Six-year-old Olivia Reilly, a rising first-grader at Grace Covenant Academy, recently had a fairy-themed birthday party at Latta Plantation.
Earlier this month, Olivia had been to a workshop at Latta to make fairy houses from natural materials such as sticks, seashells and tree leaves. The fairy houses were hidden in the woods to give the fairies that may live there homes of their own.
Since she loves fairies, Olivia wanted her friends to join her in being fairies for a day.
The 15 party guests had a visit from Fairy Finch, sometimes known as Kelsey King. They were given fairy wings and flowered halos, made fairy wands from sticks wrapped with pipe cleaners and beads, and received favors of a handmade pouch with fairy dust inside.
Olivia said the fairy dust is “for when you need some magic and luck.”
But unlike many little girls, Olivia insisted that nobody bring her presents. Besides her love of fairies, Olivia loves animals so much she asked her guests and relatives to bring donations for Catering to Cats and Dogs, a Cornelius animal rescue group.
Olivia and her mom, Jamie, met one of the group's organizers, Jo Zarnoch, when they held a group yard sale in the Magnolia Estates subdivision. Olivia and her mom donated the proceeds from their yard sale to help the animals.
Olivia added to her donations by giving the money she received from her friends at the party and from her grandparents and aunts: more than $200. Jamie said Olivia donated the money just “to be doing something selfless.”
So besides having a fairy-themed party, Olivia and her guests also had a visit from Jo and some kittens that were in need of homes. Jo said Olivia's “donations will spay or neuter three of our fosters.”
Catering to Cats and Dogs fosters, feeds, gets veterinary care for and spays and neuters as many Lake Norman-area pets as it can handle. It relies on public donations, and volunteers will visit any area party or event.
To help or to make a donation, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Jo at 704-400-1701 or Donna at 704-408-2350. Mail donations to 19104 Spring Blossom Lane, Cornelius, NC 28031.
My baby's graduation
My son, John, who is 6 feet 2 but still the baby of the family, was scheduled to graduate from high school Saturday.
I'm sure I cried and probably embarrassed John. Even though I know he'll love being at N.C. State in the fall, it's hard to see him being so grown up.
John has lived all but 10 months of his life in Cornelius. He's the product of living in a small town next to the big city. Had he grown up somewhere else, he wouldn't have had the same volunteer baseball, soccer and basketball coaches teaching him about fair play and self-confidence.
Because he lives here, he has several other “moms” who look out for him and make sure he stays safe. Much of what John has become is a product of where he has grown up.
So thank you to all who helped raise my son.