Oh hey, insta-friday, it’s been awhile.

Sometimes I feel bad that my second child has mostly instagram photos rather than “real camera” photos.  Then, other times, I am so grateful for phone cameras and the ability to quickly snap a photo and to preserve a moment in time.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on insta-friday and linkes up with Life Rearranged, so here’s a peek into what we’ve been up to the past few weeks!

Also, I realize it is not Friday anymore . . . but . . . life.


So, here a bajillion pictures for you to look at.  Okay, it’s just  20, but it feels like a lot! (I’m jenanninga on insta if you want to follow.)

There have been some vacations, some slow days, some busy days.  Good, tough, fun, mundane, but ultimately wonderful days.


I met up with a bunch of girlfriends that I have known since junior high.  We all have babies now.  It’s so surreal! Also, the child on the far left almost weighs as much as my peanut two-year-old.  Also, I want to squish his cuteness.

We took a trip to Tahoe last month as well.  Hiking, swimming in high-altitude lakes, Stand-up paddle boarding.  Such a nice escape.

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We try to have lunch with daddy once a week.  Usually we hit up a nearby park, but this time we snuck out to the beach and explored a “secret tunnel”. I may or may not have been panicky that Addie was going to fall through one of the holes in the tunnel into the foamy and perilous sea below!  The struggle is real.

The beach is so nearby, but we don’t go nearly enough.  We made a trip and spent some time near the estuary instead of the big waves.  It was perfect for the kiddos to play . . . and the adults . . . as you may notice my two brothers building sand castles with nary a child in sight.



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I’ve been reading some fantastic books and this one – Women Living Well – has been speaking to me on so many levels.

Addie was once afraid of the goats at THE BARN, but no longer.  She even attempts to pet them now.  Also, her cousin is her BFF. Also, she has more style than me . . . then again, I dress her, sooo . . . hopefully that counts for something.





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I’m back on the baby-food making wagon (Also, I almost typed baby-making, which would have been awkward).

Beads for Daaaayyyyzzzz . . . but no pants. To each his own.



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We climbed a mountain with Aunt Julie!  It was a nice treat since hiking by myself with both kids isn’t really an option at this point for me. Although it would be humorous for others to see me with one child on my back and one on the front . . . my old lady knees and completely out-of-shape self would not find it humorous. AT. ALL.

Hey, look, a photo not of my kids!  I’ve been doing some free and easy upgrades around the house.  Gold sharpie and white lampshade. BOOM.




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Picnics are our favorite.  However, Addie has not gotten the memo that one is required to eat food at a picnic.  Actually I think she didn’t get the memo that one needs to eat food to survive!  Thank the Lord for milk.

Ellery, on the other hand, acts ravenous each time I feed her.  She loves her food!


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Cousins and sisters!






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I posted this EPIC photo of Addie being a Diva on instagram and one friend said it looked like she was auditioning for Footloose. Whatever she was doing, she did it awesomely!

However, I don’t want her to dance for a living, so we began some informal “school lessons”.  We made a binder and I take a little time each week that is very intentional to practice letters, letter sounds, number recognition, counting, drawing shapes, and other simple concepts and skills.  It’s been really fun so far and it is a nice time for Addie and I to have just to ourselves.



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My hubby made me some cool things for hanging my jewelry.  We already had all the materials, so it was all free.  Score!

Addie loves rocks.  Like . . . looooooves them.  She also loves painting.  So she painted rocks, and paper, and her face, and her arms, and legs, and her armpits.  Then I cleaned her off with the cold hose water and a spray nozzle.  Payback.



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My life felt luxurious today.  My sister-in-law and her BF watched the girls while I went to a baby shower tea in a cute coastal town, and then hubby and I used a gift certificate for sushi and  a bomb milkshake downtown. (Related: Do people use the term “bomb” anymore? Like cool people.  Do cool people say that?  Wait, do people say “cool” anymore?  sick? sweet? I’m so out of the loop, or old, or both).



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Well . . . there are 20 snapshots into our lives lately!  What have you been doing?  Any epic plans in the near future?  We’re going to spray our house for ants tomorrow.  Thrilling, I know.





{7 months}



Our little one is seven months old and I can honestly say she is the happiest, sweetest, and easiest baby these days.

Sure there are nights here and there where she wakes up once and refuses to sleep unless I nurse her.

Sure, she is a little clingy and sleepy this week with her runny nose.

It’s true that she refuses to drink a bottle of either formula or breast milk.

But, really, she is basically the best.



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{This is Not the End . . .}


“This is not the end of your story.”

I read this phrase during my Bible study yesterday, and it resonated.

I have been anxious lately.

Anxious about the fact that we live in an 816 square foot home.

Anxious about how we will fit in this home with more than our current two children.

Anxious about how we can possibly ever afford something bigger.

Anxious about the hours I will be working online in the fall.

Anxious about whether I will ever be able to STOP working completely.

Anxious about my daughter’s disobedience and if she will ever improve.

Anxious about so many little things.

But, this is not the end of my story.  This is my story now.  This is my circumstance now.  God is growing me through this.  God is teaching me and shaping me and maturing me, so that I will be more like Him.  So that I will be able to meet future needs and circumstances in my life.

This is not the end.

Even the home we live in now came out of the blue at the perfect time.  Before that, my story was that I was 8 months pregnant and kicked out of our rental and desperately searching for a place to live. But, God.  God had more planned.  The plot continued.

My story will change.  Instead of anxiety, I choose joy.  I have to choose it again and again as my mind reverts back to its old habits, but I know God has a plan that I know nothing about and that is even better than I can imagine.

Then, ultimately, my story will end . . . in heaven . . . with Him.

This.  This tiny house and time of financial difficulty.  It. Is. Temporary.  Momentary. A Vapor.

This is not the end of my story. And . . . despite the struggles . . . it’s a really good story.




Um . . . ya.  Hi.

It’s been awhile.

I have this thing.

When I am really busy, I can manage a lot and I do a lot and I multi-task like no one’s business.  Then, when life slows down (like, no online teaching during the summer months), I suddenly let go of EVERYTHING!

So, that is why it has been silent here.  And, I’m not gonna lie . . . it was really nice . . . and I’ll probably do it again.

But , I had to share a six-month update on our little one.  She is at such a fun stage!

My husbands go-to comment about Ellery when other people comment on her cuteness is, “If you weren’t planning on having kids yet, then don’t hang out with her!”

She is just a bundle of sweetness.  She rarely cries unless she is overly exhausted or very hungry.

Oh, and we have been so focused on her mild manner and sweetness and have assumed she will be this meek little angel all of her life.  However, I caught a glimpse of something strong about her at her 6-month check up.  She got 3 shots.  She didn’t make a sound.  Her face got red and her body went a little rigid, but she never made a peep.  The nurse was shocked.  My girl has a silent strength and I love imagining what characteristic that will develop into as she grows and matures!



(I am so not one of those, “Oh my daughter is 30 months,” people, but for the sake of these comparison photos, I am sticking to months for Addie).

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It’s friday again.  My favorite.

Big sis has her two-year check-up today and we are having some craft time with some friends.  Mommy’s friends.  Yay for me.

Then, the weekend will be filled with organizing, a car show (early Dad’s day celebration for the hubs) and a night out for hubby and I (Our first without the kids since Ellery was born).

But, let’s take a moment to reflect on the week. I’m linking up with Life Rearranged to share our simple days through the lens of instagram (I’m jenanninga).

It’s been a quiet one around here.  We’ve stayed home most days except for a few errands.  I was really trying to work on little one’s sleep schedule.  And, you know what?  It paid off.  The last three nights she has slept 11 hours, then 12, then 12.5.  Consecutively.  Two of the nights she had a short wake up and cried, but stopped after ten minutes or less!


These three.  I love them.  I love how he plays with them when he comes home from work.  I love how she says, “Where’s my Daddy go?”  I love how he makes ga-ga faces at the littlest one.  I couldn’t have asked for a better father to our children.



So I am totally one of those moms who thinks her child is all advanced and a prodigy and all that.  I have no other child to compare her to, but I feel like drawing a circle with legs and arms and eyes and a mouth is sorta impressive for a two-year-old.  Also, today she was drawing “snowmen”, which involved a circle, a smile, two carefully placed dots for eyes, stick arms, and a top hat.




The chickens ruined our flowers.  The first flowers that I have kept alive for longer than two weeks.  Oh well.  They do give us eggs, although they’ve been a bit stingy this week.  I think a chicken-run project is in our near future.





Addie gets more and more into being with her sister as Ellery keeps growing.  Ellery basically idolizes Addie and thinks she is the most hilarious person in the world.  I popped inside to grab a toy for Ellery and told Addie to keep an eye on her.  When I came out they were like this . . . telling secrets.



I have been having fun doing the toddler’s hair.  Honestly, if it is not pulled back from her face she spends all day eating it and then it gets sticky from peanut butter and yogurt.  So, I have to do something to it.  When I want to do braids I just tell her that I am giving her hair like Anna and Elsa and she is pretty compliant. Books always help as well.



I’ve decided to take all of the plain white onesies that I have left from Addie and upcycle them for Elle.  Some cute phrases and designs and some iron on paper and waa-laa.  So far I have made two, but I already have a bunch of other designs created for the bigger size onesies.



Then, I made this little discovery.  Our second child.  The one who shocked us with her blonde hair and blue eyes.  The one we joked about not being ours . . . happens to be my twin.   Even the pose . . . I love it!



How was your week?  Any great weekend plans?  Make it a good one!

{Who I Want to be}

” Her children arise and call her blessed . . .”

This phrase is a fairly familiar one to many of us.

The proverbs 31 woman.  The woman who works diligently, loves the Lord, and is honored by her children and husband.

Why are they calling her blessed?  Why?

I finished The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliott the other day and it got me thinking.

Well, all of it has had me thinking throughout its entirety, but something began niggling at my brain the other day.

At the end of the book she discusses the different things she and her siblings said about their mother at her funeral service.

They remarked on things such as these:

consistency, unfailing availability as a mother, her love of her husband, obedient to Bible’s call to godly womanhood, practiced hospitality, unreserved surrender to the Lord of herself and her children; her teaching on how to be a lady, how to discipline herself and her children; her reading books to her children, singing as she rocked the children to sleep, her daily devotions . . .

It made me think about what I would want my children to say about me. I realized I would want these things.

However, if I want them to speak these words about me, then I need to be practicing these things.  I need to be molding myself into this type of woman.  I need to be spending my time on these traits.

Do I want to be remembered for my ability to decorate my home well, the fact that I dressed “in fashion”, the fun themed parties I threw?  These things may be in my children’s memory, but I want the deeper things to stand out more.

I want to be the nice old lady with words of wisdom for younger moms.  I want to be the mom whose children love and adore her and who seek her out in good times and in trying times.

But, I won’t just automatically become that.  What I am doing now will impact who I am in the future.

So, I need to be purposeful with what I am doing now.  I need to focus my heart and my mind on the right things.

Because, ultimately, I know who I want to be.  I pray that God will grant me the grace and strength to become her.


It has been a good week and a difficult one. (Linking up with Life Rearranged again!)

With two little ones in the same room, I am battling the fear of one waking the other . . . and so, I give in and pick up and nurse and completely ruin the good sleeping schedule we were on.  It is a conundrum.  Fear of one child waking the other and then fear of that other child waking the first!  Am I the only one whose kids share a room and who has this fear?!

Needless to say: exhaustion.

But, we went to the beach today.  We played with a friend yesterday.  We ate dinner outside.  We painted.  We read books and snuggled. We ran errands.  We watched a movie.

The blessings always, always, always outweigh the difficulties.  At least, that is what I need to remember and to trust.

Today, hubby works late and then tomorrow he works for a bit again, but this morning we had a sweet time of study together.  Of course, the kids woke up earlier than usual, but we just told the toddler, “Mommy and Daddy are doing Bible study”.  It was awesome and we are going to try and make it a weekly habit!

How was your week?


We celebrated a second birthday around these parts.  Addie had a blast and it is safe to say that spending time with her cousins afterwards was her favorite!

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It’s always so awesome to have my family here!  my awesome sis-in-law stayed home with the boys one night and my brother came over to hang with me and my other brother around the fire.  We rarely get to all be together.  It was special . . . and hilarious as usual.

I am on summer break from online teaching!  I am going to make the most of this time and thank the Lord for it and I am going to try to work heartily and with a good attitude when I begin again in the fall and I will hold onto His promises.


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I love these two little ones.  19 months apart. So different in many ways, but I hope their bond is unbreakable.

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We often find her in some very interesting sleeping positions.  I shipped two signs out last week.  (Visit my ETSY for more info.) and one customer posted a pic.  I love it!

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Hubby had a day off in honor of our Veterans.  He rarely gets a day off, so we took advantage of it and went hiking with the kids and my brother and his family.  Such a great day! Addie is taking a ballet mommy-and-me style dance class for 2-6 year olds and she absolutely loves it.  sidenote: those are 12 month pants and I had nothing to match them, so I grabbed one of my old tanks from the fabric stash and altered it to fit her.  She looked adorable if I do say so myself.

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Then, of course I had to match them.  Addie’s fashion is really just too much for me.  Here she is killin’ it in my old overalls.

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I’m looking forward to some time in the word this weekend, some organizing, and some outdoor time.  How about you?