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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    A Look Back.



Halloween 2014!

I remember thinking last year on Halloween that we had finally reached that moment in parenting where suddenly things like holidays and childhood traditions were so much more fun now that we had kids of our own!  Graham was only a few weeks old, snuggled into an Ergo and zipped up inside my jacket away from the October cold, and Cullen was fumbling around in a giant robot costume shouting, “people open doors!” at each house.

And this year?  We had two legitimate trick or treaters!

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My mom found these two dinosaur costumes (or are they lizards??) at the Pottery Barn outlet and gave them to the boys last Christmas.  I had tucked them away and almost forgot about them, until I found them stuffed in a bin a few weeks ago when I was digging around in Cullen’s closet.  The sizes were perfect, and it made costume selection for this year pretty easy. 

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I was worried that there was no way Graham was going to actually wear it, as one year olds are not known for loving anything on their heads!  Every time I tried to try it on him he cried. 

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So on Halloween day, I waited until an hour before trick or treating to even attempt.  The first time I put it on him he ripped it right off, so I got Cullen dressed instead.  Once big brother had his costume on too, he forgot about the headpiece and left it alone – they were cracking each other up!

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And they were definitely cracking me up.  Those big gigantic tails and the spikes down the back.  I could not stop laughing all night. 

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Cullen’s buddy – who we have trick or treated with every single year – came over so we could all go out together.  His family is moving next year so this was their last year of doing it together, which was bittersweet.  Cullen does know yet and I am heartbroken just thinking about it.  Dinosaurs were a popular choice this year!

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Is there anything more fun than little kids in costumes?  Graham was a riot.  (And check out Casey’s amazing puzzle pumpkin!)

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We hung out at the house for a little bit before heading out, and I laughed every time I looked into the playroom…

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I joked that from now on whenever we are having a really tough or grouchy day, I am going to put the kids in costumes.  There is no way to stay angry or yell when your kids look this ridiculous!  :)

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Our neighborhood does a “village” trick or treat where all the shops and businesses on the main street hand out candy to the kids, and they close the street to traffic.  It was NUTS – there were hundreds and hundreds of families there!  And while the kids certainly had fun, I thought it was crowded and not at all what I think of when I picture Halloween.  It seems like this is a thing in Seattle – trick or treating in the business centers of neighborhoods instead of going house to house.  Maybe because it is a major city and is probably considered safer?  I don’t know – for me, trick or treat is all about visiting the neighbors and walking up each long driveway to knock on doors.

So when we got home, that is exactly what we did. 

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We only went to about ten or so houses, as that was plenty for two little guys.  Cullen loved knocking on the doors and talking to people, and Graham just loved running around with his pumpkin.  Graham is way too young for candy, and Cullen didn’t really care about it too much – he was much more interested in collecting than eating.  He did get to eat a few peanut M&M’s at the end of the night!

We had a really fun evening, and I can only imagine Halloween getting more and more fun with each passing year. 

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A Happy (belated) Halloween to all of you too!

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One More One Year Old.

As I sit down to write this, I have a warm lunch and a cool kombucha next to me.  It’s drizzly and cool and perfectly Seattle outside, and the house is totally silent other than the whir of the dishwasher in the other room, and the flicker of white noise on the desk beside me.  This can only mean one thing – nap time. 

Both boys are down for the (hopefully long) afternoon nap, and I am soaking up the return of the afternoon quiet, as we are just settling into this amazing phenomenon known as two kids napping at the same time (sure to change before I know it!). 

You know what else this means?  There are no babies left in my house.  No more bouncing and shushing, no more naps on my chest.  No more thirty minute race to inhale my lunch before the catnap is over.  No more soft fuzzy booties in the laundry, and no more ice cubes of sweet potatoes in my freezer.  No more soft little rattles or squeaky giraffes. 

Now there is noise, so much noise.  Clunky tiny shoes and impossibly adorable rain boots lining the front hallway.  Little hats and hooded coats hung inside the closet door.  Stacking cups, shape sorters, train tracks, and a mini shopping cart sitting in the middle of the playroom.  One big nap in the afternoon where mom takes a big exhale. 

Somehow, in the blur of schedules and breastfeeding and swaddling and don’t push your brother and all the rest of it – my sweet little Graham turned ONE. 

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And while I ended my formal monthly updates on here a long time ago, I can’t help but tell you all about the wonderful little one year old he has become in that time. 

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He is the goofiest little character I’ve ever known, and he makes all of us laugh every day.  He knows exactly how to get his big brother going – whether it’s making him belly laugh before bedtime, or making him furious by tossing his puzzle pieces into the air.  He is pure trouble and keeps me on my toes all day long. 

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Now that he’s walking and toddling all over our house, his favorite activities include: climbing the stairs, exploring the kitchen cabinets, carrying around things like measuring cups and strainers, sticking his hands in the potty seats, climbing the bathroom step stools, and feeding the dogs all the food off his high chair.

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He also loves stacking cups, building towers, anything in the play kitchen, pushing carts, taking things in and out of something, banging, drumming, dancing, and being around people.  This kid LOVES people!  Maybe it’s because he’s been out and about around lots of different faces from the very beginning, or maybe it’s just his natural personality – but he is so easy going and good natured, and people ask me all the time if he is “always this happy.” 

And the answer is, yes – he really is. 

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Unless of course, you pull him off the stairs, or take a shoe of out his mouth, or wipe his nose.  But otherwise, he’s pretty happy.  He also thinks he is a three year old. 

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That, of course, doesn’t mean that it’s been a whole year of sunshine.  I’m planning on writing a separate post reflecting on the first year with two kids, but we’ve certainly had our fair share of ups and down.  But having made it to the other side of one year, we’re ending in a sweet spot that I hope we can ride out for a little while. 

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He loves to eat pasta, scrambled eggs, toast with almond butter, Field Roast veggie dogs and sausages, tomatoes, tofu, pears, lentils, green beans, grapes, peas, cucumbers, and carrots.  He hates blueberries, hummus, squash, and beans.  He also loves grass, sand, mulch, and sticks!

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He’s still breastfeeding and we’re down to four times a day now – usually around 5am, 9am, 12pm, and 7pm.  I was finished breastfeeding Cullen around fourteen months, and I remember after we hit that year mark feeling sort of panicked to start weaning him.  I knew we wanted another baby and I think I was worried I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed and be pregnant at the same time.  This time around, I don’t feel rushed to wean so quickly, and I feel much more relaxed (and honestly, lazy) about it.  I’ll just follow his cues and – like most things – figure it out as we go.  But given our initial challenges and a rocky start, I’m really proud we have made it to one year! 

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Part of me feels those pangs of sadness that my baby is so big and independent and looks so much like a tiny toddler these days.  This feels harder the second time because I don’t know if there will be more babies to come.  And even though I have sweet nostalgia for babywearing and his wrinkly newborn forehead, every day he gets more fun, sleeps better, and shows more personality.  I must kiss him a thousand times each day.

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Since both boys have birthdays just ten days apart, I considered combining them into one big birthday bash with all our friends.  And while that’s probably what we’ll do going forward, for this year we decided to have one big first birthday party that was all just for Graham. 

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Casey was out of town the week leading up to the party, which left me far too much free time in the evenings to burn myself with the glue gun and reminisce all about his birth and newborn days. 

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We had a simple, but nice party at our house with all of Graham’s friends – big and small!  We had a light spread of snack food since it was between lunch and dinner…

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And I set out some small decorations and things that were tributes to Graham’s first year.  I finally made a shadowbox with all his newborn mementos – hospital bracelets, birth announcement, his very first hat, the gender reveal card where we learned he was a boy, and an extra pack of Graham crackers they gave me in the hospital right after he was born. 

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And of course, I had to make a banner of all the monthly pictures as he’s grown…

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As a party favor, I made little stacks of homemade graham crackers for guests to take and enjoy.  I had never made them before and it was a labor of love that baked long into the night before the party, but was so worth it. 

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They were buttery and tasty and I think they added a really fun touch to the party.  And now I know how to make homemade Graham crackers for next time!

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I made a little cake just for him, and cupcakes for everyone else.  I used the same pumpkin spice cake recipe that I made for Cullen’s first birthday, because it was delicious and tasty and it never hurts to eat that twice. 

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For the toddlers, we had pumpkins to decorate with stickers, foamy Halloween shapes, and markers.  I said a prayer that my house wasn’t covered in marker by 5pm. 

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My little one year old woke up from his afternoon nap right on time, and was ready to party with all his buddies. 

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And we were ready to celebrate!  How did I get so lucky?

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My mom even flew in for the weekend!  I think Graham felt very loved and very celebrated.

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Before Graham came along, I had no idea that there was room in my heart for anyone else.  And then he charged into our lives on a cool Friday morning in October, and life has never been the same.  He is the breath of fresh air I need when the rest of the day is pure chaos.  He slows me down and reminds me to pay attention, as I know all too well this time that the days are long but the years are so damn short. 

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Happy, happy birthday to Graham.  The baby days might be behind us, but there is so much fun to look forward to just ahead. 

Many, many thanks to my talented friend Pamela of People By Pamela for the gorgeous pictures of Graham’s birthday party!  Seattle friends – check her out for family and lifestyle photography!

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