The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Alex

Alex Cornelius Preslar
May 5, 1996 - May 25, 2010


I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on my Mr. Alex. He was a 10-week old puppy; a pure white ball of fluff and energy, licking and wiggly. Perfectly round save for two giant bat-ears sticking straight up in the air. This very cute boy by the name of Troy Preslar had brought him to a church gathering and I, like every other girl in the place, went completely GA GA over the both of them. For the record, my thought as I was rubbing the sweet little doggy's ears and chatting with the cute boy was, "Oh man, this is the kind of guy I always like and who NEVER likes me back." Shortly thereafter I was elbowed out of the way by the throng of girls in line to meet both Alex and Troy and I had to move on. But eighteen months later I came out the winner when it turned out that that kind of guy did like me and I married Troy, thus inheriting part ownership of a very frisky blue-eyed dog.

Alex played a great part in our courtship - on our very first date, after a dinner up Guardsman's Pass, Troy and I held hands for the first time and took Alex for a walk together. It was to be the first of hundreds. Troy and I rarely did much else than spend time together, walk the dog and rough-house with him in his parents' back yard. At the time I had rather long hair and one evening I had it pulled back into a braid. I was teasing Alex with his giant rope; I suddenly turned and ran away from him, and just as suddenly found myself flat on the ground looking up at the starry sky. Alex was standing near by with a confused look on his face, wondering how his rope had gotten stuck to the back of my head.

Alex has been with Troy (and eventually me too) for 14 wonderful years - Troy tells me stories of Alex's early and extremely energetic days; countless are the hoses that had to be replaced that first year, much to my father-in-law's chagrin. And many were the midnights in which Alex stood by the back door, yowling his special Chewbacca-yowl known only to Husky owners, until Troy had to get on his bike and run him for a few miles.

Alex was our darling boy, and last night after we laid him to rest Troy and I spent an hour or so looking through the scrapbook of the first years of our marriage. Alex was on almost every page. Romping through the snow, checking back in with us on a hike, snatching the cookies Santa left behind on Christmas morning, lying on the bed with me with his hip shoved into mine and his head resting on my ankles. Ah, that was warm. And hairy. And wonderful.

When we started bringing babies home life got a little harder for Alex, and at the moment my heart is aching for the decrease in his walks and hikes and snuggles. But he was always a beloved part of our family. I brought my babies home to him - he met three of them on the front porch, giving them each an obligatory sniff before promptly beginning to ignore them. He even participated in Bitty's delivery - the one baby I labored the most with at home. He wouldn't leave my side and circled around and around me as I worked.

It was a couple of weeks ago that we felt like Alex was, well, getting really stinky. He's been aging well and steadily for a long time now. But the stinky thing got really bad really fast and Troy and I finally realized he had something going on in his mouth. We thought it was an abscessed tooth, so Troy took him in for a look-see on Saturday. The vets couldn't see much without putting him under a general anesthetic, so we scheduled that for yesterday, which also happened to be my birthday. Ah, well. That was the soonest they could do it and we wanted to help him out quickly. We felt like fixing a tooth was not an over-the-top thing to do for a 14 year old dog, but we were told that they might find other problems which would be much tougher to fix.

Indeed, yesterday afternoon just as my in-laws were dropping by for a birthday visit, Troy got a terrible call from the vet's office informing him that Alex had a large tumor under his tongue and wrapped around his jaw. We knew that there would be no helping him and that to keep him alive any longer would be cruel. He was already losing weight because he couldn't eat, and seemed to be going deaf very quickly. I was very grateful to my inlaws - they were so sweet and thoughtful and cried with us. Troy began to dig a grave and then we passed out our kids and headed up to the vet's.

We spent about 30 minutes with our pup, talking to him and loving him and telling him goodbye and thank you. Then we held him in our arms while he was given a sedative and then put to sleep forever. We wrapped him in a quilt we've had for years and took him home. The kids were great. They really participated in grieving for him and the pictures we took will be treasures forever. We said our last goodbyes, put him in the grave and then held hands and sang our favorite lullaby to him; Shadows Creep. The kids helped Troy cover him in dirt, and then we planted flowers over him and Chase very sweetly put his pinwheel there too. The flowers, a gift from Morris and Carol, are white, and as I look through the back window I can see them peeping through the bushes almost like he's back there still, curled up in the foliage, just where he likes to be.

Our hearts are sore and sad and frankly every one seems to be coming down with the flu. We're going to miss him terribly. Even in one day it's easy to see just how much a part of every moment he was - there was no one to feed Bitty's sandwich crusts to this afternoon and no one waiting at the gate when I pulled in the driveway. His absence is everywhere. As it says in the book I gave to Troy today, "While there are many different roads that we take in life, it is those who have walked with us that make the journey worthwhile." Amen.

Alex, thank you for living your life with us. You were born on the same date as our baby Matthew, and I was born on the same date you died. You were intertwined with us, that is for sure. Your era has ended, but you will be a part of us forever. And Alex, just so you know, I believe in doggy heaven.








Monday, May 24, 2010

A Good Parenting Moment

I love my neighborhood. There's such a nice mix of folks. Folks who are conservative, folks who are liberal. Folks who are religious, folks who are not. Some care a lot about the environment, some, not so much. And now that I have a child enrolled in the local elementary school I get mixed in with all the other folks too. It's kind of great. Every once in a while, however, one person's habits get starkly compared to your own in front of every one and you don't come out on top.

Take the other day at Stomper's soccer practice. What a great team. We don't fare especially well at games - we're excited when we get a goal at all. But the boys enjoy being together and kicking the ball around (or pulling their jerseys up over their heads in order to more better imitate a flesh-eating monster of some kind...) I feel that this positive attitude alone is an accomplishment. And the other parents are so nice. I'm very fond of all of them and am growing quite close to many of them. There is this one sweet mom with two kids - the boy plays soccer on the team, and the big sister is darling with both of my girls during games and practices - and we have done a lot of chatting over the past year. She is so awesome in sticking to her personal convictions about parenting. For example, she let us know the other day that her kids have never seen a commercial on t.v. They just don't do t.v. at their house. She didn't say it in any sort of uppity way in the slightest, she was more laughing at herself a little bit. But when she said it.....the other moms got quiet....crickets chirping.... Huh, I thought to myself. That's not what it's like at my house. At first I started to feel bad but quickly moved to, "Oh well!" There are other battles I pick. I think. I have some parental integrity, right? I'm sure I do.

Well. Another such comment from this mom, as I was pulling out yet another crappy Happy Meal toy for Bundle to play with during practice, was that her kids had never been to McDonald's. Again, good for her. McDonald's is pretty much the devil, right? And yet I still find myself using its mysterious little deep fried nuggets and craptastic plastic toys as bait for my kids from time to time. I hang my head in shame. So you can imagine what was going through my head as I was sitting with this very kind mommy, watching the practice, when Bundle started screaming and throwing an absolute fit. I quickly pawed through my purse, fingers desperately searching for a binki or stray cracker. I came up empty-handed. So then I really dug down, and to my simultaneous relief, delight and horror, I found several old french fries. Bundle loves french fries, and she immediately grabbed for them and suckled them down to little nubs the moment she saw them. Don't worry, they were no more than three days old. Or four. Sick. I can't believe I'm telling this story. I'm still laughing at the look on the face of my friend. Yes! I went to McDonald's! No, I never clean out my purse! Yes! French fries actually spilled into my bag and I am now feeding them to my child! Frankly, Bundle was content for the remainder of the practice and now I think I shall keep a few stray fries at the bottom of my purse from now on.



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Costco Adventure

I must confess that every time "Go to Costco" appears on my to-do list, I feel a little thrill of excitement. I know, I know. It can be a pain to go; finding a parking place, steering the gi-mungo carts around, picking up enough samples at the food tables to feed your hungry mass of children, not crashing into anyone, limiting your conversations with all the people you know to under two minutes so as not to lengthen the time of your trip beyond two hours. Being over by the bread (SE corner) when one or other of your offspring suddenly and urgently needs the bathroom (NW corner). Not being persuaded by the kids that we really do need a full-body massaging chair for only $99.99. (They almost got me on that one.) But I still just love to go.

Yesterday after school I took the girls with me for an unusually large trip. I mean, you always run out of t.p. and diapers and chicken at the same time, you know? What made it extra exciting was the fact that it was pouring rain. Pouring. The girls were great for the trip - Bitty, in the back of the cart, was steadily getting buried alive by groceries as she happily munched away on such exotic samples as Jell-O mousse, spinach quiche and goat-cheese ravioli. (That last one is actually slightly made up and my guess is that the only person to guess the movie reference will be The Becky.) Bundle was tucked in up front working on the same delicacies, making sure to spit most of them down her front in the process. By the time we got it all loaded on the check stand, paid for, reloaded in the cart and picked up our berry smoothies, I was feeling rather triumphant at our successful trip. As we approached the exit I could see out the doors that the rain had not let up in the slightest and we were in for a wet trip to the car. I did what I could to make my kids happy and Bundle looked so cute as a result that I actually paused to take her picture before getting her into the car:


I was a little irked after I took the picture because I looked up to see a Mercedes Benz poised and ready, blinker already flashing, to take my place. (I had procured quite an awesome spot, unlike usual.) I hadn't even put the kids in yet! Not to mention all the groceries. Seriously, if I were them, I'd get out and help. It was a t.p. day, people! The cart was totally full! But I managed to get it all in by myself, move the cart, buckle the kids and drive away before getting honked at.

And of course I brought home the best treat ever. Every Costco trip affords us one special item - that one thing that wasn't on the list or part of our daily menu in any way. Sometimes it's organic cracker-chips things. Once it was dark chocolate-covered pomegranate bites. Those were a mistake. They were so delicious that Troy and I made ourselves sick on them. This week? A large yellow box of cereal. Not just any cereal, mind you, but those awesome little mini-boxes of cereal that upon sight throw both Troy and me into the nostalgic fever. Both of us grew up in nearly sugar-cereal free homes, being offered the tasty treats only on very special occasions. And the mini boxes were just the height of happiness. As I grew up in Boulder our family would come visit the relatives in Utah about once a year, and every time we'd come, we'd stay in my grandmother's condo in Park City. And every time we were there we got two things. Mini cereal boxes and Professor Poole's pulp-free (oh the ecstasy!) orange juice. We moved to Utah when I was twelve and I was sure that those two marvels of nature were sure to become part of my daily life, but alas, it was not to be so. For Troy, the mini-boxes appeared only on the family camping trips. It was so funny to sheepishly show Troy the container of cereals and see his eyes light up as much as mine had.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

First Mud


What happens at the Preslar's house when the sun comes out and the spring breezes blow? We turn on the hose, point it at the dirt and strip down the kids. And thus begins the ruination of a few more underthings and a whole slew of new photographs. Also, the bathroom isn't the same for about a week. It's all worth it.



Not Forgotten

Seeing as how every morning I feel like I wake up and instantly get dropped onto a high-speed treadmill (Ready, Set, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!!) I am not blogging very much. But I can not let any more time go by without publicly wishing baby Matthew a happy birthday. Last Wednesday was the third anniversary of our Matthew day. Thanks to the many friends who called and sent notes. It always means a lot.

Troy and I did our best to have a quiet celebration; planting some flowers, sending out balloons, writing notes. A birthday cake. But in the grand tradition of our kids, "quiet" was not really a part of the day in any way shape or form. That's okay. After working at Primary Children's Hospital I learned that sometimes kids deal with grief by going bananas. So bananas it was. No sitting still, climbing the walls all day long, lots of wrestling. Ah well. My peace came late in the evening after the kids were asleep and Troy had gone to bed. I spent some time alone with Matthew by reading all the cards that people sent, looking at his ultrasound photos, reading journal entries. It was really nice. Very sweet, really, with so little of that sad sad ache that I'm so glad we made it through.

Love you, baby M.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

One Month Shy of the Big Year Mark

It has now been two days since Bundle turned 11 months, but I guess you can understand why I am not blogging so much these days. I seem to spend every waking moment trying to prevent her from killing herself. Ah, the walking has begun, and my life has come to a screeching halt. I don't think I've gone to bed with a clean kitchen in weeks. I guess I could clean it after she goes to bed, but since waking her up is worse than dirty dishes, I don't risk it. I didn't know my house was such a death-trap but the combo of a new walker, a wood-burning stove on a stone platform plus some unfinished plywood stairs that Bundle can get herself up is proof enough.

Let's check out the flip side of my attitude. Bundle is so adorable. She walks like Frankenstein, she looks to anyone in sight for cheers and approval anytime she performs one of her many tricks. She adores her siblings, she's eating actual food with great gusto, she copies us as much as she can and she's sleeping ....well, not great but okay. That's a triumph for me.

Okay, I'm going to be honest. It's 10:30 at night after a very long day and I'm so tired I can't tell if what I'm typing is even coherent much less witty and interesting. I'm going to quit by posting a video of Bundle and a couple of her tricks. I'll type more tomorrow. Maybe.

video