The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Monday, November 28, 2016

Oh Good. Another Pet.

I must be the biggest sucker of a mom ever. I mean really.  We've done guinea pigs.  We now have two big and getting bigger lizards that have won over our hearts, darn them.  That's been about a year now. Clearly Cap was getting bored. He's been asking to go into the pet store lately, and he's been hovering around the reptile area. I thought it was going to be easy to deny him another reptile, but that's totally not what he wanted.  He was circling the spider.  More specifically the juvenile pink-toed  tarantula.  And he had money to spend. It took a lot of talking about it but eventually he convinced me, on the understanding that this is his last pet. THE LAST.

You know what? It's actually really cool.  It's silent, has no scent, and only eats every two or three days. One little problem. Cap got scared to death the first time he fed it and ever since then guess who is doing the feeding. You got it, mom the sucker.  And it's quite thrilling. This spider is a jumper. You put a cricket on some giant tweezers right up there by Aragog Jr.'s face and it jumps at you and wraps itself around the tweezers. It's alarming and incredibly hard to not scream and throw the tweezers. I may have screamed rather loudly the first time AJ jumped at me.  But I'm much better at feeding it now.  Someday Cap might take another stab at it but I'm not sure.

Monday, November 14, 2016

October Ends in a Whirlwind!

You know how a few times a year there is a series of events that smashes together so tightly that I barely have time to take a breath, much less eat or sleep or even think of cleaning my house for a week or so? Somehow it always seems to happen right around a kiddo's birthday. This year was no different. In fact, it was even more jam-packed than usual.

I feel compelled to write down the schedule of the Halloween/Birthday week not only to garner sympathy and amazement for myself but also just to have a record of events. I need validation.

Here's how it went down:

Monday - finish the kids' halloween costumes, also carve pumpkins, knowing that they'll most certainly be totally decayed by Halloween but since this is THE only night to do it...oh well

Tuesday - do my volunteering day at the school book fair, plan on spending a ridiculous amount of money in very small increments as my kids visit me repeatedly at the cash register begging to purchase a variety of crappy plastic objects. Oh yeah and maybe one book.

Wednesday - Half day of school, two parent-teacher conferences, plus contribute soup to the PTA dinners for the teachers

Thursday - spend the day preparing for the next four days of nuttiness

Friday - Cap's 14th birthday as well as the school Halloween Carnival where I volunteer all evening, also prepare the house for the arrival of visiting family members 

Saturday - buy candy and decorate the car for the Stake Trunk or Treat

Sunday - Cap turned 14 on Friday so this is the day he is ordained as a teacher - clean the house and prepare a meal for all the family coming over after church for an afternoon together

Monday - Get the house and some food ready for a back porch pre-trick-or-treating soup bar on our back porch

I need to say something before I bore you with further details about a few of these events.  I was slightly stressed out of my mind. Slightly. But I have to tell you that I felt like had angels around me - each and every single one of these events went off without a hitch. I didn't have a cake disaster. I found just the right gifts for Cap even though I was shopping the day before. The costumes came together so nicely this year, thanks to some serious help from friends. Cap had a really fun birthday party. I'm just so super grateful for how it all went, and I believe I had a little extra help. 

I think I'll start with the costumes - 

Skippidy wanted to be a pirate this year. Initially she had dreams of being "Mother Nature" but I think the fact that she the student of Mrs. Lloyd, who has a love of pirates, influenced her. She made a darling little swashbuckler. And her costume came almost entirely from the costume closet of Pika, my costume-collecting (and more importantly, LOANING, friend.) 

Romney (bless her soul!) chose to be an 80's girl. So easy. Again, much of her costume came from Pika's store. And my 80's-loving heart couldn't have been prouder. That's right, folks, let's go BIG on the hair and earrings!!

Cap was the one who had the big dreams for his costume. He started out by wanting to be The Flash but there was just NO WAY I could pull off that costume.  Well - that's what I thought, until I saw his buddy's costume who was the reverse Flash or someone like that from the show - he was so clever.  He just attached foam cut-outs to an exercise shirt in the shape of the muscles on the suit. Maybe next year. Anyway, at the time I was grateful that Cap opted out of The Flash due to impossible dreams of tv realism. He decided to go with Link, the elf from the Zelda games. (I'm acting like I know what I'm talking about. I don't. I've never seen the Zelda game.)

My Pika-Friend had nothing for me on the Link outfit, so we hit the DI hard.  Actually, what really happened was that I went to the DI, found NOTHING, and then said a prayer and went to Savers. I could not believe it. I had a pretty long list of what I needed and it was so crazy - I found every single thing I needed. EVERYTHING. This included a small piece of green fabric for his tunic and a cool knit sweater that I could make look like chain mail. I found pants, the right shirt, accessories, a green scarf I could use for the hat. And it just came together. That's partly thanks to my friend Kalleen who does AMAZING costumes - she had some cardboard armor and some shin guards she let me use. I'm so grateful. Sometimes costumes just stress me out so bad but this really worked out. Thank you guardian angels, both of the neighborly variety and the heavenly kind as well.

Here's how it started - bags from Savers! And it all cost around $30 - that's amazing too

Oh yeah - pumpkins. At the beginning of the week.  Dumb dumb dumb, but really, when else were we supposed to carve them? Last year they didn't get carved at all. I guess rotten is better than never doing it! These pumpkins were fun because we grew them ourselves this year. It's really fun to watch those plants flourish all summer long and finally harvest the pumpkins for October.

Friday morning was Cap's birthday - naturally we had a breakfast party with, what else, Swedish Pancakes to eat and presents to open.  Action figures, t-shirts, pokemon socks and ...the grand finale - a giant Pikachu footed union suit. I wasn't sure he was going to love it but he SO did.

Here's Cap smelling his new action figure. "New toy smell.....mmmmmm.........." (That's what he really said.)

I took lunch to him at school that day. He was dressed up for a Halloween stomp at school. I was proud of him because last year he didn't want to even stay at school for the dance, not to mention dressing up! He was totally comfortable doing it this year though. It was fun. I bought a huge bunch of tater tots for him to share with his friends too. I texted him to ask if I could just come in and eat with him, but he said, "I eat at a table that is already uber crowded." It's happened, you guys. He did not want to eat lunch with his mommy.  I tried to be brave as I dropped off the food.

Meanwhile, I rushed back to Bitty's school to help out with her Halloween party. I had a terrifying moment earlier that week when I thought I was in charge of the party, but luckily I found out I just needed to supply a little food and help out for a minute. PHEW. That would have put me under the table for sure.

Here's Cap after school before his party. He was pretending to be a Pikachu throw rug. Funny kid. What was really happening was that he was setting up pads for all his buddies to hang out on when they came over to play video games. Yes, that's what he wanted to do for his party. Hang out and play on their Nintendo DSs. When he first asked for this party, he begged for a Saturday party that went from (I'm not kidding and neither was he) 9am - 12am. No, not 12pm. 12AM.  15 hours of video games?  Sorry kid. We did have boys come over from 5:30  - 9:30 on Friday night. I was pretty sure they would all get bored and started wrestling and bringing down our house. I was so wrong. Cap was right. They all just hung out, ate pizza, and really did just play games! All together. They seemed to have a really good time.

I have to confess that I was pretty proud of this cake, with more help (once again) from my talented friend Kalleen. She does amazing costumes AND amazing cakes. She taught me how to make fondant and I used a big bowl to make a giant pokeball cake. I was really happy! This is really the first theme-cake I have ever made that wasn't a total disaster. I'm not kidding. I have had some seriously FAIL cakes in the past. 

During the party, I took the girls over to the school Halloween carnival where I spent most of my time running back and forth cashing $20 bills for $1s - never before have so many people paid for a $1 hotdog with a $20 bill!  It was so crazy! Fun, hot, successful, good evening.

That night just after the boys started getting picked up from the party, my brother Peter arrived with his kids to spend the weekend with us. I love being with them so much. I will say, as demonstrated by the picture below, that we were pretty exhausted:

Saturday night was the Stake Trunk or Treat.  (Is this the longest blog post ever? It might be. Sorry. I'm killing all kinds of birds with one stone here, aren't I. This post counts for at least six single ones.) Our stake sort of gave up doing trunk-or-treats a few years ago because they were becoming less and less successful - the last time I remember going there were only about 8 cars decorated and passing out candy. Well, since I just got called into the Stake Primary Presidency I felt like I could influence the success of the evening. It really only needed two things - 1) It needs announcing weeks before the actual week of Halloween. So we passed out fliers all month long. 2) It needs to not be on the night of Halloween. Too much other stuff is going on that night.  And I am so very happy to report that it was a smashing success.  Something around 50 cars were there, decorated and passing out candy.  I never got to go see the other cars because I was so busy passing out candy at my own car. It was so fun. I actually dressed up if you can believe it. Thank you, Pika!

Rey was a very popular character this year! 

Okay. Then Sunday. I pretty much skipped church so I could go clean our absolutely disgusting house. I made soup and sandwiches and thanked the lucky stars for the beautiful weather so we could enjoy lunch on our back porch. It was beautiful and sunny. We felt so loved - most of the Preslars were there and my dad and brother too.  It was a great day. It's so strange to see Cap growing up like he is. He's as tall as me now and just big and funny and fun and occasionally awkward and emotional. We sound right on track, don't we?

It's so fun having these cute babies around. Peter is not included in the group of babies. But he's really fun to have around too. We were sad to say goodbye on Sunday afternoon to all the wonderful family members who came.

Then Halloween. I forgot to mention that Skippidy's class play was that day. The Spider and The Fly. She was a flapper fly. Darling, of course. She sang a little vaudevillian flapper tune that was so dang cute.

Don't ask me what's going on with my bouffant bangs here. No idea.

After school (I WISH it had been a half day!) we headed over to grandma and grandpa's house for the annual trip around their circle. Only the girls came this year - Cap had homework to get done instead. Things are changing, that's for sure!

I didn't think my porch would hold the number of people that it did on Halloween night, but we had a such a nice gathering. Tons of people, tons of soup and bread, tons of cute kids.  The night ended up perfectly - Cap went off with all the big boys. Bitty ended up finding two friends who came to pick her up and that was a real blessing. The girls we thought were coming to the dinner didn't come after all and I was sure she'd be feeling bummed but then this worked out and I was so grateful.

I tagged along with Cap's group for a minute then joined up with Skippidy who was with the younger group. They got SO much candy. It's been two weeks since Halloween and we still have candy all over the whole house.

Here's our pumpkins on Halloween. They were the scariest part of the day!

Well, that's it. I'm going to bed. I still haven't quite recovered from this!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

UEA Weekend Away

For Utah's UEA weekend we decided to hit the road just for two quick nights in St. George and I'm so glad we did. The night before we headed out, my vacation got started a little early with a gal's night out to see one of my favorite singers - Ingrid Michelson. I love you Ingrid. Thanks for singing to me all night long even though there were thousands of other people there too.  We ate delicious salad and tacos at Taqueria 27 downtown before braving the boring standing-up-and-waiting part of concerts. Once the music got started though, it was so fun! Never yield very good pictures, these concert outings, but whatever. I'm posting them.

The next morning the five Preslars hopped into Jarvis for four fun-filled hours of listening to Harry Potter V, the longest and most trying of all the Harry Potters.  It took us the trip down and most of the trip back to finish what we thought was the end of the book. Great book, but so glad that one's over. It's amazing to me that my kids were totally entertained for the entire ride just by Harry! Well, Skippidy checked out for a bit with an iPad and some headphones, but you can hardly blame her. I mean, you know Dolores Umbridge! She's intolerable!

This cute sight between Cap and his cousin happened within minutes of us arriving.  So cute. Cap loves his little cuz. And little Sam tolerated us fairly well!

There is a brand-new park in St. George, the name of which I can not currently remember. Toque....something? Anyway, it's a dinosaur themed park with a splash pad and a huge volcano mountain and it was just flat-out amazing. The kids had so much fun playing, but I was super glad we went for another reason.

As Sheri and I were watching the kids cruise around the park, riding the zip line and scaling the many climbable towers around, I looked across the park and saw a man I was sure I recognized but couldn't quite place. I looked at the people around him and before I could stop myself I realized I was kind of screaming and running across the park as I recognized my dear friend Kathryn - the daughter of the man I recognized.  Kathryn was my dearest friend from my mission. How do I even convey the love I have for this woman? She and I lived in the same house for just one month early on in my mission, and we really bonded. We did splits for one day and she and I just talked and talked and talked as we traveled through Seoul. Some of the stories she told me sounded familiar and I realized that she and I were actually cousins - maybe 2nd or 3rd, I'm not sure. But we're both members of the Cannon family. So not only were we absolutely kindred spirits, but were actual kin as well!

After our missions we spent quite a bit of time together - she saw me through my worst heartbreak, I was staying with her when her darling boyfriend proposed, I went to her wedding in Manti and sang at her wedding breakfast. Like really, I love this woman.  But she is not a big fan of social media and once you're married with kids it gets a little tough to keep up with each other. I hadn't even seen her in about 9 years. What a blessing to be given the chance to find each other and hug and start talking and talking and much has happened in her life, like losing her brother a few years ago to a car accident, and her mom passing away just two weeks before this. I wished we had the whole weekend to really talk, and I need to make sure to keep her in my life. I'm very grateful for that meeting.

Here are her teen boys and nephews hanging out with my teen boy

This park was truly amazing
That evening Sheri and I ditched the kids with our very nice husbands and headed to the witch's night out celebration at a local farm in St. George. We had tasty treats, a raffle in which I won my very own copy of Hocus Pocus, prizes for decorated brooms plus a dance and contest. Fun evening.

Peter and Sheri were leaving on a trip Friday night so we had a quiet evening alone on Friday and left early Saturday - but I'm never sorry to get to spend time with my brother and his family.