrage, anyone?

Moral outrage, anyone?

        Let me preface this by saying I am not going to sue anyone nor am I going to stake a civil rights claim or call in the NAACP or anything else. However, we "privileged white people" rarely get to display righteous indignation so I thought I would share something with you. I am looking to rent a two bedroom apartment for me and my three children. (There are no three bedroom apartments within the school district borders and I couldn't afford it if they did. Not that there is any justification or excuse for what just happened, simply so you know all the facts.) So, I called a place that said they would not have a two bedroom available until October but that a one bedroom would be open until the end of the week if I just wanted to get a feel for the place, take the tour. So I showed up and had a little conversation with a woman, mid fifties, white, soon to be proven conservative. When asked, I  said I needed the two bedroom for myself and my three children. She balked and said there was a city ordinance against it and she would not be able to rent a two bedroom to a single mother with three kids. 

I called city hall. 

    They said there is no ordinance. They said the apartments are zoned individually based on square footage and they did not care who slept where or what the ages of the people were as long as it did not exceed the maximum capacity for residency. The woman even laughed and said it wouldnt matter if we put cots in the kitchen and kept the bedrooms for our arcade games. 

I called the apartment back.

      I explained to the woman who answered what had happened that day and what city hall had said. Then I asked "Do you have any apartments available that are zoned for four people regardless of relationship?" Instead of answering she transferred me to the woman I had met with that day. I again explained what city hall had said. She asked me -point blank- what the ages and sexes of the children were and who would be sleeping in which rooms. I said two girls in one room, my son and I in the other. She said she did not think that would be an acceptable situation. I asked very straightforward and clearly "Are you objecting to me sleeping in the same room as my son?" She said yes. I asked if that was the apartment complex policy or her personal opinion. She said it was simply not right for that to happen. She said if they were renting through section 8 the government would frown upon it as well although she was quick to "reassure" me that they do not rent to section 8. I said, "I don't feel that my sleeping arrangements should regulate whether you rent to me or not, but for the sake of argument, my son is autistic." That's as far as I got before she said that if he was special needs then presumably he would need assistance through the night and proximity would be important and of course I could come see the apartment and made an appointment immediately.

So there you go. Plain and simple this was prejudicial, right?  Someone's antiquated ideas of separate sexes ( or should I assume the worst and question if she thought I could be a sexual predator?) kept me out of housing because I couldn't possibly move in there after all that could I? I would love to hear some opinions on this...

Ok, I fell. Stop looking at me.

So yesterday I fell. Not like tripped over anything or got pushed, no, I fell off the sidewalk. There were witnesses and I was sure I was more embarrassed than hurt. When the shock wore off I realized hurt is actually very prominent. My right knee got a good grazing and is swollen but it should heal pretty quickly. My left leg is hamburger. not really, it actually a nice case of road rash which I do not appreciate in the slightest because my left knee has been making a sad grinding noise for at least a week so this is not helpful. anyway I had to clean out the gravel and that made me nearly pass out but it is clean now and I don't see anything worthy of stitches. My middle girl assures me it doesn't look like it will not be too cosmetic when it heals which is nice. She worries about those thing, I don't. I did look up road rash and I may have something called a tattoo but we will face that when it gets here. Anyway it hurts like hell but my embarrassment is still high. My baby sisters baby shower is tomorrow and I will have to wear shorts since my knee is still pretty leaky so everyone is gonna ask and I have to say I fell off a sidewalk. that is unless I come up with a better answer.

Suggestions on how to answer 'What happened to your leg?'

Christa. : I heard they were putting motorcycle racing in the 2016 Olympics. They aren't.
Me: I cut myself shaving.
Thomas. : I got into a bar fight.

Got anything better?
guilty pleasure



So we finally watched The Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe. Vang hates all things Harry Potter so normally I wouldn't even watch something staring an actor with him, knowing full well he was going to mock. But since the kids were already calling it Harry Potter gets Haunted by the Grey Lady I figured what the hell. And honestly, I am the worlds biggest chicken and even with only a PG13 rating I probably couldn't handle it without daylight, humor and a room full of people.

Ok so here are the comments I wrote down while they watched it. Please understand this in no way disrespectful. We were scared out of our freaking minds for most of the film. 

So  the cycle went like this:
*Mock mock mock*
*full body involvement in plot*
*mood breaking humor*

So our mocking... Two girls, nearly 13 & 15, plus me and an old asian guy.

"On the train to Hogwarts again? I thought he graduated!"
"Yer a lawyer, Harry."
"Oh my god monkey heads." > "It is the highest honor to have your head on the wall."
"Don't go through the veil, Harry!" >"But I hear voices!"
"Even in the wizarding world, Harry, hearing voices isn't good."
"He can't understand you, Crow. He only talks to snakes."
"He won't give up. Harry Potter never gives up."
*frantic whispering* alohamora alohamora alohamora oh my god oh my god  Revilio! REVILIO! *SCREAMS*
"I'm not the only one thinking 'enemies of the heir beware', right?"
*deeply respectful tones* "Lumos."
"He can't die. He's the boy who lived."
"He's died before."
"At a train station, too."  

Loved it, terrified of it, will not be able to watch it again, or stop talking about how good it is. Must. Read. Book.

Long Term Pencil Theft Deterrent System

Watch out cause I'm about to get genius in here!

Ok, so you know how teachers are constantly losing pencils? They get creative - trade me your shoe for my pencil - they get cutesy - my pens are taped to giant flowers you can't accidentally walk away with - but in the end the pencils still disappear. So here's my plot...

This link says I can have 72 pencils for $18 and I can personalize them for free. They even show a picture that say "Mrs. Teacher's Favorite Pencil" as if that level of guilt will encourage the children to return the pencils they borrow. I think we need to kick that guilt up a notch.

MY PENCILS will say "Shame On You Pencil Thief".

Don't roll your eyes at me. I know that doesn't sound like much in the guilt department. I am certainly aware that it's not enough to make the pencil thief return my pencil! The genius is in the long term torture. Observe...

My pencil when stolen: Shame On You Pencil Thief
The Thief: *shamelessly uses pencil, only gives writing a minor glance until time to sharpen*
My Pencil: *loses "Thief" to pencil sharpener* becomes a "Shame On You Pencil"
Thief: *uses the "Shame on You Pencil" a bit more furtively waiting to sharpen again*
Pencil: *loses "Pencil" to sharpener*
Thief: * posses a pencil that proclaims "Shame On You* *becomes anxious to sharpen again*
Pencil: * loses "You" and encourages disdainfully encourages the user to simply "Shame On"*
Thief: *can sense the frustration and judgement of the pencil but feels one more sharpening will bring the pencil down to size*
Pencil: * becomes The Pencil of "Shame"* tut tut tut
Thief: * has learned a valuable lesson*

Feel free to steal this and pass it on. You know you want to.
my pride and joy

Hogwarts Spell Stations

This is my third and final Eleventh Harry Potter Birthday Party. *sniff* I had a high standard to live up to. I feel like I need aspecial little elixer to make it all work but barring that I would love your opinions. Thanks!

Thomas's Eleventh Birthday with Hogwarts Spell Stations




Zack, Matt, Caydan, Thomas

Head Girls/Prefects:

Vi-Vi (Zack), Sydney Li (Thomas), Camille (Cayden), Kate (Matt)

1. Sort into houses, explain I award house points but observing Prefects may comment on opposing teams who seem to have earned rewards/disciplines

2. Wingardium Leviosa (Flying lessons): Two balloons are taped to two straws which are strung between two chairs, respectively.  When inflated the balloons display hand drawn broom riders! The balloons are inflated and released simultaneously so that the straws will wiz down the string.  The rider to get to the end first, or travel the farthest as the case may be, is the winner.  We have four houses so the two winners will face off for race champion!

3. Bombarda (Quid ditch Practice): This is a golf ball toss game in which two golf balls are attached to the end of a short piece of rope.  The balls are thrown at a square hoop so that the balls either travel pass or wrap around the hoop.  The top hoop is worth more points than the bottom loop.  The house with the most points wins.

4. Immobulous/Petrificus Totalus (Freeze tag): One house is it and they are in charge of tagging other houses.  They must yell one of the two spells to freeze the player in place.  Another house can unfreeze you.  If all houses are frozen the last person tagged becomes it.  The house which remains unfrozen the longest wins.

5. Wingardium Leviosa (DA Lessons): We have taken four pool noodles in the house colors and duct taped them into a square hoop toss. This is hung from the porch to give height.  Death Eater Masks have been hung inside each hoop for target practice.  Houses must toss a football through the hoop while calling out the spell.  Bonus points for getting it through your own house color.

6. Accio (DA Lessons): Like egg toss, two houses face each other and toss a water balloon back and forth between them making the gap increasingly bigger with each toss.  To signal you are ready to catch the balloon you must yell Accio Water balloon! The houses that get the farthest away before exploding win.  The two winning houses face off for champion.

7. Bombarda (Death Eater Skirmishes): Water balloons are hidden Easter egg style throughout back yard, waiting to be found and used against other houses. The driest house wins.

At this point the boys are tired and need a break so we eat dinner, outside since they are all wet now. During the meal I quiz them for bonus House points, simple trivia and spells used during the party so you don’t have to be a devoted fan to win some points!

8. Stupefy/avada cadavra (Final Battle): We have a very nice set of Laser Tag so the boys face off in the Final Battle around our front and back yard while prepare the birthday cake and House Awards.

9. Announce and Award house points, lowest to highest like Dumbledore. Then the boys play Harry Potter video games and eat cake until 8pm.

10. The sleep over portion begins at 8pm and last until 10 am the next morning.  This gives us only enough time to play the entire Harry Potter Movie Marathon if someone promises to man the DVD continuously.  If this person should fall asleep on duty, chaos.


Lumos: glow sticks in the shape of Horcruxes (Diary, Ring, Necklace, Cup, Crown, and Snake) have been hidden in the sleeping bags

House cups: small plastic trophies full of house color gushers

Dinner: green Hawaiian punch, soft pretzels, nacho bar- chips, cheese, ground meat (there is not theme here, just his favorite foods *shrugs*)

Cake/ice cream: individual cauldron cakes - spiral hoho's cut into 1/2 in thick slices line a bowl and then the bowl is filled with ice cream and frozen solid again.  Before serving the cake is removed from the bowls so it stands alone with the swirl pattern on display.  Then it is topped with green or blue cotton candy and sprinkled with pop rocks.

Snacks: trail mix potion- gummy worms, cheese puffs, Reeses, skittles, pretzels (gross, right?)

Breakfast: Quaffle waffles (actually they are smores pancakes but doesn’t that sound cuter?)