(photo credit: photos by wendy g.)
Due to a sick toddler this past week, I've decided to officially throw out the first seven days of 2018 and start the New Year as of today. So to all of our friends and family out there reading this, Happy New Year! 😉 One of my favorite (albeit cliche) traditions around the New Year is to take a chance to reflect on some of our favorite moments from the past year. Last week when the rest of the world was reflecting, there was a "top nine" pictures going around the social media world that compiled a person's nine most "liked" images on Instagram into one collage for posting/sharing. I looked at my own personal "top nine", and although the memories all made me smile, I wouldn't consider them my absolute top favorite memories from the year. So in the words of another wise mama on Instagram, here's some of our real top memories from 2017, "likes be damned", because at the end of the day, they really have nothing to do with the level of joy that comes from the actual experience happening behind the picture. These are the memories that made us personally the happiest, and I hope that you'll all enjoy sharing them with us. ❤️ So without any further adieu, here's our -
Pett Family 2017 in Review
1. Kyle finished his hardest year of dental school yet, passed part one of his boards, and officially started working on real life human patients. He has worked SO hard to get to this point in his schooling, and now that he's here genuinely loves being able to work with all of his patients at school. He's officially on the "downhill" now with his schooling, and is loving the new experiences that it has to offer.
2. Chelsea made the official leap into being a full-time stay at home mom, which sadly meant having to say goodbye to the two sweet littles that I had been nannying for the past 2 1/2ish years. There are days that I miss the kiddos like crazy (I started watching them both just as tiny new babes) and I still follow their mama religiously on Instagram to see how they're growing, but I've been so grateful for the time that I've had to dedicate solely to Emery.
3. Emery grew leaps and bounds throughout the past year, and can put crawling, walking, running, jumping, talking, eating solid foods, growing enough hair to show in pictures, and breaking her first teeth (and several others) on her list of "firsts" that she's hit this year. She starts most of her mornings at 8 AM and doesn't stop moving until it's time for bed. Her energy levels are through the roof, and she's loved every second of her new found freedom through movement.
4. Kyle mastered the making of authentic Mexican tacos and horchata, and as a true lover of Mexican cuisine, has been really pleased with the results. So far he's made them for several of our friends and my family, and I'm sure will find a way to fit them into our regular meal plans.
5. Chelsea & Emery had the chance to visit family in Utah three times this year (Kyle twice), two of which were to celebrate my younger sister getting married and a new cousin being born on Kyle's side of the family. Throughout all of the visits we got to spend a lot of time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family, and as always were grateful that Emery is able to keep in good contact with her long distance family members.
6. All three of us took a chance to do some exploring around the east coast, and were able to cross Nashville (TN), Beaufort (SC), Biltmore (NC), and Savannah (GA) off of our list of places visited. We also all had the first of experiencing the Atlantic Ocean, and all agree that the warm ocean water is WAY better than any of the freezing cold Pacific that we'd seen before.
(To see the blog post with all of the pictures from our summer vacation click here)
7. Kyle & Chelsea came to the realization that baby free dates are an AMAZING thing, and have tried a lot harder to do baby sitting trades with close friends so that we could have some time to spend with each other without having to stop and deal with toddler control every 30 seconds. Because of school schedules/life it didn't happen quite as often as we'd set as a "goal", but we're still grateful for the time that we got.
8. Emery celebrated her first birthday this past June with a fruit/outdoor summer theme and since then has grown into quite the social butterfly. She LOVES all of her little baby friends back home, and sees them several times a week for playdates or errands with the mommies.
(For more pictures/details from her first birthday party, click here)
9. All three of us fully embraced the "poor dental school student" life, and had some fun with doing crazy things for free food. In April, we camped outside for just under 20 hours with friends to earn free pizza for a year from a pizza place down the street from our house (and yes I'm thoroughly sick of the pizza 8 months in 😝 ), and in July we all dressed up as cows for the sake of free Chick-fil-A.
10. All three of us more than ever have come to love and appreciate our sweet dental school community and group of friends. When times have gotten rough, it's so nice to know that we have an amazing group of friends to get through it together with. We play & explore together, cry together, and celebrate life's big events with each other, and even though I've said it before, I know that this group of amazing friends and people will be some that we'll love and appreciate long after dental school is over. ❤️
Cheers to 2018 and all of the adventures ahead.
We can't wait to see what this new year has in store for us!
Another year, another December, and yet another holiday card being sent out blog style because I procrastinated making them until a few days before Christmas. 😉 I feel like this month and year have seriously flown by, and if there's one thing I've learned since having Emery, it's that life's moments most often become memories when looked at with a perspective of JOY. Our lives are far from perfect and most days are ridiculously messy ("perks" of raising a toddler), but they're always filled with love for each other, and thanks to Emery's sweet, pure, childhood perspective, an appreciation and excitement for the little joys found in everyday life.
(a BIG thanks to my sweet friend Meg for always being willing to be on the other side of the camera when I want an updated family picture. You are a the best, and the only reason all three of us are looking at the camera in these. 😂 )
(outfit details) emery || dress + tights: baby gap | moccs: freshly picked | bow: little poppy co.
me || shirt + tights: j.crew factory | skirt + shoes: target kyle || shirt + pants: gap factory
So from our little family to yours, we want to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas filled with JOY and LOVE for each other, the season, and of course for life's little everyday memories that make life so special. We have so much love for all of you as our friends & family, and wish you all the merriest of Christmases this year spent with those you love most! ❤️
The Reason for the Season: Teaching My Toddler How to Keep "Christ" in Christmas. (12 Days of Nativity With Free Printables)
Growing up as a child, my mom always had a very strong dislike for the term "X-Mas". She always said that the slang took the most important part out of the word, and helped the real focus of Christmas to get lost in the process. Her opinions on the matter spread to her children (or at least her oldest 😉 ), and with Emery being old enough this Christmas to actually understand more of what is going on, I wanted to make sure that I did everything that I could to teach her about the original Christmas story and the reason for the season.
As a way to start trying to teach Emery about the Christmas story, I found her this adorable wooden nativity set and got her a book that goes through a few of the basic nativity characters in rhyme, but I still felt like I needed something more to try and balance out the plethora of traditional Christmas activities that I knew we'd also be doing throughout the month. While talking with a girlfriend I got the idea to do a 12 Days of Christmas focused specifically around the Nativity. I loved the idea, but surprisingly had a really hard time finding anything on the internet that had what I felt like was the "full package" and was age appropriate for Emery. I knew that I wanted activities for each day for her to do as opposed to the traditional 12 gifts that is sometimes done, but also wanted to be able to focus on an individual person/part of the nativity on each of the 12 days. After a good amount of researching, I finally decided on a combination of resources found on the internet and a bit of my own creative juices to create a packet for Emery that I was happy with, so I thought I'd share it for anyone else that has toddler/pre-school aged kiddos and hopefully save you all a few hours of internet stress. 😉
For the activities, I was able to find an ADORABLE packet from Lovely Commotion on Teachers Pay Teachers that was filled with several play-based, tot/pre-school aged appropriate activities with all of the supplies and resources needed. I knew there was no way I was going to find or make anything better than what was in this packet, so I downloaded it and then took it on a flash drive to my local Office Max to get the activity pages printed in color on card stock. I don't have permissions to share the actual packet since the license I purchased is for personal use, but the cost to download the packet is only $6, and then I spent less than that to get everything printed (if you have a color printer than you don't even need to worry about that). The instructions in the packet are focused much more for teachers with classrooms of children, but once I had access to all the activities, I was able to fill in the rest myself to make it work for my 12 day project. To focus on the individual parts of the Nativity, I created these 12 individual cards to go into different envelopes with a specific activity from the purchased packet. Each card has a short rhyme talking about it's person/part in the Nativity and a relevant bible verse to reference. I can't take credit for the rhymes but couldn't find anywhere who to give credit to either so apologies for that, but I hand drew in all of the characters to match the packet to make it more fun for Emery and all of you, and then after a bit of cutting everything out, coloring in the cards, and separating it all into envelopes the packet was complete! We're going to start our 12 Day Nativity adventure on the fourteenth, and I'm so excited to be able to do the activities with Emery and hopefully give her the same appreciation that I do for the Christmas story.
If you'd like to put together your own 12 Day Nativity packet in time for the 14th, then all you'll need to do is pay for/download the activities from Lovely Commotion, and then print off these FREE-12 Days of Nativity cards that I put together for you, as well as a lesson plan that I put together showing the order that we're planning to use the cards, as well as the activity that we're planning to play that day and instructions on how to play. For anyone not wanting to pay for the actual packet of activities, feel free to still download and print my FREE Nativity cards, and have fun each day leading up to Christmas reading the rhyme and scripture for the day, and matching up the cards to your own nativity set at home! I hope that anyone who decides to join us in on these activities is able to have a fun time with them! We're still technically in our first week of December and although Emery already knows how to say "Santa", she will also say "baby" and point at the baby Jesus every time she sees one in a nativity or in her book. I LOVE all of the traditional Christmas celebrations and know that our holiday season will be filled with plenty of them, but hope that this will help to keep that dreaded "X" out of Christmas, and help us remember in the business of the holiday what Christmas is all about. ❤️
To download everything you'll need for your own 12 Days of Nativity:
dress + tights: baby gap | bow: little poppy co. | teddy bear: build a bear workshop
Christmas is without a doubt my favorite holiday, and with December officially being upon us I'm SO excited because it means that I can now more fully dive in to all of the festivities without the "less spirited" (cough, cough Kyle) getting on my case about starting Christmas too early. 😉 December is also one of my busiest times of the year with holiday preparations, and as much as I hate to admit it, I am that person that wants everything about my Christmas to be picture perfect. I want the pretty tree with the matching wrapped gifts, the cute holiday pictures, the Pinterest worthy Christmas cookies, the clean untouched snow on Christmas morning.... you get the picture. Last year I remember making a goal to avoid any unnecessary "holi-drama", and as much as I'd love to say that I only had to learn that lesson once, as the holiday prep started up this year I found myself getting flustered when I realized that having an able bodied toddler makes for a LOT more messes and crazy than I'd originally planned for in my ideal Christmas imagination. As we were putting up our Christmas tree this year, Emery was having the time of her life throwing all of the "balls" around the house, and although her enthusiasm was adorable to watch it definitely threw a wrench into my usual methodical tree decorating process. It was at that moment however that I realized that I had a choice. I could choose to get frustrated with Emery and the situation, or I could choose to laugh and embrace her sweet enthusiasm, and congratulate myself for thinking ahead of time five years back when I bought plastic ornaments instead of glass. 😜 This Christmas season I'll still be busy, but this year I want to work to make it a different, better type of busy. The more time goes by, I realize that the true joy of the holidays is found more in the people that we spend them with instead of everything else on the outside. We'll still keep plenty busy with all of the traditional Christmas activities, but this year I'm choosing to keep my focus much more on the family togetherness of the activities and much less on the prettiness of them. My family is my greatest gift, so this Christmas, I'm going to embrace them for everything that they are, toddler messes, tantrums, tree destroying tendencies and all, and hope to have it be one of our best, busiest Christmas's yet, spent with those we love the most. ❤️🎄
I hope that everyone has had a happy start to your holiday season!
I LOVE Thanksgiving and everything that it includes, but would be lying if I didn't admit that the idea of cooking a big Thanksgiving turkey and feast intimidates me to an extreme level. I can't even pick up a turkey at the grocery store without the vegetarian in me getting grossed out, but lucky for me we've had amazing friends to do a "Friends-giving" dinner with every year that we've been away from family, so for now I've been able to avoid the daunting turkey task. 😉 This year I got assigned to the table settings for our Thanksgiving feast, and was SO excited to have a November project to work on that didn't involve cooking for a huge group of people. Since dental school is still putting us at a "poor college student" level, I also had the challenge of making things look nice on a small budget. I ultimately decided to do a combination of actual dinnerware, some disposable items, and of course a little creative DIY touch to create something that will hopefully look really nice once all put together with everyone else's delicious cooking. 🙂 These cute little utensil holders are SO easy, quick, and inexpensive to make, and the best part about them is that they can be completely personalized to fit your own dinner table by printing them on different colored card stock, or even by adding extra ribbon, burlap, glitter, etc to fit your preference. As always, have fun with it and happy DIY-ing!
DIY: Thanksgiving utensil holders
skill level: easy | total cost: FREE! (or $5 max on paper) | Total Time: 30 min
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.