The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Monday, December 31, 2012

Most Memorable Anniversary Ever.

Here we are, on this last day of the year 2012, visiting the southern branch of the Romney clan in St. George, having hoped for a festive and relaxing New Year's holiday/15 Year Anniversary celebration.  When we put this trip on our calendar what we did not anticipate was that Troy and I would come down with the flu.  Not the puking flu, for which I'm grateful, but the aches/pains/fever/chest cold/head cold/sick-as-a-dog flu. (Otherwise known as the please-kill-me-now flu.) For me it started a couple of days after Christmas, with just a mild cough and though each night I went to bed hoping to feel better in the morning, each morning I woke up feeling monumentally worse.  Finally on Saturday I actually started some hysterical weeping as I was packing and getting ready for the Preslar Family Christmas Party because I felt so rotten, but Troy, who by then was starting to feel pretty rotten himself, convinced me that we should still go to St. George that afternoon because at least our kids would have something to do while we were sick.  Smart man.

Saturday at noon we attended his family's lunch and gift exchange.  It was nice to see everyone and be together, despite the poor company I provided - only three nephews from the whole group were missing.  It somehow seemed smaller and quieter than other years but I think that's because none of us have really little kids anymore - all the kids just took off and romped around.  No little ones whining at our knees or pulling on our hands to take us places.  It was a little weird!  But very nice, despite the illness.

After the party we went home to finish packing, which I couldn't manage to do that morning.  We shoved everything our sorry brains could think that we'd need into the car and took off driving, leaving our house in such a disastrous state I'm afraid to go home.  I don't even really remember packing - as I have looked through the kids' bags, I have been pleasantly surprised to find most of their necessary items such as underpants and jammies.  Yay me.  Once we arrived here in Utah's Dixie, I basically fell through the front door, handed the kids to Peter and Sheri, climbed into their bathtub and soaked away as many aches in my bones as I could, and after that I don't think I was conscious for more than a total of 1/2 an hour out of the next 24.  Literally.  I went to bed, woke up feeling unbelievably worse, let Sheri medicate me with codeine and then slept until 4pm Sunday afternoon.

Do I sound like a crybaby?  Well, fine, I'm a crybaby.  I just have to document the fact that I don't think I have ever been this sick since my marriage began and maybe since before my mission.  Troy hung in there for as long as he could until I returned to consciousness on Sunday and then he started his downhill descent, from which he has not quite returned.  And that, my friends, is how we spent our 15 year anniversary.  What's the traditional 15-year gift supposed to be?  I guess for us it's our ibuprofen anniversary!

No photos will be included with this entry for the obvious reason that no one needs to see us in our state of mucous-y glory.

We are deep in debt to Peter and Sheri.  There is no way we would have been sick this comfortably at home.  Our kids would have kept asking for food and assistance with various minutia no matter how bleary and hacking we were.  So, Pete and Sheri, thanks for babysitting for us while we infected your house!!  We love you.

Good times.  And a happy new year to all.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sledding Take 2

On Thursday we had Stomper's buddy Ian for the day and since it really hadn't stopped snowing since Christmas Eve we decided to do a repeat on the sledding at my parents' house.  And this time we remembered to bring the camera.  The snow wasn't especially deep but we had some good fun in the snow anyhow.  Especially me.  Note the wipe-out.  Actually there were a lot of good wipe-outs, my favorite being the one where Stomper led the way into a ditch with his ear.  That's only funny because he came up smiling. He looked so cute - this little cold white face plastered with a huge grin and framed by two big bright red ears. Can't get that boy to wear a hat - it was a miracle we got him in snow pants.  Good fun.

Merry and Bright: Christmas Day

I think Stomper was the only person who woke up at some crazy pre-dawn hour and tried to rouse the rest of us, but we were successful in convincing him to go back to bed and not wake up until it was at least light outside.  I'm sure he rested very peacefully for that hour and a half. Actually he was so stoked that I kind of picture him lying with his eyes squeezed shut but levitating about 3 feet above the covers as he vibrated with anticipation.  The moment the sky showed the merest hint of grey he was back upstairs wiggling us awake.

When I was a little girl we had a tradition of lining up youngest to oldest or sometimes shortest to tallest, placing our hands on the shoulders of the person before us, closing our eyes and allowing our parents to lead us stumbling into the Christmas tree room.  I loved it so much I can barely imagine there is another way to begin Christmas morning.

Troy and I thoroughly enjoyed our children's excitement and jubilation as they opened their gifts - Stomper got a fire-starter from his father to be used only under his careful supervision as well as some Lord of the Rings legos. Bitty got her much desired clogs and a sock monkey, as well as her first set of legos which she seemed to totally love.  Bundle got the Merida doll with horse as well as the Merida dress she's been telling everyone since Novermber that she wanted. Thank heavens she didn't change her mind two days before Christmas.  They each got a book and a craft item and a few other little things - it was a very  nice morning.

Here I am reading a note that Santa had written in response to the letter Bitty wrote him and left by the cookies.  They were pretty darn excited about that!

Had to capture the actual affection between siblings - Bitty had just opened a gift from Stomper - a GIANT ballerina doll that you can hook to your feet and dance with.

Christmas wish coming true!!

Bitty also got a DS - it is a hand-me-down from my sister.  I had to say that so no one thinks that Bitty got better presents than everyone else this year. She was pretty stoked.

Hobbit Legos - a gift from his sisters

What was really fun was that both of the big kids got Lord of the Rings lego sets.  After a morning of thoroughly enjoying them (they began building them before the last shred of wrapping paper had hit the floor), and after a nice little brunch at my parents' house, we came home and had a discussion about Lord of the Rings.  We decided that both of the big kids were ready.  It's one of our favorite stories and one of our favorite movies of all time and the kids handled The Hobbit just fine.  So....early in the afternoon we started Fellowship of the Ring.  (Bundle and I of course did other things in other parts of the house.  She's not quite old enough.)  It was SO. DANG. FUN. to watch them watch it for the first time.  Troy fielded an almost constant stream of questions throughout the movie, good soul, and I was glad he was there so the kids could understand as much as possible.  Of course, the next day came The Two Towers and we are now at the half way point on Return of the King.  (That's a LOT of movie watching over the past few days - finally last night Troy and I insisted that we watch only 1/2 of the final movie and save the last for tonight.)  So we are in Lord of the Rings heaven over here and just loving it.  I'm so glad the moment finally arrived when we could enjoy it together!  And actually, I am excited and looking forward to the time when it is Bundle's turn - maybe in 3 or 4 years we can start the Harry Potter journey with her and then after that she can enter the world of the ring too.  So fun.

We have had a very Merry Christmas! (Okay, Troy and I  both have the flu at this point, but other than that...things are great!!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry and Bright: Christmas Eve

No pictures, sorry...but....

What a wonderful Christmas. I kind of can't believe it.  It is the day after Christmas and ....I'm not depressed!  It happens almost every year that I just relish in all of the lead-up to Christmas, I absorb as much holiday energy and spirit as I can and then by the time Christmas morning comes along, the kids get to their very last present and at the moment they're all opened, a feeling of exhaustion and depression sets in.  But somehow this year I avoided that dreadful moment.  I don't know how I did it.  Maybe I am just relishing in the general spirit of new beginnings and allowing the light of the season into my life.  In fact, I worked so hard on my gigantic To-Do list all fall long that when I took one last look at it four days before Christmas and saw that everything I was going to get done was done I just chucked the list in the recycle bin and felt better than I had for a month.  And I have just been able to enjoy these precious days.

One of the best things this year has been our perfectly white Christmas.  I know, I know, people all over the place manage to have a Merry Christmas without a flake of snow, but I get so grumpy when our season is snowless.  And even when we get a lovely snowy day or two during the month I sometimes have difficulty in relishing it because I know that it probably won't last.  And indeed, despite a few snow storms during our month the green grass was completely bare until Christmas Eve.  I had heard in the forecast to expect some snow, but I didn't really believe it. Sometimes our little University neighborhood seems to be the black hole of weather and we get nothing while all around us people are getting snow.  Bad attitude, I know.  But magically it came.  We were out to lunch with our dear friends the Radants - we had decided to spend the day together because let's face it, you need some plans on Christmas Eve to pass the time or your kids will just completely flip out.  At least mine will.  So we were out to lunch with plans to find a sledding location up a canyon after we were done.  It was raining slightly when we arrived around 11:30 which gave me hope for finding a good snowy hill if we drove for a bit.  But as we sat and ate our chicken sandwiches we suddenly saw the rain turn to fluffy white flakes which quickly developed into somewhat of a blizzard.  By the time our food was gone, enough snow had fallen already that we realized we could just head to my parents' house and enjoy their very down-hill back yard.  We finished up our lunch and headed out to the very snowy and busy streets.  Before we went sledding we had the chance to do some Christmas caroling at a care center in the neighborhood, thanks to the footwork of Krista.

Singing at the care center was a really nice chance to spread a little cheer and hopefully help my kids recognize the needs of others.  It was a little nerve-wracking for them to sing to strangers of various physical appearances and ages.  I was very proud of them for not recoiling bashfully, for singing out and even walking around in the lunch room where we were singing and meeting some of the residents.  It brought a nice remembrance.  We should find some other opportunities to do some service there besides just at Christmas.

After some singing and visiting, we headed to my parents' home.  We forgot to bring our camera and felt bad about it for a minute and almost went back for it but actually I'm kind of glad we didn't. We ended up not worrying about capturing moments but just enjoying them. The snow wasn't super deep but it was enough for the kids to spend an hour or two hurling themselves down the hill.  Little Bundle wouldn't go near a sled and spent much of her time just scootching down the hill on her bum, at which time we discovered that she has outgrown her snowsuit, as evidenced by the bright red rings of skin showing between the tops of her boots and the bottoms of her snowpants.  We tried to keep her legs covered up as best we could but I think we only just avoided frostbite.

After sledding we headed home and I had enough time to slick up the house and do some cooking before both the Preslar and the Romney grandparents as well as Margaret and two of her girls came over for a Christmas Eve appetizer buffet and a movie.  We also put together some hygiene kits to donate to the YWCA. Oh yeah, and the kids and I made cookies.  Sheesh I was tired.  Despite my sleepiness I thought we had a very pleasant Christmas Eve, including the opening of a single gift and a hurried read through of Luke 2, which I don't think the kids noticed we were reading to them.  Oh well.  Then it was off to bed so Santa could do his thing (with as much energy as a limp noodle).

Since this post looks a little sad without any pictures at all, I shall post one of our last white Christmas, five years ago, when we had our magical sledding afternoon and Bitty was the one wearing the snowsuit that is now outgrown by Bundle.

First Cello Concert

Before I get too ahead of myself and actually blog about Christmas before a week has gone by, I need to quickly go back and write about Stomper and Bitty's first cello performance, a week before Christmas.  My sister Margaret puts together a cello concert of all her students (50 cellists!) each December and this year, my kids got to be a part of it.  She makes sure to include some music that even the most beginning cellists can take part in.  It was so fun to see them and I felt so proud.  

The concert was at the main library in the auditorium and we were lucky enough to have Troy's parent's join us.  Bundle did quite well for most of the concert (but not all of it, darn it).  My kids played in maybe 5 of the 20 pieces, and I know it was hard for them to sit still and just hug their cellos during the other numbers, but I think that exercise of patience is really good for them.

My favorite part of the night was definitely the fact that Bitty had invited her very best friend from school without telling me until the last minute.  Luckily I found out about the invitation just in time to send a quick text to her mom.  I didn't think they would be able to make it but just before the concert started I saw Bitty's face light up like a firework and she gleefully grabbed my attention and pointed out her friend sitting behind me several rows.  I was so happy for her except that Bitty was so excited about it that she was quite distracted and just sat there beaming at her friend instead of paying attention to Margaret. She missed a couple of cues but didn't seem upset or embarrassed; she just grinned hugely at her friend!  Funny girl.

I'm looking forward to many more great performances in the future and watching my kids interact with all of these students brought back so many memories of my own piano-student days and the many friends I made there.  Stomper and  Bitty already seem to have a favorite friend or two after getting together for several Saturdays in a row for rehearsals.  Cute.

Monday, December 24, 2012

What a Week!!

What a week we have had.  It is late at night, this Eve of Christmas Eve - wow!  Christmas is about to come again whether I am ready or not and I am happy to say that I am really almost ready!  I only have like....maybe 200 things to do?  Not bad, not bad!!

We have had a very cheery and busy week, filling up our time with friends and outings.  Here are a few of the things we have been up to -

On Tuesday evening we went with my friend Jeannie and her son to see the zoo lights.  Her husband couldn't make it and I am pretty sure that Troy was only too happy to not be able to make it too.  I could hardly blame him - every holiday season I like going on festive outings of all kinds to enjoy the spirit and energy of the season. The light display up at Hogle Zoo is really beautiful and fun and I always try to get the kids up there but somehow it turns into total misery every year. Last year it was because it was super freezing cold and I, like an IDIOT, let the kids have cotton candy which got them completely sticky and as they licked their blue fingers it just froze them even more until pretty much everyone was sobbing.  No wonder Troy didn't want to go - especially because we were going on the coldest night in the week's forecast. Well, I guess the years of experience have finally paid off  because I a) dressed the kids in their snowsuits, b) warned them in advance that I would be purchasing not one single drink or snack and c) I rented a double stroller and brought blankets so I could put cold kids someplace where they could huddle.  It worked beautifully and we all had a great time, so much so that we ended up cruising Christmas Street together after we were done at the zoo.  Great night!

We also had the kids' very first cello concert, which I will have to blog about separately.

We attended a play at The Children's Theater on State Street called Toy Land - it was hilarious!  (I mean despite the not-so-funny part where Stomper dumped almost his entire bottle of root beer on the floor.) What really tickled me was watching my kids watch the play.  Bundle especially remained surprisingly glued to the show.  She appeared to be quite emotionally involved with these characters and just sat on the literal edge of her seat the entire time.  Great fun. We will always fondly remember Rumpelstiltskin, Tweedle Dum and the adorable little baby sheep most of all. (Imagine 3 year olds dressed in fuzzy little sheep costumes....even Stomper was adorable-ized.)

We also attended a party at our friends' home in which the sole form of entertainment was signing together.  Oh how I love singing!  It was  a pretty loud group but I managed to sing a couple of new-to-me pieces which I loved.  I also made French onion soup which turned out super yummy.  We will always especially remember the rendition of Good King Wenceslas performed with gusto by our host Martin and his brother complete costumes and one serious falsetto.

We also had class parties and Christmas preparations and cello lessons and you know, it was just a nutty week! And a fun one.  I of course fell asleep as I was typing last night so now it's Christmas Eve - I wish the world a wonderful and a very Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A New Take on an Old Tradition

It was with much sorrow that The Misty and I realized that our gingerbread house night was just not going to work out this year - too much stuff happening!  I was very sorry to not have a obsessive friend to validate my own obsession as we decorate houses together.  But Troy and I decided to press forward anyhow and find someone else to join us in a night of sugary creation.  We tracked down our dear friends the Griffiths.  They are busy folks and it can be hard for us to get together, but sometimes it just works to call someone at the last minute; works even better than planning ahead.  Happily they were available in the evening of the Monday morning I was calling so over they came!  The Griffiths have three adorable boys - each really different in personality and appearance and they each just delight me in their own ways.

This year was not to be my Perfect Gingerbread House year.  The kids took over every available cookie and   within minutes were in the throws of confectionery creation.  Some kids took the whole evening to meticulously assemble their creation, and others slapped on a sprinkle or two before trying to take a bite of the for-decoration-only gingerbread.  No one tried for a second bite.  

It was a thoroughly pleasant evening, the highlights for me being watching Papa Griffiths interact with Bundle, who was as delighted with him as he was with her.  I also enjoyed the grilled chicken, apricot and sage paninis we gobbled while looking over photos of the various Christmas parties we each threw at our churches while the kids played together.

It was a great night.  Any chance we get to spend with the Griffiths is a good one, even if you might find me one of these nights up at three in the morning decorating my own house all by myself with perfect symmetry and coordinating color palates. It really was for the best to have kids force me to let go of my micro management of all gingerbread.  I'm not even that good at it.  But that doesn't mean I don't want another go at it next year, Misty, okay?

Our Newest Dancer

Once Bitty started taking cello lessons it seemed like her artistic void was being filled and I stopped feeling bad that she didn't go to dance class any more.  I still kind of wish she did but she didn't always love it - she put up a fight regularly about going.  I miss seeing her in her cute ballet hair and leotard with her strong little legs.  But she seems to adore cello.

Last spring I decided to try Bundle in a parent-and-child dance class and oh man did she love it.  We skipped the summer session and by the the fall she was old enough to be registered in Miss Kim's Pre-Ballet class; no more mommy-n-me!  I wasn't sure Bundle would dig going to dance class without me - she seems so little still sometimes but let me tell you, from the first moment she stepped foot in the studio on her very first day, she has been in heaven and hasn't had a moment of dismay or resistance.  She loves Miss Kim, she loves dance. And I love her.

Forgive the over abundance of photos, I couldn't resist.