The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
November 2013

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stay-Sortof-Cation

I think it was last spring that Troy went to a home show or something for work and while wandering the giant convention center filled with booths and displays, he came across a person offering cheap weekends at the Westgate Hotel in Park City.  We knew it was a time share deal and we'd have to suffer through a presentation (and suffer we did) but it seemed worth it to take the kids on a quick get away for almost nothing. Initially we wanted to use the weekend as a summer vacation but we were surprised at how quickly the summer weekends filled up, so we saved our ticket until the fall when Park City would be cooling down and we might see some fall colors on the hills.

I'm not going to say (much to the chagrin of the Westgate honchos) that that big hotel is my favorite destination in the world because it's definitely not.  I will say, however, that our little family had a really nice time together.  Yes, sometimes when you stay in a big place like that you're not sure what to do with yourself all day, but the kids had so much fun just being away from home and getting excited about all those hotel things like ice machines and free soap.  We watched movies we could have watched at home on a t.v. that wasn't especially nice and ate the food we brought with us out of the fancy hotel kitchen fridge.  We slept in rather uncomfortable beds but the fact that the girls had the party bed (that's what we named the hide-a-bed couch in the living room) and Stomper got to snuggle up next to me and Troy in the king size bed just seemed to make them happy.  We had a very pleasant weekend despite the fancy hotel!

Honestly, I think what the kids did most of all was be wet.  Our room had this big old shower with a steamer and a shower head on the ceiling plus a sizable jetted tub.  Then of course there was the pool with two hot tubs; the pool never got deeper than Skippidy could stand, which was heaven for everyone, especially her.  We didn't really take advantage of a single thing the hotel advertises: no kids club so Troy and I could escape to the adults-only pool, no video game room, no pool-side root beer floats, no spa days or fitness centers or yoga.  Just hopping back and forth between the shower and the tub and the pool and putting all of our free shampoo to good use.

Oh yeah, we did eat out a little.  We ate out the first night we got there - we all kinda love Panda Express and because we weren't arriving in Park City until Friday evening we decided to eat there before we got to the Westgate.  Yum.  We all shared a few plates of noodles and orange chicken and shrimp.  On Saturday night we thought it would be fun to head to Main Street in Park City and find a kid-friendly place to take the kids.  Well, we didn't really get a chance to even find a restaurant because we couldn't even find a parking spot.  The kids were starving, the streets were crowded, the sun was going down so we just left and headed to....Panda Express.  Upon the kids' request.  We passed around more plates of noodles and orange chicken and shrimp.  This time we really went for broke and got egg rolls too.  I thought it was pretty funny that Panda Express has all we could ever want in the way of fine dining.

The worst part was absolutely the Time Share....torture session.  Actually, I found it more tortuous for our poor guide, who was this young and darling gal from Spain who just didn't know how to sell a time share deed to a couple of people who haven't paid for a hotel in almost their entire marriage.  Her slick-haired boss sure tried, and we thought he was pushy, but Laura from Spain was really sweet.

The best part was the entire Saturday afternoon as the kids discovered what happens when you pour body soap into a jetted tub and turn on the jets.  Mountains.  Piles.  Heaps.  Glaciers of bubbles.  We almost lost a kid or two under those towering peaks.  They couldn't have been more delighted.  The other best part was a visit from some dear neighbors (you know who you are!!) who brought their boys up to hang out, wander around the commons area and ride the free ski-lift thing a time or two (it takes you to 7-11 so you can get a slurpee and then head back. Quite the ride.)

I'm realizing what a long entry this is just to describe a quiet weekend at a hotel...with almost no pictures.  We brought the camera we just didn't use it much.  Or at all.  That's okay.  We were having too much fun in our weird boring wonderful hotel room.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned From Zuchinni

As the autumn weather is starting to creep into the forecast it is getting time to gather the crops that have been growing all summer.  I always have such an optimistic attitude in the spring time.  Yes!  Let's plant LOTS of tomato plants and how about an herb garden! And just because I want to make sure I feel successful about at least one thing in the garden I always plant a zucchini plant.  That way, if everything else fails and produces nothing, I can at least avoid feeling like a total brown thumb because no matter what, the zucchini will grow.

This year has been funny - I promise you I only planted one zucchini plant, and like every other year, it has grown prolifically, throwing its arching stems and long leaves in a five foot radius at least.  Only this weird thing has happened - (I probably bought some fancy plant I didn't realize I was buying) - exactly one half of the plant has produced regular green zucchinis and the other half has produced yellow crook-necked squash.  Isn't that awesome?

So here's how it goes.  In about June or July when the plant has really taken off and cute little squashes are growing happily, I feel excited.  I pick one or two and give them a rinse, slice them up, sauté them in butter, add a little salt and then my husband and I enjoy eating them for dinner while the kids cry about me making them eat yucky vegetables.  I do this twice a week for about....one week.  And then I forget to check for additional zucchini.  Suddenly I'll find myself on the side of the house where the plant is and notice that there is a squash there the size of my forearm and think, oh gosh I have to pick that!  And eat it!  Okay okay, I promise I will, just hang on while I run this quick errand....I think you can see where this leads.  I forget.  Or I purposely avoid that side of the house because I know, waiting there under the canopy of massive leaves, is an ever-growing gargantuan and if I see it then I will have to think about picking it and figuring out what to do with it. Pretty soon I am facing a vegetable the size of my entire leg and Troy has noticed that I have been avoiding my gardening zeal which was so evident only weeks before.

Troy finally picked The Big One.

He posted a picture on Instagram of Bundle holding it and our friend Rex sent it back to us with the following treatment:




When my children saw this picture they began to laugh so hard they couldn't settle down for a good ten minutes. It was hilarious.  Only one problem.  After Troy picked the zucchini, he left it in the kitchen for me to face on an hourly basis.  Now what?

Want to know the truth?  I'm going to tell you because it will properly shame me.  I just couldn't face cutting into that monster with its thick skin and seeming yards of vegetable matter just taunting me with the knowledge that I would never get my kids to eat one bite in a million years.  And don't even say the words zucchini bread to me.  I don't want to hear about it.  So...I snuck it into the trash.

I know!! I'm the worst.  In an act of penitence I quickly went back to the zucchini tree (that's about what it was by this point) and picked a few small ones.  I promptly cut them up, breaded them and fried up some zucchini fries.  I even had authentic fry sauce for dipping.  My kids still wouldn't eat a bite.

After the meal was done, Troy wiped his mouth, smiled, looked at me and said, you are hereby banned from growing zucchini again.  Ever.

I think he may have a point.

Now...what to do about all those herbs I meant to use in all my fresh summer cooking this year....

Bye Bye Bundle

We have picked a new name for Bundle.  She is just not a Bundle any more.

We noticed a while ago that our youngest child likes to skip everywhere she goes.  This is something I deeply love about her - it's in her soul to be a joyful skipper both literally and figuratively.  So we have now named her...

Skippidy.

We call her that all the time anyhow, so it seemed like a good choice.

Here's my favorite Skippidy story of the week.

You know how in cartoons and sometimes in actual life, when people get a sudden bright idea they hold up their index finger and point it heavenward?  Like the big...Ah Haaa! I've GOT it!  You know, the lightbulb moment?

Well, the other day I asked Skippidy a question and she did that finger-to-the-sky thing.  Ah Haa!.....only, instead of just pointing skyward she starting rotating her finger around and around.  I said, "honey, what are you doing?"  She replied, "I have a good idea loading."

I guess she really is a child of the computer age.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Finally Finally!!

Oh my gosh it actually happened.  Kindergarten started.  And little Bundle could not be happier.


Okay, it's totally time for a new name for her, this is getting ridiculous.  I will brainstorm.

I have to say here that I'm so grateful for how her first morning went.  It could have been so messy and stressful - I was in charge of a New Parent Breakfast at school, which began right at drop-off time.  I had to get the breakfast all set up before 8:25 when the bell rang plus I had a brand-new kindergartener to photograph and fawn over and see to class for the first time!  Plus Troy had early morning meetings that day and was gone by 7:00.  But...the stars all aligned, my guardian angels were standing by and it all worked!  The biggest blessing was that my two big kids were happy.  And helpful.  And moved their bodies quickly.  This is not normal for a school day morning.  (Okay, not normal for Stomper, but Bitty has been so in love with school these first days that she spends her mornings twirling in fits of joy.)  Anyway.  It was awesome.

Bundle woke up really early.  I was actually expecting her to have some nerves or jitters or something  - I mean, this is the girl who pretends to be asleep every time we go through the checkout at Costco.  She puts her head in her arms and closes her eyes and emits small snoring noises so none of the checkers will talk to her.  She gets a little shy of strangers.  But no way - she was jumping to go.  She helped me make our breakfast, load the school breakfast into the car, pick out her clothes (she was supposed to go in cowgirl clothes the first day) and was on the front lawn for pictures before the big kids were out of bed and dressed.  And thank you big kids for getting up, getting dressed and just shutting up and helping me get out the door and to the school in time to do a quick set up.  Bitty was the one who waited with Bundle outside her classroom door for the bell to ring, but I was able to hop in there quickly and snap a picture of Bundle on her kindergarten mat.




I love how her backpack is so large she can hardly keep from tipping over backwards



Sigh.  Could they be any sweeter?
Stomper took this for me while I was quickly (but calmly, thanks to him!) setting up breakfast


Oh my heart, it just filled me up to see Bundle so entirely happy to be at school.  So anxious to learn the classroom routine, to finally get some homework (Stomper is perplexed by her reaction), to meet kids and have recess and lunch and all the other wonderful parts of being a student.  She loves it.  Even when I picked her up she was just as happy and energetic as when she started the day.  I was expecting her to be wiped out but not this gal.  She just took it all in stride like she had been going to full-day kindergarten all her life.

And me?  How was I after returning home at 10:00 to a quiet and empty and completely filthy house?  Awesome, that's how.  I plunked down on the couch and just stared at the ceiling for a really long time.  I may or may not have been wearing pants, I'm not telling.  I just sat there.  It was pretty nice.  I do plan on being very productive with this time over the coming months but just give me a few days, okay?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Week Of Bundle


Here is Bundle with her sweet little buddy (okay actually I claim him as MY sweet little buddy) Max as they flee away from school after dropping off the big kids on the first day.  Yes, she's in bare feet.   I pictured myself being all super organized and put together on the first morning of school....hahahaha yeah right.  So yes, we were in a hurry and my daughter wore no shoes to walk the big kids to school.  I tried to remind her that once her own class started, shoes would be a requirement.

Once the big kids started school I had one full week with my little Bundle all to myself.  This felt alternately eternal and light-speed.  That little gal was SO READY for school, and was so excited and didn't like that she had to wait a whole week for her turn.  She coped with this by talking non-stop for the entire week.  I myself was more than ready to start my summer-recovery program but I knew that I still wouldn't be able to get a single thing done so I just let it go and spent what time with Bundle I could.  It was so bizarre to realize that really and truly life would never be the same once she started school.  Alone time with us will now be pretty rare, and the thought that I will never be setting up daytime play dates and outings for her again while the other two are away at school kind of blows my mind.

Speaking of playdates, I did have to set up one final round with her best frenemy (this cute neighbor friend of mine who has the most adorable kids but her 5 year old and Emma have a fiery relationship - best friends at times and at others....not so much.)  On the day I sent Bundle over there for a couple of hours I got a text from my friend with the following amazing pictures.  I guess Bundle's favorite thing over there is to dress up like Elsa, and I can't get over how these pictures turned out.





My friend is basically a professional photographer.  She should try getting paid some time.  I think she'd do well.

Bundle and I chose a couple of outings for just the two of us.  Her first pick was the Children's Museum.  I was so overdue on taking her there - I think she got some tickets in her stocking.  Bad mommy!  But we did eventually go so....all is forgiven? (These photos were taken with my cell phone...not quite up to the same level as the Elsa ones, but hey, I took pictures! Yay me!)





Oh she just loved that museum.  She was so into all of the pretend play in that giant room - she was all over each of the professions she got to imitate - farmer, grocer, mailman, builder...she just ate it up.  So fun to watch.

We also had an impromptu tea party on the back lawn together.  I feel that I have to confess that I was actually lying down on a pillow as I took these pictures.  I told Bundle that we could have a tea party if she got me something soft to lie on.  Also I basically just handed her a spoon and the entire sugar bowl and let her have at it while I lay there.




Happily, Bundle also picked an outing to the zoo.  Usually when I'm there I'm with all my kids plus another family or big group or cousins and that's always fun but this time I got to just focus on one kid and what she wanted to do.  What she wanted to do ended up being the train, the carousel, the train again, the gift shop and blue ice cream.  I think eventually she even saw a few animals.







That ice cream cone was bigger than her head.  And she ate the whole thing.  I wish I had taken a picture of the lunch she ate right before the cone - she insisted on packing her own lunch in her brand new (and very tacky) Monster High lunch box.  I really wanted to get her a cute little lady-bug lunch box or something but it was her very first lunchbox and I let her pick it and.....Monster High it is.  Anyway, she packed her own lunch which ended up consisting of sunflower seeds, grapes, old crackers and a capri sun.  She did a pretty good job!  She ate it all very carefully before letting me know she was ready for some ice cream.  

So yes, we had a fun week together.  I couldn't really get my head around the idea that things would be changing so drastically so soon, but I did just try to enjoy spending time with this very happy little girl I'm blessed to call mine.