The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Apple Camp

Oh Apple, I love you.  Why?  FREE CAMP!  That's why!

Every summer the Apple Stores host a series of mini camps for kids - they're really just three days, an hour and half each time, and the parent has to stay.  That's ok!  It is a great summer activity, and actually kind of hard to get into since the classes fill up within a couple of hours of them being posted on the site.

The camp is fabulous not only because it's free, and the kids get free booty like a pair of ear-buds (yes, awesome, right?) and a free thumb drive, but because it's a class about how to use the Garage Band and iMovie apps and setting the kids free to make movies of their own.  It really encourages creativity and exploration.

Day one involved, first of all, some very cute counselors who were great at getting the kids involved and energized.  Bitty especially enjoyed "The Banana Song." (See video below.)  Cap was slightly more reserved and reluctant but did participate minimally, which was all I ask of him when it comes to singing obnoxious camp songs.  Then the kids learned about story boarding, and spent some time thinking of a story line they could make into a movie.  Then they got a basic lesson in Garage Band and composed some pieces of music to use as a soundtrack.

That afternoon we were sent home with instructions to film a movie.  Here's where I need to totally come clean.  I really did my best to let the kids drive the bus but I'm not going to lie - I probably helped out more than I should have.  I promise though, I really truly tried to follow my kids' lead and help make their ideas come to life.  I probably should have just walked away and left it entirely up to them but.....I totally didn't.  We had a great afternoon filming movies.  We had the help of some friends of Bitty and Cap who were very good sports. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  So I guess that can't be a bad thing, right?

Day two we brought in our footage and the kids learned how to use iMovie to edit their movie clips, add music and sound, transitions and titles.  Bitty and I worked on it together quite closely and Cap was completely on his own.  He put together a really fun little movie.

Friday was our viewing party where we got to enjoy all the kids' movies.  I think the kids really felt a sense of accomplishment and I'm hoping I can encourage them to do that again as an activity at home with friends rather than just sitting around vegging out.

Stephen, Ofa, Daniel and Rae

And here are the final projects!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Teeth: Lost, not yet Found

Skippidy has been spitting out teeth at a fairly steady rate these past couple of months.  It's been impressive.  So far she's lost four and has not yet shown any sign of growing replacements, so at the moment she's just got a gaping hole in her mouth.  It's perfectly suited for slipping in a straw.  Her lisp has become rather pronounced.  In fact, her speech has been affected enough that she kind of seems like a different kid to me.  She's taller, her hair is longer, she's missing teeth, she's a little thinner.... Skippidy seems to not be my baby anymore.  That doesn't mean I'm never allowed to rock her to sleep. At least, it'd better not mean that, because sometimes I still do.

Funny side note - Skippidy lost this most recent tooth on Sunday afternoon, with much exclaiming, a few tears and actually quite a lot of blood, resulting from her attempt to extract the tooth via apple-biting. It was a big deal.  That night we got her all tucked into bed with her tooth carefully hidden under her pillow.  I then moved on to work on her big sister.  Bitty finally got all tucked in as well, which always seems to take extra time.  Finally I headed off to the kitchen to start on the dishes.  I heard a big sneeze come from the girls' room, and shortly after Bitty came tiptoeing out.  Little did I know, she had a loose tooth too, and her big sneeze was enough to knock the tooth clean out of her mouth.  She handed me my second bloody tooth of the day, much to my astonishment.  Good thing the tooth fairy keeps an extra stock of golden dollars on hand for just such a situation.  It was tooth-losing day, I guess.  I didn't take a photo.  I was too tired!  Sorry, Bitty!

Spontaneous Vacation

My sweet husband has spent a LOT of time on the road this summer.  He had two weeks away which were both vacations, planned months ago.  One of course was the week we spent in San Diego.  He also spent a week with Cap in Yellowstone - his assignment is to do the blogging on that one.  I'm excited for Troy to write his first ever blog post.  But the week before he went to Yellowstone, he got a last minute assignment from his company to go to Virginia.  So the week before he went on a major canoe trip he was across the country for six days.  He had less than 24 hours to prepare for a week in the woods.  It was a hectic 24 hours, trust me.  Now he's been home from that for a few days and low and is sending him back to Virginia next week.  Poor guy, his poor kids and....poor me!  We miss each other being apart this much!

During the week Cap and Troy were away on their adventure, I was feeling like I needed a little something to break up the week without the boys, since we had already had so many days without daddy.  I looked at our calendar and realized that we had just enough time to squeeze in a quick trip to St. George for a girls-only trip.  I'm so glad we went.  Yes, sometimes I'm hesitant to visit St. George in the dead of summer, but we had such a good time.

We took off on Monday evening after a full day of running errands and spending some time with my mom. We arrived late in the evening, but not so late that my nieces were already asleep.  They were in bed, but not asleep, and best of all, they were totally not expecting us.  Peter and Sheri were sneaky and didn't tell them we were coming - it was so fun to tip toe in there and surprise them. I wish I had filmed their faces as they lit up in happy surprise.

On Tuesday we had an extremely pleasant trip to the city pool where Skippidy learned that she really and truly hates the hydrotube.  I'm not sure I'll be able to get her to go down again for at least another summer or two.  Bitty, however,  threw herself down the tube time after time for our entire visit.

On Wednesday Sheri took us to the Pinecreek Swimming Hole in Zion National Park.  What a treat that was!  I'm sure from now on that my kids will be begging to go there.  I'm not sure if they enjoyed the mossy rock slide or the tadpole catching more, but either way, I have a feeling we have many visits to this magical spot awaiting us.  My little niece Sienna even got me to jump off a little wall with her - enjoy my very dignified video below.

The visit was short but full of great things like long conversations with my brother, a movie date with my brother and the girls to see Minions (okay, I confess, that was not my favorite movie ever), lots of treat-runs with Sheri, late night conversations, a quick visit to my friend Marsha, hours of happy cousin time and just enough heat to chase us back to Salt Lake in the nick of time.  Just kidding.  It wasn't actually that hot.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Reunions

The past few weeks have brought some very happy reunions my way.  As happens every single summer, things begin to race by in a a flash by about mid-July, and the thing that makes the summer fly is how the calendar fills up day by day.  We've been so happy to fill in the cracks in the schedule as friends have called while passing through town.

For starters, my dear friend April and her family came through.  April was one of my first friends in this neighborhood.  Before our circle of friends really started to swell, April and TerriLyn and Emily and I went for many walks, took a couple of little vacations together, and of course fit in a girls night or two.  I'll always remember the night we went to a movie together - TerriLyn and April and I both giggling and marveling at how Emily daintily ate her popcorn one salty kernel at a time while the three of us munched by the handful instead.  After the movie we drove up Emigration Canyon, pulled over to the side of the road and got out and just looked up at the stars and talked until the wee hours.  April has a frank honesty about her that I have deeply missed since her family moved to Arkansas maybe 4 years ago.  And since neither she nor her husband have family in Utah, she hasn't really had the chance to visit. When she said she was going to be driving through I jumped at the chance to pull friends together and we did indeed have an absolutely lovely evening together.  You always know a true friend by the way you fall right back into comfortable conversation no matter how many months or years have passed.  The only problem was that it made me miss her even more.

Speaking of true friends, another dear one came to town and made me feel loved because she made time to come and see me even though her schedule was quite compact. Marsha is a cute mom who has a daughter Bitty's age - we met when our daughters were in the same preschool class and we quickly became friends.  Of course the friendship started when our girls were asking for playdates together, and Marsha and I started talking more and more as we picked up or dropped off our daughters. Soon we were scheduling lunch together and talking for hours.  What's funny is that Marsha and I have no other friends in common, no circle of girls we gather with; we just really enjoy each other's company. Marsha and her family moved to St. George two years ago and we don't really even call or text each other much, but when she comes to town she always stops by.  And happily, I found myself with a couple of free days with just my girls last week - we decided to take a quick jaunt to Dixie and made time to visit Marsha in her new home for the first time. Like all kindred friends, we never run out of things to say.

Both of these darling friends have daughters who are Bitty's age, and it's been sad to see Bitty lose two dear friends to moves.  What a delight it has been to see Bitty get a chance to spend a few hours with her girl friends.  I was afraid there would be an awkward "I don't know what to talk about" distance between them, but with both of these girls Bitty just took off and had extremely pleasant alone time.  It filled my heart to see, and broke it a little again when people had to be on their way.

Last of all, my good friends Dave and Steph came into town from California.  Dave is one of my old high school Yalecrest II ward friends with whom I spent many happy hours both in high school and in college.  They gathered together a very large group of old friends and we met at the park for an evening picnic.  I can't deny it, I just did not get enough time to talk and reconnect with all the many many people who were there.  I needed hours more.  (Kid-free hours would have been nice.) There were so many dear people there, especially one old friend whom I didn't know very well in high school but became very attached to after a couple of years of college.  She stayed my loyal friend even as I bumbled through my worst dating years before my mission.  We don't get together much, but I feel joy every time I get to see her.  I tried to tell her how much it meant to me that she was my friend through the worst of times for me, and of course she brushed it off like it was no big deal; friends are friends, she said.  But it was a big deal to me, and I love her.  I should write her a note.  She's not a blog follower and will not know that I am proclaiming her wonderfulness right here.

My cup is overflowing at the moment, just relishing the friends this good life has brought me.  And thank you, summer, for sending a few of them my way.

Monday, July 13, 2015

San Diego - A Final Note

Ode to Elizabeth.

As I have been looking through our veritable plethora of photos from this San Diego trip, I'm noticing an absence.  I mentioned that we invited with us a beloved care giver for my mother, a woman named Elizabeth.  And though it is time to move on and blog about other things, I just can't do it without including a special thank you to this woman.  She tried hard to stay out of the way of both our family and our camera, because she was trying to respect our family's time together.  She spoke often of not stepping on our toes.  I know she'll never see this blog but I need to send out into the world the message that she was a beloved part of our vacation. Her presence made it possible for my mother to feel safe and comfortable, for the rest of us to be able to relax and get the rest we needed and know that a loving friend was there for my mom.  She was very much a part of our family there and I loved having her.

I was in awe, frankly, of Elizabeth's ability to connect to my mom, to help orient her without putting her down, to be playful and silly which sounds odd but it's what my mom needs.  I learned a lot from her about how to interact with my mom by watching her, and I felt uplifted by her joy, her attitude, her interactions with all of us.  I consider it a true blessing that my sister met her and that my dad began to work with her as my mom's disease progressed.  I hope I can be more like her. Elizabeth, thank you.  Now I will go write her an actual card since she won't see this and would probably feel embarrassed if she did.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

San Diego - The Thrilling Conclusion

Thursday. Although the families had already decided to go to Legoland while we were on this trip, Sheri and I sent each other a few furtive messages about Sea World.  Sea World was literally right across the bay from our beach house - not a 10 minute drive away.  (Every night we were able to watch the Sea World fireworks from our patio.) I had really great memories of that place as a kid and I knew my children would love being there as much as I had.  As we pondered what other things we'd like to do in San Diego, we realized more and more that we just really wanted to go. So....we did.  I confess that I was hoping that another sibling or two would join us but no one had interest.  I also confess that I'm so super glad we went.  It was an absolutely lovely day, with a much more peaceful atmosphere than Legoland.  We spent the day hopping onto roller coasters with almost no lines, enjoying several shows, marveling at the amazing animals, and completely slathering our children with sunscreen every half hour or so.  Also we bought Bitty the hugest sunhat we could find and it did an excellent job of shading her entire body as well as the shoulders of anyone sitting next to her.

The sealions put on the cutest shows
We did lose Siena for an alarming 20 minutes or so - She was super brave and was safely reunited with her mother at at the Lost Children booth

I think my kids were most enchanted by the dolphins - it was quite breathtaking to be allowed to be so close to them.  Cap revisited them several times and sort of left his heart there I think.  When we left the park, two of our three children were declaring that they wanted to study marine biology in college.

I have clear memories of feeding the sealions when I was a kid - it was fun to see that attraction still available to my own kids, although the birds were a little hard to fend off.

Another fabulous exhibit was a large shallow pool of bat rays which were much more interactive than any sting rays we've come across at our local aquarium.  I'm sure that's partly because you can feed these rays and so they were perfectly willing to come up to us all.  We didn't feed them but we all got to touch them plenty.  What a cool experience.

Here's Cap back at the dolphin pool during play time, tossing giant doggie toys to the dolphins.

It may be hard to see here, but baby Iva just loves Cap and she loved holding his hand as we walked around

Naturally the orca viewing tank was one of our most favorite experiences.  What a feeling of awe you get as this massive mammal cruises by.  So beautiful.  We didn't love the actual orca show as much as we enjoyed the dolphins and the sea lions.  The orca show mostly seemed to focus on getting people wet.  Now, I'm not going to lie, I went and sat down in the splash zone with Skippidy and Cara, and though we ourselves didn't get hardly wet at all, it was extremely entertaining to watch people, who had been fully warned about getting wet in the spots where they were, get absolutely soaked to the bone as the whales slapped water across them.  They looked shocked and pretty mad, even though they were sitting in the soak zone.  It's called that for a reason, trust me.

What a wonderful day we had.

On Friday we fit in some more beach time and brought our real camera.  We had a lot of fun taking pictures of our family.  It was so rewarding to have every single grandchild there in a big happy group. Honestly they get along so well - I really saw hardly any squabbles at all.  And as I have said before I adore the time I get to spend with my siblings.  Sorry for the photo overload, it can't be helped.