Monday, January 30, 2017

The Beach

I know, it's ridiculous that it took until Devin was 14 months old to make it to the beach. We did try at least once before. But, it was worth the wait. Our friends captured every perfect moment with their camera, and the videos and pictures say more than I ever could. I didn't think we'd make it to the water, he was so obsessed with the sand. But eventually he decided the water was pretty awesome too.

My Movie from Rachel Cottle on Vimeo.

The Holidays

This Christmas it really sunk in that our move to Florida is pretty permanent. We decided not to do any traveling over the holidays since we discovered this fall that sometimes traveling with a toddler is just not worth it. October and November were such intense months this year with baptisms, funerals, and family gatherings, so it was really nice to have a few weeks of relative calm, but it was hard to be so far away from our families. And as it turns out, the Cottles' came down just after Christmas so we got some family time in after all!

We had our annual Christmas breakfast at the Grand Floridian a little early this year, which meant Ben and McKenzie were able to join! Devin LOVED the characters, and they sure loved him!! And of course with a photographer along, we got way more pictures than we know what to do with. We also got a picture for the second year with Richard, a cast member and Disney legend. I saw him outside the Grand Floridian last year and had to stop to have our picture taken with him. I didn't know who he was, I just knew he exuded Christmas and Disney magic!

We had a lovely Christmas Eve feast with the Stewarts, and then Brad went off to work while Devin and I headed home for a quiet evening together. We were lucky that Brad was home Christmas Eve and Christmas mornings, but it sure felt quiet while he was working those nights.

Christmas morning with Devin was absolutely MAGICAL! I tried to keep the gifts to a minimum, but he was definitely spoiled by aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. The gift I was most excited to give him was a rocking chair that was just perfectly Devin-sized. I knew he may not be too interested in many gifts, but that would be one he (hopefully) would love. I was not disappointed when he went right to it and climbed in Christmas morning. We also bought him his very own Mickey plush. I have been amazed at how quickly he started to recognize and get excited about Mickey over the past year. He definitely knows him. It helps that he has a nose that is perfect for biting.

Devin also loves daddy's train, and he had a great time bonding with Dad while they watched it choo-choo around the tree.

While he's not quite ready for potty training, we figured we might as well get the potty for his "something he needs" gift. Christmas morning he actually seemed a little more excited about the potty than the chair when all was said and done, since he could carry around the potty AND sit in it. However, he was a little unsure about what to do with the hole in the middle.

Brad and I were definitely spoiled by each other, and our family and friends. The Cottles' came down and hung shelves in our garage, which was something I desperately wanted, but figured wouldn't happen for months, or even years. I loved that Brad also took a chance and actually bought me a couple of awesome outfits, knowing clothes are a tricky thing to buy for me. He did great. And he found the perfect lamp for our living room. I had looked and looked, and finally thought I found the right thing. I knew he hadn't purchased exactly what I found, and I think we were both nervous. But it turned out, he found something even better. I love that he always finds ways to surprise me!

Devin and Grandpa got in some good bonding time. They took walks, read stories, and Devin even "helped" with the garage for a bit. 

I wasn't planning on doing anything for New Year's Eve, since Brad was of course working, and Devin would be in bed nice and early. But since we can see the fireworks from our window, McKenzie joined us for the evening, and we watched the "practice" fireworks, complete with countdown at 7:30pm so Devin could join us. Had I known we would get the full experience, I might have been good to call it a night right then, but McKenzie and I made it up until midnight to see them again one more time. I'm glad I wasn't fighting the Disney crowds, but we got a pretty good show right from our back window!

As wonderful as it was to give and receive gifts this year, one of my favorite things about the season was participating in #lighttheworld, a program our church rolled out to help us focus each day of December on ways we could make a difference. I don't think I was perfect at focusing my time and energy in the right places every day, but I loved the way it changed my focus, and allowed me to find ways to think about others throughout the Christmas season. I love Christmas for all it stands for, for the extra measure of kindness and joy in the air, and most importantly for my Savior and my testimony that He truly was born into the world to fulfill our Heavenly Father's plan. I know He lives and loves each of us, and as I've turned my heart to him, I have found more joy than I ever knew to be possible.

I guess the nice thing about blogging late is the reminder of the Christmas season one month later. Merry January-almost-Valentine's-Day everyone.