Because bulleted lists are my new best friend.

coffee mugs maggie whitley

friends maggie whitley

We are in such a good place right now, it almost feels too good to be true. These days when the kids are young and we’re tired all the time, they are hard. But they’re so rich in love and happiness; I am so satisfied. Here’s what I mean…

* When Zack and I first moved to Los Angeles (from Minneapolis) we had very few possessions. Basically, we had with us what was inside our Jeep plus a couple of shipped boxes. And that was it. We downsized in a huge way when we moved to LA, not only with the size of our home but with what we owned and used. It has been hard at times — like when I really, really miss not having certain something (which I rarely used when I did have it, oddly) — but for the most part it’s been a simple transition. And when I look around our apartment, anything and everything I see has a very special meaning. I just love that.

* Max and Nat are doing so well together, it’s absolutely precious to see. One of my favorite things about being their mama is watching Max seek out his baby sister just to give her a kiss on her foot. And I’m convinced Natalie knows her brother is little just like her (and therefore super cool), which is why she gives him such big smiles. Of course she loves her mommy and daddy, but she has a special love just for her big brother.

* For months last year, as Max got older (and heavier) and my baby bump with Natalie got larger, I struggled with figuring out how to get our clothes washed. The laundry room in our complex is downstairs, across the way, and then around the corner — it’s not all that accessible. I don’t like to do our wash only on the weekends, in fact I’ve learned there is way less mama drama (ha…) when I get all of my housework done during the week. So just recently I realized if I wash our clothes in the evenings and then air dry them overnight while we’re sleeping not only do we have more space during the daytime to play, but I wake up to a home that smells like fresh laundry. Bonus! We have two fold-up drying racks and they changed my life. (It’s the small things, right?) Doing the wash is one of my favorite things, I actually told Zack once, “don’t hang up the laundry, I want to do it — it’s my favorite part!” Snort.

* I logged my first workout on February 19 with Map My Run, a simple app on my phone that tracks my route via GPS and records my mileage & time. I am a dork and actually counted, I’ve traveled over 71 miles since starting last month. HAVE I MENTIONED I LOVE RUNNING? There’s no use trying to figure out what has changed, because I have never enjoyed running until now. Like, neverrrrrr. But honestly, I’m loving it and here are a few reasons why:

- it’s something I can do with the babes and dog (and it’s free)

- hello, sunshine

- each day the scene is different (I’ve gone on dozens of runs now and never have I taken the same route twice)

- the day goes by so much faster (usually I run late-morning which means we’re home just in time for lunch & naps, suddenly it’s 3pm and the babes have woken up, and in a few hours Zack will be home from work)

- my overall mood has lightened and I sleep better at night

- the final pounds of baby weight are d r o p p i n g off before my eyes.

I’d love to share more about my running journey, but I think a separate post would be best. I have learned so much and am so proud of myself for committing to working out almost 6 days/week. And one of my favorite parts? I found a routine that works really well for our family and with only two workout outfits. So if you see me around town and notice I wore today’s outfit yesterday, and also two days prior, just give me your best smile. Because I warned you ;)

Happy Thursday friends!

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Birthdays, running, and other “catching up”-ness.

maxwell natalie maggie whitley

Our home has been buzzing lately with lots of good things! March has been a great month so far :)

Zack’s mom visited for two weeks and we got SO MUCH DONE. I know she thrives on home projects so I made a long list of things I wanted to tackle while she was visiting. And guess what? We checked off just about everything — hooray! Our biggest project was re-arranging our entire apartment. Oh my gosh. It was so much work, but it was even more rewarding. I really need to take a few photos to show you :)

We’ve had lots of family birthdays so far this year (and there are even more within the next month), including Maxwell’s second. We celebrated by going to the Los Angeles Zoo on the 12th and then on the 14th we had a little construction themed party with our friends at the park.

Any spare time I’ve found has been spent working on a big writing project or reading Still Alice for book club, and of course catching up on sleep. (Always trying to catch up.)

shoes

Oh, and I’ve finally recovered from a set of week-long shin splints. I guess I was a little too enthusiastic with my running when I started a few weeks ago? It was such a bummer to have to slow down, but it was super encouraging to know that walking produces results, too. In two weeks I lost a handful of inches overall, which kinda made my jaw drop. My goal isn’t to lose a certain number of pounds — we don’t even own a scale — I just want to tone up.

And then lastly, I’ve been wanting to write here more frequently for quite some time now, but usually when I sit down to write the cursor blinks in my face, like it thinks it’s funny that I have such little time to sit down and process a complete thought. I know the more often I write the easier it is, so that’s my goal. Zack and I have found a good rhythm at home with our two babes, but the busyness of having young children is picking up speed. Some days I can’t keep up ;) Like yesterday, I did seven loads of laundry!

maxwell natalie maggie whitley

Once again I’m reminded of the beauty that comes with slowing down and focusing on our home. These are happy, energetic years. But I will say, transforming our apartment has helped us find some extra space to create an office. And you know what? My sewing machine is sitting on my desk, just like the good ‘ol days ;) My hope is this dedicated space gives me a little more time to write and create with Max.

Besides, I think I have a few cuts of jersey fabric waiting to be sewn into headbands for Natalie. Maybe I’ll make myself one, too? Ya know, since I’m growing out my bangs once again…

PS. summer has basically hit Los Angeles and I am thisclose to testing out highlights a la home bathroom. Am I crazy, or am I crazy? Someone tell me the truth. I’ve thought about this for a couple days now, and I think I’ll give it a shot. I mean, it’s about time I change my hair, right? (lol)

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A little of this, a little of that.

favorite things maggie whitley

Helloooooo, sweet friends! I thought I would pop in and share a little of this, and a little of that — as though we were sitting down together and catching up. I don’t have a lot to share on one particular topic, but I do have a little to share on many random topics ;)

First up, let’s talk about how life-giving it is when your husband says this: “Hey babe, I’ll clean up dinner and put the kids to bed. Grab your book (I’m reading Still Alice) and go to the coffee shop, order a cup of tea, and enjoy the quiet.” I’ll tell you what, I quickly put on my pink skinny jeans and walked out the door with my book, yeow! This happened two nights ago and I came home so happy and smiley and re-energized. So much so that yesterday I did nearly 4 miles in the morning with the kids and pup in tow.

Speaking of running, I’ve been sharing a little about the minutes/mile progress I’ve been making since first starting this new workout regimen about 2 weeks ago. It is amazing to me to see what a little bit of practice and encouragement tracking my routes can do. When I started I wavered around 21 minutes, but I’m starting to steady myself around 16 minutes. Seeing my progress has me so impressed with my self (I use a Fitbit Zip and MapMyRun to track my route on my iPhone). Like, seriously, I am impressed with how I’ve begun to enjoy running!

How about a 180° topic change? ;) If you love brownies you’re gonna want to try this homemade brownie recipe. They’re SO EASY to make and are so, so delish. Plus, I love that I always have the ingredients stocked in the pantry.

Let’s do another 180°: an Instagram friend had an extra pair of Fabletics leggings and sent them to me. And, I’m not sure what’s hidden inside the material, but there’s some sort of miracle lift thing going on… and I kinda like it, ha! The slightly higher rise also includes a wider waistband, I’m sure that’s where all the “pull it back” action is happening. All things considered, these are a great pair of exercise leggings (especially if you’ve had a few babies). I give them a pretty polished thumbs up.

Speaking of babies, Natalie is the star of this little video clip.

A few other things I’m loving: this pink lip gloss, this graphic tee, this color of polish, and seeing bright green leaves in early March grow outside our living room window. Zack and I grew up in the Midwest, so while this was not our normal for 27 years, I definitely am appreciating them for our “right now”.

Also “right now”, one of my favorite things to eat for lunch is chicken salad. Yesterday I added bleu cheese crumbles and I was instantly wondering why didn’t I do this before? So amazing. The pungency of the cheese mixed with the sweetness of the raisins was an unexpected twist. For this particular chicken salad recipe I used almonds, diced onion, diced celery, mayo, chicken, salt & pepper, raisins, and bleu cheese crumbles. #winner

And that’s a wrap. I hope you’re doing well. Tell me about your first week of March in the comments! xoxo

(Affiliate links used throughout.)

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On happiness and “these days”.

baby wearing Natalie maggie whitley

Happiness. Let’s talk about it.

What does happiness look like to you? Do you feel it often enough? Do you have peace in your life, in your home, with your self? I am deep into the book The Fringe Hours, which I mentioned last week, and it’s affirming a lot of happiness for me. I hope you don’t mind me sharing about the book some more :)

For almost two years now, since Maxwell was born, Zack has been encouraging me to take more time for myself. To plan things. To leave the unnecessary chores for later. To make plans with my girls (sans babies). But it has been so, so hard for me to follow through with these things, all of which Jessica addresses in her book. Can you relate?

baby wearing Natalie maggie whitley

I have ideas and goals and hobbies, but too often they are forgotten because something else is “more important”. And so I do that falsely “more important” thing only to have it steal my time and leave me too tired to do what I really want to do with my life.

Last week I started exercising. And stop all thoughts that I’ve joined a gym and wake up super early to workout! (#yeahright) Once Zack leaves for work, the babes, dog and I walk our neighborhood for an hour. I can easily walk multiple miles without actually going that far from home, simply because I walk both sides of the street before moving on to the next block. Back and forth we go, with the sun on our faces or backs and the cool morning air whipping around. It’s so amazing! I had forgotten how good it feels to exercise.

maxwell natalie maggie whitley

I’m pushing myself to get back in shape, so I created a fail-proof workout plan by not over-complicating it. Here’s what I mean: we’re gone for at least an hour and I push the babes in our double stroller. I walk fast, encourage myself to run a few of the blocks, and make sure I’m wearing the right clothes and shoes. Some days I listen to a podcast, other days I focus on the sounds in our neighborhood. That’s it!

Jessica is a dear, real-life friend — and yes she sent me a copy of her book — but because it’s blessing me so much I’m choosing to share it with you. I’ve been processing what I’ve been reading (it’s only been four days) but I can already feel a shift in my perspective. And it is so good — amazing, even. I think it’s hard enough to be a woman with all the expectations society imposes, so learning more about how to get my work done and chase after my passions is so refreshing. With this new perspective I’m hardly multi-tasking (my dream!), yet I’m cooking a lot of meals, playing with my kids, baking, reading, getting more sleep at night, engaging deeper with Zack and friends, exercising, and sewing. I told you this book has been goooooood for my happiness :)

That about sums up what I’ve been up to lately. We’re still tackling away at our debt, I’m working on another meal-planning post, and I got a little haircut over the weekend. We also moved Natalie into the nursery a week ago and it’s been a gloriously easy transition, which I’m so thankful for. What have you been up to these days?

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