Food for my mama soul.

beach pregnancy maxwell maggie whitley

We found ourselves at the beach on Sunday, totally planning on walking alongside it (and maybe hoping to get this baby low low low). Maxwell clearly had other plans because it didn’t take long and he was tugging at the straps on the stroller to get out. This sweet boy loves getting his feet wet, and in an instant memories of our weekly adventures to the beach over the summer flooded my heart. I grabbed his hand and together we walked down to the waters edge to play.

Zack captured this moment of me with both my babies, and when I saw it on my phone almost a day later I literally gasped. This is such a precious photo to me. I’m beginning to see mamahood as a marathon: we have to pace ourselves wisely, from the early morning hours, so we can last the entire day. It’s a hard, magnificent race.

Now that Maxwell is a toddler and he’s talking to us, sharing what he needs and pointing out all that he sees, it’s so very clear to me that love is at the forefront of his mind — all day, every day. He doesn’t ever see me as tired or repetitive or structured or weary, all feelings mamas have throughout the day. Instead, he sees me as his friend, his teacher, and his encourager. Having this moment at the beach with my babies captured is beyond precious — it’s life giving for my mama soul.

An adventure to the pumpkin patch!

pumpkin patch west hollywood

I love when our weekends are filled with so much HAPPY! It all starts on Friday — there’s usually tons of anticipation over Zack wrapping up his work/heading home. We usually stay up a bit too late on Fridays, which means the morning always comes too soon ;) You can usually find us in our jammies as we talk about our day while playing with Maxwell and Bauer. We have wooden cars and puzzles surrounding us, the books are scattered and we slowly sip our coffee (which Max calls “hot”). Suddenly it’s lunch time and sometimes we haven’t even left the apartment yet. Oops! This past weekend we knew we wanted to finish up some things around our home and after naptime on Saturday we wanted to visit a local pumpkin patch.

pumpkin patch west hollywood

In Los Angeles it’s not uncommon for a seasonal site, like pumpkin patches or Christmas tree farms or ice-skating rinks, to rent out a lot in the middle of a neighborhood. We’ve done all three now that we’ve been here for two years, and it’s kinda fun to see palm trees amongst pine trees or bales of hay ;) Besides, it’s a huge time saver having these seasonal sites set up in a neighborhood. Driving to the other side of the mountains, where there’s more space/nature, is definitely fun but it can take foreverrrrrrrrrr with traffic.

This was Maxwell’s first visit to the pumpkin patch but I think I had just as much fun as him. We love “stepping back” a bit and watching him take it all in. Seeing what he takes interest in (pony rides! face painting! bounce house!) and watching him pick up pumpkins — it’s adorable.

pumpkin patch west hollywood 2

We found a neighborhood pumpkin patch in West Hollywood to visit on Saturday afternoon. There was a small per-person admission but the total cost went towards any pumpkin purchase. We picked out a super cute lil punkin’ and two smaller gourds for our living room, and I love how vibrant the orange and yellow colors look against our brown accent wall. Kinda makes me want to make some sort of fall garland to really cozy things up ;)

pumpkin patch west hollywood

pumpkin patch west hollywood

pumpkin patch west hollywood

Speaking of adventures, Zack begins a new chapter today in his film/commercial/visual effects career and I’m so excited for him. This is a huge blessing/answered prayer for our family and I’m super grateful. And pinch me, but word around the water cooler is he’ll be home at dinner time, regularly. Yes!

I think we’ll all be reminiscing about all the family time we had this past weekend as today carries on… mixed with anticipation on when exactly Baby #2 will be making his or her debut into our family. WE ARE READY FOR YOU, BABY! ♥

We had such a lovely weekend and I hope you did, too. And if you live in a city where the leaves change colors then I’m a little envious of you!

The final days of pregnancy…

living room maggie whitley

I’m having the craziest moments of pregnancy/labor indecisiveness. My internal conversations go something like this,

* we’re totally ready for this baby to be born! Like, today!

* all we have to do is set up the queen bed and re-arrange the nursery, then we’ll be ready

* I’d rather have another c-section than try to give birth (again)

* there’s nothing else we need to buy

* I’ll be ready for the baby once the hospital bag is packed

* no wait, I need to wash a few more loads of laundry before I’m done packing the hospital bag

* maybe we should buy that larger diaper pail we’ve always talked about getting?

* I really don’t want to have another c-section

* I can totally handle two babies (and a dog) in our cozy LA apartment!

 

Someone, please tell me these thoughts are normal? And my sweet husband, he listens to me change my mind multiple times a day while my thoughts run wild. I went on a crazy cleaning kick on Sunday and scrubbed down our entire kitchen. (Yep, and totally over did it.) These final days of pregnancy can be so hard — the simplest tasks feel nearly impossible (like painting my toes), but I know this is all totally natural.

Slowing down is the best way to prepare for a baby, don’t you agree? It’s so good for our souls.

Handmade Crush: Life Lived Beautifully

I’m constantly inspired by the world of handmade, especially the fearlessness and creativity these designers have. Even though many of us have never met it’s so encouraging to hear their stories through their online platforms. I had some free time recently and found myself typing up an email to a few handmade shop owners, asking if I could feature a bit of their vision & work here on MWD. Let’s begin with Gretchen of Life Lived Beautifully

life lived beautifully maggie whitley

life lived beautifully maggie whitley

DSC_5528life lived beautifully maggie whitley

Hi! I am Gretchen Saffles, a follower of Jesus, wife to my sweet hubby Greg, and a lover of coffee, travel and all things beautiful! Each morning I start my day with a coffee cup in hand, big dreams in my head, and then run around getting things done and meeting with friends! I began Life Lived Beautifully in May 2013 from a passion to encourage women to embrace the Gospel in everyday living and make much of Jesus through what we say and do. I created the Give Me Jesus journal for women to use to spend daily time with Jesus, treasuring His Word and learning from Him. I could never find a journal I loved and that stirred my longing to sit and study the Bible. The Give Me Jesus Journal was intentionally put together to be a space for women to write, read, pray, cry, and spend time in the presence of Jesus.  This journal is my heartbeat and living life beautifully for the glory of God the reason I create.

First of all, you must know that if we were having coffee together, I would most likely be drinking some sort of creative latte that I have never tried before. I am a big fan of trying new things, going to new places, and walking on water with the Lord. There are so many things I wish I had learned at the beginning of my business adventure and I would love to share them with you. Grab your own cup of coffee and let’s dive in.

  • Focus on people, not numbers – This is my number one encouragement for you. Because if you become trapped by the numbers game early on your growth will be stunted and your authenticity will be hurt by trying to become what other people are. Numbers don’t equal success. Comparing followers and likes will only lead to discouragement. Whether you have 1 follower or 1,000 followers, each number represents a person. Use social media as a way to bless those who follow you, rather than being trapped by comparison and the endless want for more! People want to see someone who is genuine, even through a picture on Instagram. Don’t be afraid to share from your heart.
  • Stay in your lane at your pace – I recently ran a half marathon and was constantly reminded that in order for me to finish the race, I needed to stay at my pace instead of trying to keep up with other runners. Every runner is different, and so is every entrepreneur. Stay focused on your goals (I highly recommend using Lara Casey’s PowerSheets), and don’t try to run in someone else’s lane. Stay at your pace of growth, ideas, creating, and building a brand. Jon Acuff once said “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I have gone back to these words so many times! If you try to keep up with others, you will become exhausted. And if you try to copy what others are doing, you aren’t creating from the depths of your heart. Focus on your passions and making them come to life!
  • Don’t be afraid of hard work - Owning a business, creating from the depths of your heart, and putting your life’s dreams online can be a scary and hard thing. Most people quit early on because of the hard work it takes to make a dream come to reality. Not only that, but owning a business is a vulnerable thing. You must see your product or service as valuable and worth the time, money, tears, and endurance that it will take to come to life! It is always worth it in the end. When the hard decisions come and with long work hours and little results, embrace them, because they are necessary steps toward achievement.
  • Be grateful for failure and keep walking – Failure will inevitably come in life, whether you are pursuing your dreams or in a regular day job. We have a choice to make when things don’t go our way. Learn, be grateful, and move forward. Or fear, be upset, and quit trying. C.S. Lewis wisely said that “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” Failure is a part of success. Be grateful for it when it comes. Learn from it and then keep moving forward.

Pursuing your dreams, doing the hard things, living vulnerably for the glory of God is worth it, friends. If you are debating starting something, or in the middle of pursuing a dream and feel you lack direction, my encouragement to you would be to keep going and keep your eye on the end goal. Hard work, failure, and learning are necessary parts of the process. In the end, they will make your business, your dreams, and your goals stronger and reach the world with your passion that God has given you!

Connect with Gretchen: blog | shop | instagram

* * *

I love the idea of journal prompts, especially because it can be hard to know where to begin with opening your Bible. Journaling also feels like a really easy way to help clear my mind. Write your heart thoughts down, pray over them, and then revisit the entries you’ve written. Do you agree? How do you relax/clear your mind? What helps you when you feel weighed down?