The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Coming Through to the Other Side

Late, Saturday evening. Sitting by a fire. Listening to quiet music. Watching snow fall on the hill of trees outside.

Guess what - that is actually what is happening right now! It's not just a daydream! This is a very good thing after the completely insane week and weekend I have had, which followed the very insane Thanksgiving holiday. (I think I need to think of a new descriptor, by the way. I keep having busy times and describing them as: crazy, insane, nutty....are you noticing a common thread here?) But really, it was a lot to handle. The only way I stayed on top of things was to revert back to my primal list-making-with-a-purple-pen strategy (I gave it up a few months ago with the arrival of my iphone and its very fabulous list-maker). But for this, I needed my old-school purple pad. I made lists for planning and executing the Church Christmas Party, for the food and craft for the church kids party, for PTA meeting snacks, for packing and cooking for our trip to Bear Lake with the Burnetts....there was something else too but since my purple list, now well crossed-off, is far away from me at this moment, I have no idea what it was. And all of those things happened in a 48 hour period. And Troy was gone. (Feel bad for me already!!) Anyway, I am seriously happy to have that list almost all the way crossed off, and to be at the tail end of this non-stop weekend.

And now I need to share a story. So, like I mentioned just once or twice or seventeen times, I was put in charge of planning this big dinner for our church. I'm pretty good at delegating some things - especially the decorations, which were pulled off beautifully by two young couples along with some helpers. They have a talent for transforming the gym into an enchanting dining hall. I delegated some of the food, though I learned a couple of lessons in that department, namely to expect a few people to cancel on the items they signed up to bring but to not freak out and make a bunch of extra because 5 lbs. of crockpot mashed potatoes feeds more people than you would think. (Even with my cancellations we had potatoes practically flowing out of the kitchen, and that doesn't count the two recipes' worth I made just in case. Lotta potatoes.) I chose an easy main course - tangy beef brisket - I put it in the ovens at church before 9 that morning and it was totally stress free. But I should have had one more. Or not let people serve themselves. We kinda ran out, but not until the very end, so it was okay.

One thing that I did not delegate in time was the program. I never know (well, I haven't known for the two years I have done this) what to do for a program. Do people want to listen to a performance? Have a silly talent show? Do nothing? Have a sing-along? Karaoke? I don't know! I think I'm trying to make too many people happy at once and end up not being able to decide anything. Plus our in-house musical genius couldn't be there so then I was really stumped. Every day on my list that "plan the program" item remained un-crossed-off and I stressed more and more about it. Finally yesterday afternoon as I was grabbing a couple of things from home I frantically printed off a silly guess-that-carol page (from Pinterest! Where else!) and decided to set that out on the tables and call that good. Actually, I think a lot of people did have fun with it, but...still, kinda lame.

Then, just as dessert was starting to disappear from the buffet table, this wonderful thing happened that I am going to tell you flat out was just a blessing from heaven. A blessing for me, who was stressed and anxious, and a blessing for everyone who was there to enjoy a neighborhood party and feel some Christmas spirit. There is a man who has been a leader in our community and is beloved by everyone. He is tall, kind, gentle, and reaches out to everyone with this infectious warmth. I kind of wish he would adopt me. (I adore his wife as well; she has stepped in many times in my life to help me when my mother has been away. I love this family.) I had asked this man if he would be our M.C. at the party; welcome everyone, say thanks to the decorators, get someone to pray over the food. That is all I asked for. But later he approached me and asked when he should start the program. I sheepishly told him I hadn't planned one and he said, "Oh, I've got one." WHAT????

This man had put together the cutest little program - mostly just a list of questions for which he had prizes, like who can name all of Santa's reindeer and who can sing all the words of whatever song...he made people laugh, he told bad jokes, he had chocolate Santas....he was adorable. And then he got two other dear people to read a short spiritual thought that ended on a beautiful note and that was that. It was PERFECT.

I tried to express to this man what this had meant to me and he lightly brushed it off as no big deal. I would just like to tell you all that it was a VERY BIG DEAL to me and I was very grateful. I don't know which guardian angel of mine whispered to him in the night, "Rachel has nothing for a program! Do something!" But he listened. And I'm grateful. And I feel very not-forgotten by heaven and by dear friends. Best Christmas spirit I have felt in a long time.

My decorator made a movie of our party and you can view it HERE:

(My computer is grumpy about posting videos on my blog...dont' know why!)


Friday, December 06, 2013

Thanksgiving

I am being so naughty right now. I am sitting in a PTA meeting and I'm supposed to be listening and possibly even contributing but instead I snuck in my ipad and I'm doing a little writing. I am just so behind! And I see very little hope of getting a nice long quiet writing stretch any time soon. Today is our ward Christmas party and guess who is in charge. That's right, Mrs. Stupid. (I mean me, who can't say no to anything and is now cooking for 200 people even though my husband is gone all week on a business trip and we also have a Primary Pajama Party in the morning and we are leaving on our annual Bear Lake Christmas Tree Hunt right from the party.....I'm sweating just thinking about it.)

So. I'm sitting in PTA and writing.

Anyway, Thanksgiving was really FUN. And that's all I can remember.

Just kidding - it really was great. It was (you're never going to believe that I'm saying this....) BUSY!! Both of my brothers' wives had babies this fall, and Adam (who lives in Seattle and has no family up there anywhere near) decided to bring his family to our valley to both celebrate Thanksgiving and gather the family for Park's blessing. My other brother Peter was feeling sad to miss our family gathering, and even though his wife Sheri and their new baby Iva weren't ready to travel yet he came up the weekend before Thanksgiving with his two big girls. Peter couldn't stay long but Adam and crew were here for the whole week and I'll just say it was a very full week bookmarked by two very full weekends. Oh yeah, and there was Thanksgiving too, which we spent with Troy's family up in Cache Valley. It was such a lovely day.

You know, I think I remember that I used to really enjoy writing long and thought-filled posts with observations about my experiences and wanderings. Those days seem to be a thing of the past and now I'm just excited that I wrote something down at all. Here's some pictures.












Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Going Private

Well darn, I didn't want to do this, but I think it's time to take this blog to a private status.  I have just had a couple of experiences that make me feel not so safe about publicly publishing anymore.  I will leave our blog public for one more week, and if you feel like you'd like access to keep reading it, leave a comment and I will put you on the list.

I'm bummed, but I think this must be so.


Completely Spoiled

There is nothing else to say.  I was completely spoiled this weekend.  Completely and utterly, and it was FANTASTIC.

I have a lovely friend with a lovely family who owns a lovely vacation home in St. George, near the mouth of lovely Snow Canyon.  She invited a gaggle of moms to join her in a weekend away and I was so happy that it worked out for me to go along.

We had so much fun.  I tried very hard to not feel guilty the whole time I was there - and I did pretty well though not perfectly - I tried to make it as easy for Troy as possible for me to be away and he and the kids were of course awesome together so I only felt SLIGHTLY guilty.  At all times.  Especially when I was sitting in a hot tub every night under the full desert moon.  And also while I was out to breakfast, attending a temple session, cooking and talking with friends all day long, going to see Thor II, getting a pedicure.....  you get the idea.

I have to admit that there were two highlights to this trip that just made it extra special.  I mean, it was already such a pleasure to spend time with six other amazing women - we had hours of really interesting, insightful and helpful conversations.  We relaxed and pampered ourselves.  It was awesome.  But to top it off, my sister in law Sheri had a baby not four days before I got there.  I have been sad that I haven't met Adam and Whitley's new baby Park yet - he's about six weeks already.  And I hate the thought of missing another brand new baby.  So one day I had a free afternoon and snuck away to go see Peter and Sheri and their THREE girls.  That was so fun and such a pleasure to have a little time to snuggle with new baby Iva Matilda.  Can't wait to get my hands on her again!

The other highlight for me was the sleeping part.  I have become the lightest sleeper - everything wakes me up, the slightest noise and I am totally 100% awake, usually taking a while to fall back asleep.  I didn't think I was capable of sleeping soundly or sleeping in any more. Boy, was I wrong.  Three nights in a row I slept like a complete ROCK.  It was absolute heaven.

So anyway, a great trip, so grateful to have been able to go, and I hope it happens again one day.

The View towards Tuacahn as I was on an early morning stroll

Okay, Bundle was a little sad my first morning away and we did a lot of face time

Outside the St. George temple


Baby Iva Matilda!




I even got to pick periwinkle, my favorite color

Swig made a bundle off of our business - once I introduced the Dirty Diet Coke to everyone, they all asked if we could go every day

On a shopping trip we had to have at least one of us go for the prom dress try on  - led to much hilarity

Wouldn't be a trip to St. George without the Pizza Factory!




Monday, November 11, 2013

A Month of Beautiful

What a fantastic fall we have had - our valley has been a splendor of color for weeks now. (Okay, we had one teeny tiny little snow storm that took me by surprise but other than that....)  The leaves are all starting to come down now but I can't count the number of times I was walking or driving through the city and was awestruck by the colors and beauty around me.  I know we can't compare to Boston or Vermont or anything, but I have absolutely loved this fall.

On Saturday Troy made sure to put the following on his to-do list:

"rake leaves into a pile and take pictures of the kids"

So glad he did - he captured some excellent moments:










Wednesday, November 06, 2013

All Hallow's Eve

What a week we had last week.  Gracious.  Starting with Stomper's birthday on Monday, trying to cram in every stitch of homework on Tuesday plus carving pumpkins, a Wednesday night scout activity in which I had a small planning part and craft activity to run, two play practices for Stomper, Bitty's class party of which I was in charge plus a dentist appointment on Thursday before trick or treating (is that called irony?)  THEN Halloween itself....with parties and dressing up and visits to two sets of grandparents and dinner at a friends and trick or treating....it was all wonderful but I looked pretty spooky myself by 9pm last Thursday night.

Whew.

Is it okay that I'm glad it's over? Because I really really am.

Not that it wasn't great - I thought the kids had a great Halloween and I was really pleased with their costumes.  And thanks to The Dreaded Halloween Carnival (see previous post) their costumes were totally done almost a whole week in advance and that was a blessing for sure.

Let's start with pumpkin carving:






Some year I really want to have a full-on Halloween party with friends and neighbors coming over to carve piles of pumpkins together while we eat homemade donuts and cider on a sunny Saturday afternoon, spooky but somehow also cute and charming decorations dotting the tables....such a nice picture.  But that probably isn't going to happen for a few years so in the meantime we will keep doing things the way we do - finding the one night in the week before Halloween where we don't have any more than two other events scheduled and go after the pumpkins with vigor before I shove everyone in bed.

I always love the final result.



I do have to commend myself for taking on the task of cleaning the seeds out of four good-sized pumpkins - Bitty has been begging me for years to make toasted pumpkin seeds although I loathe the process and don't really like the seeds that much.  I prefer them peeled and then sautéed in oil and salt, but since I can buy those and peeling each one of those individual seeds seems way beyond my job expectations I generally don't bother.  But for the love of my daughter I did it.  And she ate about 10 of them.

The next night was a big scout activity - I was in charge of a craft table and I have Pinterest to thank for a very quick and easy craft idea that went over quite well with the pack of boys.  (Except that Stomper didn't even come, due to a huge pile of homework and also being totally wiped out from long play practices. But the girls had a great time.)


And then Halloween.  Like I said, it was nuts, but great.

For starters I tried hard to do something fun and spirited for breakfast. I managed to do some pumpkin pancakes (which I think I liked way better than the kids did) as well as a cauldron of smoking orange juice. I posted one of these pictures online and got a lot of comments about what a fun mom I am - I had to laugh because I do try but it always comes off as a half-accidental scramble through total chaos.  I mean, had I all the time, money and energy I wanted, the table would have been set with my special Halloween table cloth and settings (I don't have that stuff and don't have a place to store it even if I did).  I would have an actual cauldron instead of a plastic tupperware bucket which was the closest thing on hand.  And the only reason I had the dry ice was because Bitty's teacher asked me to bring some to the class party.  I didn't have time until 10pm the night before (right before I started making the cookies for her class to decorate! Why can't I pull myself together and get things done at a reasonable time!!??)  so I had to run to the store, and the deli, where dry ice is sold, was closed.  A very kind cashier snuck in the back to fetch some ice for me, returning with the news that the ice comes in 7 lb bags and he didn't have the means to break it into smaller pieces for me.  So, I took the 7 lbs, meaning that due to my folly alone I had dry ice for my kids for breakfast.

You know what though, my kids don't really care if I don't make things as perfect as I would like.  They had fun with what I had.



In the morning after breakfast Emma had a fully costumed dance class followed by school.  I had to help out at Bitty's class party:



Then dentist appointments in which Bundle totally got the hygienist to let her do whatever she wanted, giving her big sister a bit of a trial of patience.



Then we high-tailed it to my parents' house to throw on our costumes and say hello....


 ....before zooming to Troy's parents' house to kick off our annual trick-or-treating run with our favorite tradition of visiting several homes on their street.  I love that Morris and Carol are our first trick-or-treating house each year, and we always go to the same few houses.  It has been so fun to show off our little troop each year.












....and THEN we made it over to a neighbor's house for a wonderful Halloween chili dinner with many dear friends from the neighborhood.  It is such a relief to get some real food into the kids' tummies before, between and after all the sweets they eat.




After dinner we headed out into the cool dark night to tromp around from door to door to ask for candy from strangers.  We were with two other families, both of whom have daddies who pay extra attention to Bundle and each took a turn carrying her on their shoulders.  We only stayed out for an hour or so and it really wasn't too cold at all.


What a fantastic year.  It ended like this about 10 minutes after we were home:


So quickly in fact that we didn't even have time to brush her teeth.  Good thing we went to the dentist that day, although it probably would have been better to go the next day!