Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baby Bird is 19!

Hard to believe that Mike is already 19. Time flies blah blah blah! I spent some time with my scanner this morning and scanned in (in something like 8 separate passes, which I then lovingly stitched together in Photoshop Elements) the 2-page spread I made of his first birthday (click to see it bigger):

Also, I don't believe I have ever shared his birth announcement on here:

Weren't Fred and I terribly clever (not to mention young looking!) back in the day?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A river runs through it

Sherman Army Airfield, here on post:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Positively Pottered

Harry Potter entered our family in book form sometime during our Hawaii years (1999 to 2001) when Mike received the first volume as a gift. I started to read it aloud to the kids, but my heart wasn't in it (fantasy is totally not my thing), and we never finished it. Shortly thereafter though, Mike's reading skills took off and he dove right into the series, eagerly awaiting each book as it was released and happily reading them to himself.

Fred and I took Mike to see the first movie in South Carolina when it came out in November 2001, but Annabelle was only 6 at the time, and we decided it was much too scary for her. I took Mike to the midnight premiere of one of the books toward the middle of the series when we were in San Antonio (2001 to 2003), and sometime after that Annabelle hopped on the Potter bandwagon as well.

In August 2005 we visited London shortly after Fred's return to Germany from Iraq. One of the "must see" items on our list was J.K. Rowling's home in London, which I had heard was part of the "Little Venice" London Walks tour. Annabelle dressed a Beanie Baby rabbit as Harry Potter, and the kids took turns posing with him on the wall outside the Rowling home:

We dutifully continued taking the kids to the films as they were released, and I remember seeing one in Germany and another in Kentucky. (You can tell how captivated I was by the whole thing, can't you?) But then they got old enough to start going to the movies with friends, and I was spared the experience for the next few films. In 2005, Annabelle went to the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with her friend Karen while we were visiting Florida in July 2007. She proudly wore her Hogwarts garb:

That was the same month that the final volume, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, came out. In fact, it was released on Mike's birthday, July 21! We were still in DeLand, and we opted to go to the premiere party at the small used bookstore in town rather than venturing forth to Daytona or Orlando. Mike spent the time waiting for the book's release to go over his driver's license manual one more time to make sure he wouldn't have any problem passing his permit test later that same day (doesn't Fred look thrilled?):

We bought 2 copies of that book, and the kids read them nonstop, even at the Boyd family reunion over in Tampa that afternoon. You can see Annabelle's copy in this picture:

We had to stop at a gas station on the drive back to DeLand to buy flashlights so they could keep reading after the sun went down.

Fast forward to this summer! With the anticipation of the release of the final movie, the kids have been plowing through all of the books in a re-reading frenzy. They also have been re-watching all the earlier movies, and Fred and I joined them for the most recent 2, in hopes of having some idea of what's going on in the final movie. I had booked tickets to the midnight IMAX showing at our closest Kansas City theater well over a month ago. Annabelle and I swung by the theater Thursday morning to pick up the tickets on our way to the airport to greet her friend Katherine, who is spending the weekend with us. We were shocked that people were already camped out in line at 10:30 a.m., including this fellow with a Sharpie-drawn tattoo:

Even though Harry Potter has never been my "thing," I couldn't help but feel the teensiest bit excited.

My original plan had been to show up at the theater around 11 p.m., an hour before showtime. After seeing the beginnings of the first lines with over 12 hours to go though, I realized that that was cutting it WAY too close. Fred decided at the last minute that trying to go to a midnight movie on a worknight was craziness, but I was able to get a refund on his ticket. I and Mike, Annabelle, and Katherine took out places in line right at 7:00 p.m.

Fortunately the line for the IMAX was inside the building. We settled down on the floor to read and otherwise kill time while waiting:

With so many people in costume, the excitement was contagious. Annabelle had her tea leaves read by a fellow movie-goer:

I have to admit that the movie was good. I'm glad I had watched the 2 most recent, because I would have been lost otherwise. Annabelle started crying about halfway through and sobbed pretty steadily until we got to the car afterwards. As soon as we got home (at 3:30 in the morning), she wrote the following, which sums it up pretty well:
Excuse me as I lament the end of my childhood

DEATHLY HALLOWS SPOILERS (but mostly just me getting hysterical)

I actually started out the movie (and got about halfway through) feeling pretty sure that I wouldn’t cry. I mean, I never cry at movies! I’ve gotten a little misty in Edward Scissorhands, but full-fledged sobbing? But then Snape died, and…well, things went down from there. Then there was Fred. Then the Prince’s Tale (OHLAWD THE PRINCE’S TALE), Harry seeing Sirius/Lupin/Mum/Dad, and of course “Not my daughter, you BITCH.” After that, I felt a lot better.

Even the epilogue, I was feeling okay. I mean, it’s cute and all, but I’m gonna be okay…but then they have to play the original John Williams music from the first movie. Like, remember when the trio boarded the Hogwarts Express at the end of the movie and explain that they’re not “really going home” since Hogwarts is home and yada yada yada? With all the second generation people getting on the train with that music, and then Hedwig’s Theme…to put it lightly, I was a mess leaving the theatre. A complete, sobbing, hysterical mess. Kind of all “My skeleton will lie in the theatre forever.”

I know it’s been said so many times, but I really feel like that was the end of my childhood. Yeah, I haven’t been a child-child for several years now, but I grew up with Harry ever since I watched the second movie when it was a new release (and even more so after I first picked up the book in fourth grade). I still remember going to the midnight release of the last book and then spending the entire next day reading. I felt okay at the end of that, knowing there were still three more movies to go. I kind of took it for granted.

I’ve been re-reading the books and re-watching all the movies, and it’s just now occurring to me how, for lack of a better term, magical they are. Just…gah.

Long live Harry Potter<3
It's still so totally not my thing, but I have to admit it has gotten under my skin. I'm feeling very sentimental about the tremendous presence these books and movies have been in our lives over the past 10 years. Ever since we saw the last movie, I've been bugging the kids with my stupid questions: "Who was that chick who was being so mean to Lily in the flashback? Wait, why was everybody so willing to make up with that Malfoy jerk?"

They keep saying, "READ THE BOOKS, MOM!"

I just might do that.