The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Second Christmas and Happy New Year

I really like the sound of Second Christmas.  It sounds very Hobbity. Hobbits do have a second breakfast every day, so I don't see why they wouldn't also enjoy a Second Christmas.  Clearly it's the time of year when I'm thinking about Hobbits, having only just completed my own annual viewing of the LOTR trilogy.

Peter and Sheri were not able to join us for a visit before Christmas this year.  Had we know that, maybe we would have had a waffles and wassail night together over Thanksgiving, or we would have tried to find a weekend to head to St. George, but our weekends were just packed in December, as were theirs.  That's ok! We got to have a post-Christmas New Year's visit and it ended up making a perfect ending to a really wonderful holiday.

Because no one had really been able to gather together until New Year's Eve, we decided to hold off on the gift exchange until then.  Sadly Adam and Whitley weren't able to come down from Seattle though we had been hoping.  But the rest of us, even one of Margaret's daughters, were able to get together in the afternoon of the 31st.  Peter and Sheri arrived just in time.  I was the host of this gathering and wasn't too sure how to handle it - the St. Georgians weren't able to get to Salt Lake before 3:00, too late for a lunch, and everyone had New Year's plans by 5:00 or 5:30 - too early for a dinner.  I put together a hot chocolate bar that I thought was really fun.  Some crackers and toasted brie plus a big platter of all the neighbor goodies besides hot chocolate and tea with fixings like crushed peppermint and  I'm getting a sugar rush just writing it down.  There was cheese there!  That wasn't sugary....

We really enjoyed having one last Christmas hurrah as everyone opened their Romney family gifts - the winners of the day were a pair of socks Cap received from his cousin up north - fittingly, they were a pair of Captain America socks.  They are awesome.  We also loved cousin Laine's gift to Siena - this completely darling little Red Riding Hood set of toys with a book.  I loved giving my dad some Ben Behunin pottery and poetry - dad was tickled.  He loves poetry, he loves Ben and he loves pottery.  The only funny part of that was watching my sweet and very disoriented mother take the pottery, look at the back side of it with nothing there but a nail hole (it was a wall hanging plaque) and exclaim over the beauty and fine craftsmanship.  It was sweet and sad and funny.  Sheri and Peter gave our family two big boxes filled with a large variety of great little items - I think my kids loved that there were so many things.  Just simple stuff like bubble bath (clearly for me) and a frosting decorating kit and a DVD and little stuffed super heroes and a game.  It was a great gift.  I also felt rather proud of myself because I was giving to my darling 16 year old niece who has great style and who can ever predict the tastes of a young gal?  I picked out a scarf and middi-ring (yes, that's a thing now) and I think she may genuinely have liked them.  Of course maybe she was just being polite to her dotty aunt, but if so, she still made me happy.

Fun afternoon.

We spent New Year's Eve at our church building - we invited many families to bring food and games and drinks and even with as little preparation or specifics as that, the party turned out great.  Everyone just had great ideas to make the night fun - large wii game set ups on the stage and plenty of tasty food that wasn't all dessert, more board games than you could play in a week and so much great company and conversation.  Of course I think Skippidy wore out by about 7:45 and we were there until 10:00, but it still made for a great night.  We got home just in time to tuck in our tired, dirty stinky kids, break open a bottle of apple juice/bubbly and say cheers for the New Year.

Iva wanted to climb inside an abandoned gift box and make a little present of herself.
She was very pleased with her success.

One last day to enjoy the sound of kids gleefully tearing into colorful paper and have a heap of shredded wrapping in the center of your living room.  What's more Christmassy than that? I'm smiling just thinking about what a fun day that was.  I kinda want to do it again.  Tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Just in the St. Nick of Time

We only just escaped having a 100% green Christmas this year.  Christmas morning we woke to the beginnings of a storm that eventually added up to just enough snow for sledding by the 26th.  There wasn't a ton, but there was enough.  It was quite a task getting everyone to stop Lego-ing but by the afternoon Troy and I were ready to actually leave the house for a while.  We shoved everyone into snow gear, a process that takes approximately 20 minutes of bundling, wrapping, zipping, shoving and tugging per child.  I always find that discouraging when the kids want to go outside since often they stay outside for less time than it takes to get them ready to go outside.  It's a mother's burden to bear, I guess.  Happily, the snow clothing process was well worth the effort.  We headed to my parents' home, where we always hope to have a repeat of the best sledding day ever; Christmas 2008.  Or maybe 2007, I'm not sure.  It was the best ever.  I may have mentioned it once or twice before.  It wasn't quite that great but we had a nice afternoon hurling ourselves down the hill.  The fail of the day was that every time I got on a sled I seemed to clear that particular section of the hill of snow.  Doh!  The happy surprise of the day was that that Skippidy is now one of the big kids.  She's no longer the little toddler wanting to always be with mommy or refusing to try things.  This was her first sledding experience in which she actually seemed to enjoy sledding.  She went down the hills dozens of times, mostly by herself, and never had a moment of terrified crying or anxious refusal to try again.  I also enjoyed Bitty's piercing scream she let fly in a continuous stream every time she went down the hill.  It only took me one run with her to realize that she would have to go solo from then on in order to protect my eardrums. It was really a fun afternoon.  Except Troy's cold.  That wasn't so fun.  We limited our sledding to an hour then took him home to snooze on the couch so the rest of us could get back to putting Legos together while watching extended versions of Lord of the Rings Movies.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A Bad Case of the Lego Knee

I forgot to mention one really fun and wonderful part of Christmas. All December we had this really unseasonably warm weather. We had a bunch of rain the week before Christmas, which I think mentioned was a big bummer at our house because we knew how much snow we would be getting if it was just a little colder outside. I had completely prepared myself for a no-snow Christmas. Then the weather folks started predicting a storm on Christmas. Storms get predicted and then end up not happening after all on a regular basis, so I didn't hold my breath, even as Christmas got closer and the storm remianed on the forecast. And miraculously the snow came. My children were beyond delighted when they woke in the morning to find that we had a white Christmas after all. I sure would have loved the snow to come earlier but at least it came at all.

So the kids all got some Legos for Christmas. Bitty got one BIG box - her first fairly complicated set. We had a lot of Legos to do. And it was such a quiet mellow day - I usually try to plan an outing like a movie or something to break up the day but we just didn't feel like it. We stayed in our jammies for hours upon hours and built Legos. Skippidy even got in on the action with a little help from her big brother and me. And speaking of me....I went a little Lego crazy. That's a thing, as it turns out. It happens when a family has been collecting Legos for years and have a rather wide variety of sets. The mom who develops Lego craze is usually a little OCD to begin with and already struggles with the fact that the sets aren't kept intact and displayed with all the proper matching pieces. Then one day she finds out that many of the sets the family has collected are no longer being produced and are valued rather highly on ebay (such as Harry Potter items) she gives into her organizational urges and that is when Lego Craze begins.

Bitty started first with her new barn and we were all pretty amazed that she didn't lose heart, interest or determination as she built and built and built. For HOURS. Cap and Skippidy got their things built in an hour or two and were off and playing with them while Bitty continued on and on. I tidied the house and made some dinner to enjoy with Troy's parents and still she built. I didn't think a Lego set could take this long but that was partly because she dumped out all the bags of at once and finding pieces took a lot longer than it could have. Troy's parents arrived and we had a really pleasant evening - Christmas dinner was a quiet affair with the fresh snow falling outside and just two guests coming to eat ham and potatoes and asparagus. Yummy dinner, lovely day.

A comment at this point: something very strange happened this year. Is still happening, actually. I adore Christmas along with all of its festive trappings until about noon on Christmas day, whereupon I do a swan dive into seasonal depression. I dread it so much that sometimes it casts a gloomy shadow over Christmas which is too bad since it is totally my favorite holiday and time of year. So all December long I had in the back of my mind the incessant reminder of "it's coming it's coming it's coming." Then Christmas morning came and went so happily and peacefully, then lunchtime...I closed my eyes and braced myself and....nothing happened. I felt pretty great all day. What? I even kind of searched for it. Am I depressed yet? Nope? How about now? No? Okay... And it just continued on. Christmas seemed to last for another week. With no depression. Even now with dark January and the yucky valley inversion I'm feeling really pretty great. How or why this happened I do not know, but I sure am grateful.

Anyway, back to the Legos. We finally put Bitty to bed after she put in probably a solid 8 hours on that barn. In the morning she popped right up and got back to work. And this is when my Lego Craze began. We started Fellowship of the Ring, seeing as how one of our favorite traditions is to re-watch the trilogy every year. I decided to rebuild some of Cap's old Harry Potter Legos and found that I was having excessive trouble finding the pieces I needed so....I sorted every single Lego I could find. Into tiny little piles. By color as well as some groups by size. Mommy went a little cray-cray. And I LOVED it. I got the Harry Potter castle rebuilt along with Hagrid's hut - the two Potter sets I've been wanting to rebuild forever. Cap got in on the action and put together some of his old favorites like a Ninjago dragon and an Atlantis scorpion. We Legoed (a new verb) all the day long, and I wish we had taken more pictures of the living room floor which was pretty much a solid layer of Legos.

Bitty finished her barn in absolute triumph - she did it all herself and was so proud, as was I. She and Skippidy had a great time playing with it as I continued in my zombie-like state of putting little plastic bricks together. The funny part was that I kind of hurt myself doing it. I sat on the floor for so many hours. All of Fellowship of the Ring and Guardians of the Galaxy and part of The Two Towers. My knees were killing me. We decided to dub this new injury a case of the Lego Knee. I was hobbling around for days afterward, but I got those Lego sets put together right!!

We let all the sets adorn the living room for a few days until it was time to prep for the arrival of Peter and Sheri and their small children including the wrecking ball otherwise known as a walking one-year-old. Time to hide the Legos. We put everything on cookie sheets in the attic for a few days until we could bring them down. We kind of rearranged Cap's room so make space for the reconstructed sets and it took me quite a bit of work to get shelves cleared and things put away to make room. We placed the Legos on the empty shelves and Cap proudly snapped a photo on Instagram where he declared he finally had gotten his Lego work done. I was a little miffed that I got left out of the credits on that one but oh well. He's 12. I'll let it slide.

So basically we have too many Legos. Plus a Lego Craze-infected mother of the house who still kind of wants to go back to the displays and make sure that all the matching figures are with the sets they came with. Good grief I'm worse than Lord Business himself. Keep the kragle away from me!! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go and see The Lego Movie.)

Thank you Legos for a great and very happy Christmas. You're awesome. My kids love you, and I guess so do I.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning.  It always goes by in a blink, doesn't it?  But I will say that I don't think I've ever felt as good about the gifts for the kids as I did this year.  I was really excited about the things Santa was bringing them and there wasn't any item that I was sorry about.

As tradition dictates, our three sweet children tiptoed up the stairs and snuggled into bed with us before the sun had peeked over the mountains.  We wrestled with them for a while but of course our efforts at prolonging the morning were futile.  I don't think we even tried to get anyone to eat.  We just sent them to the bathroom and lined them up.  We walked them into the livingroom in their youngest-to-oldest line and got the show started.

Look at the patience of those kids!  I got them to pose in front of the tree for a  few pictures before opening a single gift.

My favorite things for Skippidy this year were dress ups from the movie Frozen, sparkly pink boots and new bedding.  She has been using the same old blanket I got for Cap when he turned two.  It was super fun to pick out a fuzzy blanket and flowered spread for her bed. 

For Bitty I was most excited about a red pea coat, tan sparkly boots and a giant lego set she had her heart set on.  Back around Thanksgiving when I started the "what do you hope Santa brings you for Christmas" (although she's in on the secret too) she was talking about wanting a Nintendo 2DS, a hand-held video game player.  I was relieved when in December she came shopping with me and saw a Lego friends barn that won her heart.

And Cap was way too easy to shop for this year.  I knew he'd love some cool new athletic shoes, and legos and hero factory characters are always big hits with him.  The trick is getting myself to stop before he has way too much loot headed his way.  It's nice to have a kid who is so easy to shop for, who has many loves and things that will make his day.  He was pretty stoked to get some Guardians of the Galaxy action figures.  See?  Way too easy.

I think my very favorite gift of the day however was for my sweet hubby.  It's very hard to surprise this man, and we've even agreed that I should not try.  He'd rather just get something that he has wanted more than getting a surprise.'s still fun to try to pull off a little something every once in a while.  I did it a couple of years ago with a very simple photo collage of each kid.  He loved that. This year I found out my dear friend Lisa was selling her hand-made terrariums that she dedicates to both her husband who passed away 10 years ago in an accident as well as to your own family.  She not only builds the terrarium but places inside it many hand-sculpted things like a little gnome to represent both her hubby and the father of your family, a bird to represent herself and the mommy of the family, and eggs for each child in your family.  She put a U in ours, as well as an Alex rock because I told her that I'd be adding our little statue of Alex, who had his own plant for 3 years but it died last summer.  He needed a new home.  Best of all, she included an egg for Matthew plus his very own Matthew rock.  

I love making Troy cry on Christmas.

Lisa does all sizes of these awesome terrariums so if you're interested in one, message me and I'll get you her number.  They are the best, and so far, ours is still alive. (Miracle when it comes to me.)

The rest of Christmas day was spent eating and playing legos, which topic I shall cover in the next post....

Christmas Eve

Every year I promise myself that I will keep up with my blogging as Christmas comes so I don't find myself writing about it 10 days after the fact. Make that weeks.  Oh well. I think I need to stop promising myself that. Too hard.

We had such a nice Christmas this year. It felt really quiet. Well, I guess it was completely hectic and packed until just a day or two before when suddenly my to-do list seemed to be pretty much all checked off. I even put movies on for my kids and wrapped presents all afternoon on maybe the 22nd so that I didn't find myself up at midnight on Christmas Eve blearily wrapping things that only had a few scant hours to stay wrapped. I hate that. If I'm going to go to the trouble of covering everything in a layer of shiny paper and a few bows I want it to stay that way for at least 24 hours.

I even got a chance to have several hours to myself on the 23rd to clean the house as deeply as I could while listening to music and podcasts. Thank you, dear Ruth, for letting my kids play at your house for all those hours. It felt much better after that.

Christmas Eve was absolutely delightful. We started the day by enjoying breakfast with friends. Our dear friends Martin and Becca have a tradition of listening to the King's College BBC Live Christmas Broadcast every Christmas Eve morning, and invited us to join them. We listened to the gorgeous and holy choir singing while we made french toast, sausage, tea, hashbrowns and juice. What a very pleasant morning. I would like to do that every year.  But only because we can't do it every day.

Not long after breakfast we headed to the southern end of the valley to meet Troy's brother Sam and his family at Gardener Village to go on the elf scavenger hunt together.  It was so freezing cold.  Everywhere else in the valley was downright balmy for a Christmas Eve but somehow conditions combined at 7200 South to be just frigid.  So we enjoyed our elf-hunt as quickly as we could, picked up a free piece of taffy and ran for the cars.  We lunched together at a burger joint that wasn't too bad and then drove back downtown for the much more comfortable and much more indoor window display scavenger hunt inside the Grand America Hotel.  That place really does a smash-up job on Christmas.  It's so lovely and well decorated and you just feel like Eloise herself at the Plaza Hotel.

With all the hobnobbing we did in the morning and at lunchtime, it was surprising to find ourselves with a very quiet afternoon on our hands.  We tidied up the house and made a little food, Bitty and I ran a couple of last-last-last minute errands and before long we were making waffles and cider getting ready to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol.  We never did get to watch that with Peter and Sheri this year - they had been planning on coming up to Salt Lake the previous weekend but between Troy's family party and Peter getting a ticket to the Ute's bowl game in Las Vegas, it just didn't happen.  We were sorry to miss them for our waffles and wassail night, but Christmas Eve seemed the perfect time to watch. Normally on Christmas Eve I feel like we are doing a lot of cooking or traveling to someone's house or welcoming several guests or something.  This year just my sweet parents came over and it was so quiet and calm.  Weird.  I'm not used to that on Christmas Eve.  We ate delicious waffles and fruit, enjoyed The Muppets, sang songs by the piano and read Christmas stories.  We opened gifts from neighbor friends and then snuggled up in our beds.  I kept wondering why I didn't feel more exhausted.

Let's see...what are some of the fun details to remember from this year?  I guess one funny bit was that we used some cookie dough given to us by some neighbors to quickly bake up some treats for Santa.  The dough turned out to be rather high in butter and low in flour so the cookies were baked into flat crispy wafers that absolutely shattered into crumbs when touched by a spatula.  So that didn't go too well. Luckily the kids decided that Santa would be perfectly happy with some left-over chocolates.  They were right.  Santa did like those.

Another perfectly wonderful detail is that Gregor...

ok side note.  Stomper asked to be re-named Gregor after his favorite character in his favorite book series, Gregor the Overlander.  Possibly the first book series he's ever willingly read (I had to actually STOP him from reading a few times) in his life.  Besides Diary of a Wimpy Kid, that is.  Anyway, he's loving being called Gregor but after a family discussion we decided to do yet another switch from Gregor to Cap, after Captain America, his most beloved super hero.  We thought it might last a little longer, and since we ALL love Steve Rogers around here, Cap it is.  Okay. Back on track.

Another perfectly wonderful detail is that Cap wrote this teeny tiny little note in squiggly swirly curly handwriting saying, "I hope you enjoy your gifts, love Kris Kringle."  He stayed up a little later than the girls so he could set it out on the plate we left for Santa.  It was so cute.  He said it took him forever.  I love the fact that Cap's Santa knowledge has not decreased his Christmas excitement in the slightest.  He was more excited this year than he has ever been, in fact.  I believe that on the night of the 23rd he woke up every two hours or so, and was up for the day by 5:30.  Well, we thought, I guess that means that he'll sleep well on Christmas Eve.  Not so. Good heavens, that boy could hardly keep his eyes closed long enough to call it sleep.  He was bouncing out of bed all night long.

Troy was suffering (and actually still kind of is) from a pretty solid head cold so after the gifts were set out and the lights turned low, we snuggled up on the couch so that he could snooze and I could type and watch....another version of A Christmas Carol.  George C. Scott I believe.  Why do I love that story so much?  I do not know, all I know is that I never seem to get sick of it.  I loved sitting in the quiet living room, sparkling with lights from the tree.  My favorite quiet. Those last few hours of waiting for Christmas.

And....since it appears that we took ZERO pictures of Christmas Eve, I'll post this picture of the lights I put up on the house all by myself the week after Thanksgiving.  Thank you.  I was very proud of myself.