Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving was eventful this year, as it always is with both of our families.  We are lucky that the Hendersons are easy going and don’t mind celebrating the day after, to make it easier for everyone.

My assignment this year for my side was stuffing (or dressing, as my family calls it) and it is always my favorite thing to make.  Probably because it’s my favorite item to eat at Thanksgiving.  Yes – skip the turkey and mashed potatoes – I will take all the stuffing.  I made a traditional batch and then tried a new variety this year: cornbread with chicken sausage, apples, and mushrooms.  It was actually pretty good!
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On Thanksgiving Day we ate at my aunt’s house for lunch.  It was quite the crowd:  my family, my aunt’s family, my uncle’s family, and the sister missionaries.  Sloan loved every second and her excitement was elevated even more due to the fact that there were 10 times as many people to socialize with. img_5209

Out of the entire spread our families provided – Sloan ate two things:  1.5 rolls and some pumpkin pie.
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The next morning we took Sloan ice skating for her first time.  Zach purchased two tiny pink ice skates on Amazon and could barely contain his excitement.  He begged me every day until that day to take her, and our schedule finally worked out that we could.  She couldn’t wait to get out on the ice.  She did very well considering how difficult it is in general to ice skate.  She has amazing balance, like Zach, and did better than we both expected.  img_5278

She preferred for Zach to hold her, though, and zoom as fast as he could around the ice.  Speed is Sloan’s middle name.  Already praying she is a better driver than I was as a teenager…img_5295

After Sloan’s nap we made our way up the Hendo Cabin for our second Thanksgiving.  It was a fantastic meal with more trimmings than you could imagine.  We did our annual turkey marshmallow shoot and then had an indoor snowball fight – a personal favorite tradition of mine.  img_5235 img_5507

During dinner-clean up the grandkids played a pretty hilarious game and ended just in time to open Christmas pajamas.  After everything had settled somewhat we made the drive back home.

The rest of the weekend was easy.  We relaxed as a family, made sugar cookies, and went on a lunch date all together.
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8 Years / NYC

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The last few weeks have been a whirlwind.  With our family trip to Mexico, Halloween, Sloan’s birthday and all that was between, we didn’t realize our trip to NYC for our anniversary was so close approaching.  I usually pack days ahead of time, but this trip I was not that prepared.

We weren’t originally going to go to New York.  First, it was Cuba – but with flights being difficult and this whole Zika situation, we decided to switch it up.  Then it was Portland but the timing didn’t work out for that either.  When Zach suggested New York, I went for it.  The last time we had been was when I was 30 weeks pregnant, and New York in the fall is my favorite.

My mom watched Sloan for us the entire time, and we couldn’t be more grateful to her.

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We left Wednesday morning and arrived around 5:30 pm.  We took a taxi into the city and checked into our hotel before taking an Uber to MSG for our first Knicks game.  We both have been to MSG before, but never to watch the Knicks.  It was so fun, we had great seats, and even better – they won!  It’s always more enjoyable to leave with a victory.

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The next morning we both slept in, I got to check out the hotel gym, and we showered up for our first full day.

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We hit up all our favorite shops in Soho.  Then we made our way over to Dudley’s to meet some old high school friends.  I’ve known Curt since elementary school and Matt has been a close friend all throughout high school.  They both work in Manhattan and took time out of their busy schedules to meet us for a late lunch.  They both are just the same as always – a blast to be with and not short of laughs.

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After our lunch we went for round two.  We shopped for hours – literally – until our dinner reservation at Hillstone.  Our food was delicious and we decided to cap off the night with some ice cream.  Ice and Vice was amazing – our favorite being the “Milk Money” flavor – and we made our way back to our hotel completely stuffed to the brim.

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The next day we made our way over to Central Park.  I’ve never actually had the chance to experience it in full fledge fall mode.  A few years ago Zach and I came to the city to go to the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade.  By then, all the leaves in central park were dead and gone.  But this year, a tad earlier, the park still had a full array of beautiful colors.  It was even better than I could have hoped it to be.  I made Zach take dozens of pictures as we made our way through.

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We ate lunch at Shake Shack and shopped some more before our dinner reservation.

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We ate a Momofuku’s Noodle Bar.  We were lucky to get a place in line before it opened and got a seat right away.  The ramen and pho were amazing – enough to make us promise to go back again when we visit next.

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We had to rush off to Barclay’s afterwards for the Islander’s game.  Zach got us tickets on Stubhub minutes before the game started, printed them off at a nearby hotel, and we were in!

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I love Barclay’s Center. It is probably one of the most beautiful designed stadiums, in my opinion.  The fans are diehard, I’ll tell you.  Because the team isn’t that great.  Zach’s only desire to go is the fact that they were playing the Penguins, who’s shining star is Sidney Crosby (and the fact that they just won the Stanley Cup, of course).  The game actually ended up being way more entertaining than we anticipated – with the Penguins winning in over time.

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We stopped at a local market to get some treats and crashed once we were back at the hotel.

The next morning I made Zach visit the new Nike Store in Soho.  It is amazing – complete with it’s own half basketball court on the top level.  We got some gear and shopped around some more.

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We stopped and grabbed some pizza for lunch, shopped some more and then headed over to the holiday markets.  We started at Bryant Park – where we met up with a fellow Ogden native (and USU Interior Design Student, of course) Morgan.

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We visited on the steps in front of the giant Christmas tree, got some hot chocolate, and then went over to the holiday shops at Union Square.

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Then it was off to our dinner reservation at Lure, closer to our hotel.  It was the best fish dinner I’ve had in recent memory.  Even Zach’s lobster mac n’ cheese was OFF. THE. CHARTS.

We shopped around some more afterwards before stopping at Sprinkles for a couple of red velvet cupcakes.  We took an Uber back to our hotel and called it a night.

Sunday morning we packed our bags, left them with the bell man, and grabbed an early lunch at Black Seed Bagels.

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Throughout our whole trip the weather had been incredible.  Mid to low 60’s, not a drop of rain or even cloudy skies.  Sunday morning was freezing at a whopping 39 degrees.  We stayed inside the warm bakery as long as we could before venturing back to our hotel to leave for the airport.

It was a great trip.  Short and sweet.  I know it sounds like all we did was went to sporting events, shopped, and ate…and that is exactly how we wanted it.  We missed Sloan like crazy – but having some solo time with Zach was worth the heartache.

Sloan’s Second Birthday

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I have a two year old.  I can’t even wrap my mind around it.  I’ve been telling people she’s been “one and a half” for months now, partially because I’m in denial.

I made a promise to Zach that I would keep this second birthday more simple than her first, and I never break a promise if I can help it.

Sloan loves all things candy, and she’s so sweet.  We decided to do a “Our Sweet Sloan” birthday theme.  We had family over and served pizza from Arella (Sloan’s favorite entree) and cake and ice cream.  I ordered the cake from Parson’s Bakery in Bountiful and decorated it with lollipops.  The day before Sloan and I blew up balloons for a balloon garland.  It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be and recommend it for anyone trying to decorate a larger space with a very small expense.  Maybe invest in a balloon pump from a dollar store, unless you want to become winded in less than five minutes.

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Zach had been setting up her birthday gift a few days in advance, and I’m glad he did because it wasn’t a simple task.  My sis-in-law hooked me up with her major discount at Pottery Barn Kids and ordered me this kitchen set that still gives me butterflies when I see it.  The morning of her actual birthday we let her walk into her playroom with it all set up.  She loved it, played with it for hours on end, and didn’t want to leave that room all day.  Here she is, washing her strawberries…

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Later that night everyone came over, we ate some pizza, and let Sloan open her gifts.  She got spoiled by all her family members (honestly, she was more excited that everyone that she loved was in one place, all together I think) and couldn’t have been more excited about all the play food and accessories she got for her kitchen.  She also received a beautiful pink motorcycle from my aunt and cousins that is motorized and plays two very nice songs.  It doesn’t have a volume adjustment.  That’s important to note.

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The felt pasta and wooden eggs are still a big hit, weeks after…img_4986 img_4988 img_4992

After gifts we sang to her, she blew out the candles, and we ate cake.  We visited for a while and then it was time to bathe her and get her into bed.  She lost her mind when I took her upstairs, away from all her loved ones.  She fussed all the way until I placed her in her crib.  Which is always a good sign of good times had, when she refuses to go to bed.

I’m so grateful for Zach and all our family members for making her birthday so special.  She deserves it.  She really is the sweetest thing.