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

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



One Year: Motherhood.

(…continued from part one!)

It’s hard to know where to start when writing about the first year of motherhood.  It has been such a roller coaster ride, and honestly, the beginning feels so foggy now. 

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I have always wanted to be a mom.  Certain parts of the role intimidated me – like the giving birth part, and then the whole being responsible for another human thing.  I had a good bit of experience going into it.  I was a nanny to an infant for the first year after college, and I also helped a lot with my little sister (ten years younger then me).  So while I knew a little bit about baby care, none of that could have prepared me for the all consuming love that is motherhood.

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One of the things I often though about during my pregnancy, was how I would be as a mother.  I don’t mean how I would be – like good or bad – but more – what kind of mom would I be?  There was a time in my life, quite a few years ago, where I struggled with a lot of anxiety.  It was confusing, often scary, and many times paralyzing.  It took a good bit of soul searching to resolve, but I’m happy to say that it has been behind me for a while now. 

Part of that journey involved learning how to identify things that would potentially make me anxious or worried.  Of course, during my pregnancy, there were countless things to worry about!  But I hoped that I was mentally prepared to handle the stresses and unknowns of parenting.

Once Cullen arrived and we adapted to our new role as parents, I honestly ended up surprising myself.  I have been way more laid back and relaxed about parenting than I ever expected.  That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days, and don’t get super frustrated sometimes.  But for the most part, I’ve learned to go with the flow and just enjoy it.

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I thought I would be the type of mom who called the pediatrician over every bump, bruise, and behavioral change.  And I thought I’d be a germaphobe, a hoverer, and a micromanager of all things parenting.  And while I have certainly had a few minor freak outs, for the most part I’m pretty easy going.  It’s a nice change.  It feels very freeing.

As far as being a stay at home mom goes, I decided pretty early on that even though the title is “stay at home” – we were going to do anything but.  I know there are different schools of thought on this – some people hibernate for the first few months, and some moms prefer to keep things on a tight schedule.  But I learned pretty quickly that being a control freak only led me to frustration.

I took Cullen to Starbucks when he was three days old.  And every day since, we’ve been out and about – enjoying and exploring the world.  He’s an incredibly social little guy, and I can tell he gets restless and bored if we’re at home for too long – just like me.  We have an incredible group of friends who have become a second family this year.  I can’t say enough about the bond between moms at this stage (and likely at any stage) of motherhood.

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I haven’t had much alone time, or time for personal hobbies and things this year.  That’s something I’m try to improve as things move forward.  But honestly, I really really love being at home with Cullen, so it doesn’t really bother me.  I’m planning to do another “day in the life” type of post soon, showing a bit more of what we do at this stage.  Staying home with him has been the most rewarding experience of my life.  I know it’s not for everyone, and that doesn’t mean that some days don’t feel very very long, but I also know that these earliest years are just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle.

One year later, I look back at photos of Cullen as a newborn, and think about those early weeks and months.  I feel sad that I have already forgotten so much.  One of my favorite parenting clichés is that “the days are slow, but the years are so fast” – and man, is it so true already. 

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I have bad days here and there.  I get overwhelmed and stressed, I take it out on Cullen and Casey, and I huff and puff and think that there’s no way things will ever be better.  And then I have a good day.  Followed by lots and lots more good days.  It’s easy to let the hard days stand out in your mind, but I go to bed every night and remind myself just how damn good the good is.  It’s the kind of good you can feel in your bones. 

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When I was pregnant, people told me I would be tired.  That breastfeeding would be a challenge, that baby clothes would be outgrown instantly, and that little boys pee in your face during diaper changes.  But no one told me that the first year of parenting can involve both the brightest – as well as the toughest – times in a marriage.

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I have always believed (and still do, actually) that Casey and I have a really special relationship.  Meant to be, soul mates, and all that fluff.  Long before becoming parents, I also knew that when we were good we were really good, but when we were bad we sure knew how to battle.

Become parents together has strengthened that bond tenfold, and deepened our relationship to levels I didn’t know existed.  I can feel Casey squeezing my hand during labor.  I can see him sniff Cullen’s hair when he kisses his head.  I can hear him reading a bedtime story through the other side of a closed door.

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But it wouldn’t be fair to reflect on this year and only mention the parts that make it into photos.  Between long days, late nights, and little relief, it is easy to let things like resentment and competition creep into a relationship.  We went through a few months that were really tough.  But we kept working at it – determined to learn to be better.  Better communicators, better spouses, better parents, better people.

While I certainly wish I could take back some of my harsher words, I know we are both much stronger for having gotten through it.  I learned a lot about my husband and my relationship, and subsequently – about myself – in the process.  I know there will be more challenges and hurdles that lie ahead, but right now it’s all warm and fuzzy.

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And I think really, that’s the big takeaway I have at the one year mark.  I could go on and on for pages about every detail of parenting and motherhood.  But really, it all comes back to one thing – it’s been a pretty incredible year.  Not a perfect year, but really really good. 

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And so I’ll wrap these ramblings up with one more thought…

My favorite time of day with Cullen is first thing in the morning.  He greets me with a huge, playful smile, and throws his arms around me when I lean down into his crib.  He spends the first half and hour or so of each day playing in his sunroom.  I sit back and lean against the wall, still waking up from what never feels like enough sleep.

He plays independently – stacking cups, moving blocks, stacking puzzle pieces.  The blue peg in the yellow cup.  The red block on the windowsill.  Stack, stack, tap, tap.  I sit and watch him, and think about how beautiful it is to have the innocence and purity of a one year old.  He knows enough to feel happiness, joy, and laughter.  But he’s still naïve enough to never feel self-conscious or embarrassed.  He doesn’t care that he’s in a big goofy diaper, or that he has outrageous bed head.  He’s at this amazing age where he seems to only be able to soak up the good.

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As parents, we assume that we are the teachers.  Our job is to guide, to nurture, and to support.  So that is what we do.  But I realized this year that Cullen has plenty to teach me too.  He has taught me to slow down, to let go, to brush off the bad, and to soak up the good. 

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Here’s to the first year of many!

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118 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jenny P.     at 10:06 am

That was glorious, and so honest. Beautiful.

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Alexandra     at 10:12 am

Such a great post. I have to say, I so appreciate your honesty. It really hit home to see that someone that seems so perfect and has all their ducks in a row has hard days too. I have been feeling less than adequate as a wife and mother lately and its just comforting to know I am not the only one who has “bad” days. Thank you!

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elizabeth     at 10:13 am

I think this might be one of my favorite posts from you. :) Keep soaking up the good!

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Anna @ On Anna's Plate     at 10:18 am

It really is crazy how fast time flies after you have a child. I look back at pictures of the first few days of our now 7 month-old’s life, and I can’t believe she was ever that small. And yet, at the same time, it feels like almost yesterday that I was finding out I was pregnant in the first place. Ah, motherhood contradictions. :-)

Glad y’all have had such a magical first year!!

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Erica     at 10:20 am

I agree with Elizabeth, this is probably my favorite post I’ve read on here. Thank you for your honesty in what life has been like this first year as a Mother!

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Andrea     at 10:20 am

What a blessing. You have such a way with words (probably why you write eh?)lol I have loved following your journey. Photos, posts… etc. Here’s to many many more! <3

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Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life)     at 10:20 am

Wow, Emily. One of your best posts. It resonates with me deeply. The innocence and pure happiness of a child this age (or 14 months in my case!) truly is astounding. I do my best to try and soak it up!

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Chasity Grome     at 10:22 am

This might sound really weird, but it is so great and refreshing to hear that you and Casey “know how to battle” and that you go through rough patches in your relationship. It is so easy to read about someone else’s life in a blog and, while you know you’re only seeing the things that the writer chooses to share with you, compare your life to theirs.

Thank you for choosing to share your life with us through your blog. I have loved reading about your journey over the last few years; the running and racing, the cooking and creating, being pregnant, and learning how to gracefully (from my point of view) accept that life is going to change and you have to just go with the flow. I can’t wait to keep reading and see where life takes you!

Also, how’s the breastfeeding going now that you’re at the one year mark?

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Megan     at 10:24 am

Thank you! I am 36 weeks pregnant with our first (a boy). I sit here and try and think of how my life is going to change and it’s scary, exciting and overwhelming all at once. I’ve heard many good things and twice as many bad things to expect. This post was more than just a few words- you let us into a part of your heart from the past year. Thank you for sharing your life and feelings without the need to sugarcoat your experiences. Reading this makes my heart full of hope for the year to come. :)

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Lauren Jamison @ The Barn     at 10:24 am

I love the section about the struggles in your relationship with Casey. My husband and I are very similar in that we love strongly but we also fight strongly. Compared to our friends we have gone through some very different and crazy challenges during our relationship and especially during our marriage. At times I’ve been embarrassed to admit just how low our relationship has sunk, but then I realized that it’s not right or even reasonable to compare our marriage to anyone else’s, because we have gone through things totally unique to us. And possibly, in spite of the rough times, we are stronger than a lot of them because of it. I think realizing that you have had rough times, and acknowledging the struggles, means you are paying attention and looking for way to do better. Whether it’s parenting, marriage, or even a job.

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Veganlily     at 10:27 am

Your most beautiful post to date!

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Sami     at 10:28 am

hands down my favorite post. absolutely and incredibly beautiful <3

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Julie @ Swim…Bike…Running on Empty     at 10:29 am

I loved reading this post. Your transperancy is so refreshing, and I hope you know what an inspiration you are to all of us that hope to start families one day! You certainly give me hope that I will be a good momma and will also be able to balance that with a career and personal interests, if it all plays out that way :)

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Hallie@ChasingHallie     at 10:35 am

What a beautiful post. Made me tear up. Molly just turned one as well and its been an amazing and terribly hard year all at the same time. But at the end of the day we created this beautiful, curious, brave, smart, hilarious little human being. And it doesn’t get much better than that.

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Becca     at 10:37 am

This made me tear up! My little guy turned one last week, and we’ve been thorough a lot of the same things. It’s great to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly as a reminder that we all go through it!

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hillary     at 10:38 am

This was so beautifully written. As you may have experienced at some point as a blog reader yourself, I have found myself unexpectedly invested in the lives of you and your family. Thank you for providing your readers with a small window into your lives and journey. I’ve so enjoyed reading along and hope you continue to share little snippets for years to come. All the best to all of you!

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 10:39 am

What a wonderful post! This will be so lovely for you to look back on many years from now. I look forward to a little changing my perspective one day :)

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Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)     at 10:41 am

This post brought tears to my eyes! Your story makes me so excited for that stage in my life.

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Lisa @ The Splattered Apron     at 10:43 am

So proud of how you wrote this post–open and honest, as you always do. We’ve had such similar experiences over the first year of our babies’ lives and I’m so grateful you’ve been there for me along the way (and I hope I’ve been there for you!) Here’s to many, many, many more years to come.

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Laura     at 10:48 am

You are an amazing writer, and this post brought me to tears!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 10:49 am

Thank you for not glossing over the difficulties that the first year brings to a marriage/partnership. While in one sense you get closer but in another you become strangers. It was tough to separate ourselves from parents and spouse. It’s a day to day learning experience for sure.

I agree with this being one of your best posts yet!

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Carol     at 10:52 am

What a beautifully written post, I cried, because my son (who is 5 months now) teaches me something EVERY SINGLE day! Thanks for your words and honesty, and for letting us in your life!

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Christine     at 10:55 am

What a beautiful post! Just what I needed today to remind me to keep things in perspective.

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Emily     at 10:55 am

if you’re baby isn’t the cutest, I don’t know whose is

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Tammy Root     at 10:59 am

Loved reading this post. :)

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Staci     at 11:04 am

so.beautiful. keep up the good work, mama!

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Katie     at 11:05 am

Aaaaaaaaand I’m crying. Thanks a lot. :)

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries     at 11:15 am

This post brought a huge smile to my face as well as a few tears along with it. Even though I’ve never met you, I see a lot of myself in you. As we expect our first baby in April, I hope to be as wonderful a mother as you are. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad, but also how amazing motherhood is. I can’t wait to be a mama! I’m also curious, how did you find your group of mom friends? That’s something I hope to find after our little one comes!

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Whitney     at 11:19 am

You really do have a way with words! Marriage is hard enough without children and I know that once they’re thrown in the mix it has to be even more challenging. I wish other bloggers would be more honest about how it changes once a baby is born. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. You are blessed!

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Kat     at 11:20 am

oh the toll that adding a tiny little human takes on a marriage! From the first couple of blissful days when you’re drunk on hormones and can’t believe that you and your partner made this perfect little miracle to the sleepless nights and snapping at each other to diving (not always evenly) and conquering (or battling). It’s a challenge, to say the least. But, like you, I feel like we’re better because of it. I just hope I still feel this way after a second kid :/

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Heather (Heather's Dish)     at 11:21 am

ugh, why am i sobbing like a crazy person?! i think this sums it all up perfectly!

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Sarah     at 11:21 am

This hit home for me! I have 16 month old twins and I related so much to this post! I wasn’t prepared for the tough times between my husband and I. It has been a challenge but like you I feel like our relationship is stronger for going thru the rough times. That’s awesome that you have a tight group of Mom friends, that is priceless! Hoping you are getting along ok without Casey this week!

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Liz     at 11:23 am

This made me tear up and I don’t even have a child! Beautifully written, thank you for sharing.

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Sara     at 11:23 am

So well-written :-) Thanks, Emily!

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Nicole     at 11:29 am

Hi Emily,

What a wonderful post! I really appreciate your honesty and reflection. I also suffer from anxiety and type-A/OCD tendencies so I hope I can become the type of mother you are. Like you said, it must be so freeing to live with a more flexible attitude!

My husband and I are looking to start a family in the next few months and your comments about your relationship with Casey really caught my eye. I appreciate that you may not wish to share more about something so personal and private, but I’d really love to hear your insights on this. I want to do as much as I possibly can to keep my marriage strong. Would you consider delving more into what you learned from your whole experience? I’d really appreciate any advice you can offer!

Thanks Emily!

~ Nicole

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Amy     at 11:33 am

Beautiful post! I found your blog a couple months ago, and I am soooo glad. Reading some of your pregnancy and new mom post made me much less terrified of having kids one day. Thank you for sharing and being real!

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Jaime D     at 11:34 am

Such a beautiful post, I really enjoyed reading it! Makes me extra excited to welcome my first baby this Feb!

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Amanda     at 11:35 am

This was lovely! I’m not a wife or mom (yet), but really appreciated this!

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Kristin     at 11:38 am

Love this post, Emily! We have a 6 month old baby boy, so it has been fun to read your blog to know what to expect as he grows up. I stay home with him and also work full time from home and can relate to so much in this post. I rarely comment but your blog is so raw and real, especially since you’ve had Cullen and that’s really hard to find in blog land. Oh and I adore your recipes!!

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Lindsay     at 11:39 am

this was really inspiring and insightful- thank you so much for sharing.

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Kim     at 11:42 am

Such a fantastic post to read. I have been following your blog for quite some time, and have always appreciated your honesty. It makes me feel better knowing that it is normal for couples to experience some hurdles with their first child – but that it can be overcome. I can’t wait to be a mom… and I completely agreed when you said “that these earliest years are just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle”. You are such a fantastic mom to Cullen!

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Elisabeth     at 11:45 am

So beautiful, Emily! This post has a great message for everyone, parent or not, I think. You seem to always know just how to how to put into writing what you’re thinking & feeling. Congratulations on the first year of motherhood! :)

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jen     at 12:05 pm

eyes are full of tears. beautiful emily and i’m so happy for you. i could close my eyes and picture you during your morning time with cullen that you describe.

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Laura     at 12:10 pm

You made this new momma cry (lets be honest that isn’t THAT hard to do these days!) with your beautiful words. Even though I am only 3 months into the whole motherhood experience I can so relate to the emotions you have expressed. Even the painful ones really resonate with me. Thank you for writing such a beautiful and honest post.

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Kelly     at 12:12 pm

Emily, quit making me cry at work!! :) You are so good at putting your thoughts into words that can be conveyed through your blog. I applaud all that you’ve went though this year and have felt while reading that you master EVERYTHING you set your mind to. Keep on, keeping on is all I can say. Enjoy!

PS. You’re little boy is sooooo darling. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVe that last photo of him. He reminds me sooo much of my little brother Max. He is 13 yrs younger than me and I babysat him when he was Cullen’s age and he looks so similar. I remember touching his tongue and thinking when it isn’t slimy anymore that must me he isn’t a baby anymore.

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Michelle@PeachyPalate     at 12:15 pm

Beautifully written inspiring post that actually made me cry! Your so open and honest…the emotions just pour out of your words!

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Alissa     at 12:17 pm

I’m days away from the birth of our baby boy, and your insights on your experiences over the past couple of years have been invaluable to me. Thank you so much for sharing.

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Laura @ She Eats Well     at 12:20 pm

Such a lovely and honest post. It’s incredible how much Cullen has grown and changed throughout the past year. He is absolutely adorable and hard not to fall in love with from the computer screen! I love reading about your adventures with him and look forward to reading more.

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Jess@atasteofconfidence     at 12:27 pm

Such a touching post! Really, great job writing it. This makes me excited to be a mother. <3

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Amy     at 12:38 pm

Awesome, awesome post. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Andrea     at 12:52 pm

Fabulous post. What brings tears to my eyes many times (as a mother) is the pure innocence that I see in my boys and I want it to last forever. Being a mom really does change you…for the better most definitely!

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Shari     at 12:52 pm

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story – your heart – with all of us.

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colleen     at 1:02 pm

Amazing and honest post Emily!! Children, even the second and third in my case, bring challenges to a marriage. I like to describe what parenthood does to a marriage as, “only the strong survive.” A little harsh, but so true. If a marriage doesn’t have a strong base it won’t last through parenthood. Does it take work, communication, compromise, etc. – Yes! Does it ever end? No! Is it worth it? Yes, as long as you remember/reflect on the good.

With that said, I am so guilty of not expressing honestly to family and friends how tough parenting is on a marriage. Probably because I’m afraid to being judged. But we all should be open about those challenges, as well as the good stuff.

Here’s to many more good years.

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Elyse     at 1:16 pm

Beautiful post! I appreciate your honesty so much and that’s the main reason I love your blog. (In addition to the yummy recipes! Made the lentil quinoa cranberry loaf yesterday and it was DIVINE.)

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Angela     at 1:19 pm

Well said!

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Mo     at 1:22 pm

Best post…ever! Thank you for your honesty. I’m not a mother, so I don’t know how hard, yet rewarding, that can be. But it is so nice to hear you say that you & Casey have your less-than-stellar moments. It’s easy to read blogs, where people post only “sunshine & rainbow,” and forget that we are all real people in real relationships. Here’s to many more years for your sweet family!

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Julie     at 1:39 pm

What a great post! Your honesty about the hard times is so refreshing. Sometimes I think I should stop reading blogs ‘cuz they’re always sunshine & roses & end up making me feel bad about my humdrum life. I certainly wish you & your family all the happiness in the world, but I appreciate you letting us all know that you go through difficult times just like the rest of us. Thanks Emily!

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April     at 1:40 pm

Thank you SO much for this post Emily…i have big tears in my eyes because you made me feel ‘normal’.
I have a one-year old as well and i have to say the hardest thing from this year is the toll it has taken on my husband and my relationship. Like you said, no one told me how hard it would be on the two of us. Actually, we are going to ‘see’ someone about it next week because it hasn’t gotten better yet:( I am SO happy you guys are in a great place, that is very encouraging. Love, love, love this post:)
And thanks again for such a beautiful post, as always.

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Hilary @ Peanut Butter Spoonfuls     at 1:43 pm

This is so perfect it made me cry! I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at that :)

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Andrea @ Onion in My Hair     at 2:06 pm

I enjoyed reading this immensely!

My spouse and I just started talking seriously about “the next step,” and your posts came at the perfect time.

Beautiful words and such honestly.

Thank you! <3

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com     at 2:34 pm

A very emotionally honest post. Thanks for sharing. Being parent is not an easy job, but you both surely handled it more than well :)

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Emily @ www.main-eats.com     at 3:21 pm

So beautiful and lovely! I love your honesty-you are a great mom! : )

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Sherisse     at 3:37 pm

You are such a lovely writer Emily :)

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Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife     at 3:47 pm

I’m crying. What a BEAUTIFUL post!

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Bridget B.     at 4:00 pm

This is such a wonderful post. I, like you, am an organizer, a bit of a control freak, and a highly-motivated person with my own set of goals. It has been so enlightening to watch you take on the role of mother. I have been reading since you were about 3 months along with Cullen, and each post gets better and better. (As an English teacher, I also love being able to “hear” your voice in all of your writings.) Thank you for sharing this honest look at the good and bad with the blogging community. I look forward to motherhood more and more with each passing year due to people like you. :)

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kelly     at 4:07 pm

Thanks for your honesty…

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eliza     at 4:11 pm

<3 loved this : It’s the kind of good you can feel in your bones.

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natalie @ will jog for food     at 4:20 pm

What a beautiful post. You have an amazing little family :)

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Amanda     at 4:28 pm

What a beautiful post! I’ve never commented before but I felt compelled to let you know how much I loved reading it!
With only 1week till my due date it couldn’t have come at a better time!!
Thank you for sharing:)

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Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras     at 4:29 pm

Thank you for such a beautiful post! As a single woman who plans to have a family one day, I love your honest portrayal of motherhood. It makes me really excited for when it’s my turn :)

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Jen     at 4:35 pm

I read your blog ALL THE TIME but never comment but had to on this post. I have a 13 month old monkey and I feel like I could have written this post (although not as well) word for word. Everthing you said about letting go, marriage struggles, learning from the baby is all so true. So well written. Your little guy is adorable and you guys make a great pair. Good luck on year two ;)

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Danielle     at 5:14 pm

I love how honest this post and you are, especially about marriage. I feel like bloggers often portray only the good and it makes you stand out and connect with readers much more. It’s nice to hear when you have a bad day bc that’s life! Sooo refreshing! Ps he is sooo adorable:)

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Jerrell     at 5:16 pm

Beautiful post, Emily! By far one of my absolute favorites.

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kat     at 6:31 pm

This is a really cool post. I am a newlywed, adjusting to that change, and wondering how in the hell one adds a baby in there… thanks for your honesty.

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Grace     at 6:56 pm

Loved everything about this post! You are an amazing woman and mom!! Being a mom myself, to two little boys, I can relate and truly believe that….
” While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about” – Angela Schwindt

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy     at 7:14 pm

I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing!

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Rachelle     at 7:16 pm

Wow, that brought tears to my eyes!
You are such a phenominal writer! Thank you for putting that into words. It really reflects a ton of what I feel :-) <3

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Leah     at 7:20 pm

What a beautiful post! I too appreciate your honesty. You are a wonderful writer. I’m a sahm of 2 and my second just celebrated her second birthday. Birthdays always make me emotional reflecting on the past year. Parenthood can be a roller coaster but I’m so blessed to be on this ride. Some days are hard but seeing that smiling face of your little one makes it all worth it. Thanks for the happy tears you brought me too in this post! Btw, love the last pic of Cullen. So cute!

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Maria     at 8:06 pm

While I’ve always known that I’ll be a mother someday, the thought still, at 29, completely terrifies me. The whole taking care of another human being thing, to be exact :) And especially since my coworkers (gotta love them) spend our lunch hours telling me how exhausted they are as parents and for me to enjoy my freedom while it lasts.

But this post (and numerous others you’ve written) make me to incredibly excited to be a parent one day. I know it’ll be scary and exhausting and new territory, but will be worth it and then some!

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Robin     at 8:35 pm

Thank you for being refreshingly honest. Our first child had some issues we had to work through, and I felt that made our relationship much stronger. However, when we had our second, it almost tore us apart. It’s hard to put into words the good, the bad and the ugly, but you do such a wonderful job without placing blame and yet looking forward. Thank you!

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 8:39 pm

Oh wow. This post touched me so much. I’m engaged and getting married next year, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and the way you described your and Casey’s relationship when you were planning your wedding/newlyweds is exactly how I would describe Josh and I now. I feel like we really are perfect for each other, we’re all about spending quality time together and genuinely are each other’s best friends. We’re at least five years away from kids (at least that’s the plan) but I have always wondered what happens to relationships, even the strongest of ones, when a baby is introduced into the equation. I can’t tell you how much your honesty means to me, and how much it helps me feel more prepared for the road ahead. I really really wish more blogs, including my own had this level of honesty.

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Tiffanie     at 10:30 pm

Wow. Your love for your boy makes me SO excited to be a mom someday. Thanks for sharing such a real and heartfelt post!

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kristin     at 11:04 pm

You’re such an incredible person! I think your posts have made us all fall in love with wonderful little Cullen! It’s great that you can reflect on all of the positives as well as the negatives.. takes a lot of bravery and many thanks for so much honesty. I’m looking forward to motherhood :)

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Maya     at 12:28 am

Love this and relate to SO much of it. (I was also really nervous while pregnant and have surprised myself by being a laid-back mom… I think when I met my daughter I just immediately sensed that she was tough and capable and would help me see what she needs!) Thank you for your honesty and congratulations on such a wonderful year!

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Angie     at 4:45 am

Loved reading this! Felt teary! Thanks for sharing! Your an amazing momma!

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Lee     at 5:17 am

I have some major anxiety issues that I am trying to work through. It is comforting to read about someone else who has had similar issues and was able to overcome them.

Great post!

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Elise     at 5:30 am

Cullen seems like one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen. He’s all smiles!

Thanks for sharing such honest posts. I love how real you are.

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Katy @MonsterProof     at 5:39 am

I have to thank you for your comments on marriage. Yours was always one I placed on a pedestal, while looking at my bumpy one with…I don’t know…fatigue? The first year was DEFINITELY hard on us. Which, don’t get me wrong, I expected, but it’s nice to hear that it’s not because our relationship is inherently flawed, but rather because it is TOUGH, and everyone is challenged by infants. Thank you for your reflection.

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lisa     at 7:38 am

Great post! I love how honest and reflective you are. One of your most touching posts.

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CC     at 7:47 am

Really beautiful post. I have a 9.5 month old and relate on every level. Tearing up at work!

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Kamila     at 8:22 am

Love the post & all the comments. I find everyone’s voices eminently relatable, there is so much genuine feeling and honesty! Thank you Emily for creating such a space with your blog.

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Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength     at 10:47 am

I love this and I love that you pointed out that having a child is way hard on even some of the best and strongest marriages. I second that one. Funny also, I was thinking today how I’m a lot more relaxed as a mom than I thought I would be. YAY! :)

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Claire     at 11:12 am

I love all of your gorgeous photos, they tell such a beautiful story. Such a wonderfully honest post, thank you x

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Olviya@servingsisters.com     at 12:20 pm

I’ve really enjoyed reading all your motherhood posts and I’m just a newlywed college student:). I always tell my husband, I want to be a mom like Emily. :) I LOVE how involved you are with Cullen.

I hope to be a stay-at-home mom one day, and your posts just encourage my desire even more.

Keep up the great work!

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Laura-Ashley     at 12:21 pm

Wow. What a beautifully written post. Although I am not a wife or a parent yet, your words struck home when you spoke of your relationship. “We went through a few months that were really tough. But we kept working at it – determined to learn to be better. Better communicators, better spouses, better parents, better people.”

Thank you for your words, honesty and most of all the reminder to “keep working at it”.

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Stephanie @ LoveLaughterLight     at 1:34 pm

Beautiful!

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Azka     at 2:32 pm

Oh, Emily! When you write about motherhood it always makes me grind to a halt and really take stock of all the blessings that I have, and my one year old. Always guts me. This post brought me to tears just as your guest post on Gina’s blog a month after having Cullen did – that’s how I found your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us.

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Emily @LivingLongfellow     at 3:18 pm

I swear the only comments I make on your blog are that i love your honesty. I find most bloggers sugar coat things and it always seems so fluffy and happy-but us readers know it’s not reality. Thank you for opening a window into your life and not pretending life needs to be perfect. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Raising a family is hard. Thank you for being open and honest. I wish more bloggers were the same way.

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Sarah     at 4:38 pm

I loved this post. My take away when you write about Cullen is to always try to keep that kind of appreciation for the small moments of parenting and to remember to find joy in parenting. Having 3 teenagers, I find this to be a challenging time. And it does go fast!

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Nellie     at 6:59 pm

What a beautiful post! Moved to tears! Thank you for being so honest about the hard parts of motherhood. Reading blogs about mothers one often thinks that it’s all rainbows and hearts for other couples and wonders what they are doing wrong when they hit a rough patch!

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Laura     at 8:39 pm

Honestly, that was just such a great, heartfelt, make me smile post.

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Tae     at 9:08 pm

This post made me tear up! I have a 9 month old and am already emotional about him turning one. What a year it has been so far! The part about you and Casey was so nice to read and I can relate. Thanks for opening up about the truths of motherhood!

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Jess     at 10:52 pm

Wow! Your words are so beautiful–I loved your postpartum posts. And I appreciate your honesty. I’m a new momma myself and this new role is so rewarding, but so hard. Also, I’m quite amazed by how you find the time to write such wonderful posts :)

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Caroline     at 5:23 am

My favorite post, not just of your blog, but of any. Your honesty is so refreshing. Unlike some other blogs that are crowded with ad links and seem designed primarily to boost the egos of the authors, the joy you get from motherhood, outdoor life and healthy cooking radiates from the pages.

My daughter is 6 now and reading your blog reminds me of the happy, careening toddler she was and the conflicting emotions I experienced going through those early years. I can tell you that it gets even better, if you can believe it! Soon Cullen will be able to tell you what is putting such a big grin on his face.

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Marisa     at 7:52 am

Beautiful.

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Diana @ frontyardfoodie     at 1:46 pm

You’re gonna make me cry with this post!

It’s true, parenthood makes or breaks your marriage. I think because as a parent your priorities are made for you and if your spouse disagrees there’s really no place for it…

My first year of parenting was so easy that it didn’t prepare me for giving birth a second time. Not only was my second son high needs but the amount of energy it took to care for him AND my two year old was so overwhelming that I definitely had some serious melt downs. My husband was such a key factor in the second labor and delivery as well as the months that have followed that I am so truly grateful we’ve taken this path. We’re stronger and certainly more in love than ever.

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Katie J     at 2:42 pm

A beautiful beautiful post!

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Marci     at 7:55 am

I love your motherhood posts. I feel very similar on many things but don’t put them into words as well. I find when I look back to before becoming a parent that I had no idea what to expect and no idea to even think of what kind of parent I would be. It is nothing like I imagined and a lot more frustrating but fun.

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adnana     at 8:14 pm

Nice post. I will tell you something that you might not really like. You may choose not to display this comment. For future, do not under any circumstance disclose personal information. It s for your own good. Even if you go through harsh times, do not share it. Because people are mean and judgmental. It will be easier for you to get through hard times without the meanness of other people. That s what my mom taught me, and she was, oh, so right. Otherwise, you are truly blessed with a healthy boy(so many moms struggle with sick kids), a good looking husband;) and a nice place to live. That s more than a lot and many people dream to have what you have. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your blessings!

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ANH     at 8:35 am

Such a beautiful post. You are so good with words. Congratulations on a wonderful year to you and your family!

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Shannan     at 11:43 am

Great post! It’s so nice to hear an honest account of motherhood. Sometimes people make it look so easy, but it’s nice to admit there are hard times as well. I can see how the good times would definitely outweigh the bad!

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AutumnTao     at 12:02 pm

Aaaahh.. a breath of fresh air. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog Emily. I’ve been reading for years and have taken many recipes from your kitchen, and now I am taking in all that you offer as a mom. I’ve got a little guy just about to turn 4 mo and find myself struggling some days. Reading about your day to day life helps me realize more and more that parenting is the toughest job in the world, and every day won’t be easy breezy. I, too, continue to work on being the best mom and wife every day. In a time where I find myself deleting beloved bloggers from my reader bc they present a very rosy picture of motherhood that makes me feel a tad inadequate, I turn to your posts more for a realistic depiction of family. Cheers to you. You are an amazing girl ;)

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melissa     at 2:43 pm

Honest, raw and beautifully written Emily! I’ve followed your blog for several years now, and enjoyed many of your recipes. I’ve enjoyed reading about your life as a new mom, and watching your sweet little guy grow.

Your openness and honesty is so refreshing! :)

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Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction     at 6:00 am

I have been following your blog ever since before Cullen was born. It is so facsinating to see him grow up and to watch him change as you parent him. You are a great mother Emily, you should be very proud!

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Carrie @ The Cook's Palette     at 12:33 pm

Love this so, so much. Lovely reminder to always focus on the good.

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Claire     at 6:16 am

Emily, I have been reading your posts for the last year and a half, and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. However, this post was the most perfect post you’ve written. I surely appreciate your candidness; you have such a beautiful life, and it looks even more so with the struggles revealed. Thank you.

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Lara     at 4:58 pm

I loved reading this. It’s been so great to share in your parenthood journey. It makes me wish I would have documented G’s early days and weeks better. I think I’ll start doing a monthly update now…it’s never too late, right? I was just such a mess in those first few months :/

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Karrie Carr     at 7:05 am

So beautifully said! Made me tear up!

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