The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Monday, September 18, 2017

Camper Extraordinaire

Romney is definitely the kid who had the busiest summer. We didn't really make any huge plans, but I sure was grateful that the plans we did end up making seemed to fit in with all of our commotion just fine. Rom was able to participate in three camps this summer and I was overwhelmed with joy as each of the experiences were so positive and wonderful for her.

First, in June, she was able to attend Youth Theater at the U for the second summer in a row. I don't have many pictures because I didn't see much of her - she was gone for six hours every day participating in a melodrama and taking classes in comedy and improvisation. For the performances during the final week Troy happened to be in Preston, Idaho for a work trip and that good man took the time and energy to drive all the way down just to see her, and had to drive all the way back that night. I was so grateful for his effort. Romney had a great part in the play - she's a true character actress and had the role of a crotchety old gramma. She had great comedic delivery and timing. I loved it. She was also delighted by the attendance of her 6th grade teacher, who joined us for Ugurt after the show. We adore Ms. Parker!

Besides the evening performance there was also an afternoon sort of show-and-tell where the kids got to give a little demonstration of what they had been up to in their classes. Again, her comedy group did a great job and really got a great reaction out of the audience. The best part of that afternoon was the announcement that Ms. Penny, the director of the program, was going to give out four special awards for the Rising Stars - kids who really had shown skill and improvement and Romney was one of them. I was just thrilled for her to feel that success about something she loves so very much.

Here she is after hearing her name called:

Here's her darling melodrama group:

Early in July Romney was invited to go to the Stake Girl's Camp. I was feeling anxious about it but did my best not to let her know - she hadn't had many opportunities to sleep away from home, she'd be among a lot of new girls she didn't know besides the three from our own ward going. Sometimes she gets exhausted and has a hard time. But boy did she prove me wrong. She was an absolute trooper, and made friends and got involved with all of the activities. I was just so happy and proud of her.

Romney has a camera with lots of pictures from her camps on it but I haven't been able to get the photos off of it yet. You'll have to wait for an entry that will just be a photo journal of her camp experiences. 

While Romney was away, I had to find ways to keep the other two entertained. One activity was to make the LONG trek up to Ogden to the home of my niece's boyfriend - his family has a lovely pool where we spent the afternoon playing in the sun before going inside to watch a movie or, in my case, fall sound asleep in the comfy theater seats. 

Another fun outing was taking the two of them to the Natural History Museum. It was such a dang hot day, driving up the side of that sunny hill and just walking into the building about killed us. We had fun though. It's not easy keeping a 14 year old plus an 8 year old entertained doing the same thing at the same time.

Here's my pooped-out little Romney getting home from Girl's Camp, thrilled with her triumph of staying, having a great time, and making new friends. And really really needing a shower.

The next week was the one that about did me in - my current church calling (or job) is to work with the Stake Primary and we had camps that week for both the girls - Activity Days day camp at This Is the Place State Park and for boys - two days of Cub Scout Camp up Milcreek Canyon at Camp Tracy. I...have no words for how these three days completely did me in. So hot. Such busy kids. But it all turned out well, even though my worn-out Romney fell ill after the girls day camp. 

THEN just two weeks later Romney was again invited to go to camp - this time to my heart's home on earth, Brighton LDS Girls Camp. These two invitations were really special partly because Romney wasn't yet 12. She wouldn't be 12 until August, but since she had a summer birthday she was allowed to go to both. I knew she would love camp. Little did I know how much - yes, she did have a home-sick evening but pulled through and had a terrific week. Again, expect a photo journal at some point of her pictures. Maybe I'll even get her to do some writing about both the weeks.

The real kicker was picking her up on Friday afternoon after camp where she told me her big news. She had gone on the Above and Beyond Hike!!! This is a 12 mile, 8 hour trek to 7 summits surrounding the Brighton Camp area. Not many kids do it, maybe 15 or so, but she did! And she was still just 11. I was astounded! And then she told me that not only did she do the A&B, she woke up at 2:00 the next morning to go on the 6 mile sunrise hike. I just could not believe my ears. What a kid! She never gets to complain about walking anywhere ever again, now that she has done this!!

Here she is getting ready to board the bus on Monday morning:

During this week, Chase and Troy were on a trip of their own so it was just Emma and me. We had a cooler day that week so we went to the zoo. Emma wore a coat and got hot cocoa like it was fall. I wish!

We got to feed the giraffes - that was very fun. I kind of love doing something with just one kid because you do more things, not needing to pay for a big group. Just the two of us!

We also spent a day at the children's museum:

Here are Romney and her friend on pick-up day. So tired. So proud of themselves. Great great week. Brighton Camp, I love you, and am so happy another generation loves you too.

Yes, Romney was completely dead after that. But it was completely worth it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

July: Summer Full Swing

When the dust of June finally began to settle we were faced with actual real summer, and our favorite summer traditions were looming immediately ahead, demanding attention and celebration. We crammed in quite a lot in quite a short amount of time, partly because we had Whitley and her children in town and they were available to spend a lot of time with us that first week of July.

We started off with a quick decision to go on our crawdad hunt. Instead of camping over like we have a time or two in the past, we just made a day trip. Whitley and the kids joined us first, followed shortly after by Mary and her children - Mary's participation in the event has become as much of a tradition as our annual Christmas-Tree hunting trip. We have these two events a year to catch up - not as often as it should be but at least they are certain.

There's something just wonderful about taking a family crawdadding for the first time. Whit hadn't been, I don't think....maybe she had. But at least this was our first time together. It's delightful to see looks of shock and disgust as the first crawdad is sighted and caught. They really are pretty gross little things. I half wish my kids didn't like them so much - I haven't been able to get myself to eat one for a couple of years now. But we just can't stop - not a single crawdad we catch goes to waste, the kids love them so much. And good thing too because with three families' worth of kids hunting them down it felt like we bought half the crawdads in the reservoir home with us. Sorry, other fisher people! The early trapper gets (all) the crawdad(s). 

After some clean up time we reconvened at our house to feast on jambalaya and corn bread and crawdads for those brave enough to partake. We were extra glad to have Mary there with us because she discovered some new shelling techniques that really helped with the removal of the really gross parts. No need to go into detail but I'll just say that if you already thought Mary was intrepid, you didn't know the half of it yet. What a fun evening together. I hope those crawbuggies tasted good. I couldn't tell you. I stuck to the jambalaya. 

The very next day was the 4th of July. I have to tell you the truth. I have absolutely no recollection of what we did during the day. I'm serious. NO IDEA. All I know is that in the evening, Whit and the kids came over for hamburgers - I began to feel that Whitley was afraid I didn't know how to cook anything except hamburgers because she had been over the previous week to celebrate my dad's birthday, and it was hamburgers once again. I guess she knew I could do jambalaya.  I can't help it though, I just love hamburgers and couldn't stand not having them on the 4th.

She and Troy had both done a little firework shopping so as it began to grow dusky outside we headed across the street to the parking lot and set off a few sparklers and noisy spitty sparkly fireworks of our own. Emily and her boys joined us as well.

After the little stuff had all been set off, we hopped into our cars to drive to the country club and I just hoped and prayed that my miracle firework experience from the last year wasn't just a fluke. Could it really be true that I found a fun place to watch fireworks where it was easy to park and easy to find a place with a fantastic view? I'm delighted to announce that it wasn't a fluke. I was extra nervous since I was leading not only my whole family there for the first time but two other families as well. I wasn't wrong. It was once again awesome. Parking in a close-by neighborhood, a 10 minute non-crazy walk to a lovely golf course where there were tons of families and plenty of space for us to spread out our blankets only 10 min or so before the fireworks started. Sugarhouse Park, sorry, I'm never going back to you on Independence Day.

I also need to share a quick story - you may remember how a year ago in the spring we were delighted to find ourselves observing a pair of robins making a nest in our ginkgo tree. We saw the whole process, from building, to laying, to sitting on those eggs for hours and hours, sometimes even in the driving rain. We then watched as the pair began bringing little worms and bugs to the babies. It was amazing. And then...the night of the all came to a traumatic and bloody end. Horrible.

This year, we had a giant geranium plant hanging from our front porch. I was extremely startled one afternoon as I was walking up to the front door when a sparrow came shooting out of the depths of the plant at my approach. It happened several more times before I figured out that there must be a nesting mother in there. I was so happy that a bird chose our porch to make a home and family, and it seemed like a REALLY hard place for a raccoon to reach, hallelujah. I snuck my camera in-between the leaves one day and caught this happy shot:

 I sure had to take care when I was watering, but it all worked out. It wasn't long before another sly peek revealed this sight:

I promise I didn't touch and we mostly used the back door. I felt stressed for the little things and worried that they'd fall or that mom would abandon them if we got too close but I had to keep watering or their leafy bower would wither. It was late in the summer that I went to water one day and five little birdies flew away, never to return, as far as I could tell. They flew up into our maple on the parking strip and from then on there was just an empty nest there. That was so fun and very therapeutic after last summer's disaster.

Another fun evening I want to record is the night that Chase was away with friends and Troy and the girls and I were just miserable in the heat. This July was the hottest in Utah history. It was just incessant. We just couldn't take it any more one evening and quickly threw together the barest of supplies to have a cookout. We drove up Milcreek Canyon and soothed ourselves by watching the temperature gage drop lower and lower with every mile we drove up the canyon. We stopped first at the topmost parking lot in the canyon to walk around and breathe in the mountain air. Then we drove back down a bit to find a picnic spot. We had so much fun cooking hotdogs and just being together up and away from the city for an evening.

One last July event - celebrating the 80th birthday of Troy's dad. We had a great time gathering and eating...this time I made chicken. Gave everyone a break from burgers.

Here's a ton more pictures from our craw-daddin' trip -