My life is enough.

lemon maggie whitley

beesential hand soap maggie whitley

painted daisies maggie whitley

special cards maggie whitley

bible verse maggie whitley

crayons maggie whitley

These may not look like very special photos to you, but they are so, so special to me. Just over a year ago I became a mama to the biggest, sweetest, cuddliest baby boy, Maxwell. And over the last 12 months my life has been slowly changing and evolving and shaping me into the woman I am today, right this moment as I type this post. My days are no longer filled with endless sewing and product dreaming — although that was an incredibly fun season (almost 6 years long!).

Now, my days are more often filled with cooking healthier foods and washing hands practically every hour. When we’re out on our daily walks my eyes catch the beauty, there’s so much beauty around us, for all of us to experience. I enjoy praying for my family more (Psalms 119:105 is very encouraging). I am encouraged and warmed by every piece of mail we receive from family & friends, and display it proudly in our home. Who cares that there are cards connecting Christmas to Valentine’s Day to Zack’s birthday to Maxwell’s birthday? I don’t care, and in fact — the wall in our kitchen where the cards are taped makes me smile every day. Seriously. And crayons, I can’t forget about the crayons. Maxwell is just starting to get the hang of how to hold them. Although many are broken and have little bite marks (Bauer? Maxwell? don’t make me check your teeth). And just the other day I saw a little streak of crayon color on our couch. Such is life… marked by the people in our lives who mean so much to us.

I’m so inspired by our firstborn. How he laughs so easily and giggles & shrieks when I walk in his room after naptime. I’m challenged every day to be the best mama, and not just the best… but the best …for Maggie. I have my imperfections and moments where I feel like I’m unraveling. But I have more moments where being a mom is so incredibly easy. Ahhh. My heart is just so full.

I may not have those same long days of stitching with my Kenmore, but I’m no less blessed. I’m being stitched together in brand new ways, every single day. What a huge heart change this has been for me to accept this new phase of life with such open hands.

My life looks different than it was a year ago — it’s filled with the shaping of many lives, and that is enough.

How to serve a Fancy Dinner.

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Cooking Light and Real Simple, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FreshandFab http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

It’s not easy making a home cooked meal night after night, but I love the idea of cooking and how it brings my family around the table, so I keep my focus on that. When I’m tired or super hungry or Zack is working late and I know I have a few more solo hours ahead of me, I (really) breathe a little sigh of relief knowing I have dinner planned.

how to serve a fancy dinner

I’ve learned the hard way there are three big roadblocks that set me back come dinner time. Everyone has their roadblocks (and honestly I’m curious what yours are), so here are mine:

1. If I haven’t had time to grocery shop

2. If I haven’t spent any time meal planning for the week

3. If I’m not sticking to our grocery budget

[Read more...]

Maxwell’s first birthday party (at the park).

Zack’s brought some really amazing traditions to our family, but one of my favorites is how he prefers to celebrate a birthday for the entire week (or month, ahem). And really, why not? :) Having a baby is no easy task, so I’m totally on board for the extended celebrations. Besides, multiple opportunities to eat birthday cake? Sign. Me. Up.

maxwell's birthday party

We wanted to make his birthday party really special and make every part of the party come straight from the heart. I sat down one afternoon and started making a list. We knew we wanted a late-afternoon party so that helped me right away with what we’d serve: appetizers and cake. I bought fresh vegetables and cut up broccoli, carrots, cucumber and sugar snap peas, then served it in a couple vintage Pyrex dishes gifted from my friend Rhiannon and my mother in law. We set out small bowls of hummus and homemade ranch dip, so yum. Maxwell loves fruit, so I mixed pineapple, strawberries and grapes in a large bowl and put a large scooper in there. And then I baked and frosted three cakes (triple fudge and funfetti) and Zack decorated them with icing and neon shark sprinkles. Oh yes ;) sharks!

We arranged the food on a table covered with a quilt and tied small bundles of orange and blue balloons to three more tables. We set out rad orange forks, blue plates & napkins, and offered our guests soda and water.

olivia balloons birthday party

Maxwell’s first birthday is TODAY and I totally agree that first birthdays are just as much about celebrating 12 months of life with your babe as they are for celebrating (with trumpets) that WE SURVIVED THE FIRST YEAR! :) Suddenly I’m replaying the last year; my heart is so full, my smile is so genuine. I love being a mom.

The rush of holding your baby for the very first time… All of those deliriously long nights trying to communicate with your husband in the dark but can’t fully form a sentence (not that we have any experience)… All of the mid-day outfit changes (wink) and wishing you could magically grow a third arm because, Hello!, the baby is trying to roll over on the changing table and I didn’t move the dirty diaper.

maxwelll birthday party

And of course all of our firsts with Maxwell: first outing together (without another adult to help), first time he rolled over, first time he smiled, first tooth, first time he laughed when he saw Bauer, first time he rode in his stroller without his infant car seat, first time he clapped his hands, first time he imitated a sound I made…

maxwell birthday cake

A few times I’ve been sad about Maxwell’s first year being complete, but then I remind myself that him getting older means he will initiate showing his affection independently, which floods me with happiness. There’s nothing more sweet than my boy coming to me for a hug and then patting my back when we’re done. I love it so much.

maxwell birthday cake

We’re exchanging the newborn stage for a toddling boy who’s emulating the home environment we’ve been so intentional at creating and cultivating.

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And now for a funny story, because I’m really starting to get choked up over this huge, wonderful, precious milestone: We waited until Maxwell was about 5 months old to introduce spoon-feeding and I remember panicking for a moment because he didn’t know how to move his tongue to rearrange the food in his mouth. And for a minute I truly believed we had waited too long, and he’d never learn how to eat with a spoon. Ha! Clearly I panicked for no good reason ;)

michael and rhiannon

Rhiannon & Michael (and her darling baby bump!)

So back to his first birthday party. We celebrated Maxwell on Sunday at a local park with our dearest of friends. My parents were able to fly out from Michigan the day before Maxwell’s party, and having them here has been so grounding for me.

maxwell and nana

The weather was beautiful on Sunday and the sun was hot; it’s been a great week for celebrating his first birthday.

zack maggie maxwell birthday party

Maxwell’s first birthday party at the park was so special to us. It was fun and heartfelt day of memory making. When I think of my son, I recall glimpses of a tiny newborn paired with excited anticipation of the little boy he’s about to become.

I can’t wait to watch you grow up, Maxwell. Happy birthday sweetie.