Hendo Girls do AZ

We’ve had our annual (but not so annual, considering we haven’t done a girls trip since I was still pregnant with Sloan) Hendo Girls trip to Scottsdale this last weekend.  We’ve had it scheduled for a while and it creeped up on me considering we have been going nonstop the last few weeks.  Jan/Feb have been crazy months for me – and March is going to be absolutely bananas for Zach.

We left Thursday morning for Arizona.  We flew out of the storm covering Utah and arrived to sun and mild temperatures in Scottsdale.  First things first:  we ate.  We didn’t even make it to our hotel.  We had a late lunch at a darling little place that came highly recommended from Gina, Arcadia Farms Café.

Afterwards we made it to our hotel to drop off our bags and settle in.  It was gorgeous and the grounds were seriously top notch.

We had a bit of down time before Gina had scheduled us all for hot yoga.  Jeanene and I opted out [I’ve done hot yoga before and was mortified at the smell of the whole experience – myself included] and instead of getting our sweat on we went across and down the street from the yoga studio to eat at Shake Shack.  Jeanene doesn’t even really like hamburgers.  She is such a good sport.

Afterwards we went to pick up the rest of our crew back at the yoga studio.

The next day was spent at the mall.  We shopped, we had lunch, and we shopped some more.  We had dinner afterwards down town, grabbed some Spinkles Cupcakes, and then went back to our hotel for an in-room movie.  We ordered some popcorn, sodas, and treats – which eventually made up for the totally depressing love flick we chose.

The next morning we were up bright and early.  Some of us stayed up later than others watching said depressing movie.  The “wear your sunglasses inside” kinda late…

We had a brunch and then it was time to trapeze.  Yes, I am serious.

Our hotel conveniently offered trapeze classes.  When planning the trip – Gina asked a concierge about nearby hikes.  The concierge asked, casually, “and do you ladies trapeze?”  It was game over after that and we were all signed up to get our swing on.

First, we mentally and physically prepped ourselves.  We observed.  We stretched.  

They didn’t waste any time.  We were briefed, strapped up with harnesses, and then asked to climb the ladder.  The first time was a little overwhelming.  You are given commands – but when hanging and swinging it is a little harder to commit to those directions.  Especially when swinging from your knees!   But after a few tries we got the hang of it.  We even advanced to the next trick – swinging and being caught by our instructor, Efe.  Efe was hilarious, patient, and incredibly gay.  It made sense – no straight man could bend like that, I am telling you.

It was honestly a total blast.  I am so glad Gina singed us up – because I would have never in a million years done something like this if it were just Zach and I at the hotel by ourselves.  Girls Trips will do that to you, I guess.

After freshening up – we made our way back to the mall.  I even convinced a few more people to join us for Shake Shack for lunch.  Again.

We had an early dinner afterwards at a great little Italian place down town.

Then we rushed off to our movie – Hidden Figures – at the nearby AMC.  The movie was amazing and if you haven’t seen it, you must.  It was the perfect feel-good end to our night.

Sunday we all met down in the lobby for our hike up Camelback Mountain.  We made it up to the helicopter pad and Gina, Rachael, and I decided to attempt the steeper and higher elevation climb to the peak.  It was a great little workout and the weather was a dream.  I could live in Phoenix/Scottsdale area in the winter and be happy as a lark.

We showered up, had brunch at Olive and Ivy, and got pedicures and manicures back at the hotel.

Then we went to dinner at my favorite, Bandera.  Even just the cornbread could have satisfied me.  But their Macho Salad is literally life changing.  We drove to find what we deemed the floating sperm (aka the strange art installation with flying/swimming fish creatures in the sky) and then made it back to our hotel for s’mores.

The staff sent us a plate of all the fixings and we put on some layers for the outdoor fire pit.  By layers I mean some of us put on our hotel robes and slippers and made our way out in public to the fire pit.

The next morning we packed our bags, had breakfast, checked out of our hotel, and had one last lunch together before heading to the airport.

I am so grateful that the Hendersons make an effort to do trips together.  Life gets so busy – and we have 27 kids between us!  So getting to spend time alone with my sister-in-laws is a rare occurrence.  I am so glad I got to have a weekend away with them, it really was fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 / Las Vegas

Zach.

He is the best husband that there ever was.

I woke up on the morning of my birthday to surprise after surprise.  I heard Sloan wake up and went into her room.  Once we were both up and ready we went downstairs.  Zach had a full spread waiting for us.  Bagels and cream cheese, fruit parfaits, muffins.  He even had balloons, decorations, and cards.

In one card he gave me some spending money for our weekend out of town.  The other card told me to hurry and get ready, because he had a babysitter coming over and we were going to spend the afternoon at the spa.  I couldn’t believe how thoughtful the whole gesture was.  Once she arrived, we drove up to Layton for our couples massage.

It was so relaxing and enjoyable and when I got ready to leave – he took me into one of the private rooms for a foot soak.  He had a large Diet Coke, sandwiches, and my favorite treat – a Cutler’s cookie – waiting for me.

Once we got back home – Sloan had just woken up from her nap.  We played the rest of the day together, honestly doing nothing productive at all.  As I moved from room to room, I would notice little notes Zach had left me around the house.  He even left me a note in my car.  I couldn’t help but tear up every time I read one.  It made my whole day – even more than the spa and the amazing breakfast.

It was honestly a perfect day.  I am not big on birthdays for myself.  I always try to make them special for Zach and Sloan, but mine I could take or leave.  But this particular birthday was the best I’ve ever had, by far.  Zach always makes things so fun and special, and he really went above and beyond to make it wonderful.

That weekend we had planned to go to Las Vegas for a quick getaway.  We stayed at the Encore (first time for the both of us) and Zach literally let me do all of my favorite things:  sleep in, work out, eat, and shop.  It may sound uneventful to some – but that’s my kind of vacation.  We arrived there Friday afternoon.  We had lunch at the Cafe at the Wynn – where they have my favorite salad in all of creation.

We took an afternoon snack break at Sprinkles, for a red velvie.

Then we took an Uber to the Forum Shops.  We spent most of our time at Nike and stopped in a few other places until it was time for our dinner at Joe’s.

We shopped around some more and then made our way back to our hotel.

The next morning we both went to the spa.  I had an appointment for a facial (my first one ever) and Zach wanted to enjoy the spa amenities.  The facial was amazing – in fact, I’ve been converted.  I don’t think I could pick a massage over a facial now that I have experienced one for myself.  She did put some amazing product on my lips, which I loved, but gave them a tingly sensation.  I would later realize that “tingle” was numbness and I wouldn’t regain feeling in my lips until the next morning.  But still…I loved it and would do it again in a second.

We later had lunch at Shake Shack.

We then spent the majority of the day at Fashion Show Mall and Zach wins the award for most patient husband.  I don’t even want to know how long we were in Zara – I can’t think about it.

We then went to dinner at Momofuku.  It was already packed when we got there at 6:30 – luckily, Zach got a reservation.  When we arrived I was totally bummed they didn’t have chicken pho on the menu, like their New York location.  But, the waiter assured me I would love the “chicken noodle soup”.  It wasn’t until my first taste of my dish that my faith had been restored.  Even though the menu was completely different – it was so very good.  He can do no wrong, that David Chang.

We stopped on our way out at the Milk Bar – where Zach treated himself to something coated with cereal that he really liked.

We contemplated going to a movie, but decided to take a suggestion from my sister-in-law Gina about the “Feature Presentation” that they offer at the Wynn hotels.  When we got back we ordered two candies, a buttered popcorn, and two sodas in CANS and ordered a movie to our room.  I had no idea they even offered this – and it was totally worth it (and less expensive than a real movie with all the trimmings, I might add).  It was an absolute home run!  (Thank you Gina!)

We slept in and packed up the next morning, eager to get home to Sloan.

A lot of my friends have been struggling with the thought of turning 30, but I feel the opposite.  I feel good.  I am excited.  My 30-year-old self is completely content.  I never dreamed as a teenager I would be in love and married to my best friend (well, I hoped…but I didn’t KNOW), have the sweetest little soul for a daughter, and to be able to make memories with them every single day.

Ask me how I feel at 50, ok?

Because 30 is actually pretty bomb, guys.  

 

 

 

 

Dirty 30 in Palm Springs

I’m going to be 30.  In less than a week, but who’s counting?  My high school friends and I decided we needed to do something to celebrate this milestone and we voted to go on a Girl’s Trip.  We debated on several locations:  but Palm Springs won out for the most convenient + best weather.

We had booked the flights and vacation home several weeks in advance, and the trip totally snuck up on me!

We flew into Palm Springs late on Thursday night.  We didn’t arrive until after 10 pm.  We went straight to grab our luggage and then to pick up our rental car.  Once all was settled (and crammed into the back seat of our crossover) we drove to a nearby grocery store for some supplies.  Little did we know that we would be returning to this said grocery store every day (some days multiple times a day) during this trip.  Thank you Ralph’s for putting up with us!  They even had Sea Salt Caramel Halo Top in stock – so I couldn’t have been happier.

The property we rented was one of my favorite parts about the trip.  My mediocre iPhone photos don’t do it justice.  Whitney is the one with a professional camera.  The pool was in and of itself a game changer.

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One day my dream is to have a lap pool in my backyard.  Swimming laps is one of my favorite things to do for exercise.  One day.

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We unloaded our groceries, unpacked our bags, and settled in.  True to form – we didn’t call it a night until well passed 3:00 am.

The next morning we woke up to rain.  We had breakfast, showered up, and went to lunch at Bill’s Pizza.  I wasn’t expecting it – but it was actually one of my favorite meals of the entire trip.

After lunch we hit up the outlets just outside of Palm Springs.  They had nearly every store you could think of.  Their Lululemon Outlet even had a 30 PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING sale.  Britt and I were over the moon.  Since the rain didn’t let up, neither did we.  We weren’t finished until it was nearly closing time.

The next day was warm and sunny.  I went on a run before the rest of my crew was up and at ’em.  I had been dreaming of it for weeks.  Running on the treadmill has had me gloom and doom lately, so running amongst all the mid century modern homes and palm trees was like a little slice of heaven.

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I got back, had breakfast, and showered up for the day.  Since the weather was good – we grabbed lunch and then drove over to Indian Canyons for a hike.  The first route was short, but it was my favorite.  There was a natural spring coming down the canyon with palm trees lining nearly the whole way.  It was so picturesque and the temperature was perfect.

We did a second hike – called Palm.  It was short and sweet as well, but a great view and more of a desert landscape mix.  It was the perfect activity for the warmest day of our trip.

Later we had dinner at Trio – a surprisingly busy restaurant down town.  We stayed up again – way passed 3:00 am – and awoke very slowly the next morning.

We all weren’t up and ready until the afternoon and decided to get a late lunch at Melvyn’s [Britt’s request – it was one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurants].

The chicken pot pies were bigger than expected, but it hit the spot on our rainy afternoon.

After our late lunch the rain wasn’t letting up.  So instead of staying at the house, I convinced a few to go back to the outlets with me.

We shopped around until closing time, returned home, and then went and picked up some pho for dinner.

We ended our night with a swim in the heated pool while it rained!

The next day we had to be up earlier in order to get ready, pack up, and check out of our place.  We loaded up our rental car, locked up the house, and set off for brunch.  Turns out the occupants of the entire city had the same plan we did on that rainy morning.  Our brunch spot was a hub of activity – so for the sake of time we decided to eat at the airport.

We all got lunch and awaited to board our flight.

We always joke how close we are – but we never see each other.  Last time I went on a trip with these girls – I was about 4 weeks pregnant with Sloan!  Time passes so quickly.  We always promise to see each other more often, and hopefully we will keep that promise this time.  Because being together at Christmas is not nearly enough.

So glad I have these ladies to celebrate this milestone with and I couldn’t have picked a better way to do it!

 

 

 

 

 

In No Particular Order: January

I can’t believe I’m saying this and risking jinxing it all – but my New Year’s resolutions are actually going great!  I love to bake and cook and have really made an effort over the last few years to make healthy and somewhat satisfying meals for our family.  Some they like, some I like.  And there are even a few we all like!  I was craving corn bread randomly one day and decided to make cornbread and turkey chili.  I found the best recipe on Yummly and it was a hit!  It’s even made with yogurt instead of oil, so it was even lower calorie.  IMG_5737 I love turkey chili – though not everyone in our house does (ZACH) everyone gave it a go and it turned out great.  If you ask Sloan and I, that is.  IMG_5743 One evening after Zach got home from work we rushed over to a pond nearby our house that had completely frozen over.  It was the perfect time and place for some more ice skating.  Sloan was in heaven.  I was frozen solid.  I wish they had a one-piece onesie in my size.  I don’t know if I am just getting old or what…but I’ve been freezing this entire winter season. IMG_5896 IMG_5897 Sloan experienced Play-doh for the first time and acted like it was the most revolutionary thing to happen to her since cheese.  If you know her – cheese is the end all be all.IMG_5983Sloan and I went to Kangaroo Zoo one afternoon when she was up from her nap.  It was a stormy day, so it was great to get out of the house for a bit.  Sloan loved all the slides and blow-up activities…but she was more concerned about the chairs being all organized a certain way.  She gets that trait from me, poor thing…
IMG_5984 We got Sloan her second haircut this month.  It was much needed.  Her hair is growing faster than it seems possible.  We are actually due for another one this week! IMG_5985 One night for FHE we made homemade pizzas.  It was super easy – store bought dough and sauce – but it was a blast!  They actually tasted much better than I expected, too.  Artichokes were the hero, I’m telling you…IMG_5986 Sloan’s Bubba (my brother) bought her a coon hat at Cabella’s and Sloan has been a big fan.  Like, wearing it instead of her shirt, kinda fan.  IMG_5987 Zach begged me to make manicotti a few weeks ago.  I’m not a huge fan of the dish, but I try to be a decent wife once in a while.  I was convinced Sloan wouldn’t last through dinner prep – but was surprised at how much she loved helping me fill all the noodles with the cheese filling.  She helped me stuff 12 noodles – barely moving a muscle. IMG_5988Recently Zach and I had a date night:  Pizzeria Limone and the Jazz game.  Because pizza is always on the top of my list and because SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS is on Zach’s list all day erry day.
IMG_5989 We had Classic’s company seats and they did not disappoint.  PS – Did you know there is a Swig counter at the Vivint Smart Home Arena?  Yeah, it’s true. IMG_5990 The weather hasn’t been ideal the last few weeks for snow sports.  We’re dying to take Sloan up snowboarding, but it keeps storming on us.  Luckily, she is just as happy to be indoors and being pulled around on the carpet by Zach.  She even learned a new trick:  a board grab.  While wearing her coon hat, but that’s not surprising.  We are in the “dressing ourself” phase and I’m actually not mad about it.IMG_5991

The Last of December – New Years

After Christmas I was lucky enough to spend a night with my high school girlfriends for our annual Christmas get together.  Alison was in town from New York and that’s the day that worked best with everyone.  So even though it wasn’t BEFORE Christmas, we still exchanged our “Favorite Things” and stayed way too late at Kristina’s new beautiful home.

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We had pizza, pizzookies, and stayed until passed 2 am talking.  It is always the same.  No matter what happens – we always pick up right where we left off.  I love that part so much.  We really all are so different.  That’s why we work, I think.  Because we balance each other out. 

I also got to go out with another group of high school friends for dinner not long after to Alamexo down town.  We all brought our significant others and it was a blast seeing those that live out of state and catching up with everyone.  I branched out from my typical chicken tacos and got the salmon.  It wasn’t a bad call…

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Before the holiday, my mom had some time off of work and joined Sloan and I for a movie.  We went to Sing at the Cinemark with the recliners in Sugarhouse.  It wasn’t our favorite flick – we all agreed Moana was better – but Sloan downed half of a large popcorn all by herself.  She obviously gets that from her father.  I didn’t have a single bite.  Not to mention the blue Slurpee my mom bought her disappeared faster than expected.

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For NYE we decided to join Mark and Jeanene up at the Hendo Cabin and stay the night.  Papa picked us up in the Ranger and we unloaded all our gear for our short stay.

IMG_5977 We unloaded our stuff, Sloan explored the cabin – particularly the play room – and we all bundled up to go on a snowmobile ride.  Sloan loved it.  I thought she would hate the fact that her face was freezing, but she didn’t mind one bit and even got upset when we made her go back inside.

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Afterwards we had a delicious dinner (have I mentioned my MIL is an amazing cook?) bathed Sloan, and put her to bed.  We stayed up late watching Liar Liar – still as funny as it was 10+ years ago – and when Zach and I got in bed for the night we went over our resolutions.  A tradition we’ve had since we’ve been married.  I did a mental, physical, spiritual, and financial goal this year.  Zach did something similar, and we agreed to work on them all together.  I have a feeling 2017 is going to be even better than this past year.

We had a big breakfast the next morning, loaded up our stuff, and drove home.  It was gorgeous on the drive home.  As far as you could see – everything was covered in bright white snow.

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It was a perfect, laid back holiday.  Here’s to hoping our New Year’s resolutions make it past February…

 

 

 

Christmas Eve + Christmas Day 2016

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Christmas Eve morning Zach told me he wanted to do his Christmas Eve tradition of service.  We didn’t do a Sub for Santa this year – the first time in 7 years.  It’s one of my favorite traditions and not doing it this year felt strange.  But Zach had a back up plan.  We all got dressed and jumped in the car and drove down town.  We stopped at the McDonald’s off of 500 south and got bags of sausage biscuits and breakfast burritos.  Then we proceeded to drive around and hand them out to whoever looked like they could use a hot breakfast.  It was a great experience and it’s always so humbling.
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It surprised us both how fast we were able to go through all that food – but it was honestly shocking how many people were out and about on the streets in the cold.  We had a good laugh at our last stop – with our last four food items – that was at a little make shift community made of tents off of 600 south.  I ran the food over to them, wished them a Merry Christmas, and then hopped back in my car.  Just as I buckled my seatbelt a huge group of people with sleeping bags and blankets rolled up to that exact same spot.  If they were trying to one-up us and our breakfast burritos, they succeeded.  I couldn’t believe how many items they had brought with them.  It made me feel our Savior’s love to see all those people giving on this special holiday.  It puts things in perspective for me every year – sometimes you need a wake up call (even if once a year) to realize how blessed you are to sleep somewhere warm and dry every night.

We returned home, explaining to Sloan the whole way what service is all about.  I know she can’t quite comprehend right now – but showing love to someone is not hard to understand.

We lounged around the rest of the day – Sloan took a nice long nap – and we got ready to meet my family at Tepanyaki for dinner.  We had a great time and the food was delicious.

img_5790 Sloan even attempted to catch a shrimp in her mouth…and the grill master was more apprehensive than she was about it [notice her mouth wide open, just waiting].img_5791Good times were had by all – until Sloan smacked her head on the stone counter.  We made a quick exit and met everyone over in Magna for a party with my mom’s side of the family.

Sloan loved seeing everyone, getting to sit on Santa’s lap, and even dancing to the Christmas carols we all sang.  She was in heaven.

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Sloan was gifted the most darling shopping cart accompanied by a huge load of plastic food.  She still gets excited every time she sees it.
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Afterwards we drove down the street to my Grandpa’s house to open our Christmas pajamas.

img_5618My shirt said, “Gangsta Wrapper” and Zach’s had a clever Drake pun.  Sloan’s was the best – “Santa, is it too late to say sorry?” because that has always been one of her favorite songs on the radio EVER.  We left my grandpa’s wayyyy past Sloan’s bedtime and returned home completely exhausted.  We set out a Coke and cookies for Santa before we put Sloan down for the night.

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Santa LOVES Cutler’s sugar cookies (especially the star shaped ones – they are THE best).

After Sloan was sound asleep I put everything out for the next morning.  A few people still don’t believe me – but Zach and I didn’t get each other gifts this year.  Not one single thing.  For months we had been debating what to get each other and we both agreed that there was nothing for either of us that stood out or that was much needed.  So, we skipped it this year.  A lot of people gave me a hard time, saying things like, “Whatever…he is going to get you something and you are going to be so embarrassed when you have nothing to give him.”  But we both stuck with our promise to each other and it was actually really nice.  We both agreed we would spend whatever money we were GOING to spend on Christmas gifts for each other on a family vacation in 2017.  That’s the best gift I could ask for, anyway.

Santa did leave dress socks for Zach and a pair of matching sweats for Sloan and I.

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The next morning Sloan woke up and we took her straight down stairs to see if Santa had visited.  She saw the cookies and Coke had been dabbled with – and her new pajama sweats and stocking were all ready for her.  What was her favorite Christmas gift, you might ask?  APPLESAUCE.  Santa left applesauce in her stocking and that is what she was most excited for.  It made me feel a lot better about keeping Christmas so simple this year, because girlfriend liked the APPLESAUCE the best.

We went to church in our Sunday Christmas best – and it was a very stressful meeting for all of us.  I think there was a serious tension in the air – like every kid banded together to fight against their parents to make them return home or something…?  They were all in cahoots with each other, I swear it.

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After church we rushed off to my Grandpa’s house again to exchange gifts with my mom’s side of the family.  Afterwards we went home so Sloan could have a quick nap before rushing up to Ogden in the blizzard to spend the night with the Hendos.

It was a full house – we had our entire gang (which is hefty all by itself) plus three missionaries.  It was honestly a blast.  We had delicious food, there was music, and a gift exchange at the end with all the cousins/sibblings/and Zach’s parents.

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And of course, a visit from Gingie and the Grinch.  Sloan loved the Grinch (despite being alarmed by him at first…the grandkids were screaming and hollering at the Grinch when he bit Gingie’s arms off) and she couldn’t stop touching, smiling, and hugging him.  [Poor Alex, I bet he was dying in that get-up].  Oh yeah, I should mention that Zach has graduated from costume duty.  Now that he has a child of his own he gets to watch from afar and the oldest grandkids get to sweat it out in those costumes.

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The Grinch had to go home to Whoville, however – leaving Sloan desperate to find him.  [For days afterward she would talk about the Grinch, always concerned about his well being].  One time in the middle of the night I heard her say, in her sleep, “No, no Grinch!”  Zach and I both died laughing.

We had a fabulous Christmas.  I was very worried about this year, to be honest.  I thought about Sloan getting a very simplified version of Christmas (her birthday is in November and she still hasn’t even played with a fraction of her toys yet) and Zach and I not exchanging gifts this year would make it seem less meaningful.  But I was very wrong.  Sloan could have received a cardboard box full of applesauce for Christmas and she would have felt like she won the lottery.  And honestly, the best part about the weekend and the holiday was being together.  Sloan would wake up each day ecstatic to realize she got both Zach and I all day every day.  Our families were both so sweet to Sloan – getting her such thoughtful and fun gifts.

I wish every day was the holiday – even if just to spend so much time together consecutively.