The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

If It's Too Loud...then it's just too loud.

Quick little story here, wish I had a picture to go with.

This was last week maybe, probably the Saturday before Christmas.  I can't remember.  Can I remember ANYTHING anymore?  Not really.  But that's another topic.  So yes, it was a day that Troy was home in the morning.  We were puttering around the house, I think I had been out doing errands or something.  I came home to find my sweet husband working in the kitchen, which I so appreciated.  He keeps himself going by listening to very loud 80's rock music.  Billy Idol.  ACDC.  Van Halen.  And of course, some Def Pour-Some-Sugar-On-Me Leopard.  I'm not sure which of these classic artists he had cranked up when we got home but it was fun to rock out together a bit.  I think we even had a mini dance party in the kitchen which makes me think we had ventured into Billy Idol territory.  After a while the party broke up and we all went off to do our separate Saturday things, but Troy kept the music going loud and strong.  And, old lady that I am, it started to wear on my ear drums a bit.  So I turned it down a few clicks.  Oh the ribbing I got from Troy!  Apparently I really am just too old to have any fun anymore.  Yeah, yeah, whatever, just let me turn it down a little bit!

I think it was at this point that I heard a faint wailing sound coming from Skippidy's room.  I went in search of my troubled gal and found her weeping behind her closed door.  Her room is right by the computer, and I quickly scooped her up and asked her what the trouble was.  Through her tears she let me know that she had been calling for me, and couldn't get to me because the loud music was trapping her in her room.

So it's not just me.  We're all old ladies around here who just can't handle the rock and roll.  At least not for very long.

Sorry Troy.

Choppity Chop

Bitty has been growing out her hair for a good two years now.  Her last haircut was on the same day Skippidy gave herself a little haircut, which was thankfully redesigned into a darling little bob by my friend Jeannie the super-stylist.  Bitty wanted in on the action that day and got a cute shoulder-length cut that hasn't been touched since. That was two Januaries ago.  I don't think it was long after that that she started talking about growing out her hair and that she wanted it to be so long that she could sit on it.  We almost made it.  Her hair grows pretty quickly and by the beginning of this month it really was almost down to her waist.  And oh the struggles we have had over the past two years.  I didn't actually want her to cut it, but the hair brushing did pretty much become a total and complete nightmare.  Many many tears were shed.  Thank heavens Troy was almost always around to lend his hands to Bitty for her to squeeze while mean old mom brushed away.  And of course it just got worse.  It was not so fun to take care of.  I will also say, however, that I absolutely loved it.  When it was clean and shiny and hanging down into little ringlets down her back I just loved that silky mass. I thought she'd never cut it.

So it was quite a surprise when Bitty very suddenly started insisting that she wanted a hair cut.  A drastic one.  A short bob.  I can't remember if there was some sort of suggestion made that she just latched on to or if she brought it up, but somehow a couple of weeks ago she insisted that she was ready.   That was fine with me.   Well, MOSTLY fine.  I was going to be a little sad to let those long fat braids go, but since I'd also be losing the weepy brushing sessions, it seemed worth it.  I did make her think about it over several days.  I had a bad feeling that I'd take her to get her hair cut and the second the braid was gone she'd burst into tears and feel heartbroken after all.

After probably a full week Bitty finally had me convinced.  We called up Jeannie.  We found out how many inches a braid has to be in order for it to be donated to Locks of Love, a foundation that creates wigs for children who can't afford them. Turns out that's about 10 inches.  And Bitty donated 12.

Should I try to convince you that I didn't get just the slightest bit sad as Jeannie bound up Bitty's hair into a tight braid and then hacked it off with a very mean looking pair of scissors?  Because duh, it's me; of course I got a little misty-eyed.  I'm such a sap.  It's pathetic.  You'd think I'd be a bigger fan of Nicholas Sparks movies.  Anyway, once the braid was off and Bitty was flipping her bob around I felt better and knew it was going to be adorable.  And it totally is.  And Bitty hasn't shed a single tear.  She is so happy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Post Bedtime on Christmas Eve, Eye of the Hurricane

I still have much to blog about and many updates to make, but as I sit here in a dim living room which is slightly cluttered with leftovers from the day's hubbub, hoping my children are falling asleep quickly so I can go to bed soon too, I just wanted to sit and think and write for a bit. It's not even midnight so that's pretty impressive.

We've had a very nice December, although we have had exactly zero snowstorms. Not even very many flurries. We have had quite a bit of rain the last few days. Troy and I have been torturing ourselves by thinking of how many snowy inches would have been piling up if it had only been 10 degrees colder. Oh well. Actually, all the weather reports are predicting a pretty decent storm coming in tomorrow so we might have a white Christmas after all, but it would have been really nice to have been snowy all month long. My dream? Thanksgiving night, just as we're finishing the last of the pumpkin pie and putting away dishes, we look outside to see in the light of a street lamp little flakes starting to drift down and stick to the cold ground. As the evening wears on and we allow ourselves to turn on the first Christmas music of the season the snow picks up and silently fills the sky. Then it would proceed to dump snow for four solid weeks until Christmas was over. Then we'd get a lovely January thaw. Yes, I would love that.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little memory. Gregor has known about Santa Claus and my extremely close relationship with him for quite some time, maybe two or three years. And his excitement and giddy anticipation has not decreased in the slightest. Perhaps it has even increased. And now he's trying to get in on things a little bit - he likes talking to Skippidy about Santa and he wrote this really cute little note in swirly handwriting saying Enjoy Your New Toys! and signing it Kris Kringle. It's adorable. And it reminded me of a Christmas a long long time ago when my big sister and I decided to play Santa.

I wish she were here with me right now to help me remember more details, because it's actually pretty hazy. But it definitely happened. I must have been 9 or 10, and she was 12 or so. We were still living in Boulder Colorado, and I seem to remember that Margaret approached me with this idea. Basically, she wanted us to pool our money together (it couldn't have been much) and buy secret presents for everyone in our whole family, including ourselves, so that no one would know that we were the ones who had done it. We wanted to go out and get these gifts, secretly wrap them, and get up in the dead middle of the night on Christmas Eve and sneak out to the living room and put them with all the other gifts and my parents would think that maybe, just maybe, Santa had really come to visit.

Somehow the two of us managed some alone time at a mall....which makes me wonder if I'm remembering this incorrectly and we were actually a little older and we had already moved to Salt Lake City....I dunno. Who cares. Anyway, we managed some alone time at a mall and picked out small gifts for each of the six people in our family. Sadly, I can only remember what one of these gifts was. It was for my dad, and it was a small metal globe of the world, about the size of a softball. It was also a bank. Though I have no idea what the other gifts were, just thinking of that little tin bank fills me with the absolute magic and delight of Christmas. To have a secret, to be doing something good for someone else, to be included in on a plan of my big was just magic.

Amazingly, it totally worked. We got the stuff. We got it wrapped. We even wrote out notes in this shaky cursive we practiced, trying to make it look like legit Santa writing. We shared many sly winks and sidelong grins at each other. We really did wake up in the dead of night, crept into the living room, tucked the gifts in with the other things and in the morning got up and played it very cool. What I will always remember is my dad opening that bank, pausing, looking up at mom with clear bewilderment in his eyes, and mom looking back and blankly shaking her head at him. How I didn't burst into giggles I have no idea. Maybe I did. Maybe after the magic of the morning and the success of our plan we ended up blurting out the uncontrollable truth to our parents. I don't remember. I just remember being so completely energized by the success of plan that I was pretty much floating for the whole day.

Now that was fun.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

I finally plugged my phone into the computer and downloaded a whole bunch of photos and realized that I forgot to blog about the rest of the Thanksgiving Weekend we had with Peter and Sheri! I know it was a long time ago, but who cares. I just wanted to share a story about our nutty day.

So the day after Thanksgiving - Black Friday - usually a pretty crazy day, no?  Yes!  And what did we do?  Left the house and went down town! Like a bunch of morons!  We mostly went because my sweet little niece Siena (you know...the one who already wasn't feeling well as evidenced by her ralphing at dinner?) had her heart absolutely set on visiting the Church History Museum down town where there is a darling kids' area to play in.  We, as seems to be our pattern, tried to make a day of it.

We started by enjoying a trax train ride from the UofU stadium to down town.  The kids thought that was pretty cool.  That took us pretty near the City Creek mall and these big windows at Macy's where there have been built some giant candy displays.  We thought the kids might enjoy that so we started off.  We realized how close we were to both lunch time and the food court so it seemed logical to grab a little food first.  Then Sheri pointed out that we would be walking right by the Disney store on our way and shouldn't we just stop in for a second?  It was then that I realized her ploy!  I think she must have been scheming all day long, figuring out how to get me to a mall and into a kids store on Black Friday.  Tricky girl.  Here's her face when I called her on it:

Who ME?

I am ashamed...

Just kidding.  Sort of.  She swears it was just coincidence but I'll never know the real truth.  ;)  After a few extremely crowded minutes at the Disney Store we made it to the food court for lunch and the play area.  I love watching Gregor with his baby niece.  It's pretty cute watching him take care of her.

We finally made it to the windows:

Still looking slightly green....

All Candy!!

Then we walked through Temple Square, out the west gates toward the museum where we saw this:

It was closed.  For another YEAR.  Poor Siena promptly dissolved into a giant tear-puddle.  Poor thing!  That was all she could handle.  Luckily Peter had joined us in his car and so he just picked her up, walked to his car and drove her straight home.  She was sound asleep by the time the rest of us arrived there after another long walk and a train ride where my kids attempted some train surfing:

Another memorable outing.  We got home and let kids be tired and lazy and exhausted until dark fell and then we headed up to see the members-only preview night for the Zoo Lights.  What a great year to go!  It was SO WARM!  I'm used to Zoo Lights being kind of miserable with cold kids who get colder when they take off their gloves to eat a treat and then get sticky and even colder.  Not this year!  They barely even needed coats.  Of course, now that it's almost Christmas Eve I'm lamenting the warm December with not a dot of snow and t-shirt temps, but that's another story.

We went back the next day to actually see some animals....and enjoyed a very quiet afternoon at the zoo.  We had the whole train to just ourselves!

Okay, I feel better.  Sorry I had to revert back to November for a minute, we're back now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Downtown Family Date

I'm so lucky to have The Becky. This goes without saying, really, and I'm lucky to have her for so very many reasons. But at Christmas time, one of the reasons I'm extra EXTRA lucky is that she always seems to be able to slip me a few precious and coveted tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square Christmas Concert. It is always a wonderful evening out. This year I was pretty darn excited to get a chance to go. Who was the special guest, you may ask? Well, after the show two years ago with Tom Brokaw telling the most touching story ever about the Candy Bomber from World War II, I wasn't sure I'd ever love another show as much. Then I heard that this year's guests would be Santino Fontana (the voice of Hans from Frozen) and the Sesame Street Muppets. The Muppets! As in Big Bird, Ernie and Bert, Cookie Monster, Grover, Elmo....the Sesame Street Muppets! Having grown up as a dedicated Sesame Street watcher the thought of seeing a few of those characters live tickled me as much as seeing any star out there. Maybe I'd be more excited to see the Avengers, but I'm not sure. I don't think they'll be singing with the choir any time soon anyway.

It's usually the case that only kids age 8 and older are permitted into the concert so I was pretty sad and felt awfully guilty about having to find a babysitter for little Skippidy. I hated the thought of leaving her out. And actually, Becky told me she might only be able to get me one or two tickets so then we'd have to leave all three kids home. But I was grateful for any tickets at all. Becky called me the week of the concert to let me know what tickets she was able to get. She excitedly told me she was able to get us five tickets. I asked her if she thought we might be able to sneak Skippidy in and pass her off as a very small 8 year old.... chances seemed pretty slim, not to mention not very honest. She then let me know that this year because the special guests were from Sesame Street we'd be allowed to bring kids ages 5 and up. My heart soared. I was so excited thinking about taking our whole family to the concert and it was indeed wonderful.

We decided to make an evening of it. Apparently so did every other concert attender, but that was ok. We tried to get downtown pretty early, and luckily Troy found us some good parking deep in the bowels of the City Creek Shopping Center that other drivers had not discovered yet. We decided to eat dinner in the City Creek food court....along with about 30,000 other people. It was pretty packed. Troy and Bitty found us a table while Gregor (this is Stomper's new online name as per his request - I'll write about where that came from later) and Skippidy and I bought a large amount of Chinese shrimp and noodles.

After our dinner we just walked from City Creek over to Temple Square so we could officially See the Lights at Temple Square. They are so beautiful but due to the crowds we don't always come down and see them. It was a nice walk and we got to the conference center in plenty of time to get seats and settle in for an absolutely delightful evening.

The first muppet to appear on stage was Big Bird. I'm not going to lie. I was totally excited to see him  - way more than my kids were. I loved Sesame Street, and seeing that wonderful bird with billows of yellow feathers floating along as he walked on those massive orange legs was kind of emotional for me. I got a little teary. Let's be honest. I get teary for just about anything. And now we can add this to the list. Big Bird makes me cry.

Thank you thank you The Becky. We had so much fun.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fearless Hunters

Another year, another trek to the great white north to hunt the mighty Christmas tree.  I guess the north wasn't exactly white.  We're having a pretty green Christmas this year so far (ever the hopeful optimist am I) but we did manage to find some snow in the high hills above Bear Lake.

We so love our annual tradition with the dear Burnetts.  This was our sixth year going - it would have been our seventh if I hadn't been too wimpy to go the year Skippidy was an infant.  Every year we've been to the cabin owned by Mary's brother and his friend, but that cabin is no longer under this brother's ownership - he sold his portion and bought a very large piece of property nearby.  He has plans for a lodge-type building up in the hills, but until that's done, there is still a place for friends and family to stay - a tiny little cabin just at the entrance to the property, aptly named The Gatehouse.  When I say tiny, I do mean tiny, but it is truly the most darling snug little cabin around.  There's a bedroom, a bathroom, a little kitchen and living room which is completely filled with one giant couch. There's also a loft area, and thanks to that, there's just enough room for two families of five who really like each other to enjoy a weekend together in the hills.  

We had a lovely weekend together.  We cooked meals which involved lots of improvising because this cabin didn't have quite the stock that the old one did.  We watched Christmas movies and pulled out our knitting while the kids beaded bracelets.  We admired Jarvis for making it up the very muddy roads to the cabin.  I did the driving at night up those muddy roads and I admire myself a little bit too for not panicking and getting us stuck in this serious mud.  We slept in piles of people on mats all over the house.  We hunted the hills for just the right tree and once again picked one that was only about 2 1/2 feet too tall.  It's a beaut.  Cheers to another wonderful year together.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bread of Ginger, House of Candy

I think Misty and I had to reschedule our gingerbread house-making night three times before we finally were able to find a date that worked for both of us, and that was before December even started.  What do you mean, the holidays are crazy? No idea. We thought about maybe 4 different nights in December and none of them were free for us both, so we finally picked the last Sunday in November, which ended up being a great idea - the night before December 1st, just the right night to kick off Christmas.

We had a great dinner together, we enjoyed musical performances - all the Mayfield girls singing and playing together as well as a very rocking' guitar solo from their 16 year old son, who was encouraged by his father to crank up the distortion.  We are not the parents our parents were, I suppose.  Turn up the volume on that ACDC, boy!

So I felt extra dumb this year.  Misty didn't even decorate a house! She was nice and let her kids do it! But I, like always, shoved mini gingerbread houses, candy and frosting at my kids to distract them while I just let myself go to my own personal happy place obsessing over symmetry and matching color schemes.  Oh well, so be it.  I just love any chance we get to spend with the Mayfields.