The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Monday, December 31, 2007

Ten Years!

Yesterday, December the 30th, marked a big day for Troy and me; our 10 year anniversary! we decided to actually do something to celebrate. Most years we're so wiped out from Christmas and New Year's and stuff that we will MAYBE go out to dinner or something. This year with the kids being a little older we had them sleep over at Margaret's house (THANK YOU!) and we went for a sleepover of our own at the Hotel Monaco. It was super fun. Indian food from the Himalayan Kitchen downtown, (not quite Bombay House, but pretty good) and breakfast at the Emigration Market cafe, and most importantly a snuggly soft bed with no kids in it or anywhere near it. Sleeping in. Fantastic.

I just want you to know that I have the greatest husband on the planet and I'm not quite sure how I lucked out enough to marry him, but somehow I did, and it's been the greatest blessing in my life. I love you, Troy. There, now it's recorded for posterity.

Christmas!!!!!.....is over.

Isn't it amazing how you take at least a month or two to carefully prepare for this holiday? We shop, we decorate, we plan, we pick carefully the gifts to give our children, our spouses, our neighbors. It takes some serious effort, you know? And come Christmas morning the family has it all torn apart in about 30 minutes! 45 if you're lucky. We did have a good time, though.

Christmas Eve was a fun day with delivering gifts to the neighbors and making cookies. We spent the evening at my sister's house with everyone except Adam's family. We enjoyed our traditional Mexican feast of posole, fresh tortillas and black bean salad. Other years we've gone all out with sopes, homemade refried beans and fire roasted vegetables and great stuff like that. We just didn't feel like going to that effort and mess this time, which was fine. We really enjoyed what we had. Our kids were so wiped out that we left early and put them to bed early. What better Christmas present is there than that? I had some new Christmas jammies for them as well as a book, "Snowmen at Christmas." I think a new children's book every year is a great idea. Anyway, Bitty was falling asleep so fast and hard that I could barely get her to open the gifts. Stomper was in bed with his eyes closing before I remembered that we hadn't set out any cookies or milk for Santa. Me being me, I made him get back up out of bed to go with his dad to set them out. Troy and I then enjoyed a lovely evening by the fire watching Christmas movies, drinking eggnog, wrapping a few remaining presents...doesn't that just sound perfect? It was.

Christmas morning began for us at four a.m. when Stomper came in our room to let us know that Santa had indeed arrived and delivered presents. And it was time to open them. We convinced him to wait at least until dawn. He climbed into our bed and Troy went and got into his. I dozed between to floppy kids for another couple of hours before giving up. Stomper was up again at 7:30 or so, and it was quite the struggle to keep him from opening his gifts before Troy's parents came and Bitty was awake, but we managed it. I had this idea that we should enter the living room all together for the first time, but Stomper was not to be stopped. Finally the grandparents came and we woke up Bitty so the paper tearing could commence. Nice morning. It's so hard every year to find that balance between giving the kids what they want and what would make them happy, and giving them just too much stuff. I think we did well this year.



The really magical part of Christmas Day came later at my parent's house (that would be day FOUR in a row of parties with my family, by the way....) when we went at noon for an omelet brunch. We were lazy and sleepy on the floor for a while, but then we whipped out the sleds and the fun began. Luckily I have managed to gather some really great snow clothes for my kids. Seriously, the trick to fun in the great outdoors is good gear, because if you're cold and wet, no sledding is fun. Both the kids were warm and dry, and my parent's yard provided the absolutely perfect sledding hill, a foot deep in fluffy powder. The hill down is steep enough to be fun, but not so long that the kids won't climb back up it without getting exhausted. We had so much fun, and the real champ was Stomper. He had an inflated sled with handles, and the kid must have made 50 runs. He would climb up the hill to the top and immediately jump right back on the sled, sitting or flopped on his belly, and go screaming down again. He never cried when he tumbled into the snow, he never had to be carried, he just went around and around and around. Bitty did well too, though she only got on a sled a few times. She was packed into this great big purple-checked snowsuit I found at Kid-2-Kid, reminiscent of Randy in A Christmas Story, but she was as happy as a puppy just rolling around in the snow. We were out there for at least an hour and a half, and then when we came in Troy stayed out for another hour perfecting a banked curve to make a turn from the very top of the hill. Great sledding. Unfortunately, my brother has all the pictures so I'll post a slideshow when he sends them to me.

We ended up staying at my parent's house until the night. The kids and I bundled up on the bed downstairs and watched A Muppet's Christmas Carol and we all played Cranium...I'll tell you, my brother Adam and I have an almost creepy ability together at games like that. We're a good team. Anyway, it was a fantastic day and I'm so grateful for wonderful friends and family that surround us.

The rest of the week and weekend cruised by with more festivities including a trip to the aquarium with the Grundvigs, more cousin time and more sledding. We also held the annual Preslar family Saturday-after-Christmas gathering with MORE presents (holy loot - time to be done with new stuff for the kids!) and good food and fun together. Stomper received from his Grandparents a giant rubber t-rex that is about two feet tall. It's huge. We need to build an addition for it. We had all of the grandchildren together for the first time in a very long time.


At the Aquarium with the Grundvigs


All the Preslar cousins...not a great photo, but it's what we've got!

So I hope all of you have a wonderful New Year - I am compelled to again express my deep and humble gratitude for all the fantastic people in my life, especially my family. I am so blessed and feel much love for life.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Catching Up

Here we are, on Christmas Eve, and all I want to do is blog! We've had so many fun things going on the past couple of weeks and I just can't seem to find a time to sit down and type a little bit. Partly that's because I've been up to my eyeballs in projects that I shouldn't have been doing (as per usual) and I finally got them all squared away.

The first item on my agenda is to rename my children. I'm really sick of this "CTP" and "RAP" stuff, so I've decided to come up with some nicknames for them. From now on, my 5-year-old son, formerly known as CTP, will henceforth be known as "Stomper," due to his adoration and constant imitation of dinosaurs. And my 2-year-old daughter, formerly known as "RAP" shall be dubbed "Bitty," because that's what I call her all the time. There.

I wanted to post some funny videos of Bitty. The first one is of her having a conversation with Troy's t-shirt. He's got this t-shirt with a flaming skull on it, and I think one evening while I was gone and she was upset, he distracted her by putting his hand under his shirt, making the figure bounce around and talking for it. They named him "Edgar the Friendly Monster," and now every time he puts on the shirt she'll go chat with Edgar for a minute. The second video is of her telling a story, and it's just cute. She's been really into stories lately - especially one about jingle bells being stolen by a dinosaur and taken to his castle. Love it.








A funny Stomper story from the week - he's gotten really into Godzilla. I guess his buddy has a couple Godzilla books he was showing him and they both just got sucked in. I guess it's a natural progression from dinosaurs to superhero monsters. Coincidentally, Troy was flipping through the channels and found the Godzilla movie with Matthew Broderick that was made a few years ago. Stomper was of course immediately enchanted, and we let him watch it. Well, in the old stories Godzilla is a good guy who saves people. I guess. That's what I remember from the Saturday morning cartoons - Godzilla and Gadzooks! Remember? Anyway, in this movie, Godzilla is just a big destructive monster and everyone is trying to kill him. Stomper was rooting for Godzilla the whole time, yelling for him to bust through walls and stuff. Sadly, at the end, I believe Godzilla gets wiped out. The last two or three minutes were cut off, so I don't quite remember, but all we saw was a dead Godzilla. Stomper turned to me, quivering lip and brimming tears, and said, "I didn't want Godzilla to die." And then he started sobbing. And sobbing. I just rocked him for a long time. Remind me to never let him see Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern grows. He was so sad!

We had a great storm this week. I have been so excited this month because we have had a pretty snowy December, and it's just so Christmassy! But last week the snow started melting a lot, enough for me to do some raking of all the leaves that got trapped under the snow. Our favorite weather man Kevin Eubanks kept predicting snow, and once even wore the white coat, indicating snow the next day, and it didn't happen. He wore it on Thursday night again, and we were doubtful that any snow would really show up. Friday was this super warm and windy day, and when I went to the pharmacy at 4:30 in the afternoon I could see blue sky. Admittedly the line at the pharmacy was pretty long, but I was shocked to find when I left that Kevin's predicted storm had arrived, and how. It was like we got hit with a baseball bat. The temperature totally plummeted and we started with a hail storm of mighty fury. Then in settled into a nice long snow that gave us at least five or six inches to coat our town in white again. It's been cold ever since, keeping the branches packed. And what I'm really excited about, especially now that both of my brothers and their families have arrived safely in SLC, is that we're to get another 2-4 inches this evening. A snowy Christmas eve! How fabulous!

It's been such a busy month, plus dealing with Bitty's sleeping, meaning that I never let her nap so she'll go to bed before the next day, I'm a little disappointed that we haven't been able to do some of the things that I wanted to for Christmas. I of course wanted to take the kids downtown to see the lights at Temple Square, and the lights at the zoo, and the fun stuff going on at Wheeler Farm like Santa and wagon rides and hot chocolate and stuff. I just couldn't make it work with the freezing cold evenings and napless days, and being up to my eyeballs in a teddy-bear project. I'm sad, but you know, I think we'll live. We're all still excited about the holiday and are really enjoying our family, and what's more important than that? Next year will be better for all that stuff because our kids will be bigger but not too big yet, you know?

Last night we had a really fun party at my parent's house. My entire family was there, which hasn't happened for at least two years. It was so fun to have us all together. Adam and Whitley and Peter and Sheri got to meet each other's babies for the first time, we had Kent Miles, a really great photographer, come and take pictures of our family, we had really great food (I made it, so what else could you expect, right?) and we exchanged gifts. The winner gift of the evening was an evil plot developed between Adam and myself where we orchestrated for his son and Stomper to receive mini-marshmallow shooters. Adam and Margaret and I did a lot of pre-party laughing as we imagined my father's reaction to the shooters - you load them with mini-marshmallows and the pump them up and they fire the things all over the place. Dad's reaction lived up to our expectations. He was not so excited about them. I didn't actually see any veins in his forehead pulsing, but it was close. But really, the little kids gobbled up the marshmallows as fast as Smith and Stomper could fire them. Here's Dad:



And here's the gunmen:



We really had a fun evening, enjoying our family. Tonight holds more family time, as does tomorrow, and I'm sure by then we'll be about familied out. Merry Christmas to you all, with much love and gratitude.

Here's some more pix from the evening:





Saturday, December 15, 2007

Joy to the King's Singers

I am such a lucky girl. Every year the Mormon Tabernacle Choir puts on a huge Christmas concert in the conference center, and invite some fabulous guest to join them. A few years ago it was Angela Lansbury, and two years ago I got to go hear Audra McDonald, whom I adore. This year the featured guest was the King's Singers - a group of six male vocalists, founded in 1968. Of course none of the original people are still in the group, but they have managed to keep the same sound with all of the changes over the years. Anyway, I really really wanted to go hear them sing, but it's super hard to get tickets to this concert. In years past you've had to wait in long lines or sit on the phone for forever, but this year they decided to make a lottery - you enter in your email address and preferred date of attendance, and cross your fingers. I was not one of the lucky winners. Neither were my parents, in fact, but they seem to have a lot of connections because they did manage to get four tickets through a friend who couldn't use theirs. Yesterday morning Mom came over to help me with the kids for a bit, and asked if we knew anyone who would like two tickets because they couldn't find anyone to go with them. HELLO!! ME!!!! Troy offered to watch the kids so I could go with a friend. I never did find anyone who could join me, so I ended up having an evening with just me and my folks. It was so fun. And the concert was lovely. Beyond lovely. It was gorgeous. The conference center was totally decked out, the stage set up like a miniature Christmas village, dripping in poinsettias and lights. The music was other-wordly - I can't wait to buy the cd next Christmas.

I guess my parents' ticket connection is a big-shot because we were in the front and center section, seated about 20 rows behind President Hinckley and his family, and right next to the new member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Cook. Wow. Talk about great seats. The best part of the evening for me was spying some dear friends a few rows ahead - friends who lived in our neighborhood a few years ago and ended up moving to Texas for school, whereupon we lost touch with each other. I spied them just as the lights were going down and I waited patiently through the whole concert, though I was wanting to leap out of my seat and climb over the people in front of me to get to them. When the show was over I really did almost knock down a few people on my way forward, but luckily no one was injured and I enjoyed a fantastic reunion with my dear friends, the Binghams. I just love them. And the best part is that they're back in Utah, so we are hoping to reconnect again after Christmas. Moments like those just make me so grateful for my life, so richly blessed with friends. And the heavenly music we heard sent my soul flying into happy Christmas-ness.

Here is a video of The King's Singers with all of the same members that I heard last night:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shopping Nightmares

I had several ideas for the title of this post like a possible headline, "Heroic Dad Leads to Serious Nightmares," or perhaps what you already know, "Rachel is still crazy." I couldn't decide. Here's the story.

Hail to Troy! Yesterday he took a day off, the first of many, I think, due to the fact that he has a ton of PTO left and he wants to keep working on our little house. He decided to give the first day to me. All to me. Isn't he fabulous? Of course I had images, dancing like sugarplums in my head, of movies or a nice long nap or bath, but I forced myself to let them go and face reality. What I wanted most was to check off as many things of my uber-list as I possibly could, most importantly finishing the Christmas shopping. In the morning we all kind of hung out together, Troy entertaining the kids while I did the filing and stuff like that. I think I checked off like four things...joy!

One funny moment of the morning was CTP informing us that he would not be going to preschool that day due to the fact that Miss Valle, one of his two teachers, had yelled at him. Upon our questioning as to why she had been yelling, he got very sheepish and didn't want to tell us. The poor kid hung his head and slunk away like a little dog. We talked to him for a while, and he finally confessed his major transgression. "I tweaked Caleb's nose." Does this strike anyone else as being extremely funny? It did us.

Anyway, in the afternoon I did take C to school to help him do a little presentation about our family's favorite Christmas traditions, but after that, I had hours to myself to shop. I still had a glimmer of hope in my head that it wouldn't be too bad, that I'd have time to take a book into Paradise Bakery and sit down for a while or something heavenly like that. It was not to be. I'll just say that when any shopping trip involves trips to two separate Walmarts, you know you're screwed. The Romney family is doing some sub-for-santa gifts this year, and I was doing quite a bit of the shopping, and had a real problem locating some of the gifts. Does anyone know what a "matchmaker" is? One list just said, "matchmaker" and I can't find, even on line, what that is. And it's hard to randomly choose clothing for someone you've never met before. I know, I'll be okay, but I was going to a lot of places to try to find what these little girls wanted.

I have been shocked at the crazy-ness of the stores this season. Every time I've tried to nip in a store, in the middle of the week in the middle of the day, every place I've been has been packed. Yesterday I was going a little nuts waiting for parking spots, getting stuck in traffic (no kidding!) and being in long long lines behind little ladies who want to apply for credit cards to get the extra 10% off. I remained grateful to be doing the shopping without my kids, but my mood did slide downwards all afternoon until finally I was about to lose it. I realized that I wasn't thinking about Jesus very much as I was racing my shopping cart down the isle and hurling things into the basket, or as I was speeding down the street starving and finally giving up on my dream of a pleasant solo lunch, pulling a little too quickly into the drive-through of the first fast-food place I could find. I tried to breathe calmly and remember why I was racing around like this, and I felt a little better.

That is, I thought I did until I woke up nearly screaming from a nightmare this morning. Does anyone besides me have "out of control" nightmares? In my dream our family all woke up this morning and it was suddenly Christmas morning. We went into the empty living room, whereupon I panicked, realizing that I hadn't wrapped a single gift. I told Troy to distract the kids while I ran upstairs to wrap stuff. That's when people starting coming over - like some know-it-all guy who watched me try to wrap gifts and yell at the kids at the same time as they kept coming upstairs. His offerings of useless parenting advice about made me crazy. More and more people came, friends & strangers, and just sat and watched or wanted to talk or wanted me to feed them. No one wanted to help, which would have been nice because none of the tape would come off the roll, none of the wrapping paper was big enough to go around the boxes, and my children insisted on continually coming upstairs to see what I was doing... Please tell me you have these kinds of dreams too. It was similar to the Easter Dinner dream I had where Oprah was with me in the kitchen to "help" but spent the whole time tasting my cooking and making witty comments to her camera crew, as more and more people showed up for dinner, the only food items they brought being things like a dish of olives or a box of toothpicks. Also the ovens didn't work. Stuff like that.

I don't know what else to say now that I have further revealed my mental problems. All I know is that I'm getting the wrapping done this week. Now that the shopping is done, I can do that. Thanks again, Troy. Next year, I'm shopping in June.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gingerbread Adventures

I think we have started a new tradition that I hope we do every year. Last night was the second annual "Evening of Gingerbread Mayhem" with our dear friends the Mayfields. Last year Misty was just a week or so away from delivering their fourth child, and spent the evening vomiting, due to the stomach flu. Good times! This year we each had two gingerbread projects, she with a train and a house, while I had a tree and a house. We made many jokes about not wanting to let our kids help and thus ruin everything. We did manage to let the kids get into it a little bit, but with their "help," a crying 1-year-old, chatting dads, plus one large trumpet/kazoo in RAP's mouth, we decided to cut the evening a little short. We really did have a good time, though. Next year I think we'll let the kids totally do one house, glopping it up with as much candy and frosting as they want, symmetry be damned, and then then Misty and I can stay up late all by ourselves and make our perfectionist little houses just like we want to. Is it a plan, Mist?



By the way, my mom gave us a cool advent calendar a couple of years ago that is a Noah's Ark scene, and every day one more animal gets hung up on it. CTP is loving it - it's been one of the only things that is helping him understand when Christmas is actually coming. What I love is that he never forgets each morning to place another animal on the ark. He'll often get up first and take care of it quietly before any of us even know about it. It's not very ceremonial, but a little job he thinks about each day. He never tries to put up more than one animal, either. It's been really fun this year. I think I'll try to find another one for RAP next year so they're not fighting over who gets to put up the animal each day. Or I guess I could try some parenting and encourage them to share, take turns, all that baloney.

This week has been INSANE - packed with morning and afternoon playdates, school-time playdates for R, church parties, gatherings with friends - literally like 4 or 5 things a day. I think C is starting to show the strain, and I'm looking forward to a quieter weekend. We don't have that much going on next week either, but knowing me, I'm sure to pack it in. What it's all making me think about is how blessed we are in friends and family. We don't have enough time in the day to spend with all the people we love, and all the ways we want to celebrate this beautiful season. I couldn't be richer if I had the world. I'm so grateful for the people in my life.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Best Tree EVER

Every year Troy and I go out together to buy our Christmas tree. We love the kind with really sparse branches so you can see the ornaments. Troy found out this year that the kind of tree is called a silver-tipped fir - just so you know! Anyway, every year we go out together to buy it and are generally horrified at the price of the trees, and we end up talking each other out of a tree that would fit the size of our living room ceiling. The ones we bring home always look big at the lot, and then we get them in our living room with the 10-foot ceilings, and they don't even go up half way. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but not by much. Well, yesterday, Troy was headed to a friend's house, CTP in tow, to help out on some construction. I suggested they pick up a tree on their way, which they did. C picked it out. The thing, according to Troy, did not look that big on the lot, but when we tried to set it up this afternoon, we had to snip off six inches on the top to make it fit. It's huge! I totally love it.

We set it up this afternoon and then had to let it drip-dry for a couple of hours because it got so packed with snow after sitting on the roof of the car during a blustery evening last night. The kids were appropriately wound up about it, and tried hard to be patient, so when we finally busted out the box of ornaments they got right to it. Really sweet, dont' you think? I must say, it was so quaint. Picturesque? Troy built a fire (it's still going...ahhhhh) and I made cocoa. There was Christmas music and the kids were fighting over the candy cane ornament...everything you'd expect from a festive evening at home, decorating the tree! Actually I'm very proud of C, he's trying so hard to be generous and patient. He's starting to think about others' feelings. In the past if I have ever asked him about a gift he'd like to give to someone else, be it a grandparent, sibling or aunt, he of course couldn't imagine that they'd want anything but a dinosaur. But this week he got quiet and thoughtful for a moment and then asked what he could give to Daddy for Christmas. When I asked him what he wanted to give, he said, "A new saw. And I want to give Romney a talking Dora doll." Not that we need another battery-operated noise-maker around here, but how sweet! I was really touched.

Friday, December 07, 2007

1:30 in the morning, Matthew on the mind

Hello friends. You'll have to forgive this rambling, as it is occurring at a very late/early hour, but I'm feeling inspired. I have just spent a joyful and sorrowful evening with women whom I love. We gathered to support our friend, who is only 3 1/2 weeks past losing her baby, Asher. He was due on Dec. 30th. I felt so glad to be a friend to her. Losing Matthew was not easy, but I am grateful to be able to have helped my friend and welcome her into this strange little club of people who know a very tender kind of loss. I guess I am writing this entry to celebrate the fact that for the first time in seven months I've been able to write some feelings about Matthew that I haven't been able to. I'm supposed to be asleep but instead I'm at the computer writing and writing about him and it feels wonderful. A poem, which has been lodged in an unreachable place is finally taking shape in a way that feels very true. I'm grateful for that. I'm not ready to share it, but I wanted to document the satisfaction and catharsis of writing. I thought that because it didn't happen right away it might not ever happen, that the more time passed the less I'd feel. I guess the pot of emotions just needed to settle and clarify a little. I'm so glad, and grateful for my life, my husband, friends, my beautiful children. I know I write a lot about parenting frustrations, and I need to say that my children are darlings. Okay, this is kind of a weird entry. That's what you get for being privy to my journal, I guess.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This IS the Place!


Our stake did a great thing this week and put on a Christmas party for all stake leaders and held it at the This is the Place Heritage Park - the pioneer museum-group-of-buildings across the street from Hogle Zoo. Somehow Troy, who is the ward mission leader, ended up on the invite list - I guess that's a stake calling around here. Anyway, Troy was in Denver, but it looked pretty fun, so I took the kids up by myself. The park puts on a great Christmas activity each year, and it was really neat for our church leaders to have the party there. By the end of three days without Troy I wasn't sure I was up to a big evening outing, but I thought it would be a shame to miss it. Besides, little R had a nap that day, so what else were we going to do to kill time until midnight?

We had a nice little dinner in the upstairs of one old buildings. I was so proud of little C, who insisted on dishing up his own food from the buffet. Much to my shock and delight, he filled his plate with vegetables and fruit. Did you hear that? VEGETABLES and FRUIT. This is unlike my child. Okay, there was also a small mountain of meatballs and a ham sandwich on the side. The most amazing part is that (are you ready for this?) he ATE all of it. I credit his delightful little preschool with the progress in the consumptionary arts - every day I ask him what the snack was and is always something like squash, cucumber and oranges; things he regularly rejects at home. But I digress. I was happy to see at dinner a good friend in our neighborhood, Ben Behunin. He's a guy I met in junior high, and who became an incredible potter. He's lived in the 'hood for several years and we've worked together a couple times for church stuff, and I just have to say, I think he's a great guy and a fantastic potter. I guess I was thinking of him and his wife fondly because I talked to him right when we lost Matthew and he tried to help me out with some jewelry. I hadn't seem him since then and it was nice to connect. Neat family. Okay, moving on.

The park has a very festive holiday scene going on - we had a great time. We rode a "train" (it had rubber tires, but did have an engine-type thing up front and made all the appropriate whistles and 'choo choo' noises, so it was all good) and we made Christmas ornaments. There was a St. Nicholas-type guy (C didn't really buy it) and story tellers. Ever heard the one about the Christmas spiders? Yeah, it was a new one for me too. There was a live nativity in a barn with some extremely real (smelling) cows, sheep and even a donkey. Joseph and Mary were kickin' it with some hot cocoa, but can you blame them? It was cold! We went in the Brigham Young house where the prophet himself was there telling stories and showing us around. A fun surprise was seeing an old missionary from my parent's mission, Alex Bigney of Kirkmount fame, playing the harp in the parlor. If you need a good Christmas CD, check theirs out.

Anyway, it was a really fun evening. At least it was a great distraction for my son who continues to pepper me with "Hey Mom, it's Christmas day now, not Christmas time, right?" type comments from sun-up until sun-down. I keep trying to help him feel the joy of anticipation but it's like reigning in a thoroughbred stallion all day long. I remember December taking as long as every other month combined when I was a child, crazy with excitement, and so I am trying to be patient with him. I bet I drove my parents NUTS. My memories of Christmas don't hold any specific feelings of irritation and exasperation radiating from them, so perhaps C is not picking up on mine.

By the way, our family recorded what I think is to become a new Christmas traditional show for us - Shrek the Halls. It was hilarious! And pretty true - basically saying that everyone experiences feelings of chaos and failure during the season, but that's all part of it. As donkey says, "It isn't Christmas until somebody cries!" How true is that? I had some low moments today but have perked up in time to stay up extremely late working on projects I don't have time for but have committed to do anyway. Why am I blogging? Avoidance, really. See how I keep on typing even after I have nothing left to say? It's a tactic I've been working on.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Goodbye, Fall!

What a lovely fall we had. Really. I got to do so many fun things - hiking in the mountains, doing lots of Halloween stuff, collecting leaves...I feel like I thoroughly enjoyed the fall this year. Sometimes it just seems to rush by too fast. Or it stays summer-hot too long and then suddenly it's snowing. Not this year. It was great.

There was a big storm that came through Utah this weekend. On Friday I swore to Troy that I heard on the radio something about "4 to 8 inches" of snow. He thought I had it wrong and that it was the mountains that were really going to get it, which is great. On the news that evening the weather report didn't say much about snow in the Salt Lake Valley, and we got the impression that we might get a few flakes but mostly rain. This didn't sound too bad, after all, we still have piles of leaves to rake and hoses to put away and stuff like that. Well, at what...three in the morning? (whatever time RAP needed a drink) I was up and looked out the window to see rain quickly turning slushy and fat. By the time we got up there was already at least an inch on the ground and it just snowed all day. I think we got around six inches. It was so fun to get the white stuff on the first of December! I was even in the mood for Christmas music. What I liked best was hearing a favorite tune, Let it Snow! without being bitter that there was no snow in sight. We had a very lazy Saturday puttering around, baking, playing, and I ventured out for a little shopping. I have such a good husband. Saturday is always a big day for him to get stuff done on the house, but he needed a lazy day as much as I needed to get stuff done, so he spent a ton of time with R (CTP spent pretty much the entire day at a friend's house). Little R does love her daddy.

On another note, I was driving the kids around today on one of the seemingly 1368 errands I did. It was almost the end of the day, thus it was almost the end of my wits. CTP just gets so chatty and I guess super curious. I never thought I'd try to stifle my child's curiosity, but after 90 minutes of a constant stream of nearly unanswerable questions I have to put a cork in it somehow. I think my favorite question of the day was this:
"Mom, I know everything. Is there anyone else who knows everything?"
I replied, "You know everything, huh? Okay, what's the square root of 29?" (Not very a very nurturing response, I know.) He calmly answered with total confidence, "St. George." Well, I guess you got me there, kid.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snow!

We got our first snow of the season yesterday - pretty exciting, I think. I just love snow for Christmas. I wish I didn't depend on it so much to feel "Christmas-y" but I do. I need to find another holiday-cheer trigger, because these days (darn that global warming!) we don't get a white Christmas very often. It's been a few years since we've had a truly white Christmas. When CTP was one we woke Christmas morning to a brown and dry day, but as the day went on we got pounded by a huge storm. Our car was buried for a couple of days - it was great! I of course have my hopes up for a wintry holiday this year too, but it snowed about one inch yesterday and it isn't even December yet. Thinking that this storm means we'll have snow on the 25th - that's like being one point ahead with 1:38 still left on the clock...oh yeah, we aren't talking about that.

Of course when the kids saw the snowflakes they immediately insisted on pulling on their entire array of snow gear - hats, boots, mittens, coats - just so they could go outside and play in the smattering of flakes. It's cute really, how excited they get. I was on the phone with my friend Becky while the snow was coming down and her kids were going berserk in the background. It sounded like she was babysitting the neighboring circus troop, but it was just her three whooping it up. She should have done what I did and sent them outside and shut the door. What I want to know is why do snow clothes have to consist of so many separate items? My kids had a great time outside for 1/2 an hour, but after that I had a mountain of clothing by the back door, dripping muddy water on the floor, which I couldn't attend to because I was busy making the demanded post-snow hot chocolate. Ah, well.



Last night the first on our list of Christmas shows was on t.v. It was "Charlie Brown's Christmas." I'm such a silly. We actually own this tape, but for some reason I have so much more fun watching it on live t.v. I can't tell you why - the tape has no commercials! I think it must hearken back to my childhood when my mom did such a good job of paying attention to when something would be on, like Rudolph or The Wizard of Oz or something. She'd push the couch up close to the t.v. and we'd all pile on and cuddle under blankets, eating homemade popcorn. It was great. So I did the same thing and pushed our big green chair up in front of the tube and the kids snuggled up for Charlie Brown. Pretty cute. RAP actually fell asleep there at 8:15, which was a miracle because she had fallen asleep in the car during the day. This usually ensures a late bedtime, but she crashed. Of course, she did wake up at 2:00 and wiggled in a very awake way until 4:00...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Women's Football Clinic

In the fall, you may remember, I participated in a football clinic for women up at the UofU. (Sad weekend for us, by the way. I don't want to talk about it.) Here is a video about it that got posted on youtube. If you look closely, you can find me - on the left side, third row from the front, long bushy brown hair...green vest...look fast or you'll miss me. It was really fun and I totally want to do it again next year!

Tagged

About 10 days ago my cousin Monica sent me a note that said I was "it" and to go see her website. She's such a faithful blogger - I love her! So I guess there's this thing going around where you tag someone and they have to write six interesting things about themselves on their blog. I'm sitting here in my late-afternoon haze, noticing how exhausted I am just because I actually sat down. I can not think of anything interesting to mention. Let's see...I'm only on my first diet coke today? Not that interesting. Okay. I'm going to try.

1.) ...
...still sitting, staring at the screen, watching the cursor blink...

I know! I was once on a t.v. game show in Korea. I was on my mission, and the t.v. station there needed some foreigners to join in a competition so they called the office and about eight of us spent the day recording the show. We played games, I jumped rope and did a tongue twister, and we sang a song. I was flat and sounded horrible. That was my 15 minutes of fame.

2.) I can curl my tongue into a clam-shell shape. Those crazy Romney genes, you know.

3.)My inner soul is a singer. In actuality I can't sing very well at all, but whenever I see someone singing with all their heart and guts I'm so jealous. I wish I could sing like that. Maybe when I'm dead.

4.) My grandmother's name was Oa. Two letters. O. A. I kind of love it and would like to pass it on, but she threatened us all with many curses if we did that. Now you know how she felt about her name.

5.) I no longer like playing Monopoly. I used to love it until I grew up, got married and bought a house. Now that game gives me ulcers. How interesting is that? I know, not very.

6.) Okay, one more. I'm the most compulsive list maker I know. I keep a running list of "to-do's" and my joy in life is crossing things off. I'm sure I have many friends in this club-o-nutties. I think it has something to do with the fact that as a stay-home-mom I have very few chances to feel like I've completed a task. There is ALWAYS laundry in the basket before I'm done putting the last laundry-day load away. There is ALWAYS something I forgot to buy at the store. So far, I have not been able to check off "raise kids." That one isn't even on the horizon.

So all in all, not too interesting, but there you go. And whoever reads this...TAG! You're it!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I Wasn't Last!

I know today is Thanksgiving and I should have titled my post along that vein, but I couldn't help it. My most exciting event of the day was running a 5k this morning. A couple of weeks ago I was driving to my friend Becky's house, and I saw a sign up for a Thanksgiving morning 5k run. Strangely, I felt a desire to sign up. This is so not like me. I HATE running. I've only run in one race before, and it was the Moab 1/2 marathon in 2002. I think I ran for about 8 or 9 miles before my lack of training caught up with me and I was done. Only I wasn't anywhere near the finish line, so I had to sluggishly plod along at a very slow walk for 4 more miles. But here I was, desireing to enter a race. Granted, a much shorter one, but a race none the less. I signed up, went for a total of three runs between then and today, and went for it. I tried in vain to get someone in my family to join me, but no one did so I was a loner. It was probably better that way - I'm not a real quick runner, so it spared me some humiliation. Most important to me was that I run the whole way. I really needed to feel successful that way. I'm happy to say that I did it! What a rush! And I wasn't even the last person to finish. Somehow I even got a little ribbon that said that I beat the mayor (of Cottonwood Heights) but I don't know how that happened unless he walked the whole way. I'm a REALLY slow runner. You know what the best news is? I don't hate running anymore. It's actually kind of fun when you plug into some good tunes and get into a groove. Troy and I are going to run the 10k in Moab this spring, but that's good enough for me. I'm not one of those people who really wants to run a marathon someday. I'm just psyched that I made it through 3 miles today.

The actual holiday of giving Thanks was also a good part of the day. It was a Preslar year so we got together with Troy's family at our church. It really worked out nicely to use the Church's stuff so we could push tables together and all sit down at one big table, use nice dishes and have plenty of space for the kids. The day wasn't even too stressful because I had been doing food prep for the past two days. Unfortuneately, my food was the least successful part of my day. As you probably already know, I adore eating (oh yeah and cooking) so Thanksgiving is a really big holiday for me! But my food all kind of backfired. I made this great cranberry chutney but forgot all about it until we were passing the turkey (too late!), and I meant to make my favorite sauted green beans, but the burners at the church wouldn't work, so I had to microwave them. I made a great salad with roasted squash and onions plus pomegranite, pear, and candied nuts. The squash was met with more surprise than delight by the feasters, I think. And then I made some pies and I tried a new pie crust recipe that just didn't go well at all. The fillings were pretty good, but I was mad about the crust. WHY can't I master this pie-crust thing? Mary Poppins said, "That's a pie crust promise - easily made, easily broken," and I don't know what she's talking about because I can't seem to get the knack for it at all! Enough about the food - I didn't mind that my contributions weren't of the A+ variety, because there was tons of other good food and we had a great time as a family together. Which is actually more important than the food. Only a little bit, though.

I did get pretty carried away with decorations....I actually steamed ice cream cones and bent them into little cornicopias to set at each person's plate. Last night as I was exhausted and yet standing above a pot of boiling water holding a slowly softening ice cream cone it occured to me that I may have finally lost my marbles. Why was I doing this? I guess I had been looking for a craft that the kids could do on Thanksgiving Day while all the grown-ups were talking, but it became clear that the kids, if they actually participated in the activity by filling each cone with treats, would be done in about one second. But I had already bought all the stuff, so I went ahead and did it. It was pretty cute, but carried the essence of "hyper mommy" all over them. Well, I wish everyone the happiest of Thanksgivings (hey - there's still 45 minutes of Thanksgiving Day left!) and a wonderful start of the Christmas season. Are we there all ready? Wow.



The Preslar Brothers: Rick, Doug, Sam and Troy



Saturday, November 17, 2007

It wouldn't be Fall without...

...pictures of the kids jumping in the leaves. We just had to take them! Yesterday my niece MG was over and we had a great time frolicking. The weather has been so pleasant I can hardly stand it. Mild, sunny, delicious.





The above video is probably all the information you need on our afternoon, but I had to include the next one too because it shows R actually in a good mood, the first time in a couple of weeks, it feels like. I finally got her to sleep in after another late night and then got her to go nap-free for a day. What a difference. She has a cold, along with the rest of our family, but she was happy all day both yesterday and today. I like my child again, isn't that nice?


I'm Crazy.

But you knew that already, right? Here is today's reason. A year and a half ago we threw a "good-bye diapers" party for C. It was a celebration of his potty-training achievements. The very fact that we threw him this party is sounding crazy to me right now, but too late. We gave him a little gift - this stuffed animal triceratops, whom we named "Topsy-Turvy" and who immediately became C's indispensable companion day-in and day-out. I thought the name was clever and sweet. I think I probably mentioned this at some point in the past year of blogging, but C fell in love with this show called Dinotopia. Yes, I remember now that I did already tell this story, but too bad. In the show the hero helps deliver a baby dinosaur, and cheekily names it "26" because it was the 26th egg or something like that. C totally latched on to that and poor Topsy Turvy has been 26 ever since, causing much confusion to many people such as his preschool teacher. "Uh, C kept talking about 'his 26' today. I couldn't figure out what he was talking about!" Things like that. Well, today we were driving to the library, and 26 was sitting on C's lap. 26 accompanies us on many outings, waiting patiently in the car until we return. C was fondly stroking him and said, "His real name is still Topsy-Turvy, huh mom." I started laughing at myself because I immediately felt this wave of peace and happiness...what is my problem? I can't believe I'm blogging this - I'm such a dork! I guess I spend a lot of time with this little stuffed creature and I hated his name change. Why do I care? I don't have an answer for that, but I was happy to know that deep down, 26 will always be Topsy-Turvy. I told you I was crazy. Maybe I should get out a little more often. I feel like I'm a prisoner in a jail cell and have been there so long I have named all my toes and they've come to life in my head or something. Okay, I'll stop talking now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

St. George

Now that we've been home almost a week, I thought I might write about our trip last weekend! While I was on the trip I kept thinking of all the funny little incidents that I wanted to blog, but now that it's been so long and I have a head cold, that information has departed my puny brain. And my little RAP has been quite a challenge this week. QUITE a challenge. That probably started with the trip, because of course I couldn't keep her from having naps in the car, and that plus the excitement of the trip made her so hard to get to bed. I am really glad I went. I took the kids down on Friday. The rest of the family was coming on Saturday and going back home on Sunday, and I didn't want the kids to do that drive twice in two days. The drive down went pretty well, though it is hard to drive and parent at the same time. I had looked online for a motel that had an indoor swimming pool, and found one on St. George Boulevard. It was kind of an extended-stay deal, and it was pretty slimy. But, it was cheap and had a pool. I went swimming with the kids three times in twelve hours, and they loved it. We got some park time with Peter and Sheri and baby Siena before the hoards arrived, which I was so glad about. Sheri's sister got married that weekend, so her family was totally crazy with wedding stuff plus the blessing on Sunday. They were a little short on time. So Friday afternoon at the park was fun, plus we made the obligatory visit to the Pizza Factory. Can't go to St. George without a visit to the Pizza Factory! I have to share my favorite park moment - though you'll think poorly of me because it made me laugh. R was happily climbing all over the playground equipment by herself, and decided to take one of the slides headfirst. At least I think that's what happened - I wasn't looking until I heard her crying. She was sitting at the bottom of the slide with a face-full of wood chips. I've never actually had to pull those things out of one of my kids' noses before. Her mouth and nostrils were pretty packed with them. Luckily the injury wasn't serious and once I had excavated her orifices she was ready to play again. There was also a very good moment at the Pizza Factory. If you've been there you know about their gigantic breadsticks served wrapped around a dowel and standing upright in a pewter mug. We ordered one for each kid and when they arrived their eyes lit up like someone had just handed them the best treat in the world. C went to gnawing on his like corn on the cob, and R took to hers like it was a lollypop. Luckily I brought the camera.



On Saturday morning after another swim, some mediocre "continental breakfeast" and checking out of our very questionable motel, we played at the park some more until my parents arrived with my husband. We met up at Smith's to do some shopping, where R fell asleep on my shoulder as we were shopping. She was so wiped out. Margaret and her girls arrived shortly thereafter and we took off to hang out at my uncle's condo. It was a nice afternoon. We enjoyed some banana cream pie to celebrate my niece's birthday, we talked a lot, we ran around the back yard where R fell and cried for the next three days about her scrape. (That is not an exaggeration, by the way.) Peter and Sheri joined us, and I eventually took C, R and one niece to the dinosaur track museum on the north side of town. Then we all trooped off to dinner and then we crashed Sheri's sister's wedding reception. We heard there was going to be a chocolate fountain and we just couldn't stay away!

Sunday was the blessing, and Peter did a very nice job. Siena is a sweet chunk of a kid who seems really mellow and happy to be alive. We enjoyed some lunch at Sheri's parents' home. They were so nice - after throwing a big old wedding, to have us all over too seemed like it would be too much, but they're so gracious and fun. They aren't that much older than Troy - it's kind of a weird thing. Sheri is the oldest in her family and Peter is the youngest, so there's some funny age things like that. Sheri has siblings that are the same age as Margaret's kids, Troy and Margaret are only like five years younger than Sheri's parents...kind of funny. Anyway, it was a nice trip. We really missed Adam and his family - our entire family hasn't been all together since Peter got married 2 1/2 years ago! I don't think we'll get the chance again until next summer. So, great trip.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Validation

I just got back from St. George and am excited to blog about that adventure, but I'm still trying to locate my floor under the trip-debris. We were gone for three days. That's it, and still, my life has been thrown into total chaos. In the meantime, I had to post a paragraph from a blog that my sister sent me about Toddler sleep issues that I find myself relating to in a serious way.

"As usual, the time change last week completely screwed with the pace of our daily schedule, and by mid-week when I thought we were nearing the end of the transition Leta fell asleep in the car on the way to the grocery store. At 5:30 PM. For those of you who have children I probably don’t need to go into too much detail about what that did to her bedtime, and what that delayed bedtime then did to the mood she was in for the next… oh wait, she’s still upset about it. For those of you who have never had to worry about the sleep schedule of an incorrigible, three-foot-tall shin-kicker, let’s just put it this way: this time change? It’s like running at full-speed on a treadmill while balancing an egg on the end of spoon that you’ve got clutched between your teeth. And if you drop that egg? Everyone dies."

Is it true for you too? Right this moment my extremely volatile 2-year-old is sobbing, hanging on my leg, and letting the flow of boogers run freely down her face. She's been doing this for about two weeks. Solid.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Observations

As R and I were leaving the house the other day, she tripped over the door frame and let out a big, "Oh Crap!" Yeah, I know, all parents get to enjoy listening to our kids repeat things they hear from us. "Oh Crap" isn't the worst thing in the world, and I can be grateful for that! C was next to me one day when I muttered that phrase under my breath and he said, "I heard that, Mommy. I hear everything you whisper." Now that scared me.

Today was one of those jam-packed days - C had a friend over in the morning and then we went straight to school at lunchtime. During school I took R on about five errands, and she hung in there pretty well. Then immediately after school the three of us headed up to Bountiful to Misty's house. She had gotten the two of us tickets to hear Shannon Hale speak. I dumped the kids off at her house with a babysitter, sure that R would panic and completely wig out, but she did well. I enjoyed hearing from Shannon - she's funny and clever, which you can tell from her books. The event was slightly unorganized, but still fun. I sneaked out early to relieve the sitter while Misty attempted to get our books signed. I was really happy that my kids are so comfortable and happy there, just like I am! And THEN after that we went straight to my sister's house. She offered to watch C and R while Troy and I went to a wedding reception, and then she wanted me to try to teach her kids how to knit. By the time that last activity started it was after 8:00 and we were all near tears, so despite the deep sadness of the girls we abandoned the effort. We'll try again soon. After that we finally came home to a very messy house. I'm leaving with the kids in the morning to go to St. George to see Peter and Sheri and their new baby, so I had much to do. I didn't start reading to the kids until 10:00. C was trying so hard to listen to the story - I kept turning my head to see him trying desperately to keep his eyes open and failing. Finally he started crying with frustration. I asked what was wrong and he tearfully told me that he couldn't see anything. I told him that was because his eyes were closed. He said, "I know! They don't work at all!" His little eyes were closed for this whole conversation - it was pretty funny.

So now I am being crazy and blogging when I should either be sleeping or getting ready for the trip...I can't help it. I think I'll go to bed. The kids will sleep in and I'll get ready in the morning, I suppose!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Finer Things

Anyone see "The Office" this week? Apparently we have a little "Finer Things" club going on at our house as well. This Sunday afternoon I've been trying to keep the kids busy so they don't fall asleep on their faces on the living room floor, which has been known to happen. So I let them help me make pizza dough in the kitchen. Afterward, C spotted one of our spoons from the plastic tea set, and asked if we could have a tea party. He LOVES having tea parties. We pulled out the cups and plates and set it all up on the table. I had been listening to NPR, but the voices in the background got kind of drone-y (not a word, I know) so I switched to classical 89 and now there's a lovely Mozart piano-violin duet going on. Very high class, you know. And there's C, daintily pouring chamomile tea into his little cup, adding cream and sugar and sipping away. Then Troy walks in, comments on the tea party going on and Chase replied,
"Yes, would you join us?"
Troy and I immediately had to purse our lips to keep from laughing. Oh, he's refined, I tell you. Troy graciously accepted and C fixed him up a cup as well. I'm sure part of the reason C loves the tea parties is the sugar bowl, but I make him fill up his cup almost to the top before he adds the cream and sugar, and he can't have more until he finishes the whole cup of tea. I think it's probably a good way to keep him hydrated.

I have to say that I feel pretty strongly about including kids in the kitchen. Frankly, it's a pain in the behind because they spill, they are clumsy, they argue about who's turn it is next...etc. But I know they both love it, and it's so great for them to be such a part of the family.
So although I have to remind myself to be patient, I kind of love letting them get their hands in everything. I just think it's so healthy. When I went to my cousin's house for dinner a couple of weeks ago they had a quote on their fridge that just rang my inner gong. I have no idea who said it, but here it is: "You must sacrifice perfection in order to teach responsibility." Was that it, Monica? Anyway, it rang true to me. The pizza dough may not be perfect, but my kids are learning, and being a part of our family process.

I would have loved to snap a picture, but our camera battery is recharging. Instead, I'm including a picture from a few weeks ago of the kids helping me with bread sticks. Also a picture from about a year and a half ago, when our dear friends the Van De Graaffs invited us (mostly they were inviting C, whom their daughter both babysits and adores) to tea at a little shop downtown.



Friday, November 02, 2007

Many Many Happies


I did a fun thing last night. I was in Bountiful helping out my friend for a bit, and both of us realized that we had occupied husbands for the evening so we decided to hang out at Costco. Perhaps this does not sound like a very exciting field trip to you, but we had a great time. The two of us plus our combined six kids made for quite the gaggle, but she has kids a little older whom C totally adores and follows like a puppy. We ate pizza and hotdogs, and then wandered through the toy section. Usually at Costco I feel like I'm on some sort of mission impossible trying to prevent my kids from even seeing the toys. Sometimes I'll drive them through the isles, but I never just hang out there and let them touch everything they want, which is what we did. The hit of the evening was this giant horse - giant like as tall as my five-year old. R about went berserk. Kids could sit on it and it had battery power to move like a horse. It was quite a trick to remove her peaceably from its back, but we managed it with offers of heading to the free chocolate milk samples.

Anyway, on to the "happies." Our first happy this week was to C - happy fifth birthday! When we got home from our trip on Sunday night, he received his first big gift: a leopard gecko. He's wanted a real lizard for a long time and we got one. It's quite young and small, and very wily, making it hard to hold, but we're hoping to help it learn to be calm eventually. Our friends the Grundvigs have a leopard gecko that's about three times as big as ours, and she's totally mellow. Being C's lizard, we gave him the honor of naming him. First he chose "Polka-Dotty-Dot," but happily he moved on to a much better name: "T-Rex." I think it's pretty cute. The name, I mean. Actually, the lizard's cute too.

On Tuesday we had a birthday party for C. I invited nine kids - many of the kids C plays with also have siblings he plays with too, so there were three sets of siblings. It was kind of crowded in our little house, but the party went great. The kids were invited to wear their costumes, and almost all of them did. Pretty cute! Parties are hard, you know? Last year I made some key mistakes. First of all, I went a little crazy on the decorations - I actually paper mache'ed balloons and painted them like dinosaur eggs - stuff like that. Also I had made the party two hours long which is definitely too long for a little kid party. This year I reeled it in on the decorations and only had the kids for 1 1/2 hours. Also my mother-in-law gave me this book she had when her boys were little - Betty Crocker's Parties for Kids book or something like that. It's from 1964, and is totally awesome. There are like 50 pages of games in there, so I prepared the games a little better and we had a good time. It's funny how kids will get so specific about what they're interested in. C really wanted a "kimodo dragon" party, but I talked him into a general "reptile" theme. I made a snake cake - cute and easy, except that I suck at making frosting. Someone please remind me that I need to follow a recipe, okay? What I made ended up looking like melted green marshmallows. Yuck. But the cake was cute and the kids didn't care.

I was fairly exhausted when it was done but felt good about it. Despite being tired, after the guests left I took the kids to Ratatouille -Troy's on such a groove on the house that I wanted to give him more time sans-kids to work on it. Let it be known that R is not yet ready for the theater. She moaned and cried most of the time because she wanted to go. I was able to distract her with lipstick and gum for a while, and then we got some popcorn, and other that that she kind of either ran around or rolled around on the floor. I know, gross. But C was loving it. This was the first theater experience he's had where he didn't sit there with his hands over his ears. It was a really cute show. Luckily we were sitting in two seats right by the exit.

And then there was Halloween. We had had such a big week with the trip and the birthday that I just thought we should hang out quietly in the morning of the big day. I still maintain that this was a good idea, but the kids did go a little nuts. Finally at 4:30 we garbed up. I had been planning on participating in the holiday - I borrowed this big poofy princess dress from my mom, but I just wasn't feeling it. My inner child did not feel "princessy" in any way. So I bagged it. The kids looked great. C had his pterodactyl costume, and luckily we had a kitty costume for R, so even though her witch costume is still in the mail I didn't have to buy yet another costume for her. Our first stop was Morris & Carol's - they always love to see their grandkids in costume. My sister-in-law Kathleen was there with her two boys, and C ran around the street with them trick-or-treating at every house. I'm so glad they got a chance to do this - it seems as if trick-or-treating (man that's a doozy to type) is becoming a thing of the past. Carol likes to keep count of her trick-or-treaters every year, and this year she only got 9. They used to get 60 or something like that. Anyway, it was really cute to see the boys running so excitedly from house to house. It seems like trick-or-treating is a more honest way of getting loads of free candy. Do you know what I mean? At the trunk-or-treat, which we headed to next, you get so much candy so fast, and the traditional method at least has you walking farther than 100 yards. Anyway. I'm glad that C got the chance. R wasn't too interested, she was feeling shy and buried her head in my shoulder. She didn't emerge until the sun was going down, and suddenly her second-wind kicked in and she went nuts. Running, twirling, jumping, hollering... Here's C at the second trunk-or-treat we went to, put on by a student ward at a building in the avenues. They have a pretty elaborate set-up in the parking lot, plus a "carnival" inside. This is the "mummy wrap" station, which C got a major kick out of. Well, that's all I can think of. We pretty much came home and crashed after that. We're still recovering a little bit. What I can't believe is the HAUL of candy we pulled in - now in a GALLON container on top of the fridge. The kids have already kind of forgotten about it, but I sure haven't!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gonna be a Good Day, oh yeah and I went on a Trip

So I couldn't sleep this morning because I'm throwing CTP his 5th birthday party today and I have so much to do. I just keep thinking and thinking about all I have to get done, plus a few other pressing issues like unreimbursed church receipts and parking tickets and MY BLOG! I lay there thinking that if I didn't get up and blog about our trip to Colorado right now, it wasn't going to happen anytime soon, so here I am blogging in the dark. Of course, C woke up with a wet bed right after I sat down - help me people! How do you get a kid to stop wetting the bed? He doesn't do it very often, but when he does it seems like he does it several times in a week. Of course this happens on the day of his party, plus our washer is still on the back porch and the dryer is unavailable, and it's going to rain today. While the kids and I were gone, Troy worked his little keister off on the laundry "nook" (not quite big enough to be called a room) and it is going to be so awesome - it's so tidy and all the pipes and wires are in one neat little corner, there's a huge pantry above it...it's going to be awesome. It just isn't done yet. Anyway, so now C is in the tub and R is still sleeping and I'm going to try to get a few details down about our trip.

I guess we decided during the summer to take a trip to Boulder to visit Adam and Whitley because we didn't feel like we got enough time with them on their last visit, plus Troy and I have been talking about me getting the kids out of the house for a few days so he could just work like crazy on the construction. I would have liked to visit Peter and Sheri and their wee babe in Monterey, but I didn't think my two kids all over their baby was a good idea yet, not to mention the drive being significantly longer. Anyway, we ended up going on this particular week because Whitley is the activities committee chair in her ward and they had a Halloween party on Saturday. We went to try to help out with the kids and stuff because it was a huge party. I hope we were helpful - we added enough chaos that it may have come out even in the help department, I'm not sure.

Luckily my Mom was coerced into joining us - I don't think I could have driven all that way without a separate adult to help the kids in the car. Poor Mom had just been on a quick trip to Monterey to meet her new granddaughter. She left a week ago Thursday, was home on Monday. We left on Tuesday morning, and the kids did great. We did have a really fun week. Having been back to Boulder only six months ago, I wasn't really there to see all the sights or hang out in town, we just wanted to be with Adam and Whitley. Mostly we just spent time together playing, going to the park, trying to help Whit. We did get in a trip to the Denver Zoo. I was hoping to have recognized something from my youth, but I really didn't. It was a fun zoo, though. We got to trick or treat at Adam's work, plus there was the Halloween party - it was a fun week.

You know, I probably should have blogged daily while I was there because there were a lot of fun things that happened, but now that I'm looking back on the whole week it just seems like a big fun loud messy blur. I would say that the highlights of the trip were RAP finally making friends with her uncle Adam, of whom she has always been very shy. It turns out that Adam is absolutely darling with kids. I kind of knew that already, but watching him with R was charming. On Friday evening one of Whit's friends held a "Witches Night Out" and Mom and Whit and I all dressed as witches and went - it was really fun. Adam totally handled all four kids, putting three to bed easily plus hanging out with R all evening. She had a nap every day of the trip so I didn't get her to bed before midnight a single night. But they just happily hung out, and she totally adores him now. That was fun.

The Witches Night Out was also a highlight, minus the degradation of my very silly costume. I'm definitely going to host one next year if I can - we all dressed up and hung out eating yummy treats and then we told scary or embarrassing stories. I of course told my classic and still super-great embarrassing story of walking on campus at USU with the entire back of my skirt tucked under my backpack. Let me know if you haven't heard it.



Other highlights? Well, Smith and C were kind of a highlight/lowlight situation - they'd play their hearts out together for hours then just totally melt down. Whit and I both got quite frustrated trying to keep them well behaved. I'm afraid my mom saw more than she wanted to of our, uh, firm parenting. I'll just say that by the time Friday night rolled around both Whit and I REALLY needed the night off. I wasn't sure what my mom was thinking until I asked her if she were horrified (both Whit and I had been totally frustrated with our boys because they were screaming and crying and unable to focus on us enough to let us even finish a sentance. I'll admit that voices were raised....) and she replied that she couldn't do anything but laugh. I asked her if she had ever just totally lost it, and she asked if I didn't remember the time we were fighting and she actually climbed up on the table, stood up, grabbed our crayons and THREW them on the floor. I'll admit that I have no memory of this, which is probably good. It might mean that my kids won't remember me losing it either. And it filled my heart with a warm flood of joy knowing that my own mother, so sweet, optimistic, cheerful and loving, lost it enough to actually stand up on the kitchen table to yell at us. I imagine her up there like mighty Zeus, fist raised above her head, clenching not bolts of lightening, but our beloved crayons, her eyes blazing....warm joy, I tell you.

Baby Laine is such a sweet happy baby. She was fun to spend time with. She doesn't have much stranger anxiety. She's also tiny. I mean itty-bitty, but she's trying to learn how to walk. She's only 8 months old, and she scoots and climbs and pulls herself up and is really trying to take a step. Sorry, Whit.

Of course the party was a highlight too - Whit put so much effort into the details. The decorations were so carefully crafted and the food was terrific - she needs to be careful, or they'll never release her. She's too good. Adam dressed up as Nacho Libre and was totally hilarious - I think he won funniest costume. I went as a troll - a costume mom purchased from a SLC theater company. Mom couldn't resist her Halloween fetish and dressed as "Red Death." She had a red cloak with hood, long red gloves and a scary sort of ghoulish face. She wanted me to paint her as the figure in the painting "The Scream" but I talked her down. I wanted our children to not be traumatized. This is an improvement from ten years ago when she wore this costume but also had a skeleton face, skeleton hands, a scythe, and she wore dry-waller stilts so she was about 7 feet tall. My mom has a Halloween problem. I think it's because it's the one day a year she feels that she can misbehave.

We also had a mini-birthday for C, who turned 5 on Sunday. We were leaving that day, but I made a breakfast birthday cake - all the grownups loved it and the boys wouldn't touch it. It must have been too brown without actually being chocolate. It had apples and whole-wheat flour, you see. Too brown. And healthy. He opened some presents and then we packed up and headed out of town. I only left one thing there - one ENTIRE bag full of dirty laundry, including the kids' Halloween costumes. Aren't I brilliant? I think we have some spares for the actual holiday, and I'm very sorry that Whitley has to UPS dirty laundry. That's just the kind of brilliant mind I have.

Well, it's now 10 in the morning, and R should probably get out of her nighttime diaper. I'll be back soon to report on the excited adventures of birthday parties and Halloween!