The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The End of An Era(s)

Wow, what a weekend.  It was truly epic, in its own way, in a completely different way from the St. George type of epic I posted about last.  We hit some huge milestones that, frankly, didn't feel like they would EVER COME.  EVER.

First of all, and I have to try to do this without embarrassing my daughters, I hit the milestone of once and for all discontinuing the placing of pull-ups on my shopping list.  That is one grocery item I am so excited to cross off forevermore.  Sparing the details, nighttime dryness has not come as easily to my daughters as it does for most kids.  Bitty conquered it first and Bundle rode the wave, so to speak, and after going almost completely dry in her pull-up for a while, I thought it was time to rip off the bandaid.  She was nervous, so we picked out a prize and set a goal of seven dry nights.  Turns out that Bundle is very good at keeping track of the number of days passing by.  Every morning all week long as she awoke to dry undies (I guess I can't avoid getting into unpleasant parenting details here) she would let me know how many dry nights she had under her belt and how many more she had to go.  The best was Sunday morning, after her seventh night.  I woke early and tiptoed down the stairs and past my deeply snoozing daughters.  Not five minutes later I heard a loud crow of triumph, as if she had been awake for hours, "I DID IT!!!!"  So cute.  Here she is with her glowing smile and trophy "Ever After High" dolly she's been yearning for.  Her happiness can be matched only by my own.  I just never thought we would get out of those pull-ups.



And....speaking of the sudden appearance of Sunday-morning happiness....Troy got released from the bishopric today.  Talk about a happy smile.  That sounds bad - Troy had many many good experiences serving as the 1st counselor to our bishop for five years.  But it's just that it's been FIVE YEARS.  And it's been a lot of time and emotional effort.  I'm so grateful for the many dear friends Troy has come to know through this experience.  It just absolutely blows my mind to think that the night Troy was asked to fill this calling I was still pregnant with Bundle and now she is registered for kindergarten.  How can five years have actually passed?  Again, there were many times when I didn't think they actually would. But they did.  And Troy is so excited for next Sunday when he has no 7:00 a.m. meeting and can just go to church when the rest of us do.  Here's what he looks like now:

FREEDOM!!!!!


By the way, I do have to send out a great big THANK YOU to the many many friends and neighbors who helped me get through the past five years.  I sat in Sacrament Meeting by myself for those five years, I had a baby with me, I couldn't have done it without people who love me, my husband and my children enough to let my kids come sit with them or come sit with me themselves while I had a fussy Bundle or whatever.  I love my neighbors dearly.  A couple of weeks ago I snuck a snapshot before the meeting started of Bundle sitting on the lap of her favorite church buddy Adam.  He is the sweetest man and Bundle still prefers to spend church with him rather than me.  All my thanks.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Epic Trip to St. George

As you know, our family really loves driving to St. George and spending weekends with my brother and his family.  The weather is always nicer, (unless we go in July, which we never seem to do), we get to sprawl in the sun and chill out and have movie nights and just relax.  That was true, that is, until we decided to go down to help Sheri celebrate her 30th birthday.  Now we know that there may be times when a trip to St. George will kick all of our bums and include exactly 0 movie nights.  (Well, for the kids.  The grown ups did actually watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty but we had to break it up over two nights because we were too tired from accompanying Sheri on her adventures to stay awake for a whole movie.)

Sheri, may you never turn 30 again.  We are too tired and lazy to do that with you ever again.

Just kidding!  It was actually one of the most fun trips we have ever had.  Not that I don't want to relax ever again over one of these weekends, but it really was a blast and I loved being so active with the kids.  

Let's see, the itinerary.  What did we do?  We started by arriving in Dixie at 2:00, and were all changed into swim suits and into a pool by 3:00.  (Sheri scored some serious deals for us - free trip to the Washington City Pool, free burgers at In-N-Out, deals on Zion restaurants....it was awesome!)  So yes, we started the first day at a really fun community center pool and grabbed burgers on the way home.  As we were waiting in the drive-through line I got a text from my dear old Next Door Neighbor of Yesteryear, The Other Troy, who noticed from my silly posts on Instagram that we were in St. George.  He let me know that he too was in St. George with his family on an extensive tour of Utah.  (They arrived in St. George from Seattle via Moab.  Woah.)  So after swimming and dinner and a walk to the park, My Troy and I took kids over to the condo where they were staying and we just chatted away on the balcony overlooking the beautiful city at night while the kids got to know each other and drew together.  So heavenly.  I wish we saw them more often. Next Door Neighbors forever!

Friday was Sheri's big day, and what a big day it was!  Especially for HER!  She had to get up and teach one of her gym classes (thankfully she didn't make me go with her....) at like 4:40 in the morning.  Happily for her, she got visited in the night by friends and family who left chalk messages on the driveway and heart-notes stuck in the lawn and a big cooler full of water balloons with a message indicating that there would be a water-fight at some point during the day. That's what she woke up to. So sweet.  But before any water fights could take place, Sheri first wanted to celebrate her birthday by getting us all into Zion National Park and up a really really big rock.  After her class she hurried home to help us dress kids, fill water bottles and tie shoes so we could get out the door by 7:30 and drive to Zion.  What a lovely place - been too long since I have been there.  I don't think I've been since I have had kids.  





Sheri's big plan for the day was Angel's Landing.  If you don't know what this is, look it up.  It's about a 2 mile hike up to a place called Scout's Lookout, where normal people stop and watch all the nutty people venture out another 1/2 mile out onto this rock with 1,000 foot drops on either side.  I didn't think I wanted to do it - I was imagining being out there with my kids and it made me nauseated just thinking about it.  Of course we didn't take all the little kids.  But....Sheri did go with Siena (who is SIX!!!) and my Stomper really wanted to go and I kind of did too after all so the four of us went.  There were a couple of spots where I almost turned around, mostly because it was too anxiety-provoking to watch my little son walking along just inches away from that deathly drop.  At one point in particular I almost began to cry and grab him and turn around. My heart was pounding like crazy.  But since Stomper insisted on going on and I wasn't going to leave Sheri with two kids I kept going.  I'm glad we did it.  Kind of like I'm glad I went through childbirth.  That was great!  So exhilarating!  Amazing!  And now can I never do that again, please?











Zion is beautiful and the day was well spent. One of my favorite moments was hiking down the last few meters of the trail and bumping into my PTA president from SLC - that was a fun surprise!  Not that it's THAT unlikely to run into a fellow Salt Laker in Zion National Park over spring break, but still, to be on the trail together was pretty funny.  We were both bummed later that we didn't take a selfie at the moment.   Once we dragged our tired children and our tired selves back to our cars, we were led by the birthday girl to a yummy little spot known as Oscar's.  Definitely going back there again.  Such a nice waiter, such good food.  Another burger, wonderful in its own way, and aptly named the Murder Burger.  So good.





Upon arriving home, the neighborly water-fight began and I took my place as the photographer. After that I hauled Sheri off for a birthday pedicure. (No, no, I didn't have ulterior motives, not at all!)  In the evening we ate ice cream bars and surprised Sheri with a gift she had no idea she was getting - Peter wanted to give her a Kitchen-Aid Mixer, and Sheri loves giving new life to 2nd-hand items, so Pete found this great mixer at a Pawn Shop in SLC (it was not a bad place at all.  I know.  I'm the one who picked it up.)  That was a fun surprise!









On Saturday the adventure continued but luckily it was all on Sheri - her family's gift to her was to go skydiving.  That is not something I have ever wanted to do before, but actually I think I'd be more comfortable doing that than taking my kids up Angel's Landing.  She looked like she had a great time and it was fun to watch her.








That day included more swimming and more walks/bike rides to the park and more trampoline jumping.  We also had the mandatory Easter-egg coloring session which my kids seemed more excited for than anything else that weekend.





Sunday morning had just enough time to enjoy Easter Baskets and hunt for eggs and treats in the back yard.



Phew.  I'm tired from writing this.  What a weekend!  Happy Birthday one more time to my sweet and dear sis-in-law Sheri.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Breath of Fresh Air

April.  Ahhhhh.  We made it.  (Yes, I know it is the END of the month now, but I started this post a few weeks ago, so the comment was much more relevant then.) This is such a wonderful month, especially when the weather grants us plenty of blue sky, shimmery sun and a little breeze.  We have had a mild spring to say the least, with only a few stormy days and almost no late snow.  Usually we get a few days of waking up to a frozen white blanket over the lawn and in the trees, but it hasn't happened this year and I think I might even bet that we're done with snow for the season.  We have had plenty of chances to venture outside.  Here are some great spring moments this year:

Bitty and I snuck out for a mommy-daughter date to our new favorite frozen yoghurt place, Ugurt, on the UofU campus by The Pie.  Bitty loves it because there are a lot of brightly colored things to sprinkle on her brightly colored yogurt.  I love it because they have toasted almonds to sprinkle on my coconut yogurt and let's not mention the fact that they have pellet ice, diet coke and coconut syrup.  Or the fact that the owner knows me by name.  (Dirty Diet Coke run!)






One afternoon, possibly still in March, the sun was calling the girls outside and they set up an impromptu tea party on the front lawn.  Bundle collected a basket of flowers to act as centerpiece while Bitty busted out a box of Girl Scout Cookies to daintily crunch along with sips of lemonade/tea.  THESE are the kinds of things I'm just going to miss so much some day when my teenagers are busy with friends and no one has any interest in spontaneous lawn parties.








Another of our very favorite outings, which never takes us far from home, are evening bike rides to the school playground.  I don't know that there's much to say besides hurrah for getting out of the house, into the fresh air and zipping around the playground together.  







Also with the arrival of spring comes the reappearance of the hammock on our back porch.  We love our porch.  We love it so much that it kind of becomes like our living room.  As noted by the awkward picture of me practicing cello with Stomper outside.  Just too nice to stay inside, even to practice.





Thank you thank you, Spring of 2014, for being divine.  I love you.  Please don't go away ever.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Fan Boy

This whole thing must have started when Stomper was just 2 years old. I think that's about the time we bought him his first little collection of plastic safari animals. He fell in love with those things with a fervor we didn't expect. He played with them constantly and was on a never-ending quest to increase the size of his collection. He learned names and behaviors of all the animals. He wanted to watch the rather gruesome National Geographic video tape Last Feast of the Crocodile every single time we visited Troy's parents.

And then came the dinosaurs. Most likely as I was killing time with my toddler one day (remember the days when you tried to kill time every day because you had nothing to do but entertain one toddler?) I took him to a toy store where there were racks of little plastic animals. (Papo is the best brand but Schleich is really good too.) He caught sight of a carnivorous dinosaur. WHAT. IS. THAT?!?!? his little face seemed to say - mean, meat-eating predators with scales and claws and as big as a building? Bring it on!! Very soon dinosaurs were all he could talk about. He collected them with much begging, pleading, earning, gifting, bribing - anything to get more. He knew all of their names. He knew what period of the Mesozoic Era they came from. And this was as a three year old. PASSION.

Troy and I used to think his forceful love was limited to dinosaurs and perhaps a few other carnivores and reptiles, but around them time he started kindergarten he was introduced to a little cartoon character by the name of Ben 10. New obsession. Ben 10 toys.  Shows.  Pajamas.  Halloween costumes.  Birthday themes.

Here's little Stomper as a kindergartner going trick-or-treating in his Ben 10 outfit:



And guess what.  That big black thing on his wrist, aka The Omnitrix (don't ask), is still in his possession  and he still plays with it.  Regularly! And he wore that costume as pajamas until 3rd grade.

That was just the beginning.  What turns out to be the case is that Stomper loves stuff.  Pokemon. Marvel super heroes.  The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Lego series like Ninjago.  Making stop-motion movies.  Godzilla.  Harry Potter.  He just throws himself into loving a thing with all the energy in his heart.  It used to put me in a bit of a panic - he'd show a new passion for something and suddenly have just an aching desire to envelop himself in that thing.  He'd want the action figures, or the costume, or the...whatever, he just wanted to make that thing as real in his life as he could.  And I would feel his desires and want to fill those wishes - uh, okay okay, how are we going to do this?  I'll start looking online for a costume or maybe we can make a figure out of clay!  Or I'd set up some reward system for him to earn the thing he was so desperately wanting.  And then....he'd get over it in a day or two and be thinking about something else instead.  An old thing, a new thing, either way.  So I've learned to just sit back a bit and let him work out for himself what's really worth spending energy on.

I have to admit that with the entrance of persons such as Captain America, Iron Man and Spiderman, I wasn't sure he'd ever go back to dinosaurs.  He's returned to his love of Ben 10 a few times - I think his 8th birthday was Ben 10 in theme, let me check...

Yep there he is. Same costume and everything:


And since we just found the whole Ben 10 series on DVD at a Rummage Sale along with a NEW Omnitrix (don't ask) he's loving it all again.  Anyway, my point is that he has returned time and again to several of these passions, but with all the superheroes and cartoon characters, I was afraid that dinosaurs were a thing of the past.  Those seemed to be the thing he loved the most thoroughly and for the longest.  I was a little sad thinking that he was only excited about fictional loud cartoony things.  (Okay, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are both barely fiction in my mind, but still...)  and then last week he went all nuts over dinosaurs again.  The last time we were in St. George he even brought a large collection with him and spent a great deal of time arranging the dinosaurs in artistic tableaus in the sandy yard:




I even have found a few other interesting applications of dinosaurs lately (although these are a little older):



I'm so happy he still harbors dinosaur love.  It's infectious.  In fact, my sweet hubby had a birthday last month and in my lack of blogging didn't get a post up. (Bad me!  Sorry!)  He got some nice things for his camera, but he also requested a couple of the latest Papo dinosaurs.  We love that brand.  Amazing models.  (Troy and I will always have a special spot in our hearts for these little models, thanks to our son.)

Daddy and Daughter out to Birthday Lunch

Some of the old dinosaurs welcoming the new additions

Anyway, I guess I'm just saying that I really enjoy the passionate fan boy that is my son.  Clearly he comes by it honestly - I have been a fan girl all my life, starting with my earliest loves of The Black Stallion, E.T. and Ziggy. Something tells me I was not as cool as my son is.  Ain't no Black Stallion at Comicon!! But I was just as passionate.  So glad he keeps up the pop-culture energy at our house.