September

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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.
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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…

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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…
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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!
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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.

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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?)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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

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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.
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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.

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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.

 

Back For a Bit

It was nice to sleep in our own beds after being gone for nearly a week in Lake Powell.  Sloan slept in until 9:30 am the morning we got back.  I had to finally go in and wake her up.  Once we were home we all got back into the swing of things.  Zach and I got to have a Date Night mid week after returning home.  We went back to TOPGOLF, where we had an absolute blast.  I was hesitant – because it was 100 degrees outside – but we couldn’t have had more fun. shot

Since being back from LP – I’ve been in a total funk in terms of diet and exercise.  It’s because I bought two containers of Benny and Jerry’s Salted Caramel CORE and polished them off BY MYSELF within this short week and a half period.  It won best ice cream of 2016 – so I gave it a try.  I was hooked after my first bite, I’ll be honest.  So after that whole fiasco I had to get back into a groove again.  I’ve been trying to eat more protein lately.  I find it is easiest to cram it in during breakfasts and found the BEST recipe.  Chicken, sweet potatoes, one egg topped with avocado, cheese, and pico.  It’s a game changer.  shot 1Now if I could just convince this cool chick to eat more protein.  Eggs and grilled chicken are her only compromises so far – but she does eat better if she’s wearing my sunglasses.  Serious.
IMG_2942Zach and I are grilling as much food as possible before the weather starts to get cooler.  We’ve tried a bunch of different things, but our favorite has been grilled shrimp with pineapple salsa.  Topped on sweet corn on the cob:  B O M B!IMG_2941Last Saturday we got to go out for dinner at Caffe Molisse and later saw Bad Moms.  It was actually pretty good.  Zach was the only guy in the theater – but could totally relate to all the mom jokes.  But really…he had popcorn so he could have watched the Little Mermaid and would have been completely content. FullSizeRender Speaking of moms…my friend Whitney became a mom of three recently.  THREE.  Her little Fin is the sweetest – and we got to spend lunch with them this last week.  It was great to spend some time with a few of my girlfriends – and Sloan didn’t hurt [or have much interest in, actually] the new baby.  So that’s a success! IMG_2967 Sloan has been a bit of a cuddle bug lately.  I have a feeling it is because she is going to be getting a few more teeth soon – but I’ll take it regardless.  She’s really into holding hands right now.  It is my favorite.  IMG_2971 Thursday evening I got a call asking if we’d feed the sister missionaries on Friday night.  I had already planned an Olympic themed dinner for the Opening Ceremonies that night – so I figured, why not?  Zach and I were already going to order Cafe RIO [because the Olympics are in Rio, of course] and I was going to get out some festive decor.  Also, there were Olympic cookies…IMG_3019The best part of the whole story was that I had to call the sisters we were feeding to get their food order.  I told the sister all about my plan:  we would eat take out and watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  First, she had no idea that the Opening Ceremonies were even this weekend – and then informed me that they can’t watch TV.  Obviously, I knew this – but it completely skipped my mind amongst all the excitement of the actual event.  It made a lot of sense why she didn’t seem excited for my whole plan of activities.  But that didn’t stop me from getting out the garb and hanging it from the ceiling…
IMG_3026 When the sisters showed up – they were totally flattered that I had thrown this all together for them.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I had already planned it for just the three of us.  But I was worried they would feel left out – so I gave them red white and blue scarves to wear.  Correction:  forced them to wear.  It wasn’t until half way through our meal that I found out that the third sister on the right had only been out in the field for THREE days.  The poor thing was green as could be – from Papa New Guinea – and probably thought we were just the most annoying Americans ever in our USA t-shirts.IMG_3035

That night we stayed up way too late watching the Rio opening ceremonies after Sloan went to bed.  The next morning I got an early morning run in before the three of us went out and about.  We started at City Creek.  We did some shopping and had lunch at the food court.  IMG_3069 We must have worn Sloan right out – because she could barely stay awake during a family cuddle sesh upon returning home. IMG_3072 That night Zach and I had our Date Night – this time we went to Park City for some outlet shopping [which was a total bust, but fun nonetheless] and then had dinner at the J&G Grill.  I had the halibut and it was the best fish I’ve had.  Ever.  Like, I could eat this fish for every meal for the rest of my life.  IMG_3086We haven’t slowed down much since being home – especially considering we are leaving for Lake Powell again with my family in a few days.  So until then we are hitting up the park as much as we can.
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LP with the Hendersons / 2016

We left for Lake Powell Wednesday around lunchtime.  Zach got off work early and we got my car all loaded up an were on the road just after noon.  30 minutes into our drive Sloan passed out.  I’m grateful she got a nap in, because we had a 6+ hour drive ahead of us.  We only stopped TWICE, which will go down in the record books as the most efficient drive to LP…ever.  We made it to Antelope Point just as the sun was about to go down.  We managed to flag a cart and get all our stuff loaded on our houseboat in less than 30 minutes!  We unloaded all of our gear and got Sloan ready for bed in our room.  At the genius suggestion of my friend Lindsey, we brought an inflatable sleeping bag/mattress for Sloan to sleep on (the pack n play was too large to fit next to our bed in our room).  It worked like a charm and she was down for bed before the other two families joined us on our boat.

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We unloaded the rest of the food and all of our coolers while the sun was setting.  Sunsets at Lake Powell are incredible.

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Everyone soon arrived (8 families total) and we all settled in for the night at the marina.

The next morning the two houseboats, along with Zach’s brother Tony’s boat with his family, made our way to Face Canyon to our camp site where Mark and Jeanene were waiting for us.

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It was nearly a 3 hour ride to Face Canyon – but Sloan was completely entertained being in a new environment.  When we arrived all the men worked on getting the houseboats anchored.  Not long after Zach decided use one of the jet skis to teach Sloan how to ski.  He was the driver, I was on the back – ready to jump in when she inevitably would fall.  I’ll admit:  I was a nervous wreck.  The handle bar Zach had made using PVC pipe seemed to keep Sloan really sturdy, so that eased my worries a bit.  I used our GoPro to film her first attempt.  Her uncle Sean sat in the water with her until it was go time, and with no trouble at all she popped right up on top of the water.

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She wouldn’t stop smiling, and it was apparent how much she loved it.  I screamed obnoxiously the entire ride.  I still can’t get over how well she did.  My biggest concern was her falling, and she didn’t even flinch.  When we had made a few laps around our little cove we whipped her back around to the beach and her uncle Sean was right there to catch her.

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Her cousins were pumped for her and everyone wanted to take a turn!  So afterwards her cousin Jake took a spin.  He did great, but upon falling into the water took the PVC handle bar with him.  It sunk to the bottom of the lake – and if you’ve even been to Lake Powell you know how unpredictable it can be in terms of depth.  It was down and it was deep.  I was disappointed.  I knew she wouldn’t be able to ski anymore.  Zach convinced me to let her try it with just the rope handle bar that came with the ski.  I was even more nervous the second time around, especially without the “sturdy” handlebar.  Well wouldn’t you know it…she got right up again, without that stupid PVC handlebar.

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I think this whole experience made me realize that I am a wuss parent.  I always worry so much that I find myself holding her back from things like this.  I’ve decided that I’m going to be the safety manager in this parenting partnership, but not keep her from doing things that she is completely capable of doing.  She is a thrill seeker, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Except pray REALLY hard that she stays safe and that I keep a life jacket/pads/helmet on her and whatever else it takes.

The rest of our first day was spent swimming, eating, and being together with all of Zach’s family.  The kids used all the cheese flavored snacks to catch fish – and they were nothing but successful!

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After dinner we bathed Sloan in the lake for her first time.  I’ve dreamt for a long time of the days when I could snuggle my own baby in a lifejacket on a rocking boat, or shampooing their hair out in the lake.  I grew up at Lake Powell – every summer for almost every year of my life.  The fact that Zach’s family also has this tradition makes me heart so happy, I can’t even tell you.

We got Sloan tucked into her blow-up bed and spent the “golden hour” together.  Zach and I took a jet ski out in the sunset.  We brought the baby monitor again, and Zach’s mom was kind enough to listen for Sloan while we played in the evenings.

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Day two brought us more skiing for Sloan.  We did it almost every day we were there (except Sunday) and she couldn’t get enough.  She would cry her eyes out when someone else wanted a turn and she had to wait to ski again.  Zach’s brother Tony recovered the handle bar down deep in the water with some scuba goggles and Sloan was back in action.

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Sloan loved being with her cousins, most of all.  She enjoyed playing with them, eating with them, spying over their shoulders to see whatever they were doing on their iPads.  It was non-stop fun and excitement for her.

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During Sloan’s nap time Zach got to go surfing with his brothers on Tony’s boat.

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When Sloan woke up from her nap, she was treated to a kayak ride with her dad, aunt Gina, and cousin Charlie.

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We ate dinner and after we got Sloan all ready for bed and tucked in, Zach and I went on a sunset paddle board ride.

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Once we got back and all washed up, the adults played a Henderson favorite, “Wolf”.  Hendersons LOVE their games.  (I had never heard of Werewolf until I married into Zach’s family…)

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The next morning a group of us went out for a spin on Mark’s ski boat to do some wake boarding.  A few of us, including myself, got to try our hand.  I haven’t wakeboard since I was 21 weeks pregnant, so it was really enjoyable to get out there again.

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Sloan loved being on the boat, as long as it was going full speed.  I’m still surprised she didn’t hate her life jacket.  She kept it on without a  single complaint. IMG_2839

Later we all loaded up in the various boats and made our way back to Antelope Point for some dinner at the marina’s pizza restaurant.  We all left with ice cream – even Sloan got her own min swirl cup.

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By the time we made it back to our campsite, it was time to get Sloan bathed and ready for bed.  She had had a long day and was totally beat.

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She was all smiles when it came to bath time. IMG_2807

I tucked her into bed and she was out within minutes – and continued to sleep through all of the excitement of our adult game night.

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The next morning we started off with a jet ski ride to a shady spot nearby our campsite.  Despite Sloan’s expression, she loved every second.  Until we stopped.  She wanted to keep moving.  She has a need for speed, I guess.

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Sloan and Zach also had a little swim sesh afterwards to cool off [Sunday was by far the hottest day].

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We also got a family photo – with our whole crew – before Tony and Katie and their kids left to go home.  Can you believe we all survived with this many people?

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It got windy and overcast later in the afternoon – so I strapped Sloan in the Ergo and the three of us went on a little hike for a good view.

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Soon it was time for dinner, Sloan’s bedtime routine, and her last sleep in her blow-up bear bed.  She went down like a champ.

The next morning, bright and early, we pushed off shore and headed back to the marina.  It took a couple of hours to drive back – so Sloan enjoyed the view and the wind in her hair while I packed us all up and organized all of our gear to return home.  We all got loaded up and started our way back home.

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Sloan was fantastic all the way home – up until the last 20 minutes.  Poor thing had WAY too much iPad time and was sick and tired of the same episode of Daniel Tiger over and over again.

We all hit the sack early that night – even Zach and I were out before 9:30 pm.  Sloan must have missed her own bed, because I had to wake the poor girl up at 9:00 am the next morning!  All the fun and sun wiped her out.

We are so grateful for this tradition with the Hendersons.  Yes – it is a lot of work, but as always MORE fun.  Another successful Powell trip in the books.  Thank you Mark and Jeanene for all the memories!