The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Boy Can I PIck 'Em

And when I say, "em" I mean dates for hiking Mount Timpanogos.

This is a view FROM the mountain, not of it, just so you know.

I have some very vague memories of going up there for a tour as a pretty young kid - I must have been seven or eight. I just remember some paved trails and hanging out with my cousin and dad. Clearly my memory is foggy on this particular event and were it more clear I am pretty sure I would have planned this outing differently.

Last week my dear friend Jeannie and I decided we wanted to take our kids up for a tour of the caves. We picked a day, Monday the 22nd, and around last Thursday I thought I should probably call ahead for some tickets. I was right, I should have....about a week before that. I guess their cave tour tickets sell out every single day and it can be hard to get a good time. Luckily they did have some space that day for our slightly largish group but it wasn't until 2:45 in the afternoon. Warm!! I would have just called Jeannie and rescheduled, but we also had the hopes and dreams of a third 10-year-old boy, Nick, riding with us - he is the son of anther dear friend who moved to San Francisco yesterday and she desperately needed an outing for her son while she was busy loading the moving truck. Nick was really hoping for this trip to Mount Timp before he moved away so we decided to go for it.

I will confess that as I looked at the weather for the week I wasn't very excited that the one day predicted to be above 100 degrees was the day of our hike. Oh well. (Remember that bit about me picking things poorly? Yeah, like I said.)

Luckily I have a great many dear friends and another one of them was possibly kept awake the night before our hike thinking about me taking Bundle up there. I had heard a lot about the steepness of the trail and I vaguely remembered that part, but hey, it's paved, right?  How bad could it be? I could just make her walk as far as she would go and then throw her on my back or shoulders. I told this to my friend, Emily, but she called me rather early on Monday morning telling me that she just couldn't let me take Bundle up there. I was dumb enough to protest but luckily when I made the offer to Bundle to play with friends instead of hiking she was excited to take me up on it.

I am very grateful for Emily's forceful suggestion. I really had no idea what I was getting into.
I'm making myself sound like the most pathetic hiker ever. I'm not saying that isn't absolutely true, but what makes this hike extra hard is not just getting yourself up 1 1/2 miles and 1000 feet of elevation, it's getting a bunch of iPad-happy kids up there along with you. Not an easy task.

Little did they know how they would be feeling in 15 short minutes...

We got down to the visitors center at our scheduled time: 2:45 on the nose. We were given a ticket with our hike start time and our tour start time; a full hour and a half after our hike time started. I guffawed, I confess. An HOUR and a HALF to go 1.5 miles? There is no way it was going to take us that long!!

Except that it did.

It was so hot! And that trail is pretty much totally exposed to the afternoon sun, its path carving switchbacks all the way up pretty much to the top. Within about 150 feet all the kids were begging to sit down and rest and declaring that they were never going to make it. Well, all except one. That would be the one female child, the one 3 years younger than all the boys. Bitty was a total trooper and didn't complain even once. She is an awesome hiker! The boys....well....I'll just say that I have just decided that the boys who are most interested and fascinated with Super Heroes are the boys least able to imitate them. I need to get Stomper out more. Actually by the end of the hike he had pulled it together and had made a good effort. So did everyone - all the kids, despite their assertions of never making it, each did eventually make it to the top. Considering the sweat I was producing (not to mention the accompanying smell - woah!) all I could think was how grateful I was not to have a 40 lb kid on my back or shoulders along for the ride. Truly, that would have been wretched.

But the caves were so awesome! (I'm pretty sure Bundle would have hated them - double good she got an extended playdate that day instead.) The cool air felt wonderful, the formations were so beautiful and eerie and awe-inspiring. We were all so refreshed and astounded that we barely noticed the hike back down - it seemed like nothing, especially after I told everyone that ice cream from the snack bar was on me once we got down. What they didn't know was that I meant that quite literally. I had dreams of buying two frosty topped cones and sticking them straight into my armpits. I refrained, but only just.

You're not going to believe this but I am excited to do this again.  I am, however, going to take note of a couple of things to remember for next time.

Don't go in July.
Don't go in the afternoon.
Bundle may join us when she turns seven.
I need to get my kids up more mountains before this happens again.
Troy needs to come next time to enjoy it as well, plus take better pictures than I could.
Don't wait 30+ years to go again.










We Did It!  (Can we lie down now?)

Not a flattering picture of me, but I had to show off my super hot sweaty and glowing face.











Monday, July 22, 2013

surPRISE!!!!!!

There may not be many things more fun than sneaking up on your grandparents while they're on a quiet camping trip all by themselves.

Troy's parents go camping a time or two every summer, and they have a handful of very favorite camping spots with which Troy is very familiar.  He knew his parents were heading up the Mirror Lake Highway this weekend and decided that it would be really fun to surprise them.  He was right.

We packed a few things into the car - some extra firewood, hot dogs and buns, s'mores makings, sweatshirts, bug spray....you get the idea.  And we hopped in the car and made for Kamas.  Troy was just guessing on what camp site his parents would be using, and he was right on his very first try.  We pulled slowly around the campground, spotted first their truck and trailer and then the two of them sitting peacefully in the cool mountain evening.  It wasn't peaceful for long after that, but hopefully we were a welcome disturbance.  It was pretty awesome to see their faces register first recognition then surprise and delight as we pulled in next to their truck.

We hauled all our gear down to the fire pit and got dinner going - sausages and dogs, chips and soda - truly a dinner of champions.  And it was just the most pleasant and wonderful evening.  I felt a little guilty for arriving with our whirling dervish of constant chaos, but since we were only staying for a couple of hours it hopefully wasn't too bad. Their little dog Rascal certainly seemed rapidly burned out on the attention of my children, most notably the dog-obsessed four-year-old, but one can not deny that he got some good exercise during our stay. The rest of us had a great time munching and walking and finding rocks to skip on the lake.  It was a great evening, and it made me really look forward to our camping trip in a couple of weeks.



How many walks can one dog take in one night?  On a quest to find out.





Love the top-down approach to hot-dog eating



Bitty asked for BIG marshmallows so I got BIG marshmallows, which created s'mores that were a little hard to conquer




Friday, July 19, 2013

The Crickets Have Arrived

Hello. It's July. Today was really super hot and It's only just now, at 11:00 in the p.m., that I feel like I'm not going to melt into a sweaty little puddle. And as I sit here on the couch, enjoying an episode of Scrubs, Season 2 (it's only slightly off-color), I can hear the sweet chirp-chirping of crickets through the open window. That sound is one that I associate entirely with summer but really they don't start their little evening symphony until mid July. I listen for them every night and I have to confess that summer doesn't feel really here until I hear them. It also doesn't feel really here until it's July and so hot that I can barely stand my own skin.

I realized yesterday that we only have 5 weeks until school begins. I can't believe that. Why does summer seem so eternally long to me each June and then by July I am wondering where it has gone? I'm so weird!

So, what have we been up to? I don't really have many major events or trips to report on; we've just been doing the crazy summer here-ing and there-ing and this-ing and that-ing that fills up our calendar in the blink of an eye.

Here are some things to remember:

Probably the biggest event of the month was the week-long parent-free excursion of my elder daughter, aka Bitty. It was really weird. One of her best friends moved to St. George but came back up here for the 4th of July. Her family invited Bitty to drive home with them that next Sunday and stay for a few days. I think my dear friend, mother of Bitty's friend, was bravely offering to have Bitty for four or five days but I was very happy to tell her that two nights would be wonderful and that my brother and his wife had expressed an interest in having Bitty stay with them for a couple of nights as well and luckily that same week worked for them. So my sweet little Bitty spent four nights away from me while I worried about her, worried about my friend and my sister-in-law who had to take care of my occasionally-super-emotional gal and also worried about myself who maybe just enjoyed it a bit too much. It was a really quiet and easy week. Part of that was because Stomper had both cello camp and scout camp that week so mostly it was just me and Bundle.




I think Bitty had a great time - my friend Marsha was so cute and had a ton of crafts for the girls to do together, and Sheri my sis-in-law was almost like home to a slightly homesick Bitty because we have been together so much. Although there was one incident where Bitty was grumpy about not having the right clothing for playing outside in a rainstorm and Sheri caught a picture of her grumpy face which she texted me, making me feel both guilty, irritated, lonely for my daughter, and highly entertained all at the same time. A much better set of pictures to receive were those of Bitty going on a boating trip with Sheri's family. I was a little jealous to miss that!






And Stomper. Like I mentioned, he attended cello camp last week. Poor kid; who wants to tell anyone that they go to cello camp? It sounds beyond nerdy! But guess what, he loved it. I was so relieved when I told him that this was the week for camp and he said, "YESSSSS!!!" My sister is so awesome. She is way more of a therapist than a cello teacher. My kids adore her and so do I. We did do some other fun stuff, such as taking Stomper and Bundle to their first ever drive-in movie.  I was super shocked that Bundle stayed awake and happy for the whole thing even though the feature didn't even start until 9:30.  We can't wait to go back and take Bitty with us. If you ask Bundle about it, she will tell you that she loved seeing Pickable Me 2 at the Drive Through Movie.




A couple of other things I wanted to get onto the blog -

We got a new hammock. We had one before that was kind of a woven fish-net kind of thing that the kids loved but couldn't stay in for long without their bums falling through. So Troy picked out this awesome hammock for us and we have spent a lot of time in it this summer, although at least three of us have learned that swaying gently in the hammock and playing games on a phone or iPad at the same time is a really bad and also nauseating idea. The back porch has been a great refuge for us this summer and it's been fun to make some little improvements here and there like hammocks and fun planters and things to make it all the more pleasant for hanging out.



Also had to make note of the day the girls went with their daddy to visit his parents and ended up mowing the lawn all by themselves. Bitty asked if she could please please please be hired to mow his giant lawn every week in hopes of earning a whole 50 cents each time.

She was really driving. And LOVING it.
Bundle hasn't done much but hang out with her mother all summer long. Boy howdy does she love to help me with everything I do. It's...nice? Sweet? Not actually helpful? All of the above. But I sure love having a little shadow and I know I'll miss that terribly some day. I just have to tell one little story about her. This spring and summer Bundle has decided that she is very interested in bugs. Prior to this, she spent a lot of time screaming if she even saw one but I don't know what happened. Suddenly she is really okay with them, to the point of picking them up with her bare fingers and collecting them and naming them and wanting to grab them all the time. Bugs are not a big problem for me, but that doesn't mean I want to grab them with my bare hands. Funny girl.

Keeping Bundle Busy during her sibling-free week with Pinterest Projects like Painting with Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Of course she took it to the next level and just made a huge mess which also involved pom poms.
Hanging out with Bundle way past bedtime and entertaining ourselves with my phone.
So there you go. Start with a bug story, (welcome, crickets!) and end with a bug story too. It's time to go to bed so I can get some rest before I start sweating again tomorrow.

WARM!



Sunday, July 07, 2013

Who Wudda Thunk It

When I was a kid, I fought like crazy with my siblings. We just could not figure out how to get along with each other. Well, not so much with Peter. He was too little and too cute. And my best little buddy. But the other two...wow. And the sibling who wins the battle-it-out competition? My next younger brother, Adam. Wow we fought a lot.

I remember such incidents as the wars we waged with these two big plastic guns; one white and the other red. Pretending to shoot each other was always how it started out but somehow we would get frustrated along the way and it would lead eventually to just full on whacking each other with the things. I also remember the time he told my family who my crush was and I was so incensed that I leapt out of my chair and launched myself into his chest, knocking him off the edge of the porch where he was leaning. We tumbled onto the lawn where I pummeled him in the belly with flying fists. It felt pretty satisfying until I realized that he was laughing his head off. Another favorite moment of ours was the day we were fighting about something (very important I am sure) and I stormed off into my room and slammed the door and stayed there to cool off. When I was finally ready to emerge I had a really hard time opening my door. I had to really yank it and finally the door came open with the sound of tearing wood. I discovered that Adam had exacted his revenge on me by gluing my door shut. With super glue.

Good times.

Who would have ever believed that I would grow up to absolutely crave the company of my siblings? I look forward to every minute I get to spend with them. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, we have had a very busy couple of weeks with cousins in town. And yes I am exhausted. But I am also glowing with happiness. I just adore my siblings and my sisters-in-law. And last night as I stood on the porch waving goodbye to the Seattle Romneys I had to just cry because I was so sad to say goodbye, and I am so excited for next weekend when the St. George Romneys come up here again. And I am so grateful for my sister who is here with me and who is such a great friend and confidant and wise woman in my life. (I have plenty of great stories about our wars and contentions as well but I will save those for another time. Let's just say that we all nicknamed her the MEAN babysitter.) (P.S. She is not mean any more at all and I love her.) (A lot.)

Anyway, it gives me hope. I tried to tell my kids last night, as they eyed each other distastefully, that someday in the not-too-distant future, they may just long for each others' company and cry when they have to say good bye. I don't think they believed me.

This shot was snapped just as I asked the question, "Who wants an otter pop?"  




Saturday, July 06, 2013

Happy Birthday, USA

We tried to explain the 4th of July to Bundle several times and the only thing that she really caught onto was the fact that it was our country's birthday. She told many interested listeners (and a few uninterested ones as well) all about how "today is our country's BIRTHDAY!"
We don't really have a tradition for how to celebrate the 4th around here - unlike my youth. I have great memories of an early morning breakfast with friends and neighbors in Boulder, Colorado at some park and my mom always made the same egg casserole every year. I love that stuff. I should start making it for us every Independence Day. But what ends up happening for us now is that we kind of hang around all day waiting for the night to come. Sometimes we do yard work.
This year we decided that we needed to do a better job planning and celebrating the day. We decided that it would be great to get out of the heat (it has been CRAZY hot here for the last several days) and head up a canyon for an early hike/walk. We knew we were facing a big challenge - any place that was cool and not hard for kids was obviously going to be very crowded. We were right. But I think that just knowing that going in helped us handle the crowds.
Our hike/walk of choice was Donut Falls up Big Cottonwood Canyon. I am embarrassed to say that I believe that was my first trip there. And yes, the road, parking lot and trail were packed with people. But we had fun anyway. It was so nice and cool - the kids were even sorry they didn't have sweatshirts when we first got there.
I was expecting to have to carry Bundle a lot but surprisingly she did most of the walking herself, evening throwing in some running and skipping. We loved the smells of the forest, the sounds of the different bird calls (Stomper tells me he is sure he heard the call of the Indigo Bunting - a bird he studied in school this year.) (He was probably right; I have no idea) and just being up out of the city. We definitely need to go back on a quieter day.









After our little hike we spent the afternoon relaxing and getting ready to do some grilling on our back porch. It was so nice that the day ended up not being as hot as it has been for a week or so, so the porch was pretty comfortable and it was fun to sit and chat with friends and eat good burgers and watch the kids try to kill each other in our little pool.









So I think it has been several years since I have attended a big fireworks show. Definitely not since Bundle was born, so that makes at least five years. And I maybe took Bitty to one...I really don't remember. My little kids are not big on fireworks. They plug their ears when other kids are holding sparklers, for heaven sakes. But....we decided to try it this year. The whole family, headed to fireworks. I dread, and I know my husband does even more than I do, heading to large events just packed with people. Crowds ruin things for me most of the time. But luckily we are very blessed when it comes to the fireworks at Sugarhouse Park. First of all, my dear friend lives two blocks away from the park and she lets us park in her driveway which makes life so easy. We don't have to leave hours early to get to the park and get a good spot and jostle around people. The other blessing is having my friend Emily teach us the BEST spot to watch the show. I am hesitant to tell you where it is. It is NOT in Sugarhouse Park itself; it is on Highland High property. A big field with plenty of space. People are definitely there but there was a ton of room. And you would be surprised at how perfect the view of the show is.
So we decided to go for it. Bundle is in the thick of the I-do-not-tolerate-loud-noises phase and so I brought along a pair of head phones Troy bought for Stomper. Bundle wanted them on the minute we got out of the parked car near Sugarhouse Park. She was very happy to have them on. We made our way to the field and had a nice half hour or so to hang out and relax on the grass. My sister even found us and hung out - I loved watching my daughters see her from a dozen yards away and run to her with cheers and open arms. It was such nice weather and such a nice spot that I think next year we should go earlier to enjoy playing in the grass longer.
Then the show started. Bundle was glued to every inch of my skin she could touch from the moment the first firework was sparkling through the night sky. She had her hands clamped over her headphones as hard as she could and her eyes screwed shut. I eventually convinced her to at least open her eyes and watch the fireworks and she did so, nervously at first, but eventually seeming to enjoy them though she insisted on me clamping my hands on her headphones as well. She cheered for all the purple ones and even did a little oohing and ahhing. I would call it a major success. Well, mostly. When it was done she relaxed, let me take my hands off her ears, and turned to me with a big proud smile. And promptly burst into tears. Clearly she had been brave for as long as she could handle and even though she said she loved seeing the fireworks she was pretty overwhelmed. She fell asleep in my arms as we walked back to the car, her hands still pushing on her headphones even after she had lost consciousness.












Love this pic of the boys keeping busy on DSs before the show got started











Good night. Late night. We had some TIRED kids today.