The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Boot Fairy

Also could be called: The Universe Heard the Call of Bitty and Answered With Generosity.

That one may be a bit much.

Just had to tell a happy story - Bitty wanted cowboy boots.  She wanted them bad.  We had had a pair on loan from some friends because Stomper had to use them for a costume for a play he was in at school.  They were way too big for Bitty but she'd slip them on and clomp around in them as long as I would let her.  After I returned them to our friends I head many times from Bitty about her great desire for a pair of boots of her own.  I assured her that I some point I would hunt down a pair at Kid to Kid or something, but truthfully (I didn't tell her this) I wasn't very excited to make repeat visits to the shop just to try to snatch a pair that may or may not be extremely well used already.  Nor did I want to go buy new boots that she would grow out of in as big a hurry as she seems to be growing out of everything else these days.

The very next week I dragged the girls along with me to Stomper's martial arts class where we sit on the cold concrete floor outside his classroom and try to get Bitty to do homework while we wait. (This is the same location as the infamous toy-grabbing-claw-game thing. What ARE those things called?)  After telling the girls 11 times that would not be giving them any quarters to play the claw game, we settled down for the hour and happened to be right next to another mom and son who were doing the same thing we were.  We exchanged meaningful glances and laughed together over funny comments our kids made and eventually introduced ourselves.  Well, just as the big boys were getting out of the class and we all started heading home, she pulled me aside and said, "I know this is weird, but I have these shoes I am trying to find a good home for.  I just don't feel like taking them to the D.I."  Any guesses as to what was in the bag?  Yes, a gorgeous pair of black suede and brown leather kids cowboy boots, just barely too big for Bitty.


Thank you, Universe! (And also nice lady Amy.)



Cookies. And MORE Cookies.

Bitty got to start girl scouts this year, did I ever mention that?  I can't remember.  I was a girl scout for a few years in my youth and I have some great memories.  And some not great ones too....but that's another story.  My sister did Brownies and Girl Scouts with her daughters and I have always wanted to get Bitty involved too.  I was even thinking of getting up the energy to pull a troop together myself when ah-HA a friend did it first.  Yay!  We are now very happily involved and earning patches in droves.

This winter it seems like our main activity at home has revolved around the selling, sorting and distributing of girl scout cookies.  Bitty sold 300 boxes and I was very proud of her but I have to say, the Girl Scout organization doesn't really start handing out the big prizes until you sell 500 boxes, and some people get up into the 1000 - 2000 box zone.  That sounded very impressive until I tried to help Bitty sell, sort and deliver only 300 boxes.  Holy Cow!  My living room was covered in boxes and I felt like we spent weeks driving around with cookies in the trunk trying to get them out to all the generous purchasers of cookies.  It was a ton of work.  For me.  Bitty seemed to enjoy herself immensely.  Even still, I couldn't help but be proud of her.

Look at all the Thin Mints.....
So proud....that I bought her a little memento of her first cookie year. (Possibly her last, though don't tell her I said that.  Oh who am I kidding, people go nuts for cookies and most people we sold to told us to come back for sure next year!)  Since the cookies themselves seem to evaporate instantaneously once you open the boxes they don't make a memory that lasts very long.  Instead as we were depositing the sales money at the Girl Scout Store I came across some earrings that I couldn't resist:



Cute, right?

We earned her a spot at two different camps this summer plus free entrance into a cookie party hosted by the Girl Scout Headquarters.  Part of me hopes that they have more there than just girl scout cookies to eat after all the work we went to to earn entrance.  And part of me....just wants more girl scout cookies and would be perfectly happy if the party were nothing more than piles of Samoas, Thin Mints and Tag-a-Longs heaped upon tables for our enjoyment.  

I will report back after I find out.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An Increase in Pride. And Anxiety.

We are learning, here in the Preslar Household, that March is a busy month in the world of cello. We have had extra lessons, recitals, practice recitals, practice with an accompanist and a whole lot of practice at home to prepare for all of these things. Lotta cello. The culminating event took place on Saturday; an event up at the UofU in which the kids play two pieces before a group of people, three of whom are judges. The kids get feedback and a rating. It is called Federation, and just hearing that word clangs a gong of anxiety deep in my soul that reverberates with a thirty-year-old echo. Yes, I too participated in Federataion as a child as a pianist. No matter how hard I practiced, no matter how well prepared I was I couldn't stem the stress associated with that day. Getting judged. Every child's dream.

You may have guessed by this point that it is possible that I have carried over just a teeny tiny bit of anxiety onto my children. I swear, I tried not to. My sweet cello-teacher sister tried to help me - I know that at her first mention of the very word "federation" I went a little pale and tight in the mouth. She tried to reassure me that it can be a great experience for the kids and that the cello judges are very sweet. I tried not to let my kids know that deep down I want nothing to do with Federation. I can't tell if I was successful or not - the kids had plenty of nerves of their own.

What I did not expect (but totally should have) was how much more anxious I would be watching my children play than I ever had been when I was dong the playing. I was a wreck: pounding heart, sweaty palms, shortness of breath...yeah, not pretty. But I tried to keep it to myself and let my kids develop their own emotional issues. Check back in thirty years and we'll let you know how that went. But what I really want to say is how proud of my kids I am. When I did Federation I had to go in a room all alone with my judges but the cellists do it a little differently and I was able to watch and listen and my heart was just swollen with love and pride. Perfect performances? No, not perfect. But it was so lovely to see them reach inside themselves to settle and calm themselves, remember what they knew, find their own strength - quite empowering.

Sadly, no cameras were allowed in the Federation performance, but the week before that we had a practice recital with a group of Margaret's students. Here they are:





Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pinewood Derby, Take 3

What?  What's that you say?  That having a blog means I'm supposed to occasionally write things down and post them?  Oh ok, cool.  I'll try it.

Yes, hello.  Having a wee bit of a busy month.  Hard to even know where to begin. I guess I'll start at the beginning of the month...

On the first Saturday this month Stomper competed in his 3rd and final Pinewood Derby.  It's a little bitter-sweet!  Troy looked forward for so long to building derby cars with his son and now suddenly they are done.  It was great.  Except for the fact that we procrastinated a bit too long on getting the car actually made so the week before the derby Troy spent every minute of his away from the office time working on the car, as much with Stomper as he could.  And it paid off - for the second year in a row Stomper took 1st place!  Very exciting.

I loved his design this year:  a dragon complete with a row of scales running down his spine.  I think we have spoiled Stomper - it has been so fun to just ask him for his vision and then try to make it happen that he now has no qualms now about coming up with really outrageous ideas. Thankfully Troy is quite ingenious and made it happen.  It was a good looking car.


Also in on the fun this year was Bitty.  She clearly remembered how last year the younger sister of a scout made a cool pink station wagon kind of car and entered it into the exhibition race at the end.  Bitty begged to have a car in the race this year too and we couldn't help but give in - after all, it was the last year we would be invited to be a part of the race and Bitty doesn't have the chance to do anything else like it.  So next to Stomper's sleek and scary dragon we had Bitty's tall blue station-wagon looking thing.  Actually we decided it looks a lot like a Toyota LandCruiser FJ60, and thus it is extremely cool. And also faster than you would guess.

Not to be left out (duh, Rachel, why didn't you buy TWO extra derby kids instead of just one?) Bundle saw Bitty's car and promptly began a campaign of her own to get a car in the race.  I knew just how stressed Troy was already to get the two cars done so I couldn't bring myself to ask him to do just one more.  Luckily Stomper had received for a birthday gift a little wooden airplane kit that he hadn't gotten around to building yet and was willing to generously donate to the cause. I set Bundle in front of that with a row of paints and a few brushes.  After an hour it was absolutely covered in multiple layers of bright paints.  It wasn't anywhere near to derby specifications; it did have wheels but they didn't even fit on the track.  That didn't seem to matter to Bundle; she was ecstatic to be in the final races no matter that you had to manually slide her plane down the track.

So, it's been a good run for us.  I'm a little sad to see that era end, and I'm sure my husband is too.  A little. Okay, if he's sad then he's exactly the same amount happy as well.  Those little cars take  a lot of manpower to get built.  Happily, we now have three sitting proudly on Stomper's display shelf.  Plus one station wagon.








This is Stomper's good buddy from his 4th grade class - such a good kid.  He took second place and was a great sport and was hugging Stomper in congratulations.  Another good friend took fourth place - what a great group of boys!!



Monday, March 04, 2013

Could be Awesome, Could be a Horrible Mistake

Over Christmas and throughout the chilly month of January I checked Facebook from time to time and couldn't help but notice the frequent posts of a friend who had picked up his family and moved to the coast of Southern California for a month. He posted regularly about their adventures and made us all extremely jealous. One of the best adventures he wrote about was that of the single gift his children received for Christmas: Nerf guns.  The family spent hours romping after each other, tucking and rolling, dodging and giggling, enjoying every moment of their joyful happy family time. It gave me an idea.....

......for my husband's birthday. Which was on Sunday. I thought our family could have similar bonding and joy and I was really excited.  Up until the moment he opened them. Actually I didn't feel that great as I was buying them either.  Somehow I could sense that this might not be a great idea. That a possibility of disaster lurked beneath the vivid green plastic Nerf-ness.

So, at the end of a lovely birthday weekend for my dear husband which involved way too much Chinese food and a viewing of Warm Bodies, (the cutest zombie romance out there), we had a family dinner for Troy on Sunday evening. I made his favorite meatballs, a recipe which I inherited from his mother at my first bridal shower with the assurance that they were one of my husband-to-be's favorite dishes. It's true. Fifteen years after our wedding he still gets really happy when I make them and they often are the requested meal for any given special dinner. I made a seriously awesome chocolate cake topped with this great non-powdered-sugar frosting I learned about. So good. Very fluffy. I even let Bundle shove candles haphazardly all over the cake just for good birthday-wish measure. All was well. But deep inside I could feel the moment coming - the "this may have been a terrible mistake to purchase four pump-action Nerf guns" moment. Especially with two sets of grandparents watching.

Now, do not fear, Troy received other gifts for his birthday including a subscription to a magazine called The Overland Journal which basically taps him into his dream life. He got other good stuff too, but I knew the kids wanted to give him something and this is what I came up with.  The moment came. He opened his packages and got a little quiet. I think he could sense the possibilities. Possible super fun with his kids and possible disaster. The kids were pretty dang excited and a battle broke out almost immediately, and only one kid almost lost an eye in the first five minutes.  (Stomper. Bitty has either really good or really bad aim.) Troy and I began declaring rules loudly and quickly. And actually, once the initial chaos subsided it really was fun. We set up a target of a pyramid of plastic cups and the kids were delighted by their successful shots. You should have heard Bundle's elated "YESSSSSS!!" complete with fist pump every time she hit a cup.  I felt better. I think we can actually have some fun with these things.

Now I am not saying that we have forever averted any trauma but we are off to a good start.

Happy Birthday, Troy.