Tag: Harry Potter

New York City and the Allaires

This weekend we celebrated the eldest’ birthday in New York City!

We went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two.

The kids and I had read the screenplay, each responsible for a bunch of parts. I have to say; my son did an impersonation of Draco Malfoy that was unforgettable! Of all the parts I played, I feel that I really resonated with Professor Mcgonagall. It’s good to see that she’s still super sassy and not about to put up with nobody’s hot mess… even if you are the Minister for Magic.

Suffice to say, the shows were amazing, certainly well worth the mortgage payment price.

On the second part, we splurged on the lounge option where we got to have dinner, desert, and drinks before and during intermission.

I’m disappointed that some people were too celebratory during Voldemort Day, but what can you expect from a Slytherin?

My kids also went to Central Park for the first time. I don’t think they were as impressed about it as I was. I love how energized the park is. There are musicians and artists all around. You can catch a bride walking along a bride to her groom on the other side. It’s a beautiful place to be in spring.

We also checked out the American Museum of Natural History. I was brazen, I wanted to DO ALL THE THINGS, so our day was spent doing all the special features of the museum, but not really getting to see any of the key elements. <~ which to me means another museum trip in the future!

 We got to play with butterflies.

We learned about the ocean:

We got pretty intimate with notorious T-Rex:

We watched this epic IMAX movie about backyard creatures. My youngest was really fascinated, so we may end up installing a critter cam in our wooded area to see what calls that area home.

Finally, we visited their planetarium to see Dark Universe. And all of this was fruitful because I made a cosmicoceanological connection that has revolutionized the way my the science of my Children of the Planes novel pans out.

After the museum, we visited Laughing Man Coffee. This was the only thing on my husband’s list, being a fan of Hugh Jackman.

I had it in my head that this was a coffee shoppe, but I’d call it more like a coffee stop, which was a tad bit disappointing given that we paid over $27 to take a cab from the museum to this location to make sure that we got there on time. Turns out there are two locations and we went to the Duane Street option. The other one looks more of what I envisioned in my head. We sat outside, which to me was the perk of the place. People with their pups were sitting, and there was cute dog that I swear looked like the Lorax.

Finally, I don’t think it’s that surprising that I monopolized on our journey to Pokehunt. Living in a rural area, I was in Pokestop overload. And all our walking, despite the constant groaning of the kids, was worth it:

We are headed back to New York City again in two weeks. Any places that you have to visit when you’re in the city?

Family Reading Time

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34348147_10211190866983306_3776500550791593984_nIn the Allaire Family Constitution, it specifically states that 7-8 p.m. is reading time. Any use of electronics at this time results in the guilty party having to cluck like a chicken…

 

 

Suffice to say, we take our reading time seriously.

I found a lot of information on why you should read to children from early infancy, my favorite being “Why It’s Important to Read Aloud with Your Kids, and How to Make it Count” by Amy Joyce, but I couldn’t really find any that showed the benefits of reading as a family once the children have already learned to read. (Joyce’s post states that older children cite reading with their parents as one of their favorite family memories).

As such, here is my list of reasons why I still read with my nine and thirteen year old:

I Get to Read Kids’ Books:

No shame in my Diary of a Wimpy Kid game. Why does middle grade fiction have to just be for kids? I can enjoy fart jokes or sympathize with a kid feeling like he may be failing math class. It reminds parents and adults that the problems children face are important to them, if they may seem small on an adult’s grand scheme of things.

Conversations: The best heart to heart moments I have had with my kids have come from situations expressed in the experiences of others. Fiction allows us to see things from another’s perspectives, especially when they go through situations that we normally could not. For example, I will never be an orphan forced to leave India and move to dreary England, but the kids and I could sympathize with feeling alone like Mary had in The Secret Garden. We talked about the power of hope and how changing your perspective can open doors you never even thought existed.

Fluency in Reading: I am often assisting in appropriately pronouncing words rather than the super speedy blurring that seems to happen when kids don’t know exactly what they are reading but still want to complete the sentence. By catching and correct these fluency hiccups, I am helping to improve my children’s fluency. I’m also learning to pronounce certain words, although I blame my mother being Scottish on a few choice pronunciations.

Time is Finite:

Learning how to manage time is an important lesson for children to learn. Realistically, there are nights where we are not at home. We are, after all, a family of four and have social lives. Reading as a family has cut down a lot of the activities that we would otherwise have agreed to do. When we plan things and I know it will run into family reading time, I’ll say, “If we do this we cannot read Harry Potter tonight,” and the kids then have to prioritize their wants. In a world of constant extracurricular activities, this is a necessary tool for a well-balanced lifestyle.

Quality Family Time:

With homework, chores, and extracurricular activities, it’s hard to get everyone in sync. Reading time has provided a time where are all together without any other distractions. The teenager thinks we’re on a mission to read a book and then see the movie based on it (if there is one), but what we’re really doing is spending uninterrupted family time. We established a goal as a family and maintained it towards success. If we did not choose to carve time out of out busy schedules to invest in this goal, it would have happened.

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I’m not advocating for everyone set a family rule to spend an hour every day reading as a family, but what about once a week? If a family were to read an average 20 pages a week of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, it could be finished in around eleven weeks. That is an impressive goal!