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.

Life around here…

baby bump maggie whitley

play food maggie whitley

reading maxwell maggie whitley

maxwell maggie whitley

Life around here has meant…

* wearing pink lipstick to a trip to the mall with my friend Joanna and our three (almost four) children

* staying up way too late, soaking up extra hangout time with my hubby

* putting together our heirloom baby cradle. Eleven grandchildren and almost five great-grandchildren have slept in the cradle, I’m so grateful my grandfather built this for us. Here are photos of the cradle in our first nursery for Maxwell

* rearranging furniture in the nursery & living room. With Baby #2 arriving later next month (fingers crossed for an on-time delivery) we needed to make a little more room in our small space

* feeling extra, extra warm lately. I can’t tell if it’s the Los Angeles weather, the pregnancy, or a combination of both. But uhhhh, I’ve been feeling way hot these days #thumbsdown

* weekly trips to the library. Maxwell L O V E S to read and it’s definitely one of my favorite shared activities with him

* booking a few blog-related upcoming opportunities for handmade shop owners. Today is the last day to pre-book for our Holiday Gift Guide ($99 verses $125), click that link for more information on the HGG or our October Baby Bundle giveaway :)

* thinking about my hair. You guys, it grows so so fast these days. My roots are a mess and so I’ve been searching Pinterest for a good mix of lowlights & highlights so my regrowth isn’t so intense. Maybe once this baby comes out things will settle down? In the meantime the hormones are getting the best of me and I admit, I’ve been crying over my hair lately. I’m really loving the caramel look here. Thoughts?

* I’ve ordered new fabric so I can totally re-make the seat back & cushion of our rocking chair. It’s going to be in our living room for a couple of months, which will be perfect since we’ll have family staying with us for 5 weeks once Baby #2 is born (hello, extra seating). And I’m getting SO excited to work on a personal sewing project.

* embroidering once again. Think pink fern meets charcoal gray felt ;)

How have you been? How was your weekend? I chatted with my girlfriends over the weekend for some new easy but healthy dinner recipes and it was so helpful! I’m ready to conquer this week, which is such a great feeling. xoxo

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.

The easiest way to find joy when you “stay at home”.

maxwell playing Maggie Whitley

Sometimes it’s just a bit too easy for my focus to be on keeping our home super clean and tidy — only then will I be happy, I think to myself. But really, that mindset is a huge lie. Especially for our mama hearts when we already feel like we are juggling a small circus for 12 hours a day ;)

But I’m determined to not let that kind of discouragement into my home.

If I’m spending all of my time¬†cleaning and tidying (or even too much time, since cleaning a small space doesn’t take long) then other areas of our home aren’t being tended to.

Things like…

– loving on the people inside our home

– going on long walks where our hearts and minds are exercised

– feeding my family through meals and conversation around the table

– the purpose of our home: to grow and learn and rest and encourage one another, daily.

I try to reserve two small windows of time each week towards tidying our home, usually at the start and end of the week, so we (I) can fully enjoy the weekend in all it’s glory. This easy exercise has helped me find the joy in a lived-in home, especially since I “stay at home”.

Walking around plastic toy hammers, and blocks, and books, and the dog’s toy, and don’t forget about the laundry drying on the rack — these all shout LIFE to me, and life should be celebrated. If my focus is on putting all of these things away, what kind of message am I sending out?

It doesn’t take much for our home to feel unclean or untidy since we’re in a small space. But I’ve learned to know the difference between a home that feels comfortable to us and our friends, or a home that feels uncomfortable.

baby bump Maggie Whitley

And perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned with all of this: when I set too high of expectations on myself it’s not just our home that suffers, the people who live inside our home suffer, too.

It’s not my ability to clean and tidy well that should bring me joy…

It’s the day-to-day of life that brings me joy: having a messy kitchen, owning clothing that needs to be laundered, having floors that need to be swept of beach sand and pretzels, and tidying our toys because we play with them.

And this joy? It also brings me freedom.