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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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    5K - 23:28

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    A Look Back.



Traveling Through.

Yooooooowsas.  Remember me?  Didn’t plan on disappearing like that, but here I am and two weeks have passed.  Sorry about that (I know some of you worried!).  What actually happened is that we went out of town!

I had planned to continue writing and posting during down time and sleep time, but it turned out that those two things didn’t really exist – ha!  We had a wonderful time visiting family and all down time was spent chatting and catching up.  I opened my computer exactly once.  The kids had a blast but sleep was rough, so any nap time breaks required naps for mom as well. 

So with that out of the way – let me tell you about our trip!  We have been hoping to get back to the Midwest to see our families for a while now.  The boys and I haven’t been back since last May when my sister graduated from college – feels like an eternity (and Graham was in my belly!). 

Now that we have two kids, our travel has really slowed down (which we anticipated!).  The logistics and expenses seem far more than two times more complicated.  So when Casey had a business trip to Cincinnati pop up, we jumped at the opportunity to tag along! 

It was our first time flying with both boys, and I went into it expecting the worst (and hoping to be pleasantly surprised).  Casey says he thinks it was better than anticipated.  I thought it was tough.  Graham isn’t a sleeper (don’t let this pic fool you – lasted 20 minutes!) and also doesn’t take a pacifier, so it’s harder to keep him happy in a small space.  All things considered though, everyone did pretty well. 

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We got to Ohio very late Wednesday night, and immediately had to set up camp in our hotel and figure out the sleeping scenario.  We were really lucky that since it was a business trip for Casey, we were able to share his hotel suite.  This nice new hotel just opened up and is walkable to my mom’s house and all my favorite spots – so convenient.  We had a large master bedroom (which we shared with Graham). 

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And we also had a HUGE living room!  This picture doesn’t do it justice.  Cullen slept in another pack n play in a half bathroom (that we didn’t use otherwise), and it actually worked out really well.  Figuring out how and where we would all sleep was my biggest concern going into the trip, and it turned  out to be no big deal. 

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While we were there, we followed the same type of routine we do at home (with a three hour time change thrown in – yikes!).  My mom, friends, and Casey all had to work during the days, so I hung out with the boys and found fun things for us to do.  Sadly, I brought all the Seattle rain with me and it poured the whole time we were there other than a few small pockets of sunshine. 

I spent Wednesday morning having brunch with my best friend, Thursday morning at the house of other good friends, and Friday morning at the zoo (in the rain!) with my mom.  Afternoons were spent napping, or waiting for Cullen to wake up from his nap.  Graham and I had fun relaxing and playing on the giant king size bed. 

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And despite doing a lot of the things we do when we’re at home, it just felt really nice to get away and unplug a bit.  The boys handled the travel and the time change really well, and they both seemed so happy to be around so many loved ones.

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Friday was our trip to the zoo with Grandma, and we managed to see a few of our favorite animals despite drizzly skies, lots of wind, and even a power outage! 

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We spent evenings over at my mom’s house enjoying home cooked meals and a plethora of toys and entertainment. 

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She was in Grandma heaven! 

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Once Casey was off work on Friday, we loaded up the car and headed to Indianapolis for the weekend.  We wanted to make sure we had the chance to visit both of our families since we’d made such a far trek across the country!  We saw Casey’s parents back in February, but it’s amazing how much Graham has already changed since then.

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And both boys got to spend time with their great grandma, Jacque, which is extra special since it is hard for her to travel out to see us.  It’s really important to us that we get back as often as possible so she can be with them.  Pictures just aren’t the same as the real thing. 

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We got to see grandparents, uncles, and cousins and we had a great time just hanging out at the house catching up. 

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Four generations of Malone!

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We also got to see my sister Sarah while we were there!  She lives in Indianapolis now, so we got to see her for dinner on Saturday as well as brunch on Sunday.  Somehow still never enough, sniff. 

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Checking out dad’s very first baseball bat back at Mimi and Grandpa’s house…

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And a (pretend) ride on Grandpa’s motorcycle!

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Sunday afternoon we headed back to Ohio, as Casey had to work two more days in the Cincinnati office.  We checked back into the hotel, and got ready for a few more days with my family.  One of the perks?  An indoor saltwater pool!  Cullen was totally pumped to swim – he hadn’t been in a pool since last summer!  And this was Graham’s first dip (and first tiny bathing suit!).

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The boys had to go one at a time since I couldn’t hold them both in the water alone (while my mom watched the other one).  Graham went first and was not a huge fan.  Lasted about two minutes. Cullen was a fish and didn’t want to get out even when he was shivering and pruning like a raisin.  We had a blast. 

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Is there anything more fun than a baby in a bathing suit?

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We spent our final (rainy) mornings at the children’s museum and the Newport Aquarium.  We do the museums and zoos all the time in Seattle, and it was fun to try them out somewhere new. Cullen is finally at an age where he can really enjoy this stuff, and I love it.

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It was a long but wonderful trip home, and I’m feeling homesick for our loved ones now that we’re back.  Although I don’t miss eating out so much and hotel room life (despite how nice it was).  Counting down until we see them all again at the end of the summer!

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More to come on Monday!



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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