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I Am

I am so happy that the weather has warmed up around here. I'm not holding my breath but the last week has just been awesome. Our local outdoor pool opened last weekend and we've already been twice. I love that they are open later into the evening. I took the kids over there last night after dinner and it's just such a great way for them to get some exercise before bed. My favorite thing was watching Simon swim on his back all the way down and back (50 yards) and watching the overall joy he gets from being in the water. It's so good for him and it makes me so happy.

I am putting energy into my yard. I'm learning about stuff like the sprinkler system and planting more peonies and a few tomatoes and just generally doing stuff out there - joyfully. I attended a fundraising breakfast for Habitat For Humanity yesterday and it was another reminder to me of how thankful I am for my home. Also really loved this post from Tara the other day about home and wants and perspective and attitude.

I am making time for books again. I'm just about done with The Buddha In The Attic. It's a quick read and the thing that really struck me right away is her writing style. It's the first book I've read that employs the technique of repeating the same first few words for each sentence in a paragraph (a favorite journaling technique of mine). She covers a wide range of experiences and emotions with that technique. One of the reviewers listed on Amazon called it an "incantatory style." I'm not sure it's as effective for an entire book - after awhile the repetition feels well, repetitive. I almost stopped reading it before finishing, but I'm determined to get to the end now. The Newlyweds and The Reinvention of Edison Thomas (recommended by Simon's developmental pediatrician) are up next.

I am thinking about a summer manifesto and looking at the calendar and figuring out the who, what, where, when and how of the next few months.

I am thinking a lot about my experience of writing my 31 stories for 31 Things. Rather than feeling burned out on writing I'm wanting to write more (there's lots of projects where I get to the end and feel like I'm so done...this one has been a different experience). I definitely feel done with the actual project but I want to take that level of writing into other projects. I'm excited for the class to begin and hope it's as meaningful for you as it's been for me. If you've registered the message boards are now open and you should receive your first prompt via email tomorrow. There's still time to sign up - registration closes on May 23.

I am thinking about unfinished projects and projects on my list and trying to figure out what travel album to tackle next.

I am really working on being present for Anna. I had one of those moments on Monday where she was looking at me and I was looking at her and we were engaged in a conversation about Bubble Guppies or Jake And The Neverland Pirates and in my mind I was thinking, "Anna, you are so awesome." And then by later in the evening when she was having a 5pm meltdown (I should have given her a bigger snack) and needed to take a break in her room I was calm enough to be thinking, "Anna, you are still so awesome. How can I be calm for you so you can learn to be calm too." Calm heart, calm mind, calm voice and a big deep breath.

I am in-progress with Project Life for last week and a video-overview of my Week In The Life album (a couple questions came up in the comments that I want to answer via video too).

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69 thoughts

  1. Lisa H says…
    05/16/2012

    Oh Ali, your words about Anna are so similar to my words for my son. He is such an awesome kid - just a few months older than Anna. And when he starts shouting I am so proud when I have remained calm and coaxed smiles. And other times I feel my frustration coming though and wonder how I will ever be able to model calm for him. 3 is such a challenge, isn't it?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Sarah says…
      05/16/2012

      And mine for my three year old daughter...so hard but this time is so precious too!!

  2. {vicki} says…
    05/16/2012

    I AM so happy that the last day of school is friday (although not as happy as my son is)

    I AM so grateful for your blog---I get the coolest ideas!---Thanks Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. patty says…
    05/16/2012

    ali... you are just too freakin' cool! YOU are moving UP!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Paula says…
    05/16/2012

    I AM so glad I read this post this morning, thank you. Great way to start off my birthday in the midst of a bittersweet year.

    Reply 4 Replies
    1. Ali says…
      05/16/2012

      Happy Birthday Paula!

    2. Paula says…
      05/16/2012

      Thank you all very much :)

    3. kelly libby says…
      05/16/2012

      New birthdays are a great chance to celebrate and a chance to look forward!

    4. Ilona says…
      05/16/2012

      Happy Birthday Paula!!

  5. Jan C. says…
    05/16/2012

    My favorite part of this post was when you recounted that you were able to look at Anna during a meltdown and think, "you are still so awesome." Everyone needs people in their lives who can look at them when they are at their worst and say, "you are still so awesome." Congrats. You did, at least in that moment, what we all strive to do--you provided truly unconditional love for your child. Way to go. Of course, even on the days you can't find it in yourself to think that, you are still such an awesome mom. :-)

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Meghan says…
    05/16/2012

    Ali, you are incredible. Not only do you inspire me to be better at recording the lives of my family, but you inspire me to be a better mommy. You find, in all you have to do, time to be an incredible mom and to listen to your children, including to listen to their needs that they cannot express verbally. I find my two girls still have those needs, even at 8 and 9, and sometimes I forget that... that they don't have the capacity just yet to put it all into words. But your post here reminded me that being present also means listening to all they cannot say. I just wanted to tell you thank you for giving my daily life a boost I don't get from anywhere else. You are a gift! I hope you have a wonderful day, and p.s. I loved the Tara post as well... also spoke to me as I too get all frustrated with what my home isn't instead of what it is... :) Happy day to you!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Paula says…
      05/16/2012

      "I second this emotion!"

  7. Jen Hart says…
    05/16/2012

    Great way to look at the world, calmly. My son is eight now and he still can't cope if you aren't calm with him :)

    Ok, i'm in, just signed up to your class and bpc. Off on the school run now, but looking forward to finding my way around later.

    Beautiful weather here in North Devon, England too :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. susan garner says…
      05/18/2012

      Hi Jen. I used to live in Instow Nr Bideford North Devon many years ago. Nice to see that we both follow Ali Edwards.

  8. Sheila says…
    05/16/2012

    Love this. Have to say thank you for Tara's link and WITL. Both have really reminded me that my life may not be what I envisioned but it's pretty darn good. :). And that I have the power to make it even better!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Andrea Q says…
    05/16/2012

    You forgot You are awesome too! Thanks for sharing....I had to think about some of the things you said.....they were just what I needed!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. kelly libby says…
    05/16/2012

    it's really difficult to remain calm when dealing with little children on a daily basis. I'm a full time nanny caring (7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. most days) for a 3 1/2 year old girl and her 1 year old brother. I love them so very much but some afternoons are less than "awesome". it's nice to hear another woman say how tough it can be to remain calm amongst the afternoon chaos that are 3 year old girls. I had one of those not so great afternoons yesterday. What do you do to stay calm and not yell, or threaten with idol things. What do you try to be the best person/mom you can be? How do you not fall into the trap of showing your frustrations?

    Sometimes, when they are both crying (more like screaming), once they are safe in their beds/cribs/rooms, I turn on the kitchen stove fan (it's really loud) and literally lay on the hard wood floor for a few minutes and ....just breathe. ahhhhhhhh. Sounds so ridiculous but it's amazingly helpful.

    And, a big P.S.
    My friend bought me your 31 days class!! I cannot wait. Maybe this would be a great topic for me to write about!~

    Thanks for keeping it real!!

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Sarah Jane says…
      05/16/2012

      While reading many of the comments on your blog, Ali, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are A LOT OF US in your shoes.

      I have an almost 3 year old and a just-turned 1 year old; I stay home with them and the days DO get long sometimes. I, too, find it difficult - at times- to remain calm and quiet when my older ones temper tantrums and testing-the-boundaries challenge me. I recently bought some books - in hopes of changing MY OWN habits for THEM to be able to remain calm - and I look forward to reading them (hopefully sooner, rather than later). Just flipping through them, I like what I see, so far:

      Ain't Misbehavin': Tactics for Tantrums, Meltdowns, Bedtime Blues and Other Perfectly Normal Kid Behaviorshttp://www.amazon.com/Aint-Misbehavin-Meltdowns-Perfectly-Behaviors/dp/0470679093/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1337183211&sr=8-5

      Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years
      http://www.amazon.com/Love-Logic-Magic-Early-Childhood/dp/1930429002/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337183282&sr=1-2

      Parenting With Love And Logic
      http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Logic-Updated-Expanded-Edition/dp/1576839540/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337183341&sr=1-1

    2. Ali says…
      05/16/2012

      It's super hard and something I'm really working on and fail at a lot :).

  11. Shauna says…
    05/16/2012

    Ali, a part of this post reminded me of a powerful mothering lesson I learned 22 +/- years ago when I had small boys who loved telling me, with great intensity, about the latest episode of Babs and Buster Bunny (cartoon show). I remember one day thinking "Oh my gosh! If I have to listen to one more story about Babs and Buster I will DIE!" And then a voice came to my mind and said, "You need to listen. You need to look in their eyes and listen. Someday they are going to have very important things they'll need to talk to you about and they need to know they have a mother who will listen." And so I continued to listened to those young boys tell me all sort of things. And then those boys grew up and had VERY big and hard things to go through in life. And they came to me to talk and they knew I would be there to listen. As mothers we are always planting seeds, of one kind or another.

    Reply 6 Replies
    1. Kim b. says…
      05/17/2012

      This is very powerful, Shauna. You put it so well. Love the dialogue here as always.

    2. Sarah says…
      05/16/2012

      LOVE this reminder. Am going to write it in my PL.

    3. Marie-Pierre says…
      05/16/2012

      WOW! That's all I needed to hear today. Thanks so much girls!!

    4. Michele H. says…
      05/16/2012

      shauna - i love what you said here "Someday they are going to have very important things they’ll need to talk to you about and they need to know they have a mother who will listen."

      thank you so much for sharing this!

    5. Janie says…
      05/16/2012

      My kids are 13 and 16 and they still want me to "listen" to them babble on... most of the time it is watching a video that are suppose to be funny or a new song that they found on itunes.
      I HAVE to take that time... when a teen wants to talk or show you something (which most teens don't) it is all the more reason for me to stop what I am doing and pay attention and engage in what makes them happy.
      It gives me a glimpse into what they are thinking and interested in.

    6. Ali says…
      05/16/2012

      Yes. I so get this and I really felt that the other day with her - looking right at her with my full attention.

  12. Jessica B says…
    05/16/2012

    My daughter is about the same age as Anna and I'm due any day now with my second child. As I progress in my pregnancy, I am finding that I am constantly telling myself to stay calm so I can be in the moment with my little girl. I treasure our one on one time and I know over the next few months finding the balance will be hard. Thank you for your words. Some days I don't know which I love more about your website, your blog or projects. Keep them coming...

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Marie-Pierre says…
    05/16/2012

    Ali, I love your way of writing a lot and making it feel not long, and while keeping it short, you are saying so much! I love to write (my) stories but I often find myself writing too much and still feeling I didn't say everything I wanted to say. And when I look back at my pages later on, I often don't even feel like reading my journaling because it's just too long! So I look at the pictures and feel like there's something missing. Do you understand what I mean? I'm amazed every time I read one of your long post. :)

    Also, thanks for sharing your real life. My 3 years old also had 2 meltdown yesterday and I couldn't not yell at her and I felt really really bad after that. I think we are all in the same boat after all, even if when we're in the middle of it, we often feel very lonely. So, thanks for sharing. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Hannah says…
    05/16/2012

    My 3 yr old daughter loves eye contact, and if I'm distracted and not giving it to her, she grabs my chin and turns my face. Sometimes this really irritates me, until I realize that all she's asking is for my undivided attention for just a few precious moments. I'm working hard on making more of those moments before I wake up and find she's all grown up.... also working on the keeping calm and not losing it in the midst of the tantrums and tears! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Michele H. says…
    05/16/2012

    LOVE this post Ali!

    And we're totally counting down the days until our community pool is open. we have such great summer memories there (especially knowing that's where I swam as a kid) :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Ruth G says…
    05/16/2012

    Wonderful! Lots of important thoughts and idea from you, Ali, as well as all of the ladies above! I guess another thought I'd add is that it's so fabulous when we keep it together and succeed as parents, but when we fail as parents there's so much teaching that can go on in how we deal with our failure. As long as we apologize and discuss how your love never stops no matter what you say or do that's wrong and that as humans we will fail and that as long as we work hard to try not to and apologize when we do fail, then we can go on knowing we've done our best.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      05/16/2012

      Totally agree Ruth - I was thinking about that as I was writing too.

  17. dawny dee says…
    05/16/2012

    i am ... thankful that generous souls like you are willing to share your journey in such a non judgemental, honest way that it connects so many people. you are a blessing and so very awesome yourself.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Janie says…
    05/16/2012

    Thanks for the reminder for the class.... I just went an purchased it. I just took my last final yesterday and I officially am done with my Business Management Degree!! So now I have time to WRITE for FUN ! No more stinkin' papers!
    I am so excited....

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Ali says…
      05/16/2012

      So awesome Janie - congrats!

    2. Christine says…
      05/16/2012

      Congrats on your degree! You really deserve some "me time". I remember when I finished my last paper for my graduate program I wandered around the house in a daze saying "I can't believe I'm done!"
      So I know exactly how you feel. Enjoy Ali's class.

  19. krugthethinker says…
    05/16/2012

    I just love this post. I am so happy for all these beautiful moments you experienced, and even more happy that you shared them with us. Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Susan says…
    05/16/2012

    I am not sure what triggered this but as I read the "Being present for Anna" moments I sit here in a puddle of tears. I just got through my second Mother's day without my mom and somehow this reminded me of the last time I was with my mom before she died. I had no idea that it would be the last time and as she droned on about something I wasnt' interested in, I reminded myself that I need to be present in the moment and enjoy these times because it was my mom and she was always there for me. I am so thankful that I was because 48 hours later she was in a coma from which she never awoke. So Ali thanks again for that reminder and I will just add be present not only for our children but for ALL the important people in our lives....

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. lisa says…
      05/16/2012

      So sorry for your loss, Susan. Your comments spoke to me - my mom is still here and sometimes drones on and on. I'll be better about listening.

  21. marisa says…
    05/16/2012

    You truly are so inspiring to me.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Barb @ getupandplay says…
    05/16/2012

    "How can I be calm for you so you can learn to be calm too."

    Wow, that resonated with me today like a big ringing bell.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Deb J says…
    05/16/2012

    Great post. Enjoyed the one by Tara too. Signed up to 31 Things today. Looking forward to it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Laraine says…
    05/16/2012

    Just wanted to say a massive thanks Ali - you are an inspiration. I am a great procrastinator but even I have five December daily albums completed, two Weeks in the life and I used that concept for a two week holiday with my granddaughter - very good for me.

    Weather looks great in your part of the world, it's been pretty grim in the UK and not looking good for June either. Despite torrential rain for weeks we still have a hosepipe ban in London so no sprinklers for our gardens.

    I also envy that you can take photos practically anywhere in the US, cameras are banned in our swimming pools and most places where kids hang out.

    Sending warm wishes to you and your lovely family. Thank you again.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Shannon says…
    05/16/2012

    Ali,

    Thank you for this post and for the link to Tara's insightful message about home. I felt like she was writing what I think all the time. Isn't the Oregon weather fabulous??! My kiddo's and i are enjoying it just as much. Happy Sunshine days to you, Anna and Simon.

    Reply 0 Replies

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