The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Monday, September 29, 2008

Successes and Failures, or, An Editorial Review

1.) It's not that easy being green.
As The Becky said last week, "Al Gore's finally getting to me." Aren't we all trying to live a little greener? Here's my failure: remembering to take my dang reusable shopping bags with me to the grocery store. I have like 8 of the things. Really, they're the best. I especially love the big black ones from Smith's. They cost a buck, are totally sturdy, and can hold a ton of stuff. I use them all the time and keep several in the car. But can I somehow get it in my head to bring them into the grocery store with me? No. I can not. Perhaps I am lazy to have them just out in the car and not go get them, but when the checker is halfway done checking things and I have two grumpy kids with me, I can't find the energy within myself to pause the whole operation, drag the two kids out and back into the store for the bags. Anyway. I can't stand that my brain won't make room for the reusable shopping bag concept. I'm working on it.

Here's my success: going plastic free at home. (Minus the shopping bags.) I have to say I've always loved having a really great stash of plastic in my kitchen drawer. Plastic wrap, plastic baggies of all shapes and sizes - that kind of thing. I have experimented lately with not purchasing those items. At first it really sucked. But I'm finding with some creativity I don't have to use it anymore! I'm pretty happy about it. For one thing, I save my bread bags and produce bags for times when I really need a cover for something. I use waxed paper to store some things in, and I've just been using tupperware for storage instead. Also, I'm slowly switching out all my plastic storage for glass. This fills my heart with happiness.

2.) Angering the Food Gods
Failure: a few weeks ago I was all by myself and stopped at a great little local cafe called Pinon to have some lunch. My eye was caught by a delicious looking sandwich - crusty soft roll, yummy warm filling - it was called the sloppy lentil. Perhaps it sounds a little yucky to you, but really, it was a terrific sandwich. I have been pondering the sandwich for quite some time (see how I am?) and I just can't figure out what the flavors were. So I googled sloppy lentil and came up with what sounded about right. It's been a while since I've felt inclined to cook, and I spent a happy afternoon chopping and dicing, seasoning and stirring. What I ended up with, just in time for dinner, was a huge pot of really disgusting goop. To top it off, I had also tried a new recipe for hamburger buns, which promised to produce a batch of the most wonderful puffy, soft rolls. I ended up with 12 beige golf balls. What had I done to so anger the food gods? I don't know, but it must have been bad.

Success: After taking the kids out for stale corn dogs at Smith's (forgetting to bring my bags,) I remained in quite a funk for the rest of the evening and most of the next day until I decided I had to redeem myself. That afternoon I adjusted the roll recipe and came up with some decent buns. (Don't I wish that were true in more than one sense...) I also had a big bowl full of fresh yellow squash and tomatoes from my parents' garden. I went to my happy place: my zen meditation of what to eat. So here's what you do. Chunk up your tomatoes and squash, add several sliced carrots, some whole peeled cloves of garlic, several sprigs of rosemary, oregano and thyme, drizzle them with olive oil and salt, and roast them until everything is pretty soft, brown, caramelized...you know. Remove the herbs. Add a couple splashes of white wine (make sure it sizzles) then add some chicken broth. Blend it. Add a few tablespoons of cream. Then eat it. With cheese on top. The food gods will be appeased.

3.) Who's in charge here?
I decided that I have had enough of monkeying around with Bitty's potty training. We've had a little plastic toilet in our living room for over a year now. She just won't commit. So I decided I was going to commit for her. Okay, Bitty, no more play dates with J. until you are using the potty all day every day. (I knew J. would be the key because the other day, Bitty woke up in the morning murmuring her name. That was funny.) Well, Bitty likes to be in charge. She decided that she doesn't care if she ever plays with J. again. Actually, for the most part it has been going fairly well, though I'm sure the entire family is pretty sick of hearing me say, "Do you need to go potty?" a thousand times a day. I thought my failure had come when she had two accidents within an hour of each other, both in public places, but no, that was actually no big deal. The real failure hit when I was on the phone with The Becky discussing potty training tactics when I heard grunting coming from the back porch. Yes, there was Bitty, pooping on the porch, and giving me an absolutely dazzling grin. That was failure. Success? Well, after I made her clean it up and then we gave her a bath in a bucket on the back lawn, I put her back in panties (I swore I was done with diapers and so be it) she actually used the potty twice after that, with no promptings. I'll take any success I can get at this point.

Sorry - long post, no pics, but hey, it's a post, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Family Reunited


My parents have managed to do the impossible: gather the entire family together in one place at one time. It seems as if the time for family reunions among my parent's cousins and siblings is waning and it is now time for my siblings to try for an annual gathering. Not that I don't love seeing my cousins - it's just that even seeing my own siblings is getting pretty hard. We had a lovely weekend in Park City all together. We gathered at a condo in the former Park West (oh, many a good concert was seen there, I'll tell ya...) now called The Canyons. It was a cool and rainy couple of days but we really enjoyed the place. Pool, ping pong, cute grandkids everywhere, cousins romping around and actually getting along, watching my newest niece toddling around, watching my oldest nieces being very grown up, having family show-and-tell, eating lots of good food...what more could you want? Thanks, Mom and Dad. I really do love my family.





Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ash. Housewares.

That title will only make sense to you if you are part of a very select group of people. Those who have seen, in its entirety, "Army of Darkness," the very silly/creepy/gross/wacky sequel to a movie that will always be close to my heart: "Evil Dead II." Now, any of you who know me well know that horror is not my movie genre of choice. Pretty much I avoid them at all costs. But one evening, long long ago, I was hanging out at Ben J.'s house with, I think, Dave and Kenton. Correct me if I'm wrong. This was like 15 years ago or something. Anyway, we stumbled across this movie on t.v. that looked like a horror show, but we found ourselves laughing our heads off. It was this hilarious horror spoof starring Bruce Campbell as Ashley "Ash" J. Williams. Come on guys, tell me you don't still laugh from time to time whenever you hear anyone say the word, "workshed." Inside joke. So Army of Darkness is the sequel, and it turned out to be one of the films that both Troy and I had both watched before we met each other. We were shocked to find this in common and have since punctuated our marriage with such phrases as "Gimme some sugar, baby," and "Hail to the king, baby." (Thanks a lot Mark, for actually purchasing this video for Troy, who has since memorized the entire thing.)

The reason I bring this up now is that Bitty, who is the classic princess fan, and lover of all things pink, purple, shiny, sparkly and fluffy, has decided upon a name to call herself in any game of pretend. That name is Ash. She also from time to time calls inanimate objects by the same name. Where did she get it? Is it genetically encoded in her brain to love that name? Okay, my brother did name his dog Ash (after the same character; Peter is another Bruce Campbell fan,) but he has been living in California for a few years and Bitty isn't old enough to remember their dog. Any time she puts on a princess dress we get in trouble if we call her by her name. "I'm Ash! Princess Ash!" I have no idea where she got it but it makes us laugh.

Look What I Can Do!


Troy saved the day last week by taking the kids with him on a boat ride up East Canyon. I had to teach a cooking class that night (on the mighty chick pea, just so you know) and Troy got invited to ski with the Burnett family (of doorknob fame). He took the kids with him so they could have a lovely evening together, which they did. Bitty wasn't especially keen on boat riding, as it turns out, but Stomper got pretty excited, especially when he got a chance to do a little skiing himself. He didn't even have to change into his swimming suit! Fancy that! When I called them after my cooking class was over they had just finished skiing and Stomper was so happy he was just bubbling over with joy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pausing

Life seems to be zipping by in high speed these days, as it is for all of us, I know. I had to pause for a moment to, for one thing, relieve my conscience and actually blog something, as well as document a couple of things. Everyday, almost, I sit at the kitchen table and do a little homework with Stomper. He actually loves doing homework. I know, kindergarten assignments generally aren't too strenuous, but I'm encouraged by the fact that this is a nice time for us together. Bitty usually joins us as well, doing her own kind of homework by drawing and now staring to pretend to write letters. This is a drawing she did last week, and I was actually amazed by her fine motor skills, which haven't started developing in Stomper until the past several months:



Stomper's skills are coming along as well. Here are the words he's been learning to read and write in class: ("I am a" in case you can't tell:)



Also, we've been going through some boxes in the basement and found some hand-me-down soccer cleats from the neighbors that now fit Stomper perfectly. He loves them, and tries to wear them everywhere we go. The first night he put them on we had an impromptu soccer game in the backyard. Bitty felt bad that she didn't have soccer cleats as well, but we convinced her that the very cool hand-me-down corduroy keds that fit her were also of the sporting variety. She decided that they were "basket shoes" and talked for several days of joining a "basket team."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ah, so THAT's it!

Me, sitting at the computer. My kids, playing in Stomper's room, directly adjacent to the computer. Bitty, dressed in full-princess gear, and the kids are actually playing somewhat nicely together. They're discussing their respective super hero powers. Bitty says proudly, "My special power is keeping people awake!"

Oooohhhhhh, so THAT's been the problem! No wonder she doesn't like to go to sleep!

She then asks Stomper what his super power is, whereupon Stomper cavernously opens his mouth lets out a massive, satisfied and very hearty belch.

Got it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day x Two


Fun day at our house! Both kids got to go to their first day of school today. Our schedule is going to work out so nicely - Stomper goes every day at 8:25, and Bitty's class, twice a week, is at 9:00, done at 11:00, then Stomper's done at 11:30. Guess who got some free time today? That's right! I enjoyed that very much. I totally expected myself to be a crier. Even thinking about kindergarten used to make me feel a little sad. However I remained callousedly tearless for both drop offs. I guess I'm just heartless. That, or actually excited for my kids and their new adventures. Not to mention a little free time twice a week. I'm not crying about that!

Both kids seemed to love their teacher, school and class. Bitty did have a bit of a glazed look in her eye - her picture with her teacher is so similar to Stomper's on his first day of preschool (with the same teacher) that it kind of makes me laugh. Bitty spent the entire drive to her school in raptures. "Miss Pattie loves me. And I love her..." over and over again. Pretty cute.





Here's Stomper on his first day of Preschool two years ago. I just love that almost-smiling, not-so-sure-about-things, wide-eyed look.

Last Hurrahs of Summer

Summer decided to end with a bang (100 degrees on Saturday, August 30th) and like the curtain going down, it was suddenly cold and rainy on September 1st. Okay, I guess it's fall now. It's lovely today, though, and I could stand many months of cool afternoons in the 70's.

We tried to have a few end-of-summer celebrations last week. The first came (I can't believe this) one week ago yesterday - it was a million degrees that day. TL and I decided to take our kids up to Pineview Reservoir in Ogden for the day. She does this every year, and last year we tried to go but it never worked out. It was actually a lovely day, though toasty. It's amazing how kids just instinctively know what to do at the beach: throw rocks, write in the sand with sticks, build sand piles, dig, hop in the water and even swim a little. I think TL and I went through an entire bottle of sunscreen that day, it was such a cooker. That's got to be an annual event, though. What a beautiful reservoir.



A highlight for me was finding a sitter for the kids last Saturday afternoon and going to "Rapunzel's Roundup" - a book signing at the Foothill Branch library. Shannon Hale's new graphic novel, Rapunzel's Revenge was just released, and she was there, along with her co-author and husband, Dean, and the illustrator of the book, also a Hale (Nathan, though unrelated to Shannon & Co.), as well as a whole panel of Utah authors of young adult novels. I have to admit, that I get rather starry eyed when I go to these things. I guess the fact that I go to them at all (by myself, no young adults in tow) shows you that I'm a little passionate about these books. I think I just love the young adult genre and I think I have a secret (well, not anymore, I guess now that I'm writing this) desire to try my hand at a little writing myself. It was really fun to hear what the authors had to say and get a little part of Rapunzel acted out for us by the authors/illustrator:


I guess I need to make my writing more of a priority and spend a little time on it every day. I don't really hope to publish a book or anything like that, but to do some writing I'm proud of would feel good.

The really big last hurrah of the summer was taking the kids out for crab legs. Stomper has been begging for crab legs ever since he saw them on ice at Costco. I don't get this kid. He generally won't eat pizza. Pizza, I tell you. The favorite food of kids everywhere. It has red sauce on it, you see. But the boy begs me for seafood. Pretty much anything on which you can still see body parts - eyes, fins, shells - anything will suffice. He wants to eat it. I bet I could get him to eat octopus, no problem. I think it's his inner biologist. Anyway, I heard that Joe's Crab Shack out in Sandy had a kid's play place and a kid's crab leg meal, so that's where we headed. I had planned on letting Bitty have a date with her daddy while Stomper and I went, but I decided that it was more important for us to get one step closer to having a toilet in our house so Bitty came with, thus freeing up Troy to keep on working. And I'm so glad she came. Oh my gosh, those kids went nuts. They chowed down on thier food, and were begging me for more at the end. Talk about champagne taste on a beer budget...crab meat? Well, I love it too, I have to confess...




So that's it! Summer's over! The truth is, between the bathroom project (coming along nicely, thanks) and the heat, we didn't end up doing much over the past month. I'm looking forward to some beautiful fall afternoons for doing all the stuff I didn't do over the summer. We'll keep you posted.