Another school year came and went with great stories, great students, and tearful goodbyes. No summer would start off right without some typical end of the year celebrations. This year was no different, as we enjoyed our usual dinner at the local Italian restaurant, Acero, with great food and even better company. It was tough to say goodbye to my seniors, as it is every year, but they are a great group of people who will do great things in life.
With school out of the way, summer turns into full-on dad mode. While mom continues to work throughout the summer, I have the pleasure of keeping both of the kids entertained and out of each other's hair. Unfortunately, this summer started off with a two-week period of one or more people in the family sick. Not a fantastic way to begin the summer. Once we all recovered, it was time to get out of the house. I like to at least try to get the kids out of the house every morning during the week to keep me and them from going stir crazy. If it is not too hot, we like to do things outside around the St. Louis area, but there are plenty of good indoor locations to hang out for free when the weather does not cooperate. Play areas in malls make a perfect last minute destination! The slideshow below highlights a few of the fun things the kids and I have done so far this summer.
Melissa and I also got some time together (and a whole trip, but that's for another post), when we experienced the special Thursday night dinner and paddle boat date offered by the Boathouse at Forest Park. We had a fantastic and relaxing time and the weather was absolutely perfect. I would totally recommend this experience if you live in the St. Louis area. The total cost is $80, which includes two hours of paddle boat rental, as well as dinner and drinks. You can find more information about the date night here.
Shockingly, I even have had a little bit of time to work on some of my own hobbies and interests, most of which you can see in upcoming posts on my other blog page, Mini Scale, but while the kids were doing gymnastics camp for three days I worked on building and painting this game crate for my Fireball Island board game. The original box is pretty terrible and does not hold all the components well, so I got the crate pictured below from The Broken Token. The project did not take a lot of work and it was a great way to spend some very rare moments of pure alone time.
Here's to an equally great second half of summer!
The other highlight (let's be honest, the main highlight) of my Spring this year was a trip to Star Wars Celebration Chicago. I have always wanted to attend a "Con," and when I found out that Star Wars Celebration was going to be in driving distance this year, I jumped at the opportunity. My sister lives in the Chicago area, so housing was free, public transportation was easy and cheap, and the whole family could come with me and spend time with relatives while I nerded out at the convention. It was a win-win-win situation! Each day brought its own highlights, so here is a brief recap of each day.
The first day of the con was a floor preview only. There were no panels or big events, just several hours to explore the booths on the showroom floor, and all of the glorious, glorious merchandise and convention exclusives. It was a good thing I had been saving money since last year in anticipation of this event... The biggest highlight of the day was just exploring all of the great vendors, and let's be honest, buying cool stuff.
The second day of the con was the first day of panels, and the big one for the day was the Episode IX panel. I did not win a lottery spot to get into this panel, but it worked out because I got to take Harrison with me today to explore the convention and make some memories. I kept the day light on panels, considering a 5-year-old does not want to sit and watch people talk on a stage. We did go to one Lego panel that was just OK and did not really keep Harrison interested. What made the day great was exploring all of the booths and photo opportunities with my son. We waited in a lot of lines and Harrison handled it pretty well, for his age. All of our memories more than made up for not watching the Episode IX panel as it aired. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day.
This day was all about the new Galaxy's Edge at Disney Parks. I attended the big panel in the morning and got to see the first reveal of the new Star Wars/Coke merchandise that will be available in the parks. Josh Gad hosted the panel, and I passed him and his entourage later in the day but did not want to be the weird guy around celebrities so I said nothing. The Galaxy's Edge booth on the show floor rotated out new previews of merchandise every day so I made sure to visit once a day to preview everything. They might as well just raid my savings account now... I also went to a panel about Lucasfilm's various VR and AR projects and got a chance to gush to the creators about how great the Secrets of the Empire experience was at the Void in Disney Springs. Oh yeah, I also bought two pairs of new shoes. All in a day's work.
Today was all about the panels for me. I started the day at the panel for The Mandalorian, the new show coming to Disney+ in November. Jon Favreau was there to share a lot about the show, including several chunks of footage that no one else has seen outside of the convention (legally, at least). Then, I just stayed in the big arena to catch a panel with Alan Tudyk and finally, a preview of the last season of the Clone Wars coming to Disney+. I got a few nice exclusive posters, a lot of great previews, and a feast of new Star Wars info.
The last day of the convention brought lots of mixed feelings. I had been in Star Wars heaven for five days and did not really want to go back to work, but I also missed my family, whom I had barely interacted with in five days. The highlight panel of the day was to honor the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace. I wasn't too disappointed that I did not get in, and I caught a few snippets on the video stream while I was wandering the show floor one last time. The definite highlight of the day, however, was the panel for the animated show Star Wars Resistance, where they actually screened the entire first episode from Season 2. It was a great surprise and a great way to cap off a fantastic weekend. I also got one last look at the amazing Star Wars saga mural, spanning the entire timeline from The Phantom Menace up to The Rise of Skywalker. The pictures below only do it a little justice.
The whole experience was incredible and one I will never forget. I feel very privileged that I was able to attend and that my family was so gracious to let me attend. Thanks for a great weekend, Star Wars Celebration Chicago!
This past weekend was an annual event here in St. Louis at the St. Louis Art Museum. Every year on the first weekend of March the museum puts on a show called Art in Bloom, where artists draw from a curated list of works in the museum to create interpretative floral arrangements. I have heard about this event from many friends and colleagues over the years but have not attended one until now. As of last summer, we are now museum members so we were able to avoid some of the crowds by going to a special members-only time on Saturday morning. We even made it a whole family event! I have included my two favorites below with some explanation of them. I probably would have taken more pictures, but I left my phone in my coat pocket in the coat check room. Perhaps I was able to enjoy them better that way.
In this picture you can see both the original artwork and the floral interpretation. I loved this piece for its reference to Classical sculpture, as well as the ingenuity in the floral arrangement to match the shape of the original sculpture. The color choice of the flowers also made the piece very striking.
My other favorite arrangement was the above piece based on an ancient Maya glyph. Once again, my taste for ancient sculpture plays into my choice, but I feel like the artist very clearly captured the essence of the Maya glyph. I particularly like the branches sticking out, as it gives the piece a feel of exploring through the brambles in the jungle and stumbling on an ancient piece of art.
The beginning of the year in the Tiearney household is birthday season. Starting right away in the month of January, half of our household has a birthday. So far, Harrison and I have had some great celebrations.
-Harrison got a great 5 year old birthday party with Star Wars decor and a lot of fun active new toys to play with. His joy and wonder at all new experiences fills my heart with joy and gratitude.
-I got a trip to the symphony to see Star Wars: A New Hope live in concert and delicious BBQ at the local restaurant Salt+Smoke. Basically, my favorite movie, with my favorite person, and eating my favorite food.
I love my family and this is the place to find all of the adventures we experience.