How we survived a week without Zack.

kids beach maggie whitley

For all of last week, Zack was in New York City producing a commercial. He left early Monday morning and returned Saturday just in time to have lunch with us. When he first mentioned the possibility of going on this trip I was immediately like, “Yes, go! What are the dates? I’ll put it on the calendar right now.” I knew he really wanted to go, and if he was happy about going then I’d naturally feel happy about him going (I kinda love that’s how our marriage works).

We had a great week, the kids, dog and myself. The days felt more like Zack was working late and wouldn’t be home before bedtime, which is at times frequent around here. Plus, no one over 2-1/4 years old had a meltdown ;) My friends kept checking in on us and I was thrilled to give them such a happy report every time.

park maggie whitley

Before Zack flew out on Monday, I made sure I checked off these five easy tasks:

1. I made sure the fridge & pantry were stocked. Milk, snacks, fresh fruit, breakfast, easy lunches and quick dinners were planned for. I also added any missing ingredients for homemade brownies and my favorite chocolate chip cookies to my shopping list.

2. All of our household necessities were purchased and ready to go. Because I didn’t need to amp up the Witching Hour simply from running out of diapers or toilet paper. No, ma’am.

kids train maggie whitley

3. Every day had at least one fun thing on the agenda. And most days I had two things planned (morning & late afternoon). We went to the park a couple of times, the beach with a group of friends, a local attraction (Travel Town for train rides), had a park play date, visited Target “for fun”, and hosted a play date. We baked brownies and chocolate chip cookies. We watched a movie after bath time, and I let the kids take extra long baths. Each night the kids went to bed clean, exhausted, and happy — every parent’s dream!

bedroom maggie whitley

4. Our laundry basket was manageable from day #1. Even though I love doing the laundry (honest), I didn’t want to cognitively add anything to our week that would make me feel like I was losing my sanity. All week I kept the messes small throughout our apartment, and overall this helped in a huge way.

5. I kept a list of fun things to do myself once the kids were in bed. In the evenings I worked a little bit, read a little bit, and talked with Zack a little bit. Once I even went to bed early! On Tuesday I hosted a mini book club with Cristina once the kids were in bed. We discussed this book, which I absolutely loved because of the humor & quirk.

Some parts of our routine were hard to do with Zack gone, but I managed alright. Besides, sleeping in the middle of the bed because I could wasn’t a bad trade off ;)

park maggie whitley

Aside from all the fun things we did last week, I learned a lot about myself as a wife and mother while Zack was in New York. Things like, it’s not that hard to keep the little piles of “stuff” put away. Or, it’s OK to run into the grocery store at 5pm with both kids, you won’t lose any brain cells (I had been convinced I would). Or, you can handle gracefully taking care of the children full-time for six days and don’t need to remind your husband once he gets home just how much work you did for the family. There’s no need to keep score; we are in this together.

But my goodness, did we have a fun week with Zack gone or what? ;)

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leaves maggie whitley

Our seventh wedding anniversary was yesterday and we celebrated all weekend long, hooray! We booked our favorite babysitter on Saturday and hopped around to a couple different restaurants, then spent Sunday together as a family. Something I very much appreciate about Zack is how selfless he is, which in turn makes it easier for me to be more selfless. It’s easy to get into the habit of “keeping score” of the kind/good/better things one does over another, but Zack’s always good at resetting the score (and reminding me we shouldn’t be keeping track, anyway). We are like springboards for one another, always wanting to spur the other one on.

natalie maggie whitley

We spent yesterday morning at Playa Del Ray, introducing Natalie to the ocean and reuniting Maxwell with his sand box. Zack and I exhaled as the kids went down for naps and we welcomed a quiet afternoon; a rare sound most of the time ;) All day I was reminded just how rich our lives are. The evening wrapped with a walk and dinner at home, with baths drawn and bedsheets changed. And just like that, our anniversary was nearing its end.

family maggie whitley

Time goes so fast, especially when it’s enjoyed time, and we have the past seven years as proof.

Here’s a fun recap of the anniversaries we’ve celebrated together:

SEVEN years of marriage, check! June 7th, 2008 was a happy day for us (and our families).

Since our wedding we’ve moved SIX times. The longest home we’ve lived in is two years (Minneapolis, MN) and the shortest is two months (Lansing, MI). We’ve had quick moves, long-distance moves, and even a within-the-city move that included a lot of brown paper bags. (Who needs moving boxes?)

maxwell maggie whitley

I worked on Gussy Sews for FIVE years before slowing down to focus on our family. Right now I am knee-deep in motherhood, which is exactly where I want to be. It’s been hard (a lot of the time) to continue pursuing creative projects, but it’s been a good exercise for me. My entrepreneurial self has evolved over the past five years, ultimately preparing me for what I’m doing today: enjoying a slow ride on handmade motherhood. Life is really good!

We’ve found adventure in FOUR cities so far: Lansing and Detroit, MI; Minneapolis, MN; and Los Angeles, CA. Each city has given our family something of great remembrance. Lansing was our first address as a married couple. Detroit was Zack’s first industry job, also the city that unemployed both of us for a total of seven months. Minneapolis is where Gussy Sews began, and Los Angeles is where both our babies were born.

beach maggie whitley

We have lived in THREE different states: Michigan, Minnesota, and California. Guess which is my favorite state? All of them :)

zack maxwell maggie whitley

We’ve welcomed TWO beautiful children into our family: Maxwell (26 months old) and Natalie (7 months old). And, we pray we’ll be blessed with a few more :)

And we have ONE spunky dog, Bauer. We adopted him in Minneapolis when he was just 12 weeks old. He’ll be 5 years next month. Oh, the memories we’ve had together so far…

family maggie whitley

Seven years! We’re proud, we’re happy, we feel like our marriage and friendship is pretty darn special. Thanks for celebrating with us!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Zack!

zack maggie whitley

kids zack maggie whitley

It’s is a pretty special day for Los Angeles because today we celebrate Zack’s 30th birthday!

Almost 11 years ago I saw a handsome guy walking across campus at Central Michigan University. His smile was so genuine and his personality so upbeat that we needed to go on a date, and ASAP :)

And after almost seven years of marriage, six moves, four cities, three states, two babies and one dog later, dare I say that today he’s an even better version of the man I met back in 2004? I do, for sure.

Zack is such a genuine friend (super thoughtful), an amazing husband (who asks if I want advice or just a listening ear), and great dad to our babies (hello diaper changer, Green Day lullaby-er, and super hero play-er).

Happy Birthday, my love! And just like I’ve been telling you for years now, Inspiration is all around you.

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My challenge for 2015: one new thing.

coffee maggie whitley

natalie bath maggie whitley

natalie bath maggie whitley

zack natalie maggie whitley

mail maggie whitley

maxwell maggie whitley

maxwell maggie whitley

Instead of picking one little word to focus on for the entire year I’m doing something new by focusing on one new thing each month. I’m still figuring out mamahood (aren’t we always?) and so the best way to get back into my Maggie-ness is to tackle something new each month. I love a good challenge, and this one feels especially rewarding.

So, for January I’m choosing to work on moving forward. I’ve been spending a lot of time waiting, and it feels burdening, tiring and totally unlike me. Now that I have two babies I often find myself waiting for the next thing to happen — waiting for one of them to wake up from their nap, to be hungry, to stop whining, to burp, to leave the dog alone, and so on. And even though waiting is something that feels super unnatural, it’s something I’m constantly doing. Blah.

This month I want to move forward most specifically with my blog. I want to take more photos, challenge myself to write more, share the things that interest me — essentially, put more emphasis on living and a whole lot less on making something a long, drawn-out process. I need to stop waiting and just do it!

It’s been so good to dig down deep and put our family goals on paper. And truth be told, having a new journal has been so good for me. I hope it survives the drill ;)

I’m so glad January is here. 2015 is going to be a year of fantastic challenges and growth, and I’m pumped to be moving forward.

How about you?

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