Usually by this time in December, I've already put myself into such a holiday fun-frenzy that I've reached a point of Christmas excitement and preparation that's almost overwhelming, causing me to have to take a step back and remind myself to not get too pulled into all of the "hustle and bustle" of the season and focus in on what's really important. Also by this time in December, we're into Kyle's finals week at school, followed by a flight home to Utah to spend the holidays with our families and trying to fit as many traditions, dinner parties, and memories as we can into our holiday visit. This December though, things feel a little different. We're still into Kyle's finals at school, but this year there will be no rushing to the airport once he's finished to fly home to Utah. With how far along I am with baby brother, Kyle and I made the decision to stay at our home in Kentucky this Christmas and have our first holiday as a family of three.
Knowing that we'll only be seeing our families via FaceTime this year has me feeling ALL the emotions, and that combined with dang pregnancy hormones has me breaking down over all sorts of Christmas things that normally wouldn't phase me (ex: I was writing Christmas cards to send some of these pictures of Em to my mom & grandma and literally had to stop half way through because I started crying over not being able to just give them the pictures in person like I normally do.... I'm seriously a hormonal mess 😆). As sad as it makes me to be so far away from our families at Christmas time, Em's enthusiasm about everything Christmas this year has been the one consistent thing to help lift my own Christmas spirit when it's been a little dim. She is OBSESSED with our Christmas tree and plugs in the lights every single time she sees them not on, turns on Christmas music on my phone every morning by breakfast, loves candy canes and Christmas books/movies, and will randomly spread her arms wide and shout "MERRY CHRISTMAS MOM! MERRY CHRISTMAS DAD! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!" without any prompting on a fairly regular basis. She's basically turned into a little elf of constant Christmas cheer these past few weeks, and I know that if there was ever a year where staying home for Christmas would be ok because it means getting to start our own little traditions and really fully soak in all of Em's excitement for the holiday, this would be it. Since it'll also be her last Christmas as an only child, Kyle and I figured we'd indulge in her enthusiasm and work to make this one of the best Christmases she's had yet.
Usually my yearly version of this post includes some sort of reminder to keep focus on the things that matter most during the holiday season (2017 & 2016 posts here) because it's been a reminder that I've usually desperately needed. This has been the first year in a while that I haven't felt that crazy holiday pressure, and I can only attribute that to the fact that family has literally been the only thing I've been able to think about since the holidays started. In the past I've been so focused on all of the details and planning of the holiday, usually because I've always had to try to get all of our little KY Christmas things taken care of before leaving for Utah, and then once we are with family find us in a constant whirlwind of events between both immediate and extended family events on both sides. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that there's a part of me that loves the busyness (especially the family parties) just because that's how our Christmases have always been, but it has been extra special this year to be able to put more of a focus on showing those we love most that we care through whatever long-distance ways we can, and then the rest of the fun little "details" of Christmas have been spread throughout the month. Some days I still miss the busyness that comes from visiting family so bad that it hurts, but I am extremely grateful for the extra time to really be able to focus in on what matters most. This December has already put so much special holiday cheer into my heart, and I'm excited to see what the rest of the month brings. To our long distance friends and family reading, know that you're missed and loved like crazy (all the time really) but especially this Christmas. 🎄❤️
(photoshoot details for those curious) garland: trader joe's | em's pajama's: burt's bee's | em's bow: hello fleur co | teddy bear: build-a-bear | toddler santa hat: pottery barn kids (old) | santa mug: family gift/heirloom
Happy Halloween to all of our friends and family from your local beekeeper, beehive, and of course the cutest little bumblebee!! We hope that everyone has a fun holiday with plenty of fun tricks and especially treats!! We've been celebrating all month long and trying to soak in as many of our favorite Halloween Kentucky traditions including but not limited to visiting our favorite apple orchards and pumpkin patches, reading fun Halloween books, painting pumpkins (this was our first year bringing back this tradition since Em's been born and it was a BLAST!), going to Boo-at-the-Zoo, trick-or-treating in on of our favorite neighborhoods (a day early due to rain on the actual day), eating way more candy than we normally would, and tonight we're beating the crummy weather at an annual Halloween party with a few of our closer KY friends! Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays and it's been so much fun watching Emery grown and join in all of the excitement and celebrations with us! Her enthusiasm for the holiday just makes everything that we do to celebrate it that much more fun!!
This year was the first year that I haven't fully DIY-ed our family costumes, but it certainly wasn't by lack of trying. My mom dressed me up as a bumblebee one year for Halloween and I thought it'd be so fun and cute to have Em recreate the costume, but what I didn't account for was the fact that my mother has incredible sewing skills that I did NOT inherit.... after buying all of the fabric and supplies to make a suitable bumblebee, borrowing a sewing machine from a girlfriend (the fact that I had to borrow a machine should've been a giveaway to me that I was biting off more than I could chew but whatever) and spending a good few hours longer than I should have trying to sew some black stripes onto yellow fabric, I had created something that looked fairly cute BUT was only big enough to fit on your standard American Girl sized doll. I desperately/stubbornly tried squeezing Em into it to see if I could make it work and ended up with an upset toddler and a ruined attempt at a costume. Luckily I was able to find this adorable Pottery Barn Kids costume within a day of my original failure (gently used on Poshmark for an AMAZING deal), and it made up for my ridiculous attempt at self-taught sewing. Emery has LOVED wearing her bumblebee costume to our Halloween festivities, and since this costume is both warmer and cuter than what I'd originally hoped to create, I'm looking back at this as an "all's well that ends well" memory, and kept the details for mine and Kyle's costumes strictly no-sew and simple as possible for the sake of my own sanity. 😜
(a few more pictures of our little bumblebee because she's definitely the cutest in our party)
and.... That sums up our annual Halloween greeting! Normally I'd love to get into all the details about the rest of the DIY aspects of our costumes with you all, but pregnancy brain has already made this holiday month fly by way faster than I'd prefer, and I want to spend what's left of our Halloween fun feeling present in the moment with my favorite little bee-lovin' family.
We hope that everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!
Love - Kyle, Chelsea, Emery & Baby Boy Pett
So... the secret is officially out! Kyle and I are over-the-moon excited to announce that a sweet baby BOY will be joining our family come February 2019! Keeping our surprise quiet has been no easy task (mostly thanks to my belly popping out really early on) and we are so happy to finally have the news out in the open! We feel so blessed to be able to give Emery a younger sibling, and even though it might seem a bit crazy to some that this will put us having not just one but TWO babies while in dental school, we feel really fortunate to be able to have another baby with the same incredible doctor & hospital that delivered Em, as well as while still living in our amazing community of close friends out here in Kentucky! The timing of everything just feels so right, and we're so grateful that things have worked out the way that they have.
When we found out that we were expecting, Kyle and I both thought for sure that we were having another girl, so to find out that baby #2 was actually and indeed a boy was equal parts exciting and surprising!! Kyle is ecstatic about the thought of being less outnumbered by girls, and I'm already going crazy trying to clear out all of Em's old baby clothes so that I can start filling up the space with baby boy clothes instead. 😂 We were originally planning on doing a little gender reveal party with friends to announce the news, but ended up having to wait about a week and a half later than expected to get the results, so by the time we actually knew it was a boy were so antsy and excited that we ended up just telling our family and close friends that knew we were expecting the second we'd found out the news! Because at heart I actually am a planner, I'd bought these non-returnable smoke cannons before we knew the gender (or how impatient we'd be to announce it) but.... I didn't want the cannons to go to waste so we decided to still have some fun and snap a couple of pictures with them. Em was a little unsure of being in the colored smoke and I ended up burning my hand thanks to a faulty cannon, so I guess you could say that in the end it was a good thing we didn't use them in a full on party situation. Moral of the story: smoke cannons look really neat in photographs, but maybe aren't worth the hassle once all is said and done. 😆 If there's one thing that I've learned in these past 15-ish weeks of being pregnant with baby #2, it's that things are never going to go as expected and things will most likely be different than they were with Em's pregnancy journey and that is OK. Figuring out how to simplify is forever a challenge for me, but one that I'm trying to take in with open arms for the sake of making this pregnancy journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible!
Because everyone always asks, here are a few quick FAQ's and their answers for anyone curious as to how things have played out so far with our sweet little baby #2:
How did you tell Kyle, family, friends, etc? I found out that I was pregnant right before Father's Day weekend and was totally planning on waiting until the actual holiday to surprise Kyle, then soon realized that I was incapable of keeping a secret this big from my husband for more than 24 hours. I ended up making him open up his Father's Day present early and included the news in the gift! We told both of our families together while celebrating Em's birthday out in Utah with a "sister" t-shirt, and have been breaking the news to friends basically by me just awkwardly blurting out the news in the middle of random conversation.
When is the official due date?! I think that the official date is February 20th, but for the sake of my sanity I'm working hard to get that date out of my mind and expect to be due simply at the end of February. While pregnant with Em it helped a ton forgetting the actual due date to not get overly antsy/anxious when I went over the expected timeframe, and I'm planning on doing the same thing with this little guy to keep things easy!
How are you feeling? Physically I have felt really well which is something I'm SO grateful for. I dealt with the expected nausea/morning sickness at the beginning but ended up going through the worst of it while visiting family which was great because my parents are amazing and helped a TON to take care of me, Em and Kyle while I wasn't feeling well. I'm much more tired with this pregnancy than I was with Em, but that could be due to the fact that I spend all day everyday chasing around a crazy, high-energy toddler. 😉 Overall I feel just really lucky to be doing so well so that I can keep up with Emery and carry a healthy, growing baby.
Are you planning on a natural birth again? Yes absolutely. My birthing experience with Em to this day is one of the most beautiful and special experiences I've ever had in my life. I'm a strong believer in the ability of a woman's body to naturally birth her baby, as well as in all of the benefits that it provides to the baby (and mama) to birth naturally if possible. As long as baby boy is healthy and my doctor gives us the go ahead, we'll plan on a similar birth plan to Em's.
How has Emery reacted to the idea of a new baby? Em's reaction to her new baby brother has honestly been my favorite part of this pregnancy so far. I don't know if she's really caught on yet to the fact that she's getting a brother specifically, but she's always lifting up my shirt to check on her baby and will talk to him and give my belly kisses and hugs. 😍😭 I get a little emotional every time I think about our little world being more than just Emery, but with how excited and protective she's been over her baby already it makes me so excited to see how she'll be with her baby brother once he's on the outside!
A big thank you to our family and close friends that have already shown us SO much love and support with this new baby while we've been keeping quiet with the news. It makes my heart burst knowing that this baby boy is already loved by so many and we can't wait to meet him!
Summer is hands down my favorite season, and yet for some reason it also seems to be the season where life and time seriously just FLY by. When I find myself so completely immersed in the life and people around me, that time almost seems irrelevant until it's all gone and it's time for the next season of life to arrive. If I'm being honest, I LOVE our summers for that exact reason. It's so cleansing for the soul to be able to simply just BE, and to not have to worry about what's coming next or what's already passed. Nothing that's going on in the rest of the world seems to matter as much, because the joy found from the people right here with me is more than enough. ❤️ Because so much has passed since my last post and I use this blog a lot as a journal to help me keep track of what we've done, I'm breaking from my usual post format and am going to do my best to summarize our summer in a few shorter points, so that I can have enough of a reminder of all the fun adventures that summer 2018 brought our way.
1. We had the 4th of July (obviously). This year it was SO freaking hot and temperatures literally got up to 106 degrees, so although some of our usual traditions got shifted around a bit, we still had a ton of fun. The night before we went to our favorite town's fireworks, then on the actual holiday had a special breakfast with friends, went swimming, then later that afternoon went to a (short) Independence Day parade. Our original plan had included a BBQ or picnic after the parade, but to beat the heat we ended up doing pizza and milkshakes instead and then let the kiddos do sparklers that night once the sun had started to set. Em actually held her own sparkler this year and would ask for it to go "again" every time one would run out, and aside from my constant panicking of her getting burned ended a near perfect holiday!
2. We went to Utah for an entire MONTH. As part of Kyle's fourth year of dental school he was required to do a four-week externship at a dental office, and we figured why not use it as an opportunity to visit family and signed up for a clinic in Utah. We had the chance to celebrate Em's birthday with both of our families, went to the drive-in movies (Emery's first time and she stayed awake till the end like a champ), did some swimming, ate LOTS of Cafe Rio, and had tons of fun getting as much time in as we could with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents! Emery also did swimming lessons for her first time while we were out, and I was so proud of her by the end of the lessons at her ability to blow bubbles and go underwater without drowning or freaking out too much. We drove out there and back and even though I never want to do that drive again, it was a fun experience being able to road trip the country with my two favorite people. Also, a HUGE shoutout and thank you to my parents who not only let us crash with them for an entire month, but also made it so I literally didn't have to cook dinner, do dishes, or clean a bathroom for an entire month. We never realize how good kid life was until we're the ones having to adult and get a slight glimpse of what it would be like to go back. 😂
3. We got our family pictures done (in Utah) by the forever amazing Heidi Leigh Photography. Heidi is a dear friend of mine from dental school and did our maternity, newborn, and one year family/birthday pictures, all of which hold some of my all time favorite pictures and memories. Her husband graduated this past May and I was in near despair about her moving away and not being able to be our designated KY family photographer. I got extremely lucky when she decided to move back to Utah, and obviously had to snatch up the opportunity to have her do our pictures at least one more time while we were out visiting family. The overload of pictures on this post shows how obsessed I am with how they turned out (I'm literally still having to refrain from just posting all of them) and I absolutely love her ability to capture our little family as we are but just in a really dreamy, artistic way. Emery had fallen asleep on our way to the shoot and was SO grumpy and temperamental throughout the majority of the session, and Heidi worked through Em's toddler grumpiness to still produce soooo many beautiful images! For any of my Utah friends that need a photographer, you already know that Heidi has our vote!! Thank you so much again for the amazing pictures Heidi, you're the best!
4. Emery had a ridiculous growth spurt and is amazing Kyle and I everyday with the stuff she comes up with. Since her 2nd birthday at the end of June, she has started to actually willingly eat the food off of her plate (or at least negotiate what she will eat), ask for things in complete sentences (think "mama, can I hab a bobsicle....peaze?"), will occasionally pick up her own toys without persuasion tactics, and just seems so much more aware of the people and things happening around her. Shortly after arriving in Utah, the stress of trying to get settled in/unpacked combined with still not catching up on sleep after the 24 hour straight through drive took it's toll on me an I ended up breaking down in an ugly-cry puddle of tears. Em happened to be the only one home with me at the time, and the moment she noticed my tears came up to me concerned saying, "Mama, you cryin? Wha happen?", and then proceeded to offer me water, her blanket, kisses, and everything else she could think of until my stress cry turned to an all-the-feels cry, then finally turned into laughter over her sweet attempts to help me feel better. It's moments like these that remind me as a parent that despite the occasional (or somewhat constant) craziness of life, that things generally are always going to turn out ok.
5. Kyle and I had our FIVE year wedding anniversary on August 3rd, and because we were lucky enough for the date to fall during the same time as our Utah stay, had the chance to celebrate it by having our very first ever baby-free overnight celebration. I was SO excited for Kyle and I to finally have the chance to get some time away with just the two of us (and honestly to be able to sleep/wake up on our own timeframe instead of Em's 😂) but was surprised at how hard a time I had actually leaving her with my parents when it came time to leave. When we went to kiss Emery goodbye she immediately started crying and asking to come (that girl has the worst FOMO I've ever seen), and thinking of how she's come with us on literally every trip and adventure we've had sent me over the edge, forcing poor Kyle to listen to me blubber and cry for a good 30 minutes into the drive about how much I was going to miss her but was still so excited. Once the excited was able to overcome my sadness over leaving Em behind though, I was so amazed at how much Kyle and I needed that time together with just the two of us. We spent the weekend in Park City, Utah, and realized about three hours into our trip that we were subconsciously rushing through all of our planned activities and locations because we're both so used to working around a toddler's somewhat ticking-time bomb schedule. We had to actively work to make that switch in our minds to just take things slow and enjoy each moment, and once we did found ourselves able to so much more fully soak in all of the fun and good times exploring the city, eating dinner, shopping, walking, and even eating ice cream at a nice enjoyable pace. As our little getaway was coming to a close, I couldn't help but just feel so incredibly grateful for everything that these past five years have brought to our lives. We started our journey with just the two of us during Kyle's undergrad in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with lots of dreams, plans, and goals for ourselves and each other, and now in what seems like the blink of an eye we're just a year away from Kyle finishing his dental school journey, and have had our family grow bringing us so much more joy and adventure than we could've experienced with just the two of us. I absolutely love everything about the life that Kyle and I have created together so far, and it just makes me feel even more hopeful for everything that our future holds in store. Cheers to this adventure and everything that's ahead.
Since having a baby I feel like our lives have been moving in fast forward, and I swear it wasn't that long ago that Kyle and I were at the hospital coming to the realization that we were about to meet our baby girl that we had waited so long for. Yet here we are, now with an extremely energetic, talking, running and giggling TWO year old, scratching our heads wondering how time went by this quickly, but still loving the new stages and adventures that having a toddler brings. Last year while planning Emery's 1st birthday party, I worked feverishly months in advance anticipating the day, making my mama heart feel allllll the emotions of my baby turning one for probably a lot longer than necessary. This year, I forced myself to hold off on planning her party until the actual month of, and even though it did help tone down the crazy on my party planning addiction, the mama feels still came and I was still a huge cry baby leading up to Em's big day blubbering to Kyle about how much she's grown. Turns out that no matter what I do I'm still bound to turn to mush when my child's birthday gets close enough. 😆
tablecloths + ribbon (garland): hobby lobby | chalkboard: home depot | toy planes + amelia earhart book: amazon
cake stands + wooden "E": target | small wood planes: amazon | larger wooden plane: local NJ craft/art fair
For Emery's birthdays I decided last year that I always wanted her parties to be focused on something that she really enjoys, and this year that thing happened to be airplanes! I don't know if it's been the fairly constant airplane rides to visit family throughout her life or just one of those random toddler interests, but Emery is OBSESSED with all things airplane related. While finding it near impossible to find her shoes sitting two feet away from her when we're trying to leave the house, she'll spot an airplane 20,000 feet up without any problem, and always with an adorable amount of excitement (think Em's little voice squealing "air-pane!!!!" and then "anoder one!!! about 20 times a day) 😉. While visiting our aunt in New Jersey in May I'd found Emery an adorable little handmade wooden airplane toy at a local craft fair, and that combined with the constant notification of airplanes in the sky sparked the idea for an airplane themed party. It turned out that finding airplane themed things for a party that weren't obviously meant for a boy was a little tricky, but I managed to find a few cute airplanes that were natural wood, then just added in little pops of more girly colors on the propeller/wheels, and then brought in more color into the rest of the decor with the plates, napkins, banner, cake toppers, etc.
While planning the party I wanted to try really hard to keep things simplified (a genuine task for me sometimes... or all the time) and to make sure that everything was really toddler friendly for Emery and all of her friends to enjoy. Last year I had done her party at a local splash pad, and although it was fun, the splash pad was PACKED with people and having to drive there brought up a lot of unexpected hurdles that added unnecessary stress to the day. This year we did the party in one of the local picnic areas of our apartment complex so there was no driving required, and we kept all of the food really simple & toddler approved with popsicles, powdered "cloud" doughnuts, mini bottled water, and of course birthday cake! I also found these adorable little pull-back airplanes for the kids to play with, and after laying down my giant chalkboard on one of the picnic tables and drawing a few runway lines, the kids had a blast flying the planes all over the table setup as well as running around with them throughout the picnic area. It was so much fun watching the kiddos all play together, and I really appreciated the change of pace by keeping things a little more quiet and close to home for the sake of simplicity.
Also, I need to give a HUGE shout out and thank you to my girlfriend Kami for offering to make Emery's birthday cake for me. Leading up to the party the only aspect of planning her party that was really stressing me out was the idea of trying to make an actual free standing birthday cake, and Kami literally just took all of that stress off of my shoulders and made the most beautiful and tasty cake for Em's party! I was able to stick to my craft-loving self and made all of the little toppers to go in her cake, and then Kami took care of the rest so that the toppers would actually have a cake to go in! 😉 I feel so lucky to have so many talented girlfriends close by to help with fun things like this, there's no way I'd be able to survive out here in Kentucky without all of them! Thanks a million and a million again Kami! You're the best!
As hard as it is to watch my baby grow up, the whole birthday experience with Emery this year has been SO much fun! Emery actually knew this year that her birthday was something special and it made everything more exciting! She spent the whole day saying "Happy Berfday Emery!", got SO excited opening all of her cards & birthday messages from family back home, and was grinning from ear to ear throughout her whole party, asking to blow her candles out on her cake again after we'd sung to her. 😂 All the hugs, kisses, and thank you's to all of our family back home and all of our sweet friends here that made Emery's birthday so special! We love you all dearly! Here's to the toddler two's and all of the adventures this year will bring!
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.