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…

 

 

 

 

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!

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.

Catching up to Conference

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The end of the month of March was our RS Activity that I was in charge of.  It was required that we did something for the Relief Society birthday…so…I did an 80’s themed party at Classic Skating with birthday cake.  That counts, right?  It was encouraged to dress up and so dress up I did.  Madonna circa 1988.

Surprisingly I had everything already at my house – except the jelly bracelets that I found at F21.  So…a $4 costume for the win!  It was a pretty good time.  I’ve never seen so many women playing laser tag and LOVING it.

Friday Zach and I went out on a date and it kicked off our weekend in the best way.  Date nights are one of the highlights of my whole week and I look so forward to getting to talk to Zach for hours and eat hot food.

Then that weekend was conference weekend.  I’ll be honest – I was absolutely elated for conference.  Sundays are kind of hectic with both Zach and I being in presidencies.  So I was stoked about having “pajama church” for the weekend.  Saturday morning was spent making crepes.

Sloan has never been a huge fan, but she finally came around.  She killed her crepe.With only Nutella left in her hair to show for it.

During the first session I made some frozen yogurt cups with granola and fruit.  They were a hit and I can’t wait to make them again!

I have been meal prepping for a while now – and recently started prepping lunches and even breakfasts.  It was overwhelming at first, but I got in the swing of things and it has saved me so much time and heartburn.  Lunches are my weakest meal.  So this has helped me more than I can say.

Later, Sloan was happy to listen to the music from the choir and paint, color, and play with magnets.  We made it through the first two sessions (with the help of a nap) with no hiccups.

Zach went to priesthood session with his Dad and Sloan and I had a girl’s night at home.  I meal prepped until he returned and got SO much done.

The next morning we made German pancakes and smoothies. 

Monday morning came and we missed Zach.  A weekend all together all the time was wonderful and we missed him when he left us to go to work.

We started our day off right with a run around our neighborhood and Sloan was as happy as a clam.

Then we made Monster Muffins and Sloan smashed hers for lunch.  They are going to be a regular around here.   Hopefully she never finds out there is spinach and four other fruits and veggies packed in them.  I’ll never tell. 

But we started our week out healthy and happy – which made up for missing Zach.  I would be cool if conference was every weekend.  Just saying.

 

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.

In No Particular Order: January

I can’t believe I’m saying this and risking jinxing it all – but my New Year’s resolutions are actually going great!  I love to bake and cook and have really made an effort over the last few years to make healthy and somewhat satisfying meals for our family.  Some they like, some I like.  And there are even a few we all like!  I was craving corn bread randomly one day and decided to make cornbread and turkey chili.  I found the best recipe on Yummly and it was a hit!  It’s even made with yogurt instead of oil, so it was even lower calorie.  IMG_5737 I love turkey chili – though not everyone in our house does (ZACH) everyone gave it a go and it turned out great.  If you ask Sloan and I, that is.  IMG_5743 One evening after Zach got home from work we rushed over to a pond nearby our house that had completely frozen over.  It was the perfect time and place for some more ice skating.  Sloan was in heaven.  I was frozen solid.  I wish they had a one-piece onesie in my size.  I don’t know if I am just getting old or what…but I’ve been freezing this entire winter season. IMG_5896 IMG_5897 Sloan experienced Play-doh for the first time and acted like it was the most revolutionary thing to happen to her since cheese.  If you know her – cheese is the end all be all.IMG_5983Sloan and I went to Kangaroo Zoo one afternoon when she was up from her nap.  It was a stormy day, so it was great to get out of the house for a bit.  Sloan loved all the slides and blow-up activities…but she was more concerned about the chairs being all organized a certain way.  She gets that trait from me, poor thing…
IMG_5984 We got Sloan her second haircut this month.  It was much needed.  Her hair is growing faster than it seems possible.  We are actually due for another one this week! IMG_5985 One night for FHE we made homemade pizzas.  It was super easy – store bought dough and sauce – but it was a blast!  They actually tasted much better than I expected, too.  Artichokes were the hero, I’m telling you…IMG_5986 Sloan’s Bubba (my brother) bought her a coon hat at Cabella’s and Sloan has been a big fan.  Like, wearing it instead of her shirt, kinda fan.  IMG_5987 Zach begged me to make manicotti a few weeks ago.  I’m not a huge fan of the dish, but I try to be a decent wife once in a while.  I was convinced Sloan wouldn’t last through dinner prep – but was surprised at how much she loved helping me fill all the noodles with the cheese filling.  She helped me stuff 12 noodles – barely moving a muscle. IMG_5988Recently Zach and I had a date night:  Pizzeria Limone and the Jazz game.  Because pizza is always on the top of my list and because SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS is on Zach’s list all day erry day.
IMG_5989 We had Classic’s company seats and they did not disappoint.  PS – Did you know there is a Swig counter at the Vivint Smart Home Arena?  Yeah, it’s true. IMG_5990 The weather hasn’t been ideal the last few weeks for snow sports.  We’re dying to take Sloan up snowboarding, but it keeps storming on us.  Luckily, she is just as happy to be indoors and being pulled around on the carpet by Zach.  She even learned a new trick:  a board grab.  While wearing her coon hat, but that’s not surprising.  We are in the “dressing ourself” phase and I’m actually not mad about it.IMG_5991