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    Emily Malone

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

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    5K - 23:28

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    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.



Home Again.

And just like that, vacation is over and we are back to grilling on the deck and playing on our favorite playgrounds.  Thanks for giving me the space and time to truly unplug – it felt wonderful!

Of course the only thing I didn’t unplug from was my camera.  I shared the first half of our vacation with you last week, and here is the rest of it.  I assure you that despite the number of pictures here, I used great restraint in not posting hundreds more.  I am nuts.

As the week carried on, we got into a good groove.  Beach in the mornings, breaks for the afternoon nap, and either the pool or the bike trails (or both!) in the afternoon.  Tough life, right? 

Casey and I snuck away for a couple of lunches while eager grandparents relieved us of our duties.  I cannot even begin to handle southern humidity, but I can eat my weight in hush puppies. 

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Cullen was mostly a beach guy, as the pool was a typical “adult” pool with no area for him to swim or stand on his own.  He wasn’t a huge fan of being held in the water, so he preferred to stand on the side and jump in (over and over again) or play with water toys with Grandpa.  Because of this, he also learned to count to three!

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Malone boys – I wonder what the next one will look like!

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I brought a small backpack of Cullen’s toys with us – just a handful of things.  While we got cleaned up and made dinner in the evenings, he usually ran around the living room and bowled Sesame Street figurines over with his wind up cars. 

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We had one fabulous night of thunderstorms, which I was hoping for since they are such a rarity in Seattle

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The day after was perfectly gloomy and overcast – perfect for a long morning at the beach.  Funny how I used to pray for full sun and high temps, and now I found myself wishing for cloud cover and grey skies.  It was much more comfortable with a nice stormy breeze and indirect sun. 

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Couldn’t love this fish more if I tried.

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Each day when we’d get to the beach, Casey would dig Cullen a “pool” to play in, and we’d all take turns making trips to the water with buckets.  He liked this much better than the ocean itself, and it made it much easier for us to keep tabs on him.  He also used the sand mountain as a water slide!

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First dip in the ocean for Baby Hadley!

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Here’s a shot of our beach setup with our condo tower in the background.  With two youngsters in our group, it made a huge difference to be oceanfront.  We could be indoors as much as needed, without feeling like we were missing out on the beach action. 

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Grandpa gave Cullen his first surf lesson.

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And Hadley joined him for a short ride of her own. 

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Way too much fun, way too many pictures, way too many times I’ve longed to be back on the beach since we left.

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An afternoon bike ride took us to Harbor Town for a trip to the playground and a round of ice cream cones. 

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We are so grateful to Mimi and Grandpa for making this trip possible.  It’s not always easy to gather family living in Seattle, Indiana, and Atlanta, but I’m so glad we were able to make it work. 

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And it was a huge treat for us to spend the week with Hadley!  I was encouraged by Cullen’s reaction to her.  He showed a lot of interest but was always gentle, and seemed to be aware of her presence.  He did tell her “NO” quite often when he was snacking or playing with something coveted.  Good thing she is so good at sharing. 

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Evenings involved relaxing out on the balcony as a family. 

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And biking around the island to a few of our favorite spots!  I wasn’t sure how biking would go being 30 weeks pregnant, but it turned out to be no big deal.  I felt totally comfortable, as we were on trails the whole time and cruising along at a really slow speed. 

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I even took Cullen out for a ride by myself!  We rode past my grandparents house and all around the lagoon I used to fish in as a kid.  We looked for turtles and “chomp chomps” and spotted a few!

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Our final day at the beach was spent stretched out in the sand as a family.  We were blessed with gorgeous weather, low tides that worked well with our mornings, and a happy toddler who would have stayed out there all day. 

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I had a blast chasing Cullen around, but also felt the limitations of being this far along.  I had a hard time keeping up with all that Cullen wanted to do, and hauling all the stuff to the beach and pool and back all day long.  Thank goodness for a few afternoon naps!

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I did toddler swim lessons with Cullen for the past month, and started out wearing a much more modest tankini that covered up my giant belly.  It ended up riding up on me and feeling really bulky and uncomfortable.  Despite feeling (and looking) enormously pregnant, I decided that ultimately I just wanted to be comfortable and enjoy the water with my kid. 

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Some day we’ll look back on these photos and be able to show baby brother that he was there too!

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And I got plenty of good newborn practice in with Hadley, although she is quite possibly the world’s best baby.  I hope to be blessed with a little one that sleeps half as much as she does (no seriously – sleeping through the night at eight weeks, sigh).

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On our last night at the beach, we ventured out for some family photos.  It took about an hour longer than planned to get our whole group out the door, which resulted in Cullen being the world’s biggest grump.  Oh well!

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Love these three!  I loved getting to spend so much uninterrupted time with them, including 12 hours road-tripping just me and Katie (with the kiddos in the back). 

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The original Malones – a good looking group!

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I really don’t think any child has ever loved a Grandpa the way Cullen loves Eddie.  It is equally special and painful to watch, as I wish they’d be able to be in each other’s lives more often.  We do our best though, and we certainly make the most of the time we are together! 

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The only one who was able to get him to crack a smile…

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And Malone girls!  Still outnumbered, but we’re getting there.  Most importantly, the lefties currently outnumber the righties (me, Kirt, Eddie, and Cullen).  We are eagerly trying to recruit Hadley to our side.

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Where the wild things are…

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After everyone packed up and went inside, I ended up sitting on the beach until well past sunset just soaking up one final night of ocean breeze.  I ended up being in Hilton Head on the one year anniversary of my Grandma’s passing, and it felt so fitting to be sitting there thinking about her on the very beach she walked for so many years. 

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We packed up and left early Saturday morning, but not before I squeezed in one more beach walk.  I set my alarm for 5am and was out the door in the dark, determined to take the sunrise walk I’d promised myself all week long.  I waited until the perfect day for it, and was greeted by an amazing pink sky, a giant ball of orange rising over the water, and I even saw a few dolphins swim past.  A perfect ending to a wonderful week.

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After a road-trip back to Atlanta, we spent one more night of vacation visiting with local family and keeping Cullen up way past his bedtime (10pm!).  We also finally got that all-important cousins photo. 

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Twenty one months and twelve weeks – I can’t wait to see how this changes as they get older and new little ones join the group. 

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After two days of traveling, we are back home in Seattle – missing the beach and our family, but happy to be back on schedule and chasing our dogs around again.  We’re looking ahead now to the next big thing on our calendar – having a baby!  Gulp.

Hoping to squeeze in a bit more summer fun, house projects (um, like START a nursery), lots of work, some good recipes, and a good amount of down time until that happens.  Nine weeks to go!

If you are still reading and want to hear even more about our trip and vacationing with a toddler, you can check out the latest over on Babble10 Things That Change When You Take A Toddler To The Beach.  Enjoy!

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48 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Meri     at 4:17 pm

In that one close-up picture, Cullen’s hair looks reddish! So precious! Glad you all had such a great time in the South!

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christine jennings     at 4:20 pm

Welcome Home!! Love the pictures!!! Wow, 9 weeks. Time flies!! Take Care!

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Theresa     at 4:22 pm

Always love your family posts. What a special vacation! Taking Cullen back to the place you basically grew up and have such fond memories! And so nice you had those moments to yourself to think about your grandmother.

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Andrea     at 4:52 pm

I love pregnant bellies in bikinis! You look great. The last pic with Cullen and the new baby in his lap is so cute!

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sarah     at 5:06 pm

ahhhhh…thanks, em.

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Lauren @ The Highlands Life     at 5:13 pm

I love all of these pictures. Cullen looks just so happy all the time. I love it!!

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Jan     at 5:16 pm

Love this post! The sentiments are beautiful. Cullen is adorable, as always. And Grandpa is hot!

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Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 5:18 pm

Lovely! And 9 weeksssssss!!!!!!!!

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Kristen     at 5:20 pm

Is it me or does Cullen look a whole lot like Casey’s brother?

You look adorable in that bikini, btw!

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cathy Reply:

I thought the same thing! he does look like Casey’s brother!

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Emily @ Life on Food     at 5:36 pm

Cullen looks so cute with the baby. Cannot wait for his brother love. Hush puppies are the best. I hope you ate extra for me.

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Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family     at 5:39 pm

I am so glad that you guys had a perfect week and I am even more glad we were able to meet you! Until next time :) Now that I got into grad school I’ll be here for 3 more years!

[Reply]

Lee     at 5:39 pm

Great pictures. And Cullen is a lefty? That is exciting! Lefties represent!

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Clare     at 5:45 pm

Wow! Casey’s parents are FIT!

Respect.

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Leah Reply:

I was thinking the same thing! It’s awesome that they take such great care of themselves and their health! <3

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Meagan     at 5:52 pm

I enjoyed reading this Emily! I’m glad you all had a great time :)

[Reply]

Julie     at 6:06 pm

Way to rock that bikini – you look fantastic! :)

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Alex @ Kenzie Life     at 6:10 pm

Unplugging on vacation earlier this summer made me realize how refreshing it is to be away from the internet! Glad you had such a nice time! And I agree with all the comments above that you look amazing!

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Anne Marie     at 6:22 pm

Hey, I’m not sure if you’re interested, but my e-commerce interior design company would love to help you with the design for the nursery for the new baby boy :) Maybe we could do it as a giveaway, like a custom design for you and a reader! We do any style, any budget, any vendor, and can work with any existing furniture. You can check out our nursery designs on our site at http://www.looknook.co (no ‘m’ at the end.) Anyway, just email me if you’re interested in more details!

[Reply]

Sara @ LovingOnTheRun     at 6:27 pm

Awww what sweet pictures! So glad you were able to unplug and enjoy the family time! I know how it is to live far away from your family and how precious that time can be! Glad you and your family had such a great vacation!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien     at 6:35 pm

OMG those hush puppies look insanely good. Cullen seriously gets cuter every day! PS–you look adorbs with your prego belly in that bikini :) Can’t wait for baby #2!

[Reply]

Melissa     at 6:44 pm

Looks like such a fun trip! Great photos!

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Padma     at 6:47 pm

Omg Emily, This post made me tear up. So much love shines through in all these pictures. It’s so beautiful. You seriously make me want to have kids, and I never thought I would ever say that. But I’m still no where near there yet! haha. Glad you all had such an awesome week with the family!

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Heather @ Fit Mama Real Food     at 9:58 pm

Cullen is such a happy boy! And he looks so big next to his little cousin. It will be adorable when your next little one joins the cousin shot. Glad you all had a wonderful time with family.

[Reply]

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance     at 10:54 pm

You both have such beautiful families! Nothing beats family vacations, especially near the beach :)

[Reply]

Jola     at 11:12 pm

Looks like an awesome trip!
I’d love to see more pictures, they just scream happiness und summer!

Have a great wednesday!
Jola

[Reply]

Shel@PeachyPalate     at 2:31 am

Gorgeous pics! Cullen looks like one super cool dude on his body board! I can’t refrain from commenting either….you are one super fit mum to be! Respect missus!

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Tara Newman     at 3:47 am

Beautiful pictures of what looks like a serene and relaxing vacations. And lady, no worries…you rocked that bikini!!

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Beth@Motor City on my Mind     at 5:56 am

So happy you guys had a great vacation! Cullen is so cute and I’m sure he will be a great big brother!

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Julie     at 6:22 am

What a wonderful vacation! Thanks for sharing. Each pic of Cullen is cuter than the last. Such an adorable kid! (And you looked great in your bikini!)

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char eats greens     at 8:01 am

YOU’RE A LEFTIE??!?! I’m left-handed and pretty sure my girl is too (sucks her left thumb and picks up food with it), my mom is also left-handed. I don’t care either way, but I think it would be cool if my girl was – 3 generations! Cullen looks like the happiest little guy ever. I absolutely love it!! Harbour town is actually the first real trip me and my hubby took when we were still dating. That’s actually where we met up with all his friends that I met for the first time. Talk about nerves!!!

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Janine     at 8:01 am

I am currently on vacation with my family in HH, we are staying in harbour town. It is so fun to see your photos too! It is so great here! It is a fabulous spot for a relaxing family vacation!

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Emily     at 8:17 am

your days look exactly like I hope ours do when we go on our beach vacation in Sept. So.much.fun!

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Lele     at 9:18 am

These pictures are adorable, but I’m surprised that someone who’s always so concerned about her family’s safety would bike without a helmet. Your safety is important too! My cousin cracked his head open biking and got a concussion- it’s possible to really hurt yourself even on “safe” roads.

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Concerned Reply:

Yes!! Please wear a helmet!!! I work with TBI patients and it can happen at any speed!!!

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April     at 10:18 am

Ahhh, your pics are amazing, and i got teary-eyed with how much Cullen loves Grandpa. My little guy (same age as Cullen) absolutely LOVES his Grandpa’s like Cullen does, makes my heart melt!!!! Grandma gets jealous though, ha ha. I am with ya, makes it hard with the distance but thankfully they get special times together!

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Leah     at 12:43 pm

Love the photos!

I was like “start a nursery”? like for plants? Then I realized you meant for the baby! haha!

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Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls     at 12:45 pm

It’s so sweet how much Cullen loves his Grandpa, you can really see it in the pics! Maybe this is a weird (creepy?) thing to say because I don’t know you or Cullen at all but I really feel like our kids should be friends. Every expression Cullen makes reminds me so much of my B!

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Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen     at 1:24 pm

Cullen is the cutest!!!

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Kylie     at 9:00 pm

First time commenting! Seriously love, love, love your blog. Have to ask- what kind of shoes are you wearing in your biking picture? They are super cute!

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Ashley     at 7:42 am

Would you mind sharing the name of the condo complex you stayed at…looking for a great place to stay and it looks perfect!

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Katie     at 8:35 am

BEAUTIFUL pictures!

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Shannan     at 9:05 am

YAY for being a lefty! We are a rare breed. :) It looks like you had a wonderful vacation! I’m glad you got to go and unplug!

[Reply]

Jaime D.     at 11:51 am

Omg – that last picture is beyond adorable!

[Reply]

Sarah     at 1:07 pm

Going to give you a hard time and ask where your helmet was just like I ask my coworkers who bike…no helmet?

[Reply]

Megan (The Lyons' Share)     at 4:32 pm

Oh, Cullen is so adorable as always! My grandparents lived in Hilton Head from when I was about 2 until when I was about 12, and some of my very favorite memories take place there. I have so many pictures of myself as a little girl reading in those very same red rocking chairs- thanks for bringing back the memories!

[Reply]

Dominique @ That's What Domi Said     at 5:27 pm

The sunrise photo is breathtaking! So majestic.

What you said about Cullen’s relationship with his grandfather almost brought me to tears. I was close with my grandfather growing up, even though we lived 8hrs away and only got to see each other twice a year or so, and even though he passed away three years ago, I cannot tell you what a treasure that relationship still is. Cullen is so blessed to have such a special connection with his grandpa, and I have no doubt that they will remain close even in spite of the physical distance between them.

Glad you all had a wonderful vacation and enjoyed some time “unplugged!”

[Reply]

Leah     at 1:58 am

How cute is Cullen :) Looks like a fab trip, glad you all had a great time.

[Reply]

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