DAY IN THE LIFE 07: CHRISTINA OSTROWSKI

I'm so excited for today's post because I'm sharing a day in the life of a dear friend, Christina Ostrowski. Christina and I met at a former job about 6 years ago. We worked together for about two years, but even after we parted ways in our work life, our friendship remained. She's the friend who will tell you her opinion, even if it's not what you want to hear. She's the dose of reality you need when you're in your own head too much. Sometimes the truth hurts, but we need it, and Christina is a great friend because she gives it to you in a supportive way. 


Hi there! I am Christina Ostrowski, I am married to Justin and am mom to two boys, Jack (6) and Jonah (3) and a fur baby Nila (7). I have a day job as a Graphic Designer for U.S. Bank, as well as my passion project business, O Creative Concepts, where I photograph and design for all moments of life. (Shameless plug alert – check me out at www.ocreativeconcepts.com and lets see if we can work together! Follow me on Instagram and Like me on Facebook) I also volunteer for a lovely dog rescue organization, Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota. I love fashion and am a jewelry junky. Like all of you, my days are busy. I chose to document a Thursday, because on Thursdays, we don’t have any evening activities, so it’s much slower and easier for me to track. 

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5:00 – 6:30 am: My alarm goes off at 5 am. I usually hit snooze once. In those 9 minutes (iPhone's snooze time) I plan my outfit in my head. I also run through things waiting for me at work and things I have to get done for the house/family before I head out the door. I PLAN to get out the door by 6:15 am, to make the 6:29 am bus to Downtown Minneapolis. If I am on time, I am usually at work by 6:50 am. Now, this hasn’t happen for a while… and you will know why in a bit.

It takes me about 10 minutes to put on my make up, and 5-10 minutes for my hair. This hair thing was a huge time-suck for me, but finally I bought a good hair straightener (A Chi Air), and it changed my mornings! If I hit snooze more than once, my hair is either in a top bun or in a braid. Thank God for this trend!

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While I make my morning coffee, I write a note to my boys. This is my touch point with them since I don’t see them until the evening (I hear they love reading them). Today, on the note, I remind Jack to wear his jacket during recess; I remind Jonah to be a good listener at daycare. I tell them to be kind and make good decisions. My husband, bless his heart, does the morning routine and drop off. I check our meal/activity board – today is left over day, so I have nothing to do for dinner, but other days, I will put something in the crock-pot or take something out of the freezer. Then I grab my breakfast and lunch from the fridge, make sure Nila has food and water for the day. As I am putting my shoes on, I see a little face by the stairs. It’s Jonah. This is why I haven’t made the 6:29 bus in a while. One of the boys will be up, and will desperately need mom.

Jonah is potty training, so I take him to the bathroom. He takes care of business. I give him a little something to eat (because he is always starving), and now Jack is also up, so we have a conversation about him playing football in the evening after his homework is done It’s 6:30 am and now I'm running late. I say quick good-bye and run out the door.

6:45 – 7:20 am: Drive to metro station and get on the bus. Once on the bus, I take out my phone to catch up on current events, politic and social media. (If I need to post Instagram for business, this is when I do it.) About half way through the ride, I put away my phone. This is my morning zen moment. I look at the faces in the bus, the traffic, the billboards. I just sit there for a while and take in the world around me.

7:20 – 3:45 pm: Work. Work. Work. I work with a very talented group of people. There are good conversations and laughs. The workday goes by fast. Today is a lunch-at-the-desk kind of a day. Marketing/design emergencies pop out of nowhere.  

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3:45 – 4:30 pm: Get on the bus. During the bus ride, I respond to emails and clean out my inbox. Then I read my book. I have been known to fall asleep in the bus while reading. Yes, I am sometimes that lady.

4:30 – 5:15 pm: Drive home. My mom calls me and we catch up. I feel quite fancy that my car has the hands-free talk feature. I never thought I would use it as much as I do. I finish up talking to Mom as I pull up my driveway. The moment I step in the house, Nila fills my face with kisses. Then Nila and I go to get our boys. I am lucky that my daycare is only two houses down, and my daycare provider and my dog are best friends.

5:15-5:30 pm: I help Jack get his math homework done. My husband gets home (yay!)

5:30-6:30 pm: I get on the treadmill while my husband takes the boys and Nila outside for a short game of football. I shower; boys get cleaned up, and we start warming food up for dinner.

6:45-7:30 pm: Dinner. This is a bit later than normal because of my run. Dinner conversation usually consists of our favorite part of the day. Jonah’s favorite part today, as every other day, is snack time. Jack’s was coming home (awww). Then Jonah spills his milk, another every day occurrence, and my husband and I never get to share our favorite parts, and we don’t even realize we never did.

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7:30-8:00 pm: After dinner clean up. I make my lunch for the following day. I make my week’s breakfasts (hard boiled eggs) over the weekend, so those are ready to go. The kiddos brush their teeth and put on their pjs. I help Jonah, because I must. He is convinced that I am the only person who can help him lately. My husband folds laundry from the night before. I see Jack in his underwear playing Star Wars with Jonah. And then somehow they piled on top of my husband. This happens often; boys are easily distracted and seem to never care if they have clothes on. I give Jack a two-minute warning to get his nightly duties done and I do some quick push-ups. Jonah runs over and tells me that I should be doing the push ups on my feet, not on my knees (Thanks kid, exactly what I needed to hear).

8:00-8:20 pm: My husband and I flip flop a kid for bedtime. We both say goodnight to the ‘other’ kid, and do the nightly routines with ‘our’ kid. Today I have Jonah. I read to Jonah, we pray, sing two songs and say goodnight. Then I go to Jack’s room to wish him goodnight. But he is still finishing up his 20 minutes of reading. Then my husband will read to Jack, so I lay next to them and fall asleep. Yep.

8:30 – 9:45 pm: I come back from my power nap, thanks to my husband shaking me awake. This is my (and my husband’s) free/me time. Often we watch something. If we have work to do, we have a computer on our lap. For me, I edit pictures or design, deliver photo galleries, and whatever is needed for the business. Today we don’t have to be on our computers, so we watch an episode of American Crime Story: People vs. O.J. Simpson. It’s SO good!

9:45-10:30 pm: I head upstairs to check on the boys and do my nightly routine. Get in bed. Nila curls in. I play a quick turn in Words With Friends, and then settle in with my book.

Today was an easy day. I wish all my days were like this. Today I felt relaxed because there were no activities to take the kids to and I didn’t have to make dinner. This is rare, and it happened because we had a big party on Sunday, and there are tons of leftovers.

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Q&A

What is the most challenging part of your day?

The most challenging part of my day is the time it takes to cook dinner. We eat as a family. On activity nights, sticking to dinner/homework/bedtime schedule is hard. I try to either plan left overs or very simple dinners on those nights (eggs or sandwiches), but even with that, it gets hectic. On other nights, I try to fit in a run. Being I plan left overs for activity nights, on ‘run’ nights I still have to make dinner. I do a crockpot meal, easy stir-fry or one-pot meals, but even ‘easy’ is not so easy when you have less than 30 minutes sometimes. I try to cut up veggies and boil up noodles/rice ahead of times, but that doesn’t always happen. My husband gets dinner started a lot of these nights.

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Do you have any tips and tricks you use to manage and organize your schedule, home and personal activities?

Menu planning is something I swear by. Though making the actual meal for dinner is hard, but having a plan makes it easier. We also have laundry and bath nights, which helps my husband help around the house. As long as he knows what to do to help, he is awesome at helping. When something fun like a Happy Hour or dinner with friends come up, we adjust our to-dos.

How do you fit in ‘me time?’

Other than finding time to run, I fit in a lot of me-time during the day. Being healthy and fit has become a big part of my day, so I do little strength training exercises throughout my day. For example, while I am brushing my teeth, I do calf raises and squats. Right before getting dressed in the morning, and before going to bed, I do planks. So whenever I can, I fit little calorie burners in. On the short drives between home and the metro station, I crank up the music to whatever my jam is that day and sing like I am the Queen B.

How to you stay present in your daily life?

The moment my husband gets home, I put my phone away. I talk to my Mom, Sister and relatives on my way home few days a week, so when I get home, I am home. I am present. My social media presence is not as heavy, I am not up to date on celebrity news and I am perfectly OK with it.

Admit it, what’s your favorite guilty pleasure each day?

My guilty pleasure is Dulce de Leche, Haagen Dazs ice cream. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but OMG, it’s SO GOOD. I have been known to go to Target (or making my husband go) at 9 pm for a little tub and take it down in one sitting. I have two of them in my freezer right now (Target had a sale). I get to have one when I hit my next weight goal.

What is your favorite part of your day?

I have two favorite moments. It makes me smile just thinking about them. I love coming home. Nila is SO excited to see me. Her tail and butt swings so hard! And when we go to pick the boys, I love hearing their excited voices when they see Nila (she runs in front of me) and they come running and gives me hugs. This very short lived moment – when I am hugging my boys and Nila is jumping around all excited is the best moment. That said, I also love when the kiddos go to bed. The moment I sit down next to my husband for the night is heavenly.

Thank you so much for sharing your day, Christina! I love the little bursts of activity you fit in throughout the day, and your favorite moments. I smiled just thinking about them, too! 

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