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
How far along? 24 Weeks 4 Days (in the picture) Maternity Clothes? The answer to this question should be just a straight yes, but I hit an unexpected roadblock when the season changed to autumn and I realized that aside from jeans, the majority of my maternity clothes were meant for warmer weather since I was my biggest with Em in the spring and summer. The idea of fitting into any pants that are non-maternity is a joke at this point, but I'm still trying to be as creative as possible with a few of my looser sweaters and long sleeve non-maternity shirts to stretch out my wardrobe for a little bit longer until I'm confined to wearing the three maternity sweaters I do have that actually fit on repeat. Sleep? For some reason sleep has been a ridiculous challenge for me during this pregnancy, to the point where I had to start taking a nightly sleep aide (suggested by my OB) for the sake of getting any sleep at all because I was struggling with nightly insomnia. I've honestly had a bit of a hard time not getting discouraged with the sleep issues because I hate feeling so tired during the day with Emery and I feel like the constant bags/dark circles under my eyes have robbed me of feeling any sort of pregnancy "glow" this time around, but I'm continuing to try and do everything that I can to get as much and as quality of sleep as possible (think yoga, meditation, chamomile tea + the sleep aide, early bedtime, etc) so that my body can continue to support this growing babe. Food Cravings? ALL the sweet things. I'd also had a specific craving for cinnamon sugar pita chips for AGES and was getting super discouraged because I couldn't find any in our local grocery stores until a few weeks ago when Kyle basically won husband of the year and found some for me, and has continued to shine by basically cleaning out the store of them whenever he happens to see them on the shelves. Queasy's? Not anymore which I am EXTREMELY grateful for. I still have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell that can pick out specific scents from a mile away, but any crazy, unexplained nausea has long since passed. Current Pregnancy Project? I'm including this in because while looking back at Em's bump updates I basically kept myself busy with prepping for Emery in every possible way from about week 17 on and it cracks me up because now if I wanted to do any fun little projects like that I honestly don't know when I'd fit them in unless I did them late at night but that would involve sacrificing sleep so.... yeah. No baby specific projects currently. I did find a baby book for him that I LOVE and want to start filling out, so maybe if I can figure out how to keep my head on straight while chasing around a crazy toddler I can make some time to actually get that started. Best pregnancy moment so far? Thus far, our best pregnancy moment has actually resulted from what was originally one of the toughest trials I've faced while pregnant. While pregnant with Em, my favorite prenatal appointment was hands down her 20 week ultrasound, and as my 20 week appointment with baby boy approached I could not wait to share in the excitement of seeing him move around on the screen with Kyle & Emery. Our ultrasound went as planned, and aside from not being able to get a great face shot, everything seemed normal. However, when we met with my OB after the ultrasound she explained to Kyle and I that although baby boy was anatomically perfect and growing well, that I appeared to have something called Placenta Previa (for those like me that had no idea what this is, basically my placenta was covering my cervix - aka the baby's way out). My doctor said that she had hopes of the placenta moving up to a normal position, but that if it didn't that it would mean planning for a c-section about a month earlier than my original due date to prevent me from going into any sort of labor on my own. We scheduled another follow up ultrasound for 24 weeks, and I left the appointment with a fistful of tissues and a heart heavy with worry and anxiety over the thought of possibly having a premie baby in the dead of winter. Kyle and I decided to keep the news really close to home until we knew more, only telling my immediate family and one or two close girlfriends to help me mentally make it through the four-week waiting period. As much as I'd like to say that I was able to stay optimistic and keep my head clear of the stress of the situation, getting through the month of October was really hard for me. I worked to keep myself as distracted and busy as possible with Emery and Halloween preparations, but the worry was still constant in the back of my mind and took it's toll on my ability to sleep or fully relax and let myself just "be" in any sort of present moment. Our follow-up appointment happened to be on the 30th of October, and to our pleasant surprise we were told that the placenta had made some incredible movements in the past four weeks, and had put itself in such a good, normal-looking position that my doctor felt safe completely putting the Previa risks and scare to rest. For how discouraged I'd felt for the month leading up to the appointment, I can't even fully put into words how good it felt to hear that things had gone back to normal. It was like a hundred pound weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and it was so nice to be able to see my little baby boy kicking in the ultrasound and know that at least for now everything with him and me together is a-ok. We even got a few really good face shots of him to make up for his shyness at the 20 week appointment, and it was literally the perfect way to start our Halloween fun without the anxiety. Looking back at the situation I realize that I probably stressed way more than I should have, but it was also a really valuable lesson for me to be in a situation where I literally had no control over what was happening, and really could do nothing but wait and try to find peace within myself and those close to me until we had more information and could plan accordingly. Getting the news that the Previa had resolved was definitely the highlight of the pregnancy thus far (along with seeing cute baby's face), but I'm also really grateful for the gentle reminder that I was given to let things be, and for knowing that I have such an amazing support of family and friends to help me get there. ❤️
Whew, this post ended up being a LOT longer than I originally intended it to be, but in all fairness I feel like I was literally trying to fit what could've been two separate posts into one, so maybe that's where all the wordiness came from. 😉 To anyone that actually read all the way through, thanks so much for following along! Your love and support for baby boy and our family seriously mean the world to me, and we love and appreciate each and every one of you!
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
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.