Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Star Wars Experience

Last Friday, I took my daughter to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie was amazing and there will be no spoilers in this post, though I think you all should go see it as soon as humanly possible!

But seeing this movie that is part of a fandom that was and still is huge for me in the theater on opening day with my daughter was an amazing experience. We went to an afternoon showing in 2D but the theater was still packed. We had gotten there really early so we were able to get great seats.

With popcorn and drinks, we settled down to watch the first new Star Wars movie in a decade. As the words "Star Wars" burst onto the screen, I got a little teary eyed as I watched my daughter getting excited to see the movie.

Emily enjoyed the movie as well. Her favorite character was BB-8. She is also a big R2-D2 and C-3PO fan. We laughed, I cried as we watched the movie and I look forward to seeing the upcoming ones with her as well.

Star Wars is a family experience for me. Like my father before me, I love sharing this universe that I love with my child.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happy Star Wars Week!

I love Star Wars! It was one of my first fandoms as a kid. I had some really awesome Star Wars toys and I remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater when I was six. 

My love of Star Wars stayed with me. It was because of mutual love of Star Wars that my college best friend and I became friends. We would have marathons of the original trilogy on some Saturdays. We'd always order pizza between Empire and Jedi.

Like most Star Wars fans, I was super excited for the prequels to come out. I saw them all in the theater multiple times, I think hoping they would get better. I also kept hoping that the next movie would be better, but in most cases, they weren't.

The prequels haven't diminished my love of Star Wars, but I tend to ignore them. Since Emily hadn't seen any of the movies, we've been watching them. Originals first and then the prequels. We still need to watch the last one, hopefully we will get to it this week.

Thankfully Emily found the originals more exciting and I'm super thankful that she didn't really show any interest in Jar Jar. Her favorite characters are R2-D2 and Darth Vader.

Even though the prequels were not good, I'm very optimistic about the sequels. Disney plus no George Lucas seems to be a good combination to me. My husband is more of a realistic and he's not so optimistic. But we shall see and soon!

I have tickets for me and Emily to go see an afternoon show on Friday. We aren't the only ones excited because quite a few shows are already sold out. Thankfully Emily gets out of school early on Friday for the beginning of Christmas break so we can go to an earlier showing. 

For Star Wars week, I hope to watch "Revenge of the Sith" with Emily. I also will probably play a lot of "Knights of the Old Republic" on my xBox 360. I'll be avoiding spoilers too on Friday, since the internet will start filling up with them.

Happy Star Wars Week! And may the Force be with you always!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Sister to Every Girl Scout

Early in the the school year, Emily came home all excited. The local Girl Scout troop had come to her school and she really wanted to join. We all went to the informational meeting that happened and signed her up.

I was a Girl Scout briefly - I don't remember why I stopped and became a Camp Fire Girl instead. But there is a lot of similarities I'm seeing between Camp Fire and Girl Scouts. Lots of crafts, fun with friends, earning patches and camping.

Emily was very excited to start attending as well as to get her own vest and patches. She is a Daisy right now and part of what they are learning in the whole Girl Scout code. They get a petal for each one they learn.

One of the last ones is 'Be a sister to every Girl Scout'. Emily loves her fellow Girl Scouts and I think it's a really great idea. It's a community of girls, their siblings and their parents. Community and friendship is something that can last a lifetime!

I don't know how long Emily will want to be a Girl Scout, but she's learning a lot of good skills, making friends and getting great opportunities. This Saturday, she'll be marching with her troop in the Fletcher Christmas Parade. Next month, it will be her first camping trip, which she is very excited for.

One of the best things about our troops (and others, I have no idea) is that the leader ask for the girls' feedback on what they want to do. It's all about them growing and learning.

I'd highly recommend Girl Scouts to any girl. They form bonds and have fun while learning!

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Tale of Two Tree Lightings

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Emily and I went to two different tree lighting celebrations. They both had good parts and not so good.

First one was on Friday and it was the tree lighting at Biltmore Park Town Square. We got there early so we could find a parking spot and had supper. After we ate, we had some time to kill before things started up, so we went to the toy store which Emily loved.

It was cold but not terribly so. We had hats and gloves though Emily decided her hat was itchy so I ended up giving her mine. There was some booths set out. Emily got to meet the Grinch and got some candy. She got to do some science experiments as well - like making snow.

They had a little parade with the local high school band as well as some performers on stilts and to end it off was Santa and Mrs. Claus in the bucket of a fire truck. As the parade was finishing and they were getting them on the ground, Emily got in line to meet Santa.

Emily is seven now but she still believes in Santa Claus. The Santa at Biltmore Park is the real one to her. Her reasoning is that he's the only one that brings his wife with him. The wait was long, but people were giving out red and green glowing necklaces that Emily had fun with. The performers on stilts were right by the line so we got to see that as well.

We got to the front and I was able to take some pictures of Emily with the Clauses. She told that what she wanted - which happened to be two things she saw in the toy store. From there, we were both getting cold and we'd seen most everything so we headed out. It was really fun and it was also completely free.

The next day, Todd had to work so I decided to take Emily to the tree lighting at the new Asheville
Outlets. It was rather disorganized since there was supposed to be activities starting at 2 pm and there wasn't a lot going on. She did get a balloon animal and we spent some time looking at the stores since we hadn't been there before.

Around five, a table was set up with crafts for the kids. Emily did all the crafts and while she was doing that, the tree was lit up. This was not very good because it was still light out and it was a massive crowd so Emily couldn't see very well.

Part of her balloon animal had popped so after the crafts we went searching for the balloon animal man. He made her a swan, which ended up popping before we left. Balloon animals are fun but dangerous!

Since it cost money to get a picture with Santa and we had gotten a free picture with the 'real' Santa the day before, we skipped the massive line. We instead went to check out the carriage ride. We found it and Emily loved the horse. We got to take the first ride with another mom and her two kids. It was a five minute ride around the parking lot but it was still fun.

But when our ride was finished the carriage driver asked if we had paid. Nothing on the schedule had indicated that it cost money which is what both me and the other mom had said. So we ended up getting a free carriage ride that was really expensive - like $20 per person!

The Biltmore Park Town Square was far and away the best of the two. It was well organized and it was completely free. Asheville Outlets was very expensive for just about everything and it was pretty disorganized. Hopefully we can skip Asheville Outlets tree lighting next year!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

This Has To Stop!

It's another day, and sadly it's another mass shooting. This time at least 14 people are dead in California. I'm saddened by more loss of life but I'm also finding myself getting more and more desensitized.

There has been more mass shootings this year than we've had days. Too much violence, too much death, and a lot of these shootings aren't caused by people who seem to be terrorists. But instead lots of white men who have a variety of issues.

I want to be outraged when something like this happens, but it is just happening too much that it just feels like a deadened weight is pulling me down. Something must be done.

While many gun advocates are quick to say that guns don't kill people, but people kill people, the guns sure help up the death count. So yeah, I'm in favor of taking guns, at least the semi-automatic ones, away from people.

I've honestly never been a fan of guns, but being from Michigan, I have no issues with rifles for hunting. But mass shootings, for the most part, aren't caused by rifles or pistols. And other people having guns doesn't seem to be stopping this madness.

As a mom and a wife, and a human being on this planet, I wish there was something I can do. Beyond voting for people who won't make things worse and possibly be able to reign in the bloodshed there isn't much I can do.

My hearts are with the victims and their families tonight.