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.
While I was pregnant with Emery, I remember one of the nurses asking me how I was feeling during a prenatal appointment. I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and hadn't been sleeping very well because of my bulging belly and the need to pee every five minutes, and responded that I was a little tired but otherwise fine. The nurse laughed and then made the comment that motherhood could make anyone tired, and that she personally didn't start drinking coffee until after she had kids - at which point a daily cup became a necessity. I remember chuckling at what I thought was a little coffee joke; it took me until three days after Emery being born to realize that the joke was really on me, and that any form of fatigue that I'd experienced during pregnancy was nothing compared to the perma-tired that motherhood would continue to bring me on a daily basis thereafter.
When Emery was a newborn I was SO tired ALL the time. I had gone about 36 hours without any sleep once she was born because of the timing of my labor, and then after that only managed two to three hours of sleep a night for her first three weeks of life because I was so worried about something bad happening to her while I slept. Extreme sleep deprivation didn't help my paranoia, and I found myself deeply consumed with mom guilt. I didn't understand why I didn't have that new mom glow and energy that I had read about in all of my natural birthing books, and found myself constantly second guessing my ability to properly mother my child. I was beyond tired, felt like a failure, and worse than anything felt completely alone in my feelings because all of the other moms around me in my friend group and on social media seemed to have their lives together perfectly and I was the only one falling behind.
Now that Emery is older and we're both getting more sleep, things are better, but I still have times that I just feel tired and can't seem to figure out why, and then I remember that sweet nurse, laugh, and remember that it's because I'm a mom, and that's just one of the perks that comes along with the job.
It's taken me a long time to get up enough courage to write about this topic because learning how to conquer my own mom guilt & fatigue is a battle that I'm still fighting, but I know that there's got to be other moms out there that are fighting their own guilt demons too, and if you're one of those moms reading this then I want you to know that you're not definitely not alone, and that you're doing better than you think. One of the things that helped me the most in breaking through my mom guilt was to realize that it's OK for life to sometimes not be ok. Motherhood is messy, and regardless of what social media wants to make us think, no one has perfect children or a perfect house or a perfect life, because that just doesn't exist. Once I was able to break through that mindset it made me feel more comfortable talking to Kyle and friends about how I was feeling, and I found that instead of feeling alone, I was able to feel like I had a support group of an amazing husband and mamas that could help me through my hard days and congratulate me on my good ones. I learned that it was not only ok but necessary to take time for myself and for my marriage, and that my support group would help make that happen because they all need it in their lives too. There are still days and sometimes even weeks that I'll feel tired (thus the timing of this post), but that's ok and doesn't mean that I'm a bad mom, just a mom that needs a good night's rest, some "me" time, or maybe even a cup of coffee. 😉
Some days when I'm feeling especially overwhelmed, Emery will walk up to me out of the blue like a heaven sent angel and give me a big hug, and in that moment it helps me to remember that everything is ok and that despite the challenges that motherhood brings, that the experience is overwhelmingly more good than bad. If you're reading this and need it, consider this message a huge from me (and Emery) to you, and know that you're an amazing woman and mother. Even when it's hard to tell, your kids love you, you mama tribe loves you, and amongst the craziness of motherhood, always remember that we're all in this together. ❤️
(a final note) : if your mom guilt battle goes deeper to the level of postpartum depression or anxiety, you're still not alone and it is a battle possible to overcome. ❤️ Below are some resources to help, and adding your OB doctor to your support group is a must. They deal with PPD/PPA more than you'd think, and their help really can make a world of difference.
So I have a bit of a confession to make. This year I 100% forgot our anniversary. If you were to ask me when our anniversary is I'd be able to tell you August 3rd without taking a breath, but for some reason this year August 3rd just snuck up on me a lot faster than I thought it would, and it wasn't until my sweet grandmother sent us a card in the mail that I realized how quickly the date was approaching. I so badly wanted to try and throw something special together for Kyle or have some really special way to celebrate, but a combination of conflicting schedules (thanks a lot ULSD for making Kyle have class on our anniversary for the first time in FOUR years 🙄 ), procrastination, and lack of funds was making it really hard for me to think of any ideas. Thanks to my sweet girlfriend wanting to make sure that Kyle and I were able to do something little to celebrate we'll be going out on a baby-free dinner tonight while she watches Emery, but the craziness of the whole situation has still had me feeling a little down, and made me do some serious reflection as to why I'd drop the ball on such a huge day. The only excuse that I could think of was that life just got us both really busy, and because of that the big celebration lost priority. Obviously this is something that we (mostly I) could improve on, but even in the absolute crazy business of life I haven't the slightest doubt that Kyle and I aren't still as crazy in love as we were four years ago (if not more so) when we said "I do". The only difference now is that because of how insane life can get sometimes, we've had to get creative in how we show that love. I know that Kyle loves me because he purposely stays as quiet as a church mouse while getting ready for school so that I can sleep a little bit later until Emery wakes up, and I show my love to him by waking up with Emery in the middle of night or on the weekends so that Kyle can get some extra rest. I know that Kyle loves me because he lets us get vegetarian pizza every week for dinner without complaining, and I return the love by trying to keep some sort of meat in the house for him to cook up whenever he's craving it. He compliments my outfits, and I pick up his dirty socks and scrubs off the floor without hesitation or irritation. I feel the love between us every time we get into a deep conversation, and whenever we send each other an article or comic through text because we think it'll make the other person laugh. The best part about being married to Kyle is that there is love for each other in literally everything that we do, and that love carries us through the toughest of trials and the craziest of days. We are planning a little family trip next week and will get to "officially" celebrate our anniversary while there, but this year I'm also feeling grateful for the small and simple ways that we've been able to celebrate each other on the actual day, and every day that we have together. The celebration is simple, pure, and full of love, and that is what matters most. Happy four years to us Kyle, I wouldn't want to do this life with anyone else but you. ❤️
Before Emery was born, I felt so sure of two things. The first was that my darker traits would most likely dominate in the making of our child, giving me a little "mini me" when I found out that we were having a girl. The second was that given Kyle's naturally analytical, more serious nature (as opposed to my somewhat flighty, loud crazy self) would assure me the position of being the "fun" parent. You know what I'm talking about; the parent that your baby is ALWAYS excited to see no matter what, the parent in the relationship that the baby will actively reach for and crawl to for playtime, and the parent who can virtually do no wrong in their child's eyes. The funny thing about pre-baby assumptions is that they're usually wrong, and these two assumptions of mine were no exception. Our daughter came out looking exactly like a miniature female version of Kyle, and although she likes me plenty, Kyle definitely takes the cake when it comes to the "fun parent" title. While pregnant I thought I'd be upset at loosing in the race of genes and affection from our daughter, but the second I actually saw Kyle become a father the day Emery was born, I knew without a doubt that I'd give the win to him any day of the week. With this year being Kyle's first "official" Father's Day, I thought that I'd indulge a little bit and let him (and all of you reading) in on a few things that Emery and I think make him such a wonderful dad. So, without any further adieu, here's our little list of love for our favorite guy. ❤️
5 Things Emery & I LOVE about Kyle (or Dada - still working on getting Em to say it)
A very happy Father's Day this weekend to all of the dads out there, and especially to our sweet Kyle. We love you dearly and really do think that you're the best!
Since getting married 3 1/2 years ago (and especially since having a baby), I've really come to appreciate what were once extremely undervalued date nights. After a long week of work/school there's nothing more exciting than knowing that I'll get to spend some quality planned out time with my favorite person doing something that we both enjoy. The funny thing about date nights though is that the older Kyle & I become, the harder time we have actually making date nights happen. We still spend plenty of time together, but especially since Emery has joined our crew we spend much less time together that could be considered an actual "date night", nor do we have tons of extra cash laying around for us to spend on traditional date night activities. Back when we were newlyweds we had a bit more time to each other but still no cash because we were trying to save up for dental school, so we had to get kind of creative when it came to figuring out fun date nights. I decided to resurrect that fun/frugal mindset for our no-spend new year, and set to work to tweak 10 of your "traditional" date night ideas into dates that are slightly less traditional, but still just as fun! An added bonus is that the majority of them are also baby friendly, so if anyone out there is like us where your baby joins you on the majority of your dates, you can know that there's still some fun options out there for you too. 😉
That sums up our date night alternatives! Are there any favorites that you and your significant other have that aren't on my list? If so drop them in a comment below or share your free date nights on Instagram with #nospendnewyear so that we can all share in your fun ideas! I hope that everyone is having a great start to the year! I'd be lying if I said this no spend new year hasn't had a few temptations/challenges that I've had to turn away from, but it feels great to be able to save for a rainy day and still have fun in the process! Here's to the rest of January!
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.