The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Trip For...what did you say? GROWNUPS ONLY? Weird.

To begin, I'll just say that I am completely aware that NO ONE is going to get through this whole post because it's gonna be lengthy.   But it's for when I'm old and gray(er) and have nothing better to do than to sit in my rocker reading old blog posts on my iretina reader (the latest network/optic nerve interface which apple will have come out with by then.)

I have to blame it all on my cute little sis-in-law Sheri.  She had this weird idea that all the grownups in my family should get together and go on a family trip so that we could spend time together with my mom, who is living with steadily worsening Alzheimer's.  I have to say, at the beginning of this, that Sheri is so wonderful.  We aren't even her own family but she is dedicated enough to us to want to get the ball rolling for us to spend some time together.  Which makes her the most real kind of family there is.

Wow.  Where to begin?  It was a journey in and of itself just to get all 6 Romneys plus 3 spouses to find a date and place to go on vacation, say nothing of the effort it took for all of us to find babysitting and organize the details of the trip like cars and food.  But....I'm just going to skip all of that because it really isn't all that interesting and I'm sure every trip of this kind involves similar stories for everyone.

Though we considered several locations including Cabo...(part of me would have liked to go there and maybe will at some point...soon....) we ended up choosing a small resort community on the coast of Washington called Seabrook.  It is sort of like DayBreak for vacationers - just a pretty little seaside neighborhood nestled in pretty much the middle of nothing much but some logging towns, an old Air Force base and some trailer parks.  Doesn't sound especially pleasant but I have to say, pretty much anything on the coast of Washington is so green and beautiful and unbelievably lush that I'm sold.  Plus we were just a quick stroll down to the beach where we went for many many walks, strolls, jaunts and even a few saunters.

I do need to take a moment to mention that I have never before left all three of my kids for one night before, not to mention FIVE.  I had some anxiety about doing this; partly for my kids and partly for all my friends from whom I was asking for help.  So much so that as I was driving the kids to their first sleepover location I was nearly hyperventilating with nerves.  And as soon as we got there, despite the fact that I was expecting tears and sad goodbyes, the kids all leaped out of the car and tore off to play without even saying goodbye and basically didn't bat an eye about my absence for the rest of the trip.  Okay, there were probably a few tears here and there but no major meltdowns or catastrophes, and thus I have learned that I am going to leave over night more often.

So basically we just had almost six very lovely relaxing days where this really weird thing happened in which I had all this, what's it called again?  Oh yeah...alone time with my husband.  I vaguely remember that!  Plus spending great times with my siblings and parents.  (Sheri and Whit, you count as siblings.  I love you like the sisters you are.)

Here are some of my highlights from the trip:

Okay, let's get the embarrassing one over with first.  The minute my brother suggested Seabrook and I saw on a map that it was within driving distance of Forks, Washington, (the setting for the story of Twilight,) Sheri and I both got a little gleam in our eye. The gears in our brains started working on how we were going to get the other seven members of our family up there as well as appear nonchalant about our interest in visiting.  The first part of that scheme went well, the second....not so much.  I can't deny it.  I was pretty excited to visit Forks, though really truly it wasn't so much a pilgrimage for me as it was a desire to witness what was up there and say I had visited.  And what is up there, you ask?  I'll tell you.  A small little town with a sign in pretty much every shop window advertising a Twilight tour, food item, souvenir or some other sign of vampire life. I even ordered "The Bella Burger" at the local burger joint and received with my meal a small set of vampire teeth. It was kind of hilarious.  And wonderful. We stopped at the Welcome to Forks sign, the high school and a big trinket shop with clerks that knew every aspect of those books inside and out. (I listened in as they were talking with some other customers.) I really wanted to purchase the weirdest keepsake I could find but just couldn't bring myself to spend money on the stuff they had in there.  I ended up with a magnet.  Wah wahhh....

I do have to say that our drive TO Forks was possibly more adventurous and exciting than our actual visit. Somebody's GPS took us on a winding tour through a forested Reservation that took us on such small dirt roads we weren't sure we were really on our way to anywhere.  It was really fun, actually.

More fun than the trip to Forks was the trip to 1st Beach on the nearby Reservation, La Push. (Book 1 Chapter 5.) Just kidding.  Really.  Anyway, what a spectacular series of beaches lie along that coast.  It kind of totally made my vacation to see the magical combination of rain forest, beach and mountain all combined into a spectacular  afternoon.

Okay, other fun adventures of our trip.  Like I said, we spent lots of time on the beach near Seabrook.  We watched quite a lot of Olympic coverage.  We played frisbee on the lawn, we ate lots of m&m's, we tried multiple times to eat at the local restaurant and never did have a great experience there.  We even drove into Aberdeen for an afternoon showing of my new favorite movie, Moonrise Kingdom.  I have never been in a theater with only five rows of seats.  I have seen home theaters bigger than that one but really it ended up being completely charming, especially because mom shared her red vines with me.

Oh yeah, we spent a great day on Lake Winnipesaukee.  Wait, no that's not it.  (Name that movie.) Lake Quinault, it was.  It's not too far from Seabrook and has an old school lodge nestled right there between the road and the water which looks like the place in Dirty Dancing and was built in the 20's. It was kind of stinky inside but held not only the perfect bear toy to bring home to Bundle but also provided canoes and kayaks for rent.  Our family spent about an hour on the water rowing our hearts and arms out.  Everyone was in a sea kayak but me and my folks and I would like to say that canoes with three people are harder to row than sea kayaks with two.  But it was really fun - I sang all my favorite old camp songs my mom taught me when we were little and she joined in, both of us at the top of our lungs. Loved that time with my mom.

So pretty much we did your basic trip stuff of eating together, talking and reading....I will confess that Sheri hoped we would all stay up late laughing our heads off and telling stories but we are some seriously tired grown ups who needed some sleep!  We did a lot more going to bed and sleeping in than we did playing games and laughing.  But honestly, that was just what we needed.

Oh yeah, there was this fun little thing - there are a couple of different ways to get down to the beach from the houses in Seabrook. One way is a prominent path that leads down some cool stairs and it's quite scenic.  But there is another secret way that took us a couple of days to discover. It's a little winding path that takes you first through a forest that looks like it could be either on the forest moon of Endor or enchanted and full of gnomes and sprites.  In fact, that is what everyone thinks because the path is lined with little gnome homes and is completely adorable.  On the last day there Margaret, Sheri, Peter and I built our own little gnome home back in the trees.  I just love the woods on the coast.

Ours - hard to see, but trust me, it was fabulous.

Someone else's.

In summing up this marathon post, I just want to say that I love my family and friends and thank them all for making our trip possible.  I hope we get to do it again sometime!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Quick Recounting of a Few Things I Meant to Blog About Over the Summer But Was Too Dang Tired to Do So.

So here I am, sitting on the couch, staring at least towards the television with my eyes glazed over. You see, it happened.  Summer came and went and school actually started.  If you had asked me on June the 6th I would have told you that today was not actually ever going to get here.  But it did. Summer was great, summer was good, and now I'm exhausted and need to sit down for at least three to five days to recover.  It's occurring to me that my list of things to blog about is growing longer rather than shorter and that the details of these topics are fading in the haze of my sleepiness.  I think I'd better just pull a cram-it-in post and move ahead.

Thing I Vaguely Remember #1:

Crawdad Fishin' Take 2, in which trip I did not take part, since this time was an over-nighter.  I did, however, find myself the next day boiling several gallons of salty water; just enough to sufficiently cook all 110 crawdads caught on said trip.  As it turns out, there is such a thing as "too many crawdads."  We invited a few neighbors over to enjoy the tasty (though hard-to-dismember) morsels along with some jambalaya and corn bread but even with the extra mouths, 110 crawdads were just too many.  Never before have we had leftovers, and I am going to confess to the fact that I did not even check to find out if crawdads "keep well" in the fridge. I don't want to know, in case the answer is a definitive NO. Goodbye, extra crawdads.  Next year, we will only go for 99 or so. It did make the kids proud, of course, to hit the century mark on their catch.

I am very happy to report that Troy returned from this trip with nothing but glowing reviews for his two older children who joined him on the trip.  At least as far as I can remember.  Maybe I have already blocked out a challenging detail or two.  If memory serves, they just had an absolute ball, staying up until nearly 11:00 roasting marshmallows by the campfire and doing other very fatherly/camping/happy kids in the outdoors kind of stuff.

Don't YOU look at that and instantly think, "yum" ?

Thing I Vaguely Remember #2:

Cousins!  I'm pretty sure that cousins are one of the reasons that I got so behind on my blogging.  My brother Adam and his family moved to the Seattle area a year ago and they needed some Utah time so they came for like four weeks or something.  Well, everyone but Adam did that - he was able to join his family for the last weekend. Anyway, with four weeks of nearby cousins we had all sorts of adventures including two sleepovers, a birthday party, lots of dinners and lots of playing.  We love cousins.

One of the first evenings we spent together was in my parents' backyard, fondly dubbed The Glen.  We ate some pizza or something and mostly just watched the kids go nuts on the lawn, rolling down the hill in these big tube tunnel things.  We were very entertained by our niece Lainey's ability to "go zombie."  Also her little sister Rosie who is potty training and who likes to say, "Feast Yourrrrr Eyes!!" in a Scottish brogue and waggle her bum at you every time she drops her drawers.  (If you haven't seen Brave, that's where she's getting this unusual but hilarious behavior.)

Thing I Vaguely Remember #3:

My dear friend Emily has been trying for many months to get her family up Millcreek Canyon for a cookout dinner and for some reason or other, time after time, it just hasn't worked out.  So when I asked Troy with just 10 or so days of summer left what activities we wanted to pack in and he mentioned dinner up the canyon, I couldn't help but call up Emily and invite her and however many members of her family as were able to join us.  We ended up having such a good time.  There is nothing like taking kids to a place in the mountains with fresh air and a stream running near by with lots of rocks to throw, adding in some good old hot dogs and smores; the kids just dive into the atmosphere and never want to leave again.  We did this with some Preslar cousins a couple of years ago and I'm beginning to feel that every end-of-summer deserves a family cookout dinner up Millcreek Canyon.

Thing I Vaguely Remember #4:

I never mentioned how much I was going to miss two very, well...dear friends I lost this summer.  Maurice Sendak and Nora Ephron.  Truly, they did feel like friends.  Mr. Sendak was a massive part of my childhood and Ms. Ephron a major part of everything else.  I love them both and appreciate what they gave to us over their wonderful years.  I'm going to miss them both.

And...The Thing I'm well aware of at this very moment:
The tomatoes are ripening.  Some one go and get me some BACON.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

One of the fun little things we got to do this month was to put Stomper into Apple Camp - really just a short series of classes at the Apple Store teaching kids how to use imovie on their apple computers.  Not that we actually have a Mac, but we are hoping to pick one up in October when the new iMac is released.  So we put Stomper into the camp and had a very fun three days.  The first day he learned a little bit about how to story board a movie and come up with a good plot, and then he had the assignment to shoot a bunch of footage that evening that he was to bring into the store the next day to learn to edit together into a movie.

Sadly, that was the same evening Troy was scheduled to work late and so the filming was entirely up to me.  It seemed kinda overwhelming until we invited over our very theatrical friends Ryan and Gabrielle and also insisted over the phone that Troy give Stomper a starting place on the plot. After Chase and Ryan pieced together our story line we took just a couple of hours to film.  To tell the truth, we would have had some better clips to use had I not occasionally mixed up the "start" and "stop" buttons on our camera and ended up with one or two good clips as well as several clips of me saying, "Places everyone! Okay, ready?  And...action!" before being cut off by me pushing the stop button. Ah well.

What we came up with might not be entirely understandable but was certainly fun to make, and if I may say so myself, the only kid-made movie in the film festival on the final day that actually had a plot.  Oh no, wait, there was one other one that was kind of a horrific zombie show with lots of blood that made most of the viewers concerned about letting their child sit next to the kids who made it.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

OH MAMMA I am so tired.  I am currently trying to survive the final week of summer - is anyone else realizing that the last week of summer can be as hard and full of contention as the first week?  (All the rest of the weeks tie for second.)  (And all of you who have no idea what I'm talking about please go away.) I think that the kids feel the change in the air, they feel exhausted from all of our summer adventures, they feel anxious about finding out who will be their teachers next year - it's a lot going on.  And I'm paying the price.

So I keep this little list of the things I want to blog about and at this point I think there are maybe 8 things on there.  And I....may just go to sleep and try finishing this post tomorrow. Oh fine - I'll try to at least get something down. So now the question is...which of those 8 things shall I start on?  Maybe I should make this one of those cram-it-all-in posts....Or maybe I should skip all that and just chat about why today was such a craptastic day....maybe I should stop rambling. Hard to say.

How about  I just quickly mention that today was crappy because no one went to the bathroom where they were supposed to (think tubs, pants and hiking trails) and also because...I can't think of why else.  I think the  bathroom thing was enough.  And now I'll move on to cramming it in.

First, Bitty got her ears pierced!  She is approaching her 7th birthday and it occurred to me that she might like to get that done so I brought it up with her a while ago.  At first I thought it freaked her out too much and she was definitely going to put it off for a year or more when suddenly she told me she really wanted to do it and the sooner the better because she wanted to get it over with.  As it turns out, ear piercing is different these days than back in the 80's.  I remember this gun thing that pierced your ear with a very sudden, fast and startling clack that really hurt.  Bitty asked me lots of questions and I pretty much answered them all incorrectly!  The new ear piercers are more like these slow pincher things that barely made Bitty even move, much less jump out of her skin like I did.  She just sat there very still and didn't make a peep.  She said it still hurt but that it wasn't as bad as she was expecting.  She looks pretty dang cute. And I love that she chose her birthstone studs just like I did; mine were dark green and hers are light.

And ....Stomper is getting glasses!  He's been mentioning having trouble seeing the board at school so we took him in. He's just barely near sighted enough to need glasses at all, so I'm not sure how fuzzy that board really looked to him, but since he's about the age that I was when things started getting hard to see and my eyesight went down gradually for the next 20 years, I thought we might as well get him going.  So he's going to use some glasses, mostly just at school for now.  I'm actually having a really hard time picturing him as a person who always has glasses on.  Well, by the time I got glasses I was in 7th grade and I detested them and insisted on getting contacts only a year later.  Stomper will probably only need them for a while before he's big enough for contacts, right?  He looks cute in his frames, though. I'll post a picture when we get them.

And finally...I am going to bed.  That was not much cramming but I can't see straight.  Time for sleep and maybe I'll post again someday.  :)