December 29, 2012

Mommy & Daddy Weekend

As a Christmas gift, my parents offered to take Porter this weekend so Brian and I could have some uninterrupted quality time together. Needless to say, we have really been looking forward to this opportunity! We decided to start our Saturday with a delicious lunch at the West Point Market Cafe.

West Point Market in Akron

After lunch, we took a tour of the historic Hower House located in downtown Akron.

Brian at Hower House Front Door

Visiting the Hower House was simply incredible! This 28-room Victorian mansion was built in 1871 by Akron industrialist, John Henry Hower. The inside of the mansion is amazing, but unfortunately, pictures are not allowed.

Hower House in Downtown Akron
Hower House
Later in the evening, we grabbed dinner and a movie. This is the first movie we have seen in a theater in years! It was a lot of fun! Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Gauder, for giving us an opportunity for a splendid Mommy and Daddy weekend!

December 27, 2012

A Smucker's Lunch

Porter and I were missing Daddy today, so we decided a drive out to Orrville would be just what our poor hearts needed. Here's a few pics of Porter eating lunch at the Smucker's cafeteria. To quote Daddy as he looked at these pictures, "He's so stinking cute!"

Lunch at Smucker's Collage

December 26, 2012

Winter Storm Warning

The city of Akron is currently under a winter storm warning.

Snow Baby

So what's a little red-headed boy to do? Play outside, of course!

Porter's Snowball

Porter just loves playing out in the snow. He especially loves making snowballs and throwing them at his Mommy!

I've Got a Snowball with Your Name on It!

Last week, we bought Porter his first pair of snow boots. It seems we got them just in time!

Porter Testing Out His Boots

I've never been a fan of winters in Ohio, but Porter makes them a whole lot more tolerable!

Sitting in the Snow

December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve with the Stephen Clan

Daddy & Porter Play Catch in the House

Life at the Stephen household will always have its fair share of boyish antics. Here's Daddy and Porter's indoor playtime caught on video:

Of course, after playtime, a good rest should surely follow. Here's a glimpse into an afternoon nap with Daddy and Porter:

December 18, 2012

Christmas Candles

I've always enjoyed candles. I love the light that comes off them, the aromas that fill my home when they burn, and even the sound of them crackling.

Christmas Candles

About a year ago, I decided to give candle making a try, and I fell in love with the hobby.

The Stephen Clan Candles

For Christmas, I have been making several batches of candles in order to give away as presents. So far, I have been pleased with how they have come out. I hope others will enjoy them as well!

Christmas Candles by Autumn

December 17, 2012

Amniotic Fluid Check

On Friday of last week, we were informed by our OB-GYN that there was a possibility that my amniotic fluid was low.  I was then scheduled for another ultrasound on Monday to check whether or not this was an issue.

Ultrasound Image of Baby Stella

Thankfully, my amniotic fluid was not low, and all is fine.  Praise God!

Ultrasound Image of Stella Opal Stephen

Although this whole ordeal was a little scary, it was a pleasure to once again see Stella on the ultrasound screen.  She is so precious!

Ultrasound Image of Our Baby Girl

December 12, 2012

Our 2012 Christmas Letter

Our Good-Looking Red-Head

“Daddy, go look! Oh, no! I watch Curious George on the DVD. TV is broken. Daddy, go fix it! Daddy, run! Chase Porter. Hide in the closet. Spank Blu. Bad girl, Blu,” so says Porter over the last 30 seconds we have sat here writing this letter. Life with a little boy has been a wild adventure to say the least. In fact, this very day our son’s red-headed curiosity led him to see what happens when you add a full roll of toilet paper to the toilet and flush repeatedly. Autumn spent most of the afternoon cleaning up after this “scientific” experiment. This is a typical day in the Stephen household.

Porter Wendell Stephen

We also have a new addition on the way, and we couldn’t be more excited. Our precious Stella will be just the one needed to round out our little clan. We are expecting her arrival in mid-February. Blu, our loyal and considerably patient Shetland Sheepdog, will finally have a playmate more her speed (or at least one that doesn’t chase her with plastic golf clubs).

Porter Outside

As far as the house is concerned, our trek toward painting every square inch is nearly complete. We have spent the last several weeks shuffling and redecorating bedrooms to accommodate Stella’s arrival. If interested, you can check out the progress we have made by visiting our blog found at

Arms Up!

Needless to say, 2012 has been an exciting year for our family. We are looking forward to seeing what new adventures and discoveries God has in store for us in 2013. Since we know He’s good, we believe His plans for us must be as well, whether enjoyable or challenging. We would like to wish you and your family a lovely Christmas, and an incredibly dynamic and purpose-driven new year.

Red-Headed Rascal

The Stephen Clan
Brian, Autumn, Porter, & Stella

December 10, 2012

Third Ultrasound of Baby Stella

Today we got a very special treat!  We got to see our baby Stella again for her third ultrasound!

Stella's Ultrasound Image

Everything looked great!  Stella is measuring perfectly and my placenta is in the right place.

Ultrasound Image of Baby Stella

The best part about our visit is that we got to see Stella's lovely face. We think she was even talking to us! Her mouth kept opening and shutting the entire time we were able to see her. It was so precious! Also, the doctor mentioned that she seems to have a full head of hair! I can't wait to see her in 2 months!

Stella's Footprint

December 9, 2012

Stella's Crib

Stella's crib is now ready to go!

Stella's Lovely White Crib

I love the fabric butterflies that "fly" overhead. We found them at Pottery Barn Kids, and I think they add a great touch to Stella's garden-themed nursery!

Butterflies Overhead

Now we just need to add a few other wall decorations, and Stella's nursery will be complete!

December 7, 2012

Creative Problem Solver

“…An innovator is a creative problem solver. You can be a problem solver without creativity and that doesn’t lead to innovation. You can be creative without solving any problems, that doesn’t lead to innovation either. So we’re not just talking about the breakthrough innovations and the brilliant innovators like a Steve Jobs, we’re talking about the capacities of many many many more young people to solve many many more different kinds of problems…”
~Tony Wagner

December 5, 2012

Progress in Stella's Nursery

Stella's nursery is getting close to completion. Last week, we purchased her chest of drawers and dresser from IKEA, and Brian did a wonderful job of assembling both pieces. We've also been watching closely for sales on odds and ends that would coordinate well in our little one's garden-inspired bedroom.

Stella's Nursery

I absolutely love Stella's tulip lamp I found it at Land of Nod. I think it looks great in her floral-friendly room!

Stella's Land of Nod Tulip Lamp

Also, I am a big fan of her Sunny Day Boppy pillow. The Sleep Sheep found resting in this pillow was actually the first present I bought Stella. I purchased it the week I found out she was added to our little family.

Stella's Boppy Pillow & Sleep Sheep

My favorite purchase though for Stella's room would have to be this cheerful, green rug I found at To be honest, the color pink has never been one of my favorites, but I don't mind it in small doses. I have always planned that if I would have a girl, her room would be yellow with lots of bright, cheerful colors as accents. I think Stella's new rug does a lovely job of pulling in these lively colors, but also remaining feminine even though it is primarily green.

Stella's Floral Green Rug

I can't wait for us to finish baby Stella's nursery. I think it is going to look beautiful when it is all pulled together!

December 2, 2012

Thank You, Aunt Darleen & Uncle Len

Over the last week and a half, Brian has been on vacation from his job at Smucker's in order to get our home ready for baby Stella's arrival. Part of this project included buying new furniture for both Porter and Stella's rooms from IKEA, one of our favorite stores. The only problem with this plan is that we own a Civic and a xA, two cars that are economical but not spacious! Thank goodness for my Aunt Darleen and Uncle Len! They allowed us to borrow their F150 for the last several days in order for us to get what we needed.

Porter in the Driver Seat of Uncle Len's Truck

Thank you, Aunt Darleen (or "Cousin" as Porter calls you!) and Uncle Len for letting us borrow your fabulous truck. It helped us out tremendously! We are so thankful for your kindness and generosity. We would never have been able to finish the kids' rooms without your help!

F150 Baby

December 1, 2012

Porter's New Room

Porter's New Bed

Porter's room is nearly complete! With the exception of just a few small items that will be added in the near future, we were able to finish Porter's bedroom on Saturday night.

Porter's New Bedroom

Here's a video of Porter seeing his new bedroom for the first time:

November 30, 2012


“…So many kids are not allowed to flourish their creativity. But I was the kind of kid that would take apart the family piano. I can remember I had a perfectly good bicycle I got for Christmas and a few days later I had sandblasted it and painted it a different color. Not that my parents understood why I was always ripping things apart and redesigning them but I was certainly tolerated. So I think it did contribute (to my future career) in a lot of ways. I wish for a lot of other kids that they could tinker like I did.”
~David Kelley, founder of IDEO and the Stanford 

November 28, 2012

Switching Rooms

With baby Stella on the way, Brian and I decided to make some adjustments to our home. We are switching bedrooms with Porter so that our bedroom will now be on the first floor, and his room will be on the second.

Brian & Autumn's Upstairs Bedroom

Brian and I have enjoyed residing upstairs for the last 3 years, but we believe this new arrangement will be best for our expanding family. The picture above and below are what our "old" room used to look like.

Brian & Autumn's "Old" Room

By this weekend, we should have some photos posted of Porter's "new" room which will include freshly painted walls, a brand new bunk bed, dresser, and rug, and a "creative" space for him to work. We're really excited to see this project reach completion!

November 26, 2012

Stella's Nursery

Stella's room is officially underway!  Over the weekend, Brian painted her nursery two beautiful shades of yellow making it quite bright and cheery.

Our baby girl's room should be complete within the next week.  We have her rug, lamp, and wall decorations ordered, and Brian and I will be picking up her crib, dresser, and chest of drawers later this week.

We are so excited to bring our baby home in February to a beautiful nursery!

November 20, 2012

The Joys of a Highlighter

Porter and His Highlighter

Porter has always preferred drawing with a highlighter over crayons, colored pencils, and markers.

Porter and His Highlighter

If anyone could make a beautiful work of art with a neon yellow highlighter, it's Porter!

Porter Drawing with a Highlighter

November 19, 2012

Davenport Park

On our walk around the neighborhood today, Porter decided that he wanted to visit Davenport Park. This park is just a few blocks from our home and has a playground that Porter enjoys.

Porter Swings at Davenport Park

Porter tried his hand at the hanging money bars today.

Porter Reaching for Hanging Monkey Bars

Although they were a reach for him, he was able to grab hold of one.

Porter Reaching for Hanging Monkey Bars

He wouldn't let go of it for anything!

Porter Hanging from Monkey Bars

After a little bit, he was able to get both hands on the bar.

Porter Hanging from Monkey Bars

In Porter's words while he was hanging from the bar, "Whoa!"

Porter Hanging from Monkey Bars

November 18, 2012

Throwing Rocks Never Gets Old

Since today was beautiful and sunny, we decided to take a drive out to the West Branch State Park for a walk along the lake. 

Porter at West Branch State Park

Of course, Porter's main objective was to throw as many rocks as possible into the water.

Porter & Daddy Find Rocks

Even Daddy joined in on the fun!

Porter & Daddy Throw Rocks into the Water

Here's Porter looking for a BIG rock to throw in the water. No one can accuse this kid of lacking self-confidence!

Porter Climbing Rocks at West Branch State Park