Six Months!

Saturday marked six months since Claire entered the world! We just went to the pediatrician for her six-month check-up and shots today.

  • Weight: 18 lbs, 6 oz
  • Length:24 inches
  • Head:17 inches

This month was a big month for little Claire!

We celebrated her first Christmas. And then we rang in the new year … while she was sound asleep in her crib. 😉



Claire also started sitting up on her own! We put her in front of this princess mirror (gift from my Disney-loving friend Whitney gave us), and she LOVED it.


She can play at that mirror for a long time.

It’s also been colder, so we’ve had to bundle up — which means wearing cute hats and coats!


She’s growing, and fast, but our sweet little girl is just getting sweeter!

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2015: Year in Review

This time last year, I was nervously telling David that a baby was on the way. That defined our 2015.

We started our January with a trip to the OB/GYN where we learned that we were expecting, and the baby was a girl. From there, we told our families, and then our close friends, and of course our employers.

Those family members and friends supported us with 4 baby showers. The first was in Los Angeles, held by the company I work for. Then my great friend Melody hosted a wonderful shower for family and friends. And both dance studios I taught for held showers, during which the owners, students and parents graciously gave us gifts for Baby Girl Stevens.

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We also decided that we needed to move closer to David’s office. So we started a house hunt and simultaneously put our first home on the market. It was a stressful, frustrating, exciting, consuming process but in the end it all worked out. We made a profit on the sale of our first house, which we used to pay off David’s car and put a downpayment on our amazing second house that we absolutely love. And we moved in record time.

After we bought the house, it was also time to purchase a new “family” car. I was driving a great 2003 Honda Accord that was David’s car before we bought the Prius. But the A/C went out and it had 100K+ miles. So I got a new Honda CRV! And I love it.

Throughout my pregnancy, I continued teaching my dance classes and stayed active — walking almost every day and swimming nearly every day after we moved into to the new house. I survived two recitals when I was 7+ months pregnant.

And of course, I stayed on top of my career. I had just been promoted to the VP position a few weeks before 2014 ended. I traveled to Los Angeles for a management training conference and a company board meeting right around the 19-week mark. I also spearheaded a redesign of the company’s main website.

Before I knew it, July was here. The nursery was ready, the clothes were washed, and the car seat bases were installed. And then, d-day was here. I was induced and delivered Claire on July 16, and nothing has been the same since!

Fresh and clean

I had a 6-week maternity leave. I’m very grateful that I was paid throughout that time through short-term disability and accrued vacation and sick days. The first two weeks I spent more time at home that I have ever before. I had no idea what to expect adding a baby to our family, but I have only positive memories of those first few weeks. And, of course, she survived so that means we did something right … right?!

About 4 weeks into my maternity leave, I turned 28! It was my first birthday as a “mom,” and boy did Claire remind me that it’s not about me anymore!

We watched Claire grow from a newborn, to a one-month old, and then right before she turned two-months old I started back to work, and began teach dance classes again. The transition was as smooth as it could be, I suppose. I wasn’t particularly eager to go back to work, but I wasn’t dreading it either. Claire and I had started to get into a rhythm, and so far so good! I also had the privilege of performing at a local Oktoberfest.

David and I celebrated 5 years of marriage on October 1, and Claire continued to grow into a three-month old. Right after she turned 3 months, I went on my first work trip post-baby. It was … something. I had a TON of presentations to give, some opinionated (for lack of a better … or meaner .. word) coworkers, and reaaaalllly long days and nights. But Claire was well taken care of by David and my grandma. I’m incredibly grateful that my grandma and David’s parents are so willing — and enthusiastic — to watch Claire. Knowing that she was in good hands helped a lot. Admittedly, I was excited to get away for a few days, but it was also my first time away from Claire overnight! We all survived. 🙂

I also experienced a very common but not-very-talked-about postpartum wrist injury (“new mommy syndrome”) and had to get a steroid shot. But that was more of an annoyance than a real issue.

We celebrated David’s 33rd birthday in November, and Charlie also turned 5 that month.

Also in November, the new website design and rebranding I spearheaded finally launched. It was a long time coming, and a LOT of work, but it was so worth it.

Claire continued to grow — learning to roll both ways by the time she was 4 months and experiencing her first real holiday: Thanksgiving, and Black Friday. 😉

It was around this time that I really began to embrace the “mom” job. Not that I didn’t love Claire before, but as her personality blossomed and she grew and grew before our eyes, it really became apparent how much of a blessing she really is, and what unique things you get to experience as a momma to a new baby.

Claire grew into a 5-month old, and we celebrated her very first Christmas. December also would have marked my mom’s 60th birthday, and this year would have been her favorite.

2015 was officially the year of Claire. Now, we are all ready (or not) for 2016, and all of the things that come with it.


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Baby’s First Christmas {2015}

Words really can’t describe baby’s first Christmas, so here are some pictures that give just a glimpse.

We got in the Christmas spirit right after Thanksgiving.

DSC_0385 IMG_0616

And we even went to see Santa Claus!

Claire's first Christmas photo with santa! Someone was tired, though. IMG_0455

On Christmas Eve, we went to the candlelight service at church…


…and then I made Christmas Eve dinner. We got a visit from the fire department because of the “great butter fire of 2015.” Everything was fine; it was just an accident! {And there wasn’t really a fire.}

Then came Christmas morning! We began the day with our traditional breakfast spread…

Traditional Christmas breakfast

…and then we opened presents and stockings at home!

Santa butt

Before we knew it, it was time to go to great-grandma’s house for Christmas lunch. IMG_0655

Someone got a little tired though…

Too much Christmas fun

Next up, we ventured over to the grandparents’ house! DSC_0406

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Someone got REALLY tired…

After a bottle and a quick nap, it was time for more presents! She LOVED grabbing and pulling (& eating!) the wrapping paper and bows. Love wrapping paper


And exploring the gifts she received! DSC_0427

She even got her first (big) dolly!

First dolly!

And finally, we headed home again, where we said “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”


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5 Months!

How is baby girl 5 months old already?!

Claire is 5 months!

This past month was very busy. We celebrated Claire’s first Thanksgiving… DSC_0352

my first thanksgiving passed out at Thanksgiving

…and her first Black Friday!

Enjoying Black Friday Black Friday

We got ready for Christmas


…by putting up the Christmas tree

…and going to see Santa! Claire's first Christmas photo with santa!


And Claire’s personality continued to develop as she got a little feisty and excited!



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5 Wonderful Things That Make Having a Baby Under One a Joy

When I was pregnant, I read a TON — books, blogs, Pinterest! I came across (and still come across) so many articles about “what you don’t expect” and people explaining how hard it is to be a new mom. Of course they always ended with, “but you’ll love your baby!”

I felt like there were so many negative things about having a small baby that heavily outweighed any good things. But that hasn’t been my experience at all! So I wanted to share a few things that expectant moms can look forward to — not dread.

5 wonderful things to enjoy about your baby under one

5. Seeing her eyes light up when she sees something new.

This photo was taken at church during Claire’s first Christmas season. There were big snowflakes hanging down from the ceiling. As soon as she saw them, her eyes locked on.

4. Watching her as she learns something new

Claire started rolling when she was 3 months old. At first she had to think about it, and I loved stepping back and just letting her do what she needed to do!

3. The reaction when we wake her up in the morning

Every morning, David and I both go into Claire’s room to get her up for the day. Her reaction when she sees us is just so precious! Sometimes she doesn’t want to get up, which is hilarious. But she always gives us a big “good morning” smile!

2. Making her laugh

Becoming a parent makes you crazy! But not in the “you need to go to an asylum” way 😉 I’ve never been “funny” but I’ll do just about anything to get a laugh from Claire!
{Please excuse the spit-up and formula stain!}

1. When she’s tired and snuggles into my shoulder

Every night, we lotion her up, put her in PJ’s and the sleep sack, and give her a bottle. I read her a bedtime story and sing a song, and while I’m reading/singing, Claire slowly but surely relaxes her neck and nuzzles her head into my shoulder. After a long, active day, it’s nice to have this quiet time to hold what usually is a very squirmy, active baby girl.

hi baby girl

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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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