January 31, 2013

Just Climbing the Fridge

Mommy:  "Porter, what are you doing?"

Porter Climbing the Frig

Porter:  "Just climbing the fridge."

January 30, 2013

Preparing for the Big Day

Although Stella's official due date is not until February 17th, now that she has passed the 37 week mark, she is considered full-term and able to come at any time. With Porter coming 12 days before his due date, the chances are pretty high that Stella will also make an early appearance.

Getting Ready for Stella's Arrival

Whether Stella comes early or not, Brian and I have been working diligently over the last several weeks to make sure we're ready for her arrival. At this point, her nursery is complete, her clothes are washed, folded, and in her dresser, her portable crib is set-up in the master bedroom, her car carrier is installed, her swing and bouncer have fresh batteries and are ready for use, the laundry is done, the house is in order, the blog has been updated, Porter is packed for a stay at his grandparents, our hospital bags are packed and in the car, and our Akron General pre-registration paperwork is complete. We're ready! Now we just need our little girl!

January 25, 2013


There is probably no combination of words that could adequately express Porter's zeal for life, but this quote gets pretty close:
“If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
~Ronald Dahl 

January 24, 2013

Porter the Painter

For the last several days, Porter has been begging me to get out his paints and brushes.  I finally gave in today, and Porter the painter was able to thrive!  Instead of using paper, we used an old sheet for a canvas.  This idea actually worked very well, and the clean up was a breeze!

Porter Loves to Paint

Here's a video of Porter while he was painting his lovely work of art:

January 23, 2013

New Look

As you may of noticed, our blog has undergone a massive makeover! With baby Stella on the way, we felt this was a particularly good time for an update to our blog of four years. Thanks to the services of Designer Blogs, our blog has been fully customized to appropriately represent our little clan. I believe this will be a look we will enjoy for many years to come. Thanks, Designer Blogs, for this great new look!

January 20, 2013

Handmade Gifts from Stella's Grandparents

On Saturday, not only did we have nice dinner over at my parents' house, but we also received two wonderful surprises! The first was a baby doll made for Stella by Grandma Kaye. As you can see from the photos below, it's awesome! Grandma Kaye constructed the doll, made the clothes, sewed the facial features, and added the hair. The entire doll is handmade and absolutely beautiful!

Stella's Baby Doll Handmade by Grandma Kaye

The second surprise came from Stella's Grandpa Gauder. Of course, the name Stella means "star." So Grandpa Gauder made her an incredible star mobile that he crafted and machined out of aluminum. If you were to look over this mobile, you would see that its construction was by no means simple and could not be duplicated easily. It is a one-of-a-kind work of art!

Stella's Star Mobile

Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Gauder for these thoughtful gifts for baby Stella. We believe she will not only enjoy them throughout her childhood, but she will also cherish them as an adult.

January 19, 2013

The Arcade

Today, we took a drive out to The Arcade found on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland.

The Arcade located in Cleveland, OH

The Arcade originally opened its doors in May of 1890 and is considered to be one of the first indoor shopping centers in the United States.

Inside of The Arcade

The glass skylight is what really look our breath away. It spans over 300 feet and is comprised of 1,800 panes of glass. Amazing!

Glass Skylight of The Arcade

Porter really enjoyed climbing all of the stairs at The Arcade.  He certainly wore his very pregnant (9 months today) momma out!  Here he is taking a rest in the food court.

Porter in The Arcade's Food Court

For more information about this historical landmark, check out The Arcade's website found at: http://theclevelandarcade.com.

Outside of The Arcade

Also, while walking around the streets of Cleveland, we stumbled across the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument.

Soldier's and Sailor's Monument

This is an incredible monument that was first opened on July 4, 1894. It was designed by architect Levi Scofield to commemorate the patriotism and valor of the over 9,000 soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War from Cuyahoga County.  

Soldier's and Sailor's Monument

Although we weren't looking for this historical treasure, we are so happy we found it.  Both the interior and exterior are exquisite!  Here's Porter getting ready to jump off a section of the monument in his true red-headed style.

January 17, 2013

Jesus Calling

For Christmas, my lovely step-mom bought both Brian and I a copy of Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, a devotional written by missionary Sarah Young and published by Thomas Nelson. Although we're only three weeks into this book, I would highly recommend it. The author does a wonderful job of capturing the heart of Christ for His beloved.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

Thanks, Kaye! We love this book!

January 13, 2013

James A. Garfield Monument

Since today was in the low 60's, which is rather amazing for a January day in Ohio, we decided to take a small road trip to the Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.

James A. Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery

One of the most noteworthy points of interest at this site is the James A. Garfield Monument. It was built in 1890 and is just beautiful.

The Stephen Clan at the Garfield Monument

Also, we were rather stunned to see the final resting place of John D. Rockefeller. Even though he passed away over 75 years ago, Mr. Rockefeller is still making money! Visitors place coins on his grave in hopes that great fortune will come their way.

Resting Place of John D. Rockefeller

January 11, 2013

Answering Questions

“Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes. Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science. 
There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.”
~Carl Sagan 

January 10, 2013


For the last several days, I have been playing around with our family Instagram account. This is an account I created awhile back, but have never loaded any pictures into it until last week.

Porter & His Blocks

I must say, although it took me some time to get into, I really enjoy this platform! If you would like to check our Instagram page, just visit http://instagram.com/thestephenclan.

Building Blocks with Porter

January 8, 2013

Newest Ultrasound Images of Baby Stella

On Tuesday, I got yet another chance to see baby Stella on the ultrasound screen. Everything, including my amniotic fluid, looked great.

Ultrasound Image of Baby Stella

One of the best parts of this visit was watching as Stella repeatedly opened and closed her eye during the ultrasound. The technician said this was the very first time she had ever seen this accomplished. Stella is already ahead of the curve, and she is not even born yet! I can't wait to meet this kid!

Ultrasound Profile Image of Baby Stella

January 2, 2013

Road Trip

I love road trips.  I love getting in the car, driving to someplace new (whether planned or unplanned), and exploring unfamiliar surroundings.

Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio

Today, I took a road trip to Gambier, Ohio in order to tour the campus of Kenyon College.

Kenyon College

Kenyon College was founded in 1824 and is the oldest private college in Ohio.

Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio

The campus is simply gorgeous.  It was a real treat to walk around the grounds and admire the incredible architecture.     

Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio

With Stella making her way appearance in a just a few short weeks, I realize this will be my last road trip for awhile.  I am happy it was a good one!

Kenyon College