The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Rest of Saturday

I'm noticing that there have been some side-effects to the invention of the digital camera.  One of those things is that you never hear husbands and wives frantically asking each other, "Did you put film in the camera?"  Haven't heard that one in years.  Another effect is that we have all developed happy trigger fingers and we take millions and billions of pictures.  We can't help ourselves.  So forgive me, but you're about to see some more pictures of Bitty dancing. She has a little performance class every few months and we just have to photograph it.  I for one just love shots of little girls in dance class.  There's just something about them.  It's so Degas of me, I know.

Today after Ben's ride I zoomed home to throw Bitty in her dance gear and Stomper in his soccer uniform.  While I was doing that, Troy was making a hasty exit from Emigration canyon in order to get home just in time to take Bitty to dance.  He took the camera with him, which is great, although I have to say after several years of my son's team losing every soccer game they play in (okay, I think they won one last...spring?  The fall before?  I can't recall.) they had a really good start to the season and actually tied instead of losing.  This means that actual goals were scored, which hasn't always been the case.  Let me rephrase.  Has almost never been the case.  Anyway, I sort of wished I had the camera.  Stomper was really playing his little heart out, and though he still doesn't have the really athletic moves like some of his teammates, I was really proud of him and enjoyed watching the game.  I do love our little team so very much.

So yes, Bitty had a little dance thing today and Troy took some pictures.  She was a little tired after our early start so there are some funny shots of her being sleepy.  But some other fun ones too.





After hanging out in the afternoon listening to General Conference and playing around, I noticed that a) the kids were bored and starting to argue and b) there was a pretty stiff breeze going on in the out of doors.  I decided to be brave and get out the kites.  We have a couple of kites that I think were made more for looking at than actually staying aloft, but we decided to give them a try.  What better way to end the month of March than to go fly a kite?  We headed back to Lindsay Gardens (yes, some merry-go-round action took place as well) and spent the breezy evening trying to get kites in the air. Stomper has this big dragon kite and it is just hopeless.  It needs to become a permanent back-porch decoration or something.  But the other one, which looks like either an airplane or a flying fish, did pretty well. (Who cares what it looks like, by the way, but the kids seem to find it important to fight about it.) We never got it really soaring for more than a few minutes, but it was up long enough to count as UP.  The kids loved it.  There is something magical about holding onto that tiny little string and feeling the forces of nature tugging away at you.





The Second Annual Team Firestorm Ben's Birthday Ride

It is now March 31st, 10:00 at night.  I have two hours to get this entry posted so it will count toward March, one of the lowest blogging months ever.  That's partly because it's been one of the loveliest Marches ever and we've just been out doing stuff and enjoying the weather like crazy.  I love it when March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lamb.  Beautiful day.

We had quite the grand finale to the month today - we had many events and family outings.  I had been slightly anxious about us getting everywhere we should be at the right time with the right stuff but it actually all happened without a single major incident.  I feel safe saying that only now that everyone in the house is asleep except for me.  I wouldn't have dared to say it a moment earlier for fear of jinxing it and everything crumbling apart after all.  Okay, it wasn't actually that crazy of a day, but we did have a big morning.

I'd like to get a post in about our other events of the day but first and most importantly, today was the Second Annual Team Firestorm Ride, memorializing our friend Ben Jacobsen.  I love that Allison, his wife, celebrates Ben's birthday much more than the day he went "up the trail and around the bend." It really is such a party and it just fills me with joy to see him remembered in this way.  We meet early in the morning at the mouth of Emigration Canyon for a bike ride to the top.  This year was made twice as enjoyable as last because the temperature outside was literally twice that of last year.  Soooo much nicer.

I am the designated photographer though after looking at pictures today I've decided that I need to make it a priority to hoist myself onto a bicycle and start peddling.  I enjoy snapping pictures of this large group of people, though since I don't know everyone I'm sure I caught a few random cyclists in my pictures who were wondering what on earth some lady was pointing a camera at them for.  We weren't able to find a sitter for the kids and I had anxiety about getting them up early and  there on time but it all worked out.  They were so cute hanging out my car windows (while parked) waving at the riders and giving them all the thumbs up.

Anyway, there's just a terrific energy there and I really look forward to any time I can get together with these people.  Several who were able to join last year weren't there this year and that was sad but their hearts were there for sure.

Ben, we love and miss you.








The Incident

It's only taken me a couple of weeks to be ready to blog about this one day from the month.  Here's the text I sent my friend when it all happened:

"So....Bitty got in trouble for vandalizing school property today. When we got home she was so upset about it she had diarrhea. While I was dealing with that, Bundle pulled down her undies and pooped in the little potty by herself. Meanwhile, Stomper was making pumpkin cookies that needed to come out of the oven and Troy was calling and asking about dinner. And THAT, my friend, is motherhood."

Definitely a highlight from the month.  You know it's going to be a good afternoon when you bump into a friend who spent the morning volunteering in your daughter's class and she warns you that the teacher is going to be waiting for you after school to talk to you about your daughter's behavior.  She was so sweet, this nice mommy - she assured me that her daughter had misbehaved thoroughly enough for a chat with the teacher once and that I would be okay.  Funny - who cares about the dang naughty kids, it's the traumatized and guilt ridden moms we need to worry about!

So I prepared myself.  Took a deep breath and went to the playground, where indeed, my sweet 1st grader's teacher was waiting for me.  And had a talk with me and Bitty about vandalizing school property.  WHAT?!?!?! Oh, poor Bitty.  She was absolutely crumbling with shame and horror.  I guess she and two little friends had grabbed some crayons and decided to decorated a concrete bench on the playground during lunch recess.  It was all very innocent - I'm sure they thought it was basically like sidewalk chalk.  But it was a very big deal to the school and to her teacher.  She even had to write a letter to the principal.  I am not faulting her teacher at all - Miss Blank was never biting or belittling, just clear on the fact that coloring outside with crayons was not okay.  But it was pretty severe.  And Bitty was just crushed. You can read from the text what the afternoon was like. And to top it off, when I was able to take a breath after taking care of all those crisis I discovered that Stomper had spent my busy time trying to cheat on his homework. A banner day in the Preslar household, that's for sure.

We've recovered.  Bitty and I learned that cleaning crayon off of cement is unpleasant but not insurmountable, Stomper learned that he will die a slow death if he tries cheating again.  Bundle continues her potty training progress, so I guess it was a good day after all.

Bitty's bench-art was slightly charming, and I hoped that no one noticed me sneaking a few pictures of it before we started scrubbing it off.  The best part of the art was that the girls implicated themselves quite clearly by writing their names on their work of vandalism.  Of course, they were caught red-handed anyway, but I thought that was pretty funny. Also humorous was the fact that the little perpetrators who had to clean the crayon up were supposed to be suffering terribly as they cleaned, but they rather enjoyed it.  And every single 1st grader was gathered around us asking if they could help or complaining that we were only letting those three girls do the fun part.  Somewhat of a backfire but I loved it in a very Tom Sawyer kind of way.


Like Mother, Like Son



This may be a case of a picture being worth a thousand words - don't know if I need to even say anything more except that I don't know how many times Troy has found me in the exact same position as this. I love falling asleep reading and it's so happy to find my son doing the same thing.  He has taken a long time to find the joy of reading, but thank you Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, I find him reading all the time, WITHOUT having been prodded, begged, pushed or coerced.  It is awesome.  He's nearing the end of the series.  I have to find that next magical hook for him.  Anyway, Troy and I loved finding him here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wait, It's March the WHATth?

I don't think I've ever gone a whole month having posted just one blog entry before, and it looks like it's going to be a close shave here to get a few down before April is upon us.  Busy busy!  Actually it might just be "lazy lazy," but let's shoot for the best here.

So in the waning hours of March 2012 I'm trying to think of what I want to post about and remember of the happenings of this month.  I think that though there are a few good stories to tell and pictures to post I have to start with recounting a few of our trips to a park which is quickly becoming a favorite in our family. We had a mild winter, that's for sure, but it was winter none the less, which meant that we had a lot of cold, a lot of dark, and a lot of inside time.  March this year has proven to be much more lambish than lionish - warmer-than-average days, sunshine, breezes.  It's been, to use my friend TL's favorite expression, GLORIOUS.  We have taken as many chances as we could to get out and enjoy it.  Very good for the soul. And one of our most frequent outdoor stops has been Lindsay Gardens.

Lindsay Gardens is the last remaining park I'm aware of that still has the death-defying and law-suit-waiting-to-happen injury machine known as the merry-go-round.  It's old, metal, warped, and always the main attraction at the park.  Bitty especially adores the thing and can spend quite a long time just sitting on it, endlessly rotating, without ever complaining of illness.  I have sat on it for a while holding Bundle and all I can do is wrap my arms around her and close my eyes to keep my equilibrium somewhat intact.  I hate the thing.  One particular Saturday while we were there I watched in absolute amazement as dozens of kids climbed on and off of it in a continual rotation for probably 90 minutes.  I have never seen it so covered in children.  It looked a little like a silver potato chip left out at a picnic and was completely swarming with ants.



On another more recent Saturday evening we had a magical family outing there.  We were lucky enough to be the only park attendants that night and there was some kind of divine intervention going on because the kids were getting along and playing super well together.  As tough as parenting is, as totally challenged and crazy and desperate as I feel sometimes trying to manage this whole "family" thing, those times when we're all together, peaceful and happy, are the reward for all the other times that aren't like that at all.  Blog posts coming up on the latter situation shortly.  Anyway, it was a really wonderful evening together, with much time spent on the merry-go-round.  Like I said, Bitty seems to find her zen there, just sitting and turning smoothly.  Sadly, Stomper does not seem to have Bitty's consitution and after riding the merry-go-round (as Troy tested his muscles on spinning it) had to lie down on the grass for a good half hour.  He looked slightly green. Of course he had also experienced the effects of cetrifugal force and almost went into orbit during Troy's speed test, so that may have had something to do with it too.  The evening was topped off later by our family's first viewing of The Muppets.  Oh my gosh I loved that movie.  We all did, and have been singing tunes from it ever since.  Anyway, Lindsay Gardens has been a highlight this spring and will be until Summer, when the sun will heat up the merry-go-round to the setting of blazing hot and no one will touch it again until October.


 I recognize that this might possibly be the worst picture of me ever, but I was making such a funny face, demonstrating my true feelings for riding on a merry go round that I couldn't help but post it.






Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March the 3rd...

....was a very big day around these parts.  First and foremost, it was Troy's 42nd birthday.  And equally importantly it was the wedding day of our friends Adam and Angie.  Big day, and a wonderful one.

We sort of over-celebrated Troy's birthday due to the fact that his actual birthday would be largely taken up with wedding festivities.  So we started out by spending Friday night eating out with friends.  Just so you know, both of the phrases "eating out" and "with friends" are complete understatements.

First of all, we ate out at Lugano's.  That's a wonderful little Italian joint on 23rd East and 33rd South.  It is...beyond delicious.  We're not talking spaghetti and garlic bread here. Not that those items are undesirable, but this goes above and beyond. May I describe?  We started with an appetizer that consisted of half a fresh pear which had been caramelized on top like creme brulee, so it was sweet and crispy and juicy.  Then there was a lovely little blob of marscapone cheese on top with toasted pine nuts and a large basil leaf nestled in there and then prosciutto wrapped all around it.  One bite and you kind of had to put your head between your knees to keep from fainting away into food heaven. Such a fabulous combination of tastes and textures. We were chatting away happily until we all took a bite of the pear and it went really quiet for a moment, then we all started going, "Mmmmm...oh my gosh....Mmmmmm...."  Troy and I tried to keep it reasonable - we shared an appetizer then shared an entree (butternut squash risotto with pork loin roast and sauteed mushrooms and kale...).  And....then shared a dessert.  Pumpkin cheesecake that defies description.  Oh yeah and we had a few bites of our friends' tiramisu.  Mamma!  That's not food we need to eat very often but once or twice a year it's so much fun to indulge in a really fantastic meal.

And as for the other understatement - if you're going to indulge in a fabulous meal it's really nice if you can do it with wonderful friends.  The Griffiths. A paragraph in a blog is not going to do any justice to these friends, but I'll try to describe them by saying they were pretty much the chaperons of Troy's and my courtship and engagement.  Lifelong kindred spirits.  I don't know how else to say it.  We just love them dearly dearly and we definitely don't get enough time together.  I mean, Marianne and I try to chat on the phone now and then but generally there is some young person in one household or another needing help and attention.  To have the luxury of long uninterrupted conversation all evening long, punctuated only by the arrival of delicious food brought right to us was probably the best birthday present Troy could have asked for.  Divine.  Must happen again soon.  We were talking, oddly enough, about caloric intake.  And we decided that as much as people can over-feed our bodies we deplete our souls of the spiritual calories we need.  Good dinner with the Griffiths was a much needed calorie splurge for our inner souls.  Awesome.

Saturday itself was a whirlwind.  Getting up, enjoying a birthday breakfast of Belgian waffles, getting everyone ready to get out the door, dropping kids off at various locations, hustling down town to the wedding - very busy.  But we were so happy to be there.  In case you weren't sure, I'm talking about the wedding of my friend Adam, who's first wife was TerriLyn, my sister-friend who passed away a while ago.  And one of the absolute highlights of the day was seeing TerriLyn's parents there at the wedding, participating in the ceremony, taking the place of Adam's parents who were unable to be there.  It was absolutely touching beyond belief and brought up a well of emotion in me that was hard to contain, though not of sadness.  It just made the wedding so much deeper and more poignant, exhibiting the circle of family here.  Angie looked like a fairy princess, so beautiful, so happy.  Just absolutely alight with joy, and Adam did too.  I was so honored to be there.

After the wedding in the morning we enjoyed a birthday lunch for Troy with his parents.  Morris and Carol came over and we present Troy with his birthday gifts of the various parts needed for this neat umbrella-flash set-up thing for the camera.  I sound like a professional, I know.  We just enjoyed the afternoon together, building a fire to keep the gloomy clouds at bay before we headed out for the reception that evening.






I guess we just hadn't had enough celebrating because on Sunday evening we had a few friends in the hood come over for lasagna and salad and an amazing German chocolate cake our friend Myca made.  It was seriously out of this world. My favorite moment of the evening was when Cullen and Rick both revealed that they were unfamiliar with the story of "Where the Wild Things Are."  Really?  I wasn't aware that it was possible to grow up as an child in America and not have that story completely memorized.  Troy felt the same way.  When I heard that, he was silent for a moment and then he hopped up, grabbed our copy of Maurice Sendack's classic, and began reading.  Rick felt that as long as he was being read to, he might as well do it right so he quickly sat on the floor at Troy's feet and got read to proper.  Cullen wasn't far behind.



Wow.  What a weekend of enjoyment and celebration.  Which means we totally overate.  It was really... delicious. Happy Birthday, my wonderful husband, and happy new beginnings to Adam and Angie.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Not so much "sledding" as..."grassing."

I'll admit that when I looked at the school calendar and saw a Friday with no school just one week after a full week of half days, I wasn't too excited.  I'm a supporter of full-day school all day every week, just to make it abundantly clear.  But then I saw snow in the forecast and decided to make the most of it.  Ever since our perfectly snowy Christmas Day sledding of...what, FOUR years ago(?!?) we haven't had a sledding day like it. Or nearly as much snow. But with that wintry forecast, my parents' back yard seemed to be calling to me.  Snow!  There's going to be snow!!! Come sledding!  Stomper had a buddy coming over and I invited my friend Emily and her four boys.  I even called my dad on Thursday  morning who told me, "Come on over, there's plenty of snow!!!"  So I packed an entire laundry basket full of snow gear and and snacks and extra changes of clothes.  I hauled four kids and an extra family into my parents' yard, burst through the gate and....looked at a yard that was mostly grass. To be fair, I think the grassy parts were hidden from view from the back porch, but there were some serious bald spots.

And now I ask you, what would you do?  I'll tell you - exactly what I did.  You go sledding anyway.  And it turns out to be really really fun, if slightly muddy.






And that's just the kind of winter it's been.

(...but wait, there's more!) Blogorama Chapter 6: Bundle's Biggering

Another huge part of the last month has been the accomplishments of Bundle.  Not all of these tasks were taken on of her own will, and some were down right sneaky bait-and-switch tactics brought about by her conniving parents, but she is growing up.

All three of my children have been serious binky-users.  Serious as in we have three or four (or more) on hand at all times, and we keep them in The Binky Box (it's a proper noun).  As each of my children has aged, each one growing nearly permanently attached to the binky sprouting from their mouth, I have known with growing dread that at some point I would have to detach them from it, both physically and emotionally. It's a huge bump in the road that gets a little closer every day until one day you just have to go over it and deal with the aftershocks whatever they may be.  I try to make it a little easier for my kids by at least offering them a trade but it does end up feeling like a bit of a dirty trick.

Here's the proof:



I decided to not film her later when she was crying and asking for new binkys.  Sigh.  Actually, it was definitely not as bad as it's been with the other kids.  Not that it feels great, but I'll say this - taking away a binky is a lot easier than removing a thumb. So I'm still glad we used the binks, and Bundle seems to have made a full recovery.  She's even been falling asleep in her bed by herself the past few nights, which at our house is a major miracle.

In other aspects of toddler aging, want to know how you can tell your daughter is very into potty training? You walk into the bathroom and find this:




"Good job, Lemon Meringue!"

One last note, it only took 2 1/2 years for me to decide it was finally time for Bundle to get a haircut.  I never trimmed one single hair on her head, but when my friend Jeannie was cutting her big brother's and sister's, she had to be a part of it too.  She was so excited to get up in that chair and be a big girl too.