January 02, 2014

2013 Review

Well I didn't post my annual birthday Goals review, and it doesn't even make sense to post a Places To Go review, as I didn't try to complete any goals or go anywhere this past year. But I figure I should at least post a quick recap and update for myself, at least.

2013 Travels - We took a family trip to Indiana in May for my cousin's wedding, and Chris and I made a quick (as in 24 hour long) trip to Chicago while we were up there. We also made our way to Lakeland, FL in July for Chris's cousin's wedding, and stopped by Gainesville for half a day to see friends on our way there. And that was it for the year.

  • "Farm country," IN
  • Chicaco, IL
  • Lakeland, FL
2013 Milestones - I started taking project management classes to continue building skills, and I finally finished a crochet pattern for my most favorite Gourd Wrist Purse. Chris and I celebrated 10 years of marriage, Zeke started preschool, and Jonas started sleeping through the night (finally). Life is starting to level out.

And that's that! 

For 2014, I really just hope to lay low - keep taking classes, work, and spend time with the boys. We hope to make a couple trips to see family this year, but again, Jonas is still too young for ambitious traveling. Zeke will be starting kindergarten this year, so that will be a big change for the whole family. (And we'll probably enroll Jonas in preschool a couple mornings a week, since he's such an extrovert).

December 22, 2012

2012 - Places I've been, Places to Go

At the end of 2011, I dubbed 2012 the Year of Staying Put. I wasn't going to travel anywhere...traveling had kicked my butt in 2011, and between pregnancy and the first 6 months of this baby's life, I was determined not to go anywhere in 2012.

Well, at least I didn't travel much.

In 2012 I made a short trip to Greenville, SC with my 3 year old during the very short period of time that I wasn't terribly sick with the pregnancy. I took him right after we closed on our house, to give Chris a chance to pack and prepare for our big move without us in the way. It was a nice trip and Zeke had a blast. 

Then right after the baby was born, a death in the family sent us to Florida for two weeks. The drive was exhausting, but it was nice to spend so much time getting reacquainted with family.

For the next year or so we plan to only travel to see family again, while I'm tethered to the baby. So it will be a while before I can check off any of the places to visit before I'm 40. This list is probably more realistic as a Places to Visit before I'm 60, but for now we'll leave it as-is. Who knows what the last 5 years of my 30s will bring, right?

Places I hope to visit before I'm 40:
  • Seattle, WA
  • Vancouver, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Rome, Italy
  • Yellowstone
  • Chicago, IL completed May 2010
  • Austin, TX
  • Denver, CO

December 13, 2012

Turning 33: Goals for my 30s, take 3

Well, I made it through another year. And whoa, what a year. This one rocked me, and definitely felt like survival was all I could accomplish through a lot of it. Good things can be exhausting, world rocking things when they're in their development stages... and let's just say that the development of my second son has been a doozy on me physically, both in and out of the womb. Jonas is a joy... but my body didn't handle this pregnancy well, nor did it handle recovery well... or the lack of sleep that comes with a newborn... then our family launched right into cold after flu after cold after... to be honest, I'm happy to say goodbye to 32 and welcoming 33 with open arms and an earnest hope that our family can just settle into life for a while.

Last year, when I revisited my Goals for my 30s, it had become a list of things I didn't know if I was even interested in doing, save for two big ones. One of the interesting things about revisiting my list every year is not only to see if I can check any off, but also to see how the priorities change as I get older. So here we are again, another year older, with a revised list.


  1. Have baby #2. Jonas Emmanuel Skeene was born at the end of June. He's perfect, and he gave me with one heck of a birth story to boot. 
  2.  Buy a house. I still can't believe this one happened this year. It started out as a pipe dream to even put it on my list when I was 30. The Lord really blessed us with a home I hope to see my children grow up in.

New Goals

  1. Go to Europe. Saving up as we speak. Chris and I plan to go for our 15 year anniversary, in 5 more years.


  1. Learn to do wet felting.
  2. Learn to sew. 
  3. Figure out if I want to go to grad school, and if I do, get started with it. I still think I'm 5 years away from really considering it, and I'm still not sure it's something I need to do.
  4. Complete a fine art project. I still have a project I think of every now and again that I'd like to do some day. Some day.


  1. Become a Stay-At-Home Mom. Right now I think the working world is exactly where I need to be and want to be. Staying home with little kids is exhausting.
  2. Find a place where I can get into wheel-throwing pottery againOkay, I still want to do this. But I think it might be a goal for my 60s, not my 30s. Fun Things To Do When I'm Old and Retired.
  3. Produce another film.
  4. Learn to knit

What about this year?

I think my goal for my 33rd year is to just be. Enjoy my children and my husband. Zeke was 2 years old before I started feeling like I started to have enough freedom to do things for myself again... and then I got pregnant. So trying to have any personal development goals with a baby in the house seems silly. If I get a bit of free time and the craft bug bites maybe I'll finally finish a crochet pattern or something, but if I don't check off any goals this year, I'm okay with that. 

January 25, 2012

Advent Calendar Photos!

 Before we took down our advent calendar, I got Chris to take a couple of GOOD photos of it. Here they are...

Beginning of Advent
End of Advent. Artwork courtesy of the talented Kimberly Swait.

With the ornaments

December 15, 2011

Year in Review - Places I've been, Places to Go

So I'm revisiting my list of Places to Go that I posted when I turned 30.

In 2011, Chris and I made it to Chicago, and even a short trip to NYC.

For 2012 I pretty much don't plan on traveling much at all; first I'll be pregnant and not wanting to travel, then I'll have a newborn and won't want to travel. So ,my plan is for 2012 to be the Year Of Staying Put.

Here's my revised list of Places to visit before I'm 40. it looks like I have about 8 more years to get to 7 places... make that 7 years if we don't travel in 2012. Doable, but a little intimidating.

Places I hope to visit before I'm 40:
  • Seattle, WA
  • Vancouver, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Rome, Italy
  • Yellowstone
  • Chicago, IL complete!
  • Austin, TX
  • Denver, CO

Turning 32 - Goals for my 30s Revisited

Okay, I'm a little behind on doing much of anything lately... I'm 10 weeks pregnant (yay!) and feeling pretty sick (boo!) so my productivity level has DROPPED as of late. I'm really hoping that turns around in January, but we'll see how that goes.

So I'm a few days late in thinking about Goals for my 32nd year (my birthday was 3 days ago), but I figure this is close enough. I looked back on my Goals for my 30s that I posted a couple years ago, and it's interesting what can change in a couple years' time.

  1. Have baby #2. Looks like I'm on the right track with this one! Baby #2 is due this July.
  2. Buy a house. This has actually moved up as a goal for THIS year, if we can find the right now. Actually, a goal for the first half of the year. If not now, we'll try again in a couple more years. So yes, this has moved up. We really want a yard. And a little more space for our growing family. And a place to call our own for good.
  3. Figure out if I want to go to grad school, and if I do, get started with it. Still not sure about this one. I'm thinking it's at least 5 years away to even consider it.
  4. Become a Stay-At-Home Mom. Okay, sure. I still would like for this to happen. But it's not really on my radar. My goals for the next 5 years revolve more around growing in my career than leaving it.
  5. Learn to do wet felting. Sure that would be fun but right now I don't really care if I do it.
  6. Learn to knitI'm pretty content as a crocheter. I don't think it matters if I don't pick up knitting.
  7. Learn to sew. Something else that I don't care about AT ALL right now. But who knows, maybe I'll care again before I'm 40.
  8. Complete a fine art project. Even if I were to do one, what would I do with it? I don't really "self identify" as a fine artist, so I don't know that I'm too concerned about that.
  9. Find a place where I can get into wheel-throwing pottery againOkay, I still want to do this. But I think it might be a goal for my 60s, not my 30s. Fun Things To Do When I'm Old and Retired.
  10. Produce another film.Nope. Don't care.
So now I'm down to 4 goals for the next 8 years, and I'm only passionate about the first two. Wow. I feel... pretty melancholy. I'm sure this will all change again in a few months. After all, I'm experiencing first trimester nausea and exhaustion as a consistent way of being right now. At any rate, I think the next two plus years of my life will be about supporting our growing family (financially, emotionally, physically), and maintaining my sanity in the midst of it. I wonder what it will look like next December?

October 01, 2011

Pen Holder Bookmark - Free Crochet Pattern

I have been pretty obsessed with pinterest lately as a source of ideas for crafty fun times. After seeing a photo of a knitted pen tube bookmark on pinterest, I decided I had to have one. But I don't knit, so I just winged it and came up with a pretty simple pattern for a crochet version for my notebook.

Download the printer-friendly PDF version.


sock-weight yarn
Hook Size: D -3.25mm
Yarn Sewing Needle


ch = chain stitch
hdc = half double crochet
hdc dec = half double crochet decrease (one hdc across two stitches)
FLO = front loop only
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch
st = stitch


ch 5
R1: sc in 2nd chain from hook, sc in each additional chain (4 sc)
R2: ch 1, 4 sc (4 sc)
R3-6: Repeat R2
Rnd 7: ch 1, 4 hdc FLO, turn and in the SAME stitches, 3 hdc FLO, 1 hdc inc FLO in last sc. join first hdc with last hdc using a sl st. (9 hdc)
Rnd 8 : ch 1, turn, 9 hdc around, sl st to join. (9 hdc)
Rnd 9-21: Repeat rnd 8
Rnd 22: 2 sl st, 2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 sc, sl st
Rnd 23: ch 1, turn, skip sl st, 1 sl st, 1 sc, 2 hdc, 1 sc, 1 sl st
Rnd 24: ch 1, turn, skip sl st, 1 sl st, 1 sc, hdc, 1 sl st
Rnd 25: ch 1, turn, skip sl st, 2 sc
Rnd 26: ch 1, turn, 1 hdc dec
ch 40 to create bookmark strip. FO and leave a long tail.

Finishing Touches:

Sew the button to the middle of the area made by the first 6 rows. If you will be using this bookmark with one specific notebook, put the body of the bookmark on the spine, wrap the tail into the book, wind the end around the button and pull tight. Use that “measurement” to tie a loop that can hook onto the button.
If this bookmark will be “multiuse” between books, you can just pull the tail tight and wind it back through the book to keep it secure.


The person who wrote the original design sells the knitting pattern on ravelry and on her own site, as well. This crochet pattern is released as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. You may not sell this pattern. You may sell bookmarks made using this pattern.

September 23, 2011

Jesse Tree Advent Calendar project

Having a young child has really made me want to start establishing some Christmas traditions that keep us focused on the "reason for the season," if you will. Last year I learned about the Jesse Tree advent calendar from my church's Children's Pastor, and I really liked the idea on a number of levels. It seems like a simple way to introduce children to the Bible stories that lead up to Christmas, with just a short reading each day, and I love that it's reinforced with an image for each day. So this year, since my fall calendar is already pretty full, I decided to get a head start on Christmas by making my own Jesse Tree Advent Calendar that will last us for many Advent seasons.

I used this book, The Advent Jesse Tree to get the idea for the symbol for each day, as well as the Bible verses to read to children for each day leading up to Christmas. Our church uses the same book on Sundays during advent, so I wanted to stickHide all with the same thing to keep it familiar (Google searches taught me that there are a number of lists of verses and symbols to choose from). And after many Etsy and Pinterest searches, and some crafting advice from friends, I finally settled on what I wanted to do for our family. I wanted something I could make myself, that would be lasting and could help build tradition for the years to come.

There are a few components to the final result.

1. Advent Calendar - made out of stiff cardboard and purchased at Hobby Lobby; the drawers are 2" cubes. I used Modge Podge to glue 2" squares of scrapbooking paper to each drawer, and after searching high and low at the craft store for some number stickers I could use, gave up and made the number labels myself.

2. Ornaments - I made each ornament out of Paper Clay, which is pretty nice air-dry white clay. It was my first time using it, and was actually pretty easy to work with. For more of the symbols I just made round ornaments that I could paint symbols on, but I had appropriate cookie cutters for a couple of them, and a few more I decided to hand sculpt just to add some variety to the ornaments. Once they had hardened, I used water color pencils to add the symbols to each one. Then I wrote the day and symbol name on the back of each one just so it will be easy to return them to their appropriate boxes at the end of the season.

3. Verses - I typed out short verse cards to accompany each ornament in their respective boxes. Every day had a short memory verse and a longer Bible passage to read. These verse cards contain the name of the symbol, the full text of the memory verse, and the name of the other passage to be read. Verses are rolled up and tied with a bit of string.

4. Tree - so this part isn't done yet, because I haven't decided the best way to go about it. But I need a small tree that we can hang one ornament on every day. My requirement is that it be something simple and affordable (if I need to buy anything at all), and it can't take up too much space in my closet during the year. This isn't to take the place of a traditional Christmas tree, it's in addition to it. (Not that we're very traditional when it comes to the tree anyways).

5. Oh yeah... I'm also planning on one extra piece to this whole thing, but it's hard to explain so I'll just post about it when I'm done.

Ok, so I showed you mine. Now it's your turn!

What's your favorite Christmas tradition? Do you have any projects planned to make your holiday season special?