The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Great to be Eight!

Just like every other year, Emma's birthday landed right at the close of school, this time the very next day.  We of course started the day with birthday breakfast - what a fun tradition that is. Scones and presents and pajamas. One of my favorite traditions that we never intended to create but somehow has cemented itself into the culture of our family.

However, I almost told Emma we couldn't have a party this year because of everything going on. As it turned out I just couldn't do that to her. I was trying to think of how I could make it the least stressful birthday party ever. Like that's even a thing. I feel guilty, but we started by having as few friends over as possible. I told her she could pick three. That was hard - she has a lot of really sweet friends. I'm sorry all of Emma's friends!! I'm sorry! But this was all I could do this year. Then, as I was considering what to do for the party that would not make me bananas, my sweet wonderful perfect brilliant nieces let me know that they could provide the party entertainment by bringing over rabbits. One of my nieces is a rabbit farmer of sorts and she had some pretty sweet young rabbits. Kate and Mary Grace hauled over like six rabbits and a fence to keep them in and that was the party. At least, it was for a really long time and it made my life so easy. Oh my gosh, I can't even tell you how grateful I was. Emma was so excited! 

I have also learned that a small craft (store bought, thank you) and cupcake decorating will top off any party and take up a lot of time, which is always my main goal in party planning. Worked like a charm. By the time the kids were gobbing the last mounds of frosting (also store bought, thank you) on top of their cupcakes the moms were back to sit and chat and try to look impressed when their daughters showed off the sugary nightmares. Couldn't have been better. 

In the evening we had grandparents over and we enjoyed this absolutely gorgeous cake that my friend made. I'm sure we had dinner too though I can only vaguely remember something about popcorn shrimp and fries or something. The cake was amazing. I tried to not let her make us a cake but I'm not going to lie - I really appreciated the gift of this cake. It was a real blessing on this day.

What I will remember most about this birthday was that I was so grateful for the efforts of loving friends and family to help this birthday be a really special one for Emma. Turning 8 is a big deal and I was so happy she felt loved and celebrated.

Another School Year Gone By

As I mentioned in my post about my mother's passing, the last day of school came at a very tough time for me and my family. It was very very hard to put my feelings and stress about mom on hold for a few days to be present for my kids and just leave my mom and her care in the hands of my dad and siblings. I was quite nervous that mom's passing would happen quickly and she would be gone during these few days of graduations and Emma's birthday too, the day after school got out. Little did I know just how long her passing would take.

Here are the girls on the 2nd to last day of school, Romney all gussied up for graduation:

I was grateful that I was able to leave my mom-emotions to the side for a while. The last couple of days of the year really were fun and exciting with some big events for the kids. The first event on Thursday the 1st of June was Romney's promotion from 6th grade. That was so fun, to see her ready to be done with elementary and to celebrate with a big group of friends. I was especially touched that my niece Kate and her boyfriend Cameron made the effort to come and support Romney. They brought her flowers and everything. They are so great. They show up for everything. After Troy and I attended her graduation ceremony in the morning she and I went out to lunch at Hires with two of her friends and one other mom. Oh Hires. I love your and your Mountain H and fries.

Official last day of school photos:

The next morning Troy and I had just enough time to attend Chase's promotion from 8th grade which was.... kind of long. There were a lot of student speakers but I have to say that for the most part I was pretty impressed with what they had to say. There were treats in the common area after and I tried to snap a few pictures of Chase although he wanted to kill me for doing so. I especially wanted to catch him with one teacher in particular, Stephanie Hunt, who made just a huge impact on my son. She teaches Language Arts and History, and Chase loved her and her class. More importantly Chase had been in an orchestra class that year which he absolutely detested. We were able to transfer him out of the class and Mrs. Hunt allowed Chase to become a teacher's aide in her class. What she did was amazing. She had him become a tutor to refugee students and she really encouraged him and praised him for everything he did, until both he and I were convinced that never was there a better helper in the school. I'm sure that wasn't true. The point is that she bolstered his confidence and his connection to other students in a way that made a real difference in his well being. It changed his year and I love her dearly. What an incredible woman.

After that we zipped on over back to the elementary school so we could catch the annual tradition there of a whole-school group sing-along in the auditorium. Each grade level performs a few songs and then they all do the school song and dance together. It sounds cheesy but I love it anyway. The last thing that happens on the last day of school is the ruler tunnel - I've probably mentioned it before. The teachers all line up in two rows with yardsticks and create a tunnel for the graduating 6th graders to run through on their way out the doors. Everyone follows them and we flood outside and hug and cry and say goodbye for the summer. I of course was basically sobbing as many beloved friends and teachers gave extra hugs and support knowing what was going on at home for me. I was a mess. A mostly happy mess. And so was Emma. That cute girl just cried and laughed with sadness and excitement all at the same time.