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
How far along? 24 Weeks 4 Days (in the picture) Maternity Clothes? The answer to this question should be just a straight yes, but I hit an unexpected roadblock when the season changed to autumn and I realized that aside from jeans, the majority of my maternity clothes were meant for warmer weather since I was my biggest with Em in the spring and summer. The idea of fitting into any pants that are non-maternity is a joke at this point, but I'm still trying to be as creative as possible with a few of my looser sweaters and long sleeve non-maternity shirts to stretch out my wardrobe for a little bit longer until I'm confined to wearing the three maternity sweaters I do have that actually fit on repeat. Sleep? For some reason sleep has been a ridiculous challenge for me during this pregnancy, to the point where I had to start taking a nightly sleep aide (suggested by my OB) for the sake of getting any sleep at all because I was struggling with nightly insomnia. I've honestly had a bit of a hard time not getting discouraged with the sleep issues because I hate feeling so tired during the day with Emery and I feel like the constant bags/dark circles under my eyes have robbed me of feeling any sort of pregnancy "glow" this time around, but I'm continuing to try and do everything that I can to get as much and as quality of sleep as possible (think yoga, meditation, chamomile tea + the sleep aide, early bedtime, etc) so that my body can continue to support this growing babe. Food Cravings? ALL the sweet things. I'd also had a specific craving for cinnamon sugar pita chips for AGES and was getting super discouraged because I couldn't find any in our local grocery stores until a few weeks ago when Kyle basically won husband of the year and found some for me, and has continued to shine by basically cleaning out the store of them whenever he happens to see them on the shelves. Queasy's? Not anymore which I am EXTREMELY grateful for. I still have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell that can pick out specific scents from a mile away, but any crazy, unexplained nausea has long since passed. Current Pregnancy Project? I'm including this in because while looking back at Em's bump updates I basically kept myself busy with prepping for Emery in every possible way from about week 17 on and it cracks me up because now if I wanted to do any fun little projects like that I honestly don't know when I'd fit them in unless I did them late at night but that would involve sacrificing sleep so.... yeah. No baby specific projects currently. I did find a baby book for him that I LOVE and want to start filling out, so maybe if I can figure out how to keep my head on straight while chasing around a crazy toddler I can make some time to actually get that started. Best pregnancy moment so far? Thus far, our best pregnancy moment has actually resulted from what was originally one of the toughest trials I've faced while pregnant. While pregnant with Em, my favorite prenatal appointment was hands down her 20 week ultrasound, and as my 20 week appointment with baby boy approached I could not wait to share in the excitement of seeing him move around on the screen with Kyle & Emery. Our ultrasound went as planned, and aside from not being able to get a great face shot, everything seemed normal. However, when we met with my OB after the ultrasound she explained to Kyle and I that although baby boy was anatomically perfect and growing well, that I appeared to have something called Placenta Previa (for those like me that had no idea what this is, basically my placenta was covering my cervix - aka the baby's way out). My doctor said that she had hopes of the placenta moving up to a normal position, but that if it didn't that it would mean planning for a c-section about a month earlier than my original due date to prevent me from going into any sort of labor on my own. We scheduled another follow up ultrasound for 24 weeks, and I left the appointment with a fistful of tissues and a heart heavy with worry and anxiety over the thought of possibly having a premie baby in the dead of winter. Kyle and I decided to keep the news really close to home until we knew more, only telling my immediate family and one or two close girlfriends to help me mentally make it through the four-week waiting period. As much as I'd like to say that I was able to stay optimistic and keep my head clear of the stress of the situation, getting through the month of October was really hard for me. I worked to keep myself as distracted and busy as possible with Emery and Halloween preparations, but the worry was still constant in the back of my mind and took it's toll on my ability to sleep or fully relax and let myself just "be" in any sort of present moment. Our follow-up appointment happened to be on the 30th of October, and to our pleasant surprise we were told that the placenta had made some incredible movements in the past four weeks, and had put itself in such a good, normal-looking position that my doctor felt safe completely putting the Previa risks and scare to rest. For how discouraged I'd felt for the month leading up to the appointment, I can't even fully put into words how good it felt to hear that things had gone back to normal. It was like a hundred pound weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and it was so nice to be able to see my little baby boy kicking in the ultrasound and know that at least for now everything with him and me together is a-ok. We even got a few really good face shots of him to make up for his shyness at the 20 week appointment, and it was literally the perfect way to start our Halloween fun without the anxiety. Looking back at the situation I realize that I probably stressed way more than I should have, but it was also a really valuable lesson for me to be in a situation where I literally had no control over what was happening, and really could do nothing but wait and try to find peace within myself and those close to me until we had more information and could plan accordingly. Getting the news that the Previa had resolved was definitely the highlight of the pregnancy thus far (along with seeing cute baby's face), but I'm also really grateful for the gentle reminder that I was given to let things be, and for knowing that I have such an amazing support of family and friends to help me get there. ❤️
Whew, this post ended up being a LOT longer than I originally intended it to be, but in all fairness I feel like I was literally trying to fit what could've been two separate posts into one, so maybe that's where all the wordiness came from. 😉 To anyone that actually read all the way through, thanks so much for following along! Your love and support for baby boy and our family seriously mean the world to me, and we love and appreciate each and every one of you!
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.
(photo credit: photos by wendy g.)
Due to a sick toddler this past week, I've decided to officially throw out the first seven days of 2018 and start the New Year as of today. So to all of our friends and family out there reading this, Happy New Year! 😉 One of my favorite (albeit cliche) traditions around the New Year is to take a chance to reflect on some of our favorite moments from the past year. Last week when the rest of the world was reflecting, there was a "top nine" pictures going around the social media world that compiled a person's nine most "liked" images on Instagram into one collage for posting/sharing. I looked at my own personal "top nine", and although the memories all made me smile, I wouldn't consider them my absolute top favorite memories from the year. So in the words of another wise mama on Instagram, here's some of our real top memories from 2017, "likes be damned", because at the end of the day, they really have nothing to do with the level of joy that comes from the actual experience happening behind the picture. These are the memories that made us personally the happiest, and I hope that you'll all enjoy sharing them with us. ❤️ So without any further adieu, here's our -
Pett Family 2017 in Review
1. Kyle finished his hardest year of dental school yet, passed part one of his boards, and officially started working on real life human patients. He has worked SO hard to get to this point in his schooling, and now that he's here genuinely loves being able to work with all of his patients at school. He's officially on the "downhill" now with his schooling, and is loving the new experiences that it has to offer.
2. Chelsea made the official leap into being a full-time stay at home mom, which sadly meant having to say goodbye to the two sweet littles that I had been nannying for the past 2 1/2ish years. There are days that I miss the kiddos like crazy (I started watching them both just as tiny new babes) and I still follow their mama religiously on Instagram to see how they're growing, but I've been so grateful for the time that I've had to dedicate solely to Emery.
3. Emery grew leaps and bounds throughout the past year, and can put crawling, walking, running, jumping, talking, eating solid foods, growing enough hair to show in pictures, and breaking her first teeth (and several others) on her list of "firsts" that she's hit this year. She starts most of her mornings at 8 AM and doesn't stop moving until it's time for bed. Her energy levels are through the roof, and she's loved every second of her new found freedom through movement.
4. Kyle mastered the making of authentic Mexican tacos and horchata, and as a true lover of Mexican cuisine, has been really pleased with the results. So far he's made them for several of our friends and my family, and I'm sure will find a way to fit them into our regular meal plans.
5. Chelsea & Emery had the chance to visit family in Utah three times this year (Kyle twice), two of which were to celebrate my younger sister getting married and a new cousin being born on Kyle's side of the family. Throughout all of the visits we got to spend a lot of time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family, and as always were grateful that Emery is able to keep in good contact with her long distance family members.
6. All three of us took a chance to do some exploring around the east coast, and were able to cross Nashville (TN), Beaufort (SC), Biltmore (NC), and Savannah (GA) off of our list of places visited. We also all had the first of experiencing the Atlantic Ocean, and all agree that the warm ocean water is WAY better than any of the freezing cold Pacific that we'd seen before.
(To see the blog post with all of the pictures from our summer vacation click here)
7. Kyle & Chelsea came to the realization that baby free dates are an AMAZING thing, and have tried a lot harder to do baby sitting trades with close friends so that we could have some time to spend with each other without having to stop and deal with toddler control every 30 seconds. Because of school schedules/life it didn't happen quite as often as we'd set as a "goal", but we're still grateful for the time that we got.
8. Emery celebrated her first birthday this past June with a fruit/outdoor summer theme and since then has grown into quite the social butterfly. She LOVES all of her little baby friends back home, and sees them several times a week for playdates or errands with the mommies.
(For more pictures/details from her first birthday party, click here)
9. All three of us fully embraced the "poor dental school student" life, and had some fun with doing crazy things for free food. In April, we camped outside for just under 20 hours with friends to earn free pizza for a year from a pizza place down the street from our house (and yes I'm thoroughly sick of the pizza 8 months in 😝 ), and in July we all dressed up as cows for the sake of free Chick-fil-A.
10. All three of us more than ever have come to love and appreciate our sweet dental school community and group of friends. When times have gotten rough, it's so nice to know that we have an amazing group of friends to get through it together with. We play & explore together, cry together, and celebrate life's big events with each other, and even though I've said it before, I know that this group of amazing friends and people will be some that we'll love and appreciate long after dental school is over. ❤️
Cheers to 2018 and all of the adventures ahead.
We can't wait to see what this new year has in store for us!
Another year, another December, and yet another holiday card being sent out blog style because I procrastinated making them until a few days before Christmas. 😉 I feel like this month and year have seriously flown by, and if there's one thing I've learned since having Emery, it's that life's moments most often become memories when looked at with a perspective of JOY. Our lives are far from perfect and most days are ridiculously messy ("perks" of raising a toddler), but they're always filled with love for each other, and thanks to Emery's sweet, pure, childhood perspective, an appreciation and excitement for the little joys found in everyday life.
(a BIG thanks to my sweet friend Meg for always being willing to be on the other side of the camera when I want an updated family picture. You are a the best, and the only reason all three of us are looking at the camera in these. 😂 )
(outfit details) emery || dress + tights: baby gap | moccs: freshly picked | bow: little poppy co.
me || shirt + tights: j.crew factory | skirt + shoes: target kyle || shirt + pants: gap factory
So from our little family to yours, we want to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas filled with JOY and LOVE for each other, the season, and of course for life's little everyday memories that make life so special. We have so much love for all of you as our friends & family, and wish you all the merriest of Christmases this year spent with those you love most! ❤️
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.