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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.


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.


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. 


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! 


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!)

indy running

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. 


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


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!

The Great Escape.

Maaaaaaaaaaaan, WHAT a morning!  Today has been a strange day in every sense of the word.  First off, after months and months of hot summer sun, it’s been pouring rain all day.  The air is cooler and alarmingly humid, and it feels like fall is looming.  This is relevant to the rest of the story ahead, I promise.

Usually our mornings consist of early morning work time, followed by family breakfast, and a quick hug and kiss goodbye to dad before he catches the bus.  But this morning Casey had a few extra minutes, and ran to the hardware store to get something that we needed for a time-sensitive project.  This is also relevant.  Bear with me. 

Also atypical, on most days we are up and out the door first thing in the morning.  We try to take advantage of our pre-nap playtime window by maximizing our time at the zoo, parks, or at friend’s houses.  But today we had plans with an old friend I haven’t seen in a while, and we weren’t planning to get together until much later than normal.  This left us with a few solid hours of playtime at home, which was unexpected and actually really nice, especially on a rainy day.

Since we were home, I let the dogs have some extra playtime in the backyard.  I opened up the back door for them and let them run around in the rain while Cullen and I headed upstairs for playtime (him) and laundry folding (me).  We had been up there for a while when I realized I hadn’t heard them bark (which they often do), so I did a quick double-check to make sure our back gate was closed by looking out the back window.  Looked good!

About an hour passed while we were upstairs, and we finally headed down just as we were expecting my friend to arrive with her son.  I was surprised to not hear the dogs clicking around in the laundry room.  I opened the back door and called out to them, and I felt my stomach drop as I heard a deafening silence.  I looked at the gate again (which is the only place they could possibly escape), and still – it was closed.  My mind raced and none of it made sense.  Did I mention it was pouring rain?

I walked outside across the yard and over to the gate.  Was I missing something?  It was only as I got within a foot of it that I could see that the gate was indeed “closed” – but it wasn’t actually latched.  In the rush of the morning, the gate must have bounced out of the latch when Casey came home from the store, and he didn’t hear or notice it because it was raining so hard (a very easy mistake).  The latch was resting right against the lock, but the door could have easily been nosed open.  Enter: PANIC. 

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I ran inside and grabbed my keys, cell phone, and wallet (why?) – and immediately called Casey as I became borderline hysterical.  Cullen and I were both barefoot, it was still raining, and I frantically tried to buckle him into his car seat with my entire body – and hands – visibly shaking.

Our dogs have escaped from (most of) our houses before, but we’ve learned from past mistakes and they haven’t actually gotten out in several years.  In fact, the last time they escaped was way back when we were living in Alexandria!  I had no sense of what direction they might have gone, and I knew they had likely been gone for over an hour at this point – long enough for them to gain a serious distance on me. 

I rolled my windows down as the rain flew in, and shouted HUEY and INDY at the top of my lungs over and over again.  A small bright spot in an otherwise horrific situation was that Cullen found this to be hilarious, following each of my calls with a giant giggle and a shout of “HUUUU, DEEEEE” of his own.

Thirty, forty, fifty minutes passed and my mind and my car continued to just go in circles.  I called Casey and told him I was not emotionally prepared to deal with finding one or both of their bodies on the side of the road.  He got in a cab and headed home to join the hunt. 

I drove around for what was actually an hour, and felt like ten.  I stopped every person out on the street (of which there were very few) and asked them if they had seen two dogs running loose.  No dice. 

My heart raced but I tried to force myself to remain calm and to drive safely and slowly.  We didn’t need to get into an accident, and I also didn’t want to end up running over one of my dogs if they did, indeed, hear my calls.  I thought about them being scared and wet (although I knew they were probably having a blast), and tried to tell myself that they were both wearing tags and that someone would eventually find them and get in touch.

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I thought about how quickly I let them annoy me.  How when they bark at the UPS man during nap time I want to kill them.  How frustrated I get when I find another one of Cullen’s balls deflated and shredded in the backyard.  How angry I was just this morning when Huey ate the rest of the zucchini bread that I had been looking forward to having at breakfast.  How I have come to view picking up poop in the backyard and taking them for walks as a huge nuisance instead of being a totally normal part of dog ownership (which it is). 

And I thought about how Cullen loves to turn music on and asks the dogs to dance with him.  And how happy Indy looks when he lays in the sunny spot on the back deck.  And how I try to ignore how grey Huey is getting and the fact that he enters double digits next month.  And how much they have been through with us as our lives have moved and changed – marriage, a new baby, more new houses than I can count – and how they have always, always been there.

And then they weren’t. 

And I realized how much I really, really wanted them to be.

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I had been driving around for over an hour when my phone rang.  A sweet, small voice asked “Are you Indy Malone’s mom?”  I found myself literally shouting back, “YES, OH MY GOD YES, DO YOU HAVE BOTH OF THEM?”  The answer was yes, and that they were at a local elementary school.

I broke down sobbing begging this kind soul to stay put, and assured her I was only a few minutes away.  I pulled up in front of the school to find two filthy, stinky, thirsty pups – wagging their tails and being held and loved on by what were essentially two children. 

The girls, who I came to find out were twelve years old, said they had seen the dogs run by three times over the course of the hour.  At first they assumed the owners must be nearby, but by the third time they knew these pups must be lost.  They found my number on the tags and the rest was history. 

I gave them both huge hugs and thanked them to the point that I think I might have actually scared them.  I pulled the pups close to me, gave them each big kisses despite all the mud and funk, and tried not to think about the disaster they were about to make out of the back of my car. 

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In total, they were gone almost three hours – their greatest escape by a long shot.  We are very lucky that they stuck together – in all of their escapes over the years, they have never separated.  Adorable, right?

Thank goodness they headed toward a dead end section of the neighborhood, and not the other direction which is an enormous state park.  We are also so lucky for the kindness of sweet strangers.  I have never been so happy that kids these days tend to have their own cell phones!  There is hope for America’s youth after all. 

I don’t know what sort of trouble they got into but whatever it was it sure wore them out.  They have been passed out on their blankets ever since, most likely dreaming of their next big adventure together. 

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While they definitely have their moments, and drive me absolutely out of my mind at times, I feel sick just thinking about how silent our house was when I realized they were gone.  And as we sit here on the edge of yet another major life transition, I am happy and grateful knowing that – as always – they will be here.

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