about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

    For partnerships, contact: dailygarnishads@mediakix.com.

    Looking forward to chatting with you!


    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Cullen’s First Christmas.

Even though Christmas was this weekend, I’m just now coming out of my chocolate and mashed potato coma and finding my way back to my keyboard.  In all my 30 years, this was the first Christmas I have not spent with my mom and sisters, and even as an adult it felt a little strange to wake up somewhere new on Christmas morning.

This year it was all about making some new traditions!  We slept in late and hung out in our pajamas for most of the morning.  Cullen and I snuggled on the couch and watched Home Alone – a classic! 

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On Christmas Eve, Casey and I discovered that Cullen is not very easy to put down for naps outside of our house.  It’s not an ideal solution, but at our house he takes most of his naps in our baby swing.  After a cranky afternoon of attempting to have him nap in his pillow or pack n play, and no laps lasting longer than ten minutes, Casey’s dad went to Target with the mission of getting “a small, cheap swing or seat.” 

He came back with a giant swing that is nicer than the one we have at home.  I love him.  And Cullen LOVES his awesome swing!

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We eventually made it out of pajamas and into our Christmas finest as extended family members started to fill the house.  Note that Cullen is in a cute holiday outfit that I so carefully picked out.  This will be important later.

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Mesmerized by the magic of Christmas!

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While Cullen was passed around the house, I helped my mother in law finish up some holiday cooking, and around 3pm the table was set with a delicious spread of food.

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Plates were filled…

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With so many amazing vegan options!  Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, wild rice casserole, fermented cranberries, sweet potatoes and apples, and a field roast wellington (AMAZING)!

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Just as we all sat down to dinner, Cullen dissolved into a huge meltdown.  I shoveled a few bites of food into my mouth and then took him into the living room where he promptly passed out on my chest.  It’s tough being little on Christmas.  So many hands and so much stimulation gets overwhelming very quickly.

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One of our fool-proof ways of making him cheer up when he’s cranky is to take off all of his clothes.  The boy LOVES to be naked!  Once he was in his birthday suit and on his Boppy pillow, his mood improved.

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Meeting his grand-grandma Mamaw for the first time!  She was totally in love.

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And his other great-grandma, Jacque!  She told us that she sits and watches TV every night with a picture of him in her lap – it made me cry just thinking about how sweet she is.  For Christmas we gave her a digital photo frame of him for her house (pre-loaded with Cullen pics) so she can see him whenever she wants.  :)  How lucky is Cullen to have FOUR great-grandmothers in his life?

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He is also lucky to have his grandfather, who is truly the baby whisperer.  I have never seen anyone calm him quite like Eddie can.  I need him to move to Seattle – he has the magic touch!

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Four generations – a difference of over 86 years!

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It was so nice to be surrounded by so much love and family.

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And also, so many dogs!  Casey’s family is all about dogs, and this Christmas the house was full of them.  Ruthie the Rottweiler…

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Buggie the German Shepherd…

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And Emma the Pit-mix.  They were all very into Cullen’s sounds and smells!

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For all my efforts in picking out and packing his adorable Christmas outfit, my chubby baby ended up naked in all of his first Christmas photos.  As long as he was happy, that’s all that mattered.

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After the extended family headed back home, the seven of us did our family gift exchange that evening.  As expected, this Christmas was all about Cullen.

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He was VERY spoiled by his grandparents and aunt and uncle. 

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He watched from his Boppy throne while Casey and I showed him all of his generous gifts.

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And the rest of the family opened theirs.

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Eventually our little elf had had enough excitement for one Christmas, and retired to his swing until bedtime. 

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It was a first Christmas that we will be sure to remember, and so wonderful to spend it with so many loved ones.  We’re headed to Cincinnati today to spend Casey’s birthday and Christmas #2 with my family!  The celebrations continue…

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72 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Samantha     at 8:46 am

So beautiful. You are wonderful for sharing these memories.


Jamie @ FoodinRealLife     at 8:48 am

This is so heartwarming and made me smile and laugh! What a cute little naked baby! And I love the pic of him on his “boppie throne” amidst all of the gifts. You truly have a gift of writing where you can share your personal family time and it is so interesting and easy to read! And it certainly doesn’t hurt that you have one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen!


Sara     at 8:50 am

I think grandpas must just have the magic touch! My father-in-law is like the baby whisperer too! Gotta love them!


Jen     at 8:52 am

We have that swing! My daughter (3.5 months) LOVES it and naps in it all the time.


Carly D. @ CarlyBananas     at 8:58 am

Cullen is such a beautiful kid! Your holidays look like they were fantastic. :)


Alisa's Garden     at 9:08 am

So cute! Christmas is so much more magical with a baby in your life, isn’t it?!


kathleen @ the daily crumb     at 9:12 am

what a wonderful first christmas. cullen is more and more adorable every day. you are very blessed :)


Sondi     at 9:23 am

Cullen is absolutely adorable. And wow, is he ever lucky to have four great-grandmothers. That’s awesome.


Jessica     at 9:23 am

My 7 month old has a swing similar to yours, make sure you always have a TON of batteries, it goes through them like.crazy.
Great pics, the grandpa picture of him is especially cute.
As much as I love my three daughters, I get cranky when every holiday has an awesome spread of food and I am always breastfeeding, changing diapers, etc and miss out on a hot plate of yummy food :( I hope you got to eat your plate after her passed out on you!
Are there other vegans in the family? Your vegan spread looked AWESOME!!
Safe travels!


Karen @ are we there yet? Reply:

The BEST thing (besides lulling babies to sleep) about that swing (we have the same one) is that it plugs into the wall! I wish all baby gear had this option so we aren’t constantly tearing through batteries.
Cullen is precious and such a lucky baby:)


Emily Malone Reply:

We got our swing specifically because it plugs in!


Emily Malone Reply:

We are the only vegans, but there were other people who wanted to try all the dishes!


Jennifer (The Gourmetour)     at 9:34 am

How special! It sounds like you have a wonderful family! Enjoy number 2!


Heather     at 9:47 am

haha the little naked Christmas baby, too cute. So glad yall were able to get a swing and get him to sleep! Looks like you had a very nice Christmas.


Jackie @ That Deep Breath     at 9:51 am

He is so cute! Glad you all had a fantastic first Christmas, you all look so happy!


Lauri     at 9:53 am

The swing is a lifesaver! our son napped in his until he was ~ 6 months old at least. LOVED it!

Cullen is adorable and the story about his great-grandmother makes me want to cry too :)


Madison @ Espresso and Cream     at 10:08 am

Such a fun post! Cullen is such a little cutie. I’m totally impressed that you guys managed all the crazy Christmas travel and festivities so well. :)


Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 10:18 am

What a sweetie. I love his faces! Merry Christmas, hope you enjoy #2 :)


Amber K     at 10:22 am

What a beautiful family :)


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey     at 10:30 am

ha! I’m dying at Cullen wanting to be naked all the time. It’s hilarious.


Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)     at 10:41 am

Oh, it looks like such a great Christmas! I’m glad you all enjoyed family. Have a safe trip to your side now and enjoy more family time!


Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]     at 10:48 am

aw, what a lovely x.mas. i love that you share your special family life with us :)


katie     at 11:02 am

Omg. The strokey pic of Emma followed by the naked one of Cullen made me laugh out loud! Love all of the pics!


sarah @ sarah learns     at 11:06 am

it sounds like an amazing christmas! your little guy is so loved and so lucky! :)


Emily (Edible Psychology)     at 11:07 am

Wow, looks like a perfect first Christmas for Cullen! Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of it with us. :-)


Marci     at 11:08 am

I love how Casey went out and bought the swing! And I think it’s funny to think like a baby. “Mom, I just want my swing! I don’t like this outfit, and I don’t know these people. I just want to nap in my own swing!”


April     at 11:09 am

So adorable Emily! Do you mind letting me know what swing you have at home for Cullen? I think I need to break down and get one for my 9-week old. It is just we don’t have much space in our condo:-
Have fun continuing the celebrations!


Marie Reply:

I too was wondering about the swing recommendations!! I was scrolling back through old posts to try to find it, but so far no luck. Swing- like all baby items- range SO much in price, so would be nice to have some recommendations before buying! Thanks!


April Reply:

Ha ha I just came back from babies r us because I am desperate. The one her FIL bought is on amazon for $89 and I am tempted to buy if Emily doesn’t get back to us.


Emily Malone Reply:

This is the swing that we bought in Seattle:
We got that one specifically because it is a dual chair and swing, and we have so little room in our tiny townhouse!


Emily Malone Reply:

This is the one we have at home:
We don’t have much space either, and this is a chair and swing all in one. The one we got here in Indy, is a bit bigger, but I actually like it better:


Michaela     at 11:20 am

aaaaaaaw, I love it.
maybe you can take the new sing? ;)


Sara     at 12:45 pm

The spread looks delicious and Cullen is adorable (as always.) I must have liked to be naked as a baby too. A lot of photos of me as a kid, I’m naked. :-)


I Dream of Beets (Sarah)     at 1:25 pm

He is so STINKIN cute. You make me want a baby!


Danielle     at 1:56 pm

Boppy throne! Love it! My sister is expecting her second and I need to remember to show her how much use you get out of your boppy. With her first she only used it as a breastfeeding prop and it’s much more versatile than she had thought.

Enjoy the remainder of your time with family!


Angela     at 2:32 pm

All of the pictures are wonderful, but the one of Cullen smiling on Casey’s knee is so sweet. It made me smile as soon as I saw it! This was also my first Christmas with my son (almost 6 months old) and it was such a special time. Looks like yours was, too. All the best to your family!


Katie @ Peace Love & Oats     at 2:41 pm

He really is so lucky to have four grandmothers!!! I only had one, but luckily she remarried when I was 7, so I got a grandfather too! They really are the best for spoiling kids, and teaching us what really matters in life.


Gina (Yogattude)     at 2:44 pm

Boppy throne…I love it!!! He is just too cute!


Kate     at 2:49 pm

Haha, that’s funny that he loves to be naked so much! Whatever works, right?


Tanya E.     at 4:01 pm

Sounds like an awesome way to spend Christmas…and the photos are too cute!


Madeline @ Food, Fitness & Family     at 4:08 pm

Such a beautiful family! So glad you enjoyed your first Christmas.

PS – we have the same swing. It is the bomb dot com.


Laura     at 4:21 pm

Beautiful family! Have you considered moving to be closer to family or is it not an option with work/personal reasons?


Emily Malone Reply:

It’s not really an option for us right now, but we definitely hope we can be closer to family eventually.


Emily     at 4:24 pm

Um pardon? Field Roast Wellington? This sounds amazing! Do share!

Looks like it was a fabulous and busy Christmas! And now you get to do another! I’m sure you guys will just zonk out for a few days when you get home:)


Emily Malone Reply:

It was amazing! She special ordered it from Whole Foods in Indianapolis!


Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 4:29 pm

Just an FYI on swings. My kids were totally dependent on napping in swings. When we eventually tried to switch napping to their cribs it was a nightmare! I would try to vary things with less movement as Cullen gets older.

Super cute pics! Nothing like a naked baby to shake up a get together.


Emily Malone Reply:

Yeah that’s one thing I’m worried about. I’m trying to slowly break the habit.


Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life)     at 5:10 pm

oh Cullen, you precious little naked baby- love him!


Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee     at 5:22 pm

Happy holidays. Cullen is so cute! Have fun in Cinci, my family lives there too! :)


Meagan     at 6:09 pm

Adorable! What is with the phone next to him in the last swing picture?


Emily Malone Reply:

It’s for white noise – playing on an app!


Kat     at 6:54 pm

Happy first Christmas Cullen! He is adorable!


Kinder     at 7:00 pm

Cullen is adorable! What a sweetheart! Merry Christmas!


Sarah     at 8:18 pm

Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas!


Emily     at 8:30 pm

I always liked to be naked as a baby… and when I got old enough I took off my own clothes! I liked to keep things interesting : ) It isn’t that rare that my parents friends or family who I haven’t seen in years great me with ‘the last time I saw you, you were naked’ Should I mention on 26?


Elisabeth     at 10:48 pm

What a sweetie! I love the his great-grandma watches TV with a picture of him in her lap – so adorable! Looks like Cullen had a wonderful first Christmas :) (oh, and the pic of him on Casey’s knee is just precious!)


Kiran @ KiranTarun.com     at 11:20 pm

Cullen melts my heart, every time :) Happy Holidays and New Year. Have fun!!!


Lexi @ A Spoonful of Sunshine     at 12:58 am

The photo of Cullen “mesmerized” is sosososososososo adorable. You have such a cute kiddo :)


Erica     at 5:15 am

Ha! Such a fun christmas! I am actually ‘inheriting’ that exact same swing from my cousin whose little guy didn’t like the movement!

I love these posts about life with a baby! I’m due in March and all my family could talk about over Christmas break is how much fun next Christmas will be when the little guy is here. I can see that is true!


Faith     at 6:41 am

Beautiful pictures! And what a beautiful baby! He’s just as cute (or cuter) in his diaper as he is in his lovely outfits!


CAROL     at 6:57 am

Cradle swings, HANDS DOWN (!!!!) are the BEST invention! My daughter loved hers and even though they take up more room than the smaller ones, they are so much better! Glad you were able to find one…make sure to ship it back home to Seattle!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!


Megan     at 7:37 am

Cullen is simply too cute for words. Love that he just hung out in his diaper all of Christmas day!


Renee     at 10:30 am

Thanks for sharing your pics – love the one where he is surrounded with the ladies that spoil him in life – ha! He certainly got a haul for Christmas too. My middle nephew loved being naked or with just a diaper on:) Have a Great New Year!


Laura @ She Eats Well     at 12:25 pm

What a lovely family filled Christmas you had. And your baby is just too precious. I love babies watermelon tummies…they are too cute! I unfortunately think I am still recovering from my chocolate coma… :)


Catherine     at 2:02 pm

Gorgeous baby, gorgeous family!! What a lucky boy Cullen is. I love these pictures so, so much. This makes me excited to have kids – Christmas has got to be the best time when kids are little!!


Renee B     at 11:35 pm

Oh my gosh! I don’t even have a child and this post made me tear up! This was my first Christmas without my mom and sister as well, definitely an adjustment! Looks like you all had a lovely holiday!


STUFT Mama     at 1:47 am

EMily- what a wonderful first Christmas. Each one will get more and more fun! :) Love all the pictures (and the fact that Cullen is only wearing his diaper in half of them). ha ha! happy New year!!!!!!


hannah alehandra     at 2:40 am

Oh Emily! What a wonderful post. You all look very happy and healthy. Just fantastic :) Hope you have a great New Year’s!



Kristen     at 2:43 am

omg can hardly stand the cuteness…I love the pic of Cullen with his grandpa the baby whisperer. My grandad had a similar skill although it was more the kid whisperer…I think it was his quietness…always made us think he was up to something cool. He didn’t talk much but we loved to follow him around and see what he was up to (extra bonus if he let us help :-))


Ruth     at 6:50 am

The story of Cullen’s Grandma and the picture literally made me tear up! What a tender moment :-) Happy New Year!


Amanda / Bulldrogs and Bulldogs     at 1:15 pm

Looks like you guys had a very Merry Christmas! Can’t wait to see what the New Year has in store for you!


Courtney Craig     at 7:35 am

Your holiday with the little one looks lovely! Where did your husband grow up in Indy? My hubby is from there too!


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