The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Monday, October 31, 2011

Warm Witchy Weather

(Written a few days ago...I'm not sure how's been a busy week....)

I'm sitting huddled at my kitchen table with a cup of hot chocolate - today is only down to 50 degrees, but it feels like it's pure winter after the past few weeks of glorious autumn sunshine. We have reveled in it. Trips to the park, playing on the porch, just sitting in the sun. It's why October is often my favorite month of the year. And we sure have been out and about enjoying the autumn festivities.

One activity we really enjoyed as we've been gearing up for Halloween is a trip to Gardener Village to check out their witch displays and track down everything on the witch scavenger hunt. I've actually been out there once before with my mom when Stomper was a chubby little toddler and wee Bitty was just 2 months old. But that was by accident. We had been trying to find a pumpkin patch and we drove for at least an hour trying to find the place only to realize that there wasn't a pumpkin patch anywhere near. But we enjoyed the witches. This year, since we actually went on purpose and knew what was going on, we had a lot of fun. We went with our good friends and the kids seemed to have a ball finding each witch on the list. 

We also spent an evening with my sister and her daughter enjoying Red Butte Garden's "Garden After Dark" celebration.  That is a hoot for sure, except that it really does happen in the dark, and it's up on the hillside in late October, so it is seriously cold.  Also, it's only a few nights of the month and it's very popular, so it gets extremely crowded.  But still fun. Painted faces, painted pumpkins, a glowing enchanted forest complete with luminescent bubbles that left glowing paint on your skin where they pop.  Fire pits, owl masks, paper flowers.  And I think we really only hit about a third of the activities along the pathway.  But...when you have a toddler who insists on going everywhere ALL BY MYSELF, but has trouble making much forward progress at any given moment, you're not going to get far.  Worth it, though.  It was really fun to have some Aunt Margaret time.

Bundle found pumpkin painting extremely therapeutic.  She especially loved stirring her paintbrush around and around the paints until she had one mass of grey paint to use.

Bitty's Gorgeous Face Paint - don't mind the nude pose.  It was her idea.

Speaking of Aunt Margaret, she invited us to a pumpkin carving party at her friend's home.  Probaby most of you were never subscribers to Martha Stewart's Living magazine, but in most issues there was an article about a meal shared by friends, including the recipes and how-to's on the decoration.  Needless to say, the locations of the dinners were so spectacular and so well photographed that I'd take one look and instantly give up on any hope of hosting such a party myself.  Well, Margaret's friend Jen's party was magazine worthy.  Awesome menu:  a trio of fall soups with an array of toppings; everything from toasted pumpkin seeds to homemade salsa and sour cream.  Fresh bread and corn muffins, hummus and fancy chips - all was delicious.  And her yard was adorable with a super cool tree house, chickens, wooden picnic tables, adirondack chairs pulled up around a cozy fire pit.  And kids happily carving pumpkins, chosen from a table piled high with the fat round things.  Too bad Martha Stewart missed it.  She would have loved it.  We had a ball.  And our pumpkins are actually carved and ready to go - a miracle, still two days before Halloween.  Of course, we haven't pulled out a single decoration yet, but like I said, it's still two days before Halloween.  We'll sneak it in there somewhere.

 (Of course, I'm finishing this late on Halloween night - just FYI, we did get some Hallween decorations up and I will blog about the day....that post should be ready in about 10 days.  :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Footloose Take 2

The house is dark and quiet. The kids are sleeping soundly in their beds, and I am happy to say that I am not the one who got them into their jammies this evening. There are onion ring crumbs in the center console of the car along with a lingering scent of hamburgers, left over from a post-movie dinner at Hires. Yes, Date Night is over. Thank you dear Radants; we had a lovely time.

Troy and I decided to spend our evening off at the movies. After finding the world's best parking spot ON THE PLANET at the Gateway Mall (how did we get so lucky I'll never know) we made our way inside to enjoy a movie. I'm so happy my husband was game for watching Footloose. Luckily we both watched the original show enough that it holds a soft spot in both our hearts despite all its cursing and teen sex, alcohol and drug use....hmmmm. This doesn't sound like a very uplifting movie. And yet, we both found it to be completely delightful. I almost couldn't help myself from jumping up and dancing to the music. I did actually sing along to a lyric here and there but hopefully Troy was the only person who heard me.

My thoughts? A great remake. Mostly true to the original with more a sense of homage paid than actual repetition, though a couple of things were exactly the same, which I loved. Except her dress at the end. I hated it then and I hate it now. Ren was just darling, Ariel was much more lovely although still ....just skanky. I have definitely aged since I fell in love with Kevin Bacon's Footloose: my inner parent was cringing through most of what these kids were up to without their parents knowing. Uncle Wes was a hero and I loved that he was on Ren's side this go 'round. Rusty, as in the original version, was so much more likeable than Ariel, and as before, my heart will always belong to Willard. Let's hear it for the boy.

If none of the above paragraph made any sense then you obviously did not have enough Footloose in your life.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  And it's probably too late now.  I don't know if you can watch the old Footloose now and love it like we did - that ship may have sailed.  Much like "Strange Brew." I'm sure I would have loved it had I watched it as a teen but trying to enjoy for the first time in my 30's didn't go so well.  I found it unbearably lame, but my  husband feels that more time and effort needs to be applied and has faith that I will someday love it.  Perhaps he would be willing to make a trade: I spend some serious time with Strange Brew if he does the same for Girls Just Want to Have Fun.   Never going to happen.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yes, Sensei! (Or, Sweep the Knee, Jonny!)

We owe much to our dear friends the Irvines.  They are a couple we met long ago at church but it's only been in the past year or so that we've really gotten to know them and thus fallen madly in love with their friendship.  Cullen, a computer genius, has been to our home on any number of occasions to fix both minor and major troubles with our various machines. These have been rather embarassing but yet strangely bonding.  Any time you allow someone to not only look at but thouroughly delve into the space behind your computer your frienship will never be the same.  Myca, the feminie half of this amazing duo, has found it in her heart to not only sit by me at church to help keep the kids busy and quiet while Troy sits on the stand, but to offer several evenings of babysitting to us.  She is the first (and as far as I know, only) person who has ever put Bundle to bed  besides me or her father, and even he has only done it rarely and with much weeping on the part of Bundle.  Okay, it's gotten better but Troy's been through some rough times with that girl. The Irvines seem to genuninely love our kids and I find it a great pleasure to attempt to repay their kindness by having them over for dinner from time to time, which is not nearly as often as they deserve.  Of course, every time they come over they do stuff like bring activities for the kids and play with them even more, so we continually sink deeper into debt to them.  But of all the people on the planet, there's few people better to be in debt to.

Over the weekend I tested out my latest pizza-on-the-grill recipe on them.  (Almost perfect - just needed a bit more salt and better sauce.  But the caramelized onions and fresh ricotta cheese made up for those deficienices.)  After we had stuffed ourselves with pizza we sat in the livingroom chatting.  The topic of conversation turned to Cullen's history and the fact that he had earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  Seriously.  That is awesome.  My son turned to him in amazement, his eyes lighting up, and took off to the other room to dig his hand-me-down karate uniform from out of the dregs of the dress-up box.  Cullen showed him exactly how to tie the belt and then took the kid in the back yard to give him a real live karate-type lesson.  Bitty joined in the fun (after donning all the white clothing she could find) and pretty soon both kids were out in the yard yelling, "Hah! Hah!" and learning some serious moves.  The joy on their faces was like unto  Christmas morning, and I'm trying to figure out just how much dinner it's going to take to get Cullen over here on a weekly basis to further the education of my children. 

He reads this blog.  Perhaps he can figure the dinner-to-karate ratio and get back to me.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Does the Tooth Fairy Negotiate? Of Course!

Bitty is an expert negotiater.  She works with me all day long to get the best deal possible on every interaction we have.  I'm not going to lie; it wears me down after 8 or 9 hours.  She's very crafty.  So it's no surprise that when her first tooth finally popped out after months of being ever so slightly wiggly she started working on the tooth fairy.  Santa Claus Better watch out, I'm telling you.

As you can see from the Tooth Fairy's fabulous golden script, she gave in to Bitty without too much pressure.  How could she resist a note as sweet and cute as that?  I never can!  (Obviously.)

 It's a little sad for me, to see Bitty's transformation to little kid to big kid begin.  She has three other loose teeth at the moment so it won't be long before her smile has more negative spaces than teeth, and then the fun begins with the big teeth coming in.  Of course, her first tooth really was wiggly for months and months, so maybe it will be a slow transformation.  Stomper lost teeth like he was trying to win a watermelon seed spitting contest.  Seems to be a different story for Bitty.  She sure is excited. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Completely Taken Over

I was very happy for my sister many weeks ago when she told me that she got the cellist job at Pioneer Theater Company during their production of Next to Normal, a musical that just finished on Broadway.  At least I think they finished.  I'm not sure, actually.  Anyway, this was not a touring troupe; PTC put on the show themselves and it played for three weeks.  As my sister started learning the music and going to rehearsals she raved about the show and its music.  I got pretty excited.  Then she let me know that there was a considerable amount of cursing in the show, and that it was about a woman with bipolar disorder along with a psychotic episode here and there.  Oh.  What a drag - doesn't sound like much fun to watch at all.  But I really wanted to support my sister.  Then she gave me a cd of most of the music from the show; surprisingly, the story is told almost entirely through music with a very small number of spoken lines interjected here and there.  I put on the disc in the car, and I totally fell in love with the music.  And the story.  And I pretty much cried my way through the whole thing. It's got some very tough subject matter but so humanly told.

My parents went to see it before I did, and returned with very positive and glowing reviews. I was able to go see the show last week - the night after we got home from Seattle actually. Kind of crazy to go that night but it was the only night I could and I didn't want to miss it. Oh my. I don't even know what to say about the show except that I was absolutely spell bound the whole time. I love the music - it's kind of a rock-musical, and it's very powerful. And everyone I know who got to see it saw some part of their own life story played out on that stage in some way. Including myself. It was very emotional. In fact, my friend Carrie got so upset during one part that she fell apart, so much so that the stranger next to her wrapped her arms around Carrie to comfort her. During the intermission, a time during which I normally like to stretch my legs, go for a walk, people watch or grab a little treat, I didn't have any desire at all to leave the auditorium. There was a powerful feeling in there and I just had to stay and see the show through before I could move on.

After the show I was very lucky because my sister introduced me to the two leads.  Judy McLane played Diane, the mother of this family, and Jonathan Rayson played Dan, her husband. We ended up chatting for quite a while and talking a lot about the show.  Well, mostly - Judy McLane, who is on hiatus from Broadway in her role as Tanya in Mamma Mia, has some very tired vocal chords so she was miming, signing and writing notes on paper. We had a neat conversation and I asked the actors if it was common to have a therapy session with the public every night after the show.  Funny.  It was a delightful chance to talk and meet with the stars.  I'm always so starstruck and feel very silly, but I don't think I made too big a fool of myself.  As far as you know.

So now I'm having a problem.  There is something about Next to Normal that I just can't quite get over.  The music plays in my head, I sing it even when I'm not listening to it, I have the desire to pop in the CD all the time.  And frankly, I kind of need a break.  I can't quite tell if there is something about the plot or music that I need to work through and deal with, or if it's just really catchy music that has implanted itself in my head.  Has this ever happened to you?  You totally love something and let it in your life and then it slowly starts to take over?  I'm not sure it's such a good thing.  So I'm listening to a lot of other Broadway tunes at the moment and also trying to search my soul a little to figure out what has got me so obsessed.  Well, maybe it was just a great show.  I do wish I could edit out the language because that is definitely not something I need reverberating about my brain - I've gotten good at quickly turning down the volume as necessary.  Anyway, I kind of recommend it a lot, and I kind of don't.  I loved it.  I'm inviting it to move on now.

As a happy epilogue, my sister was invited to return for PTC's next musical, Annie.  I think that will be slightly more light-hearted and perhaps Bitty and I can go on a date to see it around Christmastime.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Wee Little Weekend Seattle

Wow. That is a seriously LONG drive.  But we made it! My brother Adam and his fam moved to Seattle over the summer, and since Smith, Stomper's cousin/best buddy, was getting baptized we knew we needed to make the trek. We packed up the car and took off on Thursday evening, slightly later than we meant to, but hey, since we arrived just as my brother and his family were getting up, it was perfect timing.  Turns out that Troy and I have aged....missing a night or two of sleep takes a serious toll unlike the old college days.  But we survived, and wouldn't have missed it for anything.

There's so much to say about this trip - we were only in town for four days but had many adventures and expereinces.  Adam and Whit bought a beautiful new-but-looks-old cedar shingle house on the eastern coast of Bainbridge Island, just a ferry ride away from down town Seattle.  (Thou shalt not covet.  Thou shalt not covet.  I'm just going to keep repeating that and hope it sinks in at some point.)

My parents came as well as Whit's parents and sister, and we all had a great time together.  We walked down to the seashore a couple of times to dig for clams, hunt for sea stars, throw rocks and poke at all the squishy things on the sand.  We rode the ferry into town to have dinner with our beloved Durhams; we had these awesome Cuban sandwiches made in a pink plywood shack by the sea.  We toured the island's farmer's market.  We ate THE best ice cream I have ever had in my life. (Mora's.  I had the dark chocolate mint, followed by many tastes of my daughter's chocolate peanut butter with oreo.  Unreal.)  We played at parks and walked through the green forests of Bainbridge.  We went to Smith's soccer game, we went to his baptism.

Funny Story: at church on Sunday I noticed sitting on a pew a manuel written in Korean, but didn't see its owner.  At the baptism I saw who I assume is the owner of the Korean Sunday School manuel and it turned out to be a man who served in the same mission that I did - how random!  I've never bumped into a Korean person from my mission ever, then I go to Bainbridge Island and there is good old Kim Shi Oon.  It was fun to see him, not that we knew each other well on the mish, but hey - fun!  And he didn't even ask me to speak the language, which was a relief.  He did comment on the fact that I was slightly more slender way back when, which I appreciated him pointing out.  Classic. 

So yes, Troy and I are once again daydreaming about job-hunting in the north-west.  We so love spending time with my brother and his family.  Of course, that would mean moving away from my sister and parents, Troy's whole family, and being even farther away from my other brother Peter.  So, it has its downsides too, but man - what a beautiful place!  We had perfect weather all weekend, and then on Monday it rained the classic Seattle rain - very steady and misty and we didn't get as wet as I expected to.  We spent that day with Kathleen Durham walking Pike's Place Market, which the kids were enamoured with, then eating yummy seafood down by the waterfront.  Stomper chose squid.  That boy, I love him, I'll tell you!

I don't think I can do much else but post a slew of photos.  We had a wonderful time!