The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Friday, August 31, 2007

Naughty

This week Troy was getting ready to do the last bit of demo (hopefully) in our construction project, which was tearing down a wall. The wall had been covered in maps and calendars and all sorts of things. We pulled them all down and there was this big empty blank white wall. I decided that this was a perfect opportunity for an art project - I told the kids we were going to be NAUGHTY! and I got out the bucket of markers. Oh yeah. We had so much fun coloring the whole wall. It was quite therapeutic, really, to just scribble our hearts out. The only sad part was that daddy had to tear down our beautiful artwork. By the way, I apologize for the continual nudity - I can not seem to keep my children clothed.






Saturday, August 25, 2007

Due


Matthew. May 5th, the day he was born. Today, August 25th, the day he was not born.

It's been an emotional day. Emotions are most welcome, as his part in my life sometimes feels all too distant. I do think of him daily. Hourly still. Most of the time I feel very normal; lighthearted and happy. Sometimes, though, when I ponder Matthew's part in my life I am able to feel the intensity of emotions that takes my breath away. But there is something in me that doesn't want to go there and so suddenly it kind of shuts down and I feel very removed. I have been wanting these months to write a letter to Matthew or a poem about him and I often start to compose it in my head, but then my all-too capable coping mechanism takes over and I can't feel it. I imagine that I will continue working on this for months to come. It will be okay to have my poem ready a year from now.

Troy and I decided to make the day special by having some quiet time with the kids on the back lawn in the evening to talk about Matthew, write him notes and let some balloons go. RAP didn't really participate, but CTP - oh. He is such a beautiful and tender child. He was pretty amped, which I think is normal for a kid facing intense emotions. He was excited and wiggly and would join Troy and me for a while and then run around, then return again. I asked him if he would like to say anything to Matthew and he so sweetly composed a note to him about missing him and wondering what he looked like, about feeling sad that he wasn't here with us. Troy and I wrote our notes and connected them to our balloons, but CTP kept his, saying it was very special and he put it in his most special place - his dinosaur bucket. The three of us lay side by side on a blanket. We each said a wish for Matthew and let our balloons go into the sky. Troy and I clung to each other a little while we watched them sail away.

May I please express our love and gratitude for our dear friends and family? I have been quite tenderly surprised by a little flurry of support we have recieved this week. THANK YOU for not forgetting us. We have gotten calls and cards and I even had a friend show up on our doorstep with an engraved silver heart with Matthew's name on it - it was a gift from a big group of some of the dearest people I know. You can not imagine how absolutely uplifted I feel by knowing that people remember that we should be welcoming a baby home right now. I deeply love you all.

My favorite moments of the day? First, as I was walking along with the kids I was talking to CTP about the significance of today, and that we were going to do something special tonight to remember Matthew. He replied, somewhat reproachfully, "Mom, I always remember Matthew." Me too, honey. Me too. The other was as the kids and I were in the living room. I was sitting on the floor reading while they were playing and chasing each other around. RAP paused for a moment to approach me - I thought she was going to make a grab for my book or express a need of some kind. But she just pushed my arms open to get close to me, snuggle in and nuzzle me for a moment of quiet before scampering off again. How grateful I am that she finds a home-base in me, that she will stop at my door to center herself. It only lasted a second but meant everything to me on this milestone day. Milestone. I don't want to hurry farther and farther away from May 5th, but these big days do come. And they go. And I am another step farther in my overwhelming gratitude for life and the lessons it brings, and the connections it makes.

Though my own poetry seems stuck at the moment, I did read a poem that, though the situation is not exactly ours, expresses so beautifully the experience of Matthew. Here it is.


To Glenda

Small as a jewel box is your little casket,
And you, as my smallest jewel,
Are treasured up to God within it.

I did not give you willingly,
Nor did he snatch you from me.
I rather think the choosing was your own.
Or, perhaps we three had planned together
In some other world,
That you would come and make this hasty call,
Then hurry on,

That you might light the lanterns on the way
So I could find the footing.
But I have forgotten. I think you, too,
Forgot for one brief day -
You tried so hard -
But God remembered;
And then you left me.

I took a comfort in the little clothes
I made so tenderly.
The little petticoat, the dress,
The dainty lace,
The little bonnet
That frames your tiny face.
Your eyes are closed,
And mine are dimmed with tears.
But maybe you can see with better eyes
And know I love you.

All the dreams we dreamed together,
While you were one with me -
These can wait.
I do not count them wasted.
Nor the drops of fresh warm milk
That fall unbidden from my aching breasts,
Like beads of pearl unstrung about your neck,
And caught by your fixed fingers.
These one day
Will be distilled as manna.
This milk that you never tasted will satiate your soul,
And life will be fulfilled.

Go then, my little jewel.
Go back to God.
Tell him I feel no bitterness at all.
With my own hands I offer you.
I have a treasure laid up in heaven.
And where my treasure lies,
My heart will follow.
You are my surety laid up with God.
And I will come to you.
I will, I will.

- Ora Pate Stewart

Thursday, August 23, 2007

'Bout Birthday-ed Out

So, Happy Birthday to all you 8/21sters out there. I'm about done with birthdays for a while. Of course, RAP's is the first in a long string of birthdays on my side of the family - three nieces, one nephew, two siblings, and my son. Not to mention Halloween, which leads to Thanksgiving, which leads to....Christmas. I feel like we're almost there already.

We did have a very nice party for RAP. It was at my folk's house, in their fantastic back yard. I really didn't want to have a big stressful party, and it worked out great. Mom had seen some ladybug party supplies in a cataloge, so we had a pinata and ladybug bubbles and candles. I invited my sister and her three daughters and my friend Becky who brought two of her kids. This gaggle of kids played so well together that they just spent the evening romping, swinging, chasing, etc.

RAP was a little overwhelmed by it all, and only opened one gift, much to the disappointment of my neice. But she got into the birthday song singing and blowing out of candles. I felt I had to made a ladybug cake - it worked out okay. Luckily it tasted better than it looked. It was a lovely creamy lemon cake. All you had to do was scrape off all the sprinkles and it was great.



I'm just so grateful for a lovely family - sitting in the warm summer evening, chatting with dear friends and watching kids playing. We were even blessed by the attendance of a deer and two fawns who live in the hollow - they came right down the hillside and munched leaves only 20 feet away from us.

Worth Mentioning

Here are some comments made of late that I think are blogworthy.

1. At RAP's Preslar-side birthday party, on Sunday, she recieved a couple of Fisher-Price "Little People" circus toys, and her cute 5-year-old cousin asked his mommy, "Is she rich in circus?"

2. CTP and Troy were lying on CTP's bed, snuggling a little after some pre-sleep stories. They were looking at the plaster texture on the ceiling, finding shapes as you would do while looking at clouds. CTP's first find, he enthusiastically announced, was a "gorgonopsid" face. When Troy told me this, I thought CTP had made it up, but no, it's actually an Paleozoic (think pre-dinosaur) reptilian/mammalian animal. The next thing he saw was a reticulated python. I would imagine finding bunnies and sailboats in the clouds, but not our boy.

3. Little RAP is in a bad pattern lately - she has been getting up early, thus requiring a nap, thus staying up until midnight, and then waking up again very early. This wouldn't be so bad except that she has been so grouchy she's almost intolerable. For example, on her birthday she woke up crying and saying, "I not a good girl!" Yeah, I know it. She was so crabby that while Troy and I were lying in bed (her crib is next to our bed) Troy asked her if she was the devil, and where was her trident? RAP replied, "It's behind my bed!" Oh - well, maybe we should get that removed.

4. Caution: private parts mentioned here. The other day I invited my friend Emily and her three boys over for some afternoon swimming. I could not convince RAP to put on a suit - she just wouldn't do it. I asked Emily if she would mind a naked little girl running around. Emily didn't mind, but cautioned me that there might be some strange looks from her boys. Indeed, just at that moment, her 3-year-old, who was sitting by us, took one look at RAP and got a very quizzical and studious expression on his face, which sent Emily and me into a burst of laughing. Well, Emily reported later on that her 7-year-old was asking what was wrong with RAP and where her "pee-pee" was. Before she came up with an answer, her 3-year-old told all about it - he had it figured out right away. Using his universal 'him' pronoun, he said totally casually, "Oh, him's pee-pee is in him's bellybutton." It's true, RAP has the most outie bellybutton you'll ever see. I do not, however, think there is a "pee-pee" in there.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bushed

It's official. I'm exhausted. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the stars allign in just the right way, pointing to one day on which all events will happen? Perhaps you are all just better planners than I am, but some days just seem to be heaped. This particular day only had two major events, but being bookended by two birthday parties is perhaps adding to the feeling. You may remember that I taught RAP a lot of sign language as a babe, and we used the video series "Signing Time" to help out. The "signing time lady, " a.k.a. Rachel Coleman, is much loved at our house, and I found out that she would be performing today at Hogle Zoo. I faithfully put it in our calendar several weeks ago and we've been looking forward to it ever since. In the meantime, my good friend Emily, mother of three beautiful boys, wanted to celebrate the end of summer with some big outing days and invited us along. I love being invited along! This afternoon was the only day and time that worked for us to spend some hours together at Discovery Gateway, the children's museum in the Gateway shopping center. So the day went like this:

1. Hurry and wake up the kids, get dressed, shove food in their faces and drive to the zoo, just in time to wait in line for 40 minutes to see the Signing Time show. (Pictured is the line stretching behind us another 200 or so people. Wow!)
2. Enjoy the show but leave early to get CTP to school on time, stopping along the way for fast food to get something in his tummy. I did, just so you know, bring an apple and a granola bar, both of which were rejected. (I must attempt to appear like a responsible mother.)
3. Drop CTP off at school (only 7 minutes late - pretty good!) and then do errands quickly before RAP fell asleep.
4. Come home, get stuff done as fast as I could for two hours before waking up RAP to go get CTP.
5. Hurry home, stuff more food in my kids' faces, and head off to the museum, where we then spent almost four hours playing and having a total ball.
6. Come home and crash. Of course, RAP had a nap, so she was up until midnight.

Sometimes, after slapping myself, I wonder why I do it. We did manage to carry out the day without too many incidents, but it's really asking so much of my kids to survive (and behave well) on a day like this. When I think about it, though, I wouldn't have skipped any of it. The Signing Time show was really fun - R and C were so thrilled to see Rachel and the kids from the show. And we haven't had so much fun at the children's museum for months. So is it worth it? I think probably, in the long run, the kids will remember the things we got out to see and do, and hopefully won't remember feeling super rushed or exhausted by it. Even showing RAP the pictures this evening from the day's events she was all excited again. So, though I feel pretty wiped out, and I hope to keep our schedule a little more evenly spread, I think it was worth it.


Here's CTP, who found a long-lost friend from his preschool class, last year. I loved watching them running around holding hands.




Birthday, Take I

Tomorrow is RAP's 2nd birthday. She is joined in birthday bliss by many beloved friends - CTP's friend Brandon, L of Seattle, twin daughters of a friend of mine, among others. It's a very popular day to be born, apparently. And the lucky girl gets two parties this year - one thrown by each pair of grandparents. Last night was the Preslar side - and it really was a very fun evening. We were joined at Grandma and Grandpa's by Troy's next older brother Sam, his wife Kathleen and their two boys. RAP took one look at Uncle Sam and pronounced him "very scary." It took Sam most of the evening to win her affections, but by the end he managed it. Sam is so cute with kids - CTP romped with him all night long. Here they are enjoying cloud formations together:


We enjoyed dinner, presents and of course cake and ice cream:



And I didn't mention the pony rides!



I think it was a good warm-up for the next round.

A Sunday to Love

You're not going to believe this, but I'm not being sarcastic. I really had a great Sunday yesterday. I guess I just really enjoyed my kids being themselves. Here is what I loved yesterday:

1. CTP having his turn to say the prayer in primary. I tried to prepare him for it, and Troy and I even attended opening exercises to be there for him. I just loved the little blond crown of his head as he buried his face in his arms on the child-sized pulpit. He did not muster the gumption to actually say the prayer, but he decided he would be okay to give a talk next week. We'll see how that goes.

2. Watching as we took our seats on a lengthy pew for sacrament meeting. I just can't believe that we are able to so thoroughly spread the usual clutter of snacks, crumbs, water bottles, wrappers, books, clothing, toys, and shoes across the entire bench within the first 5 minutes. Luckily we have that handy closing song, otherwise known as "the cleanup song." It doesn't sound very humorous, but once in a while you just have to appreciate what your kids are really capable of in terms of mess.

3. Little RAP getting ready to partake of the sacrament and happily crowing, "I love the snackament!"

4. RAP singing hymns. She held the book carefully open to a page and sang, "Old MacDonald." I wasn't aware that that was in the hymnbook, but according to my daughter it's very uplifting.

Sundays are not an easy day with small children. Yesterday, however, I think I was given the gift of appreciating their little souls. I need that from time to time, you know?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Getting Behind

We've had a busy week. I have to say, I'm so tired at the moment that I'm not sure I'll be very coherent as I write. If I don't get a few things posted, however, the giant week ahead will sweep by and then I'll be swamped.

I. Lizard Sitting:


This is a leopard gecko by the name of Lizzie. Lizzie belongs to the children of my friend Terri Lyn, and we have had the pleasure of her company for an entire week now as TL and her family have been visiting her home town of Seattle. (She might have cruised your house, Durham-friends...) Lizzie is well-mannered, easily held, and most importantly, non-stinky. I don't enjoy grabbing the meal worms she dines upon, but it could be worse. CTP wants a lizard for his upcoming 5th birthday and his excitement over Lizzie's visit was of such a magnitude initially that I was pretty sure I couldn't manage a full-time reptile. He talked of little else and wondered aloud such ponderings as, "What is Lizzie doing now? What about now? What position is she in now? How does she sleep? Can I feed her my sandwich? Does she like me?" in such a barrage that I got very near to going crazy. He's settled down now, and I'm frankly a little fond of Lizzie. Perhaps there is a leopard gecko in our future. We shall see.

II. A Last Burst of Summer:


We seem to have had a last burst of high summer heat this week. I'm hoping that it is the last - the forecast shows low 90's for the next week, and my hunch is that we've seen the last of the upper 90's and 100's. We gave our pool one last hurrah. My nieces were here for a bit, and the youngest, MG, celebrated by doing CTP's hair. It looks wet in this picture, but the shine was the result of the extra coats of hair gel. CTP was very proud of his new coif and demonstrated its pointy-ness to anyone who would listen.

III. Messy = Happy:



I don't think this photo does justice to the amount of ice cream plastering my kids. I had to take a scrub brush to the car seats, where the ice cream was consumed. Perhaps giving my kids ice cream in the car on a 100 degree day was not the best idea, but when you pass a Nielsen's Frozen Custard you just gotta stop.


IV. Dino Display:



Troy indulged in some time on Saturday morning to do something he's wanted to for a long time: find out exactly how too-far we've gone in the dinosaur department. Actually, it doesn't look as bad as I thought it would. This is a display of nearly every dinosaur Chase owns. It looks more impressive when they're all crammed into one gigantic plastic storage bin, but I think you get an idea of the magnitude.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Favorite RAPisms


Let's play a little matching game. Here are some of RAP's vocabulary words, and below them are the translations. Can you match them up?

Painpake
Scumskeen
Hadeyoo
Packpack
Boppin (my personal favorite: "My boppin hurts!")
Let's do ginAgain!

Bottom
Backpack
Pancake
Let's do that again!
Please hold me
Sunscreen

And my favorite quote of the day, "I'm not beautiful, I'm cute!"

Noted.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sheepish

Well, I have to own up to it. I went out and bought the third book in the Twilight series today...you know, those young-love, vampire/werewolf teen adventure romances. I couldn't help myself. My friend Misty recommended the first two books to me a few months ago, and when I got them I became a non-existent mom for three solid days while I inhaled them. I've been waiting ever since for the third in the series of four to be released, which it was just today. I dropped the kids off at their various appointments (school and playtime with auntie Margaret) and headed for Barnes & Noble, where the book was completely sold out. By 11 a.m. Oh good. I'm not the only pathetic person in the city. What's really funny is that although I thoroughly enjoyed reading these books I pretended that I would never be so crass as to spend my time on something so purely...whatever. As it turns out every woman in the free world is secretly devouring these books. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had about Twilight in the past three months. It's an epidemic. To quote the Simpsons, (Homer referring to all the adults reading children's fantasy novels,) "Poor broken lonely grownups!" I had to laugh as I watched women leaving the bookstore with two and three copies of the books in their arms, dragging crying toddlers behind them, a gleam of anticipation and hunger on their faces. There will be many neglected children today. Luckily there was still a pile of them at the King's English, where I was somewhat horrified as the woman ringing me up exclaimed, "Oh! Don't forget your free tattoos!" Yes, the book comes with a sheet of curli-que tattoos boasting slogans like "I love Edward" on them. (If you don't know who Edward is, you're either a male or ...I don't know, live on another planet or something.) (Or maybe you just have a life.) I replied, "I feel a little silly taking these." The seller assured me that nearly every book she had sold that day was to a woman in at least her 30's. Great. Somehow Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series (and BYU graduate) has hit a nerve and we've all been sucked (no pun intended) into her story. I think that she pretty much put on paper her deepest fantasy, and we're all enjoying the ride. See you in a few days. If you're one of the three people I know who haven't read these books, well, get on it!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Another Tuba!

On Saturday night, Troy and I were sitting comfortably on the couch while RAP played on the floor. CTP was at the back of the house playing on the computer - a "Little Einsteins" game in which his goal was to collect musical instruments or something. We heard him running towards us at a full sprint and just as he came into view through the doorway, he uttered an, "ugh!" as he tripped, flying though the air to land on his stomach, sliding forward several inches from the momentum of the launch. It was rather dramatic. We held our breaths, waiting for the crying to start, but he paused, looked up and, with delight on his face, said, "Another Tuba!" We calmly praised him for his computer-game success. As soon as he pattered back to the computer we both burst out laughing. At least we allowed him his dignity, right?

Today is only 90 degrees instead of 100 - I can't describe how pleasant it is out there. The kids are out in the mud patch once again, and I'm so proud of RAP. She's actually getting in and getting quite dirty. At the moment she's actually standing, in her diaper, in a big bucket of water. Earlier in the summer she wouldn't let herself get dirty. This is a very big step! Of course, this morning she cried for quite a while over her clothing and changed her dress three times. Troy will wonder where on earth she picked up this behavior. Come visit me on a Sunday morning and you'll find out.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer Happenings

What a pace! The summer is flying by. I'm so proud of myself for enjoying the summer and filling our days with outings and plans. As a result, time is in warp speed and suddenly CTP starts school next week. I'm in shock. I didn't realize that the school where his Pre-K class is is a year-round school. Frankly, I'm not ready for summer to come to a close just yet. I know we have plenty of heat left, just not the empty care-free days. I know this will probably be a good thing that I'll get used to, but for the moment I'm very sad to be losing my buddy for three hours a day, four days a week.

Anyway, time is rushing so fast that I haven't gotten a chance to keep up with the many events of July...

Event I: Grandpa's 70th Birthday
Grandpa Morris (Troy's dad) had quite the shin-dig in his back yard for his 70th. We brought our inflatable pool, and the grandkids had a ball (see photo of leaping nephew Curtis). There were six kids leaping in and out of that thing for two hours. After dinner I looked in a the water and decided that a swamp had sprung up - I've never seen such filthy water. In my mind filth is a sign of good times. Morris and Carol's neighbors, the Canfields, who I might have to adopt, hauled over a grill and made some seriously great steaks. Morris got an RC airplane from his wife - good job, Carol!


Event II: Pioneer Day
Again, Becky saved the day by providing the holiday activity for us. We enjoyed the afternoon at her house eating good food and watching the annual Butlerville Days Parade - it's a pretty good one. Although, I have to wonder why the police cars and fire engines feel it's a good idea to honk their super loud horns while the street is packed with young children. I also enjoyed being pelted with salt-water taffy - some of those kids on the floats had pretty good arms and pretty good aim. Ouch. I had to laugh as I watched myself push my kids to pick up as much candy as possible out of the gutters where it had landed. Isn't this usually something I would discourage? But there we all were, urging our kids to scoop it up. And eat it.


Event III: Harry Potter
Who am I kidding? It should be event #1, don't you think? I gobbled this book up in two days fearing that someone would read it faster and then spoil the ending for me. It turned out that everyone else I knew took at least a couple more days than I did to finish and I was in agony with no one to discuss it with. I won't say more, but if you'd like to discuss, call me. Sigh. I love that Harry Potter. What I'm happy about is that CTP is starting to listen to me read chapter books. This is a joy to my heart. I have the fondest memories of my mother reading books to us at bedtime or in the car on trips, and I've been waiting my whole life to start reading to my own child. This month we've read Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat and Fantastic Mr. Fox by Rhoad Dahl. It's so fun to hear him be as excited about these stories as I was. We're probably not ready for Harry just yet....

Event IV: Zoo After Dark
Last Monday we had this HUGE day - a trip to the library in the morning, a boisterous lunch with friends at Laird Park, swimming with cousin Smith and Oma...you'd think that would be enough, right? But of course the stars were all aligned perfectly for everything to happen on the same day, and it was the night that I had registered for us to attend a "Zoo After Dark" tour. I guess I thought that it was kind of free wandering around for three hours, but it was actually a specially guided tour. And as luck would have it, only one other family signed up for that night. So there were two darling zoo keepers, Katie and Maggie, who gave us a very personal tour complete with some animal interaction. I think three hours was perhaps a bit long for us (luckily RAP had taken a nap - 20 minutes seem to be enough to keep her going until midnight - no kidding) but we really enjoyed the cool quiet zoo.



This picture is hard to see - it's the cougar looking very longingly at Chase. I think I might have seen it lick its lips, even...

Event(s) V: Hooray for Friends!
Hooray for our friend Steve, who delivered his own baby on their bathroom floor last week - and hooray for his wife Mary who had to be the laboring deliveree... Hooray for my friend Kathryn Hart, cousin and dear friend from my mission who I visited today after a couple years. I love those friends that you can see only periodically and yet you are so yourself with them, and always have been, that it makes no difference how often you see them. Our boys played so well - they just took off and heartily played. The didn't surface for hours. Success! Our girls, who are so similar in temperament it's almost scary, also did pretty well. They even said their pouty little "no!"s in exactly the same way, sometimes at exactly the same time. And hooray for the Durhams who came to see me for an hour even though their time was tight as they were visiting in SLC. Thanks friends. I could use a little more time with you - only a month or so - would that be okay?