Hurricane Henderson 2016

We try to do a Henderson family trip every couple of years but it’s been a while since our last one.  That was Disney World in 2010.  The family has grown significantly since then and it’s becoming more and more of a production to find a date that works for everyone let alone all the logistics to actually get us there.

This year the destination was Mexico and there were 40 of us.  Quinn and Max, the two youngest babies, were the only family members that didn’t come along.

We left Saturday morning and flew into Puerto Vallarta.  The flight there went better than I could have hoped.  Sloan has never had her own seat before.  She doesn’t turn two for one more month, so technically she could have flown as a lap child, but we were SO grateful we didn’t go that route.  We lugged the car seat onto the plane and it was the most relaxing flight we have ever had with her in tow.


We arrived and all boarded our bus to the resort.  Yes – we needed to rent a legit bus to transport us all along with all of our luggage.  Luckily Sloan took a little afternoon nap on the bus ride and was refreshed once we rolled in.  The resort was located in Punta Mita – a new place that Zach and I had never been to in Mexico.  Upon arrival the staff had little good bags for each child – and in Sloan’s good bag was a package of mini marshmallows.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

We didn’t waste any time.  As soon as we checked into our room we were in our swim suits and on our way out to the lazy river.  There were several buildings that made up the resort and ours was called Oasis, because it was on an island surrounded by the lazy river.  We couldn’t have had a better room, location wise.  Just a few yards away from our door was a staircase down into the river.


It was perfect for Sloan.  Not too fast paced and almost completely shaded by palm trees.

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Most nights we had reservations for dinner, but our first night was a “free night”.  We had room service back at our place after our laps around the lazy river and it was actually really great.

Most of the time I don’t get wooed by customer service, but at this place they had me smitten.  We had requested a crib for Sloan and they went all out.  She had her name spelled out in sponges (great bath toys) in the bed along with a plush turtle, baby insect repellent, shampoo and conditioner, wipes, regular diapers, and swim diapers.  They even brought in a diaper Genie and left a basket for her with some chocolate milk and cookies with her name spelled out on them.  She gasped each time she saw something new they had left out for her.

After dinner we tucked Sloan into her bed and Zach and I stayed up late catching up on shows (and sporting events).

Every time we go on a vacation Zach and I always make the same agreement.  This one was no different.  We made a wager that I got to work out each morning at the hotel gym and Zach got to surf every day.  Since I don’t work out on Sundays, I took a day off from the gym and we spent the morning at the resort’s infinity pool.

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We swam until lunch time.  We found a shady spot with a great view and grubbed as we watched the ocean.  Sloan was in heaven.  We all were, really.  Besides – kids ate for free at the resort.  So Sloan had the culinary world at her fingertips – or at least all that the hotel had to offer.


After Sloan’s nap we ventured out again to the Lazy River.  Sloan was settling in nicely to this little routine we had started.img_4210

We had a dinner reservation at Bahia later that evening with a gorgeous view of the beach.  Another amazing thing about the resort was that you could order any beverage for a toddler – and even ask for a sippy cup!  They were completely set up for young kids, which was such a huge perk for Sloan.  img_4197

After dinner the three of us made our way down to the beach before returning back to our room.

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It got dark fast after the sun went down – so we made our way back to our room.

The next morning I hit up the hotel gym while Sloan got breakfast delivered to the room.  Remember, kids ate free…so she had deluxe service each morning.  Besides, she never finished all of her bacon, so Zach had to help her with that.  It was extremely humid and the gym really wore me out.  After a run on the treadmill I returned back to the room.  We got dressed in our suits, grabbed Sloan’s life jacket, and made our way back down to the beach to do some surfing.

All three of us went out and I “attempted” to push them into waves, but I wasn’t doing a very good job.  Zach managed with Sloan on his own when I was out too far and couldn’t touch the bottom any longer.  That’s me, in the background, not succeeding at my task whatsoever…


Sloan loved it.  She wasn’t scared or nervous at all.  Just happy to be doing something different and exciting.


After being out in the ocean for a while we rested on the beach and ordered some drinks.


We decided to head back to the infinity pool to meet up with the majority of the rest of our family.

After Sloan’s nap we did some laps around the lazy river until it was time to get ready for dinner.  We ate at a different restaurant near the pool and it was all very delicious.


You would think that Sloan’s favorite part of the trip would have been surfing or the Lazy River.  Truth be told – we believe it was the golf carts.  Since the resort was so spread out, you could call a golf cart to come and pick you up and take you to wherever you needed to go.  Sloan was in heaven riding to a fro on the golf carts and could have done it all day every day if we would have let her.

We stopped and got some dessert at the Gelato Shack after dinner.


After dinner we changed back into our swimwear and we went back down to the beach.  We found these pods hanging from the steel beams underneath the infinity pool and Sloan loved crawling around inside of them.


She would have ran full speed into the waves if we would have let her.  She has no fear whatsoever and it scares ME to death.

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We stayed until it was time for bed.  By the end of each night, Sloan was absolutely exhausted and slept so well throughout the whole trip.

We continued our ritual each day, and every day being at the gym never got easier.  I attempted BBG in the 78 degree gym and nearly drowned in my own sweat.  The employees inside the gym were even wearing LONG SLEEVED JACKETS!  I could barely breath let alone exercise in that temperature and they were jolly as could be in winter clothing…

We attempted surfing again with Sloan and she loved it even more the second time around.  She stayed out with Zach in the surf for almost 45 minutes while I watched panicking from the shore.  She even barrel-rolled off the board a few times and it didn’t even phase her.  She even lost her binki at one point out in the ocean.  As soon as she found it, though, she wanted back on the board.  She took out her binki and shoved it down deep in her life jacket so if she fell again she wouldn’t lose it.   She is an adrenaline junkie for sure!


I love that she was splashing her hand in the ocean, just content as ever.


After our surf session we went back to the infinity pool for lunch.

We stayed until nap time and once Sloan was snoozing inside in the air-conditioning, we took the monitor out by the Lazy River and enjoyed some time together.


That night was a free night.  Since we didn’t have a reservation, we took a taxi to the next resort over to try a restaurant there.  We ate at the Sea Breeze at the St. Regis and we had the BEST shrimp tacos I’ve ever tasted.  With homemade tortillas and some sort of avocado sauce that tasted like guacamole mixed with crack cocaine.  Just kidding.  But really, it was amazing.  Sloan got a PB&J (toasted) and fruit and sat contently the entire meal.

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The next day we had family pictures scheduled.  We lounged at the pool, hit up the lazy river, and then met everyone else down at the beach.  Thank goodness for the golf carts, or we would have been sweating before we had even arrived…


Sloan wasn’t thrilled about the heat [it was 90 degrees and felt like 90 percent humidity] and we all were a bit fussy.  I died when I saw this first photo…

img_4547 Luckily for the majority of the rest of the photos, Sloan was happy.img_4371

Ok…not these two.  But I’ll take what I can get.  group-1 group-2

After our photo session was all done, we had a beach dinner scheduled.  I’ve never eaten dinner with my toes in the sand.  It was wonderful and it was much needed and relaxing after all the stress of family pictures.fullsizerender-1

They had a live guitarist playing and they even set up a fire pit for s’mores afterwards.


Sloan and I went back to the room when she started to fall asleep in her high chair [that some sweet waiter carted all the way down through the sand to our table – bless him!] and I got her all ready for bed.

The next day we had no plans other than our little routine.  I had stopped at the resort’s boutique gift shop to get Zach and I some sodas when I saw the Flamingo floaty.  It was one of those things you just can’t pass up.

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Sloan spent the rest of the day floating in Felicia (named by Lori) with a sippy cup and fruit snacks.


We had dinner that night all together at the resort’s Asian restaurant – which was our favorite of all of the meals we had there.  Afterwards we all went down to the beach.  We were scheduled to release some baby sea turtles into the ocean.  Each family got their own box and the staff told us all about the process and why it’s so important not to interfere and to be extra soft and gentle with the turtles.  I was amazed at how brave Sloan was with those little wiggly things.  She insisted on holding them herself – but wasn’t very gentle in “releasing” them.  It was more like tossing them.  Let’s hope a few of ours survived and didn’t suffer from blunt force trauma.

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It was my favorite night of the trip.  Afterwards we walked up and down the beach with Sloan and my sister-in-law caught some great photos of us (thank you Siri).  The sunsets were like this each night – bright and bold.  The sky was so orange, which made the ocean look even more blue.

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The next day was our last full day.  I went to the gym and on my way, spotted the infinity pool completely deserted.  It was beautiful.


Later, Zach and his brothers tried their hand at the water power board and Zach loved it.


It was a free night for dinner – so we decided to go back to the Asian restaurant for a second round.  Sloan even had her very first brownie sundae for dessert and refused to let them take the plate – even when there was nothing but melted ice cream and chocolate sauce left over.  We perused the gift shops afterwards and Sloan touched everything within her reach.img_4520

We kept telling Sloan it was our last day and that tomorrow we would be going home.  She wasn’t thrilled about the idea, and spent the last evening cuddled up in our bed with us.

Saturday Zach did a little morning surf session and I went on a run.  We all showered up, ordered room service for lunch, and then packed our bags to go home.  Our whole crew boarded the bus and were off to the airport in pretty good time.  We were worried because our drive to the airport took a lot longer than expected.  Luckily security in Mexico is a lot different than in the US.  We were through their TSA in less than 5 minutes.  The flight went a lot faster than I expected also and Sloan did pretty good considering she skipped nap time and her dinner was technically 6 different types of snacks I had packed in my carry on.  Once we arrived back home, customs went pretty quickly as well.  We were really blessed, considering our large party, how smoothly everything went.  All thanks to Gina’s meticulous planning and us hustling our butts to and fro to make things happen.

We love being with the Hendersons.  We always have the best time and make some amazing memories.  One of my favorite things to watch is Sloan’s cousins and how they interact with her.  They are all so sweet and playful with her.  She doesn’t know it yet – but she is SO lucky to have 25+ other cousins to grow up with.  Our future family vacations will only get busier and louder, but honestly…that’s part of the joy in it.  Thank you Mark and Jeanene for another wonderful time together, we love you!





Conference Weekend

A few months ago Zach and his brothers planned a “Sports Trip” aka boys weekend going to every sport possible and it landed on Conference weekend.  He left Friday and Sloan and I wasted no time kicking off our girl’s weekend, just the two of us.  First we hit up Cross E Ranch, in North Salt Lake.  Sloan thought it was a huge hit.  The slide, the corn pit, the tractor rides.
img_4552Of all the activities – Sloan loved the tractor the best.  The sweetest employee at the ranch even gave her a private ride on the big red tractor.  It was the highlight of our visit.
img_3927 I was finding corn kernels all over the car and our house for DAYS afterwards.  img_3938 img_3902

Not in order – but still important – I got to go out with a few of the ladies in my neighborhood for a Girls’ Night this week as well to the Dodo.  Any excuse to be with friends and eat their turkey sandwich and I’m in!
img_3879 Sloan also got her first hair cut.  Some would argue it was unnecessary…but it needed to be trimmed up and evened out.  She did so great.  She literally barely moved a muscle.  I can’t decide if she was nervous or if she was holding me to my promise of an ice cream cone if she behaved.  Either way, I was so proud of her.  img_3889Saturday came and we had zero plans during the day other than watching conference.  So that’s what we did.  While I was prepping Sloan some snacks for our long haul – I turned around and noticed she had grabbed a blanket and was already curled up on the couch watching.  Let it be known that she lasted ALL FOUR SESSIONS of conference.  If she wasn’t watching, she was playing quietly nearby.

We also made blood splatter cookies [from the Cutler’s recipe] and delivered them to some of Sloan’s friends around our neighborhood.  It didn’t occur to me until we had already dropped them off them off that it might be a little creepy to give a bunch of kids under the age of 6 bloody ANYTHING.  They were really good, though.  So hopefully that made up for the gruesomeness.
img_3979We have a serious influx of crayons at our house.  Sloan goes through a box of crayons faster than a box of goldfish crackers.  They are either broken or unwrapped and THEN broken or lost within days of buying a new box.  So instead of feeding this bad crayon habit we have – I decided to melt down all the broken pieces in the microwave and make some gem crayons.  Sloan loves them (especially the fact that they change colors often) and they are even easier for her to hold because of the size.

I loved Conference so much.  My favorite session being the morning session on Saturday, but all of it was wonderful.  I’m so grateful that Sloan was so well behaved and enjoyed listening [especially to the choir] along with me so I could feel the spirit and enjoy all of the messages.

Before we left for our family trip we had a rainy day.  It just felt right to have chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Sloan had never had chicken noodle soup and thought it was the most amazing thing she had ever tasted.
img_3997 I also tried a new taco recipe [mostly because I was getting so amped to go to Mexico] and love how they turned out.  Mahi mahi grilled tacos with cabbage and mango and avocado salsa.  img_4012

Zach had a fantastic time on his trip with this brothers and brother-in-laws.  They went to three sporting events in three days and were back in time for work on Monday.


It was just a snippet of family time before all 40 Hendersons left for our family trip to Mexico.


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I’ve been trying to keep up this month, but obviously not doing a very good job.  September is my favorite month.  It’s still warm, but the nights are cool.  It’s Zach’s Birthday.  Pumpkin spice everything starts to show up.  How can you NOT love this month?  We’ve been busy, and even as I type this I can’t believe it is the 27th already.

We visited my grandpa recently.  Sloan took it upon herself to organize the contents of my grandpa’s fridge – including all the root beer cans which she lined up in various places around the living room.  We had lunch and visited for a while until it was time to go home for Sloan’s nap.  img_3827Girlfriend couldn’t hang, though.  She fell asleep 5 minutes into the drive home.

I’ve been trying to get more organized around my house.  My closet has turned into a BLACK HOLE.  I’ve made an effort to clean it out every so often, so I did a little purge – which meant Sloan got to play dress up.  At one point she had four of my old wrist watches on…


The morning of the Utah vs BYU game there was a Stake Preparedness Fair.  We weren’t planning on attending, but Sloan joined me for a run on the trail and saw the Bouncy Castle from a mile away.  I had no choice but to let her bounce her brains out with all the other kids…

That night Zach and I had a date at the BYU game.  I managed so sneak in my contraband:  a can of Diet Coke and a giant box of RED RAGEOUS Mike & Ikes (I have only found them at Harmon’s…M&I are my favorite candy and I only like the red colored ones…so it was like the heavens were smiling down on me when I spotted them) and I enjoyed the game at Zach’s side.  It was a typical rivalry game.  A rowdy crowd, hilarious comments, tensions were VERY high.  img_3669

I can confidently say it was one of my least favorite games I have ever been to.  It was almost unbearable to watch (the Utes played terrible, and dare I say it…didn’t really deserve the win) but we persevered and the Utes barely escaped with a win!

Sunday my cousin blessed her baby boy at their house.  Sloan’s reward for not bombarding the circle during the actual blessing was a taste of Tori’s homemade cupcakes.


Sloan’s been really into smoothies lately.  Her dad got her hooked on Jamba Juice while I was away in Park City with the Hendo girls.  So I decided to amp up our smoothie game with some pre-made pouches.  That and the fact that I am terrible with produce.  Fresh fruit and veggies die so quickly in my house.  So freezing them in baggies made me feel better about them not going to waste!


Sloan can barely wait to get her hands on her smoothie in the morning.  img_3663


One Friday night a few weeks ago, I signed Zach and I up for a cooking class.  I figured for all the football games I had been to – he owed me this.  (Is that a rude thing to say?  Maybe.)  He wasn’t too thrilled, but later found out the theme of the class was “Japanese Steakhouse” and was suddenly ALL about it.  All the way there he told me how he knew the secret to the rice, he knew the technique for the steak.  I could barely contain my laughter.  He was more excited than I was!

We had a fantastic time.  We learned how to make potstickers, shrimp, steak and vegetables, and fried rice. img_3831 img_3733

Zach was in heaven and even let me go purchase a few of the tools and supplies we needed to make all of it at home.  Have you ever cooked with a pair of silicone tongs?  Go get some.  Game changer!

Sloan’s been a serious daddy’s girl the last week or so.  She can barely wait for him to walk through the door come 5:00 pm.  It makes me so happy to see her light up when he comes smiling through.  She squeezes her little arms (and eyes) so tight when she hugs him.


We got to go out on another date night to celebrate Zach’s birthday.  Sushi and a movie – always his choice every time.  We saw Sully, and if you haven’t seen it yet – GO!  It was fantastic.


With the weather being all over the place, Sloan and I have been experimenting with running trail routes.  Usually we go on the same route, which is not very long (over two miles for me is really hard with the jogging stroller).  But I pushed hard one morning and found a new route even Sloan is obsessed with.  I call it the Tour de Parks.  We run as far north on the trail as we can (just over three miles) until we get to a little secluded park just off of the trail.  We play until Sloan gets bored and then we run back – stopping at every park on the way.  I counted once.  If you count the park at the end of my street – Sloan and I pass SIX parks on this route.  So usually we stop at three or so on the way back.  It’s a win-win:  I get some exercise and she gets some serious play time.



With an upcoming Hendo family trip around the corner (where I will be in a bathing suit for 7 days) I have been trying to eat healthier.  I’ve got a great arsenal of meals down for meal prep and can make 16+ meals in about an hour!


I am obsessed with this ground turkey + jasmine rice + marinara recipe (which sounds awful, but is actually my favorite) that I could eat every day if I had the choice!  We’ll see if I am even close to beach ready in a few weeks.

I did have a major cheat meal, however, when Sloan and I stopped to get some fresh local peaches a few weeks ago.  For Sunday dinner we made forbidden rice, tri tip, roasted rainbow carrots, and crock pot peach cobbler.  It was off the hook, very easy, and even Sloan loved it!  Well, mostly the peach cobbler topped with ice cream, but still.  It was Halo Top ice cream, though.  So it was healthIER?


With winter approaching fast, I am trying to get some creative ideas to help Sloan stay entertained once we have to be cooped up inside.  She is so used to going to the park every day, she might go stir crazy when it gets too cold.  So I’ve been playing around with some artistic activities and painting has been a hit for her!



At least we will have ONE thing to do once the snow is here.  I have to carry her kicking and whining away from the watercolors when it’s time to be done.

This last weekend Zach and I had our regular date night and enjoyed fish tacos at Lone Star and did some shopping for snowboarding gear.


We got geared up for the season and Zach’s already itching to take Sloan up as soon as the slopes are open.  He’s going to put his birthday present to good use this year!

Sloan is obsessed with church.  Every time we pass a church on a drive around our neighborhood she will point and shout “CHU CH” at the top of her lungs.  She is so wild in sacrament meeting that we cringe every time we have to take her to nursery.  We usually last anywhere from 7 minutes to 25 minutes these days in sacrament before we are roaming the halls or coloring in a room near by to keep her contained.

img_3821 But then while in nursery, I get photos like this from the singing time leader…img_3822My child NEVER sits still, let alone on a chair by herself.  She must really love nursery if she’s willing to behave that well.  I really don’t get it.  She is crazy town for Zach and I…but an angel as soon as she walks through the door of the nursery room.

It’ been fun to watch Sloan get so excited about our house being decorated for Halloween (oh yes – I put decorations up a few weeks go).  She is obsessed with pumpkins and points to each and every one she spots.  I bought her this teeny tiny guy at the grocery store late one night and surprised her the next morning with it.  It made her whole day!


She is going to LOVE all the activities coming up for the actual holiday.  Her little mind is going to explode when she sees all the pumpkins at the pumpkin patch!


Labor Day Weekend 2016

The week leading up to Labor Day snuck up on me.  Traditionally – Zach and I go on a trip for his birthday.  But this year we changed it up.  Every year the Hendo girls go up to Swiss Days in Midway and spend the week up in Park City.  We had a slow relaxing week leading up to it [with the busyness of the last few weeks, it was so nice to be home].  I taught Sloan how to make bread and she thought it was incredible.  She was in charge of the mixing and took it very seriously…
fullsizerender-2breadzShe is a girl after my own heart.  We both share a love of carbohydrates.  I let her pick out a new notebook (she’s on a coloring kick right now) and gave her all the options.  Dolphins, unicorns, kittens.  She picked the pizza notebook with heart pepperonis.
fullsizerender-3We enjoyed the bread all week long.  It’s never as good as it is right out of the oven, but we weren’t complaining.  img_3434

Thursday was the first Utah Football game of the season.  Sloan and I had to go down to Highland for a design consult and afterwards we spent some time at the outlets at Traverse Mountain.  I found the most INCREDIBLE shirt that read “YAY GO SPORTS” but Zach wouldn’t let me wear it to the game.  He said it was kind of cynical and I HAD to wear Ute Gear.  So that was that – he won.img_3478

Also, the Utes won – so all was right in Zach’s world.  But mark my words – I will be wearing that shirt in the near future.

Right after the Utah game was over I met up with Gina, Zach’s sister, and we drove up to Park City for our girls weekend.  We made a pit stop for some Diet Coke and a shake and some fries from Iceberg, and then made our way up to meet everyone else at the hotel.  We got in late, but more than half of our group had already arrived.  Rachael and baby Quinn and Lori were already waiting for us.  The next morning the four and a half of us girls did our damage at Swiss Days.  I’ve never been a big fan of Swiss Days…but then I had a baby.  Fur pom pom hats, rompers, and athleisure wear for little ones are too hard to pass up.  We shopped from 7:30 until lunch time where we all met at a new place called the Back 40.  Quinn and I loved our meal. img_3633

Can’t go wrong with a giant mason jar of diet coke and some shrimp tacos! img_3486

By lunchtime we had met up with Siri, our sister-in-law, and we all set off for the parade of homes.  We hit #13 and #12 first in the Midway area.

Number 13 was my very favorite.  The modern farmhouse was an absolute dream.  screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-1-35-13-pmimg_3487 screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-1-35-44-pm

The Parade of Homes is a tricky one for me.  It makes me inspired and depressed at the same time.  It also makes me want to spend an obscene amount of money redecorating all of the rooms in my house.  BUT Zach and I have decided that we aren’t going to spend any money aesthetically inside our home for a while.  At least until we can figure out where we are going to be in the next 5 years or so.  So I had to watch from afar and dream of the forever far away future.

Number 12 represented one of my favorites – Jackson and Leroy – but I still liked the design of 13 better.  I mean, I’d take either of these homes, don’t get me wrong, but you can be totally picky when you are a guest due to the Parade of Homes!

Afterwards we made our way back to our hotel to change so that we could go to dinner.  J&G Grill at the St. Regis never disappoints.  I’m a huge fan and probably will be for life.  After dinner we went back to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised when one of the hotel lounges had live music – a former contestant on the Voice.  He was amazing and even took a few of our requests.


Saturday was my favorite.  We slept in and as soon as we were up Gina and I went on a trail run.  I almost threw up trying to keep up with her, no joke.  But it was so enjoyable and the leaves were changing all around us.  I wish I would have brought my phone to take a snap of the colors.  After our run I made Gina stop at the hotel bakery for a bran muffin (I am addicted and even once called the hotel to get the recipe – which they do not give out, apparently) and after we went to a pilates class offered at the hotel.  It was nice and relaxing.  I never take advantage of free fitness classes offered at hotels, but I am going to start from now on!  Meanwhile – Siri and Kristi (our newest addition) browsed some more at Swiss Days. Gina and I ate lunch down at the hotel and Rachael and baby Quinn left to go home.  We all met up later back in our rooms to get ready to go to the outlets.  We did our time at Tangar and then drove to dinner at the Riverhorse on Main Street.  Another gem of a restaurant, as always.  The red trout is OFF THE HOOK.  (See that little joke I made?  Fish…hook?)


After dinner we rushed off to catch a movie.  The Light Between Oceans – don’t plan on seeing it unless you are ok with full-on ugly crying multiple times.  I had to hold in physical sobs at the end so that I wouldn’t disturb all the people around me.  Great for a chick flick – but don’t even THINK about bringing your husband.  He will die a little inside.  

After all eyes were dry we made it back to our hotel.  We went through the lounge and happened upon the wedding celebration that was going on.  There was a back area (blocked behind curtains) where we got to enjoy the music.  Wedding crashers?  Only behind curtains, of course.


That’s when Gina had her brilliant idea.  And we would later discover that the timing could not have been more perfect.  After tasting said bran muffins – she suggested we go down and ask her “friend” for the recipe.  Ok, he’s not REALLY her friend, but someone she has worked with a bunch through the hotel reservations.  We decided to give it a try.  We made our way down to the front desk and asked for her illusive friend.  He wasn’t working and wouldn’t be until 2 pm the next day (and we’d already be checked out by then).  So I made my plea to the sweet man that was there.  He explained that the kitchen was closed and he couldn’t talk to the chef until the morning.  Granted, it was REALLY late and he was just manning his post.  We kept on prodding him and more people from the hotel staff joined in on all the excitement (mostly noise, from me).  Randomly, and sharply dressed man walked over to the front desk.  He had a pocket square and Gucci shoes, so I should have known he was the real deal right from the second I could smell his cologne.  He waked right over when I was talking about the “top secret recipe” (mind you, I had nicknamed it that ever since the man in the food service department shut me down) so the timing could not have been better.  This sweet guy, named Victorio, walked right up to me and said, “nothing we have here is secret, what do you want?”  He was the freaking RESORT MANAGER!  What are the odds?  I told him about the bran muffins and how I longed to know how and what they were made from.  He went right in the back and after a few minutes had a print-out of the recipe and a copy for each of us.  I was so happy I hugged him.  I asked his permission to hug him, obviously, and he let me.  And he smelled really good.  Like someone who owns Gucci shoes should smell.  He made me promise we would use the recipe to “sell or give out” and I PLEDGE to do so forever until my dying days.  I’ve already made them – and they are just as dreamy from the comfort of my kitchen island as they are in the hotel.  I was so ecstatic that I texted Zach (way later than I should have – but luckily he was watching the BYU game with a friend at our house) and told him all about it.  He knew how much I loved those muffins and was enthused for me.  Truth be told he was even more enthused when I made them and he got to enjoy them for his breakfasts.

We turned in late, but visions of bran muffin fairies were dancing in my head.

The next morning our whole crew went for a run/hike.  We did the same round Gina and I took the previous morning.  It was gorgeous weather and even though a few of us got separated, we all made it to the top together.



We rode the chair lift down and got another amazing view of all the leaves starting to change.  We had to check out quickly, so we showered and packed up as fast as possible before heading out to lunch.  Sammy’s Bistro – get the mahi mango salad – was wonderful.  Lori and Kristi had to head back home so Gina, Siri, and I set off to take a tour of a few more homes in Park City.  We hit three more, all beautiful, before heading back home.

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It was such a wonderful weekend – Swiss Days is definitely not my thing, but how can you complain with good company, amazing food, and some hilarious memories?  It couldn’t have been more fun.

I missed Zach and Sloan, though, and couldn’t wait to get back to them.  I spent Sunday night reading books on repeat to Sloan before she had to go to bed.

Monday was the holiday, so we spent it lounging around the house.  I let Zach sleep in (much deserved after watching Sloan by himself for three straight days) while Sloan and I crushed our to-do list.  I made tin foil dinners for that evening along with the secret bran muffins.

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Sloan had a great nap and afterwards we all met my parents up Millcreek Canyon for dinner and s’mores.  Sloan didn’t care for her tinfoil dinner, but she was all about the mallows!

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It was a great weekend.  I’ve been waiting for September to roll round for months, and it’s finally here!  We’re going to take full advantage of the cooler temps and enjoy Utah and all of it’s fall scenery.  Thank you Hendo girls [missing Jeanene and Katie] for a great time!


Bear Lake 2016

I’m a few weeks behind, but I’ll get there.  Rewind to a couple of weeks ago…

I’ve been meal prepping again.  I’m just not meant to be thin.  I have to eat clean[er] and exercise regularly or I can’t maintain my current weight.  I’ve just accepted it and decided to just own it.  Luckily, Sloan has found a couple meals of mine that she likes as well – and we can share them for lunches.  I’m lucky she’s not super picky, but that very well may change one day…img_3311

Sometimes I feel like I’m back in grade school again, but you HAVE to copy Starbuck’s protein boxes.  They are one of my go-to’s right now.


We went up to Bear Lake over the weekend with my family [and a few other families as well] and Sloan and I decided to leave early on Friday so that we could make it up there before her bed time.  Usually we leave after Zach gets home from work – but that means we aren’t getting up to the cabin until 9/10.  So Sloan and I left at noon (Zach rode up with my mom and brother and sister-in-law) and she fell asleep for her nap right when we rolled into Logan.


That meant we couldn’t stop at Grist Mill – but there are plenty other opportunities for that, I suppose.  I’ll make her go with me in the near future.

Once we arrived I unpacked all of our gear and got Sloan’s bed set up.  People started showing up just in time for dinner.  My aunt snapped this picture of Sloan and it’s one of my favorites from the whole trip.


We lounged around and ventured outside until it was time to put Sloan down for bed.  My aunt, uncle, and cousin had arrived – but my family still hadn’t made it up yet.  Sloan loved having my aunt around to help with bath/bedtime.  I tucked her in and she was out before the sun even went down.


My dad, Logan – then Zach, my mom, Blake, and Brittany arrived later that night.  Not long after another aunt, uncle, and a few cousins joined us as well.  We stayed up late eating snacks and braiding each other’s hair.  Literally.  My aunt’s braid game is STRONG.  I felt like Khloe Kardashian.


The next morning Sloan was up at her usual time – around 7:30.  I’m sure all of the other house guests LOVED their early morning wake-up call.  But it didn’t take long for her energy to fizzle out.  She hadn’t even made it out of her pajamas before she wanted a good cuddle. fullsizerender

We played for a while down at the beach and then Sloan went down hard for a nap.


When she woke up we went for a drive to get some comfort food and raspberry shakes.  Zach got a corn dog to go and Sloan and I shared a raspberry shake.  How have I never tried battered fries until this trip?  I feel so foolish!

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When we got back a few of us went on a run on the boat while Sloan stayed back running my mom and aunts ragged.  The three boys – Blake, Zach, and Logan – all wakeboarded together…and nobody got seriously hurt!


I wish I would have taken a few more photos, especially some of our whole crew, but it was a blast to be with so many different families in such a beautiful place.  I’m so grateful my parents are kind enough [and patient enough] to share it with us.  There is something about summers up at Bear Lake – and the sunsets – that make the freezing cold water and longer drive SO worth it!



LP with the Fotheringhams

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No, this is not a repeat post:  we really did go to Lake Powell twice within a month – this time with my family!  I had a crazy week leading up to the Thursday when we left.  I had a “perfect storm” work situation on Wednesday and Zach, sensing my stress level was high, let me go get a manicure and pedicure the night before we left.  Because he’s amazing.  I rewarded him by stopping through the drive-thru at Swig for  Dirty Dr Pepper on my way home.  IMG_3115

We left Thursday around lunchtime and Sloan slept for over an hour in the car in lieu of nap time.  Considering it is a 7 hour drive to Page, AZ on average – we were thrilled she got a decent nap in.  We made a few stops along the way, but made it to LP in record time!  6 hours, almost on the nose.  When we arrived at our rental house [this is something new to us, we usually stay in a hotel] we were blown away by the location.  You could see the dam from the back screen door – along with wild bunnies roaming the grass of the back yard.  bunnies

My parents, brother, and sister-in-law showed up an hour or so after we arrived.  The ladies went to the grocery store to stock up for lunches and dinner, while the men ordered pizza back at the house for dinner.

The next morning Sloan was up bright and early – and we all got fed and out the door around 8:30.  We were on the water quickly and set out through the channel to find a good spot to spend the day. Sloan and I driving


We had lunch on the water and Sloan got to go tubing with everyone – literally every single member of the family.  Fist pumping and all…IMG_3188

She even took a short nap while I held her as we traveled through the channel. sloan sleeping on boat



By the end of the day – Sloan was wiped.  She had enough fun in the sun to last her the whole week.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am that she doesn’t hate her life jacket…sloan passed out on boat
That night we pulled off the lake and went to dinner at the local Mexican restaurant.  It was surprisingly good – definitely better than previous dining experiences there.  We put Sloan down for bed once we were home and then spent the rest of the night eating ice cream and watching the Olympics.

The next day we set off for Navajo Canyon.  We decided to give Sloan a try skiing again – even though I was more nervous than ever considering it was behind a boat this time and not a jet ski.  To up the ante even more…it was in the middle of a canyon and not in a quiet little cove.  She wasn’t thrilled at first [she thought that getting off the boat meant she could play on this giant rock island we had pulled up to] but as soon as we got her secured in the ski, my dad sped up and she was as happy as could be.IMG_3227

I wish her smile was more visible beneath he pacifier – I forgot to take it out beforehand – because it really does make her very happy.  At one point she even let go of one hand and was riding cowboy style with a hand in the air. IMG_3229

We took a dip to stay cool after lunch, and Sloan was in heaven.

I even got to slalom ski – which I haven’t done in about 4 years.  I was just pleased to get up, it is harder than I remember it being a while back. IMG_3236

We didn’t make it too much farther up the canyon until we had a little mechanical issue with the boat.  We spent some time swimming while my dad and brother tried to fix the issue – but we didn’t have any luck.  Luckily, a friendly group of people towed us back to a giant sand bar where we tried to radio into the marina for some assistance.  We didn’t catch anyone – so Zach, Sloan, and I rode back to the marina with that friendly group to send help back to my family in Navajo Canyon.  I was so grateful to that group of people who were kind enough to take us back.  It would have been a long evening stranded on the lake with a hangry toddler if it weren’t for them.  Once we got back to the marina – Sloan and I went back to the house while Zach rode back to Navajo Canyon with a complete stranger he talked [and bribed] into towing my dad’s boat back to Antelope Point.  Sloan and I knew the crew would be exhausted by the time they got back, so before I put her down for bed we ran to Walmart to buy some supplies to make homemade bread.  By the time everyone was back at the house – Sloan was bathed and asleep and I had started dinner.  We were all starving, so steaks, wedge salads, baked potatoes, and homemade bread definitely hit the spot.

The next morning we loaded up and set off for home again.  Sloan was an absolute dream for the 7 hour drive home – as long as we were in the car.  Once we stopped for lunch or bathroom breaks, she let loose and ran absolutely wild in the gas stations.  Like a caged animal.  But as soon as we were back in the car, she was as cool as a cucumber.


I’m really grateful for this tradition.  I basically grew up on this lake – and coming here every summer with my family left some me with some of my very favorite memories.  I’m so glad Sloan will be able to create memories of her own.  Maybe not THIS year…but in years to come.