The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bainbridge Beckoning

I would just like to say that I started this post a few nights ago and wrote about six awesome paragraphs that I was excited to continue working on today.  However, I just discovered that the work had not been saved and .... I can barely bring myself to start over.  But start over I will.  Sigh. There's just no way this is going to be as carefully written as what I already wrote but I'll try.  Thanks for letting me complain.

Okay, let's try this again!

In the springtime as we were enjoying a visit with our Bainbridge cousins I got it into my head that a trip to visit them this summer was due. I feel the pull of the northwest take over every couple of years and do what I can to get there. It's just one of my favorite places on earth, and feel that it's pretty much my natural habitat. If I didn't have such deep roots here in SLC, I do believe I would be lobbying hard to move us there.  My roots here, however, are currently un-uproot-able (I totally just made up a new word) and so we pay visits to my native country every couple of years.

As summertime approached and we began to make plans for our trip, we realized that we might have little problem on our hands. My sweet hubby just started a new job in April that has proven to be substantially more stressful and time-consuming than we had planned, and we had already planned on it being very high in both of those areas. He has been absolutely swamped, well past his eye-balls, and it became clear that he would not be able to join us on our trip. I was so very sad about this. I hated to leave him behind, and I know he hated being left behind. We both agreed, however, that it was no use in cancelling the trip - I'd just be finding other things to keep the kids busy and out of his way as he was working from home. I still get sad thinking about going without him.

Not only was leaving him behind sad, but it made me face a couple of challenges that I was dreading. First of all, that is quite a long drive, all the way up there to the great North West. And I would have to do it all by myself. I am a notorious zonker when it comes to long drives. Troy is great at driving and often my only requirement is to stay awake to keep him company and I fail him regularly in this duty. Could I actually make this marathon of a drive? And secondly, upon our arrival in Seattle, I would have to get through the city safely on my own. Driving in cities that are large, busy and foreign to me is quite terrifying. However, I decided that I believed in myself and that I could do it.

I'm so excited to tell you that indeed I did do it! I took on those two challenges and discovered that I have within me the power to not only stay awake while driving, but to listen and follow the directions given to me by my new best friend, Siri. I will be referring to these accomplishments often because, despite the fact that they are both really not that big of a deal, I feel rather adrenalized by my surprising victory.

In planning for the drive, I decided I would do better if I left very early in the day to avoid evening traffic in Seattle, and especially avoid driving through the city in the dark. I left at 3:30 in the morning. Yes, this was slightly crazy but I'm not sorry at all.  I was able to give the kids the gift of letting them sleep through a good chunk of the drive. We also had with us my niece Mary Grace, who was really wanting to visit her sister Hannah who is living in Seattle proper for the time being. I picked her up on the dot of 3:30, whereupon she let me know that she had yet to go to bed that night. Yes, Miss MG was a sleepy stowaway in our car all day long.  We really only had to stop a couple of times and found the ride to be nearly incident free. The only exciting thing that happened was that Skippidy found herself with enough free time in the car to do some tooth extraction. I claim victory over the fact that I did not lose track of her tooth after she wriggled it free. The tooth fairy was slightly dismayed to find she was expected to deliver the goods even while on vacation, especially since she had neglected to bring along with her the traditional golden dollar our children are gifted with when they lose their teeth. Luckily she had a mostly-used Target gift card in her wallet that was still good for three bucks and Skippidy was pretty tickled about getting it.

Once we got to Seattle it was my job to get us to the apartment of MG's sister Hannah, whose been living there for about a year. I found that I did not especially enjoy driving around the very narrow and hilly streets of the neighborhood known as Capitol Hill - there is nary a parking spot to be found. So, I left the van in the loading zone outside Hannah's door, we ran in to drop off MG, give hugs all around, and sped back out to the van before I got a ticket. After that I bonded with Siri as I was led to the ferry terminal and we could make the last leg of our long journey to Bainbridge Island.

I love this picture of Cap completely and totally out cold in the way back of the van
Mary did this for 10 of our 12 hours
It's hard to tell which tooth was actually missing, but follow where her tongue is pointing and you'll see the spot

We were so happy to arrive on the island and be with our dear cousins. We spend Saturday afternoon and evening just relaxing. The kids really were in need of the down time - Cap had spend the previous two days at Bear Lake with his buddies getting burnt to a crisp while having the time of their lives on a tube behind a boat, and Bitty had just the day before finished up her three weeks of Theater School. So down time was needed.  In fact, Bitty slept so hard in Whitley's deliciously comfortable beds that I had trouble getting her out of bed before mid day just about every morning.

It was a little silly to leave the Island the day after we got there, but one of the items on our agenda for the trip was to pay a visit to my dear friends Troy and Kathleen who live in Seattle proper, and Sunday was about the only day they could hang out. We went to some church in the morning with the cousins, then in the mid afternoon headed back to the mainland and wound our way to a really cool park to the north of the city called....I can't remember what it's called.  It's got a really catchy name. It took us a few minutes to connect with the Durhams but eventually we found one another and walked down to the water where the grownups sat and basked in the sun while the kids did what they always do when at the beach - they hunted for amazements. Crabs, shells, hermit crabs, cool rocks - a beach will keep them enthralled for hours.

While we were there, Troy's cousin Ashly joined us. She lived with Troy during high school and she and I became very close friends for a time. I hadn't seen her in so very many years and it was such a treat to reconnect and spend some time together. After the beach we returned to Troy's home for a tasty meal and more talking. My kids were rather taken with their kids - I'm sure my kids will have similar memories of the Durham kids that I have of Kathleen and her siblings - our parents are good friends and when my family would come to visit SLC we'd stop by their house, send the kids to the basement to play while they stayed upstairs and talked.  Not that much has changed! What a very pleasant evening.

Maybe I'll leave the first Bainbridge post at that? Seems like it would be just too dang long to post it all at once...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Week of Living Riotously

Not long after the start of summer, I spend a week trying to revive my youth.  In some ways it went very well, but my joints and muscles sure felt the after-effects for a while.

The first event was a dance.  Yes, that's right, a dance. A full-on D.A.N.C.E. party.  It was held in honor of my darling friend Natalie, who is moving to California. When I first was invited to this evening, I wasn't sure what to think.  I'm sorry, you're inviting a bunch of mommies in their 30's and 40's over to dance? But I was game: I love music, I love Natalie, and well, what the heck. So I went over to my friend Aunkia's house and met up with some friends where we sat in the kitchen and politely chatted, looking uncomfortably at the living room where the lights were low, the drapes were drawn, and a lap top was waiting and ready with a playlist all cued up. It took a bit but finally we put down the dessert plates, straightened our skirts, and went on in.  Aunika pushed play. The bass began thumping away and well, I just couldn't help myself. I absolutely danced the night away.  I haven't danced like that since college, and after the way I felt the next day I may never dance like that again.  Only, I hope that's not true. I had so much fun.  And I'm really really glad that no one was filming me because I'm really sure it weren't too pretty.

Since that dance night, dear Natalie has moved away.  I went to visit her a day or two before she left and here's a picture of us crying our eyes out.  I love that woman - she's a PTA sister and a kindred friend whom I will love and cherish forever.  She's not getting away from me easily!!

Just a few days after our dance party, while my muscles were still sore and I may have suffered a bit of whiplash (I'm not kidding when I say I danced like a college co-ed), I found myself wandering the pathways of Lagoon with my entire family. The girls had used their girl scout cookie money this year to buy Lagoon passes for Girl Scout Lagoon day.  We spent a day on and off of rollercoasters, spinny rides, river rafting adventures and various devices of transportational torture. It was pretty fun.  And apparently I have no photographic evidence of our survival.  Oh well.  At least I documented that we did it and lived to tell the tale. I was on a dose of ibuprofen for a a full week.

Summer's Start

Back in the spring, it feels o-so-long-ago now, Bitty was in that musical production at school and just absolutely was at her height of happy.  The people who run the drama at our elementary school are a part of the Theater School for Youth at the UofU.  You know, these days I believe they call it Youth Theater at the U, but back when I attended (in the very same place with some of the very same directors) it was Theater School for Youth. Anyway, our school director is also now the director there and she and her assistant really encouraged me to get Bitty signed up for their summer preteen session.  Couple of problems - it was starting the Monday after school got out (sudden!), and it conflicted with our upcoming trip to visit my brother in Seattle,'s really quite expensive.  I don't know, maybe it's just typical for what summer camps cost, certainly it's less than many, but we don't really do summer camps.  I crossed my fingers and applied for a scholarship.

Hooray! Bitty was given a partial scholarship to the camp, which runs for the first three weeks of summer. We had to do some rearranging of our trip but that didn't turn out to be a big deal.  And it happened!  The days were long for her - she didn't have a single day of summer before classes started and went for 6 1/2 hours a day.

I'm going to keep it real and say that this was not too shabby of a way to start summer - you know how it goes, every summer the first weeks are beyond challenging as the kids try to adjust to being together all day again.  (They don't seem to try very hard.) There is a LOT of fighting.  Maybe that's just at my house and no one else has that problem ever.  But having one child happily engaged in something that fills her cup-o-joy to the brim every single day for almost a month?  Yes, ma'am, that's alright by me.

In the meantime, I had to keep the other two busy!

It felt like I packed an entire summer's worth of activities into those three weeks.

Of course we pulled out the pool:

Skippidy and her darling friend had a day at the zoo:

While she was gone, Cap and I snuck off to see Captain America again:

And the list went on.  The zoo. The Aquarium. The trampoline park...

It was a whiz-bang start to the summer and I felt proud of myself for getting things going with so much fun.  And then I remembered.  Bitty wasn't there for any of it.  And she was going to want to do all those things too.  So, here's to doing it all over again.