Our November + Thanksgiving

We did some festive things to kick off the month of November.  Thank you Trader Joe’s for making me feel like I can’t live without a gingerbread turkey kit.  Because apparently, I can’t.  Sloan loved every second – especially eating all the candy off the turkey after she dipped it in the frosting. 

We also couldn’t leave the craft store one day without one of those pre-fab foam kits – particularly the Thankful Cafe – and Sloan believed it looked better as a hat rather than a display.  

We hosted Joy School at our house before the holiday and the kiddos loved decorating their pilgrim hats and eating some festive treats.  

We went to Provisions on the night of our actual anniversary – which was the 21st.  It was our first time and I can’t wait to go back already.  Something super strange about me:  if there is Utah trout or any sort of trout on a menu, I will get it.  I love Trout – it’s my favorite fish.  I like it even more than salmon or halibut.  I grew up fishing with my grandpa and occasionally my dad [he hated it with a passion, but would go when we went camping] and grew to love the taste very early on.  So I ordered the trout and it was OFF THE HOOK!  I don’t know what that white pureed stuff was…but I wanted to take home a jar of it and eat it with a spoon.  

Thanksgiving Day I went on an early morning run with my sister-in-laws.  A Turkey Trot, if you will.  I was hoping I could still run over three miles by the time Thanksgiving hit – and I made it!  I still have a goal of running 300 miles this pregnancy.  I am over 277 miles currently – but with less than three weeks left officially I hope I can make it happen.  Zach played hockey afterwards and Sloan and I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to take to dinner (for those who don’t like pie, apparently).  I also made my assignment – two different types of stuffing – and then we were off to my aunt’s house for dinner.

This is the best family photo we got at Thanksgiving Dinner.  The three and a half of us…and a watering can.  Because a toddler’s life is a mega distracted life.  

It was great to be with family and we ate our fair share.  Afterwards we went through some Black Friday ads and then hit the rode home.

The next morning we relaxed.  We lounged around, ate snacks.

There was no actual Black Friday shopping for me this year.  I bought a few things online because the prices were too good to pass up, but I have all my Christmas shopping done for my family.  And as soon as Friday morning came it was all wrapped, my minimal Thanksgiving decor was down, and my house was officially decorated for Christmas.  It feels so good – knowing it’s all done – before this little man joins our household.  I even have some emergency gifts for him if he decides to come early, before the holiday.

Then later that afternoon we drove up north to the Hendo Cabin for Thanksgiving Round 2.

The food is always delicious and the company is just as great.  Sloan wasn’t a fan of the turkey [marshmallow] shoot this year.  She was terrified of the turkey – until she found out it was her cousin Alex in a costume.  You’d think this kid would be accustom to strange characters roaming around our family get-togethers…

After the turkey came and went – everyone opened their Christmas pajamas.  We are missing 11 grandkids in this photo – but it’s pretty good considering how big the group is still. 

We also had our traditional indoor snowball fight (boys vs girls, adults vs kids) and it totally wore Sloan out.  All the action really took it out of her…

Speaking of grandkids – I got super emotional when I saw baby boy’s stocking hanging up at the cabin.

I devote so much time and energy to Sloan that sometimes [even this far along] I forget there is another little person inside of me.  To see his stocking hung up there made it feel more real: December will be the month we welcome another little person into our family!

I never wanted to have a baby in December.  Not because I wasn’t grateful for any opportunity to carry a child – but no kid wants a December birthday!  But when they told me it would be December, I just started praying it wouldn’t be on Christmas Day.  Now I’ve come to the realization that it’s out of my control completely.  And secretly I feel like the more I wish him not to come on the holiday, the more likely it is to happen.  So…come what may and love it.  Having a newborn in our home during the holiday season will be pure magic.

 

 

 

 

October + Halloween 2017

October was an absolute blast.  Easily one of my favorite months of the year.  It’s so fun to see the leaves change and feel the temps drop.  We went on a few family hikes before it got too cold.  One of our favorite places was the Wild Rose Trail up in North Salt Lake above the golf course.  We collected leaves and some of us collected rocks…


We made endless amounts of pumpkin flavored things.  If you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s jumbo cinnamon rolls…you are not living your best life.  They did have pumpkin flavored ones as well, for a short amount of time.

We also decorated Halloween cookies.  This year we tried tombstones.  Sloan’s not picky.  As long as she gets to pour the glaze all over the cookies, she could care less what shape they are.

We attended several Utah Football games – where the weather was actually quite pleasant.  I hit my 7 month of this pregnancy as well.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself.  This pregnancy has flown by so fast, it feels like we just found out we were expecting.

We visited Cross E Ranch – several times, actually.  Each time Sloan couldn’t have been happier.  I was finding kernels of corn in random places around our house for weeks.  Thank you, revolting corn pit…

We went to “Scary Hill” on one Saturday morning and enjoyed a lovely tractor hay ride through the skeleton field.  I thought that would be Sloan’s favorite part – but in fact her favorite part was the Clifford coin-opperated ride near the refreshment area.  So she probably would have been happier going to the mall instead.

We pre-gamed for Halloween with some trick-or-treating at Target the Saturday before the actual holiday.  Sloan enjoyed it – and the free fruit snacks – but Zach and I were unimpressed.  Next year; we’re going to Lee’s!  I heard it was OFF THE HOOK! 

The morning of Halloween was my turn to host Joy School.  Sloan and I prepped by making frosting to decorate cookies.  We also decorated her pumpkin – that she picked out the supplies for [I didn’t fight her one bit – these no carve solutions are GENIUS for Toddlers] and she had the time of her life.

We had Darren and Tillie over for Joy School and we learned about the letter F.  We colored Frankensteins and frosted sugar cookies.  

Sloan ate almost all of her candy off her cookies before I could snap a decent picture of them. 

After Joy School we got all dressed up and went trick-or-treating at my brother’s warehouse so we could see my family for a bit and had Cafe Rio take-out for lunch.

Then we drove up to Ogden with Zach and visited his parents.

Half of her costume was stripped off [she hated the tulle skirt] before we left Mimi and Papa’s house.  Sloan left with a year’s supply of Bubble Tape and her own spooky doorbell decoration.

We went trick-or-treating around our neighborhood before it got dark and then returned back home to carry on our super classy and festive tradition of Little Caesar’s for dinner while we passed out candy to the kiddos that came to our door.

Sloan had a serious sugar crash – most definitely the 8 Dum Dum lollipops she got from our bishop – and could barely keep her eyes open for a piece of crazy bread.

We had a fantastic holiday – and possibly even a better time leading up to it.  Sloan loved all things Halloween and “spooky” and she keeps asking when we can go trick-or-treating again.  She even has a few houses she plans on going to next year…

 

 

September + October General Conference

First, I have to catch up. September slipped through our fingers. Technically, first was Zach’s birthday. Sloan and I did our best to make it special for him – since he always makes everything wonderful for the two of us. We are so lucky to have him and wanted to show our love and appreciation for him.  We started his day off with his favorite breakfast, German pancakes.

As soon as he got home from work the three of us rushed off to Benihana for dinner.  Some traditions will never die.  Lucky for Zach, Sloan loved every second of it.  The entertainment, the fried rice, the paper hat she wore the entire meal and the trip home. She also asked me this week if Zach could take her on her “first date to Benihana”.  So I guess the love for Benihana is hereditary. Looks like I’m never going to be able to cut this cord…When we got home from dinner we all had a piece of Zach’s favorite dessert [really the only one he actually likes] his mom’s chocolate cake that Sloan and I had made the night before. It sits in the fridge overnight and Sloan had been begging for a piece since I pulled it hot out of the oven – sans frosting.  

Then later that week Zach and I got to go out to dinner to celebrate, just the two of us at his favorite restaurant.

I hope he enjoyed his birthday as much as we did – attempting to make it fun for him.  Sloan gets so excited about the little things – and keeps asking when it will finally be her birthday.  To which she asked for a “Peter Pan Birthday” this year – so I’ve been planning for some time. Just trying to be as prepared as possible with baby brother coming in three short months.

Sloan also started Joy School with our darling neighbors one street over – Darren and Tillie.  The three of them didn’t make the official cut for pre-school because they didn’t turn three come September.  I felt so guilty – like Sloan would be behind in some way.  So when my friend and neighbor approached me about doing Joy School with her, I was all in! She went to her first week at the twins’ house and loved every second. She even packed a bag with crayons and plastic fruit, just in case.

This last week was my week to host.  Sloan loved having Darren and Tillie over and to learn about the letter B we baked bread.  It was definitely the highlight of their class, but I should have predicted that.

Truth be told – I’ve been burning fall scented candles for weeks.  And if I’m being honest I’ve been baking fall-ish desserts for even longer. I’m on a serious bran muffin kick – my personal favorite being the apple oat bran muffins I’ve made twice now.  I’ve got a small stock pile in the freezer for now.

But Sloan actually prefers the pumpkin bran muffins.

We officially kicked off fall on September 21st [you know…like the Earth, Wind, and Fire song] by painting pumpkins and eating taco soup out of pumpkin bread bowls.

Speaking of soup, last week I attempted making my own chicken noodle soup from scratch for the first time.  It turned out pretty good – but Sloan was thrown off with the black bats [black bow tie pasta] and pumpkins [carrots].

Maybe chicken BOOdle soup will have to wait a while – until Sloan’s a bit older and not totally freaked out by it.

Zach and I would be lying if we said we weren’t missing Italy in the best way.  Zach’s favorite dish he ate while over there was a seafood dish with calms, mussels, and shrimp in a tomato sauce.  I found a similar recipe online and decided to surprise him and make it.  I wasn’t going to let the mussels and clams intimidate me – or the fact that I had to go into a liquor store and buy white wine nearly 7 months pregnant.  But that’s neither here nor there.

The dish turned out good and the mussels and clams weren’t terrible to master.  They were quite easy once they were dead and cooked [yeah – you cook them live, no big deal]. But now I have a little more experience cooking with live shellfish, I guess?

I’ve been counting down the days until fall session of conference.  I was thrilled when I found out it landed on October 1st – and we decided to kick off Halloween that weekend.  Because October 1st is literally the earliest I think that it is socially acceptable.  I purchased some Halloween jammies for Sloan, a stack of Halloween books, and geared up for both days and all four sessions.

 

Friday morning we made Halloween cookies per Sloan’s request.

They are some of my favorite that we have done thus far.  Sloan literally couldn’t stop laughing at them.  We also made some plain old circles and a few leaf cookies – but they weren’t nearly as fun!

We moved date night to Friday evening so Zach could go to Priesthood session on Saturday [our usual date night].  We went out for Ramen and then saw a movie down town.  It was a great way to kick off the weekend.

Saturday morning Zach let me go for a long run.  I’ve officially hit over 200 miles this pregnancy.  The weather was gloomy but I got back in time for breakfast.

I set up a jar of bribes to keep Sloan’s attention.  I originally had 6 words – but realized how overloaded Sloan would get on snacks. So we settled for her four favorite treats and listened intently to reward her as each word was spoken.  Gummy worms were the crowd favorite, for the record.

It actually did work.  Every time the words were heard, there were cheers all around!  NOTE:  I should have chosen SERVICE as a word for one of the rewards.  I swear we heard it 100+ times.

We also built temples out of blocks – which turned out to be Zach’s favorite activity.  He got WAY more into it than Sloan and I did.

I wish I would have snapped a picture of the futuristic “2040 Temple” he built. 

I made homemade bread during the end of the first session so we could enjoy it during lunch between sessions.  When in Positano I purchased some pesto [two jars] from our favorite little shop and deli.  I made Zach bring it home in his suitcase – in which one of the jars broke and we had to throw away.  But I still had a jar I had been waiting to bust open, and it was just as delicious as I had remembered.  Worth the haul, if you ask me.

The second session was during Sloan’s nap so Zach and I listened together alone. It was so relaxing and I got so much out of the second session.  Soon afterwards Sloan woke up and Zach got ready to go to Priesthood session.  I made manicotti for dinner and we ate together before Zach left.

The next morning I made breakfast and we busted out all things Halloween.  The first session we had a craft and painted a wooden bat.  Thank you Target dollar aisle, we love you!

We also colored and built more block temples.

During the last talk of the first session I sensed Sloan’s boredom and we busted out the next session’s craft [which worked out – because she slept through all but 15 minutes of the last Sunday session].  We made a Haunted Cookie House and it was the highlight of Sloan’s entire day.

(I know I’m a fan already – but TJ’s has some AMAZING pumpkin/fall/Halloween stuff happening right now.  I kind of had a hay-day last week in preparation for conference.)

We enjoyed lunch together and then Sloan napped during the last session.  It was such a good weekend.  I secretly loved the gloomy weather and the fact that we were all set up inside, listening and watching. I baked up a storm and we were all completely full – spiritually and physically.

It will hold us over until spring, I suppose…

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day 2017

We kept in tradition for Mother’s Day this year and had ourselves a relaxing weekend in Park City.  We left Friday after Zach got home and drove straight to our hotel.  We ordered food to our room once we unloaded all our bags.

Sloan got the macaroni and cheese and for dessert they left her a s’mores treat with a chocolate moose atop.  We might as well have been at Disneyland.

They even left a tiny Sloan-sized robe and slippers in our room as well.  She could hardly wait to take her bath and get wrapped up in it.

The next morning Sloan and Zach got breakfast while I got to go workout at the gym.  The views are always amazing no matter what time of year we visit.  Afterwards we all went down to the indoor pool.  We stayed for what seemed like forever and Sloan was still disappointed when it was time to get out. 

We had lunch and then decided to do a round of bowling down in the hotel’s lower level.

Then we all got changed for dinner and drove over to the J&G Grill.  We rode the funicular up to the restaurant [and ended up riding it four more times while we waited for our reservation to come up] and then got all settled in to eat.

Sloan loved her appetizer of gummy bears and goldfish – anything to help her stay happy while waiting for our entrees.

I got the miso glazed catch of the day – and it was out of this world.

After dinner we got back to our hotel and got Sloan all ready for bed.  We tucked her in and took the baby monitor outside for s’mores.

The next morning we packed up and checked out.  Sloan had a cold coming on a few days before and I woke up with a sinus cold myself.  It was so bad we didn’t even go to Mother’s Day dinner at my parent’s place that night.  We felt bad for missing out – but didn’t want to pass on our germs to the rest of the family.

It was honestly the best weekend.  Even with the cold – I’d replay those few days over and over.  I love being away with my little family, even if it is just up in Park City.  I couldn’t have asked for a better Mother’s Day gift.

To Easter and Beyond

I have to start out with the best news first, obviously.  We have another niece, Ruby!  Travis and Lori adopted this gorgeous one-year-old a few weeks ago and she is the perfect addition to the Wayland family.  Since their youngest, Max is actually one – they basically have one-year-old twins!  Ruby is 7 days younger than Max.

We got to visit her a few Sundays ago (and play in Lori and Trav’s sweet backyard) before heading to Sunday dinner with my family.  Hendo baby #28.  We are thrilled for all of them.

As for our Easter, it was wonderful.  It came and went so fast, but not without all the traditions.  First, we died eggs.

Sloan loved it.  She took it very seriously and wanted to dye more than just eggs.  I had to rein her in a few times.

We also made an Easter themed dinner the Thursday before the actual holiday.  Carrot pot cakes (which Sloan figured out were strawberries REAL quick) for dessert were the highlight.

The next day on Friday we had a little neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt and I conned our friends and neighbors into coming with us.  Sloan loved the park more than the actual hunt, but didn’t turn down her share of candy.

The Saturday before Easter I made Sloan a bunny breakfast.  Which she almost combusted when she first laid her eyes on it.  She gets so excited about the little things.

Later that Saturday Zach took Sloan on a daddy-daughter date to the Discovery Museum.  It happened to be Princess Day (who knew?) and Sloan had the time of her life.  Meeting Belle and Moana were highlights, for sure.

Later that afternoon we had my side of the family get together at my brother’s house for an Easter egg hunt.  Sloan was in heaven and got hooked up with the most amazing Easter basket from my parents – complete with gummy bears and Swedish fish.

Then came Easter Sunday.  We got all dressed up and ready for church and then set off to Gina’s house afterwards to have the Henderson Easter Bash.

Now that we officially have a child – Zach is off Easter Bunny duty.  Our nephew Alex has been promoted to that position.  I’m sure he loves sweating his guts out in that smelly bunny suit.  At least we get to take photos all together as a family now!Sloan loved EB – just like years previous.  She got used to giant stuffed animals really quick being a part of this family. 

We had a delicious dinner, had the kids hunt for eggs, and afterwards the adults got to open their adult loot.  It was another great holiday.

The week afterward we had a family dinner date up in Ogden at Tona.  If you haven’t had sushi at Tona, you’re not enjoying sushi to it’s full potential.  Best spot in all of Utah, if you ask us.  Sloan’s favorite is always the miso soup (even the tofu) and rice with soy sauce.  She is her father’s daughter.

April was my month to conduct and teach in Relief Society – and we had an activity at the end of the month as well.  It turned out to be pretty fun.  We did “Speed Friendshipping” – like speed dating, but not awkward, with a little bite-sized dessert at each table.  The sisters seemed to really like it!

Before hand we didn’t have enough desserts for each table [little did I know that we would have far too many once people starting showing up with plates and plates of food] so I panicked and made a batch of sugar cookies with Sloan the morning of.  I didn’t have any small cookie cutters that were considered “bite sized” so I used a cookie cutter from her Melissa and Doug play baking set.  Sloan was over the moon about it and helped with serious concentration and patience.

Our “flower” cookies looked more like suns…but Sloan didn’t mind one bit.

And since we’re talking about baking – I’ve been all about single sheet pan dinners lately.  We’ve tried everything from pork chops to salmon.  But our favorite was a marinated skin-on salmon cooked over green onions and roasted carrots.  We’re saving this one for sure.

I’m pretty sure no other family goes through as much parchment paper as we do between all our sheet pan dinners and baking sessions.

We try to eat healthy…but sometimes we just can’t muster the strength.  Last week I wanted a corn dog in the worst way.  I know, gross.  Not even a famous Kaysville corn dog or a Cowboy corn dog from the Utah Stadium – just a good ‘ole fashioned HDOAS corn dog.  So I made Zach drive down to West Valley with Sloan and I to get our fix.  Sloan has officially made it three generations of HDOAS lovers – her Mimi, her father, and now her.

I know a lot more happened in April than Easter and corn dog cravings – but those were some peaks for sure.  Life with a two-year-old makes every day exciting.  Exciting and a total blur, if I’m being completely honest.

 

Targhee 2017 / St. Patty’s

Targhee with the Hendersons was a little later than usual this year.  It happened to fall over the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day!  So – to keep up with tradition – we had our St. Patty’s Day dinner a few nights before heading up to WY.

We decorated with left-over decorations from Sloan’s 2nd Birthday. Balloons and streamers make a simple rainbow, and Sloan thought it was the greatest thing she had ever seen.

We spread out some chocolate coins and gold paper plates and we were set! Homemade green bread and rainbow linguine were on the menu.  Sloan enjoyed playing with the colorful noodles more than anything, and Zach and I got to eat a full hot meal without any distractions.  So I’d call that a definite win!

We continued the rest of the week making green meals, in good fun. I tried the most delicious chicken artichoke pesto pasta recipe that all three of us went crazy over.  I’ve already got it on the menu again for this week.

Thursday after Zach got off of work we packed up the car and drove up north.  The drive went so smoothly – the best road trip to Targhee we’ve had to date.  Sloan read books, we all listened to music, and we finished the ride with a showing of Beauty and the Beast.  We arrived at the resort around 8:30 pm.  We unloaded and got Sloan into bed and then unpacked all our supplies in our room.

When Sloan woke up – the Leprechaun had left her something in our room.  I love this age – everything is so magical and I don’t want it to ever change.  Her favorite item in her basket?  A tiny green cutting board of her own to help me with dinner prep.

That morning was Gina and I’s meal assignment – a Leprechaun Breakfast!  Lucky Charms, green french toast, and little green footprints leading towards the “pot o’ gold” that the pesky leprechaun had left the kiddos.  They loved every bit of it and a real leprechaun ended up gracing us with his presence (aka Zach is the creepiest costume to date).  Sloan was unsure at first, but that didn’t stop her from grabbing her loot out of the cauldron when it was her turn.

Then we dropped Sloan off at the Kids’ Club so Zach and I could snowboard together for a few hours.  To be honest, I was extremely hesitant to do this.  Zach told me it would be pointless for us to drive all the way up there and both not ski.  So he set up Sloan to stay in the Kids’ Club for half a day to test the waters.  Long story short:  she ended up doing great and didn’t want to leave when her time was up.

Zach and I even got 8 runs in together with a few other members of his family before lunch time!

When it was time to go pick her up we got to spy on her through the windows.  She loved having her cousins Cole and Clark in there with her!

As soon as Sloan woke up from her nap back at our room we all set off for some snowboarding time together.  We took Sloan on the kiddie lift for the first time and she was in awe the whole time.  I will say though, snowboarding with a toddler goes a lot smoother when it is in the morning – not in the afternoon.  We learned that the first day and didn’t make the mistake again.

That night we had dinner at the Branding Iron to celebrate Jeanene’s birthday [which was actually on Sunday, but we wanted all of us to be together to celebrate].  Sloan hung out with her older cousins while all the adults ate peacefully downstairs in the restaurant below them.

The next morning we did some earlier snowboarding together as a family.  Sloan enjoyed it so much more in the earlier hours and did amazing on her little board – especially considering the snow conditions.  It was icy and it made her go extra fast down that little bunny hill.

Cole and Sean and Siri came out for a bit, too and Sloan got to shred alongside her closest cousin for a bit.  It’s so nice having these two only a few weeks apart – Sloan adores Cole! 

After our shred sesh we dropped Sloan back off at Kids’ Club and she couldn’t have been happier.  Zach and I got more time to snowboard together and met up with the majority of his family members and some of our nieces and nephews.

Part of the crew on the crest.
Mark the Shark and I cutting up some corduroy.  Zach and I on the cat tracks. 

It was all so much fun and so great to be together.  When I picked Sloan up from Kids’ Club she was bummed to leave, but when we got back to our room she took a KILLER nap.  When she woke up we went swimming at the pool along with a few of her cousins.

We had taco night in Mark and Jeanene’s room and then made our way back to our room to put Sloan to bed.

We left the next morning after Zach got a few runs in and I packed up our gear.  We made it home before dinner time and in record breaking fashion unpacked the car and ALL our bags before we passed out for the night.

Targhee is always such a great time – and we were blessed with amazing weather while we were there.  So grateful the Hendersons keep this tradition going, we never want it to stop!