Happy New Year! One of my favorite movies to watch around this time of year is "It's a Wonderful Life", mostly because it's just filled with so much good will, as well as the ever uplifting message to look at life with a "glass half full" perspective. The film ends with the people of Bedford Falls singing the old classic tune "Auld Lang Syne". For anyone curious, "auld lang syne" loosely translates to "for old time's sake". This year that simple message struck a chord with me and really made me appreciate even more all of the family traditions and memories that we focus on this time of year. We soak in all of these traditions partially because we've been doing them our whole lives, but also because we now have children and we want them to be able to look back at these old times with the same fond feelings and memories that we do. The New Year is my favorite time to reflect on some of the highlights that we've had together as a family, and those reflections always make me feel so much more hopeful and excited for the following year. So, "for old times sake" and all the joy that it brings, here is our own little Pett family year in review, and a few of the things that made our 2018 shine.
Pett Family Highlights of 2018
1. Kyle took & passed part two of his dental boards, finished up year three (and half of year four) of dental school, and has finally made it to the point in his schooling where he's able to spend 95% of his time working on and helping patients. We are all LOVING this stage of dental school - Kyle is having a blast being able to work with all of his patients, and Em and I have loved being able to have a virtually study-free Kyle at home since the tedious bookwork stage of school is behind us! Graduation is in a few short months and we couldn't be more ready for it!
2. Chelsea & Emery started doing at-home tot and preschool together in an effort to bring a little more structure into our days, and have had SO much fun working on different lesson plans together. I've found planning lessons for Em to be a great creative outlet for me, and it's helped me to be much more intentional with the time that Em and I spend together. Seeing how quickly Emery has caught onto every concept that we've taught her has been absolutely incredible to watch; since we started back in February, Emery has been able to learn all of her colors, how to count from 1-10, her upper & lowercase alphabet, about half of her letter sounds, as well as a basic introduction to other things like holidays, seasons, and animals. Our lessons have turned a bit more flexible as of late, but we're still working on getting all of her alphabet sounds down, as well as working on teaching her to properly hold a pencil and learn to write a few letters. Emery is obsessed with all of the different things that she learns, and Kyle and I have really enjoyed seeing her have such an incredible enthusiasm in all things educational!
3. Emery became a true Kentuckian this spring by going to her first ever Kentucky Derby event. Kyle and I had learned while I was pregnant with Em that actual Derby Day isn't the most toddler/baby friendly event to attend, so this year I decided to take her to Dawn at the Downs (an event where you can watch the race horses warm up the day before the big races) at Churchill Downs. Emery had a blast being able to get so close to the race horses and waved at all of the jockey's and horses as they'd go by, and I decided that Dawn at the Downs was definitely the way that our family would be experiencing Derby from here on out with kiddos!
4. All three of us fully realizing that this might be our last year living in the eastern United States decided to try and explore different parts of it as much as we could, and made family trips to Nashville (TN), Niagara Falls (NY), Mobile (AL), Pensacola Beach (FL), Cincinnati (OH), and Roanoke (VA) (Virginia was for a job interview for Kyle but we still made a little family adventure out of it). Emery and I also had the chance to make a little bonus trip up to Philadelphia (PA) & southern New Jersey to visit my aunt and a TON of US History, and we're desperately wanting to find a time when all three of us can go back so that Kyle can experience it all too! (More pictures of our Niagara Falls and Alabama/Florida adventures here).
5. Emery celebrated her second birthday in June and has fully entered into a stage of full on independent toddlerhood. She runs or jumps everywhere she goes, gets into EVERYTHING, speaks in full sentences, and has more sass and more unconditional love in her than anyone I've ever known. She grows and learns more every day, and is a constant source of exhaustion but also (and mostly) sunshine and joy for Kyle and I, and we're so grateful that she's ours! We celebrated her birthday with a few of her close toddler friends and a fun airplane-themed party, more pictures & details of which can be seen here.
6. Kyle & Chelsea hit FIVE years of marriage on August 3rd of this year, and decided to celebrate with our first ever baby-free overnight getaway. We also both now agree that baby-free getaways are one of the greatest inventions ever. 😉 The fact that we've been married for five years seriously blows my mind because the time passes so quickly, but it's so much fun to realize just how much we've grown together in that time, as well as reflect on all of the amazing adventures that we've been able to make together. I have a feeling that our next five years will go by even more quickly than the first, and can't wait to see what life has in store for us.
7. All three of us made the cross-country drive together from Kentucky to Utah to visit family for a month so that Kyle could do an externship for school. That is a LONG drive that I personally never want to make again if I can help it, but the memories made during the drives and our visit were still highlights nonetheless! Kyle had the time of his life working in a real dental clinic situation and getting a taste of what life after school would be like, and all of us thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with family and old friends. The trip also gave us the chance to meet our newest niece that was born in February, and getting the chance to hold "baby Hap-ur" probably made it into Emery's top-five most exciting moments that she's had in her life.
8. All three of us throughout the year decided to really soak in Kentucky as much as we can before graduation, and have had a blast playing tourist in our own city and trying out new things that we've always wanted to but had been putting off for whatever reason. We ate at new restaurants, went to events that we otherwise would've passed on, didn't miss a single fruit picking season in our local orchards, and did literally the most touristy thing that we could think of by renting a bike surrey and riding it around downtown Louisville to get a view of the city that we hadn't had before. It's been so much fun exploring together and I know that once we do leave Louisville that these memories will be the ones that we cherish most of all.
9. All three of us took a big leap together, and for the first time literally since Kyle and I have been married, spent every major holiday this year including Christmas on our own away from our families in Utah. Spending Christmas on our own was originally something that I'd felt super apprehensive about, but after the actual day was so grateful and happy for the special time that we were able to have together with our own little family. We still kept in touch with our extended families through various video chats, but the main focus of the holiday was on the three of us and the feelings of togetherness literally still has me smiling at random several days later. We'll always love time with our big families, but I'm so grateful for the chance that we had to grow closer and stronger together this Christmas as our own family unit.
10. All three of us have spent a large portion of the second half of the year prepping ourselves to grow from a party of three to a family of four. I saved this highlight for last because I feel like so many of the moments that we've had together this year whether large or small have in someway gone towards helping us to prepare for this next big life step. As the year has progressed we've all grown so much as individuals, but especially together as a family, and I can't help but think of that as a major blessing because it means that this baby boy is going to be born into our family at a time when we're stronger together than we've ever been before.
2018 has been such an amazing year for our sweet little family, and I can't wait to see what this next year brings! It truly is a wonderful life! Cheers to 2019 and all of the adventures ahead!
I may have taken the procrastination of Christmas cards to a whole new level this year... not only did I put off any thought of actual cards until two days before Christmas (honestly my usual) but I also completely negated to design any sort of festive looking card/overlay to go for any sort of online greeting (pregnancy brain?). So although there's no actual holiday sentiment on the above picture, it still would've won our family's pick on whatever well-intentioned-but-isn't-going-to-happen Christmas card we would've sent had I been better prepared, and is still shared with all of you with all of the warmest and best holiday wishes and cheer. 😉❤️
Aside from attempting to get a cute Christmas card picture, the main purpose behind these family pictures was to try and capture some sort of maternity session to officially document the bump with baby brother and all the sweet feelings that have come along with it. We had Jordan Bibb Photography do our pictures for us, and even though I was SUPER nervous about the idea of letting go of the camera control and hiring a photographer that I knew would edit/work differently than I'm used to, after all was said and done I'm grateful that we made the decision to hire Jordan so that she could capture these sweet pictures for us. It's so nice having someone else on the other side of the camera, and Jordan did an amazing job of making our shoot feel more like a family play session at the park with Emery, keeping the actual memories of the shoot pleasant instead of stressful. It's still a little surreal to think that in just a couple of short months we'll be a family of four, and I'm so glad that she was able to capture these shots for us to document our family in this sweet and unique stage, as well as adorable picture proof of how obsessed Emery is with her baby brother. 😍 Thanks so much for the pictures Jordan Bibb!
As a side note, I'm only about 29 1/2 (ish) weeks pregnant in these pictures so the bump is a little out of date, but we were about 30 weeks pregnant when we did Emery's maternity pictures so it felt appropriate to document around the same milestone, and I'm at the point in pregnancy now where I literally can't go anywhere without getting asked multiple times if I'm due any day now and have had no less than three different people ask if I'm having twins SO.... I figured that now is as good a time as any to document this growing babe since he's only going to get bigger from here on out and I'd hate to confuse too many spectators about the ONE baby growing inside of me at an alarmingly quick rate. 😆
We're looking forward to spending our holiday this year with our sweet little family of (almost!) four, as well as with our families long distance via FaceTime and ALL the pictures, and hope that all of our loved ones have the BEST Christmas this year spent with those you love most!
We love you all dearly! - Kyle, Chelsea, Emery & Baby Boy Pett -
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
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.