A Few Things

March 25, 2016

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Photo and text by Gabrielle.

Oh my. This week. So many bombs. So much death and pain and heartache. Turkey, then Brussels, then Ivory Coast, then Nigeria. And I imagine I’m missing other bombings that I didn’t even hear about. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it all. Turkey and Brussels in particular hit very close to home for me. My sister Jordan and her family have been spending their spring break in Egypt, Turkey and France. The first time they went out into the city as tourists in Turkey, the bomb had gone off just minutes before. They were totally fine, but too darn close — the troops in riot gear ran past them as they returned to their hotel.

And in Brussels, a missionary from my hometown, Joseph Empey, was seriously injured in the bombing. His parents, Amber and Court, are good friends of our family — I went to high school with them both. In fact, if you’ve been to Alt Summit, you may have met the wonderful Amber Empey at the registration desk. Their son suffered 2nd degree burns to his hands, face and head, and shrapnel in his leg. He’s been through surgery for the shrapnel and the latest reports are good. But dang, that’s super scary. Everyone is completely shook up about it.

Seeing these new reports and knowing people I love are right there in the midst of all of it is pretty impossible to fathom.

In completely opposite news, today is the first day of Spring Break for us. We’ll dye eggs this weekend and go to our church Easter Egg hunt tomorrow morning. Next week, we’re thinking of driving south on a campus tour for Maude and Ralph.

Lots of contrary emotions in my head at the moment, but here are a things I’ve been distracting myself with:

- Boaty McBoatface was the highlight of my week.

- When did porn become sex ed? (I’m thinking this discussion should become it’s own post. Yes?)

- We should all become Jews.

- Inside the mind of a master procrastinator.

- Do you agree? Has Pixar fallen from its throne? (I’m a huge Pixar fan.)

Against empathy.

- All 50 states imagined as food puns.

- A library for rare colors.

- How do you write about diversity?

- A teen designed and 3D printed his own braces.

- As we become cameras.

- More on gender: Her boyfriend is not very masculine and he gets called a “lady”.

- Great news for women who don’t have access to birth control — an easy to use IUD inserter.

- Hah! 1950s glasses for women. So subtle!

- Thoughts on Peace.

I hope you have a peaceful, beautiful, love-filled weekend. Happy Easter to all who celebrate! I’ll meet you back here next week. I miss you already. Stay safe!

kisses,
Gabrielle

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Ralph Eagle Scout11

By Gabrielle.

Would you indulge me in a little report about Ralph’s Eagle Court of Honor? It was held last Saturday and it turned out wonderfully. We loved it! Here’s are my notes about the event in list form:

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1) First let’s talk about his uniform (because I’m obsessed with it). It’s vintage from the 1950′s. We bought it last summer. As Ralph was working on his Eagle project, he happened to bring up the topic of vintage neckerchief slides and mentioned he’d seen some cool ones. I started searching for them on eBay and discovered the delightful world of old school Scout uniforms.

If you’re interested, here’s what I learned: There are tons! You can find single pieces, random pieces grouped together in lots, or sometimes a full uniform. And there are lots of bargains. Sizing is the tricky part. I ended up measuring the waist and length of a pair of Ralph’s pants that fit him well, and then comparing that to listed measurements for the items. Same thing with one of his button-downs. Of course, it’s eBay and sometimes there are no measurements listed.

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One note on length, the pants were designed to be hemmed and then let out as the Scout grew. So if the waist seems like the right measurement, but the pants are too short, they may have a long hem waiting to be let out.

We really like the pieces from the 1950s because they’re made a heavy cotton and they’re really sturdy and very washable. We found pants, a shirt, a belt, a scarf, a carved wooden neckerchief slide, a hat, and a badge sash. But they weren’t altogether, there were separate orders and some duplicate pieces. Also, his badge sash is from a later era — I think late 70s. But it still looks good with the rest.

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The badge materials have changed over the years — the current ones have a sort of stiff plastic backing — but the designs are the same. So if you buy an old sash and it has badges on it, you can reuse any your Scout has earned, and then just add new ones. They’ll blend right in.

I think he looks so handsome! That first photo feels super iconic to me.

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2) I want to tell you about this photo shoot. As we were planning the Court of Honor, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for decor, but I got this picture in my head of a photoshoot where Ralph was in full uniform, doing scout-y things. I wanted them to be very formal and posed — as if we were shooting them for an old Scout catalog. I wasn’t sure how I’d use the photos, but I knew I wanted to have them shot.

So we made a list of things he could do — archery, chopping wood, canoeing, using a compass, making a fire, helping a senior citizen across the street, tying a knot, whittling, etc..

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We gathered supplies, borrowing an ax and archery equipment, and called Katrina Davis. She’s a street-style photographer here in Oakland who I’ve worked with before, and I knew she would do a great job on this. Then last Monday, we shot in our backyard. The 6 portrait photos you see here are my favorites from the shoot. Aren’t they awesome! I think they turned out so well.

They ended up being a key part of the decor at the Court of Honor.

Keep reading to see how we used them!

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picture-books-march10

Photos and text by Gabrielle.

It’s time for this month’s picture book post! I’ve got 4 excellent recommendations for you. First up: Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham. June checked this one out from the school library and we loved it.

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It’s an older book, first published in 1971, but still available. Mr. Gumpy lives by the river, and sometimes his friends (both the human kind and the animal kind) join him for boat rides. Sometimes the end up in the river. Sometimes they have tea.

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Next is The Pancake King by Phyllis LaFarge, with illustrations by Seymour Chwast. The book’s remarkable orange cover caught my eye, and then I saw Seymour Chwast’s name, and I was admittedly pre-disposed to like it.

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When I looked into it, I realized this is a revised addition — the original came out in 1971. (What was in the water in 1971?) And it’s terrific. So glad they reissued it! This is a story of Henry Edgewood who loves making pancakes and becomes quite a star because of it. Will his new importance make him forget his true priorities?

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Then we have Girl & Gorilla: Out and About, by Rick Walton, with pictures by Joe Berger. Girl and Gorilla are best friends and they want to go to the park. But how will they get there?

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Turns out getting to the park is quite an adventure! It might involve jump-roping, hopscotch, bike riding, wishing and more. Is it worth it? Yes. Yes it is.

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Lastly, I’m completely enamored with Over the Ocean by Tokyo-based Taro Gomi.

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A girl stands on the edge of the ocean and wonders. And then wonders some more. Are there farms over the ocean? Cities? People? Are the people friends? Get this one for the wonder, and also for the illustrations. This is a gorgeous book. Watch for it in May, but you can pre-order it now.

How about you and your kids? What picture books have caught your eye lately? Any oldies but goodies that you’re reading these days?

P.S. — Lots more picture book recommendations.

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How many hours a night do you sleep?

Photos and text by Gabrielle. This post is brought to you by Sleep Number®. 

Have you ever been asked the ice-breaker question: If you never had to eat again, but could remain healthy, or you never had to sleep again, but could remain healthy, which one would you rather give up?

I remember the first time I was asked this, I shouted, “I would give up food!” before the question was even finished. I like food very much, but I LOVE sleep. I flat out adore it. I love the chance to turn my brain off, I love the clean slate, fresh start feeling in the morning, and I love knowing my body can focus on repairing itself while I sleep, because I’m not asking it to do anything else. I simply love my sleep!

Related, I’m happy to tell you, I recently partnered with Sleep Number®, and over the rest of this year, I’m going to be sharing 4 posts about sleep related topics. In case you’re not familiar, Sleep Number, is THE sleep innovation leader. Their aim is to deliver the best possible sleep experience, and they achieve that goal by offering high-quality products and services, all based on their extensive research into quality sleep. In fact, the Sleep Number bed was named best bed for couples, and ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Mattresses” by J.D. Power. I’m delighted to be working with them, and as you can guess, I’m super psyched I get to write about sleep!

How many hours a night do you sleep?

For this first post, I want to talk about sleep in terms of wellness. Yes, it’s common knowledge that sleep is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. But getting enough sleep sometimes feels like wishful thinking at best, and the last priority at worst. If you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not alone — according to a Sleep Number survey 54% of American’s don’t feel they’re getting enough sleep!

When we’re thinking of wellness, we typically talk about food and exercise — and maybe a centering practice like meditation or yoga. Sleep often doesn’t even get mentioned in the conversation, or if it does, it’s just a blanket statement like, you should get enough sleep. Not very helpful. And probably some of that is because everyone seems to have different needs when it comes to sleep.

For me, there’s a direct connection between getting enough sleep and staying healthy — a connection I’ve sadly demonstrated to myself many times over the years. If I go more than two nights without adequate sleep (meaning 8+ hours), I will for sure get a sore throat. And if I keep pushing myself, I’ll enter full blown sick mode. So I can tell you that I truly value my sleep. But you and I have both met people (maybe you’re one of them!) who do fine on 6 or 7 hours.

Do you have healthy sleep habits?

There are so many different habits when it comes to sleep. Some people love naps. Some people dread nighttime because insomnia takes over. Some people get up early, no alarm needed. Some people drag through their mornings until caffeine kicks in. Some people are deep sleepers (raising my hand here). Some people get up in the night regularly. Some people like to snuggle during the night. Some people can only sleep if no one is touching them.

When I think back to our new baby years, by far the hardest thing for me was not getting enough sleep — trying to function normally, without adequate rest, felt like torture. So getting my babies to sleep through the night was a major priority for me. But I’ve met plenty of parents who barely seem to mind the night wakings at all.

Do you have healthy sleep habits?

I want to hear what sleep means to you and I’ve got a few questions:

1) On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being the most important, how do you value your sleep? I can tell you sleep is a full-stop 10 for me!

2) What are your favorite ways to fall asleep if your mind is going a mile a minute when you fall into bed? Do you read? Count sheep? One of my favorite ways is making a list — once everything in my head is on paper, I can usually relax more easily.

3) Do you bring your phone to bed? I much prefer plugging it in to the charger and walking away for the night.

4) Do you sleep in pjs? Underwear? Bare naked? With socks? Without socks? Do you ever fall asleep in your clothes?

5) How much sleep do you think your particular body prefers each night? If I’m getting enough sleep and letting myself wake up naturally, 8.5 hours seems to be what my body wants. Though I’ve been told I’ll crave less as I get older.

6) How strict are you about going to bed clean — brushed teeth, makeup off, contacts soaking, etc.?

I always love to hear what you have to say!

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P.S. — I recently visited a Sleep Number store and found out what my personal Sleep Number® setting is. It was fun, and I learned a whole bunch about sleep patterns and what wakes us up at night. If you’d like to visit a store, here’s a link to find the closest one.

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Jill Peters.

A few months ago, I read an article about the Sworn Virgins of Albania. It’s a fascinating article, and I hope you’ll read it. The summary: in communities organized under the Kanun code of honor, families without sons risked losing land and livelihood. As a workaround, families could assign one of their daughters to live a life of celibacy as a burrnesha, or sworn virgin. “Becoming a burrnesha elevated a woman to the status of a man and granted her all of the rights and privileges of the male population.”

As you can see, these women have lived their adult lives as men. To be clear these are not women who identified as men and had sex changes. No. Not at all. They were born and raised as females, then at some point, they were asked by their family to live their lives as males. And so they did.

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This is one of many articles about gender I’ve read lately, but it really stuck with me and I’ve wanted to talk with you about it. I don’t have a specific point about the topic at all. I just want to discuss it with you. Every time I think I’m getting a handle on what gender is and what gender isn’t, I come across another article or essay that expands my brain a bit further and reminds me that I really know nothing at all when it comes to this topic. And I’m wondering what your thoughts are.

Ten years ago, I was having all sorts of conversations about sexual orientation, but gender never really came up. In fact, at that time, if you had asked me the difference between sex and gender, I would have thought the words were the same, totally interchangeable. Five years ago, I would have answered that sex referred to sex organs, and gender referred to being a girl or a boy. If you asked me now? I would say: I’m still learning.

Sometimes I feel like I have a handle on the term sex. I think of it as a medical term. Does a person have sex organs? Yes? What kind? Male organs? Female organs? Both? None? Partial parts of one or the other? Partial parts of both? Does the person have a Y chromosome? Two X chromsomes? Some other variation that I know almost nothing about?

And why specifically would I need to know? Well, I wouldn’t. It’s none of my dang business. As a parent or caregiver, I assume the knowledge would mostly be important to answer related health questions or reproductive questions.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned as far as the term sex goes, is that I used to assume the options were male and female and that’s it. But for a considerable number of the human population, that is not true. There are more options than simply male and female.

And yet, even with all the variation, I would still argue that between sex and gender, sex is the simpler term.

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So let’s talk about the more complicated term: gender. In a recent discussion, a transgender friend said to me, “You are born with your sex. Your gender is assigned to you at birth. Gender is a cultural construct.” When he said that to me, I immediately remembered the Sworn Virgins article and thought, yep, I agree, these women switched to living as men like it was a role in a play. One day they were women, the next day they were men. No medical intervention involved. Their culture just gave them permission to do so, accepted their decision, and treated them accordingly.

The next thing I thought of was the colors pink and blue, our long-time symbols for baby girls and baby boys. But it turns out, the opposite used to be true. Historically, pink was for boys and blue was for girls. And then at some point it switched. And perhaps it will switch again. And again. Culture changes. If we were to take a survey of gender definitions around the world right this minute, it would generate vastly different answers. Something that’s feminine in one culture, can be masculine in another.

But even if I agree and accept the statement,”Gender is a cultural construct”, my mind still gets stuck sorting it all out. I imagine it’s because our culture has put a ton of weight and importance on gender, and certainly it has affected me and everyone else in ways we probably don’t even know yet. The first question we ask of a pregnant woman: Is it a girl or a boy? (I ask it every time. It’s like I can’t help myself.) Before ultra-sounds were invented, it was the first thing said about a new person at their birth. It’s a boy! Or, It’s a girl!

We put a ton of emphasis on gender from the moment a person exists. And for many of us, our own gender is clear. We are comfortable with the gender we were assigned. We never question it. It feels right. And we assume everyone else must feel the same clarity about their assigned gender. Though we’ve learned that’s not the case at all. Not everyone feels comfortable with the gender they are assigned.

It seems to me, that since I easily identify as a women that it would be easy for me to define what it means to be female, what it means to be a woman. But instead, it’s not easy. In fact it’s kind of impossible. Anytime I try to start a statement with “Most women like [blank]“, I can’t fill it in. Most women like nail polish? Nope. Most women like dancing? Nope. Most women like babies? Nope. Most women like pink? Nope. Most women like dresses? Nope. Most women like baking? Nope. Most women like to nurture? Nope.

So is it simply about our sex organs? That doesn’t work either. If a woman has a hysterectomy, we still consider her a woman. Is it a hormone thing? Is it the hormones running through our bodies that make us feel like we’re a specific gender? Maybe. But what about the Burrneshas? Their community considers them male. They live as males. Would we insist that they are female since they don’t have certain amounts of certain hormones?

I also think back to caveman era. Was gender important then? If yes, how would cave people have defined a man or a woman? Certainly, most of our current feminine stereotypes would not apply. No makeup, no curling irons, no fashion. What stereotypes would apply? That cavewomen had babies? Okay. But what about the ones who didn’t have babies, were they still recognized as women? Did it matter?

It’s also clear that our kids are growing up with a different concept of what gender is than the binary I was raised with. From what I’ve observed, for them, gender is more fluid and less important. One of Oscar’s best friends is genderless. Oscar’s whole grade (he’s a 5th grader) knows this and accepts the fact without any worry; it will never be anything but normal to them. Which seems like a step in the right direction. But perhaps the acceptance in our school is an exception.

How about you? What are your thoughts on gender these days? Have you read anything interesting that you learned from? I’d love the link! Do you feel like your views on gender have shifted? Does your gender mean a lot to you personally? Meaning, do you strongly identify as a female or male? Will you be sad if gender lines fade in the future? If you identify as transgender, what do you wish people that are still learning about gender (that’s me!) knew? Also, does anyone disagree with me on the difficultly of defining gender? Maybe you have a definition you find to be spot on? Anything else on your mind gender-wise? I hope you’ll share!

P.S. — About 8 years ago I read the novel Middlesex. It’s excellent. And reading it was the first time I remember seriously considering the experiences of those who aren’t strictly female or male. Have you read it?

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Kharisma Studios.

When Robin bravely wrote to me and suggested a different sort of home tour, I immediately wrote back to send her a tight squeeze. I am so proud of this woman for sharing her story with us, and inviting us all into her life for the day.

This one made me cry several times, but more than that, I admire her beyond the moon. Please welcome her with your kindness, won’t you?

Hi everyone! I’m Robin. Welcome to our home.

Currently it’s just me and my husband, Mark, living in our home. I work for a large charter school network in Phoenix overseeing operations, enrollment, and reporting and compliance for the 22 schools in our network. Mark works at the Mayo Clinic as an Instrument Technician. He does all the things you don’t think about but are essential to a hospital functioning: ordering supplies, sterilizing surgical equipment, etc.

Mark is an old man living in a 30-year old’s body. On most Saturday mornings, you can find him sitting in his favorite chair, drinking his coffee and staring into space. He’s not watching TV or checking his phone; he’s just sitting and being. I, on the other hand, can’t sit still to save my life. So while he sits, I dart around attempting to cross things off my to-do list. He’s good for me; he has taught me how to enjoy life and rest. I am happiest and most at ease when I am with him.

And we should be living with our son, William Earle, who would be three months old at this point. But sadly, due to complications during his delivery (meconium aspiration) he was without oxygen for several minutes leaving him brain dead. He died peacefully in our arms at four days old. So ours is a story of when you thought you would be living with kids and suddenly you aren’t.

In the years after college, I lived in Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. And then I moved back to Phoenix. When I met and married my husband, I knew I would live in Phoenix for the rest of my life since he is a fourth generation Arizonan. And I absolutely love living in Central Phoenix so I am completely on board with this plan.

More from Robin, just ahead.

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Teen boy outfit styled with Schoola clothing. An online thrift shop with gently used clothing at bargain prices. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

Photos and text by Gabrielle. This post is brought to you by Schoola — share your favorite school memory and tag it #WhyISchoola and you could win $50 in Schoola credit. 

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Care about your school? Then this post is for you! Love thrift store bargains? Then this post is for you!

I’m delighted to introduce you to Schoola. It’s part online thrift store and part fundraising platform. You know how school programs like art and music and PE have had huge budget cuts, or been dropped altogether? Well, Schoola is focusing on saving and supporting those types of programs. When it comes to creating school budgets, “extra-curriculars” are often undervalued, but we all know that field trips and music classes and a great art program really make a big impact on the quality of our children’s education.

Teen girl outfit styled with Schoola - an online thrift shop with gently used clothing at bargain prices. Proceeds fund school art and PE programs.

This is how Schoola works: 1) Request a free donation bag. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, organize a school-wide clothing drive — any school in the contiguous US can participate! 2) Clean out your closet and fill the bag with gently used kids’ and women’s clothing. 3) Send the bag to Schoola and tell them which school you want to benefit. Oh. And the donation bag comes with a pre-paid shipping label, so there’s no shipping cost for you! 4) 40% of the proceeds from the sale of your clothing goes directly to your school to help fund programs like art, music, field trips and physical education.

Bonus step: shop Schoola, find awesome bargains, and know your clothing purchases are helping schools! Such a great way to make the most of your clothing budget.

Little girl outfit styled with Schoola - an online thrift shop. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

My #WhyISchoola memory? Well, I could share a dozen. The “extra” things that happen at school were hugely formative for me. I remember learning in a 6th grade culture class that French people ate bread and chocolate together — pain au chocolat — and being completely mystified by the idea! Hah! It’s one of my first memories where I realized that there were lots of ways to live beyond what I’d experienced so far.

I remember many years of making posters and flyers for school dances and student council assignments, of designing layouts for the middle school yearbook. Long before I’d ever heard of graphic design, which would become my area of study, and my first career, and would ultimately lead me to New York for 8 years.

I remember the whole school gathering to sing holiday songs together in elementary school, and reading the lyrics on the overhead projector. Those singing sessions are the reason I know the words to the Star-Spangled Banner and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and dozens of other songs that help make up our culture.

Little boy outfit styled with Schoola - an online thrift shop with great deals. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

Certainly, those school “extras” helped shape me as an adult. And when I think about my own kids and their future kids, I hope the “extras” no longer feel extra.

The more we study the brain, the more we learn how important these extra programs are. It seems like there are new headlines every week: Kids who learn music do better in math. Kids who learn languages do better in school overall. Kids that get moving in PE classes have better concentration.

And I know from watching my own kids, that some of the very best parts of their school day are making tiles for the art wall, singing in the school choir, and mastering the rules of kickball. Art and music and PE and fieldtrips are all hugely important to my kids and to me as a parent. I’m sure they are important to you too.

Yay for fundraising efforts that support those programs!

4th grader outfit styled with Schoola — an online thrift shop where proceeds fund school art and music programs.

Another question I had when I first heard about Schoola: What kind of clothes are on the site? Happily I have my answer now: The kind of clothes pictured here. This whole shoot was done with Schoola clothing! Really good quality second-hand pieces. And some that were brand new! In fact, I left the tags on so you could see that many pieces are unused.

I wanted the full Schoola experience, so I also donated 10 clothing items to see what that process is like. My donation will benefit my kids’ elementary school. Our school has terrific art and music and PE programs. A gardening program too! And all of those programs are completely funded by the school community. So I love supporting our school fundraising efforts in any way possible. Plus, I always love a good excuse to clean out our closets!

And this is awesome: Instead of choosing a local school, you can also choose to donate to the Malala Fund to benefit education for girls around the world! Request your donation bag here.

Check out Schoola, an online thrift shop with gently used clothing at bargain prices. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

Want to try shopping Schoola for yourself? Share a favorite memory on social media with the hashtag #WhyISchoola. Schoola will be selecting 5 winners and sending them $50 in Schoola credit!

Now I’m curious. How does your school fund art and music? PE and fieldtrips? Have your budgets been cut? Do parents fund the programs? And when you were growing up, did your schools offer enrichment programs? If yes, did you benefit from them? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — A note on the sketches of the kids: A couple of months ago, my brother-in-law, artist Paul Ferney, was hanging out at our house for the evening, and he painted quick portaits of each one of our kids. Such treasures! It’s fun to be related to talented people. : )

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A Few Things

March 18, 2016

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By Gabrielle. Ben Blair snapped the photo.

Hello, Friends! How are you? I know I mentioned it yesterday, but this week has been challenging. I am very much looking forward to wrapping it up. Apparently my work load has left me feeling very emotionally sensitive — I started laughing this morning when I realized I was getting my feelings hurt by totally innocuous emails. Hah!

How about you? Any weekend plans you’re looking forward to? We have two good things on our schedule this weekend. Tonight, Oscar and Betty are performing in their school variety show. Oscar is doing a magic show with his friend — 3 awesome tricks! Oscar does the talking, his friend does the magic. There’s some confetti involved. It’s very cute! And Betty is singing La Vie en Rose. She sings it twice — once in English and once in French, with ukelele accompaniment by Olive. We painted a paper background featuring Paris landmarks that moves behind her while she sings. The banner is 24 feet long, and you can see about 8 feet of it here. Should be fun!

Then, tomorrow is Ralph’s Eagle Court of Honor! We’re feeling super proud of him. We’re holding the event at a nearby redwood grove — cross your fingers the weather holds! — and we’ll end with a tour of the grove led by a local naturalist. I’ll try to report next week. I’m off to have the program printed, but before I go, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

- Your body language can change your life.

- The technology revolution was designed for men.

- Some babies are just easier than others.

- John Oliver on how the world celebrated International Women’s Day. (Note: language.)

If the world were 100 people.

- Denmark produced 140% of it’s electricity needs with wind power.

- Say it isn’t so! Rumor has it that Instagram is switching up our feeds from chronological to best posts first.

- I’d love your thoughts on this parenting article — “We’re Not Meant to Do It Alone.”

- Famous paintings remixed with album covers.

- The one big difference between kids who excel at math and those who don’t. Do you agree?

- Highly satisfying power-washing videos.

I hope you have a really excellent weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.

kisses,
Gabrielle

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It’s Beauty Week!

March 17, 2016

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Photos and text by Gabrielle. This post is brought to by Groupon — it’s Beauty Week at Groupon and you can find great deals on health, beauty and wellness!

There has been a whole lot of adulting at our house this week — it’s been a steady stream of school forms and budgets and photoshoots and mortgage refinance details and event planning and tax questions and general paperwork. I’m not quite sure why it’s all happening this particular week, but it’s like a perfect storm of red tape. So each evening, when we’ve powered through our responsibilities, we’ve been looking for ways to reward ourselves. (As Tom Haverford says: Treat Yo Self!)

On Monday night we went out for late night pie (it was Pi Day!). On Tuesday night, we stayed up late and watched The Godfather. What will today’s reward be? Luckily, I’ve got a few ideas. I’m working with Groupon to promote their Beauty Week. It’s happening right this minute, and there are tons of local deals to take advantage of. For example, lots of deals on massage!

Ben Blair is all about a great massage. I’m thinking I could book him this hot stone massage or maybe this Swedish massage (what is Swedish massage, by the way?). Doesn’t that seem like a pretty fabulous reward for a packed day of work?

To find your own local deals, go to Groupon and click the local tab. (My local Oakland deals are here.) While you’re checking out your local page, for sure visit the Health, Beauty and Wellness categories to find knock-your-socks off Beauty Week bargains.

Not a massage fan? Me either. (I know, I know, that’s totally weird of me.) But there are tons of other deals. Starting today, from March 17th to the 19th, the focus of Groupon’s Beauty Week is a Final Close Out Sale. What does this mean? How about 80% Off your favorite health & beauty products and services. 80% Off!!

I’ve been browsing Groupon’s product deals, and I’m thinking I could reward myself with a new bottle of Bond No. 9 (one of my favorite perfume lines). Or maybe some of my favorite French beauty supplies — like Avene Eau Thermale, and Nuxe Prodigieuse, and Bioderma Crealine H2O. Luxe beauty supplies are such a treat! And that Bioderma makeup remover is still the best I’ve ever used — so it’s practical too. : )

I’m about to wrap up this little announcement post, but I have so many questions. 1) How do you feel about massages? 2) Have you ever found a particularly awesome deal on Groupon? I have a friend who is basically a Groupon Pro — she checks in daily and finds unbelieveable bargains. 3) Do you ever have weeks like ours? When everything seems to come due at once? 4) What are your favorite ways to reward yourself after a hard day? Or put another way, what are your preferred versions of self-care? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — More on my favorite French beauty products here.

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Shamrock Pinwheel Sandwiches & Irish Green Salad for St. Patrick’s Day

By Gabrielle. Photos by Liz Berget for Design Mom

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Wishing you endless good luck today, and hoping you don’t get pinched. : )

But really, I’m curious — do you do anything special to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Historically, I’m all over the place when it comes to marking this day. Some years I’ve gotten up early to dye the milk green and surprise the kids, or made a big feast of corned beef and cabbage. Other years, I’ve sent the kids off to school in a green t-shirt and called it good! It tends to depend on how much we’ve got going on at the time. This week, we’ve got the elementary school Variety Show, plus Ralph’s Eagle Court of Honor, so St. Patrick’s Day isn’t going to get much attention from me at all.

Kid-friendly, All-Green Menu for St. Patrick's Day.

Though happily, I did remember to reach out to Liz Berget and ask her to create an all-green menu. Something kid-friendly and fun, that could be served for lunch or dinner. Since you’ve got to feed yourself and your family anyway, why not get in a celebratory mood and go all green?

All-Green Menu for St. Patrick's Day.

I feel lucky! Let’s get to eating.

Click here for the recipe and notes!

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Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

We’ve used beets to get shades of red. We’ve used onions to get shades of orange. We’ve used turmeric to get shades of yellow. We’ve used cabbage to get shades of blue. But what about greens? Did we forget about greens? Never!

Today, we’re going to mix up one batch of turmeric dye and one batch of cabbage dye, and show you how to dip eggs in both to achieve shades of green. It’s like a lesson in color theory, plus a lesson in Easter egg dyeing, all in one!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

For this finale in our natural egg-dyeing series, Amy Christie once again took the gorgeous photos, and she’s got all the tips for us too.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

Let’s get to dipping.

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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By Gabrielle.

I can tell you right now, I LOVED what I learned from this home tour. It’s like nothing I’ve really seen — although it did remind me a tiny bit of my adventurous friends at Blue Lily! — and it will most likely open your eyes to a way of living with kids you may never have considered. At least, it did for me.

Laura has a thoughtfulness and humility that just drew me right in, and I hope you feel the same way. She makes such a positive, community-strong case for her unique way of living as it applies to her and her family, so-much-so that it prompted me to stop and consider the housing trends and plans we’ve all been following as a society. Could I ever live in a Vandura with six kids? Probably not. But there’s so much more to this tour than that fact. So much more. You’ll see.

Welcome, Laura!

Hi everyone! I’m Laura. Our family is comprised of me, my partner Jeff, and our 21-month old son Henry. We are full-time musicians who play in the indie pop band Ok Vancouver Ok. We spend up to half of each year on tour driving, flying, and taking trains around the world to play concerts.

When we are not on the road we call Vancouver, Canada home. I was born and raised in this beautiful city and feel excited to watch Henry grow up here. In addition to being in a band, I work as an assistant and contributor for the award-winning Eco-parenting website The Green Mama. In between drumming and breastfeeding, I am toiling away on my laptop trying to research environmentally conscious alternatives to the often toxic trappings of parenthood.

An unconventional fact about our life is that we live in a roomy 1982 GMC Vandura that we have converted into a tiny home on wheels. We bought it on Valentine’s day last year and gut renovated it right away. The van had already been stripped of its original interior and had an after-market raised roof and cool vertical windows. The previous owners were unable to finish the renovation they had planned, and sold it to us in pretty rough shape. It was a rusty, moldy, blank slate. For 1200 Canadian dollars we figured we could gamble on it, and with some time and TLC our investment paid off.

Vans aren’t built to live in; they have little to no insulation and are filled with synthetic materials like plastic and foam. This is an indoor air quality nightmare! Our first order of business was to detoxify, insulate, and build out the interior with wood. We also laid down a new floor and built a raised platform in the back.

Totally amazing. Come look!

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Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Oh goody! I’ve got more natural egg dyeing for you today. We’ve covered using cabbage to get shades blue. We’ve covered using beets to get shades of red. And today, we’re going to use turmeric and onion to get shades of yellow and orange!

Hit the grocery store for eggs, onions and spice, and you’re all set to become a natural-dye pro.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange

Once again, Amy Christie took the gorgeous photos, and she’s got all the dyeing tips we need below.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow

Another day, another color. Let’s go!

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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A Few Things

March 11, 2016

Walton's Bentonville

Photo and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends. How are you? I am traveling home from Arkansas today. As I mentioned, this is my first visit and I wish I could see more of this gorgeous place! I’ve had a packed schedule while I was here, and I spent almost the whole time at the hotel. The good news is: the hotel is incredibly cool — part lodging, part art gallery. The other good news is that the two times I left the hotel, I also went to amazing places — a restaurant on the town square called Pressroom, and the world class Crystal Bridges museum for a dinner event.

Though I’ve loved my time here, and I’ve loved meeting the super smart, super talented people attending and putting on this event, I’m also super excited to get home to my family. Before I get on the plane, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

- This app will identify any plant from a photo.

Medically assisted suicide is now permitted in California. Do you think your state will do something similar?

- Women who changed the world.

- What it’s like to be that fat person sitting next to you on the plane.

- A call to ban homework in elementary schools.

- And another article titled Why Parents Should Not Make Kids Do Homework. Thoughts?

- Why America’s gun situation is so unique.

- Ralph’s latest short video.

- If you changed yours when you married, would you ever consider returning to your maiden name? (Related, I still LOVE the comments here.)

- David Bowie’s notebooks.

I hope you have an amazing weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.

kisses,
Gabrielle

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natural-red-dye-eggs-title

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

This is awesome! Awhile ago, there was a post here on Design Mom about how to dye eggs in a range of blues, using only cabbage. It was such a great post! Totally simple, totally doable, and filled with helpful information.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

So I was chatting with Amy Christie, and we decided to continue the series! We’ve got red today, and two more colors to share over the next week or so. I know you’re going to love these posts — and the photos are so gorgeous!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

Here’s what Amy says:

The post on blue-hue cabbage-dyed eggs from a few years ago is one of my favorite I’ve ever done. Colored eggs happen to be very photogenic. I still have all of them, minus the broken ones (I finally accepted that they would never be whole again). Now, working on the other colors of the rainbow, I am again blown away at their beauty. The hues are stunning and rich and the texture of each shell, unique. I wish I understood more about the chemistry of the egg shell to understand some of the textures and patina and spotting but since I don’t, I’ll just enjoy their beauty.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

Ready to dye? Let’s get cracking.

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Ekaterina Ivankina and Ingrid Nielsen.

Amira is an artist in Abu Dhabi, creating her vibrant work up high on the 30th floor of a skyscraper. I wondered what her daily life was like, as an artist, an expatriate, and also as a Muslim who wears the hijab. She was gracious enough to discuss it all with us!

Welcome, Amira!

My day begins at dawn. A small alarm wakes me to get up and make the morning prayer. This is the first of the five prayers we will pray that day, and it is the shortest. It takes less than one minute sometimes and getting out of bed so early to prepare and make it on time, many days feels rough. After that, the sun begins to rise.

We live in a 60-story skyscraper in one of Abu Dhabi’s islands. On the 30th floor, the view is usually breathtaking. The ceiling-to-floor windows throughout our corner bedroom gives us this near-panoramic view of the city, and I draw so much energy from watching the sun rise over the waters and lighting up the terrain. I usually sit on the floor for a few, then do some meditation or journaling. I’ve been trying to be more intentional about my mornings because I tend to get really anxious at the start of the day.

For me, it’s the tug of business matters or social media. So I try and leave this for the middle of my day. I move into my rituals, lighting an incense or candle, making a pot of green tea, and then I head into my studio, which is a converted spare bedroom. I feel such peace in this room, and I love to paint as early as possible. I will break in a new canvas or do a few exercises on paper, often working on the floor with a podcast playing in the background. I feel like the freshness of the morning allows me to take greater risks in my work with no attachment to the end result. I’m just so entranced with the process and humbled that I get to do this for a living.

Compelling thoughts and colors, straight ahead!

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target-pillowfort-design-mom01

Photos and text by Gabrielle. This post is brought to you by TargetStyle. Shop the new Home collection in stores and online.

What a treat! Last week, Target stores stocked a brand new home goods line called Pillowfort, and I’m feeling super lucky that I get to introduce it to you today. It’s adorable and you may have already seen it — my closest store has two full aisles (and the pieces are even cuter in person than they are online).

The idea behind the new label is a focus on products that will excite kids and parents to design together with ease and confidence. The line includes bedding and lamps and wall art and stuffed toys and throw pillows and bins and on and on. There are nearly 1200 pieces in all! Pillowfort features 12 collections and each one speaks to a different kind of kid — think adventurers, creators, and dreamers. You can stick to one collection, or you can mix and match pieces and inspiration from any of the twelve, to combine your taste with your kid’s style.

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To introduce the new line to you, I decided to create a sweet little space in a corner of the family room. I started by exploring all the Pillowfort collections, and I was especially drawn to the hanging canopies in the Discovery Den collection and the Marvelous Manor collection.

We’ve never brought a canopy into the house before, but I love the idea of them — I think any kind of fort/hideaway/secret spot is incredibly appealing to kids. I thought it would be fun to hang the canopy in the family room, and then later it might be cute over a bed. The tiny puffball detailing on the edges is terrific and I knew June would gasp at such a pretty sight.

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Once I decided on the dip-dye canopy, I started thinking of an overall color scheme. I decided to focus on the minty-turquoise in the canopy, and use a peachy-coral for the other main color. Then I accented with small touches of brown, yellow and navy. I didn’t even attempt to stay with one particular collection! I walked up and down the aisles and mixed and matched to my heart’s content.

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For additional turquoise pieces, I pulled a blanket and pouf from our closet, and then added the wire wall art from Pillowfort that says One Of A Kind. It’s adorable and just begs to have sweet little garlands hung from it.

target-pillowfort-design-mom04 target-pillowfort-design-mom17

For peachy-coral, I added this canvas toy bin and this throw pillow. The bin is so practical — an easy way to move toys from the canopy area to any other spot in the family room.

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And the pillow is beautiful. It’s well made, and the tiny puffball edging coordinates with the edging on the canopy.

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For brown, I added this happy stuffed bear. (Oscar thinks it’s more of an oversized groundhog.) This bear is just the right size to be both a buddy and a pillow.

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Last of all, I brought in this Pillowfort wire basket with navy details. I alway love an oversize basket! They are perfect for piling in blankets and pillows and other cozy items when we’re straitening up the room.

The pieces came together in such a fun way. And one thing I especially loved is that it was easy to accent the space with items we already own because the Pillowfort style works perfectly with the current aesthetic in our home.

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Once I had collected all the pieces, June helped me put the little corner together. It was wonderful to see her eyes light up as we hung the canopy. Immediately, she started bringing items into the space — books and toys for the bin — to make herself at home. She adores the little hideaway and was happy to spend an afternoon ready books and resting — with Mr. Bear as a pillow.

If you’re in the mood to redesign your child’s bedroom, or the play area in your house, I know you’ll find lots of inspiration in the Pillowfort line. Think of it as a great tool to help you work with your kids to design a space you’ll both love!

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By Gabrielle.

All you really need to know about Rachael is that she’s one of those wildly entertaining writers who might make you laugh out loud a few times throughout her interview. She’s real and aims to live a debt-free life in her detoxed home. You’re going to enjoy this one, I just know it.

Welcome, Rachael!

Hi everyone! I’m Rachael, also known as Faye, which is my middle name and the name I use for my blog, From Faye). I live in Northern California with my husband David and three little girls. On a normal day, you can find me around the house sweeping up sparkles from princess dresses and bribing my girls with gummy bears to pose for Instagram. I’m a fangirl of Peet’s coffee, high-waisted leggings, and clogs with socks. I grew up in small-town Kansas and migrated to Atlanta when I was eighteen, so I’m an all-American hybrid of West Coast, Midwestern, and deep South.

David is a web developer who works from our home office. He taught himself to program in the 90s and started his web business in a simpler time when all anyone ever wanted was a flaming logo on their home page. Before we dated, he rented a room in my parents’ basement and probably removed about 357 viruses from our family PC while he was there.

One day he started writing me funny emails, which made me fall love with him rather unexpectedly. I did the natural thing and freaked out, avoided him for seven months, and made plans to move to another state. He persisted rather unfruitfully until a mutual friend kindly sat me down and told me I WAS ACTING A FOOL. I realized she was right and told her she could be in our wedding. And she was, nine months later.

Our oldest daughter K.K. is four. She’s our social butterfly who loves to draw detailed pictures and puts together 100-piece jigsaws like a preschool puzzle genius. I frequently find her engineering things like skates from string and toy trains, or making space ships from my Amazon boxes.

Our middle daughter Liberty is three. She is sensitive and nurturing. Her favorite thing to do is pick me bouquets of clover and eat Chipotle Tabasco sauce on everything. Her throwing-up-at-two-am cry sounds exactly like her I-can’t-find-my-pink-tutu cry, so that keeps our adrenaline levels nice and elevated on a regular basis. Bless her.

Evelyn is our baby. She’s nine months old and is pretty easy-going as long as she is sitting in the very center of whatever her sisters are doing at all times. She enjoys eating bits of carpet and being our tiny human vacuum. She’s at the most squeezable, sniffable stage of babyhood. I spend half my day nuzzling her soft head and whispering fervent prayers that her wrist chub takes extra long to turn into a regular wrist.

Lots more to see! Come look!

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Muir Woods Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photo snapped by Olive Blair.

Oh my. This year seems to be stuck on fast forward. I could swear I just wrote a random thoughts post last week, but it’s been over a month! So here is March’s installment. Feel free to share your own random thoughts in the comments.

1) I have a hair appointment today. I’m not doing anything new, just getting it trimmed to it’s original pixie length, but because of the appointment, I suppose hair is on my mind. I’ve had this cut for a couple of months now, and interestingly, I think people react to me much differently with this change to short hair, compared to the reactions I received when I switched from long dark hair to long blonde hair.

Probably the most memorable reaction was a man at the gym. Ben Blair and I work on weights together whenever we can, and the first time we went to the gym when I was sporting my new haircut, a man approached Ben and said, “I can’t believe you let her cut her hair!”

Oh my. I was standing right there, working with some weights, and I was totally speechless. It had never occurred to me for even a second to ask Ben for “permission” to cut my hair. Hah! It made me wonder, do you have someone in your life who has strong opinions about your hair? Someone you feel like would need to “let you” cut your hair?

The second thing is that strangers are super chatty with me now. Not sure what it is, but many, many more people start up conversations with me when I have this pixie cut, compared to when I had long hair (dark or light). Have you ever experienced something like that? Different reactions from strangers when you have a new haircut?

2) Also related to hair, I’ve noticed I’m much more diligent about wearing makeup and earrings with this hair cut, and I’ve been wearing more black. As it happens, I cleaned out my closest — Kon Mari-style — a couple days before I decided to get the pixie. And now I wonder: would I have kept different things if I had cleaned the closet after the cut? Would they have sparked joy?

One last hair thought: my daily maintenance has gone way, way down time-wise. But my intermittent maintenance (think cut and color), have gone way up. Yes, I no longer need blowouts, or spend much daily time on my hair. But, I can’t push a hair appointment to 6 weeks or longer. I have to go every 3 to 4 weeks. No skipping!

3) Tomorrow, I’m headed to Bentonville, Arkansas for work. I’ll be there till Friday. I’ve never been to Arkansas before and I’m hoping I’ll get to do at least a little bit of sight-seeing while I’m there. Do you live there? Or have you ever visited? When you only have a little bit of time do you have a sight-seeing strategy? I won’t have a car, so I’m thinking I’ll hire a taxi/uber and take a little driving tour.

4) Today is Ben Blair’s birthday. To celebrate, we’re going to see the Warriors play! We won two tickets at the elementary school auction for tonight’s game. When I realized the tickets were for a game on Ben’s birthday, I was vigilant in checking back on the auction to make sure we hadn’t been outbid. Hah! Do you follow basketball? I haven’t paid attention for years, but living in Oakland, it’s pretty easy to become a big fan of Steph Curry.

5) I’m loving the rain this week! We have skylights in several places in this house, and the rain pitter-pattering on the glass as we fall asleep is pretty darn wonderful. If it was freezing, I’m sure I wouldn’t love the rain so much, but the temperature has been pretty mild, and we all know we need the rain here in California, so it’s easier to be patient with a week’s worth of soggy days.

6) Related, we need to get our gutters cleaned. The rain has them overflowing! I’ve never had this done before and I’ve never done it myself. I was wondering why it is I’ve never had to deal with clogged rain gutters, but growing up in St. George, we didn’t get much rain, and we didn’t have a ton of trees providing leaves that would clog the gutters, so it wasn’t part of my growing up at all. And since then, I suppose we haven’t lived anywhere with a ton of trees.

But in this yard, with so many trees, and leaves that fall year round instead of seasonally, I can see clogged gutters are inevitable! Ours even have mesh over them to prevent the leaves from getting in, but it doesn’t always work. : ) I’ll make a phone call today and see what I can learn. I really have no idea what to expect on either pricing or timing, so I’m curious. It’s not a big deal, it’s just something I’ve never done before so I’m thinking about it. A little reminder that each house is individual and has it’s own needs and quirks.

Have you ever had to clear your gutters? Did you DIY it, or hire it out? Any advice?

7) We are in the process of refinancing our mortgage and going from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan. The paperwork is killing me — when you’re self-employed, there are always extra layers of red tape. Nothing big to report here, just another thing on my mind.

8) Are you over political discussions at this point? Avoiding Facebook? Politically, I try hard to make sure my Facebook feed is representative of the actual people and viewpoints in my life. I have lots of both republicans and democrats in my life, people that I love, and I want to make sure I’m hearing from both sides when I’m online. I grew up with a democrat dad and a republican mom, plus, I’ve voted both republican and democrat myself over the years, so it’s normal to me to converse with people of different viewpoints. It’s less normal (and harder for me to understand) for me when I meet someone who only votes republican, or only votes democrat.

But the interesting thing about this particular election cycle, is that no one in my Facebook feed is pro-Trump. Not a single person. Or if they are, they aren’t vocal about it. Based on the poll numbers, it seems like I should be seeing quite a bit of pro-Trump, so now I’m realizing my Facebook friends aren’t as politically diverse as I’d previously thought. Not sure what to conclude from that. Mostly just fascinated.

I think that’s it for now. Please feel free to respond to anything here, or bring up your own topic. I always love hearing what’s on your minds!

 P.S. — I post my random thoughts each month. You can find them all here.

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A Few Things

March 4, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.40.57 AM

Photo and text by Gabrielle.

Hello, Friends. How are you? Has it been a good week? We got back from the funeral in Utah on Monday afternoon. It was a really good funeral. I feel like I should report on it, but part of me doesn’t want to — I’m still holding it in my head and heart and thinking about what I heard and learned. It’s like I’m feeling protective of those memories — related, I realized I’ve been taking a bit of a social media break as well.

But if I set aside the mourning, it’s been a good week. A few highlights: Maude had a jazz band concert at Yoshi’s on Monday night. Yoshi’s is a famous Oakland club and it’s very cool that she got to play there. One of the toilet’s broke on Monday night too, but Ben Blair fixed it in a flash. Because he’s awesome like that. Oscar and Betty tried out for the school variety show on Tuesday afternoon. Betty sung La Vie en Rose in English and French. Oscar did a magic show with his friend.

More highlights: The Teachur kickstarter ended on Tuesday — over-funded! I feel so grateful to you, because I know many readers supported the project with pledges and by sharing the link. Thank you! I’m super excited to see Teachur grow and develop. In fact, Ben Blair is presenting on Teachur at a Blockchain conference next week! We also got to visit the new house of my brother Jared and his wife Liz (of Say Yes) on Tuesday, who just moved from San Francisco to Oakland. (Three cheers for even closer cousins!) And we won “A Year of Pies” at the school auction and the first pie was picked up this morning — banana cream.

Even more highlights: We tackled some mold on our bathroom ceiling, which we were worried about, but it turned out to be a very easy cleanup — the trickiest part was maneuvering the ladder in the small space. : ) Ben Blair’s brother Jim is staying at our house for a few days. Jim is enthusiastic about life in general and he’s always fun to hang out with. My mom arrives this afternoon and she’ll stay for the weekend too. Yay for visits from Grandma! Starting today, a full week of rain is predicted — always a good thing in drought ridden California.

And the last highlight? Today is Maude’s 17th birthday! We all got a bit teary when we realized this was her last year of childhood. I can’t think about it or I’ll start crying again — but I can tell you that it’s really delightful to be the parent of Maude Blair.

See what I mean? It was a good week and it’s shaping up to be a good weekend. I hope the same is true for you! I’m off to wrap some birthday gifts, but before I head out, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- What if you could live 60% longer?

- How we hand down stereoptypes.

- Yes! A ban on slave-produced goods.

- Why it’s so expensive to be poor.

- Ever heard of hay-bale gardening?

- The time to stop using the r-word is long overdue.

- Single by choice.

- An essay on assisted suicide and right-to-die laws.

- Curriculum for white Americans to educate themselves on race and racism.

- Hah! I have both sent and received many of these emails. (Warning: some cussing.)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.

kisses,
Gabrielle

P.S. — Did you see Blye Faust win the Oscar?! I was funeraling on Sunday night, so I watched it on delay and didn’t find out till Tuesday. So fun to have her here on Design Mom just days before!

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