Wednesday, December 31, 2008

All I want for Christmas are... two front teeth! Technically we've only seen one, but I am sure the second is to follow any day now. She is a little shy about it still, but as soon as she lets me get a peek with the camera, I will post some pics.

Baby's First Christmas

Christmas morning got off to a great start as Reese slept in until 8am! Gotta love that. Reese loves to rip paper to shreds (especially J Crew catalogs), so I thought she would LOVE to tear all the wrapping paper off of her presents. And she did, for the most part. But since Reese was such a good girl this year, and Santa brought her tons of gifts to reward her, there were just too many things to open for one morning. So after her nap, she came back for more. In fact, I think she was opening gifts under the tree for two or three days! Here are a few shots from the day:
Next, please.

Now that's one happy girl!

She got pretty good at opening presents as the morning went on--look she can even do it with her eyes closed!

This is definitely one of Reese's favorite new toys. The back of it flips up so that Reese can push it while she walks behind. She is going to be walking on her own in no time! Stay tuned for video to follow.

Quarter Life Crisis

I turned 25 this month. For some reason, I thought I would feel a lot different. I don't. But I had a really fun day--Reese and I went to lunch with some of my girlfriends, then we came home and took naps, then we played some more, I got calls from lots of my family and friends, then I got my favorite birthday cake from my sister--Cookie Dough Delirium ice cream cake from Cold Stone (if you haven't had this, you haven't lived! Only 351 days until next year's cake!)

My husband got me the most thoughtful gift--a cake decorating class at Sur La Table! I have wanted to sign up for their classes for years, but have just never done it. I didn't give Michael much help when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I was so excited when he told me what he got me!! I recruited one of my friends who shares my affinity for baking to come with me and we had the best time. When we arrived for class, our stations were all set up with an 8" cake, off-set spatulas, pastry bags, frosting, decorative tips and a practice board. And when the class got started, I could hardly contain my excitement--I am pretty sure I was grinning from ear to ear.
The first thing we learned how to do was to level and tort a cake, which just means splitting a single cake layer in half horizontally to form two layers. We learned the techniques to fill and frost the cake so that it is perfectly smooth and straight. This was the best I could do on my first try.
After we had our cakes prepped, we learned different decorating techniques with pastry bags and tips and tried them out on our practice boards. Finally, we learned how to make poinsettias and masterpiece!
Unfortunately, we ran short on time--it's true what they say about time flying--and I didn't get to finish the bottom border. I've got a lot of practicing to do still, but, ooooh, it was the most fun way to spend a Saturday and the cake was delicious, if I do say so myself.

Monday, December 15, 2008

SANTA!!!!!! I know him.

Last week Reese and I went to Tysons Corner to meet Santa! This Santa was almost fired after 18 years of service, but the community rallied behind him, staging protests and signing petitions, and they brought him back! I wondered what kind of Santa could be that good, but I must say, he didn't disappoint.

When I first put Reese on his lap, she seemed a little unsure--she held her arms out to me and I almost caved and went to comfort her, but she was quickly distracted by the jolly ol' guy and once she checked him out (see their silent communication below), she was happy as can be!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thanksgiving week!

We had a very busy Thanksgiving week this year! We started our trip with a few days in Utah for Michael's brother's wedding. It was a great day! Matt and Julianne got married in Salt Lake and it was so fun to spend the day with all the Wheatleys. I love this picture of the happy couple--doesn't Matt's face say it all?!
It was so much fun for Reese to get together with her cousins! Reese gets so excited whenever she sees little kids--she squeals and screams and waves her arms--it's hilarious. She and Tyson became fast friends. They had crawling races down the hallway at Tyson's house, and even though Tyson left Reese in his dust, she and I have been practicing for next time. How cute are these cousins?!
Our last stop before leaving Utah was to visit my friend Heidi for a much needed play date, but more importantly so that Reese could meet Max. Reese could hardly contain her excitement and was a little too shrill when she laid eyes on Max, scaring him half to death. I hope he will forgive her!
We spent the rest of the week in Montana with my entire family for Thanksgiving. We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, played our first annual Stimpson family Turkey Bowl and finished with only a couple minor injuries, played Guitar Hero, the boys golfed, and watched movies. It was a great long weekend! Reese and I were the cheerleaders at the Turkey Bowl.
And here Dean is taking it all the way to the hizzee!

On the way home, Reese and I stopped in Utah for one more night. We had dinner with Matt and McCall and Reese got to make another new friend--Halle! These two girls are going to be trouble when they get older, I can already tell! Look at those faces--they almost look like they got caught doing something they shouldn't, right?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hooray for visitors!

A couple weeks ago, my twin sister and her husband Ben came to visit us! Ooh, I had been looking forward to this for months! They arrived Thursday evening and got to stay until Sunday evening, which sounds like a nice, long weekend, but I knew it would go much too quickly. This was Ben's first time to DC, so we had a lot to squeeze into a short time.

Our first stop on Friday was to Georgetown. I have been to Georgetown with just about all of our former visitors, but this time was a completely new experience. Lauren is a budding Interior Designer and so we went into stores like Ann Sacks, Baker Furniture, and Waterworks. It was so much fun to walk through these showrooms, especially with Lauren who knows what she's talking about and can offer lots of insight as to the quality of work, projects on which she has used these vendors, and how we would design our own dream homes. After that we strolled down M street and visited Georgetown Cupcake. (my favorite! something about looking at tons of cupcakes just makes me incredibly happy...and since they are so small, I hardly feel badly about indulging!) The line was out the door but that isn't saying much, as only four people can fit inside at a time. We were later told by people all over town, who saw us carrying the pink box, that it was a 'short' line and how lucky we were to have gone when there was only a ten minute wait. We split a half-dozen and they were all equally delicious!
I took Lauren and Ben to Five Guys for lunch--I felt like it was a must for out-of-towners who enjoy a good burger, especially since east coast people talk about Five Guys the way west coast people talk about In n' Out. I thought I would let Lauren and Ben decide for themselves which they will be loyal to.
Next stop: Natural History Museum. I could not let Lauren come all this way and not take her to see the Hope Diamond. Lauren is fan of all things sparkly...if you've seen Reese sporting her bling binky and sparkly clips, just about every sparkly thing Reese has is thanks to her Aunt Lallycakes! We also went to the Bones, Reptiles and Insect Zoo. Very interesting...but I seriously got the creeps at the Insect Zoo.
On Saturday we went to a preliminary tour of the new Capitol Visitors Center. It is underneath the Capitol and it's pretty incredible. I am a wimp/novice when it comes to parking in DC, and I parked at the opposite end of the Mall from the Capitol. I mean, it doesn't seem that far, right?! Uh, it is, in fact, quite far. I made Lauren and Ben march almost two miles from west of the Washington Monument, by the Tidal Basin, all the way to the Capitol. Sorry, guys. But they did get to see all the monuments on the way...and it only took just over an hour to get from point A to point B! (I am a miserable tour guide. But, I didn't make them walk back--Michael and I walked/metroed back to the car while they went to the Supreme Court and Library of Congress.)
On Sunday, before heading to the airport, we stopped by the Arlington National Cemetery. We power-walked up to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and then walked into the Memorial Amphitheater. It was pretty chilly, but when the sun peaked through the clouds, it was actually a gorgeous day!

Reese and I were very sad to see Lauren and Ben go. In fact, I think Reese cried all the way home from the airport...poor little lamb. It was so much fun to have them with us for a weekend! Please come again soon!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Catching up...

November was not my best blogging month, I won't lie.  And I've got a lot of catching up to do.  I'm excited that I can finally blog about one of the most fun things I did in the last month.  I got to meet Ina Garten!  While I was at Sur la Table getting some things to make a cookbook for my sister, I found out that Ina Garten, of Food Network fame, was coming to sign her new cookbook at that very store just a couple weeks later.  With Christmas fast approaching, I thought what a perfect gift this would be for my mother!  (I gave my mom her autographed copy of Ina's new cookbook this week, so I can finally tell you all about it!)  

I went the day before the big release to buy a copy of Back to Basics, securing me a place in the autograph line.  I asked the Sur la Table employee what I could expect for the big signing launch and he said that when Rachael Ray came to sign one of her cookbooks, people were waiting in line starting at 6am! (the signing was not scheduled to start until noon)  I thought about going super early, but quickly realized that it would not be wise to make Reese miss her morning nap, and decided to go as soon as she woke up.  By the time I got to Sur la Table, the signing portion of the afternoon had just begun and the line was through the entire store, out the door and halfway around the block!  It was a little chilly, but luckily I bundled Reese up and had toys and snacks to keep her happy.  It took us a little over an hour to get through the line and Reese was a champ!  Sur la Table employees were walking around with Barefoot Contessa samples from her line of boxed mixes.  We got to try her coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, peanut butter and jelly bars and lemon angle food cake.  Delicious!  It made the wait so much more enjoyable...and Reese was a big fan of such yummy new treats to try!

When we finally got to the front of the line, I seriously had butterflies!  hee hee.  Ina was so nice...she said how beautiful Reese was and how nice it was to see us.  I told her I love watching her everyday and love everything she makes!  (I had an hour and a half to think of what witty thing I would say to her when I got to the front of the line, but when push came to shove, I froze!)  All in all, it was a great day and a very enjoyable experience!  (much more so than the last book signing I went to when they pushed me out of the way as I was trying to get my picture taken with the author.  the nerve!)  And, to top it off, my mom loves her new cookbook!