Six years.

family photo maggie whitley

Saturday was a day to record in the books. Zack and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary, and the day was pretty much perfect. I like to think we’ve gotten really good at two things: going with the flow and cherishing “the now” of life. I feels a bit unrealistic to create a plan and expect life follow along perfectly, so Zack and I keep our focus on other areas. And, we have found there’s so much more beauty when we do.

Our babysitter had to cancel Saturday night, so instead of it being just the two of us (plus the baby bump), Maxwell joined us for a dinner date. And you know what? It was absolute perfection. We headed home after dinner so Max could be put down for the night, and then we watched a movie with big bowls of ice cream and strawberries. And I didn’t fall asleep during the movie! Not even once ;)

It was wonderful celebrating our anniversary together as a family, and being seen with such handsome men was a highlight for sure! Zack and I have had some pretty adventurous years together, there’s no doubt about that. It’s hard to imagine what the rest will look like, but I’m pretty lucky to have Zack by my side. He’s an incredible friend and husband, and I feel so blessed to be his wifey.

How to love on your children.

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I’ll never forget it — we were sitting in church a couple months ago and Pastor Brad was speaking on the importance of making sure we encourage our children (specifically fathers) and how powerful simply loving on them is, verses always parenting/correcting them. He gave many examples and it was seriously soul touching to see Zack absorbing the pastor’s wisdom.

One of my favorite examples shared that Sunday morning was about a little boy who had just finished playing a game of baseball. The coach was recapping some points from the game, and afterward a father met up with his son. I really enjoyed watching you play today; you did a great job, he told his son. And that was all he said. Pastor Brad made sure to emphasize this father could have repeated the coach’s points, reminding his son of the mistakes made during the game. Instead the father knew the importance of loving on his son through encouraging words.

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As a mother, you desire for your husband and children to have a close relationship. And I love so much that Zack and Maxwell are developing their own special bond… through tool time. Zack has such a leadership heart, and when Max points at the toolbox in the closet I know it is a proud moment for Zack to have such a special “man activity” with his son.

One by one they pull out each tool, and Zack explains what its called and what it does. Max usually puts it down quickly and focuses on holding the next tool, but he’s starting to hold on to them and use them correctly. But what I’m noticing is how Zack encourages Maxwell, regardless of whether he uses it correctly.

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Maxwell is at the age where he’s really beginning to notice things: the way we speak to each other, how we take care of our toys, our routines before a meal or at bedtime, etc. Actually, the other day I noticed Maxwell was putting his little LeapTop computer in the same drawer Zack stores his wacom tablet. He’s watching our every move (especially daddy) and I’m just so thankful Zack is exactly the man he is.

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These are hard years as parents. Very impressionable years. But the reward when we take the time to invest in our children is immeasurable, that’s for sure.

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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?

Red lipstick and a Valentine’s date.

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You know what’s amazing? When you have the grand idea to book a babysitter on the eve of a hallmark holiday so you can go out with your hubby for a fun Valentine’s Date, and then you also make plans to celebrate the actual hallmark holiday with a fancy dinner served on your well-loved kitchen table at home. Bonus!

Last night I met Zack at his work and hopped into the other seat, and away we went on our evening dinner date. We drove over to Santa Monica and did some window shopping on The Promenade, where I just so happened to buy my first tube of red lipstick. I was wearing a different color but I felt like it was screaming, “MOM!” And then I thought, “I am out on a date with my man, I do not need to be wearing mom lipstick.” And then oh look, Sephora is right across from us, let’s pop in and see if someone can help me find the perfect shade of red. We rarely go out on dates, especially without our babe, so last night was super special to me :) I ended up buying this shade of red and you guys, it changed my life. I wore a smile so big it made Zack’s famous smile look small. It’s the little things, right? And by the way, this tube of lipstick? Only $12.50 — totally affordable and the perfect addition to our date. (I’m terrible at picking out the right lipstick color so having a pro at Sephora help me was one of my best ideas ever.)

It was a lovely evening out with Zack, really truly. And just as I finished typing this I receive this text, “Thanks for being willing to be seen with me last night. I was honored to date you.”

I am the luckiest.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS. Have you entered our $1,200+ Valentine’s Day giveaway extravaganza? The entry deadline is tonight.

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