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
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-BOO! and a Happy Halloween to all of you! from Cinderella, Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother, and a pumpkin so stinking cute that he might just be magical. 😉 This is our first Halloween in our new home state and Ashton's first Halloween ever, and we've been having fun this month making them count! This past month we were able to visit two pumpkin patches (one as a family here in Oregon and then another in Utah while the kids and I made a visit to my family), paint pumpkins, make a "haunted" halloween gingerbread house, read lots of fun Halloween themed books and fit plenty of Halloween activities into our preschool activities, dressed up twice for ballet class the week of the holiday, and made it a point to try just about every seasonal autumn/pumpkin themed treat that Trader Joe's released this year to figure out what our favorites were. Emery seems to have officially reached the age where she understands more now how Halloween works and has been SO excited for it, asking almost every day if it's here yet so that she can wear her costume and go trick-or-treating!
Since Em was the one with the most enthusiasm for the holiday this year, I thought it only fair that we let her pick out the theme for our family costume. She's in a stage where she LOVES Cinderella right now, so when she told me that she wanted to dress up as the classic princess from her favorite book & movie the rest of our costumes just fell into place! I was going to have Ashton originally be "Gus-Gus" the mouse from the movie, but then found this stinking adorable pumpkin costume on sale and couldn't say no to it! Since a pumpkin is a fairly important part of the Cinderella story line, I figured we'd go along with it! Dressing your baby up as a pumpkin for his first Halloween may be cliche, but dang it's so cute!! Just look at that face!!
I honestly almost didn't do a family costume this year because aside from pictures and maybe on actual Halloween for trick-or-treating we didn't have anywhere to wear them. In dental school we'd always do a huge party with friends where everyone would dress up, so this year I was kinda bummed out thinking that we weren't going to have that same fun tradition anymore, then Kyle found out that he needed to dress up as "Woody" from Toy Story for work, and the thought of having to put together two costumes for him for the sake of him being able to fit into two separate themes left me feeling discouraged and wondering if it was worth the hassle. Once I finally decided to take the plunge though and just put together the costumes, I was SO glad that I did. We made the skirt, necklace, and headband for Em's costume while at my parent's house in Utah, and the second Em saw herself in a mirror with everything together she gasped with the sweetest, "Oh, it's PERFECT!" and then proceeded to twirl and dance around the room until I told her she had to take it off to get ready for bed. When we were all getting ready to take these pictures Kyle was being a grump (surprising since he LOVES pictures...not haha), but all grumpiness melted away the second Em saw all of us together and started bouncing around with excitement telling all of us about how Daddy was going to be her Prince Charming and Mommy was her Fairy Godmother and Ashton was going to turn into a beautiful coach! 😂 Kids really do bring so much more fun into the holidays, and I'm especially grateful this year for Em's never-ending enthusiasm to lift me up when my own is feeling down.
We'll be spending our actual Halloween night this year taking the kiddos trick-or-treating with our new friends in our new(ish) town in our new community of people that we're already coming to love and appreciate so much. We definitely miss our sweet dental school friends and traditions, but finally feel like we're starting to find our groove here in Oregon and are so happy and excited to be able to start making and enjoying new traditions with our little family of four.
Happy Halloween to all of our sweet family & friends! We love you all dearly!
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.
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!
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.