A White and Wild Christmas

Every year, as both of our families grow, more and more events come up for the holiday season.  I feel like this year was extra busy with family and friends – which is why we wouldn’t have changed a single thing!  Here’s how our holidaze went down…

Christmas Eve was the traditional party at my great aunt’s house in Magna.  We have the same Santa come every year after our traditional dinner of ham, rolls, and salad.  When the kids in the family graduate from high school they no longer get a gift from Santa at the family party.  However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still give Santa a little love.  I, on the other hand (no pun intended), got a little extra love from Santa this year.  Please notice how low his hand is on my “hip”.

Then it was off to my Grandpa’s house for our Christmas PJ’s.

Christmas morning Zach and I spent some time exchanging gifts with each other.  We both got more than we could have hoped for.  I am so grateful for Zach and all the thought he puts into my Christmas gifts.  He was surprised by what I got for him as well and we were both so excited to test out our new swag.

We then made our way to my parents’ house to exchange gifts and see what Santa left in our stockings.

After our brief visit to T-Ville, my whole family met back at my Grandpas to give him his presents and eat our traditional Christmas lunch.  My grandpa got “unmentionables” in his stocking and was dazzled by the prospect of looking like the model on the packaging.

My mom’s favorite gift from my cousin – it couldn’t have been more spot on!

Zach was ecstatic when he received a new hockey bag from my aunt and uncle.  That excitement soon turned to curiosity.  Blake and Zach were more interested in if I could FIT into the hockey bag.  Turns out the Pollocks’ gift doubles as a body bag.  The gift that keeps on giving.

Our last stop with my family was at my Grandma’s house (just two streets away).  We gave her the gifts we had picked out for her and visited with some family members we don’t see too often.  Then we were off to Ogden to spend the rest of the day with the Hendersons.

We ate a delicious dinner [I could eat a dozen of Jeanene’s homemade rolls by myself] and then the grandchildren got to open their gifts.  31 people [18 mini people] in one living room opening presents all at one time.  It was basically a whirlwind of wrapping paper, squeals of delight, and sword/gun sound effects.  These kids are so much fun, and it just gets me so excited to celebrate Christmas with our children someday.  The adults exchanged gifts as well, along with a scavenger hunt for our gifts from Mark and Jeanene.  It was such a blast and such a creative way to give a gift, we loved it!

Our families are so good to us.  We are overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness that of our parents and other family members showed us – thanks for making Christmas so amazing each year, we love you all!

The day after Christmas was back to business.  The only bright light at the end of my work tunnel was the fact that I was meeting once again with my family to see Les Mis down at the District.  We all ate dinner at Applebees and then raced over to the theater to take our seats.  I have seen the musical a handful of times – it is by far my favorite Broadway production.  I have been looking forward to this movie since the release of the first trailer [at which I bawled my eyes out].  I couldn’t have been more pleased.  Zach had never seen the musical and even enjoyed the movie – all three hours of it.

Along with Les Mis there was another premier I was looking forward to:  the final episode of Downton Abbey’s third season.  I laughed, I teared up, and then I was really upset.  I don’t dare ruin it for anyone – I am distraught enough as it is.  It was a great way to pass the time at work, however.

Thursday was our last family event – the Fotheringham Family Christmas Party.  We had a taco bar, played games, and visited with all of my extended family.  We also had a wonderful family photo op.

No words.  The snowflake on my father’s head says enough.  Also, Zach won this fantastic hat as a prize, which he was elated about.

Friday after work, my boss gave Zach and I his tickets to the Jazz game last minute!  They played the Clippers and I was elated because I got to see one of my favorite NBA players, Mr. Paul himself, and obviously Lamar.  I still love everything Kardashian, I just can’t deny it.

Saturday, I met up with a friend who is home for the holidays from Memphis.  Emily and her husband Trent met up with Zach and I for lunch at the Blue Lemon.  It was so great to catch up with them and visit!

On our way out of City Creek after lunch, I spotted a familiar face and had to stop her and say hello.  A couple of friends [thank you Chelsea and Melinda] introduced me to Natalie’s [of Nat the Fat Rat] blog a while ago.  I have been intrigued ever since.  She is a blogger who lives in New York, visiting Salt Lake City for the holidays.  Super stalker-ish of me, but it was so fun to meet her and chat with her for a brief moment!  She is even teeny tinier in person…

After helping family and running errands I met up with some of my friends later for a brief Girls’ Night.  We got pedicures down town and then ate dinner at Trio.  Alison even joined us, who was in town from New York for the week.  No amount of time ever feels like enough with them.

 This time of year makes me so grateful for what Zach and I have:  families that we love, friends we adore, and our Savior.  We hope you all had the happiest of holidays, and we can’t wait to see what the new year brings!  

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

December has flown by, and we celebrated the week before Christmas in traditional Henderson/Fotheringham fashion…

But first, days 4-7 of the 12 Days of Christmas came to pass.  Zach loved Day 5 [Five Golden Rings] – 5 Krispy Kremes.

He also got a big kick out of Day 7 [Seven Swans a Swimming] – I folded 7 “gift certificates” into paper swans.  Yeah, origami is not my favorite and folding seven of those bad boys was a true test of my patience, but he L O V E D Day 7.  So it was worth the paper cut, I guess.

Wednesday night I drove up to Park City after work to do some recording for a Christmas gift.  My co-worker [who conveniently plays the guitar, bass guitar, and has a neighbor with a recording studio] offered to help me.  I’ve recorded in a studio before and studio time is beyond expensive.  This man [who I had never met before] did all the recording, the mixing, and the mastering for me.

I sang three Christmas songs and we had enough time left over to record one more.  Josh [my office buddy] asked me what my favorite song was, and I informed him it was “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.  He happened to know it on the guitar and we recorded an acoustic version for my Dad for a surprise Christmas gift.  Josh is extremely talented.  I couldn’t believe he busted that song out of nowhere and it played it nearly perfect.  It wasn’t professional by any means, and there were many missed notes on my part, but it reminded me [during those brief two hours] how much I miss singing.  Not for crowds of people, but just for myself.  The Beatles track ended up being Zach and I’s favorite.

Bonus Track – I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Thursday my first two-story structure I designed showed up at our shop from Chinaland.  The guys started set-up and have a lot of work to do before the structure goes to SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January.  So far, it’s coming a long nicely.  Now I just have to pray that it doesn’t fall apart and nobody gets injured.

Friday we had a company lunched catered by Red Iguana.  It was SO delicious and I even brought my Cocoa Latte so the guys and I could have a hot chocolate bar.  Turns out even grown men love a good hot chocolate bar – even though they said it was emasculating and it felt like “Relief Society”.

Our weekend continued.  We finished our last minute shopping, wrapping, and delivered all our neighbor Christmas gifts.

Sunday we had our annual Henderson Christmas party at Classic Skating.  It was fun to see all of Zach’s aunts, uncles, and cousins – and of course our nieces and nephews.

We ended the night at Zach’s sister’s house.  We hung out with their girls until it was time to read stories and brush their teeth.  It gave me a very small insight into what having kids at Christmas time will be like.  We read “When Mrs. Claus Went On Vacation” and got them all tucked into bed.  I love these little ladies.

Meanwhile, the 12 Days continued with days 8-12.

We’ve finally made it to Christmas Eve.  We have plans that involve even more family and much more food.  Wishing all of our friends and loved ones a Merry Christmas!  Stay safe and warm, we love you!

Baby, When the Lights Go Out

This week was fantastic.  Tons of fun with friends, family, and obviously too much food.  [The breakdown]

Monday a group of friends got together for dinner in West Valley.  It was one year to the day that our sweet friend Natasha passed away.  It was great to visit with some friends that I don’t see very often, and wonderful to see Natasha’s dad, her older sister, and her nephew.  We ate at her favorite restaurant.

Tuesday was a real Christmas Miracle!  While at work, around noon the POWER WENT OUT and we were told it wouldn’t be back up until 6 pm.  No power = no way for this computer nerd to get her work done.  So…my boss sent me home.  Since I graduated from college, I haven’t had a day off from work in the middle of the week that wasn’t a holiday!  [Or that I wasn’t on a vacation or getting a giant lump cut out of my back.]  So, I didn’t go home.  I got all my Christmas shopping done.  In two hours.  First of all…I finally realized what I have been missing!  How have I never been to Target at 2:00 pm?!  It’s like a ghost town compared to a Saturday morning.  So I completed all of my Christmas shopping and wrapped all of the gifts before Zach got home from work.  This included finishing all of my custom chalkboards.

I had a co-worker cut 16 different shapes for chalkboards out of a couple of MDF boards for me a few days ago.  I got them all painted and the ribbon, rope, and fabric all cut and tied for the hanging ones.

I plan to give them as gifts at a Friend Christmas party, I’m excited they turned out!

For the past few weeks, I have been helping my sister-in-law with her new spa branding.  We’ve created a new spa menu, new business cards, and even custom packaging for her product.  It’s been so fun to see how everything has evolved, and I finally got to pick up the product this week!  So exciting.  Do you want to know what the best part of being a designer is?  Seeing something you create in your mind come to life.

Thursday night was our Henderson night out.  We went and had some delicious Italian food and went to a movie at the Gateway.  We saw Playing for Keeps.  Not bad, not bad at all.  Who can complain about Gerard Butler…?

My sweet mother-in-law also gave us all this portrait for an early Christmas present.  She has the same one in her home and I have been admiring it for a few years now.  It’s my favorite Christmas painting of all time.  Ironically, I have been asking about this painting at several different Seagull Book locations, and they were all sold out.  Then Thursday, after our movie, she gave us all a box.  When I got home and opened it, I couldn’t help but get teary eyed.  What is sweeter than the Savior at Christmas time?

Friday we had our date night.  We decided to go to Tsunami for some sushi and then catch a dollar movie in Sugar House.  We saw Pitch Perfect.  I must admit, we waited for it to go to the Dollar Theater before seeing it, because we were afraid that it would be super cheesy.  (In my mind I was picturing a “Bring it On” type of flick, I don’t know why.)  It was SO good.  We both enjoyed it, and totally worth the $4 wait!  Also, thanks to my sister-in-law, Zach and I signed up for the Cinemark coupons every week.  Basically you get a new coupon every weekend – either a free popcorn or free drinks, but with as many movies as we go to, it has already saved us some serious cash!  This is what free popcorn looks like to Zach…

Pure joy.

Speaking of Zach…this year I decided to do the 12 Days of Christmas for my husband.  I have been a pretty horrible wife the past few weeks.  Work has been stressful and I have been putting in some extra hours – this always means “on your own” dinners for Zach.  He’s had a lot of fast food and Ramen the past few days.  I know it doesn’t make up for the lost time and lost meals, but this was something I wanted to do for him to show him that I cared about him, even during the hectic holiday season.  It’s the 12 Days, Zach style – with some of his favorite things.  Days 1 – 3 happened this week, my favorite being days 2 & 3.  Day 2 is [two turtle doves] to which I gave him two Dove Body wash bottles so he “doesn’t smell like a turtle” and Day 3 [three French hens] was a KFC gift card.  Zach loves KFC.

Saturday was so much fun.  Zach and I have been slightly obsessed with two things lately:  trying the Olive Garden’s dinner for two deal, and eating a Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell.  Both commercials have been tempting us for weeks, so after our grocery shopping extravaganza at Walmart we stopped for lunch at Taco Bell.  I hate Taco Bell.  I guess I’m a Taco Time girl or something, because I haven’t set foot in a Taco Bell establishment since my Junior year of High School.  But I wanted a Doritos Locos Taco – even when I saw the man in front of us order his gordita in his pajama pants, I still didn’t turn back.  Call it good marketing, but those commercials made it look amazing.  We both ordered one.  We both conquered one.

I have to say, it was pretty good.  My mouth really enjoyed the taco – my stomach, however…didn’t love it 30 minutes later on our drive to Fashion Place Mall.  I will save you those details though.  We spent the rest of the day battling the hordes of people at FP Mall.  We started at North Face, both picked out a new coat and realized we had actually picked out the SAME identical coat and size.  So we bought one of the coats and decided to share.  Sometimes it pays to be the same size as your husband.  Depressing, yes – economical, you bet!

We ended the hectic day at Hot Dog on a Stick.  Zach got some cheese sticks and talked about them the whole way home.

Sunday after church we spent the evening at our friends’/neighbors’ house for the 49er football game.  Good food, good conversation, and a victory for the Niners!

I also got to spend a brief cuddle moment with this guy, Nash – his partner in crime [Crew] had already gone ni-night.  So much fun with two cute families that we love!

First Official Weekend of December

Our first December weekend went well.

Friday, we went to the Jazz vs. Raptors game.  I’ve never been in a suite for a Jazz game before, it was a blast!  We had dinner, popcorn, chips and salsa, and ice cream.  Also – my favorite part – a stocked fridge of soda.  I had multiple Diet Cokes.  Multiple.

As if we didn’t have enough to eat…I begged Zach to make a pit stop on the way home from the game.  Since before we left for our trip, I had been craving cheese fries from Sconecutter.  Gross, I know.  But amazing at midnight.  Also amazing at 6:00 am when you’re in high school.  Still don’t know how we frequented that place so much and didn’t go into cardiac arrest.

Saturday we were on a mission.  I was determined to get the items I needed from Trader Joe’s.  I had already been to the store twice before – with no luck.  Zach went to California on his mission, and we both had internships in different cities in California for a summer.  That’s where we became acquainted and it’s not hard to fall in love with Trader Joe’s and their delicious…everything.  We had a list of items we wanted that were already sold out when I had visited before.  So…we went at 7:45 am in the morning.  On a Saturday.  I know – my husband was dying.  We arrived and people [mostly women, let’s be honest] were lined outside the door with their shopping carts already.  They opened the doors at 8:00 and women started RUNNING into the store.  I felt like I was at the Nordstrom Sale all over again.  I was determined though, and got everything on my list:  Zach’s favorite chicken breasts, stir fry vegetables, cookie butter [3 jars of it], their amazing cheesy breadsticks, their artisan French bread, breakfast burritos, cheese pizza, a variety of dried fruit, a variety of their amazing cookies and candy, and so much more.

Also, TJ’s sells gorgeous LIVE BOXWOOD WREATHS!!  I love real greenery at Christmas – I had to pick a few up for our crib, and at such a killer deal.

Speaking of wreaths, I finally ordered this baby online for 40% off!  Have you seen Restoration‘s holiday decor?  To die for!  Their lights, their trees, and this wreath.  I wanted this wreath since the moment I set eyes on it.  It’s going to live on our front door really soon!

Saturday night we tried out a new [to me, not Zach] restaurant:  Faustina in downtown Salt Lake.  I got the butter fish and Zach had the stuffed steak medallions.  The bread alone was enough for me to go back – I can’t tell you how good our entrees were!  We ended the night with a decent movie at the Gateway.

Sunday, after church we made our way up to Ogden to eat dinner at Zach’s parents.  We explored their newly remodeled deck and back yard – I can’t wait to spend summer weekends on that deck, it is gorgeous!  We ate, talked, and looked through old pictures of Zach and other family members.  We arrived home earlier than we anticipated, so we decided to watch Elf before retiring to bed – a Christmas tradition in this Hendo home.

We’re excited to continue with December.  The next few weeks will bring lots of family/friend Christmas parties, more work parties, and a couple of fun get-togethers!  We love this time of year!

Deck the Hendo Halls

Coming home from vacation feels like the day after Christmas.  You know…you get so excited for it, then it actually comes and goes…and then it’s over.  It’s kind of sad!  Luckily, we had a lot to look forward to when we returned home and we didn’t waste any time.  The day after we returned home from New York – I put up our “Christmas Trees”.  Technically, one is not an actual tree, but let’s just pretend… 

This year, we tried something a little different.  I suspended the branches of last year’s “tree” from the ceiling using fishing line [thanks, Dad – good thing you don’t like to fish] and hooks.  Zach calls it our floating tree.

I also got to decorate a table at the RS Christmas Dinner this week – so much fun!  I love this tradition we have created over the last couple of years.  Every table is so different, and it’s so fun to see what the ladies come up with.  Zach also nicknamed this table, the “Boy Scout Table”.

I guess he’s right.  I am a bit overboard with the flannel and plaid lately.  Little does he know, I have big plans for that little plaid scrap of fabric.

Also, since being home we have:  been to Trader Joe’s twice [aka Crazy Town USA], the girls and I saw the newest installment of the Twilight Saga, our entire family purchased tickets to Les Miserables for the day after Christmas, washed and folded over 10,000 loads of post-trip laundry, and slept in our own bed.  It’s good to be back!

NYC Day 9

Sunday morning we woke up and checked out of our hotel.  We then made our way over near Times Square to eat at Zach’s favorite diner:  The Red Flame.  He used to come here with his sister when she worked in Manhattan.  We eat brunch at the Red Flame every time we visit New York.  Zach gets the same thing every visit – eggs, toast, and bacon.

We then walked and browsed around Times Square.

For the record, it was Zach’s idea to go to Sprinkles next.  Perhaps too early for a cupcake, but for Sprinkles it was not too early.  Zach got chocolate marshmallow.  I got red velvet.

We had a few more shops we wanted to visit, so we returned back to SOHO.  It wasn’t until late afternoon until we made our way over to Brooklyn.  We had tickets to the Brooklyn Nets game at the new Barclays Stadium.  I’m a sucker for branding – have you seen Brooklyn’s branding?  Amazing – and all black and white.

The stadium was packed, and it was gorgeous.  Blacked out, with the court lit up like a stage.  It really was worth just going and seeing the stadium.

We scored some fabulous tickets on Stub Hub [third row] and after purchasing our Nets gear, we watched them play Portland.  I kept my eye out for Jay Z and Beyonce, but we weren’t lucky enough to have another celeb sighting.  I am sure he was up there in a suite somewhere, with B and baby Blue, looking down on us all.

By the time the game came to a close it was time to grab our bags from our hotel and head off to JFK.

Three cities, two sporting events, three Bueno bars, three public transit systems, three hotels, 23 hours of flight time, eight train rides, six baguettes, one horrible mouse, six cone glaces, and about a hundred Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Lights later…

It was the best anniversary ever.