Monday, December 2, 2013

Baby Announcement Photos

A few weeks ago, it was getting close to the time that fall changes into winter and all the colorful leaves fall. I didn't want to miss our chance to take some baby announcement pictures with the beautiful leaves as a backdrop, so out we went. 

We took these pictures with my tripod and camera remote, so I wasn't expecting much.. but I actually love how they turned out.

I don't know what we're going to use them for, mostly memories I suppose. 

I was 11 weeks and 5 days when we took these. Now I'm 15 weeks and 1 day and the baby is the size of a navel orange!

We are so excited. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Halloween 2013

Getting caught up: Halloween! 

For Halloween this year, RJ and I celebrated "fancy-style" at the Akron Civic Theatre. They were hosting their Masque of the Red Death Masquerade party and I can't think of a better location to "celebrate" Halloween!

Of course, the real draw for us was seeing Shivering Timbers. The all-you-eat and all-you-can-drink thing didn't hurt either.

I got that pink wig from Patricia Field's Shop in NOHO the during our NYC trip earlier this month. I loved wearing pink hair! My friend Carrie (below) made the cutest deer masks for her and her husband!

It was a really cool event and we loved seeing everyone's costumes and masks. There was dancing on the stage, huge puppets, dancers, fortune tellers, etc. 

I'm really glad we took the time to get (sort of) dressed up and festive this year!

Of course, back then I was 10 weeks and the dancing made me nauseas and I think it was before 11 when we left.. Ah, pregnancy! :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Our New York City Trip

Well we spent last weekend in New York City and loved it!

Neither of us had ever been, so we decided early October would be the perfect time to go. Before it got too chilly, but after the summer heat had passed. We planned on doing a lot of walking, so it was the perfect time of year to go.

We left on Thursday afternoon and got to our hotel around 10:30/11pm. I had slept some in the car and RJ had been drinking coffee to stay awake.. so he ended up staying up late! Friday morning I let him sleep in while I used the hotel internet to plan out of day.

We had a coffee maker and some fruit in our room which was really nice.

We got ready and headed out around 11:00 and walked around the Chelsea neighborhood, where our hotel was. We had inadvertently chosen a hotel in the Flower District, so there were a lot of flower shops and people selling flowers on the street, that was really neat. We walked all around and through Times Square on our way to get to our lunch destination : Shake Shack. I follow some bloggers who live in NYC and they all can't get enough of this place, so we decided it would be a great lunch. The line was out the door so we figured it had to be as good as they all said!

It was so good. I got a fried mushroom burger that was a portabella mushroom fried with melted swiss cheese inside - delicious! We also got french fries and cheese sauce on the side. Yum.

After we ate, we walked around a little bit more and headed toward the river to get tickets for the boat tour that Halley had suggested. We got tickets and a seat at the back of the boat. It was the perfect day! 70's and sunny, perfect for walking around and a river tour.

On the river tour, we learned a lot and got to see the Statue of Liberty, New World Trade Center, Trump Tower, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, etc.! It was the perfect way to see the many landmarks.

The tall one is the World Trade Center:

Lady Liberty herself:

Ellis Island:

Needless to say we really enjoyed seeing those places from the boat and learning more about the city from the captain. After our river tour, we decided to walk to Central Park. We tried to walk as much as we could so we'd be able to see more.

We got to Central Park and it is just beautiful!

Especially this season with the falling leaves, it was so pretty! We walked around the park for awhile and then decided to walk toward China-town for dinner. We went to a place where we got lucky and got the last open table! After dinner, we walked toward Ground Zero to see where the Twin Towers once were. It was dark by the time we got there and we couldn't see much, but it was still neat to imagine where they were. After walking around more, we worked up our appetite again. We had eaten dinner fairly early and kept passing places with $1 slices of New York Style pizza on the way back to the hotel. Of course we had to try a late night slice and it was fantastic!

On Saturday our main goal of the morning was to get New York City Bagels. We walked to a place pretty close to our hotel. We knew it must be as good as the reviews online because there was a long line there too. I got the most delicious pumpernickel bagel with jalepeno cream cheese and smoked salmon. It was called the "Spicy Rachael", so I had to get it! RJ got a bagel breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg and cheese and loved it. We got a few bagels to go as well.

After breakfast, we headed toward the Subway to go into Brooklyn. We wanted to explore the Brooklyn neighborhoods and also check out the Brooklyn Flea. Riding the Subway was a cool experience too! Luckily RJ is good at figuring out Subway routes and which trains we needed to take to get where. It was $2.75 per person per ride, so much more affordable than a cab.

It was fun looking around the Flea Market but also really crowded! After checking out the flea market, we walked around Brooklyn and it's really a pretty, more neighborhoody, part of the city. Luckily we had bagels to snack on and stopped at a juice bar to get some fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juice.

By 2:00pm, we were exhausted (mostly me) and decided to go back to the hotel and rest. As long as I eat enough, I usually feel fine with infrequent waves of feeling kind of light headed. I do, however, get tired really easily! Since we really pushed it on Friday and were out allllllll day walking around exploring (over 12 hours!), by Saturday afternoon my body was ready for a rest. I ended up taking a nap in the hotel room which I never do. The old me usually feels more groggy after naps, but this was just what I needed! There was some golf thing on TV for RJ to watch which worked out perfectly to put me to sleep and keep him entertained.

We left that evening to walk around more and get some tacos for dinner. We really wanted to try a Tacqueria we had walked passed Friday night, Pinche Tacqueria. We thought about trying to get discount tickets to a Broadway or off-Broadway show, but decided to save that for the next trip.

The food was pretty good but not as good as El Campesino or Monterrey :) After we ate, we walked around the SOHO and NOHO neighborhoods and ended up at Patricia Field's store. She was the main costume designer for Sex and the City, a famous fashion person. We went in to look around and I ended up trying on wigs! They gave me a wig cap and everything, to keep my own hair tucked out of the way. I tried on a few and ended up really liking a pretty pink one with bangs.. so we got it! We are going to a Halloween Masquerade Party at the Akron Civic Theatre on the 26th with some friends, so I figure it will be the perfect place to wear it! Plus I'm sure I can find other excuses to wear it too. Maybe to church? Haha!

The next day, we had breakfast in the hotel and decided to head home after check out at noon. We had already seen and done a lot and and figured it would be good to get home earlier than later. We were both working the next day so it was back to the real world! We got home around 7:30 and were able to do a load of laundry which was nice.

Overall it was a really great trip and we saw and did a lot. We can't wait to go back and see even more!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our day on the Portage Lakes

There are so many things I love doing during the summer. It's definitely one of my favorite seasons (truthfully, all of the seasons are my favorite except winter). This year, I didn't want to let another summer go by without doing two things:

1) Go to a music festival (check!!)

2) Rent a boat on the Portage Lakes and spend the day on it.

I am so happy to say we did them both and definitely want to add them to our usual summer activities.

The day on the boat a few weekends ago was just what we needed. Sun, relaxation, cool water and friends.

We went with our friends, Carrie and Kevin and had the best time enjoying the sun and beautiful scenery. The guys swam a little bit but Carrie and I just dipped our legs in.. the water the freezing!

We loved scoping out the houses on the lake and exploring the inlets and canals.

I wish there were a few more weeks left in summer, it just went by too fast this year! But fall is pretty great too.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Music Festival & Todd Rundgren

Well RJ and I can officially say we've been to a music festival and camped together!

Over Labor day weekend, we went to the Gentlemen of the Road - Troy Stopover in Troy, Ohio. It was about 3 hours and fifteen minutes away so not bad at all. We left later than we wanted to on Friday (RJ had been traveling all week and had some work to catch up on in the morning and afternoon.) We arrived in Troy around 7pm on Friday evening and made our way to our designated parking lot and campground. There were hay rides taking people from the parking field to the campgrounds, that helped a lot!

Since we were pretty late getting there, most of the campers were already there and had already claimed their camping spots. Luckily, since we just had a small tent for the two of us, we were able to squeeze in between two spots. I noticed when we were setting up that the campers behind us had set up a bunch of lawn chairs in a circle. I remember thinking that would be bad news for me as an already light sleeper, but the sun was starting to set and we didn't want to lose this spot by looking for another. I figured I wouldn't really be sleeping much on the ground anyway (I had been mentally preparing for this since we booked the trip).

From top left: 1. The hayride to the campground 2. Tthe campground by the river 3/4. Edward Sharpe Show

 After we got our tent set up (relatively quickly, I was proud of us!), we headed over to the stadium to check out the bands opening for the first big band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The main stage was set up at the Troy High School Football Stadium. They had laid down some thick plastic puzzle pieces to protect the field and protect us from getting too muddy!

We liked seeing the opening acts and loved Edward Sharp! I found this festival by looking for Mumford & Sons Shows, but was sold on the 3.25 hour drive and camping part by ES&TMZ's.. they are probably my favorite band right now and I was so excited to see them live.

One really cool thing about the set up of the show was the two big screens on either side of the stage and one big one behind the band. They had cameras going so people could see what was going on up close no matter how far back they were. They kept showing the view from behind the band (looking out over the field with the thousands of people) and it was so cool! They had the coolest lights going on during their show and a lot of the time the screens had amazingly colored kaleidoscope designs going on that were so cool to watch. We loved it!

After the show we walked to the downtown area where they had two other stages set up and lots of vendors. It was fun to check out the little town. We went back to the tent to try to get some sleep.. but our neighbors had other ideas in mind. I guess they figured sleeping was unnecessary because they sat up talking in the lawn chair circle until 5:30am. If it was just semi-quiet talking I could understand.. but they were talking loudly, yelling and free style rapping. Ha! It was.. interesting. I had already mentally prepared myself for a lack of sleep. RJ, on the other hand, slept like a baby basically from the moment his head hit the pillow. That is a skill I wish I had and one I hope our future children inherit.

On Saturday morning I was up at 8am because our other neighors were up early to call a family member on her birthday. Yep, we were that close that I could hear what everyone else was up to.

I read my book for awhile in the tent but after awhile it started to feel like a sweat box - it was a hot weekend! I decided to get up and walk around a little bit. I found one of the vendors selling fresh fruit smoothies - the last thing I wanted was a hot coffee. I walked around the downtown area where the bands had already started and there was a farmer's market going on. In the daylight I could see how the downtown area was decorated for the festival and it was really cute.

Around 10am I figured I should go wake RJ up and on my way back to the tent I ran into him looking for the coffee truck. We got some coffee and walked around for a little bit before deciding we should go ahead and pack up our stuff. We had decided to leave that evening after Mumford & Sons. I had an appointment the next morning and we figured it would be a lot easier to leave at midnight than than the next day when our 27,000 co-campers had the same idea!

After packing up our tent and getting some food (and enjoying the air conditioning in the car!), we headed back to the stadium to check out some of the day bands before Mumford. We sat on the bleachers for awhile and really liked a few of the opening bands. About 4 hours before Mumford was scheduled to go on we decided to stake out a spot on the field in preparation for the big show.

Mumford & Sons went on about 8:30pm and they were as good as we imagined they'd be!

As they were wrapping up, we were getting so tired from standing and dancing basically all day. My body is pretty resilient (for a 28 year old) but even my lower back was killing me. It was well worth it though. By the time we got to the car it was around 11:30pm.  After we stopped for a late dinner (we had a late lunch and had been snacking), we got home around 2:30am. RJ drove and I fought heavy eyelids and provided moral support. Despite the time when we arrived home, the first thing I did was take a shower.

It was really a fun weekend and we got such a kick out of the whole thing. I'm really glad we went!

Click HERE to see my videos from the shows. < For you, Linds!>

On Sunday, after sleeping basically all day, we went to dinner and to see Todd Rundgren with Big Reed and Laura. It was so much fun and we are so appreciative for the invite!

The show was at the Kent Stage which is a really fun venue. 

Todd put on a great show and we really enjoyed it!

It was a Labor Day weekend for the books! (Or the blog?)


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Breece Family Reunion at The Woods

A few weeks ago, Lindsay and Corey came to Akron to visit and ride with us to the Breece Family Reunion at The Woods in Hedgesville, West Virginia! The Breece family was getting together to celebrate Gmom and Gpop's 60th wedding anniversary! Quite the special occasion.

While Lindsay and Corey were here, we took them hiking, walked around Highland Square, and ate at several local restaurants. 

Harvey loved having them there and getting the extra attention. What a baby! (Thanks to Linds for this pic!)

 After a quick 4.5(ish) hour drive, we arrived at the Woods on Friday. It was so good to get to see everyone and come together to celebrate Gmom and Gpop.

(Thanks, Diana for this photo!)

During the afternoon on Saturday, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and went for a hike.

There was also time for some homerun derby..

On Saturday night we went out to a really great local restaurant as a group and had a great time.

Later that evening, David and Diana taught us how to play Trains. I won't include myself in the "us" because RJ did most of the work for team Breece-Stith. 

We wanted to play some music but didn't have any speakers to hook up to our phones.. so David came up with this brilliant make-shift speaker. It actually kind of worked! Well done, cousin.

Diana and I both brought our dogs and they got along well. They are both pretty calm and laid back so I think they liked keeping watch over the house together when we were out. And by "keeping watch" of course I mean sleeping.

Madigan is such a cutie, she's a lab/basset mix with the cutest ballerina feet. 

And Harvey doesn't stray too far..

It was a really quick but really nice weekend.. I hope we will do it again! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


We have had such a great summer so far! It's moving fast (as always) and we've filled it with fun times with friends and family. This summer has already been SO much better than last summer because last year at this time I was working two jobs! I was still transitioning out of my old job and taking on more hours and responsibility with my new job, so that was really tiring for a weeks there last July.

A few highlights

First row: Last weekend, we had a picnic with Chelsey & Trevor and some new friends at Edgewater Beach. Who said Cleveland wasn't beautiful? Look at that lake! The picture on the far right was from a hike at one of my favorite local trails. 

Second row: One of my friends from work got married and had a photobooth! RJ and I had so much fun simply attending a wedding as guests with no bridesmaid/groomsmen duties!

Third row: Our new futon we carried home (only a 10 minute walk but we got a lot of strange looks!) and a wedding picture to commemorate our 7 year anniversary on June 3rd!

Fouth row: The zebra picture is from a field trip I went on for work a few weeks ago. We do four field trips in July and they are super fun and super hot. On the right side is our new fire pit! Perfect for roasting marshmallows and veggie or turkey dogs (RJ still likes the real thing).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New plants!

It's that time of year! We've been working "beaut-i-fying" our yard. 

On Father's day Laura gave us a bunch of beautiful plants from their front yard. They are having some landscaping re-done and so some of their current plants needed to be "trans-planted". 
We gladly took some! 

Some of them were roses which I was really excited about. I put those on the side of the house:

As you can see above, Craze was supervising. 

Here are the other ones I planted alongside the back of the house:

I kept one bunch in a pot to move around. 

Here is how the front of the house looks now:

I can't remember the name of the tall flowers that grow right outside the porch but I love how nice and thick they are! They are growing really well out there. I'm really proud of us for moving half of them to the right side last year. We must have done something right because they grew back this year!

To remind you, this is what it looked like last year. See how the tall plants didn't grow on the right side?

This year they did!

Thanks, Laura! We love the new plants!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Charleston and Hilton Head Island Trip 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, RJ left for Hilton Head Island on Sunday morning. Laura, Chelsey and Trevor and RJ all left on Sunday morning and Big Reed and I both flew in on Tuesday evening. 

I flew into Charleston and RJ and I stayed overnight there on Tuesday and spent Wednesday walking around and checking out the beautiful city. 

We did some window shopping (and actual shopping), drove around some of the neighborhoods, walked around Battery Park, walked by the water and went in the visitor's center. 

 When we were walking around, we walked by a beautiful church and stopped to admire it. The pastor happened to be outside and saw us checking it out, so introduced himself and told us a little bit about the church. The church was Trinity United Methodist Church and it has the oldest congregation in Charleston, dating back to 1786 (the building wasn't ! (More on the history on their website here). 

The church has gorgeous white pillars and huge wooden doors:


The pastor invited us to wak around the sanctuary and that's when we met John, a member of the church and "greeter". He showed us around the sanctuary and said if we had a minute, he wanted to show us something special in another part of the church. Of course we had to see what he wanted to show us and I'm glad we did ... it was the most beautiful stained glass window!

When we admiring the window, John said something I wanted to be sure to write down and remember. "When you get to be my age (he was 75), you realize that the things of the world.. well, they don't really matter. The only thing that matters is your faith." Said in a perfect, Charleston gentleman drawl. 

Wise man, that John. 

After walking around exploring the city all day, we had dinner at Poogan's Porch which had been recommended to us. It was delicious and we got a great seat on the patio!

After dinner, we headed out to make the 2 hour drive to Hilton Head. 

Thursday us ladies sat by the pool while the guys went golfing. 

Later that night, we went on a sunset sailing trip with Captain Bob! 

We were able to pack a dinner to eat on the boat which was really nice.

You really can't beat a beautiful sunset over the water!

On Friday RJ and I went for a long bike ride and then met the rest of the group at the beach later in the afternoon. 

The guys had to get some football time in before Trevor had to go to the airport. He flew home a few days early to do a market on Saturday morning. 

Saturday was our last day by the pool and while us ladies did that, Big Reed and RJ played more golf.

Saturday was our last night and we went to San Miguel's, which is probably my favorite restaurant that we've tried on the island. I guess it's not surprising that a Mexican restaurant is my favorite!

After dinner we took a family portrait, minus Trevor who was already back in Cleveland (and Halley & Shawn who unfortunately weren't able to come this year). 

Thank you Laura and Big Reed for another wonderful trip!! 

Part of the reason I love having this blog is to look back on our past memories. Below are links to past posts on the Stith Family Summer Vacation: