Emergence

e·mer·gence
əˈmərjəns/
noun
  1. 1.
    the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.
    “I misjudged the timing of my emergence”

…the timing may be perfect this time.

And now for something completely unrelated.
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Journaling: August 25, 2015

The day was going so smoothly. Breakfast, lunches packed, hair brushed, teeth cleaned,. Talie to school, Chris off to work. And me, home with the boys. The house, a disarray of clean laundry (the unanticipated result from not owning a dryer). Fisher Price Little People strung all over the floor. Proof of an imagination alive an well. Coins dumped on the carpet, (thats a dime, that’s a nickle. Yes I know it’s bigger…)  Pee’d in undies all over Louies room.

Uhg.

It feels as though my executive functioning skills are completely shot. Just empty the dishwasher, Holly. One cup at a time. Stay focused. But no. During the emptying of the dishwasher, I run a load of laundry, (as if there was not enough to deal with already. I need underwear!) I make my bed. I check social media. I read and article. I look up a recipe. I email a friend,…oh no! a friend!

What time is it? I look in the mirror.

I’m meeting a girlfriend at a park at 11:00 a.m.. Pack a picnic. Put on a few plates away from the dishwasher. Hang the laundry out on the line. Answer a text, check social media again. (Damn Social Media! Damn my compulsiveness!) Chase boys around to get them dressed. Search for shoes. (Damn SHOES! Every time! Can you relate?!) I get dressed.
A lovely picnic.

Breathe.

***

Not always, but today I am a ricocheting bullet. Ping ping ka pling! Exhausted. Autopilot.

Run away- to eat Chinese food all by my self and write this rant. Thank you Chris. A grateful tip to the hat that I can get away by myself at the end of a day like this.
Only, its not over. It will never be over.

Mac n’ Cheese for the kids and yes finally, the dishwasher got emptied.

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Sycamore Sews: A Teepee

Hello everybody. You’ll have to excuse my long hiatus from the blogger world. These things happen and there is no use explaining the time away.

Onward.

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I write today to share something. Guess what? Sycamore Girl sews. Really, she does. And she really enjoys it!

My latest project has been designing these little teepees for children. I’ve always wanted to make one for my kids and everything I saw didn’t cut it for me. I wanted round wooden poles. And six sides, not just four. And the poles needed to be enclosed, and the canvas tight. And it needed leather. And pockets. And so I got to work to create just that: [the almost] perfect children’s teepee!

Teepee 1.0 was a success and was sold quite quickly. I’ve had a lot of requests for these, so I thought I’d put this out there if you or someone you know may be interested in ordering one for the holidays.

teepee1

This was the first teepee I made. Though it fit the bill nearly perfectly, I have created a second model with a few modifications. Call this Teepee 1.0

Teepee 2.0 has a few modifications that have satisfied my critical eye, at least for the time being.

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Teepee 2.0 Modifications to create a tighter neck at top, leather bindings and poles sanded to create a pointed end. (This particular teepee is spoken for already and will soon have leather embellishments.)

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French seams to enclose wooden poles. Sturdy pockets inside to hold treasures!

Specs:
This model is 5 1/2 feet tall with a 48 inch hexagonal footprint. (Translated: the perfect size for any room!) Made with sturdy 10 oz. canvas, real wooden poles and a lot of love.

Each teepee is completely customizable. Choose your pole color (if you want it!). Tell me how many pockets you want! Sizing can be adjusted with some super math skills (and time) and leather embellishments can be added.

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Can you imagine Christmas morning for your kids with one of these teepees? Absolutely magical!

Leave a comment here with any questions or email me at girl.sycamore@gmail.com

Equanimity

A few weeks ago my little family and I took a trip to a neighboring city about an hour away. We had lunch, got some fabulous family pictures taken by the lovely and talented Alisha Stamper and then headed to the Springville Museum of Art.

Springville, Utah! Also known as Art City, piqued my interest as we drove up her streets. I could see myself living in a quaint town like Springville. Especially a town with an incredible art museum!

Lately I have been craving art. Can one crave art? I think so. For Christmas I took some liberties with the pocketbook and purchased myself a few Caitlyn Connolly giclee prints. She is…well, amazing.

There are a few Connolly paintings in the museum and their larger than life size could put anyone in a thoughtful mood. Art does that. In browsing the art galleries, it felt to me like all of the artists were able to portray so much in their work. It was almost as if they climbed into my heart and created their pieces with me, a disgruntled commoner, in mind. There were two pieces that touched me very deeply. I didn’t expect to be moved like I was. The first piece was a marble sculpture of a nude mother nursing her newborn. A perfect depiction of a very special brand of beautiful.

Wow. I am a mother. I have a new baby. I breastfeed. I am beautiful. This process is beautiful. How grateful I am. 

Unfortunately, with my little family in tow, it was difficult to fully acknowledge the upwelling I felt. We hurried on from one gallery wall to the next, all while monitoring little wandering hands.

Henry! Don’t touch the art! Keep your hands in your pockets.”

Yet, I was thinking:
I know, I want to reach out too, and say thank you with my gentle touch. Are you real? Did you just speak to me? How did you know just what to say?

I learned a new word: Equanimity. It means being able to keep a balanced, mental calmness, particularly during difficult situations.
I realized that I have been getting the word “apathy” confused with this new found word, “equanimity”. I read this paper which explains the difference beautifully. Maybe you’ll take a gander?

I won’t take the time to go into detail about why the girl in this painting by Justin Kunz reached out and held my heart and my tears for a fleeting moment that day. But she did and I am so grateful.

Learning the practice of equanimity is something that is becoming very important to me. This seems to be what is allowing me to survive and I’d dare say, thrive, right now.

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Equanimity 2011 by Justin Kunz, Lindon UT

In your space

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If there is one thing I love about my iphone, it is the handy little camera that can take a pretty decent picture. I am actually considering selling my Sony NEX-5N! Add that to Instagram and I have been a happy girl. Follow me on Instagram @sycamoregirl.

These three pictures have something in common: Personal space.

Do you Instagram, too? leave your user name in the comments!

Who, me?

A few months ago, a long lost friend and roommate of mine over at Destination Domestication was super kind and passed along the Liester Award to my blog. I enjoy Destination Domestication because first of all, she is very funny. A SAHM of 3 children and one on the way, this Mom says it like it is in her world. If I could be a fly on the wall in her home! Plus, she’s got a lot of great ideas for parties, (which she does amazingly!) decoration, DIY projects and of course, great insight into the craziness of Motherhood. You do it with finesse, Kylie! Thank you!

As for me, it seems my typing hand and my writing hand have been disconnected as of late. That means, I’ve been writing, but nothing that I feel like I want to share just yet. Anyway, I’m honored that a fellow blogger would notice me and give me that shout out, even if I have been somewhat silent around here.

So now on to the rules of this virtual Chain Letter/Pay it Forward Award:

If you receive the award, you should:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you. 

2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. 

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

 4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite bloggers and keep it going!

And now, drum roll please, I award the Leibster Award to the following blogs of note (in no particular order):

1) Hilary Flemming:  Adventures in Life, food and fitness. A blog I visit regularly- or as often as she updates, Hillary always posts witty stories, amazing health conscious recipes, which I LOVE, and cute photos of her growing family. And of course, she’s beautiful, so whats not to love?

2) Bryanna I know it probably sounds silly to list a Private Blog here, because you probably wont be able to read what she has to say. But I think she needs this little award. She can still play. 🙂 Bryanna writes obsessively (we’re talking like everyday- or at least it seems like that) about her hilarious boys who have silly habits, her love of running and difficulties harnessing the perfect sleeping habits. Mostly, Bryanna writes about her love of exercise, her love of her family and of course, her undying Faith in God. I just love every word she has to say. Who knows, maybe one day she’ll open her blog to the public so everyone can enjoy…(hint hint!)

3) Run Lucas Run Bright clean photos. Simple words. Poetic messages. Lovely Lindsay nails it.

4) And So… Sarah M. Wells, poet, published author and mother and obsessive Tweeter! (I’m sure much, much more!) Wonderful writing. Thought provoking stories and funny takes. I’ve loved exploring her blog! Go buy her book and read her essays!

5) Adriana Paramo This woman blows my mind. Could this be me in 20 years? It is highly possible. We connected so well in real life, and even through the virtual vastness, it is writing that keeps us connected.  An accomplished writer and exquisite woman and mother, Adriana paints pictures in your mind that are unthinkable. I am SO looking forward the release of her new book, Looking for Esperanza.

And one more for good measure-

6) Notice Your World Charles Pulsipher, also a published author shares his true and hilarious stories, complete with homemade pictures. Everything is better when its homemade, right? Read Notice Your World for tips on writing, self publishing and tactics for breaking through tough writers block. For an excellent laugh, check out this story. And then keep reading.

 

So there you have it folks. Read on!

ABC’s

[click picture for source]

A good friend of mine recently asked me what I have done to teach my four year old the alphabet.  And really, I cannot think of one thing I have done that worked over the others. Honestly, we used to watch a lot of Super Why and I think that did teach her more than I realized, but I didn’t want a TV show to do the ALL of the teaching… 😉 We sang the alphabet song a lot. I have an old alphabet banner hanging in her closet door. (Compliments of Grandma who is a 1st grade teacher.) But the one website I frequent the most for helps in my preschool endeavors is No Time for Flashcards dot com. Another good friend directed me there last summer. It is hands down the most complete and well rounded resource for me to draw from. You can search by topic. By age. By whatever- and if you have the gumption and time, you can make a lot of these activities turn out fabulous. All last winter for our preschool time I would let my daughter choose which letter she wanted to learn about and then do an activity based around that letter as found on that website. It was easy. It didn’t take too much time. (Because we all know how long is a toddler’s attention span is!) And it was effective! I found that the activities were more effective when I let her take the lead. I was just there to facilitate and pour the glue. (When she lets me!)

Anyway, this week a post showed up on No Time for Flashcards that was a perfect answer to my friend’s question: How do you teach the letters? Well? I’d say one at a time, and through simple activities that involve play and independent thinking. And lastly, I’d tell anyone asking the same question that it is okay to take it slow. Nobody has set a solid deadline for a kid to learn their ABC’s. It’ll come, so patience is key and providing opportunity for learning is also key.

Check out the website and I hope you love it like I do!

If you cannot find something on this post about teaching the alphabet, then you’re just crazy! 🙂 

Have fun!

PS: who else is singing the alphabet song now?!

The 19th floor

The 19th floor

I love the city. Mine is quiet, clean and not too crowded. Every two weeks I give corporate chair massage for a large law firm down town. This is my view. I am always put into a state of meditation … Continue reading

Doing one thing at a time

I hope you enjoy this article about doing one thing at at time like I did. It is definitely food for thought!

http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2012/03/the-magic-of-doing-one-thing-a.html

Perhaps this is my answer to being more productive and focused. This week I will practice doing just one thing at a time and enjoy my down time.

Right now? I think I will go finish one of the six books that is lying neglected on my nightstand!

Chickpea Soup

I love it when I have all of the ingredients available to throw something together. This is more likely to happen when I actually go grocery shopping like I did late last night! It had been about a month since my fridge has been fully stocked (and stalked!) and today I was glad to be able to make this yummy concoction.

Picture compliments of Dr. Ben Kim

Make some for yourself and thank Dr. Ben Kim. I love his site, fully loaded with simple whole food recipes and other tips. (Click on image for website) Plus, he comes from Asian descent, so in my mind, that automatically makes him more superior in nutrition and health knowledge than most…

This soup is divine!

A few of my favorite obsessions

I don’t mean to have obsessions, but we all do it: little things that we just cannot help. They lend themselves to spectacular writing material.  In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things and behaviors that have somehow turned themselves into minor obsessions of mine.

1) Click-clacking my teeth together. I developed this strange habit when I was 15 or 16. My teeth, out of nowhere will turn into little castanets and click back and forth horizontally across my mouth while I count.  Over and over and over  like a scratched CD. I don’t even know how high I count, and I’ll start over counting if I am clicking too fast to keep up. This strange behavior would fall easily into the Obsessive Compulsive behavior category. I don’t know exactly what triggers it. The first time I caught myself doing it, I realized it was completely weird and I shook my head as if it was a ketchup bottle to make myself stop.  So clearly I remember that I was staring trance-like out of a smudgy bus window watching the blurry landscape of Portugal whiz by. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack.

I hope my teeth don’t wear themselves down from doing this.

2) Rolling my wrists until they pop. There are eight bones that make up the wrist. I remember from my time in massage therapy school. They are called: scaphoid, lunate, triquetral, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate and hamate. After a long day of massage and during a massage, I will roll my wrists to get some movement. It sounds like popcorn popping and it is such a relief when they release. I also will roll my wrists while I am writing or typing. It feels so good!

3) When I climb into bed at the end of a tiring day, my bedspread has GOT to be completely straight. There is something about a crooked blanket that makes me feel like a raging lunatic! This is especially true when there are seams on the blanket that give you a map by which to make it straight. Putting the sheets on the bed is no different. It must be perfect. Waking up in the morning and seeing the blanket and sheets completely disheveled can set me off at the beginning of my day. How did I let a blanket gain so much control over me? Don’t even get me started on the particulars of the weight and texture of my blanket. I have yet to find the perfect bedspread. When you share a bed with someone with completely different tastes in bedding, it can make for a strained bedroom experience. Oh the pains of my life!

4) How many little things can I get started before I actually begin the big thing? For example: Before I begin mopping my disgusting kitchen floor (which I usually avoid at all costs), I will start a load of laundry (it can work while I am), bag up the trash, start the dishwasher, put my son down for his nap….but before I can put my son down for a nap, I have to wait for the laundry to get done so I can put it into the dryer while he sleeps (dryer is in his room). So I will sweep the floors throughout my little apartment, clean the bathroom, put away some clutter, put the clothes in the dryer, put my son down for a nap and then proceed to the kitchen. The problem with the way this series of events unfolds is that by the time I finally get around to mopping the floor, I am tuckered out. It is lunch time and my four year old is finished keeping herself occupied. And that is when the water color paints come out, the crumbs continue to fall on the floor and that big thing I set out to do in the first place remains undone for yet another day. Do you ever do that?

5) Reading too many books at the same time. Right now I have my bookmarks in six books. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, The Mother in Me by Kathryn Lenard Soper, River Teeth by David James Duncan and my religious reading material. I’m just not a “one at a time” kind of a girl. These are all good reads, by the way. If you’re obsessed with non-fiction like I am. (Not counting Rand’s book…but it may as well be true, what with the way our Government is taking over in so many realms!)

6) Really good food. Right now I’m on a Mexican food kick. Enchiladas, burritos, chips and salsa! Horchata! Yum! I could eat an entire bag of corn chips. Give me some homemade salsa and I’m one happy camper! Tonight my friend shared her amazing one of a kind Grape Salsa. Oh my! So good! I just love food. Who knows what I will be onto next week!

7) Cars.

8) These Chocolate Chip Cookies.

9) Pandora Stations: Gary Jules,  George Strait, Alison Krauss, 80’s Alternative, Iron and Wine, Tracy Chapman, Raffi Children’s Radio, Gotye, Kimbra, Michael Franti and Michael Jackson to name a few. I love Pandora for its ability to meet my varied musical cravings. What is your favorite Pandora station?

10) Finding new things to learn about and be utterly obsessed about. Because what is the worst thing in this life, after all, if it is not knowing? (You can interpret that last phrase either way…)

What are some of your little obsessions?