The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Friday, March 28, 2008

Feeling Like an Idiot

I just read this book. It's called "Someday My Prince Will Come," by Jerramy Fine. It was kinda fun, I have to admit that it kept me reading. However, it also kinda drove me crazy. This is not a novel, it's the memoir of a woman just a few years younger than myself who was raised by a set of very bohemian parents in Colorado, but she was totally obsessed with England, royalty, and marrying a prince. It definitely had its charming moments, ...well, here's the review I wrote about it on my goodreads page:

"It's hard to know what to say about this book. The author definitely has a fun writing style that keeps you turning pages, and in some ways I sympathized with her plight because it was so real to her. And in other ways I wanted to slap her silly and ask her what her problem was. She came off as being pretty obsessive, slutty, alcoholic, psycho and a credit card maniac. Two hundred thousand dollars in debt? Get a hold of yourself! Also, her parents were the target of much sarcastic humor that began to feel cruel to me. She gave them a little credit in the end, thankfully. Her big statement at the conclusion of the book about everything she had learned was full of things that I felt were obvious from the beginning, that any rational creature might already have been aware of and that I was internally screaming at her throughout the book. Now that I've trashed the book I must say that I did get caught up in her story and that I have some interest England myself, so it had its good points. I loved her footnotes."

I reread my comments several times before I posted them to make sure they were really how I felt, and they really are how I feel. However, this morning I received an email letting me know that I had a message from Jerramy Fine waiting for me in my goodreads account. Gulp. I guess when I so flippantly shredded her I wasn't expecting her to read my comments and then write back. Here's what she had to say:

790311 Hi Rachel,
Just letting you know that my debt was 95% higher-education-related! Overseas masters degrees cost a lot - especially when combined with four years of a private US university that my parents couldn't afford to fund on my behalf. Luckily, the American government gave me loans for the full amount of both schools - but sadly 200K is how much debt I racked up for the sake of a good education. I have many friends with MBA and law degrees that are in similar (or worse) financial positions.
Royally yours,

Yeah, I'm feeling like a jerk. I have to admit that I known the actual author would be reading I probably would have used words like "boy crazy" instead of "slutty," "sure drinks a lot" rather than "alcoholic"....and would have left out the "psycho" all together. I get a little passionate with my opinions sometimes and throw words out that are probably stronger than I mean them to be,. Sometimes I think I'm being funny. I'm sure it's kind of hard to have your very first book be a memoir of yourself and just lay yourself out there like that, and then get trashed. At the same time, I still stand by my feelings. She did choose a very expensive graduate school in London just because it was in London. I am certainly a little star struck. Why am I suddenly wanting to make a good impression on her? So I need a verdict - do I write a note back to her saying sorry I'm a jerk? Am I a jerk? Do I really want you to answer that?

Other random notes from the week:

Bitty has returned! Yesterday was the first day in over a week that Bitty was more herself. It was a wonderful day. She was happy, playful, silly and chatty. What a relief. She had been so miserable for so many days that we were all a little miserable. Of course, I think she's still got an ear infection, but if you think I'm going back for more antibiotics, well, I'm not. She said something kind of cute yesterday - she saw a square of light on the floor of the otherwise dim kitchen and said, "Look, a good-morning shadow!" She calls all things light "good morning" and all things dark "good night." When she wants the lights on she asks for good morning time. If she wants to get out of bed she insists that it is good morning time. Kinda cute, I think.

Stomper has been a real trooper this week as I've been so preoccupied with his sister. My favorites of his activities of the week have been him hiding all his remaining Easter candy behind the closet door in his bedroom, "to store it for the winter," as he told me. Of course, every time he came out of his room he seemed to be chewing and drooling strands of brown, so I don't think it will make it all the way to next winter. Luckily there wasn't much back there or I might have had to do something alarming like set limits or use parenting skills. I think three mini snickers won't do much harm. Also, he's been so sweet at bedtime. When I worked up at Brighton LDS Girl's Camp there was (and certainly still is) a song that the staff sings together every night to say goodnight. It's called Shadows Creep - when you're ready to sing it you say, "Let's creep!" Well, Stomper loves that song and this whole week has asked me to sing it. He says that he can't go to sleep unless I sing it, and has even said, "Mom, if you're ready for me to go to sleep then you should sing Shadows Creep." When I start singing it he instantly shuts his eyes and composes his face into the most peaceful state he can. It warms my heart. I'm a little tempted to start singing it at 7:15 tonight.

And one final note: any of you ever buy your kids Polly Pockets? Who...WHO decided that those little tiny dollies needed their own shoes? Shoes that are less than a centimeter in length? And what possessed me to be one of those purchasers? I had to ask this question as I found myself on my hands and needs, my cheek pressed to my living room floor frantically searching for the minuscule object as my daughter trailed behind me, weeping. Could the shoe in question at least been one of the pink ones? No, it was, of course, Cinderella's glass slipper, so it was a clear object less than one centimeter long and only a couple of millimeters wide I was searching for. Just so you know, I did find it, and now all the polly pockets are locked safely in their little box and are on the top shelf. Now that's logic for you.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Viewer Discretion Advised

You know you've got something good going on when your Pediatrician walks into your exam room, stops, stares at your child and says, "Oh. My. Gosh." But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Easter weekend! Yippeeee, right? Well, some of the time yes and some of the time, not so much. Let's go with the good parts first.

Dying eggs on Saturday afternoon was fun. And of course quite messy. Bitty found that she loves the taste of vinegar and spent most of the egg-dying frenzy dunking her fingers into the various dyes and then sucking on them. She eventually moved on to sucking the eggs themselves. I did try to stop her, seeing as who KNOWS what is in those little pellets of color, but I was kind of laughing too hard. I always picture a project like this and imagine it being a really terrific activity, taking a nice long time, bringing out the creativity in my children, making close family memories... What really happens is the kids are so anxious to dye the eggs they're practically throwing them into the cups of dye with such force that the eggs are cracking (eggs that I forgot about while boiling, and thus cooked them for over half an hour...yum!) and then yanking them out so fast that they're barely pastel. At least that way they can re-dye them five minutes later when they're all done and want more eggs.

Another super enjoyable Saturday afternoon activity for us was doing a little bike riding at the playground around the corner from our house. I have such great memories as a kid of my parents teaching me how to ride my little yellow bike, and later taking off with my siblings through the country roads of our little neighborhood. Our house is on a pretty busy street surrounded by two other busy streets, so I don't see myself ever letting the kids just take off on their bikes. I don't know, maybe when they're older. Anyway, we've never put a lot of emphasis on bike riding, we've never gotten the kids tricycles, and suddenly Stomper is getting big! We've obtained two nice little bikes from friendly neighbors and Troy got them all cleaned up and fitted with training wheels and sized just right for the kids. I have to say, my heart filled with joy watching the two of them pedal around. I'm looking forward to many biking outings this spring and summer. Oh yeah, and we need to get some helmets, I know.

It was after that the fun really began. Bitty has been struggling with ear infections. Last month we tried the regular old pink amoxicillan. The infection was back after a couple of weeks. So last week we started on the next step up, Augmentin. Let it be known, my child is not compatible with this drug. Saturday afternoon I noticed a couple of red spots on her legs and thought, hmmmmm. I called my trusty advisor in all things, Becky, and we decided that it would be fine to wait until the morning to see what was up. What was up was a major reaction to the medication. I noticed spots all over her neck when she woke up, called the doc, who of course recommended that we stop the antibiotic. Sure, no big deal, here's some benadryl. Well, then I went to change her out of her jammies, took one look at her spotted, inflamed little body and just about fainted. Luckily her breathing was fine, but yikes. That was scary. So, we continued on with the benadryl. Well, Sunday night the itchies started. Wow. No sleep for Bitty or Bitty's mommy. I felt so bad for her. (And for me.) Of course she was crying about her ears again, she totally had a blazing fever, and she was just miserable.

Our little pediatric clinic opens at 8:00 and I was on the phone at 8:01. Yes, hello, I need an appointment RIGHT NOW. Dr. George was the one who walked in and stopped in his tracks when he saw her. Here's where your viewer discretion is advised. I had to take a couple of pictures to always remember poor Bitty and her journey into the realm of the truly miserable. Just so you know, she was fine - I was a little afraid that we had a trip to Primary Children's in our future, but alarmist that I am, of course I thought that. She's fine, and is, right now, sleeping soundly and has much less of a resemblance to a leopard.

Here she is in the car as we were picking up the new medication from the local pharmacy.

Here we are after the apointment getting in a dry diaper. Poor baby!

It has taken the past two days for her to really start feeling better, but thankfully she slept last night, and is sleeping now, so hopefully we're recovering. Oh yeah, I forgot about Easter. It kind of got overshadowed by the whole "I think my kid is gonna die!!!!" thing but it was nice. The kids each got a nice little gift, plus we had dinner with both sets of grandparents and a little egg hunt. Nice, yeah, but I'm kind of glad that weekend is slipping into the past.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Snowmen at Night

Are you familiar with this fantastic children's book? It's a favorite at our house. And it sort of came to life for us. Here's the snowman Troy and the kids put together on our snowy Saturday night:

And here it is the next afternoon:

What did that snowman do at night? It must have been doing the limbo. It certainly looks a little worse for the wear, anyway. We put green water in the spray bottle so Stomper could color the snowman green (and work on his fine-motor skills at the same time, unbeknownst to him...) but I'm not sure what he was up to by impaling the snowman on a watering can. I'm so glad the kids are starting to play more outside, despite the chilly temperatures. This household is in need of some fresh air!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Things I Want to Remember

I'm sitting here, this Saturday evening, watching my family have a snowball fight on the back porch. In the usual style of SLC, we've had a taste of spring, some warmth in the air to make us hungry for outings to the park and flopping on the grass, and now it's snowing. Pretty hard, actually, and my kids are loving it. Once again I've gotten behind in all the things I've wanted to post, and as I watched the kids and Troy spontaneously start a snowball fight with gleeful shouts I saw that one of those magical moments happening right before my eyes. It made me think that I could just sum up this week in a list of everything I wanted to remember.

Thing One: Week of Cakes.

I really love making cakes. Big tall beautiful towers covered in luscious frosting. Of course, my towers never fail to lean to one side. I'm still working towards perfection. And I had many chances to practice this week. On Monday we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday with a massive yellow cake with traditional chocolate frosting. It was the most crooked of the whole week, I think, but it sure was tasty. (A quick note: Troy and the kids have now rolled together a snowball that is taller than Bitty. Bitty is wearing slippers. I'm expecting tears at any moment due to cold feet, but so far she's just screaming with delight.) Then on Tuesday was our big Relief Society Birthday Party - and of course I'm on the food committee. It was actually my idea to have a beautiful table just filled with cakes and thus it became my job to make the cakes. I only made three of the five, and they all turned out nicely. A three-tiered lemon just dripping with creamy glaze, a gooey coconut that soaked up the sour cream frosting for three days before being served, and a dark chocolate with a fluffy whipped cream layer in the middle, ganache on top, and capped with a heap of strawberries. That one went first. I was so happy with how they turned out, and I won't tell which two came very near to being total disasters that were saved at the last minute due to some serendipitous ingredients in my fridge. THEN on Wednesday Troy's coworker Steve had a birthday. We were invited to a surprise dinner for him and as I was talking to his wife on the phone I heard these words come out of my mouth: "Can I bring a cake?" Huh. Well, luckily I still had everything I needed for one more cake, and I must say it was also a tasty treat. And now I don't need to eat cake again for a year. Except I did one more time on Friday night, but that's another story. At least I didn't make that one.

Thing Two: I made a great hat for Stomper.

Of course, I couldn't get a very good picture of it because he was being so silly, but I was very happy with the hat. (Another quick note: the giant snowball is now a full three-ball-high snowman, taller than Troy, and has a carrot nose and craisin eyes and mouth. I'm very impressed and enjoying my family's spontaneity, not that I'm taking part in it.) Anyway, here's the hat:

Knitting is becoming my happy place. That is, it's my happy place when it's not my frustrated, throw a huge tantrum, fling myself on the floor and cry place.

Thing Three: Bitty loves Shoes

Bitty got a box of dress-ups for Christmas that contains one pair of shoes. Big pink plastic shoes with a hideous flower on them, and she loves them. Well, now that she's starting to have play dates it's become abundantly clear that we need more than one pair. My sweet friend Elaine had an extra dollar-store pair at home and brought them over. They're almost worse than the first ones - pink fake snake skin. Gorgeous. Bitty was so thrilled that of course she wore them for the rest of the day, and even fell asleep with one cradled in her arms. I myself have never found hard plastic objects to be especially cuddly, but hey, who am I to deny a two year old of anything that will help her go to sleep happily?

Well, we now have a huge snowman in the back yard, which I will take a picture of later. The snow adventure did indeed end in tears for Bitty who's feet finally got cold through her slip-on-slippers, but other than that I think the evening was a pleasant one.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Help Me Out Here

Okay people. Help me out. Help me understand my child. Bitty is killing me. Yesterday, she had a nap on the way home from a long drive, which we know is the equivalent of having a completely nocturnal child. She went to bed after 11:00, which is better than it has been in the past. Does she sleep in this morning? Of course not, she's awake before 7:00, maybe even 6:30. So, I keep her up all day. She does snooze for literally 10 minutes on the way to a friend's house, but I quickly wake her up. 10 minutes, people. Does this count as a nap? To her, apparently it does, because tonight, at 10:00 when she had expressed her 1,845,973rd desire for me to do something for her, she was still in a perfectly energetic and chipper mood. You know, I adore my daughter, but 15 hours of her undivided company got to be a little much. Aren't kids supposed to need a lot of sleep? And now, I'm sitting here exhausted, basically typing with my eyes closed because I just need a few more moments of time without anyone asking me for anything.

Ah, motherhood. Goodnight.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

March 3, Day of Heros

Okay, bad title, but it's quarter past 11:00 already and I'm not in my clearest frame of mind. I couldn't let another day go by without recording the fact that yesterday was Troy's birthday. I am only a day late in wishing him a bloggful happy birthday. Luckily we did celebrate in person on his actual birthday. We also found out that yesterday was the birthday of Alexander Graham Bell, which is significant because Troy and his coworker Steve, when phoning each other, always answer with a chipper, "Ahoy hoy!" This is the greeting that Mr. Bell thought we should use when answering the phone instead of the very boring hello. Of course, idiot that I am, did not know this, and thought that Troy and Steve really liked sailors or pirates or something. Ahoy matey! So I guess Troy and Mr. Bell are soulmates. Connected. You know.

What birthday would be complete without a birthday cake? Or breakfast in bed? We decided to combine the two. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to bring Troy breakfast in bed because he's always awake so much earlier than I, but thanks to the slowly recovering back injury, he was still there when I got up! And we figured that as long as we were pitching all propriety out the window by having cake for breakfast, we would also dispense with the whole separate plates thing. Here's a fork, kid! Have at it! My kids were in heaven. Cake for breakfast on mom and dad's bed without all that silly distracting tableware. Yes, I had to wash the sheets.

After a rather normal-ish day (okay I did bring Hires home for lunch - another birthday must) Troy and I went out for an early evening date. This is the second year we've done this and it's becoming a favorite. We drop the kids off at my in-laws' place, go off for a date, and then upon our return have presents, cake and ice cream together. For our date we decided we'd had enough eating for one day and chose a movie instead. Dan in Real Life. Good movie. Mostly I just liked sitting next to Troy in a quiet theater and enjoying a show together. The best present of the evening? A box of Lucky Charms from Carol (Troy's mom) - a tradition since his childhood. One box of sugar cereal on your birthday that you don't have to share with anyone. In keeping with Tradition, the box of cereal is now hidden in the attic or something.

I hope Troy had a nice birthday - I adore him completely. He's the best part of my life.

Jingle Bells and Cockleshells

Kids. Gotta love 'em. Of course, as I type this I can hear my two darlings getting ready to tear each others' eyes out, but hey. You GOTTA love them or else you'd run away, is what I'm trying to say. Anyway, I'm pondering my adoration for my children this morning because Bitty has named two of her toys. Their names are Jinglebells and Cockleshells. I find that to be completely adorable. It reminds me of my cute niece MG who, as a young tot, had two imaginary friends whom she dubbed (spelling is on the creative side, I'm sure) "Reebus" and "Cellerina." There was one more, too, I think, but I can't remember. Anyway, that was hilariously funny to us, and now I'm enjoying the new additions to our family as well. I believe that Jinglebells is the cat, this hideous plastic thing we got as a white elephant from the annual New Years Party at the Stringhams. Can't remember who it's from, but thanks a lot. Unfortunately, my daughter has glommed onto the thing and tries to sleep with it, even though it's hard plastic. Cockleshells is the very soft and sweet Pooh Bear. Bitty's not very interested in sleeping with the soft one. Just the hard plastic one.

And now, some footage of Bitty doing some singing. I think it's pretty cute.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"The Booger Hound Rides Again: A Cautionary Tale"

This is the title for the story my friend Becky and I have just decided I should write. It will be based on my daughter, who has, literally in the past four days, discovered that boogers are edible. "Edible" being a very loose term, of course. She is constantly on the fish and nibble and we're trying hard to curb her enthusiasm for her new hobby. "Bitty, don't eat that." Her reply? "Can I wipe it on your pants?" She has asked this question to both me and Troy this evening. And two nights ago she actually fell asleep with her fingers up her nose. Any suggestions on how to deal with this fun new development are welcome.

In other news, I must say, I can't believe we made it through today! There were so many strikes against us. Strike number one: It's Sunday. Any church goer with kids knows that Sunday isn't exactly a day of rest. Strike number two: Troy tweaked his back yesterday. "Tweaked" is a pretty specific term at our house. Every so often he leans over the wrong way or something simple like that and some little thingy in his back goes BOING and that's it. He is literally crooked for a few days and can't do much by lie there. It's boring and frustrating for him. So, no church for Troy today, sitting being the worst position he can be in. Strike number three: Bitty had a nap yesterday. I think I finally got her to sleep at about 12:30 or so...luckily she was very cute and happy, lying in bed in the dark singing songs to herself about "I like pink," but I didn't wake her up this morning. She slept in until 10:00, so guess what, we decided just to skip church. Strike number four: We decided just to skip church. Church is often our only out-of-house activity on Sundays in the winter. Of course church has other draws for me besides getting us out of the house, but when that doesn't happen you sure notice being inside all day. The kids held up pretty well, and we did take a very chilly walk before dinner, but with bouncing-off-the-walls kids and an out-of-commission husband (who did try to help me, more than he should have,) I was very grateful when the kids closed their sleepy little eyeballs at 9:30.

I would also like you to know that miracles do happen. This week I have seen several. One would be the laundry miracle. I have this little dream (okay, actually major obsession) each week as I do the laundry that I'll be able to do every stitch of laundry in the house and have it dry and folded before one single item is added to the laundry basket. It never happens. Ever. But still I try. It's just a fleeting hope. That is until my husband went down in the basement and cleaned out every inch of the lengthy duct leading from the dryer at the back of our house to the vent at the front of our house. Wow. Suddenly the dryer dries things. I could hardly keep up. Another miracle we enjoyed was seeing the sunshine. The weather was so gorgeous this week - it was actually warm and nice out. No coats! Even the occasional short sleeves. I know it's just Utah teasing me - we did get a rainy/slushy storm yesterday, and there is certainly more to come, but ah....I'm excited. Miracle three, my two year old has play dates. Her little friend J is so darling and the two of them actually play together. I just love this shot of the two of them in their dress ups, (take note of Bitty's shoes, especially,) just happily in their own little world. Maybe that's how she learned about the boogers...