Monthly Archives: January 2014

27 Years of Mallory

Today is my 27th birthday. 27 years on this earth, and I’ve experienced a lot. We’ve got some pretty giant changes on the horizon, and this year is shaping up to be an exciting one. But more on that later. Today is for resolutions and goals. You see, I’m not one for resolutions. New Year’s Eve is just another day to me. But this year, with all the big, exciting things coming my way, I figured it might be nice to make some goals. So, here we go:

On my 27th Birthday | R.Simple Life

1. I want to get rid of clutter. My house, my mind, my phone, my life are filled with unnecessary crap, and I need to do a detox. I’m planning on having a huge, and I mean huge, garage sale this spring. My very first one. I’m going to be getting rid of  superfluous junk. Things I don’t need, nor do I find beautiful should not have a place in my house. I want to start curating my collections, making sure I’m surrounding myself with less clutter and more beauty.

The same thing goes for my mind. I need to get it organized. So far, I’ve been making monthly goals. Nothing big, just little things that I’d like to do. It helps me from feeling overwhelmed at everything that’s going on in there. I need some major reorganization in this brain of mine, and 27 is the year to do it.

2. I need to make my personal career a priority. I love writing, and I especially love writing about R.Simple Life. I’d like to give you guys more of a peek into our day to day, as well as my thoughts on certain matters. I’m working on a site redesign which should roll out in the next month or two, and I’m very excited about it.

Aside from that, I’ve got a few personal career goals I’d really like to start making headway on this year. I had a little heart to heart with myself a couple weeks ago in which I basically realized Nike’s right. “Just do it.” So that I am. I’ve always been a dreamer, always had those things that “would be so cool if I could do that.” Well, myself and I, we decided why the heck not? Just freaking do it. And if I fail, at least I tried. Although, I won’t fail. I’m going to be putting to much of myself into it.

3. It’s time to be an adventurer. I’m ready to stop watching other peoples adventures, and start doing mine. I mean this literally. I plan on traveling, a lot. I want to see the world, I want to experience different cultures, I want to learn a new language, I want to meet new people. I will be documenting my travels too, so you can live them with me.

4. I’m focusing on my family. This isn’t so much of a resolution or goal as it is something I want to continue. I want to be present when I’m reading Harry a book, I want to be 100% in the conversation over the dinner table. I want to be the mom/wife my kid/husband needs. Part of that relates to number 1 and cutting out mental clutter, and part of that relates to taking care of my needs. If I take care of myself, my relationship with my family will only get better. And that’s saying something, because I don’t presume to speak for Jon or Harry, but I’d say our family life is pretty amazing.

So there you have it. The four spots of my life I’m focusing on this year. Birthdays are as good a time as ever for “New Year” resolutions, yeah? Does anyone else use their birthday for a fresh start? Or perhaps a reminder of the things that are important?

xoxo Mallory

PS a big shout out to my mom. Something about giving birth really makes you want to thank your own mom on your birthday. Love you Mama. xoxo

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The Final 48

Coming home from a deployment | R.Simple Life

It hit me sometime around lunch on Friday. My husband was on his way home. He wasn’t deployed anymore. He was enroute. He’d be home in mere days. That instant held butterflies which made their way from my stomach to my chest, and then slowly turned to waves of anxiety.

You kind of expect it, but nobody warns you how intense the last two days of a deployment are. There are waves of extreme emotions and you are struggling to ride them gracefully. Moments of pure elation and excitement are shortly followed by moments of anxious waiting, nervously listening for any noise from your phone, looking at the clock. One minute I was dancing around the living room, running from task to task because I was filled with so much happy energy and then I’d find myself standing still, staring at a socket in the wall. I don’t really have a good yardstick to measure it against, but I told my dear friend that I was fairly certain this is what it felt like to be on drugs.

I had a list to keep me busy that weekend. Things like vacuum, clean the oven, file paperwork, work on Harry’s birthday video, grocery shop. About a third of the items on my list were crossed off. I’d get into these frenzies where I’d have to do something, cross something off the list, scrub the bathroom, clean out the refrigerator. And then I’d be mentally drained and need to just sit on the couch with a mindless program and zone out.

I had no appetite. Harry and I ate an embarrassing amount of Greek food takeout and peanut butter & jelly yogurt. I couldn’t think far enough ahead to cook anything in time for dinner. I didn’t want dinner. I drank so much water because my throat was so dry.

But while the emotional turmoil was happening, there was a weird sense of calm underlying everything. One minute I’d be bouncing down the stairs, vacuuming each one, the next I’d be on the couch with Harry and Despicable Me playing in the background, but through it all, I felt oddly calm. Like I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the idea that my husband was coming home. Like it was any other weekend. I saw each emotional swing as an outsider, watching it with fascination. People were asking me if I was excited or nervous or happy or whatever, and though I was all of those, I was also relaxed. It had been almost five months on my own, making a new routine, doing everything by myself. My days were meticulously the same, and these last few days were not much different.

I did find, however, the second it was quiet, that calmness threatened to leave. We listened to a lot of Dean Martin and Imagine Dragons and Jack Johnson. Despicable Me was on in the background, usually with no one watching it. I needed noise to quiet the noise in my brain.

The morning of the homecoming, I woke up excited, but calm. Harry and I went for a run to calm my jitters, but it felt normal. The two of us running through the Mississippi fog. I put him down for a nap and took a shower. All the while, filming our every move like a documentarian. I think I needed to do that. Whether I’ll ever put it together in a homecoming video or not, I don’t know. But I needed to look at the day as an outsider. That was my way of keeping the energy that comes from excitement, nerves, and elation at bay.

We went to the maintenance building after Harry’s nap and I brought my arsenal: small plastic toy animals, snacks, water, a book, my camera, my second lens, my phone, diapers. I didn’t need any of it. Harry was content chasing balloons and crawling up and down the three steps to the stage. Those three steps were just dangerous enough to keep my mind alert, but small enough for me to take everything in and let my emotions roll over me.

We went outside and shortly after, the four planes flew overhead. I felt the tears coming as I pointed out Papa’s plane to Harry. It seemed like an eternity before they landed, rounded the corner, and taxied over to us. Then it was even longer until the people started exiting.

I saw him right away. I recognized his walk before I could see his face. I could tell the moment he spotted us. His walk became one with a purpose. Quicker and straighter. As he got closer, the emotions welled up inside of me and overtook everything else. That first hug, with a running start, was one of the best moments of my life. Maybe even better than our first kiss. It was the crescendo to four and a half long months of waiting. It was perfect.

Coming home from a deployment | R.Simple Life

And then we walked away, holding hands.

xoxo Mallory

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Passport Outtakes

Passport Photo Outtakes | R.Simple Life

These are just a few of my favorite outtakes. Don’t be fooled by the last one, he has tears streaming down his face. I don’t think we’ve found the winner quite yet.

xoxo Mallory

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From Michigan

Growing up in Michigan | R.Simple Life

Have you ever noticed how many people are from Michigan? I have. No matter where you go you run into someone from the Mitten and I for one wear my Michigan pride front and center. It’s such a great place to be from. Beautiful, snowy, Midwestern winters with skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and coffee dates… warm summer nights filled with lakeside bonfires and fireflies… a million lakes to swim and boat and fish and ski on (take that Minnesota – a million lakes).

The great thing about being from Michigan though? Enjoying the best times of the year when you go back to visit. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to live in Michigan again. Maybe somewhere on the west side of the state? Or Up North? Or even just close to Ann Arbor (it’s such a great little town – have you ever been?). But staying away from the slushy gray end of February snow is great. And avoiding the mosquitos for all but one week of the summer is ideal. And perfecting your non-Michigan accent only to have every nasal-y “a” come right back to you the second you land at DTW is really kind of fun.

Have you ever been to Michigan? If not, you simply must go. Head up to Mackinac Island in the summer for a bike ride and taffy. Or swim in Lake Michigan and watch the sunset while wearing your favorite sweatshirt. Or visit Detroit and imagine how it used to be. Just go. It’s beautiful.

xoxo Mallory


The Big One: 12 Months

I have a one year old. A toddler. A mini-grown up. He walks, talks, and feeds himself with a spoon and he is no longer a baby. On one hand, it’s a ridiculously sad milestone, but the overpowering emotion I’ve been feeling with the passing of the first year of Harry is pride. This little boy is someone to be proud of.

Harry 12 Month Snapshot | R.Simple Life

This month Harry really started cruising around and is now completely comfortable walking on carpet, gravel, tile, in shoes, out of shoes, in socks, etc. He is decidedly a big boy now, and one of my favorite things is when he walks over to the bookshelf, picks out his favorite book (still Brown Bear or anything Baby Genius) and hands it to me. Also, boy can eat. He loves soup and he loves beans, so he loves bean soup. Really, he loves just about everything. Though not summer squash and/or zucchini.

Harry's 12 Month Snapshot | R.Simple Life

Harry understands English and is working on his verbal. He pretty much always knows what I’m saying and he is getting so good at communicating back to me. He signs “please” all the time (cutest thing ever) and says “thank you.” He’s also working really hard to make “sh” or “ss” noises. It’s a lot of spitting. He blows kisses and plants ’em directly onto my lips, depending on how far away from me he is. And the kid hasn’t met a pile of pillows he hasn’t jumped into head first.

Harry's 12 Month Snapshot | R.Simple Life

The last year has really, really been the best year. Welcoming this little boy and really getting to know him is amazing. Jon and I say it every day – but we really, really are the lucky ones. Harry, we love you so very much.

xoxo Mallory

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A Letter to Harry on His First Birthday

R.Simple Life | A letter to Harry on his first birthday

Dear Harry,

Happy birthday my littlest love. I can’t believe it’s already here. A year ago, I got to hear you cry, look into your eyes, and hold your sweet little body for the very first time. That day my life changed forever. It’s like they took my heart right out of my chest and sent it to live in you. It was the best day of my life.

The past year has been an adventure. You’ve gone from sleeping twenty hours a day to running just as much, from loving to be cuddled up in a blanket to loving to be wild and free. Every day brings something new and every morning I wake up excited to see what it will be. Some days it’s something big, like your first tooth, or your first steps, or the first time you said “Mama.” Other days it’s not as big, but just as special. It’s been a year of firsts, starting with your first breath and finishing today with your first year.

Today, I am a teary mess. I am missing they snuggly little boy who’s skin was too big for his body, but there is a bigger pull on my heart and that is pride. I’m so proud of the little boy you are becoming. You are determined, confident, driven, competitive, and brave, but you are also sweet, loving, funny, gentile, and curious. You live each day like an adventure, never stopping until you’ve found what you’re looking for and you are such an inspiration. You love hard, and your Mama and Papa love you hard right back.

I consider myself to be the luckiest lady on this planet to be your Mama. I can’t imagine a better job. I am so excited to see where life takes you, and where you take life, but for today, I’m going to spend my time soaking in one-year-old-you.

I love you forever.

xoxo Mama

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Looking Back on a Year of Motherhood

R.Simple Life | The first year of motherhood

Well, tomorrow is my first son’s first birthday and I have about a million emotions running through my veins today. It’s impossible to make sense of them all, but they are all facets of either excitement, disbelief, or a strange kind of sadness. It’s insane to think that one year ago Harry was still living inside of my body, getting ready to take one of the biggest, hardest (quickest) journeys of his young life.

The last year has been the very best year of my life. It’s held some of the most rewarding moments, some of the happiest tears, and some of the toughest times. I’ve slept less than ever, smiled more than ever, and shed enough tears to fill a lake, but it really, really has been the best year of my life. I feel like I was born to be Harry’s mama. Not born to be a mom, no, but born to be Harry’s mama. I don’t question my instincts with this boy, and so far, they’ve all been pretty good.

I’ve changed in so many ways over the last twelve months – some predictable, some surprising. I can only imagine this little boy is going to continue rocking my world and changing me for the rest of my time, and I am so thankful for that. He has made me a better person, without a doubt. That’s the thing about the people you love, they make you want to be better. Harry did it and his Papa did it before him.

So tomorrow I’ll put on the dress I wore the day I met my little boy for the first time, and take about three million pictures, mental and digital. I’ll probably cry more than once, and I’m sure I’ll laugh the whole day through. But today I’m thinking about all the ways motherhood has changed me, and I’m here to share just a few.

My heart grew. I’m serious. I’ll admit the thing we all feel but don’t want to say when we’re thinking about having children: I was worried I wouldn’t be able to love this little baby enough because my heart was already full of love for his father. But boy, was I wrong. My heart grew enough to not only hold all the love I have for Harry, but all the extra love I have for Jon. That’s something they don’t warn you about – the second you have a baby, the love you have for that babies other parent quadruples by the minute. Sometimes the love spills out in tears (for no other reason but how much love I have for the two of them) but somehow my heart grew.

My pant size shrunk. I was not expecting this. Sure, the first few months where I lost the baby weight, I expected. But due to the change in my diet, the discipline in my workouts, and the breastfeeding, I’ve shed the baby weight plus 10 pounds and my butt is higher. I really have a much healthier diet and my new (this year) squat rack to thank for those extra 10 pounds and the lifted booty, but Harry brought on the healthy diet and the need for a squat rack in my garage, so I’m chalking this one up to parenthood too. Plus, breastfeeding.

I started eating healthier. It began with cutting out dairy because Harry was having a bad reaction to it, and realizing I was lactose intolerant. Then I cut out simple grains and realized I feel about 100 times better while sustaining a healthy diet. If you can pick it from a tree, dig it from the ground, or find it on a farm, I’ll eat it. And having a clean diet of whole ingredients only (read: no processed foods) really makes me feel so much better. I even have more energy now. And the extra bonus? When Harry started eating, he was able to eat everything I was already making – because I was eating so healthy.

I cried, a lot. I cried because I was happy, I cried because I was sad. I cried when I was proud, frustrated, in love, overwhelmed… I just cried so much. As a crier, I’ve always been prone to watery eyes, but there’s just something about sending your heart to live outside of your body that makes you want to cry even more.

I became more disciplined. There is nothing like a baby to rock your schedule like nothing else. I learned to do things quicker and more efficiently. I learned that unless I make the time for something in advance, it’s probably not going to happen. I learned to have a routine and a schedule, but to be ready to break it at a moments notice.

I became more flexible. On the other hand, having a baby teaches the most rigid Type-A’s to break up the routine and be a little more go with the flow. The minute I felt like I had a finger on Harry’s schedule, he’d change it up. So I learned to be flexible.

I started living for someone else. I’m selfish, I’ll be the first one to tell you that. Before I had Harry, I was legitimately worried about how I would handle the lack of sleep and early mornings when I was so used to my 8-9 hours of beauty rest. I worried that I’d miss doing things on a whim, seeing movies, choosing activities based on my wants and needs. When Harry and his sweet little dinosaur arms reached for me the first time, that all changed. Everything I did, I did for him. The midnight  (and 3am, 4am, etc.) feedings didn’t bother me. Waking up early was fine, if that’s what he needed. I will drop everything to dance with the little boy who pulls on my shirt when the right song comes on. It was like someone flipped a switch and I was completely selfless when it came to my son. And I love that feeling.

There are so many more ways my little boy has changed me, all for the better, but this post is veering on the rambling side and I’m ready to sit here and dream about the last year. If you take one thing from this post, take this: being a mother, being Harry’s mother, has changed me forever – in the very, very best way possible. I can’t thank my little guy enough for that.

xoxo Mallory

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Things I Don’t Want to Forget: 11.9 Months Stage

R.Simple Life | Things I don't want to forget about the 11.9 month stage

+ The butt out, chest out, hands in the air zombie walk that you (and I!) are so proud of.

+ Your tongue out, open mouth approach for a kiss.

+ The way your s’s sound more like spit being forced out of your mouth. But you try so hard to say “yes” and “dance” and “socks.”

+ How you push that dump truck around (backwards) all day long. And my favorite thing is when I find something in the dump (like the farm animal puzzle pieces you were toting around earlier).

+ The excitement you have for your birthday cards. And how badly you wanted to show them to Papa.

+ Those rare but super sweet moments between you and Calvin, when you are being semi-gentile and he is being semi-brave.

+ Your eight-tooth grin.

+ These nights of nursing before bed. I have a feeling they will be coming to an end sooner than I’m ready for.

+ The way you cried when we took the Christmas tree down.

+ How much you love to sit on your Uncle Dylan’s lap.

+ That in every pile of toys, you will find the non-toy item to carry around.

+ The vigor in which you roll around in pillow and blanket piles. You love them.

+ When you point to my eyes. Which really means poking them as hard as you can.

+ How well you fit on my lap when it’s time to read a pre-nap book.

+ The excitement all over your face when you find the book you want me to read. I stop whatever I’m doing whenever I get that face.

+ The way you’ve taken to carrying around the album of Mama + Papa’s engagement pictures. And how happy you are to look through it with me.

+ When you walk into the bathroom, take a bite of toilet paper, and come back out like nothing happened.

+ The way you hold the phone up to your head and squeal “Hiiioooo? Papa?”

+ The moment I lay down on the ground when you come running over for a kiss and then plop your head on my stomach for a cuddle. It’s heaven.

xoxo Mama

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