Calvin Zach Henderson | Birth Story

I went to my last scheduled doctor’s appointment on Dec 18th.  I was 38 weeks and 1 day.  I had zero progression so my doctor scheduled my induction to be Dec 28th.  She was going to be out of town until the 26th for the holiday, so that was a sensible time for both of us.  Since I didn’t dilate on my own last time – we figured I would have to be induced anyway.  And with the holidays I got to choose if it we before Christmas or after.  I chose the latter.  I remember my doctor saying a few weeks prior – “If I had it my way, you’d go into labor on your own at 38 weeks.”  She was just two days off, we’d find out.

That night I got up to use the restroom around 4 am and noticed some development of the labor process.  I’ll just leave it at that.  I decided to go back to bed and see what would happen.  Around 4:30 my water broke as I was in bed.  I felt it coming and jumped out of bed just in time.  [For some reason my biggest fear was my water breaking in our bed and then having to deal with a disgusting mattress when we got home from the hospital.]  I woke Zach up and told him my water broke.  I’ve never seen him spring out of bed so fast – I swear he got two feet of air off the mattress before his feet hit the ground.

Luckily our hospital bags were already packed.  I decided to get in the shower and get ready before heading to the hospital.  I called my mom around 5 am to head up to our house to be with Sloan.  I shoved a few things in a bag just as my parents showed up.  Zach gave me a priesthood blessing – assisted by my dad – and we were out the door.

Zach said something in his blessing that caught me a little off guard.  I asked him about it when we were alone in the card together and he told me he didn’t know what it meant, just that he was meant to say it.

As we made our way to the hospital I had a few big contractions – so I told Zach we didn’t have time to stop at McDonald’s for a sausage egg and cheese McMuffin like our last go around with Sloan.  We pulled up to the University around 6 am and they made us wait to be admitted until someone could confirm that I was actually in labor.  The on-call midwife confirmed my water had broken and then did a little monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat.  It was then that she told us that his heart had an arrhythmia.  Considering we had been at the hospital for all of 12 minutes, I was a nervous wreck.  She told us it wasn’t a big concern – but that she would have to alert pediatrics and cardiology.  Since I had high blood pressure towards the end of my pregnancy with Sloan – they kept monitoring my blood pressure while we were waiting.  Once we got the news about the baby’s possible heart problem my blood pressure was sky high on every single test.  There weren’t any delivery rooms available at the time – so we continued to wait to be officially admitted and moved over.  Zach and I used the time to talk and say a prayer together.  He felt great about it all – and I was still worried sick.  I had a fantastic pregnancy with zero complications.  I wasn’t sick even one hour of my entire nine months.  I knew that there had to be a catch, and this was it.  Our baby had a heart problem.

Zach was starving and made his way downstairs to get a sausage and egg biscuit from Starbucks.  If there is a will, there is a way with Zach.  He managed to stink up our room in a way which only that exact breakfast sandwich can.  At least this time he brought me a hot blueberry muffin.

An hour or so later we were officially moved over to L&D.  They hooked me up with an IV and I met my nurse who I adored instantly – Sandy.  We went over my birth plan and Sandy explained that pediatrics was going to have to stop by and have a chat.  I never dilated on my own with Sloan, so I didn’t think my body was even capable.  I was at a 3 when Sandy checked me, which was a surprise considering I thought I would be Fort Knox.  But since my contractions weren’t progressing, they decided to start me on Pitocin.  Right after that the pediatric and cardiology teams stopped by to talk to me.  They apologized – but told me I probably wouldn’t get to hold the baby right after he was born because they would need to asses the situation with the arrhythmia.  I just tried the entire time not to burst into tears, and kept my mind busy with asking questions.  They left and told me they would see me when it was go time.  Then anesthesia came around and asked if I would like to get my epidural going.  Last time with Sloan my epidural was a complete disaster (the worst part of the labor process if you asked me) and I was hesitant. I told him I wasn’t feeling any contractions, but to “Check back in, say…30 minutes.  Nothing can happen in 30 minutes.”  As I said those words he started wheeling his cart out of our room and a massive contraction hit me.  It was so intense that I stopped him as he was going and told him to turn that little cart around and come back.  He laughed and said he knew from the moment I told him nothing could happen that it WOULD in fact happen.  He administered the epidural – and this time Zach was sitting in front of me in a chair, holding my hands.  With Sloan’s delivery he got really sick at the sight of the needle and nearly passed out.  Our guy, Adam, was a pro and administered the epidural without a hitch.

Almost as soon as the epidural kicked in – my contractions took it up a notch.  I started to feel some big time pressure and they checked me.  I was at a 5 – which I could have sworn was wrong.  I felt a little bummed that there wasn’t more progression.  They told me they would check back with me in an hour.  As they walked out the door everything switched gears.  I had the biggest contraction yet and started to feel the urge to push.  I pushed my call button for the nurse and told them to come back in. I told Zach, “He’s coming.  I can tell.  It’s time.”  They checked me again and saw that I was complete.  I went from a 5 to a 10 in 2 minutes.  They all were completely shocked.  Then, as Zach explains it, “an entire basketball team rushed into our room”.  Including the pediatric team.  As they were prepping for the delivery I explained that I have never been able to hold my babies as they came out.  I’ve always had to wait to get them checked.  My doctor was doing clinicals in the hospital that day, but I didn’t see her in the room with us.  I asked if she had been paged, and they told me she would be here as soon as she could.  I remember thinking – she’s not going to make it, again.  I really wanted her there considering how worrisome it all was with the baby’s heart issue.  The on-call resident started to give me instructions and got all geared up.  Sandy, our nurse, asked Zach, “Alright Dad, want to grab a leg?”  Zach switched over to my left side and grabbed a hold of my leg.  I started pushing and right in the middle of my second set of pushes my doctor ran in, huffing a puffing.  She explained she ran all the way up here and I couldn’t have been more grateful to see her.  I remember I said, “Welcome to my vagina!” As she settled into position.  The whole crew of 10+ people burst into laughter.  I told Zach not to look down – to focus on my face, but I could see him staring down into the gaping abyss that is a woman wide open – with a baby’s head crowning.  Then another round of pushes.  On my second big push I heard Zach say, “Guys, I’m going to need some help here.”  He loosened his grip on my leg and passed out cold on the floor.  He dropped down to his knees and then I completely lost sight of him.  A few people rushed over to help him and another nurse rushed to my left side to grab a hold of my leg.  I lost focus on pushing and was calling out his name, asking if he was ok.  He didn’t respond for quite a while.  The nurses urged me to switch my attention and focus on the task at hand.  Someone got Zach some smelling salts and he finally awoke.  I kept asking someone to get his orange juice [which he had acquired at Starbucks as well] and Zach kept telling me he was alright.  “I’m ok, K.  Just keep pushing.” After another set of pushes I checked in on Zach.  He was soon by my side and staring only at my face.  I vividly remember him patting me on the head like a dog – telling me that I was doing a good job.  He was still as white as a sheet.  We’ll work on his labor coach skills some other time, I guess.

On my fourth round of pushes I heard the nurse saying, “That’s it!  He’s almost here!” And then someone said to me, “Open your eyes – it’s your baby!”  I looked and there he was – screaming his guts out!  I’ve never been more grateful to hear a piercing cry like that in my entire life.  My doctor, who likely hadn’t been briefed on his heart situation, placed him right on top of me.  He was still hollering and wailing, which apparently was a good sign.  The pediatric team seemed a bit flustered that they didn’t get to inspect him – so they all came to me.  Using stethoscopes they all determined there was no arrhythmia after all – that his heart and lungs were more that perfect.  I burst out in tears.

What Zach said in his blessing all made sense at that moment.  But it sure didn’t to me at the time.  I got to hold my baby, Zach got to cut the cord.  Then the basketball team left, my doctor congratulated me, and it was just the three of us.  If I could bottle up a feeling – it would be the moments right when your baby comes into the world and into your arms.  I never feel the spirit as strong as those moments.

Calvin Zach Henderson  |  6 lbs 2 oz  |  19.75″ long  |  3:19 pm

We are officially a family of four.

 

 

A Dose of December

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We visited Temple Square with my family on December 1st to kick off the Christmas Season.  Seems like everyone else in a 50 mile radius also had the same idea.  We dined at the Little America and then made our way up through City Creek and then to Temple Square.  Sloan hated being in her stroller – but with the crowds it was essential.  It really was so beautiful, hoards of people and all…

We continued our tradition of Breakfast with Santa at the Grand America.  Sloan loved her meal a lot more this go around.   

Santa was a different ball game, however.  She was scared half to death and wouldn’t even look at him.  I was worried how the pictures after the meal would turn out and I wasn’t that off.

We took an intermission before they snapped a few photos to look at all the windows, the giant gingerbread house, and ransack the toy store.  Sloan DID smile for the photo with Santa and his lady – but not without her eyes tightly shut.  There’s always next year though – and hopefully she can kick her fear of this jolly guy to the curb.  

My mother-in-law gave us the most darling nativity set that you paint yourself.  We did it the first week of December so we could display it throughout the month.  Sloan was so serious, I thought she’d never be done.

Even though there wasn’t much paint on the actual parts and pieces – she had the time of her life doing it.  The angel was her favorite – as you can tell by the amount of blue paint and glitter applied.

We decided last minute to do a 3D ultrasound of baby boy one Saturday morning.  I know a lot of people say they are a waste of time and money – but we love doing it!  Sloan’s 3D photos actually resemble some of her features to this day.  So we couldn’t pass it up with baby #2.  All three of us went and Sloan LOVED seeing him wiggle, even stick out his tongue, on screen. 

I tried a new recipe that we all loved – Potsticker Soup by Designlovefest.  It’s so easy and delicious (well, if you like potstickers) and totally hit the spot on a cold night.

One Thursday morning I let Sloan wreak havoc with one of her play doh sets and I baked my favorite Christmas treat – almond Danish pastries by my sweet childhood neighbor.  They are not easy to make, but so worth it.  I have been rationing mine out for days now.

Sloan and I delivered some to my dad and brother at his warehouse as well – to carry on tradition.  My dad loves these bad boys as much as I do.  I know it’s one of the things he misses most about living in Taylorsville around the holidays.  Mine are not as good as Bonita’s – but they are the best I can do with limited time and baking skills!

One night for Date Night we got a later reservation at the Roof.  It’s a little tradition Zach and I have going.  We prefer this way of seeing the lights much more – it’s a lot warmer and less crowded.  Plus…there’s crab.

After my 36 week appointment they decided to schedule another growth ultrasound for baby boy.  I was down a few pounds and lost an inch in my belly measurement (because he has dropped).  So just to be sure – and to make sure I was not losing fluid or the baby wasn’t progressing properly – we had to take another visit to the U of U lab and get him checked out.  Luckily, the same sweet girl scanned me that did my anatomy scan at 20 weeks.  Even though they are not allowed to share details – she assured me all was well and he looked perfectly normal.  Measuring around 6 pounds.  Since Sloan was 6 lbs. 6 oz. – this seems just about right.  I’m just not meant to have big babies, I guess.  But little guy does have a set of lips on him – he’s got his dad’s lower lip FOR SURE! 

One morning we made paper snowflakes – to liven up the play room a bit.  Sloan enjoyed opening them after all the sections had been cut out – she couldn’t wait to see what they each looked like.

We’ve been slowly and surely getting ready for baby.  The nursery is so close to being done [not like he’ll be sleeping in it right away anyway] and nearly all his supplies and clothes have been washed, folded and organized.  My hospital bag is nearly packed.  We’ll see what the rest of December has in store for us.

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.

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

Paris + the Amalfi Coast 2017

I have to start off by saying that I’ve dreamed of going to the Amalfi Coast for so long.  Months ago Zach and I decided we were going to go somewhere before the baby came.  We decided to swing a babymoon/Zach’s Birthday/anniversary trip before I hit 30 weeks.  We discussed where we would go – and thanks to Zika, my dream of visiting costal Italy came to fruition.  I wouldn’t say it was Zach’s #1 choice, but he came around quickly once the planning started.

We’ve been talking logistics for this trip for quite a while – and as each week went on we grew more and more excited to go.  Zach had a great idea to fly the direct flight from SLC to Paris and I couldn’t complain about spending a few days in our favorite city in the whole world.

We left Saturday afternoon and arrived Sunday morning in Paris.  We didn’t waste any time.  We went straight to lunch at one of our favorite cafes near the Madeline.

Afterwards we went baby shopping [Zach’s idea – can you believe it?!] where we found baby boy’s blessing get-up.

The temperatures were dreamy.  We went back to our hotel to change before dinner and walked around the garden near the Louvre before hitting up Cafe Central for dinner.

I didn’t have to convince Zach to get a crepe with a view of the Eiffel Tower, we had the same game plan.

The next morning I drug Zach out of our bed for an early morning run to the Louvre.  My favorite time to go – when the crowds and tourists haven’t shown up yet and we had it almost all to ourselves.

On our run back Zach requested we stop at a breakfast spot he had found and it was so delicious.  They made me a special poached breakfast brioche sandwich with an artichoke pesto.  It was out of this world!

We showered up and got ready to go out for the day.  We did some more shopping in a few different arrondissements.  We stopped in Bonpoint and got a scarf for Sloan for our family pictures coming up and a cozy outfit for baby boy.  While we were checking out – the saleslady asked if we were having a boy or a girl.  I told her we had a little girl at home and a baby boy on the way.  She said, “Oh!  King’s choice!” That’s where we learned that in France, they call one boy and one girl very lucky (or King’s choice) and we heard it each time we mentioned the fact that we were to have one of each from total strangers.  I thought it was sweet and it made me smile each time.

Afterwards we stopped at Laduree for a little snack and then took an Uber to Supreme for Zach.

We walked to the Ile de la Cité and ate at a restaurant called the St. Regis Cafe [Zach loves their burgers].  Afterwards we passed Notre Dame and shopped some more near Les Halles.

Later we had dinner in Le Marais at a new restaurant we both had never been to, but really enjoyed.

We walked around the corner to a popular creperie [I think Le Marais is currently my favorite neighborhood in all of Paris] and enjoyed our crepes as we walked back to our hotel.

The next morning we made our way over to the Orly airport for our flight to Naples.  We arrived in the afternoon and had a car service waiting to take us to Positano.  We made our way along the coast until we arrived.  It was good to familiarize ourselves a little bit with the area before we ventured out on our own.  As we turned the corner and saw Positano down below – I couldn’t help but get teary eyed.  It hadn’t seemed real to me until I saw all those bright beautiful buildings on the cliffs.  We ditched our bags at our AirBNB and changed our clothes to set out and explore.

We walked around and went in and out of shops until it was time to walk back up to the bus stop for our dinner reservation.  Positano has very few roads – and even less parking.  We thought about renting our own car for the duration of the trip, but we are SO glad we didn’t considering how expensive and inconvenient parking is!  In fact, cars are so uncommon there that most of the restaurants have a free shuttle to take you to and from the restaurants.  Our first meal of this leg of our trip was at Da Constantino.  We were picked up by the driver and made our way up the hillside.

The meal was out of this world.  The restaurant received amazing reviews and we were both so excited to try it.  We somehow got a table right by the window with the most amazing view.

Zach ordered the signature dish – homemade pasta with seafood – and I got a fresh grilled fish of the day.  But we both started off with an appetizer of grilled mozzarella on a lemon leaf.  It’s a popular dish in the area and we were not disappointed.

After dinner we rode the shuttle back down and walked from the stop down to the beach.  On our way back up the hill we got gelato and some sodas to go.

We had an early morning the next day.  Before heading down to the beach we stopped at Vini & Panini to get some sandwiches, fruit, and supplies to go.  We made our way down to the dock to pick up our boat rental for the day.  This is what Zach was looking forward to the most about this entire trip.  Most people charter a private boat with a skipper that will take them along the coast.  Not Zach.  He knew he wanted to rent his own boat and be his own captain right from the beginning.  At first I was hesitant.  Not in Zach’s ability to maneuver the boat – but in our knowledge of the coast.  We had a lot planned that we wanted to see and I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to do it with such little experience.  As usual, Zach made the right decision.

They packed us a cooler with ice for our food and sent us on our way.  We didn’t waste any time.  We made our way around the bend – bound for Capri!  We ate our sandwiches [which literally blew us both away – we went back to Vini & Panini several times afterwards] and cruised along the gorgeous coast.

Soon we saw the Fraglioni up ahead.  The iconic rock formation was stunning!  We drove our little boat right through it [4 times] and then continued around the island to the Blue Grotto.

This is the part I was the most nervous about.  The Blue Grotto is a total tourist trap and I didn’t know how it would all work out.  But we couldn’t go to Capri and miss it!  How most people do the grotto is by taking a ferry or hiring a private boat to take you directly out there.  Once you arrive outside – your driver ties his boat to a buoy and these men come out on tiny wooden boats to come get you.  You get off your boat and into theirs, and your driver stays with his boat behind waiting for you.  Then you go to the entrance of the grotto – pay your admission – and the “grotto guy” in the wooden boat takes you inside.  Well, we had our own boat and no driver to stay back on our rental boat for us.  When we showed up there were hoards of boats and no available buoys.  And all of these boats were triple the size of ours.  Zach maneuvered his way, with a little help from some other drivers, and we found a spot and a buoy to tie our boat off to.  After some time I sweet-talked a little Italian man into rowing over to our little vessel to come and pick us up.  Soon, we were on our own little wooden boat and in line to make our way into the grotto.  We arrived when the tide was high and I didn’t realize how difficult getting into the grotto itself actually was.  Our driver told us both to sit down on the bottom of the boat and “get down”.  We were confused, but did as he said.  He grabbed a chain alongside the rock wall near the entrance of the grotto and launched us inside, laying completely down on top of us as he pushed through.

Once inside, the light of the sun illuminates the water in the grotto and the results are incredible!  It glows bright blue, much brighter than I expected.

Our driver sang us a song and gave us a little history lesson as he rowed us around inside.  It was totally worth it, and someday I want to go back after hours and swim in it myself – without a boat.  Obviously not recommended, but Zach and I aren’t exactly by-the-book, anyway.

Once we exited the grotto and our driver dropped us back to our boat – we were relived to see nobody had ransacked our little boat and that it was still securely attached in it’s parking place.  We backed our way out of the crowds and continued around the island.  There were waterfalls, little coves, and gorgeous houses on the cliffs.  We arrived at the main port and someone came out to dock us and bring us into the island.

We were both starving and had a late lunch at a restaurant with a great view of the water.  It was Zach’s favorite meal of the trip.  He got another order of the signature pasta and I had the most amazing avocado, pineapple, and fresh tomato salad.

We’re definitely going back there when we make it back to Capri one day.

We didn’t stay on the island very long.

We went into some shops and then hopped back on our boat.  We decided we wanted to see more of the coast instead of walk and explore more of Capri itself.

We made our way back – stopping to see a few little towns along the way, looking for the secret beaches, and then making it back into the bay of Positano.  We anchored our boat and ate the rest of our fruit while we laid in the sun.

We then returned our boat and walked back up the hill to our apartment to get ready for dinner.

We had some time so we walked down to the beach during the “golden hour” before heading back up to Da Vincenzo.

We had to take a little detour [of about 2,000 steps up a steep hill] but it was worth it.  This was my favorite meal of the trip, by far.  I got a homemade pasta with lemon zest and shrimp.

Zach got the grilled calamari and another fish dish.  I would recommend this restaurant to everyone and anyone.  But you have to make a reservation ahead of time and ask to sit outside.  The view is unbeatable.

We walked back those same steps down to water to get gelato for dessert, then back to our place.

The next morning was even earlier than the one before.  We had the same car service, La Mommola, pick us up at the bus station near our apartment bright and early in the morning.  This day was a bunch of my requests – which I know Zach wasn’t completely ecstatic about.  Our driver took us to Sorrento – where we rented our own little Fiat 500 to drive to Pompeii.  We were really lucky, because this was the only day that projected rain in the forecast.  As soon as we rented our car and stopped for some sodas it started to rain, hard.  We were safe and warm inside our little rental, though, and zipped down the coast to Pompeii.  Like I said, Zach wasn’t thrilled about taking a whole day to see an archeological site, but I promised him it would be worth it.  Once we got there the crowds had dispersed.  We found a killer parking spot and entered the site.  There was hardly anyone there – we assume the rain had driven almost everyone away.

Most people spend half of a day – and some even entire days exploring the site.  But we made it through in 1.5 hours.  In under those two hours – Zach devoured a whole can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles and a bag of Doritos.

We didn’t want to pay for a private guide (100 euros and up!) so we downloaded a free professional tour (along with a map on our phones) via Podcast and made our way to each highlight.  Long story short:  Zach enjoyed it even more than I did.  I had been warned how hot Pompeii can get.  There are zero trees which means no shade and temps were supposed to be high 80’s that day.  Luckily, the recent rain meant overcast skies and it was beautiful.  We saw a bunch in such a short amount of time and then made our way back to our rental car.

Seeing the victims was the most humbling part.  It was amazing to see how these people lived their lives and a little eerie to see how their lives ended.

Afterwards, we drove around Mt. Vesuvius to Naples to get some lunch.  Eating pizza in Naples has been on my bucket list forever – and we got to check it off (twice if you count the fact that we actually came away with two giant pizzas).  We went to one of the oldest and most famous pizzerias in the city – L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele.  The line was crazy long at 3:00 pm.  We waited outside until Zach had the brilliant idea to do a take-away order.  We ordered two mozzarella pizzas (they only make mozzarella or marinara, that’s it!) and decided to eat it on the street.  We purchased some sodas at a nearby cafe and the shop owner let us sit at one of her tables to enjoy our spoils.  It was by far the best pizza we’ve ever had.  Totally worth the hype, and Zach agreed even worth the drive.

After we finished our pizza we made our way back to Sorrento.  Driving through Naples was a total circus.  I’m convinced our prayer for we set off in our little Fiat saved us a few times on those streets.  I thought Rome was madness on Vespas – Naples in a car was absolutely terrifying!

Once we arrived in Sorrento, we dropped off our rental car and then walked to our dinner reservation at Il Buco.  It was our very first experience at a Michelin starred restaurant.  It got amazing reviews [as you’d expect – they don’t give out stars for nothing] and it did not disappoint.  The bread selection alone was enough to impress us both.

They asked us what we were celebrating for dinner and I told them the truth – our anniversary, our second baby, and Zach’s birthday.  So they set us up in this little private cove all to ourselves and after our gorgeous entrees – sent us out a plate of bite-sized desserts.

We finished up late and took a taxi back to our apartment in Positano.

The next morning we woke up and walked straight down to the dock to catch a ferry to Amalfi.  We debated on which cities to see, and decided Amalfi would be best for that particular day.

We walked the streets, got lemon sorbet, and saw the main square and explored until we went back to Positano.  On a whim, I convinced Zach to wait at the dock with me to try and get onto the Da Adolfo boat.  It’s a long story, but this infamous restaurant called Da Adolfo is impossible to get reservations at.  Everyone goes crazy for it, and the recommendations are never ending.  So, before our trip I called them.  I called maybe 14 times to get a reservation.  Nobody picked up the phone, not even once.  I heard that if you are lucky, you can hop on the boat with the red fish and catch a ride out to the private beach where the restaurant is.  Sometimes they have availability for lunch and if you’re lucky you can get a table.  We saw the boat arrive and hopped on with 5 or 6 other couples.  We met a nice couple from New York that had been waiting with us on the dock to get a ride on the boat.

As soon as we approached the dock I hopped off the boat and ran up to the little shack.  Yes, literally a shack.  The restaurant is built on stilts on the rocky beach and the kitchen is in a tiny white house up on the hill.  I was first in line and asked if there was any availability.  Zach and I got a table, along with another couple behind us, but that was all the available room they had.  Turns out we even had to share a large table for six with two other couples – and the couple that was already seated at our table had already been there for over an hour waiting for their spot.  The couple from New York we rode out with didn’t even get a spot.  The whole thing was so bizarre.  Nobody came over and took our order for quite a while.  I mean, at least an hour.  But we were happy – munching on the complimentary bread and sipping on sodas.  We got a table right by the water and group after group started showing up for their reservations on the same little boat with the red fish that we came to the beach on.

How they got these reservations is beyond me, honestly.  But they kept showing up.  Soon the place was absolutely packed – not a single seat was empty.  Then our waiter took our order and later brought out our food.  We both got the special – pasta with shrimp and started off with their mozzarella on a lemon leaf.

The pasta was unreal and although the shrimp completely intimidated me, it is one of my favorite pasta dishes I’ve ever tasted.  Then the situation got even weirder.  I heard that the boats stopped coming to the little private beach around 1:00 and take a break for lunch.  Little did we know they don’t come in OR out for three hours.  Zach and I contemplated waiting two more hours at the restaurant and decided we wanted to get back to Positano to spend our afternoon on the beach.  So we called a private water taxi to come and get us to take us back to Positano.  Best 10 euro we’ve ever spent.  One of the couples who shared our tables asked to split our taxi with us – which was even better!

Once we made it back to Positano I wanted to get some custom leather sandals made.

I quickly got sized before walking back up the hill to our apartment.  We changed our clothes, freshened up a bit, and then made our way back down to the shop where my sandals were ready and waiting for me – and they fit like a freaking glove!

Then we went down to the beach and rented some lounge chairs and umbrellas, which was another strange politics thing we didn’t know about.  The main beach of Positano has rows of beach chairs.  You can’t just sit on any chair – you pay for a chair and an umbrella and you pay depending on which row.  Front row is most expensive, then second row, then so on.  We decided we weren’t fancy and that third row would suit us just fine.  You pay at a kiosk at the entrance of the beach and then a lifeguard leads you to the chairs HE wants you to sit at.  I was nice to the lifeguard and asked him about his day – and even though we only paid for third row, he gave us a front row available spot.  He didn’t seem to mind when I hugged him in appreciation.  We stayed there – swimming in the ocean, laying in the sun, looking for sea glass, and taking in the scenery until it was time to back to our apartment to shower for our dinner reservation.

After getting ready to go out for the night we made our way up a windy road to our dinner spot.  Just our luck – the entire restaurant had been rented out for a private party and they couldn’t honor our reservation.  So we decided to head down to the water and eat somewhere with a beach front view.  It was our least favorite meal, but still delicious.  We were laughing about how it was the Olive Garden of Positano.  The only menu we read the entire trip that was entirely in English (this is usually a bad sign, FYI).  People often tease me about my research on food and my reservation quirk.  I hate going somewhere without reservations.  I don’t know why – it’s just a thing I have I guess.  And this experience reaffirmed that I am not a total nut job!  It really does pay to do a little research and find a table that comes highly recommended.  Or else all you get to experience is the Olive Garden of Positano.  But the gelato that night made up for our mediocre meal.  Half hazelnut – half chocolate for the win!

It was our last full day in Positano and we spent the remainder of it buying souvenirs for all the people at home taking care of our Sloan (mostly lemon chocolate and lemon candy) and exploring the city a little more.  We headed back afterwards and did some laundry – one of the biggest perks of our AirBNB was not only location, but that we could do laundry in the privacy of our own kitchen.  Then we packed our bags to go back to Paris.

The car service picked us up bright and early at 6:30 am and drove us back to Naples to catch our flight to Paris.  It was sad leaving our little apartment.  The drive back was dreamy though – through Sorrento and a few other little coastal towns.

We arrived in Paris in time for a late lunch at Les Antiquaires near the D’Orsay.

Then we walked across the river to the Louvre and took our photo – the same photo we have taken ever time we have visited Paris together.

Afterwards we took the metro to a few stores on Champs-Elysse.  We had a dinner reservation but were both still completely full from our intense lunch.  So we wandered around and decided to ditch dinner for one last crepe.  Worth every calorie and I swear this particular crepe guy smeared half the bottle of Nutella on mine.  I wasn’t mad, though.

We got some sodas and walked back to our hotel.  We had an early night and packed our bags for our departure in the morning.

I woke up early for one last run around the city.  I ran over and down the street where Zach and I first stayed on our study abroad together – off of Grenelle.  The hotel has been completely remodeled and renamed, but it was still fun to see it.  I also saw the restaurant we’ve been going to up the street [We actually didn’t dine at it this time, and ironically it’s called Pizza Amalfi.  We knew it wouldn’t live up to real Italian pizza, so we skipped out this trip.] since our first trip to Paris together back in 2007 – 10 years ago!  It was a short run but just what I needed before the long flight home.  It felt nostalgic to me. I have a feeling we won’t be back to Paris for a while.  With the new baby coming I know it’s only going to be more and more difficult to travel with Zach.  So it was bittersweet to see these little landmarks – it will hold me over for a while.

We arrived at Charles de Gaulle with only enough time for me to grab some macarons for my family at Laduree to go in my carry-on.  We were one of the last people to board our flight.  Poor Zach’s television monitor in his seat didn’t work the entire flight – so we shared mine and watched an entire season of Suits on our way back home.  We were completely shocked when Delta credited us 5,000 sky miles for the trouble!

This trip was an absolute dream.  I can’t even talk to people about it without tearing up.  It’s so hard leaving Sloan – but worth it for the time I get to spend with Zach.  Even just talking to him, uninterrupted, for 8 days was enough for me.  It was magic and I’ll never be able to repay Zach for the time and effort he put into helping me plan this trip.  Even though this wasn’t number one vacation destination, I think it totally won him over.  And I’m smitten.  Forever.

Summer FOREVER

Summer is not my favorite season.  I’ve always been real about that.  I feel like it might never cool down.  But we’re making the most of it and having a great time!

I should start out with the most important news first, obviously.  I haven’t been great at announcing our second pregnancy and even more importantly that it’s a BOY!

I am due Dec 31st.  New Year’s Eve.  I’m kind of freaking out about it, but I know it will all work out in the end.  No matter what – we have a little girl and a little boy.  We are thrilled!  But I have been horrible at keeping track of anything, really.  I did take one photo at 18 weeks!  I know…pathetic.  But it’s what we have to work with…

I’ve made some goals for this pregnancy.  One of them is to run 300 miles throughout these 9+ months. It doesn’t sound like a lot for avid runners, but it’s a good goal for a chubby pregnant girl.  I ran six miles on the Saturday of my 20th week a while back.  I felt good.  Really good.  I’m not that fast, but distance is really my only goal here.

I feel like I’ve said this 100 times, but this summer has felt abnormally hot.  Maybe it’s that I’m knocked up.  Maybe it’s that I just forget every fall/winter/spring how hot it gets in Utah.  Either way, we’re staying cool the only way we know how:

the pool or splash pad.  Sloan is a really big fan of the SDRC’s pool – or what she calls, “Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship Pool”.  Our neighborhood does food trucks on Thursday nights now at the Splash Pad.  Sloan doesn’t really care for any of the food they have – but now has a fondness for nacho cheese Doritos.

With the new baby coming – there have been a lot of big changes for Sloan.  We have been transitioning her into her BIG GIRL ROOM and she’s obsessed with the whole idea of it.  She hasn’t actually slept in the bed yet (we are waiting on her window shade to come and at the time for the baby’s crib to arrive) but she’s excited nonetheless.

We’ve been slowly converting Sloan’s existing room into a more masculine nursery.  It’s coming super slowly, but we’ll get there eventually.

With all the excitement of the new baby during the holidays, I am trying to be prepared.  I’ve got a huge jumpstart on Halloween and even Christmas.  In fact, Sloan’s entire Christmas is nearly done.  Sound a little crazy?  Yes.  Crazy prepared.  But Halloween comes first, technically.  So I’ve started on Sloan’s request – her Tinker Bell costume.  We’re doing a more modern version, with green chucks instead of green sparkly slippers.

A while ago I got really sick.  So sick, in fact, that I skipped out on going to Lake Powell with Zach’s family.  It’s my favorite family trip we take with the Hendersons, so it was very hard to miss out on all the fun.  But I’m grateful we didn’t go after I progressively got worse and worse.  I felt so guilty being a homebody in the dead of summer – but Sloan was such a good sport.  I did surprise her with a treat from her favorite book – Green Eggs & Ham, though.  We made green eggs and then silly smoothies and she was acting like it was Christmas morning.

M&M’s in the AM wasn’t my best parenting move – but it was worth it for all her excitement.

Recently we went up to Mark and Jeanene’s for dinner on a Sunday evening and Sloan got her grandparents all to herself.  She zipped on the zipline so many times we were all exhausted by the end of the night. 

This girl has no fear.  I pray she’ll make it in one piece to adulthood. 

My mother-in-law got me hooked on salmon sandwiches and I can’t stop – won’t stop.  Zach’s not a huge fan, but I can’t get enough!

It’s definitely healthier than our other favorite grilled entree – Shake Shack burgers.  We replicate these bad boys too often, and we all can’t stop obsessing over them.  It’s the brisket in the burger, I am telling you!

Another summer favorite has become baked peaches.  Sloan mostly eats the ice cream on top, but I can’t complain because it’s much healthier than most desserts.  Zach and I picked up peaches one night for our date night and brought home a bag to keep the sweet treat coming.

A few weeks ago for FHE we took Sloan ice skating.  She did much better balancing on her skates this go around.  She was such a good sport and stayed out there on the ice sheet for much longer than we both guessed she would.  She asks to go back often. 

Along with every other American citizen – we eclipsed.  Sloan was more interested in the glasses than the actual eclipse, but it was such a fun experience.  A big thanks to my mom for the sweet specs!  She threw a Total Eclipse Party the Sunday before and gave us each a pair.  Our contribution was Galactic Brownies and ice cream for dessert.

A few of us ladies got together recently at my MIL’s house to make strawberry jam and Sloan got her fair share of cousin time in.  She also was put to work.  We are officially stocked for the year!

Sloan is SO ready for a sibling.  She’s even more social than I am, if you can believe it.  It doesn’t matter – a group of girls, or a group of boys – she wants to be RIGHT in the middle.  Literally.

I’m itching for fall.  Seriously.  This dry summer weather makes my skin pretty itchy.  But to hold us over, I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this week.  Sloan loves them and they couldn’t be easier.  I figure we’re SO close to September, anyway.

Our RS Activity for the month of August was a “Back to School S’mores Night” and it turned out super cute.  We had a great turn-out and all took turns roasting mallows on my dollar store roasting troughs.  Nobody seemed to mind the ghetto fabulousness of it all, though.  Bonus:  the chocolate was already good and melty by the time your mallow was roasted – it was 94 degrees outside until the sun went down!

I have a lot of catching up to do – and don’t want to forget the little things.  I guess we’ll let the summer weather stick around.  I don’t want to rush this time one-on-one time with Sloan before baby boy gets here.  I’m going to savor it as much as I can!