Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baking Soda & Vinegar Fun

This morning, Porter conducted an exciting experiment using simple, household ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring. To get ready for the experiment, we first covered the bottom of a shallow container with baking soda. Then, we filled 4 small cups with distilled white vinegar and added a few drops of food coloring to each.

Porter and His Supplies

Now the fun begins! Once the supplies were in order, Porter used a dropper to take the tinted vinegar and pour it over the baking soda. This creates a fizzy, colorful explosion of fun!

Baking Soda & Vinegar Fun

Here's a video of Porter's exciting time:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nicknames

Our family loves nicknames. Each of us, including the dog, will answer to multiple names that have been made-up over the years. Of course, we have some favorites such as BriBear, Munkin, P$, and Blu-Da-Pest that are used on a regular basis.

Stella Bella

Now that Stella is here, she has acquired a few nicknames all her own. Stella Bella is probably our favorite, but Stelly is also in frequent rotation.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Follow-Up Appointment

This afternoon, Stella had a follow-up appointment with her pediatrician. The good news is that she is beginning to put on weight with the inclusion of formula, and now weighs 7.8 pounds. Stella will go back for another well visit when she is one month old.

Brother & Sister

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Grandparents and Grandbabies

Today, Grandma and Grandpa Gauder stopped by for a visit with their grand babies. Here they are all cozy on the couch with Porter and Stella:

The Grandparents with the Grand Babies

Although she's only 2 weeks old, Stella is already learning the joys of an older brother:

Daddy's Little Girl

Dear Baby Stella,

The long wait is finally over. We have been anxiously awaiting your arrival for quite some time now and, I must say, the wait was well worth it. You are exquisite! Such a marvel from God. The moment you arrived, I knew you were meant for our family. You were the missing link to complete our little clan. Though only two weeks old now, it is clearly evident how sweet and friendly you are. You definitely have a voice all your own that demands attention. You share that trait with your brother.

Sweet Baby Stella

It took some time for me to develop the fatherly bond with your brother, Porter. I think that was partly out of fear and inexperience. That worked well for Porter. He was his own person and more interested in doing things his way and on his own. This time around, I have found that I’m able to focus more on savoring the time I get to spend with you. Also, for you, I think this time is more critical and something you desire. You are happiest and most at peace when being held closely and warmly. God’s timing was perfect. He knew what both of my children needed and brought them in the right order for that to be accomplished.

Baby Stella

Stella, a few words on your brother. Since you have been born, he’s wanted nothing more than to play with you. He’s wanted to check on you and help take care of you. I know you two will develop a very close bond over your lifetime. Porter is a little intense and can sometimes be a little overwhelming; however, he does have a kindness deep inside of him that tugs on him when he’s too abrasive. He is a loving brother and will be a formidable protector of you as you grow and mature. You each have a particular importance and impact for each other. Porter is here to toughen you up and help guide you in the right direction as a big brother. You will help soften him and challenge him, both directly and indirectly, by your love and charisma.

Stella Loves Her Daddy

Now, for my promise to you. I will give my best effort: to lead you in the right direction, to love you unconditionally, to pick you up when you fall, to provide you safety and protection, to always show you how beautiful you are on the inside and out, to hug and hold you whenever you need it, and to be a good example of how a man should treat his wife and family.

Daddy's Little Girl

So, welcome to the family, Stella, and thank you for bringing us your bubbly personality and loving warmth. We are going to be making many good memories to come (and your mom will no doubt be blogging about them along the way). It’s going to be a great adventure!

Love Always,
Daddy

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sleeping Like a Baby

Our beloved Stella sleeps a lot, especially during the day! We're doing our best to keep her up as much as possible, but it's a real challenge. She can sleep through almost anything!

Sleeping Stella

Although I would love for Stella to sleep a bit more at night, I can understand her love for the midnight hours. I have always been a night owl myself. My baby girl is just taking after her Mommy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stella's Big Brother

I've got to say, Porter has done a fantastic job of being a big brother since his baby sister was born. When Stella cries, Porter tells her it will be okay and then rubs her hand or kisses her head. He calls her "baby Stella," and tells her that he loves her on a regular basis.

Porter & Stella

Porter has also been very helpful around the house over the last few weeks. The other day, I sat Porter down and told him how much I appreciated all the help he has given me, and I was really proud of him. He just looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and replied, "I am a hero, Mommy." This is true, Porter. This is true.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Little Lamb

We call Stella our little lamb. She earned this nickname by way of her cry which sounds an awful lot like sheep who is none too happy! In fact, Stella sounds so much like a sheep that her Great Aunt Darleen bought her this adorable plush toy to keep her company when she needs a friend.


Thanks, Great Aunt Darleen! Stella loves her soft lamby!

Monday, February 18, 2013

We Made It

With Brian going back to work today, I had my first experience home alone as a momma of two. All in all, things went well. The house is actually pretty clean and organized, the laundry is done, the kids are still breathing, and we even had some fun along the way. Here's Porter painting yet another one of his abstract works of art:

Porter Loves to Paint!

Celebration Candles

For a week now, Porter, Stella and I have enjoyed having Daddy all to ourselves. Having 5 days of paternity leave from Smucker's has been a huge blessing for our little clan. However, all good things must come to an end, and today Brian returns to work.

Stella's Arrival Candles

In celebration of Stella's arrival, I thought it would be nice to make Brian some candles he could pass out to his colleagues. I made five separate batches and used the fragrances of rose, lavender, gardenia, lilac, and baby powder. Here's hoping they're a hit with the Smucker's crowd!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sleeping Beauty

Here's our little sleeping beauty enjoying her afternoon nap.

Stella, Our Sleeping Beauty

Daddy & Daughter Nap Time

Here's Daddy and baby taking a nap on the couch. I think it's hilarious that Brian took Stella's Boppy pillow for himself!

Daddy & Daughter Nap Time

And now for Stella's close-up...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Handmade Goodness

Stella is one blessed baby! She received this beautiful, handmade quilt from a family near and dear to our hearts, the Sanos. Mrs. Sano made this quilt herself and it has quickly become a cherished family possession.


On behalf of the entire Stephen Clan, we would like to thank the Sano family for this incredibly thoughtful and generous gift. We absolutely adore this delightful quilt!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stella's First Well Visit

This morning, Stella had her first well visit with her pediatrician, Dr. Post. Her weight was 7.39 pounds (50th percentile), her height was 18.9 inches (25th percentile), and her head circumference was 34.5 centimeters (50th percentile).  

Our Little Stell Bell

Stella has dropped a bit more weight than what is optimal, so we will need to supplement with formula until the milk supply is sufficient. However, all in all, Stella's well visit showed that she is a very healthy and strong baby. Praise God!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Washing Stella's Hair

Here's Stella getting her hair washed for the very first time at home:

Happy Valentine's Day, BriBear!

To My Dear Husband,

Thank you for your love, support, and encouragement over the last 9 months. You are my rock in both good times and bad, and you make me laugh when all I think I can do is cry. I enjoy you, I respect you, and I love you.

Always & Forever,
Autumn

Daddy Worked Hard at the Hospital!

Here's my husband's great sense of humor in action:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Porter Holds Stella

Here's Porter holding his baby sister for the very first time:

Home

We are so happy to have been released from the hospital and settling into our home as a family of four! Stella is doing quite well, and we are enjoying this time of getting to know her better. She is such a fuzzy, little peach!

Home with Stella

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stella Opal Stephen

It is with joy that we announce the arrival our sweet, baby girl! Stella Opal Stephen was born on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:37 in the afternoon. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 13 ounces and measured 19 inches in length.

Stella at the Hospital

We are currently at Akron General Medical Center, but hope to be released later this afternoon. We are so excited to take our precious child home!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Time Has Come

The time we have been waiting for has finally arrived. Brian and I will soon be off to Akron General to meet our precious baby girl! I am overcome with feelings of joy and anticipation for this is a day I have been looking forward to for years, not just the last 39 weeks.

Let's Have This Baby Already!

Stella, you have been worth the wait, and I believe with all my heart that God has an incredible journey mapped out specifically for you. May your life's marvelous adventures begin blessed!

"The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26 NASB

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Getting Outside

With today reaching a high of 45 degrees, we decided to take Porter to the playground at the Green YMCA. Of course, he had a blast!

Porter Playing at the Playground

Porter has really missed being able to play outside during these cold, winter months. We're always grateful for the occasional Ohio "heat wave!"

Happy Guy