December 30, 2013

Daddy's Art Smock

Porter had a great time painting today while wearing his Daddy's childhood art smock!

Painting in Daddy's Art Smock

December 27, 2013

Porter's "Peaceful" Music

Here's Porter trying out his new ukulele and creating his version of a "peaceful" melody:

December 25, 2013

Opening Presents with Grandma & Grandpa

Stella loved her Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa Gauder! Check out the video below:

Also, Porter hit the present jackpot! Check out the awesome gift he received from his grandparents:

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa, for the very thoughtful presents! They are a certified hit with the Stephen clan kids (and their parents too)!

Opening Christmas Presents

Here's Stella opening her Christmas present from Mommy and Daddy:

After waiting semi-patiently for Stella to open her present, Porter was more than happy to tear into his own:

December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve at Grandma Bev's

On Christmas Eve, both Porter and Stella received a present stocked full of clothing from their Grandma Bev. Unfortunately, I forgot to record Porter as he opened his present, but I did manage to capture Stella as she opened her own. Check out the video below:

Thanks, Grandma Bev, for the stylish threads!

December 23, 2013

Stella Visits Daddy at Work

Here's what happens when Stella visits Daddy at work:

December 22, 2013

Kent State Ice Arena

Tonight we headed to the Kent State Ice Arena with Grandma and Grandpa Gauder. Porter has been begging to go ice skating for weeks now, and we thought this would be the perfect night.

Skating at the Kent State Ice Arena

Here are Porter's first steps out on the ice:

After a half lap around the ice arena, Porter got a little wild and crazy:

Warm Winter Weekend

What a weekend! Today is warm enough that we do not need to wear coats outside.

The Stephen Clan

I could get used to winters in Ohio like these!

December in Ohio

Lovely Baby Girl

Here's our baby Stella wearing a hand-me-down dress from her cousin, Sienna. We think she looks absolutely lovely!

Our Lovely Baby Girl

December 20, 2013

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in December

Thanks to Priscilla, one of Brian's work colleagues, we received free tickets to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo that we used today. Priscilla is awesome, and Porter is quite fond of her as well! When Porter visits Daddy at work, Priscilla always hooks him up with M&M's (which is the key to his heart)!

The RainForest at the Cleveland Zoo

This was a great day to visit the zoo! Since it was a little rainy, the were very few people at the park. There were no crowds, no lines, and no waiting. It felt like we had the entire zoo to ourselves!

Daddy & Stella at the Cleveland Zoo

Also, the temperature got up to 51 degrees today. That might not seem that warm, but for Ohioans in December, this is a heat wave!

Seeing an Elephant with Porter & Daddy

There were a lot of great exhibits we saw today. Two of our favorites included the elephant enclosure and seeing this gorgeous snow leopard found below.

Snow Leopard at the Cleveland Zoo

Porter also really enjoyed the giraffes. Check out the video here:

December 14, 2013

Day in the Snow

Daddy and Porter had a great afternoon throwing snowballs and building snowmen!

Porter Building a Snowman

Porter was the one to search the yard and find the perfect arms for the snowman below. We think he did a good job!

December 12, 2013

Stella's Lunch

Stella certainly enjoyed her lunch today, and then she enjoyed a bath!

Messy Baby

Porter & Playdough

Porter loves playdough! I found a recipe where I could make homemade, edible playdough using baby rice cereal, cornstarch, unsweetened applesauce, vegetable oil, and food coloring.

What's My Brother Doing?

I haven't gotten the ingredient measurements quite right (the ones given in the recipe did not work at all), but I think with another try, we can get this playdough perfected!

Homemade Edible Playdough

December 11, 2013

Growing Beautifully

Today, Stella had her 9-10 month well visit. She is 27.76 inches in height (36th percentile), almost 18 pounds in weight (36th percentile again), and she has a head circumference of 17.32 inches (44th percentile). She is growing beautifully!

December 8, 2013

Dancing Christmas Penguin

Since we got home from vacation, we've begun decorating the house for Christmas. One of the decorations the kids just adore is a penguin that dances and sings. Check out the video below:

December 6, 2013

Headed Home

After a week of fun in the sun, it is time for us to head back home. The car is now packed, and the babies are buckled up for the long journey to Orrville.

Packed for the Journey Home

It is currently 74 degrees and sunny as we leave Myrtle Beach behind. By the time we reach home this evening, we'll be in the 20's with snow showers. I am hoping our week of warmth and sunshine will be just enough to get us through what appears to be a very cold, Ohio winter. God Bless South Carolina!

December 5, 2013

Night of a Thousand Candles

Tonight, we headed Brookgreen Gardens for their Nights of a Thousands Candles event. We got there early so we could enjoy a catered dinner before the candles were lit.

Posing at Brookgreen Gardens

There were over 5,500 hand-lit candles and countless sparkling lights to enjoy. Overall, this was a lovely event, and we're happy we got to experience it. Brookgreen Gardens in one of our absolute favorite destinations in all of South Carolina. It is always a pleasure to walk among the majestic oak trees and see the incredible sculptures.

Sparkling Lights at Brookgreen Gardens

December 4, 2013

Stella in the Sand

I had a hard time narrowing down which pictures of Stella at Huntington Beach State Park to use for the blog. After debating it for longer than I care to admit, I made a video of my favorites instead. Check it out!

Digging for Treasure

Porter also enjoyed Huntington Beach. Daddy bought him a brand new shovel at the gift shop (since Daddy accidentally broke his previous shovel the day before), and Porter had a blast digging in the sand!

Digging in the Sand with Porter

Huntington Beach State Park

Today, we headed to Huntington Beach State Park found in Murrells Inlet. This was our first time there, but it won't be our last! The beach was absolutely exquisite!

Daddy & Stella at Huntington Beach

Also, we had a particularly lovely day. The sun was shining bright and the temperature was in the 70's.

Upside Down Baby

Also, the sky was so beautiful is seemed surreal! God certainly blessed us with an incredible day!

Beautiful Sea & Sky at Huntington Beach

Atalaya Castle

This morning, we visited Atalaya Castle found inside of Huntington Beach State Park. It was built in the 1930's and was the winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington. Of course, we are very fond of the Huntingtons. They are the founders of Brookgreen Gardens, one of our favorite South Carolina destinations.

Atalaya Castle

Atalaya has a rich history and was a very interesting place to visit. We highly recommend!

December 3, 2013

Beach Babe

Stella certainly enjoys being on the beach!

Stella on the Beach

Digging to China with Daddy

While at the beach today, Daddy and Porter decided to dig a hole. They did a pretty good job!

Porter in the Sand

Myrtle Beach SkyWheel

This year, we took the family on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel.

Myrtle Beach SkyWheel

At 187-feet in height, the SkyWheel is actually the second tallest Ferris wheel in North America.

Riding on the SkyWheel

The gondolas are glass-enclosed and temperature controlled. There is even a panic button in case your kids (or husband who is afraid of heights) freak out. I was fortunate to not need to press this button while riding!

Myrtle Beach SkyWheel Gondola

The views on the SkyWheel were just amazing! Also, since no one else was there when we got on, we got an extra long ride. It was a real treat!

Porter on the SkyWheel

New Favorite Restaurant

Today, we visited Broadway at the Beach and had lunch at Capriz Italian Feast. The food was far beyond our expectations, and Brian and I both commented that our food at Capriz was the best we've had in a very long time. It was just delicious, and we will certainly return (maybe more than once) the next time we visit Myrtle Beach!

Capriz Italian Feast

While at Capriz, I managed to snap this photo of the family. I think it adequately illustrates what life is like to dine out with a three-year-old and baby!

Life with Kids

December 2, 2013

Building in the Sand with Daddy

Porter loves to build. He convinced Daddy to help him build a sand castle today. Porter had a blast!

Building in the Sand with Daddy

Sailing with Stella

Stella found a little toy boat today that she wholeheartedly enjoyed!

Stella the Pirate

Enjoying the Beach Together

Here's Daddy and Stella enjoying their time on the beach together:

Daddy & Stella at Myrtle Beach

Check out the adorable video below:

Walking to the Beach

With our condo being so close to the beach, we have enjoyed walking to the ocean each day for some fun in the sand.

Enjoying the Ocean

Of course, burying Daddy's feet in the sand is always fun!

Burying Daddy's Feet in the Sand

Barefoot Landing

Today, we headed to Barefoot Landing for a little shopping and dining adventure. Here's Daddy getting some coffee at the Boardwalk Coffee House with his favorite little guy:

Coffee House Guys

After getting coffee with Daddy, Porter enjoyed walking on the boardwalk and looking at all the birds and carp swimming in the water.

On the Boardwalk with Daddy

December 1, 2013

Napping Beauty

After our playground adventure, poor baby Stella needed a nap. She is our little napping beauty!

Sleepy Stella

Playground Fun at Myrtle Beach

While walking at the Market Commons, Porter found a playground that he had to explore!

Climbing with Porter

Porter was even nice enough to push his sister on the swing so she could have a good time too. What a good brother he is turning out to be!

Poster Pushing Stella on a Swing

The Market Common

After lunch at the Nacho Hippo found at the Market Commons in Myrtle Beach, we took a family walk around the grounds.

Walking at the Market Commons

Brian and I love the shops, restaurants, and ambiance found at The Market Common. If we could, we would spend our winters in one of gorgeous condos found here. We can dream!