Homemade Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is David’s favorite. One layer of our wedding cake was red velvet. He loves the red velvet donuts from Donut Hole — I’ve even attempted to make homemade red velvet donuts, but they turned out more chocolate-y than red velvet-y.

So, a couple of years ago I decided to try my hand at baking a red velvet cake for David’s birthday. I was a little intimidated at first, and I opted not to do layers (only people on TV make cakes with layers!). But, equipped with my handy-dandy Kitchenaid mixer, I managed to make the cake and it came out great!


ready to eat!

This year for Thanksgiving I made another one. And I even felt ready to make the layers!

Layered red velvet cake

In short, it’s much easier to make than you would think to make a layered red velvet cake — and it’s delicious!

Here’s the recipe I use. 

And to prove how easy it is, I even made a video! Enjoy. :)

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Claire’s First Thanksgiving {2015}

This year’s Thanksgiving was very special — it was Claire’s first Thanksgiving! She hasn’t started solid foods yet so she wasn’t able to enjoy any of the feast, but we had fun with her.

First Thanksgiving!

We started the day by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and cleaning up the house. Then it was time to head out!

First up was dinner at my grandma’s house with my two uncles. Claire had a bottle before we ate, and took a nap while we looked through the sale ads.

Thanksgiving nap at Great-Grandma's house

We left a couple of hours later to head back home and rest up before the next meal. David’s parents brought food over and we had our first Thanksgiving meal at our house! Claire chilled out in the swing while we ate.

I made homemade red velvet cake, and it was a hit! I even got fancy and made layers this time.

Homemade Red Velvet Cake

After our second Thanksgiving meal, we planned out our “Black Thursday” plan of attack. The outlet mall we go to opened at 6 PM (!) this year. I got changed into more comfortable clothes and we were off. We lucked into an open parking spot even though we got 1.5 hours after the mall opened. David’s mom, brother and grandma joined filled out the group. And we started with a trip to Starbucks — our traditional food for late-night shopping.

David got some shirts a tie from Brooks Brothers. Claire racked up on clothes from Carter’s and Janie & Jack. I looked at Banana Republic but couldn’t find anything. But it was still fun.

We did take Claire with us, and many people stopped and asked to see the baby. One lady stopped and told David that “the baby should be in bed!” Good thing I wasn’t there because I would have told her it’s none of her business!

"Black Thursday" shopping

Claire slept for a little while in her stroller, but then she woke up and enjoyed looking around at all of the people and the Christmas lights. She also really enjoyed the wind!

We also braved Target before heading up. We got home around midnight, gave Claire a bottle and put her to bed. She slept until 8 am!

Next year will be even better when Claire is able to enjoy her first Thanksgiving meal.

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Four months!

And… we have a roller!

First came the roll from front to back — this happened on 10/24 when she was 14 weeks old.

Then, just a couple of weeks later, she learned to roll from back to front!

Actually, the first time she rolled from stomach to back was on September 13 when she was 8 weeks old! But … that was kind of an accident. :)

On to the basics:
Four months!

  • Weight: 15 lbs 3 oz — up from 11.14 at her two month check-up. She’s gained 8 lbs since she was born!
  • Heigh: 23 inches — up from 22.25 inches at her two month check-up. She’s grown 3.5 inches since birth!
  • Head: 16 inches — up from 15.5 inches at her two month check-up. Her head has grown 2.5 inches since she was born!

Her four month appointment was on Friday, and the doctor said everything looks good! Claire passed all of her milestones, and got another round of vaccines. The nurse thinks that Claire remembered the previous vaccination because Claire started getting fussy even before the shots happened. :/

Other development
Four months!

Claire loves to make noises. She “sings” herself to sleep sometimes, and she experiments with different pitches.

She also has started to laugh! The first time she laughed she startled herself. It was so funny.

And… she is a “supported sitter” now! We started putting her in the Bumbo-like chair (it’s not a bumbo… I forget the brand) just before she turned 4 months. She seems to like it — but not for too long.

Sitting up (assisted)

This really is a great age. She’s still very “portable,” and she’s really beginning to enjoy life. She loves to play on her activity mat, reach out and touch things, eat her hands, cuddle with her blankets and stuffed animals, roll all around the floor, and “talk” (babble/coo) to anyone who will listen. And she’s just so cute and fun! I often say to David that I wish she could stay at this age forever, but we both really enjoy watching her grow and develop.



Claire sleeps from 7:30/8 PM – 7 AM (sometimes she wakes up during the night but she goes back to sleep on her own pretty quickly). She usually takes a good morning nap in her swing, then I put her in the crib for her mid-day nap because I typically have work meetings during that time. Most evenings she is with her grandparents or great-grandma and naps vary. :)

no more swaddle = sleep sack

I read that you are supposed to stop swaddling at 4 months or when a baby can roll over. So, we stopped swaddling. I purchased a Halo sleep sack from Target, and was really nervous about how it would affect her nighttime sleep.

how'd she get there?!

Thankfully, she continues to sleep well – she just moves around a lot in her crib now! Almost immediately she’ll roll to her side, and she often ends up on her stomach. She also somehow repositions herself in random areas in the crib. I brought this up to the doctor because of all of the “back is best” SIDs awareness, but the doctor said it’s fine because now Claire can move and reposition herself. She’s growing up!

First football game!
first football game (Niceville vs. Choctaw)

The night of Claire’s 3-month birthday (10/16), we took her to the Niceville vs. Choctaw football game.

She slept through the entire first half — even with the crazy noise. It was a big rivalry game so there were lots of cheers and jeers.

At halftime, she woke up to eat a bottle, and then she “watched” the game. We stayed almost until the end. She seemed to enjoy watching the band’s half-time show and watching the football players on the field. It was a good, fun outing!

My first work trip away from Claire

Four days after Claire’s 3-month birthday, I got on a plane and headed to Los Angeles for my first business trip post-Claire. She was well taken care of by David, my grandma and David’s parents, so I wasn’t too worried while I was gone. And I love traveling, plus we had some big meetings planned — including a Board of Directors meeting — that week, so my schedule was jam-packed.

Before I left, I walked David through the routines — morning and night. He was just a tad overwhelmed by the thought of being “Mr. Working Mom” while I was gone, so finally I said, “Just make sure she’s alive when I get back!”

It was quite a week, but we all survived!

This next month will be filled with Thanksgiving (her first major holiday!) and getting ready for Christmas. :)

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The Postpartum Ailment I Didn’t Expect

Before I had Claire, I spent a lot of time reading up on what happens before, during and after labor and delivery. I perished Pinterest often, followed blogs like ScaryMommy.com and The Bump. I even downloaded a couple of books.

Bleeding? Knew about that.

A stomach that still looks 6 months pregnant? Got it.

Fatigue and lack of sleep. Yup.

The postpartum injury that no one tells you about.

But I never expected what happened to me just a couple of weeks after Claire was born. None of the blogs mentioned it. My doctor never said it was possible. No preparation at all.

So what happened? I got painful tendinitis in my left wrist.

The official diagnosis is De Quervain syndrome. When I finally went to the doctor after weeks of pain (my husband made me go because he was tired of hearing me say “ow.”), as soon as I told the nurse that I had a newborn, she immediately realized what the issue was. My doctor said it’s a very common injury in postpartum women.

What does a wrist injury have to do with being postpartum? As soon as I tell other moms, they immediately realize why: when you become a mom, you also become ambidextrous. You have to use both hands to do simple tasks because you have a baby in your arms. And because I was so predominantly right-handed before Claire, using my left hand more often took its toll.

A steroid shot and a wrist brace was all it took to fix the issue. But boy was it painful — especially during diaper changes, making and washing bottles, and at random times!


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Three months!

It’s official — Claire is no longer a newborn. :(

She doesn’t go back to the pediatrician until her four-month appointment, but I’m guessing that she weighs around 13.5 lbs. She has outgrown all of her newborn clothes, most of her 0-3 month clothes, and even some of her 3-month sized clothes are a little tight. She is growing! But I love dressing her up — she looks cute in everything, obvi, and I’m so thankful for all of the people who gave us such adorable outfits.


Claire loves to “talk” to us. She squeals and babbles; she tries to laugh; and she lights up when we go to get her up in the mornings and when we make eye contact. She is definitely developing a personality — she’s becoming playful, silly and cuter by the day!

She also loves taking walks! She enjoys the wind and the crunch of the leaves. It’s a little bit difficult maneuvering the stroller with Charlie’s leash attached, but the stroller has only ever tipped over once. ;)

Love walks with Charlie!

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsA big step…

Since the last update, Claire started going into the nursery at church! David and I know that our church provides quality everything, and they have a dedication to children. She first went into the nursery just a couple of days after her 2-month birthday when she was 9-weeks old. We attended the Saturday night service, and my biggest worry was making sure that she was fed beforehand, and that she would get fussy as she tends to have a nightly “witching hour.” First time in the church nursery!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThe church has a good check-in system, and they give parents restaurant-style pagers in case anything happens. I was looking at the pager often throughout the service, but we both were confident that she would be in good hands. And she did great! Since then, she has gone into the nursery each week, and every week the nursery volunteers tell us how sweet she is and what a joy she is!

I’ll write more about this in another post, but I think it’s great for Claire to experience the nursery — she gets to meet other babies, and gains exposure with other adults. Plus, it gives David and I a chance to pay attention to the message. :)

The next day, we went to our first church picnic as a family of three. Everyone ooh’d and aah’d over Claire. But we made a rookie mistake — we forgot the pacifier! But we just gave her a bottle a little early and all was fine. I didn’t get any pics when we were at the picnic, but I did capture the crankiness that ensued after! Isn’t her outfit cute ;) Cranky//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Seminole in training!

Claire also got to wear her first FSU cheerleading outfit. :) I tried to teach her the war chant and the chop, but she wasn’t having it! Seminole in training//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Meeting Aunt Whitney!

This month Claire also got to meet her “aunt” Whitney! I dressed her up in her Alice in Wonderland dress that Whitney’s family gave us.


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Five Years {Lyndsi + David Wedding Anniversary}

October 1, 2015 marked five years of marriage for David and me.

Five years. That’s 60 months; 1,826 days.

David’s anniversary gift to me perfectly depicts our journey together. {The traditional gift for the 5-year anniversary is wood; I gave David a bookcase.}

IMG_0074 We have a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way.

In the mean time, we’re just trying to enjoy life!

We definitely enjoyed our anniversary dinner cruise on board the Solaris!

Dinner was served in the dining room… IMG_0066 His dinner: Crab cakes. IMG_0061Her dinner: Filet mignon, well done. IMG_0061We also got outside and enjoyed the quiet deck. IMG_0068And of course our dessert! IMG_0063

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Two months!

On Wednesday, Claire turned two months old! Her pediatrician appointment was on Friday afternoon, and she had to get her 2-month shots. :( She screamed for a couple of seconds, but calmed down once she got her pacifier.

Two months!DSC_0350

  • Weight: 11 lbs 14 oz — up from 9.6 at her one-month check-up when she was 5 days old! She’s gained almost 5 pounds since she was born!
  • Length: 22.25 inches — up from 20.25 inches when she was one-month old. She’s grown 2.75 inches since birth!
  • Head: 15.5 inches — up from 15 inches at her previous check-up

The nurse said that Claire is growing very well. She’s gone up in the percentiles for length especially, and her head is growing at a good rate (not to fast and not too slow).


Development The doctor’s office gave me a handout on two-month milestones for me to look over before the doctor came in so I could raise any red issues. Thankfully, Claire passed all of them! She can:

      • Smile!
      • Suck on her hands to calm herself
      • Looks at us — a lot! She’s been doing this for a while though.
      • Make lots of sounds. She loves to talk!
      • Turn her head towards sounds.
      • Pay attention to faces
      • Track objects with her eyes – especially people.
      • Get bored. :/
      • Hold up her head and push up.
      • Make smoother movements with her limbs.

One thing she can do that wasn’t on the doctor’s milestone list: She grabs things! She’s figured out how to grab her dress and pull it up! Yikes. She also grabs her blanket and can bring it to her mouth — as seen here when we were stuck waiting for the car’s oil change to be finished.



It can be difficult to tell a “social” smile from a “gassy” smile, but the first time Claire smiled at me, I knew exactly what it was. IMG_2532

It was one of those days… she was fussy, she would cry for a bottle but not eat all of it, and then when it was time for bed, I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep. She was sleeping in her crib at this point, and when I heard her through the monitor, I couldn’t help but sigh as I got up. I was exhausted. It had only been a couple of hours since she went to bed, and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed far, far away. But as soon as I picked her up and sat down in the rocking chair, I looked at her sweet face and saw the biggest smile. It was as though she was saying, “hi mom! I’m so happy to see you.” Vocalizing She laughs, she has “conversations” with us, and she has been experimenting with different sounds — coos, high-pitched sounds, purrs and many others!

Physical development

She has always had relatively strong neck muscles, and tummy time is amusing because she gets frustrated — it’s like she wants to crawl so badly! She pushes up, and has gotten her head up 90 degrees many times. She also likes the reaction we give her — she seems to act like she’s proud of herself when we are watching her lift her head and tell her how strong she is. When she was 7 weeks old, we put her on her tummy on her giraffe mat, and she started lifting her head. Then, she rolled onto her side. And then she rolled onto her back! She had rolled from front to back before — but it was when she was on my lap, which was at an angle, and once when I placed her almost on her side on our bed. This time, though, she did it all by herself!

Other activities

During her second month of life, Claire:

Met her paternal great-grandma fore the first time.

Enjoyed her first three-day weekend: Labor Day! We took her shopping, of course. This wore her out! IMG_2565


Celebrated grandparents’ day with her maternal great-grandma and paternal grandparents. IMG_2585


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