Growing Up With Star Wars

It’s like learning to ride a unicorn. You never forget.  ~Eoin Colfer

Kyle at Star Wars Movie Theater Latrobe 12-24-15 Aunt Heather Piper

My young Jedi or I should say Padawan at the Star Wars The Force Awakens move Latrobe, PA 12/24/15

Besides seeing family and friends and eating myself into a sugar coma, two of my other favorite Christmas activities are snowboarding and going to the movies.  Since we’ve been experiencing a very bizarre warm winter of sixty degrees with no chance of snow, snowboarding is out of the question.  However, perhaps waking boarding needs to be the new tradition if this warm weather phenomena continues.

Now the movies.  I love going to the movies! TAKEN by Movies, Our Avatar Adventure, Everything Is Awesome – The Lego Movie, The Hobbit: It’s Always An Adventure with Kyle  Granted, you can go to the movies any time of the year, but the major motion picture industry seems to release their best features during the Christmas season.

Christmas Eve day is always celebrated in our household.  Since I was little, that was the big day, to open a few presents, go to church, have a big meal and invite family to join in on the festivities.  Kyle has grown-up with our traditions, making them as his own.  Christmas Eve day is the Piper Christmas.  Sure Christmas morning held its own special memories, but it started the night prior.  The day before Christmas, we get together and do whatever we want, without rushing, without interruptions, and without expectations, except attending church.  This year, we headed to the movies.

Who went?  Kyle, naturally, and Nicole and myself.

What did we see?  You got it!  Star Wars the Force Awakens Episode VII .  Actually, Kyle planned it, and of course Nicole and I complied, not only because it’s what Kyle wanted to do, but because we each wanted to see the movie with a passion.  Nicole and I turned Kyle into a life long Star Wars fan ever since he was a little tyke.  First, we got him hooked on the movies, and he continued with all his Lego figures, video games, and watching Star Wars the Clone Wars cartoon.  Kyle loved me telling him about the Ewoks cartoon we used to watch as kids.  I wished they’d bring those back.  Maybe with this new Star Wars resurgence.

Nicole & Aunt Heather Piper at Star Wars Movie Jedi training 12-24-15

Check out my lightsabre! Kyle wouldn’t pose twice, so I made him take our pic. Nicole looks like Chewbacca… same color of hair! Latrobe, PA 12/24/15

Did I like the movie?  You bet I did, as did Nicole and Kyle!  It was the typical First Order (bad guys) verses The Rebellion (good guys).  How can anyone not like seeing Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia, and no she didn’t wear her hair like cinnamon buns), Harrison Ford (Hans Solo) along with Chewbacca, and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) reunited again!  I was surprised to see the Millenium Falcon, and even Darth Vader made a subtle and yet creepy appearance.  Plus, it wouldn’t have been a proper reunion without C-3PO and R2-D2!  Honestly, I was half expecting to see a vision of Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, maybe next time.  I’ll admit, I wiped the sweat from my brow when Jar Jar Binks didn’t make his appearance.  Close one.  And secretly, I was hoping one of the planets that blew up was Naboo, although rest-in-peace planet Coruscant and The Republic.

As always, I enjoyed the little humor and silliness between the characters.  I love, with a passion, the hand-on-hand combat fight scenes (or I should say, lightsabers on lightsabers).  To this day, I have the sound of the lightsabers in my head and it gives me goosebumps.

My only question that came to mind while watching the movie, which I guess I anticipated, was how closely they’re going to stick to the story from the Star Wars books.  (I know George Lucas didn’t write them)  I’ll admit, I read a few Star Wars books long ago, in a galaxy far far away.  (pun intended)  Princess Leia had twins, similar to Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), Princess Leia’s mom.  I assumed twins ran in the family, but there wasn’t any indicator of a twin in the new movie.  Of course, they didn’t reveal that Luke and Leia were twin brother and sister until Return of the Jedi.  Perhaps I’m getting a head of myself.

Have I always been a Star Wars fan?  I have.  I’m not as die hard as some, but I’m a bit of a Star Wars geek.  Believe it or not, I’ve actually seen all seven Star Wars movies in the theaters.  True!  The original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope) debuted in theaters in 1977.  I was extremely young at the time.  So how did I see it?  Back then, movies circulated through theaters slower and played for a longer duration.  My dad actually took me and Nicole to the theater in Ligonier to see the feature.  Ryan, who was even younger than me, was really sick, so mom stayed home with him. 

Facebook screen shot Aunt Heather Piper

I remembered the movie, maybe not every detail at the time, but it left a life long impression on me.  How could it not when they were fighting with lightsabers?  I’ll bet that’s when I developed an interest in swords and samurai sword training.

A few years later, Empire Strikes Back was released, again back to the movie theater once it came around to us in little old Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  Then, a few more years later, Return of the Jedi.  This time, mom and dad took us to see it at the drive-in.  To this day, I remember that night with vivid accuracy.  You see, the drive-in hired someone to walk around dressed as Darth Vader.  Yikes!  As a kid, I was freaked out, thinking the dark side of the force was walking around the cars.  In my mind, all I thought about was getting word to the Rebel Alliance like Princess Leia did through R2-D2.  I know what an imagination I had. 

Around 2004 – 2005, the Star Wars movies were digitally remastered and extra scenes were added.  Yep, I hit the midnight showings with friends to re-live the adventures.  Naturally, I saw Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).  For some reason, I believe I took Kyle to see Revenge of the Sith, although he would have been four years old.  Yep, that makes sense, because I clearly remember him grabbing my arm and curling into my seat when things got tense.  He also had the General Grievous Lego set, which he adored!  I wish I had my blog then, I most certainly would have recorded that event.

Aunt Heather Piper showing Jedi skills at Star Wars movie 12-24-15

Action shot of me practicing my Jedi skills on Nicole after the Star Wars movie. Latrobe, PA 12/24/15

It does make me happy to see Kyle sharing one of my interests, and really getting into it like I did.  In fact, Kyle was joking around before we left for the movies saying he was going to dress up (I can’t remember who he said he wanted to dress like).  My response?  I jumped up saying, “I’ll dress as Princess Leia!”  Kyle didn’t think anything was wrong with that.  That’s my little Jedi!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Family Time Through an iPod Touch

At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.  ~ Jane D. Hull

You know, more than not, Kyle manages to pleasantly surprise me.  The other day I was watching TV and I received a couple text messages from Kyle from his new iPod Touch I got him for Christmas.  First I’d like to say, when Kyle is not with my family he is missed terribly and we are always wondering what he’s up to.  So, needless to say, receiving an unprompted text message from Kyle made my night.  On a side note, like most 10 year old kids, Kyle doesn’t like to talk to family members more than needed, especially when a game awaits his attention.  But what really threw me off guard, earlier that day, was when dad and I Facetimed Kyle right after school (not his choice).  I wanted to make sure he was still alright from when we were Playing Chicken With a Drunk Driver.  Anyway, he was texting to see if he could take his new iPod Touch to school and daycare.  Can you believe it?  How sweet and responsible!  I naturally replied, “Surely, it’s yours.”  Then I texted him, “Did you practice your piano and guitar?”  The response I got was, “I took a shower and I’m ready for bed”, followed by “I got an A on my spelling test.”  After congratulating him, I asked him to go practice his instruments before bed.  He then texted me back asking to Facetime.

Kyle Piper ipod Touch Aunt Heather Piper

What a pleasant surprise!  He wanted me to hear him practice his piano, guitar, and trumpet.  Not to mention, if I know Kyle, he doesn’t like doing anything by himself and he lives for attention and compliments.  So this was an easy win-win for him.  We made a little chit chat before he laid down the iPod Touch while he went through the notes on his guitar.  Sometimes the signal would break up a bit but, for the most part, it was pretty clear.  While I was listening, I had to watch the his ceiling fan spin.  It kind of made me a little motion sick, so I couldn’t look the entire time.  Then, every once in a while, Kyle would peek the top of his head into view.  He looked like a groundhog popping its head up and down.  Usually, all I saw was the top of his head down to his nose.  It was actually kind of funny.

Next, Kyle had to move to another room where his keyboard was set up.  Instead of a ceiling fan, I got to watch the ceiling and the corner of the wall.  I kept waiting for the head popping into view and I got my wish several times.  He also kept checking to make sure I was paying attention, which I certainly was trying to be the best audience via Facetime.  Then came the trumpet.  He played a song two or three times before he wanted to move onto a more important item… his Lego Star Wars Death Star!

When he said he was done and I finished complimenting him and letting him know how happy I was that he finished his work before bed, Kyle decided he wanted a new picture for his wallpaper of his iPod Touch.  He asked me if I would go to the kitchen and take a picture of the Lego Star Wars Death Star. I did and then he wanted me to instruct him on how to add the picture.  It was getting late, so I told him I would help him out the next day.

Kyle up close on ibooth Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle taking a pic of himself on iBooth

Well the next day came, and Kyle didn’t forget.  He texted me right after school while I was at work.  I was busy with email and told him to hold the thought.  In the meantime, he figured out how to add the picture.  Apple products are so easy a kid can pick it up and understand how to use it. (That was actually in the Steve Jobs book.)  We continued to text back and forth until I received an invite to Facetime.  What?  He didn’t know how to Facetime the day prior, but now he’s all over it.  You see, it was last Wednesday and I leave work a little early to pick him up for swimming lessons.  I was texting him, asking that he practice his instruments before I get there.  Well, evidently he wanted an audience again.  So I leaned my phone beside me so he could see me when the phone wasn’t facing the ceiling and I explained that I was going to address emails while he played.  He seemed fine with that and continued through his lessons.  It was kind of neat, communicating with Kyle, even though it was via phones.

Kyle made my days more enjoyable!  He even graced the office with his music, which bellowed from the tiny phone speakers.  Yep, unconventional gifts rock!  Giving Kyle the gift of music, games, communication, and handheld fun, in turn, gave me the gift of family communication and involvement!  Win-Win!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments
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