Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Movie Moment

As we watched all of Lia's basketball games through the months of January and February, we definitely saw an increase in most of the other team's skill level this year.  Most of the teams that Lia played were more skilled and advanced than her team.  As a result, she just didn't have the chance to make as many shots which meant that she just didn't have the chance to make any actual baskets.  Although Lia only made one basket her first year (during the first game which was total beginner's luck), she managed to make several baskets last year.  And as her last game approached today, Lia really feel badly that she had not made a single basket during her entire third season.  This morning before the game, Ron and I tried to give her a pep talk and told her to just make as many baskets as she could.  I basically promised her that she would make a basket if she shot the ball at least ten times.  As we drove down to her game this morning, I was really praying that she would make at least one basket to end her season on a positive note.  Luckily, Lia's team was playing at her school in the gym that she is very familiar with and against one of the two teams in the league that is evenly matched to Lia's team.  So, I also hoped this these factors would help increase the odds of Lia making an actual basket.
Right before the game began, Lia was chosen to be in the first group of girls on the court.  After the referee threw the jump ball into the air, one of Lia's teammates hit it right to her.  Lia immediately grabbed the ball and dribbled down the court with a determination that I have never seen before.  She dribbled all the way down into the key and shot the ball.  It hit the rim and bounced back out.  I immediately turned to Ron and commented how amazing it would have been if she could have made a basket within the first five seconds of the game, but apparently it wasn't meant to be.  Lia then continued to play the best game of her career.  Whenever she was on the court, she played more aggressively than I have ever seen her play.  She constantly was trying to get open to get the ball from one of her teammates or shoot that ball which she did six or seven times before the end of the game.  Ron and I were so impressed with her effort and the fact that she never gave up.  When there was ten minutes left, Ron pointed out that she would play for five more minutes before being called out by her coach to sit out the remaining five minutes of the game so that the other group of girls (who she had been rotating with the entire game) would have a chance to play one last time. 
However, with five minutes remaining, Lia's coach decided to put his five best players in since Lia's team was only four points behind.  As a result, he kept Lia in the game.  We were so shock by this as her coach has never done this kind of thing before.  I guess he really wanted to win their final game.  As the minutes on the game clock wore down, Lia's team was not able to make any more baskets.  I was feeling so sad for her.  And when the opposing team took the ball back down the court to make a final basket with only a few seconds left on the clock, I thought that Lia's third season was about to end.  But much to everyone's surprise, the opposing team attempted one shot before Lia caught the rebound.  She then turned around and ran down the court, dribbling as fast as she could, and made a final shot as the buzzer rang AND the ball went right into the basket!  I could not believe it!  Lia literally made her first basket of the season during the last second of the last game.  I was so excited that I shot up out of my chair, threw my hands in the air, and screamed as loud as I could.  Ron immediately told me to sit down because everyone was looking at me so I sat back down and kept on screaming and hollering.  Ron then told me that I was screaming too loud, but there are times in a mother's life when you just don't care what other people think or say about you and this was one of those times.  I seriously felt like Lia had just been in a scene in a basketball movie.  It was so awesome and I was so proud of her!  I couldn't wait to give her a huge hug and kiss on the head.  Way to go, Lia.  You are truly a winner today!

Although Lia is pretty small in this picture, I just had to include it.  This ia one of the shots Lia made at the beginning of the game.  I just love the position of her body as she threw the ball up to the basket.

Lia catching the ball.

My tall, skinny girl waiting for the game to resume.

Lia protecting her ball.

Dribbling around her opponent...

and into the key.

Fighting off her opponent while going in for the shot.

And shooting the ball!

Lia looking up to get the rebound.

This pictures was taken a second or two before Lia's final shot that she actually made.  I put down my camera so that I could watch her without it being in front of my face.  And although I didn't get a picture of Lia making this basket, I am so glad that I was able to see it all happen with my own eyes.

Lia and her entire basketball team standing outside after the game showing off their new trophies (that I ordered and picked up) and their certificates.  Way to go, Huskies!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This is what happens...

when a playdate with the next door neighbors goes bad. :-)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lia's Harry Potter Birthday Party

True to her form, Lia declared that she wanted to have a Harry Potter party for her 10th birthday last year right after we wrapped up her American Girl Doll birthday party.  Since I am a fan of all things Harry Potter and am the one to blame for introducing this world to Lia back when she was in Kindergarten, I jumped on board right away.  Besides buying a few decorations last October at Michaels when all of their Halloween items were on clearance for a crazy 70% off, I really didn't start researching what we were going to do for Lia's party until a few weeks ago.  Since this was also the first February that I hosted a friend party for Logan, I will admit that it was a bit stressful trying to plan this party at the same time.  I am not sure that I will ever have the energy and the brain space to plan two friend parties of such a magnitude at the same time.  Regardless, this party was epic.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that someone could have paid me to put on this party for them.  There were so many fun ideas on the internet and for the first time ever, Lia really helped me to come up with several of the decor, games, and craft ideas and also helped to make several of these items for the party.  It was fun to have her help!  Including Lia, we had a total of twenty girls at this party and everyone had such a fun time coloring, crafting, game playing, and eating cupcakes and ice cream.  Lia was truly spoiled and really enjoyed celebrating her tenth birthday surrounded by her favorite friends and decorations from her favorite books!  Happy Birthday, Lia.  We sure love you!

Here is Lia all dressed up and ready to go in her Hogwarts t-shirt, robe, and hair bow while holding a wand in front of the entrance to our house decked out as the brick wall entrance to Platform 9 and 3/4 at the King's Cross Railway Station in London.  I saw this idea online and made this faux, brick wall one sponge print at a time on a creme colored, plastic table cloth.

A close-up of our birthday girl and the sign to the Hogwarts Express, the train that Harry Potter and the other students took each Fall to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Lia found this idea online and I decided to copy it.  It was the perfect way to prevent kids from going upstairs while also doubling as a cute and clever decoration.

The sign reads:  "The third floor CORRIDOR is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.  --Albus Dumbledore"

My friend, Wendy, who lives up the hill from us is a huge Harry Potter fan and even decorated her fifth child's bedroom with a Harry Potter theme.  She was kind enough to lend me everything she had and I used most of it!  I devoted the entire foyer table to paraphernalia that I borrowed from her including a Nimbus 2000 flying broom, a house cup, and a Quidditch quaffle, bludger bat, and bludger ball.  It looked so cool to have all of these items in the entry way.

As one turned the corner from the foyer, thirty, flying keys were flying in the air.  I printed out several wing patters on velum paper, cut them out, glued them onto the keys, and then strung them from white, string.  It took a few hours to make, but it looked so cool when they were hung up thanks to the help of Ron, Lia, and Logan.  Lia even had the idea to bend the wing on one of the keys (like in the book) which we hung from the entrance of the bathroom door so it was obvious to spot.

I saw the idea of having an owlery complete with packages and letters and flying balloons with owls drawn on them on someone's blog and decided that I could totally copy this.  I borrowed a bunch of stuffed owls from friends, purchased a few bird cages, wrapped up several boxes in plain brown or white paper, and had my friend address several envelopes to certain Harry Potter characters using her pretty handwriting.  I looked so cute!

A close-up of the packages, letters, and owls.

I was only able to get one of the balloons to face the right direction when I took a picture of the entire owlry, but they all had this same owl drawn on them.  They constantly spun around in the air which gave off the illusion that they were flying in the air.

The grand tablescape complete with balloons, flying brooms, and 24 floating candles.  It looked so cool!

A close-up of the middle table with the broom sticks and cupcakes (with Harry, Ron, and Hermione toppers) on cake stands as the center pieces.

A close-up of the head table complete with large candle sticks and cauldrons with "smoke" coming out of them (it really was pillow batting).

Another angle of the middle table.

A close-up of the end table with two other candles.  I also scattered black and silver confetti and placed large, sparkly, black spiders all over the table.

A close-up of a table setting and the cupcakes.  I was surprised to find Harry Potter plates, napkins, and cups for sale online.  We also filled mini cauldrons with Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (a.k.a. Jelly Bellies) with a lightening bolt tattoo and a set of Hogwart House stickers as the gift favor for each guest.

I made 24 floating candles from tea lights and white construction paper that I hung from white string.  Although this also took a few hours to make it really looked so cool--especially at night when it got dark outside!

I decorated the mantle with Harry Potter books, stuffed owls, and a large cauldron and stuffed snake that Wendy loaned me.

I purchased the printable image for this banner from the same women who made Lia's birthday invitation and cupcake toppers.  She used a cool, Harry Potter font for the letters with a lightening bolt in some of them (like the P and the T).

After the girls arrived, we officially kicked off the party by having the girls color a picture of one of several Harry Potter characters that Lia had chosen from the internet.

Lia, Carys (the daughter of one of Ron's former co-workers who we still get together with a few times a year), and Alyssa coloring their pictures.

Suzette, Lindsay, and Isabel coloring away.

Maddison and Sienna posing for a picture.  Sienna was the one other girl who came to the party wearing her Harry Potter cape.

After coloring, we put lightening bolt tattoos on the girls' foreheads or anywhere else they wanted it (mainly the hands or arms).  Here is the line of girls waiting for Ron to help them with their tattoo.

Addyson holding down a wet cloth over her forehead to get the tattoo to stick.

After coloring and tattoos, we took everyone out to the garage to complete our one craft--making a golden snitch.  This was totally Lia's idea that she came up with on her own and I was pleased to find everything we needed to complete this craft at Michaels.  Here are the girls painting their styrofoam balls yellow.

Maycen, Lia, Carys, and Addyson painting away.

Maddison, Mila, Addy, and Ellie painting their snitches.

The girls starting to stick their yellow feathers into the balls.

After the craft, we came back inside to play four games.  The first game was to pin the lightening bolt on Harry's face.  This was also Lia's idea and she helped me color the poster after I had drawn the face.  Here is Maddison getting spun around by Ron before being sent off to find the poster with her lightening bolt in hand.

Ron putting the blindfold on Lia.

Lia placing her lightening bolt on the poster.

The finished, Harry Potter poster with all of the lightening bolts on his face.

We then moved into the family room for three more games.  The first was a modified version of the game, Quidditch, where the girls had to throw a Quaffle ball through a ring that Lia helped me make.

We played three rounds--each one moving farther away from the ring.  Only a few girls made it to the final round.  Here is Bella throwing a perfect shot.

Sienna throwing the Quaffle.

We then played a game of "Hot Potato" with a wooden wand that we borrowed from Wendy while playing the theme song from the Harry Potter movies.  We eliminated a girl every round until we were left with two girls, Alyssa and Eve.

Lia passing the wand to Carys.

We finished off the games by playing the most exciting one of them all--Bean Boozled.  This was also one of Lia's ideas and it turned out to be so fun.  We divided the girls into two, smaller groups and had them play several rounds of spinning a spinner which told them what color bean they had to eat.  Like Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, every color has a good flavor and a bad flavor.

Here is Sienna picking up a bean.

And promptly spitting it out.  We made sure that both groups had their own garbage can where they could spit their disgusting beans out!

Maddison figuring out what color of bean she had to eat.

After the games, we had Lia open up all of her wonderful presents.  As always, her friends where so kind and generous.  Here she is opening up Alyssa's gift which was hand's down my favorite--an entire Hogwarts, school uniform for an American Girl Doll.  It even came with socks and shoes and a cape.  This is such an appropriate gift from Alyssa since these girls always play with their American Girl dolls whenever they get together.

Lia opening up Eve's gift--an American Girl Mega Construx set of Saige and her horse.

Lia opening up Mollie's card.

We finished off the party with cupcakes and ice cream.  All the girls had so much fun sitting at the long table and eating together.  Here is Lia smiling before we sang "Happy Birthday" to her.

Lia and Carys at the head of the table.

Singing "Happy Birthday!"

Blowing out her candles.

The head table eating away.

The rest of the girls enjoying their dessert.

A shot of all of the girls!  What a group!

After we said goodbye to all of the guests, Ron and I took down most of the decorations before dinner.  However, I was too tired to worry about the floating candles.  At about 10 o'clock at night, I decided to go back downstairs to take them down to prevent the 24 tea lights from burning out.  When I walked into the dark kitchen, I was totally blown away by how real these candles looked glowing in the dark room.  It was so amazing!  I had to take a few pictures before I sadly took them down one at a time.

The final, magical shot I took before turning on the lights and taking the candles down.  It was a special way to end this special day celebrating our special girl in a Harry Potter way.  I hope you know how much we love you, Lia!