Summer So Far

How do I describe our summer thus far?

Smoothies.  Early morning runs – before the sun comes up.  Grilling.  Tuscan cantaloupe.  The splash pad. Shrimp and mango salads. Our neighborhood pool.  Popsicles.  Date nights.  S’mores.  Being in our backyard.  Baking cookies.  Pool parties at Mimi and Papa’s.  Early morning park hopping.

Some other things specifically fall under this list – mainly Bear Lake, Potty Training, and new summer recipes – but we’ll go into more detail on that.

Pineapple and banana is Sloan’s favorite smoothie currently – with avocado and banana with raw honey (I’ve been trying a “gut healing smoothie” and Sloan and I both really love it) coming in second place.

I’ve been running early in the morning – sometimes with my cute neighbor and sometimes by myself.  I’ve mostly always worked out at night, but getting up early before the sun comes up has really changed my life as a mom.  I go on a run before it is too blistering hot, come back and shower, and make breakfast (and smoothies) for my family.  It makes my whole day run smoother and I swear I am so much more productive.  This also means I’ve been going to bed earlier, which has been a huge game changer for me.  This night owl is starting to convert…

We’ve been grilling everything and anything the last few weeks – chicken, fish, steaks, burgers.  It’s one of my favorite things about summer.  Some highlights have been chicken and pineapple kabobs with jasmine rice…

Copy-cat Shake Shack burgers [which were literally OFF THE HOOK]…

We’ve discovered Tuscan cantaloupe from Trader Joe’s (I don’t really know who else sells it?) and it’s made my summer even sweeter.  I love melons, but this is my new favorite!

We frequent our neighborhood splash pad and pool often.  At least once a week, if not more.  Sloan always sees neighbors and friends there and it’s the only way to stay cool in the heat.

A friend of mine introduced me to the shrimp salad (with mango salsa) from Costa Vida.  I’m obsessed and don’t plan on quitting anytime soon.  It’s low calorie and delicious.  Thank you Dena, you’ve made my shrimp dreams come true!

Zach and I have had some great date nights this summer – some favorites have been a night up in Park City dining at the Riverhorse and having s’mores at the Montage hotel afterwards.  We’ve seen our fair share of movies and Zach’s had his fair share of popcorn as well, but none have been as much fun as our night up in PC.

We also had a fun “themed” night – planning a future vacation while eating our favorite pizza.  

Sloan and I love to bake together.  It’s our thing.  Cookies, homemade pretzels, bread, bran muffins.  It’s all the same to her.  It teaches her patience and following directions – and curbs my cravings for sweet treats.

I’ve been meal prepping a lot too – but my new favorite is to make egg white breakfast burritos in bulk, freeze them, and eat them when we have a busy morning.

We’ve been up to Mark and Jeanene’s pool a few times already this summer – and Sloan loves the new zipline Mark just installed.  She loves being with her grandparents and doesn’t get one-on-one time with them very often (it’s hard when there are 28 grandkids) and so we love the time we get them.

And when we’re not at a pool, splash pad, or the like – we’re in the backyard.  Maybe naked.  On her roller coaster.

We’ve also had a few visits to the trampoline park as well.  Sloan goes back and forth – two and fro so fast we can barely keep up.  This place can definitely hold down the fort when it comes to her energy level.

Before the temps creeped up passed the 90’s – we were at the park every single morning.  Sometimes two parks.  That’s even where we spent National Donut Day – Sloan picked the rainbow donut, obviously.

One of my favorite things we did in June was go to the opening of the Farmer’s Market down town.  We spent most of the morning there and the weather was perfect.  We walked around and taste tested all we were allowed until it was time for brunch.

We tried a new place – Tradition – north of Liberty Park.  The banana bread was UNREAL and Zach said the fried chicken and pancakes were amazing.  Sloan loved the fresh flowers at the table the most, though.

Zach had early church meetings a few weeks ago and while he was gone I surprised Sloan and we made “Pinkalicous Cupcakes” – just like her new favorite book.  I captured her expression when she took her first lick of the pink frosting…

I know there’s more – but these were just some of my favorite moments.

We also went to Bear Lake with my parents’ friends and their families.  We didn’t get a whole lot of sleep – but we loved being on the new boat and watching Sloan surf for her first time.  Sloan was super spoiled as well.  Lori and Jessica came prepared with tons of activities for the kids.  Decorating shirts, making slime.  She honestly had the time of her life.

We started potty training a few weeks ago and Zach and I are both floored with how well she has done.  I was dreading the whole process, but Sloan always seems to surprise us.  She had her share of accidents – but nothing compared to horror stories I’ve heard from friends and family.  Now that we are on week two – I feel like we’re finally on the home stretch.  And in a very strange way I feel more empowered as a mom than I ever have.  We can do hard things, this little girl and I. 

I’ve also tried out a few new recipes – some of the winners:

Mango chicken in parchment paper.  Honestly my favorite meal I’ve made all year. Almond crusted halibut with sautéed greens and pomegranate seeds. Martha Stewart’s classic pot roast – Zach picked this as HIS favorite all year. 

I’ve always liked to cook – but I’ve never been great at it.  Years ago when I started eating healthier, it only made sense to start cooking more.  It’s the best way to eat clean, at least for me.  I think I’ve always been terrible with timing, but I’ve finally found my groove. I hope to get better, so I’ll keep practicing.

La Jolla 2017

I’ll be completely honest:  I get a little emotional every time I think or talk about this trip.  I had been asking Zach if we could go on a family vacation for a few months prior and he planned this trip – without any help from me at all – and it couldn’t have gone better.

We flew from SLC > San Diego on Thursday afternoon and I would cringe each time I would think about the timing before we left.  We had to leave for the airport right at the beginning of Sloan’s nap.  So I let her skip it – hoping she would get some rest on the flight.  She was so amped once it was our time to board she could have cared less who she got on the plane with [thank you kind businessman who humored her].

As if a gift from heaven – we got to ride on a brand new Delta aircraft that had TVs in the headrests complete with boat loads of free movies.  Moana and Beauty and the Beast got us on our way.   And after she got bored of watching her shows we messed around with Play Doh, which was honestly the hero of the whole flight.  She played quietly for the remainder of the trip there.  

When we arrived we grabbed our baggage and picked up our rental car.  Sloan took a 30 minute nap in the car while we drove to La Jolla and got all checked in at our hotel.

I unpacked all our gear while Zach and Sloan ventured out to the beach.  They didn’t waste any time at all.

Zach booked us a beach front room – so the sand was less than 10 feet away from our door!  They both got soaking wet and sandy and I ordered food for dinner to our room from one of the hotel restaurants.  We put Sloan down to bed, grabbed the baby monitor [I know I am super repetitive…but if you travel with kids you MUST pack your baby monitor] and went out to the beach for our bonfire date.  Zach scheduled with the hotel in advance and they set up a beach bonfire for us complete with a s’mores kit!  The best part was that they did everything.  Hauled the fire pit out to the beach, set us up with chairs and towels, and left the s’mores get-up in our room.  All we had to do is walk out a few steps and start up the fire!


We ended up doing it our first two nights and I looked forward to it throughout the entire next day.

The next morning Zach let me run off all my s’mores from the night before with a glorious 4 mile run.  The weather was perfect.  Meanwhile – Zach and Sloan checked out the park the hotel had in the sand.

Then we all walked over to the pool and swam until lunch time.

We practically had the whole place to ourselves.  We got food poolside and relaxed in our loungers.

I’m not huge on “pool food”.  It’s usually chicken strips, nachos, and the like – but they had the most amazing hummus wrap that I could have ordered every single day.  Zach was elated to have hamburgers and chicken quesadillas along with Sloan.  The food actually surprised us.  You never know when you stay somewhere new how the service and food is going to be – and we were all pleased with everything.  I was already telling Zach we needed to come back and we hadn’t even left the place yet!

I took Sloan back to the room to nap afterwards and then met Zach out on the sand in front of our door to lounge for a bit.  When Sloan woke up we promised her we would build a sand castle – and we really went for it.  We built and re-built tower upon tower for 3+ hours!


Afterwards we all showered up and went to dinner at the Shores nearby.  All three of our meals were a home run.  They had me sold from the second they handed us piping hot bread as we sat down.

After dinner I got Sloan ready for bed and Zach ran to a nearby grocery store for some supplies.  Our room had a full kitchen and dining room so we decided to stock up on breakfast food and soda for the remainder of the trip.  He also got more s’mores supplies.  We had ourselves another bonfire and the weather was even better than the night before.

The next morning I explored the fitness center and had a run barefoot on the beach.  It was crazy crowded for 8 in the morning.  There were surfers, lots of other runners, a few yoga groups, and tons of families already out scoping their spots.  Luckily our place had a private beach – so I zoned in on a spot of our own and had some of the staff set us up some chairs and umbrellas.  We decided to go the same route as the day before – pool first, lunch, then beach.  Two little girls even shared their pool toys with Sloan and she couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Sloan rarely sits still.  At all.  But she went so hard at the pool on Saturday that I got a lengthy towel-wrapped cuddle.  I was afraid to breathe too deeply in fear she might wiggle away from me.

We had lunch and then took Sloan back to the room for a nap.  While she rested Zach played a round of golf and I binge watched Anne with an E on Netflix.  I know there are mixed reviews on it – but I LOVED IT [yes, I finished it already thanks to Zach’s late night hockey games] and would recommend it if you are an Anne of Green Gables fan!

When Sloan woke up we hit up the beach.  Sloan made some friends – who shared their “hot tub” with her and even some slices of watermelon.

Afterwards we showered up and took a little drive to the San Diego Temple.  Sloan kept calling it a “giant castle” and we happened to be walking around the grounds when a beautiful bride walked out of the doors.  She kept calling her a princess and waving.  It made me feel a little bit guilty about not taking her to Disneyland while we were there.  But…we just can’t.  Yet.

And because it was so convenient on our drive home – I made Zach stop at Sprinkles for a small box of cupcakes.

We fed Sloan dinner back at the hotel, had one more round of fun on the beach, and then got her tucked into bed.  We had dinner plans with just the two of us – which Zach set up.  He got us food sent out to the beach where a fancy table was waiting for us – literally 12′ from our room.  Grilled chicken, mahi mahi, asparagus, and chips and salsa.  Plus drinks and our cupcakes for dessert.

It was the perfect finale to our trip.  All three of us were sullen when Sunday morning came.  We spent the morning packing up and then grabbed lunch before heading to the airport.  Sloan did incredible on the flight home.

She even fell asleep when we were taxing to our gate and stayed asleep until we got in the car to drive home.

When we got home and unpacked, Zach and I were sitting in our bedroom together and had a chance to talk about the weekend.  We both agreed it was the best family trip we could have hoped for.  I can’t thank him enough (and haven’t stopped since we got home) for all the time and thought he put into the prep for this vacation.  Planning a long weekend away with a toddler is never simple – but it was honestly so relaxing and enjoyable.  We are honestly going back – hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

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.

 

March Madness

I know it’s April, but so much happened last month besides Targhee and our St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

In March there was a lot of baking.  Cookies, mostly.  But other things as well.

Cheesecake has been a family favorite.  But I don’t ever give up on those sugar cookies.  I just can’t. I helped host a shower for a sweet girl in our ward and my food assignment was sugar cookies.  So I made three dozen for the shower and I felt like I was eating cookies for the entire month!  

The shower turned out so cute, all thanks to Rebecca and her darling decor!

And my favorite part of hosting showers?  The leftover flowers.

We spent a lot of time outside – there were days when it really felt like spring was going to stay.  It didn’t, but we don’t mind!

And for those days went it wasn’t spring – we painted our toes, made homemade ramen, and went to Kangaroo Zoo.  Which Sloan calls “Kazoo!” for short.

We also went to Beauty and the Beast – which we loved.  Gaston came, too.

Before Targhee, we practiced a lot inside on the carpet snowboarding with our new helmet. 

Only a day after we returned from Targhee, Zach left for Cabo with his friends.  But he didn’t leave us empty handed.  He had a whole bag of surprises for Sloan to open (one for each day he was gone).  He is the most thoughtful person and he even attached a little note for me on each one.

Sloan is beginning to change.  Her personality is mostly the same, but she’s growing up.  Learning a lot, comprehending more than I can imagine, and exploding with emotions (good and bad).  Trips to the store aren’t as breezy as they used to be.  Unless we get a cart with a car.  And find a friend, I guess?

But luckily she is always down for a run in the jogging stroller.  Not without a snack, though. And more snacks upon arriving home.

Some more highlights were going to the Discovery Gateway with our neighbors and friends.  Sloan loved it and loved being with the twins just as much.

I also got to attend my old college roommate, Whitney’s, baby shower.  She’s having a little girl here soon!

I’m lucky that both of my current roommates love pizza.  So I make it often.  Probably too often.

We had a couple dates this month, too.  Our latest involving hot chocolate and macarons.  It was wonderful.  

Not as wonderful, but delicious considering, Sloan and I are addicted to protein bites.  Almond butter + protein powder + raw honey + chocolate chips.  When you want a cookie but you’re trying to eat clean = protein bites! 

It was a great month.  March was one of the best to date.  Our little family of three is making memories that are going to stick.

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!