Robots + Manners

For Christmas, the kids gave Ben Blair an Alexa. It’s the first home digital assistant we’ve tried — though, now that I think about it, our iPhones have Siri, so I guess Alexa isn’t technically our first.

We’ve never been big Siri users, but we’ve found we use Alexa quite a bit — mostly for playing music and setting timers.

The kids tease me because I tend to use please and thank you when talking to Alexa. “Hey Alexa, would you please set a timer for 45 mins?” Alexa confirms, and then without missing a beat I might reply, “Thanks Alexa, I appreciate that.” Sometimes I find myself complimenting her. “Thank you Alexa, that’s exactly what I needed. Good job.”

I’m not trying to be obnoxious, it’s just the force of habit — I’ve been saying please and thank you in these types of simple interactions my whole life.

Keep reading for a somewhat silly somewhat serious discussion.

Living With Kids: Sasha Chriss

What first caught my attention about Sasha’s story was the brilliant business that she and a friend started. Sasha lives in Silicon Valley, where house prices are high and a lot of people are renters and don’t have the option to tear down a wall, or redo the cabinets, or even repaint. So Sasha is a designer that specializes in helping people decorate their rentals. The perfect pillow, a great lamp, or a piece of art can really transform a room and you’ll see that as you wander through Sasha’s home. She really has an eye for interesting pieces. She also shares her wonderful perspective on parenting and raising rambunctious kids in a beautiful, but kid friendly home. Welcome, Sasha!

There are so many great details around every corner. Keep reading!

Two Recent Podcast Interviews


Happy President’s Day! My kids don’t have school today, but I’ve got a full day of phone calls and meetings. So far they’ve brought me a plate of gingersnaps, and a plate of no-bake cookies, so I’m going to assume they are having a fabulous time on their day off.

Speaking of no school, Oakland teachers are striking on Thursday. It’s a big deal and we’ll be joining the picket lines and supporting any way we can. We don’t know how long the strike will last, but we’ve been watching the teacher strikes in L.A. and Denver to learn what we can.

But really, this post is to let you know about two recent podcast interviews that just went live last week:

Click here for both.

A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? How was your week? We had lots of fun things this happening this week. June’s pinewood derby car — shaped like the Eiffel Tower — was the third fastest of the night, and awarded the prize for “most ooh-la-la.” We had a sweet and simple Valentine’s Day breakfast for the kids yesterday morning. And last night, Attorney Olive Blair, argued her mock trial case for the last time.

How about you? Do you have a 3-day weekend ahead of you? Are you still in the middle of an intense winter? I’m looking forward to the weekend. I like working on email on Saturday or Sunday because my inbox stays quiet and it feels like I’m making progress. (When I tackle a lot of email during the week, people respond immediately — which is totally understandable — but I end up with more messages than I started with. Hah!) 

In the mood for some good weekend reading? Here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

Fourteen links for you to enjoy.

When Your Kids Sue You For Giving Birth To Them

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a very un-valentine-sy topic. Last week, a headline caught my eye: Indian man to sue parents for giving birth to him.

You might think it’s an Onion article, but it’s actually for real, reported by the BBC. And I knew it was real the moment I read the headline because I’ve definitely had similar thoughts. Not that I’ve ever thought of suing my parents, just that I’ve thought many times that it’s pretty dang unfair that we bring kids to Earth and they have no say in the matter — no say in where they are raised, how they are raised, who they are raised by. I mean life can be miserable, and I think there are a whole lot of people who probably wouldn’t have opted in if they’d had the choice.

I enjoyed the article and hope you read it. You may be surprised to hear that the man suing his parents actually has a great relationship with them. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Come discuss with me!



Design Mom is all about the intersection of design and motherhood. I'm Gabrielle Blair (some people call me Gabby), a designer and mother of six. I think you're going to love reading Design Mom.

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