Gerard and something about cereal and salsa dancing and water aerobics of amazingness

It's funny how this little stuffed animal can play such a special role in your life when you have a little girl who considers him her best friend.
When she loves him that much, we can't help but love him too because he brings so much comfort and security in her life, especially when she's in bed and needs something to comfort her when she falls asleep, he's the one that's there, not me or Adam.
She is always smacking kisses on Gerard's face, which makes me happy because it means that she associates kisses with love and she knows that when we are covering her face in kisses it's because we love her like she loves Gerard.
And I love that she calls him "Baby."
We never called him baby, so how did she make that connection that he is her baby?
Smart girl.
Ella's latest thing is that she has got great salsa moves.
We were in the grocery store the other day and she heard some music being played on the speakers and she went salsa dancing all down the aisle.
She shuffles her feet really fast and twists her bum back and forth and turns in circles all at the same time.
It's amazing.
I will try and record it.

Yesterday I ate approximately 10 bowls of cereal (not full bowls, but you know, maybe like 1/3 full bowls) because my latest craving is cereal. 
Unfortunately, I just finished the last box of cereal that I actually like so I'm either going to have to find a new craving or go grocery shopping.
I stocked up on cereal like just three days ago.
For some reason, cinnamon chex is really hitting the spot.
And granola.

On Tuesday night our weekly girls activity group was invited to a free water aerobics class and it was one of the best things I have ever done for my body.
I mean, seriously.
I've been having major pregnancy back pains, to the point where I honestly am doubled over in pain by the end of the day, limping and every single movement I make feels awful.
I was thinking that I would need to go to the chiropractor but the chiropractor only makes you temporarily feel better, he doesn't really fix the source of the problem.
I had been trying to take long walks to strengthen my back muscles and solve the problem myself but walking was just straining my back more because I have to push Ella's stroller and we tend to walk uphill, so it wasn't fixing anything.
So then I went to this water aerobics physical therapy class and it was so much fun and so relaxing.
I have a zero tolerance workout policy.
I really dislike working out, I hate that feeling of forcing your body to endure pain.
I know it's good for you and comes easier after time but it's just not my thing.
So when I say that this water aerobics workout was awesome, I absolutely mean it.
Without gravity, working out is so peaceful and wonderful and yet you are still strengthening muscles and getting your heart rate up.
Best thing ever.
And the next day I felt amazing!
My back felt so much stronger but it wasn't in pain and I could feel that my muscles had been worked but they weren't painfully sore.
And my posture was kind of fabulous.
Now I feel like I need to tell every single person I know who is pregnant that they should do this water aerobics thing because it is awesome.

The End.

Just Another Post About Coldstone and That Cute-Faced Boy

If you know us well, or have followed my blog for long, you know that we are kind of madly in love with Coldstone.
Coldstone was one of the only desserts that my tummy would allow me to have when I was pregnant with Ella, so I had them pretty much all the time (up to twice in one day).
Adam always gets either a fruity flavor with fruit mixed in, or mint and chocolate.
I get a milkshake, usually the cake batter with cake pieces mixed in.
Once they ran out of yellow cake pieces so they put red velvet into my milkshake instead and it was to die for!
But I haven't been able to convince them to do that for me again, which is very sad.
I know that Ella is bound to have a crazy sweet tooth one day (because she comes from a long line of crazy sweet toothed people) so I kind of limit how much dessert I give her, just because right now I have control over what she eats and one day I won't and right now she isn't begging for sweets all day and one day she will so I might as well take advantage of her not knowing much about desserts and feed her mostly healthy foods.
That girl eats fruit like candy because she doesn't really know what candy is, she's only had it a few times.
So when we go to Coldstone and give her tastes of our ice cream, she goes crazy with happiness.
She loves that stuff.
Probably because she is half made of ice cream since ice cream was half my pregnancy diet.
She likes when we dip one of the tiny taster spoons in our ice cream and then hand it to her and she licks it for like 5 minutes because she can't quite figure out how to get stuff off of spoons yet so it takes her forever.
She also loves that Dada of hers as is clearly evident in the pictures, just look at that cheese grinner!

Today is Adam's birthday and I knew I loved that cute-faced boy before we had Ella but now that we have Ella I am just that much more crazy about him because you can see how incredible of a dad he is to that wonky-toothed girl.
He somehow manages to be a good dad, a good employee, and a good husband every single day and I don't know how he does it, but I am so grateful!

A Family of Five

This is a family portrait I just finished recently of this incredibly adorable family!
I had never met them before so the mom of the family added me on facebook so that I could go through her photos and get an idea of their personalities and it was fun because I felt like I really got to know them through all of her photos of them.
She takes beautiful photos of her family and captures all aspects of their lives.
Unfortunately I can't take any more commissions to do family portraits like this right now because I have several other big projects I'm in the middle of right now and then I'm having a baby so like I mentioned in my last post I'm setting aside art for a little while.
But it's so fun to do these portraits, I'll miss getting to do this for a little while!

A Little Bit About Being Pregnant with Baby #2

We found out we were pregnant a little bit before Thanksgiving.
Adam's family was coming for Thanksgiving so we decided to take advantage of that time to announce it to them.
I had seen on Pinterest (of course) this idea of having everyone in the family write something they are grateful for on a piece of parchment paper and stick each piece of paper into some dough before baking it into rolls.
Then when everyone sits down to Thanksgiving dinner, everyone opens their roll and reads the piece of paper and you all guess who you think wrote each slip of paper.
On one of the pieces of paper I had made up something that Ella was thankful for (her new little sibling coming in July, although in reality if Ella were to write something she was grateful for, do you think it would be that? I don't think so. I'm scared for the day when she realizes that the new baby coming to our home is here to stay forever and steal away some of her prized attention).

Adam's dad was the one who opened this roll with Ella's little note in it and it took a few moments before it hit people what it meant.
And then they realized why I had been so excited to do this whole parchment paper in the roll thing.

To announce it to my parents in Oregon I mailed them a whole bunch of pictures of Ella telling them that I had gotten more printed than I needed, which was true, but the real reason I sent them all those pictures was because I had slipped in the picture of all our feet with the announcement of the new babe coming.
And I included a little note from Ella:

 We hadn't planned on announcing it publicly until we were almost 20 weeks along but as I should have expected, I started showing with this baby way earlier than I did with Ella.
By 14 weeks I could tell that people were kind of looking at me with that, "I think she might be pregnant but I'm not about to ask her in case I'm wrong" sort of look.
So we finally decided to announce it at 15 weeks to put people out of their curious misery.
When I was pregnant with Ella I only bought one single item of clothing that was meant to be maternity, which actually was kind of too big on me because my tummy just didn't poke out that much with her.
I wore my regular jeans the entire pregnancy.
But since I knew I'd probably get a little bit bigger this time around I decided to at least look around at the maternity section at H&M to see if I could find anything reasonably priced and cute and I scored!
In case you were wondering, H&M's maternity section is AWESOME!
I got those maternity pants above for $20.
And I am in love with them.
I started wearing them long before I was showing because I just think they are so cute! 
I also got a maternity pencil skirt there for really cheap and I can't wait until my tummy is big enough to wear it.
Moving onto cravings...
Sometimes I crave vegetables, which is really weird because I am not a fan of those things.
And just like when I was pregnant with Ella I'm kind of not that into treats or junk food, which is definitely a blessing but sometimes sad because occasionally I just want to enjoy a dang bowl of ice cream instead of having my taste buds look down on it.
But the one not so healthy food that I have been head over heels in love with is grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
I pretty much eat that for lunch every single day.
 My favorites are harvati cheese sandwiches and sharp cheddar with pepper jack.
Oh my gosh that sounds so good, I think I need one right now.
I also eat crazy things at crazy times of the day and night because I HAVE TO HAVE IT IMMEDIATELY!! 
Sometimes I want chow mein, which is too bad because it's hard to make a legit version of that stuff in your own home.
At least, I can't figure it out.
The good news is, we live relatively close to Panda Express.
And we've been drinking fruit smoothies like no one else's business around here because I can pretend that I'm eating ice cream but it's a bajillion times better for you, which is why my taste buds and stomach approve of it so much more than ice cream.
And weird things like cereal and marinara sauce (two things that I'm usually not a fan of) I really like right now.
When you are constantly craving new things every other day your grocery bill tends to sky-rocket.
But it's all for the baby.
That's what I tell Adam.

 I've started collecting little things for baby, like this monkey stuffed animal that I found for a steal and little gender neutral things.
I'm excited for this baby.
But I am scared out of my mind to have two children under the age of 2.
In the long run it will be worth having them close in age (at least that's the plan) especially if the two of them are best friends one day and all that cute stuff, but I'm thinking that I'll probably disappear off the face of the earth when this second baby comes because I'll be so crazy busy trying to take care of both of them.
But it will be so fun to see Ella with a sibling and see how she interacts with him/her.
And we've been making plans for the new transition.
I'm going to take a break from art when this new baby comes and no longer take any clients.
That was a really hard decision to make.
I was and still am a little bit afraid of losing a part of who I am by setting art aside for several years.
But I know that I would feel so stressed trying to balance both and the stress isn't worth it.
In the long run I would regret if it I didn't make this choice.
 I'm excited to see what if feels like to love two little people with my whole heart and just dedicate my life to them and their daddy.

Ella's Sense of Humor

A little muffin to celebrate being 15 months old (it had a candle in it before I took this picture).
 Giggling madly at her best friends.
Someone must have told a very funny joke.
Probably Ella.

It seems like the older this girl gets the more I can see her huge personality and the more hilarious she gets.
Ella has such a funny sense of humor.
I mean really.
She knows what to do to make me laugh.
One of my absolute favorite things is when I'll be carrying her on my hip and hurrying around the house getting things done and Ella will suddenly lean forward and tilt her head so that she is looking right into my face and she will put on this crazy grin and usually make some sort of noise to catch my attention and it forces me to stop and look at her with her goofy grin on and we both bust up laughing.
I love it so much!
And then I make a point of looking away so that she will do it again and then again.
And we laugh so hard every time.

And there are so many other times throughout the day when Ella and I just look at each other and start laughing, she totally gets the basics of social interaction and how you can make things funny and laugh at each other and I love it!
Plus she's always giggling when she has little conversations with herself which is hilarious to watch.

And she's been talking up a storm into her fake phone.
She seems to have a lot of people she needs to call and talk to.
Which totally baffles me.
Because we don't get very good phone reception where we live so Adam and I rarely talk on the phone when she is awake.
I'm sure she's seen us on the phone but I'm also sure that she hasn't seen us on it that often so how did the idea of talking on the phone get so engrained into that little brain of hers?
I don't know, but it's so fun to see her mind develop and learn things and to know that we helped her learn those things.

Our 30 Minute Trips to the Mail Box


Now that Little Girl can walk, everything has become 12 bajillion times more exciting.
I let her walk through the grocery store when we're not in a rush, and sometimes we just stop in random stores while we are out running errands so that she can explore a new place (the party store was a hit with all it's balloons and stuffed animals).
 And checking the mail has become a highlight of the day.
Usually checking the mail takes approximately 3 minutes, but now we dedicate a good half an hour to it each day because we have to stop and look at rocks and sticks along the way.
Ella loves rocks.
She tries to collect a handful of them and walk down the street with all of them clutched close to her little chest.
(She's kind of a hoarder.
She likes to find all sorts of treasures (like empty wrappers, strips of paper, rocks, and other priceless goods) and carry them everywhere with her.)
And it's always exciting when the dog across the street starts yapping it's head at us and Ella barks back at it and tries to break into the neighbor's yard to get a closer look.
It's a definite highlight.

What's That?

A Little 14 Month Old Life

Clip One
 Right at the very beginning she screeches and then quietly tells herself, "no."
She does this all the time.
In stores, at the library, at home, she screams really loud and then softly tells herself "no" because she knows that I'm going to tell her that.
I think it's so funny!
If only she would obey to herself.
And then she says "bah-mmm" (balloon) because there is one behind me.
And then she starts to repeatedly ask me, "what's that?"
And then she jabbers away like she always is.

Clip Two
Ella thinks she is the funniest person she has ever met.
She loves laughing and smiling at herself in the mirror (or in the reflective oven door in this case)
I would say she's vain except I don't know if it's possible for a 14 month old to be vain, she's just loves interacting with herself.

Clip Three
Dada comes home and she loves that guy to pieces.

Clip Four
Worst filmography ever, I am so sorry.
We were having a little dance party and I was dancing while I filmed it, terrible idea.
I love how she dances by walking around in circles.

Clip Five
I can't remember where I was but I know that Adam was watching Ella.
Ella is naked, ESPN is on, classic.
She just loves that Gerard and Bear a lot.

Clip Six
How she's been walking around the house lately, with her favorite treasures in her arms and her balloon wrapped around her body so that it can go wherever she goes.

Clip Seven
Adam throwing clean laundry at Ella and how much she loves it, which is kind of crazy but adorable.