Anniversary + Three Rounds of Thanksgiving

We started Thanksgiving early this year with Zach’s entire Henderson side of the family. We had dinner at the Classic Skating in Sandy.  It was Sloan’s first time to the Sandy rink and Zach was begging me to take her into the Blast Zone as soon as we set foot inside.  I quickly fed her dinner and then the three of us ventured into the BZ.  It was just as I remembered it – a child’s paradise – with the slightest foot odor.  Sloan was in HEAVEN.  She slide down the giant red slide, watched the foam balls fly around, and slid down the baby slide for a good 45 minutes.  It’s probably the happiest I have ever seen her – no lie.  Fun Centers are in her blood, I guess.


We ate our dinner and visited with Zach’s extended family.  The Hendersons know how to throw a mean family get-together.  It was great to see everyone and Zach can hardly wait to bring Sloan back to the Blast Zone next year.

Since we celebrated our anniversary early in Chicago, we weren’t planning on doing much for our actual anniversary.  Zach went out of town earlier in the week for a jet convention and when he arrived home he surprised me by booking us two nights at the Montage up at Deer Valley.  The planner in me was a little frazzled trying to get myself and Sloan packed up so quickly – but we made it work.  And it was wonderful.

We were there a year ago exactly with an 11-day-old Sloan.  Except this year was much better because I didn’t have any stitches.  You know what I mean…
FullSizeRenderA sweet man at reception gave Sloan this stuffed fawn when we arrived.  She wanted NOTHING to do with it.  She wouldn’t look at it or even touch it.  I think it scared her for some strange reason.  We couldn’t stop laughing about it.

We settled in and then ate our chocolate covered strawberries and sipped on sodas.

We put Sloan to bed in her crib [at the Montage the closets are super spacious – so Sloan got her “own room”] after her bath and watched the Mockingjay Part 1 to get caught up before seeing Part 2.  IMG_0820

The next morning we hit the outlets.  Sloan was super enthusiastic about it.  FullSizeRender-1 Afterwards we had lunch and hung out in the hotel lounge.  All the wood burning fireplaces were going and Sloan was mesmerized.  She loves the ambiance of a good fire.  IMG_0783

Then we made our way outside for the s’mores.  It’s possibly my favorite part of our stay every time we visit.  Sloan refused to keep her coat on, so I had to zip her up in my coat for the mallow roasting.  FullSizeRender-2 Her first taste – she was a huge fan.  IMG_0816


We had some time to kill before our dinner reservation – so Zach and Sloan played pool.

We then made our way up to the St. Regis for dinner.  Zach obliged to my request – the J&G Grill.  It’s my favorite restaurant in all of Utah.  No exaggeration.  Sloan may not look like it, but she loved riding up in the funicular.

Zach let me go to the hotel gym the next morning and as soon as I got back and showered all three of us hit up the pool.  Sloan could live in the water.  All we need to teach her now is not to suck up so much chlorine when she gets excited…

We checked out that afternoon and drove home.  Later that night Zach took me out for an Anniversary dinner, just the two of us, before seeing the Mockingjay Part 2 at the new spiffy Sugarhouse Theater.

Even though I wasn’t expecting anything for our anniversary – Zach still managed to surprise me.  He is too good to me.  I don’t deserve someone THAT thoughtful.

That following Monday we decided to have Family Night at Olive Garden.  I think Zach said, “When You’re Here – You’re Family” ten times.  Maybe more.  I stopped counting.  Sloan loves pasta, like her mother, so she obliged.
IMG_0942Who at corporate at the OG decided it was a good idea to give kids stickers in the kid’s menu??  It provided great entertainment for US not SLOAN…IMG_0887Thursday morning we all slept in.  Sloan woke up around her usual time but didn’t want to stay awake once I grabbed her out of her crib.  So, for the first time since she was very young, she let me hold her and cuddle her for a whole hour.  It was a Thanksgiving miracle!  The highlight of my day, I’ll be honest…IMG_0900We got all dressed and drove down to South Jordan for our Thanksgiving Lunch at my aunt’s house.  IMG_0940IMG_0908Sloan dined via activity center.  Give her a roll and she’ll let you do pretty much anything…IMG_0902She didn’t care much for pumpkin pie – but she was all about that whipped cream!IMG_0903We had a relaxing dinner later than night at home, just the three of us.  Homemade brownie sundaes and a movie is how we ended our Thanksgiving.

Friday morning we packed up our gear and drove up to Causey for the Hendo thanksgiving at Mark and Jeanene’s cabin.  She had it all decorated for Christmas and it looked like a page out of Log and Timer Homes.  IMG_0933

Before we all ate we took Sloan out for her first sledding experience.  We didn’t know at the time, but the poor thing was coming down with a mean cold.  So she wasn’t as enthusiastic as we thought she would be.  In fact – she barely moved a single muscle the whole time.  But we know, deep down inside, that she loved it.  IMG_0938 IMG_0920

After returning home we had a long, slow weekend.  Sloan’s cold was in full force so we all hunkered down and took it easy.  My friend Lindsey has me HOOKED on these protein balls – so I made a triple batch during a bunch of our down time.  IMG_0870


Saturday Sloan wasn’t feeling like herself at all.  She rarely laughed and smiled at all.  The poor thing was a motionless blob the entire day.  So, in an attempt to lift her spirits, we took her to Christmas In Color in Kearns.  It is located right near the Olympic Oval and the best part – you don’t have to leave your warm car!  We turned on the coordinating radio station and opened up the sun roofs.  Sloan barely made a peep the entire show – but her eyes were as big as quarters.  It was totally worth the drive to K-Town.


Our favorite part were the tunnels that were illuminated.  It must have taken some serious time and coordination to put this show together.  IMG_0975

Sunday I taught Gospel Doctrine and after church we made dinner and did little things around our house all day.  Even though the smallest of our group was under the weather, it was the perfect lazy weekend after a whirlwind of family fun.  Holidays with a tiny pinch of crazy – that’s the Henderhams for you!

Baby Birthday Week

I wanted to make Sloan’s birthday special.  I contemplated filling her crib with balloons, but thought it would be more of Sloan’s style to fill it with her favorite thing in the entire world:  red SOLO cups.

As soon as I heard her squawking in the morning we dumped the cups in her bed and turned on the light.  Her face was priceless.
IMG_0615We let her have at her mini stack of birthday pancakes (a tradition I am going to start from her on out) and afterwards I set up her ball tent that her aunt Brittany and uncle Blake gave her.  It kept her entertained for almost 2 straight hours.
IMG_0524 As soon as Zach got home from work we drove down to Fashion Place Mall to do a little Christmas shopping.  We went in and out of a few stores, Sloan wasn’t thrilled about it…IMG_0528 But she was back to her spunky self as soon as she got some carbs in her.  She loves Brio’s bread, apparently.  That’s all me…IMG_0545

For Christmas Zach and I decided that we’d get Sloan a snowboard.  She’ll be walking any time now, and Zach has every intention of starting her as soon as she can balance on her own.  So I purchased a snow suit for her when she hits the slopes for her first time.  She didn’t mind it one bit…
IMG_0392 The snowboard will fit her perfect in a few more weeks.  She thinks it is pretty amazing.FullSizeRender Zach’s been practicing with her – she’s slowly getting used to the feel of it. IMG_0643

Later that week was Sloan’s big one year appointment.  It was a sigh of relief to me, honestly.  The girl has grown like crazy.  She has skyrocketed to the 50th percentile for weight – 15 for height…but we’ll never be average there.  My doctor gave me a pat on the back and told me that I was doing a good job.  That, amongst other things, is why I adore him and will continue under his practice for eternity…FullSizeRender-1

The poor thing got 6 vaccinations and a flu shot.  She only cried for a moment – but wasn’t her sweet smiling self all day.  So, to make her feel better, I put up our Christmas tree.  Alright…I just couldn’t wait anymore.  But really, it did lift her spirits.  When I plugged them in and turned on the lights she gasped out loud.  Like it was the greatest thing she had ever seen.  Her and Zach stayed in front of the trees for a while – note her tiny little finger pointing up at them.FullSizeRender-2

Saturday was perfect.  Zach made German pancakes for Sloan [a first for her] and she loved them.  She actually ate so much she wasn’t feeling too well after.  Poor thing has the same reaction to butter as I do.  Please bless she doesn’t have my milk issues…IMG_0667Zach watched Sloan while I went on a nice run outside.  Possibly my last outdoor run of the year.  I don’t do under 40 degrees.

Later that night we had date night.  Zach took me to Caffe Molise and afterwards we went to the Jazz game.

I have to laugh – Zach asked me a few days earlier what I wanted to do for date night that weekend.  I replied, “Anything but football.”  Well…in his defense it wasn’t football, but Zach doesn’t know much else right now other than sports.  Gotta love him.  A highlight of my night was meeting “Baby Bear” or “Lil Bear”.  I’ve been trying to get that guy to wave at me for 4 seasons now.  We caught him in the tunnel on our way to the restroom.  Night = made. IMG_0425

Sunday after church we visited the location for my brother’s new Fiiz he is opening up.  It’s right smack dab in the middle of my home turf – Taylorsville!  They leased an old restaurant – Tammy’s, right off the 4700 S. exit on 215.  I can’t way to see how it all develops.  IMG_3314

At the beginning of this week, for Family Night, we picked up Arella pizza for dinner.  I try to feed Sloan super healthy and balanced meals…but the girl didn’t want her dinner.  She wanted mine.  I guess I can’t be so hypocritical.  So I would give her tiny scraps of my pizza.  She still wasn’t feelin’ it.  She wanted a whole slice to herself.  So I gave one to her.  It rocked her world. IMG_9777

It’s hard not to love Arella’s margherita pizza.  She definitely approved…IMG_0710

I’ve decided to give meal prep a try once more.  Even though I was completely exhausted afterwards last time, I know deep down inside it was all worth it.  I enlisted the help of a friend this time to do it with me.  Zach left to go to Las Vegas for a Jet Convention so we committed to do it.  That meant trips to several grocery stores – including Costco – where Sloan fell in love with the mondo bear.  Too bad I’m not that nice of a mom, Sloan.  IMG_8550I attempted tri tip roast all by myself.  Usually Zach sears it on the grill and I finish it in the oven.  Since he was gone and I don’t know how to work our grill, I did it on the stove top and then in our oven.  I found a rub that I am kind of in love with – so I attempted it on the tri tip.

And for the first time in two years I DIDN’T over cook a giant mound of meat.  IMG_0720

Wednesday we found out my uncle had suffered a heart attack.  Sloan and I went down to IMC in West Jordan to visit him in the ICU.  Turns out anyone under 14 isn’t actually allowed in the room – so Sloan hung out with my parents in the waiting room while I got to visit my Uncle Kenny.  And she got to bust out her new hat – which she thinks is the bees knees.  IMG_0722

This weekend is our 7th Wedding Anniversary.  It’s bizarre to think that we’ve been married that long.  Some days it seems like we’ve been married forever – other days I feel too young to have seven years under my belt.  But most of the time I can’t even remember what life was like before Zach.  I think that sums up how much he means to me and how much he has changed my life for the better.  I know I’m pouring on the cheese – but 7 is my lucky number.  And lucky is how I feel to have my little family.  And without Zach, that wouldn’t be possible.  I owe him everything.

Halloween 2015

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This was technically Sloan’s very first Halloween.  She missed last year’s by 10 days.  I wanted her to experience all that is one of my favorite holiday – sans all the candy.

We made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies [twice, if I am being honest] the week prior.  Sloan loves to watch the mixer go – I always let her have a front row seat. IMG_0252IMG_0181 We finally decorated the house – technically they were only up 8 days before I set up Christmas, but we’ll just not talk about that right now.  Sloan was surprisingly unphased by Skully the Skeleton.  There was even a tender moment when she grabbed his phalange.  Yes – owning an anatomically correct skeleton model makes you an expert on anatomy, in case you were wondering. IMG_0255 The day of Halloween Sloan had a few visitors.  Uncle Blake and Aunt Brittany came over to see Sloan in her costume.  She was a popcorn – per Zach’s request.  IMG_0270 We also went trick-or-treating at my parent’s new place – which is temporary – where Sloan received a bubble machine from my parents.  It’s going to be a whole solid day of entertainment when I decide to bust that baby out.  Then we went to Mimi and Papa’s house to trick-or-treat.

It was Zach’s most authentic costume to date:  himself, with a side of popcorn.  IMG_0286 IMG_0291 We let Sloan stay up a little later and help pass out Halloween candy to our local treaters.  We had quite an influx and ran out of the “good candy” so we had to refill half way through the night with ghetto bite size candy.  But I am sure it was Sloan’s favorite part of the night.  She thew her first ever fit when it was time to put her down to bed.  She wanted to mingle with our spooky visitors.  IMG_0307It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but holidays are definitely more exciting with children.

But what WAS extraordinary was the massive fist fight that happened across the street later that night at my neighbor’s house.  THAT was exciting.  If only my video camera on my phone could have captured the essence of it all, at 2:00 am, from my bedroom window.  It will go down as my first time ever calling the po-po on someone.  Ever.  And I’m from Taylorsville.  People from the Ville would call me a “snitch” and my street creed would be ruined for life.  Luckily, the Boro is pretty chill.   Sloan’s first Halloween definitely won’t be forgotten…by me at least.

The Sloan Ranger’s First Birthday

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I’ve been waiting pretty much my whole life to plan a first birthday party for my child.  I wanted to do a Candyland themed party but Zach shut that idea down real quick.  He decided it should be a “Sloan Ranger” themed party.  He was adamant.  So, I decided to put my dreams of making giant lollipops and “sugar coated everything” on hold.  One of my children will have a Candlyland party.  Mark my words.

We rented our neighborhood clubhouse and Zach and I set up all the tables and decor after church on Sunday.
FullSizeRender-13 IMG_0445

FullSizeRender-10 I wanted to get a game for the kids [Sloan’s cousins] to play and since Zach wouldn’t let me get a real pellet gun and glass bottles (he claimed that one of our nieces and nephews would shoot another and we’d never be forgiven) I had to settle for a plastic version.  Best $10 I ever spent on Amazon.  IMG_0441

Sloan by months.  It’s crazy to see how far she’s come and how much she has grown. FullSizeRender-9

IMG_0446 The favors were trail mix – “Happy Trails – the Sloan Ranger”.IMG_0448


There was also a face painting table.  I was worried the kids wouldn’t be able to come up with warrior face paint ideas – so I made a chart of actual indian face paint.  Turns out I was wrong.  They were super creative on their own.FullSizeRender-12

Sloan loves herself a good crowd.  She was happy as can be watching her cousins dart around and stealing bites of everyone’s cornbread.IMG_0508

Zach only had one other request when it came to the party and that was the food.  I had planned for Dutch Oven – but Zach convinced me that ordering BBQ from Smokin’ Bones in Bountiful was a better idea.  He couldn’t have been more right.  We got roast turkey, beef brisket, (giant) square of cornbread, potato and green salad.  The birthday cake was made by a local girl in Kaysville – Delish Cake Spot.FullSizeRender-6


Sloan’s guests ate from pie tins and the wooden cutlery I painted.

We had a watering hole – along with some root beer, cream soda, and good ol’ fashioned Coca-Cola.


The face paint turned out to be a hit.  Well, at least for the little ladies.  I didn’t ask any of the parents how they felt about it, though…FullSizeRender-7


The same girl made Sloan’s smash cake – a little two-layer naked cake that I put on a slice of wood with some succulents.


I was the most excited to see Sloan dig into her cake.  I don’t feed Sloan sugar (apart from the few licks of my soft serve vanilla cone now and then) and I knew she would have a ball wrist-deep in her cake.  IMG_0485 IMG_0493

Turns out she didn’t really like to get her hands dirty.  Once I broke off a chunk for her, though, she didn’t mind taking a taste. IMG_0499

Luckily she had many eager cousins that were willing to help her really get in there.  IMG_0500
IMG_0505 sloannneeeeEasily the Shoot-Out game was the highlight for Sloan’s boy cousins.  I ended up sending it home with Zach’s brother and his three boys.  Hopefully they get as much enjoyment out of it as Zach did before the party.  I am actually surprised the batteries weren’t dead by the time the party came around. 
IMG_0507After everyone had a slice of cake we opened Sloan’s presents.  She was totally spoiled by her family.  Diapers for days, darling outfits, a ball pit tent with 200+ plastic balls, dolla dolla bills for her college fund, and adorable books.  She is set for the next year, that’s for sure.  Honestly, they could have given her bags filled with tissue paper and she would have been as happy as could be.
IMG_1173-1Sloan’s birthday party felt a lot like Christmas.  It came and went so fast and I was sad when it was all over.  I can confidently say Sloan’s favorite part of the entire party was her guests.  I’m so grateful that both Zach and my family could be there with us to celebrate.  Sloan loves each and every one of them.

This year has flown by.  I knew she’d turn one eventually, but part of me has been in denial.  I haven’t been sad about, though.  I’m excited.  I’ve decided my favorite thing about being a mom is watching Sloan grow and learn new things.  I’m just thrilled to be a part of it all.  I imagine I will only love her more and more as each year goes on.  That is something to look forward to.

We love you, Sloan.  You’ve made this year everything and more we could have ever hoped for.