Birthday week: Quidditch

We conclude Anna’s Harry Potter Birthday Week with the game of Quidditch.  In the books and movies, the characters fly around an arena on brooms, playing a magical game that combines some elements of polo, soccer, and that old Mayan game you read about with the hoops up in the air on the sides of the arena.  Our version involved brooms and hoops, but not very much flying:


As you can tell, this birthday party was truly a labor of love, and I want to give a big shout out to Chelsea, Mary, Nick, and Maria for pouring their hearts into this celebration of our Anna.  Thanks also to Greg for his unforgettable Hagrid performance.

Happy weekend!

Birthday week: Butterbeer

When the Harry Potter kids head off to school, one of the treats they get to enjoy is butterbeer – a non-alcoholic drink that can be duplicated using cream soda and a whipped cream foam.  It ends up tasting somewhat like a fizzy egg nog, if you can imagine that.

Naturally, we served up a batch at our party.


The characters in the books and movies enjoy their drink in old-fashioned mugs, which Chelsea found at the dollar store.  Since this is the time of year when we celebrate Oktoberfest, Chelsea wanted to recreate the festive air of the biergarten, though her academic robes are a little more more Oxford than Bavaria:


Birthday week: Hagrid

My dear friend Greg is a tall guy, and a bit of a goof.  So when we started planning the Harry Potter birthday party, everybody had the same idea: Would Greg play Hagrid?

In the Harry Potter books, the character Hagrid is half-man, half-giant, a gentle soul who lives on the edge of the Hogwarts school grounds and tends to the magical creatures – the animals – in and around the school.  Both in height and temperament, Greg was born for the role.


What we didn’t anticipate was how much Greg would relish playing Hagrid.  He went in for full costume – something the rest of us didn’t do – and even brought a satchel full of fake spiders to unleash on the kids when he arrived.  It was outstanding.

Later, we persuaded Greg to add some sunglasses to his Hagrid get-up, which is not authentic to the movies but gave him the affect of a late-career rock star:


I would like to add for Greg’s benefit that the sack full of jelly around his midsection was a prosthesis. One of the young wizards at the party insisted on poking and punching him in the fake stomach, so I think it was a good thing he had some borrowed padding there. And it helped the overall effect of the costume, of course.

Many, many thanks to Greg for his fantastic performance!

Birthday week: Kings Cross

As many kids know, the story of Harry Potter’s magical journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry begins at Kings Cross station in London, on the magical Platform 9 3/4.  Harry has to take a leap of faith, running at the brick wall in order to get to the platform.

Chelsea, Anna, and Mary turned our living room doorway into that magical brick wall.



The brick wall led to the beginning of our kids’ Hogwarts experience… more tomorrow!

Birthday week: A most impressive cake

Yesterday afternoon, we hosted about ten of Anna’s friends at our house for her kid birthday party.  This was no ordinary party – Chelsea and Anna have been scheming and planning for three months.  We will be going through the highlights all week.

We begin with the cake.  An amazing party deserves an amazing cake.  Chelsea is no slouch in the cake making department, but for this one her dear friend Amanda volunteered to play the role of pâtissiere.  Anna had decided she wanted a Harry Potter themed birthday, so the body of the cake is a book, and all of the magical things atop it are from the story:

Anna cake

Everything you see in the picture is edible – crazy!

When it came time to blow out the candles, it was a magical scene indeed:


Stay tuned – there is much more to come!

Riding toward City to Shore

Nick and I continue to prepare for the City to Shore Bike Ride, which is coming up at the end of this month.  We took a ride into Center City on Saturday morning, and spent a little time up on the Ben Franklin Bridge watching the Red Bull Flugtag.  This is a goofy event in which people build human-powered aircraft and try to fly them out over the river.  Most of them fall right off their launch platform into the water.  Fortunately, our bike rides usually aren’t like that.  We stay dry.

Ride 2

Ride 1

Happy weekend!


Nick and I got a lovely invitation on Saturday – to the Eagles-Ravens football game Sunday afternoon.  (Thanks, Norm and Jonah!)  Sadly, both the seats and the weather were terrible:

Eagles 2

We both realized we hadn’t been to a game in a while, and boy, did we pick a barn burner.

Eagles 1

The Eagles ended up winning the game in the last minutes, after a lot of wild plays throughout.  Our favorite, hands down, was Brent Celek hurdling over Ed Reed:

Now that’s some football.

Happy birthday Anna!

Belated birthday wishes to our little girl, who turned a not-so-little 9 years old last week:

Anna bday 2

Happy birthday as well to her great uncle Herb, who celebrates his cumpleaños the day after Anna.