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.

Summer Adventures Part Four: Newport, Oregon.

On my never-ending quest to recap all our summer fun – the adventures continue!  Our first trip of the summer was at the very end of a July – a quick weekend getaway with friends.  Some of our dearest friends moved away back in February, and amidst the sadness of losing them we decided to plan a fun summer trip together to ensure we’d see each other sooner than later.  And before I knew it, July was here!

They moved to central Oregon, so we picked a spot on the coast for our two families to meet.  We had never been to the coast here, so I was happy to go anywhere.  We chose Newport for it’s proximity to us both, for the cute beach town with restaurants and shops, and for the well known aquarium we knew the kids would love!

We hit the road on a Friday afternoon, and almost immediately hit horrible traffic.  Thankfully, I was prepared with car entertainment and lots of snacks, but it was still really frustrating.  It took us almost three hours to get out of the general Seattle area, so what was supposed to be a 5.5 hour car ride ended up taking EIGHT hours.  The kids were total troopers, and we only ended up stopping once!


Side note: A ton of people asked me about this travel tray on Instagram!  The tray pictured above is this one, and while I really liked it, it wasn’t a great fit with Cullen’s Britax Frontier booster seat (because of the arm rests).  We also have the Diono Radian RXT, and the green tray works really well with that seat because it’s a bit narrower!  I actually bought a second tray – this one – that works much better with the Britax!  Cullen loves doing legos or coloring books in the car now, and it’s nice to have an iPad alternative for super long trips. 

After eight long hours in the car, we finally rolled in just before bedtime and just as the sun was setting over the ocean.  It was so beautiful!  We woke up Saturday morning to rain and cloudy skies, so we took the opportunity to check out the Newport Aquarium.  It was seriously awesome, and I took zero pictures.  But the kids loved it, and we’d definitely go back again!

Right as we settled the kids in for nap time, the sun finally came out and the rain disappeared.  It was clear that the three year olds (who were sharing a room) had no intention of napping, so Katie and I got them up and took them out on a special big kids adventure. 

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We headed to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse area to explore the tidepools and find all sorts of awesome sea creatures.

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The tide was starting to come in when we got there, so we only had about an hour or so to check out the pools.  I was so glad we’d decided to sneak out with the big kids, because it wouldn’t have been a good activity for the little ones.  The rocks were slippery and you had to be really careful not to step on sea life!

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We saw all sorts of anemones, urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs of all sizes, mussels, barnacles, and more.  It was really cool to see all the stuff we’d seen at the aquarium in a natural environment!

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Cullen has a serious fear of crabs, so he was a little freaked out by those, but he loved exploring the water and checking out all the little nooks and crannies in the rocks. 

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And it was so fun to see him having fun with Clayton again – they have been best buds since they were newborns, and have spent so much time together in their three short years. 

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The coast was absolutely gorgeous, and while we were there we saw sea lions beached all over the rocks, and a pod of grey whales spouting out in the distance – incredible!

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We headed back to the house just in time for the little ones to wake up from naps, and we all headed out to the beach together. 

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My kids love the beach, and this was their first time at the Oregon coast.  Graham liked the water until he got knocked down by a wave and then he wanted no part in it and stuck to the sand.  But Cullen surprised me by turning into a fish and jumping and splashing for what felt like hours.

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It was such a gorgeous afternoon, and I was so grateful for a sunny beach day after a rainy morning.

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The next morning was cool and overcast again, and we ended up finding a fun boat ride adventure that left out of the Newport Harbor.  It was two hours of exploring, crabbing, and learning about the local area.  The kids got to help with throwing out crab traps, taking water samples, and other fun stuff – they were in heaven.  We went out into the Pacific Ocean for a while, and the water was really rough – some of the biggest swells I’ve seen!

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The boat ride was right at Graham’s nap time, but his nap the day before had been really short, so it was silly to keep the whole group home just for that.  He spent the whole weekend climbing out of his Pack N Play – not cool at ALL.  I gambled and thought if he was tired enough maybe he’d conk out in an Ergo.  It worked, and he slept for over an hour!


The rest of Sunday was spent at the beach, enjoying the wide stretches of sand and the gorgeous coastal scenery.  I’ve spent so much of my life enjoying the east coast beaches, and while I absolutely love it there, I can’t quite get over how beautiful it is on the Pacific. 

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The kids loved what they were calling “sand waves” – the giant dune areas toward the back of the beach – and they had fun racing across them and chasing balls and just being silly together. 

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I feel so lucky that we have great friends that truly feel like family, and I know that even though we live further apart now, our families will continue to make these memories together for many years to come.

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We left feeling like the weekend went by way too quickly, but excited to know we get to go back and explore this area again before the summer is over.  Our car ride home was a smooth 5.5 hours with zero traffic, and left me feeling much more positive about doing it again.  I’m planning to do a post about road-tripping with kids in a few weeks, since we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks through our travels these past few months.  We have one more big trip planned, and it’s back to the Oregon Coast this coming weekend – we are counting down!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Summer Adventures Part 1: Oh, Canada!

Hi friends!  Today is my Monday, as we spent all day yesterday driving home from an amazing whirlwind weekend at the beach.  I’m scrambling to catch up since I’m missing my babysitting day this week, but as miracles would have it – both kids are napping right now!  Fingers crossed that lasts for more than ten minutes (Update: it didn’t, which it why I’m finishing this up at 8pm!).

As I’ve mentioned here a million times already – it’s SUMMER!  And just like most of you, we are living it up as much as possible.  We’ve spent so much time outside, on the beaches, and finding local summer adventures that I’ve spent very little time at my computer – which is both wonderful and slightly stressful at the same time.  I haven’t edited pictures past June, and now August is right around the corner!

The last summer outing I shared here was from way back in mid-June when we went strawberry picking.  So before any more time passes, I thought I’d try to recap some of the other fun things we’ve had going on.  At the end of June, Casey’s parents came to visit! 

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The boys were in grandparent heaven, and Cullen got to take Grandpa to a Mariners game, which was definitely a highlight for him. 

But the highlight for me and Casey was our first GETAWAY – just the two of us for the first time in four years.  While we have both traveled independently, the only night we ever spent away together was in the hospital when Graham was born – wonderful, but not exactly romantic!  Casey planned an overnight trip to Victoria for the two of us as an anniversary gift, and even arranged to have his parents come out to watch the kids – seriously amazing!

So early on a Tuesday morning, we boarded the Victoria Clipper and set sail for Canada! 

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The clipper was awesome – nice seats, plugs for electronics, and a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound out my window.  Once we got to Victoria, we unloaded our bags at our hotel and immediately set out in search of food!  We landed at the Jam Cafe – recommended by a friend and had a line out the door!

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The food was heavy and delicious, and we ate waaaaay too much. 

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After that we both fell into a massive food coma that, combined with a very early Clipper departure, required a rare afternoon nap.  I felt a little foolish wasting a few of our precious 36 hours for napping, but we both felt a million times better afterward.  And that’s what adult vacations are for, right?  Napping!

We eventually rejoined the world and I immediately announced that we needed ice cream!  I looked up best ice cream options online, and walked a few miles until we found Cold Comfort

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O.M.G you guys.  I started to feel a bit ridiculous that we were walking two miles (each way) just for ice cream, but that feeling disappeared with the first bite.  The owner suggested we try the most popular item – ice cream sandwiches, and they were hands down the best I’ve ever had.  I tried the Golden Graham, which was as delicious as it sounds. 

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But Casey’s ice cream was sandwiched between macarons, and it was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.  If we’d had enough time the next day, we planned to walk four miles round-trip just to get them again!

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From there, we walked all along the waterfront and just wandered around for a while.  Our mission for the trip was to walk and eat as much as possible!  I didn’t end up with any photos of dinner, but we went to Rebar and it was INCREDIBLE!  I guess I was too busy licking my plate to photograph.  I want to go back right now!

We finished up a full day of exploring just in time to watch the sunset over the water. 

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We decided to head back to our hotel at that point and hang out on our awesome waterfront balcony for a while – so beautiful!  (Dress from Stitchfix!)

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I’m so grateful to this guy for planning such a wonderful trip for us.  We’ve been itching to get away just the two of us for a while now, but I was never quite ready to pull the trigger and actually do it.  He knew the best approach was to just plan it and make it happen – and it was exactly what we needed!

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The next morning, we slept in as late as parents of young kids possibly can – 8am!  Felt like a total luxury.  We headed to Mole for breakfast, and had another delicious meal. 

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Like I said before, the goal was to eat and walk as much as we could – so after fueling up we headed out to walk along Dallas Road – a spot recommended by many friends!  We walked through a park and all along the bluff overlooking the water – totally beautiful even though it was gloomy and overcast. 

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The other goal for our trip was to do something adventurous that we can’t do when we’re with the kids.  The weather was cool, windy, and even a little rainy, so that limited the options a bit.  On a whim, we decided we had just enough time left to go whale watching!  We’ve gone whale watching with the kids before (last year in the San Juans!), but this time we decided to do one of the open zodiac boats.  And the gross weather didn’t matter at all, because they had these incredible flotation suits for us to wear!

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They were totally waterproof and insulated, so it didn’t matter that we were whipping through the freezing northwest waters with rain splashing us in the face. 

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This wasn’t our boat, but gives you an idea of what we were on – totally open and able to get up to pretty high speeds!

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It was seriously incredible, and Casey and I were so glad we’d decided to squeeze it in before heading back.  We caught up with the resident J-pod of orcas, and saw TONS of whales just off the coast of San Juan Island. 

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Casey and I love the San Juan area so much, and I’m so glad we were finally able to make it up to British Columbia to explore even more of the surrounding area.  The northwest is just so beautiful!

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It was the perfect end to our trip, and we cruised back to Seattle on the Clipper as the sunset over the Sound.  We were only gone about 36 hours, but it was enough to recharge and reconnect, and it felt so good.  Maybe we’ll do it again in another four years!  :) 

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We made it home just in time to enjoy two more days with Casey’s parents in town.  They were here during a particularly hot week, so we hit up the beaches, splash park, and the neighborhood pool for family swim. 

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Even Mimi went down the water slide! 

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Cullen has been doing swimming lessons a few times each week all summer long, and it’s amazing how much more confidence he has in the water this year!  I’m so proud of him.

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And Graham is a fearless fish who thinks he can do anything – it’s terrifying!  He is hilarious in the water though, and I am glad he is so confident and wild.

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A million thanks to Casey’s parents for taking such great care of our boys so that we could relax and get away without worrying.  The boys had a blast, and we were so grateful to be able to do a short trip together!

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We are counting down until we see them again in just a few short weeks for a big vacation with the whole family.  I love summer!

Back again soon with more summer adventures, a fun race announcement, and more!  Hope you guys are having a great week!

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