One of the most fun things I did last year was to sum up some cool parts of our family’s life as part of the iHomeschool Network’s 10 * in * 10 series, where we shared some top-10 lists each week in the spring.
I’m thrilled to be taking part again this year with some new topics and some changes in my own mindset and experiences to share!
This week, a bunch of us are talking about 10 little things that brighten our days.
I could probably list 1,000 of those if I had the time – but I decided today to focus on the 10 little things that come up on some of my busiest days, the ones where I’m juggling multiple freelance jobs, being an engaged mom to Ashar, being a good wife to Chris, being a good daughter, keeping up with a large house, practicing tae kwon do and generally trying not to freak out.
Oh, wait, that’s all the days. 😉
1. Inbox zero
This is not a little thing that makes my day. It’s a BIG thing that makes my day!
I am definitely a fan of inbox zero and getting rid of digital clutter. I generally operate with just a few things stacked up in each of my inboxes, but a really good day is one where I get to see the scene above.
No email in the inbox. It feels so good! (If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it, even if you just do it by dropping everything into a folder or label and working forward from there.)
2. Ashar at the computer beside me
On my busiest days of freelancing, I might be on the computer for 90% of my waking hours.
Ashar’s passion is gaming – Minecraft and Warcraft especially – and on the days where I can’t be as engaged as I truly want to be in her world, I still have the joy of being able to sit beside her, hear her conversations via Skype with her friends around the world, and be able to glance over and celebrate with her when she levels up a character or creates something new.
Even our “least connected” days are light-years ahead of the days when she went to school all day.
3. An empty sink
This very much comes from the FlyLady devotee in me. We have four people in our family, three of whom spend most of their time inside our house, and, yeah, the dishes can really pile up quick!
When I walk into the kitchen and see that the dirties are in the dishwasher instead of the sink, I want to do a big ol’ happy dance.
And even when the family has allowed Dish Chaos to ensue and I’m left to sort it out, it makes me feel good when I do get it back to shiny-sink status, for however brief of a time!
4. Cuddles and head-butts from my kitties
We have five cats. There really isn’t any day that isn’t made better by one of them rubbing against my leg, jumping on my lap or generally just being cute.
Also, when I get REALLY overwhelmed, I just find Mitts, our fat and furry polydactyl cat, and squeeze him like this:
That always works.
5. A balanced checkbook
Can you tell from many of the items on this list that I like things just so? I’m definitely that way about our finances.
When the checkbook is balanced, I’m happy. When it’s not, just ask Chris how quickly I “Hulk out.”
It just feels good to know that I have a handle on our finances. A balanced checkbook helps me feel confident in that.
6. Family dinnertime
In our house, it’s been a longtime thing that, for whoever is home, we generally eat together. It’s often but not always at the table, and while we almost always have a dinner planned, it’s not a requirement – if someone doesn’t like it, they’re welcome to have something else.
It’s not the food or the table that make it important. It’s our chance to all be doing something together. Sometimes it’s watching movies in the living room with takeout on our laps. But it’s most awesome when it involves all of us, because often Chris has to miss out because of work!
7. Bedtime reading
I’ve mentioned before that there is very little we do on a given day that looks like what most people think of as school.
The funny thing is, the one thing we do without fail is probably also the most schoolish, though we don’t do it for that reason and, in fact, did it even before we started homeschooling!
We read aloud pretty much every night before bed, as a family. There are days where this is the only time all day I’m not doing some kind of “work,” either for pay or around the house, and it refreshes me in a way I can barely put into words. It can range from about 20 minutes to 2 hours, and it is the best way I can think of to finish a day.
8. Nice blog and Facebook comments
Everyone who comments here? You make my day. Reading kind words on Facebook makes my day. It’s just nice to know that the Internet can be a vehicle to drop a quick “hey, I’m thinking of you” or “thanks for sharing this” to a friend across the country or the world.
And, generally, when I get a kind comment, I try to make sure to go leave a kind comment for someone else as kind of a “pay it forward.” I like that!
9. Beating a level of Candy Crush
I admit that most of this list is fairly trivial stuff, but this one has to win the award for absolutely most pointless.
I feel good about myself when I win a Candy Crush level.
It’s like a whole big sense of accomplishment, as if I’ve actually performed some task of value.
I am only slightly ashamed to admit this.
C’mon, we all have our “mindless” fun, right?
10. My husband’s “just because” emails
I got very used to working in the same office as my husband for 50+ hours a week. Although we didn’t sit within sight of each other, it was neat to see him and catch a smile in passing in the lunchroom, or at the copier, or in a meeting. And even when I didn’t see him, it was comforting to know he was there.
It was hard to adjust to working from home in a lot of ways, not the least of which is that I don’t have my best friend here.
So when he sends me emails throughout the day, just links to neat articles I might want to read, or notes about our evening plans, or even “I love you” reminders, it feels like we’re working together again, and I love it!
We’re also linking up today to Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings. Whether you’re sharing your Top 10 questions people ask you, or a Top Ten list on any other topic, I’d love for you to link up and to check out the other blogs that have, too!
And don’t forget to check out my previous Top Ten Tuesday posts, if you’ve missed them.