weight & height: 11 pounds 15.7 ounces and 22.87 inches long. eating & sleeping: You eat really well and quite a bit! During the day we'll feed you every 3-4 hours, and then at night you'll usually feed once late at night before dad goes to bed, and then again between 4 and 5 in the morning, making it so that mama really only has to wake up once in the middle of the night for feeding. Everyone involved is grateful that you're such a good baby when it comes to feeding and sleeping! exciting firsts/milestones: I suppose that everything is still pretty new for you at this point, but mama's personal favorite first of yours this month have been your first smiles! Emery was able to get the first intentional smiles out of you, then Nan, then you finally gave mama some smiles on your one-month mark. This past month we also gave you your first bath, and your first real non-doctor outings to Churchill Downs, the Big Four Walking Bridge, out to dinner, and of course to Target (a couple of times) 😉 things I love: You love cuddling and being held, especially in mama's solly wrap, and when you're awake you like to be in a position where you can see the things around you. You already do such a good job locking your eyes on things around you to explore and see them better, and have mama and dad wondering if this is a sign that you're going to be a curious kiddo as you grow older! Also, you surprisingly don't mind Emery constantly being around you in a borderline smothering type of big sister love and affection, and since she is the one that was able to get that first smile out of you, I think it's safe to say that you love her too! things I don't enjoy so much: Up to this point you have been literally the most easy going baby in the world, but one thing that we have noticed is that you don't love being cold, so we've purposely kept our house quite a bit warmer for the month of February than we normally would to keep you happy. Aside from that, you're one happy little babe, and we love you for it! mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: It turns out that there's thankfully a lot less worries and anxieties the second time around with parenting, but one thing that Kyle and I have learned this past month is how to really work together as a team in order to keep two young kiddos alive, safe, and happy. Whenever we're both home there's a good chance that we're tag-teaming anything from meals to bedtimes and everything in between to keep things running as smoothly as possible. The first few days it did feel a little bit like we were treading water in a pretty crazy ocean of toddler/newborn chaos, but since have gotten more into a groove of things and it feels good!
I did these little monthly updates with Emery and after her first year transferred them all into a photo book for memories sake. It's since become one of my favorite things to look back on, and I knew that when the time came that I would have to do one for Ashton too! I hope that you all enjoy reading along with us as we watch and document our sweet boy's growth each month!
I took these pictures when Ashton was only a few days old and figured I should probably get them documented since time seems to be slipping away from me and I'll already have a one-month old baby in a few short days. I feel like he has already grown and changed so much in these few short weeks, and even though I'll probably never fully forgive myself for not hiring a separate photographer to get quality pictures of our family at this special time, I'm glad that I at least thought to get some of Ashton so that I could capture those sweet, sleepy little features of his before he moved on past his fresh newborn stage. I never want to forget how his sandy-blonde hair fluffed up into the perfect fo-hawk when clean, or just how chubby and kissable his cheeks were in those first few days. Pretty much everyone that's met him in person thinks that Ashton looks exactly like a mini Kyle, and although their baby pictures don't really look much alike, I would have to agree that Ashton does look a lot like what you'd imagine a baby version of grown-up Kyle would look like (if you'd never seen his baby pictures), with a few of my features here and there if you know what you're looking for. Since I personally find Kyle to be an attractive guy, I don't mind our babe being a miniature version of him one tiny bit. 😉
I feel like our lives since Ashton has been born have been a special sort of beautiful chaos. Between having my parents visit and working to find a balance between Ashton's newborn schedule and Emery's toddler schedule, the days have honestly all kind of blended together and I'm finding myself struggling to keep track of any specific sort of timetable, but desperately wanting to capture and remember as many of these sweet new moments we're having together as a family as possible. I've found myself actually appreciating Ashton's middle of the night feeding (something I never thought I'd hear myself say haha) because it's one of the only times throughout the day that everything is quiet and I have a chance to simply just "be" with Ashton and reflect and feel grateful for him and everything that he's brought into our family.
Despite the craziness that comes with acclimating to this new stage of life, Kyle and I have both noticed that this time around feels a lot less stressful than when we were learning how to be new parents to a newborn Emery. It could be that this time we're only balancing a new baby instead of moving to a new apartment and dealing with Kyle's hardest year of dental school at the same time like we were with Em, or it could maybe be because Ashton is literally the most easy-going newborn baby I've ever seen making our lives slightly easier as new-again parents. Whatever the reason, we're grateful for the easier flow we've had because it's allowed us so much more time to dedicate to making sure that Em has as smooth of an adjustment as possible to being a big sister, and honestly has just helped us to be able to appreciate so many more of the little fun moments that might of otherwise passed our attention. Right now we're taking each day as it comes, and working to really embrace and be present in each moment, because it seems that the more we are able to do that, the more we find ourselves smiling to each other and saying, "You know what? Life is good", because in that moment, it really is. ❤️
blue swaddle: solly baby | white swaddle: little lane market | bonnets: kate grace thread co | em's outfit: little poppy co
On the morning of February 11th 2019, our hearts grew a little bit bigger when our sweet boy decided to officially join our family. Ashton Clarence Pett was born at 11:01 AM, measuring 22 inches in length and weighing in at a whooping 9 lbs 6.8 oz of sweet chunky love. He's been with our family for just under three weeks now, and even though his original arrival was a bit of an early surprise, now that he's here I can't help but reflect and feel grateful for what originally seemed like hectic timing because of how much joy it's brought us since. 💙
To say that I didn't expect Ashton to arrive when he did would be a gross understatement. My OB had mentioned to me a few times that she didn't see me making it all the way to my estimated due date (February 20th) because of Ashton's size, but I hadn't had much progression in my weekly appointments and thought for sure that I'd make it to at least my 39/40 week milestone before meeting our baby boy. I'd had inconsistent contractions that had been growing stronger day by day, but I genuinely believed that I could mind-over-matter my baby into staying inside of me at least until the 16th when my parents would fly in so that I could have my dad to help watch Emery and my Mom to help Kyle & I through labor as my birth coach. February 10th started (and seemingly ended) as any other casual Sunday; Kyle, Em & I went out to brunch in the morning and relaxed through the afternoon, and come bedtime I followed my nightly routine of chamomile tea, reading, sleep aide, and pregnancy meditation, and was sound asleep by 10PM. Around 11:50PM I woke up with a gasp and a "Kyle I think my water broke" as the mess spread over our bed proving that my water definitely had broken, and I realized that some things in life you just can't control with sheer willpower, and instead have to respond to with a slightly modified "mind-over-matter" mindset to get through the experience ahead. Ashton was ready to join our family, and it was time for me to get on board.
Since my parents were still in Utah and I had no way to teleport them to Louisville, we instead called on my dear friend Megan a little after midnight to see if she could watch Emery for us while Kyle and I went to the hospital. I swear if there was ever such thing as a heaven-sent friend, Megan is that friend. She came over to our apartment without a moments hesitation, slept on our couch, and then proceeded to take care of not only Emery but also Kyle and I in every way possible until my parents made it out the few days later. Before Kyle and I left for the hospital, she reminded me that everything happens for a reason and that Ashton coming early was probably meant to be, and although I could feel the anxiety of going into a natural labor without my birth coach (aka my mom) creeping at the back of my mind, I took her words to heart and left for the hospital with Kyle nervously cracking jokes and working to find peace in the idea that our baby coming a week and a half early was exactly how it was always meant to be. After all was said and done, I feel even more grateful for Meg's sweet reminder and can genuinely say that I do believe that Ashton coming early was a blessing for our little family. During my labor with Em I depended mostly on my mom to get through the contractions, and as forever grateful I'll be to her for her help through that event, it was such a special experience to be able to go through labor with only Kyle by my side. I was in labor for about 11 hours from start to finish, and Kyle was my rock and solid support through it all. I had to get put on pitocin (again- apparently my body just doesn't love progressing on it's own), and through every single contraction Kyle was right beside me helping me to stay relaxed, and when I reached the roughest part of labor right before Ashton (very quickly) came out, Kyle was the one who helped keep me grounded and get me through it all. Having a new baby is always a special experience, and this time around I felt just so grateful to be able to share and go through that occasion with Kyle in a new way that brought us even closer together as a couple.
Kyle and I took the day of Ashton's birth to spend together with just the three of us, and the next night brought Emery to the hospital to meet her baby brother. Her giggling excitement over seeing him is something that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Ashton was a little fussy when Kyle brought Emery into the room which I hadn't been anticipating (we'd tried to plan it so that he'd be asleep during the initial meeting part but once again life showed us that we can't control everything 😆) but instead of getting overwhelmed or annoyed by his cries Em patted his head while telling him over and over "oh it's ok!". We are still adjusting as Em learns to share our attention and time with her baby Ashton, but her love and obsession with him have stayed strong and have literally made all of my hopes and dreams for their relationship come true, and it has been the best thing watching her with him over these past few weeks as they continue to grow and get used to each other.
I remember when writing up Emery's birth story I had made a few main points that I wanted as personal takeaways from her labor & birth, and it's funny now going back and reading through those past notes to myself how many of them still rung true with my labor and birthing of Ashton. Contractions still hurt like hell (but were still managed decently well thanks to Kyle and a LOT of meditation/deep breathing), I still embarrassed myself during labor and had to choose to not care about it (Ashton came out so quickly that the on-call OB wasn't actually able to make it into the delivery room in time, and while the nurse was desperately trying to keep him from coming out I was 100% that crazy labored woman that you see in movies swearing and yelling for the doctor 😳), and more than anything was given the reminder that there are SO many things in having a baby that are completely out of my control, but that with a loving support team and keeping my main motivators and priorities at the front of my mind, that it would make all the difference and make for an "alls well that ends well" situation. I'm still so amazed at the body's ability to create, grow, and birth a perfect little baby, and feel so grateful for the timing of our sweet little babe because it has helped me to appreciate SO much more than I feel like I would have otherwise. I can't even put into words just how much love and appreciation I have for Kyle, my parents, Megan, and other girlfriends that have all come together in one form or another to help us welcome Ashton into the world. I don't know if I've ever fully believed that whole "it takes a village" saying until this boy decided to surprise us with his early arrival, and now I don't only understand it but also feel so much gratitude for the specific "village" that I've been blessed with. We're off to an amazing start to this lovely little adventure as an official family of four, and I can't wait to see how our story continues to unfold now that our sweet little Ashton Clarence has joined the party. This is my happy place. 💙
How far along? 36 weeks, 3 days. Fun fact - I didn't realize it until I went to actually write up this post, but I was also exactly 36 weeks 3 days along in Emery's last bump update, and I love that we now have pictures documented at the same time from each pregnancy! Sleep? I've reached a point where not even makeup and photoshop can hide the dark circles under my eyes I've gained these past nine months. I remember struggling with sleep at this point in pregnancy with Em as well from waking up to roll over and pee in the middle of the night, but it seems like adding in an actual toddler Emery to the equation has made it so that I can't even remember the last time I actually got what could be considered a good night's rest. Needless to say, Em's afternoon naps and chai lattes have become some of my favorite things. 😜 Food Cravings? Cold water, fresh pineapple (specifically from Trader Joe's), and cold cereal with unsweetened almond milk. My stomach is compressed enough at this point to where I've had to shift to eating smaller snacks/meals throughout the day, and these seem to be the things that I've found myself subconsciously keeping our fridge/cupboard constantly stocked with to get me through day to day! Current Pregnancy Project? At my last OB appointment my doctor informed me that because of baby boy's size the likelihood of me making it all the way to my due date is fairly unlikely, and I've since then gone from what could be considered "nesting" to running around like a full-on crazy person trying to get all of the last minute to-do's done before our little babe makes his debut. Still on my list of tasks includes starting his baby book, meal planning for when my parents are in town, vacuuming out our car so that we can install his carseat, packing snacks for our hospital stay, filling up my birthing ball with air, and trying to continue to clean/declutter our apartment as much as possible before he gets here. I'm sure there's more that I'm probably forgetting, but for the sake of keeping some sort of inner calm/peace I'm working hard to remind myself that it is 100% OK if everything doesn't get done right away, and am feeling grateful that at least the majority of the basic big tasks (baby's laundry, hospital bag, Emery's care plan while we're away, etc) are already done. Funny Pregnancy Moment? I literally can not go ANYWHERE without getting asked when I'm due, having people assume that I'm having twins when they realize that I still have a little ways until said due date, and/or people making comments like "you're due any day now aren't you?" My belly has grown to the point where not even maternity tops/sweaters cover it fully (I have to layer with 2-3 shirts every day to cover everything) so the comments aren't fully unwarranted, and I've reached a point where I've found that it's much easier to laugh about the awkwardness of it all instead of getting embarrassed about the size of my midsection, or Kentuckiana's constant need to point it out. 😂 Best pregnancy moment so far? I had the chance to have an ultrasound just this last week (at 36 weeks) and it was SO much fun being able to see baby boy so fully developed! I never had an ultrasound with Em after her 20 week appointment and I was blown away at just how real and close seeing baby boy so far along made everything feel. Based on his pictures he's set to have the most perfect chubby cheeks and my nose, but I guess we'll know for sure once he's actually here on the outside! Last minute pregnancy thoughts? Honestly, this last little bit of pregnancy has been a Disneyland-worthy rollercoaster of emotions for me. I didn't even realize how much of a hot mess I'd become until my sweet two and a half year old started feeling the need to console me with fairly constant kisses, hugs, and "oh it's ok mommy I love you's!" when she'd catch me silent crying during something as simple as our lunch time together or while trying to get my shoes on before we'd head out to run errands for the day. There's a part of me that's so nervous for this baby to get here because I know that it means getting thrown back into the newborn stage which for us with Emery was freaking HARD. I'm SO excited for Emery and her baby brother to officially meet and can't wait to watch their relationship grow, but then also anticipate how she'll adjust once her now beloved "baby brother" is on the outside and requiring a lot of attention, and I so badly want her to know and feel just how much Kyle and I love and care about her even with a new baby in the house. I'm so excited for baby brother to be able to officially join in on our family adventures, and also wonder constantly what those adventures will look like not only as a family of four, but also out of dental school and in a completely different state away from our community that we've grown to love and depend on so much over these past four years. I literally haven't even been able to make it through typing up these thoughts without getting teary-eyed (just in case there was any misunderstanding as to just how much of an emotional mess lack of sleep/pregnancy hormones have made me) BUT above all of these crazy emotions I especially feel grateful, for this incredible opportunity and most of all for the people that I get to experience it with. I still can't help but feel completely amazed at the body's ability to grow and deliver a human child, and am so grateful that me and baby boy have been able to make it through this pregnancy without too many scary complications or challenges. I'm so grateful for my close friends and for my parents and long-distance family members that have been such an incredible support system to me throughout this entire journey, and am so dang excited for my parents to get here in a few weeks to join in on the fun of welcoming in our new addition. More than anything I'm so thankful for Kyle and Emery. Without a doubt they were both heaven sent especially for me, and there is literally no one else that I could imagine myself doing life's crazy journey with than the two of them. We are all up for what I'm sure will be a bit of an adjustment once baby brother joins our party, but in my heart I already know that he is the exact person that our little family needs, and that once he's here the adventures we have together can only get more wonderful. Cheers to our soon-to-be family of four, and everything that's ahead. 💙
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.