The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Monday, November 30, 2015

Tropical Halloween

Okay, not tropical, but certainly balmy.  I didn't even bring coats to St. George. Even though I usually LOVE arguing with the kids about putting coats over their costumes, I didn't bother this year.  I might consider Halloween in St. George every year.  And not only were we able to celebrate Halloween, we were there for some other awesome events as well, which made it all the more fun.

So despite our late-afternoon drive and even-later-evening guinea pig delivery, we still had some quiet time on Friday evening to spend with the family and we were able to meet little baby Samuel Miles.  What a treat that was.  It took us all of .052 seconds to absolutely fall in love with him.  My kids included.  It was certainly a joy to see them snuggle up that baby and get all glowy as they gazed at him.  Made me a little glowy myself.  We were so lucky to get a chance to spend some of that very very precious time the first week of Sam's life.  I tried to fight off my swaddling obsession.  It wasn't easy.

Saturday had much going on long before we donned our costumes.  First thing was that Siena got baptized - I hope the big events of the weekend didn't make her feel overshadowed; I know there was much going on but I think she felt deservedly celebrated. She was absolutely darling in her white dress and happy smile.

I love this picture.

And also this one.

And this one too.  So cute!!
Following Siena's baptism we enjoyed brunch at Peter's house, and we lingered for a long time.  That was partly because we were waiting for their bishop to make an appearance so that baby Sam could be blessed.  Usually folks wait a month or two instead of five days to give their babes a name and a blessing, but since as much family as could possibly gather were already gathered, Peter and Sheri went for it.  I'm so very glad they did.  My dad was very brave and brought mom down to St. George for one horrible night's stay at a hotel (mom is not a very good sleeper these days) in order to be able to be present for Siena's baptism.  I was so happy he also got to take part in Sam's blessing.  It was pretty tender to see both dad and mom spending time with their (probably) last grand baby when he was so new, and be able to be with Siena on her big day.  After the blessing dad hit the road to get mom home and hopefully get a better night's sleep. It can be really hard for him when he has mom on a bad night.

We had a little quiet time which included dashes to Swig (duh) and a couple of other errands.  During our quiet time we enjoyed a walk to the neighborhood school and playground.  There Cap found a lizard climbing the school walls and was absolutely relentless in hunting it and eventually capturing it.  The man does love lizards.  He was considering asking us if he could keep it but we just said, "What would the Kratt brothers do?" and that was enough to stop the question mid sentence.

Then it was time for costumes! Peter and Sheri's ward was holding a chili cook-off early that evening, and it was very conveniently held in their circle so we could all enjoy the company and the food while Sheri could keep Sam in the house and away from too many germs all at once.  It was a fun dinner and seemed like a great tradition. The chili cook-off was short and sweet, and not long after we were ready to start roaming the roads of St. George to collect candy and see the sights.  I have to tell you, I don't think I have ever experienced a Halloween like this before.  I have only ever been in colder climates, and I'm used to dark streets and freezing fingers and the hills of the avenues while kids are gathered here in there in rather small numbers.  That seemed pretty normal to me.

St. George was NOTHING like that.  It was warm out.  The streets were well lit.  Absolutely EVERYONE had decorated with lights and sometimes music and there were haunted houses in people's garages. Trucks with trailers drove around with speakers playing holiday tunes.  There were throngs of kids absolutely everywhere.  I couldn't believe it.  I felt like it was Halloween in the movie E.T.  I was kind of in shock.

We spent an hour or so walking up and down the street near Peter and Sheri's place, but soon we hopped in our cars and headed to Sheri's parents hood where word has spread that they have the best candy and decorations of anywhere in town.  I'm sure the rumor is true - what a fun neighborhood!  And if you get past the first few blocks where there were Disneyland-esque crowds, it was just a fun and pleasant place to walk and collect a dang lot of candy.  My favorite was the house where the dad dressed as Santa Claus and handed out little mini ice cream cones.

And I have to say...dang dang dang it.....Bitty looked darling in her Turkey Dinner costume, much to my chagrin.  And delight.  Parenting is hard. (See two posts ago regarding our costume trials.)

We didn't stay out too super late, we didn't collect an obnoxious amount of candy - just the regular shocking amount.  It was just right.  And the next day before we headed home, of course, we did a little more Sam-snuggling.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch.....

As preparations for Halloween were underway, we had other changes underway at our house.

You may remember that two years ago, Bitty got a very special birthday present of two guinea pigs.  Ruby and Lulu.

Ruby on the left, Lulu on the right

I promise, I really thought they were going to be a great present.  We talked about getting a tortoise, thinking about them being on the quieter side and needing a little less interaction.  But I was certain (and thus certainly stupid) that Bitty would much rather have a cuddly pet, one good for holding and playing with.  And indeed for a little while, maybe as much as 2 or 3 hours, I was totally right.  The guinea pigs were interesting and fun and got lots of playtime and snuggles....which they endured with minor complaining.  However, it quickly became clear whose pets these really were.  Mine all mine.  The cleaning, the feeding, the was all me.  And don't tell anyone but I kind of didn't mind too much.  I am fond of animals, and a dog just is not in the cards right now.  A cat will never ever live in our house.  So I took some pleasure in these furry little gals.  

The big down side of the piggies has been the noise.  I did not expect that to be an issue when we got them.  Lulu especially is a major squealer, and every single morning if she heard a single foot fall anywhere in the house she'd go berserk with loud squeaks, demanding food.  Ruby would pitch in by grabbing the bars of her cage and managing to make quite a racket by shaking and biting them.  So obnoxious!  And it's not like it happened just in the morning or once or twice a day.  If you rustled plastic at any given moment, Lulu would start up.  Oh gosh I got so sick of it.  I occasionally began to consider if it might not be preferable to find a new home for them, but then I'd feel sad and like I was betraying these girls.  Hello.  Rachel.  They're rodents.  They don't care, as long as someone is giving them romain lettuce in plentiful quantities. 

I mulled it over and over until one day Bitty herself asked if we could please "get rid of them" because they were "driving her crazy."  (Driving YOU crazy!?  Who is feeding them? Buying lettuce for them?  Cleaning every single week? ME!!)  (Not bitter.)  So I began searching for a home, and wouldn't you know it, the universe wanted us to succeed in this venture because I think it was that same week that my friend Marsha came for a visit.  

Marsha and her family moved to St. George a couple of years ago, and in doing so, removed one of Bitty's best friends from our neighborhood.  So sad.  But we've stayed in touch and it's been fun to fit in visits when we each visit family in St. George and Salt Lake.  Marsha's daughter had guinea pigs but one of them died, and she was really really sad.  We got to talking about it and found a match made in mom-heaven.  One girl with extra guinea pigs and one girl really wanting one!  First happy home, found already!  

On Halloween weekend we not only packed up the car with costumes and sleepover goods, we found a space for one rodent enclosure and delivered Lulu to Katherine the night we got there.  It was a little bittersweet but also a relief.

I was a little sad to lose Lulu because she was the one who was much more interactive, and would often come to the side of her cage just to let me rub her head a little. See....I really am an animal lover.  I can't help it.  But I'm not at all sorry to lose the constant demanding squealing and bar rattling.  That's the weird thing.  We still have Ruby and she is as quiet as can be.  She never rattles the bars, she never squeals.  Of course, she also doesn't approach me the way Lulu did, but I can handle that.  So far we've decided to keep her but if you know of anyone who would like a lone and silent guinea pig, I know where you can get one.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Getting to Halloween

Oh good grief.  Halloween.  I kind of love it and ....I kind of hate it.  Surely over the past 7 years of blogging I must have mentioned this before.  In fact, I should probably go and read back over the Halloween entries just to make sure that I don't repeat myself over and over year after year.

Nah, never mind.  Too hard.  I'll just type away, and assume it's basically the same post as last year.

The kids picked some fun ideas this year for their costumes.  Skippidy was so funny - I seriously think it was all the way last Halloween that she decided she wanted to be a devil this year.  And she stuck with it.  She didn't waver for a moment for the entire year.

Bitty fell in love with the movie Into the Woods over the summer, and since her favorite thing is to pick a horrible rotten villain to whole-heartedly portray, she picked The Witch From Next Door, as played by Meryl Streep.  From ACT I when she's still ugly and wretched with snarled hair and disgusting nails.  Bitty was very specific about her desires about this costume.  We will return to this subject in a moment, because this was not the end of the story on her costume.  (Cue a slight wisp of steam emerging from my ears at this point.)

And Cap.  He was in the middle of a Star Wars kick in early October when it was time for committing to a costume.  If you asked him today what costume he would really like, hands down it would be the guy from Jurassic World.  But at the beginning of October, he was all about Obi Wan Kenobi.


I kind of love the great costume hunt - only rarely do I ever just go to the dang store and dang buy a costume.  I always search here and there at second hand stores and craft places for bits and pieces to cobble together.  I'm absolutely positive that just buying a costume would be easier and most likely less expensive in the long run, but it never feels as good to just go out and buy it.  This was especially true for Cap - there are LOTS of Obi Wan costumes for sale, but seriously, they are either extremely crappy or extremely expensive.  And Cap is a purist when it comes to costumes.  The more accurate the better, which certainly puts pressure on me.   I ended up feeling pretty excited with how Cap's costume turned out.

Not only did my friend Kalleen, the wonder-seamstress, offer to help me sew a Jedi robe for him, she found an $8 hideous brown tablecloth at Deseret Industries that, although was appalling as a tablecloth, made a beautiful robe with "great draping" according to her.  It took us less than an hour to make, much to my shock.  I have to come clean here - I have big guilt when it comes to this robe because Kalleen had actually fallen and broken her elbow earlier this fall and wasn't up to putting a ton of time and effort into her family's costumes.  Her costumes are...are....magazine worthy they are so amazing.  But she took it easy this year and her husband, who also happens to be the principal of the school where I work, teased me about getting her to do my cloak even though she couldn't do much on her own costumes.  I immediately felt idiotic, but grateful for her help anyway.  And...she offered! But I maybe shouldn't have taken her up on it.  In any case, we ended up with an awesome Jedi robe.

I also found a linen tunic at the DI that was surprisingly easy to transform into a Jedi tunic, again thanks to a little extra help from Kalleen (I'm sorry Jared!!).  (And sort of not sorry.  Cap looked amazing.)

Bitty had a fun holiday - she spent her fall sewing classes making this darling Halloween banner that we loved hanging in our house for the month.  I still haven't packed it away in the halloween box - it's too fun to just box up for a year.  So's in a drawer. I'm weird.

Bitty's costume on the other hand....Oi Vey.  Seriously.  In the following story you will see that I am a total spine-free wimp of a mom.  The Saturday before Halloween our friends hosted a really fun Halloween/Birthday party for their two boys in their back yard and it was darling and festive and a great chance to not only spend time with friends but get a dry-run in with the costumes.

Here are Troy and Skippidy walking down the road to the party.  I love shots like these:

Here is cute Cap having a light-saber duel with Rick, who was dressed as Anakin Skywalker, much to our delight.  Rick's wife Elyse was dressed amazingly as Padme in her Chinese Umbrella-collar dress thingy (I will be going to Elyse's seamstress-aunt next year instead of mucking about myself with the costumes.)

Here am I, most miraculously dressed up.  I confess, not in a very interesting or creative costume, but I did dress up by gum, even though I pretty much do no enjoy dressing up.

Here are some other party goers and a great group shot:

And where, you might be asking, is my middle child? My darling daughter Bitty?  Not in any of these pictures, and not in a single Halloween picture at all in her costume that I spent the entire month putting together.  No kidding, I worked really hard to put that ensemble together.  You want a crazy wig with graying frizzled hair?  Done.  I got a wig.  You want a black dress with puffed sleeves and layers of gauzy fabric on top?  Done.  I put together three different black dresses found at different locations to complete the creation.  You want fake teeth?  No sweat, I went to multiple stores to find the right ones that weren't fangs.  Makeup creating the appearance of world weary aging?  Got it.  Fingernails that are every bit as long and disgusting as the actual witch's?  Yes, I searched and searched for those, and we ended up buying plain fake nails that we HAND COLORED to match the movie's.  Finally the party came and we dressed her up and Bitty looked AWESOME.  Why oh WHY did I not take a picture at that very second?

Because I am a short-sighted moron, that's why.

Bitty stayed at the party for five full minutes before she was in absolute tears.  The wig was itchy.  The dress was too long and too hot.  The makeup felt weird on her face, and she could not abide the fingernails.  And she would not let me adjust or remove a single thing to attempt to make her more comfortable.  She simply and absolutely refused to be a part of that costume for a single second longer.

Oh I was SO mad.  (I hope she doesn't read this for a very long time.  I'm doing some processing here that maybe she shouldn't see....)  and of course I swore (I mean that I cursed AND made a vow) that I would not be spending one single second on another costume.  No WAY should I put that much time and effort and money into a second Halloween costume.

But it's me.  And....and....I have no excuse.  I should have just sent her to our costume bucket, and I'm still kind of mad at myself that I didn't.  But I was shopping late at night a couple of days later at Target and found the following hat in the $1 isle.  I bought it. And take a guess....she LOVED it. And said she was so super excited to be a turkey dinner for Halloween.  I half loved her costume and half hated myself for lifting even one single finger to make that second costume.  I'm the worst best mother ever.

Facial expression matches perfectly how I was feeling.  

Moving on, I would also like to record the fact that I helped out at Skippidy's first grade Halloween party and that her class is so awesome, we had more parents than we could even handle to help.  It was darling. I was in charge of the photo booth and had a splendid morning.

It was a busy week.  Immediately after school we packed up the car (which took three hours and we didn't make it out of the valley until very late but oh well) and began our journey to St. George for actual Halloween which I shall blog about ....tomorrow or in 6 - 8 weeks.  As is my current trend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Well THAT Was A (Very Happy!) Surprise!

Halloween was drawing near.  We had already made plans to spend All Hallow's Eve in St. George with Peter and Sheri.  This plan happened due to the fact that miss Siena, oldest of Peter's children, was getting baptized, and we wanted to be there, even though it was happening on Halloween itself.  Of course we were going!  Not only did we want to support the family who has been more supportive to us than anyone else has been able to, but it sounded kind of nice to shake things up a bit, have ONE year where we weren't subjected to the Elementary School Carnival, and maybe enjoy a warmer Halloween.  These all sounded like fabulous reasons.

Then, the Sunday before Halloween, we got this funny little afternoon text from Peter saying, "Hey how's YOUR day?" or something very leading and quizzical and curious like that.  And then he followed up with something along the lines of, "...because our's has been pretty great!" Then he sent us this picture:

Doh oh my gosh that is a baby and you were not supposed to have a baby until four more weeks and oh my gosh how beautiful and....wait, is that a boy or a girl?

You see, Sheri and Peter had decided to not find out the gender of this fourth and final (I'm pretty sure...) baby.  I myself was absolutely convinced beyond convinced that they were having a girl. Duh.  Of course they were.  They have THREE girls.  It seemed rather clear to me that that's just the way Peter and Sheri do things.  Girls.  But still....I was slightly suspicious.  And I wanted to know immediately if my suspicions were correct.  I believe I pretty much demanded that I be told right now the gender of this beautiful baby (who was very nearly born in the hospital parking lot, thanks to Sheri's insistence and genuine belief that she was not in labor despite clearly know...IN LABOR). However, they were not coerced by my demands and made us wait until their daughters knew first.  Jerks.

They were immediately forgiven when they sent this video:

....which was not only completely adorable but absolutely blew my mind.  A BOY?  I had multiple and varied reactions.  Joy, disbelief, astonishment and also quite a lot of tears. I think partly because I was so happy that Peter and Sheri get to experience children of both genders, but also that it somehow brought my baby Matthew to mind quite exquisitely.  So I had a good long happy baby boy cry. And then I promptly began sending further pestering emails about this baby's name.  The name took a couple of days but when it landed, it felt good.  Samuel Miles.  I love it.

I did wonder if, due to this excitement, they might not want us to come stay at their house in five short days, but they did some real arm-twisting and convinced us to still make the trip.  Clearly we were only too happy to oblige and celebrate Siena and see our cousins and most definitely to get our hands on baby Sam.