With how much has happened in the world in such an insanely short amount of time, it almost feels strange to be writing this blog post because this trip already feels like it happened a million years ago. Now we're a few solid days into "social distancing" and the entire city of San Francisco is in lockdown to help prevent any further spreading of the coronavirus, and even though there's a part of me that hates that this stupid virus is consuming so much of society at the moment that I can't even help but include mention of it in this post, there's a part of me that also thinks that once we are all able to get past this, that we'll be glad for the documentation that we have of it to share with our future generations. Also, apologies in advance for this post most likely being a jumbled up back and forth between documenting our trip and getting all of my feelings about COVID-19. This blog has in so many ways become a way to journal our family life, and sometimes that means that it's a little messy because life isn't always perfect! At the moment, I'm mostly just feeling really grateful that the timing worked out the way that it did so that we could take this little trip and show our kids one of our favorite cities. Kyle had decided to take a week off of March coincidentally exactly a week before the world went crazy, and it was SO nice to be able to have that quality time together as a family and the feel-goods from our little "spring break" to hold onto once the chaos officially hit the west coast and PNW.
Because of early COVID rumors and also partially because San Francisco is an insanely expensive city when it comes to any sort of real estate, we decided to stay outside of the city in a darling little Airbnb in Bodega Bay, and it was so nice to be able to have our days to adventure like crazy and see everything we wanted to see, but had our mornings and nights to enjoy peace and quiet in a sweet little beach cottage (at least as much quiet as you can with two young kids 😆) and soak in the ocean waves and gorgeous scenery. While we were in the city, Kyle and I had a blast going overboard on the sight seeing and trying to find as many different big movie/tv show filming locations, and took ourselves and our kids to the Painted Ladies, the "Full House" house, the "Mrs. Doubtfire" house, and the old schoolhouse and other filming locations in Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" was filmed. Our kids had no idea what we were geeking out over but loved being outside walking all day, and we had a blast seeing all of the sights and then trying to show Emery old Full House episodes and Mrs. Doubtfire so that she could better appreciate what we were trying to share with her.
The weather was literally the most perfect spring weather that I think we ever could've asked for, and it made all of our running around the city, the pier, and walking the Golden Gate Bridge just that much more enjoyable! I honestly love the city so much and told Kyle if he ever wanted to consider moving there it'd probably be the only place that could take me away from Southern Oregon, but Kyle said no because it was way to expensive to live there - after looking up a few rentals/houses for sale and preschool tuition and then picking my jaw up off of the floor after seeing the costs I totally agree and will stick with Oregon, but do love visiting and already want to go back again once things in the world have settled down and travel is once again safe!
Another favorite part of this trip was that it gave us the chance to visit Kyle's sweet 95-year old grandmother and the surrounding Sonoma County areas that we love (think gorgeous wine country and darling historical shops). We got to spend an entire afternoon with Kyle's grandma and some of his extended family, and it made our hearts so full being able to see our kids interact with his grandma and see that sweet connection between generations. Kyle's grandmother is such an amazing woman that we all really love and cherish, and we love being able to take any chance we can to see her so that hopefully down the road at least Emery will be able to have some sort of memory of her great-great grandma and can know and love her as much as we do! If there's anything that this world pandemic has reminded me of, it's to really try to make sure that we are living each day with love, peace, and intention. I'm certainly not grateful for the virus itself and will be glad to see it behind us, but am really grateful for the time and reminder that it's given us to call and catch up with family and friends that we haven't chatted with in a while, checking in with friends through messages, and finding new ways to connect and bond with each other as our own little family unit while we're all at home.
This was our first overnight trip with both of our kids as a family of four (outside of visiting family in Utah) and it kills me that it took us this long to finally make it happen, especially now that we have no idea when we'll be able to do it again haha. I feel like when Kyle was in dental school we traveled basically whenever we had the chance (aka whenever Kyle had a break from school and wasn't also immensely stressed out about studying for tests, etc coming up after said break), but between graduating and moving and working to get settled into our new life the thought of traveling anywhere outside of family visits or a day trip to the beach just got away from us. It was once again just a great reminder to be intentional with our time and to make time for these adventures and for each other, because at the end of the day and above everything else, that time we have with each other will always be the most important thing. ❤️
Our thoughts are with everyone currently struggling or feeling scared during these crazy, COVID consumed times. My hope for all of this is that it allows for humanity to rise as a whole, to put people over profits, to be willing to sacrifice together for a short period through social distancing for the sake of a bigger picture, to help those especially in need, and that we're all able to grow and move forward from this experience with a greater love and gratitude for the wonderful people, life, and world that we have to live in. Sending peace and love to you all.
If I'm being completely honest, Ashton's first birthday totally snuck up on me, and a week later I'm still trying to decide whether or not that was a good thing. I super over planned Em's first birthday (like several months in advance) and because of that dealt with a ridiculous amount of mama emotions leading up to the day because my baby growing older consumed my thoughts 95% of the time. This time around between being so busy with the holidays, family visits, and you know - life with two kids (#secondchildproblems maybe?) I didn't even start thinking about Ashton's actual party until a couple of weeks before. This saved me a decent amount of tears leading up to the actual day, but since he's officially hit his year mark I've still had plenty of emotional moments about his growing up making me think that it doesn't matter much whether or not I plan my kid's parties six months in advance or six days, I'll still be an emotional mess when it happens because that's just the type of blubbering, mushy person that I am.
For the party I decided to keep things simple and loosely theme it around balls because they're one of Ashton's favorite toys to play with. We had a few close friends over for lunch, treats, and of course plenty of balls and balloons for all the kids to play with and enjoy! The highlight of the party were definitely the adorable personalized sugar cookies that my sweet friend Caley from Sweetly Painted Cookies made for the party, she sent over the most darling "ball" sugar cookies that were perfect for theme I was going for, and also made me wish that I was better at making/decorating cakes so that Ash's smash cake looked less shabby next to her incredible talent (notice the close up picture of the cookie but purposefully no close up shot of the cake). 😂 I wish that I lived closer to her so that I could hire myself as her officially cookie taste-tester because I love them so much, and would highly recommend that anyone in the southern California area reach out to her and get her amazing cookies for your next event! Thanks so much again for the cookies Caley, your talent with painting and baking is incredible!
Despite my lack of cake decorating skills, Ashton still loved his cake and digging into it with his fingers and hands, and even kept trying to crawl back to the spilled cake on the floor once he was out of his highchair before I'd had a chance to clean up the mess. 😂 This age with Ash has been SO fun, he's really come into his own spirited personality lately and I don't think a single day goes by where he hasn't made me laugh or snapped me out of a frustrated funk with just his smile. He's recently found his voice, and does the cutest imitations of sounds he hears us make through talking or reading books. He hasn't started walking on his own yet, but literally climbs every surface that he can to terrifying heights. Emery is still his favorite person to play and laugh with, and I'm still (thankfully) his favorite to cuddle up with when he's tired or sad. He gives the best hugs but will smack you away if you ask for a kiss, and has made getting into mischief an olympic sport that he excels at. With how crazy busy this past year has been in so many aspects of our lives I've been having a really hard time saying "goodbye" to Ashton's baby years because I feel like I unintentionally let so many moments slip through my fingers in the chaos, but also feel SO grateful for all of the little moments and memories that Ashton has brought into our family, and can't wait to watch him grow and hold onto all of the sweet moments that are sure to come. 💙
Also on a completely unrelated side note and mostly for myself when I look back on his birthday pictures, the day of Ashton's party was probably one of the gloomiest, rainy, stereotypical Oregon winter days that I think we've seen since moving here, making it so that me getting any pictures that were actually bright and not grainy was impossible. I'm obviously still sour about it, but am trying to be optimistic about it and remind myself that once upon a time grainy pictures were all we had to document anything and that years from now it won't matter as much and I'll be grateful for at least some sort of documentation of Ash's big day. But seriously, thanks a lot for the crummy weathered day Oregon, and you're lucky you're such a beautiful state with a perfect climate to live in to make up for messing with my photo perfectionism.
Happiest of first birthdays to our sweet little sunshine boy!
We love everything you are and everything that you bring to our family.
Of all the blog posts I write, these yearly recaps by far take the longest to put together. Going through all of our memories from the year makes me SO nostalgic and emotional and grateful for everything that has happened to our family over the past 12 months, and narrowing down our year to a "top 10" always proves to be a challenge! Although I'm not really the type of person to start out a year with a theme or resolutions, it's interesting how when I go back to look at each of our years past, how each year has brought on some sort of small motto or word that's pretty well summed up how we each feel about the passing year, and while looking back on 2019 it was pretty easy to see that this year's "theme" was all about GROWTH. From individual growth to big family and life changes, all four of us have been able to grow in so many ways, and it's been so much fun seeing how all of those changes have brought us closer together as a family. I hope you'll all enjoy the walk down memory lane with me as we share some of our favorite moments of growth and memories in our 2019 year in review!
Pett Family Highlights 2019
1. Kyle officially became a D.M.D. in May when he graduated from ULSD, and after 8+ years of stress, hard work, and studying was able to say good-bye to the student life! When Kyle and I first started dating over seven years ago he was already deep into this journey and goal of his, so graduation has given me the chance to finally see Kyle in a non-school situation (spoiler alert - it's fantastic), and we are all SO proud of him and seeing all of his hard work finally pay off! Way to go Kyle and yay for no more school!!!
2. Chelsea had her second natural labor and along with Kyle and Emery welcomed our sweet baby Ashton into the world on February 11, 2019 at 11:01 AM (coincidentally the exact same time as his big sister). I still have a hard time believing that I'm lucky enough to be able to have two sweet babies now to keep me company throughout my days, and being able to watch Ashton grow through his first year, Emery grow into her role as a big sister, and seeing how Kyle and I have grown and adjusted to life as a family of four has definitely been my happiest highlight of the year. (For more pictures from Ashton's birth and his birth story click here)
3. Emery turned three in June, decided she was ready to be toilet trained, and started ballet class as her very first organized "out of the house" activity and LOVES it. She looks forward to ballet class every week, dances whenever she hears music, practices every day, and loves pretending that she's Angelina Ballerina, even to the point of speaking in a British accent while asking for something (think, "Mum, could I have a glass of water, please?") We also took her to see her first ballet this December to see the Nutcracker, and she can't wait until she's old enough to participate in it as well! (For more details from her birthday party, click here)
4. Ashton, aside from being born, has been the one to make the biggest leaps and bounds in physical development as babies often do! He came out as a big baby at 9 lbs 6 oz and 22 inches long with a head full of sandy blonde hair, and has stayed tall in the 99th percentile for height and the 90th for weight. He's grown teeth, learned to crawl, says Dada when he's happy and Mama when he's sad, hates sleeping in, and is one of the most mischievous, adventurous, and loving babies I've ever known. With his first birthday fast approaching, it already feels like he's always been with us, and every day I feel so grateful knowing that he was exactly the blue-eyed, blonde curly-haired addition that our family needed.
5. All of us traveled from east to west this spring with a cross-country move from Kentucky to Oregon (with a pit stop in Utah) once Kyle graduated from school and it was time to start life in the real world. We flew from Kentucky to Utah while a moving pod took all of our stuff out west for us, and then after a couple of months of living out of suitcases at my parents house and spending the summer with family drove up to Oregon to officially start our new lives in the PNW. We spent a lot of time swimming and playing outside, and on our way up to Oregon stopped by Crater Lake as a mini vacation to break up our drive. Our summer months seemed to drag on forever and fly by simultaneously, and were filled to the brim with the type of summer memories that you hope your kids will all talk about one day when they're older.
6. Kyle had the chance to finally start working as a full-time dentist after our endless summer of moving and loves the clinic he works at and all the ways that he's able to learn and grow clinically in the past several months of working. In Em's words, Kyle goes to work every day to "fix holes in people's teeth", and overall he's settled in well to a routine schedule of working in the day, spending time with me and the kids at night, and dedicating the weekends to quality time together as a family. He still loves to study dentistry and business in his free time (I guess after so many years of school the desire to learn never quite leaves you), but is able to do so in a much more flexible way that allows for lots of time for everything else good in life, and for quite possibly the first time in our marriage life is finally starting to feel a little more balanced.
7. Chelsea & Kyle decided that instead of just talking about how great date nights with just the two of us are, that we'd actually start taking them for ourselves as more of a regular thing. Since Kyle's graduation we've been able to go from about 4-5 date nights a year to about one night out a month, and finally got brave enough to hire a teenage babysitter to watch our kiddos for a few hours instead of only going out when we could work it out to have a family member or close adult friend watch the kiddos (this is what we'd been doing before and contributed greatly to the low number of dates per year). We still love our nightly routine of shows and treats after our kiddos are in bed, but have really enjoyed dedicating more time towards our marriage and reminding ourselves how fun a night "out on the town" can be.
8. Emery started her first official year of preschool, and since she loved our at home tot school from last year, we decided to keep things going strong this year with a preschool curriculum at home with just the two of us. The structure and routine is so good for both of us and Em has been soaking in all of the new information she's been learning like a sponge. She knows all of her upper and lowercase letters along with their sounds, can sound out some basic words on paper, write her own name, is learning how to write the rest of the letters, can count to 30, and randomly knows the names of the seven continents (though she will sometimes still try to claim that she lives in Africa 😂). Her love for learning, reading, and school runs deep and we hope it continues to grow!
9. Chelsea, Emery & Ashton basically became famous before moving away from Louisville when we got stopped at the Big Four Bridge in downtown Louisville with our group of dental school mama/baby friends to be interviewed by the local news station. The news station was trying to interview people to help get viewers excited for Thunder Over Louisville (the city's biggest airplane & firework show of the year done every April to kick off the Kentucky Derby Celebrations), and the news anchor apparently thought that a group of almost 20 moms and babies with strollers would make for an interesting enough addition to the story. 😂 Once the edits were all done our actual time on screen was really brief and it was on the late morning news that probably not very many people watch, but the experience was still a fun one and it'll be fun to tell our kids once they're older about that one time that they got to be on T.V. haha!
(To see our 3 seconds of local news fame, click here)
10. All four of us in lieu of traditional traveling vacations this year decided to instead take to exploring our new home state instead and made some past due visits to family and friends that live on the west coast. It's funny how months of nonstop moving around living out of a suitcase can make you crave the feeling of putting down roots, and we've really enjoyed finding ways to put down those roots in Oregon! We've explored orchards and vineyards, gone on lots of hikes, tried out the local coffee, bakeshops, and restaurants, and have found out that all of us conveniently have a deep love for the beach and ocean, and now within a decent drive of the coast found ourselves making almost weekly day trips there during the summer months. We've all adapted to living in Oregon even better than expected and are really excited to call southern Oregon our permanent home if we're able to make it happen in our long term plans. Within six and a half years of marriage, we've moved our family to a total of three states, four cities, and five different apartments/houses, and feel so grateful to have found somewhere that we love so much and can honestly say feels like home. ❤️
Happy New Year to all of our family and loved ones! Cheers to all of the wonderful memories and growth that 2019 has brought our way, and to the adventures that 2020 is sure to bring!
Surprise! This year I actually planned ahead enough to take cute Christmas pictures of the kids AND design and print out cards to send out to a few family and friends. I still managed to drop the ball somewhere and failed to get a cute enough family shot to include in said Christmas card, but since Emery and Ashton are the most photogenic members of our family anyways I figure this probably works just as well, right?! So to all of our friends and family reading this, a very Merry Christmas (and everything) from our whole family to you, even if Kyle and I are behind the scenes this time around. 😉
I don't know if it's the ages that our kids are at, or if it's that for the first time in our marriage we're having a holiday season without the stress of school, but this year has brought SO much fun when it comes to soaking in all of the fun family Christmas traditions! Since Thanksgiving we've been fully indulging in creating our own Hallmark Channel-worthy season complete with tree-decorating, cookie baking, gingerbread house making, Christmas movie watching, and visiting our favorite little towns for Christmas parades and to soak in all of the cute holiday window displays and decor! The only thing we haven't had is snow (which I'm considering a huge perk of moving to the PNW-rain lover over here!), but with any luck we'll get some while in Utah celebrating the holidays with family and Em will still get to fulfill her bucket list item of building a snowman while visiting Nan & Papa at Christmas. Em has been the most enthusiastic little Christmas elf when it comes to all of the celebrating, and Ashton has been fully indulging in his first Christmas duties by destroying the bottom branches of our Christmas tree any chance he gets. Both of the kids love Christmas books and music, and I've just been frantically trying to soak in as many of these memories of my kids enjoying the magic of the season and this sweet stage of life that they're currently in. We did our own little Christmas last weekend in Oregon and will spend the actual holiday in Utah with family, and feel so grateful that we have so many opportunities and loving family and friends to celebrate with.
A very Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family!
We hope that everyone has the best of holidays celebrating with those you love!
With Love: Kyle, Chelsea, Emery & Ashton
weight & height: 23.6 pounds and 31 inches long. You've already bumped yourself into 12-18 month clothes because you're so long and just keep growing! eating & sleeping: Your appetite has been HUGE lately and you've been loving your baby food meals and bottles. We're still working on getting comfortable with harder textured foods but are making progress every day! You've also just recently started sleeping in until a little after 7AM and we are crossing alllll of our fingers that you keep that up! exciting firsts/milestones: You gave mama your first intentional kiss this month, and although it only happened once I'm still soaking in all the feelings from it since you really only say my name when you're sad and reserve saying "dada" for when you're happy. You also had your first Thanksgiving this past month, and enjoyed trying the fresh sweet potatoes most! things I love: You're happiest when you're on the move and getting into mischief. You're obsessed with things like blinds and the one kitchen cupboard that holds our cleaning supplies, but also enjoy playing with toys like the play kitchen, balls, and toy cars. Emery is still your favorite person for the most part, unless she's trying to pull you away from something you're trying to get into. You also LOVE bath time, and your enthusiasm for it is definitely contagious! things I don't enjoy so much: Right now the thing that you continue to enjoy the least is being kept still when you just want to be up and moving. This continues to make things like getting dressed and diaper changes a challenge. You've also gotten to the point where you'll get mad and throw a monster sized fit at Em, me, or Dad if we've done something to upset you complete with a mad (but still adorable) face and very direct yells. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: I don't know if it's that we've just finally gotten worn down enough to care less about things that would've stressed us before or if we're actually learning something new, but this past month we've really learned to just go with the flow and to not stress it when things don't go according to how we'd originally planned them. That means that our floors no longer get swept every night and toys will sometimes be left out too, we're rarely ever on time to anything, and the monthly photo updates will not always be centered because *someone* just wanted to scale the chair and not sit still 😉, but as long as we're trying our best and teaching you and Em to be your best, kindest selves, that will always be the most important thing.
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.