Yesterday’s adventure at the beach…

Yesterday was one of those days where I had hardly finished breakfast yet I knew it was going to be one I’d remember for a long, long time. We’ve had some gorgeous weather lately here in Los Angeles, the kind that makes you forget how expensive rent is or how small your apartment is or the lack of private outside space (what is a lawn?) or that you share the family car, because my goodness, we’ve got BLUE SKIES and a BREEZE and a HAPPY BABY!

maggie and maxwell beach

We packed a picnic lunch and after church drove a couple of miles down to the beach. Maxwell took a quick afternoon nap in the car and woke up super happy. We found a spot in the free parking lot near the Playa Del Rey beach and then muscled all our essentials down to the water’s edge: the stroller, a giant quilt, an umbrella, our picnic basket and lots of water.

family at the beach

Our entire time at the beach I wanted to pinch myself. It was such a happy day outside with my family, one that totally relaxed me and made me smile the entire time. I loved yesterday so much.

zack and maxwell beach

This was also our first trip with Maxwell as a toddler to the beach, and would you believe he (mostly) sat in the shade on the quilt and played with a water bottle and a clothes pin? He is such a laid-back kiddo!

Zack dug a little hole and then plopped Maxwell near it’s edge so his feet dangled down, and that’s when things got really messy ;) All of a sudden Max had sand up his nose and in every crease possible. Baby powder to the rescue! It dried up the damp sand so it brushed off super easily. And bonus: my baby smells adorable.

We dipped our toes in the cold ocean water, ate our lunch, found shells, and walked around a shipwrecked boat. I couldn’t find any details online about the boat, but it looked like it’s been there for a few weeks now — crazy!

shipwrecked boat

shipwrecked boat

Los Angeles isn’t the easiest of places to live (we’ve also lived in Lansing & Detroit, MI and Minneapolis, MN) but the sunshine and beaches — the Sunday afternoons when you can sneak away from the noisy city life and pretend you live in a quaint coastal town with a gravel path down to the beach — those are the afternoons we need to have more of. That’s my summer goal :)

zack and maxwell beach

And so yesterday’s adventure to the beach helped us all fall asleep so quickly. That’s what’s so great about fresh air and hot summer-like temperatures, right? You fall asleep so easily, without happy thoughts filling up your dreams. That, and Zack and I have sun kissed skin… in March ;)

maggie and maxwell beach

heart in the sand

Yesterday was a welcomed change of pace for all of us. It was the perfect amp-up for a busy week of late nights for Zack and for me, lots of Caroline-made orders shipping out.

So tell me, how was your weekend?

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.

DSC_0541 copyA

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.┬áIt 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.

An afternoon daydream come true.

flower-bouquet-maggie-whitley

Last week Maxwell and I were laying on our bed, reading books. I was repeating the baby babble he was muttering. Bauer was laying on the floor near the door, protecting us. (Or maybe he was supervising us?) It felt a bit surreal to be cuddling with my son who suddenly knew how to sit still for a couple of minutes. It was at that moment that I realized this is an afternoon daydream come true. Maxwell loves books, especially animal books (puppies!) and he looooves flap books where he can play peekaboo with the characters. He has one farm themed flap book that’s been getting a lot of lovin’ lately — and instead of focusing on how it’s “getting ruined” I’m thrilled he loves it as much as he does. A quote I heard recently at our weekly mom’s group bible study, I’m sure you’ve heard it too, “things can be replaced, but people can’t.” I want to always live like that. Sometimes it’s hard to let things get ruined, but when we stop to think about the memories imprinted on our hearts from these “moments”, they’re worth it — right? It’s a real dream come true to be staying home with Maxwell. It’s definitely not easy breezy, but it’s completely worth it.

PS. The flowers you see above? Maxwell picked those for me while out on a walk with daddy and Bauer (love).

Have you had an afternoon daydream come true? It could be a mommy moment, a friend moment or work related. I’d love for you to share below.