The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Birthday Boy!


For all of you out there who are ticked that it started snowing in October, you may officially blame me. It was I who planned an outdoor birthday party at the end of October. Stomper, who celebrated his SEVENTH (!!!!) birthday on the 28th, has lots of buddies, which is a joy to me. I'm so grateful for all his good friends. Good boys they may be, I knew I couldn't have them all in my house at one time. My house is good for one friend over at a time, two if we're lucky. So I thought to myself, it's been a nice warm October! I'm sure that if the day is dry it will be warm enough to have a party at the park. So I made some announcements and sent them out. It was that night that the news first reported the upcoming snow. Great.

Luckily we have a great church building with a big gym and a kitchen connected to it. We changed plans and had everyone join us there. My parents came and helped me decorate. The theme? Godzilla. We had a Godzilla party. Let me warn you, any of you who may be interested in such a party that there is not a single Godzilla item to be found in this valley. So we went with green streamers and balloons, a black table cloth and I had Stomper draw a bunch of Godzillas for the table. I did find one giant eyeball balloon that seemed to fit the theme, which is still floating eerily in my living room. I, as expected, found not a single Godzilla pinata. I was directed by my friend to a dive-y little joint on State street to the best, most giant pinatas the valley. They are magnificent. I printed out a couple of pictures of Godzilla off the Internet and stapled them on. (Yes, I'm turning out to be quite handy with a stapler.)




I was worried that because we weren't at the park I'd have to plan some games to keep kids busy. I have a hint for all of you party planners out there. You only need two things to keep a party going. 1) Balloons. I was going to have a relay race and balloon volleyball, but the kids weren't interested. They just wanted to romp. 2) Coloring Pages. We had a table set up with crayons, markers and a stack of Godzilla printouts. Thank you, dear Internet. What with the romping, coloring, pinataing, pizza and caking plus presents, the party was over before we knew it. I'd call it a success for sure.

And now I have a seven year old boy, who is turning out to be an okay kid! You know what I love about parenting, especially since I get to do it along side my best friend? I love those moments when your child does something funny or sweet or a little naughty and, unbeknownst to the child, you and your spouse meet eyes across the room and you share a little laugh or a little amazement. I love that. Happy Birthday to my big boy whom I'm getting to be quite fond of!

Halloween Tales

-Just one question. Of all the days, of all the weeks, WHY did my kids (all three of them) feel that today was the day to arise at 5:00 in the morning? I mean, I threw a birthday party this week, I made costumes and helped out in the class room this week, I even put on a cooking demonstration for church this week. Plus I fed everyone, kept the house from complete chaos (I won't say it was actually clean), and did the laundry. My reward? Good morning, Mommy! It's Halloween! Heaven help me.

It did give me a bit of happy flashback of getting up at 5 a.m. on Halloween morning in years past, not due to my children but due to my mother. Most of you know that my mother is the sweetest person on the planet. Such a good heart. Well, everyone has their dark side, their wicked little ways they keep to themselves. My mom has only one, and that is to get nasty on Halloween. She hasn't done it much in recent years, but when I was in high school and had some stage-makeup training she was teaching at West High and then Rowland Hall. We'd have a little 5 a.m. date every year for me to do something horrible to her. Werewolves, witches...that was just the beginning. One year she was the Bride of Frankenstein - I made these latex lacerations with stitches in them that we put running up the side of her mouth and wrapped around her neck. One year she was a basement lady - we glued bugs coming out of her hair, wounds in her face, and one coming out of her mouth. See? Truly a dark side. The best ever was the year I painted her up in full skeleton makeup. She donned a LONG red cape, skeleton hands, streaming black hair and a scythe. The kicker? Painters stilts that made her seven feet tall. She scared the crap out of me, then every one at West High, and, feeling that her job wasn't yet done, went to my dad's work up at the University and stalked around campus handing out heart attacks. It was awesome. Even in the years after she stopped working at a school she just couldn't resist. A couple of years ago I took little Stomper to her house to show off his costume and to trick-or-treat up and down their street. Mom just couldn't stop herself. The next thing I knew she had donned this terrific Troll costume she has and as Stomper and I tricked and treated I caught glimpses of her literally scampering to and fro across the street scaring kids and spreading Halloween cheer.

The Basement Lady


The Werewolf

I must admit that my costume efforts this year for the kids fit under the category of "another lesson learned." Don't you hate that? I mean, I thought I was being pretty smart. First of all, I listened to the kids, over the past 11 1/2 months, recite to me the myriad costume ideas they had. "Mom! This year I want to be Wolverine! I mean Venom! I mean a pirate!" So I gave them a lock-down date. You must choose your costume by October 10. Great. Stomper picked (never heard this one the whole year) a werewolf. (No, he didn't see the picture of my mom when he decided.) Bitty picked a scary black cat. (She is unable to say this without simultaneously flexing her claws.) Great. I then took Bitty WITH ME to the costume store because I knew that whatever I picked would not be okay. So I purposefully had her pick out her ears, tail, fangs and claws. I then chose a multitude of werewolf type items to please Stomper.

You know what happened, of course. As we've been putting things together over the past few days for class parties and school carnivals and such, Bitty has refused to wear the ears on the grounds that "they just can't be straight."The fangs went before the ears did. The claws have largely been rejected as well, though I think they'll make a comeback tonight for trick-or-treating seeing as how the claws are attached to gloves. As far as Stomper is concerned, I think I doubled what I actually needed to make him into a decent werewolf. I had all sorts of intricate plans and costume pieces but it all came down to me, the kitchen table, 1/2 a yard of furry material, a glue gun and a stapler. Yes. I stapled Stomper's costume together. Probably not the best idea as far as longevity goes, but it was quick and easy, just in time for the school carnival.

The school carnival. I'll say one thing. Next year we're doing something else. Enough said.

I think my favorite part of Halloween, once all the costuming and candy-purchasing and pumpkin carving has been taken care of, is seeing the kids all decked out in their garb. I love it when they get so excited that they kind of get into character. I was a little afraid that Stomper would scare himself, but he just loved being a werewolf and was disappointed that the moon wasn't full so he couldn't howl at it. I wasn't sure if I sure tell him that he could howl whenever he wanted or to just agree and enjoy the quiet. Aw, it's Halloween. Howl away, my boy!




Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Pumpkin Post



We didn't think we were going to get to carve the pumpkins this year. It was a close call! I mean, we were all set to go. We had wrestled the gigantic pumpkins into the kitchen. We had towels carefully laid out on the floor. We had the kids draw faces on them and everything. And then Troy stuck the knife in. Woah. Talk about your solid pumpkins - no wonder the dang things are so heavy! But we persevered, and with some minor simplifications to the design, we managed to get a couple of jack-o-lanterns created and set out on the front porch for all to behold. I dare anyone to come pumpkin smashing at our house - you'll need a crane.

Stomper especially enjoyed "ripping out the guts." He continually exclaimed about the major sliminess throughout the process and spent a lot of time massaging the pulp in his hands. My favorite Bitty moment of the night was after she asked why we put the pumpkins out on the porch. I said that it was so that people in the neighborhood could see them. Her reply to that was, "Mom, 'neighborhood' is just such a darling word." Yes, I suppose it is.

Friday, October 23, 2009

So Much For Alone Time

Now, I'm going to sound like a wretched mother here. And I'll just have to own it. Yes, I am a wretched mom today. Bitty has had a couple of weeks off of school and I'll just say that I can't WAIT for school to start. Sometimes Bitty is the master of the onslaught. She talkstalkstalkstalks with lots of screeching and yodeling and meowing. Add that to constnat bouncing, kissing, twirling and crashing into your legs. Plus the questions. I don't even want to get into the questions. Okay, it can be darling, actually, briefly. Then I start to feel like someone (Bitty) is slamming a cymbal on my head over and over as per Tom and Jerry and I just need a little break. Is that so wrong? We had a Costco run today and by the time we got home I was silently gritting my teeth and holding Bundle above my head out of Bitty-arm's reach. (See? Wretched.) Then I had a sudden stroke of genius and told Bitty that mommy needed some quiet time so she, Bitty, could take any toy she wanted into her room, shut the door, and she had to play quietly for one hour. It actually worked for about 15 minutes until I heard her crying for me, banging on the door and jiggling the doorknob as quickly as she could. I went in to remind her about quiet time when she asked me this very awesome question:

"Mommy, do you want to see what happened in my underpants?"

I guess that trumps quiet time by a long shot.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Glorious Day

What a day. Can you believe this weather? Couldn't be more perfect. After the sudden onset of cold last month (we went from using our cooler to using our heater within a day!) I was missing a little warm fall time. Well, today made up for it. Nice morning at church, and then Bundle decided to be extra nice and took a two hour nap as soon as we came home. Stomper and Bitty also pitched in and let me sleep for an hour too (miracle!). Then we packed up some snacks, apples and water and headed to what we call "Oma's New Park," a.k.a. Evergreen Park. Couldn't have been more gorgeous. Blazing leaves everywhere, lovely warm sunshine, me on a comfy camp chair with a fat happy baby, my kids having a ball. Stomper and Bitty obviously haven't been to the park in a while and really needed to just run. I enjoyed a long conversation with a fellow husky-owner. Well, actually her pup had died last year at the age of 14 (yikes, Alex is 13...) and they just got a new lab/aussie mix. Cute pup. Anyway, it was one of those days when we got to the park and the kids just took off and stayed happy for almost two hours. I just wish I had brought the camera!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Vegetables of our Labors



Little did we know that fateful day last spring when our neighbor handed over two innocent-looking seeds that our garden plot would shortly be overrun with giant pumpkin plants. How could we have known? Anything that I sprout I also shortly thereafter kill. Luckily, Troy was in charge and so the plants flourished. And I mean flourished. We had to tear the vines off our neighbor's roof! What was fascinating to me was how each vine chose two pumpkins to grow. When the vines first flowered there were blossoms everywhere and I thought we'd have to pick them off so that each vine would focus its growth on just one or two pumpkins, but the vines did that themselves. Interesting. And so all summer long we watched these four pumpkins balloon in size and weight until I suddenly realized this week that, Hey! It's October! Pumpkin month, right? Time to quit growing them and get them out on the porch. I carried one out there but Troy had to do the rest. Those mothers are heavy! I won't deny that I'm dreading the idea of carving them - we'll need Troy to pull out his hack saw or something. But for now they look really fun on the porch. I've already had two people ask how much dough we shelled out for those babies, and I was happy to report that the total spent was zilch. You just need a nice neighbor. You know, I think we'll save the seeds from these pumpkins for next year. Anyone want a couple?

Sleep Feeding...

...or would that be breast walking? Either way, there was something weird going on last night. I went to sleep in my bed around 10:30 or something, and then the next thing I knew I was waking up on our couch from a totally sound sleep several hours later. Bundle was zonked out on my lap, and without sharing too many details, I'll just say that I had obviously been nursing in the recent past. Do I remember getting her up and going to the couch? Nope. Do I remember feeding her? Nope. Do I have any idea how long I was asleep there, my head tilted back, mouth open, snoring peacefully? Nope. It could have been 15 minutes, it could have been two hours. This is a little disconcerting. I wonder what else I can do in my sleep....

In other Bundle news, it turns out that my baby has alien poo. Not what you were expecting to read, eh? Well, you may remember in one of the Alien movies how alien blood, once spilt, just burns through layer after layer after layer of the space ship. Well, Bundle's poo pulled the same trick today. Now, my poor baby hadn't pooed at all in many days and she was so sad and uncomfortable and grumpy that I finally did something about it. (I am SURE these details are the reason anyone reads my blog, right? Want me to talk about barf next? Well maybe I will.) Anyway, the result was that my cute baby was lying there on my bed and managed to produce enough poo to go through her diaper, through her outfit, through a towel, through the duvet cover and through the comforter. It just kept going and going and going. And let me tell you, the return of my happy baby made the clean up worth it.

Ah, parenthood. Was that too much information?

Monday, October 12, 2009

No Photos Here

I really wish you could see my hair right now. Well, now that I think about that, I retract that statement and say instead, I'm SO glad you can't see my hair right now.

This day began with me waking up to the buzzing alarm clock in the kids room, which had been going off for 10 minutes before I dragged myself from the land of very strange dreams to go turn it off. I staggered in there, nearly blind with sleep, baby slung on one arm, jammies all skeewampus from too many night time Bundle meals, to turn it off and start the day. I never did get on top of it all. I mean, I did get dressed and my teeth did manage to get brushed before too long. Heck, I even wore earrings today. But the hair, well...that was the casualty of the day. After a fun day full of visitors and play dates and meeting new babies and errands and cooking and laundry and homework and reading and crabby babies and tired kids, I ended up looking like I stuck my finger in a socket. My hair was everywhere, not to be controlled. The wispies took over with authority. Well, that is until I had yanked them behind my ears for the million and twelfth time, got fed up, and grabbed the nearest hair implement; a purple plastic bow clip belonging to Bitty, and pinned them straight back on top of my head. I look awesome.

The wispy pinning happened shortly after dinner when I actually locked myself in the kids' room with Bundle. Don't worry, I wasn't in there rocking back and forth, mumbling and sucking my thumb, I just thought this was a better option than to crash through the front door and run screaming down the street. You see, Bitty had snuck a little Diet Coke. Need I say more? Ballistic. "Save the Baby!" was a phrase heard throughout the house more than once. I thought I was safe in there, doing a little cleaning, the door being locked and all, when Bitty pursed her lips against the vent in the door. She breathed heavily for a moment. Then I heard her breathe out slowly and menacingly, in a very horror-movie kind of way, "I can still keep talking to you, Mom." Ahhhh! Run for your lives! Locked doors are no match for Bitty, who indeed did keep talking nonstop until I couldn't take it and just let her in.

I am going to go shower now and try this all again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Personal Labels

This summer, thanks to Troy's magnificent gardening, we have been very rich in tomatoes. Big, fat, heavy, luscious, juicy... sexy... hot tomatoes.... Oh, sorry, I got carried away there. I have a thing for tomatoes. Well, I noticed that I started thinking of myself as "Person With Tomatoes." Hello, my name is Rachel, and I have tomatoes. I might share some with you, and I might not. I have to go now, I'm going to go eat tomatoes. After all, I am Person With Tomatoes. Well guess what. It is October, and it got cold. Frosty cold. I was dumb and didn't collect all the green tomatoes before the frost came and now I have a bowl on my counter with five tomatoes left it in. I am hanging on to them for dear life; I hardly dare to eat one because then I would only have four tomatoes, then three, then two, then one...then....oh no!!! Who am I if I no longer am Person With Tomatoes?

I have done this several times in my life, this thing where I label myself and see myself only through that label. For instance, I used to know myself as "Girl with Naturally Curly Hair." I had a straight-haired childhood. Stick straight. Hair so straight that it refused to even curve with the roundness of my head. I can still remember the feel of a comb, freshly dipped in water, that my mom dragged through my hair trying to get it to lay down. Then this amazing thing happened called puberty, and over three months I magically developed curly hair. Of course, I had a tom-boy hair cut that was cute and rather pixie-ish with straight hair but more indicative of a helmet once it got curly. I kept it short all through high school and then in college I grew it out. Note to future Girls With Curly Hair: I shoulda done that earlier. I might have had a date in high school if I had. Over the next couple of years I grew out my new curls and ended up these thick long Botticelli waves and ringlets. Forgive my vanity, please. If there were other things I didn't like about myself (my waistline, my pasty white raddish legs, my general lack of tallness or grace) I always knew I had a great head of hair. Well guess what. I had to pay a price to the baby gods, and that price was my hair. (As stated by one Amy March, "Oh Jo! Your one true beauty!") With every baby I bore, my curls went slightly more limp and frizzy. Believe me, I'd pay that price again if I had to, but many is the moan coming from the general direction of the mirror in the morning when I'm trying to get my hair to curl again. It just isn't going to do it. So good bye, Girl with Naturally Curly Hair. I so loved knowing you and perhaps we'll meet again on the other side. I am now "Girl with Big Hair," which translates to "Girl With an Expensive Straightening Iron." Ah, the circle of life.

Here's proof of my once-curly hair: (Awww! I was that kid's nanny in college and that family was/still is awesome.

Another label I'm wearing with a vengeance these days is "Mother of Small Children." I have had diapers in my house for so long I wouldn't know what to do with out them. I have baby food in the cupboard and fruit snacks on the shelves. My purse bulges with diaper cream, plastic toys and an extra change of clothes in case of the dreaded blow-out. I couldn't believe it the other day when I was at a playland and a mother of older children sat down beside us, looked at her disgusting table, and didn't have any baby wipes handy to clean it up. Luckily I came to her rescue. Who doesn't have wipes on hand? Oh. People who don't have little kids, that's who. I will still be in this category for some time to come, but as with the annual tomato season-o-joy and the luxurious long hair, it seems that this too will come to an end. There are days when I feel sure it never will, that my kids won't ever grow up, that I'll spend the rest of eternity wiping noses and getting peppered with random questions and picking up toy after toy after toy. But it will end. I try to always keep that in mind. It makes me appreciate the things I usually get annoyed by, and it makes me do weird things like sniff my childrens' necks and take pictures of the backs of their heads. I know that other labels are waiting for me in the future. Certainly many happy, probably some sad. Hopefully some delicious. And I sincerely hope that one of them is "Woman Who Fits in Her Old Pants Again," but we'll have to see about that.

In the mean time, I've been pondering about this habit of labeling myself. I will always have the labels that come and go; those things will always be precious to me even after they're gone, be it my tomatoes or my youth. But perhaps more important for me to think about those labels that don't ever go away. Bitty was talking about becoming a mommy the other day. After she assured me that she wanted to have some babies of her own she comforted herself and me with, "But you'll still always be my mommy." I won't go into great detail about these forever labels, but they are probably the most precious of all. Something to think about.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Sunday-full of Blessings

Sunday was a wonderful, albeit totally hectic, day. First of all, it was the blessing day for my brother Peter's new baby. That was first thing to go on our calendar. And then we found out that it was also our Primary Program, and since our kids are about 10% of the whole primary, we felt we needed to be there, especially considering the fact that I was bribing my kids to participate nicely in it. (I was not doing another year of them hiding under their chairs in the fetal position, think of me what you will.) And THEN we had the happy news that my other brother Adam would be coming into town with his family to bless their new baby that afternoon at Whitley's parents' home in Woodland, UT, 1 1/2 hours from Salt Lake. Of course this all happened on Peter's 1st daughter's second birthday. Mayhem! Wonderful mayhem!

I was so excited that we got to be a part of all these things, and that I would get to meet the final member of this year's trio of girls. We could only stay a few minutes at the first blessing so we weren't there for pictures, but I'll tell you, the flashbulbs were popping that afternoon. Here's a few of the resulting treasures. I so wish Margaret and her three girls had been able to be there! We were missing the oldest trio of granddaughters because Margaret had a cello performance that day. Hopefully Christmastime will grant us another photo opp.

Granddaughter #3. I mean #9.


Playing "Pass the Baby"


After a lovely dinner we all went outside to watch a giant moose wander up the hillside.


How awesome that the two boys were born within a year of each other. Best buddies for sure.


The pictures we've all been waiting for! They all are here, happy day!



Oma's Girls. Well, 2/3rds of them anyhow.

As you can probably tell, it really was a wonderful day. I'm so grateful to my sisters-in-law for being really special people and for marrying my brothers. And I'm so thrilled to have these three babies in the family. I'm sure they're going to get SO SICK of having their pictures taken together, but that's just too dang bad. I really hope all three of them are as close as Stomper and Smith, and that Bitty chooses to not be a total and complete tyrant over her generation of granddaughters. So far, so good. I'm sitting here smiling just looking at the pictures.

A Very Bundle-icious Four Months


I'm very proud of myself. I'm actually blogging about Bundle's completion of her 4th month ON the day of. I took pictures and everything. This is accomplishment enough alone, but consider that I did it even when Troy is gone (the annual Preslar family Elk hunt has arrived once again) and I had the kids out all afternoon and evening.

So here's what I'm loving about having a four-month old. Bundle has definitely graduated from her tiny days, when she was still more a little curled-up creature than baby. Now she's just big and happy and greets me every time with a gaping, slobbery toothless grin. I absolutely love it. She loves me so much that when she sees me all she can do is grin, open wide and try to suck on my face. I often let her.

Today I had my first bath with her. (I know, enough with the rated R material already! Okay, it's probably only PG-13, but let's face it, I don't think you want me posting pictures of this stuff.) I love bathing with my babies. I do prefer them to be really strong at holding up their heads and kind of sitting with a little help, so I wait a few months. Today she got up super early and we had a little alone time so we hopped in. Bundle absolutely loved it. She's starting to understand that she has hands and feet and did a little splashing and a lot of happy gummy grinning. Wonderful.



Friday, October 02, 2009

Sour Don't

I've always had a desire to get really good at baking. I think I'll consider myself truly accomplished when I master the art of sourdough. I imagine myself having a starter in my fridge that I've had for years and that I use to create the most wonderful waffles and pizza dough and loaves of bread. I tried making my own starter once a long time ago, and I think I basically had a really smelly bucket of goo on the counter top for a few weeks until I finally gave up. Well, since my parents have come home they've gotten excited about sourdough and want me to be the starter of the starter. So I tried it again a couple of weeks ago. Can I just say that it's easier to keep a goldfish alive than these dang starters? I had it going strong for about 24 hours, did make one batch of fantastic waffles, and then it just died. Unfortunately I discovered its death after I had used some to start a loaf of some fancy whole grain sourdough bread. I followed the instructions and ended up with a loaf perfect for your next game of curling. It would probably do for a hockey puck except for its very large size, so curling seems more appropriate. All you need to do is wax its bottom a little to get it to slide a little better. Here is a picture of Troy trying to break his way into it with a reciprocating saw. We almost had to get a new blade.


Mom and Dad haven't given up on me yet - they showed up yesterday with two more packets of starter. I guess I have two more chances to bring life to a new member of the family and keep it alive for more than a day. This is tricky!

Speaking of my parents, I have to say, in the most complimentary way possible, that they are kind of like wind-up toys. May not sound like a compliment, but let me explain. So if there is something you need help getting done, you just tell my parents. Then it gets done. You just wind them up and point them in the right direction. Then they go in that direction until the job gets done. They have saved me from my disgusting fridge on several occasions. Right now the focus (besides keeping a sourdough starter alive) is starting an extended family-size garden at the side of our house. So we say, "Let's start a garden at our house." (We talked about this months ago before they were in Belgium) and now every time I turn around they're out there digging up weeds, tilling the dirt, planting winter crops that are good for the soil....it's amazing! And all I had to do was provide the dirt. (And all Troy had to do was have a job, buy a house and pay the mortgage..thanks honey! Good job!) The other day my folks had my kids out there helping plant beans and peas. My kids actually got kind of excited about it, which I'm happy about because maybe they'll try eating some actual vegetables if they were part of the growing process. Kind of neat.







And on a final note, I love this picture of my mom and Bundle:


Okay, I'm off to go do sourdough research before I get another bucket of goo fermenting on the counter. Wish me luck.