Sunday, January 27, 2013

Disney with the Randalls

Since Brad and I realized that we were probably heading to Rexburg sometime after the new year (or it turns out the day before the new year), Mom and Dad Randall decided they'd better get in a quick trip to Orlando to visit. They wanted to meet our friends and see our lives there, but it didn't hurt to get in one more free trip to Disney. New Fantasyland was in the midst of "dress rehearsals" which meant we were able to go in and experience the new attractions, as long as things were running smoothly. We sipped on LaFou's brew, rode a seashell "under the sea", and had a wonderful visit with Belle along with all our other fun Disney memories.

After we were done playing at Disney we took a trip to see the Orlando temple and then enjoyed a lovely dinner with the Krause family. It was so fun to have my parents there with us, meeting our friends and being a part of our life in Orlando. Somehow life is sweeter when you can share it with those you love. I'm grateful we had the chance to share time in Orlando with both of our families.

Our First Race

On September 29th Brad and I ran the Twighlight Zone Tower of Terror 10 miler. The longest race I've run before was a 5K (3.1 miles), and Brad had never run a race (never really run at all) in his life. He got excited about it and I told him if he was willing to train for it, I would train with him. I really wanted to get him out exercising and this was the best chance I was going to get.

Our first few runs were pretty pathetic. A mile felt like a very long distance and I wondered what we were thinking each step of the way. There were even moments when we were regularly running 3-3.5 miles that I still felt overwhelmed by the idea of making it 10 miles. We made it 5 miles one Saturday and my body felt so depleted that I struggled for a few weeks to recover. I thought maybe my body just wasn't equipped to run long distances. But we created a schedule to give us a plan and decided to keep going.

When we finally hit 6 miles, I found myself empowered. If I could run 6 miles, I knew I could make it to 10 miles. Second, I felt amazing because I did something I'd never been able to do before. I came to really look forward to our long runs. Even though there were moments during the run that were hard, the finish always made it worth it.

The race started at 10pm in the parking lot of Disney's Hollywood Studios. We ran through Disney property finishing up in the Hollywood Studios park right at base of the Tower of Terror. A lot of people dress up for the event and it's definitely about fun, along with racing. Brad and I decided to bring our little muppet Walter along, so I strapped him on my back throughout the race, and we held him up between us as we crossed the finish line.

We finished the race strong but weren't able to stay for the after party since I had pushed myself a bit hard. I was pretty bummed, but it felt amazing to know we had finished. We finished! We ran 10 miles in one hour and 52 minutes. And if we can do that, how many more things can we do that today seem impossible?

At the resort getting ready to head out with Walter

Proudly crossing the finish line

Post Race

The day after with our medals

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

I got to celebrate my 34th birthday on both sides of the country! I was in Utah for my actual birthday, which included dinner with the family (sandwiched in between the anniversary mini-celebration and the wedding major celebration), lunch out with my Utah besties at the Cheesecake Factory, and a girls night in Midway.

Brad had to head back to Florida for work right after the wedding, and while I had a wonderful time with all my friends that next week, I was excited to have a birthday celebration with him when I got home. And since Dean's birthday is just 10 days after mine, the Cottles came down and treated us to a birthday weekend extravaganza.

My birthday cheesecake

lunch after our Girls Night Out in Midway

Our trip to Fulton's Crabhouse. We got the lobster feast for 4. My first time eating a whole lobster (or even touching a full lobster). They are ugly... but oh so delicious!!



We stayed one night at Art of Animation Resort. It's technically a "budget" resort, but it's brand new and the theming was AMAZING. We were in the Cars section, and everything in the rooms felt like it came straight from Radiator Springs. In case you can't tell, yes the lamp shades are cones. We were staying at the Cozy Cone after all.

One of my birthday presents from Brad. I am always looking for a quarter to buy a gumball at the store. I can't help it. I love them. So he bought me my very own gumball machine so I can have one whenever I want. Such a thoughtful man!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wedding Bells

Emily's wedding was a beautiful celebration. She began dating Soren just a few months before he headed off on his mission to Anaheim, CA. They wrote throughout his mission and instantly picked up where they left off when he returned. They are a perfect match, and we loved celebrating with them. It was wonderful to have the whole Randall family together again, and Brad and I even got to enjoy the food this time.

Along with the wedding, we had some good times with the family, and especially with the kids. I was pretty much glued to Ben every chance I got. I didn't think any kid cute be as cute as our nieces, but he's proved to live up to the Norton reputation for adorable-ness.

Just hanging out with Ben

The family partying it up at Lagoon. The adults took up a full train on Puff because the kids decided to ride together and ended up on the train before us. 

 Emily and Trish during one of the games from our 1920's speakeasy themed bachelorette party. It was a blast. The best part of the night was when Soren, Brian, Dave, and Brad showed up as "dressers". We turned on "It's Raining Men" as Soren came in wearing a white t-shirt (with painted on muscles) and swim trunks. He danced around putting clothes on as he went, and the other boys came in doing the same. Emily was thoroughly surprised and the boys took a break from laser tag and go karts just to come help out. Hilarious. We have the best family. Awkward you say that it was my own brothers (along with my husband)?  Well, maybe you had to be there...

The actual wedding

Beautiful bride, beautiful day, beautiful memories.

July 29, 2012 - One year later...

Emily and Soren set their wedding date for August 3rd, just one week after our anniversary. Brad's sweet cousin Kelsey got married in Colorado on July 28th, just one day before our anniversary. Since I needed to be in Utah for wedding prep and festivities early, we decided Brad should go to Kelsey's wedding with his family and then drive to Utah with them. That meant we would not be together on our first anniversary. I figured that would be okay... we didn't HAVE to celebrate our anniversary on the exact date, right?

It turns out I was super bummed all day on our anniversary. Although Brad did send a beautiful bouquet of flowers to let me know he wished he was with me, I was still secretly hoping to open the door and find him standing there. I knew that wasn't possible. And I knew it was worth it for him to be at Kelsey's wedding spending time with his family. Still...

The only thing that really cheered me up that day was the wedding dress photo shoot. Trish, Emily, and I put on our dresses and headed to the park. Soren was on dress patrol (keeping Emily's dress clean since she still had to wear it to the wedding) and Bryn was our amazing photographer. My sisters are my dearest and sweetest friends and I loved the symbolic representation of welcoming Emily into this next chapter of life. It also was super fun to put on my dress one more time and twirl around basking in that feeling of being a princess all over again. It lifted my melancholy and reminded me that although we were apart for the day, Brad and I have eternity together.

It was a very sweet moment when Brad finally showed up a few days later and we were able to have a moment of celebration just for us. The kitchen was cluttered with shrapnel from wedding prep, kid's uneaten lunches, and vacationers homeless belongings. In the midst of it Brad cut the top of our wedding cake with all the family (and our sweet Erika) gathered around, then we toasted each other and our first year together. My favorite part of the video of the toast was when I told Brad the only thing that cheered me up on our anniversary was getting dressed up in my wedding dress. Libby says (while wrapped in a towel fresh from the bath), "The only thing that makes me happy is drinking out of these cups!" (We were drinking out of plastic champagne cups). Priceless.

When all was said and done, it was an amazing anniversary, and I'm so grateful for my sweet Brad and all that he is to me everyday, not just on those special ones.

The video

This was what Brad was busy doing over our anniversary (besides going to a wedding): river rafting, ziplining, and indoor skydiving. Never a dull moment with the Cottles if Papa Cottle has anything to say about it.