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!

Hair color, learning how to thrive, and new bangs!

bangs apartment maggie whitley

My friend Allison (her husband and my husband are childhood BFFs) has awesome bangs — well, honestly her entire hairstyle is awesome (always), and yesterday morning I finally declared, It’s time for me to have bangs again! Allison and I have similar hair texture and color, and every time I see her or a photo of her I take one step closer to having bangs cut. So yesterday I snuck out in the afternoon and had them cut, and would you believe I love them? :) They’re so fun.

Last year around this time my hair was darker (not my natural color though) and I had bangs, although they were more of a blunt/straight across cut. Now my hair is more of an auburn/blonde/light brown mix to match my natural color — paired with side-swept chunky bangs. This time around my hair feels more natural and easier to style.

For months, and I really do mean months (since February) our family has been praying for Zack’s work schedule to lessen. It has been a really long year, but I’m seriously grateful to see our prayers being answered and his schedule slowing down. It can be so hard to be patient and wait, can’t it? And to be honest, I wasn’t always quietly waiting… There were many days since February where I cried and complained and questioned WHY we needed to wait. My guess is it wasn’t just about answering our prayers but having God work on our hearts, too.

And so during that time I clothed myself (in a sense) in maintenance mode. Knowing the days would be very long and sometimes lonely… Knowing I would have to balance taking care of Max and caring for our home and encouraging Zack, grocery shopping and play dates and bath time, walking Bauer multiple times a day and praying fervently and resting during naptime — these things consumed my time and mind, and auto-pilot kicked in.

I hate admitting this, but after a few months I began running off maintenance mode: not really thinking about what would make me happy, but instead putting my family first so that they were happy. What I missed out on was recognizing how important both of these things are! It’s not about putting myself first as though there’s greater importance to my needs, but rather knowing when I hold both my family and myself on the same level both areas thrive, together.

I want to remember these past eight months as encouragement for the future. I remember a few years ago, when we lived in Minneapolis, going through something similar: something in life caused me to put myself on pause while we worked through a hard season. There was much learned, but I don’t think I processed it the healthiest way.

And now our family is growing! In such a short amount of time I’ll be in a newborn haze, but I’m so looking forward to experiencing that once again. And this time I’ll have my chunky bangs to hang out with as we navigate another hard season… and also maybe a new stick of raspberry-colored lip stain ;)

Preparing for a new chapter of mamahood…

maxwell tiger maggie whitley

The days where it’s just Max and I at home are dwindling fast. We’re down to about 35 days; even typing that brings an overwhelming rush of emotions.

I remember so so clearly the day we brought Maxwell home from the hospital, the day Zack went back to work, the day our families went back to Michigan. Each day was a stepping stone towards it being just Max and I at home together (with Bauer, of course!). And we’ve done so well, just Max and I :)

Most of our day is spent doing something together. He’ll play by himself for a few minutes, then he’s off to find me. He’s constantly curious to know what I’m doing, and he absolutely loves when we do something together.

The heirloom baby cradle is set up and tucked into a corner of the nursery, waiting to be filled with weight. Once Baby #2 is born we’ll bring it to the living room next to our bed, but for now it’s across from Max’s crib in the nursery.

But even though I do most of the talking about the baby joining our family “very soon”, it’s almost like Max can feel it, too — in his own 18-month-old way. He wants to be held multiple times each hour, which I can’t do as often (per my OB). Instead, we snuggle and read together on the couch during the day and at night for bedtime lullabies.

Just like when he nursed for the last time and I cried knowing that chapter was over, Max will be a big brother soon and once again we’ll be turning another page in our book. These are all healthy (but hard) changes, definitely something to cherish as life continues to circle and the pages continue to turn.

Maxwell may not be “a baby” anymore, but he’ll always be my baby. And watching him grow from baby to little boy is seriously so amazing. Life is transforming before my eyes, in more ways than one.

Becoming a mama has revised me into the richest and fullest version of my self.

Mamahood is my best story to tell, but also my most untold story, and it is perfect imperfection.