The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Love Letter to The Weepies

Dear Weepies,

Thank you for coming in concert the other night.  It is always very nice when one's favorite band on the entire planet comes to your home town.   I was able to see you with my husband this time, which was really fun.  There aren't too many bands that my husband and I are both nuts about.  Okay, I definitely love you more than he does, but he was pretty happy to be there with me, and calls you delightful.

So I was standing up at your show, right in front of the stage.  There was one row of people in front of me, but I was right there, feeling absolutely thrilled that I got to watch you sing some of my favorite songs.  (Ever since I heard Slow Pony Home for the first time about four years ago I hoped that one day I'd get to hear you sing it live.  Thanks especially for including that in your setlist.) Some of the folks in front of me were very silly, in my opinion.  I'm sure you have people yelling ridiculous things at you during any given show, and perhaps it's flattering as well as disrupting.  I kind of can't stand it when people do that, and this time when that gal held up her cell phone to show you pictures of her kid I wanted to hipcheck her and take her place in the front row.  A little obnoxious.

Here's the thing. I kind of know how they all felt.  As much as it was driving me totally crazy that they were trying to have a conversation with you while you were putting on a show, I know how it feels to be a fan.  I was standing there, singing along and hoping that your eyes would meet mine for just a moment, just long enough for you to see ME.  That it was me standing there and not just a body and nameless face.  That your music has been a big part of my life the past few years and it's really not fair that through the music I know you pretty well and you don't know me at all!  But somehow, I didn't think that yelling at you or making funny comments was going to bridge the gap. 

Well, it was a great show.  I'm hoping that you'll have an album coming out soon....and that will lead to another concert....where I will again get tickets and come early to hang out and let you sing to me.  I can't wait.

Sincerly,
Rachel





(Sorry, crappy cell phone pictures, but I didn't think they'd be cool with me going in there with a giant camera hanging around my neck.  Maybe I should have tried!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It Happened!

School actually came!  I wasn't sure it was ever going to get here.  But it did, and everyone is happy.  I think I'm only really happy because the kids are too - I'd feel pretty terrible sending them off in glee if they were miserable going.  Luckily they both ended up in great classes - I'm so pleased so far with the teachers and both kids have many good friends in their classes.  So far, so good.  And Bundle every morning insists on putting on her own backpack along with the big kids and she walks to school with them.  Cute little thing.  She talks a lot about wanting to go to school - hang in there, honey, you've got plenty of time for school in your life!  Let's just enjoy hanging out together.  Now go away so I can blog.  Just kidding of course - it's fun to be able to give one-on-one attention to your children and Bundle is at such a delightful stage.  I think we're going to have a great year!


Bundle even put on one of Bitty's new school dresses - she just loves being like her big sister. 

Pretty Good! (But Not Great.)

That, my friends, is my favorite quote from a very favorite movie: Julie and Julia.  The ever-fabulous Meryl Streep, as Julia Childs, assesses herself and her sister in a mirror before going to a party, and that's what she has to say about herself.  It made me laugh, and I quote it often.  Pretty good!  But not great.

This phrase comes to mind pretty much every time I approach my front door.  See, I love the quaint little picture of potted flowers sitting on a front porch. Every year I try to create just such a scene.  I have some great old pots, my favorite being a vintage ice cream freezer, and I fill them with dirt and pansies or petunias.  They look great all during May and sometimes June.  Then in about July things get a little rough. The pots sit in the afternoon sun and soak up the heat and pretty much roast the plants until they're just shriveled little stalks sadly poking up from the dirt.  It would help things a lot if I didn't forget that whole watering thing. 

This year I pledged myself to those pots.  Come what may, I will water my flowers this year!  And guess what.  It's almost September, and I still have greenery out front. Yes, it's somewhat shriveled, yes, I lost a plant or two, but hey!  Something lived through the summer!  They're just straggly enough to match my porch, which, let's face it, is pretty straggly itself.  I'm very proud.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Wrap-Up

Once again summer has flown by in a flash. Okay, it feels that way now that it's over but of course not so much over most of the past 2 1/2 months. I'm so funny - every June as school lets out and I'm facing the long months ahead of kids wanting me to entertain them all day it feels like I'll never make it through. And I dread it terribly. So we go on hikes, outings, trips, play dates, parties, barbeques, swimming, etc. etc. etc. until I'm about to collapse. Then suddenly it's over and I'm wondering if we did enough stuff to officially dub it a Good Summer. All I have to do, though, is look at our calendar and how crammed every day was and I can rest assured that we did indeed have a great summer.

One thing I didn't ever remember to blog about was a fun hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Mary's Lake. It isn't very far - I think only a mile or so, but since my friend Ruth and I did it together with seven children, three of whom were quite small, it took us the better part of a day. It was pretty funny, actually - we packed a picnic lunch and as soon as we parked and walked about 20 yards up the hill the kids all declared they were starving and ready for lunch. Yeah, right. We hauled them, prodded them, cajoled them and bribed them up the mountain a half mile to the very small and quaint Dog Lake where we perched on some rocks and ate our lunch. Then we finished the journey to Lake Mary, happily meeting up with my friend Heather and her family on the way, and enjoyed the beautiful cool sunshine by the lake. I definitely need to do that more often, despite the grumbles from the kids, the lovely scrape I sustained on my shin, and the multitude of mosquito bites collected by all. It's just a good thing to breathe the air of Big Cottonwood Canyon.






We crammed in a couple more outings over the last week - the aquarium and the aviary, plus many play dates and walks to Maverik for frozen yogurt. We made homemade icecream and rootbeer and enjoyed some rootbeer floats with friends. And suddenly, summer was over and school had begun. Of course, the weather is such that we've still got plans in the works for sleeping in the yard a time or two and perhaps some more lemonade on the back porch. Hopefully next summer I'll let go of the dread and remember that summer will swoosh by as quickly as it always does and not to fret.

We had the loveliest moment the other evening that I just had to record.  Not that long ago I posted a talk I gave in church and I mentioned how I always imgained what a good mom I'd be; that I'd constantly be snuggling with my kids on the lawn and gazing at shapes in the clouds but that in reality, kids never seem to want to do stuff like that with me.  Well guess what.  I was sitting on the lawn watching a gorgeous sunset and all three kids, Bundle included, came out, snuggled with me, and we all looked at shapes in the clouds.  It happened!  I really AM a good mom!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bitty Had a Birthday

It was actually a week ago, but as per usual I can barely think straight these days much less find time to sit down and blog.  Then last night Bitty said something completely hilarious to her father, and that's always a good incentive to find some time to sit at the computer. 

Shall we begin with the birthday?  Bitty turned six on Sunday.  All summer long she tried to start conversations with me about her party and what she wanted to do and how soon it was coming. I just had to keep shutting her down.  "Honey. Your birthday is not until the END of the summer.  It's EIGHT WEEKS away.  We will talk about this later."  Then suddenly, it was later.  Oh my!  We have 10 days until your birthday!  We pulled it together, though.  Bitty thought a lot about her party and decided she just had to have a "Pet Party."  (!?!?!)  Okay.  I actually ended up feeling quite clever about my idea even though its execution was less than flawless. 

First off, we sent out invites and had the little girls (mostly from her class last year) bring a stuffed animal to pamper.  (Thank you Dollar Store:  for three bucks the kids had pipe cleaners and beads with which to make collars, necklaces and other adornments for their toys.) Then I called in a few favors and had friends/family/neighbors bring over their pets to show off.  We ended up with one massive dog, a sweet cat, our lizard, two very cute chinchillas and our neighbor's chickens.  It wasn't quite the sit-down show-and-tell thing I was hoping for; it was more like a circus of running kids, chatting adults and man-handled animals.  But it ended up filling the time and keeping the kids happy, most importantly the birthday girl. 








 Speaking of the birthday girl, she did quite well, although she did have two completely massive tantrums during the day.  I guess that's to be expected - birthdays can be very very hard on kids in some ways, which I'm sure I've mentioned before.  But for the most part, it was fine.  And the best part was that I made absoluetly zero attempt at any sort of pet-themed cake.  I just make a big huge chocolate-with-vanilla-frosting cake.  It was great, and much better than the cake I made the next day, Sunday; her actual birthday.  That cake was a giant pink disaster.  Why oh why can't I learn how to measure the powdered sugar in the icing and trust the recipe?  Also, I need to remember that when it comes to expensive food coloring, just a dab'll do.  Pinkest frosting I have ever seen, and the fact that it was slowly sliding down the sides of the cake all evening during dinner at my parent's house made it look all the less appetizing.  Oh well.  Bitty liked it - she told me it was the best cake ever and that I had "beaten my record."  (Whatever the record was before, I don't want to know.)


 So happy birthday, Bitty girl. You rock my world, in good ways and in, well, not bad, but certainly challenging ways.  Heaven help me when you turn 13 but in the meantime I'm going to enjoy all the wonderful times you share with me.  No other child on the planet could possibly be as adoring as you are (when you're in the mood).  I love you dearly.

Want to hear what she said to her father last night?  He took Bitty and Stomper swimming after a blastedly hot day.  Bitty was chatting away like usual and this is what she reported to her father:

“Dad, all the boys are scared of me and Sofia and Katherine because of our hotness, and our cuteness.  Whenever a boy comes over to us we scare him away by saying, "Would you care for a kiss?’ When we say that they go away because boys don’t like to kiss, not at our age anyway.”

Like I said, Heaven help me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Date with Stomper





After our very successful roller-coaster riding at Disneyland, it became quite clear that Stomper would really dig Lagoon.  And that his sisters would not.  (At least, not all the big rides.) So Troy and I decided that Stomper needed a date to our local amusement park, and that I would be the one to take him, seeing as how I have a history of being a coaster-nut.  We went a week ago today and had a ball.  Mostly.  I'm just going to say one thing about me and roller coasters.  The old grey mare...she ain't what she used to be.  It's not like I got sick to my stomach at all.  More like...sick to my brain.  My brain doesn't like coaster riding any more.  But I still do.  I was so proud of Stomper!  He rode EVERYTHING and loved it all, even though he was pretty nervous at first.  In fact, the first attraction to attract us was the really really old rickety roller coaster.  So old that the only name it goes by is the....Roller Coaster.  Stomper was standing in front of me in line and I had my arms around him.  My hand was on his chest and I could feel his heart just absolutely hammering.  I wondered how he was going to do, and much to my joy and delight he really enjoyed everything.  It was so lovely to spend one-on-one time with my son, to be silly all day long and just let him choose whatever he wanted.  This meant we rode the Tidal Wave multiple times and completely skipped the Horroride....fine with me....in fact, his auntie Margaret and I did the exact same thing one legendary summer when we rode "the 'Wave" about 20 times in a row, gaining miniscule amounts of courage with every round until at last we had the guts to sit in the very back row.  Ah, memories.  Anyway, Stomper and I had a ball.  We were alone all day then met up with friends after dinner.  That worked great because I left him with the friends so I could get home to Troy and help put the girls to bed while Stomper rode and re-rode Wicked among other monster coasters until 11:00 that night.  My brain definitely could not have handled that. 




Saturday, August 13, 2011

20 Years. Weird. Good.

Does anyone else out there have their 18 year old self nestled deep down someplace inside?  And does that 18 year old self occasionally make an appearance?  Mine sure does from time to time.  (I use her to explain my attachment to the Twilight series despite its silliness...) Well, she showed up loud and proud last weekend as I attended my 20 year high school reunion.  And you know what?  I love her.  I think I spent a long time feeling like I had been a complete dork.  Okay, in some ways I was. And...still am really. Oh, there are things I would change; I know I would have fared better had I grown out my curls before college and perhaps limited the number of hats I wore to school. But I didn't, so that's that, and looking back, I have to say that I have come to love my little inner highschooler.  She did her best and went through some tough stuff and had some great experiences and friendships.  So for the reunion I just let her show up and patted her head, said good job and then put her back in her closet at the end of the night.  She manifested herself by being extremely anxious before the reunion, especially walking out to the lawn where everyone was mingling. Of course once I got there and saw a few familiar faces it was great.  And there were several people that I was just overjoyed to see.  It was lovely, if not quite as monumental a milestone as I had imagined that it might be.  There were a couple of unsettling moments for me; a slideshow with several pictures of me from highschool I've never seen before. (Again, should have grown out the hair...) Also a book, a copy of which was on every table, may no one have looked at my page, that was the collection of surveys written by our class that included such horrifying questions as, "Who would you like to marry," "Who was the love of your senior year," "What will you be wearing in 20 years," and "What was your best date of highschool?" These questions could have been possibly less embarassing to reread had I not been seized with an apparant fit of silliness and wild abandon when I answered them.  I must remember to warn my own children to be cautious about any time capusel-type questionaires because somehow or another, time does actually pass, and someday you'll be faced with  those answers, possibly in public.  Ah, well.  Like I said, I just had to pat my little self on the head, send her a love message and put her back to bed. 

I've been blessed by many many friends through my life and any chance to celebrate that and reconnect is such a pleasure. 






Cousins Cousins

Pictures.  Worth a thousand words.  We love our cousins.

Adam and Whitley have made a somewhat bumpy but ultimately successful move to Seattle - I need to call them today to hear how things are going.  Along the way they stopped in Salt Lake for a while and anytime we get to spend with them is always a highlight.  We're really excited to get up to see them in the near future.




Almost Worth It

Summer. I love it.  It's killing me.  It's almost over.  We're so lucky to have been able to do so many fun things this year.  I was panicked at the beginning of June that I'd be wondering what we'd have to fill our days with, but now that it's almost the middle of august and school starts in about 10 days, there isn't quite enough time to get everything in that we were hoping to do!  Luckily September is warm and long too and so we'll keep doing things.

One adventure we made sure to fit in this year was the annual trip up to Strawberry Reservoir for Troy and the big kids to go crawdad huntin'.  Much to my chagrin.  Just kidding - the kids absolutely go nuts for it and they tried really hard to bring in a good haul so that we could invite some neighbors over to enjoy the massive feasting that crawdads provide.  Okay, it's not that much of a feast.  So I whipped up some jamabalaya, my first time ever trying it.  It was so good!  I'm officially a jambalaya fan.




Troy and the kids brought in a massive catch of 47 crawdads, which means that there was about 1/2 oz. of meat for everyone.  Actually it was a great deal of fun.  I used the website Pandora to find some cajun tunes, we set up a big table covered with a garbage bag and set a bucket on top.  We boiled up those little guys and dumped them out on the table and everyone began enjoying their morsels of meat.  Most everyone, that is.  There were a few of us who just let there be more for everyone else.  I  myself partook of two, and the meat was good, but somehow I still find them rather off-putting.   The jamabalaya was awesome, though, as was the nieghborly company, the beautiful summer evening and the icy rootbeers floating in the cooler.  Like I said, Summer. I love it.




Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I Heart Brighton

Continuing on in the report of my many gatherings, I must write a separate blog entry for beloved Brighton Camp.  I was lucky enough to attend camp as a 12 and 13 year old girl, not really knowing my family histroy with the place.  Of course I loved it. In 1990, the camp got a new president - the fantastic Floss Waltman.  Well, she had been a counselor there in 1960 and guess what.  So had my mom.  So Floss called mom to be on the committee with her, and that summer I applied to work in the kitchen as a kd.  I chose my first ever camp name.  Gecko.  That name morphed into "Geek" over the next couple of summers, which was fine with me.  I still don't know why I chose that name, but I'm fond of it.  I had a wonderful summer in the kitchen and the next summer, after I had graduated from high school I returned to work in the craft shack, which was equally wonderful.  A few years later I had returned from a mission and wasn't really sure what to do with my summer.  I got a call from Floss, asking me to apply to be the director of the camp.  I was so thrilled, even though I had skipped the step of being a counselor, which I've always been sorry about.  But I accepted the offer.  I found out that my assistant director was named Echo.  Not only had I never really known why I picked the name Gecko, I also knew that I did NOT want us to be Gecko and Echo.  So I changed my name.  I picked Quimby, named after Ramona Quimby, the heroine of my favorite series of children's books by Beverly Cleary.  It fit me much better.  And I had another wonderful, though very challenging summer as the director.

This summer was the 90th anniversary of Brighton LDS Girls Camp.  Some of the staff members from my 1991 year decided to gather together for dinner the week before the reunion.  I think only about 10 of us made it, but it was such a high to get together.  It's been 20 whole years, which seems unbelievable, but everyone looks so much the same and is doing such neat things with their lives.  We've all had troubles and triumphs, and it was an absolute joy to gather together and share our histories.  I love that group.

 Back Row: Oreo, Spice, Bambi, Jabba, Indy, Mush and Bonsai
Front Row: Willow, Gecko, EweHoo and Cherokee


Then over the weekend was the big shin-dig up at camp.  Sadly our Saturday was already totally full, so I couldn't go up on the busy day when I would have seen so many more people from my years.  But on Sunday after church my daughters and I picked up my mom (Casey as she is known up at Brighton) and we drove up.  I'm telling you, just pulling into the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon and smelling the piney air fills me with a sense of well-being and happiness.  And suddenly I have the uncontrollable urge to sing.  Cant keep those camp songs out of my head!  It was a total thrill to walk all over camp, taking pictures of all the places I painted my name (wherever you live up at camp you get to paint your name), being flooded with memories. 

 Quimby and the next Gecko

 Floss, Casey and Apple

 Checking out my signature in Wildernest, home of the directors

 Above is my name in Cookie Jar, the home of the kd's, and below is my slightly over-the-top signature in The Outback, home of the craft specialists.


 The path to the cabins, affectionately known as Hernia Hill - doesn't look too bad from here

Me with 1997's contribution to camp - the record of our Courageous adventure, a story for another day

Bitty was ecstatic to be there.  She was feeling the love and was bubbling over with enthusiasm about hiking and singing and staying in cabins and even insisted that I call her Gecko for the rest of the day.  It was something else to have three generations of past and future campers there:


Well, I'm out of explatives.  I don't know what else I can say to share the fact that Brighton is the most wonderful place on earth.  You'll just have to go there yourself.  Also, you should read this article.