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

The Last of December – New Years

After Christmas I was lucky enough to spend a night with my high school girlfriends for our annual Christmas get together.  Alison was in town from New York and that’s the day that worked best with everyone.  So even though it wasn’t BEFORE Christmas, we still exchanged our “Favorite Things” and stayed way too late at Kristina’s new beautiful home.

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We had pizza, pizzookies, and stayed until passed 2 am talking.  It is always the same.  No matter what happens – we always pick up right where we left off.  I love that part so much.  We really all are so different.  That’s why we work, I think.  Because we balance each other out. 

I also got to go out with another group of high school friends for dinner not long after to Alamexo down town.  We all brought our significant others and it was a blast seeing those that live out of state and catching up with everyone.  I branched out from my typical chicken tacos and got the salmon.  It wasn’t a bad call…

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Before the holiday, my mom had some time off of work and joined Sloan and I for a movie.  We went to Sing at the Cinemark with the recliners in Sugarhouse.  It wasn’t our favorite flick – we all agreed Moana was better – but Sloan downed half of a large popcorn all by herself.  She obviously gets that from her father.  I didn’t have a single bite.  Not to mention the blue Slurpee my mom bought her disappeared faster than expected.

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For NYE we decided to join Mark and Jeanene up at the Hendo Cabin and stay the night.  Papa picked us up in the Ranger and we unloaded all our gear for our short stay.

IMG_5977 We unloaded our stuff, Sloan explored the cabin – particularly the play room – and we all bundled up to go on a snowmobile ride.  Sloan loved it.  I thought she would hate the fact that her face was freezing, but she didn’t mind one bit and even got upset when we made her go back inside.

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Afterwards we had a delicious dinner (have I mentioned my MIL is an amazing cook?) bathed Sloan, and put her to bed.  We stayed up late watching Liar Liar – still as funny as it was 10+ years ago – and when Zach and I got in bed for the night we went over our resolutions.  A tradition we’ve had since we’ve been married.  I did a mental, physical, spiritual, and financial goal this year.  Zach did something similar, and we agreed to work on them all together.  I have a feeling 2017 is going to be even better than this past year.

We had a big breakfast the next morning, loaded up our stuff, and drove home.  It was gorgeous on the drive home.  As far as you could see – everything was covered in bright white snow.

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It was a perfect, laid back holiday.  Here’s to hoping our New Year’s resolutions make it past February…

 

 

 

Christmas Eve + Christmas Day 2016

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Christmas Eve morning Zach told me he wanted to do his Christmas Eve tradition of service.  We didn’t do a Sub for Santa this year – the first time in 7 years.  It’s one of my favorite traditions and not doing it this year felt strange.  But Zach had a back up plan.  We all got dressed and jumped in the car and drove down town.  We stopped at the McDonald’s off of 500 south and got bags of sausage biscuits and breakfast burritos.  Then we proceeded to drive around and hand them out to whoever looked like they could use a hot breakfast.  It was a great experience and it’s always so humbling.
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It surprised us both how fast we were able to go through all that food – but it was honestly shocking how many people were out and about on the streets in the cold.  We had a good laugh at our last stop – with our last four food items – that was at a little make shift community made of tents off of 600 south.  I ran the food over to them, wished them a Merry Christmas, and then hopped back in my car.  Just as I buckled my seatbelt a huge group of people with sleeping bags and blankets rolled up to that exact same spot.  If they were trying to one-up us and our breakfast burritos, they succeeded.  I couldn’t believe how many items they had brought with them.  It made me feel our Savior’s love to see all those people giving on this special holiday.  It puts things in perspective for me every year – sometimes you need a wake up call (even if once a year) to realize how blessed you are to sleep somewhere warm and dry every night.

We returned home, explaining to Sloan the whole way what service is all about.  I know she can’t quite comprehend right now – but showing love to someone is not hard to understand.

We lounged around the rest of the day – Sloan took a nice long nap – and we got ready to meet my family at Tepanyaki for dinner.  We had a great time and the food was delicious.

img_5790 Sloan even attempted to catch a shrimp in her mouth…and the grill master was more apprehensive than she was about it [notice her mouth wide open, just waiting].img_5791Good times were had by all – until Sloan smacked her head on the stone counter.  We made a quick exit and met everyone over in Magna for a party with my mom’s side of the family.

Sloan loved seeing everyone, getting to sit on Santa’s lap, and even dancing to the Christmas carols we all sang.  She was in heaven.

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Sloan was gifted the most darling shopping cart accompanied by a huge load of plastic food.  She still gets excited every time she sees it.
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Afterwards we drove down the street to my Grandpa’s house to open our Christmas pajamas.

img_5618My shirt said, “Gangsta Wrapper” and Zach’s had a clever Drake pun.  Sloan’s was the best – “Santa, is it too late to say sorry?” because that has always been one of her favorite songs on the radio EVER.  We left my grandpa’s wayyyy past Sloan’s bedtime and returned home completely exhausted.  We set out a Coke and cookies for Santa before we put Sloan down for the night.

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Santa LOVES Cutler’s sugar cookies (especially the star shaped ones – they are THE best).

After Sloan was sound asleep I put everything out for the next morning.  A few people still don’t believe me – but Zach and I didn’t get each other gifts this year.  Not one single thing.  For months we had been debating what to get each other and we both agreed that there was nothing for either of us that stood out or that was much needed.  So, we skipped it this year.  A lot of people gave me a hard time, saying things like, “Whatever…he is going to get you something and you are going to be so embarrassed when you have nothing to give him.”  But we both stuck with our promise to each other and it was actually really nice.  We both agreed we would spend whatever money we were GOING to spend on Christmas gifts for each other on a family vacation in 2017.  That’s the best gift I could ask for, anyway.

Santa did leave dress socks for Zach and a pair of matching sweats for Sloan and I.

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The next morning Sloan woke up and we took her straight down stairs to see if Santa had visited.  She saw the cookies and Coke had been dabbled with – and her new pajama sweats and stocking were all ready for her.  What was her favorite Christmas gift, you might ask?  APPLESAUCE.  Santa left applesauce in her stocking and that is what she was most excited for.  It made me feel a lot better about keeping Christmas so simple this year, because girlfriend liked the APPLESAUCE the best.

We went to church in our Sunday Christmas best – and it was a very stressful meeting for all of us.  I think there was a serious tension in the air – like every kid banded together to fight against their parents to make them return home or something…?  They were all in cahoots with each other, I swear it.

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After church we rushed off to my Grandpa’s house again to exchange gifts with my mom’s side of the family.  Afterwards we went home so Sloan could have a quick nap before rushing up to Ogden in the blizzard to spend the night with the Hendos.

It was a full house – we had our entire gang (which is hefty all by itself) plus three missionaries.  It was honestly a blast.  We had delicious food, there was music, and a gift exchange at the end with all the cousins/sibblings/and Zach’s parents.

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And of course, a visit from Gingie and the Grinch.  Sloan loved the Grinch (despite being alarmed by him at first…the grandkids were screaming and hollering at the Grinch when he bit Gingie’s arms off) and she couldn’t stop touching, smiling, and hugging him.  [Poor Alex, I bet he was dying in that get-up].  Oh yeah, I should mention that Zach has graduated from costume duty.  Now that he has a child of his own he gets to watch from afar and the oldest grandkids get to sweat it out in those costumes.

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The Grinch had to go home to Whoville, however – leaving Sloan desperate to find him.  [For days afterward she would talk about the Grinch, always concerned about his well being].  One time in the middle of the night I heard her say, in her sleep, “No, no Grinch!”  Zach and I both died laughing.

We had a fabulous Christmas.  I was very worried about this year, to be honest.  I thought about Sloan getting a very simplified version of Christmas (her birthday is in November and she still hasn’t even played with a fraction of her toys yet) and Zach and I not exchanging gifts this year would make it seem less meaningful.  But I was very wrong.  Sloan could have received a cardboard box full of applesauce for Christmas and she would have felt like she won the lottery.  And honestly, the best part about the weekend and the holiday was being together.  Sloan would wake up each day ecstatic to realize she got both Zach and I all day every day.  Our families were both so sweet to Sloan – getting her such thoughtful and fun gifts.

I wish every day was the holiday – even if just to spend so much time together consecutively.

 

I Don’t Even Remember December

But for real.  December came and went so fast – I would have guessed it would be Dec 12th by now.  Maybe.

I decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.  I did Sloan’s playroom first…so Zach wouldn’t give me such a hard time about the rest of the house.  He found out quickly, though, and just succumbed to the fact that it was happening and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

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As soon as I could allow myself, we started festive activities.  First – Sloan and I decorated a gingerbread house.  Sloan was all about it…until she realized she could eat the candy we were using to decorate.

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Towards the beginning of the month all three of us went to the Rail Gardens and did a little shredding.  Actually, I didn’t shred.  I hiked and pulled the littlest one of us around.  But we all had a blast and even captured a great shot with Zach’s GoPro.

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I took Sloan to her very first movie – Moana.  It was at 9:40 am, in our pajamas, and it was glorious.  Sloan did amazing…but mostly because I had every snack available in my diaper bag and she took full advantage.  Recliners always win.  Always.

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Sloan loves being bundled up – even during breakfast.  I’m very lucky I don’t have to fight her to wear winter accessories.  It makes going out and about much smoother.

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I had a bridal shower to attend one Saturday and Zach decided he would take Sloan up to Park City for a little daddy-daughter date.  She loved it, as always.  I was so impressed when I found out Zach had packed her a lunch (a PB&J) and two beverage options.  As if I could love him any more…

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We did our new(er) tradition of breakfast with Santa at the Grand America.  We did it a little different this year.  We stayed the night before at the hotel.  Zach had his work Christmas party and planned on staying late.  So the two of us girls ordered room service for dinner and walked around to see all the Christmas windows, giant gingerbread house, and other Christmas decorations.

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Zach joined us later that night.  The next morning we woke up and got ready to head down to breakfast.  My parents joined us this time around and Sloan was elated.

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And at the end of our meal we got to take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  I was dreading it – with Sloan’s professional photo track record.  But as always, she surprised me.  She was perfect – maybe because Santa let her hold his bell?  Regardless of the reason, I was thrilled to get the photos back and see that we all were smiling.
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Later that weekend we had an Ugly Sweater Party with my mom’s side of the family.  Long story short:  I didn’t realize that the sweater I had put Sloan in was gifted by the host of the party.  But we proceeded and covered it up…hopefully.

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Towards the middle of the month Zach and I had a date night at the Roof for dinner.  It’s my favorite way to see the Christmas lights.  High above, indoors, and with no crowds.  Also – they made a mistake (unbeknownst to us until they brought out the sign) and thought it was my birthday.  But we got a seat by the window, so it was a happy mistake.

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Zach was deemed CRAB MAN – due to his five visits to the seafood area of the buffet and I got myself an incredible Christmas onesie (THAT HAS PIZZA ON IT) later at City Creek – so I’d call the night a complete success.

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We spent a lot of time baking this month.  And my thighs are regretting it.  Sloan helped me make bread, several types of cookies, pastries, and a few other desserts.  She’s even got cracking the eggs down.

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I attempted to make my former neighbor’s infamous pastries – since we no longer live near them, we definitely miss them during this time of year.  They turned out pretty good – but not AS good as hers.  Maybe one day.

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My mom also enlisted my help to make sugar cookies for her coworkers and neighbors.  Five dozen, to be exact.

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She was thrilled with how they turned out, so it was all worth it.  Let’s just say I’m not making it a Christmas tradition, though.

Not long after – we had the Henderson Christmas Party at the Layton rink.  I’d love to post a photo of the whole gang eating together joyfully…but the only pictures I got were of Sloan in the Wrecking Ball blow-up castle.  It’s her favorite.

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Sloan’s become quite the little helper around the house.  She takes chores and tasks very seriously – especially the ones involved with prepping dinner.  She has become a master of unwrapping candy kisses for peppermint chocolate cookies (or peanut butter blossoms for Zach)…img_5761But her favorite tasks involve washing vegetables.
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I’ve noticed something about myself as a parent – I tend to hold back on things I think will be messy or potentially harmful to Sloan.  I also tell myself a lot “Oh, she’s not old enough for that yet”…and it’s one of my biggest weaknesses as a parent.  I have found that if I let her do things, even if I question those things, she usually excels at them.  I need to learn to stretch and she is helping me.  I’ve also noticed that having Sloan help me around the house (baking especially) makes her better at following directions and focusing.  It also completely changes her attitude.  When she’s having a rough day – we make cookies.  She loves helping and feels important.  Plus, we both get a treat at the end.

As much as she loves baking, she loves making “forts” even more.  It’s her favorite thing to do and we made plenty during the month of December.  They don’t even have to be that spectacular – just a couple of chairs and a blanket.

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We also did a little backyard and Park City snowboarding.  Sloan actually preferred to play in the snow this particular trip.  You win some – you lose some.  She’s a toddler after all.

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Zach even made her a little course in the backyard with a hula hoop and a tote lid (to represent a little box rail maybe?) to test her skills on.

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The Friday before Christmas Eve was our Fotheringham Family Christmas party.  It was at my aunt’s church – and a Luau theme.  It turned out darling and everyone had a great time.  Sloan especially…she even got loved on a little TOO much.

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December was wonderful – I’m honestly sad it’s over.  I almost wish I could do it over (but without the obscene amount of glitter in every room of my house and the stomachache from all the baked goods) but it might take me another 11 months to recover.

 

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving was eventful this year, as it always is with both of our families.  We are lucky that the Hendersons are easy going and don’t mind celebrating the day after, to make it easier for everyone.

My assignment this year for my side was stuffing (or dressing, as my family calls it) and it is always my favorite thing to make.  Probably because it’s my favorite item to eat at Thanksgiving.  Yes – skip the turkey and mashed potatoes – I will take all the stuffing.  I made a traditional batch and then tried a new variety this year: cornbread with chicken sausage, apples, and mushrooms.  It was actually pretty good!
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On Thanksgiving Day we ate at my aunt’s house for lunch.  It was quite the crowd:  my family, my aunt’s family, my uncle’s family, and the sister missionaries.  Sloan loved every second and her excitement was elevated even more due to the fact that there were 10 times as many people to socialize with. img_5209

Out of the entire spread our families provided – Sloan ate two things:  1.5 rolls and some pumpkin pie.
img_5188 Rolls are her new love language.  It used to be bananas…but carbs have won, as they always do.  img_5215

The next morning we took Sloan ice skating for her first time.  Zach purchased two tiny pink ice skates on Amazon and could barely contain his excitement.  He begged me every day until that day to take her, and our schedule finally worked out that we could.  She couldn’t wait to get out on the ice.  She did very well considering how difficult it is in general to ice skate.  She has amazing balance, like Zach, and did better than we both expected.  img_5278

She preferred for Zach to hold her, though, and zoom as fast as he could around the ice.  Speed is Sloan’s middle name.  Already praying she is a better driver than I was as a teenager…img_5295

After Sloan’s nap we made our way up the Hendo Cabin for our second Thanksgiving.  It was a fantastic meal with more trimmings than you could imagine.  We did our annual turkey marshmallow shoot and then had an indoor snowball fight – a personal favorite tradition of mine.  img_5235 img_5507

During dinner-clean up the grandkids played a pretty hilarious game and ended just in time to open Christmas pajamas.  After everything had settled somewhat we made the drive back home.

The rest of the weekend was easy.  We relaxed as a family, made sugar cookies, and went on a lunch date all together.
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8 Years / NYC

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The last few weeks have been a whirlwind.  With our family trip to Mexico, Halloween, Sloan’s birthday and all that was between, we didn’t realize our trip to NYC for our anniversary was so close approaching.  I usually pack days ahead of time, but this trip I was not that prepared.

We weren’t originally going to go to New York.  First, it was Cuba – but with flights being difficult and this whole Zika situation, we decided to switch it up.  Then it was Portland but the timing didn’t work out for that either.  When Zach suggested New York, I went for it.  The last time we had been was when I was 30 weeks pregnant, and New York in the fall is my favorite.

My mom watched Sloan for us the entire time, and we couldn’t be more grateful to her.

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We left Wednesday morning and arrived around 5:30 pm.  We took a taxi into the city and checked into our hotel before taking an Uber to MSG for our first Knicks game.  We both have been to MSG before, but never to watch the Knicks.  It was so fun, we had great seats, and even better – they won!  It’s always more enjoyable to leave with a victory.

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The next morning we both slept in, I got to check out the hotel gym, and we showered up for our first full day.

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We hit up all our favorite shops in Soho.  Then we made our way over to Dudley’s to meet some old high school friends.  I’ve known Curt since elementary school and Matt has been a close friend all throughout high school.  They both work in Manhattan and took time out of their busy schedules to meet us for a late lunch.  They both are just the same as always – a blast to be with and not short of laughs.

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After our lunch we went for round two.  We shopped for hours – literally – until our dinner reservation at Hillstone.  Our food was delicious and we decided to cap off the night with some ice cream.  Ice and Vice was amazing – our favorite being the “Milk Money” flavor – and we made our way back to our hotel completely stuffed to the brim.

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The next day we made our way over to Central Park.  I’ve never actually had the chance to experience it in full fledge fall mode.  A few years ago Zach and I came to the city to go to the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade.  By then, all the leaves in central park were dead and gone.  But this year, a tad earlier, the park still had a full array of beautiful colors.  It was even better than I could have hoped it to be.  I made Zach take dozens of pictures as we made our way through.

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We ate lunch at Shake Shack and shopped some more before our dinner reservation.

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We ate a Momofuku’s Noodle Bar.  We were lucky to get a place in line before it opened and got a seat right away.  The ramen and pho were amazing – enough to make us promise to go back again when we visit next.

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We had to rush off to Barclay’s afterwards for the Islander’s game.  Zach got us tickets on Stubhub minutes before the game started, printed them off at a nearby hotel, and we were in!

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I love Barclay’s Center. It is probably one of the most beautiful designed stadiums, in my opinion.  The fans are diehard, I’ll tell you.  Because the team isn’t that great.  Zach’s only desire to go is the fact that they were playing the Penguins, who’s shining star is Sidney Crosby (and the fact that they just won the Stanley Cup, of course).  The game actually ended up being way more entertaining than we anticipated – with the Penguins winning in over time.

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We stopped at a local market to get some treats and crashed once we were back at the hotel.

The next morning I made Zach visit the new Nike Store in Soho.  It is amazing – complete with it’s own half basketball court on the top level.  We got some gear and shopped around some more.

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We stopped and grabbed some pizza for lunch, shopped some more and then headed over to the holiday markets.  We started at Bryant Park – where we met up with a fellow Ogden native (and USU Interior Design Student, of course) Morgan.

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We visited on the steps in front of the giant Christmas tree, got some hot chocolate, and then went over to the holiday shops at Union Square.

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Then it was off to our dinner reservation at Lure, closer to our hotel.  It was the best fish dinner I’ve had in recent memory.  Even Zach’s lobster mac n’ cheese was OFF. THE. CHARTS.

We shopped around some more afterwards before stopping at Sprinkles for a couple of red velvet cupcakes.  We took an Uber back to our hotel and called it a night.

Sunday morning we packed our bags, left them with the bell man, and grabbed an early lunch at Black Seed Bagels.

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Throughout our whole trip the weather had been incredible.  Mid to low 60’s, not a drop of rain or even cloudy skies.  Sunday morning was freezing at a whopping 39 degrees.  We stayed inside the warm bakery as long as we could before venturing back to our hotel to leave for the airport.

It was a great trip.  Short and sweet.  I know it sounds like all we did was went to sporting events, shopped, and ate…and that is exactly how we wanted it.  We missed Sloan like crazy – but having some solo time with Zach was worth the heartache.