about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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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.



Thoughts On Three.

Somewhere around Cullen’s first birthday, I remember the questions starting to roll in – when will you try for another?  I feel like society generally assumes that one kid will lead to another (although of course this is not always the case AND you should never ask people these types of questions!!).  And for whatever reason, we were ready to roll shortly after that, and we started trying for Graham.

It took 14 months for me to get pregnant with Cullen after we started trying, and with Graham it only took ONE.  Surprise!  Both our kids were conceived in January, and born in October – exactly two years apart.

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But after Graham was born, the conversation shifted a bit.  Now the questions are – will you have a third? – instead of the automatic assumption that more are on the way.  And two years later my answer remains – I don’t know!

When I was in the thick of it, I would have told you absolutely, for sure – we were done.  Two was all I could handle and it would be insanity to consider adding anyone else to the mix.  But of course, as the boys have gotten older and things have gotten easier, thoughts of that third little one have crept back in.  Here are some of the positives and potential negatives we’ve considered during all our family planning conversations:

Yes, we want another baby:

  • IT’S ANOTHER HUMAN BEING – can’t really argue with that.
  • I didn’t go into my second pregnancy expecting it to be the last one, and I honestly loved being pregnant, so I feel sad to not experience that again (although at SOME point, you do have to stop). 
  • I am one of three kids, and love the dynamic that three brings versus two (who I think tend to be more directly competitive).
  • The spacing between Graham and #3 would be three years (at least) at this point, which would make things a million times easier than they were the first time around.
  • By the time a #3 would be born, both my kids would be in drop-off preschool at least three mornings a week, which would provide nice breaks and quality time for all.
  • Casey is SO GOOD with babies – way better than me.  I love seeing the way he can soothe and sway with little ones – heart melting.

Nope, we are done:

  • We have two healthy, amazing kids, and they are more than enough.
  • Neither of us has any urge of “we need a girl” and that would be a silly reason to have a third kid anyway, since I feel quite certain it would be another boy.
  • Another child brings more financial consideration – we want to make sure we can provide things that are important to us – like travel, good schools, activities, etc. – for everyone. 
  • Our house will be cramped, and we really don’t want to move.  That said, it can be done, but the boys will have to share a (tiny) room.  And we’d probably have to move sooner than later as they get older/bigger. 
  • Selfishly, my body has been through a lot.  Eighteen months of pregnancy, plus 2.5 years of breastfeeding, and 70+ pounds total gained and lost.  I’ve worked so hard to get back into a fitness routine and build strength again, and I cringe thinking about starting over yet again.

Next month, I will turn 35 (!).  And while I know many people have kids later than that, for me this is the cutoff.  I have always said I’d be most comfortable being done having kids at 35, and so I feel like we are sort of in now or never mode.

The now part is sort of obvious, and for the never part – we are using hormone-free birth control as well as fertility tracking through Natural Cycles – but more on that in a minute!

Graham is getting bigger and is going through a major transition right now from toddler to BIG KID.  He recently moved from a crib into a bed and absolutely loves feeling like a big boy.  And in very exciting news – he is almost completely potty trained!  It has been (knock on wood) ridiculously easy, and he’s only had one accident since we put him in underwear.

I’ve taken apart the changing table and crib and packed them into storage.  We traveled all the way to Florida last week and it was a BREEZE!  Part of me feels SO READY for this next stage of life where kids are older and more self-sufficient and we can do so much more as a family.

Not to mention, once Graham joins Cullen at school I will have consistent time to myself for the first time in years.  I could go back to work!  I could do so much more for the blog!  And at the same time, I can also picture those solo morning hours being spent rocking a newborn, or looping Greenlake with a little one snuggling on me in an Ergo.  And I see pictures like this one and think GIVE ME ALL THE BABIES RIGHT NOW!

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Sigh.  Can you tell I am all over the place?  What it really comes down to is me needing to decide if I’m ready to push into this next stage of life with older kids, or if I want to start back over again with the baby stage.  I have heard that you shouldn’t plan your family based on how it feels in the thick of it with young ones – that you should imagine the family you want as adults!  And if that’s the case, then I want to be the Bravermans!

And so with ALL of this said, clearly we’ve had lots of family planning conversations over the years.  Backing up to when I we tried to get pregnant with Cullen – it took 14 months!  I wrote a long post all about it years ago, but the short version goes like this:  I took hormonal birth control for almost 10 years.  Once I decided to discontinue the pills, it took six months for my period to return at all.  Once it did, it took another six months for the cycles to even out and become regular.  I felt so unbelievably lucky to get pregnant when I finally did, and it was a real eye-opener to see how the hormone use had affected my previously-regular cycles.

After Cullen was born, I didn’t want to use any hormones for fear of what had happened before.  I breastfed (which typically reduces fertility) and we used back up methods, and my period returned right at the end of weaning.  We decided to try for Graham shortly after, and BOOM – I was pregnant on the first try.  Talk about a shocker!

And so having experienced both ends of the spectrum now, I wasn’t taking any chances either way.  I feel strongly about not using hormonal birth control again (ever), but also wasn’t willing to take my chances on getting pregnant.  So we have continued to use back up methods, as well as fertility tracking.

For the past few months, I’ve been using the Natural Cycles app.  It is “fertility tracking made easy” – and you can use as many or as few of the features that works best with your lifestyle and needs.

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By consistently measuring your basal temperature with a digital thermometer, the Natural Cycles algorithm is able to predict your ovulation dates with 99.9% accuracy.  From the Natural Cycles website:

Natural Cycles uses an intelligent algorithm that quickly learns your cycle and accurately detects and predicts ovulation, and thus, your fertile window. The algorithm takes into account temperature and LH testing (optional) – both quantitative fertility indicators. We do not take into consideration cervical mucus, which, despite being a good fertility indicator, can take a long time to gather, analyze and implement findings.

The setup is super easy, and it can actually be used as a pregnancy prevention tool, as well as a pregnancy planning tool!

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I have been using it to track my periods and ovulation dates, and from my own experience so far it’s been very accurate.

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For me personally, I haven’t been able to consistently use the temperature tracking feature, but I hope to use it at some point in the future.  In order to ensure accuracy, the basal temperature readings need to be done first thing in the morning before you get out of bed – when your body is most at rest.  Unfortunately, as this stage in my life, my body is never at rest – HA!  We have kids crawling in and our of our bed most nights, and we are often shuffling them back into their own beds at 4, 5, and 6am.  So temperature tracking would be too inconsistent for me to rely on alone for now.

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If you want to try Natural Cycles yourself, they have an awesome offer for Daily Garnish readers!  Get 40% off of a 1 year subscription + a free basal thermometer when you click the link here!

We’ll need to decide in the next few months if we want to stick with “tracking fertility” mode to “planning a pregnancy.”  And while you can plan all you want, we also know that you can never really PLAN to get pregnant.  Having been through it myself twice now, and watched my friends and family experience both blessings and heartbreak, I know now more than ever that new life is truly such a gift.

As you can see above, there are lots of things to consider!  But of course, it’s always exciting to imagine adding to the family.  I’d love to hear some thoughts from you guys!

For those who have two kids – what do you consider when thinking about a third?  Or are you “done?”  And if you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear from others who have chosen hormone-free birth control options like this!

This post is sponsored by Natural Cycles.  As always, all thoughts an opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting Daily Garnish!



New Years Musings.

Hello, 2016!

I hope it’s off to a great start for you!  So far it’s been a busy year for us, but in all good ways.  We kicked off 2016 in Seaside, Florida – a very long way away from home in Seattle!

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We were able to spend a few days there with Casey’s brother and his family, as well as his aunt and uncle, and my best friend Lindsey (who lives in Orlando now!).  The travel was intense – up at 4am to catch a 5 hour flight across the country, and then we were picked up at the airport in Atlanta and drove 6 hours straight to Florida.  The kids were AMAZING and did so well – it’s finally so easy to travel with them.  And even though it was a long way, it is always so so worth it to be with family. 

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The weather was cold – much like Seattle – 50 degrees and rainy.  But that didn’t stop us from hitting the beach and enjoying the gorgeous white sand and turquoise water anyway.  I was lucky enough to get two long beach walks in while we were there – one of my favorite things in the world.

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We’re actually heading back to the same part of Florida in a few months for our annual Malone family vacation, and I’m so excited to be able to fully take advantage of the beautiful beaches and swimming in the pool.

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We arrived home on Monday, and it’s taken us a full week to get the kids adjusted back to Pacific time.  That’s really the hardest part of travel for us these days – changing time zones.  Now that Graham is in his big boy bed, he’s excited to escape and wander everywhere, and this week he was up at 4am almost every day.  Zzzzzzz…

But despite feeling sleepy, I’m also feeling really energized.  I’m sure it’s all the resolution talk and New Years buzz in the air, but I’m feeling really great about looking ahead and working toward different goals and changes this year.  I don’t feel like I have any super-defined “resolutions” this year, but I definitely have some things that I’m focusing on with a renewed energy. In no particular order, those things are:

Health & Fitness

A fitness resolution!  Can you believe it!?  This is actually one area where I feel like I’ve been doing really well.  I’ve started regularly running again – meeting my friend Lacey for dark, cold, rainy runs two times each week – and it is such a love/hate activity for me.  I never, ever want to do it, and I dread stepping out into the cold, early mornings.  But I am always noticeably happier and calmer on days that start with a run, and I love having those 6am chats with a good friend – a perfect start to the day. 

I haven’t registered for any races yet this year, and can’t decided if I want to do some of my old favorites again, or mix it up and try something new.  I’m also not sure if I want to train for a half marathon again, or stick to shorter distances and work on my speed. 

I’m also still doing lots of different classes and strength workouts via ClassPass.  I’ve been doing a mix of Barre3, Inspire Pilates, and FlyBarre mostly.  And I bought a class package to Core Power Yoga as well, so that I can go to my beloved Yoga Sculpt classes, which I do at least once each week.  After taking some time off for holidays and indulging way too much, I’m finally feeling strong again, and like I’m headed in a positive direction.  Now I just have to keep it up!

Cooking & Eating

Again, this is an area where I actually feel like we’re doing pretty well, but I’d like to focus on the commitment to stay on track.  Casey is on a huge health and fitness kick right now, which is definitely helping to keep me focused on it as well.  We’ve cut out sugar almost entirely, except for special occasions, and that is undoubtedly my biggest struggle.  But I also think it’s the biggest obstacle for me as far as losing some extra weight goes. 

We’ve been eating and cooking at home a lot more than before, in a joint effort to be healthier and to spend less.  It’s a lot more work on the grocery shopping end, but I always feel better after a home-cooked meal.

Working & Blogging

With all of that said, I feel like in many areas of health and fitness, things are going well and definitely moving in the right direction.  But I have not done a great job at capturing much of that and bringing it to life in this space.  I continue to struggle to find the right balance of content, which is something I’m really working on right now.

There was a time many, many years ago when I wrote about my life in vivid detail.  And so daily meals and workouts fit naturally within those posts.  But now with kids – and especially since they are getting older, I feel much more guarded about our daily life and schedule.  And so the content dramatically shifted.

I’m not saying that it will necessarily dramatically shift again.  But I’m much more mindful and motivated right now to bring back a health balance.  I’d like to focus less on the kids specifically, and add in more content around my own meals, workouts, motherhood, and even life outside of the house – since the kids are getting older and I actually have a bit of a life now!

In fact, in about six months (but who’s counting?), Graham will actually be joining Cullen at his school several mornings a week, which means that for the first time in almost five years, I’ll have about twelve whole hours to myself each week.  Can you even imagine!? 

One of the struggles I’ve faced with recipe creation and blogging is that it’s something that has to be done at home – often during the day for good photography lighting – and can be quite labor intensive.  I do hire regular babysitters in order to get writing done, but that means I pack up and go to a coffee shop.  I’m looking forward to have more time at home to focus on cooking and other projects!

My one big “goal” if you will for this space is a much-needed redesign.  I’ve been throwing around ideas for (literally) years now, and it’s time to actually do it.  So hopefully that comes sooner than later, because it is majorly overdue. 

And sponsored posts and partnerships will remain a part of this space, but I will continue to select them carefully (as I always have in the past), and to naturally integrate them into the existing content.  While I know it is not everyone’s favorite part of blog-reading, it is essential in order for me to be able to fund hosting, childcare coverage, and to also contribute to our household income.  And it’s a great way to learn about interesting products and opportunities – I just ordered some new workout gear myself this week after reading another blogger’s raving review!

I have a lot of good stuff coming up for you guys in the next few weeks – an important motherhood topic coming up next, a delicious family-friendly soup recipe, and some exciting news to share (not pregnant).  Thanks for hanging with me since all the way back in 2008 (!), and for still being here as we charge into 2016.  It’s going to be a great year!

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