Tiny Tweaks

by Abby on October 13, 2014

This September marked some changes in our house. Big changes: my youngest child started full-day school for the first time ever. And little changes: I’m getting up earlier to get everyone out the door on time. Before, Riley and I could stay in our PJs till Dad and Miles cleared out, then enjoy a leisurely breakfast and some PBS Kids before preschool. Now, it’s a mad dash to get everyone up, fed, dressed, packed up, and off to school on time. And every! single! day! it’s like a scavenger hunt for the water bottles and car keys.

Getting up an hour earlier may not seem like a big deal to some people. But can I just tell you how much I am NOT a morning person? For about a week I thought I was. I had this self-congratulatory blog post all ready to go about how I was making the kids pancakes on a Tues. morning before school. Look at me! Early-Rising Supermom! Alas, it didn’t last. I still have to drag myself out of my cozy bed most mornings.

I’m attempting to make that easier with Tweak #2: my morning walk. I read somewhere that natural sunlight helps you wake up. So I started taking the dog for a walk every morning. The dog is in heaven, and even I have to grudgingly admit that fresh air and Pandora on my earbuds is a better way to start the day than checking my email and drinking coffee standing up. I still do that – only AFTER I’ve gotten dressed and gone for a walk outside. I like taking pictures, like these:

dog in morning light

pink rose and wooden fence

But the biggest change I’ve made is switching the location of my home office. Until recently, I was working at a desk in the corner of my bedroom. As much as I’ve always advocated the need for freelancers and other work-at-home types to keep their work and home life separate — to the point where I rented office space before I was married and had kids — it’s not always feasible. A combination of necessity and practicality, plus a second kid, meant that I had to move out of my home office and into my bedroom. I would still take being squashed into a corner next to piles of laundry and an unmade bed over a windowless cubicle any day, but it’s not ideal.

Now that my boys share a room — yay for bunk beds! — I was able to move back into the home office guest room nursery home office again. I love this room. It’s still the same shade of green, and has the softest rug in the house. It has great light, too. The Babar pictures have made way for photos and the Dr. Seuss quote. (The home office doubles as the reading room.) But still, I felt like something was missing.

So I went through the prolific stack of kids’ artwork that’s been piling up over the past year or two – and yes, threw out a ton of it – and chose a few of my favorites to frame and hang on the wall:

some of my kids' artwork

They make me happy, and the boys enjoy seeing their masterpieces displayed. (Note: Miles did nix a self-portrait he’d done in first grade. “Ugh! That is SO BAD, Mom. Throw it away!” said my talented artiste about his early work. Tough critic. P.S. I didn’t throw it away.)

And, in a shocking turn of events, I framed some of MY work. Why should the crayon artists get all the glory? It hasn’t made it up on the wall yet, but framed and propped is better than lost and forgotten, right?

some of my framed work

A morning walk, a new view, some picture frames — tiny tweaks that made a big difference in my work-at-home life. Have you ever made small shifts that yielded big results?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen Basi October 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I love hearing about your tweaks. Although I’m a bit, uh, stunned that the sun is up that early. You must be farther east in your time zone than we are, because it’s already sort of gloomy twilight when the boys leave for school in the morning. I’d love to have a room like yours, too. Not happening anytime soon, though. But I like the idea of framing their art and yours. Might have to try that for our office.


Angie Mizzell October 18, 2014 at 12:43 am

I keep thinking I want to do the same thing. I love our living room which doubles as my home office, but there’s no door and Cate’s always digging around in the desk. Now that my boys share a room (bunk beds too!) I think I’d like the new guest room to double as my home office. We’ll see. But a door would be lovely 🙂


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