Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Today, we headed to Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida for a family walk.

Walking at Wekiwa Springs State Park

It was a real treat to explore the surroundings of Wekiwa Springs and see very different plant-life than that which grows in Ohio.


After Porter found this sign, he was on the look out for anything that even resembled an alligator. He had every intention of finding himself a gator to take home!

Alligator Alert

Stella always loves hitching a ride on Daddy's shoulders, especially when the walks get long.

Wekiwa Springs Walk

Wekiwa Springs is truly a picturesque park. There is so much to see and enjoy.

Family Walk at Wekiwa Springs

Of course, the kids liked the playground the most!

Playground Fun at Wekiwa Springs

Monday, March 30, 2015

Great Grandma Gauder

The greatest treasure on our Spring Break vacation was definitely found in Apopka, Florida. This is where my grandmother, and Porter and Stella's great grandmother resides. She is 90-years-young and sharp as tack!

The Opals

In fact, my grandmother is so awesome that Brian and I wanted Stella to carry her middle name. So Stella Opal Stephen came to be all because of Pauline Opal Gauder.

Great Grandma Gauder & Porter

These kids are so blessed to have such a wonderful Great Grandmother!

Driving to Florida

After a weekend in Winston-Salem, we were ready for the next stop in our Spring Break adventure! Here's a video taken along our 9-hour car ride to Apopka, Florida:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Children's Museum of Winston-Salem

Another great stop we made today was at the Children's Museum of Winston-Salem.

Outdoor Climbing Net

Here, Porter is climbing Kaleidoscape, a crocheted masterpiece crafted by renowned artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam.

Porter in Kaleidoscape

Stella really enjoyed the Animal Alphabet exhibit at this museum. Here, children can interact with large-scale alphabet sculptures. Stella really liked the letter "O" for owl the best.

Stella in the Animal Alphabet Exhibit

Here's how Daddy preferred to interact with the kids in the Animal Alphabet section of the museum!

Daddy Sleeping at the Museum

Also, the Enchanted Forest exhibit was pretty fun for the kids. Here's Porter telling Stella which way she should row. I think he's got a George Washington crossing the Delaware look going on here!

Row Boat in the Enchanted Forest

Porter liked the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory where he could send doughnuts up a conveyor belt, collect the finished doughnuts in boxes, and take them to the Krispy Kreme delivery truck. It was really cool!

Porter at the Krispy Kreme Factory

The Food Lion Supermarket exhibit was a lot of fun for the kids. Stella loved running the check-out line and taking Daddy's money for the cash register!

Cashier Stella at the Food Lion Supermarket

I just love this video below that shows a condensed version of our time at the Children's Museum of Winston-Salem. Check it out:

Historic Bethabara Park

While in Winston-Salem, we thought it would be fun to take in some of the interesting sites (which there are many).

Tavern Well at Historic Bethabara Park

We started our exploration at Winston-Salem's Historic Bethabara Park.

Buildings Found at Historic Bethabara Park

Settled in 1753, Historic Bethabara Park is the site of the first Moravian settlement in the Carolinas and the birthplace of Forsyth County.

Ruins Found at Historic Bethabara Park

As always, Brian loves to read every single sign posted at these historic sites. He loves facts, figures, and details of history. The kids, on the other hand, are just happy to run around in open fields and climb anything and everything in their path.

Porter at Historic Bethabara Park

With the Ohio winter we had this year, it is such a pleasure to just get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and explore new surroundings.

Barn at Historic Bethabara Park

Saturday, March 28, 2015

One Worn-Out Crew

After attending a wedding and reception, my little loves were worn-the-heck-out! Check out the video below of these sleeping beauties:

A Winston-Salem Wedding

After a 7-hour drive, we arrived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina late Friday night. This morning, we then headed to a lovely, outdoor wedding for Brian's cousin, Wendy. It was a beautiful celebration, and we feel so blessed that we were able to attend.

Wendy's Wedding

I just had to include a picture of our wedding gift to Wendy and her new husband, Tim. I just LOVE this vase that I was able to custom order on an Etsy shop called Maid of Clay. Not to gloat, but I think this is the BEST. WEDDING. PRESENT. EVER!

Best Wedding Present Ever

On a separate note, I think Wendy has a good sense of timing. On this very day 9-years ago, Brian and I (while on Spring Break) got engaged in Epcot Disney World. March 28th is truly a blessed day!

Friday, March 27, 2015

And We're Off!

Spring Break is finally here, and we couldn't be more ready to get away! As snowflakes fall over Orrville, we gladly jumped into our cozy, little Civic for the long road ahead. First stop... Winston-Salem, North Carolina!

Packed & Ready to Go

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Plum Tuckered Out

This might be the first time Stella has fallen asleep outside her crib since she was an infant! She had a fun afternoon of coloring Easter eggs with her Orrville friends down the road, and with all of the excitement, our poor baby girl got plum tuckered out!

Sleeping Stella

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Porter told me that for his birthday, he would like a chocolate cake because in his words, "Everybody likes chocolate!" Well, I have to admit, he was right! This was a rather delicious cake!

Porter's 5th Birthday Cake

Check out he video below of Porter blowing out his birthday candles:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Porter!

Dear Porter,

What an exciting year this has been. You have had your first experience of leaving home daily for pre-school and were so excited to learn and enjoy the company of the other children. You have such a good heart and have won the admiration and friendship of the class. This coming year in Kindergarten will be full of wonderful new experiences, and I have complete confidence that you will excel at whatever you put your mind to. You are so full of questions about how things work and love building things to share with Mommy and me. I am so proud of you and the person you are becoming.

Our 5-Year-Old Porter

Your Mom and I have often forgotten how young you are and treated you like a much older boy.  You have always been so strong and smart that it has been easy to forget. We lean on you a lot to be a good example for your sister and to help guide her in the right direction. You have done a very good job with that especially considering our high expectations of you. You will be a fantastic protector of your sister and you love her very much. You are still learning to adjust to her now that she has become your little shadow. She wants to do everything that “brother” does.  It is the most adorable thing to watch the two of you play. I hope the two of you always look back on these years and remember the love you have for each other and the importance of staying close as you grow older.

You will always be my little boy and I have no doubt you will shine brighter than I could ever imagine. I love you with all my heart and wish the years would slow down so I could enjoy more time with you and your sister before you are all grown up.

Love,
Daddy

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ready for Spring

What a day! The sun was shining and the temperature went rising. We are so ready for spring!

Daddy & Daughter

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Better Late Than Never

The last few weeks for our little clan have been bananas. There have been crazy ice storms, temperatures regularly under zero, Daddy away in Seattle for work, Mommy having to travel to Akron frequently due to job obligations, and everyone in the house catching a nasty cold that took its sweet time leaving. With all of this drama, today was the first opportunity we have had to visit the Greater Cleveland Aquarium in celebration of Stella turning two (which was almost a month ago)!

Porter & Stella

Although our arrival at the aquarium was a few weeks overdue, we still had a lovely visit and Stella really did enjoy herself. Here's a video I made using Animoto of some of the highlights:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Winter Car Rides

Bundled, strapped in, and ready to go!

Stella & Porter in the Car

Monday, March 2, 2015

Healthy & Smart

Today, Porter and Stella had their well visit appointments with Dr. Russell, their pediatrician in Wooster. This is the very first (and hopefully the very last) well visit that I could not attend due to work obligations. So Brian took a vacation day from Smucker's to take the babies to the doctor (and to top off his great husband/daddy efforts, he took the adorable pictures found below).

Stella & Porter at the Doctor's Office

Porter weighed in at 40 pounds (50th percentile) and has a height of 3'8'' (75th percentile). He took 2 shots in the arm and only shed a single tear. Stella weighed in at 25 pounds (33th percentile), measured 2'9" (55th percentile), and has a head circumference of 47 centimeters (35th percentile). According to their doctor, the kids are healthy and smart. God is good!