Monday, December 11, 2006

hog dressing, moonshine and odd ball knitting

It's been nearly 5 months since my last post (Kerry, it must be the day to resurrect old blogs...what a funny coincidence). It's not like I haven't thought about posting for the past 5 months. I've thought about it a lot, I just haven't really been motivated to do anything about it. Part of my lack of motivation may have something to do with the fact that I had a baby in August. Here he is at one month of age with his sister.

His stats:
Vance Randolph
August 19
7 lbs., 13 oz.
19 1/2 in.
Darn cute.

Now, I realize there are many moms out there who have babies and continue blogging without missing a day. Seeing as how I missed MANY days before I had a second child, it's not surprising to me that I missed a few after he was born. The days just kept clicking by and I kept thinking, "I need to get back to blogging and tell the blogworld about Vance." And then I would realize I didn't have any photos on my computer to show him off. So another day would pass, and another, and another and I just never got up the energy to get a photo from John's computer onto my computer so I could post about Vance and then move on with my blog life. I know that sounds completely lame, but it's the truth. It doesn't take much to throw me off track with this whole blogging thing.

Lately, however, I've been thinking about blogging a lot more. Maybe it's because I'm finally adapting to being a mom of two, or because I'm not as sleep-deprived. Maybe it's because I need to think about something other than my kids and the store. Maybe I've been missing this outlet to express myself, process things, or just share funny stories. Or, maybe the pull of this interesting thing called the blogworld is just too much to resist. I don't know what it is and I don't know how long I'm back for, but today, I'm here.

Why today? Well, let me tell you. Tonight I was searching for a knitting book to get my sister for Christmas (she's 17 and I thought it would be cool to introduce her to knitting) and came across Odd Ball Knitting. Then I glanced below the photo of the book to find the Best Value promotion. You know, where it says, "Buy Odd Ball Knitting and get this other book at an additional 5% off's everyday low price." This was the other book. I'm not exactly sure how Amazon paired these two books together, but I don't care. It was worth a good laugh to me.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

self portrait tuesday -- my life as a...


This is my first pair of cowboy boots and I love them! They're a 30th birthday present to myself (purchased with money given to me by my family...thanks family!). I've been wanting a pair of Lucchese boots since John bought his at Allens Boots in Austin, TX nearly a year and a half ago. It was our first time to Austin and we both fell in love with the town. When we lived in Lawrence, people would tell us all the time that if we loved Lawrence, then we would really love Austin. We couldn't resist the pull forever. Even though we were only there for two days and had a 6-month old with us (and thus did not get to experience any of the live music scene), we saw enough to fall in love with the town. Actually, we spent much of the time throwing around the idea of moving to Austin and opening a shoe store there (we knew at that time that we were definitely pursuing the shoe store, we just didn't know where yet). But, Austin has plenty of hip boutiques (shoe stores included) and Kansas City doesn't, so in the end we decided there was probably more of a need in KC.

I'm sure owning these cowboy boots is the closest thing I'll ever get to being a cowgirl (which I realize is not close at all), but one of my secret lifelong dreams has been to move to a ranch and own horses. I love horses. Or maybe I should say I like horses. Saying I love horses makes me feel like I should collect horse figurines, or subscribe to a magazine about horses, or at least have taken riding lessons when I was younger. None of that applies to me, so maybe I'm only allowed to say I like horses, but either way, I think one day I'd like to own one or two.

I haven't spent massive amounts of time around horses by any means. The extent of my experience with taking care of and riding horses is a handful of days spent with my friend Erin at her family's ranch. I'm sure those few days 15 years ago have provided me little to no concept of what is actually involved with owning and caring for horses, but who cares about that. It's a dream, and thus I don't feel the need to burden it with all those realities. Maybe one day in the distant future when Habitat is doing well and we've opened multiple stores and we can pay someone else to run the daily operations of the business, my husband, daughter, child #2 and I can move out of the "city" and experience those realities of country life firsthand. Right now, it sounds pretty appealing. Who knows if it will in ten years? I suppose I'll just have to wait and see.

Incidentally, although this is my first time participating in the self portrait challenge, I have wanted to for the better part of a year. When I first found out about it, I was intrigued by the concept, but not quite ready to post photos of myself every week. I really like photography, but I like being on this side of the camera...not in front of it. Then, when I'd actually be ready to try a shot, John would have the camera at the store taking photos for the all-consuming website. Or, I'd not resonate with the challenge for that month. Or, I'd think about it on Thursday, but not Tuesday. I suppose the stars just aligned rightly today...who knows if they ever will again.

Friday, July 14, 2006

a much-needed afternoon off

My amazing mother gave me a massage for Mother's Day and I finally got around to using it yesterday because I felt like I could take an afternoon off of work at the store and not spend the rest of the week overwhelmed at all the work I'd have waiting for me next Tuesday when I returned. Now I realize you don't need an entire afternoon for a 1-hour massage, but for me to fully enjoy the experience, I need several hours on either side of the massage to relax and just enjoy some time to myself. And to insure that I would take said several hours, I scheduled the massage in Lawrence -- a nice, 45-minute drive away to my favorite town that we don't live in anymore. The massage was great, although not quite the same when you're 8 months pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the massage therapist just isn't able to get to places as well when you have to lay on your side almost the entire time.

Yet, it was still relaxing and I actually experienced a few hours free of pain in my lower back afterward, which was especially nice. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Mass St. going to all my favorite shops -- the Dusty Bookshelf, the Yarn Barn and Sarah's Fabrics -- places I loved to linger in when we lived in Lawrence, but I don't get the opportunity very often anymore.

I went into the Dusty Bookshelf looking for three books specifically. I found one of them and four others (of course) that I just had to pick up (hey, I did leave two others behind that I really wanted). The one I found that I had been looking for was Anna Karenina; a classic, and my dear friend Sarah's favorite book. The other four I couldn't resist taking with me were: The Devil in the White City (actually another recommendation of Sarah's), Five Quarters of the Orange, The Known World and Life of the Beloved (all just ones that sounded good). The only question now is which one to begin?

I found plenty of yummy yarn and amazing fabric at the other two stores (as usual), but resisted the temptation to purchase any of it. Not that I needed to at Sarah's because I still have a gift certificate that John gave me for my birthday last year (I know, I know, it's ridiculous). Rather than make a rash decision and end up with a pile of great fabric, but not know what to use it for, I wanted to take advantage of plenty of time by myself to walk around and survey all the fabrics. Then, I plan to use the next couple of days to decide which projects I want to pursue next and go back this coming week and burn through that gift certificate. Maybe, just maybe they'll even be having a sale at Sarah's since Thursday is the Annual Sidewalk Sale in Lawrence. It's a must-see event, if you've never been. We're talking crazy shoppers here people. The first year we lived in Lawrence and I went to the sale, I was blown away by how many people were crowded on Mas St. at 7 in the morning. I think I spent most of the day at Sunflower Bike Shop (another totally fun store) listening to a guy perched at the top of a ladder say things like, "We have Sunflower T-shirts for $'s cheaper than doing laundry." I found out later that they guy doesn't even work for Sunflower, he's just a friend of the owners who comes up every year to sit atop his ladder and yell funny things through a megaphone at customers wrestling for a deal.

I'm planning on going this year (my 5th time), so if anyone in KC is interested in scavenging the racks with me, I'd love to be the one to initiate you to this rare, but wonderful experience.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

spoiled aspirations

So I had great aspirations tonight to completely (or at least slightly) change the look of my blog. You know, add that photo of my front porch swing that I've been intending to do for a year. I figure it's long overdue. Although that may be true, what's also true is that I HAVE NO IDEA how to add a photo, change the font, change the size of the font, pretty much anything that has to do with html. But for some reason I decide that tonight of all nights, when I have a zillion other things I could (and should) be doing, I am going to figure it out by myself.

Well, an hour and a half dice. I still don't understand which part of the template I need to change, or frankly where to even look in the template to change what I want to change. I have a hard time believing I'm the only person for which this stuff is not intuitive. I've tried searching the help section of blogger, but to no avail. I'm sure it's there somewhere...listed under some weird code, not something that makes sense like, "How to add a photo to your header." I've tried so many changes in the last 90 minutes, none of which have done anything remotely noticeable to my blog. I've decided to pack it in for the night as I'm afraid if I keep at it I will either end up erasing my entire blog or my husband will have to commit me to a mental hospital. Plus, since tomorrow is First Friday and we're having a HUGE Sidewalk Sale at the store (in the words of our friend Jeff, a "big ol' shut yo mouth" Sidewalk Sale) and it's sure to be a complete three-ring circus, I'd better get some sleep or my 32-week pregnant body is never going to make it until 11pm tomorrow night. If you live in KC, then stop by Habitat and take advantage of some sweet deals on even sweeter shoes. And if you don't live in KC, you can see what you're missing on our brand spankin' new website (which we are only currently telling limited people about while we make sure all the bugs are worked out).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

birthday week

We've been celebrating a lot around here lately. Two days ago (July 2nd), I left my roaring twenties and entered a new decade of life. I think my husband has reminded me at least thirty times in the past few days that I am now 30 (he's a year and four months behind me). Several people have asked me, "So, how are doing with turning 30?" I'm doing just fine with it thank you. Actually, I'm excited about entering my thirties. I'm not sure why, I just am. Sure 30 sounds a lot older than being in your twenties, but I don't feel any older than I did two days ago, two weeks ago, two years ago (well, maybe two years ago since that's when I became a parent and that will age anybody). I'm not sure I'll ever feel my age again. I have a friend who's turning 40 this year and she says she still feels like she's in college.

Turning 30 is certainly an excuse to have a big party and that's just what my friend, Hannah, and I did (she turned 30 three days before me). We had a pig roast. It was awesome. I'm not normally one for viewing up close the animal that I'm about to ingest, but I will say it was the best pork I've ever eaten. It was so tender I can see why slow roasting produces the best kind of meat. Here's a photo of the carcass:

Now that's a good looking pig, but I think the one Hannah included on our invitation might be easier on the eyes. You can view it here. Hannah designed them herself and then we printed them on her gocco (I use the term, we, lightly as she really did all the printing...I basically watched her because I'm afraid of that contraption). Hannah loves that gocco thingamajig and is into all things stencil-like nowadays, so it's best to just get out of her way and let her create her masterpieces.

Between the 86 pounds of pork and the 10 dozen chocolate cupcakes (and the many delicious side dishes people brought), I think everyone went home content...including Margot and Collette (Hannah's daughter):

Margot had to take a break from scarfing down her cupcake and decided to just hold it for a minute or two...against her dress of course, what better place?

The other celebration this week (today actually) was for Margot's 2nd birthday. Two years ago today, John and I watched fireworks from our hospital room window holding our new daughter. Leave it to Margot Kay to be born on the Fourth of July. It's hard to believe two years has passed since that day. Happy Birthday beautiful girl. I'm sure you will grow up thinking all those fireworks are for you (once we actually make it to a fireworks extravaganza on the 4th) and really, what's wrong with that?

Here's Margot consuming her birthday (cup)cake:

Yes, she's eating a chocolate cupcake leftover from my birthday party. Let's just say we overshot our estimate of how many cupcakes we needed by about 5 dozen. Trust me, they're too yummy to let go to waste and she doesn't look like she minds, does she?

Friday, June 09, 2006

odds and ends

[Blogger was acting up yesterday, so this post is a day late.]
Last night while my husband was having his face melted at the Sam Roberts Band concert in Lawrence, I spent the evening describing shoes for our website that we're hoping to launch next week. Antiqued leather with bronze stud detailing...padded footbed...rubber outsole with textured grip...don't even try to resist buying this know, typical stuff. After working on it all day yesterday while I was at the store (and John had the day we see a pattern here?), and then another couple of hours at home, my eyes grew so tired from looking at the computer screen I finally just nodded off (OK, fairness to John, he's spent many more hours working on this website than I have so he deserved a night out with the boys).

Although we have been working our tails off to get this website up and running, we decided we could afford to take the weekend off to travel to Oklahoma City to visit some friends of ours before they moved to Budapest for the summer. It's the first time since the store opened back in November that we've left it in the hands of someone else and it felt great. We almost didn't remember what it felt like to have two days off in a row together. Anyway, we had a great visit with our friends. I mean, what could be better than cooking hot dogs over a fire pit in 90 degree weather? Margot had a great time playing with their kids -- especially Jed. We think she has a crush on him (he's the one in the middle).

One thing I love about road trips is all the concentrated time John and I have to talk. Oh wait, I remember, John doesn't talk when he's in "his zone." This used to irritate me. What else are road trips good for if not for talking, talking and more talking? Such a great opportunity to find out new things about each other, or dream up new dreams, or share old memories. Not with my husband. I'm lucky if I can get him to answer a question with more than a nod and a grunt. So, I've learned that road trips give me a chance to start a new novel, flip through magazines, or start a new knitting project (all of which I thoroughly enjoy so it's easy to deal with the lack of conversation). During the five hour drive down and back I read a book about toilet training (no Jane Austen novel, but I've been feeling like I need to get some knowledge in this area), flipped through the latest domino mag and started a new knitting project. It's a long scarf with a cool triangular pattern that I saw the last time I was at Urban Arts + Crafts. Here's what I've done so far:

Not a lot, but it's a start. I'm still very new to knitting, so trying a new pattern means I usually have to teach myself new skill (this book has been very helpful in teaching myself to knit; clear instructions and a funny read). This time I had to learn a new way of increasing and decreasing. I'm planning on giving this to one of my relatives for Christmas. Yes it's only June and Christmas is more than 6 months away, but I know if I don't start now my annual dream of making handmade gifts will remain just that. I figured I'd give myself more than the 3 1/2 weeks in December and actually give myself a fighting chance.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

the first day of summer

Even though the calendar doesn't say the first day of summer has arrived, it has for us. Yesterday, Margot and I went to the pool for the first time this summer. I was wondering how she would react since a couple of weeks ago when Collette and Eliot brought over their kiddie pool, Margot wanted nothing to do with it. She just watched them splash around from the safety of our deck.

After I had gotten over the trauma of baring my pregnant body enveloped in a swimsuit to the world for the first time (I never went swimming when I was pregnant with Margot), we made our way to the pool. I asked Margot if she wanted to go into the water with Mommy to which she replied, "No, no, no , no," while flapping her arms wildly (this has been a typical response of Margot's lately as I think she has officially entered the "I-want-to-do-it-by-myself" stage). So, I just waded into the pool myself. It's one of those zero-depth entry pools (I don't know the official term), which ended up being perfect for Margot.

She spent the first 15 minutes dancing around the deck, watching young boys throw a water football back and forth.

Eventually she decided that it looked like Mommy was having fun splashing her feet in the water, so she tried it herself.

She would walk in, splash around, and walk back out. Walk farther in, splash around, watch the big kids swimming around, walk back out. She repeated this routine over and over for the next 30 minutes until she had waded in until the water was all the way up to her chin! (I didn't get a photo of that though)

I was so proud of her. Or maybe relieved is a better description. I mean it's not like I would have not been proud if she had decided she wanted nothing to do with the pool, but I probably would've been a little disappointed. I was also proud of myself. Typically I don't have the kind of patience it takes to watch an almost 2-year-old wade in and out of a pool for 30 minutes. Somehow though when it's your child, you enjoy standing in 4 inches of water with the hot sun blaring down on you, watching your child explore new territory.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I had my (almost) 27-week prenatal check-up today, which meant the dreaded glucose test. It's 10am and I've had nothing to eat for breakfast even though I worked out at 8am and am pregnant. Not a good combination. The nurse hands me a straw and a bottle that has a faint resemblance to pop, but is really solid sugar with a few drops of liquid. I'm about to ask her for a spoon when she says,

"Make note of the time. You need to drink the entire bottle within 5 minutes and then start the timer."

Probably not a big deal for most women, but a formidable task for me. Why? Because I know what happened the last time I did the glucose test two years ago. I don't drink pop (and didn't then either), so sucking down 24 ounces (OK...maybe 8) of carbonated glucose is not appealing to me. My first run at it, I ended up sipping it so slowly that I literally had to chug almost the entire 8 ounces in the last 30 seconds. I'm sure I looked like I was taking shots in a bar, not taking a simple prenatal test in a waiting room.

This go-round, I was determined to pace myself better. Four minutes in, I was sure I was doing so well, but when I glanced at the bottle, I realized I still had half of the bottle remaining. The other women there probably thought the nurse had somehow mistakenly given me motor oil by the look of sheer terror on my face at the task ahead of me. I wasted the next 30 seconds peering around the waiting room trying to ascertain where the cameras were located that were trained on me to make sure I finished the drink within 5 minutes. Growing more frightened by the second that the nurse was going to burst through the door and start shouting at my to finish or I'd have to do it all over again, I chugged the remaining 4 ounces, slammed the bottle down on the table and quickly started the timer. Now all I needed was some coffee to go with my sugar.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

a month old meme

My friend, Stephanie, tagged me for a meme back in late April. It's now a month later and the meme is old news, but I desperately need to cross this off the to-do list in my head, so I can be at peace again.

Five minutes to yourself: Sitting on my porch swing and listening to the wind rustle the leaves in the trees.

Five bucks to spend right now: I'd say a magazine, but I feel like all I've been doing lately is reading magazines. So, I'll say a new (to me) and used book from the Dusty Bookshelf in Lawrence. Something from John Steinbeck or Anne Lamott.

Five items you could part with in your house, right now, that you hadn't thought of already:
Our couch and sofa (although we can't afford new ones right now, so then we'd have to get some nice floor pillows)
- the bread machine (a hand-me-down given to us more than 2 years ago that I have yet to use)
- mismatched sheet and pillowcase sets
- the ever-growing pile of college T-shirts in the basement (I keep trying to convince myself that I'm going to make a T-shirt quilt out of them to keep the memories with less bulk...yeah right)
- the large sack of gift bags hidden in the guest room closet (I really don't like gift bags...I think wrapped presents are so much more attractive, but feel like I can't justify spending money on fun wrapping paper when I could recycle all those wedding and baby gift bags I've received over the years).

Five items you absolutely, positively could not part with in your house:

- photographs (this is on everyone's list I'm sure...I mean seriously, who doesn't like looking through old photographs?)
- old journals (falls in line with the photographs)
- Margot's stuffed lamb (it may be dirty, but she goes everywhere with it and it smells like her)
- laptop (too many things that are only saved on it)
- Heather Smith-Jones painting John gave me as a present for my birthday AND giving birth to Margot
Five words you love: eclair, grandiose, edamame, splendid (not trying to steal this one from you Stephanie...use it all the time), Mommy (when said by Margot).

Five folks I'm tagging:
Hannah, Kerry, Julie, Sarah, and Beth (if you don't like being tagged, I won't be offended).

Sunday, April 30, 2006

long overdue

I'm way behind on a lot of things right now (one of them being actually getting around to posting all the blog entries that are floating around in my head), but I'm easing my anxiety with "better late than never." This past Tuesday (April 25th), I finally put together my planner from Paper Source. Part of the reason I had put it off so long was I couldn't find the PVA glue I bought when I made my planner last year and I didn't feel like spending $7 on another jar that was going to get misplaced since I only use it once a year. Sure I could've borrowed some from Hannah who works at Paper Source, but that would've meant actually remembering to ask her to borrow her jar. I found my jar when John and I cleaned out the basement last Friday night (isn't our life exciting?) in the one box I had a feeling it was in but had not seen since we moved back in June. I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that this mysterious box had probably been lost in the move, but didn't understand how it really could've been lost. I mean really, where would it have gone to during a 45-minute drive? Misplaced seemed a more likely solution, but honestly there are not too many places to misplace a box that size in our house. Anyway, the box has been recovered and it's a good thing. Not just because I relocated the coveted jar of PVA glue, but also because I found the checkbook from my previous job and I figure it would be a good thing if I returned that to them. So, my plain, manilla-colored planner has gotten a facelift. When I showed it to John he said, "Good thing you've still got 8 more months in the year to enjoy it."

Part of the reason I'm so behind on blog-posting is because I've spent countless hours downloading ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE photos from the night of the fashion show to our flickr account so I could share with the blogworld what consumed much of my time at the end of March/beginning of April. John and I felt it went pretty well for our first fashion show. We learned A LOT. Like that we will most likely never have another fashion show AT the store. Initially we thought it would be cool to have it in the space...well, because the space is cool. And it gets people in the store. And we thought it might be nice for people to be able to purchase merchandise after the show that they had just seen modeled. Well, it ended up being more work than we bargained for -- moving all the fixtures and product out of the store to make room for the runway, chairs, tables, Vespas (Vespa was one of the three major sponsors we had and they loaned us three retro Vespas for the evening to display). There was no way we were going to be able to bring all the fixtures and re-merchandise all the product that night with all those people milling about. So, it worked out to have it at the store space this time, but next time we will definitely hold it somewhere else. Here's a teaser to whet your appetite, go here to see a short slideshow of the other photos (not all 123...I narrowed it down to the top 50):

b&w brynn in darling room

The superb photography is courtesy of Becca Spears. She was just experimenting during the fashion show for us as a favor, but the lighting was not the best for photos. If you're in the market for a wedding or portrait photographer, look her up.

All of the shoes and most of the clothing and accessories are from Habitat. You can view the product up close on our flickr account (our website will be up and running in May!). The beautiful silk dresses were designed by Jocelyn Himes and are for sale at her store, Nui Kai, which is around the corner from Habitat. Chadwick, who owns Shuttlecocks (also around the corner) loaned us the men's raincoat and his styling skills for the evening. Many of the female models were showcasing jewelry designs from our friend Kari Heybrock (her husband was also one of the models). And the models looked amazing because of the skills of Amber, Becky and Kimberly from the salon next door to our store called The Darling Room. If you live in KC, you definitely need to schedule an appointment with one of those fabulous girls! A big THANK YOU to all our friends who modeled and helped make it all work behind-the-scenes. We seriously could not have done it without the expertise, input and hard work of all of you.

If we did anything right with the fashion show it was making it a benefit for "Let's Make a Movie" -- an awesome afterschool program for youth in the urban core of Kansas City that our friend David founded. Check them out.

OK, all my other overdue posts will have to's about time I go to bed, it's 2am.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

stupid parenting decision #73

To the faithful few who still check here occasionally to see if anything new is going on -- I apologize for my absence...and for the fact that you've had to stare at a photo of me for over a month now. I have high hopes of being a more consistent blogger, I just haven't had the energy for it lately. My husband told me today that he still checks my blog everyday thinking that maybe I will have finally posted a new entry. To at least give him something new to look at when he visits here...

Today when I put Margot down for her afternoon nap, I chose to not remove the four crayons she was gripping for dear life out of her hands. Mostly because I didn't want to her to get all riled up and upset and then not go to sleep. The thought did cross my mind that when I returned to get her up after her nap that there was the possibility crayon marks would be on the wall, but I figured the chances were slim to none since she seemed pretty tired. I assumed she would fall asleep holding them and she would eventually just let go of them. Oh Kristen, are you really that naive?

When I heard Margot talking to herself (the first sign that she's awake), I decided to go right up and get her up so as not to give her any time to see the crayons and use them. Oh, but I can quickly run to the basement and change over the load of laundry so I don't have to do it with Margot in a few minutes. Well, a few minutes was all Margot needed. Here's what I found when I walked into her room...Margot's latest canvas:

I wasn't upset at all. How could I be? I was the one who sent her to bed with crayons. Presented with the same circumstances, I'm sure I would've done the same thing. Honestly, all I could do was stand there and and try to stifle my laughter (plus, I've been enlightened to Washable Crayola crayons, so I was pretty sure the sheet would be as good as new after a load of laundry). Kids, you gotta love them.

Margot's been good for a lot of laughs lately. For the past three days, she's been carrying around her Easter basket filled with plastic eggs. She calls them bubbles. After about the twentieth time of trying to teach her to call them eggs, I gave up and started calling them bubbles too. Each morning she wakes up I think, "She's probably forgotten about the eggs," but every morning after we come downstairs she starts saying, "bubbles, bubbles" and walks around the house looking for her basket. At least she's finally realized that carrying the twelve plastic eggs in the basket is really is OK. The first day I gave her the basket, she tried continuously to wrap her tiny hands around four of the eggs and carry them around. Of course she kept dropping them, and then would get frustrated when they would split in two after hitting the ground. If I tried to help her pick them up, she'd get more agitated because she wanted to do it herself (yes, her independence is already coming out), but couldn't ever pick up all four eggs by herself. I started tucking one egg in each hand and one in the crook of each elbow, which seemed to help her carry them around a little bit longer. Eventually she set aside her independence long enough to let me show her the usefulness of the basket. Life is good now. Hey, maybe she's figured out that putting all your eggs in one basket isn't so bad after all (oh, that was bad).

Monday, February 27, 2006

i love short hair

I am reminded anew why I like short takes about 2 1/2 minutes to dry. Gotta love that.

It's a week late and most people that read this blog have already seen my new hair, but I said I'd post a photo of myself, so here it is:

I think this is the first time I've used the self-timer on my camera, which is probably why Margot looks so surprised in the shot...I kept grabbing her very quickly to get situated before it went off.

This is definitely the most hair I've cut off at one time. I was sort of jealous of Amber for getting to grab my ponytail and just cut right through it. I almost stopped her in the middle and asked her if I could finish because it seemed like so much fun.

day one in vegas

Consecutive hours awake: 22

Steps taken: 3,827

Shoes purchased: 0

Trips to the bathroom: 3 (can we say dehydration?)

Meals consumed by 11pm: 1 (really half of one...John and I split a cheeseburger and fries at 10:30am as a snack because we were so hungry and ended up not eating again for 12 hours)

Needless to say, the pregnant lady was extremely grumpy when told the wait for dinner was going to be 45 minutes...and then was ferociously grumpy when it ended up being over an hour.

We've already returned from our four-day buying trip to Las Vegas, but I'm just now getting around to posting anything because I had zero energy to blog, check my email, or pretty much do anything else during our time there.

Shopping for shoes for four days straight may sound glamorous, but let me tell you, it's not. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to pick out shoes (and apparel and accessories), but the pace we keep at trade shows is exhausting. I can tell myself all I want beforehand that we're going to stop for meals at normal times, we're going to take breaks to sit and relax and take in the surroundings, we're going to drink water, but everytime (or at least the two times we've been) we've gotten caught up in the pace that everyone else keeps (well, not everyone...many of the reps we know stay out and party until the wee hours of the morning, which we have neither the desire or the energy to do).

[Side note -- The two standard questions EVERY rep asked us:
1) Where are you staying?
2) What did you do last night?

"The Hilton Garden Inn" (because my aunt gets us an amazing deal) and "went to bed" aren't exactly answers that launch you into some interesting conversation. Add that to the initial question that new reps ask us, "Where are you from?" and they think we're the most boring people on Earth. Seriously, when people find out we're from Kansas City, their demeanor changes instantly. You can tell their thinking, "Kansas City? Do people out there even care about fashion? Doesn't everyone dress the same in the Midwest?" It's enough to make you want to flip them the bird and walk right out of their booth.]

When John and I return from trade shows everyone asks us if we had fun. Fun is not the word I would use to describe those trips. "Was the trip productive?" might be a better choice. Yes, it is fun to see fashion trends six months ahead of time...and it is fun to purchase them for our store. But, it's also stressful: Are we choosing the right shoes? Did we order too many? Did we order enough? Are we going to be eating the cost of those snakeskin mid-boots or are they going to fly out the door? We like these shoes, but will folks in Kansas City like them? And more importantly will they buy them? Ultimately you have to get over that worry or you would be paralyzed and never make a decision. Making mistakes is all part of the journey.

Honestly, the shows would be a lot more fun if they weren't in Las Vegas. I can't stand the place. I want to leave before I even get there. The constant sound of slot machines. The photos of nearly-naked women EVERYWHERE. The traffic. If you've ever been to Las Vegas, you know what I mean. And if you haven't, take my advice and DON'T EVER GO. I am begging John that before our next round of shows in six months we figure out if our vendors go to shows in L.A., New York, or Chicago. Someplace that I don't feel like I need a shower every ten minutes.

So as you can tell I'm glad to be back. Mostly because I didn't think I could be away from this adorable face for another minute:

A HUGE THANK YOU to my mom and stepdad who took care of Margot for FOUR WHOLE DAYS! And also to our dear friend Sarah who slept at our house while we were gone so Margot could sleep in her own bed and we wouldn't have to go through a week of therapy like we did the last time Margot spent the night away from home.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"whatever you do in word or deed"

Who knew that interpretive juggling was a God-given talent? My friend Carey sent this to me and I couldn't keep it to myself (be sure to watch it long enough to see the music change tempo). John, here's a new item to add to your "Kind of Like Resulutions:2006."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

happy heart day

This is not a belated Valentine's Day wish (I'm not really into the day), but an announcement that I'm pregnant. Yesterday we heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time. Even the second time around, it's an amazing experience. Of course, John beat me to the punch getting the news out. He usually does...just call me snail blogger.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

note to inattentive self

Next time you are pulling the humidifier out for the winter months, check to make sure it contains a filter. Otherwise you will spend 45 minutes scraping lime scale off the inside of the apparatus. Worse, you will spend at least another 45 minutes wondering what kind of mold allergy or horrible disease your daughter might now suffer from because of your inattention.

The mystery of why I have had to refill our humidifier every other night versus filling Margot's every two weeks has been solved.

Monday, February 06, 2006

a new "doo"

So I've been growing my hair out since Margot was born. I don't think I ever really made a conscious decision to do was more just something that happened. When you have a baby to take care of, styling your hair falls way down on the priority list. I'm sure it returns for most women, it just hasn't for me. I've liked being able to pull my hair back in a pony tail anytime I feel like it (which is almost all the time). After 19 months of motherhood though, I'm tired of my hairdoo...or lack of one I should say. It's time for a change and I'm thinking a dramatic one.

My appointment with Amber is February 18 (she owns the salon next door to Habitat. It's called The Darling Room and it is just that -- darling.), so I don't have very much time to make a decision about the new style. I've been thinking about going short...not only because I'm thinking about a dramatic change, but because I love short hair. It's fun, it's easy to dry, it's easy to style and I think I just look better with short hair. The only bummer part about short hair is that ponytails are not an option. And I've gotten pretty used to my ponytail in the last year.

So, short hair...both Amber and my friend, Stephanie, mentioned Sienna Miller's new doo when I told them I was considering going short. Before Googling her name, I didn't know who Sienna Miller was. I'm not trying to look like any famous celeb, I just want a new hairstyle. Anyway, Stephanie sent me these two photos (sorry for the tinyness...I coudn't figure out how to enlarge), so I thought I'd put the decision out there in blogland for any opinions (please be nice).

I like this look. And I've had my hair this short before, so it's not like it's the unknown for me. My only concern (this is always my concern with short hair on me) is that my hair is dark brown and I feel like the only way I can prevent looking like a boy is to get highlights too to give my hair some texture. I'm not sure I have the patience (or the funds) to acquire highlights right now. And I also feel like I have to wear earrings and jewelry a lot more when I have short hair to prevent the whole boy look-alike conundrum.

So, any opinions about this doo, or other suggestions to consider?

(Here's the most recent photo I have of myself [from June] for your comparison.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

WANTED: yummy cinnamon roll recipe

For some reason I've been making a lot of chili lately. I'm sure it makes sense to's winter and any kind of hot soup or stew (or chili) sounds good. Only it hasn't been that cold of a winter here (which is a little diconcerting) and chili has never been my go-to warm-up meal before. I honestly don't know if I've ever made chili before this winter (in the past I've just eaten the surplus that my mom brings me). Honestly, I think my friend, Sarah, is to blame. She's mentioned several times to me lately that she makes chili every week and I think it's just sounded good to me lately. The quandary I'm now in because of the abundant chili-making is that I am craving some gooey cinnamon rolls to eat with my chili. A craving I'm pretty sure was nurtured in the early days of my schooling when the cafeteria always seemed to have cinnamon rolls on the same day as chili.

So, I'm on the hunt for a yummy cinnamon roll recipe. Thus far I've made due with Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the tube (or whatever that thing is called), but since each roll has like 500 calories and 15 grams of fat, I think I've actually felt my arteries clogging up as I've consumed them. My other option has been purchasing freshly made cinnamon rolls from Wild Oats, but they're over $2 a pop and I just can't keep that up or it may turn into a very expensive addiction.

I'm pretty sure my friend, Kerry, has an amazing cinnamon roll recipe, but I keep forgetting to ask her for it. Plus, I figure there are so many variations on the cinnamon roll, one recipe couldn't be enough.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

i'm back

Yes folks, I've decided to re-enter the blogworld. Basically, I'm tired of being harassed by my "friend", Jeff, who has been consistently leaving me judgemental comments on my last blog post (check it out if you want to see what kind of a friend he is). At first, I was a little intimidated by starting to blog again. I mean, what would I say in my first post back? It certainly would need to be funny...and entertaining since I've been away for so long. People would want humor. They would want to laugh. Well, since my loving husband stole my idea for my first post back in the blogworld, I gave up trying to come up with a humorous post. I would just write about what's been going on. I mean, that's what people really care about, right? No one cares if you're funny (shut up Jeff). They just want to know about me...and Margot of course. Well, here's some tidbits about me...and John...and Margot from this past weekend. I'll try to be better about this blog thing in 2006. Happy New Year.

This past weekend John and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We actually got to celebrate twice. Our real anniversary was last Thursday and since Chris Thile and Mike Marshall (two of the best mandolin players in the world I hear) were in town, we decided we couldn't pass it up. I don't know much about playing the mandolin (OK, I don't know anything about playing the mandolin), but I do know that these guys are good. I spent most of the evening wondering how it was physically possible for a person's fingers to move that fast (and furthermore how a person's brain could remember all those notes to play that fast).

But the real celebration was to come Saturday night when we dropped Margot off at my parents for 24 hours! We spent the night at a hotel on the Plaza (the same hotel we stayed at the first night we were married) and pretended we were out of town for ONE WHOLE DAY. I wondered if we would know what to do with ourselves with an entire evening and day in our home city to do whatever our hearts desired.

The evening was awesome. We ate the most superb meal at Cafe Sebastienne in the Kemper Art Museum. We'd eaten brunch here once before, but I did not remember it being this good. We started off with spinach and ricotta gnocchi in a braised duck ragu. It was amazing. It's definitely one of the top ten things I've ever eaten. I followed that with grilled lamb chops with butter-roasted new potatoes in a roasted garlic-lamb reduction. John had the coffee-encrusted beef tenderloin on sweet potato gratin with caramelized onion sauce. Both were magnificent. We finished the meal off with flourless chocolate cake topped with fresh raspberries and cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about this meal. For those of you who live in KC, you need to put Cafe Sebastienne on your short list of restaurants to check out.

A movie was next on the "do whatever our hearts desire" list. This may not sound exciting to many of you, but since neither John nor I could remember the last movie we had seen in a theater, it was exciting for us. The winner: Walk the Line. For not knowing much (really anything) about Johnny Cash, I enjoyed it. It was difficult to witness (just a small portion I'm sure) of what he put his wife and children through. When the movie drew to a close, I found myself wondering what had happened with Vivian and the girls. Was she able to forgive him? Did he ever ask for her forgiveness? At the same time, I appreciated the redemptive nature of his relationship with June. It would be easy to make all kinds of judgements about their relationship, but I don't think anyone could argue that June was used in his life to help bring about redemption for him.

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at reVerse (I wish I'd discovered earlier that they had great french toast) and then walked around the Plaza for several hours shopping at stores we normally visit and some we rarely do. Around 2pm, I must admit, we found ourselves running out of steam. I don't know if we just didn't know what else to do, if we missed Margot, or if we were craving our usual Sunday nap, but if eating a late lunch hadn't been an option at the time, I might have suggested that we cut the day short and go pick up Margot early.

Well, that ended up happening anyway. During lunch (eating out three meals in a row in your own city is a weird thing by the way), we received a phone call from my mom. Margot was crying hysterically b/c she had fallen out of her crib. Our "pretend day out of town" ended abruptly, but we weren't too disappointed b/c I think we were both secretly thankful that we now had an excuse to pick Margot up early.

The only downfall of the 24-hour day away? -- the subsequent several days of adjustment it has meant for Margot. Our daughter is amazing and I am VERY thankful for her sleeping habits (she sleeps until 8:30 almost every morning, she typically goes to bed without a peep, she says "bye-bye" in the most adorable way when you tell her goodnight). I definitely have no right to complain about Margot's sleeping habits. The only sleeping quirk of Margot's that can occasionally be difficult is she cannot stand to sleep anywhere but her own bed. And she especially dislikes the crib at my parents' house. She screams and screams and screams when my mom puts her in it, which is traumatic enough for my mom, but can also cause enough trauma for Margot in one night that for the following week she thinks we are going to leave her and continues the screaming pattern at home, even in her own crib. To complicate matters, since Margot got mad enough this time at my mom's and figured out how to crawl out of the crib (well, she crawled out one time, fell out the next), she is now able to crawl out of her crib at home. This is not a good thing. Not only because she could hurt herself on the launch from her crib to the floor, but also because she could mess herself up falling down the steep flight of stairs in our old home.

For the past three nights, John and I have tried to get creative with getting Margot to sleep while at the same time planning ahead for her protection should she choose to scale the crib walls again. In the meantime, we're trying to make the big decision of, "Do we transfer her to a toddler bed now, or do we just wait a little longer and trust the crib-jumping will pass?"

Oh the questions that parents must answer. This is serious stuff people.

And since I missed posting photos of Margot at Christmas, here are two shots of her trying to be the conductor of a train that is supposed to be a pull toy. She's not the best driver.