A Few Things

November 30, 2012

By Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! How was your week? Are you doing well? I’m remembering Thanksgiving was only a week ago and feeling mystified because it feels more like 5 seconds ago. Last Friday, we spent the evening at the Pompidou — the contemporary art museum in Paris. And Saturday, we rode the ferris wheel on the Champs Elysees! (It was magical.)

I’m not sure if it’s the weather, or if something else is going on, but based on my inbox — and my own dumb little head cold — I get the feeling people are in a grump this week. How is it at your house? Any grumping going on? Hopefully December will bring a strong current of happy, holiday feelings. It will be here tomorrow!

While I cheer on the arrival of December, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

- Animal figurine + tassel + glitter = awesome ornament.

- 31 ideas for doing service with your family in December — one for each day!

- I’m curious about this detox bath.

- Make your kid a superhero.

- Last day to win an Alt Summit registration from Beso.

- Hah! Did you see this? An Onion article was mistaken as real in China.

- Show and tell for designers. Thanks, Alicia. 

- Ben Blair sent me this one. I laughed so hard!

- What do you think about this post?

- The holidays bring giveaways! I’m hosting one on Facebook right now. Win a year’s supply of Method’s Ocean Plastic line. (The bottles are made of plastic that has washed up on the shore, and that Method employees have gathered by hand. Awesome.)

- Christmas playlist. 6 hours long. Tons of ideas.

- Good idea or overkill? Temporary tattoos in case your child gets lost.

- It’s not too late to grab a Cowboy Poster.

- Some last-minute advent calendar inspiration. Make one this weekend!

Have an amazing weekend! Embrace December with a cozy scarf and something warm to drink. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachael November 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Those glitter tassel animal ornaments are amazing!!!


2 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:14 am

I think so too! Charming as can be.


3 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag November 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm

GREAT list today!!! Fascinating article about having kids. And the detox bath?? So wish I had seen this 4 days ago — I’m at the tail end of a dreadful cold. Pinned for future reference!


4 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:15 am

So glad you liked the list, Melissa. And glad you’re feeling better!


5 Maike November 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I find the article about having kids a bit one dimensional. I strongly belive that the most benefiting way of parenting for everybody involved is that all the members of a family share as much duties and time with each other as possible. I understand that if the father of the children is working 80 hours plus a week to maintain his career that i wouldn’t feel comfortable doing the same because of my kids. But what if we try and take turns or both slow down a bit? I don’t think there is a masterplan. What if you are just not ready for marriage with 25?
The article sounds as if things are as they are and nothing will ever change. How sad. I find the challenging thing about being a working mom is that you have to find new ways to organise your career and your family and become really creative and modern in a way your parents maybe didn’t dare. You can invent a whole new way of being a family. The traditional ways (in my experience) always create a great amount of frustration on both sides.
Nobody can have it all. Men can’t have it all. If they have a fantastic career, they lose out on being a parent just like women do. Parenting like any relation ship is mainly about feeling what is right and trusting your intuition. I only learned that when I became a mother (I also became a much better partner then :-).
I don’t like the idea of one way to do it right. You have to find your own way. And a good partner to back you up.


6 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:17 am

I especially like the second paragraph of your comment. Particularly this: “You can invent a whole new way of being a family. The traditional ways (in my experience) always create a great amount of frustration on both sides.”


7 elizabeth November 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I read your blog daily and love it – especially fridays – I always follow all fo yoru links. I’ve never commented before, but the Penelope Trunk article — holy goodness! I don’t know her blog, but the article seems purposely like a firebomb. I disagree with her, but was initally still interested in her points as a thought experiment (married, have school-aged kids, worked FT and PT during their childhoods, though never 80+/week). BUT then I read her responses in the comment section:
“…responsibilities of a stay-at-home spouse that is really pulling 100% at home:
Cooking for the bake sale where buying would be declasse.
Buying the mother-in-law gifts.
Buying a first bra.
Planning the bar-mitzvah, including handling all the seating arrangements.
I bring up these examples because they require a special sensitivity and sensibility that only 25% of men can even approach. I get this statistic because 75% of the feeling types in the world are women and 25% are men.” – Surely she’s talking about a Mad Men episode! NONE of these things have much at all do with parenting (ok maybe the bra, but that could be done on the weekend), which I thought was her focus.
And then these gems:
“Statistically, women, no matter how much they earn, look to date men who earn more than they do. There is a biological reason for this.” – is she a scientist?
“It’s like why girls like pink and boys like guns. It’s not true for every single one, but it’s true that it’s biological.” – oh, is she a biologist?
She talks about telling the truth and then generalizes for all women and men based on some psudo-science. What’s truthful about that? Also, what people is she talking about? Certainly not low-income parents and certainly not gay or lesbian couples.
In the end, her article is — well, is ridiculous too strong a word? Tell me your experiences, tell me your opinions, but don’t tell me unintelligent generalizations about humans.


8 Jillian December 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Thank you. I very much agree Elizabeth. I found the article and the especially the author’s comments quite horrific. Great topic to discuss, but real science and nuances are much needed. “Brain Storm: The Science of Sex Differences” by Rebecca M. Jordan-Young is an excellent scholarly literary review of all the studies on the brain + gender differences. Extremely thorough, it dispels the faulty scientific methods of many of the studies that “proved” certain sex differences, and explains how society ran away with them. In the end, she shows that the science shows that men and women are much more alike than they are different. Really, really good read!


9 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:23 am

I don’t read Penelope’s blog regularly, but sometimes an article catches my eye! One thing about her: she has Asberger’s Syndrome (which she writes about openly, and some of the challenges that come with it — even talking about her sex life). The Asberger’s brings an honestly and unfiltered bluntness to her writing that can be jarring at times. In this case, the article may have been partly a firebomb, and may also be partly her way of sharing the exact thoughts she’s having.

In my case, the article caught my eye because I DID marry young, and had babies early (thought I kept having them into my 30′s so I won’t have an empty house at 45), and when I was in the thick of it during my 20′s I used to daydream about being in my early 40′s, my 3 babies (at the time) in college or beyond, and reinventing myself.


10 Linda Geertsen November 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

There is so much we’d enjoy doing in December. My grump is not being able to do everything. However, that paper boxes advent calendar looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for all the shares!


11 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:26 am

I feel grateful for advent calendars. They help reassure me that I’m no missing the season. We skip the treats and fill our advent calendar with simple activities that we want to be sure to do during the holidays. Things like read Gift of the Magi. Or have hot cocoa with a candy cane stirrer. Or drive down main street to look at Christmas lights.


12 Misty November 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I really liked reading the child-rearing article. I don’t agree with all the sentiments but, understand where the writer is coming from. VERY interesting *and gutsy* to say such things in this day-and age.
The arm tattoos…I gotta say this. My sister-in-law (genius) went with me and my family to Disneyworld. We wrote our cell numbers on all the kids’ arms. (She has 5 kids, I have 2). Two different times, this is how we found our kids at the park! I’d like to think that I’m a pretty watchful parent. However, at times like big parks/crowded places, I think it’s worth it for your child’s safety. Tattoos? Prob don’t need them. Permanent marker? (that comes off after a sweaty day at the park) Totally priceless!


13 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:27 am

Good idea with the permanent marker, Misty!


14 Béa December 1, 2012 at 12:51 am

How about trying a daily dose optimistworld[dot]com ?


15 jyl from @momitforward December 1, 2012 at 9:04 am

Thanks for the shout out, Gabby!

Also, what a fabulous list! Always love visiting your site.

Happy December!



16 Emme December 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

In re Penelope Trunk — I used to love work-life-balance articles because it was exciting that people were talking about it more, but now it just seems to be this constant conversation.

To me, every person, every life, every job is different. You do what you have to do for you to have a healthy and productive life, whether that means having a baby at 25 or 40, or not at all.


17 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:28 am

“You do what you have to do for you to have a healthy and productive life, whether that means having a baby at 25 or 40, or not at all.”

Love that, Emme. I think this is definitely how life has played out for me.


18 SunnyDay December 1, 2012 at 11:24 am

I am completely shocked and couldn’t disagree more with the article! I work 80hs and so does my husband and we have managed to be with our small children (3!) . It’s not easy, but we can find balance, if your significant other understands that raising children and having a home is a full time job to both of you! What about younger women should be looking for a husband and marry older guys? Oh, while we are at it: he should be taller too, it’s unacceptable to a woman to marry a shorter guy! God protect us from this narrow-minded people!


19 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:42 am

I kept thinking of BYU, and that if she wanted to, she could find a large sample of BYU grads who married early and had kids by 25. It’s less common there than it was 20 years ago, but it’s still surprisingly common.

There are thousands and thousands of Mormon women who left (or didn’t start) careers to raise children and have empty nests by 45 or so. They don’t fit her profile exactly, because it’s not the norm to marry a spouse whose a decade older, but they might make a good case study.


20 Geevz December 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I enjoyed the Penelope Trunk article, not because I agreed necessarily but because all the link jumping brought me to some fantastic other articles and conversations. Most particularly this one in the Atlantic

I also liked one of Penelope Trunk’s other articles on how the conversation should be changing to how workplaces can support marriages.

Thanks for posting the link!


21 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:30 am

Yes, I’m actually supportive of Penelope’s stance in other articles where she advocates for more flexible, part-time working conditions for parents. Flexible work schedules have been, by far, the best thing that happened to our family. I rate flexible work schedules twice as important as pay rate. Maybe even more.


22 A Day in May Design December 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Love the idea of doing service with your family. What a great way to spend the holidays together while giving back!


23 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:31 am

Isn’t that a great link?


24 Melissa S December 3, 2012 at 1:09 am

I have used the safety tattoos at theme parks before and my kids like them, so why not? I think they are great.


25 Jen @ RamblingRenovators December 3, 2012 at 7:41 am

Our Advent activity today is “make an ornament” and the glitter animals are just what I was looking for! Thanks for sharing the link.


26 Kimberly December 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Wow, feeling connected with this post…we went on the Ferris Wheek ourselves this weekend when we took our two girls on their first trip to Paris. We now live in London and have not made it o The London Eye, but somehow it was a must do in Paris. Last week our family made your Pom bookmarks for our schools holiday bazaar to raise money for a children’s hospital. Thanks for sharing ideas and activities.


27 Design Mom December 4, 2012 at 4:34 am

How fun, Kimberly! Sounds like you made the most of your time in Paris.

If it helps, we’ve been on the London Eye twice, we bought our tix from the vendors selling the Big Bus tickets. You still have to wait in a little line at the actual wheel, but it’s not too long.

I think it would be amazing to go to the London Eye with a few families — enough to fill a carriage. (I think each carriage fits about 20 people.) And then bring a picnic meal. It takes about an hour to go around, and it would be fun to have a meal with friends as you enjoy the views. You could even bring a table cloth and use the big bench in the center as a table.


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