The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Time Travel

It appears that I am a regular time traveler. I do it constantly. And I can tell you exactly how to do it too. Just think of a place where you spent a lot of time or had a meaningful experience, but haven't been back to in years. Then go there. And suddenly all concepts of time will warp and twist and you will wonder what year it is and how old you are.

Perhaps I'm being a bit dramatic. Can't help it. It's my nature. And funny enough, the subject of my post today just so happens to be about drama.

I'm skipping ahead in my blogging by the way - there are many things waiting to be blogged about such as birthdays and cousin visits and stuff, which I'll definitely get to. However, since I just had a total time travel experience, I had to write about it before the feelings dissolve into placid memory.

I went to a play at East High School tonight - I was supposed to go with my dear friend Elyse - it was totally her idea to go. It was a production called Take 5 - EHS has been doing this for over 50 years. It's a selection of five one-act plays that are written, produced and directed by students. It's pretty cool. I mean, some of the plays are of course way better than others, but it's a really neat tradition at the school. In fact, way back in 1991 I was the student producer, I had a play in the group and I directed one as well. I was very involved. But I haven't been back to see any for such a long time. It feels like probably since I was married I haven't been back to see any shows, shame on me. So when Elyse invited me, I accepted and was excited. So excited in fact that when Elyse let me know shortly before we were supposed to leave that her husband was sick and she couldn't make it....I went any way. I just felt the desire to go.

Begin time travel. EHS has changed a lot since I graduated - lots of new remodeled areas - I don't think I could find my way around there any more or even recognize most of it. But they left the auditorium and "Little Theater" in the basement just as they were. Entering that room with its black-painted walls and iron-barred balcony along one wall....even the wide metal doors brought back such a tidal wave of memory and feeling I was in shock and really was happy to just sit quietly and look around.

I enjoyed the shows quite a bit - they were funny,  or off the wall, and one was desperately serious and poignantly written. And when they were over I almost just scurried off. Instead I sat and pondered. I thought about my own high school experience of being totally and completely immersed in the theater department - it was my absolute world for four years. As I watched the cute high school kids putting on the show I tried to get a glimpse of what might be going on beyond the performance; what kind of social structure existed and who had a history with whom. How many of these kids lived for the department and how many were only in a show or two? Of course I'll never know. The only thing I know is that seeing a play is just getting a bare glimpse of the surface of the experience of those kids. (Who all looked WAY younger than I ever felt when I was there.) I even saw the drama teacher, who had a very familiar and sleep-deprived look on his face which reminded me fiercely of my own dear drama teacher, Carter. How many hours did I spend in those rooms over those four years? Impossible to even guess. More time than I ever spent at home, I can tell you that!

When I finally began to make my way to the exit, I noticed the drama teacher standing in the doorway to his office and it occurred to me to ask him about The Scrapbooks. Way back when I was there, the drama club president each year was responsible for creating a scrapbook for the year, filling it with pictures and programs, funny notes and memorabilia. I remember pouring over those books and have often wondered if they were still in existence. The teacher knew right where they were and let me kneel in his office and browse through them. I hope he didn't notice that as I found the first book from one of my high school years I was hit with a fist of emotion and promptly began to weep a little. I quickly snapped a few pictures from them, but saw that I would need to return with a real camera and really capture these treasures.

This is probably a long, dumb, boring post for you. Sorry. I am reeling with memories and love for the luck I enjoyed when I entered high school and found my tribe, my people, my very first year there. That group of people meant a great deal to me, and whenever I get tired of a teenagers behavior and begin to roll my eyes at whatever drama they've got themselves upset about, all I have to do is cast my mind back to those precious years in the EHS drama department and remember all I experienced and learned there and I feel more patient and understanding. I'm so grateful I felt prompted to go this evening, despite Elyse's absence.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spring Broke

As always in our lovely state of Utah, spring has brought sunshine and flowers, snow and rain, blossoms and hail - you know, the usual. There are always ups and downs here; I don't know why I'm ever surprised when we get completely manic weather patterns.  This year it just so happened that as I was looking at the calendar and comparing the dates of our spring break to the weather forecast, it became clear that leaving the valley and heading for warmer climes would be extremely beneficial to our general happiness and well being.

Fessing up: it was actually Sheri who pointed out to me that our weather was going to be extremely sucky.  She recommended that we come visit her.  I wasn't even thinking of going really because it wasn't their spring break, but she talked me into it.  We decided to not tell her girls that we were coming because surprises are the best.  Sheri even decided to let her girls stay home for one day of school so we could be together.  I was really really excited to go.

Before we could start having fun in St. George, we had to actually make it to St. George.  This proved much more challenging than usual - we had snow, sleet, heavy rain and wind in various combinations  for the entire drive down, which ended up taking a good 5 and a half hours instead of the usual four.  I was not sorry to take it slow however, due to the fact that while we we driving we passed multiple wrecks on the side of the road, including more than one roll-over, and we watched cars fishtailing ahead of us and just decided to crawl along in happiness.

Here we are taking a pit stop in Filmore, both to grab grub and de-slush the car

We had been hoping to make it to the valley of the sun before Siena was done at school so she would come home to find us, but that did not happen.  Instead, when we got there we rang the doorbell and Sheri had Siena answer the door. My one regret is that I wasn't filming her when she answered.  The look on her face was awesome.

We proceeded to have an awesome three days.  Actually we didn't do a ton besides go to the park and sit in the sun for absolutely hours on end.  Sunburns all around.  We loved it. Swig, sunburns and shows.  I took all the kids to see the latest Disney Cartoon - Zootopia.  It was really very good and fun to be out with a crew of cousins. Yay for $1 cups of popcorn.

We also spent some very productive time on a face-switching ap and laughed a LOT

The kids were confident that it was warm enough for suits....until they actually got wet.  Then it officially wasn't warm enough

After we returned to Salt Lake we prepared for Easter, which included a trip out to "Oma's Village" on Saturday morning for an egg hunt.  It was basically total and complete chaos, complete with a very brave woman dressed as an Easter Bunny who delighted all the other children and terrified mine. (Mostly Skippidy - I actually can't believe I got her to be in a picture with the dread rabbit.)  Despite the chaos it was a great time and the kids hauled in an absolutely massive amount of candy.  Sadly, about 50% of it was tootsie rolls....the lowest of all candies.  I take that back.  Necco wafers are worse.

In the afternoon the kids had a great time coloring eggs.  I set them free with sharpies and sparkly dye and they came up with some great eggs.  Cap especially had fun creating Marvel-themed eggs such as Iron Man, Hulk and an egg that appeared to have had some bad dealings with Wolverine.  Bitty went for the cuter side with eggs decorated like chicks and toll-paintings.  Skippidy?  Anything shiny made her happy.

Easter baskets are always tricky for me - I don't want to make Easter feel like Christmas, but it's always fun for the kids to get a little something that morning.  I'm sure I over-did it... (who ME?) but so be it.  Bitty got her long-longed-for Ugurt refillable cup and the whole family has made fairly good  use of it ever since.  The gift that keeps on giving?

We spent Easter dinner with Troy's parents and his oldest brother and his wife.  We had a lovely meal together and really enjoyed each others' company.  I love Troy's family. It was a sweet and wonderful way to end our Spring Break...

....and a horrible way to start up back to school since Skippidy spiked an impressive fever in the middle of Easter Dinner.  She stayed home for two days.  Mommy was really ready for a break by the time everyone was all the way better and all the way back to school, by which time I was also sick.

Sigh. She's better now of course....I'm mostly better. But not quite. That was a busy week!

Monday, April 11, 2016


Being a fifth grade girl isn't easy. I know this not only because I was once a fifth grade girl myself, but because I'm currently witnessing the challenges, the ups and downs our fifth grade girl is navigating day by day. I just want to take a moment to give her a little shout out to tell her what a fantastic job she's doing and how much fun it is to watch her grow up a little more each day.

Something that I'm really delighting in is the fact that Bitty has developed a passion for the stage. I think I probably mentioned this before, since she was in last year's school play, but she just absolutely loves acting and being on stage. I'm so happy for her. I hope she continues loving it. Sometimes Bitty's passions have a serious ebb and flow - for so long sewing was really filling her bucket and that has completely petered out, darn it. Well, "petered" isn't quite the word.  More like an instant halt.  Luckily she still is sticking with the cello and she's finding a great deal of joy in drama. Her class recently put on a play all about the Salem witch trials - yes, it was quite frightening! Especially because the play was done more as a silent dance than an actual play. It was super spooky and Skippidy fell apart while watching the school performance, along with several other kindergarteners and 1st graders. I think the teacher got a little bit of back-lash about it but I thought it was an excellent piece of drama. Bitty played the part of one of the young girls who fell ill and I'll just say that she can really flail in a seizure-like way when she wants to. Again...creepy. And Bitty was over the moon about the experience.

She's also getting the chance right now to take part in the official school play - not just her class's annual performance. They are putting on a Charlie Brown play, and she's taken the roll of one of the Lucys. (There are enough kids who want to take part that they have to divide up the rolls between kids.) She practices after school twice a week and those are her best days. She just glows. I'm so grateful and happy that there is something that makes her light up like this. I hope it continues. I know drama was the love of my high school life, and though that may have occasionally brought on the scorn of other students, who cares. I was happy and I had a home base in high school and nothing could have been better for me than that.

Another hobby she's developing is writing poetry.  I was not at all expecting this or did I have any idea that she was interested and then one day she showed up with a few poems she wrote at school and I was very impressed. She even had the chance to share some of her poetry at school where we have a really cool evening called Poetry and Prose night.  Kids (and adults too if they want to) can get up and read poems or stories that they love or that they have written.  Bitty proudly got up to share three of her poems.  I wasn't able to be there but Troy recorded them and she did a great job. May the poetry continue!

I have to tell one funny story - right before Christmas break I loaned Bitty my very favorite hand-knitted mittens and she promised to take very good care of them. She did a good job and brought them home safely so I let her wear them a few more times. Then over Christmas break I wanted to wear them myself and couldn't find them. I kind of got after her, asking her where she had left them, and when school started up again and we couldn't even find them in the lost and found I was pretty disappointed. I promise I really did say this - I told her that I loved her a lot more than I love those mittens and it was going to be okay, but I also told her I might not let her borrow hand-knitted clothing as much, which really bummed her out. Well guess what. The next day I went to my own place of work where I hadn't been since before Christmas break and....there were my mittens! DoH! (Really wanting to insert that red-faced emoji here.) I was so ashamed for getting after Bitty about the mittens! Bad mommy! Bad! The only way I could make it up to her was to make her a pair of her very own. I let her pick out yarn and spent the rest of the winter knitting these rather intricate mittens. It's dumb that it took me until April to finish them but at least I did. And if she loses them I'll kill her. Kidding! Only kidding. I would deserve the punishment of making her more.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Presidential Tradition

I believe it only took one visit to St. George in the middle of February for us to realize that it would be absolutely necessary for us to go there every single year.  Somehow just knowing that a few days in the sunshine and clean air are ahead we are able to survive January and all its depressing smog, darkness, cold and total lack of Christmas.  I can't remember if it's been three or four years in a row now that we have made the trip - it seems to me that one year Peter and Co made the trip up here instead, which seems like a monumentally terrible idea. I think they must have learned their lesson because if I remember correctly that was an especially frozen and iced-over weekend.

This year as we mourned the loss of the holidays (I know they're a lot of work and kind of exhausting but I'm always so sad when they're over) we comforted ourselves by counting down the days to our annual trip south. It's always such a pleasure to drive those last 10 or so miles as the elevation drops precipitously and we can see an expanse of sky ahead.  When we arrive at the Romney's home our kids always immediately take off with their cousins and start playing.  Even Cap is excited to be there, despite the fact that he is the lone teenager, the lone big male cousin - he just heads to the back yard to flip around on the trampoline and look for lizards.

We so enjoyed being outside as much as we could on this trip, including a lovely walkish-hike in the hills - I don't think I've ever been on the same hike twice in St. George.  Sheri always knows some new place to take us and it's always delightful if occasionally slightly scary - see last year's trip to The Vortex.  I'm so impressed though that there's always a new place to explore.

We also took the kids to see the St. George tabernacle, which my great-great-great grandfather, Miles Romney, helped build. (I might be wrong on the number of greats.) He built twin staircases himself and when the prophet Brigham Young told him they were too high and would have to be rebuilt, Miles told him to take a hike (so to speak).  The tabernacle was built around the stairs and you'll notice that after you climb the stairs you have to go back down some more stairs to get to the second story because the Romney stairs are so tall.  That's right, Grandpa Romney, you tell him! My kids were slightly less impressed than I was about this story - but then again, I have a vague memory of seeing these stairs as a child myself, I think even with some of my Romney cousins, and not caring much either. I have hopes that my kids will care someday.

Despite it also being slightly on the chilly side in St. George (which equated to downright balmy for us) we spent some time in the River-Park as we like to call it - I didn't think the kids would want to get wet but by the end they were pretty soaked.

And of course a great deal of time was spent at the school yard around the corner where Cap did some serious lizard hunting, succeeding in capturing four lizards.  One of the lizards in return was pretty successful in capturing Cap, as it clamped its jaws on Cap's finger and really was not interested in letting go. It was funny for a while.  Until it was painful, then it was less funny.

We so appreciate the chance to get away from gloomy SLC every February.  We're a little sad - uncle Peter has been searching for a job for a few months and it's very possible that they might have to leave St. George.  We're hopeful that if this happens we can still find a way to go there together and still get into that February sun.

My girls getting sung to in Primary on Sunday - Hello HELLO!
Iva had a little potty issue at church so I brought her home...bare bum and all

What's awesome is how clearly we are still SLC people - because by about mid-April it's way way too hot to go visit again until about October!!

Cousins ForEVER!!