It's the night before Em's third birthday and I'm once again sitting here now that she's in bed feeling allllll the nostalgia and mama feelings and wondering why time has to be such a thief when it comes to my kids staying little. Emery has had to go through so many big life changes this past year with our family and as an individual, and has grown through all of them with so much grace into such a beautiful, loving girl that I'm so grateful and proud to call my daughter.
As Emery's birthday came closer, I found myself having to fight off anxiety and a bit of homesickness about us no longer living in Louisville. The past two years we've had so much fun celebrating her birthday with all of her dental school toddler/baby friends, and with how much of a social bug Em is I was worried about her feeling let down about not being able to celebrate her birthday with all of her friends. Thankfully though we're (still) in Utah with family before Kyle starts working up in Oregon, and have a group of the cutest cousins and loving family close by that we were able to celebrate with instead. Emery loves her cousins so much, and I'm so grateful that they all get along well and are always able to make for a fun playdate.
I told myself when Em was a baby that I was going to always try and throw her parties around her favorite things for that year, but to be completely honest was a little surprised when I realized that her favorite thing this year happened to be focused around a TV show. Em didn't really have any screen time until she was close to two years old, and even then watched it very rarely (we're talking maybe one 30 minute show a couple times a week), but towards the end of my pregnancy with Ashton, fatigue and sickness got the best of me and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood helped to get me and Em through the harder parts of it. Emery fell in love with the show, and since then has made it a habit of singing the different songs from the show whenever she feels like they apply, turns every toy car into a trolley, regularly asks for the trolley song while driving in the car (we're going on a trolley ride, to go to Target, won't you ride along with me... ride along! 😂) and gets insanely excited every time she finds what she affectionately calls "a trolley penny" because she thinks that the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the penny is Daniel Tiger's Trolley. Kyle and I both grew up on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and the songs and rhymes have proven useful to help coach Em through so many different situations that if she had to attach herself to a show, we figured that this was a pretty good one, and I set to work to try and throw Em the best trolley/Daniel Tiger party that I could put together. I found a book filled with illustrated versions of Mr. Roger's songs and poems, as well as a darling little trolley toy on Amazon, the cutest little trolley cake topper and garland from shop fluff on Etsy, then filled in the rest with color coordinating decor from Target and of course yummy treats & a cake from a local bakery for everyone to enjoy. I bought several bubble wands from Target as well and slapped some homemade trolley labels on them, and after cake and presents all of the kids young and old got to have fun running around my parents' yard playing with the bubbles. Overall it was a pretty simple, minimal family birthday party, but at the end of the day Em loved it all and had so much fun, making it all 100% worth it.
As far as an update goes for our busy little three-year old, if I could use one word to describe her it would be ENERGETIC. She goes off of way less sleep than I feel like any toddler should because she is so worried about missing out on any fun, and loves being able to spend as much time as possible with her friends and cousins. Along with Daniel Tiger's Trolley she also loves dancing, singing, building towers out of blocks, swimming, playing outside with her soccer ball or on the playground, and being my little helper in everything from cleaning to cooking/baking to taking care of Ashton. She LOVES being a big sister to Ashton and we always have to watch the two of them closely because her affection for him can sometimes be a little overwhelming haha. She is fiercely independent which can sometimes be infuriating but also makes me silently proud because I just know that she will do so well with whatever she sets her mind to. We finally tackled potty training, and I can 100% say that after going through it twice with her am a huge advocate of waiting until a kiddo is older and truly ready to be a big kid with the potty - once she decided she was ready she literally caught on within a day and a half and has done really well with it since! She is creative and caring, and amazes me everyday with how intuitive she is, especially with the emotions of those around her. She can be so wild and crazy and exhausting, but loves SO big and has such a pure, kind soul. I see her and everyday feel so much gratitude because I know that when she came into this earth on that Saturday morning three years ago, that she was exactly the burst of sunshine that Kyle and I needed in our family. She has grown and learned so much, and even though I want to keep her little forever, I can't help but admit that I so much love watching her bloom into her own person and can't wait to see how her own personal creation continues.
Happy Birthday to our sweet Emery girl, we love you more than you'll ever know!!
A big thanks to my sweet family for letting us take over their house (for the last month+ but also for the party) and especially to my sweet mom for helping me put it all together, and then of course thanks so much to all of our family and friends near and far that help our Emery girl feel special and loved every day! Also, because I know no one will notice unless I point it out (probably because I'm the only weirdo that cares about these details) as one last ode to Daniel Tiger for the party, I had the four of us dress in the same colors as the main characters in the show: blue for O the Owl, green for Katerina Kitty Cat, white button-up for our little Prince Wednesday (we didn't have any purple), and of course red for our sweet Daniel Tiger.
weight & height: About 16.5 pounds and 27 inches long. eating & sleeping: Eating for almost the first time is going really well, we finally found a formula that doesn't seem to upset your tummy, and even though you still spit up a bit more than the average baby are back to being our happy babe during meal times! With sleep you do really well and go about 10 ish hour stretches at night, but switching over to Utah time has thrown you off a little bit, making it so that you've made an odd habit of waking up consistently between 5:30 and 6AM every morning, but then falling right back asleep the second you're cuddled into mommy's spot on the bed. We can't really figure out why it's become a habit, but since the overall stretch of sleep is good we're not complaining too much about it! exciting firsts/milestones: This past month has been a big one for you containing a lot of firsts, some of which some kiddos probably don't experience until they're much older but such is life I suppose! This past month along with your first ever cross-country move had the chance to have your first ever plane ride as we said good-bye to Louisville and moved to Utah before heading up to Oregon. Since getting to Utah, you've also had your first haircut (you still have that sweet little fohawk, we just trimmed the top to even it up a bit), and met two of your three living great-grandparents along with aunts, uncles, and cousins. things I love: Your curious personality has really shined through this past month, and that means that you love being upright and held outwards so that you can see all of the things happening around you. You've discovered your feet this past month as well and constantly have a hold on them. You still love people, attention, and funny noises, and Emery along with Nan can always get you to smile and laugh, and luckily for mama you still LOVE being cuddled, and your favorite place to nap is right on mommy's chest with a fistful of my hair in your hand. things I don't enjoy so much: As you've gotten older we've noticed that you have a bit of the same fomo as big sister, making it so that if you feel like you're being left out of the fun or are too far away from a party of people you'll make it known that you want to be in where all the fun is at! We also learned once getting to Utah that you don't like to be the least bit cool or cold while sleeping, and adding a sleep-sack to your bedtime routine has been a must to help you sleep comfortably in Nan & Papa's usually cool basement. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: Life this past month has been nothing short of crazy since we're all technically homeless and living out of suitcases and amongst grandparents and a constant flow of cousins (bless Nan & Papa for basically having a real-life "Full House" situation currently 😂), but to try and counteract the craziness we've tried really hard to keep as much of a "regular" routine for you, Emery, and ourselves as possible. Obviously because of our circumstances it doesn't always work out as planned, but we're hoping that by trying to keep things in somewhat of a regular flow that it will help the overall transition from Kentucky to Utah and eventually to Oregon go a little bit smoother for everyone, and allow us all to find a little bit of calm in what can sometimes feel like a constant stream of chaos.
You know that song "SCHOOOOOL'S OUT FOR THE SUMMER!"? Well that's our life now, except for that for literally the first time in our lives (yes, even married life) school is out for FOREVVVVERRRR!! On May 11th 2019 Kyle graduated from University of Louisville School of Dentistry and officially (finally) became Dr. Kyle Michael Pett, D.M.D. Life since then has been a whirlwind of events between saying good bye to Louisville and our friends there and moving out to Utah to prepare for our new lives in Oregon, but I wanted to make sure that all of the pictures from graduation and a few thoughts from the day were documented here so that we can remember the day despite how crazy life has been (and I'm sure will continue to be) since.
The whole week leading up to graduation was filled with fun events to celebrate all of the soon-to-be graduates, and I'm so glad that they had those events because actual graduation day was SO busy and chaotic and it was near impossible to see all of the people and friends that we wanted to, so it was nice being able to see them the week before and wish them all well before graduation craziness hit and we all went our separate ways! There was a fancy senior dinner & dance that Kyle and I had planned on attending but missed thanks to a puking toddler (talk about timing... but still thanking the heavens above that she wasn't sick on actual graduation or moving day), but we were able to still make it to the senior brunch that was thrown the morning before graduation, and thanks to the mother of our sweet amazing friends watching Em & Ashton for us were able to attend it baby free! During the brunch they had a little awards ceremony and it was so fun to see several of the students that we know personally receive the special recognition! It was during the brunch that I got hit with a huge wave of nostalgia and really just appreciated that we (and especially Kyle) have had soooo many amazing people to go through this journey with. Now that it's over I can openly admit that there are times that dental school is really freaking hard and just plain sucks, but having great people to go through the experience along side you and understand your same struggles and frustrations literally makes a world of difference. If there's anyone out there reading this that Kyle and/or I have met throughout the past four years of dental school, know that we are so grateful for you and your friendship! We will never forget the amazing people that we've come to know and love through this experience!! ❤️❤️❤️
Once the big day of actual graduation was upon us, things moved so quickly that I honestly had a hard time capturing as many mental or pictorial details of the day as I wanted to, so me trying to scrape my memory for some of the highlights will have to do. The ceremony was held in a gorgeous old theatre in downtown Louisville; by the time we made it to the theatre it was already pretty filled up with supporting friends and family of the grads, but we were still able to get a seat up in the balcony which ended up giving us a really great view of the stage and was a bit less crowded which ended up being perfect for the sake of our kids not causing a scene. Thanks to Kyle's parents helping to keep Emery & Ashton entertained I was able to actually watch most of the ceremony which was greatly appreciated. During the actual procession of the graduates, they announced each students name as "Doctor" so and so, and then officially got "hooded" as a dentist by either a professor of theirs or by a dentist family member. Kyle was hooded by his two "group leader" professors that have helped to guide and mentor him through his past two years of clinical work, and it was so neat seeing him be hooded by dentists that I know have had such a big positive impact on his life and his progression as a dentist. I kept having so many flashbacks to the school's white coat ceremony that started this whole journey, and couldn't help but feel emotional and just so dang proud and excited for each new doctor that crossed the stage. The weight of that purple velvet hood suddenly felt so much more real, and it really dawned on us that this is real life now. No more school, just a giant degree and a new official title that all of these students have been working so hard to earn.
I brought my camera to the graduation but because of the chaos didn't really get a chance to use it much to get any pictures (the above pictures of Kyle were taken graciously by my girlfriend sitting close to the stage) and even though I'm so stinking sad that we weren't able to really get any "quality" pictures at the event, I'm still glad that we were able to snag a few quick iPhone pictures with family and a few friends that we ran into outside once the ceremony was done. There are SO many people missing from these pictures that I wish were here, but once again just know that even the not pictured are still so so special and appreciated!
I can't even count how many times I've cried over this journey being finished and having to say goodbye to Louisville and so many people that we love so dearly (I blame post-baby hormones) but being able to see Kyle accomplish the dream and goal that he's been working towards since before I even met him is such a special experience that I will forever cherish. I remember when Kyle and I were still newly(ish) dating, he was talking to me about dental school and all of his plans with it (at this point he hadn't taken the DAT or applied yet) and told me that one of his aunt's (who happens to be married to a dentist) told him that whomever he married would have to be insanely selfless and supportive because dental school was extremely challenging. I don't know how well I've always lived up to that role, but do feel so incredibly grateful that Kyle trusted me enough back then to let me join him on this crazy dental school journey. We have both grown so much since then, and I am SO proud of Kyle, grateful for the experiences that dental school gave to us both, and am crazy excited for all of the adventures ahead.
Cheers to Kyle and to all of ULSD's Class of 2019, YOU DID IT!
weight & height: About 15 pounds and 25.5 inches long. You're in the 80th percentile for weight and the 98th for height and everywhere we go people comment about how long you are! eating & sleeping: Eating is still going pretty well; we are still in the process of trying to fix some reflux issues but otherwise are doing fine. This past month you decided to finally start giving us longer stretches of sleep as well, and we've found that if we sleep feed you around 11PM at night that you'll sleep until about 8 the next morning! These longer sleep stretches came at the perfect time for our family and we're happy to have them! exciting firsts/milestones: We'd honestly probably consider sleeping through the night to be one of your most exciting milestones so far, but along with that you've also had the chance this past month to be part of some pretty big events! Daddy graduated dental school on the same day of your three-month milestone (May 11th), so we got to celebrate by going to Dad's graduation, and spent the week leading up to it exploring and doing all of our favorite Louisville things. Your Poppy & Grammy Pett came out to Louisville for graduation as well, so you also got to finally meet them in person. things I love: You still love Jack Johnson's music to fall asleep to, and LOVE being able to be held upright so that you can see the world around you. You've recently discovered your hands and love using them to grab at things, and they also have become your favorite thing to chew/suck on when you're trying to settle down. You've also become quite the little social bug, and if anyone gives you one-on-one attention you become all smiles and giggles, especially with Mommy, Daddy, and Emery! things I don't enjoy so much: Right now pretty much the only thing that causes you any sort of grief is that dang reflux, but besides that you are such a calm and happy baby! We're really hoping to be able to resolve the reflux soon so that we can have our always happy baby as much as possible! mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: This past month of life has been EXTREMELY busy for our family as we've gotten ready for Dad to graduate and have prepared to move away from Louisville, and between the business of Dad finishing up school, trying to pack, and of course keep you and Em happy and taken care of, things at times have felt a little more stressful than they usually would. Between all of the madness, we have really valued taking as much quality family time together with ourselves and friends as we've been able to do. We've made an active effort to fit in a lot of fun activities before moving from Louisville, and have felt like the quality time that we've gotten in together has been so good for all of us because it helps us remember that no matter how crazy or busy life gets around us, that if we make time for each other that things will always turn out as they should and the crazy parts don't seem as bad. You and Em are our constant sources of sunshine, and we're so grateful to have you both to get us through the toughest of life's storms! 🔆❤️
weight & height: 14 lbs 4 oz and 24.72 inches long. You're in the 90th percentile for weight and are off the charts for height, and have everyone that sees you verifying that you've got a tall Dad that you got your genes from. 😂 eating & sleeping: You are still eating really well and typically every 3-4 hours in the day and then once at night. A few times you've teased mom and dad with an 8 hour stretch of sleep and one time even did it from midnight to 8AM so that there was no middle of the night feeding, but so far it hasn't become a regular habit. We'll still appreciate and take the little bit of extra sleep whenever you feel like offering it though! exciting firsts/milestones: This past month you've really found your voice and we absolutely love when you use it! You're a bit more reserved than Emery was with your smiles and laughs, but will almost always light up and give plenty of giggles and babbles to mommy or daddy when we get some one on one time with you, and sometimes even just while by yourself, making mama wonder what funny thoughts are running through your brain and making you giggle that sweet little laugh. things I love: From what we can tell you're becoming quite the little mama's boy (and I LOVE IT). You LOVE being held and cuddled, especially by mommy, and will usually take at least one of your naps in the wrap or baby carrier on my chest. You also love going for walks outside in the stroller, and your curiosity and ability to lock focus on things (usually bright colors or Emery) have stayed strong. We've also discovered that you have a preference to Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, and the Beatles as far as music goes, and if you're ever having a hard time settling down to sleep playing one of those playlists + some cuddles with mama always seems to do the trick. things I don't enjoy so much: This past month we've struggled with a little bit of reflux while eating, and while we've tried to work through it it's made us sad to see your obvious discomfort and distaste when the reflux hits in the middle of a mealtime. You also don't love having to wait too long to be fed when you're hungry, and that's literally the only time that you'll ever really cry loudly. Besides that you are SUCH an easy going and happy baby and we love you for it! mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: This month's learning lesson for mom and dad has been all about BALANCE. It's been a pretty crazy month for our family between dad having to take his regional dental boards, preparing to move in less than a month, and dealing with a few other wild/unexpected events. With everything going on dad and I have been going on much less sleep and self-care than what's considered normal or healthy, and have noticed a difference in our ability to keep things running smoothly around the house. You and Em are always our #1 priority, but we've also learned this past month that doing little things to make sure that we're taking care of ourselves too (aka getting enough sleep, showering, etc) makes it so much easier to have the strength needed to be able to properly keep up with you and Em and give you both all of the love and attention that you both deserve and need. This usually means that other things like laundry and packing our house are taking a bit longer than they otherwise would, but we're totally ok with that if it makes for happier parents, kiddos, and an overall more peaceful family unit.
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.