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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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    A Look Back.



February.

Are you ready for the longest post ever?

It’s my favorite month of the year!  February brings the promise of spring, (slightly) warmer temperatures, lots of birthdays (including my own!), and plenty more.  This year, I’ve been looking forward to February more than ever. 

I’m not gonna lie – January was kind of a doozy.  Our year started off pretty rocky, and the whole month was just…tough.  It started with some major issues between our dogs.  I’m not going to get into the whole story here (because I could type for days!), but since many of you have asked about it, I’m happy to provide some details.

Long story short – Indy has always been dominant of Huey.  They have just naturally fallen into those roles, and for the most part it has never been an issue.  They still cuddled together and spent all of their time together, and seemed to be the best of friends.  However, there have been times – going back as far as when we lived in Cincinnati – that Indy has acted aggressive toward Huey, and has growled and snarled in a protective way (mostly over food or toys).  But like I said, it never really amounted to much, and wasn’t a huge concern.  He has also always showed aggression and dominant behavior toward other dogs (that he doesn’t know). 

When Cullen arrived, we worked really hard to incorporate the dogs into life with a little guy, and we were appropriately cautious with their level of interaction with him.  There were no issues, and as he got older I felt more and more comfortable that the dogs were very gentle and careful with him.  Honestly, it was surprising how well Indy in particular did with him. 

Fast forward two years.  I spent the summer super pregnant and then Graham arrived in October.  Over Thanksgiving, my inlaws were visiting and Indy decided to get territorial over the attention he was getting from our new visitors.  He turned on Huey and ended up giving him a big cut on the leg.  Even more upsetting than that, Cullen and Graham were both in the room, and while the dogs showed no intention to harm the kids, Cullen was (understandably) petrified.  We have been working for months now to overcome this fear.

A few weeks later there was another incident that resulted in no injuries, but I still didn’t like that the aggression seemed to be escalating.  And finally, right after Christmas there was a major fight in our living room that left Huey in a cone for a week.  This was our tipping point.

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Like I said, Indy has never, ever shown any aggression toward kids or adults, but he has always been slightly aggressive toward other dogs (doesn’t do well at dog parks, kennels, etc.).  In the past, this seemed to exclude Huey, but perhaps as attention in the house became more constrained and he felt more competitive for it, and that changed. 

With emotions very high and the safety of our children being our top priority, we considered re-homing Indy.  We looked into a lot of different options and ultimately decided that for now – we will make it work with both dogs.  The thing is – he’s not great with other dogs, but this pup is unbelievably sweet with the kids, and he is the world’s biggest cuddle monster. 

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And so we spent much of January finding a new rhythm and system that would work for everyone.  Within the house, our dogs are now separated from each other.  We have various baby gates and spaces in the house to give everyone enough room to roam, and I rotate them around all day long so that each dog gets to spend plenty of time with us.  Turns out, they actually seem much happier this way.  Without the need to compete for attention and worry about the other dog, they are both much more relaxed and well-behaved.  It makes me sad that they spent eight years glued to each other’s side, and now their contact is relatively limited, but it is what it is. 

The time that they do spend together is their chance for exercise and fresh air.  I have let them out in the backyard together a bit (as neutral ground seems to be the safest), and I’ve started taking them for daily walks together again.  With all the excitement of going for a walk, who has time to start a fight?

I’ve made the commitment to getting them more exercise and stimulation, and so far I’ve been able to stick to it.  I either walk them during the day with both boys (which is a circus, let me tell you).  Or I wait for Casey to come home and I walk them by myself in the dark – whatever it takes.

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I don’t think all of this is because of our recent life changes, but I’m sure some of it is.  Like I said, the issue of Indy being dog-aggressive has always been there.  It just seems to be escalating a bit now that he’s getting older and our situation has changed a bit.  We also might look into some behaviorist training soon.  I don’t know if it’s sustainable over the very, very long term, but our dogs are also sort of old (sniff – they are 8 and 10), so I’m willing to do it as long as we can.  So that’s my short (but actually long) update on the dogs.  Whew!

So our year started off on a pretty sour note, with dog drama taking center stage.  Luckily, we have the world’s best dog sitter, and also had the opportunity to spend a few days out of town, which we desperately needed!

We drove down to Government Camp at the base of Mt. Hood in Oregon to spend three glorious days with some friends.  This was the view we woke up to every morning – pretty amazing!

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Cullen was really scared of Huey’s cone, and was still feeling very anxious around the dogs at that point, so it was a nice relief to take him away for a few days and to go have some fun.  We went with one of his best buddy’s families, and they had a blast playing together.  There was tubing and sledding…

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And mini snowman-making with the paltry inch or two of snow we had.  Toddlers didn’t seem to mind though. 

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It was our first road trip (4 hours) with both boys, and they were total champs.  Our car was packed to the gills with baby gear, and Graham was a very flexible traveler.  He spent much of the trip zipped inside my coat!

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The Mt. Hood area was absolutely gorgeous, and I want to make it a yearly tradition to take some sort of family New Year’s trip now.  So many wonderful memories made, and the perfect way to wind down from the holidays.

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As soon as we got back from our trip, Casey had to leave to work in Cincinnati for a week.  Being alone with the two boys is tough, and a week is a long time!  Thankfully, my best friend from home flew out and spent half of the week with us which was amazing.  She hadn’t been out here in almost two years, and it was so fun for her to see how Cullen has grown and to finally meet Graham.

Just as soon as Casey got back into town, I picked up and left a few days later!  Graham and I traveled all the way across the country to Connecticut.  I got to spend a few days catching up with this guy – my precious nephew, Jonah, who suddenly seems way, way too old. 

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And for us to get to meet his new baby brother – little Levi!  Graham and Levi are just 18 days apart – so amazing.  It was so wonderful to finally see and hold him, and I loved seeing the little guys together. 

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Even more fun – my mom and Sarah joined us too!  Grandma was in heaven with two little babies and a happy toddler. 

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We hung around the house all weekend just talking, playing with the kids, and relaxing.  I have to admit – four days with just a 3 month old felt like a breeze compared to my usual day to day.  It was wonderful. 

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That said, we really, really missed Casey and Cullen.  It felt so strange to be with Jonah and not have Cullen there to play with him!  But it was also nice to get some extra one-on-one time with him that I don’t typically get. 

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Our journey home was kind of a disaster.  One small runway delay led to a (narrowly) missed connection, and a downhill spiral from there.  Graham and I spent 15 hours traveling home through four different airports! 

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He was a superstar traveler, but it was a lot even for him.  I was starving, dehydrated, and so sore from carrying him for so long.  Silver lining though – at least I didn’t have a toddler instead (can you even imagine??), and one of the many perks of breastfeeding is that you never run out of baby food.  Also, our trip home ended up being so late into the night that he slept through a lot of it.  We made it home eventually!

Two days after our trip, Casey left to go to London for another week-long trip.  Major sad face.  It was a tough week and we missed him desperately.  The weekdays are typically okay, since we have a regular schedule and lots of social (kid) things planned, but being alone for the weekend was brutal.  It felt like Christmas morning when he came home!

And THAT – my friends – finally catches us up to…February!  Everyone is home, no one is traveling, the sun has been shining for a week, and the Seahawks just won the Super Bowl.  Life is good right now.

We spent our first weekend all together in a month (!) just laying low and enjoying the sunshine.  Indy and I went for a four mile run together, and I feel like I’m starting to finally get back into a good groove.  (Huey ran with Casey after I got back!)

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We went to our friends’ house to watch the Super Bowl, and I’m pretty sure we had the world’s cutest mascots.  The Seahawks homecoming parade is today, and this city is INSANE right now. 

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I’m getting back to my Barre3 classes regularly now, and it feels great.  More on that to come soon!

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And so where January brought some growing pains, February is already shaping up to be a great month.  I’m working really hard to get back into regular fitness, get organized professionally, and to just get a better handle on things in general.  So far so good!  Thanks for hanging in there with me. 

Two quick links!

  1. Last day to enter the rockaRoo giveaway!
  2. And, finally – today’s Babble

Have a great day!



Graham Edward: Two Months.

Oh, baby Graham – I had such high hopes that I would get on top of things and journal all of your amazing squeaks and changes week by week.  I took a million photos and stared at you constantly, but none of that ever made it’s way to this space.  And here you are – a whopping two months old and I cannot possibly believe it. 

I’ve had so much fun re-reading all the weekly posts I wrote from when your brother was just a baby, and thank goodness I did because I barely remember any of it!  The last update I wrote for you was when you were one month old, so I’m going to (try to) capture all of your last month right now.  Prepare for a photo overload!

FIVE WEEKS

At five weeks you had just started to smile and engage with us a lot more.  I spent all of your awake time making goofy faces at you, desperately hoping for the gummy smile I’d get back ten percent of the time.  It was worth it.

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You still had your fair share of grumpy moments…

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But for the most part you have been a really low key baby.  Although it’s easy for me to say that now that you seem to have grown out of some of your gassy/reflux issues – a few weeks ago I probably felt differently. 

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SIX WEEKS

At six weeks you suddenly started to be awake a lot more.  It has been a challenge for me to figure out how to balance the schedules and needs of both you and your big bro.  He is used to being out and about all morning, and you’ve been a good sport Ergo-ing around to all of his activities.  But I know you need your own schedule and downtime eventually too, so we’re slowly starting to figure out how to do it all.

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Now that you are awake for much of the day, you need stuff to DO!  You like your playmat, and your favorite thing to look at is the giant cabbage with a mirror on it.  You also like laying on our big cozy master bed while I sort laundry, and I hang your bug mobile from our ceiling fan for you to laugh at.  I love watching you kick and coo at all the shapes and colors!

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The big development during your sixth week was that we finally got you to start sleeping on your back again.  After weeks of experimenting with different sleeping positions and arrangements, I put you back in the swaddle out of desperation.  Guess what?  You loved it!  I have a feeling your silly mom had been over-thinking things as usual. 

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So now you snooze peacefully in a swaddle on your back in the pack n play next to our bed at night, and all feels right in the world again. 

You have just started to make eye contact and follow us around the room, but by far your favorite person to look at is your brother.  You think he is hilarious, and you smile and watch him as he cruises around the playroom all afternoon.  I love to watch you, watch him.

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SEVEN WEEKS

Your seventh week was also your first Thanksgiving!  You got to meet your Mimi and Grandpa and got spoiled by having dad home for the long holiday weekend.

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Our new playroom rug finally arrived, so now there is a soft, cushy spot for you to roll around and explore!  I don’t know what took me so long to get it.  Hard to believe you’ll be learning to crawl on it in just a few more months!

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Everyone told me that second babies are easier, and I don’t know if that is true or if parents are just more relaxed the second time around.  Either way, you are truly the world’s sweetest baby.  You almost never cry, and when you do it is for obvious reasons.  It makes me wonder how I ever thought it was so hard the first time!

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You are starting to finally fall into some more predictable patterns, but we definitely still don’t have a schedule.  At 7 weeks, you still take all your naps either on your pillow, in your swing, or on me.  You are very sensitive to noise, so I struggle to find quiet places for you to sleep when your brother is running around being a two year old.  It’s probably time for you to head to the crib soon.  Sniff.

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Although when you do finally conk out into a deep sleep, you can do it just about anywhere.  There is nothing in the world better than feeling your heavy breaths against my chest. 

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EIGHT WEEKS

And here we are at eight weeks – time is flying a bit faster than I’d like, although I do love watching you come to life. 

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You have piercing blue eyes that are almost reflective, and everyone who meets you comments on how big and gorgeous they are.  Your hair is starting to fill in and your head is covered in the softest, most wonderful fuzz.  It is incredible.  You have the exact same hairline as your brother, which gives me hope that you might get his thick, gorgeous hair (and not mine!). 

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Your dad’s favorite thing is your amazing forehead wrinkles.  They are perfection.

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I’m trying to do more and more with you, and make sure you’re getting plenty of interaction, time on your play mat, and occasional tummy time.  It usually lasts about three minutes, but you’re getting better every day. 

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Your eight week also held a very important milestone – first pair of baby jeans!!  You look way too grown up already. 

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TWO MONTHS

So 400 photos later, that bring us to today – two months old.  With eyes the melt my hear and lips I can’t stop kissing. 

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And a crooked, gummy smile that makes me want to have ten more babies.  (But not really.)

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I guess I should mention some of the other things you’re doing at two months, because I know I’ll forget as soon as it changes!  You eat really well and you are officially ginormous.  Your checkup isn’t until later this week, but I’m expecting you’ll weigh in around 14 pounds.  You are the world’s fastest eater, and you can gulp down a huge meal in five minutes – it’s kind of amazing.  You are finally stretching your feedings out to closer to 2 hours apart (sometimes even 3!) during the day.  You don’t love the bottle, but I will not give up so easily this time.

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You go to bed each night around 7:30, and you sleep straight through until around 1:30-2am.  Occasionally you want to be fed around 10pm when I am going to sleep too, but you usually doze off within a minute or two of eating.  You wake up again around 4:30-5ish to eat, and then you’re up for the day by 6:30am.  Sleep is about as good as I expected it to be at this point.

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I usually feed you at night laying down in bed side by side, and I lose way too much sleep just staring at you once you’ve fallen asleep yourself.  You look so peaceful and you are so snuggly.  It makes it way too hard to put you back into your bed!

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Honestly, Graham – you’re just a really great baby.  You are easy-going and quiet, and I can tell you are going to be a really special little guy.  A lot of people ask me if I think you look or act like your brother – honestly, I can’t really tell yet.  I see many similarities – mostly in little things, or the way your faces look when you two are sleeping.  But I see a lot of differences too, which make me excited to see who you become. 

Most people tell me that you look just like me, but I don’t really see it.  I think you look just like Graham, and I’m excited to find out more of what that means. 

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Two Months Stats:

  • Weight: Unknown – going later this week!
  • Clothes: Almost out of 0-3, totally done with newborn
  • Likes: Boppy lounger pillow, being smiled at, kicking on the playmat, getting diaper changes, looking at Cullen, nose kisses, the Ergo or JJ Cole wrap, white noise
  • Dislikes: the carseat, being cold, wearing hats, waiting to eat, pacifiers
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