Maxwell’s second birthday party!

maxwell's 2nd birthday maggie whitley

We celebrated Maxwell’s second birthday last month with a construction themed party at the park. His first birthday party was so fun (and smooth!) that we decided to hit “repeat” and meet at the same location a year later.

maxwell's 2nd birthday maggie whitley

We brought with us a huge bundle of blue, yellow and white balloons and a double layer round birthday cake (made by Grandma Whitley). Since it was a late-morning birthday party we served fresh fruit, yogurt & granola, pastries from a local bakery, water and juice. We decorated a few picnic tables under a big tree with some toy trucks, traffic cones and couple of Max’s larger construction trucks. It was adorable :)

maxwell's 2nd birthday maggie whitley

Max is big into tools, building, and making “crashing” noises — anything that requires dirt basically, so it was an easy decision to give him a construction-themed party.

Max party invites pear tree greetings maggie whitley

Our friends at Pear Tree Greetings gifted us with party invitations, thank you cards and return address stickers. They coordinated with the birthday theme perfectly. I added “Whitley Ag” to the¬†excavator which gave me +10 points with my father-in-law :) The entire time I was addressing the invites I had a little smile on my face. Needless to say, we are big fans of Pear Tree Greetings for celebrating life’s moments (one of my journalism major college friends even works there).

Maxwell birthday cake maggie whitley

The weeks leading up to Max’s birthday were spent practicing the Happy Birthday song, including when to yell, “STOP!” — because that’s what’s important when you’re two years old, right? ;) We practiced “the happy song” multiple times a day, which worked out well because after he blew out his birthday candles he requested we light them again to sing another round. And so we did!

Nony friends maggie whitley

Natalie’s ankles are crossed (such a lady) while her friends coo over her

And I just have to share, picking out a few gifts to give Max on his special day was so amazing. It felt more like a gift to Zack and I, we enjoyed it that much. The morning of his birthday, March 12th, he received from us a talking Mickey Mouse doll, a new set of watercolor paints, a new pad of art paper, and a doctor’s kit. His grandparents spoiled him with a super hero cape, rocking chair, a couple of outfits, and an excavator (it plays country music, oh my gosh, adorable!).

friends maggie whitley

My best girl friends: Cristina, Rhiannon, and Joanna. We were ALL pregnant at the same time (for like 3 days) in 2014 and our babies were born in February, July and October. These women are so dear to me, and I love that we gather often to eat and drink and talk. We meet for book club monthly, have beach days, share advice, and celebrate our many accomplishments. My transition to Los Angeles a few years ago would have been very different if not for these women being in my life. I love them and cherish our friendship.

Celebrating Maxwell’s birthday with our friends was such a blessing. Zack’s mom was visiting at the time and it was wonderful having her with us. Last year, for Max’s first birthday, my parents were in Los Angeles visiting. We love having our families celebrate with us!

Nony balloons maggie whitley

family maggie whitley

These are joyous memories, and having Maxwell as our son is a cherished gift.

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“The Best” Chocolate Chip Cookies.

"the best" chocolate chip cookies | maggie whitley designs

One of my most favorite things to do with Maxwell is bake. He is so enthusiastic about baking, and he loves cleaning up the dishes afterward :) We rotate between three recipes when we bake, one being this chocolate chip cookie recipe. This cookie recipe is “the best” because the edges are crispy & buttery and the inside stays soft. Plus, you only need one bowl for mixing the dough. Hooray!

A note from the baker: we use mini chocolate chips and have found the recipe tastes best when you sneak in a few scoops of chips before adding them to the bowl.

“THE BEST” CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
4. Serve warm with a glass of cold milk ;)

(recipe originally found here)

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Dear Natalie, I hope your hair always smells like strawberries…

natalie rose maggie whitley

Zack asked me the other day if I thought about what kind of hairstyle I want Natalie to have once she gets a little bit older. She’s not quite 6 months old and already she has wild curls and great volume. Not to mention her hair smells like strawberries. I remember looking at him when he asked like, you mean she’s going to get older?

natalie rose maggie whitley

Every baby stage is my favorite baby stage. Those beginning weeks when all mama & baby do is eat, sleep and cry are such sacred weeks. They are the absolute hardest, but they pass so quickly. They are like heaven on earth for me. And now almost six months in, Natalie is showing us her personality, she’s BFFs with her feet, and we adore her crooked smile. And I can’t help but think, this baby stage is the best.

natalie rose maggie whitley

Natalie is eating baby oatmeal about 2x/day. She has been watching our hands bring food to our mouths for weeks now, and since her first tooth cut through recently I was like, well I guess it’s time? Pretty soon she’ll be feeding herself and I’ll be in the bedroom crying because she’s growing up. Ha! But of course, at that time she’ll be doing something new that I absolutely love and I’ll be quietly muttering, this stage is my favorite stage.

natalie rose maggie whitley

Zack is doing an amazing job with his post-production career and I’m so proud of him (!) and so grateful to have these years where I’m at home with our babies. When the days feel overwhelmingly difficult and I’ve tripped over a toy for the Nth time, I stop and focus on the big picture. I never go to bed regretting how I spend my daytime hours. Once in bed myself, it brings me an immeasurable amount of comfort to tuck away another batch of memories with Maxwell and Natalie.

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Girl, get up and RUN!

how to start running | maggie whitley designs

Maxwell walking maggie whitley

I’ve got a whole lot of “do the same thing every day, all day” in my life right now. And it’s OK — really, it’s OK, and here’s why…

About 7 weeks ago I made a personal commitment to work out more. I mean, we live in Los Angeles where the average daily temperature is like 75*, I can totally do this, I told myself! I’ve always taken Bauer for a daily walk with Max, but since Natalie joined our family in October it was getting harder & harder to load up my crew and head outside for some exercise. Especially if we didn’t go shortly after breakfast. Especially since it takes 30 literal minutes to walk out the door. Especially.

Rewind a few more weeks prior. I saw a photo of myself and thought, “noooooo, no no no”. I didn’t like the woman I saw in the photo because I knew it wasn’t the best version of me. For days all I could think about was how “unlike me” I looked, which meant I couldn’t stop thinking about the photo. [Read more…]

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