Around Here

you two by ali edwards

Around here things are busy as usual. 

Around here Simon is doing awesome at getting up and getting out the door on time and in a decent mood. He likes his new teacher and has loved having my Mom staying here with us recently. 

Around here Anna is working really hard at trying to figure out how she can get moving beyond sitting in the same spot all the time. She is reaching and bouncing and working all those muscles and ready to launch. 

Around here I am loving watching the dynamics between brother and sister and between father and daughter. 

Around here Chris is working on all sorts of work-related projects and getting ready to go fishing with his Grandpa and then embark on a trade mission to China with some other legislators. 

Around here I am dealing with some completely annoying computer issues related to Apple's new operating system (Snow Leopard) and Adobe CS4 products crashing repeatedly. Beyond being a major pain and impacting my workflow, it is making me grumpy (that's a nice word for how I feel). If you have sent me an email recently and I have not responded yet I hope to soon. It's especially challenging as I am knee-deep in Yesterday & Today content. 

Around here I have an appointment with my dermatologist today for a regular 3-month check-in to see if there are any more moles that need to be removed. 

Around here I am welcoming all the signs of fall and getting excited for the upcoming season. I have gotten a few emails asking about when I am going to start my December Daily project - I hope to do it soon. I ordered a few new holiday items yesterday to get myself in gear. Look for something more on December Daily in the coming weeks. I definitely encourage you to get going on your own if you are interested in participating. It is such a fun project and made manageable by getting it all ready in advance. 


I was excited to see that Leo Babauta has a new ebook out called The Simple Guide to Minimalist Life. As many of you know, I am a fan of Leo's philosophies on his popular blog zen habits and in his books. 

Here's  how Leo addresses a common misconception about minimalism: 

Q: Isn’t minimalism boring or too sparse, with nothing in your life?

A: This is a misconception about minimalism — that it’s necessarily monk-like, empty, boring, sterile. Not at all. Well, it can be, if you go in that direction, but I don’t advocate that flavor of minimalism. Instead, we are clearing away all but the most essential things — to make room for that which gives us the most joy. Clear away the distractions so we can create something incredible. Clear away all the obligations so we can spend time with loved ones. Clear away the noise so we can concentrate on inner peace, on spirituality (if we wish), on our thinking. As a result, there is more happiness, peace, and joy, because we’ve made room for these things.

I absolutely love the idea of clearing away the non-essential to make room for that which gives us much joy. 

In reading his new ebook last night I was also excited to see that he included a section on finding simplicity with kids. I have read other books on the topic and was interested in his perspective since he is the Dad of six kids. He's got a nice list of strategies in there that I am going to print out as a reminder to myself about the way in which I would like to be living/raising our kids. 

Some of the ideas are extreme, but as with most things there is a continuum on which I can strive for certain things and let others go. 

He also has launched a new blog called mmlist where he is concentrating all his posts about minimalism. You can read more about the new blog here

37 thoughts

  1. Kris Finnerty

    2009-09-16 06:29:35 -0400

    Would love to see a close up of that wall hanging (with photos) behind Chris.
    Let us know what that lovely is :)

  2. Ali

    2009-09-16 06:37:40 -0400

    Hi Kris - here's a post about that project: /2008/05/weekend-creat-2.html

  3. Shannon Riggs

    2009-09-16 07:01:18 -0400

    I can't believe it but I have already started on my December Daily album. I think I have about 6 pages in progress so far. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  4. Nicky from Canada

    2009-09-16 07:13:34 -0400

    Hi Ali
    So glad I haven't upgraded yet - again, I fear that but hope your issues get resolved soon. I just signed up for your class this morning and I can't contain myself, I am so excited. Have also been gathering everything for my December daily and hope to have that completed and ready by the end of the month. Last year was the first year that I partook in the project and it will now be an annual item - I loved it, I also love that it is still picked up at any time and all those memories enjoyed by everyone in our house.
    Have a great day!!!
    Glad that Simon is settling into school so well.!!

  5. Courtney

    2009-09-16 07:22:32 -0400

    Oh I can't wait to see what you do for December Daily. I have started to round up my stuff, and am going for something totally different this year! Looking forward to it!

  6. Kelly in Canada

    2009-09-16 07:40:04 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    I have been putting together little December Daily kits (I even scored some white acrylic and cut it into 6x9 pieces for the covers) and now I have to decide what to do with them! I may try to sell them at local craft shows or give them to friends as gifts...I want everyone to enjoy this process. I have three December Daily books now and I love them. Can't wait to start this year but I don't want to rush through fall because I love it too much.
    ps...Cathy...counting crows is my internal soundtrack right now, too.

  7. Nora

    2009-09-16 08:07:38 -0400

    Hi Hope your day is going good, I'm sure busy as always. Trying hadr to work in my scrapbook room, so much I want to get done. Some days i wish i could fly you out here to my home in beautiful CO and have you help me spen a few days working on stuff here and how to use stuff I already have!! Have a GREAT rest of the day...

  8. chantille

    2009-09-16 08:34:36 -0400

    Wow Anna is growing so fast!
    Can you let us know which lines you'll be using for this years December Daily album please?

  9. Alis in Wnderlnd

    2009-09-16 08:39:36 -0400

    ooh, I am so sorry you are having issues with Snow Leopard. I had a ton of issues with drivers when I upgraded right away to Leopard, so we are planning to hold off on this one until some more bugs are fixed.
    Can you go back to the previous version?
    I have emailed you a question recently. No matter, I can wait. I wasn't even sure if you had enough time to respond to begin with and didn't want to be a bother.

  10. jenn shurkus

    2009-09-16 08:56:36 -0400

    note to self: wait to update to snow leopard ;) good luck with all the grrrrrr's ;) !!

  11. Audrey

    2009-09-16 10:02:09 -0400

    Thank you for posting the link to that blog. I need simplicity in my life right now. My life isn't all that chaotic (anymore...) but I feel like I am in a chaotic state all the time. My daughter was born in January at 23 weeks and there was a lot of stress that came with our family crisis. I am just now learn to manage it all and I feel like I'm at a breaking point of either getting it together or just completely losing it. Thanks for this!

  12. ~M~

    2009-09-16 10:13:47 -0400

    I was really interested in Zen Habits when I first read about it on your blog so I checked it out. I was very into it until I read an entry at the very beginning of ZH about him clearing out his home by *throwing his stuff into the garbage*.
    This completely offended me. Is that "Zen" and "minimalist"? His rationale for throwing in the garbage dumpster rather than calling a charity to pick it up was anemic. He said IIRC (I cannot find a link or I would post it) "if I don't want my old stuff why would anyone else want it?"
    Wow. That was so... I have no words. I was completely turned off. The clothes I am wearing today I bought at a thrift store. My couch I bought at a used furniture store. My laptop I bought on ebay. We have a world consumed by consumer culture and wastefulness. By buying buying buying. So is minimalist that oyu waste money on stuff you don't need and then throw it out so no one else can find a use for it?
    I can completely see that your home is not a dump for every little thing and yes sometimes we have to learn to throw it out. But if being Zen and minimalist means being like that? It's not for me.
    Love your blog and seeing pictures of your family growing and loving, Ali.

  13. Tracy J

    2009-09-16 12:13:04 -0400

    Love that picture!

  14. Ali

    2009-09-16 13:12:06 -0400

    I am not a fan of throwing things in the garbage either ~M~. In most of the reading I have done of Leo's I have seen him suggesting donating, selling, sharing, re-using, etc. Maybe he has changed his ways from the very beginning of his postings and learned some things along the way (my guess is that this is the case).


    2009-09-16 16:46:42 -0400

    What is the paint color on the wall with the A. I swear I have looked at hundreds of beiges and I want one with a warmer undertone like that one.

  16. Tracy

    2009-09-16 16:58:34 -0400


  17. Ali Edwards

    2009-09-16 17:20:09 -0400

    Hi Machelle - it's actually more yellow/dark tan in person. You can see some more views of it here: /2009/01/around-the-room.html

  18. Linn

    2009-09-16 18:15:23 -0400

    I love Leo's posts, too, and have been devouring his new mnmlist site! With my oldest just starting kindergarten and the littlest enjoying ruling the roost while he's gone, I've had some time to purge the unnecessary even more. It's so funny that the very quote you chose I had already printed out to post on my inspiration board. Reading his new blog always lights a fire under my organizing/minimalizing side!

  19. Heidi Bell

    2009-09-16 22:49:22 -0400

    Anyone who can achieve simplicity with six kids has my admiration. I have enough trouble with three. Does he ever have days when he wishes he could "clear them away?" Thanks for the link Ali, I'm off to read what this guy has to say. Maybe I'll be able to find find some balance in my household!

  20. Karen S

    2009-09-17 04:41:08 -0400

    I love that quote. I need the reminder of why it is worth spending the time decluttering my get the life I really want!

  21. Monika Wright

    2009-09-17 05:37:24 -0400

    Daily December? I have most of my pages laid out and love most of them, but am not happy with a few. I guess that I might wait to see what awesome new ideas you come up with. I have also checked out what Molly Irwin did last year for some inspiration.
    Snow Leopard? Ours was running slow (but we don't have CS4) and my husband backed up the hard drive and then uninstalled (???) and then reinstalled all the software, e-mail...and it is so much faster without all the old OS's running on it. I'm not the techie, but obviously you are, so this is my version of what he did.

  22. christine velazco-villacarlos

    2009-09-17 12:51:33 -0400

    what a wonderful photo! thanks for sharing :)
    thanks for the link to the mmlist! hope i can de-clutter one of these days!

  23. Vicky

    2009-09-17 13:27:40 -0400

    I love the matching shirts and the photo of Chris & Anna. The baby carrier was a lifesaver for me and my husband. We were able to get so much done carrying the baby around. Thanks for sharing your life and family with us. It's wonderful to watch Simon and Anna grow. BTW what will she be for Halloween? Have a great weekend.
    Cathy: Counting Crows rule!

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  25. Jill Shivers

    2009-09-24 09:19:30 -0400

    The story is "Church Candy", and I've been dying to do a layout for a long time about this.

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