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!

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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!).

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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!

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

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

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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.)

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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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Happy 2nd birthday, Maxwell!

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Today is Maxwell’s second birthday and my heart so swollen with joy, I can’t believe this special day is here. We had just returned home from Tanzania, Africa when I found out we were pregnant with this little guy. And oh, what an answer to prayer this pregnancy was for our family! I’m so thankful, my pregnancy was so easy and I enjoyed every moment of it. Like, seriously enjoyed it. Then on March 12th, 2013, Maxwell moved from my womb to my arms…

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zack and maxwell beach

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maxwell in crib

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…and I’m so, so thankful I was chosen to be his mama. I remember all the things I had to learn once he was born, whether it be nursing or sleep schedules or learning to crawl or interactive play. We have enjoyed every stage of Maxwell’s life, which has made the last two years go by so quickly. Every day is an adventure with Max — and he has not only learned so much, but Max has taught us so much. It’s just fantastic that we get to be his parents. It’s like we won the lottery :)

And then there’s Max’s fun personality, nodding his head yes so convincingly when he wants something, which totally makes us laugh and give in to his requests ;) He is so confident in his role as a big brother to Natalie, that’s perhaps the most heartwarming thing to see. But for sure one of my favorite parts of mamahood is seeing the way he looks at his daddy, it’s quite the sight. Having a family that’s just bursting with love is what I live for, that’s for sure.

So we wish you the happiest second birthday, Maxwell. We love you so much, sweet boy!

Love, mommy & daddy

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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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