Mountains, camping & a car battery.

Cachuma Lake maggie whitley

camping maggie whitley

Cachuma Lake maggie whitley

bauer maggie whitley

Cachuma Lake maggie whitley

We’ve had “go camping” on the calendar for months, but last week was so tiring and so hard, and I wasn’t sure if going would be a good idea. Maxwell had some sort of teething thing going on, so his afternoon nap was kinda non-existent (a pregnant moms worst nightmare). Zack worked late most nights. And for myself, I was plain exhausted and a bit crabby. But we pressed on, packed up the Jeep super early on Saturday morning, and arrived to Cachuma Lake Campground in Santa Barbara before lunchtime.

We joined our friends (and their kiddos) and for two full days we stared at the mountains. It was glorious. The days were hot but the nights were cool. Everyone was dirty from nature; I wore the same shirt & shorts for two days in a row. We were up early in the mornings, had campfires once the littles were tucked in bed, and I even went swimming twice. Glory hallelujah, swimming is my favorite.

I think the best part of tent camping last weekend was how it seemed to reset all of us. The fresh air relaxed us and being away from modern technologies was so refreshing. We live in a small space, and even though I love how tiny it is — how intentional we’ve become with our possessions and time, it made me even more grateful for a home with hardwood floors, a nearby bathroom & shower ;)

Also noteworthy is how amazing my husband is! On Monday, as we’re packing up the Jeep to drive back to Los Angeles, our car battery dies. The nearest auto parts store was about 18 miles away, but Zack kept the car from stalling as we drove down the mountain. We were all so dirty and tired, but I felt so grateful for Zack’s knowledge. He makes me so proud.

A few more updates (because lists are fun!):

* Happy 32 weeks today to my baby bump! I’ve been so, so warm these last few weeks, no one wants to see the outfits I’ve thrown together while at home, ha! But I’m hoping for a bump update to appear on the blog soon.

* In anticipation of Baby Whitley #2 we’re hosting a Baby Bundle giveaway on October 6th. We’re also preparing for our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide (October 1 – December 15) and are offering a special pre-book rate now through September 8th. If you’re a small business owner and are interested in sharing your products with the MWD community, click the above links. We’d love to hear from you.

* Lastly, I feel so very content with life right now. I have been praying over a few things and feel so much peace from these prayers, it’s wonderful. Things certainly aren’t easy for us but I feel way less overwhelmed and so I’m giving myself a thumbs up for happily navigating adulthood.

A weekend in the mountains.

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We are home from an instantly fun weekend in the mountains, and I’m honestly not sure who is more tired right now: Zack and I, Bauer or the babe. We’re all pretty whooped. Camping, you sure know how to make your own fun (yeow!).

We left Los Angeles mid-afternoon on Friday and arrived at our camping destination just as dusk began to set. Good thing, because the rain had started to fall (really, rain?!) and our tent needed to be pitched and the Jeep unpacked. We were able to hang with our friends for a tiny bit before running off to our own tents for the evening. The rain came down hard, and Zack was such a champion, cooking our hotdogs while I set up our giant family bed. (Boy, that was an experience.)

All week I prepared to leave town for the weekend. Even though there was a lot of last-minute work to do, I was making my list and keeping at it each day, and truly counting down until we could leave the city. It’s been almost six years since Zack and I have had a vacation, so our weekend away in the mountains was refreshing in so many ways. I felt like we were on set of The Sound of Music, the mountains were lush with greens and the sky bright blue. The air was cold but the sun was hot. And as I write this Zack says to me, “I can tell you washed your hair.” I asked him what what meant and he said something like, “your hair is more… tame.” Ha! Apparently the “no shampoo for 3 days” look was a little wild for him.

And Bauer… oh my, Bauer. Let’s just say he was the first to get a bath last night. He LOVED being in the mountains and I have to admit, so did I. There’s something so special about getting away and reconnecting with your family, sans electronics :)

We didn’t do much, and we didn’t talk about much. We were simply “in the mountains” for the weekend.

And I can’t wait to go back.

Hiking under the Hollywood sign.

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Usually on the weekends we have a couple of adventures in mind, even before Saturday morning is upon us. Throughout the week we’ll talk about what we want to do, and then once the weekend is here we don’t waste any precious family time making plans.

This past weekend we drove over to the Hollywood hills and went on a little hike. And I type “hike” loosely because I wore sandals. Even though it was uphill the way there, the path was easy.

We loaded up the Jeep with our stroller, the pup, water and plenty of snacks. And a couple pair of sunglasses! :)

The breeze was cool, the sun was at full peak, and the famous Hollywood sign was HUGE as we stood underneath it. We even saw tiny-looking people scurrying around under the sign as they were being told to get away from the sign (the police via intercom, perhaps?). It made me think of an episode of The Bachelorette/Bachelor and one of the dates where they sat under the letters. Ha! Any way, apparently it’s a huge penalty if you trespass around the Hollywood sign.

It took us about two hours to walk up the mountain to the sign, then come back down. Once we were home, the smell of beef stew in the crockpot greeted us… I’ve never been so happy to have dinner prepared. We were all starving!

We ended the evening with memories of a fun but exhausting day, and the next morning we woke up suuuuper early for an Easter sunrise service on the beach.

Spending a Saturday afternoon outside with family reminds me of my childhood… It was beyond amazing.

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Our life has been nothing short of adventurous since we were married, six years ago this coming June. Instead of focusing on how different or hard or flexible we need to be, I embrace it. It makes our day to day life that much sweeter.

Summertime in Los Angeles…

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How is it September already? One thing I’m learning about Los Angeles is it gets suuuper warm the end of August/early September, so during the afternoon hours we’ve been trying to sneak away from the apartment to cool down. Last year at this time I was just about 14 weeks pregnant, and now I have an almost 6-month old — it’s magical to compare where we are now to where we were last year :)

So, we’ve traveled a bit this summer. Maxwell and I went on our first airplane right together to Colorado the end of July and he was so, so good! Oh my goodness, all of my mommy dreams came true ;) I asked for airplane travel advice from all of you and boy, did you guys deliver! I loved it :) My favorite tips were having a fun toy in the seat pocket, along with a burp cloth. I also made sure a blanket, my nursing cover, and fresh diapers were at the very top of my diaper bag. Ummm, and guess what? I totally changed a diaper on my lap since the airplane bathroom didn’t have a changing table. snort. Our trip to Colorado was so great and I’m so thankful my mom met us there. Oh, and Jessica? You are a lovely bride!

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A couple of weeks later my older brother Matt surprised me by flying to Los Angeles for the week. Of course EVERYONE knew Matt was coming… except me :) Ironically that day I blogged about having a hard day. Little did I know that at midnight I’d open our front door, because Zack’s “hands were full”, and there would be my brother with a HUGE grin on his face!

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S U R P R I S E!

Zack totally had me fooled by saying he had to go back into work because there was a problem with a show delivery. About an hour later he returns with my big bro — it was seriously the best surprise :D

This was Matt’s first time visiting us since we moved here a year ago, plus his first time meeting Maxwell… it meant so much that he planned this trip. We had a busy week doing, ya know, all sorts of fun things — walking the Santa Monica Promenade, having pizza for lunch, visiting Venice Beach, eating hot dogs and ice-cream on the boardwalk, and going to a baseball game downtown LA. Matt really bonded with Maxwell, which is quite possibly my favorite “thing”.

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And while I’m being honest, we drank a lot of coffee as there were many late nights spent catching up. Matt wanted to go to a record surplus store so we also did that, and Zack + Matt went to a real barber shop for a cut.

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My brother has two boys and my nephews are so dear to me. Collin was born 8 years ago, he and I spent a lot of time together when he was a newborn. I see so much of Collin in my Maxwell, I love it :) My youngest nephew, Jack, was born the spring we were married, 5 years ago. Those boys have so much love in their hearts, plus spunk and creativity and passion for learning. Seeing my brother with my son is a true treat… Matt’s a great Uncle, which is no surprise :)

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The day Matt flew back to Michigan, our family also flew to Michigan for our annual summer visit. We all took red eyes and flew back to the Midwest while the rest of the country was sleeping. We were in our home state for 9 days while we visited with our families + friends. How’s this for a busy trip home: 4 airplanes, 3 cities, 6 parties, 2 new family photos, and 9 days of pure, spirited fun. More photos from our trip to Michigan, coming soon!

When we came home from Michigan our apartment was just as we left it: messy and full of memories from our visit with my brother. And I may have had tears in my eyes as I picked up and swept away the sand that was sprinkled on the floor. The week Matt was here was intense — it was filled with so much hugging and laughter and coffee and memory making.

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Moments like that are forever etched onto our hearts.

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+ + +

Maxwell will be 6 months old on Thursday — awwwww! His two bunny teeth on the bottom are seriously so cute, but sharp! Seriously, why do they need to be so sharp? Max’s hair is getting curlier and blonder and thicker, and I love looking at his little boy hairline, it’s precious. And those blue eyes — they’re like giant blueberries. He’s loving our afternoon stroller walks with Bauer and no longer sits in his carseat, which is just crazy! And have I mentioned he randomly says, “ma ma ma”? If he hasn’t already melted my heart…

Last week I promised myself some brand new changes would take place within my day-to-day so I’m very excited to start implementing them. I have never heard God speak to me… but I did last week, and it was amazing to have more clarity.

Anyhooo, Summer has been very good to us, and I’m sure these final weeks of the season will be just as great :)

Wishing the same for your family, too! xo