Updated: Nov 18
My husband's family has influenced me in ways I could have never imagined. If you told me 15 years ago that I would love hockey, Walt Disney World, Labatt Blue Beer and Star Wars... I would have been shocked. Star Wars has made it's way into our lives and connected us in ways we could have never anticipated. As I've done this work on my weight loss, I've found joys in other ways. Creating family connection through our love of Star Wars, has been one of those things. In this blog we are going to share all of the amazing ways we've been able to connect through Star Wars, by creating rather than consuming and by finding a family activities we all find joy in that has nothing to do with food. We hope you enjoy.
May the force connect you.... -Brit
The backstory.... by Ryan Kolb
Hello there Star Wars loving people. I am a father to a wonderful boy and husband to an amazing wife; and I love them both endlessly. I also love all things Star Wars, and both have fallen for the epic space opera now too. My family has become so entrenched in all things Star Wars, we see and use it in our everyday life. We love it so much, I decided (really my wife told me) to blog about all the things we have done from arts and crafts, to full-on DIY projects, to incorporating Star Wars into our son’s education, growth and development and to connect our family in ways we never dreamed possible.
(A New) Hope you enjoy it!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
I was raised in a large family and I am the second youngest of five children. I was born in the ‘80s when the original Star Wars trilogy was wrapping up. This, however, did not stop the craze, especially in my family. My older siblings have original figurines and collectibles, and my younger brother and I began collecting the second iteration of Star Wars memorabilia, Power of the Force. We amassed quite a bit of figures and vehicles through the ‘90s as Star Wars popularity waned and my father had a knack for finding deals. When the prequel trilogy came around in ‘99, my father began looking for the associated figurines for Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and Episode II: Attack of the Clones. By the time Episode III: Revenge of the Sith rolled around, I had fallen out with Star Wars memorabilia and was on my way to graduation from college. My younger brother too was no longer as interested and nearing the end of high school.
By the time I graduated from college, and my younger brother from high school, we had moved away from our childhood home. Our parents packed up our toys, memorabilia, childhood knicknacks, etc. and set them aside for us, for “when you want them later.” I honestly never thought much about “later” or if I would truly collect my belongings. As my wife and I established ourselves in our home now, more belongings came our way. First, it was the personal sports memorabilia, then it was baseball cards. After our son was born, there were baby items from my infancy, stuffed animals (that somehow survived 30+ years), books, artwork, and pictures. As our son grew older, my father reminded me of the toys he and my mother were keeping at their house (which moved from our childhood home in New York to Virginia). The toys came as small trucks and cars, then wooden train sets, Lego Duplo blocks, and Hess trucks. However, it all changed in July 2022 when my entire family went to Disney World.
Finding the Force
Our son’s first exposure to Star Wars actually occurred in November 2019. Our oldest nephew, my older brother’s kid, is a huge Star Wars fan like his father (I suppose one might say, the force flows through our family). During Thanksgiving, my wife and son went to our nephew’s room and found his lightsaber. A photo was snapped but at almost 2 years old, he had no concept of what it meant. So fast forward to July 2022 when everyone arrives in Orlando, Florida and settles into the movie room. Our oldest nephew took charge and queued up Episode I: The Phantom Menace; the idea was we would watch the films in order. A tall task for a busy week of sun, pool, and theme parks, but it was the perfect way to truly begin our journey.
As we watched the movie, our son’s attention was completely focused on the screen, he took it all in. He loved the scenes from Naboo, especially the underwater scenes, and of course, loved the lightsabers. When we arrived at Galaxy’s Edge later in the week, the immersion took hold. We rode most of the Star Wars rides and walked around the area. Our son wanted an item to bring back home but wasn’t sure exactly what to get; or really, knew what he wanted but just hadn’t found it yet. To his credit, and at the age of 4, he went to every gift shop imaginable to review what they had. We finally ended up back at the first gift shop, which was at the exit of a Star Wars ride, and made 3 lightsabers.
It was so memorable building them: the moment, the experience, his intent and thoughts. After building the one he picked out, he said, “okay now mommy pick one out to build, okay now daddy’s turn.” We went through the park the rest of the day from ride to ride playing lightsaber battles and using the force. When we returned to the vacation home from the parks, it was Star Wars with the cousins, the Grandparents, and Aunts/Uncles. On our drive back from Florida (to Virginia), our son streamed most of the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. He really fell for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
Connecting with the Force
Some time after returning from our trip, I let it be known that Bugga (my father) had lots of Star Wars toys waiting for our son. When Labor Day 2022 rolled around, I took our son to my parents house for the weekend and he picked out some figurines to bring back home. Well, some figurines turned into a Millenium Falcon, X-Wing, Slave I, A-Wing, and a Millennium Falcon carrying case full of figurines. Plus, a small Lego set from Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and an R2-D2 coffee mug. The mug was a major bonus as my wife wanted one from Disney but couldn’t justify it.
We played with the figurines nearly every day, and if we didn’t, it was because we were playing Star Wars ourselves. This led our son to dressing up as characters from whatever items we had in our house; and our beloved pup was (still is) always the Rancor, Bantha, Wampa, Tauntaun or AT-AT. By the time Halloween 2022 rolled around, we got him a Darth Vader costume. He wore it on numerous occasions, but oddly did not for Halloween (my wife was Rey, our dog was Chewbacca, and I was Han Solo). I’m disappointed that we don’t have a photo and I am not really sure how that is possible. Aside from Darth Vader, our son has dressed as a Jedi and as a Tusken Raider (both using blankets as cloaks, and some scarfs for added fun). It is the latter where the concept of this blog took root, more on that later. Though he doesn’t always dress up, he certainly acts out various other characters constantly.
After Halloween, we began preparing for our son’s birthday. We knew Thanksgiving was going to be chaotic with two family gatherings, travel, and trying to pull-off a 5th birthday sleepover. We ordered a bunk bed and linens, naturally Star Wars themes (Grogu and Empire Strikes Back). Just before Thanksgiving we completed the bunk bed and revealed the sheet sets to him, he loved his new Star Wars “big-boy” bed. Then on Thanksgiving we saw Grogu grace the screen during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At the local science museum, they had a model train exhibit and we found a Star Wars themed train setup.
When we traveled over our son’s birthday, we celebrated with drinks at the pool and pool noodle lightsaber battles. He asked us to bury him in the sand and make various objects around him, sometimes turtles, other times Star Wars vehicles (if you haven’t tried to make a X-Wing sand sculpture, I wish you the best of luck on that). When we returned from our trip, I wrapped some of my figurines our son hadn’t seen yet and we gave them to him for his birthday. It included a Rancor, Leia’s Endor Speeder Bike, and various figurine scene sets.
After Christmas, we traveled for my wife’s work. It included more sun and sand, and Star Wars sculptures; I tried to make a snowspeeder, but strangely I think the X-Wing was easier. During the trip, our friend’s who traveled with us got to see what had begun to consume us for the last 6 months; and then it stuck with their kids as well. This new development brought about the next phase in our Star Wars journey, the deeper meaning of the story and the play (with others) around it.
Star Wars has connected us as a family and further connected us to our friends and extended family in ways we could have never imagined....
More to come.
May the force connect you.
Want even more?
Subscribe and have the posts come to your inbox!
Be sure to check out all my other recipes and weight loss tips on the blog.