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Around Here

ANNA

ListeningPitch Perfect soundtrack and Taylor Swift's 1989

Reading | READING. It's like magic. Seriously the coolest thing to witness and encourage and nurture. She's determined and not easily frustrated, which in and of itself is a gift. 

Planning | Her birthday party. We're doing a delayed party this year not just because she was sick but because at least four other girls in her grade at school have birthdays this month and every weekend has included a birthday party already. Next year there's talk of a joint kids party. 

Playing | Barbies and fairies and princesses - in all kinds of awesome scenarios. I love the imaginative play all over the house. Two of her favorite places are the spot seen in the photo above and in the bathtub in my bathroom. 

Practicing | Gymnastics twice a week. Love how much she is loving it. Love that she is making friends with the other girls in her class - none of which go to the same school as her. 

SIMON

Reading | Totally into murder mysteries. I think it started with the Clue movie that he has been obsessing about recently - including typing out the entire script by watching it via subtitles (it ended up being 52 or so pages - I call that awesome typing practice). Last week he checked out two different books at the library after searching "murder mysteries." One of the things that is awesome about this is that he's often most interested in books where he has seen the movie first. 

Listening | He's been building his own playlist on Spotify recently and it's so awesome because it is so him. I'm planning a separate post to document that list soon. 

Entertaining | He had his first friend sleepover last weekend and it went really well. Movies and video games for the win.  

Joining | He's all signed up for some horseback riding lessons with a local group called RideAble. We've heard great things from other families who have taken their kids there so I'm hoping it will be something for him to look forward to and enjoy. It's something he's expressed an interest in before but the timing wasn't quite right. Making it happen this spring. 

Choosing | Short sleeves when the sun is out. Those of you who have been around a long time know that's a pretty big deal. 

ALI

Planning | We booked a RV for Spring Break and Aaron and I are brainstorming RV-adventure-with-5-kids strategies.

Obsessing | Currently consumed with the new workshops I'll be teaching this weekend at the Crop & Create event outside Toronto. Obsessing means working really hard (creating, journaling, photographing, writing), thinking about it way too much, and then procrastinating on the handouts and samples by cleaning. I'm excited and nervous and hoping I remember how to do this in-person stuff again.  

Making Space | For kids activities. For quiet. For looking them in the eye. For hugs and silliness and hanging out together without my list being so long and so loud. 

Listening | To his stories and questions (usually about Scooby Doo, Clue, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc). To her stories and questions (usually about the ups and downs of girls and boys in kindergarten). To NPR. To the hum of the dishwasher and the washer and dryer (sounds of comfort). 

Remembering | I don't have to have it all figured out. 

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58 thoughts

  1. TBosch says…
    02/24/2015

    Ali, I am so so sad that I couldn't get into your class this weekend outside of Toronto. You need to make more trips north! Your Canadian fans would love to see you more!

    Reply 4 Replies
    1. Taryn411 says…
      02/24/2015

      Make that trips North EAST! Nova Scotia to be precise.
      It was a long time ago so I won't blame you for not remembering, but our Bookclub sent you a love package where we each contributed a "why I love Nova Scotia" mini book in hopes to entice you to visit. Just say the word and I'll book a venue and a winery tour :)

    2. cruisin_ali says…
      02/24/2015

      Agreed! I was not able to get a spot of your Toronto adventure, but I would go east or west, but you may want to try out the Capital of Canada Ottawa!! Skating on the longest outdoor rink in the winter or the tulip festival in the spring.. I'm sure there would be lots of "story moments" for you and the kids here! :) Maybe a stop on your RV trip :)

    3. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Thanks guys - travel like this is tricky for me because of a variety of different things - most specifically childcare and time away from my regular work schedule. I appreciate you wanting me to come!

    4. JennMc says…
      02/24/2015

      Vancouver is really not that far from Oregon. Just saying...

  2. andieb says…
    02/24/2015

    This is a beautiful post. It's fabulous to pause your busy life to collate and journal about the precious memories of everyday life with children. I may have to follow suit if that's ok!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. welshon says…
    02/24/2015

    I think teaching in person is easier than writing online courses since you get the response of the students. It will feel a bit anxious at the very start and then you will slide into it very quickly, most likely. It will be awesome!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      I do really enjoy the response of the students in-person (and online as well), but the process to getting to that place is pretty much the same for the actual content of the workshop. The big difference is that in-person events include a lot of logistics - ordering and kitting products, travel (planning and then the actual time), childcare (which tends to be my biggest challenge), and time away from my regular work responsibilities. Another difference is that I'm able to reach a significantly larger audience online than we can fit in an in-person event :).

  4. jenmcampbell says…
    02/24/2015

    Oh my goodness! I am totally obsesssing over this coming weekend as well! I am travelling from Winnipeg to Toronto to attend Crop and Create with my best friend! We are both military members with military spouses and haven't scrapbooked together since probably 2009!! But we are SOOOO excited to take two of your classes at Crop and Create! We've been positively giddy about it for weeks! LOL I have pages planned to work on, my pics all printed and ready to go and am just counting down the sleeps! I'm sure you'll get into the teaching groove again pretty quickly! We'll all be so excited to be there that it won't matter if you stumble a bit before you find your footing!

    Love reading your "Around Here" type posts, too! I did a couple pages with this kind of info from teh boys perspectives a few months ago (I quizzed them and documented their answers). But I like the idea of going a little more in depth from my perspective too... Thanks for filling my head with ideas :-)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Looking forward to seeing you!

  5. hgauvin says…
    02/24/2015

    So happy to hear about the short sleeves - progress in small steps! Great post.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. kklmu1320 says…
    02/24/2015

    Love this post Ali!! I have taken your in person classes so I know you will be great!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Thank you!

  7. Deborah_P says…
    02/24/2015

    Love seeing that Simon still loves to read and Anna does too. So often boys can get distracted and drop reading at his age. Go Simon! One suggestion if he has not already read it. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. Probably a little young for him, but I read it and I qualify for the senior citizen discount and loved it. I love mysteries as well and this was fun and took place in a library, which is so awesome I wish it were not fictional. There's a riddle in the book but I could never figure it out. I'll bet Simon could!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. SaraAndrews1 says…
    02/24/2015

    Can I just say that I'm glad my 4 year old is not the only child that LOVES the Pitch Perfect soundtrack? :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      It's because it's awesome!

  9. sarahbluhm says…
    02/24/2015

    This summer, my husband and I drove from Tulsa (our house) to his parents in Skagit Valley, WA and back with our three boys (11,8,4). 16 days, over 5000 miles, camping, seeing America. This meant lots of truck time and we had the time of our lives.
    1 - Firm but manageable expectations each day were #1 for our success.
    2 - Clear chore and job descriptions at each camp, each night. We camp a lot but they don't always know what needs to be done next. And patiences with said jobs. My way is not the only way to get something done. 10 steps vs. 5 steps still gets the job done.
    3 - Lots of games that require brain power vs. stuff. The boys ask to play some of the them when waiting or needing a distraction.
    4 - Taking turns with activity choices, stops, music playlist, quiet reading time, etc was super helpful. (my husband doesn't care for poppy music and thus the boys request for 'Happy" was always met with an eye roll, but it would eventually get played. lol)

    Just thought I'd share! With 5 kids I can only imagine the billion of memories you are going to make.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Super helpful! I'm planning a post to ask for suggestions and tips - this is great - thank you!

  10. sparkle says…
    02/24/2015

    Beautiful post. I think the reason I love your 'documenting the moments' so much, is because you fully live them first.
    Sharon

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Thank you Sharon.

  11. mtercha says…
    02/24/2015

    My daughter's 10, and she still has little bins with those little toys inside that she always reaches for. I love watching and listening too. And I was Simon's age when I started reading murder mysteries and it started a lifelong habit. I think you will be awesome this weekend! I can so understand being nervous, but you got this. Go Ali. Michelle t

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. YolandaL says…
    02/24/2015

    Love seeing these glimpses of the growing and maturing Simon. Choosing short sleeves! Murder mysteries! Peer sleepovers! The concentration and focus it had to take to transcribe 52(!) pages of the Clue screenplay. Boyhood is definitely fading. Manhood is coming. Time, man. Time.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      I know, right?

  13. anniebeagle says…
    02/24/2015

    I feel the same way about the sounds of the washer/dryer. I remember visiting a friend's apartment in college, and as soon as I walked in, I said, "Your apartment is so homey!" I quickly realized I felt that way because they were running the washer & dryer. :) My son just finished a book that Simon might like. It's not exactly a murder mystery, but it does start with a murder. It's called The Graveyard Book. My son had to choose a Newbery medal winner for a bookshare at school, and that's the one he chose. My husband loves murder mysteries, and he read it also. He said it was really good. His favorite murder mystery / crime novel author is Ngaio Marsh. I have NO idea if her books would be at all appropriate for Simon (since I've read none of them), but if you're looking for something new or something to remember for the future, there's one to research. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. jchurch2 says…
    02/24/2015

    Ali, your posts always leave me enthused about everyday life. I just love the way you express your thoughts and emotions. You are going to rock the presentation this weekend, wish I were going.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Thank you!

  15. Sazzi says…
    02/24/2015

    This is such a beautiful post, and reading about Simon wearing short sleeves and also his sleepover, brings a huge smile to my face! I have been reading since your Creating Keepsakes days, and watching Simon grow through your layouts and your blog, is a huge privillage. Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Ashley4485 says…
    02/24/2015

    I am so happy to know that another woman enjoys the sounds of the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. I am sure there are more of us, but I never heard anyone say that out loud. It truly IS a comforting sound for me. :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      I love it and I notice it and it gives me joy :).

  17. suethoenes says…
    02/24/2015

    Ali, I am new to your world. I first heard about you and your One Little Word classes and signed up in 2014 with Declutter as my word. I have learned SO much from you. I devour your blog and all of your classes. You are amazing and I don't understand how I did not hear about you before. Anyway, something led me to you and I am forever grateful. I love all that you do for us. I Love this blog for today. Also, thanks for reminding me that: "I don't have to have it all figured out." Bless you, Ali.....

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Oh thank you so much - and I'm glad you are here.

  18. Jessicachilliwack says…
    02/24/2015

    I really loved this post I am not sure why it spoke to me so much but I have re read it multiple times and take something else each time. I love your words on the Gental humm of the machines they are such a sound of comfort and cozy to me... And that I don't have to have it all figured out ! In my OLW let it go section this is what I am working on that ... My perception that I have to have it all figured out, be perfect, always have the answer. Thanks for this post..

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. aleciaangell says…
    02/24/2015

    RV Strategy #1--show the kids Eastern Oregon--specifically me! :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/24/2015

      Ha. Yes! We are heading just over to the coast this time - start small you know.

  20. ciahansen says…
    02/24/2015

    love the light in that first photo of anna!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Queen_Mary says…
    02/24/2015

    Oh, totally like what Sarah Bluhm said about tips for RV travel! Good ideas! And although I've never done it, I'd give the kids some ownership in the process -- were you ever a girl scout? Make a chore wheel/chart and let the kids help come up with the chores and make it because with ownership they'll feel good about it.
    I'm sure you'll be great in Toronto, not to worry. Well, go ahead and worry, because you will, but smile because you know it's wasted energy. It won't get you any further. We all know you'll be excellent -- think of your trips!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Queen_Mary says…
    02/24/2015

    PS. I LOVE murder mysteries! Bobbsey twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys... What did he check out of the library? Dave said to try the Hardy Boys and/or Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators -- Simon might like them. (Dave's my husband the teacher, Charlie's my son the new PhD.) Also, RideAble should be EXCELLENT! I hope Simon enjoys it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. northcarmen says…
    02/24/2015

    Hey Ali. :) Just thought I'd stop by and recommend "The Westing Game" for Simon -- definitely a good fit for a lover of "Clue"! :) I wish we were closer to TO (that would be Toronto, Ontario) -- it would be great to see you in person again. I don't know if you've seen the show "Orphan Black", but parts of it are filmed in Markham (although oddly enough, they refer to it as Scarborough, which is another part of "Greater Toronto" altogether). We binge watched the first season while our daughter was at her grandparents' home for February break, and would highly recommend it. I'm also loving the fact that the lead actress (Tatiana Maslany) is from Regina, Saskatchewan, which is my hometown. Anyhow, I hope everything goes really well this weekend -- I'm sure you'll find your footing again very quickly. :)

    Carmen.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. CasieGutierrez says…
    02/25/2015

    Ali
    love your around here posts! I find myself cheering on Anna & Simon.

    Side note - is that an engagement ring your wear?!?! ;)

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/25/2015

      Nope - I'm shooting into the mirror so it's a reflection of my right hand :).

    2. abbypimentel says…
      02/26/2015

      Too funny...that was the first thing I noticed as well...just didn't have the guts to ask you! I think the reason my eye went right to it, is because if anyone deserves to be happy and loved by a handsome, caring man, you do! It will make my heart sing to see an engagement ring on the finger of yours some day :D No pressure!

  25. maiaohe says…
    02/25/2015

    Reading about Anna and her dolls reminds me of my youngest daughter and her "pet shop" toys. I would quietly watch from the side as she played out scenarios that stretched out over a period of days. She is now 17 and I really miss those days.

    Reply 0 Replies

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