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 ;)

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.

20140519-205409.jpg

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.

20140519-205404.jpg

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.

20140519-205415.jpg

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.

20140519-205357.jpg

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.

20140519-205421.jpg

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?