All About E's Little Life Right Now

This pretty much sums up 2-year-old Ella.

We are big into letters right now.
We take walks and stop at every sign to point out all the letters.
She hollers out letters she sees as we drive through town.
She had a square-shaped sandwich for lunch today and she bit into two of the sides opposite of each other and then exclaimed, "H!" because it was shaped exactly like the letter H! 
I blame all of her interest in letters on The Letter Factory, by Leap Frog.
She loves that movie.
But I'll warn you now that if your child watches it, you will fall asleep at night to that song running endlessly through your head.
Seriously, it will never stop.
And because it is so permanently stuck in your head (since you've watched it 10+ times in a week) you may get the urge to even sing it to your spouse while he is getting ready for bed and he will beg for you to stop.
On the plus side, it is a much less annoying song than other alphabet movies I've seen.
Holy cow are there some horrific alphabet movies out there.

And as you can see by her holding her crayon, she is definitely a lefty.

Ella is usually doing one of two things during the day.
She is either quietly organizing her toys into her various purses and favorite corners or she is running in circles and singing non-stop about anything that pops into her head. 
Also, she sometimes stops mid-song, folds her arms and says a prayer before she continues on her way.
I have no idea why the sound of cheering makes her want to stop and pray but it's kind of hysterical.
The amount of crazy energy that is pent up in that little body is astounding. 
Also, "toots!"
She will come running to me from all the way across the park to inform me that she "tooted."
Oh thank you, Ella, I'm so glad that you let me know that.
Oh man, I love her!

Lala Loo and Fenton Too

The Little Miss got a scooter from her Grammy and Pa Jones for Christmas and she is really getting the hang of it, it's kind of adorable to watch and makes her seem super grown up all of a sudden to see her have no problem with riding it down (very) minor hills.
It's definitely time for me to get her helmet.
She rode it all the way to the park yesterday and as she kicked her scooter along she sang in her little sing-song alto voice, "Go Lala, go! Go Lala, go!"
I kind of love that having two kids means that my hands are usually full with Fenton which means I can't always helps Ella do things that she wants me to do, like help her climb up to the slide and so it forces her to learn how to do things that she otherwise wouldn't learn because I would have helped her out.
It's neat to see her realize how much she is capable of on her own.
And the whole time I'm right there cheering her on, which gives her the attention she loves.
This girl loves a good dirt pile.

Some Cute-Faced Families

I've started taking clients again for family portraits after being on maternity leave for a while and I can't even tell you how much I love doing it!
It's so fun to get to know these families who I've never even met, through their photos and try to portray a little bit of who they are through these paintings.

Life in General and How We are Sick All the Time, so Please Give Us Advice if You Have Any

 Holy cow, it's been way too long since the last post.
Last month I officially started taking clients again for portraits after taking more than 6 months off so every moment of my free time has gone towards painting up a storm at my kitchen table during every nap time and after the kids go to bed.
That combined with laptop issues meant that blogging just wasn't going to happen.
But oh my heavens, I love doing art again!
In the past few weeks since the last post, we have been busy growing up WAY too fast (I mean, hello, child, how are you even old enough to sit on a swing all by yourself?).
We've also been busy being sick.
Guys, we have been sick at least once a month since Fenton has been born. 
Sometimes it's twice a month.
We wash our hands like crazies.
Use sanitizer up the wahzoo.
Eat relatively healthy.
The kids sleep for at least12 hours every night and then have naps on top of that, so they aren't sleep deprived.
How are we sick all the time?
How do I make it stop?
Ella is the sweetest and most happy girl when she is healthy, but when she is sick, you should probably run in the opposite direction.
I mean it.
Tantrum after awful tantrum all day long.
For days on end.
She is grouchy and defiant and breaks into puddles of tears for no apparent reason.
Fenton wakes up multiple times in the night, screaming in pain from his poor little body being so achy and during the day he just cries in frustration of not being able to breathe though his little nose.
We are practically swimming in tissues.
Ella has to skip her favorite playgroups so that we don't get all of those kids sick.
And it's not like a sickness comes and goes in just a few days, it's like two weeks at a time.
Two weeks healthy, two weeks sick, two healthy, two sick.
Oh, I am so tired of it!
So PLEASE, if you have any answers, tell me what they are!
We're a little bit desperate over here!
Ella has some pretty fantastic stories that she tells, one day I will be able to understand what she is saying and it will make the stories even better.
Also, face-painting.
 Okay, one thing I love is seeing the difference between the EllaFents. 
In the bathtub, at the age that Fenton is at now, Ella would always splash and splash and be generally crazy and energetic and see how noisy she could be.
Fenton, on the other hand, loves to lay really still and then kind of try to figure out how to navigate his body in the water, really slow.
He stretches his little body and sometimes makes little grunts and squeals to hear what they sound like while his ears are under the water.
But very little splashing happens.
They are so different, it's amazing that they are both ours!
But I love the differences!
Which makes them perfect for being friends:
 Oh potty training, you horrible thing, you.
It is currently a battle of wills between me and Ella and the potty.
We first introduced the potty almost a year ago and just casually talked about how exciting it was and how wonderful undies were and treats that you get when you go in the potty and slowly we tried to encourage the potty more and more but although she loves her undies and the treats and is totally capable of going in the potty she absolutely refuses to do it.
They say that you shouldn't worry too much because it's not like your child will still be using diapers when they are 20, but I find that not comforting at all.

And then there's this picture:
Seriously, this girl is hilarious.
Her sense of humor is amazing.
She lined up all her favorite babies (Lulu, "War-doe" (Gerardo), "Kimmy" (blankey),  DeeDoo, and Monkey) and then laid herself right down in the middle of them.
 ^Because that's safe.
^Apparently McDonalds makes shoes, who knew?!
But those shoes are one of my favorite pairs of his right now!
 Three weeks ago we started a tradition: we are going to take a picture of our family on Sunday, right before we go to church, every single week.
The hope is that we will be able to carry this on for years to come so that it will record how our kids get bigger and how more kids are added to the family and how we all change over time and sometimes have bad haircuts and eventually how the family gets smaller as each child leaves for college and gets married.
Here are our first three weekly Sunday pictures:
And then there's Adam:

Kindly posing for me as I try to focus the camera and find a good spot for the picture.
(That wasn't a good spot).
I love him!