The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coming Up for Air

Are you trying to tell me that Christmas was only four days ago?  It feels like it's been at least two weeks! I think it even felt like that on Christmas afternoon.  I think it's probably because the buildup to the big day is so massive that by the time it actually comes and goes at the same old rate of time passing as every other day, no momentous slowing of time despite all the preparations I've made, I'm a little shocked.  I think it may be also because the kids were so nutty, so totally out of control with insane jolliness throughout the entire month of December and now they just have cabin fever and are excited to get back to school. 

So yes, Christmas 2010 has come and gone and we're looking forward to the New Year.  We really did have a fun holiday, though it will never be story-book perfect like it is in my head.  I don't think it's that way for anyone.  If so, please get in touch with me and let me know how you're doing that.

Christmas Eve was spent by Troy and me deciding that the kids absolutely MUST get out of the house.  We wanted to do something appropriate for the snowy holiday only there was one problem.  No snow.  We had a huge storm around Thanksgiving and one or two in December, but Christmas this year was decidedly green in our neck of the woods.  Luckily we live near many canyons which have been pelted by snow.  So we bundled up, picked up some sleds, and headed over to Milcreek Canyon.  Unfortunately, the last storm that hit sent rain to Milcreek rather than snow, so the snow already on the ground was pretty hard and icy by the time we got there.  Happily our kids didn't really know the difference and had an absolute ball sledding down this minuscule little hill right by the road.  Well, Bundle wasn't very hip on the whole sledding thing.  I took her down once and it totally terrified her and she cried for 1/2 an hour until I took her back to the car, where we ate crackers for an hour as Troy wore out the other two. 






After heading home to warm up, give poor Bundle a nap and do a little food preparation, we headed over to my sister's house for dinner and Romney family gifts.  Neither of my brothers could make it, which we were sad about, but we managed to have a nice time anyway.  For many many years now we've had a traditional Mexican feast on Christmas Eve - posole, ceviche, sopes - but since the Mexican food experts were not going to be in attendance this year Margaret and I decided we'd switch it up and little.  We kept the theme of a foreign food well known by a Romney child, but switched from Mexician to Korean.  (I was a missionary in Korean in 1994-95...wow, getting to be a long time ago!)  We feasted on our delicious food, but we did that after we opened gifts.  Now, I know that it's normally polite to wait for a while until presents are opened, but because one of Margaret's daughters was heading off to her dad's place early in the evening we did presents first.  And guess what.  I think it made all the difference in the world in my kids' behavior.  They really enjoyed the evening instead of pestering me unrelentingly about when when when are we opening presents? Now, maybe I should be a better mom and teach them patience and long suffering but I say whatever.  On Christmas Eve, what makes them happy makes us all happy!  We played a couple of games, we decorated cookies, we went home early.  It was great.






Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moments

On Monday evening we were invited to perform the nativity with our friends the Radants.  We have never done that with the kids before, and I'm so glad we did.  It didn't last super long, but that's okay - it was adorable.  We had gotten together with the Radants last year for a Christmas activity - we went up to This is the Place State Park for their old fashioned Christmas.  They really do a good job but it was freezing cold and so crowded that it was actually kind of miserable.  We decided that we still wanted to celebrate Christmas together this year but that it would be much better to do it where there wouldn't be hoards and hoards of people all trying to be holly and jolly in exactly the same place.  (Plus, no weird puppet shows, which I remember being strangely disconcerting last year....)  So Krista invited us plus a couple of neighbor families over to put on a production of the Christmas Story.  Bitty starred as Mary, Stomper made a great shepherd and took very good care of his unruly herd of sheep, one of whom was Bundle.  Bundle and the other sheep flatly refused to wear the ears I made for them, but that's okay.  We sang some carols and I especially got a kick out of the extremely giggly angles.  And then we all ate pie.  Really fun evening.






Then last night, after a rather long couple of days at home with very few plans, I realized that I would be very sad if we never made it downtown to see the lights at Temple Square.  Troy wasn't available to assist me, Bundle had skipped all but 15 minutes of her nap, and the big kids had been fighting all day.  But hey, that's no reason for me not to head out alone on a cold night dragging three kids across the city, right?  And I was rewarded for my bravery.  It was awesome.  We parked by Office Max and caught Trax downtown.  The kids loved the train though I'm not sure our fellow passengers appreciated their many exclamations of delight.  We didn't have to do much walking, we went early before the real crowds hit, and the lights were really beautiful.  The kids were happy and cheerful, all the way until we set foot in the door, whereupon the fighting started again, but at least for 90 minutes we had peace and goodwill toward men.






I have so enjoyed these brief little moments of perfect Christmas-ness this season.  I think I keep hoping that from the 1st of December to Christmas Day itself every second of every day will feel like this, but it never does and then I feel like I didn't do it right or something.  And I think to myself that maybe next year it will be really Christmas-y. Well of course it isn't like that - I still have laundry and dirty floors and stuff to do.  December is never going to be one solid month of uninterrupted holiday bliss.  I need to remember that Christmas is made up of regular life PLUS these fabulous moments.  I'm so glad we went out last night.  I think maybe we'll venture out again tonight!

Monday, December 20, 2010

2nd Annual W&W Night


As decided last year, my brother Peter and I carried on our now traditional evening of Waffles and Wassail, complete with a viewing of The Muppets Christmas Carol.  Last Friday Pete and his family cruised up here from St. George with movie in tow.  Unfortunately, just as I was heating up the waffle iron, I got a call from them that they were stuck in bad traffic in Provo.  So the evening did not get off to the picturesque start that I had envisioned; a beautiful buffet table heaped with steaming waffles and an array of delectable toppings, a steaming pot of wassail to the side.  It was all much more haphazard than that.  But that doesn't mean it wasn't really fun.  My parents joined us as well as my sister Margaret.  We all eventually got a plate of waffles and some of us partook of my wassail, about which I'm learning that I should try following a recipe sometime.  This year's was way too sweet.  But it looked pretty - apple juice with fresh lemon and orange juice, floating cinnamon sticks and cranberries and cloves.  And I just love the Muppet's Christmas Carol.  It tells my favorite Christmas story but with a softer edge for the kids.  Stomper actually sat and watched the whole thing this year, though Bundle and Bitty just took off and played with their cousins, which was also fun.  Bundle is doing so much talking these days - she tries to say everything.  So she ran around saying "NAA NAA!" chasing after her cousin Siena.  Probably annoying but I thought it was cute.



THEN after we tried, somewhat successfully, to tuck the kids into bed (Stomper was out in about 1/2 a second, Bitty and Siena giggled in bed for an hour before we gave up and got Siena up, and Bundle snuggled up with Aunt Sheri at about 10 to finally zonk out,) the grownups, now joined by our friends the Irvines, went in for round two of movie night.  This weekend was the opening of Tron II, and we thought it would be fun to watch the first Tron before Troy and Peter went to see the new one on Saturday.  Little did I know how hard it would be to wrangle up a copy - it's available on Amazon.com for about $100, Netflix and the Library were so backed up on rentals that I expect it would take until the spring thaw before my name would come up.  No video stores have it...wait, no video stores exist anymore, so that didn't help!  Thanks be to the almighty facebook - I just posted that I was in search of a copy and I got a few responses from far and wide.  Little did I know that I needed to look no farther than my daily phone call - The Becky happens to married to an uber-geek, bless him.  Jon is awesome. Of course he had it on DVD.  So we watched it, and I'm not sure it stood up to the test of time.  It was really fun to be together, though.  And Troy has added a new and, if I may say, very hip new insult to his lineup:  bit-brain.  As in, "You're such a bit-brain!"  Yeah, I told him that if he actually used that insult on anyone he'd probably end up looking worse than the insultee.
It was a W&W night to remember, and I look forward to next year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Doi.

Uh, Doi, Rachel!  I was loading some pictures onto the computer this morning and found a whole bunch from the tree hunting trip that I totally forgot about!  So here's a little visual addition to the tree trip:








Friday, December 17, 2010

Little Gifts of the Season

Christmas is descending upon us with its usual frantic pace, though the kids I'm sure feel that it couldn't be dragging its feet any more slowly if it tried. ("MOM, I just CAN'T keep WAITING for Christmas....)  Well son, Christmas just can't wait for me, no matter how behind I am.  And if anyone has read this blog for any length of time you'll know that as much as I love Christmas, as much as it fills me with giddy excitement, it totally stresses me out and occasionally depresses me at the same time for reasons that I've talked over so often in the past it's really not worth mentioning again.  So let's just skip over the stresses and downers, because they will catch up with me every year no matter what, I'm guessing.  Let's think instead about the lovely little gifts the season has given me already.

I recorded on television a random production of The Nutcracker.  Some cable channel out there decided to play about six different versions of it over one week.  Bitty had been talking about this ballet pretty consistently since her school scored free tickets for the entire student body to attend the final dress rehearsal of Ballet West's production.  She's been talking about it so much, actually, that "a real nutcracker" made its way very pointedly onto her Christmas list and I found myself making one last, "no really it's the very LAST thing," purchase for her.  So one evening last week I played the first little bit of the recorded production for my girls and magic ensued:

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It was so grand to watch the two girls dancing together. They were in utter ecstacy.  It reminded me of the many hours I spent dancing with my own sister.  We too were inspired by The Nutcracker.  We had these two dresses, both with very full twirly twirly skirts.  One was brown with white rickrack, and the other was this kind of crazy multicolored print with a white blouse.  We dubbed the brown dress our gingerbread dress and the other our sugar cookie dress.  We would put them on, dance wildly with much spinning, then trade dresses and do it all over again.  I seem to also remember that we developed the talent of getting changed into and out of these dresses in such a way so that no one caught a glimpse of our frilly white undies, though I don't remember quite how we did it. 

Another gift of the season this year was the delivery of the neighbor gifts.  This is the first year my kids were big enough to handle, not to mention get extremely excited about, me stopping at the curb of each house so they could jump out and take a treat to the door of a few of our wonderful neighbors.  What a relief for me to not be getting in and out and in and out.  And what a pleasure be with my kids, playing that I was Mrs. Claus and they my helper elves delivering presents.  Afterwards we stopped at Wendy's for a peppermint frosty swirl, (my review is that they're yummy but expensive, plus they were declared "YUCKY" by a very distraut Bitty,) and then we took a double drive through Christmas Street which just isn't lengthy enough to satisfy after only one round.

Probably the best gift of the season so far happened on Tuesday night.  I'm the enrichment leader in our ward, meaning that if our women's group gets together for a party or gathering on a not-Sunday, I am one of the organizers.  For our Christmas gathering I thought it would be nice to not meet down in the gym and have a big old dinner - it's just not very cozy or personal, and really tough to decorate.  So we decided to meet in the room where we meet on Sundays.  We dimmed the lights, brought in a few strands of Christmas lights, and a beautiful creche display was set up on a table in front.  We had a dessert buffet in the hallway on a table decked out with my Santa collection.  The best part was the 15 white balloons I placed at the front of the room, each dangling a puffy white snowflake at the bottom of their ribbons so it looked like it was snowing at the front of the room.  It looked great.  More importantly, we had the most awesome program.  Several sisters sang breathtaking solos, we heard some great stories, and we all enjoyed singing carols together.  Beautiful.  Wonderful.  And it was more than that - the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.  All those wonderful elements added up to a feeling of pure peace and joy so strong it was nearly tangible in that special room.  It was an evening that has so far made my Christmas and will last in my memory forever. 

Thank you, Christmas, for your lovely little gifts so far.  Today is the last day of school for the kids and hopefully we can enjoy the break and celebrate this wonderful year we've had!  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tree Trek

I must begin this post with a confession.  I'm depressed about my blogging.  I feel like I haven't had a creative spark or anything really interesting to say for weeks.  I barely get out one post a week and I'm bummed.  I know that Bundle is in a busy busy phase and that it really is worthwhile for me to spend my time and energy on her and her siblings rather than on the blog, but still.  Wah.  Boo Hoo me.

Okay,  next topic.

It was two years ago that we made our first wintry trek to Bear Lake with Troy's co-worker Steve and his family to hunt down and harvest our very own Christmas tree.  Last year his wife Mary and I both had six month old babies - Mary was probably up for going anyway but I am not as stalwart as she and decided not to brave a weekend in a cabin with six kids, two of whom were infants.  Yes, I'm a wimp - I know.  But this year when Steve called and invited us, our weekend was miracuously free and we decided to go for it.  Yes, two 18-month old kids together plus an additional four kids made for some busy parents, but overall the weekend was great fun.  I even did a little relaxing, much to my shock and joy.  The kids did quite well for the most part - only minor scuffles here and there and all of them quickly repareable. 

It was a bit more of an adventure to collect the trees than it had been two years ago - there was so much snow up the canyon that our two cars (theirs: a Tahoe, ours: a Jeep Cherokee) had some troubles getting up.  And when I say "troubles" I actually mean that the Tahoe got totally stuck and Troy had to back the Jeep down a couple miles of canyon so he and Steve could go find help.  The mommies walked the kids back to the cabin.  Well, we walked for an hour or so, which was pretty fun; much stomping and cavorting into the snow banks.  After that the two babies were wiped out and Bitty kept collapsing onto her knees in a great show of utter exhaustion.  I knew we still had quite a ways to go and was starting to feel anxious about getting through the rest of the journey when suddenly there was a roaring in the distance and about eight guys on snowmobiles pulled up and rescued us.  Now, in general I know it's not a good idea to hand off your kids to men on snowmobiles, but seeing as how they zoomed to our rescue at the very moment that my children were about to get dragged down the mountain by their ankles, I thought it was appropriate.  And I am grateful to them for stopping.

Troy and Steve were also assisted by some helpful locals - two friendly gents by the name of Kim and Leroy who were not to be found without a beer in hand.  (See photo.) They were as nice as could be and insisted that using their big rig truck complete with tire chains to drag out the Tahoe was nothing more than their idea of an afternoon well spent.  When Steve insisted on reimbursing them ole Kim and Leroy requested payment in beer.  It took a few hours for Troy and Steve to track down the help they needed, but we're so grateful that our help arrived in al its many forms.


The kids were of course disappointed that we didn't get our trees right away, and when Steve and Troy snuck out early Sunday morning on a snowmobile handily located in the basement of the cabin, Stomper was quite envious.  But the men brought back a coupe of great trees.  It's kind of funny that whenever we get a tree I take a look at it and think to myself that it's too bad that this one won't reach very high in our livingroom with its 10 foot celings.  And then we get the thing home and have to chop off three feet and the tip still brushes the celing.  Guess I'm not much of a judge of height.  It's a lovely tree, and was the result of a lovely weekend.

Some other highlights were:

Watching the two babies toddle around and try to interact with each other.  Sometimes one of them would just stand there and watch the other cry for a while, sometimes they'd share crackers or hugs, sometimes they'd try to remove each other's hair.


It was also quite fun to watch the three girls get immersed in some simple little art projects I brought.  Troy also took the opportunity of having time on his hands to teach both kids how to play checkers.  Stomper even got Troy to give him his first chess lesson and I was surprised at how much Stomper understood and retained.  Do I see a chess set in our future? Possibly!


I really loved using the beautiful cabin and getting a chance to sit and knit for a bit.  The grownups even stayed up one night and watched a show.  I felt like I was dating again, which was rather enjoyable.

One of the best parts of the trip for me is going to sound like it should have really been the worst, but it wasn't.  That would be the drive to and from the cabin.  Even though we have our new mini van which comfortably holds us all, there's no way it could have made it to the cabin in the deep snow, so we took our jeep.  Now, the whole reason we bought the van is because three car seats don't fit in the back of the jeep.  So we put Stomper in front (don't worry, no airbags) in his booster and me in the back squashed between the two girls.  It was so tight back there that my shoulders are still sore from the carseats pushing in on me.  See? Not sounding too fun, right?  Well, it's not a situation I want to find myself in too often, but having my own little family all captive together all squashed up just makes me happy.  You know, those times when no one is asking for stuff, you have nothing you're trying to get done like the dishes or homework, you're just being together and enjoying the drive. Love it.  Thanks, Burnetts, for another fabulous Tree Trek weekend.



Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Hard To Bundle


This gal isn't much of a Bundle any more - she's getting awfully big.  But I just can't stop calling her by her first blog name.  Bundle hit the 18 month mark this past week and it's really fun to look at her and how much she's grown up.  It seems like she's becoming more and more of a little girl every day.  Her hair is so long, she has many likes and dislikes and she's decided that she wants to learn how to talk, so even in the past week or so she's been trying to repeat everything you say. 

One of my favorite things she has said lately is, "Oooopsh!"  (Ooops, of course.)  She said this the other day after putting socks on her hands - hopefully you're familiar with the book "Red Hat Blue Hat" in which a certain turkey can not firgure out the purpose of clothing.  Bundle loves this book and giggles wildly with every "oops." 

She has been a very cute little signer for many months now.  I don't think she knows quite as many signs as Bitty did at the same age, but she's fascinated by it and may still learn more.  I guess since she's trying to talk I should encourage that rather than the signs but it's so darling I keep signing with her too.


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