A Few Things

March 22, 2013

Rainy French Countryside

Text and image by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends! Has it been a good week? We are doing well here. Mostly, we are trying to stay dry, because Normandy is absolutely drenched. The rain has been non-stop this week and the gravel driveway is full of puddles. I hope that means Spring will be spectacular!

We’re actually watching the weather like a hawk, because Tiger in a Jar arrives today, and we’ll begin filming more Olive Us episodes this weekend. We’re so excited about it! We can’t wait to get started.How about you? Any fun plans for the weekend?

While we keep our galoshes close at hand, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

- First up, I have a little bit of Design Mom housekeeping that I’d love you to know about: the About page and FAQs page have each had a long overdue update. Check them out and get to know the contributors! Second, you may have noticed, when you hover over blog post images, a “let’s pin” button appears. I hope that makes your pinning easier!

- Remember The Brand of Ethiopia? Well this may change your view of the Brand of Rwanda.

- I’ve never tried bitters, but now I want to.

- 71 dresses in 71 days.

- This kickstarter has me pumped! I want to buy a pair of these rad shoes for Ben Blair. And Ralph. And me.

- Don’t get mad, get the camera.

- I’ve been collecting lots of spring dresses for girls on Pinterest in case you need some Easter inspiration.

- This place is less than 2 hours from our town. I want to go! Thanks, Kacy.

- A nursery in pastels for a baby boy.

- The Scared is Scared. Thanks Marysol.

- Biscoto is a very cool French monthly magazine (printed on newsprint) for kids. Sixteen pages of stories, comics, games, jokes, and fun, with a touch of philosophy. You can see a few pages online here.

- On my Babble column: 16 Easter baskets (and alternatives!). Lots of great choices.

- How Motherhood Changes Us. A collection of tightly edited parenting stories covering what happens when life doesn’t go as expected.

I hope you have a marvelous first weekend of Spring. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


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A Few Things
March 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Val March 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

Love the new About and FAQ pages! So much great updated info. It’s also fabulous to be able to find all the DM contributors and their personal blogs/ web sites in one place.

Plus… I especially love the pic you chose of yourself for the FAQ page. So chic and personable at the same time. Your ability to show both at once is one of my very favorite things about Design Mom! (but can I say that I’m super sad to see the darling pic of you in the rain disappear. I adored it!)


2 Design Mom March 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

Yay! Thank you for the kind words, Val.

And I like the umbrella pic too! It’s currently my avatar on comments and I think I’ll leave it there. : )


3 Maria B March 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

“The Scared is Scared,” is the best thing I’ve seen on my computer this week.


4 Design Mom March 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

Isn’t that terrific? I just had the biggest grin while I watched it.


5 Cak March 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

About spring dresses, you should


6 Cak March 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm
7 Design Mom March 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

Looks like your comment got cut off, but I’ll assume you’re suggesting I check out the link. Will do! Thanks for the suggestion.


8 kate March 23, 2013 at 8:46 am

THis is very random, but has really been bugging me! On Ben’s birthday you linked to a blog he wrote. In it he had a post about how when he moved across the country the people who helped him unpack at his new destination brought pizza and soda to the move in for him and insisted he rest while they start unpacking. He then wrote it would have been so much better if they had asked him what kind of soda and what kind of pizza he liked so they would have been his favorites. Ever since reading this I haven’t been able to enjoy your blog! Was he kidding? Am I missing something? I know it seems so silly but I used to love your blog and now I find I avoid it.


9 Shannon { A Mom's Year } March 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

Hah! You need to read the post where Mr. Blair writes that if you’re at a baseball game eating carrots and the people next to you have pizza, they should share it with you. Totally made me laugh. I think it’s safe to say he’s being “tongue-in-cheek.” :)


10 Design Mom March 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

Hah! Yes, Kate. You guessed it, It was a joke. Many of Ben’s blog posts attempt to comment on rudeness he sees in the world — and he just can’t stand it. To point out how rude certain behaviors are, he’ll write from the point of view of the rude person, to demonstrate their obliviousness.

The post you mentioned was just a commentary on ingratitude. Here were these strangers who did this amazing task — the only real response is unadulterated gratitude. And what sort of horrible person would take that and twist it into somehow being wronged?

The post about smiles is the same. It is mocking the self-congratulating attitude of people patting themselves on their back while largely building walls between others.

I’m so sorry his blog post bothered you. I can totally understand how it would! If you don’t know him personally, or haven’t been exposed to lots of his writing, there’s just no context.

I’m glad you mentioned that you were bugged so that I had a chance to explain the joke.


11 Catherine March 24, 2013 at 8:16 am

Hi Gabrielle, lové thé New look. I’ve learnt so much more from your about page… It’s just made me more in awe of the things people can achieve. We have just taken your lead and have moved from Sydney, Australia to Angers , France. It’s just been a month and we are still living in a gite while looking for more permanent and bigger accommodation for all the kids (we were not as lucky to find a longterm house yet in this area) would love to compare notes with you . Tossing up whether to start a little blog from an Aussies point of view but there seems to be alot of blogs similar, don’t know what my different perspective would offer anyone really. Any way, love reading about your families adventures and your strength of womanhood. Keep up your positive nature :)



12 Design Mom March 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

For sure start a blog! No one else’s experience will be quite like yours. Even if you decide not to share it publicly, you’ll be so glad for the record of your experience here in France.

And Angers is lovely! I’ve visited on two different weekends and think it’s such a wonderful town.

I’m thinking of you and imagining you’ve switched places with the owners of our farmhouse. She is Australian and is introducing her children to Sydney. : ) Best of luck on the house hunt!


13 Torey March 24, 2013 at 11:51 am

I followed your link about “how motherhood doesn’t go as planned”. As a mother with a child with a disability, I thought I might find some interesting essays. I can only think you didn’t read many of the essays you found there. The first one I found was the story of a woman who took her brain-damaged baby home and did not feed it for 38 days until it died. This is inhumane and horrific. Not to mention, immoral (but apparently legal). Please remove this link. Disgusting.


14 Design Mom March 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hi Torey. You’re right, I didn’t read every essay, and I didn’t encounter the one you describe. I’m sorry you found something that disturbed you when you went to the site looking for something completely different.


15 Maggie March 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I love the link you shared to how motherhood changes us. A great collection of tales from the hood. Regarding Torey’s comment above… Monica’s story was indeed a difficult read, but that does not make the other articles on the site no less valid. I’ve checked out your blog before, and although I don’t remember your previous about section and FAQ sections, they are really impressive! Congrats on all you’ve achieved!


16 Design Mom March 25, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Thank you for the kind words, Maggie! I’m glad to know you don’t remember (or didn’t see) the earlier About & FAQ pages. They were seriously out of date. Hah!


17 The Sleepy Time Gal March 25, 2013 at 6:12 am

how fun! looking forward to another olive us soon! we just made about 70ish of the most adorable spring/Easter edible nests this weekend for church. That was my weekend. :)



18 Kate March 25, 2013 at 7:02 am

The kickstarter looks cool, but I’m gun shy on this one. Linked to one that you posted last year and gave money, but received nothing. Artist won’t even write back. Really a shame since I thought it would be more honest than that. I hope people are comfortable with the idea that kickstarter isn’t so much of grassroots investment as a donation. I love supporting the arts, but am really disappointed that the artist flaked.


19 Cathy March 26, 2013 at 5:36 am

I really like your photo of your farm’s open gates on a rainy day – welcoming spring. I think it’s an evocative artistic piece.


20 Gégé April 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

Bonjour Gabrielle! I followed the link to the beautiful video on Rwanda. My husband and I lived in Kigali for two years and, for us, life there definitely had its ups and downs ( I feel so spoiled and “guilty” for typing this). Anyway, we’ve been watching this video over and over again…and now realize how much we miss “our 1st home”! The country, its hills, its wildlife… and rwandans so nice and brave! “Murakoze cyane” for the link!


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