Sonoma Coast

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Ready for a rambling post? Things I am feeling and thinking today:

– I love my life! I can’t believe how lucky I am. This marriage, these kids, this work, this house — so much joy to be found in this life I’m living. I’m feeling a huge dose of gratitude at the moment, and I’ve been feeling it ever since we’ve had our family back together again. I’ve got this sort of non-stop awareness going on of how precious this time in my life is. Feeling good!

– Related, holy moly I’m excited for 2015! Our family calendar is filling up with really good stuff. And so is my editorial calendar. I have lots of ambitious goals, possibly overly ambitious. But I don’t mind. It gives me something to shoot for.

– As I went through my inbox this morning, it struck me how amazing it is to be the receiver of stories. My inbox holds treasures. Treasures written by YOU. I read your emails filled with stories of encouragement and sadness and frustration and discovery and questions and excitement and laughter, and I’m moved at the strength and compassion of human beings. And I want MORE! One of my 2015 goals is to make some video interviews of the amazing women in this community.

I’m picturing the experiences shared in the house tours and birth stories, but in person, from the mouth of the storyteller. I’ve had the chance to interview some truly outstanding people in my life, and I find it so satisfying. I really love talking to people! My vision for these interview videos is only partly formed, so I look forward to seeing what comes to fruition.

– Speaking of video, I also like the idea of more casual vlogging interspersed with the more produced videos (read: Olive Us) that we make. Like one of my discussion blog posts, but in video form. Speaking conversationally in front of camera would be very new to me, and perhaps it won’t be a good fit, but I’ve been thinking about this long enough that at this point, I’m like, why not give it a try? So I’m definitely working on video in 2015.

– As I was making goals, I also thought a lot about contributors for this site. You may remember that one of my first posts in 2014 announced that I was no longer going to have contributors on Design Mom, and that decision was well received. The conversations over the last year have been terrific and I loved feeling like the blog was my own again!

But I can’t help feeling like I’m missing some big potential for this website by remaining the sole author. The name of the site, Design Mom, is bigger than me. It’s a big enough idea that I don’t think it should belong to only one voice. Over the years, I’ve used this platform to build the careers of talented women, and offer opportunities to all sorts of people. And I’ve missed that this past year. So I’m thinking and thinking and trying to figure out a solution that would allow more voices here, without alienating the readers who come here to hear from me specifically. I don’t have this figured out at all. But it’s on my mind for 2015. Isn’t there a way? I think yes.

– Related, I’m committing to redesign the site this year. It’s time for a refresh. I would love to have a new site design that launches at the same time my book comes out. It’s a goal I’m shooting for.

– We did a ton in The Treehouse in 2014. There was a front porch makeover including a new front door. We finished the living room. We created a colorful reading loft with DIY crate shelves. The boys’ room was totally redone — we even had to move a wall. A fresh canvas was created in the girls’ room and I’m almost done with the details in there. In the yard, we made the swing installation and a Mother’s Day hideaway. We created a music nook in the family room, and added new flooring in the office and family room. But I’ve only shared finished photos of about half of what we’ve done. So this year, I want to post some room tours. I’m thinking of the girls bedroom (that will happen this month!), the family room, and the home office. I’m working on a little bathroom refresh to share next week as well.

– Beyond sharing these, I’d love to “finish” this house. I laugh as I type this, because I know our home as an ever changing work-in-progress, so I’m not sure what I even mean by “finished”. But probably I mean a few big projects — the things I sort of apologize for when I showing friends the house. The master bedroom and bath needs some big work. The yard needs a jump start. And I would love to finish some overall details like interior door knobs. That would leave the kitchen as the last big remodel, and it’s working well enough as is, that I think it can wait until 2016. Though who knows. Maybe I’ll have a big burst of remodeling energy and get it all done this year!

– We love to travel and did a bunch in 2014. We did some nearby trips like Big Sur and Sequoia National Park. There were a couple of trips to L.A., and work trips to D.C., New York, and Salt Lake City. We took a three week epic road trip in the summer. Olive went to France with her school. And later, Ralph and Olive went to France as exchange students! Lastly, Ben Blair and I took a fantastic trip to Sweden as well. I’m definitely excited for more travel in 2015! We are still trying to figure out our travel calendar, but we re-watched Walter Mitty on Christmas Day, and it always gets me looking up plane tickets and craving an adventure. Let’s pack our bags!

– Happily, we already have some amazing trips happening this very month. On Sunday, Ralph and Ben Blair are headed to Haiti to help Haiti Partners launch their English-teaching program. We’re hugely excited about this! And I’m working up a separate post with more details.

– And next week, Maude and I will travel to Washington D.C.. Maude is one of 15 fifteen-year-olds to come to D.C. on the January 15th, 2015 for the ACTION/2015 event. Such an honor to be invited! I’ll write about more about this in a separate post as well.

– There will also be a trip to Salt Lake City for Alt Summit this month (of course!). Ralph, Maude & Olive will be traveling with me. Such a treat to have kids that are old enough to help out at the conference.

– One of the biggest events for me in 2015 is that my book will be published. What a project his has been! In fact, today is a big book day for me. I receive the “third pass” today and will be sending in any changes/edits by tomorrow. So the book is on my mind like crazy. I’m also shaking my head at myself because somehow my final book deadlines and my Alt Summit deadlines have ended up happening at the same time. Which makes this month quite ridiculous. Hah!

My publisher is discussing a book tour with me and I’m so excited! I will for sure be sharing updates when I know more.

– This goal is more personal, but I want to put my financial life in order in 2015. There have been lots of years where I felt organized and on top of things on the financial front, but in 2013 and 2014 I kept ignoring my basic budgeting tasks and book keeping tasks and now things are messier than they should be. So it’s time to get serious about tidying up.

I get lots of questions about this sort of thing — readers wanting to have discussions about financial organization and budgeting strategies. So perhaps I can create some helpful content as I put things in order.

– This last goal scares me the most, because I’m unsure how to accomplish it, but if I share it publicly, maybe it will be the spark I need to figure it out. The goal: I want to get the French Cottage livable. And that’s no small thing. There is currently no bathroom or kitchen! Can you see why I’m intimidated? We’ll see what I can figure out.

With all this looking forward, I’m also thinking fondly about 2014. It was a good, big year for us. As I mentioned above, we completed lots of house renovations. We hosted 3 exchange students, and sent two of our kids off as exchange students. We traveled. We worked. We went to school. We made ourselves at home in Oakland.

I talked about feeling gratitude at the beginning of this post, and it’s true — I have been bursting with gratitude lately. And I have to say, a major chunk of that gratitude is directed toward you, and to this community as a whole. This is a remarkable group of people! The conversations that happen here are good and important. I can’t thank you enough for joining in the way you do. Thank you.

Here’s to another great year!

Now it’s your turn. (And if you made through all of those ramblings, you deserve a gold sticker!) I’d love to hear what’s on your mind today. Any projects you are working on this year? What are you most looking forward to? What are you most intimidated by? And is there anything in particular you’d like to see happen on Design Mom this year? I hope you chime in!