The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Big Day!

(And I’m not talking about Christmas.  Yet.)

I know many families whose children didn’t get out of school until just a few days before Christmas.  We ourselves had over a week to relax and get ready, which of course wasn’t relaxing in the slightest.  But we definitely had some fun over the past few days.  I can’t decide if it would be better to have fewer days off before Christmas or not.  I’m pretty tired out, I must admit, from keeping this train rolling over the past few days. 

Our biggest day of the week was probably Thursday.  Wow.  Big day.

We started by being bored, and happily I learned a terrific technique for staving off crazed children.  You just need some white glue and borax.  And look what you get - gak! It kept the kids quite busy while I tried to make a dent in the dishes.  I failed, but that’s beside the point.

After our gak-filled morning, we had the privilege of pulling together a little service project with my sister and her girls.  I was thrilled to add this activity to our holiday itinerary.  I had been trying to find something for my kids to do with their own hands to help someone in need.  We decided to not exchange gifts between the kids as we sometimes do and instead spend that money on something helpful.  We ended up going to the dollar store and purchasing large numbers of items with which to make hygiene kits for the YMCA.  We frustrated a few people in line behind us, but we had fun sending my kids off with their big-girl cousins on hunts for 20 bars of soap or shampoo and stuff like that.  Then we headed to my folks’ home to assemble the kits and enjoy some lunch.

I have to admit I rushed us through the last little bit because we had been invited to join my friend Krista in a Christmas outing and that was exactly I needed to boost my holiday spirit.  So we met up at the Gateway Mall (I was only ½ hour late or so…whoops) and then (another whoops) I discovered that the gingerbread house display I had told Krista about had shut down the week before.  Darn!  So after misleading Krista and her kids for a little while Krista mercifully took charge; we rallied the troops and headed over to The Grand America Hotel for a scavenger hunt of their window displays.  That was really fun.  Of course, Bundle and her little friend felt it entirely appropriate to find as many places as possible to lie down. Couches, floor, whatever, wherever. Kinda funny.

So that was an adventure that involved lots of parking and driving and directing the kids and breaking up arguments.  Worth it, (seriously tasty sugar cookies at the end...) but cost a lot of energy.  That was followed up by an evening of delivering neighbor gifts and then going on a drive to see Christmas Lights.  I have been wanting and wanting to go see the downtown lights this year but every night mustering the energy, not to mention the snowsuits and other gear necessary to prevent children from being cold and thus crying the whole time, has been beyond me.  So...we went for a drive.

By the time evening rolled around...mommy was all done.  

A Date With Bitty

Way back last July or something I had a date with Stomper. To Lagoon.  It was a really big date.  And ever since then I've been meaning to have a date with Bitty but we just haven't pulled it together.  Finally this week I managed some good one-on-one time with her, though the magnitude of our date certainly didn't compare with Lagoon.  I still owe her.  Although really, I don't thing kids care about the magnitude as much as they care about getting to spend time with their parents.  For now, that is.  I think when they're teenagers they compare price tags a little more than at the age of six.  Anyway, Bitty and I got to go out.

My sister Margaret got another gig playing cello up at Pioneer Memorial Theater, this time playing for Annie.  My Dad very generously bought us tickets to go see the show.  We didn't have time for dinner before, but Bitty and I had a great time sitting together.  I wasn't sure the show would hold her attention for the whole three hours but it totally did.  That gal loves the theater and any kind of live show.  She's sat through them since she was pretty little.  Annie has a lot of political stuff in it that goes over the head of young kids, but there was enough spectacle to keep her hooked.

I enjoyed the show too - Annie was a favorite at our house and so I pretty much knew every word and had to maintain control in order to not keep singing along with the cast.  Although, during the song Tomorrow, the entire audience couldn't keep themselves from joining in.  We all started out rather hesitantly or even unconsciously but then grew stronger and stronger as we all realized we weren't the only ones singing until everyone was just belting it out all together.

After it was over it was quite late but Bitty was happy and excited and I thought it might be nice to go get a treat together.  So we headed to Top It's - hello!  Closed for the season!  Bitty was slightly heartbroken - she's been dying to go there.  So then we tried my favorite - Dulcetti Gelato.  Also closed.  Boo hoo.  Third try's the charm - The Bakery.  Actually they were closed too but still had doors open and let us choose a few treats from the display.  Bitty's eyes were huge. Have you ever been there?  There are I think three long display cases, each absolutely packed with decadent treats and various delicacies.  She carefully picked out a couple of cookies, some cake balls decorated like ornaments and a mouse-shaped chocolate.  We sat at a table and nibbled at everything until we just had to go home and crawl into bed.

Bitty can be so charming.  She gets in her happy place and just showers cheer and joy everywhere.  Of course, the opposite can be true as well, but on good days there is no one as loving or thoughtful or kind or excited to do good than my little Bitty.  I hope I get a date with her again soon.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

After 13 Years, A First!

Yes, it's Christmas Eve, late at night. Gifts have been set under the tree, Santa's cookies have been nibbled, a fire is crackling in the stove, and beautiful Christmas music is playing softly.  I really should be in bed; Troy is slumped over on the couch looking as exhausted as I feel and possibly wondering about my sanity as I sit here typing away, but since that has been in question for many years now it's nothing alarming.  I just felt that since I have a moment's peace I should take the chance to catch up on blogging about our busy week.  After all, chaos will reign all day tomorrow and by Monday I'll be even more behind on the blogging.  So I'm striking while the iron is hot, or while the children sleep in my case.  Also, Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the holidays and I'm not ready for it to be over yet.

I wanted to write first about last weekend - could it possibly have been only a week ago?  It feels like a month.  After 13 years of living in this house we have finally hosted our very first guests.  We've never attempted it before due mainly to the fact that our home only has one bathroom and it gets pretty crowded with just the five of us here.  We couldn't imagine getting that one bathroom to service an additional family as well.  But my brother Peter and his family were coming up from St. George to spend the weekend.  They had a friend party to attend plus we had to fit in our annual Waffles and Wassail night so we could see The Muppet's Christmas Carol together - third year in a row! My parents' kitchen was being remodeled and my sister was going nutty due to teaching and playing in the orchestra for a production of Annie.  These are two homes where Peter and Sheri normally stay during their trips up north. What to do!  Where to go! I mustered up my courage, checked in with my husband, and offered our home to them.  I think we were all wondering how it might work out.  The Romneys only ended up staying here for one night - it was a trial run, really, to see if this might be more of a possible landing spot for them in the future.

I'm so happy to report that their stay was very successful and I feel like we might be able to host other guests in the future.  By combining our air mattress and our foam camping pads (each somewhat uncomfortable on their own) we produced a seriously cozy bed in Chase's room.  Of course, if you're going to be a guest at our house you have to be really comfortable with us because the quarters are close and there is still just the one bathroom, but I thought it worked out great.

We had so much fun on our waffles night.  My favorite thing was that Stomper actually sat down and watched A Christmas Carol in its entirety.  The kids all enjoy the Muppets but they generally sit still for the first 20 minutes or so before getting restless and finally after that heading off to play in the other room. But Stomper was engaged with the story the entire time.  That's neat for me; A Christmas Carol is one of my very most beloved parts of the holiday season, and I usually watch at least 2 versions of it every year if not more.  I just don't seem to tire of it!  (Although this year I watched the Jim Carrey animated version for the first time and though several parts were wonderfully done I take serious issue with other bits and also question some of the really scary parts.  Sorry, I'm a movie critic in training.  I'll stop now.)

I so love spending time with Peter and Sheri and their darling girls.  I do wish they lived closer to us, but now that my other dear brother is in Seattle, St. George just doesn't seem that far away!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The One and Only Miss Kim

Is there such a thing as a mommy crush? Because if there is, I have one on my daughter's dance teacher.  Okay, not really a crush, but definitely some love and admiration for a woman who is a wonderful teacher for my girl.  Also she has the most amazing back ever and I would like to have one like it some day.  Observe:

Bitty took a long break from dance because for a while she refused to participate.  So we did a year of soccer.  Then when soccer ended I asked her if she'd like to do soccer again or give dancing another try.  (Sorry gal, I'm a one-thing-per-kid kind of mom.)  I was happy that she chose dance - ballet and tap.  I know there are a lot of places to go these days for dance but I'm pretty devoted to our Miss Kim who teaches up at the Steiner Rec Center.  She's just terrific.  I like how she teaches, I like how she handles problems, and I like that she doesn't do a big performance at the end of each semester.  We have a parent observation day where we get to go into class and the girls show off their dances for us and everything they've learned, but it's pretty laid back and that's how I like it.

Bitty was so happy in class, and last Friday during the final class I got to see how much she's really improved.  It's pretty neat. And I'm excited to continue on in January.  The best part of class had to be when Miss Kim demonstrated her tap dancing skills to show why she was teaching the girls the steps she was.  I really should have been taking a video or photos or something but I was too busy letting my chin hit the floor. Wow!  I just found out she teaches tap for grown ups....hmmm......I think I  might have to spend a little time with Miss Kim myself!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to Get Really Sticky and Cold

Sometimes you have to read the fine print when purchasing a Groupon.  I was excited when I got my daily email notice and it was for a discounted admission to Hogle Zoo's Zoo Lights - I love going to Zoo Lights!  However, I didn't notice that the Groupon expired the first week of December - we really had to rush to fit the outing in our schedule and we were forced to go during a week of extremely freezing cold weather.

I think I did pretty well in preventing a miserable outing for the kids by making them all wear their snow suits despite the lack of a single snowflake on the ground.  Plus hats, gloves and a scarf or two.  We were well bundled. The girls were fine but Stomper grumbled about this.  Of course, he's the kid I have to bribe just to get him to wear a sweatshirt on top of his tee shirt every morning as he's leaving for school.  I guess he's more warm blooded than I thought.

All was well with our outing - the lights were lovely, the crowds were thin and the kids were happy.  Until they spotted the cotton candy hanging in the window of the snack bar by the big cats.  If you frequent Hogle Zoo at all you'll know that the cats are located at the single farthest point from the main gates you can go.  And silly me, I indulged them.  Of course, this means that the kids all pulled off their gloves in order to pluck at the puff of cotton candy and then suck it off their fingers.  So their fingers not only got completely sticky and pink but also wet and thus freezing cold.

I had so hoped we would have a night without tears and truly for the most part we had a great evening.  But for the last 15 minutes of our visit the Preslars could be seen running from one end of the zoo to the other while carrying at least one sobbing, sticky and pink child. Bundle was the most miserable of all but she seems to have forgotten that part and now asks me multiple times a day to take her "To the Zoo Lights Tomorrow."  Previously she had just asked to go to the zoo, but she's thrown the lights in there ever since our outing.  Lucky for me she has not figured out the actual meaning of the word "tomorrow." And since she never asks to go today, I can usually say, "Okay, we'll go tomorrow!"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Finished Product and also Mommy Needs Therapy

Thought you might like to see our finished Christmas Tree:

I'm so fond of our tall scraggly trees. My mom calls them our "Charlie Brown Trees."  Yes indeed and proud of them!  They make me happy.

In other holiday news, we once again attended our annual first-Monday-in-December outing to The Mayfield's home for an evening of dinner, playing and of course building gingerbread houses.  I keep thinking, each year, that maybe THIS will be the year that I get  to make my very own very perfect little house and it will be all symmetrical and quaint and I'll magically have the perfect place in my house to display my creation.  It only took me one or two years to figure out that this would have to begin with me buying a separate house for myself than the children. And once you start down that path...there's no going back.  But you know, it just takes more than that.  You have to buy a little extra candy, which I didn't have time to do.  You have to also not have a young girl who insists on sitting on your lap and getting all handsy with your stuff.  Maybe next year Bundle will let me do my house in peace, but I seriously doubt it.  And also you have to not scurry through the assembly due to the fact that your kids all need help at the same time though you want them to just be quiet and leave you alone to obsess over your color coordination in peace.  So...I wasn't able to fulfill my OCD dreams of gingerbread perfection, but you know, gingerbread houses don't need much to turn out. I mean, stick some red and green candy on white frosting and you've got yourself a cute little house.  Pus I made a great discovery this year - Bed Bath and Beyond is selling a little kit that contains five tiny little houses instead of one big one.  It was really fun for each kid to get their own house, including wee Bundle who really did seem to thoroughly enjoy putting candy and frosting all over the thing. And when I say all over, I mean ALL OVER.   Luckily her daddy stepped in to help her out a bit while I was assembling houses and the like.

So it was that I resolved my feelings towards my less-than-spectacular house.  That is, until I took one look at The Misty's little house...shoot.  I suddenly had renewed compulsions and may just get myself one more house to do all by myself in the middle of the night so that I can stick it on top of the fridge with the other houses to collect dust until we smash them the day after Christmas.

(The Misty's House pictured below.  Like you couldn't have guessed yourself.)

I think I need therapy. But I hope we never discontinue our tradition.  Party because I love The Mayfields and partly because some day, oh yes, I will create my dream gingerbread house.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Why Knitting is Awesome

Although this event happened during our trip to Bear Lake Troy and I decided that it deserved its own entry.

As we were driving to the Burnett cabin on Thursday afternoon I kept Stomper busy by loading up the iphone with some movies and handing it over.  He of course played Talking Tom for a few minutes until the rest of us cried for mercy, then he switched to movie watching.  He decided to take on his first-ever full screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  He was so excited to be watching it that despite the fact he had on head phones he kept forgetting the rest of us couldn't hear it and he'd comment on things or moan something loudly like, "Oh poor Indy!  He hates snakes!!"

He spent the rest of the weekend trying to pretend to be Indiana Jones but he had one major problem.  Can you imagine what it might have been?  What prop can no kid do without when portraying Indy?  The whip, of course.

Well.  As Troy and Steve headed out to get our tree permits, Stomper began his campaign of wheedling.  And with in a short time I found myself knitting a whip.  I was not sure how long it would take, but thanks to a technique in which you make something called an "i -chord" (no, this is not a product of Apple). I hummed right along and came up with a pretty decent whip in just an hour or so.  I was afraid Troy would return and start laughing at me for knitting a whip, but actually he declared that knitting really is awesome. Finally! I kept trying to tell him, and now he finally believes me. If you can make your kid something that makes him as happy as that whip made Stomper, you're doing something right.

Check this out.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Kicking Off Our Fun, Old-Fashioned, Family Christmas

It must be December because suddenly I am about four blog posts behind and it's only the 7th.  Not to mention the entire month of November...perhaps I'll just let that one go. Oh, except this one little thing: Stomper earned his wolf in cub scouts!  Yay Stomper!  Okay.  Consider November covered.

So...I think I'll begin by reporting on our now-traditional trek up to Bear Lake with our dear Burnetts to hunt the ever-elusive and oh-so-wily Christmas Tree.  We almost didn't make it this year due to scheduling issues but we finally decided that the trip was more important than our childrens' education and took off on Thursday afternoon instead of Friday and returning by Saturday afternoon to the events we couldn't miss.  Turns out it's pretty fun to miss a day or two of school and I foresee that becoming a part of our tradition in the future.  The more time with the Burnetts, the merrier!!

All of our kids got along really well - it was kind of sweet to watch their older daughter, who is actually Bitty's age, glom on to Stomper a bit.  She was fascinated with him and spent a lot of time trying to get him to interact with her.  She also had plenty of time with Bitty, including several rounds of a form of chess that they invented, sometimes along the way.  It was cute.  Almost as cute as the two two-year-olds romping around together.  At one point Mary had them playing a sort of hide-and-seek and watching them attempt to keep their eyes closed was hilarious.  Bundle couldn't manage to close her eyes without scrunching up the rest of her face too. Adorable.

You probably don't remember our adventures from last year with the stuck car and the rescue efforts of both snowmobile-drivers and beer-drinkers alike, but I can't deny that it was so nice to have an incident-free tree hunt.  We headed up in the afternoon on Friday and found ourselves a real beaut.  That morning Troy and Steve took a few hours to go get our permits as well as deliver some thank-you beers to last year's rescuers, which I thought was nice of them.  I was so glad that the daddies had some time together - Troy's been needing himself some Steve-time in a big way.  So that was good.  Then the tree hunt itself went off without a hitch, except a few meltdowns here and there on the part of a kid or two, but that seems to happen no matter where we are on a daily basis.

I will say that it seems like every time we go on this vacation we learn new things to make the next year even better.  For example, last year we learned to always keep tire chains in the car, among other things.  This year we learned that if the grownups are going to have a movie night we definitely need to bring our own movies because the ones up there are just not that great, sorry to say.  Make note: The Wedding Date is possibly the lamest romcom I've ever seen.  Sorry to offend any fans out there.  Also, you should  not bring any lunch meat that might possibly be spoiled.  Luckily, I was the only sufferer of the effects of that one, and it wasn't too bad, so I won't complain.  Much.  Other than those little moments we had a great weekend and ended up with a tree that I just absolutely love. We only had to cut off 3 1/2 feet off the bottom for it to barely fit in our living room.

Hmmm.  I just read over last year's post and it's kind of funny how similar some things are in this year's post to last year's. In fact, I was just about to start typing an additional note about the weekend when I read exactly what I wanted to say in last year's post, so I'm just going to copy and paste that paragraph, because I feel the same way now as I did then, apparently:

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.