Monday, December 12, 2016

14 Months

Hi Devy boy!

November was a really amazing, but super busy month! Mimi and Papa came the first few days of November, just a little over a week after we got back from Seattle. While they were here we got the news that Great Grandma Randall passed away, so we hopped on a plane the next week to head back to Utah. Dad had taken the next week off for some Cottle family time, so that made 3 weeks in a row of family time. It was busy, and I'm still recovering, but I wouldn't have traded any of those sweet memories.

Papa and Devin just after their haircuts

While Mimi and Papa were here we did Disney, Disney, and more Disney! It was so darn fun, and you were such a champ through it all. We were all pretty worn out by Saturday night, but we had a blast. You and Papa got haircuts together, and this was the first time I actually used the clippers on your hair. I think it tickled a little, and you were fascinated. Thank goodness, because we've got a LOT of haircuts in our future together, and the less you squirm and fuss, the better it is for both of us.

Devin's favorite spot... on Papa's shoulders
Mimi and Devin checking stuff out

Devin Dancing to the music at EPCOT

As fun as Disney was, the best moment of the trip was when you accidentally started a dance party from Mimi's Apple watch. At the push of the screen, Gangnum style unexpectedly erupted and every ounce of your little body danced with glee. You taught Mimi about all kinds of things she didn't know her watch could do that week. You also saw the fireworks from our room for the first time and you kept saying "Oh WOW!", while pointing and turning to see if Mimi and Papa were seeing them too.

Our flight to and from Utah was fairly smooth considering. In fact, you snuggled into me and fell right to sleep on our flight from SLC to Denver. It was AMAZING. I decided Grandma was watching over us and helping a Mama out (for next time Grandma, just so you know the other flight was actually the long one, but I'm totally not complaining!!). While I'm still not in a hurry to do more traveling with kids, I was grateful you handled things better this time. And it was awesome having Dad there for both flights!

Our trip to Utah was beautiful. I didn't get enough sibling and cousin bonding, but the time we had was wonderful, and Grandma's funeral was a perfect way to honor her in life and death. She was an incredible woman. I feel so grateful you got to meet her, even though neither of you will remember. We also found out Uncle Davey and Atza decided to get married! They had a small wedding in San Francisco, and will have the "fake real" wedding as Dave called it next year in Barcelona.

All the sibs together at Grandma's funeral
A full flight but magically we got an extra seat for Devin!
Daddy took off a week before Thanksgiving to make sure we could finally make a trip to Georgia, and Uncle Justin was able to come too, so we had the whole family together for the first time since our wedding. It was a lovely few days! We finally did all the touristy things I've never managed to fit into our Atlanta trips. You loved the Georgia Aquarium, and you tolerated our Stone Mountain excursion. There were several aspects of Stone Mountain (such as the giant sculpture of the Confederate generals) that I didn't know anything about. I have spent very little time in the South (and for those who aren't aware, Florida totally does not count as The South), and it was fascinating to take in a piece of American history from that point of view. Our history became a little more tangible seeing a piece of it in person.

Daddy and Devin at Chick-fil-e taking a break from the drive
The Aquarium
At the top of Stone Mountain
Kissing under the Mistletoe at the Stone Mountain
Christmas Village
While Grandpa and most of us kids hiked Stone Mountain, Grandma was busy making a lovely Thanksgiving feast. We enjoyed Fakesgiving with the whole Cottle family, so even though we wouldn't be together on the right day, we could enjoy the holiday together.

Devin rocking in Grandmom's chair just his size
We spent the actual Thanksgiving holiday at home having dinner together. I was starting to really regret that decision about halfway through the day when you just wanted mom and I was trying to get all the pieces of dinner ready. But, it was awesome being home and having Daddy there to enjoy it with us. And it was fun to have some cute friends from church there as well.

Thanksgiving at our house. Mom pulled out everything
to help keep Devin happy while she cooked.
Our final adventure for the month was a trip to Disney with Mama Rita. We sure love her, and it was so fun to get in some Disney magic with her!

Devin and Grandma Rita
Aside from all the adventures, you have been getting cuter and smarter every day. You are mimicking things you hear, and just starting to learn a few more words. You say Mama much more often now, and seem to actually know what it means. You've been able to wave for a long time, but out of the blue you started saying "hi"! It comes with it's own particular wave, and you've captivated entire groups of people with that little "Hi" and wave. You have also learned how to fold your arms. They don't usually stay folded for a full blessing, but it's a start.

We put the tree and train up early in the month and you've been in HEAVEN. You've mostly avoided wreaking havoc on the tree, though you definitely pull things off the upstairs one (one of the reasons I put up two). Watching your face the first time the tree lit up was just magic. Truly I feel the joy of discovering things all over again through your eyes. And you always notice when things have changed. I put up a painting in our dining room (I am slowly but surely getting things decorated), and you noticed the moment we walked in. It's fun to watch you recognize things. Although, on the other hand, I put up some wall art in your bathroom just over your changing pad, and that was a mistake. You obsessively pull it off the wall, and then stand up and push the nail in.

You love to be outside exploring, and wherever there are stairs you can be found going up and down, up and down. We were waiting for Mimi and Papa at Disney, and you just wanted to play on the stairs. Then we got to the center of Town Square and you just wanted to go up on the curb and back down. I wished you would look over to see the tree and toy soldiers instead of just the curb, until I realized you were practicing, and working on finding a way to step down without crawling. You would stand an extra second, bend your knees, start to move a foot, and then decide you didn't quite have a handle on making that happen. Suddenly, I quit thinking about what you weren't seeing, and became intent on watching your process, and your progress, as little as it may have been. One of my favorite things about being your mom is watching you learn.

Devin learning to climb right into the cupboard
Sometimes you get frustrated, so I try to help you work things out without doing it for you. It's hard. I don't want life to hurt, or be hard. But I want you to be the strong, courageous, determined boy you are always, and sometimes that means you will do hard things. And I know these little moments will help you prepare for the bigger ones.

Every day I wonder how the world existed without you in it. You are larger than life to me, and can't give you enough kisses and snuggles, and can't stand being away from you, even for a few hours. It's so fun to watch you grow, but I already feel like my time with you is slipping away. People always say to enjoy it, because it goes too fast. I appreciate the reminder, but I don't need it. Maybe it's because I'm older and don't know how many babies we'll have, or maybe working takes so much more time from you than I want to give. But I savor the hours with you. Of course they are not all perfect. But they come pretty darn close.

There's just something about Mickey. You love him.


Mom and Dad

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thirteen Months

Matchy-Matchy Boys!!
Hey there Devy-boy!

Another month has come and gone, and you are continuing to change every day! Dad and I just watched the video of you at 8 months, and comparing it to the video I made of your year mark. The time has gone so fast, and you have grown SO MUCH!!

The most exciting update is that you're WALKING! You've taken steps here and there, and you could stand, squat, and stand again with perfect balance, but you weren't quite ready to just make it happen. Then while you were playing with your cousins in Utah, you started taking a few steps here and there with your Lovey in hand. It was almost as if holding Lovey felt like you had some support. A few minutes later you had something smaller in your hand. And by the end of the night you were walking as if you'd been doing it all along!

Your vocabulary hasn't grown much this month, but we are communicating much more now, even if it's often in points, grunts, and squawks. Sometimes it's a bit of a guessing game, but you can get the point across when you're ready for a drink, or when you want a certain food. In fact, we worked toward getting over the bottle, and it became very clear to me when you wanted your bottle because you suddenly got SUPER whiney and pouty about your entire life. The first day I noticed it, I just knew the bottle would cure it, and sure enough, you were happy as could be once you had it in hand. Ugh.

While you weren't quite ready to give up your bottle, your love for food has continued to expand. You tried chicken nuggets for the first time on our trip and I now believe that they have some sort of magic infused in them because you had this look on your face like, "Mom, where have you been keeping these?? They are DELICIOUS!!" Once again, ugh. But luckily you're almost as happy about eating broccoli, and your absolute favorite thing is raspberries. I have to hide them in the shopping cart or you won't stop whining for them through the entire store. I handed you a plum to gnaw on one morning as I started breakfast, and you ate the ENTIRE thing, only stopping at the pit because you couldn't figure out why it was so hard in the middle.

Sometimes you still eat things that aren't food

Our Utah trip was mostly business for mom (though we got there early enough to spend the weekend with the family), but while we were out west we hopped on another plane to Seattle for Sarah's baptism. It was a pretty intense weekend with the WHOLE Randall family. That's the first time we've all been together in a long time, and definitely the first time in your lifetime. Dad even flew in on Friday and was there with us the rest of the trip. You got pretty clingy over the course of our adventure. It was a lot of people and a lot of new places in a very short time, so you stayed pretty close to mom, but it was awesome for you to meet the rest of our family. Your favorite buddy was Uncle Derek. You even stayed quiet on his lap for most of church. That was pretty impressive!

Animals we rode at the mall in Seattle. Devin LOVED it!

They don't look like they like each other... but they had fun together.

At the Bluebird in Logan

Devin and Charlotte

The Baby Shower
On the way home from Seattle we had our first ever layover, and since it was 3 hours long, Grandma and Grandpa Cottle came to meet us at the airport and have dinner. You were getting a little cranky by this point, but you were completely fascinated by the escalators and moving walkways. We went up and down a few times, and everyone rediscovered the awesomeness of stairs that move as you giggled and shot looks at anyone that would meet your eye that said, "Is this for real guys? This is the
best thing I've ever done!!" You would keep both hands in mine and walk up the stairs, and then turn around and try to come back down, getting a little put out you couldn't go back the way you came.

We had our first hurricane scare since we've been in Florida (and in fact the first true scare Orlando has had in many years). We were supposed to get hit with a Category 3 hurricane, so we decided to bunk up with Ben and McKenzie for the night to wait it out. They had all the preparations in place, but almost as important, we had each other. Dad and Ben were given Thursday afternoon and Friday off, so we got to hang out and watch TV, play games, and eat junk food (and a little healthy food too). McKenzie brought out Chutes and Ladders to play with you, which you thought was pretty awesome, even though she had to do most of the work, and you kept trying to cheat and put your player somewhere else on the board.

Our Hurricane "Bunker"

It was a fun, crazy, and exhausting month. You keep me running now that you can get around so well, but I love that you're walking, which has opened doors for so many new adventures!! You also smile with all four of your teeth all the time, and it makes me so happy my heart could burst! How was there a world without Devin?


Mom and Dad

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

One Year

Dear Devin,

Happy first year on earth my little lovebug (even though I'm actually writing this a month late)!!! The last week of your first year was pretty rough for you and for Mom. You were sick a full week before your first birthday, and all the way up to the day before, I was afraid you'd be eating applesauce and rice for your birthday dinner. Luckily, you worked through it literally just in time.

I woke up pretty emotional on your birthday. I am so excited for all the adventures ahead, but I have loved this year we've spent together so much, and it's hard to realize you won't be my baby forever. In fact, you've been my baby for one very short year, and it's been more incredible than I can describe! I just didn't feel ready for it to end (I think I still don't just yet).

You had 3 teeth finally out by your first birthday, and your little toothy grin is absolutely contagious! You are also standing constantly, and occasionally sneak in a step or two. Your balance is there, and you can squat down and stand back up again, you're just working up to actually having the confidence to walk all alone. Jackie (our sweet nanny) is working at it all the time because she loves to encourage you to stretch yourself.

You have LOVED our new house. I could tell the moment your crib was up in your room that you knew we were home. You love climbing up and down the stairs, and you handle them like a champ! you've also been very fascinated with the windows and the floors. you'll stand at the upstairs windows and look out for as long as I'll sit with you, watching people and just seeing what's outside. You also went back and forth across our new rug over and over, clearly trying to figure out and compare the new textures, and exploring how they felt as you crawled over them.

While you aren't saying many words yet, you love to shake your head no, and even nod your head yes, though I'm pretty sure you still don't know exactly what either means. You started saying "Uh Oh", which is super adorable, and you also point and say "Go, Go, GO!" when you want Jackie to take you outside or to the park.

You love music, and Mama's keyboard is getting more use than it's had in months (I'm a little embarrassed to admit) as you plunk away on the keyboard, and experiment pushing all the different buttons. I am happy to let you play around, as it brings me hope you'll learn to play it for real someday. But you'll also dance to music you come across anywhere. In fact, you've occasionally held still for a diaper change in restrooms with Jazzy music playing because you were too busy grooving to the tunes. And seriously, while often you dance, sometimes you just like to groove to the music. It's crazy cute.

You went to your first Halloween party (even though it was only September. At Disney the holidays stretch out longer than anywhere else) and of course, you had to dress up as Jack-Jack from the Incredibles. But just to keep things somewhat original, Dad dressed up as Syndrome, and Mom was Kari (the babysitter).

You basically love any food we will feed you. Spicy, sour, pickled, sweet, and everything in between. So far you are most likely to spit out chocolate though, even in chocolate milk form. One of your favorite things is soup. You love any kind of soup, which I only started feeding you one day after stopping at Panera instead of driving home through traffic. You couldn't get enough of my tomato basil soup and bread.

This month was such an adventure, and you're growing and learning every day. You've continued to sleep through the night, which is AWESOME, and I love how happy you are to get up every morning. Devin, this past year has been the most incredible year of our lives. There's nothing that compares to the joy and adventure of parenthood. Thank you for being our adorable, sweet, lovely little guy. We can't imagine what this year would have been without you, and we're so excited for so many years to come!


Mom and Dad

Devin 1 year from Rachel Cottle on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

11 Months

Technically this is from your 12 month shoot, but we were really
halfway between. I took some shots with Walter, but at the moment
it appears our camera did not survive the move.

Hi Handsome!!

You turned 11 months the day we moved into our brand new house, and I'm still in denial that you will be a year old in just a couple of weeks. It feels like yesterday that I was very impatiently waiting for you to get here. And yet, it's hard to imagine there was ever life without you. I know that every mother feels this way, but I can't imagine that any mommy could love her baby as much as I love you. You light up my life from the second you bounce out of your crib in the morning to the moment I walk out of your room at night. And as much as I'm ready for a quick break and a good night's sleep, I can't wait to get you up again the next day.

When I described you as "bouncing out of bed" in the mornings, I wasn't exaggerating. You are a little ball of energy, jumping up and down when I come to get you in the morning, and jumping up and down as you wind down before falling asleep. You love to explore and experience everything. And you have a great memory. Mom sometimes wishes it wasn't so good. We had a mirror in our bedroom at the Stewart's that had a loose frame. You would crawl over to the mirror as soon as you got into the room, say hi to the baby you saw, and proceed to pull at the frame. I had to start putting the laundry basket in the way so you couldn't get to it.

You also know what you want and when you want it. You've started pointing when you want to go somewhere, and you get SO EXCITED when you see me coming over with your bottle. Your little arms stretch out, and your mouth is wide open ready to pop it in before your hands have fully grasped it. You still LOVE water, or anything in a cup, and occasionally I find myself wondering what you're squawking about in your highchair until I realize that you've seen your cup and you want a drink!!

Your two little bottom teeth finally popped out, and your little dimple and toothy grin are just too much! There's at least one tooth poking through on top, so it won't be long before there are more.

You are standing often now, sometimes you'll stand for long periods of time, not even realizing that's what you're doing. Other times I can tell you're definitely thinking about it and actively practicing your stability.

You talk all the time, but still don't have any actual words. However, I KNOW You can say "mama" because your final attempt to charm me into holding you when you're stuck in a shopping cart or crawling on the floor is to say (or shout), "MAMAMAMA!!"

You came to the house for a final walk through and made sure all was up to your standards; the stairs were easy to navigate, the pantry shelves were in order, and the loft was a great place to crawl around!

You still love the dogs, and I will miss watching you interact with them. You discovered you can actually feed them now, and that was a highly entertaining way to pass the time in your highchair. The dogs did not mind one bit!

You're starting to enjoy things like slides and toys at the park, although you spend most of the time watching what the other kids are doing trying to figure out how to join in. You're also much more interested in going UP the slide, rather than down.

A waterfall in "the boneyard" at Animal Kingdom. It took a bit
but once you decided you wanted to play in the water
 you didn't want to stop.
I love that you are becoming much more interactive, even if you can't say exactly how you feel in words. You are full of smiles and laughs, and are constantly charming everyone you meet. Mimi used to call me her little bit of fluff and sparkle, and I'm catching a glimpse of what she may have meant as I look at you shine. How blessed we are to have your beautiful little spirit in our family.

Devin and "Auntie Dava"

Mom and Dad

Friday, August 26, 2016


The "SSS" became my family in the last years of single life, as we bonded over boys, life in the avenues, Hatches chocolates, weddings, careers, school, travel, and basically everything in between. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share my world with them, and likewise to be constantly inspired by them. 

For one year the three of us were all just single ladies building our careers and making the most of our lives. We supported each other through the big things like broken hearts. We helped each other in the small things, like cleaning each other's apartments when life got overwhelming and busy. And we played and danced and enjoyed friends and city life. 

During that year, Chrislyn met Ryan, and our little group started to expand. Miss Emma joined their family shortly after. A few years later Brad finally hit an acceptable age for marriage and swept me off to Florida. Then last year, Andy married Erika, completing the circle. 

A few weeks ago, we got together to celebrate yet one more thing we have in common. Our baby boys were all born in the past year, and the stars aligned for us to spend a few hours together so the entire SSS clan could meet, and our boys could start a friendship we hope will also last a lifetime (I know, they probably won't remember their first meeting, but we have the photo evidence for later). 

People aren't perfect, and 9 years of friendship has seen all of us through ups and downs, both big and small. We've had to grow, adapt, and learn how to be friends, especially when we can't just pop around the corner when we need a good chat. But I am eternally grateful for these women (and their families) who love me for me, and see the very best in me. Who love me in spite of my weaknesses, and truly appreciate my strengths.

My mom always says that the best relationships exist when someone else appreciates what WE have to give, and we need and appreciate what THEY have to give. I am at home when I am with Chrislyn and Erika, and I know they feel at home with me. They are my family, and I am eternally grateful for a few extra years of single life that allowed me to meet the women that helped shape who I am today. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bryce Canyon

I met Brad in October of 2010, and on July 29th we celebrated 5 years of marriage. I can't imagine a greater adventure than the time we've spent together. Brad is the most gentle and kind soul I've ever known, and has treated me like his princess from the moment we met. I'd say we came as close as one can to love-at-first-sight, which was important because otherwise our unlikely beginning would have never begun.

We started our 5 year celebration downtown SLC with dinner and a stay at the Little America (of course we had to get in at least one night that didn't include dirt and rocks and sleeping on an air mattress). It was a lovely night, and we got to sneak back to my parents the next morning for some Devin love while we packed up the car for the real adventure.

Brad got the "romance package" which included delicious chocolates and a rose.

Oh and rose petals on the bed. :)
Brad and I settled on camping for our anniversary, and this trip never could have happened without my amazing parents! My dad pulled out all of his gear and packed most of the car for us, and my mom made the most DELICIOUS tinfoil dinners and helped gather the rest of the food needed! Oh, and of course they generously shared a vehicle with us for the week. Did I mention they also took on an extra child for 3 days?

Bryce Canyon seemed like a fitting destination based on some upcoming changes in our living situation (we're not moving back to Utah just in case you're wondering), and we ended up spending time in Red Rock Canyon and Escalante as well. We met people along our journey from Florida, Switzerland, Germany, New Jersey, Virginia, and more as we explored, reminding me that I never fully appreciated all my home state had to offer while living there.

Brad and I haven't camped together for at least a couple of years and it was awesome to enjoy a few days outside of cell range (for the most part) with just the two of us. We rode horses, hiked, gazed at billions of stars (you could ACTUALLY see the Milky way!!), cooked over a campfire, and did a semi-okay job setting up our tent.

I hope it doesn't take us another 5 years to celebrate in style (or whatever you call spending time in the hot, dusty, desert), but in truth I feel like every day I celebrate the blessing of having my best friend and love of my life by my side. I can't wait for an eternity of anniversaries!

Nightlinger and Blue Duck
Thankfully they didn't tell me until over halfway through that
Nightlinger used to be a "buckin' horse".
A view of Escalante

Brad the Breakfast Guy

We had some tent issues... one was not getting the poles quite even
(this was after it blew over and we had to put it back up)

We also discovered the front zippers of the tent didn't zip. This was fine until we thought
an animal got into the tent the first night and couldn't sleep. We decided to remedy the situation for night #2. 
Clearly our solution worked wonders.