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.

 

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!

 

 

 

Hendo Girls do AZ

We’ve had our annual (but not so annual, considering we haven’t done a girls trip since I was still pregnant with Sloan) Hendo Girls trip to Scottsdale this last weekend.  We’ve had it scheduled for a while and it creeped up on me considering we have been going nonstop the last few weeks.  Jan/Feb have been crazy months for me – and March is going to be absolutely bananas for Zach.

We left Thursday morning for Arizona.  We flew out of the storm covering Utah and arrived to sun and mild temperatures in Scottsdale.  First things first:  we ate.  We didn’t even make it to our hotel.  We had a late lunch at a darling little place that came highly recommended from Gina, Arcadia Farms Café.

Afterwards we made it to our hotel to drop off our bags and settle in.  It was gorgeous and the grounds were seriously top notch.

We had a bit of down time before Gina had scheduled us all for hot yoga.  Jeanene and I opted out [I’ve done hot yoga before and was mortified at the smell of the whole experience – myself included] and instead of getting our sweat on we went across and down the street from the yoga studio to eat at Shake Shack.  Jeanene doesn’t even really like hamburgers.  She is such a good sport.

Afterwards we went to pick up the rest of our crew back at the yoga studio.

The next day was spent at the mall.  We shopped, we had lunch, and we shopped some more.  We had dinner afterwards down town, grabbed some Spinkles Cupcakes, and then went back to our hotel for an in-room movie.  We ordered some popcorn, sodas, and treats – which eventually made up for the totally depressing love flick we chose.

The next morning we were up bright and early.  Some of us stayed up later than others watching said depressing movie.  The “wear your sunglasses inside” kinda late…

We had a brunch and then it was time to trapeze.  Yes, I am serious.

Our hotel conveniently offered trapeze classes.  When planning the trip – Gina asked a concierge about nearby hikes.  The concierge asked, casually, “and do you ladies trapeze?”  It was game over after that and we were all signed up to get our swing on.

First, we mentally and physically prepped ourselves.  We observed.  We stretched.  

They didn’t waste any time.  We were briefed, strapped up with harnesses, and then asked to climb the ladder.  The first time was a little overwhelming.  You are given commands – but when hanging and swinging it is a little harder to commit to those directions.  Especially when swinging from your knees!   But after a few tries we got the hang of it.  We even advanced to the next trick – swinging and being caught by our instructor, Efe.  Efe was hilarious, patient, and incredibly gay.  It made sense – no straight man could bend like that, I am telling you.

It was honestly a total blast.  I am so glad Gina singed us up – because I would have never in a million years done something like this if it were just Zach and I at the hotel by ourselves.  Girls Trips will do that to you, I guess.

After freshening up – we made our way back to the mall.  I even convinced a few more people to join us for Shake Shack for lunch.  Again.

We had an early dinner afterwards at a great little Italian place down town.

Then we rushed off to our movie – Hidden Figures – at the nearby AMC.  The movie was amazing and if you haven’t seen it, you must.  It was the perfect feel-good end to our night.

Sunday we all met down in the lobby for our hike up Camelback Mountain.  We made it up to the helicopter pad and Gina, Rachael, and I decided to attempt the steeper and higher elevation climb to the peak.  It was a great little workout and the weather was a dream.  I could live in Phoenix/Scottsdale area in the winter and be happy as a lark.

We showered up, had brunch at Olive and Ivy, and got pedicures and manicures back at the hotel.

Then we went to dinner at my favorite, Bandera.  Even just the cornbread could have satisfied me.  But their Macho Salad is literally life changing.  We drove to find what we deemed the floating sperm (aka the strange art installation with flying/swimming fish creatures in the sky) and then made it back to our hotel for s’mores.

The staff sent us a plate of all the fixings and we put on some layers for the outdoor fire pit.  By layers I mean some of us put on our hotel robes and slippers and made our way out in public to the fire pit.

The next morning we packed our bags, had breakfast, checked out of our hotel, and had one last lunch together before heading to the airport.

I am so grateful that the Hendersons make an effort to do trips together.  Life gets so busy – and we have 27 kids between us!  So getting to spend time alone with my sister-in-laws is a rare occurrence.  I am so glad I got to have a weekend away with them, it really was fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 / Las Vegas

Zach.

He is the best husband that there ever was.

I woke up on the morning of my birthday to surprise after surprise.  I heard Sloan wake up and went into her room.  Once we were both up and ready we went downstairs.  Zach had a full spread waiting for us.  Bagels and cream cheese, fruit parfaits, muffins.  He even had balloons, decorations, and cards.

In one card he gave me some spending money for our weekend out of town.  The other card told me to hurry and get ready, because he had a babysitter coming over and we were going to spend the afternoon at the spa.  I couldn’t believe how thoughtful the whole gesture was.  Once she arrived, we drove up to Layton for our couples massage.

It was so relaxing and enjoyable and when I got ready to leave – he took me into one of the private rooms for a foot soak.  He had a large Diet Coke, sandwiches, and my favorite treat – a Cutler’s cookie – waiting for me.

Once we got back home – Sloan had just woken up from her nap.  We played the rest of the day together, honestly doing nothing productive at all.  As I moved from room to room, I would notice little notes Zach had left me around the house.  He even left me a note in my car.  I couldn’t help but tear up every time I read one.  It made my whole day – even more than the spa and the amazing breakfast.

It was honestly a perfect day.  I am not big on birthdays for myself.  I always try to make them special for Zach and Sloan, but mine I could take or leave.  But this particular birthday was the best I’ve ever had, by far.  Zach always makes things so fun and special, and he really went above and beyond to make it wonderful.

That weekend we had planned to go to Las Vegas for a quick getaway.  We stayed at the Encore (first time for the both of us) and Zach literally let me do all of my favorite things:  sleep in, work out, eat, and shop.  It may sound uneventful to some – but that’s my kind of vacation.  We arrived there Friday afternoon.  We had lunch at the Cafe at the Wynn – where they have my favorite salad in all of creation.

We took an afternoon snack break at Sprinkles, for a red velvie.

Then we took an Uber to the Forum Shops.  We spent most of our time at Nike and stopped in a few other places until it was time for our dinner at Joe’s.

We shopped around some more and then made our way back to our hotel.

The next morning we both went to the spa.  I had an appointment for a facial (my first one ever) and Zach wanted to enjoy the spa amenities.  The facial was amazing – in fact, I’ve been converted.  I don’t think I could pick a massage over a facial now that I have experienced one for myself.  She did put some amazing product on my lips, which I loved, but gave them a tingly sensation.  I would later realize that “tingle” was numbness and I wouldn’t regain feeling in my lips until the next morning.  But still…I loved it and would do it again in a second.

We later had lunch at Shake Shack.

We then spent the majority of the day at Fashion Show Mall and Zach wins the award for most patient husband.  I don’t even want to know how long we were in Zara – I can’t think about it.

We then went to dinner at Momofuku.  It was already packed when we got there at 6:30 – luckily, Zach got a reservation.  When we arrived I was totally bummed they didn’t have chicken pho on the menu, like their New York location.  But, the waiter assured me I would love the “chicken noodle soup”.  It wasn’t until my first taste of my dish that my faith had been restored.  Even though the menu was completely different – it was so very good.  He can do no wrong, that David Chang.

We stopped on our way out at the Milk Bar – where Zach treated himself to something coated with cereal that he really liked.

We contemplated going to a movie, but decided to take a suggestion from my sister-in-law Gina about the “Feature Presentation” that they offer at the Wynn hotels.  When we got back we ordered two candies, a buttered popcorn, and two sodas in CANS and ordered a movie to our room.  I had no idea they even offered this – and it was totally worth it (and less expensive than a real movie with all the trimmings, I might add).  It was an absolute home run!  (Thank you Gina!)

We slept in and packed up the next morning, eager to get home to Sloan.

A lot of my friends have been struggling with the thought of turning 30, but I feel the opposite.  I feel good.  I am excited.  My 30-year-old self is completely content.  I never dreamed as a teenager I would be in love and married to my best friend (well, I hoped…but I didn’t KNOW), have the sweetest little soul for a daughter, and to be able to make memories with them every single day.

Ask me how I feel at 50, ok?

Because 30 is actually pretty bomb, guys.  

 

 

 

 

Dirty 30 in Palm Springs

I’m going to be 30.  In less than a week, but who’s counting?  My high school friends and I decided we needed to do something to celebrate this milestone and we voted to go on a Girl’s Trip.  We debated on several locations:  but Palm Springs won out for the most convenient + best weather.

We had booked the flights and vacation home several weeks in advance, and the trip totally snuck up on me!

We flew into Palm Springs late on Thursday night.  We didn’t arrive until after 10 pm.  We went straight to grab our luggage and then to pick up our rental car.  Once all was settled (and crammed into the back seat of our crossover) we drove to a nearby grocery store for some supplies.  Little did we know that we would be returning to this said grocery store every day (some days multiple times a day) during this trip.  Thank you Ralph’s for putting up with us!  They even had Sea Salt Caramel Halo Top in stock – so I couldn’t have been happier.

The property we rented was one of my favorite parts about the trip.  My mediocre iPhone photos don’t do it justice.  Whitney is the one with a professional camera.  The pool was in and of itself a game changer.

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One day my dream is to have a lap pool in my backyard.  Swimming laps is one of my favorite things to do for exercise.  One day.

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We unloaded our groceries, unpacked our bags, and settled in.  True to form – we didn’t call it a night until well passed 3:00 am.

The next morning we woke up to rain.  We had breakfast, showered up, and went to lunch at Bill’s Pizza.  I wasn’t expecting it – but it was actually one of my favorite meals of the entire trip.

After lunch we hit up the outlets just outside of Palm Springs.  They had nearly every store you could think of.  Their Lululemon Outlet even had a 30 PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING sale.  Britt and I were over the moon.  Since the rain didn’t let up, neither did we.  We weren’t finished until it was nearly closing time.

The next day was warm and sunny.  I went on a run before the rest of my crew was up and at ’em.  I had been dreaming of it for weeks.  Running on the treadmill has had me gloom and doom lately, so running amongst all the mid century modern homes and palm trees was like a little slice of heaven.

running outside

I got back, had breakfast, and showered up for the day.  Since the weather was good – we grabbed lunch and then drove over to Indian Canyons for a hike.  The first route was short, but it was my favorite.  There was a natural spring coming down the canyon with palm trees lining nearly the whole way.  It was so picturesque and the temperature was perfect.

We did a second hike – called Palm.  It was short and sweet as well, but a great view and more of a desert landscape mix.  It was the perfect activity for the warmest day of our trip.

Later we had dinner at Trio – a surprisingly busy restaurant down town.  We stayed up again – way passed 3:00 am – and awoke very slowly the next morning.

We all weren’t up and ready until the afternoon and decided to get a late lunch at Melvyn’s [Britt’s request – it was one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurants].

The chicken pot pies were bigger than expected, but it hit the spot on our rainy afternoon.

After our late lunch the rain wasn’t letting up.  So instead of staying at the house, I convinced a few to go back to the outlets with me.

We shopped around until closing time, returned home, and then went and picked up some pho for dinner.

We ended our night with a swim in the heated pool while it rained!

The next day we had to be up earlier in order to get ready, pack up, and check out of our place.  We loaded up our rental car, locked up the house, and set off for brunch.  Turns out the occupants of the entire city had the same plan we did on that rainy morning.  Our brunch spot was a hub of activity – so for the sake of time we decided to eat at the airport.

We all got lunch and awaited to board our flight.

We always joke how close we are – but we never see each other.  Last time I went on a trip with these girls – I was about 4 weeks pregnant with Sloan!  Time passes so quickly.  We always promise to see each other more often, and hopefully we will keep that promise this time.  Because being together at Christmas is not nearly enough.

So glad I have these ladies to celebrate this milestone with and I couldn’t have picked a better way to do it!

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Henderson 2016

We try to do a Henderson family trip every couple of years but it’s been a while since our last one.  That was Disney World in 2010.  The family has grown significantly since then and it’s becoming more and more of a production to find a date that works for everyone let alone all the logistics to actually get us there.

This year the destination was Mexico and there were 40 of us.  Quinn and Max, the two youngest babies, were the only family members that didn’t come along.

We left Saturday morning and flew into Puerto Vallarta.  The flight there went better than I could have hoped.  Sloan has never had her own seat before.  She doesn’t turn two for one more month, so technically she could have flown as a lap child, but we were SO grateful we didn’t go that route.  We lugged the car seat onto the plane and it was the most relaxing flight we have ever had with her in tow.

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We arrived and all boarded our bus to the resort.  Yes – we needed to rent a legit bus to transport us all along with all of our luggage.  Luckily Sloan took a little afternoon nap on the bus ride and was refreshed once we rolled in.  The resort was located in Punta Mita – a new place that Zach and I had never been to in Mexico.  Upon arrival the staff had little good bags for each child – and in Sloan’s good bag was a package of mini marshmallows.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

We didn’t waste any time.  As soon as we checked into our room we were in our swim suits and on our way out to the lazy river.  There were several buildings that made up the resort and ours was called Oasis, because it was on an island surrounded by the lazy river.  We couldn’t have had a better room, location wise.  Just a few yards away from our door was a staircase down into the river.

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It was perfect for Sloan.  Not too fast paced and almost completely shaded by palm trees.

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Most nights we had reservations for dinner, but our first night was a “free night”.  We had room service back at our place after our laps around the lazy river and it was actually really great.

Most of the time I don’t get wooed by customer service, but at this place they had me smitten.  We had requested a crib for Sloan and they went all out.  She had her name spelled out in sponges (great bath toys) in the bed along with a plush turtle, baby insect repellent, shampoo and conditioner, wipes, regular diapers, and swim diapers.  They even brought in a diaper Genie and left a basket for her with some chocolate milk and cookies with her name spelled out on them.  She gasped each time she saw something new they had left out for her.

After dinner we tucked Sloan into her bed and Zach and I stayed up late catching up on shows (and sporting events).

Every time we go on a vacation Zach and I always make the same agreement.  This one was no different.  We made a wager that I got to work out each morning at the hotel gym and Zach got to surf every day.  Since I don’t work out on Sundays, I took a day off from the gym and we spent the morning at the resort’s infinity pool.

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We swam until lunch time.  We found a shady spot with a great view and grubbed as we watched the ocean.  Sloan was in heaven.  We all were, really.  Besides – kids ate for free at the resort.  So Sloan had the culinary world at her fingertips – or at least all that the hotel had to offer.

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After Sloan’s nap we ventured out again to the Lazy River.  Sloan was settling in nicely to this little routine we had started.img_4210

We had a dinner reservation at Bahia later that evening with a gorgeous view of the beach.  Another amazing thing about the resort was that you could order any beverage for a toddler – and even ask for a sippy cup!  They were completely set up for young kids, which was such a huge perk for Sloan.  img_4197

After dinner the three of us made our way down to the beach before returning back to our room.

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It got dark fast after the sun went down – so we made our way back to our room.

The next morning I hit up the hotel gym while Sloan got breakfast delivered to the room.  Remember, kids ate free…so she had deluxe service each morning.  Besides, she never finished all of her bacon, so Zach had to help her with that.  It was extremely humid and the gym really wore me out.  After a run on the treadmill I returned back to the room.  We got dressed in our suits, grabbed Sloan’s life jacket, and made our way back down to the beach to do some surfing.

All three of us went out and I “attempted” to push them into waves, but I wasn’t doing a very good job.  Zach managed with Sloan on his own when I was out too far and couldn’t touch the bottom any longer.  That’s me, in the background, not succeeding at my task whatsoever…

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Sloan loved it.  She wasn’t scared or nervous at all.  Just happy to be doing something different and exciting.

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After being out in the ocean for a while we rested on the beach and ordered some drinks.

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We decided to head back to the infinity pool to meet up with the majority of the rest of our family.

After Sloan’s nap we did some laps around the lazy river until it was time to get ready for dinner.  We ate at a different restaurant near the pool and it was all very delicious.

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You would think that Sloan’s favorite part of the trip would have been surfing or the Lazy River.  Truth be told – we believe it was the golf carts.  Since the resort was so spread out, you could call a golf cart to come and pick you up and take you to wherever you needed to go.  Sloan was in heaven riding to a fro on the golf carts and could have done it all day every day if we would have let her.

We stopped and got some dessert at the Gelato Shack after dinner.

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After dinner we changed back into our swimwear and we went back down to the beach.  We found these pods hanging from the steel beams underneath the infinity pool and Sloan loved crawling around inside of them.

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She would have ran full speed into the waves if we would have let her.  She has no fear whatsoever and it scares ME to death.

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We stayed until it was time for bed.  By the end of each night, Sloan was absolutely exhausted and slept so well throughout the whole trip.

We continued our ritual each day, and every day being at the gym never got easier.  I attempted BBG in the 78 degree gym and nearly drowned in my own sweat.  The employees inside the gym were even wearing LONG SLEEVED JACKETS!  I could barely breath let alone exercise in that temperature and they were jolly as could be in winter clothing…
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We attempted surfing again with Sloan and she loved it even more the second time around.  She stayed out with Zach in the surf for almost 45 minutes while I watched panicking from the shore.  She even barrel-rolled off the board a few times and it didn’t even phase her.  She even lost her binki at one point out in the ocean.  As soon as she found it, though, she wanted back on the board.  She took out her binki and shoved it down deep in her life jacket so if she fell again she wouldn’t lose it.   She is an adrenaline junkie for sure!

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I love that she was splashing her hand in the ocean, just content as ever.

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After our surf session we went back to the infinity pool for lunch.
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We stayed until nap time and once Sloan was snoozing inside in the air-conditioning, we took the monitor out by the Lazy River and enjoyed some time together.

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That night was a free night.  Since we didn’t have a reservation, we took a taxi to the next resort over to try a restaurant there.  We ate at the Sea Breeze at the St. Regis and we had the BEST shrimp tacos I’ve ever tasted.  With homemade tortillas and some sort of avocado sauce that tasted like guacamole mixed with crack cocaine.  Just kidding.  But really, it was amazing.  Sloan got a PB&J (toasted) and fruit and sat contently the entire meal.

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The next day we had family pictures scheduled.  We lounged at the pool, hit up the lazy river, and then met everyone else down at the beach.  Thank goodness for the golf carts, or we would have been sweating before we had even arrived…

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Sloan wasn’t thrilled about the heat [it was 90 degrees and felt like 90 percent humidity] and we all were a bit fussy.  I died when I saw this first photo…

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Ok…not these two.  But I’ll take what I can get.  group-1 group-2

After our photo session was all done, we had a beach dinner scheduled.  I’ve never eaten dinner with my toes in the sand.  It was wonderful and it was much needed and relaxing after all the stress of family pictures.fullsizerender-1

They had a live guitarist playing and they even set up a fire pit for s’mores afterwards.

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Sloan and I went back to the room when she started to fall asleep in her high chair [that some sweet waiter carted all the way down through the sand to our table – bless him!] and I got her all ready for bed.

The next day we had no plans other than our little routine.  I had stopped at the resort’s boutique gift shop to get Zach and I some sodas when I saw the Flamingo floaty.  It was one of those things you just can’t pass up.

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Sloan spent the rest of the day floating in Felicia (named by Lori) with a sippy cup and fruit snacks.

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We had dinner that night all together at the resort’s Asian restaurant – which was our favorite of all of the meals we had there.  Afterwards we all went down to the beach.  We were scheduled to release some baby sea turtles into the ocean.  Each family got their own box and the staff told us all about the process and why it’s so important not to interfere and to be extra soft and gentle with the turtles.  I was amazed at how brave Sloan was with those little wiggly things.  She insisted on holding them herself – but wasn’t very gentle in “releasing” them.  It was more like tossing them.  Let’s hope a few of ours survived and didn’t suffer from blunt force trauma.

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It was my favorite night of the trip.  Afterwards we walked up and down the beach with Sloan and my sister-in-law caught some great photos of us (thank you Siri).  The sunsets were like this each night – bright and bold.  The sky was so orange, which made the ocean look even more blue.

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The next day was our last full day.  I went to the gym and on my way, spotted the infinity pool completely deserted.  It was beautiful.

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Later, Zach and his brothers tried their hand at the water power board and Zach loved it.

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It was a free night for dinner – so we decided to go back to the Asian restaurant for a second round.  Sloan even had her very first brownie sundae for dessert and refused to let them take the plate – even when there was nothing but melted ice cream and chocolate sauce left over.  We perused the gift shops afterwards and Sloan touched everything within her reach.img_4520

We kept telling Sloan it was our last day and that tomorrow we would be going home.  She wasn’t thrilled about the idea, and spent the last evening cuddled up in our bed with us.
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Saturday Zach did a little morning surf session and I went on a run.  We all showered up, ordered room service for lunch, and then packed our bags to go home.  Our whole crew boarded the bus and were off to the airport in pretty good time.  We were worried because our drive to the airport took a lot longer than expected.  Luckily security in Mexico is a lot different than in the US.  We were through their TSA in less than 5 minutes.  The flight went a lot faster than I expected also and Sloan did pretty good considering she skipped nap time and her dinner was technically 6 different types of snacks I had packed in my carry on.  Once we arrived back home, customs went pretty quickly as well.  We were really blessed, considering our large party, how smoothly everything went.  All thanks to Gina’s meticulous planning and us hustling our butts to and fro to make things happen.

We love being with the Hendersons.  We always have the best time and make some amazing memories.  One of my favorite things to watch is Sloan’s cousins and how they interact with her.  They are all so sweet and playful with her.  She doesn’t know it yet – but she is SO lucky to have 25+ other cousins to grow up with.  Our future family vacations will only get busier and louder, but honestly…that’s part of the joy in it.  Thank you Mark and Jeanene for another wonderful time together, we love you!