Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Journey Begins

It's been a while. There's been a lot that has gone on in the world of Fun Dollars. To start with, I had to start over, financially, emotionally, professionally. If you want to know all the details of how I got to where I am now, this is not the time or the place. But if you want to walk with me from where I am now, you are more than welcome on my journey.

My starting place is my current residence. My destination is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. My time frame is Spring Break of 2020. My goal: to pay for a family vacation.

To bring you slightly up to speed, I am now divorced and living with a fellow single parent. Our kids were friends and it just made sense to raise our kids together instead of doing it alone. So, the people on this journey with me are my own children and my housemates; the guy I am seeing and his two kids.

A long time ago, when I was sitting in the NICU in Flagstaff, holding my premature baby boy, I read to him Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It was the first book ever read to Carrick. When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was first built, I knew I wanted to take him there some day. With that in mind, I knew I didn't want to take him to "Harry Potter World" without him actually knowing the story. So, consideration for his own set of the Harry Potter Series became my first hurdle.

Thanks to a sister who works at Half Price Books up in the Chicago suburbs, I acquired a set for Carrick. One by one she supplied me with a complete hardback set of the Harry Potter series. I saved each book as they came to me over the years, all with this Harry Potter trip in mind.

As Carrick's tenth birthday approached, I knew it was time to commit to this cause. Somehow I had to find a way to make this happen for him, in the most magical way possible. So for his tenth birthday, he received the entire set of Harry Potter books with instructions. If he could read all 7 Harry Potter books before his 11th birthday, he would get a trip to Hogwarts!

He had already read the Sorcerer's Stone in third grade and began the Chamber of Secrets in fourth grade. So he started where he had left off. He began reading his own copy in the garden of the Burrow. I loved watching him commit to the task. I also enjoyed answering his questions about the books. I remember his first query, "So, mom, why are they tossing the gnomes?"

As he progressed through the pages, I was delighted to see that he really was enjoying his reading time. My other "secret agenda" with all of this was to get him to read more. Before these books came along, it was all I could do to get him to read a Dog Man book. While there's nothing wrong with Dog Man, I knew the value of reading a book not laid out like a comic. Delving into a plot, discovering the characters, and immersing his imagination in a way that sparks his desire to keep on with the book is what I was after.

He has now completed books 1 through three and began on book 4 last week. I totaled the number of pages from his starting point in Chamber of Secrets and it came out to an average of 10 pages a day. So far he is on track. Even if he doesn't finish by his 11th birthday, Spring Break is a month and a half after he turns 11. (Just in case...) He has demonstrated commitment and discipline to this project, and I have no doubt that he will accomplish his goal. He has turned off his ipad at night in order to spend his time reading. He started taking his book to school to read when he is finished with his homework.

I am so excited to share this journey with him and with you. I have to go now...I hear the Sorting Hat calling.
Carrick's 10th Birthday. The complete set of Harry Potter delivered by Hootie the Owl. 

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