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***Year Three of Harry Potter - After the Epilogue has now been posted at FanFiction.net in time for Harry's 37th Birthday! If you love my Harry Potter fan fiction stories as much as I do; check out this newest installment in the 'After the Epilogue' storyline!

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Cassie's Journal - November 30, 2015



Grandma and Grandpa are back in Arizona until they come home again for Christmas in three weeks.  As usual, I don’t feel as though I spent nearly enough time with them, but even if I’d been around them more; the chances are good that we’d have spent that time competing for play time with my younger cousins – especially Brianna.  They had fun while they were here, and I’m glad that they’re able to enjoy their retirement; so I’ll be grateful for the time we can spend together – and hope that we can do more of that while they’re home for a longer visit at Christmas.

Their travel day probably wasn’t as much fun as my day at school.  You might think that wouldn’t be a tough threshold to cross; but Michael and I did have a pretty good day thanks to our first practices with the primary classes that we’re accompanying for the school Christmas concert.  The kids are always fun to work with, and we’re going to get to play with them at least once every day between now and the concert; so I’m sure that the daily musical entertainment will keep Michael and I in the Christmas spirit – even when we get into the next round of tests that we’ll definitely be doing over the next couple of weeks ahead of the Christmas break.

We won’t have final exams to deal with like my favorite collegians will before most of them come home for Christmas, but I won’t go there; since exams just aren’t that big of a story anymore for Violet, Dillon, and the others now that they’re veterans at writing them.

Here at home, the last day of November was a bit dull – both for the weather and the non-play time parts of the day.  Football talk ruled for the guys in our usual group; the girls were happy to talk Thanksgiving and Christmas; and the gossip network was busy with all of the latest buzz on teen relationships.  The last part of that does not include anything I need to pass on for posterity in my journal; so let’s just not go there.

While the Christmas concert practices were the highlights of the day for me at school; most of those fun moments of my day happened while hanging out with Michael from the time we were set free from last class until he went home at eleven o’clock.  Doing our homework and helping out with the cooking and clean-up on both sides of dinner wasn’t very exciting, but our Magi lesson; music practice; play time with Ethan and Ehlana before they went to bed; and a bit of make-out time in the lounge to end our evening did add up to make a dull day a pretty good one too.

Mom’s Magi lesson was more important in the grand scheme of things, but our music practice was longer because we’re working on a lot of things – including band, teen praise team, and all of the music we’re doing for the school Christmas concert.  The school music includes another duet we’ve been drafted for; and we picked the Christmas duet from the new Pitch Perfect movie – my current favorite Christmas song from a non-Christmas movie!  We’re making up our own arrangement of the Winter Wonderland – Here Comes Santa Claus mash-up; mostly because Michael doesn’t want to include much of the rapping that’s in the album version of the song.  I like this pick because it’s the first duet we’ll have done that is just a fun song instead of the more emotional songs we’ve done together so far – at least when it comes to concerts at school or services at church.

Our play time with Ethan and Ehlana included them hanging out with us while we were practicing our music; but our real play time was some video gaming in the lounge and setting up and decorating the little tree that helps to make my room feel so festive during the holidays.

Thinking about that has me thinking about Rowen – and our first Christmas as best friends.  She was doing her own thing today with her family – and Tim; so she wouldn’t have been able to help decorate the lounge tonight.  Since she did get her shiny new driver’s license today; I’ll guess that she’d have picked going out for a drive with her mother and everything else she and Tim had planned for tonight over that anyway.  It’s a bit sad that we don’t still get to do everything together the way it seemed that we did when I first moved here, but that isn’t all bad; and there are some things that we just don’t want to share anyway – like make-out time with our respective boyfriends! ;^)

Moving along and not thinking about that too much; it was back to work and studying for me after Michael went home for the night.  I didn’t want to be up all night doing that, so I opted for some quality time phasing to get everything done faster – at least in real time.  That’s the only reason it isn’t heading toward five o’clock or so as I write this now; but it feels that late to me after the power drain it took to make that happen.  The work went well; the archive assignment was tough to get through without falling asleep; and my language studies are far-enough ahead that I should be done early and be able to take an extra week off at Christmas before moving on to my next language.

The only thing I want to move on to right now, though, is some serious sleep time.  I have covered the news highlights, and I’ll need all of the sleep I can get since my schedule is just going to get busier through the rest of the week; so, until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!

Cassie's Journal - November 29, 2015



Happy 15th Birthday, Rowen!

Compared to getting a boyfriend for her birthday two years ago and our football game trips the past two years; this was a fairly uneventful birthday.  She will get her driver’s license tomorrow, though; so that’ll make up for this being her least-exciting special day in a while.

We did put on a birthday breakfast for her, and then we followed that up with a holiday weekend church service that was particularly special because we celebrated the start of Advent as well as Thanksgiving; and the teens and kids led a lot of the service music and bible readings along with a few skits.  All of that was amazing, and I loved every minute of it, but we were late getting out of church; and Michael and I had to run over to the Inn with his parents, Rebecca, Jenny, and the rest of their staff to get ready for the first of the four buffets we put on today – all of them sold out.

To be honest, most of my afternoon was a blur of work on the prep line and dishwashing as needed.  Michael and I did take a couple of short breaks when we could, but we also wanted to take the time off to have dinner with Rowen, Tim, and the rest of their birthday dinner group; so we worked more during the afternoon to be able to do that.  By the time we sat down with Rowen, Tim, and everyone else at their table; I was already getting tired; and it was just nice to get off of my feet for a while.  We roasted Rowen for a while as we ate; she opened gifts between having dinner and dessert; and then we did the birthday cake and ice cream thing before Michael and I needed to get back into the kitchen to help out with the clean-up and Inn closing.

That took a while, since it took extra time to get the dining room cleaned up and ready for the breakfast shift in the morning; so it was around ten o’clock by the time I was dropped off at home so that I didn’t have to walk from Michael’s house in the rain.  With the holiday weekend just about over by then, it was time for me to get back to my usual work and studies too.  Mom, Dad, Ethan, and Ehlana were working in the office when I got back, so Mom did my Magi lesson with me; and then I took care of getting the twins into bed for the night on my way up to my room.

While I needed to do a lot of work too; some multi-tasking was needed because I seriously needed some Jacuzzi time too – for more than one reason.  Self-healing is nice; but soaking in a tub is more fun! ;^)

I did my archive assignment while in the tub; kept my bath time short so that I could get into bed before doing starting in on my family business work and language studying, and once I was snuggled in bed with Mandy; I spent another two and a half hours on that work and studying – along with the rest of my usual bedtime computer and email checks.  The work side of that wasn’t particularly exciting, but I did enjoy catching up on email from my cousins and favorite collegians.  Violet, Dillon, and the other students that had been off school for the week were back again; and everyone arrived without any major travel issues despite the rainy weather – and snow for some of them.  I also had email from Dawn, Jillian, Jaimie, and Kaitlyn with holiday weekend reports; and I’m glad that our extended family had fun with the other sides of their families.

Since this is my best friend’s big day, there ought to be more to my report today than what I’ve covered so far, but while I didn’t cover every little detail; there really isn’t anything newsworthy to add – even with those birthday celebration parts of my day were really great.  While the holiday weekend is over, what’s really exciting is that we’re just getting the Christmas holidays started.

That’s going to be a big part of my coming week, and in addition to all of the regular action on my schedule; I’ll have quite a few additions.  The Christmas fun is going to include our first Christmas parade on Friday evening and the kids’ and teens’ shopping trip to Crystal Springs on Saturday.  In addition to that, Michael and I will start working with some of the primary classes to get ready for the Christmas concert.  Rebecca’s sixteenth birthday is on Wednesday, and somewhere, around all of that; I’ll need to keep up with my work, studies, and everything else I have on the go.

I’ll guess that there will be a lot of late nights in my near future to keep up with all of that – or I’ll need to use a lot of time phases to keep up and still get extra sleep too.  There won’t be much sleep for me tonight, though, and I want to get all of the nap time that I can right now, so that’s all for now; and, until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cassie's Journal - November 28, 2015



This update is coming to you live from Rowen’s bedroom; and she says “Hi!” to everyone reading this in the future – including herself some day when she’ll be able to do that.

I’m here because we’re having a pre-birthday sleepover, but before I get to that part of my report; we need to back up to Friday morning for our double-update.

As I’ve already noted, Michael and I were both up very early on Friday morning; and I was at his house in time to go over to the Inn with Michael and his parents.  Rebecca stayed overnight at Lucas’ house; so she wasn’t asked to work the breakfast buffet.  Michael might have been wishing that he was playing in the championship football game today, and that would have been great too; but I was really glad to be home for the first time in two years – and I’m not just saying that because of the shopping I got to do with some of my favorite girls once I was finished for the morning at the Inn.  The work in the kitchen was crazy-busy, but the breakfast buffet menu is fairly easy to deal with; so it was the clean-up work that was just as busy as any buffet – and why I spent more than half of my time working with Michael on dishwashing instead of on the prep line.

The Black Friday shopping was more fun than the early-morning work; and I’m happy to report that there wasn’t even one fight or pushing match anywhere in town – unlike the scenes of temporarily insane shoppers that have been posted on YouTube over the past two days.  My family was not at the breakfast buffet today; choosing to instead do their own thing – and sleep in where possible.  That worked out for me, since they were just getting together to start shopping when I was set free from the Inn to join in on the annual tradition.

After two years away from the event, you might think that I’d make up for lost time and buy, buy, buy; but I didn’t end up buying very many things.  I couldn’t leave Abby’s store without a couple of new dresses that will be perfect for Christmas, and I bought a pair of shoes to match them at Taylor’s; but those were my only major purchases.  The Olde Bakery treats were for a snack on the fly and an assorted box of favorites to have in the lounge – and to bring here for my evening at Rowen’s house.  My only other purchases today were little Christmas gifts or things that I thought would make cute stocking stuffers for some of the members of my extended family.

We shopped until around one o’clock; I went home for lunch; and then Michael and I spent his afternoon break playing with Ethan and Ehlana.  After that, it was time for both of us to get back to the Inn for the dinner rush.  While I was busy with that, Ethan and Ehlana got approval for a sleepover with Naomi and Aiden; and their best friends ended up being dropped off in time to have dinner with Mom, Dad, and the twins.  I’m sure that they had more fun with that than I had at the Inn; and I’m not just saying that because I was on dishwasher duty for most of the time I was working in the kitchen.  Since we’d worked the open and breakfast buffet, Michael and I were set free early; and we got back to my place in time to watch the end of one movie and another one after that with Ethan, Ehlana, Naomi, and Aiden before Mom and Dad ordered them to bed.

You already know about Michael staying for a sofa sleepover, and there weren’t any complications with that last-minute decision – not that I’d expected any parental intervention.  There are some advantages to being responsible and working hard to help our parents at the Inn or with the family business.  I don’t have much to report for the time last night after my micro-update.  Michael and I snuggled under a blanket; played for a little while; and then I fell asleep.  I’d expected that, so we weren’t terribly disappointed over missing out on another perfect make-out opportunity; and we were happy campers when we woke up on Saturday morning.

Life got crazy for us then because Mom and Dad decided to take us to the Christmas tree farm right after breakfast instead of the planned trip that we’d tentatively booked for the afternoon.  The weather forecast was the reason behind the change, and it worked out especially well for Ethan, Ehlana, and me because it made it possible for our best friends to come along for the adventure.  For me, that included Rowen and Tim as well as Michael – which is why we took both the truck and minivan to have room for everyone.  We weren’t alone, since Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, and the kids came with us; and we had a four-vehicle convoy heading out of town when we hit the road by eight-thirty.

What can I say about the Christmas tree farm?  Since my first year here in Witch Falls, it’s been one of my favorite places for making Christmas memories.  Today was no exception; and I really loved getting to pick out trees for our families with Michael, Rowen, and Tim – as well as for everyone else in our group.  Surprisingly, we managed to do that without taking any extra time on the hayride, and while it took a bit longer to load the trees up because we also needed to use minivan roof racks in addition to Dad’s truck; that was only a bit of work in between the hay ride and our visit to the Christmas store.  We bought more ornaments for the trees; picked up boxes of cookies and jugs of cider; and enjoyed a hot chocolate or warm cider and cookies snack break before heading for home again.

Our goal with leaving then was to beat the snow and rain in the forecast to get home and deliver all of the trees; and we managed to do that.  Rowen and Tim went home with my grandparents because they had their own tree and Tim’s on their roof rack.  Dad, Michael, Ethan, Aiden, and I were in the truck and delivered trees to the Draper’s, Seager’s, Stone’s, and Ayres’ homes before finishing up with delivering our own tree; and then Michael went home to get cleaned up on his way to the Inn to help with the rest of the lunch rush shift.

After Michael left, I helped Mom with making lunch; Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Zack, and Brianna came over after that so that we could decorate the tree; and we spent an amazing three hours doing that together before it was time to split up again.  For me, that meant getting cleaned up and heading over to Rowen’s house for the rest of the night.  She was home by the time I got there; and we cooked an easy-dinner for her family that we had nearly ready to go by the time her parents, Patrick, Scott, and Tim joined us – after the stores closed for the night.  Being on the cooking crew worked out well for us because Patricia put the boys in charge of the post-dinner clean-up.  Patrick complained about that, but we didn’t feel too sorry for him; since we had kept up with the cookware clean-up as we went along; so they only had to deal with the dinnerware, glasses, and cutlery from a spaghetti dinner with salads and garlic toast.

Michael couldn’t join us for dinner, and had to work until close, so after the boys were finished with the work in the kitchen; they opted for some video gaming and college football action while we waited for Michael.  Since I mentioned football; I’ll note that Clairmont regained their high school football championship on Friday over Hillcrest.  Tim was all over that; and has mixed feelings about it.  He wishes that Hillcrest had won so that our team could claim that we’d at least been beaten by the eventual champs; but he’s also happy that Clairmont won because he’s hoping to repeat another feat that Kyle managed by defeating Clairmont while they’re defending champions.

For the day you read this sometime in the future, Tim, I love you; but quit trying to one-up your cousin!  You’re an amazing guy and can blaze your own trail.

Rowen says she loves you too; and smacked me for admitting that I love you too – even if that is only here in my journal. ;^)

Go ahead and tell Michael on me, Rowen.  He loves Tim too – even if guys aren’t allowed to admit stuff like that to each other.  We both love you quite a lot too; so deal with it, sister-of-my-heart.

That last bit was more a narration of our conversation at this moment, and Rowen is having some fun with me; but it’s getting late and I really need to move this along.

The boys played their games and watched Football through until about an hour after Michael caught up with us.  After that, Patrick and Scott decided to leave us alone in the living room; and Michael and Tim picked out a Christmas movie for us to watch while snuggling with their respective girlfriends.  A Christmas movie for guys generally means that stuff needs to get blown up and there also needs to be chases, fights, and bad jokes and acting.  All of that and more is available in that Christmas classic – ‘Die Hard 2’; with Bruce Willis saving the day yet again at Christmas.  I can’t complain about that choice too much, since the guys generally get to watch more than their fair share of chick flicks with us – including the Hallmark Channel movie we watched for our second movie choice of the night.

That was a nice way to wrap up our evening with the boys; and they were much more interested in the cuddling and some kisses during the second feature than they were during the action flick.

A pair of sofa sleepovers wouldn’t have gone over well at Rowen’s house, so Michael and Tim went home at one o’clock; and Rowen and I made sure that our respective boyfriends were able to stay warm for the walk home.  Once we’d seen them out and on their way, Rowen and I got ready for bed, and once we were tucked in for the night; I started in on my bedtime computing while Rowen surfed YouTube for everything from Black Friday horror videos to cute Thanksgiving day moments that were either hilarious or heartwarming.  We listened to some Christmas music too; and I’ve been doing a full computer and email check after taking last night off from anything more than a quick email check.

Since it is technically Rowen’s birthday now, and it was before the boys left; Tim had a small teaser gift that he gave her while we’d split up to say goodnight to our guys with a bit of privacy; and I’m about to give her another little gift once I’m done with this that I hope she’ll love – even though it’s also small compared to the main gift that Michael and I will give to her tomorrow.  I’m starting to nod off while listening to the Christmas music and writing this; so I’d better just wrap this up and do that before I’m out for the rest of the night.

In addition to it being Rowen’s birthday, we’ll also have to deal with stores being open for the last day of the holiday weekend; it’s Advent Sunday; and I’ll be helping out at the Inn for the four buffet sittings that will start at noon.  Michael and I will need to somehow also fit in joining Rowen’s birthday dinner at the Inn – the last buffet of the day so that her store owning or working guests can be there to help with the celebration.  We’ll work that out somehow, even if it means working late after that with the clean-up in the kitchen; but I won’t be doing any of that if I run out of steam and fall asleep on the job or at the dinner table.

We wouldn’t want that, and Rowen will want that gift before I crash for the night; so, until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Cassie's Journal - November 27, 2015



It’s been a long, busy, amazing day, but I can’t write about it now because Michael and I are going to have a sofa sleepover that I’m really looking forward to starting with him in a few minutes.  Since we’ve both been awake since shortly before five o’clock this morning, sleeping will definitely be more likely than a major make-out session, but as long as we’re together; I’m okay with that.

Look for the double update tomorrow night – or since you can do it while reading this in the future; just flip the digital page and read on! ;^)

Until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!