Sunday, July 31, 2005

back tack goodness

This post is LONG overdue as I received my back tack goodies more than two weeks ago, but have been delayed in posting about the package I received, because I got two new part-time jobs (more on that in another post). But alas, I am back and don't plan on taking any more lengthy, unintentional breaks like that again.

So without further ado, here's a look at the wonderful presents I received from my back-tacker, butterfrog (her alias). This is a shot of the entire array of gifts she sent (minus the ADORABLE sock monkey she made for Margot's 1st birthday - how sweet is that? She even made my daughter a gift! You can see a photo of it here)!

I think Miss Butterfrog is my new best friend. She made me a knitting needle case (which I have been wanting to make for myself since January), a spool roll and a bird pincushion.
Here's a close-up of the spool roll and pincushion:

As if this wasn't enough, she included a PILE of other fun treasures. A mini Oriental-inspired pouch with two petite bird pins hiding inside and a generous pile of great buttons:

She also included some leftover ribbon, ric rac and lace, three beautiful magnets, some new knitting needles (yea!), a needle guage, and two packages of stitch markers!

This was quite a haul! I am especially appreciative because I am new to knitting and have not yet acquired many of these items, which seem to be pretty basic to successful knitting.

And last but not least, I received some new tea! Sadly, I have not tried it yet, but I plan to sit down with a cup one evening this week after work.

Thank you Butterfrog for making my week so special! You are so generous. I truly look forward to using all of these wonderful gifts you sent (Margot loves her sock monkey! I'll take a photo of her carrying it around as soon as I can get one).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

my 1 year old daughter has stronger abs than i do

Margot's friend Simon invited her to a play date today at Crown Center. It's basically a mall with an outdoor pavillion where they show movies in the summer and have ice skating in the winter. There's this great fountain in the pavillion that kids are always running around in (even though there are signs posted that say, "Please Don't Play in the Fountain"). Margot would only enter the cascade of water if I was holding onto her hands (which any mother would've done anyway right since wet bricks are very slippery)...she actually spent most of her time practicing her saunter on the outskirts of the fountain.

I'm still getting used to the fact that my daughter looks like an orangutan when she walks right now -- arms always flying overhead.

A shot of her running away from the water:

The funniest part of the day was definitely lunchtime when Margot sat for a full twenty minutes like this:

Look at those thighs (which makes this move all the more amazing..the shear strength it must take to hold those things up for so long)! Friends have always joked that Margot has abs of steel. After she learned to sit up on her own, Margot's standard sitting position was with her legs 3 inches off the ground, twirling her feet continuously. The girl is either destined to be a Pilates instructor, a dancer or a swimmer.

Margot with Simon (still in the Pilates position):

And one more photo of Margot on another outing this week. Monday evening we went to the newly remodeled Plaza branch of the Kansas City Public Library. It's fantastic. Modern furnishings everywhere -- even in the kids section! John has already begun shaping Margot's taste in good design, so I wasn't surprised when she spent 10 minutes pushing one of the child-sized modern chairs around the kids area (design is great, but durability is a must as well).

(I apologize to the handful of you who read both John's and my blog and already saw this photo over there. We'll try to offer a better variety of shots in the future.)

Monday, July 11, 2005

just call me "sew sista"

Oh, that was really bad...sorry, I had a difficult time thinking of a creative title for this post. I'm pretty sure it's finally safe to post photos of what I made for the back-tack swap, since Bertha should've received her package in the mail today. This is what I created with the materials Superneedle sent me.

I know you may find this hard to believe (probably not), but this was the first sewing I've done since the 8th grade. I was extremely pleased with the finished product since it actually looks like what I was intending to make. I used this tutorial for the pouch and I "winged" the tote from one I had on hand. The came up with the design -- very simple, which is my style. The pouch is my favorite...probably because it was the first thing I made and it was my first attempt at a zipper.

Close-up of pouch:
Lining of pouch:
I hope the recipient likes her gift (if you don't Bertha, please don't tell me in a comment or I think my spirit might be crushed) and doesn't feel cheated that she had an amateur like me as her back-tack buddy.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

birthday day o' fun

My friend Julie always plans one full day of activities for her husband's birthday which she calls the "day o' fun." I actually remembered to take photos of my 29th birthday day o' fun and now that I've finally figured out how to post several photos in one post (thanks to Hannah telling me about blogger images!), I can share them with you in the actual order of occurence. *Note: This is the absolute longest post ever...I'm having WAY TOO MUCH fun with this multiple photo posting.

I woke up on my birthday for the second time that morning (see here if you're confused) craving french toast. I really wanted to go to Milton's (my favorite breakfast place in Lawrence), but now that we live in KC I decided it probably wasn't realistic for us to drive there just to satisfy my cravings (even though it was my birthday). A chain restaurant was definitely out, so I jumped on the internet to search for a hole-in-the-wall place that served cheap french toast. Ruby's Dagwoods was the winner -- both in 2001 for Best Cheap Eats and July 2, 2005 for Kristen's 29th birthday breakfast. As if the Best Cheap Eats award was not enough to convince me, this is what we encountered when we pulled into the parking lot. Who would not want to eat their birthday breakfast here?

Although I don't smoke, and typically dislike eating in smoking establishments, this sign seemed to endear me even more to the place.

Ruby's was awesome. Immediately after entering I knew the waitress would know everyone's name in the place. I almost felt like we shouldn't be there since we weren't regulars, but she quickly embraced us as if we were her own children.

Our menu?
For the birthday girl:
- a big tall glass of orange juice (served in a melamine "frosted" glass)
- two pieces of thick french toast (on Texas toast of course)
- a side of hashbrowns

For John:
- same as me (sans hashbrowns)
- two eggs over-easy
- a cup of black coffe (the worst he said he'd tasted in years...he's a coffee snob now that he's run a coffeeshop for the past 3 years)

For Margot:
- one piece of wheat toast soaked in a LARGE amount of butter (I could actually hear her young arteries clogging).

We didn't enjoy any of the menu items listed on the sign outside...

...nope, no tenderloins for me before noon (although I do think John could eat chicken fried steak at 9am if he really put his mind to it). However, I think Margot came very close to bringing on a heart attack in an elderly man that walked by our table to say hi to her. Currently Margot is not particularly fond of older men...or men with facial hair. This gentleman fit both categories and so there was no escaping her typical response -- explosive cry with frightened look. At that point we decided it was time for the check.

It was then home for a nap for Margot (yes, already). We put Margot down and after thirty minutes of quiet, a nap started to sound pretty good to John and I (remember: 4am). Just as our heads sunk into the pillow, little miss angel decided she had had enough beauty sleep. So we headed off to the Reading Reptile, a children's bookstore I have been wanting to check out for awhile (check out their "about us" page...not what you'd expect from owners of a children's bookstore).

This is my new favorite place. It's easy to see why they won an award for excellence in children's bookselling (you can see photos of the store here). Scattered around the store are lots of large paper mache replicas of characters popularized in children's books. In the back of the store is a stage (complete with velvet curtain!) where they have storytime and show movies. Also in the back is a huge section that looks to be dedicated to crafts. They have every children's book you would ever want and much, much more (whole sections dedicated to weather, the human body, environment and on and on). Although Margot didn't look at any books, she kept busy petting the cat...

...and playing with this...

She just loves these bead contraptions. On the way home I found a much smaller version at a garage sale -- the best $0.25 I ever spent I tell ya.

Then it was on to "Tea at 3" at Gail's. It was so nice to have time with just girlfriends and no children to chase around. My dear friend Sarah made these to-die-for truffles.

I know, I know it's not fair to tease, but I had to share. The evening ended with dinner at Osteria Il Centro (that's my shadow at the bottom)...

...and a relaxing walk around the Plaza. We were planning on catching a movie, but didn't think we'd make it through one due to our (very) early morning.

I absolutely LOVE celebrating birthdays...especially my own. But honestly, after having my daughter I figured the days of fun birthdays for me were over. Not true. This was definitely a day o' fun!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

happy birthday to me

i love mommy tee
Originally uploaded by kmmcclain.

Today was my 29th birthday. My last year before "the thirties." I'm ready. The other day I heard that "30 is the new 20"...I'm not sure I know exactly what that means, but I do know I don't want to be 20 again.

Outside of the fact that Margot woke up at 4:34am and we couldn't get her back to sleep for more than an hour, my birthday day was splendid (I think she just wanted me to be awake for as many birthday hours as possible)! I recorded the day with my camera, but that post will have to wait until tomorrow because it's already very late and 4:34am was a long time ago.

Here's one of my favorite photos from today. This little beauty is the reason I spent the evening of my 28th birthday uncomfortable. The next day I would realize that my discomfort was because I was having contractions. And the next day, Margot entered our lives.

Friday, July 01, 2005

a new habitat

first friday group shot
Originally uploaded by kmmcclain.

**Note: This photo has nothing to do with this post, but I thought I would throw it in because I'm a big fan of photos with posts. It's a shot from our First Friday outing tonight with a group of our friends (the galleries in the KC art district stay open late the first Friday of the month for new show openings).

For the last 3 years and 1 month I've been working with college students in the fabulous town of Lawrence, KS and yesterday was my last official day of work. It was also my husband's last day of work -- he has been managing a bookstore, coffeeshop and art gallery (also in Lawrence) -- so now we're both officially unemployed. Why have we both left our jobs and moved from Lawrence to Kansas City? To begin a new adventure in small business ownership. John has been investigating and planning since September and in the next few months we're looking to open a fun (and hopefully very hip) shoe boutique. I'm sure I'll be writing much more about this adventure in the coming months. In the meantime I will be looking for a part-time job (for that silly, little thing called a mortgage). I just want to work someplace fun (who doesn't) where I wouldn't be tempted to spend all my wages on the store's wares (like here...bad news); someplace that will fuel my creative juices (like here or here, which would also most likely be bad news, but at least it would be in the name of creativity). So, if you've got any suggestions for me, bring 'em on.