The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Emma's Birthday Extravaganza

The spring birthday season culminated with Emma's birthday at the start of June. I can hardly believe this little gal of mine is nine! We have an apple tv and as a screensaver we have our photo library set to slideshow. We often watch the slideshow for a full half hour instead of turning on whatever show we were going to watch or turning off the television entirely. I love our slideshow although it kind of hurts me a little. Seeing the pictures of my kids as little babies and toddlers is achingly sweet. I can still just feel their little bodies in my arms and their warm chubby hands holding mine. I know, I know. Having little kids is super hard and exhausting and there are so many reasons I'm grateful to be in a new stage but I also really miss those littles. And now here's the youngest, already nine.

I was very very VERY happy when Emma told me that she didn't really want a birthday party. (Cue trumpets and fireworks! Yay for no party!) She just wanted to go out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with one friend. Oh YES that works for me. It was still a little crazy because all kids are slightly nuts on their birthdays and their friends go nuts right along with them. So our small party of three was still about the loudest bunch there.

We picked up Annie and headed to City Creek Mall to get on the waiting list at the restaurant. Here they are in the parking garage showing off their twinner braids:

After finding that we had a forty minute wait we decided to go to Claire's to do some poking around. Annie decided that she should dress up Emma in as much of the crap there as she could pile on. I was not enjoying this as the two nine year olds were trying to shred the store a bit, so I tried to reign them in and also pick up after them as fast as I could. I told them that after dinner we could come pick out one little trinket each since I wasn't having to do party bags for 12 kids.

The Cheesecake Factory knows what they're doing, to show off the cheesecakes in a sparkly display in the lobby. The gals had theirs all picked out before we were seated. Very excited.

I'm sure getting seated outside was helpful to the other patrons as the girls sang and bounced and giggled to their hearts delight. They ordered a little dinner and I held them back to one appetizer instead of the three they requested. It was still basically astronomical in price but yet less than a birthday party. And it just made Emma's day. 

Grateful for a great friend!

The dinner outing was on Saturday, and Emma's birthday was actually on a Sunday. And my poor sweet sensitive Emma pretty much spent the whole of her birthday in tears. She cried and cried and cried. Emma was in mourning about not being 8 any more. She loved being 8. She loved being in 3rd grade, she loved her teacher, she loved getting baptized ....she felt like it was just all gone forever. I tried very hard to help her know that she wasn't losing anything, just adding another block on top of the beautiful tower. It kind of helped but she stayed teary for a while. 

We had scones for breakfast and spent the morning making her a towering pink birthday cake. Obviously scones and a pink cake are helpful to you a new and distressed nine year old. Having grandparents and friends over for dinner is also helpful. Especially when that dinner is super awesome homemade ribs that I couldn't have guessed were going to turn out as deliciously as they did. 

I'm happy to say that despite some tears our Emma had a happy birthday. It was fun to treat her to a decadent dinner out and some fun little birthday trinkets and legos. She seems to have adjusted to her new state of nine-ness even though she will still mention very occasionally that being eight was awesome. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Birthday Fun for Mommy

My 45th birthday fell on a Friday this year, which is not a bad day of the week for a birthday. Better than the fact that it was on a weekend was the fact that our school had a non-student day that day...translation - a day off of work! Hooray! 

The day was actually quite busy with plans for yard work and the kids had stuff...I can't remember what...but somehow I found myself with time to run errands and paint myself with henna. But before all that good stuff happened Troy and I got away for a quick breakfast. It was such a fun breakfast! We went to a place called The Twin Suns Cafe - the name cluing you in that it's a Star Wars themed place. We decided it would be fun to check it out. We tracked it down and went in only discover that the owner and chef is a friend! He's a great guy whose stepdaughter has been a friend of Romney's since 1st grade. We were so happy that we could support his place. There was a lot of really fun memorabilia there, and the food names were super clever. However, I do have to say that all that paled in comparison to the quality of the food. Holy smokes, it was super delicious and we snarffed up every last bite. And Dan, the chef and owner, gave me a chocolate Millennium Falcon filled with pb&j. That's my kind of treat my dear. Great breakfast.

After a long day we did make it out to dinner - I picked Greek Souvlaki. It was a good pick. I knew everyone would love a good Gyro and who can go wrong with fries and fry sauce?

My bigger birthday celebration came on Saturday. I saw that The Music Man was coming to Hale Center Theater. As I have mentioned, my childhood soundtrack was musicals and The Music Man was one of our favorites. And when I saw that it was coming I knew that I really wanted to take my girls and whomever else would like to go. It's just such a great way for me to celebrate my mom and to bond with my girls. I wanted it so much that I decided I didn't want any other birthday present than to go. Troy is just not a fan of musicals and he said he'd be happy to go if it was really important to him that he join us. I don't feel like I need him to love musicals nor do I need him to sit through a play if he's not enjoying it. Same with Chase. I loved them, I know they love me, and it's okay for them to not be a part of this. I did however buy four tickets instead of three because for a while I thought Chase was going to go, but he changed his mind. I decided to ask Emma's third grade teacher and dear friend Ms. Wiscomb. She is such a wonderful soul. I was so happy she could join us.

So on Saturday afternoon we met up at the theater and had a great time with the play. The girls followed the storyline quite well. A fun part of the day was that our seats happened to be right next to a family whom both Ms. Wiscomb and I knew well; that was fun to catch up. And then at intermission I bumped into an old staff member from the year I was the director at Brighton Girls Camp. Lucky! How fun to run into old friends. And how fun to enjoy another great performance at Hale.

The girls get as star struck as I used to when seeing the actors - okay I kind of still do. They love collecting signatures. Here's Harold Hill himself.

And this cutie played Tommy:

After the show we tracked down a restaurant for dinner - we decided on Cubbies. Elissa and I shared an amazing burger and an amazing salad and an amazing shake and some amazing fries. The girls had fries. They were amazing. Can I just say, I absolutely adore this lady and I'm sad Emma won't be in her class next year. Can't she move up with Emma every year?

Great birthday for me. I really had a great weekend!

Mighty Month of May

Since I'm trying to blast out a ton of posts here I thought I'd just mush most of May all together into one big old post. Here are the chapters of May:

Chapter One: A Sick Lizard.

Poor Samantha bit her tongue. Or ate a roach the wrong way or something. She got a big ouchie on her tongue and stopped eating. I finally caved in and found a vet who would see reptiles. Closest place was DRAPER. That's in the 100 souths. I live on 1 south. It's ok - I felt kind of cool to be driving along with a bucket of lizard next to me in the car. She's a sweet little lizard and I had a great experience at the vet's. They gave her meds and and tried to reassure me. I'm sorry to say though that this story does not end well - we did our best but in mid June we woke one morning to find that Samantha was no longer with us. (I know that's jumping ahead in the blog but since I have the pictures here I thought I'd just go ahead.) We were really really sad to lose Samantha - Chase was especially sad. He dug the grave himself. That tears at a mother's heart, just so you know, to see your very sad son tearfully digging a grave. We love our animals. Happily we still have Omnom, the male bearded dragon, and are trying to take better care of him. 

Chapter Two: Coop Plans

We have been working hard to get a more permanent coop going for our flock of nine chickens. We cleared this back corner of the yard and leveled the ground and have made many a trip to "The Depot" for supplies. This is just the picture of the cleared ground, but we now also have a coop platform and three walls thanks to Troy. The fourth wall is on its way - much more complicated with its built-in nesting boxes and swinging door. It's going to be awesome.

Chapter Three: Outings with Friends

Our aquarium membership is just about up and though it's been great we don't have plans to renew it. Too far away, my kids are getting too big. But it was fun to take friends of Romney's and Emma's along for a day where we got to hold butterflies and eat sloth cupcakes and watch 3D movies.

Chapter Four: Shows that Make Us Cry

We waited and waited for the next of the Avengers series. We knew that this last installment was going to come in two movies, which totally warned us that this movie would be a cliff hanger, a middle chapter, an "Empire Strikes Back," if you will. We were warned. And yet....sad feelings anyway!  I just have to say that I just loved sitting by my Romney during the show. There were some great moments and it was so fun to sit and laugh together, to repress our squeals together, to grab hangs with equal fervor. Oh, the entrance of Captain America. Good moment. We felt the same way about it. I could tell by the way we were clutching our sweaty palms together. So fun to watch together!!

Also, PBS made a new version of Little Women, one of my favorite stories. My girls didn't quite make it through all three episodes, but we watched the first couple together. I really enjoyed this version a lot, though not as much as the one from 1995 or whenever that was. Still, I loved it. And what I loved even more is remember my first experiences with the story as I watched my girls feel those same feelings as each memorable scene came along. Oh, how could Amy be so wicked as to throw that book in the fire! But when she fell in the ice? My girls were making the same exclamations I did at their age. Sometime we need to read it together.

Chapter Five: Planting Day!!

Pretty much from the moment we take down the Christmas lights I begin to anticipate the day we plant the pots on our porches. I can't wait for that trip to Western Gardens when we search out all our favorites: sweet potato vines, alyssum, lobelia, coleus, begonia. We always try out a few new plants here and there. We found great hanging baskets at Costco. It's a great day. Finally the cold has gone and our living space can expand onto our porch. (A July update - our porch plants are doing pretty well but not as great as last year. I've lost some lobelia and the sweet potato vines aren't going nuts like they did last year. I'm a little disappointed but our porch is still a great place to be. Hopefully things will get better.)

Chapter Six: Another Matthew Birthday

I know I kind of say the same thing every year when May 5th comes around.  It's hard to know how to say how much this day means to our family, how special the feeling is as we make the day special together. How extra sweet the kids are to each other and how pretty much all the fighting seems to just waft away. I love celebrating our Matthew. It's 11 years now. The sting of the hurt is all gone and the scar that is left over is quite beautiful, marking all five of us. We have an extra sense of the eternal.

We got some quick food - Dominos thin crust pizzas have been treating us right lately. Not too much money, tasty, everyone likes them. Panda Express is usually the take-out of choice but it's not as easy as this pizza. We enjoyed dinner then played for a few minutes on the breezy hillside where we have taken to gathering.

Of course we had to have a balloon incident. How many years out of 11 have we NOT had a balloon incident? Like two maybe? This year was actually hilarious. We must have gotten some crappy old helium because after we carefully wrote our notes, which I always feel very tender about, we attached them to our balloons and gathered at the edge of the hill to let them go. On the count of three we sent off our notes to heaven and they began to drift away. Sort of. A couple of them started up towards the heavens but mostly they just blew half-heartedly downhill to the west. I doubt they made it more than a mile or two. Luckily this incited gales of laughter instead of the tears we have had other years as our balloons have departed earlier than meant or gotten stuck in trees or popped. It's okay. It's part of the tradition.

Chapter Seven: Late Nights at the Zoo

Are we too old for the zoo? So sick of going because we've been a million times? I guess not, especially on a cool evening in May when they are open late. Granted, Chase wasn't too interested in coming but the girls and Troy and I sure had fun. It's just a pleasant place to walk, to munch on popcorn, to enjoy a little animal life.

Chapter Eight: Sausage Surprise

Best Mothers Day Ever. Normally, we celebrate mother's day with the girls bringing me breakfast in bed. I love it. Very sweet. And that's about it. We aren't too big on gifts and grand gestures around here which suits me fine - I feel a little weird about it anyway. But Troy totally surprised me this year. He knew how much I wanted an apple watch; we had been talking about getting me one since about New Year's. I sure wasn't expecting one for mother's day though. And then as I happily ate my eggs and toast in bed with Troy and the kids eagerly sitting around me, Troy pulled out a gift. It was a little weird for them all to be so excited about me eating eggs, but the gift delivery made sense. A long narrow box...could it be? I excitedly opened it to see an apple watch box! Yay! Hurriedly I opened the  box and there lay.....a sausage. Doesn't maybe sound that funny but we all busted up and laughed together really hard. I thought it was very funny. Luckily Troy had the watch not far off and I left the rest of of the family to nibble on delicious sausage while I got acquainted with the new toy which I enjoy a great deal. Thank you Troy. I still love my watch.

Chapter Nine: The Last Days of School

Here I am with Emma at her field day. There were a lot of ups and downs about working at the school year this year - I learned a lot, connected with many good folks, enjoyed being near my Emma. It sure wasn't easy though! Something that made it better was having a chance to see my gal in her day-to-day life. I think she loved it too.

Here's Ellie, my partner in crime, my fellow parent/employee/recess duty friend. I was her Young Women's leader long long ago but now she's much more of a help to me than I ever was to her! We sure bonded a lot as we roamed the playground together every day.

One other event worth mentioning that I don't have a single picture of is the annual Arts Showcase at the school. I have to say that this was a major year for me because it's the first year in about seven years that I wasn't stuck in some back room checking volunteers in and out all evening. I wasn't in charge of the volunteers! Did you hear that?? I did sit at a PTA table but it was out in public and I got to get up and walk around and go see things. GO SEE THINGS. This was amazing and I was super okay with it.

So there you go. That's most of May. Just little snippets but they added up to a busy month and happy times.