{9 months}

ELLERY9MONTHS

Well . . . I spaced and missed Elle’s 9 month appointment last week.  Yup.  So, no new stats for this post, but it’s safe to say she is growing by leaps and bounds.

I know I say this frequently, but she is truly just an adorable ball of sweetness and such an easy, happy, darling little child!

However, photo sessions are much more challenging.  Enjoy the *literally* one okay shot I got and then a TON of outtakes.  The second I lay her on her back she flips over, I roll her back and she cracks up and rolls over, thinking it is a game.  It’s adorable, but sure makes this photo project tricky.

I can’t believe that in 3 months she will be 1!9monthsellery  _MG_3443 _MG_3444 _MG_3446 _MG_3448 _MG_3453

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{insta-love}

It’s friday!

Today has been a fun day of breakfast with my girls, crafting with my friends, and hoping for naps (fingers crossed).

Oh, and I totally spaced and Ellery’s 9 month appointment.  I’m so bummed!  I was really eager to hear her stats since her last appointment was at 6 months.

So, to chase the I’m-a-total-idiot blues away here are some happy instagram photos from our world this week!

Addie loves her cousins.  Like LOVES!  Every activity I mention that we will be doing, she suggest that they be there too, or more like demands.

Also, this stawberry fabric that I turned into a dress, some shorts, and a headband.  I am pretty much obsessed. Plus, I mean, my girls are sorta adorable in them.

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This man has been working on some memorization with his daughter during family worship time. This is how far we’ve gotten.

Who made you?  “God made me!”

What else did God make? “All the things!”

Why did God make you and everything? “For His own gloooooory”

How do we glorify God? “By loving Him and doing what He commands”

She has her theology down, but not so much her kissy face.

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In other news, Addie is at an age where she can legitimately help . . . if she feels like it that is.

Also, hammocks.  They are the best.

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I’m working on contentment and studying it with some girlfriends.  This little image of a pretty succulent on a pretty tablecloth reminds me that sometimes looking at the little pretty details can be encouraging instead of dwelling on the big scary stuff!

We had some great family time last weekend as well, which was wonderful in this season of hubby working most Saturdays.  Our little one had a blast!

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I’ve been working on a lot of small, mostly free projects to make our home a pretty space.  This quote is something that I just love.  Our house is tiny, but it truly is a home.

Then there is my 9-month-old who has decided to start climbing! Ahhhhh!

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More succulents, pretty morning light, and TRUTH!

My matching grocery helper and I felt really cool in our California Trucker hats.  Although, I may have secretly been hiding my non-showered, no-make-up, messy-hair self.

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Oh, sweet Elle.  She is the cutest.  Addie is getting better at helping with her as well.  It is so fun to watch.  Much more fun than watching Addie tackle her, hit her with a toy, or try to poke her with a screw she found in the shed in the backyard.

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Last, but not least, I am prepping for another baby shower so a few girlfriends came over and we crafted our pants of.  It was so fun and I can’t wait to see it all come together!

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What are you up to this weekend?  More sanding and painting for me (I’ll share the project soon) and hopefully a movie night with the hubby!

Have a great one!

{How to Keep Dating Your Spouse When You Can’t Afford to go on a Date}

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There are seasons to life.

When hubby and I were dating before marriage we could pretty much afford to go out to eat, or get ice cream, or attend a sporting event whenever we wanted.

Early in our marriage we took trips, went to concerts, went to an actual theater to watch movies, ate out a few times a week.

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Then, the babies came. This definitely decreased our ability to leave the home. What with a nursing child and such.  Add on top of that a major decrease in salary for me (going from working full-time to maternity leave to part-time to maternity leave to online work-from-home teacher) and dates were no longer even affordable.

I think we went a full seven months before we went on a date just the two of us after our second daughter was born.

However, I didn’t really feel deprived.  Having two babies so close together and living on a tight budget taught us some awesome ways to keep dating, even when we couldn’t go on dates.

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I read, in Women Living Well, by Courtney Joseph, that date night is a cultural thing.  Meaning, it doesn’t exist in most of the cultures of the world.  It is also a generational thing.  Meaning, generations ago it didn’t exist either.

So, what did people do in the past?  What do people do elsewhere?

I think the answer is simple.  They simply BE. Being together is the vital ingredient necessary to date night.  If you have flowers, fancy clothes, delicious food, and great entertainment it still isn’t a date unless your significant other is there.  The BEING together is what makes it a date.

I’m sure you already do many of the things that I am about to list, but it is the intentionality and perspective behind these things that can change them from routine to a date!

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So, here is how hubby and I date when we can’t afford a date:

1. We Find a Common Interest:

One way we do this is by choosing ONE show at a time to follow.  We find something on Google play or Netflix that we love and then we only watch that.  That way, instead of having a “whaddya wanna watch” moment where we simply veg out at the end of an exhausting day, it is something we look forward to.  We talk about it.  We get excited to watch “Our Show” as we affectionately call it.  It doesn’t feel like wasted time.  It feels like purposeful time.  A show is also much shorter than a movie, so we watch one episode and still have time to chat or do something else.

Another way we connect is through food, because FOOD!  This may seem silly or gross to you, but we take pleasure in a spontaneous decision to pick up Criss-cut fries at Carl’s Jr. or to skip cooking dinner and grab some T-Bell after the kids are asleep.  Often hubby will run out to grab it and also come back with our favorite ice cream treat from the grocery store.  These moments don’t feel like man-we-can’t-afford-a-fancy-dinner or I’m-too-tired-to-cook-just-go-get-something, because they have become special to us.  Bonded us.  We choose to look at the act of sneakily eating greasy, bad for you, fast food as a fun thing that we do together.

2. At-Home Movie Nights:

This is not a revolutionary idea by any means, but we try to make it extra fun.  We watch movies here and there, typically from Rebox (often with a free rental code). However, we always try to make it fun!  We pop popcorn in the Whirley Pop, eat a favorite dinner while watching the movie (Breakfast for dinner, Pizza, Cobb salads with tons of bacon). I usually reserve our rental during the day and then send hubby a text telling him I rented a movie.  I might say something like, “Movie and Pizza tonight!” or “Can’t wait to watch a movie and pop popcorn with you tonight!”  Hubby always says that getting that message makes him excited.  It adds anticipation.  It feels like a “date night” when there is a formal invite and a specific plan.

3. Reading:

This, in some ways, is a new one for us.  We have nights where we both read separate books and while we are near each other, I wouldn’t count that as BEING with one another.  With the movie “The Giver” in theaters, we decided to read the book aloud together in the evenings.  So, we get ready for bed, snuggle up, and read a few chapters.  We often chat about what is happening in the story.  Doing this together bonds us in new ways.  We are connecting intellectually and I love it!

4. Outdoor Entertainment:

We do a lot of outdoor activities with the kids, but escaping to the outdoors with just the two of us is rare. Although, we totally could and should and it would be awesome and free!  However, there are ways to be outside together while at home.  We use our yard!  Sometimes this looks like coffee outside on the patio, or eating  snacks on the lounge chairs while the kids nap and discussing our dreams for our yard.  Sometimes we sit in the hammock and rock.  We have even built fires in the fire pit and had s’mores by ourselves or just simply sat and talked.  Once we went up on the roof and watched the sun rise (and now that we own a ladder we will do it again).  We could even star gaze up there. It is much cheaper to invest in items that make your yard seem like a special place than it is to go out to eat or to seek entertainment at special places.  In fact, I just ordered solar twinkle lights for over the hammock and I foresee many more outdoor “date nights” in the yard as a result!

5. Games:

We don’t do this enough, but whenever we do it is awesome.  A favorite is Sequence.  We’ve also had fun in the past with our Wii.  Being competitive with your spouse is always fun. Again, we try to make it special.  We’ve played at a card table by candlelight before with hot chocolate in fun mugs. This can overlap with outdoor activities if you have lawn games and lights!

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As you can see, I don’t really have any new ideas.  In fact, most of my ideas might just sound like LIFE to you.  But, here is where it is different.  We view these simple moments as special.  We cherish them.  We anticipate them and enjoy them thoroughly instead of wishing for a fancy night out on the town.

Then, when we do get those nights, they are AMAZING!  It feels like something incredibly special and no moment is wasted.  Just this past weekend some friends blessed us with a gift card to a nice restaurant and babysitting!  We went for a mini-walk to a local dried up lake (to see what it looked like without water during this CA drought), then we went to dinner.  It was such a special time.  We enjoyed every moment from choosing an appetizer to share to sharing a dessert at the end and we talked about everything under the sun.

And you know what?  When we came home, we still had time before bed and you know what we chose to do?  We watched “our show” and snuggled up to read a few chapters of “our book”. And that was so good too.

I encourage you, if you are in a season where “dating” is difficult, be intentional.  View the time you do have differently.  So many ordinary moments can be special.  In the long run, you aren’t going to be saying “remember that restaurant we went to on September 8th, 2014?” No, you will be saying, “Remember how we use to always snuggle up on the couch and watch shows with our greasy criss cut fries after the kids went to bed?”

Don’t look down upon your inability to go “out”.  Don’t feel that your relationship isn’t as good or as romantic as someone else’s who is able to eat out and go to movies all the time. Who knows?  They might have been fighting about where to eat or how much to tip!  Instead, just love your spouse.  That can be done anytime, anywhere.

 

{insta-love}

Oh hey.

Insta-friday, I have neglected you, but I have not neglected Instagramming (I’m jenanninga if you want to follow).

I love instagram.  It’s quick, easy, beautiful, and inspiring.

I love how it makes me treasure simple moments and inspires me through the special moments of others.

On that note, please follow @joyprouty on Instagram . . . you will thank me . . . you will also basically know every childhood dream I ever had because she is LIVING THEM!

Anyway, here are a hod podge of instas from the last few weeks.  I’m linking up with Life.Rearranged, so head on over and check her out as well . . . Oh, and buy the twinkle lights she links to because they are amazing.  I did!

 

We had a lovely vacation in Yosemite and this was the view . . . from our TENT!  Amazing.

Also amazing is our little Elle. She is basically this happy all. the. time.  I do not exaggerate.

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Baking with mom is one of Addie’s new favorites and it is sort of mine too.

Also, their room.  I love it.  I cleaned it this day . . . well at least the half you can see.

 

 

 

 

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Our bedroom, however, has been temporry quarters for child #2 for the past 9 months.  She takes her afternoon naps in here and starts her nights in here because an unnamed toddler takes FOREVER to go to sleep.  I was tired of stepping around the Pack ‘n’ Play and too lazy to put it away twice a day, so this is the temporary solution. In 816 square feet, we are always rearranging.

And then there is the unnamed toddler.  She is a passionate and persistent one, which has its difficulties and its wonders.

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Littlest one can sit up in a cart now and it is pretty much the cutest.

Also the cutest are those buns . . . the hair buns to be more specific.

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I love the relationship between this girl and her Daddy. Everything we discuss she has to tell daddy, everything she accomplishes she has to show daddy.  He teaches her special things, like the art of peanut cracking.  she was so proud.

I am in love with all of the unfinished wood thingys at Michael’s.  I want them all.  So, I bought one for a buck and made this because, again, 816 square feet . . . and knocking delivery men.

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This photo of me gardening in a dress caused a bit of a stir, so allow me to clarify.  Yes, I garden.  Yes, I often garden with a child on my back.  No, I do not typically garden in a dress.  We were headed out for a drive to some apple farms (So, a gingham dress was necessary, obvs.), but I wanted to get our lettuce plants in the ground first.  Lettuce plants that I do believe are already dying.  Fail.

Not a fail is the chair upgrade in our backyard. They don’t really fit  perfectly since they are designed for World Market chairs and these are old school chairs I got for free, but they work and I can alter them, and they were $4.50 per chair!  I have big, grand plans for this section of the patio, but I’m lacking the cash flow.  I am content with this and have been using this area a ton!

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Well, summer is officially over in the sense that I have begun working again.  Two days a week I teach online classes.  I begin at 6:45 am.  I teach 5 classes.  While part of me wants to grumble and imagines all the time I would have for other things if I didn’t have to teach, I am humbled and awed that I have been blessed with this opportunity.  I mean, I DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE MY HOUSE to go to work.  That is HUGE!

Addie has also started “school”, basically this means that I am increasingly intentional with her play time and we take some time here and there to do very specific learning activities. You may think this is ridiculous with a two-year-old, but girl knows all her colors, shapes, letters, memorizes songs, books, and Bible verses easily, talks in paragraphs, can legitimately count, understands abstract concepts, and remembers everything I ever say.  So, she needs a challenge!

Elle, however, is content to swing.  She is also adorable.

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You. Guys.  This dollhouse.  It was mine.  It was my favorite.  Peaked roof rooms?  A balcony on the roof? Chimmneys, scalloped shingles, a staircase? My dream home!  I am redoing it for Addie.  It will be her Christmas gift.  I told hubby, “I am going to decorate it the way I would decorate our house if I was brave, so it will be awesome!”  I plan to do it all for free, but there will be painting, “wall-papering”, furniture upcycling and more.  Be prepared for more posts on this bad boy.

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I leave you with these two photos.  Sweet Ellery spent a lot of time crying last night because a certain older sister didn’t go to bed.  Instead, this certain older sister did some climbing and got into the diaper bag.  Then proceeded to smear lip gloss on the wall and in her hair and to drink hand sanitizer.  Mom and Dad had to wash her hair in the sink  (and again this morning) and call Poison control and then pump her full of juice and cookies and observe her for an hour.  All the while enduring numerous tantrums resulting from exhaustion.  816 square feet is not conducive to sound-proofing a baby’s room.  So Ellery had to get up as well . . . BUT she said “Mama”.  It has been, “Dadadadadadada” all the live long day until that moment . . . and since, but I heard it . . . distinctly.  So, it was worth it.

 

I decided to take today easy and to make it a good day after last night’s shenanigans.  We turned the praise music up real loud and baked muffins (which Addie refused to eat, ha) and it was a good morning.i2 i1

 

Phew . . . that was a lot.  You are officially caught up.  What have you been up to?  Any toddler shenanigans in your life?  If not, I have plenty more to share . . . like the fact that my daughter has been not-napping for the past two hours and has torn her room apart . . . in fact . . . I better go . . .

{Yosemite Vacation 2014}

I love Yosemite.  I always have.

I grew up visiting there almost every Spring break. Hiking up waterfalls, eat lunch on the banks of alpine lakes.  It was heaven to me.

I feel so blessed to be able to continue this tradition with our family!

I got up early one morning and used both my phone and laptop in an attempt to book a campsite in the valley (the book within seconds) and – Praise the Lord – I got one!

This was our view.

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Literally.  We sat watching the sun rise over the top of half dome while eating breakfast and we watched the glow of the sun fade on the face of half dome while eating dinner.  It was magical.

There was river access AT our campsite.  Scott could sit in a chair a few feet from me sipping his coffee while he watched Addie splash in the water (since that is pretty much ALL she wanted to do).

 

I know this pic is washed out, but HER EYES!  I can never really explain their color to people, so I love this pic!

 

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Early mornings by the water.

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This about sums her up. _MG_3348 

Oh you know, just chillin’ in my pack ‘n’ play, watching the sun set on Half Dome._MG_3346 

We found Ellery Lake! Of course, we had to get some photos of our own little Ellery there.

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 I brought only books and crayons, but they were pretty much only used in the car.  The girl dug in the dirt, splashed in the water, and hiked with the best of them.

We made sandwiches and packed snacks for our outings and cooked on our camping stove (a wedding present) in the mornings and evenings.

We all slept in one tent.

We could have stayed all day at Lake Tenaya and we probably will the next time we visit!IMG_3330 IMG_3312 _MG_3303

Her shirt, her smile, the sunshine, the water . . . I love everything about this._MG_3301 

I remember, before Addie was born, I worried that she wouldn’t share my passion obsession for the outdoors and beautiful places, and trees, trees, trees.  I worried for no reason.  She sat excitedly each morning, waiting for the sun to rise and would warn us, “Here it comes! The sunrise’s coming!”

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My wild little wilderness girl.

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We had an impromptu photo shoot and Addie was less than cooperative until we bribed her with Ice Cream. Please note the difference in her expression.

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Wait . .

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for it!

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It was a blast and I can’t wait to go back again! Where is your favorite vacation spot? Do you prefer hiking and roughing it or a resort by the ocean?  Personally, give me mountains, and rivers, and tall trees!

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{8 months}

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We love her more and more each day. She is pretty much the sweetest baby that ever was.  She is changing every day and it is so fun to watch!

 

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Welcome to my life . . .

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Mom, no more pictures . . . I wanna play!

 

 

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Also, I will now try to crawl away during all sitting up photo shoots.

 

 

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Already choreographing dances together.

 

 

 

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{The Daily}

Well, hello there.

 

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Yes, it has been awhile . . . again, but I sorta like it that way.  Just me and my girls and my man and our sweet little home in our sweet little town.

Life is busy, but in a simple sort of way. That is beginning to change as we near the start of the school year and my online teaching responsibilities begin.

Here is a peek into some of the things that make up our daily:

     

MONDAY

-laundry washed and on the line, dishes, wash the kitchen and bathroom floors, clean all surfaces in kitchen and bathroom. Water the plants, rake up the weeds in the front yard, collect eggs, tidy up the backyard, paint a board to hang hooks from, attach hooks, hang on outdoor wall, breakfast, lunch, dinner, naps, Bible study, lesson plan, send work e-mails, complete online reviews, spend some time on online job #3, frame a picture, make important phone calls, make the bed, work on potty training, read books with kids, color, paint outside, baths, host women’s Bible study.

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TUESDAY

- laundry, change Addie’s sheets, water all the plants, put soil in garden beds, collect eggs.  Let Addie paint outside, more lesson plans and e-mails, make baby food, wash the outside of the window, go for a walk and to the park, rock fussy baby.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, plant pumpkins, put away laundry, Bible study. Tacos with friends and a movie in the backyard.

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WEDNESDAY

- work in the garden, read with kids, paint with Addie. Collect eggs, laundry on the line.  Cook all meals, naps, Bible study, lesson plans, Online jobs. Put laundry away, make bed, continue potty-training. Wash dishes, put dishes away, play outside, Bible study. Plant seeds. Read five pages of a book for fun! Time with hubby.

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THURSDAY

- breakfast, laundry, gardening, paint a coffee table I got for free to use outside.  Clean kitchen, pack a lunch.  Head to Barn with kids and brother and cousins.  Attempt naps, work online (lesson planning, writing reviews, job #3). Scour craigslist for freebies. Play Duplos. Blog. Shoo the cats away that have recently been heckling the chickens. Make meals, including dinner for eight and more baby food.

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It’s a busy life.  Often, a repetitive life.  But, it is repetition that I love.  Truly it is such a beautiful, wonderful life. Despite the difficulties and exhaustion that accompanies motherhood are so many tiny moments of ordinary wonder.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Appreciate your daily.  Treasure it.  Focus on the positives or the negatives just might steal your joy.

 

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