The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mid-Summer Crisis

I think I'm picking up on a bit of a pattern to summer.  It seems to break itself into three phases.  First, summer hits, and everyone is so relieved to be free from the pressure of school, we're all so excited for the adventures ahead that we start off with a bang - lots of activities, a couple of little (or big) trips, daily charts of to-dos.  We try to pack in as much summer as we possibly can.  This lasts until about the 5th of July.

By then we are completely exhausted, and thus begins the second trimester of summer - the completely lazy and slovenly period. The real heat of summer has arrived, we are tired, we basically turn on the cooler, turn on the television and remain in our pajamas until 3:00 in the afternoon.  We eat more popsicles than usual, we occasionally fill up the pool in the back yard and watch it heat in the sun before deciding its too hard to put on a swim suit and go back to our popsicles. To-do lists hang limp and unattended on the side of the fridge.

But then along comes the third trimester, which begins at the time you realize that there are only three or four weeks left before school starts and you panic.  You have a complete Mid-Summer Crisis - have I had enough fun?  Have we packed in every summery activity we possibly can?  Are we sunburnt and scabby-kneed from all of our adventures?  I'm not sure!  Let's go back to phase one!!  Thus begins the craziness again.

I think I hit my third-trimester mid-summer crisis last week.  The previous couple of weeks since we had been home from Seattle were so lazy.  Then I looked at the calendar and realized as I always do that summer is slipping by and I need to suck its marrow before the elementary school doors open.  Naturally, this realization and subsequent frenzied activity occurred in unison with my husband's departure on a business trip to the Southern States.  Holy smokes, we were busy.  Here's what we did:

1) Took the kids plus Chase's friend to my favorite place on earth (as noted by the following photograph):

Hollywood Connection. The indoor amusement park staffed by the grumpiest teens on earth.

It was actually pretty fun - not very crowded, Bitty got to roller skate, a sport at which she excels, Bundle was big enough for all the rides and fell head over heels in love with these giant bumper cars:

I don't have any pictures of the boys because they were running away from me too quickly. 

2) Met cousins at Seven Peaks water park where we spent many hours and I even hired a teenage girl to be Bitty's companion for the day so she would be happy and I wouldn't be worried about her.  This meant that I forgot to track her down to reapply sunscreen and she got her first ever super fun sunburn:

3) Spent a 100 degree morning at Tracy Aviary enjoying the incredible birdlife there, most especially the sun conures with whom we frolicked briefly.  After the aviary we made an attempt to swim at the Liberty Park Pool, finding out only after we had changed into suits and were in the water that there were swim lessons going on there at the time.  We left, walked over the the canyons fountain only to find that they are closed on Tuesday mornings.  Then we walked to the splash pad only to find that my kids were too tired and grumpy to play so we went home.

4) Made a second attempt to swim in the Liberty Park Pool, this time accompanied by dear friends, but made the mistake of doing this on Pioneer Day, the day our valley and indeed the whole state celebrates the day in 1847 that the Mormon Pioneers arrived.  This seemed like a great way to spend the morning until we actually got to Liberty Park, saw a line of a bazillion people trying to get in and remembered that DUH IT'S PIONEER DAY - the morning's races and parade all conclude at that park, people spend the WHOLE DAY picnicking and playing there before the evening's fireworks, which happen at that park.  We pulled in, found ourselves in a complete and total traffic jam for fully 10 minutes just at the entrance of the park, and nearly aborted the mission.  We decided that since we were in the park we would just drive past the pool and see how it looked.  Good thing we did - after the first section of the park which was completely jammed with people and cars, we made it to the pool/aviary area where there were parking spots to be had by the dozens and barely anyone at the pool.  We had the most lovely swim in the clear cool water where Bundle made her first attempts at actually putting her head under water and lifting her feet off the bottom of the pool to kick at the same time.  This is major progress.  Bitty also seemed to cross a swimming barrier that day by getting super comfortable taking breaths while paddling along.  It was a big day for us.

After the pool we headed home to cook and clean before hosting The Becky and her friends for an evening barbecue.  What a pleasant evening.  Our pool was set up and Becky's little boys had an absolute ball splashing around in there.  The rest of the kids buried themselves in various DS/ipad games while the adults ignored them, ate peach barbecue chicken and jambalaya.  Our back porch did its best to be cool and leafy and we were happy to just enjoy being together.  Especially because The Becky brought really good ice-cream bars.  And some fireworks.  Lovely evening.

5) We also had the sadness of saying goodbye to some of our very best friends who moved here to SLC five years ago and have just moved again to their home state of Texas.  It seemed that the main reason they came to SLC was to give us a chance to become best friends.  Mission accomplished, time to move on.  We went to a movie together - Rio 2 I think, then I took some of their kids home with us while they packed, and then another day we had lunch together to say goodbye again and then on Friday I took them Bruge's waffles to say good bye just one more time.  I will write more about this in another post I think.

Let's see....I feel like there were a couple of other things but now that three whole days have passed since last week I am at a loss for what they were.  I think a lot of neighborhood kid-trades, making dinner for new moms, ....oh yeah and spending an evening waiting and waiting for my poor husband to get home.  On his last trip to the Carolinas he had all sorts of airplane trouble which led to him being away from home an extra night, which he spent trying to sleep on the floor of the Dallas airport.  We made lots of jokes this time about the likelihood of that happening again - I mean, what are the odds?  Remind me to never ask that again because it turns out that the odds are actually pretty good.  It was unreal to see it all unfold again as windstorms and broken airplanes combined against him to create a 26 hour travel experience involving another sleepless night at an airport.  It was sucky.  Next time, we're not making jokes, we'll just pray.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crawdads '14

Man, check me out!!! I haven't blogged this much in one month for a very long time!  If ever!  Very proud of myself.

Just two quick days after we unpacked and cleaned up our Seattle trip, we repacked the car to go camping.  It was just for one night, but we had even less room in the car than we did for Seattle.  When you have to bring your house and beds with you, it eats up the space!

This was the first time our entire family went on the crawdad hunt and all stayed over night.  A couple of years ago I came with Bundle once, but we didn't camp, and Troy brought the big kids once and did camp.  So this was a monumental event.  What made it really fun is that we turned it from a quick jaunt for crawdads into an overnight playdate with our dear friends the Burnetts, with whom we capture Christmas Trees each year.  I guess hunting and gathering is just our thing.  They had never heard of going crawdad fishing and were eager to find out what it's all about.

That Friday evening at Strawberry Reservoir was extremely pleasant.  I forget how lovely the landscape is up there with the rolling hilly mountains, wildflowers sprouting everywhere and groves of aspen and pine here and there.  We were able to nab Troy's favorite camp spot and I got things set up while Troy took the kids down to the shore to set the traps.  Not long after that the Burnetts arrived and we spent the evening roasting hot dogs, trying our hand at fire-roasted corn on the cob (delicious!) and experimenting with a new invention Mary brought along called a "woofum."  It's basically a marshmallow roasted but instead of a poker on the end there's a thing that looks like a wooden corn.  You wrap biscuit dough around the thing, cook it over your coals, and when it's done you end up with this yummy toasty little bowl of bread that you fill with jam or preserves and top with whipped cream.  We were cackling with delight they were so delicious.

In the morning after a leisurely breakfast in the Burnett's trailer we headed to the lake to check on our catch.  It was not our best year - the traps didn't collect as many lake-bugs as we had hoped but we spent an hour with the kids wading in the water and plucking out more.  We ended up with maybe 40, enough to enjoy along side our jambalaya and cornbread, which the Preslars went home to make while the Burnetts (who graciously kept our daughters) stayed and played for a few hours at the lake and campground.

I was glad we got a chance to get home, unpack the car again, air out the bedding, air out ourselves, and clean up a bit before we had company.  Somehow the Burnett clan didn't seem to get as stinky and messy as I did.  The day was so piping hot but thanks to Troy's installation of our porch sprayers the porch was still very pleasant.   We had a wonderful evening of crawdads, crafts on the back porch and watching the kids play on the lawn.  The crawdads were delicious as always - thank you butter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Northern Trek: Day Five (and Six too..)

Quick side note: I forgot to mention that on the day of the parade, this group from the local animal shelter came marching by. They were walking cute little doggies and tossing candy and a few people were carrying these HUGE stuffed dogs.  Well, one of them came over, plopped this ginormous dog on Bundle's lap and said, "There ya go, honey!"  My kids were screaming they were so excited.  And...I was screaming because I had no idea how we were going to fit Behemoth here into our car or into our house.  But it made for a very happy little girl.

Monday - What a fun day!!!!  The beaches around Bainbridge are great but pretty darn rocky and kinda stinky - lots of ...shall I say....signs of the life and death of the sea creatures there?  Digging up clams, finding washed up crab shells everywhere, that kind of stuff.  Which is great.  But on Monday Whitley led us to a beach to the north called Point No Point.  There's an old lighthouse there and some actual sand.  You can see Rainier off in the distance with a teeny-tiny Seattle nestled at its feet.  The sun was deliciously warm and the water was breathtakingly cold.  We ate some lunch on the way up, brought plenty of snacks and waters and spent about three hours sitting in the sand and watching the kids play.

This fort was already there but our four girls spent most of their time gathering seaweed and other treasures to decorate it.

This one was alive!

The two littles spent about a hour making an "ocean bathtub"


Can you see little itty bitty Seattle down there?

In the evening after we went home and got cleaned up, we met Adam at a harbor-side restaurant called Doc's.  We enjoyed a nice meal and the beautiful view.  After dinner, what else could we do to celebrate our last night on the island except walk to Mora's for more ice-cream?

I SO love this photo

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggty Jig:

I decided our last day on the road was not worthy of a whole entry by itself, but I love that we went from this:

To this: one little day.  We were such rock stars!  We were on the 4:40 ferry off of Bainbridge which was no mean feat.  Kids even went back to sleep (I may have too...) after we passed Snoqualmi Pass and woke up in the middle of Washington someplace.  You know, on google maps, the drive just doesn't look that bad - just one little squiggly blue line but gracious that is a long drive!  Our kids were wonderful.  If you look carefully behind Stomper you can catch a glimpse of Behemoth the super stuffy.  We shoved her in the car and even had room left over for a few kids. 

What a wonderful wonderful trip.  So glad we went, so hopeful to go again soon!  (Just maybe not in January.  Or with my mom.... ha ha?)