The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Annual Preslar Family Camping Trip

We have come upon the 1st anniversary of Bundle pitching herself into a campfire while camping with her Preslar relatives.

I'll confess that as we were planning this year's family campout I was hoping that no one would feel stressed or anxious about a repeat of last year's accident.  I didn't want to spoil the relaxed atmosphere with every one being nervous.  Turns out, the only nervous person was me!  I didn't realize that watching Bundle get anywhere near that campfire would make me stiffen with nerves and I'm sure I did a little too much shooing away from the fire pit.  Ha ha, joke's on me.  And everything was fine.

We did have a really fun camping trip with the fam.  We were able to go to the beautiful Unitas this year instead of the ATV campground of last year.  We got some rain but never enough to make things difficult.  Well, I guess it would have gotten a little tough if we didn't have two families there with campers, and lucky we did.

What made this year special was that we had our first fishing success in the wild with the kids, crawdads not included.  Stomper has caught a couple of farm raised trout before but that isn't too hard a task when it seems like the pond has more fish than water in it.  We were up on the Mirror Lake Highway at Lost Creek campground and spent some time on the shore of the lake casting and reeling in.  Stomper is getting pretty good at casting out, which is nice.  But by the shore nothing was really biting. (Stomper will tell you otherwise; he had two horrific snags that he swears were giant fish that got away.)  Remind us never to go camping without Troy's brother Rick and his wife Tonja because not only did they provide a camper for us to cook in when it was raining, they also brought along a canoe and let us use it to fish from.


I am a little surprised that we survived putting all five members of our family into a canoe together - those things are tippy! - plus a fishing pole and a net plus a couple of paddles and eventually two wriggling fish without all of us ending up in the lake.  It was quite comical - Troy was in back trying to paddle backwards so that the kids who were fishing could troll the line.  Steering backwards is no easy feat, I'll tell ya.  Add two ecstatic children plus a very wiggly toddler who was supposed to be sitting in-between the knees of her mother in front while the mother was trying to net fish and remove hooks as well as control the toddler...well,  it got kind of funny.  But we survived.  And those little lake trout are tasty!  It is so cool to catch a fish, clean it up, throw it in some tin foil with butter and salt and be eating it like 20 minutes later.  The kids devoured theirs and loved every bite.



I am also happy to report some very pleasant sleeping conditions - we stayed warm and toasty and I don't think we had even one puker in the whole family.  Usually there's at least one.

My favorite part of the trip just had to be Tyrell.  He is our nephew - the third of Rick's three sons.  He just graduated from high school and was cool enough to join us on our trip.  He's funny and sweet and there were three little girls in our family who just fell in love with him..Probably because he would go down to the stream with them and either entertain them by throwing giant rocks into the deep spot creating tremendous splashes or by just sitting on a rock and letting the girls climb all over him. I believe he even participated in a game or two of pretend, though I'm not sure what character he was assigned to play or what his name might have been.  Troy and I considered kidnapping him and keeping him at our house as further entertainer and babysitter of our kids, but I bet he might not be as sweet all the time then.  We'll just have to take advantage of him on our annual trips.


 So thanks to all the Preslars who pitched in on rockin' dutch oven dinners with alarming calorie counts, who brought fun projects to keep kids entertained, who came together to enjoy the thoroughly pleasant break from the city heat.  It was a great trip and I hope we repeat it every year.






Thursday, July 19, 2012

Enter the Music. Don't Know if I'll Survive That Whole Practicing Thing...

I had a very musical childhood.  I was the first of my four siblings to ask for music lessons - I desperately wanted to play the piano and so around the age of seven my mom signed me up to start taking lessons from a woman named Beverly who was wonderful and beautiful and also just a little bit scary.  Scary like she almost fired me as her student because I couldn't seem to learn to play the piano with my tongue in my mouth.  Luckily I eventually did learn to control my little habit and got to stay on as her student for many wonderful years before moving to Utah and continuing with another teacher, the much less scary and very beloved Ruth Anne, until I graduated from high school.  It wasn't long after I started playing that my big sister caught the bug and asked for cello lessons.  She has been playing ever since, even majoring in music and is now a fabulous cello teacher.  Soon to follow were both of my younger brothers, each starting on violin before switching eventually to guitar for one and cello the other.  My mom gave us a huge amount of time and energy to help us practice, get the instruments we needed and took us to memorable music institutes every summer.  It was pretty amazing.

I have long been feeling the need to bring more music into our own home.  I'm so grateful for the musical upbringing I've had, how much I appreciate and love music and how even still it's a big part of my life. And now I have these three kids who are getting bigger by the moment and I just want them to have a little taste of what I had. I've thought about it for a long time, toyed with the idea of piano lessons from a friend or maybe even I myself could do an every-Saturday-morning kind of little family music class.  I nixed the second idea pretty quickly, imagining that my children just didn't need one more time and place they had to listen to me be in charge some more.  Which brings me to my main concern - practicing.  If we are blessed enough to include music as part of our daily lives this will also mean that there will be one more thing that I need to get my kids to do every day.  I was kind of already thinking that there are enough of those things already.  I guess one more...couldn't hurt...much....?

Yeah, well, we're taking the plunge.  Since I happen to have a fabulous cello teaching sister we're going to go with cello.  The kids are so excited and happy - it was so much fun to tell them the news that they would get to start lessons.  And it took more than seven whole days before I got any practicing complaints.  Really, it has remained very fun and a great way for me to give the big kids each some personal attention every day. But the really magical part is watching them in the hands of my sister during cello lessons.




Let me just say that my sister is a teacher like none other.  The focus she gives my kids, the ways she works with my kids no matter their mood or behavior.  She plants in them these little seeds of excitement about every musical thing they learn.  I just love going to lessons and watching my kids enter into a little bubble of music with her for just 20 or 30 minutes.  It helps me summon the energy needed to face that "time to practice!" thing a couple times each day. And it's totally worth it.  I'm so grateful that we have this opportunity.

Thoughts on Summer

Yesterday evening after we tucked the kids in bed I grabbed the car keys and my sandals and quickly slipped out the door to make a grocery run.  As I zoomed through the isles, snatching the various items we needed I made it over to the dairy section to add a gallon of milk to the cart.  I reached for the plastic bottle and had to pause for a moment to check the "good until" date stamped on the side to make sure it gave us more than a few days to finish it off.  What I saw kind of shocked me.  August 2nd.  August.  Wow. School starts in August - it's the month that feels like it will never arrive as you careen into June and the end of school.  Now suddenly it's just around the corner, just one gallon of milk away from being here already.

I swear, next year when I start blogging about woe is me, woe is me, summer is coming and I'm not going to make it!!! will you please tell me to shut up and remind me that summer flashes by in a second?  Let's not pretend that summer isn't challenging, because it is.  It's a lot of work and requires an inhuman amount of energy.  But it's also shorts and sun and water and late nights and crickets.  The crickets, by the way, have not yet started their evening chirping quite yet which means that we still have some time left but I expect to hear them any day now, and then I'll really know that our summer days are numbered.


Tonight was one of those perfect nights that you just long for come about February 12th. (Sorry if that's your birthday.  I just picked a random cold dark day.) My sister-in-law Whitley is in town with her kids and we had Cafe Rio salads in the glen behind my parent's house together.  Margaret was there with two of her girls and it was just a cool lovely lovely evening.  The kids had an absolute ball playing on the swings and running up then tumbling down the hill.  We sat in the evening breeze chatting away until way past bedtime because we couldn't bear to go inside.  I live for nights like that.










Yay, summer.

One more thing.  Last night before the grocery store run I attended a church meeting we hold annually in the back yard of a woman in the neighborhood.  She has the most beautiful yard and our garden party back there is probably my favorite church event of the year.  It's peaceful, people bring great food, and of course I love the company of my fellow Relief Society Sisters.  Two summers ago I attended with my friend Terri Lyn, who passed away only two short months later.  That evening she and I sat together on a lovely wooden swing that is nestled among about a dozen pots of blooming flowers.  We swung gently, quietly, mostly just listening to the conversations around us, kind of leaning on each other.  Maybe deep down we both knew that she didn't have many weeks left, especially not healthy weeks.  I think we even held hands for a bit, kind of clinging to each other, clinging to the fleeting summer.  Last night as I again visited this yard I could almost see us, Terri Lyn and me, still sitting on that swing together. I think part of our spirits will always be side by side there, holding hands and looking forward to the day we can hang out together again.  Hopefully there are many calm summer evenings in Heaven. I miss you desperately, TL.


Monday, July 16, 2012

My First Crawdaddin' Trip

Troy has really enjoyed taking the kids crawdad fishin' over the past couple of years.  (Sorry, I just can not put a "g" on the end of fishin' or any other ing-words when I'm talking about crawdads.  Just doesn't go.)  I have myself never braved the trip because they started happening at the same time that Bundle joined our family and she wasn't super fishing-compatible for the first few years.  But this year for our first trip...(Did you catch that? When I said the word "first" that implied that there would be another trip too. Look out!)....Troy convinced me that I should come along and Bundle too.

Turns out that as much as I don't really like eating crawdads, fishing for them is fun!!  Okay, you have to get used to walking through a little bit of stinky mossy stuff at the lake shore, but once you start to see the little guys swimming around in the water and you nab a couple with either a net or some bacon on a hook, you kind of get into it.  I see why my kids go absolutely nuts for it.  I just don't get why they like eating them.  Or why I have to do all the shell-peeling.  But really, it was fun to join in on the fishing.

For the next trip Troy is planning an over-nighter so I don't think Bundle and I will join in but I will say that in the future I'm totally game for joining in on the hunt.  I would like someone to explain to me why I like eating crab so much and just can't get into crawdads.  But there you go.  I support the craving of my children.  My children, who won't eat a cucumber but will devour alien-looking crustaceans from a mossy lake.









Sunday, July 15, 2012

4th of July

We are so blessed with an abundance of friends, and we wanted to invite a few of them over to celebrate the 4th of July.  There's just this one little problem in that we have a really small house.  Not a big deal - we have an awesome back porch and back yard except there just this one little problem in that it has been around 100 degrees outside.  But guess what, I have an awesome husband who spent the morning of the 4th installing these cool mist sprayers all along the back beam of the porch and thus our back porch was a pleasant place to be at 5pm in the middle of July.  It's not usually like that.  I was very grateful.

Something that was less successful was my attempt at a chalk art festival of our very own on our sidewalk.  At the end of June every year at the Gateway Shopping Center there is the awesome chalk art festival and we go and I look at the cool art and I'm just sure that it would  be so fun to have all the kids in the hood come over and each take a square and do something awesome.  So I bought chalk and I warned the neighbors and let the kids have at it.

They didn't quite see the vision.  Okay, we did have some nice time out on the front lawn, especially as the sun started to go down. My favorite drawing was done by a charming young lady named Daffodill who drew a life-sized friend whom she named Orchid.  Super cute.  But it wasn't quite the fest I was going for.  Maybe I need to just live my dream and decorate my own sidewalk all by myself.  The neighbors and probably my family too will think I'm nuts but I don't really care - it will fulfill my obsession with chalk art and help me stop trying to make the kids in the neighborhood do it for me.

Anyway, we had a great celebration with even a few fireworks here and there despite the fact that my family chose to skip out on attending the big show at Sugarhouse Park.  No way would Bundle survive that. She's not real big on loud noises.

So hooray for hard-working hubbies and hooray for friends and hamburgers and 12 layer chocolate cakes (my friend Myca created a masterpiece) and our great country.  Hooray!






Friday, July 13, 2012

New Hobby? Not Sure Yet.

For a long time I have wanted try out the apparently very popular pastime of Geocaching.  I've heard about it for a while and as I was jotting down a list of things to do that would help this summer be memorable and extra summery I thought we'd give it a try.  I really wasn't sure what to expect because I didn't know anything about how to do it - in fact, I still don't because apparently there is a cache literally across the street from my house and I can't find it to save my life even though other people have found it recently.  But we're learning.

So Geocaching, in case you aren't familiar, is this thing where people hide little containers someplace with notebooks and little treasures or junky treasures in them and then post their location on a website and you have to find them using a compass and a gps.  It's harder than it sounds, but that might be because I generally do it while I'm towing around three young children, all of whom want me to find a miraculous treasure very quickly every time we look.  It requires all of us to be patient, and when we are it pays off with an exciting little moment of discovery.  Sadly the little tupperwares are generally filled with used pencils and outdated coupons which pale in comparison with the dollar store junk we bring to deposit in the caches allowing us to take something in exchange.  More than once my kids have asked if they could please just keep the dollar store thing we brought with us and I don't blame them.  But really it's the thrill of the hunt that is the fun part and we're getting better at it.

Here are the kids getting ready to leave on our first big expedition...Bundle felt that her best preparation would be to wear woolen gloves.

Our first find!!



We're headed to the Uintas this weekend and I'm hoping to find a cache or two while we're there.  We'll see!

By the way, these pix of Bundle would have been the most beautiful things except for that purple upper lip.  Not grape juice, sorry.  She had a bottle of chocolate milk she was a little too excited about and she sucked on it so hard she gave herself the world's big hickey.  After she took her first drink I was alarmed at the amount of chocolate on her upper lip, which I tried to wipe off.  When it wouldn't come off I was alarmed at the amount of food coloring in the chocolate milk, which isn't necessarily untrue, but it was not the cause of the lip. Nope, aggressive drinking problem leading to lip hickeys.  Gorgeous.




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer. No Need for Explanation.

Okay, I will explain a little.  I'll just say it like this.  During those lazy days of summer I not only do not have enough time to do the things I'd like to do, I don't really have time to do the things I DON'T want to do.  Like the dishes.  Laundry, vacuuming, you know, that kind of thing.  Even though our days are packed beyond packed with lovely lovely things I still can't quite manage to dang get the dishes done more than about twice a week.  Ah, well.  It's all good.

So here's some of the stuff we're up to.

For starters, we decided to buy these little things you may have heard of called the Utah Pass of All Passes - only half the people in the state bought them which means that pretty much any time you go to a pass-accepting location you're going to see what it looks like to be in the same pool as half of the state of Utah.  But actaully it's been really fun.  The major attraction on this pass is Seven Peaks Water Park, previously known as Raging Waters, where I haven't been since about sixth grade.  My kids adore going and I've been impressed with all the different levels of activities there are to do there - yes, there seem to be some fixer-upper projects there but really it's pretty awesome.  Best of all I love watching Stomper build up the courage to take on the really big slides that basically shoot you off of a cliff.  And also I love watching Bitty who just hangs out in the big wave pool, throwing herself upon the waters with wild abandon.








Another place we can go with our passes is the Tracy Aviary.  I wish summer weren't so hot, dang it, because the Aviary would be really fun if you weren't sweating out half of your body weight.  Too much?  Sorry. Anyway, the kids do love it especially if I let them feed the Lorries - these pretty little yellow birds that are really loud and like to snatch apples out of your fingers.  Bundle even got in on the action this last time which I wasn't sure she'd do but she loved it too.








So those are a couple of our regular haunts that prevent all the dish-doing at my house.  I guess swimming with my kids in the hot summer sun really is better than having a clean kitchen, but I will confess that it doesn't always seem that way.  But like everything else, when fall has come and the summer sunshine has cooled and we are no longer melting as we stand in line for getting hurled down a pink plastic slide and my kitchen is clean as can be, I'm going to be sad.  But for now, I'm also sad.

I'm a dork.