The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sun Worshipers After All

For all that Troy and I declare that we could never live in St. George, we sure do spend a lot of effort trying to get down there.

I am sure this has a lot to do with the fact we are currently striving to get through Salt Lake's crummiest season - Sheri reminded me that in 2013 we made something like 6 trips to St. George and all of them happened in the first four months of the year.  Maybe one in the late fall, I can't remember.  But once April hits the land of Dixie, we don't go there much any more!  (I'm sure I don't have those numbers quite right, but it's true, the earlier in the year it is the harder we try to visit Peter and Co.)

So far in 2014 we have made two trips south.  The first was in January over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.  We probably would have gone anyway but since Peter and Sheri would be blessing their new baby Iva Matilda, of course we had to go.  It was still pretty chilly but the air was so clear and fresh.  We were able to go just as the peak of inversion season was hitting Salt Lake.  (Getting back was a little depressing - the inversion stuck around for a long time this year although we all remember last year being much worse.)

Time to pass on the name of Bundle to one more deserving?

 The city of St. George has put together a delightful new children's museum.  It's free, so you have to get there early before the crowds roll in.  I found it to be clever and charming.











Oma and Apa came down and really enjoyed getting their hands on wee Iva:


So did I, for that matter:







In the first week of February I had some free tickets to a UofU women's gymnastics meet.  The Romneys love going and I admit that I need to take my family more often.  Of course this warranted a trip to our house for Peter and the gang.  For some reason, we just don't get sick of hanging out!  We had another lovely weekend although the grownups are all learning that it's harder than it used to be to stay up late watching stand-up comedy on Netflix and chatting till the wee hours - we're too dang old and tired!








The best (sorry,,, WORST) part about our fun, rainy, umbrella-toting trip to the zoo was that Bitty had been dying for her own umbrella and even saved up money to get one for herself.  We stopped at the store on our way up there so she could pick one out.  These are such happy pictures of her with her new umbrella - she had used the umbrella for a total of 10 minutes at this point.  I didn't take pictures of the incident that occurred not ten minutes later where, in here umbrella-joy she started spinning Gene Kelly style and the umbrella was blasted completely inside out bending most of the little metal arms.  That was a very sad Bitty.  Very sad.  Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

It was the very next weekend that the kids had a day off of school for Presidents Day so.....why not go back to St. George?  Oh my gosh, it was so lovely.  We were SO LAZY.  We talked about going for hikes and walks and doing fun stuff....but the kids were so happy playing out in their backyard that we just let them.  Stomper was even lucky enough to have a friend going down the same weekend - a really sweet kid who has three little sisters and a baby brother.  He needs boy time as much as Stomper does.  They kindly invited him over one day and Stomper had several hours of boy
time with his buddy which was wonderful.

Okay, okay, on the last morning we were there we actually DID leave the house and go for a stroll on the red rocks.








We're thinking we'd better sneak in one more trip before the heat really hits....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Outings

One of my favorite gift ideas for the kids this year was an outing for each of them with either Troy or me. The kids seemed happy but not head-over-heels thrilled when they opened their envelopes announcing their individual activities - I don’t know what it was I was hoping for - screaming? Jumping up and down? Smothering me with kisses and weeping? Something like that, I guess. They were definitely happy and said as much with a, “that’s great, thanks!” kind of thing. The shiny packages still under the tree waiting to be unwrapped were definitely more enticing than the thought of a future outing. But I’ll tell you what, when the outings actually happened, they paid off. They were really really fun.

After our return from our trip to Seattle, Stomper cashed his in almost immediately. We got back early early in the morning on January 2nd, and we slept in late. We had a lazy day of tidying up and hanging out at home. About two in the afternoon he let us know that he needed to use his coupon right away and that was fine with me. (Side note: I think he is more upset by the condition of his grandmother than his sisters are and I could tell he needed some one-on-one time with a parent for some emotional cuddling. Sweet kid.) His outing was to go out to eat at a restaurant and get crab legs, his absolute favorite food on earth. He picked his father to go, which made me happy although it’s funny that I’m the one who loves sea food, not Troy. No problem, though, daddy-son time is vital. They went out and just enjoyed all the crab they could eat and all the together time they wanted. I’m so glad they went.


Then on the Saturday before school started back up I took Bitty for her outing - not an expensive one but one that she had been begging for since the first snowflake fell…whenever that was. It was so long ago and today was so warm and sunny it was practically spring so I don’t remember. Anyway. I took her iceskating. I was nervous to do this - I am not a, uh…particularly strong skater myself, and the thought of being very wobbly while helping a kid up after falling over and over and over didn’t sound very fun. But guess what. Bitty was awesome. She didn’t fall a single time. She absolutely loved it and I loved taking her and I can’t wait to do it again. I guess I’d better hurry - it’s almost March!







And now, a terrible confession. Bundle’s gift was an outing to the children’s museum. And guess who hasn’t taken her yet.

Bad mommy. Bad girl.

I will take her, I swear! Just as soon as I’m caught up on this blog. And I’m getting closer. Hey…I’m already all the way through the first week of January and it’s not even March yet!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seattle and a Learning Experience. Alzheimer's is the Worst.

I think the very idea of tackling this post has been one of the reasons the blogging has not really been flowing lately.  It's just been a big block in my way that I haven't been able to get around, over or through.  And I haven't wanted to give up on it.  I just really want to get this down but I have to warn you, I don't think it's going to be very pretty.  But I am going to do this TONIGHT or PERISH.

So, I guess I'll just start at the beginning.

A few weeks before Christmas I was feeling really bad for my dad.  Taking care of my mom, who's Alzheimer's disease is markedly advancing, is a tough never-ending job.  It just wrings you out.  This topic of what exactly is so hard is too vast for me to express adequately even in a face-to-face conversation with someone, not to mention in just a few sentences in a blog.  I will not attempt it.  Let's just leave it at this:  when a loved one is suffering from a terminal illness it is heart breaking.  Add to that the fact that it is a sometimes decades-long process.  Add to that the fact that it is your loved one's mind being affected and thus much about them changes and deteriorates into someone you don't really recognize.  Add to that your own emotional tangles and hangups and hidden hurts that you run into through the process and....there you have it. Alzheimer's. Sheesh I'm depressing myself even talking about it.  It's just the pits.

So I felt like my dad really needed a break. At the very same time, I was feeling like getting out of town right after Christmas might help with the post-holiday blues that seem to overtake me every year.  At the very same time, I was thinking of how much I miss my brother Adam and his family and how much I love the North West.  So many thoughts converging!  How wonderful  - let's take mom with us on a trip to see her son and grandkids!  She'll love it, dad will get a rest, and we'll get to get away.

From now on, I will always think of this collision of fabulous ideas more as the Perfect Storm (or possibly the Bermuda Triangle) rather than some type of serendipitous timing.

You see, we had travelled with my mother to St. George the previous February and though it was a little challenging, it did work.  We were able to give my dad a break and help mom enjoy seeing grandkids.  She did spend a lot of time trying to do Sheri's dishes and occasionally getting into the wrong person's bed in the middle of the night when she got lost, but these were not insurmountable obstacles.  We could totally do this.

Except we couldn't.

We didn't really realize how much had changed for my mom in a year and how unable she was to orient herself to reality without her anchor, my dad, there at her side to guide her. We made several discoveries about her abilities, or should I say INabilities, that basically  added up to me feeling like I broke my mom.  The poor woman.  She was mostly okay during the day, though of course needed constant supervision, redirection, support and direction.  I even entered the exciting world of helping my parent bathe and making sure she was eating and drinking.  It was when she got tired in the evenings that things got bad and total confusion overpowered her. She woke up 20 times a night looking for my dad. She forgot my name in the night time.  It got to the point of extreme paranoia, fear and misunderstanding of anything going on.  Nothing we said could comfort her or change her thinking.  Everything from believing that dad wasn't there because he was off having an affair, to being frightened of me, calling me creepy, and feeling certain that I was taking her by force to an insane asylum. THAT was a lovely feeling, I'll tell ya.  (Still having PTSD just so you know.)  (Not kidding.)

Not. Fun.

We learned a lot.  Mostly that my mom can not be comfortably separated from my dad and that she is farther along this road than we thought.  I will say that it was extremely tender to see how much she loves and depends on my dad.  When she got a chance to speak with him on the phone, his was the only voice she would listen to, and gaining reassurance from him filled her with joy and happiness.  It was quite a thing to see.  I have never felt such relief as I did at 2:00 in the morning upon our arrival home (we cut the trip short and booked it home as fast as our minivan could carry us) to see my father in our driveway, waiting to welcome his wife into his arms, take her away from her scary kids and reassure her of her safety and belovedness.

And now that I have gotten out of my system the yuck aspect of our trip to Seattle, I would like to talk about the wonderful parts.

I deeply love my siblings.  I am so grateful for them and for my darling sisters-in-law.  I wish I lived closer to both of my brothers.  I admire their fathering and what they are doing with their lives.  My cup is filled to brimming when I watch my kids with their cousins.  That was definitely the highlight of this trip; sitting back and letting the kids just play their hearts out.  Artwork, go carts, walks on the beach, a ton of hot chocolate at the local bakery, ice cream, dress ups, baths...oh yeah.  The BEST was when Bundle and her counterpart Rosey made a sheepish appearance in the kitchen, Bundle with her hair absolutely PLASTERED with hair gel.  Rosey proudly announced that she had given her cousin a makeover.  When they saw our faces, Bundle leaned over to Rosey and whispered, "I TOLD you we were going to get in trouble!"  That had us laughing our way right up to the bathtub where we made an attempt to de-gel Bundle.  Her hair stayed pretty crispy for the rest of the trip despite our efforts.

Anyway, despite the challenges of the trip, I truly was so happy to see my family and to enjoy a part of the country I love so much.

These pictures are pretty out-of-order but I'm not up to trying to switch them around.  Let's just get this entry posted and off my plate!



Troy found a car with its own little moss-garden on the windshield






Our drive up there was so foggy and frozen - this is about the only view we had for most of the drive!


The happy crew on our drive

The ride on the ferry is always a highlight.


Oh my gosh, this baby is such a sweet kid.  I miss him!!

THE GEL-DOO.

Whit was so sweet about letting the littles help her bake a cake




Troy and I got to sneak away one evening for our 16th anniversary.  We ate tasty Indian food and saw Philomena - a great movie that was kind of hard to watch.  


My girls' curls LOVE Bainbridge Island


On New Year's Eve we stayed up and let the kids watch The Sound of Music for the first time

Attempting to remove the gel

The girls were outside so much we almost never saw them - they LOVED these go-carts!