about me

    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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    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Our Holiday Home.

The holidays are in full swing over here!  And even though I have had the same Christmas decorations for as long as I’ve been writing this blog (read: a long time!), I still feel the need to share pictures of them every year.  Indulge me!  I’ve been decorating with these glittery ornaments for at least five years, and I still absolutely love them.  Bonus that they are plastic, so a bit safer for the curious kiddos. 

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Our mantel is decked out with a lighted garland and our cable-knit stockings.  I have never actually filled these, but this might be the first year I finally do it.  Also, it seems that Land of Nod stopped making these, so I’ll have to break the news to Casey that we are done having kids!

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We stopped at a local re-store shop a few weekends ago so I could go digging around for an old shutter.  I had seen a cute Christmas card display using one so I thought I’d see if I could do something similar.  I found a perfect shutter for five bucks, and so far I think it looks pretty cute!

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We got our tree right after we got back from traveling to Atlanta for Thanksgiving.  I think we got a really good one this year!!  I had big fantasies about us all listening to Christmas music and wearing festive Christmas sweaters or pajamas or something, but that did not even come close to happening.  Ha!


But we still had a lot of fun, which is of course, what actually mattered.  Cullen was really into putting the ornaments on carefully this year, but Graham is at the age where he just wanted to rip them all off or eat them (which naturatelly infuriated Cullen).  Thankfully now that the excitement of tree trimming is over, he hasn’t given the tree much attention since. 

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My favorite part of decorating is rediscovering all the ornaments I’ve forgotten about!  My mom makes the boys adorable felt ornaments each year, and it was so fun to pull hers out and remember what she’d made them.  Last year, it was a garbage can – to coordinate with the garbage truck I got for Cullen.  He requested they be hung up just like this, and points them out daily. 

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Casey and I get each other ornaments every year too, and they usually end up being memories of places and things that were special to us that year, which is always fun to reflect on too. 

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Sniff – I still miss Old Town, especially this time of year ! I bet the lights on King Street look incredible!

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Even the doggies have special representation on the tree!

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Check out Graham’s first ornament from my mom last year!  I think she is so crafty and creative (which was sadly not passed down to me). 

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I have little bits of holiday cheer all over, and it made me so happy to unpack all of these things and set them out for the next few weeks. 

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Last year I decided to do an annual Santa picture frame, and keep all the Santa pictures in there together with the most current one displayed.  I was laughing talking to friends about this picture yesterday, saying I barely even remember it being taken.  I feel like I was in such a newborn fog last year!  Look at what BABIES they were!

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I got a new garland to put on the steps this year, to replace the one I’d been using since the year after I graduated college (think 2003).

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And my 2003 mistletoe is still going strong!  You can never have enough kisses, right?

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The year that Cullen was born, my aunt gifted us this advent calendar from Land of Nod.  Last year, Cullen moved the Santa from space to space but he wasn’t really into it and I had to remind him of it each day.  This year he is ALL about it! 

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I went an extra step this year and got gift tags that have a Christmas activity or project for each day.  I planned it all out with my calendar so that things like “go to Snowflake Lane” fall on weekends so we can do it as a family.  He is having so much fun that he actually remembers what day it is every day, and goes to be at night saying, “Mom, is tomorrow number twelve?”  I love that he’s into it.  Although he rejected my paper snowflakes and told me they didn’t have enough points.  Apparently mine are too round?? 

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This one is tonight!

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Other advent activities so far have included making Christmas cookies…

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And last weekend’s activity – go see the reindeer and Christmas trains at Swanson’s Nursery!

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Graham is the perfect age this Christmas – he is totally into everything and wants to explore and be part of all activities.  Which adds challenges of course, but it is SO fun and amazing to watch.  He was obsessed with the animals, which has me so excited for spending many days this coming spring at the zoo. 

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We met Cullen’s best buddy there too, and he and Graham were accidental twins.  Cutest kids ever, and not a bit biased. 

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This time of year just makes me so overwhelmingly happy.  The weather is so gross and it is so dark outside all of the time, and yet these two sweet little boys make the holiday season so much fun. 

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This week, our Wednesday advent activity was a big one – go see Santa and get pictures taken on his lap!  Cullen was thrilled and talked about it all morning.  He was very specific that he was going to ask for a particular garbage truck (sigh) with side-loading trash cans, and let me know he would ask Santa if the truck’s front doors open or not (they don’t, so I hope Santa gave him the right answer!). 

Graham is in a super-glue-cling-to-mama phase, so I knew he was going to be a tough sell.  I felt his body stiffen the minute we walked in the door.  Cullen trotted right up to the chair and said, “Santa, sure is rainin’ outside today!”  Three year olds are SO RIDICULOUS!  Cullen hopped up in his lap, and as predicted, Graham shrieked with terror the minute I set him down. 


But a few squeaks of a reindeer puppet later, and we got a successful (almost) smiling picture!  Check out the progression from Cullen’s first year to this year…  He was 14 months old here, which is how old Graham is now (and I remember him crying right after this was taken). 

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Last year, both looking so different and so tiny.  I look back at this now and wonder how I ever survived those first few months!

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And finally, this year!  Same exact Santa, and two very grown up looking boys.  All I want for Christmas is for time to slooooow down just a little bit. 

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More holiday fun on the calendar this weekend, and looks like we even have sunshine in the forecast.  Happy Friday to you all!

Stone Harbor Summer Getaway.

At last, my final photo dump from our summer adventures!  Like I mentioned before, we had two big vacations this year – and as the timing worked out for both families, the ended up being almost back to back.  We got back from the San Juan Islands, had a week in Seattle (which Casey actually spent traveling in NYC!), and then we re-packed the suitcases to head all the way out to New Jersey.

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I spent my summers growing up at the Jersey shore.  My great grandmother had a house there, and every summer – as soon as school let out – we packed up the station wagon and my mom, sisters, and I headed to New Jersey for the next three months.  My mom took care of my great grandmother, while Rebecca and I (and eventually Sarah) played in the sand, soaked in the sun, and lived this amazing beach life that I thought was normal at that age. 

When my grandmother passed, the house changed hands to a different branch of our family, and our beach summers came to a close around the time I was 13 or 14.  Other than one brief weekend that I spent there back in 2000, I hadn’t been back to Stone Harbor since I was a kid!  So it was really exciting to spend a week there with my family this year – both reliving my own childhood memories, and creating so many new ones with my own children.

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This was Graham’s first trip to a real (sand) beach, and he absolutely loved it.  I was worried he would just eat sand and cry the whole week (which is what he does on Seattle beaches!), but he discovered shallow waves and warm water, and couldn’t have been happier.  Cullen was a fish as always!  Beaches are such great vacations at this age – so easy to just let them run around and be messy all day.

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And of course, time with Grandma is priceless.  She had her hands full with all FOUR grandsons for a week!

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I love our rocky Seattle beaches and cool Pacific water, but you just can’t beat an East coast beach.  I love the soft white sand, the miles and miles of beach to walk, the songs of the seagulls, and clean salty water to jump in. 

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It was such a treat to spend a whole week with my older sister and her family.  Of all our loved ones, they are the furthest away and hardest to get to, and we don’t see each other nearly as often as I’d like!  But we sure do savor the time we do get together.  This was my first time seeing them since January, and both of her boys have grown so much since then! 

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The toddlers hadn’t been together in a full YEAR, but they jumped right back into being buddies like it was yesterday.  They were both pretty excited to fly their first kite!

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My mom’s fiance, Jim, brought his kite from home – and Cullen and Jonah had a blast watching it dip and fly, and helping to move it all around.  It is so fun to relive all this stuff again through the kids!

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When we originally booked a trip for Labor Day week, we were all worried it might already be too cool to enjoy the beach.  The joke was on us because it ended up being over 90 degrees the whole time we were there.  We got into a good vacation groove, with every morning spent enjoying the sand and salt water from morning to lunch time. 

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I decided to suck it up and buy some new bathing suits for our trip – my first one-piece suit since back in my Speedo days.  But I really wanted to be able to enjoy time in the beach with the kids – sitting in sand building castles, running after beach balls, and holding grabby babies.  I didn’t want to waste time or energy worrying about my stomach rolls or feeling self-conscious.  And so while I definitely felt like a M-O-M in a one-piece and baseball cap, I also felt a lot more comfortable.  And yes, Graham has a mouth full of sand!

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Such a treat to spend a week away all four of us!  I am surrounded by crazy boys all day long, but I sure do love it.  (Stitchfix top!)

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In the afternoons and evenings, we explored the town – checking out shops, playgrounds, and going for bike rides.  We found some bikes in the garage at the house, and I rented a bike trailer at the local bike shop so I could sneak in some exercise while entertaining the toddlers.  It was a hit!


And we’d also go back to the beach to play paddle ball, run around in the sand, and watch those pretty pink sunsets. 

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Another big reason this trip was planned was the opportunity to see my grandparents – it has been FIVE years!  They had never met any of their great-grandchildren, so it was really special to all be together. 

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The grandparents were troopers and even came down to the beach to hang out on many mornings (they are 85!).  Also mid week, Sarah (little sister) and her boyfriend arrived!  More vacation scenes…

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Check out Levi and Graham the last time they were together – all the way back in January at just 12 weeks old!


And here they are now as big 10-month olds.  Their birthdays are just 18 days apart, and it was so much fun to see them finally really play together.   

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Four generations on my mom’s side of the family, in the backyard of my great-grandmother’s home.  Pretty cool!

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A wonderful week full of so many new memories, in a place that has been near and dear to my heart since I was a baby myself. 

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And with that, our summer travels came to an end, and we came home and jumped right into the start of school and rain boots and pumpkins, and all the fun that is the fall.  Up next – toddler/pre-school lunch ideas!

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