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'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.