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).

43 thoughts

  1. krugthethinker

    2012-05-16 12:27:31 -0400

    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!

  2. Susan

    2012-05-16 12:43:10 -0400

    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....

  3. marisa

    2012-05-16 12:48:11 -0400

    You truly are so inspiring to me.

  4. Barb @ getupandplay

    2012-05-16 12:50:33 -0400

    "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.

  5. Deb J

    2012-05-16 13:01:50 -0400

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

  6. Laraine

    2012-05-16 15:12:45 -0400

    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.

  7. Shannon

    2012-05-16 17:04:18 -0400


    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.

  8. Jen Hart

    2012-05-16 17:20:48 -0400

    I have just come back to say that the class looks fab, I have had a very pleasant couple of hours watching, reading and planning. This has come just at the right time for me. I look forward to the email tomorrow. Thanks.

  9. borcherding

    2012-05-16 17:23:59 -0400

    I AM...feeling so stressed out and guilty about not being present in any d*** thing i do lately and just worrying, stressing and more stressing.

  10. Erica Hettwer

    2012-05-16 18:10:07 -0400

    Your post today, especially the part about Simon, reminded me about this post I recently read and loved!


    It's so important to love your kids and let them know you love them.

  11. Miranda

    2012-05-16 19:53:31 -0400

    So many honest and insightful comments from you guys, it's always inspiring and thought provoking. In support of why we need to be present, and be able to empathize with our kids, read any of Stanley Greenspan's amazing parenting books. 'Great Kids'is one of my favourites, but 'The Challenging Child' is also really helpful.

  12. lisa

    2012-05-16 20:19:28 -0400

    I love this post and reading what everyone says. It really spoke to me - that i need to stop and turn when my children want to tell me something and really pay attention, not just brush them off.

    On the other hand, who's listening to ME! I have a wonderful, supportive husband who can go on and on and on about the same subject and I want to just say "SHUT UP" sometimes. I never do, but if I wanted to go on and on about something equally as (in)significant, I'd never get the same attention back. I'm lucky, I don't have big issues (today at least, lol) that I want to ramble on about but some days, I need to just let whatever is running in my head out and the only way to do that is to talk to myself :-)

    Ok, thanks, now I DO feel better :-)

  13. Robyn :)

    2012-05-16 20:55:41 -0400

    Ali, you are awesome, too!!

  14. kate Adderley

    2012-05-16 21:50:16 -0400

    Hi Ali, great story writing, loved it - love that your getting outside and doing stuff in the garden, this is so rewarding and good for the soul, love that your reading and inspiring us again and again, thanks for always sharing your live and also your challenges with us all- you are so AWESOME- SO AWESOME that l have included you in my PL this week, l had kept every Creating Keepsake mag l had from 2005, because of the AE Studio write ups, but storage has become a problem and l had to mimimize my stash, so l took out all my favorite sections of the mags , and now l have a AE STUDIO binder and other 2 on Becky Higgins and other scrappers that l love, so l did a 2 sided baseball page on you and AE STUDIO, its nothing fancy - l kept it simple, but its a thanks for inspiring me for all these years, even if l dont scrap what everyone else has done it is a great inspiration book to have when l have a l cant do and think moment, l would love it if you popped over to my blog and had a look.www.kateadderley.blogspot.com --cheers

  15. Moira

    2012-05-17 04:15:07 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    Just want to say hi from a 31T student ... I loved the first prompt and can't wait to do the rest! I have been writing for a long time and recently finished a big project ... your prompts will help fill the void!
    Best wishes to you.

  16. Bev

    2012-05-17 10:01:04 -0400

    I love what you have to say. It reminds of a previous post that links to a blog where we are reminded that just saying "I love watching you be you" is a great thing for kids to hear and feel.

    But what jumped out at me is Bubble Guppies. I recently found Bubble Guppies with my 4 year old grand daughter. What cute little show. She loves it and I enjoy enough to sit with her while she watches it. It is now on our list of favorites when she visits.

  17. Robin

    2012-05-17 14:53:02 -0400

    "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.

    Thank you for writing those words. My two little boys are particularly ornery today. This will be my mantra until bedtime. Only five more hours... :-) Thanks.

  18. Stacey K

    2012-05-17 23:38:36 -0400

    Ali as I read this & all the comments & have tears in my eyes. At the moment I am struggling to be calm & there is a lot of yelling & fighting between me &my eldest daughter. I am trying the Hands Free Mama thing when my girls are around, I had an experience the other day...no signal on my phone so I couldn't surf at the cafe like I usually would so I engaged with my middle daughter, reading stories & looking at recipes, I really enjoyed the moment I would have missed if I had my hands full.
    I just did an insert for my project life of a note from my daughter (age 9) saying "you are the best mum EVER" & she gave me that note on the evening of a day when the fights we had in the morning were terrible, it made me glad that she still sees me as the best mum even when I am at my worst, I still see her as the best too, but I should tell her more. I hope to gain more best mum points by taking to heart what you have said.
    I am going to quote your words in my project life & my one little word albums "How can I be calm for you so you can learn to be calm too" thank you as always for your inspiration, you are amazing.

  19. Christy Cochran

    2012-05-18 01:20:34 -0400

    I love reading your blog. You are truly an inspiration. Great post.

  20. Liz

    2012-05-18 14:27:41 -0400

    Beauitful. Really enjoying 31 days... You inspire me to want to write better. And I always love your book suggestions.

  21. Angela

    2012-05-18 20:28:50 -0400

    I find it funny that your local pool in Oregon is open, but my neighborhood pool in Houston, TX doesn't open for 2 more weeks.

    On another note...I am fully embracing the 31 Things class. I've completed day one and two and I'm loving the time to sit down and think about and reflect on ordinary things.

  22. Beatrice

    2012-05-19 05:06:14 -0400


    This is one of my most favourite posts from you. I, too, struggle with staying calm in the midst of chaos from my twin boys. There are times when I end up in tears because of guilt and the thought that I'm probably the worst parent because I should've handled it better and didn't.

    I sometimes wonder what and how much of their early childhood they will remember(they are 6 now)and if they will remember most, the times when I have failed to be the best parent? I shudder and resolve to try even harder with the next challenge.
    Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to do even better.

  23. Kara

    2012-05-24 00:54:13 -0400


    Thanks for always being an inspiration through your words, photos, and willingness to share your life. This post inspired me to write something similar: http://iwannabemewhenigrowup.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-am.html. I always enjoy your words and am loving 31 things (I'm not active in the class but I'm loving the daily emails and am writing more again).

  24. ruhama

    2012-05-29 16:10:56 -0400

    A lurker who wants to give another shout out to The Reinvention of Edison Thomas--it's a Wisconsin author! Our award committee named it one of last year's honor books.

  25. Laura Reaux

    2012-06-15 01:45:52 -0400

    Reading this - “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. - with tears in my eyes. I don't visit your blog much, and found myself here... and those were my EXACT thoughts today. My 3-year-old twin boys have been really acting out and I want to remember to set a great example of how calming yourself down looks. xo

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