February 15, 2015

Stella's New Favorite Toy

Often with my job at OHDELA, I travel into our Akron office to pick up the grading packets of my Calvert students. In this last school year, I have had the opportunity to develop a good friendship with a very gracious and kind woman named Jennifer who also works with OHDELA. She's just awesome, and I am so glad we have become friends. Not only do I like her, my kids think she's the absolute best. In fact, they now love traveling to Mommy's office just so they can see Jennifer and eat her candy and write all over her dry erase board (which really is the key to both of their hearts!).

Stella & Violet

For Stella's second birthday, Jennifer bought her the coolest toy that is now Stella's favorite! It's a LeapFrog Read With Me Violet, and we just can't get enough it! Thank you so much, Jennifer, for your thoughtfulness and generosity. We really appreciate you!

Second Birthday, First Birthday Cake

Today we celebrated Stella's second birthday with her first birthday cake!

Stella's First Birthday Cake

Check out the video below of Stella's exceptional birthday candle blowing skills:

Balloon Baby

Stella's balloon surprise was a success! Check out the video below:

February 14, 2015

Stella's Birthday Balloons

Every other weekend, Porter and Stella get the opportunity to spend a night at their grandparents' house. They truly look forward to this, and so do their parents! Brian and I get the chance to go out to dinner and watch a movie with no little ones. It's wonderful, and we really really enjoy this quality time together (although after 24 hours away from my babies, I am quite ready for their return).

Stella's Balloon Collection

For this weekend's date night, however, Brian and I spent the majority of time blowing up 142 balloons for Stella's return. We had planned to have a little birthday party for Stella with all three of her grandparents in attendance, but unfortunately, the weather had other plans. 

Stella's Birthday Cake

Although Stella's birthday party was canceled, I think she will be just fine. Her balloons and cake are all set and ready to go as soon as she walks in the door. We're excited to see her reaction!

February 13, 2015

Porter's Preschool Valentines

I just love Tiny Prints! Here are the Valentine's Day cards we had made for Porter's family and preschool friends:

Porter's Valentines

February 11, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday, Baby Girl!

Dear Stella,

What an exciting year to have you in our family! You have taken all the movement from house to house in stride. The confirmation that our new house was meant for us was when you first slept so peacefully in your new room. You sleep so easily and take such good naps nearly every day in your new room.

Baby Girl

It would be an understatement to say that you have found your voice. In truth, you have always had it, only now you are showing your unflinching intensity. You do not hesitate to speak what’s on your mind, to add an extra rebuke to Porter when he’s in the naughty chair, or to point out which exact chocolate chip you want out of the ice cream bowl.

Your brother has that same streak in him and the two of you are already beginning to refine one another. You may occasionally be heartbroken or mad at your brother, however, one thing always comes back into focus and that is love. You dearly love your brother more than anything else. Porter has taken his time coming around but he is now quite fond of you. It was hard for him to understand that you were too little to play the rough and tumble games he had in mind. Now, nearly every evening is an “attack daddy” all out wrestling match and race through the house. The sweetest part though is how you and Porter help each other to escape the clutches of “daddy jail”.

You also are the best little baby dancer I have ever seen. You show such an energy and excitement whenever music comes on and you prance across the room. There are other decidedly female traits you possess. You absolutely love clothes, shoes, and jewelry. When you got your first winter jacket you wore it inside the house all day and cried when we made you take it off before bed.

You are always the sweetest person in the room. You also tend to have a lot on your mind that you want to share. I also love to admit that you are a daddy’s girl. You cling to me for safety and attention and I can’t wait to give it to you. You will always be my one and only baby girl and I can’t wait for all the great adventures over the years to come.

God completed our family with you and I could not be happier with the lot he has cast me with.


February 8, 2015

Winter Day at the Akron Zoo

We have been trapped inside way too long due to this cold winter! With today being in the mid-40's, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to get outside and take a family trip to the Akron Zoo!

Stella & Porter Penguins

Grandpa Gauder also came to the zoo with us. Porter was beyond thrilled!

Porter & Parker

Here's Porter trying out the 10-foot wingspan of the Andean Condor:

Porter's Condor Wingspan

We also got to see the snow leopard cubs that were born back in 2012. Although we've have been to the zoo a couple of times since they were born, this was the first time we actually got to see them. They were a real treat!

Seeing the Snow Leopard Cubs

There were so many great animals to see at the zoo today, but Stella enjoyed pushing her own stroller through the grounds the best.

Stella's Stroller

This went on for the majority of our time at the zoo. Oh, this kid!

Stella Pushing Her Stroller

We really had a great time at the Akron Zoo today. Here's just a few of the animals we were able to see on our wintry visit:

Akron Zoo Animals

Friday Afternoon Dancing

Just another Friday afternoon at the Stephen household:

February 1, 2015

The Painting Continues...

Poor Brian! For a guy who hates to paint, he has racked up some serious hours of brush time on our house. Not only has he painted every wall of the second floor, he has also painted both first floor bathrooms, the master bedroom, and now our hallway.

Brian Painting Our Hallway

The end is within reach though. After the hallway is painted, we just have a living room and laundry room on the to do list (both are large projects). I would help Brian in the painting process, but he has made it perfectly clear that I would not reach his high standards... which truth be known, I am just fine with!