The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Those Trickey Chinese!

The apple has no stem. I repeat. The apple has no stem.

Well, for the fourth pregnancy running, the Chinese gender calendar is correct. At least we think so. There wasn't a super clear shot of the crotch zone, but from what we could tell,

We're having a girl!

Needless to say, we were very excited, no matter the gender of our baby. She's healthy and also apparently quite stubborn, as evidenced by the fact that we were in the ultrasound room for over half an hour, the technician firmly prodding my belly over and over in an effort to get the baby to turn over so we could see the bottom of her spine. Nothin' doin'.

I think that while still carrying this baby I shall call her Matilda. I actually kind of like that name, well, actually the resulting nicknames: Matti, Tilly, Tilda. The name has been given the kibosh already by Troy, not only because I think he hates all of those names, but because as a child the family fondly dubbed their dishwasher Matilda. Okay, that name is definitely out. And besides, we may get a big surprise on delivery day with the discovery that the apple does indeed have a stem.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Big Day

When I was a child I used to get really really confused as to why my parents were always so darn exhausted on Christmas Day. I just didn't get it. Hey Mom and Dad? I get it now. Thank you. I'm exhausted. And happy.

As can be predicted, Christmas morning was great. I think it was partly great because my kids had been up so late the night before that they slept in until almost 9:00. I was expecting Stomper at least to come pounce on us and wake us from the sleep of the dead, but we had to wait for him for a while, and when he woke up we had to go get Bitty out of bed. Is this normal? I don't think so, but I'll take it. Most people I know were done with presents by the time my kids were up. That's okay - it made the morning last longer and the rest of the day last..shorter.

I need to say that it's always so hard for Santa to know how many gifts are too many and how many are too few. The kids need about the same number as each other, right? Plus they need to be equivalent in magnitude, right? At least approximately? And he should not go berserk, but he also gets happy giving them things he knows they will love. It's a tough balancing act. Not that Santa is complaining - Santa is very grateful that he can give gifts to the Preslar kids at all. It's just something that scrambles Santa's brain a little bit every year. Any other Santas out there have the same dilemma? A dilemma we're glad to have, of course.

This was the last year we felt Stomper would enjoy a dinosaur. He's been so into superheros and action figures lately that the dino-obsession is waning. He'll come home from his friend's house and complain that our toys don't have enough muscles. So aside from one last really great dinosaur (notice the streak of blood on its face? Very realistic...), Stomper mostly got toys with muscles. Bitty got a new and improved dollhouse - it's actually a great hand-me-down from a friend (thanks again!) and it was a hit. Her favorite, though, was probably a tutu and ballet slippers. She's asked to wear tutus at friends' houses, but she always gets upset (in that special way that only Bitty can) that the tutu is going DOWN. She wants it to go UP. Meaning, she wants the kind of tutu that sticks out straight from her waist, not the long flowing kind. So she got a tutu that goes UP and pink ballet slippers, which we couldn't get her out of all day.

Here's poor Alex, who gets upset on Christmas morning, as at all times that are boisterous and filled with his people not sitting still. When I finally sat down on the couch he burrowed in between the new dollhouse and my feet, the only place for his head being inside the dollhouse. What a nutty dog. There are times when he acts offended that you invited him up on a comfortable bed, but when he's freaked out he'll go anywhere to be close to you. Love him.

After a quiet morning together we went back to my folks' house, just us this time, and we enjoyed brunch with them plus Troy's parents too. My parents put together quite the feast - we only needed about 10 more people there to finish up all the food. It was really nice. The weather was horrid - no magical afternoon of sledding this year - it was so windy and sort of sleety. But being together while the kids played happily and quietly (and mommy got a little nap...) was just the ticket. By the time we left it was after 4:00 and then it was just a downhill slide until bedtime. It was then that the real storm hit and we got pounded. Eight inches, which isn't so much, but it was blowing in like crazy all evening. Made for the perfect setting for a fire, popcorn, and A Christmas Carol with my husband.

Nice day. I'm grateful for it, for the things we enjoyed today like the gifts and the tree, and also the things we enjoy every day, like our family and friends.

The Eve of Christmas

I think that this year may have been one of the most fun Christmas Eves we've ever enjoyed. Troy's family always gets together the Saturday after Christmas, so we generally spend the evening with my family. Almost everyone was there. We really missed Peter and Sheri and their cute daughter. They were the only absentees. Plus, Troy's oldest brother Rick came along which was really fun for everyone, especially Troy, and hopefully Rick too.

The highlights of the evening started with a white elephant game. I totally scored and got a Hannah Montana lamp - can't wait for my next white elephant party to pass it along. I think Adam and Whitley are not so sure about the gift I brought and which their son won - a self-inflating whoopie cushion. What white elephant party is complete without a whoopie cushion? We enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve fare of Mexican food - posole (hominy soup) of course, that's the favorite, and a Cafe Rio-esque pork salad that turned out well. We made gingerbread houses, sang a couple of songs with Adam accompanying on guitar, and ate a really yummy peppermint/chocolate/fluffy/rich dessert by Whitley. I have to say, though, that what really made the evening for us was doing the dishes. I know this sounds crazy, but it's true. We had so much fun.

The reason for that is because Whitley taught us a very fast paced card game similar to Uno, I think called 99. The game is short and sweet, and the loser of each round goes to the kitchen to do dishes. Two people are in there at a time, and each time a new loser heads off, one of the dish-doers returns to the game. For one thing, none of us felt guilty about not being the one doing dishes. We didn't lose dad to the kitchen for the hour after dinner like we usually do, and everyone got a chance to help. And it was really really funny. So call me if you want the rules because it totally made the night.

Also, I can't help but love watching all the kids together. Adam and Whit's little girl, who's almost two, seems to just love Bitty. She chased her all over the house all evening long, calling out her name in the sweetest little baby talk. Bitty got a little freaked out, butquickly discovered that if she ran away, her cousin chased her, making a great game of tag. Stomper and his cousin Smith are also a great duo. Margaret's girls were so cute with the smaller kids, and all in all it was just a really fun night. We didn't end up leaving until 9:45 or something, and dinner started at 5:00. That's always a good sign. Of course, by the time we did leave my dad was a little worn out and gave us his classic sendoff, "Thanks for coming! And thanks for going!"

Bitty's Class Performance

It doesn't seem that long ago that Troy and I went to hear Stomper sing in the wonderful Miss Patty's class program, and I guess it wasn't - only two years ago! But he has changed so much. Look at this:

He has grown up so much. His face sure is thinner, anyway, but I think he can still wear that shirt. Now suddenly it's Bitty's turn to sing all the cute little songs. She almost didn't - it was a close call. I took this picture of her in her little elf hat, and then she bumped her head and not only wouldn't put the hat back on but was refusing to be in the program at all. She agreed to sing only after I came down on the floor by her feet and sat there for the whole time. Which was fine.

Those little three- and four-year-olds are pretty darn cute. Miss Patty does a great job. Hopefully she sticks it out for another few years so our last babe can be in her class too!

The Great Tree Hunters

I think it was in early December when Troy told me that his coworker Steve and family were going to Bear Lake mid-month to pick out a Christmas Tree, and that we were invited to join them. It sounded like a fun time - a weekend with friends in a cabin, going on the proverbial tree-cutting venture, stuff like that. I'll admit that as the time drew near to go I was dreading it a little bit. I had a horrible image of us being stuck inside a cold, damp cabin with grumpy restless kids for hours on end, cold miserable walks through the snow, and a whole weekend of parental exertion on my part.

Boy was I wrong! We had such a great weekend. First of all, Steve and Mary are great company, and we had a really good time with them and their two cute girls. The kids got along really well. I was proud of Stomper who played well even though he didn't have anyone there his own age. Second, the cabin is just awesome. So cozy and comfortable, so well laid-out. It was a pleasure to be there. And it was so beautiful. Snowy woods, ice-blue lake, the works. And getting the tree was the funnest part. We didn't have far to drive before we found a grove of the perfect trees. And luckily the only species of tree we were allowed to cut were just the kind I like - really tall, kind of sparse, so you can see all the ornaments hanging down. The kids loved tromping through the deep snow and we found a great tree. I'm really grateful for warm snow clothes.

I was worried that the kids wouldn't sleep well, but again, I was totally wrong. Our family was in a cozy attic bedroom with a queen bed for Troy and me plus two twins for the kids and they slept like little logs.

I really hope this becomes a tradition for us because it just couldn't have been any more fun. I just love our tree, and even though Christmas is over, I can't bear to take it down yet. Other years I've been ready to nix the decorations the day after, but this year I'm just not ready to let it go!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Miles to blog before I sleep, miles to blog before I sleep.

Merry Christmas! Yesterday.

So, I'm a little behind. Okay, really behind. What with all the hustling and bustling, both of whom I'm sure you're quite familiar with, I haven't blogged much. I guess that's partly because I'm enjoying doing things instead of writing about them, but now I want to get a few things down to remember.

Here goes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gretel Takes Over

One of my favorite Christmas tradtitions has become, these past three years, to drive up to the Land Bountiful to make gingerbread houses with the Mayfield Clan. I love it because the kids love each other, we always eat a yummy dinner, and most of all I love laughing at Misty and myself. We both want to make a perfect Martha Stewart gingerbread house and yet we know, deep down, that really it's better to actually involve the children in our holiday activities. It is so hard to reign in my impulses to control the whole process. Luckily for me, my kids were so much more interested in eating frosting and candy than actually applying anything to the house:

It ended up looking okay - gingerbread houses always look pretty cute. Well, I made the mistake of keeping the house on a lower piece of furniture this year than last, and the house has seriously suffered the consequences. It only took a day or two before the roof had been picked clean of all candy. Luckily the "frosting" we use is pretty tough stuff, because the kids haven't been able to get much else off, but it's not from a lack of trying, believe me. This evening, after our very disappointing venture (see previous post) I was doing the dishes when I heard Troy laughing heartily. I turned around, and he quietly pointed for me to look through the kitchen doorway into the entryway. I guess Bitty got fed up with our super-strength frosting and took matters into her own hands:

I hope our holiday guest and visitors enjoy looking at the half-masticated, slightly gooey remains of our gingerbread house.

Ah, Christmastime.

I've been doing pretty well with the whole Christmas Spirit thing this year. I'm rather proud of myself. But I can feel it slipping, just a little. Not much, but a little, especially this evening when, upon returning from what was supposed to be a festive evening out, my daughter walked in the door and said, "Dad, that was a really disappointing venture." She's three. She really said that. Now, I have to admit that Troy was teasing her earlier, as she was sobbing on the way home, (she did a LOT of sobbing today) and may have said something similar along those lines. But when she said that, Troy and I looked at each other and just about keeled over from trying to not laugh. A disappointing venture? Are you kidding me? Well, we'll try to take it up a notch next time young lady! I guess a drive around Christmas Street just wasn't exciting enough for her.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Baritone? Really?

I totally lucked out this year. I entered the random drawing for tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert - it's hard to get your hands on those sometimes. It's just a raffle. But somehow I landed four tickets to the Thursday evening performance. I wasn't as excited this year as I was last year (when I insisted that my parents take me with them to see The King's Singers...fabulous....) because I'd never heard of the performer. His name is Brian Stokes Mitchell, and I guess he does a lot of stuff on Broadway. We invited my parents to join us - not only are they fun to spend time with, but I felt it was my turn to take them someplace. On the way in we talked to some nice girls who knew more about Mr. Mitchell, and informed us that he's a baritone. I have to admit, my expectations sunk just a little bit. I'm just such a sucker for a tenor. I'll tell you, when we went to the Messiah Sing-In a couple of weeks ago I just about leaped off the balcony when the tenor opened his mouth. Now that I think about it I wonder what I would have done once I jumped off - I'm not really imagining that I'd charge the stage and attack the man. I think it's more the feeling that if I jumped, I'd just float along on the glory of his voice. I LOVE tenors. Well, I now stand corrected. On Thursday night this Brian Stokes Mitchell opened his mouth and out came the richest voice I've ever heard. I got shivers. He was great. It still wasn't quite the same as last year, but hey, last year I was with my folks and their seats were totally front and center. This year we were about as high up as you can get in the conference center, way off to one side. We didn't get just blasted with music but it was a really nice evening. So, Brian Stokes Mitchell, you have a new fan.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What do you think I am? A DOG?

Alex. He's always been a little confused about his dog-hood. He thinks it's a negotiable status. Especially as he gets older. You know, Troy's had Alex longer than he's had me! Isn't that weird? Alex is staring down the barrel of his 13th birthday! And he's still as spry as... as... as a spring buffalo. (Julia Child said that once and I've always loved it.)

A few days ago, Troy walks out into the back yard and sees this:

There's old Alex, just looking nonchalantly around at everything but at this cat. In the past, he would have gone berserk. And now he just looks at it, looks at us, looks at it, and finally back at us as if to say, "Cat? What cat? I don't see any cat." Or perhaps it's more like, "You can't be serious. I'm so OVER chasing cats." Either way, it takes a great deal of encouragement to get him to even half-heartedly go after the thing. Don't get me wrong, he has plenty of spunk in other areas, but like he said, he's OVER chasing cats. Dang it.

'Tis the Season...

...for being totally behind on everything.

So, uh, Happy Thanksgiving! Last Week! Do I have any pictures? No, of course not, but really, they'd be pretty much the same as anyone else's, right? Lots of food, people, and dirty dishes. It was a nice day, though. It was a Romney year - my side of the family. Almost everyone was there - we missed you Adam &Whit - and we all seemed to have a pretty good time. My dad made the best turkey breast I have ever had. Normally, I'm a dark meat kind of a girl. The white stuff is always just so dry. My dad bought a pressure cooker for the occasion, and frankly, I was initially horrified. I just imagined boiled poultry and my stomach turned. (Sorry for the lack of faith, Dad.) How wrong I was. My dad layered it with a little stuffing, put some liquid in, and set it to cook. Pressure cookers rock. That meat was done in under 25 minutes, counting the time it took to heat up the pot. And the meat was fantastic. Everything else was great too. I made stuffing, salad, and a pretty great cranberry orange pie. Oh. Yum. I could use a piece of that right now.

You know, there's something about Thanksgiving that's just anti-climactic. We put all this money, time, planning and effort into dinner. We use the best ingredients and carefully choose our recipes. We spend hours cleaning and setting the table and cooking. And in the end, our stomachs aren't any bigger on that day than on any other day of the year. Dinner is still over in a flash. Okay, maybe some of you people can stretch it out, but for us, we were all full after 20 minutes of eating! Of course, we still spent the rest of the day together talking, napping, playing games and just being together. Which is really the point. Still. I don't feel done with the big turkey dinner thing and just might have to make another one just for us to enjoy again. Besides, Stomper was a little sad that he didn't get an actual turkey drumstick to gnaw away on. I wonder if a whole bird will fit in dad's cooker....

Earlier in the week, Troy and I had the chance to go to Stomper's class for a little performance they put on of all these little nursery rhymes they had been practicing. Not quite ready for Broadway, but we sure thought it was cute.

And in an unprecedented display of holiday spirit, I actually pulled out the Christmas boxes the day after Thanksgiving. I was a little confused myself. What are these things I'm feeling? Holiday cheer? Good will towards men? I didn't know what to do with myself! The real reason we pulled stuff out was because we have this great Noah's ark advent calendar that my mom gave us a few years ago and I always miss like the first 10 days because that's when we usually decorate. Oh, not this year! I had it out and ready to go. Thank you, thank you.

So I'm all hyped up on Christmas Spirit. It's a little alarming, but strangely pleasureable. And we don't even have snow yet. In fact, we're in the upper 50's. The kids and I have already enjoyed watching the early airings of Rudolf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, along with my new holiday favorite, Shrek the Halls. I know, you might not normally think of Shrek as being a great holiday kind of show, but I really love it. Not only is it pretty dang funny, but it speaks volumes as to how I often mistakenly handle Christmas. It's all about how frustrated Shrek gets when he can't pull off 'the perfect Christmas' and how everyone ruins his pretty picture of what he thinks it's supposed to be like. But then Donkey very wisely says, "Hey, it's not Christmas unless someone's crying!" (true) and Shrek learns that however you do Christmas IS the perfect Christmas. It's messy, chaotic and stressful, but that's how it is and we love it. Misty tried to help me understand this concept already - I guess I just speak 'Shrek' better than 'Grown-Up."

I hope everyone had a great T-day and is feeling as lovey and excited as I am about Christmas!