Another year comes to an end

 

Seems like I’m still getting used to 2012, and now it is just hours from being 2013! Oh well…it has been a year of many ups and downs for me, and I am looking forward to more ups than downs in the coming year!

We had a good Christmas holiday visiting family. Little J was especially thrilled with all the lights and decorations. We had to take down our tree a bit early so that the cats would not destroy it while we were away for Christmas, and he still talks about it every day. I think he misses it! We had a big snowstorm here Christmas night, and our house got about 14 inches! That is a lot for Southern Illinois! A couple of days later we got 6-8 more inches, so we had quite the winter wonderland outside then! Just beautiful…

image

Little J doesn’t really like the snow so much, though. I think it we hadn’t had quite so much he might have enjoyed playing in it, but since he is so short he can’t walk in it. And his mittens kept falling off so his hands got cold and wet very quickly. So we decided to just come in and enjoy looking at the snow from the comfort of the indoors.

image

I didn’t spend much time crocheting while we were away, but I did manage to get this darling little set made and listed just a few days ago. It sold so quickly that I didn’t even have time to blog about it! I decided to go ahead and relist it as a made to order item, and I hope to get more orders for these little sets this year! It seems that my boys crochet hats and sets have been quite popular, so I will be focussing on expanding that section of my shop more in 2013.

Baby Newsboy Cap and Bow Tie 

image

Well, I wish I had more time and brain power to write, but Little J is calling to my from the other room. I think he wants me to play peek a boo with him while he pops in and out of a big box. :p It’s the little things that make a toddler’s day!

Happy New Year to you all!

Maybe Monetssori

Now that Little J is two (hard to believe, I know!) I’ve been thinking about starting to do some more intentional learning activities with him. He has shown a lot of interest in color matching and naming, as well as counting things, so I know he would enjoy more of those types of activities. He also loves sensory play, especially pouring water and corn meal. I want to make a sensory tray with rice sometime, but I keep forgetting to buy some cheap white rice…we use brown for cooking, and I hate to waste it! 😉

Anyway, as I started looking around for ideas of simple things we could do at home, I found a lot of my online research leading me to Montessori homeschooling blogs. As a former teaching assistant in a fine arts preschool, I had some experience with using Montessori equipment in the classroom, but I had never considered all the possibilities of using montessori methods in the home. I love the concept of teaching little ones how to care for themselves more and have greater involvement in things like dressing and cooking and cleaning. But it will take some time and adjustment for me to set things up so that Little J can help do things like choose his clothes and set his place at the table. For now, I am content with just simplifying his play spaces a bit and making sure the toys he has available are more educational and Montessori friendly. Here is an example in our living room…this shelving unit used to have several photo albums and large books on the lower shelves, and I moved those out to make more room for Little J’s sorting and stacking toys. We don’t play in this room as much as others, though, so I am hoping to do some similar reorganizing in other areas of our home.

“Unfriending” Facebook

What do you mean? How could you leave Facebook?! What will you do without constant connection to all your friends and acquaintances and their numberless posts day in and day out? Well, I guess I will just have to wait and see…because I am leaving Facebook for the foreseeable future.

Now for those who’ve been following my business page for Lemon Lane Organics and Lemon Lane Designs, you should have seen my recent post about moving the page. I hope you will join me very soon over at the new FB location here. I will still post news about upcoming patterns and new items for sale there. But my personal account will be no more at the end of this week.

I have to admit that this has been a difficult decision for me, and it took a long time for me to finally come to the point where I was ready to let go of this mode of social media. Many people are probably wondering why I am doing it, so I thought I’d write up some of my main reasons here as an answer to those unspoken questions. Besides, it will provide me with a good reminder if I am tempted to go back in the future.

First and foremost, I don’t believe that I have been honoring God with the time I have been spending (or more accurately, wasting) on Facebook. Instead, I think it has, for me, become somewhat of an online addiction…being one of the first things I feel the need to check in the morning and one of the last things I look at every night. And who knows how many times a day I mindlessly click back again to scroll through and see if anyone has posted anything new, interesting or not. There are ever so many more beneficial and uplifting ways I could be spending my time each day, but I will admit I have a lack of self control in this area. I know social media is a tool and can be used for good or evil, but for me it has become too much of a master. I desire to give God and my family the best and most of the time He has so graciously given me, and the temptation to waste that time on Facebook is just far too tempting.

Second, I often find after reading posts from friends, acquaintances or even businesses or public figures that I have a vague sense of dissatisfaction with my own life. Again, these are my personal struggles and weaknesses, and I hope that most people cannot identify with my feelings. But it is hard for me sometimes to look at others’ lives and wish perhaps just a little that I could be more, do more, have more, etc. Comparing myself, my accomplishments or my earthly possessions to those of others is rarely helpful or positive, so why keep focussing on those things when my focus should be on Christ and His immeasurable grace? When my eyes are on Him, I am always satisfied because He is all I really need!

Third, I fear that because of our society’s focus on virtual “relationships” we have lost the desire and ability to really build true and lasting personal relationships with those around us. For an introvert like me, it is far easier and more comfortable to sit at home in my jammies, typing status updates and brief comments on others’ “timelines” than it is to actually make a phone call or make a play date or just drop by a friend’s house. Those things take more planning, effort and at times, personal sacrifice…but aren’t those things more meaningful and memorable anyway? I would like to return to a more personal, simple way of interacting with people, even if that means that I have to be more intentional about it and go out of my comfort zone to initiate interaction with the people in my church and community. And instead of just knowing about people because I have read their status updates and seen pictures of their kids and grand kids, I want to really get to know them personally because I have talked with them, spent time with them over a meal, laughed and cried and lived life together in community. I really think that is how God designed us in the first place. He made man because He wanted fellowship with us, and He created woman because man needed fellowship with someone like himself. We are created to live in community, and I don’t think Facebook quite fits the bill, at least not for me.

I have a lot more thoughts on this topic, as you can probably tell by my somewhat rambling monologue…. But those are the major reasons that I will be deleting my personal account. It is just time for some changes, and this is one that I am ready to embrace. I hope that those who’ve plugged on and read all of this understand some of my thoughts and do not judge me too harshly for sharing my personal weaknesses. Perhaps some of you have struggled with some of the same things and will take a moment to reevaluate the place of social media in your own life. It took a friend (who I met online, by the way!) leaving Facebook herself this past week to encourage me that I could do it, too. I even took another of her ideas and will be starting a private blog just for friends and family so that those who live farther away can still easily see pictures of Little J and get updates on our family! I think I will like doing that a lot more than Facebook, and I am already brainstorming my first post! 🙂 Change is good, especially when you know it is the right thing for you to do. So, Facebook, I guess it’s time for you and I to change our relationship status!

What happens when…

Ths is what happens when you rearrange the furniture so that the couch is closer to the center of the room, making it into the perfect pussy perch for any time of day.

Photobucket

This is what happens when Max gets sleepy while we are working in the office too long.

Photobucket

This is what happens when the sun comes out for the first time in weeks, allowing me to open the blinds, but Molly gets there too late for a front row seat.

Photobucket

This is what happens when I catch Maggie in a rather humour sleeping position (followed by an evil glare that says, “I will get you for this.”)

Photobucket

And this blog post is what happens when I have nothing really important or interesting to say but don’t want to totally neglect bloggin altogether! Hope this silly cat pics at least brought a little smile to your day!

Happy New Year!

Well, I thought about doing a sort of photo recap of 2009, but that just sounded rather tedious. So, instead I thought about the biggest thing that has happened around here over the past year, and decided it was definitely our adoptiong of Brenna. She has been a wonderful addition to our fur-family, and we love her so very much. It hardly seems possible that we’ve had her less than a year…I can’t imagine what we did without her before! 🙂 We have had such fun with her so far…and here are some photos to prove it!

So, from all of us to all of you…may 2010 be a blessed year for you and yours. Happy New Year!

In which I apologize for my long absence

Okay, yes, I know I have been a very bad blogger of late. And I am sorry. You would think that with the holiday shopping season in full swing I would have been on here more, if only for the sake of my Etsy shop. But I have been taking a step back from the online world during the holidays instead. In fact, I’ve been trying very hard to slow everything down this year and enjoy time at home with my husband and our furbabies. It’s been nice to just rest and relax and enjoy the season for what it is, rather than feeling pressure to go here and there and do all sort of busy things just to be like everyone else these days.

That is not to say that I have not been busy around the house, however. I have accomplished alot, actually. The house looks lovely and cozy with all the Christmas decorations up everywhere. I finally stitched up a pretty little valance for one of the spare bedrooms (aka, the cats’ room) as well as a functional and attractive piano bench pad that matches the valances in the family room. I have been spending a great deal more time in the kitchen lately as part of my new commitment to cook and eat more healthy, whole foods. We’re eating alot less food containing preservatives, alot more whole grains and vegetables, less red meat and pork, and more beans and poultry. I eventually want to phase out processed sugar as well, but that change is going to be a little harder to get used to…I do have a terrible sweet tooth! 🙂

Since the weather has finally turned cold, hubby and I are enjoying warm and cozy evening in the family room, snuggled up with some popcorn or hot cocoa and a good movie, with the lights of the Christmas tree twinkling in the background. And of course, I couldn’t settle down without a good crochet project to keep my hands busy also! So, here enters “My Altogether Huge and Daunting Sampler Afghan Project!” Hubby mentioned a couple of months ago that he really wished we had large, heavy afghan for our bed, wondering how long I thought it would take me to make one…and how much yarn it would require. Well, I pushed the idea to the back of my mind because I’m not a big fan of projects that take a long time to finish, such as a queen-size crocheted afghan would! But as I was packing for Thanksgiving vacation, I needed a project that was very portable and didn’t involved alot of creativity on my part. The afghan idea quickly resurfaced, and I quickly searched the internet for interesting and attractive 12 inch afghan square patterns. Since then, I have managed to complete 9 squares, with a tenth one half finished and still on my hook. See?

From Collages

I calculated that I will have to make 49 12-inch squares total to make a queen size afghan, and so far, I used one pound of worsted weight yarn for the dusty rose sqares. The cream-colored yarn is also a pounder, so I hope to be able to get about 8 squares out of it as well. The plan is to make the afghan mostly in cream, but I may get crazy and add in some darker rosey color or maybe even some green, brown or blue…I really haven’t decided yet. Our bedroom has no set color scheme as it is the only room we have never really been able to decide on. (I like too many different bedroom decor styles that I like, but none that I just LOVE.)

Anyway, here are the square patterns I have used so far, starting top to bottom, left to right:

Mandala by Chris Simon
Popcorns and Trebles by Marlo D. Cairns
Winter Rose by Julee Reeves
Cross and Diamond by Julee Reeves
Wheel Lattice by Dayna Audirsch
Cygnus by Chris Simon
Cat Tracks by Drew Emborsky
Winter Dream by April Moreland
Chained Compass by Jennifer Ofenstein

So, there you have it! I am going to be busy with this project for a while, as you can guess…although I’m sure I’ll have to take some creative breaks to make other things every now and then. I have some pattern ideas of my own swirling around in my brain, but they haven’t taken form in real life yet. Hopefully they will become something one day soon! And of course, I will certainly tell all about it here when they do!

Well, if I continue to be a very bad blogger and don’t get on here again for a while, I want to take this moment to wish all my sweet readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I pray that you and your family will take some time this year to find the real meaning of Christmas in the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ the Lord! He is my Hope, my Joy, my Light, my Life! May He be the answer to your life as well.

If….Then…

Top 5 “If…Then” Statements for the Day

1. If you’ve been away from blogging for a long while and really need to post…then you probably won’t be able to think of anything interesting to write.

2. If you have a long to-do list on a busy weekend…then you probably will be too tired and overwhelmed to get anything done at all.

3. If you worked really hard to put all your Christmas decorations up and love the way they look…then your three naughty cats will probably go knock over the Christmas tree and make you start all over again.

4. If you really need to walk your dog and only have a small window of time to do so…then it will probably be cold and cloudy, and you won’t want to go out at all.

5. If you have been trying really hard to eat healthy whole foods lately…then the holidays will come around and test your will power and your waistline.

Bonus: If you have experienced all of the above statements in the last 24 hours…then you must be living at my house, and you completely understand why I am sitting at the computer, doing nothing but having some cookies and milk, and trying to think of multiple methods of procrastination. (So much for that to-do list!)