The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Not Over it Yet

I have been attending the zoo regularly for almost 12 years now, and irregularly for almost 20 years before that.  How am I not sick of this place?  I still just love going.  Admittedly, I probably wouldn't go quite as often as I do if I didn't have my dear Sis-in-Law Sheri who is a true super-fan, but I would definitely still go.  I'm grateful that she passes along some of her enthusiasm to me.  And especially exciting this month is the new African Savannah exhibit that is opening up.  The first section to be open is the new lion enclosure and I will tell you, it is something else.  The architects really came up with a neat way to showcase these amazing predators.  I can't wait for the rest of the new exhibit to open!

Last night the zoo had a members-only Sunset Safari when the zoo was open until 9p.m.  We basically blew off homework and practicing in order to have a family outing on a perfectly beautiful spring evening.  So lovely.  I adore the evenings that our family gets to spend together, just us.  And a few lions.

You know that thing about how a picture is worth a thousand words?  Well, this is a pretty good case in point.  How about 20 pictures are worth a short story about a family's perfect evening at the zoo?


















We had to have a little talk about "it's not a good idea to lick the carousel." 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happiest Day of Mothers

I don't think I often blog about Mother's Day.  It's not a huge deal at our house, and we rarely have any events of significance to mention.  But this year was just a great Mother's Day and I don't want to forget about it.  I thought it was wonderful.

First of all I have to show off the gift I got from the kids...really from the Primary in our ward.  Oh yeah, I serve in the primary, and I was in on the planning so I guess it was a gift from myself.  That's okay, I love it and it turned out much cuter than I expected. This is the opposite result of most crafty things I start so it's worth documenting.



Okay, in the picture it doesn't look that great.  But I just love looking at those smily little faces.  Smiling, not-fighting, not-complaining-about-homework faces.  So happy.

So that was one part of my great Mother's Day.  Another great part was that in the middle of the afternoon I got to do my favorite thing which is to take a long hot bathe with a book and an icy diet coke by my side.  Thank you Troy, that's all the gift I ask for.  Oh yes, and a great massage from the kids.  It was better than you would have expected.

Those things were really great but there is no denying what the very best part of all was, and that was church.  We had the most amazing sacrament meeting.  This is not usually what I say after a Mother's Day meeting.  Usually Mother's Day church involves singing the hymns:

"Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth"....but only if you're a really good mom otherwise everyone is going to be fighting all the time...

and

"There is Beauty All Around"....but only if you're a perfect mother otherwise it's all dirty laundry and piles of dishes....

Extended titles added by me.  Any questions on how I really feel about those two hymns?

We didn't sing either of those Mother's Day classics and I couldn't be more happy about that.  But in all seriousness, we had two of the best talks I have ever heard.  We heard first from a newly married gal who gave a nice talk.  Then a young teenager sang a song and finally spilled the secret that she has the voice of an absolute angel.  So beautiful - a sweet soaring soprano that just gives you chills.  But then we heard from two young fathers who both spoke very candidly about some very tough experiences.  Both are dear friends and I was very touched by their willingness to openly share what Mother's Day really means to them.  First was a man whose mother passed away within days of giving birth to him and his twin brother.  His father shortly thereafter married a woman with four children, making their combined number of children 10.  Then they had five more.  Lotta kids.  And  a lot of hard times to go with this complicated group.  He talked about how he came to love, forgive and fully embrace his step mother as his own mother.  It was very touching, especially to see this normally very stoic and reserved person share his feelings and emotions.  It was profound to hear a talk on the subject of loving and forgiving your imperfect mother on a day normally reserved for touting her perfection.

The next speaker is another dear friend who's first wife, one of the best friends I have ever had, passed away three years ago after battling breast cancer.  He is now remarried to a darling sweet woman whom I also love dearly. There really aren't adequate words to convey his message.  Hearing what he had to say about the women in his life was very tender and brought a different feeling to our meeting.  I'm so grateful these men had the courage to speak honestly about their experiences.  My thoughts and spirits were so lifted and I thank them for that.

I know that's not an especially exciting thing for anyone else to read about but I just didn't want to forget the experience I had this fine Mother's Day.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of my mom:


She was holding baby Bitty, so this was a long time ago.  I like to think of her this way with those bright sharp eyes.  Sending love.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Our Annual Matthew Day

I never thought this day would come to mean what it does to me.  I mean, I always knew May 5th would be special for the rest of my life - it's the day our stillborn baby Matthew was delivered.  Of course it would be an anniversary forever.  But I didn't realize just how much I would come to love and appreciate this day over the seven years that have passed.  What has happened is that our family takes this special day and uses it to celebrate us, The Preslars.  It's a holiday for just us and it affects the kids immensely.  They can feel what it means to be a family, and they are able to put aside the day-to-day squabbles between siblings, at least for the most part.  They are sweeter to each other, kinder to each other, they sacrifice their own wants for each other.   Every May 5th we have a family outing where we do little else besides enjoy being together.  Last night at our favorite quiet park as we ate cake and played ball and sent messages to Matthew on our balloons, I realized how much I hope that our children continue celebrating May 5th for the rest of their lives, with their own families some day.  Take this one day to set aside other cares and plans and just go be together.  Of course I hope that families get many chances to do this throughout the year with vacations and outings and game nights, but to take a day and specifically have a celebration of your own family holiday is something different.

Matthew, thank you for bringing us faith, for bringing us light and an extra measure of appreciation for having our family.  We love you.  Troy and I talk about you often, making guesses as to what you'd be up to these days besides getting ready to finish 1st grade.  We wish you were here, especially for our Stomper boy who longs for his brother.  Your sisters love you so much too.  You bring us closer to heaven.


Who doesn't love Korean Kim-Bap for dinner?  No need for forks or plates or side dishes or anything!

Much Frolicking:






Much Snuggling (it got cold!):



Writing Notes:






Sending them to the sky:





Eating Blue Birthday Cake:
(Stomper's contribution: it had to be lemon flavored.  Bitty's contribution: it had to have strawberries. Bundle's contribution: it had to have an unappetizing color to the frosting; in this case, blue.  There were lots more strawberries than this, but were spooned on top after serving.




We always get an extra balloon or two for some helium-sucking fun:




Thursday, May 01, 2014

Want to Know Why I'm a Crazy Lady?

The reasons are many, I can promise you that.  I guess I should have asked if you'd like to know ONE of the reasons I'm a crazy lady.  So many facets of motherhood bring out my crazy it's hard to differentiate, but this little battle I fight with myself and my kids on a constant basis can blamed for a good 25% of my issues.  Let me demonstrate with a few photos.

Exhibit A:  This is a science project made by Bitty.  She is very proud of her work. I can't remember what it was supposed to do or its general purpose at all.  It is hanging out around my house, to be found in such places as under stairs, on beds, in the middle of the kitchen floor, between towels; basically part of the basic household flotsam and jetsam.  It drives me nuts.  It's ugly.  (I can only type that because my own children do not read this blog, and I don't think I will ever let them.)  But do you know what happens if I try to get rid of it?  Most parents can attest to the fact that fury accompanied by bouts of sobbing ensue.  And I always wonder....has she forgotten about it yet?  Can I throw it away...now?  No?  How about tomorrow?  No...okay. I'll just keep tripping on it.





Exhibit B:  You can't tell from this picture but this doll is as large as my 5 year old daughter.  It arrived in our family one Christmas when I made the horrible mistake of letting the kids choose Christmas gifts for one another.  I was trying to fill them with the Christmas spirit and somehow didn't have the heart to tell my son this thing was ugly and overwhelming when he approached me with excitement and the desire to give something to his sister he was sure she'd adore.  It only took one afternoon of playing with it before seams began to split everywhere in a rather gruesome way - the neck was the first to go, followed by what appeared to be her lymph nodes spilling out from her armpits.  I tried to fix it, but despite dutifully getting out needle and thread on an almost daily basis I couldn't help but wonder if it wouldn't be kinder to put the dolly out of her misery.  This one I finally did file away in the large green can on our back porch and it was literally last week that my daughter approached me in search of her giant purple ballerina doll.  Sorry honey....I'm not sure where it is right now....I'll keep an eye out....(waves of guilt washing over)





Exhibit C:  The countless countless school projects.  Some of them are tossers, day 1, no problem.  But some of them they really worked hard on and are excited to show my and display in their rooms. For months.  Until they are covered in dust and haven't been looked at.  But it just feels disrespectful to toss it.  Sure, I'll take a picture and store it in my computer, but wouldn't it be fun to save a precious few things in a keepsake box? How big should this keepsake box be?





Exhibit C:  How many stuffed animals can a child fit onto one bed?  Or into a tiny house, for that matter?  Our home is absolutely running over with these stuffed animals.  The surface area of each child-sized bed in our home has been reduced by at least 25% due to the squatters found there.   And each child very specifically knows which animals belong to them, which animals are permanent residents on their beds, and feels keenly the absence of any one of them.





Now, I have to confess to having some sympathy here.  I grew up as a serious stuffed animal lover and I, like my children, had names for each of them and an absolute knowledge of where they had come from and how they came to be a part of my world.  Even now, when I have cleaning time all alone at home and I think to myself, "Ah HA!  I'm going to go sift through the dang stuffed animals and at least get rid of the ones they don't like anymore!"  No such thing.  Even if there is a toy that doesn't get played with regularly I myself remember that this Tinkerbell Doll came from our first Disney trip, or that little dinosaur was a gift from a dear neighbor, or whatever.  I can't let go of them myself!  That doesn't stop me from going through them, arguing silently (or sometimes out loud, which is a really bad sign) with myself about each toy.  Should we keep this one?  They love it!  But it takes up space and has been sitting at the bottom of the toy chest for a year.  They'll totally notice its absence the first day I send it off to the D.I.  No, they probably won't.  I don't know.....  And thus three hours go by and nothing has been accomplished except more advancement in my condition known as CRAZY.