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!